Sunday 29 November 2020

The Germs

I have been meaning to do this band since this blog got started, so finally instead of pushing it off I'm just going to put it out there before we get into December. The Germs were a four-piece punk band from Los Angeles, California that were started in 1976. They were formed by vocalist Darby Crash and guitarist Pat Smear, with bassist Lorna Doom joining later that year. After a slew of drummers, Don Bolles joined in 1978. 

Without a doubt The Germs are one of the most important and influential bands in punk and hardcore history. Initially, most members could barely play, which is a far cry from where they would end up on their sole 1979 LP (produced by Joan Jett). On (GI), they had mastercrafted some of punk rock's best songs, while maintaining the sloppy, raw energy had become renowned for. For such a volatile sound, they came through with some surprisingly literary lyrics, courtesy of the now-legendary Darby Crash. Having said that, his vocals did still sound like they were recorded mid-exorcism. The performances on their LP were relatively refined in comparison to their live performances, which were infamously chaotic. Unfortunately in 1980, Crash committed suicide via intentional overdose, which brought an end to the band.

Following The Germs, guitarist Pat Smear joined Nirvana in their final year as a touring guitarist, and later became a long-standing member of the Foo Fighters. Drummer Don Bolles has also remained active in bands such as Celebrity Skin and 45 Grave. In 2007, a biographical film titled What We Do Is Secret about Darby Crash's life, with Shane West in the leading role. This lead to the three remaining Germs members to reunite, with West now as their vocalist. After a few tours with the reformed Germs, West left in 2009. Bassist Lorna Doom passed away in 2019.

(MIA) consists of all their recorded material, including their full-length. I also posted (GI) separately if you just want that, as it is a classic and essential listening. Enjoy.

1. What We Do Is Secret
2. Communist Eyes
3. Land Of Treason
4. Richie Daggers' Crime
5. Strange Notes
6. American Leather
7. Lexicon Devil
8. Manimal
9. Our Way
10. We Must Bleed
11. Media Blitz
12. The Other Newest One
13. Let's Pretend
14. Dragon Lady
15. The Slave
16. Shut Down (Annihilation Man)

1. Forming
2. Sex Boy
3. Lexicon Devil
4. Circle One
5. No God
6. What We Do Is Secret
7. Communist Eyes
8. Land Of Treason
9. Richie Daggers' Crime
10. Strange Notes
11. American Leather
12. Lexicon Devil
13. Manimal
14. Our Way
15. We Must Bleed
16. Media Blitz
17. The Other Newest One
18. Let's Pretend
19. Dragon Lady
20. The Slave
21. Shut Down (Annihilation Man)
22. Caught In My Eye
23. Round And Round
24. My Tunnel
25. Throw It Away
26. Not All Right
27. Now I Hear The Laughter
28. Going Down
29. Lions Share
30. Forming 2

Ribbon Fix

Ribbon Fix were a four-piece (and later three-piece) emo/indie band from San Francisco, California that were around from 1996 to 1999. They shared members with other incredible bands such as Shroomunion and Amber Inn, though Ribbon Fix's sound is a pretty far cry from either one of those. Instead, they utilized the clean guitar sound and laid back vocals of bands such as Everyone Asked About You and Eldritch Anisette, with the sharp, bright chords of Texas Is The Reason and Jejune in the song's climaxes. Like the latter, Ribbon Fix had shared vocal duties which brought another dynamic layer to their sound. If you're new to this band, Camp Fire Dares The Sun is probably the best entry point, though its all solid work. Enjoy.

1. Noteworthy
2. Crayons
3. Seventh Ward
4. Turntable
5. Rescind
6. Tearjerker

1. Some Saturday
2. South Lake Detour
3. Gunner
4. Liquorbed
5. Sink Her
6. July
7. Lifestory
8. 6:47 a.m.
9. Gnats
10. Lessening

1. Wolfe Parkinson White
2. Season's First Rain
3. Sunset In Reverse
4. The Shrinking Room
5. Laramie Street
6. One Last Cigarette
7. Three Cent Stamp To Donner Pass
8. Pssst...
9. Nine Lives
10. East And Down A Ways

1. Dizzy
2. A Good Night's Sleep
3. The Sweet Hereafter
4. Whiskey Jar
5. Dime

The Great Unraveling

The Great Unraveling were a three-piece post-hardcore/post-punk band from Baltimore, Maryland that were active from 1995 to 1997. They were started by members of Universal Order of Armageddon and Born Against, most notably Tonie Joy, who was also in Moss Icon. They carried on the post-hardcore sound of their previous bands, but toned down the aggression in favour more noise and math rock elements. They utilized odd time signatures and sharp chromatic-scale riffs, something fans of bands like Unwound would undoubtedly dig. Their LP came out on Kill Rock Stars, while their first EP was put out by Vermiform and second EP by Tonie Joy's own Vermin Scum Records Enjoy.

