So here is the deal. I have been having a very hard time keeping up on the blog this summer. Between all of the design work, being a dad, teaching letterpress, health issues, writing an album, putting together Dead Accents releases, illustrating shirts and wedding invitations... Well, you get the idea. The blog has started to really fall by the wayside and I hate that. So here is what I am going to do: I am going to accept submissions between now and August 4th—which is my birthday—and then I am going to stop accepting until I am done with everything that has been sent to me. I figure if you took the time to send it to me, I can take the time to write about it. Just not right now. It may take me a whole year but I will do it. I am sure a few new ones will sneak their way in there but I am going to make this giant pile disappear. Thanks for checking in. New releases will start appearing very shortly.
Hooves are a 4 piece psychedelic/post rock band that hail from Spokane Washington. I have had the honor of playing with them a few times and seeing them change through the years. They started as a two piece and have since expanded and it has expanded their sound greatly. Joe Preston formally of These Arms are Snakes is an excellent drummer and he is really the conductor of sorts in this band. That seems to be common in instrumental bands, at least the great ones like Don Caballero or Hella. These tracks have a slightly Pelican vibe to them but I would say they go a lot deeper and further into the aether. Hooves is definitely a band to catch live and if you do you should buy this lovely cassette. It looks fantastic but I wouldn't expect any less from drummer Joe Preston who is also an accomplished graphic design/printer.
My daughter did not enjoy this. I was actually a little surprised because it is filled with amazing visuals that bring to mind Paul Klee and Joan Míro meets this weird tape of visual experimentations that I found at a goodwill 20 years ago. She usually loves that stuff but she's also 4 so what are you going to do? The music is not really music so much as a guitar and a violin being tortured into something beautiful. It's a lovely little package and I hope you find one.
I received this a long time ago and I'm just getting to it. That's the truth of it all. I am way behind. It's not intentional but I have about 50 things to review and I am going to get to all of them but it's tough. I may just have to stop accepting things for a year or so. We shall see… Anyhow, this is awesome. I only really get to listen to cds in my car and this one has been such a nice, noisy companion for traffic that I think it may have increased my anxiety to an almost homicidal level. That is a high I can get behind. Seriously though this is an excellent cd that skirts the line between traditional noise and HNW quite nicely. There is grit here, and lots of it. I would recommend tracking down Boar's releases as soon as you are able. This cd may be all gone though because of my delay. Sorry.
This lathe is so clear and beautiful I could stare at it all day. That's actually one of my two issues with this; the lathe looks so amazing that the packaging itself becomes very underwhelming. I really wish they had eight shown off the lathe with the packaging or done something nicer than a xeroxed sheet of paper folded in half. Imagine a letterpressed sleeve with the lettered pushed into the paper the same way the sounds are pressed into the clear plastic. It would make owning this mandatory and not just suggested. Suggested because Boar rules and the sounds on this, static broken noise, are fucking killer. Unfortunately for me my record player had a really hard time playing this. It took about a dozen attempts before I got it to play. This is my second issue although it may just be my record player. I think I am due for a new needle. The grooves are just a little light for my needle. Still when it landed right it sounded great. I need to know who made these.
I love the names of both the project and the release. It makes me happy. Anyhow, this is another lathe from Breaching Static. More brutal noise from this label that is becoming a label to really pay attention to. The sounds on this are killer and I found it much easier to play than the Boar 5" lathe. Still I would run to this label and buy both of these right away. The packaging is pretty lacking on this release as well but hopefully their next releases will take as much care in the visual as they do the aural. I wish I had the time to offer my letterpressing skills at this point… maybe soon.
This is a well recorded live cassette from a radio show on WFMU. One Master does this traditional Black Metal thing pretty well. Heavy, epic and dark with that tinge of sadness that all decent black metal needs. The vocals have a tragic quality that I always look for. I have never heard of this band but I think I will need to check out what other releases they have.
Their logo is pretty unique. A little more clever than your average black metal logo while not looking at all fussy or over-precious.
This exists somewhere between too adorable to critique and pretty damn good regardless. This is basically a 2 year old making noise on things and really accomplished noise makers collaborating and expanding on the cutest source material imaginable. Some tracks are a little unlistenable but there are some stand outs on here that will blow you away. Most notably Magnetic Lucifer (who I think might be Crank Sturgeon), irr. app. (ext.) and At jennie Richie & Ressler. It's really worth hearing and I hope Cameron's parents keep doing this every year. I would love to hear how this progresses.
