Monday, October 20, 2014

EIS Review: Constant Lovers "Experience Feelings"

Constant Lovers
Experience Feelings
Good To Die Records; 2014
Review by Juan Gastelum

Every day I thank the powers that be for music scenes like Washington. It is music like The Sonics, Nirvana, The Melvins, The Blood Brothers, etc. that has made life worth living and
inspired myself along with countless others to pick up an instrument. As the descendants of our forbearers we seek enlightenment through sound by tapping into their musical sorcery to analyze, deconstruct, and rearrange preexisting musical contexts to hopefully create something new and vital.

That is exactly what the super awesome Good to Die Records backed scum bucket rockers
Constant Lovers have done with their quirky yet wonderfully abrasive sophomore release,
Experience Feelings. Teetering between the scathing punk acrobatics akin to the Jesus Lizard, Pissed Jeans, Big Black, and the purveyors of grunge weirdness of the Cows with the almighty stomp of the Melvins you have Experience Feelings albeit tinged through a welcomed melodic filter.

Starting off with fierce opener “Mush Teeth” jagged jazzy guitar lines sway back and forth
alongside a swampy bass that would even make Kevin Rutmantis proud all the while the drums,
like a great jujitsu master, pummels the listener into submission. Personally for me this song
really takes me back to my rebellious, self-destructive, youth especially to this one particular situation in which a group of individuals wanted a fight and hypothetically a metal pipe may or may not have been picked up to kick off the bloody proceedings. If you dear reader are ever in a contest of fists to fists then Constant Lovers is the perfect soundtrack. It is this kind of wild eyed danger that sets the tone throughout the runtime of Experience Feelings in the best way possible.

Alongside their urge to sonically maim, Constant Lovers want laughs from their listeners. The
perfect example of this comes in the form of “Spread Your Wings” with its’ sleazy, mclusky like lyricism. On top of that the listener gets treated to a fantastical display of heavy shredding. “Spread Your Wings” can also serve as a love song because next time I get together with my lady friend its going on the love making playlist, thank you very much Constant Lovers. My two favorites off this album would definitely have to be single “Amazon Trickle” due to its Goth nature and Birthday Party like swing and centerpiece “Cry Me A River” for its perfect balance of dynamics. At the end of the day for any good album to really work a producer with the right know how is required. Not only did Matt Bayles get the loudness of this band right but there is such an ear for detail here to the point that it is as if the listener was in the same room the band recorded Experience Feelings in. That in it of itself makes it even more of joy to listen to Experience Feelings over and over again. Constant Lovers are truly in every sense a tour de force. I implore anyone with a taste for loud, dirty, noise rock or even just a love for music in general to listen to Constant Lovers because they most certainly deserve every second of your attention.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Parkay Quarts Ready "Content Nausea" LP + Tour Dates

[press release] Content Nausea, Parkay Quarts' second release of 2014, is the inevitable repercussion to Sunbathing Animal's pure emotion. With one member completing a degree in mathematics, and another starting a family, Content Nausea features mostly the work of Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, with the help of a few friends (Jackie-O Motherf*cker's Jef Brown on Saxaphone and Eaters' Bob Jones on fiddle). This likely explains the homophonic name shift, which was previously used on last years' "Tally All the Things That You Broke." Featuring some of the bands most accessible and dissonant recordings, Content Nausea was recorded, mixed and mastered in two weeks on a 4-track tape machine. The band wanted something that listeners could "live with over the winter." At 35 minutes, the record lies somewhere between an EP and an LP, but who's counting?

On Content Nausea, we find the band confidently exploring sounds that were previously only hinted at; Townes Van Zandt, Warren Zevon, and Dylan are evident points of departure on "Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth", a lonesome tale about "two men tragically colliding in the deep south," explains Savage. The 13th Floor Elevators get a hat tip via NYC reinterpretation of "Slide Machine", and there's even an unexpected, gender-bending cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking". "A personal karaoke standard," explains Savage. Mostly, Content Nausea reflects the rapid change in the band's hometown of New York City, while at the same time emphasizing the changes in the band itself. The record's sleeve is a bleak vision of Freedom-Tower-era NYC flooded by (what else?) content. A city that is becoming increasingly unrecognizable to its romantic history. Not unlike Parkay Quarts.


1. Everyday It Starts
2. Content Nausea
3. Urban Ease
4. Slide Machine
5. Kevlar Walls
6. Pretty Machines
7. Psycho Structures
8. The Map
9. These Boots
10. Insufferable
11. No Concept
12. Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth

Don't forget to catch a glimpse of the rare flower that is PCPC, the collaboration between Parquet Courts' Savage and Brown and members of PC Worship, as it blossoms for five unique US performances this month, a handful of European dates, and then likely closes for all eternity.


