Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Basarabian Hills - A Breath of The Wide Valley (2012)

Basarabian Hills, garnering one of the most inane and incomprehensible logos in metal, one that leaves you forcefully assuming the band surely is being facetious, has released their latest LP - three songs spanning for thirty-six minutes of lulling, and dream-ridden ambient atmospheric black metal.

Ahh fuck semantics, this has as much to do with black metal as hockey sticks do with basketball. Heavily ambient and seemingly focused on improving sleep patterns on listeners, yes yes, it has underlying elements of atmospheric black metal, but to lump this in with black metal would be akin to lumping Led Zeppelin to doom metal. Songs sound like they were manufactured, with a formula, it has ethereal soundscapes and dreamy textures, representing the same nodes as delta waves, hence the attributes that can help you out-sleep a sloth. Let me deem this, black metals answer to sleep apnea.

Wipe off that corpse paint, throw on your one-piece pajamas, and hit your fucking pillows with A Breath of The Wide Valley.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Your Highness - Blue Devils EP (2012)

Here is the latest sound from Your Highness, still washed in a reefer haze and soaked in whiskey. It sounds like a beard, this is the newest EP.

I've been busy, like real life busy, hard-pressed to find my usual music scouring hours. I invite any of you readers to toss 'good' suggestions' my way to post. Either fucking way, more to come.

- Chris

Your Highness - Cults n' Cunts (2011)

"Cults n' Cunts makes you want to shotgun 100 beers and go climb something epic, maybe while beating the shit out of someone." 

 •  •  •

I really couldn't say it any better, though maybe I would add in growing a gnarly beard and throwing on a denim vest with the sleeves cut rocking the mandatory patches on it: The Sword, Baroness, Doomriders, with the words "Scum Cunt" arching on the back.
I'm not sure how this one eluded me all of last year, and I'm not even sure how I have recently stumbled upon it, but this is some seriously easy to get into groovy sludge/stoner metal.

Grab if you like: Kylesa, Doomriders, Baroness

Scum Cunt

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Caspian - Waking Season (2012)

I've been fucking the dog lately, and of course by this I mean I have been putting this particular post off for a while (not actually fucking a dog… dude). Waking Season has been on my "Post to shit-hole blog" list for a while now, and I'm only getting around to it right now because of the interview with Ben Sharp of Cloudkicker that I just had.

It appears the post-metal guru himself has taken to the gossamer with all of its delicacies encased in a warm and fuzzy ethereal shell. It's like submerging your head in honey. Ben Sharp said "Waking Season by Caspian is living in my head right now." and went as far as putting it in his top 2012 list. It's easy to see why this can be justified… The album is a monolith of honest and pensive sounding post-metal tangled in a web of dreamy atmospherics and solemn ambient qualities. It's like submerging your stupid skull in honey and silk.

Imagine this for a second: Somebody cracks your skull open, and in it they pour honey, tea-tree oils and melty gooey cheese, a sensation for the senses reports your brains nerve endings (dutifully ignoring the pain caused by a cracked skull), this is Caspian's Waking Season. A cornucopia of stupid hyperbole, what have I come to?

Waking Season
Caspian on Bandcamp

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview: Cloudkicker (Ben Sharp)

"Cloudkicker is a music that happens when a person named Ben Sharp sometimes uses a computer to record and sequence instruments. Since starting to do that in 2005, he has created many compilations of songs and they don't necessarily sound the same as other compilations of songs that he has created. In fact, writing and recording music is something he does when he isn't working at his job." I got in touch with Ben Sharp to bother him into answering some questions… These are the questions and answers. Invoke!

 •  •  •

1) Let's kick this off with something engaging, tell us something about Ben Sharp that may will surprise us?

BS: I own several guns.

2) The name Cloudkicker was derived from Kit Cloudkicker from the radical 90's cartoon show "TaleSpin"… What other cartoons were a big part of Ben's salad days?

BS: That whole lineup… Darkwing Duck, Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, Duck Tales. Also Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That might cover it!

3) There appears to be a lot of intrigue surrounding you Ben, a man of mystery. Do you think this has to do with the fact that you stray away from the 'norms' when it comes to your music? Which questions are you most sick of hearing by now?

BS: It's kind of odd to me because I don't feel very mysterious, I just feel like me. I'm pretty sure I feel like what most people feel like when they are people. I guess I'm not exactly keen on the idea that once you become even a minute person of interest you are obligated to share every waking moment of your life, but then I'm not even that way with my friends and family. I answer questions that people ask and I answer them honestly but I think most people are interested in the technical aspects of what I do and couldn't care less about what kind of restaurants I go to. I'm not "sick" of answering questions like; "Will you ever play live shows?" or "How did Cloudkicker start?" or "What kind of thing do you use for a part?" because each person that asks that is asking it for the first time.

