Monday, April 30, 2012

Life At These Speeds - To Your Health

 AB: This should have been upped about 3 weeks ago but life got in the way. Sorry!
KS: Firstly, sorry for the huge gaps between my posts. What with whirlwind GreyScreen tour, releasing tapes, playing in 4 bands (17 sets in 5 weeks!), aging another year, recording the new Stalwart Sons' LP, I've been a busy guy.Life gets in the way of the internet. Good for me, but bad for you who need more jams. Fret not, chums, I'm getting back at it. 

Collective memory is a fickle thing. It's curious to go through records and see just what remains spoken of fondly, and which are somehow completely forgotten. When I was a lad, Level Plane Records was king of the post-hardcore world. Literally dozens of my favourite records in my collection are out on Level Plane, (they put out Norts, for goodness' sake!) so for the most part anything on Level Plane is worth at least a cursory listen. I'd have to say that this Life at These Speeds LP is one of the best. 

Life at These Speeds have another LP prior to this, one that is much more hard hitting, and a few other splits - which are definitely all worth hearing - but To Your Health is without a doubt the most mature. I'd say if your looking for something a little more hardcore, go earlier. But this final LP does away with much of that, and instead opts for a more subtle approach. Though, don't get me wrong, this record rocks. I talk a lot about my love "breath" in hardcore, the way bands will slow things down, trading in speed and fury for emotional catharsis, and on this release LATS have it in spades. "Heavy Hand" in particular quietly meaners for most of the track before before exploding into emo boombast. Think a more-alterna-400 Years or something like that. Solid.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Navies - An Estate

AB: New post from Mr. Saskatoon himself, Mr. Soulz.

My teenage years were largely built on the foundation of Lovitt Records, best known for releasing music by emo and hardcore heavyweights like Four Hundred Years, Bats and Mice, Frodus, Sleepytime Trio, Milemarker, etc. Lots of music to have feelings to, y'know?

Thank goodness I followed Lovitt's discography in a near-religious way, otherwise I would not have stumbled upon a mysterious little band called Navies, who none of my peers seem to remember. This band broke the label's roster mold at the time in several ways, though with driving bass lines a la Shotmaker and screechy schizophrenic guitars, Navies certainly lived up to the reputation Lovitt had for releasing interesting post-hardcore. With song lengths slightly beyond what is normal for the genre, the band certainly appeared to take great pains in composing and arranging these jams and weren't afraid of creating linear journeys out of bangin' riffs. Overall, the balance and interplay between psychotic rhythmic freakouts and brief melodic lulls make them sound like Fugazi on acid, or if Black Eyes weren't so inspired by disco and trash-can tribal music.

Monday, April 2, 2012

NicsPicks: Kodan Armada/Pretty Faces Split

AB: New post from our best bud, Nicholas. Calling it NicsPicks. Not sure he'll love that.

Kodan Armada was one of those bands that sat in my recommendations list for a good while. I am not sure where exactly I started in there discography but I was hooked in an instant. The collector in me wanted every releases these guys had put a song on. The hunt was on I found a couple splits relatively easily and bought them. But there was always a released mentioned that had not surfaced on any of the fan sites or blogs. That release is this post Kodan Armada/ Pretty Faces, there very vague mentions of this split being out but I never found any solid info. I actually thought it was not a reality until a copy popped up on the ebay. The band was not fond of ebay as stated on the cover of one their split with gospel, “Fuck Ebay”.

This release package is crazy, it contains three zines a package of rap trading cards and a bunch of nic-nacks from the label. I must say it was overwhelming to unpack it. It also come with a photo attached to the back of the envelope carrying all these goodies. I am not sure if the label does this for all of the releases or just this one. I am also not sure how many where actually made but I have a feeling that only pre-order versions went out. My copy has 420/500 marked but is also pre-order 12 so I am not sure on the number. This release is truly packed to the brim though. Picture will be included in the zip.

Lastly I want to talk about the sound of Kodan Armada, I have left this till last because I suck at describing sounds. Kodan Armada are nothing if not screamo but that carries such a wide frame that I must narrow it. I feel they hit everything I am looking for in my screamo, chaotic while still having melodic parts, screaming that counters clean parts, and fast mixed with slower parts. From that last sentence they may seem like a contradiction but they are far from that, they are more like a sweet mix of everything that defines screamo. I hope you find what I found in this band and fall for their sound.