Title: Better SuggestionArtist: HolyPageRecords92 plays
Pig Welt // Root Porno
Sometimes I don’t think people realize just how much music passes through music bloggers’ hands. I get it from my email inbox (good Lord, you don’t even wanna know), on Tumblr, on Twitter, even on Facebook. That being said, I’m not complaining. I put myself in this position and it’s one that I’m happy to be in. It just gets a tad overwhelming every once in a while. All that serves to make it that much harder for artists to stand out in a crowd unless they are doing something legitimately insane. So on the heels of a cheeky Facebook message, I decided to revisit and share Pig Welt’s Root Porno. Let’s just say he made himself stand out.
The solo project of Rochester, NY native Zachary Rooney, Pig Welt is a strange little monster. Not exactly punk, not exactly garage rock, but existing uncomfortably somewhere between the two, his music mopes around languidly at a very intentional pace. It almost sounds as if he is playing his stuff from the bottom of a swimming pool. But not just any swimming pool. More like one that hasn’t been cleaned in a while and it has like dirty leaves and twigs floating on the surface and maybe a couple dead toads with bulged, white eyes rotting on the silty bottom. And yet after all of that Root Porno is an appealing release. Just be prepared to get your hands a little dirty.
Root Porno is out now on limited cassette through Holy Page Records. Cheers to Christian for this one.
Now this I really like. Like really really. Featuring members of prominent Melbourne rock bands like The UV Race and Eddy Current Suppression RIng, garge punk rockers Total Control have concocted something really snappy. I initially looked into them because I heard that they would appeal to fans of Merchandise, but as listening would show, that comparison isn’t exactly the most apt. While they do get a bit morose on some of these tracks, the 7”s LP is a much more energetic, firecracker sort of affair.
Much like OFF! did for their debut LP, Total Control has gathered all of their previous EPs and 7”s and released the collection as their proper debut. Looking to 1970’s and 1980’s punk weirdo characters like Devo, The Screamers, and Gary Numan’s various projects, Total Control has assembled a collection of tracks that bleeds personality from every orifice. I don’t know if the tracks play out in the chronological order of release, but there definitely seems to be a metamorphosis going on from the front of this album to the back. The first half or so wallows in fast, gritty garage punk numbers with a vibrant youthful energy, but as the album churns its way to the back it incorporates a lot more experimentation with dark synth and post-punk weirdness. Needless to say it’s an interesting spate of songs from a band keen to show off their diversity.
So far the album is only available as a digital download on their Bandcamp, but the cover artwork is basically a j-card just waiting to be printed so… come on, now. Give the people what they want.
Whatever is going on over in the music scene in Budapest (and just Hungary in general) I am so into it. I cracked into the scene with Piresian Beach and from there I found Broken Cups, Halál Judit, Busó and Summer Schatzies. With the exception of Summer Schatzies, all the music I’ve stumbled upon has been super dark, like almost oppressively so. So in that same tradition, “free punk” band derTANZ fits in rather nicely.
Incorporating post-punk, noise, sludge as well as any other grimy music genres (not to mention a generous helping of Swans-worship) derTANZ has birthed a truly nasty concoction of music on their album Kaktusz (which, curiously enough, is translated “cactus” and now the artwork makes sense). Recorded unabashedly lo-fi, the album lurches and creeks and wallows in the murk. The bass licks are sticky with spit and sweat, when the guitars are screeching with feedback they are accosting the senses with a static cloud of noise, the percussion goes from tempered beats to all-out sensory assault, and the vocals are painfully yet passionately moaned through what sounds like a megaphone. Depending on your outlook that might either sound like a torturous way to spend an hour or it will entice you enough to check it out. For those whose ear canals have developed the appropriate amount of callouses, derTANZ is likely to be a challenging but exhilarating listen.
