Monday, 19 November 2018

***KODOS exclusive premiere***

"Kodos"
exclusive album premiere
For fans ofEd Gein, The Locust, DaughtersAmygdalaYuri, Welcome The Plague Year and Plague Walker

Did you hear that? No? That was the entire stream of the new KODOS album! You looked away for a sec and it was gone. Okay let's try again. This is the exclusive premiere for the new KODOS cassette EP. The band is an offshoot of Thisismenotthinkingofyou, Moss Rose and Yuri, but boasts the fastest, shriekiest and most furious style of the bunch. It's a mishmash of hardcore, screamo, emo-violence, false grind,  sludge and sass but in the end I would call this genre annihilation-core, cuz after you commit yourself to the LP, your future is dust. I don't really feel like I can give much of a direct band comparison, but if you were to throw Ed Gein, Amygdala, Yuri, Plague Walker and Welcome The Plague Year into a grinder it might occasionally resemble KODOS.

The amount of shit going on in addition to both vocalists venomously slinging poison on a consistent basis makes the entire ordeal a dense, volatile mindfuck - in the best possible way, of course. Now, I'm not even going to bother with a track-by-track review as each song is so short with so much to unpack that it would take you five times as long to read it then listen to the entire record. So instead, watch that acid-trip of a music video and then focus your ears for a mere 9:17 lest you miss one hell of a record.

(2018) KODOS - "HxC Dancing is just Assault to a Soundtrack" (from 'Kodos') official music video

(2018) KODOS - 'Kodos' full stream

Saturday, 17 November 2018

COUGAR DEN

BandCOUGAR DEN
GenresPunk / Hardcore / Emo / Screamo / Skramz / Experimental
Related artistsGallery Night, House Noises, Slow Walker, Centipedes, youthcrush and Call Me Lightning.
CountryMilwaukee, Wisconsin U.S.A.
Years Active2006-2009
Song: "Ash Not Dust"
Album: "Keepondrifter"
Year: 2009
For fans ofDawn Treader, Gillian CarterForstella Ford, Sinaloa, For Want Of, The Fall Of Troy, Terry Green, La Dispute, Nouveau, Hot Cross, Gaff, MANS, Lion Of The North, Cloud Mouth, Bravo Fucking Bravo, Pyramids, Matsuri, L'Antietam, Daniel Striped Tiger and Wow, Owls! aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Self Released / Init Records / Ice Age Records
This post's artist is from the November 2018 Mix. This is track #5.
You can download: the November 2018 Mix#11 right here or get the new December 2018 Mix#12 here.

COUGAR DEN are a band I don't know much about and have only recently got into, most likely because I had a 'Keepondrifter' sealed cd for sale and no one bought it, so I tore that shit open (as it was released on Init, an incredible label) and jammed it in my car one day. And then the next. And again...you get the idea. As this is a review I should make the most obvious comparison first, as I think this sounds like a newer version of the almighty Dawn Treader. It's not as heavy nor as serene as the Baltimore band managed to swing, but the technicality, musicianship, song structures, instrumentals and even vocals are really not very different. Basically, COUGAR DEN played mathy, emo-driven hardcore that we could probably just say is mathy screamo.

The band released their self titled debut 'Cougar Den' on cd back in 2006 all by themselves. It's a very good debut that showcases some of the ridiculousness that shows up on the 2009 full length, none being more obvious than the stellar opener "New Kids On the Block". This shit is intense, driving and intricate as fuck, with your typical COUGAR DEN vocals, that is to say they are half-yelled/half-screamed. There's a speed up at about 1:25 combined with the vocal line of, "Three hearts that beat the same!" that is hashed out and repeated in full climax form come 2:05, which is probably the highlight of the entire record for me. "Suburban Conditioning" is an instrumental mindfuck right from the get-go, "When the Going Gets Tough" has a bit more of an emo feel while retaining the intensity, "State Named Disaster" has some nice gang vocals over top of a sole guitar progression during the intro, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" opens with a pretty goddamn epic sounding riff and transitions wonderfully into the most progressive and sprawling closer "I'll Take the Side of Reason" that is most indicative of their future material.

