Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Label: Bauhaus Music
Mixed feelings on bands who decided to come out of hibernation for the cash grab and then take it a step further by releasing new material. Like, part of me feels that, "hey, by writing and releasing something new, at least that means the reunion tour wasn't a total cash grab, maybe these dudes felt that they still had something important to say". And the other part of me feels like, "you guys have a pretty untouchable legacy of a back catalog, why risk shitting on that by reforming to try and continue with the music you last left off with in your twenties?". Could go either way.
And here it does.
There are a handful of really good songs on this record, and as you should be well aware, a really good Bauhaus song is really, really good. But there are also a couple clunkers as well. Unfortunately. Which shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you believe what they claim; that the entire record was written and recorded over the course of 18 days. Eighteen days isn't all that long to come up with 10 fully fleshed out songs on the spot, so I commend them for managing that feat in and of itself, plus being able to get 6 or 7 corkers in the batch. Supposedly this was knocked out as a series of first takes, which I'm not sure I totally believe (I'm pretty sure even GG Allin overdubbed and went back to retool songs in the studio [that is, when he wasn't recording via jailhouse telephone]), but it makes for a neat story.
The whole reunion aspect of it aside, it's a really strong record that I slept on, and I think most other folks did as well.
And speaking of the reunion. As I am still a spring chicken, vibrant and full of life, I never had the opportunity to see Bauhaus in their original incarnation. So when they reunited in 1998. my wife and I jumped at the chance to see them in San Diego (where we laid our heads at that point) and I'm glad to say it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. They brought the gloomy goods, and they did it with panache. So, bully for Bauhaus, right?
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Label: Crimeth Inc.
Fuck it, right? Keep it going. More feedback, more bass rumble, more tar soaked riffs, more burly bellows. If it ain't broke...something or other.
Crimeth Inc was kind enough to consolidate all of Kilara's random non-lp material (with the exception of the Hellchild split songs) from their 7", their split with Inquisition, two demos, and they even threw in a couple previously unreleased jams, just cause.
The song "Surpass Onry" is an absolute master class in clenched jaw nihilism. Perfect.
Not everything can, or should, be nice all the time. Sometimes you need nasty.
Sorry (not sorry) if this jolt of southern sludge groove is hitting too hard at whatever hour you may be receiving it, but, it's what I'm in the mood for today, therefore, it's what WE are in the mood for.
I'm always pretty good for some swampy, humid, swinging, nasty southern dirt. Blame it on Buzzov*en (nay, Sewer Puppet, as they were known back then), for taking the psych damaged hardcore of Amebix and Neurosis and slowing it to a Sabbath crawl and exposing it to an impressionable kid (me...I was the impressionable kid) at a time when he (still talking about me here) was looking for heavier, louder, weirder, meaner sounds than the standard punk and hardcore fair he had been subsisting off of. It spoke to the Corrosion Of Conformity side of his (my) brain.
Kilara are absolutely in that lineage of bands who can only have been berthed in the southeastern United States of America (they are from Richmond after all, the capitol of the Confederacy); Eyehategod, Cavity, Sourvein, Buzzov*en, Floor, Weedeater, Rwake, Seven Foot Spleen...you get it, yeah?
The dudes responsible for this racket had been or would be responsible for a thousand other rackets in: Hail!Hornet, Alabama Thunderpussy, Avail, Pg. 99, Axehandle, Birds Of Prey, The Mighty Nimbus, City Of Caterpillar, Ghastly City Sleep, and on and on.
It should go without saying, but: maximum volume yields maximum results.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Label: self released
This is a curious tale, this Blunderbuss tale. They were a band in Pittsburgh who started out in the late 80's. If they emerged fully formed, or from the wreckage of any previous groups is not known at this point ("this point" of course, being a reference to my head). They put out 3 7"s and a full length on Homestead all in the 1992 to 1995 range. And remember, Homestead Records were a big label ("big" meaning they put out records by Big Black, Squirrel Bait, Dinosaur Jr, Swans, Sonic Youth, and Nick Cave...so, not "big" as in "your mother has heard of Homestead", more like "big" as in "the music director at your local college radio station wore a Homestead t-shirt".), but Blunderbuss didn't get a lot of traction outside Pennsylvania. And so, like most bands who don't get much traction, they broke up. And then they decided breaking up was hard to do, so they didn't. They got back together to give it one more shot, and recorded and self released their self titled album. Which was being sold direct from a website being operated by vocalist Ben Matthews, so if you didn't know Ben Matthews, and chances are you don't, then you were probably unaware of the existence of this record. Until the improbable Escape Artist Records, who stepped in a year or so later and re-released the album. Coincidentally, it was one of the last things Escape Artist did release, so it didn't really go anywhere, and I'm not sure Escape Artist's usual fanbase knew what to do with Blunderbuss (you'll kindly remember that Escape Artist made their mark putting out Isis and Playing Enemy and Time In Malta and stuff like that). But wait, this record got a THIRD release in 2014 as part of a full discography survey assembled and released as the (brilliantly titled) "Cutout Bin of the Digital World" by Coolidge Records. You'll be excused if you still weren't aware of it, but at this point you're time's up, you gotta hear it.
Not instrumental, there are vocals on most songs, but the vocals aren't a prominent feature, and when they do show up they're reminiscent of maybe Bob Mould, or John Mohr of Tar. Which could explain why I hear both Husker Du and Tar influences on Blunderbuss. I also hear Crain, a little Six Finger Satellite, some Hurl, and pieces, the less mathy pieces, of Don Caballero. Good things to hear.
