Friday, March 30, 2007

A Trio of Doom and Decay...

There are so many different kinds of Doom and Sludge and Stoner inspired music. It can be hard wading through the muck trying to find those gems (or blackened lumps of coal, if you prefer). In an effort to ease you into a truly Doom-filled existence, I have selected these three current acts that are guaranteed to chop your head off. Each occupies a specifically torturous sound in the Doom landscape of today...

Manatees - Untitled (2007)
Manatees are a new band, one that should be highly regarded and watched. Manatees amazingly packaged untitled debut comes as little suprise considering the popularity of the Isis-Neurosis sound. What does suprise though, is how damn good these guys are pulling it off. Giving a new take on the space-rock sludge genre, they mine everything from Isis to Pink Floyd to Sunn 0))), adding tribal drumming and mantra-like vocals. These three UK lads have crafted an excellent and expansive ode to cosmic Doom. For fans of Ufomammut, Isis, Mouth of the Architect and Bongripper. Out now on MotiveSound Records
Manatees Myspace Page

Monarch! - Speak of the Sea LP + Amplifire Death March (2006)
France's Monarch! have been playing extreme funeral paced Doom for 5 years now. Their brand of Doom is excrutiatingly slow, like black tar slowly bubbling forth from a dark abyss. Monarch! sound like Sunn 0))) with caveman drumming. They are fronted by the beautiful Emilie who does not look like she would or could even produce the sounds she does. Nonetheless, it is extremely charming and very disturbing. They are currently in the middle of releasing a number of things, including but not limited too, the Die Tonight LP on Throne Records, the double CD, Dead Mean Tell No Tales on Crucial Blast and a split 7" with Moss on Lee Dorian's Rise Above Records. All of their artwork is composed of cute little skulls and burning churches in the style of Hello Kitty, who they claim to be big fans of.
Monarch's Myspace Page

Suma - Let The Churches Burn (2006)*
Suma is yet another style of Doom that is essential to any fan of the genre. Suma, from Sweden, play Doom in the Stoner/ Sludge vein but they have no problems visiting Metallica or Slayer in their Doom arena, meaning that they bring the hurtin with serious riffage that is guaranteed to beat you down. Not too different from a solid mix of Electric Wizard and Eyehategod, or even earlier Sleep (Holy Mountain). Fusing so many of the qualities that makes Doom so ferocious and combining them with other forms of metal and hardcore is Sumas strong point. If Doom is often too slow, or too abstract, that is where Suma comes in. Let The Churches Burn, Sumas second full length, was released on Speakerphone Recordings in 2006.
Suma's Site

* thanks to Soundweave for the introduction to Suma and the lifted Suma link

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sleepytime Trio - Memory Minus (1998)

Second act from the amazing Maximillian Colby guys. Originally started as a project band by Drew Ringo of Max Colby with Ben Davis and Jonathan Fuller, they later became a full time band after the death of Max Colby bassist Bob Baynor. Dave Nesmith, also from Max Colby, then joined as second guitar and the band began touring. It is no suprise then that Sleepytime Trio sounds more like an extension of Max Colby as opposed to an entirely new entity. But nonetheless, the trio (actually a quattro) did maintain a certain sense of slinty dynamic that was ever so present in Mac Colby, and is something the band spent more time cultivating. The seething tension that exists in these songs is apparent from the first notes. Occasional frantic bursts of jazzy, noise damaged rock and hardcore spew through the murk and decay of the desconstructed riffs, sounding on one hand like a great release and on the other as a cacaphonous overload. Safety is not guaranteed. The drumming sounds like a vile sea, tossing and turning, daring you to lose your lunch on these slippery decks. While remaining hardcore enough to fit in with the genre as a whole, the dynamic presence of all the writers sets the Sleepytime Trio far apart from the rest of their peers, placing them on the same pedestals that their experimental forefathers Drive Like Jehu, Slint and Rodan occupy.

Memory Minus combines all of the bands work into one discography as well as songs from a live show that arent necessarily terrible. It was released on Lovitt Records, out of Virginia. Members of the band went on to form Engine Down, Denali, Rah Brahs, Milemarker and Bats and Mice. All of the bands above can also be found on the Lovitt site.

Big Thanks to 'nick' for a proper full link.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pitchfork - Eucalyptus + Saturn Outhouse (1990)

This is actually the 2003 re-release on John Reis's Swami Records imprint. It combines the Eucalyptus LP from 1990 and the OOP Saturn Outhouse 7" from 1989.

For fans of Drive Like Jehu or the Hot Snakes, it is a must that you check this record out. Pitchfork is the beginning of it all for the legacy of John Reis and Rick Froberg. And knowing where the two have been for the past 10+ years will not prepare you for what they started out with. You would think that the duos earlier stuff would actually be more ferocious and abrasive then their later stuff, them being youngins and all. But the truth is, Pitchfork is loaded to the brim with melody and alot of conventional rock structures. It still has the trademark guitar tone, and it still has Frobergs monotone vocal styling, but these are rockers, a lot of them at mid tempo, and resemble more of their late 80's peers than the mathematical hardcore punk they created. Reminscent of Dinosaur Jr at times, at Sonic Youth at others, even the later DC sound was an influence at the time. This all ends up making Pitchfork their most accesible piece of work. Froberg actually sings a fair amount of the songs and very little in terms of structure is similar to their later work. Though it is clear that it is Reis and Froberg the whole time. Every single note and lyric rings true with their aesthetic. It is amazing to see how they obviously took the melodies and harmonies from this work and then fractured them and re-arranged them for DLJ or Hot Snakes. The song New Kid is the song that most points in the direction of future pursuits, with its squggly guitar dynamic.

