Archive for the ‘METZ’ Category

Matthew Stoff’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Regular LIFE IS NOISE contributor Matthew Stoff shares 10 of his favourite releases from the year that was.

Ten albums seems like way too few for a year as packed with great releases as 2015. Because of that, I wanted to talk about the albums that I keep coming back to, rather than trying to come up with a more definitive list of albums of the year. You might not think of these as the best releases of 2015, but they’re the ones that spoke to me the most. With that in mind, here’s my end of year list:

1. Algiers – Algiers
Cold wave, Marxism, and soul might seem like a funny combination, but after Algiers self-titled album I can’t imagine what my life would be without it. This is one of most innovative albums of the decade, and its hard-hitting, courageous, and challenging political commentary is the icing on the cake.

2. Gold Class – It’s You
I can’t get enough of Gold Class. They’re smart, passionate, and totally authentic. Their live show is amazing too. Gold Class are indisputably the best traditional-sounding post-punk band in Australia at the moment. Maybe even in the world.

3. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
Sleater-Kinney’s revival album could have been a lot of things. It could have been out of touch, or lacking energy, or just a simple rehash of their old material. What it was, was nothing less than a masterpiece. It feels as though they’d never left at all.

4. Ought – Sun Coming Down
Sun Coming Down is a weird album. It’s post-punk, but it isn’t really post-punk, with atypical vocals, rambling song structures, and pop-but-not-really-pop-at-all melodies. A singular experience.

5. Heat Dust – Heat Dust
Heat Dust play traditional post-punk really hard and really fast, and I liked this album a lot more than the similarly inspired recent release from Protomartyr. Your results might vary. They’re both incredible, high-octane albums, even if this is the one that made my final list.

6. Ceremony – The L-Shaped Man
Some people might see this album as a contentious choice. It’s pretty generic, and looking at reviews after the fact, it feels like mine is one of the only ones that presents the album in a positive light. But nostalgia is powerful thing, and my nostalgia for the indie pop-infused post-punk revival of the early 2000s is very strong indeed. The mix of that and Ceremony’s lingering hardcore influences gives this album a novel sound that keeps me coming back for more.

7. Deafcult – Deafcult
As far as dream pop goes, these guys are the reigning kings. Dense, melodic shoegaze with great production, played at ear-shattering volume from a Brisbane band. What’s not to love?

8. Mourn – Mourn
Everything about this band is so unlikely. Their place of origin, their age, their musical inspirations: everything that makes them who they are. But that’s why this release is so important. It’s got a youthful sound to it. A sense that anything is possible. And it largely succeeds at all things it’s set out to do. A truly inspiring album.

9. JuliaWhy? – Wheel
I reviewed this album once for 4ZZZ and never mentioned it again, probably because it falls between the lines of various genres, and was hard to compare with anything I wrote about for LIFE IS NOISE this year. But I wanted to mention it here, because it’s a fantastic album, combining high energy delivery with lo-fi production, and subtle feminist politics. My choice for sleeper hit album of the year.

10. Metz – Metz II
Sure, it’s a little shallow and not too different from the first Metz album, yet the brutal but fantastically melodic noise rock of Metz still brings a smile to my face whenever I hear it, and that’s enough for me.

Noiseweek: Black Sabbath, Jessica Hopper, The Warriors, Caspian, METZ & Windhand

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


Guitar hero Tony Iommi — Why Black Sabbath tour will have to be our last | Birmingham Mail

““We’ve been doing this for getting on for 50 years now,” says the guitarist whose innovative technique has influenced countless others. “It’s about time we draw the line, don’t you think? It’s been great but it’s time to stop now. Don’t get me wrong, I still love gigging. It’s all the travelling and the exhaustion that goes with it that’s the problem. That side of things has a big impact on me. Yes, we may fly in luxury, stay in the very best hotels, ride in the most comfortable limos but there’s still a physical cost to touring. Even when we build in rest breaks – I have to have blood tests every six weeks – I find it tough going. You take a long haul flight, arrive somewhere at five in the morning and book into a hotel. There’s the soundcheck, the promotional work, the gig itself, then you’re back at the hotel to collapse into bed. Then next day you get to do it all over again. I love being up there onstage, playing with Sabbath. What I don’t love is all the other stuff necessary to enable that to happen. None of us are getting any younger, you know.””

