Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More reviews shortly

Well I guess I didn't expect the holidays to be as busy as they ended up being. Wanted to get a review done for each day in December but I have fallen well short of that. Work basically every day and then need to do run errands after work, holiday parties etc. So looks like 31 won't be happening but I do have a few more going up this week. Most likely Wednesday and Thursday. So I hope you enjoy and thanks for sticking around and checking out my scribblings.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Disappearer - The Clearing

As 2010 draws to a close, many folks are compiling their "Best of the Year" lists. Since I still have a few records I feel could place in my top ten, still unlistened too, I am not ready to make that post yet. Instead I thought I would go back and talk about my favorite release from last year. One that, a year later, I still feel hasn't gotten the recognition it should have.

I don't remember how exactly I first heard Disappearer but I am eternally grateful I did not miss the boat on this incredibly powerful release. Since this record arrived in the mail it has been in constant rotation. More than a full year later this record still gets listened to a few times a week, and in my opinion is one of the greatest records to come out in the last ten years. I might seem like I am overselling it, but believe me when I say this, this record makes me wish I could afford to buy every copy and give it away to every person that I thought should hear it. I don't have to be a thousandaire to make that happen because the full album is already available for free download online and you don't have to feel like a dirt ball when you take it for yourself. You can head over to Gimme Sound and pick it up there and every download nets the band, label and a charity some cash.

Magic Bullet put out The Clearing on 2xlp format. I have long supported Brent and MBR although there is still a large chunk of his releases I still have not heard. I've never met the man but I'd like to think that he and I could share some good music conversation over a drink or two. This label has put out a number of releases I hold near and dear and this one tops the list.

The Clearing is the first full length record from this band but not their first release. I have found 2 different compact discs floating around. The first I picked up contained 2 songs and it looks like it was their demo. The second cd I actually found in an online distro and I thought it was going to be another copy of the demo cd, that I planned on giving away to a friend. When I got it though I was pleased to find out that it contained the 2 songs from the demo and one additional song. That cd was released by Trash Art records and looks like it is still available for sale, although the website hasn't been updated in about a year so you might want to drop an email before placing an order. I highly recommend picking the cdep up for the $7. All 3 songs are wonderful instrumental powerhouses. Here is to hoping that someday these songs get a vinyl release.

Back to the record at hand! The Clearing is 10 songs spread over 2 lp's and clocks in around 50 minutes or so. After all the hundreds of listens this record has gotten, it is still hard for me to simplify it to a few words. It's loud and powerful, it's hypnotic, it's crushing, it's cold. It's that first gust of fall air that cuts you to the bone and the harsh reality of the brutal winter ahead. Even with heaviness through out there is enough melody in these songs to keep the entire ride interesting. Equal parts Sludge and Post Rock, it ties together seamlessly in an amazingly produced record (Kurt Ballou) While all these songs are good enough to stand on their own, this album is really meant to be listened to, without interruption, in it's entirety. Please also make sure to play it as loudly as possible. I've listened to it many times on my laptop but it seems to be an entirely different experience when pounding through my stereo speakers.

Pressing wise there were two different colors. First was a color press of pink/clear(pictured above) that was limited to 150 and sold out pretty quickly. The rest of the press was 350 copies on black/black vinyl which is still available for ordering here. It amazes me that this is still available and I will be ordering myself a black/black copy soon enough. I am not much of a collector of variants but this album warrants another copy in my collection.

Although available for free online I really can't recommend this one enough for your turntable. If for some odd reason you buy this and don't care for it, give it to a friend. It won't be long until that copy lands with someone who will love it for the incredible album it truly is.

As a side note I am looking for a test press of this record, any xxl t shirts/hoodies that might be out there or any other cool merch. I only have the 2 cds and the lp and am striking out as far as everything else goes. If you can help shoot me an email at surfacenoiseblog at gmail dot com

Carl - Space Time Discontinumm 7"

Buffalo has a great history of bands. From Every Time I Die, Snapcase, Despair, etc all the way to the ever terrible Goo Goo Dolls. One man however tends to remain lovingly, Buffalo's secret. Carl Malford.

Carl is a simple man who you have run into many times if you have ever attended a basement show in Buffalo, however seems to slip into the shadows once you look for him. Armed with an acoustic guitar he has taught us all some of lifes most valuable lessons"don't ever drink wine from a box" and brought smiles to the face of thousands.

