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25 of the best things I may never have heard…

Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009 @ 3:36pm » permalink

25 of the best things I may never have heard...

[DOWNLOAD] 25 of the best things I may never have heard… (@ MediaFire)

On January 1, 2010, I'll have been doing this website in one form or another for 10 years. One of the only (arbitrary) goals I set for myself when I launched the original site on January 1, 2000 was that I wanted to stick with it for "at least" a decade, so I guess I succeeded! Looking back, it's kind of crazy, especially considering the workload I maintained for the first four years of the site – writing up to 100 full-length reviews a month (covering every single item that showed up in the mail for at least two or three years) on top of various interviews, etc. I have no fucking clue how I was able to do that for so long, especially since I can barely pull together four or five write-ups a week these days. Life really can change quite a bit in a decade.

As such, Aversionline has stripped down and changed a hell of a lot over the years. I don't write about nearly as much as I used to, I've gotten bad at responding to emails (My apologies if you never heard back from me!), it can be tough to find the time to update the site regularly… but I still truly appreciate everyone that has ever taken the time to send me a CD, send me an email, post a comment, or simply check out the bands that I've been babbling about all this time. I can't imagine I'll be able to keep it up for another 10 years, but I love discovering new music and (hopefully) helping others do the same, so… we'll see!

To "celebrate" all this, I've looked back through my archives and tried to pick 25 of the best bands I've been exposed to as a direct result of doing Aversionline over the past decade. This is not a "Best Albums of the Decade" list. These are just 25 bands I've been introduced to in the last 10 years that I may never have had the chance to appreciate otherwise. Could I have selected more? Sure. Am I forgetting some mandatory selections that probably should've made the cut? More than likely (my memory's not so hot). But regardless, these 25 artists/songs have made enough of an impression on me to warrant more attention here, and I hope you'll enjoy 'em.

If you just want the tunes, the complete list of tracks and a single download link for the entire set is below. Under that I've provided links for the bands/labels/purchasing (where possible) and written quick little blurbs about each track if you want to explore further.

  1. 357 Justice "Triumphant Pills"
  2. Agalloch "As Embers Dress the Sky"
  3. All Else Failed "In Our Defense"
  4. Allegiance "Just Let Go"
  5. Analena "In Theory and Practice"
  6. As Friends Rust "Where the Wild Things Were"
  7. By a Thread "Walkway"
  8. Elements DEC "The Game Ain't the Same"
  9. Dead City "Goddamned"
  10. Disillusion "Fall"
  11. Down My Throat "Burn"
  12. Fall of the Leafe "A Waiting Room Snap"
  13. Full Court Press "All That Remains"
  14. Garrison "After the Fight"
  15. Hiretsukan "Barrel Roll"
  16. The Joy Formidable "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"
  17. Koma "Like Coming Home"
  18. Make Do and Mend "Insomniac Jams"
  19. Maudlin of the Well "Undine and Underwater Flowers" (excerpt)
  20. Misery Signals "Five Years"
  21. The Movielife "Pinky Swear"
  22. Parallax "Momentum"
  23. Solid Ground "Get Used to It"
  24. This et Al "Wardens"
  25. Whiskey Rebels "Create or Die"
  1. 357 Justice "Triumphant Pills"

    From the "s/t" CD (2001), released by Hater of God.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    I think this one was released before I was really familiar with the Hater of God label, but I saw it in a used bin after I had gotten a few packages from 'em and picked it up immediately, since I knew the Hater of God stamp was a mark of true quality. Sure enough, this disc is jam packed with super meaty rhythms, burly vocals, and sick dissonant riffs that make for a killer listen. Very underrated.

  2. Agalloch "As Embers Dress the Sky"

    From the "Pale Folklore" CD (1999), released by The End Records.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    What I said about it then: "I am in a certain state of disbelief, as this is one of the most moving things I have ever heard…"

    This was actually one of the first CD's I ever received in the mail for review, and it made an enormous impact on me right away. That impact has remained firmly intact ever since, as "Pale Folklore" is still one of my favorite metal albums of all time. I've praised this record on numerous occasions here over the last decade, but I still encourage anyone unfamiliar with its greatness to seek it out immediately!

