STREAMING: No Sir’s “The Future Is Bright”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

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Hey, a hardcore band with an ironic album title. A quick click on the “play” button below will tell you exactly what No Sir think about you manage the’s future prospects. And if that’s too subtle for you, they list Albert Camus and David Lynch among their lyrical influences. Sonically, these West Coast punks sound like West Coast punk, with all the requisite noise rock and shoegaze-y toxic coating we’ve come to expect. Plus some grunge! They namecheck Nirvana, and that’s pretty evident when you listen to tunes like “Anxiety Consumption.” So before anxiety consumes you, check out our exclusive stream of The Future Is Bright below.

***You don’t have to wait long for the future; The Future Is Bright comes out today courtesy of  Twelve Gauge; you can purchase it on vinyl in three different colors (supplies are limited, so act now) or via digital download here

Weapon’s Paradigm Shift: The Final Interview

By: dB_admin Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews On: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

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by Kim Kelly

Earlier this year, it seemed as though Canadian black/death Satanists Weapon were still at the top of their game. 2012 saw the release of Embers and Revelations, their most ambitious album to date and their debut for heavyweight label Relapse. They’d hit the road for a successful North American tour with Marduk and 1349, and endured the dissolution of a proposed Nachtmystium/Jarboe run. Previously, they had made a triumphant appearance at the underground wet-dream-turned-shitshow that was San Antonio’s Rites of Darkness II in 2011 to mark their first gig outside of Canada. Logic dictated smooth sailing ahead.
More recently, Vetis Monarch revealed plans for Naga: Daemonum Praeteritum, a 10-year anniversary release that collected Weapon’s three pre-album demos & EPs, and chronicled the band’s first blighted years and move from Bangladesh to Canada. Its May 31 release on Daemon Worship Productions would ultimately serve as the band’s final will and testament, though, as Monarch began dropping hints that this would be the last we’d hear from them. Things were changing. The Weapon frontman cut his hair, began selling off his metal T-shirts, and became even more withering in his usual vitriolic condemnations of “metal warrior” culture.
Nearly a month later, it was official: Weapon had returned to the ashes and dust from whence they came. Bummer.
Once the air had cleared and he began to tire of being badgered with questions about the breakup, we spoke to Vetis Monarch to get his final words on the matter. As per usual, he hasn’t got anything very nice to say.

Some time has passed since you made your final announcement on Weapon’s non-future. How has your life changed since band practice and lyrics stopped dominating your attention?
It’s up to every individual to define his/her own idea of success. To me, Weapon was a successful band. We released a body of work which I am fiercely proud of, and we functioned as a working band without ever apologizing to anyone for what we did and how we did it. Black/death metal was never meant for “nice boys,” and during Weapon’s existence we adhered to that mentality and lifestyle 110 percent.
My life has changed for the better, in that I am no longer starving and struggling to pay my bills, ha ha. Living off of this music is near-impossible nowadays, unless of course you’re playing Swedish girly-ballad rock or whatever is hot right now. The fire in me has not disappeared; it has just shifted direction. I am finally putting my college education to use, and I have immersed myself in the corporate world; a paradigm shift, indeed. Instead of flying Vs and occult literature, now I dwell in KPIs and profit margins. It’s new and exciting.

How have your friends and fans reacted? What about the label?
My friends who really know me have been very supportive, albeit very surprised. This band was all I talked about and committed myself to for the last 10 years, so it’s an adjustment for them as well. The fans were surprised and confused, I think. There was an outpouring of support and best wishes on our social media, which was cool to see.
I’m not sure what Relapse Records thinks about all this, since I haven’t talked to them in quite some time. I can’t imagine they were pleased, but it is what it is. From my side at least there is absolutely no animosity towards them. Relapse Records was a really good label to be on and work with.

