It’s been quite some time since I last paid a visit to my local record store, mainly because I spent a lot of money on my trip to the far east. But also because I had no idea as to what new records were out there. So during my last two shopping sprees there I found those…
Broadway Calls “Good Views, Bad News” LP
I have to admit that the only reason for pulling this out of the News section was the word “Broadway”. I was familiar with a band called The Broadways which moved on to become The Lawrence Arms, but that’s where the similarities end. Maybe I was also intrigued by the label, Side One Dummy, which put out this one, but apart from that I guess I’d never had given this a try. Lucky me I did. Reading the thankslist on the inlay it’s only natural that this is something I like. Go back two or three years and I would have told you to put away all those melancholic-melodic punkrockbands who all sound alike. But Broadway Calls had me on the hook right from the start. The opener has such a great guitar line in the second verse which simply makes me melt away. It’s nothing special really, in fact it’s all been here before. But once in a while it’s always nice to listen to a “new” record, a “new” band. Think of a mixture of The Ataris and Alkaline Trio with a slight touch of streetpunk flavour.
Fall Of Efrafa “Inlé” 2xLP
I first heard the name of this band when someone was comparing Arktika to them. Well, it’s always nice when the music you write and play is compared (or even comparable) to another band, but I never had heard of Fall Of Efrafa before. The name sounded strange and it was quite a surprise when I listened to a record of theirs for the first time. True, it resembles the sound we play a little bit, especially the vocals sound quite alike. But that’s where the similarities end. Fall Of Efrafa is far more ‘crusty’ than what we do with Arktika. I’d rather put them in a category with D-beat Portland bands Tragedy, but without the upbeat tempo.
Heirs “Alchera” LP
We had been asked to play a show with Heirs on their recent tour just a few weeks ago, but because of our work schedules things didn’t work out. Still I wanted to check out what kind of band we were supposed to play with. Roughly it would have made sense to set us up with those guys, but their music is a lot more brutal than ours. Painfully slow doom stuff which slightly reminds me of early Neurosis records, especially because of the piercing guitar leads. The whole atmosphere on the record is very gloomy and dark, just as if you are standing on the edge of a volcano crater and looking down into the vault. I’ve never seen them play live but I believe the experience of seeing them on stage would be even better with some visual effects. This is hard to swallow stuff, but very good nonetheless.
Hextalls “Call It A Comeback” LP
Alright, I admit, I fell for the cover right away. I’m a sucker for hockey covers. And while I didn’t have any idea what to expect from the music I think so far I haven’t found a band from Canada who disappointed me. The Hextalls are a poppunk outfit from British Columbia who play Ramones-ish punkrock with lots of sweet and catchy melodies while speeding up the tempo every now and then. It’s really nothing one needs to have, but it’s a nice addition to the poppunk section of your record collection.
Jesu “Opiate Sun” LP
This one got me completely fooled (and I think it still does). I had it running on 33 rpm at first which sounded normal considering that your average Jesu song is slow and dragging. After a few moments I felt that although it sounded right I wanted to pitch it to 45 rpm and there we go, a whole new experience. It’s still slow, but with a little more drive to it. Apart from that it sounds to me that the band is shifting into more melodic areas with their sound. It’s still typical Jesu, but a bit more melodies. I really like it that way.
John K. Samson “City Route 85” 7″
Although I absolutely love The Weakerthans it’s nice to see that Mr Samson finally found some time to put out a recording all by himself again. I really liked the stuff he released in the 1990s and when I had the chance to attend a small and private show in Düsseldorf a few years back, it was one of the finest performances and one of the most pleasant evenings I ever had the time to spend. The way he knows how to grab the audience’s attention is simply fascinating. You won’t come across that many performers who come across so naturally and friendly. He’s one of the nicest people to talk to and that totally reflects in the songs he writes. Those small stories of little encounters, then he paints a picture with words and you get the impression you’ve been to that place before, just because he explains and describes it so well. This is three songs of wonderful folk/country music with slight touches of rock and a complete must have.
