Posts Tagged ‘noisy’

Cruel Nature Records – 2nd December 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Having raved about Pound Land’s second album, Can’t Be Arsed back in March, I was pretty thrilled to find the follow-up landing so swiftly. What with the exponential rise of Benefits, and acts like Polevaulter emerging, it seems that now is a good time for angsty, angry music with noisy tendencies and gritty sociopolitical leanings. Of course it is: it’s a sign of the times, and besides, it’s not a good time for anything else, unless you happen to be a non-dom billionaire or a CEO at an oil company.

If Sleaford Mods set a new template for the paired-back duo setup as being in vogue before the pandemic, the combination of lockdowns and crippling economic circumstance has rendered this an operational necessity for many musicians.

Pound Land may be up to their elbows in grimy dishwater and wading through excrement in streets where the drains and sewers are backed up due to torrential downpours and a lack of council funding, but they share little common ground with Sleaford Mods, and that’s despite favouring repetitive monotonous Krautrock-inspired grooves over dynamic structures: Pound Land are far doomier, dingier, lugging their way closer to sludge metal than anything you could possibly dance to.

The Stockport duo’s third album is a monster slab of punishing, gut-dragging, bass-heavy grimness, and one has to wonder how much to read into the title. The people are weary, ground down: will they rise up, or curl up and give up?

The blurb points out that the album finds the Stockport band pushing their ‘post-industrial kitchen-sink drama preoccupations even further on Defeated, exploring the dark comedy of everyday life in the dismal land of eternal recession. Sometimes the vision expands out of shitty Britain too, ‘Drone’ recounting the wearied observations of an electronic device as it traverses the globe… You’ve got to laugh, because if you don’t you’ll kill yourself. Or somebody else.’

The laughter is pretty dark and pretty hollow, though, and derives as much from the keen observations as any particular knack for a punchline (a line about mobility scooters with Northern soul stickers on stands out as particularly pithy) and the stark musical backing isn’t especially musical, more of a pounding trudge that provides a backdrop to an endless stream of vitriol and bleak depictions of the everyday, from pavements caked with dogshit and news items about rising fuel prices and their effect in the average household. If it sounds mundane, it is, but then we need art that speaks to us about life as we experience it, and the majority know far more about scrabbling for change to buy a loaf of bread than luxury cars, watches, and clothes.

‘Violence’ is their equivalent of Public Image Ltd’s ‘Theme’, a brutal, sprawling, brawling, squalling monster that opens the album with a relentlessly heavy battering ram of a racket, like Sunn O))) with a howling harmonica and sneering Lydonesque vocal. It crushes your skull, before it fades out swiftly and unexpectedly, which somehow works. But maintaining the PiL comparison, it’s Metal Box that is perhaps the closest similarity, in that the album as a whole is diverse, fractured, unpredictable.

‘Carry On Screaming’ sounds like The Fall in a three-way collision with Yard Act and Melvins. It’s a mangled mess of drum machine beats and psychedelia and noise with a monotone vocal drawl.

Against a thumping dirge of a noise, a grating mesh of distortion and dolorous drum, the title track is a gnarly hybrid of early Swans, and elsewhere, as on ‘Sick Day’, it becomes less about songs and more about spoken word narrative delivered against a backdrop of mangled noise, and at times, it’s pretty harrowing. Lyrically, Pound Land don’t pretty things up. Sonically, they don’t either. It’s magnificently raw and un-produced, and this is no more true than on penultimate song ‘Pathogen’, a dirty slow stomp that’s pure rage and invites comparisons to Uniform. And it sounds like it was recorded on a phone from the next room.

‘Drone’ sneers and snarls like Lydon at his best, closing with a venomous refrain of ‘fucking twat’ delivered in a thick, spitting Manchester accent.

Defeated may only contain eight songs, and only a couple of them extend beyond the five-minute mark, but it’s feels immense, and experience that’s exhausting both physically and mentally. Listening, you feel the weight of the world condense and compress as the angst and anguish press down ever darker, ever denser. It’s a bleak, suffocating document of everything that’s wrong right now. This is the sound of broken Britain, and it’s a harrowing insight into just how fucked everything is. But in this channelling of nihilistic anguish, you realise you’re not alone. It doesn’t change anything, but it’s something to cling to.