Overall, it is a more tuneful, less dangerous version of the John Reis sound. Maybe it seems obvious then, that Reis split this groups sound and took the rockier parts to Rocket From the Crypt, and took the harsher, more dymanic punk parts to Drive Like Jehu. Swami Records released the remastered version, and the artwork (as always) was done by Rick Froberg.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rodan - Rusty (1994)

Rodan was another progenitor of the early post-rock/ math-rock sound. Rusty was the only album they released besides a few scattered compilation tracks. The whole of their existence was 3 years, yet they sound on Rusty like they have existed since the dawn of time. Their complete understanding of duality and seemless integration of the two are a big part of their music. Songs veer back in forth from interwoven angular guitar compositions to dense, boxy chunks of noise. With members going on to bands such as the Rachels, June of 44, Shipping News and the Sonora Pine, as well as solo careers, it is easy to see how they all had previously explored such a wide range of sounds to such success. The first song, Bibe Silver Corner is a prelude of sorts, but rich and dense in almost classical structure. When Shiner comes up next it is a complete shock, a sucker punch, like the name somehow implies. The rest of the album finds the band juxtaposing these two extremes and finding much ground to be tread in between. In fact, Rodan almost goes hand in hand with Slints Spiderland album. It is a logical progression from where that great band left off. Rusty is an amazing piece of experimental rock music and sounds timeless even compared to all the bands that have taken their cues from Rodan.

If anyone has a vinyl release of this album, and would like to sell it, I would be very interested. I can do a trade too, though I have very little vinyl I would want to get rid of at this point. But I would throw in the Rodan CD as part of the trade. Let me know. I am not even sure if it was ever released on vinyl.

There is also a John Peel session of Rodan that I am looking for. Please inform. Thanks!

This album also resides on my Best Albums in Existence list.

Black Elk - s/t (2006)

This is another great release I have been digging lately. I heard of it through Below The Rust;he used the word 'sludgy', so I figured it would be worth checking out. Well after repeated listens, I am totally sold on this. What keeps striking me as so great about Black Elk is their formless mastery of so many different kinds of metal and hardcore. It becomes hard to pin down. Like if you took Jesus Lizard and put it with Karp or Craw, and maybe some Anthrax and Slayer and, you know, why not some Kyuss too, just to cover all our bases.
The Jesus Lizard comes first because the singer bares a resemblence to David Yow in his delivery. They also have that spooky, slithery guitar dynamic, but thats where the lines start getting blurred. They'll break into a steamroll chug, drop some metal fill, and then kick you in the face like any good hardcore band would. They exhibit a certain mathy style, but they dont overwhelm with the technicals, instead providing many head nodding moments, including some great Converge style mosh parts into a southern style blues metal dirge. The drummer is reminiscent of Brann Dailor, from Mastodon and Today is the Day. He has some nasty fills and some fierce visceral slugs that will keep you on your toes. The last song, Who Knew?, is amazing, sludgy, mathy, stomping and frightening and ends the album ferociously.

They reside in the forests of Oregon, roaming free, with cloven hooves, creating their bacchanal with blackened glory. Their website is currently available for your leering eyes. Black Elk. And the whole mess has been christened on Crucial Blast Records.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hardcore Corner

Okay, since I had been busy for the past few weeks I couldnt make time to speak of all the good hardcore I was jamming too for a while. I found another grouping of bands and they are all so good and then I got into another instrumental phase and who knows where it will go next. So, in an effort to expose some of these bands that are killing it right now, I have fashioned this Hardcore Corner...

Lords - Swords & The House That Lords Built (2005/2004)

Lords are fast paced, unique rock inspired hardcore trio from Louisville with an agressive, slightly raunchy feel and iron-maidenesque guitar leanings. It is brash and gnarly and feels like a true honor to the idea of Rock & Roll as dangerous. They will be a cool band to see live when they next come around. (Jade Tree Records)

Bones Brigade - I Hate Myself When I'm Not Skateboarding & Focused (2003/2004)

Bones Brigade play what you would expect. And thats the best thing. Thrashy Hardcore Skate Punk, fast as hell, like Suicidal Tendencies and SOD at times, like Minor Threat or 7 Seconds at others. On Focused they bring the metal, but through and through they prove that hardcore is what you make it. Catchy stuff. They have a newer album too. Endless Bummer. (Fight Fire With Fire / Coalition Records)

Holy Mountain - Entrails & Enemies (2004/2006)

Holy Mountain are crusty, heavy Motorhead inspired hardcore. They are a juggernaut of pissed off fury. You probably shouldnt drive while listening to these. (No Idea Records)

Coliseum - Goddamage (2005)

Another amazing Louisville band, Coliseum. They also play a crusty style of hardcore, but with a more stripped down and dynamic style, like death bikers riding the desert at night. (Manic Ride Records)

A Day In Black and White - My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys (2004)

Cathartic hardcore from Washington, DC. Similar to where City of Caterpillar left off. Really passionate stuff, with huge ominous builds and tidal release. (Level Plane)

"Songs we sing, to ourselves, just to keep our heart rate down,
Rhythm and Rhyme, making the lines, basis of the Sign"

Slint - Spiderland (1991)

How can I mention Slint without mentioning Slint?!

