MUTANT SCUM • self-titled LP

Mutant Scum • Mutant Scum LP

Handstand Records

Mutant Scum

This album came with a sheet of other reviewer’s online reviews and I tore that paper to shreds. I really didn’t want to read about what other people thought for two reasons.

Reading music writer’s written reviews nauseates me (and yes, I’m aware of the paradox). I like the reviews at Bad Transfer because I know the folks and trust their opinions. I was turned off by reviews years ago due to reading too many verbose nonsense descriptions of the music. Know what I mean? I really can’t take shit like “the guitars sound like orphans toppling down a flight of stairs to the back beat of thundering hail storms” et al. = gross

Why include other reviews with a review copy? You want to see if I can measure up to Rolling Stone or Metal Headache or whatever/whoever you also sent this to? Guess what, I can’t because A: This is not what I do for a living. I love music and I pinch these reviews into my free time between being a dad, husband, friend, employee and other slivers of everyday stuffs. B: I don’t think for a second that my words will in any way sway a person (you) into picking this up because I either like it or hate it. I’m betting that you’ve already decided.

So, here’s what is going on for me with this Mutant Scum LP. I really dig the cover of this. It harkens back to the days of high school art projects and my youth’s fascination with global nuclear devastation and whatever is left of humanity being forced underground to live. Seeing this cover, I was transported back to 1984 when I watched the Toxic Avenger for the first time with my friend Matt Kinney. Off the bat I’m intrigued so I took my iPod, wiped it clean and replaced the 10,000 songs with this Mutant Scum LP. I had around 8 hours of solid flight time booked for work so my plan was, that for 4 hours in each direction, I was going to immerse myself into this record and write the review on the plane. I didn’t do that. I tried to but I ended up turning it off and staring out the window for part of the time and watching part of the Dora the Explorer movie for the remaining time in transit. I was later in a hotel and able to sit down and get into this without distraction. Sound wise this a metal/thrash/sludge record. After I really opened up to this I started to get into it and following the arc of the album. Mutant Scum started
to remind me of the Cocteau Twins. OK, hear me out, not in sound insomuch but in the way that the singer of Cocteau Twins, Elizabeth Fraser, doesn’t sing words but she sings sounds and melodies over the instruments to add an entirely new depth to the music by using the voice as an instrument for conveying urgency and emotion without words. And Mutant Scum are doing the same thing! How cool is that! Mutant Scum is the Cocteau Twins of metal and thrash and sludge. Or so I thought. When I got home and pulled open the gate fold, I saw all of the lyrics to the songs. They are mostly about radiation, wizards, blood mentioned a few times, demons, slime and sludge, and did I mention blood? Oh, and they sing about skin problems such as melting off, mutilation, discolorations, itchiness, scars, all the usual skin problems, a dermatologists dream come true. Well, I guess they don’t mention sun burn but that is probably because they do sing about how cloudy it is all the time.

I have a great appreciation for anyone that is willing to put something out into the world. The time to build and practice the songs, create and articulate the vision, and the monetary investment totaled with the other points is commendable. This isn’t quite my thing but it certainly has a place in the world, or at least the underworld, or the world after global nuclear disaster when we’ve crawled from the sewers and relearned how to make record players work. The record is a radioactive slime green and you can buy your own from here:
https://handstandrecords.com/store/items/mutant-scum-mutant-scum-12-inch-lp/

(JD)

___________________________________________________________________

Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

MARYLAND DEATH FEST 2019 and MUDHONEY

Maryland Death Fest 2019 and Mudhoney
 
This isn’t a show review as much as it is my experience at an event.
 
6 weeks before MDF I was explaining to my lady friend, Trish C., about Maryland Death Fest (MDF going forward) and how I don’t really know about that style of music:
Me – It’s a  4 day festival of 75 or more, mostly Death Metal bands, I guess
Trish – If you’re not super into it then why are you going?
Me – To hang out with Will and Keith and Kyle and Mario and Dave and Will’s cousin-in-law (Steve) that I haven’t met yet and prolly Rob and they love the stuff.
Trish – How do you know if it’s a death metal band?
Me – By their logo
Trish – The font they use?
Me – Well, no. It’s more like, um,… have you ever been doing yard work and you rake a bunch of sticks and twigs together and it almost looks like words?
Trish – Yes!
Me – That pile of twigs and sticks could also be a death metal logo.
Trish – Ohhhhh, so what does it sound like?
Me – Prolly what you think.
Trish – Sorta yacht-goth-ska?
Me – Sorta.
 