Meet the Man Behind the Distinctive Soundtrack of The Warriors | The Village Voice

“Barry De Vorzon has always enjoyed creating music; he certainly never expected to be revered for it. It was quite the shock, then, when the musician, composer, and songwriter found himself being fawned over like some kind of rock god at the music conferences he’s attended for the past three decades. “My gosh, I was treated like a hero!” De Vorzon, 81, recalls of his fellow musicians’ praise for his soundtrack work on the gritty 1979 film The Warriors. Adding to his surprise was the fact that the film was in many ways a critical and commercial flop upon its release. “I said, ‘Wow! How did that happen?’ ” De Vorzon recalls with a chuckle. “But it did! The film just became this cult classic.””

How Japan’s New Nightclub Laws Threaten to Decimate Their Club Culture | Pitchfork

“Japan’s fueih? (or “entertainment business control law”) code governs everything from dancing, to drinking, to sex work, to nightclubs. Since its inception in 1948, the set of laws has technically forbade the existence of nightclubs under 66 square meters in size to allow dancing or for any sized club to allow dancing after midnight or 1 a.m. (depending on the area). For decades, officials turned a blind eye to the code, but in the last five years, police began enforcing the laws, leading to the closure of many dance halls and clubs. That, coupled with factors like the aging of Japan, threatened to decimate the country’s clubbing culture. Fearing extinction, several promoters and club owners in the scene organized—through a coalition called Let’s Dance—to use the 2020 Olympics as leverage and put political pressure on the government to update the laws. After several failed attempts, they finally forced the government to rewrite some of the code earlier this summer. This revision loosened some of the dancing restrictions and now allows for certain clubs to be open past midnight or 1 a.m. (provided certain stipulations, like having the requisite amount of light in the venue, are met).”


Caspian — Arcs of Command

Caspian are never going to be one of those bands to break the post-rock mould, and that’s perfectly fine: they don’t really need to when they’ve developed a knack for wielding its tropes in the best possible way. Arcs of Command from the forthcoming Dust & Disquiet doesn’t get going until about halfway into its 8-minute runtime, but that build-up fields necessary as waves upon waves of riffs alternate between crushing and uplifting. At the end, the noise gives way to that crushing crescendo that Caspian do better than just about anyone else. Dust & Disquiet is out in Australia through Hobbledehoy Records on September 25.

Windhand — Grief’s Internal Flower

Windhand give a masterclass in rhythm on their third record. Grief’s Internal Flower isn’t your typical doom record — for one, it boasts Dorthia Cottrell ethereal vocals, offering a ghostly presence amongst the plodding riffs that drive songs like Hyperion and Two Urns. But there are fascinating interludes folk interludes here that recall Mark Lanegan’s post-Screaming Trees reinvention. Doom metal’s a genre prone to homogeny, but Windhand prove there’s still plenty more aesthetic territory to mine with gloomy and gargantuan instrumentation. Grief’s Internal Flower is out September 18 through Relapse.


METZ — Live on KEXP

No other organisation has crammed as many amazing, loud and vital bands into a tiny space as Seattle radio station KEXP. A Place to Bury Strangers, Built to Spill, Swervedriver, Nothing and Speedy Ortiz just scratch the surface of the station’s long list of alumnae. Here, Canadian noisefuckers treat listeners to a four-song set featuring Wait in Line, The Swimmer, Spit You Out and Acetate. How did a group of nice Canadian boys come to sound so mean?

Jessica Hopper’s Keynote at BIGSOUND

Don’t let the hour-long length discourage you; Jessica Hopper’s keynote this past weekend in Brisbane for BIGSOUND is vital viewing for everyone involved in music. Whether you’re working in the industry, playing in a band or going to shows, you need to watch this. Hopper — who’s been working in music for almost two decades, is currently a Senior Editor at Pitchfork and recently published The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic — addresses the systemic misogyny she and countless other women encountered in her 20 years in music. She details her conversations on Twitter — which she projects behind her during her speech — with women around the world who’ve shared the same experiences — sound guys fucking with female musician’s sound because of rejected sexual advances, women having their interest or involvement in music constantly called into question by men, as well as countless instances of death threats, condescension and sexual harassment. Hopper’s message clear: these issues are not isolated to one sector of the industry or one country: they run deep in every aspect of the music business, and that it’s on men in music to address them. That means listening to women’s experiences of misogyny rather than doubting them them or justify the abhorrent behaviour of perpetrators, calling other man out on their bullshit, and understand your role to make sure you’re not a part of the problem. I can’t emphasize enough: this is required viewing.

Noiseweek: Steve Von Till, Null, METZ and Bibby

Friday, May 8th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


The Bakery’s final show is tomorrow. It’s shitty that we’re losing another fundamental venue that’s hosted a wealth of life is noise shows — Russian Circles, Sleep, Clark, My Disco, Barn Owl, Slanted & Enchanted and a buttload of others — not to mention some amazing other locals and internationals. But at least we get to celebrate in style, with the return of The Wednesday Society, Sex Panther and The Sabretooth Tigers, along with Injured Ninja presenting The Epic of Gilgamesh, plus Fait, French Rockets, DJs Craig Hollywood & Wil Bixler, Rachel Dease, Mudlark and more. Head over to the Facebook event for more details.


