Coming hot off the multiple releases last year, Fat Nick and Pouya have been trailblazers in the rap game and have showed no serious signs of slowing down. From working with $UICIDEBOY$, Getter, Sir Michael Rocks, and hundreds more, Pouya and Fat Nick are truly underground beacons that illuminate the night skies.
From the thousands of people dying to hear their newest tape Drop Out of School, Fat Nick and Pouya finally deliver and bring a fistful of clever wordplay, new tactics, and some old styles that fans of South Side Slugs or even Buffet Boys can hear once again and fall back in love all over again. The style directed by both Fat Nick and Pouya, the life long friends is still as fun as ever and even when the action slows down with tracks like “Torch,” the same level of intensity is present and uses a wide variety of 808 drums and hi-hat rattles that switch frequently to keep this consistent cascade of tools to use.
Here, Pouya and Fat Nick begin most of their tracks with a tag team tactic where they will trade verses back and forth, creating chemistry and a punch after punch style. Most of Drop Out of School is incredibly aggressive and shows almost no time of stopping or letting up, this adds to the unrelenting flow of the tracks and while Drop Out of School is just under thirty-minutes, the tracks featured are going to be substantial enough to be on repeat until Pouya surprises us with his other two albums he promised throughout the year. The work ethic of both Pouya and Fat Nick is incredible and seeing how they can release tracks, albums, and videos each month without suffering for quality, while only improving with each release is outstanding.
Nothing quite describes musical aptitude like emotion, emotion bleeds from every artist as they pour their words, sounds, and most importantly, their ideas into the finished product. Rage Against the Machine is a fireball set to inferno that blazes the genres of rock and rap music, mostly due to their eccentric style of front-man and vocalist, Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha, better known simply as the energized, Zack de la Rocha. Then alongside other members who not only boost Rocha up, but themselves are involved in the fires, Tom Morello works the guitar and uses a number of different distortions to get his strings sounding incredibly synthetic at times. There was also the hard-hitting Brad Wilk on percussion who had a style that blended rapid fire machine gun rounds, and the punch of a world championship boxer. Finally, there was Tim “Timmy C.” Commerford on the bass and never in a band has bass been used so maliciously, so incredibly forcefully, and in such great strides at the same time.
Self-immolation of Thích Quáng Dúrc is featured as Rage Against the Machine’s cover and completely summarizes exactly what Rage Against the Machine was striving to do. In an act of protest, self-immolation is the most powerful statement as the protestor gives their life to illustrate a true problem, Rage Against the Machine is similar in the ways they devote their lives to trying to educate and illustrate the issues within American and World governments.
As “Bombtrack,” the explosive first track comes into frame, it is immediately clear that Rage Against the Machine is going to bring destructive guitar riffs, even stronger bass and percussion, and an abrasive leading voice to scream anti-establishment lyrics. As the ringleader to the demolition, Rage Against the Machine is not afraid to stand above the rules and discuss topics as disheartening and off-putting as, “Instead, I warm my hands upon the flames of the flag to recall the downfall, and the businesses that burnt us all.” To most American citizens, this could be considered an act of terrorism, but Rocha simply justifies his First Amendment Rights and is pleased to attack the big business that he suggests, run American publics. As He proceeds to the chorus, Rocha practically spits, “Burn, Burn, yes you’re gonna burn,” repeating a number of times that the “suits, I ignite and then watch ‘em burn.”
Tom Morello has a subtle guitar solo that begins overpowering and full of strength, but slowly fades back into the chorus where Rocha can rephrase that everyone will “burn.” Even as the ashes of “Bombtrack” are still falling, the second track, “Killing In The Name” comes sprinting right behind. While not only one of the greatest protest tracks in music history, “Killing In The Name” is also an incredibly simple idea, but is fleshed out so incredibly well that Rage Against the Machine makes thrashing and burning seem like a brand new idea. From the quick, stuttering like motions of the band while Rocha screams, “And now you do what they told ya,” to the sudden differentiations with Morello’s guitar as he moves up the fret board almost effortlessly. The bass work from Commerford is also taking one of the spotlight positions and creates the backing work where percussive snare hits can lead into the chorus or rephrases.
