shh. ok, we're back for another roundup of what's what on the underbelly of unpopular music, with a quickfire roundup of records and bands that only exist in my warped little mind.
right. actually, they do exist, so i figured i'd give a few pointers in where to get this stuff from.
first up, the daddy. X-Mist (http://www.x-mist.de). it's based in Germany, but they do quick and pretty cheap postage to the UK. it's run by cool people, has good prices, and i can't recommend it highly enough. probably the only place to reliably get Troubleman releases in on vinyl.
another good one is Vital Music (http://www.vitalmusic.net/). an american based distro that has an enormous range of stocks. a good place to hunt down some older stuff that isn't out of press, but might not be around in the UK distroes any more.
Stickfigure (http://www.stickfiguredistro.com/) is like the US version of X-Mist, and again has more records than you can imagine. slightly pricey postage, but they are good for obscure new releases that you'd otherwise have to buy direct from labels or not even realise they were out.
some UK distroes you should use -
Armed With Anger (http://www.awarecords.com) - mostly straight up hardcore, but a lot of stuff overall. excellent selection of zines. AWA is also releasing the new Imbalance LP.
Enslaved (http://www.enslaved.co.uk) - great distro for thrash / grind / screamy stuff. very quick, extremely cheap. Enslaved released the DS13 6". GO!
AssemblyLine (http://www.assemblylinemusic.com) - distro run by Monk Dave of Fracture Zine. if you like the stuff Fracture likes, this is the best place to go, and when Dave isn't too busy, this is the fastest distro around. only negatives is that they don't stock vinyl (no-one buys it apparently), and that they do stock a lot of those dodgy, trendy indie rock releases from labels such as Deep Elm.
ok, that's it. if possible, avoid large American distroes such as Lumberjack and Very. they are the 'fast-food' equivalent of distroes. easy to get stuff from, but it's much more expensive.
right! on with the rekkids! what's been hot this past couple of months?
well, fuckin' A! there has been some amazing emo releases of late, the Californian bands are just pumping out some great stuff right now. standouts that i've heard have been the Under A Dying Sun CDEP on Unfun Records. 5 songs, one of which clocks in at 15 minutes! these kids are going to save the world from the mire of a million indie rock bands that all sound exactly the same. UADS use pretty build ups and powerful vocals that eventually drive into crushing and melodic finales. mix up bits of Christie Front Drive, Sunny Day Real Estate and Yaphet Kotto for one of the best bands on the scene right now. this is special. available from the same label, but not released by them, is the Staircase 7". two long songs of melodic and rocking hardcore, with a tonne of emo influences. one that fans of bands like Sinker and Closure will be down with. Quest for Quintana Roo (named after an old console game) have a 6 track EP on New Disorder, and they are on the screamy emo side of things. short songs that mix up the power of Embassy with the chaos of earlier Reversal of Man. the final song on the EP is 6 minutes long and is pure brilliance. last Californianemo mention goes to the Pine. these kids sound exactly like that Evergreen 7" on Wrenched Records, and seeing as that 7" is the one of the best ever, then this is a good thing. the vocals aren't quite so perfect, but overall, they are doing a fantastic job of raw, melodic emo in a style that you rarely hear these days.
some good thrash out there at the minute. you could do a lot worse than listen to the United Super Villains 12" on Deranged. "Choke Slammed Back To Life" is an utter rage of fast hardcore and angry vocals. Fucking go! The Gauze bootleg 12" is definitely worth tracking down too, for some old mid 80's Japanese hardcore. Very raw, but the sound quality is great for a boot. i like this a lot more than the Lipcream bootleg 12" that is doing the rounds, but either is worth a look if you want to hear what the Japanese were doing with punk rock back then.
Justin Pearson's the Locust and Holy Molar have new 7" out. the Locust are solid as ever on their one, a good mess of craziness. added electronics this time. HM (GSL) are wild and uncontrollable on their 7", and feature ex-members of a tonne of great bands. cross the Locust with Le Shok and Black Cat #13 and you'll get the picture.
Cobra Kai and the Sutek Conspiracy have come out with one of the best split records i've heard in a while. Cobra Kai are doing some keyboard laced screamo which bucks some trends in the genre. they give way to more downbeat parts before going off, giving an almost gothy feel in the way of Crash Smash Explode. i was super impressed. Sutek love their metal and it shows. awesome melodic metal guitar playing throughout this. their stuff on the split with Murdock is better, but pick both if you see them.
if you want some metal, you have to check out the Employer, Employee CDEP on Robodog. this is one heavy beast of a record, and will crush you to bits. do not miss if you like your hardcore heavy.
i was well impressed by the Shivering, a band which is ex-Amber Inn. great melodic punk rock with some fantastic screamy/sung vocals that remind me of Current. musically, cross Rites of Spring with Jawbreaker. that should get a few people off hunting. released on No Records.
the Breathing Walker LP on Vermin Scum turned up. my copy was badly warped but i finally got it to play by crushing it with some heavy baseball books. it's Moss Icon gone hippy, i guess. add violin to the Moss sound, and give it more of a 'jamming' type feel. there are 2 brand new tracks, 2 Moss Icon covers, and 2 live versions of Icon songs. worth grabbing for Moss Icon addicts. which you should be.
haven't picked up much UK stuff lately, but the Epic 45 split with Laudanum from France is a goodie. it's on 10" too. Epic do their usual fine instrumental stuff, and Laudanum do electronica with a Kraftwerk influence. i wasn't too into this at first, but i will be giving it more plays now. very nice.
some UK bands to keep an eye out for... Record Buying Public are ex-Kneejerk (who have a post-humous full length out, more on this next time), and they play melodic instrumentals in the style of Karate and American Football but with a bouncy, mathy mid-west indie rock flavour, almost Braid-like at times. very cool. Thanks For Nothing is ex-Abjure and a fun, spazzy London band who play minute long emo-thrashers. they join Army of Flying Robots as the UK's only emo-violence bands (as far as i know!). also ex-Abjure are Pale Horse. if you see these guys on the bottom fo a bill in the coming months, go see the show, as they will kill you. heavy, chugging dual bass mayhem, with a double screaming vocal attack. slow pain builds up to screamo madness. lots of metal. think Converge with a touch of Racebannon type eeriness. personally i think they are already better than Abjure, who were one of the UK's best heavy hardcore bands of the past couple of years, so that should give you some type of indication as to how good they already are.
ok, that's it for this time. i'll check back in another couple of months with yet more elitism. as with last time, i will make personalised mix tapes for anyone who asks. take care!