Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Racebannon - In The Grips Of The Light


Label: Level Plane
Year: 2002

Normally I don't get down too hard with spazzy emo, or..."screamo" as the case may be. Which I will chalk up to age, and experience living through the paper bag 7" cover epoch of 1995. I spent many (too many) evenings in sweaty basements all over this great land of ours watching post-adolescent boys squeal and gesticulate and roll around on the floor playing fairly rote stop/start, quiet/loud, fast/slow two minute caterwauls. So, I am all too familiar with the aesthetic.
So when at the turn of the century some of that sound was coming back around, I was pretty well content to let that train hurtle on past. Basement emo wasn't a genre I was trying to bust (Fugazi ref...natch) as I was into my thirties.
Well, as to be expected, within that wave of bands, there were a few that were making new noise out of an old racket, and adding in various influences to create records that had a familiar DNA, but who's nose looked a little different than Current's nose. Maybe had more freckles than Indian Summer. Hair was curlier than Inkwell (shout out to Phil Fay!). Know what I mean?
Racebannon were rooted in a previous version of hardcore, but were certainly of their contemporaries for the most part. And while there is some of the emo violence of Blood Brothers (thankfully none of the annoying vocal whine though), and some of the sprawling fractured blitz of City of Caterpillar, and some of the grind-adjacent buzz of Orchid, the band managed to avoid the tedium of the genre as a whole. The songs stretch out, allowing them to expand and contract. So when they do drop into a double time attack, the vigor is there to propel you the listener into a different headspace. It's...dare I say, "artistic".
Or, maybe I'm overthinking it.

DL

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Totimoshi - Monoli


Label: This Dark Reign
Year: 2003

The easy thing to say with Totimoshi is; "are you having a hard time waiting between Melvins records?". But, that cheapens their take on fractured sludge rock, which quite frankly, gives the ole Melvins a run for their money. Cause, for one, every so often the Melvins kinda crawl up their own asses and try to be clever or something, which Totimoshi don't do. And secondly, Totimoshi come to the same satisfying conclusions as the best Melvins songs, but they do so with dashes of Loudspeaker's gutter grit, some Tijuana stink weed slink, and The Cramps' rave up stomp, which give it a unique flavor. There is adventure and expansiveness in these songs, couched in the warm overdriven fuzz of a blaring full stack.
So, really, we should dispense with all the Melvins comparisons, and just let Totimoshi stand on their own two feet (six feet actually, as they are a trio) as a the behemoth they are. Or were, as the case may be.

DL

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Six Feet Tall - Six Feet Tall


Label: self released
Year: 2016

From our Italian Bureau Chief Aaron Giazzon (we international up in this bitch!) comes this recommendation, which we in turn would like to highly recommend.
I would have never guessed based on the cover art, but this thing starts like it could be an old 16 record, and then settles into a slightly less concussive, but still throat-punching distorted thud rock, with hints of old Nineties noise rock scattered amidst the wreckage. A lot of touchstones get thoroughly molested in these six songs. And assuming you like guitar rock, then I think you'll find some common ground with Six Feet Tall. If you happen to like The American Psycho Band, then I think you'll really find some common ground with Six Feet Tall.
The Italian Psycho Band.

DL

The Cooper Temple Clause - See This Through And Leave


Label: Morning
Year: 2002

Friendship test time.
Did you ever get deep into reading Q magazine round about the turn of the last century?
(there is a "right" and a "wrong" answer)

Well, maybe somebody here did. So, whatever. And maybe that somebody would scour that thing the same way he (or she...no judgement. I get that gender is treated as fluid nowadays) would scour Maximum Rocknroll circa 1989 looking for anything written in Varsity font. But now he (face it, it's only a dude who could be this nerdy) is reading the fine print of who is playing the Carling stage at Reading alongside British Sea Power, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Nine Black Alps, Doves (before they got too big), Super Furry Animals (also, before they got too big), and maybe like, Turin Brakes or something. Bands that could only exist in England and make a living playing a blend of classic rock, post hardcore, brit-pop (sorta classic rock already), folk damage, and Manchester 1987 dance pop. Some weird hybrid of Stone Roses, Primal Scream, Fugazi, Small Faces, Badly Drawn Boy, and Oasis.
But I'm going to tell you, that shit has aged well. Better than most crap from the early Aughts (The Vines, anyone?).

