Anicon – Aphasia (self-released 06 May 2015; cassette via Acteon Records, 15 September 2015)
It’s Friday and the work week has ended and I’m all ready to kick off the weekend by heading out to the Slaves BC record release show! For those of you who aren’t close enough to Pittsburgh to make it here this evening, though, I’ve got something for you to keep yourself occupied — a band I first discovered when I saw them at another Slaves show…
About two and a half years ago, I went to see them with another excellent local band, Storm King, at this rinky-dink little dive in Pittsburgh called Kopec’s. The performance area was more like the living room of a run-down old apartment upstairs from the bar — a cool little space, which has been sadly missed ever since they stopped hosting shows later that same year. Anyway, that night was a special treat because a third band also played, whom I was not previously familiar with, but who definitely grabbed my attention and impressed everyone in the room with their energy and high-quality musicianship: the New York black metal group Anicon. Here is a video from their set that night, to give you a taste of what’s in store.
As one does when seeing a really good band from out-of-town play, I remember wanting to patronize their merch table, but as I recall they only had cassette tapes for sale, and since this is the twenty-first century, I had to leave empty-handed. Well, fast-forward to mid-2015, and I discovered that Anicon had put out a new EP. They said they had recorded it themselves in their practice space, intending for it to serve as a demo for a full-length due out sometime in 2016. But practice space demo or not, “Aphasia” still landed a spot on my list of last year’s best releases. Keep on reading (or just skip the next bit and head down to the part where you get to hear it for yourself) and I’m sure you’ll understand why.
Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!
But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…
Stay tuned, because there will be lots more of these, as more shows take place throughout the second half of this year! Just keep checking back, or better yet, subscribe to the channel and you can get notifications whenever there’s something new for you to watch.
As an added bonus for making it ALL the way to the end of this lengthy retrospective, here is the full-sized version of the photo collage that was posted on Facebook. (Click to enlarge).
Dead Horse Cantina (McKees Rocks, PA), 16 February 2013
In mid-February, Innervenus Music released a pair of CDs: a self-titled EP by Lycosa, and the full-length Cannibalistic Tendencies by Grisly Amputation. The following videos were taken from the dual CD release show, which also featured five other bands.
So my next Person or Persons Unknown interview subject is someone I did not know very well before I decided to ask him for an interview, but I suppose that was the point of these: to shed some light on people not very many people knew much about. This one definitely qualifies. I first officially met Tree when his band Lycosa was having their Innervenus dual-release show with Grisly Amputation. Over the course of meeting all these new people, I would say that I am constantly surprised at how warm and friendly they are — which is a vast contrast to the mood and feel of the music that they play. No one surprised me quite as much as Tree — he’s sweet and kind and, just like my husband, you sometimes have a hard time hearing him because he really doesn’t talk all that loud (when he talks at all!). I have since gotten to know him slightly more speaking to him via Facebook messages and seeing him out at shows, and I am happy to now call him a friend. I hope you guys will find him as interesting as I do, and that you’ll check out Lycosa — maybe even venture out to Kent, Ohio, this weekend for a mini road trip to check them out. The band is great on CD, but even better live! Take it from me, it would be worth the drive from Pittsburgh.
Hello, friends. Regular visitors to this website have surely noticed that recently the volume of writing I am putting out there has significantly decreased. I apologize for that. But it hasn’t been the result of laziness, I assure you. I’ve been getting myself involved with a few other things — as I keep alluding to in several new posts over the past few weeks — and finally I want to let you know about one of those.
So, I have been asked to join the Pittsburgh-based record label The Innervenus Music Collective to help out with their PR and publicity. It’s a pretty exciting opportunty for me — first of all, as a writer I’ve been working with a variety of PR people and representatives from other labels, so I understand what’s involved, and it’s cool to be getting some experience from the other direction now. But even more than that, now I get to work directly with a group of people who do so much to support our local music scene — between planning shows and giving away the Iron Atrocity compilations, not to mention releasing albums from some really talented bands (Vulture, Invader, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot — just to name a few examples that I had written about last year)!
And so this new position has been using up a lot of my free time recently, mostly because we’re gearing up to put out two CDs in February: the debut full-length by grindcore/death dealers Grisly Amputation, and a self-titled EP by death-thrash-groove-sludge-core band Lycosa. I’ve been sending out promo materials to a whole slew of websites and magazines, so we should start seeing some reviews trickle in shortly, but I figure I wouldn’t really be doing my job (EITHER job – as a writer OR a publicist!) if I didn’t also inform you about the releases here on Valley of Steel!
Well, friends, here we find ourselves in the waning moments of 2012. It’s been an interesting, eventful year that’s had lots of high and low points — a ton of excellent new music has been released and quite a few brand-new bands have emerged that I’d fully expect to be making some serious waves in the near future.
One of the best things about 2012, for me personally, was that I found myself (and my wife) going to lots more shows than in recent years, and as a result I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of new people — as well as starting to take a way more active role in the local music scene.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a suggestion from one of those people I’ve gotten to know in the past year (I won’t say who — he said he preferred not to be given credit for the idea, although I will say that it’s somebody who contributed to this). The idea was to collect top-ten lists from various folks in the Pittsburgh metal community.
So I put out an open invitation for any musicians or other people who are involved in the scene in some way — I was looking for anything, whether it was the traditional “Top Ten Albums” or something totally off-the-wall like someone’s ten favorite sandwiches they ate during the year. Really, the only rules were that it had to be a list, and involve something from 2012.
Folks, if you’ve had your ear to the ground over the past few months you might have noticed that there has been some rumbling coming out of the dark underworld of hardcore. There has been so much hype swirling around the crusty, grimy beast known as Meth Quarry lately, that the band has reached a nearly mythical status — without having played a single show yet!
But all of that is about to change, because these guys are finally ready to come crawling out of the dank cellar of Pittsburgh’s underground and expose the good people of the Steel City to their grim “dirge” hardcore style. Last weekend I met up with the quintet (guitarists Chris Smith and Kevin Hogue, bassist Aaron Kaczynski, vocalist Adam Joseph Bailey, and drummer Brandon “Fluffy” Baker) to talk about the story of the band’s formation and what sort of things they’ve got on the horizon — I joined them at one of their rehearsals, which took place in the basement of Kevin’s house, so when I say “crawling out of the cellar” I actually mean it literally…
Hey readers! Did you see my post yesterday about the Lady Beast record release show? Just curious, because that was absolutely the most pathetic excuse for writing a post that I’ve ever done. Like a sentence and a half and a “here, check the Facebook event for more details”…
For that, I apologize. I know I’m always going on and on about being so busy and not having enough time to write as much as I want to, and it probably gets annoying to read, but it’s true — and I wish there was something I could do about it. Maybe I should leave the “What to do in Pittsburgh” stuff up to The Pittsburgh Scene, or MoshPittsburgh. I dunno. But, there are two HUGE events happening today, one right in town, and the other just about two hours away, and I couldn’t possibly neglect my duties to inform you about these!
As always, I’m sorry if I missed anything, please be sure to let me know in the comments (or send me a message on Facebook), and also as always, stay tuned because –honestly– there are more reviews and stuff forthcoming!
Okay, folks, listen up. Here’s another tour you need to know about. It’s only nine days long and only covers the north-eastern quadrant of the United States, but if you live in or near any of the cities listed below (including Pittsburgh!) you won’t want to miss Chrome Waves. How’s this for a super group: Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, ex-Nachtmystium), and Iron Bob Fouts (The Gates of Slumber)!