Monday, 4 June 2012

Housekeeping

News. Sam has started a new venture named 1656 Music. Founded alongside Cathy Pellow, 1656 chiefly concern themselves with music supervision, music licensing & music related events curating. They work with all sorts of cool people like Chelsea Wolfe, Russian Circles, Boris and more. Have a look at the site here.




As for myself I will be working at Matador over the summer so expect a slew of Matador related posts amidst the usual cast. How exciting, stay tuned.



 - Josh

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Hysteria - Ceremony UK tour 2012

Hooked up with Ceremony for their UK tour last month, it was great to see them play every night, and even greater to see how well audience after audience received the new Zoo material. The show at XOYO in London was savage, the equipment gave out three quarters of the way through. Manchester was too good, it was a blast to show the guys round my home city. The final show of the tour, in Leeds, was ridiculous. The venue looked like a bar / restaurant or something and descended into complete chaos. Kudos to the dude who broke his shoulder from going at it so hard.

Thanks to Jake, Anthony, Andy, Ross, Ben, the Eagulls boys, Robbie, Stuart and Natalie from Matador, as well as the Rohnert Park crew who came over. Here are some photos..

Lewis
Sgt Pepper's & Zoo
Caught in the headlights
Vs Wagamama
Rough Trade
Moho / Manchester
Afflecks
Sinclair's Oyster Bar
We visited Morrissey's old house
Adam & Nathan
- Josh

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dark Times




 
Dark Times are a Scandinavian punk group playing out of Oslo. The sound of their self titled cassette jumps and jitters around a select group of 80's and onwards hard hitting punk bellwethers. They manage to avoid stringing themselves to one cohesive sonic vision - which, admittedly, isn't always the best path for a band to take, as less indoctrinated listeners often like togetherness and relatability. It works charmingly for this group though.

Dark Times swing through heavy Big Black stratums, cruising angularly into squeals of Jesus Lizard riffing and on into well-hewn Grrl-style territories. The female lead singer bleats and blasts along almost independently - as if cleaved from the maelstrom behind her. Everything sounds quintessentially lo-fi except for her sweet vocal ringing that acts almost like a crown of light against the rough and tumble of half broken guitars fighting it out with half broken amplifiers.

 Her voice is also interesting in another respect; in that she sings almost pitch perfectly similar to the lead vocalist of Sweden's Burning Kitchen. If it turns out to be the same woman, well, I wouldn't be surprised. If anyone can shed light on this, please feel free to.

There is a strong noise factor to Dark Times, that's constantly in battle with the less demanding essential qualities of Bikini Kill or a battery acid version of Plastiscines. You can hear the two strains collide on the second track "Talk Too Much". A peppy riff somehow manages to keep itself in formation to produce perhaps the lightest minutes of the cassette, when all the while it feels as if you're only a tuning or so away from a total freeform pig-fuck. Parts of the record lumbers along in that half-drag Flipper state, if Flipper didn't view the art of simpler song writing as tantamount to treason.

Give this a listen, I'm almost as excited about this group as I am about what Shoppers are doing right now. Download

 - Josh

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Colm - "45"


Colm originated from Fontenay aux Roses, France.
They played a blend of twee pop, post-punk, noise pop, and alternative rock.
Existing in the early part of the 1990s, the band released this EP - "45" - in 1992, and their only LP - "(Serum)" - in 1994, shortly before disbanding.
The music showcased on this EP is clearly that of avid music fans; crafted, honed, honest.
Singer Daniel Dauxerre spent his working hours behind the Paris counter of Rough Trade, which only helps to reinforce the afforementioned claim.
Above all else, this is a record by those who love records.

The opening track, "Starchild", greets the listener with the kind of noise associated with My Bloody Valentine (whose drummer coincidentally shares the same name as this band, though I doubt remotely related), before giving way to a riff closer to foot-tapping than shoe-gazing. The soft and comely vocals here seem reminiscent of lighter Dinosaur Jr. tracks - specifically when Lou takes the reins - and delivers the same power in it's catchy and playful hooks.
Swirling, encompassing, and ever so slightly jangly guitar licks dominate the outro of this song - offering a perfect composition of noise and pop.

"When I Was a Bird" follows quietly in the footsteps of the previous song. Dominated by a light whisper of vocals atop lurking, lurching, and muted guitars - this track revels in the glory of the loud//quiet dynamic.
The song relies heavily on the cooing repetition of it's own title, before ushering into the jarring line "When I was a bird/ I saw, and felt, everything so right/ I tasted the sugar of your life"; as the final word of that verse is spoken, the namesake lyrics are again repeated, this time above a roaring rise in thunderous drums, which breaks prematurely into the most rewarding of guitar hooks.

Track three, "Never Smile", opens with the ever-present swirling guitars, similar to Sonic Youth's signature sound. Buried vocals are what sells this song, with ripping drums and post-punk influenced guitar work taking the lead.
A short break down showcases just how much influence the band has amalgamated into their style, as we are presented with something much closer to Southern Death Cult than Sub Pop. The guitars then give way into a verse reminiscent of a jangling Joy Division, before lapsing back into their patented hiss of noise hooks.

"Orange to Green", the records closing song, clocks in at 7 minutes 21 seconds - and rewards us with a drawn out and realised explosion of shoegazing and noise rock.
Easily the heaviest and most dense track on the EP, the band shows one last triumphant flare of piss and vigor, amongst the soft lullabies of pop and post-punk.
A suited finisher to a sonically soothing experience.

It's not often you stumble across a little known band with such a remarkable sound; that you know, given the right chances, could've been huge. Colm are exactly that.
They have just the right amount of fermenting feedback to satisfy the most fervent of underground fans, and couple it so passionately with calming pop sensibilities - harkening as far back as "Pet Sounds".
Yet, they have become victim to the passing of time, and are ghost-like with their presence.
For those who love their music to subdue and suffocate, this is unmissable.

Download

- Thom.

Dreamdecay - Fern



Challenging noise from where else but the hub of punk ingenuity, Washington state. Dreamdecay are a Seattle born toast to a doggedly unwavering, touch-warmer-than-death strain of noise rock.

Their five track record 'Fern' floats into being with a blizzard of screaming guitars - a clamorous instrumental race to the beginning of the song that sounds like Earth trying to play a 'Bloody Valentine jam and freaking out under the frustration. 'The Dire and Ever Circling Wolves' with another guitar and a Scratch Acid injection.

On first hearing the vocals I thought they pulled directly from the commanding cries of Michael Gira, yet there's something almost heraldic about these utterances, that kind of touch upon desert splutters and doomy coughs. Praise to the lead singer though, whose post-punk lump in the throat does well to arc over the top of the candle-lit tumult swarming beneath him.

I think the intention with this record is to initially trip up it's listeners, with huge blocks of impassable sawing, screeching fuzz and buried beneath the sand vocals. 'Fern' throws all of it's initial weight behind the idea of testing you as a listener, but comes down hard with lashings of North Western musical heritage to wash away the drone fan's take on rock that you've been struggling to swallow. Tracks II & III do much of what the opening number did, but bake it into four and two minute drone odes to Confusion Is Sex.

'Fern' treads heavily, most often at a lumbering pace, yet ignores the confines of already written Sludge metal and takes convention to task with the bestial assault of the Melvins and a charged post-punk overlay. The now noticeable slacker vocals push a little harder into the skirmish.

Things progress to an almost funereal state by the time the ending track appears, not before track 'IV' gets to flex it's Jesus Lizard without the metal chops with a quickly spun math-y opening that ends up working as the entire spine of the track, holding up a canopy of drawn-out early Swans electricity.