The quirky and eternally-ungoogleable Nashville duo NUDITY are back with a new 7” following last year’s quite good Heavy Petting EP. If you couldn’t already tell from the wibbly-wobbly artwork above, this 7” is seeing a release through AMDISCS. The label where apparently seapunk and vaporwave go to crossbreed.
On Heavy Petting, Duane and Michelle seemed most happy when they were hopping from style to style like a quick-change sideshow act. It initially came off as a bit manic to me, but once I tuned into the frequency I was all for it. Surprisingly the two tracks on the Supernatty 7” eschew that typical genre restlessness for something rather consistent. That being said the two tracks on this thing are the grungiest/sludgiest tracks that the band has released to date. And yet they are still poppy enough that you wanna chew them like bubblegum and, who knows, maybe even dance to them.
NUDITY hasn’t had a huge online presence yet, but if they continue to crank out quality music like they have been there is no reason why that shouldn’t change in the not-so-distant future. Their production is always good, they know their way around a hook, and they most certainly understand what it is to have a good time. Those who share a similar sentiment would do well to check them out.
You wouldn’t be alone if at first listen you thought that San Antonio hardcore punk band SOHNS had two vocalists; a guy and a girl. But no, it turns out that the vocalist Alex Mendez is just super dynamic with his vocal range. Wavering between blood-curdling, shrill screaming and low guttural moans and growls, he is just one reason to check out this awesome band. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the instrumentation is great and the song structures are crazy either.
They deem themselves “doom-punk,” and although the doom elements are few and far between the punk tag is absolutely appropriate. Their latest EP Haus Helle is only two short tracks and a bizarre remix, but it was more than enough for me to want to go back and check out their previous releases. They play their unique brand of punk music with blistering highs, booming lows, and all with a spastic, frenzied energy. The guys surround themselves with a ton of dark imagery, which I suppose is par for the course, but I assure you that that doesn’t sum them up. They exude a ton of electric energy and are just a ton of fun. So if you like your punk music to be a bit, uh, weird, then SOHNS should be right up your alley.
PS - Oh, and don’t confuse them with the buzz artist S O H N. No, these guys have been perforating ear drums since 2006. Later.
Corduroi, the solo electronic effort of Austin resident Cody Wilson, is a project that sits pretty close to my heart. He was one of the first artists to work with Chill Mega Chill and since that time he has been growing by leaps and bounds. His latest EP Jangala is a surprising and hugely satisfying step forward for the young producer and it shows that he is more than capable of standing out in an already crowded field.
Jangala showcases a wide range of styles and influences and Cody sews them together with an expert touch. Take, for example, the opening track “Mainomai.” It’s a peppy 2-minute number that crams a lot into a small timeframe. Sticking with his usual head-bobbing beat skeleton Cody then throws elements of chiptune into the mix before centering the middle section of the track around a heavy, looped metal riff. Like, what?! The track then ends with a beautifully orchestrated string instrumental. And that’s only the first track. Throughout its six track runtime Jangala evidences the fearlessness of an exciting young artist who is not afraid to try anything and more importantly has the skill to make it work.
Oh, and did I mention that you can buy the EP on a USB trading card? Dude’s next level.
Title: Pale PaletteArtist: Yourself In Peace121 plays
Yourself In Peace // Infrarealist EP
Many bands who tag themselves as “shoegaze” nowadays, in reality, aren’t even that at all. I’m afraid that maybe the real meaning of the word is getting lost and has become merely a lazy, go-to genre tag. Thankfully that complaint can’t really be lobbied against Los Angeles duo Yourself In Peace. On the other hand these guys tag themselves as beats, electronic, and *gulp* trap on their bandcamp. That’s almost enough to make me run in the other direction, but thankfully I listened first and was ultimately won over. Sure they use drum machines and experiment a bit with electronics, but this is shoegaze through and through Well, except for maybe the hip-hop influence on “La Francesca”, which admittedly comes a bit out of nowhere. Not really sure what’s going on there.
