Tag Archives: music review

Review: The Real Tears-Still Drunk & Lonely

The Real Tears-Still Drunk & Lonely (CD)

still drunk and lonely

Norfolk, Virginia’s The Real Tears write crunchy, percussive songs that are the musical equivalent of a 2 minute smack to the lips.  Still Drunk & Lonely is about 12 minutes of expertly crafted Punk/Garage songs . The music is a cross between the Detroit sound that spawned the MC5, with equal parts Motorhead and Poison Idea.The seasoned guitar licks of Alex definitely gives the Real Tears a distinctive 70s punk quality, while the steady crunch of George on rhythm guitar , Dickie on drums and Darbe on Bass add enough punch to knock your eyeballs out.

Last but not least, add the dulcet tones of Darbe’s vocals, a throaty meat-grinder mincing an angry pitbull that’s tethered to a burning tree. A delightful mélange soaked in hatred and blind rage, freckled here and there with specks of melancholy, reflection and resentment. Songs tackle common subjects, such as my personal favorites, about the people who you only know from the bars, titled Night Time Friends, and Up,  which deals with the joy of futility. The whole CD rocks from front to back, 5 loud and fast punk songs like punk songs were meant to be played.

The CD comes out Friday Sept. 18th, and if you are in the Tidewater, Va. area, You can get your copy at the CD Release show at the  Norfolk Tap House, along with The Cemetery Boys, Late to the Party and from New York, The Virginia Gentlemen (Oh! Irony). That is a killer line-up, and there will be plenty of The Real Tears’ new CD Still Drunk & Lonely, as well as  new T-Shirts. If you are unable to attend the release show, you can order from their BandCamp page Here. You can also listen to the free stream of the album, or download a digital version at: https://therealtears.bandcamp.com/



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September 17, 2015 · 12:53 am

Review: GOYA-Obelisk (STB Records)

Here we go. Like clockwork, the burgeoning Boutique label STB Records will be squeezing out a limited amount of CDs and cassettes of the new GOYA release Obelisk on Saturday August 1st at Noon sharp. If you have listened to the many brutal and magnificent GOYA releases, such as Satan’s Fire, 777, and the limited edition  45rpm eps Nothing but Dead Things, and the Split they did with Wounded Giant (both released by STB Records), then you will know that this is very good news.

GOYA, from Phoenix, AZ., is Jeff Owens – guitar, vocals, Nick Lose – drums, and Ben Clarkson – bass. Three guys that sound like ten.

read my Full review on Core of Destruction Radio @ http://coreofdestruction.tumblr.com/post/125485338164/goyaobelisk

cassette case

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Record Review: McRad-Lion Pure (2LP)

lion pure

McRad- Lion Pure (2LP, Not Like You Records)

Read my review of McRad-Lion Pure on Core of Destruction radio here

Skate Punk O.G.s McRad from Philadelphia, Pa, raised the bar in the mid 80s with the release of the EP Dominant Force (1984), and the LP Absence of Sanity (1987), and a few weeks ago, founding member Chuck Treece  released a massive 2 LP  collection titled Lion Pure, which consists of Dominant Force, and Absence of Sanity, as well as a few songs from comps, with some live cuts added. Most striking of all are the two new tunes (Another Chance and McRad Dub for Andy) with H.R. of the Bad Brains singing! The latter is a tribute to Andy Morris, an early drummer for McRad, as well as a close friend, who passed away a few years ago. H.R. digs down to bring up a bit of the old thunder, it’s some of the best recorded vocals he’s done in recent years. In short, this double album is the culmination of Treece’s years in the music scene trenches, and to have H.R. be a part of that is truly huge.

Available at:     http://www.notlikeyourecords.com/releases.html

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July 14, 2015 · 6:10 pm

Music Review: Sunstone-Sunstone

Follow the link to Core of Destruction radio for my review of the Debut release from British Doomsters Sunstone HERE


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New Review for Iggy Pop and the Stooges-Let’s have some fun: Live at Unganos.

