Thursday, May 11, 2017
Twenty-something years ago I fittingly got dragged down to the Drag in Austin to go see some band my roommate had heard good things about. Evidently the band leader was some underground musical savant who was simply revolutionary when it came to jazz. We sat in some tiny empty upstairs club, my curiosity somewhat piqued but not quite... jazz wasn't (and still isn't) really my thing. Well, two hours later, I was rendered speechless and have recalled the story about seeing the Golden Arm Trio ever since. Theirs was the first band sticker I slapped on my Fender which I still play to this day. Gaudy with two decades of scum and slime (and layered with umpteen other band decals), you can still kinda make out the "Trio" in the band logo. Regardless, composer and band leader Graham Reynolds was on the drums that night (and occasionally the piano) and it was amazing to watch whom you would usually consider a background musician absolutely control the group (it was an actual "trio" at that point; later on, while the band's name stayed the same there could be as many as eight folks playing together but we can discuss semantics later). The drums were what really had me - controlling, heavy, almost blast beat death metal grooves at times as opposed to the casual background jazz-ish rat-a-tat-tat I expected. It was something else and only recently did I take advantage of this new thing we have called the "Internet" and see what the fuck ever happened to the band. Turns out a LOT. A couple albums, a movie soundtrack (A Scanner Darkly, 'natch) and some highly praised stage shows... it has been an absolute joy revisiting some of the music I completely considered a one-off show so long ago. Check out the band website here - it's amazing how the dude looks almost exactly the same as he did back in '96. Enjoy their first album... a real treat.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Goddamn, who the fuck are these guys? I found this little ditty of an album at some point a decade or so ago... unlike everything else on the internet at that time all Napstered the fuck up, these clowns actually had a web domain through their record label where you would just download their mp3's for free (I dug that shit up here). And thanks to last.fm the lyrics and bio of the record have been preserved for as long as they exist (check that shit here).
That being said and the fact that this amazing two-piece has sadly faded into obscurity, this album fucking RULES. Brutal venom-core bitching at most everything, it's amazing most of this was conceived by two drunk dudes deciding to record 23 songs over 90 minutes. Later post-dubs aside, the album is simply one brutal riff after another with screamo-ish lyrics killing everything in their path. Fans of Eighteen Visions get ready to jerk without repent. Unreal. Enjoy.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Is anyone who checks this sorry blog old enough to have watched a little non-music throwaway show on MTV called Liquid Television? If you did then you'd better be well acquainted with the interminably cute and devastating "Mauna Kea" track used in the smartly apocalyptic "Black Hula" animated short. Starting off with a duo of crudely-drawn Ichthyostegas quietly spawning the human race, the film sarcastically documents and anticipates the future of the human race (and equally idiotic) civilization beyond in barely 3 minutes. After binge watching Liquid TV marathons through my college years, learning ukelele (primitively... but still) and actually traveling to Hawaii since, I really wanted to find some retro Hawaiian sounds that weren't just Iz singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Shit, found them I did. "King" Bennie Nawahi was a young guitar/ukelele/steel guitar player who inexplicably went blind in his 30's but continued playing with a multitude of musicians until the 1970's. This compilation spans his most influential bands; although to me his music with the King Nawahi's Hawaiians is easily the best - almost like listening to the Hawaiian version of Robert Johnson's tunes. Wonderful bluesy shit, probably recorded on a fucking gramaphone. My ex-wife and I went to Kauai for our honeymoon and even though I hate that bitch I still love this stuff. That's saying something. Enjoy.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Un-fucking-believable. Fuck yeah, it's a tireless repost but deservedly so. 7 years after I posted this little fucker I'm still break dancing to this shit in my kitchen. Still my most-est favorite lawn-mowing music ever. I won't bore you with a sad retread of the original post - needless to say I absolutely fucking LOVE this groove and would do anything to find out more about the geniuses behind it. Scatwerk?!?!? Fucking godlike. Enjoy.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Yay! Another 15 minutes of wicked fast Northern border grindcore. Reminding me of a poor man's RGTE (Jesus, is that a compliment or a wicked diss? - uh, sorry to both either way), Montreal's Saturation did little more than record one short album to promptly lay in wait for an eager record company to press and promote it. Only took nearly half a decade... the initial release was a scarce vinyl of the analog 8-track recording released and sold by the band itself (welcome to.... NOW!) Eventually the guys got with a label who took 3 years to release the shit on CD with a different album cover, etc. I gotta love the weird breakdowns that only last 8 seconds but there is still some definite groovecore in there that slays the fuck out of anything else out ether. Good sludgy grind to make you want to punch your ex in the face... repeatedly. Enjoy!
