Otto’s Band Of The Week

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Starting this week, I’m retiring the Band Crush Wednesday tag as a way to incorporate more Simpsons into the page. So, from now on, I’ll be doing ‘Otto’s Band Of The Week’. This weeks band is California’s doom metal practitioners, Pendulous.

I actually discovered Pendulous through the Full Metal Hipster podcast and immediately fell in love with their My Dying Bride meets post punk take on gothic doom. Their songs are slow and mournful and often times beautiful. I don’t want to play the My Dying Bride comparison up too much, but fans of theirs will fall in love with Pendulous immediately.
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Forming in 2011, Pendulous have two releases under their belts: 2013’s Mirrored Confessions EP, and 2015’s A Palpable Sense Of Love And Lost full length. Both albums are excellent showcases of what can be done with funeral doom when you incorporate other elements less expected from a metal band. The bass often times sounds like mid-80’s Cure, especially Faith era. There are occasional fast and almost upbeat sounding moments, like the beginning of ’40 Years’.
It’s odd to think about a band like Pendulous being from California and not Europe. They’re sound is so drenched in European in melancholy that it’s hard to picture them wondering around Los Angeles at all. But is gothic/funeral doom is your thing, you’d be hard pressed to find a band doing it as well as Pendulous right now.
At the time of this post, Pendulous has both of their albums on Bandcamp for Pay What You Want. But throw these dudes some money if you can. 

Album Review: No One Deserves Happiness by The Body

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Even after a good 5 years of listening, The Body are a band that continue to confound me. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but more of a “I’ve listened to this album 50 times and still have no idea what the fuck is happening” kind of way. Their take on doom is usually buried underneath beats and noise, sometimes completely obscuring whatever “normal” instrumentation is taking place.

After a string of collaboration albums, most notably with Thou and Kreig, The Body are back with their first solo full length since 2014’s I Shall Die Here. No One Deserves Happiness is a mindfuck of an album.  Chip King and Lee Buford stated that they were out to make the “grossest pop album of all time”, and they’ve definitely achieved that in spades. Featuring a handful of tracks with Assembly of Light Choir’s Chrissy Wolpert on clean vocals, the album is a pretty weird mix of weird pop and The Body’s typical harsh noise laden doom. The combination almost seems at odds with one another, but after a few listens, No One Deserves Happiness starts to make sense.
Fittingly enough, the most interesting thing about the album are the more pop oriented tracks. Wolpert’s vocals are soothing and add a nice bit of beauty to the ugliness she’s singing over. A track like ‘Adamah’ wouldn’t seem out of place being sung by Bjork. Opening track ‘Wandering’ features a great duet, for lack of a better word, between Wolpert’s clean vocals and King’s buried shrieks. It makes for an interesting opener and definitely had me confused as to whether I had the right album or not for the first minute and a half.
But don’t let all of this talk about clean vocals and pop music fool you, this album is gnarly. The third track, ‘For You’, is the full mode ugliness that’s usually associated with The Body. It’s two and a half minutes of suffocating noise with a brief but welcome drum beat for about 30 seconds in the middle. It’s one of my favorite parts of the album and works as an excellent one-two punch with the following track, ‘Hallow/Hollow.’
Overall, the album works as a whole, but it definitely leaves me wondering how it would be taken if it was split into two EP’s, one for the more pop sounding songs and one for the heavier songs. Either way, fans of The Body won’t disappointed and No One Deserves Happiness adds a new aspect to The Body that should make their future interesting. Their mix of noise, doom, and industrial griminess works wonders when added to pop beats and clean vocals. I’d be really interested in hearing them record an entire album like the more pop oriented songs on No One Deserves Happiness.
Go into this album with an open mind. It’s disorienting and weird and often times wonderful. It’s an album that needs your full attention to pick out the subtle details within. Those willing and patient enough won’t be disappointed.
You can pre-order No One Deserves Happiness at The Body’s Bandcamp page HERE or a plethora of physical packages through Thrill Jockey HERE.
No One Deserves Happiness is out March 18.

