Friday, September 27, 2013


On the heels of a headlining European summer tour with openers Code Orange Kids and Full Of Hell, punk visionaries Circle Takes The Square prepare for a fall tour of the US and Canada.

From Savannah, GA, Circle Takes The Square grabbed the underground's attention in the early 00s with the release of their first full-length, As The Roots Undo (Robotic Empire), and became known as one of the most forward-thinking bands in the scene, alongside the likes of Pg. 99 and Hot Cross.

The band released their second album - the masterpiece that is Decompositions: Volume Number One - via their own label, Gatepost Recordings, in late 2012, a full eight years after their debut. A stunning "comeback", Decompositions: Volume Number One bursts forth with passion, rooted in epic, pagan visions and twisted into abstractly complex musical forms. A progressive, metallic version of emotional hardcore punk, it transcends genre and exists in the realm of the true innovators, from Rorschach to Neurosis to Slint. 

Circle Takes The Square's upcoming fall tour reflects this same sense of musical freedom, as the band have chosen indie rapper B. Dolan as main support for 10 dates of the tour. Dubbed "Cross Pollination Tour", the CTTS/B. Dolan leg stretches from Asheville, NC, up to Portland, ME, and will see Dolan backed by a new live ensemble, formed for the production of his upcoming 2014 LP. Dolan's live set will consist of material from the acclaimed 2010 album Fallen House, Sunken City, as well as brand new unreleased songs. Known throughout the hip hop underground since being signed to Strange Famous Records by label boss Sage Francis in 2008, the rapper is also founder of consumer activist website Commenting on the alliance between himself and CTTS, he says, "My doomy, aggro political music and stage presentation probably have as much in common with hardcore and punk audiences as with hip hop crowds."

Preceding "Cross Pollination Tour", Circle Takes The Square play a handful of dates through the South, including an appearance at The Fest 12 in Gainesville, FL, as part of a lineup that includes Ceremony, Torche, and United Nations. Following "Cross Pollination Tour", the band bring their noise up into Canada, ending with a slot on Not Dead Yet Fest in Toronto.

Circle Takes The Square's current lineup consists of founding members Drew Speziale (guitar/vocals) and Kathleen Stubelek (bass/vocals), and drummer Caleb Collins.

Circle Takes The Square:

Oct 28 - Canton, OH @ The Auricle
Oct 29 - Louisville, KY @ Haymarket (matinee, all-ages)
Oct 29 - Louisville, KY @ Haymarket (evening, 21+)
Oct 30 - Nashville, TN @ Owl Farm
Oct 31 - Atlanta, GA @ Under The Couch
Nov 1 - Gainesville, FL @ The Fest 12
Nov 2 - Savannah, GA @ The Jinx

"Cross Pollination Tour" w/ Circle Takes The Square, B. Dolan:

Nov 3 - Asheville, NC @ The Odditorium
Nov 4 - Winston-Salem, NC @ Brewskis
Nov 5 - Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5
Nov 6 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Nov 7 - Asbury, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
Nov 8 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
Nov 9 - Newark, DE @ Mojo Main
Nov 10 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Nov 11 - Boston, MA @ The Middle East
Nov 12 - Portland, ME @ Space Gallery

Circle Takes The Square:

Nov 13 - Montreal, QC @ Il Motore
Nov 14 - Ottawa, ON @ Cafe Dekcuf
Nov 15 - Toronto, ON @ Not Dead Yet Fest

SO HIDEOUS guitar + drum

Having premiered new song "My Light" this month via Invisible Oranges, New York City post-metallers So Hideous now deconstruct the song for fans, in the form of two separate play-through videos.

First, witness So Hideous guitarists Brandon Cruz and Etienne Vazquez shred their way through the song in this video, streaming exclusively on Gun Shy Assassin.

Next, head over immediately to Sick Drummer, where drummer Danny Moncada blasts out the relentless beats in this video.

A shining example of So Hideous' orchestral, blackened hardcore, the song appears on the upcoming full-length debut, Last Poem/First Light, available October 22nd. The album was recorded and mixed by Dean Baltulonis (Agnostic Front, Lucero) and mastered by Scott Hull (Sting, Lou Reed). A review on American Aftermath states, "A raging force of post-black metal frothing with shoegaze and oozing with tortured melancholy... It's deep. It's profound. It's astounding."

