Monday, February 6, 2012

Kowloon Walled City - Gambling on the Richter Scale (2009)

Here is a doosy of a record. I have mentioned this before, but I have been upping the par on my heavy music dosage and this record definitely fits the bill. Added bonus, they toke their name after a city within a city in China that at one point had the most dense population within a given small space. Look it up, it is rather wacky.

Gamlbing on the Richter Scale is almost as though Neurosis, Unsane, and Helmet had one hell of a baby. This is a low-end, rhythm driven band bent on pummelling you with their music. Super heavy sludge metal drenched in the most precise tones. Added bonus, the vocals, though lacking in production, aren't the usual guttural or shrill scream this music tends to have. Instead going with a raspy yell to accompany the music. Listen to "Diabetic Feet", and try to not have your mind decimated by tones. If you are looking for one band doing this sound right, look no further.

  1. Annandale
  2. Diabetic Feet
  3. Clockwork
  4. Sleep Debt
  5. Paper Houses
  6. Gambling on the Richter Scale
  7. Bone Loss
  8. More like Shit Factory

Heavy stuff, dude.

Anne - Dream Punx (2011)

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about shoegaze. Aside from the pinnacle bands of the late 80's/early 90's, most of it is out the window for me. Besides, it seems that these days shoegaze, or even dream pop, has quickly become an over saturated genre, everyone and their brother doing their best to emulate My Bloody Valentine. I could really do without all that posturing or arguing over the merits of the production quality of a given work. I'll just take Ride over any of that.

That being said, I have thrown Anne's aptly titled Dream Punx, into several playlists and have enjoyed most of what I have heard. At this current moment of vegetation I can't necessarily point out what songs I like/dislike, but there are some great songs among the mix. It ranges from deriving MBV's soaring hooks, to Chapterhouse's melodic meandering. Either way, is it the best record in the world, no. But it is a refreshing take on the genre.

  1. All Your Time
  2. Virginal Plight
  3. Thrush
  4. Lower Faiths
  5. Tarvantovaara
  6. Get It How You Live
  7. Perfect Teeth
  8. Summer Babies
  9. Punk Bike

Nothing clever here....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old Man Gloom - Christmas (2004)

Let it be known, I am the king of procrastination. While further putting of grad school letters of intent, I am trying to breathe some life back into the blog. My loss is your gain. Lately I have found my musical tastes have had a strong influence of heavy music, albeit doom, stoner, and black metal to really heavy hardcore. This probably has something to do with the band that I am, which also prescribes to that cornucopia of genres. It has been rather gratifying, introducing my palate to new bands, such as Bone Awl, Midnight, and revisiting older bands.

One such band would be the veritable supergroup/conglomeration/collective, Old Man Gloom. Not only have Old Man Gloom's members done time in several bigger aggressive bands, but they have this wonderfully mysterious philosophy that surrounds the band. The mysticism only furthers the wonderfully weird music, pushing it into a realm that surpasses the genres in blends.

Christmas was their last studio full length the band recorded, and probably their best. I was sold on this band the first time I heard "Gift", the opening track. It is a sludgy mess of a song that has a weird primeval acoustic/chanting opening. The sonic power emitted from song once the primitive intro explodes into the main part of the song is incredible, pure sonic weight here. And it doesn't let up from there, in between ambient and very creepy interludes are more songs that bend genres and exert their weight on your ears. "Valhalla" is another great track, starting as a heavy hardcore/sludge song only to transform into an instrumental that sounds like it is being played by norse gods. That is seriously the only way I could describe that ending riff.

Old Man Gloom is apparently still a band/institution. Still hell bent on spreading their evil all over the world, though the beast has been silent, aside from reissues, since 2004. If you enjoy any sort of heavy, aggressive music, you will enjoy this record. Spread the gloom.

  1. Gift
  2. Skullstorm
  3. Something for the Mrs.
  4. Sleeping with Snakes
  5. Lukeness Monster
  6. 'Tis Better to Receive
  7. Accord-O-Matic
  8. The Volcano
  9. Close Your Eyes, Roll Back Into Your Head
  10. Girth and Greed
  11. Sonic Dust
  12. Valhalla
  13. Christmas Eve parts I, II, & III (alt Version)
This is a gift.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pedro the Lion was fucking heavy.

Literally and figuratively, folks. Just skip to around 5:20 in this video for a monster of a breakdown. Dude had his tones and sonic weight covered to a T.

In other news, your regular scheduled programming shall be returning very soon. Holidays and getting grad school applications ready has been time tasking, along with work. Soon my friends, soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of 2011

I have been contemplating this post for quite some time now, and a finite answer still eludes me. While 2011 was a great, great, year for music, it seems to me that there few front runners for albums that were utterly fantastic. Albums that captivate your attention from front to back, the ones that are all killer, no filler. Ones that stay with you for if not the better part of the year, then years to come. I've been looking at other blogs lists, trying to see if there is anything I have missed and I found myself questioning why certain albums were even on such lists. People just seemed to put their faith in mediocrity, but that's fine, it's all opinions here. And I am sure people will think the same of mine. Such is life. Moving on.

Best 5 records of the year, in no particular order:
1. A.A. Bondy - Believers
2. Brain F≠ - Sleep Rough
3. Condominium - Warm Home
4. True Widow - As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth
5. William Elliott Whitmore - Field Songs
There you have it. The 5 records that I think are perfect from front to back. Bondy and Whitmore have ceased to disappoint me, churning out near perfect records every time. Brain F
≠ wrote one of the catchiest and urgent punk records of the year. Where as Condominium punished our ears with their long awaited lp, a truly talented band. And True Widow blew me away with their blend of Shoegaze and Stoner Metal, loud, heavy, and utterly beautiful music.

