Saturday, 18 September 2021


GenresPunk / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore / Emo / Screamo / Skramz
Related artists?.
CountryMadrid SPAIN
Years Active2016-present
For fans ofViva Belgrado, Standstill, La Parade, Chavire, Yarostan, Aleska, Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket, Moving Mountains, Daitro, Envy, Sed Non Satiata, and Descubriendo A Mr. Mime.
Label(s): Self Released / Zilpzalp Records / Dingleberry Records / Pundonor Records / Tirano Intergaltico / Inhumano

Not that much need be said about this band, as it's pretty straight-forward.

1) If you like Spanish/European post-hardcore/screamo like Descubriendo A Mr. Mime, Viva Belgrado, La Parade and Standstill then methinks you'll fuckin' love this.

2) First album 'I' was released in 2017, it's kinda meh. Not my thing. Both the instrumentals and vocals have no real bite. They're decent, and a very good first go, but I never revisit these 7 tracks. Moving Mountains lite.

3) EP 'La herida renace en tus manos' came out the following year and is noticeably better than its predecessor. Very much in line with their subsequent output, heavier vocals, thicker instrumentals, less singing/more spoken word, all of which is encapsulated in closer "Águila".

4) It was 2019's 'Nuestro enemigo' 12"LP that initially caught my attention (due to a free tape) and had me picking up the vinyl immediately. The swirling, atmospheric tones mix beautifully with the post-hardcore twinkles and chugs, bringing to mind bands such as Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Myket, Descubriendo A Mr. Mime and Daitro. After a short, initial opener the album gets kick-started with the fantastic "Calma y olvido", anchored by a wailing guitar and excellent progressions, with the two-minute mark swing being my fave. "Penitencia" continues the beautiful balancing act but goes of at 2:10, "Cólera" is a beautiful acoustic/sung track that is worth a mention (kinda Standstill/Viva Belgrado), title track "Nuestro enemigo" has a music video (linked below) and is a banger that hits its stride at 1:50, and closer "Afasia" is damn-hell-ass epic.

5) Now I await the next material, as that last LP was fuckin' great.



2017 - I digital demo EP (stream/donate/download here)

2018 - La herida renace en tus manos digital EP (stream/donate/download here)

2019 - Nuestro enemigo cassette/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)


(2021) ALTAIR - Hand 2 Paw Fest full set
(2019) ALTAIR - "Nuestro enemigo" (from 'Nuestro enemigo') official music video

(2019) ALTAIR - "Calma y olvido" (from 'Nuestro enemigo')
(2019) ALTAIR - "Penitencia" (from 'Nuestro enemigo')
(2018) ALTAIR - "Águila" (from 'La herida renace en tus manos')
(2017) ALTAIR - "Alias" (from 'I')


ALTAIR additional links


Friday, 17 September 2021

***HUNDREDS OF AU exclusive album premiere***


'A Briefing on the Human Condition'
exclusive album premiere
For fans ofDemersal, Capacities and Crowning

What's this? An nice little premiere right before the new HUNDREDS OF AU drops. Digitals release at 9am EST on September 17th, with physicals following in mid-late 2022 as a split 12". What's that? No, I can't. It's a secret.

Below you can find a review of the album as well as an exclusive premiere stream that goes live at 8:30am EST (that's 30 minutes before the official release!). It was recorded by Sean Glonek at SRG Studios and mixed/mastered by Kevin Carafa at Carafa Audio. Be sure to check back...I gotta go to bed.

(2021) HUNDREDS OF AU 'A Briefing on the Human Condition' full stream
Following a soothing but eerie introduction, HUNDREDS OF AU take off like a rocket on opener "100 Year Test", mixing the heavy/destructive side of the band with melody and periods of instrumental reflection. Next is up is "Objective Party", one of the bands' slowest and methodically paced songs released...and it might just be my favourite. The transitions ebb and flow wonderfully, creating an epic, post-hardcore, screamy that really pops at the 8-minute mark of the EP. "Afloat" features more mesmerizing guitar work, not in that it's ridiculously's more commanding than anything else. That's certainly not diminish what anyone else is doing, as each musician shines constantly - it just depends on what you happen to be focusing on. "Ancestor Reality" is a thick shot to the head with an extra one to the heart (for me), with lyrics about colonization and the guilt in our blood. Finale and slow burn "Return" is led with a driving, chorded, bass intro that eventually pulls the rest of the band in. It's pretty short in length but the closer is another example of the band utilizing everyone to their fullest, creating space where it's needed, and fucking crushing it when the time comes.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

***DEMERSAL 'Death Routines' premiere***


'Death Routines'
album premiere

For fans ofWe Are Among Clouds, Eglise and Lentic Waters

Co-released by: Zegema beach records (USA/Canada)
Entes animocos (Germany)
Over the under records (Denmark)
Heartland records (Denmark)
Fresh outbreak records (Italy)
Destroy it yourself records (Portugal)
Nothing to harvest records (Greece)
Out of thunes records (France)
Pasidaryk pats records (Lithuania)
Dingleberry records (Germany)
5feetunder records (Denmark)


the below video should become available at 11:45am CET (2 hours from the time this was posted)
(2021) DEMERSAL 'Death Routines' EP

I fell in love with the Denmark band DEMERSAL when I first heard their 'Less' LP. Kinda Converge, kinda Hexis, kinda We Are Among Clouds and hell, kinda Lentic Waters and Trainwreck, too. The band recorded 7 songs in one session, the first two seeing the late of day via the Regarding Ambiguity split cassette/7", and the final five showing up on this beautiful 7" 'Death Routines'. Whether it's the towering collapse 30 seconds into the opener, the sick time changes on "Suffer for each other", or the massive gravitational pull of closer "Worry", there's something here for any hardcore/metal/screamo listener.