Thursday, September 26, 2013


A warm welcome to Circle Takes The Square who are back on my roster. I represented this band briefly in '06 when they were on Robotic Empire - in fact, they're one of the first bands I worked with after leaving Earache Records and going solo. Their newest record, Decompositions: Volume Number One, is a masterpiece in the realm of the true innovators, from Rorschach to Neurosis to Slint. They're hitting the road this fall, including dates with rapper B. Dolan. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NETHERLANDS + BreakThruRadio

Brooklyn psych-metallers Netherlands are the stars of the latest episode of "Serious Business" on BreakThruRadio. The 10-minute video features clips from a live Netherlands performance and interview, all shot at the Serious Business Music Studio in New York, NY. The centerpiece of the video is a complete live rendition of new song "Deathling", a never-before-heard cut off the new upcoming second album, Silicon Vapor, out October 29th. 

"Deathling" is also being released as a vinyl-only 7" single on Custom Made Music, with an exclusive B-side, "Amphibious", described as "mind-bending dance pop". The single is available now from Custom Made Music in a limited run of 100 hand-stamped, hand-numbered copies, with a second version on color vinyl to follow. Order here.

Netherlands is fronted by Timo Ellis, a veteran New York rocker/composer who has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Melvins, John Zorn, Gibby Haynes, and many more. A recent review on BrooklynVegan states: "As you might expect from Ellis' resume, Netherlands is a pretty strange band. They play gritty, high-energy punk/metal, anchored by a huge distorted synth bass tone; the effect is something like Future of the Left banging out one of Torche's more rambunctious tunes."

Serious Business is a recording studio and record label in New York, NY. Past episodes of the "Serious Business" show on BreakThruRadio have featured such bands as Metz, Goes Cube, and Violent Bullshit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NERVOUS + Noisey

Oakland punkers Nervous celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album on Twelve Gauge Records today by teaming up with Noisey to premiere a brand new video for the album's opening track, "Good Morning".

Featuring a smoking Jesus stuffed with money, a pink "Jackson Pollock" wound, and a wall of amps with a mind of its own, the video was directed by Evan Henkel (Loma Prieta, No Sir).

The full album - recorded by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Comadre) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Today Is The Day) - is now streaming in its entirety via American Aftermath.

High Times Magazine calls Nervous's debut "10 trax of wrathful, angular punk in the mold of early-90s noizemongers Jesus Lizard, the almighty Nirvana, etc."

Terrorizer Magazine calls it "paranoid punk rock, not unlike The Jesus Lizard covering 'My War' era Black Flag."

Order here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CZAR + Revolver

Chicago trio Czar returns with the first slice of its brilliant second album, No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive, now streaming via Revolver Magazine. The track, "Aortic Flower", is a crusher, marrying the triumphant metal edge of Heartwork-era Carcass with a majestic rock power in line with O.G. post-hardcore greats like Quicksand.

Czar made big waves in the underground with the late 2011 release of its debut, Vertical Mass Grave. The album earned praise from the likes of Terrorizer Magazine, who hailed the band for "seamlessly fusing a Mastodon-sized slab of riffage and the slightly more clinical approach inherent with death metal" while also "firmly reaching to more experimental post-metal realms." Following that release, the band toured the US as main support for Killing Joke.

Like its predecessor, sophomore album No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive (out November 5th on Cracknation Records) was recorded by former Hum frontman Matt Talbott. Uniting melody, dissonance, polyrhythms, and groove, Czar continues to push its own limits, solidify its unique sound, and establish itself as a true force in the metal scene.

Czar kicks off its next touring cycle by opening for the mighty Godflesh, October 22nd at Metro in Chicago. 

Czar frontman Jason Novak is also the curator of the "Cold Waves II" festival, September 27-28 at Metro, featuring Prong, Skrew, members of Revolting Cocks, and more.

NERVOUS + High Times

Oakland punks Nervous have teamed up with longtime champions of horticulture/counterculture, High Times Magazine, to premiere their new song, "Birthday Party", off the self-titled debut album, out September 24th on Twelve Gauge Records.

Of Nervous' debut, High Times reports: "10 trax of wrathful, angular punk in the mold of early-90s noizemongers Jesus Lizard, the almighty Nirvana, etc." A full review of the album also appears in High Times' December issue, on newsstands in October.

A recent review from Terrorizer Magazine calls Nervous, "paranoid punk rock, not unlike The Jesus Lizard covering 'My War'-era Black Flag."

Nervous was recorded and mixed by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Baroness). 

Pre-order the album on vinyl, along with Nervous' "420" shirt.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NETHERLANDS + BrooklynVegan

BrooklynVegan presents the premiere of the official video for Netherlands' song,
"Tabitha", off the band's upcoming new album, Silicon Vapor, out October 29th.

