Thursday, December 23, 2010

Life's Blood - Defiance 7"

My favorite NYHC record besides the Burn 7". I have read that the guy who drew the cover art for it once beat Raybeez up for attacking a Puerto Rican family. Did it really happen? Seems plausible, right? Is there any story from that time / place that wouldn't seem plausible?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bluetip - Dischord 101

Of course Dischord's discography gets a little dicey starting around 1994, but there are quality nuggets to be found in there and this is one. Bluetip formed after the demise of Swiz and featured the drummer from Worlds Collide and Battery. Real solid, accessible post-hardcore with strong playing all-round. The nice thing about Bluetip is that if you dig around a little bit you can assemble their discography without paying more than like $3 for anything.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Domini Inferi / Warhate split LP

Domini Inferi were Ryan Förster's pre - Conqueror / Revenge band. This track from 1994 is their only recording and it's a great piece of ancient, decrepit death metal. Warhate respond with four short bursts of staggering speed and violence from 1998. NWN still has copies of this, and it's worth having for the layout and packaging alone. But in the meantime, get your Superion fix here:

Drug Test - Needle in Your Neck 7"

Sketchy hardcore for shitty people. I like it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chain of Strength - both 7"s

For years I heard people say "You haven't really heard Chain of Strength until you hear the 7"s, not that LP hatchet job on Rev". And I believed them, but when I finally heard the mixes on the 7"s I was still struck by just how much better they were. Everything hits harder, rages more, and there are some parts and effects that were omitted entirely on the LP. So here are my rips of the 7"s; They're loud and clean and I hope they do the material justice, because words like "classic" and "seminal", though justified in their use, do not.

From Ashes Rise - Concrete and Steel

Have you ever had all of a band's records but one, and you just never got around to checking that other one out, and then when you finally do it just steamrolls everything you knew about them? Yeah. What a rager.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Carol - Discography

If you can call five songs a discography, that is. Carol was a hardcore band from Bremen, land of great hardcore. They had a brief run in 1996-97; I'm not sure what other bands, if any, the members did. All Carol did was a 7" on Per Koro, a split 7" with Stack and one compilation song. The song on the split, "Pandemonium", is head and shoulders above the rest. It's a towering, swarming fucking MENACE of a song. Dare I say it's the best piece of hardcore to come out of Germany in the '90s? Oh, I think so. The rest of their material stands up to it just fine, but man. That song. Man.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Taiga Remains / RV Paintings - split LP

Two similar slabs of haunted drone/ambient/noise that carry a sense of loss and malaise. Recommended.
Blackest Rainbow still has some copies if you don't mind ordering from Euroland.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sword Heaven - Entrance

A half-hour of squealing shuddering lurching howling madness. Fuck you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Archers of Loaf - Vee Vee

This is too good a record to not be on here. Especially Harnessed in Slums. There is a genuine eccentricity to Archers of Loaf that's never forced or contrived or "quirky" or "arty", and is tempered by a certain hookiness.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Candle - S/T 7"

Candle was pre - Antioch Arrow and Clikitat Ikatowi. I think this 7" is a good example of the things that '90s emo bands did right. Two driving songs that remind me of Grain or Amber Inn or maybe even Breakwater at times. Lots of good energy and just the right amount of teenage incompetence.

Grachan Moncur III - New Africa

A record with a very free-jazz-oriented lineup playing less skronky and more hard-bop. most of this sounds closer to early-60s Blue note than a lot of the madness that was coming out on BYG/Actuel at the end of the decade. In fact, Moncur lead two sessions for Blue Note in '63 and '64 and they're both well worth tracking down, especially Evolution. But back to the record at hand; The bigger chunk of the record finds the band in a fairly laid-back mode. I really like Dave Burrell's piano on this record, he keeps it simple nearly to the point of being ambient at times. "Space Spy" finds the other players weaving in and out of an endlessly repeating motif from Burrell. "Exploration", as the title hints at, is a little more out there. I couldn't find eny evidence of this existing on CD, but this rip is clean as can be.
Grachan Moncur III - trombone
Roscoe Mitchell - alto sax, piccolo
Dave Burrell - piano
Alan Silva - bass
Andrew Cyrille - drums
Archie Shepp - tenor sax on the last track

