Sunday, December 27, 2015
Label: Sub Pop
This is sort of a test entry, as I am working out the kinks on a new turntable-to-computer digitizing system, and this particular record gets to be the guinea pig. It's short, only two songs, it's got the cache of being a Sub Pop Singles Club entry (the December 1991 edition to be exact) and a pretty good 7" to boot. So give it a whirl and let me know how it sounds/works.
Musically, it sounds a good deal like Fluid, a rock n roll take on grunge with a few of the edges smoothed out, but still nothing your square college roommate was listening to in 1991. It's slightly less abrasive than their 'Blood Music' lp, but still real real good.
Sidebar: trying now to figure out if the Tim Shea in this band is the same Timothy Shea from Westminster, MA who now lives in Atlanta who I know. He plays guitar, and has good taste in music, and he's the right age from the right part of the world....but he's never mentioned Green Magnet School to me before...the plot thickens!
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
It's the end of the year and holiday type season (Merry Whatever Doesn't Offend You), so I'm kinda busy. Not too busy that I don't love y'all and shit, but busy in that I can't get a post up here every day for a minute. Sorry about that, but I'm sure you understand.
That being said, I can't end the year without posting an all time favorite record of mine, that somehow doesn't get the accolades that other bands of this vintage and burliness do. I've oft said the Boston noise rock scene of the mid-90's was untouchable. Super loud. Super pissed. Super fucked. I super love it.
Slughog embodied all that was good about that little scene, and this record encapsulates their sound and fury perfectly. It is big and dirty and heavy and loud. It will make you feel good about feeling bad. It's a record that should darken the shelf of every music lover's collection. If your significant other doesn't own it, then you owe it to him/her/it to track this down and make it right.
Might manage another post or so before the end of the year, but I'm going on vacation for awhile, so regularly scheduled posting will resume in January. I think first up will be my epic, previously threatened Top 50 NYHC 7"s Of All Time series of posts. I finally tracked down the last record in digital format that I needed....soooo....get ready.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Not to be confused with the Slamdek Records release 'Too Far Gone: Unreleased Recordings 1988-1992', this is a DIFFERENT set of unreleased demo recordings. These songs were recorded with the second lineup of the band. See, after the first 7" and the self titled lp (hey, did you know that Glenn Danzig produced that one? It's ok, you'd have to have a real eagle eye to catch that bit of info on the record cover) the band broke up. Then, Slamdek pulled together the unreleased recordings for a compilation, so the band got back together to play some shows, minus founding member, bassist Mike Bucayu. During the course of the reformation, the band also wrote, demo'd and performed some of the twelve songs included here. Assuming they had plans for a follow-up lp, but this version of the band didn't last long, and before anything further could be developed they went their separate ways.
Self described as a "holy war freak parade" Kinghorse were a band that you had to fight your friends about. You had to explain that it's ok to like Crain and Endpoint and Danzig and that Kinghorse found a way to bring those all together into a weird quasi-mystic stomp rock boogie. This is what you had to do. And fuckin-A, you did it proudly. Singer Sean Garrison explained it thusly:"We thought Hardcore was finally dead and that maybe we could build on what Fading Out had started -- real American Rock music that was as much Black Flag as Black Oak Arkansas. Who would have known that so may people would deny their redneck roots? When we started there were three distinct camps -- Big Black fans, Youth of Today fans and Metallica fans. We fucking HATED all of these people. Of course, the world was crawling with these cretins. They wandered around like plague-stricken peasants. The first camp convinced of their urbaneness, world-weary rich brats who were turned on by the detachment of a drum machine. They had the short hair. The second, dressed in the strict SXE uniform of the hooded sweat shirt, thought of nothing but girls and skateboarding (a way to meet girls). They had no hair. The third batch of dumbasses were the until-recently-Ozzy-obsessed Thrash Metal fans. These people had the long hair. We hated these people the most because, on top of being without taste, they were generally just burned out losers.".
It's Kinghorse, and you're either in or out. I hope that for your sake that you're in, but if not...fuck it. Nothing I can do about it.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Label: Atomic Action
Swiz / Sweetbelly Freakdown worship, and I'm ok with that. Swiz crafted a fairly un-fuckable-with template for that DC tinged hardcore roar you know immediately when you hear it.
