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Half-assed Show Reports: Seance Sisters, Possum & Wine Lips @ The Bovine

Posted in Random Riffage with tags , , , , on January 15, 2018 by Ben

This is a feature I always have the intention of writing but never bother with due to hangover/apathy/misdirection. Let’s see if I fix that for 2018…

This past Saturday I dragged myself from my rank, but warm, cave and made the cold trek downtown with the promise of a night of entertainment provided by some the best Toronto bands to call garage their home.

After tracking down my comrade for the night and slugging back a couple early-evening beverages, we stumbled over to the location of the nights noisemaking, The Bovine Sex Club.  Easily one of the best venues in the city for intimate and rowdy shows, it consistently yields me a great time and a motherfucker of a hangover.

Seance Sisters were first to the stage, warming up an already crowded venue with their gnarled fuzz and Sabbithian grooves. Distorted and lurching riffs that smash against sickly-sweet melodies, luring your head into the slow-paced nod of the blissful hesher. It’s a dope combination that scrapes some sludge into the cauldron to thicken up the sauce.

Set change. Beers. Look at stage, “Fuck…is that Bowie?”

It was indeed not Bowie but a convincing doppelganger presented by the front-man of Possum. While I was already predisposed to like a band named after my spirit animal, I was further enamoured as these guys were fucking electric. I swear it wasn’t just the beers talking, these guys played a crazy entertaining set, blasting through their blend lofi psych rock with panache and a hint of a glamour. In short, good fucking pancake.

Last up were the night’s headliners, Wine Lips. My recollection of their set is based more on snippets and gut feeling (plus a phone video), as by this point of the night I had gladly jumped into the bag. Inebriation aside, Wine Lips consistently shred and never fail to impress with their frothing concoction of garage punk. A high-energy shot to the hindbrain provided via jangling riffs and effervescent earworms.

It was a killer night that could have been shoved in the face of all who bemoan that “rock is dead”. A packed venue and sweaty dance floor that made even the crippling hangover seem worthwhile.


Dad Rock: Mountain – “Mississippi Queen”

Posted in Random Riffage with tags on January 12, 2018 by Ben

I searched but it doesn’t look like I’ve ever expressed my deep lusting for this track. Decades of play on radio, in movies and on TV have yet to burnish the shine on that riff.

Loud, ignorant, Mountain rawk.

Opening up their 1970 debut, “Mississippi Queen” became lodged in the musical zeitgeist while the rest of the accompanying tracks from Climbing! were lost to dusty milk-crates and memories. So in an attempt to fix that, enjoy the whole thing below.

Pick One: Blazing Eye – “Ways To Die”

Posted in Riffs with tags , on January 12, 2018 by Ben

LA-based hardcore punk. Vocals sound like Lemmy. Guitars rip, drums pummel, bass rattles. Y’all don’t need a dissertation.

Corpse Fungus: Tomb Mold – “Cryptic Transmissions”

Posted in Riffs with tags , on January 9, 2018 by Ben

Sometimes there is an itch that can’t just be scratched by traditional methods. The kind of itch that doesn’t require mild skin irritation, but gaping tears in your flesh and a carpet matted with blood. That itch is death metal and I’ve been gouging it out with Toronto’s own Tomb Mold.

Usually I don’t fall head over heels for any death metal band but Cryptic Transmissions has got me stumbling down the steps to my doom. Tomb Mold strike the perfect blend of horrific ambience, technical bravado and neolithic groove. It’s a gnarly, old-school feel that is further enhanced by the generous coating of scuzz on the mix that adds all of the requisite flavour but keeps the equally important fidelity intact.

These two tracks are great examples of how vibrant death metal can be. Songs that stretch out into the 6 or 7 minute run time but still manage to be captivating for the duration and don’t leave you with a headache from the blast beats and drum triggers. Packed full of stunning moments like the breakdown and distorted solo starting at 3:00 in “Blood Mirror” or the entire opening of “Chamber of Sacred Ootheca”.

Ultimately, this is a fucking excellent release from a fucking excellent band. Get it.


Rose-tinted Rearview: Celtic Frost – “Monotheist”

Posted in Riffs, Rose-tinted Rearview with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by Ben

For this segment I’ll be going back over some albums that I consider to be influential in my evolution to a half-assed scumbag. I’ll give a little background and then see if they still hold up to more jaded ears.

Anyone who has been around heavy music for any length of time knows who Celtic Frost are. The legendary Swiss grandfathers of extreme metal have reached their influential tentacles deep into the minds of thousands of different musicians over their more than 30-year run.

