At the end of Summer DIALYSIS will unleash their new 11-song 7" "Abastab". It may as well be an album there's so many songs.
Anyway, here's a new track from that 7" revolving around a bunch of good stuff about Syracuse, NY. If you're not from here, that's OK. You can google the references. If you're from Syracuse, act like ya know. Check this lyric video:
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Ooh yeah, read opinions about records, that should get anyone's motor revving. Not really. Instead, just read this stuff and maybe buy these records. There's a lot of activity around the Hexquarters, and plenty of big news to come in the very near future, so best I squeeze these in here before a flood of other new stuff pops up.
COLISEUM, “Anxiety’s Kiss”
Having seen this band since they began I feel like their trajectory got more aggressive with each release, peaking at “No Salvation” before they took a decidedly different turn into post-punk (and I guess post-hardcore) territory with “House With a Curse” (which still remains my overall favorite Coliseum record in their fairly large catalog), and began to get less bluntly aggressive with each release. But that’s the trick that makes them such a wonderful band- they still write incredibly aggressive and confrontational music, just with a decidedly more melodic and experimental bent these days. I mean, the first two tracks on “Anxiety’s Kiss”- “We Are the Water” and “Course Correction”- are some of the strongest material the band has ever written, both lyrically and musically. “We Are the Water”, a unity rally delivered with driving bass, pulsing synth, and anthemic riffs culled from years of listening to Dischord Records is the perfect opener. “Course Correction” is more in line with Coliseum of old, a raging hardcore dig at the one percent and burning down banks. But there is change, and it is good. The band has introduced minor synth accompaniment on almost every song here, mostly as a textural addition, and hardly dominating any given song (although A-side closer “Dark Light Of Seduction” ends with a diminishing synth loop that goes into a locked groove, just so you know it’s there. “Comedown” utilizes this more electronic aspect to great effect as a pulsating background for the entire song to make it feel like some futuristic dystopian car chase movie soundtrack. It’s one of the best songs on here. “Driver At Dusk” is a slow and methodical track that recalls first LP Tortoise in its spatial meandering and spoken vocals of driving through the night, stark and beautiful. The album closes with the thumping post-hardcore bliss of “Escape Yr Skull”, a loud and bouncy track that ends things on a note uncommon for Coliseum… but that’s the point. Move forward, try new things, and somehow still be that same band that has been doing great things for years. Yeah, this might not be my favorite Coliseum record of them all, but there’s a pretty good chance that could change by year’s end. (Deathwish)
CREEPOID, “Cemetery High Rise Slum”
Am I just getting used to what Creepoid blew my mind with a few years ago so that each new release isn’t hitting me as hard, or does this record just sound like a straight continuation of their last self-titled LP? Like, there’s no progression, or maturity, it feels like the self-titled got released and they just kept writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because that was a good record. So, by default, that makes this a good record as well. Yet I feel on their debut, “Horse Heaven”, not only was there a strong variety in the types of songs they did and a lot more distinct variation within many of the songs doing a loud-quiet-loud thing that I found to be quite exciting. The songs on “Cemetery High Rise Slum” feel like one big swirling psychedelic haze of dreamy vocals, rocking tempos, and fuzzed-out guitar wails. There is a soft-side to all their noise that is countered with an underlying sort of looming Manson family type of drugged-out terror, just waiting to be unleashed. The sadist in me sort of wants more of that cheap-drug freak-out bleeding walls mania. It’s a damn good record, but that sort of live insanity this band produces (seriously, go see them) doesn’t come off as strong as I was hoping on this one. (Collect Records)
FAILURE, “The Heart Is a Monster”
