Sunday, August 26, 2018


That's right.  Summer's done.  It went fast. Get used to it.  But before that warm breeze gently blows across your brow one last time before it's time to bundle up a whole slew of crazy shit shoved it's way into my earholes and now it can cram it's filthy sounds into yours as well.  This stuff ought to keep you warm.
This is one heck of a debut LP from this Texas group.  They haven’t been together long, but their mastery of some serious mid-era Unwound vibes, combined with a “Scattered, Smothered.”-era Unsane sense of feedback/distortion cacophony is pretty fucking impressive.  They move from loose and scatterbrained angular melody to riffy punk, to all out blown-out chaos (like in closing track “And I’ll Take You To a Quiet Place”), and into rhythmic dirges (“Unshut”).  The first half of the record leans more on the noisy/melodic Unwound/Sonic Youth style, particularly on album halfway point “If Only”, a drawn out slow burner that twists and turns through areas of weird melodies and heavily distorted ring-outs.  Things pick up more steam on the second side with more chunky and direct rippers including album stand-out “Bow Yr Head” and the aforementioned “Unshut”.  Once again, I’m super impressed with this fairly new band coming right out the gate like this with such a strong album.  Well done.  Come tour out west please.  Bring all that wild noise with you.  (Self Sabotage Records)

HAAN, “By the Grace Of Blood and Guts”
It’s been four years since NYC’s Haan came charging out with their debut EP “Sing Praises”.  What have they been up to between then and their freshly released debut LP?  I would probably guess drawing and assembling the 100 page book that comes with the record.  I have no clue what they could do to fill 100 pages of a book when their LP clocks in at around 40 minutes, but they found a way, so hats off to them.  This band also plays music, so I should probably get to that.  Haan’s musical lane is probably sticking to the right because they play pretty slow for the most part.  They’re the 18-wheeler barreling down the freeway, carrying a trailer packed with drums full of sludge.  You can pass them, but give them plenty of space before doing so.  To be more specific though, Haan create dense and rhythmic sludge metal with vocals that fall somewhere on the more aggressive side of Clutch’s Neil Fallon.  It fits pretty well with the music and is quite front and center with the overall sound of the band.  Midway point “Zero Day” really drags out the slow and mean vibe before going into the more upbeat and slightly Helmet-esque ripper “The Woke”.  The next track, “Hangdog” kind of finds a good balance between some upbeat distorted sledgehammering and the syrupy sludge they roll with for the majority of the record and it’s probably the strongest track here.  In comparison to the previous outing this is a more polished, thought out record from a band that had a few years to work it out. However, I gotta say I’m slightly more partial to “Sing Praises” just because it sounds more raw and scrappy.  But hey, you get a fuckin’ book with this record, so why complain right?  (Aqualamb Records)

JESUS PIECE, “Only Self”
I was initially interested in Jesus Piece early on because they had a cool name and interesting imagery to go with their band.  However, I kind of wrote their earlier material off as being generally beatdown-oriented with a few random blast beats thrown in to mix things up.  I’m glad to see the band has grown a bit and have returned with a metallic-leaning moshy album of solid songs worthy of the hype that has been heaped upon them.  Once again there is cool artwork to go with this that looks like it could have come from some 90’s industrial band.  There’s even a few spots where some soundscape experimentation is going on, particularly in the last two tracks on the record.  Musically though, throughout the rest of the other 8 tracks you get a solid mix of a less technical Burnt By the Sun, a healthy smattering of Turmoil, and maybe even a little bit of Buried Alive in the few faster sections.  “Adamant” is a pretty killer track, but why did they have to go and name it after some 80’s pop icon?  (Southern Lord)

NOTHING, “Dance On the Blacktop”
I have not really found Nothing to be all that interesting after their first album.  And I certainly don’t mean that in a, ‘the demo was better’ nose-in-the-air cool guy sort of way.  I genuinely feel like since “Guilty Of Everything” all the band’s music sounds like what I assume taking a mega dose of valium and then nodding off in a white noise chamber feels like.  And I also imagine if the band were reading this they would take that as a compliment.  I feel like their output has become more flat and takes less chances musically, while the vocals are so washed out that the whole thing is akin to sitting through an all day work place training on blood borne pathogens, complete with a 100-slide powerpoint presentation.  At some point, you’re going to nod off and not feel all that great about it.  “You Wind Me Up” is about as energetic as the band gets here, with its upbeat tempo and play-by-the-numbers indie shoegaze rock formula.  It’s a pretty decent tune.  But I’ll be damned if I can tell anything else apart on this record.  It’s like having a snack of white bread with some water on the side.  (Relapse)

POST/BOREDOM, “Shaking Hands With Clients” cassette EP
Don’t be deceived by the way this Seattle-area band spells out their name.  This is not a split.  It’s just one band and I’m really not sure why they do it this way.  Disclaimer aside, this is a pretty exceptional second release, above and beyond their initial demo.  On here Post/Boredom knock out four new semi-long ragers and one instrumental/interlude.  “Cologne Jones” starts things off with a kick of grungy, sludgy, grimy post-hardcore.  The next track, “Enhance Your Calm” takes a slightly more melodic, sort of Majority Rule-ish approach before getting back into more rhythmic and chunky hardcore with “Kilometers Davis”.  The final track, “Hetfield/Ulrich”, takes a few turns by opening with a very close approximation of “Here Comes Dudley” by Jesus Lizard before going into a more chaotic early Breather Resist-style thing for the middle of the song and then closing out with a slow and epic dirge that wouldn’t be out of place in later-era Unbroken.  All this is carried by vocalist Rachel Lynch’s strained howl, reciting lyrics that read more like short stories about amnesia, unsolved murders, cowboys burning down towns before riding out into the dust, and transcendentalism (or maybe alien abductions?).  I very much look forward to whatever this group comes up with from here on out.  (Casino Trash)

