Saturday, 19 April 2014

Upcoming gigs

Sunday 20 April at Magpies City Club (early show)
The VeeBees and Seedy Jeezus
Check out the VeeBees' latest album, Outta Ammo here.

Friday 25 April at the Basement
D.O.A. (Canada)

Tuesday 29 April at Commonwealth Park Amphitheatre
Disturd (Japan), Insidious Process (Sweden), Eye Gouge and Hygiene

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Unkle K's Bands of the Week

I love a good instrumental band - no shitty vocals to mess things up. And I’d put Canadians Hawkeyes almost up there with heavyweights such as Capricorns, Zebulon Pike and Year of No Light. Hawkeyes feature a four guitar attack plus drums and bass, and this four track tape comes highly recommended if you like epic, big riffs and a good rock-out.

Evil Ways
God damn, great punky rock 'n' roll from these ex-Canberrans. Pretty sure this band was previously Panel Van Halen (please let me know if I’m wrong). Well worth checking. They have a 7” I need to get a copy of.

Slapshot (USA), Thursday 27 March
at Turner Bowling Club

Turbobelco, Saturday 29 March at the Phoenix

Kylesa (USA), Tuesday 1 April at ANU Bar

(Also see post below.)

Unkle K

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Upcoming gigs

Thursday 27 March at Turner Bowling Club
Slapshot, Toe to Toe, Hostile Objects, Bladder Spasms, Eye Gouge and The Fuck Outs

Saturday 29 March at the Phoenix
Turbobelco, Bulldoze All Bowlos and Baby Machine

Tuesday 1 April at ANU Bar
Kylesa, Looking Glass and Rise of Avernus

Saturday 5 April at the Phoenix
Harmony, Hoodlum Shouts and Sex Machine

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

To Cross the Oceans 2

Continuing from a post I put up in August last year, here are some more links relating to the global reach of metal and punk that readers might find interesting.

Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Since that earlier post, Alasdair Bulmer's geographic focus has moved progressively southward in the series of articles on African metal that he has written for Invisible Oranges. Although short, these articles offer a fascinating and diverse snapshot.
African Metal #3: Algeria and Morocco
African Metal #4: Cameroon
African Metal #5: Uganda
African Metal #6: Zambia and Zimbabwe

Picking up from the article on Zambia, which mentions that 1970s Zamrock records have been reissued by Now Again Records, a couple of years ago I got my hands on a compilation released by that label called Those Shocking, Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk: 1970-1978. The anthology, and its extensive liner notes, give an overview of a rock movement overflowing with fuzz and funk that drew on a range of influences, from James Brown to Black Sabbath, to hold a mirror up to the cultural and political landscape of Indonesia under Suharto in the '70s. Listen to the album here.

Decades later, it seems that psychedelic hard rock continues to have a good home in Indonesia. A couple of bands that exemplify this and are well worth checking out are The Sigit, who released the excellent Detourn late last year, and Sigmun.
The Sigit - Detourn (Bandcamp)
Sigmun (Bandcamp)

It is already well known that punk is also thriving in Indonesia. Punk Rock vs Sharia Law, a 20 minute documentary by Noisey, focuses on a marginalised group of punks in Aceh, highlighting the persecution the group has faced as well as the long lasting impact of the 2004 tsunami.
Punk Rock vs Sharia Law (Noisey)

Finally, the tale of Biquette the punk goat (thanks to Dave for bringing this one to my attention). Before her untimely death in December last year, Biquette lived on a farm/DIY space in rural France, where she spent her time hanging out and watching bands that played there, such as Wormrot.
"Grind Goat Will Never Die But You Will" (Noisey)


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Solar Halos - S/T

The music on Solar Halos' self-titled LP (on Devouter Records) may not immediately sweep you up and carry you away, but it doesn't take very long for the undulating doom undercurrents to begin to flow around you until, before you even notice, you have been sucked below the surface to find wave after wave of thick, hypnotic riffs washing over you. Once that happens, you can't help but focus on your surroundings. It becomes difficult to escape and, like the mesmerising refraction of the sun's rays as they pierce through from above the water, Nora Rogers' warm, enchanting vocal melodies soon dissolve your desire to swim up for air.

Solar Halos was formed by members who previously played together in ambient noise/doom act, Horseback. Developing from there, the band's music could sit nicely alongside Black Skies' (although heavier and more dynamic), Royal Thunder's (without the overt blues/alternative affectations), or Helms Alee's on Sleepwalking Sailors (without the post-metal eclecticism), while conveying a greater sense of depth and subtlety. The control the band wields over the gradual rise and fall in its songs - marked by surging, swirling guitar and bass riffs interwoven with slow-building crescendos, all carried by John Crouch's colourful drumming - is phenomenal. But even though the music is so entrancing, it doesn't become weak or insipid. Solar Halos' instruments rumble low and loud, and somehow, the balance they strike between transcendent wistfulness and rock-solid, doomy heaviness comes across as completely effortless.

