Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last of England—Noisecore Tape cs

Last of England
Noisecore Tape

FUCK. This is so rad. Super short and totally brutal. I think lovers of of Sissy Spacek will find something just perfect about this. They need to do more of these 10 minute explosions. Maybe I should try to get them to do a split with Synanon. I even dig the simple little J-card because its so poorly done. If that makes sense. The hyper low resolution on the type and the photocopy paper. It looks like they had to design and print them in the time it takes them to play a song. Somehow it fits. 

Fingers of the Embalmer—Dissection of Order cs

Fingers of the Embalmer
Dissection of Order
Worthless Recordings

Another one that fell into the cracks and I'm pretty bummed. This is much more on the doom side of noise sharing more of a Blue Sabbath Black Cheer sort of sound. Which to me is great. It lacks a little of the depth that BSBC have but it has a lot of the sensibilities. This is apparently based on Egyptian gods and has a lot to do with the afterlife and dying, so I'm pretty happy. 

The layout is cool. Simple and creepy without trying too hard. Nice work. 

Vomir/Crucifix Eye split cs

Vomir/Crucifix Eye
split cassette
Forever Escaping Boredom Records

HNW. Yes. Fuck yes. Not enough of this honestly and that's saying something because of how much HNW there is out there. This is mother's milk to me. Not the RHCP album, which I do not care for, but something that is nurturing and fulfilling. Both acts rule… The layout leaves something to be desired. There are strokes around all the type which needs to be used sparingly. In some places the leading wasn't adjusted for the addition of the white strokes so the type kinda runs into itself. There is just too much going on. The VHS on the front, with a skull then rainbow stuff on the inside with tapes and type and splatter… it just a bit of a mess. maybe that works for the HNW type stuff but I would like to see them take another stab at this. 

En Nihil/Filth—Black Earth cs

En Nihil/Filth
Black Earth
Out of Body Records

En Nihil and Filth are both super heavy, brutal dark industrial goodness but also totally different. I've been enjoying both of their work for awhile and this cassette is no exception. I think for me the stand out is the very beginning of the En Nihil track. It sounds like a monster is coming to get you. Seriously. It's legitimately scary music and I feel like a terrible father for letting my daughter hear this. 

The tape is by Out of Body Records so it has that look. I really appreciate the uniform look to all their cassettes. I think the overall design of all of their tapes could use some tweaking but at this point they are locked in so I don't even really feel like saying much else. It's not bad but it could be better… Although, that can be applied to every single thing ever made by anyone ever. 

Filth—The Witches' Pharmacopoeia cs

The Witches' Pharmacopoeia
Maniacal Hatred

Now we're talking. This is some grim shit and I dig it. Dark, haunting, marching noise that sounds like a panic attack. This type of dark electronic experimental noise isn't something I always gravitate towards but sometimes it's the perfect palate cleanser.

The designer needs to chill out on the textures over the type. It's not consistent between all the type and the whole thing just screams photoshop. Otherwise it would be a fine layout that is appropriate for the music.

Marcus Rubio—Land of Disenfranchisement cs

Marcus Rubio
Land of Disenfranchisement
Already Dead Tapes

This little slice of disparate noise-pop was not what I was expecting. It's pretty lovely and in very different ways. The first track sounds like Sigur Ros a little but less…foreign? Then a track that could have been the best thing Belle and Sebastian eve recorded hits next followed by something that could be off a Unicorns record. Is this guy from the Unicorns? I'll have to check. 

Ok, no it doesn't look like he was but this guy is pretty famous. I guess I should have known that but I didn't. I know more about guys who fill cassette cases with blood and dirt and slap a label over it more than I know about young award-winning composers. Anyway, this is pretty good. I can see why people dig this. I know my wife will love this. 

It looks nice. It's a solid layout with good typography. Not really my thing, but nor is the music, and I can't deny that either are anything but really, really good. Solid. 

