Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Album Review: Botanist - Photosynthesis

Botanist are literally that, botanists. I spent some time trying to figure out a better Latin term for them ie a group of plant enthusiasts, but there really is only one word for their specific field of interest. They literally have it over on me from the shot. I could end the review here, but I digress. If you're not up on your plantlore, Botanist are an extreme metal band out of San Francisco who combine themes of nature with black metal. They usually perform covered in sticks and moss, looking like the disciples of Radagast the Brown, or alternative history druids who interbreed with woodsprites to avoided being conquered by the Romans. Their cohort is comprised of core members Otrebor and Daturus, with Tony Thomas filling in on bass. Photosynthesis is the band’s sixth (or seventh if you count Ecosystem Version B) studio album, seeing them continue to do their thing of colliding folk music with blast beats, managing to sound both epic and understated at the same time. Of note, is that there are no guitars on this album (outside of Thomas’s bass). Instead, the black metal tremolo parts are mostly covered by an incredibly dry and boney sounding, off-key piano. Otrebor’s vocals are mostly intelligible, favoring a listless balladeer delivery, with the notable exception of “Chlorophyll” where he unleashes a more traditional black metal screech, sounding like an iguana in a glue trap. This song is not typical of the album's various strains of florally garnished and luxurious arrangements. A more representative track is "Water" which begins with an arid piano step before blossoming into a lavish outpour of spore pumping grooves that fill the air with a poisonous particulate haze that is deadly to breathe but wondrous to observe in its möbius fluctuations and ariel curls, like a band of warm snow rippling in an air current. There are darker and more menacing metal albums out there but none that embrace the corruption and perpetual parturition of the mother flesh of the earth in as complete an aspect as Botanist. 

Album Review: Lucinda Williams - Good Souls Better Angels

The writer of “Passionate Kisses” and one of the few deserved Grammy winners out there (assuming a Grammy denotes some actual level of quality, which is a HUGE assumption) is back with her fourteenth studio album, Good Souls Better Angels. The album continuing in the vein of her most recent releases, 2016’s Ghost of Highway 20 and 2017’s This Sweet Old World, combining traditional hard-edged folk revival and Americana, with roots and garage rock. Her work has become darker and more rife with shadows as of late and Good Souls Better Angels is no exception. The defiant "You Can't Rule Me" and the thumping “Bad News Blues” start this weather, saddle-back companion and dusty soundtrack off with a growly blues and bluster stomp. Later selections help to show off Williams's continued range as a songwriter without shaking any of the grit out of her boots. “Man Without A Soul” is a surprisingly warm sounding alternative country amble about the men of avarice who rule this land and the status clingers and grubbers who keep them on their thrones. “Shadows & Doubts” is a minimalistic and reflective gospel number, while “Good Souls” is just Williams and her guitar telling it like it is. One of my favorites tracks off this album is “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which is a burst of country-soul with gut-churning guitar distortion and ominously reedy string arrangements cut through the mix like fish bones pushed through warm candle wax. You don't need to hear it from me that Williams still has "it," this much is self-evident. Whatever "it" is, she embodies it like a raging river. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Album Review: Chronophage - The Pig Kiss'd Album

There is a review of mine of the second album from Austin's Chronophage up today for New Noise. The Pig Kiss'd Album is a beautiful and strangely dark album that I slowly fell in love with following its release this month. 

Read my write up of The Pig Kiss'd Album. 

Get a copy of The Pig Kiss'd Album here. 

Album Review: Shannon Candy – So Long

I have a review of the debut album from Shannon Candy up on New Noise today. So Long is a fun little album about standing up to detractors, both internal and external, and it sounds really really good! 

Read review of So Long here.

Get a copy of So Long here. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Interview: Amon Tobin

I had the pleasure of interviewing renowned electronic artists Amon Tobin about his new project and album Figueroa, a psychedelic pop album that feels like it's from another world. We had a delightful conversation and you can check out an excerpt of our discussion over on CHIRP radio's website. 

Album Review: Bovice - 2020 Promo EP

Did a write up of the new EP from Chicago's Bovice on New Noise. Hot new beatdown hardcore, punching your clock over and over again in two savage 4 minute bouts. 

Read my write up of 2020 Promo EP on New Noise. 

Get a copy from Upstate here. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Album Review: Concede - Indoctrinate

Aussie power-violence boys Concede are in no mood to surrender on their debut LP Indoctrinate out on Napalm Records. You can read my write up on New Noise at the link below: 

Album Review: Netherlands - Zombie Techno

NYC experimental, progressive sludge and psychedelic rock group Netherlands, is led by former Yoko Ono collaborator Timo Ellis. Ellis has been performing under this moniker since 2012 and has remained remarkably consistent throughout the project's run, sounding a little like Spacehog meeting Wayne Coyne for a hot, three-way, hotel-rendezvous with Torche. Zombie Techno is thematically a critique of consumer culture and humanity's abuse of the environment that doesn't hold out much hope that we'll correct course before there is nothing left on earth to eat but raw plastic. This theme is driven home on the sardonic and biting, bassy and brash, feedback fricasseed song "We're All Gonna Die One Day." Elsewhere, the title-track and "Casual Monster" kind of bleed together, but still retain distinctive characters, with the former leaning into space-aged, Parliament-esque, punk-funk and the latter opting to be a pensive, blown-out and theatrical version of Jane's Addiction suffocating in a grain silo. "Shirestarter" is minimalistic, allowing the band's weird melodic preoccupations to take center stage, and "U.F.O. D.U.I." could be mistaken for a late-career Butthole Surfer single. Another solid album from a band who aren't pushing the envelope as much as steering it twine with a laser cutter. 

Get a copy of Zombie Techno here.