To further bolster their Swiz bona fides they get Shawn Brown of the aforementioned Swiz to sing a little bit, and they recorded the whole thing with J. Robbins, so you know that this isn't merely "dudes who liked harDCore", but more "dudes who liked harDCore and have studied it in order to harness some if it's power".
So yes, you've heard things like this before, or at least you should have. But that's fine, not everything has to be breaking some imaginary mold, sometimes things can be pure celebration and fun. This record is a love letter to a very particular style of hardcore, and it's convincing, and it's fun, and that's all you fucking need sometimes. If you are liking the Red Hare records, then by all means, jump on this one too.
Members of Have Heart, Verse, Clear, Soul Control, Fucking Invincible, Drop Dead, and more.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Label: Manic Ride
Originally posted in 2009 as part of a Clockcleaner double shot for our good buddy Phil, the link passed away in the Great Mediafire Fire not long thereafter. I was listening to it and thought, "what the hay?".
Maybe you missed it when it came out; entirely possible.
Maybe you were turned off by the surrounding "hype" ("hype" in this case being a few reviewers proclaiming that they are good because they sound like The Jesus Lizard); also possible.
Maybe you had a lot of Usher (nay, "Errrrrsherrrr") going on and not a lot of room for Clockcleaner: less likely, but still possible.
Whatever your reasons, we're not here to judge. We are here to ruin your hearing and further alienate you from your friends and family.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Label: New Atlantis
Keeping with the theme of "so, maybe I missed a few Top Twenty of 2015's...", here is a full length that I feel like I should have heard of, but didn't. Until about a month ago, and even then I didn't get around to listening to it until last week, and now I feel sorta stupid for not paying better attention.
You, like me, may recall hearing the name Hank Shteamer in reference to the Craw reissue campaign that he (successfully) spearheaded. For that alone, I suppose he's owed a debt of gratitude, as any champion of Craw is...a champion of me? Something. Turns out that Hank is the primary song writer of Stats (when not crowd funding crucial box sets)
Well, turns out he wasn't joking about the influence Craw has had on his life, or at the very least, his musical sensibilities, because Stats have a closet full of Craw t-shirts. They also have a few Sicbay shirts in there, a Don Caballero or two, possibly a Breadwinner one tucked way in the back...I mean, I don't presume to have actually surveyed their wardrobe, I'm only guessing.
Here's a record of writhing, seething, twisted, math-y, gnarled heavy noise rock. Checks a lot of boxes. The band was apparently instrumental in the beginning, but on this album they do drop in vocals from time to time, but you will certainly hear how the compositions were built as instrumentals first, as they stay complex enough to ward off most need for singing, but luckily they don't fall down some rabbit hole of wankery, they stay rocking enough to be enjoyed on both a visceral level and as intriguing musical expositions. In that way, you can hear Craw offshoot Keelhaul as a direct influence.
Craw is a tough comparison to draw because, frankly, nobody has ever really sounded like Craw in totality (which, is a good thing), but Stats do seem to be aiming in that general direction. It's a good direction to be in...you could be headed in way worse directions. If Stats can harness a bit more of Craw's mood, in their balance between crushing heaviness and out-there aura, then they would really be in rarified air. But that might require reanimating Joe McTighe.
Regardless of that bit of commentary, this is a super solid record certain to pique your interest. Highly recommended.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Label: Velvet Elk
The Cult Of Walter grows everyday and with every new iteration of new band he resurfaces with. Not to dismiss or downplay the quality of musicians that are playing alongside in Dead Heavens (or any other band he has been in, really), but there's a Walter Style (patent pending) that cuts through his entire discography which is immediately recognizable, and for 4 out of 5 dentists, immediately welcome to the ears.
The first Dead Heaven 7" that came out this year ('History In My Hands') struck a balance between the warped and darkened late 60's pop influence of Walter's short-lived Walking Concert band, and a slow burning Soundgarden-ish rocker that may or may not be a paean to the Wu Tang Clan.
