• Classic Review: Shellac - At Action Park (1994)

    25 Ago 2014, 23:33 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    For those of you unfamiliar, and you ought’a be fuckin ashamed, Shellac are a self described “minimalist rock trio” consisting of Todd Trainer, Bob Weston, and, most notably, Steve Albini. Albini, or course, made a name for himself in such seminal post-hardcore acts as Big Black and Rapemen, as well as by producing albums from Nirvana, Slint, and Fugazi (The last never saw daylight, but the production did in fact occur).

    Over the course of their 22 year career, Shellac have released five stellar studio albums, and have promised another to be released next month. In anticipation of what is undoubtably going to be a raw, energetic bit of post-hardcore, here’s a taste of Shellac’s debut studio LP, At Action Park.

    My Black Ass: Right out of the box, Shellac are crunchy and abrasive; atonal and cathartic. Weston’s thick, distorted bass drives this heavy opener with brooding intensity. Albini’s lyrics are wry and cynically playful, as would become a theme over the course of Shellac’s career. Track one sets the stage for a noisy, loud, and appropriately edgy exercise in true post-hardcore.

    Pull the Cup: Excitement seems to slow up on this track, which oftentimes feels like no more than a repetitive, uncreative bit of instrumental filler. That said, it does possess the capacity to be a pleasingly overwhelming assault of noise; scratchy and anxious.

    The Admiral: Here, Shellac continue to pair distant bass and treble tones with unsettling, dissonant genius. Albini’s lyrics are wry, dark, and degenerate, his chords fresh and dissonant and Weston’s bass is driving and danceable, creating a sinister groove you could almost call catchy.

    Crow: This is yet another track driven by Weston’s bass, with a feeling of urgency reflective of the existential anxiety expressed by Albini’s lyrics; "Your life is only that with which time has its way with you." During the last couple minutes, the track breaks into some intensely catchy riffage as Albini shrieks us out.

    Song of the Minerals: Albini sounds perhaps his most exasperated on this, another absolutely harsh attack of noise paired with Weston’s snide, domineering bass. There’s plenty of dissonance and sound play here, the likes of which would make any respectable purveyor of the avant-garde turn green.

    A Minute: On this punky, rapid track, Albini seems to almost channel his inner Henry Rollins, spitting his lyrics with the intensity and conviction reminiscent of the classic hardcore punk.

    The Idea of North: This one starts out as notably delicate for a Shellac track, driven predominately by Trainer’s steady drumming before Albini’s melodic distortion kicks in, giving the track new life. Overall it moves slow and is neither overtly exciting nor incredibly beautiful, but it’s certainly an enjoyable listen.

    Dog and Pony Show: On this track, not a real highlight, Albini delivers his lyrics with a typically relaxed, sporadic cadence and strums out some almost metallic guitar riffage.

    Boche’s Dick: This, the shortest track on the album, is easily a tiny, musically concise gem.

    Il Porno Star: At Action Park's closer honestly doesn't feel like one, and is all the better for its non finality. It's average length, and in all other ways average, save for the sludge-metal-like slowness and intensity with which it often swaggers.
  • Album Review: New Hope - A Collection of Ghosts (2014)

    16 Ago 2014, 2:18 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    A Collection of Ghosts, the latest release from Pennsylvania based ambient noise artist New Hope, was submitted to me directly by Ryan Fi, the creative talent behind the project. This, the artist’s second full length release, is a heavy, difficult experience which toys with sound engineering, field recordings, and harsh noise, all the while maintaining an artful and experimental elegance. A Collection of Ghosts is a study in sound and human emotion like no other, and the kind of piece any aspiring Steve Roden or Tim Hecker should take note of.

