Harvesting #14: Transistor Sphere / DRAMA! / Eoster

Without further ado, Harvesting returns with a smattering noise. It’s been about a year since you last saw something in regards to this. This time covering releases from artists that have self-released their albums, to artists whom are already on a label. Everything from Transistor Sphere, an angst-pop artist crossing into cold wave territory, to DRAMA! a Hungarian avant-garde minimal electronics outfit being released on KHK Tapes. To Eostre, whose debut-album will soon be put out in full by the label Soft Corridor Records. Three enigmatic artists with their own perks. Three artists that are going to be covered here in Harvesting number 14. The fourteenth edition of Harvesting, to date. Scroll down and read it all.

a1517745545_10With a total of fifteen songs, the artist Transistor Sphere moves and shape-shifts into whatever that pleases him for the moment. Electronica is moving swiftly from a rather calm intro, to an angst-pop assault. Clashing beats, hypnotic atmospheres and cherished dark rhythms make this moment such a bliss. A moment that can be endured, a moment that is packaged in between fifty minutes and a little bit more. Lurking transmitters wire you to this experience, that moves somewhere in between the minimalism of minimal electronics, to the fast-paced rhythms you’d otherwise hear in a breakbeat or drum’n’bass track. The album itself has a titled that describes the feeling you get when listening to it: “Disintegrated“.

Here’s where everything dissolves and at the same time it’s a trip into the utmost space of the soundscapes. It can change for a minute, a few seconds – or a little bit more – from the most beastly fast-paced running electronica – to the utmost minimalistic heresy. The melodious content of this album is not something you should underestimate. His eloquent touch with sincere electronics overshadow the whole darkness that is repetitive in the atmosphere of the tracks. It feels organic and it doesn’t feel soulless at all. Low-key beats bounce upon the samplings, the noises that can be heard are briefly swooshed away in favor for something else. Clearly a multifaceted release that goes in between ominous music, deliberate angst-pop with baselines as deep as the blue sea, to the cold wave and in touch with the emotional content at hand – to a degree that is probably not heard when listening to other artists. It’s also clear that he’s influenced by Friedrich Nietszche‘s philosophy to a degree, in regards to the quote on his page: “The future influences the present just as much as the past“. A mysterious artisan at his craft, an interesting antagonist at our hands. Listen to Transistor Sphere‘s album “Disintegrated” below.

khk03_The cacophony doesn’t stop here, as DRAMA! steps up to the plate and run amok. This is a Hungarian artist whose participation in music ranges back to a compilation this artist was featured on, which was “Central Heating” – a compilation crafted by the same label he’s on – namely KHK Tapes. It was released back in 2012 and even though this release, which is his first self-titled, was released in 2013 – we thought of featuring it anyway. He’s got a rather out-of-the-ordinary industrialized landscape of sound which is carefully crafted together between the boundaries of industrial and tape music in the first hand, and minimal electronics as the underlying motor that is pulling this workhorse forward. Forwarding public domain information from the United States in the shape of sound, mixed together with a regular rhythm make a rhythm out of the samplings that he’s borrowed from these domains. This results in a pretty weird but rather analogue experience that will drive you insane sooner or later. A lot of the tracks don’t even make it over three minutes, which makes them a lot shorter then what is expected. The release is compromised of thirteen tracks and the further in you go, the stranger it gets. Noise gets on top of the chain, whilst an almost power electronics sound is dominating throughout – resonating with the scrappy sound of the electronics. Once you go in there, you’ll come out with bad German soap operas that have been used for sampling purposes, but also dubbed things that you can’t really find the source for – unless you’re interested in that stuff. The whole ordeal you’ll have to endure when listening through it feels like a re-cycling of sound. All the primitiveness that can be heard is overlapped with interesting build-ups, heavy and noise synthesized sounds, charred beats that would make you suffer if you had to listen to it even longer. The format is well-thought out, since you can only endure it long enough until the repetitiveness kills you on its own. But mind you, it’s not boring to listen to, at least. You can listen to the whole self-titled release down below, from KHK Tapes bandcamp.

a2596681461_10Glad you’ve read this far. Lastly, we’ve got an experience for you that you’ll probably find rather enjoyable. Eostre is a solo-project that combines the ingeniousness of minimal electronics with the rather rugged sound of ambient and experimental electronics. A formula that the man behind the solo-project, the Belgian man Sébastien Schmit (K-Branding/Service Special) have made his own. Harnessing the monotone vocals that he puts out on the smooth surface of the tracks. A rather interesting paradox between the smoothness of the ambient in the tracks with the rather rugged beats that hit you hard in your neck. This is his debut-album under this moniker and it’s titled “They Were Made Of White Cloth“. Put out by the label Soft Corridor Records. What’s interesting with the two tracks made available on this release is how they change from being a rugged trip into the unknown, hitching a smooth ride – but ending with bubbling electronica and then simply fading out.

Just to change to rather ethnic beats with the other track made available, a kind of middle eastern and/or oriental touch with a sullen synthesizer that almost reminds you of that calm, but oriented emotional saxophone sound that gets played rather frequently in films from the 1980’s. Especially if these films are Action-films. It is clearly noticeable that the different instruments form an intricate rhythm together, that is being based upon underlying rhythms that soar through the dampened landscape of sound. Well, tough luck, because Sébastien is a drummer when push comes to shove. This is also noticeable in how he form the different patterns for the rhythms. Everything goes dancing throughout the soundscapes of these two tracks. Not much more can be uttered about this release, since all tracks have not been made available. It’s a joint release between Soft Corridor Records and Alt. Vinyl, and is going to be put out on the 20th of April. The cover illustration was created by Jess Pauwels, and the photography was taken (and designed) by Julien Lambrechts. Listen to and stream this release down below, from Soft Corridor Records bandcamp.

Mini-Harvesting #1: You’re making me Peter Out!

This is a mini-harvesting for all you harvesters out there that haven’t gotten your daily doses. I promise to make this a continual experience for you all, but until I’m done with the main harvest, you’ll have to enjoy the mini-harvest instead. There’s a lot of these coming your way too and this is the first edition of the mini-series that I will be doing on a regular basis. In this edition you’ll get this: The Peter Out Wave and Monument. Both released by the eminent Peter Out Records, which you should check out if you have the time, they release some good stuff.

VA – The Peter Out Wave

An all-out flirt with the darker sounds. Starting out with The Death Notes and their song “In The Spider’s Web“, which has a perfect intro that surely phases you into their post-punk sound. Their combination of soulful indie-rock sounds and goth makes this feel like a nostalgic piece with their own touch to it. But the overtly expressed alternative rock sound is as prevalent as the other genres they’ve combined. Somehow the singer seems to epitomize the great about all genres and the good sounding goth-loving that would be preferred. With a hard edge to their baseline and an almost outright contemporary drumming, which brings together the unconventionality and fuels the sound-scapes splendor and greatness even more. Even though the singer sounds pretty remote from what they’re trying to convey, I must say that I appreciate her addition to it. It feels a little bit like they’re trying to cope with the great sound of early Witching Hour but at the same time they’re scratching on the walls of The Pixies. Combine that, and you’ve got something to strive for. The fact that the singer is so far away, but so close from anything they’re doing, makes this a great song to listen to and really enhances the listening process even more.

As I move further into the compilation, there’s a band called Der Noir and their song is called “Desire“. They’ve got a whole other combination going on, moving from pop to the wonders of cold wave. Feeling like the melodies entwine with each other and the chorus, which is an experience that needed to be felt. With their own take on the minimalistic drum-machine, riffing away into oblivion but at the same time containing the catchy pop-melodies and rhythms that makes the whole sound-scape breathe and open up itself to the listener. Bringing together the darker elements of the mix and fusing it with the angelic synth and pop-vocals of Manuele Frau. It feels like they’ve conveyed the catchiness of the “new-wave” of cold wave sounds that are out there. Besides having the almost impersonal edge of cold wave brutality, lightened up with a fuse of the sphere that makes that kind of music and the more lighter bedroom pop side of it. Pretty unconventional, but it works for me. Yet another genre that had to prove itself in combination with my favorite cold wave, which it did and got me even more hooked.

Let’s move on to the next song, which is by Agent Side Grinder and it’s called “Telefunk“. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them in this shape or form ever, which makes this even more interesting. The harsh post-punk vibes are melted together in a steel factory filled with the minimalism of electronic body music and including the minimalistic wave music in the middle of it. There are lots of interesting things going on, like short-circuited synths and a trembling bass. All fitted with an arpeggio synth that phases into the sound-scape like no tomorrow, which also makes the rhythms feel more sinister. Also, the desperation in the vocalists voice makes me feel like the visual picture of this is based in a factory, where they continually pluck the bad elements out of this mix and melt the other together. Both a visually enhancing and musically sinister experience of the highest degree.

