Tuesday, December 18, 2012
New grindviolence band out of Perth. We made a rehearsal tape for our first show, the remaining copies are now available in the store. You can read a review of the tape here, as well as watch a recording of the show. Two tracks from the tape can be sampled on soundcloud.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Male Activity. Grab a copy.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
We are proud to announce that the long awaited Gods of Chaos CS is now available. It's taken a fair while to put it all together but we're extremely pleased with how it turned out. The release features pro-pressed black cassettes housed in polyboxes, which are packaged inside custom printed envelopes together with a 28 page A5 booklet. It is limited to 66 copies.
Buy your copy here.
Gods of Chaos play tight and uncompromising grindcore with just the right amount of black metal influence. The album was recorded in New York with the aid of Colin Marston, and this is the first official release of the record (it was released digitally by the band earlier in the year). You can stream the entire thing here.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
This is the interview I conducted with Micky of Drowning Horse/Suffer/Warthreat in mid-2011, appearing in the first issue of S4D. It still is probably my favourite interview, and despite the fact that both the bands I cover (Drowning Horse and Warthreat) have advanced in leaps and bounds since it was published, a lot of interesting information regarding influence, foundation and performance is discussed.
Hey Micky, what’s been happening over your end of town recently?
I have been quite busy of late. Each band is due to record this month or next month, so I’ve been busy either recording, writing or finalising songs with each band. On top of that, I have to make sure I spend plenty of time with my puppy Varg, as well as work, lose on scratchies and/or whatever it is that grown up people are supposed to do...
What was the last record that impressed you?
Out of the new(ish) release records I have acquired of late, the ‘Giftgasattack – Noise Hero’ LP seems to have received the most repeat listens. Also the recent Scapegoat LP is one of the more flawless hardcore records I’ve heard in recent times and would be a strong contender for hardcore record of the year!
You play in Suffer, Warthreat and Drowning Horse (that I know of). Do you have any other musical pursuits besides these?
There are other projects which I work on and plan from time to time, but a lot of these are just based around riffs and ideas; there are no other ‘serious’ bands that I am apart of at this point in time.
How much does the city of Perth influence your music?
It’s hard to say, as I have never lived anywhere else. Being in such an isolated part of the world may have an effect on making it harder to find good music, but I think the fact that Perth is such a boring ‘dullsville’ of a town, it has probably made me more proactive to go and seek good underground music and make an effort to create my own interpretation of the kind of music that I enjoy. With such a small community, it’s also a lot easier to find like minded people who are into underground music and can introduce you to bands or artists that you may not have discovered on your own.
What do you think of Australian underground music, particularly that of Perth? Are there are any new acts you would recommend?
I think Australia homes some of the best underground music in the world! Each state tends to have their own kind of style or approach to the music which they make and Perth specifically have been responsible for breeding some of the more original and interesting underground punk bands over the past few decades. Recent/newish bands who have caught my interest are The Hunt, who are probably my current favourite local band, playing a really dark metallic crust style akin to Tragedy or Wolfpack, Clenched Teeth, Foreign Aids, Frozen Oceans, Happy Families, Lie Cycle, Negative Reinforcement and the newer Javier Frisco stuff is pretty cool too. I could probably rattle off a few other friends bands who have been around for a while longer, but they’re probably decent enough on their own accord to need to be namedropped. Australia wide, awesome bands that I have heard but are yet to have releases at the moment are Last Chaos from Brisbane, Vaginors from Adelaide and The Zingers from Melbourne.
Let’s talk about Warthreat. How would you describe the band’s sound and influences?
Late last year I received a message from Luke, asking if I would be interested in playing bass/vocals in a Disclose worship d-beat band. Before that I’d told Luke that I’d been writing a few d-beaty kind of riffs and wanted to know if he’d be keen on drumming for a recording or something and he seemed keen, but at the same time he was jamming the Warthreat songs with Zaheer, so it probably seemed more appropriate to see as to whether I would be keen in completing their lineup. We’ve tried hard to stick to the Disclose worship approach, playing strictly noisy ‘D-beat Raw Punk’, but we do take influences from other punk and D-beat bands such as Anti-Cimex, Discharge (although Disclose are pretty much a Discharge worship band anyhow), Mob-47, Disorder, Bastard, Gauze and some of the more modern noisy punk bands like D-Clone, Electric Funeral, Giftgasattack, No Fucker, System Fucker and the mighty Framtid. I guess our main aim is to emulate the Japanese raw punk sound, adding as much noise as possible to create the Warthreat sound.
Recently at a Suffer gig at 208, an amp precariously placed on the mantel fell onto the drum kit during Warthreat’s set, due to what I assume was the amp vibrating so much from the noise/sound level. How do you feel about noise music in general, and how significant a role do you think it plays in hardcore?
The noise aspect of Warthreat is quite different to the specific noise genre which relies more on oscillators, contact mics, etc. The noise which we convey is probably more based around the excessive use of distortion and fuzz, making certain instruments sound more like a high frequency or white noise, rather than the instrument that it is supposed to. Zaheer has a rather noisy guitar tone as it is and when I was playing bass, I would split my signal; one amp would have a fuzzy, yet decipherable bass tone to cut through the mix and the other amp had an eq of all high, no low, full distortion, which sounded more like a messy white noise rather than a bass. I also use pedals such as phaser’s and wah pedals for a swishy effect in some sections.