Swamp Horse/Husere Grav split cs

Swamp Horse/Husere Grav
Existential Cloth Recordings

Swamp Horse is one of the side projects of Josh Lay and I guess when I say that I am not really sure what the main project would be. Glass Coffin is so good I sorta think everything else would be the side project… How about I just say it's one of the many projects of Josh Lay? Swamp Horse is strange. Lo-fi, rough, naive hardcore with these contrasting droning electronic tones and noises that elevates the whole project. It's totally weird and totally great. Husere Grav was introduced to me through one of Joe Beres' Small Doses 3" cds. It was great and I kept an eye peeled for that… Side note, Does Joe still do Small Doses? He was going to do a 3" for me a couple years ago and a book of artwork by me with an introduction by Stephen O'Malley… Hmm. I kinda dropped the ball on those. I suck. Anyhow, Husere Grav have two moments on this that really stand out. There is this oppressive wall of tone that starts this and moves until a small and precious guitar layer finds it's way out and leaves with one of those it's-okay-I'm-going-to-die feelings. 

The tape itself is laid out fine. Super simple and clean. I'm into it. Nothing much to say other than I do like these simple punk-rock layouts. It usually always works. 

German Army—Social Catalyst cs

German Army
Social Catalyst
Jozik Records

So I have been very lucky to get to hear many German Army songs in the last year and I think it's time I admit that German Army is our new Coil. Or at least they are certainly on their way. Every cassette has been amazing and I am loving the focused yet varied approach to this strange, melting electronic. This particular album actually sounds like a mix between Brian Eno and Throbbing Gristle and I love it. I hope some genius reissues all of this on vinyl someday soon.

The packaging is not really there but for some weird reason it kinda works for me. The name is upside down on the spine, the J-card is too short, the art is totally a placeholder but with the music this good I sorta like it. Normally I want tapes to look as good as the music and in this case the diminished layout really elevates the music. This might actually be brilliant. 

Hadals/HHL/Machismo/Sharp Tooth—4 way split cs

Hadals/HHL/Machismo/Sharp Tooth
4 way split
Tapes of a Neon God

Excellent 4 way split as per usual from TOANG. Hadals starts with something very subtle with quiet drones and moves into the sounds of an angry demon trying to tear a metal bed frame apart. HHL is brutal HNW just like you wanted. Like bees made of metal. Machismo is new to me but I am a sucker for that late 90's noise with vocals thing. I fucking love this. Sharp Tooth is great. Like listening to an Argento soundtrack through a wormhole. This is really good all around. Anderson has good taste in sounds and good taste in design so I'm never really disappointed in his work or his curating. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

New KTL cassette is out and podcast news...

Fuck it. I'm going to use this as a place to mention Dead Accents releases from time to time. There is a new cassette from KTL out. KTL, for those that don't know, is Stephen O'Malley from Sunn0))) and Peter Rehberg from PITA and this shit rules. Check here for a full description.

When the podcast starts I am not sure how it will exactly work out but I am hoping to take some suggestions. I have decided not to make it a video thing. Even though I discuss the layouts a lot I think I will just keep this blog to have photographs of all mentioned releases. I'm thinking of keeping each show between 15–30 mins max. I think it will be broken into segments. I will do a few reviews and play some segments, discuss layouts and packaging. I was planning on having some interviews here and there and hopefully a few performances from noise artists. I was also thinking of having Shane Mehling, decibel writer and my best friend, host a segment where I defend something. Not sure how that will go.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Q///Q—N SA BWA cs

Skrot Up

I mean this in the best possible way, but if the SNL faux-show Sprockets were a real show that got canceled in the early 90s and they then decided, twenty years later, to make a documentary about the show, this cassette by Q///Q would be the absolute perfect soundtrack to that documentary. Does that sense? It's really good. It has this sort of happy, somewhat naive european sound that I am really into. The look is perfect too. I like it. I kinda wish it were easier to figure who put it out but I think I figured it out by reading the 3pt type on the cassette. 

Church Dweller/Hadals/Void En Vogue/Winter Ritual—4 way split cs

Church Dweller/Hadals/Void En Vogue/Winter Ritual
4 way split
Tapes of a Neon God

The rule with Tapes of a Neon God release is this. Just buy it. It's always good. Anderson (Hadals, Pornography) seems to know a lot of very talented people that love to make some real chaos happen. This is one of those rare noise splits where every act sounds totally brutal and intense but also completely different and unique from each other. As much as I love four tracks of indecipherable HNW, this is a killer example of some disparate audio fuckery. 