Now we’ve come a little bit lower on the steps, time to introduce Monument and their song “Teeth and Tails“. Like a playful mix of the most eclectic vibes you could ever find in a post-punk haven. Together with some almost naive synths and an interesting singer, within a minimalistic sound-scape filled to the brink with both distortion and the generic post-punk bass you’d find in any goth song of the last century. Since everyone seems to want to compare anything even remotely “gothic” with Siouxsie, I’ll have to say that this isn’t the case. It’s more of the eclectic combination of Skeletal Family‘s singer Anne-Marie Hurst and the strong but delightfully dark voice of Eveghost from Christ vs. Warhol. Even though there are some uninteresting moments within this song, I must say that they’ve done a great load of work on it. Because at the same time, there are some really interesting passages. At all times, there’s always something dark lurking behind the next corner. The lyrical content is also intriguing and makes me press my headphones closer to the ears, just to get the joy of hearing the lyrics. Since this song is a wee bit down-tempo, we’re going to bring this to a closure.

Time for the next song by The Gaa Gaa’s which is titled as “Hypnoti(z)ed“. With a great deal of wailing and a tempo that cannot be disliked, these up-tempo knights of the dark seem to have found some elements from dark cabaret and a lot from the post-punk sphere. There’s also some goth rock involved in this mix and the sinister sound of the wailing singer, with overtly ridiculous throwback 70’s sound in the sound-scape, you just can’t dismiss them. I also love the eclectic climax which is noticed further into the song, but in the meanwhile I’m traveling on catchy riffs and in melancholic realms. Add a little bit too much fuzz and you’ve got this band summarized with fewer sentences. No, I admit, that was a little bit too cruel of me. I love the fuzz that’s been added to the vocals when he reaches a climax even I can’t ignore, and you shouldn’t even walk in my shoes. Listen to this and feel at home, that is if you like it on the darker edge of things but with some familiarity from older times.

Time has come for the death-rockers whom go by the name of Belgrado, and their song “Clockwise“. They’ve tried to make the traditional death-rock sound their kind of thing, blended with heavy rock-influences. But they’re not the kind of band that just copies, no, they’ve got their own thing going. It’s by all means the most traditional thing I’ve heard on this compilation so far. The almost naive but delicate sound of the singer’s voice as the up-tempo washes me away with the sheer speed of it, makes this more enjoyable to listen to. A combination of the down-tempo elements and the up-tempo that create a moving rock that grows bigger the further in you get. Take all the traditional death-rock and fuse it together with the uniquely sounding Belgrado and you’ve had your dose of today. Perforating the shell between traditionalists and newcomers, which means; not dividing but uniting.

Now we’re heading into other territory, as we step into the band Wieze Fabryk and listen to their song “Poczucie Zagrozenia“, which I would say is polish. The singer is wonderfully eclectic and I love when a band sing in their own language, since it makes things a little bit more freaky than it would’ve been otherwise. The English language is pretty good for either death-rock or goth-rock, but I must say that they’ve got a contender and they’re called Wieze Fabryk. At times it feels like the singer went into the wrong studio, since he packs a punch like the Oi-Punk guys with a lot of stomach, but it’s useful in this sound-scape too. He gives everything and the sound-scape forms after the shape of his vocal chords, it seems. Pretty good song overall but the vocalist is definitely the man that keeps you listening to the song, the sound-scape feels secondary without him.

Since we’ve come through the thick of the almost non-electronic sphere of this compilation, we’ve arrived at the more electronic one. The band Led Er Est shows off their song “Lonesome XOXO“, which would be the epitome of naive. With a minimal wave kind of thing going on, the singer is eclectic but at the same time utterly naive. It feels like the music is his stepping stones and he’s afraid of stepping wrong. There is a sense of melancholy to it, it feels like he’s going to take the same steps for an eternity. At times it feels like I’ve taken the time-machine back to the 80’s quirky minimal wave, but with a more underground touch of course. They’ve got all those qualities and a little bit more, but it feels a little bit ridiculous at times. However, the vocalist is doing his own thing and for that I must applaud him. Quite an interesting song if you count that factor out of the music.

Which makes us delve even further into this sphere, with the band Naked On The Vauge and their song “Circling Eyes“. An experimental dose of fractionated minimalistic wave, covered with some industrial over it. Featuring a heavy bass and some really scary samples, combining the lighter sense of the sound-scape with the bombastic. Not really my type of thing when everything comes around, but it’s pretty intriguing with all the experimentalism going on around me. Feels like my chopper is going down and something else besides a rescuing-crew has found me. Which could be translated into the fact that the sound-scape is provocative at hand, making it feel like its fighting for its own survival when it comes down to business. Like taking its last breath and trying to survive on artificial life-support. Don’t know if I should say that it’s malplaced, but every compilation need its experimental dose of the day.

Leading me into the band Dr Arthur Krase and their song “Deported Soul Deprivation“. A remotely sounding and heavy path of quirky, but menacing industrial. The theme of this song seems to be insanity, which they’ve managed to pull out with excellence. At times, the singer sounds a little bit like Andrew Eldritch, almost copying his barytone on the spot. But with a whole other edge to it, a detached but at the same time personal voicing. The edgy drums are combined with a somewhat quirky synth and a minimalistic approach when it comes to the singing. With a drooping and hopelessness to be found within the sound-scape, as if they’ve given up on everything. As the song fades out, I’m reminded about how fragile the human mind can be.

This takes me to whole other realms as I tune out and tune in for the band Lost Tribe and their song “Forever“. A song which could be perfectly played in a catacomb, far beneath the premises of the earth and cities as whole. It also marks the shift from the more electronic to the non-electronic and more death-rock/goth rock oriented music. Once again, I’m stomping my feet to an overtly distorted and interesting sound-scape where there’s loads of things going on. Even though the singing might not be my cup of tea, it quickly develops into something obscene. Hinting to an even more punk-rock influenced sound-scape as a whole. Caressing the earlier death-rock influences and making it more punk and even more up-tempo than some of the more delicate sounds I’ve heard earlier from other musicians on this album. A great song overall, but there’s a lot of repetitive elements, which can be charming at a low frequency. I guess we’re not completely through with the electronica, since the band Linea Aspera continues along that path with the song “Detachment“. I must say that it sounds like a combination of the slimewave from Seacrypt, but at the same time the angelic feeling I get from the wonderful Xiu Xiu. With a hectic and up-tempo sound clashing in between the singer’s sincerity. Like a minimalistic wave song gone berserk on so many levels, conjuring one of the most catchy sound-scape but at the same time taking a little bit of my own focus from the singer’s modesty. Continually paving its way through with a spastic feeling to it, which I feel doesn’t really match the singer that well. But at times, when both collide, there’s always a great feeling coming out of it. Pretty good song, repetitive and packs a lighter punch – but still makes it in my book. Even though it has to drag itself over here.

Next up is the band Long Bone Trio with their song “Peek-a-Boo Widow“, which amounts to a great degree of ridiculousness. I don’t know if they’ve attempted to do a psychedelic rock song or if they’ve tried something else. This is probably the weirdest song I’ve heard on this album so far, but at times it can be catchy and actually give something. Only thing I don’t like is the weird lo-fi sound-scape, the singer and the weird lyrical content. Amidst all of this, I must say that something about it is catchy. There’s always something in me that can’t take this seriously for some reason, even though it should be pretty obvious by now if you’ve listened to it. However, I’m fascinated by both the weird sense of the sound-scape and the lo-fi sound-scape quietly making itself heard. So, let’s move on to the band Joy/Disaster and their song “Suicide“. I thought for a second that this would be Joy Division, but I needed to adjust my eyesight and found out that it wasn’t the case. I’ll have to say that this song is one of the least intriguing songs on this album, there’s something so basic about it and the singer is overdoing his singing at times. Like a pop-song trying to be something else then it should be, trying to move into post-punk territory and claim to be something it isn’t. Only good thing about this song is the potential it could’ve had, or the potential it shows sometimes when you listen through it. But I really didn’t like it and there was a missing sense of personality, nothing really special about it. The singer had some potential in him but squabbled it away in the end.

We’re heading on to the Swedish sphere, or yeah, one of the few Swedish bands on this compilation. Their band is called Svarta Hundar and their song is “Mörkt Vatten“. Actually reminds me of one of the punk-bands I had on this blog a while ago, their name is The Dead, and this is their counterpart. At least when it comes to the punk-rock vibe this song gives me, and it also reminds me of the old school new-wave/post-punk bands from Sweden. When it comes to the singing and the sound-scape as a whole, they have some kind of 80’s sound incorporated within the mix. They have some of the old-school Reeperbahn feeling to it, which would make them a new-school variation on Nürnberg 47 (the old name of Reeperbahn). I think they have the same ambitions and have learned to express them well, together with the post-punk edginess and the old meets the new. So there’s a little bit of a throwback sounding, moody punk vibe to this band and almost borderline goth at times. The rhythms and melodies are excellent, the band is unique in the sense that the formula they’re concocting haven’t been tried successfully for a while. I like their own personal touch to it too, it makes it stay afloat so they don’t drown in nonsensical nostalgia.

