Mix: Short, Sweet, Shredding, Screamo

Here’s a very short mix of some of my favorite screamo songs. I tried to stick with some lesser known stuff, so you won’t see any Jeromes Dream or Orchid or the like in here (though I still love those bands). Enjoy!

00:00. Reversal of Man – “Get the Kid With the Sideburns” from Revolution Summer (Independence Day, 1998)

00:42. Phoenix Bodies – “Goddamn Pyramid Building Aliens” from split 7″ with Tyranny of Shaw (Init, 2004)

02:37. Frail Hands – “Dissolution” from Frail Hands (Middle-Man, 2017)

03:52. Ostraca – “Waiting for the Crash” from Last (Skeletal Lightning, 2017)

07:29. Улыбайся Ветру – “Навстречу времени” from Иллюзии (Upwind Productions, 2018)

08:58. Enkephalin – “One Punch Machine Gun” from split LP with Phoenix Bodies (Init, 2003)

11:11. Diploid – “It’s Not Safe” from Everything Went Red (Art As Catharsis, 2017)

12:49. Bucket Full of Teeth – “Capital Distracts and Imprisons” from IV (Level Plane, 2005)

14:10. Setsuko – “Child Without Brain” from The Shackles of Birth (Dog Knights Productions, 2018)

16:32. Masato Tanaka – “Mr. Bo Jangles’ Quest for Financial Solvency” from Demo (self-released, 2007)

17:23. Honeywell – “Screaming Numb Ears” from Industry (Mollycoddle, 1993)

18:50. Republic of Dreams – “Your Fahrenheit Is My Celsius” from split LP with Cloud Rat (IFB, 2012)

19:52. Maths – “Child Wandering Along the Thames” from The Fires Courting the Sea (Tangled Talk, 2015)

20:52. Arboles En Llamas – “San Expedito” from San Expedito (LaFlor, 2016)

22:06. Tristan Tzara – “Schizophrenia” from Da Ne Zaboravis (Shove, 2005)


Review: Architectonicum – Constructionis (Geräuschmanufaktur, Jun 2)

Three titans of the contemporary noise scene embark on a fascinating journey into “architectural noise wall” on Constructionis. James Sherman, Clive Henry, and Nemanja Nikolić, collectively known as Architectonicum, each contribute a wall for each of the three “Murus” movements, which are combined to form the “Construct” pieces. Accompanied by an arcane concept and manifesto postulated by Jan Warnke, Constructionis is a release steeped in interesting ideas – but setting that aside, it’s also an amazing collection of walls all on its own. Warnke’s definition calls for the development and ownership of a personal style, a “strong signature” that carries new sounds and opinions. Each musician took this to heart, presenting their unique approaches to wall building; Henry’s fine and minimal, Sherman’s guttural and throaty, Nikolić’s thick and lush. And the true power of the concept is realized with the Constructs, melding the three into impossibly heavy, rumbling, monolithic masterpieces. It’s wonderful to see a movement away from the nihilistic, detached philosophies that dominated the genre early on, and Warnke opens up new doors for wall noise becoming a collaborative, synergistic, and fun art form.

Review: Limbs Bin – One Happy World (Torn Light, Jun 5)

The new LP from Limbs Bin, a.k.a. Josh Landes of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, hurls out 49 chunks of blown-out, electronic noisecore in less than fifteen minutes. Crafting brutal blasts with only his voice, a maxed-out drum machine, and waves upon waves of piercing noise, Landes’ formula is simple but entirely original – and infectious. Each minuscule track is more ferocious than the last, oftentimes consisting only of a strident wash of feedback and the track’s title screamed over a distorted blast beat. Some of the longer stretches of these short pieces seemed very repetitive at first, but the advice I’d give is that gapless playback is key here; instead of a bunch of songs that sound the same, it becomes more of a continuous, pounding, visceral assault on the eardrums. The longer tracks such as “King of the World” are a refreshing break from the madness but are no less crushing; on these, Landes adopts a style resembling power electronics, his throaty shouts and the backing noise building tension until the dam breaks and the blasts return. I hope it doesn’t take much convincing for you to decide that One Happy World is worth your time, as it’s only thirteen minutes…but it also has much more to offer than many albums I’ve heard this year that are three times its length.