MDF day 1 Thursday
I woke up at 3AM to make my flight to Baltimore and, due to my poor planning, I arrived 5 hours before the rest of the crew. I decided to take this time to treat myself to some good eats, made a call out to the internet for chomps and was directed to Red Emma’s for the “best vegan Ruben in the world.” Challenge accepted. My second, third, or fourth beer in, I realized that I didn’t know who was playing at MDF this year. I pulled up the flyer, my eyes go straight to Grotesque Organ Defilement. I wondered what would happen if the folks at Grotesque Organ Defilement find out that I had a vegan meal. I don’t know their dietary preferences but I’m pretty certain that their idea of “grotesque organ defilement” isn’t my Great Aunt Clara at her church playing “Light my Fire” on the pipes for 12 hours straight. Then again, who am I to categorize what Grotesque Organ Defilement is without having even heard or seen them? It was a
really good sandwich. When I arrived at the house that contains the floor where I’ll be sleeping for the following 3 days; Keith H, Will T, Mario T, Steve were just arriving as well. Inside the house was abuzz about VoiVod. Sorry Keith, I mean VOIVOD.

MDF-Geezers
Party of the Damned. Photo: Justin Dratson

Pulling up to MDF, our cab driver looked panicked. Garbage cans had been moved to block the road and the contents set ablaze.  You couldn’t see down the road.  It was fiery cans and the kind of black smoke that only comes from man made things like plastic and rubber. This was the start of the road that led to the deserted industrial warehouse district where MDF was being held. Will T. assured the driver that this was the place and that we could walk form there. Just kidding. MDF is held on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor,
a football field’s length from the National Aquarium and a P.F. Chang’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if after MDF ended they set the place up for Grandma Nettie’s Quilt and Mitten Exchange. The event is split between two venues that are a 2 minute walk from each other and packed within that walk are a dozen places for drinks and food and a Slurpee.

We walked into Ram’s Head after missing the first few bands. I bought the first round of drinks and, with my back turned to the band, I was overtaken with a familiar sound. I didn’t know the song inasmuch as the sound of the song. It was transportive to my mid-90s. The band is called Come to Grief but the way the word Grief was written is the exact way of a 90s band called Grief. I wondered why the name change because I was pretty sure they were the same band. Well, I guess that the biggest difference would be that Grief, the word in its singularity, can leave a foreboding and overwhelming impression. Contrary to that, Come to Grief sounds like a party put on by dudes that wear long sweaters with the sleeves pulled over their hands and a lot of clove cigarettes and no girls. I leaned over to Kyle:

Me – Is Come to Grief a Grief cover band?
Kyle – No. It’s pretty much Grief.
I bought some of their stuff and, regardless of the name change, it’s amazing.

MDF-Come to Grief
Come to Grief, Photo: Justin Dratson

Malignancy was the next band that really stood out for me. They have everything going for them; speed, metal, sticks in a pile logo, a wedding proposal, harsh and disturbing imagery. Look, MDF may seem menacing in title, bands playing and appearance but it’s also a place for love and sweetness. I’ve seen more dudes hugging here than any movie about the ancient Romans or ancient Greeks. In between songs the singer paused, invited his lady friend on stage and asked her to marry him. She said yes and everyone cheered. As she left the stage the singer said “OK, this next song is called “Your Life is Shit.”
 
In my notes I have Rippikoulu written down. I must have been moved by them in some way. Maybe it was their dedication to wanting to become god parents and the lengths they’d go through to prove themselves worthy. To be honest, I’d been up for 19 hours (after a previous night of 3 hours sleep) and a steady day of sipping and catching up with everyone, I’m starting to get tired. But I also know that VOIVOD will be playing in 2 hours so I have to make it at least until then.    
 
