Some questions for Yankee Brutal!

Yankee Brutal is an American melodic hardcore band which has been active since 2011. Born from a fallen but not quite dead local punk scene, where they’ve flourished and grown out of different offensive bands. One of their main focus is their criticism of the American judicial and social systems, which is reflected in their songs and lyrics. The band consists of Wesley (Vocals/Guitar), A.j. (Vocals/Guitar), Mike (Bass/Vocals) and Josh (Drums). Since I heard about them from the popular site and zine Lukinzine, I had to listen to their two songs from the record. Which is titled “The Everlasting Greed“, out on the 16th of November, and can be per-ordered from the Dying Scene Records bandcamp. I digged it and decided to send away some questions about the band. So it became a brief questionnaire of some sort, which I will be keeping up for all you readers that don’t like the wall of text I normally produce. Hope you enjoy it. By the way, Wesley is the one answering the questions.

So you’ve been active since a year back, but what would you say have been your aim with Yankee Brutal and how would you describe yourselves?

– Yeah, we officially started YB in November of 2011, with the goal at that time being getting back into playing punk rock. I personally had some success with my previous band Another Damn Disappointment (Volcom Entertainment), but eventually left the band to pursue my drinking career. Haha. But seriously I quit playing music for half a decade, then woke up one day and thought to myself, what am I doing? Soon after we decided to go in to Mayhemeness Studio’s in our hometown of Sacramento and lay down a full length and started making a game plan to get out on the road, and stay there. I guess if I were to describe the band I’d have to say we’re a working mans band trying to make a life out of doing what we do best.

There’s a sense of you being critical against the American society, but where did that come from originally? Could you explain why you’re targeting it?

– There definitely is criticism in most of our songs. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it all started, but it was a long time ago when our eyes were opened up to everything wrong in our society. I mean, as far as politics over here go, it’s all a facade. We have big business dropping millions of dollars into political campaigns with the aim that who ever they fund will push anything that helps big business separate the margin between the rich and the poor. Risking completely erradicating the middle class. Hence “The Everlasting Greed“. As far as targeting it, I think it’s more along the lines of we write better songs (we feel) about things that are upsetting. It feels more real writing an angry song and I’d hope to enlighten others and instil that same burning passion I have into whoever else will listen.

What would you say are your favorite lyrics that the band have currently produced and who writes the lyrics?

– Personally I like the lyrics in Manifest Treachery the most. More specifically the chorus; “Fight fire with fire, Hate with hate, We fight with hate cause hate does not discriminate”. I (Wesley) write most of the lyrics myself if possible, but often I hit a roadblock and I’ll have to bounce what I have to the band and hear what they come up with. Then go back and often use their rhythms and melodies to reinvent what I already had and build off it all. So really we all have our influence on every aspect of the band.

Could you tell me about the creative process behind your latest album which is being released on Dying Scene Records? Why should people buy this piece of music?

– With “The Everlasting Greed“, we came together really with just 4 or 5 songs I had written over the course of a couple years just for my own amusement, and used them to start the band. Songs like Facedown, Welcome Home, and The Everlasting Greed were in our original practice regiment on day one. Of course they’ve all grown and matured as songs do when you play them over and over again. We used to demo the songs around 3 times each, adding parts, changing little things here ‘n there doing whatever we could imagine to really create music that we were happy with and that we thought others would enjoy mutually. And on that note I would recommend, if you like fast, shreddy, melodic punk. Support what you can, there are so few bands playing any style of punk rock these days, that if you want it to come back around, its going to take a group effort.

Not just from bands, but local scenes, individuals, podcasters. Anything it takes to keep rad music around I personally take part in whenever I can, just to keep it going as long as possible. I’m a firm believer in the “Occupy your local Scene” movement. Without a unified local punk/hardcore scene, it makes it hard for any band in related genres to really do anything. Being in a band is a lot tougher than I think a lot of people would imagine. So in conclusion, if you dig the album, I encourage you to occupy Dying Scene Records’ bandcamp page, and pick a copy up. All procedes are being reinvested in Yankee Brutal tours, merch, our next record and whatever other band expenses come around.

Thank you for answering!

– Hope these answers are sufficient, thanks for the support!

Invisible Guy live over at Death Rock Radio once again!

Yes, once again I’m live over at the wonderful Deathrock Radio. This time around, the mix is three hours long. Tune in!

