Press play on “Victimless Crime,” the opening number from the Pinx’s Electric! EP, and guitarists Adam McIntyre and Chance McColl invoke the light, sweet atmosphere of Big Star’s #1 Record—a jangling alternative to the Southern rock clichés that typically lord over riffs of such magnitude.
“Hammer of the Dogs” is the standout cut here. The song’s boogie melodies, backed by bass player Charles Wiles and drummer Cayce Buttrey’s sturdy rhythms, push McIntyre’s voice to psychedelic heights. Amid such strutting blasts of heavy rock ‘n’ roll, “Hammer of the Dogs” brings anthemic hooks to the mix, propelling the energy of the rest of the EP’s songs: “Bad Behavior,” “It’s Electric,” and “See You Later.”
The ghosts of early Van Halen riffs haunt Electric!’s latter half, laying the foundation for the pure elation in lyrics such as “I trace the power line from your spine down to your heel. Lightning to ground is what I feel! All my life I’ve always wondered what’s in store. It is your touch that makes me heal” in “It’s Electric.” It’s a fitting thesis for a hard rock EP in 2020, and a soundtrack for going walkabout in the wilds of rural Georgia, where having a fist-raising good time and attaining spiritual enlightenment are one in the same.
The five songs on Electric! power forward with anthemic pop hooks like thoughtful kin to ‘80s hair metal, but without the raunch, existing out of time and completely in their own context. This translates into earnest depth, as each song could be a stand-alone single. There isn’t a whole lot of variety going on from song to song, but that’s kind of the point. These songs find the Pinx reveling in the blue-eyed instincts of accomplished musicians embracing rock ’n’ roll bravado without a hint of pretension or self-consciousness. The songs are primal, reeling with distortion and spiraling energy, giving each player room to run wild. And run wild they do.
Mastodon‘s latest single, “Fallen Torches,” is a longtime staple of the group’s repertoire, but has remained unreleased until now. The song—one of the first recordings made in the Mastodon-run Ember City Rehearsal Studios in Atlanta’s Capitol View neighborhood—is the opening number on Medium Rarities, a 16-song compilation gathering odds and ends from the past 20 years of the group’s history—7-inch singles, “White Walker” from the Game of Thrones soundtrack, instrumental outtakes, and various live recordings including a scorching rendition of Metallica’s “Orion.”
“Fallen Torches” also features a guest vocal growl courtesy of Scott Kelly of Neurosis. True to Mastodon form, the song could embody the perfect metaphor for American politics, the global climate crisis, human interaction eroding in the face of the internet … Or not. When taken at face value “Fallen Torches” is a white-hot neckbreaker driven by mammoth riffs and rhythms that rival the almighty white whale behind Mastodon’s classic 2004 LP Leviathan. Meaning lies in the ears of the beholder, albeit quite ferocious.
Colonel Records comes out of the gate strong with Protest & Survive, a friggin’ 42-track compilation of covers, rare, live, and unreleased songs that benefits ActBlue, and other legal aid organizations providing bail funds for protesters and activists who are rallying to fight police brutality.
GG King, WYMYNS PRYSYN, More, Hyena, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, Mongo, and many more Atlanta-based punk, post-punk, hardcore, and garage rock acts dominate a tracklist that also includes songs by Fletcher C. Johnson, U.S. Prisms, and the likes. Check out the full tracklist below.
The Protest & Survive comp is available via Bandcamp. It’s also pressed in a limited edition of 50 cassette tapes. Grab one before they’re gone, and support those on the frontlines, pushing for positive and lasting social change.