So now it’s time for some more electronica, in the shape of the band Lebanon Hanover and their song “Fuck The Future“. Which is quite a German way of saying: fuck off, I don’t want to live in this world. The drunken singing and the continual stomping of the electronic elements are a perfect catalyst for the depressing lyrics. With a lot of focus on reverb, minimalism and sampling, combined with the awkwardness of the sound-scape as a whole, they manage to create a dimension that I, myself, wouldn’t even step into with one toe. A scary reminder of how things are and how the future isn’t looking that nice to begin with. Giving me a shitload of angst while listening to it, which is probably what they tried to purvey with the music. A stalemate between deciding how things should be yourself and the force-fed nothingness of total apathy. Moving to the last song on the album which is created by the band M!R!M and is called “O-Dio“. It’s a strange symbiosis between punk and synth, a strange romance between the two of those. Stressing on the same level as the track before this one, but keeping it up-tempo and making it a fairly interesting endeavor. Almost reminds me of the seriousness in KaS Product and the total anarchy of Atari Teenage Riot. Instead, they’re stepping stone between regular punk and the post-punk with a driven baseline that is distorted beyond imagination. Delving into an almost listenable musical creature which is in between unmistakeable noise and catchy synth-punk.

Overall, I think this compilation is well worth to buy. There’s something for everybody and I believe there’s a huge variation of both underground and more well-known bands. So head over to their bandcamp and order the physical CD for 15 euros.

Monument – Teeth & Tails 10¨

An interesting release from 2010 which borders on goth rock and finds itself with post-punk. Starting off with the first song on this record, which is titled as “Jennifer“. It starts off in a great fashion and delves within both spheres of post-punk and goth rock, however, I think the singer is on the border of being ridiculously close to the generic symphonic metal bands when it comes to singing. Even though she strays away from this further into the song, I hear a hint of it anyway and that is basically what annoys me a little bit. But I like how the drum-machine sounding beats converge into the riffs and the singer’s ambitions of sounding a little bit like the more traditional death-rock and goth bands. She doesn’t make it all that way up, but she picks off a little bit on the scale that could potentially take her there. It seems like this is some kind of almost pop-oriented version of the traditional sound, or at least an offspring that is running in that particular direction. However, the sound-scape is getting held up by the slowly-paced baseline which fills up the rifts that can be heard. They have a pretty long way to go, but I can’t say that this song didn’t intrigue me, because then I would be lying. But there’s a lot of ground to be gained before they’re on the top of the hill.

In the next song “Drenched In Blood“, this ambition can be heard even more. They’re trying to be something they cannot accomplish just yet. It actually feels like she’s deliberately trying to sound like Siouxsie, instead of making her own use of the influences she’s taken from her. It feels pretty impersonal to say the least and there’s a rift that’s opening, getting wider and wider. Some of the sounds in the sound-scape sound like they’re heading the “right” way at times, but there’s a lack of something uniquely defining in this song. I mean, they’ve got everything going for them and the sound itself is pretty unconventional, but there’s something about the sound-scape that turns me off. It’s like they’re trying to combine elements that don’t belong within goth rock and that they’re leaning more to the alternative rock side of it. Which I don’t like as much, since I think it sounds too basic for the average listening experience of the traditional goth rock sound. But hey, the further in you get into this song, the more potential they have of turning the whole ship around. So there’s not only negativity involved when I listen to this song, they’ve actually got some potential that could be developed into another sphere. There are lots of influences that collapse and go for each other head on, which makes it pretty ghastly at times.

Last songTeeth & Tails” is a more moving piece, where they show how they want it to be. This is how they sound when they’ve realized the potential they’ve got. It’s not as up-tempo as the other songs, but it lacks the more mainstream kind of thing that goes on in the other songs. Here, the elements are on the right path with each other, which form a minimalistic head that paves the way through the different riffing and the added effects. I also like the singer a lot more here, since her voice reeks of sincerity and the lyrical content is up to par with the sound-scape as a whole. Also, the sound-scape folds together both the traditional sounds of older bands an the more new sound which have clear influences from other bands. So there are many reasons for them not to head on to this path, since this seems to be the path that fits them the best. Until they manage to get the rhythms and sinister melodies of this song, they’re unfortunately not heading anywhere. Even though I’ve already said this, the album might attract the alternative rock fans more than anything else. Because I don’t think they’ve managed to convey the sound they want, it feels like they’re still searching.

You should buy this album from their bandcamp if you’re interested in that side of the coin. Either buy the digital download version or the physical limited edition 10¨ vinyl.

Harvesting #13: We’re gothicly arranged – electronically estrange! [Part II]

Since I’ve been pretty sick lately, I wanted to produce another Harvesting. I’m getting better now and I’ll be putting out the 14th edition of Harvesting in the next couple of days. I need to get it running again, so I have gathered some of the darker bands for this edition. Always wanted to do this and now I had the chance, so there’s a lot of gothic rock involved and post-punk from the edges of hell. Soon, I’ll also get to turn back the clock and sleep another hour, so I can continue to make these editions. In this edition, the following bands/artists/compilations are featured: Tchernoziom, V/A – Join The Dark Side, We Have The Music! and Terminal Gods. Unfortunately, there’s not going to be any interview in this Part of Harvesting #13. So you’ll have to look at these instead, enjoy!

Tchernoziom – Silure Asphalte

The finest post-punk from the regions of France. Beginning with the first track “Les Loges Germinales” which starts off with a nice baseline, it almost sounds like some of the older 90’s stuff when it comes to both grunge and almost borders to metal at times. Even though the focus in this song is more in the post-punk genre. I like the french language, because it gives a whole other feeling of the song at hand. There’s much passion when the singer releases his own arsenal towards me as a listener. The repetitive sound-scape forms like a huge bubble around the vocalists efforts when it comes to wailing and a more aggressive singing-style. At times, the sound-scape can be a little bit too unvaried for my taste, but it’s got some of the dark essence colluding within its core. Which is a good thing, since I like the darker side of post-punk. The instrumentation is pretty intriguing at times, but puts me off when all I hear is a baseline moving in the same tempo, with the same riffs coming over and over again.

On the next song from this single, titled “Vegetable Swallow“, there’s a little bit change to the unvaried sound-scape at least. Employing some of the alternative rock in the mix, which enhances the sound-scape further and gives a great amount of variation to it. There are some good parts in the song, but it’s not really in the post-punk domain that much anymore. Getting some good feelings on this October-evening, because the baseline is stomping and the drums are like a galloping horde which is thrusting towards me. The singer tries too hard at times, but it sounds really Gothic at the edges of it. Might not be my favorite song of both, but it’s got some grooviness to it at least. I also think they’re stepping way out of their own territory at times, but that’s just how it can turn out. Pretty good record, you should give this a chance.

You can listen to it below but there’s currently no way to buy it.

Various Artists – Join The Dark Side, We Have The Music!

Overall, a pretty good compilation with some nice artists and bands. First song “In My Arms” by Principe Valiente is really a nice drop of shoegaze with new-wave. There are some dreamy elements that flow with you in the mix, with some kind of up-tempo happiness. Even though the subject at hand might not be that merry lyrically. A concoction of synths and guitars come around the corner and blind you with their light and the fast drums shift in color the further in you get into it. But there’s also a shredding riff going off in the background, which is drenched in reverb and bounces forward and backwards into the mix. The sound-scape itself could’ve been a little bit less chaotic, but with such influences, you can’t really tone it down. I think it’s a pretty good song overall, because it’s got everything necessary and pulls it off with style and a pinch of glamor. Next up is the song “Take A Walk” by one of the more well-known acts on this blog by now: The Foreign Resort. Reminds me a lot about The Hives when it comes to the energy, it’s also one of those songs that border from post-punk to new-wave. Also one of the more energetic bands in that category, taking away the more cheesy factor of new-wave and instead heightening the musical experience by fast riffing, drumming and a great singer. It also feels pretty lengthy, because you have to endure the breathtaking up-tempo and the very emotional sound-scape at hand, both lyrically and musically.

I had to skip one of the songs, because it didn’t really fit into the category of my favorites on this compilation. Therefore the fourth song “No Way” by the band M!R!M took its place. One of the more original acts I’ve heard for a while, I don’t really know where to place this music. It’s some kind of mix between synth-punk, post-punk and goth. I sense a little bit of KaS Product in the mix, with the cold wave vibes that can be heard throughout the sound-scape. It also feels a wee bit nocturnal, with a crushing baseline munching into your flesh and bone as fast as it can. There’s also a little bit of a psychedelic edge to it, feels like you’ve invited a circus of flesh eating zombies that are following you through an open landscape, making you end up in a downward spiral of survival. The next song on the menu, titled “The Wiser” is played by a band called Winter Severity Index. A calm introductory to some mish-mash of goth rock and post-punk, with an emotional vocalist and a sound-scape that is perfect for my taste. Even though there’s not much going on, I like the bands that can combine a chaotic environment with a little bit more down-tempo. Because there’s much going on, but at the same time it sounds pretty minimalistic. Actually one of the better bands that have combined those two elements, because some of those that have tried before haven’t really succeeded. Surely, one of the best songs in that sphere for a while if I have a say in it.

Since I don’t want to be a party-pooper, I’ll have to say that these songs are the best from the compilation. There’s a lot of more songs that you can experience on your own, but I suggest that you’d get the digital version of it at least. Because the physical version is sold out.

