Monday, September 29, 2014

MOVIE MONDAYS - Phil Olympia talks Horror/Sci Fi Movies

Pictured above: Phil Olympia holding a six pack of pee and cradling his cat Arson Wells.
 Phil Olympia is my all-time favorite galoot. Phil knows I could give less than a shit about sports, but he still asks me questions about sports ball players every time I see him, or tries to impress me with how good they might be at throwing balls at places (hoops or poles or something), as if I'll suddenly start to care. I imagine that it's this level of dedication that explains why he invited me to partner with him here at Never Nervous, so named for Pervis Ellison, because the only thing Phil loves as much as sports is music. Phil has played music. He played with his awesome brother Anthony in The Olympia Three. The two of us played together (alongside his brother again) in both Khali Ma'at and The Greenwich Tragedy, otherwise known as the metal band. And we were a proper metal band. We (The Greenwich Tragedy) once played a battle of the bands at a church that resulted first in the preacher leading the congregation in prayer for the violence that we'd wrought -THE TRUE POWER OF LEAD GUITAR HARMONIES- and later banned the Olympia brothers from playing there again. Between playing and attending shows for years, Phil is hella qualified to run this blog, and I'm fortunate to be his partner and his friend. Even if he does love sportsball way more than I care about it.

That said, this is a feature all about people in music and their love of outside art. Where Phil loves sports and music, he also loves movies. And so do I. In fact, we believe that everyone probably likes some kind of cinema, whether it's so that they can just escape or maybe learn something about them selves. So we've started this feature -Movie Mondays- where we talk to a musician or artist and ask them a three questions (or commands as it were) about movies. We thought we'd kick it off by interviewing each other, so without further ado, Phil Olympia on Horror/Sci Fi movies.

Never Nervous: Talk about your favorite movie of the past year. What made it your favorite and why?

Phil Olympia:  I really liked The Conjuring, my favorite big budget horror movie of the last 5 years or so.  I don't really give a shit about the "based on a true story" angle, and neither should you.  Just sit back and enjoy an old school haunted house flick the way it's supposed to be done: good amount of back story, believable characters you actually care about, and plenty of "holy shit did you see that?!" parts. 

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are perfect as Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators.  They are called to check out an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, where scary shit happens, and happens, etc.  It was weirdly fun to watch Ron Livingston (who plays the father of the terrorized family) take part in a movie like this.  He was a bit out of place, but whatever.

I love horror movies more than almost anything, but I don't get genuinely scared very often, especially not with modern horror.  This movie definitely scared the shit out of me.  Plenty of unpleasant atmosphere, more than enough "what's around this corner" shots.  If Amittyville Horror was a lot better and actually scary, it would look a lot like The Conjuring.  Couldn't recommend this one more.

NN: Do you have any recommendations for a Horror/Sci-Fi movie we may not have seen? Why should we watch it?

PO: George Romero's Martin is a movie that isn't unheard of, but I feel it doesn't get enough attention.   I'm not saying it's Romero's best film, but it's probably the most interesting take on the overly polluted vampire genre that I've ever seen.  The main character is Martin, who on the outside appears to be a quiet teenager that lives with his uncle in Pittsburgh.  His secret, though is that he claims to be 84 years old, and he can only survive by drinking the blood of others.  In other words, he's sorta kinda a vampire.  Or is he?

Martin satisfies his urges by tranquilizing his victims (mostly young women) with some sort of drug in a syringe, and then cuts them open with razors and drinks their blood.  Are these urges psychological or is he really a vampire?  Will his uncle find out what he's up to?  Seriously, watch this movie and find out for yourself.  Probably my second favorite Romero flick behind Dawn of the Dead

NN: Talk about the last movie you saw in the theater. Did you like it? If you were Roger Ebert (but alive), how would you rate it and why?

PO: As a kid, I loved the X-Men.  I loved the comics, the toys and the animated series.  I really wanted to love the first three X-Men movies, but for me they all fell short.  Aside from mainstays Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, the rest of the cast is kind of lifeless and boring.  I don't believe their problems for a second.  I love Sir Ian McKellan.  He was the best Gandalf that Gandalf could ever be, but seriously, his Magneto fucking sucks.  There I said it.

That being said, X-Men: First Class was so good!  Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were the breath of fresh air that not only this franchise needed, but super hero movies in general needed.  Even Kevin Bacon was a badass as the villain Sebastian Shaw.  And I have to mention Wolverine's small cameo, which was probably the best cameo ever. EVER.