One of my most favorite records of all time. Inspired so many different bands that I still love. From Math-Rock bands like Don Cab, to Post-Punk bands like Hoover and Drive Like Jehu, to other Louisville bands like June of 44 and Shipping News, to Indie-Rock bands like Three Mile Pilot to Pinback to Post-Rock bands like Mogwai and even Godspeed you Black Emperor and Tortoise, Slint's particular sense of dynamics and experimentation can be found everywhere. The spooky minmalist spoken word lyrics over the tightly arranged angular riffs and complex rhythms are a trademark on this record. Nosferatu Man and Breadcrumb Trail lurch and expand like ameobas, weaving their narrative tales around fluid and powerful rock while Don Aman and For Dinner creep precariously on the edge of your senses. Washer is one of the saddest songs ever written, with a glorious build and release that could shake the toughest of you. And Good Morning, Captain, with its sea-faring disaster tale and choppy ocean like drumming explodes in a fierce and anguished display of longing, shouting "I Miss You!!!" over cathartic, pounding riffs. It is a chilling ending to one of the most unique albums you will ever hear.

It also inspired the ending lyrics to the song AFK on the Pinback album Summer In Abaddon.

"Miles and miles of telephone poles
Fallen and tossed around
I can't talk to you anymore
And I miss you
And I miss you
Not in a Slint way, but I miss you"

Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)

It cant be right to mention the burgeoning post-rock scene of the early 90's without mentioning this landmark album. Millions Now Living showed that there needn't be any template for monumental beauty and tectonic presence in an instrumental track. Breaking literally ever boundary and showing influence from all over the musical spectrum, Tortoise essentially wrote a new chapter in experimental music. Fusing Free-Jazz, Psych, Drone, Funk, Instrumental Rock, Electronic and Ambient and German bands like Can and Amon Duul, plus world rhythms from all over, Tortoise can be a hard band to pin down. John McEntire handles the production duties as well as the drumming and any programming. The rest of the band, Douglas McCombs, Dan Bitney and John Herndon also contribute multi instrumental talents and Dave Pajo from the legendary Slint played guitar on this record before being replace by Chicago Underground guitarist Jeff Parker.

The 20 minute opener Djed is a landmark song and never gets boring, shifting through so many sonic textures and motifs. It could easily be a soundtrack to life, showing the shifting dynamics of the world, sometimes soft and bubbling and other times harsh and jarring. The rest of the album continues in this transcendental style without a weak track to speak of. Along the Banks of Rivers closes the album in truly cinematic Sergio Leone styled grandeur. One can almost feel the movie credits rolling and haveing felt like they just sat through an epic film. The songs are so illustrative and feel like they have real world counterparts that make them so essential.


Tristeza - Dream Signals In Full Circles (2000)

Tristeza - Spine & Sensory (1998)

I cant mention hypnotic instrumental rock without mentioning Tristeza. Born in San Diego, Tristexa was mostly the brainchild of James Lavalle of Album Leaf fame. Also of earlier Swing Kids, Locust and GoGoGo Airheart fame. So it is interesting to hear their take on the very new sounds of post-rock at the time. Mogwai had just released Ten Rapid and Spine & Sensory, released a year later, lays somewhat close to that style of post-rock. Mostly repetetive organic structures, played with a rock set-up. Tristeza do not explode their songs in like Mogwai do though, instead continuing their patterns and focusing more on a rhythmic build up that is quite trancelike and dreamy.

Dream Signals was released in 2000, right on the brink of the post-rock boom that we have all experienced. Signals was similar in style, with trancy vibes and a dubbier bass sound and better production values. It can be a divisive album to some who find it too repetitious or even "new-age", (yuck!) and I would have to say it does serve a more late night atmosphere, but it remains very ccharming and appropriate in certain settings. James Lavalle left after this album to do the Album Leaf fulltime and I think everyone suffered for it. Album Leaf was pretty, but not as good as either of these two albums, and Tristeza continued on and until their recent album, A Colores, never really made an interesting song.

Nonetheless, these are two of the finest Instrumental Rock albums to be released and should be heard by any fan of the genre.