The cd itself looks like something a grandma might put together around a birthday and I think that just makes it all the more adorable. Well done Cameron.
Fuck! This is some crazy blackened grind/thrash. Fast, fast, fast. Seriously. Whoever this human is he seriously deserve to tour everyday until he can no longer grind like that. This has all the aesthetics of naive black metal but it's faster and with totally brutal vocals that are more akin to Discordance Axis. This is rad.
So I got a couple Q///Q cassettes within a couple weeks of each other so I decided to put these together. Q///Q is a nice Elecetro-experimental group that plays lovely music that is perfect for drawing too. I mean, it is for me because that is what I have been listening to it for. I am not super fluent in this genre so you will have to excuse me if I compare this to Cliff Martinez who garnered a lot of fame from his work on the Drive soundtrack but I hear a nice similarity with his work here that I really enjoy. Q///Q is a bit grittier and delves into some more interesting directions but I think I could here this group doing some really amazing soundtrack work if they pursued that direction.
Both tapes look pretty good although I am not that into the type treatment inside the one on Singapore Sling. The cover looks great but the inside is a bit of a mess. The cassette on Skrot Up looks amazing though.
Yes! I love Glass Coffin and I love Harassor and I guess someone figured that out because they obviously made this record for me. Glass Coffin does that amazing naive-bedroom Black Metal thing that totally works for me. I gotta say that this is also incredibly catchy. You will find yourself singing the chorus for the first song while you do dishes at least every night for a week. Harassor does this blackened punk/thrash thing that somehow sounds like music stopped after Bathory and has now progressed to this. It's modern and relevant but also has this classic dark feel in both the music and production. It's real damn good.
The art is from Sir Josh Lay and it's killer. Fits perfect for the music and just makes me so damn happy. Highly recommended.
Excellent harsh noise from Hogra. It has this cool canned sound that I hear from time to time that I really enjoy. If you are a fan of HNW i assume you are familiar with Hogra's work. He has more than a few vinyl records and cassettes floating around. I like saying that word outlaid— Hogra. Hogra. Hogra…
The layout is probably cool but it's printed so dark that it feels like a mistake and is basically illegible. The vinyl though is the coolest smoke-filled clear vinyl I have ever seen. This guy is making me a fan.
Seattle's Ritual Addict have recently changed their name from Sane Reaction but this is the same blazing-fast politically-charged punk that made me love them live. Definitely for fans of Christ on Parade, GBH and Assück. It's got this late 80's, early 90's sound that you will love very much. Fast, screaming punk rock with a touch of grindcore.
The packaging is also very 90's and it's awesome. I can't speak to the art on the back cover because I drew it but the whole package feels like it came out in 1992. This would have been worn out by the time I got through my senior year. I also love that the vinyl is bright transparent blue. Nothing in the layout is that color and it has that feel of the early Revelation records color vinyl spree where everything was a random color just for the hell of it. I love it.
I was in a band for a short time called Andyland. It was a totally improvised project with revolving musicians that was a lot of fun but had absolutely no focus at all. In my mind we sounded like Whitehouse or Current 93 but in reality it probably sounded like a mess. At least when I played with them. Anyhow, Earl Long reminds me a lot of that but with much better musicians. They fall into these cool grooves and the music is pretty good but it doesn't really resonate with me. It feels like it's missing something. I'm not sure what, but I almost wonder if they are too good at their instruments. Like there isn't enough experimentation happening. I may have to listen to this a few more times because there really is a cool thing happening but I am having a hard time finding it.
I really don't like the way this looks. The layout is very unattractive and the text looks like it was copied from a Christian rock cd from 1997. I just can't get over the drop shadow on everything. It's driving me crazy.
Two current greats of HNW decided to get together and make a scary little baby. Vomir's track is a little less brutal than usual but it's way more anxiety-inducing. It's a nice change although Vomir could do straight up HNW forever and I would be fine with it. The Hogra track is more over the top. It sounds like a dying radio on a sinking ship. Tragic. It's killer stuff all around.