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Christopher Nosnibor

It’s always good to be back at Wharf Chambers, and this actually my first visit this year. Since my last trip, the cost of a train from York to Leeds has absolutely rocketed. It wasn’t that long ago that an off-peak day return for the 23-minute journey was about eleven quid. Now it’s more than £17, plus booking fee. Pre-lockdown, late 2019, it was around £15. This is the cost-of living crisis and inflation in sharp relief. It may only be a couple of quid, but as a percentage, it’s substantial, and when you apply the same kind of increase to everything… My dayjob pay hasn’t gone up by anything like as much, and we know that rail workers’ wages haven’t. But the consequence is that I have to be more selective about what gigs I travel to attend, which means in turn lower attendance for live acts, and less beer sold by venues, and so on. Thankfully, with shows at Wharf Chambers, I can offset the travel costs with decent hand-pulled beer at £3.40 a pint. When was the last time you paid under £3.50 for a pint?

It’s not all about the cheap beer, of course. Live music is always about more than just the music, though: it’s about the whole experience, and Wharf Chambers is a great venue with a great vibe that hosts great bands, and there are two on tonight’s bill.

Fuzz Lightyear are infinitely better than their somewhat flippant name, which doesn’t particularly convey what they do. Sure, there’s distortion, but the guitars take second seat to busy, heavyweight drumming on songs that feature abundant tempo changes, and are weighty, and shouty. Post rock collides with Fugazi. I’m a sucker for the full tom roll rhythm, and the drummer absolutely nails it on the third song. There’s a dash of Trail of Dead in the mix, and the bassist’s manic eyes are as compelling as anything. It’s a solid set, with a lot of range, that sets things up nicely ahead of the headliners.

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Fuzz Lightyear

Deaf Kids start gently with something of an ambient intro. It’s dark, and they move as shadows. There are drums played with elbows amidst drone noise. And it builds… and builds… and then it bursts. And how!

The Brazilian trio aren’t your staple Neurot act: instead of slow-lugubrious, rust-stained metal, this is a band with a vibrancy and an energy that’s positively eye-popping. It’s as if they’ve bottled everything since the release of their last album, Metaprogramação and are finally letting it all out. The set feels less like a succession of songs than a continuous overall work. They play in almost complete darkness. Briefly, there’s a percussive break that’s almost a mellow conga, but then it builds again before it explodes. The set is punctuated by bursts of noise, and – additional djembe breaks aside – it sounds like there are two drummers… There’s just ss much percussion, and so much urgency, and so much energy.

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Deaf Kids

And I realise on reflection, as I relive the immense buzz of the show, that chuntering about the price of trains from York to Leeds is likely nothing compared to the effort of transporting a band from Brazil to play in post-Brexit Britain in a venue with a sub-200 capacity. Really, we’re spoiled. I can only hope we continue to be.

1st December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Do you ever feel that the problems facing humanity right now are of our own making? That the phrase ‘scum of the earth’ applies to humanity as a whole, because we as a species have simply fucked everything up beyond all repair? Because the simple fact is, we have. What other creature destroy its own habitat as well as those of nearly all others? Parasites seek to achieve symbiosis with their host; viruses mutate to become more transmissible but less fatal; the aim is not to kill its host but to thrive and expand. Mankind is worse than parasitic, the most brutal virus that evolves slowly and in ways which are counterintuitive, namely to exhaust its host. Where do we actually go from here? The prospect of inhabiting Mars with colonies because we’ve fucked up the world we were born to seems beyond insane.

The shock-factor-monikered Skat Injector are – as you’d likely expect – upfront in their positioning, pitched as serving up ‘Grindcore-inspired speedcore and a diatribe of anti-human propaganda because that’s what we deserve for what we’ve become.’ They have a deep sense of self-loathing and misanthropy, and it’s abundantly cleat on this dehumanised, inhuman blasting racket that’s dark, deep, glitchy, subterranean, demonic, wrecked on every level.

They rail against ‘Willful [sic] ignorance, habitat loss, animal abuse, global ecocide, global warming, environmental pollution, overpopulation and many other attributes of a leeching narcissistic race which needs to live within its bounds’. They shouldn’t have to; this is how life should work.

On Bled Under A Burning Sky, Skat Injector pound and rage and rage and pound, as grating, raw-threated vocals spit, snarl, and grind against a backdrop of frenzies percussion. The lyrics aren’t always – or often – decipherable, but the sentiment is clear.

