Thursday, September 24, 2015

Shortsight - "Why Spend Time Learning" 7"

Shortsight was a female-fronted Belgium hardcore band that was a part of the whole H8000 crew thing, which I was never really very interested in. I remember thinking Norway's Lash Out was a part of that whole clique (whose 1993 release The Darkest Hour is a real winner), but once I got my shit together, realized they weren't even from the right European country and (eventually) listened to the band Congress, I quickly lost interest.

This record was always a bit of a screwball for me, I dug the chunky, definitively mid-paced, "new school" sound they offered here, but new vocalist (as of this, their first release - Hans Verbeke, who ran Sober Mind Records and also played in Blindfold, manned the vocal duties on their demo tape...see what I did there?) Saskia Verbeke's relatively unique style never really entirely did it for me. I don't know, I guess her voice just always struck me as pretty monotonous...just my opinion. This four song ep is an early Conquer The World release, which is probably the only reason why I picked it up in the first place. Sometimes the recording of the drums (in particular that barely audible, yet somehow gruesome-sounding ride cymbal, man) just makes me want to set my house and all of my belongings on fire, and begin a new quest in life which mainly involves extinguishing the lives of people who've wronged me, all Master of the Flying Guillotine style.

For those who might be interested in these sorts of things, these kids were an edge band, and the lyrics of these songs dealt take an animal-rights, anti-media stance. It was recorded and mixed at Cats Studios in March 1993. CTW #03.

1) Anger
2) Darwin
3) Wheel
4) Trace

- the best part of this seven inch is the first 42 seconds -

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Equation Of State - "Exploded View"

This post is about a band I know very little about. My buddy Sean, who I've probably mentioned a dozen times already on this blog, picked up this cd somewhere during his travels circa 2000* (the original Siren Records in Doylestown, maybe?), and we were both pretty glad that he did. Equation Of State was a five piece emo/hardcore band that hailed from Halifax, the provincial capital city of Nova Scotia, Canada. They existed from ??? to ???, and this disc, from what I've been able to deduce over the years, is the only thing they put out. It was released in 1998 by fellow Halifax native Rich Lafortune, who played guitar in a band called The Chitz, which was active for a few years during the mid-90s.

Are you into somewhat spazzy, highly energetic emo that is reminiscent of bands such as Griver, Ambassador 990, Kurt, The Republic of Freedom Fighters and maybe a Receiver / Future Isms-era Milemarker, before they got all sassy and shitty? Take some time to cook all of that rock goodness down and then add a dash of fuckin' early Frodus to the boil? Oh yeah? Well, this album is probably going to be right up your alley then, friend.

Socially conscious lyrics, an overall raw, tone-y recording that is full and clear when it needs to be, Canadian heritage, a healthy amount of groove parts, personal writings, just the right extent of dirtyblah blah blah. It eventually adds up to a pretty solid full length.This was recorded in the basement of someone named Mike Canato's house during July 1998, and is Subprofit Records #3. "My Suggestion Is You Fuck Off" is a total banger, y'all.

* He also took these pictures and did an overall good job. Nice work, guy...V Street soon?

1) clay and mortar
2) my suggestion is you fuck off
3) self-fulfilling prophecy
4) appeal to reason
5) kill the whistle blowers
6) anamnesis
7) ridiculous notion
8) spiral jetty
9) giving up
10) anti-clockwise
11) new beginning
12) cure for cancer

- here -

Corrin - "Despair Rides on Angel Wings" 7"

Metalcore kids take note: this is an early Hydra Head release by five dudes from Providence, Rhode Island called Corrin. Corrin never achieved the same success as other like-minded New England metal / hc bands such as Overcast or Converge, but that doesn't mean anything you should skip over this two-songer. Along with this 7", they did a split with another frequently passed-over metallic band named Arise, who didn't sound like Sepultura, unfortunately, but did hail from Massachusetts, so you basically knew that they really liked metal.

I've gotta give this band some credit, while they weren't nearly as good as Disembodied, Morning Again, For The Love Of... or the bands mentioned earlier, I'd definitely give Corrin a fair go if the style is/was your thing, 'cause it's better than your average evil, metalcore 90s hc band. With a solid recording, a good layout (designed by a member of Converge, mind you), and absolutely scathing, straight forward lyrics like "A lifeless figure laying before my eyes, calling out my name. Guilt fills my mind, if only I had compromised", you should know precisely what you're in for.

These songs were recorded in January 1996 at Samson Studios in Tiverton, RI by Keith Souza, who also was responsible for the first Cable full length. The matrix of the vinyl is inscribed with "What is this that stands before me..." on side 7, and continues with "...figure in black, which points at me..." on Side 77. Works for me. This record is 666-02. Praise Jeebus!

