Review ~ Molly Drag – Open Casket Hidden Meaning ~ by Lukas Foote

I have said it before, and I will type it again: Molly Drag will have you waving around in a sonic ocean of ambience, despair and heartbreak. The same thing could be said about the newly released Molly Drag song “Open Casket Hidden Meaning.”

Molly Drag - Open Casket Hidden Meaning

At the start of this track, the familiarity of the paulstretch effect is heard. The paulstretch effect was used quite a bit in the Molly Drag fulllength debut: Deeply Flawed. This effect has become a signature, or a characteristic trait for Michael Hansford. Hearing the paulstretch over some slow acoustic picking right off the intro of OPHM gives the song the nostalgic notion of another ambient, nebulous, slow-jam.

The lyrics are very bleak, unpromising, and full of depressing topics such as death (“My coffin thrown into the ground/fills the empty spaces here/I am the blood, you are the crown/She feels the bodies buried here.”), addiction and the bad trips you may conjure up while high (“Addiction always has its waste/but your hands were on my face/and you were suffocating me.”). I would not expect any different subject matters from a song inspired by a funeral.

Molly Drag’s Open Casket Hidden Meaning is part of a 15-track compilation by MD’s label Hellur Records entitled “I Still Call You My Friend”. It is currently available up on Bandcamp for the ideal hipster price of “Buy Now name your price” and includes other great tracks on it by label mates such as Claws & Organs and Sorority Noise.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Molly Drag

Review ~ iris – Haunt Me ~ by Lukas Foote

If you’re looking for a band that’s a suiting fit to play aloud at your funeral, then look no further, because Toronto’s 4-piece Emo-Shoegaze band iris delivers a haunting and depressing soundtrack.

This 5-track EP entitled “Haunt Me” was released this passing Valentine’s Day and is consistently filled with a combination of strong bass lines, glistening reverb/chorus guitar tones, heavy crashes on drums and your typical washed out, trance-like vocals.

The lyrical content on Haunt Me is very minimalistic, by that I mean all the song lyrics are short, very somber and resemble short poems rather than traditional song lyrics. Nonetheless, iris leaves the listener to interoperate the undeniable synergetic chemistry between vocalists Danielle Clark and Brad Garcia’s lyrics. Such tracks like Ragdoll: “I’m ripping at the seams/That you helped me sew/Shove your kind words in my wounds/Try to save me so” showcase the depressing atmosphere that Haunt Me is built upon, and how the EP offers no sight of hope.

What I like about iris’ EP the most is the overall heaviness compacted into it. The intensity is conveyed throughout the EP in the form of piercing- hard-hitting drums and cymbals on behalf of Matt Tomasi and as well as rhythmic, crying bends from a combination of Scott Downes and Brad Garcia’s guitar work.

Every single track on Haunt Me gives off the utmost sense of despair and melancholy; these adjectives come so naturally when describing the final track on the EP “This isn’t goodbye…” The song starts outs with a solo guitarist slowly playing through the intro, what follows is a unsettling pause that communicated more emotion then what could have been vocalized. And just when you thought that the pause was going to last an eternity, the profound sounds of cymbal crashes and grave guitar chords reinvigorate the listener and keeps them captivated through the other half of the song, “This isn’t goodbye…” certainly delivers.

I would strongly recommend iris’ Haunt Me (and their Killers cover too) to anyone that has an underlying passion for multi-layered, dominant sounding shoegaze that resembles bands like Slowdive or Whirr.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Iris

Review ~ ACAB Rocky – Truce ~ by Filip Zemcik

When you know a band from its starting point, you can see the whole development of their music. ACAB Rocky from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is one of these cases. I know Samuel Wells since his previous music endeavouring, when he was playing in Jackie Trash. I released their EP on a cassette a while ago. After some time, he decided to begin with a new project and that is how ACAB Rocky was born. The fact is, I have followed them from the beginning and became one of their earliest big fans. I can remember listening to their first two releases, which belonged to my lo-fi lieblings.

Nevertheless, those times have passed and they have come out with a new album and a completely different sound and atmosphere. The truth is, I had a chance to listen to Truce before it was officially released and I was overwhelmed by how they have progressed. At some point, bands decide that it’s time to “grow up” and decide to do a studio album. In the case of lo-fi bands, this transition may harm their uniqueness and make the sound flat, inclining to mainstream ones. However, ACAB Rocky have managed this pretty well, and released a solid album.

To be more specific, the opening song Matches, released as a single before the whole album was out, belongs to those you can listen over and over. The catching phrase “I don’t know what you’re up to, or up against” lingers in your mind forever. The math-rocky riffs in the background are mastered in excellently. The rest of the album is much slower, with various shoegaze passages, and Samuel´s voice slowly singing the lyrics makes you sink into songs even deeper. Additionally, all guitar riffs are completing every single song, and what more in several moments create an amazing dreamy atmosphere.

When listening to songs on loop you are able to discover that little nuances which make every song really unique. Especially in case of Stella, the slow and grungy passages of the leading guitar are made in perfect balance. The best way to fully grasp the essence of the whole album is to put headphones on, play it loudly and enjoy every bit of it. I like how ACAB Rocky has moved their sound to a more mature level and songs are full of hidden gems.

Truce definitely belongs to your playlist and you should head to their bandcamp and buy their music. I wish they could get a bigger buzz for such great piece of music. Moreover, I am looking forward their further albums. I expect even greater pieces, which will shine in my (not only digital) music collections. I am really glad I have come across this band through my blog. ACAB Rocky belongs to the best young bands in the current music scene in Canada.

Buy a cassette via Hacktivism Records.

Read an interview with Samuel Wells from ACAB Rocky.

Text by Filip Zemcik 
Photo by ACAB Rocky