The incident where the speaker fell on Luke’s kit occurred due to Brendan’s use of delay on his vocals. We have a more traditional mid-paced punk song, which does not have a d-beat(!) and there is a bass dropout/noise section where there is heavy feedback/phaser and Brendan adjusts the rate of delay on his delay pedal, creating an oscillated delay effect. When he did this at the 208 show, the oscillation created a big bassy sonic boom type noise and caused a speaker to drop due to the vibration of the frequency. The noise aspect is very important with the style of music which Warthreat play, in staying true to the sound of our influences and it is also a lot of fun too! I do also listen to quite a lot of other noise related projects/power electronics acts and have recently adapted more power electronics to Suffer and use LFO’s and heavy delay effects in Drowning Horse also.
Warthreat have put out a demo thus far, which has been spending a lot of time in my tape deck. Can you say a little something about the recording process, and perhaps the reception to the demo?
The instruments on the demo tape were recorded live in Luke’s living room on a digital 8-track. The vocals were later added a week or so later and the demo was mixed at my home not long after that. I am quite satisfied with the hugeness of the drum sound, however it is lacking a bit in punchiness form guitar and there were a few mixing issues that I probably should have paid closer attention to – which are mistakes I will not make again in the future. It may have also served better to have recorded a second guitar track, but a demo is a demo and I think it came out quite well and better than some bands who record their songs on an iphone or some shit and press the tracks to tape.
We had a first run of 50 tapes, which were pressed through Lifeshaper, which were distributed locally and around Australia through a few distros. This pressing of the tape is not too great, as the tapes were dubbed in mono and the recording relied quite heavily on a stereo mix. There was a second press of around 150 demos, which were dubbed professionally in stereo through DEX audio. These have been distributed around the world and we have received some pretty good and flattering feedback from this run of tapes. A lot of the material is a bit more dated now and some of the newer songs sound a bit different to the songs on the demo, however I am quite happy with how the demo came out as a whole (although I am my own harshest critic and I can never be completely happy with any of the projects I am a part of).
What’s on the agenda for Warthreat? Last I heard you guys were recording some new material. Is there a full length in the works?
Warthreat are currently in the middle of recording for a 7” record. The recording is around 80% complete so far and I am also taking on the recording and mixing duties for this. We’ve taken a different approach to our recording, so there’s a whole lot of different/noisy guitar tones and things like that. Three of the songs from the demo have been re-recorded and there are also 4 new songs (I think?). We have been working on new songs which we plan to record before Zaheer moves away, but we can’t really move onto until this project is completed. The new songs will more than likely be for a split release or something like that. No plans to release an LP at this point in time, but this band does seem to pump out new songs a lot quicker than any other band I have been in, so it is quite possible that an LP may be on the cards for sometime in the not too distant future.
I guess I should also shed some light on the current Warthreat lineup situation. Zaheer is planning on moving interstate around August/September and I will be taking over the role of guitarist in the group. We have enlisted Shane Hunter of The Craw fame to take over bass duties and we will be a 5 piece with two guitarists up until Zaheer’s departure.
Moving onto Drowning Horse, can you give us a bit of history behind the band? It’s hard to find any solid information on how the band started and who played in it at what stage.
I've been a part of Drowning Horse for almost two years now. To my knowledge, the band originally started with Kim on Vocals, Brendan on guitar, James on drums and Rohan (Extortion, All In Deep Shit, Collapse, etc.) on bass. This was the lineup who recorded the track 'Kings' on the split with Gore Crow Tones. Before Drowning Horse, Kim, Brendan and Rohan all played together in metallic-crust band 'Defeat' (their 7” is due out soon; they were one of my favourite Perth bands that I have ever seen live), so Drowning Horse may or may not have started out of the ashes of that band. To add another, heavier dimension to the group, Rohan asked me to join Drowning Horse on second guitar, as he knew that I had played guitar in a band in the past, had decent gear and was into sludgey, doomy kinda stuff. We jammed infrequently around 4 or 5 times until Rohan later moved over to Melbourne. Brendan, James and I jammed a few times together, working on some of the older tracks, as well as writing new songs, but decided it would be hard to further as a group without a bass player, so we then recruited Robin Mander (ex-All In Deep Shit/Hospital Beds) as he expressed interest in the music we were playing, had played bass in a band before and was keen on acquiring a huge bass rig (which may be one of the more important factors!). The five of us have been together now for over a year now and in this time we've written quite a few songs together; some of which have been scrapped, some of which have not, as well as playing around 15-20 odd gigs together.
Drowning Horse has an overwhelming stage presence, which in my opinion is very difficult to capture on record. What’s the recording process like for Drowning Horse, other than your live recordings?
I am yet to step foot in the studio with Drowning Horse. All recordings apart from 'Kings' from the split with Gore Crow Tones have been either live or rehearsal recordings. We are booked in for a 5 or 6 day recording session with Al Smith at Bergerk Studios mid-July and have been working on the same 4 songs for over a year now and have planned out a lot in regards to effects, layers and approach. I would imagine that there will also be a lot of experimentation, which is generally the case with our live shows anyhow; a lot of the structures and effects tend to rely on a bit of improvisation here and there, which is hopefully for the best.
