Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Mechanics of Failure

First up, I know, it has been a long time since I posted on this blog. It kind of slipped my mind for a minute there, mostly because life has been pretty good! Lots of new changes and different shifts in my life. Good excuses as to why I haven't paid attention to my vinyl/cassette review blog. However, I have gathered quite a lot of new releases over the months that I would like to talk about. Some were gifted to me, and I really need to get on those. So let's not waste time and get down to chewing the meat. I have here a brand new release. from a brand new label, Cult of Nine Records based out of Syracuse, NY. Their first release is this split/Vs. CD from two incredible bands in the USA underground. Fed Ash, also from Syracuse, and Landfill, who's main members mostly reside in the midwest. Digipack CD, actually this is the first CD review I've ever done on here!

If you're familiar with either of these bands, you know what you should be expecting. Two words: Sheer Brutality. I was so excited when I heard these two were doing a split together. I've known members of each band for a while, and hearing that there was going to be another union of Upstate NY and midwest bands was tremendous. Each band here is a fantastic representation of their to different styles of fast, heavy music. Landfill going for the straight up, blast beat infested, skeleton disintegrating grindcore. No flashes or extra splashes of technical prowess here, just in your face, relentless blasts, with the right kind of punky grooves and gory vocals too boot, stirring up the pot a bit and helping make their songs diverse. They get three to four song chunks per section, and they just shred!!

I've seen Fed Ash fine tune, and expand their sound and delivery quite a lot the past year. Nowadays they perform with three guitar players, and it's absolutely insane. They play a style of grindcore that takes influences from a swath of different genres. From sludge and doom metal, pure electronic noise, good 2000's metalcore (trust me it makes sense), and maybe even black metal. The sound they are able to conjure is something altogether sinister and crushing. The pure pain and misery of existence composed into music. This is some of their best recorded material.

The Vs. style formatting of this split works really well in my opinion. Landfill's songs go by lightning fast, completely bonkers. Fed Ash adding the finishing moves and more pain right after, it's a pretty intense listen actually.

This is the first release on Cult of Nine Records, please pick this up. I think these are two of the most promising bands around at the moment and I'm very pleased with this release.


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.

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.