Tue. Oct 21 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus (as PCPC) w/ Thurston Moore
Wed. Oct 22 - Boston MA @ The Sinclair (as PCPC) w/ Thurston Moore
Fri. Oct 24 - Providence, RI @ The Met (as PCPC) w/ Thurston Moore
Sat. Oct 25 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle (as PCPC) w/ Thurston Moore
Sun. Oct 26 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade NYC (as PCPC) w/ Thurston Moore
Thu. Nov 6 - Washington DC @ DC9 (as Parkay Quarts)
Sat. Nov 8 - Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA (as Parkay Quarts)
Thu. Nov 13 - Lille, France @ Le Grand Mix (as Parkay Quarts)
Fri. Nov14 - Paris, France @ La Cigale (as Parkay Quarts)
Sat. Nov 15 - Nantes, France @ Stereolux (as Parkay Quarts)
Mon. Nov 17 - Toulose, France @ Bikini (as Parkay Quarts)
Wed. Nov 19 - Oostende, Belgium @ De Zwerver (as PCPC)
Thu. Nov 20 - Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique (as Parkay Quarts)
Fri. Nov 21 - Utrecht, Holland @ Le Guess Who (as Parkay Quarts)
Sat. Nov 22 - Amsterdam, Holland @ The Vrankrijk (as PCPC)
Sun. Nov 23 - Utrecht, Holland @ Le Guess Who (as PCPC)
Mon. Nov 24 - Ramsgate, UK @ Ramsgate Music Hall (as PCPC)
Tue. Nov 25 - London, UK @ Electroworkz (as PCPC)
Wed. Nov 26 - Leeds, UK @ Wardrobe (as Parkay Quarts)
Thu. Nov 27 - London, UK @ The Laundry (as Parkay Quarts)
Sat. Nov 29 - Koln, Germany @ Museum Ludwig (as Parkay Quarts)
Sun. Nov 30 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Rote Frabrik (as Parkay Quarts)
Thu. Dec 11 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall (as Parquet Courts)

EIS Review: Mutoid Man "Helium Head"

Mutoid Man
Helium Head
Magic Bullet/Sargent House; 2013/2014
Review by Alex Milstein

Mutoid Man released their ear-splitting debut, Helium Head, via Magic Bullet Records at the end of November 2013, which was kind of a strange time for it to come out. First, it was known that Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) would be pairing with drummer Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die), thus many thought it would be just another side project, sounding generic and too similar to their other bands who are already established. At the time, bassist Nick Cageao was not yet in the band. Second, it came out at the end of the year, meaning it didn't make it to many people's top 2013 best-of lists. It was only noticed by the masses when Sargent House Records signed them in the middle of 2014. And through all of this, Mutoid Man have proven themselves more than worthy of the attention.

The album wastes little time as "Gnarcissist," a brutally catchy, energetic mess of explosive riffs and undeniably smooth vocals, begins the mania. This was an excellent track to introduce Mutoid Man into the world with because it captures the raw energy and power of this duo. "Scavengers" is a particularly interesting song, as it teaches an important lesson. And to aid this lesson, it's all told in picture form on the amazingly colorful and vivid album cover done by Santos. The cover shows a suave Mutoid Man walking away from a band of decrepit, scavenger vultures who are "jamming on every bone," as the lyrics to the song go. The point is that too many other bands are just stealing the sounds of already existing bands, scavenging off of them, if you will, and they need to stop, think for themselves and write original music. Or, as the lyrics also say, just "shoot yourselves."

As other tracks like "Friday the 13/8" seep into heavier, more mathy territory, especially on vocals, the same memorable charm of previous tracks sneaks back into the music subtly from beneath. Together, it coalesces into a monster sound that is uncontrollably fun. Almost every song has a memorable chorus, and Brodsky's vocals just keep getting tighter as the album goes on. "Sacriledge," arguably the best track save "Gnarcissist," is a prime example of the talent these two men possess. Perhaps the song with the most hard rock influence, "Sacriledge" oozes with twangy guitars, intricate drums fills, classic rock vocals and a mind-bending ending breakdown. The chorus, "Sacrilege/ is how we live/You can't talk us down from our ledge," is appropriate and also quite hilarious once it's realized that they spell sacrilege as "Sacriledge" for the song title. It's not just great musicianship these two offer, it's also clever humor.

Just for fun, at the end of the CD release of Helium Head, the guys added a heavy, revamped cover of "Don't Let Me Be Understood," a jazz song originally written for famous singer/pianist Nina Simone and later covered by The Animals, Elvis Costello and more, and it absolutely rips. Honestly, one of the best covers I've heard any new band do recently. Without fail, these two brilliant men created an album as chaotic as it is musically in sync. There is obvious influence from their previous bands, as expected, but these guys have picked choice cuts from their other projects, brought new ideas to the table and rocked out harder than anyone imagined.

EIS Review: The Gradients "The Gradients"

The Gradients
The Gradients
Self Released; 2014
Review by Emilio Herce

The Gradients, comprised of Charlie DY, Sammy Weissberg, Luca Ba, and multi-instrumentalist J Boxer (the closest thing the Brooklyn music scene has to a polymath), play a blend of fuzzy dance-rock and sunken-eyed new wave. The songs are heavily dosed by East Coast and DC punk, and some even take cues from those ever formative, pubescent pop-punk bands, in the best way possible. Most of all, the album seems a product of that constellation of musicians that swirl around the band. Members of The Gradients play in BLUFFING, Fiasco, Red Dwarf, Le Rug and Old Table (I’m sure I’ve missed some), but their compiled musicianship has found a final form in The Gradients, an album equally sinewy and flush, with an incredibly long shelf life.

