THE INTELLIGENCE, TAR, ARCWELDER, THE GOD EATERS, TUNIC, MURF, REPTOID, GAYTHEIST, CARTOGRAPHER, THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY, BBIGPIGG, SUPER THIEF, and KITTEN FOREVER
Still panting from their installment in CASTLE FACE’s Live In San Francisco series (where they ran a greatest hits clinic for basement sweat-rats) and from mega-mind LARS FINBERG’s outside solo oddballer, Moonlight Over Bakersfield, THE INTELLIGENCE return in neuveau mode with Un-Psychedelic In Peavey City, their 10th studio album-amalgam. Load up on electrolytes, all ye who enter here…
The customary tin/aluminum milestone won’t fit this true band of steel: the current Intelligence iteration is most forceful and dynamic of any line-up in the project’s history. Although each performer has been smeared across myriad recordings and tours for years, the now-time assemblage of DREW CHURCH (bass), DAVE HERNANDEZ (guitar) and KAANAN TUPPER (drums) currently positions The Intelligence as a world-class unit, with members playing in partnership with conductor Finberg rather than at his sometimes-service. Lars is giving the back-rubs now, not getting ‘em — a delightful & cruel twist.
There’s no aspect of Un-Psychedelic In Peavey City that tilts toward phoned-in safe plays, no easy feat for a 10-albums-deep unit. For this collection, the band cast off the comforts of their traditional cosmopolitan haunts (Sacramento, Costa Mesa, etc.) in favor Grass Valley’s Louder Studios, a wilderness recording burg (OK OK, with a pool, yes) helmed by TIM GREEN, a twiddler maestro who has assisted BIKINI KILL, MELVINS, COMETS ON FIRE, WAND and countless others in sterling fashion. The resultant recordings are the most expansive Intelligence material imaginable — perhaps Un-Psychedelic, but certainly free, playfully abstract and awesomely stretched out.
In both arrangement and performance, The Intelligence sound more substantial than ever, rhythmically deeper, largely trading their punky bread-and-butter whip-cracks for something furrier and more adventurous. “Auteur Detour” (a confirmed studio after-thought deemed by the band as a “No-Wave Santana” exercise!) prompts head-smacking in terms of the sounds being chased — you’ll wonder how they managed to catch ‘em and why it works so wonderfully. The familiarity of “Mute Me” — snake-surf guitars exploding and retreating, with Finberg gnashing against perceptions of his own oeuvre — is uncloaked and infinitely more severe take than keen followers could be prepared for. “Immolationin’” turns all manner of earthly malaise into sea-breeze soul-flow, closing the album somewhere between hope and end-times resignation.
A tune for our times if there ever was one. Un-Psychedelic perfectly captures a new Intelligence: nearly re-born, entirely invigorated, free from wet heaving, ruling Peavey City.
Tar formed in 1988 by virtue of changing their name from Blatant Dissent, and scrapping most of the set. The original members were John Mohr, Mark Zablocki, Tim Mescher and Mike Greenlees. Enough songs were recorded for an album in 1988, and were eventually released as a single (Play to Win, No Blow, 1988) and an EP (Handsome, Amphetamine Reptile, 1989).
The band recorded for Minneapolis-based Amphetamine Reptile until 1992, after which they recorded for Chicago's Touch and Go label. Tom Zaluckyj replaced Tim Mescher at the beginning of 1991. Tar toured extensively in the US, less so in Europe. The band was brought to a conclusion through mutual agreement in 1995 after the recording of their fourth and final album, Over And Out. A final show was played Thanksgiving weekend, 1995 at Lounge Ax in Chicago.
The band briefly reformed at the request of the fine folks of the Premier Rock Forum, playing their BBQ in Chicago, on June 30, 2012. Then, at the request of the great Shellac of North America, another recital was given on August 26 of the same year at Lincoln Hall, also in Chicago. At the end of June, 2017, the band reformed again to play 2 nights at Bottom Lounge in Chicago benefitting the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. At the end of November, early December 2018, the band played in Athens (Caledonia Lounge) and Atlanta (529) Georgia at the H2O50 festivities, then in Birmingham, Alabama (Saturn) on Dec 1. Tom was unable to attend the 2018 concerts. Filling in was good friend of the band, Dave Bychowski.
Arcwelder was formed as Tiltawhirl in 1987. Our first single was issued in that year. It wasn't like we weren't trying to play shows, but we couldn't get booked for some time. As it is, the band was nebulous before that. Rob and I put out a cassette together in 1984 called Big Money Miracles. We individually recorded songs on four track, not as a band. Rob, Bill and I released a cassette called Paul Lynde to Block in 1985, again as individuals and not as a band. We toyed with a band in different configurations. We played as a three piece with a Drumulator and me playing bass and both Grabers playing guitars. We played as a four piece with Paul Dickenson on drums and Scott playing bass and both Grabers playing guitars. I think Scott might have been the main singer in these but everyone sang, including Paul.
