Hellmotel, Kayo Dot, and Sourvein…
Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 @ 1:01pm » permalink
Well, this week has started off to be a real fuckin' nightmare, so I'm trying to cram a bunch in today in case any other shitstorms come my way later in the week that might prevent me from posting. I also haven't been able to write as much as I'd like about the records that I'm covering lately, which drives me nuts, but… you can still hear the tunes and get exposed to this shit, and that's what really matters, so… whatever.
Anyway, first up is Hellmotel's "Hang Us Young" from the always awesome Radar Swarm label. These guys are from France and formed in late-2004 from the ashes of Judoboy, so apparently they simply lack the proper taste for good band names, heh! This full-length is their debut release, and since it was originally intended to be a Judoboy record they got everything together within a mere six months of transitioning into the Hellmotel name. While this is certainly some very Converge influenced material, especially vocally, the music tends to be slightly more graspable and subtly rocked out in its use of dissonant chord phrasings and grating noisiness. But as with many French acts within this realm they really know how to pull this shit off right and cover a lot of ground without sounding disjointed (check out the impeccable "In a Hut With God"). There's even a little traditional hardcore in there as well, they just fuck with it to make it less direct. Sure, they're not necessarily all that original, but there's no denying that they're way better than average in terms of songwriting, and that really goes a long way for me. I'm sold.
Hellmotel "In a Hut With God"
Hellmotel "A New Saw: The Rustiest Tools"
I'm not seeing this one in any US distros just yet, but the label's trustworthy so you can order direct. It's a little pricy considering shipping costs suck these days, but you could try asking about US distribution as well:
@ Radar Swarm
Recently issued by the ever-expanding Robotic Empire roster is the second full-length from Boston's Kayo Dot, "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue", which boasts an hour's worth of their relaxingly-ambient-to-borderline-irritatingly-noisy avant-garde weirdo metal in a mere five tracks that run anywhere from seven to 18 minutes! This is actually my first significant exposure to the band as I was honestly a little let down when I first heard them, since I was a massive fan of the core's prior outfit, Maudlin of the Well. It's not that their sound is terribly far removed, but Maudlin of the Well was one of the first new bands that really floored the hell out of me six years ago when I first started this site, and Kayo Dot's sound marks just enough of a progression to where it might not immediately sink in. Thus, being the stubborn ass that I am, they sort of slipped past me after that initial encounter. I'm not a big fan of horns (though they're generally very well maneuvered within), and some of the vocals can get pretty annoying on this thing, but their intriguing blend of wacky jazz, lush and fluid atmospherics, and well placed bursts of expansive heaviness is artsy without abandoning its cohesive sense of feeling, and that's crucially important in my book… Aside from the remaining similarities to Maudlin of the Well, there's no one that sounds like Kayo Dot. No one.
Kayo Dot "Gemini Becoming the Tripod"
This is another that you might as well pick up direct from the label both in terms of price and service:
@ Robotic Empire
I've read that "Emerald Vulture" is the first in a series of three planned EP's from Sourvein, which I believe will all be released by This Dark Reign. The band has apparently endured another round of lineup shifts seeing as Liz Buckingham is no longer present, and what with past relocations from North Carolina to New Orleans to Texas I'm not even sure where the band calls home these days! But these four tracks were written and recorded in a mere five days in March of 2005 down in Hampton, VA with Beaten Back to Pure's Vince Burke – serving to remind me once again that I don't own as much Sourvein as I should, and in fact I tend to neglect this genre a little too often in my listening habits as so few bands really grab my attention. That's not to say that Sourvein's overflowing with innovation or anything, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? When it comes to those sludgy southern-tinged riffs, pounding percussion, mangled vocal sneers, and naturally warm and gritty recordings, this band has become a dependable institution, and they've yet to disappoint. Look for a very consistent 28-minute pummeling here, culminating with the 13+ minute epic "Heart of Ebon". Good stuff.
This one seems a little pricy for an EP at most of the distributors that I checked, but once more the label's selling it for the lowest price, so snag it straight from the source and keep your eyes peeled for the two subsequent Sourvein EP's that should be hitting the streets sometime this year:
@ This Dark Reign
On an unrelated note, Andrew from the Australian label Assimilation Cartel got in touch with me after the Texas is the Reason post and is looking for any live audio or video from either Solea or Samiam for some projects that he's putting together, including a Samiam DVD, so if anyone can help him out, shoot him a line. Thanks!