The Vanilla Milkshakes – Punching Cows

Band: The Vanilla Milkshakes

Album: “Punching Cows”

Release date: 4/2/2019

 

Band members (per Facebook):

David McGhee – vocals/guitar

Frank Registrato – drums/vocals

JanKarl Haynes – guitar/vocals

Jeff Brink – bass/vocals

Mike King – bass/vocals

 

cover

 

The Vanilla Milkshakes

Punching Cows

Release date: 4/2/2019

One of the main reasons I love music is for the perspectives that music can provide. Music relays the tribulations of others so much more completely than writing or other forms of communication, in my opinion. The reason is, when you hear these messages in music, they’re amplified by the intensity and emotion of the instrumentation, and poetically arranged in a way that makes me think more about what the words are saying than what the words are, themselves.

The starkest revelations I’ve gotten from music have come from hip hop and rap. Perhaps because the views and experiences expressed in those genres paint a vastly different picture from the life I’ve known, and caused me to think HARD about some of the things I once believed, how I’ve treated people (unknowingly), and how I’ve had to change in order to help spread this knowledge to others like me, who may have been ignorant of how our thoughts and beliefs affect the lives of other people.

This is the experience I had while listening to “Punching Cows,” by The Vanilla Milkshakes.

The Vanilla Milkshakes are Denver’s only punk band comprised entirely of autistic members; and their music has a lot to say about how they feel on a day to day basis. The songs made me think back about how I talk… about how I act… about how I treat people… about times I’d done things right, and times I’d done things wrong… about how I personally felt, way back on the Elementary School playground, when I was excluded from the frivolity that was shared by everyone else after lunch and during recess or gym class.

A lot of the music is about feeling excluded and left out; or otherwise feeling undeserving, as a result of being left out and excluded. A lot of the music is about the frustration of losing friends.

I’ve been listening to this album for over two weeks now, and I’ve found a lot in my life that I need to atone for; and some things that I need to make right.

This album highlights some of the things I love most about music, as a whole. It’s an incredible album, and I highly recommend it to all who read this.

THIS is why I love this job!

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Filthy Few – Wealth & Hell Being

Filthy Few

“Wealth and Hell Being”

2007

Ass End Records

lineup (per liner notes):

Chad Lottman: vocals

Eric “Benji Over” Hahn: guitar

Steve “Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez” Jacobs: bass

Brian Dyer: drums

Similar to: The Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat

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You know, for a long time, I’ve been of the opinion that the world needs more psychobilly… it’s fun, chaotic, and requires an INSANE amount of talent to pull off! Psychobilly has some of the most intricately difficult music to play, no matter what instrument you play; and you have to have a singer that could PROBABLY get out of a murder charge on an insanity defense… and that particular combination of people is just rare…

… so any chance I have to check out psychobilly that I haven’t yet heard is a happy time for me, and I treasure it greatly!

So recently, I just happened to meet one of the members of Filthy Few, who sent me their 2007 album, “Wealth and Hell Being”… and y’all, this is definitely my happy time!

It’s sick… it’s perverted… it’s loud and rowdy… it’s everything you should expect from the genre!

When I first fired up the album and got into the first song, I had to double check to see if that’s Bobcat Goldthwait singing. It’s not, but the unhinged, wild style works PERFECTLY alongside the attitude set by the music. The end result is like what would happen if the Cramps went on a speed bender… and it’s AWESOME! South Park fans may also hear a more badass version of Timmy and the Masters of the Underworld.

Without question, this is one of the most entertaining Psychobilly albums I’ve encountered thus far, and look forward to (hopefully) seeing them in concert some day!

… and here’s where you can get it:

https://thefilthyfew.bandcamp.com/

I recommend that you do so directly.

