Dark Blue follow up their debut LP, ‘Pure Reality’ (Jade Tree), with ‘Start Of The World’ (12XU) – a soundtrack of a decaying United States. Each song drips with the realities of atrocities happening all around us ; John Sharkey III (Vocals, Guitar) pushes Dark Blue far beyond the post-punk meets oi sound they perfected on their earlier releases, and adds elements of brit-pop and shoegaze. Recorded by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, Nothing), ‘Start Of The World’ is a pop album that makes no apologies.
Dark Blue. photo by Autumn Spadaro
Boot stomping opener “Union of Buffoons,” sets the political tone for this album with an anthem for workers’ rights. Sharkey’s biting lyrics: “You can’t fight this, you can’t win…screw you once, they’ll screw you twice,” is a reference to human expendability in the face of deregulation and the stagnancy of labor rights. “Never Wanted to Hurt You” is a pop song in the highest order with guts and an undeniable chorus that would make Noel Gallagher jealous even at his most jaded.
The 50′s doo-woop and surf rock sound of “Bombs on the Beach” initially feels like a left turn for the band, evoking a playful innocence against a sunny backdrop. But the lyrics prove this is truly a Dark Blue song, tearing through any cheerfulness as jarring and abrupt as words can be to describe the reality of dropping missiles on a beach of unsuspecting Palestinian children. Sharkey’s voice is heavy with the despair of survivor’s guilt: “Now I’m holding my baby’s hand, as he lies bleeding to death in the sand.” This is another pointed song full of sentiment as much as it is an impassioned call for accountability for the crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.
While this album shows off new and varying degrees of Sharkey’s vocal intensity, Andrew Mackie Nelson (Bass, Ceremony) and Michael Sneeriger (Drums, Strand of Oaks) shine, guiding the songs in ways other releases haven’t shown before . Tracks such as “Be Gone Everyone” and “Western Front” underscore just how comfortable the band has gotten.
‘Start Of The World’ is the kind of record that Dark Blue has always promised: a collection of smart, fully realized songs that tell real stories. With the world falling apart around us, Dark Blue continues to give voice to neglected perspectives, many unnerving but all necessary to hear. We need a defiant record like this to remind us that just as there was start to all of this destruction, there can also be an end. – Sean Gray.
To many, the football scoreboard seems out of sync with the life of a library employee with a reported passion for movies and books, one said to have read 1,938 books published in chronological order from the decade starting in 1930. Others have argued it is simply wasteful spending, funneling valuable unrestricted money into athletics instead of important academic pursuits.
The university has sought to bridge the gap between the image of the tweed-wearing librarian and that of the macho athletic donor by saying Morin was a football fan by the end of his life. He started watching football games on television while living in an assisted living center in the 15 months before he died, university officials said, learning the rules and names of players and teams.
University officials have also pointed out that Morin specifically did not give them instructions on how to spend most of his gift, except for the $100,000 for the library, trusting them and their priorities.
In Wally’s defense, he had to figure at some point a couple of years ago that Terry Collins was lamer-than-lame and when and if the Mets were ready to seriously blow off a chance to hire Joe Maddon contend, he’d be Vegas-tanned, rested and ready. Instead, he’s faced with yet another opportunity to convince a skeptical job market that he’s the very portrait of anger-management and taking direction from the top. I wish him the best of luck — simply because it isn’t working out for me doesn’t mean I’m not pulling for Backman. Were he to disappear from baseball, CSTB content that wasn’t strictly about plugging new 12XU wares would all but disappear!
On the heels of End Of An Ear’s well received ‘Grave City’ compilation of studio recordings, 12XU is releasing two live albums from Dallas’ incredibly influential and fucked-before-their-time STICK MEN WITH RAY GUNS, ‘Property Of Jesus Christ’ (recorded in 1984 at Houston’s Lawndale Art Annex) and ’1000 Lives To Die’ (recorded in 1987 at Dallas’ Theatre Gallery during the band’s final show). Recordings have been restored / beefed up by Jack Control of Enormous Door Mastering, and lacquers cut by Matt Barnhart at Chicago Mastering Service, befitting these crucial documents of one of US punk’s most fearless outfits at the peak of their powers. Though the material has been available on CD and digital download previously, this is the first time these performances from the foursome of Bobby Soxx, Clarke Blacker, Scott Elam and Bob Beeman have been issued on vinyl.
