Posts Tagged ‘post-hardcore’

Gauge

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

43 10″
ActionBoy 300, 1995

A number of great bands in the ’90s were unfairly dismissed as Fugazi clones, and this suburban Chicago group might be the best example of just how great some of these groups could be. Gauge was a young band, which may have kept them from getting the respect they deserve, but they toured hard and put out a body of work that’s well worth a listen, especially this 6-song EP, their final release. Gauge definitely took some inspiration from Fugazi and the dynamic punch of early emo/post-hardcore, but their sound was distinct with throaty vocals and an earnest, utilitarian method of achieving a dramatic punch. At times they’re tense and gnarled, while other times hushed and subdued, offering a slightly math-rock inspired take on what Boys Life and Christie Front Drive were doing around the same time. If you dig this, you’ll also want to check out some of the bands that sprung from Gauge, like Traluma, Haymarket Riot and Euphone.

LINKS:

Stream “43″ on Bandcamp

Markov

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This Quiet LP
Self-released, 2010

The debut album by this Austin quartet has been slowly wrapping its tentacles around my DNA since its release earlier this month. At first listen, their influences came in loud and clear, with aggro Hot Snakes riffs and clever Les Savy Fav songwriting prowess backed by a rock-solid Drive Like Jehu rhythm section. Further in, Markov also evokes the better moments of John Reis’ and Rick Frohberg’s pre-Hot Snakes, pre-Drive Like Jehu band Pitchfork, with a more direct attack from the gut that doesn’t get too mired in cerebral approaches to methodically dispensed hardcore aggression. There’s also a nice rambling Barkmarket quality to the delivery of the vocals, with a pinch of mania and a looseness that ebbs and flows with waves of soaring guitar, both pleading and demanding, often at the same time. Beyond these reference points, Markov — named after a famed Russian mathematician — have formulated a uniquely potent mixture of these influences that give them an x-factor that elevates their music well above any dismissive math-rock comparisons their moniker or cover art might suggest. You can stream This Quiet at the link below, but I recommend picking up a digital copy (only $5) in order to fully understand the intricacies and charm of this band.

LINKS

Buy digital album at Bandcamp
Markov on MySpace

Phantom Tollbooth

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Phantom Tollbooth
Homestead Records, 1986

Considering the year, the debut album from New York nutjobs Phantom Tollbooth could be considered an influencial landmark of screamo mathcore — had anyone heard the fucker. Their back catalog was a mainstay of cutout bins throughout the late eighties and nineties, probably the result of slightly weaker follow-up records and the lack of audience for the sort of selflessly unhinged and intensely cerebral hardcore The Tollbooth was dishing up. You can trace back the explosion of fractured mathy hardcore in the 1990s and early 2000s to this record, as demonstrated with bands like The Dazzling Killmen, Last of the Juanitas, and Brass Knuckles for Tough Guys. With discordant shards of guitar and jazzed-up rhythm section that wouldn’t find much of an audience until a decade later, this record should be considered a reference point for the evolution of hardcore punk.

DOWNLOAD:

Phantom TollboothPhantom Tollbooth LP (21.1MB)

The Trans Megetti

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Rent A Rocket 7″
Art Monk Construction, 1996

It’s shocking how little attention I pay to singing. Most people hear a song and seem to only hear the words, but I only catch fragments of verse and I usually hear ‘em wrong anyway. Truth is, I’d just as soon have the vocals buried deep in the mix since there are bands I can’t listen to because I can’t get past an annoying vocalist or insipid lyrics. And more often than not, these overmixed crappy vocal tracks diminish the power of the music. The Trans Megetti’s Mark Tesi, however, has some of the best sing-shout punk vocals you’ll hear anywhere. They’re forceful but not overbearing, and they perfectly fit the band’s razor sharp power punk. Mix Hot Snakes’ punchy guitar work with Gray Matter vocalist Geoff Turner’s unwavering wail, and you’ll get a sense of where this New Jersey powerhouse is coming from. They released a couple solid albums after this 7″ on the Art Monk and Gern Blandsten labels, but this raging debut record is easily my favorite.

DOWNLOAD:

The Trans Megetti – “Rent A Rocket”
The Trans Megetti – “Mercitron”
The Trans Megetti – “Yes, I Can Read”