i was swallowed by the noise: new BOSS HOG live & on vinyl

Cristina Martinez & Jon Spencer's band BOSS HOG are back with their first album in over 15 years. peep the Brood X vinyl & my exclusive video footage of their badass Bawsston show!

Boss Hog have returned with their first full length album since the year 2000. it's called Brood X and is straight up slammin', immediate contender for best rock record of the year in my humble opinion. i just had the immense pleasure of witnessing them perform it live, they murdered the set from which i'm still basking in the glow of days later. before we get to the albums, see what i'm saying with this video i filmed up front at their recent concert at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. the song is "Ground Control", one of the new album's freshest bangers:

so whomst be Boss Hog, you ask?

the blues-punk-rock 5-piece centered around ultimate powercouple Cristina Martinez & Jon Spencer which began back in the late 80s in NYC as Pussy Galore were winding down prior to the founding of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. i grew up listening to the JSBX at a super young age thanks to my guitar teacher who blessed me with a copy of their classic 1994 album Orange around when it dropped - he was probably getting bored with all the alt-rock/post-hardcore favorites of mine i kept having him teach me that were all the same power-chords, so he laced me with the Orange CD and very successfully opened my young mind to a whole different experimental realm i had not yet explored. if you were wondering, i no longer know how to play guitar because i later cut the end of my finger off in the cutterheads of the jointer in high school wood shop class while simultaneously becoming so obsessed with hip hop that it became almost the only genre i listened to for years, so i stopped playing my Ibanez... but that's a whole 'nother story. though i pretty much stayed rocking the Blues Explosion ever since i was put onto them back then, i never got around to peeping Jon Spencer's other groups until the past 5 years or so during which i've gone back heavy into the punk & rock realm. my Sonic Youth obsession led me to their homies, the Jon's first group, eighties NYC noise-rock-anarchists Pussy Galore, which featured Spencer's eventual wife Martinez as a member for a point, back when she was still a teenager. Boss Hog seem to be the lesser known of the Spencer groups, and it's harder to find most of their records - while i have the majority of the JSBX & Pussy Galore LPs & EPs, which i'll post up on here later, i still have work to do tracking down the older Boss Hog releases! we're just going to focus on that new new anyway...

the Brood Star EP & Brood X LP, both out now on In The Red Records:

i had no idea Boss Hog were active again when i fortuitously stumbled on their freshly released, rejuvenated reunion EP, Brood Star, while diggin' in the crates at one of Boston's local record stores a few months back, and was blown away by how dope it is. though it's their first record in 16 years, there is nothing dated or dusty sounding in the 4 tracks, featuring the stompers 'Wichita Grey' & 'Disgrace' plus the more experimental 'Devious Motherfucker' & 'Nymph Beat'. its vinyl was cut at 45rpm and is loud as fuck, by the way! then a few weeks ago, the Brood X full length LP dropped, taking it to another level; it's a concise ten-track front-to-back beast of a record, packed with nothing but heat. while Boss Hog are in that punky bluesy rock'n'roll realm JSBX also inhabits, they sound very different, with the vocals mainly by Cristina Martinez who is the ultimate badass frontwoman, leaving Jon Spencer to secondary vox while focusing on guitar, flanked by Hollis Queens (drums), Jens Jurgensen (bass/guitar) & Mickey Finn (keys). the whole band is super tight as a unit, with Hollis Queens' drums being a standout feature - i feel like you could make a killer break record out of her work here, adding more of a funky, hip hoppy feel to their sound, plus she held it the fuck down at the show, singing while rocking the ill drumbeat simultaneously, respect! other tracks i'm feeling especially on Brood X include 'Black Eyes', 'Shh Shh Shh' & 'Rodeo Chica', though there are no songs i would skip, it's all dope. however, one track stands out from the rest, with a special, different type of sound & power, and that is most definitely the haunting concluding track, '17', in which Martinez channels the thoughts & emotions of her younger self, blending into the shadows of the eighties NYC noise punk world:

"I was swallowed by the noise."

'17' sends shivers up my spine on the vinyl, so i was really hoping they would play it live, and sure enough it came as the 2nd of 3(!) encore tracks with the crazy ill arrangement you see in the video above. at first i was bothered that Cristina is obscured by the shadows for most of the video, but then realized it went so perfect with the lyrics and theme of the song... swallowed by the noise. 

Boss Hog floored the crowd, slaying their set with a non-stop barrage of heater after heater; if you ever have the chance to see them, don't miss out! in the slideshow above are a few still shots i snapped, and the cherry on top was groupie-ganging up on Cristina & Jon after the set - they were super cool and took that final pic with my friends and i, completely making the night. cop their new records & if you dig the videos, share 'em with yr friends! stay boss

Free Kitten 4ever

Kim Gordon & Julie Cafritz's side project/ supergroup was the shit. Free Kitten, str8up... direct from da collecsch!