Douglas Graham: “Angela Davis”
Tropical Trash” “Messenger (Wipers cover)
GG King: “Melt On You”
Paralyzer: “Paranoid Youth”
Long Knife: “No Rule” (Leather Nun cover)
KPF: “Stress City”
Blackout: “Eating Gas”
Ryan Dino: “North Star”
WYMYNS PRYSYN: “Lifeform”
Neuflesh: “Coward World (Fuck 12)”
Tropical Trash: “Korgüll The Exterminator” (Voivod cover)
The Wilful Boys: “Muttley”
Bob Mann: “Can You Come Home”
Fletcher C Johnson: “Eventually”
Shaken Nature: “Pony Don’t Cry”
Rude Dude and the Creek Freaks: “World On Fire”
Groovy Movies: “If You Wanna Go”
Baby Shakes: “Down”
All Night Drug Prowling Wolves: “Not Messing Around”
Metalleg: “Ride Along”
Paint Fumes: “Guess Who”
The Schamones (feat. Members of Paralyzer and All Night Drug Prowling Wolves): “I Wanna” (live Ramones cover)
Snoopy and The Who?!: “My Regeneration”
Cuss: “The Cause”
More: “Hourglass” (Wurve cover)
Subcults: “Quarantine Dreams”
Jordan Jones: “New Year’s Eve”
Rikky IV: “Capable Of”
Bad Moods: “New Song About An Old Ghost”
Fuck Knights: “We’re All Essential”
U.S.PRISMS: “State Control” (Discharge cover)
Pagan Girls: “Chezron (Time Prescribes the Medicine)”
Space Program: “Smoke & Flames Engulfed The Secret Hideout”
A Drug Called Tradition: “Killing Game” (unreleased)
Warm Deltas: “Face of the Mountain”
Vow: “Endless Roads”
Brother Hawk: “No Room For Rust” (Live)
Thousandaire: “Thumb” (Dinosaur Jr. cover live)
Ian O’Neil: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (Chuck Berry cover)
Ladrones are back with a new lineup and a new single, titled “Saico.”
Since the group last checked in circa June 2019 with their self-titled debut LP (Slovenly), San Juan Puerto Rico transplants singer Valeria Sánchez and guitar player Jose Rivera have filled out the group’s lineup with bass player Paul Hernandez (Mongo) and drummer Ray Hernandez — no relation.
“Saico” builds upon the latin-inflected garage-punk riffs of Ladrones’ self-titled LP while veering toward a hair-raising punk-pop and rock ‘n’ roll circa ’77 strut. The song was recorded with four more new numbers at Rockcliff Sound with Lewis Lovely, in the hopes of seeing an EP release sooner than later. “We were gonna shop them around to different labels, but then the COVID situation happened. That put a stop to that,” Rivera says. “Now, our main thing is to keep writing as much music as possible, and prepare to go back on tour.”
On the heels of releasing 2018’sInability to CopeEP, bass player and lead vocalist Jake Benedict, drummer Tyler Peacock, and singer and guitarist Chris Hammer are back with three-songs that plunge the group’s blend of hardcore, thrash, black metal, death metal, and crust punk into much greater depths. Benedict’s low rumble and Hammer’s demonic shriek create an urgent tension over Peacock’s staccato rhythms. After live-streaming a 7-inch release party on April 20, Benedict took a few minutes to talk about the new songs and finding Misanthropic Aggression’s sound.
The Alcoholic Polyneuropathic Freaks In Hell 7-inch is Misanthropic Aggression’s first new release since 2018, correct?
Yes! The first thing we did after releasing Inability To Cope was to write the song “Blacklisted.” I had already written the guitar riff, so we started arranging it. We worked for about a year and wrote “Black Listed,” then “Retirement From Life (Last Day of Work),” then “Alcoholic Polyneuropathic Freaks In Hell.” Chris came up with the title for that one.
That song feels timely, as many Georgians are struggling with Governor Kemp easing up on the shelter-in-place order.
Yeah, because you’ve been at home for like a month, drinking too much, and you feel like you’re in hell!
We played with Sanguisugabogg at 529 on March 11, 48 hours before the shit hit the fan. The morning after, I got an email saying my son’s school is canceled effective Monday. He hasn’t been back since.
When we played on March 11, COVID-19 was already here. People were wigging out, about half the normal crowd was there, and people were already wearing masks. They were high-elbowing instead of high-fiving. It was a trippy night.
You know there’s a problem when even the crust punks are washing their hands!
Big time! There was a line out the bathroom door all night, just to use the sink!
