Thursday, June 18, 2009


Look above. See the pictures? These are the next four releases coming out. And I have a lot more information about each of them, as well as some other cool stuff!
Keep in mind, the above art you see is definitely not the final artwork for each record (except for in the case of PRIZE COUNTRY, which that is the final cover art). So let's address each one.
First off, LEMURIA will record their new 7" the first week of July with a release date shortly thereafter. If all goes well I'm thinking I can do a pre-order shortly after that and things will be done and ready come late August. The artwork is being handled by Ben Sears from Mt. Asleep and will be screened onto special 7" arigato packs from Stumptown Printers courtesy of the rad dudes at Pedal Printing. It's going to look real special I tell ya.
Next, the END OF A YEAR dudes are recording right about now for their new 7" after having just dropped one for Deathwish. If you can get the jist from the mock-up art above it's an homage of sorts and will contain a cover of a certain 80's band, but I can imagine you'll be able to figure out who. Look for this to drop around the same time as Lemuria.
Next, PRIZE COUNTRY are finished recording, finished mixing, finished mastering, and all that good stuff. The artwork is done and this beast, known as "With Love", will drop around October on both LP and CD. These dudes are on their game and will be touring the shit out of this record all Fall and Winter. Get ready.
Finally, THE HELM are in the studio right now recording their new full length "Home". Raging, crusty slabs of face-melting hardcore are being carefully put to tape, as the saying goes, by Chris Common in Seattle's Red Room. Expect this one to drop in October on LP and CD as well. And if Bob can get away from coaching track long enough they may embark on a Winter tour to show what this record is all about. More details to follow.

So what's up with the HELMS ALEE 7", people keep asking me. I'm sorry for all the delays and I'm personally very anxious to hear some new stuff myself! I recently talked with Ben from the band and he assures me they are still on, it's just going to take longer than expected. They're actually writing a new full length (and currently on tour on the West Coast with Isis and Giant Squid) and want to get some of that wrapped up and possibly record the 7" and full length together. So as of now the plans look like fall we'll be hearing more about this. Sorry to shift things to the backburner for this one, but be patient. I'm certain the results will be worth it!

Finally, shout out to our boys in OAK & BONE on completing their first East Coast tour! Look for them on various weekends throughout the Summer. Also, check the short write up they just got on the Brooklyn Vegan site (as well as a free download of "Build Walls" from the 7") here . Just scroll down a bit and you'll see it. Sweet!

OK, I think that's it for the time being. Go out to Dudefest Indianapolis next month! Hex Records will be representing in full, so buy something from us! And rage!

Friday, June 12, 2009


It's been a bit huh? Well, that happens when... um... actually, I have no excuse. There's just been a lot of plotting and scheming on my end in regards to other things so some of this fell by the wayside. But hey, it does mean some cool music piled up. I like to think I get the chance to review a fair amount of stuff that probably goes under the radar of most people and I get the chance to shed a little light on it. So here's some stuff!

Based upon the name alone I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be getting myself into by listening to this. I’d known their name from playing at Dudefest a couple years ago, but I missed their set. So what we got here is some straight up raging grindcore-powerviolence, sludgy metal stuff that kicks in with all the fury of a swarm of bees chasing after a snot-nosed brat who just threw a rock into their hive. Given that they begin the record with a lot of thrashing and grinding madness I was a bit skeptical that the first song was nearing the four minute mark, which is a bad sign for a band that plays really, really fast. Thankfully, the rest of the songs (at least of this nature) stayed within the two minute mark. Additionally, having long song titles that play on the oh-so-ironic and funny factor made for a negative impression so cringe worthy it gave me shivers of discomfort. Yet upon examining the lyrics and accompanying explanations it’s just the titles that are dumb. Everything else is well thought out and intriguing. Meanwhile, the band thrashes and burns through five complete ragers before going into a 12-minute record closer which feels rather unnecessary in it’s dirge-like sludgy pace. Finally, as a cd bonus, there is one more feedback-laden, tribal drumming encore lasting around 14 minutes. Maybe if that were trimmed down to about half the length it would be pretty killer. I feel like I’ve sort of slagged this band in this review, but quite honestly this is a pretty kick ass record regardless of some characteristics that seem a bit unnecessary. Apparently, this was, up to this point, only available as an LP that was released in 2005 and is now on CD. So there ya go. I wonder what their new stuff will sound like? (Gilead Media,