In 2008 they released what I consider to be their best material, the sensational 'Keepondrifter'. This thing is a fucking banger, good lord. Opening with one of (if not, my) favourite COUGAR DEN songs, "Ash Not Dust" is a trip. You spend the first 40 seconds in typical band land, but at 50 seconds the song explodes with sick tapping and screaming, only to have it taken a step further at 1:02 when all the instruments crash together and lead to an absolutely devastating section at 1:20. This part is heaven for me, a booming bass (reminds of Nouveau) acts as the vessel for some extremely spacey and intense guitars that carry the rest of the song. That bass, though, holy shit. Duuuh duh, doo do, Duuuh duh, doo do...gets me moving every time, and there's also an awesome solo for most of the third minute. "Burn the Vatican" is very playful in a Hot Cross kind of way, and even includes the first dual vocals that the band tests out, and realizes how awesome it is, as you'll find it on a number of songs here. "Between Long Lines" rides a lazerbeam of a guitar riff that cuts through everything, making the song reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy for sure. "Short Bus Front Flip" is a cathartic jam that reminds me of Bravo Fucking Bravo thanks to an incredibly speedy vocal tradeoff that begins at 2:15 and, for me, is the cornerstone of the song. The first minute of "9.04.06" follows a similar trajectory, but instead of trading off vocals the two just scream over top of one another...but it's still amazing. The midsection has such a spacey feel to it that I almost forget that this isn't Cave In and the end has so much going incredible shit on that your nose might start to bleed. "It Is the Flash Which Appears" may be the most thought-out, flowing, mature and complete song that the band ever wrote. The opening minute is a plethora of striking, bright, guitars acting as shooting stars as the night sky unfolds, the midsection finds footing and starts the ascent, reaching the summit with a thunderous close from about 2:20 onward. Hot damn that is epic! Speaking of thunder, the next track is titled "The Thunderbolt Will Follow" and it literally follows with the bass riff from the preceding song, and as it begins to blossom the petals definitely resemble those of Dawn Treader. "Party Awesome" boasts some pretty bodacious guitar licks after the 30-second mark, followed by a tubular stop/start and cowabungalicious breakdown. Lol what the fuck was that? Ah well, "East'll Meet West Anyway" closes up this fantastic LP and does so in a whopping 6:30, condensing all of the great stuff the band can do into one final track.

Their swan song came on a 7" split with Cloud Mouth on Ice Age Records in 2009. On it is a single COUGAR DEN song spanning nearly seven minutes of jangly, disjointed, yelly/screamy hardcore. I feel like this song doesn't root itself often and instead floats around, dabbling in light and subtle textures without really committing to any sort of primary, intense groove, which I find a bit uninteresting at times. It's still a cool song, but the opening tracks off each LP are my kinda COUGAR DEN tunes. Their final show was on June 18th, 2010 and then they called it a day, citing the obvious fact that they all lived much further away than when the band had started.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2006 - Cougar Den cdLP (stream/donate/download here)

2008 - Keepondrifter cdLP (stream/donate/download here)

2009 - Cloud Mouth split 7"EP (stream/donate/download here)

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(2008) COUGAR DEN - "Ash Not Dust" (from 'Keepondrifter')

(2008) COUGAR DEN - "It Is the Flash Which Appears" (from 'Keepondrifter')

(2008) COUGAR DEN - "Short Bus Front Flip" (from 'Keepondrifter')

(2009) COUGAR DEN - "What Ever Happened to the Home Phone?" (from 'Cloud Mouth' split)

(2006) COUGAR DEN - "New Kids On the Block" (from 'Cougar Den')

(2006) COUGAR DEN - "Suburban Conditioning" (from 'Cougar Den')

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COUGAR DEN additional links
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Thursday, 15 November 2018

'Residue' by: BLIND GIRLS

Song: "3am"
Year: 2018 via Zegema Beach Records
This post's artist is from the November 2018 Mix. This is track #1.
You can download: the November 2018 Mix#11 right here or get the new December 2018 Mix#12 here.



Review by David Norman:

Well shit, I remember when I started this blog back in 2013. After a few months I started getting decent submissions from bands around the world, and was pretty goddamned pumped when the Gold Coast's BLIND GIRLS sent me an email from Australia following the release of their 2014 EP 'Efflorescence'. I have been following the band avidly since that review (which you can read here) and in December of 2017 I visited Australia and thought, hey, I wonder if BLIND GIRLS want to hang out. And then we did. We stayed in touch and guitarist/mastering guru Liam Kriz sent me songs every few months, which I purposely never delved too heavily into. In October of 2018 Liam sent me the final BLIND GIRLS masters for 'Residue' and I've been foaming at the mouth ever since. The band had 150 black 12" vinyl records made, of which Zegema Beach Records helped release, while Zegema Beach made 66 tapes in Canada with help from the band. In the off chance you missed the giant order links above...well, they are above!