“Retired From Life (Last Day Of Work)” is the second entry in a catalog of anti-active shooter songs. “Active Shooter Syndrome (A.S.S.)” from Inability To Cope was about the Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas. I heard the news about it and wrote that song. “Retired From Life …” is about the poor guy who worked in the security shack at the FedEx facility in Kennesaw, maybe six-seven years ago. Basically, he was shot in the gut with a shotgun and lived, but he’s had 80-90 surgeries since then.
I thought about how lyricists like Chris Barnes from Cannibal Corpse write. As a kid, it was terrifying to read first-person perspective songs about being murdered. To twist it in with the urban style that we’ve always had I did a first-person narrative about being killed on the job. I was almost afraid to do it because it’s pretty controversial. But the lyrics are so clearly anti-shooter that it won’t come across like we were glorifying it. But it is supposed to be horrific.
Have you published the lyrics?
The lyrics aren’t posted anywhere yet. I’m such an amateur when it comes to actual music industry stuff. After the records are produced, your PR campaign starts. So as soon as you send off the masters the records get pressed. Then Perfect World Productions, who’s doing our PR, sends out press kits. Once the records come in they get sent out for distribution. Boris Records has distribution through MVD. That takes an additional four weeks. I didn’t know all that, and when we picked the April 20 release date I was working off of my DIY experiences: ‘The records will be here and we’ll get in the van and go!’ The 4/20 release date isn’t official. The distributor’s release date, and the reason it’s not on Spotify or anywhere else yet, is June 8. That’s when I think we’ll post the lyrics.
As soon as we finished this one we turned around and finished a new song for the next record. I want to write about COVID-19, but I need to approach it carefully. It’s a slippery slope talking about this virus; you could easily upset people’s political sensibilities, and I don’t want to be seen as a political band. So I’m figuring out how to approach it lyrically.
That’s tough. The anti-active shooter songs — talking about real-world incidents of gun violence — can easily be construed as being about gun control. It doesn’t get more political than that!
Yeah, it could be taken that way. Personally, I see a pattern of antisocial narcissism at work in these shooters — lonely, loser-types, incels who are incels because they have no personality. I noticed that a lot of them have these traits in common. That’s kind of what made me want to chronicle these incidents, and have more than one song about the subject. The title, “Active Shooter Syndrome,” is a play on “active shooter situation.” In my opinion, there seems to be a syndrome here.
What has changed for the group between these two releases?
It’s a cliché, but we’re figuring out our sound. We had this idea to mix five musical genres: punk, thrash, death metal, black metal, and crust. The first release leaned heavily toward punk and hardcore — we had the cover of SSD’s “Boiling Point.” There were hints of death metal, especially in the long musical section in “Herd Rejector/Unbound Descent,” which Chris composed. There are some sludgy parts, some death metal parts. With the new release we went for more of a first wave black metal sound. If you listen to the long section right after the first chorus in “Alcoholic … ,” it has a second wave, almost Gorgoroth or golden era Dark Thrown back-and-forth going on. Real grim black metal. There’s a lot going on in that song, and I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but I’m really proud of it.
Tell me about the sample at the beginning of “Alcoholic …”
Chris did that. It’s the voice of James Dickey, who was a poet laureate in ‘66. He wrote Deliverance.
The lyrics for that song are two-pronged. I have developed alcoholic polyneuropathy, I guess from drinking liquor for 13 years. I’ve started getting real bad tingling in my hands and feet, my skin and scalp crawl, I break out in hives. So the lyrics are about my personal experiences with it, but it’s also a warning to learn better coping mechanisms than substances. It’s definitely in keeping with my amateur psychology that I like to incorporate.
At the end of “Alcoholic …” we take a hard left turn into a weird death metal theme, which is a riff that I wrote. Sometimes I’ll write parts for Chris, but in this song, the whole end, I said, “You do whatever the hell you want, man. These are the parts I wrote. This is the subject matter. Run with it.
Impetigo is a gore-grind band from Illinois, from the late ’80/early ‘90s. They rule, and their vocals have a real strong influence with all the echo and trippy, kind of rubber banding in and out that you hear.
