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Terrible Love – Doubt Mines EP


terrible-love-doubtBand: Terrible Love
EP: Doubt Mines
Label: Big Scary Monsters
Release date: 19 January 2018
Sounds like: Emotional hardcore wreckage

Remember when I wasn’t sure which members of loads of post-hardcore bands were in Terrible Love? Well, I still don’t, apart from possibly Gareth Davies who used to hit the bass strings in Funeral For A Friend. Anyway, line up changes to the TL roster have meant there’s a new set of lungs on the microphone in the form of a fella called Jack Saunders. With this second EP, Terrible Love continue the tension and gloom-laden, stripped back attack their debut EP, Change Nothing had. The mixture of stark, pummeling aggression, married with the more atmospheric moments on this new EP, Doubt Mines, add depth to their strained and ravenous soundscapes.

Opening track First Flowers begins with some sullen guitar strumming, leading into a morose bass-led thump of grim feelings that continue this morbid tone through this scathing hardcore strut. The snapping, isolated blasts of each instrument rip through alongside Saunders’ rasping vocals, as bass, drums and guitar punctuate with a strained earnestness to be heard. On the scorched attack of Burn The Fields, there’s a Jeremy Bolm-feel to the screeching vocals, whilst musically it romps home with the agitated discordance of La Dispute destroying their instruments and tossing them into a huge monument of roaring flame. The dense and scratching tension bleeds through on Doubt Mines; it’s either in your face at once – or not there at all. One minute your being gripped by the throat and hurled around the place, the next your slumped on the ground trying to figure out what the hell has just happened.

Part of me feels Separate Graves could be a love song in a sense. The chorus of “I’ll hope and I’d pray/You’ll lay beside me/In a separate grave” which I initially took as fairly venomous, is oddly full of longing sentiment and has that neck-chill bristle of a gang-vocal participation. This strongly reminds me of some of the greatest moments from Wes Eisold’s American Nightmare (so that’s every single moment then) both musically and lyrically deep. Yeah, this has all the feels, even with the weird feedback-strewn outro of tripping noise whacked on at the end.

Launching itself from a stack of speakers, Doubt Mines is a guitar-windmill of hot-headed old-school hardcore; it thrashes, smashes and bashes through all the checkpoints without slowing down at all. “So I will always sing/Those songs that I have always sung/And cherish memories that they bring” roars Saunders, content to punch us all in our hearts. A Better Light follows a similar grim-faced punk rock onslaught; taunt, bullish, pit-worthy hardcore that feels both encompassing and brotherly, as well as intimidating and rejecting, much like everything about Terrible Love’s savage and emotionally raw output.

Fans of modern, wrought and scathing post-hardcore will find some absolute gold on this 5 tracker – Terrible Love’s Doubt Mines is a cracking second EP and showcases some great song writing by this London mob – excellent work.

Listen to Doubt Mines below and download for pay as you want. 12″ Vinyl available from Big Scary Monsters.

Links

Terrible Love Facebook
Terrible Love Twitter
Terrible Love Bandcamp

 

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Chiller – S/T


662da180-581e-49f5-a50c-63486d8b5db9Band: Chiller
Album: S/T
Label: Rockstar Records / Dirt Cult
Release date: 2 February 2018
Sounds like: darkwave emotive punk left out in the rain.

There is a weird coldness to Chiller‘s sound, making their moniker surprisingly apt. Featuring member’s of Feral Trash, Black Tower and Mother’s Children this Canadian four-piece are a somewhat of a super-group in the deep underground of the punk rock world. A film-noir cloak envelops Chiller; from their quirky, irregular sound, to the sinister simplicity of their album cover and logo – which brings to mind a Jo Nesbo book about someone who cuts off people’s hands and probably sews them together, or something equally weird (note: I’ve not read any).

The off-kilter indie-punk jangle of opener, Agony, has a haunting 90s-style melancholy to it. Especially on the crooning, chest-pounding chorus, where the dual-vocal overlap is used to terrific effect and will go on to feature on the remaining 7 tracks that make up this self-titled effort. The call and return male/female vocals on the Son of Sam Heretic should be enough to touch your heart, especially the frantic and grasping way the track’s title is spat in the song’s thrashing coda. The guitars chime and belt out a crisp, sometimes buzzing racket and it fizzes with determination and raw feeling. The pacy Offred, launches itself forward through a twisting and teasing grunge-indie bounce, with the back and forth vocals, which seem to reference a lost spirit or an apparition. Like many of the tracks on offer, there is a pensive and solemn tone hidden beneath the breakneck three-chord attack. The spaghetti-western style intro on the noir-sounding Satisfied is superb and evolves into this snotty, brackish tune, that berates the listener for swallowing lies and ultimately, accepting desertion.

The emo-rock of the solitary Strangers changes pace for a bit – vocals drip with desperate loss, radiating this forlorn longing, cries of never-ending pain all backed by this gloom-drenched, fast-paced Alkaline Trio maudlin punk. The chorus is also absolutely huge, cries of “STRANGERS! STRANGERS!” is so deliciously pained (and catchy) it sounds as though he could have fallen off the soundtrack of a certain 80s inspired sci-fi show that’s pretty popular at the moment. Crank it to 11.

