Monday, May 30, 2016

NO LIGHT, NO TUNNEL

 
"No Light, No Tunnel" is the second full length from Syracuse's BLEAK in a year.  Since their debut LP, "We Deserve Our Failures" the band has been wildly prolific on the road and in the studio.  They have released several small run cassettes through various labels, a split 7" with Sovereign, as well as a split 7" of covers with labelmates Dialysis.  They have traversed the US several times and completed several other East Coast and Midwest jaunts, one after another to any crowd that will have them.
In that time they have also reunited with original vocalist Mike Watson, who brings a more raspy and chaotic style to the already harsh sound the band is known for.
The first track from the new record, "Teeth" offers shades of Coalesce, Turmoil, and All Else Failed as each part is a violent, random stabbing into the heart of comfort and stability.
Hex Records will be releasing the album on LP, CD, and digital on 7/8/16
Link to new song: https://hexrecords.bandcamp.com/album/no-light-no-tunnel-bleak
Link to order record:  http://hexrecords.bigcartel.com/

Thursday, May 12, 2016

MAY REVIEWS, YES YOU MAY.

In what must be some sort of cosmic fate the majority of records I have been most anticipating this year all dropped within the span of a month.  And I've basically reviewed them all this time around.  And, for the most part, they're all quite incredible in their own way.  I mean, between Child Bite, Psychic Teens, Greys, and Wrong I think I may be pretty set for the rest of the year.  These are all bands doing some cool stuff, adding to the ever-changing idea of what punk music can be (well, in the case of Wrong it's a throwback to properly paying homage in the best possible fucking way to a really good band).  Punk music isn't always breakdowns, or sing-a-longs, or just three chords played as fast as possible.  All those things are good, but I'm always interested in what's next (and giving a healthy nod to what came before), ya know?
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CHILD BITE, “Negative Noise”
From one of the more interesting bands going these days (and going very hard I might add), Detroit’s Child Bite have thrown another twist into their ever-evolving sound on this new LP.  Like many others, I did not catch on to this band until their “Strange Waste” EP from a couple years back.  But they have slowly been cultivating a swarm of mutant followers for around 10 years now and their work is finally paying off.  While the songwriting on “Negative noise” isn’t too terribly far removed from “Strange Waste”s  wild mish-mash of influences it’s the overall sound on this record that really got me.  The band continues their sonic path of head-fuckery, culling from Jesus Lizard’s bombastic bass, Black Flag’s sense of dissonant guitar skronk, and a vocalist who sounds like Neil Fallon of Clutch doing his best Jello Biafra imitation.  Still, the previous record had a production value that sat firmly in modern heavy music styles.  It was pretty heavy while still doing what it is this band does so uniquely their own.  “Negative Noise”, to me, has this more analog approach.  There’s no emphasis on making the guitars sound crushing, the shit is heavy enough just by the odd choice of riffs and chords assembled here.  The bass is ever-present, like some massive pillow of sound smothering you with low-end. On occasion, a few of the songs throw in a few too many parts, which make them just a bit tough to follow.  The band excels at writing gnarled, knotty punk riffs in short bursts like on “Euphoria Saturation Point”, but also does well in the significantly longer (yet heavily repetitive) raga “Beyond the Dirt”, which I think may also be my favorite song here.  In all, it’s an excellent step ahead for an already exceptional band doing some really cool things.  (Housecore)

GREYS, “Outer Heaven”
It took awhile to latch on to this new record from Greys.  Their last LP, “If Anything” was a non-stop furious blast of post-hardcore/noise rock/ punk rock fun.  While it was clear that the songs on that record tackled some weighty subjects it was easy to get lost in the burly catchiness of it all.  “Outer Heaven”, on many of its songs, is emphatically shouting, “I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY, EH!”  (the “eh” added because they’re Canadian, of course) as the music takes a less boisterous approach and shifts towards some Sonic Youth-inspired melodies (“Erosion”), spacey interludes (“Complaint Rock”), and some experimental roar (“Strange World”).  The vocals share equal space with the music, but come to center as the lyrics tackle racial profiling, depression, and self-image amongst other things.  It’s not to say this record is one big experiment, as there are some chaotic rockers on here like “In For a Penny” and “Blown Out”.  Overall, it doesn’t have that same heft and catchiness of their last record, which I loved so much.  But it’s a good record.  It takes some time to warm up to so I’m glad I gave it a few more listens to fully appreciate it.  (Carpark/ Buzz Records)

