Janelle – “Fault Lines” (2016)

Janelle brings some heavy synths to the shoegaze world. Fault Line‘s songs flit about like birds in winter, a bit languid and jerky, not purposely flying from place to place but instead just trying to survive one more cold season. The pacing is subdued, though every inch of the sonic canvas is covered with sound, dense waves moving slowly through the cold air. The pace picks up a bit on “Syncopation”, which is like coming up for a breath before slowly sinking back into the cool embrace of the album’s last two songs. There’s something familiar about Fault Lines, but I just can’t place it. But no matter. The comparisons aren’t necessary – it’s enjoyable on its own merit.

You can hear Fault Lines on Bandcamp HERE, and the vinyl is just ten bucks.

“Suicide Bong Mix Tape – Philly’s Dopest Shit, Vol. 1” (2015)

A few weeks back I binge listened to a bunch of cool metal and punk tapes I got in the mail from Philadelphia’s Sit & Spin records, THE place in Philly to get your metal and punk itch scratched. Ironically the one tape that didn’t make that post was the one that originally let me to contact Sit & Spin in the first place – the new comp tape from the Suicide Bong label subtitled Philly’s Dopest Shit, Vol. 1. I had put it aside because I figured it was going to be a bit more work than the other tapes given that it features 44 different bands, making at least a little note-taking essential.

Well, I just gave it a listen. And I have to say, the tape is indeed as advertised – this is some dope shit! Much of the music falls within the various punk/metal subgenres, but there’s some different stuff on here as well like “Stay Asleep” by Night Windows, a groovy shoegazeish number that somehow managers to not sound out of place. But the meat and potatoes is in the more aggressive stuff – there are some raging bands out there in Philly.

While I’m not going to take the time to go through this thing for you song by song, I did want to share my own personal “Top 5 Songs from Philly’s Dopest Shit, Vol. 1,” so away we go!

  • SGNLS – “Someone Else Is Here” : So remember how I said the more aggro stuff was the meat and potatoes? Well, the best song on this comp is actually more of a sped up early 80s style synth-wave number. And it’s awesome. Trippy synths on meth. Killer. I WILL be looking for more songs by SGNLS.
  • Janelle – “Bed of Lies” : Huh, well this isn’t on the fast side either, though it does have a certain weight to it. Heavy shoegaze vibe, sort of early 80s darkwave, and like SGNLS synths are a big part of the sound. This has a great groove to it.
  • The Magnificent Shithawks of Greater Northern America – “Kill the Rat” : In case you were starting to scratch your head and try to figure out why the first two picks off what I described as a punk/metal comp were neither punk nor metal, I bring you The Magnificent Shithawks of Greatern Northern America. They would like to open up a hardcore assault on your ears and remind you to Kill the rat / Shoot the fucking snitch. They do throw in a touch of bizarro electro feedback right in the middle of this act of sonic battery, but make no mistake – this is 1:25 of hardcore coming right at you.
  • No Stayer – “Stand On Your Own” : I previously wrote about No Stayer’s tape No Remorse, and they’re probably my favorite Philly band right now. “Stand On Your Own” also appeared on that EP, and it’s a fast hard rock train coming right at you. The guitars are like Ted Nugent back when he was making cool music, with vocals reminiscent of Lemmy from Motörhead.
  • The Dirty Cut – “The Biggest Loser” : Hardcore. The way it was meant to be.

Though not noted anywhere on the tape or packaging, Suicide Bong Mix Tape – Philly’s Dopest Shit, Vol. 1 is a limited cassette only release of 400 copies. The label still has it listed for sale on its website HERE… and for just $4. Four dollars! Hell, the shipping will cost you as much as the tape, but even then it’s well worth it with 44 bands and a download card. You might be able to get copies from Sit & Spin as well. So go get your damn credit card and order it already!