The band’s demise didn’t come as much of a shock to anyone that knew you. The signs of an oncoming change were everywhere, and when you broke the news, it served as an emphasis, not a revelation. So, once and for all, why did you decide to end Weapon?
For two reasons: First of all, because I felt myself stagnating. I could sit down today and write a new album, but it would just be a black/death metal record by the numbers. As long as I have been involved in metal, I have vehemently chastised bands that lost the edge but kept shitting out albums because it’s pretty fucking easy to make formulaic records. If I’m going to starve and be broke, I’ll at least do it while I can be proud of the music I make. So, continuing to release sub-par music under the banner of Weapon would have been grossly hypocritical, and I’m not comfortable with that. Believe me, it was not an easy decision to make. It took about six months to wrap my head around this.
Second reason (and less importantly) – in my experience, 90 percent of metalheads have been some of the dumbest and most ignorant people I have ever met. I no longer wish to be even remotely associated with that brain-dead, gasmasked goat culture in any way shape or form. Not that Weapon ever pandered to that specific bottom-feeding niche, but they’re around, and I felt myself being dumbed down by even hearing these so called “elitists” have conversations about their patch vests, the latest third rate war metal franchise or the newest oxymoronic “anticosmic” band ripping off Thomas Karlsson’s words and book cover.

What outside factors contributed to the situation? From an outside perspective that saw only the Relapse deal and the tours, it seemed as though Weapon was doing better than ever.
Weapon WAS doing better than ever; we had a lot going for us in terms of our success. Of course, the internet warriors have speculated that there was too much in-fighting and that I allegedly relapsed on drugs. All bullshit, of course.
I just want to do different things with my life. I have outgrown the “metal lifestyle.” In an old Order From Chaos interview, Chuck Keller talks about the three-album rule – “after three albums, bands start to lose it.” Evidently, we aren’t exempt from said rule.

You’ve always been vocal about your opinions regarding the negative aspects of “metal warrior” culture, and have recently distanced yourself from it even further. What about metal has driven you away, and what about it keeps you from breaking ties completely?
I think it’s this misplaced sense of entitlement that they harbor; a lot of talk and very little to no follow-through. Black metal fans especially are some of the blindest and weakest sheep within metal culture. Original thought is almost as rare as a set of balls. People seem more than content to shamelessly ape the work of others, and then they act like they are part of some exclusive club because “insert name here” wrote a riff on their demo-sounding album, or because they play live in a band that was once notorious. It’s all very high school.
The singular thing that keeps me from breaking ties completely is the music itself. I truly love metal music, especially death/black metal. I am listening to Antaeus as I type this, and prior to that I was listening to Chtle’ilist. And that’s what I am interested in at this point as far as metal is concerned: quality music from quality bands.

Now that you’ve had some time to take stock, looking back upon the band, what would you say was your proudest moment? Do you feel more freedom now, or is it tinged with regret?
Performing at a packed House of Blues on Sunset Strip in Hollywood was definitely a special one. Doing our best record with Relapse Records is up there as well. And of course there are several tales of debauchery and not-so-legal activities that are best kept internal, ha ha…
I wish we had started playing live sooner than we did, but there was always lineup issues surrounding that kinda thing. I think we had a good run. I certainly feel more freedom now because the music is personal again! It’s mine and mine alone, and I am only a listener. I can stroll downtown as a sharp-dressed man with Bestial Warlust blasting in my headphones, and not have to worry about some pothead degenerate yelling “SLLAAAAYYEERRRRRR” at me across the street because he thinks he recognizes me or my Demigod shirt. There is absolutely no regret surrounding that.

What kind of impact has Weapon ultimately had upon the way your life has turned out? What has it cost you over the years to keep this band alive?
Well, more than anything else, I have experienced life in a real band. That’s not something anyone can teach you how to do. It’s dirty, tough, uncertain, chaotic and a ton of fun. Weapon has taught me a lot about the music business, and by extension, about business, period. But more importantly, I’ve learned about my own strengths and weakness – doing something for 10 years with ups and downs will do that.

What advice would you give to a young new extreme metal band that has just started playing?
Do it well, or don’t do it at all. There are more than enough hobby bands as it is.

You’ve buried Weapon. What now? I can’t imagine you being happy without some kind of creative outlet, musical or not.
But at the moment I am happy without some kind of creative outlet. I doubt that I will ever commit myself in a serious band again. Weapon is done. I have moved on. There are many books that require my attention.

The last words are yours. Thanks, man.
This is possibly the last time I will talk to the media about Weapon. Nothing else really needs to be said. Our music will do the talking.