Album Review: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

Seemingly ordained by the structure and archwork of music's ontological firmament, not even the end of the world as we knew it could forestall the emergence of such a gambit of existential reckoning. As it is the will of a wheel to turn, so too it was the will of protean dark-kin emissary Emma Ruth Rundle and the Malebranche sludge vanguard Thou to spin the sticky silk of their head-wombs into an ethereal tapestry both fantastic and foul to behold. This manifestation of their demiurgic projections is the new opus May Our Chambers Be Full, released from its forming cask by the preeminent soothsayers and diviners of marrow dust of the House of Sacred Bones.

May Our Chambers Be Full owes its genesis to a collaborative performance that Rundle and Thou conjured and then extricated during the latter's residency at the Roadburn Festival in 2019. Once unbridled, the spirit of that performance disentangled itself from the temporal limitations of its birthing chamber and spread out across the ocean to billowed through the sky-ripping monoliths, desolate asphalte lakes, low-hanging skies, and forests whose canopies are formed by overlapping and swollenly inflated egos of dwarven kings- the worm-eaten fabric of the United States. In many ways, the album feels like the emergence of something young and wild, and in otherways, it is like the cold kiss of a vengeful promise kept.

Thou demonstrated at various turns throughout this current epoch of morbidity that there was a certain, enlightened idiopathy to the vibrating electric sinuous and amplified wind and wales that preoccupied the fitful dreams of unmoored youth in the twilight years of the Gipper's sanctimonious scourage. A truth they bore as a golden cross upon their shoulders, 7 pes in length and 3/16 pes wide, on Blessings of the Highest Order. A glimmering display of bone bowing, spleen rupturing, first-order alethic revelation. the kind of truth that could crush you like an insect. In finding Nirvana they revealed that there is a mystic depth to the plunging, inward intrusions that Cobain and others attained... at the price of their sanity. This costly pay dirt is the motor of May Our Chambers Be Full, building a twisted maze of the mind, where wanderers lost inside must loop their finger between the links in a chain that strains around the edges and geometry vine-draped edifices of that place and heave at its steeling length in the hopes of opening a distent gate. A task weighted with the angst of fate. For there is a chance of peril that the wanderers are asked to absorb without fear, they are gambling that the chains they grip and pull are not the leash of a great two-headed dog. A beast that speaks with the voice of an angel and the croak of a dead man. Could one will to survive a confrontation with such a monstrosity? Or, should their resolve fault, shall they be devoured? If death were to befall them they will find themselves taking on a new life, their spirit cursed to walk the stones and thorns of the paths and corridors of their entrapment, bleached by the sun and burnt by the cold, until the troths of their tomb are filled in and forgotten by time, and them along with it.

Leaving that trap, that loathsome place of want, may be the greater sorrow though. As the echos of one's tribulation will dog the escapee forever. A recurrent nightfall of the soul perpetually descending, coinciding with impressions of teeth marks slowly deepening around the heels, tagging the former wanderer as prey. Markings left by an apparition that recalls what has been forced out of the mind in a vain act of ideological preservation. A notion that reluctantly churns in the pit of the self like a whirlpool of pitch and burning sulfur, always rising, threatening to perspire through the vail of the real and conscious mind. An apocalyptic excellent, gurgling forth from one's essence. A hateful truth pried out of the grave dirt of lessons learned and petulantly abandoned. A thought like a wheezing, panicked breath sucked through the fraying folds of a wicker mask before one is plunged into the ocean. This epiphany? That despite one's striving, despite one's arrogant lust for satiation, one's chambers are never more barren than when they are at their fullest.

Get a copy of May Our Chambers Be Full from Sacred Bones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Interview & Review: Paco of La Vida Es Un Mus on Rosie Davis's Cry Out Debut

La Vida Es Un Mus just released a posthumous album from Halifax punk Rosie Davis who passed earlier this year. It's an absolutely fantastic album and I touched base with label head Paco about the release in an attempt to get it in some more ears. Our conversation can be found over at New Noise. 

Interview with Paco. 

Buy Rosie Davis's debut solo EP.

All proceeds will go to Rosie's family. 

Rest in Power. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Album Review: JPEGMAFIA - EP!

Did a little draft up deal for New Noise about the JPEGMAFIA's latest comp EP. I have no idea if what I had to say did it a lick of justice, but I sure as hell had fun writing it!

Read write up here. 

Album Review: Entry - Detriment

Entry are an LA-based hardcore band centered around the exploits of Philly native and vocalist Sara G and Touche Amore guitarist Clayton Stevens. On their debut LP Detriment they've poured out their grievances on a coil of freshly strewn cattle entrails (ethically sourced) to foretell of future triumphs and perceptions ruin. Through the hyena howl of their serrated thrust, the beak-fingered prick of their shredding guitars, and concrete slapping grooves, they've reified and reconstituted the bloody-gummed, mange ridden angst of first-wave crust and d-beat, diving down your throat and splitting you open like a boiled egg in their egress from your grisly husk. I'm playing a straight game of pool with you when I say that Sarah’s vocals are gross as hell, sounding like she’s recovering poorly from a throat infection she got from attempting to swallow an iguana whole. The guitar parts are thrashy while not quite tipping into crossover terrain and very reminiscent of late ‘90s metalcore of Convergere that informs the band's hybrid-hardcore. And the beats and grooves are straight up devastating, with a capital “D” drawing heavily from the era of adrenaline junky, cross-pollination of British punk and metal that spawned bands like Sacrilege and The Varukers, and sounds too perfect to be made by anyone who is Conrad "Cronos" Lant's junior. And yet bassist Sean Sakamoto and drummer Chris Dwyer succeed at such feats in ways that are too perverse for a human lexicon to do ignoble justice to it. I've used a lot of $10 words to describe this album so far, but really all you need to know is that Detriment is fast, loud, and bloodthirsty! Get out while you can or stay and accept your doom! 

