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

Recension: Red Doves – Off the grid 12″

Lagom aggressiva men finslipade “bakåtsträvare“, tar ett stort kliv framåt. Med den första låten “Off The Grid“, så undrar man om det inte genast är slutet av 70-talet och början av 80-talet igen. Den råa essens som är Red Doves gör sig påmind genom att härstamma från en mycket grymmare tid. En stor skillnad är dock att tiderna har förändrats, men den största skillnaden blir till slut likheten; vi lever i en hård och tuff tid, vilket återspeglas på ett perfekt och nästan nonchalant sett av sångaren i bandet. Om jag hade fått säga mitt, så påminner det till viss del om Peter And The Test Tube Babies framtida kärleksbarn, som åkt tillbaka i tiden och försökt läxa upp en ännu råare aktör. Med det sagt så passar in det någorlunda nostalgiska amerikanska soundet i sammanhanget, då den betydligt råare brittiska kanaliseringen blir tämligen harmlös i sammanhanget, tack vare blandningen. Däremot måste jag säga att den amerikanska venen inte direkt märks förrän i refrängen och hur det låter i mellanakterna, då det känns som att det gamla brittiska soundet letar sig till utgången och kommer in genom den stora dörren för ännu en omgång.

Vad som därför blir tydligare i och med den andra låten “Chameleon Street” är den, för sin tid, typiska frustrerade och letande aggressiviteten från främst tidig amerikansk hardcore. Skillnaden enligt mig är den mer framträdande och melodiösa sidan som inte direkt är lika tydlig inom den brittiska. Måste även säga att sångaren får till orden på ett bra sätt, trots att det märks att det kommer från en svensk källa. Vilket gör att det hela känns märkligt, då det knappt ens finns ett spår utav den gamla svenska punken någonstans. Men å andra sidan låter det inte heller som om det varit ambitionen och därför faller det platt. Det mest märkbara är de snabba och finurliga riffen, som snabbt avlöser vartandra och formar olika melodiösa slingor packade till bristningsgränsen med attityd.

Den uppkommande låten “Payed In Excuses” påminner en hel del om Damage och stilen de lyckas porträttera på sin senaste platta. Skillnaden är väl den gryniga ljudbilden som genast skulle kunna betecknas som mer utav en rocklåt med punkinfluenser än tvärtom. När den svenska dialekten skiner igenom så känns det som att det passar in i sammanhanget. Den ger en egen charm till låten och fortsätter på det inslagna spåret, för en mer lättsam och nonchalant punkgryta av högre rang. När jag väl lyckats ta mig till låten “Kamikaze Love” så börjar det långsamt gå åt andra hållet. Nog för att Red Doves är intressanta, men det börjar bli lite väl mycket av samma tugg om och om igen. Där finns ett visst drag i musiken men det känns som att jag har hört detta förut. När man väl börjar komma till den punkten att allt man hör låter likadant, så är det illa. Men det mest engagerande i just denna låt är hur de blandar lo-fi med en verklig ljudbild, men det tar även ut en hel del av energin som de haft i tidigare låtar. Som om luften pyser ur och allting genast börjar bli långsammare och trögare att lyssna till.

Hur som helst tar låten “Ode To Nothing” tillbaka bandet till sin ursprungsposition, enda skillnaden är att ljudbilden är förändrad och i ett långsammare tempo. Något utav en balladaktig punkdänga som spiller över kanterna och förmedlar en hopplöshet. Med hjälp av denna vändning så blir det genast mycket trevligare att lyssna till det. Den uppenbara nihilistiska ådran gör att man bara vill flyta med och vaggar från sida till sida, när saxofonen lägger an och kompletterar de övriga instrumenten på ett bra sätt. En tydlig markör som förståndigt visar vägen ur en inslagen fåra. Visserligen fortsätter det, fast återigen i ett snabbare tempo och utan saxofon i låten “From Nothing To Nowhere” där det känns som om de får revansch och energin kryper långsamt tillbaka och slår ett slag. En av de låtar som är bra på ett sätt som är obeskrivligt, då de lyckas kravla sig ur nedåtspiralen och ge allt för att sedan kasta det rakt i ansiktet. Hittills en av de bättre låtarna på albumet, med en perfekt blandning av det flyende, energiska och totalt kompromisslösa som de tidigare levererat i mindre doser.

