Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Rosemary's Babies


So it's Halloween, and I figured a post to commemorate the spookiest of holidays was in order. Since the band most associated with this time of year is already on here (rhymes with Dispits), I figured the next best thing would be a band closely associated with them, but not discussed nearly as much. Plus, they take their name from one of the greatest movies ever made (Rosemary's Baby) and dressed like the ultraviolent characters in A Clockwork Orange, which definitely gives them bonus points.

Rosemary's Babies were a four-piece hardcore punk band from Lodi, New Jersey that began in 1980 and broke up in 1983. They played a brand of punk very similar to early DC bands such as Minor Threat and Bad Brains, with a hint of Circle Jerks thrown in the mix. Additionally, they were quite reminiscent of The Misfits, who the band were closely acquainted with (both were from Lodi and had a penchant for horror). Rosemary's Babies drummer was none other than Eerie Von, who was a photographer for The Misfits, and also did a lot of the overdubs on posthumous Misfits compilations along with Glenn Danzig. He was also a major member of Glenn's post-Misfits bands as a bassist, including all of Samhain and the first four (and most essential) Danzig records. To get back to Rosemary's Babies, they only released one 7" in 1983, titled Blood Lust. In 2004, a CD compilation was released including all but one track off of Blood Lust, in addition to other recorded tracks and live material. That's what I have below. So enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

1. What I Hate
2. Talking To The Dead
3. Sex Maniac
4. One Dead Low-Life
5. I Vote Yes
6. Happy Song
7. Attack Of The 50ft Cowboy
8. Sounds Of Death
9. I'm Gonna Be Sick
10. You Just Don't Rate
11. Alice In Murderland
12. That's Alright, That's O.K.
13. Let's Molest 10yr. Olds
14. Fake Babies
15. Dead Zone
16. Small Minds, Think Small
17. Becky Bondage
18. Inferior
19. Blood Lust
20. The Green Hornet Theme
21. Fake Babies (live May 15, 1983 @ CBGB)
22. Alice In Murderland (live May 15, 1983 @ CBGB)
23. Talking To The Dead (live May 15, 1983 @ CBGB)
24. That's Alright, That's O.K. (live May 15, 1983 @ CBGB)
25. Small Minds, Think Small (live May 15, 1983 @ CBGB)

Friday, 26 October 2018

Have a Nice Life


Have a Nice Life are a two-piece experimental rock band from Middletown, Connecticut that began in 2000. The band consists of Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga. Since their formation, they have been sparsely active, but have garnered a cult following thanks to their incredibly unique style of music and magnum opus, 2008's Deathconsciousness. The band blends elements of post-punk, shoegaze, post-rock, industrial, drone, doom, and ambient music to create one of the darkest, depressing and most existential records of all time. In its near hour and a half run-time it explores a litany of expansive sounds, themes and emotions, making the final project a work of absolute genius. I consider it to be one of the most personally affecting works of art ever made, and (as cliché as it sounds) sitting alone listening to Deathconsciousness in a dark room is an experience (as pretentious as that sounds). By the culmination of the album in the final minutes of "Earthshaker", it's hard not to be truly moved, like standing on a mountain of solitude watching your life flash before your eyes. It's an album that stands on its own without any clear contemporaries, which is fitting considering the isolating nature of the music. The production and recording quality is another major contributor to the feel of this album, with it being recorded for less than $1000, giving it a lo-fi sound that still feels full, warm, and organic. It's truly cut from its own cloth, and there hasn't been a record before or since that can truly compare to it. Even the bands often cited as being its influencers (Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine) don't really capture the same sounds that Have a Nice Life do on this album, and those are the titans of their respective genres. To cut this short and avoid further ranting, just listen to this album.

Their debut album was the sole occupant of a desolate island until 2014, when Have a Nice Life released their follow-up album, The Unnatural World. It follows a similar aesthetic to their debut, but with a significantly shorter run-time. It still reaches incredible heights, and puts the listener in a mood torn between life-affirming and death-approaching. Additionally, they have also released one EP (Time Of Land) and two compilations that contains b-sides and demos from throughout their career that were not included on their two studio albums. The two musicians comprising Have a Nice Life are also active in many other projects, most notably (and also recommended) Dan Barrett's Giles Corey, who released an incredible LP in between the two Have a Nice Life albums. Enjoy.