Album Review: Crime Traveler by Graf Orlock

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A little background: I’ve been a fan of Graf Orlock since they started their Destination Trilogy. I love the idea behind the band and the “mythology” surrounding how the band came to be. For those unfamiliar, Graf Orlock is a self-described ‘cinema grind’ band. They’re sound is a mix between full fledged grindcore and a bit of late 90’s/early 2000’s emotional hardcore (think Orchid and Reversal Of Man). They use dialogue from movies as lyrics and have samples before, after, and sometimes during their songs. The entier atheistic is fun and they seem like a band that would be a blast to see live.
For their latest full length, Graf Orlock have made something entirely their own. Entitled Crime Traveler, they took it upon themselves to make their own sound clips and lyrics to be the soundtrack to their own movie (I’m not sure if the movie is a real thing that is happening or not, but I’m erring on the side of no). The story of Crime Traveler from Graf Orlock themselves: “The Crime Traveler film tells the story of a French-Canadian assassin who discovers a wormhole and travels back in time to kill American politicians so that Canada can attain superpower status in the future. As the samples selected for the album illustrate, our anti-hero zips through time and space on his mission – rubbing elbows with John Hinckley at the Reagan assassination, witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and more.”
First thing first: the movie samples are kind of terrible, but I believe they are supposed to be. The acting seems purposely cheesy, as is most of the dialogue. They can sometimes be distracting, but nothing detrimental to enjoying the album. As a long time fan, I know what I’m getting into listening to Graf Orlock, but I can definitely see these samples being off putting if this is your first experience to the band. In fact, before I looked into the lyrics, I had no idea what the plot was supposed to be, but once you dig into the lyrics and know the basic idea behind the album, the samples all make sense.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the most important part: the music. Graf Orlock are in top form on Crime Traveler. Over the last decade, Graf Orlock have honed their skills without ever really changing their sound. But this time around, there seems to be more of an emphasis on slower parts to accentuate their fast parts. The slow middle section of opener ‘Bad Cell Service On Connecticut Avenue’ just makes the beginning sound so much more spastic and makes for an incredible start to the album. In fact, one of the best parts on the album is ‘600,000 Tons Of Explosive Ordinance’. It’s about as close to a slow burner as Graf Orlock gets and works really well while helping to make the faster parts of the album sound even faster. It’s a new and very welcome weapon in the Graf Orlock arsenal.
But enough about the slow. The fast grind parts are where Graf Orlock excel. It’s like the more chaotic and frantic they get, the more at home they feel. Graf Orlock have always melded their grind and hardcore well, and Crime Traveler is no exception. There are sections that feel like they would collapse in less capable hands during parts of ‘Regional Turf War Spills Blood on Vegas Strip’, along with some nice double bass drum parts that border on thrash. The song ‘Nursing A Hangover’ is destined to be a live staple and is easily the best example of what Graf Orlock does best. It’s a full speed ahead grinder that features a nice slow breakdown in the middle. One of the better aspects of the album is that it seems that some of the songs were written with the intent of how they will sound live.
While the album may not be the best thing the band has done, it’s nice to see them doing something new and adding some interesting elements to their sound while still retaining all the parts that make them Graf Orlock. In whole, Crime Traveler sounds like a reinvigorated Graf Orlock. I’m really intrigued to see if this is a one off album, writing and using their own dialogue, or if they go back to using Hollywood films as the base of their songs. Either way, I’m along for the ride.

Album Highlights: Bad Cell Service on Conn Avenue,  A Decent Proposal in a Shitty Alley, Regional Turf War Spills Blood on Vegas Strip, Nursing a Hangover, Cheaper, Safer, and Better Than the Real Thing

You can pick up a digital copy of Crime Traveler from the Vitriol Records Bandcamp page HERE along with everything else Graf Orlock has recorded. 

You can also grab a copy of Crime Traveler on vinyl from the Vitriol webstore HERE. Vitriol and Graf Orlock especially put great effort into their physical media and always come up with something amazing.

Eye On Springfield with Joe Deermieer

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Joe Deermieer is one of my favorite noise artists, particularly his project Hoggle. Creating harsh noise walls inspired by the movie Labryinth, Hoggle is memorizing and intense. Joe also has a pretty amazing project called Heavy Metal Vomit Party, which focuses on old heavy metal albums run through a series of chains to completely destroy the source material. I highly suggest checking out both of these if you are into cool, weird noise projects.

Joe has numerous other projects that are all worth checking out that I will list at the end of the interview. Joe rules and all my thanks to him for doing this interview.

