Saturday, April 6, 2013


Hoo boy, this late Winter-into-Spring transition has been a real motherfucker.  Good thing some incredible records have already dropped this early in the year.  I mean, there's a few top of the year contenders here.  I highly suggest readers check out some of the things I have reviewed here for themselves.  Please.  Really.  I mean it.

CHRON TURBINE, “Skull Necklace Just For You” LP
This sounds like if The Cars were raised on a steady diet of records released on Amphetamine Reptile, but the catchy pop aspect won out in the end.  It’s actually pretty fuckin’ great if that first sentence made no sense to you.  Thick, riffy, and noisy, but brilliantly catchy.  It loses a bit of steam in the middle, mostly from slower tracks that aren’t as easy to get stuck in your head.  Yet despite all that it’s a great listen, one that certainly surprised me, and I was happy to have heard it.  I might actually be a better person because of it now, so thanks for getting songs like “You Can’t Touch My Shit” and “Trans Jamder” embedded in my cranium!  Printed on a wild silkscreened cover and limited to something like 200 copies.  Neat!  (Peterwalkee Records)

HEIRESS, “Early Frost”
While this band has been going for quite a few years now their level of activity has been fairly timid, aside from releasing a few seven inches here and there.  And I’ve never found them to be exceptionally compelling musically.  But for some reason I really wanted to get this record.  I think it’s because the simple cover photo looked really cool to me.  It’s one of those ‘behold this majestic mountain that alludes to how heavy this band is’ sort of thing.  Either way, I was sold.  And while that cover is cool, the rest of the packaging looks like some scroll from Lord Of the Rings, and I swear that a riff in “Damaged New Wind” was lifted from the theme music from “Dune” (which, by the way, I’m totally cool with).  So yeah, think rather epic stuff here.  I’d say in all Heiress is in a Neurosis frame of mind when writing, and filtering it through a sort of mid-90’s heavy emo core execution.  The plus is that it’s not something one really hears much these days.  On the negative, it can get a little dull at times.  Overall, it’s a fairly engaging listen.  (DeathwishInc)

IRON LUNG, “White Glove Test”
This will most likely be one of, if not the most intense records I hear all year.  Fucking fuck, Iron Lung are unsettling to listen to, incredibly abrasive, and so pissed.  It’s just two dudes coming up on their 40’s and fucking shit up harder than anyone else in this universe.  Bow down as schizophrenic riffs blast between powerviolence speed and pounding Swans-inspired sludge.  Wrap your little brain around the other half of this duo who smashes his drums like a jackhammer with a giant metal fist at the business end of it.  Both dudes do vocals.  Now imagine this non-stop pulverizing for a good 20 tracks (in about 22 minutes), and stare at the insane cover art of a cleansing hand melding into a head full of junk.  Read the words about medical malpractice, disease, and little people being crushed under a latex glove that smears them out with a fake vaccine.  “There is no hope for them” goes the line throughout “Brutal Supremacy” (1-3) and it’s a fitting description for the panicked music Iron Lung drops on you like so many anvils.  Now, one more thing to fuck with you:  they created a companion album to go with this of noise, soundscapes, and assorted industrial clanging (much like Neurosis’ “Times Of Grace” and “Grace”).  On it’s own it’s exactly as I described.  But as a bonus they combine both albums to make for one fucking crazy synced-up conglomeration of powerviolence and noise.  This is so damn good and intense.  Lose your mind to this.  (Iron LungRecords/ Prank Records)

NAILS, “Abandon All Life”
There’s no reason one should attempt to do some deep searching when breaking down the newest offering from Nails.  It’s pretty much the heaviest thing you’re going to hear all year.  That’s about it.  In about 17 minutes they drill 10 songs into your skull of the heaviest of heavy metal.  Some of it lurches, sledgehammer in grimy fist, smashing all in its wake.  Some of it has the subtlety of a blitzkrieg, lightning fast and terribly violent.  None of it is positive.  You won’t feel happier after listening to it.  And sometimes that’s fine.  The photo on the inside cover makes Todd Jones look like a skinny version of that wrestling manager Paul Bearer (R.I.P.).  Purchase and despise humanity.  (Southern Lord)

