Quick Hits: Trip Machine Laboratories—Soul Provider, Repetitionist, Night Battles, and Heavy Duty Medicine

Soul Provider, Soul Provider (2022)

I recall this demo crossing my path at some point back in 2019 when it was originally released. I was impressed by the Long Island unit's subtly melodic take on crunchy, '90s-influenced metallic hardcore with an energy akin to early Leeway (musically)—countered by a contemporary edge in terms of the vocal approach and some of the meatier rhythmic grooves. That being said, it kinda got lost in the shuffle, so I didn't really dig any deeper. Apparently there are lineup connections to Koyo, Hangman, Rain of Salvation, and Typecaste, which would tend to explain why the material is of such high quality. Killer production, solid songwriting, etc. Like so many these days, they're not reinventing the wheel, but hit the mark and get the job done, so there's not a damn thing to complain about! Well, okay... except for the fact that here we are three years later and the band hasn't done anything else. Maybe this was a one-off?

Tapes are limited to 50 on cobalt blue or 100 on white, including a four-panel J-card with lyrics and a Bandcamp download insert.

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Repetitionist, Process and Intention (2022)

I wrote about this excellent EP from Dayton, OH's Repetitionist when it first hit the streets digitally back in October of 2020. The group's members have been in several other projects that I'm not familiar with (Floodwalker, Harlots, Kenoma, The Raging Nathans, Teeth Collection, Wasteland Jazz Ensemble, etc.), but this material caught my attention within seconds of the opener when it struck me that I'm actually reminded quite a bit of Engine Kid, which doesn't happen often! They occasionally veer into more chaotically abrasive/screamy territory, but the bulk of the output herein comes across as emotive post-hardcore with the texture of noise rock. There's a sludgy density to it, however—though not in a particularly "metal" manner. Vocally there are even some emo-esque flourishes, and a few of the rhythms have a bit of a mathy touch, but... honestly, I wouldn't really classify them as post-hardcore or noise rock either. They're just one of those bands that fuses a plethora of different influences together in a way that's familiar, but still can't be crammed into any specific pigeonhole. The EP even closes with a spot-on cover of Codeine's "Cave-In," which proves to be another excellent reference point when it comes to the "for fans of" factor.

Physical copies are super limited pro CD-Rs housed alongside a four-panel booklet in a resealable polybag. Also included is a business card insert containing lyrics, etc.

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Night Battles, Singles 2017 - 2020 (2022)

This collection is my first exposure to Raleigh, NC's Night Battles (whose lineup carries ties to Dahlia Seed and Static is a City, for those interested). As the title suggests, the disc compiles "Curse the Day" b/w "Locust Sky," the Remedy and Cause EP, and the split 7" with M is We. The group is self-described as "doom punk" and "dark psych," which kinda makes sense, as it's definitely an interesting sound that's a bit of a head-scratcher and doesn't fit nicely into any of the standard buckets. The approach is rather spacious and places emphasis on the rhythm section, alongside unique vocals. To my ears, there's an undercurrent of post-punk with twang, which reminds me of Beastmilk with a touch of The Cult or something. Curious, for sure!

Discs are super limited pro CD-Rs housed alongside a four-panel booklet (with credits for each recording session) in a resealable polybag.

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Heavy Duty Medicine, Now I Know Your Heart (2022)

Out of San Diego, Heavy Duty Medicine is another project from the prolific Malik Calimbas (We are Leaders, Atlas Shrugged, Ghidrah, GMK), who released the somewhat comparable Malik(s) disc on Trip Machine Labs last year. While fitting for a similar listenership, rather than the beat-based direction, Heavy Duty Medicine leans on the droning side of atmospheric exploration through guitars and electronics—indie goes post-rock goes ambient, perhaps? However you wish to attempt classification, the soundscapes are lush and laidback. I certainly pick out some angles and influences here and there, but the work feels more concerned with doing its own thing and landing where it may, which I always respect. I actually think there's a decently broad audience for this stuff out there, it's just a matter of getting in front of the right ears, you know?

Again, tangible copies are super limited pro CD-Rs housed alongside a four-panel booklet (with additional artwork and contact info) in a resealable polybag.

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