Disc 1: The Plow That Broke the Plains
1. A Quick One Before the Eternal Worm Devours Connecticut
2. Bloodhail
3. The Big Gloom
4. Hunter
5. Telefony
6. Who Would Leave Their Son Out In The Sun?
7. There Is No Food

Disc 2: The Future
1. Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail
2. Holy Fucking Shit: 40,000
3. The Future
4. Deep, Deep
5. I Don't Love
6. Earthmover

1. The Big Gloom
2. Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail
3. The Future
4. Earthmover
5. Who Would Leave Their Son Out In The Sun?
6. Human Error
7. Trespassers W
8. Defenestration Song
9. I'm Doctor House
10. Sisyphus
11. Destinos

1. Wizard Of The Black Hundreds
2. Woe Unto Us
3. The Parhelic Circle
4. The Icon And The Axe

1. Guggenheim Wax Museum
2. Defenestration Song
3. Burial Society
4. Music Will Untune The Sky
5. Cropsey
6. Unholy Life
7. Dan And Tim, Reunited By Fate
8. Emptiness Will Eat The Witch

1. Knife Throwing Contest
2. Basic
3. Death By Death
4. Swords To Plowshares
5. Telefony
6. Earthmover
7. Saving Throw vs. Paralysis
8. Quote
9. Deep, Deep
10. I Left And My House Burned Down
11. All Teeth (Afterlives cover)
12. Hunter
13. Feral Optimists
14. Stars And Air

Note: I'm not sure if this is an official release, but it contains a lot of the band's earliest material in one place, so here it is anyway

1. Sea Of Worry
2. Dracula Bells
3. Science Beat
4. Trespassers W
5. Everything We Forget
6. Lords of Tresserhorn
7. Destinos

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Clikatat Ikatowi


Clikatat Ikatowi were a four-piece post-hardcore/emo band from San Diego, California that formed in 1994 and broke up in 1997. They were one of many incredible bands to come out of San Diego around this time, many of which were Clikatat Ikatowi's labelmates on Gravity Records. Notable other bands included Heroin, Antioch Arrow, and Angel Hair. I've already gotten around to those bands, so this band is long overdue for a post on here. If any of the aforementioned bands/label are familiar to you, then you've got a decent idea of the sound Clikatat Ikatowi was working with. There's also a strong sense of Fugazi influence, particularly in the dynamics and rhythms, along with the pairing of high octane energy mixed with solid instrumental chops.

They pushed the boundaries of traditional hardcore to include odd time signatures, spastic drumming, serrated and angular guitar work (with an emphasis on octaves and dissonance), frantic bass lines, and desperate shouts in the form of vocals. This is jazzy, screamy hardcore at its finest. Another thing they are noted for is their drummer, Mario Rubalcaba, who was also a member of 411, Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, The Black Heart Procession and Off!. Clikatat Ikatowi are criminally underrated but undeniably influential, with their LP Orchestrated And Conducted By being an absolute essential. Enjoy.

1. Saxby's Gail
2. Meatho
3. Identity Crisis
4. Librarian
5. Off To Here
6. Transmission
7. Affirmation

1. Too Simple
2. Affirmation
3. Ground Zero
4. Desert Oasis
5. Identity Crisis
6. Science Fiction Reality
7. DNA Timebomb
8. Transmission
9. Welcoming The Shift

1. Too Simple
2. Pleiades Of Dance
3. 8 Hours of Drama
4. An Ear
5. Trials And Tribulations Of Diane Smith
6. Iglomats
7. Science Fiction Reality
8. Rise And Shine
9. Feeding Of The Birds
10. Ramble On Candy Wrappers
11. Adjust The Picture

1. Trials And Tribulations Of Diane Smith
2. The Feeding Of The Birds
3. The Appliance
4. Rise And Shine
5. Pleiadian Dance
6. Ramble On Candywrappers

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Trail Of Lies


Trail Of Lies are a five-piece straight edge hardcore band from Syracuse, New York that began in 2011. They've made a name for themselves in hardcore thanks to some unrelentingly heavy, aggressive riffs that still have a groove to them, deep, guttural vocals, and a penchant for mosh-friendly breakdowns. There's definitely a lot of Hatebreed influence here, which is a selling point in and of itself. Both of their recent records, Strength Through Discipline and W.A.R. are worth checking out. I'm also missing most of the Demo (since I could only find the first two tracks). If anyone happens to have the rest, please send them my way! Enjoy.