Track list:

1. The Sisters Of Mercy – More
2. The Fall – Australians In Europe
3. The Chameleons – Less Than Human
4. Stimmen Der Stille – Todeslied
5. Global Infantilists – An Inch Of Nothing
6. Siglo XX – Lines Of Hope
7. Shiva Burlesque – Train Mistery
8. Sardine V – Sabotage
9. Mona Mur Und Die Mieter – Ein Bisschen Frieden
10. Marc Seberg – Sans Mémoire
11. Love Club – Holding Heaven’s Hand
12. Coïtus Int. – Tourist Ghetto
13. The Danse Society – Seen The Light
14. Blood Dead And Sexy – Fingers
15. Corpus Delicti – Dancing Ghost
16. The Sisterhood – Colours
17. The Birthday Party – Nick The Stripper
18. Death Cult – Gods Zoo
19. Bauhaus – Stigmata Martyr
20. The March Violets – Snake Dance
21. Soviet Sex – Walpurgis Night
22. The Sisters Of Mercy – Vision Thing
23. The Flowers For Luci – Chemical
24. The Dancing Did – Wolves Of Worcestershire
25. Die Unbekannten – Don’t Tell Me Stories
26. Marquee Moon – Don’t Go Out Tonight
27. They Fade In Silence – Misery
28. Thieves Cross – Slaughter Hotel
29. Luxembourg – Le Secret De L’ombre
30. The Cultural Decay – Brave New World
31. This Ascension – August Rain
32. Blade Fetish – Fortunato
33. Lycia – Sleepless (Original Version)
34. Bonemen Of Barumba – San Antokio
35. Ausgang – Sick Into You
36. Asmodi Bizarr – Remember Dorian
37. Cyan Revue – Frozen Fields
38. Geisterfahrer – Schatten
39. Fallen Apart – Hey Friend
40. Twisted Nerve – Gargoyle
41. For Against – Loud And Clear
42. Annabelle’s Garden – A Path Towards
43. The Damned – Torture Me
44. 45 Grave – Violent World

Review: Luxury Stranger – Nothing Holy

Pressured by the original waves of post-punk from the 70’s to the 80’s, Luxury Stranger are surely a luxurious piece of music. With a huge emphasis on two different genres, the first song “Nothing Holy” really personifies the incredible mix they’ve managed to produce. As they punch through with the first song on the single, they also bridge the gap of those two genres. Containing a large portion of pretty vocals and engaging music, from times that should’ve come back a long time ago, it also engages with the slowly progression of the song into a whirlwind of total serenity. There’s also a sense of them being what they want to be, they smash the conventions and throw in a post-punk sound that regularly and eagerly re-brands the sense of a post-punk, using a musical time-machine, pitching the futuristic and wayward sound of Luxury Stranger against the traditionalism of ye olde post-punk. Even though grunge might be my eternal anti-pole, it actually brazenly up the sound-scape a notch, to where you can actually hold it accountable for much of the wonderful sounds within it.

With the next track coming up, titled “Ripple“, it gives wailing a whole other implication. The singer sure has a lot of energy, but he also holds on to a somewhat interesting voice. Only thing that is too bad about this single is that the second song really doesn’t hold up to the first one. It starts off well and I’m impressed by the instrumentation and singing, but there’s nothing more to it. The lyrical content ain’t that inspiring either, to be frank. But there’s something enthralling about the song anyway, even though it might not be my favorite on this single. Hopefully the upcoming release will hold onto the key elements that made this single a tad better, and I also hope that it will get developed. I think you should check it out if you can, you should also download it if possible. There’s a lot of potential, but there’s something missing amidst the contrasted genres. Hopefully they’ll find it before they head on.

Pre-order the digital download if you wish or you could buy the physical version over here.

Rättens Krater har en rätt ny musikvideo!

Eftersom att jag är väldigt sent på bollen, så ville jag ta tillfället i akt att lägga ut Rättens Krater här igen. För en månad sedan släppte de en musikvideo till låten “Ikaros Akterseglad” som återfinns på deras sjua som de släppte ännu tidigare. Om ni  inte har någon aning om vilka dessa personer är, så kan jag rekommendera er att kolla igenom min recension av deras släpp. Nu vet jag inte om de har någon sjua kvar, men ni borde sannerligen införskaffa deras platta eftersom att den är något unikt i musiksverige och är något som envar borde ha i sin ägo. Om ni vill köpa den, så kan ni skicka ett mail. Man kan även lyssna på deras skiva på Spotify.

Interview with Alex Ketzer about Noorden!