  3. All Else Failed "In Our Defense"

    From the "This Never Happened" CD (2004), released by Abacus Recordings.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    I was familiar with All Else Failed from their earlier years, but wasn't an enormous fan of that work, so had this disc not showed up in the mail one day, it's unlikely that I would've checked it out on my own. What a shame that would've been, as the material herein was such a gigantic step forward for the band. More ferocious yet more melodic, and shockingly catchy at times, I listened to this thing almost nonstop for a bit there. Some of the lyrics really hit me at that point in my life as well. And I still love it, too. Such a great record…

  4. Allegiance "Just Let Go"

    From the "Overlooked" CD (2005), released by Rivalry Records.
    Purchase: @ Rivalry Records

    Possibly the single best hardcore release of the decade. It's that good. I'm not a huge fan of the band's other work, but somehow the planets aligned for "Overlooked" and everything fell into place perfectly. This is the kind of shit that makes you get butterflies in your stomach with every listen. Excellent songwriting and completely raging energy that makes you want to knock motherfuckers' heads off. Perfect.

  5. Analena "In Theory and Practice"

    From the "Carbon Based" CD (2004), released by Moonlee Records.
    Purchase: This one's harder to come by these days, so contact Moonlee Records for potential ordering information.

    And this one's possibly the single best screamo release ever! I don't know what it is, but something about this style makes it really hard to balance acerbity with a truly moving sense of feeling, but Analena totally nailed it here. Several of the songs on this album (especially this track) achieve that perfect mix of urgency and emotion. I was completely blown away by this album, and can't recommend it highly enough.

  6. As Friends Rust "Where the Wild Things Were"

    From "A Young Trophy Band in the Parlance of Our Times" CD (2002), released by Equal Vision Records.
    Purchase: @ Equal Vision Records

    What I said about it then: "This is awesome stuff. If their other records are this good then my dumb ass has been missing out…"

    My dumb ass was definitely missing out. This is still the best thing the band ever released, though. Creative lyrics, ridiculous catchiness… I'm all over it. Sure, the recording could've used a little help, but the best songs on this release are so god damn infectious! You can't argue with that level of songwriting quality. This is another one that didn't leave my rotation for a good bit.

  7. By a Thread "Walkway"

    From "The Last of the Daydreams" CD (1999), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    I think this was the first CD I ever received in the mail for review… and I never even reviewed it! A friend hooked me up during the three or four months of preparation before the site launched, but I just wasn't that into it at the time, and didn't revisit it until a few years later when the band blew me away on a compilation. I don't know what the hell my problem was in late-1999 when I first checked this shit out, but… this is one of the most underrated emo/indie bands ever. Period.

  8. Elements DEC "The Game Ain't the Same"

    From the "Win or Lose" demo (1996), self-released.

    Best unsigned band ever? Very possible. As an enormous fan of Agents of Man, I was extremely curious to hear some of the members' prior band, Elements DEC. When the band's vocalist hooked me up with their two demos, my jaw was on the fucking floor. It still causes me physical pain to recognize the fact that such incredible music was never given the chance to be properly heard by as many listeners as I know would appreciate this shit. I must have listened to those demos hundreds of times in the years that followed.

  9. Dead City "Goddamned"

    From the "Goddamn the 21st Century" CD (2009), released by Thrashed! Records.
    Purchase: @ Thrashed! Records

    This is one of the albums from this list that would absolutely be among my "Best Albums of the Decade". No doubt. Hopefully anyone taking the time to read this is already well aware of my love for Dead City, as I've raved about them a number of times in the last few years. Seriously, any fan of hardcore that can listen to a song this vicious and not be into it… I just can't hang with that at all. This is one of those elite tracks that makes me want to just put my fist through the wall and start wrecking everything in sight. Fucking masterpiece.

