Posts Tagged ‘Amphetamine Reptile’

1. THE DWARVES play music that crosses all rock genres including hardcore, garage, punk, surf, noise, death metal, experimental, industrial, hip/hop, grunge and good old-fashioned pop. Even their modesty is legendary.

2. THE DWARVES first tour in 1988 covered over 6,000 miles and highlights were featured in the Village Voice. The tour consisted of 3 cities, 4 shows and $165 dollars cash. The band slept in a cargo van and booked gigs on stolen telephone cards.

3. THE DWARVES began in the 1980’s as an Illinois punk garage band, covering everything from the Seeds and Moving Sidewalks to Gang of Four and Devo. They still have skinny ties and tight pants to prove it.

4. THE DWARVES have recorded for visionary independent labels including Sympathy For The Record Industry, Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords, Sub Pop, Bomp!, Amphetamine Reptile, Man’s Ruin, Recess, Theologian, Glitterhouse, Burning Heart, White Jazz, High Voltage, No Balls, Zodiac Killer, MVD, Midnight, Reptilian, Riotstyle, Burger and Greedy Worldwide. Some of them even paid royalties.

5. THE DWARVES have been stabbed, bludgeoned, swarmed, arrested, shut down, sabotaged and even fellated onstage and much of it is available on video, like the compilations FEFU, Fuck You Up & Get Live and Salt Lake City.

6. THE DWARVES were one of the first hardcore bands to regularly use samples, drum loops and found sounds, even on their earliest recordings where they used cassette tapes to generate them.

7. THE DWARVES teamed up with Top Ten producer Eric Valentine (Third Eye Blind, All American Rejects, Slash) to make their last 5 studio albums. He even showed up to some of the sessions! Valentine and Blag Dahlia helped write songs for Smashmouth and Skye Sweetnam.

8. THE DWARVES were kicked off tour with a UK metal band for sleeping with the girls the headliners had hired to hang out backstage. They were banned from venerable punk dive CBGBs for breaking a table and bleeding on the floor making the venue cleaner and improving its décor.

9. THE DWARVES played with the Minutemen weeks before D. Boon died, visited GG Allin in prison and did coke with the Lemonheads in a seedy hotel room. And that was all in one day! Their list of collaborators on records is vast, including the ones they can contractually mention like Dexter Holland, Josh Freese, San Quinn, Nash Kato, Gary Owens, Stacey Dee, DJ Marz and Spike Slawson.

10. THE DWARVES music has been featured on television shows like Viva La Bam, Nash Bridges, Rob and Big, Laguna Beach, 16 and Pregnant, Homewrecker, Jackass and dozens more. They appeared naked on Monster Garage and Playboy After Dark, where HeWhoCanNotBeNamed mated with a pumpkin.

11. THE DWARVES are the very best looking band in show business. They’ve shared bills with the Cramps, the Offspring, Vandals, TSOL, JFA & countless more!

12. THE DWARVES did a live one-hour performance on Japan’s prestigious NHK network. At the dinner afterward, they literally ate a horse. This turned out to be better than all of the food in Indianapolis.

13. THE DWARVES inspired a current popular catch phrase with their bestselling 2013 self-help book Make the Dwarves Good Again.

14. THE DWARVES played Berkeley’s punk collective 924 Gilman Street the first month it opened and appeared there with the likes of Green Day, NOFX and the Didjits. They were later banned for beating a spectator, but don’t worry, he was a fan of some other group.

15. THE DWARVES are a true independent band with no outside management or record deal, DIY forever. They leave no remains when they die, only footprints in the snow.

16. THE DWARVES bassist Rex Everything has been tased while committing battery and resisting arrest. He loves kittens, puppies and long walks on the beach. Guitarists HeWhoCanNotBeNamed and The Fresh Prince of Darkness teach and counsel troubled teens when not ingesting cocaine and masturbating to hardcore pornography.

17. THE DWARVES have been members of groups like KMFDM, Gnarls Barkley, Mondo Generator, Kyuss, Motochrist, Penetration Moon, The Queers, Scream, Bloodclot, Decent Criminal and The Uncontrollable. Don’t hold it against them.

18. THE DWARVES are OG’s (Original Grunge) appearing with Nirvana, Mudhoney, L7, Supersuckers, Rev. Horton Heat and the Fluid. They appeared in the film Kurt and Courtney where they were described as “one of the more violent bands.”

