There’s a poetic beauty in the fact that the inventor of the blastbeat — that blazing, ridiculously aggressive machine gun drum style that came to spur entire genres of extreme metal — later went on to create some of the most chill beats known to man. In addition to Harris’ essential heavy dub Scorn project, which pretty much was dubstep before dubstep became a one dimensional punchline of IDM culture, his solo work explores spacious, minimal expanses tied together with massive beats in an even more reductive way. This double CD release collects a series of 12″ singles he did for Canada’s Hed Nod label, offering an appropriately expansive runtime that allows a deep slide into the zone at nearly 2 and a half hours long. No matter where you stand on Harris’ work, from the inhumanly fast, dense blurs of sound in Napalm Death, to the wide open spaces propelled by relentless, sickened beats of Scorn and these solo recordings, you’ve got to give the guy props for being at the forefront of both the grindcore and dubstep genres.
Posts Tagged ‘heavy’
School’s Out 7″
A few weeks ago, the Southern Lord label released an album of long lost Bl’ast! recordings, Blood!, remastered by Dave Grohl. It’s breathed new life into my love for this band with a collection of tracks from their prime It’s In My Blood era, the creative peak of these Santa Cruz heavies. At the time this 7″ came out, featuring a cover of the classic Alice Cooper song on the A-side and the Germs “The Slave” on the B-side, Bl’ast was often pegged as a Black Flag rip-off. Sure, guitarist Mike Neider killed it Ginn-style on a clear acyrlic guitar, and their SST discography definitely links them to that sound. Yet they need credit for bringing something new to the table with massive riffs that stretch time signatures like taffy and Cliff Dinsmore’s distinctively hoarse bark that gave their version of heavy hardcore a mighty guttural punch. Wisely, the new release (which is basically It’s In My Blood resequenced with a few alternate tracks) includes the song “Your Eyes” from this otherwise novel 45. “Your Eyes” sounds better than ever on Blood! with an additional guitar and a crisp mix that pushes this late ’80s material into a powerful roar that levels anything out there today. Here’s the original version of the track, which still delivers a hella heavy punch and stands as a great example of why this band shouldn’t be overlooked.
Bl’ast – “Your Eyes” (2.3mb)
Jumping Out The World / Instinct / Teach Death A Lesson CD
Alternative Tentacles, 1991
When you think of Jello Biafra, his antagonistic spoken word tirades and cult status as the brain behind the Dead Kennedys are the first thing to come to mind. However, it should also be noted that the man is a fanatically obsessed and rabid collector of music. I once witnessed him tear through the beloved stacks of wax at Love Garden Sounds with the deftness of a librarian on crank, nabbing an armful of choice selections all while bullshitting with the starstruck locals. And if you’ve ever read the second volume of the fantastic RE/Search Incredibly Strange Music books, you’d know exactly how hardcore a vinyl hound he is. So it should come as no surprise that this area of expertise has resulted in some of the more interesting documents of “punk” music from his Alternative Tentacles label, resulting in absolute classics from the Butthole Surfers, Flipper, The Crucifucks, Alice Donut, Victim’s Family, Phantom Limbs, and many more. Yet among all those well-known groups lurk some overlooked monsters. I found this CD reissue of this Hungarian band’s 1988 and 1990 LPs for a measly dollar in a cutout bin years ago and it’s easily one of my favorite records from the entire AT catalog. With over an hour of wild, tranced-out heavy psych glazed with shamanistic howls echoing at High Rise/Mainliner levels in the blissed out format of krautrock disciples like Wooden Shjips, this disc continues to get better—and weirder—with age. Although the Neurot label had the good sense to put out Dancing with the Sun in 2000, these early records have yet to garner the praise they deserve and have remained out of print for quite some time.