Check out my new review of the RSD 2015 release of the Live Stooges album Have Some Fun: Live at Unganos. It’s on the Core of Destruction Radio music blog right HERE

2015-04-30 17.31.11




2015-04-30 17.35.52




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May 18, 2015 · 6:43 pm

The Thugbrarian Set-List: Top 10 Albums of 2014

This is a list of my 10 favorite releases of the past year. I didn’t review every album on my list, either because time didn’t permit, or there were already plenty of great reviews circulating out there. Thanks for following the blog and sharing the posts, I am looking forward to hearing what 2015 has to offer.


1. Triptykon-Melana Chasmata (Century Media)

Listening to this gave me the same feeling I had when I first heard Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion– I realized that I was listening to some next level shiz! This was my favorite new album of the year by miles.

Read my review from May 14th HERE


Chrome album feel it like a scientist

2. Chrome- Feel it Like a Scientist (King of Spades)

Feel it Like a Scientist is brandy-new Chrome, and it is Chrome to the next level. Whether you are an old fan, or someone who has been listening to music from underneath a rock, you need to listen to this album.

Read my review from 5/5/2014 HERE



swans-to be kind


3. SWANS-To Be Kind (Young God Records)

No matter what Michael Gira and company put out, you can be sure that it would be honest, intense and most importantly, different from what anyone else has been doing. With To Be Kind, and the 2012 release The Seer, I believe that Gira has  found a way to fuse the guttural intensity of Filth era Swans with the more melodic melancholy of White Light From the Mouth of Infinity. To Be Kind is one of the best Swans albums I have heard in a while, and I am looking forward to seeing them in Richmond, Va. March 2015.

Read my review from 5/5/2014 HERE





 4. Druglord-Enter Venus (STB Records)

Sludgy Psych/Stoner/Doom, whatever you kids call it today,this is mega-heavy and will squeeze the last breath from your lungs. The superb packaging by STB Records makes this an instant collectible. Ya heards me?

Read my review of May 5th HERE




5. GODFLESH-Decline & Fall EP (Avalanche Recordings)

Most people paid attention to the full length A World Lit Only by Fire, which is an amazing album to be sure, but this ep that came out a couple of months earlier is what throat-punched me. As brutal as Streetcleaner, Decline and Fall was a fitting reintroduction to the  evil genius of Justin Broadrick.

Read my review from June 3rd HERE



savage sagas


6. The Meatmen- Savage Sagas (Self Destructo Records)

Simply because they’re The Meatmen and you SUCK! Since 1982, Tesco Vee and the Meatmen have put out fun punk records, and after 18 years since their last record of new material, they have released the future classic Savage Sagas. I remember owning the Blood Sausage ep in 82, that record jangled my giblets. 32 years later I saw them at the 2014 GWAR-B-Q, and they burned down the damn stage. That old croaker Tesco Vee, the original Dutch Hercules, still has it and he’s always more than willing to infect you with it. Still a great band, and this is a kick ass punk/metal album that any fan of the Meatmen will love.



The United hates

7. David Rat-The United Hates (Digital Only) (dromedary Records)

Rat at Rat R , along with the SWANS and Sonic Youth, were at the center of the early 80s No Wave scene in NYC’s Lower East Side.  David Rat, who is now a teacher living in Brazil, has released a solo project that absolutely took me by surprise. My only complaint is that it was a digital download only release. But, the proceeds from The United Hates all go to PAWS, an animal rescue charity. SO hopefully, this will be re-released on vinyl or at least CD in the future. I hope so, because this album is amazing on many levels.

Read my review from November 10th HERE




CTH Green



 8.Close The Hatch~ To Collapse in Absentia: Green (EP)

Hailing from Ohio, this Prog/Doom/Metal outfit offers up some savage heaviness elevated by the use of keyboards, giving their sound an added dimension. Watch Close the Hatch, their next release should be interesting.

Read my review from August 19th HERE



real tears

 9. The Real Tears- Self-Titled (EP)

There were a lot of great records released right here in Norfolk, Va. this year, but The Real Tears are my favorite I believe. With a thick sound, and some snarling vocals from a grizzled misanthrope, The Real Tears are Punk as fuck.

You can read my review of The Real Tears HERE


10. SICMaN of Virginia- Mourning Sicness (SICMaN of Virginia)

Known for their Heavy Mellow sound, sicMan of Virginia can best be described as Black Flag meets The Grateful Dead. Seasoned chops and live shows that are never the same as the last make this one of my favorite live bands in Norfolk, Va.

Read my review from May 23rd HERE.


