Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Crucifix Trio "Lakemont Drive EP " cs

The Crucifix Trio
Lakemont Drive EP
Psychic Mule

To be honest I was a little unsure about this one at first. It's creepy and very abstract and for a minute I thought that maybe it was a little too abstract. Like maybe this was just some guy, calling himself a trio, messing around with things in Garageband and putting out a cassette. I sorta thought that for about the first two or three tracks and I was gearing up to write something like that but more fleshed out the moment I was done with this cassette. Then something happened. The creepiness took over. It's very creepy in a David Llynch, Begotten, the first 30 minutes of Event Horizon kind of creepy. I was unsettled. I found the strange random seeming piano playing now genuinely scary. In the end I think this won me over with it's craziness. There feels like there is some real insanity behind the magnetic pulses on this one. 
     The packaging is cool. It's a two color J card with some bizarre artwork on the cover that looks like someone being murdered. This may be from a snuff film. It's gross. The text is fine, nothing great but no major typographic crimes. But then the whole thing comes wrapped in this black cloth that is tied into a bag with three crucifixes screen printed on it. It's a little adorable in that way but it's still effective and really stands out. 

     Would I buy this? Yeah. I think so. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cathartech "Lithogenisis" cs

Self Released

Another excellent release form Seattle's Cathartech. Desperate, haunting drone with just enough texture to add the context you need to understand the depth these sounds travel. It's like sitting underwater on the edge of a giant trench and listening to the sounds of deep sea creatures echoing up the walls towards you. It's awesome and a little intimidating. 
     The type is a little off on the inside. It has this outer glow that is a big no no and the grid could stand to be a little stronger in how the numbers and letters relate to each other but it still works okay. The only thing I really wish were different is that the words on the spine are upside down from usual. Not a big deal but when I slide this into my wall of tapes upside down a small part of my OCD will flare up and eventually kill me. Either way Cathartech is always fantastic and well worth seeking out.

     Would I buy this? I would as I am a sucker for Cathartech

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hadals "Self Titled" cs

Self Titled
Worthless Recordings

Worthless Recordings has certainly started upping their output and I can't say I am upset. They are also putting out a lot more diverse yet incredible acts in the world of noise. Nervous Corps, Lungwash and most recently Hadals. Hadals is fast becoming one of the better noise acts producing right now. I have heard a few releases and they all have left me impressed. This one is no exception. Perfectly tense and twisted sounds with the best introduction I have heard in years. I can't say much more other than you should grab this…
     It looks great, so great it appears to be made out of molten gold. The j card is super heavy and very glossy which totally adds to the effect and the Pièce de résistance has got to be the clear textured sticker over the gold foil cassette. It's really well thought out. Excellent work.

     Would I buy this? Yes. You should right away. 

Wand. and Princess "locust 9" cd

Wand. and Princess
locust 9

That period is not a mistake. That is their name. It's a duo that specializes in a noisy windy type of drone. It sounds like sleeping against the window a huge airliner at night. It would be pretty relaxing if it wasn't so grim. There are times it reminds me of Oakeater and other times I hear some Klaus Schultz. I almost wonder if there is an Ur relation as well. I really like that name. Wand. and Princess. I don't know why. 
     The packaging is super simple but pretty cool. Red on white paper that has a nice 1960's sort of feel to the design. Helvetica mixed with strange textures looks pretty awesome. Good design. 

     Would I buy this? yeah, it's solid. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pale Sister "Ordeal" cd

Pale Sister

This is straight up noise. Some of it ranges from very good to completely annoying. The variation of lengths is pretty cool. You have 5 minute tracks right next to 5 second tracks. Some of this is really heavy and awesome but I think overall this record could use some editing. I think about half the tracks on here, both long and short, can be purged. At best it sounds like Birchville Cat Motel and at worst it sounds like a kid with his first distortion pedal. 
     There is one very interesting thing about this packaging. It has a cut vinyl record that the cdr is stuck to. It's a cool idea but then the cover is a weird John Wayne Gacy photo, which I am over, and the text is all over the place. It's both a mess and contrived at the same time. Eh.

