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Mountain Asleep "Smile Medicine" 7"

Posted on Monday, October 31st, 2011 @ 3:00am » permalink

Mountain Asleep - Smile MedicineKid Sister Everything released "Smile Medicine" sometime last year, and unfortunately I believe that Louisville, KY's Mountain Asleep has since broken up. I had never even heard of the band before, but I was so excited about this EP that I've since checked out some of their previous efforts as well. From what I can tell they released a demo in 2007, the "Hello, Anxious" LP in 2008, a split 7" with Antilles in 2009, this EP, and that's it: A complete discography that totals just 24 songs in about 38 minutes. Of said discography, this 7" makes up four songs in a little over seven minutes, and marks the band's finest material in my opinion, so I really wish they had continued. Expect a fucking excellent blend of ruggedly melodic hardcore/punk that's accented by bits and pieces of raw, angular emo/screamo type stuff. There's a lot of frantic percussion and jangly, fast-paced power chords; winding guitar and bass runs that flirt with both harsher, dissonant phrasings and brighter melodies; and a multi-vocal approach that combines an assortment of shouting/yelling (and kinda-sorta singing) throughout. It's all about short, explosive, catchy songs jammed with energy, energy, energy. Man, what a difference a well-honed burst of speed can make. Every song on this thing is pure gold, I'm telling you ("Postcards" is a particular favorite). Not so much Mountain Asleep's earlier work, but this EP actually starts to remind me of I-Spy, which probably doesn't mean much to most of the people reading this, but I view it as a high compliment. Great recording, too. Just perfect for this style. Clear, warm, not too clean, not too dirty, etc. I love everything about this 7", and can't recommend it enough. Awesome. I could listen to shit like this all day!

The 7" is limited to a mere 300 copies (200 on opaque yellow and 100 on black), so I'm actually pretty surprised that there are still copies left. It's also available on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download (as is their 2007 demo), so… get to it!

Purchase:

@ Kid Sister Everything (7")
@ Mountain Asleep (7")
@ Bandcamp (mp3)

Silent Drive "Love is Worth It." CD

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 @ 3:00am » permalink

Silent Drive - Love is Worth It.I haven't really been keeping up for the last several years, but there was a time in the early- to mid-2000's when Equal Vision Records was cranking out shitloads of top-notch emo/screamo/indie type stuff. For some reason I never wrote about Silent Drive's "Love is Worth It." back in 2004 when it was released, though. I think I bought it for like $3 in a used bin shortly after it was released – based solely on my high opinion of the label's output around that time – and I was already a huge fan by the time I got home. I actually never knew until I started researching this post that the band featured members of Bane and Drowningman, which came as a bit of a surprise. (Members had also been involved with the somewhat comparable Ink Cartridge Funeral – if anyone can hook me up with their CD that was released by Ellington Records in 2002, please let me know!)

Silent Drive released a demo in 2003, this album in 2004, and sadly I guess they just kind of faded away a few years later. I don't know what the hell you'd call this stuff, but I love it. It's too heavy to be "emo", too melodic and "singy" to be metal or hardcore, too eccentric and diverse to really gel with the whole post-hardcore niche, and calling something "alternative metal" just sounds kinda stupid, you know? But they were spanning a really bizarre range of influences here: Heavy, melodic, quirky, and still somehow catchy. You'll find chunky power chords and hard-hitting rhythms laced with just the right amount of dissonant ringing; awesomely crisp, dense, roving basslines; a few spurts of finger picked clean guitars; emphatic melodies; and frantic vocals that jump all over the place from beautiful singing to ripping screams to spoken passages – all the while dealing out loads of energetic and unusual vocal patterns. 4/16, especially, is a fuckin' great song – the perfect opener – it's so explosive and gets stuck in my head for days at a time (those damn vocal arrangements are so killer). But then you've got the more abrasive edge of "The Professional", or the soft crooning and sparse clean guitars that dominate "Davey Crockett"; while the peculiar "Broken Hearts Club" is centered around piano/orchestral keyboards with similarly soft singing that heads in an oddly "hooky" and more memorable direction.

