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"Free Indie"

I've been very angry lately. My econ finals have isolated me, and I have a nasty rash from never doing my laundry. I wanted to listen to something new and angry, so I popped in my roomate's Hawthorne Heights CD. After hearing one song, I ejected the CD and threw it at my roomate's big head.

Then I found Cortez the Killer, a great rock band out of New York City that caters to a mature audience. No screaming, no whining. This is solid, aggresive rock that recalls the styles of Soundgarden and NIN (some), and gives it a new spin. Unfortunately, I could only get my hands on three of their songs. I will post more as they come in.

"Wrank Music"

I can't remember the last time I had an EP in my hands that was only three tracks long. In fact, this one didn't even make it to my hands. I streamed the whole thing off myspace. Oh, Cortez the Killer. You already have a unique streak a mile long. It continued through to the music, having a feel that was more hard rock than anything scene related. The closest band comparison I could draw would be Classic Case, a band who already wasn't swimming that deeply in the scene pool.

The opening track, My Turn, was a pretty solid introduction to the band, showing off a guitar tone that was deep and driving, and drums that were as straight forward as they could get. The chorus is really where the strength of the band lies, showing off an upbeat foot-tapper which is a big departure from the verse that they had going on. The bridge towards the end shows a larger piece of the band where they let loose some stifled ambitions that aren't really free-wheeling in the meat of the song, boasting an effect on the guitars that resembles something that Muse might employ.

Chemical LA has the same feel as My Turn did. This band allows the deep, full guitars to be the spinal column, while the vocals of Lyle Kamesaki carry the real emotions of the band. The drums and bass hangout in the background, with the drums standing out more than the four string. It isn't until Medusa that you get to hear a bigger sound from that protion of the rythm section. Unfortunately, this is also the weakest song on the three part CD, and with so few tracks to judge between, it sort've weighs down the overall feel of the EP. The vocals have a weird partial falsetto going on, and the solo that is played toward the end of the track should either be pushed further to the back, thickened up a little bit, or completely left out. It added nothing to the song.

I'm sure this band is far from done with what they're doing and this is a small showing of what they're about. And with time, I'm sure this band will have a stronger release to offer up soon. Until then, these three songs and their live performance are going to be what this band has to wear on its sleeve and for what it's worth, it's an impressive start. And the fact that they have a completely different sound than 98% of the other bands that are trying to blow up right now gives them a distinct advantage.






“Certainly not for the faint of heart, CORTEZ THE KILLER is committed to producing aggressive hard rock that requires physicality by both, the band and its listeners. Composed of Justin Parker, Jun Lyle Kamesaki, Joe Nerve, and Ricky Wells, CTK will seduce you with absolution and without hesitation. For those of you who harbor a pool of resentment underneath a business suit or wear your angst on the tips of a spiked collar, this band is a voice. A voice to remind us that moments of freedom are not to be expected, rather proactively sought, taken down, and finally, indulged with full abandon. These flashes of light, so few and far between, are what drive them to pick up their instruments, time and time again, in the hopes of tasting that space within the music.”

[ Genesis & the Early Years ]
Justin met Lyle in the Dick’s Hills school system circa 1990. As is usually the case with pre-pubescent teens, music and “Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition” provided a well needed source of something exciting to do. At this point, Parker was already a learn-ed musician and went on to use his drum trickery with the likes of Durijah Lang (Glassjaw, Classic Case, Saves the Day) to excite the girls at band camp. On the other hand, Lyle, in his attempts to be more “Asian”, found the “Suzuki Method” unfitting and was quite sure music was not in his loins. It wasn’t until Lyle’s “break” or “academic probation” from a certain Ivy League school did he muster the courage to return to music on his own terms. By this time, Justin was touring the nation with Stage (Warner Bros.) led by Ryan Star (Atlantic Records) but did not forget to check in with his buddy at home to provide proper encouragement when needed. Eventually, Lyle indulged his band desires and formed Jun (Weener Bros.) with yet another Dix Hills superstar Randy S. Slavin (Group Sounds). Cutting his teeth on a series of raw performances in the Lower East Side, Lyle cultivated his unruly voice into something bearable as Justin truly became a professional drummer on tour, in cities across the country. As all great things must come to an end, Stage disbanded in late 2004, leaving a legacy amongst those lucky enough to experience their epic live performances.

After the split, Justin found himself on the west coast playing for a multitude of bands that may or may not have deserved his talent. But before leaving for Lost Angeles, Justin and Lyle found themselves in the throes of an impromptu writing session in the basement of a Hauppauge condominium. Not sure as to why or how they got there, the two somehow knew they simply had no choice. The songs demanded it. The results of which were later to become the 2006 EP and with it, the birth of CORTEZ THE KILLER. So after a year of funtastic filth in L.A., Justin decided to return home to Long Island and before long CTK sessions resumed in full force with additional members Freddy X. Vasquez (Pain Distribution) and Erik Brescher (Souls Release). The newlywed foursome ravished their audiences time and time again, but the configuration didn’t hold. “Irreconcilable differences” set them apart and the future of Cortez seemed unlikely. Then, without discussion or conscious deliberation, Justin and Lyle were drawn back to the rehearsal studio and quickly became addicted to the new songs they were writing. A blink of an eye, a flash of light, and five songs later, “Car Crash Music” was born complete with a stellar video by Videethis (Randy) for the first single “Make a Move.” This time around, the duo will not be shaken. Whether it’s just the two or they choose to bulk up to six, three laws hold true: no expectations, make sure it’s fun, and make damn sure it’s exciting. This is the business of Cortez.

[ The Here and Now ]
Determined to bring the new tunes to the masses, Justin and Lyle began the arduous task of auditioning new peeps to round out the live crew. This is undoubtedly the point where Lyle formulated his hatred for Craig’s List dealing with posts like “Established metal band with serious label interest seeks god-like shredder, must like Split Wet Beaver, Burning Dogs of Hell, and Infidels of Crimea, emo-fags need not apply.” Regardless, the dynamic duo spent six months trying out too many people from too many places only find Shangri-La in two local Brooklynites. Besides their ability to play in the pocket, Joe Nerve (The Nerve!) with his bulging biceps and Rickey Wells (Kung-Fu Grip, Good Grief) with his dashing good looks were an immediate end to the audition process and a hopeful new beginning for Cortez. The fantastic four immediately jumped into the international battle of the bands known as the Emergenza Music Festival in the hopes of picking up a few warm-up shows. What they got instead was an overwhelming reaction from the people at large pushing them to the National Finals at Webster Hall on June 28th, 2008. Where they go from here is any one’s guess, but if good start