The one band that Drowning Horse reminds me most of is Corrupted. I’ve noticed you sporting a Corrupted patch, so I assume they’re an influence. Can you talk about what inspires Drowning Horse, both musical and non-musical?
The collective influences that Drowning Horse share predominantly would be doom bands such as Burning Witch, Neurosis, Sunn O))), Corrupted, Earth, as well as some Norweigan Black Metal influences and even to a smaller degree some metallic crust bands. We all have input into the song writing process, but the majority of the riffs I have come up with would definitely be some of the more Corruptedy/Griefier kinda sounding riffs. Corrupted are hands down my personal favourite doom band of all time, as they are so versatile, powerful and extreme, so it's not really surprising that some of our music would remind listeners of a band like Corrupted. In saying that, I don't sit down to write a song and say 'this is going to be a Corrupted sounding song' or 'this is a Neurosis riff' and we don't sit down together and say 'it would sound cool to chuck in a Tragedy melody here' or whatever; we all bring in our own personal influences and approach to the music. I can't say a lot in regards to what influences Kim lyrically, however I will say that he has some excellent lyrics, which are almost short stories in a way. Drowning Horse also like to play with minimal lighting (preferably red lights) at cold temperatures.
As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, Drowning Horse are recording material for an upcoming LP. The most I’ve uncovered is that it’s to be recorded very soon and hopefully out by the end of the year. Can you tell us a little about what the record will be like, and if the creative process behind it is any different to a typical Drowning Horse performance?
The material which we will be recording spans over 60 minutes and we plan to release this as a double LP, with one song per side. Some of the material is pretty old, as there has not been a studio recording since the split 7” and most of the songs can be found on the live cassette (although some of the songs have been reworked/restructured). We are going to try and make each song flow in one way or another, so if you listen to the songs together on CD or in a digital format, they will all flow together like one atmospheric track – the way all good albums should. If you are a fan of doom, drone, ambience and black metal; there should be enough of a mix of those genres to satisfy you. We will be experimenting a lot with different amps and effects, but will keep the sound and the songs as true to how we perform them live as we can.
Do you think there’s much of an interest in sludge and doom in Perth? As far as I know, there aren’t many other bands playing this style of music.
There are little to no Doom bands in Perth. There are some bands which tread into the territory, such as Atolah and Cease, but as far as I know Drowning Horse are currently the only full fledged Doom act that are active in Western Australia. There is another band in Perth however, called BOAB who have similar influences to Drowning Horse, but they are not very active and are more a jam band if anything. We have tried to get them to play shows with us before, but they are all older guys who have other things going on their life.
There seems to be quite a lot of interest in the style of music that we play within Perth and we always seem to get great reception from a lot of different people within very different genres/subgenres of music. We play shows with hardcore bands, indie bands, garage bands and many others and a lot of people seem into it, whether they play or listen to that sort of music generally or not.
Last week Drowning Horse played at the Bakery with some ‘experimental’ acts, and I thought that in lieu of the other bands playing, you decided to ditch the traditional set and explore instrumental territory with the aid of a trombone. Turns out Miley Cyrus had something to do with it – care to elaborate?
The show in question was the Abe Sada / Sub Ordnance split LP launch and after we had committed to the gig for some months, Kim told us he was unable to play the gig due to ‘other plans’. We decided against pulling out so close to the date of the gig and decided to perform an elaborate rendition of our song which is currently titled ‘Anne’. This is a two riff song broken up into three sections; an instrumental intro, a mid section which is based around a drawn out drone and vocals and ending with a heavier riff/drum section with a few vocals also. It turns out that Kim couldn’t make it to this gig due to having tickets to Miley Cyrus, so we decided to stretch out the song Anne to around double its usual duration, as it is the one song which is probably easiest to translate in an instrumental point of view. I added the odd vocals here and there over the drone part, however instead of singing line by line as Kim usually would, I sang them in a more spaced out manner. I don’t actually know what Kim sings, however have been told what the song is about, so I tried my hardest to convey the same meaning through the improvised lyrics which I was singing during the drone. As James does not play any drums during the mid-section drone, he added trombone (which will also be included on our recording and hopefully in our live sets in the future). It was very fun and different on stage experiment. We did not really rehearse the structure for how we performed on the night, but we work together well as musicians, so I think we managed to pull it off well enough.
I’m sure no one’s asked you this question before, so I will – if you were only allowed to listen to five records for the rest of your life, what would they be?
This is a really tough question, as I listen to a LOT of different music and have a lot of favourite artists in different genres. I will try to cover all bases as best and have an answer that has remained relevant over time and would remain relevant in the future. Some of my favourite songs and releases are also of the 7” or split variety; but the more material the better, so this will be strictly long players!
Crossed Out Discography LP
Big L - Lifestylez of da Poor and Dangerous
Framtid – Under the Ashes
Corrupted – El Mundo Frio
The Organ – Grab That Gun
Cheers for answering my questions Micky, any final words?