Maserati “The Language Of Cities” 2xLP
When listening to this record today one can’t help but feel sad because a few weeks ago the wonderful and brilliant drummer of Maserati was killed in an accident in NYC. I had the chance to watch a live set of Maserati in Bonn a few years ago and I was completely stunned by what the band and their drummer in particular did on stage. Unfortunately I never found the intensity of their live show on one of the records I bought. It always seemed they were a bit more timid while recording. Compared to what the band put up on stage the records always sounded a bit lifeless. But maybe that was because they had the drumset set up right at the front of the stage so everybody was able to watch that magnificent drummer. Their live sound reminded me a bit of Red Sparowes, but on record they sound completely unique. A bit more tricky, a bit more defined, a bit more to discover, when you listen to the record. There’s those small parts you only recognize when you go through it for the 5th or 6th time. Great stuff. It’s sad the band won’t be the same anymore.
Mogwai “Mr Beast” 2xLP
Mogwai “The Hawk Is Howling” 2xLP
I don’t think there is any need to go into detail with this band, so I’ll keep this short. It seems as if the records were rereleased on very heavy vinyl and that’s why I took the chance a bought those two records. No other reason there. It’s Mogwai, damnit, need I say more?
No FX “The Seven Inch Club 2005” LP
Funnily enough the reason I gave for buying the Mogwai records is exactly the same reason I bought this one. I admit (and I believe I said that on numerous other occasions) that I am a huge fan of No FX and buy their records regardless what’s on them. I failed to subsribe to the 7 Inch club a few years ago and was desperately scraping through 2nd hand vinyl boxes searching for a few left over singles (some of which I even found), but this one compiles them all on one handy LP and that’s what I was looking for anyway. It’s a bootleg of course and I don’t even know if all the songs from the series are compiled on this, but it’s nice to have them on one record. So, this is No FX and that’s all you need to know. Now go and get it.
Omega Massif/Mount Logan “Split” LP
When Omega Massif burst onto the scene a couple of years ago everybody was stunned that such a monster could come out of Germany. There weren’t that many heavy postrock/sludge/doom bands coming out of Germany at the time. The only one’s I can think of back then were Men In Search Of The Perfect Weapon and Black Shape Of Nexus (B.SON). What set Omega Massif apart was their very hypnotious approach, very long instrumental songs, which seemed to drag on for hours but never lacked the excitement. Although they might sound monotonous when listening to them for the first time, there are some many things to discover when you listen to them over and over again. With this release they offer two new songs, one in the vein of their older stuff, the other one being rather uncharacteristically only a little more than 2 minutes. Still they haven’t lost anything of their power and I really look forward to their next release.
The flipside belongs to Mount Logan who I had the pleasure to experience live a few years back. Their first record was quite impressive when you keep in mind that they are only a three-piece without a bass player. Still they were producing a strong and heavy sound which fell right in line with Omega Massif, although they were lacking a bit of the power. This record now offers a slightly different approach with Mount Logan playing kinds of snippets. Their side featureseight rather short and somewhat experimental songs which are completely different to what they used to do. Yet they are interesting and worth a try.
So if you’re looking for hard and heavy stuff you should get this one because of Omega Massif anyway, but be sure to check out the Mount Logan side as well.
Patsy O’Hara “Deathinteresse” LP
Powerful stuff from Germany, somewhere in the nomansland between slow D-Beat, doom-ish sounds and metallic guitar bits and pieces. I don’t know what made me think those guys play some sort of chaoscore, but believe me, they don’t. They came round to play shows in this area of Germany a few times, but everytime that happened something came in my way and I didn’t have a chance to go. I will by the next time, I hope. I’d really like to watch a band like that. There’s no new inventions, no innovations, it’s just plain good music. What adds to their resumee is that Patsy O’Hara have their record put out by one of Germany’s legendary hardcore labels Per Koro Records, who gave the world a lot of brilliant bands like Lebensreform, Aclys, Mörser or Systral. So they have good company there.
Rise & Fall “Our Circle Is Vicous” LP
This is something anyone should get. Although I have to admit I heard better produced records before. Rise & Fall really need a forceful top notch production for their brutal sound, but this one sounds a little thin. It’s still pretty good nonetheless. On what is their 3rd full length album, I believe, the band yet refines their style once again. What sets them apart from other music is that they really know how to combine the sheer power of 90s hardcore with the beauty of doom and post-rock. Their dragging and moshing riffs are some of the best you’ll ever find when it comes to hard and brutal music.