Wow wow wow, this EP is great. I am going to beat a dead horse here, but whatever. Everything is coming up Canada when it comes to brutal hardcore! I’m seriously enamored with the scene and I keep uncovering these gems all over the place. Next in line is a band called Purity Control. After hearing this short EP I quickly went back to listen to the band’s previous material. On their Last.fm page I found a free download of their first demo tape which is pretty insane itself. It’s a particularly violent brand of powerviolence with fidelity so raw that it almost blasts itself into oblivion (seriously, check it out).
So listening to Revisiting after the demo is almost calming in comparison. The three tracks on the release are apparently some that were snipped from another upcoming release. Judging from the quality on display here that is going to be one to look out for. Settling on a more traditional hardcore punk sound, the band streamlines their sound a bit and shreds their way through these three tracks. It’s an impressive display of power that will absolutely obliterate your speakers if you’re not careful. You can download it for free from their site or from this link that the band provided. It’s like 10 MB, come on.
I found these guys through The Guru who featured them on their Tumblr site earlier this week. Big House Nice Dreams is the newest mixtape from Brooklyn’s Slam Donahue and after only a few seconds of the first track I knew I would totally be into it. Now what constitutes this as a mixtape and not say, an EP? I am not sure, but whatever.
Slam Donahue have such a big and confident pop sound and their melodies are so intensely catchy that I imagine I’ll be singing loudly to this mixtape a lot in the coming months. It’s the perfect kind of music to put into rotation now that the weather is (slowly) getting warmer.If you find yourself in the mood for some fun, catchy, simple pop music then grab Big House Nice Dreams for free from the band’s site.
The aesthetic of the DC hardcore scene of the 1980’s is alive and well in the form of young bands like Outlook. It’s easy to hear the influences on this band’s collective sleeve, but they bring a measure of energy and vitality to the genre that is all too rare. On top of that the band prides itself on being a positive influence in the hardcore scene and that is something that surely goes a long way. With lyrics about social justice and issues that are personally important to the band, these guys embody everything that true punk is all about.
As far as the music goes, it’s really unparalleled for me. I’ve been craving this kind of raw yet well-executed hardcore for a while now and Outlook certainly hit the spot. These kids play it fast; fast to a break-neck degree and they rarely give you a moment to breathe. There are frantic guitars, machine gun drumming, and a frontwoman with some of the most passionate punk vox I’ve heard. If you are looking for an album that’s every bit as convincing as the stuff that came out of the original straight edge scene and is an absolute pleasure from front to back, then look no further than Our Time Is Now.
You can get Our Time Is Now on vinyl or you can download it for free via the band’s site. They also recently kicked off a monster tour that will have them away from home until the beginning of May so look them up when they stop in your area.
Wow, how did I miss this one? I had heard that Boy Friend occasionally busted this cover out at shows (to much adoration), but I didn’t know that the ladies properly recorded it until Christa Palazzolo sent it to me today.
Sure everyone knows the classic jam "Drive" by The Cars and there is no doubt that the track has had its fair share of cover versions over the years, but somehow Boy Friend manages to pick it up and make it sparkle like new again. Draping the track in reverb-soaked swaths of sheer sonic fabric, the ladies bring an atmospheric depth to it that only they could conjure. Listening to it now I’m realizing that this cover is the perfect respite from the onslaught of hardcore and metal that I’ve been featuring lately.
If you like what you hear here but have yet to check out BoyFriend's excellent debut album Egyptian Wrinkle then by all means, run out and grab it. It’s easily one of my favorite albums so far this year. It’s out now on Hell, Yes!
Although their sound might suggest otherwise, the self-proclaimed “trash pop” quartet TRMRS hail from Southern California of all places. Rather than radiating beach vibes or anything of the like, these guys play a grimy version of Southern garage rock. Check out the title track from their split 7” with Night Beats up top.
If you’re into Black Lips, The Strange Boys, or The Growlers (who the boys are actually on tour with right now) then you’ll surely dig TRMRS. They certainly have that Southern swagger and their raucous blues-rock sounds like it was dipped in the inky black waters of the swamplands. On “Goodtime Blues” the band takes their good old time as they mosey along through the first half of the track before shredding everything on the second. And I hear the band is known for their rather rowdy live shows, so if you have the chance make sure you check them out.
