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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My Favorites of 2018



Another year has come to an end. As with the years previous, the world continues to literally fall apart, and the only thing that didn't let my spirit down is good, quality music. Plus the many people that create it, and mutual thrive in it. A lot of things happened personally in 2018, many experiences that shaped me to be who I am today. Some great things happened; tours, new friends, recordings some killer tunes, seeing lots of cool bands, seeing my family more, etc. These 20-some releases were also crucial to helping make every day awesome and most excellent. There were a ton of great releases this year, twas a very strong one for music. The new golden age of noisecore that we are currently in produced an insane amount of good releases, grindcore around the world was really on it's shit. Plus pretty much all of my favorite labels were consistently putting out great tapes, records and CD's. There were many things I did not get the chance to have a proper sit-down with. That being said, narrowing it down was still tough. It usually always is. But naturally, I had to go with the releases that I continuously returned to, and meant the most to me.  Here were my favorites, in no order except for the top 5. 

Traci Lords Loves Noise - The Ultimate Fantasy CS
It's a joyous occasion to get a new TLLN tape, and it does not disappoint. Comprised of previously unreleased recordings from back in the day, this is Traci Lords Loves Noise exactly how you would want it. Angry, lo-fi, sample heavy and tongue in cheek (especially the B-side). An example of how to do proper noisecore from a cult legend. 

Parlamentarisk Sodomi - Krieg Mot Norge 7"
After claiming the top spot on my last year end list, the Norwegian grind God PS is back with a full 7" EP of new material (with a new vocalist too). One half is thrashing, crusty grind songs, the other half superb, hyper-speed, stop-start noisecore tracks. I kinda wish it was all the noisecore tracks, but everything Steiner does is great. So there. 

World - World Discography CD
At long last we have the full discography from one of the best bands ever, the Japanese noisecore legends World. Packed together in a beautiful pro CD, and all the material sounding better than ever. This is an absolutely crucial collection from one of the most incredible bands.

Bruised Ego - Roman Numeral One LP
I may have a slight bias here since I helped pay for the vinyl release, but this debut full length from Baltimore's best fastcore band truly slays. You get incredibly tight drumming, riffs that thrash, stomp, and flail with a beefy and thick recording, and tons of just fun-ass songs in general. A well earned and finely tuned LP from some good old boys. 

Deterioration - Lupara Bianca CS
This EP just slaps, no if's and's OR but's about it. Deterioration unleashed a doozie of a release with this mafia / gang inspired release, and it quickly became my favorite recording by the band to date. No bullshit fast music from arguably the most beloved grindcore band going right now, and with releases like Lupara Bianca, it's not hard to figure out why.

John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once 2LP
My expectations for this record were immeasurably surpassed: an LP's worth of unreleased studio sessions from the classic quartet, which for me sits very snuggly within the rest of Coltrane's 60's output. Masterful work, performed with passion and grace. I still hum the riff to "Untitled Original 11383" to this day.

Cuck Dirt - Dopesmoker Is A Fucking Terrible Album CS
This whole tape is just one minute long diss track at one of the most revered stoner metal albums ever, and it's just a pure blast for the entire 60 seconds. Cuck Dirt are amazing and this tape immediately landed a spot in my year end list when it arrived in my mailbox. Snotty, humorous, nothing but a good time.  

Cannibalism / Sulfuric Cautery / Endotoxaemia / Lectularius - Guro Grind Guignol split CS
Of all the 4-way splits I've heard this year, this particular one slapped the hardest, and not just because of the Sulfuric Cautery contributions (best band in America right now). Every band here has submitted some crushing material. From the lo-fi, riffy sewage of Cannibalism, to the low-end heavy pummeling of Lectularius, this is a proper collection of gory grindcore. 

Incinerated / Sulfuric Cautery - Split 7"
Sulfuric Cautery put out so much material this year, I can't narrow it all down and feature one single release. So much brutality and hyper speed blasting on both sides, it's ridiculous. This team-up also introduced me to the incredible Aussie grindozer that is Incinerated, further cementing the fact that Australian bands can not suck. 

Oozing Meat - Contaminated CS
Oozing Meat's particular harsh noise and effect-smothered noisecore really came through the loudest and most impactful on their 20-minute cassette, Contaminated. It's as abrasive as it is entrancing, switching from pure noisecore and micro track blasts, to weird drum grooves, samples, heavy passages of feedback and disgusting vocals over the course of 766 tracks. 