If any of that made any sense to you, and you never heard The Cooper Temple Clause, give it a try. At least promise you'll make it all the way through the first song before passing judgement.

DL

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Black Flag - Live '84


Label: SST
Year: 1984

Best live record of all time?
Probably, right?

In 1996 I was working in a kitchen in Athens, Georgia cooking vegetarian food (and sometime washing vegetarian food off of dishes) on a line next to Stephen Tanner and Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk who at the time they were transitioning from the slow motion super bludgeon of 'Courtesy and Goodwill Towards Men" to the boogie thud of 'The Pleaser' (both are triumphs if you ask me). Which meant that the boombox in the kitchen during the shifts we worked together was playing one thing, and one thing only, Black Flag's 'Live '84' cassette (this was before it was re-released on CD in 1998). Run through side A, run through side B, and repeat. Repeat again. Again. Maybe 4 more times until the mop was put away and the slip mats were hosed off. If the three of us were working, it was Black Flag and talking shit. Some cooking and cleaning, but mostly talking shit and listening to this.
And we listened to it loud enough that generally once a night, someone from the front of the house would have to come back and tell us to turn it down as it was interfering with whatever Massive Attack record they were playing in the dining room. Pretty much every time.
Sometimes a Beatles cassette would make it into the mix, but generally it was this. Over and over again...this. And you want to know who minded? Not me.
Opening a set with 'The Process of Weeding Out' and then ripping into 'Nervous Breakdown' to clear the air? So perfect. Everything about this is perfect.

DL

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Blacklisters - Belt Party 7"


Label: Childhoodsweatheart
Year: 2010

The cover has a very Big Black feel to it, no?
Sonically though there isn't a pronounced Big Black feel to the three songs included, but I would imagine Chicago noise rock is in Blacklisters' record collection. Sonically I hear more of a mid to late 90's spazzy emo skuzz as translated by a band who (thankfully) have a solid grasp on The Jesus Lizard. So, it's noise rock, but noise rock that gets a little wild and wooly, and would most likely break a lamp in your living room whilst playing. It would no doubt have been an accident, and they would probably give you a shirt and a record to make up for your loss, I mean, they aren't assholes you know. Just guys who go balls-to-the-wall on occasion, which is totally acceptable under the right circumstances.
Raging.

DL




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Best Of 2016 (pending edits and corrections)


The annual fool's errand that constitutes an attempt at quantifying what cannot truly be judged and/or proves that I have "good taste". We have collectively arrived at the second annual Best Of List from Shiny Grey Monotone (as I see it, and I'm currently the Father, Son, AND Holy Ghost of this demolition derby, so you're going to see it my way), and just as soon as it's committed to writing, I can think of at least three records I forgot.
And as tradition dictates, there is at least one record included here that was not even released in this year, but I can't be held accountable to calendars or lunar phases or whatever. That's square shit.
This year I could only narrow it down to 30. And that's not counting the list of "Almost's" that we posted a couple weeks ago...which should count, cause those are tits too.But that's the nature of the proverbial beast. You forget shit, you miss it altogether, or you're simply lazy. I'm sure someone will let me know that I am guilty of all.

Enjoy. Congratulations(?) to the bands and labels. You can look forward to a significant sales bump in the coming weeks. You're welcome.





30.
Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us
Label: Nuclear Blast

Who would have thought that His Hero Is Gone’s reboot of Amebix meets Entombed crusty hardcore that they were stinking up basements with (in the best way mind you) circa 1996, would have set in motion a whole subgenre of overdriven HM-2 blasting pummel-core? Granted, my personal opinion is that it wasn’t until Cursed got ahold of the HHIG formula, and ramped it up to an unholy din of dense heaviness that it really became a “sound” that dudes who were not born yet when the Hellbastard demo came out latched onto.
Neither here nor there though. Nails have run with the “formula” and shifted into overdrive; faster, harder, more intense. A quick and cathartic listen that I returned to a hundred times this year.





