This week: Noisy punk, diabetic test strips, Hella, and a trip through a lumber yard
Thanks to everyone who's reached out with submissions in the past week or two. If you'd like your music reviewed: email@example.com
Listen Up, Nerds
偏執症者 (Paranoid) - S.C.U.M - This band has been around for over a decade and makes some of the best Japanese noise-inspired crust you could imagine. And they're Swedish(!), which is kind of the funny thing about it on the surface but these dudes have dedicated all of their energy to being students of the craft, enlisting Jacky from Framtid/Crust War for guest vocals and working with harsh noise artist Statuszero to add to the ambiance of pure chaos. The cover's collage art is reminiscent of Sakevi (RIP) and is but a teaser for the audio contained within.
Yield to None - Demo 2 - Designated Mosher's Unit is an Atlanta label whose calling card is music that will activate a pit. Every tape on this label is worth a listen and the new Yield To None demo is a must-listen if you like hardcore but wish it sounded more evil in the spiked gauntlet way and not in the ski mask way. It sounds like it's recorded in a dungeon. Very much worth your time.
Black Dog - Overthrow - Canada is supposed to be such a nice country and then there are bands like Black Dog who put out some of the darkest and noisiest punk imaginable. Press releases print trite phrases like "buzzsaw guitars" but this album sounds industrial in the way that a lumber yard is industrial. Saws, hammers, yelling, etc. This is a very noisy edition of the newsletter, no? Good. There's a noise war happening in punk that no man is safe from and covering it from the ground means that I can shine a light on it. I don't think this is an actual war but it is cool to see bands say "Wow, that new (x crust band) record sounded like when a VHS runs out of tape, let's make our record sound like two cats hissing at each other for eight minutes!"
alexalone - ALEXALONE TECHNICAL RESEARCH - The new wave of slowcore bands is a bit sleepy for my taste but I am very much into this alexalone record. Yes, it channels favs like Duster and Slint and Codeine, but it's a bit noisier and a bit faster than the "slowcore" genre would let on. There are jazzier passages, there are Kyuss-esque stoner rock sections. It's not an easy record to pin down, and I think that's why I'm a bit more intrigued by it than most of these other bands in this vein as of late. If anything I said in there piques your interest, I am sure you won't be disappointed by this.
Wavves and Zach Hill - Babes
A long-rumored and long-ago-leaked record, Wavves finally released his collaboration with Zach Hill of Hella and Death Grips. Demos and low-quality youtube videos claiming that they’re full rips have been around for a good part of the last decade, but it’s nice to get the full thing from the source itself. It’s on Wavves’ Patreon as one big long file but some guy on the Wavves subreddit chopped it up into parts. He also encoded it in FLAC for some reason so I converted that into mp3 for anyone who’d like to have it forever. Wavves said this is coming out on vinyl at some point but who knows? I got my copy of the new reissue of Hella’s Hold Your Horse Is this week and it’s still a phenomenal piece of math rock history. The promo sticker on the Hella record states “FEATURING ZACH HILL (DEATH GRIPS)” and that was a bit of a blow to the body of my ego. It knocked me off my center of gravity for a second before I remembered just how big Death Grips were and are. Anyway: I love this record and this is the best Wavves material we ever got, so give it a spin.
Armand Hammer - We Buy Diabetic Test Strips:Once again, the duo recieves The Listen Up, Nerds Seal of Approval for Old Guy Rap. This is the funniest billy woods record to date. There’s a lot to talk about with this record but I want to focus on one specific sound: There’s a sound on one track, and I don’t want to spoil it, but it sounds like a window A/C unit kicking on and it’s used as a bass track to unleash subwoofer slaughter. What’s sound but moving air anyway?
Watch It, Nerds
Cure (1997, Kurosawa) - I watched all of the Saw franchise this week in order to get my mind right (or wrong) and my ducks in a row before seeing Saw X. I watched this as a balm after and it’s scarier and more tense than any of the Saw movies. The last scene genuinely shocked me. Eastern horror is a little more existential and can be fantastical in a way that American audiences would never tolerate. Still, Cure is a brutal and gripping thriller with existential ramifications that translates perfectly to American sensibilities without losing any of its identity in the process. It's the best horror movie I’ve seen in years, without a doubt.
Read Up, Nerds
Patrick Lyons on Old by Danny Brown, an album I honestly never liked but he does a great job of talking about why people loved it at the time and what it meant for Danny's legacy. Danny Brown was my favorite rapper for about... I dunno. From whenever I first heard The Hybrid until Freddie Gibbs dropped Piñata. It's a great look back at the hipster-adjacent blog rap hype train and what it meant for a kinda-mid record.
Sean Reveron on Majesty Crush, an overlooked but trailblazing Detroit(!) shoegaze(!!) band whose music is getting a re-release treatment from Numero Group. American '90s shoegaze internet revisionism glossed over the Midwest and people of color in the scene in general, so the photos and the videos in the article are such a cool reminder of the history of both of those things. It wasn't just east coast college kids who could make shoegaze!
Thanks for reading