AJJ – The Bible 2
I’m going to give shallow assessments of AJJ the benefit of the doubt with their new release, The Bible 2, but let’s weigh the options at stake here. Scenario one, you think they’re a bunch of PC sellouts who alienated the punk aesthetic they were apparently pulling off this whole time. Scenario two, you think it’s lame of them to change their band name only to unleash nihilistic attacks on Christians instead. Scenario three, you think the first two scenarios are incredibly petty, and not giving due justice to what is easily a better album than Christmas Island. Yeah, let’s go with that!
Body Of Light – Let Me Go
A black backdrop with swirling primary and secondary colors? A sound reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s full on nosedive into synthpop? It has to be another 80’s worship band! Yes, Arizona’s Body of Light fill a niche, arguably doing nothing more than reinventing the wheel. Even so, Let Me Go at its core is a great record, able to get you out dancing, and the shadowy vocals simply add a mystique to its overall catchy tribute.
Cold Pumas – The Hanging Valley
Faux Discx/Gringo Records
Every band with post-punk roots in their sound is inevitably compared to Joy Division, and after 30 some years, the comparison should absolutely not carry any weight. It’s a lazy, easy scapegoat to describe the genre, when in fact there are many different branches and influences that helped create the revival that we see today. Cold Pumas are testament to this. Distorted guitar takes the forefront, with steady one-two drumming paces most of the songs on The Hanging Valley. It’d be better, if necessary, to play a game of degrees of separation, ala Kevin Bacon. It makes much more sense to allude to pioneers of the post-punk revival when talking about many of the bands sprouting up in the last few years, Cold Pumas included.
Darkher – Realms
Each track on Realms is a journey. One-by-one, each track’s dark undertow slowly builds in melancholic fury, and tailored by mastermind, Jayn Wissenberg. Her harrowing, extraterrestrial coos are bone-chilling, and layered on with textured reverb and crashing drums makes Darkher’s new album a wonderful, complex piece of art. Chelsea Wolfe fans, drop the anchor hear and take in all Realms is throwing down.
Kindling – Everywhere Else
No Idea Records
Shoegaze takes on a number of different sub-genres. When bands lump their music into this category, it’s often times prevalent that we can characterize them into many a set of different influences. Kindling has the fuzzy guitars and muffled male-female trading vocals, much like your typical My Bloody Valentine equal, but Everywhere Else also throws in much heavier riffs, and louder distortion on the lead guitar. Dare I say it, parts of the record, such as on single, “Weightlessly”, are actually very metal in some regards.
Midnight Faces – Heavenly Bodies
You know how dream pop is mind-numbingly boring for some people, and they won’t listen to anything in the genre because of that bias that follows? Tell them to try out Heavenly Bodies by Midnight Faces for a change of pace. Literally, it’s much faster dream pop than is normally considered the norm. You know what else? They even thrown in traces of shoegaze and post-punk in the mix, with reverb-heavy guitar solos, and spacy vocals. Sounds cool, right? Dream pop is cool.
Mild High Club – Skiptracing
Stones Throw Records
Skiptracing is a desert island record, but in the most literal sense of the phrase. Slacker jangle guitar hooks and an almost whispering vocal delivery invoke images of sandy beaches, tropical landscapes, and all things Summer. Even better, Mild High Club have created a record worthy of praises circumventing that of most play-on-words band names. Better yet, the “mild” in Mild High Club is actually a perfect clue-in as to how the music actually sounds. “It’s like poetry…” as one Star Wars prequel executive once put it.
Pill – Convenience
On Convenience‘s opener “60 Sec.”, audiences are bombarded with Veronica Torres’ shrieking voice, followed by a minute of spitfire ranting over distorted guitar strings that would make even MC Ride jealous. Have no fear though, this ain’t a Death Grips record. No, Convenience wields a hell a lot more charisma and bass-heavy melodies. Songs are scattered and frantic, throw in saxophone just for kicks and giggles, and surprise to great success with Torres’ wild vocal delivery, ranging from spoken word monologue, to falsetto whimpers, to all out screams of terror.
Show Me The Body – Body War
Loma Vista Recordings/Universal
I’m warranted a few cheat additions, because I missed this last month. Show Me The Body is a hardcore band out of Queens, NY, and also a part of the Letter Racer collective (RATKING). Taking a queue out of Death Grips’ brash drum and beat infused punk rock (“Chrome Exposed”), and combining heavier riffs and drums, Show Me The Body burst forth with punch after punch of energetic goodness.
The Veils – Total Depravity
Nettwerk Productions Ltd.
Finn Andrews is no stranger to a peculiar sense of style with former releases by The Veils. Boasting an almost eerie stage persona to the point of scary mystique, its ambiguous as to just how tortured young Finn is versus what is personified. Take Total Depravity as further evidence into the dark ambiance that carries track by track. The Veils nail the atmosphere as per usual, a mix between the bleak production of gothic-influenced staples and alternative rock.
Check out these concert/festival reviews up now on Bearded Gentlemen Music!