Sunday, October 25, 2015

Puppet Master Soundtrack

Every month of October, I do what every young adult nerd-child does to glorify the spookiest time of the year. I watch and horde as many classic, crap, schlock, and gory horror movies as I can. This year I decided to venture into the world of the Puppet Master franchise. And over many satisfying viewings I've fallen in honest to god love with it. I've always loved the aesthetic of the Puppet's and the distinctive look that the characters had. Truly it's a love it or hate it series of movies. None of the films had any theatrical release's, and the campy, ├╝ber cheesy acting and sets are mainly to serve those in the B-movie crowd. Ironically, this is a series that really hit a peak of awesomeness as it went on. 4 and 5 are the movies in the series I like the best so far. They have a lot more scenes with the puppets and introduce a demon character for no real needed reason at all except for "plot". But it leads to a lot more puppet vs. puppet action, and some truly entertaining characters. Judging from what I've seen of the movies after those it looks like they truly are the highlights.
Anyway, this isn't a film review blog is it? I should get to the point. About a little while ago I found out that the honest to gosh Puppet Master soundtrack collection had been reissued and pressed to wax! With my nerdom at it's peak and my finances in check, I took the plunge and made the order. I've seen soundtrack reissues of this kind sell out quickly before, so I wasn't going to take my chances. Limited to 1,000 copies on black vinyl, 33 RPM. Released by Full Moon Features.

It's probably not very hard to believe, but this is the first soundtrack I've ever bought. I've never gotten the appeal of soundtrack music, and especially buying it. But honestly I'm really, really digging this record hard. I've been spinning it quite often and enjoying it totally on it's own merit, detached from any of the films. The classic Puppet Master score was composed by Richard Band, brother of Charles Band who created the films. Richards score puts you perfectly into the atmosphere of the Puppet Master universe. The opening "Main Title" music has a distinctive classic feel. It's supernatural and devilish but also with a good amount of bounce and whimsy to it. Lots of strings and synths are used, and eerie rising tones that are used very tastefully. It's very good music to put on and do other creative things too. I draw and write to this record pretty often, it has a very concoctive vibe. This record collects select pieces Richard Band created for the series. From 1-4 and all the way to 9-10. Quite a gap in between there, makes me wonder why he went back for those last two. Mr. Band also composed music for the classic movies "From Beyond" and a personal favorite of mine, "Re-Animator". How about that?

The pressing sounds very good. It's a very quite record, no hiss, pops or crackles are spotted besides the occasional bit of dust. It's not mastered to where it's booming loud like I would have hoped but they did a good job overall. I have to say that I'm really not a big fan of the art they used for the cover. For whatever reason the puppets were done with some weird 3D computer art which looks pretty cheap. A much better job could have been done with this.

Inside the gatefold we get a little write up of Richard Band and his involvement with the series, and a very nice spread of every cover from every film in the franchise. I dig that a lot. The gatefold sleeve is pretty flimsy.

Who knows if I'll buy any more soundtracks, but I do not regret buying this one. I'm a sucker for horror, so if I stumble upon the "Halloween" soundtrack somewhere for cheap, you'll see it on here.

~VII

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brickbath

I've been waiting for Mellow Harsher's follow up to their "Demo 7"" for a long, long time. It was a solid bunch of songs for sure, but were drastically improved on with MH's more recent outputs. The two songs on the "Bitter Cold Compilation", split 7" with Internal Rot, and my long awaited "Served Cold EP", solidified them as one of the most exciting grindcore bands in the Midwest. The "Served Cold EP" was very recently released by Washington D.C. based label Malokul records in a run of 500. 100 were on orange and 100 on purple, the rest on black. Malokul very generously sent me an orange and black copy for this review. 45 RPM.

I've heard these songs dozens of times on Bandcamp, and was always thoroughly satisfied with this EP. It keeps some of the roughness of the Demo's recordings, but with the clarity and precision of their more recent output. The vinyl pressing definitely highlights this. Man is it nice to hold a new, physical MH record. Like all their releases, "Served Cold EP" is a brilliant example of how to pull of herky-jerky, techy grindcore, in the right way. The vocals, riffs and brutal drumming all trade off and switch with surgical precision, but they keep it tough! There's no flashy guitar noises, or plastic and sterile sounding production. It doesn't sound like this shit is just wanking, it's earned. Mellow Harsher apply their musicianship into actually writing some fantastic, blood boiling songs! With some very well written breakdowns that thankfully avoid blatant Infest and Crossed Out worship ("Brickbath", "Stepped On"). Playing this in my room I can't help but thrash my fists around and stomp-mosh around the place. Also, probably my favorite snare drum of the year, this drummer is unstoppable.

I love the consistent, crude, colored pencil drawings that Mellow Harsher uses. They're effectively bleak and at the same time raise questions. Mainly why the Charlie Brown sweater? Anyway, Malokul gave the "Served Cold EP" a very nice glued sleeve package with a thick vinyl pressing. No insert however.