Nu när allt kommit igång på riktigt är jag redan på låt nummer sju som är “Watch From The Shadows“. Sångaren gör riktigt bra ifrån sig och det kommer loss som en nonchalant blandning av både apati men utan den i överlag nihilistiska inställningen, utan precis som han sjunger: “We’re back in style“. De tidstypiska dragen från äldre amerikansk punk och hardcore, framförd utav svenskar, gör att det hela tippar över totalt. Allt i en liten förpackning och med stora ambitioner, där allting till slut faller på plats och ger en den euforin man förväntar sig av just den typen av punk. Där den mer rockiga andan av melodiösa riff och den punkiga känslan ligger i framkant hela tiden och där sångaren verkligen är en stor del av hela njutningen. När allt spiller över till låten “I’m A Target“, så undrar man verkligen om det kan bli bättre än såhär och givetvis blir det så. Refrängen har samma innovativa känsla som man får när man lyssnar på the Hex Dispensers, även om de möjligen har ännu mer melodiöst sting i sin musik. Trots att de spretar och stretar så röjer de undan tidigare oplöjd mark och stampar med sina fötter i takt, det är dags för den mer klämkäcka och nonchalanta sidan av punk som inte fått fotfäste. Men tack vare de smutsiga skorna så är det en realitet, särskilt med denna låt.

Musiken forsätter i samma anda och är genomgående i de två låtar som kommer efter och när man väl tagit sig till en av dom, vars namn är “Stains“, blir man förundrad över hur likriktat det kan vara ibland. Inget ont om det, men det blir en hel del repetition som även låter sig höras i den senare låten “White Dots“. Där det egentligen inte känns som att något behöver tilläggas. Nog för att de har bevisat att de har något särskilt, men det känns som att det i överlag håller sig inom grinden och inte vågar sig ut. Andra bullar är det dock med den sista låten “Out Of Orbit“, som förmodligen är en av de snabbare låtarna och även den längsta på plattan- Där skruvas tempot upp i början och håller stilen ända tills låten är slut. De melodiösa förgreningarna inom låten får visa sig från sin bästa sida och letar sig äntligen utanför de gränser som de tyvärr hållit sig inom. Men det är kanske så det är ibland, plattan är av det slaget att de inkorporerat en hel del saker som jag inte direkt har tänkt på. Det bevisar å ena sidan att de har en plats, men å andra sidan kan det bli lite väl repetivt när man tittar i backspegeln. Nu krävs det bara att Red Doves slår av backspegeln totalt och går bärsärk, men det kan de göra och det har de visat att de är kapabla av att göra. Ett intressant band, som kan leverera, när de vill. Förhoppningsvis simulerar de detta och går sin egen väg, istället för att rita in sig själv i en fyrkant med hjälp av de musikaliska kritorna.

Mitt råd till er är att ni köper plattan och lyssnar igenom den, för det är det verkligen värt. Den går att köpa hos Gaphals.

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.

Harvesting #9: Too far away but not something in between! [Part II]

Since I had to get the first Part rolling, I started to think about including another part. Just to be fancy and to cram in as much as I can within the tenth edition of Harvesting. I’m hoping that it will expand and be something more than just the writing here. Hopefully it will be symbolic and reek of quality. I know that I’m not the greatest writer out there, but I have a great passion for music and I’m hoping that it’ll be showing even more in this part. The bands and artists included in this part of the ninth edition will be the following: Erik De Vahl, Burzinski, the Hex Dispensers and Bitapart. There will be questions asked for Bitapart and you’ll have to enjoy the customary reviews and introductions to bands I find need more exposure and are unique in any way, shape or form. Stay with me now and carry the torch further down the aisle, let’s create some history!