‘All Tomorrow’s Genocides’ is like a grindcore Prurient, with soft, spindly synths slowly spinning misty swirls of fear chords around pulverizing drill-like beats. Explosive doesn’t come close to a fitting description.

‘An Earth Cleansed with Flame’ goes full harsh electro and is straight up Chis and Cosey trance backing, at least at first, manifesting as aggressive dance with harsh vocals, while the six-minute ‘The Future Sound of Suffering’ brings the suffering and it’s painful in its crunching brutality. ‘Vanishes Rapidly’ is constructed around explosive dynamics, and flips from near ambience to the firing of an AK-47 directly into the ear. It’s brutal and it’s savage, but also very much the ultimate expression of the industrial era, and ‘Obsidian Dawn’ only amplifies and intensifies. It fucking hurts.

The album is dominated by beats so hard and fast they sound like drills and nail guns, this is industrial and its hardest and most industrial, the sonic equivalent of applying a power drill on hammer setting to the eyeball.

At almost fifty-two minutes, it packs a lot of firepower, a lot of punch – so much so that it leases you panting and pounded – in a good way, of course, assuming you have at least a faintly masochistic streak and appreciate music that’s as much about testing your endurance as it is coaxing and massaging the pleasure zones with a battering ram and a taser simultaneously.

The second CD – another fifty-three minutes – of instrumental and extended versions of the album’s tracks is certainly not one for the passing listener or casual fan, and it’s perhaps not essential even for moderate fans, although the nine-minute extended version of the title track is certainly a nice pain-inflicting bonus.

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Teasing their forthcoming self-titled debut album, Manchester’s most uplifting cacophonous craftsmen Chew Magna, are serving up their own alt-rock antidote to lifelessness in the modern age with the ironically titled new single ‘Listless’ – complete with an unsettling self-made David Lynch inspired video.

“Listless is mostly about wasting an abundance of potential,” guitarist and vocalist Laurie says, alluding to the track’s thundering chorus as it sharpshoots, “I’d kill for what you’ve got” to a motoring Krautrock groove. Recorded at Salford’s The White Hotel with SWAYS producer Martin Hurley, it is a restless and incendiary re-introduction to a band who have been busy cranking up the dial on their unyielding attack of guitar squall. “For this track we melded two songs together; you can hear the jam the main part came from,” Laurie reveals.

‘Listless’, the first track to be unleashed (and the last to be written) from the four-piece’s upcoming debut album, is unrelenting in its anthemic riff, symphonic vocal, guitar and bass flirtations, crashing drums and overall wall of enduring sound.

The accompanying ‘Listless’ video was created and filmed by the band in a single day, in a cleared-out spare bedroom on zero budget. Each Magna members’ eyes covered as their senses are heightened, slide projections and shadows dance across their turtlenecks and barefoot stance which culminates in the strangest but most addictive of calisthenics style dance routines since ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’.

“The end result is delightfully odd,” says guitarist Simon who, alongside partner Annie, took the directorial lead. “The angles are quite Lynchian, driven by us using lighting in unusual ways to enhance the confines of the small space. It was a case of setting each scene with the things we had in the house and the dance adds a surreal, claustrophobic feel to the song’s already uncanny theme.”

A further foray into Chew Magna’s poetic and philosophical world, ‘Listless’ is the first earful of the band’s eagerly-anticipated debut album arriving Spring 2022 – a record they say, sees them “emerging from Covid’s sleep.” An onslaught of decibel-destroying fuzz and rising tension, Chew Magna explores the angst felt of wasting one’s potential, freedom’s plight, apocalyptic cautionary tales, inverse worlds, the passing of youth, conspiracy theories and life’s countless frustrations.

Watch the video here:

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Chew

Chapter 22 – 24th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

On 31 December 2019, writing on Yur Mum’s explosive Ellipsis EP, I closed with the lines ‘Fuck it, for my last review of the year, and of the decade, I’ll put it out there: 2020 is going to be Yur Mum’s year. And if it isn’t, then I give up.’ There was no way of knowing that 2020 would be no-one’s year, if it could even be considered a year rather than an immense, bleak desert of time without form or meaning. If it seems as if in 2021 we’re now just starting to emerge from a long dormant spell, it’s perhaps worth realising that it’s already the end of June and we’re past the longest day.