A few years ago The Night Marchers emerged with ambition.  Their first release was a double LP.  Yeah, take that bands that just put out seven inches!  Considering that main man John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, Sultans, Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu) basically eats, sleeps, and shits songs coming up with enough to fill two records worth is not a huge deal.  But the band has remained silent since for the most part.  And honestly, I thought that first Night Marchers thing was a bit dry.  They were really going for a retro garage rock sort of thing, lots of clean playing, clean production, and a few catchy songs too.  So now that they have awoken once again I feel Reis is really writing shit that harkens to what we all know best from him- loud, brash, loose, and hot shit rock songs.  This new Night Marchers record may as well be an unreleased Hot Snakes record with a couple Rocket From the Crypt tunes thrown in for good measure (I’m sorry, I will forever associate any song John Reis sings and plays guitar on that involves horns to be a defacto RFTC song).  I don’t say this as a bad thing.  This record is beyond awesome.  They know how to dirty it up with rumbling bass on the opening track (such a great riff), and in “Loud, Dumb, and Mean” the vocals get so static that it sounds like Reis is going to break the damn mic.  Sing along choruses abound, witty lyrics that are both humorous and clever, and so many damn riffs you could pack a garage full of them…  this is the way to go.  Congrats to this band for fully bringing on a kick ass record from start to finish.  (Swami Records)

I gotta say, Pissed Jeans never disappoints.  But for some reason this record is getting less attention from my turntable than previous records have.  Maybe it’s because the band have honed in on their ‘thing’ and are on a sort of repeat function?  I can’t say.  Their first LP, “Shallow” was raw, wild, and crazy.  “Hope For Men” followed with many challenges to the listener, separating the true believers from flavor-of-the-month bandwagon jumpers (yet when you put a face smasher like “Fantasy World” on your record you could put an hour of noise over the rest and I’d still buy it).  “King Of Jeans” really got the band on solid footing and has proved to be their overall most solid record.  I guess maybe they saw the sonic success of that record and hoped to go for it again.  Present are the barnburners (“Bathroom Laughter”, “Health Plan”), the slow and sludgy grumblers (“Cafeteria Food”), the humor (“Loubs”, “Cafeteria Food” again), and the swinging riff fests (“Male Gaze”).  So yeah, it’s a friggin’ awesome record.  But I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere before.  No disappointments, just nothing new either.  (Sub Pop)

Top ten of the year territory for this here record.  Restorations have a thing going on that is all their own and they own it.  Big anthems, warms sounds, lush organs, raspy vocals, massive fuzzy bass, riffy guitars and a sense of songwriting that shows years of experience.  This band is deserving of every dick-stroking comment that comes (cums?) their way.  “LP2” is full of the type of big songs that made their debut LP so great (See “D” and “Adventure Tortoise”), as well as some dabblings in new sounds that add some trippy, psychedelic riffing to their post-hardcore rock sound (“Quit” and “Kind Of Comfort”).  I am fully down for every tune on this record and can’t wait to see them showcase this stuff on the live front.  Unless you strictly like your music with blast beats or breakdowns, or straight from a shitty gutter than there is probably something about this band you can relate to, and therefore enjoy thoroughly.  Well done fellas.  (SideOneDummy)

RUN, FOREVER, “Settling”
Here’s my compliment that I will bestow upon Run, Forever:  this record’s got some really nice packaging.  That whole glossy, embossed type on the whole thing looks real good.  Oh, the music?  Eh, not my bag.  Sort of folky-punk/mainstream rock, touches of Against Me here and there, sensitive-guy-with-a-bit-of-a-grudge-against-his-CEO-Dad sort of vocals.  You know the deal.  Some people fall over themselves for this sort of stuff and have these semi-seizures (AKA, sad white people ‘dancing’) in crowded basements and that’s all well and good for people who are into that.  I, personally, am not.  And that’s what I got to say about that.  (Tiny Engines)

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