Sunday, April 6, 2014

Devariate Ion - Wrap Around Constellations

Devariate Ion's latest set of music, "Wrap Around Constellations," is truly a meteor through the heavens.  Star light leaks from the edges of the plastic jewel case (if you're lucky/unlucky enough to find it in that format, as opposed to the mp3 version floating around the global thread-line.)  Your eyes see the flickers and you wonder if you're hallucinating.  Or maybe you're hallucinating.

A flight, full of passengers, disappears.  All hands lost.  An investigator from the FAA is called to investigate the arrival of flight 107, which landed and followed the runway attendant's signals but then turned out to be empty of passengers and pilots alike.  Eventually the FAA investigator walks face first into the propeller.

You hear this as you listen.  The album starts slow, with a wash of what sounds like heavily processed, broken synthesizers, far-away snippets of found sound or just real-world recordings, traffic on a country road, early spring birds.  The entire opening track, "Triangulation through Antares," builds like this, seemingly mounting an aural assault that feels as if it will arrive at any moment, but never does.

You'll need to wait for tracks halfway into the album to finally arrive at the peace of having those expectations met, and then squashed.  But don't expect the sense of peace to last.  As the early, Tangerine Dream like meditations give way to the full assault of what could be an early 80s thrash band by way of some shoe gaze acid metal circa 2005, with vocals so processed they might not be made by a human at all, you'll be able to breath easy, though through your clenched teeth, through that relatively understandable middle section (tracks 5 - "Burned by a Scenseless Mist," and 6 - "Though in Heaven They Will Wash Your Memories Away.")  But the recognizable instrumentation and song structure is quickly obliterated again as you at first drift towards, and are then pulled bodily into,  the labyrinthine and utterly broken ambient sounds atop garbage-disposal-processed track 7 ("You've Lost Your Luncheonette, Peeling,") and then your footing is utterly lost (almost back into Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream, here, though the undercurrent still sounds as if there's a thrash band down beneath the arpeggiated synth washes somewhere) in tracks 8 ("Belly of Erebos") and 9 ("The Lathe of Northern Pennsylvania.")

The album stretches for over 90 minutes, with the final track, the sprawling, cold, and mostly synthesized track 10, "Hope Despite the Harbor of Anhedones," taking up 30 of those.

The distance from emotion that is embodied by the entirety of this production is clearly intentional, but it nonetheless presents an edifice that is very difficult to penetrate.  This feels like an album that might reward someone who is adventurous enough to give it repeated listens, but at the same time the early listens might not offer enough of a foothold to give anyone any reason to do so.


Monday, March 3, 2014

A Dimensional Analysis of Ehmm Theory Vol. 1

No Mr. Whispers, I'm not okay. I'm not sure if I've seen through the membrane or fallen down the rabbit hole. I'll be honest, this is my first attempt at ever doing something like this, reviewing a comic, so if you read this and it's terrible I apologize. Now, let's step through the portal.

Ehmm Theory ($3.99 for Vol 1 @ Comixology) comes to from the folks over at Action Lab Danger Zone and Lost Story Studios creators Brockton McKinney (writer), Larkin Ford (artist), and Jason Strutz (colors).  Let's get this out of the way Ehmm Theory is a weird book combining all sorts of genres. There's the science/theoretical physics angle, a squad of seemingly hired guns with super powers, talking animals, warring families, secret organizations, and oh yeah, zombie little people.

Our hero, Gabriel Ehmm, and his new kitten, Mr. Whispers, wake up dead and  are soon given a mission by St. Peter himself to find out why little people are rising from the grave in an unnamed town somewhere. So, you sort of think okay, here we go we've got another zombie story, but that quickly fades to the background as Gabriel and Mr. Whiskers meet an ass-kicking old woman and begin a search for Gabe's father.

I'm not going to go much further into the plot details because I don't want to spoil anything for any perspective readers. Suffice to say as Gabe's journey continues we meet new and stranger characters, and find out a little about his father's past, and another world/universe/dimension that may have ties to Gabe's mother.

Anyway, what I find most interesting about Ehmm Theory is the theoretical physics that's sort of floating in the background. M-Theory is a sort of offshoot of String theory that predicts the existence of 11 dimensions. Is it a coincidence that Ehmm Theory gives us a quick overview of 11 important characters at the beginning of issue3? Maybe it is. Who knows? What I do know if that I enjoyed the first 4 issues of Ehmm Theory and I want to see where things go. $3.99 is a pretty small investment for a whole lot of story, so if you're into comics and weird fiction give this book a chance.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monuments Collapse

I am really loving this SF band at the moment and their half of a split is free on bandcamp for a limited time. It's heavy and atmospheric with harsh vocals that sort of blend into the background. I could listen to Monuments Collapse all day.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tucker Theodore

This stuff is it. To Make The Sun Hurt is a chunk of bedroom noise folk outside stuff that sounds exactly like it should. You can get a limited cassette copy of this record over at Antiquated Future

Monday, December 23, 2013


Saturday, December 21, 2013

King Toad

you should probably stop what you're doing and listen to this album.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fanch's Albums of the Year

It's the end of year list that you didn't even want! Here are my top 10 albums of 2013. None of them are particularly out there or weird and most of them are kind of heavy. Maybe Kingo will chime in with his own list. First some albums that almost made it: Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends, Ohio Sky - This House is Old, People Like Us - A Nightmare, People Like Us - The Royals, Tomahawk - Oddfellows, Davenport Cabinet - Our Machine.

