On their last album, Grave Babies hit heavy and hard, busting the cones on many a speakers. But, they’re readying a new album, Holographic Violence, and it’s set to be something entirely different. Elements of darkness still pervade their latest single, from the warped tones on the vocals to the emotional draw that takes center stage. Still, listen to the guitars that open the song; you’ll hear that wayward shimmering pop element that basically made bands in the early shoegaze era so intoxicating. The band’s new LP will be out via Hardly Art on July 24th.
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Seattle’s Grave Babies, but they announced today that they’ll be releasing their new album, Holographic Violence, this summer. Our first listen to the music from the band has a squall of guitar feeding back through the speakers, eventually unfolding into a dark-toned cascade of the nu-gaze sort. Interestingly, the vocals match that guitar tone, taking on their own deep qualities, creating this shoegaze/postpunk version of Type O Negative…which isn’t entirely a bad thing (at least in my book). The album will see a July 24th release date via Hardly Art.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Eternal-On-On.mp3]
Download: Grave Babies – Eternal (On & On) [MP3]
It seems like Grave Babies have been fighting back against the various all-inclusive genre tags that have been thrown their way, though you might not be able to tell that by listening to their latest effort, Crusher. So before you venture into their world, put all your preconceived notions aside and just listen carefully.
Crusher‘s intent is apparent upon the first instrumental track, “I,” that begins your listening experience. It’s a wall of feedback and noise, looping in your ears with a distorted vocal creating an odd sense of calm before the band breaks into “Over and Under Ground.” It’s a thunderous track, with pounding drums and anthemic vocals, though you’ll have to listen through the haze to realize this is a pretty simplistic pop song. You speed it up, clean it up a tad, and you’ve got a nice little power-pop track hanging in there. Such tendencies are the specialty of Grave Babies throughout their album, creatively blurring the lines between traditional pop and modern noise. This is much the same approach they use a few songs later on “Skulls,” which has some sonic similarities to what Mike Sniper has been doing with Blank Dogs. But, the difference here is in the pronounced crispness of the drums, which breaks through the onslaught of guitar noise coming through your speakers.
Personally, I’ll admit to the affecting moments when the band takes a softer approach. However, the group doesn’t ever go near being too soft; I’m referring to their ability to pull back on the audial barrage of noise. “Slaughter” trudges along beautifully, fueled by a darkly dancing guitar line. While the vocals might seem a bit distant in the mix, it’s inevitable that you’ll see the pure harmony in their tone–this isn’t just a noisy record; it’s brimming with an inner beauty. It’s similar to “Death March,” which appears further on down Crusher’s track-list. Everything moves at a slower pace on this tune, though you can clearly see how the band could go either way…they could speed it up and make it clean, or they could mess with you and just draw the song out slower. This is part of the enchanting part of Grave Babies; they have this unique ability to toy with every preconceived notion you’ve got in your head. I love the way “Death March” unnoticeably moves into “Haunted, with both songs seeming to come from some kindred spirit.
Listening through the entire album might be grating on your ears, but this is the only way you can guarantee safe passage through the blurred lines that Grave Babies have presented you with on this release. Is a song like “Hate Repeats” just a ballad disguised as some ghoulish piece of artistic noise rock? Well, you’ll have to make that out for yourselves…that’s the mystique and intrigue that you’ll get to live with as soon as you press play on Crusher.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/GraveBabies_OverAndUnderGround.mp3]
Download: Grave Babies – Over And Under Ground [MP3]
Crusher is available now from Hardly Art.
Not too long ago we all got to hear the great “Over and Under Ground” from Grave Babies, but with their new single, “No Fear,” they just continue to show signs of vast improvement. There’s a deep tonal quality with the vocals, and the tracks is covered in controlled noise. I think the increased pop element is definitely going to appeal to a wider range, while still holding onto the group’s aesthetics that came with their first EP. Their new record, Crusher, will be available in stores on February 26th from Hardly Art.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GraveBabies_NoFear.mp3]
Download:Grave Babies – No Fear [MP3]
After breaking onto the scene earlier this year with their surprising Gothdammit EP, Grave Babies are busting out more new music before the end of the year. This new single “Over and Under Ground” picks up right where the band left off back in April. It’s definitely the sort of post-punk/goth sound that we’ve come to know from the band and creates a style that only be completely claimed by these Seattle based boys.