The standout piece of “Killing In The Name” is obviously going to be the section where Rage Against the Machine loses all sense of direction and becomes this building monster that is headed by sporadic playing from the instrumentalists and Rocha slowly shouting, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” If anyone has ever heard this track, this is the section that everyone will remember and the words continue to echo over even as the track comes to a final close.
“Take The Power Back” is another incredibly forceful, obliterating track that begins with an intriguing use of Morello’s guitar that plays almost subtly, while Commerford plays the main riff of the track on his bass. Together, they build into a grasping riff where the guitar becomes a locomotive that slides the power between the bass and percussion. The instrumentalists are going to be the main focus of “Take The Power Back” and while Rocha still delivers an abrasive verse, the guitar solos from Morello and the grinding bass lines from Commerford are the true stars of the show. Even the off beat drum pattern that follows in the break down is fantastic and Rage Against the Machine is incredible in the way that it can switch from a slug-fest to a sullen, almost spoken word track in mere seconds. “Take The Power Back” falls into this grouping as the last minute is spent with Rocha gently singing, “no more lies, no more lies,” to then blasting as Rage Against the Machine flies back into frame without warning.
More of an abstract style of track, “Settle For Nothing” is much slower than the previous tracks and uses different sections of building and breakdowns that have Rocha at certain points screaming until his voice strains. The percussion is interesting as it slides between a steady drum beat, and a stranger style of play where sudden tom hits and random crashes are heard in the background. This also leads to Morello and Commerford playing more of a melodic and relaxed style of play which consistently switches between incredibly laid back and crushing. “Settle For Nothing” almost acts as an intermission to “Bullet In The Head” which was extremely controversial, but ultimately outstanding.
Rocha’s deadly lyrical ability makes for one of Rage Against the Machine’s strongest tracks present on their self-titled debut album. He begins, stating, “Fools follow rules when the set commands ya, said it was blue; when your blood was red.” To then describe, “You’re standing in line, believing the lies. You’re bowing down to the flag, you got a bullet in your head.” Rage Against the Machine then leads into a substantial amount of energy being transferred from the instruments into Rocha and vice-versa. They both come swinging in full-force and do not care what gets destroyed in the process. This amount of reckless abandonment is perfect for the seguing motion into “Know Your Enemy”
Starting with Morello’s well-recognized style of guitar playing, he sets the tone for the other instrumentalists as they play along before Rocha breaks up the building sections with intense screams. “Know Your Enemy” is an easily recognizable track from Rage Against the Machine, not only because of Morello’s beginning riffs, but also because of how much energy that goes into the track itself. Rocha is constantly yelling and Rage Against the Machine launches into the best breakdown on the record where everything hits a steel wall and completely loses all speed, but maintains the same level of burning passion. The strings are rough, the percussion aggressive, and the screams are assaulting. Rage Against the Machine is a sucker punch to the sleeping public that begs for a wake-up call.
The following track, “Wake Up” touches upon subjects like the assassination of major political activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, who Rocha believes that both were government conspiracies and covered up in ways to halt progress of the public. He asks, “What was the price on his head? What was the price on his head?” Rocha then finally screams to anyone listening to “Wake up, wake up, wake up, how long? Not long, cause what you reap is what you sow.” The track “Wake Up,” and the following, “Fistful Of Steel” sound similar, but “Fistful Of Steel” is the sharper knife that cuts deep with the punishing riffs and percussion. The bass also has something similar to a solo as it controls a major section of the track which makes the other instruments fall behind and back it up. Rocha comes flying in with usual fashion where he explains, “Silence, something about silence makes me sick. Cause silence can be violent, sort of like a slit wrist.” He continues to portray big business and politicians as the enemy of the American public. Tom Morello features another experimental style of solo where his guitar is so heavily distorted that it almost sounds similar to synthesizer, and this leads back into the overarching theme of experimentation on Rage Against the Machine. Between the strange guitar solos, the powerful political front-man, and the off beats of the percussion and bass, Rage Against the Machine is more of a jack of all trades style of band.