The sheer love for butchering about with feedback and laying off any metallic precision keeps this record constitutionally punk in some sense, but the common feel of 'Fern' doesn't lend itself to anything other than a 'noise' tag. There are passages of ear-splitting doom, vague dream sequences of gazey proportions and even a well submerged predisposition towards the sooty grunge of Mudhoney. Get listenin'

Dreamdecay - Fern

Thanks to Justin of the band for sending this in. You can check out the band's blog here

- Josh

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Violent Future - Demo



This bunch of fun time punk fellows play out of Toronto, and harbour members of Urban Blight, the now defunct Bad Choice and the fledgling S.H.I.T. - whose demo also dropped this year.

The Toronto scene is known to me as being an axis of confident, beat heavy, often old time, 80's indebted Hardcore. Merely dip a toe in and you'll be dragged off by a slipstream of great Torontan bands. Kremlin are a Germs polluted ode to a less attitude ridden H100s. School Jerks play what they want and Urban Blight stomp harder than any.

The Violent Future demo tape is ruthlessly authoritative, peddling an unruly Negative Approach flavoured broth of banging Hardcore Punk. The six songs on offer here are spat out incredibly confidently, with real attention paid to writing rolling, at times perky Hardcore songs. Negative FX's 'Feel Like A Man' is an obvious stepping stone. A big nod to 86 Mentality and scattered Wasted Time influence ties in with a real love for the sensible side of DYS.

Favourite demo I've heard since the break of 2012.

Violent Future - Demo

- Josh

Salvation - House of The Beating Hell



Had this on heavy rotation for almost two weeks now, in which time it's crept up my mental ranking list of Youth Attack releases to perch somewhere between the Raw Nerve full length and the holiest of holies - Cult Ritual's '1st' LP.

'House of The Beating Hell' is Salvation's fourth (correct me if I'm wrong) effort on Youth Attack, and for me it serves as a hallmark of how well black metal sensations can mortise with the traditions of hardcore punk. Remarkable in it's own right for hedging the turning tide of a label devoutly rooted in the thick grunts of Hardcore and the scrappily blasted endeavours of ex-Orchid members.

I'm not a fan of the blackened shrieking-in-a-cave vocal din, I notoriously dislike most Black Metal influenced records - It took me a great deal of time to absorb the Sexdrome full length and I havn't even touched on the great wealth of 'real black metal' out there - but Matthew Adis' impassioned racket on '.. Beating Hell' coagulates so well with the clot of orbiting guitar lines and the utterly pin-point drumming that I can't help but concede to having my mind changed.

I had a big debate with fellow writer Thom over the black metal vs hardcore punk anatomy of this release. Thom is fully embroiled in all things black metal, black punk and corrosively noisey, so when he listens to '.. Beating Hell' he sees all the drum fills, riff parts and structural tweaks where Salvation havn't ticked the Black Metal box. It's different for a wildly obsessive Hardcore fan like myself, because I instantly pick up on the vocals, the cold ringing guitars and the challenging drum patterns that make most 80's punk drumming look like child's play. For me the Black Metal influence is savagely apparent, but you'll have to make your own mind's up about that.

Track two, 'Intake' is my pick of the crop. Urgent, unhinged, maniacal, laced with dread with no unecessary disharmonious driftwood in sight. The unerring drum parts of 'Tethered Man' steal the show as Adis collapses into a seething eddy of screeching, reappearing for the last orders of 'Twice The Vision' - a debilitating round off to a record that plays on pace and accuracy without forgoing raw, unrefined punk side of their blade.

I think the core reason why I'm spinning this record so much is the fact that Salvation have worked with diligence to produce a front of originality. A lot of the guitaring looks towards Darkthrone for prompts, and the structure maintains a grasp of relatively traditional punk lore, yet the whole thing sounds so young, so emergent - as if the next year or two will see an explosion of dark punk music makers waxing rhapsodic about this Philadelphia band's offerings. This is up there with the best releases I've heard so far this year.

Salvation - House of The Beating Hell

- Josh

Friday, 16 March 2012

An interview with RUNNY

Runny are a mercurial group of Brooklynites playing dramatic, sexually deviant punk rock straight out of the Dwarves / Poison Idea archive, all the while channeling a Gibby Haynes lust for naked mayhem. I can't help but love them. I want to bus their drinks and drugs around the practice room while they wail about all things cheap and mind altering.

How we managed to get this interview is beyond me. You can download their latest record 'We've Come For Your Women (And Some Of Your Men) for free from their site. Get it here



What were the beginnings of Runny like? Have you all played in bands before?

Lemon Cookie: Runny started in 1993 and has been through a million changes... we've always been a punk rock mess, but it's manifested itself in a number of different ways: It's been a DJ / Guitar act, an acoustic & wig-based mess, a CD-player performance art thing (that sucked), and its current version. Everyone has played in a ton of other bands - right now, Colonel Cream & Cracker Dap playing in The Whores and Cupcake plays in the Pioneers of Seduction.

Colonel Cream: In 2008 Cracker Dap and I were kidnapped, drugged, and put through a Runny re-education program. When we came to we discovered we were the rhythm section of Runny. It's been downhill since. Won't someone please help us?!

LC: Easy there, Colonel. Help is on the way.


Kidnapping and re-education programs aside, you all seem rather connected on a personal level, what with the sweet tooth nicknames and the shared sense of humour.. is that an important part of the band's ethos?

LC: The only ethos we have is to have fun together. We're only in this for good times, bad drugs, groupies & groupers. The names are just to protect our real identities!

CC: It's true. We're only in this for fun and cheap sex. In all seriousness though, I love my 'mates so much. This is just our excuse for getting together several nights a week, drinking, and shredding our vocal chords on lyrics like 'I JUST WANNA FUCK'. It's quite satisfying.


Is it important to you to be identified as a New York band?

CC: Actually, I'm not sure New York would like to be associated with us. We recently received a cease and desist letter from the NYC District Attorney ordering us to remove any mention of this fine town from any band promotional materials. This interview doesn't count because it appears in the UK, right?

LC: Yeah fuck those guys… That's why we don't want to be identified as a New York band, even though we're all from Brooklyn and its tough not to be influenced by all the amazing bands we get to be around. Hey Colonel, how's my grammar been lately?

CC: Terrible as usual.

LC: I blame that on New York.


Yeah, well, I am the UK arm of this blog, the other half is ran from Los Angeles. The New York scene is considered by many cognoscenti to be one of the strongest scenes going right now, particularly the hot mess of sounds coming out of Brooklyn, so despite your rejection (or NYC's rejection of you) do you not feel an affiliation with say, The Men, Crazy Spirit, and the others?


LC: Actualy, Bob Johnson from Scenic just played me The Men the other... it's good stuff. But we're more in JD Samson's band MEN.

CC: There are some mind blowing bands out here right now. "Don't" is one of my new favorites. Also love Bugs in the Dark and of course our cousins, the Naked Heroes. Yeah… New York City is like no place on earth. It's still magic to me.


I can't imagine what the recording sessions must have been like. Is it all fun and games or is there a definite overriding sense of seriousness?

LC: George was insistent that we go into the studio fully rehearsed so we can bang out the tracks. So the first day was fairly professional. The day of the mix I got so drunk that I could barely stand up. That wasn't so professional.

CC: George and Alap were just amazing, total pros. It was the best experience I've had recording so far. I can't say I ever felt too serious though...hard to when you're banging like hell on the drums and screaming about sucking on the wrong dick.


Sexual deviancy aside, what are the root influences for this project?


