I did more book reading this year than music listening but I can say the best show I have seen in the recent past was Akitsa in NYC – total outsiders and brutal and committed, really amazing. I don’t know too much about them but can say they are French Canadian and rule, like some kind of Flipper/Godflesh rhythm section led by Diamanda Galas manly black metal. Thats live at least. They put records out on Hospital Productions along with other labels.
Also Lau Nau at Issue Project Room was incredibly beautiful – rare that you see songs performed that are so surprising and elusive. Totally magical. I’m not one for music adjectives or word descriptions but I could say Lau Nau is a Finnish singer songwriter who lives on an island. She comes from a quiet snow bound domestic existence and her songs reflect that: delicate, subdued and solemn. She played with a Finnish film behind her, and it was the best pairing of music and film i’ve seen in a long time. She puts records out on Locust.
I love the Circle of Ouroborus new records, beautiful weird work, and the singer is like a stoner Mark E Smith fronting a metal band. This Finnish experimental black metal band put out lots of records (ten LPs, nine EPs, seven splits and seven demos since 2006 !) with lots of different feels.
My biggest kick of the last week or so has serious meditating on the greatness that was Royal Trux. I was going to write just about them but didn’t want to write about an old band! But I loved them when I was a kid and have been thinking about them a lot lately. They totally changed my life, and for that, I owe them a big Gracias!
This is an interview with Hayes who runs Perennial Records from Olympia Washington. They put out great records from the scene up there. I wanted to see how it was run, how the collective consciousness in OLY was going, and just catch up with a friend. Enjoy.
Perennial MP3s selected by Jub of the french punk printed zine Freak Out!
Two weeks ago, OSR tapes put out the first album of Better Psychics, twenty tracks of collaborative live mixing between Chris Weisman and Zach Phillips of Blanche Blanche Blanche, both international ambassadors of Brattleboro, Vermont. It kind of sounds like a blend of early Psychic TV albums and Sebadoh cassettes, with sprinkles of woodsy experimental folk and acousmatic bossa nova on top. (it’s outstanding). I never buy cassettes, as the closest tape player i could use is in the old family car, but I pre-ordered theirs as an inticement to finally get my driver’s licence and drive around while blissfully listening to it. You can download the album (then consider doing a donation) and/or order it here.
This one is short but it kills me: Better Psychics – I bet I can write one more (right click/save as)
Better Psychics - What stays
Better Psychics - With my attitude
I guess I have a thing for every band John Dwyer plays in, as they cover the entire spectrum of genres that naturally stroke my ears, from garage punk to weird doo wop and drone psych pop. However it seems that, lately, The Oh Sees have been favoring their binary rock’n'roll side (close to Dwyer’s older band, The Coachwhips), to the detriment of the numerous other facets that made the superiority of their first records. But now their new album is out on In The Red and it’s quite a gem — great name, great artwork, wicked songs. The tracklist of Putrifiers II is somehow based on a chiasmus, with rowdy garage tunes both opening and ending the record. “Cloud#1″ provides a graceful contemplative transition towards the middle of the album, which is very 60s sounding, but in a way that freshens your bronchial tubes, spruces up your hair and takes you on a fuzzy journey where Nico and John Cale (“So Nice”) are striving to deprave the Everly Brothers (“We will be scared”) while impish voices fuse with Can-like instrumentals (“Lumpine Dominus”). Makes my day.
The Oh Sees – We will be scared
The Oh Sees – Lupine Dominus
Natural Snow Buildings is an impressive French experimental duo who have released about 20 albums since 2001. They were/are mostly released on outrageously limited series, so the only way to listen to them is through culture sharing. Night Coercion Into The Company Of Witches, one of their best albums, was first issued in 2008 with 22 (yes, twenty two) copies, but people who love to manipulate cumbersome objects before listening to music can rejoice, as Ba Da Bing just made a three CD/four Lp reissue (yes, it is almost three hours long). Judd of Ba Da Bing speaks the truth: “Natural Snow Buildings make melodic, orchestrated, folk, droning compositions with layers of guitars, chants, woodwinds, percussive bells, distortion and delay. On Night Coercion, they push to extremes, producing layers of stereophonic sound both nuanced and grandiose. This record is the ideal introduction to the band’s sound, building harmonies upon noise upon harmonies, and providing a clear explanation as to why their albums (even the ones that aren’t so limited) sell out so immediately upon release”.
Before suffering from big health problems leading to huge financial ones (like most indie musicians from the US, he didn’t have any medical insurance), right before retiring from music and going to work with chickens and goats in a farm, Sir Jason Molina recorded eight songs with just guitar, rawness and his elegant voice from Desperate Land. I have to admit I’m not a huge supporter of his whole Magnolia Electric Co. era, but Autumn Bird Songs arouses the same kind of shivers in the stomach as his majestuous Lionness album with Songs:Ohia. It seems the vinyl/book countaining these songs is already sold out, and you can only buy a mp3 version through Amazon, so we recommend to get the album on Soulseek or other culture sharing software, then send a direct donation to Jason Molina instead.
