Album Stream: Swing Kids’ Anthology

It’s been a few months since the year 2020 officially (in my mind, anyway) became the flaming bag of dog poop on the world’s porch that everyone simultaneously stomped on. And the flames promise to burn brighter as the cluster fuck that is bound to be the U.S. election draws closer! Going forward — assuming there’s a forward to go towards — I’ve made it my mission to start delineating events and incidents in terms similar to how religious types do the whole B.C./A.D. thing.

B.D.P.F. — read as “Before Dog Poop Fire” — I would have snidely referred to influential chaotic post-hardcore outfit Swing Kids as the locus of San Diego’s incestuous music scene. Instead A.D.P.F. — “After Dog Poop Fire,” obviously – I’m simply referring to the band with the short history and eleven song discography as a super-spreader event, a term we’re all unfortunately more than familiar with these days. This, as a nod to the fact its members went on to star and showcase in Bread and Circuits, Yaphet Kotto, Baader Brains, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Agonista, Dead Cross, the Locust, Retox, Planet B, Head Wound City and Deaf Club as well as other label, art and PR projects and businesses.

Swing Kids’ brief existence was fraught with equal amounts of creative triumph as personal tragedy and is set to be celebrated via Anthology, a remastered collection of those eleven songs. The discography is due to be released on October 23 both digitally, 500 on special “antifa-coloured” vinyl, 250 on “smoke colored” vinyl and another 250 on “Blue Note blue” housed in a gatefold sleeve to be issued by Three One G, the label owned and operated by vocalist Justin Pearson. Today, we present the opportunity for all y’all to listen to Anthology in its entirety below, watch the video for “Fake Teeth” below that, learn more about the band’s history below that and preorder here.

Anthology by Swing Kids

From Three One G:

“Swing Kids formed in the mid ’90s out of a mix of obscure punk, hardcore, and geography-specific social politics. The band — made up of Justin Pearson, Jose Palafox, John Brady and Eric Allen — drew inspiration from jazz and swing-era ethics, creating a strand of genre-defying music. The band was short lived, documenting their entire existence in a handful of songs/releases over a couple of years. The band did their last few shows recruiting Jimmy Lavalle who was part of notable acts such as the Locust, the Crimson Curse, the Black Heart Procession, Gogogo Airheart and Album Leaf, to play second guitar. Then, the unexpected happened: guitarist and founding member of Swing Kids and Unbroken, Eric Allen, took his own life. Over a decade later, Eric still lives on in his music. The final chapter of the band was written, as the remaining members had the opportunity to play two benefit shows in Southern California raising thousands of dollars for charity. The shows, or ‘funerals’ as the band members looked at it, displayed that the band’s spirit will live on, and showcased the evolution of the remaining members’ musicianship. Jose Palafox went on to play in notable acts such as Bread and Circuits, Yaphet Kotto, and Baader Brains. Bassist John Brady has since played in Sweep The Leg Johnny and Agonista. Vocalist Justin Pearson is known for contributing to a multitude of bands and projects over the years including Dead Cross, the Locust, Retox, Planet B, Head Wound City, and Deaf Club.

“One of Three One G’s earliest releases was Swing Kids’ s/t 7-inch EP, which featured four original tracks as well as a harsh version of Joy Division’s ‘Warsaw.’ Soon after the band released this EP, they followed up with a split 10-inch EP with Spanakorzo, which shared band member John Brady. After a few short tours and a jaunt over to Europe, the band called it quits due to drummer Jose Palafox relocating to the Bay Area. Swing Kids did manage to track one last song, ‘El Camino Car Crash’ which is the additional track on the digital follow-up of the band’s entire collection, simply titled Discography. Over the years, this nine-song collection would become a staple for the Three One G community. After the sudden and immense loss of founding member Eric Allen, the band reformed to play two charity shows in his memory, and the documentation of this final chapter was a self-titled 7-inch single featuring an updated version of ‘Situation on Mars’ as well as a new track titled, ‘Fake Teeth.’ For the first time, all of these tracks have been remastered by Brent Asbury and are in one physical release, the complete Anthology.”

Swing Kids on Bandcamp

Three One G Website


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Video premiere: Convulsif Come Out Swinging with “The Axe Will Break”

A recent discovery that I’m priapismically excited about is Convulsif, a quartet from Switzerland who have been described by their label as “Jazz Grindcore.” That alone was enough to fire up my interest similar to how a blowtorch ignites a gas tanker, but after sitting down with their latest and fifth (!) album, Extinct, it quickly became clear that the band is much more than that. With influences that smear metal, drone-doom, industrial noise, avant-garde, ambient, electronica, hardcore punk, classical and yes, jazz and grind across a wall of sandpaper and a sound hailing from the murky worlds of GOD, Godflesh, Swans, Naked City, Napalm Death, Painkiller, Boredoms, Neurosis and Cows, Extinct also quickly became one of my favourite albums of the year.

