Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Almost Top Something of 2016 List

As you may or may not be aware, the year 2016 kinda was a terrible year, if you're the kind of person who like for life to be generally "good". As good as can be, depending on your station in life, and/or your ability to allow the concept of goodness to permeate yo shit.
That's not to say though, that it wasn't a good year to keep your ears peeled for new sounds. Because on that particular front, it was really good. Great even. 2016 had a veritable "ass load" of wonderful new music, assuming you knew where to look (and don't look at me!). I don't exactly know where to look anymore, but sometimes I get lucky, and sometimes things find me (it's the musk...impenetrable yet so alluring), and I managed to hear all kinds of records that tickled the ole fancy (scrotum, if you must know). So much so that when the task of assembling a "Best Of" list came around, I had too many choices to choose from. Too much tuna fish!(Oh, Hello reference for all the Nick Kroll heads in the building).
So, in an effort to cover my bases, to not allow these great records to fall between the cracks, and at least acknowledge the greatness bestowed upon my ears this calendar year, may I present to you the precursor to this year's Best Of List...

(in no particular order)

Animal Lover – Stay Alive 12”
Label: Forward
This Minneapolis by way of Fargo band is all over the place here. From laconic stoner riffs in the distance, to terse Birthday Party darkness, to out-and-out pots and pans noise, to straight ahead rocking bombast, they cover it on this record. Highly and ambitious and rewarding.

Superjoint - Caught Up In The Gears Of Application
Label: Housecore
Soooooo, you drink a little bit too much pinot grigio and end up yelling "white power" while on stage. Not a great look. Oh, AND you throw in a sieg heil while you're at it? Yikes. Really not a good look. For fuck's sake Phil Anselmo...pull it together and quite doing dumb shit. Your bullshit is overshading your good shit. Like Superjoint. Full tilt, high grade ripping hardcore/sludge/crust/metal. 

Stove - Is A Toad In The Rain
Label: Exploding In Sound
A departure from the last record (a very very good record worth investigating), this version of Stove is less raucous and more introspective. Essentially a one man band from Ovlov man dude Steve Hartlett (with help from his friends), Stove is a fully realized exploration of cracked indie rock. While the last album was an extension of Ovlov's big guitar fuzz, this one has moments of Deerhunter, some early 90's shoegaze, and some bedroom lo-fi (more mid-fi, if we're being technical).

Muuy Biien - Age Of Uncertainty
Label: Autumn Tone
Pretty much having put their hardcore roots in the rear view mirror, Muuy Biien have gone full blown "mature" with a shimmering swagger of swamp blues post punk menace. And I'm not complaining mind you. Must be something in the water in Athens, Georgia, cause there's a couple other notable bands plumbing the same depths.

The Blind Shake - Celebrate Your Worth
Label: Goner
This band never disappoints. Big and warm with the baritone guitar holding down the fort while the standard guitar weaves in and out of surf-y, noisy, off kilter jags. Unique to say the least. You've heard it, "sorta", but you really haven't. So good. 

Child Bite - Negative Noise
Label: Housecore
The award for "The Band That Would Have Been On SST Had It Come Out In 1984" Award goes to..Child Bite! It's rare that a band can channel Jello Biafra and Greg Ginn and still sound fresh, but, by jimminy, they've done it. A new take on an old favorite. Essential.

Illegal Drugs - Illegal Drugs
Label: self released
Atlanta band sporting a member of Hawks (which should be enough) who deliver a captivating blend of dark post punk, Gun Club styled stomp, garage rock swing, and classic punk rock (like, the actual The Damned kind of punk rock). Maybe should be on the "actual" Best Of's real real good.

Sumac -What One Becomes
Label: Thrill Jockey
So dense, and suffocatingly heavy, this is the record you (I...we?) wanted after last year's unexpected lambasting (unexpected by me anyway) from 'The Deal' album. Three experts in the field of make shit gnarly, do just that. A big, gnarled gargantua of over amplification. It's the post-Isis record you didn't think you would ever get, and now you've gotten two of them. Lucky S.O.B.