Monday, 6 September 2021

PODCAST #71 Nat Coghlan (Transistor Transistor, Strangelight)

One of the most influential bands for me is TRANSISTOR TRANSISTOR, who existed for most of 2000-2010, releasing a myriad of splits and two phenomenal 12"LPs on Level Plane Records. Zegema Beach released 'Erase All Name and Likeness' on cassette at the end of July 2021 with 'Ruined Lives + 7"' following tomorrow morning, September 7th! So, when I got the okay to make the band's tapes posthumously I asked Brad Wallace for Nat's email because I really wanted to chat with him about TT, and titled the email, "You have the best scream I have ever heard". Luckily he responded shortly thereafter and we did this little ole podcast. It's fucking hilarious and very informative, including side splitters about: his new band Strangelight, the hiatus from music after Transistor Transistor, going back to school at 25 and his subsequent career path, gettin' bummed out by Bob DylanHot Snakes love, what was the band's "aesthetic" and what does Transistor Transistor mean?, the best artist on Level Plane, wut this...two demos? aka band dysfunctionality, working with Level Plane, knowing too much about bands/labels, the first tour, having ducks, how James saved the band, dissecting the scream, ruining your voice, recording in the studio, the best Transistor Transistor memory, Jack Shirley love, and lots more. Bands played in this podcast: Hot Snakes, Orchid, Strange Light and Tricky Woo. Listen to podcast #71 which is available to stream and/or download for free via this link.


'Ruined Lives + Young Vampires' digital/cassette releases tomorrow!


HOT SNAKES "If Credit's What Matters I'll Take Credit" (Nat)
TRICKY WOO "Let the Good Times Roll" (Dave)

ORCHID "Le Desordre, C'est Moi" (Nat)

STRANGE LIGHT "Heaven's Parking Lot" (Dave)



PODCAST #71 linked here

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

PODCAST #70 Seth Robert Babb (Funeral Diner, Lacrima, Repeater Records)

I spoke to Seth Robert Babb. I'm a huge fan. Funeral Diner? Hoooooly shit Funeral Diner. Repeater Records? Mmmmmm yes please Repeater Records. Tons of info on one of the most influential screamo bands (and their vocalist!), a new-ish and very exciting label, as well as tons of other stuff including: meeting Danzig, Reversal Of Man discography, high school ska band, Stirling Says, mind-blowing mixtapes, the transition from Walken to Funeral Diner, being second tier, the writing/theme of 'Underdark', losing momentum, being in a band with the drummer of Portraits Of Past, playing Magic on tour, finding Milemarker's disposable camera, Seb Alvarez love, yelling at clouds, Punishment Park, the band Pills, and lots more. Bands played in this podcast: Black Nail, John Henry West, Meth., Noose Sweat, Ovlov and Wrong War. Listen to podcast #70 which is available to stream and/or download for free via this link.



WRONG WAR "First Shot Misses" (Seth) (music video linked here)
NOOSE SWEAT "Mentality" (Dave)

METH. "Shuddering Impulse" (Seth)
BLACK NAIL "It's Not Just a Feeling, You Are Being Watched" (Dave)

OVLOV "Short Morgan" (Dave)
JOHN HENRY WEST "Ten Thousand Words" (Seth)



PODCAST #70 linked here

Friday, 13 August 2021


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Powerviolence / Grindcore / Noise Thrash / Crust / Sludge
Related artistsThe Rabbit Loves The Shining WireWar Hero, Obacha, Prison Violence, Throat SlitterLicorice, Paradise, The Tontos, Trip And Stumble, and Scum Human.
CountryVancouver, BC CANADA
Years Active2020-present
For fans ofSpazz, Bucket Full Of TeethIn/Humanity, Crossed Out, Suppression, No Comment, Creeperand Jenny Piccolo.
Label(s): Tomb Tree Tapes

My friend Will Terhove from Vancouver sent their new band to me a few months back and I was iiinnnnnnnto it. The band is NOOSE SWEAT, and the three-piece includes prominent DIY figure Tommy Wilson as well as Jason Macneil (who has also played in numerous bands). The powerviolence/grind/noise trio released the 10-song 'Demo' digitally back in May but I had to get involved, and did so with Tomb Tree Tapes who just released 55 cassettes of this thing.