HELLS, “Paradise” EP
Just to get it out of the way, this band has a song called “1-800-SHITFIT”, which might be one of the better song titles I’ve heard in quite some time.  That being said, Philadelphia’s Hells makes some noise that may cause those faint of heart to consider dialing that number.  They definitely lift a couple parts from Converge and Cursed and that’s alright because they’re good parts that need more use, and it’s also a pretty good indicator of where this band is at with their sound in general.  The aforementioned “SHITFIT” takes a riff straight from “Hell Comes Home” by Cursed, while “Tribute” borrows a bit of Converge’s “Black Cloud” chorus.  And while riff lifting might not fare well with some discerning listeners I just have to say that Cursed sure as heck isn’t using that part anymore so someone ought to put it to good use.  The last couple songs here move at a slower pace and offer some added variety that just adds to this bands awesomeness.  If it matters to anyone, this band features dudes from Psychic Teens, Orchid, and Transistor Transistor.  (Seeing Red Records)

METZ/ MISSION OF BURMA split 7”

METZ/ SWAMI JOHN REIS 7”
Metz have been busy beavers lately.  After releasing the exceptionally ass-kicking “II” last year they dropped a two-song seven inch of new stuff, followed by this pair of Record Store Day releases (pretty much the only stuff worth getting this year out of that ever-expanding cash grab trash heap).  First off, they pair up with the legendary Mission Of Burma on what has to be the fanciest packaging for an incredibly short record.  How they got M.O.B. to cover one of their songs is beyond me, but it shows Clint Conley at his raspiest and snarliest (yeah, I made that word up), and it’s hard to believe it’s him on the mic.  They pretty much cover the song directly, save for a Burma trademark of letting the song crash and burn in a flurry of chaos at the songs end.  Metz go for a deep cut off the oft-overlooked (but quite brilliant) “Obliterati” album for their side and it’s actually a quite fitting choice.  It’s now easy to tell that Metz has a lot of Mission Of Burma in their sound, in a sped up, hyperactive, and chaotic sort of way.
And then we get to their collaboration with the one and only John Reis (of RFTC, Jehu, Hot Snakes…  why am I explaining this?  If you keep up with my review stuff at all you should be scholar on this guy by now) where one song definitely feels like Reis had a heavy hand in the writing process, as it basically sounds like a Night Marchers song but faster.  The other side is way more Metz-oriented, as it shows off their highly repetitive quick riff attack and a dose of Reis’ contributing vocals and semi-Jehu style guitar chirp in the beginning.  Again, a collaboration the Metz guys probably dreamed about, but never thought would actually materialize in real life.  These guys must be stoked beyond belief at the company they’re keeping these days.  I would be too.  (Sub Pop/ Swami)

NOTHING, “Tired Of Tomorrow”
I can’t really hang with this.  I kind of liked what Nothing was doing on “Guilty Of Everything” because they seemed like a band that was still sort of feeling out just what it was they were doing, and the result was a collection of songs that had some variety to them, and far from uniform in presentation.  “Tired Of Tomorrow” sounds like one big long breezy pop song for 40 minutes.  It lacks variety.  Each song sounds the same as the last.  It’s not a bad song, mind you, but I’m not entirely sold on it.  It’s also fair to mention that people probably have pretty high expectations for this album, seeing as this group has quite the spotlight on them, and I’m trying not to let that affect my judgment.  They have lightened up considerably on this record, ditching a good deal of distortion and going for clean guitar parts, and the occasional piano bit.   It’s somewhat fitting for a band that seems to have their heads permanently in the clouds, so maybe the chillness is where they ought to be at?  For me, though, I’m not really feeling it.  (Relapse)

PSYCHIC TEENS, “Nerve” + 7”
On what has to be one of the more elaborate release schemes for a small time band Psychic Teens have returned on their newest LP, which comes in this really beautiful gatefold package and is also accompanied by not one, but two, seven inches.  The seven inches each contain a song from the LP as well as a B-side not on the LP.  So yeah, now that that is out of the way, please feel free to buy this because it’s one of the better records to be released this year.  Psychic Teens have put a lot of time and thought towards crafting this record, which furthers their particularly unique sound of taking plenty of post-punk and goth-y cues through brooding bass lines, deep spoken vocals, and sparse, angular guitar.  Yet on top of that are the massive swaths of guitar fuzz and distortion, and more upbeat punk fury amidst all their gloominess.  “Winter Grey” brings some riffy fury to the mix, while songs like “Fear” and “Hang” keep it minimal and focus on the vocals.  In fact, the overall vibe of this record is considerably more sparse and polished than their last LP “Come”, which had no qualms about throwing in plenty of feedback and the loudest guitar effects possible whenever they damn well felt like it.  It’s only on LP closer “End” where those massive guitar squalls really come into play throughout most of the song.  It’s a big, epic tearjerker of a song and without a doubt one of my favorite songs of the year.  So I’m not going to lie- my preference is when the band is letting loose and getting all feedback-y and noisy.  And yet I’m loving the heck out of this record too.  The 7” songs are pretty great as well.  So just go and get this.  (SRA Records)