B) We don’t care about the release date anyway (non-2012 records)
African Elegant – Sierra Leone’s Kru / Krio Calypso Connection was issued as a tape in 1992 by Original, a long dead label devoted to publishing compilations from mysterious parts of the universe. It is of course out of print, so you’ll have to create or use a Soulseek account and actively search for it. After listening to this album five times in two days, I was planning to write an elaborate review but then I got too busy dancing and smiling like a half-wit, and then I REALLY had to play Dishonored, so here’s a few words from an highly reliable source instead (Cliff Furnald of RootsWorld):
If there is a measurement of pure joy, perhaps it is in the music on this disk, twenty two tracks of unadulterated delight. The palm wine style of Sierra Leone is probably best known through the recordings of S.E. Rogie, but Original ‘s J.S. Roberts has dug deep for some exhilarating early 78s by Ebenezer Calender, Famous Scrubbs and a number of tracks of less known Kru and mandingo artists. Palm wine music is a close relative of Trindad’s calypso, developing in the same period, and influenced or becoming an influence on that popular island style in the fifties. The music grew from the jamming of African sailors, Caribbean soldiers and locals in the bars of Freetown, and the easily stowed instruments they favored like the mandolin, guitar, accordion, and banjo became the backbone of the music. With the addition of percussion, and some wonderful brass sections, these songs mirrored not only the rhythms of calypso but also its topical tendencies, with stories of local events, politics and everyday life. It’s a real “chicken or egg” thing, and Robert’s investigation into the roots of the music related in the liner notes do little to clear up the mystery. While the roots of the music may remain shrouded in history, the music itself is no mystery at all. It is simple, open euphoria.
When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth – Jeans Shopping With Jesse (Made In Kansas)
More blown out fucked up fuzz from When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Had been waiting to hear this one for a considerably long time once I knew it was coming out. Didn’t realize it was going to be as limited as it is though, apparently only 100 made of this mean piece of wax. And mean is most certainly the right way to put it. To anyone that felt the need to unleash the aural bleeding that came as a result of their previous release Peaced, then Jeans Shopping With Jesse (Made In Kansas) will undoubtedly be exactly the type of heaping trash that fills that need once again. Not as punishingly treble heavy as Peaced, but rather more so of a complete culmination of noise being thrown at the listener this time around. It’s hard to resist the comparisons to Rusted Shut, but this certainly fits the bill. No less filthy, that’s for sure, but maybe a bit less frightening. You get that these guys might actually have a sense of humor behind all that distorted crust…or maybe a big drinking problem. Who knows? Surprisingly though, Jeans Shopping for Jesse isn’t the type of monotonous trudge through noise that you might expect it to be. Some of the best moments here are the groups abilities to subtly let the tracks set in with a level of claustrophobic nature, eventually becoming an overwhelming amount of noise before either fading out or cutting off completely. That of which is often followed by brief tracks of full-frontal noise that approach the ferocity and pacing of noise-punk. Absolutely relentless and pretty jarring at that. Fans of the genre certainly should give this one a try.
When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth- Jah Fingies
+ their amazing previous record, Peaced, available for free download. In the bands own words: “This album was recorded in our practice space in the month of April 2010. We were very drunk, and very stoned. We’ve recorded quite a bit of stuff before, but this recording actually captures realistically what we do and how we do it. Cheap, loud, and drunk”.
The collective that just keeps on giving, that being the folks down south that have helped spawn projects like Cult Ritual, Merchandise, and so on. This LP comes from yet another outlet under the name Neon Blud. Those out there probably know them from their split with Diet Cokeheads or releases on Fan Death and Drugged Conscience that came out awhile back. Previously I had known them as more of a noisier pop group that had a very prominent early Sonic Youth thing going on, however things have changed up fairly dramatically with their new full-length Discotheque Deathbed. The label Vinyl Rites mentioned Live Skull in the description, which if you’re looking for my attention, that’s a fairly good way to get it. A track like “Tick” certainly channels this more than anything, but I’d be lying if I said this album greatly resembles the band. I certainly hear the connection though and I’m loving it. Neon Blud have more so driven their sound down the path of late 70’s/early 80’s goth heavy post-punk but spreading out amongst a far more abrasive landscape of feedback and atonal droning noise that seemingly cycles its way in out of this album in an unobtrusive and effective manner. This is a much darker and noisier band than I imagine people were prepared to hear, and more importantly its one that has stepped out from a more confined songwriting approach and really allowed themselves to take this in an interesting direction. Most of the tracks are rather lengthy, filling the spaces nicely with repetitive bass lines that develop the sort of “disco” beat that they are looking for. And generally on more than one occasion per song, things lead in and out of explosive waves of noise before dropping back into a locked groove. Vocals are present, but likely merely only for the added effect of the depressive and bleak mood the album seems to function on. Really cool stuff. Not sure if this is the last output that we’ll hear from the band or not, but if it does indeed happen to be, then this is a fine way to go out.
