Record Reviews For June 5th 2019

Things have been a bit busy. The summer is tying me down and I feel exhausted basically always. Haven’t been able to update or do as much the last couple of weeks as I’d like but here are a couple of things I’ve been liking. I salvaged the Diat review review from the old version of the site and re-posted because it is still pretty fresh. I’d like to ramp up the music reviews so if you’d like to contribute, please send me something. No fuckers. Zero interest/tolerance for assholes. Some more records are sitting in the pile waiting to be written about so there should be another update soon. Thanks to Iron Lung and Sacred Bones for always having something interesting to hear. Even if I’m not always a fan.

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Diat - Positive Disintegration
Iron Lung Records

’s ‘Positive Disintegration’, the second act to 2015’s ‘Positive Energy’ is the perfect companion to my head space. The sun is reaching the piss caked pavement which greets me each morning as I step into work. That endless cycle of life’s mundanity, elation and disappointment. Diat encapsulates the same on both of their records. Musically it’s moved steadily into the direction of Killing Joke’s second act. More synth, the same trading of heavy guitar with single note, post-punk plucking. The record sounds like Diat but they’ve added a level of experimentation that wasn’t present in the first LP. First off, ‘Disintegration’ is less “punk” than ‘Energy’, the mournful guitar work and lighter singing of “Missed The Bus” being the most glaring example and thematically, the sense of longing, isolation and cleanliness of the first LP are manifested more openly. It makes me laugh each time I hear people talk about youth culture in regard to punk rock. Most of the bands creating music aren’t 19 and pissed, they’re 30 and terrified of dealing with the inevitable nature of actually growing up. It’s the second and infinitely more startling puberty. Instead of learning how to jack off you’re faced with the stark realities that jacking off was as good as it got and you’re not as attractive as you used to be. You’re tired. You can’t drink all night anymore. You look at the friends that still manage it and it scares you.
Excess actually becomes excessive.
Positive Disintegration. Disintegration Positive.
- Josh

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Devil Master - Satan Spits On The Children of Light
Relapse Records

Jesus, this is wild. I don’t think there is a possibility of you looking at that artwork and title and being able to figure out what this might sound like. Yes it’s metal but in this unholy union merging the raw chaos of Zouo with the pageantry and songwriting of Venom. It moves from straight heavy metal into D-beat then occasionally blast beats that move these heavily affected, almost post-punk flanged guitars. Over that there are shouted, unintelligible lyrics that really drive home the Japanese influence. There is even some unmistakable GISM-esq guitar-work in the leads. No insert in the record so you have to make up your own blasphemies. The drug-induced nightmare for cover art and that album title should be enough for any sick imagination to sing along to. Satan Spits.. is music as unholy warfare with badly drawn corpse paint and too much, wacky guitar shredding. Pretty cool to make a new metal-punk record that doesn’t sound like anything else in the genre. It’s a totally off the rails release from Relapse. Fans of Abigail and Midnight will be all over it even though it’s nothing like them. Personally I like how different it sounds but think they can improve with some more focus on riffs and songs. If the applied disorganization can get focused into something a bit more cohesive then I’m really looking forward to the second LP. If not, i’m sure they have at least one more record of noisy, blasted chaos I can sin to.
- Josh

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Institute - Readjusting The Locks
Sacred Bones Records

