Friday, December 21, 2012

Sunn0))) "Rehearsal Demo Nov. 11th 2011" lp

Rehearsal Demo Nov. 11th 2011
Southern Lord // Ideologic Organ

This is my favorite sort of Sunn0))); Atilla is incredible, I love when Steve Moore or Bill Herzog join the fray. I can get behind Joe Preston or Tad Doyle adding chaos but when it comes down to it Sunn is best when it is just two guitars in a big room. This rehearsal demo sounds much better than any rehearsal demo I have ever heard and I wonder if they didn't actually intend from the beginning to release this but it's great. This is the type of piece where two guys playing guitars simultaneously, with riffs that span minutes and rarely repeat in any noticeable way, can really impress you with their ability. I think some people believe Sunn is just random chords and a whole lot of drama to cover over the "trick" but I think this record should be able to prove most deniers wrong. In fact there are a lot of kids who worship Sunn and think that they can do it if they just buy a bunch of Model T heads and have the audacity to play this loud but they are also wrong. This takes skill, taste and talent and I think this may be one of my favorite releases from Steve and Greg. The only unusual thing is that there are samples at the beginning of every track. I don't usually get with samples but I have to say that these rule. A lot.  

     The packaging is simple and perfect. Excellent image on the front, handled well with mostly handrawn text on the back. Foil stamped number on the cover along with a solid black record devoid of any printing. Perfect. 

I would buy this. 

Limbs Bin "Primitive Response" 7"

Limbs Bin
Primitive Response
Familiar Combatants/Tickled Meat

This 7" has an awesome Man is the Bastard vibe that has totally reminded me how much amazing shit is sitting in my record collection right now. Limbs Bin may belong right next to it. Harsh noise with lots of heavy beats are accompanied by some very intense vocals. Definitely singing about something horrible. There are a couple minutes when the drums sound a little weak but all in all I think this is a killer 7" well worth your time. 

     The packaging itself looks great. They were able to take a simple xeroxed card stock paper and make it into something much more. It unfolds into this cross shape that is pretty inventive yet simple. I am looking forward to more releases from the Western Massachusetts artist. 

Get one. Here.

Nite Shadz "Black Holes for the Face and a Graveyard" cs

Nite Shadz
Black Holes for the Face and a Graveyard
Out of Body Records

I just watched that documentary Scratch last night, and although I enjoyed it, I felt it was missing out on a lot of the more experimental and original sides of the genre. Nite Shadez is more about synth music with synth pad beats but it definitely reminds me of what I would like to hear from turntablism or whatever it's called these days. It's dark, noisy tones with super harsh and cut apart beats beneath it. It has a mass to it that feels like there is now a weirdo standing in my living room staring at my children when I play it. I have to keep checking. It's weird. Inside it says "play loud with sunglasses on. Dark day, Bright Nite". I think that about covers it. It's awesome. 

     It has that cool cohesive look with all the other Out of Body Records look but this cassette also has a transparent outer sleeve with wild drawings. Inside is a separate info sheet and a sticker of a marijuana leaf. Oh yeah, pot is legal here now. 

I would buy this.

Michel Idehall "So" cs

Michel Idehall

Sometimes I listen to some of my items to review in format of my children. Usually I pick things that I don't think will creep them out or turn them into psycho killers. I am usually pretty accurate with that. This cassette, while not immediately creepy, gave my 12 year old step daughter the heebie geebies. It's super competent and pretty interesting but it has this Front 242 sexy vampire trip hop sound from the early 90's that is… inappropriate for holidays and children. It's actually a little too industrial for me. It sounds like Merzbow meets Tricky at times though. So if that appeals to you I would rock this because it doesn't sound like a weak release at all. Just not for me. 

     It looks brilliant. Excellent minimal design that brings to mind some excellent swiss grids and the illustration on the cover is beautiful. This label does beautiful work. 

Justin Marc Lloyd "Year of the Water Dragon Vol. 1" cs

Justin Marc Lloyd
Year of the Water Dragon Vol. 1
Rainbow Bridge 

Another huge journey of the back of a mighty noise serpent from Justin Marc Lloyd (Dim Disk Moving, Pregnant Spore, False Flag…) and it's real good. When I say journey I really mean it. Putting this on headphones and laying down in a dim room will take you places far away. You can smoke some pot or get drunk if you want but you don't need to. This is drugs enough. I like that line. This is drugs enough. Yeah. i am going to remember that. Anyhow, the peaks and valleys of this experience are wild and scary. It's insane and wonderful all at the same time. It's a long trip but it's worth it. 

     I love this simple packaging. Crooked ancient text, strange abstract drawings and odd color choices make this a beautiful little artifact. Nicely done. 

     I would buy this if I were you. 

Pentacene cs

Small Doses

I think I say this a lot but this band really started out giving me a strong Birchville Cat Motel vibe. Which is great but what is better is that they slowly move away from that, incorporate some live drums and get on this ambient, junk jazz groove that totally works for me. The second side has this massive piece that sounds like that one song Explosions in the Sky plays all the time but backwards. All in all, it is an interesting and varied effort and I totally dig it. 