     Would I buy this? No.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Diononesiste "Mota" cdr


Diononesiste is one of those impossible names that can only mean black metal. It's very much a solo project with telltale drum machine drums and possibly no bass. It's kinda tough to tell in most black metal recordings. Anyway, when I first started to listen to this I was pretty unimpressed but as it goes on I really started to love it. It reminds me so much of living in my first basement apartment when I moved away from home and making music with a drum machine, my guitar and one mic into a 4 track. It has that sort of precious sound that translates to something that is totally legitimate. The vocals are pretty brutal and the the songs are pretty fucking awesome. It's solid.
     It looks bleak. Mostly black with simple san serif type. It's nothing special but it works. Screen printing the disc was a nice touch. The mandatory photo of a dude in a costume even looks pretty cool. It's not bad. I would probably never pull this off a shelf to look at it but having it sent to me I am glad I heard it.

     Would I buy this? After hearing it I just might. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Raven Dawn cs

Raven Dawn
Universal Consciousness

So this is really the first time the has been truly released since it's recording in 1997. Apparently these are a couple teenagers from rural Iowa playing some totally fucked up, blasting, noisy black metal. It's so poorly recorded that it sounds amazing. The vocals are absolutely filth and the guitars are so odd sounding that the whole thing feels surreal. The drums almost have more distortion than the guitars in fact. The whole thing is a debacle of hate and it's fantastic. 
     Universal Consciousness must have access to a letterpress because there is always a letterpresses element to all of their cassettes. On this one they chose a paper that looks amazing letterpresses but the other text seems to be just printed on a laser printer. That normally wouldn't be an issue but the font they chose, a degraded version of Gutenberg's text, doesn't show up very well. But you know what? Fuck it. It's still awesome and looks great. I love their work.

     Would I buy this? In a heartbeat. 

Winters in Osaka "Heptagon" cs

Winters in Osaka
Heptagon (The Cassette Years Discography Part III)
Midnight Sea Records

I think I mentioned this before but I am a big supporter of Winters in Osaka. From the drone to the harsh noise, I am really quite a fan of their whole body of work. This cassette right here is a collection of previously released things that are all necessary to hear. A few collaborative tracks from releases with Al Qaeda, Bachir Germayel and Chris Dodge (Spazz). It's a great sampling because even though they are all collaborative tracks (with huge talents I might add) they are really a good example of the direction Winters in Osaka can go.
Unfortunately it looks pretty bad. It's badly photocopied onto regular photocopy paper, the layout isn't correct, you can't tell at first if it is a split with a band called Heptagon or if that is the title and the text is a total mess. This is a case of someone who either doesn't know or care about making something look good and make sense. I think with a basic knowledge of hierarchy and some slightly nicer printing/paper this could look pretty nice. It's just amateur. 

Would I buy this? Honestly, if it wasn't Winters in Osaka I would pass this by. 

Shit Castle "Rat Cult and the Sore Throat Werewolves" cs

Shit Castle
Rat Cult and the Sore Throat Werewolves
Worthless Recordings

This is the audio definition of cacophony. This is harsh noise that feels like it was made 100 miles from the nearest computer. Junk, glass, metal, synths and hurricane sound like they all got smashed into a long complex piece off utter analog destruction. While I listened to this I accidentally saw a series of photos of a jet engine that had just sucked in a man. It was a grizzly sight of basically just blood, fat and mist but because of the music my only reaction was, "yup". What is wrong with me?
     Visually Worthless Recordings tapes always look good but they are doing this thing were the don't put the label info anywhere. I think that's pretty ballsy but I think I would still prefer that they did. Otherwise this is awesome as always. Minimal text and weird cut up photos totally work with the audio. Another good piece from Worthless Recordings.

     Would I buy this? I try to get everything on this label, so yeah. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Conscious Summary "Prescription: Lullaby b/w Saw is Bird" 7"

Conscious Summary
Prescription:Lullaby b/w Saw is Bird 
Love Earth Music

Wow. This is brand new and very old at the same time…  I am very into this. It reminds me of something that would have been written in the 1960's to accompany a early experimental film about drugs and strange hats or something. It even sounds old and found. It's truly interesting. Pretty guitar with Buffalo Bill singing over it degrades into weird destroyed tape loops and music that might have been from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The vocals sound exactly like someone left the soundtrack to Rosemary's Baby on a badly dubbed cassette in the sun for a month. It's different and fantastic…
      The artwork on this is fantastic. A weird stretched painting of a city's transportation landscape along with some appropriate yet minimal type. Really excellent design here. This is top notch and absolutely crucial for those weirdos that love this stuff. I count myself among those weirdos.

