Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
To the high culture neophytes more comfortable at the corner dive than the theater, there is something innately creepy about the ballet. Sinewy women and overly graceful men with uncomfortable posture and the ability to bend in ways most did not believe possible, dancing a story; it’s like big-budget miming. Though incomprehensible to those whose toes cannot support their weight, the ballet is the ideal world for the magnetic Black Swan, a psychological thriller in which the mundane is filled with eerie frights for the mentally fragmenting protagonist as she transforms into the role of a lifetime.
Nina (Natalie Portman) is a member of a New York City ...
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Air (pt I of IV)
Charles MansonMagic Bullet Records
4 Pt Release ATWA (an acronym for "Air, Trees, Water, Animals").
Review by Staff Writer Lucy Leitner
Calling Charles Manson a musician is like calling Paris Hilton a writer. Sure, he—the deranged, swastika-emblazoned Svengali—has now released the first of a four-part series of albums and she—the poster child of the Hollywood illiterati—is a best-selling “author.” It just proves the unfortunate trend that if you spew loudly enough in California, people will pay for your vomit.
The 76-year-old Manson’s Air is sadly the initial installment of what will surely be an ill-conceived attempt to espouse a new, mentally unbalanced philosophy set to inept guitar plucking. See, the air is just part of the life-support ATWA system, along with trees, water and animals, that old Charlie’s been preaching since the early 1970s. It’s the same circle of life that Elton John detailed to a far superior effect in a goddamn Disney movie. In Manson’s philosophy—his “holy revolution against pollution”—the swastika on his forehead is a symbol of peace and rock stars—and well, people in general—are the problem.
Monday, December 13th, 2010
The Damned Things
Island/ Def Jam
Available December 14, 2010
In need of some true, no frills, strait-up Rock n' Roll?
Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of Anthrax, Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die, and Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, have collaborated on the Rock n' Roll revival album of 2010 as the newly formed super-group, The Damned Things drops new LP, Ironiclast December 14, 2010, via Island Recordings and prepares for January tour.
What started as a jam session four years ago, when guitarists Joe Trohman and Scott Ian met and began writing music together, became a full-fledged project as they would soon invite Keith Buckley ...
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
FFO: Exhumed, Terrorizer, Phobia
Avid fans of grind and death metal often bemoan the fact that most ‘new’ bands have lost the ferocity and integrity of the ‘old-school’ 80s and 90s-era extreme music via albums like Brutal Truth’s Need to Control (1994) and Napalm Death’s From Enslavement to Obliteration (1988).
In recent years, the majority of new bands to emerge in the grind and death metal scenes have abandoned the organic chemistry of live recordings, showcasing sharp musicianship captured by clever sound engineers, for mechanical releases that are overly polished with computer-induced sterility. Upon first listen of Murder Construct's debut Self-Titled E.P., I knew we found something old-school death metal and ...
Monday, December 6th, 2010
Available Dec. 21, 2010
Review by Andy McNeil, Assistant Editor
Royal Thunder’s self-titled EP is all about waiting for the big pay off. The songs are a dark brand of rock built brick by brick on gloomy Southern riffs that twist around soulful, moody vocals. At times they are molasses slow, but patient listeners will be rewarded in due time – both on the EP and in the promise that this band holds for the future.
The EP is being reissued on December 21 by Relapse Records. The best thing about the release isn’t even the material itself – it’s the level of potential showcased by the Atlanta trio. ...
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Hawthorne Street Records
Review By Gregg Harrington
Louisville is no stranger to absolutely ripping bands: Young Widows, Lords, Breather Resist, Black Cross, and others. While the new project Brain Banger totes members of all the aforementioned bands, it doesn’t meet the grit and punch of those projects. It does something better: drives with the passion and groove of 70’s rock while mixing in dirty distortion and raspy vocals.
The production of Lords’ Chris Owen is apparent right off the bat. The intro of “A No Brainer” squeals with feedback and ...
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
California Guitar Trio
Karate Body Records & Inner Knot
Genres: Acoustic, minimalist, progressive instrumental rock
RIYL: Steve Reich, Andreas Kapsalis/Goran Ivanovic, John Fahey
If Robert Fripp was your guitar teacher, it’s very likely that you’re a very accomplished guitarist. And California Guitar Trio (CGT) are no exception; Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya have been going strong for over 19 years and will surprise very few with Andromeda, their latest recorded effort. Point of interest being, that this is CGT's first record to feature absolutely no covers, and the original works are stacked with a slew of improvisational pieces.
