VANIISH go goth and beyond on debut album, Memory Work!

PromoImage (11)

It’s hard to describe VANIISH to someone who hasn’t heard them before. If She Wants Revenge went the way they should have, if I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness actually recorded a follow up to their stunning debut, if The Soft Moon were a tad less mechanical, If Bauhaus put out an album in 2014….

Does that help? Are you getting the feels? Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?

Anywho, former member of aforementioned The Soft Moon (As well as Wax Idols and Veil Veil Vanish) Keven Tecon is back after some tumultuous times with VANIISH ready to fulfill all of your gothed out musical hopes and dreams in the year of our lord 2014.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, VANIISH prove to not be a one trick pony on debut album,  Memory Work. Tracks like “Succession” and “Kaleidoscoped” easily exemplify how VANIISH stray from the pack with dense, lush songwriting similar to The Cure, who are known for easily navigating between the dark recesses to a sunny disposition from album to album. Just listen to the chorus of “Memory Work” and the bright, shimmering synths as Tecon anguishes “Nothing to remember/Nothing to forget” for proof of that.

Speaking of the title track, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” permeates throughout setting this one up as this generations new goth anthem with its throbbing beats and sinister air. If “Memory Work” is your speed then try “Fragment/Fatigue” next which sees Nick Ott playing a nasty snare echoed by Tecon and guitarist/keyboardist Adam Beck’s sexy guitars and synths. As for the low end in VANIISH, Amy Rosenoff provides the driving bass lines on Memory Work especially during the bombastic “Search And Replace” and the serene grooves of  “Cold Fascination”.

Memory Work is out on now through Metropolis Records. Get your limited edition vinyl copy here and a less limited (but still equally awesome) digital copy here.

On third LP it’s anything but Luck for Tom Vek!


On Luck, Tom Vek’s third long player, the London-based artist manages to effortlessly connect the dots between all of his projects and previous albums to make an album that’s both cohesive and progressive.

Maybe it’s to be expected on a Tom Vek LP, but first track “How Am I Meant To Know” like on predecessors (“Hold Your Hand” on Leisure Seizure, “C-C (You Set The Fire In Me)” on We Have Sound) is just jarring and discordant. It could be a test by Vek on each outing: if you can survive this track then you’re prepared for the rest. If you can survive those first 3-4 minutes without skipping then you’re in for a treat….and honestly, to truly experience any album these days you have to listen all the way through.

“Sherman (Animals In The Jungle)” is next and is a hybrid of Vek’s collaboration with DJ Shadow in 2011 with his token sound adding more post punk guitar to the electronic aspects with a low end that just constantly grooves. Elsewhere, the clothing designer and app-innovator continues to expand musically on tracks like “Ton Of Bricks” that starts with a singular synth line until the guitars and percussion rise to a crescendo turning the song into a futuristic version of The Police.

Throughout Luck, though, there’s not one misstep. From “Broke”, which takes beats not unlike those found on We Have Sound to the next level, to the guitar-driven/bass heavy drone of “A Mistake” Vek has produced yet another masterpiece that manages to top his earlier work.

Other highlights (But really, each track is its own highlight) include “The Tongue Avoids The Teeth”, another jangly guitar-driven anthem with a smooth beat, and “Pushing Your Luck” which builds to an unbelievable jam led by Vek’s uncanny vocal delivery.

Luck is out today overseas and on June 10th in North America through Moshi Moshi Records. Pre-orders are available here, here, and here.

What’s in a name? Beastmilk is here to rock your world!


Anything Deathwish Inc or GodCity/Kurt Ballou related immediately piques my interest. Unfortunately, the fact that this one slipped through the cracks and I found out about Beastmilk through a Pantera anniversary issue of Revolver is entirely on me.

Yep, the name is gonna throw you: What kind of music is this? Are they serious? I’m telling you, though, look past the name and go for the meat and potatoes which is, of course, the music!

These Finnish former death metallers have crafted an album that puts Matt Skiba and Alkaline Trio to shame. Add some epic guitar ferocity in there along with some early Danzig and a small helping of Bauhaus for a better view of the “beast” that is Beastmilk.