19. THE DWARVES were attacked by a disturbed person enraged over the band’s lyrics. The first rock ‘n’ roll battle record, ‘Massacre’ proved the old adage that the truth hurts, but so does being assaulted.

20. THE DWARVES could be saluted by groups as disparate as the National Organization for Women, the Vatican and the Daughters of the American Revolution for promoting greater gender understanding.

21. THE DWARVES are snotty bastards who live in California. Their notorious ‘Blood Guts & Pussy’ album cover, depicting a dwarf clad only in dead rabbit and blood spattered Amazons, led to widespread banning and protests at gigs for years to come.

22. THE DWARVES guitarist HeWhoCanNotBeNamed died in 1993 as reported in SPIN (100 sleaziest moments in Rock #79), Alternative Press, SF Weekly and Harper’s, among others. Being denied entrance to Hell, he returned to mortal form, commenting later, “that which kills me makes me stronger.”

23. THE DWARVES music has been featured in films like Ghostworld, Hostel, Observe and Report and Me, Myself and Irene, where Jim Carrey crooned ‘Motherfucker’ while having a nervous breakdown in a car. In the hardcore porno ‘Rocksuckers,’ genitals collide to a ballsy Dwarves soundtrack. Lloyd Nickell’s video for ‘Stop Me’ contains content deemed harmful by the FBI, FCC and Mothers Against Intercourse.

24. THE DWARVES are mostly a cat band, but enjoy a good doggy now and again.

25. THE DWARVES singer Blag the Ripper sang the novelty hit ‘Do the Sponge’ on the cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants. Dwarf Sgt. Saltpeter has written and performed over 20 musical pieces featured since the show began. That’s Balls, Folks!

26. THE DWARVES have been active for over 40 years and Blag has published three novels of transgressive fiction, Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick, Nina, and Highland Falls.

27. THE DWARVES performed onstage with Turbonegro at the Leeds Festival, UK and have toured Europe 12 times, performing at Reading, Pukkelpop, Goteborg Gallopp, Download Donnington, Groezrock and Rebellion Fest to name just a few. Please don’t ruin a perfectly good gram of hash with tobacco.

28. THE DWARVES website was hacked by Islamic jihadists (http://tcat.tc/1bWYQPX). Peace be upon you!

29. THE DWARVES have an average penis size of nine inches, but most of that is Nick Oliveri.

30. THE DWARVES’ singer Blag co-hosted an advice show with Bay Area radio DJ NoName called We Got Issues. His former podcast Radio Like You Want spread the gospel of bad music and intrusive interviews with accomplice Mike Routhier. Now he croons lounge country style as Ralph Champagne

31. THE DWARVES have just had a slew of their classic back catalogue albums, including Blood, Guts and Pussy, and Come Clean, reissued on vinyl with new (still awful) artwork with infinite gratuitous nudity and bonus tracks, . You can get them all via MVDB online, here.

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Photo: James Farrell

Cruel Nature Records – 19th June 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Much as I love living in York because of The Fulford Arms, and the ease of access to limitless gigs in Leeds (without having to actually live in Leeds), I’m starting to think that Newcastle is the place to be.

Cruel Nature’s roster is reason alone, and this latest offering from full-throttle noisemakers Ballpeen is exemplary. Three years on from their first live show and, the band have established themselves, ‘through releases on premier DIY punk label, Serial Bowl Records’. As the press release recounts, ‘2018’s ‘Loose Knot’ with its wry nod to Black Flag in title and excellent artwork, rapped five across the listener’s brow from the get-go, with its attention-grabbing power and undulating groove, coursing through the 6 tracks, leaving you thirsty – but not miserable – for more’.

In attempting to capture the energy of their live performances, Pachinko is a relentlessly balls-out, up front amalgamation of all things post-hardcore, with a big, bold 90s slant that evokes the spirit of Touch & Go and Amphetamine Reptile, as well as contemporaneous little UK labels like Eve Recordings and Jackass.

At times, it feels like we’re wading through endless indie sameness, and even so much alternative music, spanning metal, hardcore, post-hardcore and whatever else you’ve got simply fails to hit the spot, and I’ve felt listless, uninspired many evenings while reviewing these last few weeks. And then Pachinko slams in with a proper smack to the chops and I’m instantly reinvigorated and reminded of all of the reasons for music. Pachinko is distilled excitement. The album’s eight tracks are packed back-to-back and are all the guitars, spasmodic, jolting, big distortion. The fact it’s a mere twenty-one minutes in duration indicates the density and hell-for-leather pace of the album, which last less time than it takes some bands to tune up, or in the case of Sunn O))), to strike the first chord.