Two hours later, VOIVOD is perfectly what I thought they’d be; disjointed and Canadian.  My favorite disjointed Canadian band is NOMEANSNO and my second disjointed Canadian band has to be VOIVOD. 

MDF-Voivod
Voidvod. Or, VOIVOD. Photo: Justin Dratson

To be honest, I’ve had 3 hours sleep and going on 21 hours awake, I’m really trying to keep my head up but I want to sleep. I promised I wouldn’t sleep outside under the Season of Mist tent this year but maybe just for a few minutes, just one song. VOIVOD won’t know if I cut out for one song. Flash forward 40 minutes. What’s that word that means that all of your ideas are bad ones?  Well, that’s the word that I lived in. I fell sleep it in a chair at the Season of Mist tent again and was woken up by a stumbling bachelorette party that nearly walked into me and was louder than VOIVOD. Now I don’t
know what that says about VOIVOD or about bachelorette parties but it is a fact and facts are science.
Then I saw Will’s face 10 inches from mine:
Me – Thanks for grabbing me, man. Let’s get back in for VOIVOD
Will – Ya missed it buddy. Come on, we’re headed back
Me – Is Keith gonna be mad I missed it?
 
MDF Day 2 Friday
I woke up in my sleeping bag on the floor of the kitchen with my underwear on backwards. They were probably like that all day but maybe not too. Dave brought a ton of beer without labels so it’s been a mystery grab morning. We have a song to the tune of the Electric Company’s Spider-Man theme “Mystery can, mystery can, into the mouth and out though your can”. The room was still abuzz with how great VOIVOD was. Let me give a little history, VOIVOD is Keith’s favorite band and, admittedly, influenced his guitar writing style and helped to shape the sound of all the bands he’s been in. At the 2018 MDF Will and Keith had conspired to offer the idea of the 6 of us doing a one-time band at MDF. We have a name and everything. Flash forward to now times:

Keith – I have the best idea with no room for change
All – Ok, sure , let’s hear it, what is it, …
Keith – When we do our thing we should cover the entire War and Pain album.
Me – I’m in. What’s that?
Keith – VIOVOD’s first album
Me – HEY! What if we call it “Warren Payne” and all the songs are about a guy with blonde feathered hair in a tan suit, and the songs are about being employee of the month, and the bland egg salad sandwich he eats for lunch every day?
All – Groans
Keith – Hard no!

MDF-Metal Up Your Ass
“I found a spot on the 2nd floor of Ram’s Head that was clean and terrific except for the person that was there before me had clearly never played in the NBA.” Photo: Justin Dratson

Today we arrived early enough to catch the first bands. All bands were terrific but I was having some bubble gut and had to find a clean place to make a butt baby. I found a spot on the 2nd floor of Ram’s Head that was clean and terrific except for the person that was there before me had clearly never played in the NBA  (see pic). The big deal for me today was that I was going to see the Cro-Mags for the first time. I already had a plan. I was going to walk up to Jon Joseph and it was going to go like this:

Me – Hi Jon.
Jon – Hi Paul. There’s a fukin’ H in my name.
Me – I know, but this is my recap and I changed it so I don’t have your publicist to Google search this and get mad at me.
Jon – Gah ahead.
Me – As you know, my mom’s a vegan and she thinks you’re funny and charming and I’m not asking you to be my new dad, but would you make a recipe for her, and make a Youtube video of it?
Jon – Sure. Does she like fukin’ summer squash ‘n shit?
Me  – Probably.
Jon – I fukin’ got just the thing. 

But guess what. The Cro-Mags had to cancel and somewhere between finding out that they weren’t playing and that Drop Dead was playing, I was told that I can take my beer outside, which opened up an entirely new world. Because of the new mobile drink discovery, I wandered around all of the tents selling all things but always found myself back at the Season of Mist tent. I hung out with them for a while. I think I might have missed 12 bands. My first year there I told them that I didn’t know anything about Death or Metal or Doom but I would give them $50 bux and they could pick out their favorite for me. This year I gave them $100 to give me their favorites. I like everything they’ve sent my way. I can’t say that I’m a fan yet but I’m slowly seeing the bigger picture. It was right around this time that I walked back in to see whichever band was on and I sided up to Mario as the band was about to start:

Me- Did he just say, “We’re called ANAL CRACKPIPE”?
Mario – No, he said Ahhnnl Naathhhrock (Anaal Nathrakh)

Turns out that Anaal Nathrakh are not only pretty great but are also well versed in the enchantments of the great wizard Merlin and lizards that need to remember to brush after every meal.

