Friday, 18 November 2011

Happy Flowers

It's not often a band invokes the kind of sensation where the deepest recess of your own psyche comes undone. Happy Flowers had that special kind of inane insanity that countless bands attempt to emulate, but so few actually capture with the right passion and intensity.
Resting somewhere between Big Black and the Butthole Surfers, John Beers and Charlie Krammer (known as "Mr. Horribly Charred Infant" and "Mr. Anus", respectively) deliver the perfected sounds of sarcasm and self-loathing.

Born from Charlottesville, Virginia in 1983, by two members of then hardcore linchpins the Landlords, Happy Flowers is the unrelenting and uncensored, half-humour and half-childhood angst, stream of consciousness that quenches all weirdo punk fans musical desires.
Their seminal LP "My Skin Covers My Body", released in 1987 on Homestead records, opens with the self-pitying track "The Sun That Burns". The listener is instantly welcomed to a wall of jarring guitars that clearly took its cue from "Metal Machine Music", and is then berated with ceaseless repetition of the songs own title.
It's on "If It Were Broken You'd Be Screaming", the LPs 12th track, two songs shy of being the records penultimate, where the rawest power emerges though. A constant repeated drone of two chords is abused with no remorse, whilst the story of a pre-pubescent child of neglect is relayed with unnerving precision. A powerful back and forth between two voices culminates with the line "... And when my mom opened the box that had the disgusting mangled remains of my body in it, I said 'Mom. Mom. I think one of my teeth is broken'", and as all music cuts out, a shrill reply of the songs name is heard.

Laying the groundwork for a variety of bands to come, Happy Flowers inevitably called it a day, with a few sporadic resurrections, in the early part of last decade. Once discovered, it's hard not to admire and instantly recognise the sound they honed in others works; whether it's a juggernaut like Nirvana or a bottom-dweller like SQRM, their influence is unmistakable. It is at your own loss to ignore the legacy this band has left behind.

Happy Flowers - My Skin Covers My Body

- Thom

Friday, 21 October 2011

Vinegar Strokes

Last week I saw this Leeds based band play on a lineup that included Mexico's ultra forceful Inservibles, the relatively new outfit 'No' (featuring the vocalist from The Shitty Limits on drums) and the somewhat semi-local hardcore band Moat. Vinegar Strokes were my favourite band on the bill, which says a lot considering how young they are as a four piece, and how crushing each of the other bands on the bill sounded within in their own right.

The Vinegar Strokes attack plays as a powerful coagulent of raw black punk anchored by solid noisey riff-making. The vocals are howled, the drumming is on point and almost waltzy at times. The whole thing breeches the ear drums as a lethargic Pissed Jeans slowdancing with Bone Awl. Listen to the track 'TV News' - the final track from their demo - and you should be able pick up on the sharp vocals and skin splitting drum parts being blended with pinches of that familiar ironic jauntiness that Pissed Jeans have thoroughly made their trademark

'Benefit Cuts', rolls in with a playful modern pigfuck type riff, something The Men would have been proud to write. Thirty seconds in and a tirade of raspy vocals flood in to take over the proceedings. There is a definite veneer of SQRM similarity, not a total looting of the Rodeo grave by any means, just a shared taste for mid-tempo, intensely dark hardcore - the type that would strike fear into the heart of any Trapped Under Ice fan.

Track one 'Jason' welcomes in a Grinning Death's Head style mix of aggression, and keeps to the proven template of raw, lo-fi, distressed black metal meets punk. Sharing the same city with Sump has probably resulted in a great deal of influence being worn off on these guys. The similarities are definitely noticeable, although Vinegar Strokes seem to approach the situation from a hardcore background, whereas Sump are much more ingratiated within the realms of black metal.

The whole thing sounds great live. The thrashing of the low end makes the swirling mass of blackened punk feel like it has something weighty to rely on, rather than being totally lost in feedback. I think you'd have to pen these guys as a raw punk band, with noisey inflections. They're predominantly more Youth Attack than Posh Isolation, if you had to stylize them. I'm heavily recommending this band

Demo 2011

- Josh

Monday, 10 October 2011


Photo courtesy of Madison East

Last spring DNF hit my radar when the played The Blvd. in Los Angeles. No, I didn't see the show, but I heard members of Trash Talk and Touche Amore had another band that was heavy and brutal and that I'd probably like em. Fast forward from word of mouth to bass player Sam Bosson sending me some new songs they had recently recorded and......holy shit the songs ruled! A few weeks back they rolled through on a mini-tour they were doing with Deafheaven and I was there. Again, holy shit these songs rule live too! Not to mention their performance was just full throttle.... serious dose of 'I dont give a fuck'. Just a solid pummeling to the senses. One of the few shows I had seen of recent that I continued to think about days later, jonesing to see em again.

DNF hailing from opposite directions of California, aren't a new band. Originally named Duke Nukem Forever, the 4-piece consisting of Kyle Takahashi, Sam Bosson, Chad Kawashima and Elliot Babin began playing in 2006. The band was put on ice in 2008 when Kyle and Sam relocated from Los Angeles to San Fransisco and Chad moved to Portland, OR. It wasn't until recently that Sam and Chad returned to Los Angeles and they reformed as DNF. The sound is heavy, aggressive, ugly music that borders the realms of power violence, doom and Scandanavian d-beat. DNF has recorded a 7" of all brand new material that is scheduled to come out in November 2011 on Chris Colohan's (Cursed/Burning Love) label High Anxiety Records. You can get a taste of what's to come on their band camp page here: DNF - Bandcamp
Go see this band if you have the chance, and buy that sucker when it comes out. You'll be "Hurt".

Photo courtesy of Madison East

Photo of courtesy Of SF Sludge

- Sam

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bluenose B - Forever Passing Trains

All inflated hyperbole aside, the lonesome 'Forever Passing Trains 12" ' by Bluenose B is one of my favourite releases of all time. Thom, my best friend and third PP writer forced this upon me about six months ago and it's practically changed the way I listen to music. The band were active in the mid 80's, and hailed from an area just north of Liverpool, UK. Post Bluenose B i'm much more attentive to everything that's going on; whether it be melody, structure, dynamic.. whatever. It's peculiar how a record that never made much of a dent in the superstructure can have that dramatic an affect on you. More power to punk and everything it spawned.

As far as my half fruitful background check went I can't find much else other than a series of tracks laid down late in the Bluenose B tenure by varying line ups. These gloriously British melodious post-punk composers released something quintessentially perfect in my eyes, and then took the opportunity for an extended bow out. There were rumblings of later career EP's and rejuvenation after line-up changes, but I'm not clued up on that.

Bluenose B work with a Smith's template of sorts, opener 'Burning Up' is a slowly evolving lament of jangling guitars cresting and falling as everything that was once pure about Indie-pop breaks itself against the rocks. 'Forever Passing Trains' plays an encouraging new wave backdrop as Dave Billows vocal sawtooths sensationally around the upper echelons of total harmony. 'Forever Passing Trains' is the masterpiece for me. To cap it off, 'Maybe,' is a sweet four minute cherry that spills emotion poignantly onto tape. I recommend this, heavily.

Bluenose B - Forever Passing Trains

- Josh

Psychic Blood

We are slow on the uptake with this one. Psychic Blood are from Holyoke, Massachusetts and curdle together this great fucking blow out of frantic Greg Sage meets aggressive 'You're Living All Over Me' guitar thrashes, with a Paul Leary type figure overseeing the proceedings.

