Jealousy - Paid For It LP / Cassette (03/04/2016) Pre-Order Here
Jealousy's sophomore LP, Paid For It, is a hyper-tactile, hyper-sensual meditation on solipsism brought on by shattered idealism and sensory overload. Songwriter, lyricist, bassist, sound manipulator, and sole member Mark Treise seems unable to stop from steeping himself in the lurid and the lascivious, in masochistic discomfort and gratuitous hedonism, to consider the value of self-destruction as a vessel for self-actualization, to approve knowingly of his own defeat in order to transcend its redundancy.
Paid For It oscillates between a series of isolated conversations with oneself and the sublime, layered and spliced in alternating abstractions and cognizant declarations. At times, the exchanges reach uncomfortable levels of saturation, but frequently they settle in the psyche with surprising ease. These are songs that contain neat and tidy pop hooks like small glittering diamonds in fields of loops and keys. Other tracks feature the heavy hitting drum work from Don Bolles (of legendary punk band The Germs), placing Mark Treise's bass playing in pounding beds of tension and brash driving chaos. Throughout, Jealousy's narration is unwaveringly calm, laying down graphic, forked tongue-twisters like common law. With its sonic combustion, hypnotic rhythms, and distant, powerful percussion,Paid For It is both a nod to dark-glam, post-industrial greats - Coil, Psychic TV, Love and Rockets, Chrome - and an evolution of their premise. This music represents the kind of discomfort that can be craved, and lyrically showcases the sort of outpouring that must be grating in order to be gratifying.
ONO - Spooks 2xLP / Cassette Order Here
"Webster Dictionary defines spook as a ghost or a spectre, and ONO's brutal, daunting new LP is teeming with them. But spook is also a racial epithet, and this double-meaning informs the album from start to finish. The spectre of race, of course, has defined our nation's history from its inception--it's the "long shadow," in Obama's words, that's with us always. Spooks, as bandleader P. Michael puts it with typical bluntness, is America--past, present and future.
It's hardly the first time the almighty ONO have brought their vision to bear on the dilemma of black life in the 'New World', but Spooks is ONO going deeper, darker and denser than they ever have before. Joined by a slew of guest performers and fellow travelers, including Ministry's Al Jourgensen, Lamont Thomas of Cleveland's Obnox, Hilal Omar Al Jamal of Night Auditor, and longtime collaborator Shannon Rose Riley, the core band is at its most punishing, their Afro-industrial rhythms driving and ruthless. Singer travis, meanwhile, has never sounded so terrifying, or prophetic, as he conjures up, in his many voices, the "bleeding haints" of (pan)-American life: cotton gins, sugar plantations, CIA coups; "Brownsville" slumlords, South Side arrest rides, drive-thru funeral homes. "I try not to think about Spooks," he explains. "Spooks burns my loins. Spooks buries my unborn children. Spooks illuminate the (US) American landscape."
Spooks is no history lesson, or dry polemic. Its ghosts are still rattling their chains, their haunting perpetual and highly personal. It's hard to imagine where they can possibly go after as grueling (and brilliant) an album as this, but after heating up for some 35 years ONO is positively aflame--whatever they thrown down next might literally melt the wax."
Gel Set - Human Salad LP + T Shirt $19.99 deal Order Here
"For something so reliant on modernity, Gel Set’s 'Human Salad' screams something primal, as likely to plead the fifth as plead for companionship. Who’s guilty and who’s complicit, you or me? Something slithers out from the South Side of Chicago, like that beast towards Bethlehem, its roving eye shining light on perennial abandonment. “If you were here, I’d have nothing to dream of. If you were here, I wouldn’t believe you,” Laura Callier incants on album opener “Phantom's Ring.” Who is the ever-present “you”? Me? The listener is made conspirator, an added ingredient to Gel Set’s human salad.
There’s something uncannily nerve-wracking about the phrase “human salad,” though, upon inspection, it is not only an appropriate signifier, but an inviting one. Let’s digress, just for a second. A salad gets its strength from variety – the best salad-maker combines colors and tastes to surprise and satisfy the salad-eater. Similarly, Gel Set combines the human experience from Spanish transgression (“Mi Puta”) to a sensorial game of dozens (“Double Vision”). Unexpected? Yes. Undesirable? No. Surprisingly, as the listener immerses him or herself in Laura Callier’s one voice, he or she is made aware of different narrators – how can you make a human salad with only one human, after all? Trust me, we tried.
Tying the record together is Gel Set’s rhythmic mastery – ultimately, 'Human Salad' is easy to dance to. As serious and all-encompassing as the lyrics are, the background music is, to put it simply, fun. This is darkwave at its artistic peak, dispersed in common experience, all the while retaining nuanced affectation and hip-moving backing tracks. This salad shakes!"
Toupee - Leg Toucher LP/CS Order Here
"Representing Chicago’s robust network of outsider artists and house punks, Toupee spare no one from their sharpened, penetrating vision on Leg Toucher. From behind their masks, they lend observations to their listener. They offer heightened sensations that hide nothing. Toupee lurk beneath gentle and ferocious vocals and wicked sonic blowouts, piercing their listener with their glare.
Placing slow, soft frequencies against frantic, unchained crashes, Toupee carefully extract the supernatural from mundane life. This sublime sense results from a refusal to be silent while facing pain or decay, which are two key elements of the quartet’s alchemy. Toupee spin otherworldly punk tales from drowning rhythms and hidden current.
Dynamic, wide-ranging voices and propulsive, deliberate instrumental interplay amplify those heightened sensations. Intense stage energy translates into unexpected twists. Ghouls sing, as does innocent youth. Toupee bring their listener to fragile edges of glass, into sticky, swampy muck, and rapid transit. Leg Toucher will give you the chance to unmask those transformations in everyday life."
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Upcoming Releases for 2016
Jealousy - Paid For It (w/ Don Bolles of Germs) LP/CS
Pariuh - Family Witchcraft Attack 7in EP
Jimmy Whispers - Daydream LP/CS
Pariuh - Passed Lives' Excessive Future LP/CS
Tongues - tba LP/CS
J.T. IV - From The Inside Book (Featherproof Publishing)