CRAW reissues

March 28, 2014

 

CRAW kickstarter reissue project began this week, great idea I hope it pans out although the cost to get one of these boxsets to the UK is somewhat prohibitive. Read this interview with Will Scharf & join the Facebook page for more info. Make this happen…

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2013: Audio considered

December 31, 2013

Lester Bangs

Hadn’t realised there were only two postings made here this year, so to make it three here’s a last minute 2013 roundup. I’d also realised the first time I did one of these was in 2007. The blog was more active then but at this point there are 150+ posts so it has eventually become the resource I’ve always wanted it to. I’m guessing by this stage there are a number of dead or invalid download links. If there is something you wish to be reupped then unless you send an email I’ll never know. Onward to the releases from this year…

COLISEUM was a band I’d never really heard but their album ‘Sister Faith’  changed that. It’s straight up rocking punk with nod back to classic 90’s Touch & Go & Dischord. Nothing extraordinary but I’ll always have time for this level of passion & honesty in music. Same applies to the 6th TRAINDODGE full length ‘Supernatural Disasters’The songwriting & production is first rate with less of a focus on experimentation and more on straight up catchy rockers this time. Another band who delivered a solid collection of modern rock would be VALIENT THORR with their Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk) produced ‘Our Own Masters’. Notable mentions also got to RED FANG, KYLESAQOTSA & TOMAHAWK.  As well as drumming on the new Tomahawk album John Stanier also appears on the first MARK OF CAIN recording in over a decade. This Australian band are the nearest thing you’re likely to get to ‘Aftertaste’ period Helmet, which works for me!

There were a few reissues or reformatted collections of note in 2013 that hit on the money. The UNWOUND 3xlp set released by Numero group was exceptionally well done. Their demo, first album and live recordings repackaged with extensive liner notes on the band’s early history. The TAR 2xlp singles/misc. collection was also very well packaged & hopefully brings further attention to this now seemingly overlooked early 90s band. Speaking of which the RODAN lp collection of singles/demo/Peel session saw its overdue release this year. I’d say that the above three are essential collections for both old and new fans of early 90s independent guitar music. If you are a fan of the music that goes up on this page then waste no time in picking them up. It was good to see the lesser RUDIMENTARY PENI record ‘Pope Adrian 37th…’ get it’s first issue on vinyl as well as ‘Mama’ the first album by NO MEANS NOSouthern records doing a great job with handling both releases.

It would be difficult to pick a ‘new’ band who released an overall favourite this year but OBITS, POLVO, RED HARE all come close proving that it is possible for guys 20+ years in to still create relevant and inventive music. If it comes down to chose one standout of the year for me then RUSSIAN CIRCLES ‘Memorial’ is probably it. For an instrumental group they do a perfect job of creating and sustaining mood. The arrangements are not mathematical but textural & tastefully executed. An album I was completely unaware of until now was ‘Battlefields Forever’ by the mighty BIG BUSINESS. I’ve yet to check it out but that was my favourite album of 2013 that I’ve yet to hear! Oh shit also forgot to mention the newest VOIVOD album ‘Target Earth’ oops I thought it came out at the end of 2012! This year was very cool for seeing some great bands play live too, top ones being SAINT VITUS, NO MEANS NO, TORCHE & DEAD MEADOW. Until soonish….

EDIT: at the time of writing there were three albums released in 013 I had yet to hear that deserve mentioning. These are FEDERATION X ‘We do what we must’, EARTHLESS ‘From the ages’ and DEAD MEADOW ‘Warble womb’.

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I had totally neglected posting this… I believe it surfaced a couple of years ago but I wasn’t  aware of its existence until last year. Aside from maybe ‘Yank Crime’ demos (do such things exist??) this is the perfect thing to post here. From what I can gather this DRIVE LIKE JEHU demo is from 1990 & it contains 4 songs which would be recorded again (virtually unchanged) for their first album the following year. The formation of Jehu and the demise of Pitchfork seems to be in parallel. In Jehu, Rick Froberg also plays guitar alongside John Reis with the addition of a new rhythm section. The image is a magazine ad for the first album I had saved on my computer, click for DL

bandcamp

April 5, 2013

This page recently hit 100,000 views which is cool, it’s only taken 5 years heh. Having a stable music resource was always the main aim. The reliability of hosting sites for file sharing has changed dramatically over this time. Online music and the way it is distributed has seen a massive shift. I think it is silly to maybe pay now for hosting to share other people’s music that I don’t own. My intention was to help circulate things that were hard to find or out of print, not to give free shares to a band’s latest release. It is possible for a group to be completely independent on all levels now from conception to end result via selling on a site such as Bandcamp. I’d like to give a short list here of stuff I’ve been made aware of through this excellent facility for independent bands:

