This past fall, Caila Thompson-Hannant, the brains behind Montreal-based Mozart's Sister, teased two tracks off her upcoming LP, Field of Love. Both “Eternally Girl” and “Angel” feature her beguiling vocals as well as a gorgeous labyrinth of synths, making for a achingly stunning pop production. Thompson-Hannant will debut her material a day early as she kicks off her tour in New York on February 16 for a performance at Silent Barn with Teen Daze. After that she’ll, head back up to Canada for before hitting up Los Angeles on her way to SXSW.
Listen to “Angel” below. Field of Love will be released February 17 via Arbutus Records.
Kevin Abstract is gearing up for 2017 with the announcement of his upcoming Death of a Supermodel Tour in support of the recently released American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. Running from February 22 through March 25, Kevin will to perform across fifteen North American cities, making his way to New York toward the tail-end of his month-long journey for a March 10 performance at The Studio at Webster Hall.
The tour announcement dropped one week after the rapper threw a free "prom" for his fans, performing for a packed house alongside The Neighbourhood and Jaden Smith. Relive prom night below and find tickets to the Death of a Supermodel Tour here.
Robbie Basho, pioneer of the American Raga and champion of the “Zen-Buddhist-Cowboysong,” is getting his penultimate album, Bouquet, reissued this year. Thanks to Grass-Tops Recording we can finally reexamine the late songs of the ambitious man who promoted the steel-stringed guitar as a concerto instrument. Basho (born Daniel Robinson) was a student of sarod master Ali Akbar Khan and the most elusive figure among the Takoma label trinity of acoustic guitar innovators. The exact details of his life remain shrouded in mist, although efforts have been made lately (see Liam Barker’s recent documentary) to decode the myth behind the man who managed to evoke the sublime vastness of the American landscape through unconventional tunings. His mesmerizing tracks are characterized by a wide assortment of hues and influences, which include everything from koto and classical, to Hindustani and bluegrass. Each song in Bouquet is a finger-picked hymn, an ode to love and its numerous manifestations. The original recordings, released in 1983, were awash with unwelcomed hiss, but the thorns have been clipped, revealing the stunning beauty of Basho’s voice. The reissue also includes four bonus tracks and a studio version of “Omar Khayyam Country."
Free jazz saxophonist Paul Flaherty has kept the homefires of The Hated Music burning in his home state of Connecticut for the past twenty years, collaborating with darn near every improviser of note in the process. He's also kept long counsel with younger players, the most recent of which (on record, anyway) is his New Haven encounter with Tiger Hatchery, Live In New Haven. Recorded in 2013 while the Chicago skronksters were touring the East Coast, it's an ecstatic meeting. On album opener "Morning Light," Flaherty plays a lyrical duet with reedsman Mike Forbes as Andrew Scott Young's bass strings skitter under his bow and Ben Billington massages his snare drum with a contact mic. After feeling out the space, the quartet spars with increasing ferocity, until all at last are slain in the spirit of fire music's Holy Ghost, Albert Ayler, turning "Morning Light" into a midsummer blaze.
The modern wave of NYC hardcore birthed in the mid-aughts by bands like Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, and Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, though still in tact, started to shift a little over a year ago. In the time frame between the 2014 and 2015 iterations of New York’s Alright, the scene essentially drew and quartered itself, symbolically bookending a vital chapter in the contemporary scene on what would end up (supposedly) being the last year of the fest. Some found the light mangled at the altar of classic rock (Cheena), others soldiered on faithfully down the bung horrorshow short a six-string (Mommy), and, in the case of L.O.T.I.O.N., they time-warped just past the apocalypse only to find it chronologically much closer to the present than we could’ve thought.
Started by local illustrator/designer and SURVIVAL member Alexander Heir, L.O.T.I.O.N. has evolved into a full industrial band, some cyborg of human angst and mechanical spasm melding punk guitar playing and blown-out e-drum into full tech-horror. It’s an aesthetic that could be construed as “futuristic” in a kitschy way, but it’s strangely, and rather scarily, relevant to our current era, one where we’re always being looked at and don’t really know what to look forward to. The post-9/11 dread of a budding police nation that Hank Wood espoused as street-level wisdom on their debut record, though serious and felt, almost felt like a game of cops and robbers by comparison. In L.O.T.I.O.N.’s world, the chances are slimmer and the stakes are more dire, as we’ve grown outnumbered and outmatched. One of the final lyrics of “Vid The Pigs,” a track from their debut full-length Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence lays it out most plainly: “Technology / is a weapon / use it / or be abused by it."
Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence is out soon on Toxic State Records. L.O.T.I.O.N. will be having their record release show this Saturday July 18th at The Silent Barn in Brooklyn, alongside Sadist, Aspects of War, Murderer, and Mommy. Physical copies will be available at the show.