The Mercury Program - All the Suits Began To Fall Off EP (2001)

A stunning EP of powerful instrumental rock. Five mathy yet flowing, vibraphone powered rock tracks. The Mercury Program began in Florida and played a noisy rocking DC style sound, somewhat similar to a mostly instrumental Hoover but with vibraphones and spoken word pieces. For this EP, their second release, they gave up the vocals and focused on the repetition and ringy sound of the vibraphone and came up with a much headier sound that is part DC influenced, part Tortoise influenced. The songs open up and rock pretty hard at times, but mostly its all very tasteful and fluid, especially the wonderful ending track A Delicate Answer. It is one of the best instrumental releases I own. The Secret to Quiet and Marianas are two songs that anyone should have if they like Post-Rock, but the whole EP plays as an album really well. There are so many good things to say about every piece of this album so you will just have to tell me what you think.

They released an album since this release that delves even more into the hypnotic effect of the vibraphone. It is called Data Learn the Language and is also worth hearing though much calmer and even more resembles Tortoise. They also released a split in 2003 with another awesome instrumental act, Maserati. The Program seems to still be going, as their page states that new songs have been written since last summer. So check out the Bands Website and hopefully they release a new album as good as the All the Suits EP.

Explosions In The Sky - Live @ Webster Hall, NYC (Show Review)

ps. i didnt have a pic but this is what it looked like - from the Bowery Ballroom a year earlier

So I saw Explosions In The Sky last Tuesday night with Lara. They played at Webster Hall in NYC. The bill was Eluvium / Paper Chase / Explosions in the Sky. Since Webster hall has an upstairs balcony with a real good view of the stage we wanted to get there early so we showed up shortly before Eluvium started the evening.

We checked the merch table on our way upstairs. I wanted to buy the 2xLP of the new record and they had a cool falcon t-shirt that Lara thought was cool. So we found our good balcony seats and I went to buy beer, a shirt and record. There were already a number of people in the balcony and a girl almost stepped all over our shit, almost breaking my record! I swear I thought I heard a snap. I opened it to check and noticed everything was fine, and also noticed the vinyl was quite cool. Three sided double LP, with the fourth sied etched with the cover artwork. The first disc is an off white vinyl with flecks of color in it and the second, with the etched artwork, is a dark cool green marble vinyl. Very heavy vinyl too. The artwork is great and it came with a disk of the remixes.

Eluvium was good. One guy, Matthew Cooper, came on stage silenty and played a number of his ambient guitar and keyboard loops. The songs were extremely loud at points and while the tracks were nice, one of them especially, it was not the most enjoyable music to watch in a live setting. Cooper just play some keys and strings and makes the loops and layers all these tones. It is very cool in practice and in theory, but does not rock your socks off like most live music.

The Paper Chase played next. I had heard them before and thought they were a weird band to tour with them. But they are from Texas, and I suppose the Explosions guys are fans. Either way I think its a cool way to get people into a different kind of music. Unfortunately, The Paper Chase was not something I was bound to be into. They had rocking passion, good stage presence, and a unique discordant sound, mostly piano based, that would break into heavy forceful sections, with the guitarist adding notes in the same squiggly way each song. It all started to sound the same, with a dark brooding beginning and rocking breakdown or two in each song. The lyrics are all seemingly disturbed and deeply emotional which the singer made very apparent in his jerky stage gestures. It all came off as a little theatrical and got old quick. We wanted some explosions.

So Explosions in the Sky came on very humbly and took their positions amid a variety of pedals. The two guitarists Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani, staged left and right, held little devices near the pickups, some sort of sustain device, or feedback thing... whatever it was it sounded incredible. They traded tones while the bassist Michael James began the melody, Memorial, I believe...if my memory is right. They played clear and precise and finished the song with amazing fanfare, completely rocking out of their minds. It was really great, especially Munaf Rayani going completely berserk. We knew it was gonna be a good show. They had some gear that allowed them to loop the last sounds from the previous song and slowly work into the next song which was Birth and Death of the Day off of their new album. It was an incredible song and had double the passion of the recorded version. The band has a very great stage presence, all into their instruments. Drummer Chris Hrasky is fluid and amazing on the drums and drops all these amazing fills yet can play so restrained and lightly. Just dropping gems everywhere. Michael James switched from bass to guitar on a few songs, though I think it was a baritone guitar. He plays so fast to get some of those chiming melodies when theyre rocking out. All of them do really. And when all of their respective parts hit the same downbeat it is total synchronicity.

All of the songs were played so amazing it is hard to separate them, but I had two favorites I wanted to hear really badly. I was beginning to give up hope of hearing them when they closed the show with Moon Is Down... was fucking radical! yes... it really was. humbling and beautiful... that weeping guitar part in the middle, played to such perfection, the martial drumming, slowly building. Man! it was really good. as the song climaxed Munaf duck taped his guitar over the pickups producing a steady and solid feedback tone while the band rocked the shit out of the crowd. Then he takes another little device and uses it on his guitar like a slide guitar. That is how they make that constant soaring guitar tone at the end of the song. I always wondered how it goes on forever and ever. Well, it was gnarly as hell. The band rocked the ending of that song about 50 times harder then on the record, going nuts on stage. Munaf grabbed a tambourine and basically destroyed it in time with the music. All of it was simply mindblowing that when the band finished I wished that it was the end of the show... It was just too perfect to top. The whole show flowed perfectly from the beginning to that last song, and it wouldve undermined the power of that last song if they did just one more song. The setlist was great and that was that... Amazingly, and probably to the dismay of many, Munaf Rayani came back and and simply said thanks and that there was no encore, and that was it. I guess they felt the same way about that ending. It was just too choice.