     Solid design and execution by Small Doses as usual. Screenprinted arigato pack from Stumptown Printers. Along with a small insert sheet that I immediately lost. As in I just had it…  dammit. Anyhow, It's good.

     Real good. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hooves demo cdr

demo cdr
self released

There are a couple bands named Hooves but this is the only real one you need to care about right now. This is a two piece from Spokane, Washington that play a very psych heavy version of instrumental rock. Having just a guitar and drums can pose some limitations but these gentlemen seem to really be able to play with those limitations in a way that uses space as another instrument. It doesn't hurt that the guitar player is able to fine tune his sound in a way that creates tons of extra movement and layers. Lots of chorus and phaser adds a subtle rhythm that allows the drums to play a role that is more than just a backing one. The drums, played by Joe Preston of These Arms are Snakes fame, are heavy, intricate and interesting. He is an extremely competent and artistic player and this band is an excellent showcase for his abilities. Fans of Mono, Pelican, Tool, Mogwai and Isis would probably do themselves well to own this. 

     The layout is amazing, mainly because Joe Preston is also an accomplished graphic designer and screen printer. I would recommend just heading over to their bandcamp page to check out the pictures of the layout. The type is minimal but handled perfectly. The images are well printed and the whole thing just feels professional. It's pretty awesome just to hold. 

     I would buy this. Here.

Void, Chaos an Cum
Crucial Blast

So one of the first things I hear of this, is of course, a sample, and it's some weird porn thing and i hear the guy say "oh yeah, I've been walking in dog shit all day". You have? Where the fuck do you work? Well, maybe a kennel but is that a thing? Fecalove is from Italy and apparently super crazy. This type of crazy isn't really shocking anymore though. It actually feels sort of adorable and quaint. Aw, you like torture, sex, excrement and noise? Aw, get in my pocket you adorable little man. It's pretty amazing power electronics though. I was actually excited to write this off as trying too hard, drama queen noise but this is some expert work. I am pretty damn impressed with this hour of noise. It's brutal and noisy of course but it's the contrast in the noise that makes it so amazing. Highs and lows, piercing feedback then distorted walls… it's all done so well I can only assume the taste level of this artist is almost being covered up by the schtick. 

     The packaging is all schtick. Inside, what I think is supposed to be an amray dvd case (my promo version was just in a bag) is a button, three black and white folded poster and a 20 page zine of artwork. It's pretty awesome. The artwork of course is pretty dumb but it's also perfect. It reminds me of a naive Ted McKeever and for that I appreciate it. Drawings of girls missing limbs, covered in poo and apparently cumming, photos of guys eating shit (maybe), and lots of cum. It's pretty juvenile but like I said, it's adorable. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Theologian "The Chasms of My Heart" cd

The Chasms of My Heart
Crucial Blast

Fucking gigantic. This is music set to the surveying of a massive planet, bent on destroying our earth. It's all encompassing. Huge distorted notes, buried rhythms, and strained, distant vocals create an amazingly dark and rich landscape to ponder all of your life's choices. I love this. This is like a huge sleeping bag of pain for me and I could just listen to this in the dark until my sad little heart just melted away. 

     It's packaged in a dvd sized digipack… it's weird to say that. "Dvd sized". At this point, with cds going the way they are, it's not really important to have a packaging like it used to. So for those of us that really appreciate packaging, anything outside the norm is welcomed. This is a gorgeous tri-folded package. I am really digging the packaging itself. The artwork is also really well done but it's a little on the goth side of things for me. The inside artwork looks like something from Hellraiser and the outside looks like a cross between Dave Mckean's post Cages work and a yoga flyer. For some reason though I still really dig it. The type is not really handled in any interesting way–just center justified on it's panels. That doesn't kill it but I think something much more interesting could have been done. In fact the type is so large on the panels itself I bet it was designed by someone with a small monitor. I have similar problems myself and that is often the issue. Either way the music is awesome and the packaging is the beginning of the way all cds of music that matters will look. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Moving this week.

Sorry for the delay this last week. My wife and I have been moving things around and getting rid of things in order to keep us from being horders for at least one more year. In that time I lost my office so work has been difficult but I am back up and running and I will have new reviews up shortly. Even some of these ones that are way behind... Thanks for reading and thank you for your patience.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Binary Marketing Show // The New Diet split 7"

The Binary Marketing Show // The New Diet
Already Dead Tapes

I have been trying to figure out how to start this review for a few weeks now. It's actually created a mental block for me. I want to talk about how both bands play a type of music that would fit well on Anticon records. I want to mention that are serious comparisons that can be made with Why? and that is a good thing. The Binary Marketing Show has amazing beats that really had me impressed. The New Diet is a bit dirtier and harsh but with really lovely vocals. Both bands have their own sound but they work so well together. I really want to express how nice and odd the artwork is but I just don't know how to start this one… I will figure it out. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Whitehorse "Live Ritual" cd

Live Ritual
Small Doses

This must have been one hell of a show. Whitehorse is a band I still have yet to see. I have designed a couple flyers for them but I still haven't made it to a show. Until I heard this cd I didn't really mind. I miss a lot of good shows and I have to hear about it is some friends with questionable tastes telling me I "totally missed out". This cd though, this cd lets me know two things. They are rad and I am totally missing out. Super heavy riffs that just destroy my desire to play guitar, because what's the point? The recording on this is pretty raw, not great but completely fucked in a good way. 

