Eye On Springfield with Mort Subite

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After posting my review of the Curezum single One Hundred Years/The Top, I was informed that Mort Subite was a huge fan of The Simpsons. Obviously, I was very excited to find out that someone behind my favorite new project dedicated to the music of my favorite band was way into my favorite show. Based on some of the interviews I’ve read with Mort, he seems like a guy with a brilliant sense of humor. Especially when talking about the idea behind Curezum. The Cure and black metal should never, in theory, work together, but Mort and crew pull it off. Their single is being released today and everyone should go pick it up.

Thanks to Mort for answering my nerdy Simpsons questions!

What is your history with The Simpsons? Do you remember the first time you saw the show?
I’ve literally watched the show since it was a short on the Tracy Ulman Show. I believe the first time I saw it was one of the Ulman epsidoes where Homer and Marge are tucking the kids into bed and they end up giving them all existential crises. It was a point of pride that I didn’t miss the airing of an episode for nearly 11 years after that, though whatever “cred” that’s garnered me is probably equally as dubious as whatever “cred” I’ve gained from Curezum.
Who is your favorite character?
It’s tough to say. If we’re talking pre-Flanderization, it’s Homer, hands down, simply because he’s potentially the greatest cartoon character ever created. The not obvious answer would be his (deceased) nemesis Frank “Grimey” Grimes, for the simple fact that he’s the only character in the history of the show to kind of “pierce through the veil” of the consensus reality of the characters on the show, exposing Homer for what he became, even though Grimey paid the ultimate price for it.
Do you have a favorite episode(s)?
That’s an almost impossible question, but favorites that spring to mind are “Bart Vs. Australia,” “Homer Badman,” and “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer.” “Burns’ Heir” and “Bart on the Road” are perennial favorites as well.
The Simpsons has had a wide array of guest stars. Do you have a favorite?
Sideshow Luke Perry.
Who from the world of metal would you love to see guest on the show?
Actually it would be kind of hilarious if Varg Vikernes pulled a Werner Herzog and started appearing in cartoons. Werner’s always in on the joke, but the surreal disconnect of Varg showing up in some kind of twisted, not at all self-aware guest capacity as himself would be a totally hilarious headfuck.
What character would you be most excited to find out was a fan of Curezum?
Milhouse. Not excited exactly. Unsurprised would be a better descriptor.
Do you have a favorite musical number from the show? Also, what band would you love to see cover said song?
We’re Talkin’ Softball, covered by The Baseball Project, which is Peter Buck from R.E.M.’s baseball themed indie rock side project. The mere fact that I know that exists haunts me, and that it was the first thing that sprung to mind means I should probably get my head looked at.
Obvoiusly, the correct answer is Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want To Get Off, covered by Ulver.
I’ve always thought that Lisa Simpson would be the one character to eventually discover metal or punk. What character do you think will be a metalhead?
I have long assumed Kearney, Jimbo, Nelson and Dolph were all really into Priest and Maiden, so that’s probably just a foregone conclusion, but I bet you dollars to donuts Jefferey Albertson listens to power metal. Or at the very least, Stovokor.
Do you still watch the new episodes of the show? If not, do you remember why you stopped watching?
From about the age of 21 to around 26 or so I traveled the country extensively with little access to television, so my Simpsons addiction fell by the wayside of busking and, shall we say, “extra-curricular activities.” Season 11 is probably the last full season I paid attention to. A few years ago I attempted to play catch-up and got about as far as season 16 before the inconsistency did me in. I gave current seasons a few chances and there were some real gems here and there, but again, it was the inconsistency that killed it for me. I have no desire to buy a season on Bluray just to get some decent episodes, and even then have to hunt them out and remember which ones are good for future reference. The show still has the capacity to be great, it’s just really hit or miss anymore.
Finally, how would you like to see the series end? Any ideas on where you would like to see the family end up?
I take no credit for this. Three years ago, /u/kungfukats69 posted this on reddit and quite honestly, if and when the show ends, if it doesn’t end like this, then there’s something truly wrong with the universe:
“The show begins with the family watching Itchy and Scratchy. They announce that the show is coming to an end and the entire family gasps in horror. They then announce that the last episode will be aired in a year’s time, and until then, a contest will be running; this contest will offer the winner the chance to write what will happen in the finale. The entire Simpson family applies.
Krusty is in charge of choosing the winner. He falls in love with one of the Simpsons’ idea and puts it in winners box. He makes a mistake though, he puts all five of their ideas in the box by accident. He goes on his show to announce the winner and pulls out five cards out of the box. Stumped, he reads all five names out, “Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.”
Flash forward a year later and Bart is in class describing his take on the Itchy and Scratchy finale to Milhouse, while showing us Itchy and Scratchy with Bart’s voice-over. He finishes and the class is silent, Edna Krabappel is staring at him and says, “After-school detention.” The scene then cuts to the power plant and Homer is describing his finale to Lenny and Carl. He finishes, a bell rings and he gets in a radiation suit. The scene cuts to a supermarket and Marge is describing her take to Helen Lovejoy, she finishes and strolls Maggie in the trolley to another aisle. Here, Maggie sees the unibrow baby and starts describing her take via waving and motioning. She finishes and the scene cuts to Lisa, she begins describing her take to Sherri and Terri. She finishes and picks up her saxophone to go to music practice. She walks in the music room sits down and then sees the time. She realises the show is going to be on in ten minutes. She plays the Itchy and Scratchy melody on her sax and bolts out. It cuts to Bart, he’s writing on the black board: “I will not talk in class ever again” he hears a bell, realises the time and runs out. Cut to Homer holding some plutonium at a conveyor belt when a bell rings at the plant and he too realises the time and runs off, dropping some plutonium. Cut to the supermarket and we see Marge and Maggie checking out and running through the exit doors. Cut to a birdseye view of their home and we see everyone rushing to take a seat in the couch. They look at each other, they smile, the Itchy and Scratchy music plays, and it cuts to credits.” (permalink to the comment on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories/comments/yecdu/how_the_simpsons_should_end/c5ut3ux)
mort
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BCW – Un

