Lost Diamonds: HUM “Downward Is Heavenward”

Champaign Illinois’ finest band Hum established an insurmountable precedent for themselves with their 2nd full length record “You’d Prefer An Astronaut.” The record, released in 1995 contained the band’s biggest hit and most well known song “Stars.” The song became a staple of modern rock radio and was championed by everyone from Howard Stern, The Deftones, and was even featured in a Cadillac commercial. A space rock band being used as a soundtrack to sell cars. I’m confident no one least of all the band themselves, saw that coming.

Though the follow up record and today’s Lost Diamond sold markedly less copies then it’s predecessor, it seems to have a more lasting legacy. We’ll get the accolades out of the way first by saying that indie tastemaker powerhouse, Pitchfork, declared the record one of the best of the nineties and ranked it #81 on a list of 100. The 10 songs on Downward exhibit a dramatic increase in quality as far as songwriting and overall cohesiveness are concerned. Nearly every song uncovers a whopping guitar theme executed with the precision of a remarkably well seasoned band.

 

 

Echoes of opening track “Isle of the Cheetah” can be heard today in countless other bands like Cave In, Hopesfall, Finch, and the Deftones to name a few. The first single “Coming Home” is decidedly uncommerical compared to the bands fluke hit but over time unveils itself as a timeless and peerless example of dominant guitar rock.

The album was issued in “Super Audio Compact Disc” format and the extra attention to fidelity no doubt aided the intricacies and nuances of the music. All this quality unfortunately had no bearing on the band’s bosses at RCA records who were clearly unimpressed with the lackluster sales of the record. Further to that, the band disbanded shortly after it’s release. Although the marketing department at RCA had no idea what to do with such an elaborate piece of art, their Artist & Repertoire department clearly did with staff member Bruce Flohr being responsible for signing the band and later Boston metal legends Cave In. Not a bad professional track record to say the least.

In conclusion, the band’s style was so groundbreaking that a tribute album was released with powerhouse up and comers contributing like Junius, City of Ships, Arctic Sleep, and Constants. The tribute record featured songs from all three of the bands records with a majority of the tracks being from Downward. It’s a shame that no one chose to cover the album’s centerpiece (and arguably the bands best song) “Afternoon With The Axolotls” as it’s simply stunning. Although they no longer tour the band convenes once a year or so to play a local show and fans fly from all over the world to see these legends plug in one more time.

 

 

 

Lost Diamonds: PAILHEAD

I’ve often found that one of the most useful and generally awe inspiring ways of discovering new music is to seek out records that other musicians recommend.  A while ago I read an interview with Sonny Kay of legendary noise punk band The Vss where he was speaking of a list of records that were receiving a lot of play time in his stereo. Given the strength of his musical output – the aforementioned The Vss, Year Future, and running the short lived but important record label Gold Standard Laboratories, the man knows a thing or two about quality music.   One of the records I obtained thanks to his insistence was “Trait” by the band Pailhead.  

A few years passed before I actually sat down and listened to the record (there is so much music to be heard and only so much time) and when I did, I immediately regretted not listening to Pailhead sooner. 

Pailhead was the short lived musical union formed after Al Jourgensen of Industrial legends Ministry befriended Minor Threat/Fugazi/Dischord Records founder Ian Mackaye.  Imagine one of the vocalists of Fugazi (literally) putting words over a foundation of industrialized post punk and you have an idea of the style that Pailhead did so well and for such a short time.  

 

 

Exclusive Interview: WITHIN RUST

The pacific coast of Canada hosts one of the nation’s largest, most diverse, and thriving music communities.  Some bands are here today, gone tomorrow, some carve out a career for themselves, and some rocket out of the starting gate with strong songs and an unflinching work ethic.  Vancouver’s Within rust find themselves undoubtedly in the latter camp.  

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Describe the first Within Rust live performance?

March 2012, Burnaby Winter Club, we were headlining for some ridiculous reason with all these pop punk bands who’d been around way longer than we had, and we had these lasers that had been taken from the pacific coliseum or something, and we were terrible and everyone loved it.

What do you consider to be the preferred medium for music distribution in 2014?

Youtube. Without a doubt, Youtube. They’re doing some sketchy things right now though so we’ll see about that. As far as actual unit distro? Itunes.

It’s been a while since I became age of majority, what’s the all ages scene like these days?

Its kinda weird… I mean on the one hand you have the super passionate thriving punk/ hardcore scenes, then you have the loyalist pop punk scene, which is mixed with the metalcore scene, and its basically the same 200 kids that go out to those shows and sing or scream their hearts out.  We’ve had some casualties in that scene lately with bands moving on, but there’s always more filling in the void so it’s cool.  A lot of variety, we’ve made tons of friends playing in that scene even though we never really fit in it.

You just found out that you have a 20 minute set opening for Within Rust’s collective favorite band at your city’s Hockey Arena – what band is it?

RUSH!

What’s the musical landscape like in your hometown in 2014? 

Every band out of Delta/ Surrey just goes and plays in Van and Burnaby, unless they’re soft enough to get the festivals Surrey puts on, which can be quite big.  We’ve played more cities in the US in the last 3 weeks than we’ve ever played shows in this town.  An example of a band out of ‘Surrey’ we identify with is Galactic Pegasus.  You’ll never see them play in Delta, but believe it or not some of them live here. 

For a younger band your sound is familiar yet not derivative.  What would you attribute to helping you find your own sound?