Hearing from Carl is a real treat and unfortunately too much time passes in between appearances. I was very pleased to dig up this gem from 2007(I think). I could have swore I had a copy of this but regardless I purchased this past weekend. 7 songs from a much tripper Carl then we are all used too. Still some nuggets of truth in this one but also some spaced out moments. I really don't think anyone outside of the Western New York region will appreciate this like those of us that have sat in dank basements and sang along with his silliness but I still thought it would be fun to share.

Record is hand numbered out of 300 and on black vinyl. White dj sleeve has some hand written goodness on it. Comes with a photocopied sleeve and a fold out thank you/song list sheet. This copy also came with a sticker from the CRAL purposeful typo tour 2007. This was Nancy Jo records number 2 but I am not entirely sure that website is the correct mailing address. If you are interested in finding out drop an email to nancyjorecords at gmail dot com.

Negative Approach - S/T 7"

Even though this is a remastered version, I am still really excited to have this on vinyl. I never had this record when I was younger but instead had a dubbed tape that I got from somewhere back in the early 90's. I haven't heard these songs in at least 10 years so I was beyond pumped when I saw this sitting in the 7" bin at my local record store, Spiral Scratch.

Having been so long I was a little impressed with myself having remembered most of the 10 songs on this record. If you haven't heard NA then you need to get your shit together. The band was formed in Detroit in 1981. Pissed off, fast and threatening. The way hardcore records should fucking be. 5 songs per side and each side ends with my favorite songs. Side 1 ends with the song Nothing which is probably my favorite song on here. Side 2 ends with the song Negative Approach. This is the shit that your favorite hardcore bands, favorite hardcore bands, were listening too.

Don't know the pressing information on this but I do know that it was remastered and released in October of this year. The artwork was redone and it's kind of corny looking now but it will do until I eventually pick up a real copy of this. Comes with a folded insert with awesome pictures on one side and the lyrics on the other side. Pick this up. Any good punk rock record store will have it in stock and it is also available from the Touch and Go webstore.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

31 reviews in 31 days!

I have been slacking a bit and have records piling up. My goal is to review 1 record everyday in December. If I miss a day, I double up the next. Day 1 review is up so check that out and come back everyday for new reviews. Ghastly City Sleep, Kylesa, Charles Manson, Phantom Glue, Horror Show and a ton more are all on deck! Spread the word and follow us on Twitter! If I get 100 followers this month I'll be giving some stuff away so join up!

Jesuscentric - 1 sided s/t 12"

Tor Johnson is running a pretty sweet sale right now. Everything is on sale. Used cd's are $1.50, records are all marked down 25% and Tor Johnson label releases are all marked 50% off. I saw this sale not too long ago and placed an order but never pulled the trigger. I had a few extra bucks in my paypal so I decided to just pick up a used Disappearer cd and this record by Jesuscentric.

I was a little skeptical about how good the record might be as I had never heard the band before and they were described as "three dudes who don't play metal, who decide to play metal". If you like metal, you understand why that's kinda off putting. But Paul, from Tor Johnson and possibly Jesuscentric(?), posts on a message board I frequent and is always very nice and after a reassuring review on Omgvinyl I went for it. Plus with a price tag off $4.88 how can you go wrong?

This record is really pretty damn good. 5 songs 3 of which are between 4-8 minutes and the other 2 clock in around a minute each. The record goes from spacey and ambient to crushing in the same track. I bet these songs are awesome live. Some good riffs on this record too. I like the vocals, even though I have no idea what he is actually singing/screaming about because there are no lyrics included with the record but he's got a pretty solid yell going on. Even though this record goes by pretty fast (21 or so minutes) it really covers a lot of ground. The B-side is screened with a cool skull but in all reality the first side of this record makes me wish there was more music on the flip.

Vinyl comes in a bunch of colors but it seems maybe only red is left. Can't imagine it was a very large pressing. Inside white sleeve is stamped and hand numbered. Since I got the red mine is out of 96 copies. Comes with an insert with thanks and credits and there is an additional slip of paper with a download code. Like I mentioned before the B side is screened with a skull off to one side.

Totally worth the $5 Paul is asking for it. Go to Tor Johnson and pick it up and grab that Phantom Glue lp for $9 while you are there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nightbringer - s/t 7"

Picked this record up from the No Idea Records website while purchasing a few other things. The description reads "Nightbringer is bastard hardcore. Taking equal parts from the holy trinity of Motorhead, 70s Detroit rock n roll, and Japanese hardcore". SOLD!

This record rules. Blazing fast hardcore/rock 'n roll from ex members of Ruination, Earthmover and Life Set Struggle. Record has 3 songs that clock in in a little under 7 minutes total. Not sure how many people will get this comparison but they remind me of one of my favorite Buffalo bands of all time No Time Left. Loud and fast and probably likely to incite living room circle pits. I wanted to put up a new review tonight before I went to bed but this record has me so pumped up I don't think I'll be getting much sleep for a while. I don't have much more information about these guys but I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more releases and hopefully some live shows. I bet these guys tear it up live.