But let’s get past whether or not I like The Gradients (I really, really do) or if the album’s even any good (again, a resounding yes), as these are the least interesting things I can say about the record. Let’s talk about what makes the album so effective.

While many bands have turned towards the experimental and/or dissonant in search of a defining sound, The Gradients have bunkered down, seemingly aware that the genres that informed their sound were not done with them yet. This isn’t to say that the songs aren’t entirely autonomous, fresh, and original; they are. What the band manages to revive is an effect, not a formula. That effect being the feeling of hearing a song on the radio for the first time, waiting, finger on the record button, for the next time it plays, and then wearing that tape out.

In fact, many of the songs on the album carry that “new-favorite-song” smell. The openers “Growing Pile,” and “Always Breaking Down” for example are catchy and resonant, but still earnest and heavy as hell. “Gradients,” one of my favorites on the album, opens with a triumphant riff, which is joined almost immediately by Charlie’s insistent bass work and J Boxer’s precisely stuttered drumming, which accent the songs mini-crescendos. Towards the end the song threatens to pull apart completely, like a car rounding a corner at amazing speeds, teetering on it’s far wheels. Then the drums kick in again, the song regains traction, and we know we’ve survived it. “Shelf” begins creeping, and builds from there, hi-hat to ride, then back again, with added layers, over and over again, until the song hardly fits into your stereo.

The last two songs on the album are the ones that really stand out though, and almost comprise a concept album all to themselves. “Pea Pod” the first of the two, is plucked on a steel string acoustic guitar (I think, I’m a drummer). Its tone is plainspoken and content, and describes domestic bliss, a hazy day spent in pleasant company. But the song is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful, for the very reasons that the buoyant moments it depicts can tear you apart. Like the song, these moments are all too brief, and as if to further establish that point, the album changes gears with it’s closer, “Boxed In”. This song’s intro is reminiscent of one of those Super Mario dungeon levels, a neurotic dread hangs over it, along with the sense that you’ve been played and that the princess you searched for is somewhere else entirely. These two songs succinctly cover the breadth of the entire album, from the lighthearted and cheeky moments of songs like “Charlie 182” (which takes after it’s numerical namesake), to the frayed edges of whatever sanity songs like “In Perspective” managed to retain. Played back to back, the effect is utterly breathtaking.

But back again to what makes the album so effective. While the Gradients are clearly influenced by previous bands – they’re not the first to play searing songs about disillusionment in 4/4—they don’t seek to emulate. Instead they use the genres as a medium with which to paint their songs about love and loss, self-control and autonomy, or lack of both, and what makes their sound entirely their own is that they take a step out of irony and pretense. The tone of these songs is neither combative nor does it revel in detachment or seek sympathy. Rather, the songs seek community and understanding, and carry a hope that they’re not alone in these experiences. If rock music is a language, then The Gradients have created an entirely new dialect, familiar in form to its precursors, but with it’s own, novel inflections.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sonic Anhedonic Recording Co. Update: Chalk, Laska, Eugene Quell & More

An update from Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company...

"New videos! New records! New friends! SARC brings big news: the imminent release of Chalk's new album; the upcoming release of our new friends Laska's EP, and a new video from Eugene Quell. Plus a reminder or two of what we've been up to recently (just in case it slipped you by amongst a sea of impersonal electronic information - poor jaded, over-saturated sods that you are). Let's get on with it then.


"How To Become A Recluse", the second album from Chalk, will be released on 27th October on CD, digital download and (courtesy of Jen Long's Kissability label) audio cassette. You can stream a couple of songs HERE - "Everyone's Problem, No-one's Problem," and "It's Fine" - as well as pre-ordering the album right now. Check out the video for "Everyone's Problem..." and pre-order at the link above.


Oct 25th: The Old Blue Last, London
Oct 27th: The Prince Albert, Brighton


So, on November 17th, SARC will be releasing "By Our Tongues", the new EP from Laska. (Anyone familiar with the haunting talents of Rhys Baker and A NATIVE HUNDRED or WILD DOGS IN WINTER take note!) This 5 track EP - recorded in a remote cottage in Powys, Wales - is a haunting mix of fractured electronica, creaks, groans, pattering rain, ancient Welsh folklore and shimmering guitars. It's melancholy raised to a high art. We're excited to spread the word. In the meantime, check out lead track "Y Fall" HERE and this live video of the band playing their song "A Few Hours More" as part of the Grand Chapel Sessions HERE.


So there's a new video for "Alta Loma" by Eugene Quell. Incidentally, it doubles as a behind-the-scenes SARC documentary, and an explanation as to why we don't tend to get a lot done. Check it out.

