Posts Tagged ‘Noise’

These Beasts are now releasing the track ‘Code Name’ as the first single taken from their forthcoming new album Cares, Wills, Wants. The crushing full-length debut of the sludgy noise rock trio from Chicago is chalked up to hit the streets on April 21, 2023.

These Beasts comment: “The opening track and first single, ‘Code Name’, of our forthcoming album was also the first song that we wrote when we started working on new material”, guitarist and vocalist Chris Roo explains on behalf of the trio. “The lyrics deal with the hypocrisy which seems to become increasingly more common all around us.”

Listen to ‘Code Name’ here:

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New label Dead Music Club, which specialises in limited-edition cassettes, today announced its first three releases to showcase what they described as their ‘fledgling catalogue’.

The Stoke-based label, which is pushing the parameters not only of music, but of underground by shunning social media and making news of its releases available via mailing list subscription, is kicking off with a compilation of ‘Stoke weirdness’, which features Aural Aggravation faves Omnibadger, as well as the debut EP from ramshackle punks Dog Train on 10” vinyl, and an EP of mangled noise courtesy of one Christopher Nosnibor in his Noisenibor guise:

DMC-001 ‘DeadMusicClub’ cassette – a collection of Stoke weirdness £5
DMC-002 ‘Extractions EP’ cassette – Chris Nosnibor documents extractor fans £5
DMC-003 ‘Dog Train EP’ – Dog Train’s first EP on 10” vinyl £20

To subscribe, and for order details, go here.

There will be a launch event at Captain’s Bar, Stoke, at 8pm on December 30th.

Human Worth – 4th November 2022

That I’m a huge, huge fan of Human Worth is probably quite apparent by now, or really ought to be. As a label, they’re the absolute model of the cottage industry DIY label with a social conscience that’s matched by the quality of the music they release. How many labels can you name where absolutely every single release in their catalogue is an absolute fucking banger? And now, it gets even better, as the community spirit can be seen to be an integral aspect embraced by the acts on their roster, as the assemblage of the appropriately-named Fucking Lovely indicates.

Well, it probably depends on your taste, of course: it’s not lovely in the lilting, floral, melodic sense – more in the ironic or sarcastic sense, as this EP is every inch the gnarly barrage of noise you’d expect from the Human Worth alumni who feature in the lineup, which the bio describes as ‘an evolving noise project brought into being by Joel Harries from 72%. Featuring Luc Hess (Coilguns / Closet Disco Queen) on drums and Thomas Lacey (Cower / Yards / The Ghost of a Thousand) on vocals.’

They go on to detail how this record ‘came together through shared connections with Human Worth and brief meetings playing gigs in 2019’; and that ‘the music grew steadily from the initial guitar and drum machine tracks into the frantic and unnerving songs of “Catalogue Of Errors”’ which were ‘recorded remotely between the UK & Switzerland’. It seems like this is the way collaborations will happen from now on. This is probably a (rare) post-pandemic positive: distance and scheduling are no object when it’s possible record at any time and from any distance.

This feels like there is absolutely no distance: it’s the sound of a band playing at ten thousand decibels and right in your face, so harsh and full on that your eyes pop out of their sockets.

It’s brief and intense. Four tracks of jarring, jolting, stuttering riffs and shouting pitched against one another at obtuse angles and colliding against one another in the most awkward and ungainly fashion, for maximum ugly impact and packed into less than ten minutes. Oh yes, it’s fucking lovely alright. It makes your skin crawl and your hair stand on end, it makes you clench and quiver , makes your shoulders tense and your neck stuff. ‘Billy Boy’ is gnarly and full-tilt Jesus Lizard psycho, all dirty guitars, gritty bass and twisted manic vocals. ‘Maximum Exhaustion’ is a soundtrack of relatability, relaying the staggering, stumbling, lurching delirium of fatigue beyond fatigue – also known as life.