No pressing information on the vinyl but mine is on gray marble. Cover is folded with lyrics to the three songs inside. Also includes a download code for the 3 songs plus a bonus song. 3 songs on vinyl, 4 digital and only $3.50. If you plan on doing an order with No Idea in the future do yourself a favor and throw this on. Good jams!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Floor DVD trailer now online!

All the ordering information is in the previous entry. Here is the trailer that just went up on-line! Made me even more excited about getting this! Hurry up and grab one of the limited pre order packages before they are gone.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Floor DVD available for Pre-Order

This one is just a little piece of news. Pre-Orders for a Floor dvd have gone up at Chunklet. I am a few days late on this but I have been crazy busy so this is the first chance I have had to share the news. This is all direct from Chunklet.

"After years of toiling away in obscurity, followed by years of escalating interest during their hiatus, the legendary Florida band Floor reunited for a handful of shows in April 2010. Three different drummers. Three different sets. "Sight & Seen" is over two hours of material spanning their early dirgey/noise singles to their landmark psych/drone/pop self-titled masterpiece. Filmed over two nights at the EARL in Atlanta, Georgia, "Sight & Seen" is truly something that needs to be seen to be believed.
A multi-camera performance coupled with professionally recorded and mixed audio, "Sight & Seen" is an enveloping, droning wall of guitars. Floor's two guitarists, Anthony Vialon and Steve Brooks (of TORCHE fame), spend over two hours on stage with their various drummers. Their three drummers, Betty, Jeff and Henry, rotate through the band's lineup: crashing through their early singles, smoking the viewer with their mid-period haze and ending with the cathartic and anthemic final album.

Disc #1 of "Sight & Seen" also includes a 20 minute featurette that documents the band's history with never-before-seen live footage, photography and interviews.
Disc #2 is intended lure in both massive fans and completists alike. A data disc (which means you pop it in your computer), it includes:
--high quality audio files of both Atlanta shows (not just the one shown on disc #1) --the complete and edited film of Floor that ended up on the cutting room floor (which clocks in at over 2 hours of video)
And in addition to this, the band has opened up their video vaults to include:
--over an hour of archival footage spanning Floor's career from 1993 at Churchill's in Miami to their final shows in 2001.
"Sight & Seen" is also housed in an elaborate package which was initially used on Chunklet's landmark "Anthem" 2xDVD release by Harvey Milk in 2006. All designed by Chunklet's in-house designer, Henry H. Owings.
Mail order copies will be available on a few different 'colors' (in editions of 50...at no additional cost) and "Sight & Seen" is a one-time release of 700 never to be reissued.
All orders will ship the first week of December 2010."

I just ordered my copy. The blue mail order edition is up now. I flew down to Atlanta with my friend Aaron(Beerwolf) to see these shows. We both had a blast and came home with some mean Metallica neck. Needless to say I am very excited to get this Dvd, invite him over and re-live the amazing time we had down there.

Also of note is the Harvey Milk dvd. This band is amazing live and I will be happy to finally have this dvd in my collection.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BONGRIPPER - Satan Worshipping Doom 2xlp

My weekend nights used to be about where my friends were going to be, what was going on, who was partying where. In the last few months I sort of detracted from that and started staying in and spending whatever time I got off from work with my girlfriend and my dogs. It's nice to sort of become unavailable for a while and just spend time with yourself. Work things out in your head, evaluate and reevaluate things that happen in your life. It's a positive thing. 

Since my job has changed over the last year I not longer work a Monday-Friday 9-5. My schedule is all over the place but I am usually always off one weekend day to enjoy. When I get out of work the day before a day off I tend to do a few routine things. One is head to my parents house to pick up any records I may have gotten delivered ( I haven't begun to trust my mail person at this apartment yet). Next is grab some alcohol from the store, come home and get some take out with the lady and watch a movie. After all that, when my girlfriend goes to bed I like to go into my record room and sit on the couch and put on something that can melt away an entire weeks worth of grief. I tend to have a nice alcoholic drink within reach and my dog, Lemmy, by my side. We will sit and listen to Boris or Floor and just relax. Let time melt away and just enjoy the sounds rumbling from the speakers.

Tonight Lemmy and I have found our new soundtrack.

Satan Worshipping Doom is the most recent album from Chicago Doom monsters, Bongripper. It was released back in August of this year but it took me until today to receive it. This is the first release I have purchased from the band and that is both exciting and totally sad. This however is not the first I have heard of the band.