Again, thanks for the support, and have a Happy New Year. I plan on adding more reviews in the coming year, so stay tuned.

Go to The Thugbrarian Review Top Ten Books of 2014 list HERE




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December 28, 2014 · 3:26 pm

Thugbrarian Set-List: Close The Hatch- To Collapse in Absentia: Green EP

CTH Green


Close The Hatch~ To Collapse in Absentia: Green (EP)

Red Moth Records (Release date: Aug 26, 2014)


1- Purple on Green

2- Wax & Purpose

3- Grit & Fire

4- False Hopes & Gunfire

5- And To All Things

I really don’t know where to begin explaining  what the new Collapse In Absentia: GREEN ep sounds like. Powerful? Dark? Immense? Heavy? Beautiful? Brooding? Yes to all the above and more. Close The Hatch, on Red Moth Records is another one of those Ohio bands that you want to label a Metal band, but by doing so you are doing them a disservice. Not because they shouldn’t be considered Metal, but because they are so much more than a Metal band. Much more.

The musicians in this project are: Shaun Hall (Drums), Josh McGrath (keys/Piano), Adam Rohr (Bass), Shaun O’Shaughnessy (Guitar) and Stephen Barton (Vocals/Guitar).  Drums on the songs Purple on Green and Grit & Fire are handled by Aaron Fisher, who also added additional vocals to the track Wax & Purpose, while Dennis Sanders added some vocals on And To All Things. Combined, they comprise a formidable group of accomplished musicians who are not afraid to experiment with ambiance, tone, and scale- they produce an alarming mix of ambient quiet that explodes into heavy, brooding despair, and then flip the switch with an orchestral movement of controlled chaos.

Stephen Barton’s vocals travel through a wide range of styles- at some points his voice sounds like a shotgun, setting the stage for an angry diatribe, which transforms into a scornful croon that kind of reminded me of Maynard James Keenan, of Tool/A Perfect Circle and even Rennie Resmini of Philadelphia’s seminal MetalCore outfit Starkweather.

Green is the 2nd in a two-part release titled To Collapse in Absentia, the first being Red. There is also a B-Sides release from this recording project that is free to download here. The first song Purple on Green begins the ep with a bass-heavy thud that incorporates ambient-like breaks of piano/keys and some cool harmonic wizardry. Songs 2-4, Wax & Purpose, Grit & Fire and False Hopes & Gunfire in my opinion are a continuous song, somewhat like an orchestral piece or a Rock opera. The interweaving of heavy and quiet, pounding and subtle is constructed beautifully, with Drums and Bass keeping the movement rolling forward, while Barton , O’Shaughnessy and McGrath alternate between a meandering ambient drone, and intensely powerful rhythms.

Throughout it all is a dark and ominous vibe that is hard to turn away from. Josh McGrath’s piano and keyboard parts are what add a unique sound to Green, it is also the facet of Close the Hatch that gives the band an almost Prog-rock feel. You can hear the song Purple on Green for yourself right HERE. As far as production goes, it was Recorded, Mixed and Mastered @ Popside Studio by Micah Carli, who did an excellent job of making certain that even the quietest note is heard clearly. The cool cover art was designed by Jean Saiz from Primitive Violence Records & Visual Arts.

Close the Hatch have been performing live recently during a series of mini-tours, the last of which will end in Norfolk, Va at the Belmont House of Smoke on Saturday, August 23 with MANisDOOMED! from Philadelphia, and Norfolk’s Metal powerhouse Complex Origins– if you are in the area, do go to the Belmont and check them out live. You will be able to buy the GREEN ep, as well as past releases. File under Experimental/progressive/Metal.

Here is a video of Close The Hatch playing live:



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August 19, 2014 · 3:01 pm

Thugbrarian Set-List: Mess of Owls-Self-Titled EP (Red Moth Records)

Mess of owls

Mess of Owls

Mess of Owls-Mess of Owls EP (2014, Red Moth Records)

Sometimes, all a band needs to get their point across is a short 15 minute ep, maybe 3 or 4 songs and when it’s done, the listener is either ambivalent, or is clamoring for more. I am inclined to gamble that Mess of Owls would have a majority of listeners fall into the latter. This self-titled 4 song ep packs a 3 pronged wallop: #1-sludgy blues inflected riffs, #2-good, understandable vocals, with well written lyrics, and #3-the ability to change things up on a dime.  Mess of Owls consists of Stephen Barton on Guitar and vocals ( Also Redmoth Records Bossman),  Shaun O’Shaughnessy  on guitar, Aaron Fisher on Drums and Vincent Elliot on bass – When combined, these four rock major balls.