This, the second 7" of the year, jumps out to a swaggering stoner(ish) groove that made me immediately think of Black Mountain, a swing based in mid-70's dirt rock, but elevated out of the dust my Walter's penchant for hooks and his unique "soaring croak" vocal delivery (absolutely meant as a compliment by the way). The flipside slows it down to a hazy, laid back jammer that worms around your head until you can relent no more, and then they let the song fly off into the trees and you're left thinking, "I could have listened to that for 10 more minutes.".
Two songs of goodness. I'd like twelve more please.
The other guys on the record aren't to be downplayed as merely "supporting Walter", they're real deal dudes in their own right. On drums you got your Drew Thomas of Bold, Crippled Youth, Into Another, Youth Of Today, The New Rising Sons, God Fires Man, Twilight Broadcast, and Zombie. On bass you got your Nathan Aquilar of Cults and Smith Westerns. And on guitar you got your Paul Kostabi of White Zombie, Youth Gone Mad, and errr, Psychotica.
You've probably already got this, I get it, but in my "end of the year list making fury", Dead Heavens were certainly a band I was going to include had they have gotten a full length together in time. Next year...
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Label: self released
Another quick one...cause you're beautiful and you deserve to be treated right.
Imagine unearthing a lost cassette that had really old Bolt Thrower on one side and really old Die Kreuzen (is there any other kind?) on the other. Now imagine that the tape is corroded such that when you play it back in your boombox (because...there's no other way to blast your jamz) the two sides have blended together into one molten mass of crusty, sludgy, hyper aggro , down tuned, blown out noise.
Sounds pretty fucking sweet, yeah?
Yeah, cause this goddamn P.D.C. demo is pretty fucking sweet.
Hank from Foundation on guitar...just in case.
Label: self released
A quick one (while he's away) today.
A new Atlanta band have a demo for your review and approval.
A nice blend of post-punk iciness and no wave damage and trashy punk urgency and general oddities.
A promising debut from a band who appear to be on track to craft their own unique sound.
A great way to spend 15 or so minutes.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" is what The Fonz says when responding to a query in the affirmative.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Label: Init / Tapes Of A Neon God
The folly with making a year end list of your favorite things is...you forget some of your favorite things. Or you haven't heard some of your favorite things yet, and they aren't included on the list.
That's going to be, as the kids say, "my bad y'all".
Great Falls should have been on that list, because this new record is a colossal assemblage of mean and acerbic noise rock. The real heavy, Pacific Northwest strain of noise rock, that borrows as liberally (or in this case, a little more) from the fragmented destructo-blitz of Botch as they do from the staggered thud of Cop Shoot Cop. It means the riffing is a little more pointed and metallic, and the vocals will roar a constant gale force roar.
Not surprising how ferocious this record is when you remember that front man Demian Johnston has (mis)spent his youth and beyond pummeling in bands like Undertow, Nineironspitfire, Kiss It Goodbye, Playing Enemy, and Hemingway. Drummer Phil Petrocelli (remember when Great Falls had a drum machine?) has a long resume of collaboration, including with Jesu and Eugene Robinson, and bassist Shane Mehling also spent time in both Hemingway and Playing Enemy, so these guys are no strangers to ending a show bleeding and spent.
The basic premise of this album is; be relentless. Never let up, never stop the barrage. It's taxing, not an easy listen, but then again, what the fuck are you coming here for easy listening?
If you like Keelhaul and American Heritage, then this one is right up your (back) alley. Super good!
Friday, December 4, 2015
By super popular demand...here we go! The Tastemaker of All Tastemakers Top Twenty List!
Look, let's be real here; it's rare that I get out and about and discover new music the old fashioned way. I'm far too new school for old convention. My exposure to new things is both haphazard and slapdash...shit either falls in my lap (via someone saying, "hey stupid, listen to this") or it is randomly unearthed in an internet k-hole (bandcamp can be a real time suck). Point being, there were probably loads more great records out there this year that I simply won't know about until it's too late to include them on a year end list of any sort. No big deal, there are other lists out there, and hopefully, if it's good enough I'll stumble upon it one day.
So, without further ado, here's a sorta ranked list (the rankings are subject to wild mood swings, and number 1 could easily be number 20 if the moon and my menses are aligned just right [or wrong]).