Noorden is a music-collective from Cologne with focus on producing both music and art, which is also open for people who just want to support them or hang around. They arrange concerts, they produce limited edition material and are spearheaded by two men, whom go by the names of Alex Ketzer and Florian Gassman. One of their most popular releases is the V/A – Rumble When Bumble compilation which feature artists from the label, some of them might be known to you, some of them might not be. The ambitious release is a hand-made digipak also containing a 40-paged fanzine, printed on neon-paper. Amongst other things, they always have some of the most stunning releases, in limited edition for the collectors needs. They’re currently paving the way for a release that will celebrate their first netlabel, Noorden and unreleased tracks in a proper fashion. I took some time to write questions for Alex and I hope that you will enjoy this interview, as it also contains a lottery further down below in which readers of my blog can win exclusive limited edition releases from Noorden. You’ll also get a sneak peek of the upcoming 3-CD release, as I show you the artwork exclusively for this interview. Because I think we’re going to see more of them in the future.

Could you tell me about how and why it all started and what paved the way for your first release ever? How was the creative process in that regard?

– Before starting the Noorden project, we had another netlabel called WeArk (you can find all releases from that time here: noorden.org/wa) from 2007 until mid-2011. But during the last year of this project, we felt that its spirit got lost more and more. We all grew up and developed ourselves, but for some reason our project didn’t. So we made a break and everyone concentrated on their own music and art for some time. But after a while, we felt the need to show our projects to each other and, above all, to present the results to the world.

The idea and the spirit behind Noorden was born on a 3-week trip to Norway (without mobile, internet and Facebook) where I thought a lot about what a new project should feel like and how to make it work for everyone involved – but that was just the starting point, the 10% input from which the new project was to grow. The rest just worked out by itself and the project started to take shape. The first release was dedicated to the village of Flatabø in Norway – the »birth town« of Noorden. The track by Odda, who I met during my trip, was produced a couple of days after I told him about the idea for the project. He put this inspiration into his music and sent his results to Salmiak and Suod who decided to remix it for our first release: Noo1 (noorden.org/noo1). That’s it.

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

What artists and bands are in the collective…

– The inner circle of Noorden consists of two people –Florian (floriangassmann.com) and me (alexketzer.com). Then there are Steffen (gatonet.de), our secret consultant and exceptionally gifted bartender, and Johannes, who also releases music as »Suod Ulbeba«. Another member of the collective is Andreas (andreasmuxel.com) who created »NoordLicht« (a DIY light controller and modular light installation system) together with Florian. Furthermore, there are several artists that share the studio floor called »Kunstetage« with us and who we occasionally organize art shows with, e.g. Dennis Guillomo (denisguillomo.de), who will equip one of our next »Cluster« events, or Wolfgang Voegele (wolfgangvoegele.com) with whom we organized »Cluster« for the first time.

Another part-time member of the collective is Gabriel Vanegas (firstlife.me) who was responsible for some great visuals at our parties. We also got into contact with a couple of other artists through the internet: The OP1-Compilation for example brought us together with a handful of nice people (eg. Virtual Flannel, Jogging House and Dataline), others sent us demos which we liked and thus released. And then there are people like The Marx Trukker who just liked us on Facebook and we get in contact that way. So, as you can see, the constellation of members is the result of a mixture of fortune and being »in the right place at the right time«.

…and what’s the history behind the different shows you’’ve put up?

– For our shows we try to bring together artists, musicians/bands and DJs. We call this format »Cluster« and it’s hosted at our studio once a month. It starts with a one-day exhibition at 7 p.m., followed by a concert at around 10 p.m. and ends with several DJ-sets and dancing late into the night and the early morning. We also have visual and/or light installations on these parties that interact with the whole event. In the past, there were other shows, too, but those were special events like watching the UEFA Championchip together or just hosting club nights without showing any art.

By the way, I found Noorden via the “rumble when bumble”-compilation you released some time ago. Could you tell me anything about the creative process behind it? And what did you think about the end-result of it?

– When I first saw this fucking great piece of hardware (Teenage Engineering OP-1) I wanted to own it so badly. And when I finally got it, I spent hours browsing the ohpeewon-forum, listening to the op1-only tracks, and was stoked by the possibilities this gadget offers. That was at the same time when we launched the label. As we wanted to be the first to make a compilation with OP-1-only tracks, I wrote an email to Yellow Tangerine (soundcloud.com/yellow-tangerine) and asked him if he was interested in curating this project together with us. We sent soundcloud links back and forth and after a couple of weeks the final playlist was all set. We also wanted to include some background information about the artists and why they are so much in love with the OP-1 so we sent out a questionnaire and asked each artist to create a cover artwork for their track.