God's America - The Undeserving CS
While I'm not all that focused on powerviolence at this stage in my life, God's America are to me the embodiment of what the genre should naturally progress to. God's America sound only like God's America, and their singular brand of lo-fi recording and unique songwriting and riffs make them stand heads above the rest. Totally in their own league. The Undeserving is one of their finest moments to date.

Heinous / Haggus - Split 7"
Most of the time with a Haggus split, I tend to usually listen to the side that isn't them more often. Such is the case with their split 7" with AZ goregrind band Heinous. Heinous' side starts with pretty much a perfect opening track, and the savage, meat shredding grind does not let up at all. Groovy, powerful and gore soaked. It's just wonderful.

Kjostad - Frost Cracking Trees CS
Giving some love to a local artist Kjostad. No release floored me or stuck with me as much as what is stored in the gorgeous looking and sounding cassette, Frost Cracking Trees. The beautifully recorded soundscapes of nature are perfectly manipulated and transformed into something uplifting and claustrophobic. It's a truly impressive piece of sound manipulation and to me, sits as Kjostad's finest work to date. 

Sidetracked - Perpetual Dissent CS
My favorite Sidetracked release of 2018 is this short and sweet EP. The recording is absolutely ruthless, some of the heaviest sounding material that the band has done. While the lack of variation in the songwriting may be cumbersome to me, I personally love how the band focuses in on a specific mode for each release, and Perpetual Dissent rocks this in spades. Every time I show this tape to people, they're hooked. Totally unique and a band that stands on their own in the fastcore / noisecore style. 


Nickelus F - "Stuck" 
CD/CS/LPIf there was one release that just barely made it into the top 5 it would be this. It's such a damn good record. I haven't been this excited about a hip-hop release since Danny Browns -"XXX". Something about this record just hits's that good spot in my brain, it just makes me feel better. The beats are this brilliant combo off jazz rap, trap, soulful samples, conscious shit, and the album flows like butter from track to track. Great hooks with a perfectly laid back but soulful delivery, until Petey start's spitting fast bars. It's lyrically a strong record too, there are many moments of introspection, and observation. The lyrical theme of being "stuck" returns throughout many tracks, with many contexts attached which I adore. It add's to the experience of it being a proper album, you dig? It's something that is hard to skip tracks through. Super high recommendation from me, I really love this record.

TOP 5 NEW RELEASES
5: Sissy Spacek - Thrash Staging & Ways Of Confusion LP's
Sissy Spacek turned the ripe ol' age of 20 this year, and to commemorate such a feat they seemingly decided to try and release as much music as they could (I count 8 all together). They’ve highlighted all of their styles, from noisy grindcore, to live ensemble records, to the purely electronic. Released on the local New Forces label, the Trash Staging LP is an exceptional document of both the grind and the noise together, split between both sides. The A-side is some of the harshest and uncompromising grind the band has done yet, while the B-side is some of the best harsh noise I've heard all year; crushing and cold with big inspiration from Japanese noise artists like Incapacitates. Ways Of Confusion on the other hand is all blast. 39 tracks of raw noisecore, blurring the lines between composition and free improvisation at a dizzying pace and over in about 15 minutes. Sissy Spacek continue to be one of the tightest and best bands in America, period. 

4: Suppression - Placebo Reality LP
Since 2015, Suppression's output has moved away from their powerviolence and noise rock phases from the 90's and 2000's and into a whole new beast. I’m resistant to call it noisecore, even though the short songs and raw fidelity definitely make them comfortably sit under that brand. What Suppression has done here is truly exceptional, laying down 73 songs (yes, actual songs with riffs, composition and diversity throughout) on this LP. For a band to put out an LP with this many tracks, and not go the easy way out of just having every one be random gargles of instrumentation and screaming, is something that is both inspirational and commendable. This LP has it all and it’s a defining moment for an amazing band, 20+ years into their existence. 

3: Binker & Moses - Alive in The East LP
No contemporary jazz unit has wow'd me more than the duo of drummer Moses Boyd and tenor saxophonist Binker Golding. This new live recording (featuring Evan Parker, trumpeter Byron Wallen, harpist Tori Handsley and extra drummer Yussef Dayes), is a dazzling, uplifting, urgent, soulful, and strangely danceable record. From the opening, blood pumping drum duet, into the sputtering and chaotic intro of the two horns, the notes scurrying around the open air like a swarm of bees. The performances here are elegant and calculated and at no point does it feel or sound like there is any competition between the musicians. Just a symbiotic conglomerate of beautiful music. 

