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.
Posts tagged editor’s pick
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.
Toronto-born Scott Lanaway decided to take everything he loved about music, melt it down, and create his own silver bullet. “Mergers & Acquisitions” is the fruit of this labor. Granted this is sophomore release, it still feels like a birth. The songs and sounds contained are so well thought-out, planned, and composed that it feels like it was the work of a debut simply because the majority of songwriter’s best songs are created as their first body of work rather than their second or later efforts. “Oprah, God Wants You to Have a Private Jet” shows Lanaway doesn’t need to be cornered amid the subject matter of his songs that are often mind-wandering noodles and thoughts of love, death, time, the mind, and everything in between. His textures are sprinkled with electronica and acoustic vibes that are just unbelievable and uninhibited. He bares his soul, unafraid to let anyone in to peer in curiosity at what this creature is thinking and doing. Beautiful, please pick it up and tell him I sent you.
Phil Western and Mark Spybey together again! Well at least for two tracks that is. Dead Voices on Air, one of Spybey’s many projects, once again takes us to new and exotic locations. Amid their album photography on the digipak we’re whisked to far-off Argentina amid the beautiful landscape of Patagonia taken by Argentinean artist Marco Roberti. In addition to his collaboration with Western, Spybey enlists American-Serbian singer Ivana Salipur to assist on the title track, a track that is inspired by the Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic, a poet perhaps most famous for poems regarding the atrocities committed by German soldiers during World War II. The album is Dead Voice on Air’s 14th and their 2nd collection released on seminal Lens Records. Songs range from ethnic world ambience to experimental to pure relaxing ambient. I’m constantly amazed at how Spybey and likeminded audiences are able to create such intense ambient pieces that just ooze attention-grabbing passion. Yet another notch on the proverbial belt of essential for DVOA.
Produced by Lou Giordano (Plain White T’s, Taking Back Sunday), “Phoenix” is another notch in Just Surrender’s belt. As a group that has explored the nuances of pop-punk and emotional hardcore over the past four years as they have toured relentlessly with two releases that have sold upwards of 40,000 copies, Just Surrender put their laser focus on crafting an album that would further expand their fanbase. With both vocalists featured throughout with perfect layering, “Phoenix” is an admittedly guilty pleasure of the type of emotional rock that now dominates the Warped Tour. While other bands seem to stall amid the clichés and mall-punk normalcy, Just Surrender seems to shrug that off.
Okay pretty much any band can have my immediate attention when they start their album off with huge tom and snare rolls. “The Living Breathing Organ Summer” just gets better from then on, improving on avant-garde indie punk. Boasting a surprise around each corner, Child Bite sucker punches you with a funk-oriented soul that is so quirky you can imagine this being a band that is frequented by the likes of Mike Patton and The Jesus Lizard. Eclectic and freakin’ weird, Child Bite is certainly going to be an acquired taste for many people. The Detroit-based band is yet further proof that a crappy economy can have profoundly good effects sometimes – only unemployed maniacs who are craving the prescription drugs they can no longer afford would put pen to paper and come up with lyrics this fucking maniacal.
Those of you searching for the score to those dreamy indie flicks you’ve seen cinematic unknown geniuses conjure up over the years – well this is it. “About Everything and More” is the sophomore follow-up to the fantastic “Holofon” by Dorena. An outfit based out of Sweden, Dorena carves their niche with superb and intelligent instrumental indie pop music that seems simple but quickly becomes holistically visionary and diverse. Deep Elm Records, once again, has defined the movement of instrumental pop music by having the likes of Moving Mountains, Dorena and Goonies Never Say Die on their roster. Guitars pop and weave like a bantamweight division champ in the middle of the ring. Melodic nuances dance patterns in the icy wintry cold that Dorena evokes. And in case you were wondering – there are lyrics and vocals spotlighted throughout “About Everything and More” but this is certainly an instrumental-first approach as the vocals are just another instrument that helps move along the emotional enormity of each song’s structure. The odd and quirky synth pop of “We’ll Never Meet This Young Again” is just incredible as it then cascades into a bedroom guitar plucking only to be then re-cast as a symphonic journey that lights the way for the downtrodden and misguided. Fantastic songwriting with a strong sense of purpose and a calm wit about it, “About Everything and More” is a definite must-have for any music fan.
This self-titled EP by Phoenix-based Snake! Snake! Snakes! made it to #46 on the CMJ charts. Produced by Bob Hoag (The Format, Joel Plaskett, Dear and the Headlights), the album sparkles with light melodies awash in lush atmospheres, strong vocals, and domineering choruses. “City on Fire” opens the album with a fantastic building chorus armed with huge anthems and vocals stirred with punctuating percussion and moody instrumentation. Precise melodies and dramatic arrangements make it easy for people to mumble words like Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, and Interpol but don’t get caught up in the comparisons because nothing about this dynamic group is stereotypical or expected. Danceable rhythms douse you with knee bouncing mania. The vocals are special as are each fabulously arranged song. This is the future of the college pop music scene.