Absolutely absorbed by the glowing, Cold Cave gloom on the dramatic Unanswered – Someone tell me, why? WHHHHYYYYY???” roars from Chiller’s mournful lungs, coupled with some beautiful backing vocal “woohs” concluding with a flourish of rain-drop-sounding keys within this wistful and heavyhearted scrawl of chewy, post-punk spite. Don’t be fooled by the high-noon-esque intro to closing track, The Void – the 20 seconds of wistful guitar strokes are trampled under hooves by a stampede of rapid fire punk rock. Lip-curling vocal snarls, crunching chords and bruising percussion thunders past in a breathless, scrappy exhaustion of sound.

Chiller’s debut is rough around the edges, but that’s what gives it that certain charm. Through these 8 tracks and 24 minutes they incorporate enough styles, menace, aggression, loss and love to pique your interest. A promising and sharp-sounding debut.

Stream Agony below. Chiller’s self-titled album is released on 2 February through Rockstar Records, pre-order it here.

Links

Chiller
Rockstar Records

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Long Live Death Metal – 2017 Retrospective


 

 

With a plethora of articles being published over the past few weeks, looking back on the year of 2017 in music, I thought I’d better contribute too. An article I wrote in October to review the best in metal since Sounds’ re-launch has made this idea slightly more difficult.

 

I finally got around to listening to two albums recently by two legendary Death Metal bands, Immolation and Incantation. During my first listen, as the last track ended on Immolation’s album “Atonement”, I had found my angle. Not only did these two bands both release their tenth albums this year but several other albums by some Death Metal godfathers came out in 2017 too. Death Metal is far from dead. There are plenty of newer bands popping up and establishing themselves, Gatecreeper and Necrot being just two of them. But it seems the bands that helped cement the genre in the first place are far from finished.

 

Death Metal’s roots began in America, in the mid-eighties. It’s safe to say that the main bands that kicked this genre off were, Death from Florida and Possessed from California. Back in the death metal primordial soup of the mid-eighties, bands and fans alike traded demo tapes via mail, wrote fanzines and letters, organised D.I.Y shows to help nurture the scene, all without the internet believe it or not, kids. The demo tapes of Death and Possessed spread like wild fire, gaining fans but more importantly, inspiring others to form their own bands. Other Florida based bands such as Morbid Angel and Obituary soon arrived onto the scene.

 

Florida has established itself as quite the hub for Death Metal from day one but bands were cropping up elsewhere. In the New York area, Immolation, Incantation, Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation to name but a few. California had Possessed and Autopsy. Then Sweden caught on as the next main breeding ground for Death Metal. Legends of the Swedish scene being the Stockholm based Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed and Grave. At The Gates brought the ‘Gothenburg’ sound to the table, with In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.

 

So, within a few years, without the internet and without much backing from the major music press either, Death Metal had begun to sprawl its murky tentacles across the globe. Between 1985 and 1992 some legendary debut albums were released. By 1989, Norwegian band, Darkthrone, had already turned their backs on the genre, feeling it was too ‘trendy’ when it hadn’t even properly got going by then in hindsight. This is similar to Howard Devoto leaving The Buzzcocks, thinking punk was already finished, in 1977!

 

There are so many 2017 Death Metal releases that I’ve enjoyed and probably others I’ve missed too. What I love about this is that the genre is now into its fourth decade. For a genre that had worried, over-reacting mothers in America gunning for it and ridicule from those that didn’t understand it, the endurance is a triumph in itself. Now onto the albums:

 

Obituary (formed in 1984) have to be one of the most consistent acts in the genre. They provide stability to the genre. They have never strayed too far from their roots and simply deliver the goods, time after time. Their self-titled tenth album was released to much critical acclaim in March.

 

Suffocation (formed in 1988) released “…Of The Dark Light” in June, their eighth album, with a slightly refreshed line-up. Again, well received and another solid release.

 

Immolation (formed 1988-ish) released “Atonement” in February. This release gained a lot of praise and has been a regular in ‘metal albums of last year’ articles recently. “Atonement” is a record of great depth and is rock solid from start to finish. Like Obituary and Suffocation, consistently good records seem to be their thing.

 

Incantation (formed in 1989) are a band I did not get into straight away but I’ve now realised that they are definitely worth sticking with. If any of the bands mentioned in this article are getting the credit for the most likely noise you would hear in Hell as you enter, then it is Incantation. Regardless of who they have had behind the microphone, the vocals follow a theme of being absolute rock bottom, earthy, cavernous and genuinely scary in the most sub-human of ways. It was this, along with a muddy production on their first few albums that maybe caused me to look elsewhere for my fix at first. But this demonic earthiness is something I crave these days. “Profane Nexus” is their tenth full length album and is incredibly dense. An album that pushes, pulls, suffocates and disturbs (all in a good way, of course).

 

One of the biggest selling Death Metal acts is Cannibal Corpse. The band have been around since 1988 and have experienced both fame and infamy throughout their career. From a starring role in the Jim Carrey film, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (Carrey is a huge fan and they were recruited for the film at his request) to being quite literally banned from Germany, Cannibal Corpse are still going strong. Consistent is a term that is unavoidable when describing this band and they’ve proved it again with “Red Before Black”, released last year. Their fourteenth album.