29.
Nocturnal Habits – New Skin For Old Children
Label: Glacial Pace

A grower, and having been released fairly late in the year it’s still worming its way around my ear holes, hasn’t quite settled in. But it’s Justin Trosper, and Sara Lund…and...well…that’s enough. Not as immediate a thrill as Survival Knife, Nocturnal Habits (that name…) seems to be the band actually continuing the trajectory Unwound were forging before their untimely demise, layering on a lush haze of early morning mountain mist. I imagine this is an album I will be revisiting often, constantly discovering new stories in the sounds.





28.
Burn – …From The Ashes
Label: Bridge Nine

Gavin Van Vlack and Chaka Malik together are magic (no disrespect to the rhythm section here, or back when Alan Cage was on drums). Gavin’s twisting and turning version of a hardcore riff and Chaka’s free form back pocket vocals combined…I’m a sucker for it. It’s a mutation that breathed new life into hardcore way back when, and somehow this year they resurrected the ghost and rode its back across three vintage jams that sound like no other.
Probably helps that some of this material actual IS vintage, but hey, I’ll take it.





27.
Rhin - Passenger
Label: Grimoire

It’s not rocket science, but if a record can punch you square in the teeth straight out of the gate, that’s pretty much all can ask of drums, guitars, bass and vocals sometimes. Like, it’s a noble pursuit to just fucking go for it and play flat out. These three dudes have managed to take noisy rock and tuck some stoned grooves way back in there, and then have the gall to make the whole affair come off catchy and upbeat. There’s a bit of La Gritona and Milligram here, some Fu Manchu, and somebody like Hammerhead holding it all together. Something. But it works.





26.
UXO – UXO
Label: Reptilian

Old buddies Steve Austin (Today Is The Day) and Chris Spencer (Unsane, Celan, Cuttthroats 9) decide to write some new songs together? Yeah, ok. Perfect. Let’s do that.
More on the Today Is The Day end of the spectrum, this album maintains a bummer high for its duration of lurching washes of riffs. Unsettled dudes with a compulsion to play loud. You should stay out of their way.





25.
Nothing – Tired Of Tommorow
Label: Relapse

Relapse is putting out shoegaze? Ok. Works.
Not the My Bloody Valentine style of shoegaze, but more the Slowdive style. With a dose of Chapterhouse kind of proto Brit Pop catchiness. And maybe even a pinch of grunge rock? Is that what it is?
There are lots of elements kicking around from about 1986-1996 in this record, and they have managed to coalesce them into something that doesn’t feel derivative in any way. Which is tough. And I mean down to the production, the guitar tones, the vocal cadence….all of it. Nothing have pulled off a spectacular record.





24.
Davidians – City Trends
Label: Sorry State

Couple things going for Davidians right off the bat: one, they are from my dear sweet North Carolina (the only Carolina worth a god damn), and two, they got Brian Walsby, (Double Negative, Snake Nation, Shiny Beast, Polvo, Patty Duke Syndrom, Scared Straight and Wwax), Justin Gray, and Cameron Craig from Double Negative. So, right from the get-go, we’re feeling pretty good about this one. And then you get to the music and it’s a ripping blast (nee, B’Last!) of frantic hardcore damage with a nervous trigger finger. From the school of Void, C.O.C., Black Flag, (the aforementioned) B’Last!, and Die Kreuzen…the miscreants. Ugly and essential.





23.
Death Pedals – Meat House
Label: Hominid Sounds

A propulsive charge that brings to mind …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Ikara Colt, mid-period Fugazi, and moments of Trans Am, but with the welcomed addition of some nasty snarl (which I think is the result of their English-ness). Shouty and punchy and full tilt, and what’s not to like about that?!





22.
Pants Exploder – Pants Exploder
Label: self released

There is always room in my heart for the grimy lurch and stomp of a good heavy sludge band. Which, is not even doing Pants Exploder justice, as they aren’t “sludge” as a singular sensation. Their version of loud music draws from noise rock, and hardcore, and straight metal. It’s just that all those elements are dragged through a swamp of distortion pedals and low rumbling bass tones.
If you liked the first Fight Amp record, or if you were a big fan of Old Man Gloom, or even a band like Floor (the more recent Floor, minus the vocal) then this one should also appeal to your delicate sensibilities as it did mine.





