Dank Tones: Steinsopp – “Steinsopp”

Steinsopp are a psychedelic rock band from Norway. I think their name is the Norwegian word for the Boletus edulis mushroom but I could be wrong. They write some dank fuckin’ riffs.

One might ask, “But what are dank riffs?” and one might answer, “I have no fucking idea, its just a word that sounds cool”. Or you might say that these dank riffs are like huffing from a bag of high-grade greenery, filling up your senses with that sweet, cloying, godly smell of sticky green bundles.

This is old-school riff worship, with huge guitarss, laid-back drums and gallons of distortion. King-ranch riffs, wafting their way out like so many heavy clouds of smoke. A lot of bands try to sound like they have patina and don’t quite make it all the way, these guys sound genuinely crunchy, like they were actually pressed in the 70’s, not just digitally altered to try and sound that way.

This whole album sounds goddamn amazing. It strikes the perfect balance of distortion and clarity, with some of the best vintage tones for miles around. These songs are textured like the best of 70’s fashion. No polyester or pleather, just rough-spun denim, heavy cotton and corduroy.

Listen below and find your own copy on Bandcamp.

Facebook

 

Nostalgic Rambling: Hostage Life – “Walking Papers”

I’d been meaning to write this post for a while, ever since seeing a recent news story about the amount of doctor-assisted suicides provided in Canada since they became legal (More than 1300, with cancer being the main cause). It may seem like a weird transition into talking about a band I grew up listening to but it should mostly make sense.

Hostage Life were a Toronto punk band active from 2002 to 2009. They released 3 albums, “Sing for the Enemy”, “Walking Papers” and “Centre of the Universe”. I started listening to them when they were getting radio play for their newest single at the time, “This Song Was Written By A Committee” on what was then Toronto’s new rock station, 102.1 The Edge.

As a kid halfway through high school, my reasons for digging this band were pretty straightforward; they were loud and they sounded cool. I was quick to purchase “Walking Papers” soon after hearing their single and the album has stuck with me until today.

What I didn’t realise at the time was how brutally human “Walking Papers” was and how they were singing songs about dirt-floor, physical issues that tend to be neglected by most punk bands. Such as the song that spawned the opening ramble about assisted suicide, “How to Die With a Smile”.

When I first heard this song at 16 or so, it flew far over my head. Death was barely a concept to me, yet alone the thought of choosing to end your own life due an incurable illness but as I grew older and kept hearing these songs, they all started to make more sense.

Songs like “The Quietest Mutiny” or “Sons of Hostage Life”, about working for people you hate to pay your bills and keep yourself fed. “Inside this shirt and tie, my pride and debt collide” is not something I was hearing from other punk bands at the time. Sure, striving to overthrow capitalist western society may be a noble goal but I still gotta go to work in the morning.

Even a song I have had the good fortune not to experience, “Fuck, I Hope You’re Not Pregnant”, is the kind of scathingly honest music that kept me listening to these guys year after year. It’s an album I never grew out of but only keep growing in to.

You can find the whole album on Youtube, provided by their old label, Underground Operations.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

Mystery Meat: Ninjaspy – “Spüken”

Ninjaspy is a three-piece hybrid metal band from British Colombia that I was jocking in high school but had kinda faded from my memory in years past. I remember getting hooked on their music from the quick-stepping genre changes, brutal (at the time) grooves and bombastic energy filling every track. However, as my tastes changed and attentions shifted, I found them getting in the rotation less and less.

To a “traditional” listener of heavy music, these guys probably come across as odd or gimmicky. Their style borrows heavily from System of a Down and Dillinger Escape Plan, blending crazy style changes mid-song with deep breakdowns and sometimes random sounds. It’s a big ol’ pot of mystery gumbo, odd looking from afar but more than capable of taking your taste buds on a pleasant, if strange, journey.

This was their sound on the album I discovered, 2007’s “Pi Nature” and is more or less the same kind of sound you’ll find on their newest album, “Spüken”. The tap-dancing genres and nomadic grooves have become both more abstract and more polished at the same time. Stepping back and looking at the different parts of the song individually, you might think that the combination will be distasteful but once you get into the meat of the track, you can’t help but have a smile on your face through the whole song.

Tracks like “Shuriken Dance” and “What!?!?” show the band plowing through some pretty audacious combos that I can’t help but slam dance in my chair to. Purists might cringe but to an average dirt-worshipper such as myself, “Spüken” is a refreshing blast of fun and creativity.

You can find “Spüken” on Bandcamp. Listen below and see what you think.

Facebook

Cheap Shots: Lies – “Abuse/Plague”

I’ve had this bookmarked for so long I forgot where I found it. So here’s a quick, dirty dump of some healthy d-beat thrash.