Who did the artwork?
The artwork was done by a Ukranian artist who goes by Warhead Art. He’s done three pieces for us — he did the centerpiece. Chris did the layout. The art is in the middle, and there’s a frame with little stars in the corners. Chris did those, and hand-drew the “Alcoholic Neuropathic Freaks In Hell” logo around it. The stars represent the synapses misfiring in your body due to alcoholic polyneuropathy. It’s what causes the pain, which I thought was a cool idea. The photo on the back with the bricks was taken at the ruins of an old civil war-era mill — Nickajack Creek — up near Smyrna.
The idea was to keep it real simple. No lyrics sheet, no insert, no thank you list. It’s just three songs. The whole thing is influenced by the old Amoebix, Anti Cimex 7-inches; real simple, old-school hardcore shit.
W8ing4UFOs are still playing their scheduled shows at the Pilot Light. Stay tuned for more information.
As Knoxville, Tennessee prepares for the Big Ears Festival‘s annual pilgrimage of deep listeners descending upon the Marble City’s music venues March 26-29, more pieces are falling into place every day. Festivities for the 2020 gathering include an ever-growing film series and panel discussions, in addition to a lineup of bold musical innovators celebrating their singularly nuanced sounds. A rich lineup of heavy-hitters is on the calendar for this year, including German free jazz luminary, saxophone and clarinet player Peter Brötzmann, Tortoise guitar player Jeff Parkerand the New Breed, rock ‘n’ roll poet Patti Smith, Tuareg psych rocker Mdou Moctar, drone music architect Phil Niblock, British free jazz and Afrofuturist provocateur Shabaka Hutchings & the Ancestors, and more.
Amid the flurry of artists and activities on this year’s schedule, Atlanta boasts a particularly strong showing:
Mute Sphere, a group featuring former Faun and A Pan Flute guitarist David Gray, cello and fiddle player Ben Shirley, drummer John Gregg, and percussionist and synth player Chris Childs team up with vocalist Monique Osorio, crafting a blend of composed and improvised rock and modern classical sounds. Mute Sphere takes the Pilot Light stage on Thursday, March 26. 8 p.m. It’s free to anyone who can fit through the door, even if you don’t have a Big Ears pass.
The Rev. Fred Lane is currently setting the South ablaze with the arrival of Icepick To the Moon, his first album over 30 years. The album finds the Auburn, Alabama auteur backed by a group known as the Disheveled Monkey Biters, aka the Edgewood Saxophone Trio (Jeff Crompton, Ben Davis, and Bill Nittler). Rev. Fred Lane and the Disheveled Monkey Biters play The Standard on Friday, March 27. 9 p.m.
Coded deeply within W8ing4UFOs’ DNA is a dense and secret history of Atlanta music. Singer and guitarist Bill Taft, cellist Brian Halloran, and percussionist Will Fratesi’s time together reaches all the back to Cabbagetown in the early ‘90s, sharing stages with Southern firebrand Benjamin in the band Smoke. Producer, songwriter, and keyboard player Billy Fields is like the angel Virgil of Atlanta music, leading the way out of darkness into the light. His resume boasts a lifetime spent playing music with a variety of acts such as Follow For Now, Seek, Upstream, Lust, Arrested Development, Dionne Farris, and H.R. of Bad Brains’ Human Rights outfit. Alongside guitar player Sean Dunn of Athens’ indie rock outfit Five-Eight and viola player and Radon Recordings co-owner Katie Butler, the group creates a mighty sound steeped in the kind of steel-stringed anti-gospel defiance that can only be forged in the forgotten underbelly of the Southern Piedmont. W8ing4UFOs plays two shows at The Pilot Light — Friday, March 27 at 9 p.m., and Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m.
Dust-To-Digital co-owner Lance Ledbetter joins Nathan Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, for a listening session and discussion of selected artists, repertoires, and site-specific musical communities, including archival recordings from Ledbetter’s nonprofit organization Music Memory. At Boyd’s Jig & Reel. Sunday, March 29. 2-3 p.m.