     Nice design. The best part is the killer cover art though. Seriously. 

     Buy this. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gnawed "Terminal Epoch" cd

Terminal Epoch
Phage Tapes

Gnawed should be hired to make ever creepy soundtrack forever. This is dark and grim industrial noise that has a very particular soundtrack quality. It's intense and brittle hell that just feels so damn comfortable to sit in. I have been following Gnawed on and off for a little over a year and it's always been brutal but this record has a new maturity, or maybe, depth to it. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet this is as good a place as any to start. It's good. It's a bit long. That may be my only issue is that it gets a bit long near the end but it's not much of a complaint as it's all real good. 

     It's a simple look. Center justified text in a big bold font makes sense but I think they could do a lot more with it. I'm not a fan of the text with the opacity turned down so the images behind it come through. It's a little rookie and kinda screams photoshop but all that aside it still works okay. I think this kind of design is often handled pretty well by people like Feeding. It's not horrible at all, but it could really be more. 

     All that said I still very much recommend hearing this album.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Indigents "Bottomless Sinking" cs

Bottomless Sinking

This is harsh and strange. Lots of loops with unknown horn piercing over the top. Bits of synth squelching taking on the capacity for me to sit here with headphones on. It's pretty brutal and very piercing. It's very difficult for me to sit and take this damage to be honest. I respect and fear this but I don't think I am really enjoying this at all.

     It looks a little weird. I am not impressed with the layout although it's handling of the text is pretty nice. Nothing ever wrong with a little simple helvetica.

     I don't think I would pick this up. 

I Want to Kill Every Human cs + 7"

I Want to Kill Every Human cs + 7"
Bill Murray Tapes

I Want to Kill Every Human sounds like somewhere between nails on a chalkboard and the sweetest lullaby. The nails on the chalkboard part is pretty much expected for a noise band but the melodies and swells of notes buried below are very much a surprise. It's like finding a child sweetly crying at the center of a hurricane. I like this. It feels a little like Birchville Cat Motel at times and that always jives with me. 

     The tape is super minimal. Almost white on white cover and sticker on the case to let you know who it is. The 7" is destroyed in an awesome American Tapes/Soccer Mom Ebonics sort of way. Also pretty great. They don't go together but I am not sure they are supposed to. 

     I endorse this. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wretched Worst "Funeral Burning" 7"

Wretched Worst
Funeral Burning
Husk Records

Imagine you told someone with a really good imagination and an excellent pool of references to pull from that this record is the heaviest, noisiest, dirtiest, brutal thing to be imagined by four dudes that you have ever heard. Maybe you were able to hum a few parts (although I can't imagine what that humming might sound like. Maybe a stabbing through a gag), and maybe your general tone or arm movements were able to pretty accurately describe this record. Even then, after all that preparation, the sheer magnitude of this 7" would be a total shock to the first time listener. I think this may be one of my favorite entries into the best of 2012 I am putting together…  Get this. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ASVA & Philippe Petit "Empires Should Burn" cd

ASVA & Philippe Petit
Empires Should Burn
Small Doses/Basses Frequencies

Holy shit. This is not what I was expecting but it was what I was hoping for. Deep horrifying bass frequencies match with piercing and maniacal percussion. This is heavy. Really heavy. There are five tracks on this one huge opening doozy and four follow ups that are short, sweet and brutal. The opening track has vocals by Edward Ka-Spel so I know all of you Legendary Pink Dots fanatics will be owning this right away. You also get vocals by Stuart from ASVA, Jarboe and Bryan Lewis Saunders. It's good and well worth owning.

     The layout is a simple yet effective combination of textural photographs–fire, broken wood, Bosch paintings, warped film–and Trajan Pro. Well done.

Sujo "Kahane" 12"

Fedora Corpse Recordings

This took me a few listens to get my head around but I really love it. It may sound weird but I think this sounds a little like Emeralds meets KTL with a little touch of Pyramids thrown in. By that I mean I really like it. Epic, almost black metal, movements cover barely audible drum machine and buried shrieks. A huge wall os distortion is obscuring something sad and forgotten. This could take the place of Tangerine Dream's soundtrack for The Keep in some places (I have been listening to a lot of Tangerine Dream lately, bare with me). It's good. 

     I like Fedora Corpse's look. Chipboard sleeve with stamps along with nicely colored vinyl is great. The postcards for the inserts doesn't really fit though. They should have just gone to a Kinkos and run off a bunch of low quality xeroxes. Honestly I think that would have been more cohesive but it is a minor thing on an awesome record. 

