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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Punk Album Reviews: HANNAHBAND + Bare Grillz + Schotel van de Dag + Mock Duck + X Is Y

Anyone who’s visited this site knows that punk rock holds a very dear, very special place in my heart. I’m pretty sure I listen to Black Flag at least once a day. It’s a really great way to wind down, honestly! Anyway, although the following bands aren’t going to be the next Black Flag, at least they’re all better than Green Day, post-Dookie era.

 

HANNAHBAND-Honey, I’m A Bad Singer

Honestly, I feel really bad that I haven’t put this review up earlier. This album is one of the best punk rock items to be bred into the consciousness of Sydney existence since I found out that Jonathan Boulet had a pretty great decent hardcore band (they’re called Snakeface, if you gave a shit). Anyway, this is the more brutal, slimy project that was formed in the remnants of the amazing Sweet Teeth. Although there’s nothing as intensely memorable as ‘I LIKE GIRLS, GIRLS WITH DADDY ISSUES’ on the debut HANNAHBAND record, the album does provide a more serious, focused project that works on an infinitely more measured and constantly enjoyable level than Sweet Teeth releases. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Sweet Teeth, but its easier to tell that Nathan and Marnie are putting a lot more concentration and effort into this release, and it pays off in spades.

Whether or not that’s an actual phrase or not, ‘Honey, I’m A Bad Singer’ never loses its self-deprecating edge or snarling tone for even a second. With the explosive songs and growling hurt, it rings like Australian/Chinese punks Pairs if they were recorded by Steve Albini. The hoarse screams recall a time when emo wasn’t a frowned upon genre, and if Dischord was in its glory days, there is no doubt in my mind that HANNAHBAND would be at the top of the roster. Its too hard to pick a single standout song, but gun to my head, the slow-burning ‘Seven Day Quarrel Cycle’, which grinds like the best Fucked Up song never written, would be the frontrunner. ‘Long Distance Running’, which barrels forward like a strung-out Squirrel Bait crawling out of a toilet bowl and beginning a hunt of vengeance on the wankers that killed punk rock, is also an absolute shiner on an album of shiners. Overall, a fucking brilliant work of art, from start to fucking finish. I fucking ADORE this album.

 

Bare Grillz-Friends

Thank the Dethklok gods that Bare Grillz are back in action. I always thought that they had broken up, until I was pleasantly surprised by their furious display of screaming punk fury at Sound Summit. Now, after that hell of a performance, Bare Grillz rejected the status quo again by going and releasing this stellar record entitled ‘Friends’. More nihilistic than a Nietzsche convention, and more engaging than a personal performance from Nation of Ulysses. Why does Bare Grillz sound so good? Well, they sound like no one else, I actually find it hard to give a comparison. I’d liked to say that they’re a little Fugazi, but there’s not enough strong-willed anger and determination to change society. Same goes with a comparison to At the Drive-In. Instead, Bare Grillz are so purely Newcastle, with a sound that is so completely their own, and it could only have risen from being in such an isolated, close-knit environment. Whatever makes Bare Grillz tick, it allows them to spin between a million different ideas and musical styles, one minute floating on a tropical cloud, the next bashing our brains into oblivion, and a second later there’s only far away, lost vocals, math rock drums and a trembling bass. The amount of things Bare Grillz can balance on their plate, especially considering their status as a mild punk three-piece, they’re more like a Hydra of assorted punk tunes than any sort of traditional band. And that is a very, very good thing. Thank fuck Bare Grillz are back.

FUN FACT: Bare Grillz once did a split EP with Sweet Teeth, the aforementioned band that disbanded and led to the creation of HANNAHBAND. Shooting star, the more you know.

 

Schotel van de Dag-Vinger in de Pap

The press release for the Dutch band Schotel van de Dag was described as being Fugazi on crack, however listening to them, I was pleasantly surprised, or more aptly, fucking stoked, to hear an amalgamation of a bunch of my favourite hard punk anarchist punk bands. If Refused got together with the guys from Anti-Flag, and they were then locked in a room that played Pantera non-stop, then you’d have Schotel van de Dag. This band puts the brutal back in punk music, and they aren’t doing it half-heartedly. They throw themselves into every song like its a life or death situation, creating a maelstrom of sound that needs to be listened to. The thick, glistening slobs of bass that linger over the purely mental drums-its just a testament to oblivion via punk music.

Although the whole album is hard to find fault with, at least in my humble opinion, the opener of ‘Seventy Songs’ (possibly an allusion to Fugazi’s mind-shattering debut?) is the standout on the album. This is a song that should make Red Fang and Kvelertak quake in their boots, because there’s obviously another hard-working, hard-hitting punk/stoner/metal hybrid band that are all to ready to light the dynamite that will explode your expectations all over your living room. Reckless and endangered, Schotel van de Dag are the rare kind of band that makes you want to do something with your life, or at the very least, trade your testicles for tickets to their next show.

 

Mock Duck-Inner Infinities EP

And, now we’re over to Tokyo, Japan. I’ve said it before, the only really great bands I know from Japan are Guitar Wolf, The 5678’s and Boris, although I adore all these bands thoroughly. However, Mock Duck easily joins those ranks. If you’re any sort of fan of Kyuss, then you’d do fucking well to get on the free download offered of the ‘Inner Infitinies’ EP. This thing manages to be punk through the sheer fury of itself, but there’s also that slimy fuzz that coats it and brings it into stoner territory as well.

All six tracks (especially the weirdly-titled but intensely orgasmic ‘For A Few Minutes The World Smelled Like Pears’) on here kick tremendous amounts of ass. I mean that sincerely, in the way that Dozer kicks so much ass. The sludge is sped up like a 33 record was stuck onto 78. It blisters the mind and moults everything in its path. Basically, what I’m trying to say here, is that Mock Duck will blow your mind into a million fucking chunks in the space eighteen minutes. If you like your punk dripping wet in blazing gore and riff with solos, Mock Duck is brilliance incarnate.

 

X Is Y-Summer and Winter Warfare (Re-Issue)

And this one is from Shanghai. Fuck this article has been all over the fucking globe. Although not strictly punk, X Is Y adopt a math-rock attitude on their music, and they do a pretty badass job of it. If I’ve learnt anything from people older and wiser than me, its that punk rock doesn’t have to be brutal to be amazing. I actually had to lose the shit about don’t plagiarise from people and any semblance of social normalcy to make way for that brain nugget.

Anyway, X Is Y is like Tool, if all the bullshit got stripped away. You know, all that shit that Maynard James Keenan always blathers on about, like hookers with penises and prison sex. Without all that in the way, and the heaviness shaved back a bit, what you get is a complex and interesting view into music. I feel like I’m sitting in a classroom, and being taught how to read sheet music, only instead of being bored the fuck to death, the class is being taught by Steve Albini.

In summary, ‘Summer and Winter Warfare’ doesn’t have any spectacular moments, but that’s okay, because neither does any This Town Needs Guns or Polvo albums. Instead, you’ve simply got to let X Is Y spin its music all over your mind, like some sort of Shellac-meets-Underground Lovers spider creating a web. Overall, it’s hard to be disappointed in an album that is shifting so much, but always maintaining a direction of awesomeness.