Here is the set list to the best of my knowledge:
1. Memorial
2. The Birth and Death of the Day
3. It's Natural To Be Afraid
4. Welcome, Ghosts
5. Yasmin the Light
6. The Only Moment We Were Alone
7. Greet Death
8. Catastrophe and the Cure
9. Moon Is Down

Also. Here is my favorite Explosions album. Every song is beautiful and haunting. It is one of the best albums I own and also has some beautiful album artwork.

Explosions In The Sky - Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever (2002)

Thanks to Alexd.

Thursday, March 22, 2007



So fucking cheesy. I couldnt resist. Now that I've got at least some of your attention, I would like to direct you to the links on the sidebar....right there to the left....or right, whatever....if you do enough circles and loops they become the same thing..., what was I saying?

OH! I made a bunch of updates...on the right. (or was it the left?) I punched in a whole bunch of new blogs, great ones, like Below the Rust, Blood is Truth and, well, no offense if I didnt mention you, but you get the point. They are all blogs that I frequent. I dont feel like linking up all the blogs here (thats why theyre in the sidebar) so you'll just have to get down and dirty and explore. Trust me though: all worth your time.

I also added a number of record labels that have released alot of my favorite records. I am sure I forgot a bunch, and I will update them as I remember them, but for now its looking like a pretty good list. Covers everything from Hardcore to Punk, from Indie to Doom, from Post-Rock to, ummm, Pre-Rock (?)

AND! I also added a number of Art sites, be it blogs, companies or design firms. I am a graphic designer by trade, so art is a big part of my life, and I intended to do more art reports and the like, but they require me to actually say worthwhile things as opposed to throwing out adjectives like Disgusting, Hellacious, and Throbbing and comparing things to anuses and aquatic death....or even worse...Awesome! I think we need to retire that word for a good year. Im gonna bring back "Rad" and "Gnarly". I think its about time...

So, as I rant away, make sure to check all those links. If you have a blog, shoot it through and I'll toss it on the ole sidebar and if you are an artist or have an artist you think I should check out, drop me a link and if I am in agreeance, then we'll give that damn sidebar a run for its money.

Besides a few more albums I am completely getting wet over right now, I am going to actually post some art from a great guy who makes some fierce pandas, Angry Woebots. This weekend though. I am in no mood to compose my thoughts in any serious way. is me and the wonder-puppy Dr. Mo Zizz. Hes not a real doctor. He just sells pharmaceuticals on the black market. Im trying to get him to stop. Kids these days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Moss - Cthonic Rites (2005)

This is a disgusting piece of filth. Very likely the heaviest thing you will have the displeasure of hearing. It is dirt choked death; deeply submerged aquatic suffcocation. There is the ominous feeling when listening to Cthonic Rites that you will somehow summon other worldy beings with hard to pronounce names like Yog Sothoth and Shub Niggurath. Even likelier that the leviathan himself, HP Lovecrafts great god Cthulu, will rise from murky depths to claim your soul and lay waste to this fucked up planet. Such is the psychological decay and atmospheric disturbance created by Moss over a total of two tracks. The first chord alone sounds like the anus of Hell opening up and sucking every good thing you ever knew into its horrifying blackness. You have been warned.

Thanks to Mr A. at Wine-Women-Song for introducing me to Moss and thanks to Blood Is Truth for providing the link.

Blogospherical Updates coming soon...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Comets on Fire

Field Recordings From the Sun (2002)

Blue Cathedral (2004)

Comets on Fire are rock and roll. This is straight off the wax from the 1970's. To give an idea of what this sorta sounds like, it sounds like Robert Plant circa Whole Lotta Love joined MC5, decided they really liked the Stooges and just as a thought, decided to throw in an Echoplex...It is mostly fast and frenzied guitar music, with all the knobs turned up to 11. Riffs cross Black Sabbath and MC5 in a split seconds time. If you like your rock noisy and off the hinges, check this out. They slow it down from time to time to good effect. They are all very talented musicians and they know how to stack sounds for a very crushing fuzzy approach. It is not metal. There is no chugga chugga, and what does an echoplex sound like? It's very hard to describe, think of the word "oscillation", mad spirals of sound, psychedelia, think acid drenched noise rock. They feed everything through the echoplex and it just adds to the frenzy. This is perfect for moments when I want to take a brillo pad to my brain and clean it out, or amp it up. It is like driving a hundred miles an hour on a dirt road in an old pick up truck while shooting off rifles while on acid. It is musical amphetamines and when it is time to listen to something crazy, Comets on Fire delivers in spades. Turn on, tune in, drop out, and windmill and goosestep around your room in a mad rage.

Comets on Fires more recent album Avatar is a far more subdued affair, but all in all it is still an amazing record. You can purchase all records through Sub Poop Records.