This Virginia blackened hardcore duo sent me their debut EP after seeing the post I did on Unsacred. Not only are they from the same local scene but they have friendly ties. And like Unsacred, the dudes in Anniversary try their best to cull several genres together to make something new. After exchanging a few friendly emails with vocalist Orion Lopez, I feel like I totally understand what they’re going for and I’m all for it.
Basically the band started out of the idea that if the kind of music that you want to hear isn’t being produced, then go ahead and make it yourself. And so Anniversary came out of growing weary of a limp local scene. The band is still in its infancy and so the tracks on Dear Failing, are understandably a bit rough, but they are also very charming. The band pulls from not only black but also death metal. And thanks to Converge (one of their biggest inspirations), the band also smells a bit of metalcore here and there. The ending result is five surprisingly dense, dark as night tracks from a young band looking to break out in their local scene.
The band is looking to put the EP out on limited cassette on April 25th, but you can also download it for free on their bandcamp page.
Last week I posted “Strange Land” the excellent first track from anonymous R&B project b.u.i.l.t. Shortly after that post went live the creator told me that he had another track set to drop today. Thus began the countdown. Now it’s finally Friday and b.u.i.l.t. is here again with “Cookies ‘n’ Creme” ready to reign in the weekend.
After exchanging a few emails with him, I still am no closer to knowing anything about the guy behind the project. But it really doesn’t matter because listening to his music is certainly enough for me (…for now). Stylistically “Cookies ‘n’ Creme” picks up right where “Strange Land” left off. Still lovingly aping 1990’s R&B, b.u.i.l.t. keeps me surprised by how much emotion he is able to wring from these skeletal tracks. Maintaining the strong vocal lines, he certainly takes more liberties on this new track by utilizing autotune and other vocal manipulations. It’s a great song that only intensifies my desire to hear more from this project. Who knows, maybe next Friday?
Existing easily as one of Philadelphia’s best kept secrets, Lantern has recently prepped Burned Youth, their second release for Night People. The cassette is a collection of bits and pieces that the band recorded between 2009 and 2011. Originally sold as a tour-only release, the cassette is being repackaged and rereleased. And even though the tracks were homeless prior to this release they sill manage to play together really well.
If you ever got a chance to listen to the band’s prior releases then you’ll know that they revel in that sort of straight-to-tape production quality. And while the fidelity is certainly better than that of their first Night People release, the band still finds opportunity to shred the speakers here or there (i.e. “Bop-A-Bop-A-Bop [I’m Yr Porkchop]” present so much feedback and reverb that it basically becomes an onslaught of ceaseless noise.) But the thing that will keep me coming back to this release is the effortless mashing up of bluesy garage rock with hazed-out psych folk. It’s the kind of stuff that’s perfectly suited to a night of impromptu music in a humid backyard. BBQ optional.
Every once in a while Dan Lewis from Bon Voyage drops me a line and lets me know what’s going on with the Australian label. His most recent updates featured a few tracks, one of which was “Canif & Diana Ross” by French duo Looks Like Miaou. He did his best to describe the music with terms like “punk”, “no wave”, and “early Suicide" being thrown around, but after listening to the track I can only say that it really speaks for itself.
Based on what I hear from this one track I am really anxious to listen to the rest of the LP. I say anxious because I do really want to hear it, but I assume that doing so will make me feel a bit uncomfortable. The French boy/girl vocals are at times spliced together to form this androgynous hybrid while buzzing guitars with loosened strings strum ferociously in the background (not to mention the strange feedback and crackling fidelity). There is a very raw quality to it, as if the band purposely did not tamper with the production. Any softening of the rough edges would not only make it seem less earnest, but it would also rob the music of its edge.
I had a hard time finding any info on the band outside of their Bandcamp page. You can stream what I assume is their upcoming album there. There is no info however (there aren’t even any track titles), so I can’t be sure. Either way it’ll be released on vinyl by Bon Voyage later this month, so check it out!