WRONG, s/t
Look, I tried to tell you all this was going to be pretty much the best record in, like, forever.  It’s as if clairvoyant riff powers came to me and foresaw Wrong just physically annihilating faces and necks everywhere with this record.  You had your chance to be ready for it and now you’re going to have to probably get your vertebrae fused, or at least a serious neck brace from the non-stop headbanging this will lead to (note to self: approach Relapse about selling Wrong brand neck braces as a promotional item to go with this record).  So yeah, the heir apparent to the Helmet sound, done as it was intended to, is on full display.  I’m pretty sure most of this stuff was probably recorded right around the same time as their EP/demo from last year, but somehow that record sounds a little more grimey.  This is slightly more polished and really pulls from various eras of the Helmet canon.  The faster-paced, semi-melodic tracks like “Entourage” have a bit of a “Born Annoying” feel to them, while “Stasis” and “Mucilage” lean towards an “Aftertaste” influence.  Heck, the last track “High Chair” is where you wish Helmet moved on towards after “Aftertaste” (in a slightly shoegaze sort of way) instead of “Size Matters” or whatever unfortunate turn they took when Page Hamilton decided to hire a scab band.  But I tell ya, if the opening bulldozer of “More Like” doesn’t sell you in 1:17 minutes than there’s really no hope for you.  If it helps, they sound a bit like Stompbox too….  (Relapse)

Bonus Round:


ANGELHAIR, “Pregnant With the Senior Class”
Man, I remember going through the Very catalog when I was a teenager and basically whatever description made a band sound utterly batshit crazy I was game to check out.  I’d just stuff money into an envelope and hope for the best.  And from taking those chances I came across some truly wonderful records, one of which being Angelhair.  As a little band from Denver, Colorado (no, not San Diego as everyone thought) they were what I considered to be the epitome of the Gravity Records/ San Diego sound popularized by groups like Crimson Curse, Locust, Heroin, Spanakorzo, and Swing Kids.  Their lone LP, “Insect Mortality” started out with some odd outer space sounds before off-kilter guitar noise clanged around as if the band were already falling apart before they even began.  And then the chaos starts- a pile of guitars getting abused and stabbed, a clunky bass hitting strings at random while the drummer just tries to hit as many things as they can as fast as they can.  And the utterly menacing screams of frontman Sonny Kay going on about this and that, senseless lyrics that somehow get a weird, abstract, yet grand, point (“You can make blood out of paper, oil byproduct, euthanasia”).  I have, at times, personally used his writing style as a framework for stuff I’ve written in various bands because it’s so weird and badass.  As the record progresses they get it together a little more, as Kay adds skittish howls to his screaming, the guitars always producing tense and nervous melodies to the chaos.  It’s only when they get to their cover of Bauhaus “Stigmata Martyr” that they start to slow down and let the bass lay the groundwork.  “The Wax Museum” continues the slowness, but in a completely sludgy dirge sort of way.  “Space Ape” also goes slow and weird before exploding into an ugly mess of chunky rage.  Their seven inches are included in this collection as well, and show the band in a little less crash and burn/destroy everything mode, but almost as chaotic.  In fact, my all time favorite Angelhair song comes from their excellent split with the even more incredible Kerosene 454, “Kisses”- a bouncy and fucked up burner complete with an extended bout of lone feedback in the middle of the song before bursting forth once again with unbridled chaos.  I never got to see this band.  But them, along with other contemporaries of the era, made some real fucked up and chaotic music that opened my eyes (and ears) to something Nation Of Ulysses really got off the ground in DC and a horde of bands out West carried on to the next spastic level.  Members of this band went on to form the VSS, Year Future, Pleasure Forever, and Rabbits.  (Gravity)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

WE BOOK SHOWS.

I don't know if anyone who reads this page was in the dark about certain things, but it should be noted (if you don't already know) Hex Records is involved in a bunch of activities aside from writing dumb reviews and releasing records.  One of these aspects has been steadily booking shows in the Syracuse area for close to 20 years now.  I've rarely mingled the label activities with show booking and I'm not really sure why I didn't just put it all under one umbrella of awesomeness, but throughout the Spring and Summer Hex Records has a number of events booked.  So if you're in the Syracuse area please consider checking out one (or more) of these shows:



Friday, May 13th
Westcott Community Center
6PM (doors)
$8

MULTICULT (Baltimore noise rock kings/queens)
http://multicult.bandcamp.com/

BLOOD SUN CIRCLE
(theirs go to 11)
http://hexrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloodiest-sunniest

PSYCHIC TEENS (some "Nerve" they got jumping on this show!)
http://www.psychicteensnetwork.com/

GUN CANDY (wild new Buffalo punk rippers!)
http://www.guncandy.bandcamp.com/

SOUND DISCARD (new Syracuse area group, ex- Cosmic Sea, HTDC)
https://www.facebook.com/sounddiscard/


 https://www.facebook.com/events/1555826511398457/

-------------------------------

Sunday, May 15th, 2016
DIALYSIS/ BLEAK split 7" release show! 
Westcott Community Center
6PM. $8