Get a copy of Detriment from Southern Lord here. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Album Review: clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

Wrote a review for clipping.'s sequel/sibling to 2019's There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Visions of Bodies Being Burned for New Noise today. The band billed it as an exploration of horror core rap but they also depart from the tenants of the genre in some pretty annoying ways. Still, it's a beautifully produced and largely enjoyable album, even if it veers a little to far into musical theater for my taste at times. 

Read review on New Noise. 

Get a copy via Sub Pop. 

Interview: Dannythestreet

 Had the chance to speak with Miami based emo and indie rockers Dannythestreet about their new four way split with their buds in Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly, Arcadia Grey, and Oolong. It's a crazy good, and high energy release, that you can stream in its entirety and read about how it came together over on New Noise, courtesy of moi! 

Read interview with Dannythestreet on New Noise. 

Get a copy of Fatal 4 Way.

Album Review: Babe, Terror - Horizogon

Claudio Szynkier aka Babe, Terror is a Brazilian artist whose medium is mood and memory. While technically an electronic musician and composer, one is unlikely to be as impressed with the actual mechanics of his work as the received impact of it. Its haunted empirical phenomenology. The sounds that Szynkier selects and how they are arranged act together as a kind of catalysis, a spark to light the hearth in one's soul. He does not compose songs as much as he does movements. 

Szynkier's latest effort is Horizogon, and an album that he wrote during the early days of the pandemic shut down in São Paulo. Walking empty streets day after day. Feeling the world turn, while lives are abandoned or indefinitely put on hold. The metabolic processes of the human world placed in status in an attempt to preserve life and avoided the indifferent touch of disease. Wading through troths voiceless anxiety, allowing the quivering oils of this quiet desolation seep into the pores and stain the bones with a ripple of dull panic. In many ways Horizogon a funeral hymn for the world that has passed, and in others a lament of the way it has been sustained a new twisted form. A mode of living that refuses to acknowledge the fact that the earth has shifted beneath one's feet. A suicidal resolve, stumbling into the rush of the moment like a man who has fallen into a raging river, and instead of swimming for shore, attempts to plant his feet on the river bed and continue his Sunday stroll despite the material impediments presented by a river that has swept him clean out of his own shoes. Drowning is a small price to pay for pride. Horizogon is the funeral hymn for this man and the world he is a symbolic embodiment of. As the German proverb says, "No work stops for the dying." And this is doubly true of the soon to expire. 

You're likely to find that Horizogon doesn't sound like Szynkier's other work as Babe, Terror. His previous album 2018's Fadechase Marathon was more techno-oriented as a kind of ghost of a night club, flickering in the back of your mind like a gas lamp struggling to stay lit. Szynkier's current album by contracts is like a long church choir. Instead of beats, you have layered, reverent piano and clarinet passages that curl through the loops of oaky bass chords and crackling 8-bit chatter to get lost in the sanctifying mists of dissolving, spirit soluble supplications. The somber and unnerving calm of the shifting vocal samples and their ambiguous tonality that flourishes through them is the centerpiece of the album and the aspect that defines the most distinctive qualities of its character. Mourning but hopeful. For even if this life we live were to die, this road we have traveled suddenly blocked by stones, some life will persist. There is always another path. If the world we knew is truly in its' twilight, the best we can do maybe to kiss it's fevered brow good night. 

You will be able to pick up a copy of Horizogon on Vinyl from Glue Moon sometime in December. In the meantime you can buy a digital copy here. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Album Review: Susie Derkins - How to Talk

I took some time this Friday to do a little write up of this lovely little album from Philly twee-poppers Susie Derkins for New Noise. How to Talk shows a lot of promise for this young band and breaths some new life into old '90s alternative and pop-punk tropes. Incredibly good stuff! 

Write up of How to Talk on New Noise. 

Interview: Blood From the Soul

I got to chat with Jacob Bannon (Converge) and Shane Embury (Napalm Death) about their work in the collaborative project Blood From the Soul and their new album out this Friday, DSM-5. The project has been completely overhauled for this release and you can see what I had to say about it and read Jacob and Shane's thoughts as well at the links below. 

Interview with Blood From the Soul on New Noise. 

Get a copy of DSM-5 from Deathwish, Inc. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Album Review: WoeFul Echo - Dampening Existence

One of the editors over at New Noise sent me this record a while back and I liked it enough to do a write up on it. There are two many quality one-man black metal projects out there for me to reasonably attempt to cover and keep up with everything else I like to write about, but sometimes an album just hits you the right way and you need to say something. Check out my write up of  WoeFul Echo's new LP Dampening Existence over on New Noise. 

Write up of Dampening Existence.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Interview: World Be Free

Had a great conversation with Andrew, Sammy, and Scott of World Be Free last month. They're one of the few hardcore supergroups that lives up to the modifier "super." They have a new album out this Friday and we talked about how they wrote it and the friendship that informs it. Check out the full interview over at New Noise.

Interview with World Be Free on New Noise.

Get a copy of World Be Free's new record One Time for Unity from Revelation Records. 

Album Review: Undertakers - Dictatorial Democracy

I was saving this one in case Trump won the Presidential election last week but I like this album a lot so I'm going to go ahead and post it now. To be clear though the guy who won that election is no friend to working people and the vast majority of Americans who could use a hand up right now. He will be equally as bad in many ways as his predecessor. Anarchists will have more than enough reason to take the streets in resistance to a corporatist goon like Sleepy Joe in the coming months, however, putting aside real politics for a moment, it was very satisfying to see the Annoying Orange land on his ass this past weekend. Hit the bricks Donny! Go get lost down a well!

Undertakers are an anarcho-grindcore band out of Italy. If you hold a position about the structure and purpose of a hierarchy, they'll more than likely have polemic to slap you with tucked away in their back pocket. They released a new compilation LP Dictatorial Democracy last month and I did a little write up for it for New Noise. You can check out the links below:

Write up of Dictatorial Democracy here. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Album Review: Tawny Newsome & Bethany Thomas - Material Flats

I really enjoyed doing a write up for the new collaboration between Tawny Newsome & Bethany Thomas, titled Material Flats. Two bad ass ladies, going hard and staking their claim in the worlds of punk and country. Also, Ted Leo guests on the final track and it's awesome! 