Has any American band before or since come close to making antagonism an art form? I’m sure your short list is fascinating, maybe even worth arguing over. But I’d rather play these albums again. Short of a time machine, it’s as close as you’ll come to being in the thick of unique moments in band vs. audience history that’s unlikely to be matched by anyone in 2016, try as they might.
“I fondly remember Bobby Soxx on his back porch…chopping bibles with a meat clever and throwing a color television at a Mexican family. This band murdered Dallas.” – Gibby Haynes
“Stick Men with Ray Guns formed in 1981 in Dallas, a product of the same 275-mile long cultural petri dish that bred Big Boys, Butthole Surfers, The Dicks, and Scratch Acid. It’s a testament to the influence and depravity of the first wave Texas hardcore scene that SMWRG’s antics have been largely lost to the ages. Their shows, according to local lore, verged on performance art. But scores of bands have since stolen their shtick—fighting audience members, using the mic as a public colonoscopy probe, etc.
The mythology of the Wild Frontman has masked early punk’s capacity to attract people with mental illness. To be a wacko underground vocalist in the early 1980s, especially in places like Texas, meant being someone with an above-average capacity to inflict and receive punishment. Stick Men frontman Bobby Sox excelled at both.” – Sam McPheeters, Vice
Greetings, members of the Yankee universe and the desperate, life-long also-rans who fail to understand the difference between star power and a freak show. I’m of course referring to my good friends in Queens, Fred Wilpon and his slow-witted son, Jeff, and their general manager, Sandy Alderson, an honorable man who surely was forced to make his latest, ill-advised acquisition.
In the form of Tim Tebow, the Mets will send to Florida a guy pushing 30 who hasn’t played competitive baseball since high school. Though we hear repeated mention of Tebow’s leadership skills, let’s not forget the former Florida QB is saving himself for marriage, a stance which should go down a storm in an organization that’s had more zipper problems than the Clinton and Weiner households combined.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly something to be said for not surrounding yourself with complete and utter sexual degenerates. I’ll long wonder how many more World Championships this premier franchise would’ve won if our own GM was capable of thinking 24/7 with his brains rather than his needle dick, but I think it is fair to say that we hold front office executives and uniformed personnel to a different set of standards. I don’t know who it was that once said, “you can’t have a team full of choirboys,” (I’d ask Cashman to look it up for me but I can’t bear to walk into his office and have him pretend he’s reading some statistical analysis rather than trawling Chaturbate), but let’s just presume it was me. It sounds like something I’d have said and I’m right. Unless you’re fielding some sort of men’s choir team, you cannot have a team full of choirboys. Or choirmen. You know what I mean.
Look, between the myriad sexual indiscretions of our GM, our primary radio voice and a recently jettisoned third baseman, you have no idea how much hush money I’ve thrown around. But would I ever dream of telling our world class athletes that a life of abstinence was a path to success? Compare the respective trophy cases of Derek Jeter and Tim Tebow where their professional careers are concerned. Where would the former be today if he’d kept himself in some sort of Christ-imposed cock cage?
Frankly, this entire thing stinks like the most cynical of publicity stunts, and the saddest thing is the Tebow farce threatens to overshadow the improbable return to Wild Card contention by a team that’s shown so much resilience and fortitude since the so-called experts left them for dead just a few short weeks ago. But enough about the 2016 New York Yankees, while we’re taking aim at our 28th World Series victory, the long-suffering Jay Horowitz will be reduced to begging TV outlets not to broadcast Tebow’s laughable attempts at throwing a baseball — or did the Mets forget they’re in the National League?