Life of Agony - River Runs Red (1993)


This record is completely badass. Heavy mid 90's NYHC from Brooklyn, NY. These guys fell somewhere between Biohazards earlier material and Alice In Chains, namely because of voaclist Keith Caputo, but also some great slinking guitar riffs from Joey Z and Alan Robert. The albums centered around the themes of depression and despair, with angry lyrics and dim character sketches in between songs. Through and Through made it onto MTV back when Headbangers ball was the jam, and that song completely owned. The rest of the album is amazing. Keiths vocal range is great, the drums are disgustingly huge, and the massive riffs will make you want to punch a hole right through your computer. Floor punch away and scare the daylights out of your parents, but DONT kill yourself. That is obviously not the answer. Listen to this when youre in a bad mood and everyone will get the fuck out of your way.

Choice Picks: This Time, Underground, River Runs Red, Bad Seed, Method of Groove and Respect.

Lifetime - Hello Bastards (1995)

Lifetime, oh Lifetime. They are a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Guilty because the majority of their songs are so sticky sweet and filled with tales of lost love and all the stuff that quickly gets categorized as emo mush. But Lifetime were the goddamn jam. They are definitely one of the fastest band I have ever listened to (yes, faster than Bad Brains...go ahead...listen back to back....theres no contest). They throw down melody after melody and keep giving you more and have the capacity to smack you over the head with a nice breakdown here and there. The band definitely has its roots firmly in hardcore. Just listen to their earlier material (all re-released on Jade Tree records as a two disc set) and its easy to see. Even on this album, the amazing and blistering Daneurysm opens with such intensity it is jaw dropping. Dan Yemin is the man and has created two other great bands, Kid Dynamite, and the amazing Paint it Black. Ari has that slurred vocal quality that isnt too far off from what Joey Ramone was capable of, which gives it a real punk style. They even do an awesome cover of Husker Du's It's Not Funny Anymore. But the lyrics are all about highschool longing, seeing that girl you like across the room, riding your bike past her house, definitely could be cheesy under any other circumstance, but at a bajillion beats per minute it comes of charming as hell. They recently reformed and not only toured but have completed and released their new self-titled album. It is very good and continues where Jerseys Best Dancers left off.

With the exception of their new record, which can be found through the Lifetime website, all their stuff can be found and purchased through Jade Tree Records. They once had releases on the awesome hardcore label New Age Records, which is worth your time to check out, and for some Wiki addicition, visit here. ^_^

Texas is the Reason - s/t EP (1995)

This is a great mid 90's post hardcore EP. Texas is the Reason had a short existence from 1995 to 1997 releaseing only one EP, two split 7"s and a full length. In my opinion, despite the strengths of the band members, the EP was where it was at. They gained a bit of recognition for the full length Do You Know Where You Are?, but never matched the intensity seen on this release. Three songs that you can just play over and over. While retaining a good sense of the post-hardcore sound that was pioneered by bands like Quicksand, Shift and many others from the NYHC scene, they also had a keen sense of melody and lyricism and end up closer to the Sunny Day Real Estate school of Post-Hardcore. Probably due the the fact that the members came from such disparate backgrounds. Norm Arenas, who played with Shelter a number of times and also started Anti-Matter zine (one of the best at the time) and Chris Daly, drummer for 108 and previously Resurrection, were responsible for the birth of the band. They got Scott Winegard from Fountainhead, another post-hardcore band at the time, and Garret Klahn, who played for the poppy Equal Vision band Copper. These four different backgrounds would account for the sound of Texas is the Reason.

You can still purchase the Ep and the full length from Revelation Records. And you may as well form a nice addiciton to Wikipedia and go read more about the band and its members there.

Into Another - Creepy Eepy (1994)

For any Into Another fan, this EP is extremely essential. Bridging the gap between their s/t metal master piece and their amazing Ignaurus album, this one finds them throwing out some straight up metal gems, I'll Be Damned and The Other with some more experimental pieces; the folky ballad of a lost friend, Artist Without a Medium and the proggy power metal of Absolute Zero. This short EP has extreme relistenability and if you are unfamiliar with Into Another, I would say this is a good place to start. Then move on their other two albums.

Envy - Japanese Hardcore

All The Footprints You've Ever Left And Fear Expecting Ahead (2001)

A Dead Sinking Story (2003)

Insomniac Doze (2006)

My love for all thing Japanese is official. Okay, at least in terms of rock. The girls are cute too. But this post is about Envy, the Japanese hardcore screamo post-rock band. They have been around for years, operating in near obscurity until more recent years. They were picked up by Mogwai's Rock Action Record Label for European distro and vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa was featured on Mogwai's latest album, Mr Beast on the song I Chose Horses.

But Envy is a far cry from even Mogwai's most abrasive moments. Envy plays real hardcore, with frantic screaming vocals and cathartic heavy leads and pounding drums. They also know how to lead into an an explosive piece of work. Beautiful post-rock builds ebb and flow lulling the listener into its safety and warmth before exploding in your ears with the fury of a volcano.