  10. Disillusion "Fall"

    From the "Back to Times of Splendor" CD (2004), released by Metal Blade Records.
    Purchase: @ Metal Blade Records

    Another severely underrated one. Crazy album, too. Take a base of killer melodic Swedish death metal and toss in all kinds of crazy progressive influences and a little bit of unexpected weirdness and you've got yourself a monster. I had no reason to think I was gonna like this disc but I was completely floored. Too bad the band changed quite a bit afterwards. I tried repeatedly to get into the follow-up, "Gloria", but just couldn't do it. Oh well!

  11. Down My Throat "Burn"

    From the "Real Heroes Die" CD (2001), released by Full House Records.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    I think this is the disc that kicked off my infatuation with the Finnish metallic hardcore scene. Powerful songwriting, great production, loads of chugging riffs, those ultra burly Euro-style vocals… how could any fan of this style not be all over this!?

  12. Fall of the Leafe "A Waiting Room Snap"

    From the "Volvere" CD (2004), released by Rage of Achilles Records.
    Purchase: Amazon.com

    What I said about it then: "This record totally boils down to songwriting, though. Even the few lackluster moments are brought back to fine form by amazing choruses…"

    That's still true, and this song perfectly exemplifies such a statement. I'm not gonna lie, I have at least four other albums by these Finns, but this is the only one I ever listen to these days. That's not to say the other albums don't hold up, it's just that "Volvere" is hard to compete with since its best songs are so fucking good. Tell me this song isn't incredible. You can't!

  13. Full Court Press "All That Remains"

    From the "Live Life Large" CD (2002), released by Gangstyle Records.
    Purchase: @ Goodlife Recordings

    Belgium's "European E.Town Concrete". Not a completely accurate representation of the band, but fair enough, and there's not a god damn thing wrong with that. Amongst a number of very solid releases from Gangstyle Records, this is probably the label's finest hour. I really wish these cats had stuck around for another full-length…

  14. Garrison "After the Fight"

    From "A Mile in Cold Water" CD (2000), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    What I said about it then: "My main gripe with this CD is that I often find myself waiting for the choruses to repeat again, but as Garrison continues to further their songwriting techniques I expect great things from them…"

    That was just me being a dumbass again. Another Revelation Records release that didn't hit me until a few years later. And then one day, it just clicked. For the longest time I thought there was only one killer song on this CD, and now I have over half the album rated four or five stars in iTunes. What the hell was wrong with me!?

  15. Hiretsukan "Barrel Roll"

    From the "Invasive//Exotic" CD (2002), released by G7 Welcoming Committee Records.
    Purchase: @ G7 Welcoming Committee Records

    Like Analena above, this band hits that perfect balance of intense, caustic aggression and off the charts feeling and emotion. I don't even know what more to say. Amazing.

  16. The Joy Formidable "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"

    From "A Balloon Called Moaning" CD (2009), self-released.
    Purchase: @ The Joy Formidable

    Another of the more recent bands to make the list, this style falls outside of my normal listening spectrum, but the band is so excellent that I was hooked instantly. They tend to give away their material for free quite a bit, and have yet to write a bad song. I was so excited to get exposed to this work, and am always looking forward to hearing more.

  17. Koma "Like Coming Home"

    From the "Tsunami" CD (2004), released by Fullsteam Records.
    Purchase: @ It's a Trap!

    What I said about it then: "…I'm not kidding, it's a crime that I'm not hearing more about this band. What gives?"

    I was introduced to Koma (now Khoma) through a compilation and knew I had to hear more. Their sophomore full-length wasn't nearly as spectacular, but "Tsunami" is still a superb slab of moody, atmospheric "metal". This song in particular just crushes my life to bits…

  18. Make Do and Mend "Insomniac Jams"

    From the "We're All Just Living" CD (2007), released by Restless Minds Records.
    Purchase: This one might be out of print, but if you contact the band on MySpace I'm pretty sure they'd be willing to work something out with you (downloads, etc.).