 

Bricheros – Making Our Way to the USA

 

Release date: Nov. 18, 2018

Lineup (per album sleeve):

  • Papi Chulo: Guitar
  • Riko Suave: Drums
  • Pincho Mono: Bass and Vocals

***THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE THOSE OF A? AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF OUR ORGANIZATION***


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Ok, so, usually, we try not to get too “political” with our posts; but with this particular album, that’s simply not possible.

So, here’s what I’m gonna do…

If it’s unavoidable, I’m just gonna say “fuck it all,” and just go for it…

I mean, given the current climate, it’s “all or nothing,” right?

Having said that…

FUCK TRUMP!!!

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I don’t think words have been created to portray the utter contempt and disgust that I feel about the government right now… so I’ll invent a few:

Fuckxasperated

Enfuckyoulated

Ragetastic

The embrace of Fascism and complete denial of facts and reality by the Republicans…

The complete and total FAILURE of the Democratic Party to fully comprehend the severity of our problems, and their pathetic need to treat this all like a “difference of opinion,” because the hippies still think that we can all just sing “Kumbiyah” and “get along”…

I’m sick of it ALL!!!

I’m sick of the concentration camps popping up on the Southern border! I’m sick of the overt RACISM of Trump and the CULT that follows him! I’m sick of watching well-meaning people trying to present facts to CAVEMEN who are too brainwashed to even LOOK at them! I’m sick of the right wing propaganda outlets that KEEP people brainwashed by LYING to their audiences on a daily basis!

… but I’m also a white guy…

… so a lot of the things going on now don’t impact me in the same ways that they impact people more darkly complected than myself… I’m never going to have racist assholes demanding to know my immigration status… I don’t have to fear that I or my family might be taken away by the ICE gestapo while waiting for the school bus with the kids…

… and watching other people have to go through this shit REALLY pisses me off!

That’s where Bricheros comes in…

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A “Brichero” (or Brichera) is a seductive Peruvian man (or woman) who sleeps with foreign vacationers with the hopes of achieving citizenship in their country.

The band, Bricheros, are Peruvian immigrants; and this album paints a vivid picture of the justifiable anger that many immigrants are feeling right now, at the hands of racist policies that are wreaking havoc; and a racist CULT that’s developing increasingly violent tendencies.

Musically, they remind me a lot of a band I liked a lot in the 90’s, called Helmet. Similarities can also be drawn to Bad Religion, Sponge, Ramones, and even Tom Petty (in a good way). I guess I would say that they’re like old school New York attitude with an LA style.

The album is further complimented by the awesome cover art by Denver’s ICONIC artist, Joshua Finley!

I truly love listening to this album! After hearing Der FurHair spewing hatespeech for the last decade (including all the birther shit), it’s great to hear it get dished back so beautifully, from the people it’s directly impacted!

From that perspective, while vastly different in style, I like them for the one of the same reasons that I like bands like Gogol Bordello, Fishbone, and Bad Brains: the perspective gained; and the justice served via honest, heartfelt music!

If you’re as sick of this shit as I am, it’s safe to say that this is an album that you want in your collection. You can purchase it (I recommend the vinyl) at the Bandcamp link below:

Album link: https://bricheros.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bricherospunkrock/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bricherospunkrock/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knuNiiaDKh4

Website: www.bricherospunkrock.com

A?

2019

A?’s picks for Best Albums and EP

So, I’ve been kind of avoiding this… there are some decisions I don’t like having to make, because the field of material has made these decisions a Herculean act. (Although, I wouldn’t exactly call this “labour” a penance for murder, as this task was greatly enjoyable, and wouldn’t really be called a “punishment” by any definition of the word. Also, I haven’t killed anyone.)

I have to say, the music I’ve heard this year has been INCREDIBLE!!! The talent, passion, and emotion that’s been poured into these albums has given me a lot to ponder, while making these very hard choices.

