Dragged to Hell 35 clocks in just under 70 minutes and was an attempt at creating a narrative through a 20 song mix. It has peaks, valleys, and hopefully some new artists for you to enjoy.
Joanna Gruesome – There Is No Function Stacy
Cherubs – Sandy On The Beach
Clean Girls – No New Friends
VEXX – Falling Down
Pianos Become the Teeth – The Queen
whenskiesaregray – Timelines
Superheaven – All the Pain
The Vaccines – Want You So Bad
Downtown Boys – Future Police
Sneaks – New Taste
elvis depressedly – thou shall not murder
93millionmilesfromthesun – New Day Comes
Malka – Diamond Girl
Faith No More – Matador
Noisem – Trail Of Perturbation
Holly Herndon – Locker Leak
Jamie xx – The Rest Is Noise
Container – Remover
SPC ECO – Playing Games
Blacksage – Casualty
Photo of Downtown Boys by me (from a 2015 Wind Up Space show)
I am playing catch up here (DTH21 already dropped…) and here is Dragged to Hell 20! This mix features a slew of genres; spanning noise, industrial, pop remixes, hip hop, pop, synthpop, nerdcore, and noise rock. Enjoy!
Andre Martel – Blow-Up Dolls [Prod. By Eyedress]
Ricky Eat Acid – this goes out to…
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Meth Dad remix)
couples counseling – hope u nevr hear this
Weyes Blood – Summer
Niil Dymon – Go Online
Thom Yorke – Truth Ray
Panda Bear – This Side of Paradise
Bleachers – Take Me Away (feat. Grimes)
Dope Body – Repo Man
Godflesh – Carrion
Sylvan Esso – Play It Right
Crosses – Prurient
Yung Lean – Leanworld
Lttle Phnx – Ethiopian Opal
Ultraklystron – Spike Bracelet
YTCracker – Night Terror
Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Schwarz Club remix)
Thurston Moore – Vocabularies
Pharmakon – Body Betrays Itself
(photo by me of “Snowmagedon”)
This is my last list of releases and it was probably the hardest list make. I think 2014 had some excellent releases across all genres/subgenres of guitar based rock and roll music. From heavy metal to indie, there were some excellent releases. As with my first two lists, I made a mix that you can listen to on Mixcloud with a track from each release.
Ramesh – the King: I was a huge Voxtrot fan, and was able to catch them live a few times before they decided to call it quits several years ago. And then here comes Ramesh, dropping a solo record that made the Voxtrot fan in me smile.
Holy Wave – Relax: This is the first of two psychedelic releases that I included on this list. I saw them open for GOAT once and have been a big fan ever since. This is a playful, summer record. Sometimes I get a Beach Boys vibe off of them.
Temples – Sun Structures: This is the second psych release on the list. They have really blown up this year, going from DC9 to the 930 Club for DC venues, quite the upgrade. They have nice sing-a-long sound with lots of harmony; also, slightly hypnotic and groovy.
Lagwagon – Hang: I was not into Lagwagon in the 90s, but started listening to them in the early 2000s when I saw a CD of theirs at a used record shop and noticed the Fat Wreck Chords stamp on the back, and I have not looked back. Everything they do is great. Joey’s voice is as good as ever, and while the lyrics of his music reflect a more grown up persona, there is still that playfulness that is a Lagwagon trademark. Oh, and it has been 9 years since their last full length (6 since their last EP) and it doesn’t sound at all like they have missed a beat.
Sorority Noise – forgettable: This was a random find, and I am glad I found them. I was checking out random bands playing Metro Gallery in Baltimore, and found these guys. While I didn’t go to the show (which I regret), I have become a huge fan. I don’t know what to call this. Pop-Punk. Emo. Post something or another. Whatever it is, it is another one you can sing with, with songs about life. I can see these guys becoming a Hot Topic crowd favorite, but wont let that stop me digging them. Plus my fiance likes them, so it is always good when we can enjoy the same bands.
Nothing – Guilty of Everything: Although I am still a huge shoegaze fan, Nothing was the only band making that kind of noise to make this list. They are also extremely polarizing. I have friends who dig them, and friends who hate them. I am on the love side of the spectrum, and finally caught them live at the Ottobar for a festival.
Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire: Goldflesh! They are the Aphex Twin of this list, as it was also thirteen years between their records. This is heavy industrial music. I was a big industrial fan in the 1990s for a while, and this release brings me back to that time in my life.
Swans – To Be Kind: This is a hard listen. Long songs. Two hours long. Brutal riffs. Beautiful melodies. Gira and company continue their trajectory of making excellent albums after their 14 year absence from 1997 to 2010. My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky is still my favorite post-reformation album by them, but this one is still great. I look forward to seeing them for time number three next year.
Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium: I have been a fan of Max and Igor Cavalera for a long time; ever since Chaos AD came out by Sepultura. I do not dig new Sepultura without Max, and I do not really dig Max’s band, Soulfly. But Cavalera Conspiracy? Them I do dig. Crushing riffs, brutal drumming, Max’s roaring vocals – it is everything I would want from those brothers. They even include traditional Brazilian elements to some of the songs, which was always one of my favorite parts of their old music.
the Skull Defekts – Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown: I saw the Skull Defekts twice. Once with Daniel Higgs, and this year, without him. It was still an uplifting night of what they dub street metal. This album captures that same vibe, with their music being very percussive and can almost induce a trance in the listener. I cant wait to dig into their SECOND 2014 album, which they actually called Street Metal, one of these days soon, as I bet it also shreds.
Photograph/cover by me of the Skull Defekts at the Gold Bar in Baltimore in 2014
December – snow, playoffs, fireplaces, Christmas… And end of the year lists. This is the first of three that I will be posting. Each will be 10 releases, LPs or EPs, grouped together in a particular way. The first list is my favorite (not best of, I hate that term) releases from Baltimore artists in 2014. In addition, I made a mix that can be heard on Mixcloud, featuring one track from each release:
WIldhoney – Seventeen Forever: First up is the newest EP from shoegazers Wildhoney. Three slabs of walls of sound, mastered by Jake Reid of Screen Vinyl Image fame.
Wye Oak – Shriek: Wye Oak changed it all up. No longer did guitars rule this duo. The old formula was vocals plus guitar plus drummer who is also playing bass parts as he drums. The new formula was singer playing bass with a drummer who is also playing lead parts on synth. This new synthpop sound really works for them, and I spent an excellent evening at the 930 Club this year watching them do their new thing.
Mt Royal – Mt Royal EP: Anything Katrina Ford is on is excellent. Mt Royal’s debut is not any different. I had patiently waited for this for a long time after seeing them perform a few times.
Future Islands – Singles: This could almost be called the year of Future Islands. They went from local darlings to one of the biggest indie bands in the planet. Their Letterman appearance shouldn’t need to be mentioned – their music does the speaking for them. This release followed their trajectory of pushing their envelopes with lyrical composition, vocal styling, soundscapes and other synth goodness, and their ever steady bass anchoring it all together.
Silk Rhodes – Silk Rhodes: This release is pure funk. Disco, funk, soul… It all exists in the same realm for these two Baltimore artists. This is extremely danceable. I have not had the pleasure of catching them live (versus every other artist on this list, at least once, if not several times) but hope to remedy that in 2015.
Wing Dam – Shifter: Wing Dam followed up their last classic with another classic. I had already heard a lot of these songs live, and instantly dug it. I was fortunate to be allowed to sit in the producer booth while they recorded a couple of these, and for that I am eternally grateful. It was quite the experience and it was a lot of fun to hear the finished product, and see some of the recording process first-hand. They are one of the funnest bands to catch live, and some of the nicest people around.
Hive Bent – dyatlov: Two piece that crush. Heavy heavy heavy. I don’t have much more to say other than I love Hive Bent. Go grab their newest EP, you wont regret it.
Multicult – Variable Impulse: Multicult are another great band on record and live. The on one hand look to Shellac for inspiration and on the other surpass them in terms of energy.
Roomrunner – Seperate: Roomrunner’s newest EP is a bit of a departure for them sonically. This time around they recorded with J Robbins, who helped the record catch a slightly different groove than their previous (and excellent) releases. They still look towards the 1990s, but this time you can feel a variety of influences creep in.
Horse Lords – Hidden Cities: One of the most intriguing bands to see live. Their rythum cant be beat. I have been mesmerized in a trance every time I have seen them. This record does a good job of captuing their vibe, but if you haven’t seen them live, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Dragged to Hell 17 features 22 rock and roll tracks from some amazing female voices that are currently kicking ass. The tracks run the gamut from indie folk to noise-punk. 1 hour and 10 minutes long. Image was taken by me of the only Afghan girl that I saw in 9 months.