The trio often performs live with three acoustic guitars, as their technical mastery is ...
Saturday, November 27th, 2010
Available Dec. 14, 2010
Review By Andy McNeil, Assistant Editor
It’s hard to say no to Way Yes. Whether it’s the Muppet-like vocals or the island inspired beats - the duo has managed to create one of the year’s most unique releases while living in the land of the bland.
Columbus, Ohio, an often overlooked Midwestern rose between two urban thorns, isn’t necessary the first location that you might associate with a breezy worldbeat indie band, but Glenn Davis and Travis Hall have transformed the banks of the Scioto River into Kokomo.
The band is set to formally release Herringbone, a ...
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Killing The Dream
Avail Nov 23, 2010
FFO: Comeback Kid, Bane, Cave In
California's Killing The Dream are releasing their latest recorded effort today, a 7-song L.P. entitled Lucky Me via longtime label DeathwishInc.
Killing the Dream broke onto the scene in 2004 with their blazing Self-titled E.P., which quickly garnered the attention of New England's DeathwishInc, where the band would quickly find a welcoming home. In 2005, Killing The Dream laid down their breakthrough album In Place, Apart with God City Studios' mastermind Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, Disfear). The 12-song L.P. would go on to be hailed by critics and fans from ...
Monday, November 22nd, 2010
Bounty Hunter 1853
Available November 23, 2010
Genres: Instrumental rock, post-rock, angular indie rock
RIYL: Don Caballero, Slint, Ativin
Broughton’s Rules…what does that mean? Established by John “Jack” Broughton in the 1700s, it was the first “code” adhered to by boxing to reduce the number of fatalities in the sport. What does it mean today? A Pittsburgh-band that’s as hard-hitting and punchy as any other rock band out there. And if you can pardon the puns, they come out swinging, in fantastic fashion. Along with this review, we were able to catch up with ...
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Lines In The Sand (Remastered Reissue featuring Fuck Bar Culture EP and early Demo Recordings)
Six Weeks Records
FFO: Youth of Today, Ceremony, Deep Wound
Washington DC's straight-edge, hardcore punk powerhouse, Coke Bust have just re-released Lines In The Sand via Six Weeks Records for first time on CD featuring remastered versions of all tracks including their Fuck Bar Culture E.P. and early demo recordings. This special edition of Lines In The Sand includes 33 tracks clocking in at 31.5 minutes.
Unlike many of their straightedge contemporaries, Coke Bust do not fall into the chug-chug, boring breakdown after boring breakdown ...
Friday, November 5th, 2010
One Less Heartless To Fear Review
Karate Body Records/Noise Pollution
Available Nov. 9, 2010
By Andy McNeil, Assistant Editor
One Less Heartless To Fear, the sixth LP from Shipping News, is uncompromisingly raw and lyrically lush. The album was recorded live at two very different venues at opposite ends of the globe: Skull Alley in Louisville, KY and the O-Nest in Tokyo, Japan.
The new album (Karate Body Records/Noise Pollution), set to release on November 9th, embraces the honest quality of the minimalistic ally produced sound – including its quirks and flaws. This production does well to accommodate the sporadic spoken-word-like vocal ...
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
FFO: Brutal Truth, Capitalist Casualties, Pig Destroyer, Regurgitate
Phobia have long reigned as a patriarch of the American grind scene with over 20 years of proliferation that began with 7" releases at Relapse Records when the now indie-Goliath was still in its infancy and functioning out of a basement. This was before the term "grind" or "grindcore" was commonplace among extreme music aficionados. And although the band would release their first 7" in 1991, the turbulence of day-to-day life resulting in members changes and financial instability would see the band hold off on their first full-length until 1997.
It's no industry ...
Monday, November 1st, 2010
Available Nov. 2, 2010
By Andy McNeil, Assistant Editor
A bold and rather risqué comparison comes to mind when trying to liken Los Angeles’ Mini Mansions to another band. They are a sonically charged, psychedelically soaring Americanized version of The Beatles. Think the drug-induced St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – not the sound of the teeny-bopping Hard Day’s Night. Now before any elderly fans cry blasphemy – please listen to their debut album.
