Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hit Stop, Rewind, It's Time To Check Your Audio

Today I left my house and was scrolling through my ipod try to find something a little more energetic to listen to than the Cat Stevens record I already had going at the time. Being already in the "C" section, I came across a name that I hadn't seen in a while: The Ceremonial Snips.

Now of course they are still a band, but have changed their name to just "The Snips" and in fact put out a new record this year which you can get for $0 right here. But with the name change came a big change in sound as well as some member changes. The band has been operating under the "Snips" moniker for a while now and most people probably think of the current incarnation of the band, rather than the "Ceremonial" version of the band.

While nowadays the band plays rockier/poppier punk songs that are very good, they're nowhere near the hard-hitting/horn-laden punk that the band used to put out. They played real fast, had melodic hornlines, hardcore-influenced riffs and metal leads. It definitely seems like an odd combination, but the band pulled it off extremely well, taking the best parts of each genre in order to make a greater whole.

Evidence of this is one of their better known old songs, "Fuck With The Rose", where they start with about 30 seconds of metal riffing that wouldn't be out of place on a Megadeth record, then go into a great catchy hornline, a fast punk verse and then end with a hardcore gang vocal back and forth.

I first got introduced to the band because they would get put on ska bills all of the time because they had a horn section I guess? They really have no element of ska to them whatsoever. Anyways they kept getting tighter and tighter live and kept getting gnarlier and gnarlier riff-wise and really turned into one of my favourite Ontario bands. Then they kept quiet for a little bit and came out with the new line-up. I was pretty bummed at first because of the change in sound but eventually grew to like the new version as well.

The band was pretty important to me and were definitely one of the first groups that got me more into hardcore and metal. I would highly recommend tracking down a copy of Check Your Audio because it's front-to-back great and is seriously riff city.

Or, if you are lazy then click this.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fuck That Shit

Something that has been interesting to me throughout my life is watching the way skateboarding constantly evolves and changes. More so than any other sport (except in some cases Basketball) one single single figure, or small group can completely change the style of skateboarding. This was true in the 70's with the Zephyr team, the 80's with the Bones Brigade, as well as many different skaters in the 90's and after. Visually the biggest difference is the fashion as skaters are very quick to jump on a trend and start dressing like their favourite shredders (Watch The Search For Animal Chin and you will immediately see why I dress the way I do). Remember when every suburban teenager started wearing purple and black "heart-agram" shit because Bam Margera did. Or when Hurley stocks went up a jillion points when Bob Burnquist had a Hurley shit on in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? The same can be said today of all the kids trying to look like the Deathwish/Shake Junt teams.

The exact same thing happens in the style of tricks performed. Young kids skating obviously try to skate like their favourite skaters and do the same style tricks as them. Everyone is flipping in and out of grinds today because they grew up watching Koston do the same thing.

Basically what I'm trying to get at is that the trends in skating as well as skating itself is in constant flux and constantly evolving.

But something that has grown an astounding amount in popularity over the last few years is longboarding. I just do not get the appeal. When I first started skateboarding longboarding seemed to be a California-only thing for the hippies to do on their amazing selection of hills. As I went through university, I noticed more and more people starting to longboard to the point that now far more people longboard than "regular" skating. The only appeal I can see is that they are easier to cruise on and thus much more convenient if mobility is all you're looking for in a skateboard.

Rollerbladers have long been the mortal enemy of skateboarders, but I would wager that longboarders have now taken up that mantle. When I look at the reasons why I, myself loathe them so much I can't really pinpoint it. I used to say "You can't ollie on a longboard" but then I saw a group of kids bombing rails in New York on longboards (less lame, but still pretty lame). I often say "It's not a skateboard if you can wear sandals on it" but that doesn't really carry any weight and is more just me making fun of people who wear Birkenstocks to skateboard in.

After a lot of thinking though, I believe I've finally come to a conclusion. It's because no (or a very minimal amount) of longboarders were skateboarders before. So what has happened is that a huge population of people who aren't really "skateboarders" (This is a whole other fucking ordeal that I can't get into now.) have taken over the sport. For example, there is a skate shop in Guelph where I just moved out of that didn't sell any actual skate parts, only longboards. As a result of this, pretty much the only place someone can go to get  a new skateboard/skate parts is the West 49 in the mall. Which really sucks.

The culture surrounding longboarding is what pisses me off most about it. It started as something that was awesomely counter-culture. Skateboarding is illegal, street skaters got in the way, did things in places they weren't supposed to and weren't highly regarded. I got into skateboarding and punk music at around the same time (as many people did) and it seemed like a match made in heaven. In contrast to this is longboaring culture, which, as far as I can tell, consists of bros riding them to the library and hippies cruising around on them to be environmentally friendly.

And that fucking sucks man.

Also, complete non-sequitur but especially fuck people who refer to skateboards as "shortboards". That should be punishable by stoning.

It just really sucks to see something you've grown up loving so much to be completely overrun by a group of people who have absolutely nothing to do with the original ethos of the sport. Not to say that I'm a nihilistic badass with no regard for anybody who busts Smith grinds now 10 sets in front of cops, but there certainly is  a "I don't give a fuck" attitude that you take up a little bit the first time you buy a skateboard and that is definitely void in longboarding.

That, or I'm a jaded ass who hates everything.

Maybe a little of both?

But I suppose that even though most people actually ask me "Why don't you longboard?" when they see my deck, a bunch of turds can't ruin the inherent magic of landing sketchy ollies with your best friends in a parking lot. So I suppose that even though skateboarding is extremely mainstream at the moment because of figures like Rob Dyrdek (though he does build a ton of skateparks in places they are needed, so good on him) and Ryan Sheckler (though he does shred pretty fucking hard) and also overrun with goddamn longboarders, nothing can ever take away the magic trying to land a trick all day and finally stomping it at 12:30 with all your friends cheering you on.

That and some fuck is always going to be pissing off security guards by manualing around the front of a building. Which makes me smile.