A?’s review of Cheap Perfume’s new album, “Burn It Down”

When we first started doing album reviews, I was privileged to be the person who got to review Cheap Perfume’s first album, “Nailed It.”CP NI

Now, I get the privilege of doing it again!

Cheap Perfume is one of the most unique bands in Colorado’s punk scene. No other band sounds like them vocally, musically, or lyricly; locally or nationally.

I get to listen to A LOT of music, and it’s safe to say, Cheap Perfume is in their own unique lane, and they OWN that lane!

Their new album, “Burn It Down,” is being released soon, and fans of the first album willCP BID NOT be disappointed! “Burn It Down” has the same unrelenting energy, powerful feminist protest lyrics, and brilliant display of the band’s dichotomy of personalities; presenting the singers, Jane No and Stephanie Antillon, as the two main feminine archetypes, as perceived by right-wing Christian fundamentalist culture: the housewife and the whore.

By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that all of us at CPRA are borderline geriatrics. We were all in high school in the 90’s. When I think about the 90’s, I think about all the great protest music that came out of that era. Bands like Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, and NOFX built their whole careers on protest music. Virtually every band in the 90’s had at least one protest song of one kind or another, and I think there was a silent reckoning among a lot of us Gen-Xers that the time was nigh to start picking the right side of history to be on, and to do so as vocally as possible.

When I first listened to “Burn It Down,” 17-year-old-me-from-1994 walked up and kicked me in the shins. He thought it best to remind me who the 90’s taught me to be. Then he told me, “That shit kicks MAJOR ass! You should keep listening to it!”

Then he turned his pony-tailed ass around and went away.

17-year-old-me-from-1994 had some good points to make:

1. My hair in the 90’s was stupid.

2. History WILL judge you in the long run (for a lot more than just your stupid haircut).

3. “Burn It Down” is every bit as good as “Nailed It,” and even surpasses the album in some

ways.

There are a lot of things to love about this album! Whether you’re a seasoned fan who’s been to every show, or a noob who’s just discovering the band, it’s something you’ll enjoy!

The seasoned fans will like the consistency in sound and message. Noobs will find an accurate and appropriate introduction to one of the most original and poignant bands of the modern musical era!

The album begins, as all great albums should, with a “call to arms.” The opening track, “Put the Devil to Bed,” sets the pace for the rest of the album, which is a wholly driving force that makes you feel like you’re sprinting while you’re standing still. The album is so energetic, it’s simply not possible to listen without moving (unless you have a spinal cord injury that would prevent movement; but even then, it’s potentially powerful enough to cure paralysis).

The highlight of the album, in my opinion, is a song that presents a sentiment very close to my heart. It’s a sentiment that first drew me into Punk, all those many, many, many years ago… the very heart of the SHARP (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) movement. The song, “It’s OK (To Punch Nazis)” is not only a fun, danceable song, but also expresses something that I’ve been saying all along… the right-wing only understands violence. These are the assholes who think that school shootings happen because kids aren’t beaten enough at home… these are the assholes who think dropping bombs is the answer to every little thing that goes wrong in the world (especially if it means bombing brown people)… these are the people who LIED us into Iraq, purely for oil profits… these are the assholes who think we should be shooting immigrants at the border…

Violence is what they know… it’s what they understand… it’s how they learn…

Notice how all their Facebook profiles say “School of Hard Knocks” listed as their “education?” There’s a reason for that. Violence is what makes sense to them.

If they think that kids act up because they’re not beaten enough, well, maybe THEY act the way they do because they haven’t been beaten enough as ADULTS!

It’s OK to punch Nazis… Captain America said so.

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Right after that song comes one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time! I honestly can’t think of anyone more appropriate than Cheap Perfume to cover Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation!” Everything about this cover is PERFECT!

I hate it when a band covers a song and makes it sound EXACTLY like the original (I’m looking at YOU, Weezer)! The best covers are when a band takes a song they LOVE (not a song they think is popular), and does it their own way, with their own voice and their own style. That’s exactly what this version is. Their version of the song is EXPERTLY reproduced!

At the end of the day, this album delivered everything I wanted from it: strong energy, powerful feminist protest lyrics, chaos, and a reminder of what the 90’s taught me. The whole thing left me happy and satisfied. I would expect nothing less than excellence from Cheap Perfume, and I got everything I was expecting!

The album will be available in physical forms at their album release shows (I’ll be at the one on November 30th), and available in digital formats on December 6th; just in time to give a copy to Mom, for the December holiday of your choosing!

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Denver’s Amazing Flying Dumbasses (AFD) – “Adventure Island”

Amazing Flying Dumbasses – “Adventure Island”

Released: April, 2019

Label: Independent

 

AFD

You know what’s awesome about the Punk Scene?

I was just noticing at a show recently, that a lot of the new-schoolers still sport shirts and patches from the old-school bands… even some of the more obscure bands, that I thought NOBODY remembered! But it goes much farther than JUST the apparel… these youngsters actually LISTEN to the music of years past!

Punk just seems to be the genre that keeps to the sounds, rhythms, and original formulas that made it a “thing” in the first place! Going all the way back to its New York and London roots, Punk has stayed consistent. In a rapidly changing world, there’s something comforting about that.

I mean, here we are in 2019, and I listen to an EP that makes me flash back to the first time I heard “Milo Goes to College,” by the Descendants… and that was DECADES ago!

This is best highlighted by the song, “Schlotzky’s.” It’s a song about just wanting a good sandwich, and it strongly reminded me of songs from my own youth, like “Kids on Coffee” and “I Like Food.”

Ahhhhhhh, nostalgia… how I love you…

The average age of the band members is 17… and that gives me HOPE for the future of Punk! Now, we just have to hope for an endless stream of socially and politically conscious, fiercely unapologetic, unabashedly individualistic, regretlessly idealistic youngsters and “juvenile delinquents” (the term of my day) to keep coming into their artistic and musical voices and sharing them!

Now, since I’m SURE you want to purchase this EP, you can find it here: https://afdskate.bandcamp.com/album/adventure-island-e-p

… and I’m sure you want to find and follow them on Facebook, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-Band/Amazing-Flying-Dumbasses-2325395140821642/

I hope you enjoy your purchase… I’m gonna go get some Schlotzky’s… fuckin’ hungry…

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!

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!