Dig it? Well, check out the E.P., "A Great Uselessness", HERE. You can pick it up on 10" vinyl for only £5, by the way.


Oct 25th: Simple Things Festival
Oct 27th: Chalk album launch, The Prince Albert, Brighton
Oct 31st: Promoterhead Halloween Fundraiser, Underground Theatre, Eastbourne


Last but not least, cryptic-elusive / polyphilosophic Brighton noiseniks Love Among The Mannequins have released a pay-what-you-want download-only EP, "My Uncle's Ball of Lightning Will Put an End to Your Warped Psychology". It's based on a 1960s book-length study of three paranoid schizophrenics who were brought together by a rogue psychiatrist to try and cure them of their delusions, albeit with "interesting" results. Did I forget to mention they all believed they were Jesus Christ? Google "Milton Rokeach". It's complicated.

So that's that. It's been a pleasure. There will be more soon from Oliver Newton aka The Lunchtime Sardine Club (who finally has a new computer to record on after the old one blew up), a second album from Vincent Vocoder Voice, and the debut album from Eugene Quell, which is already all but recorded."

Beauty Pill Announce New Album For 2015

[press release] After over a decade with Dischord Records, the DC-based band Beauty Pill has signed with the new New York-based label Butterscotch Records.

Of the label switch, Beauty Pill's Chad Clark says: "I will always feel love and gratitude toward Dischord. I don't know where I'd be in my life if it weren't for Ian MacKaye believing in me and choosing to amplify and distribute my work. But it goes beyond that. What you learn from Ian is how to address the world on your own terms."

Clark, who is well-known for his work as a producer/engineer on albums by Fugazi, Mary Timony, Dismemberment Plan, Bob Mould, and Marc Ribot adds "Butterscotch was founded by a producer/engineer named Allen Farmelo, a guy I very much respect and admire. He's full of integrity. In one early conversation, I said 'I don't know if Beauty Pill's music fits in anywhere,' he responded simply and flatly 'I don't care. It's great art. That's all that matters to me.' In many respects, Allen reminds me of Ian."

Farmelo is thrilled to add Beauty Pill to the roster, and says "It's important that Butterscotch slowly builds a roster of artists who are breaking new musical turf, upholding really high standards of fidelity and also taking a daring approach to live performance. The stuff Beauty Pill has been up to in the past couple years embodies everything we value, and Chad and I are sympatico on a lot of levels, even our politics. And that matters to me."

Butterscotch will be releasing Beauty Pill's highly anticipated new full-length album, Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are. The release will be the band's first new album in 10 years and features the return of multi-instrumentalist Abram Goodrich [bass, guitar, drums], who was in the original Beauty Pill trio that made The Cigarette Girl From The Future. In the Spring of 2015, the label will also release an expanded vinyl re-issue of their acclaimed record The Cigarette Girl from the Future which received a 9.0 on Pitchfork in it's initial pressing.

Beauty Pill recorded the forthcoming album as part of a commissioned experimental art project called "Immersive Ideal" where the band allowed people to watch them create the music. Beauty Pill essentially made their creative process into an exhibit in an art museum. It was an exercise in radical transparency. Fans who visited Artisphere enjoyed it and for the band, it was a fun but challenging experience.

In 2008, a rare, random virus entered Chad Clark's heart and nearly killed him. Viral infections in the heart are nearly always fatal. His life was saved by an open heart surgery.

Clark says "There is no denying that our album is laced and informed by the specter of mortality. Sometimes it comes up directly, as it does on the songs 'Near Miss Stories' and 'Dog With Rabbit In Mouth, Unharmed.' There is some darkness to it, but we tried to make that darkness as vibrant and electric as possible. I guess you could call it 'colorful darkness.'"

"At once comforting and unnerving, Beauty Pill bring a fresh intelligence to lyrical cynicism, and capably invokes the chaotic noise of metropolises." - Pitchfork

"fans will recognize many of the group's signatures in the new recordings - Clark's melodic stamp, a balance of male and female vocals, and evocative lyrics that frequently dovetail between everyday life and the politics of race
and class." - Washington City Paper

Monday, September 29, 2014

EIS Review: Lair "Lair"

Surveillance Investments; 2014
Review by Cameron Stewart

Lair is the product of collaboration between Jon Moxley and ex-Arvid Noe guitarist Alek Glasrud. Their sound is unmistakably a member of Boston’s experimental scene, sharing plenty of personality with peers like Guerilla Toss, (New England) Patriots, and Glasrud’s former trio. While Lair isn’t quite as left field, they still look grossly deformed (in the best way possible) compared to most any other musical act.

Their self-titled debut (the digital version of which will run you $666) blends dancing synths, feedback, and ADD rhythmic fills into a volatile product that is equal parts perplexing and intriguing. “Galactic Agent” begins with upbeat arpeggios, crushingly distorted guitar, and vocal pulses reminiscent of Steve Reich and finishes in a flurry of crash cymbals and feedback trails. As eclectic as this combination sounds, the duo pepper in each element quite gracefully against its rigid rhythmic structure.

