New Bums – Voices in a Rented Room

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New Bums
Voices in a Rented Room
Drag City

What’s this, I hear you say? An acoustic review on We Must Obey? Preposterous! In actual fact, when I started up We Must Obey I promised a few swerveballs to our usual metal, hardcore, sludge, grind, doom etc. coverage. These have largely been in the vein of pop-punk bands like Bowling For Soup and even video game metal – largely thanks to the brilliant Metroid Metal. I can’t recall ever dedicating time exclusively to an acoustic album – browse through the archives and see if you can find one if you wish – but in any event, I decided to take a punt when the PR machine landed this in my inbox.
 
New Bums are a duo consisting of Ben Chasny (of Six Organs) and Donovan Quinn (of Skygreen Leopards, Comets on Fire and more). Their alliance was allegedly a grudging one initially, but like Alexandr Zubkov and Alexey Ivanovich Voyevoda, the Russian bobsledding team who won gold despite apparently hating one another and not talking to one another prior to victory, New Bums prove to be an intriguing combination, if not quite worthy of a gold medal like the Russian sliders. ‘Voices in a Rented Room’ is the pair’s debut full-length, culled from five years together, following a career forged in ‘freak folk’ and its aftermath. It proves to be an moderately satisfactory if not wholly essential collection of songs drenched in the haze of folky America, the lonely motel room referred to in the album title every bit evocative in the introductory ‘Black Bough’ a forlorn but catchy track with slightly haunting overtones. They do stand out when there’s a bit of attitude to their sound; the cautionary ‘Pigeon Town’ proclaims that ‘you’ll only get fucked’ there. The single ‘The Killers and Me’ is awesome, a ghostly throwback to dark American country; while ‘Your BS’ is backed by the only percussion on the album, throwing in an electric lead amidst a chunky and satisfying lead riff.

I’m not going to judge on how effective the combination of Chasny and Quinn works when they’re both singing together – I’ve seen other critics pick up on that but when one of the last records you reviewed consisted of gory tech-death metal tunes, such intricacies are slightly lost on me, to be perfectly honest. There’s a few occasions where the sound gets a little distorted, like there’s a bit too much going on, and not every track truly does it for me – the more memorable tracks tend to be the catchier ones, such as the aforementioned tracks, plus ‘It’s The Way’ and ‘Mother’s Favorite Hated Son’. Don’t expect reinvention of the wheel here, but open up to New Bums’ run down motel jams and you might find enjoyment here.

Peter Clegg

New Bums – The Killers and Me (official video)

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV4bAreF5TY]

Buy ‘Voices in a Rented Room’ here

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Lay It on the Line/Arizona – Split

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Lay It on the Line/Arizona
Split
Fire Engine Red

South Londoners Lay It on the Line have been garnering attention in the underground scene for their progressively edged melodic hardcore, and on this latest release, a split with Belgian up-and-comers Arizona, they again raise the bar. A band whose songs regularly recount real life tales, sometimes personal. And here they sing about their friend, a man named Ben Gardner who was brutally murdered by three thugs in Sutton in 2010. It’s a horrible story to read and one indicative of the ugly side of drunken society here in the UK. It doesn’t get too much more personal than that, and LIOTL don’t let him down with a thoroughly furious performance. There’s a palpable sense of rage and anger about what happened, that pores right out of their music and through your speakers. These are their two longest songs to date, having thrashed them out a little faster on previous releases, and it’s a definite sign of a band that are already maturing into quite an outstanding outfit.

Arizona are a Belgian screamo band – now there’s a tag I haven’t used in a while. The long, long titles matched only pound for pound by US death metallers Nile were a source of frustration for me when younger, where expectation would often be left flat as it seemed such lyrics were just for show amid a cluttered scene. Maybe time away from all that has served me well. Maybe its my old age – I’m only 28, pushing 29, but part of me continues to mellow. In any event, I don’t find anything wholly inspiring or original about Arizona but at least they make a good fist of producing some quality to back up those huge song titles, with an anthemic and slightly bruising ‘I Knew A Girl Called Pandora, Never Got to See Her Box Though’, and an acoustic version of ‘I’m Not A Superhero, I’m a Latter Day Saint’ which sees the band briefly masquerade as lounge lizards while making their reflections.

