Friday, August 18, 2017

Scrivener - A Signal (2017)

Olympia, Washington, where the smell of salt water from the Puget Sound competes with the aroma of roasting coffee (which smells a lot like burning toast), is also where some of music's most well known artists gestated and spewed forth definitive records of early American indie rock. It was ground zero for the Riot Grrrl movement, and both Beck and Modest Mouse recorded there. Kurt Cobain lived just east of downtown, where he wrote much of Nevermind - a record that sent a whole nation of angsty teenagers hurdling towards thrift stores, searching feverishly for smoke-stained plaid shirts. More recently, Olympia has spurred forth one of the greatest black metal bands in recent times, Wolves In The Throne Room, and has lead the country in amazing queer, d-beat, hardcore punk bands like G.L.O.S.S. and Slouch.

It's just happens to be a great town for bands. I remember walking downtown from my little black house near the San Francisco Street Bakery, and on almost every block you could hear bands practicing in garages, living rooms, and basements. The community is tight knit and insular which, while making the social scene a difficult nut to crack, makes for a strong and supportive environment for artists.

It's from environment that my new favorite band has emerged. This is Scrivener's first recording I believe, and it's so good that I had to dust off this long-neglected blog to steer any lingering readers toward their bandcamp page. Their style is like glam-hardcore punk... and by "glam" I refer to the almost theatric vocal delivery. Usually with any genre of music, a vocalist will stick to one style - singing, speak-singing, screaming... etc. but Scrivener's vocalist moves fluidly through all, using a range of expression missing from the vast majority of musical genres. Take the screaming of any metal or hardcore band and add bit of animated, matter-of-fact conversation - it's such a fresh delivery that it keeps this record on constant rotation. Playful and brutal.

8 songs, pay what you want for digital or buy their self-released cassette tape through their bandcamp page.

Scrivener - A Signal

Favorite track:




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Remain Calm (2016)

Unsubscribing from junk e-mails has imparted an unnerving quiet.

I believed this would be a step towards freedom, but now suspect I've metamorphosed from a creature to a zombie of habit. Last night, awoken by a glow, I became terrified to find my thumb locked in the movement of a memory, mindlessly checking my smartphone for email. Unlock phone, check email application, turn phone off, open and unlock, check mail, off... over and over. My undead thumb bends only at the hip like a forgotten grandparent who shuffles to the mailbox every afternoon only to find the same vacant shadow. My thumb, a feedback loop, like an alcoholic that searches the recycling again and again for one drop, aneglected swig of whiskey, only to confirm the emptiness it already knows exists.



A series of empty dawns have emerged. Gone are the days of vibration, little jolts insisting I pause my life to check and delete, check and delete. Newlsetters, updates, notifications, advertisements... all those small reminders of the past. Clothing stores relentlessly reminding me of each approaching season and a hoodie I bought for some autumn lost since several years ago. Gone. Zillow emails that satisfied the curiosities of an armchair voyeur, taking me into homes I'd never afford, around towns I'd never live. Gone. Charities and political organizations I helped once, before I understood my economic situation as anything but dire.

Gone. I've shoo-ed them all away. The tactile buzzes, the audible chirps. No more little red numbers to offer hope of a hello from a long lost friend. No potential for restless declarations from smoldering hearts of past lovers. Those little red numbers could've meant literally anything - a wedding invitation, the birth of a new family member, a class action settlement worth hundreds. But in the end, the numbers always meant the same thing: "this many junk".

I have won the war and now I am unburdened. Now my time is uninhibited. Ready to live each day uninterrupted. A new awesome unpopularity. Still -  the thumb checks. Just to fill an emptiness. Everything's always empty. Just maybe, tomorrow something. Always maybe tomorrow.

Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Remain Calm

Friday, March 17, 2017

Amyl and the Sniffers - Big Attraction (2017)

Every morning I wake up disappointed that our president isn't gone yet. Being on the west coast of the US, I feel the east coast has a good 4 hours to greet the sun, roll up it's sleeves, and take out the trash already. I'm sorry, that's an insult to trash. At least trash was, at one point, something we wanted.. something that was useful ... something we chose to own. This president is more like a stepped in pile of shit from someone else's dog, after years of picking up your own dog's shit.