What I love about this EP is that it absolute washes me in guitar distortion like all the best shoegaze does. It’s that blistering noise that pretty much steals the show here. The rest of the track construction is just in service of it. When I hear that feedback growing in the distance before the distortion deluge all I can think is, “Ooh yeah, gimme gimme.” The percussion is fairly simplistic and the vocals mesh into the haze and almost become a haunting white noise, leaving it struggling to crack through the instrumentation. Infrarealist is a pretty unassuming little EP that shamelessly plays up its influences and results in something that sounds as classic as it is comforting.
My favorite Philly ladies are back with a new 7” on (insert genuine surprise here) Jade Tree Records. I told them this last night, but seeing them next to Pedro the Lion on the Jade Tree Soundcloud made me so happy that my head seriously almost exploded. These ladies are really doing it and people are taking notice and it’s everything that I’ve wanted for them since I first heard the promise on their gritty Sorry I’m Not Sorry EP. That was three years ago and they’ve come a long way since recording angsty punk anthems straight to tape in dingy bathrooms.
The two tracks on this new 7” find Slutever at their loudest and surprisingly sludgiest. The B-side gets a little raucous in its final moments, but for the most part these two new tracks find the ladies adopting a languid, mid-tempo demeanor with sticky guitars, thumping drum beats, and their usual distortion and reverb-drenched vocals. If you’re worried that the girls are growing up though, you can those frets put that to bed. This is still the same I-want-to-throw-up-on-your-face Slutever we fell in love with. The high school obsession lingers as well as lyrics about Courtney Love, bleached roots, and detention. They are still loud and bratty and they don’t care what you think, it’s just that this time around they’ve tricked someone into giving them studio time. Now all that’s left to do is strap yourself in and get ready to see who these girs conquer next.
I have tried but I cannot seem to remember where I found this little gem. I know that it was on some obscure and probably weird blog, but I can’t seem to retrace my steps to it. Just know that I didn’t find this on my own, although I wish I had.
OK, now I’m going to do my best to described this album to you, but I can tell you right now that I am going to fall short. メトロノリ (translated Metoronori) is the solo project of a rather creative girl from Japan. I’m strapped for much info outside of that simply because I don’t read Japanese. So for now, all I’m going on is the somewhat bizarre yet enchanting music.
Metoronori utilizes simplistic synth work overtop experimental percussion. The “beats” are clicks, thumps, scratches, and whirrs made up of (I can only imagine) stuff found lying around her house. The vocals then lay like a feather on top of the instrumental constructions; sometimes barely matching the meter of the music at all. The gentle cooing and spoken word vocals can barely be described as singing, and yet they are absolutely gorgeous. It probably has a lot to do with the already poetic nature of the Japanese language, but whatever it is it has me totally entranced.
Comprised of members who also plays in bigger, more active bands, Blackhawks always seemed like more of a project that was done for fun more than anything else. Featuring Dan Svizeny (Cough Cool, Nude Beach [no, not thatNude Beach]), Yohsuke Araki (BAnanas Symphony, The Interest Group), and Adam Magerman (Nude Beach); the band Blackhawks was always more what I am going to call semi-active. Putting out tracks at their own pace, the band never really made great strides to put themselves out therein a big way (other than their excellent split album with Radiator Girls). Damn, there are a lot of links in this post. Bear with me.
Then there is the case of the band’s Facebook page, which has been pretty much inactive since last October (and then July before that). But, lo and behold, on April 1st the band shared a link to a new song with the message: “Thanks to all of our fans for hanging in there while we worked out our differences. Blackhawks will be out tomorrow, 4/2/2013” Ok, I’ll take it. Did I mention that they are one of my favorite Philadelphia bands? Whatever.
So now after all this time here we are with Blackhawks’ proper, self-titled, debut album. Featuring 10 new songs of jangly pop goodness, Blackhawks is easily the best stuff that the guys have put out to date. I didn’t know that there were differences brewing within the band, but now that they are behind them it seems that the band has a renewed focus on writing just great music. I’m not sure what sort of release this is going to see outside of a Souncloud stream (cassette please?), but I’m a happy camper nonetheless.