PORCH are a band from the distant past (try 20 years since a 7″ on Alternative Tentacles!) who have regrouped over recent years & have a new full length entitled ‘Walking Boss’ recorded by Tim Green. Members of this SF band have spent time in lineups of both Primus and TITD but Porch sounds like neither. Soundbite: Imagine delicate Codeine passages leading way to rumbling Karp/Unsane style pummel touched with some Melvins creativity. Recommended

Optional Body feature the former Year Future pairing of Rockey Crane and Sonny Kay. No huge suprises here and it feels like a return to the taut post punk of early Year Future. I loved that band and think it is great to hear these tracks getting an airing. What is not to like about a band featuring the guy who sang in Angel Hair & the guitarist from Dead and Gone??

Two Inch Astronaut are a relatively new band from Baltimore and they have just digitally released a single from their forthcoming album ‘Bad Brother’. Their songs take all manner of twists & turns in a similar way to that of Shudder to Think’s PXR, match this with a late 90s DC vibe and some Chavez/Shiner. An original take on this sound, in fact I’d say that if these guys were from DC it would be hard to imagine this not being released on Dischord.

Ultrasphinx are another new band featuring veteran dudes, you may recognize singer/guitarist Joe Dennis from Party of Helicopters. It’s no secret I fucking love PoH & it’s great to hear his voice again. The music is more hypnotic and rocking, sorta mathy stoner shit? I really like it

Tilts are a band featuring Andrew Elstner on vocals/guitar who you may recognize from the awesome Riddle of Steel. He is now the second guitarist in Torche which I think is the perfect choice for that band. Tilts are an absolute powerhouse of a band, unbridled rock power with power pop hooks. The songwriting is first class and nods to classic rock are all over it… Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Who, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Rolling Stones but Tilts substitute any pomposity with a subtle humor. I was lucky enough to get a physical copy, incredible band.

Holly Hunt is 2 piece featuring Beatriz Monteavaro (Floor, Cavity) on drums & guitarist Gavin Perry. An instrumental band whose main focus is riff upon riff of sludgey stoner metal. This style if done well (ie: here) is very hypnotic and avoids becoming boring I think

‘Live to Crush’ will be the last album from Seattle’s Akimbo since they have now broken up. I came pretty late to this band via their ‘Jersey Shores’ record. It’s big Karp, Young Widows, AmRep tinged noisy rock which suits me just fine at this point. This track rules…

Town Portal are a Danish instrumental band whose sound has definite elements of bands like Pitchblende, Don Cab, Meshuggah or Dysrhythmia. It is known fact that I will never be sick of this style.

Porcupine are well known on this blog and therefore need no introduction. New track from a forthcoming spit 7″ with A*STAR, great…

Godstopper I know of via a friend who is releasing the vinyl of this record. Band names that are dropped would be Harvey Milk, Torche & Mare. Good names to drop if you know what is what in original heavy music. This is the perfect opportunity to say support independent music and if you like any of these bands buy stuff. It’s a guarantee that the bands will actually see some financial compensation for their time and energy.

Magnet School had an absolutely incredible album a few years ago. They just digitally released this single as a prelude to a new album. Fans of Hum/Shiner/Swervedriver need to check these guys out, really great stuff from Austin, TX.

Last addition is the band Worms from Amherst, Massachusetts. Their rock is noisy and bass heavy like GodHeadSilo or Karp. I detect some definite Ohio influence via bands such as Party of Helicopters or even Harriet the Spy. Give their tunes a spin if you’re into this kind of vibe.

2012: AUDIO CONSIDERED

December 30, 2012

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It’s been a pretty great year for music in 2012, lots of excellent stuff came out. In fact it was probably the best for years judging by the quality of some independent records these days. Below is just a brief overview of things that caught my attention.