    Into Static:The opening track, and the album’s longest, jumps head first into the collection’s sonic complexity. It’s a proper ambient mood piece, complete with the beeping of a telegraph machine and, about three minutes into the piece, some gentle acoustic riffage from Ryan Fi. It’s a mentally and emotionally consuming experience, occupying realms of soundspace that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

    Post Sex Confusion: This opens as a static assault of white noise overlaid with the delicate coffee-house piano and absent lyrical musings of Fi, before switching halfway through into a stretch of eerie, almost apocalyptic ambient noise. It’s an emotionally powerful two-part piece, the second of which saw production from not only Fi but the assistance of one Nate B.

    The Record Skips: This assaultive, stimulating piece layers heavy, distorted, disjointed guitar phrasing with the sound of a record spinning aimlessly at the end of its side, and a single musical phrase being played repeatedly on what might be pan pipes. The artfully creative conglomerate of sounds makes for an eerie and satisfyingly unsettling experience.

    Bivouac of the Soul: Another one of the more difficult tracks on the album, this one really requires the utmost attention to be enjoyed, incorporating heavy fuzz occupying a wide range of frequencies with vintage field recordings and a slow, melodic progression of pitches.

    Sheltered (Merry Christmas): Here we have a surprisingly traditional singer-songwriter piece which, even more surprisingly, feels right at home among these noisy, abrasive ambient tracks. Fi delivers the kind of emotional lyrics of midwestern angst that might be found on a good, proper emo record. I’d definitely like to see more of this kind of thing from him in the future.

    Warning (Fast Forward Then Rewind Again): This is a seemingly straightforward bit of noise complete with the periodic sampling of a radio announcer. It’s another fuzzy and ambient mood piece, though I admittedly can’t say I personally got very much out of it. That said, it certainly feels like the kind of track from which someone else might.

    Never, Never Change: Another gem, this consists of a stifled, glitchy guitar cover of the classic pop tune The Way You Look Tonight played over quiet field recordings and the sound of a film reel spinning. It’s a favorite of mine, and a solid wrap-up to an overall artistic and captivating masterpiece.
  • Classic Review: The Residents - Duck Stab! (1978)

    13 Ago 2014, 22:44 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    Since their formation in 1969, The Residents have gained worldwide recognition as one of the premier acts in popular avant-garde music and art. Their discography is extensive, to say the least, including over 40 studio LPs alone. This particular EP, released in 1978, was rereleased the same year with seven additional songs as Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, the collective’s fourth studio LP. For these purposes, I’ll be reviewing Duck Stab! as it appeared on side one of Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, in a different track order than on the original EP.

    Constantinople: Automatically, Duck Stab! is a showcase of dissonant, unsettling melodies. This opener establishes the quirky, oftentimes straight-up weird ambience which is so often emulated by The Residents. The track is a surreal look at death which catches the listener off guard with its almost poppy refrain.

    Sinister Exaggerator: This, a more sonically dark experience, makes use of The Residents’ famous unyielding oddness, since borrowed by multiple contemporary acts, most notably Primus. Instrumentally, this three and a half minute piece, the longest on the EP, sounds like the soundtrack to some vintage horror film.

    The Booker Tease: This track is short, or more appropriately, concise, clocking in at just over a minute. That said, it’s catchy and satisfying; perhaps the most so of any Residents track I’ve heard. To keep with the cinematic theme, The Booker Tease sounds like the kind of thing you’d hear playing during the opening title sequence of a surprisingly dark black comedy.

    Blue Rosebuds: An incredible highlight, this track is the moment on Duck Stab! where I feel The Residents took themselves the most seriously from a musicianship standpoint. It’s dark, enticing, and above all, mentally stimulating.

    Laughing Song: If Sinister Exaggerator isn’t the track to remind you what a Residents fan Les Claypool is and was, this track certainly will be. The first verse sounds almost like something the bassist might have stolen directly out of The Residents’ mouths. Otherwise, this is notable for its compelling, sometimes pleasingly abrasive sound.

    Bach Is Dead: While I feel that this track pales in comparison to the other, more sonically interesting tracks on the EP, it’s just as weird and stunningly experimental as anything else you might hear from The Residents.