Envy's latest album, Insomniac Doze, has made quite a splash, making fans of both hardcore kids and post-rock kids alike. They are signed to Temporary Residence Limited in America and are supposed to be quite awesome live. So keep up with them through either of their above labels or, if you can read Japanese, check out the bands website.

My money is on buying the vinyl for these releases as they have awesome artwork, and vinly is just cooler. You know it. (psst. its also about half as expensive as stupid CD's)

Envy's Website
Envy on Wikipedia

For those interested in more:

Angel's Curse Whispered In The Edge Of Despair
Breathing And Dying In This Place
Burning Out The Memories
Compiled Fragments 1997-2003
The Eyes Of Single Eared Prophet

Stoopid Cat says...

WTF!!! I can completely understand the June of 44 links being taken down. Maybe Touch and Go is cracking down on these things. Who knows. I completely respect that. What really pisses me off, is the fact that the Boris Live Archives were taken down!!!


Not only are they out of print, but they are being sold on eBay for around $100.
So whoever took that link down, is either an eBay whore who wants us to pay him some inflated amount or someone who has no idea what their doing.

Please explain why you took down the Boris link for violating terms of service. Its not like I'm selling it. And its not like the recording is that good, and its certainly not worth $ please explain.

Otherwise, I hope everyone is happy and living life to the fullest.
Weather is getting nice here in NYC and I have actually left my house!! I know, amazing.

Keep stopping by and keep saying high.


Friday, March 09, 2007


Om - Variations on a Theme (2005)

Om - Conference of the Birds (2006)

There is little that is disimilar between Om and Sleeps last record, Dopesmoker. This is namely due to the fact that that giant record was mostly propelled by the fantastic rhythm section of Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius. The duo reformed after several years to create a drum and bass only version of the Stoner Doom Metal they helped pioneer.

The departure from their previous work lies partially in the lack of Matt Pike on guitars, or any guitarist for that matter, but the main difference is the almost spiritual nature of the music. Highly repetitive to the point of sounding like a chant or a mantra, with Al Cisneros' bass exploring vast territories within a single framework. Hakius himself lays down some incredible drum work, rich with fills and textures that keep everything moving onward and upward. This music is highly meditative, as the name of the band would imply, but the heavy feel of it all gives it a weight and power that reveals its origins as true Stoner Doom. These are two incredible and powerful releases that will have you nodding and rocking in your seat like a junkie that needs a fix. The only thing that will help in a situation like this more Om.

I look very forward to seeing this band play live.

Om Website
Holy Mountain Records

Death - The Sound of Perseverance (1998)

I think Chuck Schuldiner would like to be most remebered for his work with Death, and mostly for this album, the last before he died of an untimely brain tumor. Chucks influence on the death metal world is absolute. He is credited by many to be one of the originators of the genre and his album Scream Bloody Gore as a template for death metal since. Despite never using the same band members Chuck managed to turn out ever more progressive variants of a sound he helped create. It pretty much adds up to him being a musical genius, being that he is mostly, if not solely responsible for every song, every lyric and even the logo of the band. This album is a testament to a restlessly creative mind, one that would have continued going and redefining the genre as he has done all his life. The complex sounds and time signatures are mind bending and the cover of Judas Priest's Painkiller is practically better than the original. There is not a weak song on the album. Every song twists and turns in a truly contorted and disturbing fashion while never meandering off course. While other earlier works, like Human and Individual Thought Patterns are more visceral and direct in their apporach, it is the Sounds of Perseverance that I keep coming back to for its ever present inventiveness. I think this is the way Chuck would like to be remembered.

Death on Wikipedia

Burning Witch - Crippled Lucifer (1998)

Dirt Encrusted Blackness. This is Doom from rotting sepulchres...Burning Witch is Stephen O'Malleys band prior to Khanate and Sunn 0))) and, like his other acts, is sonically one of the darkest, slowest things in existence. Dirty, evil, fornication of sound. The sounds and singing of Edgy 59 are truly disturbed and heretical. And of course Stephen O'Malley and Stuart Dahlquist plumb the extreme depths of sound, hoping to shake a few bowels loose of their contents...Remember, like all good Doom, this should be played loud, so as to scare all animals and neighbors within a mile radius.

Enjoy at your own risk. And wear diapers.

At The Gates - Slaughter of the Soul (1995)

Death Metal time...At The Gates...hmmm. My head is all over the place right now, and At The Gates and Death are about the only things I can focus on right now....

So, if you like death metal, At the Gates will pretty much own you. Jeff hooked me up with this cuz I questioned about it, knowing that Converge were big At The Gates fans. He said it was pretty much his favorite and in the past few weeks it has become one of my most listened to albums..Amazing how I passed it by to begin with, having been a Metal fan before I was even a Hardcore fan...By now it should be apparent that I spend about 20 hours a day listening to music. I may have psychological problems, but as long as I can continue listening to music so fervently, bands like At The Gates will continue to stir my brain into a messy pink froth. As a matter of fact...wait, I need to put the album on right now...OH YEAH!!!! That is whats great about this music...technical, melodic death is as fast as demonic vultures flying from the depths for their next carcass, yet it maintains a solid melody throughout, with some amazing breakdowns and awesome guitar solos that never even get close to cheesy.