This album is a monster. At 18 tracks (6 of which are segues) and over an hour of music it’s a lot to take in. You basically get one song for every year that Failure has been out of commission. They had a lot of time to come up with a lot of stuff, so I guess you will have to forgive them for making this record a little lengthy. I never quite picked up on this band, having heard their name thrown about in their heyday, lazily checking out a couple of their albums half-attentively, and then sort of dismissing it as good, but not really anything I’d put on constant rotation. They were relegated as a footnote in the back of my mind while scores of other bands took cues from what they did and paid deep homage (Cave-In most notably, The Life and Times/Shiner most assuredly- even though they existed in similar times). All in all I knew what I was probably getting and I’m happy with what I hear. There are certainly some very strong tracks here, ones that I find myself humming after only a couple listens, and then there are all the segues, which feel a bit unnecessary. For long time fans of the group rejoice for it hath arrived. For the passive fan such as myself consider it a good slab of thoroughly thought-out, and expertly executed space rock that can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. (INgrooves)
FIGHT AMP, “Constantly Off”
Long-running Philly scum rockers Fight Amp pull a hat trick out of their ass and strike back with an EP (they call it an LP, but it’s six songs in 18 minutes) that pretty much rules. I gotta admit I wasn’t too swayed with their last full length, “Birth Control”. Sure, it did the trick of being a solid noise rock outing, but nothing on it really stuck with me. At least this keeps things pretty short and sweet and has a barrage of riffs raining down on you. Not only does “I Perceive Reptoids” have the best title on the record, it’s probably the best track here with it’s lumbering sort of catchiness (in it’s own sludgy and filthy way). If you want to roll with some Melvins type stuff, but less stop-and-go and pretty much all go Fight Amp, and this record in particular, is a pretty good way to roll. (Brutal Panda)
SELF DEFENSE FAMILY, “Heaven Is Earth”
Self Defense Family keep things interesting because they always take an approach to what they do without the slightest bit of concern as to what others think, and they generally do a very good job of presenting it successfully. They write and record constantly. Most of the songs on this record fit in with how they have been writing music for the last couple years- a combination of Lungfish’s repetitive ragas, hazy atmospheric drones of melody and spoken word-style vocals, and a few upbeat songs scattered throughout. So in one respect it’s not terribly out of line with what SDF has been doing. In other respects they try some new things- recording at multiple studios for one record (not really noticeable in the overall sound), throwing in some piano and harmonica into songs, and some different approaches to vocals. As always, the lyrics are fascinating to read, filled with clever snark and great wordplay (such as the catchy and upbeat “Everybody Wants a Prize”), or heavy bombast (as on “Talia”, easily the record’s strongest song and possibly in the top five songs the band has ever written). It’s a relatively succinct record though, when compared to last year’s “Try Me”, a sprawling double LP complete with an interview that took up two of those sides. At eight songs and roughly 26 minutes “Heaven Is Earth” is not going for any conceptual landmarks, but it does the job of showcasing a band right where they’re at right now. Who am I kidding, they probably have a dozen more 7”s in the can awaiting pressing from some label that doesn’t exist yet. They probably don’t even play these songs live anymore because they’re already onto the next thing. (Deathwish)
SPRAYPAINT, “Punters On the Barge”
Spray Paint don’t really change, so much as they just get better at what they’ve been doing since they began. This being their fourth LP in as many years the band is no doubt prolific, even though each album gets shorter and shorter (“Rodeo Songs” was a full-on 15 tracks, which last years “Clean Blood, Regular Acid” was a respectable 12, and this new one 10 quick blasts). They’ve gotten better at recording, or I should say, being recorded, as this is the cleanest, most polished record of theirs to date. I’m not sure how I feel about that though. I’m all for bands not sounding like garbage on record, but there’s a little bit of roughness I enjoy about all things punk-related and that sense of mysterious weirdness seemed to peak on the aforementioned “Clean Blood…”, with its perfect balance of accentuating the weird parts vividly, yet still keeping a touch of the cave-style dankness. Yet the Austin trio does throw a few new tricks into play, particularly on the B-side where “Soiled” dips into foggy guitar bellows, spooky basement squeals, and jutting stabs of noise. “Fishing” begins with a squealing tape loop that makes you think your record player fucked up, and using various spurts of warped guitar play as hooks, all to unique effect. “Day Of the Rope” closes out the A-side with wild post-punk dirges, sequencer-sounding drumming, and buzzing synths humming throughout for a try at something both new and nerves-wracked anxiety-driven. “Pay your rent, motherfucker!” (Homeless)