My personal exposure to Celtic Frost came at the end of their run, with the last album to be released before the band finally called it quits. Monotheist was released in 2006 and was their first new album in 16 years. Not only had I never had any experience with Celtic Frost before this album, I hadn’t had any exposure to heavy music at all.

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Bloody Tides of Chaos: Tombstalker – “Black Crusades”

Posted in Riffs with tags on January 4, 2018 by Ben

Heavy metal and sci-fi/fantasy have long enjoyed the fruits of a mutual friendship, from the early influences of Tolkien on legendary rockers, to the sci-fi and fantasy zine literally called Heavy Metal. This is especially apparent in the numerous cosmic and demonic forces influencing a litany of various extreme metal groups, such as Kentucky’s own Tombstalker.

Released in 2015, Black Crusades chronicles a heretics path to glory with the dulcet tones of some burly fucking death metal. Confused? Let us refer to the Warhammer 40,000 Wiki for clarification on what exactly defines a Black Crusade;

A Black Crusade is a military campaign unleashed upon the Milky Way Galaxy when the Forces of Chaos manage to unite under the leadership of a powerful Champion of Chaos. They then proceed to launch a massive offensive from their base within the great Warp rift called the Eye of Terror against the worlds of the Imperium of Man.

You could write concept albums about Warhammer 40K for the rest of your life and not run out of material. While the 40K universe might get some flack for being exceptionally campy, I love the bloody and far reaching insanity that they throw together.

Tombstalker lean heavily into the faded black t-shirts of their Nordic forebearers, with a blast of trend-shucking brutality that will leave a kink in your neck and the seeds of destruction in your wake. Buzzsaw riffs, methodical mid-tempo pummelling and of course, some hair flailing solos are wrapped up into a neat package, wrapped with a bow of human bowel.

You can check out Black Crusades along with their earliest and newest EP’s at their Bandcamp below.


Or just headbang a bit and call it an early night, your call.

For the Homies

Posted in Not Riffs with tags on January 4, 2018 by Ben

Not being ironic.

ICP got some pretty good tracks.



Tuesday Twofer: Jean Daddy & BEEF BOYS

Posted in Riffs with tags , , , on January 3, 2018 by Ben

It’s not Tuesday? Fuck off.

I’ve had these two bands slouching in my bookmarks for a while and decided to lump them into the same post based on geographic locations and the fact they both released new albums last November.

Jean Daddy – “Lets Ride, Boys!”

The man, the mystery, the messiah, Jean Daddy has bequeathed us their sophmore release, “Lets Ride, Boys!”. Eight new tracks of wailing guitars and lean grooves, conducted by the screeching charisma of the rock messiah himself.

Oddball punk rock that stutters left when you expect a right, smacking you around with an expired phonebook while taunting you out of reach. The tracks are brawny and mean, with no wasted space and plenty of dirt-nasty riffs, like the juicy midsection on “Bloody Mary”. A tightly-wound cohesive effort that will leave your neck sore by the closing.

$10 on Bandcamp.

You can catch them at The Horseshoe tomorrow night with Red LinesCosmic Death Ray and The Killer Wails.


BEEF BOYS – Melted Like a Witch

The garage/psych/punk revival is alive and well in this Peterborough-based trio’s debut LP, Melted Like a Witch. A collection of sweaty and raw bangers, showcasing a band with an excellent grasp of the illusive party groove.

Equally capable of shredding through the beers with punk rippers like “Motorcycle” or “Evil of Horses” as they are of leaning into the pedals and letting the riffs breathe like on “Golden Arches”, BEEF BOYS have birthed themselves a worthy entry into the growing renaissance of sleaze.

$10 on Bandcamp.

Catch them at Smiling Buddha this Friday with Heart Attack Kids, Not for Function and Substrata.

Tossin’ Back the Sherry: Drunk Mums – “Leather” / “Denim”

Posted in Riffs with tags on January 2, 2018 by Ben

Ever since finding Clowns last summer, I’ve been steadily uncovering new (to me) gems from the land down under. A whole world of raucous bangers has been fermenting under the blistering sun, giving me a solid stream of new material, like today’s example; Drunk Mums.

Rough ‘n’ tumble garage punk with deep hooks and raw choruses. You don’t over-analyse, you drink too much and spill a strangers drink. Down below you can find all of 2016’s Leather and two tracks from the upcoming Denim, which will be dropping on January 8th.


Hell Hath Frozen; Happy New Year!

Posted in Random Riffage with tags , on January 1, 2018 by Ben

It’s been fucking cold here. Record-breaking cold, chest-constricting, flesh-rending cold. As a reflection on this shit weather and a tribute to the skeletal winds that tear the warmth from my skin as soon as I open the door, here’s Void by the Swedish demons of Craft.

Enjoy and stay warm.