Even as Rage Against the Machine comes to a final chapter and eventually closes, the band never falters in levels of energy and keeps consistently pounding through and through. They crush everything in their path, display their message in the ashes, and recruit anyone smart enough to join along in their fight against corruption. The battle has begun, and Rage Against the Machine asks what side you are going to fight for.
Little is known about the desert-roaming ramparts that scourer the freakier side of the deepest parts of the inner psyche, Death Valley Girls touch upon aliens, loss, and science-fiction, bringing with them a certain new level of originality in both song writing and musical sound. Comprised of mostly femme fatales, Death Valley Girls slide into frame with a killer sound and a new grasp on personality in music. Not only is their style incredible, but their debut record Street Venom is utterly fantastic in the way it keeps a continuous flow from track to track. Between the consistent ups and downs, Death Valley Girls take a head-on approach and never show a sign of losing focus or trailing off in an impassable or awkward direction.
Strong, surf-rock is the first approach that Death Valley Girls use to their advantage. “No Reason” is a cheerful, driving anthem that captures the essence of slick guitar moves from both Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel, and the steady, but captivating percussion work from Patty Schemel who also performed earlier with Country Love’s band, Hole. A powerhouse movement between all the instrumentalists creates a massive amount of stable energy that bursts throughout and makes for one of the more memorable and impactful style choices. Even when Death Valley Girls are going in a full-throttle sprint, the action is still accessible and leaves room for everyone.
As Street Venom segues into “Sanitarium Blues,” Death Valley Girls go for more of a creeping style where the guitar seems to slither and Bloomgarden is almost passive-aggressive with her verses. She switches consistently between an abrasive yell that is heavily distorted behind this crunching microphone, and the other sections where her voice is angelic and when played in tandem with the dream-like guitar, makes for a beautiful combination. The break down is where Death Valley Girls are truly shining through and produce a rapid switch up between grasping snare hits and guitar off-beats that make for a great contrasting motion when used as a progressive piece into one of the slower tracks on the record.
The somber, but inviting chords reign for “Get Home,” Bloomfield’s graceful voice once again grazes against the contrasting instruments and creates a beautiful, but ultimately crushed style of singing that echoes with immense emotion. The guitars ring in what seems like forever while the percussion from Schemel is pounding, but not overly aggressive in the way it moves alongside the other instruments, creating a perfect sense of chemistry of both sound and tone. Bloomfield nearly cries, “All I wanna do is get home to you, all I wanna do is get home,” this is then the progressive piece that allows for a subtle guitar solo that fades into a sudden and short-lived silence.
“Shadow” is a completely different style of track than “Get Home,” it is more energetic and goes back to the enthusiastic singing of Bloomfield that is well matched with solid guitar works and once again, a stellar performance on the percussion that keeps the Death Valley Girls in a tight, well-rounded ball that never falters in losing that urgent flow that is so vital. Not only is the consistent changes a welcome and wonderful surprise, but every twisting turn is a fantastic progressing device that allows Street Venom to always feel fresh with every different listen.
Finally, as the Death Valley Girls appear to slowly slink away from the sunlight, they come crashing back in with the gradually building “Run Run Rocky” which combines different bridges that connect the track through percussion focused sections and chorus-like sections where the Death Valley Girls work together, banging out a boom of guitar, percussion, and vocals. The track, “Run Run Rocky” then takes a sudden shift into a solo where a keyboard synth is being played and it seems almost similar to a church organ and it continues to sustain its notes until a dead stop of silence.
The final two tracks are more rephrases of everything that Death Valley Girls have shown in the last 30-minutes. Between “Red Glare” and “Girlfriend,” they combine both a dead-end feel and then completely switch and create an energetic last dash that ends up becoming an outstanding closer for Street Venom.