John Gält Is A Sleaze Rocker

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

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Here are the two main things you need to know about Kharkiv, Ukraine’s future sleaze rock superstars John Gält:

1. The band’s superb debut full-length Served Hot is a brash, hook-filled throwback to hard rock’s better days, marrying a bit of Motörhead aggro and Priest-y chug-soar-chug to an old school Mötley Crüe swagger n’ sneer. It is pure, unapologetic rock n’ roll rebellion created by dudes clearly living far enough away from the tastemakers to be tainted by cynicism.

2. They post some pretty absurdist/funny shit on the official John Gält YouTube page.

Today it is our honor to present the exclusive United States premiere of two Served Hot tracks…uh, served hot? Friend the band on Facebook here. Go buy the album via Amazon.

(“U Mad Bro” antics begin at appx. 1:15)

After the jump check out “John Galt goes into Indie Folk, or how to ruin a song with tambourine” and some live video…

UK grind-swines Purify The Horror release their “Untitled EP” as a free download

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, free, listen On: Monday, August 12th, 2013

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Three guys in pig masks? While we’d like to think that Purify the Horror were channelling the heist scene from BMX Bandits when they were working on their aesthetic, but it’s probably the whole anonymity thing that they were going for. Apart from the mortal threats issued during said bank job, the “Australian Goonies” doesn’t share too much artistic common ground with this enigmatic grind trio from Birmingham, England.

Purify the Horror’s alumni all purport to be major players in the UK’s underground extreme metal scene—and maybe some strategic Googling would peel back the ham and reveal their true identities. But who really cares who is behind the mask; sometimes it’s best just to let the music do the screaming. Grindcore from Birmingham, England, has got quite the reputation, and Purify the Horror have a bass-heavy groove and grindcore sound (‘rindcore? Or is that stretching the porcine metaphor too thin?) that clearly has its roots planted in the blast axis of vintage Napalm Death and Carcass, but with an overwhelmingly raw-meat approach that is not too dissimilar to Anaal Nathrakh’s less-operatic moments. Don’t just take our word for it, check it out below and be sure to check out the Dissected Records/Sociopathic Sound BandCamp page.

**Pork PTH on Facebook
**Buy their merch here

STREAMING: Ghoul “Intermediate Level Hard-Core”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, August 12th, 2013

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When was the last time you entered a cemetery with less than honorable intentions? Yesterday? Hail! Never? Well, you have some serious work to do. But what do cemeteries, (possibly) illegal activities, and California’s Ghoul have in common? Who the fuck knows?! We do know the Ghoulies latest EP, Intermediate Level Hard-Core, makes us want through a cemetery, skateboard in hand, climb a fence, and rage the curb blocks on the other side. In some states, skateboarding is a crime and in some states cemeteries are private, so…

Anyway, you’re probably tired of our gibberish at this point and you’re aching for us to get down to blood-soaked tacks. OK, Ghoul. Death/thrash/punk/crossover/grind goodness. New EP called Intermediate Level Hard-Core, which features covers of GWAR, Fearless Iranians From Hell, Willful Neglect, NOTA, and Dayglo Abortions. We’re streaming the entire deal below. For free. Wait, ain’t everything on the Internet free? Sure it’s all free. Unless you want a skateboard. Then, you have to order one with real life cash dollars.

OK, cut to the chase. End the cliches. Let’s roll! First person to backside smith that curb block gets a day’s worth of respect.

** There isn’t a pre-order we can find for Ghoul’s Intermediate Level Hard-Core, but you can go to the Tankcrimes website (HEAR HERE!) and find all kind of “ghoulish” goods for shiny coins that were once used to feed arcade machines. Oh, wait, we found a link! Late in the game, admittedly. Pre-order the awesomeness HERE.

BREWTAL TRUTH: (Don’t) Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, August 9th, 2013

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Given the opportunity to write about craft beer every month in Decibel has been eye-opening. The idea that our “Brewtal Truth” column would have lasted more than four years (and counting) and even spawn a book—The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, out in November—is pretty amazing. Now it’s time to bring a little “Brewtal Truth” to the Deciblog. Normally we won’t post anything here that we haven’t happily poured down our own gullet, but we will occasionally make an exception—like this week—just to spotlight a beer worth mentioning for one reason or another.

