Artist of the Month

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Anal Cunt -- The Old Testament

Newton, Massachusetts-- a suburb of Boston-- has repeatedly ranked as one of the nation’s safest and wealthiest cities of its size. It also happens to be the spawning place of one of the most hilariously diabolical bands in the nation, or even the world, although that ranking may be harder to prove statistically. The village pride of West Newton, Anal Cunt was led by the late vocalist Seth Putnam from 1998 until 2011, with an ever-changing lineup and a hiatus or two along the way. In June, 2011, Putnam died of a heart attack at the age of 43, but toward the end of his life, he put together what would be Anal Cunt’s lattermost, fully authorized set of recordings.

The Old Testament is a collection of the noisy grindcore band’s most archaic material along with rare and live recordings, released by Relapse Records in November, 2011. Released as a two-disc set, the collection includes their very first demo, which was recorded in April of 1988 but went unreleased until now. Also included are the 47 Song Demo (1988), 88 Song EP (1989), 5,643 Song EP (1989), Another EP (1991), Unplugged EP (1991), and Live EP (1991). Live recordings include shows in Germany and Indiana, and there is also material from several of their 7” splits as well as from The Masters of Noise compilation album. The set also features original liner notes by Putnam.

Anal Cunt are not family friendly, and they’re in your face about being politically incorrect, but in a way that is equal parts metal, awesome, and chuckle-worthy. They grabbed attention with their offensive song titles and lyrics, but these traits mostly appeared in their works after what is included in The Old Testament. Songs included in their early EPs are untitled and lack lyrics entirely, but the band still fit the humor into: Sporadically throughout TOT recordings, Putnam will shriek “Eeenie meenie minie moe,” which also happens to be some of the only decipherable words uttered during a song. And at the beginning of their Schwäbisch Hall, Germany live set, Putnam calmly announces “We’re The Beatles,” before launching into the first noise orgy. Also, listen for an incredibly brief MC Hammer cover in their 7” split with Psycho.

The many albums featured in this set are filled with songs that come as very brief, assaulting blasts with little semblance of form or rhythm. Songs often begin with some heavy, slow chords, and soon after explode into hellish chaos accompanied by Putnam’s varied guttural noises. This may last for around thirty seconds, and then they’ll launch into another one that’s basically indistinguishable from the last. But that’s the point: to make songs that are anti-everything that would typically constitute a song. If there were ever a sudden-death match between a dinosaur and Satan himself, the 5,643 EP might be what that sounds like. Anal Cunt’s early-day material is the most turbulent and cacophonous of their already extreme catalog, whereas later on the band began to incorporate more structure, riffs, and lyrics into their songs. While it is definitely an acquired taste sort of band in general, The Old Testament provides an extensive display of the infamous band’ most deviant and raw works-- you know, before they got all soft in later years.--Sarah Ruggiero

Lilia Halpern January Residency at PA's Lounge Kicks Off Tonight

Tonight kicks off Lilia Halpern's Monday night residency at PA's Lounge this month. A veteran of the Boston music scene and founder of the band Incinerator, Halpern sat down with me last week for an interview.

Click here to read the deli's interview with Lilia Halpern-Smith.

Stay tuned to the deli each Monday in January for a preview of each show.

January residency dates and line-up:
(All shows begin at 8pm and are 21+)

January 9, 2012
Lilia Halpern
Evelyn Pope
Babes in Boyland (members of 28 Degrees Taurus and Night Fruit)

January 16, 2012
28 degrees Taurus

January 23, 2012
Lilia Halpern
Saraswathi Jones
Collin Oberndorf
Lauren Flaherty

January 30, 2012
Chick Granning and Joyce Raskin
Chris Colbourn
Lilia Halpern
Brendan Little

--Chrissy Prisco

By the Throat -- Riders of Boards

Boston’s By The Throat’s four-song EP Riders of Boards provides standard fare for the mischievous skate punk. While they are self-advertised as hardcore punk, they can’t quite be categorized under the same umbrella as other current hardcore punk bands. Rather, their style is defined more by hardcore punk roots of the seventies and eighties-- they cite Minor Threat, Black Flag, and early Replacements among their musical influences.

But without getting too wrapped up in genre-labeling, rowdiness outweighs heaviness on Riders of Boards. The title track could very well be the theme song to a cross between Rocket Power and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with its rampant, testosterone-pumping urgency and skate manifesto lyrics like “And if there’s a bowl we’re gonna carve it / And if I get air I gotta method.”