1. Control System
2. Corruptive Mind
3. Soliders Of The Media
4. Aggressor

Note: Only tracks 1 and 2 available

1. Strength Through Discipline
2. Rise To Conquer
3. Ultradominance
4. Control System
5. Persistence
6. Aggressor

1. God of Rage
2. Bottom Feeder

1. Master Of My Destiny
2. Run
3. Next Generation
4. Ultradominance
5. W.A.R.
6. God Of Rage
7. Black Mirror
8. Fight For Victory

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Messes


Messes are a three-piece post-hardcore band from Somerset, Kentucky that began in 2011. They've progressed quite a bit since then, with a natural shift in sound. Early on Messes took heavy influence from the emo/screamo hybrid of bands like Merchant Ships, William Bonney, and The Reptilian. This sound is best exemplified on Don't Be A Let Down, their debut LP and the first release to tighten the screws on their production quality. It's a solid record through and through, and fans of the aforementioned bands will definitely dig it.

They recently dropped a new full-length, titled The Ever Closing Door is a marked departure from their early sound, but a welcome change because this record is absolutely incredible. Sonically, they blend elements of post-hardcore, post-rock, and indie rock and emo to build a very diverse album. I'm picking up some possible influence from bands such as mewithoutYou, The Appleseed Cast, Manchester Orchestra, Moving Mountains, Caravels, and Prawn, but it's really hard to pin down just one when every song offers up something new. Some tracks can hit hard (such as "Smelled Like A Halloween Mask" and "Lurk", two of the album's screamier tracks) while others leave room for atmosphere (such as "Parlor Trick" and the dynamic highlight "Teeth To The Limestone"). This is an album where every track could be touched upon, because they're all solid in both their writing and performance, and make for one hell of an engaging listen. This album absolutely blew me away, and I cannot suggest checking it enough. Enjoy.

1. My Dad Calls It Riptide
2. We Prefer Kickflips
3. I Wish I Was As Pretty As You...
4. This Isn't The First Time That The Wind Blew Trash In My Face

1. Slumber Party
2. All Of These Teeth
3. There's No Good Sharks?
4. Last Day Of Summer Camp

1. Pushups
2. Thirteen Centuries
3. Skunk
4. Bible Belt
5. LDM
6. Cults
7. Bones
8. Cycles
9. Sleeping Bags
10. Haunt

1. Pass

1. Messes - Wampire
2. Messes - Bags
3. Leaving - Catwalk
4. Leaving - The Box

1. Parlor Trick
2. Smelled Like A Halloween Mask
3. Lurk
4. the hollows
5. Two Glasses of Water
6. True Bruise
7. Wind Cut Bone
8. Teeth To The Limestone
9. Aim

Note: 50% of Bandcamp sales for this album go to Bethany House Abuse Shelter in Somerset, KY. Please consider purchasing it if you can, link to their Bandcamp can be found below.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Closer


Closer are a three-piece screamo/post-hardcore band from Brooklyn, New York that began in 2016. They released their debut LP in early 2018 via Lauren Records, Conditions Records, and Middle Man Records. All This Will Be is an incredible testament to the band's versatility, carving out a sound that's instrumentally intricate while being emotionally intense. They make an excellent use of dynamics through their heaven-reaching crescendos, offbeat syncopations, and a variety of vocalists and vocal styles (from spoken word to yellfests). The band sounds super tight as musicians, it's crazy to think that this is their first official release, since they sound like seasoned vets. Every song brings a new idea to the table, and shows a wide range of influence from the screamo/emo/hardcore/post-hardcore world. Some bands to loosely compare them to would be Circle Takes The Square, Suis La Lune, Old Gray, Touché Amoré, Mahria, Foxtails, and I Hate Sex, though none of those really nail down the same sound Closer works with.

Another thing I personally love about this album are the numerous vocal chants/mantras (whatever you want to call them) that the band have mastered. Every few songs there's a repeated vocal line that just gets stuck in your head and bound to make you shout along long after the song is over, most notably on songs like "Hardly Art" and "Three Halloweens". This LP "slaps", as the kids are saying these days, and though I mention it a lot, I do truly mean this is highly recommended stuff, and I'm happy to have heard it before the year is out. Enjoy.