    Love. This. Band. I wasn't 100% sold at first, but, again, I was being an idiot. I now fully worship everything they've recorded to date, and can't wait to hear more. This is one of the greatest songs ever written in the history of all living things, and has already become the most played song in my iTunes library. So, so good.

  19. Maudlin of the Well "Undine and Underwater Flowers" (excerpt)

    From the "My Fruit Psychobells… a Seed Combustible" CD (1999), released by Dark Symphonies.
    Purchase: @ CM Distro

    What I said about it then: "From total doom/death metal to convincing 70's prog rock and authentic jazz passages this band can and will pull off nearly anything they wish…"

    Another selection that has stuck with me from way back in the first year of the site. Admittedly I haven't listened to the band's other work very often since those days, but the core of this song is such a mesmerizing representation of the band at their peculiar finest that I had to include it. These five minutes are another rare passage that instantly hit me in that all-too-rare manner.

  20. Misery Signals "Five Years"

    From the "Of Malice and the Magnum Heart" CD (2004), released by Ferret Music.
    Purchase: @ Ferret Music

    Easily one of the best "metalcore" releases of the decade, where crazy diversity and technicality are helped along by badass riffs and solid songwriting.

  21. The Movielife "Pinky Swear"

    From the "This Time Next Year" CD (2000), released by Revelation Records.
    Purchase: @ RevHQ

    What I said about it then: "…I was singing along to some of these tracks before they ended on the first listen! Unheard of! It's just that catchy!"

    Pretty much everything this band released was great. If you dig absurdly catchy pop-punk type stuff and have never really checked this band out: Do it now!

  22. Parallax "Momentum"

    From the "Mediums & Messages" CD (2006), released by Counterintelligence Recordings.
    Purchase: @ Interpunk

    Another band that I've continued to express amazing feelings for in recent years, and another album from this list that would undoubtedly make it to my "Best Albums of the Decade". If you've still never heard Parallax, absolutely check 'em out immediately, and buy the fuckin' CD while you still can.

  23. Solid Ground "Get Used to It"

    From the "Get Used to It" CD (2005), released by Dead Serious Recordings.
    Purchase: @ Dead Serious Recordings

    Right up there with Allegiance as possibly the single best hardcore release of the decade, I don't care what anyone else says. This kind of no frills, in your face attack is what really hits home for me. I've raved about this band/release/song before, and I always will. How can you not love this? I'm seriously having to restrain myself from smashing my computer into a million pieces right now!

  24. This et Al "Wardens"

    From the "Baby Machine" CD (2006), self-released.
    Purchase: @ Amazon.com

    Another completely out of nowhere submission that I didn't expect to like at all, and ended up fuckin' loving it. It's a cryin' shame that this band called it quits already, as just like their UK countrymates The Joy Formidable, they never wrote a bad song.

  25. Whiskey Rebels "Create or Die"

    From the "Create or Die" CD (2004), released by GMM Records.
    Purchase: @ Whiskey Rebels

    One of the best songs I've heard in the last 10 years, from a highly underrated band that has sadly not released anything new since. At the end of the day, I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks is cool, what gets all the hype, etc. I only care about whether or not it's actually good music, and this track is such a fitting example of that. The chorus is so insanely heartfelt, and I just feel like everyone should be able to appreciate that type of thing!

