Tapes and shirts are now available here
Tapes will also be gettable in the next week or so from
USA: Anthems of the Undesirable
Finland: Kaos Kontrol
probably Scream and Writhe in Canada and Bis Aufs Messer in Germany
Irish folks, get them from us or Into The Void (Dublin) and Art For Blind (Cork) in the next few days.
In 2013 I had the pleasure of releasing an LP and a split 7” from one of my favorite current bands. By now, pretty much anyone reading this should know who Godstopper is, and Mike Simpson is the talented weirdo responsible for that project. As another weirdo and Godstopper supporter Numero Uno, I was of course curious as to what Mike had to say about the past year:
I did a “Top 5” last year, and I’ll give the same caveat I did for that list- I’m definitely not an accomplished album listener. I’ll be the 1000th person to tell you the new Gorguts was good (although to be honest, my attention span for death metal is like, 2 or 3 songs), The Body’s EP was wicked, and releases from Toronto bands like Ayahuasca, Hammerhands were great too. To be honest, my most played record in 2013 was Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid m.A.A.d City”, which I started listening to at the end of 2012. To editorialize for a moment, I feel like that album has a breadth of experience that I feel metal albums lack, by and large, and which heavy music artists could learn a lot from, to better the flow of their own albums. But I digress; as I said earlier, I’m no expert. Oftentimes I get more excited about buying T-shirts than buying albums.
So, to that end, let me talk about stuff I feel more qualified to talk about- good times I was a part of in 2013. In chronological order:
*Birthday in San Jose (with Column of Heaven):* Touring with Iron Lung was quite an interesting and cool experience for me. Not just because I got to see the west coast for pretty much the first time, dive into the Pacific Ocean (it was really really cold, if you were wondering), see MASTER play “Pay to Die” in front of 10 people at a totally wack metal show in Portland, and witness the majesty of the Vivid office building upon our entrance to LA. For me, the most intriguing thing was observing the iron-clad self control possessed by frontman Jensen Ward. When their records didn’t show up on time, when the van got packed wrong, when his dog ate my Clif Bar because I left it out, nothing seemed to faze him. But hanging at this particular post-show party in San Jose took the cake for me as evidence of his composure. It was my birthday, as of midnight; I smoked the most potent west coast weed of my life with members of Dead Pressure, who played an amazing 5 minute long set opening for us, and sold their shirts for the staggeringly reasonable price of $8. Within moments I was being reintroduced to the owner of the house we were in, because I said I hadn’t met him, since my now-ruined memory forgot his name and the fact that we’d just had a 45-minute conversation. Later on, Eric told me I was going on about what my favourite letter of the alphabet was. My partner in crime when in comes to raging, David Kristiansen, was probably equally incoherent; I’d say the whole party was, really. Meanwhile, there was straight edge Jensen, good-natured throughout it all, seeming to have a good sense of humor while all these wasted people talked about practically nothing, patiently waiting til his lit-up tour mates were ready to pile in the van, eat burritos and then pass out on a guest room floor.
*(The aftermath. Waiting for burritos. Pre-passing out.*)
*Ice Cream in Norfolk:* The Godstopper show in Harrisonburg was canceled, so we had a day off in Norfolk. Our good friend and gracious host (as well as releaser of both our album, *What Matters*, and our more recent split with the excellent Tendril,) Ryan Stoner, got us set up to explore downtown Norfolk. Got weirded out at a multilevel gun shop, Miranda got a sheep tattoo, and then Phil, Tobin and I went over to Doumar’s, home of Abe Doumar, the creator of the world’s first waffle cone.
*(I thought this was Abe when I snapped the photo, turns out this is his
brother George. But they worked closely together.)*
The excitement of receiving the ice cream we ordered was dashed after Tobin
suddenly ran out of the restaurant, gagging. A faecal smell started to
permeate the air. Tobin returned inside, somewhat revived, revealing he had
seen a homeless guy, standing nearby us inside the restaurant, the man’s
pants apparently falling to his ankles and Tobin, who happened to be
looking in that direction, was made aware of a deposit of excrement firmly
entrenched in the man’s nether regions, all while the man was singing the
chorus to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (he was kicked out shortly after).
We let the remainder of our milkshakes be and exited the establishment. I’m
hoping next time will be better. (Editor note: I’ve gone to Doumar’s for thirty years and have never seen anything of this nature. Get a cherry limeade, also, fuck Cookout.)
As an aside, we played the night before with Moutheater, another band based out of Norfolk, who are in the middle of recording a new album- be sure to cop it once it’s out, as well as their back catalog.