A Brooklyn trio, Netherlands is led by prolific multi-instrumentalist Timo Ellis, known for his collaborations over the past two decades with Yoko Ono, Melvins, John Zorn, and many more. BrooklynVegan states: "As you might expect from Ellis' resume, Netherlands is a pretty strange band. They play gritty, high-energy punk/metal, anchored by a huge distorted synth bass tone; the effect is something like Future of the Left banging out one of Torche's more rambunctious tunes."

Of the psychedelic video for "Tabitha", directed by Kenny Curwood, BrooklynVegan reports, "It offers a crazy-quilt of surreal images: claymation animal heads exploding, psychedelic color washes, and grotesque line animations... The video's got a sickly, sugar-high energy that matches Ellis's yowling vocals and caveman riffs perfectly."

Revolver Magazine premiered the song online last week, here.

Recorded by John Davis (Moby, The Roots), mixed by Bryce Goggin (Swans, Pavement) and mastered by Ron Shaffer (Tricky), Silicon Vapor is a psych-prog feast for the ears, and will be available in three formats upon its October 29th release: digital, CD, and a limited pressing of double LPs.

MEEK IS MURDER + Terrorizer + Sirius XM + New Noise

Brooklyn's Meek Is Murder unveils a new song today - "More Always More/Less Is More" - giving the world its first proper taste of the mighty second album, Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters, out October 22nd on vinyl via Threshold of Pain Records and digitally via the band. 

"More Always More/Less Is More" can be heard today in three different forms: 

Terrorizer Magazine presents the exclusive stream of the song, here. Terrorizer calls it "a fine example of the band's trademark sound, combining hardcore energy with bizarre song structures, frantic technical passages, and riffs the size of aircraft carriers. Any of you still lamenting the loss of Botch will fall on this like a pack of hungry wolves."

Sirius XM Radio presents the song's official radio premiere, today at 5:00 pm Eastern Time on Channel 40, Liquid Metal. Check out Liquid Metal here.

New Noise Magazine presents a video clip showing Meek Is Murder drummer Frank Godla performing the song on drums, here.

Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters was recorded by Kurt Ballou (High On Fire, Nails) and mastered by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan). MetalSucks' early review of the album reports: "MIM have once again taken a big evolutionary stomp forward, diving into new creative waters without sacrificing any of the raw energy - or flat-out weirdness..."

SO HIDEOUS + Invisible Oranges

Invisible Oranges presents the premiere of "My Light", the first song to be revealed off Last Poem/First Light, the debut full-length by So Hideous.

From New York City, So Hideous combines intense, blackened hardcore with orchestral elements. The supremely cathartic result lies somewhere between 90s German legends Acme and a John Williams film score. For the debut album, Last Poem/First Light, out October 22nd, an actual orchestra and choir performed live in the studio with the band to help create the majestic songs. 

Invisible Oranges editor Doug Moore writes, "An even blend of hardcore, post-rock, and black metal... Last Poem/First Light sounds tonally huge and powerful, which is important for such melodically delicate music... The softer textures enrich the guitars, rather than overwhelming them."

Last Poem/First Light was recorded and mixed by Dean Baltulonis (Agnostic Front, Lucero) and mastered by Scott Hull (not the Pig Destroyer guitarist but the mastering engineer whose credits include Sting and Lou Reed).

An early review of Last Poem/First Light on American Aftermath states, "A raging force of post-black metal frothing with shoegaze and oozing with torutred melancholy... It's deep. It's profound. It's astounding. Everything this band has done has led up to this release and I have never heard anything so magnificent."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Chicago trio Czar has completed work on its second full-length album. Titled No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive, this new modern-day classic is set for a November 5th release on the band's own label, Cracknation Records.

Czar ambushed the underground in late 2011 with the release of its staggering debut full-length, Vertical Mass Grave. A surprise critical hit of the year, Vertical Mass Grave combined machine-like metal with ambient expanse and olympian hooks. Terrorizer Magazine saw the band "seamlessly fusing a Mastodon-sized slab of riffage and the slightly more clinical approach inherent with death metal", while also "firmly reaching to more experimental post-metal realms."

After the album's release, Czar - comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Novak, guitarist Brian Elza and drummer Dan Brill - proceeded to tour the nation as main support for the legendary Killing Joke.

In summer 2013, the band returned to Great Western Record Recorders, where the debut was birthed, and recorded the follow-up, again with producer Matt Talbott (known also as the frontman for 90s hitmakers Hum). Mixed and mastered by the band, christened with a title that Cormac McCarthy should be jealous of, and locked in for a November 4th release on Cracknation, No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive is a metallic rock masterpiece and a shoo-in for the 2013 year-end lists.

