Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Towers - Towers

Label: Electric Human Project
Year: 2007

There's a million bands called Towers, and this is one of them (that I know of). They were from Philadelphia, and left this mortal coil back in 2014 for reasons unknown, but we suspect nefarious.
This Towers liked to get real up in your face, so you could smell the rancor of their hot breath on your own lips, the spittle bathing your cheeks. Thy tuned down, turned up, and proceeding with a blasting of noisy, off kilter, D-beat, blackened, aggressive hardcore. Bits of patron saints Discharge, bits of perennial touchstone His Hero Is Gone, bits of Neurosis, bits of Isis (which I get is a...bit...repetitive), and some good old fashioned hard work.
It's enjoyable the way scratching an itch until it bleeds down your leg is enjoyable. Most effective played at high volume in an open space whereupon free flailing is acceptable.
Yes, this record is slightly out of the usual genre highlighted on this blog. But let's be honest, as long as I'm the sole contributor to this hellhole for the foreseeable future, then genre concerns give way to "what is Gray listening to this morning?". Right? And c'mon guys (and that one girl), would I steer you wrong?


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Part Chimp - Cup

Label: Monitor
Year: 2007

Back from vacation, back in your pants.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to spend the next 44 minutes reveling in the grotesque beauty of Part Chimp, another of the "greatest bands nobody paid attention to" bands. Their ability to mask the music's true intention of pop glory under a diseased shroud of distorted glee was truly uncanny, and unmatched (sorry Torche...I still love you though).
This record collects a grip of (mostly) non-album tracks serves up all the Neanderthal stomp and punch drunk laughs that run the spectrum of Part Chimp's repertoire. Sometimes three's a Silkworm covering Melvins feel, sometimes a Teenage Fanclub covering Floor feel, sometimes a Grifters covering King Snake Roost're getting the feel, yes?
Play often and play loud.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Volt - Rorhat

Label: Exile On Mainstream
Year: 2006

There are some folks out there who continuously and consistently turn me on to great new music that I would have otherwise missed. And in the age of the music blog, those people have turned out to be semi-anonymous or pseudonymed people far-flung across the globe. I guess that's just the way things are right now, it's sort of weird, but probably not much different from when I used to send letters out all over the place looking for demos, stickers, zines, or obscure 7"s, and remarkably, I would usually get something back in return that ruled in some way shape or form. The world is a lot smaller in this digital age, but the concept has stayed the same. Keep digging, and you'll find some pretty remarkable creativity still out there.
So, with apologies to my other favorites; Worried Well, Pinto, Fred, Cheeto, X-Angel, Mega-Leg, Lo-Res Viscera, Stormy, Batguano, our own Ipecac of course, and...well I don't want to forget anyone, so I'll just say "everyone else", I would have to nominate Arsonaut as the first inductee into the music blogging hall of fame. That guy (and I can only assume it's a guy based on the writing style and musical selections) has unearthed more and better music than any other one person I can think of. Where, or how he finds it, who knows? But I'm glad he's out there scouring the earth for more and better sounds, I'll always look forward to seeing his next post.
So aside from this being a love letter to some dude I will never meet, it also serves the purpose of reposting a record that Arsonaut first hipped me to a year or so ago on Lucidmedia back before that site hit the shitter.
Volt is a German band who come on hard and furious (that's what she said), channeling the spirit of Keelhaul, Melvins, Colossamite, King Snake Roost, and a little bit of that ole chestnut, The Jesus Lizard. It results in something that you might hear from one of the newish UK bands like Shit and Shine, Kong, or Part Chimp, so in other words, godhead. This record destroys in every way, shape, and form. If you haven't heard it already, please do, and then, after you stand back up from the ass kicking you just received, go buy/order it here.

So there you go, cheers to Arsonaut, cheers to Volt, and cheers to you all. Didn't that make everyone feel just great?

*Originally posted 02-06-10, reposted 07-23-15. Going out of town again today for a little rest and relaxation in the mountains, so I wanted to leave you with this banger of epic proportions that has been offline for some time. Enjoy it loudly and frequently.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Walter Schreifels - Walter Sings The Hits Live: 03-22-06

Label: Bootleg
Year: 2006

My unquestioning and unwavering love for Walter Schreifels has been well documented on this blog over the years, and I really needn't explain it, but in the off chance you're 12 years old or from some former Eastern Bloc country that missed the late 80's and early 90's, then just read this and catch up real quick.
For the initiated, may we present this live recording made at the Nighttime Theater in Rotterdam during the "Walter Sings The Hits Tour", which was a short run of shows in Europe at the end of a Walking Concert tour whereupon he...wait for it...sang the hits spanning his career from Gorilla Biscuits to Quicksand to Rival Schools to solo material in a solo acoustic format. Which, isn't as surprising as it may have sounded, as Walter has been known to pop up here and there to do these intimate acoustic shows playing NYHC classics and his own material. The format highlights Walter's ability to entertain as both a musician and a performer. He seems very well aware of his position "in the scene" and the credibility he's banked over the years in writing and performing some of the best music of the past decades, but there's an overriding self deprecating humor to everything he does which keeps his stories and anecdotes dare I say..."sweet". He controls the crowd very well, but he's the type of artist that draws a loyal (if not huge) fan base to his shows, so everyone there is stoked to be there.
This is a guy who could sing the fucking phonebook and I'd go see him. He's earned all the praise he could ever be given, and he continues making music true to his heart, which is really all you (we, us) can ask for. Love it.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Barren Womb - The Sun's Not Yellow, It's Chicken