The third proper full length from the American punk group starts off with a morose guitar lead and instantly identifiable, gasping vocal. Moses mutters his words like a poetic drunk, too tired to close his mouth with the syllables that it requires as he spouts off a thirty minute toast to humanities existential crisis. Institute has managed a high level of anxiety, present in all of their records but here it’s backed up by classic punk ‘n’ roll, played fast and loose with real swagger. Though the Crisis-backed apprehension and guitar borrowing of their earlier work is nearly gone, the first track is still firmly planted in their classic biting. Readjusting The Locks has Institute readjusting the sound. Chiswick or Step Forward would have had their ears perked if these recordings crossed their desk in the punk rock classical era. Still, it’s not as rambunctious or wild as Cortinas or as catchy and adept as The Damned. ‘Roll Music’ is proper pub-rock gone punk as is ‘Fooled Again’ - but all the tracks are smeared with that dismayed and frustrated attitude that made the modern peace-punk group so vital. The stark, futile realities expressed both in the musical experimentation and personal epithets of Subordination are segregated to the lyrical arena but unfortunately, the vocals for Institute’s records are too quiet. The production as a whole stays too dear to the concept of trying to make things not so aesthetically modern. And I agree that when you’re working within genres it’s important to get it right I don’t think that Institute have the typical brainless fodder so often bandied about in contemporary punk so I’d rather actually hear the words when he sings lines like “As if a childhood of love could condition one for the sadness of this world” than have to read it later in the insert. But granted that line from Subordination was a more personal offering and this has a different sentiment to it. The pain presented in Readjusting The Locks is a condemnation for broken systems and not as focused on personal truth and anxieties. It’s a pitiful response to corroded politics, mass greed, insulation and fear for our world’s existence. A static, moaned lament that we’ve been equipped with band-aids to cope with the downward spiral. Institute argues that at this critical point, powerful people are more concerned with remaining on top so they drown last as opposed to enacting something to reverse anyone’s trajectory. Gone is the promise of collapse. We’re in its free-fall.
Institute released another worthwhile record but it’s not something you’re going to listen to as much as some others they’ve done. I’m still glad to have it around to make a cold night seem a little colder so welcome back. I’m depressed already.
- Josh

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Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
Sub Pop Records

The first full length offering from Weyes Blood since signing on with Sub Pop after two LP’s on Mexican Summer and Kemado Records respectively. There is a grace that sits within Titanic Rising. Natalie Mering states that after attempting to fit in, her artistic aspirations came to a close and she shed off the will to abide by others. Titanic Rising is a mixture of 70’s schmaltzy, soft rock with a Judy Collins-esq voice and Apple Records production. Lush background vocals in sync with synthesizers moving the sounds in a dreamlike euphoria along with accompaniment by more classical rock instrumentation. Kate Bush’s footsteps are in here somewhere too. That same fantastical fearlessness and wonder. Weyes Blood has a vision that is only limited with the tools she has available and the move to Sub Pop opened this up. This is certainly the most realized offering she’s brought. The record plays in between the light and dark moving from hard emotions into nostalgia and realization. Especially in regard to love and relationships. Mering is a lyrical storyteller and her anecdotes lay the foundations for hope even if these aren’t happy songs. Bitterness is left out as she focuses more on reflection and Mering uses her history to forge her future. Titanic Rising is most definitely not for everyone that reads this site. But for those that want to hear what dreams can sound like, that magic can be found woven into these melodies.
- Josh

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Overdose - Overdose b/w On The Run
Splattered Records

Overdose manage to lay out a pretty convincing Motorhead reincarnation at the Iron Fist era. Though this is essentially when Motorhead managed to become a full blown heavy metal band and much of their punk rock ‘n’ roll had been swept away to reveal the raw, speed-obsessed beast that captured the hearts of anyone paying attention. Overdose kicks into high gear straight out of the gate with barrelling drums and twin guitars. The vocals are handled by Reed from Speedwolf fame who already had a pretty convincing natural Lemmy impression. Tempo is hot but leaves room for some Rose Tattoo guitar licks as well. Worthwhile for the style but not mandatory and nothing nearly as special as what was accomplished with Speedwolf.
- Josh

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Sticker Shock - Demo
Self Released

Sticker Shock
from Boston sent me this cassette that actually came out in the last half of 2018 and it’s a total burner. If you were a fan of Slovenly’s We’re Loud or the Destroy All Art compilations you’ll know what this is all about. Reminiscent of the blasted-out garage punk that every teenager wanted to play after hearing the Zodiac Killers or Teengenerate in the 90’s. Super-fast garage punk recorded in a dumpster with nothing clocking in even close to two minutes. Tinny vocals with a spastic, quick changing guitar and barely a hint of bass. This wouldn’t be out of place on Total Punk or Feel It but even they demand a modicum of production. The sound quality of the cassette could be better but the overall package is good. Bonus points for doing a smart cover of Texas’ KBD monsters, Vomit Pigs and the comic-book esq cover art. If you’re looking for some contemporary budget rock there is a stinking, Boston back alley with some leather-clad brats obsessing over ferocious rock ‘n’ roll. And if that description rubs you cautious, rest assured - this isn’t boring Ramones-core. Only 80’s tapes so if bad music for bad people is your vibe or you like to pretend that’s the case…..
- Josh