Tuesday 22 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Still bouncing

Still bouncing

Chris Parker January 11th, 2011

After more than two decades together, the hard-core veterans of Madball keep making the rounds.

Madball with Comeback Kid, Cruel Hand, STAY and Pay at the Pump

6 p.m. Thursday
The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western
$14 advance, $15 door

When it comes to hard-core punk, few characters are more essential than Freddy “Madball” Cricien. The younger halfbrother of Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret, he was close at hand when this particularly aggressive strain of punk took off in the mid- to late-’80s.

Siblings with different fathers, Cricien lived in Florida, far from the bustle of Miret’s New York. But his older bro would write, telling 7-year-old Freddy about the scene, making music and touring. Before long, Freddy was riding along during Agnostic Front tours. He eventually moved to New York and, in 1989 at the age of 13, started his own band, Madball, with Miret and Agnostic Front guitarist Vinnie Stigma.

Aside from an 18-month hiatus, Madball’s kept going strong for the next two decades, staying true to hardcore’s fiery soul. The group plays The Conservatory Thursday.

Because of Cricien’s throaty growl and the music’s natural pace, Madball’s sometimes described as “tough-guy” hard-core, as opposed to the politically minded and emo camps. But to Cricien, such distinctions aren’t just unfair, but alien to the genre’s initial spirit. When you say “hard-core,” many picture a heavily pierced and tattooed skinhead wearing Doc Martens in a mosh pit. But at its genesis, it wasn’t so exclusionary and cliquey.

“It started with people from all sort of walks of life coming together at a show somewhere and finding some common ground. Different political views, different religious backgrounds, upbringings. Some street kids, some suburban kids,” Cricien said. “It’s a shame people have started to build all these walls. ... I don’t like to put up walls; it was never about that.”

Not that he’s denying the agro undercurrent. Indeed, with its hard stances and fierce ethos, it recalls another of Cricien’s loves, formed in the streets of New York around the same time: hiphop. He’s always been fascinated by rap, and in 2009, released a hip-hop debut, “Catholic Guilt,” with DJ Stress.

“At the end of the day, it’s street music,” Cricien said. “So with both genres sort of out of necessity, there was always an element of having to be protective of each other, of their thing, of their territory. So there’s always going to be a little bit of machismo. But it’s always goofy when it’s overdone from anyone in any aspect.”

Madball’s latest, “Empire,” possesses a little of the politics that spilled almost abruptly out of 2007’s “Infiltrate the System.” In the past, the group primarily concerned itself with behavior, character and personal ethics. The album itself is grittier than the more polished “Infiltrate,” although Cricien couldn’t be happier with it.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous about our approach to this record, but when it was all said and done and we went into the studio, I was really happy with the way we executed it. I think we need that kind of pressure with this band,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best releases we’ve had in a long, long time. It’s the best in my opinion, but everybody says that.”

As we see a resurgence of interest in ’80s music, even down to thrash, Cricien’s happy to see the style’s forefathers get their due. In Europe, the appreciation’s particularly fervent — “I don’t know why; that’s just the way it is,” he said — but even here, the tide seems to be rising.

“Hard-core is a funny thing: It comes in waves. Certain bands have been riding the waves for years,” he said. “Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, they deserve to be acknowledged and recognized. Bands that work hard and have been at it for a long time and are still doing good things, they deserve to see some good come back.”

Add Madball to that list.

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