Regarding the layout, we wanted to produce a fancy, neon-colored, DIY-xerox-like artwork with a look significant for its content. I wanted to finish the layout as soon as possible, but was very busy with my job at that time, so in the end the whole process took several weeks. But then, one evening, after a couple of beers, I decided to start designing and it took me two nights to finish the artwork and two more days to produce the 100 CDs. Everything was handmade: We sorted and folded the pages ourselves, bound them with staple guns, glued in the cardboard etc. But we (and also the artists as well as the audience) were very happy with the result. Submissions for the second edition which will be released in spring 2013 will be possible from January.

How would you like to see Noorden developed in the future, do you have any certain plans as of now?

– First of all, we are very happy with the results of the project’s first year. For the future we’re planning to find a distributor for our releases which will enable us to reach a wider audience with our music. Furthermore, we’re dreaming of being able to release 12-inch-vinyls, but this is too expensive for us at the moment. With an adequate distributor, however, this should become possible. Anyway, we’re doing the same things as last year: releasing great music made by great people, digitally as well as in form of limited CD and cassette editions that we produce ourselves with a great amount of love and dedication.

What’’s the most fun part about being a collective and what’’s the least fun part about it? How much time and effort do you need to put into it and what do you normally do on a hectic week?

– The most fun part about everything is to have people around you that you like and that inspire you. We’’re all friends sharing our working space together and also our spare time, so that’s a really great gift! We meet up, drink beer or coffee together, talk about the things we love and make plans for new projects. I guess there’s no negative side to it, everyone contributes whatever they like and it’s just great the way it is. We don’t measure the time we spend on the project because we do everything between our daily routine, between working and living. But I guess, if it was a full-time job, we had to spend one full day per week for all the things that need to be done. And when we’re planning an event, you can add two more days. Usually, we all work as freelancers and designers for magazines, books, websites, products and prototypes for several agencies, publishing houses and other, smaller clients.

Noticed that you have a temporary headquarter, but where would you want to be based, how is it to live in Cologne and do business, music and art from there?

– In our »temporary headquarter«, the lovely »Galerie Frei« (facebook.com/Galerie.Frei), we hosted a 3-week-exhibition in March 2012. We invited all our buddies that are involved in art and music to show their works – along with happenings, live performances, concerts and DJ-sets. We all had a really good time, so much fun and met loads of very nice people. At the moment we are thinking about exhibiting at »Galerie Frei« again in spring 2013. Our »real headquarter« is our studio which is situated in a former factory building in »Köln-Deutz«. We’re three people (Florian, Steffen and I) who work (and sometimes live) in this studio as a graphic designer, web designer and architect. In our spare time we use the studio for making music, meeting people, drinking beer or sometimes even listening to soundchecks at Gebäude 9 (http://www.gebaeude9.de), a wonderful and atmospheric concert venue on the ground floor of the building.

The building’s windows are so thin that during sound checks the »whoop-whoop-whoop« of the basses makes listening to our own music inside the studio impossible – but it’s also a lot of fun at the same time. To live and work in Cologne is very nice and relaxed. I read a quote in a magazine some weeks ago that described Cologne quite well: »In Cologne people collaborate and work with each other in a very friendly, family kind of way. You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody, time just moves at a different pace here…« So this is what most of us feel like. The city is rather small compared to Berlin or Munich and you can reach everything by bike in about 20 min. Interesting spots are located quite close to each other and if you long for a day in the nature, it takes you less than 20 minutes by car to find beautiful spots. Another thing (in comparison to Berlin) is that everything is a bit less »hip & cool«, so life is very laid-back… »Prost!«

Could you tell me anything about the creative process behind your latest release on Noorden? Also, why should one consider to buy it from you?

– I guess you’’re talking about the DOMINGA release? I first got into contact with Jeff Ortega about a year ago when he sent me an email with a link to his tracks. I listened to them and was hooked right away, wanting to release them. But I thought that Noorden was too unknown at that time and his music was – in my opinion – too good for just a digital release only a small audience would listen to. So I asked him if he was interested in having us as his »art directors« for the release of a CD and he liked the idea and sent us some images and the lyrics for his tracks. We then decided to produce a CD in a handmade cardboard-sleeve and a trifold poster with a typographical interpretation of his lyrics on the one side and a nice picture of him on the other side.

Unfortunately, I was very busy at that time, so a few months went by until we finally released the CD a couple of weeks ago. Jeff and we really dig the result and we already got some positive reviews on the music as well as on the artwork. People should hurry buying it because there are just a few CDs left from the first release. The music is fucking awesome and your CD-player will be forever grateful. If there’s a second release, we’’ll produce the edition in a different way than the first release though, i.e. with a different kind of paper. The current release has a little bug in the cardboard sleeve which adds this certain something to the product, but also degrades it in its quality. So if you want something special with a touch of class – GRAB IT!