Neon Bud - Temple
This album is sold out, so you’ll have to look for it on Soulseek.
Staer – Staer (Gaffer Records)
Some pretty warped instrumental noise out of Norway from these three gentlemen known as Staer. Due to locale they are most commonly linked back to Noxagt, which actually fits quite well musically. Despite being a three piece, these tunes pack a thunderous amount of sludgy rumble. It’s hard to simply call these guys a “sludge” band though, despite these songs stomping along in a slow motion hulk like style. Things however tend to take on jazzy feel, but as if it were stuck in mud…slowly shifting from one atonal riff to another. Described as precise in execution, it’s much dirtier sounding than one would gather from reading that. It may be precise, but it certainly sounds the part of something that would be a destructive mess visually. Staer aren’t completely opposed to hitting a run of simple rhythm, as evidenced by a track like “Sex Varnish”, which basically focuses on one big bouncy riff throughout the song while surrounding it by free drumming and a multitude of guitar effects. That latter seems to be a recurring theme throughout this self-titled debut. The trio certainly have a good grasp of the fun things that they can do with their instruments and they make it very well known on this album by pushing sounds and effects that one would assume would require someone in the background twisting knobs and such. Maybe that’s the case and I just missed that somewhere, but no matter it certainly works for them. The songs are heavy and just about as wildly out of control/demented as a band that is said to be in control can be. Really nice debut from these guys.
Staer – I Roll With Creflo
This one is available through Gaffer label. Head on over there to grab yourself a copy.
V.Vecker Ensemble – In the Tower (Majorly Records)
V.Vecker Ensemble was spawned out member Keith Wecker’s idea to start the collective after spending time playing in Glenn Branca’s Symphony #13: Hallucination City and Anthony Braxton’s 2010 Sonic Genome Project. Having a fairly nice size of talent surrounding him already in the Vancouver underground, he enlisted the services of Brody McKnight and Andrea Lukic (Nu Sensae), Daniel Presnell (Von Bingen), Liam Butler (No Gold), David Rogers (Basketball), and Corey Woolger (Cowards). This LP is the first recorded output from the collective and features one long instrumental piece split on to both sides of the record. The first movement is a nice slow burn mix of psych and creeping noise. The use of sparse santur at the beginning of the track, as it slowly melds into a swirl of complementing sounds, gives the entire piece a bit of an exotic feel. This far less of the controlled chaos type of approach that I was kind of expecting with this, but rather it ends up being a wonderful tension building exercise of melody and subtle noise. The pieces eventually cools down, which provides the opportunity to flip the record to move on to the second piece of the composition. The second side continues a bit in the same way, but things get a bit more claustrophobic on it. The santur again provides a skeletal shaping of exterior sounds as a way to introduce the slow inclusion of guitars and bass, while both drummers keep things slightly nailed down with a steady beat. However, with this portion of the composition by the end of it the instruments all eventually reach the same atonal apex of noise to finish the piece off with a loud steady trance-like pound. Really dig this, look forward to more.
For those interested in picking up a copy of In the Tower can do so by hitting up Majorly Records.
Five measures of no wave and eight doses of coarse noise. Shake it well, and it will twirl your brain around for an infinite extent of time. Not to mention that Tonnerre Mécanique hail from Marseille, that it’s a trio, and that it’s not necessary after all to have that much information in order to let this phenomenal mess take over. An exclusively instrumental band, because a singer without Mapa gloves could have broken the momentum.
Old fogeys who cling on to ancient values will find some of the sounds to be quite Swob-ish, or feel the possible influence of the first Slug records. Other self-proclaimed Art and Noise specialists, slightly less impacted by the decline of aging, will probably classify Tonnerre Mécanique somewhere between Arab On Radar and Neptune. But even if this subtly disorganized mumbo-jumbo recalls the golden age when Skin Graft was king, the first thing that emerges from this 8-song EP is bewildering immediacy. Spontaneity and intricacy intertwine, yet it doesn’t mean Tonnerre Mécanique is all about free jazz, or that they act more Japanese than they actually are. There’s an underlying logic of deconstruction and reconstruction, followed by great optimism as well as an undeniable form of rubbery humor. You end up with an album that twists your joints, makes you swallow your tongue, tear your hair out, knock your eyeballs together, and fuel up with high voltage.
Le Dernier Cri took care of the screen-printed cover — in other words it’s beautiful — and the release is limited to 200 copies. It’s available at Katatak’s or Boom Boom Rikordz, and it’s way better than all the crap you last listened to on Spotify.