Earlier, I went to check the Drop Dead merch and started talking to their guitar player/merch slinger Ben. Turns out that my good buddy Derek K. (from Philly) gave Ben his guitar. We started talking about some other stuff:
Me – So… do you have any shirts with swear words on them? My 12 year old daughter Celeste wants a shirt with swears.
Ben – We do. A couple in fact. There’s this one with the head in a vice. He holds it out. It says “Fucking Assholes Don’t Get It” on the front and “Against Animal Experimentation – It’s Not Too Late to Evolve.”

MDF_Dropdead
“… so this is better than some lewd shit.” Photo: Justin Dratson

Me – I’ll take it. A few years ago, when Celeste was in 1st grade, she decided she didn’t want to eat meat anymore so this is better than just some lewd shit.
Ben – What made her decide that?
Me – Every day she would walk by these cows that our neighbor, the topless farmer, had and…
Ben –Topless farmer?
Me – Dude never wore a shirt. I mean ever. And he had 10 cows with name tags in their ears. Celeste fed them grass and it got so when the cows would hear the school bus pull up that they’d go over to the fence and wait for her. Jordan and Sam were her favorites. One day they weren’t there anymore so we had to gently explain that the topless farmer raised them to eat them. She cried like crazy.
Ben – Ohh man.
Me – Here’s the kicker, we’d just recently put our Great Dane Buttercup to sleep because she was riddled with bone cancer, so Celeste asked if we were going to eat Buttercup, so I got to use that Gorilla Biscuits line.
Ben – The cats and dogs one?
Me –Yeah, so… I guess that was cool?

When I arrived back to see Drop Dead play they were already a couple songs in, & the place was packed. I made my way around to the right side of the stage. Over the PA I heard something about millions of animals being slaughtered and that’s when I saw the most wonderful thing I had ever seen. Up front, against the stage were two people  kissing. No, I mean making out. They were going at it like they were teenagers at a basement party locked in a closet. I thought it would stop when the song was over but it
didn’t and it didn’t stop after the next song or after the following 10 songs. Drop Dead played a brutal and amazing set of all the classics and even a couple new ones. When they were over, the couple was still making out. After the room had cleared out, they were still making out. It was so ostentatious that photos of the two could be used in a teenage abstinence pamphlet titled “Toilet Seats and Kissing Will Get You Pregnant”. And at the same time, it was heartwarming. People had been leaping over them, bumping into them, Drop Dead even made mention of them during their set.

DropDead_3
“Up front, against the stage were two people  kissing. No, I mean making out.” Photo: Justin Dratson

 

DropDead_1
The amorous sounds of Drop Dead on display at Maryland Death Fest. Photo: Justin Dratson
DropDead_2
“Drop Dead played a brutal and amazing set of all the classics and even a couple new ones. When they were over, the couple was still making out.” Photo: Justin Dratson

MFD day 3 Saturday
Things are a bit blurry here. In my notes I had written “Coffin Dust killed it” and nothing else. I was excited to see Grotesque Organ Defilement, and see if it was a bunch of Aunt Claras playing church organs, or if it fell more in line with rest of the fest. Also, I wanted to see Squash Bowels because … Squash Bowels! Right!? Are they vegetables that are created in labs to take the place of damaged human bowels or is it a 2 word order to go and start squashing bowels? And the answer to both these questions is I don’t know. I
was talking and goofing around and I completely missed both of the bands. Somewhere in here Steve started drinking these bright blue drinks and then we all were drinking them, our tongues changed color, we laughed a bunch, and all of the bands I wanted to see I missed. 
 
