Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wrought: Ironsmile - s/t 7"

Sometimes when you dig things out of dollar bins, you end up with gold - not most of the time, rarely really, but it happens. I pulled this 7" out long before I knew what it was. I bought it 'cause it looked emo - little did I know it was one of the best pieces of Canadian emo ever put to wax.

Wrought: Ironsmile came from the same scene in Victoria from the early 90's that also spurned Render Useless and Republic of Freedom Fighters, and while those contemporary bands are certainly more notable, and Render Useless likely a better band as a whole, I'm still convinced this is the best recorded moment of that entire scene. Wrought: Ironsmile play that sort of style of emo that begins on picked guitar chords and spoken vocals that builds into epic climax punctuated by tortured screams - similar to Indian Summer or early Policy of Three. No, they might not have been the only band playing this style, but dare I say, at least on this 7", they do it better than the touchstones. There's this moment on "Valentine's Day" where there's this somewhat failed attempt at harmonies that end up being off-key and perfect. "Twenty-one and Counting" has long been a mix-tape staple for me, one that every few years gets dug out - scream and scout interplay over this interesting chorus melody.

I'm astounded that this band is never cited or used as a touchstone for people - or even rediscovered in a way that Render Useless and Republic of Freedom Fighters has been. Lost Classic.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Catlin Elm - s/t

A few weeks ago Kev posted Hawkes' self titled EP. As it was totally new to me, I jammed the hell out of it and grew to love it quite a bit. I was super bummed when I found out that they didn't exist any more—thankfully with most punk rock bands, a band break up is just an opportunity to try something new.

The vocalist (I'm not sure if that's the only member) from Hawkes moved onto The Catlin Elm and I'm really happy to say it's definitely as jam worthy as Hawkes is. The distinctive voice is still there and the songs are still just as urgent, but I feel like The Catlin Elm has a bit more of a mid 90's vibe going on, calling on influences like Heroin or Portraits of Past. The songs are melodic and driving and played with a sense of importance and honesty. I really don't know what else to say about it...this is the kind of stuff that makes me love the genre! It's well written and played with a great deal of passion. Not much else you can ask for.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eeva - 7"

Ghost Throats is done! Huge success. Thanks to all the bands that played and all the people that made it happen. This means it's time for some new jams on GGS. I hope people dug hearing about some of Western Canada's raddest bands. I apologize for the poorly written post below...I seem to have forgotten how to do this.

I came across Eeva a few weeks ago while browsing around Bandcamp (by the way...that site is great. Bands, get with it and get off myspace). Eeva is a Russian band I don't know too much about, but I'm really digging what I'm hearing. Russia seems to have a pretty decent scene, but everything I've heard coming from there is very heavy and chaotic so it was nice to find something with a bit more groove to it. This 2 song EP (called a 7", but I can't find any evidence of a physical copy) is super solid. Musically it reminds me of Birds & Wires or possibly newer Daniel Striped Tiger but with more of a shouted/yelped vocal style. The bass and drums work really well together and give the album an urgent feeling without being too frantic. All in all just a really enjoyable 5 minutes of tunes. Download from the band's Bandcamp.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ghost Throats #11: Todos Caerán - After Dark

"I would rather hide everything inside than go out and face the world."

I'm honoured to be involved with Todos Caerán. I'm honoured to have even heard Todos Caerán. I have watched this band grow. Once completely unsure of their instruments, unsure of voice, unsure of sound. But almost out of sheer force of will, Todos have risen to something special. In a years' time they have become powerhouses. This band has a work ethic unlike any band I've seen and their recent output is astonishing, both in volume and quality (high in both aspects). I could speak of the Murakami love, I could speak of individual tracks at length, the patient build in "Dance Dance Dance," the intricate melody in "Wind-up Bird" - but in the end, the thing that does it is purely the aural weight of it all. I suppose one could accuse Todos Caerán of copping Portraits of Past, and I doubt the band themselves would dispute it.- emo epics of weaving guitars that crescendo into ebullistic explosions that soon fade down into whispers - and Todos Caerán are world class at it. They rival the best. Indeed, once you've exhausted The Underdark, After Dark is truly the next step.

