EP Round up: Wax Fang, June, Fighting, Cleft, Bleed Electric, Crushing Blows
Hullo hullo, it’s your editor-in-training, Orestes P. Xistos and I’ll be doing this week’s EP round-up. In honour of the new Spiderman flick not being as shit as Spiderman 3, I’ll be assigning a Sinister Six equivalents to each of these bands!
…What do you mean you don’t know who the Sinister Six are? Look:
Think of them as a kickass band of brigands. Y’see, Doctor Octopus was feeling all lonely and shit one Friday night, so he put this ad in Gumtree (“Wanted : Evildoers for Beer and Pizza night”) . What he got was a ragtag of cool mofos like Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, The Vulture and The Sandman. They played Atari (pong, natch!), watched Repo Man (in glorious Betamax) and had a good, fun time. Then they split, sorta like The Fellowship of the Ring, but with less members getting Uruk Hai‘ed. Then…sigh, they put Hobgoblin. Thank you, affirmative action.
Source: Comic Vine.
UGH! Looks stupid, doesn’t it? So … don’t mess with the original Sinister Six! Incidentally, I’ve been informed they were called El Sindicato Siniestro (The Sinister Syndicate) in México. Food for thought for you who hate Unions. Oh, right, EPs…
Wax Fang – Mirror Mirror
Brrr! Hear that chilling sound, tingling over your skin like the shivers you get after being bit by a Jerusalem cricket? It’s the sounds of Wax Fang‘s chilling, spacey Mirror Mirror (out Oct. 30 via Karate Body Records). ‘Mirror, mirror’ starts slowly, creeping and getting under your skin with that dirge-like emotion imprinted in the voice. Then it explodes. Magic fills the air (low lit bar, revival church, you name it). The riff drills into your psyche and you are left to wonder if the monster you saw in the mirror is the real you and you are just a reflection. ‘White Kane’ is slightly happier; post punk in nature, gospel in the Outer Planes. ‘Dawn of the Dead of the Night of the Hunter’ is not only namedropping several cool flicks, but also has a powerful pop sheep skin to hide its wolf nature. That’s how you hook the newcomers: appear to be pop then snare them into your real sound that they didn’t recognise. Very 80s. They saved the best for the end, as ‘In Memory’ sprawls like The Blob, engulfing the senses from the thoughtful bass-heavy beginning to the exploding middle to the “ashes are now blowing in the wind” ending. Brr. Scary, stark and good.
This EP is: Electro! Sure, y’all think he is easily defeated by Spidey‘s cunning ways (and puns), but he can be a character of great depth, a sort of evil equivalent of Peter Parker (think about it: the eternal loser, accidental gain of powers, always penniless…). This EP jolts and shocks like him. ZAAAP!
June – Comets
Classy & jazzy, that’s the music of June. Sure, there’s a lot of introspection in the confessional like pentathlon that is Comets, but there’s more to this Mexican band than meets the eye. ‘Uncertain ways’ uses the boy and girl vocal delivery in an effective way; two hemispheres at odds, two realities clashing. ‘Why’ & ‘Comets’ are excellent tracks, the former being a mournful track about loss and latter being the anger that follows the sadness. Wait a flippin’ minute! Is this EP a sort of 5-stage thing? It could be! ‘Red wind’ seems brash, but maybe there’s some fear of the unknown in here (I blame the sexy sax). Acceptance comes in the form of the proggy, jazzy ‘Underground’. Check that bridge with the intense drumming, guitar and abrupt stops. It’s the sound of catharsis achieved. Bravo, June.
This EP is: Mysterio. That fishbowl wearing motherfucker was always up to something cool. He’s the Victorian Villain of the Spiderman mythos and he’d obviously appreciate the jazz and prog of June.
Crushing Blows – Crushing Blows
Crushing Blows…hey, we played them in our podcast, Radio Chaneque. And now they have a new EP coming up in November, but thanks to our underground connections (Embankment, of course), we’ve listened to the selftitled EP. ‘The people you will never meet’ is a dreamy pop track that tackles a bit of shoegaze, a bit of pop and a bit of electro. It sways slowly until it decides to cha-cha-cha! and mambo! Rocking. ‘I dream of becoming a girl’ is Crushing Blows breaking the neon lights out, biting on pacifiers and chucking bottles of Henderson’s relish at badgers (makes them taste better). ‘Love is dangerous’ is a funny one, love how the falsetto style is almost accomplished, but never fully embraced. Awesome drumming and excellent guitar ambients. ‘No Halcyon’ is the real poppy track, catchy, fluffy and cream coloured (for the people with milky moods). Check the free download and if it sounds good, the rest of the tracks won’t deviate too much.
