Sunday, July 29, 2018


It's been a couple years, but here's a new issue of TRANSLATE, the long-running zine that occurs basically whenever I feel like it. This issue is primarily about moving to the Pacific Northwest and all the fun that comes with it. Stories of transitioning out of an entire life lived in New York and the months leading up to the big move, and the resultant story of the move itself, adjusting to life in a much bigger and less grumpy city, as well as the cartoons/visual art and jack-assery that accompanies basically everything else I do. 32 pages of stuff for your eyes wrapped in a two-sided, multi-layered letterpress cover.  Some of the covers were printed on reflective silver paper, the rest on a heavyweight yellow stock.  Fancy!  Roll the dice, see which one you get.  Order now:

Thursday, July 26, 2018


So when I was back in NY I wasn't really all in on summer because it got so grossly humid.  But I dealt with it because it sure as hell beat Winter.  Now that I'm in Oregon, where the Winter really isn't rough at all can I just say I'm still not that into Summer?  Like, it doesn't get humid out here really at all.  But man, it gets hot.  So instead of actually going out and doing stuff I'm attempting to keep my fragile skin from getting flayed and just power-listening through lots of records/music/things/whathaveyou.  And that leaves me time to write about it all as well.  So yeah, take a gander at what's crossed my path these last few weeks and investigate it for yourself.

BULGING, “Spaces”
Composed of members of Birmingham’s stellar NULL, Bulging pines a similar sonic terrain though I’d say a bit more loose and weird.  While NULL basks in slower, repetitive heavy mantras Bulging works in angular melodies, a touch of late 90’s Dischord oddity, and a bit of lo-fi.  But they still keep it fairly slow and, at times, kind of heavy, with areas of vocal repetition.  It’s definitely a record that makes you a bit uneasy listening to, like there’s something kind of sinister and weird lurking beneath the otherwise cool songs going on here.  “Song #8” is the most upbeat of the bunch with it’s breezy melody that eventually breaks into a Hoover-esque sort of blown-out chorus.  I’m not sure what to reference with this as it reminds me of a few things that don’t at all go together, but it fits into it’s own little compartment.  Slow, odd, melodic, lurking, sorta heavy, some bits of slower no-wave weirdness, but still catchy and entertaining?  Bulging, look into it, get weird.  (self-released)

BUMMER, “Holy Terror”
Get ready to get pulverized by an endless barrage of riffs.  Bummer, who surprisingly do not come from some remote hellscape (well, maybe Kansas City might be hell-ish), sure do have a lot of pent up aggression for three seemingly easy-going Midwesterners.  However, this is music meant for totally directionless pothead heshers who stay awake for three days at a time raging as hard as humanly possible and want to explore the other end of aggressive music that isn’t Municipal Waste.  So before the inevitable tidal wave of vomit comprised entirely of stale beer, moldy pizza, probably some guys class ring swallowed on a dare, and a punch card eaten in protest of working comes spewing forth this record needs to be the soundtrack of everything that comes before that.  Every Time I Die minus the metalcore?  Breather Resist without all the math-y parts, but just as chaotic?  The soundtrack for smashing beercans on your forehead after power bombing on your skateboard off a parking garage and puking into a dumpster.  I fucking love this record.  (Learning Curve)

CHRMR, “Respective Orbits”
This is totally on me, but I just assumed this Rochester, NY band was named after the Breather Resist album of the same name, which lead me to think they sounded like that.  Nothing could really be further from truth and it’s sort of fucking me up trying to justify why this group sounds like something completely different.  I’m learning to live with it.  Featuring ex-members of local heavyweights Sulaco this group takes a somewhat different approach, which is primarily in the vocals. So imagine some of the more modern vibes going on with Baroness and Mastodon, sludge-ify it by about 30% and add completely sung vocals.  It’s overall pretty heavy music, but has a sort of mainstream-ish appeal at times because of those vocals and some of the melodic tendencies going on.  I’m going to say though, the vocals- they’re just not doing it for me. Not into it.  Some of the music is executed wonderfully and has a very epic, sludgy heaviness to it that reminds the listener of that Sulaco connection, and just good, heavy music in general.  This is only 6 songs but it clocks in at close to half an hour so it may as well be a full length.  (self-released)

HUNDREDS OF AU, “Communications Link Re-established”
You can take the boy out of New Jersey but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the boy.  That’s the classic old saying, right?  No?  So what.  I’m going with it.  For as long as I can remember my man Tom Schlatter has been hashing it out in numerous New Jersey bands, some more known than others, and he certainly has his own style.  Sure, it owes a lot to old Ebullition Records material and chaotic emo of the mid-late 90’s, but now when I hear modern bands that take a page from that style (think Touche Amore and certain parts of Converge for more well-known, albeit not-quite-on-the-nose, comparisons) I kind of think of various NJ miscreants laying the groundwork for a lot of that.  Having moved up to the wasteland of Albany, NY Schlatter started Hundreds Of Au with a different lineup that released a decent demo, but it kind of sputtered out fairly quick.  Enter a handful of dudes from New Jersey to re-invigorate the project and Hundreds Of Au now has this 9-song CD that races by in about 17 minutes, and it’s quite good.  So yes, if 90’s-styled fast, passionate, screamed aggressive emo that gets chaotic while still finding a hook and melody from time to time is your thing this ought to scratch that itch quite nicely.  And then you have to write a 9 page essay to HeartattaCk about how the ‘itch’ ‘scratched’ was ‘metaphorical’ and you would never really aim to do harm to your own skin. (Middleman Records)

