Andrew Earles

BRAND NEW TIMES NEW VIKING 12″ EP “Over and Over” RELEASED TOMORROW…SHIPPING NOW!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 27, 2012

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Three of my record reviews that should have been six or seven of my record reviews…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 15, 2012

The Still Single and Eventually Dusted Magazine axis holds proprietary claim on the following reviews, so follow this link if you want to see what they look like with other people’s reviews on the same page.

 

Alaskan – The Weak & The Wounded 12” EP (Moment of Collapse/Dwyer)

Alaskan is a three-piece from Ottawa, and they give the world something that has attracted such terminology as “atmospheric sludge” and appears to have brought that rusty old argument-starter “post-metal” out of retirement. That’s all I have to say about that. At the end of the day, I got nothing bad to say about the vinyl version of Alaskan’s second demo tape. In fact, each of these four tracks is introduced by a sound bite (one closes the EP, too) from the 1999 horror head-fuck Session 9 … easily one of my favorite modern (as in…the last 20 years or so) examples of its genre. Not only does that cinch the deal and put a gag on any negative sentiments, it also makes me want to send Alaskan (or a member thereof) an e-mail in an attempt to express mutual appreciation and complementary camaraderie (or what is called a “bro-down” by resentful, condescending girlfriends and wives). I should get back to the lurching riffs and screaming and everything else that makes up these four songs, which amounts to a more smoothed-out Converge as much as it does a slowed-down Torche. Hard to say bad things about Alaskan based on what is essentially their second statement of purpose (issued more than two years ago), yet finding great things to say is even less of a cakewalk. Truthfully, it’s REALLY hard to say anything further seeing as how I am not familiar with the 2011 full-length that followed this EP. How about this: They have potential, and this may or may not have come to fruition on a record I’ve never heard. Fans of this stuff will hear or maybe even buy and keep this EP and guess what? They will still be fans of this stuff. I take my heaviness a little different, but this isn’t categorically out of place in our record collection (the one with the keepers in it). Hey, check out this short novella of a URL you have to visit in order to get a new copy of The Weak and the Wounded! In truth, what I’m about to do is totally unnecessary. (www.dwyerrecords.com)

Witchcraft – Legend 2xLP (Nuclear Blast)

There’s always at least a little bit of consumer-watchdog responsible for one of the two types of reviews I write for Still Singleand other outlets, especially when a record has liberated scratch from my life sound unheard. Also, Decibel awarded a lead-review and grade of ‘9’ to Legend, Witchcraft’s fourth album, and that and only that motivated me to give this band another chance.

Am I the only one that gets irritated at Witchcraft’s clinical effort to sound like an Akarma reissue? Am I the only one out there who thinks that by trying so hard to do so, they ultimately failed? That’s not really the main issue here, as Legendscraps some of the previous records’ singular-sonic ‘70s buttrock focus. The real issue here is that Witchcraft are fake-heavy. They know how to put the building blocks of heavy together to create a paper lion of heaviness, but they don’t UNDERSTAND how to be heavy. Hell, they sound like the fucking Kings of Convenience next to a band like Electric Wizard. Legend approaches the heavy during approximately 3% of this double LP’s running time, just like all three of the other Witchcraft albums.

Let’s close with the more maddening belief that this band is about the “songwriting” and that’s what elevates them above the need to rock. Yep, they’re about the songwriting alright … the writing of songs that are insufferably boring and that would never be carried around all day in one’s head. It’s no surprise that Side D contains a single track because these bands like to include the token epic on their stretched-out albums, nor is it mind-blowing that this plodding, forgettable procession of mediocre riff after mediocre riff ends went from point A to point A while I waited for it to do something it was never going to do, and that “something” was just, well, ANYTHING. Like Graveyard, Witchcraft is not simply the Sha Na Na of doom metal … it’s worse than that. Legendmay have dialed-down the retro-robot bullshit a tad, but it remains a throwback to a fantasy that a lot of folks entertain about ’70s proto-metal. I guess I wasn’t surprised when presented with the overrated garbage on records by Bloodrock and any Blue Cheer record that isn’t New! Improved!, and being robbed of surprise is being robbed of surprise, no matter how you cut it. Don’t believe the hype. My copy was on yellow/black splatter vinyl, and that means it is a US pressing that doesn’t have the poster, which can also be translated as “Probably not worth holding onto for its rapid appreciation in value” by way of lacking any other form of worth. (www.nuclearblastusa.com)

Tigon – Infinite Teeth LP (The Ghost Is Clear)

I wanted to like if not love this record based on the greatness of the opening track (“The Archivist”), where this band’s major flaw is not the in-your-face problem it is elsewhere throughout this album. Additionally, upon examining the goods before hearing the not-so-goods, it was revealed that this band titled a song “Tortoise Goes to Burning Man” but didn’t write lyrics about the implied hypothetical situation, so the imagined hilarity lasts exactly as long as it takes for one to come across the song’s lyrics … a hybrid of self-hate plus friend/lover-hate with a side order of world/society-hate that could fit on a D-beat, death metal or grindcore record. And that brings us to that flaw I’ve allowed to become the elephant in the room for most of this review so far. Infinite Teethis obviously informed by a few ‘90s not-quite-Slint bands, while the band wants to be informed by Slint (they pretty much say so in the one-sheet). I’m talking June of 44 on down. This is all fine and good. If I had the right June of 44 record within arm’s reach at this very moment, I’d probably listen to two or three songs I used to sufficiently enjoy. The problem, or more accurately, what knocks you over the head as a failed marriage on a lot of these songs, is using crust-core roaring and howling on songs that owe all of their remaining parts to, say, the weakest song on the Hoover LP. It’s hard to properly explain how this vocal choice so efficiently lays a great big dump all over something that might have otherwise worked. Or might not have upon the consideration of another issue that requires copious tissues: Tigon is the sound of wanting to be influenced by the post-hardcore and post-rock of the mid-to-late ‘90s without actually being naturally influenced by the movement(s) through the retroactive discovery, immersive obsession from countless listens, requisite love and understanding of the source content, then finally, the uncontrollable creation of their own music as a logical end result. It’s the “something missing” that is turning up more and more in newer bands. Sad, but not tragic. Black vinyl. (http://tigonkills.bandcamp.com)

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About our writing…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 2, 2012

First off, Beth wrote this great review of a record that I personally found quite befuddling…  (the record, not her review…duh)

And here’s something I’m trying to pass off as an “update” re: a few writing endeavors of the recent or recently-revisited variety. About a month ago, I wrote and turned in two essays in the following book, which will be published on April 15th, 2013. The description was copied from the Voyageur Press site, and one of my writer-heroes is handling the primary running narrative in this book. A variety of other writers cover the discography, title by title, and I wrote about two albums (one an all-time favorite and the other a not-too-shabby pleasure)….2112 (1976) and Permanent Waves (1980), respectively. Click on the title to pre-order or simply go to the book’s official page at the Voyageur Press site. While you’re there, perhaps you’d like to order one of my books for a family member or respected enemy this holiday season.

“Formed in Toronto, Ontario, in 1968 under the heavy influence of British blues, Rush solidified its lineup in 1974 and has gone on to record 18 studio albums (and counting). Notable for bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee’s high register, Neil Peart’s virtuosic drumming and inventive lyrics, and the guitar heroics of Alex Lifeson, the multiplatinum band melds a diverse range of influences and along the way has amassed a large, notably loyal following worldwide. Rush is bigger than ever before with the hit 2011 documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage and this year’s new album, Clockwork Angels, and tour.
 
Now, for the first time, Rush is treated to the epic visual celebration they so richly deserve in a beautifully designed and profusely illustrated history following the band’s entire career. A chronological overview history written by noted music scribe and Rush authority Martin Popoff spans the band’s entire career from 1968 to today. A complete Rush discography chronicles all their albums, from the debut album to 2112,Moving Pictures, and Signals to Grace Under Pressure, Vapor Trails, and more. The authoritative text is complemented by album reviews written by well-known music journalists from around the globe, commentary from fellow musicians, a discography, tour dates, and hundreds of photographs and pieces of memorabilia, including picture sleeves, gig posters, rare vinyl, handbills, ticket stubs, and much more.”
 
Of coffee-table illustrated histories this exact size and format, Rush: The Unauthorized Illustrated History is the fourth one for which I’ve contributed essays/long-form reviews. The previous titles were on Led Zeppelin, Queen, and AC/DC. I will also be in a fifth title that covers a band I can’t reveal at this time, and it will be out in 2014 or so.
 
Elsewhere, and more topically, in December I will have an interview with Pig Destroyer published by Scion A/V for the 9th installment of their print/online Metal Zine. Just sayin’….it’s standard stuff. I don’t think I revealed any fascinating morsels about a band that has probably been profiled in TV fucking Guide recently.
 
Lastly, the book that accompanies a deluxe version of the Jay Reatard documentary, Better Than Something, will feature a reprint of the obit I wrote for Spin.com in February of 2010. It’s the same piece of writing that got short-listed as an “Honorary Mention” in Da Capo’s Best Music Writing of 2011, and I can say with confidence that it is one of the best things I’ve ever written. To have it considered and included in both of these books is an honor, to say the least.
 
Ok, that’s enough about me…..until I have more notable news to post….
 

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