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Jun
18

Kanye West-Black Skinhead review by John M. Ellison IV

Hey folks! Want hear the result of a Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails bender written by an egomaniac? Me too!
At first listen to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” I kept waiting to hear Dave Gahan go “REACH OUT AND TOUCH FAITH!” At first listen, “Black Skinhead” felt like a sideways remake of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” With I guess for lack of better word “Industrial-tinges?” The first thing I cringed about was the song’s title. I’m like “Black Skinhead? If anything it should’ve been called “Black Rivet Head.” Trust me, anybody that knows their proverbial shit about rap or industrial should know that this isn’t anything new at all. Off of the top of my head, I can think of previous industrial/hip-hop incarnations that include Marilyn Manson’s The Way I Am (Danny Lohner mix), Puff Daddy’s Victory (Nine Inch Nails mix) Saul Williams “The Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust”, Tackhead, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and pretty much everything the Bomb Squad produced for Public Enemy.

Depeche Mode-Personal Jesus

Actually, the more I listen to “Personal Jesus” and “Black Skinhead” back to back…it became more apparent that it’s pretty much a lift concept-wise. The difference between the two is that Kanye includes references to interracial relationships and the movie based off the graphic novel “300″ to allude to sexual prowess. For that, the song goes into a self-centered direction in comparison to the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” which was more or less about being somebody’s personal savior. This incarnation of Kanye is kind of like a smoothed out/materialstic version of Saul Williams…even though some would call Saul materialistic for licensing out his song “List of Demands” to Nike. I’m not really surprised that Kanye West would go in a heavier direction. This is the same dude that sample Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster Stronger…which Daft Punk actually sampled “Cola Bottle Baby” by Edwin Birdsong.

In conclusion, it took a second to grow on me but I’m feeling Kanye West’s “Black Rivet–Uh Skinhead.”

Oh yeah, for anybody calling what Kanye West does “white boy music” Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is half black…so yeah.



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Mar
25

Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne…”Shit and Vomit” Have Never Tasted Better! by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

About a year ago, I said something to the effect of “Wow, Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne talk about mixing shit and vomit.” Y’know, in comparison to most of the stuff out that’s considered “rock” nowadays…I’d prefer the “shit and vomit” cocktail than some pretentious jerk that looks like Fred Armison but without the comedic timing. “Ready to Go” is the collabo between Lil Wayne and Limp Bizkit that had some people on edge of the potential suckage…or apathetic towards the collabo altogether. It’s a throwback to *gasp* down tuned, agro Nu-Metal that everybody loved to hate to feel smarter than they actually were. But, nu-metal was a fairly easy target to accost. Hating Nu-Metal was like the audio equivalent of hanging around your heavier friends so you feel slimmer. At first listen, what caught my attention of the track wasn’t the riff itself but the combination of the heavy riffage and drumming from Wes Borland and John Otto respectively. Wes Borland’s guitar work takes me back to being 16 again with my Ibanez Gio GRX-40 and Sam Rivers holds the groove down well with a tastefully distorted bassline. This also features decent production work from rap/r&b producer Polow da Don. I’m familiar with Polo’s work with Usher, Rich Boy, Ludacris, Jamie Foxx and others. With a list like this, I didn’t know he had it in him and I’m pleasantly surprised.

Fred Durst well sounds like “Fred Durst.” To be honest, Fred Durst didn’t exactly get “murked” by Lil Wayne’s verse but I’d say he got slapped in the back of the head in comparison to previous rap collabos. Bottom line is that Durst held his own.

Lil Wayne’s verse wasn’t bad either. It almost makes you forget about that Emmitt Till reference he made. Actually, this makes up for Rebirth.
In closing, this makes me want to break out my old ECW tapes…not DVDs actual VHS tapes, cuss like a sailor and become a teenager again.



