Thursday, April 1, 2021

EXHALANTS THIRD PRESSING AVAILABLE. ALSO, TEST PRESS PICTURES

 I just can't keep them around!  The third pressing of EXHALANTS, "Atonement" is now available.  300 more copies pressed onto forest green vinyl for those that like something pretty to look at while getting crushed under the sound of their music.  Copies are available at both the bandcamp as well as the bigcartel store.

International folks can also grab it through MVD.


While I'm at it, I wanted to share some pictures of the test pressing of "Atonement", from process to finished cover.  There's rarely ever more than 10 copies of any test pressing I make and half of them usually go to the band.  But it also gives me the chance to make something special for them.  The last handful of records I've released I've created test press covers using a combination of letterpress and linocut blocks.  It's all fairly time consuming, but it results in cool stuff.

So take a look at this one:









Sunday, March 21, 2021

USA NAILS INTERVIEW FROM TRANSLATE #10

 Not too long ago I published the most recent issue of Translate zine (which you can get HERE if you enjoy visually-enticing, handmade physical reading materials!).

Inside that publication is an interview I did with drummer Tom Brewins and bassist Dan Holloway of USA NAILS.  It was one of the most fun interviews I've ever done because the whole thing was basically just comparing and contrasting American versus English culture.  However, there's a good amount of stuff I had to leave out of the interview in the zine because of space constraints.  So here's the unedited version of the interview, complete with the stuff left out of the print version.  Read on and learn things you didn't know existed within both cultures.



I thought about asking some questions related to slang and you can verify whether or not these terms are in use, or if I’m completely off.

OK, so first off:  ‘sacked’  Is this a popular term or not?

 

TOM:  Yeah.  A lot of people have been getting the ‘sack’.  It’s highly popular.  We definitely used ‘sacked’

 

DAN:  I think I would use ‘sacked’ as a more joking term.  I might say ‘laid off’ instead.  Do you use that term?

 

Yeah, we say that.  What about the term ‘anorak’?  Is that common?

 

T:  Yeah, I guess so.  It’s not really a word I’d use a lot.  I suppose if I bought an anorak I’d use that word.

 

Bought one?  The way I’ve been led to understand it is that it applies to a person who is sort of geeky.

 

D:  (laughs)  Ah!  That probably comes from back in the day when these geeks would wear these anorak coats, which have all these toggles and buttons.  So I guess if you’re an anorak you’re a bit of a geek I suppose.

 

So wait, it’s a type of jacket?

 

T:  Yeah!

 

OK, so what about the term ‘bagsy’.  As in, “I call bagsy!”

 

T:  Yeah, bagsy.  Another good one is ‘cadge’, like asking something of someone- ‘can I cadge that off you?’  I think I stopped saying ‘bagsy’ when I was about 12.

 

So here we would say, ‘I call shotgun’, meaning I get the front seat in the car.

 

T:  I don’t understand why people say ‘shotgun’?

 


   

I have no idea.

 

D:  Do you think it comes from the term ‘shotgun wedding’ when the father is marching the groom to the chapel pointing a shotgun at him, or pointing the gun at him to get in the front seat to go to the chapel?

 

That’s a good theory, but I have not explored it!

 

T:  We’ll be up all night now thinking about it!

 

Do people call umbrellas ‘brolly’?

 

T:  Yeah, brolly is common.  It’s less syllables so it’s easier to say.

 

How common, or used, is the term ‘codswallop’?

 

T:  I’ve never used that.

 

Is it old-timey British, or just unpopular?

 

D:  Yeah.  It is, totally.  It’s kind of a posh way of saying things I guess.  It’s an old-type of word.

 

We don’t say ‘posh’ either.

 

T:  Something that is good for Americans to know is the difference between ‘bullocks’ and ‘dogs bullocks’.  Dogs bullocks are good, and bullocks is just shit.  I suppose it must be pleasing to see a dog with huge bullocks and that’s a good thing I guess.

 

D:  Also, if you’re shit then you’re bullocks, but if you’re The Shit you’re the dogs bullocks

 

Do people say, ‘give me a tinkle on the blower’? in regards to making a phone call.

 

D: (laughs) We’re getting into different regional dialect here!  You might find some people saying that on the East End.  You can say ‘I’ll give you a ding’, or ‘I’ll give you a bell’, which is more modern than ‘tinkle’

 

The whole thing doesn’t sound very good.