1) Lifeless
2) Wintersouls

- side 7, followed by side 77 -

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ocean of Mercy 7"

Here is the lone record from an early 90s NYHC band that didn't exactly fit the mold when compared to other bands from the same era who called the same city home. It was released in 1992 as a cooperative effort between Oasis Records, which I'm almost positive I've never seen another record from, and Doghouse Records, which everyone should already be familiar with. The music is pseudo-youth crew-ish, very bass-forward, and fucking awesome. Gus Peña (aka Gus Straight Edge) was the frontman for Ocean of Mercy; his voice kinda reminds me of a toned down Martin Sorrondeguy, and the music is pretty melodic for the style, while retaining a good deal of that New York Hardcore "toughness" you probably would expect. I'd also say this band was a wee bit heavier than many other NYHC bands. This record certainly qualifies as something I'd consider to be (highly doesn't really sound fitting here..notably, maybe??) sought after, for two reasons: 1) for being an early Doghouse release, at a time when they were releasing hc records and not, well, you presumably already know where I'm going with this sentence. I'm not knocking Dirk Hemsath or his label by any measure at all. At some point in the late nineties, the label just changed quite a bit and he focused on releasing other types of bands, bands that found themselves dwelling outside of the typical "hardcore punk" category...I digress. Oh shit, I completely forgot to finish the fucking point I was originally trying to make... the second reason being the fact that this is the only O.o.M. release that I know of, barring a compilation or two, because this was, after all, the early 90's hardcore scene.

The players on this 7" included Gus Peña (Discipline), Franklin Rhi (Shelter, 25 Ta Life, Crown of Thornz, etc.) and Harry Minas (25 Ta Life), who is playing a sweet pair of Paiste Rude 14" hi-hats in the picture of him. Additionally, check out Gus's even sweeter Discipline pants on the back cover. They also spelled Dirk Hemsath's name incorrectly on their thanks list, which is hilarious. The kind folks in Ocean of Mercy also included the month each song was written in, as well as the time of each track, in case you were making a copy of this on a cassette and were unsure if you could fit this 7" on your tape.

These three songs were recorded in August 1991 at SD50 with A.J. Novello and Noah Adams at the helm, and were mixed at the infamous Don Fury Studios. Kids who listen to This World Rejected, Bold, Flagman, Transcend, Endpoint and/or Majority of One should peep this. I'd be willing to bet a few home brews that some fans of Turning Point and probably early New Age Rec's band Drift Again would be thankful if they checked this out, too.

Oasis #1 (the matrix area of the vinyl is inscribed OA 444) / Doghouse #??? - 1992.

1) Every Second
2) That Which Is Not
3) You Left Me

 - vessel to vessel becomes dust to dust -

King For a Day 7"

I picked up this two song ep shortly after it was released by Initial in 1997, and I remember really enjoying the bands heavily college rock-influenced post-emo stylings that are to be found on this record. The first jam, "Sleeping Hero" is pretty slow and meandering, taking me on a journey once again through the woods that were behind the house I grew up in. The same spot where myself, my little brother and the other neighborhood kids would hang out in tree forts, throw itchy-balls and rather large berries we found at each other, play ice hockey on the small, nearby pond throughout every winter, play some serious fucking games of Manhunt and harassed the neighbors dogs. The flip side - "Lazy"-  is a faster, more rollicking song with lots of the vocal harmonies that KFAD would employ on many of their songs. I honestly haven't listened to these two songs in quite some time, but I'm glad to report that I still enjoy 'em. They were both included on the bands discography, Before I Go, but probably get overshadowed by some of the sweet, sweet jams that appear earlier on that compact disc (namely "Dolly Llama" and "Windows").

These dudes originally hailed from the Detroit, MI area, before eventually calling Chicago home. I actually can't confirm this information, but I CAN confirm that the Before I Go disc (also released by Initial) gives the band a Chi-town contact address, so...I'm guessing they split town. Actually, the contact addy for KFAD in the liner notes of this here record lists a Northville, Michigan address, which absolutely blew my fucking mind when I first read it because my family spent two years living in that town when I was much younger (from mid-1983 to mid-1985, specifically). Still makes me crack a proud smile to this day, as if I had something to do with them getting together and playing music. I do, however, occasionally wonder if any of these dudes and I attended the same grade school at the same time, though*. As my friends in Assfactor 4 once said, life is wacky.

I could easily recommend this 7" (and the aforementioned, subsequent cd)  to folks who dig other Midwestern bands such as Elliott or The Get Up Kids. I've never entirely been sure why to be honest, but New Brunswick's Greyhouse sometimes came to mind throughout the years while listening to King For A Day, and this is clearly a compliment to the band whose record I've posted here. This eponymous release has a pretty nifty little layout, as well as two different playing speeds. A couple of these dudes also played in the bands Cleons Down, The Story So Far and Koufax. Lots of sung vocals and melody in this one. These songs were recorded at White Room in February 1997, and this record is Initial Records #21.

1) Sleeping Hero
2) Lazy

- I don't feel alone for a change -

* When two friends and I attended Michigan Fest in March 2002, held about 20 miles away from Northville in nearby Wayne, I dropped my pals Mark and Sean off at the fest that morning and drove my 1989 Dodge Ram high-top conversion van (aka The Great Granville) back to Northville and spent about two hours walking through my old neighborhood, in addition to walking the grounds of my old elementary school. It was definitely a pretty great moment for me, one that was pretty emotional and is something I will (hopefully) never forget.