Friday, April 24, 2015

TIDEMOUTH - Velvet and Stone

"The Los Angeles band revels in despair and disgust for mundane existence and delivers its message through noisy, stripped-down punk, shot through with elements of goth... Like The Cure, Tidemouth is incredibly earnest and it's reflected not just lyrically but in the raw, unadulterated nature of its caustic songs."

Melotov Records founder Melanie Voltz has put her Los Angeles-based label on the map in a big way in recent years, putting out albums by a wisely curated stable of bands from across the nation and across the full spectrum of hardcore: ACxDC, Old Wounds, The Banner, Seizures, Outer Heaven, and more.

Melotov's next release is one that resets the bar once more for the label and the scene at large. June 9th, Melotov releases Velvet and Stone, the new full-length by LA's own Tidemouth.

Check out Noisey's premieres of new track "Vaccinate" and the video for new track "Black Lung," both off Velvet and Stone. Watch and listen, here.

Tidemouth began life in 2008 as a screamo/grind beast, in line with bands like Orchid and the Three One G Records roster. A collection of demos and one 2010 EP captured this early phase. In 2015 now the band reappears, evolved into something completely new, bearing what is to my own biased ear a contender for ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

Velvet and Stone drips with feeling from the first note to the last. A supremely confident work of art, it is both a gut-wrenching purge and a wonderfully self-aware bit of theater. It is also a masterpiece of minimalism – simplicity is wielded to maximum effect.

On Velvet and Stone, Tidemouth puts forth a raw, blackened version of hardcore punk, in line with current minimalists like Raspberry Bulbs. Primal drums and eerily warm, almost-clean guitar tones create an unsettling balance of violence and calm. On top of this is painted a heavy streak of dark, melodic goth-ness that elevates the music to a whole other place.

Opener "Secrets" sets a tone of loose blues, erupting into a howling dirge. It might be an outtake from The Flesh Eaters' A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die. Right off the bat, Tidemouth shows some respect for its city's history – the early '80s LA scene, where punks like X, The Flesh Eaters, The Gun Club, and T.S.O.L. veered into goth, blues, and country and helped pave the way for what would become "alternative" music in the '90s. 

Second song "Vaccinate" explodes in a tortured, blackened storm – but frontman Mike Kilker makes this music shine more than any typical metal frontman could. Far more than one-dimensional screams, his vocals exude everything from pure disgust to bratty swagger to mocking howls, and his lyrics are those of a desperate poet: "I'm tired of doctors' visits / I'm tired of child-sized graves / Close your eyes and pray they won't take me away." 

Third song "Black Lung" comes closest to matching the band's own self-proclaimed style of "heavy Cure." A brooding rock song, it is perhaps the most likely one on the album to get stuck in your head all week. 

The album continues on in this fashion – bluesy, gothy, brutal, and totally memorable – bringing the band's love for classic mopers like BauhuasThe Cure, and some of the aforementioned LA bands into a new, violent setting. Every second counts and it is the lack of things as well as the presence of things that makes Velvet and Stone such a knockout. Kilker states that the band set out to make a "raw, haunting, and heavy" album, and they have succeeded on all counts.

Velvet and Stone was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jules Leon at Studio E Recording in Simi Valley, CA.

The cover art is by Dylan Garrett Smith.

The tracklist is as follows:
1) Secrets

2) Vaccinate
3) Black Lung
4) Memories of You
5) Clearing the Forest
6) Sunlight Sonata
7) Abyssal Blessing
8) Pepper Tree
9) Downtown
10) What's Needed

Tidemouth's last tour was with Texas' superbly heavy Illustrations. Stand by for news of the next tour, coming up soon!

Mike Kilker - vocals
Ryan Corbett - guitar
Cody Armstrong - bass
Kasey Clark - drums

Photo of Tidemouth by Patrick Johnson