07 July 2014

Spaces Filled with Ashes, Mental Crutch



Although I had not planned on reviewing two releases from the same label/band in a row, this one is so great and in such short supply that it only seemed appropriate. Mental Crutch’s Spaces Filled with Ashes is a rather anomalous release in Nog Records’ ever increasing library of noise and 8bit music. With it’s emphasis on dreamy synth harmonies and catchy guitar riffs, it stands in complete contrast. 

The songs are mellow, introspective, often morose and sometimes haunting. Repetitious whimsical synths echo and build with subtle changes, eventually blooming into moments of breathy vocals and wistful guitar. Acoustic guitars are juxtaposed nicely by the synths and drum machines, creating an atmosphere that is both welcoming and eerie. It is very much like navigating that strange foggy space between dreams and nightmares. The slow pace of the songs call much deserved attention to the beauty of each individual note and the deceivingly simple layers of tones. The entire album is awash in spirituous reverb and psychedelic drones that will swirl your head into a hazy ruminative state.

This is another one of my favorite releases by Nog Records and you should make every effort to get a physical copy while tapes are still available.

30 May 2014

Fucking Punctuation, Unconventional Seagulls


Nog Records is a particularly awesome DIY noise label out of Allentown PA with a staggering amount of releases; Unconventional Seagulls is personally one of my favorites. Released January 2014 on CDr, this is a rather unique collaboration between Pory Nog of Seagulls Fucking Seagulls and Dan Wasko of Unconventional Punctuation. Each track the two switch off between using a bass and contact mic, and operating a pedalboard. The result is just under an hour of unapologetically harsh noise with absurd and irreverent titles.

While exceedingly abrasive when taken at face value, this album actually contains some lovely flourishes of a-melodic frequencies and a meticulous patchwork of tones. Thick walls of noise open up as a varying assemblage of textures subtly intensify and recede at a meditative pace. From long sweeps of hurricane like flange distortion to jittery clicks and squeaks resembling a cluster of moist insects milling about some kind of electronic cesspool. Emerging from all this comes the occasional swell of deceptively harmonious tones that only stay briefly enough to make you question if you actually heard them. Anyone who has ever done noisy stuff with the Boss pitch shifter will also immediately recognize the haunting alien cries it makes as it tires to make sense of the atonal mess you feed into it.

Each time I listen to this album I find something that I had not noticed previously, and it’s abrupt ending leaves me eagerly awaiting more. Get a hand painted pink copy of this from Nog Records. When I first received this I was (and still am) unsure if I could safely put it into my laptop without pink shrapnel chewing away the optical drive, but all of Nog’s releases are also available as free downloads. Check them out, if you like what you hear spend a couple bucks to get a physical copy.

21 April 2014

Music 4 Eon Green, Endo Kame



This album immediately drops the listener into a cavernous onslaught of sub bass frequencies that build in intensity with each song. A solid kick drum pulses it’s way through seven tracks that are minimal, with out becoming monotonous. These relentless quaking tones create a muffled reverberating atmosphere which must resemble what it sounds like if one were confined in an immense metal pipe at the bottom of the ocean. Occasionally some higher frequency sounds squeeze their way through like faint glimmers of light.

The length of this album belies the massive impact it leaves. At just around 25 minutes long, this is for the most part a continuous album that subtly grows and changes with each track. You are propelled further and further until bursting through on track three M4U. If you weren’t already dancing at this point, the physical force of the speakers will cause you to. By the fifth track Woe, it sounds like the music is beginning to cave in under it’s own weight and cannibalizing itself. I mean that of course, as a compliment. 

Released on Beer on the Rug in February 2014 first as a digital download and then available in a limited addition of 50 cassettes, Endo Kame - Music 4 Eon Green definitely has a place as one of my favorite new recordings of this year. It’s equally suited for dancing or some contemplative headphone listening. Check it out.

26 March 2014

Fortitude in Wintarmanoth, C. Lavender



Since neither myself or K has had a functioning camera for awhile now, and rather than letting this blog be neglected and forgotten, I thought I would attempt to review some music. I can’t say that I have ever reviewed anything before, and I’m not sure I have either the knowledge or authority to do so, but if you want my opinion here it is.

I recently ordered a smattering of tapes, CDs, and records; Fortitude in Wintarmanoth by C. Lavender happened to be the first to be thrust through my mail slot. It was released on Ecstatic Peace in 2013 in an edition of 100 cassettes. I don’t know if people usually review music that isn’t new, but it’s new to me and exceptionally good. 

The album contains three tracks which, in fitting with the title, were recorded in January of 2012, 2011, and 2010. Perhaps it’s not the correct month to be listening to this, but considering the inescapable winter we’ve had it’s still quite fitting. This album succeeds in its offering of atmosphere over mere amplitude; in fact for something so noisy it’s surprising quiet. The first track Opening the Gates gradually creeps out of a silent void growing in both volume and depth. I feel like I’m listening to the reverberation of winds through a thick dark forest, or the inner recesses of a cave. The second track Letting Them In has a similar ambience to it, but even more menacing. A horn like synth growls viciously over a scraping, clanging bass. It grows until reaching a climax with an almost wolf like howling that is intense and terrific.

I use such analogies not to sound poetic, or rather not only to sound poetic, but to really emphasize the mood created by this album. On one hand it can be taken as a product of the bleakness of the winter; cold, dead, and isolating. There is however also an aural sensation of the fertility of nature; a certain lushness that is perhaps not of winter, but meant to give one strength to get through winter.


The last track “You Can Never Go Home” seems a little out of place as it doesn’t have quite the same tone or quality as the first two, but is still a good listen. This is a really solid album; I highly recommend it if you like things that are noisy, dark, and atmospheric. Order a cassette while you can; it has cool artwork and quality packaging. The case is green, neat! If you don’t like physical things you can buy a digital copy of it instead. 

22 March 2013

Garcia People, Harpoon Forever, Black Wine & Human Adult Band @ The Court Tavern

It took a week, but here's what I managed to film, from March 15 @ The Court Tavern.

Garcia People:




Harpoon Forever:


 

Black Wine:



Human Adult Band:

02 February 2013

Quit, Banned Books, Eidetic Seeing & Mike Bruno @ The Alamo (2013)

It's been a while since I posted again, I seem to forget band names as quickly as I film them, but here's an easy one. January 31, 2013 at the Alamo, a night of the still living:


Quit:


Banned Books (NJ/PA):


Eidetic Seeing (Brooklyn):


Mike Bruno & The Black Magic Family Band (NJ/PA):



Also, thanks to Mad Dog for helping me set this show up and Sean from the Black Magic Family Band for filming Quit. 

03 January 2013

Harpoon Forever, Trevor Pennsylvania, Quit, David Sutton, The Idiots @ The Dump Bucket (2012)

New Year's Eve Eve show at the Dump Bucket Pub. A small night of freaks. Loved it.

Harpoon Forever (load at 720p)

 

Trevor Pennsylvania

 

Quit (first show ever)

 

David Sutton

 

The Idiots


again, load at 720p for best results.