Name some bands? Okay. Straight up, I don't generally listen to too much of this style. Buuuuuut after falling hard for Bucket Full Of Teeth back in the day, and having Will Killingsworth and Brad Wallace show me perpendicular crossovers recently, I became instantly attached to the globular nature of NOOSE SWEAT. Besides the aforementioned similarity, there is a fair amount of SpazzJenny Piccolo, In/Humanity and Crossed Out.

The 10 tracks fly by in a mere six minutes, with some songs barely reaching double digits before imploding. Opener "Manslaughter" is a bit misleading as it starts relatively slow in comparison to most other tracks, but its thickness and flashes of intensity eventually lead to a crushing close. "Thoughts and Prayers" and "Mentality" blow through with some seriously intense speed and dual vocals, while "Deplatformed", "Waste" and closer "Parasite" hit a different spot, I don't know what exactly, maybe it's the restraint amidst bouts of whirling chaos. But I can definitely tell you why "Complacent" kicks ass, that shit is mad heavy with some seriously bellowing screams. All in all, one helluva demo.

As mentioned, Tomb Tree just released these on tape via 20 opaque faceless red swirls in fluorescent pink/clear cases, 18 orange in fluorescent dual-tint cases and 17 show-only transparent red swirls (10 in dual-tint cases, 7 in swirled cases) with additional large-size 7x10 poster/lyrics. The band also has a show that I'll be attending tomorrow (Saturday August 14th, 2021) in Vancouver at Alf House with Con Artist, Body Rot and Cranial Sodomy, linked here.



2021 - Demo cassetteEP (stream/download/buy here) [buy tapes from Tomb Tree here]


(2021) NOOSE SWEAT - "Deplatformed" (from 'Demo')
(2021) NOOSE SWEAT - "Complacent" (from 'Demo')
(2021) NOOSE SWEAT - "Thoughts and Prayers" (from 'Demo')


NOOSE SWEAT additional links


Tuesday, 10 August 2021


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Emo / Screamo / Skramz
Related artistsMatsuri, Leer and Rene.
CountryOakland, California U.S.A.
Years Active2018-present
For fans of: Ten Thousand Leagues, Nuvolascura, La Quiete, Kidcrash, Loma Prieta, Beau Navire and Tunes For Bears To Dance To.
Label(s): Self Released / Zegema Beach Records / Left Hand Label

Review by: Amy Christine

January 12, 2020: 

David Norman: Whenever you want to review something just lemme know. And if you don’t have the time don’t worry I won’t pester you <3

Me: Of course! Is there anything coming up we don’t know about yet?

David: Hawak is unreal. UNREAL.

Me: I looooove Hawak and would totally write something up about them. 

What followed was David sending me a wetransfer of 10 mp3 files in a folder titled: “No sharsies, except with hubby”. What followed after that was my mind being blown. I told my ‘hubby’ Cory, “This is everything I’ve wanted in a screamo band. I don’t know how anything can really top this for me.” I became increasingly more excited for the Hawak versus Gillian Carter battle set at ZBR 2020. Twenty Twenty was looking to be a great year, and I hastily wrote a review. 

Then, not 2.5 months later, our lives as we once knew them changed. This review has changed. Re-reading it was like peering into a world I no longer knew. A jumble of words trying to seem smart trying to dissect the instrumentation and feel of this album within a week. With a whole year’s worth of re-visiting, I now have a bit more insight. So here it is, the COVID cut of my review of Hawak’s first full-length album, nuóc. 

I think what strikes me most about nuóc, is that the mood and atmosphere is cohesive and consistent throughout the whole album. It evokes feelings of isolation, anxiety, and anger in a more deep-rooted and heavy-hearted way than most screamo albums do, where the approach is often the frantic and cathartic expression of anxiety and anger. Both deliveries have their value – and I love them both – but it’s not often we get an introspective and heavy album. It’s a breath of fresh air and frankly rather needed as we all try to figure out our lives as things “return to normal” 

In terms of song writing, the same could be said. The song writing is consistent throughout the whole album. The bass and guitar tones are rich, while cleans are warm without getting into the jangly territory. The two guitarists often play off each other, while the percussion and bass continue to drive the rhythm, so songs never feel like an unbalanced riff salad. Instead, each song feels like it belongs firmly to the album, and each song fits perfectly in place. It’s more of a… riff… cake? … 

In my previous review I highlighted and described the feeling and instrumentation making up the songs I really liked, but upon reflection, I failed to adequately describe them. I will not reattempt because each song is dense with many layers to dissect. So, if you have not listened to this album already, take some time to listen to this album in full. 

If you had to twist my arm, ‘burden sharing’ and ‘unseen’ are highlights for me. Both evoke feelings of isolation but where ‘burden sharing’ feels quiet and contemplative, ‘unseen’ feels more like an attempt to claw of that isolation. Incredibly reflective of 2020 and as we continue into 2021. 

Nuóc is a wonderful first LP. Truly a feat of emotional depth, song writing, and instrumentation, and I’m excited to see how their sound progresses. 

As a final note I’ll add, I think it’s rather telling that as folks in my circles share their favourite songs, they all happen to be completely different songs. So, one can only conclude that all songs are good. This album is good. You should buy it on vinyl. Case closed. 