20 (tied) Air Wolves - Life Is A Bloodsport
Southern gothic death rock stomp, and that's what does it a lot of the time. Doesn't it?
20 (tied). Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends - The Enemy Of Everyone
Just a weird enough blend of bombast and balls and rock n roll and good times. This one is a grower
20 (tied). Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect
Like a dark and dirty version of The Walkmen mixed with The Fall, they scratch a certain gloomy but upbeat post punk itch.
19. Author and Punisher - Melk En Honing
Taking the punishing crush of Godflesh and injecting a brutal homemade industrial scraping, this one man jam has carved out a special spot in my (cold, dead) heart, and this album continues to expand my love for his battering ram assault.
18. Christian Fitness - Love Letters In The Age Of Steam
I'm a sucker for that Andrew Falkous, what can I say? An off kilter blend of aggressive post punk and well crafted pop songs, say no more.
17. Meatwound - Addio
Total punishment from the jump, and sometimes total punishment is what you want. It's what you need. Ask you mom for a Meatwound tshirt for Christmas and let the good times roll (off a cliff).
16. High On Fire - Luminiferous
If it ain't broke, right? The American Motorhead chugs on with another volume of super high quality, super potent biker speed annihilation. Lord love Matt Pike and his mighty riff wielding axe, he is (not joking in the least) a national treasure.
15. Elephant Rifle - Ivory
This band has quietly (but with so much volume) been making a case for themselves as Numero Uno Noise Rock Bad In The USA, but it doesn't appear to be a campaign that's really taking off. Yet. Which I don't get, because these fellas are checking all the right boxes, and this album pulls together their heavy handed, hardcore drenched version of burly fighting music, and I, for one, love it.
14. Hammerhead - New Directionz
A "Vaz-y" version of Hammerhead, but it's still Hammerhead, and Hammerhead are not to be taken lightly. Hammerhead will hammer your head, they've been doing so for years and seem to continue unabated (luckily for us).
13. Wailin' Storms - One Foot In The Flesh Grave
This album could be the surprise of the year to me, beause previous to a Magic Bullet sampler (those things really DO work!) I had never heard of this band, and I haven't heard of them since. Nobody is talking about how great they are, and I don't understand that. How can you deny Samhain meets TSOL meets Gun Club meets Dax Riggs meets Young Widows meets Clockcleaner?! Essential!
12. Icarus Line - All Things Under Heaven
A band that for all intents and purposes should have been dead and buried many times over the years as they seemed to slash and burn (not crash and burn, mind you) their way across the cultural landscape, but a band that against the odds has come out the other side with another high water mark in their discography with this one. Psych damaged bravado that reaches out and grabs you by the throat. Up against the wall motherfuckers, indeed.
11. Sumac - The Deal
Admittedly this record didn't click until seeing the band play, whereupon it was evident that the power was no joke, the mass was real, and the effect was pulverizing. Drawing heavily from the old Isis well (thankfully the mid period Neurosis well) to great effect. Musically it pulls you into a dark, warm hole (no, not that one) then savagely attacks with teeth fully gnashing and shit. It's an investment, this record, but it certainly pays off pig time. Worth it alone for the drumming.
10. Gaytheist / Rabbits - Gay*Bits split
Just the name should be enough, but in this case the name is just the tip of the iceberg. Two of the best going teaming up to ruin your eardrums with good timing rock blasts that dip into heavy sludge, black light velvet painting parties, and strong edibles. The fact that Gaythiest ends their side and Rabbits begin their side with their own versions of the same song is genius.
9. Manhandle - This Massive Load
So, it was recorded back in 2012, but the fact that nobody really heard it until this year counts. Counts to me. Tightly wound but liable to go off at any moment, heavy duty fuck you's all around. So, so, def.
8. Process Black - Demo 2015
I mean, fucking Tim Singer bringing the heat...what else is there? Haven't heard anything else about the band since they quietly released this demo in January, so it seems like we're due, right?