In engaging with the Diane Kensington Devotional BandI have subsequently been immersed in the world of Jerry Paper (one of those responsible for dear old Diane). He sent me this release this weekend and I’ve been allowing it to slowly absorb itself into my brain in an almost osmosis sorta way. I really couldn’t have stopped it if I wanted to. It’s very compelling.
The ten tracks on Vol. 1 find a very comfortable living space somewhere between simple pop song structures and the digital world in which they reside; and yet the whole thing feels era-ambiguous. It’s a space filled with pastel casio beats, sci-fi synths, very light live instrumentation, and Jerry’s tender vocal melodies. It’s also a release that is so immensely easy on the ears that it would be possible to digest it and not give it another thought, but a closer listen (or maybe a few) will reveal its calculated structure replete with hidden gems strewn all over the place. All you need is a careful ear willing enough to dig them up.
Vol. 1 will be seeing a limited cassette run which you can pre-order on Bandcamp. You can also stream/download the whole album there or on his Soundcloud page.
I am always interested in what hardcore label Blank Stare is doing. I suppose it started when they released Motivator's self-titled EP last year, a release that became one of my absolute favorites of last year. Aside from signing great hardcore punk bands and releasing cassettes the label also runs its own zine. Yeah, they got some good juju going on over there.
Back in January the label released the self-titled EP from a Toronto band called Wrong Hands. Such as is the case with many of their bands, this release was my first introduction to the band. And even though the EP is a quick five-track shot, the band still manages to do a lot with the time. So yeah, although this is a hardcore release on a hardcore label, Wrong Hands still manages to take the music to some really dark places. The band busts out some chugging metal riffs and the vocalist hits some surprisingly low depths with his growls getting downright guttural. It’s just another example of how great the Canadian skate punk scene is.
Download Wrong Hands for free on Blank Stare's bandcamp page and make sure you snoop around their other releases while you’re there.
Here is one more quick one before the weekend. I literally just got this track dropped in my email a few minutes ago. I gave it a quick listen and was really impressed by what I heard. Hopefully you will be too.
Knowing literally nothing about whoever the artist b.u.i.l.t. is, I find myself already excited to hear whatever he comes up with next. This is the only track on his Soundcloud page and I’m having trouble finding any other info on him. The song is called “Strange Land” and it’s an exuberant pop number that recalls 1990’s MTV R&B in a way that it more concerned with having fun than sounding sexy. It sorta reminds me of something that Autre Ne Veut might come up with if he was more interested in following conventional pop song standards. It’s a great track that’s certainly going to be getting a lot of play from me this coming weekend.
My own personal Tan Dollar boom isn’t completely over yet, so frontman Chris Thorne unwittingly capitalized on that by shooting over the latest EP from his other project Horse Head. He sent me the EP a few days ago and I’ve had chance to really dig into what he’s doing here.
As far as style goes, the EP is a cool switch from Tan Dollar that sees much of the thick guitar work being dropped to make room for synths and drum machines. This is much more of a experimental pop release and Chris makes sure to really take advantage of the ‘experiment’ part by tinkering with whatever sounds and resources he has at his disposal. The EP opens up with a track called “Jump In” that features guest vocals from Chris’ girlfriend Nima. After listening to some of her skeletal astro-pop I’m envisioning that maybe her craft had some influence on her significant other. Just a thought.
Anyways the EP dropped today on the always prolific Amdiscs label (their 95th release! holy cow!), so you can either grab it from them or download it for free on Horse Head's bandcamp page.
Sometimes you know when something is just not your thing. I often feel this way with folk music. No matter how much I might want to like it, I just can’t get into it. Every so often however there comes along an artist that forces me to keep at least one toe dipped into the genre. Most recently that responsibility has lain at the feet of Day Joy. After coming out of the shadow of Saskatchewan, the band has really stepped into their own and should be acknowledged as so.
A few months ago the duo released their New Ordinary 7” and really caught my attention. The songs seemed light and upbeat at first but the more I listened the more I realized what exactly they were doing. I was so impressed at the lush arrangements conjured up by just these two guys. Moving their sound along into a four-track EP, the guys have maintained that level of artistry but they’ve tweaked it a bit. They pretty much shed the distant pop melodies on the 7” and have opted for a deeper, more spacious sound. They dredge up these haunting atmospheres and then lavishly decorate them from the inside out.