Are there any other collectives or organized forms of music collaborations that you admire or would just like to recommend for this blog?

– Yeah, there are many of them around. At the moment we’re in contact with two crews: 101.io crew (facebook.com/101.io) have their rehearsal room located about 50 meters from our studio. They also release great music and I love their style very much. We’’ve also released a single with two of our remixes together with the very talented Morning High (morninghigh.bandcamp.com). He’’s also running a label called ZIPS records (http://zipsrecords.bandcamp.com) which is definitely worth checking out.

I know by now that you’’ve got a big release coming up in the middle of November, care to tell me a little bit more about it?

– In the last week of November we’re releasing a 3-CD box as a kind of »best of«. The box comes in a stamped and numbered cardboard sleeve with 3 CDs, a 24-page booklet and a trifold poster. CD1 is a best of of our first netlabel which we ran between 2007 and 2011, CD2 is a best of of our recent Noorden project and CD3 is a mixtape with unreleased tracks that can exclusively be found on this compilation. Altogether there are 45 tracks with a total running time of almost 4 hours! We’’ll produce an edition of 25 pcs. which you will be able to buy from our Bandcamp-store or download all tracks from our website for free.

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

What’’s happening on the Noorden-front in the end of November and the last month of this year? Do you have any other releases planned?

– We have a release schedule providing for one release every week until Christmas. There will be a new album by Virtual Flannel (www.facebook.com/VirtualFlannel), an ambient tape by The Marx Trukker (soundcloud.com/the-marx-trukker), an EP by Zasten from the Noorden crew, a new EP by Jogging House (facebook.com/Jogging.House), a remix single by Morning High (morninghigh.bandcamp.com), another ambient project by a secret member from the hood, and, finally, the second album by Dataline (www.facebook.com/Project.Dataline). We’’re very happy to have all these great artists with us and are looking forward to their releases!

Thank you for answering my questions! How would you like to end this?

– Thank you for the interview. It’s always good to reflect on things and think about your own project. We would like to finish the interview with a mixtape that we made exclusively for your blog, it’’s a mix with the most loved and most influential tracks by each artist. We hope you enjoy it.

And if you want to be part of Noorden – with your music, your creativity, or just as a friend or supporter – we would be happy to hear from you! Cheers!

Listen to the exclusive mixtape Noorden produced for Invisible Guy down below:

http://official.fm/tracks/M0hx

The latest release from Noorden:

If you want to participate in the lottery, go to Noorden on Facebook and like their facebook-page and write “Win-Invisible” on the image to win the following packages:

· 1 x http://noorden.bandcamp.com/album/falling-off
· 1 x http://noorden.bandcamp.com/album/all-night
· 3 x CD »Rumble When Bumble« mini-fail-edition (from the super pack)
· 2 x SCHWERMETALL fanzine (from the super pack)

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

Five questions for Bad Touch Records!

Bad Touch Records is a newly started label from the US which is run by a man who also plays in Catholic Spit, which was the band that did their first release ever on the label. I asked him some questions and he answered them for me, so if you’re interested in a smaller label and some unique music at hand, you should check this questionnaire out. There are yet some releases to come, but you will get the point after viewing this. It’d be even nicer if you were into some of the edgier stuff in the hardcore and punk rock category, since the first release is all out death rock. Since I fight for the more underground stuff, I want you to enjoy this even more.

What would you say is the point of Bad Touch Records, more than the fact that your releases reflect your own interests in music?

– Well, starting a label was always a “life goal” of mine since I was maybe 16 or 17. Nothing I ever really expressed to do outwardly to anyone, just one of those ideas I always kept in my head. I’ve been in a few hardcore/punk bands, but with Catholic Spit gaining so much attention locally in southern California just from playing shows, it seemed like the opportunity was there to do a DIY release that could help launch a label. But I guess it all comes down to having fun!

Since you’ve already done a first release, which is Catholic Spit, a band you’re active in yourself – how would you say that the outcome was for that record after the creative process?

– Couldn’t be happier with the way it all came out. We sat on the recordings for well over a year before we pressed it, so I think we would have been happy with anything at this point! There’s nothing like dropping the needle on the test press for the first time and hearing it the way you meant for it to be heard.

Could you tell me anything about the upcoming releases that you’ve got planned for your label and when will we possibly see another release?