As I've said many times before, it doesn't really matter what genre you try to place it in, it only matters that it's good. A fair number of bands from the Equal Vision roster of, say, 2002 – 2006 never really got the attention they deserved, but Silent Drive is easily the most underrated of them all as far as I'm concerned. I still listen to this album fairly regularly to this day. Hopefully some of you will dig it, too.

Silent Drive "4/16"
Silent Drive "Banana Rejection"
Silent Drive "American Classic"
Silent Drive "Broken Hearts Club"

Since this one's not all that old just yet, it's still really easy to find all over the place. There are lots of ridiculously cheap used copies at Amazon.com, too.

Purchase:

@ Equal Vision Records (CD)
@ Amazon.com (CD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ eMusic (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Whirr "June" 7"

Posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 @ 7:17am » permalink

Whirr - JuneThe latest from Oakland, CA's Whirr (formerly known as Whirl) is "June", an amazing two-song 7" released by Tee Pee Records. I guess this is what you'd call "shoegaze", which is a style I'm not terribly familiar with, but I definitely dig this genre when I encounter it done well, and I really flipped out over this band from the second I pressed play. Expect a lot of jangly chords; shimmery clean passages; pulsing basslines; and soft, distant singing that's buried right in the heart of the mix. Opener "Junebouvier" is the more energetic and bouncy of the tracks, while "Sundae" has a little more of a stripped down, somber drone to it. Both compositions are just awesome, though. The recording is of course a little on the raw side in terms of utilizing warm, fuzzy distortion and flanger-like effects, but that approach obviously makes perfect sense here, and is a great fit for the overall aesthetic of the material. With just two songs in about seven minutes there's only so much to say, but the 7" absolutely does its job by leaving you wanting more. That being said, this is the second EP the band has released within the last six months (their previous outing, "Distressor", is also absolutely excellent), so I'll be psyched if that level of productivity continues, 'cause I can't get enough of this stuff. So, so good. Highly recommended.

This one's limited to a mere 250 copies on "Coke bottle" green vinyl, so act now before they're all sold out!

Purchase:

@ Tee Pee Records

Fuck the Facts "Die Miserable" CD/LP/Cassette

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 @ 6:54am » permalink

Fuck the Facts - Die Miserable"Die Miserable" is the latest from Canadian grinders Fuck the Facts (on Relapse Records), and if the Encyclopaedia Metallum is to be believed, this is their ninth full-length!? Their complete discography is absolutely massive, so I'm not entirely surprised that I haven't really kept up with the band since 2004. But that was obviously a mistake, 'cause they've come a hell of a long way. This is a heavier, more serious, and more focused band than the Fuck the Facts I vaguely recall from the early-2000's – which results in an equally more interesting and more powerful band. While at its core relentless death/grind, the band works with a wide range of influences that they're able to morph into a diverse yet cohesive form admirably well. The recording feels pretty dry, but it still comes across as really heavy, and I actually feel like the production values are a significant part of what makes this material so damn cool. The recording creates an interesting texture and tonality that really lets some of the more dissonant riffs shine, and adds a lot of overall character to the compositions. Most of the tracks do tend to be dominated by high-speed, high-energy blasts of chaotically grinding fury, but the middle of the album especially delves into some of the more diverse territory. The 7+ minute "Census Blank" begins with sort of a sludgy/rocked out run that fuses into this weird, almost "post-rock" sounding amalgamation of hammer-ons/pull-offs and droning notes/chords that later breaks down into a more spacious and angular take on the same approach; "Alone" turns soft, somber clean passages into plodding, doomy rhythms and hyper bursts; while the concise title track consists of little more than distant, guttural vocals over looped feedback textures with a few sparse chords. But really, even when they're going for the throat with a completely relentless attack, it's not very straightforward. The intense tremolo picking and furious pacing is always peppered with surges of feedback/noise, warped dissonance, a little more breathing room, etc. I don't know if it's consistently weird phrasings/note choices, the curiosities of the recording, or all of the above, but there's just something about the vibe here that's really different and unusual. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's awesome, whatever it is. I think this write-up probably sucks because I likely need more time to wrap my head around this, but… it's really, really good. Looks like I've got some catching up to do…

And speaking of an absolutely massive discography, it looks like there are a bunch of iTunes-only exclusive bonus tracks available for "Die Miserable" as well… not to mention the fact that the band has also released a companion EP, "Misery", which includes B-sides from the album as well as collaboration tracks, etc. Insane!