So when Days Of Future Past was announced, I was excited but just a little skeptical.  I felt that Hollywood was thinking "how can we merge the casts from both X-Men time periods and make the biggest most ridiculous X-Men movie yet? Oh shit, there's a time travel story written for us!" I already knew the source material the movie was borrowing from (Read: Days of Future Past story arc), as it was my favorite X-Men storyline as a kid.  Its a BIG story, so fitting it into one movie had to be a challenge.  How did it work?  For me, I actually loved it.  Of course, they had to move a few parts around to make it work, but it came together nicely.  The story is all over the place (like this mini-review), but it didn't flop the way Spider Man 3 did (and wow, that one really flopped!).

Friday, September 26, 2014

LISTEN: The Fervor are set to reissue "Bleeder" and want you to listen to a song from it!

The Fervor's 2011 record Arise, Great Warrior is pretty damned good. For the most part it's a straight-forward rock n' roll album, but to me the band really benefits from the superb vocals from Natalie Felker. (If you haven't already, listen to AGW here) Aside from that record, I personally haven't heard much else from The Fervor outside of a few 7inches and compilation albums.

Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to them, but I kinda didn't even know they were still a band. To my delight, not only are they still intact, they also are reissuing a record I didn't know existed called Bleeder which was quietly released in 2007. I don't know much about it, but to get us jacked for its upcoming re-release, the band is streaming the first song from the record called "Moment of Truth." Much like the music heard on AGW, it's pretty straight forward rock that hugely benefits from Felker's powerful, gritty voice. Check it out:

The reissue of Bleeder will be released on CD and as a digital download September 30th via Karate Body. Preorder the record here.

BECAUSE YOU MISSED IT: My Birthday Was Boss Hog Shit This Year!

Pictured above: Look at that regal crotch, and fat legs! I'm a fucking stallion man.
So some smart-ass on Facebook made some crack about me doing a review of my birthday as an article. Ask and ye shall receive. I'm like Jesus or Batman or whoever said that. I don't know everything guys, and you can't expect me to. You're probably wondering already, "Why do I give a warm shit about Syd's Birthday?" The answer is simple: it was awesome and it wouldn't have been this jump-kick inducing radical without the self-confidence I got from playing music, and the people I met along the way. And here I would say "but I digress," but honestly this entire piece is a digression from our regular content, so insert your favorite deal-with-it.gif or whatever at your own leisure.

How I got Dad Rowdy or Why You Should Buy Me Beers and Comics:

1) I slept pretty well. I am a proud father of the world's most righteous little girl, and that means limited sleep time for Mr. Syd. The good news is, I have the best wife in the world, and on top of that, I love my baby, so I don't really get all that cranky waking up anyways. She's so cute, I feel like I'm in a Cotton commercial with Zoe Deschanel, except I don't hate it.

2) I handled some dad stuff. That means changing diapers and doing my best to soothe her, which given my silky voice is no problem. Girl knows how comforting daddy's boss level vox is. I am a true manager of soothing my daughter. It also means though, that I help out my wife. That I've been reassured that I'm going above and beyond helping out makes me want to punch dads, given that I'm just being a human and helping people I love. Big whoop. So rule #1 in life, and the one I hope I can impart to my daughter: don't be a jerk. Easy peazy, so far, unless you think she was being a jerk for farting straight into my face. I ain't mad at her though.

3) I ordered and read a bunch of comics. I wrote "comics" on purpose, by the way. Not "graphic novels," which is a term I mostly hate. I feel like people just say or write it that way, so that they can elevate their action to something socially acceptable out of some perceived shame. Piss on that. I read superhero comics and it was exactly what I wanted. My comic reading is equivalent to my movie watching: let's see shit blow up, please. There's enough bogusity in the world, so I'd rather immerse myself in a reality where the good guys win, or at least where the better guys win. My only regret is that the Uncanny Avengers trade that I wanted so bad was pushed back a week, which is horrible and probably the worst thing that's ever happened in life. Keep me in your prayers, y'all.

4) I listened to local music, almost exclusively. Okay, so I started with "Music For a Forgotten Future," not only my top Mogwai song, but one of my favorite songs ever composed. But after that, I wanted to get rowdy seeing superheroes/supervillains wail on each other, so I listed to "Easy Pain," by Young Widows, "Heater," by Crain, "One Less Heartless To Fear," by The Shipping News, and then part of the unofficially released Teen Pregnancy! record. Yep, I rock out my own records and have no shame in it. Why make music if not to because you like what you do? And to be honest, sometimes I just want to compare my music to others, not out of envy, but because I'm introspective like that and want to be the best Syd I can be. And we have a lot to look up to in Louisville.

