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Merzbow

Pulse Demon

    "Pulse Demon" is one of the most celebrated releases of Masami Akita's storied 4 decade long career. Composed entirely by live noise concrete and the use of a fuzz box, "Pulse Demon" eschews all overdubs and studio trickery, laying Merzbow bare. What follows in these recordings is the pure essence of unfettered noise. The rawness in "Pulse Demon" is palpable; praised as "genuinely extreme, downright torturous sounds that are strangely compelling in their shredding intensity." (A.V. Club) upon its original release in 1996. Remastered by James Plotkin (Isis, Electric Wizard, Full Of Hell, and more,) the "Pulse Demon" reissues features "Extract 1", a never-before released track that was recorded as part of the original "Pulse Demon" sessions.

    Ceremony

    In The Spirit World Now

      Ceremony make their Relapse Records debut with their highly ambitious new album, 'In the Spirit World Now'! The album sees Ceremony at the height of their creative output, as the always-evolving Rohnert Park quintet take various influences from post punk and rock to create one of the summer's most compelling and infectious records. "In the Spirit World Now" is full of layered sonic fury and anxiety, each song building up to a point and then descending down through a militant, catchy hook. “Turn Away the Bad Thing” sets the tone, guitars climbing around the driving bass line, as Ross Farrar sings, “It’s getting harder for me to be alright/Eyes adjusting to the dark/The momentum of all these last resorts built inside of me.” Songs like “Presaging the End” and “Calming Water” feel romantic and distressed, while “Further I Was” and “Years of Love” are driven by Farrar’s rebellious energy as he repeats the hook with a deadpan realness. “Years of love can be forgotten/In the hatred of a day.” But the true stand-out is the title track, “In the Spirit World Now”, a haunting pop gem with a sticky chorus and lead synth riff that plants itself in your head as Farrar chants the track’s name over and over like a mantra. “In the Spirit World Now" is a sort of nebulous and ectoplasmic place where things may not be quite what they seem,” he says. “It means sh*t is about to get weird.” The album marks a milestone for this Northern California punk outfit who have stayed true to themselves as songwriters throughout massive sonic growth throughout their storied career.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: From the fractured art-punk aesthetic of Wire or even bits of Sonic Youth, through wide-spanning cinematic shoegaze majesty and grungy snarling anthems, Ceremony have crafted a brilliantly varied and thoroughly enthralling collection of snappy punk anthems mixed with a huge variety of influences.

      The Album Leaf

      Between Waves

      Nearly twenty years into a career that has seen Jimmy LaValle exercising his creativity across the realms of film scoring, sound collage, and electronic / rock music, via instrumental and vocal-driven compositions alike, LaValle and The Album Leaf are poised to deliver yet another sonic triumph with 2016’s Between Waves.

      Born out of a thorough reinvention of LaValle's creative process and approach, Between Waves is The Album Leaf's first proper full-length record in over six years and the first to be recorded and produced as a complete band, and was written with greater emphasis on the group dynamic. The album displays multifaceted, meticulous sound design, a keen ear for balancing disparate influences, and the strongest senses of dynamics, rhythm, and composition The Album Leaf has displayed to date. From the moody evolution of "Glimmering Lights" to the wistful trip-hop stylings of "New Soul" and beyond, Between Waves is a gorgeous collection of euphoric melodies and emotionally charged, multi-instrumental driven soundscapes from the longstanding innovators. This is intelligent, beautifully composed music at its most inventive, most confident, and most impressive.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Well this is different isn't it? Not like 'It doesn't sound like The Album Leaf' different, it definitely does, but with an urgency previously unheard. I'm a big fan of LaValle's mellow Rhodes-based compositions (the recent reissue of 'In A Safe Place' was one of my record-buying highlights of recent times). The Rhodes is still present here fortunately, but it is backed with thumping drums in places, glitchy snares and giant swells, all topped off with silky vocal refrains. Pristinely produced and exciting from beginning to end. Rich and luxurious. Like a Creme Egg, but better for you.

      Behold the debut EP of the hardcore punk band created to spread the gospel of professional wrestling champion UltraMantis Black. Having spent over a decade dominating the Chikara wrestling scene, UltraMantis teamed up with members of the beloved punk band Pissed Jeans to form a blistering political hardcore band that is equal parts The Locust, Deadguy and Melt Banana. Imagine the best parts of 90s straight-edge hardcore filtered through the bodyslamming genius of Vince McMahon and you have UltraMantis Black! Recommended if you like: Pissed Jeans, (early) Dillinger Escape Plan, Lightning Bolt, Daughters, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Genghis Tron, Spazz.


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