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)
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
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)