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Jun
12

McNastee-Runaway Train of Thought review by John M Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

Hey folks, I know I’ve been kind of dodgy on posting on my site. I’ve been busy with my band Jenny Hates Techno and other projects. Anyway, I just got rapper McNastee’s new album “Runaway Train of Thought.” You probably remember McNastee working with Never So Deep records off of Donnie Darko “Loser Pt. 6.” Actually I remember when he was featured on Faygoluvers.net. Well, McNastee has a new release off of Never So Deep Records. With production from DJ Bless, you have six songs that focus on post-hardcore samples and hard rock sample. On “Runaway Train of Mind” McNastee lyrically focuses on more introspective themes to more universal themes such as isolation and loneliness.

Highlights include

Not Your Fault

This track kicks off the album with a post-hardcore sample laced track that supports McNastee’s lyrical lament about his climb back up from the bottom.

Xanax Dreams
Y’know, any song that kicks off with a Danzig reference automatically captures my attention.

Band of Brothers
This is a song about loyalty, betrayal and gaining trust.

In closing, if you’re into underground rap, post-hardcore then you would probably enjoy “Runaway Train of Thought.”



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Mar
19

Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne Walk into a Studio…No, I’m Serious by John M. Ellison IV

On Februrary 24th 2012, DeWayne Carter better known Lil Wayne signed rap rock group Limp Bizkit to Cash Money Records. A “collabo” track between Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne titled “Ready to Go” is set to be released next week. Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was great…but so was America Online. I don’t hate Limp Bizkit, in fact I’m still fond of their albums “Chocolate Starfish and Hot Dog Flavored Water”, “Three Dollar Bill, Y’all” and “Significant Other” was cool too. In fact, I respect how Fred Durst supported file sharing program Napster when the music industry was against file sharing.

This all started earlier on 3/1/2012 where I tweeted out “Limp Bizkit with Lil Wayne…talk about mixing “shit” and “vomit.” The response was varied, from “Say what you mean” to people agreeing with me. To clarify, I also stated “Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was cool…until you discovered Bio-Hazard, Orange 9mm etc.”

Honestly, my inner 16 year old is hoping that this will be something great. But I can think of five good reasons why it shouldn’t be done.

Those reasons being…

“Red Light Green Light” feat. Snoop Dogg


Turn Me Loose feat. Eminem

Rollin (Urban Assault Vehicle remix) feat. Method Man, Redman, DMX and Swizz Beatz on production.

Getcha Groove On Feat. Xzibit

N 2 Gether Now feat. Method Man

Lil Wayne…where do I start with the only dude off of Cash Money that actually made something of himself? Okay, it’s a known fact that Wayne’sa Nirvana fan…well he likes that song Smells Like Teen Spirit…well he liked the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That’s all well and good but Jason Aldean admitted to liking some Snoop Dogg growing up, that doesn’t exactly make him a hip-hopper.

With proclaiming his fondness for Nirvana for the sake of rocker credibility, notice that Lil Wayne has rapped over rock tinged or rock tracks in the past.

Knockout feat. Nicki Minaj.

Prom Queen

Best Rapper Alive

I’m Not a Human Being

In closing, maybe both acts can have enough chemistry to create something that I and others would find noteworthy…but it’s up for you to decide.

photo courtesy of Prefix magazine


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Feb
29

Sutter Kain, Naymez and Donnie Darko-Traitors feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments


The Never So Deep crew of Sutter Kain, Donnie Darko and now New Jersey rapper Naymez comes to the listener full throttle with the song “Traitors.” Well, the song title is self-explanatory. It’s pretty much a warning track with the theme of calling out chicanery.

In this case, it’s more of a traditional hip-hop sound production wise.

New Jersey rapper Naymez opens the track with an impressive verse although there’s some word play, it’s very to the point.

Darko’s verse doesn’t disappoint lyrically. Interesting enough, I noticed the use of less metaphors in his verse. For him, it’s a change of pace.

Sutter Kain takes it home with an infuriated, raspy delivery. Kain’s usually passionate, but this is a side I haven’t heard from him in a minute.

Overall, I feel that it’s a solid effort from Sutter Kain, Naymez and Donnie Darko. If you enjoy Sutter Kain’s more hip-hop based production rather than his hardcore/metal productions. I recommend this for you.


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Dec
28

Darko-The Darko Effect video

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

review coming soon.