Lies are the band, “Abuse” and “Plague” are the albums. This collection was released in July of 2016 and is split with their newest album, “Plague”, which runs from tracks 8 to 15 and their debut album, “Abuse”, which runs from track 1 to 7. None of these tracks stray past the 2 minute mark, making this a furious but concise listen.

Both are vile fucking circle pits of harsh noise, reptilian d-beats and violent grooves. Short, skinny and mean, a mangy-riddled mongrel with snaggled teeth and antisocial tendencies. Play loud, get fucked.

Lies Facebook

Didn’t Miss a Thing: New Norska Track

With my continued sabbaticals from this blog, I’ve been missing out on plenty of releases from bands I would usually be following pretty closely. Part of this may be due to not having Facebook anymore but part of it is definitely laziness. However, this week I got lucky.

Norska is a killer sludge band from Oregon who I wrote about in 2012. They just released a new track from their upcoming album, “Too Many Winters”, their first since 2012. The track in question is “Samhain” and it takes the sounds that Norska started with and starts to weave them in a new direction.

Their previous outputs had them firmly sloshing through the deeper waters of doom, with long, ominous interludes and barrages of demonic vocals, laced over some truly nasty riffs. It was slow, deliberate and evil.

“Samhain” on the other hand, opens up with a hard charge and clean vocals, before getting down into some neck snapping grooves and underworld bellowing. Then, things get weird. A looping guitar line comes out of the murk and starts running circles inside your head only to get snapped down into some jazzy noodling and then slapped right out again into some almost mathematical territory.

I like this.

There’s a lot going on in this track, from the algebraic noodling and sticky sludge riffs, to almost NWOBHM sounding melodies and clean vocals. This has gotten me real excited to see what the whole album will hold.

“Too Many Winters” will be released on May 26th through Brutal Panda Records.

Trash Pipe: BUMMER – “Freedom Cobra”

BUMMER are nasty 3 piece from Kansas City who I found out about after they signed on to tour with WHORES this spring. They just released a new track, “Freedom Cobra”, following up another track they released in October of last year, “King Shit”.

Both of these are fuckin’ new age rippers with a potent cocktail of sludge, grind, hardcore, punk and knuckle-dragging. The riff on “King Shit” in particular, licks its fingers and jams them deep in your lizard brain, getting that neck loose. It’s abrasive, chest-pounding beer swill that has got me plenty stoked for their trip to Toronto.

Catch their upcoming split with PINKO on April 7th or see them on tour with WHORES in the coming months.

BUMMER Facebook

BUMMER Tour Dates

4/6 Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge *
4/7 Kansas City, MO – Mills Record Company *
4/8 Minneapolis, MN – Hexagon Bar *
4/9 Milwaukee, WI – Quarters *
4/10 Chicago, IL – Burlington *
4/11 Columbia, MO – Cafe Berlin *
4/12 Hot Springs, AR – TBA *
4/13 Denton, TX – Gatsby’s Mansion *
4/14 Austin, TX – Sidewinder *
4/15 San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger *
5/12 Atlanta, GA- The Drunken Unicorn ^
5/13 Memphis, TN – Growlers ^
5/14 Louisville, KY – Haymarket ^
5/15 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups ^
5/16 Canton, OH – Buzzbin ^
5/17 Washington DC – DC9 ^
5/18 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie ^
5/19 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus ^
5/21 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk ^
5/22 Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus ^
5/23 Toronto, ON – Coalition ^
5/24 Detroit, MI – Loving Touch ^
5/26 Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club ^
5/28 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room ^
5/29 Denver, CO – Hi Dive ^
5/30 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge ^
6/01 Seattle, WA – The Highline ^
6/02 Portland, OR – Ash Street Saloon ^
6/03 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge ^
6/04 Oakland, CA – Eli’s Mile High Club ^
6/05 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo ^
6/06 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar ^
6/07 Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge ^
6/09 Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note ^
6/10 Austin, TX – Barracuda ^
6/11 Dallas, TX – Three Links ^

* with P I N K O
^ with Whores. & WRONG

 

Music Video Oscar; DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak

I was on a work trip to the UAE for the last week. The hotel TV didn’t have anything to watch so I spent a lot of time on Youtube, leading me to find the music video for “Nobody Speak” from the newest DJ Shadow album. I’d never heard of DJ Shadow before but I knew who Run the Jewels were, so I decided to give it a go.

Hip-hop may or may not be your thing (I dig it) but genre aside, this video is fucking superb. Goddamn Academy Award-level shit. The setup, production, acting, song beats, the song itself. The whole thing gels so damn well it almost brings a tear to my eye. Usually the actors are the weak link in the lip-syncing-a-rapper video segment but in this case, these actors fucking kill it.

