Tag Archives: Hardcore

This Week’s Essential Releases: Actress, Ulver, Braxton Cook & More

Seven Essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Pissed Jeans’ Matt Korvette & Author Lindsay Hunter On Sexism & “Guy Bands“

Pissed Jeans

Pissed Jeans by Ebru Yildiz

The latest album from Pissed Jeans, Why Love Now, sports a cover that is all pastel pinks and blues, with a photograph of the boys in suburban cookout-style collared shirts. Most of the band members are sporting smiles. Vocalist Matt Korvette even has his shirt casually unbuttoned. It’s only the deadpan stare from drummer Sean McGuinness that hints that the band might have more up its collective sleeve than well-groomed appearances would suggest.

On Why Love Now, Pissed Jeans serve up a collection of harshly humorous looks into the straight white male psyche. The lead single, “The Bar Is Low,” is the band’s most polished and accessible number—with an almost-ZZ-Top bar bounce, though male deprecation is classic Pissed Jeans. The hammering noise-rock showcased on their previous albums is on full display here as well, with Randy Huth’s rumbling bass anchoring barn-burners like “It’s Your Knees,” and “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst.” Huth and guitarist Brad Fry operate as twin battering rams for most of the album, making the moments when Fry steps out with a solo particularly effective. This record is Korvette’s most varied performance yet, as he ranges from almost tuneful singing to the hoarse barks utilized on earlier albums. It’s an album filled with self-absorbed characters—from the target of “Not Even Married,” a recently dumped friend partying away the “trauma” of a “squeaky clean break,” to the aforementioned financial analyst who watches the “ice caps melt away,” but is only brought to tears by an accounting error.

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Terminal Consumption: The Best Punk on Bandcamp, March 2017

Terminal Consumption

In this installment of Terminal Consumption, our monthly column focused on the margins of punk and hardcore, Sam Lefebvre interviews Daniel Stewart (Total Control, UV Race) about the latest full-length by long-running Australian foursome Straightjacket Nation.

Straightjacket Nation, Straightjacket Nation LP [La Vida Es Un Mus/Cool Death]

Straightjacket Nation are bitterly critical of hardcore—especially what they consider the sedentary politics of the genre’s unthinking flock of fans. One of the band’s first songs, “Herdcore,” goes, “Unity/fuck unity.” Instead, they prize asceticism; early in their career, they rehearsed a 20-minute set for six hours at a time and, in interviews, half-jokingly styled the band as a fanatical, separatist cult.

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Album of the Day: So Stressed, “Please Let Me Know”

One of the larger tensions that exists between artists and critics is the latter’s insistence on taking the work of the former to be strict autobiography, but the pain that courses through the third album from Sacramento’s So Stressed feels too immediate and too visceral to be a work of fiction. Its 10 songs seem to document a grueling breakup, but what makes the record so rattling is that all of the resulting agony is focused inward. Where 2015’s The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art was stacked with bruising hardcore, Please Let Me Know is both paradoxically more measured and more tortured. Opener “Fur Sale” sails out on a sleek sheet of melodic guitars, and frontman Morgan Fox isn’t screaming but singing. But about two minutes in, the turbulence hits: “Nothing compares to you,” Fox sings, “But I still compare everything to you.” From there it’s a quick dive into dissonance; the guitars turn pitch black and Morgan doubles over howling.

The rest of the record volleys between those two poles, post-hardcore melodicism trading off with proper-hardcore panic attacks. “Majestic Face” manages both at once, eerie vocal harmonies gliding across heart-attack double-bass drumming. In “Old Hiss,” Fox runs into his old flame in public, which sends him into a spiral of despair: “We’ll grow old together,” he wails as the band pitches and rolls behind him, “Right up until I wake up.” Even when the band stretches out musically, the results are shot through with unease. The sparse “Peach,” is built on a skeletal strum and lit up with squiggles of synthesizer that sound like an MRI machine melting down. And while the band’s ventures into melodicism demonstrate impressive breadth, it’s the full-throated ragers that land the hardest. The panicked “Subsequent Rips” opens with Fox declaring “I write myself a heartfelt love letter/ and read it into the mirror,” against chaotic corkscrews of guitar; both elements are operating in their own time signature: Fox plows forward regardless of meter; the band hammers away chaotically, like they’re falling down a flight of stairs. Please Let Me Know trepans down into the center of heartbreak and records all of the mayhem it finds there. It may not be autobiography, but that doesn’t make it feel any less real.

J. Edward Keyes

DC’s Darkest Hour on Their City’s Political Climate and Hockey

Darkest Hour

After more than 20 years, DC hardcore outfit Darkest Hour have done something more and more bands find themselves doing: they’ve left the classic record label dynamic and crowdfunded their new release, Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora. It’s allowed them to connect directly with their fans, and also made more room for family time. They’re now in control of their own destiny, and taking full advantage of it. Ahead of their release, we got the chance to chat with the group’s co-founder, Mike Schleibaum, about crowdfunding, the political climate in DC and, of course, hockey.

First of all, you’re from the DC area and you’ve been living there for a while. So, given the recent political changes and climate, what is it like in DC right now? 

It’s definitely an ‘interesting’ time. Trump is here and he’s certainly way different from even George W. Bush. He’s actually around town, and there’s always a gaggle of people around him screaming. When Obama was here, it felt like things were kind of normal. But now, it’s a city of lefties, so we are all pretty up in arms.  For the next four years it’s going to be an epicenter for people to have their voices heard. That’s why it wasn’t made an independent a state, so people will come here to have their voice heard. I guess, all this traffic will bring a bunch of money to the area. People are certainly on edge. So I’m interested to hit the road and hear people elsewhere let me know how they feel. Here, it’s kind of a given that everybody feels the same way—like over 90% of the residents are Democrats.

The riots and the craziness that happened here weren’t really televised nationally. The rioting was like what would have happened after a trial—it was very directed against the government. There was an incident where someone climbed the scaffolding outside the White House and hung a “Resist” flag. That shit was not happening a couple months ago. Everybody was just hoping there weren’t going to be any more terrorist attacks or mass shootings. Now, no one has time to think like that. Maybe we just haven’t heard about it. There have been some terrorist activities with bombings and marines killed in some raids.

I guess, it’s an important time for art in a sense. What is ‘great’ and what is ‘art’ will always be argued. So let’s just hope we don’t blow up the planet.

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