 

My most recently published review was for Morbid Angel’s ninth album, “Kingdoms Disdained” so there is plenty more you can read about this one. To summarise, I wasn’t that keen on their last two albums and this latest effort feels like the worthy follow up to 2000’s “Gateways to Annihilation”. It has introduced some interesting new angles for the band to explore, whilst maintaining the conventions that you would associate with them; this being, utter brutality and technical brilliance.

 

Gatecreeper released an E.P titled “Sweltering Madness” that was released in November and this release added yet another batch of tracks to their excellent old school death metal inspired back catalogue. Familiar and fresh at the same time. Necrot are another band on the rise, who were working relentlessly last year to spread their contorted brand of death metal far and wide. “Blood Offerings” is an excellent debut album that fans of the old school would enjoy. These two bands certainly ‘tip their hat’ to the classic era death metal but have established their own refreshing and interesting sound.

 

Death Metal has established itself as a significant genre in the heavy metal world. It’s even now considered to be almost an ‘umbrella’ in its own right, sparking off more technical versions of the style, progressive, blackened, hardcore crossovers, the list goes on and on.

 

To conclude, a lot went on in 2017 for music in general but for me at least, the year belonged to a genre that is over thirty years old. Long live Death Metal.



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Guest Post: Jack Murray’s top 10 albums of 2017


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Having listened to every single piece of recorded music this year (even both Gallagher albums and the new one by Nick Knowles) and rated everything as a Pitchfork score of 6.66,  Jack Murray is here to provide us with his top 10 albums containing songs that he likes to listen to with his ears. Got it? Good.

Also, here’s his top 10 albums of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

10. Atomic Bitchwax – Force Field

This is the seventh full length from the legendary stoner power trio. It’s full on pedal to the metal stuff that goes at 100 mph and doesn’t let up until the end.

CHECK OUT: Shell of a Man

9.’68 – Two Parts Viper

This is album number two from the Josh Scogin fronted blues noise duo. This album is just as visceral as their debut, yet contains some more expansive moments.

CHECK OUT: Whether Terrified or Unafraid

8. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

This new album from the sludge heavyweights contains elements of all their previous 6 albums. It’s also their first concept album since ‘Crack the Skye’.

CHECK OUT: Steambreather

7. Mutoid Man – War Moans.

This is the second album from the supergroup containing members of Cave In and Converge. This is the perfect blend of thrash, powerpop and Van Halen worship. Over the top and a hoot live.

CHECK OUT: Melt Your Mind

6. Unsane – Sterilize

This is the first album in 5 years from the seminal noise rock kings. Music does’t get more angry and pissed off than this!

CHECK OUT: Factory.

5. At The Drive-In – IN*TER A*LI*A

This is the first album in 17 years from the influential post hardcore group. This album was highly anticipated but received a lukewarm reception on its release. It sounds good to these ears though!

CHECK OUT: Call Broken Arrow

4. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

This is the fifth album from the Pennsylvanian hardcore punk/noise rock outfit. This is something of a concept album exploring themes of masculinity and femininity in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

CHECK OUT: The Bar Is Low

3. Ginger Wildheart – Ghost In The Tanglewood

This man is a regular fixture in my end of year list and there is a reason. This is being billed as his first country/folk album. This contains some of his most personal lyrics to date.

CHECK OUT: Golden Tears

2. Jamie Lenman – Devolver

This is the second solo album from the former Reuben frontman. This contains many musical elements while still managing to sound like a cohesive body of work. The man is a wizard!

CHECK OUT: Hell In A Fast Car

1. The Bronx – V

This is the fifth album from the Los Angeles punk band. This band is known for their consistency and this is a very welcome addition to their catalogue!

CHECK OUT: Two Birds

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Le Dictionnaire de l’emo’s Favorite Records of 2017: Emo, Punk & Love!


Le Dictionnaire de l’emo is one of our favorite blogs where we find out about both obscure and incredible records, all the time, so it’s no surprise we asked them to share their top picks of the year. Find some great stuff on here…

I didn’t write that much this year on my blog because of personal issues and procrastination. But I was following with attention what was going on in the music world. I didn’t expect to have as many crushes as I had this year, a lot in screamo, some of them in shoegaze and metal. I’m also surprised to find some of my favorite records in French d-beat and Oï! Here’s some words about my very favourite records this year…

Øjne – Prima Che Tutto Bruci LP

I think that Øjne are some of the winners of screamo music this year, as their album we were all waiting for since 4 years, Prima Che Tutto Bruci, is just awesome, full of emotions, melodies, and of that specific Italian screamo skill. A grower: the more we listen to the LP, the more we have chills. AND THAT OPENING TRACK HOLY SHIT.

Trachimbrod – Leda LP

Others winner of the year are Trachimbrod with Leda, which is how can sound a “pop screamo” record I guess. This band still use a lot of their shoegaze influences to give to the sound of Trachimbrod a lot of warmth, to make us feel comfortable and safe when we listen to the record, while being super sad and cathartic at the same time. A perfect album to listen alone in our bedroom, and definitely a listening companion for a very long time… #swedishskramzmafia.

Lirr – God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle LP

Lirr. released a 100% surprising and incredible first LP called God’s On Our Side; Welcome To The Jungle, where they choose to almost completely let the Pianos Become The Teeth-influenced screamo behind them, to play a really unique blend of indie rock, screamo, math-rock… And R’n’B ! This record is a real journey, a very ambitious one. A great congrats to them, I hope this isn’t the only time we’ll heard about them.