THOU/ GREAT FALLS, split 7”
Both bands cover Shellac. And that’s a pretty good thing to do. You get this cool silkscreened package and two crazy-ass bands, and the subject of which is another wild band… yeah, sign me up. Great Falls does an absolutely bonkers neurotic version of “Wingwalker”. Sure, the original is pretty bad ass in it’s own right, but Great Falls have that way of getting all ‘random stabs in the darkness during a prison riot’ that just turns this song into a well-recorded and heavy nightmare. Thou take on the classic “Prayer To God”. In typical Thou fashion they definitely stray from the source and do their own thing. And usually their own thing is slow (check) and yet still very tight (che… wait… what’s this?). In this case they get as noisy as possible, fuzz-out everything, and scream into abandon, which is probably the appropriate attitude when the lyrics are ‘kill it, fuckin’ kill it’ over and over. I prefer the Great Falls side, but the thing as a whole is well worth it. (Hell Comes Home)
Friday, July 3, 2015
The debut crusher from Syracuse, NY's Bleak. Bear witness to piles of riffs getting jackhammered into your skull over and over again. Everything is loud. Even the quiet parts. If you like any of the following: All Else Failed, Turmoil, Neurosis, Eyehategod, Crowbar, spiteful stuff, and a negative outlook on life in general I suppose this would fit into all of that nicely.
Comes with download
100 on opaque blue
100 on green
* please state your preference in your order
Get it here: http://hexrecords.bigcartel.com/product/bleak-we-deserve-our-failures-lp
Monday, June 29, 2015
* all photos by Enrique Blanco
While I’ve seen the Melvins several times at this point, with varying lineups, I can’t really argue against going out to see them when they play three blocks from your house. So I set aside my regular exhilarating Friday night of eating snacks, playing with cats, and farting into my office chair to take the stroll down Westcott Street and getting my ears blown off by King Buzzo and company.
I waited outside where I began my night long stalking of Dave Curran, tour manager for Melvins (not all that important) and bass player for Unsane (really fucking important). I bet he carries around a sealed copy of “Scattered, Smothered, and Covered” LP just to shove in the face’s of grubby fanboys such as myself, and so help me, I should probably take it.
What actually transpired was that I eventually wandered in, looked at all the awesome drawings that Brian Walsby brought on the road (he probably drew half of them during sound check), and the other random wildness of the Melvins merch table, and then patiently waited for the show to begin.
Le Butcherettes kicked things off. I couldn’t tell if they were more style than substance because the vocalist spoke only in Spanish between songs, and I assume, during as well. The three members decked out in bright red outfits with vocalist Teri Gender Bender going for a Lydia Dietz marriage scene get up that must have made playing guitar (when not playing keyboard) quite the difficult task. Her stage antics struck a bizarre tone that was part robot-on-the-fritz, part early Karen O. spectacle. Some of it felt a bit forced, and weird for weird’s sake. Musically, however, they began strong with fairly straightforward riffy rock that centered on bass and drums, and monster mash keyboards. I guess, overall, they were sort of a mixed bag.
The Melvins didn’t take long to get rolling. Every time I have seen them they have always been quick to just get up and start doing their thing right after the opening act. Heck, sometimes the opening act was in the band and there was no change over (back when the Big Business duo were playing in the band… are they still unofficially?). but for the last couple years Jeff Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers has been on bass duty and does an adequate job of holding it down. While I have never been a diehard Melvins fan (I own only three of their records… for shame, I know) I recognized this set as being fairly similar to what they played when I saw them last year. But in consulting with my man who took the pictures, who is a diehard Melvins fan, he offered that they did indeed draw from their vast catalog, and mixed it up across all eras of the band (nothing off of “Senile Animal” though).