21.
Bloody Knives – I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This
Label: Saint Marie

The trouble with most modern shoegaze is that the tell tale laconic drone of the O.G. shoegaze is all that’s offered. But Bloody Knives play their version of shoegaze at maximum volume and maximum density to fill all open space with an unfurling billow of warm smoke, but then they drive it into the back wall with speed and power, a blinding strobe light rendering the smoke a pulsing cacophony. Like the big noise of My Bloody Valentine as interpreted by the noise noise of A Place To Bury Strangers, as interpreted by the undulating groove of Ride.
Super unexpected find, and super glad it turned up.





20.
Worse – Rubber Burner
Label: Deranged

Brooklyn based three piece that features Rob Davis formerly of the criminally underrated Grids coming correct (I mean, they are from Brooklyn, so I can say “coming correct” and it be culturally appropriate) with a blasting dose of noise rock grit. All frayed around the edges and messy and sweating, trying to hold itself up against the wall as it lumbers down the hallway towards a locked door.
Best appreciated very loud and in mixed company.





19.
Multicult – Position Remote
Label: Reptilian

Consistently reliable in their collective ability to fuck your shit up. If being “classically trained” as a noise rock band means that your record collection has every Touch & Go release from the years 1987-1994 and you have managed to imbue your songs with the same chemical compounds found there, then…Multicult are classically trained goddamn maestros.





18.
KEN Mode - Nerve
Label: Reptilian

I’ve been enjoying the evolution of KEN Mode from street fighting grapplers to heavyweight contenders over the course of the last few years (I think they were #2 on last year’s list [they must have been very proud]!). Each release gets a more nuanced version of a left-right combination to the jaw. I mean, you end up laid out regardless, just now you’re not entirely sure where the hit is coming from.





17.
Happy Diving – Electric Soul Unity
Label: Topshelf

This style really has been front and center for me as of late. Maybe it’s the ever increasing specter of my own mortality that has mellowed my ears? Am I getting old?
I’m not sure, but this sweet spot of fuzzy indie rock with moments of punk, moments of post hardcore, and moments of grungy glory has a hold on me. Like a witchy woman I just cannot resist her beckoning call to rock out with my 1992 out. This absolutely could have been released on Merge Records circa when I was 18 years old (which is sadly way more than 18 years ago [again with the old age trip…]).





16.
Vomitface – Hooray For Me
Label: Help Yourself

Well, you went and named your band Vomitface, huh? Oh boy. Have fun at Thanksgiving dinner…”yes Grandma, it’s called ‘Vomitface’, but, you know, it’s kind of a joke and….awww…Grandma, please don’t cry, it’s just a stupid name…”.
Moniker aside, this album does not sound like what I thought a “Vomitface” would sound like at all. This has a very ramshackle post-grunge approach, with a kinda-sorta Pavement-playing- Nirvana-cover- using-a-bass-guitar-as-the-lead-instrument vibe. You know that vibe, right?
Works though. Works real good.





15.
Eric Bachmann – Off To The Races
Label: Merge

My love for Eric Bachmann knows no bounds, and you should know that by now. I find great enjoyment in his songs, even the sad bastard ones, and I’m not quite sure how he isn’t considered the greatest American songwriter alive. So, this year we (humans) were graced with TWO Eric Bachmann joints, one being an instrumental collaboration with Jon Rauhouse that has a distinctly Western theme (a very beautiful record in its own rite), and this album which draws from a few different genres to flesh out his pieces. It’s a slow burn for sure, and it wasn’t until I saw him perform most of these songs in a little room in Atlanta that it “clicked”. But damn, as long as he wants to put out records, I’ll be a happy man. He’s a legit treasure…no shit.





14.
Greys – Outer Heaven
Label: Carpark

More of the noisy indie rock I’ve been gorging on of late. This band has the elements you’re going to want to synthesize together to manufacture a successful catchy rock song, but I dare say they are slightly more brain than brawn. Which could be due to their polite Canadian childhoods, or it could just be that they’re a bunch of eggheads. I can’t comment on their test scores or anything, but I can tell they have plenty of pop records buried between the Jawbox and Superchunk and Drive Like Jehu and Nirvana albums on their shelves. The songs open up and allow for a sense of vulnerability between the bombast. I like that about them. I just wish they would spell their name right.