     Would I buy this? Yes. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Winters in Osaka & Plastic Crimewave "Swamp of Fogs" lp

Winters in Osaka & Plastic Crimewave
Swamp of Fogs
Dismantle Records


I am a pretty big fan of what Winters in Osaka do. I have reviewed a couple releases now from them and they always deliver excellent noise heavy drone with just the right composition to make the audio interesting and worthwhile. This collaboration with Plastic Crimewave, aka Steve Krakow, is an excellent exercise in taste and restraint. Winters in Osaka create some huge sweeping drone soundscape while Plastic Crimewave adds guitar textures that bring quiet a bit of the psychedelic. It's only four tracks but it feels perfect. Well done.
     Steve Krakow is apparently a pretty killer artist as well. This cover at first seemed a bit out of place for the music but as I listened I really got into it. The art has an E.C. Comics meets Rick Froburg type of vibe that I am kinda in love with. The covers are a little simple in their design and the text on the back just feels flat and kind of a throw away. I wish they had tried to keep with the excellent hand drawn text on the front and maybe tried to add an additional color but regardless it still looks okay. The vinyl itself is beautiful. Half blue and half green and limited to 110 copies. I would love to see a bit more put into the packaging but regardless this is an excellent release.

     Would I buy this? With Winters in Osaka involved I would absolutely buy this. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vrooom cs


sorry, another borrowed image. I think my daughter is hiding my tapes. 

This is a funny thing to call your project. Vrooom. I like that. I guess it is pronounced to sound like the word "lawn" and not "room". Anyway, this is brutal noise. It sounds like a lot of glass and monsters in a huge metal dryer just smashing and screaming and bashing while you watch from the relative safety of the window they are crawling at. Some tracks have a psychedelic Twilight Zone feel to them. It's kinda all over but really well done. The tracks are really short too, well for noise tracks. Just a couple minutes each. It's pretty awesome. 
     It is a simple layout. Black on white photocopy with some heavy photoshop looking artwork. Not really that well done but not horrible or anything. I think whoever lays this out needs to design on paper first, then go with inDesign or something that will help with columns and spacing. There is something jammed into every corner and some very computerized looking textures. I think more hand made elements would really help this out. That is just me knit picking though. It's not that bad.

     Would I buy this? I think I might. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Molting "Insanity" cs

Centipede Farm

This is harsh and blistering noise from Molting. It has a very lo-fi FM radio filtered feel to it which I think elevates it to a whole new level of twisted. The noise is fast paced and urgent sounding. There is little space and no moment where you can really feel it lock down at all. It's sort of falling up a mountain. It's pretty intense.
     It looks like it thinks it intense as well but I have a few issues. The cover photo is creepy and NSFL and the goregrind looking logo is nice but there are these boxes around everything that look pretty clunky. Even on the spine where the text has this awful gray stroke around a font that is supposed to look hand done. It's pretty awful. The inside is not bad. A bit heavy on the center justification but that's not a big deal. The type is actually a pretty good size but the artist makes two references to his own work that come off a little cheesy. He calls what he does "sickness" and there is a warning stating that the content is so noisy that you may need earplugs. That's pretty dumb as well. The look of this thing is throwing me off a little in general but it sounds pretty damn good. 

      Would I buy this? hmmm… Kinda torn. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bad Algorithm "Deathwish" cs

Bad Algorithm
self released

This is two pieces of pretty twisted HNW from B.A. Both sides have this forced through an old TV speaker quality that is absolutely crushing. The first side is pretty unrelenting while the second has this grounding drone sound that is constantly fighting with a wall of static. It's a beautiful dance.
      It looks pretty clunky as far as the type goes. It has poor hierarchy. In that I mean you can't tell if it's a split or not by anything. The project name is the same size as the album title on the spine and both sit a way that doesn't suggest one is the title. The cover has B.A.'s grind core looking logo in the bottom corner and then "Deathwish" in a display font across the top  which implies that maybe it is a band name and not the name of the album but then if you look it up online it appears to not be a split. It's kind of a mess. The picture on the cover is awesome though. 