The full-on earth-shattering hardcore of ‘Bricked’ draws the EP to a close with samples echoing around low in the mix and the words inaudible, and while angry, sludgy acts are disparate but numerous, I’m reminded of Blacklisters here.

It’s a gloriously demented racket, and it hurts. And it most definitely is absolutely fucking lovely.

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21st October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

What a week to drop a new single. Especially if you’re a politically-charged British band. And particularly if you’re Benefits. Their meteoric ascendancy continues unabated: still without label, management, or PR, they’ve had the video for their new single premiered on none other than Rolling Stone Magazine’s website. They are most certainly not your typical Rolling Stone act. Yes, the magazine may historically have been an outlet for Hunter S. Thomson’s writing and been both political and cutting edge, more recently, it’s been very much more establishment. But it’s reach is huge, and if this suggests by any means that Benefits have gone establishment, you’re either nuts, or you’ve not heard of Benefits before.

For a band like this to be given such a platform isn’t simply a big deal – it’s practically the sounding horn of revolution. And as the British government collapses around our ears faster than 24/7 scrolling news can update their marquees, the timing could not be better.

Against a grinding, undulating, distorted mechanical throb, Kingsley Hall delivers another lacerating dissection of Real Life, carving his way through anxiety and dayjob drudgery, corporate and political doublespeak, endless bullshit filtered and amplified through the echo chambers of social media, ‘failure masked as victory’.

Two-thirds in, a hefty industrial beat kicks in and gives a solidity to the squalling blast of thick, thick noise, and the roaring rage yields to a crisp, clinical spoken word monologue that in many ways hits even harder than that savage raw-throated primal scream, and there’s glimmer of home as he intimates ‘we can win this’… and then, abruptly, nothing. It’s the most unexpected ending to a sing since Dinosaur Jr’s cover of The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’.

It’s also Benefits’ most uncompromisingly brutal and heavyweight release yet, as well as their most fully realised.

The world is changing fast. We may be quite literally drowning in shit on the coasts of this brown and deeply unpleasant pleasant land, but Benefits are doing their bit to make it a better place, not by bringing sunshine, but telling it like it is.

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Benefits are on your in November:

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The buggers keep doing this: disappearing, then coming back, with no forewarning, no fanfare, with more killer noise.

And so here we are: ‘Leisure Centre’ crash-landed today to herald the imminent arrival of a new EP, out next month.

It’s as good as anything they’ve ever done. ‘Leisure Centre’ has the same kind of nagging, repetitive riff that features in so much of their work, from the definitive early songs like ‘Trick Fuck’ through to more recent classics like ‘Shirts’. And if anything, ‘Leisure Centre’ sounds like ‘Shirts’ on heavy tranquilisers: slow, stumbling, lunging, all the weight and all the murk. And of course, it’s all about that big, churning riff. It sounds a whole lot like Pissed Jeans. This is very much a good thing.

If the rest of the EP is half as good, it’s going to be a corker.

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7th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been introduced to GLDN this summer via the gritty industrial gore-flecked First Blood EP, the vehicle of Nicholas Golden continues at juggernaut pace, having prefaced the full-length Haemophilia with lead single ‘Suicide Machine’.

While some are particularly sensitive about anything pertaining to suicide, its disturbing prevalence means it’s a topic that needs to be out there and under discussion. While rates among the young are conspicuously high, here in the UK, rates are now highest for men in the 45-49 bracket (my own demographic), while globally, it’s rocketed among those beyond retirement age. And, traumatic as it may be for some directly affected, it shouldn’t be considered taboo or require a trigger warning – otherwise, pretty much all industrial and metal would need to carry warnings before every song.

Point is, that suicide, death, and, indeed, the fixational theme of plasma and platelets that dominates the work of GLDN are as much tropes, themes as much metaphorical as literal – and that’s ok. To confront one’s darker thoughts is healthy, and is a world apart from acting upon those thoughts. More often than not, those who produce the most dark and grotesque art, in any medium, prove to be the most balanced and the least dangerous, as they’ve found a healthy outlet for whatever it is that’s chewing at them.