 

D:  It sounds like taking a pee.

 

It does!  And related to that, there’s the term ‘spend a penny’

 

T:  Or ‘spend a pound’

 

Is it because over there you have to pay to use public restrooms?

 

T:  It’s more like taking a shit versus taking a piss because a shit is bigger than a piss.  I mean, I guess nowadays it should be ‘spend 20p’ because of inflation and all that.

 

How about the term ‘geezer’ and it means ‘someone dapper, or distinguished’.

 

D:  Yes mate!

 

Over here it’s kind of an insult applied to old people.

 

D:  I guess it can mean the same thing here, but I think we use it as sort of a term of endearment for friends.

 

I’d always thought it weird that the guy from Black Sabbath- Geezer Butler- would have his name associated with being an out-of-touch old guy.  But it was probably his nickname for being a suave guy!

                                                            The original Geezer
 

 

T:  It may have started as that but became more of a positive term, like ‘he’s a bit of a geezer’, sort of a man about town, ya know?

 

D:  OK, how do you spell ‘aluminium’?

 

(laughs)  It’s aluminum!

 

D:  My question is more like how did we come to this impasse where we have an extra ‘i’ in there?

 

OK, why do you all say ‘contro-versy’ instead of ‘con-tro-ver-sy’?

 

D:  I guess it’s just a difference in pronunciation.

 

T:  Do you all say ‘maths’ instead of just ‘math’?

 

Do you mean mathematics? We say math.

 

T:  But do you make it plural?  Like, we say ‘maths’.  Like, ‘you’re doing your maths.’

 

No, we don’t say that.  Why would anyone pluralize that?  It’s all singular.

 

D:  It’s multiple terms.

 

I guess there are different fields of math, so I guess I see how you could pluralize it.  But we don’t here unless you’re using the entire word ‘mathematics’.

How about I name off some British foods and you can tell me if they’re relevant or not.  How about a Scotch Egg?

 

T:  Amazing.  I’ve tried multiple times to make one, but I can’t get it right.

 

D:  You have to boil an egg, then get raw pork meat, or Black Pudding.  Do you know what Black Pudding is?

 

I looked it up.  It sounds disgusting.

 

D: (laughs) So you wrap the egg up in the meat, yoke it and breadcrumb it.  Then you deep fry it and put it in the oven.  It’s really tasty.  It’s like a snack thing you just carry around.

                                            Genuine scotch egg
 

 

It sounds like something we would have here because Americans love deep fried garbage.  It sounds like something you would get at a state fair where they deep fry everything.

 

D:  We do the same here.  We deep fry anything- pizza, Mars bars, kebabs.

 

T:  I could move to the U.S. and go around selling Scotch eggs. 

 

So some stuff I looked up I’d heard of before, but I’ve never heard of Eton Mess.

 

D:  It’s like a combination of meringue, fruits like strawberries or raspberries, and cream and maybe liquor.  It’s a summer-y dish, quite nice.

 

I’d heard it’s served at sporting events?

 

D:  Maybe.  I don’t really go to sporting events.  I can’t really see football fans kicking back with some Eton Mess.

 

Yeah, it seemed like a very fancy, or formal, sort of dessert.

 

T:  Probably Wimbledon, but it’s not really as popular as you may think.

 

D:  Why do you put marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving?  Are you thankful for it?

 

A lot of people do that, but I think it’s sort of gross.  You already go the sweet potatoes.  They’re already sweet.  Why do you need marshmallows on top?  I never understood that.

 

T:  Maybe because the potatoes are healthy?  Americans have to do something to their food.

 

Yeah, we always have to mess with it.  We have to find a way to make it unhealthy.

 

T:  What do you think is the staple American cuisine?  I can’t really think of what it could be because so much of your food is adopted from somewhere else.

 

D:  Is it succotash?

 

(laughs) Ah, it’s not succotash.  That’s actually quite regional. I guess people would think hamburgers, but we got that from the Germans and pizza we got from Italy.

 

T:  Right.  Would you say it’s maybe barbecued meats?

 

That’s a good one.  I guess you could say that.  People do love barbecue out here.

 

D:  What about Hot Pockets?