While checking out some sale threads over on the Vinyl Collective message board, I found a guy selling some records and cassettes. One of those tapes was by Bongripper. I wanted it right away just based on the name but I acted too slow and missed out. I found the bands Myspace page and checked out a few songs and thought it was something worth checking out. Fast forwarding, I heard about this record coming out and when I saw the artwork I knew I had to have it. However I completely missed the first press of the record and just today received my copy of the second press.

This album is amazing. It's heavy, it's thunderous, it's sludgy. It is an all instrumental album and turns out it is also the bands sixth full length album. The album is only 4 tracks spread over 4 sides of vinyl. Each side gets it's own soundtrack. Saying they are songs doesn't feel quite right because this album is so much more then that. The titles of each side are Hail, Satan, Worship, Doom. This is one to put on and melt into your couch with. Each instrument is clearly audible and while it forms a monsterous wall of sound, you can still make sense of it all. I had my receiver set a little bass heavy when I put this on and it sounded so good I didn't bother to adjust. I imagine the ride to Hell being a long, slow ride in an elevator. The only light being one red lightbulb, smoke filling the small area which is hot and humid and this record pounding out through the speakers.

At least that's what I hope it's like.

Like I mentioned before this is the second press of the record. I think the first press was 300 copies and this press is out of 200. It is on a beautiful red and black mix vinyl that is totally fitting. The albums artwork is also absolutely beautiful and totally jam packed with crazy images. Inside the sleeve there is also a smaller sheet of paper with some additional artwork, song listing and some contact information as well as a download code.
I found this available a few places online but ultimately ordered directly from the band through their website. I got the record in a timely manner and it was even packaged correctly to appease the vinyl world. Records out of the sleeve and wrapped in bubble wrap and sent in an LP mailer. All this for like $22 bucks shipped so I recommend hurrying to that link above and grabbing yourself a copy. From what I understand these are going fast and won't be repressed again any time soon.


While working on the next update I figured I would throw my twitter link on here in case anyone is interested in that.

SurfaceNoise on twitter!

The Cro(w)s - 7" and Durty Bunny LP

I first purchased this record I think around 2000 or 2001. Give or take a year on those dates. I basically bought this because of the name of the band. The Sheryl Cro(w) Mags. What's not to love? I still chuckle when I say it out loud. I guess that isn't the only reason I bought it though. Around that time the name Chris Wollard on a record was a no brainer for me. After all, Hot Water Music had been churning out record after record of solid rock albums and there was no better music investment at the time. You couldn't lose with a record any of the HWM guys were involved with. Everyone is familiar with Hot Water Music, and if you aren't please give me one damn good reason why not. This was one of those side projects that I really felt slipped through the cracks.

This 7" contains 2 songs. #1 Hit (also on LP) and Watch For Repetition. Neither are really knock your socks off punk rock anthems but if you ever see this record sitting around for a couple bucks pick it up. It's certainly worth having. It was released on Crows and Pawns which I think probably only put out this one record and I'm sure this was heavily distributed by No Idea Records. There were 1200 copies of this 7" pressed. 100 on clear brown, 200 on pink marble and 900 on black. If anyone out there has a copy on pink or brown that would like to get rid of it let me know! I tried looking up the Crows and Pawns website listed on here but it somehow redirected me to adult friend finder. Thanks Nicelips2, I think you're cute too but I need to finish this update. Maybe later.In the mean time the band still has a website available here.

The band also dropped their name down to a simpler The Cro(w)s and released this full length LP "Durty Bunny" in 2003. This took me a while to track down but I eventually found a copy at Vinyl Junkie. They no longer have them available but it's still a good distro to check out. When the band put out their first record they were a three piece. They lost a member and gained two others. On this release the band is Chris Wollard (HWM), Bill Clower (Radon), James Ross (Radon) and Kaleb Stewart ( As Friends Rust). Similar to a Hot Water Music record but I think maybe a little more Rock and Roll. The song Everyday Revisited has been on every mix tape I have made in the last 2 years or so. It's is an excellent faster song which has a little harmonica in it.

The record was released on Sounds of Subterrania which is a German Label. It looks like they still have this LP available on their website and it will run you about $16 plus shipping. Get yourself an online translator and maybe find a few other records in their distro to save on shipping costs. The record itself is on thick 180 gram vinyl and comes with the outer sleeve and a lyric sheet which has the lyrics for 10 of the 11 songs. The extra song is at the end of side A and the lyrics are just the name of the album.

