24 June 2010

DOWNLOAD: 69 Fingers - It's All Fun and Games Until We Get Hurt

All one needs to know about this band is the origin of their name. In their incarnation, 69 Fingers had seven members, but one was missing a finger. Seven members. Ten fingers each, minus one. Sixty-nine fingers. Brilliant.

The mid-to-late '90s in the Charleston area was a small haven for ska music with bands like The Shankers, Walt Flanagan's Dog and 69 Fingers. Outlasting all of them are the Fingers, who have been based in Orlando, Florida, since around 2004. At some point around 1999, 69 Fingers revamped itself with an improved horn section (with all its phalanges) and began making more mature... erm, "mature" is not the right word for this band... simply better music. The product was this record It's All Fun and Games Until We Get Hurt.

Despite the black and white version of the cover, it and the album's name explain a bit about the band. As do song titles like "4-Sell," "Pick It Up," "Don't Want To Go To School" and "Gimpless." Taking after bands like Reel Big Fish, NoFX and Less Than Jake, 69 Fingers is franticly playful with no mission other than to have a make people have a good time. In the late '90s/early '00s, as other ska acts began to fade, it was 69 Fingers who was sharing bills with punk, hardcore and metal bands, which helped keep people from taking themselves too seriously. Music scenes, especially one in West Virginia, need that.

Artist: 69 Fingers.
Album: It's All Fun and Games Until We Get Hurt.
Year: 1999.
For fans of: Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, NoFX.

10 June 2010

WATCH: Librarians - Cranberry Palace

Here is a video for the song "Cranberry Palace" from Morgantown's indie-psych group Librarians. The song is from the band's new album Present Passed, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. Check out Librarians on MySpace.

09 June 2010

DOWNLOAD: Steel Nation - Split with Crucified

At the request of Steel Nation drummer Ethan Raese, here is the follow-up to 2007's album Soul Swallower - a split with California's Crucified. Steel Nation's two songs were the band's first recording after vocal duties were turned over to bassist Steve Fisher (singer for the now defunct Van Damage) and guitarist Neil Demi. The sound is an improvement upon Soul Swallower - vocally and musically, while the lyrics take an even more pessimistic tone with a lot of mention of pain and suffering. "Everything that I've ever loved has turned its back on me." I know its rhetorical, but I can't help but giggle at hardcore bands nowadays. (Sorry, Ethan.) I haven't even listened to the Crucified side of this split, but I have my presumptions. This is perfect for fans of Integrity, Ringworm or Biohazard.

Artist: Steel Nation/Crucified.
Album: Split.
Year: 2008.
For fans of: Integrity, Ringworm, Biohazard.

03 June 2010

DOWNLOAD: Steel Nation - Soul Swallower

"We came to wreck everything, and ruin your life. God sent us." That quote, a sample from the 1992 film about Russell Crowe as a skinhead, is not only how this album starts, but it's also the lead to too many reviews of this album. Despite the lack of originality, I had to use it, too - not because it's a good quote or because it's even the introduction to Steel Nation's 2007 debut Soul Swallower. It has more to do the fact that Pittsburgh-area tattooist Josh Mason recently muttered the line repeatedly in the recent presence of Steel Nation drummer Ethan Raese as Raese bitched about having to listen to Texas Is the Reason.

Though Steel Nation is a hardcore-metal band based in Pittsburgh, Raese is a native of Morgantown and has played in West Virginia bands such as The Warriors, Better Off Dead and A Toast to the Winners. He is a tough dude with a body builder's physique covered in tattoos. He doesn't listen to any "pussy shit" like Texas Is the Reason or Jimmy Eat World. Raese listens to bands that sound like his own - Ringworm, Integrity, Biohazard and Strife to name a few. Steel Nation is heavy and fast-paced with plenty of double bass and breakdowns - appropriate for circle pits and mesh short-clad kung-fu styled mosh. On top of that, screamy vocals of pessimistic lyrics from band members who probably don't have much to be pessimistic about crank out songs with titles like "Hate of the World" and "Deliverance of the Devil." (I, too, see the irony in contemporary hardcore, but we still love it!) Steel Nation has since parted ways with the singer on this album and with strings players sharing vocal duties have taken an improved direction with its sound to be more metal than hardcore, but this is where it started.

Artist: Steel Nation.
Album: Soul Swallower.
Year: 2007.
For fans of: Ringworm, Integrity, Strife.