Thank you so much for your interest and support. Hopefully my answers make sense – I have replied to the majority of your questions whilst at work, so if they don’t make a lot of sense, it’s more than likely due to me being interrupted whilst in the middle of them. New Suffer, Warthreat and Drowning Horse will be out within the next few months.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
...was a smashing success if i do say so myself. A departure from the structured song-based material of the debut CD on S4D records, Assimilation utilized several drones, loops, and a hand-made analog synth to create one long, ephemeral, and constantly shifting set. For those of you who weren't at the show at the Ream in Bloomington on Saturday night, below is a video clip of the performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Nu3PiFodI
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Assimilation is performing its first show this Saturday night, which will also be its 'album launch'. If you're located anywhere near Bloomington, Indiana, definitely hit it up. Entry is $5 donation, plus there will be a number of Assimilation cdrs available as well as a few copies each of all currently available S4D releases.
Here's the facebook event with more info.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Weird noise and downtempo come together in this highly experimental record by Marrow & Soot, resulting in an eclectic mixture of pure sound manipulation and a more palatable brand of rhythm.
While it might be cliched to say, Hearth does indeed 'transcend' genres, with the only real applicable and consistent descriptor being 'experimental'. There are a lot of different soundscapes and moods displayed throughout the record, ranging from dark ambient-esque claustrophobia '(Just a Cough') to minimal synth ('Hide All Promises'), but it all manages to come together quite well.
In some respects one could view Hearth as a trial record, with Marrow & Soot exploring different sounds and styles in an attempt to discover their own; in the same way though, one could see the record as a mish-mash of varying styles uniting under the one conceptual theme. While the atmosphere of the album is not always consistent, I feel that there is some level of cohesion to the tracks and that the artist intended to convey this multidimensional approach to electronic music.
It's simply a matter of my own preference, but I feel that Marrow & Soot are best when they employ a sense of solemnity and emotion, such as on 'Often Alone' or the aforementioned 'Hide All Promises'. The latter track in particular is very well done and reminds me a lot of Martial Canterel's newer material. A venture down this compositional path might be a good thing for Marrow & Soot.
Hearth has so far only seen a digital release, which while unfortunate will hopefully garner interest and result in a physical pressing. Marrow & Soot is a newcomer to experimental 'scene' as a whole, but they show remarkable promise on this record and will hopefully continue with the project.
free download and stream at bandcamp
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Some of you may remember my review of Tempest's debut LP Passages from last year - this record was an instant hit for me and it still gets a regular workout on my turntable - it just has that little something that keeps me coming back. I can't quite decide whether it's simply because I go nuts for the overall sound Tempest have achieved, or whether it's because Passages itself is immaculately composed, but I have no qualms in heaping mounds of praise upon the LP.
With Passages still fresh in my listening rotation, Tempest have followed it up with another release in the form of the Solace EP. The record contains a single song, broken up into two parts. What was so good about Passages is evident here too - the EP almost feels like an afterthought of the LP, taking similer musical ideas and streamlining them around a singular concept that is expressed through one fluid composition.
If Passages caught your attention or you have any interest in dark and menacing crust, Solace is a must listen. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that its briefness leaves me wanting more. Tempest is easily the best band I know of currently playing this style of music, so do your thing and support. Physical copies of Solace are not yet available, but you can stream it here with the option to buy digital copies. Passages also has a full stream here. SUPPORT.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I've just updated the Label section of the blog with information on all the upcoming releases, as well as streams/sample tracks for all of them bar one. They are coming together nicely, and I think will reflect the effort S4D has made into improving the general aesthetic of its releases. Looking to an April release for most if not all of the scheduled releases.
In addition to that, work has begun on S4D#3. One interview has been conducted and transposed, one more is yet to come and then a possible third. Issue will feature the usual reviews but also some more genre/band specific articles, maybe show reviews as well as some guest contribution. Jeroen of Antediluvian is designing the cover as well as various sections of the zine.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
‘I am a false prophet, God is a superstition’
This is the interview I conducted with David of Mammon in June 2011, which was originally published in S4D#1. Mammon are a blackened doom band from Canberra, Australia, who've made waves with their demo, entitled Demiurge.
Hey David, can you tell us a bit about Mammon’s inception?
Max and I had played in bands before and were playing in a band at the time which was going nowhere. In early 2009, we decided with another friend, Tom, that we wanted to do a 3-piece metal band. From there, we basically induced large amounts of marijuana and occasionally emerged from our bong den to jam riffs. After maybe 6 months of that we got a new drummer, Ken, started smoking less weed at band practice and began to get shit done. We recorded Demiurge at the end of 2010/start of 2011 with this lineup. Ken has since gone overseas and we are now working on a new record with a new drummer, Finch, who recorded Demiurge.
While the music on Demiurge is not all together experimental or anything, I find it hard to categorise Mammon into a specific genre – there’s elements of sludge, post-metal as well as both hardcore and black metal. What have you got say about this? Was there a specific template in mind when you were writing the music, or did it just come out?