 

What is your history with The Simpsons? Do you remember the first time you saw the show?
Growing up, I loved the show.  I can’t remember the first time i saw it, however, i do remember that it was on Thursdays when I was like 6 years old, and I was displeased that I missed it frequently because my mom taught aerobics at the YMCA, so I was usually stuck there instead of in front of the TV.

Who is your favorite character?
This is a hard one as there are so many great characters that are the best in their own right.  If I had to choose just one though, it would be Lenny and Carl.  Yes, I know that is two characters, but you rarely see one without the other.

Do you have a favorite episode(s)?
The one in which George Bush moves in on Evergreen Terrace is pretty awesome.  Also, damn near every Treehouse of Horror is amazing.

The Simpsons has had a wide array of guest stars. Do you have a favorite?
The Ramones were on an episode, weren’t they?  That’s my favorite.  I also love when Tom Petty’s toe is cut off and lost in the Rock n Roll Camp episode, but that’s because i hate Tom Petty.

Who from the world of noise or metal would you love to see guest on the show?
Vicente aka Weon Culiao aka Bucket of Piss or Johnathon Cash aka Breakdancing Ronald Reagan would make for an interesting episode.

Do you have a favorite musical number from the Simpsons? Also, what noise artists would you like to see interrupt said song?
There are probably plenty of other awesome songs I am forgetting, but “See My Vest” was great.  It would be funny to see Vomir interrupting the song just standing there w/ his bag on his head. Norse Shit Band would be a great interrupter as well.

Is there a character from the show that you think could ever become a noise fan?
I think Moe Syzlak could find HNW appealing.  Comic Book Guy might like the harsh as well.

What character would you be excited to find out was a fan of your work?
Sideshow Bob.

I know you haven’t watch the Simpsons in a while. Do you remember what made you stop watching?
I’m not entirely sure.  I do remember that towards the end of college (~2004-5), I wasn’t finding the writing as funny anymore. I occasionally put it on if I remember and am able to on Sunday, but really, I don’t see it syndicated like it used to be.  I watched it more when Fox still put reruns on.

What would be your dream ending for the family and the series?
Gee, that’s a hard one to fathom.  Realistically, Homer would make some huge mistake while working at the nuclear plant and vaporize the entire town, thus ending the family and the series.

JD

To check out all of Joe’s work, just search for Planet Shithead, Pig Shrapnel, Extreme Chafing, Hoggle, Heavy Metal Vomit Party, Laboratory Fire, Dungeon Attire, Hair On My Food Tapes & Records, Serious Business CDr, and Busey Teeth CDr on Facebook. If you’re into noise, you’ll find a bunch of cool stuff. 

You can also stream some of Joe’s work on Bandcamp at:
Planet Shithead
Serious Business CDr
Hair On My Food Tapes

Album Review: Even The Files Won’t Touch You by Fire-Toolz

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Even The Files Won’t Touch You, is an album that shouldn’t work. It’s a sonic collage of madness that somehow manages to fit together 80’s pop music style keyboards, trip hop beats, song samples from everyone from Copeland and The Get Up Kids to Type O Negative and Loma Preita, harsh noise, and faint vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on any black metal album. Just let all those things sink in for a minute. The mishmash of those things working together cohesively is almost impossible. Yet, Fire-Toolz makes them all work in unison into a completely satisfying experience unlike anything I have ever heard before.
Fire-Toolz is the latest project from Angel Marcloid. Marcloid is responsible for on of my all time favorite noise projects of all time, Pregnant Spore, and the label Rainbow Bridge). I’ve followed Angel Marcloid’s work for a couple years now, and it has always been on the weird side. But Even The Files Won’t Touch You may be the weirdest and most fascinating I’ve heard yet. It’s the sound of all of her interests and former works colliding together and forming something new. There are moments of songs that are completely intricate in their collaboration between club banger beats and harsh vocals (Yellow Croc-Fire), songs that layer sound samples on top of each other in an almost Girltalk fashion (Pain Jerk-Off), and songs of almost Subdued, Mars Volta-esque soundscape (In-House Detox, Diet-Blood).
The best aspect to the album is that even after 20+ listens, I’m still picking out new things. The samples used are sometimes so minuscule that unless you’re paying close attention, they will blow right past you. There is a pretty great use of Darkest Hour as a sample, and the Type O Negative sample is so brilliant that I’d be curious as to how many people pick it out immediately.
Even The Files Won’t Touch You isn’t so much an album as an experience. It’s something that demands your full attention, and if you’re willing to give it, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It’s the sound of someone’s life experiences being combined and expanded upon. It’s the sound of someone being completely and totally comfortable in their own skin for once.
I highly recommend sitting in the dark with headphones on and letting the full potential of Even The Files Won’t Touch You open itself up to you.