1. -
2. Gift Shop
3. Hardly Art
4. This Year
5. Dust
6. Birdhouse
7. Three Halloweens
8. Rec Room
9. An Athema


Thursday, 18 October 2018

John Henry West


John Henry West were a five-piece hardcore band from San Francisco, California that began in 1992 and broke up in 1993. They released one 7" posthumously, which was one of Gravity Records earliest releases. Years later, a compilation emerged (released by the equally legendary Ebullition Records) containing additional material from demos and live shows (including their set from their 50th and final show). John Henry West were certainly a hardcore band first and foremost, delivering biting vocals and d-beat style drum patterns. However they went a bit beyond on that, particularly in the guitar work that showed splashes of melodic prowess, quite similar to what bands like Rites Of Spring and mid-era Hüsker Dü were doing a decade before. They sometimes get thrown into the "emo" category because of this influence, along with their associations to Fuel and Navio Forge (both definite influences in the genre) through vocalist Sarah Kirsch. Sharing a label with Heroin and Evergreen might also be a factor, but this is veering off topic here. Main point is John Henry West are an absolutely legendary band with an incredible 7" to their name, and thankfully their legacy has been cemented through the semi-recent compilation issue of their discography. Enjoy.

1. Ten Thousand Words
2. Shut Your Mouth
3. Bullet Proof
4. Sell Yourself

Disc 1
1. Ten Thousand Words
2. Shut Your Mouth
3. Bullet Proof
4. Sell Yourself
5. Avoiding
6. Holiday
7. John Henry West
8. Ammunition Aimed

Disc 2
1. Avoiding
2. Sell Yourself
3. Shut Your Mouth
4. John Henry West
5. Ten Thousand Words
6. Bullet Proof
7. Avoiding
8. Ten Thousand Words
9. Bullet Proof
10. Shut Your Mouth
11. Holiday
12. Sell Yourself
13. Ammunition Aimed
14. Avoiding
15. Ten Thousand Words
16. Bullet Proof
17. Shut Your Mouth
18. Sell Yourself
19. Holiday
20. John Henry West
21. Let's Hear It For JHW!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Vestiges


Vestiges are a five-piece band from Washington, D.C. that began in 2010. They released their debut LP (and magnum opus as of now) The Descent Of Man that same year. The band makes a massive statement here, with a record of monumental proportions that delves into hardcore, black metal, crust punk, screamo, and post-rock, all in its 45-minute run time. Conceptually, the album is said to deal with the relationship between man and nature, a theme they would carry on into their later material. It's pretty hard to nail down other bands to compare them to, since they take on such a wide array of sounds, but they lie somewhere in between Envy, Alcest, and Darkthrone. Following The Descent Of Man they released a series of solid splits, with a second full-length supposedly in the works. It hasn't come to fruition as of yet, but hopefully one day it does. Enjoy.

1. Intro
2. I
3. II
4. III
5. IV
6. V
7. Outro

1. Vestiges - VI
2. Ghaust - Among The Ashes
3. Ghaust - Sleep And Release

1. Vestiges - Zombie (The Cranberries cover)
2. Caulfield - Dive (Nirvana cover)

1. Vestiges - VII
2. Vestiges - VIII
3. Panopticon - A Letter
4. Panopticon - The Eulogy
5. Panopticon - Collapse & Die (Suicide Nation)

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

California Cousins


California Cousins are a three-piece emo/post-hardcore/math rock/pop punk band from Rochester, New York that began in 2011. Following two EP's, they released their debut full-length earlier this year, titled Distant Relatives, and it packs A LOT into its 10 tracks. Sonically, the band encapsulates influence from a litany of semi-related genres (such as the aforementioned), and bring in both melodic and screamed vocals with harsh, distorted guitar tones juxtaposed with mathy, noodly lines and off-kilter rhythms. They don't ever get stuck in one sound, which really makes each song truly distinct, and a varied listen in both the individual songs and the album as a whole. It's like they take the rauccous energy of Prince Daddy & The Hyena, with the melodic noodles of You Blew It!, Marietta, or Snowing and the shredding rhythmic dynamics of The Fall Of Troy. Or something like that, California Cousins aren't the easiest band to pin down, but this album is fucking great, and will definitely appeal to fans of most of the shit posted on this here lil blog. Enjoy.

