Världspremiär: Agent Side Grinder – Beloved Fool (feat Kite)

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Det är inte varje dag som två av den svenska underjordens väldiga banbrytare möts i en och samma låt. Särskilt inte när det handlar om synth-pop, även om det med vissa undantag har existerar förut. Men det här är något helt annat. Det var ett bra tag sedan något höll så hög klass, att man bara kunde skriva under på det — med silverpenna på ett tomt ark. På Agent Side Grinders kommande EP “This Is Us” så är de så avklädda de bara kan bli, till stor del på grund utav att de gästas men även influeras av Kite som bihang. Fast egentligen känns det inte som att det är dem som figurerar i bakgrunden, för det känns som om deras ljudbilder flyter samman — eller så är det bara en kvarliggande fantasi man har, sedan man lyssnat till deras inhopp och tyckt om precis allt. Allt som händer känns äkta, men det enda referensmaterialet man får är med titelspåret och med den låt som kommer att ha världspremiär här på Repartiseraren. Två låtar är ju remixer och det kan man ha olika åsikter om, men det är inte precis där jag lägger mitt fokus — denna gång.

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Dock är det läpmligt att nämna hur rätt i tiden detta ligger. Bägge planerar nämligen sina egna stordåd, för både Agent Side Grinder och Kite planerar att släppa nytt material nästa år. Då är det perfekt att de verkligen samarbetar på en låt så att det blir en slags försmak inför vad som komma skall. Den låt som Repartiseraren har fått äran att ge er att lyssna på exklusivt från detta insignifikanta lilla blogg-zine, heter “Beloved Fool” av Agent Side Grinder och där gästar Kite. Låten är en väldigt intressant sådan eftersom att det känns som om två ljudbilder samsas om att överta varann, men där de istället fungerar i perfekt symbios tillsammans. Det är inte direkt en ödeskamp om överlevnad, utan snarare en slags fröjd; där seriositeten letar sig fram någonstans mellan lagren. För det är trots allt en förnöjsam låt där lättsamheten bär tonerna längs en kavalkad som lyser upp den mörka vinterhimmeln med värme. När man närmar sig slutet mot året kanske man inte direkt är tillfreds, men till tonerna av “Beloved Fool” så lättar man på sitt missnöje och intar inte direkt rollen som Farbror Scrooge. “This Is Us” släpps av Progress Productions den 26:e November. EP:n spelades in i November, mastrades av Henrik Alsér från Svenska Grammofonstudion Mastering, skivomslag och konst skapad av Kristoffer Grip.

Electrolight: Various Artists – Inside The Volcano. Vol. 1

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Sweden seems to have the best compilations. Now, I feel a sense of pride. Anyway, it might not be 100% correct, but it is this time around. With the Various Artists compiled in the Inside The Volcano. Vol. 1 release, you can’t really look forward to anything anymore. They’ve done it well. Compiling artists and groups like: Petra Flurr+Modernista, Portion Control, Solvent feat Adam Killing, Ike Yard, The Pain Machinery, Gerechtigkeits Liga, Emu Bomb, NTRSN, Organic, Agent Side Grinder, Friherren, Adriano Canzian, Severe Illusion, Arzt+Plusch, Atomic Playboy feat Infiltrator, The Horrorist, //TENSE//, Schwefelgelb, Equitant, Guilt Trip, Infiltrator, K-Nitrate, Thomas P Heckmann and Diamond Skull District. You can expect gears grinding, industrial atmospheres, abstract electronica and everything in between. At times, you’ll also hear a lot of EBM. Sometimes you might actually also hear some experimental electronica. Let your body loose, tighten up and get with the groove. Or, yeah, the electronic severity. Minimalism is also so ever prevalent, as it marches down the stream. Some of the tracks are pretty unbearable, but thankfully – that’s only a minority of ’em. Listen to the compilation down below and enjoy.

Best tracks of 2012 according to Invisible Guy!

10. Seacrypt – Other Worlds

Taken from their debut album A Momentary Rift which I found randomly while browsing bandcamp. Certainly also one of the greater albums this year, with a roster of eight powerful and mind-numbingly great tracks. An ode to the greatness of darkwave, synth-pop and ambient – all in one.

9. Curxes – Spectre

One of the better bands this year and definitely one of the greatest songs I’ve heard this year. The noir pop-esque feeling that never seems to let go, wherever you lay your eyes, they’re there observing you. An emotional wonder that will hopefully stand the toll of time, and that also have lived the post-destruction era that is and was 2012.

8. Inkvisitionen – Dö som lejon

Knuckleduster hardcore from the city of Gothenburg, representing their city with a monstrous track, demanding complete annihilation of everything. One of the fiercest hardcore tracks I’ve heard this year, fortunately released before next year so it could be included in this list. Like it was meant to be.

7. INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ – The Banishing

A softie from this phenomenal constellation. Featuring my favorite genres, done completely right, with absolutely no regard whatsoever for labels to be smacked upon them. Which is an attitude I mostly support, so you should support them by tuning in and buying their stuff. With that said, this track (and the other one) are totally different from their earlier material, featuring a highly ambiguous (and) ambitious effort from their side.

6. Velvet Condom – Kalter Lippenstift (INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ Remix)

I must say that I enjoy the regular version as much, but I had to choose, so I chose the remix by INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ. Why? Because there’s so much energy in this remix, which overshadows the original song. I’d like to say that they’re good in different ways, but this one is (by far), superior.

5. Black Table – Heist

One of the more surprising tracks in this list. I must say that I have a feeling when I’m about to hear something extraordinary. So, I will have to say that this progressive metal/black metal/post-metal act deserve all credit where credit is due. This is their best track on the EP they released recently. I don’t know why, but the lyrical content and the musical ambitions are outstanding. With a pretty unique vocalist, whom I thought was a man at first. Sorry, Mers, I should’ve known that you’re a she and not a he.

4.TSTI – Love & Truth

Straight from a bedroom somewhere in New York. A man with a quest to enhance his own sound, release his creativity on analogue machinery and be a part of something organic. This track have all the little details, every influence and a feeling that shouldn’t be underestimated. Synth-pop from the glory days, but with a new twist and certainly not a copy of a copy. Deserving everything and definitely fitted for this list.

3. Niels Nielsen – Shadow Twin

I’m going back to the drawing board, I’m hoping that Zeigeist will re-establish themselves, but until then; Niels Nielsen is adequate with this wonderful track. Even though it contain some lethal doses of mainstream, I have endured and must say that this is one of the best tracks this year. Nostalgia may have gripped me by the balls, but I don’t really care. This track will be played on New Year’s eve.

2. Henric de la Cour – Grenade

Calm yet bombastic. One of the tracks I’ve wanted to get a hold of physically, but failed due to my own incompetence. Along with everything else he’s done, I would say that this is probably the epitome. This track is the best that I’ve heard from him yet, so let’s hope that he continues in this fashion.

1. the Hex Dispensers – Parallel

What can I say? I’ve been playing this track non-stop since it was released. The record has been reviewed thoroughly and there’s probably nothing that can match this. Also, it feels good that someone decided to accompany Gérard Depardieu with this track, it enriches it even more.

The runner-ups are the following tracks:

10. Alina Devecerski – Jag Svär

9. Damage – Keeping It Wild

8. The Foreign Resort – Buried

7. Agent Side Grinder – Wolf Hour

6. Övervarning – Det heliga korset

5. Monozid – rita, you know we are doomed

4. Bombangrepp – Skuggan Av Dödens Sändebud

3. Beyond Pink – Statements on statement

2. Xiu – Life Is A Lie

1. Linea Aspera – Malarone

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: 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.