Beat is reporting The Espy in St Kilda is also closing its doors soon, but only for a little while. From May 17, the venue will cease its live music operations to allow for renovations with an aim to reopen by the summer.


Some good venue news! Wick Studios in Brunswick is set to open its doors on May 17 — just as the Espy begins its hiatus, funnily enough. As Beat reports, the former 13-room rehearsal studio/warehouse now boasts a recording studio, 15 rehearsal rooms, two live music spaces and a photo/video studio. The space will also be home to in-house industry services, including A&R, marketing, legal and graphic design personnel. They’re celebrating with a launch party which you can check out on Facebook.


Swinging the Chain: A Conversation with Bill Ward | Steel for Brains

“It was very profound when I realized it, and I couldn’t deny the affection that I had for drums and drummers and just the look of a drum. Everything about drumming I was fascinated with. Not only drum patterns but the way that the drums looked; the way they shined in the sunshine in marching bands. Just everything about drums for me as a child was something that was very attractive, and I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew that I just got a good feeling when I listened to Gene Krupa. It was Krupa when I was a child and then later it was Louie Bellson, but when I listened to Gene or I listened to a lot of the big swing bands, or then later when I listened to the more rock and roll bands from the United States and people like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and of course Buddy Holly – when I listened to these people I was just completely involved in what they were playing. ”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor — There’s Only Hope | Exclaim

“Twenty years on, very little is really known about GY!BE beyond the fact that they are one of Montreal’s most cherished and powerful instrumental bands, with a virtually flawless and majestic discography. They incorporate film abstractions in their music and, with its textual ruminations, diagrams and photographs, their album artwork has made bolder and more provocative political statements than some songwriters’ hard-laboured lyrics. In simply going about their business, the band have been accused of terrorism by both the FBI and the Canadian music industry. And, while they’re often perceived as gloomy and self-serious, they battle through all of that noise, stubbornly brandishing hope as their unshakeable emblem.”

Art-Rock Adventurism: The Complete 4AD Story | The Vinyl Factory

“Independent labels with proven longevity are, almost without exception, reflections of their patrons. So it goes with the four cornerstones of Britain’s post-punk apocalypse – Rough Trade, Factory, Mute and 4AD, and three of them (Factory being retired years before Antony Wilson’s death from cancer) still survive today. Out of that trio, 4AD’s current success is more on a par with its original incarnation than its peers. Compare 4AD ‘Past’, which embraced the likes of Bauhaus, The The, The Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance, Throwing Muses, Pixies, The Breeders, Lush, Red House Painters, Belly and Mojave 3 to 4AD ‘Present’, which currently includes Grimes, Bon Iver, Deerhunter, The National, Ariel Pink, Future Islands, tUnE-yArDs, Scott Walker, Daughter and Purity Ring. But with Rough Trade and Mute still manned by their original founders (Geoff Travis and Daniel Miller respectively), 4AD is the only one of the original quartet to have survived with a new label head replacing its original spearhead Ivo Watts-Russell.”


Steve Von Till — A Life Unto Itself

Even when it’s stripped of the crushing weight of pounding drums and punishing, gargantuan guitar riffs in Neurosis, Steve Von Till’s intonations demand attention. It’s one of those voices — powerful, foreboding, authoritative, and almsot prophetic in its seriousness — that stops you in your tracks and compels the listener to focus on every utterance, every syllable, every breathy whisper. With an acoustic guitar and occasional flurries of percussion atmospherics for backing, the Neurosis co-vocalist’s meditations on this, his fourth solo record, are well worth a listen.

Null — I

The strength of 65daysofstatic lies in their masterful marriage of the electronic and the amplified, where dancehall synthetics and artillery-strength guitar riff intertwine in a beautiful, chaotic mess. But they’ve always been a rock band with electronica tendencies; not the other way around. Late last year, guitarist Paul Wolinski released his new solo foray into experimental electronica with Full Bleed before following up with Midiflood the next month. Now Simon Wright has ventured out with his own solo project under the moniker of Null, an ambient, glitch-heavy and machinic experiment that sounds perfect for a neo-noir technological dystopia. Unlike the exploits with 65daysofstatic, this is not comfortable or uplifting music; it’s moody and unsettling — peculiar enough to maintain interest and confounding enough to keep you on your toes.