LC: Sexual deviancy really is 90% of it. Also, social anxiety & a complete disdain for actually knowing how to play our instruments. Bands wise, though - we worship a ton of different stuff: Swans, Melvins, The Dwarves, Future of the Left... And, like, we just played with this band Agitator who were fucking amazing.

CC: If you listen close, you'll hear the influence of Mahler and Debussy in my drumming. Poor guys are spinning in their graves.


'We've come for your women..' is a total slab of punk rock, but with a glossy, well produced veneer. Is this something you were conscious about when recording?


LC: Nope! Our good friends George Michael Jackson from the Naked Heroes produced it and Alap Momin from Dalek engineered it. Both those guys know what they are doing and what they wanted it to sound like and we trusted them. We recorded and mixed in two days and came out with that fury.

CC: Recording that album was one of the most intensely pleasurable experiences I've ever had. I found new levels of scream and have George Michael and Lemon Cookie to thank for that. It was quite a three-way. Please don't tell George's wife. Looking forward to our next trip back to the studio...


What are you all listening to right now? Give us a rundown of what's had most turntable time for you guys.

LC: I've been on a grind kick lately... Baptists, All Pigs Must Die, Nails. But I dig that new Ceremony record and then mellow shit like Dntel or Gil Scott-Heron. And I love that Kendrick Lamar record from last year.

CC: I am obsessed with Harvey Milk, Chokebore, and again, Future of the Left. If their drummer is reading this...I have plans for you.


Ceremony are friends of ours so I'll pass on the compliments. Do you ever see yourselves moving away from the sound you've honed now? Or is it all about perfecting the racket and doubling up on the sexual innuendo?

LC: We're gonna go where we are gonna go. There is no destination. And all the shit that's being written now is slow and dark. Less party, more hangover... Hey Colonel, that could be a new album title!

CC: That idea sucks, dude. But to your question, Josh, every once in a while a weird & mournful groove comes out. We've even been known to make a jazz noise.

LC: Yes and it's usually when I hold the mic to my ass and fart real loud.


Do you ever see yourself taking this show on the road? I'm sure Europe would welcome you guys with open arms

LC: All I want to do is get back on the road. We were in Spain in September and it was the best fucking time ever. Anyone who wants to bring us over, feel free to holler.

CC: DYING to go back to Europe on tour. Spain was incredible. And we want to come to the UK! I've been tested and my doctor says I'm now cleared. Get ready, because we really are coming for your women. And some of your men.


Haha, the UK would be down for Runny. I'm curious as to what kind of bill you guys feel comfortable playing on.. is it a case of curbing the mosh on the more hardcore flavoured line-ups or do you get the chance to play with more like-minded late 70's orientated punk rockers?

LC: Weirdly enough, our best shows are with bands that don't share our sound. Our best shows have been with metal bands or hiphop acts or jazz quintets, or with the aforementioned Naked Heroes. Strange how that works.

CC: So true! But our favorite crowds are the ones that are comfortable getting naked and piling up on the floor in front of the stage.

LC: And preferably on drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

- Josh

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Memorial Voice - Ne Veux Plus Vivre


Memorial Voice were a band who seamlessly straddled the line between cutting and caustic coldwave, and the harsher tonal qualities of post-punk.
Often being referred to as 'street punk', this was a band who took cues from fellow European crust and UK82 acts, and infused them with their post-punk sensibilities.
Releasing this sole recorded under the name Memorial Voice, before briefly switching to the moniker Ctakahoø SS, and then Stakanov SS for their final two EPs - this band has unfortunatley left behind little to no legacy.
A crying shame, considering "Ne Veux Plus Vivre" is arguably one of the most refreshing and enjoyable post-punk records to ever see the light of day.
This nine track tribute to all things bleak and resentful opens and closes on a familiar tone, while mourning its own misery with piss and vigor in between.
I wish I could say more, because this band, and this record, deserve such songs of praise - but I'd only offer a disservice, and such great music speaks for itself.
This is a post-punk record for those who prefer the suffix.

Memorial Voice - "Ne Veux Plus Vivre"


- Thom.

Slices - Still Cruising



Posing alongside cars for album covers sounds way more 'lackluster R&B moron' than 'caustic Pittsburgh punk band', but once you sink into the noise-fog of a Slices record, you quickly recognise the cover art as one great big ironicstatement.jpg - there merely to sort the wheat from the chaff and to pinch back the title of 'most ridiculous album art' from those pesky Australians in Total Control.

The new LP 'Still Cruising' follows on from last year's debilitatingly good 'Cruising', a gnarled, gristly pop at writing Wolf Eyes on a Jesus Lizard trip hardcore. Out on Iron Lung records, 'Still Cruising' reboots the Medusa / Nightmare Man template of 'Cruising', and hip thrusts into selections of the more soberly written Butthole Surfers back catalogue. The band spoke about mimicking some of the guitar sounds from In Utero, which begs the question of how much Albini influence managed to permeate into the ethos behind this new LP.

The track 'Greensleeves' lords it over most of side A's efforts with it's rumbling groove of Pissed Jeans fan friendly noise punk. 'Why Do You Make Yourself Sad?' plays like '1000 Hurts' era Shellac dancing down hard on the grave of sacred Deep Wound of Massachusetts.

Rock n' Roll is Still Cruising's game. Taking more influence from eminent sources rather than the fucking Wanky's or something. 'All My Life' is a borderline foot-off-the-gas-pedal 90's druggy post-hardcore type excursion, just with grizzlier vocals than Walter Schriefels could ever shake a stick at. Do you have the stones to slow-dance to this half-waltzer?

Despite the more obvious lineage, this record evades neat classification. By refining the lugubrious nature of 'Cruising' into this fat-trimmed, needle-pointed punk thumper, Slices have pushed themselves further out to sea. They now have more in common with fellow Pennsylvanians Kim Phuc than ever before, as the Throbbing Gristle elements of 2004's Do U Like Mud are all but a fond memory.

Still Cruising is a marked progression, and a natural one at that. Who would begrudge these fellows the chance to write in earnest? The two Mikes, Greg and John have put together a more than confident batch of songs here, talking up the appeal of accessibility and the benefits of leaning on conventionality from time to time.

Listen to the entire record here

- Josh

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Listening Party 3

Time for our third Listening Party post. Every so often we get a bunch of our friends in bands to give us an insight into what they've been spinning recently. This installment is geographically draining, with lists coming in from New York, Europe, Pittsburgh and Phoenix.


Stephen LaCour - Bassist / True Cross / Ex Trap Them

Sex Church - Growing Over
I'm a sucker for reverb drenched, psyched out post punk. Rudimentary Peni, Dead And Gone, Creeps On Candy. I like 'em weird. This is weird.

Natural Snow Buildings - Daughter of Darkness
As I get older and hate more and more things, I start liking ambient music more. Is it even music? I have no clue, but I like it. Wikipedia calls it "experimental psychedelic folk with drone elements and ambient influences," which I guess is pretty accurate, but also makes you look like a total asshole if you say that sentence out loud to someone.

Ceremony - Zoo
Everyone gets all shitty when a band evolves. It's not like ceremony went all Sakevi and took chainsaws to every copy of "Still Nothing Moves You." They're still there, don't have a crying fit. Every record is solid and this one is no exception.

Nabaath
- Central-a-triangle
Russian, Marduk inspired black metal. Kinda "world funeral" era, when they still had the super fast, non stop blast songs, but started adding in more dirges.

Transistor Transistor - Ruined Lives/Raped Slave - Exile
Unfairly lumped in with scream, it's more John Reis worship. Full disclosure, Nat is one of my really good friends in Phoenix and I bug him about this record all the time. Raped Slave is an drone/doom band that he and Brad from Transistor did afterwards. It's pretty heavy. They've got a bandcamp.