Since the AC/DC beer recently became available in Canada (but not the US yet), it seemed like we ought to take it for a spin. As we’ve pointed out in a previous Deciblog post, there are a lot of AC/DC-inspired craft beers out there. Clearly, this is a band that goes well with beer. Some prefer the copious-amounts-of-cheap-stuff route, while others like to go more-expensive-and-more-flavor. To each his or her own. It’s probably not hard to guess who this officially branded brew is geared toward. For $2.50 Canadian (in BC), you can get a 500ml (that’s a pint, more or less, in America) can. The question is, would anyone want to drink a lot of this? Or even a little?

AC/DC
Euro Pale Lager
Brasserie de Saverne
France
5% ABV

It’s worth noting that the AC/DC “Australian Hardrock” beer we sampled was brewed in…France. By a brewer with not a particularly sterling reputation for beery excellence. There are obviously brewers in Australia capable of making this same exact style of beer, which would at least lend the slightest whiff of Down Undah authenticity to it. But no. What’s worse—and we haven’t even gotten to the taste of the beer yet!—is that on the website for the beer, it is shown as being brewed in Germany, so at least you would have the German Beer Purity Law preventing the addition of cheap adjuncts. But that beer apparently hasn’t made it to Canada yet. No, we get the French version made with god knows what.

Nothing but disappointment awaits with the crack of the pull-tab. The first thing we do with any beer is take a good sniff of whatever scents have just been released. This smells of canned peas. Deep sigh. Poured from the can it produces little in the way of head. In fact, we feel embarrassed for how ineffectually it fills up a glass. It tastes of dirt and corn and has a dry finish that leaves a sour taste in our mouth. This barely qualifies as a beer. They should just put a little target at the bottom of the can with a note saying “Puncture Here,” because this kind of utterly tasteless “brew” is good for one thing only: shotgunning.

It’s really not that hard to make a moderately decent beer. It just takes a small amount of quality ingredients and a modicum of skill in the brewery. Admittedly we don’t spend a lot of time tasting our way through various adjunct-laden lagers, but we haven’t experienced a beer this unappealing since we bought a sixer of Heidelberg tallboys and drank them warm in a cabin on Oregon’s South Santiam River. That must have been 20 years ago. This is a good-looking can filled with utter swill. You’ve been warned.

And since AC/DC have slapped their name on a canned beverage pretending to be beer, we leave you with a Spanish band pretending to be AC/DC. Which, honestly, we prefer considerably more than the beer.

Summer Slaughter Slays Silver Spring, MD

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Friday, August 9th, 2013

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 Last Friday, August 2nd, I spent most of the day in a Washington, DC suburb to take in one of the oddest summer festivals around: Summer Slaughter 2013. Past years have found this tour loaded with distinctively death metal acts, abounding with brutality and breakdowns. This year’s edition of the tour certainly included a fair bit of snarling death with Sweden’s Aeon and Cali’s Cattle Decapitation, but also flaunted the techy Revocation, the progressive compositional approach of The Ocean, the goofy crowd pleasers Periphery, the magical string ‘n’ skin shredders Animals as Leaders, and the acrobatic oddball explosion of the Dillinger Escape Plan.

With so many different styles on offer, everybody in attendance came to experience the heavy bliss with their own personal tastes emblazoned on them like signs (or t-shirts). The blustery -core of Rings of Saturn and Thy Art Is Murder drew their own young crowds, many of whom sported earlobe gauges of all sizes and sh… well, they were all circles, actually. Circle pits were foretold and fulfilled, though the area’s most recognizable mosher – Chicken Suit Guy – never showed his feathers; one fan suggested that his absence was due to the lack of real death metal on the bill. The crowd was heavily surfed by grinning girls, beaming boys, and one dude and his entire wheelchair made their way overhead.

Upon arriving at the venue, my first concern was getting a chance to talk to members of the various bands, so I missed the bulk of the sets by opener Harvester and follow-ups Rings of Saturn and Thy Art Is Murder. What I heard sounded appropriately brutal, and the young’uns seemed satisfied. Then Aeon unleashed their dense death storm upon the venue and shit got real. The shift in heaviness was palpable and appreciated. Revocation tore through their set with an impressive fiery energy, while vocalist/guitarist David Davidson continually demanded more participation from the audience. The Ocean made their short set time work for them, hitting all the highs, lows and Neuro-heavy moments with equal grace and aggression. The pacing of their set contrasted starkly with most other performers, stretching out into breathing songs rather than one overwhelming beatdown.