The layout is pretty punk and sparse. It looks like a 7" released in 1993 and I kinda like it. It's not really that good but it just feels right for some reason. I think the milky clear vinyl with plain white labels helps as well. Anyway, there is only 100 of these so good luck.
When this was a cassette only release I reviewed it and I dug it. Now that it is on vinyl I am very excited. It's still awesome but I'm hoping this is the beginning of a trend of more Universal Consciousness cassettes finding their way to vinyl. This is the second Lord Time LP but I think I am now ready for a couple Moonknight lps or the record I would have to buy almost every copy just in case it got worn out, the Mawdryn release. I think the best way to make this happen would be if you would all purchase this excellent release from Lord Time. It's so fucking black.
It looks fantastic. My version is screen printed and spray painted and fucking awesome. Buy.
Sorry for the delay. Family emergency that includes multiple surgeries, a blood transfusion and my pending financial ruin. Not kidding. How does someone as poor as my pay a $200,000.00 bill. It's a long story. I will try to get to everything as soon as I can but at this point I request that you probably shouldn't bother sending me anything until I mention otherwise. I just won't get to it for over a year at this point.
We argue about Black Metal. All of us. What is and what isn't black metal is something we have impregnated message boards with for years. We are so insecure in our ideas of black metal we worry that if we say we like Wolves in the Throne Room that means we are ignorant of what true black metal is. Some of us like to talk about bands like Liturgy or Deafheaven as being black metal or at least the new wave of black metal and that starts a whole other argument. I for one do not think of those prior two bands—Liturgy or Deafheaven—as being black metal. They certainly use the vocabulary of black metal—the screeching vocals, tremolo picking and blazing drums—but they lack the main, most important ingredient. Atmosphere. Without that instantly identifiable atmosphere of icy-cold, empty, haunted, horror-filled depression you are not within the limited confines of black metal. That's why Burzum can put out a record of keyboards and it's more blackened than the Explosions in the Sky at 500mph style of Deafheaven. I'm not trying to talk shit here. I own all those Deafheaven records and I enjoy them but they are about as black metal as Ned's Atomic Dustbin. So what is the new wave of black metal? I don't know, nor do I actually care but Propast is certainly refreshing to these old ears. This is fast brutal black metal that I think belongs right next to the best record of last year, Inquisition's Obscure Verses for the Multiverse. It's a bit different but it contains the same frenzied angst and the same level of musicianship that blew me away. Propast also has only two members, a drummer and guitarist/singer. Aksinomantijan and Kasapin respectively, and they are able to capture the atmosphere of hopelessness and channel it into some wonderfully hateful tracks. The cassette itself looks great with both roman and cyrillic text. The j-card is embossed with something wicked-satanic and the design is solid. All tracks were recorded in Serbia and I think that adds to the mystique of desperation, at least for me. They might not be living in cabins in the middle of nowhere, never sure when the next World War is going to turn their life into a scene from Come and See but they certainly understand darkness and horror way more than someone who complains about having to connect between BART and MUNI too late at night. I guess I look at it in the same way I look at Hip-Hop. If I hear a rapper is from Detroit I am a lot more interested at what he or she has to say as opposed to a handsome white guy from Seattle. I guess that is what this whole conversation is about. Perspective. I have a feeling this conversation will not be ending anytime soon.
Faint Glow does quiet a good job at the minimal, noisy drone. This would be the second time in as many weeks I have made the comparison but I think that Faint Glow could even be at home on Hanson Records. Maybe even Worthless Recordings. It's pretty killer stuff. Of the 10 tracks on the cdr most are very focused and not too long. I like it and I think you might as well. I have zero complaints in that department. The cassette is even a little better in my mind. It's a bit more piercing and brutal but still focused and drive. I hope to hear more from Faint Glow in the coming months.