     Would I buy this? I don't know, if I didn't know how awesome Bad Algorithm was I probably wouldn't. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jeremy Kelly // Chapels cs

Jeremy Kelly // Chapels
House of Alchemy

photo borrowed from tiny mix tapes

Another tape I just haven't gotta around to reviewing because my pile is so massive here. Thank goodness for Riley Scott. He is helping out quite a bit. I also may have another writer soon. Anyhow, this cassette from House of Alchemy is what I totally love in cassettes. It's super lo-fi and it feels secret. Jeremy Kelly starts off with some very awesome psychedelic guitar accompanied by some static noise. It's quiet beautiful and dreamy. The next couple tracks are just straight up acoustic guitar playing that makes you realize that he is really, really good at playing guitar. Fans of Jack Rose and John Fahey will enjoy this. Chapels starts with some acoustic guitar and some abstract accompaniment in the form of things being scraped or dragged around the room. Then it just builds into something wonderful. It's very interesting. I really enjoy how precious both recordings are on this cassette. It feels like it was recorded directly into a boom box and then handed right over to me. 
     The look of the tape is unremarkable. I mean that literally in that is nothing really to say. I appreciate the simplistic use of  the Baskerville Bold type but the type follows no coherent grid and therefore looks a little thrown away. The j card wasn't scored or folded correctly so it just sits weird in it's case but all that almost adds to the homemade nature of this cassette. I almost feel like that was important to it's look but in all honesty looking better wouldn't hurt this at all.

     Would I suggest you pick this up? Yeah, It's a good listen although visually pretty underwhelming. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Don Cash "Epic" cs

Don Cash
Spring Break Tapes

Well, I wasn't expecting this. Don Cash is hip hop and as much as I enjoy quite a bit of this genre I don't really know a lot about it. My comparisons may end up being too mainstream or way off. I would say his rhymes are great and he sounds a little bit like Talib Kweli. The beats are pretty interesting as well. A little noisy and different from what you might expect right off the bat. The whole thing has a very under produced sound that works well. It's pretty damn good. 
     Visually it's pretty well done as well. The cover is strange. The image looks like it was cut out of a magazine years ago and then finally scanned and dropped on this weird red/pink background. The word "EPIC" is in a perfectly kerned display font, who's name is escaping me right now but you have all seen it before. It's a decent one. The rest of the type is handled pretty well. Simple san serifs look great although the inside of the layout is a little weak. Still it's a good looking cassette. 

     Would I buy this? I would and I would be totally surprised. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cathartech // Noisepoetnobody split cs

Cathartech // Noisepoetnobody
split cs
Self Released (Cathartech)

This is the first of two Cathartech releases I am reviewing over the next day so I hope you keep an eye out. The tape actually start with Noisepoetnobody which is backwards from how it's listed on the spine but I can overlook that little error. Noisepoetnobody, if you aren't familiar, does this pretty excellent rhythmic noise thing that usually works quiet well. I like my noise a little more abstract but Noisepoetnobody does this pretty well. I think his real strength is in the collaborations I have heard recently, specifically a collaboration with Dean Moore who does a lot of experimental percussion. It's awesome. This cassette is not a bad sampling of his work though either. Cathartech owns the second side and it's glorious. Huge swaying drone that almost feels a little drunk. It's pretty awesome. I am a big fan of Cathartech's work in general and this is a nice chunk of it. 
     It looks pretty simple. There isn't much to say really. Nice abstract photo and simple type. There are a couple type choices with lining up text that is a little weird and there is that whole spine issue from before but it's not really a big deal. It's solid.

     Would I buy this? With the Cathartech name on it I would probably buy most anything. (DJ)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Broken Spirit "Falling Apart" cs

Broken Spirt
Falling Apart
Worthless Recordings

This is a wonderful and understated piece of dark drone. It's so subtle and quiet you can almost ignore the overwhelming feeling of anxiety this cassette can cause. This feels like you are trying to sleep in the shovel a huge steam shovel as it slowly climbs across a desolate wasteland. It's awesome. It actually kind of feels like a journey towards something horrible but away from something worse. I love this.
     It looks great. There is no text except for on the inside on the j card and then all you get is the project name and the title. That takes some balls. I gotta hand it to Worthless Recordings, they are anything but. 

     Would I buy this? Yeah. (DJ)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Knot of Fire "Tempest Over Refuge" cd

Knot of Fire
Tempest Over Refuge
Peasant Spring Recordings

I guess I should have known better, but I really had no idea what to expect from this record. It doesn’t really look like a harsh record, by that I mean there’s no fetuses, skulls, or autopsy photos of any sort on the cover. Not trusting it at all, I apprehensively put this disc in the tray, sure that it was going to be 10 tracks of dog fucking or something. 