See how I made this relevant?

5) I drank beers. One of my top homies gave me the gift of my favorite beer ever made. And I drank the shit out of it. Then I had a couple of Adam Colvin's least favorite beers too, which I might add go wonderfully with the molasses cookies and pumpkin pie I snacked on throughout the day. Points to me.

6) I slept good again. First I dozed off on the couch with my head next to baby girl's. Then I went to bed and got like five or six hours. That's how amazing my wife is. Please buy her nice things. I know I try to.

This is all to say that I'm the luckiest guy in the world, and I've found my fortune through the punk/indie community. So many people had nice things to say, and I felt loved, which I in turn shared with my family. I have a family. I am responsible for the well-being of a human, which I love. And I felt like I needed to share this, because I want as much positivity in the world that I can afford to give. I love my city, I love my community, and at least partially attribute my good fortunes to both, that it lead me to my beautiful wife, which in turn allowed me to meet my beautiful daughter.

And one little tag onto this: support the Louisville Outskirts Festival. I want my daughter to have a place to shred and feel like the badass she is when she does, and things like the Outskirts Festival promote just that.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

WATCH: Allen Poe has a new music video for "Sundazed" featuring Jalin Roze

2 Allen Poes + 3 Jalin Rozes = Some Pretty Dope Shit.
To promote his upcoming record How Gardens Grow, Allen Poe has released a music video (shot/edited by Kogan Dumb) featuring his new single "Sundazed" featuring Jalin Roze. The song (I think) is about summer love, while the video showcases the two emcees hanging around a few different choice spots in Louisville. How Gardens Grow is set to be released October 20th, but for now, enjoy this sweet piece of video action:

INTERVIEW: Hunter Hunt-Hendrix talks about his band Liturgy and their upcoming show at Haymarket Whiskey Bar (9/27)!

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (far right) with Liturgy
I don't consider them to be black metal, and they certainly don't belong to any hardcore subgenre. For the past six years or so, Liturgy has continued to warp the traditional blast-beats-with-screamy-vocals sound into their own unique art-rock/metal hybrid. They present an atypical brand of chaotic noise that is hard for fans of this type of music to ignore. And while these guys might make music that makes a few metal purists uneasy, I'm pretty sure they don't really give a fuck whether you approve or not.

This Saturday night (9/27) Liturgy will be playing in Louisville at Haymarket Whiskey Bar in support of the reissue of their debut full-length Renihiliation. To get you hyped for the show, we reached out to founder/guitarist/vocalist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about Liturgy, the reissue, and a bit more...

Never Nervous: There’s a bit of buzz around the re-release of Renihilation, a record you guys put out five years ago. Is there a particular reason for the reissue?

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix:It was out of print, and the original label that released it, 20 Buck Spin, wasn't repressing it. They handed it over to Thrill Jockey to repress in anticipation of the new record coming out next year.

NN: What can you tell us about your upcoming record? I understand it’s due out sometime in 2015, but other than that I haven’t heard anything.

HHH: It's an intense record. Much more adventurous production than anything we've previously done. And I wanted to explore certain areas of seemingly off-limits territory like the relationship between rap and black metal, along with a new compositional and production technique that I call Integral Tremolo.

NN: How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it?

HHH: I'd say that it is a hermetic synthesis of themes from black metal, minimalism, Viennese romanticism, and various forms of ritual music, and that it has an eschatological, prophetic edge.

NN: Where does Liturgy, as a band, draw inspiration from, whether it be music-related or not?

HHH: I see Liturgy as a total artwork, with interlocking elements from music, philosophy and art. Alexander Scriabin, the composer who tried to compose a tone poem that would trigger the second coming, is a major influence. So are Joseph Beuys, Martin Kippinberger and the idea that every human is an artist and even artist is a human. Blake, Wagner, any figure committed to using culture to activate transcendental awareness. The other members of the band all have their own influences too, and they're not the same as my own.

NN: Tell us about a few bands in Brooklyn that folks in Louisville probably haven’t heard of, but should take a look at.

HHH: The best bands in Brooklyn I know of are PC Worship, Psalm Zero, Feast of the Epiphany and Voice Coils.

NN: Seen any good movies lately? Are there any films that inspire Liturgy?

HHH: I am mostly watching Apatow productions recently. I haven't seen many of them before, so I have a lot of catching up to do. This is The End is great. Liturgy is very much inspired by Lynch and Bergman and films that explore the uncanny depths of subjectivity and meaning.