You can get your hands on the second full length LP, Crusher, on February 26th via Hardly Art Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/GraveBabies_OverAndUnderGround.mp3]
Download: Grave Babies – Over And Under Ground [MP3]
Our friends over at Hardly Art currently have a dark soul brooding in their catalogue. Be it Grave Babies, K-Holes or this band, Broken Water, it’s clear that there’s a love for the dark underbelly of rock n’ roll. BW has their latest album, Tempest, coming out via the label on May 29th, and we’ve really been enjoying the jams they’ve already released. This one’s got a classic alternative rock sound attached to it, at least in terms of the song’s construction, but with hazier vocals, you get this feeling of being surrounded by angsty music-goers in some darkened concrete venue; don’t lie to yourself, you love those places, so you’ll love this jam.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/BrokenWater_Underground.mp3]
Download:Broken Water – Underground [MP3]
When a band tosses out a five song EP, such as Grave Babies have done with Gothdammit, it’s often difficult to see it as much more than a stop gap along the way to the next album. But, regardless of where this lives in the band’s on-going catalogue, there are definite steps being taken here towards positive progression.
“Fuck Off” is the start to this rather short affair, but in the matter of time, it’s the longest, although you could easily skip beyond the first minute or so; the band uses the moment as an intro, but you can hear the crackling of the stereo that takes a large precedent over the recording. When the song kicks in, however, it’s just this delicious post-punk moment, possibly hinging upon “goth.” Brooding bass lines definitely benefit the sound, with the drums seeming a touch to hollow and metallic; this is my stand out track on the EP.
Musically, I dig the following track, “Mourning Heir,” particularly that lofty guitar line, but this is the track where I think the recording process began to lose a little bit of the plot overall. There’s something about the shotgun sounding drums that just doesn’t do the live show, nor the record itself, any justice. It ends up sounding muddied like the band blew your speakers out. A bit of the composure returns for the third track, “Nightmares,” with the pop senses taking a bit more of a leading role on this song in comparison to the heavy hitting drums. Listening closely, you’ll see that there’s musical genius lurking just below the surface. Then the band seem to get move in another direction…entirely.
With the first three tracks dabbling in noisier, goth-affected post-punk, the last two songs seems more to delve into sonic exploration. They’re not nearly as focused on the songwriting here, relying more upon heavy chant-like vocals as on “Bloodstains.” And “Wasting” seems to regain a touch of the songwriting capabilities, but it’s still not quite up to par with the three primary tracks featured at the onset–perhaps it’s just too short to really find its groove.
You see, this is the problem with EPs like Gothdammit: you find some great moments that get you really excited; you also find some areas where execution could be much stronger. Personally, I think there’s a good future (and a good market) for a more concise version of the first three song–maybe cleaning up the drum sound. Should they choose to go in that direction, things could get big real fast. Should they choose to go in the other direction, there’s a market there too—either way, I’m sure they’re good, I just have my preference.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/GraveBabies_Nightmare.mp3]
Download:Grave Babies – Nightmare [MP3]
Gothdammit is out now on Hardly Art.
The hot mess that is SXSW is officially over, though the effects are still lingering, and may for some time. We’re all different people here at ATH, so we wanted to offer you our varied opinions on the festival, so read on about my personal reflections on the fest… Read more
Like everyone else, we’re inundated with all the great bands coming our way in the next few weeks, so we sent out a bunch of questions to our favorite acts, hoping to help spread the word. Our first responder is Grave Babies, who will be releasing their Gothdammit EP on April 17th via Hardly Art. Read on for their answers from Danny Wahfeldt… Read more
Hopefully you’ve heard about the Grave Babies by now, as they’re about to start winning people over across the Internet. The band’s about ready to release their Gothdammit EP on April 17th via Hardly Art, and while the title might have some allusions to the music itself, there’s still a whole lot beneath that wall of darkness aching to be released. If you listen to this track, you’ll hear the pounding rhythm and the wall of noise, but that tiny hint of melody held back by the slightest bit of restraint is exactly what grabs you. I can’t wait to get this EP in my hands![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/GraveBabies_Nightmare.mp3]
Download:Grave Babies – Nightmare [MP3]