Cattle Decapitation returned to the gore-hammer death attack, with Josh Elmore working out some serious guitar licks and Travis Ryan deriving his stage presence right out of the 28 Days Later Infected Handbook. Norma Jean ducked in and out of slow, tortured grooves. A ton of kids bounced like deranged motorized pogo sticks through Periphery’s set and lost their shit over the technical wizardry of Animals as Leaders, though these same kids made comments to each other like, “I’ve never heard Dillinger Escape Plan.” “Yeah? I’ve listened to some. They’re okay.” Fine with me, I guess. More space up front for the rest of us. This Decibel hack screamed back at Greg Puciato and Ben Weinman like a green fanboy, and loved every second of it.

When I met up with the bands, I asked them all similar questions (Hall of Fame style), which I have edited for your enjoyment below. You’ll hear from Cory Brandan Putman, Jeff Hickey and Chris Day from Norma Jean (NJ); Zeb Nilsson from Aeon (A); David Davidson from Revocation (R); Robin Staps from The Ocean (O); Travis Ryan, Josh Elmore and Derek Engemann from Cattle Decapitation (CD); Jake Bowen from Periphery; Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders (AAL); and Ben Weinman and Liam Wilson from the Dillinger Escape Plan (DEP). Every single dude was cool to talk to, and I hope they continue to kill from the stage for the remainder of the tour.

This is Hardcore: Through the Eyes of Hardcore Guys

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, listen, stupid crap, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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Today’s the first day of four of 2013′s This is Hardcore Festival. Last week, we spoke to owner and operator, Joe “Hardcore” Mckay about his background, the fest’s humble early years and most everything else concerning the annual Philly throwdown. Read it here. This week, we tracked down members from a few of the 54 bands performing this year to ask them a neat and tidy question: as briefly as possible, what comes to mind when you think of This is Hardcore. We got it all, from the astute to the absurd. Go!

“At first I thought we were playing at a porno convention. Our show should turn it into one.” -Oderus Urungus of Gwar

“Brave vision, immense logistical skills, and a task only a madman would undertake.” -Dan Yemin from Kid Dynamite/Paint It Black

“TIHC Bridges the gap between a festival vibe and a small old-school show atmosphere. It’s great to see an event grow so big on home cookin’.” -Sick of It All

“THIS IS HARDCORE: So crucial that I think of it before the Pulp record. “ -100 Demons

“”’Hey Joe, where’s the BEER?’, ‘Hey, Joe. Sorry we’re late’ , ‘Good evening Philadelphia, are you ready to lose your fucking minds?’ , ‘Hey Joe, is there more beer?’” -Ringworm

“Quality.” -Nails

“A yearly ritual pilgrimage to a Hardcore music Mecca in which practitioners of the Hardcore lifestyle leave offerings of screams, sweat, and even blood.” -Wisdom In Chains

“A religious experience.” -Suburban Scum

“A rare opportunity to see so many amazing bands, new and old – TIHC bridges not only generations of hardcore but also the distance between us all.” -Panic

“My dad always told me if you can’t say anything good yourself, quote someone. ‘I get silly when I play in Philly’.” –Rock Bottom

LISTEN: Rosetta’s The Anaesthete

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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As many notable websites have pointed out this week (Grantland and HitFix to name two), it’s been ten years since The O.C.–and one of the best first seasons of television ever made–premiered on August 5, 2003. While I would have loved to come up with a post that actually related to Sandy Cohen and company, something a little more relevant for our purposes also happened that same month and year, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed. You see, Philadelphia’s own Rosetta played its first show on August 20, 2003, an anniversary rendered even more topical as the band self-released its fourth full-length, The Anaesthete, early this morning (though too early for me to give any immediate thoughts).

Music aside, what’s interesting about The Anaesthete is that it marks a business experiment of sorts for the band. After having seen its first three full-lengths released by Translation Loss, Rosetta financed the record entirely on its own, so each download purchased will go towards helping them get out of the red and, once in the black, possibly allow them press the record in North America. As the band wrote last month on its blog (which you should definitely check out as the group will sometimes answer fan submitted questions), “This is a big risk for us, but we feel that our listeners are a trustworthy bunch on the whole. Moreover, we want to find out whether releasing music completely independently is a sustainable way for a small band to operate. You get to decide what the album is worth to you, and pay that amount.”