Ostraca – Last LP

Ostraca floored me with Last, a record where they let their sufferings unleash into an ocean of heaviness, droning ambiant parts and epic screamo explosions. A very challenging listen, cathartic as fuck.

Massa Nera – Los Pensamientos De una Cara Palida LP

Massa Nera dropped a surprising first album, with unreal drums and a very City Of Caterpillar-esque sound, with lots of influence, a haunting atmosphere.

French screamo & punk galore…

Chaviré – Interstices LP

French screamo highlights from Chaviré brought with Interstices a perfect witness of the social/political situation in their hometown and their whole country, with lots of great melodies, but they always sound as angry and raw as they were since the very beginning.

Jeanne – I LP

I was also BLOWN AWAY by Jeanne, a super-underrated band from Strasbourg with a member of Paramnesia on guitars and vocals, which released in almost total secrecy a full-length, simply named I, which will never be released physically for equally secret reasons, and this is a compltete banger, full of good and dark riffs, with lots of half-clean/half-dstorted guitars. I think neocrust and Jungbluth influenced them a lot!

Potence – L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste LP

Potence, a band with an ex-Daïtro at vocals and members of Geraniüm and Black Code, also released an awesome emocrust record, L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste, which is a block of anger thrown straight against all the demons of our always more racist, capitalist and individualist societies. Also in France, this was really the demo year.

Dédale, Les Mauvais Jours, Marée Noire, Circles, Deletär, Années Zéro, Bleakness, Contractions… They all released a demo tape / 7‘’ this year, there’s a lot to say about all these bands and I don’t have enough time to explain why they all are so cool, argh. It’s going from garage punk to d-beat, from oï to Revolution Summer-influenced hardcore punk…

But hey, be sure to give them a listen, you’ll find members of great French screamo bands in almost all of them, and it’s always 100% catchiness and sing-along.

Noteworthy Mentions…

erai gave me chills with their S/T, a bit went out of nowhere, but wow, what a wonderful LP. It’s 90’s emo record with a LOT of post-rock influences, with some clean vocals that even reminded me of early Devil Sold His Soul. Absolutely great.

Also yeah, Short Days and Zone Infinie are the best French punk bands of 2017, their albums are incredible. First one sounds like a The Observers-worship with some Youth Avoiders vibes, when second one is a modern version of Camera Silens, with 2 songs that even have some emo similarities. Both about boredom, cops, depression.

Also, here’s some others bangers not to miss, to have a good resume of the year:

  • Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly (black metal from the black bloc, ex-We Came Out Like Tigers)
  • Bastos – Second Favourite Person
  • Heritage Unit – Enjoy Moving On
  • Death Of Lovers – The Acrobat
  • Makthaverskan – III, Sannhet
  • So Numb (super-underrated fast post-rock / post-metal with blast beats and shoegaze influences from the USA)
  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy – Fashion Statements Of the Socially Aware
  • Slowdive – S/T (BEST comeback possible for the UK famous shoegaze band)
  • You could be a cop – S/T
  • Modern Love – Tross Alt
  • Woolworm – S/T
  • Sect – No Cure For Death
  • Paramnesia / Ultha split
  • Code Orange – Forever
  • Full Of Hell / The Body – Ascending A Mountain Of Light
  • To The End Of The Summer – Laughing EP
  • thisismenotthinkingofyou – S/T
  • Frail Hands – S/T
  • Mahria – Analemna
  • Cloakroom – Time Well
  • Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
  • Planning For Burial – Below The House
  • Mind Awake – Pressure
  • Letters To Catalonia – 3 songs tape
  • Converge – The Dusk In Us…

And the list goes on…



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Top 7 Straight Edge records for 2017


End of the year lists are awesome because they allow you to reflect upon what you really enjoyed throughout the year and what actually made impact on you. When we’re talking about straight edge records, there were times when it was a tough job to pick just a few from all the good stuff that has been released.

Lately, good and dedicated straight edge bands are not exactly scarcity, but I guess they just get lost in the vortex of new releases. Not to mention we see many studio projects, which are sometimes cool and funny, but not always feel like the right thing.

In this list you won’t find just LPs but 7″ releases as well, because sometimes one track is more powerful than a whole bunch of songs. Let’s see what straight edge hardcore we enjoyed in 2017.

#7 ECOSTRIKE – Time Is Now 7″

(Carry The Weight Records)

We have kept an eye on ECOSTRIKE since their 2016 debut and early this year they hit us hard once again. Epic vegan straight edge hardcore, great melodies and inspiring lyrics about everything you and me hate about the world. ECOSTRIKE features Lennon who you might remember from singing in Blistered, another fierce straight edge band to come out of Florida. So expect groovy metallic hardcore, lyrics suited for sing-alongs and filled in with the right messages. Quite an epic work for a 7″.

#6 Safe and Sound – Ashes Lie and Wait 7″

(New Age Records)

Safe and Sound have been around for longer, but I discovered them last year through their previous 7″ Embers Still Remain. This year’s Ashes Lie and Wait is shorter, darker and bitter. Production is raw and lo-fi. The vocals are filled with desperation and anger and the lyrics are challenging and deep. The 90s-influenced straight edge hardcore is alive and kicking, especially if you check out the bands in this list.

