Bad Noids // Everything from Soup to Dessert
Ask most people who are at least somewhat familiar with record label Kartoga Works which bands from their roster they dote on and they’ll probably say “well, I really like Merchandise.” And while it’s true that the Florida post-punkers have pulled a spotlight down onto the small label, there is a lot more to discover and love about the label than just one (buzz) band. Plus the label makes it easy for people to become versed in their output because they offer free downloads of the majority of their releases.
Take their most recent release Everything from Soup to Dessert from Cleveland band Bad Noids. Taking the hardcore punk formula and injecting it with radioactive snot and a twisted sense of humor, the guys have spit out an album of 12 blistering, blink-and-miss-‘em punk micro-explosions. Their music is fast and frantic with tons of youthful aggression, but most importantly it’s an extremely fun album. If you listen to more than a little punk then you’ll notice that Bad Noids aren’t taking themselves very seriously and they sound like they are having a blast doing whatever it is that they are doing. After a short pause following the last track the vocalist rants and screams “I have a headache!” over and over again through heavy breathing, and then finally uttering “Bad Noids…” These guys show their colors throughout the album’s short runtime, and if you stick around for its duration, those sentiments are cemented amidst maniacal laughter.
Everything from Soup to Dessert is unfortunately already sold out, but please do yourself a favor and download the tracks.
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Title: Haus Helle
SOHNS // Haus Helle
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.
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Nervous // Nervous
I was super late to Loma Prieta’s most excellent album I.V. last year. It would have easily made my favorite album’s if only I had heard it several months earlier. I won’t be making that mistake with Nervous. The three-piece rock outfit is the new project of Loma Prieta bassist Jake Spek. And while it maintains some of the noisier elements of his other band, Nervous is undoubtedly much easier on the ears. Fitting more into the vein of outright rock, the band hammers their way through their tracks with punching, pounding, and yelling.
Earlier this month the band uploaded three tracks to their Bandcamp page that are apparently a taste of a forthcoming release. I’m not sure when that release wil drop so these tracks should be enough to tide you over until then. In the meantime make sure to catch the band on tour with Loma Prieta as they make their way to SXSW.
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Title: Drag Blood
Comadre // Comadre
Hardcore is not for everyone. I get it. But in 2013 with so much musical innovation going on and the whole of the music universe at one’s fingertips I’m always surprised at how many people (read: bloggers) still largely turn their noses up to the genre. Sure there are the welcome exceptions like Trash Talk or Fucked Up or even harder-edged bands like METZ, but for the most part many people seem to wait for the bigger music sites to tell them what bands are OK to listen to before pressing play. I think this is a damn shame. There are numerous bands out there who are just as good (if not better) that could easily court a larger appeal but they’ll never see a tenth of the popularity. Now I’m sure you could make this argument for a number of genres, but in my opinion it’s hardcore that routinely gets the shaft.
Take San Francisco band Comadre for example. I first heard about these guys from Chris over at Lewis and His Blog. Chris always has great taste in hardcore and punk so I didn’t take his recommendation lightly, and basically he wasn’t wrong about these guys. Straddling the line between melody and ferocity Comadre hit a sweet spot that could easily garner them some crossover success without forfeiting any of their edge in the process. It’s still aggressive music in a sense with its snappy pace and omnipresent raspy screaming, but if you strip that away and listen just to the instrumentation I think you’d be surprised. Incorporating some curious instrument choices like synth, organ, and horns the band has established what seems to be a classic indie rock foundation and elevated it onto the hardcore stage. It appears to be a simple combination when you think about it, but listening to it you realize what a perfect marriage of sound it is and the band pulls it off effortlessly. It’s catchy, bouncy stuff that would sooner see you snapping your fingers or tapping your toes than shoving people around in a sweaty basement somewhere. So yes, like I said, hardcore is not for everyone, but I think if you give Comadre a chance — an honest chance — I think you’ll be surprised.
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Congenital Death // From My Hands
Been waiting for this one for a minute. After their strong (albeit raw) demo tape last year, Philadelphia powerviolence powerhouse Congenital Death is finally ready to deliver on all the promise they evidenced on those early tracks. Right now you can pre-order the band’s upcoming EP From My Hands which is out soon on 7” vinyl through Ranch Records and Molars & Fangs and stream it in its entirety on the band’s Soundcloud page.
If you’re new to the band (which you shouldn’t be), just know that they like their hardcore gnarled, fast, and ferocious. True to form their tracks rarely break the 1-minute mark and yet they manage to pack in all of the energy and twisted metal of a five-car pileup into that short runtime leaving the listener with a ringing in their ears and grasping for breath. For the regular listener it will probably be too much digest, but for the metal-loving thrill seeker it’s all you can ask for.
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Congenital Death // “Disapproval”
Really really really digging this new Congenital Death track that the band posted on their Soundcloud a few days ago. I knew that the band was recording in preparation for an upcoming release, and yet I still peed my pants a little when I saw that they had dropped this tease of a track.