Plus, the singer yells "GO!" a few times, just like hardcore bands do. Which for some reason makes me super excited. I'll be walking down a NYC street, absolutely destroying my already frail eardrums, just waiting for that part, and then thrusting my finger into the sky as I yell GO!, much to the chagrin of the very untrusting New York natives around me. Thats what this music is capable of....Death Metal that makes you want to do stage dives....hell yeah!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hot Snakes - 1999 to 2005

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight (2000)

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice (2004)

Motherfucking Hot Snakes! If you are a Drive Like Jehu fan (obviously they make me very horny) then you probably already know of the Hot Snakes. If you dont know, nows the time to listen up. Rick Froberg and John Reis reformed initially as a project, with Reis still in San Diego and still playing with Rocket From the Crypt and Froberg living in NYC working as an artist. Add Gar Wood to bass and Jason Kourkounis on drums, previously from the Delta 72 and voila! Hot Snakes.

The Hot Snakes take the basics of what the two had achieved in DLJ and played a much more garage rock style of punk, but still with that blazing style that fans have come to know so well. Automatic Midnight is a straight up burner, opening with If Credits What Matters I'll Take Credit. This song is no nonsense and would be hard to follow up if it were any other band. As it is, they continue this aural onslaught for not only the rest of the album, but for two more albums after this.

Truly an athletic feat of its own, every Hot Snakes song is brimming with fire and danger. Their last album, Audit in Progress, featured Mario Rubalcaba on drums. Mario, besides being a professional skater in the 80's and 90's also played for San Diego legends Clikatat Ikatowi and The Black Heart Procession. Clearly he is a man with skills... But it is Reis and Froberg who draw the most attention here, with their guitars whizzing and whirring by each other like the blades of a lawnmower.

Hot Snakes, indeed.

La Quiete - Tenpeun & s/t 7" (2006)

La Quiete - Tenpeun '01 -'05 (2006)

La Quiete - s/t 7" (2006)

Thanks to Sam for these....More of La Quiete beauty....haha! what a paradox..

Tenpeun is a collection of all of their split 7" material, comp. material and demo recordings. They are rougher sounding, but there are some definite gems here.

The self titled 7" is from 2006 and is the bands latest recording and see the band exploring the melodies that made La Fine e Non la Fine so butter. At first I was thrown a bit, but I have to say, these three songs are so freaking good I listened to them over and over and over....So many melodies and so many tempo changes...At first it seems really complex (and it is to some extent) but the songs flow like water and have such amazing energy. All this while still remaining positive and not falling into the typical angry or depressed school of hardccore thought. (Dont get me wrong, they make for some amazing songs too) This is powerful emo hardcore music that actually makes you feel good.

Thanks again Sam.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

June of 44 - All Gone

So. Some unseen force has wiped away the June of 44 links.

I strongly recommend that anyone interested in hearing them should go out and purchase them. They are some of the best records I own and nothing the guys have done has ever reached the level they have hit with this band.

Tropics and Meridians is the first place I would start, then I would move along to either Engine Takes to the Water or Four Great Points.

Anatomy of Sharks has two great songs and one throw away, but the other two more than make up for it. The 11 minute Sharks and Sailors is one of their best songs and could easily have fit on Tropics.

Anahata did not impress me too much when I bought it back in the day. But upon listening to it again after many years, I found it to be pretty good. Still their least impressive effort, but Equators to Bi-Polar is one of their best songs...

You can purchase direct from the Touch and Go Website. They have always had a reliable mail order and I would urge you to purchase from them or from a local mom and pop record store in your area as opposed to Virgin or Amazon.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Boris - Live Archives (2005)

Volume 1 - Live 96-98

Volume 2 - Drumless Shows

Volume 3 - Two long Songs

All three of the Boris Live Archive series in one digitally wrapped box. If you are a Boris completist then this is the joint. The live archives were released as one bundle and cover just about every style that Boris could throw at us.

Volume 1 is early tracks and pretty hardcore and angry, not like the Boris we all know from Absolutego onward. These songs brim with primal force.

Volume 2 is pretty self explanatory, Drumless Shows. Massive Sunn and Earth worship. Three songs, Huge, Mosquito and Vomit Yourself (sic).

Volume 3 is the most interesting, but also the worst recording. A frustrating buzz lingers behind the whole mess, and you cant help but feel that was to Boris's delight. They seem to enjoy static, feedback and other ear damaging noises. But this one is slightly frustrating. Thank god the songs are so good. Volume 3 consists of Absolutego and Flood back to back, each shortened and played in just over 30 minutes.

Each of these songs exist as hour long magnum opuses, so it is cool to hear them sped up a little and played back to back like this.

Otherwise, these function as more curiosity then true listening gems, but they are out of print, and unless you have some loot to drop on eBay, then this is one of the only places you can find these three records. And trust me, for the Boris fan, they are definitely worth it.

Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime (1994)

Monumental album from one of the fiercest and smartest additions to punk history. Simply put, if you dont like Drive Like Jehu, you should just stop listening to music. period.