#5 Wake of Humanity – Grotesque Lie 7″

(Catalyst Records)

Wake of Humanity is one of the finest US vegan straight bands right now. Metallic chaos and determination clash in their music and the result is an explosive and honest take on vegan straight edge hardcore. I’ve recently read an interview with the guys for the super fine xclusivx fanzine and it’s great to see people actually working hard to achieve everything they’ve dedicated their music to, not just preaching for change. To be honest, I think Catalyst Records failed in promoting the record enough, because I don’t see it getting the recognition and hype it deserves.

#4 xServitudex – Path to Amnesty 7″ 

(Rage Records, Bound By Modern Age, Life.Lair.Regret)

Mitko reminded me about this seven inch maybe at least 10 times before I finally got to listen to it. If Safe and Sound sounded raw, I honestly don’t know what to say about the production of this UK straight edge menace. xServitudex indulge into severe vocals, primitive metallic sound and extensive lyrics digging deep in the subjects we all hold dear to our hearts. Their approach to writing is abstract and I love this. Straight edge anthems one after the other – groovy when needed, but always pissed off and extreme.

#3 xDevourx – Defiant Until The End LP

(Ugly and Proud Records)

Finally an LP in this list and without a doubt a total highlight for the year. xDevourx are hailing out of Belgium, feature members of another local SXE legend called Blade. This is their debut full-length and it’s released by Ugly and Proud Records. I had the chance to catch them live in November and if you think Arrogance, Defiant Until The End, Devoured or X On My Hands sound massive and meaningful on the vinyl, just wait until you experience them live. xDevourx will be touring the UK early next year and hopefully a bit more in Europe, definitely keep an eye on them. European straight edge hardcore needed that, because we let that German joke of a band shit on straight edge and political hardcore for way too long.

#2 Search For Purpose – More Than Us 7″

(Ugly and Proud Records)

Another 7″ and without a doubt the top discovery for the year. Melodic straight edge hardcore that spreads its message in a less hostile and violent way compared to pretty much all other bands in this list. Search For Purpose is both a tribute to the old-school and youth crew years of straight edge, but their sound is more refined, direct and punchy. The band started as a solo project, but as far as I know main guy Matt has managed to form a line up and are about to play live here and there. For all of you peeps in the States, we guarantee Search For Purpose are not to be missed.

#1 Spirits – Unrest LP

(State of Mind Recordings, Useless Pride Records, Here And Now)

NO SURPRISES HERE. Our (DIY Conspiracy) love for Spirits has never been a secret so it’s no wonder Unrest is our straight edge record of the year. Boston has long proven its THE place for straight edge bands and Spirits are once again doing what they started with the mighty Discontent. Every single bit in Unrest is catchy, honest and powerful. The melodies and energy in the LP give me the chills every single time I play it. The band have taken their sound to a next level working with Kurt Ballou at God City Studios. The artwork is outstanding and so are the lyrics for yet another time. Ever questioned your choice to remain sober for life? Give Unrest a listen and it will convince you we are on the right track… forever!

Noteworthy mention:

SECT – No Cure For Death LP

(Southern Lord)

After the brutal debut of the vegan straight edge super group I was expecting a bomb from their new LP, especially having in mind they also recorded it with Kurt Ballou at God City. However, I still can’t really get used to the new LP and to the production they decided to go for. Music-wise it also sounds a bit too refined and controlled in comparison to the previous LP and there are certain rock references that I’m not so sure how I feel about. However, No Cure For Death deserves a place in this list because it’s an important album, from important musicians and I truly believe it will grow on me.

P.S. For all SXE kids!

Remember Ross Haenfler who wrote a book called Straight Edge: Hardcore Punk, Clean-Living Youth, and Social Change, published in 2006? Ross is still nailed to the X and in a process of writing a new book. One part of the project is a survey, sort of a straight edge “census” that you’re all invited to participate in. Questions include: What kinds of jobs do we do? How many of us are vegetarian or vegan? What is the average age of straight edge people? What bands have been most influential in our lives?

Find the survey here. Please take twenty minutes or so to complete it and spread the word with your straight edge and formerly edge friends.



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Keep It Fast’s Top 10 Tracks of 2017


Untitled DesignWe’ve already talked about my top 10 albums of the year, so let’s focus on the top 10 songs of the year.  All guaranteed to be absolute bangers, if not, I’ll send Tiger Crew round your house to have a word. (YEEEEEAAAHHHHH) Enjoy.

Japandroids – Arc Of Bar (Anti-)

This 7 and half minute opus that bridges to two sides of Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, is so simple, yet it utterly ROARS with anthemic mic-swinging passion. It’s at a slower pace to the useful Japandroids scuzz-frenzy, employing a hypnotic, synth-sounding guitar loop from guitarist Brian King, with drummer David Prowse hammering out this spirited and layered marching beat. The song is apparently an allusion to the crescent arch of the city of New Orleans (also due to the city’s relaxed culture to partying and drinking and the number of bars). Clever eh? Also, the line “But I got no plans at all/Except to drink as soon as possible” is so in culture with Japandroids work and a huge nod to the fantastic Nights Of Wine And Roses from Celebration Rock. Stunning.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling (604/School Boy/Interscope)

You’re not prepared for how RIDICULOUSLY catchy this is. Oh sure, it is cheesy as hell; it’s a huge block of cheddar smashing down. It’s just the song to replace Call Me Maybe from that continuous loop inside your head. The 80’s synthwave vibes, the weird flourishing key chimes that sound like a message alert tone, the pounding disco-beat and let’s not forget the bouncing power-pop energy that is righteously infectious and glorious. Cut To The Feeling is so damn euphoric and positive; it bristles with unrelenting joy, passion and huge theatrical ham – an absolute banger. Take a bow, Jepsen.