A dense sonic feast - blissfully natural and unprocessed, relative to today's norm -  No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive sees layers of melody, dissonance, polyrhythms and groove unite into anthems that are equally aggressive and precise, cryptic and soulful. No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive is the definitive document of Czar's sound to date and it belongs in the company of those classic albums that pushed the envelope while still absolutely rocking - from Heartwork to Slip.

The tracklist is as follows:

1) Whorchard
2) Aortic Flower
3) Black In Black
4) Fuming Rotter
5) Lurvy
6) She's So Heavy
7) Spitter Attack
8) Megafauna
9) Priestess
10) Empty Thrones

Czar will be ramping up its live assault throughout the fall and winter, including Chicago dates with none other than Morbid Angel and Godflesh.

Guitarist/vocalist Jason Novak is also at the helm of "Cold Waves II", a 2-day industrial rock festival, September 27-28 at Metro. Featuring Prong, Skrew, Revolting Cocks members, 16volt and more, "Cold Waves II" aims to shine a well-deserved spotlight on Chicago's place in the history of industrial music, as well as raise money for suicide-prevention charity Hope for the Day, an organization that uses music and the arts to reach troubled kids. Czar members' other bands Acucrack and Iron Lung Corp will both be performing, as well as simultaneously releasing new albums, October 1st on Cracknation Records. 


New York City quartet So Hideous announces the October 22nd release of its debut full-length album, Last Poem/First Light.

Like New York itself, a place of sewer depths and skyscraper heights, So Hideous combines utter extremes and makes them one. On Last Poem/First Light, the band redefines the term "epic" with a violently beautiful sound, uniting the ugly and the majestic, the anguished and the grandiose.

On one hand there are rabid vocals leading a torrent of blackened hardcore that evokes the intensity of 90s German legends Acme. On the other hand there are angelic melodies and lush atmospheres recalling The Cure's masterpiece, Disintegration, or the symphonic swells of a John Williams film score. These two sides, equally prominent, coexist in unison, strengthening each other and creating one supremely cathartic sound.

Last Poem/First Light was recorded and mixed by Dean Baltulonis (Agnostic Front, Lucero) and mastered by Scott Hull (not the Pig Destroyer guitarist but the mastering engineer whose credits include Sting and Lou Reed). Six songs, 33 minutes, the album was crafted for maximum sonic impact - drums explode and rich tones haunt with crystal clarity. Most of the orchestral and choral sounds on the album were performed live in the studio by The First Light Orchestra, a New York-based group consisting of ten string players, a tuba, and four vocalists!

The tracklist is as follows:

1) Rising
2) Stabat Mater
3) My Light
4) Rhapsody
5) Last Poem
6) Glory

Comprised of four native New Yorkers - Brandon Cruz on guitar and keyboards, his brother Chris Cruz on bass and vocals, drummer Danny Moncada, and guitarist Etienne Vazquez - So Hideous released its debut EP in 2011 and was praised by Decibel Magazine as "walls of shoegazy sound, throat-scraping vocals, an active rhythm section, and an uplifting orchestral bent". Since the start, the majority of the band's music has been composed on piano by Brandon Cruz, inspired largely by "film scores and 20th century minimalist composers like Arvo Part and Philip Glass", then fleshed out into songs by the full band. Chris Cruz, Moncada, and Vazquez share years of history playing in bands together, including one death metal act that caught the ear of Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones and toured with world repeatedly as the live soundtrack for Jones' acclaimed modern dance company.

In the context of today's scene, So Hideous fit loosely with other bands exploring the nexus between contrasting extremes - "post-everything" bands like Vattnet Viskar and Deafheaven. But be assured, So Hideous possesses its own unique soul and singular voice, and Last Poem/First Light is its extraordinary statement of intent.

Look for So Hideous playing live throughout the fall and winter. On certain select dates, So Hideous will be joined onstage by The First Light Orchestra.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Brooklyn "psych-prog" trio Netherlands unveils the first slice of its new album, Silicon Vapor, in the form of the single "Tabitha", now streaming via Revolver Magazine.

Netherlands frontman Timo Ellis has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Melvins, John Zorn, Gibby Haynes, and many more in his 20-year career. With Netherlands, Ellis unleashes his love for rock n' roll excess, creating an explosion of euphoric hooks and apocalyptic drive that nods to 70s heavy metal, 80s stadium rock, and 90s alternative. Time Out New York has hailed Netherlands as "a kind of futuristic biker rock... a burst of anti-intellectual glee".

Silicon Vapor was recorded by John Davis at The Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, NY (Moby, The Roots), mixed by Bryce Goggin (Swans, Pavement), and mastered by Ron Shaffer (Tricky). The album will be available October 29th, directly from the band, in three formats: digital, CD, and a limited pressing of double LPs on color vinyl.

