The Short List is a weekly dive into EPs, Splits, Reissues, Comps, Live Records, etc
This week is a little light and all EPs, but some bangers here. Quality over quantity and all. Get ready for some riffs.
Digital Negative EP2 Self-Released
March 3, 2023
Well let’s hold off on the riffs for a quick minute. Admittedly, I am not an electro/industrial/noise fan. But life is about trying new things. What attracted me to this EP was one name: Richard Johnson. While Agoraphobic Nosebleed is probably his most recognizable band (and I love that band, drum machine and all), his playing in Drugs Of Faith is the most alluring for me. Plus, he played in Enemy Soil. Over the Pandemic, Johnson got working with pal, Daniel Euphrat (Person918x, Timmy Sells His Soul). That was 2020. And by 2021, Digital Negative offered their debut self-titled EP on Hostile 1 Tapes.
On March 3, EP 2 will be birthed. After a few listens, I find rhythms and aural assaults that appease. Aggression and anger are embedded in the tapestry of searing musical sounds, and samples are always a clincher for me, painting a new interpretation of known quotes as they are juxtaposed will extract different ideas from each listener.
Again, the first EP was done under quarantine. EP2 sees the duo able to flex and explore unfettered. Johnson and Euphrat could now concoct vile abrasions together; face to face. A cacophony of guitars, electronic drums, samples, and vocals mesh together for an EP never lacking in sonic stimulation. “Samples chosen to emphasize artificiality is still the M.O. I just tried to use a different variety of rhythms for this EP,” says Euphrat. “I felt like there was more room to explore the same concept.” Euphrat describes their goal as “the heaviness of metal and industrial music. Luckily for us, that criteria can apply to a broad variety of rhythms and genres. This second EP is an attempt to further explore the field of musical possibilities opened up by the original concept.”
Digital Negative will release EP2 exclusively on Bandcamp on March 3. Find preorders here.
Fury Of Five Half Past Revenge Upstate Records
March 3, 2023
If you have paid attention to the hardcore scene in the last few years, James Ismean’s face has been popping up. He has been active on social media and at shows. He even fronted a reformed 25 Ta Life set at THIC. The simmering expectations have finally surfaced. After a 23-year hiatus from the New Jersey Hardcore Scene, Fury of Five have returned. James returns with original guitarists and bassist (Jay Fury, Chico Violencia, Mike Terror), plus a new drummer, Mikey Mayhem. Invigorated and hungry, they hit the stage in their hometown of Asbury Park, NJ in June of 2022 with a sold-out event.
Fury Of Five had three studio albums, all on Victory Records and played shows with the elite like All Out War, Blood For Blood, Vision Of Disorder, Madball, and many more. Their first album, No Reason to Smile, shook the world. That was 1996. Then, 1998 and 2000 had follow up records, At War With the World and This Time It’s Personal, respectively. The enmity is palpable from the album titles. The sound was harsh and brutal, along with the lyrics. And this was no tough guy posturing.
One of the times I saw them when they came to New Hampshire with VOD, Earth Crisis, and a few others. Those headlining bands never played. A bouncer got rough with a kid dancing (there was no one there. It was an empty floor). so some kids gave the bouncer some attitude and he called the cops for back up. When cops arrived they were dragging the kid off and Fury of Five (mid-song) dropped there instruments and jumped off the stage and directly marched towards the cops and bouncers.
As 2022 moved into its second half, Fury Of Five recruited engineer/producer Len Carmichael to record and sonically mold five new songs. The band melds hardcore, metal, hip hop to deliver punishing tunes that scream Jersey. Eager and voracious, these song manifest years of dormant frustration. Stikman (James) is ready to vent. The result is Half Past Revenge on Upstate Records. Note titles such as “Revenge Doesn’t Sleep” and “W.A.R.” (We Are Ready). FOV will rip you back into the spirit of 1998.
Preorder at UPSTATE.
Fury Of V instagram
UPSTATE has Half Past Revenge on bandcamp
Stoner Boogie to Baja Heavy Psych Sounds
February 24, 2023
On the lighter side, the dudes in Stoner had a few leftovers from their record, Totally (adorned with an inviting, solitary pizza). They are providing those tunes on this five track EP. Bjork notes, “During the recording of Totally, we were having a blast, and the music just kept rollin’ out, so we decided to also put together a tasty EP.” For the uninitiated, Stoner are a power trio made up of Brant Bjork, Nic Oliveri, and Ryan Gut (who has played with Bjork’s solo outfits). Bjork and Oliveri have played together for three decades in myriad forms, most notably in Kyuss. Bjork also has solo albums, the Vista Chino record (great, underrated record, also with Oliveri), plus, Fatso Jetson, Mondo Generator, Fu Manchu, etc. Oliveri also spent time in Mondo Generator, Bl’ast!, Bloodclot!, QOTSA, and even The Dwarves; plus many others.