Opening with the sludgy sledgehammer of “Hag Me” the band took their time warming up the crowd before coasting into some more recent stuff before tossing out a Butthole Surfers cover, and then going into some older material from “Bullhead”, “Stoner Witch”, and even “You’re Blessened”, off of “Bullhead”. I was exceptionally stoked when they launched into a lengthy cover of “Youth Of America” by The Wipers that spiraled into some chaotic jam before they jumped right into “The Bit”. They closed out with “Night Goat” followed by, “Fascists Eat Donuts”- a song they did with Teri from Le Butcherettes accompanying. I had to look this up, as it’s actually a cover from a band called the Pop-O-Pies. No idea. But it’s catchy as hell and I’ve been thinking about it since with it’s repeated chorus of “Make those donuts with extra grease/ This batch for the chief of police!” The band just dragged it out, slower, and slower, as they all sang the chorus again and again, slower and weirder until it just felt like one big weird melting of time. It’s like the audio equivalent of what I’m assuming bad drugs feel like.
As the show ended I saw Dave Curran behind the soundboard and approached him like a weirdo and said Unsane is one of my favorite bands ever. We talked a bit about Pigs, and he had no visible copy of that one record I’m missing so I let him live. Next time. I’ll find it eventually.
Monday, June 15, 2015
So just to get it out of the way, before I left for this brief trip I thought to myself, ‘I ought to charge my camera battery’. But I didn’t. And ya know what- the damn thing died before I even got to the show. So instead of live pictures of bands I’m going to put photos of my insane record haul from this show instead.
Anyways, it was a nice drive down to New Jersey, until I actually got to New Jersey. They call their roads ‘highways’. But if you put a traffic light on a road, surrounded by strip malls it ceases to be a highway. It’s just a street at that point. And for one reason or another, every time I go to Jersey I end up on one of these ‘highways’ for about 20 or 30 miles. It’s mind numbing. The actual highways aren’t much better. Never have I witnessed more insane driving outside of a NYC cab driver on a bender.
I eventually make it to Asbury Park and actually have some time to explore, instead of my last visit a few years back where I wandered the boardwalk before seeing Rorschach at the Lanes and then taking a train back that night. Cookman Ave. seemed to be the happening spot. I checked out the GroovyGraveyard, which is rife with eclectic randomness- a bunch of assorted records, comics, toys, etc. In other words, a little slice of heaven for me. I found a Monorchid gatefold LP there for five bucks. I then headed across the street to Holdfast Records. It was a very new looking, very tidy, clean, and professional shop. As I’m flipping through records Joe from Psychic Teens wanders in, and I’m almost wondering how this record-fiending fella wasn’t already here. We look at records and I convince him to buy a Most Secret Method LP because it’s five bucks and it rules. I find a Kurt LP, Seven Storey Mountain LP, and David Byrne LP all for the total sum of about $16. Joe and I head back to Groovy Graveyard because I tell him it rules and we discover the owner runs a noise rock forum I post on and so we chat about all that good stuff.
I head to the venue and meet up with people and we eventually head out to a nearby spot called Kayas Kitchen, an all-vegan establishment, and get some food to go. I gotta say, it’s pretty good. A little on the pricey side, but quite good. If you even happen to find yourself in Belmar for some odd reason give ‘em a whirl. They got quite a variety of good stuff.
So I get back to the venue (which I ought to add is about 20 degrees cooler due to the ocean breeze coming off the Atlantic some 50 yards away than the sticky heat wave engulfing town some several blocks in the other direction) just in time to eat and then catch a chunk of the set from opener Sex Cross. It’s dudes from Old Wounds doing goth punk, seemingly desperate to escape their hardcore roots, but not quite there yet. I’m pretty sure I still spotted some breakdowns. It was decent overall for hardcore dudes who want to dress up as vamps. There was certainly a flair for presentation and just a bit of over-doing it.
