I’m a neurotic writer at the best of times, and I often end up tinkering with my writing for so long that I lose sight of what I originally wanted to say. I also sometimes avoid writing about albums I’ve really enjoyed because I don’t have time for an in-depth review. In order to combat both those issues, I’m enacting a First Pass series here at Six Noises. Expect short and entirely unedited commentaries on music that’s caught my ear.
The rule I’ve set myself is that I can listen to the music I’m covering as much as I like, but I’m only allowed one pass writing about it – and there’s no going back and tweaking anything at all. Call it an experiment to try to catch up on some great music and capture my initial impressions, with endless typos included for free.
First Pass: #1.
Here we go, the very first pass at First Pass. The albums below are mostly New Zealand releases I’d had marked down to write about but never found the time. They’re all great. There’s also a couple of new releases that turned up on Bandcamp this past week, and I guess most the of the stuff I write about will be coming from Bandcamp’s pages. That’s because I seek out new music there most of all. And I like to provide a link for you to listen to as well.
Okay, no cheating allowed. Just a bunch of spontaneous blurbs about some great music. Grammar nerds, I’d suggest you look away now. Everyone else, I hope you find some new tunes to enjoy.
I love a band that just says, “fuck genre”. Auckland, New Zealand outfit sere do exactly that. The band defies any kind of easy categorization, and even trying to accurately describe what sere have cooked up on their self-titled 12” debut is a real head-scratcher. That said, not knowing how to do something hasn’t stopped me from making plenty of terribly misguided mistakes in my life. So I’ll take a punt on listing the ingredients in sere’s sound.
There’s pedal-heavy, blown-out, and mind-melting riffs. And a woozy mix of echoing vocals, eclectic percussion, and rumbling bass too. A whole heap of other psych(o)delic influences are added into that brew as well. Then it’s all stirred vigorously and baked at 420° until it sounds something like a doom-punk version of Spacemen 3 (from a parallel universe) simultaneously covering “Sister Ray”, “Only Shallow” and “D-Rider”.
That kind of works(ish).
Ultimately, it’s probably best if you enjoy loud, weird, or wigged-out music that you just explore sere’s debut LP yourself. “New Path” is a 13-minute masterclass in space-guitar madness. “Hazy” is both utterly sublime and crooked. And there’s a thoroughly twisted Roxy Music cover to enjoy as well. (Note: I know I promised typos with these First Pass posts, but I swear sere’s name is actually written entirely in lowercase. All other typos are exclusively mine.)
Dunedin punk outfit Slitzkrieg posted their half of the band’s upcoming split cassette with likeminded scoundrels Ripfacer on Bandcamp earlier this year. I have no idea where the Ripfacer half of that split is – I don’t think Ripfacer have an online presence – and I also don’t know when the split cassette is actually going to see the light of day. However, what I can confirm is that Slitzkrieg’s half of that tape features four blasts of ultra-distorted basement hardcore that’s raw, filthy and loads of pissed-off fun.
Fans of noxious noise might also like to sample Humanoid Shell’s Disgustation. Humanoid Shell features Slitzkrieg guitarist Emma (on bass and vocals) and Slitzkrieg’s drummer Nathan (who also sings while banging things here). Like Slitzkrieg, Humanoid Shell also deal in abrasive and unapologetically in-your-face punk. But there’s more of a bass-heavy powerviolence kick to be heard/experienced on Disgustation’s short ‘n’ sharp blasts of chaos.
Like Slitzkrieg and Humanoid Shell above, Dunedin punks God Awful also have “Shit Zealand’s” Carpet Dungeon Recordings banner hanging over their heads. Unsurprisingly, that also means God Awful happen to specialise in making a wholly obnoxious (i.e. wonderful) racket. The band’s ugly snarl comes with a hefty helping of blackened vitriol, and a distorted metallic buzz to really gnaw at your nerves. The band’s Unexpected Bile album was released at the beginning of 2016 – although I only stumbled on it recently – and if you’re looking for some bleeding-raw punk that’s dripping with acid and ‘tude you should check out God Awful forthwith. Loads of ferocious fun.