Third Lp by this crazy Detroit outfit and in all probability their last, because the bass player moved to LA. Druid Perfume played some of the weirdest rock music I ever heard and I fucking love them for it.
While their previous release was somewhat calmer than the rest of their output, this second Selftitled album gets pretty manic again. When I listen to this record I think of a circus in which the singer of the band functions as announcer. The band backs up the acts with music. Jimbo introduces every act with a drugged out slur while barely being able to stay up on his feet. It should go without saying that his circus ain’t your ordinary circus and this is more than apparent as the opening act makes its entrance.
The clowns are clearly strung out on hallucinogens as they climb the stage drooling, howling and hitting themselves in the face. One is having a bad trip and curls up on the floor in fetal position whilst screaming he’s dying. He then begins to cry and calls for his mother in a childlike voice. In the meantime a fellow funny man has started undressing. He invites the audience to do the same : ‘Free yourselves! Throw off your chains!’ In the background another clown’s eyes get splashed by a flower pinned to a colleague’s chest. He runs around the arena blind. It was battery acid.
Next up are the lion and his tamer. The king of all animals is in no mood to jump through burning hoops no matter how hard his master whips him. The creature eventually loses its patience and tears off the tamer’s leg. In the meantime a drunk cord dancer has entered the stadium and is climbing one of the poles. Her first step from the plateau is about a foot away from the cord she’s trying to walk. She falls all the way down to the ground. Fortunately her fall is broken by some stuffed animals stainedby questionable substances. Things are about to get wrapped up with the human cannon ball act. Too much gun powder has been stuffed down the barrel, causing a giant explosion in which the human cannon ball burns alive. As the tent catches fire, the audience try to escape the flames that reach out for everything that isn’t ablaze yet. Parents flee in blind panic leaving their kids behind to function as fuel for the fire. Children’s screams of agony and cries for help fill the night sky as the band keeps playing. The announcer shouts one incoherent sentence after another throughout this grand finale. What a perfect ending for a perfect band.
Many people wound up on this post through various sources (Death Grips Twitter account, Brooklyn Vegan, Tiny Mixtapes, CorruptFork…). If you’re into weird hip hop, you should also listen to the amazing band Clipping. They are not this week’s epicentre of the Hype, but they do mindblowing music.
Don’t let machiavelian PR schemes fool you, the bear is the actual album cover.
Last february, I was disappointed to learn that Death Grips, a wonderful trio making angry fractured hip hop (with The Magnificent Zach Hill on drums, Andy Morin on keyboards and Stefan Burnett on vocals), had signed a major label deal with Epic/Sony.
Ex-Military Mixtape, their first album, was released under a Creative Commons non commercial licence, allowing people to copy, distribute, display, and build derivative works based on their music, as long as it was for non-commercial purposes. Consequence ? Ex-Military was shared hundreds of thousands of times. It turned Death Grips into one of the most famous indie band taking a real alternative stance on the actual copyright system, acknowledging people’s right to share. AND it is an awesome record.
Then they signed with a Major. Obviously, it wasn’t just a greedy move (anyone who knows the bands members will agree on this), but rather a “we’ll have big distribution and total control over creativity” blah blah thing. Death Grips stated they would release two albums this year via Epic: The Money Store (last april), and No Love Deep Web (planned this October).
When the Money Store came out, Epic/Sony predictably barred them from using a Creative Commons licence. The band then decided to act naughty: they leaked the album on Youtube anyway, allowed people to download a bunch of tracks, leaked the instrumentals after an incredible hide-and-seek game in the deep internet. Death Grips also are the most legally-downloaded band on BitTorrent in the first half of 2012 (oh my god, 34,151,432 downloads of weirdo hip hop noise music). The Money Store truly is an amazing piece of music, but the whole album wasn’t released under a Creative Commons licence, so legally people weren’t allowed to share all the tracks, remix it, etc.
However, it seems the honeymoon between Death Grips and Epic is officially over. Death Grips tweeted today “The label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime. The label will be hearing the album for the first time with you”.
Ten hours later, they released their new album for free. Tons of websites have already reported it, but it seems only a few (i say “a few” because i’m polite, i actually read nothing about it – edit: Death Grips and others have spread the A&D post you’re reading, thanks to them, and Consequence of Sound wrote a piece about it) noticed they didn’t just “release it for free”: they allow anyone to make money with it.
According to the Archive.org download link they’ve posted themselves, this album is indeed released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, a veeery open one. Of course, it lets people share and remix the music, but contrary to the previous licence they chose for Ex-Military, it also authorizes commercial uses without asking permission, as long as the music is still credited to the band. Yes, you can use Death Grips’ music in a TV ad (for an energy drink maybe?), or in a big commercial movie. You don’t have to wait for a physical release date, you can start a record label instead, press and sell 10,000 copies of this album without even asking the band NOR Epic/Sony if they are okay with that. Well, if you’re not an asshole, I hope you’ll send Death Grips some money.