For me the first two standouts were SKELETON KEY’s ‘Gravity is the Enemy’ and ‘Robots Fucking’ by RETISONIC. Both really well crafted & original sounding albums from bro’s now in their 40’s who are arguably making their best music. Either band could give the most jaded listener a reason to hear that innovation in rock is not dead. Later in the year the same label (Arctic Rodeo) issued the two BURNING AIRLINES records on vinyl for the first time. The additional bonus covers were a welcomed move indeed. In keeping with another DeSoto band who never had their masterstroke on vinyl until now is SHINER with‘The Egg’. Also remastered and still sounding just as great after 20 years are the repackaged SUGAR ‘Copper Blue + Beaster’ albums. It is nice to see these records have weathered well and continue to get a rebirth.

On the noisier side of rock we have UNSANE ‘Wreck’ and bassist Dave Curran’s new band PIGS ‘You Ruin Everything’ album. The same label (Solar Flare) did a recent vinyl issue of last years album by AMERICAN HERITAGE ‘Sedentary’. Possibly the best kept secret was a repress of the SHORTY ‘Thumb Days’ full length from 1993. Armin isn’t lying when he says it is ‘one of the BEST Noise Rock albums EVER!’. I’ve no real idea who are the popular bands in hardcore these days but the new BAADER BRAINS record and JOHN HENRY WEST reissue certainly beat the hell out any passing fad. It was also perfect to see MOSS ICON finally get a well deserved retrospective this year, easily one of the original ‘emo’ bands most shrouded in mystery. One issue I have with the package though is a definitive written discography timeline. A band that when mentioned seems to be quite devisive is TRAGEDY, I realised they’d passed me by since ‘Vengeance’ nearly ten years ago now! Still releasing records through their own Tragedy records, ‘Darker Days Ahead’ has a gloomier, doom laden sound than previous. The songwriting is first class and the mid paced tempos allow tracks much more room to breathe. A hardcore ‘supergroup’ of sorts OLD MAN GLOOM come off from years of hiatus with ‘NO’ this year which I also found very enjoyable.

Dischord have been making lots of their back catalogue available again since they split with Southern a few years back. There are so many good records that went out of print it’s awesome to see them back remastered and expanded upon. They’ve slowly been repressing the Lungfish discography but this year we got something new in the form of LUNGFISH ‘A.C.R. 1999′. These tracks are studio demos of songs that would next appear on ‘Necrophones’. They also released the RITES OF SPRING 6 song demo on 10″, and something new in the form of a 7″ by ALARMS AND CONTROLS (members of Crownhate Ruin, Circus Lupus). Always good to know everything is always at a consistently high standard with this label.

Anyone missing Shiner, Chavez, Swervedriver take a heads up and check out the second album by PORCUPINE ‘The sensation of being somebody’. After the death of inhuman powerhouse drummer Jerry Fuchs the band TURING MACHINE finally released their swansong, while BARONESS had a narrow escape with disaster shortly after releasing their ‘Yellow & Green’ epic. On the subject of mortality the ALARIC/ATRIARCH split on 20 Buck Spin redefines ‘deathrock’ for the post 00’s with it’s invigorated twisting and turning. On a lighter note TORCHE filled out to a 4 piece again with second guitarist Andrew Elstner (former Riddle of Steel frontman). The resulting ‘Harmonicraft’ is a collection of very finely tuned heavy blasts with massive pop hooks.

I always look forward to any new RUSH album and ‘Clockwork Angels’ is a beast created by a group who can still run rings around guys half their age. Same can be said for the bands who’ve been treading their path for 20+ years such as MESHUGGAH with 7th album  ‘Koloss’ and VOIVOD with the ‘Live at Roadburn 2011′ which fills a gap until ‘Target Earth’ hits early 2013. There were three significant boundary pushing progressive metal releases in 2012: the first recording with Weasel Walter on drums by BEHOLD… THE ARCTOPUS and their ‘Horrorscension’, Colin Marston also showing up again on ‘Test of Submission’ by DYSRHYTHMIA (and Krallice) + finally the resurfacing of LOINCLOTH to deliver their first full length via ‘Iron balls of steel’. This more technical, mind bending approach to riffs could be seen in the ‘black metal’ groups DODECAHEDRON and DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s ‘Drought’.

The last few bits and pieces that came to my attention late in the month were James Plotkin’s JODIS project, Danish instrumental band TOWN PORTAL & HOLLY HUNT featuring an ex FLOOR drummer getting back down to business. Not heard it yet but there was the live UNWOUND record too… Here’s to 2013 bringing us even more of the same!

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