2018 - Lift the Mist cassetteEP (stream/buy/download here)

2021 - 'nước' 12"LP (stream/buy/download here)


(2021) HAWAK - "disinter" (from 'nước')
(2021) HAWAK - "nước" (from 'nước')

(2021) HAWAK - "burden sharing" (from 'nước')


HAWAK additional links


Monday, 9 August 2021


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Screamo / Skramz
Related artistsHedge Fund Trader.
CountryHamilton NEW ZEALAND
Years Active2019-present
For fans ofOrchid, Foxmoulder, Forensics, Long Distance Runner, Furnace, Crowning and We Watch Clouds.
Label(s): Self Released

WAKHAN CORRIDOR came to my attention after members of Hedge Fund Trader started a new band. I had gone on a two-show stint with them during my short tenure in Swallows Nest and was a very big fan of the band and people, so when the offshoot band was announced I was stoked.

The debut, self-titled 'Wakhan Corridor' (2019) EP is pretty solid, bass-heavy, screamy hardcore. It's a decent start, but mostly I kept revisiting "For Long and In Loneliness" because fuck that thing gives me mad Foxmoulder vibes with that rumbling bass and snarled vocals. This initial release was taken off of bandcamp but I've linked it in the discography below if you'd like an mp3 download.

The following year (2020) WAKHAN CORRIDOR released a two-song EP 'II' that opens with "Diomedea", an absolute banger of a track that hits a fuzzy, dark, screamy outro at the one-minute mark. I enjoyed these two songs even more than the self-titled, as the general cohesion and screaming were really stepped up.

Just a few weeks back the re-released their debut self-titled EP 'Wakhan Corridor' (2021) with what sounds like entirely new mixing and mastering, and this is one of the best things I've heard all year. Opener "Face Turn" is vastly improved right from the get-go, and is vaguely reminiscent of the newest Crowning album (which means it's dark, multi-voxed, and awesome). "Carry", "Night of Cups", "Great Expectations" are really beefed up, with "Palimpsest" shining through with more dual vocals along with the epic closer and my favourite WAKHAN CORRIDOR jam "For Long and In Loneliness".

Despite the 2021 and 2018 releases being "the same songs", the EPs are quite different in terms of lasting value, as I've revisited this entire 2021 EP numerous times but only jammed the 2018 one twice.



2018 - Wakhan Corridor cassetteEP (download here)

2021 - Wakhan Corridor 7"EP (re-recorded) (stream/buy here)


(2021) WAKHAN CORRIDOR - "Palimpsest" (from 'Wakhan Corridor')
(2021) WAKHAN CORRIDOR - "Face Turn" (from 'Wakhan Corridor')

(2021) WAKHAN CORRIDOR - "Carry On" (from 'Wakhan Corridor')

(2020) WAKHAN CORRIDOR - "Diomedea" (from 'II')

(2018) WAKHAN CORRIDOR - "For Long and In Loneliness" (from 'Wakhan Corridor' unmixed/unmastered)


WAKHAN CORRIDOR additional links


Tuesday, 3 August 2021


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Metallic Hardcore / Screamo / Skramz / Emo-violence / Powerviolence / Grindcore / Noise / Thrash / Crust
Related artists: Department Of Correction, Judoboy, GRiST, Blockheads, Fast Music Means Love, Flying DonutsAenima, and Baron Noir.
CountryParis FRANCE
Years Active2014-present
For fans ofFluoride, Closet Witch, Warsaw Was Raw, Council Of Rats, Genghis Tron, Left Astray, Furnace, Ensa, Storm{o}, Callow, Riversleem and Mouthing.
Label(s): Emergence / Dingleberry Records / Up To Eleven Records / 7 Degrees Records / Creepozoïd Productions / Smart & Confused

BAIN DE SANG (aka Blood Bath or Bath of Blood) hail from Paris, France and have released two things thus far, a debut 12" EP in 2015 titled 'we are the blood we are the fear' and another 12"EP in 2020 called 'sacrificed for a load of filth and lies'. I picked up the latter in a label trade with Dingleberry Records and after examining the beautiful art and b-side print, I popped that sucker onto the record player and was blown away. The mixture of intense grind with metallic hardcore/dare I say "screamo" sound is the perfect concoction for these ears.

I backtracked and jammed the band's debut release and noticed the more obvious hardcore overtones, although there is still some nasty, crusty riffing and intense vocals (see the title track "We are the blood we are the fear" for a good example). There's also a layer of distorted bass that makes everything all that much more singed and destroyed.

But it's the most recent 'sacrificed for a load of filth and lies' where the band really goes next level, harnessing some unreal drumming, much thicker screams, and generally a much more intense atmosphere. Genghis Tron definitely comes to mind, most notably on the shredfest known as "fear the cross" as well as the blazing opener "death trap". I gotta mention the chuggy and dirty "terror" in addition to "cloudburst" which whips tons of cathartic screams at you.

Super excited to see what this band does next. My apologies on being a year late, my friends.