It’s important to note that there are a few key differences between what we heard on the band’s 2011 demo tape and what’s going on with “Disapproval.” First of all the production is noticeably cleaner, which in reality is to be expected (“demo tape” speaks for itself). Also the band has switched gears a bit by shifting from straight on, eye-gouging powerviolence to a more traditional hardcore punk sound. It’s a move that quite obviously suits the band since the track rules so hard. Finally, powerhouse Kerri has toned down her vocals a bit since her display of brutal throat-shredding on the demo tape. In my opinion, this will allow her to get more mileage out of those pipes, which should be a good thing for both band and listener alike.
Now it remains to be seen if this track will be indicative of whatever release the band is prepping, but I gotta say that it’s a move in the right direction. All in favor, say “I.”
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Artist: Morality Crisis
Morality Crisis // North
“Hard-riffing shitrock from the heartland. Resumed activity in 2011 and will not stop until the master plan - the political and cultural unification of Minnesconsin - is fully realized.” That’s how Twin Cities metal band Morality Crisis bill themselves. I think it’s possible for artists to not take themselves too seriously yet take what they do very seriously. Morality Crisis manages to kill both of those birds with one stone, and they do it with flair. This is some heavy, homespun hardcore metal right here.
Refusing to be classified, the band’s latest EP North is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of genres. From Southern rock-infused hardcore (ala Maylene & the Sons of Disaster) to deep grindcore growling to buzz saw sludge metal riffs, North has it all. And yet for all their color-changing chameleonry, Morality Crisis manages to keep things feeling singular. They are an experienced band who are now back together doing what they love and they are doing it well. The band recommends that you listen to this thing loud and I’m going to go ahead and confirm that that’s probably best. Just make sure that the stuff you care to lose is tied down first.
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Titan // Burn
I love sludge metal, but I was afraid that maybe the genre was getting soft. Last year, Mastodon turned a few heads by making The Hunter their most accessible album to date (at the expense of quality in my opinion). Then this year Torche dropped the sugary confection that is Harmonicraft on the world, inspiring some to call the album sludge pop or stoner pop. And now next month my favorite sludge outfit Baroness is set to drop their long-awaited double album Yellow & Green, which, based on what we’ve heard so far, will probably be their poppiest album to date. Is softer side of sludge becoming a trend? Not if Toronto band Titan has anything to say about it.
The band has recently dropped their mammoth album Burn on the world and what a wonderfully diverse and heavy album it is! Now while this isn’t straight sludge metal, it certainly bears enough of the scars to carry the description. Nestling right in that soft spot between doom metal and hardcore punk, Burn is a work of crushing weight. The monstrous guitars, primal vocals, and relentless percussion create this inescapable hailstorm of noise. Everything that goes into the soup here does its job to earn the band the name Titan.
It’s an excellent album that I can’t recommend enough. It’s being offered as a free download courtesy of a new Toronto metal label called Hypæthral Records.
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Title: These Green Walls
Artist: We'll Die Smiling
We’ll Die Smiling // New Objectivity
It’s not exactly news that 90’s era original emo is making a small comeback. Thanks in no small part to Cloud Nothings’ excellent Attack On Memory, people are starting to remember the genre for what it originally was and not what it ultimately became. Following suit, I think it’s about high time that people start getting back into an earlier screamo sound (don’t roll your eyes). Thankfully there has been a resurgence in the UK or at least bandcamp would have me think so.
New Objectivity is the latest EP from Leeds, UK hardcore/screamo outfit We’ll Die Smiling. While they aren’t straight screamo, they definitely have their moments that call back to some great late 90’s early 00’s bands. Bands that were more about passion than image. Just listen to those guitar lines and the scrappy screaming of the dual vocalists and tell me that you aren’t flashing back to memories of early Thursday, Piebald, or even Refused. It’s a pretty intense EP that I only wish was a bit longer. It’s out now on 7” vinyl through Holy Roar Records.
Motivator // Decay
Oh there is nothing worse than an ambiguous release date. Such is the nature of the beast with the current music scene, though. When an artist says something like “album will be soon” it is absolute torture. Just tell me! Otherwise I will be forced to check your site every few days to see if it dropped. Well, that was the case with Ottawa hardcore punk band Motivator. Last month these dudes put up the artwork for their upcoming cassette Decay with a message. “Coming very soon” they said. Jerks.
Long story short, I somehow missed it by a couple weeks. Whatever, man! I have a lot of stuff to keep track of.
Well, now on to the music. Decay is like a donkey kick to the gut with six tracks whose total runtime clocks in at around five minutes. The first thing I noticed was that the production quality of the EP was a bit more raw than the band’s self-titled debut. I’m not complaining though, it adds an extra measure of grit and gravel to the music that is totally in keeping with the genre’s roots. The energy here is palpable. The speed and the force are infectious. And the vocals will have you reaching for a cold glass of water. Essentially it is everything that I wanted from a new Motivator release. I couldn’t be happier.
Grab it for free until Blank Stare gets around to release the tapes.
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Title: Taking Control
Artist: Purity Control
Purity Control // Revisiting
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.
Have a good weekend!
Title: All The Years
Outlook // Our Time Is Now
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.
Anniversary // Dear Failing,
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.
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Title: World Annihilation
Artist: Wrong Hands
Wrong Hands // Wrong Hands
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.
Unsacred // Where the Light Dims
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.
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