1. Space Travel
2. Left With Only Out

1. Burden of Proof
2. Running On Fumes

1. The Calling Beckons
2. Alien Landscape
3. Demons Linger
4. Possessed
5. Wellness
6. Head For The Hills
7. New Frontier

Saturday 28 November 2020

No Note

No Note are a three-piece screamo/post-hardcore band from Baltimore, Maryland. From their Bandcamp description, the only thing really known about them is that they played one show and recorded one album back in 2019, which was released earlier this year. With a tracklist that reads like a Red Hot Chili Peppers greatest hits cover album, I really wasn't sure what to expect with this. Spoiler, these are not RHCP songs. Instead, they're 9 tracks of some of the most relentless songs put out all year. I'm not even sure what where to place them sonically, as they are such an amalgamation of genre tropes. They're like a blackened post-hardcore band with heavy screamo influence and hints of sass. Whatever it is, its dark, heavy and noisy, everything you'd want in a hardcore extremity. Enjoy.

1. Scar Tissue
2. By The Way
3. Under the Bridge
4. Suck My Kiss
5. Dani California
6. The Zephyr Song
7. Otherside
8. Give It Away
9. Californication


Midvale were a five-piece hardcore/emo band from Washington, DC that were around from 1996 to 1999. In that time, they out one EP and one album. Besides that, there isn't much info out there about them. They played a blend of hardcore and emo that was influenced by other DC bands such as Fugazi, Gray Matter, and Ignition. Their songs are dynamic, with quiet, arpeggiated guitars breaking into loud, distorted but still melodic octave chords, with vocals that sound like they're at the brink of emotional exhaustion. Five And Six (Tie) is absolutely fantastic, and its preceding EP is solid as well. Enjoy.

1. Storybook Exhaustion
2. Mistaken For Priceless
3. What A Child Lives, He Learns

1. Giftminute
2. As White Walls Accentuate The Contrast
3. The Last of The Brainchild
4. Rehearsal Number
5. Pocketwatch
6. On Treading Water

One Hundred Words For Snow

One Hundred Years For Snow were a three-piece emo/indie band from southern California that were around from 1995 to 1998. They reunited in 2009 to finish off 3 songs that recorded back in 1997, which was finished and released in 2013. Fans of Jawbreaker, Knapsack, Texas Is The Reason, and Boys Life will undoubtedly dig this. In regards to their discography, they put out one EP and two splits during their initial run. I've seen the EP both self-titled and named after the first track, so I'm unsure what it's officially called. Additionally, I came across an unofficial discography that includes two additional songs that I cannot find any info on. Maybe they appeared on some compilation or were just never released, who knows. I included all that plus the 2013 EP below. Enjoy.

1. You Make My Life So Easy
2. Homesick
3. Catching Up

1. One Hundred Words For Snow - Backseat Driver
2. I Wish I - Mourning A Third Day

1. Impel - Cleanse
2. One Hundred Years For Snow - Collide

1. You Make My Life So Easy
2. Catching Up
3. Homesick
4. Backseat Driver
5. Collide
6. Closure At Terminal 14
7. The Last Word

1. cars with my eyes
2. paint
3. backseat driver

Strictly Ballroom

Strictly Ballroom were a five-piece post-hardcore/emo band from Los Angeles, California that began in 1994 and ended in 1999. They can be loosely compared to bands like Boys Life, I Hate Myself and Policy of 3. If you dig quiet, meandering guitar arpeggios building up to distorted octave chord assaults with vocals on the brink of collapse, this is for you. Strictly Ballroom also set themselves apart by incorporating ambient soundscapes influenced by Brian Eno. Their discography is limited but sweet, with all of it being worth your time. Side note, their bassist was Jimmy Tamborello, better known now as Dntel, who has had a long solo career in addition to being one-half of The Postal Service. Enjoy.

1. Risk
2. Autobiography
3. Other Star
4. Tearjerker

1. I Love...
2. New Angels
3. Elevator Action

1. A Picture
2. Crickets
3. Elevator Action
4. Trains In The Distance At Night
5. Something That Just Is
6. This Will Self-Destruct
7. Knots On A Counting Rope
8. A Sudden Interest In Nature

1. Fire
2. Fire (Remix)

Jazz Hands

Jazz Hands were a four-piece emo band from Northern Ohio (no idea what city) that were around in at least 2010. There's no much info out there about them, aside from their sole EP, which was put out by Messy Life Records. They played a twinkly style of midwestern emo that was just starting to break out at the time, complete with screamy gang vocals. For a loose comparison, they're like a mathy-er (mathier?) Cap'n Jazz or Algernon Cadwallader. Enjoy.