2020 - sacrificed for a load of filth and lies cassette/12"EP

2017 - Dudelsack Des Teufels (split w/Azziard, End Of Mankind) cassette (tracks taken from 2015 EP)

2015 - we are the blood we are the fear 12"EP


(2020) BAIN DE SANG - 'sacrificed for a load of filth and lies' full stream

(2017) BAIN DE SANG - Live Set

(2015) BAIN DE SANG - "Overdose" (from 'we are the blood we are the fear')

(2015) BAIN DE SANG - "King Hell Fire" (from 'we are the blood we are the fear')

(2015) BAIN DE SANG - "Danse macabre" (from 'we are the blood we are the fear')

BAIN DE SANG additional links


Saturday, 24 July 2021

PODCAST #69 Brad Wallace (Orchid, Wolves, Transistor Transistor, etc)

Relatively recently I contacted my friend Steve Roche about a contact for members of TRANSISTOR TRANSISTOR. After a quick exchange I was hooked up with Brad Wallace from said band, as well as Orchid, Wolves, Bucket Full Of Teeth and Hells. Prior to this podcast we hashed out details to release 'Erase All Name And Likeness' on a run of tapes through Zegema Beach Records and on Monday those sexy beasts shall see the light of day. Brad was super nice and very forthcoming with stories, anecdotes and tangents, including: screaming with ski masks on, rockin' Bon Jovi, being Will Killingsworth's first student, Orchid's formation, opinions on "screamo", favourite Wolves show, touring Europe, Bucket Full Of Teeth origins, who is the Riffmaster?, how to navigate labels in the 2000s, how he joined Transistor Transistor, practicing after Cave In, Level Plane Records, Transistor Transistor swirl tapes!, the mark of a good drummer, writing long songs for no reason, being accused of piss cup switches, screamo lifers, fan questions and lots more. Bands played in this podcast: A Paramount A Love Supreme, Crossed Out, .gif from god, In/Humanity, Ruhaeda and Sleepytime Trio. Listen to podcast #69 which is available to stream and/or download for free via this link.


'Erase All Name And Likeness' cassette go live Monday July 26th, 2021 @Zegema Beach Records

Zegema Beach Records

CROSSED OUT "Practiced Hatred" (Brad)
RUHAEDA "Onomatopaiea" (Dave)

SLEEPYTIME TRIO "Jesus Extract" (Brad)
A PARAMOUNT, A LOVE SUPREME "Catastrophizing" (Dave)

IN/HUMANITY "Double Digit Fun" (Brad)
.GIF FROM GOD "Technology Will Kill You 111111" (Dave)

no music



PODCAST #69 linked here

Friday, 23 July 2021

***PRIZE THE DOUBT exclusive premiere***


"People Magazine"
exclusive song premiere
For fans of
Victor Shores, Snowing and You'll Live

Oh damn remember PRIZE THE DOUBT from this blog? I did a huge discography write-up back in November of 2017 (linked here) with all six releases over the (then) eight years of existence. Well they're back, complete with stylistic shift away from the screamy metallic hardcore, instead embracing very chill emo/rock/pop-punk. And it works. Jam that sucker below if you like Victor Shores and other Skeletal Lightning stuff. Those vocals in particular really lend themselves well to the music, and it's catchy as fuck. There is no planned physical release so some labels may want to hit this band up asap.

Upcoming Local Show: Sept 11, 9PM @ Spacebar

Streaming all Platforms: Early August 

(2021) PRIZE THE DOUBT "People Magazine"


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

PODCAST #68 Matsuri + Hawak

Open your nostalgia box for this MATSURI podcast with members of HAWAK!

I've been online friends with Thomas of Matsuri and Hawak for ages so to finally chat was amazing, and meeting Jon and Chris was equally heart-melting. I asked them for a little writeup, which I've included as a huge note on the history of the band, check it out at the bottom of this page! HAWAK  has been kicking my ass since their demo EP, so to help with the upcoming 12"LP 'nuoc' was a fucking dream come true. It releases in August on Zegema Beach Records (who recently released the massive double cassette discography for MATSURI with a few variants remaining) and Dog Knights Productions. And yes, the records are already in hand. If you want info on all that as well as: N.A.R.E., Deers!, Matsuri's history, unreleased songs, each members' favourite show, that time they didn't play with Kidcrash, favourite Matsuri merch, favourite bands that Matsuri played with, seeing Ruhaeda, Weird Al and UHF, Bright Calm Blue, what happened to Mark Chen?, mosh retirement, D.I.Y. as you get older, Hawak and lineup changes / the 12" / delays / what's next, and tons more. Listen to podcast #68 which is available to stream and/or download for free via this link.


"Burden Sharing" from 'nuoc' 12"LP

VIA FONDO "Var inte rädd, min vän" (Dave)

Kali Uchis "telepatía // acoustic" (Thomas)
MANELI JAMAL "Us Against Them" (live)" (Dave) video linked here!!!