It’s a great offering from a young band that I am anticipating great things from. It used to be a free download on their bandcamp but people have sorta gone nuts over it and the downloads ran out. So either cough up some cash for the guys or nab it from this link that they provided.
Here is a quick one for you today. Doom metal can be a tough nut to crack, no doubt. Not only does the intensely dark music take some getting used to, but many times doom metal artists aren’t really in the business of keeping things brief. One of the most shining examples of the genre, Sunn O))), craft tracks that approach the 20-minute mark. Yeah, good luck just jumping into that.
UK doom metal band Drear dabble in doom metal no doubt. Just listen to this bone-crunching guitars and the toxic sludge-coated vocals. The band sent me this recently-released this 2010 track that they had sitting around. If you’re looking for a quick shot of some quality doom metal here it is at only 4 minutes. Sure it has some rough edges, but in truth it’s a demo. To make things more interesting the band changes things up by stirring in some noise and punk rock influence. It’s a sign that these guys seriously know what they’re doing and they’ve got my attention for whatever they toss around next.
Diane Kensington Devotional Band // 34 Wordless Mantras
In all honesty I don’t even know where to start with this one. Today has been a very strange day for me and I didn’t really feel like sharing anything, but then I remembered this double-album (I guess you can call it an album) and it just seemed to fit whatever I was going through. I mentally just refer to it as 34 Wordless Mantras when in fact the complete title is: 34 Wordless Mantras For Augmented Ascension Meditation And Silencing Your Inner Monologue NOW! Vol. 1: Deep Listening Party + 32 Wordless Mantras For Augmented Ascension Meditation And Silencing Your Inner Monolgue NOW! Vol. 2: Immersion In “Secret Harmon. So yeah…suck on that, Fiona Apple.
Created by the same mind(s) that brought us Zonotope™ (which is strange enough in its own right), Diane Kensington Devotional Band is an outlet for subconscious expression and sci-fi romanticism. The entire release is a whopping 66 tracks long and they are currently all sitting pretty in my iTunes. I have yet to make it through the whole thing but the decent chunk I have digested has been bizarre yet intensely listenable. Silky tones and pastel colors run rampant and there is so much to dig into here. It really runs the gamut as far as sound experimentation so if you aren’t digging a particular track then just wait a few moments because everything will mutate from top to bottom.
You can purchase the double-album either on cassette or digitally from the bandcamp site. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like it, but hopefully you’ll find it as curious and endlessly fascinating as I have.
20th Century Tokyo Princess // I’ve Never Been Happy and I’ve Never Had Fun
Wow, this is a loud album. When I downloaded it and clicked ‘play’ on the first track the mix was so incredibly loud that my friend, who was sitting next to me at the time, jumped straight out of her seat. I paused it, readjusted the levels a bit, put on my headphones, and went back to listening. After reading a bit about the spirit behind this release I kinda feel like that first overwhelming blast of noise was somehow meant to happen.
20th Century Tokyo Princess is a loud garage rock project out of Cincinnati with a palpable, old school rock & roll energy. This is technically lo-fi music but I don’t think that it’s following any particular trend. This wasn’t tweaked in Garage Band post-recording session. No, this stuff was most likely recorded straight to tape. That buzz you’re hearing in the fidelity is the limitations of the recording equipment. It just wasn’t able to grasp everything that was happening here. Every shrieked vocal, every slamming drum hit, and every buzzing guitar chord feels alive in a way that only on-the-spot recording can achieve. Heck, frontman Ted Clark’s frustrated utterance of “shit!” at the beginning of “That’s What You Are” was in response to a false start. But they kept it. That speaks volumes about the music that these guys are putting out. They don’t feel the need to dress it up, they are just putting it out there. It is what it is, take it or leave it.
I’ve Never Been Happy & I’ve Never Had Fun is out now on cassette via Random Old Records. If you like your garage rock to be loud and sweaty and real, then this is the tape for you.