The Weeknd - Thursday
Not something I'd normally listen to. I guess Drake is on it? Never listened to that dude. Never watched Degrassi high. Whatever. Modern r&b is one of the most trite things to ever exist. Somehow this dude (or dudes) makes it really interesting.

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
I was late to the party on Pulp. I think it was the whole "mime farting during michael jackson" thing. I feel like any of his solo stuff could've just been new Pulp stuff, but hey, whatever blows your skirt up.

Kim Phuc - Copsucker
I love snotty, antagonistic punk. This record makes you want to piss on the world.

Necrophobic - Death To All
They have what are considered "better" records, but i really dig this one. Both guitarists are in Nifelheim, but Necrophobic has a way more melodic sensibility, and way better hooks. "For Those Who Stayed Satanic" is my jam.

Nina Simone - Pastel Blues
I basically listen to "sinnerman" over and over. I blame the last episode of "sherlock" this season.




Brain Slug

E.M. Gore:

Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids
Trouble - Psalm 9
Candlemass - Nightfall
Celtic Frost - Monotheist
Entombed - Wolverine Blues
Godflesh - Selfless
Mercyful Fate - Melissa
Darkthrone - A Blaze In The Northern Sky
Soul Swallower - Devoured


Jack Wiley Mitchell:

Saviours - Death's Procession
Brown Sugar - Sings Of Birds And Racism
Sick Of It All - Just Look Around
No Tolerance - No Tolerance, No Remorse
Sex Vid - Communal Living
Magic Circle - S/T
White Lung - Magazines
Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca And The Soul Brother
Pack FM - I Fucking Hate Rappers

Tony Toupee:

Outdoorsmen - You And Me And Rock 'n' Roll
Clap - Have You Reached Yet?
CockSparrer - Shock Troops
Huff Stuff Magazine - Sugar Mountain
Shoppers - Silver Year
BloodKrow Butcher - Endless Fields of Rotting Sacks
Symarip - Skinhead Moonstomp: The Best of Symarip
Tenement - The Blind Wink
Nude Beach - New LP
Deskonocidos - Singles Collection cassette


Fuckface:

MIA/Diplo - Piracy Funds Terrorism
The Weeknd - Echoes of Silence
Gil Scott Heron/Jamie XX - We’re New Here
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
New Breed Comp.
Sleigh Bells - EP
2 Minutos - Valentin Alsina
Washed Out - Within and Without
A$AP Rocky - LIVELOVEA$AP
Brown Sugar - …Sings of Birds and Racism




Otro Mundo

Danny/Bass:

Milk Music - Live at WMFU
Amazing band and they hook it up with the best weed. FACE OFF
Psychic TV - Allegory and Self
Sometimes I wish I was a girl too.
Tool - Lateralus
First band obsession I had and recently rediscovered how good they are.
Dinosaur Jr. - Bug
Feel good album
Neu! - 1
The Drummer is a machine; psychedelic kraut bros
Can - Tago Mago
Egg roll psych-rock
Dead Can Dance - Spleen and Ideal
Watched my fellow dawg Nick Nappa play Skyrim while playing this record one night
Total Control - Henge Beat
Australians seem to be doing it better
Tempe SS / Avon Ladies cassette
R.I.P. philly / chilly mike!
Ecstasy of St. Theresa - Pigment
Almost as good as Skrillex


Andrew - guitar / noise:

Alice In Chains - Dirt
Pure, epic emotion
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Mother's Milk
RHCP's closest to prog funk
Nirvana - In Utero
The last supper of albums
Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
The music industry is fucked
Vincent Gallo - When
Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile
Because this proves you can make albums entirely in the studio
Oubleday - Nanew
They make drones in just intonation
Seven Stars - Fennesz
Prince - 1999
Party. Beatz
John Fusciante - Smile From The Streets You Hold
Heroin

Steve - Drums:

Wu-Tang Clan & Bone Thugs x 10
Smoke weed

Alex - guitar / vocals:

Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
not really an official album, but easily one of my favorite live performances by them. Knives, LSD, and motorcycles.
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?
I am. Driving to California on our first tour.
Nirvana - In Utero
I listen to this record everyday
Milk Music - Beyond Living
Amazing music that brings back the humble, nostalgic, American rock n roll. REAL SHIT
Big Black - Atomizer!
Nothing ever to do in this town. Lived here my whole life.
David Bowie - Low
Kraut influenced pop. This whole time era defined most of what I love.
The Velvet Underground and Nico - Self Titled
Every song feels as if from a timeless void
Psychic TV - Psychic Youth
First album to really get me into other avant garde musicians. Also, around the time I really discovered what I wanted out of life. Acid and Aleister Crowley
Sonic Youth - Dirty
I wanted to put Butthole Surfers here, but i just listen to this album far too much. Grungy and sometimes goofy noise rock--this album got me through sleeping in a cold, sketchy park in Rome.
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's
I used to listen to this album every night when I was really little. I literally remember hallucinating to this album at around age four or five. "Never could see any other way"

Honorable mentions: Woodstock '69 & '98, The Men - Leave Home, Avon Ladies, Nihilism - Live from Inside Your Mind's Eye



Adolf Butler

Father Futureback:

Robert Lester Folsom - Music And Dreams
Morbid Angel - Altars Of Madness
Universal Waters - Your First Ever River
The Rita - Skate / Snorkel

Het Karakter:

WOLD - Freemasonry
Portrait - Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae
Antichrist - Forbidden World

Mortgage:

Tales of terror - Tales of Terror
Beast of Beast - Sex, Drugs ...and Noise
Fang - Land Shark

BrammieDammie:

Van Halen - 1984
Agnostic Front - Victim in Pain
Rainbow - Rising



Slices

John:
Crass - Penis Envy
Tears for Fears - Songs From the Big Chair
Fushitsusha - Double Live II (PSF 15/16)
Z-Ro - Crack
Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet

Greg:

Autopsy - Mental Funeral
Urfaust - Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist
Assuck - Misery Index
Hellnation - Dynamite Up Your Ass
Boston Strangler - Boston Strangler

Mike O:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Zuma
Sam Cooke - Live at the Harlem Square Club
Trouble - Psalm 9
The Dictators - Everyday is Saturday
Megadeth - Demo

Mike K:

Gucci Mane - Trap Back
Juicy J - Blue Dream and Lean
Trouble - December 17th
Yo Gotti - Cocaine Muzik 2
Todd Rundgren - Todd

- Josh

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ceremony - Zoo



How does a band begin to tackle the stigma of signing to a larger label after years of honing their craft and treading water at a celebrated house of hardcore? The options are limited - and the risk of alienation runs high. Assuming you play a special strain of guitar music with a semblance of originality at it's core, and you're protective of that, you only really have a choice of two paths.

You can follow the guiding light of the pioneering Hüsker Dü who, after their ascension to Warner Bros, refused to use the platform to write hook-heavy pop songs for 50's throwback America, and instead ploughed headlong into recording an album that smacked of early Dü flavours and a lack of compromise. Alternatively, you could stick two fingers up to the boardroom with one hand, use the other to seat a producer of Albini type rawness, and lay to wax a record more jarring, bolshy and inward than what came before it - à la 'In Utero.'