Terminal Gods – Electric Eyes

Another “new” goth rock band from the UK, with surprisingly high endurance. Within the first song “Electric Eyes“, there’s a little bit catchyness within the song. I think they’re trying to mimic The Sisters Of Mercy at times, which they don’t succeed with. But I think they’ve got their own thing going, with nice baselines and tight riffing. At least the vocalist is trying to put himself in that category, but that’s just what I think after having listened to the track over and over again for some days. I like their goth sound a lot, but I’m a little bit turned off by their more mainstream approach to it. I don’t think the alternative rock in this sound-scape has any depth, even though the vocalist is trying to make it even better in the chorus. The edge sounds good, but the core of it is a little bit bland. I don’t like the lyrics at all, but I guess that’s just me. It’s not my cup of tea and it doesn’t feel engaged with the overall picture that I’m receiving from it musically. So, I’ll have to say that I’m impressed by the goth rock-edge to it, but the rest of it really feels like it’s stumbling on its own feet before crossing the line.

I’ve already been getting it, that they’re trying to get the traditional goth sound. But I think that the second song “God Child” lacks what the first song did also. Everything is pretty UN-engaging until you get to the chorus, which is really the topping on the chocolate cake. This could also be one of the bands that try too hard to be traditional goth, but manage a part of it at least. So I have to see that as a sign of healthyness, as opposed to those bands that try to be something they cannot be. Since they’ve got their own thing going, it bears up the sound-scape a little bit. But it crumbles to dust the more you listen to it. I think the riffs are pretty bland and should be more uncompromising, and I don’t like the more mainstream edge that can be heard at times. I think the vocalist makes this song a little bit more engaging than it could’ve been, but it’s got to get better from this. Hopefully they’ll release something else in the near future, I’m hoping that they’ve gone further with this, because it could be a success story musically.

You can buy the digital-only download edition of this single since the physical limited edition vinyl is already sold out.

Harvesting #13: Do I even feel anything? [Part I]

You know it! Since I’ve been on hiatus for a number of days, because I’m struggling with other things, like my studies – I’d like to continue with Harvesting. So this time around, we’re up a number and it’s time for the #13th edition of the loveable thing that is called Harvesting. Today, I don’t have much to say. It’s getting a little bit darker in Sweden and soon I get to sleep one hour more, since we’re setting back the clock one hour. Which could do wonders with my productivity these days and give you more material to enjoy. But I’ll get straight to the point! In this edition of Harvesting, you’ll get to know more about the following bands/artists/label(s): 阿飛西雅 APHASIA, Agent Side Grinder, Bombangrepp and AVANT! Records. I’ve asked Andrea from AVANT! Records a couple of questions and the rest are, as usual, reviews. Enjoy this time around too and I hope to see you on the carousel before its gotten to the end of the ride.

阿飛西雅 APHASIA – 提去買藥仔 Take it, You Need Medicine

Strong, emotional, vague – but beautiful at its essential roots. First song “樹林 The Woods” is a balancing act between the finer moments of post-rock glory and on the other hand; melodic alternative rock with some influences from shoegaze, with the outdrawn and dreamy riffs. It’s a complete trip from the start and it doesn’t give in to any of the lustful misdemeanors that can be found along the way. With excellent drumming and an exact change in structure, makes this uncut gem set itself ablaze with the wonderfully emotional sense of post-rock, which is how it should be done. The climax in the song introduces some of the elements used earlier in the song, with catchy drumming, different riffing and interestingly enough a truly provocative instrumental at heart. In the sense that it induces some of the most wonderful emotions from deep within, grasping them and making something out of it. Next song “秘密 A Secret“, continues in the wake, but is a more down-tempo song at the core. But there’s a sense of that something is going to happen, even though it pushes through, slowly paving the way. Like picking the most luscious berries for your homemade pie, eating it and getting an overload on the taste-buds. Even though they at times seem to be somewhat bland, there’s always something happening, a change in the drums or a change within the riffing. I also feel like there’s some kind of rock-oriented rhythm going on later in the song, which enhances the structure even more, amidst the wailing shoegaze-riffs that flow through the virtual earpiece that I imagine I’m listening through. There’s something high-tech about it, something futuristic and it touches you deep within your own mind and soul.

In one of the later songs, which in my mind sounded the best after the aforementioned, there’s something naive being thrown into the mix. I’m talking about “蚵仔寮 Kerzliao“, which really heads on its own way, instead of mimicking what has been going on before. A mellowed out and funny song, when I listen to it there’s something calming about it. It makes me giggle when I think about it, but that’s because everything is so relaxed and my brain is slowly shutting off the functions which are needed for enormous concentration. Not that it doesn’t take any concentration while listening to it and trying to analyze it, but it makes my work here even easier. Because there’s something special about the high-pitched riffs and the drums, but also the baseline, which pulsates in rhythm and touches everything else with the monotonous and repetitive style. Somehow, they manage to make this kind of style seem less boring than it would’ve if any other band tried the same formula. They have something unique, which is noticeable in the way they handle their instruments and how the structure in their song reveals itself. Surely, a must have if you like this kind of style and appreciate the general awesomeness of some great post-rock, but with some of the mellowed out rock-oriented parts, integrated with a sprinkle of shoegaze at times.

You can listen to their album over here, but you can buy it from White Rabbit Records.

Agent Side Grinder – Hardware

Minimalistic and retro-futuristic, if that made any sense at all. In the first song “Look Within“, it sounds like they’ve sharpened the funky undertones of Nitzer Ebb, tuned it down to fit the down-tempo outfit. With the mellowed out, but sincere and somewhat in-your-face vocals, this piece of electronics makes wonders when you listen to it. There’s always something going on, like the synths that activate themselves in the background and come out as a buzzing noise in your headphones. It might not be pure EBM, but it’s got some of the features that are used in those arrangements. I’m thinking about the repetitive and monotonous drums, accompanied by the funky main-synth and the amount of intrigue these few instruments and sounds can capture. There’s definitely some New Beat going on there also, when I think about it. I imagine myself standing in an abandoned industrial town, getting my own private show by Agent Side Grinder, while standing in a totally decayed environment. I hate to say it, but one of the more memorable songs on this album, “Rip Me“, really sounds like Depeche Mode-light. There’s also a pinch of Pankow on the edges, but only vaguely. Maybe less bombastic than them, but I definitely see some of it in the vocals at least. Feels like I’m on an endless trip on the train, to a destination which I know very little about. To say the least, if I were to make some modern analogy, I would also compare them to Metroland. Seems like they have about the same minimalistic synth-scape when it boils down to it, the kind of minimalism meets naive little synths and drum-machines.

Another track that gives me shivers down the spines, is the one featuring Henric De La Cour on vocals, titled “Wolf Hour“. He manages to fill up the emptiness between different parts of the song, connecting them with his own thing vocally, which really makes the song a lot better. His emotional singing fits the sound-scape perfectly and adds another touch of sincerity to the mix. With the more aggressive singing, in another kind of style, handing in a contradiction in the sound-scape itself. Which makes it even more enjoyable to listen to. As the instruments clash, between the layer of aggressiveness á la Brigade Werther (especially the song Killbeat), with Henric De La Cour as the master of the chanson, there’s an edge that plows straight through me with full force. The last song that I want to mention that gave me something I was searching for, was the song “Pyre” which is more ballad-oriented. A synthetic goo filled with both the mystery of coldwave and the loveable cheesiness of both future-pop and synth-pop. Slowly moving forward into the distance, catching on to the whole mood of the sound-scape, with a singer’s voice that’s as sweet as the most sugar-filled soda pop you’d ever find yourself drinking. I think they’ve got something going that is out of the ordinary, but I don’t really dig their sound overall. But they’ve surely grasped the craftsmanship behind this kind of music and made it their own deal, which is wonderful and respectable.

You can listen to one of the tracks from the album below and you can also buy it from here.

Bombangrepp – Skuggan Av Dödens Sändebud

There’s something edgy about this, differentiating from the general d-beat chaos. As can be heard within the first song “Livets Refräng“, the general mood of the song is total chaos and anarchy. But there’s something that makes this stand out from all the other bands that do the same thing, I don’t really know what, but some of the riffs are innovative and bring a great strength to the rest of the sound-scape. The singer is also hell-bent on this, which also makes it easy to understand how they’ve managed to make this song so great. He’s got somewhat different vocals and they’re bearable. At times, there’s the same kind of feeling to it, as it feels a little bit like everything else, but it continually fades out the more I listen to the song and understand the greatness of it. One of the other tracks on the album, namely the fourth one, titled as “Den Inre Striden” has some really cool riffs that make it much more enjoyable to listen to. The whole sound-scape as a whole is just making it even better, whereas the drums take a little bit more room in this song. At times it almost sounds like it’s knocking on the door of metal, but that’s just how the riffs sound in some parts of the song. There’s really a raw Mob 47 and Bizex-B feeling in it, if you blended those two together and kept the tempo of the aforementioned.