Despite being initially conceived of as a doom/black metal band, the music never took on that sort of template. We’ve retained the idea of focusing on atmosphere and of stripping the band down to its essentials but we have never played doom or black metal in the traditional sense. Instead, it has informed the ethos we have worked with. We all listen to a lot of different music and have all spent time playing in hardcore bands. As we focus our writing around concepts, we’ve been able to focus more on how to evoke and express that concept, which has allowed us to incorporate a greater variety of styles, rather than remaining reliant on a specific genre template.
In terms of style, where do you draw your influences from? Do you and the other members share a similar taste in music?
We draw from a myriad of influences, musical and otherwise. Writers such as Baron D’Holbach and Michel Onfray influence our work as much as the music of bands such as Fall of Efrafa, Burning Witch or Leviathan. We share somewhat similar musical taste. Our original drummer was heavily into black metal and doom. Ken listened to a lot more hardcore and crust, such as Tragedy. Finch is very into bands like Botch and Dillinger Escape Plan. Max and I share pretty similar taste. We’re both into doom and sludge, and I probably listen to more black metal, while he listens to more death metal, but we tend to enjoy the same bands. On the whole, I think we all tend to enjoy music that’s heavy and has a strong focus on atmosphere.
What’s the underground scene like in Canberra?
It’s very small but surprisingly fertile. There are a number of high quality bands from Canberra, such as 4 Dead, Pod People, Dead Kings and I Exist, who have all helped foster quite a healthy scene. Ultimately, though, the scene consists of a small handful of individuals, who tend to play in a number of bands – I Exist share members with Pod People and Life and Limb, who share members with Dead Kings, who share members with 4 Dead and Sense and Goodness, who share members with Mammon and The Reverend Jesse Custer.
Demiurge was released as a CD-R, which you were nice enough to send free to anybody who wanted. Did they go quickly?
We’ve sort of produced CDs as demand has required. The initial run was of 49 which we released at a show in April and we got rid of all of them that night, which was a good start. Since then I think we’ve put out maybe 85 more, which has been really positive. We’re still sending copies out, too.
What was the recording process like for Demiurge? Was it DIY or did you do it in a studio?
It was all done DIY. Finch did all the recording and we used his equipment. Drums and bass were recorded in a rehearsal room before Ken left for Japan. Guitars and vocals were recorded after that in Max and Finch’s houses. This required some pretty inventive Tetris-like manipulations of household space but we managed to work it all out. It was a more positive experience doing it DIY, because of the pride associated with having created something entirely of your own volition, rather than involving outside assistance. It was also a lot simpler.
Mammon was started with a specific concept, a concept revolving around a rigid opposition to organised religion. Can you elaborate on this a bit more?
I think that Mammon’s concept goes beyond just being a rigid opposition to religion. I would say, instead, that the concept involves the preservation and advocacy of autonomy, respect for human rights, progression of secular and rational moral discourse, and the rejection of abjection and totalitarianism. The concept is defined not only by what it stands against, but also by what it stands for: a naturalist world-view. We are opposed to intrusions by religion into all discourse – moral, social, political, or otherwise – as we believe it is an immoral force that serves to put in place an archaic and irrational form of morality that serves only to promote humanity’s enslavement and is greatly opposed to its wellbeing. It is irrational and highly dangerous, as it promotes sexism, xenophobia and a nihilistic view of life. It is conducive only to the degradation of our species.
What do you think of naturalism?
The adoption of naturalism – the view that the natural world is of the greatest importance and that the preservation of it and the beings in it must be promoted – is a moral necessity. It epitomises the rejection of religious nihilism and fatalism in this life in exchange for the lies of transcendence, and advocates the embrace and celebration of the present. In emphasising the finality, and thus the importance, of this life, it also highlights the need to fight against those who would attempt to diminish the importance of this life and destroy one’s opportunity for happiness and well-being through bigoted archaic moral principles.
While Australia is a ‘secular’ state, at least in comparison to other particular Western democracies, there are still a lot of religious elements in politics. Is there any political emphasis in Mammon’s music?
As a band we are apolitical. Obviously, though, we strongly advocate secularism and oppose the intrusion of religion and regressive religious morality into politics. While it is not something that is overtly dealt with in the music, we are all opposed towards projects such as the Schools Chaplaincy Program and the refusal to grant equal rights to homosexual relationships. Parties such as the Christian Democrats, Family First and the Protectionist Party reflect the intrusion of religious conservatism into Australian politics and show that Australia still has a long way to go in terms of becoming a truly secular state. While we do have an atheist, female Prime Minister, the continued illegality of homosexual marriage shows that Australian politics has clearly not moved away from religious dogmatism. We are instead in support of a post-Christian secularism, as championed by Michel Onfray, in which a reliance on religious dogma and practices is dismissed in favour of a worldview and value system that is derived entirely from critical analysis and rational discourse.
Demiurge’s artwork was done by an artist named Jacob Rolfe. Can you tell us a bit about the meaning behind the art, and whether we can expect to see Jacob working on more Mammon records?
The artwork was essentially intended to embody the visual representation of our lyrical thing. As ‘demiurge’ means creator and originator of evil, the artwork represents revealed religion to be this demiurge, in the form of a great serpent (ironically, a beast associated with the devil and evil – implying that it is truly the holy and sacred that are most evil). The snake entwined through the church emphasises this relationship. We’ll definitely be getting Jacob to work on the future Mammon records. He’s an excellent artist, as well as a friend who I’ve known for years. His work for Demiurge perfectly evoked what we wanted it to represent.