'Residue' is not background music. It's not relaxing. Listening to it is not easy in the traditional sense of letting a song wash over you. These songs do nothing of the sort. If anything, they lull you to a cliff, push you over and into an ocean of gasoline and then set it ablaze. It's 11 tracks in a mere 21 minutes and things get pretty f'n real right off the bat, as the feedback intro of "Breaths" explodes at 9 seconds in a whirlwind screams, frantic strumming and lightspeed drumming, all of which is over by 1:05.

"3am" is one hell of a song, as it flies through its initial section in typical, older BLIND GIRLS fashion before the feedback soaked stop at 20 seconds. This acts as a beacon for the phenomenal guitar-work that follows and the subsequent breakdown that is repeated a second time with a flurry of poisonous shrieks. Good lord that shit is next level.

Expect it to go downhill from there? Fuck you. Not happening. Cuz they pull out a diverse, flushed out and very complete third track with "Loss Forms a Sequence", which nearly reaches the three-minute mark. It rides in on a nearly 30-second wave of ambient guitar, transitions to the first onslaught which you might think is heavy, only to crash down upon the listener with such intensity and force after the 46-second mark that you'll think you're drowning off in the gold screamo coast. The dual vocal attack here is utterly punishing as Sharni and Mark exchange feral screams that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. At 1:17 the song doubles back for another round of ridiculousness, led by a dangerously sharp guitar hook and more phenomenal screaming which eventually meets up with that ambient intro.

"Exertion" brings us back to the unrelenting emo-violence attack found throughout the entirety of the first two songs but includes a fantastical swing after the first 50 seconds that reminds me of a cross between Loma Prieta and Commuovere.

"Visitant" is primarily an interlude of brief drumming and distant, crawling guitars and leads beautifully into the sixth track.

Said sixth track is titled "The Ghost In My Eye" and it's, yep, you guessed it, amazing. The entire song dips in and out of extremes much like the third track, creating an unstable and impossible to anticipate path saturated with remarkable surprises. The most significant to note on this windy, treacherous journey is that unbelievable tornado of mathy screamo that tosses the listener around from 1:46 to its 2:30 conclusion. Goddamn I'm still so smitten with this.

"Dormant" is much more disjointed then the first half of the record, which is to say it takes its time with an awkward and angular approach until 42 seconds when a lazer riff blows the song up like a goddamned death star.

I wonder if "Cherish" was initially dubbed "Chill song" because although it's screamo and hardcore and all that, it is noticeably slower than everything else on the record save the "Visitant" interlude. It's a very cool song that bears more in resemblance to Canadian bands I Hate Sex and La Luna than the scorching and extremely dense Lord Snow-esque chaos brought by the rest of the record.

"Discarded Pictures" is another of my favourites for a multitude of reasons. First, that opening is frighteningly intense...and it doesn't even have vocals! Second, when the vocals do come in they are insanely fierce, pack one helluva punch and are accentuated nicely by more backup screaming. Third, the transition that builds from 1:13 is exceptional and leads to a short, faux-climax and instead opts for a simplistic, quiet outro.

"Nightshade" is another song rooted in twisted, dark and unrelenting screamy hardcore on speed with so many twists and turns that trying to unpack it all here would be too time consuming. Just take 2:33 out of your day and ride that rollercoaster.

The conclusion to this album of the year contender is "Burial", a three-minute representation of all of the incredible things that BLIND GIRLS have accomplished with this record. It takes all of the anger, aggression, sadness and frustration found in the band's music and buries it in your brain. Good luck completing this album and not wanting to do it all over again right away. It's that kind of album, as not many bands can boast similar magnetism and intensity that allures screamo fans for repeat listens.

A quick info session about the BLIND GIRLS tapes as I made and released them. There turned out to be 66 transparent red tapes, with a sparkle A-side sticker and download code. Regarding the covers, there are a few variants:
2 on sparkle silver
10 on sparkle red
12 on white silver
42 on champagne pearl

Lastly, until November 25th, 2018 we will have the "feel like you're really there" Japanese tour package which includes the newest tape releases from BLIND GIRLS, Sans Visage and Komusō. It's only $15CAD (less than $12US) for all three tapes and will be pulled the day the tour ends. Speaking of which, if you are in Japan and don't go to one of these shows...a pox on thee. Grab a tour tape package here.

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(2018) BLIND GIRLS - "3am" (from 'Residue')

(2018) BLIND GIRLS - "Loss Forms A Sequence" (from 'Residue')

(2018) BLIND GIRLS - "Discarded Pictures" (from 'Residue')

(2018) 'Residue' trailer (by Dave Cullen)

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