That descriptions is failing me already, on the first read back alone. Psychic Blood take point from all my favourite bellwether's in punk history, but unlike others they avoid the tiresome dove-coterie of 'this is garage punk,' 'this is noise.' On the contrary they force feed a palette of noise and gazey vibrations into the mouth of something hungry for an honest garage feel.

The vocals are distant, echoey, but overruling in some blindingly contradictory sense. This cassette is a barefoot trek through a hedge maze of assertive noise, intelligent Sonic Youth patterning and perhaps the most level headed rock rhythms that Scratch Acid ever produced. Soak it up.

Further research reveals that they have another release out which i'll lump in with the demo below.

Psychic Blood - Demo
Psychic Blood - Leaves
(Links from

 - Josh

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Burn Books - An interview with NYC's fledgling label, press, and encouragers of all things Punk

I had the pleasure of interviewing Maxim and Alex of New York City's Burn Books - one of the most challenging and artistic young labels in sight. This pairing are a serious inspiration; putting out records, publishing the written word, releasing art and helping to promote shows around the Brooklyn and Manhattan area. If you're not familiar, you should head on over to to acquaint yourselves with everything they've been doing for the past two years 'cause they ain't gonna stop for you to catch up

How did this DIY venture into all things expressive and artistic come about?

Alex: Maxim and I have been buddies for a while...we’re both really into punk/music as well as other kinds of art. We initially conceived Burn Books as a way to help promote and sell our friends’ artwork...there is so much mediocre crap out there getting attention we wanted to help get the word out about things that are actually good.

Max: I think the two major things that really got Burn Books rolling for me where when it was time for Pregnant to put their LP out and talking to our friend Dennis McNett. We'd been friends with everyone in Pregnant for years and before we even heard that record we knew we had to put it out. Around the same time I was hanging out with Dennis and looking at all his awesome sculptures and prints and he was just talking about his philosophy of getting his art out there. It was not just DIY but it was punk too and it was really a breaking point for me where I knew there was no reason we couldn't use that same approach we also grew up with and apply it to all sorts of art.

Considering that you're both artists in your own right, though not musicians, how could you describe your link to the New York music scene? Is it something you've grown up appreciating?

Max: We both grew up in NJ and started coming in to NYC in the late nineties to go to shows at CBGB, ABC, or wherever else. I think we were both probably just as interested in punk/hc as we were with art. It's probably every 15 year old punk kid's dream to own a record store and Burn Books is similar in idea, it just goes beyond music.

Alex: Both of us moved to Brooklyn to attend college about 10 years ago and have always stayed active in the “scene.” Max booked shows as a part of Team Narc in NJ, and later had a punk house in Bushwick called Crewtonz that I think was one of the first sparks of the scene that’s going on now. It’s guess kind of a cliche, but it really is a loose knit family of people doing bands, putting out records, and booking shows.

The sheer volume of fresh young talent in the city and within the confines of Brooklyn is staggering. What do you think of acts such as Wet Witch, Brain Slug, Dawn of Humans etc?

Max: All those bands are great. I think the best thing about NYC punk right now is that it isn't like all the bands that are good are trying to sound a specific way. You know, it's not like there is one awesome band and then 10 others trying to sound like them. It's probably more diverse now than it has been since I started coming to shows here and as long as it's both diverse and good there is nothing to complain about.

Alex: All those bands rip! It’s nice to listen to heavy and aggressive music that is still original and coming from people with good taste that are actually thinking about things. It’s a shame that this is such a rare thing nowadays.

In my opinion, New York is the hub of all things original and exciting right now, specifically the Hardcore scene. Would you go as far as to say that New York holds the throne in 2011?

Alex: I don’t leave the city too often so for all I know there is a sick hardcore scene in some shitty town I’ve never heard of that blows NYC away...but there is something tangibly exciting going on here. All these people are maniacs. Toxic State Records is the best punk label around right now.

Max: I think people have a natural attachment to wherever they are from in terms of thinking of what is going on there is so great and interesting but I'm really trying to take a step back and think of it from an outsider perspective and the NY music scene is really great right now. Don't get me wrong, there are probably about 3000 shitty bands trying to make it, but I mean, come on: The Men, Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Wet Witch, Perdition, Anasazi, White Suns, Population 1280, Rosenkopf, Night Birds, Pygmy Shrews, Dream Police, American Sun, Nomad, Bortgang, Brain Slug, Zatsuon.... I can keep going.

The New York Rules compilation was fantastic, how was that project birthed and how did it feel to put that out and become a sort of rallying point for an entire scene?

Alex: We felt it was important to document a little piece of what’s been going on here and help get the word out about all this great music.

Max: Thanks. We just thought there wasn't a really good NYC comp in a long time and wanted to have it be diverse but also make sense. I think the goal was for people to buy it only knowing some of the bands but not fast forward through any of it either. I dunno if we accomplished that with everyone but it's cool to read some review of a band's record that's from the tape saying something like ... I first heard this band when I bought NY Rules mostly cause this other band was on it....

What do you think it is, intrinsically, that allows the Brooklyn / New York scene to coalesce in the way that it does? I mean how does the out and out melody of Night Birds and Pregnant, the untethered wildness of The Men and the forceful scumfuck craziness of White Suns manage to live together so well?

Max: Part of it is just the sheer amount of people playing music. I mean, you can probably have a Friday with one show with The Men, another with White Suns, and then a third with Night Birds and all 3 would have good turnouts at them but it also wouldn't be as cool as if those 3 bands just played one sick show together. I also think a lot of it has to do with the attitude of the people in the bands just being fans of music and not concentrating on what sub-genre their band fits in.

Alex: All those bands might sound different, but they are coming from people that grew up going to the same shows and listening to the same records. Punk kids here seem to be more open to different styles of music and getting weird with things. Living in New York you are exposed to so many different kinds of cultures and people it kind of forces you to be open minded, but it’s also so hectic here it makes you insane.

Are you guys in this for the long haul? What can we expect next from the Burn Books collective?

Alex: I’d really like to cash out and buy property somewhere out in the midwest to prepare for the oncoming collapse of society, but until then we’ll keep putting cool stuff for people with outstanding taste.

Max: All of our upcoming releases will be $100 and come with autographed head shots of the two of us.

We have the Wet Witch 7", which will be out by the end of the year. NY Rules II which is in it's very beginning stages right now as we just started talking to the bands. We're doing 10 different commissioned silk screen prints from NY area artists which is kinda like the idea behind the NY Rules tape but in fine art form. We have the HC Gig Volume zine of fliers which is a bit delayed right now but we'll get back to it. We're doing a new section on our website of live recordings from NY shows we go to which should be a cool way to archive the scene right now. There's tons of stuff and not enough time to get it all done.

- Josh

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Men - UK performances

For the attention of our UK readership..

This writer's favourite band of the year, The Men, have announced two London dates set for this coming December. The Brooklyn noiseniks released their latest LP through Sacred Bones records a few months ago and quite frankly the forty minute document of slow burning Wipers led voguish noise that is 'Leave Home' holds a strong place within my top five records of the year so far. I could gush all day about this band but instead, here you go..

13 Dec - LONDON White Heat @ Madame Jojo’s
14 Dec - LONDON Shacklewell Arms

- Josh

Monday, 26 September 2011

An interview with C.S.B.