Down I Go – Heracles (self-released)

The best band in the world (no hyperbole) return with a cheeky little EP and make everything else pointless. Heracles is the final song from Mortals and it’s suitably deranged/epic/noisy/creatively jaw-dropping. I’ve no idea if all 12 labours of this god-man are shouted in all their glory (vocalist Pete Fraser falls somewhere between bellowing wounded dinosaur and Mike Patton gargling tizer in your bathroom) but the maddened, schizophrenic ramblings dip into the mathcore waters, whilst the riffs are monstrous, lurching Botch-esque bone-crunching slabs of terror. The closing croons of “bring it back, bring it back…” coupled with some maddened, muted-sax playing all add to this whirlwind of delightful chaos.

USA Nails – Does Format Matter? (Bigout Records)

“VINYL CASSETTE! EJECT YOUR VINYL CASSETTE! REWIND YOUR VINYL CASSETTE! BUT TAKE CAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRREEEEEEEEE!!!!” spits Steve Hodson, professional deadpan snarker and mouthpiece of USA Nails, the most dangerous manicurists in London. Does format fucking matter though? The abrupt heaviness of this nearly punctures the airwaves it’s so sharp and cutting. Guitars are tuned somewhere in the Event Horizon dimension, whilst the drumming is sickeningly caustic and loud, so ungodly loud. I think the genre is just misanthropy. Or hate. Actually, it’s both of them – yeah we’ll go with that.

Closet Disco Queen – El Moustachito (CrazySane)

As someone who lives for groove-laden instrumental rock, it’s a good thing Closet Disco Queen exist, one of my favourite discoveries in the last few years. This arm-flexing, swan-sickening strut of positive stoner-jam-dance-metal-noise is delicious. It’s heavy enough to bang your head to, yet it’s got that hip-shaking teasing sound that will burrow it’s way inside your brain. You can smell the burnt rubber on the asphalt as this roars away from you, the horns thrown high in the air, the muscle-car tearing down the strip, dust billowing from behind. Why aren’t you air-drumming yet? Let’s jam.

Christian Fitness – Slap Bass Hunks (Prescriptions)

They made all their money, so fuck you, FUCK YOU” intones Andy Falkous on the ripping hand-clap-a-thon that is the title track from the fourth Christian Fitness album. The very fact this sounds like thousands of fucking angry bees playing thousands of kazoos should be enough to convince you what genius this is. Seething with the kind of anger at the current state of everything, coupled with scratching, acidic fuzz-punk energy, Slap Bass Hunks is the anthem for the those feeling particularly furious at the world and with this they can let vent with the utmost amount of bile.

Blanck Mass – Please (Scared Bones)

Manipulating dimensions to somewhere absorbing and wholly different from our own is perhaps a safe bet right now. That technology doesn’t exist, but maybe in Blanck Mass‘s music we can find some solitude akin to that. Please is a mind-bending trip to be able to properly explain in words. The chopped-up vocal loops, the glistening and radiant energy it pulsates, the glow and warmth it makes you feel. It sounds like blood running through your veins, your heart keeping you upright; it’s gorgeous and thoroughly absorbing.

Pissed Jeans – The Bar Is Low (Sub Pop)

This was released in February and no other music video has touched it really for absurdity or the sudden mood-whiplash in the closing seconds. Pissed Jeans are bizarre, and The Bar Is Low, from their “laughing at every day life” concept album, Why Love Now, is laced with their trademark oddball humour and boastful quirks. The opening line of “I’ve been described as good/some have even said great/what have I done/to deserve such a fate” should tell you all about what to expect. Also, listen to that gurgling bass, absolutely lovely and the set of pipes on vocalist Matt Korvette – wonderful, antagonistic and sarcastic punk rock.

HCBP – The Patriot (self released)

Bridging the gap between  genius and insanity, HCBP (Haggard Cat Bothday Present) are half of the recently split HECK. If you’re wondering what this sounds like, it’s in a familiar ballpark of being nerve-rattling and utterly chaotic. Riffs splatter and shriek with a feral, robot-rock bludgeon of early Queens of the Stone Age, whilst the drums hammer out the kind of muscle-car roar you’d expect from a Fu Manchu album. A blistering, howling storm of feral sounds barely held together, but by god it’s bloody excellent.

Thank – Fragile Ego (Cruel Nature Recordings)

The twisted wreckage that make’s up Thank’s universe is so utterly gruesome, you cannot help but stare or at least, hear as their…. “sound” hisses, crackles and pops as it begins to melt through into your mind. Staggering between the realms of caustic noise, punk and industrial dance revolution, this five piece from Leeds sound like the end of the world. Fragile Ego is a snapping, rabid, mind rot of decay and bubbling, nonsensical ramblings. This is the new noise you were warned about and it’s finally here – that new beat, that sound you were warned about and it’s utterly deranged and impossible to ignore.