So take a listen above and then name your price to pick up a digital copy of The Anaesthete here. If you can, also be sure to catch our hometown heroes this month supporting KEN Mode. They don’t play live all that often, so see ‘em while you can (and guys, feel free to play “Au Pays Natal” on Friday).

8/8 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter (w/ Weedeater)
8/9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
8/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
8/11 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
8/12 – Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music
8/13 – Portland, ME @ Geno’s
8/14 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
8/15 – Albany, NY @ Valentine’s
8/16 – Newark, DE @ Mojo Main
8/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
8/18 – Columbus, OH @ Kobo Live
8/19 – Royal Oak, MI @ Genesis
8/20 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
8/21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
8/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
8/23 – Joliet, IL @ Mojoes (w/ Grace the Damned, no Ken Mode)

Low Fidelity: The Reality Of The Record Business, circa 2013

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured On: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

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Neill Jameson is best known to readers as Imperial, frontman of the excellent USBM band Krieg. Along with Blake Judd, Wrest and Thurston Moore (!) he’s also part of the black metal project Twilight. I got to know Neill during an interview about three years ago and we’ve kept in touch since. As our readers know black metal doesn’t pay the bills unless you live in a small European country. Jameson pays his rent by working in a New Jersey record store. His social media posts on his daily experiences never fail to make me laugh. He graciously agreed to tell our vinyl-loving followers what really happens in a record store. — jmn

There’s a certain romance about record stores, an idea that the employees sit around and listen to music they love and meet and have intimate discourse with others who share their passion. Let’s end this horseshit idea.

Somewhere along the line I fucked up. This is about one way: the fact that somehow I ended up managing two record stores in southern New Jersey. The main one is located in a shopping mall that’s been on the verge of shutting down for years.

This isn’t the first record store I’ve worked at over my three and a half decades and I’ve come to learn my share of useless shit (Did you know every single living person in the 1970′s owned Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours?). I understand what goes into keeping an independent store open in the age of digital downloads, smug kids who think they deserve something for nothing, online gouging and the shift in pop and underground cultures. These are some of my observations.

With the declining economy people need quick money. This coincides with the rise of cheap entertainment, namely reality shows. Outside of exploiting teens who don’t understand the proper use of condoms (or are just shitty at pulling out) and the barnyard antics of lower culture there’s been a rise in shows with a simple premise: your old shit is worth a fucking fortune. Every time some asshole in Pawn Stars brings in a record that is worth good money, some hapless asshole brings in a box of moth eaten records to my store that look like two wolverines fucked on them and expects whoever they’re hoisting this shit on to pay out.

The majority of my conversations go like this: “So you buy records?” “How much do you pay for records?” There are many variations, always in the same rehearsed cadence. For a while I thought it was because my area is full of economically depressed winners who stopped living circa 1979. As I’ve traveled and gone to other stores I see it’s everywhere. People are desperate, which I understand, but rarely does something worth purchasing come through our door.

Even rarer is someone being o.k. with what you offer them. They will go around the store and pull the same records they are trying to sell and ask if they will be getting the amount they see on the price tag. Well, you need to make money to keep the lights on, which means you need to make money from what you sell. I thought this was taught in high school business classes. I always tell people if they want the most money they should sell online. This is generally met with bovine stares because they never thought the computer was for anything but cat pictures.

I like to think I enlighten and enrich people’s lives with this information but this is met mostly with being told that they need the money “now” or “don’t want to fuck with that.” I guess Amazon and eBay take patience. I’ve heard some great excuses before, including a man who said he needed it for an operation (the smell of cheap booze showing he was already self-administering anesthesia). Generally, people who want to sell interesting subcultural records sell them online so it’s no surprise I have 23 copies of that Lionel Richie record where he’s wearing the tacky green sweater but I’ve only come across Sore Throat or Venom records from a personal collection a handful of times.

In order to stay afloat, most stores operate across a broad spectrum of websites: Amazon, eBay, and Discogs. These can be fabulous resources to reach customers, at least until USPS doubled the shipping rate. The problem arises when you add the human element, and this applies for buyers and sellers.