The album bears a distinctly German texture between the exaggeratedly artificial Kraftwerk keyboards and worming, asymmetrical krautrock percussion. Vocals exist somewhere between organic or electronic and monotone or sung, especially on “Helpless Humanoid.” In classic Bostonian fashion, songs tend to jump from quiet to loud with little warning, but manage to avoid being jarring. Soft blips morph into gigantic chords while drum-machine percussion becomes an acoustic cacophony. At a time where music feels disturbingly homogenous, Lair manages to be truly weird, which is endlessly refreshing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

EIS Review: Floor "Oblation"

Season of Mist; 2014
Review by Alex Milstein

More than 20 years ago, Steve Brooks, Anthony Vialon, and drummer at the time Betty Monteavero created a band that would change the way heavy music was perceived. They would fuse thick, low-tuned (at first, out of tune) guitars with upbeat, jangly vocals and simplistic yet driving drums. A 8-CD box set released a few years ago gives a taste of everything Floor have done through the years, from changing drummers, to adding melody, and even experimentation with SunnO))) style drone. Their self-titled (arguably the best album of their career) didn't immediately win the attention of public, so now the trio are back with an oblation to the fans who found them too late.

Floor have been my favorite band for years now, and when hearing about a new album release, I didn't know what to expect. Sure, Floor went on tour in 2010 and were amazing, but would a new album just be more of the same? Unfortunately (or maybe not), this album is more of the same, but not of Floor. Oblation sounds like Torche with Henry Wilson on drums, which is essentially what it is, save for Anthony Vialon holding down second guitar like a pro. Torche, Steve Brooks' other band, formed in 2004 and turned out to give even more people tinnitus than Floor. This became Brooks' new focus, and Oblation shows that he may not be able to cross back into Floor material so easily. This makes sense, as Torche were actually the band to make Floor popular some years after Floor released their ignored self-titled masterpiece. But they always had their similarities, as Torche's first albums sounded more like a continuation of Floor. It's a vicious cycle.

But I don't think Oblation is just a Torche rip off. There are some really quality songs that make Floor stand out as their own band. "New Man," "Sister Sophia," and "Love Comes Crushing" are some of the strongest tracks, displaying the unmistakable energy that Floor are known for. Their live show was a little sloppier than when they first reunited, but these new songs were just as fun to hear live as the old songs, and the stage presence of all three members never fails to entertain. The drums on the album really help keep the songs sounding like Floor because they are minimalistic but powerfully pummeling at the same time. "Homegoings and Transitions" offers a break from typical Floor/Torche mania and almost sounds like a song that could have been written by the Butthole Surfers. It's an interesting track for it's electronic passages, but it also helps mix the album up and give a break from the non-stop crunching of guitars.

What both makes and breaks Floor's sound is the improvement of Brooks' vocals. This is mostly the reason Floor now sound so much like Torche, but it's one of those things that can't be helped and can be looked at as positive or negative. In an interview included with the reissue of Floor's self-titled album, Brooks admits that he didn't get his true voice until Torche had been playing for a few years. But now that he has it, he wields it prouder than ever. "Trick Scene" is an example of the improved vocals, but now the only conundrum is whether you accept the Torche vocals on Floor songs, or if you dismiss it all together. Fortunately for Torche fans, you'll really like this album, but for all you original fans of Floor, there may be something left to be desired.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

EIS Review: Bleeding Rainbow "Interrupt"

Bleeding Rainbow
Kanine; 2014
Review by Stephen Pierce

In 1979, The Ramones set to record their fifth LP, End of the Century, with Phil Spector. In an acknowledged attempt to break the charts, they employed the guy famous for successful engineering through layers beyond layers of instrumentation, taking what would otherwise have been pretty standard & straight-ahead pop songs and lending them a power, a feeling, a depth otherwise not present. Now, whether that succeeded or not in the case of End of the Century remains up for debate, but the parallel that I'm trying to draw here is that over the course of the past few LPs, Bleeding Rainbow has increasingly been making records that are simultaneously more pop-driven, complex, to the point, and noisy than what came before.

Formerly a two-piece called Reading Rainbow, the duo of Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia began crafting lo-fi off-the-cuff disposable pop songs, evolving to a point where they're capable of producing a statement as concise, heavy, and well-honed as Interrupt. If their last record, Yeah Right, was a cut above their previous output - and it was a fantastic record - Interrupt renders Yeah Right irrelevant. The best energies & most heavy-hitting moments on Yeah Right essentially form the foundation on which Interrupt is built.

The opening track, "Time and Place", could be seen as a mission statement, cramming as much bombast and fire into 2:35 as possible. The song essentially picks up on what prior outings like "Pink Ruff" were putting out there - driving pop with an underlying noise & scuzz to it. The major difference (and maybe a bit of a writer's cop-out) is the distinct otherness to Interrupt. There's a thread there that holds it all together, that elevates it beyond what I had expected, but it's subtle and unquantifiable.