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hacksaw - s/t 7"

So the story goes like this: Great American Steak Religion pressed 400 copies of this for Hacksaw's tour in 1998. They were mailed to the band in the States because Hacksaw were from Toronto and they wouldn't have to deal with taking them across the border that way. At the end of tour they took whatever was left (some 200 copies as I hear it) and tossed them in a dumpster because Yannick told them he was going to a repress and they didn't want to deal with the border on the way back up. The repress never materialized though. so who knows how many copies of this are out there?
Oh yeah, the music: it's solid rockin' punk/hardcore. Exceptionally well produced, in my opinion. I'm thinking... like... Swiz with a touch of Torches to Rome.

The Refreshments - The Bottle & Fresh Horses

This is one of my favorite records ever. Go ahead and make fun of me. If you came of age in the '90s, you might remember The Refreshments for their one hit. They also did the theme for King of the Hill, which has them (or whoever owns their publishing) set for life. The Bottle & Fresh Horses is their second album, and it was a total flop. Nobody cared. It didn't spawn another pop hit and they broke up soon afterward. But it rules! It's hooky, poppy '90s alternative rock with a big country twang. The lyrics have a keen sense of humor, but it always seems to serve a more wistful and jaded purpose.
Eh, you'll probably hate this. But since it came out on a major label you can download it guilt-free, so you might as well check it out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

His Hero Is Gone / Uranus split LP

Well, I scored this at a local record store today and I'm pretty pleased about that so here it is for all to enjoy. These bands should require no introduction.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Die My Will - ...And Still We Destroy

Criminally underrated and un-talked-about heavy hardcore from Connecticut in the late '90s. One of the angriest sounding bands ever. Most stuff comes and goes on the ol' Ipod, but this is a permanent fixture.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Merciless - The Awakening

This Swedish death/thrash classic may be best remembered for being ANTI-MOSH 001. But it is also remembered for ripping unbelievably hard from front to back. I think that you can hear plenty of this record's influence on Euronymous in "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", which came out four years later. Listen or pose!!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Okkultokrati - No Light for Mass

These Oslo rockers list their influences as Black Flag and Black Sabbath. End result: I lost track of how many great riffs happened on this record. Great vocal performance, stellar artwork and a really organic production. Recommended!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Corridors - s/t

Deeply layered drone from a guy with ties to Phill Niblock and Rhys Chatham. Absolutely, absolutely wonderful. One of the best albums of 2010 with a bullet.
Please hit up Sedimental and buy yourself one; it's not expensive and you won't regret it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

June Paik / Battle of Wolf 359 split 7"

I wasn't really planning on putting this up here, but the June Paik song is the best hardcore song I've heard all year. I thought they were really spinning their wheels on the last 10" but the new new track is a beast! This is still in print and available from React With Protest, Adagio 830 and the wonderful IFB Distro among others. Go fetch.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Life At These Speeds - s/t

Life At Theses Speeds were part of that spate of indie-influenced punk bands running around in the early-mid 2000s (Sinaloa, Stop It, Malady etc etc) and were criminally underrated. I think their discography should be state-issued to anybody thinking about starting an indie rock band. "See? You can do it and still have guts!" This is their first full length and the delivery is a little more aggressive than on subsequent outings, but the end product is great as always.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Discovery: Live at Montreux

Unless you sit around listening to shitty street punk all day, you've probably heard a lot of very talented musicians. But how often do you hear a real virtuoso? Not just some guy who shreds on a guitar real good, but somebody that defies you to believe that they're even playing what they're playing? Gonzalo Rubalcaba is that dude. This is the then-27-year-old pianist's second public appearance in North America after being isolated in his native Cuba previously. This captures him playing in a trio with the ubiquitous Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motian on drums, but the focus is on Rubalcaba all the way. By the time he finishes the first cut - Monk's "Well You Needn't" - you're left gasping for breath and grasping for adjectives at the sheer force of it all. He come out on FIRE, launching run after run with astonishing clarity and creativity, breaking out some Cuban rhythm and displaying classical delicacy where required. Unbelievable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mayhem - Wolf's Lair Abyss

