If you ever want to see a lunatic in action, armed with fake blood and music equipment then see Baptizer. I saw and performed with Baptizer in late 2012. This guy made me want to give up my day job, become a roadie for him, and worship his ass. Seriously. Not many people have a firm grip on entertainment in heavy music nor know how to keep a small-ish audience intrigued, but Baptizer does. I saw him play at the seminal underground experimental venue, Amma House, and while I had heard a few whispers of what to expect, I wasn’t fully prepared. In stepped a maniac, gripping a microphone in his teeth, drenching himself and others in fake blood via a found chalice, and pummeling our ear drums and body cavities with a sick assault of noise-addled destruction. Jim, as he’s pleasantly known, hails from North Carolina, has a normal life, a family, and a day job, but you would never guess that once he sheds his shirt and begins to destroy your ear drums. “Signs ov Apocalypse” is a noisy amalgam of a variety of styles mashed into one bludgeoning of sound. His music is pseudo socio-political with an undercurrent of religiousness – but don’t let that stop you. I almost guarantee that if you didn’t read that and just experienced his music, you wouldn’t disagree with him on anything. The fact that people have in the past discredited his musical offerings because of his views, one way or the other, is disheartening and shows a complete lack of respect for what an experimental genre and its sister scenes are supposed to be all about. “Order of Wolves” by thee Grey Wolves was remixed and sound especially incredible. The track that stands out more than the rest is “Denial as a Defense Mechanism” with its artful craft mixture of noise and vocals, stirring up chaos and decrying apathy all at once. Stunning, incredible, and a must-have for anyone who wants to think that they have heard it all.
Industrial super-gods Leaether Strip released “Coming Up for Air” to ready the world for its enigmatic and highly sought-after and anticipated follow-up soundtrack to a fictional film “Serenade for the Dead II” album set for release here soon in March 2013. The Danish industrial tag team of Claus and Kurt once again polish off another gem of electro-industrial magic. For fans of Spahn Ranch, :wumpscut:, and most anything off of Metropolis Records these days.
Daniel Euphrat is the mastermind behind the eclectic Timmy Sells His Soul outfit. Each song is so uniquely distinct and different from the last it’s like listening to a more pop version of Mr. Bungle though without the busy backdrop. Dripping wet with indie-pop incredibleness, “Name and Form” jumps from genre to genre but always boasting a terrific array of textures. His off-key vocals range from somewhat spoken yet muffled to melodic crooning. A huge array of electro influences are smashed up behind his voice. “Seeds” finds Rachel Springer Dunbar lending vocals amid a chaotic stew of IDM and melodic indie pop harmonies. “Knife and Bowl” evoke a kind of melancholy – something this album doesn’t seem to lack in – but with an industrial-pop edge ever so slightly creeping upwards. I couldn’t begin to tell you who he may be influenced by because so many things happen throughout the listen which is a good thing; I highly doubt it’s easy to pigeonhole someone like Timmy Sells His Soul. “Vicious” sounds like something you’d hear off of Metropolis Records while “We are Surplus” could be easily heard at your local coffeehouse with its low-key indie-pop flavors. Rangy and yet authoritative in what he’s trying to deliver and accomplish, “Name and Form (Black)” is a dark beauty but one that demands your utmost attention. Highly recommended.
Full disclosure – I really don’t know a whole lot about the power electronics or harsh noise wall scene. That said, I definitely can appreciate many of the artists that perform it or some variation. Japanese Torture Comedy Hour is one such outfit. Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Anal Cunt, and other metal offspring has been a member, but J. Randall is the mastermind behind “Dolphin Meat“. This hour-long distorted absurdity just crushed your cranium with harsh noises that were manipulated live with no computer(s), samples, guitars, or instruments just a bunch of crazy pedals chained together amid a fevered tenacity to blow one’s mind. The textures are dense for sure despite the lack of post-production editing and while it’s decidedly lo-fi in nature (recorded live onto VHS cassette). Looping effects pedals together in a feedback loop, J. Randall has crafted a simple sounding yet unorthodox concept into an unearthly creation that simultaneously stuns, eviscerates, and evokes raw emotive states. I can only imagine the melted brains in the live studio audience that got to witness this. Not for the weak willed or closed minded.
Post-rock journeymen Goonies Never Say Die boast an instrumental rock sound that is more powerful than a 20-person choir could dictate. Rangy guitars chug through crunchy distorted textures pouring out emotional melodies that are both grand and sweeping. While many folks instantly think of groups like Explosions in the Sky when they hear descriptors like “instrumental post-rock”, Goonies Never Say Die are quickly establishing themselves as the next go-to definition of that sound. Simon Morgan is both the guitarist as well as the engineer and mixer on “No Words to Voice Our Hopes and Fears”; his work on both sides of the fence creates a darkened atmosphere that peeks out small elements of every emotion as it swallows your body whole. Perfect.