Check out my write up of Material Flats for New Noise here. 

Get a copy of Material Flats on vinyl here.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Album Review: Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brothahood - Live

Live is a truly evocative album from one of the many mythic-level troubadours of jazz who call Chicago home. Only, unlike other flights of fancy that persist and spread between the ears and mouths of folks in the windy city (Mrs. O'Leary's Cow and her culpability in the Chicago fire, the Mayor reigning in TIF giveaways, sightings of The Great Lakes Mothman [the last one might actually be real]) Angel is not only a concrete reality, but a manifestation of intent and love, whose presence elevates all other aspects of her surroundings. Her debut album for International Anthem, the Oracle, was one of the more intimate and versatile records I had the pleasure of encountering in 2019. Listening to that record felt like solving a riddle with a friend. A lyrical mystery written on a shred of cloth tucked behind the wallpaper of an old house. The poetry of its message leading you to the revelation of its conclusion. Her new album Live is just as intimate and moving, but instead of a game you share, it's an intervention. There is something you've got to hear and you're probably not going to like it when that thing Angel has inside of her slips out.

Live captures a performance given by Angel during the Berlin Jazzfest in November of 2019. On stage that night she was backed by Tha Brotherhood, an adopted family of musicians that includes Deacon Otis Cooke on synth, Xristian Espinoza on tenor sax and percussion, Norman W. Long who provides additional synths and electronic accompaniments, Dr. Adam Zanolini on bass (and double bass) and soprano saxophone, drummers Isaiah Collier and Asher Simiso Gamedze, and Viktor Le Givens, filling in with additional instrumentation and accompaniments. An array of talent on par with any Arkestra assembled by the great galaxy mover Sun Ra. 

Live doesn't begin with the song "London" but it's where our discussion will begin. The song opens with the clarion current of Angel's clarinet, its smooth cylindrical tone and melody guiding you into its warm interior, like it was beckoning to you from the hearth of a great study, in a sturdily built but drafty manor. Once inside you will be greeted by the rippling massage of a Zanolini's bass and told tales of restless spirits and dark thoughts allowed to slip from the mind and into the world, to drift up like clouds to kiss the moon and fill the sky with a crowded affliction. The song goes through an imperceptible, transmogrifying threshold after a point, transitioning from a lightly maudlin Coltrane like spiritual jazz-font to a psychedelic, free jazz freak-out and subconscious invading, excavation undertaken with the finesse of a beat-poet driving an augur through the trough of your brain. The reason this is a good place to begin discussing the album is because of the strong spiritual jazz and post-bop sensibilities that thread it's reticulated intersections and which continue to wind their way through the remainder of the album, knitting it together into a cohesive whole. What you will find is that all of these threads carry with them a dusty, bitter resin and that sticks to the skin like ash, singing and discoloring it with a patina of chalky film, as if it were the still-smoldering remains of burnt offering. Many of the elements of "London," the leading clarinet solos, elastic-thump of the bass, and irrepressible, expressive vocal melodies, frictionlessly passing through an inexhaustible evolution- all are ripely exhibited on the sky-fire spotlighted, soul-bearing declaration of "We Are Starzz," and the barefooted, rain-baiting swirl and liberated tilt of "Melo Deez From Heab'N."  However, even a comprehensive description of these tracks and parsing of their emotional content cannot entirely do justice to the context of this record. For that, you need to look to "Black Family." 

The lyrics of "Black Family" are few, but each is heavy enough to pin a ship's belly to the sea bed and prevent it from leaving the harbor. Few they may be, but powerful none the less. Swept along by blue and deeply broody bass tones, the blushing-snap of a breakbeat, and the melancholy leap of a slightly off-key piano riff, it demands your attention and recognition in ways that are unexpected, compelling, and to an extent, exhausting. It insists on audience validation in a manner that affirms the fact that such validation is not the source of the performers' strength and resilience, and that anticipates residence from its audience in its a simple prayer. The song cuts through these barriers as if they were mere spoke with a truth that is set loose like an arrow into the night air, soaring beyond the horizon to reach a new day. An eruption of emotion barely contained by the robust talent of Angel and her band, concentrated into a theatrical lament that speaks to a profound sadness. A hole in her heart where if you were to throw a stone, it may fall forever. "Black Family" is both the point where the album stops, and where it begins in earnest. All other sentiments and sounds flow through it or are manifest in its shadow. Including, the tear-choaked unfurling and uneasy, creeping calm of "What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black." Through the lens of "Black Family" you can see the struggle expressed through this album. A battle to be seen. A battle to be heard. A fight against a kind of psychic-death. A single theater of engagement in a war raged for the right to remain alive, documented on tape.

There is context to Live beyond the daily struggle for life and equity that black people are engaged in the United States. In fact, it is a bouquet of subtly villainous particulars.  As the band was preparing to leave for Berlin, Le Givens somehow ended up passed out on the streets of Chicago and woke up in a hospital bed after having been robbed. Being unconscious and alone, in the open air of a large city like Chicago is dangerous enough of a situation for one to find themselves in, even if they're not black. Let alone in November. Winter comes early in this part of the Great Lakes and it is a miracle that Le Givens didn't die of exposure before he could be rescued by emergency workers. Before Le Givens was found safe though, the band was forced to inform their contact with the festival in Berlin that one of their members had gone missing. They were informed by the representative that if they did not find a suitable substitute for Le Givens, then their pay for the performance would be reduced. This set the tone for the rest of their trip, where Angel and the band would encounter prescription as to where they could travel and other smaller, incidents of aggression that would build until a point of rupture. That being a confrontation with the staff at the Duke Ellington Hotel over whether Angel could perform at the piano in their lobby. The audio from the highly charged interaction is captured in the opening track "Enlightenment," which ends with an overdub of one of her bandmates telling Angel that it is time to go, a subtle variant on the phrase "it's not worth it." Live is the staking of Angel's and her bandmate's claim on the performance they gave in Berlin. While they were made to feel like outsiders and oddities while in Berlin, releasing the performance as an album on International Anthem feels like a way of bringing it home. A way of saying that it was always theirs. They will share their gifts with you of course, provided that you realize is not yours for the taking. It is more than just a commodity. It's emotions more than just fuel to be consumed. Live is a conversation, not a transaction. And beyond that, a conversation where you're going to be doing most of the listening. 