Kim G & Julie C's experimental outfit active from 1992-2008, Free Kitten, is some overlooked weirdo gold, punx! Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth & Julie Cafritz from Pussy Galore are post punk/ indie rock royalty and their musical friendship resulted in one of my favorite largely unknown groups that captivates me in a way uniquely its own. Kim & Julie both sing & play guitar with Yoshimi of Boredoms on drums & Mark Ibold of Pavement on bass for select albums.

why now? did someone die? lol - nope, but that's seems to be the only time these days when i see people rep any music that is not the current flavor of the month. and while most music blogs focus on strictly new or 'hot' music or only reference older albums because of some arbitrary release-date anniversary that no one actually cares about in real life & was just generated by some kinda algorithm so that the site can make itself look more relevant with their superficial click-bait practices, i have absolutely no interest in participating in that type of that largely worthless (non)discourse. fuck that! i'm just here to rep great music which i take inspiration from, regardless of all that other noise. after working in the music industry for 11 years, one of the things that bothered me most about the way it functions is how everything is so focused on new releases for a very brief amount of time before it's completely pushed aside, lest its popular enough to continually sell big numbers or get a reissue. i surely don't live in the past on a memberberry diet - in my opinion one should stay current & relevant to what's happening in the present, however most great music and art has no expiration date & should thus not be treated as such. that's a whole 'nother rant to expound on later, however - today we're just here to talk about Kitten!

pictured above are the 3 full-length albums by Free Kitten - 1994's Nice Ass LP, 1997's Sentimental Education LP & 2008's Inherit, which only dropped on CD unfortunately - 10 year anniversary comes next year so perhaps they'll finally press it on wax? one can hope.

Free Kitten came with a abrasive, 'alternative' experimental mix of postpunk-indie-art-rock-blues-rap-noise type sound, so if that scares you just stop here, this ain't for you! it's Kim & Julie with middle fingers out doing whatever the fuck they want, jumping back & forth across a wide span of genres & moods, sometimes aggro & much of the time sarcastic & hilarious as say on 'Dick', the ode to Richards (Hell, Kern...) from the debut EP or the numerous disses to the 90s alt rock scene on the Nice Ass LP ("play some records that tell it like it is/ i'm sick of Stone Temple Pilots jizz") which are maybe too dated for the younger crowd but still crack me up as a nineties kid. however, this music is still totally relevant in that it was ahead of its time - genre barriers were a way bigger thing back then, now that they're breaking down further & people are more opened to mixing it all together, Kitten may be appreciated in a whole new light. before the Internet changed the game for better & for worse, it was also harder to get exposed to more obscure projects like this which were never going to get mainstream appeal.

pictured above: the rest of my FK collecsch, as of now: 1992's Call Now EP, the Sex Boy/Darby Speak 7" & the Unboxed compilation of pre-1995 singles

i was born in '83 and grew up on punk, hardcore & alternative rock for much of the 90s before getting deeply into hip hop around 1997, obsessively focusing mostly on that for much of the next decade before expanding my tastes to a larger spectrum in the late 2000s when i transferred over to buying vinyl records from CDs. i mention this because as i got back into guitar music around then, Sonic Youth was one of the first bands who's catalog i fully submerged myself into, and that's completely because of Kim. while Thurston, Lee & Steve's contribution to the band are undeniable, it's always the Kim-sung tracks on any and all SY albums that are my personal favorites (though i dig most of what they did). i was enamored with many SY-affiliated bands heavy when i was young, Kurt Cobain was my first musical god years before he died so i was always aware & interested in Sonic Youth back then but i wasn't really ready for their aesthetic yet at that age. when i re-approached their music in my mid-20s as an abstract artist, it was exactly the type of inspiration i needed - it gets me open in a specific type of creation mode. after spending so many years mostly submerged in the male-dominated undergroundhiphop scene, i also sought better gender-balance in my record collection - listening to only the music of men is not healthy for anyone's mental health, balance is so key in all areas, though not if contrived - Kim's music specifically speaks to me, so i went deep in that direction. plus, she's always had a thing for hip hop, like her rapping style on the 1983 SY classic "Making The Nature Scene" or the 1990 "Kool Thing" collab with Chuck D, so i naturally gravitated to her music.

Julie Cafritz i know less about but also have tons of love for - she's definitely just as vital & present as Kim is on all of these records & is badass as fuck. she is first known as founding member of pioneering noise-rock provocateurs Pussy Galore, on guitar & some vocals for all of their 80s albums but left before the last LP in 1990. in the same way that the Pixies would've been even doper if there were more Kim Deal songs, Pussy Galore could've crushed it harder if Julie had more mic presence, imo - case & point being their track 'Cunt Tease' off of 1986's Groovy Hate Fuck EP, easily one of their best tracks. if yr unfamiliar with Pussy Galore, it's also where Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion, Boss Hog) & Neil Haggerty (Royal Trux) got their starts, and i will most definitely be revisiting all of those groups on here as time permits, plus plenty more on Sonic Youth & Kim Gordon, who i consider one of my most important creatively-inspiring guiding lights or 'patron saints' as i refer to those like her, who's art resonates with me the deepest. plus Free Kitten never broke up to the best of my knowledge, so fingers crossed they bless us with some newness, one can hope at least! i leave you with this classic Kitten cut off of Nice Ass, my fave of all their albums: