The Locust

Check it.

Stare into the broken, insectoid eyes of rage. The musical equivalent of William Burroughs’ yage nightmares, Californian noise-merchants The Locust release cacophonic mathcore landmarks on (singer) Justin Pearson’s Three One G label.  Exceptionally loud and eccentric, The Locust’s “New Erections” is a Wilhelm Scream from the ostensibly tranquil world.

With lyrics seemingly free-written in a nightmare trance and instrumentation as frenetic as bowl movements after eating McDonalds, it’s not an accessible sound The Locust cultivate. It has the pulverizing trappings of mathcore giants like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Carbomb, but with a frenzied idiosyncrasy that’s hard to pigeonhole. It’s not just the singular image that defines them, but a peculiarly sincere and horrific sense of injustice.

  Listening to the Locust is like debating with a foreign sex worker- always dismaying yet erotic in its deviancy. It’s not only nightmarish in the rejection of wholesome, regular song structure. There’s some deeper uneasiness that may just have been forced on The Locust from the outside, rather than vice versa- the petulant scream of anarchist punk; monsters raised innocent in the suburbs. The sound of an errant bottle rocket scarring someone’s fortunes.

The rhythms and transitions between these are more important in the song structures than the melodies. The music is dissonant and pounding, but intentionally so. Angular riffs that eke every distorted pyrotechnic from an overdriven guitar and a polyrhythmic jigsaw of layered tones. “New Erections” opens with vitriol. Their repudiation of a fast-cash, greed society is buttressed with a genuine concern that, like punk and powerviolence forbears before, uses angst and noise as a weapon.

There’s something incredibly juvenile about their sound- whether it’s the jagged hyperactivity of the riffs that recall a child with undiagnosed ADHD, the penchant for insect themed theatrics, or a naive sense that protest can be in some way effective. True scorn is belied by quirky, irony-laden song titles like “God wants us all to work in factories” and “We have reached an official verdict: Nobody gives a shit”. Though the brattish aspect to the delivery in no way detracts, but gives The Locust the sheen of a fresh, Pro-active face, even 18 years from inception.

 

 

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Joshua Fit for Battle- ‘To Bring Our Own End’

Joshua Fit For Battle were one of those emotionally aggressive mid-90’s screamo bands that music pundits with 75 mm stretchers in their ears like to refer to as “Skram’’. Skram is basically a term coined online to differentiate between scream bands that girls like, and screamo bands that don’t make money. Despite genre politics, Joshua Fit for Battle’s “To Bring Our Own End” stands as one of screamo’s highpoints, artistically. The 11 tracks unleashed on Shock Value Records are as bitter and emotionally unrelenting as the steely stare of a new widow.

A rolling ebullition characterises this release; a frayed sense of chaos overwhelming. A grating duality, focused on pairing doe-like melodies and cacophonic clangour, shows the frenzied passion of a band who at any moment seems as if they will be swallowed by the barely contained chaos like a screaming extra in The Blob (1958). Opener “Blood Money” sets the agenda with a bullet. Furious, swift riffing gives way to a light dance of melody, before hoarse wails once more usher in the stormy, disorienting guitar.

Songs like “Contents of an American History Class” have the same spirit of experimental progressiveness that Larry Flynt must have had when he invented nudity, bouncing always from jazzy drum fills, to marzipan sections of harmony, back to ugly punk. (The song even includes nearly 13 minutes of silence, before picking up with the eerie vitriol without ceremony). It seems that any subtler section is condemned to a frenzied death before it begins the lighter parts in “Dreams” shadowed by a distorted fatalism. Occasionally the band picks up a black metal influence; an atmospheric malice that occasionally creeps into the guitars, as in the last verses of “Fuck the Men in Her Life”- the cold hatred palpable.

There’s barely any remittance from the desperation and melancholy of this album. Joshua Fit For Battle play music that is chaotic and as dark as a pupil. The structure of the song can often become clouded behind the almost unregimented fusillades of chaos; a traumatic hint of real feeling. Angsty vitriol spews from every lyrical utterance. Ranging from the religious and political (Catholic Skool, American History Class) to the fiercely personal (Fuck the Men in Her Life, Sleepwalker’s Guide), Joshua Fit for Battle write lyrics to incite riot. Never sanctimonious, they represent a vigil-ante like hatred for injustice in terse screams.