 

(laughs)  Hot Pockets are just garbage food!  You just throw it in the microwave for a minute and that’s it.

 

D:  I wanted to add that it seems like Americans will put anything in a sandwich.

 

That’s true.  Except we don’t do the thing you all do where you just put a bunch of French fries between bread and call it a sandwich.  I wish we did that more here.

 

D:  Chip Butty!

 

T:  We also put what we call ‘crisps’, but you call ‘chips’ in sandwiches.  Like, “I’ll have a ham and cheese sandwich with some crisps’.  I think that’s amazing.  I think it’s just a UK thing.

 

D:  Is it true your gravy is white?

 

No, it comes in all sorts of colors.  We mix it up.

 

D:  Why is it white?

 

I don’t know.  Maybe a high starch content?  I’m not sure.

 

T:  You do biscuits and gravy?

 

Oh yeah, it’s wonderful.

 

T:  But we do more of a liquid-y gravy and yours is all thick.


 

 

So there’s a lot of stuff here that’s very regional, you only find it in certain parts of the country.  So I feel like I could throw a few at you and you can guess where they're from, or if you've even heard of them.  First off- Po Boy.

 

T:  Yes!  I’ve had one.  In New Orleans.  It comes from ‘poor boy’ because it’s cheap food people would go to eat after work right?

 

Correct!

How about Spam Musabi.

 

D:  OK, I’ve had Spam and being half-Korean I can tell you that Spam is fucking huge in Korea.  It’s a huge influence there.  I don’t know what musabi is though.

 

It’s a kind of sushi.  So it’s only in Hawaii.  Spam is also really huge in Hawaii.  It’s not very popular in the mainland US but it’s everywhere out there.

How about a Garbage Plate?

 

T:  I don’t know that, but it sounds great.

 

Extremely regional, upstate/ Western New York.  It’s macaroni salad with beans, usually hot dogs, sometimes chili, meat sauce, and mustard all thrown into a pile.

Also, from my region- salt potatoes.

 

T:  Salt potatoes?

 

Yes.  They’re small potatoes you  boil in water and then pour a bag of salt in so the salt crusts up on the potatoes as they cook and then you pour butter all over them afterwards.

 

T:  That sounds fucking amazing.

 

D:  I didn’t think there was any other way you could do potatoes, but I guess there is.

 

                                           Salt potatoes from the Salt City baby


How about Chicken and Waffles?  Do you know that one?

 

D:  Yes.  I’ve had that in Atlanta on our first tour of the U.S.

 

That would be exactly where you would find such a thing.

 

D:  It’s not really what I wanted for breakfast, eating fried chicken first thing in the morning.  Mine had syrup and fried eggs as well.

 

T:  I wondered, do you put cheese on toast?  Like a grilled cheese sandwich?

 

Yeah, that’s a very common thing here.

 

T:  But you don’t make it on a grill right?  You make it in the frying pan.

 

I guess I never thought of that.  Grilled cheese is cooked in a pan usually.

 

T:  My girlfriend is from America and she sometimes calls it ‘cheese toast’

 

I’ve never heard ‘cheese toast’ referring to a grill cheese sandwich.

 

D:  This isn’t about food, but why do radio stations there all start off with letters?

 

Oh, those are call letters.  I don’t know why they’re there exactly.  I know it’s a form of identification, just like airports all have codes, like Portland is PDX and New York has JFK.  But I don’t know what radio stations call letters actually mean.

 

D:  Another difference, and I’m just sort of mocking it, but why do you celebrate the 4th of July on the 7th of April?

 

What?  Oh, you mean the way we arrange dates?  Like 7-4 to us is the 4th of July, but you’d see that as the 7th of April.  I think it’s because of the way we say the date- it’s July 4th, so 7-4, but I get what you mean about arranging the date in order of day, month, year.

I think it’s the same reason we do a bunch of backwards shit out here.  We have no common sense.

 

D:  I think Americans observe what we do and then just switch it around to differentiate  themselves.

 

Yeah, we need to just be different.  It’s why we refuse to convert to the metric system.  We just have to be rebellious.

Speaking of customs, tell me about Morris dancing.  Is that a thing over there?