I feel like some other songs also need to be mentioned. The sixth song, which is also the title-track, namely: “Skuggan Av Dödens Sändebud“, delivers a fierce combination of the best in both punk and d-beat. It’s absolutely raw throughout, it’s almost as if they’re a bunch of skeletons performing, since the fury of the song have already gnawed down to the bone. That’s how it feels when listening to this song, there’s a total sense of apathy but at the same time the tempo just continually keeps punching me in my ears. One of the best songs on the album, hands down, is the eighth song “Inget Hopp – Ingen Framtid“, which is indescribably majestic in its musical appearance. So if this song haven’t made you loose all your hope and just say fuck it, you’re down in deep water. The riffs are excellent, the drumming is on point and the vocalist makes his best effort so far. Since this album was released in 2011, I was hesitant at first to do a review on it, but I thought it would be cool to put this one out too. You should get this album if you have the chance, definitely one of the better d-beat punishers out there.

Download their album for free over here, but I suggest that you give them some cash, because they’re worth it.

I asked some questions for the label-owner Andrea of AVANT! Records. Hope you like this one too.

So, where did your idea for AVANT! Records come from and what was your aim for the label when you started it and who are you?

– The label was born in 2007 to co-release the split 7-inch between my band His Electro Blue Voice and the French black metal punk band Nuit Noire. It started with the intent of doing something good and well done with kind(s) of music I dig the most and that’s the spirit I carry it on by.

In what way do you think your label has developed since the first couple of releases?

– I like to keep things simple, minimal, neat and effective, and that’s surely a constant. This said, every release is or can be a new spot explored. I would never have thought of doing any dark-folk record before Cult of Youth, just as I’d never have imagined of releasing pure electronic music before Scorpion Violente. So yeah every step can lead to new directs. Wait and listen to the debut album by How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck If A Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood? and you’ll see how another new shore has been touched.

How do you decide what you want to release and what you don’t want to release, what’s your criteria?

– Basically if I like it? And if it can fit in with the label, I mean a like a lot of different stuff but one label cannot just do everything y’know. You gotta have your own identity as a label.

Could you tell me anything about the releases you’ve done so far and how they became a finished product ready to be sold?

– Well, there’s an entire productive process behind every label which is exacly the label’s job. I don’t mean to bore you with details but that’s what a label does: contacting the band, offering one kind of deal, being in touch with vinyl pressing plant, with distributors, with zines, blogs and music journals… it’s our whole world.

Thank you for answering these questions! What’s happening for you in the near future?

– Out right now are HORROR VACUI – In Darkness You Will Feel Alright LP (over here) and NIGHT SINS – New Grave LP (the opening song here down below), while November the 26th will be available HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK IF A WOODCHUCK COULD CHUCK WOOD? s/t LP (Joy & Rebellion video)  and LUST FOR YOUTH – Saluting Rome EP.

Harvesting #12: Something forgotten – something new?

Now you’re in the realm of Harvesting, we’ve already reached beyond the number which is called “ten“. I’m hoping that you’ve been with us since the beginning, otherwise, you should join me in the march for even more Harvesting. I believe I will continue in this fashion, and I will introduce some nice things to you via this edition. There will also be a hell of a lot more stuff within the forthcoming editions, since I will pack them even full(er) with stuff you should listen to or may find good. In this edition I’ve carefully selected some of those releases that lie in the future or are new and some that I should’ve planted on the blog some time ago. The following bands and blogs are to be featured in this edition of Harvesting #12: Astro Children, The Foreign Resort, Sun Of Eyes, Leidkultur and Ribbon Around A Bomb. The last mentioned is a blog which is run by somebody from San Fransisco, so I’ve decided to interview the person behind Ribbon Around A Bomb this time around, hope you’ll enjoy it and the bands too.

Astro Children – Lick My Spaceship!

An interesting and naive record, with major shoegaze influences. With the first song “The One We Start With“, it sounds like they’re trying to employ something straight out of a cartoon-show. It sounds like something kids would listen to, or a happy-go-lucky kind of approach to both pop, with an alternative twist that clouds the more happier edge of it, into a more spaced out formula. But there’s a certain vilifying strength to the distorted background-noises, as I wallow through the sound-scape, with an increasing and tightened focus for the songs at hand. Even though the first song sounded like something I might’ve tried to listen to before, like Revillos meets a child-show, I think the second song “The Tribal Song (Suck My Shoe)” demonstrates perfectly clear that they don’t want to be categorized as what I’ve just said. There’s a more serious notion to this instrumental song than there was in the first song, but it served as a good opener, which made me think of them as more serious when I came to the second song. It might not be anything advanced, but I like the spaced out freakishness of the sound-scape, with a rock-oriented melody at hand but with a huge touch of the lunar sounds of shoegaze taking place in the foreground.

One of the better songs on this album, which I include when I review stuff, is the fourth song “Interlude“. Even though it might just be that, I like how they sound Astro, and therefore I can finally accept their name. The effects in that song are amazing and bring forth a sense of adventurous lust. I’d like to head into space anytime, thanks to this song. Hopefully they’ll finance my spontaneous request and fill me with joy, by docking in my spaceship and playing their tunes for me. If they’d ever need an environment to be in, space would be the first thing that would pop up in my head. I also like the fifth track very much, it’s like a ballad straight out of their alien hearts. Titled “Humiliation (Encore Song)“, where I get to hear more from the vocalist. I think her voice is absolutely fitting for this sound-scape and it sounds a little bit mournful, but at the same time the instrumentation in the background employ a semi-happy sound. So there are conflicting emotions whilst listening to this, but I think it’s got a good vibe to it and reminds me somewhat of our heroes from the same region: Opposite Sex. A pretty good album all-in-all, definitely something you should check out and get a taste of. We’ll all go to space someday.

Buy their album from their bandcamp and either receive a digital-only download for 7 US Dollars. Or you could get the limited edition album, with a hand-stamped and numbered recycled cardboard sleeve. Featured within this is a full colour insert and a pin-up poster. This goodness is limited to 100 copies, add some more dollars and you’ll get it for 15 US Dollars.

The Foreign Resort – Scattered & Buried

A familiar name in my vocabulary, returning with a pristine and totally new album. They’re actually one of the few bands I know that employ such an emotional sounding mix of post-punk, post-rock and new-wave. It’s noticeable in their first track on the album, titled “Delayed“. I’m also surprised over the fact that they’ve managed to balance the sound-scape so good, because every instrument can be heard and it gives the music that little extra touch. The vocalists voice is enthralling and pokes me at the base of my heart, since he really gives the instrumentation a face and voice to be reckoned with. Spilling out their hearts and minds into the miniature sound-scape, which can change at the blink of an eye and introduce a whirlwind of post-rock madness at the same time. The fluorescent riffs and the emotional edge to everything they do in this song is simply marvelous. It hits rock bottom and then carries you up on its shoulders once again, to fill you up with some kind of joy. It’s noticeable that they’re pretty varied and multifaceted when it comes to their music, which is even more present within their next song, “Buried“. A more up-tempo post-punk virtuosos, within a shell of post-rock. Fast drumming, flanged riffs and an induced feeling of some funkiness. I always find myself thinking about them being in between the mainstream and the underground, because they have some unconventionality to their music, definitely something that can be appreciated by both camps.

Their third song “Rocky Mountains” also employ about the same structure, but with more bombastic overtones this time around. A down-tempo sound-scape that reminds me more of bands on the industrial side of the sphere. They don’t let any influences slip away from them, utilizing these with extreme care and within a perfect range. The fifth song “Tide” is an emotional roller coaster, which enhances their standing, musically, in these times – to a pure maximum. I don’t know of any other bands that can keep such emotions and bring them to a whole other level. At least not in this genre of borderline post-punk/new-wave. I believe they can take it even further, which I hope they do. I hope that when I look back on these times, I realize how much of an impact The Foreign Resort made, at least within their realm. This album is much better than anything they’ve ever released before, and to have such a great line between the good and the old is just fantastic. There aren’t many bands that heighten their activity and make even better albums the further into their musicianship they get. You should be proud of yourselves and your music, because you’ve done a heck of a great job on this album and it’s surely in the top as one of the best releases 2012 had to offer. Let’s hope that you stay that way and lets hope it gets experienced by many, many more people in the years to come. I must also add that some of the remixes were good, but they got a lower number in my chart, because their original songs were superior in that aspect. I’d have to put in the following remix as an honorable mention: “Orange Glow (Novachild Remix)“, which was the best remix the album could offer. However, a big round of applause for this album, you must listen to it.

Buy their album from their site, so click this link. You can also get the physical CD from wherever you find it, but I think that Monolathe Recordings will supply you with it. There are a lot of options over at their site.

Sun Of Eyes – Bedroom Demo

This demo is really weird all-in-all, but contain some pure noise. The song “Idioten På Stranden (The Beach Idiot)” had me dying of laughter. Because I don’t know if this was meant to be serious, but probably not. It sounds like someone trying to hum something below water, so the only thing that comes out of it is incoherent babble. If you’ve ever tried to give away a sound when bubbling away under water, you should know what it sounds like. This sounds exactly like it. At the same time, the instrumental sounds pretty much Mediterranean. For some weird reason it reminds me of an old Onkel Kånkel song, at least in some parts of it. The fourth song “Clouded Judgement” is really one of the better songs on this album, it’s pure noise-rock at the core with an almost inaudible sound-scape. Reminds me of a lot of the earlier death-rock demos for some weird reason, but it’s also got a nice rhythm to it which keeps me listening to it. Even though I had to turn down my sound, because the noise is so overtly audible in the mix. Which in turn renders in both a plus and a minus, even though the song is good when you see to its structure and what kind of feeling I get from it, the noise is so loud that it’s annoying at times.

