This probably isn’t a big surprise to some, since the site hasn’t been updated much over the past three or so weeks. However, BOAWS will no longer be updated from this point forward. I always told myself that if the site ever became more of a chore than something that I enjoyed doing, then it was probably time to give it up. With my diminishing amount of free time coupled with an increasing amount of obligations that I should be keeping in my personal life, it’s made it a bit hard to enjoy doing this as much as I have in the past. I know the site has “gone away” a couple of times now…but each one of those were never my decision really. I can this time at least say this was thought about long and hard for a couple weeks now and I feel like it’s time to just step away from it. I won’t drone on much longer, because in the end this was just some dumb blog that I started to keep myself busy a little over six years ago and who wants to hear some wanky parting words about a blog? Nevertheless, I was always shocked that anyone chose to read it. I thank each and every one of you and of course all the bands and labels that passed along material over that time. Apologies if I never got around to saying some things about it.
Those that enjoy noise-rock and haven’t heard Friend Collector or their debut album American yet, well you’ve been missing out. Never fear through, as the band is back with a brand new 6 track EP simply titled FCII. It’s being released on cassette, I think in preparation for a tour, and it’s quite possibly even better than their debut. Some may already be a bit familiar with these guys and not even really know it, considering they have ties back to the wonderfully noisy The New Flesh who released a couple or so excellent albums that I would also highly recommend tracking down if given the time. Friend Collector, in most ways, haven’t deviated terribly from the path that was forged with The New Flesh, but the songs are certainly a little more drawn out and aren’t as much in debt to the big thudding monotony of bands like Drunks With Guns, etc. Rather, Friend Collector sling a more decipherable type of noise (as much as it can be I suppose), using atonal shifts and scrapes that create a whopping mass of destruction…plowing along beside a hefty low-end. The pacing sometimes causes it to remind of early Swans, but in most cases Friend Collector are producing a similar sort of noise to those of past and current bands like Glazed Baby or Scul Hazzards. One of the finer noisier rock items I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this year.
Friend Collector – Spiritual Vacancy (stream)
For those wishing to grab a copy of the tape, it can be had over at the groups Bandcamp page.
This is almost all too perfect of a fit between labels and music, those being Africantape and Sickroom Records. A seven inch from a band who channels both odd quirky avant/math-rock of lord knows how many years past now and the more nuanced precision recorded rock that has had Albini’s name attached to it more often than not. Paper Tigre are that band and one who I have been meaning to cover for some time now, probably more than anything their album from last year Recreation which was a pretty stellar example of the bands strengths as one that can mesh the experimental side of nearly deconstructed rock like US Maple and the more spontaneous artiness of something like Smart Went Crazy and such. However, I have this single to focus on now that has two new tracks from the band. In reality it’s hard to necessarily focus completely on them, since they are pretty much right in line with what we heard from them last year…which is why I pretty much have to make mention of the album. On the a-side you have “Personal Belongings” which is the track that certainly shows the bands penchant for meshing the complexities of math related rock with the a somewhat teasingly anti-rock method of numerous direction changes. The b-side of “The Difficult Age” is a bit more of a direct approach to the rock side of things while still infusing a flurry of calculated notes and smidgen of rough guitar crunch. Those that were fans of their last album will certainly be pleased with the sounds that lie within this single.
Papier Tigre – Personal Belongings (stream)
Anyone looking to pick up a copy of the single can do so by heading over to either Sickroom Records if you’re located here in the states or those overseas can grab yourself a copy from Africantape.
Fucking Despair was a pretty big hit with me when it came out a couple years ago. For Fat History Month, it was supposed to be their comedy album, apparently…despite my assurances that aside from a crude drawing on the cover of the album, the comedy was certainly of a darker flavor. Now, the band has returned with their new album through Exploding in Sound & Sophomore Lounge titled Bad History Month, which is a pretty great title. However, if their previous album was supposed to be a comedy…then you can only imagine what things lie ahead when the band claims this new effort to be a “tragedy”. I wasn’t actually aware of this before listening through it the first time and by the end of the album I was certainly feeling the effects of it. As much as Fat History Month showed their ability to create some tongue in cheek subtleties with Fucking Despair while masking it in a deep pool of bleakness, they’ve certainly strayed away from the humor some here and prove to the listener that they can develop an unwavering seriousness about the accumulating sensation of self-hatred…with every step leading to just another reason to never leave the living room.