Thank god for this release from Melbourne punk band, Amyl and the Sniffers. It's not too serious, but sexy and dangerous... just what rock music should be. I want nothing more to be in a sweaty club in Melbourne with a bunch of drunk punk Aussies watching this band tear the stage a new asshole.

These songs have some serious chops, played by musicians who have done their homework and gotten the sound down pat. It probably helps having Calum Newton in their lineup, a fucking awesome guitarist from Spacerockmountain favorites Lunatics On Pogosticks. But Calum keeps his guitar chops bottled up here, delivering chunky punk riffage, and offering his keen production skills to showcase the real star of the band: the sneering, bratty bite of Amy Taylor, a truly wonderful performer to lead this bunch of dirty, drunk and mulleted rockers from dewn undah.


Name your price. Not a clunker in the lot.

Sample song:

Bandcamp:
Amyl and the Sniffers - Big Attraction


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

GIANTOLOGY - TOUR TAPE (2017)

Last Saturday I went to a show, probably the first in 3 years. Aside from being mostly broke, there comes a point after seeing tons of shows where one becomes jaded. This is when you say crap like "I've seen better bands come and go, greater venues shut down or burn down" or other old-days-were-better-than-new sad horse jargon. I am guilty. Drunken leather clad crowds become coiffed and sober, bands get boring and derivative - becoming jaded is all apart of growing into a healthy, boring, derivative adult.


This show wasn't any different. But as I walk into Portland's premier sandwich shop rock venue, a surprise opening band gives promise for the evening. A duo is on stage wearing white hazmat onesies, and bizarre glasses that have open eyes painted over the lenses. A guitarist and a bassist play to a drum machine, and the music that comes out is like mid-tempo, lo-fi, Ramones meets New York Dolls glam-punk.

This is Giantology, a Chicago band that "IS NNOTT A KULT", according to their Facebook page. Their sound is simple, no frills, unpretentious, and catchy. Their look is creepy. It's a few small twists that turns something familiar into something memorable. I'm all for a gimmick, as long as it's well done. Oh, and their music is accordingly giant-themed. I encourage you to check them out, soon leaving the west coast for a southern US then up the east coast and back to midwest tour. Dates on their Facebook page.

Currently listening to:


Bandcamp link:

GIANTOLOGY - TOUR TAPE

Friday, February 17, 2017

Planet Namek - S/T (2017)

I have a general ignorance of states throughout the midwest and south. But I feel confident in making the blanket statement that they're probably like every state I have lived in: the bigger the city, the more diverse the culture and liberal the people. Outside of cities, you have to look and think like everyone else lest you be a terrorist, a fag, or a .....cuck?

Oklahoma, aside from being a place where garbage lawmakers are trying to shit on the rights of women, seems like it has alright cities, musically speaking. Oklahoma cities have birthed experimental pop bands like The Flaming Lips (from Oklahoma City) and The Starlight Mints (from Norman), the state's cities seem no stranger to more unconventional strains of music. I mean, Hanson was also from Tulsa, but we won't count that against them. 

Planet Namek, a Dragon Ball Z reference, are a Tulsa band also of the unconventional bracket, but of the deathcore, grindcore, whatever the hell variety of music this is. Not normally of fan of these genres, but this band is incredibly tight, heavy, and weird. And I love weird music. Although I can't find evidence of one on their Facebook page, they have a keyboard player, which is just fucking bonkers for bands of the screaming and growling variety (two singers here: one screams, the other growls). And was that autotune peaking around the corner? Planet Namek - you so crazy. Seriously a head scratcher, but all the songs on this, their first full length, are entertaining and never dull. Angry, disorienting, and awe-striking - much like how I feel every morning now that everything good is going to shit. But, with song titles such as "ARMPITTSBURG"  and "LUIGI BOARD", Planet Named remind us to not take things too seriously. 

Pay whatever you want to download over at their bandcamp page, 9 songs. 

Sample song:


Bandcamp link:

Planet Namek - S/T