    Elvis And His Boss: The Residents save their most corrosive strangeness for the EP’s closer, a rhythmic, noisy, compulsive thriller. Granted, it’s a track with a lot to pay attention to, but all of its seemingly sporadic elements intermingle with surprising beauty.

    Overall, Duck Stab! is an absolutely essential listen for any fan of avant-garde music, and a proven oddity for the ages.
  • Highlight Reel: The Past Is Another Planet - Set Adrift (2014)

    12 Ago 2014, 2:13 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    The Past is Another Planet is a solo project by Chicago based post-rock musician Gary Fine. Set Adrift is his first release and is described on the project’s bandcamp page as “an album about traveling to outer space and becoming trapped there.” Despite its morbid theme, I found the album to be quite calming and, at times, very beautiful.

    The opening track, Near Earth Orbit, is a solid intro to the album and establishes its continuous post-rock passion and energy. The entire release is chalk full of depressive futurism and delicate, fuzzy melodicism, especially prevalent on the tracks Extra-Vehicular Activity and In Real Time, a track which instantly gives off the kind of vibe one might expect from a Broken Social Scene record. Only one track, Receipt of Transmission, took the space them where I was really expecting it to go, with a short, chordal, Bowie-esque narrative overlaid with mild distortion. Although the majority of tracks on this release do stick to one comfortable sound, the closer, All I Can Do, wavers into a realm of quiet, straight-up indie rock which sways solemnly in a way comparable to early Death Cab for Cutie. Overall, Set Adrift is spacey, atmospheric, and reverbing, flaunting muffled noisiness and chilled out distortion confidently and consistently. Though nothing about this record strikes me as groundbreaking or overtly unique, it is a cozy record with some outright enticing moments.
  • nano.RIPE tracks correction

    9 Ago 2014, 13:56 de tinosoft89

    The track names for nano.RIPE are notoriously messy, with over 10 tracks missnamed! (Scarily, quite a few have cropped up in the top 10!)

    Fortunately for us, c4t2007 has created an awesome solution to allow you to submit of a large batch of name corrections in just TWO easy steps!

    - Create a new bookmark and instead of a website address, copy and paste the following code.

    - Remaining on this page, click on your new bookmark and in the window that's popped up, copy and paste everything that's quoted below. "Submit", sit tight and let the batch voter do all the hard work!
    nano.RIPE - Moshimo no Hanashi
    =nano.RIPE - もしもの話

    nano.RIPE - Star chart
    =nano.RIPE - スターチャート

    nano.RIPE - Real World
    =nano.RIPE - リアルワールド

    nano.RIPE - Hana no Iro
    =nano.RIPE - ハナノイロ

    nano.RIPE - High Leap
    =nano.RIPE - ハイリープ

    nano.RIPE - Yumeji
    =nano.RIPE - 夢路

    nano.RIPE - Omokage Warp
    =nano.RIPE - 面影ワープ

    nano.RIPE - Lip-sync
    =nano.RIPE - リップシンク

    nano.RIPE - Saibou kioku
    =nano.RIPE - 細胞キオク

    =nano.RIPE - 月影とブランコ

    nano.RIPE - Esoragoto
    =nano.RIPE - 絵空事

    nano.RIPE - Esoragoto (TV Size)
    =nano.RIPE - 絵空事 (TV Size)

    nano.RIPE - Nanairo Biyori
    =nano.RIPE - なないろびより

    nano.RIPE - Nanairo Biyori (TV Ver.)
    =nano.RIPE - なないろびより (TV Ver.)

    nano.RIPE - Toumei na Sekai
    =nano.RIPE - 透明な世界
  • Album Review: Death of Lovers - Buried Under a World of Roses (2014)

    8 Ago 2014, 23:51 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    Death Of Lovers was formed last year by Nick Basset of Whirr and Dominic Polermo of Nothing, both groups I’m regrettably unfamiliar with, but extremely tempted, at this point, to check out, given the impeccable beauty of the EP these two men have come together to create. It’s what I’d call a Gothic masterpiece, combining elements of post-punk, darkwave, and shoegaze articulately and knowledgeably.