Purchase:

@ Relapse Records (CD/LP)
@ Bandcamp (CD/Cassette/mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Inherit "s/t" 7"

Posted on Monday, October 24th, 2011 @ 6:41am » permalink

Inherit - s/tFrom Reflections Records comes the debut release from London's Inherit. This four-song 7" unloads about 11-and-a-half minutes of top-notch metallic hardcore that leans heavily on the metal side and seems to be influenced by all of the classics (Cro-Mags, Leeway, etc.) – and no doubt some underrated gems as well. Expect super thick, crunchy, midpaced riffing alongside massive basslines and really unique vocals that have an interesting gruffness and texture that really helps the band stand apart. Killer songwriting, too. "Ritual of Disappearance" kicks things off with a 45-second intro laced with some raging solos, not to mention its surprisingly "catchy" chorus; "Desire to Grow" keeps things short but sweet and perhaps focuses a little more on the hardcore edge; and "Moment of Awareness" even starts out with some clean guitars and surprisingly melodic lead lines before diving right back into the chugging grooves. Plus, they close with an excellent cover of Zero Tolerance's "A Minute to Pray" (which is a great fit for Inherit's own approach), so… how can you lose!? Stylistically everything about this EP is right in line with the type of metallic hardcore that I go nuts over, so I'll certainly be looking forward to hearing more from this band as soon as possible. Awesome…

Limited to just 500 copies (400 on black and 100 on transparent red), the 7" is available for pre-order now and starts shipping in November.

Purchase:

@ Reflections Records

Nature and Organisation "Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude" CD

Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011 @ 6:00am » permalink

Nature and Organisation - Beauty Reaps the Blood of SolitudeI discovered English "neo-folk" act Nature and Organisation about a year-and-a-half ago through The Feast of Hate and Fear Internet Music Show's "The Dark Side of Folk Music" episode (it's #14, about halfway down the page) – which is one of the best mixes I've ever downloaded. I bought a shitload of music in the months that followed, and am still planning to further explore a number of other artists as a result, so I highly recommend checking it out if this niche intrigues you. I really don't listen to a ton of this stuff beyond a handful of Death in June and Sol Invictus albums, but I do enjoy the genre and am always curious to hear more when I can. That being said, a number of these bands have absolutely massive discographies, and there are all sorts of weird little interconnected relationships between collaborating artists, record labels, etc. that I just can't keep track of. The same is true for Nature and Organisation, though their discography is actually quite limited, so I'm really not going to get into a ton of history here, as I'm simply not qualified with my limited knowledge (the same goes for my familiarity with this genre as a whole, really).

Nature and Organisation was led by Michael Cashmore, and the act's first release was a cassette in 1986. But aside from a few obscure compilation appearances, it wasn't until 1994 that Nature and Organisation truly resurfaced. It was a bit of a "golden year" for the group – releasing both the "Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude" full-length and an EP ("A Dozen Summers Against the World", which featured three tracks from the full-length alongside 11+ minute epic "A Dozen Winters of Loneliness") via the Durtro label. Perhaps more "classically" or "traditionally" influenced than some of the more well-known acts within this realm, the material is still built upon a foundation of "apocalyptic"/"neo-folk" staples accented by dark experimental noise textures and such. Of course, that the album's vocal contributions are handled by familiarly top-notch artists such as David Tibet (Current 93), Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade), and Douglas P. (Death in June), doesn't hurt, so… the lush, striking compositions represent songwriting that, at its best, is some of the finest I've heard from such circles. As stated above, I'm no expert here, and I just can't speak very accurately about this genre, so my only goal (as always) is to recommend some music you might not have have encountered otherwise. I'm including below a link to "A Dozen Winters of Loneliness", as it was recorded during the same year and fits in perfectly with the tracks from the album. See what you think?