I can get down with bands that play slow but Primitive Man plays, like, way too slow for my taste.  I get it though- tune really low, pile on distortion and feedback until the speaker cones in your stereo disintegrate, and then just punch a chord really hard for a few minutes.  Oh, and run your vocals through a woodchipper.  Do this for 10 minutes per ‘song’ and it equals really heavy right?  Ehhhh….  Harsh?  Most definitely.  But my personal taste involves truly heavy music typically having a bit more energy and a few more notes.  Seismic tremors being heralded by a tortured cave monster doesn’t really do it for me.  Unearthly Trance, compared to Primitive Man, may as well be the Bad Brains in ’82 in terms of speed and brevity of song length.  They still keep it fairly slow, but add a punishing groove to their metallic, sludgy onslaught, particularly on the track “Reverse the Day”, which adds disorienting psychedelic droning over the crushing heaviness.  They close out their side with a post-apocalyptic noise track that I could do without.  I dig Unearthly Trance but I can’t hang with Primitive Man.  (Relapse)

Despite owing a debt of gratitude to all J. Robbins bands past and present (particularly in the vocals), and some jaunty and pulverizing rhythms to pile on top of those surface influences there is still something distinctly Chicago about Sewingneedle.  I can’t really describe why because there are such a variety of excellent bands that have emerged from that scene.  And I’ve listened to a lot of them.  And still something about this band’s underlying sound says ‘Chicago’ without me even having to look up their residence.  Maybe it’s because I’m also reminded of their 90’s hometown brethren Traluma- that hard-rocking Midwestern indie style with a sort of dour and moody side to the otherwise upbeat and exciting rock.  I really quite enjoy this.  There’s enough angular and off-beat riffing to appease fans of Dischord and Touch and Go output as there is the occasional distortion-heavy sludge that closes out mid-way point “Feel Good Music” and the chorus of “Philistine”, not to mention the wait-for-it ending of closing track “Credits” to appeal to those hoping for something a bit more on the crushing side.  I’m glad to have found out about this group, it’s a pleasing surprise.  (Aerial Ballet Records)

TILE, “Come On Home, Stranger”
A fuckin’ crusher.  It’s been way too long since this band did a record.  And they have been hyping this one up for almost a year now, teasing (like in December) ‘new record… in August’.  So seasons pass, people grow older, other people die, and finally, like some distant speck on the horizon eking forward ever so slowly…  finally…  the new Tile LP is within reach.  Was it worth the wait?  That depends.  Do you enjoy the audio equivalent of a steamroller crushing your bones to dust as you’re melted into, and eventually under, hot asphalt, becoming one with all the dirt and rocks, and black tar?  If so, then yes, totally worth the wait.  Tile comes rushing into things with menacing opening track “Change the World” followed by the equally upbeat “Swing Away”.  Typically this band tends to keeps it slow and crushing so opening this record with two faster songs is quite the statement of intent for them.  Things settle more into sludgy and salty (and by that I mean East Coast grouchy) mode by the time they get to “Father”.  They turn off the distortion for a bit with “Flammable Human”, but then close out the A-side by straight up just killing you- I mean violently murdering without remorse- and everything within shouting range, with the aptly named “I’ll End You”.  If you happen to make it to the B-side without being mortally wounded you can experience the joy of the extremely Torche-esque ripper “Play Safe”.  You get a few more fast-paced songs before things slide back into neanderthal-riff territory with “Lard Rats”.  And then it just gets slower, uglier, and weirder from there.  The band really nailed it here.  They sound tighter, heavier, better recorded and realize their Pissed Jeans-meets-Floor style with more songs than their last record, each one a ripper.  An easy contender for favorite record of the year right here.  (Limited Appeal Records)

Sunday, August 19, 2018


NULL return with their second LP, "Act Of Love", a meditation on heavy psych, droning heaviness, and repetitive chants in 8 songs. Underscoring the haunting melodies formed by trance-like guitar lines and sung vocals is a swamp-thick sludgy bass tone, created by fuzzed-out synth and pounding drums. NULL feature members of punk champs Coliseum but appeal more to fans of groups like Lungfish, Om, and Cloakroom.
The band has spent a couple years honing the sounds on this record after their initial LP, as well as a string of splits with bands such as Self Defense Family and Husband Stitch. They have toured far and wide and will continue to tour throughout the summer and 2018.

They have debuted the first song from the LP, "Waste", which you can hear now at New Noise Magazine, along with a small write-up about the band and the song.  But if you don't like reading any more than you have to you can also get a listen to it right here as well:

Once you're finished getting zoinked out of your skull from that use your remaining facilities to order the new record, on LP (your choice of white or black vinyl), or CD, or digital by going HERE or HERE.

*If you're international try going ordering through MVD because you will probably get a better shipping rate than I can afford.  Just sayin'.