NN: What can folks expect to see at Haymarket this Saturday? Any thing special planned for your Louisville show?

HHH: We'll be playing some new songs, though in an arrangement that's different from the way they appear on the album.

NN: Before you go, talk about three records that have been on your turntable lately.

HHH: My most recent record purchases are Medicine's Shot Forth Self Living and a great performance of Itzak Perlman playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

Liturgy will be playing at Haymarket Whiskey Bar this Saturday, September 27th.  Show starts at midnight; Marriage will open.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

INTERVIEW: Jaxon Swain on the Louisville Music Awards, sonaBLAST, the Ladybirds, and Wheelies!

Pictured above: Jaxon Swain's flowing mane in it's full glory, the source of his strength. Photo Credit - Shawn Price.
You may recognize Jaxon Swain from one of number of places. Maybe you recognize him as a former employee of Ear X-Tacy, or current employee of sonaBLAST! Records. Maybe as the bass player in The Ladybirds. Or maybe as a part of the Louisville Music Awards, a celebration of Louisville music meant to widely encompass as many facets of the city's storied scene as possible, which is enjoying it's second year Sunday, September 28th at Headliners. But you should definitely recognize just how involved he is in the local community, be that as a musician or a servant to other musicians. We caught up with Swain to ask him about his many projects, tacos, and the age old question of eternal slam dunks or perpetual wheelies.

Never Nervous: How did the Louisville Music Awards come to be? What was the inspiration? Why does Louisville need its own awards ceremony?

Jaxon Swain: We have so much great music here, so many diverse and distinct talents. And people are so passionate about it that it just made sense. Gill Holland, founder of sonaBLAST!], Kathy Hinkebein [LMA co-producer] and myself kinda fleshed everything out from scratch all last year for the inaugural ceremony at Headliners. We kind of thought, why not? Let’s see if we can compete on the national stage and see what happens, how that could benefit our local industry and all the folks who work so hard to create all this amazing art. At the very least, we thought, a little recognition that is so elusive in the music industry. 99.9% of artists do it solely because they love it and expect nothing in return, but hey everyone needs a high five now and then. Music rules my life so it wasn’t too big of a jump.

NN: How are bands/performers nominated? How is the winner determined?

JS: Long story, you can find it laid out for ya at!

NN: What is the actual awards ceremony like itself? Where is it held? Is there any live band? For that matter, how do you pick a band for an awards show about bands/musicians?

JS: We try to make the ceremony as fun as possible.. it will be at Headliners again. Remember this is only our second try so we’re always listening for feedback and new ideas. There really are no rules, I’m sure things will mutate over the years. But this year we have 14 awards to give out.. and yes there will be a few performances, some winners from last year including Billy Goat Strut Revue. So we’re very excited to have them back and involved in the event. We definitely shoot for diversity. Last year we had The Bibelhauser Brothers Band and The Pass play a mini set each, plus more. We will have a little less live music this year but that is to make way for more awards.

NN: Tell us about Sonablast. How did the label start? How do you choose bands/acts to work with? Is it open solicitations, or do you seek bands out?

JS: Gill started sonaBLAST! in 2002. This September we will hit our 60th release so that’s a milestone. Gill is a filmmaker as well and kind of combined two passions by starting the label- we work as much as we can in licensing our tracks for film, TV, video games, whatever. I’ve been here since 2012. We are always listening to as much music as we can, both live and online. Anyone can submit anything anytime… just go to, find “contact” and send a message and introduce yourself. We’ve probably worked with as many artists as there are ways to meet folks, so no we don’t have any strict system or procedure.

NN: Is there any one band that's gotten away, or that you wish you could work with in an ideal world?

JS: White Reaper, where did they come from! Cheers to those guys, I don’t know them personally but I love their record and look forward to hearing more.

NN: How do you think that the internet has effected record sales? What's it like to run a record label in 2014?

JS: Well it’s obviously different in almost every way. There is no straight way to do things right now, it’s all about carving out what you can and trying to be creative. I love our record stores here in town, I want to make sure people know how fortunate we are to have the shops that we do have. They are the incubators of a city’s musical identity. Stores as big as ear X-tacy couldn’t survive the climate, but I think if we support these newer, more specialized shops, feed them and cultivate them, then they can make it through this transitional time. Yes that means spending a little money but it doesn’t have to be crazy. Baby steps are fine, just keep them up!

And labels have a similar set of challenges to face. It’s not that people like music any less than they did ten or twelve years ago, we just have less control on how they consume it. So you have to be creative, maybe take some risks you wouldn’t have taken in 2002, and of course have the best artists you can possibly can. I’m super proud of our releases this year.