Soon before the release of our first LP, the Selner Manufacturing Corporation, the makers of the Tilt-A-Whirl ride, slapped us with a cease and desist letter. Well, their lawyers did. We paniked, and changed the name to Arcwelder, after one of our song titles. We considered names such as Tilt, Tiilted World, Milt-a-Berle. But Chris Johnson, our record lable head at the time, had been talking with their lawyers. He was convinced that anything that sounded remotely like tiltawhirl wouldn't fly. "I don't think they'll let you change the name of your band to anythong that begins with 'T'," said Chris.
Since then, lots of other stuff has happened. We released a single on Stereolab's lable which made it into John Peel's Festive Fifty in 1992, signed with Touch And Go Records, played lots of great shows, toured the East Coast and South in the '90s with The Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, Flour, Tar, Kepone. Played shows with The Smashing Pumpkins, JSBX, The Dead Milkmen, Buffalo Tom. Our song Criminal was in the movie Normal Life in 1996. Played at All Tommorrow's Parties in England in 2002 and 2004, played the Sant Feliu Fest in Spain in 2008. Toured the west coast with Shellac in 2009. Blah Blah Blah. We still exist and we still play shows, but not a whole lot of them. New material is always in the works, but actively recording new material is quite a bit less in the works. Never say never though.
Bill Graber, Rob Graber, Scott Macdonald. We're all from Minneapolis.
The God Eaters hail from the icy college town of Marquette, MI. A rock n roll trio, they churn out a sound that finds its balance somewhere between the controlled chaos of abrasive noise, heavy riffs, and pummeling rhythms and that of slower, harmonic and dreamy soundscapes. The band consists of drummer Nick Erickson, guitarist/vocalist Dylan Trost and bassist Devyn Trost.
The God Eaters take influence from bands you know on Touch and Go, Discord as well as Fela Kuti, Captain Beefheart, John Coltrane, bands of the local Marquette area and their friends’ bands around the Midwest and beyond. Lake Superior and the surrounding forests also play a role in song composition and lyrical content is vulnerable, often times cynical, mindful, and rife with inside jokes among the band. When they’re available, saxophonists Patrick Booth and Mike Bjella accompany the band and with their addition comes an even more experimental sound.
Tunic is born of spite. After years of touring someone else’s bass lines across the globe, David Schellenberg was told he wasn’t good enough. So he did the only logical thing: buy a guitar, quit your long-time band, and abandon everything you think you know about music. Armed with no skill and a blissfully ignorant embrace of discordant noise, Schellenberg started crafting songs, quickly enlisting childhood acquaintance Sam Neal on drums and roommate Rory Ellis on bass.
Over the past 4 years and half a dozen d.i.y. releases, tunic has managed to unleash and tame their unique blend of noise rock and hardcore. Relentless touring has taken them across Canada, Europe and the States, filling clubs, basements, and abandoned prisons with noise. The band released the single “Teeth Showing” on Toronto’s Buzz Records in 2018, which they toured with new drummer Dan Unger.
Tunic’s debut album Complexion was recorded in six days in their hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba with Montreal-based engineer and producer Jace Lasek (Suuns, Land of Talk, Wolf Parade). Complexion picks up where previous releases left off; 11 songs of feedback-laden filth laid over churning blows of drum and bass. Harsh verses about hurting those you never meant to hurt; choruses that sever ties where you never thought you had to. This is unconventional hardcore. This is broken indie rock. This is naïve art.
MURF is a six piece punk outfit based in minneapolis. Its members hail from Iowa, North Carolina, South Dakota and Minnesota. MURF originally began as a venue for the vocalist Dan to vent anger towards the police force using Robocop as the inspiration and to get to know his then housemate/MURF guitarist Tom. They recorded several demos, one looping in mutual friend and MURF guitarist Hunter.
A year or so passed and the demos sat until Tom contacted Dan asking if he'd like to play some of the songs live as a one night only performance. Dan was immediately in. Tom then assembled Hunter, Evan and Jeff; who then recruited fellow drummer and Robocop enthusiast, Ira. They performed the one show and since then have been steadily performing earning a reputation for chaotic, theatrical live shows including confetti, blood, costumes and audience participation.
Gaytheist returns with their 5th full length record and their finest work to date, How Long Have I Been On Fire? Following several years of living on opposite ends of the country, the band reassembled in Vancouver, Washington and delved into a writing frenzy. Once again under the watchful eye of master engineer Stephan Hawkes, Gaytheist recorded all of HLHIBOF on the last weekend of June 2019.
