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Well, guys… Sadly, this blog is swiftly coming to an end…or at least a hiatus. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to keep this up in the foreseeable future or not. One thing is for certain, this has been a very long and stressful semester for me. I had a lot of work and a lot of hard times with my family, but I made it and I’m gettin’ the hell outta here to Florida!

I would really like to thank everyone who has been reading this and giving feedback. Even if it was rough to keep up with sometimes, I loved every minute of it. If you guys have anything that you want me to come back and talk about on here just shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do!

With that being said, even if I’m not around to keep you guys updated on all the ins and outs of the noise biz, there’s still plenty going on! Be sure to check out all the links on the right. There’s a lot of great information to be found from a lot of great friends! Furthermore, here’s a few things coming up that you should definitely check out:

 

Saturday, December 18:

Show at Bela DubbyA SOUNDESIGN CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE

Show up at Bela Dubby around 7:30 p.m. for some bomb vegan food by Christine, some sweet pre-show and between-set jams turned out by DJ Doc Quinn and DJ Spun Mirrors and visual effects courtesy of David Russell. The show should start around 8:30 p.m. Here’s the lineup:

 

 

 

Jerk (final show #6)
Luasa Raelon (Envenomist gets death/industrial)
Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan (chemical burn Chicago style)
Quiet Light Water Gap (John Elliott without synths)
Beardo Bandini (weird pop)
Plague Mother (formerly Arsonist’s Prayer)
SpacedoG & José Luna
Docile Dawn (Sam Goldberg + Zach Troxell)

If the snow lets up, this is going to be an action-packed, killer show for sure!

 

Thursday, December 30:

Show at Bela DubbyWURST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE

Aaron Vilk, of Nyodene D is bringing his Foreman grill to Bela Dubby to hook everyone up with some DAWGS! (If you want something special…I’m talking soy dogs, burgers, the like…it’s BYOD – bring yo own dawg.) Show starts around 9 p.m. and be sure to bring a $3 – $5 donation for out-of-towners and food. What’s more…Ohio legends, Tusco Terror have been out of commission for a while but they’re coming together once again, just in time for some New Year’s cheer!

 

 

 

 

Slob Donovan (Milwaukee sludge metal)
Black Mayonnaise (Akron industrial doom metal)
Tusco Terror (Cleveland scumnoise reunion show!!!)
Iron Oxide (Cleveland sludgy noise rock)

Even if you can’t make it to anything else for the remainder of this year, this is NOT one to be missed…so just don’t miss it, OK?!

 

Friday, December 31:

NEW YEAR’S NOISE

If you don’t have any plans yet, hit up THE 71st DOOR (formerly Cool Ranch) around 10 p.m. for what is sure to be a straight banger to reign in yet another new year. Info is still a little fuzzy on this one but here’s a link to the Facebook event so you can keep an eye out: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=173598222664417

 

Jason Soliday (Chicago)
Peter J Woods (Milwaukee)
Instinct Control (Chicago)
+more tba

 

*NOTE: The pictures for A SOUNDESIGN CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE and WURST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE link to the Facebook event pages in case you would like to RSVP to the shows. HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS THERE!!! If I don’t, have a GREAT Christmas and a spectacular new year!

The year is coming to an end and I think it’s only fitting for me to share my ‘Best of 2010’ list. A year is a very long time in the world of music. A lot of great releases have come out this year, but here’s my top five (in no particular order):

NOTE: Not all of these are from NE Ohio. There were some great releases that I just couldn’t leave out…

 

 

Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?

Emeralds sure didn’t invent swirling synth landscapes but sometimes I can convince myself that they did. With their signature full-bodied sound, this band envelops me with such careless ease. This album draws you down the rabbit hole.

And look at this cover with me please! I love the empty room that really doesn’t look like anyone is there with the glaring TV which makes me suspect, “Does it look like I’m here?” Such a brilliant depiction.

As a sidenote on the art, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the lp. The double-disc sleeve opens to reveal a dim and musky room with nothing but the band’s equipment seeming lonely and devoid. The whole tone of this album just has me taken.

 

 


Bee Mask – From a Will-Less Gigolo of a Divinity to the Gore-Spattered Lion on His Own Hearth, Odysseus Becomes “Odysseus”

I know I told you guys about this tape before but it absolutely blew my mind. This one holds strong on my list.

Not only was this tape beautiful, it was amazingly well-produced. It played out as a story, each song blending seamlessly with the next. As I said before, the sounds transported me through space and time. This tape is a true classic that I could listen to over and over and over.

 

Pocahaunted - Make It RealPocahaunted – Make It Real

This album, to me, was like a transition away from the traditional wailing siren songs that made the name Pocahaunted seem all too fitting. The tribal beats and chants broke to low-fi rock and roll, groovy bass lines and almost doo-wopesque vocals.

The album art perfectly depicts the mad, exhilarating commercial society that we live in by making everything seem almost demented and video graphic.

Pocahaunted was originally Amanda Brown and Bethany Cosentino. Bethany has since left to form Best Coast, while this album features Amanda, her husband Britt Brown of Robedoor, Diva Dompe of Blackblack and several other contributors.

 


Gowns - Broken BonesGowns – Broken Bones

This album is so awesome but it will always break my heart to know that it’s the last I will ever see from Gowns. This has been one of my favorite bands since I started dating Brandon. We vowed to see them together as we listened to our favorite album, Red State. Little did we know that we would never get the chance. Since this is the end, I will enjoy this album and put anything that Ezra Buchla or Erika Anderson decide to do to the top of my Most Anticipated of 2011 list!!!

Broken Bones starts with a rearranged version of “White Like Heaven,” a track from Red State, featuring what sound like bag pipes, enveloping synth and guitar and constantly fluctuating tempos. The stand out track for me, though, would have to be ‘Marked.’ I can never seem to get this song out of my head! Even when I haven’t listened to the album for a while, I always seem to be singing, “I wish that every time you touched me left a mark…”


Robedoor - BurnersRobedoor – Burners

Burners is a much darker, distorted album than any other on this list. Although rather light and melodic for Robedoor, this album is definitely still my go-to doom drone album for the year.

Heavy organ and grinding guitar roll out of my turntable. The album art demonstrates the dance going on in my psyche. I can totally picture these red and white figures blurring around my subconscious as the music churns away. The track title ‘I Thought You Were The Devil’ is so fitting on an album like this, it’s almost comical.

 

 

 

 

 

Enough from me, what’s making your top list this year?

As mentioned, I put anything that the members of Gowns pursue right to the top of my Most Anticipated of 2011 list. What’s going to be on yours?

This post is a little different than most. This is an article that I wrote last year that never really saw the light of day but considering that The Vinyl Underground has been doing some rad shows lately, I thought I would share it with you guys!

credit: The Vinyl Underground Facebook

Alternative is the only word to describe The Vinyl Underground, a record store on N. Water Street in Kent. After undergoing an extreme renovation with an exchange of ownership, the shop offers a diverse selection of records, movies, books and music equipment. The store also hosts “noise” shows in the backroom, the likes of which are nowhere else to be found.

Back in the day – The store’s slow start

The store was started by Scott, who employee (and half of Kent act Mothcock), Doug Gent, describes as “this weirdo hippie dude.”

“He got $1000 somehow and was like ‘I’m either going to take a vacation or start a record store.’ Instead he (took) a (lackluster) vacation to southern Ohio, or something like that, then opened a (mediocre) record store,” Gent said. The store was originally called Turn Up Records.

Scott became bored with the store quickly and employee Charlie Kaufman took over. “He worked it by himself for a while, then I started working for him but he quit,” Gent said. “I was like ‘I don’t want to be the boss of this place,’ so I went and found Pete.”

New owner, new rules

Pete Freeman, 29, took over Turn Up Records, renamed it The Vinyl Underground and changed everything.

“When (the store) was Turn Up, it was not so hot,” Gent said. “But since we’ve switched ownership it’s been a lot better. We try to sell at least somewhere around $70-100 a day now. That’s like an average. We’ve been trying to sell more high-end stuff to like collectors and stuff.”

“We now have painted, custom record bins, lots of new inventory, new lighting, new speakers, the whole shebang,” Freeman said. “We winter-proofed it and got space heaters. The backroom is our next mission.”

Shows and shenanigans

The backroom houses noise shows on a regular basis featuring local acts from the Akron and Cleveland areas, as well as some out-of-towners from Chicago and Pittsburgh. These shows have become notorious for shenanigans and rowdy attendees.

Andrew Kirschner, of Cleveland act The Family Chapter, after taking several shots from the bar across the street, explained his craziest experience at the store. “I’ve probably played 10 shows there but the wildest show was (when) our buddy, Mike ‘Perpetual Amnesia’ Wilkinson, from Boston came down. It was me, Mike and Wyatt (Howland of Cleveland noise act, Skin Graft),” he said. “We got really drunk and decided to play in the basement which is really low. I ran down there and I (had been) drinking Wild Turkey so I was like blacked out. I smashed my dome piece…or caught my head on the corner of an air duct. I ended up cutting it open from the top to the middle.  I had to go to the hospital and get six stitches in my head.”

Joe Kell, from Ohio University, attended a show at The Vinyl Underground after Kirschner’s incident. He explained his experience there as being a “really laid back, party atmosphere. It was less like a show and more like just a bunch of friends getting together, which is the best kind of show. The cops didn’t do anything, which was a little surprising.”

This is not an issue that the store has not faced before, however.  “That was funny when the cops came because of (Kent area noise musician) Black Mayonnaise’s fog machine,” employee and Mothcock member Pat Modugno, said laughing.

Looking ahead

Freeman, on the other hand, was not laughing when the subject came up. The back room has been a work-in-progress since last winter. “(We’re) getting it to where we can have decent, little shows without having to worry about people getting hurt or freezing or water on them or any of the above,” he said.

“Pete’s a nice guy but he is no-nonsense. We’re trying to actually be like a decent record store now,” Gent said.

Stay tuned for more shows at The Vinyl Underground! In the mean time, here’s a video of Emeralds side-project Outer Space performing at The Vinyl Underground:

DI31: J Guy Laughlin – Apnoea c30, DI32: Mark McGuire – Misunderstandings c30, DI33: Bee Mask – From a Will-Less Gigolo of a Divinity to the Gore-Spattered Lion on His Own Hearth, Odysseus Becomes “Odysseus” c22, DI34: Radio People – Leapt c22

 

Deception Island, Chris Madak of Bee Mask’s label, has a new batch out and, I gotta say, it’s pretty spectacular.

 

J Guy Laughlin, Apnoea c30

I have no clue how J Guy made these sounds. Literally, no clue. But man, does it sound cool.

I have seen J Guy play with Heat Death and a few forms of Forbes, Ryley and Young a couple of times, but this is not what I expected. As a percussionist, I can only imagine that he is scraping things across drums and scratching them and looking for every sound that his kit could make, but I feel like I could never comprehend what he was doing to make the dark, entrancing sounds that he did.

From war planes to jazzy rhythms, this tape spaced me out. You have never heard percussion sound so melodic and melancholy.

 

Mark McGuire, Misunderstandings (c30).

The beginning of the A side, which is the title track, sounds like nothing I have ever heard from McGuire before. It twists, turns, bubbles and boils like some kind of ominous sea creature. The hopeful tone that normally carries his releases was trapped at the surface while I was struggling for air at rock bottom (and I mean that in the best way possible). Syrupy synth enveloped me in an air pocket which guided me to the golden surface of the last half of the A side. It felt like a triumphant emergence into that hopeful gaze I alluded to before. It felt like home.

The B side of this tape, entitled “Nothing Personal” is the shadowy walk home from the beach. You are drenched, lost and alone. It’s nightfall and you can’t remember where you are headed anymore. The bluesy, distorted guitar leads you as you simply walk among the trees which seem to morph quite Alice in Wonderland-style before you. But as the track comes to a close, single distorted notes seem to present beams of light from the other end of the forest that, once again, beckon you home.


Bee Mask, From a Will-Less Gigolo of a Divinity to the Gore-Spattered Lion on His Own Hearth, Odysseus Becomes “Odysseus” (c22).

From the first few seconds…scratch that, from the moment I read the title, I could tell that this tape wasn’t merely a story, it was an epic. I’m talking Paradise Lost kind of epic.

The first segment served as a sort of prelude to the album; it was dark and drew me into the journey that I wasn’t prepared for. It ushered in what sounded like church bells in a rustic backstreet somewhere in Europe. I felt like I was hearing a call to prayer.

Now keep in mind, I play tapes through a bass amp. I don’t have stereo, but swirling synths surrounded me so that I felt like Chris was in the room playing a ritual song that he has known since birth. A waterfall of distorted noise began to swell until I felt like I was floating. At the end of the A side, I was astounded by Chris’s production capabilities as each segment flowed with one another so fluidly that you forgot about time. I felt like that tape could go on forever, and then it ended just like the turn of a page.

A fast-paced synth saga slowly melted into a frenzy of tape manipulation and sticky sweet beats. With notes so sharp that I thought I could hear binary, the walls turned to slime and the ceiling began to rain. (The End. The needle lifts.)

 

Radio People, Leapt (c22)

Unfortunately, I have yet to get my hands on this tape but I hope to in the very near future. If you haven’t checked out Radio People yet, PLEASE DO SO!!!!

 

If you wanna hear it from the horse’s mouth, check out Chris’s description of each tape, too. (DO IT!)

Brandon and I (God, Guns & LSD) are playing tonight at The Vinyl Underground. Show should start around midnight. We’re going to be jamming with Khaki Blazer (Pat of Mothcock), Sunglasses (out of Chicago) and Red Electric Rainbow (also from Chi-town). It’s going to be pretty rad, so if you’re in the Kent area tonight, LET’S HANG!

If you didn’t make it out to The Vinyl Underground tonight, (shame on you) I got you covered. The Kent record store hosted touring Chicago-based band, Wyoming and a few locals to share some tunes and good times with their patrons. About 15 people showed up, including a few noise-newcomers, and the set was a great introduction for any first timer. It ran the gammot from bliss-out drone to short-circuiting electronics.

Interstates (etc.)

Interstates (etc.), or Brandon Greter of Kent, OH, opened the night with a head-splitter. He manipulated a toy recorder, and I didn’t think a toy could sound so harsh. He used effects galore and to great effect. A pretty short set, but it was definitely quality over quantity.

Isle of Sodor

Isle of Sodor, Adam Miller out of Cleveland, OH, played a set that sent me to outer space. He played a minimal set that swelled with synthy goodness. It was a dark yet bubbly set which literally had the crowd begging for more. Adam played another song; a bit more upbeat than the other, it had a great dance beat. It was my first time seeing him and it was a great introduction.

Field of Hats

Last year I would take naps between classes while listening to a mix CD called “Lucid Dreams” that Brandon made for me with incense burning. I had some pretty lucid dreams indeed. Field of Hats‘s set reminded me of those dreams. Jeff Hatfield of Cleveland, OH layered notes until my subconscious was twisting and turning. There were some technical difficulties with one of the amps leaving him with just one but a set that sounds that good in mono says a lot to me about an artist.

Wyoming

The title befits the Chicago-based band’s manic ragtime meets bluegrass sound. The wear and tear on Ryley Walker and Andrew Scott Young‘s instruments show that these guys have tested every possible sound they could make and are using only the best. From Andrew stroking the body of the bass to pounding on the strings with a drumstick to Ryley destroying the body of an acoustic guitar with a bar slider, these guys look like they are from the rough wilderness and give a careless ease to their sound. But then it hits you. They are in perfect sync with each other and show their extensive knowledge of sound and how it can meld together so fluidly.

The band also surprised the crowd with a collaboration with Kent legend, Jeff Host. Host brought a nice melodic element to the bands discordant sounds. He played with such conviction that it literally looked as though each note pained him. Needless to say, especially for a relatively new band, the set was unforgettable.

Gothcock

Well you see, Gothcock is actually a derivative of Mothcock, which consists of Kent locals Doug Gent and Pat Modugno. By the power of their forces combined with trinket king David Russell they become Gothcock. Perhaps my favorite part of this set was Pat’s joystick contraption. A circuit bent game controller the boys in Mothcock ordered years ago showed up around their house a few weeks ago and provided the most interesting dynamic to their set tonight. As he moved the controller, a sharp synthy sound was emitted that sounded like a rather messed up video game. Doug played his clarinet like it was the only thing that mattered in the world. He seemed to be entranced by the music they were creating. David came prepared with a full table-worth of bells and whistles (literally) which he manages to manipulate to the point of being unrecognizable. Altogether, the set was a phenomenal achievement for the group.

autumn jams

Put away all that Best Coast and store Merriweather Post Pavilion for a while…The leaves are falling, the clouds are rolling in and is it just me or does everything seem to smell like apple cider and pumpkin pie lately? We’re just a couple weeks into fall but summer seems so far away already! That being said, it’s time to pull out some old fall favorites and find some new ones! Here are a few of my suggestions:

Mark McGuire - Pocket Full of Rain Pocket Full of Rain – Mark McGuire

This album is probably my all-time favorite crappy-weather jam. When it gets cold out and the rain starts to fall, curl up on the couch, light some incense, put this tape on and space out. This album has the ability to transport me anywhere from wherever I may be to begin with. I find it particularly entrancing while driving in the rain for some reason. Something about moving fluidly through traffic while listening to the ethereal sounds Mark emits from his guitar just gets me every time. The picture above links to a review by the noted Foxy Digitalis of Pocket Full of Rain. The label is sold out of copies but hopefully you can get your hands on this album somehow because it’s a great addition to any collection.

Dread - Wolf Eyes Dread – Wolf Eyes

My friend, Andrew Kirschner of Relentless Corpse and The Family Chapter, recommended this album because he listens to it “to make [him] want to drown [himself].”

And it’s a killer for sure…This album has a very urgent, intense feel to it. Dread makes me feel as if I’ve gotten trapped in a time portal. With it’s other-worldly grime loops and lo fi beats, this album is perfect for a trippy day in from the cold. It is currently out of stock from the label, but I sure hope they are considering a repress of this dreadful gem.


Sam Goldberg - CurrentCurrent – Sam Goldberg

I’d like to imagine that being in a rain forest would somehow sound like this. The soundscapes Sam creates in Current are out of this world. I can see the dew on the leaves and the fireflies in the sky around me. This is another one of those albums that transports you to another dimension. Way to go…another release that the label is sold out of, right? If you know of a record store near you that sells experimental music, give it a shot. I’m sure a couple copies are floating out there somewhere!

VDSQ Solo Acoustic Volume 2 - Mark McGuireVDSQ Solo Acoustic Volume 2 – Mark McGuire

Sorry to pick another jam that’s sold out…This is the second in a series of acoustic records from Vin Du Select Qualitite. (The other two are still available.)

My boyfriend, Brandon Greter of interstates (etc.), recommends this album because “it’s got this overall feeling of closure as the summer is coming to an end.” This album was specifically created for fall, actually. Each track on the record comes with a short explanation of the story behind the song. For example, Burning Leaves, the closing track, says “This track was recorded after a long day of clearing all of the dead leaves out of my backyard. The smell of the fire that burned off some of the bigger sticks didn’t go away so easy, and definitely left it’s haze on the track”. THAT’S why this is a perfect autumn jam!

Those are just a few things in my universe these days. What are your autumn jams?

Note: For each album the cover links to the page about the album, the name links to the artist and the label is linked within the review. Please browse around and learn a little more about these artists and the labels. Even if the releases I highlighted are sold out, there are a lot more seriously solid albums to get from these people.