Archive for December, 2012

Brian Cook: Things I Was Stoked on in 2012

Posted in News and Notes with tags , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2012 by Magadh

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I already did a list of my favorite records of 2012 for
SeattleRockGuy.com, but I felt like there were so many other inspiring
music-related things I stumbled upon this year that I needed an
alternate list. These are the things I was stoked on in 2012.

1. Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

A sound engineer friend of mine used this album to EQ the soundboard
at a gig back in 2006 and it boggled my mind. The recording quality
definitely pinned it to the ‘70s, but the sounds, arrangements, and
general vibe didn’t seem to belong to any era. I was stunned to learn
it was Genesis, and my friend subsequently burned me a copy of the
two-disc album. I gave it a couple of spins on my own at home, but
what I heard on my speakers didn’t live up to the tracks I’d heard at
the club. This spring, I gave it another whirl on my iPod. For
whatever reason, the tracks were out of sequence, and all of the
sudden I was hearing the stuff that caught my ear back in 2006. I
became obsessed with this album. From the heavy gloom of “Fly On The
Windshield” to the math-prog of “Back In NYC”, the whole album is a
total artistic gamble that only pays off after repeated listens. For
the entirety of summer and most of the fall, I was listening to this
album at least once a day. Ideally, I wish that every year one record
would permanently alter my relationship with music. Realistically,
that only really happens about once every five years for me. The last
record to hit me this hard was Stars of the Lid’s And Their Refinement
of the Decline back in 2008. I have a feeling it’s going to be another
five years until something affects me as much as Lamb.

2. Bob Mould See A Little Light

I’ve owned Zen Arcade since I was 14. I’ve owned Copper Blue since I
was 15. But I never really dug much further into either band’s
catalog. So I’m not sure why I picked up Bob Mould’s autobiography
earlier this year, but once I cracked it open I couldn’t put it down.
Mould’s story isn’t even all that spectacular. In some regards, he’s a
difficult person to empathize with at times. But I saw bits and pieces
of myself in his story and started examining those old records more. I
realized that over 21 years, I’ve actually come to be pretty familiar
with all 70 minutes of Zen Arcade, and coming back to it after so much
time away from it made me view it in a whole new light. I also went
and picked up the Sugar vinyl reissues and realized what I’d been
missing out on from Beaster and FU:EL. I probably should’ve picked up
the new Bob Mould album too, but I’ll save that for next year.

3.  Chelsea Wolfe

I was fortunate enough to get to see  Chelsea perform nightly for three
weeks straight this summer when she toured with Russian Circles. As
much as I like Apokalypsis and The Grime And The Glow, neither album
does her live show justice. Harrowing, haunting, beautiful. And
judging from her new material, 2013 is going to be Chelsea’s year.


4. Minus The Bear @ The Showbox

I moved from Tacoma to Seattle in January of 2001. Later that year, my
friends started a band called Minus The Bear. It seemed like a
frivolous project at the time. After all, these were dudes from
hardcore bands playing this upbeat dancey indie pop stuff. But it
turned into a big deal, and this light-hearted side project cranked
out some serious game-changing albums. In many ways Minus The Bear
became my soundtrack to the ‘00s and, by extension, my time in
Seattle. I’m heading for the East Coast in a couple of weeks, and I’m
glad that I got to catch one last Bear show back in November as a bit
of closure for the moving away process.

5.  Against Me! @ El Corazon

These Arms Are Snakes did our first “tour” with Against Me! back in
early 2003. We went out with them again in 2007. A lot had changed for
AM! in those four years. It seemed that with every new record they
gained momentum while simultaneously receiving more and more shit from
their more stringent DIY fanbase. Things have only gotten more
polarized in the last five years, with the band signing to a major
label, playing with Springsteen and Foo Fighters, and prompting every
newbie crust punk to cry out “Judas”. So when singer Tom Gabel came
out as transgendered, I couldn’t help but wonder how the public would
react. Their first tour in the wake of the news was with The Cult. In
a text message conversation with their bassist Andrew, I asked how the
public was dealing with Tom’s new identity as Laura Jane Grace. His
response was that he had a renewed faith in humanity. And sure enough,
catching their set at El Corazon in September was one of the most
inspiring things I’ve witnessed in a long while. The audience was a
healthy mix of people—young punks, older rock fans, and a new
contingent of LGBT folks. The crowd launched into applause when Laura
took the stage and the band played the most impassioned show I’ve ever
seen from them. My faith was restored that night too.

– Brian Cook

Review: Haut et Court

Posted in Reviews with tags , on December 17, 2012 by Magadh

Haut et Court La Vie Self Released

Haut1 I was just bitching to someone the other day about how I felt like all of the music I was listening to had gotten stale. Then, via that serendipity that sometimes make the interweb seem slightly more bearable, I stumbled in a whole bunch of interesting stuff. The story behind this particular review starts last summer when I stumbled on Throatruiner Records’s online catalog. As I mentioned in the Direwolves review a few days ago, this label is not widely known in North America. In my own little way I hope to do something to rectify this, since everything that I’ve heard from them so far has been stunning.