Most recently, three quarters of the band joined up with Gene Doyle (formerly of the second version Don Caballero, with he and Jeff Ellsworth of Blunderbuss replacing Pat Morris and Mike Banfield) to form Broughton's Rules (one would assume named after the lead track on this very album) and put out a record on Relapse.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Label: The Flenser
Marketed as "nihilistic post punk from NOLA", which, based on context clues, might be deceiving. They may be geographically rooted in New Orleans, but there is no remnant of any sort of NOLA styled swampy Sabbath poaching, so the city tag is a bit misleading.
The nihilism may very well be intended, or implied, but there is no spiteful spewing of venom or anything like that.
The post punk tag, yeah, I'll give them that. It's very post punk, and worth distinguishing that we are saying post punk not post hardcore. Trivial to all who are not nerds, but, needs to be mentioned.
So then, what is this record of not "nihilistic post punk from NOLA"? I would say they are a very well structured, dark and gloomy, death rock ride. They pull in a lot of Killing Joke and Joy Division to give their songs a tension and overall foreboding aura. Beastmilk did it very successfully, and I think you could draw a fair comparison between the two bands. Royal Thunder do it as well, although they flavor their version with a blues thump that Heat Dust forego (truth be told though, my vision may be obscured by seeing Royal Thunder perform last night), but both bands create a similar mood of dread. Heat Dust also inject needed energy into the album here and there by increasing the tempo and allowing more light to flesh out the tunes ("Seeking a Praxis" for example) which keeps the record from becoming "one note", you know? Those songs remind me a little bit of All The Saints, if that does anything for you.
All in all, I'm really enjoying this one. Chances are you will as well, and no doubt you can certainly find better ways to describe it than I just did.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Label: Exploding In Sound
Am I just really late to this band, or had they flown under everyone else's radar as well? Yes, I admit I'm late enough that they already broke up, which is truly unfortunate. Really unfortunate actually, because they are one of a small handful of bands who have synthesized elements of 90's indie rock into something that harkens back to those sounds but remains contemporary and fresh. Nostalgia without being annoyingly nostalgic.
Specifically, they have taken Dinosaur Jr's slacker guitar histrionics and married them to My Bloody Valentine's more straightforward, yet still bombastic, material, and seasoned liberally with some of the more melancholy moments of Archers of Loaf. It all results in music that is fun and catchy and all that, but it still has drive and muscle and power. That's a tough balance, but Ovlov had it nailed. It's the perfect sound sometimes. A lot of the time.
Sorry I missed this one.
Goddam this good shit!
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Has this not been posted here before? Weird, I thought it had been.
Ok, well, short version: the SST roster (as impressive as it was) offers up cover songs in their respective styles. Results vary, but with a crew this heavy, rest assured.
Husker Du cover The Byrds, and does it so well I had no idea this was a cover until years later.
Meat Puppets cover Little Richard (or maybe CCR, depending on your mood) and give it a proper high desert freakout.
Black Flag cover The Kingsmen to great effect. You've heard this a million times, but you'll hear it a million more and still get a charge from hearing Dez scorching through it.
Volcano Suns cover MC5 and manage to sound basically like MC5. Surprise.
Saccharine Trust cover Black Flag. How cheeky! Their live version gets lewd and loose, but they nail the basic idea and shine a light into Black Flag's oft overlooked black humor.
Revolution 409 cover The Osmonds and give it a Redd Kross (no surprise as Revolution 409 is essentially a continuation of that band) styled punk warping.
Dinosaur Jr. cover The Cure, and essentially give a master class in "How To Cover A Song". Essential.
The Leaving Trains cover Cliff Nobles and Co. which is a nice rambling pop jam.
Stone By Stone with Chris D. cover Eric Martin Band (future Mr. Big vocalist!) and give it the quintessential late 80's "college rock" bravado.
Minutemen cover Van Halen and, like Dinosaur Jr., manage to give an iconic jam an whole new feel that rivals the original. (this is the really short version of the cover)
Descendants cover The Beach Boys and you'd be hard pressed to not think this was a Descendants original (minus the guitar "solo").
The Last cover The Shirelles and maybe it's not necessary?
Trotsky Icepick cover Magazine and I dig. Never was a Magazine fan (or really a Trotsky Icepick fan if I'm being candid), but this is all well and good.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Bovine did no wrong. Mama Tick did no wrong (and I'm even including an ill-advised slap bass intro to this very 7"). Together forever they do no wrong. Wrong forever.
Two more songs, two more frantic doses of bug-eyed berserker. Best appreciated at maximum volume with at least four beers already to your name (I don't care what time of day it is).
Somebody should start a band that harnesses this strain of music for today's children (mine included...I mean, fuck, they listen to pretty terrible shit...they would benefit from something this ugly [present company excluded of course]).
Get bent this weekend.
Label: Amphetamine Reptile
More requested Mama Tick. Manna from heaven.
Two songs, both a healthy 6+ minutes in length, both will clear the office break room should you decide to soundtrack your coffee roundtable discussion with co-workers this morning. I mean, maybe you work somewhere "cool", where it's acceptable to have manic noise rock screaming at you, and if so, bully for you. Are you hiring? I'll update my resume.