    Excellent work. Buy. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tovarish "Red Hearts in a Dead World" cd

Red Hearts in a Dead World
Nefarious Industries

This is some very dark and fearful industrial from Russia. It's hauntingly scary. It gets a tiny bit heavy on the samples for me but they are usually being used in such a cool subtle way that it doesn't really bother me…  This is good. It's dark and deconstructed in such a way that no song feels formulaic but nothing seems totally improv either. It's pretty impressive. As a listener I will say that the cd is a little on the long side but it's so massive I doubt you will mind. 

     The layout is pretty standard fare. A pretty 90's cover with some random text on the inside. It's not bad but you can tell it was done by someone who probably doesn't really know or care about graphic design but they do seem to have pretty good taste. 

     I would probably skip over this based on it's looks but its a huge gritty slice of insanity on the inside… I would hate to have missed out on that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vasculae "Cultural Primitivism" cd

Cultural Primitivism
Monorail Trespassing

Fucking holy Harsh Noise Wall. This is a fifty plus minute pro cd of very blistering noise. Like a shower of blisters in your ears for almost an hour. There is really only one moment of rest near the end of the 20+ minute second track. Otherwise this is just a disc full of brutal. I can definitely get into this. My listening to things like this so much has pretty much ruined all other genres of "extreme music".

     There isn't much about the artwork that isn't minimal and bleak. Dark and textured photos with minimal text. It works great.

The DRX "The Deepening Hole" cd

The Deepening Hole
Nefarious Industries

I think more new genres may have been invented recently. I am having a hard time placing this one. Somewhere between rock, hardcore, screamo, prog rock, and doom. All with a healthy dose of horns. It's very strange. It really sounds like something I would hate but you know what? I kind of like the music and the screaming. It's really different to me. I think if I had to compare it to people I might say Muse meets Frodus and Quicksand with a strange touch of A Perfect Circle. I can see this getting pretty huge actually. I have to say that I am not super into the "nice" singing voice. It's good singing and hits the notes really well but I just don't like the sound. It's all over the songs too. Which I actually respect, I hate when people scream 90% of the time and then do the obligatory "singing" part over the awful hooky chorus. I'm looking at you, every new metal band I seem to hear these days. I bet some people love the singer's voice and I get it but it just doesn't sit right with me. It's not bad at all. Really, it's actually pretty brand new and I sort of love it for that but at the end of the day I don't think I really love the vocals. That's a big part of music like this. Whatever kind of music this is.

     It looks pretty cool. I think the whole of the art and text was cut from a wood block so they pretty much win in that category. I am impressed with the packaging in general. I would probably pick this up based on it's looks and how much effort obviously went into this. Overall this is a success but it is just not one for me. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Cherry Point "Black Witchery" cd

The Cherry Point 
Black Witchery

Did you ever see “Season of the Witch”? I did, it was fucking terrible. Because it’s such a piece of shit movie, it felt long, and tortuous, and the entire film left you with that sinking feeling in your gut that there’s really no escaping what’s about to happen next.

     This "The Cherry Point" thing is a lot like Season of the Witch. Sure, it’s got a track actually titled “Season of the witch” but that’s too easy. Like the 95 minutes I wasted watching a rotted pile of Nicolas Cage’s smeg, This record feels long, and torturous, and there’s actually no way of escaping. I tried to pause it at one point and it didn’t work. This is most likely related to the fact that this computer is shit and can’t handle the size of my outlook penis, but I’m just gonna blame it on impressive Cherry Point witchery.
Unlike the film, this thing is fucking rad. HNW tearing at your eardrums like a horde of hungry earwigs. I’m never going to listen to it again because I like not having that feeling of being strangled by an oscillator, but you should totally check it out.

     The cover art is of a pretty lady, she looks classy. I dunno if she’s a witch or what, maybe she’s tied to a stake or something, I can’t tell. I’m pretty sure she’s not black though. The back looks like utter shit, but that’s probably the point. 

     Oh, you can visit them at,
Awesome name noise bros. (RS)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crown of Cerebus "Her Strength" cs

Crown of Cerebus
Her Strength
Cult of Craft

Another killer release from Cult of Craft. This time it is a selection of the most melancholy drone and soundscape work I have heard in a long time. Sigur Ros would love to put out a record that sounds like this. There are some samples (I think from What Dreams May Come) at the beginning and that usually bums me out but this time around I think it's perfect. It still bums me out but in the way the artist intended. I really like this album, it feels like it really was written for someone. Someone who needed a little strength. 

     This is going in the Dead Formats book. The oversized plastic bag is kinda crappy but I think I will just regard that as protection and not packaging. Like a mylar sleeve around Action Comics #1. A screen printed* wrap around sleeve with a purple ribbon holding the whole thing together. It somehow makes this whole cassette seem that much more personal. 

     I would recommend this.

*turns out this is a block cut which is 400% cooler than a screen print. I am very impressed. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Æther & Trepaneringsritualen "Edifice of Nine Sauvastikas" cs

Æther & Trepaneringsritualen
Edifice of Nine Sauvastikas

This is so well done that I feel like I need to be very respectful in my review. Both acts do an all encompassing drone made up of instruments and voices doing something I don't think I have ever heard before. This is so alien and strange that I almost felt high listening to it. I think the only thing I would say against it is that I wish it were about two hours longer. Really, really good. Both artists fit perfectly together and compliment each other in a completely awe inspiring way. 