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The blurb about Direwolves is (I suspect) what resulted in Arnaud from the Strasbourg band Haut et Court contacting the bunker and bringing their recently released offering La Vie to our attention. After listening to it the first time, my one word review of in my response to him was: Damn. Just…damn. The six songs here are mostly fast, always aggressive, and played with impressive tightness and precision. There are elements of a whole lot of styles here: some parts are crusty, others more math oriented, and they even have an element that sounds a little bit like black metal in terms of the mix of tonality and atonality. The really extraordinary thing about La Vie is the quality of the arrangements. It is easy for a band trying to do a lot of different things to get lost on in the variety and to end up sounding muddled and diffuse. Haut et Court’s compositions are characterized by power and directness, and the various parts fit together into a thunderingly powerful totality.

Hautcourt.-Band3I think their name translates as Loud and Short, and I further surmise (if my French still serves me) that this is a sort of pun on the French phrase “haut et fort” which translates as loud and clear. However that may be, Loud and Short is an apt name for these guys. Their music has a lot of the qualities of a bomb blast, and when it’s over you’re not quite sure what to do. This is an excellent first offering from a band with a lot of promise.

2012 Top 10 List: Shawn Kock

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by Magadh

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Shawn Kock, of Absolute Monarchs and Mass Games, has been a great friend of mine since he was an alum of the infamous 1812 punk house in Seattle. I asked him to give us his top 10 records of 2012. He included 2 albums released in 2011 (not surprising really…Shawn doesn’t like your rules man!) so I allowed one to stand and took the liberty of inserting Absolute Monarchs in the #10 slot as it’s really a stand out record.

-Captain of Games

1) Constant Lovers True Romance“(yeah, it came out in 2011 but its two years good)
2) Santigold Master of my Make Believe
3) Nacho Picasso Exalted
4) Sandrider Sandrider
5) Naomi Punk The Feeling
6) Alaric / Atriarch split (Alaric side only)
7) Gaythiest Stealth Beats
8) The Intelligence Everybody’s Got it Easy But Me
9) A Place to Bury Strangers Worship
10) Absolute Monarchs 1

Review: Unrest

Posted in Reviews with tags on December 15, 2012 by Magadh

Unrest Lake of Misery Rising Riot Records // Per Koro Records

unrest2A few months ago we reviewed a four song release by Münster grind/crust maniacs Unrest. I was good. Damn good. The kind of thing that really leaves you wanting more. Well, I am happy to relate that more is now available. This actually came out in August but slipped our notice, probably due to the fact that during that part of the year I was wrapped up with reviewing every extant d-beat band in Spain. Anyway, I’m up on the curve now. The lads deliver more of the absolutely blistering crust that exploded off their earlier EP. Lake of Misery opens with about 20 seconds of feedback and then blasts off with eleven cuts of hyperaggressive thrash. These guys do not beat around the bush. They burn the fucking bush to the ground, then scatter the ashes. There is a lot to love for fans of crusty hc: razor sharp drumming and super tight musicianship form the back drop for a vocalist who sounds like he’s scooping out chunks of his guts with a mattock. There is minimal influence here. Mostly it is eschewed in favor of totally unrelenting, blazing thrash, occasionally broken up by whirlwind blast beats or grinding passages. The production is clear and lets everything come through. If there is a better thrash record that has come out worldwide this year I haven’t heard it. Now if we could just get these guys to come over to the U.S. (or maybe I’ll just have to head back to Germany).

Magadh

Reveiw: Direwolves

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on December 13, 2012 by Magadh

Direwolves Me From Myself, To Banish Throatruiner

Direwolves-Me-From-Myself-To-Banish-2012The merry pranksters at France’s Throatruiner Records are at it again. This is one of those labels that not that many people in North America seem to know about, but they put out some really forward stuff. We’ve reviewed a couple of other releases that they’ve done in earlier posts (specifically Calviire and Birds in Row) and as I recall we quite liked them. I certainly dug them enough to avail myself of Birds in Row’s back catalog, although I think that those guys have flown the coop to a bigger label.

Anyway, I’ve just procured a recent release by Direwolves and it is yet another Throatruiner project that exhibits qualities of real excellence. Direwolves hail from Lorient in the wilds of Brittany, about which I know nothing other than that they have a football club that tends to mid-table form in Ligue 1 (although they did just put L’Om to the sword) when they are not getting bounced down to Ligue 2. Direwolves, one must say, are Ligue 1 material all the way. Their six song release, entitled Me From Myself, To Banish, has as sound which is, if not unique, at least hard to find effective examples by way of comparison. Imagine  Articles of Faith doing a sort of screamo thing, maybe with a bit of Alpinist thrown in for good measure. The songs are short and to the point, but still involve arrangements that are varied enough to maintain interest. They bear a certain similarity to other Throatruiner productions, but their sound is a bit cleaner and their pace tends to be generally quicker than some of the other material on this label. However you want to describe these guys, they rock like a hurricane, and we can only hope that they get back in the studio soon for another release.

Magadh

RIP Sarah (Mike) Kirsch

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by Magadh

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It was with great sadness that I learned of Sarah (aka Mike) Kirsch’s passing on 12/5/12 following a courageous battle with Fanconi Anemia. Sarah was a prolific member of the Bay Area punk community and her bands remain an inspiration to me. If you’re so inclined, please head over to the Mike Kirch tumblr and share some memories. It can be found here.

Spencer Rangitsch’s moving obituary from MRR is here.

As for me, I’ll remember her this way:

 

– Captain of Games

Bargain Bin Blasphemy

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , on December 4, 2012 by Magadh

This is the best tumblr I have seen in some time. What do you get when you combine bargain bin records, a wicked sense of humor and black metal? Magic is the answer. Do yourself a favor and check them out here.

– Captain of Games

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