I’m kicking myself when thinking about how it’s taken a noisy music loving noise-nik like myself this long to stumble across this lot – it’s astounding that I hadn’t even heard of the band until now – but better late than never, as they palliatively say. In recognition of this latest discovery and some of the gut-wrenching awesome-ness that is Convulsif and Extinct, we’re presenting an advance look at the band’s latest video for “The Axe Will Break.” When pressed for a bit of context about the video, this is what they hit us back with:

The video for ‘The Axe Will Break’ comes from the recording of a concert at L’Amalgam. Before, we locked ourselves up for several days to prepare [for] the concerts in this place. Together, we captured all the resonances that surrounded us to transcribe them into sound. The development of this piece is meant to be soothing and bewitching at the beginning to end, after 13 minutes in the abyss of the most virulent noise. We take you by the hand to make you better appreciate the torments of the final storm. This piece is ritual: an enveloping and inexorable heaviness that keeps your soul in torpor. This extreme torrent of sonorous lava intoxicates you and transports you to a parallel world of nothingness. The video is a live recording of a concert that captures the innate energy of the song, which starts out as a smooth, warm trip, slowly unfolding into a torrent of noise. A track like a ritual: all-embracing and inexorable heaviness that keeps the feathery souls where they belong.”

“The Axe Will Break” is actually the second new video to be issued by the band. The first was “Torn From the Stone” which dropped a couple weeks back, but is actually for an album bonus track. But because it’s a video I can’t get enough of, I decided to throw it in here for a look-see as well.

Extinct is out two weeks from tomorrow on Hummus Records.




Hummus Records

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Track Premiere: Working it with Calyces’ “Unfit Labor”

If there’s a more poorly kept secret out there than the fact that Decibel has an affinity for Baroness and Mastodon, we don’t know what it is (though it likely has something to do with the swirling rumours concerning Albert Mudrian being a Napalm Death fan). The pair of modern metal behemoths have graced various covers and been the focus of multiple Hall of Fame pieces over the years, for very good and deserved reasons. As such, countless young bands have been inspired to push their own take on the world of progressive, sludge-lite, melodic metal and hard rock to greater heights.

Athens, Greece’s Calyces are the latest addition to that world of sound. Led by former Tardive Dyskinesia vocalist/guitarist Manthos Stergiou, the band – also featuring guitarist Giannis Golfis, bassist Stelios Tragos and drummer Alex Stavropoulos – will see their debut album issued on October 16. Entitled Impulse to Soar, the quartet’s opening salvo to the world is a broad spanning beast of massive, yet digestible, melodic strains, understated complexity, pulsating dynamics and lots of neat-o baritone vocalizing. Aside from inspirations nipped from the more recent works of the above-mentioned Mastodon and Baroness, the album also draws from King Crimson, Intronaut, Gojira, major label grunge and those rare moments when Tool aren’t acting like self-indulgent prats. Additionally, the record is aided in its savvy journey by guest appearances from Shining mainman Jørgen Munkeby and Chrysa Tsaltampasi of Spineless and Bella Fuzz with master masterer Alan Douches bringing it all together from behind the board.

Today, we’d like to present an advance listen of the album in the form of a track called “Unfit Labor” which Stergiou describes as: “‘Unfair Labor’ is about the deadline stress at work, a situation I often encounter. It felt like it needed a horn instrument to drag a solo out in the repeating, long riff at the end, pretty much in the classic King Crimson way. So, I approached Jørgen Munkeby from Shining, since their Blackjazz album is one of my favorite records ever. I sent him the track along with some notes and that was it. The most amazing part was that his recording was live-streamed through his personal Facebook page. That was probably the best quarantine day ever.”

For further information about the band or to snag a copy of the record, go here

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Video Premiere: Reptoid’s “You Have Already Been Compromised”

Ask the average Joe or Josephine lunch pail on the street what comes to mind when you throw the phrase ‘one-man band’ at ‘em and chances are that, at best, they’ll hit you back with some blather concerning a busker dude who’s a dead ringer for Santa Claus plonking away on a wretched acoustic guitar while blowing on a harp and keeping steady time via a weathered kick drum. Metal fans are much more aware of a long lineage of one-man death metal bands like Putrid Pile, Insidious Discrepancy and Bloodsoaked, countless bedroom black metal projects and those making use of technology to make their solitary effort sound like an army of noise makers is backing them up. Chalk Oakland, CA’s Jordan Sobolew up as a member of that latter category.

With Reptoid, Sobolew spits out a furious firestorm of industrial-scarred noise rock that joins the divide between the chaotic sounds of Lightning Bolt and the Locust with the knack bands like the Young Gods and Treponem Pal have for harsh and heavenly melodies and does so “with an army of drums, homemade fuzz pedals, noise devices and a sampler, to produce spastic, hypnotizing rhythms, and painfully amplified sounds drenched in effects through an oversized pedal-board full of odd implements. Vocals are delivered through a mic strapped directly to the face by a modified respirator mask.”

Reptoid’s debut album is entitled Worship False Gods and was released a couple weeks ago courtesy Learning Curve Records. Today, we premiere a video from one of the album tracks, “You Have Already Been Compromised,” during which you can pay witness to an awesome display of the octopus-limbed Sobolew hammering drums, stomping pedals, hitting buttons on various electronic doo-dads in the name of mechanized musical claustrophobia. When we asked the Reptoid mastermind for a little insight into the song/video in question, he shot back with, “I would say the major concept behind the album is taking a look at the various gods we worship and base our lives upon. Worshiping human greed, monetary wealth, status, celebrity, power, possessions, things we try to use to fill a void we feel within. Ways we try to give ourselves worth by feeling superior to others. Creating systems where we try to become the gods of our own little universes just so we can stand above others and be worshiped ourselves. I would argue that we do these things to cope with the struggle to find meaning and make sense of our lives and our role in the universe but perhaps there is none besides that which we create. I have a somewhat misanthropic view on humanity and I enjoy looking at it from the outside perspective of an alien or other non-human sentient life form.”

Photos by Christopher Sturm

Buy the album here:

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