MDF Day 4 Sunday
I left. We went out to brunch with a couple of Mario’s old hometown pals but I had to go meet my friend Derek in Chicago to see Mudhoney. Metz opened and were concussive and nonstop. Mudhoney came out and did their thing. Interestingly to me is that it seemed like when they did their encore of “You Stupid Asshole” by the Angry Samoans, that few people in the crowd seemed to know the song, but when they played “Hate the Police” by the Dicks, everyone went nuts. Question… is it possible that people think that
“Hate the Police” is a Mudhoney song?  After their show we went to the bar at the front of the venue.  My vision was blurred from the long weekend of little sleep and too many mystery cans of beer that when a group of mid/late 50s folks in boat shoes and pastel shorts walked over to the doors we’d just left through, I leaned over to Derek: 
Me- Look at all those drunk uncles walking over to that lady that looks my Aunt Linda
Derek – (glances over his shoulder and back at me) That’s Mark Arm.
Me – Oh…want to get a picture with him?
Derek – I do.

MDF-Mudhoney
Mudhoney. Photo: Derek

A few weeks later I sent an LP mockup of “Warren Payne” to our MDF secret band group.

MDF_Warren Payne
The Monocle “Warren Payne” LP. Already sold out. Photo: Justin Dratson

MDF 2020 is May 21-24. I already have my weekend pass. 257 days away. See ya there, perhaps.  (JD)
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/maryland-deathfest-2020-tickets-63476056594?aff=website

THE FIGGS • Ginger LP

THE FIGGS • Ginger LP

Two interviews and one LP review! It’s a fan pack of Figg-ary-ness!

I need to let you in on a couple things before we get into the meat of this review:

1. I grab all of what The Figgs release on vinyl, all of it and without question or listening to any tracks first.

2. The interviews are from memory and are more like me saying stuff to members of the band and their reaction.

3. I’m pretty certain that every encounter I’ve had with this band I’ve embarrassed myself.

Interview 1:

In 2012, a pal and I traveled from Michigan to Albany, NY to see the first of two shows that commemorate the The Figgs’ 25 years of being a band, I think. The show at Valentines is over, has been for over an hour. My pal and I are tipsy. Pete Hayes was the last man out and had a car the size of a potato and fully loaded with all of his drums, including the passenger seat.

Me: Pete that was great, really, really great. We came all the way from Michigan for it.

Hayes: Oh, cool. Thanks for making the trip.

Me: No prob. Can you give us a ride to our hotel? It’s a two-mile walk.

Hayes: I would but I truly have no room.

Me: I bet I could squeeze inside your bass drum

(Silent stares)

Hayes: I’mmm gonna to get going.

Me: Cool cool cool cool. See you guys tomorrow. 

The Review:

The Ginger LP is the Figgs first long player. This was originally a cassette only release from 1992. However, thanks to Matto and Peterwalkee Records, it is finally seeing vinyl. I think it is a bold move to start off any LP with an instrumental, especially from a band that, at the time, no one had really heard of. But dang duder, in 1992 these The Figgs guys were onto something. When track 2 kicks in, “Kristy’s Boots” I’m transported back to how I felt the first time I heard The Jam. I have to wonder though, is Kristy a real person and was she really that hard to get along with? And the lyric “and you blow your mind” repeated several times, I wonder if it’s a drug reference or about a woman who’s had too much of the everyday and junk and opted out.  The following “Sleaze” is another nonstop sing along banger. The 4th, “Floored” is where it goes from great Power pop- rock record to “Jesus, what the fuck! I didn’t see that coming.” They toss in an (mostly) acoustic number that is packed full of sorrow and sweetness. And to kill side A ,“Milk Dud” comes in swinging. And it’s just shy of a hardcore tune with a mosh-break-down and everything.

Side B punches in with “Happy” (also released as a 7″ single in ‘92) followed by “Wasted Pretty”, which later appeared on the 1994 LP Low-Fi at Society High. Songs 4 and 5 on this are terrific but, for me, it is the third song on Side B, “Can’t be Cloned” that grabs me and throws me around the room. “Can’t Be Cloned” has all the right rock tricks: lyrical self-pity,  a back up vocal in the verse sang in a different melody, a little choppy break between verses, a self-aware and self loathing/retired to fate memorable sing along chorus,  and a bridge that doesn’t go too far off the pace or feeling of the song. To me, this entire pile is worth it for this song.