Erik de Vahl – 121012

One of Sweden’s finest pearls right now, music-wise. There’s a sincerity in this music that moves on a much deeper level than anything else. Every word that comes out from his mouth is precise, every intonation is great and the atmosphere is blistering of emotions. Normally, I don’t prefer anything that can be related to pop. It has to be very experimental or unique, and Erik De Vahl shows off his skills and strengths on this latest album. Even though it’s just a collection of older songs, it sounds fresh and new. On “Side A” of the album, featuring six different songs, the first one: “Skogsbrand” sets the pace for the rest of the album. The fiery but controlled spark of light travels throughout the tunnel and meet its connector, a jazzy feel-good kind of thing mixed with strong melancholic pop-vibes. Even though I wouldn’t say that it’s purely in that category, since it switches itself in between the ambient landscapes and catchy hooks.

The second song, “Stolen Parts“, sounds even more experimental and it boils down to an ambitious project. Continuing to deliver the means to an end and also a whole new world of Swedish music, at least when it comes to this kind of waddling in between the genres, never attaching himself to any label. Though it’s apt to describe it in this way, there’s also a need for this music to gather around something. He has a lot of potential when it comes to music and he shows it off very well with this album of connected melodies. I believe he’s the new starlet of the bunch and could surely pave his way to a place in musical history. I must say that the genres per se may not be my cup of tea for the moment, but it reminds me of a dearly missed period of Swedish indie-pop in one way and a sorely missed ambient sphere that hasn’t really caught up with the rest of the world yet. But if he develops it, more will follow and it will be a good period. Also, I prefer “Side B” over the first side, but it really hits its full potential closer to the end of it.

Buy this limited edition cassette of 61 copies for 8 dollars. Or if you prefer the digital version, pay 5 dollars and download it yourself. Even though I’d prefer you buy the real deal instead, so you can listen to it in these cold times. It’ll bring something to you, both emotionally speaking and as a memory. There’s nothing stopping you now, and since it’s cheap, you should head over to the Zeon Light bandcamp and purchase it.

Burzinski – Female Faces EP

Even though this album dates back to the 15th November 2010, I had to recommend it. It’s one of the best new romantic gothic that I’ve heard for a while. There’s some kind of odd touch to this album that is hard to grasp while listening to it for the first time. A kind of ethereal feeling to it, but at the same time not too inaccessible. The first song “Ghostly Female Faces” envelops a sense of romanticism within itself, shrouded in the darkness that is the gothic sound. A feeling of being abandoned at one of the scariest places in the world: a graveyard. In this music, there’s also a sense of not belonging. It feels like its melancholic, but not to self-obsessed really. There’s a stronger and bigger philosophical perspective to the songs. With calm guitars, fine percussion and down tuned baselines – you get the best of me. In the second song “A Useless Tale“, I get dragged even further down in the catacomb.

I like the calmness in the singer’s voice and the sound-scape as a whole when he utilizes his dark voice and it collides with the bassdrum and the melodic background noises. It would be ideal to listen to this song when you’re moving through the vast landscapes of the big city. Every time I listen through it, each song grows on me individually. There’s a kind of repetitiveness to the songs, which make them catchy even though they’re far from it. I remember the two first songs the most, since they caught my attention with the different instrumentation and as a whole landscape. I feel free when listening to this and feel even freer when I stop the songs. Not because I don’t like them, but because I feel relieved each time I’ve listened through it and gotten to the end. A huge delivery, even though there are not many songs on this EP.

