Rip Room – Rip Room
San Francisco’s Rip Room channel the art pop of The Raincoats and Lou Reed, as well as the skronk of Touch & Go post-hardcore, on their self-titled debut EP. The trio strike a balance between catchy and abrasive on this eight-track release, never skimping on melody or angularity. The record begins with the instrumental “Anthem”, which is comprised of playful garage rock riffage and bombastic, marching percussion. The gritty guitars and bass lines scrape together like sheet metal, but still generate enough melody and pop sensibility to avoid noise rock territory. The track bleeds directly into the infectious “Repetition”, which churns out an eccentric angular riff that dismantles and reforms into more stripped-down shapes during the verses. Guitarist John Reed and bassist Sarah McKinney’s dark, sometimes monotone harmonies echo on top of the raw alternative frolic below, while drummer Joe Barker unleashes driving rhythms that gives off a sense of aggression despite how playful the track is. Tracks such as “In My Mind” keep the oddball flag waving proudly with bouncing, cartoonish riffs and Reed and McKinney’s back-and-forth wails and yells. Then there are cuts like “Time’s Up” that delve deeper into old school post-hardcore territory with spiraling, serpentine riffs and propulsive percussion. Overall Rip Room‘s debut recording is a fun and eclectic release that fans of raw garage rock recordings, Steve Albini records or weirdo pop acts can get into.
Release Date: April 16, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Repetition” and “Time’s Up”
For Fans Of: The Raincoats, The Coathangers, Fugazi and Shellac
Last Hours – Last Hours
Post-metal’s forward-thinking structures combine with brooding alternative metal riff worship on Last Hours‘ self-titled debut EP. Their groove-heavy, subtly rhythmically complex sound casually nods to the mechanical bashing of Helmet and post-White Pony Deftones, and to a lesser extent Will Haven and the like. The record opens up with a massive, lurching, mangled riff that flows into angular, Jesus Lizard-esque verses on “Awaken”. The vocals on this dense beatdown of a track range from purposely unenthusiastic monotone delivery, to harsh screams and commanding clean choruses. “The Enemy Within” comes crashing in shortly after with a stampede of chugging sludge, stoner metal flair, memorable hooks and blistering solo work courtesy of Candiria and Spylacopa‘s John LaMacchia. Track’s like “Dead Sleep” opt for a more slow-burning approach with chugging chords that gradually build in intensity, and vocals that transition from Chino Moreno-esque croons to throat-searing vitriol. Creeping guitar melodies intertwine with the chugging sludge and atmospherics before exploding into slamming destruction. Closing track “Submerged” also stands out with its atmospheric lurch comprised of echoing guitar leads, cavernous vocals and subterranean bass lines. The track cycles back and forth between ethereal dirge and alt-metal swagger before eventually ending in a disjointed, spine-breaking groove that sounds like it could have been culled from Carpe Diem-era Will Haven. From start to finish this Brooklyn act delivers some hard hitting tunes that will excite anyone who enjoys a good riff fest. Although some songs tend to meander a bit (“Jagged ” in particular), Last Hours make up for it by being extremely memorable and effectively heavy.
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Awaken” and “Submerged”
For Fans Of: Helmet, Spylacopa, Deftones, Will Haven and Fashion Week