Sunday, February 2, 2014


Honestly, not too much new stuff has made it's way into my earholes in the last month or so.  Call it the Winter doldrums, but not much is exciting me as of late.  I know all that will change with the passing of the year, but for right now it's a little bit of this, a bit of that, and mostly older stuff that is always tried a true with me.  Blah, blah, blah.....  but hey, there is some good stuff out there that's pretty new.  Read on mutants.

Hardcore kids aren’t necessarily born hardcore kids.  They generally start with some other genre that leads them into hardcore.  The ones musically inclined will start bands that sound like hardcore bands.  But eventually they start going back to their roots and incorporating those sounds into their music.  At times it produces disastrous results because they can’t quite get the hardcore out of their intended roots-ripping.  All the members of How To Disappear Completely have pretty much completely shed any hardcore referencing at this point and full on made a Deftones tribute record (you thought I was going to say Radiohead tribute, weren’t you?).  From the guitar tones, to the ethereal, whisper-y vocals, to the slightly-teetering-on-nu-metal vibe it’s pretty much all there.  And honestly, it’s a pretty good stab at the style.  Strong points- lots of good riffs, nice recording, good use of effects/texture.  Weak points- the sung/whispered vocals sound a lot better than the metal/screaming vocals, some of these songs go on way longer than they need to.  (self-released)

PIGS, “Gaffe” 10”
Their last full length was awesome, so I’m little bummed that we only get three songs here.  Regardless, Pigs put forth three of their best, as well as catchiest (if bottom-feeding noise rock can be ‘catchy’), songs on this slab of vinyl.  Unsane bassist Dave Curran takes the lead on vocals and guitar, while studio guru Andrew Schnieder mans the two-ton bass.  The result is akin to what the Unsane have been laying down for years now, though I’d say Curran’s scraping bark is more inviting….  like an ex-con giving out poisoned lollipops at a carnival, and the overall feel of the songs is a bit more cheerful, perhaps?  I always think of Unsane stuff as being so stressed-out and hateful.  Pigs have the same trademark tones and sounds, but do so in a way that is a little more fun.  Gotta have some sunshine to go with the darkness, ya know?  (Solar Flare)

PLAUGE MASK, “The Frailty Of Human Existence”
I feel like this local band has been crafting their stuff for ages and are now just getting around to a proper release.  Chalk it up to adult responsibilities getting in the way of living the band life…  damn that nasty business.  Anyways, what I feel this band lacks a bit in songwriting dynamic, they more than make up for in some seriously excellent tones.  They have an excellent sludgy stoner sound dialed in perfectly, but I feel like some of these tunes could use a bit more depth to them.  Riff sniffers will rejoice, as will those who love a neat package.  This is, by far, one of the coolest looking packages any band around these parts has come up with.  It’s got some fold-over screenprinted deal that opens to reveal a giant bug, and under that a circular cardstock CD holder.  And then you get a lyric sheet that’s all stained and burnt around the edges like some old pirate treasure map.  Cool.  (self-released)

SECRET SMOKER, “Terminal Architecture” 12”
Not great, not bad, but a little tepid for my tastes.  Still, if the sounds of bands re-creating hectic indie-emo (think Amber Inn, Native Nod, early 90’s Ebullition style stuff) is your thing than I guess this will hit the spot.  I personally have always had a very limited taste for bands of this nature, honing in on a select few that I find pretty entertaining.  And to give a positive note I suppose I’d much rather hear a band playing this style of emo than whatever bastardized shit it’s referred to now.  Does that go without saying?  (Adagio)

A lot of attention has been paid to the new full length from ever-transforming musical collective Self Defense Family.  It’s an interesting concept to dedicate a whole record to, and I appreciate their tenacity for pulling ideas out of left field.  Musically, the B-side intrigues me more, at least the first few songs.  “Aletta” is my favorite track on the record with it’s shimmering and fractured opening, into its big, expansive feel throughout the majority of the song.  “Fear Of Poverty…” harkens closest to older material and remains mostly upbeat.  “Weird Fingering” once again shows the bands love for Lungfish (as they tend to do from time to time), and I am not one to complain when a band can do a good homage to the Baltimore legends.  But it kind of ends once “Dingo Fence” gets a little too repetitive for my tastes.  I know in interviews Pat has stated how much he really likes repetition (to an almost annoying degree) in a song.  Sure, that can be cool, but this song goes on for a good 10 minutes.  I’ll take the first 3 minutes, thanks.  The big repetition thing is also present on side A closer “Apport Birds”, and again, I’m not feeling the “pull of religion” line all that much after the first few times.  But I will say the rest of the song nearly gets me teared up when I found out it was about when Pat’s dog died.  Hearing the lyrics I framed it in the same way as if I were to lose m wife and how sad and lonely that would make me as well.  Total tear-jerker.  The interview tracks aren’t really doing it for me, but I get their purpose and I feel like it’s a story I’d rather read in a book than to hear on tape ya know?  Regardless, each thing this band does is interesting to be sure.  I don’t think it’s my favorite group of songs they’ve put forth, but most of it is pretty damn good.  (Deathwish)

Some bands say they like Hum and Failure, but they can’t quite grasp it.  Shore manage to do it quite well, and add in a hefty dose of Seaweed on top of it.  So right there you have a combination of three awesome 90’s band elements that really fit quite well together.  This is only two songs, but it makes for a nice introduction to what I see as a fairly kick ass band.  Please continue. (Painter Man Records)

A record does not bode well when my first thought when this started is ‘ this sounds like the Goo Goo Dolls covering  Blink 182’.  Thankfully things got a little better by track three, when there was some neat guitar riffery near the end of the song.  Things sort of ebb and flow from there.  I’m not going to say that any of this really is what I’m into, but I’ll say this band sounds better the faster they play, and they do that about half the time.  The only other time I really found them doing something interesting was during the last song when it goes into a sort of murky post-hardcore section.  Kind of a deviation from the rest of the record in a good way. (Anchorless Records)

YAUTJA, “Songs Of Descent”
I’m getting a pretty strong early- Mastodon feel from this.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Think very hectic and over-the-top drumming, knotty riffs collapsing down on you like an avalanche, and wild part changes that go from one destructive ballast to the next before you know it.  They keep most of their songs fairly short, and I can always appreciate that.  They do a great deal of weird stop-start bits, reminiscent of some of the Melvins weirder moments…  also a great thing. (Forcefield Records)

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