4) Cloudkicker has always been your hobby. Money, personal glory, record labels, etc. never seem to be of any interest or importance. But being as it is a hobby, do you ever feel the pressure of expectations and eagerly awaiting fans? Does this ever suck the life/fun out of what you once personally loved?

BS: I do know that there are people that might be curious or maybe eager to hear more things I've made, but to me that's an incredibly positive thing. I don't even know if I would still be making music if not for that! But I filter that knowledge through my own motivation to make something worth listening to. There's no sense in getting all anxious about making music for people that want to hear it if it's just going to be a waste of their time. So no, it absolutely does not suck the fun out of anything, but I choose to use it as a tool more than anything.

5) What is the best thing (for you personally) that has come out of Cloudkicker?

BS: Connecting with an incredible amount of people in a way that I never dreamed I would experience.

6) You've always done things by the DIY bible, stating that it's mainly due to 'laziness', but did a big part of it come down to wanting full creative reign of your own work? What did this free reign ultimately translate to? And are there any aspects of your own work your disappointed with?

BS: Yeah of course, I guess I kind of think that goes without saying. But that's almost the entirety of it. It's pretty simple what it means for me actually, it means I get to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. Fully and uncompromisingly and for better or not-as-better. Ultimately the responsibility for anything happening and the quality of whatever is produced comes back to me only, and I like it that way. Am I disappointed in anything? No not at all, of course I can look back at things in hindsight and think that I would have done some part of it differently now--but that's not what this is about. I deal with that by continually aiming to do the best I can do at whatever I'm doing.

7) Being as DIY to the core as you have been/are, how difficult was it bringing Cloudkicker to fruition, or more importantly to where it is today? And how surprised are you with what Cloudkicker has now become?

BS: It was the easiest thing in the world. I made music and people liked it and they told other people about it. That's about all that has happened and that's what continues to happen. I'm blown away at what Cloudkicker has become. Try to think about it from my perspective; I'm sitting in my apartment making music and uploading it to the internet and after a couple years of doing that all of the sudden people from Japan and Russia and Pennsylvania are emailing me about how I helped them through a rough time or helped them understand something bigger than themselves. I don't even know if there's a word for how much of a mindfuck that is.

8) Let's switch gears here, I want to know your favourite of the following; Movie, Album, Food, Past-time (besides Cloudkicker)

BS: I don't really have favorites of things so I'll just tell you the kind of thing that I really dig and maybe you'll know what I'm getting at;

(Movie) The last few movies to make me feel incredibly intense feelings were Looper, Drive, The King's Speech, Inception, and A Serious Man chronologically. I walked out of each of them with very distinct emotions.

(Album) As I type this I'm listening to "Allelujiah! Don't Bend! Ascend!" by GYBE super loud because I just discovered it for myself a few days ago and I think it's incredible. In the past week or so I've been kind of kicked in the head with music. It's been really fun. "Waking Season" by Caspian is living in my head right now also.

(Food) Anything my wife makes for us to eat. Everything she does is delicious.

(Past-time) I've been on kind of a space kick for a couple months. I'm beyond fascinated by looking at the sky from dark places and trying to get at it. Like really get at what I'm looking at. I have a lot of little tiny hobbies because everything is a hobby if you're trying to get better at it. I like reading books that take a dogmatic idea and destroy it. I like unlearning things that we're all just supposed to accept as truth.

9) I'm going to go out on a limb here, or a well educated guess, you're a sentimental dude aren't you? Past experiences don't seem to wash over you with no affect… I ask this because Cloudkicker has this immense evocative quality that invokes, well, feeling. So, is Ben Sharp a sentimental dude? AND does this translate into the music?

BS: When I was a kid I think I was out-of-control sentimental. Like too sentimental for it to be good for me. Things were really heavy a lot of the time because of that. In my early 20's I kind of restarted in a lot of ways and part of that was figuring out how sentimentality can be good. So I definitely consider myself a sentimental person but now I enjoy it in the same way that you enjoy a glass of red wine and close friends--you let it wash over you and feel happy until it passes. Does it translate to the music? Yes absolutely, it's a fundamental part of who I am.

10) "Let Yourself Be Huge", "Loop" and the most recent "Fade" have incontrovertibly seen a more dramatic shift in the sound of Cloudkicker, have you seen a lot of people abandoning the Cloudkicker ship, or has there been an embrace by new and old fans alike?

BS: No not at all. Maybe there have been but if so they've been replaced with new people at a greater rate. In fact, Fade and Let Yourself Be Huge got an even bigger response than Beacons in terms of downloads.