Netherlands has shared stages with everyone from Melt-Banana to Valient Thorr; massive live activity is in store for the months to come.

NERVOUS + BrooklynVegan

BrooklynVegan premieres "Perfection", a track off Nervous' self-titled debut album, out September 24th on Twelve Gauge Records.

From Oakland, California, the band features frontman Jake Spek, also of Lewd Acts, and pounds out infectious anthems of anxiety and depression, described by BrooklynVegan as "brash, sarcastic, angry noise punk that should appeal to fans of late-period Black Flag, Flipper, The Jesus Lizard, or a newer band like Pissed Jeans."

Nervous' debut was recorded by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Japandroids).

Pre-order the LP from Twelve Gauge Records.

Twelve Gauge Records releases are distributed exclusively by Deathwish Inc.

Monday, September 9, 2013


MetalSucks & MetalInjection present the long-awaited live debut of Stomach Earth, October 18th at their CMJ showcase at Acheron in Brooklyn, NY.

The Red Chord guitarist Mike "Gunface" McKenzie is the man behind the colossal and miserable power that is Stomach Earth - lurching death-doom from beyond, which Stereogum claims "makes you want to come up with synonyms for 'cave-like'." The debut record, released in July this year on Black Market Activities, crushes at a snail's pace with churning riffs and morbid, cinematic atmosphere.

The live band, making its debut on October 18th, is reported to consist of McKenzie, guitarist Brian Izzi (Trap Them), bassist Greg Weeks (The Red Chord), and drummer Tim Brault (Hivesmasher). Stomach Earth opens the show, which also features Fuck The Facts, Fit For An Autopsy, Meek Is Murder, and Hivesmasher.

Poster by Mike Wohlberg.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

MEEK IS MURDER - Everything Is Awesome...

Brooklyn's Meek Is Murder have completed work on their second full-length, Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters. The album is set for an October 22nd vinyl release on Threshold of Pain Records and a digital release via the band.

For Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters, Meek Is Murder employed the same one-two punch of a production team that crafted their 2011 full-length debut, Algorithms: producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (High On Fire, Nails) and mastering ace Alan Douches (Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan). A video from the recording sessions of Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters, showing Meek Is Murder in action at Kurt Ballou’s Godcity Studio, is now streaming on MetalSucks.

With the first 8 songs blazing by in 7 minutes, Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters sees Meek Is Murder channel Botch's gut-spilling noise-core and The Locust's hyperactive tech, and kick the whole shebang into steamrolling, punk rock overdrive. Furious, relentless and raw, EIANM is painfully honest and as epic as a Viking raid at dawn.  

The inspiration for the album comes from what guitarist/vocalist Mike Keller calls "the most trying year of my life", involving three deaths in his family, the end of a four-year relationship, the loss of all his possessions in a fire, temporary homelessness, illness, and a critically injured dog. Says Keller: "In a year like that, the temptation is there to become despondent and angry with the world. But you do what you can to get through the day and in the end you become a stronger dude for it. The truth was always there but I was finally able to make some sense of it all. Life is a paradox: it is cruel and beautiful and any meaning comes from within. Embrace your insignificance and make what you want, just because you want to experience the journey of making it. Everything is awesome. Nothing matters."

Keller, a former member of The Red Chord and N.A.M.E., is flanked by drummer Frank Godla and bassist Sam Brodsky. Godla is also known as co-owner of preeminent metal site, MetalInjection. Since the release of Algorithms in 2011 (a co-release on MetalSucks and Granite House Records), the trio has toured the US with Fuck The Facts, Tiger Flowers, Hivesmasher, East of the Wall, and more, and has warmed up New York stages for Converge, RETOX, and Loma Prieta. The band also found time to write, record, and self-release a sci-fi concept EP, Into the Sun Where It Falls Off the Sky, produced by Jesse Korman of The Number Twelve Looks Like You.

Decibel Magazine has referred to Meek Is Murder as "the best mathcore to come along since that genre's big hitters - Botch, Coalesce, Converge - dominated the late 90s." Exclaim Magazine has posited, "[Meek Is Murder] takes the intense fisticuffs of Lords, smashes it against Pig Destroyer's rabid proficiency and still comes across like an exorcism..."

Meek Is Murder is awesome. Nothing matters. The  tracklist is as follows:

1) Last Year
2) Passerby
3) Dumb As Death's Head
4) Ashes & Glass 
5) In the Ground
6) You Had a Horse
7) Our Dream
8) More Always More
9) Less Is More 
10) Our Hope / Our Home
11) Paper Hands and the Desert Sea
12) Ghost Moth 
13) Play Dead