My issues with these releases, and the reason I am reviewing them together, is the packaging. There's is nothing there. The artist thought enough to get completely blank cdrs but then they just print out some info and scotch tape it to the cdr. Same with the cassette. The Arigato packs for both the cdr and the cassette are killer and more people should use them but these just have poorly stenciled text on them that is far south of both legible or attractive. I can get with minimal and messy but this looks like the artist thought that this part of sharing music was either too much effort or worse yet, beneath them. I'm probably wrong but that is what is being communicated to me. I would love to see some of the aural creativity become visual. If you are going to go with minimal text and no images then make it a strong typographic layout with structure and beauty in it's simplicity. If you are going to use plain cdrs (please no more tape, you can order inexpensive custom rubber stamps from simonstamp.com) then make the packaging exciting. All of the Wolf Eyes cdrs I own are basically just memorex cdrs with sharpie on them but the packaging is a crazy, beautiful collage with hand painted elements. You want to hold it and own it. That's the thing with physical copies these days. You must make it something that someone would want to touch. Tapes and cdrs are becoming fetish objects. We can just as easily download stuff all day but that isn't interesting to me at all. That is why I don't review downloads. Making music well is difficult and Faint Glow has a pretty good handle on that but making objets d'art is extremely difficult. I want to see how much you care about your music. Show me with my eyes before you show me with your ears.
Beautiful release by Auris Apothecary. I have alway sheen blown away by their innovation and attention to detail on their releases. This is no exception. The translucent cover in the clear DVD sized case with the totally clear cassette is awesome but then they went the extra mile and printed the download card on transparent plastic as well. It's pretty amazing wrapped up in the double sided obi strip. I think they could have done something a little different with the typography but it's not bad.
The music is fantastic. This picks up were both Birchville Cat Motel and Nadja left off. Well, Nadja is still doing stuff but not like they were a few years ago. Regardless this is real good. Driving drone accompanied by drums and loops that has touches of kraut rock and psychedelic rock.
This mini-comic with a 3" cdr is pretty awesome. There is a huge movement of independent cartoonists in Seattle right now and a lot of them have connections to the noise/experimental music scene. Artists like Max Clotfelter and Marc Palm are two excellent artists that have delved into both worlds perfectly. Levi Jacob Bailey does some very similar work. The noise is great. It's tense and a lot of his textures contrast each other in such a way to create a huge amount of depth. Good stuff. The mini-comic isn't bad but I think he could work them out just a little more. I like the drawings and the short nonsensical stories are great but the backgrounds and some of the execution in general feels pretty rushed. Or maybe like he was really high when drawing. Pencil high, ink sober. Still, it's good stuff and you should check it out. I am glad I did.
Wow, I thought I was going to hate this. Between the name, the title and the cover artwork, which is great but goofy, I thought this was going to be silly gore-grind nonsense. This is actually half grinding noise with deep guttural vocals and half deep dark noisy drone work. It's not bad. In fact. I think I will listen again and again. I should have known that something on Love Earth Music would be good.
The layout is not really my thing. Plain ol' jewel case with single, boring card. It's not horrible but I would have never checked this out if I had to buy this at a store.
Remnants continues their slow burn on this one. This is one of the many cassettes that I received awhile back and never got the chance to review until now. I feel bad for this. I always enjoy Remnants minimal drone adventures and this is no exception. This definitely belongs in the library.
Good minimal layout as well. Decent, subtle type that isn't afraid to get a little tracked out.
I love being surprised. When I saw the cover art, read the album title and then opened the cassette to have a wooden match fall out I thought, "alright, what kind of HNW am I in for". I was very wrong. This is owes so much more to Tangerine Dream than almost anything and for a guy that owns waaaaaaay too many Tangerine Dream albums this was a good thing. I really recommend this to any fans of this sort of synth adventure groove. Sometimes this stuff is just someone who just got a Moog learning how to sequence and turning some knobs but this has some thought and innovation put into it. Nice.
The layout is okay. i love that all of Out of Body's cassettes have the same type on the spines and cassettes but I think they need to reign in the rest of the design a bit more. I think they should probably commit the that being the only type on the whole layout, except for something unassuming like helvetica or akzidenz grotesk for small type. The mishmash of types can seem a little unfocused or lacking cohesion. Still good though.