Still, it’s been a while in the gestation, but Yur Mum having scored a deal with Chapter 22, finally get to unveil their second full-length album, Tropical Fuzz. Apart from ‘Sweatshop’, the lead single form the aforementioned Ellipsis EP, this is a completely new set of material, penned since they cut back from a trio to a duo in 2019, and it feels very much like an album, a cohesive work that’s been planned and structured, with the second half comprising noticeably shorter songs as it builds up and races to the finish.

‘Banana Republic’ comes belting out of the traps with a colossal lumbering riff, the gritty, grainy bass and thunderous drumming tight as you like. There’s such a density to the sound that it punches you right in the stomach, and the production captures that live feel magnificently.

‘Black Rainbow’, premiered at the start of the year, marks a change of tone and tempo, with its slower pace, and more theatrically gothic feel, it’s a dark, brooding beast of a song that showcases another facet of Anelise Kunz’s vocal range.

It’s on third track, ‘Crazy’ where they deliver on the pitch of ‘more cowbell, more fuzz’, as drummer Fabio Couto goes all Blue Oyster Cult and Kunz grinds out a doozer bassline while coming on like Courtney Love, with a drawling sneer and full-lunged roar, and they pack the belters in back-to-back, the driving alt-pop of ‘Dig Deep’ is a fast and furious two-and-a-half minute harmony-filled rush of adrenaline. They step up the volume and fuzz another few notches with ballsy grunger ‘Kiss and Tell’.

The pairing of the jarring, ribcage-rattling ‘Sweatshop’ and the raucous hard-rock attack of the title track makes for a killer finale.

Each song feels fully honed, distilled to its optimal strength, with no fat or faffing about – this is, of course, one benefit of being a two-piece: there’s not a lot to faff about with – breakdowns and extended solos simply don’t work with such a minimal format, but where Yur Mum really make it work for them is that they achieve a maximal sound. And that sound is a driving, punky blast of energy that feels great.

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BrooklynVegan froths over the latest Demons album Privation as a set that “recalls ‘90s Touch & Go/AmRep type stuff (or newer bands like METZ) and puts a fresh, exciting spin on it." That was good enough to grab us, for a start, and now Demons have unveiled a music video for the track "Play Acting Virtue" which is now streaming here:

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Demons’ Zach Gehring says, "We are playing our first show in over a year this Friday, so we wanted to share this video from the last show we played back in March of 2020 with DOA and Dead Kennedys at the Norva."

The heavy, experimental project of Gehring (who also plays guitar in Mae) Demons dropped their latest album Privation, on April 30 via Spartan Records.

Of the album’s title, Gehring explains, "(it’s) concerned with loss, deprivation, and lack, In our context — this is reflective of where we are at personally, culturally, and politically. It’s a structural aspect of our lived experience — and it is particularly aggravated of late.”

Drawing from the spirit of bands like Metz, Gulch, Converge, Propagandhi, the Demons crew (the aforementioned Gehring, Chris Mathews [vocals/guitar], Jonathan Anderson [bass], Drew Orton [drums]) punishingly delivers ten tracks of raw and confrontational fury, motivated from within a spiraling sociopolitical landscape that evokes critical self-reflection and frustration

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Photo: Will Clarke

Uniform’s ‘Dispatches from the Gutter’ comes with a momentous video from filmmaker and director Jacqueline Castel. “The video was approached as a documented mass sigil informed by the historical and philosophical concept of self-immolation, performed under the lunar eclipse of Independence Day,” Castel explains. “Participants were asked to bring personal offerings to burn, and were given a directive to write down their intentions for the future, which were attached with accelerants to an effigy that was later cremated. It was a symbolic act of releasing what we wish to abandon, and an invocation of what we wish to rebuild.”

Uniform’s vocalist Michael Berdan reveals, “Aside from being a dear friend, Jacqueline has been a favourite director of all of ours for a very long time. Her stark aesthetic and eye for detail is without parallel. No one could have been better suited to create a visual representation of this song. Dispatches from the Gutter takes equal inspiration from Malcom Lowry’s Under the Volcano and Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke. It is about the fine line that many of us live on between times of relative stability and utter chaos, and what life is like once that fragile threshold is breached.”