In the long run, my decisions came down to two factors:

1. What has made its way into my regular listening rotation? (This didn’t do much to whittle it down)

2. What do I find myself listening to by choice most often? (Still… not much help)

I’ve listened, and re-listened, and re-re-listened to the music from this year and honestly, I can safely say that EVERYTHING is deserving of honorable mention; but my choices for Colorado Album of the Year, Non-Colorado Album of the Year, and EP of the Year are thus:

Colorado Album of the Year:

a0015043784_10[1]“Oh Yeah For Sure” by Kenny’s Login

I came to this conclusion because right now, it feels like the whole world is on edge. I spend most of my life in what could be described as “news junkie hell”… I suppose you could almost call it an addiction. The comment sections of the news stories on Facebook were a Pandora’s Box that I never should have opened; lest I deepened my disgust with what’s become to society over the last decade or so.

This album was free from all that. It was a “vacation.” After listening to it, I felt a little better…

… until I got back into the disgusting toxic sludge pit that exists in the comment sections.

I find myself playing the album more and more at parties and social gatherings, because it’s (mostly) void of politics, the lyrics are fun, and it makes people want to dance and feel good; which, now that I think of it, was also a determinate factor in last year’s selection (“Damn Right” by the Dendrites); so I guess that makes me consistent in at least SOME regard.

Non-Colorado Album of the Year:

United-Defiance---Safe-at-home---cover_d200“Safe At Home” by United Defiance

When I first finished listening to this album, I was sweating, pacing, and my heart was pounding! The raw energy in this album really gets the blood flowing for a good hike, workout, or house cleaning; but can be dangerous while navigating traffic (fair warning).

The lyrics are inspiring, and invoke personal strength and motivation. Personally, I use this album to psych myself up for my art shows and other occasions where I have to present strength and confidence in order to project the professional image that I need to.

Some people use cocaine… I use audio.

EP of the Year:

a1655770424_10“Detour” by Sunset Silhouette

This was the hardest category for me to decide. There were so many great EP’s released this year, so vastly spread out among styles and tastes, that this category was literally like comparing apples to bacon… both are delicious, but VASTLY different.

Frankly, I have a love/hate relationship with EP’s. They always leave me wanting more… but I guess that’s kind of their purpose. I just always feel a little sad when I realize that I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard, but thirst for more…

It’s like the series finale for the show, “My Name is Earl”… I mean, here’s this GREAT show that’s gone on for several seasons, and they just end the motherfucker on a TOTAL cliffhanger… what the fuck?!?!?! I WANT RESOLUTION, DAMN IT!!!

… but I digress…

If the purpose of an EP is to leave the audience with a proverbial “cliffhanger,” then Sunset Silhouette did it right! Their first EP was exactly what was needed to stoke interest in their highly awaited upcoming full-length album!

Three songs… just enough to make you want the resolution that comes with the release of a full-length album by displaying the depth of the music to expect in future releases, which is foreshadowed by increasingly attended performances.

Sunset Silhouette has utilized their EP to perfectly punctuate the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a very bright future.

 

In conclusion, like I said before, this has been a banner year for great music! If 2018 was any indication of what the next year will bring, I anxiously await it with bated breath! I would like to congratulate these winners on beating out some of the stiffest competition in the music world (at least, in my opinion)! To everyone else, hooooooooly shit, you made this hard for me! Truly, I hold everyone in the absolute highest of regards, artistically and professionally!

 

Happy holidays and New Year, everyone!

 

A?

45 Seconds That Changed My Life

Recently, we were privileged to be guests on the Punk Rock Horror Podcast…

One of the questions took me by surprise… not because I wasn’t expecting it, but because I wasn’t sure how to answer it at the time.

It was a simple question… “What brought you to punk?” My mind started racing… flashing back through all the years and years of music and concerts and drinking and craziness; and in the moment, I wasn’t sure what to say…

In the time that’s passed since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it… when was the FIRST moment when I said, “yeah… that’s me… that’s how I feel…”

and you know what? It all comes down to 45 seconds of music.

