Cover art for Mike’s new album A World For All Species
Mike XvX has just released a new album. A World For All Species is Mike’s 6th studio album, 8 tracks – but not an 8 track – this is a digital album available for download off Mike’s website or bandcamp. This format mean you can listen to the album online for free or choose to download the album or individual songs as you like.
One of my favorite aspects of Mike’s music is that it doesn’t sound or feel like any other ‘folk punk’ I have heard, either musically or lyrically. I am extremely picky when it comes to folk punk, as after years of setting up shows as a DIY promoter, I have developed a strong distaste for generic and formulaic music, which I find a lot of folk punk has become in the last few years.
Folk punk singer, Noise artist and animal activist Mike XvX
Musically Mike XvX hovers a bit more on the folk/acoustic side of the genre avoiding many of the cliches that have become all to common with folk punk now that every train hopper has a banjo or accordion. You won’t find a lot of blue grass influence or scratchy, twangy, or whiny vocals, nor will you find generic ballads about drinking under bridges, shoplifting, and hopping trains. Instead Mike writes in a way that retains the punk concepts lyrically with songs like his campfire cover of Cop Killer; while tieing in to the older American folk traditions of collecting and telling stories in the vein of Woody Guthrie, Buffy Sainte Marie, or Utah Philips. Mike XvX uses his guitar as a device to tell the stories of those he has collected over the years; however unlike his labor organizing folk-fathers, most of Mike’s stories are largely about the animals he has known over the years who have impacted his life, animals who are survivors of torture and exploitation at the hands of human animals.This way of writing about animal liberation and animal exploitation feels far more heartfelt and personal than the more usual punk songs on the subject which tend to be filled with statistics, graphic depictions and people yelling at you to Go Vegan.
Not all the songs on this album are only about animal liberation; there are songs like the Flood, and without a doubt my favorite track off this album is The Forest Near Your Old House which is about logging and environmental destruction and sounds largely like a much needed call to action
“I hear the chainsaws ripping through the ancient trees – I see good people doing nothing… …Simply asking them to stop is fucking useless – will they sit there and do nothing?”
Review by Comrade Black
Check out Mike’s Bandcamp and listen to his new album at:
The crust punk veterans from the wintry polar vortex of Minnesota have returned to release yet another great record. This time it’s a 6 song 30 minute album that’s very loosely considered an EP. MISERY have had the same lineup for the past 25 years now, and is unique in the fact that all members take turn at lead vocals. Very early in the beginning, the lead vocalist left the band to pursue other options with a band from NYC. Although this other band may arguably have a bigger reputation than MISERY, the group crumbled due to a “difference of egos”. This new offering, aptly titled The Beginning, features the original 5-piece lineup on 1/3 of the material here. This is the band’s second release on Seattle based Inimical Records, and is the follow up to the highly acclaimed 2xLP “From Where The Sun Never Shines”, which was put out in 2012.
The record starts with 2 brand new tunes, title track The Beginning and Armageddon. The Beginning utilizes heavy usage of clean guitar melodies, and starts with a baby’s wails before any vocals. Musically the song seems to describe the cleanliness of birth before the corruption we all endure from the forces leading society. The sense of doom is palpable. Guest singer Cassandra Schorn aka DUFF joins Jon on the vocal work, the duo trading off back and forth throughout the song. It works really well, providing even more atmosphere to an already great tune. Lyrical focus is the malevolent hierarchy of society, and with lines like “they’ve tainted your brain from the very first day”, it’s a clear reference to the social conditioning that is impossible not to witness. Armageddon is the second brand new one, and is much more typical of the crust we’ve come to expect from MISERY. Some of the guitar riffs are very reminiscent of the song Just Never Ends. The song builds from lyrical ideas laid out by the one before it, but becomes more specific in relation to the social control of religion. The drums (especially the tom fills) are amazing on this tune.
The middle of this record features 2 songs from the first recording session in 1988, back when they were a 5-piece. Midnight features Al Long, for the first time on a MISERY song since he left to work with NAUSEA. Just like the original, the music is slow and doomsy as all hell. It’s clear that the band worked some new ideas into the mix, which gives the song an updated feel to it. In all reality, things are just as bleak as they were back then, but instead of worrying about atomic warfare, we now must face the looming doom of enslavement of the human species. Side B opens with New Year’s, another song originally recorded during the same session as Midnight, but which never made it to record until 1996. Originally sung by Al, Gags takes over the vox and MISERY make it their own. They do a damn good job, and just like Midnight, the song is different and yet the same, with better studio techniques this time around.
The last 2 songs are covers originally recorded by bands that were influential to MISERY. First up is a cover of Lifeline by SACRILEGE. Album closer is 3rd From the Sun, originally done by CHROME, and is the other song to feature the band as a 5-piece. Gary makes a great performance on the drum kit in this one.
Artwork & layout by Andy Lefton of WAR // PLAGUE, PROVOKED, etc.
Recorded at House Of Misery Studio 2012.
this EP-LP is highly recommended, and you should kick your own ass if you dont buy it!