Overall I really think this is a must own if you are a fan of Chris Wollard, Hot Water Music or any of Chris' countless other side projects. It's a great record to throw on and enjoy a few beers too and share with friends. Mostly fast paced, gruff vocals, some nice riffs and even some backing vocals by fellow Hot Water Music band mate Chuck Ragan.

Monday, October 18, 2010

All Pigs Must Die - s/t

If someone told me that Matt Woods, Adam Wentworth, Kevin Baker and Ben Koller were putting out a record together I would not hesitate in ordering it based on nothing more than those names. Tell me that Florian Bertmer, one of my favorite artists going, is doing the artwork and I can't put my money in your hands fast enough. Inform me that the new Shirts & Destroy record label NonBeliever is responsible for all of this and I am literally waiting at my door for the package to arrive.

This is step by step how it all happened for me.

APMD consists of the above mentioned four members, who without knowing, have been partly responsible for me almost getting into more then a few car wrecks in my time. Previous and ongoing bands that these four men are involved with are some of the heaviest bands out there. You can not put on a Converge record and keep the accelerator at 55 mph. You can not drive in a straight line while flailing your arms about while blasting any Doomriders track. The irresponsibility that takes place on the road while I listen to these bands continues as you go through the extremely impressive discography these members have churned out over the years. 

If those records and bands have come close, this record is surely going to get me into some trouble.

This record is 5 songs and is over way too fast. The music is tight, fast and punishing. My heart is racing just from listening to this. Kevin's vocals are one of my favorite in hardcore/metal. The honesty, the misanthropy, the hate scream from my speakers and fill the air with brutal emotion. There is no bullshit about this record. They call it as they see it and there is zero hesitation to paint a realistic and graphic picture for the listener. You can't do anything but respect that.

The artwork is done by German Florian Bertmer  who has never let me down. I purchased the $65 super nerd package and his artwork is on everything from the gatefold LP sleeve to the patch and the amazing screened poster. I can not wait to get that print framed and up on my wall. It is one of my favorites in recent memory.

Pressing information seems to be 150 copies on 180 gram vinyl in that clear/black/smoke colorway. This color was exclusive to the $65 package and is now sold out. The remaining 850 copies are on black 180 gram vinyl and available here for $15. You can also get a T-shirt here but the stock seems to be getting a little low.

There is still some time left but I would be amazed if a record came out by the end of the year that tops this. I've read that the band has already put 7 new songs to demo so hopefully there isn't too much of a wait for a full length. That should give me enough time to save up money for any future traffic incidents. 

Torche - Songs For Singles

After the departure of guitar player Juan Montoya a while back, it was clear to anyone who saw the band live that Torche was changing. The now 3 piece were more playful on stage and the sound, while still heavy, was just different. Songs For Singles is the first recorded documentation of the new Torche sound.

The record starts out fast and fun with the tracks "U.F.O.", "Lay Low" and "Hideaway". Those first 3 songs fly by in under five minutes and if you aren't paying attention you will lose track of what song you are listening to. Things slow down a little on the track "Arrowhead" which really has some of the first heaviness on the record. The tempo once again picks up for the song " Shine on My Old Ways" which is followed by "Cast Into Unknown" which sounds like it could have been on Meanderthal.

The final two tracks on Songs for Singles are the stand outs. "Face the Wall" is a slow, heavy and hypnotic monster. The power of this song is immediate but it's unbelievable live. The whole mood and energy in the room changes with this track and for my money is the best song on the record. Things end with "Out Again" which clocks in at over 6 minutes and can be equally as hypnotic as "Face The Wall" but in a lighter way.

The LP is packaged to mimic a greeting card and actually comes with a letter opener to slice your way through the top of the outer envelope. I have seen people that took the time to steam open the seal but I was entirely too impatient to go that route. Inside the envelope you find a picture of the guys on the front of the card and when opened the album notes look handwritten. A simple HydraHead records seal on the back for a very simple package. I am not in love with the packaging but honestly how to you follow up the massive layout of Meanderthal?

There are multiple color variations for this release. I think something like 5 different colors. The copy I bought was on teal colored vinyl and came from Vacation Vinyl records. I did not receive a letter opener with my copy but the guys were gracious enough to give me one at one of their shows. I have heard that mail order copies are now coming with the opener but I am not 100% on that. It seems that the copies the band have with them are on white vinyl.

Seeing the band play songs off of Songs for Singles gave me a slightly different opinion of the tracks then just hearing them on my turntable. The record seems to be more of a flirtation then a love affair found on previous releases but in the end it leaves you hoping that something more permanent develops. I am eagerly awaiting the next full length record from Torche.