    Cold Heaven: Buried Under a World of Roses opens with a pummeling, typically post-punk drum riff overlaid by icy Cure-esque synths and a bass line so dark and low it’s barely distinguishable. Death of Lovers’ lyrics are darkly eloquent and poetic, sung fittingly with a brooding british inflection.

    Shaken: I tend to like my post-punk tuned down, fast, and gritty. That is to say, when a track of this nature is played at such a slow tempo, I’m likely to think simply setting a mood doesn’t cut it; it has to be beautiful, or else barely worth my time. That said, this track isn’t quite what I’d call beautiful, but it’s certainly pretty, and almost verges on beauty during those moments when its quiet vocals swell in tune with its delicate synths.

    Buried Under A World Of Roses: The EP’s title track is a swelling, catchy, beautiful goth-pop track which blends obvious influences from The Cure, Joy Division, and Echo & the Bunnymen impeccably. Probably my favorite track of these four.

    The Blue Of Noon: This track’s heavy, oppressive bass contrasts gorgeously with its dainty synths. This is the kind of slow, overbearing tune that elicits a sort of thick, suffocating depression with gentle ease.

    Overall, there isn’t a truly disappointing moment on this EP. I look forward to future releases from the duo.
  • Classic Review: Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime (1994)

    4 Ago 2014, 22:28 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    In the realm of great post-hardcore, a few names come to mind: Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Unwound, but it wasn’t until recently that I was exposed to an early 90’s outlet, whom I believe deserves to be counted among those great artists who would go on to influence the ever-prominent screamo and noise rock of the early 2000s. Having already released a solid debut in 1991, Drive Like Jehu released Yank Crime through Interscope Records in ‘94, and went on to disband in ‘95. They were a short lived experiment in heavy noise, frantic musicality, and testing the ever-shifting boundaries of punk music, and Yank Crime was their masterpiece.

    Here Come The Rome Plows: The LP starts off consumed by intense chaos. Drive Like Jehu immediately demonstrate the driving force and energy of any proper hardcore punk act, but with a wild, unshackled slant. They come across almost, at first, as a noisier Fugazi. Rick Froberg’s anxious screams truly embody the track’s musical agitation.

    Do You Compute: Yank Crime brags plenty of on-par lyricism, but this, unfortunately, is not the track to exemplify Froberg’s way with words. “Do you compute? Do you compute? Do you or don’t you?" he screeches in a way which has cringeworthy effect of a Black Flag lyric. Otherwise, this track drenches itself in post-rock melodicism laced with thoughtful math rock intricacies. It showcases Mike Kennedy’s superb bass skills and an excruciatingly heavy drop about four minutes in.

    Golden Brown: If there’s a track on this LP to mosh to, this is the one. It bends vaguely more in the direction of mainstream post-hardcore than the others, and boasts a melodic bassline overlaid by heavy, accessible power chord sequences.

    Luau: Here we have the longest track on the album, clocking in at nearly nine and a half minutes. It’s a definite highlight, epitomizing absolute noise. It plays with total atonality and generous rhythmic abnormality, ultimately lending a sort of wry satisfaction to the listener.

    Super Unison: This track bursts alive with a prolonged, high pitched screech before erupting into a surprisingly rhythmic powerhouse, still bragging plenty of melodic embellishments. It even has its slower, more poignant moments, often sounding like a practical emocore anthem.

    New Intro: I strongly feel that if a rock track, any rock track, is to be totally instrumental, it needs to bring instrumentality at least as strong, if not stronger, than any vocal rock track. This track both meets and exceeds that criterion. Kennedy’s slick, unwavering bass highlights the whole experience, accentuating all that is both post-rock and emo about this LP.

    New Math: This track lives up to its name, periodically breaking rhythm, but almost in a way that feels forced and boastful. Still, it’s an incredibly heavy, moshable track which kicks ass with its sheer force.

