Friday, 27 January 2023

Vicious Cycle

Vicious Cycle were a four-piece hardcore punk band from Sudbury, Ontario that were around from 2005 to 2010. They released three EP's, one LP, and a single in that time. I'm aware I say this far too often, but Vicious Cycle are truly a criminally underrated band that put out one of the finest albums hardcore has to offer in the past 15 years. Their first few releases were pure OG hardcore, with an meshed influence of bands including Zero Boys and Poison Idea. By Pale Blue Dot, they were able to craft one of the most intensive and energetic records I've ever heard. It's one I find myself returning to time and time again, thanks to its raw, guttural intensity, unique production, and incredibly memorable songs. It's equal parts Minor Threat and Fugazi with a garage rock garnish. This was "forward-thinking" at its finest. That visceral aggression is maintained throughout, only taking occassional detours with some noisy, atmospheric interludes. Alexisonfire's George Pettit even makes an appearance on here. Highly, highly recommended, enjoy.

1. Germ
2. Dog On A Leash
3. Self Abuse
4. Assembly Line
5. Vicious Cycle
6. Brain Damaged
7. Aged And Confused

1. Annoy
2. Bent
3. Terminate
4. Boring Face
5. Negative Space
6. I'm Watching You

1. Hail The Bouncer
2. Neon Electric
3. Nothing Special
4. Stepping Back

1. I Hate Cops

1. No Escape
2. Blur
3. The Waiting
4. Black Dot
5. In Tranquility
6. Death
7. Vertigo
8. Gamma Ray
9. Heaven Or Hell
10. For Carl
11. Pale Blue Dot
12. Rebirth
13. Farewell

1. Numbers
2. Over The Edge (Wipers cover)

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Korea Girl

Korea Girl were a four-piece indie pop/emo band from San Jose, California that formed in 1996 and broke up in 1999. In that time, they released one 7" and one album, both of which were put out by Asian Man Records. Though they didn't last long, they did leave this fantastic and incredibly underrated LP behind. These songs are distinct and varied, ranging from melancholic slow burns to catchy choruses to dissonant alt. rock. They play with mostly clean, chord-driven guitars, though do dabble in light bouts of distortion. The band also featured two vocalists, who could both hold their own independently, but also come together for some incredibly elevated harmonies. Not to make direct comparisons here, but it wouldn't be surprising to find out this band was influenced by the likes of Mazzy Star, Velocity Girl, Pavement, and Superchunk, so if that's up your alley, do not miss this often overlooked album. Enjoy.

1. Reunion
2. Launched

1. B-Side
2. Under The Sun
3. Reunion
4. Upside Down
5. Peon
6. Pariah
7. Li'l Bunch
8. Serpentine
9. Conversations
10. Atomic Skies
11. Wile E.
12. Prozac
13. Democracy & Kings
14. Hey Akane!
15. Prozac (Drummed) (Bonus Track)
16. Li'l Bullhorn (Bonus Track)
17. Upside Down (Bonus Track)
18. Peon (Bonus Track)
19. Wile E. (Bonus Track)

Note: Bonus demos included on the 1999 reissue


dæphne are a three-piece emo/indie band from Boston, Massachusetts that formed in 2014. Though I can't find any info on an official break-up, they haven't been active since 2017. In that three-year period, they put out a demo, album, and EP, which hits the quota for a midwest emo band. They crafted these super sad jams, with clean guitars meandering through melancholic scales, with somber, confessional vocals drifting atop. This band also managed to shift dynamics seamlessly, with crescendos hitting big highs with a coating of distortion, bringing in some shoegaze-y aspects to their sound. Personally, their demo is probably my favourite release, but that's partially because it was the only thing I had heard before going back through the archives and discovering they released more.  Regardless, this is highly recommended, enjoy.

1. Winona Ryder
2. What Summer Felt Like Behind Your Bedroom Door
3. Driving Down A Country Highway Blasting Weezer
4. Miscalculating Future Experiences

1. Get Better
2. Tiny Flame
3. If This Is Living The Dream, Then I Want To Wake Up
4. Sharpness Is The Game I Play
5. Peach
6. Biding Time (For A Haunted Mind)
7. Jump Right Into My Nightmare, The Water's Warm
8. Plum

1. Apple
2. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
3. Poster Girl

Monday, 23 January 2023

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey were a five-piece screamo band from the Quad Cities (region of cities split between Iowa and Illinois) that were active from 2013 to 2018. They released an EP and two albums, along with a few misc. tracks. The band played a distinct brand of screamo that blended its more chaotic elements with melancholic melody, with seering vocals atop rhytmically complex instrumentals and noodle-heavy guitars. On their final record, A Brief History Of Time they also began incorporating keyboards and synths, which added an entirely new uniquely atmospheric layer to their already-established incredible sound. It's emotional and explosive, what more do you need? If you're a fan of bands including Off Minor, Ten Grand, or The Kodan Armada, do check this out. Enjoy.