It’s impossible to listen to everything, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. That being said it’s not uncommon for something truly great to slip through the cracks. I suppose it’s just a facet of my personality that makes it so easy for me to become obsessed with certain releases, which is exactly what has happened with the five from last year that I’ve selected below. They are albums that have become staples in my everyday life, but for whatever reason went unrecognized by me here. Since I feel weird about that I’m taking the opportunity to do so now.
I’ve been stewing on this post for a good few weeks now and I’ve decided that today is as good a day as any to share it.
Loma Prieta // I.V.
I’m not sure how I slept on something so completely up my alley for so long, but that’s exactly what happened with Loma Prieta’s I.V. The album has drawn comparison’s to Converge and was even released on Jacob Bannon’s record label Deathwish Inc. Seeing as how Converge released my favorite album last year it seemed only natural that I’d be into these guys as well. They play an extremely aggressive and chaotic brand of hardcore that borders on being caustic. It’s funny, I knew that I was in store for something truly great when I heard the album’s opening track “Fly By Night.” Towards the end of the track the band lets their take-no-prisoners visage slip for a moment and break into an interlude of these really melodic guitar riffs. It was a gorgeous moment of clarity from a band who typically specializes in the brutalizing moments and I’ve been a firm fan ever since.
Silent Land Time Machine // I am no longer alone with myself and can only artificially recall the scary and beautiful feeling of solitude
That title is a mouthful, yeah? It sort of speaks to the album itself in that it is strange and unconventional. Listening to this album you are bound to encounter sounds that you probably have never heard before. Or their arrangements at least. Put out by Austin labels Indian Queen and Holodeck Records, I am no longer alone… is such a gorgeous and peculiar release that it demands multiple listens before it truly begins to sink in. Using layered sounds and ambient textures to create lush, mutating amalgamations, Silent Land Time Machine has crafted an album that changes with each listen. Like a polished precious stone held up to the sun, the album looks impossibly beautiful from every angle.
Bored Nothing // Bored Nothing
This album was kind of sneaky. Put out only in Australia by Spunk Records at the very tail end of 2012, it was one that would have easily landed on my favorites list had I just heard it sooner. The solo project of Melbourne native Fergus Miller, Bored Nothing is shameless 90’s indie rock worship in tattered jeans and dirty sneakers. It might be similar to stuff you’ve heard before, especially now that the 90’s are all the rage again, but Bored Nothing sticks out for one simple yet crucial reason: his excellent songwriting. The harmonies alone are worth the price of admission. Plus the added bitterness of youth with snotty titles like “Shit for Brains,” “I Wish You Were Dead,” and “Build a Bridge (And Then How About You Get the Fuck Over It)” only serve to make it go down all the easier.
Math the Band // GET REAL!
Of the five albums I’m sharing here, Math the Band’s GET REAL! is probably the one that is hardest to recommend. It is rambunctious chiptune punk that has been feasting on nothing but sour gummy worms and caffeinated beverages. Needless to say, listeners better have a serious sweet tooth if they are going to digest this one. I didn’t think that I did, but the album grew on me slowly but exponentially to the point where I probably know all the words to all the songs here. For only having two members Math the Band seriously make a big enough sound. Plus in addition to their huge sonic presence the band undertook the ambitious goal of releasing a crazy music video for each of the album’s tracks. These things have got to be seen to be believed.
The Guru // Go Easy
The final album that I had to share lest my brain explode is the sophomore album from Connecticut band The Guru. These guys have a voracious local following and are certainly poised for big things. As a central part of the Seagreen Records collective, the members of The Guru have their hands in all sorts of pies, but it’s when they are playing together that the real magic happens. And the best part is that they sound something like a younger Modest Mouse stranded on a sunny desert island. These guys are extremely hard workers, but their busy schedules don’t keep them from being down to earth, friendly, and brimming with a vibrant and welcoming energy. Plainly put, The Guru is just a fun band who is impossible not to like.