    Human Interest: Not only is every element of this track interesting in and of itself, but in conjunction they create a truly memorable sonic eye catcher. Drive Like Jehu’s rhythmic and melodic eccentricities are all too present here, and they work the best of any track on the LP.

    Sinews: The album’s closer is another long play on which the band uses dissonance to their advantage, in addition to changing tempo often. It elicits feelings of melancholy alongside anger, angst, and entropy. The whole track feels downright epic and closes the album almost perfectly.
  • Highlight Reel: Fat Creeps - Must Be Nice (2014)

    2 Ago 2014, 3:17 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    Fans of the San Diego rock act Wavves may remember their 2009 track Surf Goth, a title which epitomized their sound and the sound of those to follow them. Surf Goth labelled a genre in the same way Minor Threat’s Straight Edge did in 1981, and now a band comes along which fine-tunes surf goth, drawing influence not only from Wavves but, more importantly, their predecessors, The Cramps.

    Fat Creeps’ debut full length LP, Must Be Nice, blissfully combines surf guitar, brat punk vocals (think L7) and classically punchy basslines to create a well oiled marriage between countless identifiable sounds. At first glance the album sounds like the brainchild of Dick Dale and Siouxsie Sioux, but also noticeable are the vocal influences of Kim Gordon (they know it too, check out Fat Creeps’ t-shirts parodying Sonic Youth’s Goo album art.) and the guitar influences of surf punk greats Agent Orange; especially notable in the solos on Having So Much Fun. A few of these tracks, namely Day Dreaming and Nancy Drew brag the kind of catchy, harmonized hooks that would feel at home on pop radio, but none the less feel fresh and alternative. While some of these selections, such as Back 2 Skool and In Name Only, do come across as unoriginal, über accessible, and frankly boring, the LP’s best tracks make up for lost time. My favorite track, Comes in Loudly, truly melds surf riffage and gothic melodicism and doesn’t simply smash them together as other tracks on the LP seem to. Party, one of the album’s more experimental tracks, offers up trippy futurism offset by an effects heavy chorus which challenges every other track here in sheer volume. Though certainly not the album of the summer, Must Be Nice is a sonically interesting, stylistically varied experience and undoubtedly worth a listen.
  • Highlight Reel: Dopecopper - Sadistic Intent 7” (2014)

    30 Jul 2014, 21:40 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    Dopecopper, a smalltime Baltimore crust punk outlet, were introduced to me as an opening act for UK punk band the Subhumans at a local Baltimore venue. Having seen them perform, I immediately bought Sadistic Intent on cassette for a measly five bucks from their merch table. This, Dopecopper’s first EP, was released through Grimoire Records, an independent Baltimore label specializing in extreme variations of punk and metal, and is the greatest thing I’ve come across in the realm of heavy, noisy rock in quite a while. The entire EP is unhaltingly loud, consuming your mindscape with rapid, immense, furious riffage and just enough melody in all the right places. These guys make an absolutely gruesome amount of noise from beginning to end on this record, without becoming tedious or uninteresting. The vocalist, credited only as Grey, screams with crisp aggression and spits out brutal truths with tight flow and unyielding passion, especially notable on the track Sleeping Leeches; "Justice system? Swallow their lies. There is no justice for the innocent who die." Even the more melodic moments on this EP, such as the reverberating, jangly R.E.M. type riff leading into (and out of) Paralysis and the sour, emo-tinged riffage of Burning Future are underlined by dark, metallic bass and absolute disillusionment.
  • Classic Review: The Cure - Disintegration (1989)

    28 Jul 2014, 23:51 de diab0licalminds

    Originally posted on


    Since their formation in 1976, The Cure have become, at least in mainstream pop culture, synonymous with Gothic rock. They’ve released 15 studio albums and enjoyed huge commercial success worldwide; why review them on an underground music blog? Disintegration, The Cure’s eighth studio album, isn’t an underground classic per se, not even by a long shot. It is, however, an album which exposed Goth to millions of people who may have otherwise never heard the word “Goth” in the context of rock music. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the greatest albums in the history of mainstream alternative music ever.

