Track of the Week: Slime City – You And Everybody That You Love Will One Day Die

On May 6, 1988, a schlock horror spectacle was released by the name of Slime City, a gory, gross-out flick that this Glaswegian troupe have lifted their namesake from. It can be assured that they definitely weren’t named after Nickelodeon’s Slime City, that much we’re certain of. As stated in a synopsis, one of the perceived protagonists drinks an unusual liquid which gradually erodes and transforms his body into that of a slime creature. Next time your occultist neighbours offer you wine made by a dead father who also happened to be an alchemist, I wouldn’t. Anyway, it is later discovered that the only way for this creature to revert back to its original human form is to commit a murderous act, thus leading to an eventual discovery of a massacre that took place involving this creature and the dead father attempting to transfigure himself through his host. Fitting really, that a trio of existentialist punk upstarts should pen this track over 20 years after the film’s release, although death by slime creature probably wasn’t what they had in mind initially. That, and The Jam never really wrote any songs about death in their ten year tenure.

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Credit: Stephen McLeod Blythe of allmyfriendsareJPEGS.com

A similar parallel could also be drawn with the demise of We Are The Physics, whom Slime City descended from, also spanning a decade long career, yet their demise was ultimately far more entertaining than The Jam’s was. The reason Weller and company are repeatedly name checked here, there’s an authority and swagger in the acoustic guitar and vocals, before the electric guitar hits the overdrive switch, and interspersed throughout that harkens back to the husky, fresh-faced mod at arguably his songwriting peak. Not to mention a distinct, poignant poetic license near the song’s climax that could rival his barbed prose. Any other resemblance to The Jam is swiftly dashed as Slime City are ultimately a fairly unique beast in terms of their sound, glances and snippets echoing former bands of new wave and punk past, but absorbed and meshed together so finely, it becomes virtually indistinguishable. Much like the transformation in the movie they’re named after.

You And Everybody… ironically is led in by a choir, inside that angelic reckoning, a voice acting as gatekeeper of that grandiose barrier asking you, the listener, why must your day-to-day inflict such malaise upon you. That is then refrained in mono briefly, in true troubadour fashion, before stereo engages, electric guitar roars with distortion, and that fleeting moment of ascending to the heavens, is sent rocketing catastrophically back to reality. Although the message is categorically transparent from the song’s title, the mantra is pelted and reprised with such glee, you can’t help but be bowled over by the charm of it all. Verses duel between a restrained, reasoned argument, gentler guitar chords underslung to accompany, and more exuberant chaos, with nuance put to bed, and slogans yelled in unison, power chords and punk snarl pressed hard into your face as they’re performed. Their chorus however, springs to life as a triumphant celebration of all that is brilliant about British guitar music, the scale utilised for its hook simply unceremoniously catchy and any attempt to beat it out of your head will prove futile. The extra prong of ‘Cling to anything,’ on this hook, only makes it that much tougher to release, so you are wished luck with that one. Those three minutes do absolutely hurtle along, with a wry momentary breakdown to emphasise the unpredictable nature of never knowing when your time will elapse, Windows XP error sound to boot, sandwiched near enough dead centre of the song. One other such highlight is the previously aforementioned bridge, where some exceptionally written and executed lyrics swatch maybe just one glimmer of hope, before joyfully snatching it away once again with the inevitability of our all one true fate. No band in recent memory could honestly make death sound like so much fun.

As self-depreciating as they are, Slime City know exactly what they are doing; steadily producing a stream of witty, yet Fort Knox-tight singles that deserve to be infamously infectious, and You And Everyone… is their current pinnacle. I defy anyone to find a better hook this year. Paced to perfection, thought-provoking yet riotous and rapturous in equal measure, and from a band still very much in their infancy, here’s hoping the Barrowlands might not be far away after all for them.

All of Slime City’s music can be located on Bandcamp and all good reputable retailers, whilst they do have a Bigcartel store, they seem to be popular lads and merchandise disappears quickly from there. They tour very frequently, so they will absolutely be in a venue near you soon too.

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Live Bite – Kowloon Walled City/Town Portal/Wren/Mother – The Underworld, 19/07/19

Entering London and the musical heartbeat of Camden, it’s clear that Friday night hasn’t taken full effect yet, in the twilight moments of rush hour traffic, the hubbub outside Camden Town station breathes quiet. Overcast skies threaten ahead, but it stays dry for now. A perfect, ominous climate for the music that awaited around the corner.