SoftSpot – The Cleansing Hour
Which Magic – High Already
the Courtneys – Insufficient Funds
Body/Head – Everything Left
SLUTEVER – No Offense
NUDITY – BADD TEEETH
Jail Solidarity – Cries and Hues
Manic Sheep – You Lie, You Choke the Rules We Trust
Pleasure Leftists – Passage on a Ghost Ship
Shannon And The Clams – Into A Dream
Potty Mouth – Damage
White Murder – Safety in Numbers
Speedy Ortiz – Tiger Tank
the Stargazer Lilies – Sad Colored Tears
SISU – Light Eyes
Veronica Falls – If You Still Want Me
Joanna Gruesome – Satan
Young Trynas – Be Gone
GOAT – Run To Your Mama
Hunters – Brat Mouth
Magik Markers – Mirrorless
Perfect Pussy – III
Beyond Inversion was released by label Accidental Guest Records (a local to my area, label ran by Sean Grey, who also partly runs Fan Death Records, another favorite label of mine) late last year, and features 23 tracks from across the spectrum of punk and post-punk music. There is seriously too much goodness on this compilation (I can’t imagine me liking any other comp as much, for at least the next year) to go through it all. First off, it is a benefit release. Bandcamp lists this for info on the benefit:
all proceeds will benefit Rachael’s Women’s Center in DC, a nonprofit agency which provides resources and opportunities for homeless and formerly homeless women. A silkscreened poster accompanying this release will also be available for purchase, with proceeds also going to Rachael’s Women’s Center.
About Rachael’s Women’s Center:
To provide homeless and formerly homeless women with opportunities to develop their independence, sense of self and hope by:
Providing safety, shelter, food, showers and laundry in a nurturing, homelike environment;
Helping women to reach their potential through intensive case management and programs that empower them to take control of their lives and advocate for themselves.
Rachael’s also reaches out to individuals living on the streets, enabling and encouraging them to access services and benefits available to people who are homeless.
Rachael’s Women’s Center is a place of hospitality and hope for women who are homeless. When given the chance to heal in a caring and challenging environment, women can be enabled and empowered to bring forth their forgotten and lost potential. The Center asserts the right of all women to be treated with respect and dignity. We believe that in a non-judgemental and supportive environment that all women can find meaning, self-respect, hope, personal power, and love regardless of race or life experiences. In this environment we maintain that all women can evolve into more independent, self-reliant individuals who can more effectively contribute to the communities in which they live.
Rachael’s Women’s Center
1222 11th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Next up, the music. Here are some of my highlights from the record. Perfect Pussy offer up another slice of noise punk goodness (much needed after such a short EP). Bret Lanahan (drummer of Roomrunner) proves he is equally as bad ass on both sides of the drum kit, with an excellent solo blast. Hive Bent lends Tomgirl, a personal favorite of mine from their last release. Clean Girls also gave a track I already had, but a good one. Roomrunner have a demo of the mythical ESPN Zone. Scott Russell’s A Guide to Rational Living track Careful kills it. Technicolor Teeth makes shoegaze but not really. Stillsuit, love the name (huge Dune nerd), and this song is bananas; free-jazz noise freakout punk? Jail Solidarity brings the heaviness. Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz fame) shows that she can rock it 90s style solo or with her band. Ok, enough ruminations on these tracks. My descriptions definitely don’t do these songs justice. GO LISTEN/SUPPORT THIS ALREADY!
I decided to do a couple of things with my blog this year. One is write more. The other is write more about the shows that I go to. I used to do this quite a bit on an old blog, and decided I needed to get back in the habit. I haven’t decided if this will be the format every time, but at least for now I am going to write about the bands in the order they played, with pictures intermingled of each band.
The first show that I attended in 2014 was at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore (one of my personal favorites in the DC/Baltimore area) on January 8. The bill was loaded with noise-rock, noise-punk, punk… Big guitars, loud drums, distortion… Exactly what I usually look for in seeing live music. I hung out for a little bit waiting for the music to start and then with a cold one in my hand, I proceeded to take a spot near the stage to catch some music.
Hive Bent were up first. They were the only band on the bill that I had already seen, and this time was as enjoyable as the last. After a couple of equipment issues at the beginning to the set (guitar string breaking and a bass pedal swap out), they played their brand of loud, heavy, and noisy rock and roll. The around 30 minute set length was indicative of the rest of the night, where even the headliner played a short set. I personally was excited to hear Rick and Tomgirl, two of my favorites from the U Neutral EP.
Second up was Multicult, a local three-piece who have been on my radar for a while, but I had yet to see live. Their seven song set included both tracks off of their excellent single from last year. I would describe their music as crushing, precise, and mathematical. The bass and guitar riffs were fast and so much was going on in each track. I decided to grab their Spaces Tangled vinyl and look forward to listening to that soon.