PsychicTeens were up next. They opened with “Lust”, a slow, plodding dirge from “Come”, followed by the new-ish 7” songs, and a couple new ones that I have heard before. It’s a bit of a weird setting because every other time I’ve seen them it’s a small space and they are super loud. But Asbury Lanes is a bit bigger of a venue (it’s literally an old bowling alley with a stage in the middle of it) and they didn’t sound quite as deafening as in the past. Still a great set and it was cool to know that there were probably plenty of people present who had never heard them.
ChildBite then get up and miraculously create an anti-gravity zone in front of the stage for the duration of their performance because everyone up front seemed to lose control of all bodily functions and it became this uncoordinated mess of swinging arms, flailing legs, stupor-induced stumbling, and general confusion. Granted, the band is super weird and crazy. Their frontman was this perfect mix of Neil Fallon and Dan Higgs while the band played some revved-up concoction of noise rock and Dead Kennedys. It was pretty awesome. The crowd, on the other hand, was not. I mean, when you see a bunch of 16 year old kids dancing like they’re swatting at a swarm of bees, or a seizure-prone meth addict you give them some leeway. “They will understand rhythm some day”, you think to yourself. But when it’s a bunch of grown adults- one of which happened to jump on stage at one point, grab a beer from the band, and then fall off the stage on his ass and continue to act like a schmuck- it’s just sad and embarrassing. So yeah, Child Bite- killer. Audience- buns.
Coliseum closes things out. Here is a band that sounds so tight, so locked in with each other, a sound so dialed in that if you close your eyes it’s as if you’re listening to the record. It’s that crystal clear. They play lots of new stuff, which was fun to hear, followed by some stuff from the last two records. It’s different for sure, but you can see where they are moving ahead and I enjoy it quite a bit.
After the gig I crashed at a place a block away and got up early to take a stroll on the beach before getting some dull breakfast. I got on the road and headed up to Princeton to explore the Princeton Record Exchange. I almost gave them all my life savings over all the good stuff I came across. I went to sell them some records and they offered me next to nothing for them. I guess when they offer to buy brand new LPs from you for a buck I guess that’s how they can afford to sell a copy of “Scratch the Surface” on vinyl for $10. It’s good and bad. I sold them a few things I wanted to get rid of and in turn I picked up a ton of great records on the cheap.
After spending way too much time in that place I made a mile, which was a lot more slow going than I’d hoped because getting out of this state is horrible. By the time I hit Pennsyltucky I was cruising on auto-pilot and just winged it back home. While there is no photographic evidence of my trip a parking ticket, the sand between my toes, the ringing in my ears, and the bag full of vinyl in the back seat is proof enough that it was a drive worth doing.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
We've made slight mention of it before, and we're seriously slacking here, but as an 'official' sort of press release I want to put it out there that I am way beyond stoked that Hex will have the pleasure of releasing the next Ex-Breathers LP! Not only do we get to release this record, but we are teaming up with an incredibly awesome label as well to do so- Exploding In Sound Records It will be awesome.
Ex-Breathers came together a few years ago in Tallahassee, Florida to play punk without clear definition. Some of their material verges on off-timed thrash, while at other times the boundary-stretching themes of Fugazi and Mission Of Burma get a heavy nod. The Minutemen's sense of weird urgency. Voivod's melding of shredding riffs and bizarre timing. Through fine tuning they began recording themselves, culminating in their first full-length, the self-released "Collision". A 7" entitled "EXBX" followed, cramming 12 songs onto a 45 just to see if they could do it. Hex Records co-released a 4-way compilation featuring 3 songs from Ex-Breathers shortly thereafter last year.
The band demo'ed their LP a couple months back and I got to hear it, and have played it constantly since. And now they have just finished the actual recording and it will be going off to press soon. Expect this sucker in the early Fall. And between now and then listen to Ex-Breathers stuff here: http://ex-breathers.bandcamp.com/
Friday, May 29, 2015
Enjoy the first single from the new BLEAK LP, "We Deserve Our Failures". There's a freaky seizure-inducing video to go with it too. You can see that below. Be on the lookout for them playing everywhere this summer, and for a pre-order of the LP to go up really soon.