Amidst the hymns of hype that surround the resurfaced black metal and noise scenes, sits an island often overlooked for its musical endeavours. I'm talking of Great Britain, and if you have the patience to wade through the overplayed, overhyped, and overkilled shite that is endlessly spewed forth, given merch, and championed to no end - you'll find yourself sourcing out releases from labels such as Turgid Animal/Legion Blotan, and Casual Seizures. Bands, labels, and promoters associated with these styles of music have valiantly made a scene all their own, seperate from the ever increasingly laughable -core club. One band fully immersed in dirge, and churning out assault after assualt of blackend noise, is Manchester's very own Cryptic Salve Band. A few months back, I managed to get some words out of them. Here's what they had to say;

How did Cryptic Salve Band come about? What inspired the name and what inspired you to create such unique music?

Darren Adcock: My take on this was... we were both doing different projects, Barbarians, Insects in Sects, Axnaar.  If i remember right we played a couple of gigs together doing respective bands and eventually (I think when we shared a house) we decided to play a bit... and well it just worked.

Gareth Howlett: We came up with the name mucking about and shortened it to C.S.B to avoid having to say it all the time.

You have quite stark and intriguing artwork for each of your releases, there's a clear miasma and throwback to the harsher side of punk, how did this come about and who does most of your artwork?

GH: We've got a release called 'Slime Circle' that Poot in Hull put out. It's got a pencil drawing of a rock chick on the cover that his mum did. That's the sort of thing we like.

You've been featured quite predominantly on wellknown and prestigious internet blogs, is it weird for you to see yourself heralded online when perhaps you don't recieve the same response in the outside world?

DA: It is wierd yes. I guess for anyone in any scene doing any kind of project it would be the same. I guess it is easy to get frustrated by not getting praise or as many opportunities as you would like, however desire is also a pitfall that is easy to fall into. Sometimes I get frustrated, sometimes I am happy with anything I get. I'd rather be the last one, I try to be this.

What first interested you to such lo-fidelity and raw sounds? What do you personally use to record your music?

DA: Some of recordings are done on a 4 track. Alot are on a H4 mp3 recorder. Most of our recordings are done in our basement, so the frequencies kinda get mashed together, kind of becomes one entity at times. We won't be doing any more recordings down there as our house got given an A.S.B.O for loud music.

Is there anything that specifically attracts you to releasing on cassette? Can we expect a forray into other formats in the future from C.S.B?

DA: Vinyl and cassette first. Cassettes are cheap and accessible. 

GH: Ideally everything would be on vinyl, but we'd be homeless if we did that, so tapes are the second best format.

Within your staunch dirge of noise, are there any artists you see as directly impacting your sound? If so, who, how and why?

DA: The answer for this has too many options. I understand the desire to ask such a question. I'll answer with some of the bands from UK that I have and will continue to enjoy live, Drunk in Hell, Gruel, Foot Hair, Barbarians, Sump, Sex Wound, Vom, Klaus Kinski, No Womb, Rich Lexicon, Bong ... tons more... just off the top of my head. 

If there is any distinct philosophy or ethos that drives the band, what would you describe it as?

DA: Plug in play. All improvised. 

GH: Don't get bogged down thinking about it, just get on with it. No compromise.

Are there any current bands, labels, or general artists that you enjoy right now? Do any of these have an influence on your own work?

DA: Everyone I see has an influence. I respect anyone for getting out there and having a go.  

If you had to select one band to save from the inevetible decline of punk, and cement them in history, who would you choose?

DA: Drunk in Hell. The decline has been positive though. I get to see great bands. 

Lastly, what can expect for the future of C.S.B?

DA: Incubate 2011. Thanks to Kevin Jansen (svartvit). Maybe a wee tour in europe or netherlands.

: We have a couple of recordings waiting, either our selves to self release or interest off a label.

C.S.B. still have a few records available from themsleves, harass them here. Or download their releases here.

- Thom

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Otro Mundo

Otro Mundo are a garage group playing out of Tempe, Arizona. They recently recorded their premier oeuvre 'Jellied' - a record which proudly blitzes together a whole mélange of influences and pumps the jams through a lagoon of swanky reverb.

The band consists of various guiding lights from the Arizona scene, pitching together members of Pigeon Religion, Avon Ladies (who's '2012' record left firm impressions of greatness on everyone who heard it,) as well as a couple of personalities from Nihilism, Acid Dawgz, and Naive. If you had the brass to do so I guess you could call these fucks a supergroup. You might want to save that tag for some Fantômas or Crosby, Stills, and Nash types though.

Subsequently they played a release show which boasted Brooklyn noise darlings The Men and Washington state's buzzworthy Milk Music on the bill, two groups that have infected the listening habits of so many around the world this past year with respectively stunning LPs. Being associated with some of the most important and challenging bands of today can only be a good thing.

'Jellied' is a notably hard working release. The first listen reveals a swarm of garage punk wildness adopted by an underlying groundwork of solid rock and roll structuring. The five songs on show are cautious not to give too much away too soon and it's only after repeated listens that the figure eight knots of noise unravel themselves and the influences become clear.

Opener 'All In Time' is succulently lo-fi and drums its way into a burst of fruitful melody before you have a chance to even utter the words 'Jay Reatard.' The Sonic Youth bloodline of influence is dramatic but not without tact, as they pick up and run with all the invigoration of mid-timeline 'Youth, while being careful not to leave the poppiness too polished. You can pick up pieces of Hüsker Dü authority flashed in the pan alongside playful Replacements-esque vocals and guitar cuts as this track moves into it's own territory. Second track, 'Midnight Oil Burner,' sounds like the love birds Gordon & Moore covering Beach Boys tracks underwater.

'Heart Thrush' is perhaps my pick of the bunch. It's half mournful drag is perfectly suited in it's tempo to be your new favourite anti-love song of choice. The melody overpowers any edgy garage vibes and strips everything back to reveal a talent within the group for writing effortless pop songs. This track reminds me so much of Nirvana's 'I Hate Myself And I Want To Die' with it's ironically compelling vocal hook and happy-to-be-half-simmering tin pot drumming.

The dynamic changes again as the title track rolls in with a somewhat gazey approach. Swimming through reverb once more, this track is surely something Neil Halstead would be jealous of as it props up a dream pop / Souvlaki vocal presence with sporadic and frantic drumming that sounds like Murph's Dinosaur Jr template in full effect.

This band is a warning sound from the West, that it's not just New York and the North West that get to claim everything for themselves. Give it a listen and i'm sure you'll be impressed. The tape can be bought from their blog below or found via the accompanying download link courtesy of the band themselves.

- Josh

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Brain Slug - Demo

Brain Slug are NYC's latest unwashed hardcore incarnation. Said to take point from Youth of Today and Agnostic Front amongst others.. but I fail to see too much of that overly rehashed mediocrity so rampant in today's Victim In Pain clingers-on. I think they sound like an unfeasibly dirtier, gruffer version of Omegas, what with their similar liking for pendulous melody amongst cluttered instrumental hammerings. That comparison might be a little too optimistic though, because the 11 minutes of material that makes up the Brain Slug demo sounds way, way more jacked up as it fights to be heard through it's own ironically purposeful distortion.