The third band was Big Mouth. I didn’t know anything about them before the show, but was excited due to how excited Stph of Hive Bent was on stage earlier that they were opening for them. The band (who hadn’t played in three months I overheard them say) was pretty on point. Riff-heavy punk rock with a frontwoman who spent most of the set in the crowd bumping into people and singing into their faces. It was a lot of fun, and I would definitely like to see them again. One note, the guitarist had a broken foot, and she tried her hardest to rock, playing some songs sitting and some with her foot propped in a seat.
And lastly, the headliners took the stage. Perfect Pussy are Dragged to Hell alums (their EP was on my Favorite Releases of 2013 list and I also featured a short writeup (one of the first rock based ones for this site, but definitely not the last) of the EP). Meredith and company weren’t just noisy punks on record, they were also some noisy punks on stage. She led the boys through a few sonic blasts of noise with a boundless energy. I think the buzz they have received lately is well warranted, and I hope they are around for a lot longer. I also look forward to hearing what is the next step in their sound. Will they continue their sonic annihilation? Their punk/noise combination is one I recommend for anyone that likes their music noisy. Perfect Pussy’s set was also the shortest of the night, clocking in around fifteen minutes. And while I would have liked a little more time, I left the show fully satiated, as their set was extremely intense. All in all, it was a great way to start off my live music attendance for 2014.
(all pictures are taken by me and from my Instagram account)
I am going to keep the descriptions short and sweet. These 20 releases made up my other favorites that aren’t from Baltimore, or dark/electronic. A very East Coast heavy list, with Massachusetts having a strong showing. In no particular order, the rest of my favorites (and a mix).
1. ovlov – am: catchy noise rock is what these brothers deal in
2. Exit Calm – The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be: second album of soaring British shoegaze; vocals are up front unlike a lot of their peers
3. The Courtneys – The Courtneys: probably what I sang along to the most this year in traffic was from these Canadian Keanu Reeves enthusiasts
4. BAMBARA – DREAMVIOLENCE: noise powered pedal theatrics from this NYC band; their day time set at Hopscotch this year was easily among my top five favorite for the year
5. The Polyphonic Spree – Yes, It’s True: the only kickstarter project I supported this year; I have drank their Kool Aid for over a decade, and this one didn’t let me down
6. Sebadoh – Defend Yourself: one of my favorite bands of the 90s return to form; I am glad I was able to see them on tour for this
7. Locrian – Return To Annihilation: I was lucky enough to see them on their short tour for this album; their set’s mix of ambient metal synths and guitars let me wanting more
8. Wolf Eyes – No Answer: Lower Floors: I always thought I wouldn’t like them because they would be too harsh; this release is just the right combo of noise and songs (also another killer band I was able to catch this year)
9. Weekend – Jinx: beat driven shoegaze release
10. Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen: pop from London; another sing along fest
11. The Stargazer Lilies – We Are The Dreamers: ethereal shoegaze release from Soundpool alums
12. Placebo – Loud Like Love: another strong release from a mainstay in my favorite list; I am not sure if this will convert anyone, but is a treat for fans of the band
13. Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving: I like all the post-Sonic Youth bands but only wanted to include one; CLM made the cut since I listened to this the most, and also really enjoyed the tracks when I experienced them live
14. Kal Marks – LIFE IS MURDER: Guitar heavy Boston band featuring a vocalist with one of the most unique voices I have heard in rock music in a long time
15. Paint Branch – I Wanna Live: the only DC based band on this list; which is sad, I spend a lot of time every week in that city; smart, vocal driven pop from ashes of Q and not U
16. Krill – Lucky Leaves: another reason Massachusetts kicks ass with its music scene
17. Palehound – Bent Nail: another release that has a 90s vibe to it; nice mix of acoustic and electric parts and also singing about a range of topics including pet carrots
18. DJ Dog Dick – The Life Stains: NYC based noise artist releases a instant noise pop classic; beats, singing, basslines, and melodies abound
19. PERFECT PUSSY – I have lost all desire for feeling: probably the noisiest of all of these releases, shoegaze ones included; too short at four songs and they leave you wanting more
20. Potty Mouth – Hell Bent: this band of punk rockers put on one of the funnest sets that I attended this year at an all ages event at an alternative worship place; much ass was kicked
the image of Locrian synth player/singer Terence Hannum at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore was taken by me
I love Baltimore’s music scene over all others, so it gets its own top ten list. In no particular order, my ten favorite Charm City releases for 2014. I also made a mixcloud mix with a track from each.