BONUS TRACK!!!

The Night Flight Orchestra – Gemini (Nuclear Blast)

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 Actually, scrap EVERYTHING ABOVE we quite clearly peaked musically back in April 2017. This might be the best thing I’ve ever heard and I once experienced a long note that had a powerful sense of dread attached to it.

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Lizard Hips – Top 10 albums of 2017


Weird year for stuff, some of it bad some of it excellent. My top 2 will not surprise some people and it’s mostly business as usual. Some returning bands – The Bronx have absolutely excelled themselves on the new one – USA Nails might not be in the giddy heights of their first two records, but their new one is as brutal and horrific as ever and it’s a simple fact that there’s been some exceptional albums. Some truly outstanding work all round though and even albums hat didn’t make the top ten (sorry Pissed Jeans, you’re in at 11…) were stonking great. Enjoy.

10. Onsind – We Wilt, We Bloom (Specialist Subject)onsind-wwwb

A somewhat late inclusion, but this third album from Durham’s Onsind has made a massive impact on me in just a short space of time. Raw, brutally honest and some incredible lyrics throughout, We Wilt, We Bloom is a moving, cynical and cutting statement, heavily referencing our current see-sawing political climate of bullshit and misery. However, it’s laced with hope, with a direction that states we can do something, that there is time for change and better days are on the horizon. Listen to the lyrics on the brilliant Shining-referencing Sectioned – superb, thoughtful and reflective storytelling locked down into a four minute pop-punk banger.

Top track: Sectioned

9. USA Nails – Shame Spiral (Bigoût Records / Hominid Sounds)usanails-shame

Hello nasty. Noise and speed are two words to sum up Shame Spiral, the third album from London teeth-grinders, USA Nails. This is an ugly, boiling cauldron of rage; the guitars are overclocked to the max, especially on the acidic bedlam of Play It Again Johnny and the shredding Does Format Matter? It’s got that scrawled, caustic quality of the first METZ album – utterly savage, loud, volatile and seriously uncomfortable to experience. Every track feels as though it has been submerged in a barrel of noxious feedback and it howls with implacable tension and serves to move the band further from their debut, Sonic Moist. Chilling and strangely intriguing. (Review)

Top track: Does Format Matter?

8. Christian Fitness – Slap Bass Hunks (Prescriptions)a0968992665_10

Slap Bass Hunks is apparently the least successful Christian Fitness album, which is a shame because it is fucking brilliant. For one thing, the bass sounds utterly gnarled/ugly/disgustingly noisy. Also, some of Falco’s best work exists on this excellent 10 tracker, from the vomiting-fury of the title track, to the vest-appraising National Insurance, an Anglican mouse on the handclap frenzy of Hallowed Be Thy Naming Rights and the dread-inducing creep of Nobody Likes a Snitch. Just under 30 minutes of pure surrealism that will leave you either laughing your head off or whimpering in the corner and we should all be thankful for it. (Review)

Top track: Slap Bass Hunks

7. The Bronx – V (Cooking Vinyl)a2581068749_10

THIS AIN’T NO SOBER SONG, KILL ME OR TURN ME ON!” screams Matt Caughthran on opening track, Night Drop At The Glue Factory. Yes, so The Bronx have always been a bit word salad at times with lyrics, but Bronx V, sees them crunch back into the punk rock scene with a cracking selection of fresh cuts. Fill The Tanks is a pure thrash excellence, whilst the abrasive Sore Throat, is a vein-bursting roar for blood. Here’s hoping they keep up the wrecking machine of energy and vitality forever with their fire-starting vigour and fucking brilliant songs. (Review)

Top track: Stranger Danger

6. ’68 – Two Parts Viper (Cooking Vinyl)two-parts-viper-68

Every song by ’68 sounds as if it’s been pushed to its very limit. All the dials are spiking into the red, alarms are blasting, blood is spurting from the console. Meltdown achieved. Josh Scogin and (now-ex) drummer Michael McClellan attack their instruments with the similar “throw it in” bravado of their debut, but the amps don’t explode this time; the riffs though, are still there and it’s still uncomfortably discordant, channelling Scogin’s Nirvana worship even more (see No Apologies) and the rap-rock swagger of This Life Is Old, Borrowed and Blue. Utterly unique and constantly evolving, Two Parts Viper is a venomous beast. (Review)

Top track: Whether Terrified or Unafraid

5. Mutoid Man – War Moans (Sargent House)mutoid-man-war

Nick Cageao’s Mutoid Man might be the greatest band of all time. I mean, he’s got Stephen Brodsky and Ben FUCKING Koller in tow. War Moans doesn’t so much as tick all the boxes as smash several guitars through walls and walls of amps to make its point. This album is hilarious; it’s packed with the most ridiculous, cheesy, heavy, thrash-tastic riffs imaginable, the sickest drumming courtesy of Koller and it is infectiously joyful and an unstoppable thrill ride from the face-punch of the start to the haunting end. There’s no way you can finish even the first track without air-guitar/bass/drumming your arms off. If you thought Bleeder was good, get a load of this baby. (Review)