 

D:  A friend of mine is a Morris dancer.  It’s got a bit of a resurgence, but it’s more of a folk thing.  This friend of mine has been a Morris dancer for ages, so I guess it’s still a thing.  I don’t know much else about it.

 

When I looked it up I saw a couple pictures and I realized that there was a group who did this back where I lived in NY and they would wear the white outfits with bells on them and flowers and they would dance in this neighborhood black party sort of thing we would have every year and I never knew what it was all about.

What about Swan Upping?  Do you know it.

 

T:  Swan Upping?

 

D:  Is it when we get flooding here in the UK people come out and they lift the swans up even higher?

 

(laughs)  No, apparently it’s a census that is taken of the swan population because the Queen owns all the swans in England.

 

T:  Ah ok.  It’s illegal to kill a swan in the UK.  The Queen can do it.  She can go out and kill all the swans she wants to because she owns all of them.

 

Another thing I find odd is that in your newspapers it’s totally normal to just find a page dedicated to topless models.  

 

T:  It’s the Page 3 girl.  When I was kid I had a paper route.  And  Sundays is when they would print that page in the newspaper, so it would always take me about two hours longer to deliver all my papers that day because it was quite popular.

That was a paper called The Sun, which was quite an institution.

 

D:  It’s a shitty publication though.

 

T:  It’s trash.  They can’t really do it much anymore though because it’s becoming a bit socially not cool.

 

We don’t really do that in American newspapers.  In fact, we don’t really have all that many newspapers anymore either.

 

T:  Yeah, it wouldn’t be in the high-end newspapers here.  It’s in the trashy papers.

 

  

 

 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

GET READY FOR THESE MARCH REVIEWS!

 I used to hate March.  I would, every year without fail, recall that Simpsons picture of Homer walking past the misprinted calendar that said 'Smarch' because it sounds ugly and that month was always ugly for me.  It was always like that last, slush-filled, one-last-blizzard, gross hurrah of Winter that refused to let go and it's such a long month as well.

Well, now I friggin' love this month because it's already springtime here in Oregon and it's where you really start experiencing some nice weather, longer days, and everything is in bloom.  It's great.

How does any of that at all relate to a bunch of reviews I have here?  Maybe it's that I felt this year had kind of a slow start for music, but all of a sudden there's a bunch of cool stuff happening out there, just like this season.  So here's some of it for you to chew on.  Dig it.


BLACK BLACK, THE, “Careful On Your Way Out”

The cover of this record makes me think it’s some Gainesville Fest emo/pop-punk sort of thing.  Instead, it’s kind of sassy rock n’ roll with synths and lyrics that speak to corrupt institutions from a pack of dudes in Brooklyn.  It’s not really my lane because I don’t really ‘get’ dance-y synth rock, but I will say that side B starts out on a strong note with “Enemies”.  That particular track has a powerful bass sound and the synth parts are a bit more interesting and have a, for lack of a better term, sinister feel to them.  It gives things more of a post-punk feel than anything else.  However, I can’t really get behind the rest as it’s just not the sort of thing I go for.  But if you do enjoy this sort of thing act quick- they made only like 100 of these records, which seems insane to me considering how much it must cost just to press up 100 total.  (EWEL Records)

 

EYEHATEGOD, “A History Of Nomadic Behavior”

Talk about a band that continues to take one beating after another and just channels it back into making ugly, spiteful music.  By all accounts, given how many times Mike IX Williams should have died I’m pretty sure he is the Highlander and ought to claim The Prize from Keith Richards.  There can only be one.  Eyehategod is pretty much it.  On their second record after a long hiatus the New Orleans lifers continue on the path I feel was laid out on their last (self-titled) record.  There is definitely a first half of Eyehategod, that being their initial run with the band, and a second half, being what they have done in the last 7 years or so.  It really has more to do with the engineering and production on their newer material versus their older material.  And stuff like that boils down to basically newer studio technology.  That’s really the only difference.  It certainly makes for a ‘cleaner’ sounding recording, which turns off many long time fans used to their raw and dirty approach (which certainly suits the band very well).  And while Eyehategod has had its share of member changes over the years most of those were a rotating cast of tight friends and musical accomplices so the sound remained consistent.  The current iteration on this record is the core of Williams on vocals and Jimmy Bowers laying down the riffs.  I’m not sure how the new(er) rhythm section fits in with their musical family tree but they do the job well.  In terms of what to expect- ya know, the perfected mix of Black Sabbath face-peeling sludge and later-era Black Flag noisy feedback hell.  Of course, Williams particular brand of potent, vicious poetry screamed with all the disdain of a man who has several lifetimes of fucked up experiences to unload is half the weight of this massive record.  There’s a little bit more on the clean guitar side of things on some leads, particularly on “The Trial Of Johnny Cancer” and the following, almost interlude, track “Smoker’s Piece”.  Those brief bits aside, the rest is the bottom-feeding sludge avalanche and damaged spite you’ve come to love/fear/feel filthier for having listened to that you expect from these degenerates (and I mean that in the most endearing way possible).  I dare Century Media to sell this record at a reasonable price.  (Century Media)

