Saturday, January 30, 2010

Des Ark


Some songwriters are widely praised and well known. Their stature as masters of their craft and acclaim for their songwriting abilities spreads, and they become nationally, or even world famous. All too often, however, some of the most talented, gifted songwriters get swept under the rug, or hug the coattails of obscurity willingly. There are those songwriters who develop intense cult followings, suspended on a pedestal for lucky individuals in the know.

Aimee Argote's consistent output since 2005 under the moniker Des Ark has suspended her to such a cult status. Argote's early material, raw, blistering post-punk with a heavy nod to the blues, has given way in more recent years to a restless, Appalachian-laden folk style since the loss of her drummer, the only other true "member" of Des Ark. Loose Lips Sink Ships, the band's first true LP puts Argote's talented guitar playing on display as she rails through eight songs, howling, sobbing, and sometimes outright screaming.

It is a far cry from the place we find her now in recent recordings; live she may bring the electric band with her, but on the live recording from WXDU, we find Argote as her most intimate and delicate, where newer songs like "Bonne Chance, Asshole" show off her incredible voice, as well as her creative and under appreciated guitar playing and tunings. The first song on Live on WXDU Vol. 1, "The Artistic Possibilites of Sub-Standard Housing and Food Stamps" even features Argote's parents clapping and stomping along. And the first two songs on Vol. 2 feature banjo, and are perhaps some of the finest tracks Argote has ever laid down.

2008's Battle of the Beards, a split with Ben Davis and the Jetts, is Argote's finest studio outing. A coherent EP that showcases her newer, country-tinged anarcho/blues/folk/punk/what-the-fuck-ever styling perfectly with accompaniment from piano and a string section.

If you have been sleeping on giving Des Ark a try, wait no longer. Aimee Argote deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest songwriters alive today; one that is able to capture and dissect the most secretive, taboo parts of the human psyche. Casual sex, homosexuality, alcoholism, and self-loathing are often given the nod amidst a wave of gentle, article finger-picking and a voice that creaks, moans, coos, and shrieks, demanding your immediate attention.

I am missing her first release, a split 7" with Bellafea put out in 2005. Anyone got it?

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Day of Prole (20??)

Loose Lips Sink Ships Des Ark

Loose Lips Sink Ships (2005)

Des Ark Live on WXDU Vol. 1

Live on WXDU Vol. 1

Des Ark Live on WXDU Vol. 2

Live on WXDU Vol. 2

Battle of the Beards Des Ark

'Battle of the Beards' Split with Ben Davis and the Jetts (2007)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010



Ampere has been a mainstay in the Northeastern hardcore scene for the better part of the past decade. The bands features members of bands like Orchid, Bucket Full of Teeth, and Last Forty Seconds.

The early recordings lean more towards a grind-oriented, raw punk sound. As they've progressed their sound has matured into a more streamlined, ridiculously well-oiled screamo machine. Killingsworth's guitar gymnastics hardly ever dissapoint, and the rhythm section propels the whole thing forward at an alarming rate. If you haven't heard this band yet, you should probably just download everything.

Below is what I had uploaded, it should be everything. If you don't feel like downloading all the splits you'd probably be good with just downloading All Our Tomorrows End Today, The First Five Years, and the Sinaloa Split.

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Demo 7" (2002)


Ampere/Wolves Split (2003)


All Our Tomorrows End Today (2004)


Ampere/Welcome the Plague Year Split 5" (2005)


Live at Dead Air Split 11" Ampere/Wasteland/Daniel Striped Tiger/Death to Tyrants (2006)


Ampere/Sinaloa Split 12" (2006)


Ampere/Das Oath Split (2006)


Ampere/Ringers Split 6" (2007)


Ampere/Daitro Split 7" (2007)


Ampere/Funeral Diner Split 7" (2007)


Ampere/Off Minor Split (2008)


The First Five Years (2008)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hassan I Sabbah

Hassan I Sabbah was one of sickest skramz bands around in the early 2000's. The band was made up of members from a bunch of bands that I have never heard of before (Force Fed Glass, Puritan, Prevail, Rinse) as well as Unearth and Otesanek.

The band released, according to, two demos, an lp, a split with Usurp Synapse, and were on a few compilations. Hassan's myspace had a link to a discography, but it did not include the track from the Relics of Ordinary Life compilation. I have all of their stuff and made my own 14 song discography.

Heres a video of the song "Worm".




Merchant Ships

I made some new friends recently. They are called Merchant Ships. They live in Indiana and play music that sounds more like something out of Pennsylvania. They broke up or something, but now they are back together and going on tour in June. I read their tumblr a minute ago (first time I've ever tumbl'd) and they have shirts and a discography cd, Shipsography, available here. The discography is everything they did from mid '08 to early '10. The downside is that these guys aren't playing shows until April because they are writing a new fell length.

This video is a taste of whats below:

Ps. Are you happy now Cheese?