INIMICAL RECORDS: http://www.inimical.com
Political punk rock hailing from the vast deserts of Arizona. Here on their brand new Album “Ecocide”. They’ve played with PE’s own DRESDEN and opening up for other political punks OPPOSITION RISING. 7 songs of punk rock with catchy drums and rifting guitar and growly vocals. Most of these songs come off with a hint of SKA guitar and drums. Covering topics such as Genocide, Religion, and DIY on this record this album is super catchy. For anyone into politically charged punk rock tat wants to make a social change in the right direction, this album is for you. (XbezerkerX)
Here is another juicy morsel from ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES, we all know and heard of this record label and it’s consistency of putting out decent records. Here are 13 tracks of lo-fi garage rock, in the vein of NOBUNNY and HUNX also with a little KIMYA DAWSON mixed in. “Love At First Site” as a nice saxophone intro with a delightful piano with male and female duel vocals. This is something any musician could do honestly, record a nice family friendly album that you can play for your kids. (XbezerkerX)
Das KING LUI VON BEETHOVEN are from Germany and play a very good and catchy pop-punk. That sounds like something that FAT WRECK CHORDS would have put out. Recently playing with Minnesota’s own MANIX and playing countless other shows, this is a brand of punk you could compare to THE SLOW DEATH or NOTHINGTONS with a little punk rock attitude of THE BRIGGS. With 11 tracks in total this is a really solid release hopefully I’ll hear more from these guys. The only thing I didn’t like was the artwork for this album. Doesn’t fit the bands sound the cover art makes it look like a cheesy punk band. But don’t judge a book by its cover (XbezerkerX)
Finally an new album from Doom it’s been quite a while, so it’s a nice start to the year. There is no need for any introduction with with a band like Doom. If your looking at Profane Existence your damn familiar with with them at this stage. Here we have 14 songs of great variation with each one packing a great punch. Once again they play that heavy crusty punk we love them for. In our ever changing world Doom remain constant, their message has not changed throughout the years but remains as relevant as it ever has been.
‘Corrupt Fucking System’ opens with heavy distortion, then goes straight for the jugular. Lyrically shitting on the vile conspiracy that is the Catholic church which goes straight to your cerebrum senses. This is crust punk the way it should be, belted out, loud, bass heavy and takes no prisoners. That filthy monolithic buzzing guitar has not changed since the beginnings of the band. The only difference is that it is now just way better produced. This isn’t a song-by-song analysis as you can check out their bandcamp page and see how good it is for yourself. This album won’t change the world, it just says it how it is. Let’s leave the review with a quote from ‘Corrupt Fucking System’
“We are all victims of their system. A system created to protect the powerful ruling elite. A corrupt fucking system, that thrives on people’s acceptance & silence. We are all sick with society, a capitalist nightmare disease which infects us all. We are all forced to play the game, which perpetuates their control. We are all guilty but who will voice their opposition? Who will hold these corrupt bastards to account? & who will just be silent? Who will just be a silent drone too afraid to stand up? And who will ridicule anyone who speaks out & assume we must live in fucking caves before we can speak out against this corrupt fucking system. They are the perpetuators not us. We are all stuck in this corrupt fucking system and we all must utilise the technology and advancements this system has created against itself & ‘byte’ back. Fuck those people and their acceptance for a quiet life.”
If you are looking for a DEVO type band from Japan then ULTRA BIDE is for you. Here you have a dual bass and drums on every track with some synth on it. This is there first U.S. release in 10 years and the almighty Alternative Tentacles puts it out. Here are 11 new tracks to jam out to, nice bright cover stands out for me since it’s very bright but these tracks are really something to listen to. Apparently these guys are heading out on a U.S./Canadian tour for 2014 and with the sounds of this CD. I’m going to try and see these guys. (XbezerkerX)
URBAN HEAD RAW hail from JAPAN. They play fast metal with amazing guitar riffs that are ear splitting. On this CD effort you have 8 brand new tracks from these heavy hitters. This band features members of other Japanese punk,hardcore and metal bands that have come together to form one super group. Very fast and thrashy riffs . Get your thrash hats out and your high top nike’ and start a circle pit with your best buds while drinking a beer. If you are in the Minneapolis scene think LOCKGNAR or PLAQUED INSANITY (but less goofy) (XbezerkerX)
There is a rich history behind this release , this is a collective of different individuals in the North Suburbs of Chicago that got together and started making the sounds that they grew up with. So here is a CD with 12 tracks of punk rock, and rockabilly. This isn’t a bad release at all it’s just not something I typically listen to but if you’re into old school punkabilly then this is for you. Look this album up and read about it’s history, also cd booklet is a nice little comic book that deserves a quick flip through. (XbezerkerX)
SALVICTION is a new crusty metal band from Poland that incorporate cold atmospheres via keyboard and depressive melodies and harmonics into their doom metal influenced crust. Comprised of members from previous bands such as FILTH OF MANKIND and well, other bands from Poland. This album starts up with rhythmic industrial noises, and changes quickly into guitar and drums driven crust metal with massive amounts of depressive melodies, clean bass lines, cold atmospheric keyboards and hoarse dry throat vocals. Incredible drum talent from Paweł Szymański is just off the wall with tom fills, time changes, and interesting tribal rhythms at times.
Songs can be minimal and melodic, then switch over to pure aggression with heavy riffage, and back to an atmospheric ambiance before even a single song has finished, making this an interesting listen that is anything but stagnant / stale. The length of these songs ranges from 5 to 10 minutes, and allows enough time for such an organic progression within each of the compositions seem natural. My favorite song is Killing Yourself To Live, because the drums are so complex on this one, and the lyrics are an ode to the working class in factories around the world. Lyrical topics are just as depressive as the music, and cover issues of a dying world taken from a truly misanthropic perception. With 6 great songs in the span of 42 minutes, and past band experience, SALVICTION is a band of accomplished musicians and deserve international attention. for fans of bands such as COUNTERBLAST, NEUROSIS, and AGRIMONIA.