The occasional old tyme NYC stomp part doesn't really drag this demo down at all, when usually it would ruin everything for me. Vocals sound like they've been forced out though a mouth bound by duct tape and recorded through a soup strainer. Brain Slug could be placed somewhere equidistant between the clarity of intellect that Blank Stare have and the unparalleled hatred of all things living that Vile Gash bring to the party.

Whichever way this band come to be perceived it'll be interesting to see how they carve themselves out a place within the milieu of New York City and Brooklyn, a scene which champions it's weird freaks of nature Crazy Spirit, Hank Wood & The Hammerheads & The Men over solid stepping, straight ahead hardcore swingers. Either way, New York rules in 2011. Get this demo, I also found a download for the lyrics at The Chapter - Hardcore Fanzine.


- Josh

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Listening Party 2

Looks like summer's on its way out. Too bad, been a really fun one to say the least. Once again, we asked some friends in bands to let us know what they've been listening to. Some of these lists were from the beginning of the summer, some we just got. Either way its always great to see / hear what people are rocking to. Take a look!

Jonah Falco / Fucked Up

Teenage Fanclub - A Catholic Education
The June Brides - Discography
Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves
Motorhead - Overkill
Giuda (amazing neo junkshop band from Italy) - singles
Rest In Pieces - My Rage
Stone Roses - Stone Roses
Assorted tidbits from the 'Best of Leamington Spa' compilation
Agony Column - singles
Chrisma - Chinese Restaurant

Alex Capasso / Skin Like Iron

Napalm Death - Fear, Emptiness, Despair
Battery - Whatever It Takes...
Aspirin - We Do Painkilling To Your Anger
Wolfbrigade - In Darkness You Feel No Regrets
Nails - Unsilent Death
Warcry - Nausea
Living Eyes - Starve For Agony
Pulling Teeth - Funerary
Christian Death - Catastrophe Ballet
Slowdive - Souvlaki

Nick Chiericozzi / The Men

C. Spencer Yeh and John Wesseltoft - Northern Resonance I
Einsturzende Neubaten - Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T.
Bob Dylan - desire
The Jesus and Mary Chain - darklands
Fugazi - red medicine

Rich Samis / The Men

Pink Teens - Narcolepsy
Neil young - On The Beach
Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Pearls Before Swine - These Things Too
SPK- Leichenschrei

Chris Hansell / The Men

Sex Church - 6 Songs By Sex Church
Damien Dubrovnik - Europa Dogbog
Gatecrashers (denmark) - Desillusioned 7"
Zz Top - Eliminator
Iggy Pop - The Idiot

Mark Perro / The Men

Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge of Time
Rolling Stones - Goat's Head Soup
Tangerine Dream - Stratosphere
T. Rex - The Slider
Uriah Heep - Look At Yourself

Todd Jones / Nails

Straight Ahead - Breakaway
Disma - Into The Megalith
Bread And Circuits - Bread And Circuits
Neurosis - Through Silver In Blood
Mercyful Fate - Don't Break The Oath

Ross Farrar / Ceremony

The Beets - Stay Home
Arthur Russel - Calling Out of Context
Marked Men - Ghosts
Belle and Sebastian - The BBC Sessions
The Cave-Ins - Gridfarce by Lamplight
Milk Music - Beyond Living
The Men - Leave Home
Woody Guthrie - This Land is Your Land: The Asch Recordings Vol. 1
The Young - Voyagers of Legend
Rocket From the Crypt - Circa Now! + 4
The Replacements - Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash

Brandon Marcey / Cough

Ilsa - Tutti Il Colori Del Buio
True Widow - As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth
(I smoke the most weed to this record.)
Earthling - Demos 1 & 2
( Appalachian brothers of metal.)
Hour Of 13 - The Ritualist
Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
Umor - Pralayaah
(Croatian. Toured a few dates with this band in europe and their riffs have been stuck in my head since.)
Lecherous Gaze - Lecherous Gaze
Learn about the 45. hole
Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients
Dragged into Sunlight - Hatred for Mankind
Warchetype - Ancestral Cult of Divinity
Mi Hermanos De Doom. Hailing from Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain. Played with them on our recent Europeon tour and they were incredible in terms of music and dudes.

Kevin Baker / All Pigs Must Die, Hope Conspiracy

Nihilist - Carnal Leftovers
Stray - S/T
Wolvhammer - Obsidian Plains
Sarke - Oldarhian
Craft - Void
Deafheaven - Roads To Judah
Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light
Scorpion Wind - Heaven Sent
Motorhead - Overkill
Iron Claw - Dismorphophobia

- Sam

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sucked Dry

Black & white brickwall hardcore or ‘Mysterious Guy’ - or whatever you want to call it - tough, weighty and sharp enough to flay flesh. Vocals sound like Tony from SQRM but with more bellyache. The nucleus of sound behind him also kicks out a similar miasmatic flavour to Massachusetts' most recent Siege worship incarnation. It only proves to be a good thing cause this record rules so hard.

Track three 'Sympathizer' stalks in the same way that some of the lesser disturbing Drunkdriver songs did, and channels threads of neurosis through the needlepoints of drum thumping and vocal wails. The sporadic slow march stomps are chicken wired together by some of the most untamed flashes of hardcore intensity this side of the decade, clamped at either end by Born Against guitar influence. Hardcore records that intentionally blast their way through 8 songs in 80 seconds don’t usually manage to rain down bursts of dread in the way that Sucked Dry do.

This came out last year but I missed it at the time, too busy fawning over Milk Music or something…

Listen on bandcamp

- Josh

Sunday, 17 July 2011

An interview with Perennial Death

Does your locality of Olympia have any bearing on the kind of records that you guys put out?

yes. for the most part we put out olympia music. or at least music that has to do with olympia

Considering Olympia's rich musical history, pertaining particularly to punk rock, do you feel a certain inclination towards putting out music which honours the bastions of the past?

as for the past, whether having to do with olympia or not, it's important to me to not act like it didnt happen and to not repeat it. Olympia has a tradition of forgetting and rebuilding. as for putting out music that honours the can't move forward without dealin with your past, otherwise you get stuck in rehash. we put out music that moves forward

Do you feel that Perennial's output somewhat balances the afforementioned stylistic reflections of past artists with the current tastes of those working behind the scenes at the label?

In some ways perennial's output is just the medium of all the current that's going on here
We're just feeling that.

Considering the diversity between artists such as Milk Music, Broken Water, Weird TV etc, would you say there is, if any, a theme or style which unifies the records that Perennial have put out so far?

the future.

Many of our highlights from 2010 were records that you guys helped to put out. Those of particular note would have to be Milk Music's 'Beyond Living,' the Son Skull releases and the debut LP by White Boss. What can you tell us about working with such an impressive roster of refreshing punk talent?

all those bands are insane. they hold the insanities of the world that's why people like them. but it makes them trying to work with.

Are the operations of fellow Olympian labels such as K Records and Kill Rock Stars sources of inspiration for what Perennial are doing?

No disrespect though. just not the same game.

Not that I am seeking to easily classify Perrenial with other labels, but I consider projects such as Fashionable Idiots, Drugged Conscience and yourselves as the forerunners of today's raw, challenging, punk rock scene as a whole. Do you see a kinship between yourselves and any other burgeoning hardcore labels across America?

I don't know about burgeoning, but DOM AMERICA. all those other guys are nice though.