Both bands are streaming the EP via their respective Bandcamp pages. Lay It on the Line offer it from zero on a name-your-price scheme, while Arizona are selling it for €5, and with their tracks sandwiching Lay It on the Line’s. The choice is yours, but you could do worse than give the EP a listen and a denomination in your currency of choice.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Lay It on the Line/Arizona’ from Lay It on the Line here (name-your-price)
Or through Arizona here

Stream it below:

Lay it on the Line official site
Facebook
Bandcamp

Arizona Facebook
Bandcamp

‘Kin Hell Fest news overload!

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There’s been some changes going on with ‘Kin Hell Fest in the last couple of weeks, and rather than me explaining it all, I’m lifting the official press release as posted on their official page. Needless to say, there’s the odd disappointment but there’s still plenty to cheer. Please read on below:

So, there’s been a lot going on in the last couple of weeks again with the festival. Here it is in brief as time is tight…

NEW ADDITIONS TO THE BILL! – Corrupt Moral Altar This veritable underground supergroup have only been around a few months but already making massive waves, come witness their weird and awesome brand of sludgey riffy grind on the Sunday.

Cancerous Womb will be playing an ‘Acoustic Womb’ set as well! Acoustic death metal shall be following Rompeprop on the Saturday night for a bit of extra special fun.

– We add Grindscene Records to our list of helpers and associates, the awesome Irish label have been helping us with flyer printing and word spreading of late.

Bong have moved from the Saturday to the Sunday so they can also take in another gig in London on the Saturday. They are perfectly placed (I hope you’ll agree) in between Iron Witch and A Forest Of Stars!

A FEW BITS OF BAD NEWS… – Lazarus Blackstar have had to pull out due to understandable personal reasons.

– This will be Diascorium‘s last gig. The band part ways after that (with the exception of a hopeful last recording of their new bonkers material). No bad blood in the band, just each member’s personal circumstances making it not possible to continue. Witness their final set late on Friday night.

MORE FEST INFO! – Full running orders and times are on the TICKETS page. Winterfylleth won’t be on last but are still the Friday headliners, for those knowledgeable of European festivals, it’s often the case to have other bands after the headliners, and to accommodate a lot of people traveling to see these guys, we have them finishing by 11pm. – We will hopefully be unveiling one, or maybe even two t-shirt designs that will hopefully be up for advance order soon. The mightily talented Steve Myles (Khuda / Royal Park Cellars) has been beavering away on some daft ideas for us, the results will hopefully be spread around very soon.

CRASH SPACE! – We can happily announce that Eiger Music Studios will be hosting after show gathering / party / chill out areas / crash space for people, just £5 in and you can stay the night, carry on drinking, eat, chat and order takeaway, as well as sleep! Full details in the HOTELS section on this site. Hopefully this will help people make the decision to come to the fest from afar, as you will now be able to get a full weekend ticket and a place to crash for just £50!

TICKET PRICES ON THE DOORS ANNOUNCED… – Friday will be £10 (£9 in advance) – Saturday will be £17 (£16 in advance) – Sunday will be £13 (£11 in advance) – Full weekend ticket will be £39 on the door (£35 in advance)

Without wanting to beg, but the sooner people sort out their advance tickets, the more this will help the festival as there are things we need to pay for in advance to make it happen. We have recently had a few setbacks with the technical side of things, and with just FIVE WEEKS TO GO until ‘kin Hell Fest 2013, we need to know that you, the awesome audience, are all fully behind this and supporting us, otherwise there will be no future festivals. So, please, if your intentions are to come to this, please get your tickets in advance of the date, and it will help us out a lot more than you realise. Any word spreading of this website, the flyer and the event page is immensely appreciated. You can all say you’ve played a massive part in the success of this festival, into making sure all the bands don’t make a loss on their travel from all over the UK and Europe, and that we can confidently book 2014 with a few even bigger bands.

Cheers, Paul / ‘kin Hell Fest

So there you have it. Hit up the link in the top corner now – only FIVE WEEKS TO GO!

Peter Clegg