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Dec
21

Sutter Kain & Darko-UFO Transmissions video review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

On December 11th, 2011 BlankTV uploaded Sutter Kain and Darko’s video for “UFO Transmissions.”
Aside from music, one of Sutter Kain’s other avenues of interest include film. So, it’s not surprising that Kain directs his own videos. In this case, the video consists of black and white shots of a long winding road with Darko rapping and Sutter Kain on the chorus, the red splashes gives the video a more sinister feel.

Production wise, it‘s a fusion of emotionally charged rapping—well more like “emotional recitation” and Donnie Darko over chugging, down tuned guitars. In this case DJ Bless’s aggressive chanting compliments Darko’s venting. After repeated listens, I noticed that”U.F.O Transmissions” is kind of reminiscent of another rap song with an intergalactic theme…Kanye West’s waltz timed “Spaceship.” I mean, aside from concept of space travel, the similar theme of both songs is hoping for a better present than the one that they’re experiencing at the time being. In closing, I feel that DJ Bless use of djent (…metalcore maybe) band “I The Breather” compliments the delivery of Darko’s delivery.

In closing, for a no frills video that compliments the song and sets a mood, Check out “UFO Transmissions”



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Dec
8

The Memorials-We Go to War video feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

Hey folks I know I haven’t updated much as of late. I’m not going to divulge in details at the moment but I’ll explain more over time. Anyway, my bandmate Danielle got me into this band called “The Memorials.” I was familiar with them before but didn’t sit down and really listen though until the first initial band practice and she had some songs by them on her phone. What I heard was amazing and even said “I don’t consider them rock though…they’re too damn good to be considered rock!” I want to do a full fledged article on them when I get the chance and when things settle down on my end. Until then, check out “We Go to War” featuring a cameo by Kreyshawn.



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Nov
21

Sketch Malkus-The Jester

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

On November 19th, 2011, I released “The Jester” album that I’ve been promoting for half a year.  Honestly, this album was made after a long writer’s block and a few things that I was going through.  Around that same time, I drowned my sorrows in bands and artists such as Kyuss, Biohazard, Prong, Helmet, Fugazi, early Nirvana, Big Black, Bad Brains, Electric Wizard, The Meters, Flipper, Alice in Chains and Hank III.  I recorded the album on a Tascam 4-track for that lo-fi feel.

In this case, I feel like I grew from the “Urbandustrial” sound of the “Treacherous Cretins” album and wanted to delve into more melodic ideas but still have the songs be heavy.

The underlying theme of the album is some days you might feel like a joke…other days you get the last laugh.


ComScore

Check out my music page

Sketch Malkus on Reverbnation
Sketch Malkus on Bandcamp
The Jester on Amazon

The Jester on Hulkshare
Check out my previous release Treacherous Cretins on Hulkshare



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Nov
18

Legacy to a Legacy: Hank III concert review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, My Secret Public Journal  //  2 Comments

Where do I start with what happened on the night of 11/16/2011 and how it was a month in the making? Okay, I’ve been on this country music kick for almost a year…well actually since I started playing guitar in ‘99. Even when I was 8 year old, I would try to imitate Randy Travis’s vocal. I’ve always had a respect for Hank III and Hank Sr. In fact, my granddad enjoyed Hank Sr. and Willie Nelson in his younger years. So you can say I’m carrying on a “Family Tradition.” …Don’t worry folks; the puns get worse throughout the story. A fellow writer by the name “Brad Meathook” I knew from the social network Twitter brought to my attention that Hank III is going to be playing Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, MD and asked if I was going. I realized that if I used my networking skills I can make a deal to review Hank III’s albums and get some tickets to the show. Wasn’t an easy feat but it was worth it. So, out of the albums they sent I reviewed “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown.”
Okay folks, rumors can help make or break an artist’s career. To put this in a diplomatic way, some imagery such as a rebel flag that Hank III uses to represent his southern heritage can attract an element of fans that can misconstrue such iconography for supporting bigotry.  One thing that made me kind of leery was the fact that you couldn’t find that many interviews with Hank III that gave you a better clue on who he was. Persona wise, a cloud of mystery can be good and bad for an artist’s image but depending what it is, it could also fuel negative rumors. Okay, that being said, I was kind of nervous to go…especially the missus. The missus is from the southwest and spent 10 years south of Dallas, Texas in a small town where they still have dial-up and not a lot of black people. She had to deal with a LOT of people that how I can put this eloquently…made the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” a success. Well, me too…I like Ron White and consider him an influence on my writing. The day of the show the missus was nervous and uttering phrases “We’re going to be the only black people there!”, “I’ve dealt with these kinds of people!”, and “We’re going to be out in the middle of nowhere!” I replied. “Uh, babe…it’s going to be in Baltimore city proper. Now if it was in Westminster or Fredrick, MD…I’d understand but it’s in Baltimore at a mainstream venue and not some shack in the woods.” She was still nervous…but somewhat relieved though.