By the time "So You Know" hit me, four songs in, I didn't really need any convincing. But - if I did, it would've done the trick: This is one of those standout songs that if made ten years ago would've been the second (and most important) entry on all the mixtapes that I made for tours, trips, friends, etc. It conveys in just over three minutes what some bands spend their entire recorded output trying to hit on. Sarah's vocals are simultaneously reserved and soaringly confident, while the guitars show a similar degree of restraint, avoiding over-layering. The drums, played by Robi Gonzalez of A Place to Bury Strangers, are a real highlight of the song, in their balance of precision and chaos. "So You Know" is as perfect a song as I can think of; one to come back to, for sure.

Another highlight, "Cut Up", starts with an extended building intro, exploding from there into the single most driving thirty seconds of the record, returning after a half-minute to the atmospheric tension of the intro. It again dives into a frenetic whirlwind for the remainder of the song, which ushers in what, for me, is the album's most singularly beautiful moment, the closer "Phase".

"Phase" is a mostly subdued display of shimmering reverb and feedback, noisey guitar parts heavy on the tremolo bar note bends. Toward the end, it flirts with the pace and energy of the rest of Interrupt, but the focus seems to be different; It's more of a layered noise bit rather than the punchy heavy pop of the nine preceding songs. "Phase" is a perfect end to a record, as it essentially sums up the strengths of Bleeding Rainbow's past two full lengths in one movement.

While altogether a hard record to nail down to any particular genre, Interrupt exists in a space where perhaps that sort of thing is irrelevant. It stands on it's own legs, not needing to be buoyed by words as restrictive as "punk" or "shoegaze" or whatever. Bleeding Rainbow have, with Interrupt, crafted a fully-formed version of themselves that I think has been bubbling beneath the surface for their last many records, waiting for the right circumstances to present itself. Interrupt is the sound of a band truly becoming comfortable in it's sound.

What's next should be absolutely incredible.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

EIS Review: Ava Luna "Electric Balloon"

Ava Luna
Electric Balloon
Western Vinyl; 2014
Review by Emilio Herce

It’s almost impossible to get a feel for Ava Luna’s latest release on first listen, though that’s not in anyway a bad thing. Electric Balloon is like that ostensibly cool kid at the party, whom you have yet to meet. It’s not entirely polished, but well put together, more certain about itself than most, and unafraid to express dissatisfaction or dabble in dissonance. This, and an inability to sum the album up tidily, might put you off it initially, but once you become better acquainted, you’ll discover that Electric Balloon is profound and remarkably solid. What you felt initially was jealousy, mostly for the fact that you didn’t think of it first, because Ava Luna is incredibly creative, self-assured, but most of all disarming.

I admit that my favorite parts of the album are when the band is in full strut, such as on the songs “Sears Roebuck M&M” and “Plain Speech.” These songs are slinky and slicked back, not a hair, or note out of place. The album is refreshing in large part for just this reason. Ava Luna doesn’t feel the need to fill in every empty space, and despite there being five members in it’s current iteration, the album never feels rushed or stuffy. Yes, there are moments when Electric Balloon vibrates wildly, putting you on edge, but this effect coincides with calmer moments, a hectic verse into a more staid chorus say, as on “Hold U”. Each part brings the other into sharper focus. That said, this simple interpretation of Ava Luna’s MO is insufficient. The band is a collaboration of various creative voices, each pulling in divergent directions, though never pulling the entire thing apart. Because of this, the album covers a lot of ground, from the busy bossa-nova of “Aquarium” to “Electric Balloons” slinky, new-wave cadence.

Electric Balloon is the work of a group zeroing in on its strengths, but one still unafraid to go in unexplored directions. Toward it’s latter half, the record’s tone turns to the introspective. I’m speaking specifically about “PRPL.” The song, Ava Luna’s take on a stripped down R&B, shakes off previous swank, and leaves itself wide open, which might strike you as a weakness, but showing vulnerability here is their greatest strength. This is what I meant by disarming. The record is admittedly top heavy, but the quieter songs at the end serve to anchor it. Be careful not to prejudge Ava Luna. Electric Balloon is the product of a band that may have been lead around by its self-awareness for a long time, but they’ve come to trust this perception, and are finally using it to their advantage.

Quick Notes: Two Inch Astronaut, Raspberry Bulbs, It Must Be Love

*[] Maryland’s Two Inch Astronaut play a sort of math-y emo/post-hardcore that draws from that particular subgenre’s seminal acts: Sunny Day Real Estate, Dismemberment Plan, Cap’n Jazz. But while Two Inch Astronaut may sound awfully familiar (I’m trying to put my finger on a specific vocal comparison here and it’s just eluding me), they also sound explosively fresh. Their 2013 debut, Bad Brother, stood out even on the excellent Exploding In Sound roster, but “Foulbrood” — the title track from their forthcoming sophomore LP — sounds bigger, more confident, and more technically adept in every way, from the writing to the vocal and instrumental performances. All the band’s abundant tools are employed in the service of a great song here, but man, those tools are abundant, and man, this song is great. Listen.

Foulbrood is out 11/25 via Exploding In Sound Records. Pre-order it HERE.