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Un are a funeral doom band with some heavy sludge elements that I recently discovered and have completely fell in love with. I can’t find a whole lot of information about them as their name makes it almost impossible to search. I know they’re from Seattle and features a member of the phenomenal Samothrace.  So far, they’ve released one demo and a self-titled EP. Their first full length, The Tomb Of All Things, is set to be released on December 4th, via Black Bow Records. I’ve listened to the album at least once a day since receiving the promo and can say it’s definitely one of the top 10 albums I’ve heard this year. It’s extremely slow and crushing, but has a nice sense of melody that makes everything incredibly memorable.

Follow Un at:
Un Bandcamp
Un Facebook

Album Review: Survey The Wreckage by Wildspeaker

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Sometimes you come across a band that fits so perfectly into your life that after hearing them, you can’t fathom how you ever got through life without them. Wildspeaker fit firmly into that category for me. Everything about them speaks deeply to me. Wildspeaker’s first full length, Survey The Wreckage, have created an album that resonates with me down to my core.

Wildspeaker are from Texas and play a form of powerviolence/hardcore with lots of black metal and doom influences. The riffs are incredibly catchy and memorable and interplay well with the bass and drums, the former being a major highlight throughout the album. The drummer manages to hold all of the chaos together while switching between grindcore fast blasts and doom inspired breakdowns.

The thing that makes the album resonate with me so deeply, though, is the lyrics and vocals. Natalie sounds ferocious while screaming about how mankind is ruining the Earth. Her lyrics are inspiring and highlight a lot of problems with how people view nature and abuse the Earth without any thought as to how we’re basically shitting where we eat. “Let the lands cry out. They silently beg us to quietly retreat on hind legs. Fauna and flora grieve. We are an invasive species” from the song ‘Invasive Species’ are a prime example and one of my favorite lyrics on the album.