NO TONGUE "Sad Contest" (Jon)

SPY "Violent Majority" (Chris)



PODCAST #68 linked here

List of Members:
Chris Gough - guitar, vocals
Thomas Nguyen - guitar, vocals
Jared Mills - bass
Jonathan Ruiz - percussion, vocals
Andrew Yeung - guitar, vocals
Patrick Heintz (left during US tour 09') - drums
Ryan Fleischer (live bass during Endship period) - bass
Almost 9 years ago in February of 2012, Matsuri played our last show at Storey House in Santa Cruz, CA. This would be the end of a 6-year journey that consisted of dozens of shows and tours, multiple lineup changes, two splits, two EPs, and one epic full length. While looking back at this collection of songs and memories certainly shows the evolution of this band as musicians and artists, it also gives context for the struggle to create an identity of genuine expression and art in response to the limiting paradigm of the music industry during the late 2000s. Matsuri started as a four piece in 2006, playing out of the garage of the then current drummer Pat Heintz. The band focused on finding their process of writing music, heavily influenced by Bay Area bands like Under a Dying Sun, Portraits of Past, Funeral Diner and Loma Prieta. The first EP, “Whales”, comprehensively took over a year to write and record, as we thought we needed to have music in physical medium for anyone to take the band seriously. It was recorded in 2007 at the Atomic Garden with Jack Shirley and unbeknownst to us would be the last time the band recorded at a professional studio.  After playing a few local shows it was quickly apparent that the production companies in San Jose had little interest in what your band sounded like, but more about how many people you could draw. I recall meeting with one promoter who kept on “giving us the chance” to draw more people at the next show, throwing Matsuri on bills with hardcore and metalcore bands that the local scene was saturated with. After playing 3 pay-to-play shows at various spaces in San Jose, we realized that if we wanted to continue doing what we wanted we would need to find a way to do it ourselves, which was a decision that would carry through all the way to the end of the band’s existence. The last show we played for that particular promoter ended up being one that we booked ourselves, and the promoter did not reach out to have Matsuri play again.

Around this time, Myspace was starting to get very popular as one of the first forms of social media and it opened the doors to connecting with like minded folks that were more interested in DIY and punk rather than the pay to play system that was so popular in local scenes around America. It allowed us to make connections with bands like Moldar and Home is Colored Gold, who would become very close friends for the years after. It also allowed us to promote our shows and new releases without needing to depend on a promoter or label, which in a way enabled the shift to embracing DIY culture and truly feeling like we were more in control of where the band was taking us. We were able to book our first west coast tour almost entirely online, albeit most of the shows were at bars. The important part of this first rough year was that we were learning how to exist in a world where we did not feel like we fit in, and through the kindness of strangers found a niche where we were welcomed in friendship. One of the early shows that sticks out in memory was getting to open for Comadre (a band we all looked up to a lot), Trainwreck and Graf Orlock, where we were referred to as a “sloppy skramz band” in a review of the show later. While we were very confused at the time (none of us had seen the word “skramz” before) this was a spot-on description of the band in its current state. We were still trying to figure out what our live shows felt like and the juxtaposition of rehearsal versus playing live was something none of us knew how to address except to keep on trying until it worked out. While the show was an incredible opportunity in itself, the significance of the show was meeting a band from Sacramento called Deers! whom we would do a split with later and become close friends. We felt that we had finally connected with the people that we wanted to share music with and Matsuri was finally starting to become a band we could take seriously.

In 2008 Tomm and his partner Trish, Jared, and Pat moved into a house in San Jose that had a detached garage that we could use as a practice space. This gave us the freedom to write and record when we wanted and would be the main creative space we would occupy for the next 4 years. The next 3 songs that were written for the Deers! split were recorded in this space as our first attempt at recording ourselves. This was where the philosophy of recording each song live together and then adding vocals later started, which in hindsight is a lot more difficult to do than multitracking at just about every level of the recording process. We felt like the recordings sounded much more “organic” and genuinely how we wanted our songs to be heard. We would spend hours playing the same song over and over until we felt like we had a really good take, and then layer the vocals on a different day. This process became refined over the years but was still very difficult to manage. The early recordings, even on Whales (which we recorded live with dry tracks and then added in overdrive/effects later), had a lot of mistakes in it that were very reminiscent of the screamo recordings of the 90s that we had grown up with. The Deers! side of the split was also done this way in the practice space, which is what gives this split such a raw feeling when listening to it. The split was released on CD-R, with hand drawings on each copy and a screen printed paper lunch bag. We also created a split shirt with an old picture of a deer and a unicorn printed in green on bright orange shirts, mostly designed and printed by Tomm. Around this time we got to play more shows with bands that shared our DIY philosophy, and booked a few more short west coast tours to play with new found friends.