 

FALL SILENT, “You Knew I Was Poison”

Fall Silent were one of those 90’s bands that doesn’t really get the credit they deserve.  They released a handful of records that pushed the metalcore tag into some next-level playing, which (in my opinion) peaked with their incredible record “Superstructure”.  I still would put it in the top 5 late 90’s metalcore records, though the band probably doesn’t really dig that label.  They’re hardcore kids who love thrash, death metal, and unbelievable heavy breakdowns minus any semblance of growling cookie monster vocals.  It’s great.  After that record the band went on to create music that relied more on playing blindingly fast, but still kept the variety of elements that made them unique before splitting up in the early 2000’s.  And then in 2017 they rather inexplicably returned with a new 7”, pretty much picking up right where their last thrash-influenced record left off.  I never really figured on these dudes doing a reunion, but here we are and now they have an entire new full length (even though 2 of the songs are from that 2017 7” leaving 6 new tracks) and it’s a great addition to their already solid catalog.  The emphasis in these songs is still fast and thrashy with death metal-ish breakdowns and Levi Watson’s jabs at religion, garbage humans, and Reno with his high-pitched shout/scream, though I feel like there are more ripping guitar solos than before.  I think my favorite tracks here are the last two- “Destroyer Of Worlds” and “The South Virginia Street Death March”- as they both have the classic Fall Silent combination of shredding fast parts, quick transitions, and super heavy, but creatively played breakdown parts.  And that insert image of Jesus lighting a crackpipe with a sacred heart?  It’s just (kisses fingers) chef’s kiss.  But where’s the bonus 80’s hard rock cover song? (Revelation)

 

GREAT FALLS/ THROES  split7”

If you dig crazy, chaotic metallic hardcore/noisecore here’s a split that will easily appeal to the dust off-huffing reprobate in you (and who doesn’t have that side to them?).  Great Falls are peak in their little corner of extreme music and offer a track that errs on the more emotionally-wrenching end of their catalog with a slow bass-and-vocals dominated first half of the song and an explosive second half that sounds like the part of Neurosis songs where they decide to wreck the universe.  I tell ya, Demian has that voice that can just slice you in half.  He could be yelling a breakfast recipe and it would sound like he’s getting his friggin’ heart ripped out each and every time.  Throes is a semi-new band formed by members of the sonically similar Bone Dance.  They give us two songs of crazy metallic absurdity that has an Engineer sort of quality to the vocals where they remain a single-style blast throughout while the music gets a little too riff salad at times.  Yet when the band hones in on a repeating riff they get all Mjolnir and the thunder is delivered. (DroppingBombs)

 

GROUPIE, “Ephemeral”

Imagine, if you will:  it’s a sunny day out and you decide to skip work because it’s the first time in a few weeks where it hasn’t been raining.  It’s not hot out, but you can get away with not wearing a jacket, so you go for the Heart ¾ sleeve you inherited from your parents closet.  Sunglasses go on, you grab the dog leash, and you and your best pal (AKA, the dog) go for a walk down to the riverfront park.  What are you listening to?  This band Groupie makes music suitable for such an occasion.  The press photo makes it look as if they’re blazing solos straight from an Ex-Hex show, but they are considerably more chill for the most part.  It’s fairly straightforward power pop/rock that goes low key because the members are secretly part of a bike gang or something.  (HandstandRecords)

 

