Extremely Huge Showcase [#4]: The Straw Men, Ballerina Black, DieTRAX/FFF, Bulletins, MUGSTAR and Skinner Box!

Have we got something for you right now! First up is The Straw Men, which basically was a post-punk/alternative band from the Sydney 1980s and they’ve re-released some forgotten material from their album “inland sea“. They’re really unconventional when it comes to post-punk, as they deploy some more funky and blues-oriented sound combined with that particular genre. At times, they sound like a combination between Au Pairs and some other unknown band that I can’t really categorize. Every single riff, the drumming and the atmosphere tells a story in itself. I would say that they don’t even need any lyrics, because you can tell by the sound-scape that it’s a whole adventure put down into the mix. There’s always been some different takes from Australia when it comes to post-punk, which is appreciated. You shouldn’t underestimate their employment of the psychedelic elements either, since they pull it off perfectly. The songs featured on this release range from “Refugee Stomp” to “Into The Night“, and it seems like they’ve self-released it.

580790710-1Inventors of some new genres, at least from my perspective, is Ballerina Black which describe their music from “mope-rock” to “grave-wave“. These fellows have released an EP recently which goes by the name of “Injureless: Blå” and I wonder why they chose “Blå” as a name in the end. Since it virtually means “Blue” in Swedish. Well, let’s stray away from my own conclusions. As I progress through the different songs on the EP, they sound a little bit like one of my favorite acts The Foreign Resort, the difference being that they sound a little bit more mainstream and employ different vocals. Instead of being heavy on the non-electronics, they also have more electronics in the sound-scape. However, they skilfully blend together the more mainstream elements with the more obscure, almost new-wave meets post-punk stuff. I would say that their comparison with Nirvana meets The Cure might be true. But I think they’re something beyond that, but it’s noticeable that they’ve taken influences from these two bands. The songs featured on this EP are “Birth Of A Felony“, “Cannot Feel The Reign“, “Not Far Away” and “Separator“. It also seems like they’ve released this EP on their own, which is pretty remarkable when thinking about it.

MURCD-023 - DieTRAX vs FFF -Wow, it’s been a long time since I last listened to some rave. But don’t be afraid, because DieTRAX and FFF are here to save your day. Since the name of the album is “広島死闘篇~Hiroshima Deathmatch~” one could only assume that it’s a battle between these two artists. As I listen through it, you surely notice it. They combine some of the better elements of old-school rave together with gabber and breakcore. It’s very hectic and it deploys some of the better known things in the same genre, it also seems like the Japanese are progenitors when it comes to including new stuff into an almost forgotten genre. DieTRAX and FFF come from different areas of the same style, but in combination, they’re fierce as hell and unleash some real havoc amongst your eardrums. When I listen to it, I can hear how skillful they are in their departments. Because it must’ve taken a lot of time to make stuff like this, which gives them another headstart into bashing your skull full of rave, breakcore and good ol’ gabber. Tracks on this release range from “Miyajima” to “Takahashi Attack 2006 (Cycheouts Ghost’s Live version Remix)“, and it was released on the prominent Japanese independent-label Murder Channel.

3367056780-1If you know me, I’m not the one that likes pop all that much. However, one act bedazzled me as I listened through their music. This act was Bulletins and their two-song “Demo” simply titled by the aforementioned name. Being a demo, they surpass everything I could even think a demo could be about. The singer’s voice and the back-up vocals are interesting enough, but the funky pop-enducing music is pretty much also on par with the vocals. Everything seems to fit perfectly into what you’d like your dream-pop to be. Since they sway away from the more stereotypical things in the genre, they do it in style, as their music surpasses most of what is up to offering in that genre nowadays. I can hear that they rely a lot on their atmosphere, which is welcoming but at the same time a little bit no-waveish when you think about it. There are some wicked things going down in these two songs and the first one had me hooked before I even clicked the button. Ok, I lied, but it had me hooked after a few seconds – which is great. The two tracks on their demo are “Narc” and “Heart Of Hearts“, which are being self-released in a total D.I.Y-fashion as it should be.

2756243237-1Yow, this is some cool shit right here. Okay, I will tone myself down. I have never liked krautrock that much, but because of the last weeks ordeals, I’ve taken a liking for it anyway. So I found the band MUGSTAR and started to listen to their newly released album titled “Axis“. It’s a concoction of everything that makes the genre desirable, but do also throw in some psychedelia and space-rock in the mix while you’re at it. The atmosphere is really heavy and dark, it also seems like they rely on more tribalistic elements than other bands. It’s simply not just the regular drumkit, but also real drums. You’re sucked into a whirlpool of greatness but at the same time you’re avoiding to be consumed by the madness. The riffs feel like they’re slowly moving towards you and are trying to capture you. One thing I love is how the slow progression of the instruments get you hooked and turn you into liking it, whilst the riff lick their wounds and return into the mix once it reaches a noticeable climax – just to bounce back to the sound it originated from within seconds. Tracks on this release range from “Black Fountain” to “Vehicles Of Spain“, the label that releases their gatefold vinyl are Agitated Records.

1051012503-1Now it’s time for the last band in this showcase. Which is nothing less than Skinner Box from Athens, a band I really knew nothing about before showcasing it, releasing their new album “Life Is Chemistry“. Most of these showcases feature new or re-released music that I personally like. They’ve already let go of their songs on the album, so you can listen to it on bandcamp. But the album itself will not be released until the 1st of March. It seems like they’ve got a pretty standard sound, at least if you turn back the clock to the 90’s. Somehow though, there’s something special about the vocalists voice and the sound-scape as a whole. When combining darkwave, post-rock and indiepop, you get the best of the different genres. At least if your name is Skinner Box. There’s a really emotional atmosphere incorporated in their music, which touches my heart everytime I listen to it. The singer’s also got a very good voice, which helps the music along as it is pretty down-tempo as a whole. This band is certainly something you should check out and it features songs ranging from “Goldfish Memory” to “Slow Motion“. As they release their album, they will release it on the good old German label AF Music.

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