Okay, so type Popular Music into your little Google Search bar, and it’ll probably come up with Rihanna and Drake and all that other shit. Type Popular Music Of All Time, you’ll get something like Elvis and Madonna and The Rolling Stones. Now, type Popular Music That Will Live Forever into the search bar, and you’ll stumble upon a little known sludge band from Sydney called Narrow Lands. Their debut 8-track LP is more brutal than being fucked with scissors, and their sound is like Cancer Bats x EyeHateGod, or Refused getting tied down in a torture chamber by The Jesus Lizard.
Although those are some pretty damned dark descriptions, Narrow Lands are fucking fun to listen to. Going through ‘Popular Music That Will Live Forever’, you’re jaw will drop multiple times until its a useless item of skin and teeth crawling along the floor. The album is unbelievably brutal, scathing in every sound and scorching in every riff.
For those that have been skipping daintily along to the likes of Maroon 5, probably not a good idea to listen to this album. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to sludge, because that is way fucking better than whatever audible sewage is being pumped throughout your ear vessels. But start with Kyuss or something. However, for those initiated in the ways of the mud-lined oozing hardcore, Narrow Lands couldn’t be more perfect.
Opener ‘Triple J Drive Time Hit’ sets the tone perfectly, blood-curdling bass and guitar screaming intermittently over a simple snare, until the growling turns into a gargantuan ape-squeal, more soul-crushing in nature than being rejected by (shock, horror!) a woman. However, things only get better on the following track ‘Whores Rule’, a belter that doesn’t stop pulverising your mind. Both a nod of respect to local heroes Whores and a savage takedown on corporate fuckery.
Oh no, the beat-down doesn’t stop there, lyrically or musically. ‘Blue Blood’ turns things up to 11, a fucking mental sweating song that vomits noise everywhere like that douchebag that invited himself to your 18th birthday party. This song caresses harrowing viciousness like I cradle a bundle of newly heated nachos, and the bloodshot guitar really shows itself off int this track to a truly magnificent extent. And you couldn’t forget the eight-minute closer ‘Invitation’, which, funnily enough, welcomes you into a swarming cloud of Swans-like content that will swallow you up, and burn all your other favourite artists to the ground.
Maybe its because I listened to this album right as I started going through a massive sludge/hardcore phase again (thanks to Batpiss and METZ last night for that), but Narrow Lands especially stick out in my mind as something that every self-respecting hardcore punk fan should own. Their music is dirty and vile, and just the way we shitheads like it. But ‘Popular Music…’ also manages to be diverse, switching between full-fledged brutality and self-assured noise meanderings. When you can listen to all of that without even the concept of being bored crossing your mind, you know you’ve found one hell of a band.
You can score the record at the Tenzenmen Bandcamp here, for $20 or $5. Isn’t the guise of choice wonderful?