Whilst the transition from Bridge 9 records to Matador is by no means an SST to Capitol sized pole vault, for North California's greatest punk export of the last half a decade - Ceremony, it should be viewed in much the same manner. Matador records is of sorts the prom king at the independent ball, married to big billing acts such as Pavement, Sonic Youth, Guided by Voices, Interpol and others. For a label that concerns itself with the screeds of alternative sounding rock and squirming post-hardcore, Matador's coupling with Ceremony births notions of either a bigger label trying to euthanize a pure punk band's violent nature, or perhaps a label with deep rooted hardcore affiliations wanting to reinvest in the root reason why we're all here in the first place; punk rock. Sub Pop wielded a similar tactic by adding the noisy Pissed Jeans of Pennsylvania to their No Age / Fleet Foxes tasting roster.

Ross Farrar - Ceremony's unhinged Jack Kelly type frontman - once stated his intent to write a record "that's like the Pixies or something," which seemed like more of a reality this time round now that the dust has settled on the quantum jump from Still Nothing Moves You to 2010's Rohnert Park, where Black Flag bred with Infest noise gave way spectacularly to quasi-garage meanderings and burst of 'Punk Rock 101.'

Zoo uncoils with the first single 'Hysteria', a two and a half minute early Saccharine Trust style romp that unfurls to the sounds of Farrar's customary poetic wondering (How will we survive / we continue to ask / no one ever does / no one ever does). It's anti-anthemic by way of it's driven guitar and driven Social Distortion vocal hook, clever enough to know that it's not revolutionary, confident enough to swing it's dick anyway.


In the wake of Ryan 'Toast' Mattos' departure, the approach to guitar has undergone an overhaul. New Draftee Andy Nelson plays strong / weak element to the tested talents of Anthony Anzaldo, together they create a strong British via Wire and Gang of Four vibe apparent on say 'Repeating The Circle' or 'Ordinary People.' The band's partiality for Wire stretches further than their Covers EP recording of Pink Flag, as Zoo plays around with sped up 'Feeling Called Love' reminiscent guitar lines throughout. Zoo's wild ambition and sure of itself nature rarely holds up proceedings, yet the four minute diatribe of 'Brace Yourself' suffers under it's 240 seconds of tethered energy, with the final freak out not sounding built up enough to truly raise an apex around the album's spine.

The shortest track Zoo has to offer would have been one of the longest had it been featured on Violence Violence - clocking in at a hasty 1:37 - 'World Blue' crunches into life with a Bob Mould-like stop start guitar line as Farrar leaves behind his instantly identifiable caterwaul of albums past to channel the influence of Panic demo era Keith Morris. World Blue's urgency is the closest thing to a Rohnert Park relic you're likely to find on Zoo, signalling the band's intent for a clean break into ambivalent post punk and beyond.

Ceremony are still playing off a quarter-century of music history, yet Zoo finds them gradating away from the cheap guitars and broken noses of This Is Boston, Not L.A. into territories better associated with The Fall or Magazine. To assume the band have laid to rest thoughts of writing more tracks of Living Hell, Nail ilk would be half right, but the overriding thought should not be of heaviness lost, but of re-inventiveness gained. The weighty coffin nail of 'Nosebleed,' with it's sparse, harsher-than-Pixies rumble and thoughtful bassline, acts as a giant sleeper cloistered between the peppy to-and-fro of Ordinary People / Community Service - working in much the same way as The Doldrums or Into The Wayside pt II did for Rohnert Park.

As a band, Ceremony refuse to carry any creative dead weight, shedding skin after every touring cycle to colour themselves anew. After five years of chewing on those Greg Ginn licks and throwing vocal hysterics of Danny Spira proportions, the constant evolution has led them to where they are now - refined, concentrated, matured. Zoo is not a heavier album, that's agiven, neither is it an insistence on playing how they've always played. Ceremony went neither Candy Apple Grey nor In Utero, opting rather to remove themselves from the fork in the road and to swan-dive into murkier, untested waters. The results are substantially interesting.

Matador Records

- Josh

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Video interview with Eagulls

Eagulls are a 5 piece Dinosaur Jr / Wipers flavoured punk rock group form the cold north of England. Their sound is equally split between the straight-forwardness of 70's British punk and the myriad sounds of 80's guitar dominant post hardcore. I caught up with them last night at Camden Barfly where they played as main support to The History of Apple Pie. Inbetween drinking neat vodka and hastily smoking cigarettes out of a bathroom window I managed to coax an interview out of these likely lads. On camera you'll see drummer Henry, guitarist Liam and the half feral Lydon-esque frontman George.



- Josh

Friday, 10 February 2012

Forced Entry & Naked Fist


 What we've got here is a fine example of self-described "shit-punk"; harsh, raw, low in fidelity, and strong with intensity.
 Released on Turgid Animal - the United Kingdom's crowning achievement in all things punk and noise - this record does not fail at living up to the quality conjured up, and expected of, by associating itself with such a sterling label.
 The band themselves hail from Derbyshire, Chesterfield - and with that said, there is absolutely no more information available (so you'll have to forgive the appalling image quality).
 Specialising in self-depreciating lyrics, such as the pleading beg "Why don't you stay with me for just one night?" of 'No Choices Baby', and the lamenting "Speaking for myself, I don't know anyone else. I don't know myself" from 'Speaking For Myself'; this record excels in highlighting both depression, and sexual repression.
 Clocking in at around five minutes, and being one of the finer examples of British Hardcore, this cassette really should not be overlooked.

Download, Buy

- Thom.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

An interview with BRAIN SLUG

Brain Slug are a band of hardworking New Yorkers, insistent on doing things their way. Their sound lends a cue from big time NYHC pillars Youth of Today and Cro-Mags while an uglier, twisted side to Brain Slug is left to breed chaotically in much the same way as the uncouth soundscapes of the Youth Attack parade. They just released their new 7" Distort New York, so we checked in with the guys for an interview.




Can you give us a brief overview of how the band got together?

Jack Wiley Mitchell: A few of us had been in another band before this. A few months after that band's break up Fuckface and I started working on this new one. In the meantime E.M was text-begging me to start some new hardcore shit with him too so we all wrote the demo together. Once we were finished it and were ready to play out we saw Tony Toupee at a show and he wasn't playing with anyone at the time so we asked him to join.


Did you set out with any specific ideas for this project or did the sound congeal together naturally?

JWM: Me and Fuckface wanted to do a stripped down hardcore band. Just hard New York Hardcore type shit. Keeping it simple.

Even More Gore: I personally started off wanting to do something insanely different than what Brain Slug became, but they roped me in with promises of '88 Style New York Hardcore Glory.


Would you say that being from New York is something that you're all proud of, and want to reflect in the music?


Fuckface: Being from New York definitely has an influence, maybe not so much proud, but we know what's up.

EMG: I've never felt any pride in being from Long Island or the NYC area, but I would say that being from New York is something we all collectively want to have branded on our music. That said, I think it's more of a "take it or leave it," attitude as opposed to silly "NYC is better than you," kind of stuff. In reference to the song Distort New York - I was born and raised in suburban Long Island, I lived in NYC proper for a few years, hated it, and moved back. I wrote the song because I can't stand spending too much time surrounded by concrete and steel, smelling old garbage, piss and exhaust fumes.

JWM: I have the exact opposite problem. After living in the NYC for over ten years I would go nuts living in the suburbs now. Maybe it doesn't work for Gorey, but it's the best city in the world to be at. I love New York, and am damn proud of any relation to it.


Which, if any, New York bands would you say have the most influence on the Brain Slug sound?

Fuckface: Youth Of Today, Breakdown, Antidote, Raw Deal.

JWM: Sick Of It All, Warzone, Straight Ahead.

EMG: I'd say The Cro-Mags and Youth of Today. Specifically the heavy, street-style Discharge-i-ness of the 'Mags and the wind-up fast shit with mosh part style of YOT. Vocally, I straight-up wanted to do something similar to Daryl Kahan of Citizen's Arrest with both screechy stuff and more bellowing material - more erratic and varied than my previous work.