13.
USA Nails – No Pleasure
Label: Bigout

Another fuck up on my part…another 2015 release. But I reiterate, who gives a shit?
The world’s a big place, and sometimes you don’t hear the USA Nails album that came out in November of 2015 until sometime around April of 2016…we’re just going to have to live with that.
Listen and you will understand. This record is in that grand tradition of British noise rock which counts Todd, Hey Colossus, Part Chimp, Mclusky, Blacklisters, and I’m going to include Fudge Tunnel, Godflesh, and Terminal Cheesecake as well. Bands that pull from a wide spectrum of source material (industrial, hardcore, rock, noise, gothic, post punk, sludge, and psychedelic) but much like British teeth, the results are gnarly. USA Nails are gnarly, and they want you to know. And now you do. A year late.





12.
Future Of The Left – The Peace and Truce of Future Of The Left
Label: Prescriptions

This record wins the distinction of being the only recording on this list that my wife actually took note of and actually commented; “I don’t know this one, who is this? I like this one.”
Case closed.
Two thirds of Mclusky. Also, case closed.
More hyper literate pulsing noise rock from the mind of Andy Falkous that delivers full cathartic release. Pretty near a perfect album.





11.
Drug Church – Hit Your Head
Label: No Sleep

So in the continuing tradition of me missing the boat on everything, here is this year’s entry of “a record that actually came out last year, but I didn’t hear of it until this year, and I listened to it into the ground, so…fuck it, it’s on the list” record. Apologies to other qualified 2016 releases who got bumped due to my tardiness. I’ll get you next year.
The best vaguely melodic, but charged, hardcore band with hyper literate vocals you will hear or see anytime soon. Kinda sounds like…that one band, or maybe it’s that other band…but I just can’t put my finger on it…and maybe they just sound like Drug Church.





10.
Vincas – Deep In The Well
Label: Learning Curve

The steady lurch of ominous footsteps approaching down a darkened hallway, Vincas are the shadowy visage lurking just out of focus.
This album takes their sound further into the hazy murk of early 80’s post punk death rock stomp-and-roll. Like Christian Death covering Samhain covering Bauhaus covering Gun Club. Sunglasses at night kind of stuff. All black everything.
Great record out of the gate, and it gets better with each successive listen. Essential swamp boogie.





9.
Dinosaur Jr. – Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not
Label: Jajjaguwar

Was not expecting to get blown away by a Dinosaur Jr album this year, but then this Dinosaur Jr album came out, and here I am being blown away by Dinosaur Jr for the first time in a long time. The opening one-two punch of ‘Goin Down’ and ‘Tiny’ is damn near perfect. It’s the combination that the band perfected two and a half decades ago, that I thought maybe had been lost, but with the reconvened OG lineup that deceivingly laconic delivery hides a driving chug of pure rock perfection. Always love to hear quality Dinosaur Jr, and this is it.





8.
The Powder Room – Lucky
Label: Learning Curve

We (I) loved the last record from Powder Room because it was a big, raucous take on rock songs pulling from across the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, but slowly driving over them in their car to grind them into the earth. It was heavy but accessible.
This year, the band has returned and sharpened the formula. You still hear 70’s big rock groove, 80’s post hardcore tense energy, and 90’s grungy lurch. This time around those elements are less reliant on a dusky heaviness to pull the common thread, and instead the rhythm section holds the song together tightly so the guitar can shimmer a bit, or groan, or push and pull into and out of the washes of noise. Still heavy…just not always a distorted heavy…but plenty heavy. Plenty good.





7.
16 – Lifespan Of A Moth
Label: Relapse

There are few things more dependable than the misanthropic percussive churn of a new 16 album. You can basically set your watch by their bulldozing riff-fests of a song. It’s Helmet with fucked up teeth and a nagging girlfriend…and who just lost their job…and the water was cut off three days ago…and you’ve tried calling, but they haven’t answered the phone in a week.
Tune down, turn up, bum out!