Wildspeaker are a band with a bright future. They have enough different influences stirred into their powerviolence to keep things interesting. The samples and segues interspersed throughout the album add a nice touch. Even after the album ends, the themes will linger with you, making you second guess some of the decisions you make. Survey The Wreckage is an instant classic in my mind and will hopefully find it’s place in the pantheon of crust and powerviolence. I hold Wildspeaker in the same high praise as His Hero Is Gone or Reversal Of Man. Pick up Survey The Wreckage and find out why.

 

Highlights: Survey The Wreckage, Invasive Species, Abrupt Decay, Powerlines, Reclamation.

Pick up Survey The Wreckage at Wildspeaker’s Bandcamp.

Smartline

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Bart’s Tattoo Pin:

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Mike McCabe collaborated with the Instagram account The Simpsons Tattoo to create this pin of Bart’s tattoo from the “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire” episode. The pin is available HERE along with some other amazing Simpsons patches and pins.

 

Sax On The Beach Pin:

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These awesome Bleeding Gums Murphy pins were just made and released by Couch Gag, who I believe is new to the Simpsons pin/patches game. I’m hoping with a name like Couch Gag that there will be a lot more to come. You can pick this pin up HERE!

 

 

Eye On Springfield with Graham & Ben from Endless Swarm

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Endless Swarm are a powerviolence/grind band with a lot of noise tendencies from Edinburgh, Scotland. I was introduced to them by Ross McKendrick based on their song ‘Hollow Victory’ having a sample of Troy McClure starting it out. I immediately fell in love with the band and reached out for an interview. And then their drummer parted ways with the band. This interview would have been up a long time ago, but losing a drummer right around the time of entering the studio creates a huge upheaval. But here we are and the interview is done and I’m really excited to share it. Endless Swarm are an incredible band and should be checked out but everyone reading this. They just released their new 7″ entitled Pointless Existence and already have a split with Pavel Chekov set for release by the end of the year.
Huge thanks to Garham and Ben for taking the time to answer these questions!

What is your history with The Simpsons?

Graham – The Simpsons was always on BBC2 at 6 o’ clock, Monday – Friday here in the UK. I always sat down and had dinner with my family and that’s what was on while we ate. I fell in love with it at a pretty young age and a remember going through a phase where everything I owned had ‘El Barto” written on it and my pencil case, lunchbox and folders were all Simpsons memorabilia.

Ben – Like most 90’s kids in the UK, I used to watch The Simpsons on BBC2 during the week. I instantly found myself caught up in the huge world of Springfield and all the characters living in it. It was a cartoon on at dinner time so it was always felt like a bit of a bonus after all the kids TV programmes had finished earlier. I used to spend ages sketching all of the characters so I can probably credit that in some way to my love of drawing, too. Also, my older brother owned the “Do The Bartman” single so I can remember hearing that a lot.

There is a pretty large and diverse cast of characters on the show. Is there a character you see yourself in, for better or for worse?

Graham – Growing up it had to be Bart. I had that rebellious streak and I always found myself getting in to trouble for various reasons. I also had a pretty dorky mate who I guess you could compare to Millhouse in some respects (Scott, if you’re reading this I’m sorry). Another big part of my youth was skateboarding, which may well have stemmed from my love for The Simpsons. Furthermore, my relationship with my sister was very similar to Lisa and Bart’s as my sister was always very successful at school and always made me look bad!

Ben – As much as I’d like to say Bart (I did use to skateboard a lot when I was younger) I’d probably have to say the social awkwardness of Milhouse. That, and the fact I used to wear a pretty ridiculous pair of bright red glasses for years.

Who is your favorite character?

Graham – That’s tough! For me it’s either Bart or Otto Mann.