Nature and Organisation "Bloodstreamruns"
Nature and Organisation "My Black Diary"
Nature and Organisation "Tears for an Eastern Girl"
Nature and Organisation "A Dozen Winters of Loneliness"

Unfortunately, all of this material is long out of print, and it appears there are no plans for proper reissues anytime soon. A real shame, because the prices you'll find out there are astronomically high. Oh well, what can you do…?

Storms "We are Storms" LP

Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 @ 6:00am » permalink

Storms Another new one from the always curious Moonlee Records is "We are Storms", the full-length debut from Zagreb, Croatia's Storms. The band was formed in 2009 by three former members of Don't Mess With Texas and released a three-song demo last year (all songs from which have been re-recorded for the album). Don't Mess With Texas was a band that I found interesting, but I ultimately disliked their use of piano/keyboards and found myself wishing they were a trio instead. Well, lo and behold, Storms is indeed a piano/keyboard-less trio, and their more straightforward approach to instrumental emo/indie rock (Or whatever the hell you want to call it, I'm just making loose reference points, alright?) clicked with me right away. Expect winding, angular riffs with lots of pull-offs and light palm-muting – leaving plenty of room for the pulsing basslines to shine. The use of faint, jangly distortion and a loose, relaxed playing style often makes for an excellent dissonant ring, too. I'm a little short on commentary here since it's a fairly consistent run of 10 tracks in about 33 minutes. Some of the compositions have a little more of a somber edge; a few are somewhat brighter and more upbeat; it's got a warm, natural recording… what more do you need? "We are Storms" is a fine example of the fact that you don't need lyrics to come up with memorable, emotional songs. Nicely done.

This one's available digitally for a mere €3, too!

Purchase:

@ Moonlee Records (LP)
@ Bandcamp (mp3)

Ordo Obsidium "Orbis Tertius" CD

Posted on Monday, October 17th, 2011 @ 6:00am » permalink

Ordo Obsidium - Orbis TertiusReleased just this month by Eisenwald Tonschmiede, "Orbis Tertius" is the outstanding debut from San Francisco's Ordo Obsidium. For me, this material perfectly represents everything that I crave from this particular niche, and is absolutely perfect for this time of year. It's all about atmosphere with this stuff, and you can expect superb black metal that occasionally delves into slow, ominous doom through long, at times hypnotically repetitious songs (the five tracks clock in for a total of more than 47 minutes) – utilizing loads of tremolo picking, abrasive screams, and emotive melodies. Quirky, discordant textures flirt with both harsher aggression and a more mangled sense of melody from time to time, while gorgeous acoustic passages and tactful, subdued synths are also occasionally employed for added effect. Also impressive is the perfectly raw recording that's not so over the top that it becomes grating. You can even pick out the basslines with relative ease, which is always a plus. I wouldn't exactly say they're trying to be the most inventive band out there, but that rarely matters. Honestly, it's often the bands that focus on taking the perfect foundation and tweaking it just a touch that create the most immediate impact. As usual this write-up is way too succinct and I'm not effectively communicating myself here, but the music should speak for itself. (If the epic twists of "Emptiness Under the Moon" don't grab you, I mean, come on!?) I haven't been this enthusiastically excited about a black metal album in awhile. Amazing songwriting, powerful atmosphere… I love it. Highly recommended. Awesome.