6.
The Dirty Nil – Higher Power
Label: Dine Alone

Took some lumps from cooler friends than I for admitting to this one. Especially when I made everybody show up early to the Flag show to make sure we caught The Dirty Nil opening…sheesh. I believe it boiled down to, “when did you start acting like a 15 year old girl?”, as if to say a man of my advanced age and station in the world is not allowed to like good time catchy rock-n-roll with a healthy punk spike and sugary sweet big time hooks? Is that a crime?
Don’t listen to my friends dude, listen to me.
This band take classic rock bravado, dresses it in a punk’s leather jacket (I’m guessing Articles Of Faith logo painted most prominently across back), and takes it to an alternative rock band show circa 1994. Checks a lot of boxes, and it sounds fantastic…you can almost hear their tongues push out against their cheeks.





5.
Vanishing Life – Surveillance
Label: Dine Alone

The blessings of Wally Biscuits joints is like manna from heaven! The live outings with Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand were stellar. The psych damaged skuzz rock of Dead Heavens was stellar. And then this band shows up and brings a confident swing and big rock guitar sucker punch.  Stellar once more!
Not exactly fair to call this album just a Walter Schreifels project, because the other three members are no slouches, so let’s give credit where credit is due.
What are the chances that they take this band out on a proper run of shows, and not the “one week around New England and then one week in California”? Slim?





4.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here….Thank You 4 Your Service
Label: Conscious

I am well aware that this was the “safe for white folks” hip hop record of the year, but you can’t blame Tribe Called Quest for whatever honkies are getting up to, can you? Plus, it’s not like Black Sheep have a reunion on the horizon, so for now, this is the best Native Tongue Family album going.
Not quite on level with the unfuckable-with run on the first three early 90’s records, but pretty goddamn close. All the pieces to the puzzle are present and accounted for, even the guest spots by ex-Leaders Of The New School alumni. It’s all there.
Truth be told, I probably listened to this record more than anything else on this list, but that doesn’t mean you have to.




3.
Culture Abuse – Peach
Label:  6131

The ramshackle positive nihilism of this band has been a ray of light this year. The California baked “do whatever” attitude and deceptively upbeat bounce of their catchy punk belie a sinister undercurrent to their approach. For example, singer David Kelling regaling the audience between songs at their show in Atlanta with feel good “love each other”, and “be cool to everyone around you” platitudes then abruptly shifting into how he would gladly kill a cop if he knew he could get away with it. Like, yeah, everything is cool until you fuck with me and my friends. Then I’m going to fucking slice you open.
Dig this psyched out version of punk hardcore that sucks you in with a hummable chorus. Just, watch your back.




2.
Solids - Else
Label: Dine Alone

My eternal question of “where’s the indie rock today that speaks to me like the indie rock of olden days?” was answered this last couple of years. Either because a group of bands have come around who have tapped into that late 80’s/early 90’s Chapel Hill DNA, or because I pulled my head out of my ass long enough to notice that there has been a steady stream of quality rock music this whole time. I guess we’ll never know, huh?
Last couple years it’s been The Kneads, Meatwave, Wild Moth, Low Fat Getting High, Creepoid…a whole slew. But this year I (belatedly…as usual) figured out Solids and have been smitten ever since. Smart, substantial, and layered songs that balance a catchy melody with a post-punk angled groove. Infinitely enjoyable, as it harkens back to something familiar without being a Civil War re-enactment trip. Love this band very hard and can’t wait for what is next.




1.
Whores. - Gold
Label: eOne

You had to have known this one was coming, yeah?
Whores music is the muscular murk of King Snake Roost as covered by the sawed-off battering of Chris Spencer, with an “everything louder and more distorted than everything else” backing band of Volt. Pure primal savagery, with no shelter. Overdriven overdrive that careens across anything and everything with a pounding rumble and jackhammering riff damage.
You think this shit is easy? You should try and write a collection that sounds this compelling and cathartic. Go on…I’ll wait.
“can’t you see we’re closing in on end time?”. Indeed.



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...

THE ALMOST TOP SOMETHING OR OTHER LIST OF 2016!
(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 list...it'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 mean..it'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.

DL

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.

DL

 
Designed by mln3 designs & etc.