With Bad History Month, the band isn’t dabbling so much in the sprawling and, at times, glacial like movements that their previous album explored, but rather this is a much more straight forward boiling down of early to mid-nineties awkward dude indie-rock. I think I mentioned it in my original review of Fucking Despair that the band shared a certain ability to that of early Modest Mouse in how they were able to nearly perfectly capture the depressing stage of nowheresville for many of 20 somethings and the inevitable amount of self-loathing that comes along with it. For a couple albums, Modest Mouse were pretty brilliant in that respect. Fat History Month undoubtedly are able to push that same feeling of fear and anxiety 100% and have put together an album with Bad History Month that plays out with such perfect pacing to mirror it…between all of its stuttering and loose ends. It reminds so much of a lot of the slacker type rock of the nineties…very much in the area of There’s Nothing Wrong With Love era Built to Spill (maybe without some of the mushiness) or maybe more so earlier Pavement albums. A song like “Cat in a Box” is the very type that has sent me into a snowball like effect of similarly styled music listening habits over the past couple days, leaving me actively searching for anything and everything through my collection that could make me feel worse than that song does. So far not a whole lot matches it. Fantastic effort from these guys and one that honestly gets better each time through…despite the effects it may have on my mental state.
Fat History Month – The Future (stream)
Fat History Month – Cat in a Box (stream)
Those looking to grab a copy of Bad History Month can do so by hitting up their Bandcamp page where they have the LP and CD-R for order and of course you can also get it digitally if you so choose.
These guys released their Fern EP last year, which seemed to be right up my alley. From what I heard on that, it sounded to be right in line with the sort of post-apocalyptic industrial guitar noise created by the White Suns with a set of untitled songs that blasted a very dense dry noise upon the listener. Dreamdecay seem to be back at it already with a new LP in hand through the ever reliable Iron Lung Records. Can’t say I disagree with the labels decision to release this, as the previous EP hand plenty going for it. On N V N V N V the band have loosened up the from the arid atonal scrape that they presented previously, and have saturated these tracks with a level of blown out mountainous feedback that in no way seems out of place on Iron Lung. The band still has their mind set on a vision that no doubt sees the land before them as a scorched and barren wasteland, but instead of writing a record that mirrors that of damage already done…they have instead wrote one that represents the damage in progress…opting for a hint of human emotion as opposed to the more mechanical sounding forces that I’d heard from them before. It’s probably the way to go, because N V N V N V proves to be effective with the largeness of which the sounds come together. Kind of reminds me of what the Useless Children did on their Post Ending // Pre Completion album from last year, coincidentally on Iron Lung as well. So if you were into those sounds, it would probably wise to give these guys your full undivided attention.
Dreamdecay – NVUN (stream)
Currently this is only available digitally, but the actual LP should be showing up here shortly.
It’s been seven years since I first heard Pa Capona from the Lausanne based band Ventura. It’s amazing that it’s already been that long because there is in no way that I feel like it’s been that long ago. At that time I couldn’t say enough good things about the bands debut, as it channeled mid-90’s alterna/indie-rock so very well with big riff oriented songs that combined a very distinct Midwesterny sound/songwriting construction..somewhat in the area of long time Champaign, IL favs Hum. As good as that album was, it’s always concerning as to where or if a band is going to progress. More often than not you run into stagnation…inevitably rehashing what was accomplished in the beginning. Ventura proved that to be of no concern when they released their second album We Recruit through Africantape four years later. An album that pushed forward with an increased level of songwriting instead of getting hung up on what they’d already done, showing that these guys were in fact not slaves to their influences being willing to experiment with sprawling lengthier songs and even dabbling slightly in a poppier sound at times. I think when I wrote about that album, I mentioned that there was a noticeable The God Machine vibe to where they were going, which was no surprise considering that they had been known to cover the bands epic track “The Flower Song” live. Now, Ventura has returned with their third album Ultima Necat, which I believe once again shares a strong similarity to The God Machine, both in mood and approach.
With Ultima Necat, it may mark an even larger step forward than what they managed to do with their previous album. Things have been slowed down, tempo wise for the band. There is certainly a touch of post-rock type structure to what they are doing with many of the tracks on Ultima Necat, willing to work more with a slow burning wash of guitars and wave like riffs that crash and repeat. The key factor to it being as effective as it turns out of to be is that Ventura have in no way lost touch with the “rock” part of it all. Even so with it being as evident as is it is on the album of a near constant theme of sorrow and mourning. There were of course touches of this throughout the groups two previous efforts…at least lyrically, yet they were always contrasted with songs that didn’t often share the same sensibility. With Ultima Necat, the band has chosen to take the full plunge of mood driven rock, and it’s almost a wonder as to why the never did before as it was always apparent that they could just as easily speak through their instruments just as well as they could through lyrics. With the two coming together on this album, it creates a whole other landscape of rock that hadn’t been heard from the band before. On a track like the absolutely brilliant “Intruder”, the subtle shifts in tone to the melody before diving into its climactic ending is just perfectly placed, simple as that, changing the whole energy/mood of the song. The melodies and riffs throughout the album aren’t as cut and dry, with sounds that tend to blur together more so than I think I’ve heard before on their albums. There are even times where they kind of touch upon a shoegaze sort of note, especially with the final track “Exquisite & Subtle”, which is nearly a straight up homage to the genre and it’s actually kind of scary at how good they are at it…sounding far better than many bands who have spent years driving that sound into the ground. It says plenty to their level of talent and creative drive that they are able to adopt this into their sound and make it work as well it does. One of the better albums I’ll hear all year, I’m sure. It’s been a pleasure to hear these guys move forward with each release.