Wolf's Lair Abyss seems to get short shrift in the Mayhem discography, and understandably so. It was the follow-up to a record that couldn't possibly be followed up (De Mysteriis dom Sathanas) and preceded one that bitterly divided the band's fanbase (Grand Declaration of War). You can feel both of those albums trying to pull Wolf's Lair Abyss to their side. In the futuristic touches of the intro and the cold, mechanical production you can hear where the band is headed but in many of the riffs - most notably much of "Ancient Skin" - you can clearly hear where they have been. I think Wolf's Lair Abyss is better than just a transitional album though. As with every Mayhem release there is a lot of thought and creativity put into it and they have certainly never been afraid to take risks. Bonus points for a stellar layout on the CD from Mr. Stephen O'Malley himself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Channel - s/t 7"

Channel featured Nate Newton pre-Jesuit and pre-pre-Converge as well as Brian Benoit pre-Dillinger Escape Plan and played chunky, mid-paced hardcore in the vein of Groundwork and Chokehold. This is their first 7" from 1994. This is here more as a matter of historical curiosity than anything, but I wouldn't have posted it if it completely sucked. I think "Justice" in particular is a pretty solid jam.
WARNING: This record is '90s as hell.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Urfaust - Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist

A strange entry from a strange band. Many prefer Urfaust's first LP, the excellent Geist ist Teufel, to this but I can't get this one into my ears enough right now. Urfaust play very simple, stripped down, melodic sort-of-folky Black Metal with mostly clean vocals that give way to strange howls and histrionics at points. The vocals may be a sticking point for many; IX's voice is very much unpolished but he's always in key. The drums can barely keep up with the simplest beats and there are some musical decisions that work but are kind of baffling (ie. the arpeggiated guitars for the entirety of "Verflucht das Blenden der Erscheinung"). Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist's four BM tracks are accompanied by 3 of the most sophisticated and well recorded classical pieces I've ever heard come out of a metal band. Unlike most would-be classical composers in metal, Urfaust veer away from too much obvious melody or soundtrackiness (that's a word now) and present largely minimal work somewhat in the vein of certain 20th Century works by guys like Giacinto Scelsi or Henryk Góreck. Not on the same level of sophistication obviously, but still... So you have this weird juxtaposition of very weird metal and weirdly brilliant classical music and it's not for everybody at ALL, but fuck if I can't stop listening to it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stars of the Lid - Live at Holy Trinity Church

I was rummaging in a hard drive for something else and found a few Stars of the Lid live sets that I don't remember ever downloading. How excellent! So here's one from Leeds in May of 2008. Graceful and sublime. Plus they open with a version of Arvo Part's "Fratres".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jeniger - s/t LP

A bigtime grower. So at first I thought this was a decent melodic crust record, but as I listened more I realized it was way better than that: It's a fusion of that From Ashes Rise style with a fat dose of Uranus / '90s Bremen HC thrown in, and it's fucking potent. This made more sense when I found that Jeniger morphed into the most excellent Zeroid.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Force of Darkness - Darkness Revelation

A blistering black thrash assault from these Chilean masters! Think 'De Mysteriis...', Absu and Blasphemophagher duking it out with a touch of that special over-the-top South American evil. Strongly recommended. TOTAL SUPPORT!!! AAAAAAAAAARGH 666!!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lyle Lovett - I Love Everybody

It's okay if you're too cool to like Lyle Lovett. He's old and he puts stuff out on major labels and maybe your dad likes him or something. You're not missing out on much, just great songs with tasteful arrangements.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

VA - On the Powers of the Sphinx

A very interesting new comp LP from the Ajna Offensive. They still have a few left and have promised a CD version eventually, but here's my LP rip in the meantime.
Saturnalia Temple start things off a long flow of ritualistic, lo-fi subterranean DOOM.
Nightbringer follow them up by reminding us that they're probably the best BM band in the States right now.
Nihil Nocturne start the B Side with what to my ears is OK depressive BM. Not bad, some Wigrid-type moments, we'll see if it really sticks with me.
Aluk Todolo, who are basically the mighty Diamatregon playing different music under a different name, close the record off. I've enjoyed their hypnotic, repetitive black-kraut emissions for a while now and this might be the best song I've heard from them yet. Not for everybody, but heartily recommended.