Cleveland post-punk group Pleasure Leftists will be releasing a new LP, The Woods of Heaven, in August on Deranged Records. The band (who share members with Homostupids, another band you should keep an eye out and ear for) released a collection of small releases for the likes of Katorga Works and Fan Death Records, but this will be their first proper full-length. Single “You You” plays out gracefully but covered in spikes— its propulsive groove has an immediate jolt, making the chorus-drenched guitar riffs and vocal lilt light up with a sort of delicate urgency. You can listen to it below via Deranged Records’ Soundcloud.
In modern hardcore, especially in NYC, Dawn of Humans serve as something of a contemporary crust blueprint. They’re brash and chaotic, yet heady and psychedelic, turning monstrous garbling and claustrophobic counterpoint into a captivating razor-wire wash. They’re revered and active in the community (lead singer Emil has lent his hand on a multitude of instruments, most notably drums, to several bands in the area), but their music remains a tribute to the outsider in an age of crushing visibility. One can see some parallels with old Northern VA hardcore outfit United Mutation, but more reminiscent of and reliant on anarcho sound and drum technique.
Slurping At The Cosmos Spine is their first full-length LP, and thus the first time you have to confront their bizarre personae for longer than an EP’s worth of tunes. They thrive in the expanded space, offering bits of more classically thrashing DOH tracks (“Painful Mountain”, “Mangled Puzzle”) alongside wallowing, stalking slow jams (“Horse Blind”, “Fixation”). The centerpiece is “Secretion / Grapitudonce of Hinsenctor,” successfully fusing their many sides into one progressive statement. You can stream the whole thing below via Bandcamp.
D.C. has historically been regarded as one of hardcore and punk’s more influential cities, but in the last few years its had a resurgence of exciting young bands: the NWODCHC, or New Wave of DC Hardcore. Though they remain somewhat indebted to the aesthetic and culture of their home city’s past, this crop of bands (Red Death, Misled Youth, Public Suicide, Javla, among others) is producing a new style that’s more modern, more worldly, and doing so with an enthusiasm that’s difficult to ignore. At the center of this new wave is Pure Disgust.
In an interview with Sean Gray (who runs Accidental Guest Recordings and has been an early champion of the NWODCHC), Pure Disgust’s singer Rob Watson described his own band as an “Oi!-type band with D.C. influences,” and the description is pretty apt. Since their 2013 demo the band has straddled the line between catchy and crushing, as reliant on British street punk riffage as they are on DCHC overdrive. Their recent EP, Chained, is the culmination of their last few years of development.
Lead singer Watson stands tall against a systemically racist world that’s done everything to try and put him in a cage. Though it’s lyrics revolve around politically relevant issues like the Prison Industrial Complex (“Caged Profit”) or the disproportionate amount of jailed minorities (“Guilty”), it remains a highly personal account as told by a lone wolf at his breaking point. In songs like “I.D.O.Y.S.” and “Race War,” Watson seems unphased by stacked odds, ready to fight against mountains themselves. You can stream the whole EP below via Bandcamp.
It hit their cult following hard when Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk unexpectedly split at the end of 2013. They had just released their most emotionally devastating LP, Think Tone, and their live chemistry was sharper than ever. For those who saw the road dogs during their pretty daunting tour schedule during the 2010s, you caught the band in rare form— much like AnCo, their live show was a separate, freer, noisier entity, even while they were in the middle of crafting their best actual songs.
Luckily, a new chapter has started for the band. After parting ways with Luke Namee, they recently reunited with founding member Josh Riepe to start work on new material. “Zebra Boy” is the first single from Kill The Fuzz, a forthcoming mini-album for Fire Talk Records (who put out Think Tone and Skeletor & Me). It’s an immediate burst, both desperate and lighthearted, that hearkens to the mysterious entrances of some of their best “pop” songs past (“Let’s Listen to Souvlaki and Make Out”, “Jeremy Irons Couples Skate”, the many beautiful moments that seem to spontaneously erupt from their more expansive jams). You can listen below via Fire Talk’s Soundcloud.
Kill The Fuzz is available for pre-order on 10" and CS now, digital release coming soon. Recorded at The Silent Barn in Brooklyn, NY. You can catch tour dates for BBDDM after the jump.
Later this month, Leeds hardcore band Perspex Flesh will be releasing a new 12”, Ordered Image, the first from them since their self-titled LP last year. The collection bludgeons enigmatically with angular, intricate guitar work that rushes past you like a brisk wind of needles. It’s the type of style that sits somewhere comfortably between the dark crawl of Raspberry Bulbs and the sheer chaos of No. You can stream the record in it’s entirety below, via Perspex Flesh’s Bandcamp.