– Like I mentioned, Catholic Spit has recorded material that we just haven’t released/pressed yet. My hope is to get out a 7 song 12″ Catholic Spit LP as soon as I have some money back from the “I’m Your God Now” single. I’ve been corresponding with Olivier at Crapoulet Records in France, who was very interested in helping press the LP so early next year is my goal. After that I’ll focus my attention to other bands in my area who don’t have the resources or know how. I’d really like to do a comp incorporating the newer hardcore/punk bands around here.

What other labels have influenced you to start your own label up and what would be your ideal goal for it?

– When I was younger I’d day dream about emulating labels like SST, Dischord, Dangerhouse, Taang! Etc. All the pioneers definitely. But then when I got more interested in collecting newer vinyl records and got into bands that formed in the 2000’s-present, labels like Grave Mistake, Sorry State, No Way, Kangaroo, and Tankcrimes (just to name a few) were the ones that stood out to me and made it obvious that releasing good punk music on vinyl was still doable in this age of technology. I’d love to be a part of the larger story by giving my little bit to this world. These bands existed. They were real and they had good music to give. I’m here to make sure it’ll be documented.

Thank you for letting me ask you these questions!

– Thanks for asking J! Feel free to contact me anytime.

Review: Catholic Spit – I’m Your God Now / Die Alone

If you need a punk doses that will last for a while, you should encourage yourself to listen to some Catholic Spit. First track “I’m Your God Now” really opens the floodgates from the more punk-oriented sound, so it can diminish itself within the realms of death-rock. Even though the sound-scape is pretty much lo-fi, the sound is excellent and extraordinary when it comes to the combination of those two genres. A really interesting listening, and I love the little touch on the crash-cymbal which you can hear throughout the song. Enjoyable death-rock riffs guides me throughout a wicked landscape of the most nocturnal and non-sacred things known for me yet. They really bring together the traditional sound of death-rock and manage to make it feel even more punkier than it usually is. Deathrock that I listen to tend to be more on the rock-oriented scale of things, which brings me back to the fact that they have some qualities that could be compared to 45 Grave, with a hint of Gothic Girls on the edges. They’ve channeled the quirky but quintessentially weird formula that the last-mentioned band really has when it comes to the sound-scape. It’s nice to see the grasp around the roots, but at the same time feeding and buffing it up with some nice punk.

In the next track “Die Alone“, they get to the point quicker than in the first song. With a baseline like that, it feels like I’m completely entrenched with the darkness it spills out. The thoughtful but outdrawn intro forces the sound-scape into a quick fury of punk goodness. Whereas the drums stumble upon themselves and release all the anger in the world. But it also feels like they’ve managed to contrast the sound-scape a little bit better, when they don’t blend the punk-oriented stuff with the more pushy deathrock. I don’t know if the quality of this release is supposed to be lo-fi, but if it is, there’s a charming side to it too. It sounds way more underground than it probably would’ve if it had been a little bit more polished. Also, the grand finale and outro is one of the best things I’ve heard for a while. This band has got a lot of potential, and it’s not really going to waste. Hopefully another release from them will come my way and I’m hoping that it will land in my hands so I get to have a peek on it too. Certainly one of the albums you should buy if you have the money for it, pretty cheap for such a great release.

You can buy it over at their bandcamp which is over here or listen to it below and make up your mind.

Review: TSTI – evaluations

Pretty sharp, analogue and complex for being a bedroom project. Like a throwback from the wonderful 80’s. First song “In Loving Memory” is a wonderful example of what could be done with a little bit of synth-pop and dark wave, without a forced etiquette and instead of trying to push a false sense of genuine feelings. This is what happens when you combine the finest elements of both genres, and when you have put so much effort into the music that it stays afloat without doing a thing. There’s a sense of deepness in this song that provokes the most profound feelings from inside. A sense of loneliness and a sense of love, reeks out of the holes from the sound-scape. Unable to keep it in, it spreads throughout and just stays put on the edges as they touch you slowly but with much sincerity. The synths are a huge part of that experience, which goes from angelic to dreamy, back to the darker spheres in no time spent. I cannot grasp how a bedroom project could do such an impact, as I was expecting a much more amateurish and foolish approach to the wonders of those genres he’s involved with.

