“Ruins,” the second release by Second Letter, showcases a different world of melodic darkness, that helps to reframe their initial, slower release, “Dead Emblems.” With chants in the chorus of “ruins of our remains,” Haworth points out that whatever part of humanity is left at this stage continues to deteriorate through the sick relationship we keep with the dying, yet seductive capitalist system. A huge backdrop of powerful drumming, coupled with an interesting layering of keys and guitars over the top, calcifies the song’s message, and neutralizes the acidic, sardonic notion that resistance is futile.
Dead Emblems is the debut single from Second Letter, a group featuring Rob Haworth (Farside, State of the Nation, Inside Out) on guitar, Jim Kimball (Retisonic, J Majesty) on bass, and Peter Moffett (Burning Airlines, Wool, Government Issue) on drums. The core trio are joined on this first track by Matt Kane (on guitar) and Carin Smith-Beam (on piano), who help fully round out the “big rock” sound that lies at the heart of the track. If you’re a fan of any of the members previous bands, you’re gonna need to check this one out for yourself.
“REX 84″, the second EP from trans-Pacific production duo, Art of Ballistics, finds Greg Reynaud (Midway In Wake, Behold The Profit) and Will Watts traversing similar territory to the material presented on their first EP, “Broken Mornings”. However, this is no re-hash or re-fry. This time around, the cuts are deeper, the themes are darker, and the arrangements are far more complex. Latin American folk instruments, baroque cellos, free jazz skronk and NASA recordings all take on new flavors once sprinkled over the top of finely chopped break beats, that have been heavily spiced with live bass, hand percussion, and various keyboards/synthesizers.
The self-titled debut from German power trio, “Rats On Radar,” belies its nation of origin by putting American ex-patriot, Steven Chamberlain, up in front. Fans of Steven’s previous projects (Torches To Rome, Ned Kelly, The Yellow Press, etc.) will enjoy this set, as will anyone who appreciates the heavier grooves of Hot Snakes, Shellac, or even The Jesus Lizard.
Belknap was an El Paso post-rock trio from the early 00′s that leaned just as hard on Tortoise as they did on Mike Watt and No Means No. The band, comprised of bassist Gregg Sosa (Universal Recovered, Siva, Attaks, Sleepercar), bassist Matt Miller (Sparta), and drummer Matt Schmitz (Sleepercar, Fragile Gang), played countless well-received shows during their existence, but the six songs comprising “Radio Ready” are all that remain of their recorded output.
After the breakup of Lovetron, and the release of two instrumental hip-hop EP’s under the moniker of Behold the Profit (then Thieves), Greg Reynaud began hashing out rudimentary recordings as “Midway In Wake” with nothing but a guitar, voice, and the odd household item. “We Will Remain Sedate” represents this transformation into bedroom troubadour.
Behold The Profit’s eponymous 2012 follow-up to 2004’s “You Hold The World Like A Gun” debuted in the CMJ Top 200, and stayed in heavy rotation for months following its release. A couple new tunes were debuted on this release, but the EP is mostly stereo files rescued from a computer crash that took full-length follow-up down with it.
Greg Reynaud (Behold The Profit, Midway In Wake, Lovetron) and Will Watts began their trans-continental musical collaboration as Art of Ballistics in 2006 during a rare time when they were both shared a roof. Bits and pieces from their first sessions together were combed over and sent back and forth across the Pacific until they were deemed finished and presented as “Broken Mornings”.
Originally released, under the guise of Thieves, “You Hold The World Like A Gun” is the culmination of Greg Reynaud’s multi-instrumental abilities and MIDI prowess. Combines synths, samplers, guitar, bass, and live drums into eerie, hip-hop instrumental material that is akin to Prefuse 73’s early work. Lowatt’s first true release, and the last to be pressed onto disk.