     Turns out this is pretty standard heavy noise waves, rhythmically battering your skull. Sometimes there’s a dude yelling at you with a cb radio, and there’s even a sample. Normally this isn’t a great thing for me, but it’s really long, and repeats, making it sort of rad. I need to stress, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these songs, I just wasn’t really stoked about it.

     Then I got to track 7. The cover tells me it’s a diddie called “Threshold’s Edge”. That’s kind of a rad name, but it’s bullshit. This song should have been called “Aluminum Whale Reunion” or something. It’s straight fucking haunting. It’s blown out, far away, beautiful, and completely unexpected. This theme of gross prettiness continues throughout the rest of the album. Of course, fuck me for forming an opinion, because the very next song will have you convinced you’re stuck in an assembly line somewhere deep in Oceania. I normally wouldn’t spend so much effort talking about individual tracks, but the 2nd half of this record took me completely by surprise. The final song is I’m pretty sure what dying at sunset sounds like, and there’s even one that sounds a lot like a really angry Fuck Buttons, like bittersweet triumph trying to crawl through a barbwire fence.

     This thing looks like a post-something cd that at 16 I would have been all over. I actually had to hit up the internet just to make sure I wasn’t looking at a Boysetsfire bootleg. As I mentioned, there’s nothing indicative of the contents from the art, which I guess is my bad. All in all, given the huge broner I’ve got for the 2nd half of this album, I would definitely recommend picking it up. (RS)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Josh Lay & Wyatt Howland split cs

Josh Lay & Wyatt Howland
split cs
905 tapes

I have had this for a long time and I can't believe it fell through the cracks. It's a really good noise cassette. I have a bit of a man crush on Josh Lay because his whole body of work is so good. There is a sense of taste you get from noise. You aren't hearing the notes, or progressions. You aren't dissecting the lyrics but what you are getting is contrast and composition. It's more like visual art then it is like music and in Josh's case, he is like a Francis Bacon of noise. This is a dirge of noise and howling. It's frightening and wonderful at the same time. Wyatt Howland does something that sounds more like field recordings of an alien insect invasion. It's very tense and twisted sounding. There is a constant drone that seism to somehow last forever.
     It looks pretty simple from the outside but 905 does something interesting. The J card itself is one sided so all the info is where a cover would be and then there is a separate cover dropped in over that. It looks great. Simple san serif fonts that have a slightly hand laid out look. It's nice. Good colors as well. It's a good piece.

     Would I buy this? Yup.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fermentœ "Glossolalia" cs

Merz Tapes

Kevin Yuen is a good friend of mine. We talk every week, have played shows together (as both Sutekh Hexen and Al Qaeda) and have released music together. Reviewing his work is not something he has ever asked me to do. It would come off as biased and my opinion would probably be blurred by my thinking he is a rad dude. It is even more difficult for me because he has excellent taste, is a good player and ultimately regularly releases excellent music that I always enjoy. It's madness. So take this for what it's worth but this tape is great. It has an ancient well's worth of depth. There are some beautifully clear instruments plucking right up front and way in the background this dense pool of fuzzed out drone. Each of the three tracks is different but totally cohesive. It's really great. I'm sure it will be reissued on vinyl someday because it's so god damn professional and gorgeous sounding. Fucker. 
      Visually it pretty much looks like a Vegas style porno flyer you would find in the future portrayed in Blade Runner. By that I mean it's awesome. Kevin's type treatments are always great. No complaints… seriously, I don't think you should take my word on this. I clearly am biased and irresponsible for reviewing this. In fact, if Riley Scott was able to play tapes at home right now, he would be reviewing this but that is his loss. So pick one up yourself and decide on your own. Oh, and don't tell Kevin I said anything nice about him. It throws off the balance of power. 

     Would I buy this? Of course not, Kevin is honor bound to send me everything he does…  but you should. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Japanese Women "Decline of Western Civilization IV: Major Tom Visits a Space Cantina in New Los Angeles on Mars (Penelope Spheeris Mix)" flexi

Japanese Women
Decline of Western Civilization IV: Major Tom Visits a Space Cantina in New Los Angeles on Mars (Penelope Spheeris Mix)
Happiness Rekords

borrowed image

First of all, this is the best sounding flexi I have ever encountered. It sounds better than some 7"s I have received recently. I am blown away. Japanese Women do this punk, noise, kraut rock thing better than anyone else right now so I can't recommend this more. It's also a strange remix of sorts and the song sorta goes off in a strange direction but it's completely amazing. You would do well to buy this. 
     I have the test press of this release so it looks a little different from the other but it's still awesome; art by Anderson Cook (Tapes of a Neon God) and a sleeve that allows you to see the deep opaque red color of the flexi. 