Galloping Coroners – Jumping Out The World+ CD (94.1MB Zip file)
Loser / Cooking With Gas 7″
Talking with a friend this weekend, we recalled a time when the term “grunge” didn’t conjure up images of ridiculous designer flannel and lame ’90s-style hard rock, before the gnarlier aspects of the term were sanitized and rationalized for mass consumption. For us, Seattle’s Tad embodied what grunge was really about: loud, burly, heavy dirtpunk for weirdos — in short, ugly music for ugly people. Long before every mall in America was teeming with teenagers sporting Doc Martens and flannel shirts, flipping their locks and blathering about Pearl Jam, Tad was punishing eardrums with gut-rumbling dirges that mainlined the colossal buzz of the Melvins and late-period Black Flag (they released a single featuring covers of Flag’s “Damaged I” and “Damaged II”) into a backwoods freakshow that made grunge scary. Their God’s Balls and Salt Lick 12-inchers are essential noise rock classics and this, one of many classic Tad singles on Sub-Pop, showcases the true grit of grunge.
Hey O.J. / White Bronco 7″
Double Naught Records, 1994
Wrapping up the Pain Teens theme this week, here’s a post-Pain Teens project from guitarist Scott Ayers which extended his layered, noise-damaged psychedelia into a slightly more experimental realm. Years of sampling and tape loop manipulation elevated Ayers’ masterfully stitched together compositions to a whole new level, as demonstrated on the B-side track, “White Bronco” where news clips of Dan Rather make a perfect compliment to the tense pulse of violin and percussion. His sinister edge is softened with a little humor — albeit very dark humor — as the A-side is a molestation of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe” tweaked to lampoon the debacle of the O.J. Simpson media circus. My edition of 1000 is hand-numbered #32 of 1000, and I suspect all are numbered #32 since that was O.J.’s jersey number.
Sacrificial Shack / Sweetheart 7″
C/Z Records, 1991
My last posting hit the spot, so here’s another single from the notorious Pain Teens. Perhaps we’ll make this Pain Teens week to help meet my self-imposed minimum quota of 4 postings a month. I’ve got lots of their stuff to devastate you with, such as this dizzying 45. “Sacrificial Shack” once again finds the Pain Teens knee deep in the horrors of humanity with a nauseating, yet somehow seductively swirling track that paralleled the early ’90s fascination with serial killers and mayhem. It was released the same year The Silence of the Lambs hit theaters after all. The flipside is a fantastic cover of a Zeni Geva song, funneling the Japanese band’s oppressively pounding primal riffs through buzzing, woozy layers of noisy muck.
Death Row Eyes / The Smell 7″
Sub Pop, 1992
There’s something undeniably appealing about sinister music, especially when it comes to rock, and it doesn’t get much more sinister than the Pain Teens. Dark, disturbing, and steeped in the hazy, narcotic fog of Houston, Texas, their music has the acid-fried punk psyche of Chrome plus the weirdo noise experimentation of fellow Texans The Butthole Surfers tightly wound held together with an industrial-sized, relentlessly bombastic rhythm section. Those elements alone make the Pain Teens a fairly interesting band, but the real power of their sound comes from singer Bliss Blood, who’s disarming, female vocals prevent them from being just another off-putting band of testosterone-laden misanthropes. In fact, without her voice and the perfectly assembled layers of pounding noise, riffs, and tape loops, it’d be hard for anyone but the dimmest of sickwads to subject themselves to their tales from the darkest side of humanity. Just dig the seductive qualities of the Savage Pencil portrait of Ted Bundy on the cover of this Sub Pop Singles Club 45, or their twisted take on John Barry’s “You Only Live Twice” from Trance Records’ Love & Napalm compilation and you’ll see what I mean.
Creamy Loop 7”
Caulfield Records, 1992
Here’s the perfect way to kickstart Noise for Heros: a posting of one of the fiercest 7″ slabs of noise rock ever to rage out of the midwest. Germbox was a criminally unknown and underrated band from Kansas City from the early ’90s that played with an intensity that most people weren’t ready for at the time, featuring dynamic songwriting, sickly swirling guitar, a galloping rhythm section, and a vocalist with unhinged screams that cleared venues of all but the hardcore. On par with anything that AmRep was dishing up at the time (the debut Today Is The Day album Supernova would be a good reference point) and as brutal as bands like Unsane, Dazzling Killmen, Zeni Geva, or Swans, this single should be part of any noise hound’s collection. Sadly, Germbox didn’t last long enough to record an LP, but this amazing 7″ and their debut Groaning Bridge 7″ is collected on a CD entitled Fraction of Exaggeration along with some unreleased and compilation tracks on the now defunct Caulfield label.