After riding up to Baltimore, we headed over to will call to pick up the tickets. Fans are starting to come in, and I think see somebody I recognize…As I’m about to say hello, the missus yelps out “John! Don’t leave me!” Understanding what she went through, I said “babe, you’re going to be fine. I’m here.” So, we get our tickets, and get in line. The guy taking the tickets was surprised by my appearance…mainly because I cut my mohawk and wear glasses now. So, we get inside…the audience was a mix of metal heads, country fans, punks, greasers and NO HIPSTERS! I saw some dude in overalls that had on a Misfits band tee and a ton of guys that looked like they could be related to Hillbilly Jim from WWF (old school)…and some dude that looked like Danny “Boone” Alexander from country-rap band Rehab. Realizing it’s a standing room, we found a place to sit near the bar. I asked the security guy that I’ll refer to as “Bull” if the booth was for bar patrons or anybody? Surprisingly friendly, he said “it’s for anybody.” I rarely if ever drink so we just got a chicken and fry basket with a root beer.

While sitting at the bar, I saw the guy earlier that who I thought was Brad Meathook…I wasn’t sure if it was him earlier so I asked and he replied “Sketch of Maryland right?” I noticed that his voice kind of sounds like wrestler Chris Jericho. In the last story about Fishbone, I mentioned a guy by the name of Kaibutsu, since he’s out in Baltimore I realized he might want to check this out too…here’s the problem. The cell reception in Ram’s Head Live is spotty at best and my phone has a short or something in it, so when I called him my phone crapped out mid sentence. I’ll try to meet up with him at Katsucon. Later, the opening act came out so the missus and I walked closer and stood there watching the band. I didn’t know who they were but they reminded me of Black Sabbath…well their first four albums at least, Kyuss and Sleep. I saw the lead singer’s shirt and it said “Spirit Caravan.” It then dawned on me that the band was “Earthride.” This is actually interesting in the fact that back in 2010; Hank III didn’t use any opening bands. But in this case, it made sense that Earthride would be opening for Hank III since Dave Sherman did vocals on the title track to “Ghost to a Ghost” and Earthride is based in Maryland. So, after an hour of doom and stoner metal, there was a brief intermission. We got closer and found a wall to lean on and watch the show from.

Then Hank III comes out with a four piece backing band that featured most of the personnel from the Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown album. For the record, I noticed in some YouTube videos that when he performs the traditional country set that he uses acoustic instruments that are amplified with some effects like phaser. So, the overdriven guitar of “Ghost to a Ghost” is missing. Hank III took the stage with a kind of “happy to be here” demeanor and with a voice that sounds surprisingly similar to his grandfather Hank Sr. but of course the material is quite different. The precision and intensity of the band was amazing.

The crowd was lively to say the least; in fact half of the fun of the show was there was this one dude that looked like Billy Gibbons with a septum piercing and a Harley Davidson vest, one dude had a pentagram and the band “Gorgoroth” logo scribbled on his denim vest and a mullet. Another guy that was near us was a really nice Asian guy in a wheel chair who asked if he was in our way to be accommodating. Interesting enough, there was another black guy there that I’ll refer to as “Greg” was really into the show and when Hank slipped into a few zydeco numbers, “Greg” really got into it. Not surprisingly, a lot of people were drinking. It might be a misnomer that I mention that they were drinking but it comes into play later. As cliché as this might sound, this show was like a heavy metal hoedown that focused on the albums “Rebel Within”, “Damn Right, Rebel Proud”, “Straight to Hell”, the controversial “Hillbilly Joker” album and of course the “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown” albums. “Ghost to a Ghost” was a duet with Dave Sherman that had fans either drunkenly doing the tango…or seriously attempting to tango to the shifting blast beats. Then when he went into “Day by Day” a dude in a rebel flag shirt started doing an ironic hillbilly jig that was quite amusing to witness. Also some dude on crutches waved one of his crutches during “Outlaw Convention.” The atmosphere at the show was quite the contrary to what some would’ve expected.

