It’s been awhile folks, but I promise this column will be more consistent My fantasy football team is bombing so really my mornings aren’t spent reading ESPN.com for hours on end. Which reminds me, I need to set my basketball fantasy team today. This week we got new stuff from Believer / Law, Black James, a classic from Idaho (yes, that Idaho), and more. It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving and I’m sure you’re dreading all that comes with this next week, I know I am. These won’t really help, but it’s a nice fucking distraction.
China White – “Criminal”
One of the highlights of the punk compilation “Life Is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself?” was the two China White tracks. Not as aggressive as the Ill Will tracks also featured on this great comp. But these riffs can’t be beat. There’s almost this snotty aspect to it that I really love and Marc Marlin’s vocals are completely underrated The LP, “Dangerzone” is worth seeking out and is quality from start to finish.
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Sixes – Live
Sixes has been the project from Ryan Jencks for almost 20 years which is kinda hard to believe. I got into them around the “Organ Cuts” cassette in 2003. Sixes has always reminded me of a US take on Japanese noise, but even more destructive and dark. Here’s wishing though Deathroes stuff is reissued cause that’s where Jencks really pushed things sonically.
Idaho – “If You Dare”
As a fan of Red House Painters I always heard of Idaho, but I thought to myself how much of that sad bastard slow-core whatever do you need? I took a chance a few years ago and was surprised at the quality of Idaho’s early output. “If You Dare” gives you a good idea what this band sounds like through and through. Their aren’t any thrills and the vocals are pretty monotone. The real strength is the song writing itself, it’s pretty easy to cheese it up with this kinda stuff, but there’s a certain bleakness that isn’t overdone. Look, it really is ok to be a tax paying adult and be into this shit sometimes.
Black James I discovered just the other day thanks to a friend. This might be one of the best “outsider” releases of the year by miles. It mixes musique concrete, EDM, noise, and weird washes of banjo. Also, anyone listing a Doc Boggs in their description is worth a listen. Oh and a Xeno & Oaklander coveris on here to boot. “im A mirAcle” also kinda has the vibe of some of those off the wall mid 80s euro collage cassettes. Though unlike those cassettes, there’s an element of catchiness here partly in thanks to the hypnotic vocals. Everything is seamless on this cassette, and while it clocks in at over an hour, this is one of those very rare releases that never feel like it’s worn it’s welcome.
Not too much is known about this project which consists of Michael Berdan (York Factory Complaint) and Erik Proft. What I do know is that I am interested to see where this goes after hearing “Contrition”. This synth heavy rager takes queues from Opus Finis, Skinny Puppy, and 80s power electronics combativeness Those who are familiar with Berdan’s vocal style from his other projects might be taken aback, but it works (live it seems as though the vocal effects aren’t there). This is a total industrialized dance track that in the hands of most anyone else could be a bore (and honestly kind of cheesy), but thanks to Berdan’s aggressive style this song rips right through you. From what I hear there’s a few releases coming, including one on SeanRagon’s Blind Prophet records. Believer / Law is also making their 2nd live appearance at WIERD in NYC next month.