10/10.

Fuck, that’s heavy: God Syndrome and WOUNDVAC

Work trips suck. LETS. GET. BROOOOOOOOTALLLLLL!

God Syndrome

The second Russian band to contact me this year, God Syndrome are a melodic death metal band from Samara, Russia. While some bands can be hard to pin down to a certain genre, God Syndrome are very clearly at home in the halls gouged out by such notaries as Hypocrisy and Carcass, which is not a bad thing by any metric.

Thunderous, rhythmic attacks hammered out with double kicks and distorted guitars, God Syndrome are fucking dynamic and heavy, with loads of the aggressive melodies key to their genre. Plenty of dope riffage to be found as well, like on “Five Acts of Deception” and “Fire”

Their newest album, “Controverse” was released in February of 2016 and you can stream that below. You will also find a video for their newest single, “The Den”, that was released in December 2016.

Facebook

VK

==–==–==–==–==–==

WOUNDVAC – INFAMY

I wrote about this Arizona-based hardcore band a couple months ago after they were gracious enough to send me a free flexi disc and a sticker (I love stickers). Since then they have a new release under their belts, the “INFAMY” 7″.

WOUNDVAC have put together another vicious collection of utterly efficient hardcore and grind. There’s no wasted expositions, just some fuckin’ gnarly blast beats and chugs, laced together with brutish howling and neolithic grooves. The soundtrack to a thousand dingy basement shows and frothing piles of sweaty human meat. When all you have is a sledgehammer, everything looks like rubble.

Facebook

Shitrock Saturdays: The Rare Cuts

I live in a rural area, so the choices of radio station you can get in the car are pretty limited. The two rock stations that come in both use basically the same catalogue of music that never gets updated, so a daily part of your life is hearing the same song 3 times a day.

This makes for an interesting mindset, where songs that most people would consider classics give you a headache and/or crushing apathy. People would look at you funny if you actually told them what you think of Bohemian Rhapsody when it comes on for the fifth fucking time that day.

Don’t even get me started on ACDC during the morning commute.

However, even among the constant repeats of the worst that the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s had to offer, there are still some songs that only get played on rare occasions. Songs that you still like and don’t get played enough to beat them into drudgery. You might hear them every couple weeks, or every couple months but each time is a pleasant surprise.

Here are three of those tracks.

Everyone always bitches about how Reservoir Dogs ruined this song for them because they couldn’t separate their ears from their head…bad joke. Anyway, great song drunk, great song sober, great song hungover.

This might get more airtime after Guardians of the Galaxy shot this song back into the mainstream hive-mind but even before then, this was a rare treat on the local shitrock station. You hear the ooga, you reach for the volume.

DOUG AND THE FUCKIN SLUGS. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

I can’t explain my deep-seated love for the slick sounds of Doug and his Slugs but goddamn, when this comes on the radio once a month, its my jam.

Randoms Recap: Into Orbit, Crystal Fairy and Chetyre Muzhika

I know I’m not gonna find the time to write about all of this music separately, so it’s all getting crammed into one post. Better something than nothing eh?

Into Orbit – New Album; “Unearthing”

Into Orbit are an instrumental post-metal duo from New Zealand, heavy in the vein of Russian Circles. Dark and moody jams, with frothy interludes and some strong grooves. The cold Arctic ocean vibes are strong with this one. Calm and bracing, like a picnic by the lake in February.

Favourite Track: “The Archer”. Red Fang gone post metal jam that caught me totally by surprise.

Facebook

Melvins + Mars Volta + Butcherettes = Crystal Fairy

I found out about this from Rolling Stone of all places (I had time to kill at work OK). A new alt-rock supergroup with King Buzzo, Dale Crover, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Teri Gender-Bender coming together to form Crystal Fairy. Don’t love the name but the music is solid from what I’ve listened too so far. Not blowing my brains against the wall like I may have expected it too but still enjoyable all the same. Stream it below and decide for yourself.

Chetyre Muzhika (Четыре Мужика) EP – “Howl (Вой)”

I can’t say or spell the name but hell, Chetyre Muzhika are a badass stoner rock band from Russia and “Howl” is their newest EP, released in October of last year. It was released through the CSBR label, which I’m only mentioning cuz it stands for Crab Stoned But Rocking, which is awesome.

Anyway, these guys put out some rock-solid jams, with punchy guitar-driven grooves and neck straining riffs. All 4 tracks show a slightly different flavour but all of them come together to make it worth going back for seconds.

Favorite Track: “мустанга (Mustang)” This track is weird as hell in the best way possible and also has some of the sickest riffs on the whole album.