1. September
2. Bugcatcher
3. "Do You Know Mark Warm?"
4. East Lansing
5. Solar Myths And Autumn

1. The UAW Hall (The Ballet cover)

1. In The Air Tonight (Live) (Phil Collins cover)
1. Rock Island
2. The Great Flood Of '83
3. Davenport
4. September
5. Bugcatcher
6. "Do You Know Mark Warm?"
7. East Lansing
8. Solar Myths And Autumn

1. Collapse
2. Johnny Dakota
3. Oceanography
4. Mark Warm II
5. Loudhailer
6. Diffusion
7. In Vacuo
8. Non-Essential Personnel

Saturday, 21 January 2023

The Red Scare

The Red Scare were a four-piece post-hardcore/screamo band from Knoxville, Tennessee that formed in 1997 and broke up in 2001. They released two albums and a handful of splits, including one with Orchid. They played a chaotic yet technical blend of screamo/emo/hardcore, inspired by bands such as Portraits Of Past, Shotmaker, and Heroin. They incorporated these duelling guitars, driving bass riffs, and frenzied rhythms with some fantastic drumming, all the while the vocals are screaming to the brink of collapse. Capillary Lockdown is probably my favourite from them, and encapsulates the aforementioned sound. Their swan song, Strangers Die Everyday is a noticeably more experimental effort, with a wider array of dynamics and a metallic sheen to the instrumentals and production. It's still definitely worth a listen for the sake of uniqueness and intrigue, and really leaves you wondering where this band have gone had this not been in it. Highly recommended, enjoy.

1. Jet Set
2. Epiphany #2

1. Hail Mary - Crcuifixate
2. The Red Scare - Earache

1. Pankration - Your Ugliness Becomes You
2. The Red Scare - Full Steam Ahead

1. Automate Insection
2. Device For Annihilation
3. Jetset
4. 12 Years Past
5. Post Meridian
6. Crushing Blows
7. Inertia/Distance To Empty

1. Orchid - Lucky 13
2. Orchid - Intelligable Audio
3. Orchid - She Has A Cold, Cold Heart
4. The Red Scare - Sequenced For Explosion

1. The Red Scare - Send Me An Angel
2. True North - It's 3 A.M., Do You Know Where The Ballot Box Is?
3. True North - Single Fin Mentality

1. Risking Your Life With A Capital R
2. Smoky Mountain High
3. Strangers Die Everyday
4. Cranial Masses
5. Kodaliths
6. Asphyxial Eclipse
7. Iron Curtain
8. Five Months In Poland

Render Useless

Render Useless were a three-piece emo/hardcore band from Victoria, British Columbia that were around from 1994 to 1998. They put out a handful of releases, all of which and more were later compiled on a discography at the tail end of their short-lived tenure. In those few short years, the band did end up evolving quite a bit. On their very first EP, they played an energetic, more straight-forward style of melodic hardcore, perhaps as a nod to bands such as Fuel with the quick, palm-muted chunky guitars and desperate but catchy vocals. From then on, they began to experiment with the more dark, twisting and winding sounds emerging from underground post-hardcore/emo (whatever you want to call it) scenes, bringing in elements of rhythmic instability, dissonance, and harsher vocals. Fans of bands such as Indian Summer or Ordination of Aaron will definitely take interest here. Enjoy.

1. Grow
2. Waterhead
3. Compromise
4. Desperation Days

1. The Republic Of Freedom Fighters - Year Of The Rat
2. Render Useless - The Second Flight Of Icarus

1. Bravery In A Sea Of Cowards
2. Iotosoahpw
3. Fork In The Road
4. Attention All Shoppers

1. Render Useless - Generation Gap
2. Render Useless - True Colours
3. Miracle Of 86 - Guard Rail
4. Miracle Of 86 - Left Of Center

1. 3 AM Tuesday
2. Fork In The Road
3. The Second Flight Of Icarus
4.True Colours
5. Generation Gap
6. Bravery In A Sea Of Cowards
7. Run Away Mr. Fox
8. Clique
9. Becoming Anti-Human
10. Attention All Shoppers
11. Inside Of The Opposite Side Of A Hiding Place Window
12. Typical
13. The Heads Of Ostriches
14. Grow
15. Ben's Song
16. Roving Male
17. Compromise
18. Intimidation
19. The Weave
20. Waterhead
21. Hardline
22. Cranked
23. Desperation Days
24. Intergalactic Transmission