*Oxbow/Godstopper/White Ribs/Thighs @ The Garrison: * Probably my favourite opening slot with Godstopper to date (until we open for Behemoth, at which point all of my dreams will be realized). The other bands were great;
original concepts, cool ideas, and different directions than what I’m used
to. I’m still not super close with anybody in Thighs or White
Ribs, but if you dudes read this and want to do a show, let me know cause we’d love to!
Anyway, OXBOW- I believe it was either their second, or possibly their first time in Toronto? Either way, the band was great: tight performances, and the instrumentalists still possessed a humble mentality, in the sense that they seemed to still be very eager to learn new things- a “wide-eyed” quality I think all musicians who have something to say must possess. And then there’s Eugene, who I almost feel like I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said about him: yes, he stripped down to his underwear, yes, he yelled at the top of his lungs, yes, he put on a great show. I am consciously trying to avoid ”fighter” cliches in the description of his performance, but yeah, they did occur to me. At the end of the show, he asked us for a Godstopper shirt, to replace his sweated out performance clothes. I most definitely obliged, and got the very cool Kasia (Meow’s Imaginarium) to take a photo of us.
*(PS that Iron Lung shirt is definitely my go-to cool show shirt, til death do us part.)*
*Blood Ceremony birthday:* Funny story, I’ve known Blood Ceremony’s Alia
O’Brien for over ten years, going back to when we were both in the Hart
House Jazz Ensemble at U of T (I played bass). As fate should have it,
years after falling out of touch, I re-met her through Lucas Gadke, BC’s
bass player, and a very good friend of mine (we play together in a
sports/comedy/rock opera called Vince Lombarrdi). Anyway, I was invited to
celebrate Alia’s birthday at Thirsty and Miserable, the place where your
love of classy beer and heavy music intersect in beautiful ways. To my
surprise, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Rise Above Records/Napalm Death fame,
was there. He had recently visited LA, and figured he might as well stop by
Toronto. “It *is* just around the corner”, I said to him, after Sean, BC’s
guitarist, had introduced us. “Yeah”, Lee uttered, in a sarcastic tone. Lee
got my joke! This was a big success for me and inside, I was losing my
shit. I wanted to tell him “Utopian Blaster” was the first song I ever
learned on bass. And how frightened and confused I was the first time I
heard From Enslavement to Obliteration. But nah, I just left it at that.
Four sentences exchanged; that’s fine.
Later on that night, in keeping with the fact that I never remember how my
nights end at Thirsty and Miserable, I ended up at the apartment of a
friend who I know from karaoke’s couch, draped in towels for blankets.
*My first time street rapping:* I finally made good on my resolution to go
out and rap on the street. I’ve done it a couple times; the second time was
more successful audience and money-wise, but the first time, done in a
not-so-well trafficked area of my neighbourhood, produced stuff like this
old dude “breaking” while I did Nas’s “Halftime”.
(filmographer: Justin Oakey/Burial Offerings)
*Photo editing by Matthew Davenport
Everyone who is complaining about an energy drink company writing an article on grindcore, yet vehemently defended free shows/7” e.p.s from a car company needs to get the fuck out. The two are not unrelated. You allowed corporate sponsorship into our scene and have no right to complain about how stupid it makes things.
Fuck all the corporate apologists forever
You get the scene you deserve.
Every time somebody calls you an elitist for decrying shit like this, know that you’re doing something right.
The world we’ve attempted build for ourselves through punk, hardcore, and DIY culture need to be a self-sustaining world.
Tomorrow I head up to Baltimore for the A389 Anniversary/Birthday Bash. IN the spirit of the event, and Charm City itself, tonight’s installment in our Most Undesirable series is from another one of my favorite Baltimore personalities: Hope Guzzo.
In 2012 my friend Jake recommended I get Anthems copies of a cassette from this new, Holy Terror-affiliated act THEE HIGH PRIESTESS. After the A389 Bash last January I crossed paths with the girl behind the act.
I wouldn’t do justice in describing Hope’s artistic resume verbally, so go check out hopeguzzo.com to see her photography, or her bandcamp page to hear Thee High Priestess. In the meantime, check out Hope’s thoughts on last year’s best here:
2013 was a good year for music. There were a lot of strong releases and I was able to check two bands off my “must see before I die, even if I force a reunion myself and most reunions are lame” list: Neurosis (best set of my life. I cried) and Left For Dead (2nd best and most intense set of my life but I did not cry) So here are my top 10 albums of the year plus some 7”s.
Top Five (there isn’t real an order except for number 1)
1. Children of God “We Set Fire To The Sky”
Holy shit this album blew me away. Listen to it with headphones and then blast it at 2am going 85mph down the highway. Oscillating between crushing and melodic, this record will haunt you . They’re also great live with video projection, and the whole everyone drumming thing,
2. Lycus “Tempest”
Some of the best doom I’ve heard in a long time. I would say it’s “beautiful” but I don’t think that’s metal. It was the only thing keeping me relatively sane the 6 hour flight moving back to Maryland from California.