The video is the perfect accompaniment to a song that’s classic Uniform. Watch it here:

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Uniform

(Press Photo By Ebru Yildiz)

Grimoire / Buzzhowl Records – 27th September 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

The second album from Baltimore trio Gloop is noisy, messy, manic. The liner notes describe it as ‘a splattering Jackson Pollock painting of a full-length record’, and refers to their sound as ‘a kind of skewed rock music that recalls Shudder to Think, and the Pixies at their harshest and weirdest’.

It is harsh, but that harshness doesn’t come from heaviness, but from a chaotic squall of treble and wildly unpredictable song structures. It’s got the punk spirit and some aggression in its execution, but not exactly post hardcore, either, but a jarring, jolting racket that has many of the hallmarks of math-rock played in such a way as to sound perpetually out of time and out of tune with itself. It’s skewiff, not in a slacker Pavementy way, but in a demented, all-over-the-shop demented Trumans Water way. If I say it’s enough to give anyone a headache, it’s by no means a criticism: we’re attenuated to tune into regular rhythms, accordant tonality, tunes. Smiling Lines has none of these, breaking every last rule of musicality by pulling apart the very fabric of rock music and stretching it, twisting it, tearing it, stomping on it, before examining the stained tatters and deciding ‘yes, this is what we were after.’

Dom Gianninoto’s vocals are kinda shouty, but he’s given to shriek, whoop, and holler and pitch up to falsetto at any instant, adding to the crazed unpredictability of it all. Smiling Lines is the sound of wide-eyed, frenzied derangement, a relentless rollercoaster, a furious flurry of frets. It’s a short, sharp shock, and it’s fucked-up, but it’s ace.

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Gloop - Smiling Lines

KEN mode share a new track ‘Not Soulmates’ from their incoming album Loved (Season Of Mist/New Damage Records in Canada, August 31st), alongside European tour dates in November through to December – full listings below.

About the track Jesse Matthewson comments “The main ‘chorus’ line,  I suppose you could call it, “You’re going to continue enjoying this mistake with me”, was conceived by Scott’s wife. This song is about the many complexities of love and the humour that surrounds its entirety – whether people choose to process it or not. It’s got riffs you can throw round-house kicks to and is an ode to the Melvins and Zeni Geva.”

Listen here:

EUROPEAN LIVE DATES:

w/Birds In Row & Coilguns

Nov 15 – Joué, FR @ Temps Machine

Nov 16 – Orléans, FR @ Astrolabe

Nov 17 – Bordeaux, FR @ Void

Nov 18 – Toulouse, FR @ Rex

Nov 19 – Montpellier, FR @ Blacksheep

Nov 20 – Clermont, FR @ Raymond

Nov 21 – Lausanne, CH @ Romandie

Nov 22 – Besancon, FR @ L’Antonnoir

Nov 23 – Kalsruhe, DE @ Die Stadtmitte

Nov 24 – Gigors, FR @ CBGC’s

Nov 25 – Milano, IT @ Magnolia

Nov 27 – Nantes, FR @ Le Ferrailleur

Nov 28 – Le Havre, FR @ Fort de Tourneville

Nov 29 – Paris, FR @ Le Petit Bain

Dec 1 – London, UK @ MacBeth

Dec 2 – Brussels, BE @ Magasin4

Prior to that the band shall be playing the following dates:

w/Shallow North Dakota

Sept 28 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Good Will Social Club

Sept 29 – Saskatoon, SK @ The Black Cat Tavern

Sept 30 – Calgary, AB @ Palamino Smokehouse

w/Birds In Row

Oct 13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club

Oct 14 – Chicago, IL @ Live Wire

Oct 15 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar

Oct 16 – Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone

Oct 18 – Atlanta, GA @ Basement

Oct 19 – Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern

Oct 20 – Falls Church, VA @ VFW 9278

Oct 21 – Boston, MA @ Middle East

Oct 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

Oct 23 – Portland, ME @ Geno’s

Oct 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Oct 25 – Rochester, NY @ Photo City

Oct 26 – Toronto, ON @ Bovine Sex Club

Oct 27 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus

Oct 28 – Quebec City, QC @ La Source De La Martiniere

Oct 29 – Ottawa, ON @ House of Targ

You can also watch the video for the opening track, ‘Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should’:

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