Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Slowdive- Live in Oslo 1992

If posting a crapton of their demos my first ICDT post is of any indication, Slowdive has been on the listening docket quite a bit lately. A truly sublime band.

When they released their second best album Souvlaki in 1993, their label not only delayed its release but also withdrew financial support mid-tour. The band then toured twice more on their own dime. It would be around this time, I'm guessing, that they released this Live in Oslo tape from their 1992 show at the Centrum in order to help with the money end of things. The setlist is solid-- three cuts from Souvlaki, supplemented by older EP and Just for a Day tunes. The song quality is in the B/B+ range-- the only real downsides are the occasional but incredibly brief tech difficulty (maybe once or twice) and the likely drunk guy yelling "I LOVE YOU!" at singer/guitarist Rachel Goswell between songs...and then Rachel eventually calls him out, which is pretty golden.

If you like My Bloody Valentine or any of their followers or just want spacey, relaxing music, check this tape out. And the aforementioned ICDT post, because most of those demos are as fantastic as anything the band released on an album.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"You listen to Chick Corea and play death metal? What?"

Before they weathered natural disasters, equipment detainment and band member departures and released their seminal 1994 LP Focus, jazzy//technical/progressive death metallers Cynic were a technical thrash/death metal band. A really, really good one.

Many folks can't get down with the fusion/jazz influences and vocoder vocals so prevalent in Focus and their newest, Traced in Air. I personally think they have a lush and substantially refined take on the "Chick-Corea-meets-death metal" concept Atheist arguably started, but anyway, these demos will please anyone who a) likes technical metal, b) hates that "dumb jazz shit" on Focus or c) wants to trace the band's progression literally year-to-year, this post is for you.

I do mean it about the last point. Included in the ZIP file are four demos: '88, '89's Reflections of a Dying World, '90, and '91, which features tracks "The Eagle Nature" and "Uroboric Forms" mostly devoid of the major jazz influences that would come to be on the Focus versions. Paul Masvidal also has a roar on par with Chuck Schuldiner, in my humble opinion (he later ditched this in favor of the vocoder when a doctor warned him throat damage was imminent). He and Jason Gobel's soloing remains totally sweet, and the latter two demos feature the masterful, go-to-90s-tech-death-metal-bassist Tony Choy (also of Atheist and Pestilence) skillfully and tightly holding down some excellent melodic bass lines.

The lineups vary a bit on each, so here's a rundown:

1988 Demo:
Jack Kelly - Vocals
Paul Masvidal - Guitar
Mark Van Erp - Bass
Sean Reinert - Drums

Reflections of a Dying World (1989):
Paul Masvidal - Guitar, Vocals
Jason Gobel - Guitar
Mark Van Erp - Bass
Sean Reinert - Drums

1990 and 1991 Demos:
Paul Masvidal - Guitar, Vocals
Jason Gobel - Guitar
Tony Choy - Bass
Sean Reinert - Drums

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adventure metal, you say?

For once, the "for fans of" tag kinda worked out. As I was flipping through the latest Decibel, I found an add for Scale the Summit, a band of dudes my age who purportedly sounded like "a classy mixture of Cynic and Canvas Solaris with touches of Pelican and latter-day Atheist," according to Unrestrained! magazine. But I'd take it a step further and say the band-- despite their bumper sticker name (Set Your Goals! Go It Alone! Bring Me the Horizon! Stray from the Path! How many metal and hardcore bands have blunt slogans for names?!)-- seamlessly and enjoyable bridge both the early and current eras of progressive metal. A fan of Cynic's Focus or Athiest's Unquestionable Presence could dig on these tunes as much as any of the throng of teens salivating over Between the Buried and Me's Colors record. The guitars weave liquid, swirling melody over the equally hyperactive but nonetheless supportive melodic bass and nuanced, jazzy drumwork. There are also plenty of pensive moments that incorporate the best parts of the overpopulated post-rock/instru-metal movement, making the Pelican comparison plenty accurate as well.

Props dudes! Their album Carving Desert Canyons on the otherwise mediocre label Prosthetic drops February 17th. Have a listen here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


You guessed'er, Chester. I'm yet another whiteboy who really digs the Wu-Tang Clan.

The first time I actually somewhat heard them was through this mashup mixtape done by the mighty Soul4hire. Dude blended a capellas from classic Wu with French electro master Mr. Oizo (who's actually bringin' the dance a few hours away from me in London as I write). Obviously, it'll never touch the RZA's production, but it's an interesting reassembly of material.
Download Shaolin Worm Attack here.

I spent all summer absorbing the masterpiece that is 36 Chambers. When I needed some new shoes not too long ago, I found these for 60 bucks (they feel great). For my recent joint birthday party with my buddy, we covered "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" with some friends (I did U-God and Inspectah Deck's verses). My buddy Mac just hooked up me up with the following tunes last night-- a boot of an XM Radio special session with Raekwon, GZA, Inspectah Deck, and U-God, back by funk band El Michael's Affair, bustin' classic Wu-bangers. I've only listened to a few of the cuts so far (this isn't my upload), but the version of "Da Mystery" that they do is more than worth the download.

Friday, January 9, 2009

DF the CH, Episode III

As I'm finally all set up in my dorm in England, it's time to continue things with yet another little-known gem from the Kitsap County area.

The Humanoids were a bunch of Misfits-obsessed kids from Bainbridge Island, Washington, and were of the same generation as the aforementione Maurice's Little Bastards and Pantophobics. But while MLB were bursting at the seams with unstable lineups and Justin Maurer's endless energy and the Pantophobics were just goofing around, the Humanoids were a seemingly rambunctious lot (and at seperate points actually featured MLB's Sean Roach and Maurer on the drum throne). According to their way-outdated Angelfire site, singer Jakes was evidently known for self-mutilation when they played live, took a hatchet to an old bandmates' family's antique furniture, and was accosed of stealing from another ex-bandmates' brother. It was disappointing to hear that bassist Bradd was into some white power/NS digs at one point-- even reading Varg Vikernes' Vargsmal and taking a lot of influence from it.

But I digress-- the Humanoids were no racist band, and their Blood and Guts Demo is four slabs of complete and total lo-fi Misfits worship, complete with the off-key drawl of Jakes' singing. "Burn in Hell" tells of the narrator's stokage to...burn in hell, while "Line'em Up" preaches the death squad-style execution of everyone from "Baggy pants potheads [and] wanker wiggers" to "politicians with their pants at their feet." You can pretty much guess what "World War 3" is about, and "Slasher" details the life of a serial killer. All in all, hardly groundbreaking material, but a fun listen for anyone into horror punk.

Download here.

Where are they now?
I haven't a clue about the entire band save for Bradd, who along with a woman named Carrie runs Blood and Guts Records, a horror/oi/psychobilly label with a metal sublabel.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We are experiencing technical difficulties-- please stand by.

I'm now in England, where I'll be studying abroad until June. I don't have internet access yet in my dorm and shit is kinda wack. Please stand by and posting should resume in a week's time or so at most. Hopefully by then the SQUIDCAST will commence! Yes, that's right-- a sweet podcast for your sweet ears full of sweet tunes. KEEP CHECKING BACK HERE!