Pachinko isn’t pretty: it’s direct, and drives straight for the jugular. Following the lurching drive of ‘One Man’s Opinion’, a thorny mess of Killing Joke and early Therapy? with a dash of Milk, ‘Flipper’ brings a downtuned churning riff assault, before ‘Ornate Coleman’ slugs out a messy morass of guitar-driven abrasion.

Blending Trail of Dead and Blacklisters at their most attacking, or to pluck lesser-known but perhaps more accurate reference points, Tar, Guzzard, and Hora Douse all spin into Ballpeen’s sonic blast.

‘Kancho’ goes full-on Bleach era Nirvana with a driving, circular riff and sprays of feedback bursting from the halts in the crushing percussion. It’s heavy in a relentless, churning way. Some songs, like the closer, ‘No Mark’ are straight-ahead hardcore punishers that are Black Flag and all the hardcore releases Southern Lord have released in the last five years rolled together and deep-fried in breadcrumbs that stick in the throat simply to choke you.

No prisoners. No respite. Just full-on fury. The best.

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Southern Lord – 29th September 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s been five years since Wreck appeared on Alternative Tentacles. So what have Unsane been doing in the intervening period? Gazing at their navels, taking up yoga and discovering a serene spirituality as a means of dealing with the anguish of life in the modern world? As if. They’ve been distilling their brutal rage into even more intensely bleak slabs of sonic nihilism. And, naturally, it’s housed in appropriately unsubtle, gore-soaked artwork. Unsane’s album covers are nothing if not distinct: while so many metal album covers which display hematomaniac tendencies are highly stylised and revel in the intended shock value, Unsane’s covers are all the more shocking by view of their clinicality, resembling crime scene photos than works of art. This is in many ways true of the music itself: there’s a functionality, a bluntness about it, and no sense of there being any indulgence or show.

Everything about Sterilize is stark, uncompromising, and connotes post-industrial, post-everything society, the dehumanising effects of merely trying to exist in the capitalist world where everyone gets pushed further and further down for the benefit of the few. It’s the soundtrack to life being sucked from the soul, the sonic encapsulation of desolate fury.

The grey steel assault of ‘Factory’ sets the tone and tempo: screeching feedback whistles through the grey, grain of the guitars and sludgy bass. From thereon in, the ferocious howls of anguish and packed in tight, back-to-back.

The song titles are also functional, direct, descriptive. Again, there’s no fluff, and little joy, to be found around ‘We’re Fucked’, ‘A Slow Reaction’ or ‘Distance’. Everything is paired back to the bare essentials and compacted for maximum impact. This includes the blues-based sound that defines Unsane: it’s crunched up, compressed, stomped into submission, meaning that while there is a certain swing to it, it’s limited to the most concise and precise form.

‘The Grind’ is aptly titled and brings a thunderous deluge of guitar; ‘Aberration’ is built around a simple four-chord trudge; and ‘No Reprieve’ sums up the album as a whole. You don’t listen to Unsane for variety, either across a given album, or their output overall. You listen to Unsane to vent, to experience a relentless viscerality. There’s something almost self-flagellatory about listening to an Unsane album in its entirety. At a certain point, the initial sense of catharsis is replaced by a crushing claustrophobia. This isn’t to say it’s an unpleasant experience, but is indicative of the effect of such sustained intensity. It’s as exhausting, mentally and physically, as the exertions of daily life on the treadmill, a punishment as reward.

When they slow the pace a shade, the weight is turned up, and when they hit a groove, it’s explosive and blistering. The tripwire guitar that stretches its sinews over the sludgy trudge of ‘Lung’ only raises the tension, and closer ‘Avail’ draws a heavy curtain of screaming anguish on proceedings with distorted vocals tearing across a rumbling bassline and savage guitars.

There’s a desperation and urgency about Sterilize which ensures that it crackles from beginning to end. Everything seethes, spits and scrapes and there’s not a moment’s relief. It’s this intensity which makes Sterilize as strong as any Unsane release. It’s mercilessly harrowing, but is ultimately satisfying in a perverse, sadistic sense.

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