Looking forward, can you tell us anything about what Perennial has planned for the future?

New sonskull, wooden kimono, catatonic youth, cairo pythian, dead head. new weird tv.

- Josh

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

An interview with Slices

GREG: vocals
JOHN: guitar
MIKE K: bass
MIKE O: drums

Your new record is soon to be released, what can the snot nosed collective of Slices fans expect from it?

John: We try our best to do something new with every song we write so there is some branching out, but it still sounds like a Slices record.

Mike O: We’ve been playing some of these songs in our live show for a while, so some of them might sound familiar.

Greg: More songs like Medusa, less songs like Red Raft. Nothing against the latter, but the crop of songs we ended up writing sound like the former.

Mike O: Otherwise, fans can expect thought provoking lyrics, fanciful cover art work, and the Slices sound.

Also, what can you tell us about your relationship with Iron Lung Records, have they been an important factor in the progression of the band to date?

John: They are the best dudes, easy to work with and fun to tour with.

Greg: Jon and Jensen have treated us better than we probably deserve. We're kind of spoiled working with them because they're really patient and considerate. We're somewhat slow due to a lot of reasons. Also, I don't think a lot of people doing record labels, if they received a record cover like the one we sent them, would have been OK with releasing something like that.

Mike O: They’ve put out some really great stuff and some pretty eclectic stuff. It’s great to be included with the other bands on the label.

Perhaps it's just me as a listener but, I often think I can hear a great deal of Steve Albini influence in much of Slices' output, particularly Rapeman. Am I way off the mark here or is Albini a genuine influence?

John: I listened to Big Black in high school but not so much these days. I wouldn’t consider him to be a strong influence personally.

Greg: I just try to form words. I think Albini is better at this than me.

Mike O: I really like Big Black and Shellac in particular, but I think as a band we are more influenced by Albini’s recordings than the actual music he’s made. We spent a little time trying to mimic some guitar sounds from In Utero (I’ll admit it) while mixing down “Still Cruising.” Personally, my approach to poker is very Albini-based, however.

Which other artists would you class as having inspired the band from a foundational level?

John: Wolf Eyes had a huge impact on Mike K and I. When Dead Hills came out it pretty much fried our brains and soon enough we were making sounds with weird electronic junk in our basement, which was the beginning of Slices. As a teenage guitarist I was really into Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers, Seiichi Yamamoto of the Boredoms, and I could keep on going…

Greg: I really love the way the vocals on the first two Meat Puppets records sound, but I'm not sure if they really translate into the way I sing. Lyrically, I don't really think about it in terms of other bands. It's always a mish-mash of a lot of different shit. A lot of times a song will start off about one thing, but then over time I've changed it so much just to fit with the song so it tends to end up weirder than originally intended.

Mike K: Bands like Wolf Eyes and Hair Police are probably the reason why Slices started in the first place. I can't speak for the others, but my biggest musical influences are probably Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Michael Nyman, and Henry Barnes. They, however, don't really come through in Slices' music. John writes almost all of the songs and then me and Ovens do what we can to fill out the sound. Some of our songs come from straight improv sessions that we think sound funny or cool and it just evolves naturally from there. I think Fushitsusha has a major influence on the way me and John play together, but in the end I think we are really just trying to play engaging rock songs.

Mike O: Yeah, Mike and I spend a lot of time trying to keep pace with John. I started out playing bass in bands but moved to drums to be more in demand. Whenever I see a band live I spend a lot of time watching the drummer and try and steal tricks when I can, especially from guys like Chris Strunk (from a million bands from Boston) or Brandon Farrell (Government Warning, Wasted Time, too many to list). As far as foundational bands, when I first started getting into weird/intense music I was a metal guy and spent a lot of time in high school listening to Megadeth etc and branching out from there. After a whole mess of over the top riffs and thrash poetry I developed a taste for bands that were subtle or restrained, especially bands that are heavy and build tension but aren’t beating you over the head the whole time. Harvey Milk I guess would be an example. Burning Witch to a lesser extent. I think we try and build tension in Slices.

Did last month’s R A P T U R E treat you well?

John: No comment.

Mike O: Yes.

The inception of the term 'stingerpunk' seems to be somewhat enigmatic, and according to various sites it's an acute genre which lumps Slices in with H100s, Formaldehyde Junkies and others. Do you identify at all with this terminology or is it just the culture of internet classification gone mad?

Mike O: Stingerpunk is a natural and understandable reaction to our world around us.

John: We are the first stingerpunk band. Those other bands may be stingerpunk in hindsight but we were the first. Stingerpunk will sting you right in the face.

Greg: Fucking sting you in the fucking nose. Sting kings.

Do you guys have any immediate or future plans to tour?

John: Nope.

Greg: We're busy guys.

Mike O: I will be going to California in August, but not in any musical capacity.

Finally, it's always cool to know what other people are listening to at the minute, could you mention a few records that you're into right now?

John: Home Blitz are my favorite band going right now. Everything they’ve done is good and I’m sure everything they'll do in the future will be good, but their last LP “Out of Phase” is my favorite for sure. Great summertime jams too, so I’ve been blasting it in the whip a lot recently. I filled in on bass with them for a tour last summer and it was fun because I could talk about how awesome my band was without feeling like an asshole. Daniel Dimaggio, the man behind it all, plays piano on our new 7 inch, which is out now on Kemado Records.

Greg: Kevin Drumm when I'm at work and trying to drown out the rest of the office. Applehead when I'm at home studying. Usually Slayer "show no mercy" in between all that.

Mike K: Recently been listening to a lot of Total Control(can't wait for the LP), Cheater Slicks, The Dictators, and various 70s soft/classic rock. I am really into that Iceage record and the Waka Flocka Flame album, as well. Home Blitz is probably my favorite contemporary band, can't wait for the new EP.

Mike O: So far this has been the summer of Steely Dan. A lot of Autopsy, Obituary, Entombed, too. I’m looking forward to new records by Rational Animals and The Men and Pollution (I don’t know if Pollution has something coming out soon but I’m hoping). I’m lamenting the end of Wasted Time (hoping it’s not the end). I spent the last year listening to Earth “2” everyday and I think that has noticeably affected me. Also really into Broken Water.

Slices' "Modern Bride" b/w "Chump Change" 7"is out now on Kemado records, go and buy it and let it sting you in the face

- Josh

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Weird TV

Located somewhat equidistant from the neon dirge of Seattle and the coastal logging town of Aberdeen, Washington - the hometown of one Kurt Cobain - lies the verdent, arty metropolis of Olympia. The city itself sits at the end of the Budd Inlet, one of the last stops on the many tenticled Puget Sound, a locality which has over the years proved to be a fertile breeding ground for noisy, unabashed and rebellious strains of rock and roll.

Olympia has been the launchpad for a number of well known bands and labels, notably Beat Happening's iconic originator of twee, Calvin Johnson, who grew a steady following of fans for his K Records venture. And Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill, a woman of formidable musical knowledge and prowess who is reverred from scene to scene for her unshakable comittment to music and art in general.

There are more than just a handful of bands playing out of Olympia right now that deserve attention. The sheer volume of interesting sounds ranging from unspoilt hardcore aggression through to politically fueled straight punk rock, scorching noise punk and impressive grunge revival is staggering. Sometime in the near future we will be writing an indepth article about every Olympia band we can unearth, but for the purposes of brevity I will be writing about just one band this time round. Weird TV.