Will this general concept be a continuous aspect of Mammon?
The band name was chosen due to its religious connotations and its ironic reference to theocratic greed (that organised religion, which has created ‘God’, truly represents Mammon – the embodiment of greed) so I think that our atheism, in its anti-theistic and naturalist forms, will be a constant theme in Mammon’s music. It is something we truly believe in and believe that it is necessary to fight for.
You’ve mentioned that Mammon is recording new material. Will this be a vinyl release, and do you think Demiurge will ever re-released on wax?
Our upcoming record has gone through so many different permutations that at this point I’m almost unwilling to say anything definitive about its release. However, it is currently our intention to be releasing it as a 12” that consists of one large song broken into two sections. At this point, it’s unlikely that we’ll release Demiurge on wax; it’s more likely to get a limited run cassette release. In the future though, if we have other shorter recordings, we may release Demiurge with these prospective recordings as a collection on wax.
Do you collect vinyl? If so/if not, what’s your opinion of the format’s revival in recent years, particularly with underground music?
I think we would all shy away from being dubbed ‘collectors’ as I’m sure there are far more dedicated vinyl enthusiasts, but we certainly all pick up a fair bit. We’re all very supportive of its revival. It offers a far greater opportunity to explore the potential of artwork and packaging, allowing a more cohesive piece of work to be produced. It also requires greater commitment on the part of the listener, as there are simply more physical steps in listening to vinyl and it forces the listener to listen through the whole album, as opposed to flicking through mp3s. This promotes greater connection with and immersion in the music, as well as encouraging bands to focus more on writing entire records that can take the listener on a journey.
We’ll finish off the interview with a tried and tested method – your five favourite records.
Max (in no order):
“left hand path” – entombed
“damaged” – black flag
“LA” – flying lotus
“black sabbath” – black sabbath
“loveless” – my bloody valentine
Finch (what he’s currently listening to non-stop):
“Miss machine” – The dillinger escape plan
“You fail me” – Converge
“Nuclear sad nuclear” –The number twelve looks like you
“Manhater” – Robotosaurus
“Night Hag” – Night hag
David (five favourite records I own physical copies of):
“What it Takes to Move Forward” – Empire! Empire! (I was a Lonely Estate)
“Of Malice and the Magnum Heart” – Misery Signals
“Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum” – Deathspell Omega
“Chronoclast: Selected Essays on Time’s Reckoning and Auto-Cannibalism” – Buried Inside
“Chaos Is Me” – Orchid
Thanks for answering my questions, any final comments?
Thanks so much for the interview. It’s so heartening to see such a thriving DIY community and we’re all grateful for the opportunity that people like you have given us to be a part of it. We’re always happy to continue these discussions and speak to anyone interested in similar issues. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we are always keen to further any sort of discourse around these topics. Thank you.
Monday, March 5, 2012
An "ambient" compilation by Ghostly International that I picked up blindly a week or so ago. The faggots over at pitchfork are calling this "post-ambient" so... yeah. Whatever, this album features some artists that readers of this blog may be familiar with (the Fun Years, Aidan Baker), and a whole host of others that I didn't know. This album is more on the minimalist classical side of ambient music, there aren't a whole lot of drones or enveloping atmospheres here. Instead, careful, minimal melodies and the silence that dwells in the spaces between the notes creates a very varied "feel". Sometimes uplifting, sometimes despondent, sometimes poignant, sometimes soothing, this compilation has a lot of different motifs, but doesn't sound like a mish-mash. The tracks are very well sequenced and flow together. If I didn't know it was a comp, its believable that this is all the work of a single artist. Kudos to Jeff Owens at Ghostly International for curating this work. This is the kind of record you put on at the end of the day, and kind of leave behind everything that happened.
As for what SMM means, I don't know. GI says that its "an unknown acronym used to evaporate the already-unspooling musical boundaries between classical minimalism, electronic and drone composition, film soundtracks, and fragile imaginary landscapes." I'd say that's a good description, but it doesn't capture the feeling of this record. The emotional imprints that these sounds leave are as powerful as they are varied.
mediafire mp3 320
Sunday, February 26, 2012
from the label:
"Proving the power of modern audio programs as tools for composition, "non-musician" John Flannelly channels the spirits of retro space-travel without ever picking up an instrument, save for a simple synthesizer on select passages. Created almost entirely with the free program Audacity, Spaced presents sounds alien yet familiar, retro yet full-frequency, obnoxious but curiously intriguing. While coming off as seemingly schizophrenic at times, the songs bounce back and forth between explorations of planetary surfaces and a lone spacemans thoughts seamlessly, weaving a unique journey into the lo-fidelity of outer space."
basically a tripped out, lo-fi NES influenced by Tangerine Dream
i was lucky enough to get the last in print copy at TD's CD's and LP's
(Bloomington, IN readers of this blog, if you don't support this establishment, shame on you!)
download for free (or donate) in any high quality format you want at the labels bandcamp
Auris Apothecary - the Marketplace - AAX-040: John Flannelly - Spaced
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Lo-fi by Default is a DIY label that eschews genre bounds and brings together artists from all around the world who follow a line of DIY, lo-fi recording practices. Their roster contains artists in styles ranging from math rock, post-punk, hardcore, electronic music, hip-hop and chillwave, though that's barely scratching the surface. You can hear 10 different artists across the 18 songs on this compilation, all of which are genuine in their DIY expression - the pretension that can come with being 'lo-fi' is not a valid criticism here.
