Sidewalk Stories by Jeremy Ritch available through Autumn + Colour 
Andrea here, your music editor, write a poetry collection review. (For those of you who didn’t know, I may or may not have 1 or 3 degrees in poetry.) Anyway, I was super excited to read a press release from Autumn + Colour Records that was for a poetry collection that they are releasing. (I have long been an advocate for the similarities between these two communities - which may or may not be what I wrote my thesis on.) Anyway, super excited to be reviewing a poetry book released by a record company.

Sidewalk Stories by Jeremy Ritch is a collection of poems that shed light on and bring depth to the parts of America that society tries its damnedest to turn away from. It thrusts the reader face to face with gritty realities of violence, poverty, and drugs - while hoping, no screaming, for change and assistance. With the voice of a skate punk street kid who can’t turn away from the injustices, Ritch treats his subject matter with the respect and understanding that one someone who lived through those events, in those communities, befriended those characters could. He takes us into the streets, the bus stations, and even into a free Mumia rally with a Black Panther contingent, all with sensitivity, awareness, and a bit of humor.

Sidewalk Story #1 (Urban Chaos) sets the stage for the reader, and contains my favorite line in the whole collection, “Children play where bodies fall”. The simplicity and nonchalance of that line, illuminates everything that Ritch is trying to say in these pages. From the “florescent insomnia” in Bus Station to the man “Dancing in stolen sneakers and a charity parka” in Sidewalk Story #7 (Paxton St) to “Street kids in search of meaning” with “40s full of angst” in Sidewalk Story #10 (Ratboy) we are transported into the lives of these characters. The Invisible Man is a poem full of quiet cries for help, they build and they resonate, they catalogue the injustices and the hopes of an over looked people, with the lines “The is an invisible man who looks…/For a job that not only pays, but restores dignity.” That line is a blow to the chest, that line extends off the page and into the air all around you. Sidewalk Story #3 (Harold) is one of the poems in this collection that stuck with me, it is true, honest, bare bones, character sketch with no fancy tricks or summation ending.

There were a few varied poem structures within the collection - the free verse poems dominated, but the ones that employed one rhyme scheme or another were clearly mean to be performed, with the hard rhyme sounding a bit heavy handed on the page, but I am sure kill it on a stage. My favorite poems though, were the prose poems. These seemed to be the poems that read in the most natural way to me. Yes, they are polished in the ways that all poems need to be, but there seemed to be no heavy trimming happening in order to make them fit into a structure or rhyme scheme. Mistaken on the Lake is a gritty jaded love poem for a hometown, Marching With The Panthers takes us immediately into the narrators experience with the new Black Panthers, and City O City (Ode To New York) is the strongest poem in the traditional sense of poetry.

Unfortunately, I need to say, the spelling errors, mechanics, and grammar of the collection held me back a bit and the inconsistencies in punctuation stuck out as only it can in poetry. There were a few instances when I was wondering if there was intent or just a typo, which are not the elements that you want your reader focusing on. There were also a few poems where I feel like the endings were false, maybe false is not the correct term, but poems where the ending was rushed to a tidy conclusion that didn’t match the power, intent, or voice of the preceding lines. I often felt frustrated, because I was able to see where the tiniest bit of editing would have allowed this collection to soar.

I honestly felt bad write these few critiques of this collection, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these aren’t necessarily critiques of the collection, but critiques of the publishing industry.Sidewalk Stories is a great collection poems, with interesting content, a voice that needs to be heard, but that has not had the opportunity of a quality line edit. And with the state of publishing and poetry in 2014, I understand how expensive that would have been.

So seriously, props to Autumn + Colour for taking a chance and publishing a poetry collection, props to Jeremy Ritch, for displaying his world to us. And let’s hope that this will inspire a new generation of poets and poetry readers, so much so that publishers again start paying fair wages and supporting authors as they deserve.