*[] Last year, Brooklyn’s Raspberry Bulbs put out the grimy as hell Deformed Worship and landed spots in both the May 2013 edition of our monthly metal column, the Black Market, as well as our list of the year’s best metal albums. And now they’ve got another album ready to go: It’s titled Privacy and it’s out this fall. It takes confidence to start your new album’s first single with 45 seconds of distant clanging metal, but Raspberry Bulbs follow that with a caustic combination of brute force and decayed atmosphere. “Light Surrounds Me” is more than enough to get one excited about the return of Raspberry Bulbs. Listen to it below.

Privacy is out this November via Blackest Ever Black.

*It Must Be Love is a new band featuring Dan Angel (Gunk/Ugh God), Nate Dionne (Gunk), and Sean Finan (Ugh God). They just released a self titled EP on RANCH Records and it's incredible. The band are about to go on tour with label mates Snoozer (including a stop in Chicago with Geronimo! and My Dad). We don't have the dates for that tour though ten days ago they were looking something like this...

9/26 NY
9/27 CT
9/28 MA
9/29 NY
9/30 PA
10/1 OH
10/2 IN
10/3 IL
10/4 MI

Anyway... check out this EP. It's amazing. I really hope this band is around for a while to come.

Team Sleep Reunite + Invite Fans into Recording Session

[press release] Team Sleep, the influential group featuring members of Deftones, Crosses, Death Grips (Zach Hill) and more, is reuniting to record the long-awaited follow up to their self-titled 2005 debut. In a unique opportunity for fans, the band is offering an exclusive look at the recording process. On October 17th & 18th, Team Sleep is inviting fans to Applehead Recording in Woodstock, NY as part of the Woodstock Sessions series for a listening party of the new material, a Q&A session with the band, a live performance, a meal with the band and much more. Fans will receive recordings of the live performance both digitally and on vinyl, a CD of previously unreleased material, exclusive merchandise and more. Tickets are now available HERE.

Throughout the fall, Team Sleep record new material to be released in the coming year, with more details to be revealed soon. To hold fans over in the meantime, the band has unveiled two previously unheard snippets of tracks entitled "No" and "Dreamland," available for stream and embed below.

The band's statement is below:

"Dear friends,

Please join us as we create our next record in Woodstock, New York. We'll gather at Applehead studio, near the base of the Catskill mountains to eat, write, play and record. For a long time, business people, logistics, careers, adulthood, families and the House Republicans have thwarted us, but we've continued to make music. At the same time, the creative process has become increasingly fragmented and dehumanized. With that in mind, we're very excited to get together with our friends, hang out, play music and have a unique experience in a beautiful place. We'd like you to be there, too. Your participation will be essential to the independent creation and release of the live performance and our forthcoming studio record; we look forward to seeing you.

Thank you very much,

Chino Moreno
Todd Wilkinson
Zach Hill
Rick Verret
Chuck X"

Woodstock Sessions ticket purchase provides:

-A hooded sweatshirt with a design which will not be sold outside of this event ( please include your size)
-Silk-screened posters hand made by the band and signed
-A CD featuring previously unreleased music
-A listening party to hear new material the band is working on
-A local, gourmet meal with the band provided Sunfrost Farms
-An in-studio experience with question and answer session as the band works on and records new songs
-A live performance featuring new and old songs
-limited run vinyl of the audio from the live recordings
-A digital download of the audio from the live recordings
-A digital download of the video from the event

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EIS Review: Emma Ruth Rundle "Some Heavy Ocean"

Emma Ruth Rundle
Some Heavy Ocean
Sargent House; 2014
Review by Alex Milstein

It's safe to say Emma Ruth Rundle is no musical novice. As an integral part of her various other musical projects (Red Sparrowes, Marriages, the Nocturnes) Rundle brings a new edge with her solo albums. Her last solo effort, Electric Guitar One, offered a glimpse into the mind of Rundle through simple, minimalistic atmosphere. Some Heavy Ocean delves even deeper into this troubled mind, and with the addition of vocals, the sound turns chillingly eerie, gloomy, yet hopeful.

Far too often is sorrowful music meaningless. Rundle has overcome the obstacle of mediocrity and created an album full of sentiment and spirit that anyone anywhere can relate to, no matter the situation. Everyone has internal struggles, but ERR brings them to the surface. Rundle seeps out of the pure minimalism of her last album and ventures into a very celtic-sounding style, as she notes was intentional. While the sound changes, mostly due to vocals and the addition of drums, the same atmosphere from Electric Guitar One quietly crawls in, especially on the first track. "Some Heavy Ocean" starts the album with a spooky repetition of barely audible vocals and ethereal guitars. This is a good track to open the album with, as its sound seems divided between her other album and the new one, bringing aspects of both to the table. As the album progresses, the theme of melancholia becomes apparent. If not just from song titles like "Run Forever" or "Arms I Know So Well," then from lyrics like "Deliver me from all the evil I've done to myself/ And deliver to me to arms open/Arms I know so well."