I enter the Underworld only a few minutes after Belgium’s Mother take the stage, only after security nearly forgets to hand my ticket back over. There’s some inaudible whispering every once in a while, but there’s a constant ebb and flow of sludge-soaked noise, with terrifying roars tearing through frenzied and impactful guitarwork. Pace switches often, looping numerous layers of guitar, building melodies inside the unstoppable tides to what was a fascinating narrative. The trio ends on a small section of finely pronounced ambience and tranquility, and quell what was a raucous storm for twenty or so minutes. The early show did harm the performance admittedly, but they were utterly mesmerising from beginning to end. In the right circumstances, I’m sure this performance would crush every venue they set foot in. Out of the 10 or so people here, they absolutely made a fan out of me.

Conversely, there’s nothing pretty about Wren, and thankfully the Underworld starts to fill as they take the stage. Being descendants of the unstoppable Holy Roar records, ought to give you some indication of what was about to transpire. Ambient dissonance is instead transitioned into half an hour of primal intensity; an avalanche of concrete-pounding, bloody-knuckled riffs and nerve-shredding screams seemingly played to test limits of ear drums endurance. Imagine your loved ones being cast under the throes of perdition, and that drifts somewhere close to the staggering show of strength on display. Only dulling drones and sharp sustains broke the unrelenting nature of their performance. Although marred by some minute annoyances by mildly inattentive tech crew, their Torche on steroids-inspired onslaught is received well by those desperately trying not to be flattened.

Copenhagen’s Town Portal follows, only then realisation setting in the international flavour of this night, and the most controlled noise barrage yet is what emerges. Magistrates of math-tinged dynamic instrumentals, there’s moments of melodic magic and deeply gratifying groove over compelling syncopated beats which the brain struggled to absorb whether it was truly 4/4 or not, but their own technical intricacies united for some monstrous beatdowns that made obvious why they were on the bill. They were also the first band to engage the crowd thus far, that fabled endearing Scandinavian hospitality shining through their laser-focused performance. However you sought to define or catergorise this masterful performance, which physical viewing made mandatory to capture the real extent of their craft, you couldn’t peel yourself away.

You could somewhat ponder whether we were going to get our first glimpse of new music since 2015, teasing being in the studio at the beginning of the year. Regardless if that question were to be answered, Kowloon Walled City casually finish setting up, and proceed to leather and unequivocally eviscerate all onlookers with their meditated, sludge-submerged, post-hardcore dirges. At any point in their hour-long tenure, you could never tell if the Underworld felt mere moments away from collapse, the magnitude of force simply incalculable from Jon and Scott’s two-pronged guitar attack and Ian’s impossibly dense bass tone. Their Grievances-era tracks sting salient, the latter part of Your Best Years nearing driving me to tears, and the Container Ships tracks, comprising over half the setlist, rile up the crowd, the visceral 50s Dad and Wrong Side of History in particular erupting with a ferocity I’ve seen few live bands compete with. They also drag up Diabetic Feet from their now oft overlooked debut, and that apocalyptic bass grumble at the inset was the closest the Underworld came to devolving into anarchy. And intentional or not, those ravenous few stood beside me beckoned them back for a particularly bone-rattling rendition of Cornerstone before finally departing the stage. Kowloon Walled City just compose astonishing requiems, coursing with the emotional disparity of seething catharsis and agonising loss, that as their music evolves, stretches further and further untouchable.

While perhaps a fraction less as triumphant as their UK debut in 2016, co-headlining with Minsk, they sure as hell solidify their status to stride as one of the best bands on the planet, not just on record, but in a live environment, comfortably.

Setlist:

You Don’t Have Cancer
Wrong Side Of History
White Walls
Your Best Years
50s Dad
Splicing
The Pressure Keeps Me Alive
Diabetic Feet
Container Ships
Cornerstone

MOTHER

http://www.facebook.com/thisismotherspeaking

WREN

http://www.facebook.com/disciplesofwren
http://www.twitter.com/disciplesofwren
disciplesofwren.bandcamp.com

TOWN PORTAL

http://www.facebook.com/townportalband
townportal.bandcamp.com

KOWLOON WALLED CITY

inthewalledcity.com
http://www.facebook.com/kowloonwalledcity
http://www.twitter.com/KowloonWalled
kowloonwalledcity.bandcamp.com