I would have liked to go through some of the bands here in various detail but I've decided I won't bore you (or simply because I have little time to continue writing this blurb). What I can say with certainty is that there actually wasn't a single artist on here that I didn't find compositionally or at the least thematically interesting. Some definite highlights were the mid-west emo interpretation of John Lithgoat, the lo-fi, fuzz-meshed jangly post-punk of The Latecomers, the garage pop sensibilities of Turning Jew or the droney shoegaze of Metropolitan Intent. I could have kept going with the wordy descriptions but I'd like to leave a little of the surprise of discovery to the rest of you.
If DIY/lo-fi music interests you, if you are in a band that follows a similar recording aesthetic or if you get a little wet over compilations, Lo-fi by Default's sampler is most worthy of being picked apart.
1. Negative Feedback Loop - Intro (Demo)
2. Adult Video Arcade - Natural//Shaven
3. John Lithgoat - Hotcakes
4. The Latecomers - A Walk on the Coldfront
5. Kamas - My Second Chance
6. Metropolitan Intent - Proto Evanelium 2
7. Starnoise - Somewhere Else
8. Turning Jew - Not Really Your Father
9. Marigold Bones - 3 Step
10. The Floor's Trick - Laugh
11. TBATLR - Again
12. Kamas - Free
13. Starnoise - No One
14. Metropolitan Intent - Midnight Wander (Excerpt)
15. The Latecomers - Wooden Man
16. Turning Jew - Hands
17. TBATLR - Armadillo Dance
18. John Lithgoat - Jampoline
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Wow. This is music treads the careful line between being challenging and engaging and does so magnificently. Compositionally, these pieces are intricate and complicated but are still very accessible and interesting. The second track "Music With Too Many Parts" is probably the most "experimental" song in terms of songwriting; they use a scale of fourteen unequal intervals per octave. It also sounds like an Eastern European scale, there are some notes here that you just don't here on a regular basis when listening to music based in Western European scales, keys, etc. "It is It" (parts one and two) both feature tempo and time signature changes that are impressive and striking, yet occur so effortlessly and naturally. "The Spirit is Willing" shows off their syth and drum syncopation skillz. And the title track, well, I'll let you discover that one for yourself.
The actual textures of the instruments themselves are as interesting as the songwriting. 80s synth voices that would be cheesy otherwise fit nicely in here and sound great. In addition to synth, bass, and flute, there are many unorthodox instruments at play here, such as the marimba and other things that I've never even heard of. Upon first listen to this record, I actually chuckled to myself a few times just out of sheer surprise. And apparently this band uses 'just intonation' tuning a lot, which is really complicated and makes cool sounds so if you really wanna know click here
the link can be found below
EDIT: While I haven't been able to find a full rip of their other release, Prime Numbers, you can hear three of the songs here: http://www.dbdoty.com/OM/OMRecordings.html
Monday, January 23, 2012
'His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in, and buried him in it. Six feet from head to his heels was all he needed'
Rations are a Long Island NY punk group, and How Much Land Does a Man Need? is their second release. I've actually struggled to think about things to talk about in this review, as I hadn't previously heard of this band nor do I know too much about the style of music they play. Nonetheless, since receiving this 7" a little over a week ago I've played it about 3 times a day, every day.
The 5 songs here consist of mid-paced and well-defined punk music with a strong melodic edge. Some might (loosely) call it pop-punk, but I personally don't see too much of a pop aesthetic in these songs. Regardless, the 7" shows great musicianship and while the songs themselves are not compositionally complex, they are absolutely not generic. Perhaps we should avoid my shitty descriptions and let you all hear it for yourselves - you can stream the title track at this bandcamp page.
Rations' songs just have a little something that makes every moment poignant no matter what you're doing, provided the record is spinning. I've been lying in bed looking up out of my windows at the sky or doing something as mundane as eating cereal and I've just stopped to reflect. The music has a definite authenticity that allows you to lose yourself in it without any worry of anxiety or negativity. Put in simpler terms, I would call How Much Land Does a Man Need? a 'feel-good' record.
The 7" comes with a 12 page booklet designed by the guitarist, who also runs one of the 10 labels who've co-released the record. 1000 copies were pressed, so they're currently in abundance and you would do well to pick one up. This comes with my strongest recommendation.
Perth's Jerk Store Records is selling them for $5 postage paid anywhere in Australia, or $3 in person. If you're from down here, definitely do not miss the opportunity as I'm not entirely sure how many copies Alex has. Those of you from other parts of the world, here's a list of each label involved and its whereabouts - I'll let you do the googling.
Jerk Store Records & Fanzine (AUS)
Drunken Sailor Records (UK)
Lost Cat Records (USA)
86'd Records (USA)
Rad Girlfriend Records (USA)
Intense Human Victories (USA?)