Purchase:

@ Eisenwald Tonschmiede
@ The Flenser
@ Ominous Domain

My Sister's Machine "Diva" CD

Posted on Friday, October 14th, 2011 @ 6:00am » permalink

My Sister's Machine - Diva"Diva" was the debut full-length from Seattle grunge act My Sister's Machine, released by Caroline Records in 1992. I never really got much into the grunge thing, though. I mean, I still love Alice in Chains, but I barely ever considered them to be "grunge", so… besides a couple of Soundgarden and Nirvana albums or whatever, My Sister's Machine might be the only other Seattle band from that whole niche that I ever got into. (I'd probably appreciate more of that stuff these days, but I've never taken the time to re-investigate, so let me know if you have any recommendations!) I think the 15-year-old me saw My Sister's Machine's video for "I'm Sorry" on Headbanger's Ball at one point and the song at least caught my attention. I didn't buy the album until much later, though, 'cause I remember it was one of those songs that I only heard once or twice as a kid, but it would periodically get stuck in my head over the years. Until one day I was finally like, "Shit, I should buy that album!"

So eventually I did, and it's just a solid, grungy hard rock album. I never followed the band in great detail, and I haven't listened to this album very regularly, to be honest, but… lately a track or two from "Diva" keeps popping up on my iPod and reminding me that I dig this stuff more now than I did when I first picked it up. There's a shitload of fuzzy, wah'd out guitar; a killer bass tone; and I love the vocals. I don't know, there's just something about the gruffness of the singing that really gels with this style. And they're just cool songs, man! I don't think I've ever listened to this album as closely as I have in the last week, and I'm surprised it never fully clicked with me before, because there's some really catchy shit going on here. It just perfectly employs that grungy heaviness to amplify rockin', memorable tracks. Here are a few of the best tunes from "Diva" (there are other great songs on the album – especially my personal favorite, "Sunday", but I couldn't find that one on YouTube):

My Sister's Machine "I'm Sorry"
My Sister's Machine "I Hate You"
My Sister's Machine "Pain"

The band released one more album in 1993 ("Wallflower"), then broke up sometime in 1994. They actually reunited last year for a Layne Staley tribute benefit concert, too (My Sister's Machine vocalist/guitarist Nick Pollock was actually in an early incarnation of Alice in Chains, back when they went by the slightly "glammier" Alice 'n' Chains).

If you want a copy of this CD, buy it now while you can still get one used for a reasonable price. There are only a few listings out there that aren't well into the "bullshit" price range, and it's not on iTunes or anything. You'd think the fact that you can download almost any damn album for free from 20 different blogs would keep the prices down on collectible CD's, but apparently that's just not the case. So damn frustrating…

Purchase:

@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

Turnstile "Pressure to Succeed" 7"

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 @ 8:01am » permalink

Turnstile - Pressure to SucceedTurnstile's "Pressure to Succeed" was released earlier this year by Reaper Records, but I somehow managed not to hear it until last week. And someone please tell me how the hell this band's not getting more hype, especially since they've got Trapped Under Ice drummer Brendan Yates on vocals? That tidbit alone should draw them at least a little more attention, right!? Not to mention that this is some of the best hardcore I've heard in a long time. It kind of reminds me of the immediate energy of Allegiance's "Overlooked" (easily one of the best hardcore records of the 2000's) but with more of a heavy, midpaced groove to it. They're obviously drawing from a lot of 90's NYHC influences, but it's awesome because they're blending the hard, chugging rhythms with slick melodic tendencies and absolutely awesome vocal patterns, so the material has a little bit of a different vibe to it – maybe like if Leeway's "Open Mouth Kiss" had more in common with "Desperate Measures"? I don't know, but it fuckin' rules. Six songs in less than 15 minutes and I'm all over this!