Label: Spartan
Year: 2014

On account of that Highway Cross post down there, I figured I'd go ahead and thro this one out there for your consideration as well as they share a certain similar strain of DNA.
In Barren Womb's case, they take raucous garage rock and run it through a series of distortion pedals in an effort to warp the melody just within comprehension, but certainly buried beneath a fog of thundering bass and feedback. They play it straight on occasion, which yields a particularly Scandinavian version of rocking hardcore. Like Refused, like Division Of Laura Lee, like old Hives, like some Turbonegro. But then they will drop the "fun" and take a turn into growling Botch-styled chaos-core. Rarely are they solidly on one side of that chasm or another, they mostly ping pong back in forth taking elements from either end of the spectrum.
Barren Womb are a two piece, drums and guitar, but they've managed a full, dense sound that belies their minimal demographic. It's admirable that they can economize such that you'll never "miss" any element that you would maybe think you would ("Dude, no bass? No noise rock." Yeah yeah).


Highway Cross -Open Eyes 7"

Label: Cricket Cemetery
Year: 2015

I was impressed the last time I heard Highway Cross, which was not that long ago mind you, but it tickled my fancy enough to write about it here, so for the sake of historical context please feel free to go back and read that first. I'll wait.
Back? Great.
Well then, if you liked the post hardcore bluster of the last one, then I feel pretty confident you will be able to follow the band's slight directional shift into looser, more rocking and less hardcore direction. They still keep one foot firmly in the world of punk rock (the foot that's on the gas pedal), but the other foot has taken a step back (in time) to a more stripped down garage rock rave-up sound. You'll know it when you hear it. When I hear it, I like it.
Good, hard charging, no frills, catchy shit. Dirty deeds done...


Monday, July 20, 2015

Lesbian - Power Hor

Label: Holy Mountain
Year: 2007

Instrumental (mostly), sludgy, post-rocky, aggressive, varied, epic, spaced, loud, blackened metal. Four really long songs worth of it. Four really long songs that tend to pull in you in and make you forget where or when they started as they progress from idea to idea. It's grounded in that peculiar strain of USBM that comes out of the Pacific Northwest, but only tangentially. Like, you could understand how they might do a show with Wolves In The Throne Room, or just as easily, Thrones. Or, if you imagined Godspeed You! Black Emperor plugging in and letting it rip, than you can imagine this (which, by the way, GY!BE was one of the heaviest, doomiest live experiences I've ever seen...sidebar). You know?


Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Icarus Line - Black Lives At The Gold Coast

Label: Dim Mak
Year: 2007

The follow-up album to the criminally underrated predecessor 'Penace Soiree' which was posted here, but is most likely not there any longer. It marked the first Icarus Line record after Aaron North left the band to play with Nine Inch Nails (then Jubilee, then a real unfortunate downward spiral which I am hoping he has, or is, pulling out of, since he's super talented and creative it would be such a shame to waste away), so the primary songwriting goes to Joe Cardamone (also of Souls She Said) this time around. And while the signature anglophile signposts are still being followed, and the previously explored appreciation for Detroit circa 1970 is still evident, this record softens the edges a bit and opens up to more atmosphere and light. The venomous egos are in check, and some of the swagger has left the group, as if they had proved what they needed to prove on the earlier records and were now content to explore a slightly more accessible feel. Not that it's a pussy record by a log shot. There's still plenty of vigor and attack in most of the tracks, and they still play it loose and noisy which adds a "danger" factor to the whole affair.
The Icarus Line are unapologetic disciples of J Spaceman and Bobby Gillespie, and hey, nothing wrong with that, but if you listen up you'll hear shades of Rick Froberg's guitar style, shades of J Mascis' hazily cracking drawl, or some of the dark psych rock of The Warlocks (also direct descendants of Spacemen 3) filling in the gaps. It may not be as immediate a payoff as 'Penance Soiree' was (is), but this record stands up right next to it's brother and forges another corrosive scrawl across a formidable discography. It's insane that they haven't "made it" (whatever that would mean these days), because for  group this talented, this visionary, this reverential to the bedrocks of rock-n-roll, and this ballsy, success should be in their clenched fists.
Drummer Jeff Watson went from this record straight into recording another lost classic, Black Elk's 'Always A Six, Never A Nine'. Trivia for you.
Don Devore of Frail, Mandela, Ink and Dagger, Souls She Said, and a million other bands, appears for the last time in The Icarus Line on this record. Trivia for you.
This album (or possibly the Klaxons record that came out the same year) marks the last time Dim Mak messed around with rock music, and shifted to an all EDM (if that's what it's called) catalog. Trivia for you.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Consular - Don't Cross The Swine

Label: Makeshift Origmai
Year: 2007

Southern Florida heaviness that brings the heat (and humidity). Taking the Cavity sound and running with it (into a brick wall and straight out the other side). Consular fit right in the mix with Capsule, Dove, House Of Lightning, Floor, the aforementioned Cavity, Black Cobra (1/2 south Florida...still counts)...all that.
If you like a wall of spiteful sludge with vocals akin to a sheet of metal being whipped by a tornado, then this is for you. Southern sludge the way only southerners can make it. Sounds like home.


Motorhead - Motorhead


Label: Deadline
Year: 2005

This is the first Motorhead album. End of review.
(technical detail: this [much] later version [the fucking thing has been rereleased about 25 different times] has all six bonus tracks tacked on. Lot's of covers and shit. Play loud.)

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