Whats this tour been like? Who have you been playing with?

EMG: Tour was pretty solid. Only one night was a completely out of control shitbomb, and that was so bad that we've been formulating plans on how best to take revenge on those responsible. Philly was fucking awesome; shout out to Cliff and all the maniacs we met that night; especially the drunk girls who got arrested. We played with a lot of cool bands, but I was really psyched on Wet Witch and Altered Boys. Yo Geoff Greene, sorry I didn't say Hi in NJ.. I still owe you a copy of that 86 Mentality/Dead Stop video from your basement, but the Hellhole 7" you gave me was warped, so fuck you.


You just put out your 'Distort New York' EP, what can you tell us about the writing and recording process for that?

JWM: My Rites was one of the first songs we wrote when we got together as a group but we never had an ending for it until Tony came up with something. So that was the first thing finished for the EP, the rest was just the usual process of passing around riffs before and after practice and fleshing them out together. We record ourselves live in a basement out in Long Island and for five songs it takes about a day and a half to finish. Then we passed it off to Don Fury to master to bring out the crunch a bit more. Also lots of pizza, hummus, bagels and shit to give us energy.

EMG: I wrote 99% of the lyrics for that record in one day after scrapping everything I had written in the preceding weeks/months. My Rites was inspired by the work of Tom G Warrior and a late night conversation with Jack about the very real possible end of the world in our lifetime.


Do you have plans to tour further, perhaps overseas?


EMG: I'd like us to get big enough that we could go tour Japan. I'll rage all night long, buy a GISM shirt, and then blow my brains out on the way home.

Fuckface: Talked about Europe, would be dope.


Pick up Distort New York over at Hardware Records

- Josh

Friday, 27 January 2012

An interview with ADOLF BUTLER

Adolf Butler are a rowdy bunch of 'retarded darkdrug' noise punks from Holland. I actually put their latest record in my records of the year post. They are truly interesting and worthy of your attention. Here is a little interview I conducted with their maverick lead singer Boris:


Can you give us a short description about how Adolf Butler started? Was it easy to find the right people to make up the band?

Boris: We have known each other for years from hardcore / punk shows and drinking, in the fall of 2006 the other guys were thinking of starting a band in the vein of Jesus Lizard, King Snake Roost, Brainbombs, Clockcleaner et al, and still needed a singer. I had never been in a band before, but they knew my excellent taste in music, we started practicing and it worked out.

It seems to me that your Dutch identity plays a big part in the bands imagery and make-up, is that something you take seriously?

Our first release was a split LP with Dutch scumpunx The Rocco's and our side was called 'Africa', so when we were thinking of a new record we inmediately came up with 'Holland' and our guitar player Het Karakter had the concept for the cover art ready (Dutch Flag). I went on a vacation and spotted these nice beach shorts with the Dutch colours red, white and blue so thought it would be nice to wear those onstage and after that I also bought a big Dutch flag to use as a poncho. The Dutch imagery sure pisses off some people so that's cool.

Dutch music, and Dutch punk specifically, doesn't nearly get as much exposure as it deserves, so how would you describe the scene or scenes to an outsider?

I don't think there is a Dutch 'scene' right now... I mean.. there's some hardcore bands of course but I'm not into them, it's not bad... just nothing that stands out. My favourite Dutch band would be the Dutch black metal band 'Urfaust', our label boss has a new killer band called 'Santa Cruz,' and from Belgium I really like 'Vogue.' There aren't a lot of Dutch acts that grab me.

What was the recording process like for Holland? It seems like you guys had a fairly specific 'Clockcleaner' meets 'The Jesus Lizard' ambition. Was that always the intent?


It's been a little while ago but we first recorded some songs we had and then we were like...Oh shit, this is not enough for a complete LP so we wrote some more and recorded them. We are lucky that we are good buddies with our recording guy Iggy (Euro drummer for Madball.) He's the best. But yeah we just wanted to continue the way we started, but there's more variety in it I think, more uptempo and some more metal licks, especially live nowadays.

Seeing as the LP has been given cool reviews from the likes of YGR and others, do you have any plans to record further or perhaps to tour?

It's nice to see that more people than ourselves enjoy the lp for sure. We have another 2 song LP ready, it has one new song on it and one extended version of the song 'Holland' and it's completely destroyed with layers and layers of guitar solos by Het Karakter, Selim (The Devil's Blood), Oeds (The Devils' Blood) and Will Power (Vanderbuyst). Both songs clock around the 30 minutes. We are currently writing new songs, and want to release a 7" next year. We have a couple of cool shows lined up in and around Holland, I hope we can one day do a little Euro-tour.


More Adolf Butler info can be found over here. Also, Het Karakter and Futureback of Adolf Butler have their own radioshows at Red Light Radio, a radiostation broadcasting from the
Red Light District.

Karakter's show
Father Futureback's show

- Josh

Monday, 23 January 2012

Francis Harold & The Holograms 2011 UK Tour Tape


If you've heard their Who Said These Were Happy Times LP, you'll know what you're getting from this release. If you're new to the atmospherics of FH&H, let it be known that Francis Harold shrieks like a man hobbled by grief, drugged in a cave, pouring out his vocal echoes as if no one is listening. The somewhat independent Holograms behind him busy themselves by contructing a great noisome barrier - ludicrously dense, sharp and twisted.

This UK tour tape is an extension of the belaboring '..Happy Times release, only executed with more avant stress. Almost all notions of redolent Flipper impact has been washed away under rolling feedback. Think Drunks With Guns, minus the flecks of clarity, with 4 extra dimensions, incessantly ponderous basslines - repeated ad nauseum. Fucking brilliant if you can keep it down.

coming soon on Video Disease

- Josh

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Records of the year 2011

A lot of my favourite bands put out records in 2010, and for that reason, naively, I thought that 2011 might be a slow year. I thought I'd be picking the bones of punk to find records substantial enough to stand up to what last year brought to the table. I was tragically wrong, the last twelve months have had me amped on so many different releases that just drafting a shortlist for this post had me suffering headaches that only Genesis P-Orridge could sympathise with.

My high points of 2011 included moving to London full time, being able to afford more shows and more records, being part of the Twin Infinities show in LA, and above all else, basking in the reassuring glow that Thom Flattley [fellow PP writer] has stopped wearing his Colin of Arabia hoody. Stuff that blew? Well, no Slices full length release last year, not enough money to go to all shows and buy all records, and the debilitating realisation that I cannot write as well as Matt Korvette.

Honorable mentions: The Spits - The Spits V, Brain F - Sleep Rough, American Sun - American Sun, Arctic Flowers - Reveries, Dark Ages - Can America Survive?, Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years, Condominium - Warm Home.

Demos: Black Age, Rose Cross, Blood Patrol, Sump (Demo III), Brain Slug, Sucked Dry, Synthetic ID


20. RazorXfade - RazorXfade

RazorXfade strike me as a group of highly pissed off, highly intellectual punk rock students. It's almost as if a band of kids from the 80's have sat and observed 30 years of hardcore and decided 'right, we know enough now to record an album that will put all contemporaries to shame.' Their self titled LP offers ten cuts of caustic straight edge hardcore primed with 80's Bostonian influence. There must be something in the water in Chicago.

Download Buy


19. Pop. 1280 - Thirteen Steps

Challenging, noise-addled post punk from New York. Pop. 1280's Thirteen Steps melds definite dance-ability in with the zaniness of Swans' Children of God / World of Skin and manages to come out bearing a noisy punk veneer. This record leans on all the positives to be found in repetition to deliver a recording that's as hypnotic as it is rugged.