It’s just the result of being into heavier music but coping with a singer with a really distinct, clean voice, and a guitarist who plays in weird chord shapes.  There are so many ways to be intense or to express yourself as a band and I think we’ve really wrapped our heads around that to make some weird alternative prog slurry.  We’re always trying to push that harder and harder and find new ways and textures to make it just sound like something we’ve never done before.

Thanks a lot guys and all the best to Within Rust!

Thanks for talking to us! Lets do this again some time!

Visit WITHIN RUST on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/officialwithinrust

TODAY IS THE DAY Detail New Album “Animal Mother”

Today is the Day have unleashed the details surrounding their upcoming 10th full length album, Animal Mother. The album, which was produced and mastered by frontman Steve Austin himself, will be released through Southern Lord on October 14th on 2xLP and CD. Austin has described the sound of the record in the past as a mix between Temple of the Morning Star and In the Eyes of God, which means optimum heaviness. You can check out the album’s official artwork and track listing as well as a video trailer, which previews some of the auditory madness to come.

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OPETH Streaming New Album “Pale Communion”

The forthcoming 11th studio album from Opeth, Pale Communion, can now be streamed in its entirety over at Pitchfork. The album will officially be released through Roadrunner Records next Tuesday, August 26th. But I know Opeth fans cannot wait another minute to sink their fangs into progressive rock goodness, so head over to Pitchfork to satiate your cravings.

The band will also be embarking on a co-headlining tour with In Flames this December, with Red Fang to open. Those dates can be found below.

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LAGO Streaming New Track “Concede To Oblivion”

Arizonian death metallers Lago have premiered a new track from their forthcoming full length, Tyranny, over at No Clean Singing. The new track, “Concede to Oblivion”, is a blistering, ominous ode to classic death metal and is sure to appease fans of early Morbid Angel and the like. Head over to No Clean Singing to check it out.

Tyranny will be released on September 16th via Battleground Records and on vinyl through Blood Harvest Records. The album’s artwork and track listing can be seen after the break.

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BLOODTRUTH Announce Debut Album “Obedience”

Italian  death metal outfit Bloodtruth (Fleshgod Apocalypse, etc) have announce the release of their debut full length album. The new record, entitled Obedience, will be released through Unique Leader on September 16th. The record was engineered by Fleshgod Apocalypse members Francesco Paoli (also of Bloodtruth) and Cristiano Trionfera at Sonic Hammer Studios and was mastered by Stefano Morbito (Hour of Penance, etc). The album’s artwork, track listing and teaser trailer can be found below.

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COWARDS Confirm Repress Of Debut Album “Shooting Blanks & Pills”

French devious doom/sludge/hardcore hybrid Cowards have announced that their debut full length, Shooting Blanks & Pills, will receive the reissue treatment via Secret Handshake Records. The six track behemoth was originally released through Throatruiner Records in 2012 but has since been long sold out. Now Secret Handshake will reissue the record on CD and 12″ transparent vinyl on September 1st. Additional details are slated to follow in the coming weeks. In the meantime, stream the record after the break along with their most recent EP, Hoarder.

In related news, Cowards have booked October studio time at Sainte-Marthe Studio with Francis Caste to record their sophomore full length. The band is eyeing for an early 2015 release.

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AA Exclusive: Stream PORD’s “Staring Into Space”

On September 8th, Solar Flare Records will release the second full length album from French noise rock outfit Pord, Wild. The album will feature 40 minutes of intense, noise laden rock and roll that would make Amphetamine Reptile blush, and we have your first taste! We at American Aftermath are happy to bestow upon you the opening track from Wild, “Staring into Space”. The track revolves around a dirty, rumbling bass lines and sparse, dissonant guitars that eventually lead into a hard rock stampede hellbent on causing blunt-force trauma. We dig it and so should you. You can check out the track after the break along with the album’s artwork and track listing.

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SLEEP Streaming New Track “The Clarity”

Artwork for Sleep's "The Clarity," the band's first new material in 20 years.

Sleep have premiered the first new track since the release of 1999’s Jerusalem/Dopesmoker over at NPR. The track is entitled “The Clarity” and is apart of the Adult Swim’s 2014 Singles Program, which will also feature new tracks from Mastodon and Deafheaven. The nearly 10 minute track combines the droning atmosphere of sister band OM with that classic Sleep low-end doom. The band have plans to release the single on a limited edition 12″ vinyl pressing in the near future. Until then, check out the track after the break.

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Quick Review: PERFECT PUSSY – “Say Yes To Love”

music_phases136When it comes to the New York punk scene, there are a thousand bands you could turn to and say “I love that band.” Well, over the last week I have fallen in love with one band who has emerged from that scene and they have made such an impact on me that I felt obligated to post about them. The band is called Perfect Pussy and I was introduced to them while listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered. This particular episode dealt with the best albums from the first half of 2014 and one of the personalities brought up Perfect Pussy. After playing the first track off of the bands new album Say Yes To Love, I knew I was going to fall for this noisy, female-fronted beast of a band.     Continue reading

NORILSK Streaming New Track “Potsdam Glo”

Japetus EP - photo band

Gatineau, Québec based doomsayers Norilsk have released a new track from their forthcoming debut EP, Japetus, which is due out on July 22nd. The new track is the dismal yet melodic “Potsdam Glo” and can be downloaded for free over at the band’s Bandcamp page. You can also check out the lumbering track after the break.

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