Well anyway, today I’d like to make sure you’re also acquainted with another label that just opened up over the past few months. This one started out when an individual from British Columbia, who happens to hang around a few of the same Discord servers I sometimes frequent, was tossing around the idea of creating an explicitly anti-fascist, anti-sketch, and anti-capitalist cooperative (since unfortunately, way too many of them turn out to be far in the opposite direction). He joked that the name would have to be the most stereotypically Canadian thing anyone could think of, and came up with Syrup Moose.
The record label’s online bio clearly specify that it had just started out as a joke — which is absolutely true — but within weeks the collective found itself with an ever-growing roster and quite an unfunnily busy slate of upcoming releases, including cassette versions of each, as well as unique (and highly collectible) tarot card designs exclusively painted and printed for each new release.
Out of that already-extensive-and-rapidly-expanding catalog, I’ve selected one of the first as well as one of the most recent, to share with you this afternoon. The fact that both of these artists happen to be based in Pittsburgh is purely a coincidence — honestly!
Chloe Dancer – Chloe Dancer EP (Syrup Moose Records, 02 September 2022)
Drazen – EP (Syrup Moose Records, 09 December 2022)
It’s been two whole years since Pittsburghers Úzkost put out their delightfully deranged “Blood Debt.” But just a few days ago they returned with a brand-new single, and the promise of more forthcoming! Here’s “Mt’hr.”
These Chicagoan blackened-death-grinders are setting out for a trip across the northeastern USA throughout the rest of this week — see more details below, as well as a brief overview of the band’s latest releases over the past couple of years!
Immortal Bird – Live at Migration (self-released, 21 August 2018)
Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect (20 Buck Spin, 05 July 2019)
Úzkost – Blood Debt (self-released, 21 August 2020)
Hello out there, friends and faithful readers who have been bearing with us as we have been going through a bit of a slow period in terms of writing output! For those who don’t watch television or read newspapers or spend all day doomscrolling Twitter (that last one has been my personal sickness lately), sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but the entire world is crumbling to shit.
In entirely unrelated news, earlier this week I got a notification that this website’s domain registration was renewing (marking the eighth anniversary as an official “dot net” site, and putting us a few mere weeks away from our ninth anniversary operating under the Valley of Steel name), which reminded me that I have a self-assigned duty to share my musical discoveries with the good people of the internet.
Frankly, it’s been pretty difficult lately to get excited about anything or to focus attention on anything that isn’t the constant stream of negativity and hatred that surrounds us all. But I’ve managed to drag myself away from the harsh misery of 2020 America just long enough to write up some words about this new single and video that was released two weeks ago by local (Pittsburgh) band Úzkost. And as a bonus, both song and video happen to be a strikingly apt reaction to all that negativity and hatred!
Slaves BC – Third Temple (The Fear and the Void Recordings, 18 March 2020)
Hello from the Valley of Steel Quarantine Command Headquarters. Hoping that everyone is staying safe out there, wherever you are.
Personally, my coworkers and I had barely begun adapting to an entirely new accounting and ERP software system, which we had been preparing to implement for about the past year and a half, and which finally launched company-wide, a mere three days before the mandatory work-from-home proclamation went out. But as stressful and difficult as this has been for me, I know how fortunate I really am to have a job flexible enough to allow me to perform my duties from the safety of home — unlike so many folks who have to continue venturing out into the world, or so many others who simply aren’t able to work at all under these circumstances.
That’s always very important: to recognize the relative triviality of our own struggles when compared with those of other people; but especially in times of widespread crisis like this, we should all be asking ourselves what more we could be doing to lend a hand to those who might need it. This philosophy is perfectly embodied by local Pittsburgh band (and longtime friends of this website) Slaves BC, who released a brand-new song a few days ago accompanied by the following announcement:
With the global pandemic we are now facing, a lot of people are losing their jobs and are really struggling financially.
We were going to use this track for something else, but we decided to release it early to raise money to help people we love.
For the foreseeable future, any money paid for this track and all other releases by Slaves BC will go to friends in need.
Mevrimna – INHIBIT\\EXHIBIT (The Fear and the Void Recordings, 01 November 2019)
While they may take the stage silently, completely shrouded in the anonymity of long black cowls, I don’t think either member of Pittsburgh-based blackened noise duo Mevrimna is making any real attempt to conceal their real-life alter egos: the guitarist (and occasionally bassist) and the drummer/vocalist serve in those same capacities as members of the much-acclaimed Slaves BC.
In fact, their live debut (almost exactly one year ago in Turtle Creek, PA) was slotted immediately before a performance by their “other” group. While I don’t know whether they found themselves to be a hard act to follow that evening, I can confirm that the peculiarly-named twosome did succeed in utterly scaring the hell out of everyone in attendance.
And now, following a few one-off tracks, this month these guys have released a brand-new full-length recording, which assuredly will serve up the exact same result. Consider yourself warned.
Ufomammut – Ecate (Neurot Recordings, 31 March 2015)
Ufomammut – 8 (Neurot Recordings, 22 September 2017)
The name Ufomammut seems to be one that we Americans tend to struggle with. But fortunately the band has been kind enough to explain its origin: “ufo” (OOH-foe) is the Italian word for “UFO,” while “mammut” (MAMM-utt) means “mammoth.” Therefore the correct pronunciation of the name would be “OOH-foe-MAMM-utt.” Got it?
The etymological origin of their name is also one of the most accurate descriptions a band has ever given itself, as this trio combine the mysterious spaced-out vibe of a flying saucer with the earth-shaking immensity of a prehistoric pachydermic behemoth.
And now, for the first time in two years, they are bringing this spectacle to North American soil: hitting Maryland Death Fest this weekend, as well as Northwest Terror Fest in early June, and then surrounding these dates with a month-long loop around the whole country that kicks off TONIGHT (Wednesday the 23rd) in Providence. Of course we’ll supply you with details about all these shows later. But first, an introduction to the band’s music for the uninitiated …