NO ESCAPE, “Selective Punches” EP

Here’s an unexpected one.  No Escape were a blip on the hardcore radar back in the early 90’s and didn’t have a huge output.  27 years later they decide ‘let’s make some music’.  Why not right?  What I enjoyed about No Escape was they were a bit of an anomaly back in the early 90’s with their hardcore that, to me, felt like it wasn’t afraid to add heavy, grungy groove as a base with the hardcore placed on top.  It made it all sound more menacing and dirty.  Given that most hardcore of the time was either stuck in fast, youth crew leftovers or moving towards mosh-y metallic Slayer worship No Escape probably made more than a few East Coast heads scratch their bleached hair in bewilderment.  So how do they sound as men (likely) in, or approaching, their 50s?  Pretty much exactly the same, just with a much better recording on these 6 new songs.  It’s really great stuff, with Tim Singer’s patented regular-guy-whose-lost-his-marbles barking and ranting over it all.  I’d say his vocal style back in the original No Escape was a little more straightforward (his style really emerged full-fledged in Deadguy), but this plays to the method he’s most known for.  Those chunky riffs are still all over this thing, as is the mean-spirited groove, but you will certainly find plenty of hardcore as well (particularly on the faster-paced “Everything You Need”).  Even now it’s not as if the world finally caught up and now easily understands No Escape.  They still seem to be in their own bubble, but it sounds really good to me.  (Hellminded)

 

PORCUPINE, “The Sybil” EP

In their relatively short time Chicago’s Porcupine have released a bevy of demos, EPs, and splits and in the mix of all their noise they have managed to cover Deadguy, Swans, and Suicide while they’re at it so right away I’m on board.  And on this new recording you get six more furious beatings of chaotic hardcore, fast and unrelenting, where it sounds as if part of the studio experience involved throwing their instruments at the mixing board while the tape was rolling.  I imagine there may have been some blood shed in the process.  It certainly sounds that way.  The influences of the band are clear, but not in a way that apes other groups sounds.  It’s the same way that Deadguy was often lumped into metalcore, but is indebted far more to the reckless- yet calculated- chaos of Black Flag.  The influence is more in spirit and I can appreciate that about this band.  The first half of the EP races by with one dirge after another and then takes a brief turn with the short (but chunky) sample-laden lurking riff of “Beyond the Pale” before exploding into the blast beat-riddled “Unauthorized” that soon bursts into a wild, bouncing groove section that suddenly collapses upon itself in the best possible example of the extremes this band takes to achieve beautiful sonic violence.  Quite an impressive recording I must say!  (NewMorality)

 

RITUAL ATROPHY demo

Promising smorgasbord of punch-you-in-the-face-then-road-haul-you-through-shrapnel medley of metal, crust, and grind.  Growled cave-monster vocals dole out screeds against police, bigots, racists, and other societal cancers as they’re backed up by grinding, almost black metal-ish blasts with the occasional slower part and a hint of stadium crust, a la Tragedy.  It all blends together well though and the track “Inherited Hatred” shows off this blend of styles best.  But be warmed basement dwellers- there’s not a dread-mullet among them and a couple of these guys even have male-pattern baldness!  Quick, someone cry out ‘false!’(self-released)

 

THIRDFACE, “Do It With a Smile”

This may be one of the most illegible-looking records I’ve ever seen and you’d never know that they’re a ripping hardcore band from Tennessee by the cover and not either a) a Crom-Tech tribute, or b) an artifact from an alien civilization.  I will say, though, their vicious take on hardcore is otherworldly (see what I did there).  Their power lies in the gnarled, dominating bass sound, which is only equaled by the primal and ferocious scream of vocalist Kathryn Edwards.  Yet, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that while the aforementioned qualities make for an energized sound it’s the wild song structures that separate Thirdface from the pack.  Perhaps similar in terms of the curveballs thrown by the likes of Punch, but minus as much of the fastcore blitz, Thirdface don’t rely on just fast part-mosh part- bridge- fast part, color-by-numbers hardcore.  They switch it up as much as they want and their songs are short enough to keep the various twists and turns from becoming too overburdened.  Their original approach to hardcore is very welcome as it is a genre that can easily become formulaic and boring through lack of creativity.  Thirdface is adept at laying down the elements of hardcore that make it fun and aggressive for any fan of this style to enjoy, but adding enough outside-the-box ideas to push it forward to the next level.  (Exploding In Sound)