From the first song, Things These Days, I was bludgeoned by low register sludge that brought to mind Electric Wizard– a short and sweet palate cleanser that prepared me for the balls out  rip-ride of Y’all Know. This song showcases the excellent vocals, alternating between a conspiratorial diatribe, and an angst-ridden rage that warns of the inevitable outcome: “This ship is sinking-you better find yourself a friend-get drunk right off your ass-’cause soon it’s all gonna end.” 

My favorite track is #3, The Cat’s Pajamas, a glooey romp that kind of reminds me of a cross between a beefier version of Marc Bolan’s T-Rex and Queens of The Stone Age. At this point, I am totally hooked when the last number, Taking Chances slides in with a nervous, free-jazz intro that expands into a deft interplay between bass and guitar, changing things up a bit while displaying some higher-level arrangements.  The bass and drums pound out a thick background for the snaking guitar lines, while the vocals mournfully confess ” You know you got me hanging on. to every word. I promise not to break your heart. unless you change your mind.” The vocals are really good from first to last, showing some range and dimension, which is refreshing.

Mess of Owls can certainly be compared to a band like Queens of the Stone Age, on the surface anyways. They don’t try to be clever or fancy, but the small well placed flourishes that they do employ elevate their sound, giving it extra depth. I look forward to listening to a full-length release at some point, because I really like this band. A Lot.  I was instantly reminded of old Amphetamine Reptile bands such as Surgery or God Bullies at some points. Mess of Owls is part of a group of Ohio bands that found a home on Red Moth Records, a label that seems to have a nose for Ohio’s best bands, forming a family of sorts with bands like Close the Hatch and Imbroglio among others. Pay attention to Red Moth Records, and the Ohio music scene in general, because there seems to be something big happening there.

I have posted the link to their Band camp page below-it is name your price,which means you can get it free, or you can pay what you feel it’s worth. Hopefully you will be honest with yourself and throw down a dollar or two to download this digital only release. It would be great if a cd or some vinyl will be available in the near future.



July 3, 2014 · 8:17 pm

Set-List: Lightfields~Junior



Lightfields-Junior (2014)  DelGato Records

I just got turned on to this band recently, although they have been making noise up in Richmond, Va. since around 2009. Their new album Junior has just been released, and the download from Bandcamp was FREE! And it Kills!  With songs like Mockingbird, Atomic  and Muscle Memory, I am immediately thinking of a cross between Sonic Youth and Polvo, but with much better vocals. The band has 3 frickin’ guitars, producing a wall of noise that contains two of my favorite flavors: Reverb and Distortion. Lightfields throw out some Surfish-Noir at one point, bring it down to a whisper, and then deliver an onslaught of noisy guitars that will send shocks through your liver.

The band is Coldon Martin – Guitar and Vocals, Austin “Tex” Marks – The Bass Guitar, C.J. Rosati – Guitar, Daniel Carlisle – Guitar and Cre Moore  on Drums. My favorite song on the album is titled Backseat, with guest vocals by Tiffany Meehan and concert bass by Matt Gold, the vocals and arrangement are perfect, as is the production throughout the 10 song album. Being recorded, produced and mixed by Daniel “The Unicorn” Deckelman of Snake Oil recording in Richmond, Va. may have something to do with that. Rather than me telling you how great this band is, I think you should go to their Bandcamp page and download the album, you can get it free, but you will feel like a shithead after you listen to it, because you will realize that it was worth throwing down some cash for this beauty. Recommended for fans of Sonic Youth, Spoon, Polvo, and noisy, psychedelic stun-level Post-Punk.