DASHA, “Damned If We Do”
Rochester’s Dasha find their niche with playing subtle and pretty indie rock that is deceptively complex in it’s arrangements and tricky drum and guitar interplay. The soothing vocals of Colleen Vassey act as an anchor, offering a calming tone to music that has just enough in the way of catchiness to keep from the more show-off-ish elements of the very capable musicians in this band from getting too out of hand. The recording is crisp and offers a more mellowed out overall tone, even though drummer Tommy Vollmer is exorcising his inner Stuart Copeland (live it’s a different story.. dude just hits really damn hard) on these tracks and could more than likely dominate this recording were it not kept tastefully in check. Again, balancing the complexity are the soothing vocals and a pretty clean guitar tone. Nine songs well done by this up-and-coming group that sound wise is definitely different than most of the underground bands that have called Rochester home, yet somehow one can tell they’re from there. Don’t ask me how, it’s just apparent from a person who has seen scores of bands emerge from that town. (Whaleplane,

DEADHEAD, “A State Of Punk” 7”
Four songs that go by pretty quick with very to-the-point and bleak lyrics. I suppose that’s par for the course seeing as the music is pretty bleak as well... but nice and fast to keep things fun. Treading the thick and bass-heavy sound popularized by the likes of Tragedy Deadhead take a cue from some of punk’s finest and give it a go. And by the name you thought they’d all be hippies or something huh? I’d love to see an actual Deadhead put this record on and totally get their mellows harshed.... big time. Nothing groundbreaking, but also a fine first effort. (Mayfly Records,

Typically, if I receive a promo that is just the cd and nothing more it goes straight to the outbox. Call it elitist, but hey, music is more than just the piece of plastic the ones and zeros are encoded upon. Artwork and presentation say a lot about a group. Well, that’s what arrived for Australia’s Dial and I’m giving them a free pass because this is a damn good release. I’m not exactly sure what to make of this. One of the only words I can use to describe this is ‘suffocating’. Everything sounds so dense and evil all at once, and carries through the entirety of this five song EP. Mish-mashing stop-go noise rock with almost tribal, repetitive and trance-like drumming Dial can ride a single riff for a whole song, but tastefully keep most of them reigned in at the three minute mark. Therefore, the sonic pounding lasts just long enough to keep you wanting more, yet breaks you down the same way a drone band would... minus the boring part. It’s a sonic, primal beating from out of nowhere and I feel like I ought to join an end of the world cult after hearing this and ready my Mad Max survival gear. (Robotic Empire,

There is one word to describe this and that word is ‘bitchin’’. This EP is totally bitchin’ without question. It is authoritatively bitchin’. Actually, perhaps I ought to elaborate. The organ that often takes the lead for many of these songs is beyond bitchin’. There are four songs here and imagine if you will Clutch, Deep Purple, and the Blues Brothers all jamming as one to bring forth one of the bitchinest project bands I’ve heard in quite song time. You remember that movie, “Nothing But Trouble” where Dan Akroyd played the demented old judge in the middle of nowhere? OK, you probably don’t. Just bear with me. There’s a scene where that old hip-hop group Digital Underground makes an appearance and plays a song in his court and Dan Akroyd busts out an ancient Hammond-style organ and begins playing along. It’s like they resurrected that organ and hooked up a Big Muff fuzz pedal on it and went to town, ushering forth the songs that make up this debut EP. Well done Father Phoenix. I will erect a chicken wire fence in your honor across the stage should you ever grace my town with your presence. (Forge Again Records,