1. Balloon Boyz
2. I Don't Think I'm Into Toga Parties
3. Champions of Breakfast
4. Remember the Boat Times?
5. Tiny Hands

Wednesday 25 November 2020

My Bloody Valentine

Post 900. It's been almost two years since 800, and despite my inactivity we made it through another 100. Thus, another milestone band is required to honour this. Not only that, but 900 posts means we are obligated to make it to 1000, which will hopefully not take another two years to get to. As always, thanks to anyone still sticking around after all these years, this band probably doesn't need any introduction but we'll do a quick one anyway. Enjoy.

My Bloody Valentine are a four-piece band from Dublin, Ireland that began in 1983. They are best known for creating the template for shoegaze, a genre marked by heavy distortion, reverb, glide guitar, and quiet, low-in-the-mix vocals. This is mostly credited to the release of their seminal 1991 album Loveless, an absolute classic and landmark album that has proved to be infinitely influential to this date. This is not to discredit their work prior and after it, which we'll get into into now.

MBV (as they shall be known henceforth) was started by guitarist/vocalist Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig, who would both remain consistent members of the band. They were joined by a revolving door of band members early on, with the other notable one being vocalist David Conway, who appeared on their first few releases. Their early sound was a mix of post-punk and gothic rock, with a clear nod to the punk rock sound they had played in bands prior to this one. Bassist Debbie Googe joined in 1985, and became an essential member to this day.

They quickly evolved and started playing with a jangly twee/dream pop sound, especially around the release of Strawberry Wine and Ecstasy. These were the first releases to feature Conway's replacement, new guitarist/vocalist Bilinda Butcher, whose hushed vocals and added guitar layer became instrumental in defining MBV's classic sound. Under the influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain, who had recently released their own landmark albums Psychocandy and Darklands, MBV's final form began to take shape. With their line-up solidified, they began crafting pop songs buried beneath guitars lathered in effects and feedback. They also started incorporating their seminal "glide guitar" technique (bending the whammy bar as a chord is strummed). 1988 brought both the You Made Me Realise EP and their debut LP Isn't Anything, both absolute essentials to their discography. Though it can be overshadowed by the monolith of Loveless, their debut is still an absolute staple in the development of shoegaze, with some of their best songs on it that blur the line between pop and experimental music.

The Glider and Tremolo EP's were released in 1990 and 1991 respectively, and can be seen as stepping stones to the finished product of Loveless, even including songs that would later appear on the LP. The sound they have become renowned for clearly takes shape here, with the reverb and distortion being turned up, and the vocal mix being turned down. Finally, after a relentless two-year recording process that allegedly nearly bankrupt their label, Loveless was released on November 4, 1991. There aren't many genres that have an undisputed crown jewel the way that shoegaze has Loveless. That's not to discount albums like Slowdive's Souvlaki or Ride's Nowhere, which are incredible in their own right. It's just that no other album has quite captured the same fervor and legacy that MBV's sophomore release did. I could go on about the heavenly euphoria this album exudes, how listening to it feels like being wrapped up in a warm dream, its cosmic elation of euphoria, its auditory perfection, etc. It's been told a thousand times with a thousand metaphors. It's an experience to say the least, and an album I find myself returning to time and time again just to submerge myself in its 50 minutes of bliss. There is not a misstep on it, and its critical praise and fan regard is every bit deserved.

Following the release and tour of Loveless, the band signed to Island Records to work on their follow-up. Despite multiple recording sessions, that material was all scrapped. By 1997, MBV had virtually dissolved, with Cíosóig and Googe leaving the band, and Shields becoming somewhat of a recluse (though he did contribute to the soundtrack of Lost in Translation). In 2008, the core four members reunited and began touring again. In 2012, their two LP's were remastered and re-released, along with a compilation that included all their EP's from their Creation Records years, in addition to other previously released and unreleased tracks from that era. A year later, 22 years since Loveless, they released their long-awaited follow-up album, m b v. This consisted of some material recorded prior to their breakup in 1997, as well as new material from as early as 2006. Despite the huge gaps in time during its recording, this album flows flawlessly. The band did the unthinkable and culled together an album that served to further their legacy as titans of their genre. with another one of the best releases in its respective decade. Since then they have been fairly quiet, with talk of a fourth album coming up. Considering their release history, I wouldn't get my hopes up for it until at least 2035, but we'll see. 