THE SOUNDSHARK

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Track of the Week: Gutlocker – Deeper Underground

If you were an advocate for Woking being a vibrant cultural metropolis, it may be understandable to warrant a raised eyebrow or two. While the community of Woking is certainly a explosion of diversity in the best sense of the term, visually, half the town is caked in rubble due to a massive scale rejuvenation project currently ongoing. Yes, while this Surrey terminal serves as the spiritual home of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, (perhaps fitting because of the reconstruction), the headquarters of the World Wildlife Foundation, and has been the birthplace of many of this country’s contemporary cultural heroes, it doesn’t quite have the looks to match its significance and contribution to the arts… yet. Aesthetics aside, Woking musically has given us national treasures like The Jam and Status Quo, and is responsible for recent trailblazers like Palm Reader and Employed To Serve. That said, the notion of tearing everything down and buiding it up stronger, bigger and better, suits fellow Woking noise merchants Gutlocker, and their gargantuanly proportioned cover of Jamiroquai’s Deeper Underground lifted from the Godzilla soundtrack of 1998. After all, this is a band that wrote a song about Woking called Welcome To Fucktown.

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Leading in with heavy bass tones and the rings of guitar distortion, it sets the ominous tone of the original perfectly, nailing the synth’s foreboding ambience, and injecting their own sense of dread. Those cymbal taps underneath too twist the screws of tension to come. We don’t quite get the grandiose orchestra-esque notes before the first verse, as much as controlled chord rips to conclude the introduction go, but when frontman Craig McBrearty projects his beginning almighty scream, it serves the catalyst for a rip-roaring thrill ride. The famous groove that helped catapult Jay Kay and crew to the top of the UK charts is faithfully recreated, but undeniably grittier and oozing machismo that surpasses the crystal clean, subdued production of its progenitor. A subtle, impressive improvement is the volley of machine-gun style bass kicks that accompany this groove also, driving that sheer raw energy into a speeding freight train human might has no hope of stopping.

Delivered at an increased velocity, the soulful melody that once was is eviscerated with piercing shrieks still enunciating fantastically at speed, arguably with a faster flow that could embarrass many of hip-hop’s finest, which transforms into this formidable bark hurtling into the chorus, exhibiting strengths in Craig’s vocal abilities that are eye-opening to say the least. And the overall tone of that chorus couldn’t be further from the original’s minimal funk, sharing more in common with trying to survive the playground of a Leatherface or Jigsaw Killer-type onslaught; intense, crazed, and frightening. Fearing moments where it could slip into campy aggression, Gutlocker keep the bulldozer in high gear, leading to an endlessly satisfying solo bassline, the quieter spoken word beneath somehow unnervingly more sinister than the imposing screams already experienced, left to grind away the glimpse of an escape before certain doom encroaches on us all. Doom it certainly becomes, in which slowing the chorus groove down invokes the spirit of Sabbath, yet the climax teters more on the side of a forceful pummeling, than chatting with the Grim Reefer.

If a record label sat down with Randy Blythe and Dimebag Darrell to ask them to tackle famous soundtracks from the late 90’s, this could’ve been the result. Gutlocker’s take on Deeper Underground is inspired, befitting of their energetic, often seismic presence, and at the expense of some brawn, amp up the atmosphere to morph a record-selling series of catchy hooks, into a horror fetishist’s album collection. Side by side, their frankly hilarious music video with Outright Resistance’s Michael ‘Grandad’ Worsley stealing the show as… uh… Godzilla, shows that there is humanity and humor in their craft, no matter how dark or deep into the abyss of the soul Gutlocker are willing to dive inside.

 

Deeper Underground is out now on your favourite streaming services and all respectable music retailers. Their previous EP Cry Havoc! and all of their merchandise can be obtained via their Bandcamp. Gutlocker are stalwarts of the UK metal scene and tour regularly so keep an eye closely on their social media for upcoming dates, or bring them to you if you’re that way inclined.

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Keith Flint And Me

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I will never ever forget the day I first encountered Keith Flint. It was a memory so vivid, so powerful at such a young age, that it will stay with me forever. I was around four, maybe five years old, when my mum had MTV on, and the music video for Breathe came on. She’d bought Fat of the Land around this time, and encouraged me to watch it, or at least listen. Being at that age where so much is impressionable on a young boy, that image of a demonic looking, and sounding Keith Flint, with the purple and green spikes adorned either side of his head, was absolutely terrifying. The video was played so regularly, it wouldn’t let me erase it from my mind. And like the best kind of hypnosis, after enough exposure, I started to like it. Instead of quivering in fear or leaving the room when it came on, I started to embrace it, and that state of alarm soon turned to joy every time it came back into rotation, the volume edging that bit louder every single time that beginning hook grumbled in.