1. Soft Earth
2. Let The Cold In
3. Your Backyard
4. Benedict Drive
5. Your Kitchen Floor

1. Benedict Drive
2. Early Graves

1. Aspirin
2. Hold This Coupon
3. 7 Minute Freestyle
4. Redeeming Qualities
5. Brockport 1995
6. Simple Math (#1 Two For Fives)
7. Jeff Gordblum (Jeff Goldblum In The Back Of The Jeep, Jeff Gordon In The Passenger Seat)
8. Extendo Weekend
9. Sand In Pockets
10. Camp Shorts

1. California Cousins - Cracked
2. California Cousins - Lifedance
3. floral patterns. - Sunset Cherry Freeze
4. floral patterns. - Ted Kennedy Driving School

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Komusō - Luck Will Be On Your Side This Week EP PREMIERE



Today (October 13th) Komusō are back with their anticipated second EP, Luck Will Be On Your Side This Week. It's the follow-up to their debut self-titled EP that was released earlier this year, and set the bar very high for this band. They are a four-piece from Tokyo, Japan that features members from multiple notable bands, including No Omega, Careless, Det ar darfor vi bygger stader, Cape Light, and 5000. Luck Will Be On Your Side This Week features three new tracks, all of which offer up something different and make for an incredibly intense listen. You can pre-order the 7" EP from Zegema Beach Records today, with 149 records being pressed on black and 151 on clear. It's also being released by Left Hand Records, zilpzalp records, and Adabana Records. Check out the full album stream and pre-order info down below.


"Still / まだ" introduces a pulsating rhythm section with an immediately recognizable Spiderland influence. The guitar arpeggios are dissonant and off-tempo, while the vocals mutter quietly in the background. The song slowly builds tension through clashing guitars before blasting into its climatic end that recalls the final moments of "Good Morning, Captain".

Track 2, "Forgotten People / 忘れられた人々" wraps around a single arpeggio with melodic subtleties added to it, and again brings back the whisper-thin vocals. The build in this song is absolutely fantastic, and a strong indicator of Komusō's strong musicianship. It's the way they walk the fine line between melodic and dissonant, and make for entirely new emotional experiences through their very deliberate notation. Plus the guitar solo on this is an unexpected but very welcome surprise, as the underlying instrumentation begins to trip over each other to bring the track to a surprisingly pleasing end.

And finally, "Extension / 拡大". This song takes a bit of a detour from the Slint influence, and the first to bring back those insane screamed vocals from their debut EP. This is a passion-fueled scream fest, with enough dynamic depth and instrumental aptitude to not fall into total chaos. They manage to create an incredibly sad emotional palette through longing chords and an over-the-edge vocal delivery, which really hits and resonates with the listener. It's an incredible closer to this short-but-sweet EP.  Overall, it's a notable progression from their already-solid debut, and a fantastic demonstration of a new band whose about to make waves in the screamo world.





Komusō

Zegema Beach Records

Left Hand Label

zilpzalp records

Adabana Records
Bandcamp

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Bastos


Bastos are a four-piece emo/screamo band from Bucharest, Romania that began in 2014 (presumably). Thus far, they've put out one split and one LP, which are both incredibly solid efforts. Style-wise, they play a blend of emo and screamo influence, taking the clean, noodly and melancholic guitar work of midwestern emo and conjoining with the shrieked vocals and chaotic drums of screamo. Fans of bands like Merchant Ships and You'll Live will see the immediate appeal here. Definitely check this band out ASAP, they are one to watch out for. Enjoy.

1. Bastos - No Handle
2. Bastos - Fingers Crossed
3. Pandrea - Cămătar

1. Sherilyn Fenn
2. Man Walking Into Theater
3. Henry Parker
4. Monroe
5. Party Guest Carla
6. Mrs. Valentine
7. Principal Howard Green
8. No Doubt

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Best Witches


Best Witches are a four-piece emo/indie band from Chicago, Illinois that were around from 2013 to 2014. In that time, they put one album and one EP. Sonically, they're pretty hard to pin down. They've definitely rooted in Midwestern emo (in the Cap'n Jazz vein), but incorporate minor elements that fall somewhere between garage and math rock. They craft some odd sounds that can really only be described with the cop out "experimental" tag. Basically they created some really interesting music in their time, and proved that the wave of emo bands coming out of the Midwest could expand and tinker with the definitive sound. Enjoy.

1. Margot's Song
2. I've Got An Idea, Man
3. Bird Riff
4. Warped
5. Cubby
6. Glowing Green Tomahawk

1. Orange Things
2. Weaver
3. Heat Moves
4. Labor Day
5. Me & Hawkins
6. Muffie
7. Skeleton
8. Wrinkles
9. Muffie's Return
10. Happy Guy