Wow, it’s been well over a year since the last time I featured anything from Mediafired. Since then the creative mind behind it and I have had a curious working relationship. We only communicated every couple of months with him sending me tracks every once in a while and me going “holy cow, this is awesome.” Other than Mediafired he has worked under numerous monikers like Spinning Beach Ball of Death, jccg, and most recently Sofa Pits (whose debut album is being released by Chill Mega Chill). Oh, and he also runs his own cassette tape label in Portugal called Exo Tapes. So yeah, busy guy, right!?
Earlier today he shot over this his latest release to me and whoa, dude’s stepped up his game. It’s called The Pathway Through Whatever and it’s easily his best work to date. Working primarily with samples, Mediafired is like 20 years worth of pop culture placed into a blender with the nob turned up to 10. His sample choices, his imagery, even the name he goes by is taken from the modern era, chopped and mashed up, and fed right back to culture that spawned it.
This sonic, internet-flavored milkshake is being released by the most awesome Beer On the Rug and I couldn’t think of a better suited roster for it if I tried. Stream the whole thing on their bandcamp site and then snatch a tape up quick.
I was chatting with Jake Tobin the other day on Facebook. The conversation started with my asking a favor of Jake. You see Jake is something of a design wizard where my knowledge of the subject is about as rudimentary as it gets. It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to the subject of music. We talked about heavy metal (he happens to really dig sludge and stoner metal, go figure) and we talked about Julian Lynch and we eventually talked about Jake’s own music.
I knew that Jake, who had previously been recording under the name Fruit Flesh, had been planning a new release a few months ago and I wondered where the project was at in its metamorphosis. He then revealed to me that it was actually out and that he just dropped it online without really telling anyone. People seem to be doing that a lot lately. Anyways I quickly snatched the release up on his bandcamp and began to listen.
The project was recorded under the name Corrective Lenses and even though I can sense subtle differences between it and Fruit Flesh, they are still both undeniably the work of Jacob Tobin. Retaining (and even amping up) the tenor saxophone that I came to identify with his work, Corrective Lenses 2 is such clean and expertly crafted release. Jake erects these tracks around a few basic elements (piano loops, cavernous percussion, sax and synth) that are rather skeletal by definition but yet they feel so full and alive. The release is also short but very fluid with each track bleeding rather seamlessly into the next. It’s such a rad listen and it’s free to download so I really hope you’ll take a moment to check it out!
I don’t know if you got a chance to check out Food Pyramid's loving, three-cassette-long ode to spaced-out krautrock but if you didn't you sorely missed out. Don't fret, they're still readily available. I myself stepped in around the time that the band was releasing II and I’ve been enthralled with them ever since.
To my utter elation Moon Glyph is releasing the band’s newest LP Mango Sunrise. The name alone in conjunction with the album artwork should clue you in as to what you’ll be experiencing. Everything is still very spacey and psychedelic, but the band seems to be branching out. There is so much going on with this record that it would be futile for me to try and sum up everything the band is showcasing. They molt and mutate and symbiotically latch onto styles in such a natural way. There is an almost spiritual quality to these tracks. They feel organic like some sort of naturally occurring musical compound of color and noise that can be measured in elemental units. It’s an all-encompassing journey through sound that is just begging to be taken.
Good hardcore on bandcamp has been a black hole for me lately. I keep getting sucked down farther and farther and downloading more and more. Needless to say my computer harddrive has taken a bit of hit. I’ve been playing this excellent new EP by Virginia band Unsacred a lot lately and I figured I’d share it here.
I don’t think I’ll be able to properly communicate how awesome I think this EP is. The band manages to camp out in between several genres. There are traces of old school hardcore in there, but they also throw in black and sludge metal and even some crust punk. It feels like such a grimy release, you can practically feel the vocalist’s spit peppering your ears as he screams and growls. There is a ferocious energy to the music and it is exactly the sort of thing that I’ve found myself drawn to lately.
I know that the band is preparing to release this thing on a 50 hand numbered cassettes, but I’ve yet to find where to buy them. It’s got me excited though. This stuff is loud and fast and gnarled and perfectly suited to the cassette tape format. For now just download it for free on their bandcamp site.