I am all sorts of obsessed with this new Jake Tobin EP. Jake has previously recorded under various names like Fruit Flesh and Corrective Lenses, but now he is stepping out of the shadows and releasing his latest EP under his rightful name. A bold choice for some bold music.
The new tracks are part of a split album with Jake’s good friend Ben Varian called Possible Songs / Comedy Album. Jake’s half is the Possible Songs and it’s easily the best stuff he’s released to date. At least I think so, and I’ve been a fan of his for a couple years now. You see Jake and I are pretty good pals and I knew that these tracks were festering in his mind threatening to infect his whole body if he didn’t get them out. They are fully-formed earworms that sprang out of his head relieving his brain of the burden and are now free to find new homes in the grey matter of his listeners. Listeners like me. That’s right, I’m infected and am probably contagious (I’ve been spinning this release frequently for the last week), so stand back unless you want the Tobin flu.
So I’m just going to spare myself the heartbreak and assume that the formation of Shy Boys is the final nail in the coffin as far as COOLRUNNINGS is concerned. If for whatever reason I am wrong please someone let me know.
Shy Boys is the new project from lovable weirdo Brandon Biondo (COOLRUNNINGS, Walsh) along with vocalist Nichole McMinn. I knew that the project was something special when Brandon broke self-deprecating character on his Twitter account long enough to talk about how good he thought these new tracks were. And I’m inclined to agree with him. Production-wise, songwriting-wise, vibes-wise this is the best stuff he’s put out to date. And this is coming from a googly-eyed fan so you know I mean it. There is enough beach twang here without coming off as kitschy and the vocal melodies are sweet enough without being saccharine. Let’s just say that I’m eagerly anticipating the full-length that Brandon teased about on Twitter. Now go and leave me alone, my brother just brought home bagels.
The only thing Erik Gage, the ultimate musical savant burnout, does more than smoke weed is record music. He records as or with The Memories, White Fang, and Free Weed and his output is… hefty. As Free Weed, Erik has bounced around from tape label to tape label for all of his various releases. In addition to releasing stuff through Gnar Tapes (his own label), he has also put out tapes through Lillerne Tapes, Beer On the Rug, Burger Records, and now Exo Tapes as well. See what I mean?
His latest release, the double-EP On the Moon / Get It 2Nite, is not only the most conventional release that Exo has ever put out, but it’s also a step up in Free Weed’s songwriting. The two halves certainly have their own flavors but they are brought together under Erik’s personal mantra as heard on “I Wanna Do Drugs Again” when he sings “Take me home. Get me stoned.” It might seem a bit single-minded unless you are looking at it as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on marijuana culture. Yes, I’m sure that Erik loves smoking weed. Probably a lot. But do I think that it is literally all he does as his songs would have you believe? No. So with that in mind, have a listen to this goofy release, bop your head to the catchy melodies, but don’t take it too seriously. Lord know he doesn’t.
Side note: I essentially came to discover this project through my obsession with horror movies. You see the label who released this album is called Hausu Mountain, named after the psychedelic cult Japanese horror film Hausu(a film for which I owe my love for to my good pal at Unholy Rhythms. Props.) I checked the label out and here we are. It all comes back to horror.
So The Big Ship. First of all this experimental ambient duo’s Twitter handle is EnoWorship, so that’ll give you some clues as to what’s in store here. Most of their sprawling musical numbers extend out towards the 7-minute mark with singing only occurring on a tiny fraction of the runtime. Within that framework the tracks range from gentle, rolling folk themes to soothing ambient synth work to marching electric guitar stomps that skate close to post-rock. And all the while the band is sealing all the cracks with well-plotted atmosphere and pleasant vibes. This is sit-back-and-relax music if ever there was such a thing. In fact I’m on my second run of this thing and I’m one pillow and a blanket away from the best nap of my life. See ya.