My own alma matter, George Washington University brought an end to the football program in 1966, and it’s just as well. It’s a brutish game, played by hulking unsophisticates, the likes of which I’m routinely having tossed from NYY Steak. A dullard like Tebow has no more business on the baseball diamond than CM Punk in the Octagon, Martin Shkreli in a rap battle or Nick Swisher in a public library. But since I’m as magnanimous as I’m brilliant, I am fully prepared to honor Tebow for his contributions to NYC sporting culture once he’s been waived by the Mets. I don’t know if we’ll be the first club in the big leagues to produce a bobblehead doll featuring a chastity belt, if Rob Manfred has a problem with it, we’ll just make our Staten Island Single-A affiliate do it. They seem desperate enough for attention, kind of like the Wilpons.
(EDITOR’S NOTE : With the second edition of the Sonic Transmission Festival taking place September 23-25 at Austin’s North Door, Rio Rita and Central Presbyterian Church,featuring an amazing lineup including but not limited to Obnox, Chicago Underground Duo, Marshall Trammel, Shit & Shine, USA/Mexico, Gunvor Gustavsen, Paul Giallorenzo, Chad Taylor More Ease and many others, the time seemed rife to quiz festival organizer / onstage fixture Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (The Thing, Young Mothers, Close Erase) about the inspirations behind the event. Also, trying to set the stage for one of those worked feuds with a certain reality TV lynchpin, though Ingebrigt seems reluctant to play along! – GC)
Q: Was there a particular prior event or artist that provided the catalyst for the creation of the festival?
A: Yes, my band The Young Mothers was the whole reason I started this festival last year. TYM have members that as well as being great improvisers are as active in the Texas hip-hop, grindcore, indie rock and jazz scenes, and I wanted to create an event that showcased my band and at the same time represented music from all the different genres within the group.
Q: you’re wearing multiple hats here : curator, promoter, performer. And it’s not like you’ve got nothing else in your creative life going on. Any part of this feel overwhelming?
A: Yes, absolutely! It’s quite overwhelming and sometimes I’m asking my self why the heck I’m doing this. BUT, its extremely rewarding too. I’m learning a lot and it feels valuable to have this experience as a promoter and curator (It’s very easy for musicians to forget all the work that’s behind presenting concerts and it feels important to be experiencing all the different aspects of this!). And of course having to research a lot of new artists for future festivals is very inspiring, I find a lot of great music I probably wouldn’t have if i didn’t start this fest. But maybe the most important aspect is being part of (hopefully) creating a new community in Austin where a lot of presenters and musicians from different ‘scenes’ work together to present creative music!!
Q: Obviously there’s other music fests in and around the region — some more interesting than others — but this the only one I’m aware of that places equal importance towards genres most of the more commercial tests either pay scant attention to or ignore entirely. You’re aware there’s nothing else like this, right?
A: I am aware of this, and this is my whole vision and purpose of the festival! I want to put equal importance to multiple genres and my goal is that it will draw a mixed audience that’ll get new experiences! But, I do realise that it is an ambitious goal and that it might take a while for audiences (and musicians!) to understand what I’m trying to do… But I’m into it for the long haul!!
Q: who are you most looking forward to seeing at STII?
A: I am looking forward to see all the acts! But if I have to pick some; i can’t wait to see Chicago Underground and Rabit on Friday night and a specially Obnox on Saturday. But all the bands will kick ass, so stoked to have them all there!!!
Q: Jon Taffer visits the N.D. the day before the festival starts. Name a couple of the sweeping changes he’s responsible for by the time night one starts INCLUDING THE NEW NAME OF THE VENUE
A: Who (the f**k) is Jon Taffer? Sorry, I might not have experienced enough American popular culture to be able to answer this…sorry!
Q: Pains me to say this but “Sonic Transmissions”-the-name is the weakest thing about this glorious event. Do we have your permission to host a contest to rename the event for 2017 (with the grand prize being a Christian Laettner rookie card from the 1992-93 season)?
A: Hahah, you have my permission. would love to see the suggestions. and if you wanna know; the name was inspired by the book Sonic Transmission by Tim Mitchell about Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell and Television. an interesting read!