Never over-contrived and never formless mess, Joshua Fit for Battle’s ‘To Bring Our Own End’ is a seminal screamo/ emotional hardcore album for devotees. Never does it sound remotely like the complaining whinge of brattish mid-western high-schoolers featured in monthly glossies, which can only be a good thing. It’s an album that, with a compass made of fury, always points toward catharsis.

Letlive- Fake History

Systematically violating genre, with more posts than Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed, Californian upstarts Letlive. returned in 2010 to Tragic Hero records with a more contoured and thoughtful salvo of voracious experimentation.

Redoubling the ferocity and brash cynicism found on 2005’s “Speak Like You Talk”, “Fake History” sounds like a band finding it’s feet (those calloused masses parked firmly on your heartstrings). Where their previous efforts revive Glassjaw’s melodic wilfullness and Fugazi’s rhythmic dynamism, in chaotic display, Fake History finds an angsty individuality that coalesces with brilliant emotional glare. They spiritedly fuse Jazzy experimentation, Gospel harmonics, Harcore rage, and modern malaise in a completely unique way, heard best on tracks like “Casino Columbus”, “renegade ’86”, and “H. Ledger”.

There’s not a wasted instant on this album. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler’s passionate strafing behind every slippery vocalise a teenager’s anger in finding that all the comforting truisms of childhood were lies. Lyrically the album is one of the strongest in recent memory. At times all angst and bravado like early Palumbo, Butler is just as thoughtful and pensive as any modern poet. Questioning God and other sources of imperious morality, there is sure appeal for the disenfranchised punk, or angered 99%-er.

Extremely strong instumentation from Johnson, Nascimento, Rivera, Sahyoun, propels the songs. Always craftilly mutating, like Joan River’s face, they produce some attention spasming goodness, as if Dillinger got three fifths of the ritalin they needed. There is never a moment where they seem unsure of their destination or route. So forward thinking even to make rapid transitions between hardcore and stadium chanting, as on “Enimigos/Enemies”.

Fake History is an album for the thinking man, the adventurer, to be in awe of. It is easilly one of the best releases from Tragic hero in a long while, and certainly on of the seminal albums that retrospectives will credit with revolutionising progressive hardcore music. Not a bad song or misstep, it is certainly one of the standout releases of 2010.

I write about nothing, again.

Not since the shadowy reign of Kate Moss came to an abrupt end  has being two dimensional had such an lurid cache. Then came Halfbrick and their new arcade for apple and android phones, Jetpack Joyride, which is now available from online stores as a free download- a time waster and penny saver. This modern slab of pure 80’s acid wash jeans nostalgia revels in a simple arcade playability, while provides a level of visual pyrotehnics Iphone games have previously lacked.

The premise of the game is as simple as the average smart phone user, and just as shallow. You play as Barry, the seemingly puerile protagonist of an (incomprehensible) world populated by wailing scientists, revolving yellow things that are fatal to touch, levitating coins and kamikaze jetpacks that, like a urine stream after cold midnight, never stop. This is where you come in. You touch the screen whenever you want “Barry” to utilize his titular jetpack to fly higher, thus dodging the murderous obstacles etc. Once you start getting used to the game’s reliable physics, you should probably go watch “Apocalypse Now” or “The Shawshank Redemption” or do something which is both entertaining and artistically nourishing, instead of trying to beat my record distance of 3986 metres.

There are some really cute novelties and a level of depth you wouldn’t expect from the sparse dimensions, all aiming to keep the repetitive concept new. Clothing choices to fit all Zeitgeists and different Jetpacks to buy will make you feel like the accomplished materialist you’re probably not if you’re playing a free downloadable game with intensity.

This is an eminently playable toy from a company that has made games for X-box and Nintendo. A good confection for people who have recently quit smoking and need something to do whilst waiting for a bus. I wouldn’t buy it though.

Jolly good show old chap

There have been multitudes of spurious rumours published about me on the internet already. And just because they were all created and propogated by myself on humid summer nights whilst Elvira, Mistress of the Dark played on a broken samsung tv, doesn’t make them any less salacious. So, as we stand on the brink of species destruction, here in the year of consumerism and fear, of girls with long legs and short attention spans, of ritual killings and staying up past our bed times, I’m going to spout nonsense at you, screaming about apocalypse like the poorly dressed eccentric i am.

I mainly write about music, film, books, and the horror of autotune.

Welcome, you can call me anything you want, so long as it starts with a capital letter.