Album Highlights: The whole thing. Listen to it in full for the full experience.
You can pick up a digital copy of Even The Files Won’t Touch You HERE along with a remix album entitles Further Down The Files HERE.  You can also follow Fire-Toolz on Facebook HERE, as well as a Tumblr HERE.

BCW -Okto Media

OktoMediaThis week, instead of highlighting a band, I wanted to post about my favorite noise label, Okto Media. Stationed in Dayton, Ohio, Okto Media focuses on the weird and unique in harsh noise. Ranging from harsh noise walls to almost dance-able noise, there is something from everyone interested in noise.

Some of my favorite releases from Okto Media are:
Pregnant Spore- Chest Absence
Authority- Protect Us, O Lord
Gluttoness- Self-titled 2xCassettee
Medical Mechanica- Water Mammals
Foresight- Time Dude
Hoggle- The Oubliette
mASScOMM- Present/Future Shock

Check out Okto Media and most of their releases on their Bandcamp HERE!

Smartline

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This week on Smartline, we’re covering a new Simpsons patch company and a new search engine that will make it possible for Simpson’s fans to always have the perfect screenshot for any situation imaginable.

First up, Gummi Venus patches!

Based in Australia, Gummi Venus are a new(er) company making Simpsons patches. Creating some of the most iconic Simpsons moments along with some really random moments to make patches, their work is excellent and are a must buy for any Simpsons fan. Here are three of my favorite:

MOE_PATCH

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All of these, plus about 6 more are available from Gummi Venus with more added pretty frequently. Check them out at their Big Cartel shop!

 

Second, the Frinkiac search engine!

A complete game changer for Simpsons fans, the Frinkiac is a new search engine that let’s you search for over 3 million screenshots from the Simpsons. All you need is a Simpsons quote and it will produce any screenshot attached to that quote. It’s amazing and I spent hours searching through the site finding some of my favorite shots. Now you never have to interact with someone through something as dumb as words again! Visit the Frinkiac HERE and say goodbye to all of your free time.

 

BONUS metal Smartline post: The History Of Heavy Metal Music!

I haven’t posted about metal on Smartline in quite a bit since I post a lot about it in most of the other posts on Xtapolapometal, but I recently bought a pretty great book about heavy metal that I wanted to promote. Written by The American Nihilist Underground Society with incredible design work from Jaci Kvlt, the book is extremely fascinating and beautiful to look at. The History Of Heavy Metal Music traces the influences and actions that brought heavy metal into the world unlike any book I’ve ever read. If you’re into reading about metal at all, you need this book! Pick it up from Blurb HERE!

 

#MetalBandcampGiftClub Spotlight

I posted about the #MetalBandcampGiftClub and how awesome it has been a couple weeks ago (you can read that here). I decided to start a weekly segment on Xtapolapometal to spotlight albums I’ve been gifted through the gift club as a way to promote the bands and the people participating. Each week will be 2-3 albums that I’ve received and the a link to the wishlist of the person who gifted them to me. That was if you are already participating or want to jump in, you can find great people to follow.

For the first #MetalBandcampGiftClub Spotlight, here are four short and cheap noise albums from the band Full Of Hell. Most of the time, when Full Of Hell have an album up for pre-order, they will have a limited edition run of noise cassettes for the first 50 or so people to buy their album. They always sellout very quickly, so Full Of Hell put them up on Bandcamp. All four are sold for a very cheap 50 cents and are incredible worth checking out.

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 1

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Pick up Vol. 1 HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 2

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Pick up Vol. 2, HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 3

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Pick up Vol. 3 HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 4

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Pick up Vol. 4 HERE

All four of these were gifted to me by one of my favorite human beings on Earth and an all around lovely person, Ross Mckendrick. You can find his wish list and follow him HERE!

For more info on the #MetalBandcampGiftClub, visit the official website.