1. Roomrunner – Ideal Cities: I have been a Roomrunner fan since the first EP. Finally they released a full length. This is throwback noise rock, at times reminiscent of the grunge days, but yet still its own sonic beast. My favorite parts tend to be the squeals between the chords, when experienced live is almost a religious experience. I am glad I can call Baltimore Dragged to Hell’s home base, as I was able to see Roomrunner a total of five times in 2013, and each time was great. For some reason I haven’t seen much love for this album on “Best Of” lists, which is just sad. Maybe this is their Bleach, and everyone else catches on later (yes a Nirvana reference, NO I don’t think they sound like them). Bonus points for being released by one of my favorite labels, Fan Death Records. And double bonus points for Jake Reid of Screen Vinyl Image (another one of my favorite bands) for his excellent mastering work.
2. Wing Dam – Thick Phase / No Splash: The first Friends Records release on this list, and far from the last. Wing Dam used to be a solo act. I never caught Austin Tally live back then, and the music was a bit chill (ie not fuzzed out). Fast forward to 2013, and Wing Dam is a threesome (also featuring Sara Autry aka Which Magic on bass and Abram Sanders on drums). Some of the old tracks are in new form. Some are new. All show a sophisticated sense of songwriting, with the tracks featuring interesting riffs and lyrics that never bore; while at the same time retaining a youthful exuberance. This is a summer record. You put it on while skinny dipping. You put it on around the bonfire. Its joy, but under the surface there is also sadness (like in Stars, “Man, you can months without seeing stars… Start to think things are more important than they are”, a lyric that is very personal as I grew up in a place where you do see stars, and have lived in this area for pretty much my whole adult life). Also Austin has one of those unique singing voices that I instantly fell in love with.
3. Weekends – New Humans: Weekends are a two piece. Drums and guitars. Switched between certain songs. Weekends third full length is more of the same of what I love, reverbed out garage rock with that Baltimore sheen on it (not a literally one, this is dirty fuzzy music). I would also put it in the summer jams section. Sadly I haven’t been able to catch them live since this came out, and look forward to remedying that in 2014. Also courtesy of Friends Records.
4. Secret Mountains – Rainer: Just for tracking purposes, this is Friends Records release three from this list. This one makes me the saddest. After this was released, the band semi-dissolved, with some members including their singer, leaving the band. But they soldier on, and said they have new tunes for the next year. I hope so, as this flawless, female vocal driven psychedelic gem is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish.
5. Double Dagger – 333: This was my big score for Record Store Day (along with the A Place to Bury Strangers release), the first I ever participated in. I saw Double Dagger back in 2010, and they lasted a little while longer. They do the post-punk thing with their vocal , bass, and drums attack. This final release shows that they still had plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and the members are all still making music in the Baltimore scene (Roomrunner, Pure Junk, Peals).
6. Raindeer – Tattoo: Friends Records number four for this list. Tattoo is full of synth and guitar based jams. This band was really fun watching live, and I was able to see them a couple of time in 2013.
7. Scott Russell – A Guide to Rational Living Volume One: Noise rock from Friend Collector drummer Scott Russell. This release features riffs for days, and shows Scott as being as comfortable being a frontman as he is behind the skins.
8. ABDU ALI – Push+Slay: I am not sure if this is considered a mixtape, or an album; either way this release slays. Abdu Ali has a very confrontational style of lyricism and the earnestness of his music shines in his vocal performances. The beat selection is impeccable, with fellow Baltimore resident Schwarz (among others) dropping some real bangers.
9. Dungeonesse – Dungeonesse: Jon from the Art Department/White Life and Jenn from Wye Oak/Flock of Dimes team up for this pop/R&B release. Sing along choruses, memorable hooks, Jon’s production sheen, and Jenn’s vocals made this one I was revisiting several time this year.
10. The Snails – Worth The Wait: The final release on this list is also the fifth Friends Records one (man I love that label). This Baltimore super group dons snail outfits and features members of Future Islands and other groups, listed on Bandcamp as “the current cast of snails: Snail Braham, Snailburne, Sammy Snail, Snailliam, and Sandy Snailbelow”. They also made one hell of an EP, one that reminds me of beaches, waves rolling in, while sipping a piña colada.
cover image of Rommrunner taken by me at Hampdenfest 2013
Oftentimes I stick to the theme of this blog, Dark and Noisy, by focusing more on the dark side of things. This release is of the other kind, the noisy kind. This too short EP of four tracks is pure sonic bliss. Everything is distorted, buried, noisy, and loud. My type of rock and roll. Its shoegaze like, punk like, noise rock like; basically just loud, fast, and noisy tunes! They are on tour, and I will be attending the DC show on 12/9, which I look forward to; the rest of the bill includes Jail Solidarity and this will be Fell Types last ever show… $3.50 digital or $7 for a cassette.