As with most all the other tapes from TOANG, this looks great. Good type treatments and nice fucked up artwork. I'm a fan. 

Wreckmeister Harmonies—Volume one cd/dvd

Wreckmeister Harmonies
Volume one cd/dvd

The case is a little beat up as I listened to this a lot in my car.

I played with Wreckmeister Harmonies about a year ago and I was totally impressed. Huge sweeping guitar drones performed completely live through my half stacks. It was great. Musically this cd is a little different. Apparently he curated some sound performances in various museum lobbies around the globe and I believe this is audio from that. I'm not sure if what i am hearing is the audio of people listening to what he is doing combined with pre-recorded studio music or if he played the studio tracks in the museums or what… it's a little confusing but the music is great. The field recording parts really explore the depth of the rooms and paint a beautiful picture in your mind. The studio parts are this free form jazz/drone piece that ends in some of the most beautiful and powerful moments. It's well worth hearing. The Dvd is subtle. With no real menu to speak of you aren't sure what you are getting. It ends up being long shots of East coast and West coast locations backed with some interesting audio. 

It looks fine. Images from the recordings with some type that is acceptable. It doesn't quite convey what you will get inside but there isn't anything particularly wrong with it. 

B. A. Johnston—My Heart is a Blinking Nintendo cs

B. A. Johnston
My Heart is a Blinking Nintendo
Black Top Records

This is adorable with a capital A. The first song is great and I thought I was pretty hooked right away but as it goes on I started to loose interest. I think if this was 5 songs instead of 19 I would be asking for more but it just kinda drags itself down with how cute and ironic it is. It's just too on the nose. Songs about Dungeons and Dragons, a song about having a deep fryer next to your bed, another song with a deep fryer, old nintendo games… It's all a little too precious for me. I think if this had the brutal and tragic honesty of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone it would be one of my favorite albums because B.A. has the skills for song writing and his execution is great. I just want to hear something from him and not from what he thinks a roomful of his best friends will chuckle at. 

The art on the cover is pretty cute and it it goes well with the music. Unfortunately the type is just not being used well at all. It could stand a redesign. 

Timm Mason/Cathartech—Sleep Study cs

Timm Mason/Cathartech
Sleep Study
Masters Chemical Society

This is pretty interesting. From what I can tell from reading the insert that comes with this you are supposed to play this while you sleep. I'm terrified of almost anything that is supposed to alter my sleep but listening to these tracks from Timm Mason and Cathartech I can see how this might make for a very amazing non-waking experience. Lucid dreams? Possibly. I do love those although I have only had a few in my whole life. The look and sounds of this cassette seem very clinical and I think for what this is supposed to be this is a pretty big success. I would try to find this if you can. 


I'm seriously considering turning Dead Formats into a podcast. I feel like I would be able to get more reviews done, actually play some of the sounds for others to hear and talk more in depth about the packaging and layouts. I feel like maybe I would have to keep this blog up just to show the physical packages that I am talking about but I think a monthly or bi-monthly 30min podcast might serve our scene a little better. Let me know what you think. Go ahead and email me and we can discuss some ideas. If I do this I would love to have some interviews, sound samples, and probably a handful of co-hosts.

JML & Tanner Garza—Desired Constellation cs

JML & Tanner Garza
Desired Constellation
Urgent Telepathy Recordings

This is just lovely. Beautiful lo-fi drones paired with sweet little bursts of feedback, loops and texture. It's smaller than bedroom drone, this is like closet drone or crawlspace drone. It's really wonderful. You should get this so we can talk about it. 

It looks okay. Not totally my thing but it is fine. There is some warped type that on it's own looks pretty good but I feel when paired with the manic collage art work, that on it's own also looks good, it's just not a good marriage. Not horrible but I will say that the music's such high quality was a surprise as I was not too hopeful at my first glance.