Who Goes There? "s/t" CD

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 @ 6:37am » permalink

Who Goes There? - s/tPennsylvania's Who Goes There? is made up of ex-members of Houston We Have a Problem and Outclassed, and their self-titled debut (for which I have no physical copy, and couldn't find a good image of the cover art, so that's why I used a band photo alongside this post) offers up seven tracks of high-quality "screamo" (for lack of a better term). Everyone in the band contributes vocals, so there are assorted shouts/screams fighting their way worth from the background of the raw, thick mix – where frantic percussion and caustic, fast-paced picking patterns give way to jangly clean guitars and winding melodies. For me, the two most essential components for this style of music to be successful are energy and feeling, and there's no shortage of either in Who Goes There?'s delivery, so they're not at all hindered by the fact that some of the performances get a little sloppy/out of tune, etc. But shit, that kind of rugged, no-frills delivery is sort of a trademark from certain corners of this "genre" anyway, so… it kinda goes with the territory. I'd be curious to see the lyrics, too. There's just no way in hell to even toss a guess at what might be going on behind goofy song titles like "Food Sex With Nicholas Cage" or "Rodeo Denim Revival" (to cite but a few), but seeing as these guys seem to be drawing inspiration from a more 90's, D.I.Y. type of scene, I'd lean towards the lyrics carrying a more serious tone. Who knows, though!? Either way, I like what I'm hearing here, and look forward to more. I don't get exposed to bands of this nature as often as I'd prefer, and never have the time to do too much digging on my own, so it's always nice to be introduced to acts of this nature that know how to do it right. Good stuff…

Who Goes There? "Admirable Snackbar"

The EP's limited to just 101 copies in hand-screened sleeves and is only $7 (including postage), so definitely pick one up if this is your thing…

Purchase:

@ Who Goes There?

Opium Warlords "Live at Colonia Dignidad" CD/2xLP

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009 @ 6:15am » permalink

Opium Warlords - Live at Colonia Dignidad"Live at Colonia Dignidad" (released by Cobra Records) is the monstrous 77-minute debut album from the unusually peculiar Finnish act Opium Warlords, whose lone member, as far as I can tell, is Sami Albert Hynninen (who's been in a shitload of other bands, though the only one I've ever heard of is Reverend Bizarre). Referring to the band as "a vessel of sonic occultism", Hynninen also seems to have some sense of humor buried amidst Opium Warlords' dark, somber aesthetic. For example, the first two influences listed on the MySpace page are Toto and Burzum, and the band is also self-described to "sound like" everything from "gothic vampire shit" to "a Bolivian doom metal band learning a riff". And the oddities don't end there! The compositions range from 17-minute epics of crawling, droning, stripped down doom with spacious, melodic pulses of bass and lightly fuzzed dual-guitar runs ("Feel the Funeral Breeze") to the grinding, five-second hardcore/punk blast of closer "Support the Satanic Youth"; while the vocals cover your expected range of pained snarls 'n' sneers, chant-like wails, and appropriate, quality singing in many instances. As opposed to simply sending me mp3's, the label insisted on sending me a CD all the way from Finland, and I'm glad they did, because the general weirdness that seems to follow this band around continues throughout the packaging – which, in addition to utilizing a good amount of not-very-"doomy" pink, contains everything from quotes regarding necrophilia to child-like drawings of bunnies. Very strange. You really have to see/hear this one for yourself to get a feel for all the wacky little idiosyncrasies of the band, the one sample below is far from a complete representation of the album as a whole. It's really quite interesting, and I'm truly enjoying it…

Opium Warlords "Overwhelm Me, Black Sorrow" (excerpt)

All the pain in life you feel. All the filth in the world you see. Meet me at the iron place and kneel. I will show you the way to be free…

Purchase:

@ Levykauppa Äx (in Finland)
@ Record Shop X (elsewhere)

Born to Expire "Soothsayer"

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009 @ 7:07am » permalink

Born to Expire - Soothsayer"Soothsayer" is the absolutely badass debut EP from Auburn, NY's Born to Expire, and I have to assume they're named after the Leeway album, which is always a good sign – even if they don't sound like Leeway! Expect crushing metallic hardcore that spices up the traditional power chord rhythms and chugging midpaced breaks with some dense, sludge-laden grooves and cold, crawling dissonance. The recording on this thing is heavy as shit, too. I've never heard basslines this effectively loud before in my life! I swear the bass must be mixed dead even with the guitars, if not a touch louder. And I love it! I hope they maintain that balance on all of their future recordings, 'cause it makes the riffs – which are already super fuckin' meaty – hit even harder. The overall feel of this stuff kind of reminds me of the mighty Dead City, which is also always a good sign. According to the dude from the band who sent me the EP, their new material is hinting at a little more of a Crowbar influence, which could be really cool hearing how those types of runs already seep into these tracks. Hell, there are moments herein that damn near touch on doom metal vibes, so… who knows how far they'll take such elements down the road? Whatever the case, this is a killer start, and I'm really looking forward to hearing more.