Zorn is a beautiful throwback to the fun loving days of punk rock, from the first sample of Smaug from The Hobbit delivering a mighty description of “My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath, Death!” While setting the war-like opening, Zorn soon launches into their first track “Star Reacher”, which is a complete breath of fresh air when coming to a genre like metal or punk music.
With a sudden deep, foreboding guitar from Jake that seems to echo when played along the percussion from Evan, immense rumbling occurs from beyond the surface and Zorn packs a sudden sucker-punch as Zorn’s vocalist, Eric releases a scream that sends the slowed approach into a complete frenzy. The last 30-seconds of “Star Reacher” is an utter powerhouse of blaring guitars, pounding percussion and bass, tied along with a verbal assault that shakes ears, rattles the mind, and leaves the listener begging for more.
With production coming from Nate Patsfall who had done work in the past with the likes of Iron Cages, Prom Night, and even Dazey and the Scouts, Patsfall has enough experience working with different genres of music that working with the genre-blending style of Zorn is unchallenging and Zorn sounds incredible. The production is crisp, clear, but still has that certain level of strength that supports Zorn, making their sound become a complete full experience. As Zorn continues on to the self-titled track, “Cemetery Man,” Zorn is in a sprint to the finish. Every instrumentalist is cranking away at the musical machine and makes for an under a minute journey where the guitar can feed off of the energy of the percussion, which feeds into the vocals that shout away before coming to a brick wall of a halt, seguing into “Intergalactic Queen”.
As the midpoint of Cemetery Man slides into frame, Zorn shows not a single sign of controlling their actions and they become even more animalistic as Eric the vocalist brings a short, but rugged grunt followed by a howling laugh as the floodgates burst open. Zorn makes Cemetery Man incredibly high-octane without sacrificing quality as well. The guitar has a subtle, but ripping solo where it seems to move along the fret board almost effortlessly. This solo is also what leads Zorn into a fast break where every instrument begins to clash together and complete a power struggle between the hit-squad Philadelphia.
The final act of Cemetery Man also happens to be the longest track of the record, spanning just over the two-minute mark. Zorn again takes no seconds to recover and launches head first into “Comix Zone”. Focusing more on getting lyrics from all of the members of Zorn, the band shouts together, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll puke., you’ll die.” Zorn also fluctuates in variety of layering in their stylistic approach to their tracks, especially present on “Comix Zone,” is the consistently changing riffs and steady sections that switch from a two-step moshing style to a drawn out and complex style that draws attention to the abrupt, staccato notes being played in unison.
Zorn makes a crashing entrance and leaves just as quickly as they began, they bring back a new found level of excitement in punk rock and prove to everyone that punk rock is still alive and well.
The mountains of West Virginia are the birth place of true Appalachian beauty. West Virginian band Karma To Burn come hailing down the mountain to bring about the contrasting nature of blaring guitar riffs, decibel marking percussion, and rough bass lines that only increase any expectations about the wild and wonderful, West Virginia. Not only is Karma To Burn a low flying plane on the radar of most major labels, often times phoning in and pretending to be another artist claiming that “Karma To Burn” was a hot new act. These phone calls eventually led to Roadrunner Records picking up the band in 1997, the only problem was Karma To Burn was lacking one key aspect, a vocalist.
While Karma To Burn strictly wanted to do an entirely instrumental album, Roadrunner persisted and the band did a short run with John Garcia, but eventually found Jason “J. J.” Jarosz who was willing to work with the band. Karma To Burn eventually dropped J. J. from the band, resulting in them losing the contract with Roadrunner Records but the band persisted on. Karma To Burn finished their first studio debut album, a self-titled release that would destroy not the charts, but the ground around the band. Eventually, leading to more instrumental releases and a large focus on making the best sound that could ever be produced from a single band.