DIE CHOKING (Philly grind returns to Syracuse for another beating)
http://www.diechoking.com/music/

DIALYSIS
(Syracuse screwjobs with their new split 7" in hand to shove down yr gullet)
https://hexrecords.bandcamp.com/album/abastab

DRUSE (Rochester's love of Majority Rule continues into the 20-teens)
https://druse.bandcamp.com/

SALT LAKE
(they have no 'D's in their name but trust me, they're A-OK)
https://saltlake315.bandcamp.com/releases


 https://www.facebook.com/events/803679856430010/

------------------------------


SYRACUSE SCREAMS!  A COVERS ONLY SHOW BENEFITTING HELPING HOUNDS
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
Westcott Community Center
7PM.  $10

BLEAK SABBATH (all sorts of stuff)

THE GREAT NORTHERN TRENDKILL (take a guess)

THE AFRO NIPS (anything goes)

COLLAPSE (Rise Against)

http://helpinghoundsdogrescue.org/


 https://www.facebook.com/events/1653390988260366/

--------------------------------- 


Sunday, June 5th, 2016
The Vault (451 S. Warren St.)

$8. 6PM.

CAVERNS (them local boys make good on the melodic & heavy side of things)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8dROue1wTE

LONGEST WAR (ex/current every band between Rochester and Hamilton, ON. Their kids probably have bands too)
http://longestwar.bandcamp.com/album/old-ghosts-longest-war-split-7

COMING DOWN (Swiz'ing up your hardcore latte')
http://comingdown.bandcamp.com/releases

HEALER
(crazy fast/awesome Buffalo awesome fastcore, brought to you by awesomeness and fastness)
https://healer716.bandcamp.com/track/no-one-is-listening

WALL OF THUGS
(wall of hugs.)


 https://www.facebook.com/events/1564897380474417/

--------------------------------


Thursday, June 23rd
The Vault (451 S. Warren St.)
7PM. $7

FAKING (harsh Philly noise rockers leveling their battleaxe of rock)
https://faking.bandcamp.com/

DIFFICULT (in their triumphant & mghty THIRD show. can they ever be stopped?)


SUNFLO'ER (Potsdam has a band and they do all sorts of heavy and wild shit, man)
 http://store.merhq.com/album/1963

+ One more TBA

https://www.facebook.com/events/237446976619733/

...  And that's just the stuff that's announced right now!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

HERE'S YOUR REVIEWS FOR APRIL!


So a large portion of the reviews I do are unsolicited opinions, and not so much based on submissions sent to me.  But every once in awhile a handful of things get sent my way for some reason and I oblige by writing up something about it.  So I actually had a good chunk of that this time around.  So enjoy these mostly solicited opinions while I take off for Iceland for about a week.
Our bonus round/ older selection this time around comes from the little-known Keleton DMD, out of Kalamazoo, Michigan.  They didn’t make a huge impact in their brief tenure (1998-2001 maybe?), but I find myself still going back to the sole full length pretty regularly.


EMPTY VESSELS, “Throw Your Shadow”
I’m a little late to the party with reviewing this but I thought it very worthwhile to mention since I think this is one of the better new-ish bands going right now.  When listening to the heavy chaos going on within Empty Vessels second CD it really sounds as if there is a whole band laying down frantic chords, chunky riffs, and noisy dirges.  But this is just a duo.  And it really seems as if there is barely any studio magic to be found.  This band delivers exactly what they do on CD in the live setting.  So not only do they have their musicianship down solid, but they have those tones (split between a couple guitar cabs and a bass cab) perfectly lined up to make a huge and exciting sound.  When listening to this group I’m reminded a bit of that DC/N. Virginia sound that was prevalent in the early 2000s with Majority Rule and Page 99, but maybe a little more emphasis on writing faster, slightly more simplified songs with pretty minimal lyrics.  I admire this band’s dedication to efficiency and doing everything themselves, from printing their own shirts, and booking their own tours (which are frequent, so go see them if they come by), to releasing their own music.  (self-released)

HOLD DOWN THE OCEAN, “We Know Why We’re Here” 10”
All Else Failed is most known for their hammer-smashed approach to guitar-swinging, bleeding forehead, chaotic hardcore.  But you know those guys all got soft spots right?  They’re total emo wussies on the inside when they’re not wearing their Deadguy t-shirts.  You can hear it in some of their music, in certain spots, despite the fact that it’s generally painful.  Well, a couple of those guys decided to work out those less-chaotic tendencies with this new band Hold Down the Ocean.  It’s the Sunny Day Real Estate, Mogwai, sunlight-drenched, big epic feeling stuff thrown out here like being engulfed in that big, fiery spaceball’s warmth kind of music.  The vocals are sparse and ethereal mostly.  There’s one singular part in the first song that sounds like an AEF part and the rest is just big, melodic, and powerful.  They dish out 5 songs across this offering and it’s a decent enough place to start.  Feel the love, man.  (Dullest Records)