     Would I buy this? I would overdrawn my account to buy this.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gonzalez & Steenkiste "Stuffed with the Down of the Eider" cs

Gonzalez & Steenkiste
Stuffed with the Down of the Eider
Eiderdown Records

Glorious and majestic drone starts both sides of this tape. It's exactly what I needed this morning after getting over a shitty summer time cold. The drone feel sherry organic and devoid of delay and sampler pedals. LIttle bits of percussion helps the organic feel and still add necessary texture. The instruments sound like organs, violins, harmoniums, sitars, etc. I am sure at least one or two of those instruments are in there, in fact let's check to liner notes…Yup, harmonium, violin, Korg MS-10, tampura, bells and field recordings. It's brilliant. There are also moments of this recording that are simple slightly psychedelic acoustic guitar and banjo pieces with some interesting accompaniment from the before mentioned instruments. It's a wonderful set of tracks. Three all together and I would highly recommend this one. 
     Visually this looks almost exactly like the A Story of Rats cassette I reviewed recently. That is actually intentional as the covers are made up of one huge drawing that Max Clotfelter did. It would be worth it just for Max's artwork alone as it is fucking awesome. Anyhow, it's great through and through. 

     Would I buy this? Yes.
This image is from Max Clotfelter's site 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Candy Hearts "Everything's Amazing & Nobody's Happy" cs

Candy Hearts
Everything's Amazing & Nobody's Happy
Kind of Like Records

This is very different than anything I have listened to since 1993. This sounds like Belly, Throwing Muses, Juliana Hatfield and Get Up Kids. In fact this sounds almost exactly like an updated version of Juliana Hatfield. The singer sounds so god damn cute that it kinda bothers me. I will probably look her up on the internet though and feel like a total creep… Okay, found them. Yeah, she's cute and I feel like a weirdo. Anyhow, I will say that this is very much not my kind of music. I don't listen to this kind of stuff at all but I am totally going to give this to my 11 year old step daughter. I bet she will dig it. If not now, soon. The music is well played, well sung and pretty damn good but it is just a ways from what I am into.
     The artwork is sweet and perfect for the music. The faux handwritten type is pretty convincing too. Not too bad. Ultimately this is a fine pop record and if you love this stuff you should totally grab it. 

     Would I buy this? Nope. I'm too old and gross. (DJ)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Thin White Puke "Sterile" cs

The Thin White Puke
Cult of Craft

I really don't know why it took me so long to review this. I got it and it sat in my pile and I kept thinking that I had to get to this. As it slowly moved up the pile I kept thinking I should just pop this in real quick and maybe have it jump to the head of the line but I kept my queue very democratic and orderly. Maybe something in the universe was trying to protect me from some of the most brutal noise violence I have heard in a long time. This is in the same world as Bastard Noise, Pig Heart Transplant, Drowner, Self Communion and Actuary. It's fucking demented and hateful. You need to love this. The vocals that bust through the surface of the dirging noise is completely fucking perfect rage. This is fantastic. There is a sample but instead of one line and then noise it's actually a whole two or three minute news report about women being sterilized in North Carolina without there consent by the state. This is how you do samples. It's not a Bill Murry line from Groundhog Day before a Shai Halud track, this is Buyer's Market. It has real context and impact and when that sample is over the last track comes in and it's amazing. This is a great release and I am pissed at the pussy ass universe from trying to save me. I am way too far gone at this point of my life. 
      The tape looks pretty good. The type is not bad. Needs to have some big, medium and small instead of big and medium. Also I think something besides center justification could be used. I am guilty of that but so is everyone else and I am getting kinda sick of it. If you are laying out a wedding announcement or telling the people of London during the Blitz to stay calm then it's okay, otherwise let us all just agree to stop aligning everything down the center and doing some left justification. Or don't. I am not the boss of you. Also, the name of the label is written huge on the back of the j card in a font made up of all drop caps. I don't know if I hate that or love it. It's not subtle. Either way this tape rules. 
     Would I buy this? Yes. (DJ)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Old Man Gloom "NO" cs

