Cruelist is a trio from Porto, Portugal and their latest two-song EP, Sick Times, serves up an absolutely awesome display of quirkily skronked-out hardcore/punk disguised as noise rock. Freakin' great production, too: crystal clear, hammering bass, surgingly jagged guitars, and crisp percussion with subtle flare. The group's prior releases are pretty cool, too, but these new tracks are next-level, and really seem to represent a huge step forward all around. This is an overly short writeup, but it's a less-than-five-minute EP, what can I say!? I'll be excited to hear what comes next!
End You is a new solo project from Eric Smith (formerly of The Catalyst), and I believe this quick release is a sampler of sorts featuring two songs from a forthcoming full-length album. And—if these are any indication—said album, Aimless Dread, just might end up being one of my 2021 favorites. "Equinox" is sort of a Quicksand-ish post-hardcore instrumental, while opener "Alt Delete" deals in gritty 'n' grungy punk-infused noise rock with little bits and pieces of metallic undercurrents here and there. This is one of the most exciting things I've heard in recent months, and I'm eagerly anticipating that album. Shit, I might even include this single amidst my year-end favorites for 2020! It's just that good!
Grab both tunes as a name your price download over at Bandcamp.
In Cold Blood
Since last year's Legion of Angels, In Cold Blood has added vocalist Chops Torres and hooked up with the excellent Upstate Records for surprise new single in "This Has to End." The track presents a three-minute back-and-forth between dark, arpeggiated clean passages and the crushing rhythms and scorching-yet-melodic leads that any fan of the classic Clevo sound should adore. There's a nice clarity to the recording that allows the bass to have plenty of breathing room, too, which really stands out. More new material is planned for 2021, and I can't fuckin' wait!
Six Billion Light-Years
Six Billion Light-Years is another captivating new side project from the artists formerly (and sometimes still) known as Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead. I guess Migration is the outing's second EP, and now I'm struggling to recall whether or not I had heard their debut!? Whatever the case, this particular two-song set of self-described "lo-fi ambient techno" is a top-shelf listen in terms of quality and atmosphere—as is generally the case with anything this duo puts forth under one name or another. Due to the hypnotically chilled-out vibe herein, one of my early listens felt like I had been zoning out on a track for about 10 minutes (and I mean that in a good way), but then I checked and neither tune tops the five-minute mark!? The term "techno" can carry a lot of negative connotations, but you'll find none of them here. These compositions are much more cinematic in tone. It definitely feels like Six Billion Light-Years could achieve a wider scope of appreciation were they to get in front of the right ears.
For now, grab Migration through Bandcamp. Some slick underground labels need to get hip to what the fuck these two are doing, though, 'cause they've created so much material under several different headings that's all deserving of any form of tangible release...
I think it was Stin from Chat Pile who tweeted something about Sprain a while back that brought them to my attention. Please hear me when I proclaim that the As Lost Through Collision LP offers absolutely masterful soft-to-loud indie rock in that early- to mid-'90s Louisville vein, bolstered by a caustic and experimental side that careens into some full-on explosive "screamo," which occasionally even morphs into fits of brooding sludge/doom. Seriously, this is mind-bendingly intense shit. "Worship House" is a favorite of mine because it starts out so strong, but the entire LP is a rather mandatory experience. I mean:
Life is an ant in the palm of time's cruel hand...
Yes. Yes, indeed. A thousand times: yes. I don't even know what else to say, just go check this out...
Increasingly prolific weirdos Vegas have continued issuing a steady stream of one-off singles as of late—including a Black Lives Matter-inspired cover of "The Dicks Hate the Police." The mysterious unit's latest offering, however—issued on Halloween—is amongst those chunkier and more "polished" (by Vegas standards) efforts that truly catches my ear. That patented wind-tunnel vocal shroud is in full effect, but the song's beefy punch is counterbalanced by an unexpectedly melodic chorus—arguably one of the band's finest moments to date. Part of me wishes the production had a hint more clarity to it, but one cannot expect Vegas to abandon all angles of its trademark ruggedness. In the end, I'm intrigued, and would certainly not complain were this multi-directional ensemble to explore this niche of their attack more often.
Once again, Bandcamp is the place to be.