City of Industry – American Habits Are Hard to Break

coiamericancover

City of Industry – American Habits Are Hard to Break

cityofindustry.bandcamp.com

10 tracks (12 minutes) of crusty powerviolence. Drums tracked by Lorenzo Luna and Scott Asher at an unnamed studio. Guitars, bass, vocals, and samples tracked later at Big Name, where the EP was then edited and mixed. Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege.

Morrow – The Weight of These Feathers

cover

Morrow – The Weight of These Feathers

morrowofficial.bandcamp.com

I engineered this album for Seattle’s Morrow. Midway through the recording process, I was asked to write and record my own basslines as well. They had a bass player when we first began tracking, but he dropped out of the project right before he was supposed to record his parts. As a result, I was asked to step in. I was given full creative freedom with my bass contributions.

The band spent three years composing and demoing these songs, and then one year in the studio with me recording the real deal. Being able to add my own spin to this album was a pleasure and I look forward to seeing what these guys go on to create in the future.

For people who enjoy melodic/progressive/atmospheric black metal.

Heavy Blog Is Heavy Exclusive Premiere: Morrow – Elysium I

morrow-1024x768

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Enter Paradise With Morrow’s “Elysium I”

This was a nice surprise to find today. I produced this recording and played bass on it for my friends in Morrow. We worked on it throughout the entire last year.

As a side note, I’ve finished my work on 7 recordings since moving to Colorado in March and so far only one has seen its full release. So I have a slew of new stuff on the way. This one comes out July 21st and I’m super proud of it and excited to see it get out into the world.

Entresol – need(s)

entresolcover

Entresol – need(s)

entresolpnw.bandcamp.com

9 tracks (35 minutes) of singer-songwriter noise crossover. Cassette noise, ambient sounds, and field recordings tracked by Entresol at The Urgus in Eugene, Oregon. Analog synth and programmed sound on Raindrops on Windowpanes tracked by Bushel in Eugene, Oregon. Vocals, violin, guitar, and additional noise tracked at Big Name. Edited, mixed, and mastered at Big Name.

 

No Clean Singing Review: Retail Monkey – ADD/Nihilism

Forever Playing Catch-Up (Part 1): Retail Monkey, Increate, Escher

addncover
“In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

RETAIL MONKEY – ADD/NIHILISM

Once again, I have the fine folks at Mathcore Index to thank for showing me another band I felt compelled to cover, and this time it’s Retail Monkey.

Retail-Monkey

While the name may be a tongue-in-cheek reference to feeling like a purposeless wage slave, I assure you the music is deadly serious and with a fierce brain-scrambling purpose to it, no less. Manic and unpredictable mathcore-fueled grind is the band’s preferred medium throughout ADD/Nihilism, though they also dabble in noisy moments, quirky synth flourishes, and oddball interludes, and they lace the songs with the occasional death metal and black metal influenced riff or black metal vocal part.

The story the band lay out on their Bandcamp regarding the writing and release of ADD/Nihilism is fascinating as well. The music found here was written by its members through tab-based MIDI software between 2004 and 2006, enabling them to “write whatever the hell we wanted with no limitations based on how ridiculous or unplayable it seemed to us”. “We never figured real, recorded versions would exist. After spending another decade making music, it was within reach.”

That batshit insane and frenetic vibe the band wrote so many years back shines through in the density of these songs in a way that, even now, feels fresh and new. Right now, ADD/Nihilism is certainly going to be one of my absolute favorite grind releases this year. Don’t miss out on this gem.

Bandcamp:
https://retailmonkey.bandcamp.com/album/add-nihilism ”

[read the rest of the article here!]

Thanks for the kind words, NCS!

LeBaron – Stambaugh Sessions (10 Year Retrospective)

a2691829398_10

LeBaron – Stambaugh Sessions

lebaronrwc.bandcamp.com

On this day 10 years ago, LeBaron’s final recording session took place.

“What’s LeBaron?” You might be asking.