Turnstile "Heavy Hand"
Turnstile "Pressure to Succeed"

I believe all of the 7"s include download codes, and this thing comes highly recommended. I can't wait to hear more from these cats…

Purchase:

@ Reaper Records (7")
@ Per Koro Records (7")
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

Infera Bruo "s/t"

Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011 @ 6:03am » permalink

Infera Bruo - s/tBoston's Infera Bruo formed in late-2009, and this self-released four song/33-minute EP contains their first recorded output. Three of the tracks top nine minutes long, so you're in for an unexpectedly lengthy dose of diverse and crisply recorded black metal that utilizes quite a bit of layering throughout – right down to the variations on bitter snarls and choral singing (which lends an epic, Primordial-esque vibe to the material). There's plenty of that rapid-fire tremolo picking that coalesces into discordant surges, and just the right amount of those eerie, crawling melodies that always catch my ear (especially during the superb "Upon Stone", which is the shortest and most energetic of the compositions). I guess the bulk of the influences do come across as hailing from traditional, in your face black metal, but there's certainly more to it than that. For instance, there are several areas where portions of the guitar work cave in to straight up grating feedback and harsh noise, and it seems that the synths present are generally used for similarly abstract textures (there's certainly no orchestral keyboard mess happening here). The vocal variation alone really provides the songwriting with some interesting angles. And despite the focused aggression at the heart of it all, the musicianship is really tight and precise, with some surprisingly technical flourishes tucked away (most notably during the solos), so… they're definitely not going for that raw, super straightforward attack. It's cool because it's familiar without feeling unoriginal. I really dig the aesthetic of the cover art as well, it definitely caught my eye right off the bat. There's a lot of promise here, and I could definitely see this band making some waves as they continue to garner more attention. I'll look forward to hearing how they progress and expand musically, for sure…

This one's available digitally for just $4, so do the right thing and make the purchase if you like what you hear!

Purchase:

@ Bandcamp (mp3)

Katatonia "Discouraged Ones" CD/LP/2xLP

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2011 @ 7:23am » permalink

Katatonia - Discouraged OnesI can't think of a more perfect album for autumn than Katatonia's "Discouraged Ones", released in 1998 by Avantgarde Music (and licensed by Century Media). This is by far my favorite time of the year, and "Discouraged Ones" is one of my favorite albums of all time (though I've somehow never managed to gush about it until now). I think it was probably around 1999 when I first checked out Katatonia. I bought "Brave Murder Day" because Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt performed the bulk of the vocals on the album, and I was a huge Opeth worshiper at the time. But Katatonia almost completely changed styles in the two years between "Brave Murder Day" and "Discouraged Ones", and of course a number of their old school fans absolutely hated it, so there were a lot of negative statements to be found regarding this material back when I was first discovering the band. As a result, I foolishly waited longer than I should have to give Katatonia's "second phase" a try.

When I finally did, I started with "Discouraged Ones", and couldn't get my my jaw off the floor by the midway point of the album. (The very first time I heard "Gone" I seriously almost cried, it's gotta be one of the most beautifully depressing songs ever recorded.) You'll often see terms like "gothic metal" or "dark rock" applied to Katatonia's later material, and such descriptions aren't inaccurate, but… they don't exactly paint a precise picture, either. But what is it, exactly? How do you describe this? The pulsing, repetitious rhythms; the monotone singing; the sodden clean passages, droning melodies, and cryptic lyrics? In many ways this is the band at their most stripped down and simplistic, thus boasting their most direct and emotional atmospheres. I absolutely adore all of their material, but this album remains my personal favorite from their extensive discography. Every single track is mesmerizing and memorable, and I still get chills with every listen. Post-"Brave Murder Day" there's no other band quite like 'em.

Katatonia "Cold Ways"
Katatonia "Gone"
Katatonia "Saw You Drown"
Katatonia "I Break"
Katatonia "Deadhouse"

As through your shattered eyes, it all came together. And your heart cries, weeping through the weather. Another way to change your mind, I'm weaker than they say. To leave this all behind, the only way to stay. Don't you know? I'm the end of what will be. And right below us, the last place you will see…

"Discouraged Ones" has very rightfully been reissued a number of times on various formats over the years, so it's still rather easy to acquire both new and used… though mostly on special edition vinyl, and not digitally for some reason!? Go figure…

Purchase:

@ Amazon.com (CD)
@ CM Distro (LP)
@ Hells Headbangers (2xLP)
@ Relapse Records (2xLP)
@ Svart Records (2xLP)

Cloud Mouth "Keep Well" 10"

Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 @ 6:27am » permalink

Cloud Mouth - Keep Well"Keep Well" is the final EP from Chicago's Cloud Mouth (released by Kid Sister Everything in cooperation with Ice Age Records and Adagio830), and that's a damn shame. I had never even heard of 'em before, but this is absolutely fuckin' great emo/indie/whatever you want to call it. It's more aggressive than those terms tend to suggest, though, so I guess you could add "screamo" to the mix as well, but… it doesn't really matter, man. Good music is good music. The vocals are sort of shouted/yelled/sung in a style that kind of reminds me of Archers of Loaf or something like that, while the music offers a good range of influences from within this general scope. There's plenty of that angular, back-and-forth riffing; a little bit of a grating bite; aptly frantic percussion; subtle melodic elements buried in the background; and just the right amount of heaviness, which is always a plus when it comes to this type of stuff. It's always interesting how the best bands of this nature can take these weird, noisy riffs/textures and turn them into really memorable songs, and Cloud Mouth is absolutely one of those bands. Cool production, too. The awesomely distorted basslines really add some nice grit to the whole vibe, and everything about this just sounds completely natural. A little raw, but still pretty crisp… it's just great, I love it. Four songs, 17 minutes, and I want more. That's all there is to it. I'm definitely gonna have to track down some of their previous efforts…

The 10" is available for pre-order now, limited to just 300 copies (100 on black and 200 on "Coke bottle" clear), while mp3's are already available for just $1 on Bandcamp, so… no excuses!

Purchase:

@ Kid Sister Everything (10")
@ Bandcamp (mp3)

Amebix "Sonic Mass" CD/LP/Picture Disc

Posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2011 @ 6:37am » permalink

Amebix - Sonic MassThe legendary Amebix has finally returned with their first new material since way back in 1987 (on Easy Action Records)! Typically thought of as one of the ultimate crust punk bands, "Sonic Mass" should demonstrate once and for all just how grandiose the band's artistic vision truly is. It's far more epic in scope, and has much more in common with Neurosis and especially Killing Joke than it does anything that would ever be considered "crust punk", that's for sure. And I'll be completely honest: Upon first listen I wasn't so sure about all of this. Things start out slow with the melodic bass runs, martial percussion, orchestral synths, and half-spoken/half-sung vocals of "Days", and it can be a bit confusing. It's a big change to digest, especially since the album contains a number of surprises, and is loaded with complexly layered textures and subtle details that take time to sink in. There's a huge range of dynamics represented. There are moments during tracks like "God of the Grain" that are actually reminiscent of the looser, more dissonant playing of the band's early classics – it's just that the well-polished production values and additional textures make those elements less instantly recognizable (a fact hinted at by the "Redux" EP last year). But then you've got a piece like "Sonic Mass Part 1": A stunning display of dark folk combining acoustic instrumentation with sparse piano and Steve Von Till-like crooning. And "Here Come the Wolf" has an unexpected dose of surging catchiness to it that takes everything in yet another entirely different direction. As a whole, the album sways to and fro from softer, darker atmospheres to heavy, churning rhythmic grooves – accented by an assortment of samples, synths, experimental noise textures, and unpredictable vocal approaches. But I think I'm still digesting the big picture, really. This album has the unique potential to land the band some new fans right off the bat, whereas longtime Amebix followers are highly encouraged to give it repeated listens before jumping to conclusions. It took me about a week to get from "Hmmm, I don't know…" to "Yeah, this is impressive. There's really something happening here." And whatever that something is, it absolutely cannot be pigeonholed into any specific genre.

Amebix "Sonic Mass Part 1/ Sonic Mass Part 2"
Amebix "Here Come the Wolf"

It's impossible not to hold a great deal of respect for this band, and I hope that "Sonic Mass" won't be the last new music they're inspired to create together…

Purchase:

@ Amebix (CD)
@ Amebix (Picture Disc)
@ Easy Action Records (CD)
@ Easy Action Records (LP)
@ Easy Action Records (Picture Disc)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)

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