Tan Dollar // Diary of Our Journey to the Netherlands
I wasn’t really familiar with Tan Dollar when I downloaded this EP. In fact, I don’t even really remember downloading it in the first place, but there it was in my recently added folder in iTunes. So I listened, and I liked. I like a lot, actually. So I reached out to the very friendly frontman Chris Thorne via Twitter and then later e-mail and he gave me the scoop on this dreamy pop band from Tustin, California.
For being a relatively young band, Tan Dollar has not only quite a few releases under their belt, but they’ve also undergone more lineup changes than most bands will see in their lifetime. Chris Thorne remains the band’s sole founding member and he is now joined by three of his friends for their latest EP Diary of Our Journey to the Netherlands. After going back and listening to a few of their older releases it seems like Tan Dollar has been steadily shedding layers with each release. And on this EP it seems like this new skin of theirs is the softest, and most healthy yet.
The three tracks on Diary find ground that is very welcome to my ears. They successfully and effortlessly straddle the ground between dream pop and 1980’s shoegaze and they do so with two different guitar effects. It’s a great mashup of sound and it creates these pop songs that sound relatively timeless. Chris told me that the band is hopefully gearing up for a 12” release later this year. So now that I’m a fervent fan I’m definitely going to tracking that one.
I might not always understand what chushi is doing, but I’m always fascinated by it. In truth, I don’t even know anything at all about whoever is behind this. So, chushi if you’re out there hit me up because I’d love to know.
Anyways, here is their latest entitled V0SLF. The SLF part of that stands for Seven Legged Face, a label that is just as mysterious. The whole release is around three minutes long and it plays pretty much straight through, so it’s basically pointless for me to choose just one “track” to share. But alas, it seems that I’ve done just that.
If you’re familiar with what chushi does, then you’ll know that they specialize amorphous blobs of dissonant and ambient noise. And as time goes on it seems that the tracks not only get shorter but they also shy farther and farther away from convention. It might sound like I’m being negative, but all of this is what makes the music so alluring to me. I’m fascinated by the trajectory of these releases and I’m always anticipating what is coming next. You can download V0SLF for free on bandcamp or you can also grab it from this link. Give it a shot.
Hardcore is a tricky genre these days. The way I see it, is that there are typically two schools of thought on the genre. There are die-hard skate punks that cling to the genre’s past and relive it through their raw, spastic music. More heinously however, is the other school that is largely a cesspool of regurgitated ideas that act as little more than an excuse for breakdown after chugging breakdown. There are kids that will blindly accept music that is nothing more than this just so that they can throw down. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it has gotten unforgivably stale.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Clarity the newest EP from UK hardcore band Veils. At first listen this EP has the best of both worlds. Their production style is so polished, you feel it in your chest when the bass drum hits, and the guitars sound so clean that it smacks of current hardcore trends. However, their songwriting is inherently old school. Tracks like “Caves (Anxiety)” have the signature rapid fire snare hits and the borderline shouted/screamed vocals. The passion is right there on the surface and it’s felt on a visceral level. It’s such a breath of fresh air how Veils brings the past and the present together and it blows my mind that the band is less than a year old.
You can stream or buy Clarity on their bandcamp page. The EP is also out on vinyl through Tangled Talk Records. You might end up stretching your funds a bit if you’re going international, but this thing is definitely worth it.
I hope that this album blows up in a manner of which it deserves. It is one that I (and countless others) had been waiting so long for. The funny thing is that the duo never even really hyped it up. Other than a few hint-laden tweets from Rachel, this thing arrived to little or no fanfare. In my opinion that made its humble arrival all the more sweet.
The duo throws around the fact that they’ve never met in person like a major corporation slings around a catchy slogan. But after listening to this album several times through, my mind is still blown by this simple fact. Dark Matter is truly an album of the modern age; conceived, born, and sustained completely within the wires. This makes the craft on display here all the more impressive. The level of competence and maturity of songwriting are so tightly congealed that it is almost impossible to imagine Jeremy and Rachel apart from each other.
If you’ve never gotten a chance to check the band out I implore you to do so. Catching just one singular track is no way to experience their craft. Dark Matter is available for free on their bandcamp, so make sure you grab it. Easily one of the best musical offerings of 2012 right here, folks.