11) Have you received any fan mail from girls who tattooed "Let Yourself Be Huge" as a tramp-stamp yet?

BS: I've gotten tattoo emails but no, not that yet…

12) Alright let's get hypothetical; You come home from work to find your living quarters ablaze, you have enough time to grab three things. What did you grab?

BS: Wife, acoustic guitar, external hard drive.

13) If a giant meteor was heading for earth and you had ten minutes to jot down your seven favourite albums released in 2012 thus far, what would be on the list before you're crushed into Cloudkicking nothingness?

Dan Deacon - America
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujiah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Caspian - Waking Season
Yosi Horikawa - Wandering EP
The Shins - Port of Morrow
Four Tet - Pink
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

14) It's clear that Meshuggah played a huge role in the inception and sound of Cloudkicker, but what influences did you draw from for the ambient aspects?

BS: For older stuff it was bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai but more recently it's shifted towards Tycho or Four Tet and Steve Reich or Philip Glass but also incorporating the older influences because that's where I came from. It's really hard for me to say where things are going now.

15) Time to end this thing on a serious note… Have you ever conceived a riff while in the nude?

BS: No actually I really dig clothes. Not in some puritan way but in the utilitarian way that they wick moisture and odor away from my body and help my skin breathe better. I don't know why I would ever not wear clothes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Secret - Agnus Dei (2012)

Xavier of France's The Great Old Ones , once told me his favorite discovery on SHOM was Solve Et Coagula by Italy's The Secret. A righteous find indeed. Well guess what Xavier, and the lot of you, The Secret are back to assail you with their noise-ridden blend of dark metallic hardcore, in the form of their newest release Agnus Dei. They dredge from many variants of influence, let's not get hung up on them all. It stomps, get it.

Agnus Dei (Zippyshare)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Whips / Chains - Master / Slave: Review for Halifax Collect

Master / Slave is a snake slithering through cavernous waste seething and foaming in its own grime. Slowly dragging itself through shit and filth for a meandering 13 minutes… It's short, and sometimes the momentum suffocates as a result, but this is something familiar within EP's. Let's dig in…

Master / Slave doesn't deviate far, if at all, from the standard formula unearthed in hardcore of this ilk. Husky infuriated vocals, down-tuned unrelenting riffs that fluctuate between crushing and banal with the conventional pummeling of the drums serving as the 'beat down'. Think of a healthy mixture of Buried Alive, Hatebreed and His Hero Gone. Fuck Hatebreed 

Arcane Order - The Serpent Tower (audio)

What the fuck man, 4 years and still no follow-up to the awesome In The Wake of Collisions! Has anyone heard of any type of resurgence from these radical Danes?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Foundation - When The Smoke Clears (2011)

Hardcore is nor ever was the genre to be reinventing the wheel… Sure, there are bands that explore the sometimes stagnant genre further than its peers. Take We Had A Deal for example, imploring an infectiously melodic approach to fast and furious hardcore, with elements that aren't normally found in a hardcore album; A three part-song with it's own intro featuring a lulling female singer and an outro that sounds like an eclectic busker band, and really a host of other subtle nuances that set it apart from other "heard this before" bands…

My point is, Foundation aren't coming up with anything you haven't heard before, and I don't think they give a shit about that. This Atlanta based straight edge band set out to assault you with all the usual suspects present; burly pissed-off vocals, power chords, two-step shit stance sections, floor-punch shit romp breakdowns, floor tom marches, crunchy tones, mid-tempo beats, etcetera, etcetera. Heavily harken with sounds of 90's hardcore, Foundation have planted their feet deep in the ground with When The Smoke Clears, setting it apart from the debut Hang Your Head (which was also really good, albeit a bit hollow in sound and lacking in breadth).

Grab if you like: Mother of Mercy, Earth Crisis, Unbroken

When The Smoke Clears (Zippyshare)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Von Drakus - The End (2012)

The End is really just the fucking beginning. Von Drakus of Germany set out to play agile and pissed of jams in the form of hardcore that dips its hands in the cauldron of black metal, punk, crust and some other shit, interpret it as you will! It's pretty short, That is why we have a repeat button on just about everything. Use it. I listened to it 4 times in a row and my room looks like downtown Syria, okay I lied, I didn't mosh around in my room. But my room is a fucking sty right now, I should probably clean that up, you know what they say… 'busy environment, busy mind'. You know what else is messy? This album, chock full of noise enshrouded in a sea of filthy vibes.

"The earth was created in 6 days… so to, shall it be destroyed!"

Download free via Bandcamp! (how nice of them!)

Purchase the awesome looking vinyl!