On the evidence of Hemophilia, there’s a lot chewing at Nicholas G, and he channels every last ounce of that angst into his art. The result is an album that’s tense, taunt, relentless. And yes, of course it’s harsh. Not to a power electronics level of extremity, but this is an album that’s edges are serrated with industrial abrasion every inch of the way. Oh, and there’s blood and guts all over – just look at the cover. It sounds how it looks: by turns incendiary with rage and ominous and sinister with disconsolate darkness, Hemophilia has sonic and emotional range, but at the sae time, it’s bleak, bleak, bleak, as song tiles like ‘Self-Mutilation as a Form of Compliance’ indicate.

It opens with the lo-fi punky metal thrashabout of ‘Animal’, which is as up-front as it is unexpected, with GLDN roaring raggedly against a gritty, grimy guitar blast. But ‘New Face, Same Lies’ is bleakly electronic, dingy, subterranean, whispered and tense and is everything you would expect. The contrast of these two tracks alone tells you pretty much everything you need about GLDN and Hemophilia – namely it’s every inch the gritty, dark industrial album you’d expect, but it’s got twists – lots of twists. ‘#1 Crush is just one of them – a chugging metal reworking of the flipside to Garbage’s second single ‘Vow’, it clearly recognises the song’s lyrical darkness, then plunges is into an abyss and culminates in screaming angst. Despite being familiar with the song – it’s something of a personal favourite from the Garbage catalogue – it didn’t land as immediately recognisable, and that’s a positive, and a measure of just how much GLDN have twisted and mangled the tune – or put their own twist on it, if you’re talking more commercially. It’s a bold move, and one that proves successful. In contrast again, ‘Half-Life’ is sparse, stark electronics and as gritty, grimy and gnarly as hell.

At times it’s pure NIN: often it’s much more, not least of all in that it does its own thing within the industrial framework and at times pushes beyond, making for an exciting and dynamic album, and one that is, naturally, brimming with anguish and existential angst. And relentless, pounding beats, too. ‘Suicide Machine’ stands as a highlight, with parallels to ‘Happiness in Slavery’ from Nine Inch Nails’ Wish, which is clearly one of Nicholas Golden’s touchstones – and it’s a solid choice, as a release that really took harsh noise to a massive audience.

Hemophilia is dark, dense, and intense, the sonic equivalent of bloodletting. And the production is tight. It’s clearly a studied work, and the execution is magnificent – not just the performance, but the production, too, which presents the songs in their best light, tugging out the details and the dynamics to yield maximum impact.

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After a lengthy hiatus from 2013 to making a return to the fray this summer, Benjamin Heal’s Cowman alter ego is back with a vengeance: hot on the heels of the Crunch’ EP, which was essentially the salvage from an aborted album project, we have a full-length album proper in the form of Slaughter.

The title may or may not be a fairly off-the-cuff and easy reference to its being recorded at a studio by the name of The Slaughterhouse – evidently not the one in Driffield, favoured by Earache acts back in the day, since it was destroyed by a fire in the 90s – but it equally seems appropriate to the tense, tortured atmosphere that pervades this release.

Kicking off energetically with ‘Hydrant’, this is the sound of Cowman reinvigorated. It’s still gloriously lo-fi, and still warrants Pavement comparisons I effortlessly tossed at its predecessor, but this carries the unbridled excitement of those early EPs which preceded Slanted. But moreover, it’s fuller, scuzzier, dirtier, somehow more adrenalized, and also more frenetic, more angular, as if Trumans Water had witnessed the apocalypse. In this sense, it’s very much a return to the gnarly grind of 2013’s Artificial Dissemination and Palpating the Rumen (2009).

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This tension carries on into ‘Rinka’, two and a quarter minutes of multi-layered mumbling vocals largely submerged beneath a hefty chug of rhythm guitar and a lead guitar that just about carries a motif, but wanders and around as if half-blinded and disoriented by a spinning compass on a map that’s missing bits.