3. Seven Sisters of Sleep “Opium Morals”
SSOS has been one of my favorite current bands for a while now. Opium Morals has just about everything I
like- sludgy doomness with fuzzy guitars, riffs and (excellent) blast beats. Also, seeing Tim throw a mic stand and hit a kid in the head was a show highlight this year.
4. Full of Hell ”Rudiments Of Mutilation”
If you haven’t heard of or heard this album you haven’t been paying attention. It’s dark, viscous and noisy. I don’t have a lot to add to the other great things people have said about it so just get it if you don’t have it already.
5. Dead In The Dirt “The Blind Hole”
Sludge! D-beat! Feedback! Bands that take an ethical stance without being assholes! Sold.
Five through Ten (again no order)
- Weekend “Jinx” I think this is post punk? Indie shoegazey rock? Anyways the opening track ‘Mirror’ might be my favorite song of 2013. ”Jinx” is great follow up from “Sports”. Also I kept getting confused when people would talk about ‘the weeknd’ which/who I’ve never heard and know nothing about other than I’m sure he/they aren’t as good as this.
- Inquisition “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse” This is a complicated record I mean that in a good way- I find black metal can get stuck in Darkthrone/Mayhem/etc worship (sorry/not sorry, metal snobs) but this definitely does not. Lots of cool guitar parts and note bending riffs and of course blast beats.
- Prurient “Through The Window”
I fucking love Prurient. Dominick Fernow has been an inspiration and influence on Thee High Priestess with his blend of harsh noise, ambient soundscapes and distorted echoing vocals.
- Ilsa “The Maggots Are Hungry”
Technically a re-release or this record would have made the top 5. I love the vocals especially on the stand out tack “Primrose Paths”. Ilsa is DC based and it’s cool to see them from their first show to now.
- Nails “Abandon All Life”
This record makes me want to break things. Luckily I’m half the size of most people listening to this record so there’s nothing to worry about. The end.
- Old Lines- “If You See Something, Say Something” Crusty angry hardcore from Baltimore. These guys keep getting better.
- WarXGames “9 Trax/No Nightmare”
Hardcore the way hardcore should be. No long songs no bullshit. xxx
Weekend Nachos- Still
Lady GaGa- Art Pop
So last year at A389 I finally met up with this Baltimore metal kid I’d met through Tumblr. He had helped lock down the Sidebar so Gehenna could play a hundred-and-change capacity venue with Despise You, Dead In the Dirt, Ancient Shores, and WarXGames. The show was bananas, and Hasan proved to be an awesome guy who is constantly striving to bring upcoming metal bands to the area. In April he helped Godstopper with a last-minute show, and in July be booked the veritable fest “Only Turning 25 Is Real,” with Horrendous, Ilsa, Nothing, Satan’s Satyrs, Multicult, Celtic Frosting, and Dweller in the Valley, among tons of other shows I’m less prone to remember being that I live five hours away - but the point remains that Hasan kicks ass and is an asset to the Baltimore DIY scene. Here are his picks for the best of 2013:
I usually don’t do these, but I was flattered when Ryan hit me up about contributing a list of my favorite things from 2013. Here’s a list of my favorite albums/demos and my favorite shows from 2013. I didn’t want to limit myself to a specific number nor a specific order.
Top albums/demos of 2013:
Night Sins - To London or The Lake
Sokushinbutsu - Holy Ground
Outer Heaven - Demo 2013
Obliteration - Black Death Horizon
Rituaal - Rituaal
Wolvserpent - Perigea Antahkarana
Lycus - Tempest
Vastum - Patricidal Lust
My Bloody Valentine - MBV
Esoterica - Aseity
Recluse - Recluse
Manifesting - Descension Through the Seven Forbidden Seals
Scolex - Torn from Beyond
Whores. - Clean.
SubRosa - More Constant than the Gods
Vaura - The Missing
Dopecopper - Sadistic Intent
Genocide Pact - Demo
True Widow - Circumambulation
Stomach Earth - Stomach Earth
Top Shows of 2013:
My 25th Birthday Bash (Horrendous, Ilsa, Nothing, Satan’s Satyrs, Multicult, Celtic Frosting, Dweller in the Valley)
Infest at MDF
Bolt Thrower at MDF
Catharsis in Baltimore & D.C.
Tragedy at Sidebar
Whirr/Nothing in Philly & D.C.
Atriarch Travis’ birthday bash
My Bloody Valentine
Loss at MDF & Autumn Screams Doom
Dinosaur Jr. at Ottobar