Left of the Dial Magazine

LOTD Testimony

Left of the Dial knows that today's rat packs, indie rock wannabes, and punk-of-the-month bands are tomorrow's bargain bin dust collectors. They have a shorter shelf life than a corroded alkaline battery. We are interested in the people who make music that transcends genres; in fact, we think genres are boring. It's people and art that matter. We don't buy into the cult of the new. FACT: Most magazines are really industry mouthpieces that are full of hype, gloss, and fake careerism. We also know that most zines are little clans that are as faceless and warmed-over as last week's Spin. It's time to go beyond the common and expected. LOTD is for those people who still have music on fire inside them. For rockers who are under the spell of books, and for those people who think that music doesn't belong to elite critics. Wits and raw talent are the message: LOTD is the transmitter. Now, stake your claim. Here's the new heresy and rebellion.

February 5, 2007

Zozobra/Harmonic Tremors: Hydra Head Records

Filed under: Reviews — leftofthedialmag @ 9:33 am

Since Cave-In devotees routinely track down and celebrate all the side-projects that the members divide up and pursue, they should dive into Caleb Scofield’s mystery-laden, churning, heaving Zozobra, whose name is borrowed from the festival of the ritual burning (in effigy form) of Old Man Gloom, which native New Mexicans do with a feverish pitch every year with a 50ft tower of fire. In prototypical fashion, in some place the vocals are gnarled and knotted, but in others there is another approach, more meditative and mesmerized, though sometimes barely surfacing above trunk loads of distortion. The guitars are cousins to the myopic muck of the Melvins or headtrip Nebula, and the tempo is sludgeworthy, like vaporous hot lava, though don’t be lulled, ‘cause the wrist-flexing style is often complicated and agile. There is also an almost Cosmic Rock vibe (it’s no wonder their publicity namechecks Godflesh, since this does feel very 1990s in some ways — imagine shoegazing metal music), at least embodied in tracks such as “The Vast Expanse” and “A Distance Star Fades,” though they are balanced by the rather stark animalism and vociferous teeth-grind of “Kill and Crush” and “Invisible Wolves.” (more…)

February 3, 2007

Beyond Cheap Trick/A Quick Look at Illinois’ True Second City (1980s) : Rockford, IL

Filed under: Features — leftofthedialmag @ 12:30 am

Usually considered a restful hub during the boring trek between Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin, the mid-sized town of Rockford, Illinois, a former rust belt factory fiefdom, was home to premier power pop band Cheap Trick, 1980’s porn star Ginger Lynn, Brad Wood (producer and engineer for Seam, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and many more) and future members of Die Kreuzen (Touch and Go), Tar (Touch and Go), and EIEIO (Frontier Records). Though it does not share the punk legacy of the university towns of its cheesehead northern neighbors or the feisty art and hardcore scenes of mammoth and mythic urban Windy City, it does have its own share of interesting stories. In the shadow of Cheap Trick were the overlooked “one-hit” efforts of The Names, who released the terrific single “Why Can’t It Be,” which was eventually featured on the Rhino compilation “Come Out and Play – American Power Pop (1975-78).” (more…)

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