Sunday, August 25, 2013

Feedback 13 Record Reviews (2012)

Baader Brains - New Era Hope Colony LP
This band is always on some conceptual science fiction political conspiracy trip I can barely understand, but the scenario seems like they are living like bacteria in an underground lake in Antarctica. It must be a metaphor. They are blasting out into space to start a new colony after Earth has been too polluted to live on. It's all about re-building society from the ground up. Which makes me think there would be no more electric guitars or amps. The music is almost like "Paul's Boutique" or "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back" because it's a seamless flowing sound collage of samples and different types of music, but punctuated by the late Sarah Kirsch's style of light-speed energetic hardcore (Torches to Rome, Fuel, Sawhorse, John Henry West, Navio Forge, etc.)

Drapetomania 7"
Mid-tempo pogo chanting streetpunk in Spanish. Singer has a deep voice and there are some dual vocals. Super catchy and melodic crusty trio. Cool fold-out insert printed in multiple colors. No labels for the sides of this 45.

Forgetters LP
What happened to Caroline on this record? That's what I want to know. Blake Schwartzenbach (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil) continues to embellish the Leonard Cohen-ish aspects of his songwriting. There is an absolutely beautiful sense of build-up and release on a couple of songs, notably " Turn Away" and "O Deadly Death." On the first song, "Strike", Blake seems to be once again calling out the punks for all their self righteous bullshit as he did on "Indictment" twenty years ago. Still keepin' it real.

Gaytheist - Stealth Beats LP
Criticizing and mocking our ridiculous society with lacerating wit, Gaytheist enhances the listening experience with not only humor, but also bust-your-shit-open beats. This trio pummels along like a ride down a free-falling elevator. You can't really tell one song from the next because the melodious high-energy delivery is consistent in every single song. You can't tell if the part you are listening to is an intro to a new song or the bridge of the last song and it doesn't really matter because they are all good parts. You'll be like, "Oh, like this part, and I like that part too, I like all the parts, I like this entire record. There's really no reason for me to ever take this record off the turntable or buy any more records ever. Unless Gaytheist puts out another record." By the way, the drummer for this band is also in Elitist, and the guy is fucking sick with ill fills that last an entire minute or six, six, six.

Mundo Muerto - Entre El Kaos LP
With songs titles like "Histeria", "Desorden Antisocial", "Sobre Vivir", "Pierde el Kontrol", and "Guerra Nuklear" you can pretty much guess exactly what this band sounds like if you know Spanish. It's mid-tempo melodic driving crusty punk with lots of sing along "Whoa-ohs."

Needles 6-song 7"
Hardcore experts and old-timers continue to perfect the formula of relentless blasting thrash. Martin Sorrondeguy of Los Crudos and Limp Wrist sings. The more songs there are on a seven-inch, the better that seven-inch is. Most seven inches only have 4 songs on them, so think of this record as a 6 out 4. That's excellent. No complaints here. This record is exactly what I want. Up there with Low Threat Profile, Coke Bust, Trauma, and Stikky.

No Statik - Everywhere You Weren't Looking LP
The first side of this is a single ambient anthem with feedback, pianos, wind, and screaming for most of the song that builds into blasting thrash for nine songs on the second side. This creates a lot of pent-up tension and builds variety into the record. It's also experimental and represents a blending and new direction for this genre. I once went to a drum and bass concert (Roni Size) with the guitarist, Mark Wilcox, so I know this band is open to new things. And that gives them tremendous vitality. Plus the fact that they leap around on stage.

Rabbits - Bites Rites LP
I don't have this record yet but I want to get it and review it. Maybe if you are reading this and you know someone at Good To Die records in Seattle, you can let them know and have them send me a copy, or make me a tape of it and send it to: John Isaacson, PO Box 42041, Portland, OR 97242. Thanks.

Sad Boys 7"
Hilariously awesome screen-printed cover artwork and "How To Pogo" comic stapled into the insert booklet. The lyrics are like "Frolic! Punk! I'm fucking drunk!" so it kinda reminds me of Filth or Blatz in that way. Also, songs about sniffing glue sung in a high-pitched voice over fast crazy circus music.

Stag Bitten 7"
So I thought this band was gonna disappear leaving only a few tracks on obscure cassette comps. What a shame that would have been for such an original band. So I was stoked when I found this record at Laughing Horse Books. Stag Bitten screams and hollers with unbridled fury and precision. It's like really fast No-Wave. You have to hear it.

Stoneburner - Sickness Will Pass LP
Super stoked to find this after seeing them live in a basement. Stoneburner plays ultra-heavy, mid-tempo, groove-oriented doom with lots of chugging palm-muting. With a name like "Stoneburner", you might be thinking, "That is obviously the name of a band that is stoned because they like to burn bowls" but this isn't some silly shit or some weak shit either; this is some neolithic cave, shit. Like some fucking druids or Warhammer 40,000 shit. It's original and it's badass and there are only like 500 copies on blood-red vinyl, so go get that shit.

Trauma LP
After seeing these guys so much live I was expected more political working-class anthems, but it turns out most of the songs are about murder. Really short well-written songs you can sing along with, "Kee-lah! Kee-lah! Kee-lah! Live for dead!"

Usnea 2-song LP
Usnea is a name for a kind of moss, so it's also a pretty good name for an earthy doom metal band is well. What's so great about Usnea is the alternating high-screaming and low-rumbling vocals carried out by the guitarist and the bassist. It's really, really slow (as slow as moss grows, think about where they got their name) and contains these beautifully spaced-out melodius undistorted riffs with tons of reverb or echo that just float through time and space like hydrogen gas at the dawn of time. The glacial pace and echoing riffs makes Usnea probably the only doom band I would ever describe as "beautiful."

Zomes - Earth Grid LP
Put this record on and I go straight to Nirvana. It's like a mind's-eye journey meditation into a video game palace with pixelated floating statues. It's like dreaming of flying, but frozen and suspended, like hovering levitation with weird colored lights in outer space.