Ben – It’s pretty hard to pick just one. I’d have to go with either Otto or Moe. They’re always entertaining in any episode. You can’t forget Disco Stu though.

How is the show perceived in Scotland? Is it a beloved as it is (or was) in America?

Graham – Yeah it’s extremely popular over here, shops still sell shirts with Bart on it and it’s always on TV. Although it’s still ongoing, I’d say you have people who appreciate it nostalgically too.

Last Scotland question (I swear). Is Groundskeeper Willie a popular character there?

Graham – Yeah for sure, he was actually used during the Independence Referendum and was backing an independent Scotland which was really cool.

Do you have a favorite episode(s)?

Graham – I’ve managed to boil it down to a few, so my favourite episodes are 1) Homer eats the chilli and trips out 2) Bart tries to find Santa’s Little Helper 3) Homer skates the canyon gap. There’s a bunch more but these were all the ones that stick out in my head. I was always a huge fan of the Treehouse Of Horrors episodes too.

Ben – There’s far too many to choose from. The ones that have always stuck in my mind are the X-Files episode, the one where Homer hallucinates in the desert after eating the peppers and one that Homer gains a load of weight in order to work from home. Also, the episode that Troy Mclure marries Selma. Mainly just for “Dr Zaius.”

The Simpsons has had a lot of great guest stars in their time. Who is your favorite?

Ben – Probably just anytime Kelsey Grammer is in it as Sideshow Bob or Danny DeVito as Homer’s brother.

Music-wise it has to be the Ramones singing happy birthday to Mr. Burns or The Smashing Pumpkins at Hullabalooza.

Who from the world of metal would you love to see guest on the Simpsons?

Ben – King Diamond. He’s already that ridiculous and over the top as a character that it almost seems like he was purposely written for the show.

One of my first real big exposures to things like vegetarianism was through Lisa Simpsons. Has the show ever introduced you to an idea that changed the way you view things?

Ben – I can’t say the The Simpsons has had that big of an impact on how I view things in life. I’ve always admired how well the writers managed to make the programme appeal to all ages and still include such a wide range of issues though.

Do you still watch the new episodes? If not, do you remember what made you stop?

Graham – I haven’t watched any new episodes in a number of years which is a shame but it wasn’t something I decided to do it just kind of happened. Not having TV is a large contribution to that and with life getting busier I just don’t have as much time as I’d like to keep up with The Simpsons!

Ben – I don’t still watch new episodes. I think I stopped watching around season 10. We were always several seasons behind over here unless you had Sky TV channels, which I didn’t, so I was never that up to date with them to begin with. I’ve watched the odd newer episode now and again but I just feel that they lack a lot of the clever writing that the earlier episodes had.

Finally, how would you like to see the show end?

Ben – I don’t really have an idea story-wise but I really think that they should have ended it all with a movie. It took them so long to actually put one out yet I don’t feel like it had as much of an impact as it could have had. It felt like just watching a slightly episode.

Graham – I hadn’t really thought about it but after reading over these questions I thought I’d have a look on the internet and read over other peoples ideas on how the show should end. I must admit that the idea of having a full season of ‘last episodes’, parodying other famous last episodes and having Bart and Lisa growing up for example. That could be fun!

ES

Follow Endless Swarm at:
Endless Swarm Facebook
Endless Swarm Bandcamp

Album Review: Lightless Walk by Cult Leader

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Lightless Walk is the first full length from Salt Lake City’s Cult Leader, a band that is unfairly always living in the shadow of their past. But fuck the past, because Cult Leader are all about the now.

If you’ve heard either of Cult Leader’s prior releases, Nothing For Us Here EP and Useless Animal 7″, you know what you’re in for: crusty grind influenced hardcore mixed with some emotionally heavy lyrics. Cult Leader should be one of the flagship bands in hardcore today. Their sound is unique in a genre where a lot of bands sound exactly the same. They’re basically what I imagine Converge would sound like if they started today.

