16 July 2010

Edifice by Al-Thawra

It's been a while since I wrote about something important...

If you haven't heard me rave on about Al-Thawra before then you must have been living in a cave. And just in case you have been living in a cave and have decided to step out into the world, I'll give you the lowdown.

Al-Thawra is a crust punk band from Chicago, Illinois with influences coming in from all directions. I guess we could start with the punk thing and list bands such as Crass, Discharge and Amebix but it most definitely does not end there. With a goal to align Middle Eastern instrumentation alongside meticulously orchestrated samples and the simplicities of punk rock, they are a true representation of cultural experimentation... whether they like it or not.

Al-Thawra is Marwan Kamel, Micah Bezold and Mario Salazar playing furious music, fuelled by dissent and conflict. They may not tackle issues head-on but they speak in a tone most people would not usually hear and they certainly question the hell out of all aspects of our modern world, from the reason why kids are dying in the Middle East to the suffocating authoritarians of Chicago.

And the punks love 'em.

On June 19, the three M's released their second album "Edifice". With three pairs of helping hands and an enormity of enthusiasm and talent from Pop Sensation Productions, they headed up to Madison, Wisconsin for an intense weekend of recording which naturally resulted in an agonising frenzy of sounds, adequately showcasing their vast range of influences.

The album begins with a psych-up of an intro and it doesn't wait for you to get comfy as it soars into "Beneath the Edifice". It continues with just the right amount of "flow" from song-to-song to distinguish between the diversity of tracks but at the same time, maintain the same level of stamina throughout. It most definitely does not fall short of energy. Songs like "Eviction Sama'i" provide the album with colour whilst the sounds embedded into songs like "Truth's Eternal Sun" and "Gaza: Choking on the Smoke of Dreams" define the severe passion of the band and with beautiful transitions such as the one from the interlude "The Exile of Hope" into "Mundo Y Carne", Al-Thawra have proved that punk does not have to be three powerchords played over and over. Punk music can be cleverly engineered (big ups to Dustin Boyle - love that kick-drum sound and the haunting psychoacoustics, man) and scrupulously arranged.

I won't dissect each track and talk about their individual highlights because you cannot skip tracks on this album or turn it off half way. It is a journey in itself, like an acid trip in sepia and it's best experienced from start-to-finish without stopping. I mean, I haven't experienced a trip in sepia but I assume that I would hear Edifice playing in my head if I did.

Anyway, to get the full mind-exploding experience, I suggest you don't buy the MP3s off Amazon like a lazy fucking shit but rather, go and pester the band about buying a physical copy as the songs will be a lot clearer and defined and you will get the beautiful art in it too.

I hope whoever reads this admires this multicultural, multilingual and multi-awesome band just as much as I do.


11 July 2010

To the North

Keep the spaces around you clean and your mind clear.
Never ever ever live in fear.
Pray when you believe in it and not for the sake of it.
Open your heart but guard your soul.
Eat what tastes good but know your limits.
Stand up to the tyrants and for the tyrannised.
Stay calm, keep loving, drink plenty of water.

Do not trust anybody ever again.


05 July 2010

If You're Listening...


Dear universal force,

It's Stoney here. I'm not sure if you've noticed but I've been working really hard lately. I got through intense weeks of TAFE and am currently working full time and casual technician jobs to earn some money for my big trip and get some experience. I also cook and serve weekly at People's Kitchen. I don't expect instant gratification or anything like that but throwing one of the hardest things I've had to deal with at me at this very moment in time was pretty uncalled for. I do not have the time or strength to handle such negative energy. I am struggling to cope but I am forcing myself to otherwise my heart will break and my body will cave in response.

If this is a test, I'm losing my shit. If this is a test, I'm wasting my breath.

I cleaned my room on Saturday - like a madwoman. There was not a speck of dust in sight and the floor, desk and wardrobe are currently looking immaculate. This was meant to be the beginning of a hopeful and driven me. Unfortunately, however, I have been feeling a little bit shit and I really don't want to feel like this anymore. I know I must get over it but it is still fresh in my mind and painful. Some may say I'm forcing myself a bit too much considering it's only been a few days but no, I do not have a choice. I must say, the amazing friends you gave me have just been infinitely loving and caring and generous so thank you for that... But I feel like my recovery from this ordeal is taking far too long as I cannot afford to have emotions holding me back from the things I have promised myself I'd do.

I don't know if you see the determination in my eyes and heart or the passion in my soul but it's there and I need you to recognise it because nobody else does, especially the one person I hoped would have. I am tired of trying to find an inner strength I simply do not have so please, give me strength and patience.

I know I don't give you much but I don't ask for much either. Just this once... please. I am exhausted.