God knows how many times I must’ve watched that music video, trying to analyse and break down all the imagery contained inside that dilapidated apartment. It’s truly a fascinating watch, not least because of Keith Flint’s flailing, and warped punk snarl, ensuring it became an everlasting memory, but it’s what became my gateway into The Prodigy.

Firestarter, of course, also left an impression on me too, that unmistakable nihilistic energy being translated by the innocence of a five year old child, who had no conceivable idea what anything Keith said meant, and the transformation of the chorus from arson into UFOs, sometimes flatulence, being one of my mum’s fondest memories of me as a child. Fat of The Land was always massively influential on me, even if I wasn’t really all that into music at the time. But for every new Prodigy song I discovered in that time, past and present, I always saw the music video for, and I’d always tried to copy how Keith danced, how they all danced for that matter, so if anything I’ll always owe him an indirect debt for any coherent ability I have for moving my body to a high-tempo rhythm. Out of Space and No Good especially. That was mostly in my infancy. A decade or so on, that connection got more personal.

Largely ignoring everything that happened with Always Outnumbered…, though not without its own merits, to date the only Prodigy album I actually own (although likely to change in the future) is Invaders Must Die. This album was on heavy rotation on my stereo after it came out, and came about a time when there was a lot of transitions in my life, namely finishing up high school and beginning to change things about my appearance, like hair colour, Keith being the very first person I ever saw with abnormal hair colour. Front to back this album was full of gems, and something always struck me about Run With The Wolves, not just because it’s solely Keith on vocal duty, and the drums recorded by Dave Grohl who may be my favourite human being ever, but there was this degree of authenticity amongst the anarchy. Keith’s sneer compliments the abrasive modular synths perfectly, the thunderous yet technical live drums propelling it far beyond album filler, and I fully believe this slice of electro-punk madness, no matter how iconic Firestarter and Breathe are, is his finest moment and the song he was meant to sing.

Going back to Breathe again for a moment, I was fortunate enough to see The Prodigy on two occasions. Their esteemed Warrior’s Dance Festival show at Milton Keynes Bowl in 2010, and at Sonisphere in 2014. For Warrior’s Dance Festival, my hair was dyed completely blue, in a bright UV yellow t-shirt, in a crowd of 65,000 people and I still managed to stand out. But in that moment of the opening notes of Breathe playing out into a sold-out ram packed amphitheatre, the rapture of being surrounded by tens of thousands bellowing out that chorus is unlike many experiences I’ve ever had before. It’s certainly the loudest I remember. I watched footage back of that moment recently and it gave me goosebumps. Hearing Keith’s snarls in the flesh resonates as strongly and vividly, as it did well over a decade ago on MTV. The Sonisphere performance is a lot more hazy in my recollection, but the MK Bowl show is without doubt one of my favourite live shows I have ever attended.

Since then, the new Prodigy releases always piqued my interest, and I lifted the songs I enjoyed from the two new albums since Invaders Must Die, some became songs I played in DJ sets, but I can’t deny I wasn’t as invested in them as heavily. I still haven’t worked out why to this day.

The day Keith Flint died, I was distraught. I cried a lot. I cried even more when his death was ruled a suicide. It didn’t make sense to me because I’ve always associated the music of The Prodigy to periods of elation in my life, and this year is already becoming one of my better years after the last 18 months of non-stop turbulence and uncertainties. The fact his irreplaceable voice, and larger than life stage persona no longer exists on this planet, nor will make any more appearances is a pill I’m struggling to swallow. Not to cast shadows on any other recent tragedies, but an illustration to give you an idea of how crushing an effect this has had on me; Chester Bennington’s death was like losing a best friend at one of the most difficult points of my life. The death of Keith Flint is like losing a close family member, someone whose presence has been felt consistently throughout my life, that their musical contributions have been so ingrained into who I was, and who I’ve become, from a very young age. This news hurt, it still hurts, and it feels like an important part of my soul was extinguished on that dreadful day.

Almost since day one, The Prodigy has had a profound impact on my life, and to be in the knowledge that its heart will never beat again, leaves me in perpetual sorrow.

Thank you Keith.

Rest in peace.

It’s OK to ask for help. If you want someone to talk to, or someone to listen, please call Samaritans, or seek your local mental health charity. There is always someone willing to hear you out. Never suffer in silence.

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Mr.Kitty Embraces Death Like Never Before, On Album Number Seven, Ephemeral

There has never been a time where the conversation about mental health, needs to be louder. Any loss of life is awful, and taking the matter into your own hands will never be any less tragic. But, with the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and now, the loss of Keith Flint, already very raw in the hearts and minds of musicians and fans alike, it is time to stop trivialising the matter of suicide and take affirmative action, not as a society, but as fellow human beings. Forrest LaMaire aka Mr.Kitty understands the value of this conversation, and with his seventh release Ephemeral, the exact value of this conversation becomes all the more evident. Continue reading

Introducing: 00000000

Building intrigue around a band or an artist certainly has become an artform nowadays, with more and more meticulously planned attempts sought after to challenge tried and tested marketing campaigns and traditions. A highly effective method to increase ‘buzz’ around a band is to strive for as an anonymous presence as possible and let the music do the talking. What can make a difference is how far musicians are really willing to push that boundary. We can talk about groups like Sleep Token, and until recently Ghost, who have formed their identity with a grand narrative to accompany their music, and it kept us guessing who were the musicians behind the masks, while marvelling at the work laid before us. 00000000 might be taking it that extra step further.

At face value, 00000000 is fast muted alternated strumming in guitar tablature, means nothing in binary, the precise time at the strike of midnight, and the number of life points both players would have left in a game of Yu-Gi-Oh, if both players drew the game. Or four fat ladies if you put all the zeroes together, if bingo is your bag. Their members have no publicised names or pseudonyms, music no defined genre traits and their public bio is illustrated by an excerpt from the dialogue of David disconnecting HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Their shows are only identified by a date and a postcode, which is a neat little detail in locating them, but any other detail about said shows are extracts from science fiction, cinema, and philosophers. The breadcrumbs are apparent, but seem to follow no clear cognitive fashion, and as such, if the band truly wished to keep themselves under wraps, their mission is succeeding.

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Thankfully, the question about what kind of musical calibre dwells inside the mystery is one that is answered, upon the release of the group’s Star Lane / Star City EP. With the four tracks, including a similarly urgent interpretation of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place, the members of 00000000 perform, in the loosest sense, an engulfing brand of shoegaze-tinged indie rock, which can explode into heady periods of overwhelmingly emotional noise, almost as if Arcade Fire and Brand New started butting heads with one another. Constellations swirls with a sense of melancholy cheer, desperate wails and incandescent guitar, pit against rapid ticking of hi-hat and sombre piano, both skins and keys later pounded in unison, as its crescendo draws nearer. Once at its apex, that intensity never lets off, captivating as it is clamorous. As gateways go, this is an exceptional vantage point into what this group are capable of. Explore, though the shortest affair featured, begins in a jazz-like time signature, the offbeat cymbal taps and trio of snare hits offset by an almost Eastern-sounding chord progression and is arguably less excitable vocally, despite retaining much of that fervour felt before. If anything, it says something about their versatility, still being able to grasp at their vast sonic capacity in half the space of time, but also teasing glimpses of post-rock influences, a tremolo or two tucked inside, another tool to deploy if required. Lastly, Acid Burn tinkers with delay and darkened spoken word, post-punk, almost gothic-like in nature, which metamorphoses into sharp streaks of lead guitar and the kind of anguished vocals that sparks that Brand New comparison, back into shadow with just the prominent grumbles of bass for company. Cleverly, that spike in volume no doubt resembles the focal acid burn, at first unsuspecting, then becoming fiery, and distressing, until either treated or the damage is done, transitioning back to the quieter dynamic afterward.

All this adds up to the revelation, is that 00000000 are envoys of rejecting commodity, defying the throwaway tendency of music in the digital age, by tactically giving a willing audience both musical style and substance, in a frankly inexpressible hurricane of aural flavours that engages your brain, as well as exhilarates it.

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http://www.facebook.com/00000000music
http://www.00000000music.com

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20 Bands And Artists With New Music in 2019 You Should Keep An Eye On

By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.

Continue reading