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2399819804 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]
7. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier
I wasn't crazy about the last one, 'Monomania', so didn't have much anticipation for this one, which possibly heightened my appreciation. I can't say. My brain is a dusty and dank place, so trying to guess it's inner workings is a fool's errand. But that aside, I'm back on the Deerhunter bandwagon, which if you would have told me that 10 years ago when they (he) was releasing ambling psych pastiches, I would have said "no way", but the band has proved me short-sighted (again).
6. Meat Wave - Delusion Moon
Man oh man oh man do I fucking love this one. Perfectly balanced punk-ish indie rock that brings the catchy good times straight out of the gate. Not a lot of bands can handle the responsibility of harkening back to my youth without pandering to some idealized version of early 90's rock music. but Meat Wave do it. They do my youth justice! Which, I can only imagine was their goal. Mission accomplished gentlemen, thanks! This is what Built To Spill should have sounded like, but wimped out on.
5. The Kneads - Letting You Let Me Down
Not unlike Meat Wave up there, The Kneads have done the seemingly impossible, that is to resurrect the corpse of North Carolina indie rock past and bring it back to life with vim, vigor, and verve (and vinegar based bar-b-que). Saying that there's an ex-member of The Raymond Brake seals the deal. Bands aren't playing like this anymore, for whatever reasons, so when the real deal comes out and reminds you what it was that you loved about jagged, loose, urgent indie rock...well, that's some special shit. Super special shit.
4. Mutoid Man - Bleeder
Steven Brodsky and Ben Koller make a compelling case, I mean, there's not much to argue there really. But Steven Brodsky, for my money (what little there is...can I borrow a dollar?), has become a powerhouse songwriter, and certifiable riff-master. With the last couple Cave In records (once they shed that Converge worship way back when) and now with Mutoid Man, he has managed to bring thunderous guitar whallops, but temper them with big soaring melody. And he's found his voice, a perfect foil to the din. Big, heavy rock records come in handy.
3. The Powder Room - Curtains
As Phil Fay Fock so eloquently put it, "I can't remember the last time I had a local band on fairly regular rotation". And for me, "fairly regular rotation" has meant almost weekly this entire year. They took what their old band Pride Parade had been doing and beefed it up, refined it, and consolidated it into a fucking perfect album. Post hardcore noisy classic rock...get in or get fucked.
2. Ken MODE - Success
Have you ever been attacked by someone with a knife? No? Nor have I...and why would I, people love me. But I imagine, this record sounds a lot like a knife fight feels. The ominous dread that you know you're going to walk away with a great deal of your own blood on your shirt. You know it's going to hurt. All you can focus on is the flurry of steel coming at you over and over. Seems scary, but somehow exhilarating. Come out on the other side and you've accomplished something, you're stronger for it, you earned it. This band continues an upward trajectory, and with this record they have melded all their uber heavy tendencies into a noise rock sharpened blade. Let's dance.
1. Pigs - Wronger
This one just slays ballzzzzzz. Your ballzzzzz, my ballzzzz, pretty much any set of ballzzzz fortunate enough to hang in its path. The continuation of JJ Paradise Players Club's version of hardcore influenced noise rock, this band roars like nobodies business. The best. It's the opposite of a warm bubble bath with your favorite pinot grigio and Danielle Steele novel...but better.
*Bonus Hip Hop Corner*
I find myself listening to hip hop about a third of the time I'm listening to music for whatever reason. And as would be expected, my tastes are also predictably stuck in the past, to the 'Golden Age" as it were, when Rap City was mandatory afterschool viewing (holla at ya boy Donnie Simpson!). But, I do get stoked on new shit all the time (although it appears that it's a smaller solar system of artist that I'm gravitating towards...but), so here's a Top 5 of what I've been rocking in the whip (until I pull up next to a black person at a stop light, then it immediately is turned down to a respectable volume). Disclaimer: I have an extremely low tolerance for affected vocal style of dudes like Future, Fetty Wop, Young Thug, and all that. Drives me nuts, so none of those guys got much time this year (I'm sure they're crushed), and I'm by no means an expert, digging around mix tapes and Instagram pages, so I'm sure there's plenty of "better" stuff out there, but, fuck it, this is what I was listening to when I wasn't listening to old Big Daddy Kane records waiting to see on Worldstar that Slim Jesus has been shot (as of this writing, he has not).