Some people (Hi Sean!) are wondering if the whole operation is a PR stunt. But the licence chosen debunks such hypotheses because it implies that Epic/Sony don’t have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips’ music anymore (while a Creative Commons Non Commercial licence would have allowed Epic/Sony to retain exclusive rights on commercial uses). There’s no way a major compagny would accept such a licence as part of a PR scheme. Actually I think it is the first time a band signed on a major label releases an album on a CC Attribution 3.0 licence.
Anyway, i wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Epic/Sony for pissing off Death Grips and pushing them back to the arms of Creative Commons. Sharing is Caring, blah blah blah, Amen.
EDIT 10.4.12:Death Grips have now changed the Creative Commons Attribution licence into an Attribution-Non Commercial one. It means you can share or remix the work, but NOT use it commercially without permission. Several explanations are possible: - They didn’t know what kind of licence they took in the first place (I doubt it, as it wasn’t their first Creative Commons release and Death Grips themselves shared this A&D post via Twitter). - They changed their mind. - Epic/Sony made them change the licence, so the Major Company can still have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips music. As the Major Company has paid for the recording of No Love Deep Web, this scenario is quite likely.
And we love them so much we’ll have to write two articles about them.Load Records (based in Providence, Rhode Island) started in 1993 (surprisingly, their first record was a garage band, Boss Fuel) but like many others I discovered this label in 2001 with a life-changing album, Lightning Bolt’s Ride The Skies.
Lightning Bolt – Ride The Skies
Since then, I’ve been following obsessively all their releases. Coherent but not monomaniac, Load likes it weird and noisy but swallows a variety of things, from punk to noise, from metal to rock. This two-people operation (Load is just Ben Mc Osker and his wife Laura, and they both have other jobs) gathers and helps to shape a significant part of today’s adventurous music. The next part of this feature will dwell on Load’s whole history, but first we wanted to focus on their recent past, as ALL the records they published in the past twelve months are fantastic.
Sex Church is a three piece grounded in Vancouver, Canada made up of Caleb Bouey (Guitar), Levon Olsen (Guitar) and Nick Groessl (Bass). Some may already be familiar with these fellas from playing in Ladies Night, Vapid, Defectors, Modern Creatures and Catholic Boys – and with this solid trash-punk background it’s not entirely surprising they’ve done something entirely different. Thus far in the Sex Church cannon the outfit have released a handful of singles and EPs for Hozac, Sweet Rot and Convulsive and after two years of recording have arrived at their full-length debut for Load, Growing Over. The album explores an emancipation of inner turmoil channeled through a love of Wipers, Rocky Erickson and Cheater Slicks. Sex Church employs elements of shoe gaze, noise and kraut in their introverted style of songwriting challenging the most, raw punk bands around today.
“Growing Over” as the title may suggest, is a record cloaked in an ever-expanding cloud of haze emanating from layers of reverb and fuzz. Cacophonous guitars, forthright beats and a panting bass cut through the fog creating eleven stormy numbers that swirl and scramble through frequencies of dejection. This is aptly shown on track “Treading Water”, embodying high levels of hitting rock bottom through sounding out discordant guitars, incoherent vocals and unrelenting, pounding beats. Another stand out track on the album for me is “Beneath The Bottom”, a menacing, urgent piece that howls, barks and charges from the darkest dirges of Sex Church’s psyche and as a result curiously creates something totally mesmerizing. The manner in which Sex Church liberate these tremors of internal anguish result in pure and savage swills of punk that are beautiful and beastly in equal measure.
Sex Church – Dull Light
Skoal Kodial – Kryptonym Bodliak (October 2011) Written by Carter Mullin of Olive Music.
Considering technological evolution, musicians have found mastery in recording and producing more tangible than ever. This is evident when glancing at the abundance of electronic music present today, and one could assume much of it to have been made on a laptop within a day or so. The electronic variety has also sprouted a cornucopia of subgenres both applicable and ill-defined, but each of which carrying artists who have found their own niche audience to cater for. Achieving stature has never been simpler.
Enter Minnesota trio Skoal Kodiak, the antithesis embodying the struggle to grasp definition. Like Mindflayer and Neon Hunk before them, Skoal Kodiak are electronic music for the Load Records listenership– a spirit lost somewhere between dysfunctional punk tumult and cocaine-inspired grooves. Their second album Kryptonym Bodliak is a massive assemblage of aggressive psychedelic whimsy. Even when attributing the band to the minuscule subset of noise-informed dance they’re abidingly one in a million.