When these two play together, magic happens. Maybe the magic had some lysergic assistance; nonetheless it is there. They have seen the zenith of the Stoner ROck mountain and travelled the dusty, barren highways of Desert Rock. Stoner have two studio LPs, and this extra helping is welcome. For something special, Stoner invited guests Mario Lalli and Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks, Bad Religion). Hetson helped on the Motorhead/Pink Fairies classic “City Kids.”
As with each of their releases, Heavy Psych Sounds Records provide a smorgasbord of trippy blends:
15 TEST PRESS
100 ULTRA LTD SIDE A/B – WHITE / HOT PINK / DEEP PURPLE
150 ULTRA LTD COLOR IN COLOR TRANSPARENT / BLUE – SPLATTER HOT PINK
150 ULTRA LTD HALF/HALF – BLUE / HOT PINK
350 LTD VIOLET
And for those still buying CDs, a thoughtful six panel digipak is available.
Preorder at HPS Records.
Get one of them there purty colors.
The Freqs Poachers Self Released
February 3, 2023
Dave at EarSplit PR dubs The Freqs’ sound as “fuzzed-out, psych-punk, stoner rock, and sledgehammering noise at a crushing decibel.” A good flow from the the Stoner EP. And since I am from MA, I figured I would give these dudes a shout. Also, I always want to support bands releasing music themselves. But my colleague, Abir Mahmud, already did a stellar job with his deep dive into each track and the ideas behind each of them. Plus, it includes an exclusive stream of the full EP. Recorded in Cambridge, Poachers investigates and delves into the band’s hometown of Salem MA and the macabre legacy.
read and listen here.
2/04/2023 The Middle East Upstairs – Cambridge, MA w/ Landowner, Miracle Blood
2/09/2023 WaveRadio live on air set – Littleton, MA
2/22/2023 O’Briens – Allston, MA w/ Bedtimemagic, Diva-Karr, King Mob
3/10/2023 The Jungle – Somerville, MA w/ Knock Over City, Motel Black, Mollusk.
Spark of Life/Freewill split EP New Age
“A Few Months”
New Age have been on a run. While it would be more accurate to say that they have been on a run since 1988, 2022 was a heck of a year. Last year witnessed stellar LPs from Decline, Short Fuse, Cold Shoulder, and Moral Law. Oh and the Life Force EP and the Slugfest EP. New Age were started by Mike Hartsfield (Outspoken, A18, Done Dying) and released a litany of classic hardcore in the sweet, sweet ’90s when hardcore, straight edge bands were expanding sounds and pulling in metallic influences. Peep major milestones with bands such as Strife, Outspoken, Turning Point, Unbroken, Mouthpiece, Chorus Of Disapproval, and others. The 2010s also gave us Drug Control, Abuse Of Power, and Restraining Order, proving that Hartsfield and company still have distinguishing taste and talent in this record game.
And this next one is a doozie. Freewill return with two new tracks. Freewill formed in 1987 and kicked their injection into the hardcore world by opening for Agnostic Front, The Offspring, and Infest (ha, ha! What an eclectic bill!), Learning from their peers, Freewill did shows with Insted and Uniform Choice. Mix that SoCal sound and the guiding inspiration the band found when discovering DC hardcore, specifically Dag Nasty, specifically Field Day. And through the years, Freewill have maintained that passionate, engaging hardcore. The band dropped their LP, All This Time, in 2021. For a taste of their contemporary sound…
Also conjuring two tracks are a band recently signed to the label, Spark of Life. They recorded two slamming new songs. Spark Of Life are centered around Nicholas Piscitello (guitars) and Steve Jennings (vocals) from the earliest and persistent incarnation. Spark Of Life released an album in 2003, Promises Made, Promises Kept. Twenty years later, the bonded brothers who have been fusing ideas, music, and spirits over two decades. This year exhibits two intense tracks. “Song of Hope,” according to vocalist Jennings on the New Age website, is about the struggle and “all adult pain and middle-aged reflection—show how much hardcore can hit later in one’s life.” One twist is that the duo found themselves sans drummer, so the two recruited Fred Armisen (Crisis Of Conformity, Documentary Now!) to play drums.
Spark of Life on Instagram
Freewill on Instagram
Spark of Life/Freewill colored vinyl available at New Age:
150 – Swamp green
250 – Sea blue
225 – Oxblood
200 – Yellow with red splatter
77 – Yellow with red splatter & green New Age Records labels (“77 Pressing”)