Mini Mansions’ self-titled album stands on its own. It is extremely catchy, extraordinarily complex and playfully bizarre. Above all ...
Sunday, October 31st, 2010
MINISTRY – Every Day is Halloween: Greatest Tricks
Earlier this month, Ministry released Every Day is Halloween: Greatest Tricks via Cleopatra Records and 13th Planet.
And by all accounts, the record title is accurate; it is a trick.
You will find Every Day is Halloween: Greatest Tricks at most music stores around the country. I actually found out about the album as I walked into a record store and heard it playing. You’ll find it for purchase on Amazon, and everywhere else you would imagine a national release to circulate.
Everywhere, that is, except on Ministry’s website or either of the releasing labels.
In 2004, Ministry founder ...
Monday, October 25th, 2010
Control DeniedThe Fragile Art of Existence: Special Re-Issue
Available Tuesday October, 26 2010
Review By Staff Writer, Lucy Leitner
The reason Control Denied’s 1999 album The Fragile Art of Existence sounds so familiar is because it is exactly such. Familiar. Composed of highly skilled members of Death, Iced Earth and Testament, among others, the late Chuck Schuldiner-led fringe supergroup is fairly standard progressive metal that with an element of grit.
Relapse Records’ reissue of Control Denied’s sole full-length album includes the original eight songs, along with a second CD that includes even ...
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
Kill The Client
Set For Extinction
Available Oct. 26, 2010
FFO: Phobia, Brutal Truth, Pig Destroyer
Grind enthusiasts have some preconceived notions of what we find acceptable in a grind record.
First set of rules: Music has to fast, pissed, and abrasive.
Upon first listen of Kill The Client's Relapse Records debut, Set For Extinction, we can quickly check these off the list. The riffs and accompanying drum work clock in at breakneck speed, punctuated by a ferocious vocal attack reminiscent of NYC's Brutal Truth - Need to Control, 90's era grind.
Grinders also like short songs.
Set For Extinction has an ...
Thursday, October 7th, 2010
TITAN Sweet Dreams Review and Interview with Kris D’Agostino
Sweet Dreams is available October 12, 2010 via Relapse Records
By Andy McNeil, Staff Writer
The gods of metal have stepped down from Mount Othrus and stomped their way to Brooklyn. No longer will the masses of stoner rock be forced to remain moored in a bog of droning riffs and mucky tones. TITAN has arrived – and this band is ready to rip – synth-style.
The New York act will be releasing their new album Sweet Dreams on Tuesday, October 12th on Relapse Records. TITAN, who have previously released material on Paradigms and Tee ...
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Songs For Singles E.P.
Hydra Head Records
Release Date: September 21, 2010
By Andy McNeil, Staff Writer
The phrase “short and sweet” may be generally frowned upon in between the sheets, but Torche’s latest release Songs For Singles (Hydra Head Records) ignites a passionate fuzz bomb that is just that - short and sweet.
The Miami-based trio fires through the first six of eight tracks on the new EP at warp speed - in fact, the song “Lay Low” blazes by in less than 60 seconds. Torche has streamlined their appearance after parting with the only longhair in the band - guitarist Juan Montoya. ...
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Cowboys From Hell
(Deluxe Edition 3CD) 20th Anniversary Edition.
Review by Staff Writer Larry West.
In the 20 years that Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell has been around, we’ve seen 4 presidents, a ton of wars, attacks, the death of hair metal, the rise and fall of nu-metal, and the rise, fall, and rise again of basically every metal band from the 80’s. But through it all, this album has proven to be the ultimate trend killer. Since its release, Cowboys From Hell is the album that every single metal band has been forced to top. So far, arguably, none have matched the impact ...
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Troy Von Balthazar
How To Live On Nothing
Third Side Records
Available Sept, 13 2010
By Andy McNeil
Troy Von Balthazar unleashes an ethereal collection of cat calls and ghostly lullabies on his second LP How To Live On Nothing.
Von Balthazar channels the spirit of Elliot Smith in this lo-fi indie folk release, which layers soft vocals over airy guitar – both acoustic and electric – with slowly meandering keyboard melodies. The moments that make this record shine aren’t necessarily the soothing ones though. The real diamonds ...