MBV are without a doubt one of the most essential bands ever posted, so I do hope you find something to take away from here. As I said previously, they are a massively well-known and popular band so most people are more than likely already familiar with them. If you are, I encourage you to continue revisiting them (especially their earlier work, which is often overlooked). For the few that might not be, I implore you to give them a listen. Again, thanks for numero 900, and I'll see you at 1000.

1. Forever And Again
2. Homelovin' Guy
3. Don't Cramp My Style
4. Tiger In My Tank
5. The Love Gang
6. Inferno
7. The Last Supper

1. Scavengers
2. The Devil Made Me Do It
3. The Love Gang
4. Inferno
5. The Man You Love To Hate
6. Homelovin' Guy
7. A Town Called Bastard
8. Tiger In My Tank

1. No Place To Go
2. Moonlight
3. Love Machine
4. The Sandman Never Sleeps

1. Lovelee Sweet Darlene
2. By The Danger In Your Eyes
3. On Another Rainy Saturday
4. We're So Beautiful

1. Sunny Sundae Smile
2. Paint A Rainbow
3. Kiss The Eclipse
4. Sylvie's Head

Ecstasy (1987)
1. She Loves You No Less
2. The Things I Miss
3. I Don't Need You
4. (You're) Safe In Your Sleep (From This Girl)
5. Clair
6.You've Got Nothing
7. (Please) Lose Yourself In Me
1. Strawberry Wine
2. Never Say Goodbye
3. Can I Touch You

1. You Made Me Realise
2. Slow
3. Thorn
4. Cigarette In Your Bed
5. Drive It All Over Me

1. Feed Me With Your Kiss
2. I Believe
3. Emptiness Inside
4. I Need No Trust

1. Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)
2. Lose My Breath
3. Cupid Come
4. (When You Wake) You're Still In A Dream
5. No More Sorry
6. All I Need
7. Feed Me With Your Kiss
8. Sueisfine
9. Several Girls Galore
10. You Never Should
11. Nothing Much To Lose
12. I Can See It (But I Can't Feel It)

1. Strawberry Wine
2. Never Say Goodbye
3. Can I Touch You
4. She Loves You No Less
5. The Things I Miss
6. I Don't Need You
7. (You're) Safe In Your Sleep (From This Girl)
8. Clair
9. You've Got Nothing
10. (Please) Lose Yourself In Me

1. Soon
2. Glider
3. Don't Ask Why
4. Off Your Face

1. To Here Knows When
2. Swallow
3. Honey Power
4. Moon Song

1. Only Shallow
2. Loomer
3. Touched
4. To Here Knows When
5. When You Sleep
6. I Only Said
7. Come In Alone
8. Sometimes
9. Blown a Wish
10. What You Want
11. Soon

Disc 1
1. You Made Me Realise
2. Slow
3. Thorn
4. Cigarette In Your Bed
5. Drive It All Over Me
6. Feed Me With Your Kiss
7. I Believe
8. Emptiness Inside
9. I Need No Trust
10. Soon
11. Glider
12. Don't Ask Why
13. Off Your Face

Disc 2
1. To Here Knows When
2. Swallow
3. Honey Power
4. Moon Song
5. Instrumental No. 2
6. Instrumental No. 1
7. Glider
8. Sugar
9. Angel
10. Good For You
11. How Do You Do It

1. She Found Now
2. Only Tomorrow
3. Who Sees You
4. Is This and Yes
5. If I Am
6. New You
7. In Another Way
8. Nothing Is
9. Wonder 2

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Nø Man

Nø Man are a four-piece hardcore band from Washington, DC that started in 2017. The band consists of all three members of the legendary screamo band Majority Rule, with a new vocalist added to the line-up. Sonically, Nø Man are semi-comparable to more recent noisy hardcore bands such as Punch, Gouge Away and Birds in Row, in addition to classics such as pg.99. Thus far, they've put out 2 LP's and a single, with their most recent full-length, Erase being one of 2020's best hardcore offerings. It's dark, aggressive, and has a palpable urgency to it, with some intense instrumentals and a scorching vocal delivery. Enjoy.

1. Hang Up
2. Devils Cast Long Shadows
3. Stop Talking
4. Man + Wife
5. Time Stopped
6. Tunnel Vision
7. Keep It Up
8. Red Tape

1. Cut Out

1. Dive
2. SOS
3. Tune In
4. Secret
5. Shots Fired
6. Cut Out
7. Golden Son
8. Pray