2: Cystgurgle / Vomitoma - split CS
During a night in Chicago while I was on tour, my friend and tour mate Ben put on a cassette that he was releasing though his label. Through the haze of inebriation that I was in at the time, I heard a sound that hit me like an avalanche. One of the loudest snare drums I had heard in a minute exploded into the room, so unbelievably fast and tight I asked if it was a drum machine. It had to be. It wasn't. This was the Cystgurgle side of their split tape with long-going USA gorenoise act Vomitoma. It was love at first listen and I snagged one off of Ben right away. Throughout all these past 365 days, I have not heard a goregrind / noise release this powerful. Specifically where the drums, for the most part, are the central focus. On top of that are the wettest, bowel-churning vocals and distorted bass imaginable. Vomitoma's vocals literally sound like piss. This is also one of the first Vomitoma releases (to my knowledge) to feature a live drummer (courtesy of Adrian from Putrefuck). This release is everything I love about goregrind, and it would have been my #1 pick of the year, if it was not for one release...

1: Needle Exchange - Kill Em All With Fentanyl CS
I have heard a lot of noisecore releases this year, more than I can count. It's a genre of music that is very near and dear to my heart and to be personally connected to this 3rd-wave golden age of the genre is truly wonderful. Sometimes I hear a band push the genre into a next level territory of extremity, something that I sometimes doubt is even possible. This newest effort from Needle Exchange has created a sound so absurdly intense, so far into the red that the meter has exploded and covered those who listen with a coagulated, smelly, crimson gunk. The A-side is a 666 track hurricane of some of the most rapidly cut-up and stitched together blasts of noise I've ever heard. Like 7MON's "Thrashbora" flexi, but fucked up x 10. This tape is genuinely demented, everything about it so extreme and over the top. From the completely distortion-covered bass, to the stop on a dime cuts, to the vocals which screech, gargle and bellow like they are done by a true psycho. Side-B continues the onslaught with a scant 245 tracks, but without losing even a molecule of brutality. The aesthetic of this band might make some people turn their heads, it's some intense and uncompromising shit, but nothing about it feels phoned-in. This swallows you into its own world. Either choose to except it or beg for mercy. Best thing I've listened to this year.

~VII

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Auditioning Gods


Fed Ash are from Syracuse, NY. Members have played in bands in the area for some time and when I heard my friend Matt who plays bass was starting a new project I was excited, but I had no idea what kind of sound this project would have. Grief as a Prison takes many forms and with its twists keeps you engaged, wondering what will come next. Its 8 songs go through the painstaking process of loss, and the emotions and feelings that accompany it.                                            


The production is murky but you can hear most of the elements in the recordings clearly enough. The quality could be better but for what the band is trying to convey it fits perfectly. The best way to describe the songs is a combination of grind and sludge-y hardcore with tinges of black metal tossed in occasionally. The songs vary in sound from track to track though, with songs like Disconnect, Anger, and Depression focus more on a sludge sound than grind, but songs like Bargaining and Denial have a more grindcore song structure. The vocals are screamed but in a sludge sense, not high pitched but not rough-and-tough sounding. The drumming is solid as well, the blasts are fast and never lose intensity.


Between the music there is samples that are undecipherable as to what is being said as well as some harsh noise. It creates an eerie mood as the sounds are unsettling and they fit very well with the production the tracks have. The only issue with the whole release is that sometimes the transitions can sound a bit sloppy. Everything else matches up well and creates a unique sound that can’t be pinpointed to being one influence, yet it doesn’t sound like a bunch of mismatching riffs just thrown together. This is a fantastic first release from the band and I am excited for what is going to come next from them. The EP is available on tape from the band via bandcamp, its a beautiful gray/black spread and fits the release. You can purchase and stream the release here.

~Tyler Hammer

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sewer//Geyser

Leading up to the Napalm Death is Dead/Unexamine/Penis Geyser tour that happened in the mid-USA this year, Mikeal from Penis Geyser posted a picture of some naked 7" records. What could this be? I asked myself, eager for the answer because I knew it would objectively be awesome. Low and behold (and thanks to some tips from friends) I found out it was a new Penis Geyser split from Smash Music! The other band, Sewer System, I was unfamiliar with at the time but once I learned it was a solo project of Charlie from Sissy Spacek, my need to obtain it doubled. I was thankfully able to pick it up from Charlie himself when my band got to be on a show with SS. Not sure how many of these were made, they were most likely all pressed on black vinyl. 33 RPM.