METZ, “Eraser”/”Pure Auto” 7”
I kind of figured this was just leftover songs from their last LP that they didn’t want to use, but this is actually from a different recording session from what I can tell.  Still, I can see these two songs maybe not fitting exactly with the stuff from “II”.  Their most recent full length felt as if, despite the noise and chaos, most of the songs were extremely straightforward, each with it’s own simple riff carrying the whole song.  “Eraser” has a similar feel, but goes off into a few other sections before returning to the fucked-up lead riff.  “Pure Auto” takes a bit faster route, but is equally as exciting.  In short, pretty much anything Metz does is worth listening to and/or buying.  Just shove loons into their Canadian jean jacket pockets and force them to rock your godamn face off repeatedly.  (31G Records)

MORAL STRAIGHTJACKET, “Into the Light”
This West Coast group not only crib their name from a fairly popular Farside song, but they also make no qualms about trying to wholesale emulate whatever it is that Self Defense Family have going on.  And that’s truly a difficult task to undertake without sounding like try-hards.  Also, as unique as it is (and part of what makes SDF it’s own animal), why would anyone actually try to sound like Pat Kindlon?  I can’t fault this band for having good taste in influences, but it seems like they’re trying to sell it a little too hard.  This kind of falls somewhere between where End Of a Year transitioned into being SDF as far as where the sound is coming from.  (RuinedSmile)


OLD GHOSTS/ LONGEST WAR split 7”
For a couple years I lived in Buffalo and fully experienced what the locals referred to as ‘Buffalo style’.  And believe you me, there is truly a Buffalo style to hardcore, and it survives on this split.  Old Ghosts are totally a Buffalo band.  Longest War have a few guys from Buffalo in the band, but also a Canadian and a Rochester fella, but it all averages out to Western New York in the long run.  Either way, both bands present a very meaty and crunchy taco, not unlike a good midnight meal from Mighty Taco (also Buffalo related).  While many bands currently aim for how many beatdowns they can cram into something resembling a ‘song’ both of these bands understand the importance of a good fast part, meaningful lyrics, before knocking you down with a heavy riff.  I think Old Ghosts overall have the better tracks on this split, but I dig both.  If you like Despair, Buried Alive, Fadeaway, or Union you will probably enjoy this…  and also because members of these bands played in like half the listed groups.  (State Of Mind)

RHIN, “Passenger”
Allow me to reattach my head to my neck before going forth with this review.  It fell off while banging head to this awesome West Virginia band’s new record.  I can pretty much guarantee KARP never played their neck of the woods, so Rhin had to form to ensure something similar represented their hometown.  I have never heard of them until this was sent my way, and good thing it was, or else I’d feel stupid for passing it up.  They certainly wear their influences in an obvious way, but respectfully.  After all, midway through is the longest track on the LP, “Snivlem”, which, spelled backwards gives an indication what sort of noise they’re going for.  They continue with “Clay”, another long track that introduces a bit of epic melody before going back to full-on manic shredding with “Basement”.  “Bad Timing” closes out the record with a relatively different feel than the rest of the album, as it aims for a more catchy and melodic opening and a sort-of Torche-like spacey/heavy/arena rock-ish ending.  Overall, this is a pretty great record that caught me off guard.  (Grimoire Records)


TOMBS, “All Empires Fall” EP
Tombs is a band that I respect more out of the time, effort, and work that they have put forth for many years at this point, rather than the music they make.  I’m just not really a fan of black metal and this EP definitely shows them very clearly working that angle of their sometimes difficult-to-pin down sound.  If it distinguishes them from hordes of other corpsepainted snowy forest/smelly basement dwellers (aside from the fact Tombs don’t use corpsepaint) I’ll give Tombs credit for adding some ethereal keyboard textures and occasional post-punk Killing joke style sounds to the songs on this EP.  Their songs on here, overall, also feel a little more simplistic in terms of arrangement.  Again, it’s not anything that really moves me because I don’t really feel this style of music, but Tombs know how to constantly refine and alter their sound to what they’re into at the time without losing sight of who they are.  (Relapse)














Bonus Round:

KELETON DMD, “Body Double”
In the late 90’s I was really into just about anything that the Makoto Records label released, which was primarily Michigan-based bands that were all pretty different, but somehow all fit together nicely.  I appreciated their varied approach to punk, as well as the (almost) yearly Michigan Fest they helped curate.  And then they just totally disappeared.  One such band that stood out for me on their label, remained fairly mysterious, and definitely did not get their just due (or release nearly enough material for me to be satisfied with) was the Kalamazoo-based Keleton DMD.  They had an insanely awesome sound, pairing the tones of Shellac with the energy and heft of early Hammerhead, and an unbelievably talented drummer who threw in so many curveballs and hidden tricks that the whole thing ended up being a very unique beast indeed.  They released (as far as I know) a 7”, a couple comp appearances, this lone full length, and an EP afterwards before splitting up.  The lyrics are mostly non-sensical tales of weirdoes, crime, and hustles gone bad…  but who knows, they could have been about anything really.  I mean, how hard could Kalamazoo get?  Things on this LP open up with the tricky drum chops of “Black and Single” before a blast of jangly guitar and rubbery bass intermittently spazzs out within the beat.  It breaks off into a primary part of the song, which may be the most rhythmically complex track on the record.  The rest follows a slightly more accessible feel until the very straight-forward, jackhammering “Over a Hustle” appears later on.  It’s probably my favorite song of theirs and represents the band very well insofar as what it is they do.  This is a pretty hard album to track down, and was only pressed on CD I believe.  But I highly suggest giving it a shot as it has stuck with me for the last 17 years or so.  (Makoto) CHECK IT HERE.

Monday, April 11, 2016

OK, THIS IS FINALLY A THING.


It's been talked about forever and I can finally say the end is in sight.  The BLEAK/ DIALYSIS split 7" is now up for pre-order...  FINALLY!
Here's the idea: two bands from Syracuse got together to record a split. DIALYSIS chose a song for BLEAK to cover and a member of Dialysis sings it. BLEAK chose a song for DIALYSIS to cover and a member of Bleak sings it. And then each band does another song to make it worth your while.
BLEAK cover the Unsane, and then they also throw in a Tom Waits cover because they wanted to.
DIALYSIS does a new song, "Things I Hate About This Place", and also does a Tom Waits song because Bleak demanded it.
These records are all pressed on pretty blue vinyl, come with a download code, and come in a fancy-schmancy letterpressed cover printed right here in Syracuse at the legendary Boxcar Press.
BLEAK
1.) "God's Away On Business"
2.) "Sick"
DIALYSIS
1.) "I Don't Want To Grow Up"
2.) "Things I Hate About This Place"

* expected to ship by 5/24/2016

In the meantime, you can hear BLEAK's cover of Unsane "Sick" right HERE.

And then go order the record HERE

Thursday, March 31, 2016

SPRING MEANS SHOWS AND THERE'S LOTS OF THEM

There are bands doing a lot of shows in the near future, so make it your beeswax to leave your safe little comfort zone (i.e- mom's basement, your couch, prison cell) and check them out because getting your hearing ruined is a lot more fun than it seems.

BLEAK, "Fuck You, We Only Stop Touring To Record"
Bleak will be hitting the road (again) real soon to promote their soon-to-be released split 7" with Syracuse's Dialysis, as well as their upcoming second full length "No Light, No Tunnel" (out this summer).

Thurs 4/21 Syracuse NY. Lost Horizon (with Eyehategod) 
Sat 4/23 Buffalo NY. Sugar City (with ChristWorm) 
Sun 4/24 Syracuse NY. Gorham Brothers Music (with ChristWorm) 
Fri 4/29 The Fuze Box. Albany NY. (with HUSH) 
Sat 4/30 Lowell MA. unchARTed Gallery. (with HUSH) 
Sun 5/1 Boston MA. Obrien's Pub. (with HUSH) 
Mon 5/2 Boston MA. The NonFactory. 
Tue 5/3 Bangor ME. Central Gallery. 
Wed 5/4 Wells ME. The Spot. 
Thurs 5/5 Dover NH. Spun Records. 
Fri 5/6 turners falls MA. The Brick House. 
Sat 5/7 Worcester MA. Hotel Vernon. 
Sun 5/8 Providence RI. Dusk. 
Mon 5/9 New London CT. The News. 
Tue 5/10 East New Haven CT. ASK. 
Wed 5/11 Wallingford CT. Cherry St. 
Thurs 5/12 West Babylon NY. Evolution. 
 Fri 5/13 NYC. Fat Baby. 
Sat 5/14 Brooklyn NY. The Acheron. 
Sun 5/15 Boonton NJ. Boon Tunes.

DIALYSIS, " Fuck You, We Have Adult Stuff To Do So We Go Out When We Can"
Dialysis have a split 7" coming out with Bleak real soon.  You'll hear more about it in the next couple weeks.  So they should probably play some shows to promote it.