Sellers have to deal with someone buying something without seeing the creases, surface marks and body fluid stains first. Poison Idea was right about record collectors being pretentious assholes: if you aren’t painstakingly clear about the condition of something when listing it, chances are you’ll get a refund request.

Amazon and eBay no longer offer a great deal in seller protection, so scams occur somewhat frequently. We get records sent by people looking to upgrade on a semi frequent basis, if we’re lucky to get the record back at all. All sorts of shit can happen to the package while in transit and trying to collect insurance is like pissing in the wind. I’m convinced some postal workers have a fetish for fucking on top of the boxes judging from the condition some things come back in.

There’s a flipside. This one is the fault of the noble music peddler. The greedier of us will take note of supply and demand and gouge the Lord Jesus Christ out of things that are readily available. Amazon at Christmas is a good example. New record that your distributor has a ton of but is unavailable on Amazon? That bitch is now $39.99, fuck you and your $19.99 on another site. Do some Google research on an Amazon seller called “Any Book” for good examples of this.

The absolute worst time that a customer’s desperation to own something RIGHT THE FUCK NOW is on our yearly holiday, Record Store Day. There are a lot of great brick and mortar stores that abide by RSD’s loose rules to not fuck the fans who want their chosen bands limited releases, and those are stores that deserve your money. Then there’s stores who keep the best items aside to throw online a few hours into it when people are in a frenzy and willing to spend $50 on a 7-inch that’s been available for five hours. The excuse? Trying to beat the asshole that was first in line to then do the same unscrupulous shit and flip it online as well.

There’s a video on YouTube called “Shit People Say in Record Stores” and this guy captures the anger of our day-to-day experiences. People are very predictable and you grow to be able to predict what they will say before they say it.

Our most frequent visitor is an open mouthed shell of a man. His wife drops him off to buy herself time away from the ghost she married. This man walks around remembering what it was like to be alive. He will talk to you about how he once owned “everything” in the store (including the entire Doom catalog I’m sure) and regale you with stories about youthful sex in graphic detail. He will think that you look up to him and he’ll start to come in frequently, to chat.
After this man comes the old woman who has a bunch of shit locked in some room somewhere that she wants to bring in for you to purchase. The memories she is selling smell like the chemtrails that led Jaz Coleman to flee to Iceland. These people are mostly harmless and not malicious but really fucking irritating nonetheless.

Then you will get the pebble in your shoe, the burn when you piss: the know-it-all. He will tell you he is friends with half the bands in your new release section. He will argue with you about facts that you never gave a flat fuck about in the first place. He will bitch about your prices and announce where to go online to download things for free to a full store. He is the generation that I want off my fucking lawn. He comes in not for the love of music but rather to pick a fight with whatever poor sap is behind the counter.

I wanted to think that it was just my store that attracted assholes but the more record store employees I speak to the more I realize that these people are a part of a culture. Our culture.

Oh, and occasionally people come in, smile, buy shit, and leave. But who wants to hear positive shit?

People generally think of record store clerks as judgmental, aloof assholes who laugh at your purchases. In a lot of cases it’s true. As someone who spends a lot of time at various record stores and shows I’ve found that at least half of the stores I go into are like this. The clerk will snort if you bring up something displeasing. You’ll be ignored if you ask for help.

Understandably, not everyone has constant good days so that’s an excuse, or perhaps the clerk is just beaten down. There are cases where the person behind the counter is just an elitist asshole who has become the archetype that fucks up the rest of the party for us. As I’m not a very conversational person I just try to avoid interaction with them as much as possible because I still enjoy record shopping.

I still believe in brick and mortar record stores, just like I still believe in underground record labels. It might be my age but these stores have always played a role in my personal history. I know that the same holds true for many of you.

It’s a sinking ship and I know I’m swabbing the poop deck. For someone to open a record store now it means they’re truly in it for the love of music and it’s a goddamned brave move. Places like Sit and Spin in Philly and Black Mess in Baltimore are places where you can discover a lot. They do it because they’re passionate and it shows.

There seems to be a new documentary on indie stores closing their doors every six months and they’re meant as a battle call for people who are passionate about music to come, grab a bucket, and bail the water out of the ship. Dry your eyes after that last beautiful analogy, brothers and sisters, and do your part. We might be the last generation who can.

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