     Everything from this label–and I have about three more to review–looks amazing and cohesive. Beautiful Tibetian artwork on the cover with swastikas floating around the artwork. Very nice design. Reminds me a lot of European design from the mid 60's. 

     Find this and buy this. 

Deism cs

Self Titled
Spring Street Records

Wow! Holy shit. I wasn't expecting this at all. This reminds me of Warsaw meets Born Against. Deism is an intense noisy punk-noise-hardcore-rock explosion with just the tiniest touch of krautrock. It was not what I was expecting but it's real good. I am actually a little bummed this is so short. I think this is a c10. Fuck it. It's rad. 

     It looks great. Includes a sticker and full lyrics along with some grim images. The type is handled very well so you know I am happy. It's really the full package. 

     I would buy this, thinking I was getting some Sunn0))) inspired drone, but I would be very happy to own this.

Worn Vessel "Creatures of Decadence" cs

Worn Vessel
Creatures of Decadence
Worthless Recordings

Well done. This is an epic piece of noise. It has this beautiful lo-fi sound that brings to mind nights when I was a child trying desperately to find music buried below the white noise. This is more of a swirling, twitching drone with moments of electrocution speckling the waves. It's ominous. That's the word I wanted to write. Ominous. 

     It looks pretty cool. Normally I yawn at the dead girls-sexy violence noise thing but this is done in a very cool handmade way and it looks legit. Nice. 

     Yeah, buy this. 

Fur of Heaven cs

Fur of Heaven
Self Titled
Worthless Recordings

Hmmm. This is the last thing I expected it to be. This sounds an awful lot like stuff I was way into in the early to mid 90's. Quicksand and Handsome but mix in a touch of Tragedy and some pretty killer vocals. Strange. I really am not feeling it though. It rocks very fucking hard and gets better and better as it goes but it is ultimately not my thing. The band is good though and I have to give it up for that. I usually find everything Worthless Recordings does pretty bullet proof so I may have to give this another listen but right now I am pretty lukewarm.

     The look of it throws me off too. The logo on the front of the cassette looks like something you might see on the bottom of a snowboard. Aside from that there isn't much else to mention. 

     I don't think I would buy this one. 

The Salts 3" cdr

The Salts
Fedora Corpse Records

So this beautiful little 3" starts out in a very singular noisy drone type of direction. I was pretty settled thinking that this was what I was getting. IT's awesome but then it moves into this strange almost krautrock type track then within a few minutes this crazy psychedelic stuff that was totally hypnotic. It's a huge range of sounds in just 3" of cd. I dig it. 

     The packaging is great. Lots of stamps (which is a Fedora Corpse standard) and this interesting textured paper. Only 20 were made but it's worth tracking down. 

Deadmoths "Asylum Dreams" cs

Asylum Dreams
Crippled Sound Records

Fuck. Fuck. This is some grim shit. Totally insane vocals over this almost brand new kind of noise. It sputters and swings across your speakers with lots of feedback, ring modulators and static. I think listening to this in headphones would make you vomit. I almost don't want to say anymore after that. 

     I will say that although the cover and inside photos are great, and totally go with it, the type on the inside and back are pretty forgettable. Nothing horrible but it seems a little bit of a throw away. 

     I would still buy it though. It sounds like you are being consumed by bees. You can't put a price tag on that. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Temple of Set cs

Temple of Set
Cult of Craft

A harrowing nightmare of feedback being blasted through an air vent from miles away. This sounds like horror. A distant howling horror that will make it's way to you. I like it. It's heavy on the delay and fuzz in a way that reminds me of some early heavy noise doom stuff. Maybe a little BSBC (arguably the best thing in doom/noise in the past decade) and maybe a little Deaththroes. It's killer. 

     It looks pretty cool. The tape is actually tied into it's j card by these black ribbons and the j card goes all the way around. It doesn't have a case but instead has this weird mismatched plastic bag. That is my only real issue with this one. Still it's a good one. 

     If I saw this, with it's weird plastic bag that is too big, on a merch table I would pass it by but I would be missing out. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Rainbow Body "Return Unto Void" cs

The Rainbow Body
Return Unto Void
Self Released

This is the second cassette I have heard from The Rainbow Body and I am very impressed. Fans of Imaginary Hardwoods, Mark McGuire and Fennez will be totally into this. I am in love with the looping, swirling, guitar and keyboard drones. It's amazingly restrained with just the right amount of dirt. This also sounds across the board amazing. It's nice to see a band that cares enough to pay for James Plotkin to master their cassette. 

     It looks good. Nice, clean, modern typography and lust full color cover make this a damn attractive piece of work. 