Needless to say, my expectations met their match, beyond my own grasp of the reality at hand. The slow-paced synths, the bombastic elements and the utter and sheer dedication that can be felt – have moved me inside and I’m not the same again. As for the next track “Queen of Swoons“, I can feel the more industrial-oriented rhythms and controlled environment that enrich the sound even more. A totally different track at hand, but with the same sympathetic vibe noticed within. I have a slight feeling of a totally new thing, but at the same time one or another remnant from times past. If Fad Gadget had combined his ingenuity with the synth-pop serenity of a band like Depeche Mode, put into a time-capsule and moved to the 00’s, their own brainchild would be TSTI. A weird sense of a predecessor being influenced by a progenitor, all mixed down into their counterparts, but also what doesn’t separate them. It’s like everything is falling to place, with immense speed and just leaving it up to me to decide how this wonderful piece of art should be described. Not being able to grasp it fully, not being able to describe it properly. But I surely want do my best. The third track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“, begins with a rather heavy intro and is masked with a nice synth-line.

When I think about it, the vocals of S. Smith are both soothing and entrancing at the same time. The whole mood of the songs feels like something Andrew Eldritch would’ve put together if he was working with S. Smith. With that said, I think the utterly complex structure of the song deepens the mood of the sound-scape as a whole and surely grasps the 80’s melodic content by the balls. No, it’s not being castrated, but it’s being squeezed out and used as a resource for the wonderful path of laying both a concrete and emotional landscape of different harmonies, synths and the wonderfully arranged drums. Fourth track “Love & Truth” is about as minimalistic as its gotten on this album, a much harder edge to both the synths and the sound-scape at hand. Somewhat decorticated to fit the means of the analogue wonders that he is working with. It reminds me of the old-school EBM-styled beats that were prevalent in that genre in the 80’s but also later on in the 90’s. Not only the fixed and repetitive synths with an unorthodox touch to it, but also the more pop-oriented and dreamy synths that works like a wonder when combined with the vocals. As I move on to the fifth track, which is titled “Acquaintance“, the harder beats get even more room in the mix. It feels like a religious experience and it feels like Smith is opening the door for me and welcoming me into his adamant home. Whilst it at the same time feels sinister and include some damn fine synths that together produce this kind of sound-scape that feels like its about to fall down below because of the pressure on it.

The progression of it is totally out of my own realm, its as if he’s got a bunch of different alter-egos that sit with him and compose these songs. One where the darker side of him is allowed entry and one where the “lighter” side is inducing the sound-scape with a refined reality. Even though it very much feels like its a well-produced piece, at the same time it feels like something beyond the borders of music. I can sense a lot of hard and cold nostalgia revealing itself here. Sixth track “Match To Friendship” is enough industrial-influenced to make me spew out nuts and bolts. At times it feels like its borrowed from indie pop, but at the same time, there’s a harsher sense to the sound-scape than that. There are synths in this sound-scape that I wouldn’t hear anywhere else than in a great 80’s song and it feels like its built up by those synths. When I listen through it, again and again, I feel like he’s borrowed a lot of influences from genres that might not be that apparent. I feel like there’s a more commercial vibe to it, but on the other hand, I don’t believe that it would be accepted there. Much because of the hard-knocking beats and severe punishment you get to endure whilst listening to it. But it’s all worth it. However, when the seventh track comes on, there are a lot of things that are about to change. It’s titled “This Damage Is Magic” and it feels more like a knock away from a harsh newstyle EBM song than anything else.

Blend it with the finest you can get in future-pop, add up some nasty elements to it and you’ll have a hybrid of VNV Nation and something else. I’m not really sure what that would be, but it surely would be something angelic. I love how the synths start sounding like dolphins communicating below surface, even though its almost a few seconds. I believe that is the essence of S. Smith, he can both be very complex at hand but when you think about it – he’s also managed to keep a basic edge to what he’s doing. Now things get even more out of hand, as I tune in to the eighth song “Because You Told Me To“, which sounds like something the cat dragged in. I’m confused now, very confused. From a mighty synth-pop and extravagant dark wave album, to a techno-oriented house-hybrid? There’s a lot of 303 in this mix. I feel Acid House, but its not even close. However, he’s close to the 80’s, which is when it had its peak. But I don’t really know, I can’t really dig it. Even though the sound-scape is perfectly fine, the softer side of it is just so malplaced amongst this 303-vibe. Well, enough with this, now its time for the last track: “In Loving Memory (anti-707 mix)“, which is basically the first song but without a 707, which means “no drums for you, sucker“. Personally, I think this song doesn’t really take on the first song, but fine, it sounds pretty good anyway. I feel like there’s something missing and I feel like the drums should be there. However, this is one of the greatest albums of the 00’s (2000’s), that I’ve heard and I’m going to bookmark his bandcamp. Thank you for such a fantastic experience, never stop making art.

You can and should buy his limited edition CD over at bandcamp, but if you don’t want to, you could buy the digital download-only album. Do also listen to his album below.