Buy


18. The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient

The War On Drugs ushered in the post Kurt Vile age with a menage a trois of lilting melodies, plaintive undertones and ambitious song writing. Slave Ambient delivers solidness throughout, and sounds for the most part like Bruce Springsteen by way of REM, with the odd My Bloody Valentine sequence rippling through the centre. There is a deeply rousing quality to the tracks found here - an anthemic outwardness of sorts - tethered down into indie rock territory by the gentle nature of Adam Granduciel's compositioning.

Download, Buy


17. Suburbanite - Suburbanite

Onwards the Youth Attack behemoth lumbers, scything down the tepid competition that dares sprout in it's midst, leaving a scarred ashen landscape of blistering hardcore bands in it's wake. Suburbanite hail from New York, and like an elite punk rock gentleman's club they contain the former Aerosols vocalist - Chris, and king lynchpin himself - Mark McCoy. The music is short, drastic and corrosive. Seven songs in six minutes that tear pages out of the Charles Bronson guide to hardcore and deliver themselves, for the most part, in a runaway fashion akin to The Repos. A modicum of sway and dare I say it, melody, push themselves into the fray at infrequent points. Probably the best straight Hardcore 7" of the year.

Download, Out of print almost everywhere


16. Otro Mundo - Jellied

I wrote a fairly substantial piece on these Arizona garage brokers in the latter part of last year, so I wont till the same earth here. But I'd have to peg Otro Mundo with the tag 'favourite discovery of 2011,' as I felt dramatically swayed by their borderline romantic song writing and grounded punk sensibilities. Jellied serves up fifteen minutes of cultured garage punk peppered with watery vocals and strong, undercurrent like guitar hooks. I implore you all to listen.

Download


15. Runny - We've Come For Your Women And Some of Your Men

Last year I spent more time steeping myself in past and present New York hardcore lore than I did breathing fresh air. One dark day I came across the band Runny (whose name is utterly unaccountable for) when going through the Hardcore Gig Volume page, and instantly decided to sneak a taste of this mysterious Brooklyn fruit. The track listing was the one and only precursor for the horror I was letting myself in for. Titles like 'It's The Third Dick You Suck That Makes You Gay,' give off a certain je ne sais quoi that immediately vanish any notions of possible quintessential punk rock on the horizon.

Still, I dived into what I thought would be an example of mental illness put to record and found myself swimming through a blend of Butthole Surfer's style humour and catchy Dwarves-esque guitar methodology. Onwards I climbed, soaring into rarely trodden patches of Replacements influence and various other Bush Sr-era Sub Pop oddities. This record is a freak anomaly that should probably be ostracized, but quite frankly the maniacal vocal presence, the chiming rhythms and the obvious, yet disturbing, sense of fun is too good to pass up. Party punk for the sexually deviant.

Free Download


14. Hoax - Hoax

A nuclear Kojak on vocals and a taste for blood led Massachusetts to record one of 2011's most rampant records. They play with a bitterness that's consistent with Vile Gash, only much bolshier and slowed down to an almost mid-tempo dirge. Most of the five minutes playing time gets vacuumed up by a wash of toxic feedback and motor driven guitars, luckily though the vocals cut clear above the underlying destruction to really make an impression. Growls, walls of feedback, misanthropic lyrics and sheer aggressiveness are nothing new within this circle, but the way Hoax process everything together sounds pretty organic and without pretense. 2012 will see them elevated to big hitter status.

Download, Buy


13. Leather - Sterile

A much more full figured release from Philadelphia's Leather sees the band nodding their heads to the likes of Necros and the finer points of Age of Quarrel, only to funnel this bastard combination through 90's San Diego. The sloshy guitar of track two 'Novitiate' sounds more like a cover of Joy Division's 'Warsaw' than the actual Swing Kids cover. This release owes a great deal of it's versatility to the vocalist's complete lack of fear. He doesn't give two fucks about flickering between a John Joseph warble-growl, a classic Jack Kelly delivery and an annoyingly confident singing voice. This entire 7" hurtles along like an extended tourettes episode, barking and spitting with all the elements of modern de rigueur hardcore - yet underneath lies a deceptive intelligence and a willingness to write great music.

Download, Buy


12. Sex Church - Growing Over

6 Songs by Sex Church whetted my appetite for even more sickly-vibed noise building and Growing Over does not throw salt on the proceedings. From the offset, Sex Church roll into Growing Over with the same fondness for meandering, dream like sound escapades; turning consecutive minutes of gathering tension into eventual nothingness. Not that this is a bad thing, everybody knows what a thunderous climactic sound assault should sound like.. and so for the Vancouver post punk troupe to march down the left hand path of obscurity shows a willingness to reinvent. 'Colour Out of Space' is the closest this record gets to full blown Wolf Eyes style electro-masturbation, but no sooner has the last dial been cranked, the flow ebbs along into the
Birthday Party sized chops of 'Treading Water' and beyond towards the strafe-fire attack of 'Beneath The Bottom.' Growing Over is a multi-layered, multi-textured encyclopedia of post punk and noise, romantic and pretty in parts where it's content to play out in rhythm, frightly delirious at all other times.

Download, Buy


11. Shoppers - Silver Year

This band blew up last year, thankfully it was due to worthy acclaim and not the hulking great hype machine pushing the wrong band. Shoppers are from Syracuse, NY and share a member (or members) with White Guilt. Silver Year pig-fucks around with a stylistic blend of feedback, perky riffing and noise punk overtones - flooding the landscape with on point deliveries and interesting Big Black type rhythm sections. Instinct dictated that the sheer clamour of this album would force it to buckle inward on itself, but no, it holds itself up and angrily marries together manic noise apparent on say 'ii' with poppish whimsies such as 'iv' to create an explosive yet beguiling denouement.

Download, Sold the fuck out.


10. Rational Animals - Bock Rock Parade


Forgive me oh Father, for I have sinned. When I first heard Rational Animals I thought 'Well fuck me, Every Time I Die have had an epiphany.' I thought the unusual vocal delivery bore more than a passing resemblance to Keith Buckley's once slightly punk swagger. Anyway, I grew up and really gave this Rochester, NY band a listen, finding to my suprise that my early analysis was far off the mark. Bock Rock Parade screams at you with it's '84 and onwards Black Flag influence, brewing over with Ginn licks, forcing you to take note of the band's anomalous hardcore methods. The range of influence is astounding. Highly metallic guitar work, a youthful Rollins on vocal duty, punctured, arithmetic drumming and an overlay of noisey punk rock. The connoisseur's record of 2011.

Download, Buy



9. Raw Nerve - Midnight




I wonder if there was any sort of ceremony whereby Mark McCoy passed the torch along officially to Raw Nerve? Last year saw the release of Tall Tales - an interim discography and the Midnight EP. Midnight unfurls with a minute and thirty seconds of uncharacteristic bombast, 80's as fuck, trundling along in an almost Crucifucks inspired beat until the conflagration dies out on the line 'I'll fuck you just the same.' The following 7 tracks are of stock Raw Nerve fashion; blistering, unyielding, without respite. Raw Nerve beat the same drum they've had for the past few releases, but why fix it if it isn't broke? This output is enough to keep any fan coming back, and further cements these Chicago, IL noiseniks as the creative benchmark in the American Midwest.

