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.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Richmond, VA’s Black Cash could not have picked a better time to drop into the city’s local music scene. It was 2005 and the recently-deceased Johnny Cash was basking in massive posthumous career success; not only with his American album series but the huge (and eventual Oscar-winning) crossover box office from the Walk The Line biopic. A completely new generation, tired of the godawful pop country so prevalent on present day radio, was beginning to revisit and appreciate the outlaw country legend’s vast musical catalogue; and Black Cash and the Bad Trips were there to, well, cash in on the hype. Less of a bandwagon grab and simply the result of good timing, Black Cash played a respectable setlist of career-spanning Johnny Cash covers, along with a few Nick Cage and Ween songs if stage time allowed. The brainchild of members from local nü-ish metal acts Eyeshine and Atomizer, the group quickly achieved quite a modicum of national success far outside the River City borders, satisfying the growing demand of the public to hear the classic songs live. The group avoided studio recordings as the Cash estate’s copyright prerequisites were simply too involved to justify anyone’s extended effort towards the thing; as a result one of the few demos that does exist is a promotional 6-song setlist recorded by the original lineup at Richmond’s now-defunct Alley Katz. My clear favorite of the set is “Rusty Cage,” starting off straight-Cash then devolving into the Soundgarden-esque grunge version most of us MTV-generationers are familiar with. The metal roots of the band clearly shine though. Black Cash’s lineup began to change after a few years and eventually show dates began to wane, with the group dissolving in late 2009. Enjoy.