Ventura – Intruder (stream)
This one is available through Africantape. It’s available on both LP/CD or digitally through Bandcamp.
Somehow I’d completely forgotten that I actually had an album by these guys already. I found it when I went to go grab this one. Not meant to be a slight on them, as this often happens to me. In fact I did it earlier this week with a completely different band and record. Not sure, but I think Christ Adonis Algiers is the second album from Austin’s Coma in Algiers. Their name keeps making me think they are some late 90’s era metalcore band. Was there a band like that with a similar name that’s making me think this? I’m almost positive there was. Anyway, these guys are NOT some shitty metalcore band that no one remembers, including myself. Coma in Algiers are in fact a pretty rockin’ noisy post-punk group who are probably proudly laying waste to PA systems all over down there in the great state of Texas. A feat that many bands from that state could likely champion, I’m sure. With Christ Adonis Algiers, the band provide eight tracks that develop a nice balance between silliness and the type of scroungy blistering force that demands attention and makes you think twice before allowing these guys out of your eyesight for terribly too long. Kind of in the same way the Cherubs managed to pull that off. Definitely dig the big low end on this record and singer Ismael Archbold’s demented vocal approach certainly fits well with what they are doing. Gonna have to pull out that other record and give it a listen again…
Coma in Algiers – The Delmore Effect (stream)
This one is available through the group on their Bandcamp page, both on LP and digitally. Give it a go if you dig what you hear above.
At this point I’ve heard just about everything these guys have served up thus far, which has seen them progress from 90’s alt-rock riff slingers to a gradual evolution of those type of aesthetics mixed with a more punchy power-pop kind of deal. The members, who are all mostly vets of that bygone era of rock, are undoubtedly wiser for having trudged through those times of major label rock feasting…the days when something interesting might actually pop on the radio from time to time. It gives the advantage to Porcupine to not mistakenly run down a path of retreads, but rather allow them to craft what ends up being a nice example of power-pop flavored indie-rock on The Sensation of Being Somebody. You get that the title may be of a nod and wink to those earlier days of big time label advances hinging on the small chance of actually making a dent on the charts. The members of Porcupine are certainly far removed from that these days, but in a way, you’d honestly never tell by the tracks on this album. All designed with a certain hint of crunch and substance that would have had a chance to stay afloat amongst the deep ocean of bands trying to fight there way to the top for a gasp of air and MTV circulation. Not that these guys are worried about anything of the sort, but I imagine if bands wouldn’t have been under the sort of pressure or faced with the type of label rejection…this would have been, more or less, the type of album many would have heard. I suppose there is something refreshing about a band that is clearly comfortable in their own skin and Porcupine are very much a band that has over time slowly grown into theirs.
Porcupine – Pushing Your Buttons (stream)
Unfortunately I did not get to this one in time enough to give those out there a chance to grab the translucent blue version of this LP, but there are still plenty of the black left. Grab a copy over here.
Fantastic name, first off. Upon seeing it, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to type it into Google’s image search. The results were actually fairly tame, even with the bogus “safe search” filter thingy off…although I wouldn’t recommend doing it with anyone else around looking. So I suppose the world of pornography and perversions hasn’t quite yet tapped into this one. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time though. Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing are a group from New Zealand who have, so far, released the bleakest album I’ve heard this year. Eeling, the groups second outing and first for Muzai Records, is ten tracks of dense clanking and rattling drove by an often cold atonal guitar scrape. They are somewhat operating on a gothy 80’s post-punk type tone that’s been chilled to absolute zero. In turn, all the minimalist screeching and squalling provided by a melding of guitar and trumpet gives the impression that these folks are perfectly aware of the experimental and decayed industrial thud of the early NYC no-wave push of bands. They certainly are able to recreate a similar backdrop with Eeling, which snakes it way through these tracks with mostly a sense of dejection, but occasionally riles up just enough to boil over here and there into a bit of a resentment. Vocals are often shared by male and female members of the band that are nearly in a chanting type fashion…spoken at times in a breathy manner that when paired along with the music seems almost apparition like. The only thing about Eeling that seems problematic is that unless you’re really in love with the sounds they are cranking out on it, it could prove to be a bit samey at some point. Personally, I dig it quite a bit…but it’s no doubt going to be a tough listen for many.
Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing – Feast of Trumpets (stream)
Taking a bit of different approach to a physical release, Eeling furthers its visual mark on the listener by presenting it as a limited edition book of artwork that at the end provides a download code for the album. An interesting concept that is available over at Muzai Records, Tenzenmen, or the band.