Old Man Gloom
Hydrahead Records

Holy fuck. I have a lot to say about this record but I have no idea how to put it into words. First of all, it was nice to receive this on cassette so it really forces me to sit and listen to it in it's entirety because there is a lot to digest. It's an epic record that sprawls across an hour of your life with some on the most interesting and heavy shit you will hear all year. Old Man Gloom has always been a "project" band of it's members. Isis, Converge, Cave-In and Zozobra are all fine bands with tons of good work to enjoy but, for me, Old Man Gloom has always been my favorite project of all of these guys (except maybe Mamiffer as far as Aaron Turner is concerned these days). It seemed to be a band where the members could stretch their wings a bit more. Nate Newton and Caleb Scofield could be incredibly heavy without any of the baggage that their other bands hung on them. Whether it's Converge's professional crowd pleasing or Cave-In's schizophrenic rock identities, in Old Man Gloom both of these guys get to do what they do best which is destroy and amaze with their riffs of originality. Aaron Turner's addition to Old Man Gloom shows that he has an almost inexhaustible well of creativity to draw from. The song structures and segues on here that totally blow me away and feel completely new. Isis was a lot about restraint and space and I appreciated that. But as their career went on I became less and less interested in what they were doing. I felt they hit their high point early on with Oceanic and most everything after that, while still good, never reached the same artistic level as their second full length. With Old Man Gloom, Aaron is still able to work his guitar in a way that is at times is locked with the band in a overly violent way but then depart from the music and take the song to a whole new emotional level. Everyone on this record does an excellent job. The drumming is spot on, the recording is perfect. It may be my favorite record of the year. Like most Old Man Gloom there is a bit of meandering here and there but that is mostly in the experimenting and I have zero problems with that. There is one song that is very "sing songy" in a very Boston way and that isn't totally my bag but there is enough good stuff in that one song to really make it enjoyable as well. The noise parts throughout are excellent and you will hear some of the heaviest riffs of your life on this thing. Seriously. It's fucked. 
     Most things these days that Aaron Turner and Faith Coloccia have their hands in visually is stunning and envy producing. If I could design have as well as either of them I would be writing this from my summer cabin instead of my rotting basement apartment. The artwork by Aaron Turner (based on previous work by Faith Coloccia) is gorgeous but the thing that really impresses me is the completely wrong but completely beautiful and perfect type treatment by Faith Coloccia. I don't think Faith has formal training in typography and if she does she certainly has done a great job of throwing that out the window to do something wonderful. Now no one else should ever try this because it will look bad but the tracking and kerning on just about every word is insanity. Weird, uneven gaps and characters allows the lyrics and info to be fully justified but it's all been set manually so it make little sense. It looks like she used every typeface in whatever font family this is, Akzidenz Grotesk I believe, to set up her hierarchy. Bold, italic, black, condensed… It's all there in mostly capitals and it's perfect. Impressive to say the least. 

     Would I buy this? Yes. (DJ)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dracula Spacecraft// Endometrium Cuntplow split cdr

Dracula Spacecraft// Endometrium Cuntplow
Love Torture Records

Right off the bat, I have to add two more entries on the “things I can no longer call my schlong” list. I can’t even be upset, because this record is kind of rad. This split starts off with Dracula Spacecraft, and sounds exactly like what you would expect: Two lasers getting into a heated argument, in a haunted house. I’m all in. Rhythmic waves of creepy synth permeate the DS tracks, eventually merging into track four “untitled”, a collaborative effort between both Dracula Spacecraft and Endometrium Cuntplow (I’m seriously not going to get tired of typing that) which manages to be both really pretty and utterly scary at the same time. The rest of the CD can be summed up as eighteen and a half minutes of fear, recorded for your audio pleasure. I actually had to turn my speakers down out of fear of having to explain this auditory violence to the police. The best way to describe this album is a soundtrack to a way too close encounter of the third kind. The record can be split down the middle, with the first section I’ll refer to as the “abduction”, and the last half simply as . . .  “The probing”

     The cover art is really dark, so unless you spent more than 5 minutes staring at it, or were 14, you might miss the fact that the pretty lady on it has awesome boobs. It’s clearly pretty high quality, as evidenced by the inside panel though. I would totally buy this, especially since the used CDR case it came in gave the entire thing a snuff film vibe that fits surprisingly well with the contents. (RS)