Honorable Mentions: Owen - Ghost Town, David Bazan - Strange Negotiations, Omegas - Blasts of Luancy, The Men - Leave Home, Scapegoat - S/T, Pygmy Lush - Old Friends, Bonnie Prince Billy - Wolfroy Goes to Town, Weekend Nachos - Worthless, Vacant State - Fill the Void, Tenement - Napalm Dream

Best 7in/Eps of 2011 (no particular order):
1. End of a Year Self Defense Family - Everything the put out in 2011
2. Career Suicide - Cherry Beach
3. The Ropes - S/T
4. Culo - Toxic Vision
5. I can't remember, opps.
Aside from the fact that I forgot what else to throw in this category, overall I would say that I picked up a good handful of great 7in that came out this year, but this is the cream of the crop. EoaY continue to confuse with name/personal/philosophy changes, but they continue to put out incredible music. And a lot of it. Cherry Beach could be counted as a reissue, but it has two new songs on it so I say otherwise. The Repos/Ropes are back a with a bang, only slightly weirder. And Culo, a band I kind of think is annoying, blew me away with Toxic Vision.

Some bands that released damn good demos from 2011:
Bald pig, Beautiful Mother, Last Chaos, Broken Prayer

Best reissues of 2011:
Lucero - That Much Further West, Sebadoh - Bakesale, Citizens Arrest - A Light in the Darkness

Records that I am sure are really great, and could at least be honorable mentions, but I really haven't spent all that time with them because I am lazy. Or they could just suck, but need to at least be notated:
Shoppers - Silver Year, any Thou record that came out this year, Blut Aus Nord - 777 Sect(s), J. Mascis - Several Shades of Why

Best reunion of the of one of the greatest bands in the world, who will continue to amaze the masses:
Guided by Voices, duh. Oh, and Archers of Loaf.

Best album of 2012, because I am so awesome that I can see into the future:
The Boston Strangler - Primitve. Duh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Boston Strangler - Primitive (2012?)

I am hopefully going to do one more normal post before I hit up a year's end list, so be prepared. In the meantime, lets do some time traveling to the future. Primitive, I think, comes out 2012, which is a shame because it would be one hell of a way to top off 2011. I am somewhat at a loss of what to say about this album. Really, I just want to let you know that you would be utterly stupid not listen to this record, and then an utter fool to not understand it's greatness.

Primitive comes at a crucial moment for the genre of hardcore in the present. Hardcore can be pretty lackluster, and sometimes the stretches of mediocrity can last too long. I am not saying that contemporary hardcore has no redeeming qualities, there are so many great bands doing great things right now. However, the quality over quantity speaks differently, out of how many bands that play something remotely close to hardcore are good, especially the more "top 40" bands that get notoriety. And so we have The Boston Strangler to remind us that hardcore can be thrilling, that it can separate the substance from the loads of crap.

This album is perfect, front to back. That's my album description. Suck it.

  1. Primitive
  2. Overdose
  3. First Offense
  4. Locked Inside
  5. Boston Strangler
  6. Gonna Make You Pay
  7. Disconnect Me
  8. Overcrowded
  9. Violence Addicts
  10. Waste of Time
  11. Burglar Breakout

Make like a tree, and get outta here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Never Healed - S/T (2008)

Realistically, I should be building my personal website, but I am the king of procrastination. And, I realized that are more important matters to attend to. That being, uploading one the best hardcore lp's of the past decade. I'll admit that I felt somewhat abused, rather taken advantage of, when I realized I had not shoved the excellence of Never Healed's S/T record down your throats. Shame on me.

Now, we have already covered the fact that I am a fanboy of a certain family tree of hardcore punk bands stemming from the Northern Cali region. This is not new news. Never Healed, though, were special, a veritable, and underrated, supergroup. A blistering 5 piece whose members had done time in Look Back and Laugh, Yaphet Kotto, Lights Out among many others. Take the influence of those former bands, that being hard as nails hardcore punk, turn it up to 11. Yeah, that awesome.

In all serious, the music is fantastic. Sure, they maybe reinventing the wheel, but the style in which they accomplish that is quite unique. It was heavy, and not in the loud or 90's metalcore way, but in the "whoa, that riff just total dropped an anvil on that old lady" way. Their blend of hardcore was evil sounding, the song "We Are Ruins" is a 42 second lesson in making a hardcore song as hard as a box of nails. So, take this already evil instrumental sound, and then place Casey's vocals over it and you are really taken to a dark place. To say Casey had a unique vocal style, especially in Never Healed, would not be an understatement. Where as most bands of this age were shouting over their band, Casey's vocals took a page from the black metal book. Visceral, shrill screaming about the world ending and the human race being a disease. Pure contempt without sounding trite or redundant, not something many bands can achieve these days. Plus, though I never had the chance to see them, it looks like they threw one hell of a live show (I've attached a video from their first show below, that's right, first show). Enjoy if this is your thing.

  1. Forever Never Ends
  2. Ruins
  3. Lonely Crawls
  4. Wind and Smoke
  5. Waits to Destroy
  6. Where the Crosses Grow
  7. We Are Ruins
  8. Far We Fall

We are death, we are disease.