But man oh man, these songs! “The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls” is an anthem and a half…you know, the kind of song that you just feel deep in your bones and makes you scream along at the top of your lungs during the chorus? “Fear The Mind” is one of THE best rockers out there with ungodly guitar tones that just moves the song to other levels of excellence. “Genocidal Crush” is the post punk single to end all post punk singles with an infectious sing-a-long refrain while “Ghosts Out Of Focus” sets a different mood altogether, slowing down but never stopping the intensity.

The only fault this album has is that it eventually has to end.

Climax was released late last year so you might have missed it but the important thing is that you know about it now so you can go  here and get yours.

Bob Mould continues musical reign with Beauty & Ruin!


Apparently Bob Mould wasn’t done with  guitar rock after  the 2011 “See A Little Light” concert retrospective event inspired 2012’s brilliant Silver Age. If anything, the just released Beauty & Ruin is even more visceral and potent than its predecessor really harnessing the power of the Du at points.

It’s inevitable that anything Mould puts out is going to be compared to his older works but never in his career has he put out something so all-encompassing as the collection of songs found on Beauty & Ruin.

“Low Season” is a bit of a slow burn but paves the way for one of Mould’s most driving albums to date. From there, things get hectic. “Little Glass Pill” could be a new Husker Du tune and the same could be said for “Kid With Crooked Face” which is also the fastest Mould and co. have played in a long time. Speaking of “and co.”, the continued presence of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy has reinvigorated Mould with a line up that really clicks on stage, in the studio, and with audiences.

The band continue to excel on first single “I Don’t Know You Anymore” featuring Mould’s signature songwriting prowess, on the pop punk “Hey Mr. Grey”, and on the Sugar-esque  “Nemeses Are Laughing” which really shows off Wurster’s drum skills.

Silver Age was just the prelude. If you thought that one was fierce then boy, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet! Beauty & Ruin is out now on Merge Records. Get your copy here!


Greys debut If Anything: Rock and roll will never be the same!


A while back I used to write for another site and did an annual column/dig on AP’s yearly “100 Bands You Need To Know In ____” issue (Mine was entitled “I Read AP’s 100 Bands You Need To Know in ___ So You Don’t Have To”. Clever, right?) Sometimes there were some diamonds in the rough, but more often than not it was junk. The diamonds, however, when found stuck with me forever.

One such diamond was Greys from Toronto. At the time, their 3-song Drift EP was a nasty slab of Nirvana grunge merged with the almighty Helmet’s wall of heavy. Cut to 2014 and Greys debut full-length If Anything is cleaner, meaner, and an all around breath of fresh air in the face of a world of stale rock and/or roll. The songwriting has grown considerably since that EP as songs like “Pretty Grim”  and “Chick Singer” focus on development of the song first and foremost instead of bashing you over the head with the hard rock (That comes later in each song).

However, If you prefer an intense head bashing immediately then try opener “Guy Picciotto” with its blistering wall of sound and staccato drums with your morning coffee. “Adderall”, like the name implies, is exactly that: an amphetamine-fueled romp that shares a similarity or two with “Territorial Pissings”. Elsewhere, “Flip Yr Lid” takes listeners back to Possum Kingdom while “Brain Dead” begins like a “Negative Creep” but ends somewhere else entirely leading into thunderous”Cold Soak” featuring an otherworldly guitar breakdown that makes this one of the many highlights here.

Do we need another Nirvana in this day and age? No. We need something more. Something else. I believe Greys is that “something else”. Take a listen to If Anything and find out for yourself.

If Anything is out on June 17th through Buzz Records/Carpark Records. Digital copies are available here.


Slighter invite you to listen to the Science Of Noise on latest.


Like a mixture of cEvin Key’s Download project, The Prodigy, and Massive Attack infused with Front Line Assembly’s immense soundscape, Los Angeles’ Slighter take everything that’s great about electronic music in 2014 to another level on their latest.

Drum ‘n’ bass is alive and well in 2014  as almost opener “Above Ground” proves (“Losing Time” which officially opens the album gives only a slight glimpse of what’s to come). Filled with enough beats to guarantee you get your groove on and some subtle guitar lines to enhance the mood, this track is just the tip of the masterpiece iceberg on Science Of Noise.

If Massive Attack was consistently putting out records (Heligoland came out when?) or Tricky was still in Maxinquaye mode then “Caught Up” featuring Nica Brooke would be their jam with its sinister piano chords building to a massive (pun intended) beats-driven finale with Brookes’ angelic vocals floating above.

“Last Light” (featuring Wolftek) is this beautiful sonic excursion that’s equal parts Skinny Puppy creepy combined with Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy score while “ReSet” ups the ante on expectations as to what a dance floor anthem should sound like. Later still, the pairing of the jaw-dropping body moving “Wrecked (Featuring Risk Letter)” (On par with some of The Prodigy’s best tunes) with the tweaker meets UNKLE vibe of “Deadly (Featuring Simon Latham)” is enough reason why Science Of Noise is a vital part of your music collection.

Science Of Noise is available now through Amazon and Itunes but if you like what you hear, head on over to Slighter’s bandcamp page for the deluxe edition.


King Buzzo goes solo on This Machine Kills Artists!

PromoImage (9)

Worshipped by Nirvana (Thanked by both Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic at Nirvana’s recent HOF induction) and Isis among others, championed by Tool, The Melvins have followed their own rules since day one. Whether bucking trends by incessantly releasing albums whenever they want (Two last year, the trilogy between 1999 and 2000), trading lineup’s every other recording (Melvins (lite) for Freak Puke, 2013’s Tres Cabrones with original drummer Mike Dillard, the Big Business lineup…), or attempting world record-breaking tours (Playing 51 dates in 51 States in 51 days!), The Melvins has only proven that you never know what’s coming next.

Which brings us to the following: the release of mainman Buzz Osborne’s solo album, This Machine Kills Artists. It’s Buzz and a guitar. That’s it. If you’re looking for some metal sludgery or crazy riffage or general zaniness then you’ve come to the wrong place. Probably the most out there thing about This Machine… is how straightforward the album is as a whole.

In any case, it’s really good and shows off yet another side of Osborne. That’s not to say the album is filled with country sing-a-longs or Ryan Adams’ brand of introspective tunage. At the core, This Machine… is still Buzz Osborne being Buzz Osborne albeit a quieter version (sometimes).

Fans of his already will be bopping their heads along immediately when “Dark Brown Teeth” begins the 17-track LP. From there the many faces of Osbourne are on display. “Rough Democracy”  and “The Ripping Driving” are upbeat (For Buzz) little ditties while “Laid Back Walking” is a downtrodden Melvins-esque jam. Throughout the proceedings, Osborne displays his outstanding songwriting which further proves why he’s still one of the most prolific and versatile songwriters today.

If you’re already a Melvins/Buzz Osborne fan then it’s a no-brainer that you should pick this up. For all the rest of you googling “Who is Buzz Osborne?” after Krist Novoselic’s HOF speech, This Machine Kills Artists is your answer.

This Machine Kills Artists is available through Ipecac Recordings on June 3rd. Pre-order it here and be sure to head on over to (the) Melvins FB page to see where you can catch Buzz playing this summer.

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 3 (Prong, Ruining Lives)


Prong can do no wrong in my book and, to be honest, I’m just happy they still exist because there seemed to be a time where that might not be the case anymore (Happily, that reality is in the distant past). Not only is Prong reinvigorated after 2012’s jaw dropping Carved Into Stone but the band has bounced back with one of the quickest turnarounds for a new studio album ever (For Prong, anyway).

The result is Ruining Lives which is undoubtedly more straightforward and more vicious than its predecessor. Probably the greatest surprise to be found on Ruining Lives is the amount of melody found within. Sure, it’s Prong through and through but RL succeeds the most when it takes the elements that made Carved Into Stone so great and experiments further. Where as CIS experimented with song structure, RL focuses instead on mastermind Tommy Victor using his voice in another way: to actually sing! Sure, the snarls and sneers are still there but the overall vocal presence on this one suggests a more mature Victor as lead vocalist.

For every thrasher like “The Barriers” and “The Book Of Change” (And boy, are those two thrashy!) there’s a pummeling song like “Windows Shut” with a chorus that’s just out of this world for Prong. Or take “Remove, Separate Self” which combines all the shredding Prong is synonymous for with another chorus that makes the song destined to be the next great crowd pleaser . Producer Steve Evetts returns once again to craft this next Prong classic along with new members Art Cruz and Jason Christopher on drums and bass, respectively.

Ruining Lives triumphs and strengths (Which is the whole of the album) also further proves why Victor is a staple when it comes to new albums by legendary personalities like Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen and why he has constantly served as a mentor for so many young musicians because at this point, and with the bass/drum revolving door within, Prong IS Tommy Victor. Prong band camp perhaps?

Ruining Lives is available now everywhere. Get your copy here now!


Kristen Ford bids Boston adieu at the Middle East on May 24th!

download Courage comes in many forms. There’s facing your fears head on, quitting a job you hate to take care of your kids, running into a burning building while others run away, or leaving behind the city you know and love to live in a van and tour full time. While those are some extreme ends of the courage spectrum, it’s the latter that we’re talking about today because that’s scary and that takes a lot of courage. Which is what brings us to Boston’s own Kristen Ford who will be saying goodbye to Boston for a while but not before gracing us with one last show at the Middle East (Tonight!) which also serves as a record release for her new album, Dinosaur.


For over four years Kristen Ford has been a staple of the Boston indie rock scene. Whether singing the national anthem at Fenway, playing all over the area with her band or organizing various queer dance parties or open mics, Kristen has constantly given back to the place she calls home. On Dinosaur, Ford is poised to break out of Boston and conquer the world. Just listen to her subtle vocoder vox on “El Camino” that breaks into cries of “Music’s gonna save my soul” or the soul scorching guitar cries that complement Ford’s heartfelt words on “Be Your Girl” and tell me that Dinosaur isn’t an album destined for great things. If ever an album was meant to be taken live on the road cross country, it was this one.


Produced by Jesse Ciarmataro (AKA Quill, who will be one of the support acts this evening along with Goli and the George Woods Band) and Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sounds in Jamaica Plain, Dinosaur will be available at the show tonight. However, if you’re impatient you can grab it over on bandcamp now When you get tired of Boston Calling (And you will!), head on over to the Middle East in Cambridge to say goodbye to Kristen and wish her luck (And maybe buy some merch, too?). Doors are at 6:30 (18+, $10) and tickets are available here. For more on Kristen Ford, head on over here and here.


Front Line Assembly rules all, releases remix album ECHOES!

PromoImage (8)

Let it be known that I do not like remix albums. At all. Of my favorite artists to do so, there’s only a handful that I find tolerable (Nine Inch Nails’ Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, Death From Above 1979’s Romance Bloody Romance: Remixes & B-Sides immediately come to mind). I guess I just tend to like the originals more and I’m usually just impatient waiting for another studio album. That said, with a remix artist roster like the one Front Line Assembly has but together for ECHOES, the remix companion to last year’s ECHOGENETIC, my skepticism has been quelled because this is a remix album that’s actually worth a damn.

It doesn’t get much better than this line up: Former FLA-er Rhys Fulber, upstarts Youth Code, Cyanotic, tweaker, and the indomitable force that is Primitive Race are just a few of the artists reinterpreting songs from Bill Leeb, Jeremy Inkel, and Jared Slingerland’s latest opus.

Doing a track-by-track would be a disservice to ECHOES as the the album needs to be experienced as a whole but I will say that it really hits the sweet spot and kicks into high gear when Blush Response’s (Joey Blush of Scar The Martyr) version of “Echogenetic” strikes. Then you get Henrik Blackstrom’s “Exhale”, HECQ’s “Prototyp”, Slighter’s “Leveled”…what I’m saying is, listen to it! It’s epic and undeniably Front Line Assembly at the core.

Did I mention that ECHOES also features two BRAND NEW SONGS? Well, it does! Co-written by Sneaker Pimps’ (Gone, but not forgotten!) Ian Pickering, “Contagion” which opens the album is the result if Delerium and FLA were to make an album together (And yes, I know what the connection is there) while “Next War” is a heavy dance track more in tone with last year’s ECHOGENETIC without the dubstep.

You can get all this and more if you shell out for the digital version of ECHOES on Itunes which features 4 bonus tracks or go with the standard edition which is also available now through Metropolis Records.