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.

- 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


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
Brown Sugar - …Sings of Birds and Racism

Otro Mundo


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

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


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


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


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


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