The View From Here: Peter Bibby and his Bottles of Confidence

The Perth hills’ crown troubadour checks into the RTRFM studios with a few familiar faces for a 20+ minute live session. It’s an unusual setting for the now Melbourne-based songwriter — Bibby and offices don’t seem like they’d go together — but it makes for an oddly relaxing afternoon listen.

METZ — The Swimmer

METZ continue their love affair with uncomfortable viewing in the video for The Swimmer, a jerky, frenetic and enraged piece of forward-reverse cinema.


Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Nothing highlights the disconnect between underground and popular music like articles on the death of rock and roll. Even mainstream luminaries like Alice Cooper and Billy Corgan, who you would at least expect to try and stay in touch, seem to think that indie pop and EDM are the only music that’s inspiring the young. Guitar music, they suggest, is dead. As anyone who reads this website on a regular basis would understand, this is a ridiculous assertion, but the new METZ album proves it once again. Forget the sub-genres and the noise influences for a moment: at its heart, METZ II is a rock album. The sound is powerful, urgent, and abrasive, mixing punk, noise, and grunge with occasional gothic undertones. They’re a young band, relatively speaking; while their members are in their early 30’s and far too old for traditional rock and roll, their sound is youthful and original, drawing its influences predominately from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. This is only their second album, and they’ve been together for less than a decade, so you can hardly say they’re old or out of touch. And yet, here they are, producing hard-hitting, unashamed, and threatening guitar rock in 2015. If you’d only paid attention to mainstream music journalism, you could be forgiven for seeing them as an anomaly. But this year has been full of innovative new guitar music. METZ are far from alone.

METZ II continues the devastating aural assault delivered by their self-titled 2012 debut, with ten tracks of innovative, aggressive noise rock that’s not only subtle and avant-garde but energizing and fun to listen to. It feels like the logical progression of not just noise and punk, but rock music itself: a shout of defiance to anyone who suggests, even for a minute, that the genre has lost any of its force or cultural relevancy. Opening track ‘Acetate’ begins with a broken, bassy guitar riff and digital glitches, leading into a chaotic musical maelstrom that pulls you in immediately and doesn’t let go. The shouted, overdriven vocal line manages to heighten the intensity, making for a passionate, immersive wall-of-sound with a power travels wonderfully through your speakers, but makes you yearn to experience it from the mosh pit even more. This is followed by the buzzing, glitchy post-punk of ‘The Swimmer’, with a relatively long intro that makes the song hit even harder when it comes, and the riff-heavy modern grunge of ‘Spit You Out’, carving pop melodies out of technical, broken-sounding dissonance and noise. METZ share a bit of Swans’ talent for managing tension, interspersing their overwhelmingly heavy music with bursts of silence, glitches, or guitar distortion; seconds of respite that make the brutal aural beatdowns even more abrasive when they come. ‘IOU’ channels early Joy Division with its ‘Warsaw’-inspired opening riff, increasing the tempo and adding clashing drums, multi-vocal shouting and layers of guitar distortion to enhance its effect, and ‘Landfill’ is a structurally traditional rock song with weird melodies, wall of noise guitar riffs, and frenzied shouting: an abrasive deconstruction of a pop song that’s not only ridiculously heavy, but melodically interesting too. And all of it takes place at this machine-gun tempo that leaves you hungry for more and gasping for air. It’s an intense and exciting experience.

The entire album is violent and decayed. Almost every track is bombastic, powerful, and musically inventive: and even the sounds of apparently broken amps and digital glitches are beautifully captured and controlled. The whole record is less than 30 minutes long, but it lingers long after you hear it, like the taste of an exquisite glass of wine. A lot of this is down to the final track, ‘Kicking a can of worms’ , where the droning, psychedelic soundscape builds to a brutal crescendo across its four-minute runtime, ending in static noise and sudden silence. It’s the perfect conclusion and the combination of noise, silence, and subtle song-writing makes you want to put it on again almost as soon as it ends.

In short, METZ II is a fantastic album. It transcends their 2012 debut on almost every front: technical skill, variety of sounds, and sheer, musical intensity. That’s a big call for anyone who heard their first release to make, but somehow METZ have deserve it. While music like this is still coming out, and not from pre-established mega acts or aging alternative heroes, it’s impossible to say the genre is dying or even close to its end. This is youthful, passionate, devil-may-care rock and roll taken to its logical extreme. It’s music like this that our decade will be remembered for by generations to come. Not EDM or Meghan Trainor: blistering, energetic, alternative music, bubbling to the surface from a vibrant underground. Cooper and Corgan need to dig a little deeper. METZ are the future of rock.