The orange vinyl is only available exclusively through the Malokul Records webstore. The purple vinyl is actually a band-only exclusive. So I might pick one up when I see them this month. Just to round everything off since I have 2 of the 3. They look beautiful.


One of the best grindcore EP's of the year. Worship Mellow Harsher.

~VII

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lazy People Must Die

Continuing Hades Mining Co.'s reign of terror through this blog, comes their split 7" with Canada's genital stain on the music world, Cum Sock. Guys, this one is truly for the heads. I mean this one's rough, real rough. I need a cup of coffee, an upper, and a shower after I get through listening to this piece of wax. Limited to 100 copies on this rather nice looking green marble vinyl, 33 RPM. As always, released by Continuum Records.

I'll just get Cum Sock's side out of the way first, because it is truly and honestly horrible. Aside from the actually decent guitar sound that they miraculously achieve, I can't say a single decent thing about this. If you ever wanted to hear a guy junkie-snarl the words "ASIAN PUKE PORN" into a peaking microphone over the sloppiest thrashcore you heard in your life, get a friend. Also you may just like this record, maybe. Uninteresting, and schlocky noisecore that overstayed its welcome and only bugged me. Not even the charm of it's sloppiness won me over here.

Hades Mining Co. side is another live recording, most likely the full set of that night. The main chunk of their half is another sludge rock opus, entitled "The Return Of Shock Puss". The charm that's lost on Cum Sock's side is thankfully returned on here. But not in huge amounts, as I never really preferred any of HMC's slow stuff to their total noisecore. The sheer audacity of everything this track is admirably fun though. Riding a 70's stoner bass riff and guitar solo freakouts. Literally, imagine the worst 2 AM rock n' roll bar band you ever saw, it's this. The second and last track is a simple, farted out noiscore track. Leaving the crowd in an empty void of awkward applause.

Real good, cut n' paste style printed sleeve with a classic image from the freakier side of internet on the cover. It also comes with a stick of the whole cover, which is now considered packaging and thus cannot be placed anywhere.

Recommended if you like bad music.

~VII

Mr. Jolly Fucker

Sleaford Mods is a musical group that I have shamelessly been head over heels for this year. A duo based out of Nottingham, England that have very rapidly put out numerous singles and LP's over the past two years. I've heard record collectors kind of hate them, and I can't pretend I don't see why. Their style and delivery was a bit of a challenge to listen to and absorb at first, but I kept coming back to it. Generally a good sign that there is definitely something with abstract substance there. The rapid-fire, ornery lyrical pieces that vocalist/lyricist Jason Williamson shout-raps are mesmerizing. While music-maker Andrew Fearn's minimal, post-punk flavored beats provide the perfect amount of punch and energy for whatever topic is on the tongue. A punk band in their attitude, but much fresher and more original then any of the rehashed punk bands of today. There is as much influence from bands like Crass in their tunes as there is from Suicide or The Fall, or Wu-Tang Clan. Tyrannical, sarcastic, opinionated, and incredibly British.
While the Mods discography is massive, they mainly thrive as a singles band. There are too many mandatory 7" cuts to buy at one time, and many are going for a pretty penny these days. Thankfully though, these are routinely reissued with many different collectable colored pressings and sleeve designs. So I was finally able to score the brilliant "Mr. Jolly Fucker b/w Tweet Tweet Tweet" single. The 4th edition, with an orange cover and vinyl, 45 RPM. Released by Forth Dimension Records.

"Mr. Jolly Fucker" is one of the first SM songs I fell in love with, and may just be the jam of the century. A perfect two minute romper of fast paced lyrical wit and a slamming, hypnotic beat. Unfortunately, no lyric sheets have ever been provided for this single, so I am still left a bit unclear about what Mr. Williamson's main message is here. The usual pessimistic and disgruntled attitude towards the privileged and hoytie-toytie people that take up space is prevalent. Little pokes like "pushing out office turds" and rotting away in the isles of the Co-op store are just a few of the many quotables I notice. And the immortal, cut and dry chorus/hook that is simply, "JOLLY FUCKER"! Such a great song, this is definitely one of my favorite 7" records in the collection at the moment.
The B-side is a track that was later put on the end of the album "Divide and Exit". Another wonderfully written and catchy little ditty targeting the masses apathetic nature towards real life (according to me). "Dead weight is living flesh", what a great line. "Tweet Tweet Tweet" is probably one of the best early examples of a "singing" Sleaford Mods. Jason's vocals follow more of a rhythm and melody on here, with some great back-up vocals fleshing the sound out more. We even get some piano and a little bit of electronics. All around fantastic!!

The 4th edition of this single comes in a sturdy glued sleeve with orange artwork and vinyl. A nice, thick slab of wax that sings clear and loud!


So far this year, Sleaford Mods have also put out my favorite album of 2015 with their recently released "Key Markets" LP. I might get around to posting that, it's amazing and definitely worth all of your ear time. 

~VII