Review: Eartheater – Irisiri (PAN, Jun 8)

Irisiri opens with a delicate call-and-response, accelerating harp arpeggios trading off with gurgling electronics in a delicate game of musical tag. When Alexandra Drewchin’s soft yet subtly powerful voice emerges, the true potential of Irisiris sonic palette is realized. Drewchin commands a wide range of sounds throughout the record, both synthesized and acoustic, but none of the songs ever feel bombastic or overstuffed. Instead, the fragile glitches and sampled minutiae flit and flutter around each other, creating beautiful collages and harmonies that dissolve as soon as you notice them. The emotional and tonal vividity of these abstract compositions are pretty amazing, and I end up feeling uneasy and apprehensive without ever really knowing why. This gives Irisiri both immediacy and depth; strange choices such as the harrowing, bizarre speech clips used on “Inhale Baby” and the juxtaposition of freely strummed harp with a muffled techno beat on “Curtains” instantly throw the listener off and put them on edge, but their oddness motivates further exploration. For this reason, I’m hesitant to draw too many conclusions about Irisiri so soon after its release; but for now I can confidently say I love it.

Review: Zeal and Ardor – Stranger Fruit (Radicalis, Jun 8)

Zeal and Ardor’s previous album, Devil Is Fine, was an interesting experiment. The unique blend of soulful spiritual and work song inspired vocals with melodic black metal sounds impossible, but the NY-based ensemble pulled it off much better than you’d imagine; it just didn’t result in a tremendously enjoyable album. Stranger Fruit, however, is. It is immediately clear that the stylistic elements are better integrated, whereas on Devil Is Fine they seemed to just be placed next to each other. The songwriting is absolutely incredible, keeping with the shorter durations which works well. “Intro” succeeds in its titular task, melding wordless soulful humming with a metal break that immediately reveals what listeners are in for. “Don’t You Dare,” an early highlight, is a perfect encapsulation of what makes Stranger Fruit so great. The emotion and, erm, zeal of the bluesier parts is continued during the blasting, rather than abandoned, and it results in some of the most exhilarating black metal I have heard in a long time. “Coagula” is another success, again demonstrating the power of the hybrid of styles as throaty syllables are bolstered by palm muted guitar thuds and pounding drums. At 16 tracks, Stranger Fruits still feels too short, but less in a detracting way and more of a holy shit I can’t wait to listen to this again sort of way. I’m truly excited about how great this record is.

Review: Tsembla – The Hole in the Landscape (NNA, May 25)

Humanity doesn’t deserve the Finnish folk scene. I can’t think of a single other milieu that can compete with the amount of creativity, originality, and experimentation that is spawned from this group of wonderful artists and musicians. Its latest contribution, The Hole in the Landscape out on NNA Tapes, is consistent with the electronic-heavy collage works on related project Kemialliset Ystävät’s most recent releases. Tsembla (Marja Johansson) harnesses an arsenal of woozy electroacoustic sound elements that lazily bounce and roll with loose, playful rhythm. The songs feel free and unrestrained but don’t overstay their welcome; Johansson seems to fuse natural expansion and contraction with a modest amount of explicit composition, creating tracks that meander with an end in sight. The Hole in the Landscape marries the conventional and unconventional in a disarming way; penultimate track “Phantom Limbs” feels like a pop song, short and sweet and catchy, but its hooks and verses are instead composed of manipulated acoustic sounds, electronic glitches, and spectral crackles. It’s because of this that Johansson’s newest reaches such a wide audience, and for some of those people (including me) it’ll be exactly what they need.

Review: Singular – Singular (self-released, Apr 20)

On his first official studio release, one man band Singular (a.k.a. Mierul) stirs up an inferno of fiery blackened emo-violence. The self-titled EP is short but furious and journeys through a plethora of stylistic experiments – all of which succeed in one way or another. From the fast-paced hardcore romps of “Land of the Dead” and “Wayang” to the repetitive build-ups of “アニダ” and the pounding black metal of “Scophobia,” there doesn’t seem to be a very specific sound in mind, but Singular‘s sprawling explorations don’t show any weakness. The purpose of the guests is unclear, because Mierul is obviously capable of handling these songs on his own, and one of the songs might have even been better off without them – though I recognize that not everyone despises whiny post-hardcore vocals as much as I do. The production is fittingly dense and dark, but seems overblown to the point of tearing in the higher dynamic ranges. It’s never enough to reduce my enjoyment (or my headbanging) though, and I’m really just being nitpicky here; Singular is an incredible debut effort, and the fact that it is mostly the work of only one musician is even more so.