Skoal Kodiak concisely shell seven blusterous boogies across 35 minutes, equipped with bass, drums, and paramount knob-twiddling. Opener “Teapot” exploits a funky drum lilt punctuated by slippery gadgetry and electro-damaged vocal yowls, and its successor “Hollidazzle” applies this configuration to a tune perceivably from the vault of the late and great Mayyors. As much as Kryptonym Bodliak is inherent in peculiarity, “Tomah Triangle” raises eyebrows by its aberrant tunefulness of a haunting keyboard refrain and harmonic chorus.
Each of Kryptonym Bodliak‘s tracks deserves its own helping of appraisal. With unfaltering kinetic force Skoal Kodiak explore every avenue of their dynamic; an undertaking justified for an outfit six years active. Unlike their aforementioned predecessors, they array a more congenial employment of riotous circuitry, fulfilling their shortage of patience at album’s length. In challenging the merits of most debuts, the band showcases an unmistakable and elastic design to their complexion while bearing little to no foibles.
Skoal Kodiak – Hollidazzle
Skoal Kodiak – Tomah Triangle video
Fnu Ronnies – Saddle Up (February 2012) Jonathan of Built On A Weak Spot already reviewed this album here. The sound on this weirdo noise punk record “is a murky tunnel of punked out alien frequencies with dirty vibes and ideas last talked about at NASA around the time of the last faked moon landing“.
Ed Schrader and Delvin Rice make up Baltimore rock duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. In its inception Ed worked solo on the project touring songs comprised of a drum accompanied by vocals. 3 years ago Delvin was invited to play alongside Ed for one gig at a rave in their hometown, the pair forged an unexpected chemistry on stage and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat acquired a permanent bassist. Since then, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat’s released a well-received debut single for Load ‘Sermon/Rats’ which primed music nerds, freaks and lovers for the savage minimalistic rock offered up on their first full length Jazz Mind.
Opener ‘Sermon’ features volatile vocals, a belching bass and tribal rhythms executed with the air punching attitude of punk touched with industrial experimentalism. Slamming on the breaks ‘Gem Asylum’ follows with eventide synthesizers and a meditative bass apace with reverb heavy vocals. “I can’t stop eating sugar, see what it does, feel what it does, but it’s always in my face, and it’s always been the cause Tyrannosaurus Rex and it’s good damn claws”, confesses Ed in “Sugar”. It’s this focus on immediately identifiable objects that give access to Ed’s musings, these little touches of reality threaded through ‘Jazz Mind’ act as an anchor as the songs drift in and out of abstraction. These eleven tracks play a tug of war as they fluctuate between pummeling and placid, from chest beaters like “Gas Station Attendant” you get the polar opposite – and one of my favourite tracks “My Mind Is Broken By The Sound”. This album wonderfully captures human experience in a pure and unmatched way; daily humdrum, boredom, love, paranoia are explored through a rock sound that carves away the gristle leaving all the meat, a really great debut. Jazz Mind is available now in Europe through Upset the Rhythm, as volunteer for UTR I can attest that we all couldn’t be more excited about supporting this project and look forward to some shows later in the year from Ed Schrader’s Music Beat.
Last years debut from Brooklyn’s White Suns was an eye opener, no doubt. An album that successfully channeled much of New York City’s rich past of punk, no-wave, and willingness to experiment. Often lumped into the noise-rock genre, it’s probably fair to say that the band often works more heavily with straight noise rather than the whole “rock” part. That was evident from the bands very beginnings among the string of cassette and CD-R EP’s that predated their first full-length. Now firmly entrenched among New York’s greatly growing noise-rock scene, White Suns have since moved on from Weasel Walter’s ugEXPLODE label to release Sinews on Load Records, who I imagine are a much better fit for the band.
With Sinews White Suns again return to the bleak cold city landscape of scraping metal and decay, at times coming full force with punches of punk-ish blasts of noise and the maniacal screams of singer Kevin Barry to tag along. These moments are skillfully introduced with the prolonged usage of droning feedback and the screeching shambles of structures crumbling to the ground. There is a level of claustrophobia induced with this practice and the result makes the whirlwind of noise to come all that much more effective and overwhelming. Simply put, Sinews is relentless. Not a moment to breath, not an ounce of light shining through on this one. One of the most aurally exhaustive listens I’ve managed to hear in awhile. While White Suns may be part of a larger group of bands making an effort to keep the noise alive in NY, they are one of the few pushing it forward to a noticeable extent. For those that were fans of the bands debut, then Sinews is an absolute must purchase.
White Suns – Oath
White Load - Wayne’s World III/ The Godfather IV (February 2012. Yes, we don’t respect chronological order but this review is so long it HAD to be the last one) written by L’ami of Don’t Buy records mailorder
The first time I came across this band was in the review section of Maximum Rock ‘n Roll. That must have been a few years ago. I remember the review immediately grabbed my attention, because of the bands White Load got compared to. Those were Street Trash, whose self titled EP was an awesome hardcore release even my friends who outgrew hardcore consider a modern day classic, and the Grabbies, who have always been unlistenable to me, but that’s the whole point. Comparisons are often off, but my interest had been peaked. I needed to hear this band that apparently considered it funny to name themselves after the product of male ejaculation.