     Buy this right away. This one is going on a "best of" list. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hheva // Shiver split cs

Hheva // Shiver
Troubled Sleep

Two dark and sorrowful tracks haunt this cassette. Hheva play a track that honestly sound like ghosts of ancient aliens whispering warnings to you in a language you cannot comprehend. It scary and beautiful at the same time. Shiver do another anxiety ridden synth heavy track that fells like you are waiting for torture. It's kinda freaky. There are some samples that I kinda hate but most of the samples are in a foreign language so it doesn't totally pull me out of the music. Shiver's last release I reviewed was so good that I forgive a sample here and there but I am still not a fan.

     It looks pretty simple. Kinda forgettable but i really appreciate the brittle, rough paper DZPM likes to use. It feels and looks so old that you almost feel like you are discovering this tape under the floorboards of a condemned house.

     I would probably pick this up based on the label's track record alone, but it's not a grand slam. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kleptocracy Pyre "Into the Marrow of Humanity" cs

Kleptocracy Pyre
Into the Marrow of Humanity

This is pretty fucking unrelenting and hateful industrial noise from Waterpower. I have never heard of Kleptocracy Pyre but I think my love of Throbbing Gristle, Deutsch Nepal and Self Communion is making me love this project. LIke I said hateful. Heavy rhythms that just pound at you as some almost neo fascist sounding vocals scream commands you dare not disobey. Fuck. 

The layout is killer. Black and white photography with excellent typography. Much appreciated. 

I would buy it. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nagual "Clear One: Ether(s) " cs

Clear One: Ether(s)
Pidgin Records

Breaking format. This is a beautiful, beautiful design. I am so excited to keep this tape safe so I can have it looking nice for the book. It's so simple, minimal and perfect that I am totally blown away. I absolutely respect the restraint that made something this handsome exist. Excellent work Ohio. Oh yeah, Nagual is a duo from Oberlin, Ohio and they play some excellent subtle yet complex drone. Tiny bits of percussion dot a landscape made up of two beautiful droning guitars. It's a little like Barn Owl if you took away the "parts". If that makes sense… This is a group to pay attention to. 

Seriously. This tape is gorgeous.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Divine Shell // False Flag split cs

Divine Shell // False Flag
Split cs
Rainbow Bridge

I had to borrow this image because I can't find this awesome tape in this  pile. Thanks Justin.

Rainbow Bridge is one of those awesome labels that has a constant output of excellent cassettes and cdrs. Less cdrs though these days. I don't know why people aren't that into them anymore. I think they are such a dead format that they kinda rule more now. Up there with 3.5" diskettes really… Anyhow, This split from Divine Shell and False Flag is a excellent example of Rainbow Bridges work. Simple packaging and stamped tapes always look great. Divine Shell starts with a huge noisy drone that sounds like a million broken Baldwin Fun Machines being played by a million Brian Enos with one distortion pedal connecting them all. It's great! False Flag (a term I just learned) does this excellent drone with lots of vocals and static smeared over the top. This is a killer split from a killer label.

     It looks cool. Overly simple and slightly naive in a 1980's educational sort of way. I really like the looks of this. Limited to only 20 copies. Damn.

     Yeah, I would. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gnawed // RXAXPXE cs

Gnawed // RXAXPXE
Industrial Culture

I have been getting a lot of tapes lately that are really full of fucked hate. This is no exception. The tracks on the first side of this cassette–by Gnawed–are a touch industrial but with some much noise and vocal destruction that it obscures any rhythm you may here and turns the whole track into a drone of pure static and rage. The RxAxPxE tracks are a bit more on the thin harsh noise side of things but totally brutal. Excellent work by both artists.

     It looks solid. Big creepy photos matched with big creepy type. It's pretty well done.

     If you like hate and hate like. LIke this. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Monster Club "Posthumous Hits" cs

No Monster Club
Posthumous Hits
Already Dead Tapes

Wow. This is maybe the most surprising audio reveal for me. No Monster Club is not the kind of band I thought it would be. From the tape artwork and photo on the back I was thinking either NOFX type thing or maybe at best something akin to Dinosaur Jr. I was pretty wrong. This is way closer to The Kinks, Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, and more contemporary comparisons like Ariel Pink, (early) Animal Collective and The Fall-outs. I know that is a wide comparison with a lot of disparate bands but this has a lot of interesting garage and psychedelic comparisons. If you have a music snob coming over, play this and they're mind will be blown. It's good. Very good. 

     I was a little thrown off by the cover artwork though. It looks like a 1990's garage band cover that would have been on Esterus Records. Comic Book style drawings and live photos in a tiny box. It is something I would have never bothered with.

     After hearing the first track I would buy one. Absolutely. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Unexamine // HHL split cs

Unexamine // HHL
Worthless Recordings

I am sure you have heard both of these HNW acts by now and I don't really have to describe them too much. I will say that one is blistering and the other is bludgeoning and I think you can guess which is which. This cassette is pure HNW and needs to be owned by anyone who claims to care about the genre. I love this. 

     The tape looks pretty rad. Black and white photos of models and simple Helvetica in all caps. It's well printed and well designed and I am stoked to own this. You should be too.