Square of Opposition Records (USA)
Pavones Records (CAN)
Messner Records (SWE)
Eager Beaver Records (Jap)
Friday, January 20, 2012
While I'm most certainly a sucker for genre labels, it just so happens that sometimes I'll come across a record that will make me avoid categorising at all costs - while it's so very easy to label a band or record, putting a box around something simply means that that particular thing cannot venture beyond the boundaries of that box (at least in the boxer's mind). This sort of discussion is usually up in the air, and while it's easy to 'box' almost any type of music, sometimes it's just better to forget your critical faculty and enjoy the emotive side a piece of music has to offer. For the first time in a long time I did just that with Red Nightfall's debut LP, and I like to think that it fostered a stronger connection with the music. Initial listens of the album made me realise that if I were to write a review talking about how they're an indie rock band and how they either fit in or deviate from the typical tenets of the style, I would not be doing the Toronto based quartet any justice.
The band label themselves as both 'sad bastard indie-rock' and similar to 'early Pink Floyd or King Crimson'. While I believe the former description fits perfectly, I personally do not hear any Floyd or Crimson at all. Maybe I'm listening out for the wrong things? Regardless, I'll be taking this review down the sad bastard track; Red Nightfall as a record consists of 9 stripped down and sombre songs which more often than not build up in intensity as they progress. Generally speaking this is an indie-rock record, but there are folk, slowcore and perhaps even loose post-rock elements thrown into the mix, all which collude to give Red Nightfall a distinct character.
Instrumentally, this record is immaculate - rather than give a detailed description of what each member does and sounds like, I'm going to point out two particular elements which stick out to me as defining facets of Red Nightfall. Firstly, Addison Siemko's vocals suit the solemn and often melancholic atmosphere perfectly, and his ability to convey a completely different mood with the slightest change in his voice allows a great deal of introspection on the listener's behalf. The second notable thing is Patrick Illian's bass lines. The way they give life and urgency to the songs needs to be heard rather than described, so I'll just say that the bass' prominence in the mix is dearly welcomed.
I've done nothing but praise this album so far, so I'd like to end things on a more realistic note. I really enjoy this record, and I can state with no inhibitions that Red Nightfall are definitely onto something. Nonetheless, I think the band could spend a little more time fine-tuning their 'album-craft', if that makes any sense. Individual songs on the record are great - in fact, I don't think there are any that I didn't care for (double negative deal with it), but writing a collection of songs and putting them in an album is different to writing an album. I feel that Red Nightfall could very easily construct a highly cohesive record which oozes thematic continuity, but that's not quite the case here. All 9 songs have their own emotional 'rides', but when I pop this into the player, I feel that I'm sitting there listening to a song at a time rather than all 9 in a row.
All of that aside, this is a great record and being their debut it's a bit much to criticise them for such minute details. If artists such as The National, Vic Chessnutt or Jeff Buckley are your thing, Red Nightfall is well worth hearing. You can listen to the band at their bandcamp, as well as ordering both physical and digital copies.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
'XfrankgrimesX once again delves into the depressing nature of modern life, covering a diverse range of topics including vending machines stealing your money, getting nits and looking like Robert Smith when you cut off your dreads, the horror of public transport and pizza places that still can't cut eight even slices'.
XfrankgrimesX have followed up their Old Grimey EP with another release of short, raging powerviolence numbers, all with some really great samples. Pretty Buzzy has a more crisp and sharp sound than the Old Grimey EP, but the song structure is mostly the same. One thing which stook out to me however is that Pretty Buzzy has a few songs that employ some slower and doomier parts, though in the loosest possible sense. It still fits within the overall XfrankgrimesX sound however.
Another nifty little surprise here is a cover of Iron Lung's Sexless/No Sex, and though this cover is musically faithful, they lyrics have been slightly altered - the song is now called Snackless//No Snacks. While I would not say that XfrankgrimesX are a groundbreaking band, they have a certain charm to them which I simply cannot ignore. Their songs are basic but well written, and overall they're just hilarious. Their use of samples is perfect - we have more Simpsons ones on Pretty Buzzy, but one of the best lines from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is used too.
According to their bandcamp Pretty Buzzy is XfrankgrimesX's second and 'final' release. I'm not entirely sure if the band is dead or not, but all I can say is go listen to Pretty Buzzy (it's streaming on their bandcamp) and contact the band for physical copies. Support.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Up and coming hardcore punx from Byron Bay are putting out a 7" on Arrest Records. I wouldn't go so far to say that Arrest Records hosts the best of Australian hardcore (a lot of it is generic and totally forgettable) but they've made a name for themselves nationally and if they keep putting out records from quality bands like Shackles then I'll keep up the support.
Shackles have been around for a while and have played shows, put out a demo etc. etc. They first came to my attention through Sean's Skullfucked blog, as he has some level of involvement with the band (putting out one of their demo tapes).
As far as I know this is their first vinyl recording and it's extremely solid. Reminds me a bit of Taipan, playing heavy handed hardcore with metallic flourishes and even hints of powerviolence (though it's not overt). 11 tracks here, and overall the 7" is a ripper.
You can stream it for free from the Arrest Records bandcamp.
You can also put in a preorder for the record at the same place.