Recension: Nocturnal – Until the morning light 7¨

Med främst 70-talsrocken som ledstjärna, så ger sig Nocturnal ut på ett eget segertåg. Men ve den som kan vara säker på sitt kort. I den första låten “Until the morning light” så låter det som att grabbarna fått för sig att göra ett väldigt ointressant och generiskt intro, men eftersom att man blev rätt så avskräckt av det, så är det med glatt mod som jag höjer mitt glas till höjden och stämmer in i skönsången. Något utav det bästa svenska jag hört på år och dar inom just den genren, och det låter inte det minsta generiskt längre. De sköna rockriffen som tar sin ton och samtidigt lånar från 70-talets glansdagar, men hjälps utav Nocturnal på ett sällan skådat vis. Sångaren har en pipa som inte är av denna värld och han vet sannerligen hur han ska använda den. Låten är kanske inte direkt undergroundälskarnas favoritkort, men de går balansgång mellan de kommersiella vibbarnas skönsångarland och underjordens mystiska källarvalv.

Insnörjd i en tråd av nostalgi så måste jag berömma deras påhittighet och instrumenten kommer till god användning tack vare deras otroligt tillspetsade och någorlunda psykedeliska udd. Nog för att de redan har trumfat och fått mig att sälja mina guldpengar till lägstbjudande, men de har även inspirerat mig till att återuppta rocklyssnandet – och det sker på högsta volym, med ett antal behjälpliga luftgitarrsriff. Att lyssna på låten går inte riktigt att beskriva, mer än att i känslosvallet så får man samma adrenalinkick som när man först lyssnade på rockens största underjordsbetraktare. Det vill säga de som inte riktigt var bländade av scenljuset, de som inte fick en ärlig chans. Man får säga att det är tur att Nocturnal bjuder upp till dans och slänger ut inviter till höger och vänster. En av de bättre och rent utav svängiga låtarna som förgyller mina hörlurar just nu.

Nästa låt,Black magic“, ligger på den undanskymda b-sidan av plattan. Här skruvas tempot upp en aning och trumljudet flyger till höger och vänster. En riktigt rivig låt som har det bästa i sig, som på riktigt lyckas skuffa undan alla högtalare och ställa till en jävla scen. Nog den låten av de två som jag skulle föredra live, även om det gör sig bra i hörlurarna. Trots att saker och ting är river haket totalt, så måste jag påstå att det saknas något. Denna gången var introt överväldigande och barskt, för att sedan skölja över till en mer fartfylld odåga. Däremot så visar det sig snart att denna låt också gör sig i mina örongångar, där den snirklar sig fram genom de mest svårtillgängliga hjärnbanorna och till syvende och sist klamrar sig fast och försöker att få någon form av erkännande. Resultatet blir ett ofattbart stampande med ena benet och en näve som vevas runt i rummet.

Styrkan med denna låten är just den rytmiska sektionen, för den är verkligen överjävligt bra. Pipan på sångaren är väl inte direkt lika imponerande, men den låter sig lyssnas på. Trummorna är helt vilda och galna, vilket är en av de andra elementen i denna musik som jag hoppades på skulle ingå i ett mycket högre och lite mer komplicerat arrangemang. Det måste tilläggas att Nocturnal är ett gäng riktigt begåvade musiker, som har på känn var saker och ting ska ligga. För mig ligger de helt rätt och för mig kvittar det om dessa snedsteg på något sätt påverkade, för det är överstökat och de är återigen på prispallen. Nummer ett skulle jag vilja säga, men de dras ned till plats nummer två, för att sedan skutta upp dit igen. Världen är märklig, kanske inte lika märklig som mina resonemang, men på något sätt övertygar de mig igen och de tar till tronen för att vara kungar. Det vill säga, om man vill tro mig, och det borde man göra.

Rekommenderar er att köpa skivan från Gaphals på direkten!

Hjärtattack har äntligen släppt sin platta!

Ja, jag skämtar inte. Den heter Tillbaka till framtiden och finns på bandcamp. Med en fräsch liten spin-off på filmen från 1985 med exakt samma namn. Låtar som jag kan rekommendera från den här plattan är “Håll det äkta (eller skjut dig själv“, “På det sjätte smäller det” och “Det var sämre förr“. Hela plattan är faktiskt rätt bra, får jag erkänna. Tillräcklig och melodisk punk med uppriktighet som huvudsakligt mål. Ni kan även ladda ner hela plattan gratis och det kan ni göra nedanför, eller så kan ni bara lyssna till låtarna om ni vill det. Rekommenderar dock att ni placerar albumet på er dator eller valfri teknikmanick.