Besides shredding, their songs go into subject matter such as beer, challenging the status quo, and getting even. Indian Summer Revenge takes advantage of catchy guitar fills, but when the band members shout “We want revenge!” in unison, it doesn’t sound as viciously convincing as it could.

The biggest strength of these four tracks is in the band’s straightforward punk aggression, but there’s still room for them to go louder, harder, more distinct. While the lyrics seem a bit generic and under-developed, the three-chord energy works for them. The band members-- who go under the names of Biff, The Muscle, Brat, and Dimwit-- convened in 2010, bringing with them experience from various other punk outfits including The Dimwits, The Acro-Brats, Buried in Leather, and Blood Vessels. Riders of Boards is the follow-up to their self-produced EP One Good Night.--Sarah Ruggiero



Interview with Lilia Halpern (Incinerator)
by Chrissy Prisco

Tonight kicks off Lilia Halpern's Monday night residency at PA's this month. A veteran of the Boston music scene, Halpern sat down with me last week for an interview.

Braving the nearly-below zero windchill, the two of us met up at The Independent in Somerville's Union Sq. With Tom Janovitz (brother of Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz) dj'ing the night, we were happy to hang out and talk music.

I asked Halpern how it all started with her band, Incinerator. "Well," she replied "our first show was on David Bowie's birthday in 1993." Having moved to Boston to attend college, Halpern got sucked into the Boston music scene early on. Attending shows at the Rat and Middle East, she quickly became enamored with bands like Helium, Flying Nuns, Fuzzy, Apollo Landing and Tackle Box.

"I didn't publicly play any music until I had been around it all.  There was a kind of mystique about playing in a band, I realized music was a way to express myself," rememberd Halpern. "I wasn't aware of the 'chick rock' scene until that point."

After their first show on Bowie's birthday, Incinerator (the only band Lilia has ever been in) went on to play shows around the area, touring to the mid-Atlantic. Although there weren't many shows, by 1996 the band decided to hit the studio and record a self-titled EP. After that, the band went their separate ways.

So, why now? What brought Halpern back to the music scene after all these years? "Well, in 2010, I signed up for Ladies Rock Camp to learn drums. I had begun to record and play music at home after having my son. My interest was renewed in music after singing to him."

Although Halpern was slowly getting back into music, she says she was not involved in the scene at all until Billy Ruane's memorial at the Middle East in late 2010. "I played Dolphins, a song by Fred Neil which Tim Buckley made famous." That same night, she met Karina DaCosta (28 Degrees Taurus) who would immediately light the spark under Halpern to get back to playing music.

"I was most surprised, in having met Karina and discovering what the music scene was about now, at how supportive it was" says Halpern, "Back then (in the early 90's) it was tough because of gender issues. If you were a woman playing guitar, you were a 'woman guitar player' not just a guitar player."

Last Spring, Halpern hit the studio and recorded new songs at Q Division (she cites Q Division's Ed Valauskas as being a major source of motivation and support to her as well) "The people at Q Division were instrumental in me making music again," she stated.

With the hopes of a new EP and a full-length in the near future, Halpern is happy to be back. "This past year," she says, "so much of making music in a satisfied way has been because of the support of the community."







Smoke and Mirrors (demo)





Q&A with December Artist of the Month: Waves Crashing on Face

How did Waves Crashing on Face start?

The band started off as a Ben Garrett solo record. I hired Scott initially to produce the record and play guitars. We needed session musicians, so I recruited some friends. These were folks who I’d played with in various groups in college or after college, plus our original drummer Tony who was Scott’s friend from another group. it was basically an all-star line up brought together for a one-off recording project. That project eventually resulted in Waves Crashing on Face the album. But it took a while, and somewhere in the middle of the process we got bored and decided to play a few live shows for a change of pace. We also did some stints as a Marley cover band and an ‘80/’90s cover band just for kicks, because we were waiting on one thing or another for the record. Somehow, over like a year or so, Waves became something of a live act phenomenon in the Boston area, packing small and midsize clubs, keeping the flurry of cover songs in the repertoire to the delight of local hipsters and popsters alike. We also cater to nerds, as I’m a scientist, and nerds rule. We’re currently working on our second album, to be ironically named later.

Click here to read the rest of the Q&A with Waves Crashing on Face.


Which of these local acts should be our next DC Area Artist of the Month?

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