45 seconds of comedy and chaos that changed my life forever, and sent me into the world to become what I am today.

Readers familiar with Denver in the 90’s will probably remember a show on channel KBDI 12 (PBS), called “Teletunes.” For those unfamiliar with the show, it’s a shame you missed out!

Teletunes was a music video show… I guess you could say it was Public Broadcasting’s answer to MTV. But the most awesome part was the fact that among the “underground” videos from Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, and the Ramones, they ALSO played a SHIT TON of videos from LOCAL bands!

At that time, The Descendants were still largely seen as a local band… they were pretty big in the Punk scene and they shared a drummer with Black Flag; but at that time, ALL punk was “local” because it didn’t really have much of a “mainstream” appeal until Green Day got popular.

I didn’t have cable, so Teletunes was really my only consistent exposure to music videos; which really gave me a skewed perspective on music videos when I FINALLY actually watched MTV for the first time while babysitting for the neighbors. (“Wait a minute… you mean MTV doesn’t play the ‘Detachable Penis’ video???”)

For years, everyone at school was talking about one video or another on MTV; and since I didn’t have cable, I didn’t really have anything to add… which also meant I didn’t have a lot of friends, because I couldn’t relate. To say I was “unpopular” would be a drastic understatement…

Years later, there I am in high school, and someone tells me about Teletunes… so I watch.

Ministry… COOL!!!

They Might Be Giants… AWESOME!!!

Siouxsie and the Banshees… SWEET!!!

and then…

KIDS ON COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It ELECTRIFIED me!

The power! The comedy! The chaos!

Pure, unadulterated musical C-4, set to self-destruct in 45 seconds!

It was beautiful; but it went by so fast…

I had a thirst… I wanted more!

and Teletunes was happy to dish it up! I found out about Warlock Pinchers, and King Missile, and the Misfits…

Ramones… Exploited… New York Dolls… DEVO… Black Flag… Sub Hum Ans… Circle Jerks… Dead Kennedys… the list went on and on!

I had found a home… something that made sense: Nazis are bad, rich executive douchebags are looking to exploit you, society is pretty much fucked, unions (except the police union) are good, and the religious right are a bunch of hypocritical zealots…

All things that ring as true NOW, as they did THEN!

I went back to the person who told me about Teletunes. We became friends. Since then, I’ve made a lot MORE friends! That’s only been possible because PUNKS accepted me… they didn’t care that I didn’t have cable… they didn’t care what neighborhood I grew up in, or what my socio-economic status was… they didn’t care that I have the fashion sense of a Poindexter…

I owe my life, my career, and indeed, (what remains of) my sanity, to a 45 second period of pure joy that opened Pandora’s box and gifted me the life that I now know!

Kenny’s Login – Oh Yeah For Sure

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Kenny’s Login – Oh Yeah For Sure

Release date: March 1, 2018

Format: Digital

Label: independent

Location: Denver, CO

Current Lineup: (Per Bandcamp)

KRONE-BASS/BACK VOCALS
JORDAN-LEAD GUITAR/BACK VOCALS
DOUG-LEAD VOCALS/RYTHYM GUITAR
CHAD-DRUMS/BACK VOCALS

Favorite Tracks:

Me Too, Mary O’Mine, Good As Dead, Dancing in the Graveyard, Pancho & Lefty

Sounds Like:

Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion, Granny Tweed, Mojo Nixon, Bad Religion

You know what?

This is just what I needed…

A little fucking levity!

“Oh Yeah For Sure,” by Kenny’s Login is just a purely FUN album!

So, I start listening… and the first two songs TOTALLY reminded me of a scene in the movie, Baseketball… follow me on this…

In the particular scene in reference, one of the main characters is having a moral dilemma, so he decides to take a drive. He flips through the radio stations and lands on “just the right” song.