But that's the appeal of the album. Even more so, it's engaging because the album is about personal struggle, but not necessarily stupid past relationships or break-ups. It's about getting away ("Run Forever,") family ("Oh Sarah") and internal struggle with ones life ("Haunted Houses"). Rundle's lyrics offer listeners a way to find their own emotions through hers, which some don't realize is a way of separating a good musician from a bad one. "Living with the Black Dog" ends the album with crunchy guitars, and sounds like it could be straight off of Electric Guitar One but with vocals. This song, debatably one of the best on the album, sucks you into that nebulous hole of self doubt that we all know and love, but it doesn't trap you. Something about the dejection of the album makes it hopeful and satisfying, and when it's all over, it becomes apparent that she has tapped into a deep emotion, and not just hers, but the listeners as well.

Monday, September 22, 2014

EIS Review: Eugene Quell "Eugene Otto Quell / A Great Uselessness"

Eugene Quell
Eugene Otto Quell / A Great Uselessness
Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company; 2014
Review by Corey Sustarich

First came the awesome Eugene Otto Quell and then the wonderful follow up, A Great Uselessness. Both EPs hold four dirty little pop songs.

Their first EP Eugene Otto Quell hits right in the strangest spots. With simple chord structures remnant of some sunken grunge-era songs, Quell fishes out a fascinating take on fuzzy pop. The guitar work opens, crackling and sizzling. The lyrics, sprinkled with the salt and accent of Brighton, pair themselves with the eccentricity of wooly and bizarre instrumentation while the phrasing itself embodies Eugene Quell through honest clich├ęs and jabs. The opening track, “Lull,” is collected and dynamic. The interlude is a bursting guitar riff with firm drums and bass. The musicianship accentuates the glum words and tugs the song along. “Weird Purr” is THE track! The sometimes subtle, often mad guitar styling coupled with the humble, driving and chance forwardness of the drums and bass tighten up the grit of this captivating pop song. It is the hum-along, can’t-forget song of the EP. The third track, “Ear, Nose And Mouth” follows the algorithm of spazzy guitar riffing and effects glued to charming vocal melodies all bolted together by a killer rhythm section. “Make A House A Home” draws the EP to a close as the somber acoustic tune. The lyrics “I’m at home when I’m with you” echo as corny as ever but the genuine presentation lands draining, reflective, and beautiful.

The sound of A Great Uselessness is right on point with the first release. The riffs are just as catchy, the words as pointed. The female vocals and amount of samples are more apparent but, beyond minor tweaks, they have kept their sound. “Hell Presidente” quickly opens up the second EP with resonant drums and a nice pop hook. A calm, sweet vocal duet breaks midway through and disintegrates into one of their signature grainy interludes of booming drums and crunching strings. An up-tempo and catchy tune begging for an immediate replay, “That One Song” is a fast pour. It holds true to the Quell song structure but has its own color. The third, “Alta Loma”, grooves so hard! The guitar tricks and tone pair so unbelievably well with the vocals and the last 47 seconds are great enough to be their own song. The brilliance of this track lies in its unformatted delivery; once the climax is reached the song ends. Just like the first EP, they close out with an acoustic track called “And There Goes The Drugs”. Simple and sad.

Woozy Release New Single "Magma Stoddard" + Tour Dates

[] New Orleans' Woozy are releasing a four-way split with Ex-Breathers, Ovlov and Gnarwhal on November 4 via Community Records (pre-order HERE). Woozy contribute two songs, "The Other Half Lives" and "Magma Stoddard," the latter of which premieres in this post. The track combines the math rock noodling of Minus the Bear or Maps & Atlases with the fuzz pop of early Wavves or PAWS, and it's a good mix. You can check that one out below.

Woozy are kicked off a tour in Tallahassee this past Thursday (9/18) and hitting NYC on October 3 at Palisades with The Great Void, Life Size Maps and Bluffing. No advance tickets at the moment, $5 admission. All dates are listed below.

Woozy -- 2014 Tour Dates:

09/22 - Memphis, TN - Carcosa House w/ Gryscl
09/23 - St. Louis, MO - FOAM Coffee & Beer
09/24 - Carbondale, IL - The Swamp
09/25 - Champaign, IL - Mike & Molly's
09/26 - TBA (MI, IL help!)
09/27 - Chicago, IL - Saki Records
09/28 - Indianapolis, IN - Ringgold Starr House
09/39 - Oberlin, OH - Windy Pines
09/30 - Arlington, VA - CD Cellar w/ Two Inch Astronaut
10/01 - Philadelphia, PA - Golden Tea House
10/02 - Tivoli, NY - Bard College - Root Cellar
10/03 - Brooklyn, NY - Palisades w/ Life Size Maps, Bluffing
10/04 - Bloomfield, CT - Nicolas' Cage
10/05 - Brooklyn, NY - The Black Strap
10/06 - Pittsburgh, PA - TBA
10/07 - Kalamazoo, MI - TBA
10/09 - Rock Island, IL - Daytrotter Session
10/09 - Lawrence, KS - 8th St Taproom