When I get to the fifth song on the album “Birthday Party Strychnine“, it reminds me a lot of their latest addition. Since I made a mistake of not reviewing this first, it might be a little bit weird in retrospective. But I have to say that this reminds me of some good old The Birthday Party. Maybe not as catchy, maybe not as violent and schizophrenic, but almost headed in the same miserable direction. That, in turn, is a great compliment for this band since I think its got some potential flowing out of the cracks. I don’t think this demo is that great to be fair, but I think it shows a potential of wanting and trying to be something. It’s also just a demo that they’ve released recently and I must say that they bring a whole other kind of music to the table than most of those that have released a demo in 2012. I appreciate this at times, but sometimes it’s just too much. Hopefully they’ll continue, since they’ve already put out something after this and I hope that they’ll get closer to their main goal – whatever that is. I’ll be keeping my eyes wide open for this band.

You can download this for free over at their bandcamp. Or send them a mail if you’re interested in buying the album, via the contact-button on bandcamp.

Leidkultur – For A Better World 7”

One of the first German hardcore punk bands that I’ve found myself. Since I like the German language a lot, I believe that the first song “Der Horst” packs a punch, German-style. It’s got one of the typical sounds of the old school American hardcore, but at the same time states its sovereignty within the sound-scape. Which sounds a lot like the older oi punk bands from Germany to one point or another, utilizing a great strategy of combining a pissed off vocalist with nice riffs and fast drumming. I like how they’ve crammed the baseline into the foreground instead of forgetting it in the background. Second song “Mariyam” is even more up-tempo, but adding a lot more melody to the mix and some nice tempo-changes before letting loose on the total destruction of the sound-scape. Feels like I’m in the pit already, invited by Leidkultur themselves. Running around in circles to this music or jumping up on the stage and doing some crazy stage-diving to this music would be a more concrete vision. Third song “Trottel Zum Aufziehen“, is a continuation of this great formula. There’s not much changing, but now they’ve also got a back-up singer in the mix. I like how the sound-scape is on the border of being to balanced, but has some kind of muddy feeling to it when listening through it.

Their kind of hardcore seem to be something special. With their last song “Giving Truth A Bad Name Since 1903“, the aggressiveness turns itself up a notch. But I feel like they’ve shown their steam in the other songs and leave this as a reminder in the end. It feels like the other songs, but it differs in a way that I really can’t explain. Maybe there’s a little bit more of a change, structure wise, because it switches from up-tempo to down-tempo in between and employ otherwise forgotten things in the mix. However, this album was pretty good and they’ve really bashed their way through my skull and made me realize that it’s a form of hardcore that I haven’t heard for quite a while. It’s got a little bit of that american touch, but I don’t know what I should call it. They’ve got a lot of steam, aggressiveness and attitude – like hardcore-punk should have more of. Which have managed to show me another side of hardcore, when I was thinking that I’ve discovered the most of it. Good album, maybe not the greatest, but definitely has a lot of potential.

You can buy their album from their bandcamp. Or you could venture over to their record-label, Spastic Fantastic Records, to acquire different sets of vinyls for the same release.

I interviewed the author behind the “Ribbon Around A Bomb“-blog, which I found to be very interesting. She goes by the name of “La Lengua“, and she’s based in San Fransisco.

What’s the story of Ribbon Around A Bomb, who are you and where do you think you’re heading?

– Ribbon Around a Bomb started as space to post my ruminations about art and music primarily for myself, and has evolved into collection of subversive material that other people use for both educational and inspirational purposes. I think it helps that the content is tied together with motifs like experimentation, the ‘60s/‘70s, and generally offbeat and radical ideas. RAB has also become a radio show with a focus on strictly female-fronted punk, noise, goth, hxc, post-punk, and DIY sounds. Both the blog and the podcast are most popular in Latin America, although I haven’t figured out why.

Oh, the projects I’m always trying to complete for the future! I want to do more interviews, more giveaways, and make it more interactive. I’’m working on mailing a compilation of rare French punk to readers, as well as making some cool design-y t-shirts to sell.

So you’re living in the San Francisco area? What usually happens around there, could you tell me about the shows in that area that can be interesting and have been?

– San Francisco is the shit. It’’s progressive and beautiful and a hot mess of different cultures, types of art/music, foods… everything. Best shows I’’ve been to since moving here about a year and half ago have been: Noh Mercy, fIREHOSE, Raincoats, Frightwig, Ceremony, and lots of small local groups that play all the time. Favorite venues include Slim’s, Bottom of the Hill, the Knockout, El Rio, Gilman, and Thee Parkside.

It seems like you’re concentrating on delivering female punk-bands, at least when you do your radio bit with RAB Radio. Why is this and what gems would you recommend for this blog?

– Really, I just feel like there are SO MANY female artists who make incredible punk music. It comes down to: I like it. That said, I think women put their own unexpected spin on aggressive music, and they don’t get as much credit as some of the more popular all-male bands, so why not support them as much as possible?

Lately I’’ve been really into Bizkids (Netherlands), As Mercenarias (Brazil), Vacum (Sweden) Sin 34 (USA) and Honey Bane/Fatal Microbes (UK). I don’t listen to many contemporary bands, but I like White Lung (USA), and of course Pussy Riot (Russia).

What kind of categories are steadily returning to your blog and what is their purpose?

– Art, music, things going’ on in SF. It’s all ultimately for me to create some sort of record or documentation of these things that are important to me, all in one space. I guess there’s very little purpose for the reader, but if they want to check it out, well by all means…

Since we’re pretty different when it comes to art – could you explain what you find interesting with modern art? Like the Bauhaus school of art, for example?

– I honestly don’t think that I can. Not in this interview, anyway.

What other blogs do you read on a regular basis when you’re online?

– Only the Young Die Young, Bad At Sports, and girl shit like Pinterest. For music: Good Bad Music, Maximum Rock N Roll, Mutant Sounds, DIE or DIY, (and recently!) Invisible Guy.

I’d also like to ask you something about your vinyl-collection, what does it consist of and where did you get your latest vinyls from, and which bands/artists?

– It’’s a clusterfuck of DIY punk, cowpunk, anarcho-punk, proto-punk, post-punk, folk punk, no wave, new wave, darkwave, hardcore, queercore, grindcore, noise rock, krautrock, garage rock, math rock, indie rock, avant-garde, minimalism, obscurities, desert/Southwest/American Indian songs, with a healthy dose of ‘60s soul and motown. Recent acquisitions include the Gits first EP from Thrillhouse Records in SF, and Yeah Yeah Noh’s “Cottage Industry” from a thrift store.

You also do travel a lot it seems – what’s your favorite place in America and what other countries do you like?

– New Mexico and New York are my two favorite places to visit in the states. As far as abroad, I loved Buenos Aires, Athens, Reykjavik, and Ho Chi Minh City. I’’m hoping my next trip is to Berlin to visit my sister!

What kind of labels do you like and could you recommend anything we should know of?

– I dig me some Acute, Superior Viaduct, SST, Fan Death, RRRecords, and 99.

You’re also very enthusiastic about the “no-wave” genre, what would you say is good about it and what would your own recommendations be that people might not know of?

– I can (and will) talk to people for hours at a time about why I love no wave so much. So I will attempt to keep this relatively short and bearable. But for me, I think everything (space-and-time, wise) lined up impeccably to produce this jarring, nihilistic movement that was destined to destroy itself. I still haven’t found a genre as abrasive and relentless as no wave. It NEEDED to happen. I think before I had no wave as a reference point in my mind, I felt desperate and confused. I didn’’t know how to think about music. The fact that material can exist that is at once art-y and theatrical yet no less authentic and violent… that’s important to me.

Plus, it’s just good, strange music. I love that it’s an extremely isolated and cohesive movement, but manages to include an enormous variety of influences- at times cerebral, funky, angsty, atonal, melodic, mellow… all tied by a certain violence. It’s not “pleasing” music. And that pleases me. If you haven’t listened before, it’s customary to start with Eno’s No New York compilation. Then I recommend digging more into DNA, all of Lydia Lunch’s projects, and Glenn Branca / Theoretical Girls. After that, you might want to check out NY post-disco like Bush Tetras and Liquid Liquid.

Thank you for this interview! Say what you want down below!

– Muchas gracias!