Born to Expire "Sowing Poison Seeds"

This one's available as a free download (and as far as I can tell there's no artwork, hence the use of the band photo with this post), so make the grab while you wait for these cats to drop some new jams:

[DOWNLOAD] Born to Expire "Soothsayer" (@ MediaFire)

Lighthouse Project "Lust for Lie" 7"

Posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2009 @ 6:50am » permalink

Lighthouse Project - Lust for Lie"Lust for Lie" is the latest from Helsinki, Finland's Lighthouse Project – a three-song, nine-minute 7" EP released by The Hood Took Us Under Records. This material sees the band continuing to progress and is easily their most powerful work to date, offering everything from throbbing midpaced rhythms and slick, pulsing bass runs to fuzzy melodic riffs, angular bends, and the darker, more dissonant fare of stunning closer "Choosing My Confessions" (which seems to contain some lyrical nods to R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion"). And then there are the energetic power chords and noisy, chaotic leads of "Musta Jumala" (a cover song by classic Finnish hardcore/punk act Terveet Kädet, though I'm honesty not that familiar with their work). All of this is delivered with a warm, natural sounding recording that has just the right amount of punchy heaviness balanced with raw bite, so everything falls into place nicely. It seems rare for bands to display continual growth from release to release these days, but Lighthouse Project never fails to catch my attention with their tweaks and improvements. "Lust for Lie" is a highly effective EP, and if they continue in this vein I'd like to see them start to turn a few more heads out there for sure. Good stuff…

Lighthouse Project "Choosing My Confessions" (excerpt)

Get in touch with the band and/or the label using the MySpace links above to inquire about ordering information, as I'm not seeing this one available at any distros just yet!

Face Value "Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Clevo HC '89 – '93" CD/DVD

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2009 @ 12:00am » permalink

Face Value - Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Clevo HC '89 - '93This massive collection from Smog Veil Records has been in the works for an eternity, finally seeing the light of day just last month. "Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Clevo HC '89 – '93" is an almost complete discography for Face Value, which tends to be one of the lesser talked about of the significant Cleveland hardcore bands. Included are 1991's "The Price of Maturity" LP, the "Coming of Age" 7" (1990), four songs from their final full-length, "Kick it Over" (1993), and their first demo from 1989 (most of the songs from which went on to appear on various compilations). The only things missing are the "Loud" live 7" from 1991, and the other four songs from "Kick it Over", but that's fine with me because I've never been much of a fan of live recordings, and the longer songs/more rocked out direction of "Kick it Over" never really did much for me, to be honest.

If you've never heard Face Value, their style was not at all in the dark, metallic vein for which so many Cleveland bands are known. They basically cranked out angry, old school hardcore that was somehow able to avoid most of the generic "youth crew" trappings, not to mention the immediately recognizable vocals of frontman/legendary Cleveland icon Tony Erba. Even in their earliest days they had a good balance of tempos happening, so it's not just fast, monotonous power chords with no variation; and lots of slick basslines always tend to spice things up as well. Really, the more obvious shift they took on "Kick it Over" shouldn't have been an enormous surprise, as there are plenty of leads and blatant rock riffs scattered amidst the traditional hardcore and crunchy midpaced breaks of "The Price of Maturity" and (to a lesser degree) "Coming of Age".

In addition to the 31 career-spanning tracks of the CD, the DVD contains segments from a number of different live shows between 1990 – 1993, and there are actually a handful of unreleased songs included, which is a nice touch. Also cool are the galleries of photos, flyers, and other assorted artifacts included on the DVD as a bonus. The discs are housed in a six-panel digipack with a pretty old school looking layout. No lyrics are in the booklet, but there are a lot of liner notes from various individuals close to the band over the years – including members of Ringworm and Apartment 213, to name but a few. Here's a little taste of what the band had to offer:

Face Value "Men From the Boys"
Face Value "Nothing to Prove"

If for whatever reason you're not interested in the DVD, the entire audio portion of the release is available digitally for a very reasonable price, so… don't forget that's an option!