Either buy it over at their bandcamp as a digital-only version for free, or move on to this link and buy the limited edition CD. I suggest you give him some cash though instead of downloading it for free, so offer him some of your hard earned money if you like what you’re listening to.

the Hex Dispensers – Paralell 7¨

I think of a modern version of The Damned. This is also one of the older albums that I’ve found, but it’s from this year. Released on the 1st of April 2012. I think there’s a lot of crap out there when it comes to straight-forward punk, but the Hex Dispensers manage to sort themselves out of that category. With a little bit freaky lyrics and interesting approach to it melodically. Actually one of those releases that I’ve listened a little bit more too than other stuff that I’ve encountered. A friend of mine recommended the band and I heard a song from one of their albums. First song “Paralell” really caught my attention musically, it’s such a catchy song and it still delivers the brutal underground “smack-in-the-face” sound, but without pretensions or trying to hard. The thing about the first song is that it’s the best and set a high standard for the other songs. It’s also a pinpoint to other punk bands to follow, since they’ve managed to set the stage for my favorite form of punk.

When it almost borders to psychobilly and the likes of it, since it very much sounds in that way and manner on many of their songs. Both the drumming and the riffing is excellent and the vocalist make the sound-scape sound much more alive. Even though it would’ve held itself without him. This is even more obvious with the second song “Young Blood in the River” which is one of the other great songs on this release. If only more bands would follow the path that they have taken, they’ve decided to make something and make it good. It sounds unique but still reminds me of other great bands with the same attitude. Powerful rhythms and savvy melodies, would be great to finally see these guys live sometime. Hopefully they’ll release something new within the next couple of months. Or at least in the next year, so we can get more of this greatness.

Find their music over on their bandcamp and buy their 7¨ from here. It’s a limited edition and it’s got some great artwork going on. You can also download it digitally if you pay 2.99 US dollars for it, which would be great if they didn’t have a physical version. Though you should get the physical version instead. Great piece of music and definitely something you should hold on to.

Who are you and why did you choose the name Bitapart?

– My name is Bitapart and I live at the grid, a digital world of the 80s. It’s about vector graphics and a lot of neon lights as you can tell by looking at my logo/picture.

How I chose my name? I was looking for a name to fit my style of music. It’s quite hard to find a good name these days because every name I came up with was taken, so I asked a friend if he could help me with it. I wanted something associated with digital and different. He came up with the name “Bitaparte” like the name of Napoleon Bonaparte. I dropped the “e” and voilà. You can read the name as two words: BIT- as in bits and bytes (the digital part) and -APART (something different, not from this world). To make it even more interesting I added the grid story to it. It’s still at the beginning so it has to evolve further during the production.

How would you define your own music if you had to describe it to listeners?

– My music is like a soundtrack to an 80s movie. You get action, romance and that typical 80s feeling. In short: It’s like Miami Vice busting Tron for illegal possession of home-recorded cassette tapes.

What kind of gear do you use when you make music and how would you describe your creative process in making different tracks?

– I use almost exclusively the Op-1 from Teenage Engineering. It is so intuitive and with it’s vector graphics and visuals seems to support my creative work. I started to use the Roland JP8000 for warm pads and baselines as well.

Description of the creative process: I got a muse which is inspiring me to all of my creative work and is to find in every track and artwork. In the beginning there is a feeling I want to capture with my music. On that basis I make a visualization of it, a neon artwork to intensify the feeling and to know what my music not only feels but also looks like. That’s why to every track there is an artwork. After that I start with the drums or the bassline on the Op-1 and start building up a track. There is also watching a lot of Miami Vice episodes involved in the creative process but I can’t tell you any more about that, it’s a secret.

Are you going to make any EP or album soon?

– I’m releasing my first EP soon. I have to get the tracks remixed in a professional studio though. At the moment I’m working on new tracks for another EP. Some of the concept is already planned. The tracks will be released all together instead of one after another as I did on soundcloud with my previous tracks.

Thank you for answering these questions! What do you have to say?

– Thank you for featuring me it was a pleasure answering your questions. What I have to say? Spread the word!