This is a truly impressive release that seems likely to be a grower as its nuances come to light. Check it out here, and for more on Solar Halos, see their website.


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Gigs this weekend

Unfortunately both these gigs are on the same night, this Saturday 1 March.

The VeeBees were originally playing at The Phoenix but due to the fire in the Sydney Building, the gig has been moved to Magpies in the City. Support comes from Canberran band Bacon Cakes (mmmmm...bacon) and Wollongong band Cape Tribulation. $10.

The show at the Basement is young Duncan's 40th celebration, with Dead Life from Sydney, New Blood from Wollongong, and locals Inhuman Remnants, Wretch and Psynonemous - all for $10!

Video of the Week
Cosmic Psychos - Blokes You Can Trust (DVD)
Thank you to DD for lending me this DVD - bloody brilliant. Stupidly, I have never really checked out these legends before, but after watching this DVD I'm converted. Thoroughly entertaining watch. Check out the trailer here and a snippet from the film here.

Unkle K

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Grey Widow - I

In the last days of the Earth, when the land, the sea and the putrid decay they conceal are immolated by the expanding sun’s infernal heat; when the last remaining humans suffer frantically among the searing white ash, choking on the stench of burning death and screaming the abhorrent fear that leaves behind only the now futile instinct to procreate, and they claw desperately and indiscriminately at each other's blistered, melting flesh; this music will be the sound of the world’s violent, rotten shame tormenting itself into eternal, abysmal darkness.

The disgustingly bleak, misanthropic, noise-encrusted sludge that Grey Widow have recorded on I is not for the faint of heart. The torrential abuse contained within these eight tracks carries an overpowering sense of unease and dread, and the ambiguity created by the lack of song titles only aggravates the cruelty.

The same kind of shitty feeling you get from listening to too much Grief lingers in the wake of I. Electric Wizard inspired riffs buried under six feet of mud and scraping, nihilistic distortion in the vein of Corrupted serve to relentlessly compound the horror. Grey Widow do break up the demeaning drag in places, but with unhinged forays into wet, sloppy grind (as in “IV”) and bollocking Iron Monkey type groove (as in “III”), it’s never a picnic.

One of the things that really stands out is how disorienting the music can be, not least because the three band members who contribute vocals adopt enough different styles to make it sound like hordes of tortured voices are calling you from the void, trying to tempt your sick curiosity and lure you into the depths of madness. Just listen to the unnerving carry on between the agonised screeches and distant, shredded bellows throughout “V”.

Another thing this band does well is to force its music progressively downward, as if the songs are sinking into quicksand. After “VI” starts with the most restraint that exists anywhere on this release, it eventually descends into a churning sinkhole of a riff that gets lower and lower before closing over to seal out the song’s last glimmer of light.

If that sounds like too much to take, then be warned, there will be no reward for hanging on until the end. “VIII” is about as spiteful and gut-wrenching an insult as you are likely to volunteer to receive. Brutally heavy and antagonistically slow, it makes for a very blunt finish, and demonstrates just how much of a kick these unrepentant, depraved scumbags from England obviously get from trying to terrify people.

There is no middle ground. Grey Widow’s I is going to either repulse you or trap you.

Listen here.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Sangharsha - Bayou

The members of Sangharsha, originally from Nepal, churn out punishing, dynamic hardcore that is capable of leaving just as many spinning heads as bruises in its wake. Their new release, Bayou (Alerta Antifascista Records) showcases some truly impressive range. Sickeningly heavy percussive blasts that communicate a desperate need to reach for meaning at any cost (as in the beginning of "Muslo") become mired in slow dirges that crawl under the burden of the world's weight (especially in "Aseena").

Sincerity is high on Sangharsha's agenda. As if it isn't apparent from their music, a sweeping statement on their Bandcamp page reads, "the struggle to exist and the struggle to be alive was the sole influence to write and record this record". Sounds like an overwhelmingly expansive concept to reduce to a sole influence, but it's clear that a lot of consideration has gone into creating this music - all the moods reflected in the songs are both well placed and completely believable, including the excursions into more serene territory. For example, the heady intro to "Kachuli" is unsettling enough to welcome the song's lumbering attack, which in turn eventually retreats back to a place that might resemble the scene in the cover art.

But yes, this is predominantly an exercise in demolition of the downtuned, metallic variety (no prizes for guessing that Kurt Ballou and Brad Boatright are involved). However, in places Sangharsha add a hint of Breach or Botch to the usual Entombed/Converge influences. They very effectively meld engaging melodies into their noise-heavy approach without diluting its impact (as in the title track), and along with some clever changes, including a few unexpected u-turns between riffs, the songs are kept interesting while being given an overall sense of cohesion.

Bayou is a great example of what can happen when bands take the time to think about what they are doing and pour themselves into it.

It looks like there is no physical release until June, but Bayou is available digitally on Bandcamp. Also see Sangharsha's bio at Alerta Antifascista for more info.