It starts off uplifting and positive; but as the song goes on, it starts LITERALLY talking about things going on around him in traffic, and in his life…

That’s how the first two songs were, for me. The first one is a great drinking ballad, called “Gonna Get Drunk.” It’s a rowdy drinking song (if you couldn’t already tell), in the tradition of Dropkick Murphys.

The second song is called “Me Too.” This song just cut straight to my soul. It expresses, very plainly and directly, how I see the world, in a nutshell. It’s a song about the rainbow of emotions that we all feel at any given time on any given day, and puts everything into perspective by acknowledging that WE ALL feel these ways!

“Me Too” is a master-crafted song with great hooks, dancy music, a great message, and lyrics that make you want to keep listening to the song until they sink in!

The rest of the album is an energetic, eclectic mix of Oi Punk, Horror Punk, Revival Gospel (without the religious shit), and Rockabilly. The band, themselves, call it “Cowboy Punk,” and that’s a pretty accurate description.

To put it all into one box, it’s like a drunken tent revival in a graveyard with zombies.

This is what it would sound like if Granny Tweed did an album with Dropkick Murphys, and it’s AWESOME!

I thoroughly expect this album to find its way into my regular music rotation!

Tracks: (Per Bandcamp)

1. Gonna Get Drunk

2. Me Too

3. I Got Everything

4. Far As I Can Tell

5. Back In Line

6. Mary O’Mine

7. Good As Dead

8. Waiting On You

9. All Gonna Die

10. Dancing in the Graveyard

11. Visitors

12. Slop Bucket

13. Pancho & Lefty

 

Links:

Shakers – Not the Shakers

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Release Date: March 27, 2015

Format:  CD/Digital Download

Label: A Jam Records

Location:  Margate, FL

Current Lineup:

  • Pat Stahl
  • Jon Stahl
  • Joe Marino

Favorite Tracks:

  • Just the Facts
  • Sad Song
  • No Fucks
  • Assholes in my Way

Sounds Like:

  • United Defiance
  • NOFX
  • The Vandals

Tracks:

  1. 16 Tons
  2. Sad Song
  3. Desper-ado
  4. Mr. Millennium
  5. Just The Facts
  6. Throw It All Away
  7. Gotta Get Into It
  8. No Fucks
  9. All For Nothing
  10. Pompano Beach (cover of Rockaway Beach, by the Ramones)
  11. Assholes In My Way/hidden song

________________________________________________________________________________________

Ok… I’m gonna call “punk privilege” and break a rule…

When I write an ALBUM review, I write about the WHOLE album… but not this time.

Don’t get me wrong… this WHOLE album is great! It’s one of the best engineered albums I’ve heard for a while… the music, lyrics, and HIDDEN TRACK (which is fucking hilarious) make me feel like a teenager in the 90’s all over again, waiting for my parents to go to bed so I can FINALLY crack the window and light my bowl…

Take the CD out of the fucking annoying plastic anti theft shit… tear open the heat-sealed plastic wrapper… carefully unhinge the bottom of the CD case, so that you can CAREFULLY pull off the identifying sticker on the top… pull the CD out of the case and put it in the tray… close the tray and hit play… take the liner notes out of the case and CAREFULLY re-attach the lid… open the bedroom window… fire up the aforementioned bowl… sit back and get lost in the lyric sheet and the music…

… and then it ends… and you think, “wow… that was great!”

… so you get up and walk across the room about to restart the album, when you notice the song timer is still counting…

“That’s w-”

“BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!” the hidden track begins, scaring you half the fuck to death, and you laugh your ass off (but plan to scare the shit out of your friends)!

That’s what listening to this album is like. It’s a very warmly appreciated flashback to the days of my musical infancy.

The lyrics… the accompanying music… the mix levels… all FANTASTIC!

… but that’s not what I want to talk about…

The events of the last few days have been chaotic, what with former Presidents, billionaires, high level governmental officials being sent a slew of bombs from the #MAGAbomber. These have been strange days for us all.