Sidewalk Stories by Jeremy Ritch available through Autumn + Colour 

Andrea here, your music editor, write a poetry collection review. (For those of you who didn’t know, I may or may not have 1 or 3 degrees in poetry.) Anyway, I was super excited to read a press release from Autumn + Colour Records that was for a poetry collection that they are releasing. (I have long been an advocate for the similarities between these two communities - which may or may not be what I wrote my thesis on.) Anyway, super excited to be reviewing a poetry book released by a record company.

Sidewalk Stories by Jeremy Ritch is a collection of poems that shed light on and bring depth to the parts of America that society tries its damnedest to turn away from. It thrusts the reader face to face with gritty realities of violence, poverty, and drugs - while hoping, no screaming, for change and assistance. With the voice of a skate punk street kid who can’t turn away from the injustices, Ritch treats his subject matter with the respect and understanding that one someone who lived through those events, in those communities, befriended those characters could. He takes us into the streets, the bus stations, and even into a free Mumia rally with a Black Panther contingent, all with sensitivity, awareness, and a bit of humor.

Sidewalk Story #1 (Urban Chaos) sets the stage for the reader, and contains my favorite line in the whole collection, “Children play where bodies fall”. The simplicity and nonchalance of that line, illuminates everything that Ritch is trying to say in these pages. From the “florescent insomnia” in Bus Station to the man “Dancing in stolen sneakers and a charity parka” in Sidewalk Story #7 (Paxton St) to “Street kids in search of meaning” with “40s full of angst” in Sidewalk Story #10 (Ratboy) we are transported into the lives of these characters. The Invisible Man is a poem full of quiet cries for help, they build and they resonate, they catalogue the injustices and the hopes of an over looked people, with the lines “The is an invisible man who looks…/For a job that not only pays, but restores dignity.” That line is a blow to the chest, that line extends off the page and into the air all around you. Sidewalk Story #3 (Harold) is one of the poems in this collection that stuck with me, it is true, honest, bare bones, character sketch with no fancy tricks or summation ending.

There were a few varied poem structures within the collection - the free verse poems dominated, but the ones that employed one rhyme scheme or another were clearly mean to be performed, with the hard rhyme sounding a bit heavy handed on the page, but I am sure kill it on a stage. My favorite poems though, were the prose poems. These seemed to be the poems that read in the most natural way to me. Yes, they are polished in the ways that all poems need to be, but there seemed to be no heavy trimming happening in order to make them fit into a structure or rhyme scheme. Mistaken on the Lake is a gritty jaded love poem for a hometown, Marching With The Panthers takes us immediately into the narrators experience with the new Black Panthers, and City O City (Ode To New York) is the strongest poem in the traditional sense of poetry.

Unfortunately, I need to say, the spelling errors, mechanics, and grammar of the collection held me back a bit and the inconsistencies in punctuation stuck out as only it can in poetry. There were a few instances when I was wondering if there was intent or just a typo, which are not the elements that you want your reader focusing on. There were also a few poems where I feel like the endings were false, maybe false is not the correct term, but poems where the ending was rushed to a tidy conclusion that didn’t match the power, intent, or voice of the preceding lines. I often felt frustrated, because I was able to see where the tiniest bit of editing would have allowed this collection to soar.

I honestly felt bad write these few critiques of this collection, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these aren’t necessarily critiques of the collection, but critiques of the publishing industry.Sidewalk Stories is a great collection poems, with interesting content, a voice that needs to be heard, but that has not had the opportunity of a quality line edit. And with the state of publishing and poetry in 2014, I understand how expensive that would have been.

So seriously, props to Autumn + Colour for taking a chance and publishing a poetry collection, props to Jeremy Ritch, for displaying his world to us. And let’s hope that this will inspire a new generation of poets and poetry readers, so much so that publishers again start paying fair wages and supporting authors as they deserve.

Gnarwolves :: Smoking Kills

I’ve been listening to this one on repeat.