This EP is: Doctor Octopus. Not only do you need multiple arms to keep up with the drumming, but the frail voice juxtaposing with the pent-up aggression is an obvious parallel.
Fighting – Joyboat
The swanky punk songs of Fighting‘s Joyboat make me raucous, so while I go and spray paint some shelves, I’ll be reviewing this. Pardon me if I start getting high. ‘Scissors to the city’ is rocky, arpeggiated and grimey (but not like the pop singer). ‘Bassline Al’ is where it’s at: post punk with enough soot in the strings to leave a mark. The rhythm changes are a delight. ‘Nuclear bomb lizard’ is not two turntables and a microphone, but it’s a good discourse between our perceptions and the lizard-like Apocalypse that is coming straight for us. Love the synth, so mooosh to this one. ‘Angels by Robbie Williams’ is both a pisstake and a probable “cease and desist” from some hungry lawyer (they be like hungry hungry hippos, yo!). Rocky ending to the EP, with grainy bits of distortion. I really like the chatty bits at the beginning and ending of some of the songs. And yes, IT’S NOT EVEN A DINOSAUR.
This EP is: Sandman. Gritty, not afraid to punch Spidey in the crown jewels and ready to hightail it should the fuzz come ’round with ANOTHER ASBO.
Cleft – Whale Bone
What are wheatcake? Why did Aunt May had poor Petey wolf them down in every single comic book? I don’t know, you don’t know but The Vulture knows. And I suspect that in the crazy proggy math rock notes of Cleft‘s Whale Bone, the truth lies (syncopated, natch). Let’s call this EP a very fast ride in a Tilt-a-whirl, where senses end up lopsided and the centrifugal force (actually a lie, it’s a centripetal, but go with the flow) punishes your gut. Just when you think you can take the ride, ‘Gulch’ tilts the seat to the side and ‘Trapdoor’ catapults the ride, making you circle upside down while you see the horizon flip sides faster than a Mexican politician changes affiliations (fuckers!). ‘Interglutial’ is when the band embraces their proggy roots and peroxides them with a bit of post rock. This isn’t madness, this is the neckbreaking ‘Tight as a witch’: sod math rock, let’s go for trash and jazz. The ride ends (uh? still on that metaphor?) with ‘Flexuous’, combining tricks from the previous 4 and Frankenstein-ing them out. Long live proper prog.
This EP is: The Vulture. Who cares if Aunt May is a gajillion years old? You still gonna snog that sexy girl, you dirty dog! It flies, it grooves, it looks right, turns left and wins the day. Not only can you fly and look like a featherduster, you are actually the real genius in the fight. Fuck Spidey, Vulture wins!
Bleed Electric – This is my masterpiece
Bleed Electric‘s This is my masterpiece is a bit of a mixed bag. Opening track ‘A new reason’ is armed with sharp teeth and a sweet ol’ flow that goes well with that six pack you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Ending is poignant, love the breaks. ‘Accidental genius’ mixes some good New Jack sounds with run of the mill club electronica, which takes some points away. You can shake your hips to this, though, although ‘Pragmatic’ does a much better job (and it’s an infinitely better track). ‘Angel fly’ is quite good, but the autotune is working against, not with the good flow the track keeps. Real minor nitpick and it can be scratched out by that mellotron sample being simply tasty. ‘This is my masterpiece’ has the good bits on plain sight, so although it’s doing some great moves, the hurricane kick doesn’t finish off all the barrels.
This EP is: Kraven. Several good ideas, a few ones that work against but when it lets the hunting acumen flow, it hits on target.
Until next time, keep your ears peeled and I promise to stop the comic book references after YOU, the reader, answer this question: Are Arcade Fire Galactus?
Words: Orestes P. Xistos.
Research: Sam J. Valdés López.
Grammar correction: No one.