Dead Heavens - Feel Low 7"
Label: Thrill Me
If you're not excited by the recent resurgence of Walter Schreifels related activity in the world, then...well...I just don't know how we can move forward. To be spoiled the last two years with so many Wally Biscuits riches, what a time to be alive! Then to bring in Drew from Into Another, Bold, Crippled Youth, Walking Concert, and New Rising Sons, I mean, c'mon. One original, a desert baked psych-fuzz trip of low groove, and one Can cover. All you need.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
Label: Relapse
A (temporary) reprieve from the mechanical grinding blast the band has honed since 'Honky Reduction', but this three song ep is no less punishing. It's an avalanche of roiling metallic sludge that leaves no room for light to penetrate. All bludgeon, no cuddles. A daughter says goodbye to her mother for the final time. 

Plague Vendor - Bloodsweat
Label: Epitaph
Dead Moon meets Refused? The Black Keys covering TSOL? Another band mining the blacker shadow of post punk and death rock, but infusing it with new energy and a post hardcore vigor. I'm good with this.

Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial
Label: Matador
Joke was on me when I thought nobody had ever heard of this dude, but over the course of the year he showed up on late night tv talk shows, and in conversations with folks I would consider "squares" (in the nicest way, mind you) who were buying way advanced tickets to see him live. Guess I'm not as cool as I previously thought (or have been told by no one, ever). But whatever, I like his nerdy mix of The Strokes and Jake Bugg. 

Mannequin Pussy - Romantic
Label: Tiny Engines
Good, shouty, blown out rock music with a pop backbone. I'm a sucker for it. Add in some grungy punk, and you've really got something here. This is another one that could have made it into the big leagues of the actual "Best Of" list. It really is great.

Neurosis - Fire Within Fires
Label: Neurot
Always excited for new Neurosis, because you well know that when they are on they are untouchable. And this record is on, a lot. Gets a tad long winded, and there are a few stretches that don't hold attention as well as others, but...I's a new Neurosis record, be thankful.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blood On The Wall - Liferz

Label: The Social Registry
Year: 2008

Watched Manchester United drop points this weekend against Everton. Did you?
How the fuck you going to win games if you can't control the midfield?
How the fuck you going to win games if you lose every second touch? Motherfuckers couldn't string together more than three passes before...whoops...turnover.
How the fuck you spend that many millions of dollars on transfers and ain't got a fucking back line? David De Gea is the only person working on their half of the field.
How the fuck you sub in goddamn Fellaini with less than five minutes to go and that asshole gives away a fucking penalty kick? Get a fucking haircut you riduculous loser.
How is Rooney the captain of the team riding the goddamn pine?
How does Mourinho not even break his dead-eyed glower when Ibra scores?
How the fuck can you squander a talent like Pogba?
How the fuck is Ryan Giggs not the manager of this team?

Five dollars says Blood On The Wall could not pick Giggsy out of a lineup.

Hey, at least that fucking pussy stain Aguero got a four game suspension for that bullshit he pulled on Saturday against Chelsea. And P.S., now you got me pulling for Chelsea?! For once in my life I was rooting for Diego Costa to release the Kraken and run through the entire City lineup, just one-timing those pieces of shit. That's how bad United is! I'm over here hoping to see thugs beat the shit out of City, literally. Sorry shit.

Blood On The Wall are helping a little, but I'm still pissed.
Garagey loose rock with some punk, some noisy post punk, a hint of slacker haze, and whatever Jesus and Mary Chain is considered. Some of that too. Punchy, but not in a Diego Costa kind of way, in a feel-good-bounce-around kind of way.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bib - Pop

Label: Deranged
Year: 2016

Quick. Another rager from the year of our lord 2016, and from the label Deranged.
Five blasts of ugly hardcore noise. Straight for the throat vibez. Peel the paint and eat it.
The kind of blistering that stands the test of time.
This one might make the Top Whatever Whatever of 2016...we shall see. It's super fucking cathartic and perfect for flailing through a rotten day.


Cult Values - Cult Values

Label: Deranged
Year: 2016

Working through more records that came out this year who made an impact but didn't quite crack the forthcoming Top Something of 2016 list.
Here's one out of Berlin Germany in the year 2016 that sounds vaguely like it could have come out of Orange County in the year 1983. It's got this spidery sound quality that skitters around but ultimately hammers home some high grade hardcore. Noisy hardcore. Hardcore that sounds like a T.S.O.L + Agent Orange + Husker Du love child.
But maybe you're 18 years old and you're all "thanks geezer, but I have no interest in that dusty ole bullshit". And hey, that's fine. I get "the youths". I'm hip. So, for you less grizzled folk, maybe a more contemporary touchstone would be Ceremony. The version of Ceremony that straddles the blasting hardcore and the icy goth tinged post punk.