NOTE: Tracks 1-3 are not missing; I asked the band and they told me that those three songs were off a demo which they no longer like, so they left the songs out of the discography.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Minus The Bear

Minus The Bear is a Seattle based indie super group whose members hail from such bands as Botch and Sharks Keep Moving. Their sound has evolved dramatically over the years, but the most notable change occurs between "They Make Beer Commercials Like This" and "Menos El Oso". The band started out as an almost post-hardcore band, incorporating math rock elements and synth-heavy instrumental moments. This style reached its peak in "Highly Refined Pirates", followed by a more energetic EP called "They Make Beer Commercials Like This". "Menos El Oso" was an interesting album because Dave Knudson started to incorporate more guitar effects in to songs and the bands overall style became more relaxed.

After "Menos El Oso" keyboardist Matt Bayles left the band and Alex Rose, who was MTB's sound engineer, took his place (I believe Bayles had a hand in the production of Planet of Ice but don't quote me). In 2007 the band released their most "mature" album, "Planet of Ice", which is very chilled & groovey as well as very well produced. It is important to note that Knudson's guitar playing has now shifted from primarily tapping to relying heavily on pedal work. This album reminds me of Sharks Keep Moving just because it seems to be more of a studio album than their previous releases. I've heard this LP be compared to lounge music; I get it but I don't really agree.

After Planet of Ice they released an acoustic album containing one original track and six acoustic versions of older songs. They recently released an Ep that is some sort of sampler/teaser for their upcoming full length. Although the bands music may change, Jake Snyder still only sings about either girls or getting fucked up, although Europe comes up every once in a while.

I have their discography below EXCEPT FOR the tracks "Houston We Have Uh-Oh" & "Cat Calls and Ill Means" and the split with City on Film. When I get them I will post them. Here is an older video of them playing "Lemurs man, Lemurs".




Bands Like It When You Yell "Yar" At Them

Daytrotter Session

Highly Refined Pirates

Interpretaciones Del Oso (Remix of Menos El Oso)

Into The Mirror

Menos El Oso

Planet of Ice & Planet of Ice Bonus CD

They Make Beer Commercials Like This

This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic

Friday, January 15, 2010


Saetia was a New York Screamo band from '97 to '99, although their final release was released in 2000. After they split up the members formed Off Minor and Hot Cross. Their drummer played in Interpol for a little while and now runs Level Plane Records. Heres a video, I have no idea when this was filmed.

Below is their discography


A Retrospective

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ze Ultra Boys

ZUB is a drugged out experimental mess from the greater Frederick, MD area. They were most active in the mid 2000's, and after taking a three year long break played a small number of shows in 2009 before going back on hiatus or whatever you want to call it. Their sound incorporates many different genres of music, ranging from quasi classical guitar to pterodactyl screeches and involves everything in between, including kazoos and Dr. Ruth readings about not being able to blow your load. Maybe you could call it grindcore, maybe you could say they have post-something elements, but it doesn't really matter, all you need to know is that they are, in my opinion, one of the two most under-rated bands from Maryland(the other being Canary Yellow).

Ze Ultra Boys features members of Spermwhales/Man Pretty and Fuck! Don Flamenco. There may be some other bands that they play/played in, but I'm not sure. As far as releases are concerned they only have one album, which is called "We Are All Charlie Brown". They were supposed to do a split with мища and release another album called "The Fruit Is Swelling", but you may have to wait a while before anything gets recorded.

Sorry about the whole no video thing, but if I come across any I will put it up. Below is "We Are All Charlie Brown", which you can buy from their myspace for four dollars, and the song "Criptor Bronze" which I believe is only post-Charlie recording. If I had to put money on it I would say that Criptor is going to be on "The Fruit Is Swelling".

"Smoke my dong, suck my bong"-Brent Grant


Criptor Bronze

We Are All Charlie Brown

Friday, January 1, 2010




Happy 2010! With the first post of the New Year I give you the 1994!/Spires Split, which is a post I've been sitting on for a while.

I picked this record up quite a while ago when I was in Lancaster and it looks great on blue opaque vinyl. It's limited to 500 copies so buy it quick here.

The split features two bands signed to the up and coming Inkblot Records (who can now boast a roster including the likes of scene darlings like Mammoth Grinder, Loma Prieta, Antilles, and In First Person); Spires, from Oakland, California, and 1994!, from Lancaster, PA.

Musically, the two bands are quite different, but not to the point where their sounds clash with one another. Each side is a nice compliment to the other.

1994! continues to blaze their own path with raucous, jangly, and, on this split, far more anthemic post-hardcore jaunts that make them one of the most interesting bands around right now. The three songs they offer up here harken back to the more epic feel of their first demo while retaining more mature, tight sound of their debut LP (both of which can be downloaded here). They always put on a great show, so if they're coming to a town near you go check them out!

Spires' three songs were a great surprise, because I had actually never heard this band until I played this split. They play a gritty, yet restrained and subtle brand of hardcore that reminds a bit of a more straight-up hardcore version of Storm the Bastille, with a little bit of Funeral Diner thrown in.

Hope you enjoy it!

Spires on Myspace

1994! on Myspace

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1994!/Spires Split

1994!/Spires Split (2009)