You can find her blog over here:

http://ribbonaroundabomb.com/

Harvesting #11: Find some time within the hardcore-shrine! [Part III]

This is the final Part of this hardcore, punk and everything-in-between endeavor. I’ll be updating this piece with another band, as soon as I get something back from them. I searched far and wide in my personal archives for something worthy, which I always save for other parts. But since this was the last Part in Harvesting #11, I might as well put forth the greatest artillery of them all. So I chose some bands randomly and some because I’ve wanted to review and/or introduce them for a while. Therefore, this part is filled to the brink with some great bands. I’d say that there’s something for everybody here in this mix, hopefully everyone will like it too. Or, yeah, I’m just dreaming. In this Part you’ll get to know the following bands a little bit better: Real Problems, Stat Dad, Narratives, Noise Complaint, Necklacing, Condition and Institution. Since I haven’t received the material I need for the very secretive band I’ll include later on, you’ll have to fix your eyes on the short but sturdy questionnaire for the newly founded Swedish hardcore-band Institution. Also, enjoy this piece in any way you want.

Real Problems – Curious Feast

An alternatively sounding hardcore-record with a lot of sampling. In the beginning, the first track “The Thing On The Fourble Board” displays a playfulness with different elements like garage, rock and punk all together. With a driving baseline which is almost too distorted for the sound-scape as a whole. They employ a lot of different techniques when it comes to this particular song, a clever trick with silencing the instruments and playing a sample, just to head start it and gear it in the right direction again. I like the vocals in this song, because it stresses my own rock’n’roll feelings of how I would like to sound if I had made a record myself. He’s very good at articulating and getting it up with the tempo, it doesn’t feel out of place and it reeks of discipline and harmonies alike. The ironic song “Dumpster Diving (For Your Love)” makes me laugh when I listen to it and I love the clever song-title. Picturing some bearded rock-n-rollers diving in the dumpster, looking for a wedding ring. Pretty much a “joke’s on you” turned against the hipsters themselves, because I define them with that word at least.

Or, I could call them pretentious bastards. I don’t really want to get into a discussion about the necessities of dumpster diving for rich kids with so little to do, so I’ll leave it up for speculations instead. It’s a catchy and overall fun song, there’s a lot of great spirit but also sarcasm being delivered with this song. One of my absolute favorite songs from this album must be the “Bed Bug Boogie” song. I like the simpleness of this song and I also like the sarcastically made song, both from the singer’s part of it and the lyrical. It delivers a great groove and is easily one of the more easy songs to listen to on this album. The amount of catchiness and ridiculousness take it to a whole other level. Also, the song “You Gotta Lotta Nerve” is one of the harder songs on this album and maybe also one of the more serious ones. I like the lyrics and the instruments on this one, especially in the beginning, where the baseline takes it up a notch and simply goes up-tempo with the whole sound-scape. Makes me want to go crazy and throw stuff around.

Buy their album over at their bandcamp, either digitally or physically. You’ll get a physical CD for the price of 6 dollars, which is just a 1 dollar increase from the digital-only download release.

Stat Dad – Mominatrix

This is where it gets even funnier, hardcore with some skate influences. As their first song “The Church of Shit” rolls on to the speakers, I’m pretty much eavesdropping to everything that’s going on. It feels as if I’m locked out of the show and have to look in at the show when it’s rolling. One of those pretty short but furious hardcore-pieces, that experiment within and on the outer skirts of the genre hardcore. The vocalist is crazy and deserves a medal for this piece, even though it might not sound like anything out of the ordinary. But I like it how it is, he develops his vocalist presence the more you get into it. I also like the baseline intermezzo which launches into a total adrenaline-pumping experience. The only thing I don’t really like is that it’s kind of predictable, maybe not the subject at hand, but the structure of the song. Second song “Sunday Night” is a striking resemblance of how it is when you’re going out to some club you really don’t want to go to, but still go to because of the company that you’re in.

A total misery and alcohol rampage, and if the last ingredient isn’t present at the time, you’ll get to know it sooner or later. So, lyrically, it’s powerful in its meaning and it delivers the subject within a wrap of nice riffing and interesting parts with the baseline and the drums. I like the sound of the baseline and how it gradually forces itself upon you and just garners the frustration you have within you, it makes me let loose my anger over all this meaningless sifting through public spaces, seeing douches and jackasses. There’s also something apathetic about this, just observing the reality that is revolving around the vocalist. It reflects itself well within the speedy changes of the structure of the song, the further in you get. There’s also a nice solo when you get further into the song. One of the songs, namely “Mominatrix“, as the closing song is the bomb. I like the baseline in the intro and how it just sounds so repetitive and ghastly. A great conclusion for a pretty good album, but I still need to figure out what the hell a Mominatrix is. Now that I know, it cannot be unseen…

You can buy their digital-only release on their bandcamp for 5.50 US dollars, or you could buy the physical release for the same price over at Interpunk Record Store.

Narratives – Hell Is Here

If there’s a thing called “down-tempo” hardcore, this is the epitome of it. There’s such a wasteland within the first song “Bearing“. It’s a spiral, downwards, into unknown territory if you appreciate hardcore. Even though I at first glanced at it, listened and threw it away for a while – I started to appreciate it more and more. It’s a short song with extreme dedication to creating an absolute barren wasteland, a “nullpunkt” if you will, something you shouldn’t have striven for but something you’d experience after a total Armageddon. It sounds like something in between crust punk and metal, the riffing sounds more metal and the general sound-scape also goes with that flow. But there’s the vocalist and the secondary influence that points its rotten fingers and wants a piece of the action. Second song “Birth” shows a very unmelodious but uncompromising nature, in which they’ve blended together two genres and created the absolute zeroed out space possible, to lay out their black-metal atmosphere at times.

Even though it’s no significant factor within this, you can hear it from time to time. But the dominant nature of the secondary influence, namely: crust-punk, shows that you can actually blend these two. It feels very draining to say the least, like the music is sucking the life out of me. But it’s still not overtly romanticized, it’s not entirely uncompromising, but they’ve walked the walk and sure know how to talk the talk. One of the absolute heightened points in this albums existence is the song “Death“, which symbolizes everything about what’s spelled out in the meaning of that word. They somehow manage to stay down-tempo when it comes to riffing, but when it comes to the baseline and vocalist, it sparks a little flame within the more straight-forward and up-tempo situation within the sound-scape. A must have for anyone that shares the lust for crust-punk, but can’t stand the general themes of it and want a more metal-oriented approach to it.

You can either download it for free by visiting this link. Or buy the digital-only release on their bandcamp for 2 US dollars, or the physical 7¨ for 7 dollars and if you want you could get a t-shirt for 8 dollars.

Noise Complaint – Fuck Off And Thrash

Thrash can be very dull at times, but this is the anti-pole of that word. I like the touch that I hear in the first song “Noise Complaint“, with a perfect position for the sampling in the beginning. But I wonder why they use the American dialect for this kind of music, but I guess that just satisfied my Bay Area thrash need. He’s a very fast singer and the back-up singers surely make up for the more imperfect parts of the sound-scape, since they manage to hold it tight and still make it interesting, even though you might not like some parts of it. The song “Nord EST” is absolutely wonderful, even though I don’t really get what they’re singing about and what kind of language that is. Sounds like some Latin-american version of American thrash-metal, with a lot of punk influences when it comes to the riffing and the structure of it. It’s got that punk-oriented tempo that I like so much, with thrash-influences being scattered all over the place, leaving no one safe when it comes to the sound-scape.

I’m sensing a little bit of babble here and now from my side, so let’s continue with my other favorite song from this album. The only thing I like about the song “Bomb The Bus“, more than the tempo and the instruments being completely spazzed out, is the odd riff in the chorus that make it much more enjoyable in the end. One of my absolute favorite songs on this album is actually a song that reminds me much more of fastcore than anything else, employing the basics of that genre, is the song “Constipation”. It’s a worthy closer for this album and a rather childish one at that, but I mean, I didn’t have time to process all the information that came to me via the fucking idiot-proofed thrashing that came my way. I noticed the sample in the end, though. Just kidding, it’s a great closer and it’s good before this whole ordeal gets a little bit too boring. Overall an enjoyable record that serves its purpose, a little bit unconventional around the edges but also a little bit repetitive at times.

You can buy the physical 7¨ of it for only 4 brittish pounds over at A World We Never Made. But be sure to buy it directly from the band instead.

Necklacing – I

Let’s end this piece of nice shit with a great addition to the fastcore, noise and powerviolence family. Total chaos ensures, nothing is controlled, the instruments are fucking outrageously loud. Which I noticed when listening to the first song “Criminal“. I sense a little bit of the old-school and conventional way of making fastcore and powerviolence, but the distortion amidst these songs are pretty damn rad when it shows. But it manages to drown out some of those sounds you’d like to hear a little bit better. It sounds like the singer’s been pitched up a notch, or maybe he/she does it that fast with the vocals. The song titled “Icepick” is absolutely devastating and throws everything out at you, just to prove a point, that this is one heck of a fastcore/powerviolence band  – and it’ll stay that way! Even though the other songs are enjoyable at best, but painful at the very worst, I must say that this song is one of the greater ones on this album.