Download, Sold out


8. Total Control - Hengebeat



I've lost count of Total Control's recorded output, but last year's Hengebeat sat atop many writer's and fan's best of lists. Not only did they take Wire's notion of 'easy' cover art and thoroughly put them to shame (Microsoft paint strikes again), they carried the torch of ambivalently downbeat post-punk into the 21st century. Hengebeat chimes with Carpet Rash's plaintively uttered 'Please please me,' and eventually breaks into a strangely ever-stretching neon melody - accurately encapsulating the tone of the rest of the record. Most of what's to be heard here skates over thin post punk ice, dropping at times into imbroglios of garage rock. Dish-rag dreary vocals compliment everything going on, wafting in and out like a valium state of mind. The rise of the Australians in 2011 was not to be sniffed at.

Download, Buy


7. Omegas - Blasts of Lunacy



Unashamed, unchecked and violent. Omega's full length 'Blasts of Lunacy' kicks off with so much wanton aggression that you can't help think that the record title was an act of prophecy. The 80's influence comes at you with a headbutt to the face and a free lesson in how to emulate Jerry's Kids & friends without sacrificing new vitality. Omega's sound like Raw Life if only they were comfortable with their sexuality. The macho-ness is dulled down, and the intensity is kept at 11. This is the kind of dynamic hardcore that wont suffer death by neglect, on the contrary, Blasts of Lunacy is a document of the modern day hard punk zeitgeist that begs to be replayed.

Download, Buy


6. Brown Sugar - Sings of Birds and Racism.



Angry, but not too-hate-filled hardcore from Buffalo with a Cleveland by way of 'What The Hell.. It's Roach Motel' flavour. Complete with rock solid riffing, the weirdness builds and builds until twinges of psychedelia break off from the main vein of unhinged hardcore. 'Total Fucking Garbage' blows it's load almost immediately after the opening saxophone affair is dealt with, rattling and humming with some of the most irresistible melodies i've ever found in hardcore. This record hovers somewhere around mental disorder, but something within me begs for it to be considered a serious record. It's as if everything laid out here is too superb to be shackled by cries of immaturity. Imagine The Shitty Limits injected with a Circle Jerk serum.

Download, Buy


5. Iceage - New Brigade



It sucks a tremendous amount of dick that having to say this is necessary but, no, these four Danish boys are not racist. They are fervently anti-racist. I've spent time with them and feel obliged somewhat to do my bit to quell this 2nd / 3rd wave backlash. They are a great bunch of lads who wrote one of the greatest debut full lengths you're likely to hear in some time. Media; reign in your imaginations for a change. 

With a circle of friends including the less than innocuous Jackman, the scally-lads of Pagan Youth and the black punk teen fiends Sexdrome, the wunderkinds in Iceage have risen as part of a roughly defined collective.
New Brigade is a landmark in Danish punk culture, at least that's what it's destined to become. 12 tracks of scathing originality - fusing together a love for The Pogues, Bruce Springsteen, Death In June, Void and others to birth a dextrous document of post-punk grounded rock and roll. The whole scope is reeled in under frontman Elias' prolific gift for writing his vocal melodies in such a way that they almost act as an extension of his guitar. The crowning princes deliver unbroken greatness with New Brigade, sauntering between jangly garage parts and testing sonic backdrops. Anyone with more than a passing interest in punk rock already has an opinion on this record, most likely one of laudation.

Download, Buy


4. Kitchen's Floor - Looking Forward To Nothing



Australia's own Kitchen's Floor have that careful balance of playing music that sounds careless, whilst retaining a strong sense of craftsmanship. Looking Forward To Nothing expands on the glimpses of stellar lo-fi melody present on their last opus 'Lonliness Is A Dirty Mattress,' only this time Matt Kennedy has made the same kind of giant leap that KC made from Bleach to Nevermind. It's that impressive. The dreariness of his lyrics serves to highlight the delicious bites of tunefulness apparent on tracks such as '116,' 'Needs,' and 'Kidney Infection.'

There is a master songwriter functioning at the core of this project. Nervous about his art, loyal to independence, susceptible to bursts of harmony. Looking Forward To Nothing goes a long way to define 2011 for me. The honesty is overpowering and without pretension, the intimacy is all apparent and it's all offered up as K Records-esque morsels of greatness. There is nothing not love about this LP.

Download, Buy


3. Adolf Butler - Holland



Holy fuck, Dutch noise the likes of which I have never come across. Admittedly, I am no scholar of Nederlandse muziek, but this record.. THIS record, is a wall of grooving noise punk devastating enough to act as our continental equivalent of The Men. Worshipping at the altar of The Jesus Lizard, and spending equal amounts of time inebriated at the House of Melvins has coloured these Dutch darlings with an overriding penchant for the noise rock arts. Each track bristles with squalls of drawn out guitar lines, thundering along to the sound of a man splitting drum skins like his life depended on it.

Lineage can be drawn back only a few years to the cripplingly feral sounds of Clockcleaner - and perhaps the calmer natured Drunkdriver tracks (Half Mast). Every so often a sequence of hardcore identity rears up to choke the rockiness, but other than that Holland holds itself together as a noise punk record we Europeans can be fucking proud of.

Listen / Buy


2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake




Let us not kid ourselves, Let England Shake permeated almost all corners of the grand music demographic last year. It's a bleak soundtrack to soundtrack bleak times, coercing pure vulnerability into twisted, beautiful forms. Polly Jean's most complete and enchanting set of songs ever laid down had NME falling over themselves to get the 10/10 stamp out. Deservedly so. Let England Shake is a palette of perfectly weighted vocal gushes laid delicately across stretches of spirited instrumentation. An almost untouchable record.

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1. The Men - Leave Home



An astounding symphony of unbridled punk rock at it's most effective, The Men - Leave Home is my album of the year. Leave Home is simply too expansive to ignore, too chock-full with the best influences a band could seek to work from. The opener 'If You Leave' squeezes tight on the neck of Beatles' psychedelia and bangs the head of Thurston Moore against a Brookyln brick wall with the other hand. To say this record is disjointed is an understatement. The instrumental savagery of Lotus is followed by a three minute hardcore drenching. There almost as if to mock mere punk mortals, still busy slaving away over their less than mediocre hardcore efforts. 

L.A.D.O.C.H pushed the wall of noise further, searing like a sharpened edge, as visions of Cult Ritual cloud my mind. Baitaille sounds like Fugazi had Ian Mackaye broke edge and jammed with Greg Sage a little. The whole record is a series of extended waves of carefully aligned influence, pummeling us all with passages of Dinosaur Jr, Butthole Surfers, The Jesus Lizard, Iggy & The Stooges and the curveball Kraut-rock appearances on Night Landing. As something singular, it's terrific to behold, and plays out more like an orchestra than a punk record. The world awaits their forthcoming 2012 LP - Open Your Heart.

Download, Buy


- Josh

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Ol "In n Out"


Here is a list of music I really dug over the last year of 2011. Would have loved to have written all about each release, and I'd love to give you all the reasons why I dug all this noise, but I can't sit still long enough to do that, and It might get a bit redundant to be honest. 

My humble advice would be to check it all out for yourselves.....agree, disagree, be indifferent, stay free.

2011 rippers in no particular order:

Balaclava- Crimes Of Faith
Chelsea Wolf- Ἀποκάλυψις
The Men- Leave Home
Joyce Manor- S/T
Trap Them- Darker Handcraft
Hoax- S/T
Omegas- Blast Of Lunacy
Deafheaven- Roads To Judah
Wolves In The Throne Room- Celestial Lineage
Leather- Sterile
Death Grips- Ex Military
Iceage- New Brigade
Dark Ages- Can America Survive?
The Skull Defekts- Peer Amid
Trash Talk- Awake
True Widow - As High As...
All Pigs Must Die- God Is War
Russian Circles- Empros
Coliseum- Parasites
Orange Code Kids- Cycles


Love/Hate,
Sam James Velde