 The bio for Weird TV on reads ‘Punkest band in Olympia,’ which should be taken with a snow shovel sized pinch of salt because quite frankly the concoction of Bikini Kill bite and clamour fermented with drips and drabs of Wipers influence makes for something slightly more noise obsessed than clear-cut punk obsessed. It has been said that all Pacific Northwest / Washington state bands can have their sound traced back to either Wipers, Melvins, Hendrix, Beat Happening, The Beatles or Nirvana. This band ignore the rancour of Melvins, the quaint delights of Beat Happening, the precision of Hendrix and the accessibility of The Beatles to form a femme led contortion of messy rock and roll.

Their five track demo comes complete with a hastily scribbled cover that any fan of the artwork for Beat Happening's 1988 effort 'Jamboree' will be moist over. Alas, one should never judge a record by it's cover. The inner operations of Weird TV's first release are frantic and their sound is played with an apparent seriousness which can only have been instilled within their grain by Vail and Hanna's throttling of chords with Bikini Kill. The recording is basic, but the four-track-in-the-basement approach actually serves to clarify their sound as the dirty riff laden, groove riding, Stooges flavoured punk rock that it is. If the two minutes and fifty five seconds of third track 'Sex' had been recorded on anything other than a rusty Tascam then the opening screams wouldn't have sounded half as unnerving. Just as some ambience peddling musicians obsessed with minimal compression might want to record their craft within the hull of the salvaged Mary Rose or deep inside the bowels of The Cave Without A Name, Weird TV's tone, likewise it seems, benefits from certain characteristics of production.

Both 'Canalla' and 'Sufrir' fry a mixture of scrap-heap 90's punk chops with impassioned deliveries and cues taken from the likes of Nirvana and Bratmobile. The first few bars of 'Sufrir' had me double checking whether I'd unknowingly played Bikini Kill's 'I Like Fucking' instead. However, the comparisons should not be allowed to overcrowd what this demo offers. The juice thats been knotted into every second of this sixteen minute display of feral disobedience is remarkable. I guess there isn't a whole host of revolutionary ideas to get excited about, but perhaps the way by which the cuts of late 80's / early 90's Grrrl style have been allowed to recongeal in the 21st Century is to some extent an indication that sounds and noises can become nascent all over again decades later. As if by some divine natural cycle the spirit never quite died and the body managed to refresh itself.

Download - Weird TV Demo

- Josh

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Grazes - Myths

Grazes on Myspace
Purchase 'Myths' from Holy Roar Records
Co-released with Ebb & Flow Records


No time to fuck about. Hailing from Sheffield, UK, relative young bloods of the Hardcore scene Grazes have hammer-smashed together a fourteen minute opus of uncurtailed aggression and mixed state mania. 'Myths' is their first release on Holy Roar Records - a label notorious for it's heterogeneous smorgasbord of past releases - and quite frankly this seven track blitzkrieg somewhat channels the label's partiality for varied textures and tones. 'Myths' consolidates a foundation of no nonsense Hardcore Punk savageness with various genre signatures found elsewhere along the incestuous tree line of Punk Rock. Arguably, they've pulled off this grand collision to a successful degree.

Track one for instance, 'Intro/Black Death' takes it's time in cooking a nauseous, almost sludgy bassline, eventually rolling into gyrations of 'Conspiring The Go Go'-esque Ampere, and the dynamic switches faster than you can say 'Yorkshire' as 'Drown In The River Styx' announces itself with a ten second drum pattern straight out of the Los Crudos handbook.

The Screamo elements are mercurial, yet they're so blatantly there. You can hear pinches of say, Comadre underpinning 'My Last Day' as it barrel-rolls through bad attitude vocals and noodling guitar cuts. But, at the same time the solid scaffold of this entire release remains devoutly Hardcore in the traditional sense.

The clever misdirection, or rather, deliberate blending of sounds peaks on both 'Rex Anglorum' and 'Observer's Paradox' whereupon the riff-broker - who has so patiently sliced a path of clear cut punk chops up until now - vents a torrent of wavy, possibly Iommi influenced guitar lines. Achievements that Baroness' John Baizley might like to give these four northern scamps a little slap for.

There is a lot to be heard on 'Myths,' a lot of ambition vying for attention, but the entire view manages to keep it's sense of panorama. The result is balanced, quite considered but still merciless as fuck. I think the kind of record that Grazes have put out this year owes an indirect debt of thanks to acts such as Touché Amoré, who have, within the last two years, managed to embolden the fan base for Hardcore thats tactile and clearly accessible without overly sacrificing the sheer fucking chaos that brought us all here in the first place. In short, Hell has come home to Sheffield in 2011.

- Josh

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Sealings are a duo of noisey entrapment that have burrowed their way hastily through the trench systems of Britain's disparaging scene of lo-fi, twinkle fingered, feedback peddling, mysterious folk to crown themselves the fantastic kings of fuck all. With a sound that borrows so much from so many sources, initial thoughts might lean towards an antcipation of 'Probably heard similar stuff before' but wipe any and all of those encroaching saturnine thoughts from your twin deck cassette playing mind and sink into this melancholic breeding pool of battered drum machine driven beauty because their isolation on a musical level is profound. They're like castaways.

William and Jim Reid would chain smoke themselves into an early grave just contemplating the warble and reverb of Hazel Eyes / Shut In. Tracks such as King Shot from the tape put out on Italian Beach Babes is a snake of smoke. Oxymoronic, no? Well it meanders a line of bristling misery, wafer thin, almost comforting in a Slowdive - Alison type way, before constricting, screeching and ultimately abandoning itself.
We got in touch with these two guys and put an interview together. Beneath the interview you will find download links to a whole manner of stuff they've released, which they've kindly put up for free worship.

Firstly, what can you tell us about the band's inception, was it just a natural congelation of like minded musicians?

Liam – Me and Michael live in the same house so it was natural to start playing. We mainly messed around for about a bit recording terrible songs before we decided to have programmed drums.
We thought that if we made a full band it would probably end up pretty boring because we’d have to please everyone. We recorded a demo to try and get some gigs and Carl from Clan Destine records somehow found them and ended up releasing them, so that probably convinced us to keep doing everything ourselves at home, even though we can only really play guitar and I can’t sing.

Michael - when we realised we both played guitar and were into the same sort of music we just started messing around playing stuff. i don't think we ever made a conscious decision to start a band or anything like that but after a while it just seemed like a good idea

When Sealings first got together, would you say that your sound managed to flesh itself out rather quickly or has there been a lot of twists and turns in achieving the current noise?

Michael - i guess it's changed a bit from when we first started, but it's always been around the same sort of ideas, just lots of feedback, heavy bass, low vocals and a drum machine.

Liam - We had a drummer at first, our mate Jon, but he mainly listens to tech metal so he bailed. Since we started programming the drums, it fleshed out pretty quickly. I still like the first tape we did in 2009 and we still play all those songs.
I think it’s recorded a bit better now as well. We record onto an 8 track and we’ve got better at using it. We’re definitely not being deliberately lo-fi, we’re doing our best.

The comparisons between gigantic acts such as My Bloody Valentine are somewhat inescapable, would you say they've been a direct influence?