Lightless Walk is more of the same from the Cult Leader camp, which is not a bad thing. They’ve managed to perfect their sound in the short time they’ve been a band. They know how to tow that line between fast, angry hardcore and grind without solely being in one camp or the other. The album comes out of the gate swinging with the song ‘Great I Am’, a song that is a perfect example of what Cult Leader does best: bludgeoning the listener to a pulp before the first minute of the album is over.

The highlights of the album, like Cult Leaders prior work, is when they slow things down. The song ‘A Good Life’ is far and away my favorite part of the album. It’s the centerpiece, a slow, down tempo song with a bit of a country feel played through a metal filter. It’s a song that I could see Johnny Cash covering if he was still with us. Cult Leader’s slow moments have always added an incredible atmosphere that counteracts their punishing hardcore without coming off like a distraction. Another example of this is the albums closer, ‘Lightless Walk’.

In fact, the one thing Cult Leader does best is write unbelievable ending tracks. ‘Driftwood’ from Nothing For Us Here and their cover of You Are Not My Blood’ from Useless Animal have showcased this fact, but ‘Lightless Walk’ might have one upped even those. It’s emotionally heavy and lyrics brutal. “I don’t know why anyone would pretend to care about me when I take that lightless walk. None of you will notice. Never buried and unmourned. None of you will love me in the end.” Those lyrics close out the album while being sung in a Nick Cave style vocal and are crushingly depressing and something I think a lot of people have felt in their lifetime. Anthony Lucero has a way with words that can take you right back to some of your darkest moments.

Cult Leader have crafted perhaps the hardcore album of the year and will hopefully garner them the much deserved attention. And hopefully when people write about them, they’ll stop referring to their past band and let the past die. Cult Leader’s future is way to bright to dwell on the past.

Album Highlights: Great I Am, Suffer Louder, A Good Life, Walking Wastelands, How Deep It Runs, Lightless Walk.

You can pick up Lightless Walk as a digital album HERE or visit the Deathwish store HERE for all of the physical versions. 

BCW – King Woman

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This weeks Band Crush Wednesday is a band that has been on very heavy rotation for me all year. Their music is incredibly beautiful and heavy all at once without one giving way to the other.

King Woman play a form of doom with heavy shoegaze elements. Featuring the soulful and gorgeous vocals of Kristina Esfandiari, King Woman for me sound like if Mazzy Star started a band with Pallbearer. It’s all slow and features some crushing riffs hidden beneath all of the shoegazey fuzz. Bassist Sky Madden and drummer Joey Raygoza provided an incredible backdrop for the lush drones, especially highlighting the song ‘King Of Swords’.

King Woman has three releases to their name: Degrida/Sick Bed single, Dove/Fond Affection single (I highly recommend Fond Affection. One of the best covers I have ever heard), and the Doubt EP, which highlights Kristina’s troubles with her religious upbringing. They’re all equally beautiful and engaging. Some of the songs, ‘Burn’ especially, have a trance like effect where I can’t focus on anything else but the song.

King Woman recently finished recording their new album set to be released sometime in the near future.

Follow King Woman at:
King Woman Bandcamp (via The Flesner)
King Woman Facebook
Kristina Esfandiari on Twitter

Six Degrees: Vattnet Viskar

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This is a new thing I’m going to try and do periodically where I spotlight some of the smaller bands/projects from members of “bigger” bands. For the first one, I wanted to talk about the bands featuring current members of Vattnet Viskar. All of these are far from the atmospheric black metal Vattnet Viskar has perfected, but are all excellent. Hopefully you find something you like and support these projects because they all deserve it.