I’d have to say that the song “Chemical” also hits the spot at a good rate, but it’s only 15 seconds long. There’s also a hell of a lot going on in the track “Disease“, which just seems to be a way to bang the life out of your drums and ensure that you’ll get some painful treatment for your fingers when playing in this tempo. However, it’s pure adrenaline that gets pumping and it’s as if you’d go bananas in a totally different setting. I’m sitting here, everything is wonderful, but suddenly chaos ensures and everything turns into total anarchy. Finding myself jumping around in my chair, because I don’t know how I should move to this tempo. The sound-scape is lacking in a sense that it’s too damn distorted, but that is also one of the strengths of it and it’s an album that I’d recommend. It’s pretty good, at least.

Download it for free over at their bandcamp, but while you’re at it, you should give them some money. Mail them if you want a physical version of the release, which will cost you about 5.50 US Dollars. You can find the mail here: necklacingma@gmail.com

Condition – Deteriorating

One of the most menacing releases, both aesthetically speaking and musically. Breaking with the conventions and doing their own thing, which makes it pleasurable to listen to. In their first song “Smoldering Wreckage“, they balance on the edge of everything but have quite an enjoyable sound-scape to listen to. It’s heavy, rough and tough at the same time. The riffs are completely intriguing, filling up the whole sound-scape with smoldering feelings and conquering up the space at the same time. I’m pretty surprised by their sheer talent, as I listen through it, from time to time. The vocals are absolutely perfect on the second song “Sensation Defect“, which leaves me with a great feeling inside after listening to it and the tempo of the drums are absolutely astonishing. I believe that their strength lies in the balance of their combinations, since they mold it perfectly with one another, which takes the listening pleasure to a whole other level.

The songs themselves are not hard to listen to, and it gives you pleasure even though it’s such a serious subject they’ve brought to the table. The aesthetics are frightening and they blend in with the music with total effect, which I think is a great deal of what you’re expecting. When that gets delivered, almost to the point, it makes it so much better. I can also sense some kind of scandicore, vaguely mixed in between the crust punk and the harsher hardcore elements. Also, the song “Complete Fucking Robbery” pretty much sums up what Condition are and have a potential of being. They are stepping it up with each song and it’s also got its own unique sound-scape, even though there can be some repetitiveness, there’s a larger contrast between the songs. Some are more focused on the overall sound-scape, some are just focusing on the total mayhem of it. Great release, you should get it from De:Nihil if they still have any left. Oh, how I love the relentlessness of great hardcore.

You can order a copy of this release from De:Nihil Records and you can also listen to one song from the release, below.

Jallo from the newly founded hardcore-band “Institution” got some questions sent his way and he answered them.

Why the name ”Institution” and what sound do you think you’re going to go for within the hardcore sphere?

– Well, it’s just a name and it happens to be a good name. It’s hardcore punk the way we (the guys in the band) have done in our other bands in the past. Totalitär, Herätys etc.

Are there any new bands that you’d like to recommend for this blog?

– Warcry (US).

How far have you progressed when it comes to your first album “Domen Är Satt” and how did you go about when creating it?

– The album is recorded and mastered. Martin (the guitarist and me made the songs), then we just rehearsed for a weekend, then a short intense recording, 2 days.

What are your plans for the near future and next year?

– Well, I think there’s gonna be some gigs in the near future. Don’t know about next year. Oh, there’s going to be a new 7″ coming spring 2013.

Thank you for this! What have you got to say here in the end?

– Thank you.

Harvesting #11: Trying to be me – why can’t you see? [Part II, Demos]

Welcome to the demo-version of Harvesting #11, which is Part II. This was intended to be a part with bands that aren’t in the demo-stage and have released something beyond that. But then I got a little bit sidelined by my own time and effort that I put into these series, so I decided for myself that this particular edition would be devoted for the sole purpose of promoting and reviewing some of the demo-bands we have out there that fit under the category of hardcore and punk. This means that Part III will contain some of your dearly beloved bands and will be a special part in itself. Since I have no more time on my hands as of today, I’ll give you the following bands: Stab Me Kill Me, Distract and First Failure. Every single of these bands have only put out their first demo and therefore they will be included in this part. I’m hoping to continue with that, if I find even more demos. But you’ll have to live with these bands until the day I release Part III which hopefully will be released by tomorrow if that’s possible, otherwise I’ll release that part the day after tomorrow. Enjoy this one.

Welcome to the premiere of the “demo-lounge“, this tiny space of ours will be dedicated to demos only and also those that I’m not really fond of, but gets a place anyway. Check it out and pick your cherries from the pie, because it might be oh-so-deliciously good for your taste buds. Yummy, yum!?

Stab Me Kill Me – Demo

New in this edition is the demo-lounge, in which I review newly released demos or those demos that were released this year. First song on the demo “No Ledge” is a nice contrast to the more grim sphere of punk and hardcore. With focus on melodies and rhythms that make you think about it afterwards. There are interesting vocals and everything heads on in a straight pattern, but without the basic crap that can be utilized. I sense a little bit of thought in this music and that’s what makes it better than most of the demos I’ve listened to. Also, it’s not just focused on the melodic parts of it, it’s actually got a sound-scape that just reeks of hardcore influences. Another nice song on this demo is the song “Good As Gone” where I like the vocalist even more. It’s got that typical garage feeling to it also, which doesn’t leave much to ask for.

There’s a feel-good vibe to the music and the drumming in this song is without a doubt one of the best things in this particular song as it pinpoints what’s good about the song. I’d listen to this song if I were about to hop on some trains and do it the old-fashioned way like hobos. The last song on the demo “Lemon Party” is also a song that I like very much, it’s got a lot of tempo and goes in a higher speed than the rest of the songs and it’s just a pepped up song. If I were to go out on a Friday-night, I’d tune in to this song before getting out. I also sense some influences from the more wicked punk-side of the coin, almost in the horror punk direction. I can also sense that there are some melodies that remind me of the great deathrock bands that have done their thing back in the days. Since I always use the Hex Dispensers as reference these days, I can sense a little bit of their greatness in this band too. Overall a good record which deserves more recognition for its unconventional method, hammering itself in a place between the harder side of hardcore and the more melodic side.

Download it from their bandcamp or give them money and download it if you wish.

Distract – Demo

First I thought they were totally out of tune, but then I thought of it as a semi-melodic attempt at hardcore. In the first song “New Outlook“, I sense them wanting to grasp some of the older influences in hardcore. Sounds very classic to me, and for some reason they decided to go with some drums that don’t seem to be that tight. But I think that just adds up to the sound-scape and creates a more alternative version of hardcore, maybe something that could be expanded in the future if they put out more material. There’s definitely that “new”-edge to it and it sounds pretty experimental to me. Maybe I’m being tricked by the sound-scape, but it sounds pretty good for a demo and it also has some strengths, but at the same time weaknesses. I think the drums are too weak in the mix, but on the other hand, they add up to a whole other dimension to the sound-scape and the other instruments as well. Making them a little bit more out of context, but also essential in creating the sound-scape as a whole.

In the song “Breast Is Best“, there’s a whole lot of naivety to the song and the band as a whole. I don’t know if that’s their position, but it sounds pretty much in that manner. The song makes me pretty indecisive when it comes to reviewing it, because it sounds pretty basic, yet employs some of the more unseen punk-oriented feeling as a whole. There have been a lot of bands just trying to expand and make their music more technical, but I like how this band takes it back to the roots in some ways. On the other hand, it is their demo and this is probably just a first output so they can decide where they should head next. I like how the vocalist sounds totally apathetic and repetitive in the song “Choices“, and so does the sound-scape as a whole. There are some things to this demo that I don’t like in particular, but it sounds interestingly enough for me, so I don’t want to dismiss it. The strengths surpass the weaknesses for this demo and I would advise you to listen through it when you can.

Head over to their bandcamp and download it or give them money for it.

First Failure – Demo

Hm, I would be totally on the line for this one. It’s garnered some well-deserved hate from me, but also love in some weird way. The song “On The Line” on this demo sounds very outrageous to say the least, there’s a lot of noisy and screechy punk. When I hear the singer’s voice, it sounds like a teenage uproar. But maybe that’s what I like about this, even though it’s some basic stuff to say the least, both instrumentally and vocally. At the same time as I both hate and love the vocalist, I must say that the sound-scape as a whole makes up for it. I like the basic and I like how it makes me cringe, and it sounds punk as fuck, but it could be a little bit more engaging to listen to. Since I’m pretty tired of the tightness at times, I believe this could still my munchies. This could be something I’d listen to and appreciate if I were very, very drunk.

Feels like it sometimes borders to pure power violence, at least if you’d have to believe the vocalist in this instance. I would say that it doesn’t when it comes to the instrumentation, but I’d love if they drove up the tempo a notch. Could be the invention of a whole new genre, you could call it “snooze-punk“. But I must say that it’s refreshing that they don’t really care about the conventions and just do it old-school style, pick up the instruments and go at it. It’s specifically noticeable in the song “Out of Luck“, which really makes all I’ve said above very true. Even though I half of the time dislike it, I am fascinated about the contrast in between the riffing, drumming and the singer’s brutal enthusiasm. I’d urge them to continue with what they’re doing, maybe they’ll manage to pull it off even better with the next release. After all, it’s a demo and that’s how they can sound. Hopefully you’ll heed the call and practice even more, but I mean, this is punk – so what the hell, go for it!

You can download it for free or give them some money over here at their bandcamp.