It's good. Just leave it at that. I recommend.


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Sweet Release Of Death - The Sweet Release Of Death

Label: Subroutine
Year: 2016

As the shadows grow longer, pumpkin spice gives way to peppermint, and the night air crackles with a cold electricity, our collective thoughts turn to that end of year wank-off, the "Best Of" lists. Oh, what a festive time!
And I'm going to tell you, I resisted pulling a list together on the moral grounds that there is no way a sane person could give half a shit about what I was personally listening to that calendar year. I really did. But for reasons I can't altogether remember (paint fumes), a couple years back I did one for the blog, and then again last year, and I'll be damned but they were some of the highest viewed entries. Fuck me, right? I guess people really do sorta, kinda care. A tad?

So it's around this time of year I go back and strain my addled brain jellies to recount what in the sam hill I actually WAS listening to this past year, that was actually released this past year.Which is hard! Then I return to those releases and listen again for further scrutiny and analysis, to see which ones are scientifically measuring as "Best Of" material. It's super exclusive, VIP shit. 

The Sweet Release Of Death is a band from Rotterdam I'd certainly never heard of until a month or so ago when this record showed up, and damn if didn't impress. They call themselves "noise pop", which I'll buy. That doesn't fully illuminate the relatively wide gamut of post punk, goth, death rock, shoegaze, and medicinal grade weirdness that combines together to concoct said "noise pop", and I think it short changes the band because they are far more interesting than just "noise pop". Lots of layers, some ephemeral, some sharply pointed, overlapping and peeling away to make otherworldly envelopes of sound.

Recommended, but juuuuuuust shy of "Best Of" stuff. 
Next year...let's see how they rebound next year. 

Helmet - Blacktop

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1991

Live recording from February 28, 1991 prior to the release of 'Meantime', when the band was playing extra mean. And, bonus, they start the set with my personal favorite 'Sinatra', right into 'FBLA', pretty hard to beat. And, double bonus (triple if you're keeping actual score), there are two unidentified, ostensibly unreleased songs in the set. Chances are there's a super sleuth out there who could identify them both (the first one sounds like the chorus is "Drag", the second one has some growled monosyllabic chorus I can't make out), but McGruff I ain't, so for now they remain 'Unknown'.
What are you waiting for?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Beige Eagle Boys - You're Gonna Get Yours

Label: Reptilian
Year: 2014

Listened to this earlier today as I was building an outdoor table for my back deck. Not really from scratch, mind you, more that I was re-appropriating a set of old table legs that had a frame braced in place. So, it was a nice a square to begin. Then I ripped down some 2x8"s to make an outer frame, and a stiffer base to attach the table top. Those 2x8"s were bracketed together and attached to the existing frame. So far so good. Next I laid a nice, smooth piece of marine grade 3/4" plywood atop the frame(s). 4'x8', so it can serve as a dining table (not to be confused with a "dining room table" of ain't that quality) and more importantly an outdoor ping pong (just shy of regulation tournament dimensions, but I mean, it's fucking ping pong, not table tennis. I'm not a Chinaman you know [and no offense to my Asian bros and sis']!) table. The top was screwed into the underside of the frame, and now we got ourselves a level and relatively sturdy table.
Then the dang Beige Eagle Boys come on as I'm preparing the final phase of construction, trimming out the edges with 1/2x1" strips. And this is where it goes south on me. Nothing is matching mitered joints are laughable. Dangerous even! And I can't "blame" this album really...but at the same time...I can't blame myself right? Could have been the volume, or the involuntary head banging, or the combination of raucous screaming with a chop saw buzzing...don't really know. But, bottom line, these dudes owe me. They have put my outdoor entertaining in jeopardy, and that's something I just cannot let stand.