Liam - I wasn’t that surprised by it, My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain are two of our favourite bands. They’re not a direct influence, but we’ve both listened to them a lot since we were young so it probably seeped in. Nirvana as well.
I don’t think we sound that much like any of them, but it’s not something I get wound up about. There aren’t too many bands doing the same sort of thing as us at the moment with the drum machine and stuff, which is nice because I would probably not enjoy us being lumped in with a load of new bands. It’s better to be compared to those big bands if anything.

Michael - it's always flattering to be compared to your favorite bands, i don't think we've ever tried to directly emulate the sound of certain bands like My Bloody Valentine but particularly their use of repitition and samples and the way the vocals are mixed is something we're interested in.

Do you see the band's sound as something you want to adhere closely to for the foreseeable future or are we going to see even wilder experimentation?

Michael - i guess once you've established a sound for the music you make you try and manipulate it in a way that allows you to do different stuff but still maintains the sound you have. we never disregard ideas because it wouldn't fit with our band.

Liam – We don’t set out to be experimental or anything, but it’s kind of more interesting for us to make it sound a bit different. We don’t rule out songs on the grounds that they don’t sound like the other songs, or because we can’t play them live. We’ll probably always do songs like King Shot and Cruel World that are just guitar, bass and drums but also try and branch out a bit. We have a load of stuff recorded that hasn’t come out yet. One of those is called Shut In and I don’t know what Mike wanted it to sound like, but it sounds like chilling out in Hawaii.

Any plans to take the party on the road and tour at all?

Liam – We’re trying to get a few more shows around where we live because we have no money and neither of us can drive. Hopefully we’ll tour eventually but there’s a few places that we’ll try and play when we can, like in Sheffield/Leeds with the guys from Tye Die tapes, and in Manchester and Glasgow.
It will be good to play live a bit more, we try to make it a bit different to the recorded stuff, it’s a bit heavier to make up for it only being two of us.

Michael - i don't know if touring is really a decision for us to make at this point, i mean if we got offered it then sure i guess. playing live is something we enjoy but so much is dependent on the sound guy and i'm not sure if i like placing that much trust in someone who has never heard us. also, i would like it if i never had to look at the audience.

We like hearing about what our friends themselves are listening to, any bands, artists or records that you find yourself spinning over and over at the minute?

Michael - there's a band called Honeycomb Bones from Hull which i've liked for a while now, they've put out a lot of stuff and it's all really awesome. Rema Rema are another band i always come back to, they were one of the first releases on 4AD and my uncle is the singer/bassist. asides from that, i listen to a lot of music from the 50's and 60's like Carl perkins, Bo Diddley and The Ventures

Liam – We both like Bitches a lot. Old Forest from London are amazing, and they’re super young. They’re pretty sludgy and 90s. We played with The Pheromoans a couple of months ago and they’re really good. I’ve been listening to PFFR and the Frogs a lot, and the new Pissed Jeans album because I didn’t hear about it coming out and I only got that this year. Also, there’s a NWOBHM band called Hammerhead who did a song called Time Will Tell and it is maybe the best song ever

Releases & Tracks:
Italian Beach Babes Tape (2011)

- Josh

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


This July an arsenal of talent will come together to create a cosmic explosion of raw creativity. Move & Tee Pee Records presents 'Twin Infinities', a group showing at LA's Nomad Art Gallery. Curated by Sam James Velde - of this very blog - and Rich Jacobs, 'Twin Infinities' will be a showcase of photography and other mediums by musicians and those directly involved with the music scene. Carrying the torch for emotional, honest, diversiform and evocative art.

Special thanks to Sam himself for granting me the opportunity to be involved with this mouth-watering project.

- Josh

Friday, 27 May 2011

Listening Party

We'd thought it be interesting, and well kinda fun to have some of our friends list what they've been listening to recently. Check it out:

Sam Bosson:

10 records I've been into recently in no particular order.....

10. Ashdautas - Where the Sun Is Silent CS
9. Iceage - New Brigade LP
8. Krieg - The Isolationist LP
7. Die Kreuzen - Die Kreuzen LP
6. Omegas - Blasts of Lunacy LP
5. True Widow - As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth LP
4. Volahn - Dimensiónes del Trance Kósmico CS
3. Arts - Vault of Heaven LP
2. Lush - Gala LP
1. Mauser - 2010 Summer Tour CS

Stephen McBean:

PJ Harvey - The Last Living Rose. Listening to songs on repeat makes me feel like a giddy teenager. Maybe it was because I was on a plane and thought I might die. Maybe it was the goddamn Europeans line or maybe it just reminded of listening to Rid of Me on a cassette walkman when I wasn't worried about trying to act like an adult.

Baptists - 7". Harnessing some of the beauty that was His Hero Is Gone, Discharge, and maybe even some Conflict? Nice one, fellow Canadians!

Zola Jesus - Live and on record it's a beautiful thing hearing the future and past melt into one.

Mater Suspiria Vision - Crack Witch. Sometimes a good logo and great album cover is all you need. Nice to clip your toenails to!

Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light. The only thing else I could ask for is Shirley Collins gracing these beautiful dirges. Time can stand still.

George Clarke:

Balam Acab - See Birds EP.
This 'witch house' stuff is fantastic. Slow electronic with haunting melodies and great atmosphere. Tri Angle artists have been dominating my ears a lot lately and this might be my favorite of them all.

Hellsaw - Phantasm.
Raw black metal can be very hit or miss with me. These days, I just tend to shy away from it. This record is great though because while it maintains a harsh sound, Hellsaw isn't afraid to play with rich melody and atmosphere. The depressive track 'In Memory', especially.

Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP.
Dark, simple song structures with incredibly infectious choruses. However, what's setting her apart is her voice. It's honestly entrancing. I can't say enough good things about this EP. Every track is great.

Black Monolith - S/T EP.
A chaotic, crushing mix of crusty d-beat and black metal that is as catchy as it is harsh. This is Black Monolith's first release and they have it available for a pay what you want download via their Bandcamp. Really hoping someone picks up on this and decides to release it.

Touche Amore - PTSBBAM.
Honestly, this band was never my thing. I had friends that loved them, I recognized the hype, etc., but I don't know. They just weren't on my radar for whatever reason. But after getting to see these songs live a number of times, I already knew I wanted to hear this record. It's mature, expansive, more experimental, and well thought out. Addtionally, for this type of music, lyrics can make or break an album and in this case, they completely make it. Especially the last song 'Amends', which in a way, sums up a lot of the record's content. I think I'm going to bug Jeremy about singing this song with him the next time I see them play.

Kerry McCoy:

This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket
This album has set the bar pretty high for 2011. Delicate textures of guitars, samples, and loops swirl, putting you in a trance before the band bludgeons you with mountains of loud, drone influenced post-rock. The production is flawless and the songs are incredibly well written, such as my favorite track "Killed The Lord, Left For the New World." Definitely my personal favorite of the year so far.

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
This is a very close second. While they don't branch as far out from their tried and true formula, this record is definitely an interesting step for the band. There are the memorable guitar melodies and powerful bursts of emotion that we've come to expect from them, but they're surrounded in decaying layers of pitch-shifted guitar swells, acoustic instrumentation, and profoundly subtle loops and samples. Along with Tunnel Blanket, this album shows that post-rock is headed in an interesting direction, one that I am incredibly excited about.