Purchase:

@ Smog Veil Records (CD/DVD)
@ Interpunk (CD/DVD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Laura Mars "Vultures" one-sided 12"

Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 @ 7:02am » permalink

Laura Mars - Vultures"Vultures" is a one-sided 12" EP on white vinyl with a screenprinted B-side, and it's also my first exposure to Germany's Laura Mars (from Superfluous Records). Having been rightfully compared to Botch and Deadguy in the past, their overall sound does bear similarities to the form of "metalcore" more centered around discordant, angular chunks and lots of pull-off runs, though they don't really sound like either of those bands as a whole. There's definitely a hint more variety here in that there's also a really cool "screamo" angle happening, with lots of intense melodies scattered amidst raw, frenetic riffing – not to mention a multi-vocal attack that combines a few forms of shouting/screaming. The recording's crisp enough to be heavy but retains a good amount of acerbity for the looser riffs, and from what I can tell they've got a cool eye for D.I.Y. packaging as well. It seems these guys are admirably inspired by the 90's era of hardcore in general, as suggested by this statement regarding their lyrics posted on their MySpace page:

Yes, it is important to us that people read our lyrics and understand what they are about. What we have to offer lyric-wise is definitely far from enlightened and most probably of little relevance for you. And no, we are not one of these hippie-esque "I-want-to-share-my-feelings-with-you" bands… we are just five guys who are convinced that it still makes sense to address certain topics in song lyrics, although everybody in this modern hardcore crap tells you otherwise.

With just five songs in 14 minutes there's not a ton to go on, but you're left wanting more, and that's always a good sign. I like what I'm hearing/seeing/reading, and I'll be looking forward to more from Laura Mars for sure.

Laura Mars "Curtain Falls"

The 12" is limited to just 50 hand-numbered copies with a red screenprint and 450 with a blue screenprint, so get in touch with the label via the link below to see about getting your hands on one…

Purchase:

@ Superfluous Records
@ Denovali

Ashberry "Resin" CD

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 @ 7:14am » permalink

Ashberry - ResinI believe "Resin" was the debut release from unusual Turkish label Wounded Wolf, and that's about all the background information I have to go on here. I know nothing about Ashberry whatsoever, and looking around online produced no information of value. That being said, Ashberry seems to be – as far as I'm concerned – an experimental noise project that explores stripped down ambient textures in a manner that, while not as dark and somber as I tend to prefer, is rather effective in creating an interesting atmosphere. Here's a bit of what the label has to say about the release:

"Resin" investigates one's relationship with the landscape and creates a sonic architecture of space, landscape and the natural surroundings as if the musicians themselves were raised from the soil, where bowed strings were the winds and pianos were little glimmerings of life. Recordings were made quite silently to give space and sound to the surrounding which appears from place to place along with a little amount of found and recorded sounds of fields, especially the places inspired and embodied with the music.

That's a very accurate representation of what you'll hear in these three lengthy compositions (exceeding seven minutes apiece), as shimmering piano notes and resonantly plucked strings fall into place amidst soft hums and drones or subtly identifiable field recordings from various natural settings, while the abstracted bow work creates smatterings of tension scattered throughout. There's a soothing, relaxed feeling to a lot of the sounds, which I'm sure might sound cheesy to some, but it's much more genuine than any kind of generic "new age" bullshit or whatever. I don't know, it's a curious release from a curious label, and I find it all rather intriguing, so see what you think:

Ashberry "And They Came in the Form of Rain" (excerpt)

As is often the case in the experimental noise realm, this release is limited to a mere 25 copies that come in hand-made packages that are personalized for each recipient. So, if this is your thing, pick one up now before they're all gone for good!

Purchase:

@ Wounded Wolf