13 songs of KABOOM rock, depression anthems and various attempts at communication. Feedback, rhythm and speed, it is an amalgamation of punk, hardcore, metal, and wild rock. Incredibly catchy leads and soaring vocals are carried by subatomic, weighty bass grumblings while a tornado of drum wailing knocks the listener on their ass. Oh, and they're really funny too. Who says metal has to be so serious all the time?
How Long Have I Been On Fire? captures a band able to dissect serious topics and weighty feelings while exuding the essence of joy through anthemic and completely kick-ass music.
Cartographer is a noisy, minimalist rock trio from the bay area. They are two parts former Replicator, and one part current Generalissimo. They will set you on fire.
Cartographer is Ben Adrian, Chris Bolig, and now apparently André Zivkovich playing music to annoy and confuse people. Unexpectedly, people seem to enjoy it. Cartographer used to be Ben Adrian and a drum machine from 2001-2009. In 2009 Ben asked former Replicator bandmate Chris Bolig to play drums. This seems to be working out well.
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is louder than fuck. Call it “Post-Hardcore”, “Artcore”, “Post-Metal”, “Amp Worship”, call it whatever you like. The amorphous musical giant known as The Grasshopper Lies Heavy defy typical categorization. The band has released seven albums in five years, all exploring varying musical territories while maintaining a common thread: crushingly heavy wall-of-sound music; sometimes melodic, sometimes atonal, speaker shredding, enigmatic, and emotive. Pushing air and decibel levels into the physical realm and performing almost always on the floor, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy demands all of the audience’s senses, participation, experience, and presence.
Founded in 2005 by James Woodard, the band was signed to Forgotten Empire Records after releasing their debut self-titled EP and garnering some critical praise. Forgotten Empire released two of their albums; the experimental and droney Soft Noise and the critically lauded GUN, before dissolving in 2009. The band, left without a label and with an album in the can, decided to release their long-awaited follow-up to GUN, Every Man For Himself and God Against All, themselves in January 2010 (A live version of the album has also been released, recorded live on KSYM 90.1 radio). Their most recent releases are a series of two cassette splits; one with San Antonio bretheren Sohns (entitled Werewolf), and a second with Atlanta, GA’s Hawks (entitled Fluffer). Werewolf was also released on CD format by Mt. Hope Revival Records.
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy has shared the stage with Torche, Russian Circles, YOB, Coliseum, Clouds, Nebula, Lightning Bolt, Tera Melos, Genghis Tron, This Will Destroy You, Jucifer, Dark Castle, Totimoshi, Black Cobra, The Entrance Band, Sightings, Rwake, City of Ships, By The End Of Tonight, Constants, The Dead See, Suplecs, U2, Nickelback, and many others.
SUPER THIEF is a noise rock band from Austin, TX.
“Erupting at two-to-three-minute intervals, the songs are steeped in dissonance, a fusion of driving melodies and eyes-rolled-into-the-back-of-your-head slow builds. Pointed and unconventionally melodic guitars combine with high intensity drums and unrelenting bass. The short sharp jagged boil of SUPER THIEF sets the air on fire, vocals jumping from spoken introspection to incendiary verbal detonations, blasting waves of intensity but never at the cost of a pervading melody or hook.” – Paul Stinson
“Students of the AmRep/Touch & Go school for noise rock, SUPER THIEF draw comparisons to bands like The Jesus Lizard, Hammerhead, and Tar, but their attack is more impenetrable, more persistent. There’s no lull, no restraint. When the band pull back ever so slightly from the carnage, it’s only to hammer in the reality of their earthquaking rhythms and rusted distortion.” – Dan Goldin (Exploding in Sound, Post-Trash)
Kitten Forever is a Minneapolis-based drums and bass trio. Their distinctly danceable and minimalist punk rock is infused with pop sensibilities and a streamlined, energetic performance where Laura Larson, Corrie Harrigan, and Liz Elton switch instruments seamlessly throughout their live shows as well as in their recorded work. This democratic approach to performing and songwriting gives the band a unified front, deconstructing traditional stage hierarchy.
Kitten Forever’s resume includes touring with Babes in Toyland, opening for Jack Off Jill’s sole U.S. reunion show, and headlining the First Avenue Mainroom for their 10 year birthday party. In 2016, they released their third full-length album 7 Hearts on JD Samson’s label Atlas Chair. Kitten Forever’s fuzzed-out, caustic, party punk is inspired by equal parts friendship and feminism, using a stripped-down aesthetic to showcase big emotions.
A band of bratty banshee best friends, Kitten Forever believes in each other, pets, magic, and you.