Vattnet Viskar is currently on tour and you should go see them if they’re playing near you. Check for dates at vattnetviskar.com

Hetfield & Hetfield

First up is my favorite of the groups, Hetfield & Hetfield. Featuring Vattnet Viskar’s bass player, Casey Aylward, on guitar and vocals, H&H music is a mix of pop punk and metal. Think The Dillinger Escape Plan covering Coheed & Cambria with Chris Conely from Saves The Day on vocals. Or something. Their sound is pretty out there. And it’s amazing. I’m a massive fan of Hetfield’s music and listen to them at least once a week. Casey’s vocals and lyrics are a highlight, as are Brett’s drums. They’ve have three releases (Plays The Hits, Tidal Wave Dreams, and Hetfield & Hetfield) on Bandcamp, all of which I highly suggest picking up. Give these songs a couple listens because they’re pretty weird but completely amazing when they click with you. Check them out HERE!

Rust Belt

Rust Belt is a solo project from Vattnet Viskar’s guitar player, Chris Alfieri. So far, Rust Belt has released one EP full of beautiful ambient soundtrack style recordings in tribute to the films of Michael Mann. Chris is a huge fan of Tangerine Dream, whose soundtrack work is a big influence on Rust Belt’s sound. Featuring guitar, synth, and drum machine, the EP is a great start to something I hope Chris continues to work on when he has time. I’d love to hear more from him in this style. Check out Rust Belt HERE!

Astronoid

Astronoid is a band, like Hetfield & Hetfield, that is hard to explain. Their sound is rooted in metal, with a massive space rock influence. Astronoid is the brainchild of Brett Boland and features guest spots from both Casey Aylward and Nicholas Thornbury of Vattnet Viskar. Casey provides the guitar solo on the song ‘Stargazer’ from the Stargazer EP, while Nicholas appears on the November EP. Astronoid is set to release a new album sometime soon that I can’t wait for. All of their songs are pretty incredible. Check out Astronoid HERE!

My Fictions

My Fictions is a hardcore/punk band in the vein of Touche Amore or Defeater. Featuring Vattnet Viskar drummer Seamus Menihane, My Fictions have a handful of releases that are a must listen for anyone into modern day hardcore. Stranger Songs, their latest release is especially great and features some of my favorite work Seamus has done. Don’t sleep on this! Check them out HERE!

Fever Dream

Lastly, Fever Dream is another band that Seamus Menihane drums for, this time in a more laid back indie rock/emo style. Fever Dream have released one EP full of extremely well done rock songs. If you’re a fan of early 90’s style emo, check this out. The EP is great and I’m hoping they release something else soon. Check out Fever Dream HERE!

Smartline

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First off, I have about 4 more interviews lined up which means 4 more weeks of regular posts. After that, I’ll probably take a 2 or 3 week break just based on my work schedule being crazy for the next month or two. Anyway, this weeks Smartline is a revisit to the work of Thrillhaus and a couple new patches he’s made.

Molemanowar

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I remember seeing this patch being teased months ago and have been vigilantly keeping an eye on the Thrillhaus Instagram account. I bought it as soon as it was put up for sale. It’s probably my favorite Simpsons related patch I’ve ever seen. Buy it before they sell out! Get it for $6 HERE!

Brak Flag

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This one isn’t Simpsons related, but I love Space Ghost Coast To Coast and The Brak Show. This patch made me laugh out loud when I first saw it. It’s pretty genius. Also, My War by Black Flag is easily my favorite Black Flag album. Pick this up for $6 HERE!

BCW – Ethicist

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A little over a week ago, I went to see Yob. One of their openers was a local band I had never heard of named Ethicist. The completely blew me away. Especially knowing they were only 45 minutes away and I had never even heard their name before.

Ethicist play a thoughtful and emotionally heavy form of black metal in the vein of a less long winded Wolves In The Throne Room. Their songs are volatile and immensely heavy.

So far, Ethicist have released one self-titled demo EP on cassette. Their second cassette release is set to be released on Grimoire Cassette Cvlture (also on vinyl through Phratry Records).

Follow Ethicist at:
Ethicist Bandcamp
Ethicist Facebook