4/8- Worcester, MA @ Distant Castle w/ Empty Vessels
4/14- Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Hells
4/15- Providence, RI @ Funky Jungle
4/16- Ithaca, NY @ Chanti-cleer w/ Empty Vessels, Old Bones
4/17- Syracuse, NY @ Spark w/ Empty Vessels
4/18- NJ?
5/6- Potsdam, NY
5/7- Burlington, VT w/ Grizzlor
5/8- NH w/ Grizzlor
5/15- Syracuse, NY @ Westcott CC w/ Die Choking
5/20- Buffalo, NY @ Sugar City


GRIZZLOR, "Fuck you."

Grizzlor are doing a weekend in April with W. Virginia's Rhin (who, by the way, are awesome).  It's a good pairing of noise rock kings doing battle on the scuzzy-field.
 
April 28th
The Fire
Philadelphia, PA

April 29
The Grand Victory
Brooklyn, NY
April 30
Three Sheets
New Haven, CT

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SMARCH REVIEWS


As the last phase of Winter rolls out (hopefully) to make way for the hectic activity of Spring some really rad stuff has started showing up in musical form.  There's some real bangers here.  It's just the sort of reprieve I need to get past the last hurrah of icy cold days, and out of a miserable Winter funk.  And speaking of Spring, don't expect to hear too much on this page in terms of reviews for the next month or so because all the cool shit I've been planning during the Winter is going to start happening and I'm going to be a busy bee.
So check the new stuff first, and treat yourself to checking out the classic review I have at the end...  which really isn't that old of a record.


BIRTH (DEFECTS) 7”
This is the sound of a pile of greasy dudes who crawled out of a Waffle House at 3AM and decided to lay down some ‘fucked up shit’ between nasal blasts of oven cleaner.  The result is two songs that are the long-lost twin (“Evil Twin” maybe?) of Hammerhead, “Ethereal Killer”-era.  It’s loud and stupid, crammed with so much distortion and feedback you’d think they recorded next to a garbage truck emptying its load into a landfill.  But hey, I love it.  Give me more, this is clearly not enough to satiate.  (Reptilian Records)

CHERUBS, “Fist In the Air” 2x7”
If I had to take a guess, I would imagine this was recorded at the same time as the “2 Ynfynyty” album and I will lay out my detective work for you now:  one of the songs on the aforementioned record begins with a section of a song on this double 7” before breaking off into it’s own thing.  And on “Fist In the Air” you get the full blast of “Red Carpet Blues”, a fully charged rocking song from the re-activated kings of catchy noise rock.  The title track of this offering is quite possibly the poppiest song the band has ever released.  Previous efforts hinted at the bands love for catchy hooks and pop vibes, but was often overshadowed by the torrential downpour of fuzz, distortion, and weird riffs that buried most of their material like some great flood.  I mean, all that stuff is still present, but the gloss is beginning to shine through.  That is, until you get to the second 7” and “Donkey Suite” kicks you blind across the noggin with a sludgy, skuzzy bludgeoning.  Now, to finalize this thing, there is not one, but two, remixes of “Fist In the Air”.  I am not a re-mix enthusiast.  It’s basically just filler as far as I’m concerned.  But I gotta say, I don’t mind these ones.  Of course, I’d rather just have two extra new Cherubs songs, but I’ll live.  (Brutal Panda)

MAGRUDERGRIND, “II”
For a band that I wish was more active it is understandable that band commitments of other members, and distance kept this group largely part-time (very part time) for a long stretch.  But things have seemed to align and they finally drop a second LP of music that basically sounds like their name (though ‘Murdergrind’ might be a more apt moniker).  Blast after blast of downtuned rippers flex all over this thing, and it’s quite impressive what they are able to pull off with just a vocalist, drummer, and guitarist.  It’s definitely a great record to get you in the mood for some sort of high-stakes crime spree, and the simple photo on the cover basically says everything you need to know about what you’re getting into here.  If you cram the simple brutality of Infest (whose vocalist makes a guest appearance here) with the calculated grind of Nasum or Rotten Sound you’ll get the idea of what’s in store with Magrudergrind.  (Relapse)

RED HARE, “Lexicon Mist” 7”
Unless Red Hare happen to release an LP this year this is one of the best things I will hear in 2016.  Red Hare can really do no wrong.  Their last LP still gets regular rotation from me, and remains one of the rippin-est punk records of the last several years.  I mean, it’s pretty much Swiz (who were excellent in their own right) grown up and more in command of their instruments, backed by a different drummer, who happens to be one of the better drummers out there.  The record opens with “Silverfish”, a fast refresher for anyone who might have forgotten how good this group is.  The closing statement of “Your existence promotes your demise.  Do you understand?!” is a primer for things to come.  Jason Farrell’s jagged, but catchy guitars are made for tearing up a half pipe as they roll into the shorter second track, “Faced”.  They resolve the record with a longer song, a cover of Lungfish’s “Sphere Of Influence”.  Red Hare’s version utilizes Lungfish’s notion of making every song a raga, yet making it their own by adding just enough twists and turns to keep it totally respectable, but a bit more varied.  A perfect little nugget of awesome from one of the current best bands making hardcore punk.  (Dischord)

SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP, “Ezekiel’s Hags”
I feel like previous outings from these grizzled California stalwarts threw a lot of stuff into the pot, yet came out with material that was overall pleasing.  Their combinations of sludge metal, crust, hardcore, and occasional grind parts put a bunch of stuff together that didn’t always mix well for others, but worked good for them.  Pus, they had riffs for days.  This new album adds some black metal parts into the mix that I can’t say I’m a big fan of, primarily because I’m almost always not into black metal.  Additionally, where I had mentioned that sometimes throwing all those subgenres together doesn’t always work…  well,  on “Ezekiel’s Hags” it doesn’t quite work as well as it had on previous records.  There are definitely still some great parts on here, and equally as pulverizing songs.  But on the whole this isn’t doing it for me like they did on “Opium Morals”.  (Relapse)

SOME GIFTS, “Win Instantly”
My man Vic moved across the country not too long ago after fronting something in the order of about 25,000 bands in the Western New York area, all of which were pretty good.  And somehow the guy still has piles of songs crowding his brain so he got together with some LA people to spill them out in the form of Some Gifts.  Having known Vic and his various bands over the years, I’ve become an astutely keen observer of his style and I’d like to think this new band brings a few other influences to the table.  There is still a sense of technical proficiency and angular guitar work, but not quite as math-y as previous outfits.  The love of all things J. Robbins is ever-present, as are some less expected nods to catchy rock in the vein of Guided By Voices.  My favorite track here is the almost 80’s pop-meets post-hardcore feel of “Choice”.  My least favorite bit is the tacking on a section of “Teenage Wasteland” to the end of one of the other tracks.  It just feels wildly out of place in some Dad rock sort of way.  (self-released)

TORTOISE, “The Contortionist”
Fr whatever reason that I cannot quite explain, every once in awhile my musical tastes take a wildly divergent path than what is mostly expected of me (punk, hardcore, noise rock, 80s/90s hip-hop) and I freak out about bands like Tortoise or Battles (the latter I feel is like the heir apparent to the Tortoise kingdom for the 2000-teens).  But here we are, and another Tortoise LP has landed.  After nearly 25 years in the game the Chicago-based jazz/post-rock/electronic/whatever group is still creating interesting music that keeps me thinking.  Their compositions exist in the background, textural sounds that open the mind and getting you drifting off thinking about this, that, or whatever before bringing you back to reality as they throw in some other unique part emanating from some instrument you can’t quite place your finger on.  While more recent efforts have been a bit more minimal in nature, particularly in terms of more structured songs, and aren’t quite as grand in scope as a song like “DJ’ed” (from “Millions Now Living Will Never Die”) Tortoise continue to impress me.  But I gotta ask, why on Earth cover the Corey Haim-approved 80’s hit “Rock On”?  If there is anything that could be further from what you’d expect from Tortoise this is it.  It’s downright befuddling.  Furthermore, it is not the only song on this record with vocals (another rarity for the band), as the spectrum swings the opposite way on the breezy, jazzy “Yonder Blue” (featuring guest vocals from Georgia Hubley).  But hey, Tortoise likes to keep things interesting, so I guess we all have to live with that.  (Thrill Jockey)


CELEBRITY MURDERS, “Time To Kill Space”
In the late 90’s a guy by the name of Artie Phillie came to my attention because he was the maniac frontman of a band called Milhouse. That band was bonkers.  Not only was he a witty, envelope-pushing comedian of the darkest nature as a frontman, his lyrics were crammed full of incredible prose, brimming with clever wordplay and devious intention.  He had a pretty damn good voice too.  So when that band went kaput he joined up with Milhouse axe-shredder Brian Meehan and a couple guys I’m pretty sure were in either C.R. or Black Army Jacket, or both, to form Celebrity Murders.  It was quite the combination of Long Island hardcore awesomeness.  I guess there are some similarities to Milhouse, as Phillie continued his vocal killing spree, packing each song with dense amounts of lyrics that could convert listeners to Chuck Palahniuk-level misanthropes.  But while Milhouse dabbled in some post-hardcore grooves and a fair share of Deadguy-esque freakouts Celebrity Murders, for the most part, went with ripping fast hardcore.  There’s a few moments scattered here and there where they introduce a massive riff, or some noisy breakdown, or a moment of Rorschach-style crust-prog.  But by and large, they opted for wholesale slaughter by plowing through 18 tracks in under 30 minutes, on this, their lone LP.  The band previously had a 7”/demo, and I believe maybe a comp appearance or two, and that was it.  So if you’ve got a bone to pick with life, and need a soundtrack to rip shit up to, this isn’t a bad place to start.  (Chainsaw Safety/ ReptilianRecords)