Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens


With this post I think it's safe to say that The Gifted Children have probably gotten the most attention of any other band on this blog and it's for a damn good reason.  Actually two.  First, they are, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, probably the most prolific indie group (?) in the whole wide world and great, but most importantly, they are unique and relevant unlike most of what would qualify "indie" pop/rock these days. The Gifted Children are a sortof collaborative effort of DIY musicians orchestrated by one guy who release a flood of music every year ranging from one end of the indie spectrum to the other and release it by themselves on their own label (Tinhorn Planet).  Secondly, said guy/label sent me a bunch of new (and some old) stuff to fill my brain with just to see what I thought.  Like actual, physical CDs and vinyl which is as cool is it was unexpected. 

I think a little bit of luck was involved when I first heard The Gifted Children, when the one-two pop-rock punch that begins their 2008 full-length "Always Stay Sweet" hit the appropriate part of my skull I was hooked.  Listening to other releases from 2008 (there was like ten), it is possible that had I not heard "Always Stay Sweet" first (still possibly their strongest release that I've heard) I MAY have MAYBE overlooked them, which would have been pretty criminal considering their output since that release.  In 2009 The Gifted Children began with some undeniably solid material which they released for free (and I covered a few monthes back) and they're ending it one a high note.  If they are anything The Gifted Children are ambitious and are embarking on probably their most ambitious project yet.  "One Clear Minute" is a series of EPs released on 7" vinyl (a first, surprisingly) on which every song is less than one minute long.  Honestly this seems like where they are the most comfortable, as quick hooky pop songs are definitely their forte.  Only the first has been officially released, and to be frank it's one of the best EP's I've heard this year.  Volume 2 comes out this week.  So pick it up.

Also released recently was "My Museum Pieces" which is probably the closest thing to a follow-up to "Always Stay Sweet" that they have released this year.  But look for a proper review of that in the near future.

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Get a sampler cd (has stuff from a bunch of different releases)

Buy and download their music at their homepage

I ran across this band in my quest to find bands that sound similar to Sanctions and familiarize myself more closely with crust punk.  I'm not sure if I can speak with any authority yet about the merits of crust, but these dudes DO sound like Sanctions on a grander scale, and they DO fucking rule.  Alpinist are from Germany (M√ľnster to be precise) and are actually getting quite a bit of hype it seems.  "Minus.Mensch" came out in June and the band is planning to release a split LP with UK crust band Hammers, who are also excellent (as an aside, Hammers are also on the verge of releasing a split 7" EP with Dolcim!  You should download their "Year One" cassette here, because they're awesome and giving it away for free). Anyway "Minus.Mensch" is great and is pretty much the only reason I've ever wished I could speak German.  So, if you liked that Sanctions stuff, be sure to give this a go.

Bonus content:  Alpinist wants you to hear their 2007 demo tape, so they give it away for free.  It is immense, so check it out.

For fans of: Sanctions, Hammers, His Hero Is Gone, Fall of Efrafa

Alpinist on Myspace

Get it.

Order it from various European distros including (but not limited to) Phobiact Records, Contraszt!, and Alerta Antifascista

Have mentioned before how much I love the band Bluetip? Yes? Then we're on the same page. If you haven't gleaned that fact from previous posts, or don't read the posts at all then let me just assure you; I love Bluetip. Actually, there is no real reason I'm writing about Retisonic instead of Bluetip right now, but I suppose I'm in a mood. Anyway, the reason I started off as such is because Retisonic and Bluetip are basically the same. Retisonic formed shortly after Bluetip split, evidently because Jason Farrell decided he wasn't done writing post-hardcore songs with his trademark jangly, highly polished riffery. Retisonic manages to keep its "DC" sound while deviating still-further from Farrell's hardcore roots in Swiz. Anywho, "Return To Me" is Retisonics only full-length release, sandwiched between two enjoyable but less remarkable EP's ("The Lean Beat" and "Levittown"). Evidently they are working on a second LP, but I'm not getting my hopes up to see it released any time soon. This album still gets better every time I listen to it. Also, Modern City Records released it on vinyl, but I've yet to secure a copy.

For fans of: Bluetip, Riddle of Steel, Pilot To Gunner

Retisonic on Myspace

Get it.

Alright, so here's my hyberbolic take on this record:

Everyone ever:  OMG dude have you heard the new Cult Ritual LP?
Me: No, actually I've never actually listened to Cult Ritual
Everyone ever:  Man, you are missing something here.  Seriously like hardcore history in the making
Me: O rly?
Everyone ever: Yeah, if for some reason you don't like this then you're oblivious and should likely hate yourself
Me:  Fine, jesus I'll give it a shot.
Me again:  Oh, fuck this really is good
Now, I don't know if this record is really that mind blowing, but it certainly is nothing short of excellent.  A short, concise piece of hardcore music that people are genuinely and deservedly flipping out over.  Check it.

Check out the rest of their discography here

Don't listen to it first. Get it.

And buy it, because its still available at Youth Attack

I got a request for some more hardcore stuff on the site and I try to keep everyone's interests in mind, although it seemed to me like all I was writing about was hardcore. But that makes sense because its basically the large majority of what I've been listening to lately. I'm outdoing myself a little bit here though.

Before I'd ever listened to Graf Orlock I knew very little about them. I did know that they played some manner of hardcore music, I knew they were named after the vampire from Nosferatu, and also that they had totally rad t-shirts. As it turned out Graf Orlock are a grindcore band, who have created, and as far as I know, are the only band involved in the bizzare subgenre of "cinema-grind". In fact, "Destination Time: Today" is the final act in a trilogy of albums devoted to violence and the American Way, told through song and aided by intricately (not really) woven samples from 80's and 90's action films (most of which involve people being killed or killing people, although not exclusively, with firearms). The samples certainly give an obvious sense of theme and hint at structural narrative. Whatever the intent though, it is downright awesome and a lot of these songs chill me to the bone. With "Today", as opposed to the first two acts "Destination Time: Yesterday" and "...Tomorrow", Orlock take a bit of a more melodious approach, spending more time on breakdowns and guitar solos than is characteristic grindcore. They don't do it enough to take away from the base aesthetic, and I never get the feeling that I'm listening to a metal band. Anyway, suffice it to say that if you're familiar with Graf Orlock you should know what to expect with this release and be impressed with this slightly different, but climactic end to "Destination Time". If this is your first encounter with Graf Orlock, be prepared to have your shit rocked in one of the most entertaining ways possible. It also deserves note that this album has one of the most epic endings I've ever heard. As it should.

For fans of: Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Robotsaurus, The Terminator films

Graf Orlock on Myspace

Get it.

Still Available at Vitriol Records. Buy it guys.