                           Baklavaa -Spiral Cramps

This record is absolutely insane. These guys are a noisy breath of aggression from somewhere in Baltimore, MD.  Spiral Cramps is a quick burst of noise, clocking in at less than 25 minutes, that leaves the listener sort of wondering what the hell just happened. If I had to compare them to someone I'd probably say they're similar to Tera Melos. This album is pay what you want on Bandcamp or you can buy a physical copy for just $10.

                          NIN - Hesitation Marks
I guess you might call this album a return to form for Trent Reznor's NIN. Maybe not, but it's the first NIN album I've enjoyed front to back since With Teeth. The album features Adrian Belew and Lindsay Buckingham so how could it not be awesome?

          The Elephant In the Room - The Collective and The Individual

There's some bias here because I contributed to the Kickstarter for this album, before ever hearing a note. The record is produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. This is a big sounding record with choruses of voices that borders on prog rock, Crescenzo's influence is definitely there. It says something though that this record made my list and The Dear Hunter's Migrant album did not. This is an excellent record that anyone with an affinity for rock music should enjoy. Track 2, Monsters, is the highlight of the album for me. 

                                Sannhet - Known Flood

 I first heard Sannhet via NYC Taper and their recording of the Known Flood release show. Sannhet was opening for Deafheaven, a band you'll find further down. They're an instrumental band from Brooklyn NY. Experimental black post everything metal. Known Flood is and unrelenting blend of swirling guitars and thunderous drums. Check out the opening track Absecon Isle to get an idea of what Known Flood is all about.

                 Oathbreaker - Eros/Anteros

This is an album I just discovered by trolling through the Deathwish records site looking for something to listen too. It's heavy X 1000. Somewhere between black metal and post-hardcore lives Belgium's Oathbreaker.This is your album if you need to run around and wreck stuff.

                      I The Mighty - Satori

Probably my second most played album this summer. I the Mighty is a sort of prog/emo band similar to Coheed and Cambria. This album lived in my wife's car and accompanied us on many long car trips. It's a great record to sing a long with. It's got some heavy moments, some quiet moments. We also had the chance to see these guys live this fall. They only had a 5 song set, but they had tons of energy.

                       Coheed and Cambria - Afterman: Descension 

My favorite band, I've seen most of the songs on this album performed live. A much stronger effort than the first half of the Afterman record. Just go listen to Gravity's Union.


                        Russian Circles - Memorial 
Another band I had the pleasure  to see live a few times over the course of the year. Another instrumental album. Russian Circles are just so good. This album could probably fit in any spot on the list, so I stuck it here. It might be the heaviest album on the list.

                Touche Amore - ...Is Survived by
This album clocks in a at just under 30 minutes. It's like a punch to the gut. It's that post-hardcore emo stuff that I enjoy so much. This album is just plain good. “So write a song that everyone can sing along to/So when you’re gone you can live on, they won’t forget you.”


Another album with ties to black metal. It's definitely not for everyone, but for me this is far and away the best record of 2013. It's totally captivating. From the beginning of Dream House to the ending of The Pecan Tree my jaw is on the floor. Between each of the album's four main tracks are some sound collage segues/ shorter acoustic pieces that bring perfect balance to the record. George Clarke's vocals are gut wrenching while Kerry McCoy's guitars dance between meandering shoegaze and black metal brutality. I will admit that having seen these guys live this year has only enhanced my opinion of this record. Listening to Sunbather is almost a process, it really needs to be absorbed as a whole. If you're willing to dive into some experimental black metal Sunbather is the place to start.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Curse EP

Not quite new, it's been out for a bit, but Between the Wardrobe & the Wall is available for name your price on bandcamp.

These guys were kind enough to do an interview with The Drawer over the summer. I you haven't read it you should read it and listen.

The Raised by Wolves

A thing to check out - pay what you want on bandcamp.

The Raised By Wolves - Sadie Hawkins

some upbeat poppy rocknroll stuff from DC/MD. Check out broken neck of the woods to get an idea of this record.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bleed - Ryan Adam

Our good friend, Ryan Adam, released a book today. You can buy it for less than $5 right here. I've read the book several times in various stages of its completion and you should check it out. It's a twist on the vampire genre set in Baltimore MD. Our friends over at Eight Eighty Eighth Street Publishers have published the novel and will hopefully be coming out with a paperback version soon.