Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sleep Study - Demo

Sleepy Study falls somewhere between the new crop of Kinsella inspired bands and perhaps some of the more conventional late 90's fare like The Jazz June or The Promise Ring.

The rough edges of the production actually sort of works in presenting the songs in a raw and uncompromising manner.  Which, coincidentally, makes this all the more 90's sounding.

As the songs move on I even get a little bit of a early 90's alternative rock feel from some of these songs (ala the Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub or Weezer).  Perhaps this is due to the slightly off key vocals that add that charming vibe atop of the distorted guitar and bass.

For love of all things 90's check it out here.

Marmore - Paura Della Luce

Marmore come from Turin, Italy and play a brand of instrumental post rock that puts a large focus on ever changing dynamics within their song structures.  If you're expecting all instrumental post rock bands to be slow and sleepy, then Marmore will definitely prove you wrong.

The musicianship here is top notch.  Everyone is pulling their weight.  Great drum work that works with the rhythm of the song as a whole rather than just crowd the music with technical chops.  The guitar work has a good sensibility for adding and taking away reverb/delay effects in a tasteful manner.  The punchy bass cuts through perfectly and provides an excellent backbone throughout.

All in all, Marmore have some solid songs here that show some great talent.  Definitely a good one.

Listen to it here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Autarkeia / Me and Goliath split LP

Autarkeia plays a brand of dark screamo influenced hardcore.  There's a melodic element to it throughout, though can give way to more chaotic moments.  The female vocals over top remind me a bit of Cerce at times and work great with the music.  All three songs on here break the 4 minute mark, featuring quite few moments for musical exploration and dynamics.  I get a Raein/Portraits of Past feel at times, most likely for the reasons of texture and layering that take place within the music.

Me and Goliath keep the dark influence consistent as they take over from here. The band provides a nice mix of slower and faster moments that stick to a straight forward time signature.  It has a traditional characteristic to it, though is infused with a great deal of energy and melody by the song writing style. By the third track the band is blazing away on some faster, more unconventional beats, showing that they can also bring the chaos when necessary.

Have a listen to it here.

Writing About Myself Shamelessly, Part 1: The Underminded, Demo.

I decided to document every release I've ever played on chronologically here in a section called "Writing About Myself Shamelessly".  Why?  Maybe I'm ridiculously egotistical and nostalgic I suppose.  I don't know really know why. Enjoy it. Or don't.

When I was 15 years old I started heavily listening to Minor Threat, Bold, Uniform Choice and Chorus of Disapproval. My identity as an angry straight edge kid was forming and taking over all aspects of my personality.  This did very little to improve upon the social aspect of my high school experience. I fell deeper into the escape of skateboarding, writing music and reading comic books.

My then punk rock band, known for doing mostly Misfits cover songs, morphed into a hardcore band.  I had no intention of ever singing/writing lyrics but finding someone who was willing to sing/write lyrics in any competent way at that particular point in time seemed impossible. Myself and the bass player of this band split the vocal/lyric duties.

I was still holding on to a good bit of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr influence, though, I was attracted to the raw, no frills sound of fast hardcore (as a result you'll hear one long, noisy, alternative rock song sandwich between all the fast stuff). The mid tempo sound of the Sex Pistols and Black Flag had become too slow for me.  Regardless of what my other two band mates were interested in playing, I wanted to do a fast straight edge hardcore band. Quite wrong of me to impose musical preferences onto two other people, yes, I know. Tunnel vision took over and I showed up to band practice with a bunch of these songs.

We found this guy at a local music store that had a Tascam 16 track cassette recorder in his garage.  He offered to record a demo for us for $10 an hour. We recorded with him 3 times in the next year, each time we had written a new batch of songs. Our playing was sub par and the quality of the production is muffled and dark. I had never recorded music before, so this was just a learning experience I suppose. He had us plug our guitar and bass directly into his board and use a distortion box for the guitar. We probably did a total of 12 songs. The only material we actually kept is what became the demo. Flawed, definitely. But it documents the time.

Human Achievement - I

Human Achievement is a new band from Philadelphia featuring ex members of Veloz, Host and Battle of Wolf 539. This comes across as metal influenced hardcore, with just enough raw intensity to translate that dirty, unleashed sound.

Guitars are downtuned while deeper register vocals carry on over top.  The drum work is extremely proficient with quick fills and exceptional double bass work. The band provides a good balance between faster time signatures that bring to mind more of a d-beat or blasting style with some very tasteful chugging breakdowns.

No lyrics provided here.  I would be interested to know what's got this guy so angry. Good stuff regardless.

Have a listen here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life In Vacuum - 5

There's something really unique and interesting happening here.  Life in Vacuum mixes elements of garage rock, indie and screamo to bring you their own little creation. Think Nation of Ulysses and Refused with some hints of Moss Icon. The musicianship is extremely accomplished and has a natural groove.

Vocally the band takes delves into uncomfortable melodies that pair with the music perfectly. Intermittent screams make an appearance to emphasize the intensity at just the right times. It may cross the "sass line" a few times here and there, but I'll let them off easy for such interesting and well executed music.

Listen to it here.

Zombie Fight - Echoes of the Past

Zombie Fight are back with a set of songs that shows the band refining their songwriting style to expand on their previous efforts of melodic hardcore. For fans of Betrayed, Bane and Great Reversals, Zombie Fight play a brand of hardcore that melds the aggressive with the melodic, forming a nice canvas of variety.

All the elements of traditional hardcore can found; group vocals, fast beats, chugging guitars, etc.  However, the band is able to present an honesty and genuine nature within the production that makes it more accessible. At times you'll sense a strong early New York Hardcore presence, while other times there's a strong mid 90's hardcore vibe that reminds me of bands like Downcast or Outspoken.

I find the record lyrically interesting for it's transparency.  The band is pretty up front with their words and the interesting thing about this is that the songs seemed to be lyrically divided up between band members (you'll see a breakdown of who wrote which song on their bandcamp page).  It reinforces that each band member has a pretty hearty stake in the content of this music.

Listen to it here.