     Buy one for your most fucked up friend.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Locrian & Mamiffer "Bless Them That Curse You" cs/cd/lp

Locrian & Mamiffer
Bless Them That Curse You
Siege, Profound Lore, Utech

Normally when I review something for this shit I get the overwhelming feeling that the person who made it is really mad at me. Instead of yelling at me about whatever I did to piss them off, like a fucking adult, ragebeard sends me a really passive aggressive voicemail that sounds suspiciously like two cats raping a toaster. 

     Not so with this one. Locrian and Mamiffer, “Bless Them that Curse You”. This record sounds just sounds like some chill smart dudes who just want to tell me ghost stories. Atmospheric and pretty out the balls, this thing fucking rules. When drums come, and they will come, your shitty work cubicle starts to feel carcinogenic and more like being stoned at an ent’s grave. Seriously, I know you’ve all already bought this, well, I hope so, but even if you have, listen to it again, because you know I’m right.

     Aesthetically I thought this thing was a CD, turns out it’s just a really pretty tape package. Would I buy this? Of fucking course I would, twice. Goddamn I love Locrian. (RS)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ehnahre "Old Earth" cd

Old Earth
Crucial Blast

I really miss Mare. They were by far, the best thing that came out of Hydrahead in the last decade or so. Interesting, complex, emotional heaviness that just perplexed me when I tried to reverse engineer their songs. I figured I had that one EP from them and that was it… and it was. THere were other bands that did what they did before and after them but none really hit me in a way that blew me away like that. Then this record comes along. It's not exactly the same and the comparison isn't exactly fair but this band has full control over the amazing music they make in a very similar way and I am totally perplexed in the same way. Doom, jazz, free improvisation blackened vocals, cellos, and seriously heavy riffs that barely exist in this world are completely destroying me right now. There are moments that actually remind me of my favorite band of all time, Craw. This record feels almost like it was made for me. 

      It looks okay. I'm not really into the layout or the dirt photos on the cover. It looks kinda like a "gritty" mood board that they decided to just through some text over. It's fine but it's not really impressing me nearly as much as the music is. 

      I would very much buy this.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bad Algorithm // Glasgow Smile split cs

Bad Algorithm // Glasgow Smile
Self Released by BA

Two acts delivering blistering HNW for about 45 minutes or so. Bad Algorithm has been putting out some pretty intense harsh noise and this cassette is a prime example. Glasgow Smile is new to me but it's equally brutal with a bit of vocal destruction as well. Straight ahead audio violence.

     It's pretty simple looking as well. Not a bad thing, just simple. Psychedelic cover art and clean text. The color of the text hinders the legibility a bit but it still works okay.

     Would I buy this? Yeah, Probably. For the Bad Algorithm alone. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Idylls "Farewell All Joy" cs

Farewell All Joy
Tapes of a Neon God

This is the best album of the year. Hands down. I know you liked something else but your taste is terrible. Idylls do what everyone in 1995 was trying to do but they do it very well. Idylls do what Converge was almost able to do but instead of undershooting that moon they somehow grab ahold and drag that fucker into a higher orbit. If you want a quick comparison I would say take the best 4 songs off of Converge's Jane Doe and You Fail Me, Botch with a better guitar sound, much more intense drummer and a little less of that light show style songwriting, a gigantic and epic version of Jenny Piccolo or maybe The Locust, and maybe Dillinger Escape Plan if they did the exact opposite of what they did after losing Dimitri. It's not exactly fair to make all those comparisons and I know that. Those bands do and did what they feel is and was right for them as song writers but this band, Idylls, could have been an alternate universe version of any of those bands had they gone the direction that would have made me constantly shit myself. The guitar sound is closer to Steve Albini's than just about anyone attempting this type of music. The bass is heavy and doesn't mind bending some notes and making some strange pick sounds happen as long as it never betrays the sound of being pissed. The drummer is right on top of everything and constantly moves the whole band down a huge fucking hill towards a giant pile of my hyperbole. The vocals, by both the vocalist and the guitarist, are never, ever anything but just fucking furious. They even somehow put guitar solos in a couple songs and it doesn't suck at all. The solos are actually completely insane and make so little sense that I just sit there and wonder why I bother playing guitar at all. I guess these guys are from some dumb foreign country so I will probably never be able to see them and trying to buy their LP will cost me about $900 with shipping so I count myself very lucky to have this cassette. You should buy it too and listen to it until the tape snaps. 

Japanese Women // Kamikaze Pilots cs

Japanese Women // Kamikaze Pilots 
Split cs
Tapes of a Neon God

Two amazing sides of a brutal fucking tape. I am so stoked TOANG finally got #3 out. I bet this was bugging the shit outta Anderson. Anyhow, Japanese Women start there side with two tracks that completely destroy the memory of Black Flag for anyone. You start thinking about how Black Flag were good and all but after you saw that live VHS from one of their last years, you were kinda over them. Of course Black Flag are the Beatles of hardcore and if you don't say they are the best then you stand the risk of having none of your opinions be deemed as valid ever again. Don't fuck with the sacred cow. Anyhow, Japanese Women start off with a song that has more violence and swagger in it than anything Henry ever sang over. Oh Dez was your favorite singer? Yeah, everyone says that. Everyone. Kamikaze Pilots deliver about 11 tracks of filthy power violence. It's like you take Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 3 and make an audio police sketch of everything you love on there. Take a little Crom, a bit of Spazz and a whole lot of Despise You and you will get something similar to Kamikaze Pilots.