Friday, 20 January 2023

Dead History

Dead History are a five-piece post-hardcore band from Minneapolis, Minnesota that formed in 2017. The band is compromised of members who have been active for years in a multitude of bands, including Reach, Gratitude, and Picturesque, among others. They've put one album thus far, which was a self-titled record released in 2021. Despite its recency, it could easily be mistakened for being 20 years older than it actually is. This band harkens back to the post-hardcore and alt rock of yore, with influences from bands such as Quicksand, Texas Is The Reason and Swervedriver on full display. The guitars sound massive, and are coated in so much distortion and reverb that they border into shoegaze territory when not shimmering in the more melodic parts. Vocally, they're raw and guttural but catchy, keeping the same balance as the instrumental's riff-heavy energy. Enjoy.

1. Pushing Friction
2. High-Wire Act
3. Empty Eyes
4. The Shallow End
5. Back To The Center
6. Sleep Safe
7. Telmex
8. Where Do We Hide?

Mt. Oriander

Mt. Oriander is the latest project from Keith Latinen, who you most likely know as the founder of Count Your Lucky Stars and as a member of Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate). With this new solo project, he's released an EP and LP thus far (both with CYLS, of course). Sonically, this does bear a fairly close resemblance to his previous work, with melancholic, clean arpeggiated guitars inspired by the likes of Mineral, large crescendos and his distinctive quivering vocal delivery. It's a sound that he has mastered, and this project definitely scratches the itch on the void left by E!E!(IWALE) without feeling reductive or repetitive. Enjoy.

1. It's Always Been Wankershim
2. If I Fail To Return, Cast It Into The Bugross Sea
3. Dream Ruby Glitch
4. I'm Never Going To Say My Lines Faster Than Jamie Taco
5. Nothing After Nothing Came Bursting Out

Deck The Halls (2021)
1. Deck The Halls

1. The Dark Parts Of The Map Are Places You Have Not Yet Visited
2. What We Have Is You
3. We Measure Our Distance In Time
4. If This Is Sadness, I Don't Like It One Bit
5. A Drawing Of A Bird That You Have Never Seen Before
6. We Should Get Out Of Here Before Something Goes Terribly Wrong!
7. You Were Part Of Me When We Came Here
8. If Only Something Would Go Right For A Change
9. Rare Frog Coin
10. Lillput Steps
11. We Are Not In This Alone
12. You Don't Have To Keep Trying Anymore

"...And Its Name Was Epyon"

"...and its name was Epyon" are a three-piece screamo band from Los Angeles, California that formed in 2018. They released two EP's and a split within a short amount of time a few years back. Admittedly I missed them then, but am damn glad to have heard them since, because this is some amazing stuff. This band plays a dark, winding brand of screamo that blends melody and tension, alongside some of the most cathartic vocals imaginable. I don't even want to make comparisons, I just suggest checking out this short but very sweet discography. Enjoy.

1. War In The Pocket
2. Dark Histories
3. Return To Forever

Meditations In Affinity: Cultivation (2019)
1. Nerver - General Erosion Of Morale
2. "...and it's name was Epyon" - Side Seven
3. People's Temple Project - 2:16
4. Apostles Of Eris - The Kobodera

1. Granada
2. Side 7
3. Zudah
4. Living Dead Division

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Planes Mistaken For Stars

As we bring another year to a close, I've got to give some recognition to a long-awaited band to be featured here (which seems to mostly be this month's theme). Thanks again for a great year, we actually did over 100 posts this year, which hasn't happened in a long time. Admittedly my passion for keeping up with blog does wane from time to time, but I would never abandon it completely. It's been such an integral part of my life for over a decade now that I could never part ways with it, and do still love doing this when the mood strikes. I don't think I'd revisit as many bands I used to listen to or be on the prowl for new projects quite as much if it weren't for this blog, which I ultimately have to give it credit for. It's kept me active in something for a longer period of time than I ever imagined it doing (as one commentator pointed out, it's rare for anyone to stick to something for over 10 years of their life, which still baffles me that it's been this long). It means a lot to me to stay connected to this, so I do have to thank the people who continue to come back here after all these years for that. I'd still be doing this regardless, but to continue reaching an audience to share this with is a major factor in the desire to keep it going. So thank you again, and I will wrap up this long-winded self-import ramble by saying Happy New Year, and enjoy! 