It wasn’t long after reading about White Load that I coincidentally met their guitar player on the internet through Soulseek. We used to talk, something the guy wasn’t too fond of as one of the band’s songs subtly points out, but I was able to work out distribution with him despite his aversion of communication. A few weeks after our digital rendezvous, I had White Load’s first vinyl release in my mailorder. The thing was called ‘Talk’. It was the first release on Leather Bar Records, a label secretly ran by one of White Load’s members. Leather Bar has had a consistent aesthetic and approach to its releases from the very start. All of them look the same; a thin piece of paper with black and white artwork stapled to the record sleeve, which makes it impossible to take the vinyl out without removing two staples. Inside the sleeve is always a one-sided 7”. The whole idea behind this is to keep the records cheap, but at the same time the ethic testifies of minimalism if not downright nihilism.
The ‘Talk’ 7” contains three songs in just over four minutes. A common wisdom among sound engineers is that if a band plays like shit, there’s no way you can make them sound decent. Now White Load sure as hell can’t play and not even the lord himself could have made this band sound decent, but the band didn’t even try and you got to love them for that. Instead of covering up mistakes, the recording seems to be focused on enlarging each and every flaw and shortcoming. The snare sound is way too loud, the singer’s lyrics are indecipherable except for the occasional ‘FUCK!’ and the guitar sounds ugly as fuck. The riffs are simple but effective as is the drumming. White Load’s singer is probably what I like about the band most though. He sounds vicious and mean and makes it all the more believable that we’re dealing with three anti-social outsiders here.
After their debut the band released two 7”s on Sweden’s Ken Rock Records and they supplied one song, ‘Nothing’s Funny’, for the groundlessly underrated ‘Fresh Cuts and Cigarette Butts’ Compilation EP on Criminal IQ Records. All of these releases are pretty much in the same vein as their earlier stuff. As more people got wind of White Load, the band got listed among many other bands. Some of which flattering such as the ones mentioned above and others insulting such as Cult Ritual, a band they hated. The best reference for White Load’s music however remains Solger, whom the guitarist once listed as an important influence. White Load is every bit as inept and malicious as those Seattle misfits, whose EP is as mandatory as early Flag and the Germs in my opinion. Especially White Load’s loud, abrasive and stomping guitar playing is very reminiscent of Solger. It should go without saying that White Load’s music of choice lends itself best for the 7” format. The debate whether a hardcore band ever pulled off a decent full-length will probably never come to an end and yet White Load didn’t back down from recording an actual LP this year. And what would have been more fitting than have Load Records from Providence, the very same town this band calls home, release it? In return for their recordings the label supposedly paid the band with a fuzz pedal. Who ever said there was nothing to be made in punk? White Load is definitely among the more direct and hardcore band on the label. What you see is what you get. There’s no novelty or weirdness here. Just fast, dirty and pissed off hardcore. This record is not exactly a full length though. Both sides of this LP are separate recordings. The A-side is called ‘Wayne’s World III’ and the flip is titled ‘The Godfather IV’. Get it? As Murray Barrels pointed out in July’s Maximum Rock ‘n Roll the Hunches already claimed this joke with their ‘Home Alone 5’ compilation on In The Red Records, but either White Load never even heard of that band – the Hunches’ seem too sophisticated an ensemble for the damaged ears of this bunch – or they simply didn’t care and took pride in the fact that telling the same joke twice is never funny, just like pretty much everything else in life isn’t as they eloquently pointed out on their afore mentioned compilation track, which is also included on both sides of the LP.
Supposedly one side of the record is a studio recording and the other is a live set, but fuck if I know which is which. You can tell the recording is different as you flip the thing over, but rest assured neither side sounds polished. I guess ‘The Godfather IV’ is the live set, because there’s some banter included and I think a few songs actually get ruined unintentionally, which is all part of the game of playing live, right? The recording is shittier than the one on the flip. Not that the A-side sounds like a lot of thought was put into the recording, but on ‘The Godfather IV’ side the drums are by far the loudest to the point that they drown the guitar a bit. Whereas I remember the snare sounding sharp and shrill on the band’s earlier material, the thing just brings out a flat and muffling thump here. The singer has a hard time overshouting the drums, but he doesn’t let the snare bury him without a fight. Neither side of this record is for those who like it clean, but hell if you consider production values important this band isn’t for you to begin with. I know people like to rag on live records/recordings but personally I’ve always liked to hear bands I enjoy in a live setting even if I’m not actually present at the performance. In this particular case I think White Load raises the bar for ugliness on their live recording and it looks good on them. When listening to this record I feel like shit is happening and that’s really all I want from a hardcore band, not going through the motions as I’ve seen so many bands do on stage. Life is already so boring. I want punk not to be. To me punk and hardcore should be about destroying boredom at all costs. If nothing’s happening, you make shit happen. If the crowd isn’t moving, you shoot fireworks into their faces. I love how the singer keeps telling the crowd ‘you’re welcome’ in that clip turning the obligatory ‘thank you’ after a song upside down. I’m not sure whether I would have considered this show cool if I went home with one eye less than I arrived with, but the good thing about the ‘Godfather IV’ is that you can experience White Load live without the chance of losing eyesight. I can’t guarantee your ears will be the same after listening to this stuff on high volume – the only right way to listen to this record – though.
