Bands You Should Hear: From Noise to Shoegaze and the Patterns in Between

Whores - Ruiner 12" VinylIn the interest of reviewing seemingly left field (at least for this blog) records, I bring you some thoughts on several of my newest summer finds. The Ruiner. EP by Atlanta's Whores really surprised me. Given their name I was expecting another black metal or generic hardcore band, but the record recalls the best early moments of Helmet or Unsane complete with staccato rhythms, crunchy guitars, and the like, all blended into a sweet cacophony of sound. Christian Lembech's vocals even recall young Page Hamilton before he blew his voice out. The lyrics are introspective without being overly artsy. On "Daddy's Money,"the guitars lead a call and response with the vocals and the lyrics discuss typical social striations, but the band has enough melody and chops to make the track definitive. On "Fake Life," similar themes are explored under even more seductive riffs. "Shower Time" finds the band slowing down. The staccato guitar riffs are anchored by a sung vocal that breaks into angry screams as bassist Jake Schultz and drummer Travis Owens provide an effective groove. "Straight Down" is more of a straight ahead basher, relying on stop-start dynamics before exploding into another monster track that grooves like stoner rock before crashing into a fuzzy chorus. "Tell Me Something Scientific" keeps the pace; its hooks are unrelenting even as a kernel of melody permeates the dense noise of the primitive riffs. A solo snakes by the rhythm section as the band tightly explores new melodies. An effective ending to a great EP, the band's conviction and songwriting are reinforced by each new track, leaving us wanting more.

The Whores recall vintage noise rock from NYC circa 1989, but they do it with such conviction that they add new twists to the familiar sound. It will appeal to all those who like noise rock, but, hopefully, also some of those who think that rock and its heavier variations are dead. If a band from Georgia can sound this primitive and noisy in 2012, there is still hope.

Downward Years To Come cover artNothing treads very different ground than Whores. Their music recalls shoe gazers such as My Bloody Valentine, yet there is more noise in their The vocals are ethereal, sometimes barely noticable, but there are sugary (Sugary?) pop melodies beyond their wall of sound. "Downward Years To Come" channels the guitar sounds of bands like Jawbreaker or Moss Icon, while the vocals hover in the background more part of the overall sound than an attempt at communication. The guitars slip into a drone that takes up the last two minutes of the track. Their Suns and Lovers EP is poppier with the vocals higher in the mix, but the songs seemingly want to drift into the ether at any moment. "Suns and Lovers" is bouncy -- the upbeat music provides an ambient soundtrack for a summer day, but the lyrics seem about loss. "Carnival" is a darker track with more heavy guitar and effects and vocals that call for a lyric sheet, but there is a yearning of hope in all the noise.

I originally heard Nothing on the A389 Recordings MMXII Digital Mixtape; they stood out because they were one of the only ambient tracks on a compilation of bizarre metal, grindcore, and hardcore. Their sound was refreshing. (Hell, there was melody). Yet they haunted me -- I wanted to hear more. At first, the guitars that reminded me so much of 90's postpunk bands sucked me in, but the hard to discern vocals kept me enthralled. What is it about a band that can sometimes sound like First Last and Always era Sisters of Mercy, while other times channeling DC postpunk that is so addicting? The originality of Nothing should be noted. Yet I wonder if they will find an audience as their sound drifts between so many poles on the Indie highway.

Buy Ruiner here: http://whores.bandcamp.com/album/ruiner

Get Nothing here: http://wearenothing.bandcamp.com/


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