KILLER, THE, “Not All Those Who Are Lost Want To Be Found”
Chicago’s The Killer may not have chosen the most original name for themselves, but they have at least managed to spice things up in the whole tough guy hardcore realm. Actually, perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to lump them into that category but my bet is that they find themselves playing many of those shows. Regardless, as much as you can hear a good deal metal-influenced NYHC in their sound (think Merauder style double bass) they toss a number of curveballs into their sound, such as some grooving, Crowbar-style breakdowns in, various noisier post-hardcore riffs, the occasional backing vocals that sound like drawn-out chants (track 3), and vocals that have a dirty and strained approach. It definitely mixes things up more than your standard chunky hardcore fare and for that The killer gets brownie points. Plus it’s been quite a long time between records for this band so it’s natural that some progression would be made and it looks like they did a pretty good job of it on this full length. (Organized Crime,

To think that anyone had an interest in this band long after they split to reach back in the archives and re-release their demo tape on 7” is almost mind-blowing in it’s desire to more or less set fire to a briefcase full of money and throw it over a cliff. This is not to say that I wasn’t a fan of Lickgoldensky while they were around. I really liked the band. But let’s be honest- they were an acquired taste and I’m sure their name will not go down in the annals of hardcore history at the end of the day. So to dig out this original recording and put it out there for those who never heard it (like me) is great, just sort of financially suicidal. Kudos to Square Of Opposition though. I’m glad to have heard this because it shows that this band had aggression in spades even early on. The music is a vicious blend of Deadguys total ‘kill everything’ frantic insanity and Eyehategod’s (where they got their name from) sludgy bong-ripping messiness (the endings of both “Pinstriping” and “Are the Neighbors Cumming?” illustrating this quite well). Totally drugged-out and manic lyrics accompany the music in screeched wails encourage, “Watch your neighbors bathe/ Watch your neighbors swing/ Watch your neighbors get syphilis from the mayor/ Watch the teens lose their virginity/ Take it to a school board meeting/ Then fuck your soulmate in the ass”. Tasteful. (Square Of Opposition,

POISON ARROWS, THE, “First Class, And Forever”
I’ve given this record a bunch of spins in an attempt to try and figure out just exactly what The Poison Arrows are doing. I still can’t quite get a fix on it. They lie somewhere between some of the relaxed atmospherics of a Beauty Pill record and churning post-hardcore math rock spawned in the clubs of Chicago. It’s a rather varied mix. You got some smooth and chill sections that are accentuated with somber vocals and tasteful synth parts. But then they bust into some heavier rocking songs that would fit alongside a Fireside, Hum, or Chavez record. Needless to say I like it, and a large part of that has to do with them performing something that is one part familiar and another part a total mystery. Good and varied, yet tastefully as you know it’s the same band no matter how they mix things up. (File 13 Records,

In some ways this band has progressed a lot, and in other ways it’s almost expected that they would eventually get to this point. One could always tell that there was a fair amount of Failure and space rock-era Cave-In love with this band. Yet early on, vocalist Brian Conway had a more guttural approach to his singing that had a bit of a Clutch quality to it and the weight of the music reflected that with a more sludgy style. Now, a bit more refined, I feel like they have come to a point where they want to be at, even if that point is highly reminiscent of Steve Brodsky, Failure, and Cave-In. I’m sure they’re stoked on it. I’d say they do a fine job of bringing forth those more otherworldly melodic elements to the table and still throw in some of those heavy sludgy moments from time to time. (Trip Machine Laboratories,

Pop rock played faster than normal. I’m not going to call this pop-punk, or melodic hardcore, or whatever. It’s time for these bands to come to terms with what they do and call it for what it is. You could turn on your local rock radio station and probably hear a song from this band if they got themselves a hot-shit label backing them. I’m not saying this is lousy or anything, it’s just pop rock played by dudes who probably like punk and hardcore. Saves the Day, A Wilhelm Scream, maybe a touch of No Idea Records stuff all comes to mind. Most of it is stuff I’m not all that interested in, but it is what it is. And if you like your rock blasting from the radio Transit will probably scratch that itch. I’d just feel bad for them if they had to be sandwiched between the latest offerings from Godsmack and Fallout Boy while some corny-ass DJ took callers for free tickets to Balloon Fest. (Run For Cover Records,