Top track: Irons In The Fire

4. John – God Speed In The National Limit (Pets Care Records)john-godspeed

You could be forgiven for thinking there were double or even triple the amount of band members in Crystal Palace duo John, such is the absolute racket they both make. God Speed In The National Limit is a brutally fast, concentrated and bludgeoning rush and it makes no bones about being anything else, other than a fucking great punk rock album. There’s everything on this – songs about haunted printers, the shitness of everyday life and resetting your mobile phone. Probably. Whatever it is, this is an absolute killer of a debut album and I bloody love it. (Review)

Top track: Straight Lines

3. Single Mothers – Our Pleasure (Big Scary Monsters)singlemothers-our-pleasure

Whatever happened to Single Mothers?” screams vocalist Drew Thomson on Our Pleasure, the second album from the “pissed at everything” Canadian four piece. With the kind of rapid-fire vocal delivery (and disdain) akin to that of Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods; Single Mothers are a free-flow nuisance of seething, bile-spitting obnoxious punk rock debauchery. This churns, boils and rages at everything, especially on the pocket-digging bravado of Long Distance to the hardcore fury of Well Wisher.  Cracking sophomore album that vents with urgent, wild energy and will ultimately make you want to smash things and oddly, has a lot of heart if you delve into Thomson’s thoughtful and compelling lyrics.

Top track: Long Distance

2. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (Anti-)japandroids1

An album that you keep returning to must ring some alarm bells in your mind. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life by Japandroids was released at the tail-end of January, yet it’s something I am constantly listening to, over and over and over again. Is it down to how beautifully all 8 of the songs on this are crafted? Is it the fact it fills me with unrelenting happiness and optimism? Is it the fact it makes me want to shout every single lyric at the top of my lungs? Is it the fact it makes me so fucking emotional every time I listen to it? It’s all of these things and a heap more, loaded with the all the real feels and sweaty, melancholic emotional nostalgia. (Review)

Top track: Arc of Bar

1. Blanck Mass – World Eater (Sacred Bones)blanckmass

The fact that World Eater seems to have endless layers the more you listen to it shows just how staggeringly inventive Blanck Mass (aka, Benjamin John Power) is as a musician. It’s a hypnotic, mind-melt of emotions, ranging from fear, serenity, hate and even joy. I’ve struggled at times not to go a week, sometimes a day without putting this on – without being lost in the industrial-rave-death-dance party of Rhesus Negative or the trippy percussion-driven club bounce of Silent Treatment. This is the sound of ripping through the fabric of our dimension and becoming totally submerged in the deadlights. Beep, beep, Benny – a phenomenal and hypnotic, mesmeric trip into the void and my album of the year, hands down. (Review)

Top track: Please

Other great stuff from this year you should stick in your ears.

Alpha Male Tea Party – Health

Bat Piss – Rest In Piss

Cassels – Epithet

Converge – The Dusk In Us

Death From Above – Outrage! Is Now

Frauen – Unreal City

Gallops – Bronze Mystic

Goddamned Animals – My Second Cult Suicide

Gnarwolves – Outsiders

Idles – Brutalism

Intervals – The Way Forward

Jamie Lenman – Devolver

Krause – 2am Thoughts

Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

Metz – Strange Peace

Part Chimp – IV

Perturbator – New Model

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Feed The Rats

Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

Pulled Apart By Horses – The Haze

Run The Jewels – RTJ3

Sleaford Mods – London Tapas

Slotface – Try Not To Freak Out

Sorority Noise – You’re Not As _ As You Think

Stnnng – Veterans of Pleasure

Tricot – 3

The Jimmy Cake – Tough Love

The Menzingers – After The Party

UpCDownC – I, Awake

Unsane – Sterilize

Yagow – Yagow

Yards – Excitation Thresholds

Additional

Science Fiction by Brand New didn’t make the cut this year for obvious reasons. Would it have done in other circumstances? Yes, it would easily be top 5 material, perhaps higher. It’s their best album as well. There, I said it. However, to give the band any kind of accolade this year is not something I am not comfortable with doing at all. Thank you.

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Catalan! – Alive


image1You may remember back in the sunny days of July, we had a feature and interview with a certain Mr Ewen Friers, aka Catalan! talking all about the creation of the project, hopes for the future, collaborations and whether he’s a Dr Ian Malcolm or David Levinson kind of guy.

Well, Ewen (or Catalan!) is back with a new single, the energetically named Alive. I love the squelching keyboard opening to this and when the cowbell kicks in. It’s the opening two lines that get me though – the layered vocal delivery of “Another worse Hot Water Music/A million more Menzingersers” seems to be having a cheeky pop at all those bands who employ the gruff-ramshackle punk aesthetic, but feels ever-so-tongue-in-cheek.  Throughout Alive, there is this bass-heavy fuzz; it feels very Death From Above in places, that similar, infectious dance-punk groove, and boy does this act as an itch – that chorus will worm its way into your brain before you know what’s happening.

It’s a proper fist-pumper of a track – that light pop-rock bounce, those Metric-esque synth-lines and that huge, skyscraper of a chorus leaves you wanting more. With Axis Of currently dormant at the moment, this is certainly a project that has legs and fans of the aforementioned Portstewart lads, will absolutely love this. Cracking work – stream Alive by Catalan! below.

Links

Catalan Twitter

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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