Dom Romeo continues his reign over the Integrity camp with several more songs that focus heavily on the thrash/Japanese hardcore worship, mixed with some serious evil metal.  Sure, Integrity is already sort of known for that, but the more breakdown-heavy hardcore that comprises a lot of their material is pretty much abandoned on this split.  I’m not much of a metal guy really, but I think one of the songs on this side is a cover, but I’m not certain.  Krieg I’m not too familiar with because they’re typically considered a black metal band and I’m definitely not into black metal by and large.  However, Krieg sound more like just, ya know, regular metal with vocals recorded in some old cave or sewer.  They break out a new song, an older song, and a live track on their side.  Some of it works, some of it gets kind of dull after a bit.  But, you know, it’s evil.  Hail Satan.  (Relapse)

JAY JAYLE, “No Trail and Other Unholy Paths”
I’m always amazed at how Evan Patterson can work within a genre (or subgenre) and just completely master it, whether it’s the math-y hardcore of National Acrobat and Breather Resist, or switching gears to simplified heavy amp/pedal worship noise rock in Young Widows, and now something completely different with Jaye Jayle.  What started as a solo project that evolved into a pretty serious band, things started as primal dark, dusty desert tunes infused with bits of Americana and blues.  But man oh man, this new record just blows everything else they have done to date out of the water.  Things still retain a repetitive, trance-like simplicity, but mixed into the dark folk is almost industrial-sounding krautrock and vibed-out synthesizers, occasional saxophone bleating, plenty of back-up vocals and a confidence that sets a tone of eerie loneliness.  As David Yow would say, “like dust with boots on”…  this is kind of that and Jaye Jayle have really unleashed an excellent record that draws you in and leaves you all alone in the middle of nowhere.  They have really gained a mastery of whatever it is that they’re doing and with each stylistic change that Patterson goes through in his various musical outfits I’m happy to be along for the ride as a fan.  (Sargent House)

OVLOV, “Tru”
They were around for awhile, did some very Dinosaur Jr sounding records, split up hard, and now they’re back together doing more very Dinosaur Jr sounding music.  So there’s nothing wrong with that. OK, so that’s oversimplifying it a bit.  But it does have some strong Dino Jr vibes happening.  And there’s also plenty of lo-fi, fuzzed-out beyond your wildest shoegaze-y dreams jams, some chill indie rocking a la bands like Teenage Cool Kids, and just a hint of synth thrown in here and there for good measure.  While things feel all ‘coasting down a dream’ contemplative and driving on songs like “Stick”, and then get quiet-to-loud Sonic Youth freak-out on “Tru Punk”, and go full blown-out speakers with the speedy and dense “Fast G”, it’s album closer “Grab It From the Garden” which shows Ovlov in a form that very much suits them- slow and thunderous crushes of Hum-esque distortion and pretty melodies amongst the lush rock this band has turned out on past records.   It’s quite an excellent return to form for these Connecticut cats and I for one am glad to see them back in action.  They have made quite an exceptional return, even if the band was put to bed for only a couple years before re-emerging.  (Exploding In Sound)

Heavy grunge.  Nirvana worship slowed down to early 90’s Melvins speed for much of the record.  Add to that some second tier picked-over forgotten grunge major label casualties in the melody department and you get a fair assessment of how Pretty Please sounds, whom I guarantee were barely kids when the era they are cherry picking from was occurring.  I’m hardly bashing this though.  I’m pretty into it.  I’m kind of surprised how well they get the era nuances down pat.  “Milk Steak” pines Nirvana’s “Big Long Now” hard for a dip into B-side territory, while “It Pays To Complain” moves fast enough to make up for the syrupy pace of many of the other tracks here.  “Valentine” goes for a creepy-late-night-stalker-creeping-in-the-bushes vibe that for whatever reason- and I swear I mean nothing negative by this- reminds me of Filter meets the Toadies.  Honestly, I think it may be my favorite track on this.  Really, this is good stuff.  I’m enjoying it thoroughly and you ought to as well.  (self-released)

SUPERTHIEF, "Eating Alone In My Car" EP
After some buzz with several releases over the last couple years Austin’s Superthief returns with a new EP of bizarre noise rock goodness.  Think the serpentine bass of Jesus Lizard, snarky, snarled vocals a la Albini, and grating, knotty guitar work that lurks as well as it annihilates.  Things start off with a tense, yet propulsive tempo on “Gone Country” before going into the more dirge-y and gruff “6 Months Blind”.  “Woodchipper” flies right by in just over a minute of damaged hardcore fury.  “Eating Alone In My Car” is a stop-start grooving piss take on, well, I guess the weird awkwardness of eating alone in your car.  It’s weird, pissed-off, and heavy and ya know, I guess I can relate.  “Swaggy” closes out the EP with an ultra-tense diatribe into a swampy mess before wrapping up with several minutes of a repetitive bass riff that will stick with you until you’re beyond annoyed with it.  I love the crazy tension, wild energy, and messy yet cohesive damage being created by this group.  (Learning Curve)