Get a copy of Live from International Anthem here.

Interview: Brett Naucke

I had the opportunity to speak with Brett Naucke recently for CHIRP about his brand new album EMS Hallucinations, and exploration and revival of the experimental synth projects of the '70s. We talked for over an hour but due to CHIRP's formatting constraints, only 10 minutes made it into the final cut. Although, those 10 minutes are extremely interesting and explain the background of how he came to make the album and the specific instruments he used. Well worth your time if you're interested in the origins of contemporary experimental music. Maybe I'll release the full tape one of these days. Stay tuned! 

Album Review & Interview: California Cousins Split

Did a small write up of the Rochester emo band California Cousins split with floral patterns. for New Noise. It includes an interview with their vocalist Jason about the record and his growing steak sandwich empire. Link below. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Album Review: Carcass - Despicable EP

There is a review of mine up on New Noise today of the new Carcass EP Despicable. It's better than what we can expect from the band at this point in their career. It better than we could expect from most metal bands at their peak if we're being honest. Carcass are still at the top of their game. Links below. 

Review of Despicable on New Noise.

Get a copy of Despicable from Nuclear Blast. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Column: New Noise Bandcamp Recommendations November 2020

I made some recommendations for Bandcamp Friday for New Noise. My write up for each can be found at the link below. The November list includes:

Ask – Severed Self EP

Serengeti – With Greg from Deerhoof LP

Wisent – Seething EP

Romasa – Insufferable Cave of Rotting Aspiration EP

Oginalii – Pendulum LP

Hans Dado – Huhh? EP

Chef Mike – Zerkalo LP

Ant Attack – Pest Mortem EP

Chester Watson – A Japanese Horror Film LP

¿Banana? – Reading the Room LP

Gimmick – S/T EP

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Album Review: Seltzers - Demo


Seltzers is a rough sounding and rascally pop-punk out of Boston. They just dropped a demo and it's hilarious and fucking great. My write up is live on New Noise

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Album Review: Venom Prison - Primeval

Venom Prison is a death metal band that renews my faith in the genre everytime I listen to them. I did a little write up of their comp collection Primeval for New Noise this election day. 

Check out my write up on Primeval here. 

Get a copy of Primeval here. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Album Review: Oceanator - Things I Never Said

NYC indie/punk powerhouse Oceanator was able to resurrect her debut LP Things I Never Said from the wreckage of Tiny Engines to the promised land of Polyvinyl, and because it's such a triumph I did a little write up for New Noise. 

Read the write up of Things I Never Said here. 

Get a copy of Things I Never Said on Polyvinyl here.

Album Review: Wife Patrol – Too Prickly For This World

Indianapolis rock group Wife Patrol dropped their debut LP earlier this fall and I went head over heels for their new beat. Like Sleater-Kinney meets the Go-Gos. My full review is over on New Noise. 

Album Review: Hellripper - The Affair of the Poisons

Well hello there goblins, ghouls, and non-binary werewolves (Editor's Notes: This is a stolen bit) Scottish blackened speed-devil Hellripper has a new sensational LP out and I wrote some blasphemous praise of this new blaster for New Noise today. Oaf! Links below: 

Read my review of The Affair of the Poisons here. 

Get a copy of The Affair of the Poisons on Peaceville Records. 

Album Review: White Boy Scream - BAKUNAWA

Bakunawa is a serpent who resides in the great depths of the ocean. She nests in the mud and soft stone of the crevices and caverns of the fathomless, thalassic pit. A brine breathing priestess of an order and faith older than man, and incomprehensible to his primate faculties. The serpent was made by the great Bathala, creator of the world, and she wraps herself around the earth like a great belt. A scally, coiling sash of cupidity. She is dormant throughout most of the year, but on some clear nights, pulled further from her keep by greed, hunger, and determination, she rises from the ocean to take what she believes to be hers: The Moon. For Bathala, in his boundless grace had made seven moons at the beginning of the world, and these celestial bodies filled the night sky with a mesmerizing and heavenly light. The people of the world loved the moons, but so did Bakunawa. Bakunawa was also jealous of the grandeur of these celestial forms and envious that such splendid things could exist in the world. So she began to swallow them. One by one, night by night, she devoured the moons until the only one remained. The people were horrified by Bakunawa's covetous acts as her hunger robbed the night sky of its blissful aura and plunged the world into darkness. And so when Bakunawa came for the last moon, the people rebelled. They came out of their houses and made a terrible noise. They yelled. They screamed. They banged on objects and drums, and eventually, the calamity of sound drove the serpent back into the surf. She is still down there though. Spitful and green. Biding her time to lay claim to her succulent, final prize. 