At first I wasn't so sure about this. It seemed a little boring on a first listen but I am glad that I listened again. This is way better than I first thought, I must have been in a bad mood. It reminds me of something that should have been on Hanson Records in 2005. I can see this being a new Aaron Dilloway project. It has that awesome scraping feedback and canned recording quality that totally places me in the place that I first heard the early Emeralds, The Nevari Butchers or Aaron's Corpse on Horseback cassettes. It's damn good and looks rad as well. Simple and unpretentious. It even comes with a tiny folded up poster. It's really nice.
is the best band on the planet and this is Black Cum's best album
Self Released, probably
I love these guys. I have no idea why but there is something so innocent and sweet about their insane and offensive music. I could review it but I think you would get a truer sense of their work if I just listed the song titles:
Black Cum'$ Been Playin' Lot$ of Ba$ketball
Kill the Pre$ident (Black Cum Cover)
Black Cum Play$ the Ba$$ Drum and $ing$ at the $ame Time
I really love my daughter and my daughter really loves this. It's pretty cute. I wish I could include a video of here dancing to this but every time I start to film her she runs away. Just imagine a 4 year old in a Regular Show t-shirt dropping it like it's hot to some very noisy yet groovy loops. It reminds me a lot of a modern soundtrack to a cartoon film noir that would have taken place in the 80's. Seriously, you should see this kid cut a rug.
The layout is pretty awesome. Wacky hand-drawn type on pearl paper. The rounded corners are a nice touch. The whole thing is thoughtful.
I hate how backed up I am on reviews. I sometimes come across an album that has been sitting in my possession for a long time without hearing it. In this case that is a tragedy. This album by Nagual is the kind of record that you could use to convince the uninitiated of the validity of drone as a genre. This is effective and beautiful. This has the beauty and unease of the scene in Come and See where the girl is dancing in the rain. In fact that scene basically looped in my brain while I listened to this album. This is a must own for anyone who wants an audio representation of tragic humanity. I love this.
This and the last rehearsal demo LP are basically Sunn O))) in the most purest form. Two guitars and totally brutal. I love this stuff so much that sometimes I swear I could listen to guitars going "bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" for an entire week and never get bored. Sunn O))) should probably tour more often and also continue to reissue their back catalog but I'm very glad that they are continuing with new releases. Stay tuned for a collaborative album with Ulver next.
Oh yeah, It looks rad. Super simple and totally perfect. Not much else to say here other than do your best to find this or at the very least check their bandcamp where you can at least stream everything.
Yes! Fuck yes... I first heard this shortly before it came out and was floored. Super intense saxophone and drum insanity that is as unrelenting as the most brutal grindcore. This is wounded and spastic in a way that will slightly bend your mind if you sit in the dark and listen to it loud on headphones. Hella and Naked City certainly come to mind when you hear this but it's more abstract than Hella and somehow more focused than a lot of Naked City. I really love this.
The layout is simple and clean. Keith Utech is an amazing graphic designer and I always trust him to make tasteful and beautiful layouts that utilize illustration and typography in a killer way. The illustration was obviously done by a genius. Let me check the credits... holy shit! It was done by me! Heh. I'm a dork. If you really do like the artwork though Dead Neanderthals are selling shirts. Check it here.
So when DRIVE came out awhile ago I completely fell in love with that soundtrack. I'm sure everyone did actually because I heard it everywhere I went. It's still a great album but the one thing it really did for me was remind me about all the synth stuff I have sitting here on my shelves that I had generally neglected for the last few years. Thanks to that movie I started playing more New Order, Klaus Schultz, Antartica and Tangerine Dream. This album by Living Phantoms might be a new favorite of that sprawling genre. It sits right around the M83 but with a touch of Múm or even last year's Ulfer. It's good stuff and an excellent palette cleanser from a whole day of gore grind.
The design and artwork are great for being so minimal. The designer was obviously a pro because the type is handled perfectly and I have to say I love the gradient across the text. I usually don't care for that technique. With the nice psychedelic cover art this is a solid release. I think Motor records may want to check this out.
I don't understand how 303 Committee isn't gigantic. Every release not only sounds amazing but also looks amazing. This cdr is 8 tracks of beautiful and haunting noisy drone. This is as good or better than any contemporary drone albums you may be into at the moment. There is a sense of taste and competence that runs out of this beautifully designed package. I may have missed a review for an older 303 Committee cdr that I was sent as well but I have to encourage you all to find these. Very good.