‘Blackstock’ is a full-on wall of sound, the mangled vocals echoing impenetrably in a churning cyclical riff, and it’s not until ‘Kissing the Rock with Eyes’ that we get something approximating a groove, but even then, it’s impossible to settle into it for long. The beat may be vaguely baggy, but it’s urgent, thwacked out at a hundred miles an hour while the guitars are cracked up, overdriven and grungy. Something has happened here, and perhaps perusing the 2010 Cowvers album, which includes rough-as-fuck renditions of songs by Big Black, The Fall, yes, Trumans Water gives a clue of the roots to which Cowman is returning to here, but there’s also a newfound sense of purpose here, as if there’s a real need to channel some post-pandemic angst into big, bad, noise.

‘Itch’, clocking in at a minute and forty-one is pure Big Black, with a squall of treble-to-the-max guitar clanging over a pummelling blast of drum machine, before the dark, dank mass of the lumbering closer, ‘Wichita Black Sun’ rolls in and mines a mid-tempo motoric groove for over a quarter of an hour. The nagging monotony is integral to the experience, like a feedback-strewn reimagination of Lard’s ‘Time to Melt’ and the entire back catalogue of Terminal Cheesecake pulped into a single document.

While ‘Crunch’ was fun, Slaughter feels like the real Cowman. It’s not an easy or accessible record; in fact, it probably requires four stomachs to fully digest, but it’s a magnificent set of dingy alt-rock noise with firm roots in the early 90s, the likes of which is rare these days, yet seems fitting for these challenging times.

Listen EXCLUSIVELY to album tracks ‘’Blackstock’ and ‘Sticks, Stones, Fingers and Bones’ here:

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Human Worth – 7th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Since the launch of the Human Worth label, initially as an outlet for releases by Modern Technology, we’ve witnessed the label grow – although never beyond its means and never beyond its principles. Each release sees a portion of the proceeds donated to a nominated charitable cause, and it’s so heartening to see a label and its artists use their platform for social good. With this latest release, a 7” EP from Leeds makers of noise BELK, 10% of all proceeds are being donated to Action Bladder Cancer UK, who work to support patients, raise awareness, improve early diagnosis and outcomes, and support research into bladder cancer.

But let’s never underestimate the social good of music with meaning – and by good, I mean sincere and visceral. Anyone who has ever stood in a room being bludgeoned by a full-blooded sonic attack will likely appreciate the incredible release of the experience, and the sense of community it entails. It’s not easy to articulate the way in which something that’s ultimately private, internal, is heightened by the presence of strangers immersed in that same experience, in their own personal way.

In congruence with the rise of Human Worth, we’re also seeing a satisfying upward arc for BELK, who unquestionably deserve the exposure and distribution, and one suspects that being limited to just 100 hand-numbered vinyl copies, the vinyl release of this is likely to be a future rarity.

This 7” EP packs five tracks into mere minutes. ‘Warm Water’, unveiled as a taster for advance orders on September’s Bandcamp Friday, is a minute and eighteen seconds long. It’s fast, and it’s furious – a focused channelling of fury, no less, distilled to 100% proof, and there’s no holding back on this attack.

There are a couple of additional demo tracks, in the form of ‘Net’ and ‘Question of Stress’ from their 2022 promo as downloads.

It’s all pretty raw, and ‘studio’ doesn’t mean much more polish than ‘demo’, and that’s exactly as it should be BELK trade in proper dirty noise, the likes of which Earache specialised in in the eighties and early 90s, before they went soft and became a rock and blues label, releasing stuff by the likes of Rival Sons. Human Worth have snatched the noise baton in a firm grip, though, and the quality of their releases extends to the artefact as well as the art.

‘Net’ is a stuttering slugfest reminiscent of Fudge Tunnel, only with harsher, higher-pitched squawkier vocals that are more conventionally hardcore, and it all stacks up for one killer release that delivers a ferocious slap round the chops.

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