… but there’s one particular song on this album that I feel needs a highlight, because of the events of this week. This one particular song really hit me on a personal level, because I’m personally guilty of EXACTLY what the song is about.

It’s weird listening to a song and feeling like it’s a “dirty mirror” into your own ugliness. You want to turn away… it disgusts you because it IS you…

… and then you sit there and you stew. You think about the song, and what it means, and what it’s about, and the meaning of the song, and how it applies to you… and you’re less disgusted with the song and more disgusted with yourself.

But still, in your own mind, you try to defend yourself; all the while knowing that you’re at least somewhat wrong… you just don’t want to admit it to yourself.

Here’s where I’m going with this…

There’s a song on the album called “Just the Facts,” that really forced me to contemplate my own words and actions.

The song is about people who have good intentions and want to build a better society, but get dragged down into the shit, with all the other shit, talking shit, spewing shit… and it’s all somewhat counter-productive…

I mean, right now, I’m banned from Facebook for 30 days. This is because a FAKE profile reported me for calling it FAKE.

My intention was to alert other people to the fact that they were arguing with some Russian troll, nowhere near America… but look at me now. What did my words actually accomplish?

Ok… that’s a somewhat lame example… want a list of some of the other things I frequently say to people online? This is the list that really made me have to think about shit:

_____________________________________________________________________________

“_______ deserves the Gaddaffi treatment!” (Name omitted)

“Why don’t you do the gene pool a favor and go fuck a salad shooter?”

“1. Go to a cross burning

  1. Call them all Democrats
  2. Observe their response
  3. If you can cut yourself down from the lynching, report back”

“You’re not even a douchebag; you’re more like a used colostomy bag (full of shit)!”

“Subhuman Deplorable trash doesn’t care about facts.”

_________________________________________________________________________________

… and that’s just scratching the surface of the god-awful shit that I’ve sown…

Sure, a lot of it was written to be humorous, but I mean, that shit is RAW!!!

Over the span of a week, including the events of this week, I’ve been sitting with this…

I mean, here we are, watching people get BOMBS sent to them, and I’m wondering if my own words may have spurred the terrorist piece of shit…

… but then I see the responses of people like the piece of shit in the White House gave, along with Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and almost EVERY OTHER Republican, blaming the victims and shaming the media for the FACTS that make them look bad…

Yes, I want a more civil society…

… and yes, I, myself, have been GROTESQUELY guilty of spreading my share of discord, out of disgust for one party that’s gone full Fascist, and out of disgust for the other party that REFUSES to accept the severity or recognize the roots of the problem at hand…

Frustration is a bitch. Where are you supposed to put all this shit? What are you supposed to do with all the vitriol that constantly boils beneath the surface, while trying to push society to be better? It just seems easy to take it out on faceless people who you’ll never meet; especially when they say the DUMBEST fucking things, and politicians that CAUSE or EXACERBATE every problem, and the media figures that LIE and create brainwashed cultists; but where does it stop?

I tried.

I tried to be nicer. I tried to be more civil.

But I couldn’t. It lasted all of about 10 minutes (on Twitter, because… you know… Facebook ban).

How the fuck are you supposed to be “civil” to people who think BOMBS are somehow equivalent to a bad dining experience???

… and another question… Eventually, this shit has to end SOMEHOW… but that’s not going to change what’s been said and done… neither on their end nor mine; and when you’ve thrown more shit than a monkey with the runs like I have, the world could be a very lonely place in the future. Is that really what I want?

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theshakersmusic/

Bandcamp: https://theshakersmusic.bandcamp.com/album/dont-start-believin?fbclid=IwAR0He9NSDCP4fNWzf-UO5EsNRmJIEiEHs31WoEMZvUv7fBKXqz-MJf0CQrM

About the writer:

A? is an Artist, born and raised in Denver, CO. He is 7 shades of certified badass in a candy shell