Having started Document Fanzine less than a year ago. We really haven’t gotten to the point where we’re getting a whole lot of submissions for reviews. (Something I sincerely hope changes in the near future.) Interesting how the ones we’ve received have either come from publicists peddling music we, or at least I, have no interest or intention of taking the time to review. Or, as in this case. Bands from far away with something more up our alley . On what I believe is the band’s debut 7 inch. Power Face get right to the point and up in your grill with a fast paced, raw Hardcore sound that’s sprinkled with elements of Speed Metal. (Most evident in the bands potent guitar assault.) With six of the seven songs coming in at under two minutes. There’s really little room for any break downs or mosh parts, which is fine. Not bad for what it is. Still, nothing that would really inspire more than a casual listen. On the down side. Power Face have some of the worst vocals I’ve seen in quite a while. Something I would have most likely missed if the actual lyrics weren’t included. “Come with me if you want to live. Walk the road of fire and sin.” Lead me to think this band is either in middle school or just don’t have a lot to really talk, or in this case, sing about. Not that I’m saying a Hardcore bands lyrics should change the world. Personally, I just prefer a little less role-playing in my Hardcore music. Not bad, but nothing special either. Proceed with caution. Power Face don’t really offer much in the information department on their social media pages. Regardless, I’m leaving a link to the bands music. This way, you can form your own opinions. JD
Philadelphia’s Howlish are an ambient / alternative that has been playing together since 2014 when, still a very young band, released their debut EP “Open House”. Since that time, the quartet of Mark Watter – vocals/guitar, Karl Germanovich- bass, Taylor Cullen – drums and Brendan Sweeney – lead guitar have been making a name for themselves with shows up and down the East Coast. (a.k.a. The Best Coast) With their sophomore release “Outer” due out any day now on “Sniffling Indie Kids”. I was able to scoop up a copy to get a listen to what the future holds for Howlish, Sniffling Indie Kids and the rest of this big, flat world.
On their followup “Outer” Howlish create a spacious and atmospheric eight song gem. Moving slowly, though not without purpose with both skill and grace. The opener “Woods” moves along at a slugs pace, infiltrating the senses with it’s nurturing simplicity and dreamlike vibe. “Black Ice”, not to be confused or even seen on the same iceberg as AC/DC’s samely titled album and song follows with it’s shoe gaze meets dream pop leanings. Seemlessly solidifying “Outer’s” statement of purpose. There’s a sense of restraint throughout that has the listener wonder if these whispers are just heavily guarded screams waiting to emerge from their cocoons. My personal favorite “Fader” seems to beg the question in an even deeper sense with it’s engaging guitar eccentricities. “Outer” lifted this listener up in more ways then one. I’m glad I took the ride. J.D.
Being able to embrace your own weirdness and individuality is one of life’s truest gifts. As an artist, or in the case of Seattle’s Helvetia. Embracing these sometimes underrated traits has been quite rewarding. Since their 2006 debut Static Cult Label release ” The Clever North Wind”. Helvetia have been honing their impressive, Lo-Fi experimental sound with excellent results. Proving it doesn’t take a nation to write great songs with a quirky appeal. On “Dromomania”, Helvetia’s second release on Joyful Noise. (The first since 2012’s ‘Nothing But Rambling’.) these weirdos create an awesomely trippy vibe. Overall, these songs are all over the place. Dropping something spaced out and eccentric wherever they go. While I felt varying influences from Sebadoh to Half Japanese to They Might Be Giants throughout. “Dromomania” and Helvetia are manning a rocket ship all their own. To quote my good friend Ev Gold of Cinema Cinema, “You have to be willing to surrender to the trip.” I’m glad I did. It was well worth it. “Dromomania” features twelve tracks and runs a good thirty seven or so minutes. A nice investment in time, if you ask me. J.D.
“Incision” features four new tracks that continue Strife’s legacy as one of the best Hardcore acts to come in the last twenty plus years. The release also marks first on War Records, a new label owned by Strife’s guitar player, Andrew Kline. And while these four songs match up very well with what we’ve come to expect from the band. “Incision” doesn’t exactly set itself apart from anything the band has written in the past. Making this feel like a mere pit stop in what has been an incredible race. In addition, pressing and pricing what is essentially an EP as an LP leaves to question whether or not to invest in the vinyl version. In my case, I was quite disappointed when mine arrived with no download code. I could have saved a few dollars as well as some shelf space downloading this from iTunes. While Strife remain an important cog in my appreciation for Hardcore and the bands who continue to fly that flag. With the lack of listening options provided. “Incision” will most likely end up in a pile with all of the other records I rarely pull out of the shelf. J.D.