    Plainsong: Disintegration opens in a burst of chimes; the LP’s uniquely gothic, wintery atmosphere is set automatically by this track’s depressively slow tempo, overbearing bass, and chilling minor tonality. Roger O’Donnell’s icy synths and Porl Thompson and Robert Smith’s trademark spindly guitar riffage set tonal and rhythmic themes which will be repeated generously throughout the album.

    Pictures of You: This is just one of the numerous tracks on the album that has, since its release, emerged as an instantly identifiable anthem of lovesick malaise. It’s both groovy and morose, showing off far more musical complexity than the opening track, especially as it approaches the five minute mark. Smith’s lyrics are collectedly miserable, and he begins to show real, mature emotion.

    Closedown: One of the shortest tracks on the album, Closedown does introduce a beautifully macabre synth lead from O’Donnell, but is otherwise underwhelming. Other tracks on this LP achieve significantly more in just as little, if not less time.

    Lovesong: This is likely the track that’s enjoyed the most commercial success since its release, and with good reason. It has the fastest, most driving tempo of all Disintegration's masterpieces as well as the catchiest hook and brightest melody, while still managing to sound pained and passionate. Smith's often imitated lyrics ("However far away… Whatever words I say, I will always love you.") ring true with many a lovestruck, if disillusioned romantic.

    Last Dance: Listening to this surprisingly poignant gem, I’ve almost, at times, felt the room become colder. It beautifully accentuates the album’s absolutely sub-zero emotional climate. Mournfulness of a lost love is undoubtedly a heavily repeated theme on Disintegration but this track captures it most effectively, both in its lyrics and musicality.

    Lullaby: Another commercial success, this track has become synonymous with Goth subculture among those unfamiliar with Goth subculture. This is probably due to its haunting riffage, which is both morose and eerily sinister, and its lyrics of helpless entrapment, namely by the bloodthirsty “Spider Man.”

    Fascination Street: Here, Simon Gallup plays his grooviest bassline on the entire LP, making for an accessible alt-rock sound rivaled only by that of Lovesong, and surprisingly little commercial success as an individual track. It marries piano, synth, bass, and wah-wah riffage into a sonic conglomerate of passion and energy.

    Prayers for Rain: Any sort of kinetic energy fostered by Fascination Street is hastily sucked away by this dreary, downtempo track, almost as if the band was quick to cover their tracks leading to anything other than unadulterated anguish. The pinnacle of this track is its haunting, compulsive guitar work.

    The Same Deep Water as You: This isn’t a particularly notable track except for its length; the longest on the album. I found myself actually yawning at one point while listening to what doesn’t feel like much more than a nine minute placeholder, meant to maintain the LP's joyless mood without any real embellishment or expansion. Every track here has a certain sleepiness about it, but all others offer some kind of significant emotional interest where this does not.

    Disintegration: Finally we come to the title track and that which is arguably my favorite on the album. It impeccably captures the cold, sorrowful ambience of the entire LP in one track, driven by a glitchy, instrumentally ambiguous rhythmic underline. This is a gothic ballad comparable even to Bela Lugosi’s Dead, and features absolutely fucking beautiful guitar work and miserable lyricism delivered as such by Robert Smith.

    Homesick: Originally credited as a bonus track along with Last Dance, this piece opens with a guitar+piano intro that would almost feel at home on a contemporary post-hardcore record. Before long, it really starts to sound like a Cure song, dark wah-wah riffage and all. Smith sounds his most candid and cynical on this track, which is underlined at times by a perfectly jazzy piano which compliments the instrumentation both strangely and beautifully.

    Untitled: Disintegration's lengthy closer provides a sense of finality with lyrics like " never dream of you again." and ends in a two-minute jam of guitar improvisation which then fades in favor of a few final notes played soberly on an accordion. Overall, the LP clocks in at an impressive 72 minutes; the perfect soundtrack to a painfully long winters’ night tinged with heartbreak and omen.