If you would like a combination of Whores. and Hammerhead and Cherubs, and Born Against, and KEN Mode, then I think you too will enjoy ruining a potential family heirloom woodworking project by listening to this album just a hair too loud (fucking neighbors giving me the stink jealous). Basically hardcore as executed by a noise rock band, with big, burly swing, and heavy duty low end punch. Total Amphetamine Reptile wheelhouse. Essential deck furniture building music. Look for this in Home Depot or Lowes next time you're purchasing varnish or whatever. Plus, bonus, they have an "ode" to Katy Perry, and I'm here to tell you, I fucking LOVE Katy Perry. Also, second bonus, they strangle Don Henley's 'Dirty Laundry' into submission and warp it almost beyond recognition. Play that one for your dad and watch his face wrinkle in disgust.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

USA Nails - No Pleasure

Label: Bigout / Smalltown America
Year: 2016

I think that technically this was released in 2015, in November, but it was in a run of 100 records or something on obscure labels, so you'll please excuse me in advance when this one shows up on my Top (unknown quantity) Of 2016 list in a month (assuming my laziness can be overcome to pull together a list [of unknown quantity or otherwise]). A label like Riot Season should be looking at this band...but that's just me. And regardless, they re-released it this year on February 3rd, so I'm counting it as a 2016 banger!
A banger for reals.
Despite the false advertising of "USA" in their chosen moniker, this band is in fact from London, England (albeit a former colony of the United States I believe). Which you can hear in their approach. As many English bands are prone to do, there's a faint whisper of The Fall playing in the background of these songs. A motorik bastardization of a pop song that will be stretched and driven (hard) into memory. Even at their most caustic, they have a bounce hidden in the feedback. The same sort of sneaky harmony that Mclusky would weave into their songs (by the by there's a Future Of The Left alumni in USA, or even Ikara Colt to some degree. Regardless of comparisons, the songs truly do offer a griping listen (preferably a loud listen). It's sharp without being overwrought, it's visceral without being dunderhead-ed, and it's textured without being busy.
The more I dig in the more I dig out.
Highly recommended.


Disastronaut - EP

Label: self released
Year: 2016

Not a huge fan of the name Disastronaut (although, at least three other bands' worth of folks are), but a pretty big fan of this three song ep they put out at the beginning of the year. And I wish I knew a little something about the band to share with you, but they keep a low profile. Which, hey, maybe that's a good thing in this over saturated world of ours. Leave a little mystery and shit, right?

Draw your own conclusions I suppose. Make what you will of an extremely dense and sinister combination of icy post punk clanging (like the droning Birthday Party tracks) and lumbering quasi-industrial (like a heavier Killing Joke meets Head Of David). They call it "terrible music for terrible people", and I mean, I'm rarely getting through a day without somebody calling me a "butthole", so I qualify as terrible. This speaks to me!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

off the beaten track

some of you may or may not remember me make mention of a radio show called OFF THE BEATEN TRACK.

it's the SGM origin story.
i know.
you'd thought that SGM had been some sort of lab experiment gone awry.

i'll give you the cliffs notes version:
back in the early part of the 90s i'd lived just outside of davenport,ia. one night i had been randomly skimming the radio for something worthwhile to listen to because believe it or not the radio used to be fun to hangout with at one time. this was a sunday night. i'd just been going back and forth with the radio dial and was over on the left side at the time. i'm not sure what song it had been that caught my attention but it did. it was probably something that i wasn't used to hearing on the radio. at the time i was trying to stretch the parameters of my musical library outside of the slayers and the metallicas and the like. so it could have very well been something by ministry or kmfdm that had taken hold of my eardrums. turns out that it was a radio show called OFF THE BEATEN TRACK being overseen by a dj that went by the name of roberto. and that was that. i returned every sunday night between the hours of 7:00 and 11:00pm. i used to have the 24 90 minute cassette tapes to prove it but they had somehow managed to get lost along the way.

so what i'm saying is: if i hadn't have come across OTBT there probably more than likely never have been an SGM.

i'd probably be the guy from the movie GHOST WORLD that hangs out in the parking lots of convenient stores eating beef jerky and listening to metal and showing off my sweet nunchuck skills.

back when i'd first discovered facebook i went through that manic phase that everyone probably went through. you know the one. the one where it's all like "i can like this and this and this and i have to look up this and like it so other people will like me for liking it!". for some reason OFF THE BEATEN TRACK popped into my head so i gave it a search. and that's where i found this and that.
and then i'd started making inquiries if anyone had happened to have any recordings of the show that they'd care to share. i was contacted by someone stating that they did. and those are the recordings that i'm sharing with you now (though they're taken from a few years before i came into the fold).