Penis Geyser's side is a crazy spewing of violent musical nonsense, thankfully always and forever. Curiously titled "1st Rehearsal Demo", even though it says it was was recorded throughout 2017. It definitely sounds like the Brad/Mikeal duo line-up, particularly from the vocal delivery. Some in the moment singy vocals open the side before the wonderful, cassette fidelity bursts of crashing symbols and quick drum hits, out of tune guitar noise and aggressive vocals. There's several moments where the blasting cuts out and the guys just sort of fuck around, which breaks up the intensity but keeps that "fuck music" etho's alive and kicking. Great stuff, it's always good to hear new stuff from this band.

The Sewer System side is fucking great too! This is that totally raw, gross and dirty, short track worshipping noisecore that I need in my life. Kinda goregrindy vocals here, genuinely beastly and throaty sounding. I'm not sure if there's actual string instruments used here or just noise gear. Charlie does everything as far as I know, except for a few extra vocals that were supplied by some other people according to the (very hard to read) info in the sleeve. Sharp stick clicks and snare hits begin every short track, with a crunchy, low-end rumble underneath furious and powerful blast beats. Each small track more or less sounds the same, and the whole side is broken up to about 7 parts, each part containing a block of tracks. The intensity here is very attention grabbing, I'll definitely be on the look out for more Sewer System releases from now on. 

My coworkers thought that the cover of this split was hilarious, since it's just a picture of John Coltrane with a nuclear blast in the foreground. John Coltrane's the shit, so thumbs up there. The collage art here is pretty sick, it sets an interesting vibe that's for sure. The sleeve is one of those matchbook-style things, with the extra little flab on the end. 


If you're into noisecore you already know that you need this, this whole review is pretty redundant. 

~VII

Friday, September 14, 2018

Penis Geyser's Two Minute Tape

I was happy to be able to score some sweet additions to the Penis Geyser/Smash Music label collection the past couple of months. Penis Geyser obviously being a very loved band on this blog. One of the gold standards for American noisecore in my own opinion. This is a tape I always wanted to hear, mainly from friends talking about it and just knowing how short it was. This is the self-titled, C2 cassette they did on Smash Music, not sure how many copies were made.

Unsurprisingly, this tape fucking rules! Recorded in 2011, but released three years later according to the info in the Jcard, most likely with the trio line-up. Now what is surprising actually, is how good this recording actually sounds. Like, it sounds like they actually used more than one mic in a room, and recorded different instruments separately. This is all speculation of course, but the recording is remarkably crisp. I think I actually let out an audible "woah" when the tape started playing.

Penis Geyer's trademark noise explosions maintain their strengths here. The recording is cut up and spliced together in a very rapid pace to help it work with the very short run time, which I love. It's a super great listen, all two whole minutes of it. Maybe some of my favorite PG material I've heard. It's a great tape to play in your auto-reverse tape deck and just let spin and spin.


I'm not sure who did this great collage work, but it looks like something Colton/PMS would whip up. Pretty sure this is the same image that appears on one of their shirts that I own.


I've seen this pop up in a few distro's lately actually, so if you see one I recommend buying it. Don't be scared to pay five bucks for a two minute tape.

~VII

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Cadaverlanche

I've been picking up basically every release that Sulfuric Cautery is on these days. Definitely the grind band that is impressing and exciting me the most as of late. They keep putting out new shit about as fast as their blast beasts with no slowing down, which is all fine by me. This particular tape was put out on the bands own labels, Blast Addict and Feel Good Grind. A live recording, squishily called "Frozen Daiqueri In The Urethra Of Ralph Ferrari", not sure how limited it is.

This tape has since sold out from the label, and it honestly is not something I would call a mandatory release to get from Sulfuric Cautery. If you've watched the video on Youtube of them playing St. Vitus in NYC, then you've heard this. It is however, a fantastic performance, and a good way to hear some of these tracks from the Incinerated and Take That Vile Fiend splits with a much cleaner recording. It's mindblowing to me how everyone in the band can keep up a set this fast. It's a pretty long show too, almost 20 minutes! I really wanted to make it to this show too, I can't remember what the reason was for me not being able to attend. It was a stupidly stacked show, and it's always good to see Ralph down in the city. To this day, I have still not seen Sulfuric Cautery, but this recording definitely shows that they can bring it live. As if there was any doubt of that.