Bad Daddies :: Negative Fun 2014 Singles Club 7” :: Negative Fun Records
When I was growing up in punk rock I never understood why people went crazy for this one female fronted hardcore band. It wasn’t the fact that I really wasn’t into hardcore at the time, it was that I didn’t get what made her so special. I honestly have no solid memory of the merits of the band, but I feel like no one really cared anyway, the craze was simply because she was a chick (and a hot one at that) in the boys club. Anyway, I didn’t get what the big deal was, and I still kind of don’t, I was always a you should not be judged based on your gender sort of person. But, recently I have strated to see the side of all those bands who made a statement around being a woman, So, in the vein of Bikini Kill and the whole Riot Grrrl movement, suppose there is something to be said and gained from asserting yourself as a woman, especially in a mostly boys club. And I will be psyched when the day comes when gender lines don’t matter anymore. And the way Bad Daddies thrash, I feel like we may be at that point.


 
Bad Daddies is a female fronted hardcore punk band from the East Bay, who may have possibly put out one of the best records of 2014. This 7inch is so raw and untouched by current music trends that it just exudes an honesty that is hard to come by. I am not sure which of these four tracks is my favorite, You Ain’t Right is straight forward hardcore with a ton of feeling and some fantastic feedback. Teenage Hell is weird, in a fucking awesome way, it just kind of fucks with you a bit as it accosts you. I Don’t is fantastic thrash punk and Head on a Rail is bursting with attitude. Though this 7inch is only 4 tracks and six and a half minutes, it will affect you - The reverb and the distortion and the passion will get you riled up, it will inspire you, and if you are not careful, it will spit you out.

Bad Daddies :: Negative Fun 2014 Singles Club 7” :: Negative Fun Records

When I was growing up in punk rock I never understood why people went crazy for this one female fronted hardcore band. It wasn’t the fact that I really wasn’t into hardcore at the time, it was that I didn’t get what made her so special. I honestly have no solid memory of the merits of the band, but I feel like no one really cared anyway, the craze was simply because she was a chick (and a hot one at that) in the boys club. Anyway, I didn’t get what the big deal was, and I still kind of don’t, I was always a you should not be judged based on your gender sort of person. But, recently I have strated to see the side of all those bands who made a statement around being a woman, So, in the vein of Bikini Kill and the whole Riot Grrrl movement, suppose there is something to be said and gained from asserting yourself as a woman, especially in a mostly boys club. And I will be psyched when the day comes when gender lines don’t matter anymore. And the way Bad Daddies thrash, I feel like we may be at that point.

 

Bad Daddies is a female fronted hardcore punk band from the East Bay, who may have possibly put out one of the best records of 2014. This 7inch is so raw and untouched by current music trends that it just exudes an honesty that is hard to come by. I am not sure which of these four tracks is my favorite, You Ain’t Right is straight forward hardcore with a ton of feeling and some fantastic feedback. Teenage Hell is weird, in a fucking awesome way, it just kind of fucks with you a bit as it accosts you. I Don’t is fantastic thrash punk and Head on a Rail is bursting with attitude. Though this 7inch is only 4 tracks and six and a half minutes, it will affect you - The reverb and the distortion and the passion will get you riled up, it will inspire you, and if you are not careful, it will spit you out.

Grey Gordon :: Target

Been totally digging these guys lately. www.facebook.com/mexcanslangband
www.buzzrecords.ca

My friends and I really held on to the mix tape. I also love that she did the entire B Side with local (and semi local) bands. 