     Visually it's spot on. All the rules of typography broken well. TOANG always does great layouts and you would do well to study them.


Funerary Call "Fragments From The Aethyr" cd

Funerary Call
Fragments From The Aethyr
Crucial Blast

I have been in a pretty heavy Cthulu mood lately so let's just pretend this band has a lot of Cthulu references. I don't think they do but the music…  it works. It really does. The music on this–with it's violins, flutes and horns–really evokes an ancient orchestra. One probably not really into SUNN0))) which is what I think of most experimental music coming out these days. Whether the is true or not. Anyway, this album has some really twisted progressions and just enough noise, guitar and throat singing accompaniments to make me feel like playing this may actually cause the Elder Gods to wake from their slumber. It's good. It's dark. It's the definition of brooding. 

     The art is nice and creepy as well. Looks a bit like Scrawled's work but for a digipack this is a nice package. I don't usually buy regular cds anymore but Crucial Blast has been putting out some very nice work lately. Nice enough to make me reconsider. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Divine Shell "Cavity" 3" cdr

Divine Shell
Self Released

This cd gets better and better as it goes. The first track starts with a lot of screaming and noise. Screaming usually is the way straight into my heart but this sounds a little like someone from the Alleyway Crew decided to start doing noise. It doesn't totally work for me. After that though things really pick up and it get creepy with lots of swelling noise and skittering sounds. Pretty killer ending.

      It looks pretty cool. Not bad at all. The printing is pretty poor quality but that's not a huge deal and since I had never heard of Divine Shell until this I thought the band was Cavity and the album was Divine Shell based on the hierarchy of the typography. I was a little stoked at first that I might be getting a 3" cdr from Florida's answer to Eyehategod but it's cool. 

     I would probably buy it thinking it was Cavity from Florida but in the end I would not be that disappointed. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Krokodil "Crustacean Enlargement: Unsafe Acquaintance" 3"cdr

Crustacean Enlargement: Unsafe Acquaintance
Baby Smasher Records

This is pretty cool although it sounds a little "processed" to me at times. Weird, quiet swirling noise that has a heavy layer of digital wetness surrounding it. It's pretty interesting for sure but I am not sure if I like it or not. I think I do… It's different.

     The layout is okay. It's not bad, just sorta forgettable. Not much to say. Pretty cool cover but the back cover just doesn't do it for me. 

     I guess I wouldn't buy it? I don't know really. I may need to come back to this one. 

Pig Shrapnel "Bacon Worship" 3" cdr

Pig Shrapnel 
Bacon Worship
Baby Smasher Records

I am going to change my format a bit for this one. Let me start by saying that Pig Shrapnel wins the worst looking cover award of all time on Dead Formats. Worse than even that +DOG+ cd. This is the kind of cover that makes me a little sad for the trees that get chopped down for this future landfill. The back cover isn't so horrible but the strange thing is that it doesn't even seem to go with the front cover. Ugh. That cover. fuck…

     Anyway, the audio is pure HNW and I kinda like it. It sorta bubbles and scrapes on top of your speakers. It sound a bit like sliding violently ear first down a giant pyramid. It's pretty awesome.

     I would never spend money on this though. The cover is just taunting me right now with it's ugliness. 

Lester Ferox Music Orchestra "Splendid Party Mix" 3" cdr

Lester Ferox Music Orchestra
Splendid Party Mix
Shit Music for Shit People

This is perfect if you are even a little happy. It's like magic, crazy person crack music. Flutes, cymbals, tubas, harps, harpsichords… I have no idea really. What's in an orchestra? All that stuff, all playing outside, in a field, made out of drugs, just for you.  It's like running, falling and face painting all at once. It's nuts. 

     It's too bad the layout is nothing. A blank cdr in a fold-over black on orange paper sleeve with nothing of interest to look at. The type choice was pretty nice but it wasn't handled in any interesting way. 

     If I didn't know what a treasure the crazy pants, pixy stix music was I would not buy this. Tragic. 

Michael Muennich "Zum Geleit" 3"cdr

Michael Muennich
Zum Geleit
Fragment Factory

This is another 3" cdr I have not got around to reviewing and I fell pretty dumb for sitting on this. The music on this release is excellent. Layers of crackling fire, snapping sticks, bells and a sub bass swell of anxiety. This is one long soundscape by the artist that is really effective in producing a claustrophobic sense of anxiety and sadness. I don't know why but this is really hitting me in the right way at the right time. Dark and melancholy musique concréte sounds

     The packaging is in a mini dvd case (amray?) with some nicely printed black and white inserts. Nice type treatment for just all being center justified. It looks quite good. Nice work.

     I would buy this. This label has always been pretty consistent with the goods.