Monday, February 20, 2017
What better way to belatedly ring in the New Year two months late than with twelve blistering minutes of British Colombian lo-fi powerviolence grindcore. This mini-album had been sitting forgotten on my iPod for who knows how long but it seemed every time a song from it would pop up on shuffle I felt the need to pause and see "who the fuck is this?" Sound is terrifically muddy - primarily due to the cassette format the band staunchly keeps alive - there is a satisfactorily skull-crushing warmth to the throbbing drums that bring to mind some of Loinen's early demos. Moshable groovecore mixed with the wicked fast blastbeats we all know, expect and love. The only letdown is the untitled throwaway final track - more akin to the noisecore dregs of the heavy music subgenre. The boys have a pretty diverse catalog for your perusal here - check 'em out and enjoy.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Wow, way back when I was proclaiming good ol' Whale as the "next big thing that never happened" my pretentious ass never even realized those crazy Swedes actually released a second album just three years later. With the delicious Cia Berg again at the helm (talk about the pioneer of the "hottie nerd" revolution, no?), Whale's second slab of wax delivers in just that way late 90's alternative rock did. Of course comparisons can be made with nearly every female-helmed band at the time (Breeders, Garbage, Veruca Salt, etc) but Whale owns a weirdly Euro Pop sensibility that most bands this side of the pond lacked (or at least lacked at the time). The band eschews a rocking "Hobo Babe" anthem on this record for a lot more depth and darkness; a bunch of slow, heavy-lyric ballads mixed in with lots of manic trip-hop. Not quite the party album as their debut (unless you are still holding raves in your basement) but a lot more satisfying a listen. The epic "Go Where You're Feeling Free" cannot help but bring shades of "Happy Colored Marbles" or some similar bigger-than-its-britches mini-epic. Solid stuff that still sounds as good 20 years later. Enjoy.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Take one part Big L and one part House Of Pain and you pretty much end up with A.D.O.R. With rap skills straight outta Mount Vernon, NY, A.D.O.R.'s career began with producer extraordinaire Pete Rock (just then coming into his own) producing his first single, "Let It All Hang Out" which enjoyed some significant 1992 radio and video play. Floating through the scene and eventually signed by the majors, A.D.O.R.'s career stalled significantly when he was dropped by Atlantic on the cusp of his debut LP release for "creative differences" (generic industry-speak for artists not falling into line with label demands). The Concrete never saw the light of day save for limited promo/review copies and the world would have to wait another year until A.D.O.R. released a quasi-revamped version on his own label (entitled Shock Therapy). As far as the music, it all sounds terribly familiar and will constantly remind you of any number of early-90's rappers (especially anyone on Tommy Boy) but man, it is nice to hear some old-school hip-hop I haven't played to death (to gotta be honest, I had never heard of A.D.O.R. and only recently stumbled upon him thanks to SiriusXM's Backspin). The rip I have is culled from vinyl (possibly one of the promo out there?) so there are some skips and cracks but it's the most complete version out there I could find. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Oh man, is it about fucking time for some heavy music. Merciful thanks to the Welsh sludge quartet Hogslayer for not falling into the typical post-debut breakup rut and staying together long enough to release their sophomore studio album Defacer. What a surprise it was to randomly stumble back upon Hogslayer’s bandcamp page only to discover they released a motherfucker of a full-length album way back in July last year. Jesus, where the fuck was I? Another crushing audio siege from these Welsh sludgelords, the 8 tracks pick up exactly where the previous eponymous EP left off, pounding Iron Sloth-influenced dirges overlayed with a howling vocal assault. Don't expect any big pick guitar solos or wailing harmonies - each song opens with a blister of feedback and followed by a hypnotic bombardment of downtuned riffs. Highly recommended.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Already a fan of his long-running Rocket Science blog, I was pleased to read curator Dave G’s involvement in the promotion of local record label Killing Horse Records. Himself the once-owner of a DIY indie label defunct for nearly two decades, Killing Horse launched in 2010 and focused primarily on northern NJ bands (half of which the guys were friends with). One of the earliest records Dave G reviewed was 2012’s self-titled debut by NJ’s Wreaths, a refreshing genre-spanning album which quickly brought to mind flashes of Ween and the Flaming Lips. At a time when Ween had just broken up (and, to be honest, I never found La Cucaracha terribly satisfying) this was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Clear Quebec influences aside (shit, half the songs have a weird "Chocolate Town" groove to 'em), Wreaths exudes a wonderfully trippy vibe that gives the record an almost ethereal quality (and makes you want to instantly drink/smoke yourself into a stupor just to immerse yourself in it). The opener, "Coke Straw" would make the Boognish proud, a cosmic pounder that is probably my favorite track, although nearly every song stands out on its own. Heavy use of the reverb pedal here folks, nearly every rhythm chord is stretched for maximum sustain - a space rock sludgey-ness which really sounds cool. The latter half of the record is more akin to an alien instrumental space dirge spanning one track to the other - "Love Me, Dark Wizard" reminds me of something the Black Keys have done and is a fitting close to the LP, a looping feedback overdub spanning the stereo channels to wrap up the 50-minute acid rock trip. The band has a few other releases floating around out there, your best start is with Discogs, Soundcloud and their Facebook (oh, and buy the record here). Good stuff for sure. Enjoy.
In case you’re interested (or an incredibly esoteric vinyl collector), info on Dave G’s circa-90’s Rocket Science Records can be found here. Killing Horse Records is still actively releasing records and you can check out their bandcamp page here. Lastly (for those who are not tired of links), while Dave G’s blog isn’t really updated anymore you can still noodle around the pretty cool archives here.