In the end, these are great songs with the right amount of imperfection to make this perfect. It’s ambitious and humble. The songs still resonate with early 20s angst and confusions while having a tone of wisdom, sarcasm, and tunefulness that still captivates me. To take a quote out of context form my pal Charles (Gern Blandsten Records, Follow Jean Through the Sea), “There is no bad Figgs record. They range from “That’s the best thing I ever heard” to “Jesus Christ, that’s good.”  This record is solidly in between those statements.”

Interview 2:

November 1997, I only have $20. Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror is working the door at Brownies, NYC.

Me: Hey man, I have a question for you.

Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror: Yeah?

Me: All I have is this $20 for tonight and I wanted to get a couple beers but beers are too expensive for me here. Do you have any ideas on where I could go around here before the Figgs start?

Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror: (hands me back my change, now down to $15) Ya see that yuppie bar with all the lawyers across the street?

Me: (I look and know exactly where he’s talking about) Yes. Can I afford drinks there?

Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror: Ha. No. But if you tell the bartender I sent you and give him some cash, you’ll be ok.

Me: Cool. Thanks.

Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror: (as I’m walking back out the door) I hope you don’t have any allergies.

I walk into the bar and it is totally young NYC beautiful business types in suits and skirts. I clearly don’t fit in. I sit in a dark corner of the bar.

The bartender: Paul Bearer (from Sheer Terror) send you over?

Me: Yes. Here’s all the money that I have.

Bartender: Cool. Sit tight. Do you have any allergies?

Me: No. Well, pollen.

The Bartender begins to grab half drunk drinks and nearly full drunk drinks and pours them into a glass. He walks over to a freshly made martini, pulls it off the bar and asks the young buck in the suit if he’d like another one. The young buck ordered another one. My drinks were the leftover waste of a room full of fancy NYC up-and-comers. Some of the drinks had rosemary sprigs, or orange twists, or muddled mint. One had a couple of those things and an olive with a bite out of it. To me it was like a magical fish bowl, both the drinks and the room of people. It was frigid outside but I was warming up nicely. And just as the thought of how beautiful and wonderful New York is, I remembered The Figgs were about to start.

Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror: There he is. I was about to send someone to go look for ya. They’re about ta start.

The Figgs played super long that night, just killed it with all the hits. After everything was over I was compelled to go talk to them.  Mike and Pete D were the closest to me.

Me: You guys are really great.

Pete D, Mike: Thanks.

Me: Ever thought about covering “In the City” by The Jam front to back?

Pete D: Ummm, no.

Mike: Ahhh yeah, no.

And then I think I went to Burritoville and got a Fogged Out in Oregon to chomp on the L back to Brooklyn.

I belong to top-secret-cyber-basement-room on a popular media platform for the The Figgs fans. Several years ago I found an old tape someone gave me of old the The Figgs songs and I posed the question to the group – (do you think) If I pitched in for them to do a 7″ of  four short fast-ish power pop songs that they would do it? … I was hit back with talk of it being unfair to ask a band to compromise their art and that I should stop living in the past. I get it, however they did write the lyric “an antisocial lesbian said you were dumb.”  Listening to Ginger and reliving these interviews, I can’t imagine that me asking them could turn out any worse than my previous encounters and could either be a redemption or follow my pattern, win-win.  (JD)

___________________________________________________________________

Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

DEAD OF NIGHT self-titled 7″

DEAD OF NIGHT – self-titled 7″ single

Red Menace Records

Dead Of Night

Getting a random record in the mail is like answering a phone call from an unknown number; that call could be a long lost friend wanting to catch up or a person trying to get you to do a survey about your insurance. In the end, it’s all a bit doomed but one of them is easier to stomach and the other you fuck with or hang up on (you decide).  However, that wasn’t the case on either side with this Dead of Night 45. I really needed this stamp right now. It hit on all the sorrow and anxiety I was already feeling. It amplified it and then calmed me in knowing that these fellas are sad, too. Musically it sorta reminds me of that one Amebix LP that’s really sorrowful for the past lyrically and drags you from ditch to ditch in with a concussive sonic attack.