I think there's a couple different cover variations for this. One that is a bit more gory. The tape 
sounds awesome, the soundboard mix is very good and it's nice to hear some more of the riffs pop out more. The Jcard is also printed on a nice sturdy cardstock.

I'll finally be able to see these guys play at Rapid Decay fest in Binghamton, NY in October. Couldn't be more excited!

~VII

Friday, August 31, 2018

No Bounds

Here's another piece of the huge stack of releases that Sidetracked has gotten released this year. A tidy and short cassette EP called "Perpetual Dissent", released by Alternatives Label. Probably in a run of 100 or so on pro-tapes.

This is definitely one of the strongest releases that Sidetracked has done this year, and will most likely be on my favorites of 2018 list.First off, the recording is fantastic, the guitars and bass sound heavy and hard as fuck! Great, catchy, warpy, angular riffs too, some of the best I've heard from them in a while. It's also a very focused EP, the songwriting in particular makes the whole thing flow very well. Repetitive yet always hard hitting. To me another example of the band's fantastic blending of noisecore and blasting hardcore genres. 

Every song starts with Jay saying the title of the track (referencing Seven Minutes of Nausea no doubt), then going in to super aggressive and powerful riffs, blasting, and vocals. For real, the recording/production and sound of the band is so on point on here. Every song also features a break of live recorded bass and drums, with a much more lo-fi recording fidelity. Every track is punctuated by a returning blast of riffs with the title screamed out again, drenched in echo and eventually dissolving into pure noise. Every song is written this way; which does get a little monotonous at just a few points. Some songs like "Never Change" would probably be even more insane is if was just blasting all the way through. But I appreciate the direct decision to sequence the EP this way. Besides, it rips so hard it could go on twice as long for me anyway.  

The tape looks and sounds great. It's loud and crisp and has a very nice layout. Brutally short as always. Probably just shy of 3 minutes, in and out. Fucking brilliant. 

This is the release that has been my go-to when I'm showing people Sidetracked for the first time these days. And pretty consistently they've all been impressed. Buy this!!!

~VII

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dopesmoker Is A Fucking Terrible Album

This will absolutely go down as one of my favorite tapes released this year. Some of you may remember an older post where I talked about the debut Cuck Dirt EP released on Uninvited Records. I was a massive fan of their composed, smart-ass, vicious take on noisecore, that whole tape is incredibly fun and a cut above the normal bunch of newer noisecore bands. Now it's a year later, and Cuck Dirt have unleashed their follow up in the form of a single track, C2 cassette, released on Doughgirl Tapes in a super limited edition of 25.

 What Cuck Dirt have done is create a diss track about one of my personal favorite albums; "Dopesmoker" by Sleep. In leu of Sleep releasing their "comeback" record so to speak, I saw a ton of people start saying some not so great things about, just all at once and out of no where. I guess it's because they released it on 4/20? I'm not sure, and I'm not here to talk about Sleep. In any case, Cuck Dirt are straight dissing that shit, and it's as funny as it is harsh. It starts out with a sample of an auto-tuned voice, talking about how "it's fucking nice out, who's trying to hang and smoke some loud?". Apparently this is taken from some sort of meme, which I'm honestly unfamiliar with. I thought it was some brilliantly weird shit in any case. From then on it's a blasting, snarling dose of vitriol for the next 50 seconds, great stuff all around. The lyrics are pronounced and rapid, in a mid-period Sissy Spacek kind of way. They're down to earth and blunt, but it's done perfectly for what it is. It reminds me of Jay Randall's lyrical style from those good ANb days. Cuck Dirt's fantastic and seamless blend of composition and complete noisecore is still strong here, no riffs but a good sense of structure.


I also appreciate how they just didn't hold back on this cover art, which is clearly just the artwork from the "Dopesmoker" reissue, with crude MS paint dick drawings. Perfectly dumb. The whole layout is wonderful, and I'm dang happy to have gotten the #1 copy, not sure how I scored that! The tape dub is just the tiniest bit murky and fuzzy, but it's forgivable.


I fucking love this tape, it's a total winner in my book. Buy this before it sells out!!!

~VII