Birthday 2004 from Sharon

Side A

1. The Beatles - Birthday

2. London Seude- Beautiful Ones

3. Empire Records (Queen Sarah Saturday) - Seems

4. Blink 182 - Dammit 

6. Unwritten Law - Cailin

7. MTX - …And I Will Be With You

8. Reel Big Fish - Sell Out

9. MxPx - Chick Magnet

10. The Descendents - What Will I Be Like (sic) 

11. All - I’ll Get There

12. Op Ivy - Unity

13. The Cure - Friday I’m In Love

14. WIFS - A Night In The Woods

15. I Hate Myself - Less Than Nothing

16. Mid Carson July - Delicate Matters

17. A New Found Glory - Hit or Miss (1st half)

Side B

1. A New Found Glory - Hit or Miss (2nd half)

2. Midtown - Just Rock and Roll

3. Bigwig - Candle Up Yer Ass

4. Overdrives - American Girl

5. Stutterbum - What a Wonderful World

6. 1.21 - Apathetic Jerk

7. FCK - Forward Motion

8. Worthless - Riot At The Mall

9. Magnus - Stick Together

10. Bedford - Divergent Boundaries


The Hunters :: Art Electric :: Black Numbers
When The Hunters Art Electric came across my desk (or email?  Or stereo? I am not really sure what the proper phrase is these digital days. Whatever, when I heard it for the first time) I was totally drawn in. While it has been quite a while since I really listened to alternative or indie rock as my primary genre, this album totally made me miss it.



 
Art Electric is an alternative/indie/garage rock hybrid that is full of passion, angst, blood, and guts – you know, all the stuff that make the best albums.
Though I totally stand by the garage rock descriptor, it is more in attitude and shown in the screaming elements as opposed to the quality of the recording. The tracks are smooth, polished, and even a bit stark yet the passion and rawness bleeds through in the vocals and screams.
Each of the songs on Art Electric are quite different yet share the same elements. They are all a bit pretty a bit catchy, a bit gritty, and a bit raw. Each track though, defines its own personality buy combining elements and letting others take the forefront.
Hold On, has a cool slightly menacing/slightly ethereal English new wave vibe that will also have you tapping your foot to the beat. Roadworn Heart, has a cool stripped down section and Lighthouse is heavy and chaotic.Heroes starts out simple with almost a whisper and builds and builds until it is raw and strained. Promises is raw and kinda messy with some great screams. It Had To Be You was the song that got me hooked. It is one of the most honest, yet least sappy, love songs I have ever heard. It begins subdued yet builds into a passionate chaos as if there is not enough air left for him to say everything he needs to.
Like I said, it has been several yeast since I really listened to alternative music. But if this is the state of the genre or where it is headed, I will most definitely become a fan again.  

The Hunters :: Art Electric :Black Numbers

When The Hunters Art Electric came across my desk (or email?  Or stereo? I am not really sure what the proper phrase is these digital days. Whatever, when I heard it for the first time) I was totally drawn in. While it has been quite a while since I really listened to alternative or indie rock as my primary genre, this album totally made me miss it.

 

Art Electric is an alternative/indie/garage rock hybrid that is full of passion, angst, blood, and guts – you know, all the stuff that make the best albums.

Though I totally stand by the garage rock descriptor, it is more in attitude and shown in the screaming elements as opposed to the quality of the recording. The tracks are smooth, polished, and even a bit stark yet the passion and rawness bleeds through in the vocals and screams.

Each of the songs on Art Electric are quite different yet share the same elements. They are all a bit pretty a bit catchy, a bit gritty, and a bit raw. Each track though, defines its own personality buy combining elements and letting others take the forefront.

Hold On, has a cool slightly menacing/slightly ethereal English new wave vibe that will also have you tapping your foot to the beat. Roadworn Heart, has a cool stripped down section and Lighthouse is heavy and chaotic.Heroes starts out simple with almost a whisper and builds and builds until it is raw and strained. Promises is raw and kinda messy with some great screams. It Had To Be You was the song that got me hooked. It is one of the most honest, yet least sappy, love songs I have ever heard. It begins subdued yet builds into a passionate chaos as if there is not enough air left for him to say everything he needs to.

Like I said, it has been several yeast since I really listened to alternative music. But if this is the state of the genre or where it is headed, I will most definitely become a fan again.