Top 5 Records w/ Narrow Lands

Although from an outsider’s perspective Narrow Lands look like a couple normal dudes, their music is probaby the heaviest, most brutal and sludge-tastic shit this side of the Melvins’ in their heyday. Music does not come any more terrifically black and bubbly, as horrifying riffs implode over bass lines thicker than the biceps of Danzig.

After seeing them a little over a week ago, and having my ears begging for mercy yet again, I had to ask their guitarist Alan Power about his favourite brutal records. Here they are, in all their glory:

Theme: Top 5 Most Intense Records

Preface: I could have cheated and gone for the black metal and hardcore stuff in my iTunes library that I never listen to but have tried to keep it real and only list stuff I actually listen or listened to regularly that’s had a vague influence on Narrow Lands. Ivan and Lee are probably better placed for this kinda list because they’re into way heavier fucked up shit than I am but Lee’s moving overseas and Ivan’s already programmed Rage so fuck those guys! My list!

WHORES – MOB REALITY The reason we have a song called Whores Rule. This 7″ is such an ugly, mongrel grind of a thing, I love it. Shitted that I never got to see them live, by the time I realised they were a thing they’d already pretty much petered out. Shaun Prescott said: “There are many bands that try their very hardest to be ugly, and horrible, and confronting, but Whores just kinda effortlessly are.”

 

ZOND – S/T This record is so dense and relentless, it kinda sounds like two or thee bands playing over the top of each other most of the time. This was my favourite record for about 2 years. Saw them at the Opera House for that Lou Reed noise night thing a few years back, they filled that place with the best sound I’ll ever hear at the Opera House. I didn’t even stick around for Lou Reed, figured that nothing was likely to top ZOND. Probably should have stuck around for Lou, really. Meh.

 

GIRLS PISSING ON GIRLS PISSING – EELING Man this record is depressing, I only ever listen to it when nobody’s in the house and I’m doing the dishes. It’s got all these heavy, droning horns, droning group vocals and a constant minor key weirdness, like Lakes meets Bathory meets a bunch of hypnotised satanists.

 

SWANS – NOT HERE NOT NOW We all saw Swans down at ATP in 2013 and it fucked me up forever. Half way through I pretty much had my head on Andrew’s shoulder, sobbing, thinking “fuck my band sucks! we’re hacks!” in the same voice as Wayne and Garth doing “We’re not worthy!” for Alice Cooper. It was about 50 degrees in that horrible big sports shed and Swans were the most immersive, intense thing I’ve ever seen or heard. Every band after them sucked that day, including Godspeed and MBV. ESPECIALLY Godspeed and MBV. In ‘Coward’, where he sings “stick your knife in me” I thought he was singing “stick around for a while” which seemed like a creepy thing to repeat in a song. Then when I realised that’s not what the words are, I semi-plagiarised my mis-heard version and used it in one of our songs. And that’s the way you write songs, kids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e7eL3MT9Ng

SNAKEFACE – OBERON I went to high school in Blayney NSW, which isn’t far from Oberon. Both towns seemingly locked into an unofficial arm-wrestle over the prize for bleakest, coldest shit-hole every winter. I went to a “Maths Olympiad” day in Oberon where we were in this freezing school hall all day and I kept on going over to the urn to get free cups of International Roast coffee to try and warm up but it just made me need to piss all day and then my feet got so cold I couldn’t really feel them and by the end of the day I was twitching, shivering, numb, dehydrated and full of hate for Oberon. This album reminds me of that day.

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Top 5 Records w/ Zeahorse

Zeahorse are fucking brutal. There’s no other words to describe them, as the description of ‘BRUTAL’ just blatantly blasts to the forefront of your mind, and blocks any other synonym. They’re sound is a towering force of giganticism, throbbing drone work pulverising smaller minds into submission. If the Death Star was a band, it’d be Zeahorse. Case in point:

There just as monstrous in live format as well. Trust me, here’s the evidence. And in case you doubt my infinite wisdom, check them out for yourself this Saturday (May 3), when they headline a Visions party at the Standard Bowl, along with Spirit Valley and Bad Jeep, as well as Splashh and Deep Sea Arcade spinning tunes and wetting groins.

In anticipation, I asked the guys from Zeahorse to say who they thought had the best gut-wrenching, head-crushing, spleen-pulverisingly good records ever. Gotta say, they’ve picked a fucking mad list.

Theme: Demonically Gigantic Records

High On fire – De Vermis Mysteriis (2012)

This album restored our faith in American heavy music, at a time when metal was getting whimpy, doom was getting boring and stoner rock was getting too legalized, High on Fire released an album that is so heavy and brutal its like glassing your mum in the face with your dirtiest bong. No body can come close to these guys at the moment; they own heavy music with their genre spaning brutality.