Karma To Burn is a large step in the right direction for Karma To Burn, the self-titled release was a major benefactor in the way that every instrumentalist played a substantial role in creating the sound of the band. From the outstanding guitar work from William Mecum, the incredibly grasping drum work from Nathan Limbaugh, or even the powerful bass produced by Rich “Dickie” Mullins, Karma To Burn from the jump was a dynamite filled locomotive of talent that showed not a single sign of slowing down.
Opening with rough cuts of a guitar being played through what sounds like a strained filter, Karma To Burn launches the mood off in a smashing way with “Ma Petite Mort.” When translated from French, “My Little Death” turns out to be a pounding rock anthem with a substantial focus on the music while the vocalization takes a backseat to the recording. It is evidently clear that Karma To Burn manipulated the rules of Roadrunner as much as they possibly could, trying to weave their own style on the pressing matters displayed from the forced vocalist. While the vocals produced from Jarosz are deeply pushing and have an incredible amount of distinction to them, the true power comes from the constantly assaulting instruments that take sudden turns, leaving the listener begging for more.
Almost as suddenly as “Ma Petite Mort” slides into frame, Karma To Burn quickly segues into “Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi – I’m Not God” which, features Octavia Lambertis with backing vocals that add a sudden concept of beauty to the overtly dirty style of rock that Karma To Burn produces. One way that Karma To Burn keeps the flow continuously moving however, is the way they use every instrument as a progressive device into the different tracks. No single track stands alone without a segue going in or out, the floodgates are entirely open and benefits from this style of playing.
The tracks featured on Karma To Burn do not feel overly drawn out or immensely long. The whole record is just under the 50-minute mark, but feels only like a 10-minute EP. Not only is Karma To Burn incredibly well-produced, but it is also incredibly fun to listen to and brings about another depth level of excitement when the first riffs are heard on tracks like “Eight,” “Mt. Penetrator,” and even the opener, “Ma Petite Mort.” The track “Eight” starts with a harsh build and then launches with full force into an adrenaline rush of ripping guitar and percussion that works in harmony to create longer jam sessions where the bass can follow and work in the background to keep everything moving together.
This is also where the track “Mt. Penetrator” can become a shining beacon on Karma To Burn, focusing more on delivering crushing instrumentation, while also substantially preforming on the vocal aspects as well. Even as the only non-instrumental record, Karma To Burn makes the vocals work amazingly and even as the groundwork of a mainly instrumentally driven band is here, Jarosz still performs in stellar fashion.
Focusing on the wide range of how Karma To Burn can be a varied style, the tracks are primarily fast and destructive. There are however, several tracks that still keep the destructive nature but instead slow the action and produce more of a drained, emotionally driven style. This is apparent on tracks like “(Waltz Of The) Playboy Pallbearers” and “Twenty-Four Hours” where there is a sluggish approach, but the builds and the climaxes of the tracks’ balance out any slowed style. “(Waltz Of The) Playboy Pallbearers” is actually one of the more aggressive tracks featured on Karma To Burn, featuring an astounding amount of energy being built into the breakdowns of the percussion and of the shocking nature of the instruments that sound so barbaric and almost war-like.
The track that follows, “Twin Sisters And Half A Bottle Of Bourbon” keeps the energy moving but channels it into the guitars rather than the percussion. The percussion and bass still keep a strong influence on the sound, but the guitar is the true star of the show as it continues to fluctuate quite frequently and begs for an ever-increasing build up that leads into a final rephrase of cymbal crashes and vocal chants before letting the guitar drown out all available noise into a deafening silence. A truly menacing way to end the loud, utterly abrasive, but beautiful journey of the Appalachian trail-blazers.
