Monday, September 24, 2018

NEW WEBSITE This blog contains reviews, etc. For fake news, fiction, and existential distress, click on the link below. -Brian.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: Spells

Big Boring Meeting 7-inch (Snappy Little Numbers)

There’s a lot of talk out there about the perils of living in bubbles — liberal or otherwise. And I get that it limits perspective and can keep one out of touch with the rest of the country. But I have to say, I’m quite happy in my bubble where I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like loud punk rock. And as such, I don’t have to hear anyone talking about how he or she doesn’t like the new Spells record. And that’s fine with me, because it’s a new Spells record. And new Spells records are good. And this snappy little 7-inch fits the template of an excellent Spells record, in that it’s a damn enjoyable bit of vinyl. The six-song single commences with “Deceiver” — an expertly executed grungy pop-punk track that’s comfortably on par with the band’s best songs (maybe even in the top-five, if I ever decided to rank them). “No AC” is a rollicking number about not having an air conditioner in a hot Los Angeles apartment. It’s a sentiment to which I can relate — having experienced the dark, often suicidal thoughts that can occur when the temperature won’t go under 80 degrees in living quarters where sleep is an absolute requirement. Awhile back the group wrote a song where several members shout, “Spells rules, yeah.” Big Boring Meeting is proof that this sentiment is as true now as it was back then.

For more info, go here.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: Hooper

No Monument (Snappy Little Numbers)

A lot of times, bands have a knack for never quite making it to their sophomore albums. And that’s especially true for musicians with full time jobs and families. Still, Hooper — unequivocal adults, all three members — somehow found time to write, record, and release a follow-up to its first, How to Become a Ghost. The record, No Monument, showcases the band’s proficiency for writing punkish rock songs full of hooks and melody without venturing anywhere near the pop punk genre. It would be like stacking Weezer’s debut record on top of a copy of American Steel’s Jagged Thoughts and then melting them (assuming the resulting mess of vinyl would somehow maintain traits from each group and still play on a record player; but I digress). Side A kicks off with “Red Shift (and the Irish Goodbye),” a bittersweet ditty with singer/guitarist Trevor McMorris singing, “The beat gets worse from all your hunting, when you wear down the ground pursuing your prize. When you feel you have so much to give, so you take, take, take.” The song “Unfinished Basements” takes a musically catchy and lyrically biting point of view on revisiting roots. And “Anyone Vs. the Harlem Globetrotters” — the only one fronted by bassist Mike Taylor — is a tuneful, melodic number that’s one of the highlights of the second side. No Monument expounds upon the sonic capacity of Hooper’s first release as it captures its members at the apex of their songwriting prowess. 

For more information: Go here.

Surviving a Bad Review

Surviving a Bad Review

With the meteoric rise of the amateur critic, hardly anyone can escape the crosshairs of the bad review these days. From shortsighted, petty business assessments on Yelp to snidely tearing apart media on Amazon, bad opinions of your life’s work have never been easier to dispense. And thanks to the ease of accessing the internet, reading horrible, poorly-worded analyses of your blood, sweat, and tears is conveniently a click or two away! How’s that for modern living?

Even though a bad review can cause some serious soul damage, it’s nevertheless a right of passage. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of one, it’s because you’ve never made yourself vulnerable by opening a business or creating and releasing art. But if you really put yourself out there, really make a commitment to try hard in life, some jerk with an internet connection and an opinion will fucking hate you for it, and they will say really shitty things.

So what’s a creator to do?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Yellow Rake #31

Issue #31 available now. Buy it here. New content to follow.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Placement of Character

Placement of Character JPG

“Sad, funny, misanthropic, adventurous, endearing, I can’t recommend it highly enough.” 
—Josiah Hesse, author of Carnality: Dancing on Red Lake

"Polk writes well and understands how to make a story flow." —Kurt Morris, Razorcake

Read The Yellow Rake founder's second novel, Placement of Character. Critics (mostly) agree, it's worth buying (or at least checking out from the library). Read it, enjoy it, love it and/or hate it. Either way, check it out (or buy it) now!

YR Collective

At these fine retailers:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks

Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks
By Bob Rob Medina
In Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks, Bob Rob Medina compiles an exhaustive history of 1980s Denver punk and hardcore with an impressive collection of personal anecdotes, interviews, old show flyers, and beautiful full-color animations on almost every page. With the selection of artifacts presented throughout the book, it’s as if Medina spent a lifetime compiling ephemera with the sole purpose of exhibiting it in an enormous encyclopedic tome. Beginning with interviews of arguably the most important figures of ‘80s-era Denver punk—Wax Trax’s Duane Davis and Mercury Cafe founder Marilyn Megenity—the book offers a wide spectrum of subjects that includes the scene’s heavy hitters (Frantix and Rok Tots) and its lesser known contemporaries (Acid Pigs and Malibu Kens). It also showcases promoters (Jill Razer), venue owners (Nancy and Tom of Kennedy’s Warehouse), artists that still perform locally (Little Fyodor), “that guy on the bicycle” (Phil the Fan), and the scene’s unseemly side (Shawn Slater, a racist skinhead who appeared in national newspapers after organizing a klan rally during a Martin Luther King Jr. parade). Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks is essential reading, not just for ‘80s punks who lived through the chaos, but for anyone who has been involved in the Denver music scene throughout the years, because it was the movers and shakers in these very pages that booked shows, built venues, started zines, cultivated unique audiences, and attracted nationally touring acts that paved the way for the thriving music culture that permeates Denver today.