Dead Meadow – Howls from The Hills (2001)

If we were to ever start walking with the intention of not stopping until we collapsed and died we would be listening to this album on repeat. Its really heavy with phased out fuzzy genuine psychedelic tones. Completely believable psych rock, has been the sound track to our naughty shenanigans for a number of years. its Pure psych, none of this trendy crap, and has stood the test of time.

Narrow Lands- Popular Music That Will Live Forever (2013)

Local Sydney band of really nice guys who play some of the most jarring  and abrasive post rock you can imagine. They are also one of the only bands we have ever played with that is louder than us. So its nice to know we can all hang out and play lawn bowls together as deaf old men in the future. Check out the track Whores Rule, possibly the best song released by anyone in 2013, the tones these guys get are heavy, far heavier than any other Sydney bands.

Electric Wizard- Dopethrone (2000)

Bit of a cop out as everyone knows it and loves it but un like a lot of doom albums that tend to get a bit stale and boring after a while, Dopethrone never does, with those classic riffs and tones. It feels like your smoking dank through a skull bong at a wizards funeral, its the way doom should make you feel.

Part Chimp – Thriller  (2009)

This album should be the sound track to our meth- induced psychosis rampage montage. Running down the street picking fights with the telegraph poles then getting huge splinters from one of them under our fingernails.  Its loose and unpredictable just like a tweaker.

Album Review: Narrow Lands-Popuar Music That Will Live Forever

a2557447284_2 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?

Gig Review: Zeahorse

artworks-000058413166-or9bxs-t500x500Friday 1st November @ Club 77

Zeahorse are the kind of band you would never take your Mum to. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal.They’re loud, noisy and sound as though Violent Soho’s corpse was taken through a wood-chipper operated by Kyuss. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal. If Eyehategod had a baby, its best mate would be Zeahorse. If Tom Morello, Henry Rollins and Geezer Butler started a band, they’d probably sound exactly like Zeahorse. Do you understand what I’m trying to say here? Zeahorse are really fucking great. And they’re at their best when they’re playing live.

Which is precisely what I found myself doing on that Friday night. Whilst my compatriots made their way to Soho Bar to dance to Lil’ Wayne and co., I headed out to Club 77. Now, if you haven’t been to Club 77 before, you’re in for a real treat. This place is about as authentic as one can go. Buried in a basement on Williams Street, between the Cross and the City, Club 77 is like those biker clubs from the 70’s that you always heard about but never went to. It is like an oasis, crowded between two of the busiest sections of nightlife that Sydney has to offer. Everything is dark and dingy, bathed in a devilish red light. When you walk in, a pungent smell, (not a bad smell, just strong) hits your nose like the gasoline fumes from a Chopper. I felt like I would run into Bruce Willis or Lemmy. This place was the genuine badass article. And it’s where Zeahorse were playing.

Now, although I missed Narrow Lands (a very regrettable decision on my part), I did manage to catch the brilliant No Art, a band that has the unique ability to always be playing live whenever I have absolutely no chance of seeing them, like some sort of drone-y leprechaun. However I caught the fucker this time round, and shower me with gold they did. Their music is swirling and disturbing on record, but in a live setting, you can’t help but feel a certain affinity with their music. Don’t worry, it doesn’t lose any of its nihilistic steel and splintering edginess, but it feels more like that cool goth chick at school who you always wanted to hang out with, rather than this super-cool entity of post-punk genius waaaaayy out of your league. If you’re keen for some overloads of musical goodness, check out ‘Dead Arm’, you won’t regret it.

After No Art had performed their duties of wowing us into silence and gratitude, Zeahorse came on to alight the stage with a noxious intensity. From that opening chord of the set, the unmistakeable clang of ‘Pool’, the audience’s brains were torn apart. Listening to Zeahorse in their natural environment was like being earfucked by a hellbeast. I felt like David Attenborough watching some lions, admiring the predatorial beauty of a band that could dole out killer riffs that would slash you apart in equal lengths with encouraging, amiable spaces of music.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole set from start to finish was a fucking onslaught of the senses, like dipping your mind in a vat of the bubonic plague, and watching in fascination as it turned into something ethereal and otherworldly, brought on by something that probably shouldn’t exist. Except the bubonic plague killed a fuckload of people, and everyone that crowded into Club 77 that night had their jaw on the floor, simply gobsmacked at the sounds and intensity of the sounds that pulverised our ears. I’ll say it again, one minute your headbanging like a rocking horse taking its first hit of heroin on ‘Onion’, next thing you know, you’re slowly grooving your hips to ‘Kathie’s Makeover’. The closer of ‘Career’, with its ‘One Inch Man’-ish bass-line and furious energy, was a particular blistering part of the set, shaking the crowd’s heads into a frothing mass of ecstasy.

To conclude, if you are any sort of self-respecting fan of the heavier stuff, you should already know and love Zeahorse as much as I do. If you’re ever in the need to be overwhelmingly entertained, and Zeahorse are in town, fucking go. Zeahorse are more insanely good that butter on toast at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning, and that is a fucking fact.