Life is Hate’s Demo July 2016 was recorded live (using four microphones) at the band’s fifth practice. It sounds like it too. In fact, for folks who like a little studio polish or audio clarity, Demo July 2016 would be their worst fucking nightmare. Personally, that’s an absolute bonus for me. Punk is supposed to be provocative. And I happen to love lo-fi and ear-splitting punk (à la Krömosom and kin) that sounds like it’s going to implode at any second. That said, there’s no denying that it would be great to hear Life is Hate record their whirlwind of D-beat and noise punk with a slight step up in the production values. But, as it stands, the ultra-harsh pandemonium on Demo July 2016 captures a lot of raw energy and spirit. Something that stepping into a swanky studio usually takes away.
Sinistrous Diabolus is an indisputable master when it comes to crafting thoroughly monstrous and engulfing dirges, and the Christchurch, New Zealand-based band recently uploaded another all-encompassing release, Monolith III / V, onto their Bandcamp page. Monolith III / V has apparently been lurking in Sinistrous Diabolus’ vaults for the past six years, and it’s magnificently gruelling journey overall. The 22-minute requiem sees the bleakest death and doom metal scoured to its bones, and then fleshed out by dark and droning atmospheric effects. Like all Sinistrous Diabolus tracks, Monolith III / V sounds massive and cavernous, and it’s heavy as Hell in musical and emotional terms. Yet another spirit-crushing success. No one does doom and gloom like Sinistrous Diabolus.
Can we all just pause and gaze in wonder at the glorious cover art of Unsanitary Napkin’s self-titled debut. Not only does that artwork offer an on-point critique of the political insanity this year has brought, it also perfectly captures the feminist standpoint and the musical tone of Wellington-based Unsanitary Napkin. The band’s debut is spiky and catchy – full of jagged ‘ardcore hooks – and the album’s contents remind me a lot of the energy and passion that fuelled so much great music released in the early years of the Riot grrrl movement back in the early ’90s. (Yeah … I really am that old.) Unsanitary Napkin was recorded and mixed at Wellington’s Scumbag College studio, and then released by NZ punk label Zero Style (always a great combination in my book), and the EP features perfect quick-fire punk made for repeated listening.
If you’re a fan of bands like The Cramps, The Fuzztones, or even more mainstream roots rockers like The Stray Cats, then Tigers of the Sea’s new EP, Cut and Run, might well hit the sweet spot too. Cut and Run mixes rockabilly, psychobilly, garage and surf rock, and it’s all a groovy and often ghoulishly sexy brew. There’s certainly a seductive darkness to tracks like “That’s Where You’ll Find Me”, “Creepy Dance” and “Dead Sea”. But, of course, that darkness will have you shakin’ your ass rather than quaking in your boots. Cut and Run rips along with good ol’ sleazy punk and bare bones riffin’, and that cover art by Wellington artist Xoe Hall is pretty rad too. Dig it, man.
Auckland outfit Master Blaster deal in turbocharged hardcore. (Much like the band’s precursor outfit, the late and lamented Shitripper, did.) Master Blaster’s self-titled demo was released back in 2015, and it barrelled past leaving a sonic fucking boom in its wake. The band’s recent(ish) Doomsday EP features the exact same blink-or-you’ll–miss-it punk rock, and everything on the EP is delivered via hard-hitting and savage salvos. If concussive hardcore appeals, and you’re a fan of digital media, then get downloading immediately. But if you’re the kind of person who likes a little something more tangible, then the good news is that Master Blaster have recently announced upcoming dates around New Zealand to celebrate the 7″ release of their Doomsday EP. (I’ll make sure to post when the 7″ is out on Six Noises’ Facebook page, and update this link too.)
If you don’t live in New Zealand, or you aren’t keeping a close eye on politics in the South Pacific, then I guess the guy on the cover of Yung Nat$’s New Zealand’s Finest album will simply look like a random idiot captured mid-gulp. Well, you’d be right for guessing that he’s an idiot, but he also happens to be New Zealand’s current prime minister, and Yung Nat$ moniker pokes fun at the youth supporters of his conservative political party. That mischievous mix of having fun while making a serious point sums up Yung Nat$’s perfectly. New Zealand’s Finest features dual shouted/screamed/snotty vocals, and plenty of scything guitars and riotous meltdowns. But New Zealand’s Finest also features pop hooks buried its sneering hardcore, and it has catchy passages that really remind me of Canadian crew Fucked Up at their rawest.