There were some tense moments where the show stopped. Hank III said to the guy “bad move…” or “wrong night…” something to the effect. Next thing I know security has this guy restrained… he was literally being carried off by security but his struggles for freedom had him moving in my direction. Well, I learned this golden rule from years of watching wrestling,”if you ever see a flying chair coming at you…duck.” So, I first moved the missus out of harm’s way because he was getting too close for comfort for us. After the dude got booted, I asked Bull “Did you see the guy that got thrown out?” He replied “Which one?” We both chuckled at that. “Well, I mean what did he do?” He legit didn’t know.
So, after the matter was settled the band went back into “Six Pack of Beer.” The whole night wasn’t all bad; in fact there was also an opportunity to slow dance, so the missus and I watched the drunken couples sway to “Not Everybody Likes Us.” Yeah, we were one of them…the difference being was sobriety was an ally in our case. Around 10:40 pm, he started his Hellbilly set. The Hellbilly set which focused more on “Hillbilly Joker” album was enjoyable…even though I was kind of disappointed that he didn’t do “I’m Drunk Again” but he’s been doing that song for years so I don’t blame him for “sobering up for the night.” Then, around 11:00 he switched it up so his other backing band “Attention Deficit Domination” took the stage and this was more focused on the albums “3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’” and “Attention Deficit Domination.” Out of the albums I got, I didn’t focus on “Attention Deficit Domination.” I listened but didn’t go through the usual analyzing process. So, the albums were fresh to me still. The set included theatrics such as this weird green lighting, a projector screen that included a montage of B-Movies, war footage and this vocal effect that was similar to Ozzy’s use of a Leslie speaker on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album. Half of the Country/Hellbilly fans left by this time for a smoke break and some just left. I ran back into Brad and he noticed the crowd left and we pretty much agreed “Attention Deficit Domination” sounded like Black Sabbath produced by Yanni or Brian Eno stubbing his toe and venting his frustrations musically.

By this time the alcohol everyone consumed kicked in and almost everybody was stumbling drunk and some patrons were ejected due to their behavior. Remember, the missus and I am leaning against a wall and kind of out of dodge. A guy walked up to me and started talking, he noticed that I was taking notes and wondered what I was doing. To say he was inebriated would be an understatement, to keep his anonymity I’ll refer to him as “Shawn.” Shawn was a traditional country fan who stayed around because his friend was still there and he was in no shape whatsoever to drive. In this case, he actually lost his CDL license due to a DUI. He felt awful because he realized that a stupid mistake cost him his career and tarnished his spotless criminal record. I told him “Was anybody hurt in this?” He said “No” and I said “That’s why you got that DUI. The universe was keeping you from harming you or anybody else.” Remember, Attention Deficit Domination was LOUD and at points the band would change dynamics so they would be even louder, so I heard half of what Shawn said. Honestly, it was reminiscent of the cone of silence bit from Get Smart. The “Cattle Call” and “Attention Deficit Domination” set were more like a test of endurance than performance. Most couldn’t handle the brutality of it so they bolted…or were ejected because they were drunk and were causing somewhat of a stir. In fact, I started making a tally of drunks that got tossed out.

The show finally ended, after enduring an additional set of blast beats, down tuned riffs…and samples of auctioneers, fans definitely got their money’s worth at this show.

I got a photo with Hank III, autograph and gave him my card so hopefully I can get an interview with him for the site. The night was over. The missus and I headed back home.

Also if you’re wondering, yes, somebody did yell “Freebird” at the show.

Check out Hank III’s official website

Hank 3’s official website



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