‘Wayne’s World III/ The Godfather IV’ contains twenty-five songs in total some of which the seasoned White Load fan already knows, but in this case I don’t mind. The tunes hardly make for ‘songs’ anyway.Even the studio recordings could have been a live set. The songs are delivered at breakneck pace without stops. You put this record on and make it waltz over you. In that sense it reminds me of ‘Landspeed Record’ by Hüsker Dü. White Load obviously doesn’t share their sense of melody – no melody here, boys and girls – or some would argue their talent, but this record has the same urgency, the same ready-set-go-mentality. Play fast, play loud, pack your things and go home. Most of these songs clock in under a minute which makes for a record with a total playtime of less than half an hour.
All in all, White Load delivers an ear shattering and relentless record. Those who’ve heard previous releases by this band will not be disappointed. White Load make being inept a quality. They carry their lack of talent with pride. These guys are no musicians and they give it their all to make this clear to the listener. Their ineptitude should be a reminder that punk is about not giving a shit and playing for the hell of it. Let this record be a wake up call to those who’ve lost their way and think punk means getting as close to sounding as the Wipers as possible. This is what hardcore should sound like, fuckface! Listening to White Load’s songs is like being spit in the face and kicked in the groin at the same time. This music is shit. This music is worthless. This music is like life itself. Another great record on Load Records.
Endnote: After speaking to the band’s guitar player recently; I was told that neither side of the record actually is a live recording. The entire record was recorded in one and the same room. The sides are both different takes with the main difference being the degree of intoxication of the band members.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I met my first punk friend, Erin. Before her, I would just tag along to shows with my sister; but Erin had a car and was always nice enough to give me rides. It was, seemingly, the beginning of the rest of my young, idiotic life.
Erin eventually took me to see one of her favorite local bands, The Please & Thank-Yous. They had one really good song on MySpace which, then, was reason enough to go see a band. The show was at a place called Swing State, a half-hookah bar, half music venue, which had a reputation for being trashy in a way that was kind of alluring. We were in a room of maybe 15 people (5 of whom I knew) and everyone was dancing. My really tall friend Jakub smashed a disco ball off of the ceiling and we stomped on it when it fell to the ground. There was a mosh pit and crowd surfing. It was, and remains, the most fun I’ve had in that small of a space.
The next time TPATY played, I had to work and missed the show. They, however, showed up crazy drunk and got kicked out of the venue. I thought that it meant I wouldn’t really ever get to see them again, but I was insanely wrong.
Not too long after, I started my own “punk” band which was really just kind of wimpy and untalented. We didn’t really have anything other than a kinda funny gimmick and aggressive pop songs, but The Please & Thank-Yous kept inviting us to play with them. TPATY eventually became really good friends, and I have probably seen them play more shows than any other band.
It is strange to listen to an album you’ve never heard before and be able to feel nostalgic about it. This album’s recording has been a long time in the process, even though it was released last week. I first heard these songs in 2010 and have seen some of them live so many times I know all the words.
I know this album won’t mean as much to people outside of Chicago, but I think that this distinctly “Chicago” type of pop-punk is one that people are instantly drawn to–regardless of having grown up here. It’s everything that’s great about the aggressive side of punk with innocence imbued in sensitive but self-aware and self-mocking “emoboy” lyrics and pop hooks. TPATY manages to sidestep all the things that most pop-punk bands are doing wrong in creating music.
TPATY is comparable, I guess, to all of the midwest emo revival stuff. They are also a bit like Weezer. The guitars are all nineties–back when people weren’t afraid of mad riffin over 3-chords–all Get-Up Kids or Superchunk-y. Their drummer used to be a scene kid and his former musical interests sometimes surface in a strange yet awesome way in the background of the tracks. They are the perfect mix between fast and slow–good dancing music and good music to listen to in the car. Sometimes their lyrics are almost too cheesy, but they’re always the type of thing you can relate to and don’t mind singing along with.
This new album is incredible, and I want everyone to hear it. I can’t wait to listen to it in the car with Erin. I think everyone has a couple local bands that showed them why live music is important, and this is definitely one of mine.