also: if you'd care to listen to an updated version of OTBT you should pay a visit here every sunday night from 7:00-11:00pm. it's still overseen by roberto.

i was provided with a written out track listing for everything and i did my best to interpret it.

off the beaten track - july 29 1984
part 1
1 - scritti politti - wood beez (pray like aretha franklin)
2 - section 25 - reflection
3 - personal effects - love never thinks
4 - public image ltd. - low life
5 - torch song - prepare to energize
6 - love circus - twist to the world
7 - ?
8 - 10,000 maniacs - death of manolete
9 - sid vicious - my way*
10 - dead kennedys - forest fire
11 - dead kennedys - hyperactive child
*=frank sinatra cover
part 2:
1 - ub40 - dub mobile
2 - bill laswell - work song
3 - tripes - undertow
4 - siouxsie and the banshees - bring me the head of the preacher man
5 - uptown rules - bay of kids
6 - violent femmes - country death song
7 - black flag - can't decide
8 - kid creole & the coconuts - gina gina
9 - whambo jamboree - i love your wife
10 - sex pistols - submission
11 - haysi fantayzee - here comes the beast

off the beaten track - august 1984
part 1:
1 - the service - lover's leap
2 - the service - apprentice
3 - the service - temporary situation
4 - the service - slow motion
5 - the situation - million words
6 - captain sensible - wot
7 - big boys - history
8 - nervous germans - hometown
9 - coup d'etat - dig-a-boom-boom-chi-chi
10 - fun boy three - telephone always rings
part 2:
1 - colorbox - tarantula
2 - gang of four - call me up
3 - what is this - i am a house
4 - steve almaas - what's the matter
5 - hellbillys - getaway
6 - the dream syndicate - tell me when it's over
7 - tex and the horseheads - lock me up
8 - the art of noise - close (to the edit)
9 - meat puppets - lost
10 - soviet sex - youth of america
11 - saccharine trust - peace frog*
*=the doors cover
off the beaten track - june 14 1987
part 1:
1 - front 242 - master hit
2 - ?
3 - crazy backwards alphabet - la grange*
4 - black flag - you're not evil
5 - carmaig de forest - crack is no worse than the fascist threat
6 - ?
7 - red dress - i like to eat my mouses raw
8 - the lorries - crawling mantra
9 - das damen - girl with the hair
10 - the ex - they shall not pass
*=zz top cover
part 2:
1 - they might be giants - youth culture killed my dog
2 - meat puppets - a hundred miles
3 - love tractor - cartoon kiddies
4 - bruce gilbert - eline cout II
5 - ?
6 - ?
7 - violent femmes - blister in ther sun
8 - camper van beethoven - joe stalin's cadillac
9 - billy bragg - it says here
10 - front 242 - rerun time
11 - el grupo sexo - squirrel boy
12 - robyn hitchcock - trash

part 3:
1 - swingin' teens - gidget's bitchin' beach party
2 - ?
3 - ?
4 - band of susans - hope against hope
5 - boris badenough - hey rocky!
6 - imo & the soul syndicate - debator's prison
7 - ?
8 - phil gnarly & the tough guys - real wild party
9 - butthole surfers - american woman*
10 - butthole surfers - moving to florida
11 - mark mothersbaugh - my hometown
*=the guess who cover

part 4:
1 - butthole surfers - creep in the cellar
2 - ?
3 - ?
4 - brave combo - happy wanderer
5 - front 242 - quite unusual
6 - ?
7 - bambi slam - bamp bamp
8 - soul asylum - closer to the stars
9 - bad brains - sacred love
10 - agitpop - caught in your rain
11 - rhythm pigs - little brother
12 - laibach - one vision
13 - ?
DLpart 5:
1 - ?
2 - the wolfgang press - the great leveller
3 - ?
4 - ritual tension - hotel california*
5 - big black - pete,king of the detectives
6 - personal effects - mana fiesta
7 - front 242 - w.y.h.i.w.y.g.
8 - ?
9 - urban blight - house of gold
*=eagles cover
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