In 2009, Matsuri started playing bigger shows around the Bay Area with bands like Comadre, Drowning with our Anchors, Mans, Loma Prieta, the New Trust, some very early Touche Amore shows to name a few. We would trade shows with our friends in southern California like Moldar, ColorChromatic and Calculator as well, with bands making short trips up and down the coast always looking for a place to play. Eventually Mark from Moldar asked us if we would be interested in a full US tour, which would be the longest trip either band had made. We quickly accepted and got busy trying to book the entire tour without any outside help. The summer of 2009 was a huge turning point for all of us, where before we were in our relative comfort zone we had never played away from the west coast before. We would meet friends in Texas that would later form Innards, meet our “label mates” (on Affinity Index) Adobe Homes in New Mexico, play with MWNA on the East coast in a Delaware boatyard, and many more friends that we would keep in contact with for years and years afterwards. Pat left the band in the middle of the tour, with Brian Chan from Moldar filling in on drums for the rest of the journey. This was an event that shocked us to our core, a feeling of betrayal that would become a theme in our lyrics for the rest of the band’s time. It was a time where we were emotionally, mentally and physically pushed to our absolute limit and somehow came home in one piece. The last show of the tour was at a space in Oakland which would later feel like our second home called the Hive, playing one of the first shows for a band called Life Moves, which would later have Sean from Loma Prieta join and become Beau Navire. The weeks after the tour we spent with Moldar writing and recording the first song we wrote with Andrew Yeung as the third guitar, with Brian recording the drum parts for the Matsuri side of the split with Moldar. The song was called Horsemask, and it set the precedent for how we would approach music for the next couple of years, with many of the self-assigned tropes of the band starting to come out in our song structure and tone of each song. The split was a one-sided 12in record, each hand screened on the blank side of the record with a running horse. The release was packaged in manila envelopes that were screened on two sides, with a DVD of footage from our US tour that had been compiled by Andrew and a poster. Andrew joined the band full time as the third guitarist, and our friend Jon Ruiz, who had played in a band called Of the Sun and then recorded a demo at the house with a two piece called Kwisatz Haderach, joined as our new drummer after much consideration to keep the band going.

The next couple years I can only recall in a blur, as we all became very busy. This massive tour had opened our eyes to what was possible with the garage we were using as a practice space and we were determined to become fully involved in all things punk and DIY. The house became known as Texas Toast house and started hosting shows to touring bands that were not popular enough to play at the “bigger” venues in the Bay Area yet. We started playing very regularly with bands like Ten Thousand Leagues (LA), Ordstro (SF), Dead Man (Oakland), Beau Navire, John Cota, Burn Idols (LA), Duck Little Brother, Duck! (PDX), and Di Bravura (Sac) as well as a ton of touring bands that wanted to play with us at the house. Once the house started getting noticed we became closer with Mike Park and Asian Man Records, who was very interested and excited about seeing all ages DIY shows in San Jose just a few blocks from his house. This also got us closer to our friends in the Albert Square and the Pillowfights, who were as far on the opposite end of the music genre spectrum from screamo and hardcore as you could get. We started a label under the same name (Texas Toast DIY) to release records for our friends’ bands and projects, making just enough money to release something new, often paying for costs out of our own pockets. The philosophy for shows at the house was that these would be all ages and donation only, with all money collected going to the touring bands and any left over to any of the local bands that played. We hosted shows for bands like Algernon Cadwallader, 1994!, Pianos Become the Teeth, Ghastly City Sleep, Joyce Manor, Classics of Love, Godstomper, Hard Girls, Dead to Me and Big Kids at this house in the suburbs of San Jose with each show feeling more surreal than the last. It became a space for younger people to come around and see live music even if they couldn’t afford it, a place where we all felt like we could relax and enjoy the experience of live music without the stigma of an “official” venue. In between all this manic activity over the course of 2010 and 2011 we managed to continue touring the west coast, touring with Ordstro several times and a memorable tour with our friend Mo under the name Fatherlonesome. We would play with bands like the Saddest Landscape, Deafheaven, Duke Nukem Forever, and Lemuria at larger venues, but always attempting to play on the floor instead of a stage in our stubborn commitment to DIY. After writing 7 songs with Jon and Andrew, none of which would be officially released, we began writing our last release called Endship.

Endship was so aptly named, as it was the culmination of all the years we had spent playing and touring together in music form. It combines all the best things about Matsuri with incredibly steep dynamics, complex rhythms driven by linear song structure, and chaotic vocals intertwining through it all. We spent over a year writing and recording the record, putting everything we had into it as it would be our first full length. The idea originally was to have the entire record “bleed” seamlessly into itself, with each song moving into the next with little interruption to create a larger experience. The first half of the record is the best example of that idea, with the section we started calling the “4-part-er” which would rarely get played out of order during live sets. The song titles of this part of the record was a throwback to a chant from the song “nunu” off of Whales, and lyrically many of the themes from that original release came back in some form throughout the record. The second half of the record feels less cohesive, but definitely more punctuated than the first half. Highly Successful, Poorly Executed and Ear to the Rail became staple songs in our live sets as they fit in just about anywhere in the set but were written to be played as a pair. The three guitars playing in harmony during Highly Successful was the most difficult thing to record on the album, as it required all of us to play in sync perfectly to get a good take. We were rehearsing 2-3 times a week for several months trying to get the perfect take for the live recording, and was the most grueling experience any of us had been a part of (probably still is). The rest of the records hits very hard and fast, with Endship and Make.Use.Hope actually being adapted from a side project that Jon and Tomm had started during the time we were recording the album to become full Matsuri songs. The last song was completely improvised on the day we recorded it, with very little practice outside of what we wanted to record. Endship was released with our close friend Erick Saenz via Affinity Index and Texas Toast DIY, and we once again did not hold back on packaging. We created our own gatefold covers by cutting up old record sleeves and stitching cloth or canvas into the cardboard covers. Then it was screen printed on both panels of the gatefold and the front.  It also included a zine with all the lyrics to the songs as well as our own pages to add personal thank you’s and acknowledgements. There were many nights spent cutting and sewing and printing as we struggled to assemble all the records and get them out to the folks that wanted them. There were many variants to the cover (later we had a simpler packaging when we ran out of materials with a different cover altogether) and there are still a few left without any jackets at all. It was an incredibly ambitious project that really burned us all out by the end of it, but we were all happy with the end result.