5. Drake - Back To Back
I used to hate Drake, and think I probably still do, but this fucking jam was nuts! Plus, the feud with Meek Mill was weeks of hilarity on the internet...I love that stupid shit.
4. Run The Jewels - Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite)
truth be told, I listen to more Run The Jewels than most everything else on this list, but they also didn't put out a full length this year (not counting that fucking cat thing). Killer Mike forever!
3. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
yes I know, this is on every Top Whatever list everywhere, but, I mean, shit's good. It's got legit weirdness mixed with a real unique delivery, so, yeah, I'm with it. Admittedly, the really good tracks make up for a handful of duds on here, but those really good tracks are really fucking good.
2. Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful
beef with Ghostface Killa aside, and collateral hipster damage notwithstanding, there's not much to dislike about Action Bronson and his goofy ass. Not everything need be serious.
1. Pusha T - Untouchable
yeah, one track, no new album this year, but goddamn this track!
Thursday, December 3, 2015
You wanted the best, you got...us.
Tomorrow we shall attempt to have cobbled together our "Top Something of 2015" (I don't know how many releases I can remember or list...it will be a surprise for us both!) list, so tune in.
Ordinarily I wouldn't bother with this, but for reasons beyond me there is an actual "demand" for a year end wrap up, so, far be it from me to disappoint all you lovely people. I'll see what I can come up with, and then open up the floor for you to tell me what kind of a ding dong I am and what I missed and all that. Should be fun!
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Hands down, one of the best goddamn compilations ever goddamned compiled. I cannot believe that this record(s) isn't routinely cited as a touchstone in contemporary conversation.
Three 7"s, each loosely themed:
The Good - absolute damaged noise rock / hardcore that will cave in you fucking face
La Gritona - they get two songs because, fuck you, they are La Gritona, they are the best
Fork - distortion on distortion on distortion, fuck your stupid ears
Craw - there was no better band than Craw for awhile there, and there still are few that rival them
Slughog - if anyone ever tells you to turn the bass down, you tell them to fuck straight off
The Bad - nihilism, anger, and volume. Sludgy hardcore hate crimes
Cavity - blister inducing, crazed power
Floor - pre-melody Floor, when the feedback was basically the third guitarist, total bliss
16 - it's not hyperbole to state that 16 hate you more than you will ever know. here's a song to prove it
Toadliquor - title of the song is "Praise God For Blood"...I mean, what more can I say?
Thug - such potent, murky heaviness. they should play this song at every high school graduation
The Ugly - power violence, noise induced headache eaters
Ice Nine - speed Universal Order Of Armageddon up from 33 to 45 rpm and mosh liberally
Discordance Axis - 100 million bats flying out of a cave into your fucking face
Apartment 213 - serial killers need love too
Devoid Of Faith - choke yourself out and see the rainbow of death
Spazz - still talking about that fool Finn
Damad - lurching, menacing madness, the sound of being drunk in Savannah on a Monday afternoon
Enemy Soil - straight up
Suppression - recorded in a garbage disposal, released on a sawblade, fucking brutal
Some of the songs on this record have appeared elsewhere on other releases, but...trust me...they fucking work here.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
This is a record that could have only come out on Load. And if you understand that premise, than you can stop reading any further and make your decision on whether or not you want to hear this.
If you didn't automatically pick up on that last statement (because maybe you're not a complete fucking nerd, or maybe you have "a life", or something), then allow me to explain. Load Records has made a name for themselves by consistently releasing records that tend to share a common thread; that thread being noise, bass-centric bands, humor, and volume. All, fine and good if you ask me (I assume that most people are asking me stuff most of the time, even when that's clearly not the case). In the right hands, those elements can produce insane amounts of raw primal power. Building leveling type power.
In the case of White Mice, they seem completely free to wield that power all over the damn place, and with extreme prejudice. They swing wildly from brutal overdriven sludge crawls to white hot blasts of borderline black metal scree to claustrophobic dins of pounding noise damage. Not a second of this record will ever be accused of having a "nice harmony", and you know, that's alright. The world has lots of "nice harmony" already. Sometimes the world warrants some "ugly pain". White Mice bring the ugly pain.