NN: What's shaking with the Ladybirds? Anything new on the horizon, shows or recordings?

JS: Yes we do have some plans! We kind of work slowly and deliberately. More to come soon. We all have other fun projects too. In the meantime The Ladybirds have the unbelievable pleasure of going on the road and being Wanda Jackson’s backing band for several shows this spring and summer… looking forward to more in the fall and as long as they’ll let us! Total dream gig, we’re totally in love with Wanda and we have a lot of fun together.

We do have a track coming out on a sonaBLAST! comp, “Belle 100: Steamboat Songs,” that will commemorate the Belle of Louisville’s 100th birthday and coincide with the Centennial Festival of Riverboats so that is very exciting. It comes out 9/9!

NN: Clearly there is a specific aesthetic at play in the band. Does that come first, or the music? For that matter, how do you all write? Does one person bring in a riff and everyone works to that, or is it more of a freeform jam? Or do the lyrics come first?

JS: Well I guess every song is different. We’re kind of all over the place. I have some new ideas I’m working on for whatever we end up doing next. I’m a lyric writer first, sometimes I even just have a chorus and go from there. We don’t jam very much. I’m embarrassed to say I’m not very good at it. I know a lot of folks who create some high quality music that way and I wish I could do it too! Usually we’re more “write a song, bring it in, teach it to everyone” and go from there, but we’ve had a couple other methods too.

NN: What's your musical history? What bands have you been in? Are you in any bands aside from the Ladybirds?

JS: Hmm, I learned piano as a kid and also played alto sax in middle school band. I always loved to sing. My mom always encouraged me. MTV and I were born at the same time. I learned to play guitar, still learning maybe, and moved to bass out of necessity cause no one else wanted to! But I said OK I’ll do it, and I figured that out on my own. You’d be surprised how much you know and can transpose and translate just from knowing some basic things on the piano. But yeah I have been in bands since I was 15 or 16, so more than half my life.

Right now I play with my friend Jonathan Glen Wood sometimes, playing country music. He’s a really wonderful songwriter [full disclosure, his record “Ballad of Jon” came out 7/1 on sonaBLAST!). Anthony, Sarah, and I have our Pogues cover band, The Fauxgues. We only play once or twice a year. Sarah and I have sang with our friends The Junk Yard Dogs a few times and I’m hoping we can do more of that. Also I host two programs on ARTxFM. “Early Music Party,” a medieval / renaissance / baroque music show (Thursdays 12-1pm) and “Party Pants,” a normal rock music party show. Punk, glam, rock & roll, R&B, etc. That one’s on at 10pm every Wednesday.

NN: Where can you get the best taco in town? Defend your answer.

JS: Gotta go with Holy Mole, that’s the good shit. We also love to go to El Nopal.

NN: Would you rather slam dunk every time you tried, or be able to do a wheelie on a bicycle without hesitation? Why?

JS: Wheelie would be way cooler, because I could still wear pants and jacket. I just don’t wear shorts man, I’m weird, no offense if that’s your thing!

NN: What are your non-musical interests? Read or watched anything interesting lately?

JS: Hmm, I’m kind of a history person. I love ancient Egypt, ancient art, art history, artists, musicians, etc. Isn’t it great to be able to look up anything you want on YouTube? Growing up that seemed impossible and now it has changed everything. Sarah and I watch that concert of The Cramps at the Napa State Mental Hospital all the fricking time. I also got way into the Swedish crime show “The Bridge” on Hulu!

NN: Last, but never least, what have you been listening to lately, and why should we?

JS: One of my favorite bands right now are The Delphines from Milwaukee. They have such great unique songs and recordings, and their show is very exciting. The Real Kids, The Reigning Sound, they all have great new records out right now. At home I listen to random world music and classical music. I just love hearing all the different sounds. Last but not least ARTxFM has got to be one of the coolest things to happen to Louisville’s arts & music scene, so many great shows are on there!

2. one of my ARTXFM shows, Early Music Party, moved to since we talked!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LISTEN: Old Vikings release "Blackened Rights" as a Free Download!

Pictured Above: Old Vikings refusing to smile!
At long last, you have the privilege to listen to/download Blackened Rights, the unreleased final recordings from heavy metal monstrosities Old Vikings. Unfortunately, these songs never "officially" saw the light of day, but now, thanks to drummer Adam Colvin, this material is available as a free download JUST FOR YOU! But really though, how good is this shit? Perfect baby, perfect. Check it out:

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