Here’s the thing though, it is so heavy and hopeless that I want to find these fellas and pet their hair and tell them that everything is going to be OK. You know what I mean? Like maybe just a hug, some eye contact, and a sincere “I like you, you’re worth it”. But if I do that, they could lose the thing that makes this so great. Also, let’s be honest, if you listen to this it is pretty obvious that these guys are adults. To be clear, I’m referring to the misery that comes through losing a parent or child, a car crash, losing a job, having friends OD, no longer living in a punk house and having to pay bills, break ups, back togethers, realizing your vote means nothing, ideas and dreams crushed under the yoke of everyday life, prolly growing up going to church for a while and having an internal conflict over being in a country that is on the Lord’s side but also responsible for so much suffering, having a kid and not knowing how to protect her/him from what you know is coming… or whatever, all cool. So on and on, I guess. I’m just saying that I felt a connection. Those Amebix folks were young and they made a record around what they thought the world was, wherein Dead of Night is living through that world and their commentary isn’t hyperbole or fiction, it’s truth.

Look, Dead of Night, I’m headed to Maryland Death Fest this week with my pals Will T, Keith H, Kyle H, Mario T, and David M.  If any of you from Dead of Night are there too, I’ll give you a big hug, tell you it’s all going to be OK and then I’ll pull you close and whisper in your ear something like “in these 30 seconds we took to meet, 1000 puppies were gutted and twice as many children lost their fingers in machines making shoes for you” just to fuel the fire for your next record.

My only critique, and it might be the style that I’m not familiar with, but for anyone that gets this melancholy heavy banger, it’s cut a little quite and bass heavy so I turned up the treble a bit and cranked the volume.

Side A The Culling
Side B The Scourge
(JD)

___________________________________________________________________

Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

MIRACLE DRUG / PIECE OF MIND split 7″

MIRACLE DRUG / PIECE OF MIND– Split 7″

Available on a few different color vinyl options and with a download code to boot!

 Available through Trip Machine Laboratories

miracledrug.:pieceofmind

 I have to start this review with a few clarifiers:

 

·      I purchased all 3 versions of this 7in (see pic).

·      If you are a fan of hardcore, then you should grab this.

·      Split records, for good or bad, are a contest of which side is better.

·      Sorry to anyone in Piece of Mind but…well…you were outgunned. 

 

I file my split LPs, 10ins, 7ins at the end of the alphabet but I’ve found I’m in the minority.  I was in NJ this past week visiting some pals and the consensus was that any split is filed alphabetically by the band you like better. An example being that the Faith/Void split rarely sees the F section of a record collection (FYI, mine would be in the F section so that may automatically go to the credibility of this review). 

With that, had this just been a Piece of Mind (PoM going forward) record review I would have gone bananas for it. They are very competent and hit all the right marks to make me throw a fist in the air while sitting in my chair reading along to their lyrics.  But here’s the thing, the folks in Miracle Drug (MD going forward) have each been in bands and playing and recording since the mid ‘90s (C.R., Mouthpiece, Supertouch, By The Grace Of God, Enkindle, Mouthpiece and on and on and fucking on… uhh, an exhausting amount of stuff). And, if I’m any good at math at all, that’s around 300 years of combined experience. Furthermore, with over a century’s worth of experience, MD have a “fuck you(ness)” about them that only comes with that. I’m not talking about the “fuck you” of being in a band in your 20s where you pretend that shit rolls off your back but if there is one missed note at a show, the entire band sends a palpable wave of embarrassment over the crowd. And then a band meeting ensues where an entire hour is spent saying things like “we gotta get tight before our next show”. The “fuck you” I’m talking about comes from adulthood. I imagine that if MD messed up a song at a show it would be an exchange of smiles among the band and their band meeting, if they even would have one, would be them giving each other shit and bustin’ chops. Also, as far as Hardcore goes, I’d be surprised if these guys listened to a lot of hardcore at all these days. I’d put money on that a few of these fellas dig Steely Dan as well as Black Sabbath.  There are a couple changes that took me by surprise and pulled me in. Who knows, they might also all be assholes.  