I wanted you to wait for the LP. The actual, physical LP should be out in about a month or so - but Todos have giving hearts, and know how the internet works. They want you to have it now. So jam it hard in the meantime. It'll dig in and stay trenched.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ghost Throats #10 White Ribs - s/t

When I first has the pleasure (re: rude awakening) of witnessing (re: being assaulted by) White Ribs, I had no idea what to expect. They we're playing in their cellar in Nanaimo (where they originally hail), the floor of which resembled something more like waves frozen rather than solid ground. The uneven floor matched the set perfectly - as I literally and figuratively had no idea on where or how to stand. Off came the shirts, on came the black masks: Out came the skronk monsters known as White Ribs. They tore through a set of maybe 8 songs in as many minutes. I didn't know what hit me. There were probably 8 arms on that drummer; every string on that guitar was tuned to H for all I knew. They made the neighbours irate.

They handed me this EP before we parted -5 songs in barely more than 5 minutes - if it were anything more, I dare not even think about the nightmares that would be ensue. Maybe I could say they sound somewhere in the vein of The Locust, Data Cave or Arab on Radar - but of course, that would still be too far off - White Ribs sound like nightmares. Ham-hock, barfy, fuzzy, spidery, nightmares.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ghost Throats #9: La Maladresse - Débandades cassette

First of all, if you have not, snag La Maladresse's s/t cd - it is necessary - everything I said before bears repeating. La Maladresse are awesome. It's seems like we've got some self-fulfilling prophecy going on here on that previous post, as we have convinced La Maladresse to play that show in Alberta! The most unlikely of things seem to happen at Ghost Throats. I can stress enough how lucky we are to be able to see them play. Débandades translates to "stampede" - Ironic perhaps, that La Maladresse would reunite after a one year absence in Alberta, stampede central.

This cassette here is something of a curiosity. If it didn't have the name La Maladresse stamped on the spine, I never would have guessed it was the same band. Débandades has a whole bunch of weirdo things going on: strange loops, drums coming in and out of phase, blown out acoustic guitars, and all vocal-less. If you expect it to be a departure from their s/t album you'll probably be disappointed. Comes off as really interesting experiments, and that's probably exactly what it was. Think of it like that, and you'll enjoy it - I'm thankful they're trying things, having fun with it. Once that stops, we're all dead.
~KS (Not AB! Sorry Kev)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ghost Throats #8: Coalspur - Booze Cruise

Funny story. I had never even heard of Coalspur until last year's Ghost Throats. Three days before the show was set to happen I started to hear murmurs of this great emo band from St. Alberta...and after hearing them I knew they had to play. After a long evening of serious Facebook sleuthing (see also: Creeping) I managed to track down the members of the band and 3 days later they were on the bill. The internet is a horrifying place where privacy goes to die.

Coalspur is a young band, and like most young bands, are still growing. Unlike most young bands though, Coalspur is growing at an almost uncontrollable rate. Each time I hear a new jam from them or see them live, they gotten infinitely better than the last, which is a feat given how much I've enjoyed them each time. They play their take on the modern screamo stuff that is super popular right now (skram? skramz? Emoz?), but with just enough of a mid 90's vibe to keep old men like myself interested. I really dig the vocal delivery on these songs...not quite screamed, not quite yelled, just a really great mix in between. The lyrics are well written, and you can tell this band knows how to write a great song. Despite being relatively young, I feel like these guys have probably been playing together for a long time.

Booze Cruise is a short 3 song EP, but the three songs are memorable and enjoyable and definitely repeat jammin' worthy. I'm super excited to see what this band does next. It's always great to watch a band like this grow.