From 1998 through 2000, the American Hockey League had what was known as the Empire Division. It consisted mostly of New York teams (hence "Empire"), and the not-even-from-America Hamilton Bulldogs. I like to make the case that now is the time to bring back the Empire Division. There's more teams in New York than there were in the late 90s, and for some reason years and years of AHL realignment leaves both Charlotte, NC, and Rochester, NY with Western Conference teams. Then again, there was also one year where the entire Empire Division was in the West (beforehand it was an unbalenced setting of 3 in the East and 1 in the West). Rochester, Albany, Syracuse, and Binghamton are still around, plus now you have Utica, and a new team in Glens Falls, since the Phantoms bolted for (Le)high(Valley)er grounds (that was painful but necessary). This new team is the former Abbotsford Heat, affiliated with Calgary, which should make for a GREAT rivalry with the nearby Utica Comets, affiliated with Vancouver. But lets get to the point here. The Heat need a rebrand, and I have just the idea for them. I hope you're listening, Flames.
Into my inbox pinged the link. No body text, subject line only "best 14 minutes of my life." I looked around the office, waited for my bosses to disappear behind their closed doors, dragged my browser around so the YouTube video window was nestled into the bottom right of my their monitor, and positioned my text editor atop it, so I could screen the images from prying eyes with a quick-fingered ALT-TAB. I hit the GO button.
A sure sign of spring possibly coming and ending the Winter That Will Not End, the NHL's trade deadline passed today at 3PM. Since I have been asked multiple times about my whereabouts wrt: writing on here (this is actually false, Jer just gave me shit for not putting up the Album of the Year list I was working on), I figured I'd make my not-so-grand return by breaking down some of the more important deals of the past day or two.
The first time I was on Up The Pucks (remember that podcast?), the guys presented me with a question, had I ever come face to face with sexism as a hockey or punk fan. And I could confidently say that, no. Nine times out of ten, people are pretty whatever about me being a fan, and those few exceptions, amend their opinions of me fairly quickly. Or I just stop listening to them.
And it really comes as no surprise to anyone that I took the day off to watch Team USA play Team Canada in the semi-finals of the Olympics. It’s two pure NHL teams facing on international ice to battle it out. No local guys, no college players, no hometown heroes for Sochi to root for, out on that ice for 60 minutes playing for their country. And this is where the issues of my fandom occurs. Never once did people care what I am packing in my pants but rather what I’m packing in my suitcase. I’ve found being an American fan of a Canadian sport has caused me more grief than anything.
I need to stop judging people, things, bands, whatever based on a three second impression. Because lets face it, if I was to do that with a band that describes themselves as “We're a Post-Parkour band making pizza tunes since Two Thousand and Something.” on BandCamp I would have never listened beyond the sound of me shutting off my speakers. I don’t want to say “penisloaf” but yes.
But really, what would be the point of this review if I just left it at “penisloaf”? I’ve written some dumb posts but that would probably take the cake. Or loaf. Instead, may I introduce you to Holy City Zoo, a local punk band, and the inaugural effort to bring more bands to Up The Pucks.
Part of the Tiny Giant Artist Collective (the Collective includes The Front Bottoms, Pentimento, and The Nico Blues), the New Brunswick quartet has been hitting the local scene hard since 2010 and it’s hard to not like them. Hell I’ll freely admit it. Y’all know me, I was asked to stop reviewing shows because I literally saw the same 4 bands over and over. And here I am, willing to let Joe, AJ, Frank, and Brian to to the sacred space of my headphones.
On February 7th, Holy City Zoo released their latest single, Grandview Terrace, clocking in at just under 6:20 it’s one of their longest song to date. In previous albums, like Nobody Sells for Less and Everybody Sells For More, they followed a more traditional punk style of under 3:00 and done. Grandview Terrace has the guitar precision of Fall of Troy but the vocals of early Taking Back Sunday.
Not your thing? Then I suggest Everybody Sells For More.
The words “Holy shit Dead Kennedys” might have escaped my mouth as Everybody Sells For More starts. Sure, the song titles evoke the wordplay found on a Fall Out Boy album, but these songs are anything but boy band emo pop punk. The vocals on Givin’ Him The Business are eerily similar to Jello Biafra, that flat but powerful sound that keeps the record on repeat.
The sound ebbs into a more Chiodos sounding group, but without that needed to dress like this:
But really, stop reading my words and head over to their BandCamp page and give it a whirl, they have more releases than just the three mentioned. Make sure you check out the evolution of the band, all of their work is well worth the listen and a few bucks if you're feeling generous.