In the end, this is a great record with two great bands but maybe not the greatest combination. It wasn’t a chocolate and peanut butter tasty combo, but it wasn’t a toothpaste and orange juice one either. Maybe it was milk and Pepsi, complementing but not peer to peer. However, I did do this. I ordered the PoM demos and recent cassette to check out and maybe review. Look, PoM were just outgunned on this release and I bet they’d agree. Regardless, go grab one before they are gone. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.  (JD)

ISOTOPE SOAP Monitored by Zu Tze 12″

ISOTOPE SOAP – Monitored By Zu Tze (17 track 12″, played at 45 nonetheless)

Compilation of two EPs and a 12″ EP

Available through Emotional Response Records

isotopesoap

I should start by saying that I pick up everything that Emotional Response Records puts out. Jen and Stew, in my opinion, have created a label that doesn’t follow a particular sound but rather a level of creativity and freshness. I blindly order everything they put out.  Sometimes it’s hardcore (Lögnhalsmottagningen), or twee (Ginnels), or an incredible comp (Typical Girls Vol 1-4) or even an odd recently discovered tape of some 70s punk bloke doing Beat poetry over a kazoo and a person making animal noises (not joking, I think I have a record like that they put out). The short of it is that they don’t get stuck in a genre so I know what comes inside the package is something that I won’t expect.  And, to be clear, I’m not grizzled, grumpy, jaded, etc., I buy new records by new bands almost weekly. However, it does take something unique to pique my ears and this Isotope Soap 12 inch does that perfectly. This record is frightening. It could as easily be aliens on meth or a Scandinavian teenage cult. It pulls on ropes of early Devo and then goes sideways into swirling keyboard mayhem. Everything about this is challenging in all the right ways. I’m continually fascinated with people that can create such oddball amazing things without sounding contrived but rather compelled to create this chaos.

When I put the needle down on side one, I jumped as the frantic pace of disjointed keyboards, and straight ahead fast drums hit me square in the face. Before I could flip the sleeve over to read the name of the song, “Pussy Riding Cowboy Buddhas”, it was over in 39 seconds.

Seventeen songs clocking in at under 22 minutes and ranging in length from 33 seconds to under 3 minutes.  

Six songs in, I was just getting used to their structure and direction, I thought I’d figured these guys out and then I’m hit with “Magnetic Abortion of a Black Hole”. I’m terrified once more. The vocals are working some creepy pitch shift machine and by the time the song was over I thought I was in a dark torture movie and was about to be kidnapped.

“The WOW! Signal”, track 9, would have to be the most familiar song but only because I’ve been listening to a lot of Tones on Tail lately and this could be an instrumental B-side on one of their 12 inches. But that is it.  Just a 2:48 long song sorta sounds like a dark post punk instrumental band from of the 80s and no other comparison. Oh, also the Feederz.  Something about this is Feederz-ish, maybe not so much in sound but for the call to chaos.

The people that are in this band have done a decent job of hiding their identity. I have searched and found that there is a connection with the mid 80s band Raped Teenagers, Pusrad and I’m sure a bunch of others. Here’s the thing, I don’t think they kept their names off it because they are embarrassed. I think they kept their names off of it because they don’t want to be named as a co-conspirator when world starts to crumble.

 Hit the link at the top to check it out or just grab one while you still can.

1.      Pussy Riding Cowboy Buddhas

2.      Frontal Disorder Post Mental Border

3.      Hate

4.      Fancy Inbred Humans

5.      Circle Jerk

6.      Magnetic Abortion Of A Black Hole

7.      Dad Attack

8.      High One Wildlife

9.      The Wow! Signal

10.  I Saved You From Jesus

11.  Reversed Big Bang

12.  The Roof

13.  Human Invasion

14.  Trump Des Willens

15.  Pinata Chaos

16.  Radiated Head

17.  Emdrive Thruster

 (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA