Hello and welcome to Unlistenable Racket. A new monthly feature where I, Gav Russell, tell you, dear reader , about a bunch of new music that you really should be listening to. For the last 4 years I ran Tight To The Nail; a metal, punk and hardcore webzine that no-one asked for but one that I gave people anyway. But don’t let that put you off. So, let’s begin…
Nibiru – Big Soul (Carry The Weight)
Grunge and hardcore? Living together? Hand in hand? What a time to be alive. Yes, those boys from God’s Country (Ireland, yeah?) have gone and done it again. Building on the ideas they set out with last year’s impressive Oxygen Eater EP (I just know you’re still jamming ‘High On Heaven’), Big Soul shows off a band who are in total control of their sound and not afraid to do whatever they want. Even if that involves invoking Alice In Chains in 2014. So we get huge grooves, bone-splintering metallic crunch, worldly wise lyrics, soaring vocals and more enforced memories of MTV-back-when-they-used-to-play-music than is safe to consume. In all absolute seriousness though, Nibiru are far from just a nostalgia trip; they’re the fucking real deal. Channeling the best shit about the stuff you used to crank and infusing it with a modern sensibility and the occasional thundering hardcore smackdown, you can’t go wrong. The title track even sounds a bit like Kerbdog, which pleases us here at Corehammer. It pleases us greatly.
Roses Never Fade – Devil Dust (Neuropa Recordings)
Any hardcore kid worth his salt will have dabbled with a bit of neo-folk at some stage and Holy Terror supergroup Roses Never Fade will have likely provided its most convenient crossover point for a good many who weren’t already on board Douglas P’s train. Formed in 2006 by Dwid Hellion (Integrity), T (Vegas) and Nick Fiction (Pale Creation) they were chiefly responsible for an impressive LP’s worth of dusty Americana-folk and rasping poetry that formed an unlikely counterpoint to the trio’s more noisier output. Returning here 8 years later with that intriguing lineup all but abandoned (only Fiction remains) and with Ancient VVisdom’s Nathan Opposition on lead vocals (himself an ex-member of Integrity), one has to wonder, is there any point? Well, frankly, yes. Their blend of acoustic ballads and depressive meanderings is pulled off with conviction; for every surprisingly touching moment there’s an uneasy air of menace lurking just around the corner. Opposition is undoubtedly the star of the show, his crooning, sorrowful vocals sounding like Layne Stayley (minus the ravaging heroin addiction) on his way to hell as he injects heartfelt misery into every open space provided by the sparse composition. As a band, they’re certainly effective when the guitars and palm-muted and the vocals are a barely audible mumble but it’s clearly when they let a song take flight, like on ‘Every Heart That Will Break’, a deeply mournful, slow burning ode to the death of a friend, that they’re at their best. As rousing as it is unsettling.
Melvins – Hold It In (Ipecac)
31 years and something like a billion releases into their career, it’s a wonder where Melvins keep getting their ideas from. But keep getting them is exactly what they do, with Hold It In sounding astonishingly fresh and packed with surprising twists and turns among all those none-more-Melvins moments that rock harder than Peter North in a Viagra factory. It’s always fun to see just who the core duo of drummer Dale Crover and guitarist/vocalist King Buzzo will be recording with this time and, following a clutch of recent releases with drum/bass powerhouse Big Business, for this record they’ve teamed up with guitarist Paul Leary and bass player JD Pinkus from one of the 90’s weirdest bands, Butthole Surfers. A match made in oddball heaven, then. And so we’re treated to an odyssey of sounds; trippy vocoder pop on ‘You Can Make Me Wait'; the best song that Weezer never wrote in the form of the nonsensically perfect ‘Brass Cupcake’, ghoulish, graveyard rock ‘n’ roll that comments on US foreign policy with ‘Eyes On You’ and the towering, sinister sludge/stoner epic ‘The Bunk Up’. And that’s only the start. Crover’s drumming is peerles. Buzzo’s vocals are incredible. Only Melvins do it like this. If you have ears, consider this essential.
Jackals – Violence Is… (Hardware Records)
I must live a very sheltered existence because Norwich’s Jackals still feel like UKHC’s best kept secret. And that can’t possibly be true, can it? Formed in 2010 and with a veritable shit-ton of records (and countless shitty words from me on the subject) under their belt, they’re still vomiting out music that will kick you in the brain and leave you face down in a puddle of tramp’s piss. Sitting somewhere between English boot-boy Oi! and the murderous sounds of your average Youth Attack band (think Hoax meets The Flex, if you like), Jackals channel social-political rage and emerge with a sound that is leaner than Christian Bale in that shit movie about boxing and twice as feral as a pitbull with a firework up his arsehole. The production is ragged and fucked, like its fraying at the egdes and falling to bits, which suits Jackal’s acidic attack perfectly while the songwriting keeps it simple- no flashy nonsense, just all violence; creating an ideal playground for the dual vocal work of Jack Pitt and Wes Brown to smash into each other like juiced-up wrestlers. Listen to this and punch something to bits.
Dads – I’ll Be The Tornado (6131 Records)
Potted history: wonderfully shambolic two-piece twinkly emo outfit from New Jersey release a great LP in 2012 and re-emerge two years later with a devastatingly powerful ability to write songs that make grown men cry. Got it? Ok. There’s a moment in the middle of ‘Fake Knees’, the third track on Dads phenomenal new record, where vocalist John Bradley seems to have an epiphany about just how much someone meant to him by listing their faults. It’s a slow burning confessional from the get-go; with Bradley recounting how he never gave the time that he perhaps should have done to this person, and the crushing guilt that comes when you realize this all too late. “How much time did I waste?” he asks. He starts to list: “And you were always there waiting, with your coffee breath, with your shitty eyes and your deep chest…’ and with each addition his voice soars and strains that little bit more; the guitar notes plucked that little bit harder. Stone cold realization hitting him square in the chest with each memory. I wrote a load of other notes about this record. A load of stuff about all the other moments like this that are peppered throughout its 40 minute running time. But i’ll just mention this one, Because it floors me every time. Record of the year? Record of the year. Simply stunning.