Planes Mistaken For Stars were a four-piece post-hardcore band that formed in Peoria, Illinois in 1997. Shortly after, they relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1999. The band self-released their debut in 1998, which was reissued by Deep Elm Records the next year. This was followed up by an incredible split with The Appleseed Cast and Race Car Riot, also released by Deep Elm, and two EPs put out by Dim Mak Records (Steve Aoki's label, another cool reminder of his involvement in the hardcore scene early on in his career). They released three more albums during their initial run, which ended in early 2008. They quickly reunited, and were back by 2010, which their first new album in 10 years being released in 2016 by Deathwish. Tragically, founding member and vocalist/guitarist Gared O'Donnell passed away in 2021. Prior to his passing, the band did complete another album, which is set to be released at some point in the future, and would also mark the finality of this incredible project.

This band has evolved a ton over the years, managing to exist somewhere in an intersectional sweet spot between hardcore, emo, rock and metal. You'd be hard-pressed to find a band that singularly encompasses such a wide sonic palette with the same level of vigor and finesse as Planes Mistaken For Stars. Just to give you a quick surface-level rundown, their earlier work is rooted in a punk-emo hybrid, sort of akin to bands like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. There's a raw, driving energy to it, but with a vulnerable and often melodic backdrop in play. Though never a band I would describe as "simplistic", their technical prowess did become more prominent as the years went on, with their varied influences piling on alongside of it. They kind of went in the opposite direction that most bands do, become increasingly heavier and more experimental. Having said that, they still weren't shy about bringing in slower, acoustic elements well into their later years, and always wore their love for straight up rock n roll on their sleeve. If you're new to this band, I honestly think the best way to delve into their discography is to go from the start and work your way forward (Planes Mistaken For Stars > Fuck With Fire > Up In Them Guts > Mercy > Prey), though you could easily inverse that order and work your way back as well. My personal favourite album is probably Mercy, though that's a fairly interchangeable stance. Definitely give this band a shot if you haven't heard them before, I think they're right up the alley for people interested in the general niche of music that this blog covers. Again, enjoy!

1. Copper And Stars
2. Division
3. The Time It Took
4. The Past Two
5. Somewhere In September
6. Standing Still Fast
7. Knuckle Hungry
8. Where The Arrow Went Out

1. Planes Mistaken For Stars - Staggerswallowswell
2. Race Car Riot - Broken
3. Race Car Riot - Raincheck
4. Race Car Riot - Racing California
5. The Appleseed Cast - Tale Of The Aftermath
6. The Appleseed Cast - Remedios The Beautiful

1. Fucking Fight
2. The Part You Left Out

1. Scratching Rounds
2. Leaning The Room
3. Pillbox
4. Anthem
5. 66 Crush

1. Leveless
2. End Me In Richmond
3. Funeral For A Friend
4. Hollowpoint And Whiskey
5. Bloody But Unbowed
6. Fuck With Fire
7. Rhythm Dies
8. Sicilian Smile
9. I'll See You In Hell
10. Get Burned

14. Police Story/Wasted

1. Thunder In The Night Forever! (We Ride To Fight)
2. Earning Ire
3. Bastards

1. To All Mothers
2. Belly Full Of Hell
3. Glassing
4. Dying By Degrees
5. Pigs
6. Dancing On The Face Of The Panther
7. Say Not A Word
8. No Prize Fighter
9. Spring Divorce
10. A Six Inch Valley
11. Bastards
12. The Last Winter Dance Party

1. One Fucked Pony
2. Crooked Mile
3. Widow: A Love Song
4. Keep Your Teeth
5. To Spit A Sparrow
6. Never Felt Prettier
7. Killed By Killers Who Kill Each Other
8. Little Death
9. Church Date
10. Mercy
11. Penitience

1. Copper And Stars
2. Divison
3. The Time It Took
4. The Past Two
5. Somewhere In September
6. Standing Still Fast
7. Knuckle Hungry
8. Where The Arrow Went Out
9. Staggerswallowswell
10. Fucking Fight
11. The Part You Left Out
12. Scratching Rounds
13. Leaning The Room
14. Pillbox
15. Anthem
16. 66 Crush
17. Fall On Proverb
18. Wasted
19. Police Story
20. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
21. Depression
22. Thunder In The Night (We Ride To Fight!)
23. Earning Ire
24. Bastards

1. Dementia Americana
2. Til' It Clicks
3. Riot Season
4. Fucking Tenderness
5. She Who Steps
6. Clean Up Mean
7. Black Rabbit
8. Pan In Flames
9. Enemy Blinds
10. Alabaster Cello