This is the legend of Bakunawa, which owes its origins to the Tagalog people who reside in the modern-day Philippines. The moon devouring beast and the stories of her mother's homeland, serve as the organizing inspiration for Micaela Tobin's latest album with her noise project White Boy Scream. The project is named for the overwhelmingly homogenized demographics and aesthetics of the noise scene in the USA. While classically trained, Tobin found a different route for her self and outlet for her expression after witnessing a performance by Anna Luisa Petrisko with her group Jeepneys (a reference to the appropriation and upcycle of decommissioned military vehicles and supplies left behind by the US military in the Philipines during decades of occupation). Tobin views her presence and immersion in noise and extreme music as part of a concerted effort to open up these spaces and allow them to function in a more inclusive manner. This is certainly in keeping with the aesthetics and professed goals of noisemakers as it is one of the few realms of music that is truly participatory. How one engages with noise music is not by listening to it necessarily, but by making it yourself. In this way, it contains the seeds of a fulfilled creed that many of its musical predecessors, from folk to punk, have sworn themselves to. A totally horizontal space for creation and communication. And if this space is not open to everyone then what use is it to anyone? This is a question that Tobin takes seriously and one that cuts to the heart of her current project's thesis of liberation and decolonization. 

At the same time that she attempts to pry open new space for herself and others aesthetically, White Boy Scream is also an attempt to reclaim her past. The project is meant to be a vector in this respect for understanding Tobin's past through the pursuit of her future. Reclaiming and metabolizing her Filipino heritage through the corridor of distortion and imploding operatics. 

The Philipines has a long and fraught history with colonialism. In fact, the nation as it exists is the product of consolidation for the convenience of Spanish colonial powers who ruled over the territory as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, established by the Hasberg Dynasty in modern-day Mexico. This arrangement persisted for around three centuries before control of the islands was relinquished following the Spanish Empire's defeat in the Spannish-American War. This was immediately followed by a brutal war between a newly established Filipino Republic and the United States which resulted in between 200,000 and 1 million civilian casualties and the eventual subjugation of the islands under yet another colonial power, this time the United States. The US would retain the islands as a colonial territory until they were invaded and captured by Imperial Japan in the '40s. The Japanese army was ejected following some of the most brutal and costly battles of the entire Pacific Theater of WWII, eventually leading to the Philipines being recognized as an independent nation in 1946. After its independence, the Philipines continued to suffer due to the meddling of foreign powers during the cold war, and due to internal instability, economic crisis, and a rash of coups and corruption candles. In recent years, this legacy of instability eventually lead to the election of a madman, Rodrigo Duterte. A man who openly brags about the suffering he is able to inflict on the people of the Philippines and the murders he has personally ordered and committed as part of his "anti-drug" campaign. 

As an attempt to reclaim her identity from the colonial intrusions that have produced Philipine's chaotic present, Tobin embodies both the sea monster Bakunawa and the Tagalog people on her new record. The serpent, single-mindedly determined to sink its teeth into the great pearls on offer in the celestial plain, treasures wrongfully laid claim to by others in their vainglory. And the people, whose zealous, rebellious noise acts as an offensive wall of sound, barricading pillagers from setting foot on the islands. Not only is the album conceptually thick and rich with these entwined dichotomies, but it is also captivating in its elegant songcraft and searing in its hot blushes of spectrum peaking noise. "Rockets," true to the premise of its title, is parted by jet-stream shaped furrows of gnawed strings and circuit melting distortion. "Mirrors" is a tarnished, swell and gush of chorus vocals, swallowed by the bedlam breathing portal of a great dragon-like roar. And, lastly, "Apolaki" is an electro-piercing, tooth through tomes of a history written by its victors in opposition to its subject, a magnificent ouroboros linking of the final track with the first, in a wheel of sound whose motion is like the surging, heartbeat of millions. 

Changing the world is a dangerous task. And for all of the force of White Boy Scream's headlong rush and execution, I think Tobin is acutely, and painfully, aware of this fact. Both the opening track and the closer "Apolaki" feature the defiant refrain "they can't erase me." A declaration of Tobin's spiritual intent, manifest in song, to be heard and acknowledged as a woman of flesh and blood, descended from blood that she believes can not be diluted with the clumsy, acidic saliva that colonialism has spread across the world with the long, luxurious, lap of its greedy, glacial, and suffocating tongue. But as her defiant words reach their zenith on the opening track the beautiful resonance of her voice is buried in an explosion of sonic artillery, dropping from on high like a blanketing, carpet-bombing run of sonic white phosphorus. For the truth is that most of the people who have opposed colonialism have been erased. Most of the people who have been inconvenient to its expansion have been expunged. And the great majority of people who do, or who could potentially, stand in the way of world financial interests find themselves displaced, destroyed, disappeared, and ruined. There is a great deal of hope expressed on Bakunawa, but also some trepidation. A weariness acknowledgment that to truly oppose power and the fluid morphology of capital, imperialism, and world hegemony is to risk complete annihilation. I get the sense that Tobin believes that this fight is worth having. Even if the fruits of this struggle can feel as impossible to obtain as plucking the moon from the sky. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Interview: TMA

 TMA were one of those real deal punk bands that couldn't have given less of a fuck whether they ever signed a deal with a record label or if anyone would listen to their music five years after they released it, let alone over 30 years later! Yet, Left for Dead Records is looking to revive the band's catalog with a deluxe reissue of their back catalog. I was able to catch up with Tom of TMA and Jim of Left for Dead Records to learn more about the release and get a sense of the band's legacy (or lack thereof). You can read our conversations via New Noise at the links below: 

Interview with TMA and Left for Dead at New Noise. 

Album Review: Wormwitch - Septentrion Revival

Wormwitch have just released a collection of their older material on Hidden Tribe. The collection is called Septentrion Revival, a window into the band's more straightforwardly hardcore and crust punk past. Link to my write up on New Noise below: 

Write up of Septentrion Revival on New Noise. 

Get a copy of Septentrion Revival from Hidden Tribe. 

