Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore

Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore (2014)

Not all black metal has to be restricted to bedroom recordings and isolated woods.

Believe in No Coming Shores by the Northeast gods of metal, Falls of Rauros has been a long time coming. Recorded between 2012 and 2013, these 10 tracks make a brutal black metal ice storm of an album that, like Butcher Boy's Rhubarb single, has been crafted from hours and hours of practice and ear-shattering shows. If you like both powerful and woods-inspired atmospheric metal, this is not an album to sleep on.

Listening to Falls of Rauros online is not the same as listening to them up close and personal. I'm not saying these recordings aren't amazing, because they truly are, I'm saying that this is music meant to be lived - meant to be witnessed. Yes, I bet Believe in No Coming Shores sounds even more amazing on vinyl and you should definitely pick it up if you ever see it in your local record store (wink, wink), but to get the full experience of Falls of Rauros is to actually see these guys perform. I'm not an expert at anything really, but I have gone to quite a few shows in my short time here on earth and I have never heard a band play my ears off the way Falls do. These dudes know how to play loud and passionate walls upon walls of metal, trust me.

P.S. The shredding in Spectral Eye will make any big guy in a leather jacket weep - NFT guarantee.

Official Site

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bastro - Diablo Guapo

Bastro - Diablo Guapo (1989)

Bastro was a late 80's/early 90's post-hardcore band from the hot-spot for experimental hardcore music, Washington, DC. The band was started by David Grubbs who previously lived in another hot-spot for experimental hardcore music at the time, Louisville, Kentucky where he was the first singer and guitarist for Squirrel Bait. With Grubbs' experience and the eventual addition of John McEntire (a percussion major at the time) replacing a drum machine, Bastro became a somewhat short-lived but incredibly skilled hardcore band.

Bastro took their early post-hardcore sound and gave it a twist by adding piano and horns to create the sounds of their 1989 release, Diablo Guapo ~ Handsome Devil. Diablo Guapo today would probably be described more like noise rock or math rock with its many time signatures and twisted guitar sounds not always heard in punk music at the time. Back in '89 though, I would imagine they were considered more of hardcore band with too many ideas and not enough problems.

Similar sounds/acts: Squirrel Bait, early Slint, Bitch Magnet, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Rodan, Uzeda, Shellac, Tortoise, Evergreen, and all the other bands McEntire and Grubbs went on to create music in.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Butcher Boy - Rhubarb

Butcher Boy - Rhubarb (2014)

If there's one band this year that deserves your attention it's Portland, Maine's own Butcher Boy. No strangers to this site, Butcher Boy are Maine's leading brand for music groups with no easy label. If there's one tag that can be at least included with a bunch of other sub-genre words like post, freak, or doom - it's folk. But of course Butcher Boy are all of those things and none of those things at the same time.

It's been a little while since Butcher Boy has released anything physically, but their constant appearances at shows and festivals these past two years have made it incredibly easy for anyone to hear what they are up to. From Shoreless Sea released in 2012 to last year's small Rhubarb single, Butcher Boy have found the mystical gel through the power of repetition and are using it to their advantage like no other. They might play pretty much the same songs they did a year ago i.e. Cousin, Empty Ocean, and New Home, but they have mutated them into incredible masterpieces the more and more they are played.

It feels like I saw Butcher Boy 20 times in 2014, but every time, whether it was at the Space Gallery, on an island, at a farm, or in the park I was left out of breathe and completely inspired. That being said, the best advise Bassist Travis Mencher could give to an audience is to make your own creative music. Not only because Butcher Boy never has a song left for encore but also because that's what music should do to you and what Maine needs - more creative music.

I highly recommend picking this up if you get the chance because it rules (of course) and it supposedly glows in the dark! I didn't get a chance to grab a copy yet but I will as soon as they get back from their small tour


Thursday, January 8, 2015

NFT's Most Interesting Releases of 2014

A little late but 2015 can wait! Here's some stuff from last year you may not have heard.

Idylls - Prayer For Terrene

Prayer For Terrene is an off the walls and almost John Zorn-esque hardcore album from Australia's Idylls. The album includes two tracks that were rerecorded from Idylls' 2013 release Indian Circle, but it's hard to notice them without looking at the titles as the tracks have been polished up and sound much fuller. After all, this album did take Kurt Ballou and a whole engineering team to get the noise that is Prayer For Terrene just right. All in all, this album is sure to open your eyes as much as it does pry open your ears. It's certainly not for everyone but if you are a fan of overly aggressive and noisy hardcore this is a trip worth taking.


Dog / Big Neck Police - Split

From my notes it looks like New York for one reason or another was putting out bands that were catching my attention the most in 2014. While I had heard about Big Neck Police through blogs like Gimme Tinnitus, I actually heard the other half of this album, Dog, through word of mouth. When I went looking for a band with such a simple name, I came up empty-handed. Luckily, I just checked back in with Big Neck Police in November and found this incredibly interesting split with both cats... err, I mean dogs. These two bands almost sound more like they belong in the Washington, DC Dischord days with the way they use their guitars like little knives guarding obscure vocals.

Big Neck Police's side:
Dog's side:

Facebook (BNP)
Last.fm (BNP)
Last.fm (Dog)

Family Planning - John Wayne Frankenstein

Some more obscure music... this time from my home state of Maine. Family Planning is Billy Carr's full band now featuring Jesse Heasly on bass and Peter McLaughlin on every inch of the drum kit he could find. What makes John Wayne Frankenstein so interesting to me is how eerily addictive I find Carr's vocals. Reminding me of the mysteries that were my cousin's house or how to eat with my mouth closed, this album brings me back memories I haven't thought up in years.

John Wayne Frankenstein was one of a few albums from Portland that was released on Peter McLaughlin's very cool new record label, Pretty Purgatory. Check out that label and the "pledge" system that goes along with it!


Salem's Pot - ..Lurar ut dig på prärien

While Salem's Pot wasn't the only Sabbath worshiping band to release lengthy epics this year - I'm looking at a you, Pallbearer - Salem's Pot are, as you can probably guess from the name, a bit more on the psychedelic side. With that advantage and the obvious influence of early doom music, Salem Pot probably make the most interesting Sabbath-inspired music today.


Jizue - Shiori

If you were like me this year the most Jazz you listened to was that jazz-drum-solo Birdman soundtrack. I did however listen to Jizue of Japan's new release Shiori, which might not have been straight jazz, but included everything from jazzy math rock to coffee house pop to math rap. Some of what Jizue might sound like Mouse on the Keys at first as it's heavily piano-driven math rock, but where Mouse on the Keys tends to be a bit stomp-y, Jizue is much more light on their feet (ex. "Wind"). Still, Jizue are not playing around, this is not feathery or lightweight music by any stretch of the imagination.

Shiori features Shing02 (who rapped on the Samurai Champloo intro by Nujabes) and Ikkyu Nakajima (from Tricot).