I am sick of writing 1800 word essays… So for this review… Just listen to the album, it is fantastic and combines so many outstanding points of jazz into one project. The longwinded and long named Pithecanthropus Erectus by Charles Mingus was released in 1956. Mingus was always a forward thinking artist that managed to push the boundaries of music and continue to create jazz in one of the most outstanding ways. Just check it out of you don’t believe me. I am sorry to anyone who stumbles upon this, I am usually not like this and I try to keep Matt’s Music Mine more professional, but screw the labels… For this showcase I wanted to break down the walls of writing and just let the listener experience every bit of detail in here. If you ever read, or don’t read… make sure you at least show the artists that I feature some love as they put everything they have into making these pieces of art for us… Don’t become complacent with not finding good ass music that expresses you and makes you personally feel good. I love you… Charles is dope…. Check it fools…
I will probably be back to my old 7-page paper style on friday when I decide on what I want to feature next… Happy Valentines Day to all the couples, and to the single kids… You aren’t alone homies…
Portal, the Australian genre-blending metal band strikes from the darkness with their 2007 release, Outre’. Meaning unusual or startling, Portal is just that and comes bringing a new wave of murky sounding production and midnight like creeping that slithers through, track to track. Outre’ is a rare-breed of album that can sound so incredibly atmospheric, so confused, and ultimately incredibly clouded, but still succeed in creating these warped settings where Portal are the conjurers of the wickedness that they want to engulf the listener into.
Rather than a frontal assault, most of Portal’s Outre’ is a lumbering, prowling animal that waits after continual building to finally attack. Portal’s sound is not the only unusual thing about the band, they also choose to remain nameless and adopt personas, along with immaculate costumes for stage performances that are intended to disturb, but actually create a new level of depth to stage presence. With names that accompany the members like “The Curator” on vocals, “Horror Illogium” (likely stemming from “elogium” which stands for eulogy, or praise bestowed upon a person or item) on lead guitar, “Aphotic Mote” on rhythm guitar. “Monocular” on the drums, and “Elsewhere” on the bass. Together as the horrific, but still dynamic squadron, Portal makes Outre’ sound like the sickest horror movie soundtrack ever made. Stemming instant inspiration from silent film adaptions of horror, Portal makes the sound come to life, only to let that sound die off in the near forty-minute run time.
Starting with “Moil,” Portal makes the introduction of Outre’ become an intense build where it feels as though a presence is coming closer and closer before hearing the first bit of authentic instrumentation from Monocular, Aphotic Mote, and Horror Illogium on the seguing notion into “Abysmill.” The drums are the spotlight, if there is one at all in Portal, as they continually pound and create the backdrop where the rest of the instrumentalists and the atmospheric style of subtle assault can continually shake until reaching the foreground. Portal is not exactly drone metal, but there are sections of Outre’ where they illustrate the characteristics of long, seguing, entirely repetitive sections where only one or two instruments are playing at a time. This goes back to how their sound is representative of a silent film where the atmosphere and the listener’s emotions go into making the environments of Outre’ truly come alive.
Outre’ is a collective journey of murky production, pounding instruments, and deep growls of the lead vocalist, The Curator who stands tall as the front man, conducting the fears along with the army behind him. Outre’ all blends together into one seamlessly transitioning master working that can instill fear, but also immense curiosity when Portal continues to build before reaching the boiling point. The atmospheric fallout is however, truly apparent in the self-titled track, “Outre’.” Here, Portal uses breathing, soundscapes, and abrasive crashes to induce this synthetic like aftermath of a world where everything is crumbling and becoming destroyed. It then transitions into “13 Globes” which is more of a straight forward, crush of a track that uses sporadic playing and sectioning to create these maze-like approach. It works outstandingly and Outre’ as a whole can benefit from the consistent shifting. It leaves everything hanging in the balance of fate.
Portal are unpredictable and unrelenting, barely taking a single second to slow or even break their action apart. They constantly smash, crush, and pulverize their sound until there is nothing left. Outre’ is an experimental record that moves about like a snake, curving and contorting the listener into unknown horror that can only be described as Portal’s world of sound.
Big Thank You to Isaiah Small and my boy Brandon for coming out and performing, you guys made this all possible and really encouraged me to have more shows in the future. I also want to thank everyone that came out and really showed love for the local artists of Pittsburgh. It wouldn’t be possible without the fans that showed out and continue to show support. Don’t feel bad if you missed out, you will be able to attend another show in the future. Shout out to KISS… they are going places…