Album Review: Raúl Monsalve y los Forajidos - Bichos

People have always understood themselves, and their relation to each other, through the lens of beasts. Just about every culture in some way attributes voices, personality traits, and motives to various members of the animal kingdom. The character assignments vary from region to region and from culture to culture, but every instance betrays a persistent pressure of the human mind to project itself on to other living beings, to use them as flesh-and-blood metaphor for understanding themselves. Pigs are dirty and lazy. Rats are petty and greedy. Mosquitos are vindictive and persistent. All of these traits are entirely and solely human, but are given to animals to bring them into the human world, to make sense of them, and ourselves in relationship to each other. Venizalian bassist Raúl Monsalve uses this convention and quirk of human psychology to anchor the themes of his latest album with the project Raúl Monsalve y los Forajidos. Bichos, a Venizialian term for vermin and trouble makers, is Monsalve's latest foray into the worlds of afrobeat, Latin jazz, and electronic dance music. The album folds these influences into a tight and easily digestible pocket that you can pretty much enjoy anywhere. Getting ready for your morning workout? Hit play on the spry pounce of "La Pulga" (ie The Flea) which leaps back and forth with the agility of a Ringling Brothers trained flea, a tiny ariel artist performing above a bubbling, conga drum beat, egging the little daredevil towards the next death-defying leap. Dreading your commute? Let the fluttery, patient beat of "La Mariposa"(ie The Butterfly) and it's future-funk, hardnosed drive, get you there in no time. Doing chores around the house? Let the industrious pluck and patter of "Bocón" and the elegant, synapse-priming, electro-fusion-funk of "Cafunga" help carry the burden of your work and give you the energy to power through and get back to what's most important in life: Breathing easy and enjoying yourself. This last task, that of actually grabbing hold of life and ringing some joy out of it, more so than any other, Bichos is calibrated and attuned to assist you with. Despite the world often going out of its way to tell you otherwise, you're not a roach, or a fly, or a rat, and you deserve the dignity and the pleasure owed to a member of the human race. Take a moment for yourself and to enjoy Raúl Monsalve y los Forajidos's Bichos this evening. 

Get a copy of Bichos from Olindo Records here. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Column: Nothing Catalog Review

I got my shit together enough to write an overview of Nothing's back-catalog today for New Noise. The primer includes their EPs and LPs, no singles or splits. There won't be a review of their new album The Great Dismal on the horizon. I just have too many other things I want to cover, but trust me when I say that it's good! 

Check out my primer on Nothing's catalog on New Noise. 

Get a copy of The Great Dismal on Relapse Records. 

Album Review: C.O.F.F.I.N - Children Of Finland Fighting In Norway

They can really make a gross, sweaty ruckus down in Australia and I was able to distill my thoughts on one oily locus of it for New Noise today. C.O.F.F.I.N are basically a woke Murder Junkies lead by a trailer-home dwelling, Schlitz blitzed Phil Collins, and they fucking rule! They just released their self-titled fourth album and I can't put it down! 

Album Review: Ian Isiah - Auntie

The Pentecostal raised, GHE20G0TH1K scene maker Ian Isiah is going to lift your spirits, cleanse your soul, and hug the hurt out of you with the gorgeous gospel polished funk of his latest EP, Auntie. The singer and composer has beamed in Chromeo to do the honors of conjuring and channeling the ghost of Prince and the living essence of Chaka Khan into a mixing board to Weegied up this release as a celebration of life as it was bequeathed to us by the miracle of cosmic coincidence. The role of caretaker that Ian has assumed with the title of this EP is evident in the consciousness of his approach to melody and lover's mischief on this release. I swear by the hair on a lambs head that you will feel well-tended to and fully sated by the conclusion of its run time. Auntie kicks off with "N.U.T.S," a totem to remind you that even if others see you as a villain for merely existing as you are, to those who love you, you're a god damned star! It's an essential message conveyed with a flow of sexy sax solos and moonlight struck funky synth chords. The slinky bounce continues with the Champaign blooded, dancefloor, bust-up and strut "Princess Pouty" and the disco drenched wind-up and shakedown seduction of "Can't Call It." "Bougie Heart" doubles down on the enticements of Isiah's sex appeal, allowing him the space to drop a guard evading bid for your affection amongst a suite of parallel spiritual hard-bop and squishy funk-bap synth and sax parts. “First Love” has a subdued DeBarge-esque, puppy dog-eyed quality to its flutter groove and playful prattle. Don't cut out early though, because the main event premieres just before the end of the EP, with purple-dyed funk and bold stepping blues sneak of "Lady Bug," its fur-lined Morris Day melodies and lightening-through-your-heart, show-stopping guitar solos will overcome the last of your resistance to Ian's dusky charm. Break out your best wine and bless your day with a kiss from Auntie

Get a copy of Auntie from Juliet Records here. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Album Review ọmọlólù - laiii 222 rest ooo : blx ancestral sonix salves

Wrote a little piece on the wonderful new album from ọmọlólù. laiii 222 rest ooo is technically an EP but it touches on more moods and ideas than many LPs that I've encountered that are three times its length. Oh my god, it's good. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Album Review: Sex with a Terrorist - Demo

Did a write up of Sex with a Terrorist's demo. It's a little band by a couple guys, maybe you've heard of them. Just Ian Shelton and Patrick Kindlon. You know, THOSE GUYS. All kidding aside, great fucking record.  

Cassette available from Convulse Records and Bad Mouth Productions

Album Review: Rïcïnn – Nereïd

I have a review of the new Rïcïnn album Nereïd for New Noise up today. It's an impossibly deep album and I doubt I was able to bring up even a 10th of the pearls that lie in its depths for this review. I've done my best though and you can read my thoughts below. 

Album Review: mynameisblueskye - No Ordinary Summer


I'm going to do something unheard of here and say something nice about Bandcamp. Gasp, right?! A music writer, heaping praise on Bandcamp? Impossible! Yet, here we are... 