More reviews coming up soon: Mess of Owls and Zongo-Junction

Download Lightfields- Junior here:



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June 20, 2014 · 9:16 pm

Set-List: Godflesh, DEAD AIM

Oh! Yes. This was a good week for listening to great new releases. First up is a new release from GODFLESH titled Decline & Fall, their first release since 2001! I can safely say that the band hasn’t missed a step, and is as heavy as always. I also review Norfolk, Va’s Dead Aim,  a band from the early days of Norfolk’s Hardcore scene of 1980-1985, Dead Aim. These guys may be geezers, but they will mess you up just the same.  Make sure to support these bands if you like them, that is how they survive. Share the blog with your friends and family, and as always, send band and label materials for review to the address at the bottom of the page.


GODFLESH-Decline & Fall (EP)

Avalanche Recordings (June 2014)

1. Ringer (6:23)

2. Dogbite (3:52)

3. Playing with Fire (6:01)

4. Decline and Fall (4:17)

I was lucky enough to view a Facebook post the other day linking me to the GODFLESH bandcamp page. The good news I found was that Godflesh has put out their first release since 2001’s Hymns, the EP Decline &Fall, consisting of 4 new songs (the digital download of the album comes with 2 extra dub remixes, and is available free with the purchase of the CD or record.).

If you are familiar with the band, I will just say that these four songs are a nod to the band’s early roots, with sludgy, minimalist dirges, pounding out a rhythmic groove of impossibly heavy bass (BC Green) and Drums, combined with Justin K. Broadrick‘s slow burn guitars, and trademark vocals emitting disinterested rage. This release  hints at Broderick’s earlier band, Head of David, as well as albums like Streetcleaner (1989).

For those of you who have never heard GODFLESH, I will say this: If God ordered me to run into the street and start punching random people in the face, I would imagine Decline & Fall would be playing on my ipod. This release is out on CD, Vinyl and Digital Download, with the Vinyl being released June 9th. This is classic GODFLESH, and should be consumed immediately.



Dead Aim

Dead Aim-Hellfire Stoked


Dead Aim- Hellfire Stoked

Self-produced (2014)

1. Better Off Dead (3:22)

2. Pain ( 1:57)

3. Sick in the Head (2:03)

4. Insane (2:56)

5. By the grace of the Furies, I curse You (3:13)

6. Black death (1:48)

7. End of days (5:51)

8. Push Away (6:34)

9. I’ve Completely Lost My Mind (2:38)

10. be My Friend (1:48)

11. Good Enough to eat (1:47)

Wow! I remember sharing the same stage with Dead Aim at Formerly Dominics in Norfolk, Va. in 1982. They were one of the first local bands to mix hardcore with metal, and they were hard as Hell for that time. This is their 4th album- their 1st being the 1985 release HomeBoy, and if you listen to both in one sitting, you will hear how much better they have become.

From the first song  Better Off Dead to the last, Good Enough to Eat, what you have is a balls-out straight ahead hardcore album of the highest quality. Really, these are not sloppy, slap-dash hardcore songs, but expertly crafted songs, painstakingly produced  to the last detail. The song  By the Grace of the Furies, I Curse You begins with an ethereal guitar intro that bursts open into a head-on collision of guitar fury and drum abandon, and if you listen closer, you will hear progressive rock played at triple speed. These guys know how to play their instruments, that much is certain, because while they are sticking to a Hardcore recipe, their love of prog, country, metal and blues truly shines through, delivering a polished record of in your face blasts of good old American Hardcore Punk.

The lyrics are angry, and confrontational, and most are conveying the fact that Dead Aim has been around the block and will not easily be fooled. The 8th song, Push Away starts out all bluesy, with the soulful vocals of Mark D. Bishop questioning “who do you think you are to be so cruel? And how long did you think I would be your fool?” ‘Nuff said. The song progresses from a 70s blues-infused rock riff into a full blown attack, reminding me of early Necros, which is really a good thing. The lead guitar playing of  Bishop is above average, and displays a level of technical prowess not witnessed in many hardcore bands then or now. The vocals are forceful, anguished at times, rising to the demands of the fast pace of the music.. The rhythm section of  Lenny Hines (drums) and Darrel Brooks (bass) kills it; pushing everything forward in an onrush of energy, never missing the mark. Simply put, Hellfire Stoked by Dead Aim contains 11 songs of top shelf hardcore punk that just isn’t being made anymore, which is a crying shame. You can download the album on the the Dead Aim bandcamp page linked below.


Stream the album on bandcamp:



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June 3, 2014 · 6:33 pm