Homogenized Terrestrials/Andrew Quitter/Cruudeuces/Dog Hallucination
The Moon is Hungry
This double cassette 4 way split is all about worship. At least that's how I see it. It feels vaguely religious. Like you are listening to some tribal conjuring happening just beyond the trees. It makes me feel a little nervous. I like that. The Moon tape is smooth and hypnotic where as the Earth tape in more bludgeoning or eerie. I had heard Andrew Quitter before but everyone else on this was a surprise. Excellent work.
The design works pretty well. I'm not a huge fan of that vertical stacked type. As typography goes it's not very readable and therefore not generally successful but I think since they really committed to it on this release I was sold by the time I read everything. It comes with little photo cards inside as well as being packaged in one of those cool double Norelco cases.
So look at the awesome drawing on the cover. Imagine you woke up in a place that you didn't recognize and that thing was dancing to a song that reminded you of Hamburger Lady in front of you. Sometimes the music would change and it would be a slow, swaying dance and other times a spastic insanity. Always dancing and always communicating a sense of unease and fear. That's what this sounds like. It's awesome. The artwork and design is all done by hand and it looks great. I recommend this highly.
I'm finally getting through some older submissions and I apologize for how long this is taking.
Tachdé makes some very beautiful psychedelic, trance-inducing art rock. Hailing from Puerto Rico, they create a sound that has a deep, sad darkness that isn't what you would think of first when thinking of the Caribbean American territory. Sounds a bit like Midday Veil with a touch of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. It's packaged in a simple J-card with a pretty basic layout. Nothing too memorable here although I wouldn't say it was bad. It's a fine layout.
This is the best record I have reviewed lately. Eight tracks of genre-challenging Black Metal played without guitars. It's a giant, evil disaster and I will be so sad if these guys stop doing this band. Just look them up on youtube. You will get a taste of the power of Vickers. I have always loved Nebraska and this is just another reason for me to one day run away to live there. It looks great, sounds great and doesn't give a shit that I think so. Buy this.
Good record. I almost just want to leave it at that and hope you track one down. It's a good one, at least for a kid that grew up with 80's and 90's Dischord and Touch and Go Records. Jorge Arana Trio play this excellent instrumental jazz that has touches of Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Dazzling Killmen meets Fugazi that completely work for me. These recordings are a little more special because the have added one to the trio by way of a violin player. It works quite well and honestly before I put this on I didn't think it would. Ambulants have a stronger DC sound. I would compare them pretty confidently to Faraquet. I don't know if people picked up Faraquet's full length on Dischord a few years back but the opening track on that thing will blow your mind. These songs by Ambulants are right up there. Smart musicians playing some smart and bizarre rock/jazz. The record looks great. Although unless you knew for a fact that this was a split you may think the record was called Ambulants and it was just a JAT single because of how the cover looks to me. They make a nice use of hand drawn type and a great illustration. Good work.
Feral King is hardcore. Like Iron Lung hardcore though. So brutal, thick and fast. It's pretty rad. If you like that stuff you will like this. I did. Lonely/Ghost/Parade is a bit more experimental but in a hard rock way. It has a singer that really sings and he does a good job. I guess this probably sounds more like Tool than anything. Not really my cup of tea. When I was blasting Handsome records in the 90's I would probably been more into this. Let's talk for a second about the packaging though. I'm not sure how what they decided to do gels with the music very well but it's pretty cool. The cover is 3-D and it's well done. The swirls behind it give it this Man's Ruin 1994 vibe and I dig that. In keeping with the idea the vinyl itself is half red and half blue. It's fucking brilliant. They include 3-D glasses but if you loose those to look at the cover you always have the clear, colored vinyl. The back cover with the text is a little meh. Arial Black is the type. Who are you? Al Gore? He used that in his movie, maybe I should be more specific. It just isn't that nice of a font and the white stroke around it makes it a little dated. Whoever laid it out did understand basic typography though. I can tell that. It just need a little more consideration I think.
Rad heavy fucking metal. Had a bonehead vibe that makes me think of Sacred Reich meets Overkill and something a bit more relevant. It is not something I would have picked up because it looks so silly but it get me in that nostalgic bone that makes me grab my Leeway album right after this goes on. You can almost smell the cheap, spilled beer baking on top of their amps. Awesome.
It looks crazy. Comic style art of zombies, pigs and death that would probably ruin my daughter's childhood if she saw it