Tamaryn - The Waves
A lot of reviews of this disc have been quick to neatly stuff it into a dismissive "nu-gaze" box, but it's not hard to see why. Mazzy Star, Galaxie 500, and My Bloody Valentine all come to mind, but the songwriting on this album more than makes up for any homage paid. Layers of simple, catchy melodies are hung over gritty bass lines and subtle drumming, with Tamaryn herself tying it all together with her siren-esque voice.

Panopticon - Collapse
Panopticon seamlessly combines elements of lightning fast, despairing black metal, post-rock and incredible bluegrass jams on this album. All of this is performed lo-fi and raw enough to get the point across, while not being dramatic. The track "Aptgangr" is a personal favorite.

Vince Conriquez:

Desaparecidos - Read Music/Speak Spanish.
Blind To Faith - The Seven Fat Years Are Over
Descendents - I Don't Wanna Grow Up
KiD CuDi - Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Joyce Manor - S/T
Drake - Thank Me Later
Wavves - King of The Beach
Crowbar - S/T
Big L - The Big Picture

Jamal Sharafeldeen:

Vitamin Piss – Demo
Enabler – Eden Sank To Grief
Integrity – Thee DestoyORR
Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years
The Secret – Solve Et Coagula

William Cutts:

Rudimentary Peni - Death Church
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Curtains - Forced Thoughts on the Humdrum River
Starcircleanatomy - (the album name is a drawing of an upside down pentagram)
Thou - Summit
French Quarter - French Quarter
Neil Young - Tonight's the Night

Patrick Pastor:

Blackmoon Warrior 88 - White Power Gang
Francis Harold and The Holograms - Mirror of Fear
Nicole 12 - Substitute
Vlad Tepes / Belketre split
Genocide Organ - Mind Country

Kyle Baxendale:

Infest - No Man's Slave
Integrity - To Die For
Eyehategod - Dopesick
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive
Entombed - Clandestine
Cult Ritual - 1st lp
Nicole 12 - Substitute
Francis Harold and The Holograms - Mirror of Fear 7"
Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable

Ryan Patterson:

THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM - Backsliders And Apostates Will Burn
We just took these guys out for a string of shows and everyone in Coliseum was completely blown away and in love with them. One of the few bands all of us really, really like. They aren’t really a touring band, which is a shame if only because I think it takes seeing them play to fully grasp their music. Regardless, this is their best work and a moving amalgam of inspiration from the worlds of Touch & Go, Dischord and AmRep, with bits that inevitably remind me of the best moments of Godflesh and Ministry because of the intense 90s drum machine action.

TRUE WIDOW - As High As The Highest Heavens
I’m always looking for heavy music that rocks and has a sense of melody, and this fits the bill perfectly (as do some of the other records on this list). A bit of a mash up of heavier Codeiene-esque slowcore and non-wall of noise shoegaze, with really great male and female vocals.

MILK MUSIC - Beyond Living
Cool fuzzed-out melodic punk/grunge from where else but Olympia, Washington. It seems very sincere and without pretension, just some dudes writing some tunes and pressing it onto 12”. Awesome little guitar parts throughout the EP.

SHAVED WOMEN - Self Titled
I’m glad to see these guys have gotten some love on this site as they are way better than just about every other hardcore band that has gotten hype lately. They kill it live, have awesome tunes, and even with their snotty, pessimistic musical and vocal approach they don’t have the detached posturing that sucks the enjoyment out of a lot of bands for me.

PRIDESWALLOWER - Split 7” Session
The best band currently active in Louisville. If they can keep it together they are going to blast eager eardrums across the world. The comparisons I would make wouldn’t do it justice, because while there’s a lot in common with Nirvana, for example, but I like this way better than I ever liked Nirvana (which admittedly ain’t that much). Maybe some Melvins, maybe some Hammerhead. Anyway, I love it and I hope these fuckers stay together so they can craft the incredible legacy they deserve. These tunes are coming out on a split 7” with Louisville’s Straight As on local label Noise Pollution –

BILL CALLAHAN - Apocalypse
Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle was a life changing LP for me so I had high hopes for this one and it subverted my expectations a bit, which is cool. It’s not one of those life altering types of records, it’s more of a slow burn. The second side of the record and especially the last song “One Fine Morning” are powerful listens.

OBITS - Moody, Standard and Poor
The first Obits LP had a handful of songs I really liked and a handful that didn’t quite grab me. I’m happy that they seem to be writing even better songs and finding their voice as a band, while still keeping things varied. There’s a little more of the Froberg vitriol in the songs he sings and I’m happy that Sohrab takes lead for three songs this time around instead of just one.

PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake
This record is a bit bigger and better than something I could sum up in a few lines... I think it’s her best work. I’ll leave it at that.

Stephen "Scuba" LaCour:

I have to narrow it down to the 10 records this week. I know every Tom, Dick, and Harry born between 1973 and 1992 says, "High Fidelity was totally about me. I'll never be able to narrow my top 5, top 10, top infinity," and to a degree they're right. Some are newer, some are things that I keep going back to.

Dead and Gone - The Beautician/Creeps on Candy - Wonders of Giradia
So I cheated, I don't care. 3/4 of the same band. Creepy deathrock from Oakland hardcore punks. Definitely the best Dead and Gone record (the others aren't shabby either) and the only Creeps on Candy record. On top of that, sharing members with Filth, Blatz, Look Back and Laugh, Talk is Poison, and California Love? What the fuck have you ever done?

The Birthday Party - Junkyard
I've watched the clip of the Birthday Party playing "Junkyard" on some German TV show called Gotterdammerung about 100 times in the past month. Turning weird skronky guitar lines, a puffy shirted, leather pants wearing, spastic, pelvic gyrating bass player, and Nick Cave smoking the longest cigarette through the whole song into a total mindfuck.

The Murder City Devils - Thelema
Everyone gives me shit because I don't really care for the first MCD record. I know, "You prefer their earlier work." That said, every song on this record is the best song the ever wrote. I don't care, it's my list and I'll say what I want.

El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Argue that it's not hip-hop. Bitch that you think he's a hipster. Get mad because he loves Das Racist. The record is flawless. I used to hate the song with Trent Reznor on it, but it's totally grown on me.

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear is On Our Side
I'll say it first, horrible fucking band name. I hate when people look through my shit and even see that name. Awesome record title though. Sidenote - I took a nosedive off my bike in Manhattan while listening to this record. When I came to the record was still playing and a city bus was honking at me while I was laying in the middle of the street. Fuck that bus driver. The song "The Owl" has the creepiest video.

Deafheaven - Roads to Judah
I never really liked scream, so when I heard they were "screamo/black metal" my balls screamed and hid in my body cavity. But Brian Izzi checked them out and he notoriously hates 99% of "American Black Metal" bands and he liked it, so I gave it a shot. "Language Games" is so epic that it hurts.

EMA - Past Lives of Martyred Saints
I liked the Gowns record, so I checked out EMA, especially after she did an acoustic cover of a Danzig song. I listened to this record three times in the Munich airport.

GDP - Useless Eaters
Awesome hip-hop from a hardcore kid from Jersey. Weird, I know. He keeps making solid records and I'll keep listening to them.

True Widow - As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
Ex-Slowride. Saw them at SXSW and you couldn't help but be floored.

Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
I started listening to this record again because I absolutely hated the new song they put out. I just don't dig it, but that's just me. So I put on "Altars..." I remember when shit was awesome.

- Sam