LeBaron was a music experiment that arose organically in the summer of 2007. The band consisted* of Kol Fenton, Stephen Navarrete, and me. It lasted only a few months. The album that we put together, Stambaugh Sessions, is the oldest release that I played on that I still thoroughly appreciate to this day.

The series of recording dates that comprise Stambaugh Sessions began spontaneously. One day, the three of us ended up hanging out in our buddy Anthony’s garage, which had been given the name Chestnut St. ArmsBella Drive, Steve and Kol’s band with Daniel Hendrickson (who I later collaborated with in Phantom Float), practiced there. As a result of that arrangement, Steve and Kol were there frequently, and I would come by occasionally to see what my friends were up to. That’s how this place was. If you made music there, you were likely to have an audience of a few people hanging out while you worked on stuff.

Split the kit!
Split the kit! Chestnut St. Arms in action.

Somehow Steve and I got the idea to split his drumkit up and each play half of it. In my corner of the space, I flipped the kick drum onto its side and played it with sticks, along with a snare and a ride. Over in his corner, Steve set up a snare, two toms, and a small crash. The hi-hat was positioned so that either of us could use the foot control or hit it with sticks.

We messed around jamming for a bit. Kol grabbed a guitar, turned on an amp, and… suddenly LeBaron was happening.

We played for maybe twenty minutes with a few friends watching. As we finished up, someone who was sitting in a recliner on the opposite side of the room (I can’t remember who at this point) said, “That was actually really interesting. You should come back with your recording stuff and do that again.”

So we did.

In total, there were 4 recording sessions. Each one had a very limited audience, but enough to give it a little bit of “event” energy. Now that it’s been so long, I’m not sure who witnessed these performances.

Each session was unique in some way. There are clues in the songs as to which songs were recorded on which occasion. The fretless bass was only used one of the days. The pedalboard was significantly expanded on one of the sessions, bringing in some extra sounds. On a different date, we allowed Aqua Teen Hunger Force to play on the TV in the background of all the recordings. During our third session, Ryan Moyer joined us and played an empty wine bottle with a drum stick. The rototoms and samples are present in some, but not all, of the recordings. And there was a bugle at one point.

Each time we would finish a take, we would listen back to it and see what we had just done. Some songs were titled immediately as we were listening back for the first time. “This part sounds like when you’re doing badly Taking a Test and getting more and more frustrated.” A few were actually given titles before we even played them. “Alright. This next song is called Gangsta Situations no matter what it sounds like.” Most of them were left untitled at this point, though.

Steve and Kol on tour with their main band at the time, Bella Drive. Apparently, never once have the three of us been in the same photo.
Steve and Kol on tour with their main band at the time, Bella Drive. After searching thoroughly I’ve come to the conclusion that the three of us have never appeared in the same photo.

I think we settled on the name LeBaron during our first recording session. The conversation went something like this:

  • “Okay, I have an idea. What’s the most non-descript, not-noteworthy car that you can think of? Something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to drive, but also wouldn’t be excited to drive at all?”
  • “…I dunno. A Chrysler LeBaron?”
  • “That’s IT! Boxy piece of junk.”
  • “Hmm… LeBaron. I like it.”

After our final recording session, I took the Tascam 4 track cassette recorder we had been using back to my house and digitized all of our tapes. We posted the files online, but had to cycle them out over time since Myspace would only let you post 3 songs at once. Within a few months we had moved on, playing in our more traditional bands, and that was that.

But I wasn’t happy with how our work was left incomplete. The songs had never been properly compiled, mastered, and released. In 2010, after I moved to Washington, I decided it was finally time to work on it. This was when the songs were given an order, and also when all the then-untitled songs were given names. Hard for me to believe that’s now 7 years ago, and that it’s been 10 years since they were first recorded. Time flies.

* We decided shortly after our last session that LeBaron technically never ended. If the three of us ever end up playing together again in the future, it’s still LeBaron. We all live in different parts of the country now, but hey, you never know what could happen.