At the end of 2011 we were kicked out of our house as it was set to be remodeled after a bunch of altercations with our next door neighbors who hated the noise and attention our house attracted. The garage was torn down and Texas Toast DIY faded away without a main base of operations. The last release from the small label was for Leer’s Spring Break No Parents in collaboration with Lauren Records and Phat n Phunky a year later. Everything kind of fell apart all at once, with the house going away the band struggled to find a regular rehearsal space and the feeling of being burnt out by the demands of our jobs on top of the demands of the band. At one point the band was playing shows without a bass player at all, with just 3 guitars filling in that sonic space. We decided to end the band as we were all struggling, but weren’t able to find a way to do a proper send off. The last show Matsuri played was never officially a last show, but nonetheless was an incredibly cathartic experience. All our friends from all over the state came to Santa Cruz that night, and we played one of the most intense sets the band had ever performed. This band taught us how to be better people and gave us lifetimes of friendships, and helped us all find the place where we could feel loved and accepted. I am incredibly proud of all the things we accomplished and grateful for all the people I’ve met through DIY and punk. I hope that this discography release is the final send off that we never felt like we quite managed for Matsuri, true to form with a million variants and wacky packaging. 

Sunday, 18 July 2021



GenresPunk / Rock / Sass / Hardcore / Post-Hardcore / Emo / Screamo / Skramz
Related artistsEvergary and Sibiir.
Country: Oslo NORWAY
Years Active2007-2009
For fans ofThe Blood Brothers, Ieatheartattacks, State Faults, Fall Of Troy, JR Ewing, Terry Green, Van Johnson, Saosin, The Death Of Anna Karina, The Jonbenet, Shirokuma and Short Hair.
Label(s): Self Released / Mas-Kina Recordings

Ever wondered what a more straightforward and European sounding Blood Brothers would sound like? Well look no further than SIGH AND EXPLODE from Norway who dropped two incredible releases in 2007 and 2009. With a style not far removed from fellow countrymen JR Ewing and Ieatheartattacks, the band took the sassy screaming of Johnny Whitney and wound it together with elements of Fall Of Troy, Saosin and State Faults (I know, the latter came afterward). It's seriously top-fucking notch and I can't believe I hadn't pounced on this earlier, especially with my love of anything that is akin to Blood Brothers.

The first EP 'O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie!' is probably the strongest in terms of density, as three out of five jams are fucking stellar. Dancy, sassy, screamy goodness, mmmmmmm baby.

Their final LP 'These Seem Like Tarantulas' is a more mature, deep and interesting listen, although the danciness and joyful grooves are more-or-less one of many components, balanced with ambiance, transitionary material and builds. This doesn't detract, in fact it makes it a very engaging listen, albeit much darker and intense, touching on sad and desperate elements later perfected by Swedish sextet Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket. Opener "To Raise The Dead Belongs To The Blackest Art" is the opener and prime example, as it wears sorrowful, black-metal tremolo and a piano closing on its sleeve. "Eyes And Limbs Are Waiting For Contact With These Macabre Tools" bares fair resemblance to the band's early material despite the 4:12 length. "G.S.U.W. (Pt. II)" is heavy on the post-hardcore in the best possible way. You can't deny the awesome screamy danciness (nor the epic midsection) of  "Editing the Fragments" while closer "An Epic Moment In Spontaneous Human Combustion" is just straight up fire!

Definitely check out their entire discography, it's a fucking gem.


Click )==>here<==( to download the band's complete discography in mp3 form.

2007 - Promo cdEP

2007 - O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie! EP

2008 - 02:22 digital single (from the 'These Seem Like Tarantulas' session, unmastered)

2009 - These Seem Like Tarantulas cdLP


(2007) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "Do We Share This Gravity?" (from 'O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie!')

(2007) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "Drown in the Imitation" (from 'O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie!')

(2007) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "Electric Reveries" (from 'O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie!')

(2009) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "An Epic Moment In Spontaneous Human Combustion" (from 'These Seem Like Tarantulas')

(2009) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "Editing the Fragments" (from 'These Seem Like Tarantulas')

(2009) SIGH AND EXPLODE - "G.S.U.W. (Pt. II)" (from 'These Seem Like Tarantulas')


SIGH AND EXPLODE out of print mp3 discography download / additional links