One of the great things about Bandcamp as a platform is that it facilitates the release of independent projects and gives solo artists the same tools and frameworks to promote themselves as those with a whole team at their disposal. Further, the platform has a robust set of discovery tools that allows you to actually find things that you'd want to listen to on the platform, as opposed to what ever is being pushed by paid PR consultants in a given press cycle. Between recommendations from other users, articles written by Bandcamp staff, and stuff I happen upon just by visiting the front page, I end up with almost TOO MUCH to listen to and enjoy- which is not a complaint, believe me. I wish I had the time to cover everything I discover through the platform, but sadly there are only so many hours in the day, most of which I'm either grinding for XP or gold. One such release that more or less fell into my lap thanks to rainbow glazed joy funnel that is Bandcamp is mynameisblueskye's No Ordinary Summer. Put simply, it's great. And it is really, really great.

No Ordinary Summer is an autobiographical album by one young, solo composer, identified only as Chris B, singing about the summer he experienced in quarantine while processing the trauma of this country's recent racial awakening. No Ordinary Summer was tracked using the barest of recording setups, merely utilizing a keyboard, drum machine, microphone and laptop. The fact that this album works as well as it does proves the thesis that you don't need more than a couple of good ideas and the ability to execute (most of) them to create a compelling piece of art. Most of these tracks must have been recorded in a single take and they're so DIY you can hear a carbon monoxide detector with a low battery going off in the background of at least one of them ("Start at the Bottom"). This is a fact that I find endlessly endearing. Beyond the inclusion (or intrusion?) of environmental sounds filling in and texturing the mix of these songs, there is some serious, songcraft going on here as well. More than anything, what makes this album an engaging listen is the simple interplay of the intersecting vocal and keyboard melodies, which are allowed to take to the fore of the mix in tandem, in a delicate dance of Sparklehorse-reared, fosterling virtue and charm.

The drab drag and understated majesty of "I Should Be In a Swimming Pool Right Now" illudes to the summer that should have been with a cold, shadowy beat and moaning, neon melody, that periodically draws out a disquieting hiss from the instrument as it is played. "Hidden Planet" takes gradual flight, with aid of a popping, air-bursting beat and the ample lift of a sunbeam colored synth chord. "Revolution on Paper" in contrast, is grounded in lyrical honesty, depicting some betrayal of trust that seems larger than what can be pinned on a single individual, a resigned message of resilience,  lite by an electro-gospel harmony, and contained by the shadow cast from a clear-eyed soul melody. 

I love that Chris B has the confidence to center his voice on these songs. It allows his personality to flesh out No Ordinary Summer and permits the listener to access the emotional core of each track. The solid compositions as well help usher the listener into his world, while the lo-fi production gives the entire effort the feel of an intimate concert taking place in the adjoining room. Sort of like that episode of Portlandia where Carrie and Fred persuade Amy Mann to do a private concert for them in their living room, except in this case, you're the guest. And your presence is at Chris's pleasure. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Interview: Divided Heaven

Did an interview with Jeff Berman of Divided Heaven for New Noise this week. It includes the debut of his new song "They Poisoned Our Fathers" which features guest vocals from Lydia Loveless, The interview also includes a selection of protest songs that are helping Jeff keep his head held high during this these times.

Check out my interview with Jeff here. 

Check out his new song "They Poisoned Our Fathers" here. 

Album Review: Brain Corrosion / Ripped to Shreds - Exhumed From Eastern Tombs Split

There is nothing on earth quite like a good grind. Getting up in the morning and pulverizing some beans into a powder for a French press coffee, excellent! Piling up XP so that you can take on the next stage boss and progress in the campaign, that's how you win, baby! Getting down with some hottie, Oh la la! As good as all that is though, I'd say my favorite grind is still of the music variety, which why I've been blasting the latest split from Brain Corrosion and Ripped to Shreds since it dropped this past August. Now I'm going to bite straight to the marrow here and give you all the bloody details. 

Brain Corrosion is a Taiwanese group who play absolutely disgusting, revolting, and ignominious sounding death vocals grind. You could compare them to bands like Dead Infected, and in their less coherent moments, Agathocles, but these are mere signs post along the road ahead, grind is about the journey, and on this trip, you'll need snow chains to get over all the gore. Of the eight Brain Corrosion songs on this split, six are original, with two being re-recordings of tracks off their 2017 Legal Innocence EP ("Legal Innocence" and "Death a Go Go." 

The A side of the split is in Brain Corrosion's mangled grip and it opens with "Corpse Refining - To Become A Jiangshi," a particularly pulverizing track, that slides through grinder grooves and winds through the gears of an infernal, automated killing machine at alternating tempos, loobing it's mechanisms and increasing its capacity for total domination and slaughter.  While Brain Corrosion can take off like a casket downhill during a mudslide when they want to, it's really the groovier sections of their songs that draw me in and hold my attention. "Mondo Ivo's Blood" has a particularly sick, intestine twining riff that feels like it's been nursed directly from the bile of Exhumed's exposed spleen, and the latter half of  "Twisted Reflections" has this weird, twisty surf element to it that sounds like a harbinger of a wave of undead shark attacks off the coast of Malibu. Bikini babes and hairless chested hunks beware! 

Ripped To Shreds hold things down on the B side with a series of covers rendered in an approximation of their usual death-grind style. These covers lean into a thrashier more sharply melodic territory than we've heard the Andrew Lee before, feeling more like blackened hardcore or crust punk in places than death metal. The contrast of Ripped To Shred's side is a welcome one though. Brain Corrosion's viscera disgorging spew is not an act I'd want to follow and the sharper tones Ripped to Shred adopts for their covers of songs by Assuck and Gridlink helps carve out some breathing room in the heavy bass tone residue left in the A side's wake. The one original song Ripped To Shreds offers for their side of the split, "Rotting Stenches Unknown," does try to keep pace with the first half of the record but changes gears by the midpoint to what feels like a Japenese hardcore version of a Morbid Angel track, a shift that triggers a progressive tightening of the song's melody that makes its muscle rending slither all the more intractable as it penetrates you and makes a nest in the pit of your stomach. 

Exhumed From Eastern Tombs will split you open like a jelly-filled walnut and you will only know it is about to end by the number of buzzards that have gathered to swallow the pulp its made of your interior.