Thursday, 6 June 2013

Scream for me Oslo! - Listen To Aylin Records


Sorry about the title, couldn't resist! This is my second label feature and for those of you who check out the Broken Limbs Recordings one, you'll sort of know what to expect. I basically pick four label releases at random and review them, which in turn helps to spread the word about the bands and the label.

So yeah, Listen To Aylin Records has been on my radar from a while, since I was added to a label group on Facebook. I've been to talking to head-honcho, Christer a lot about screamo and some you will have no doubt have read his first two guest reviews on this very site. The truth is that even though I haven't featured it a lot on this blog, I love my screamo/emo music and am always up for checking out new bands. It gives me an escape from the more extreme music that I review more regularly. LTA itself began in 2008, initially as a distro before turning into a full label shortly after. Christer has released several records collaboratively with other labels over the years, but I wanted to focus on the releases that he'd put out himself.

Her Breath On Glass - S/T 6"



What better place to start than with the first LTA release. Her Breath On Glass is a screamo duo from Boston, Massachusetts and features members of The Saddest Landscape. The band mainly existed while The Saddest Landscape was on hiatus, which was between 2005 and 2009.

Tracklist:-

1. Everything Wasn't At All
2. Calling All Dark Forces 

Being a 6" means that space for tracks is limited, so this release only features two. These two though are unlike anything I've heard. Everything Wasn't At All features vocals akin to spoken word at times, alongside the more traditional screamo vocals. The drums and guitars sit in the background, but are still flatteringly violent and beautiful.  Calling All Dark Forces feature disconcerting feedback at the start before morphing into rock n roll influenced screamo. It's chaotic and noisy and when Her Breath On Glass switch between fast and slower passages, they do so with ease and a knack that demonstrates their ability to build and maintain atmosphere. In two short songs, you get a brief taste of what Her Breath On Glass are all about. The Saddest Landscape may have become genre favourites in recent years, but HBOG are another reason to get acquainted with screamo. 

Here it for yourselves below, via LTA's bandcamp page:-


The record itself has long since sold out from Listen To Aylin, but there may be copies in distros and there are some on Discogs, selling for very reasonable amounts if you can't track one down elsewhere. 

Quiet Steps - Think Aloud LP



I seem to be going in chronological order with this feature, so the next logical step for me is Quiet Steps. I was surprised to see that these guys are from Brisbane, Australia and dig Idylls, who I featured here a while back. They've been together since 2005 and Think Aloud was released on vinyl by LTA in 2011.

Tracklist:-

1. Sales Rising
2. Enemy Control
3. Mirage
4. Dead Sea
5. Chateau
6. Assimilate
7. Generation to Generation
8. Exclusion
9. Measure Reaction
10. Surrounded
11. One Breath
12. Vision Lost

Quiet steps put forth twelve track of varying lengths, featuring melodic, indie influenced screamo. There's plenty of emotion and raw energy on Think Aloud. The riffs present the indie influence straight from the off during opener Sales Rising. The vocals are great as they're not too Americanised and they like mathy-style time signatures as well. After the lengthy opener, Quiet Steps change tack a little with the brief Enemy Control. One and a half minutes long and with a subtle garage rock influence. I'm not afraid to say that I'm totally lost in this record already. The vocals harmonies during Mirage sound epic. They have a great live sound to them, much like the rest of the album. That live sound doesn't hurt the clean guitar riffs either.

Quiet steps avoid the sometimes-chaotic arrangements that some screamo bands present, as they play at a more mid-paced speed, but the mathy parts I mentioned earlier sound none the worse for it. I like how Think Aloud seems to be really engaging too. It's a record that you can get really buried in, trying to pick out intricacies and subtle elements. The counterbalance between the guitar and screamed vocals works really effectively during Chateau. Just having the caustic emotion of the vocals nestling next too the pleasant guitar work makes this song one of the standout tracks for me. One thing that you'll notice when listening to Think Aloud, is that the vocals seem to get heavier as the album progresses, certainly up to Assimilate anyway. It's like a natural progression if you like.

The band choice to keep things flowing with short songs book-ended by longer songs at the start and finish, works really well too. It allows them to keep the listener's interest while building dramatic atmosphere, while tearing it down with their shorter pieces. In terms of that atmosphere, the one that's created by the gang-vocal style harmonies during Generation to Generation is almost haunting, yet beautiful. If you sit back and listen to Think Aloud, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of musicality contained within it. Normally some bands of this ilk can sound kind of muddy or even atonal, but Quiet Steps don't and the production goes a long way to forging that engaging sound I was talking about earlier. Quiet Steps also remind me of a UK screamo band I saw recently, Crash of Rhinos. They have a very similar sound I think, especially as they have multiple vocalists like Quiet Steps, which I something I really like. The soaring melodies really standout when they are all together.

There's a brief element of surprise in the form of twenty-four second song Surrounded, which is literally over in the blink of an eye. One Breath follows and in contrast, is nearly the longest number on Think Aloud. The twists and turns in the song make it quite a journey. Closer Vision Lost is the culmination of what's been a pretty awesome record. It manages to sound different to the songs before, which may be down to the different chords/tuning in the guitars. Think Aloud is one of those albums that leaves you feeling somewhat euphoric at the end. It's a journey for sure, but one that's filled with raw emotion and even nostalgia. I love it and think I should dig up some of their newer releases now.

Listen to Think Aloud below:-


Quiet Steps - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quiet-Steps


Tristan Tzara - Omorina Nad Evropom Tape



Chances are that if you're a fan of screamo and particularly bands like Orchid, you'll be familiar with German band Tristan Tzara. For a band that ended in 2002, they still get a lot of attention in certain circles and still influence many of today's screamo bands. This tape was released by LTA in 2010, after the initial 12" version in 2008. A very rare CD version was released in 2001 while Tristan Tzara were still active, but the tape like the 12" acted as a posthumous release and was the first first of their two albums. LTA's tape version was limited to just hand stitched, hand numbered copies.

Tracklist:-

1. Anatomies
2. Seaside Suicide
3. Song 7
4. Untitled
5. No Poem
6. I've Seen It All
7. Schwule Uber Euro
8. Dance Macabre
9. Our Society (Is Fucked Up)

Tristan Tzara feature nine quick-fire songs on Omorina Nad Evropom. Their sound is on the more extreme end of the screamo spectrum. Opener Anatomies has a militaristic sound to it, with the guitar melodies that sit behind the screams sounding more like that of a marching band. They settle things down with Seaside Suicide that features spoken word and gentle guitar. It does give you the feeling though that it's about to explode and it does after about forty-five seconds, launching back into a similar passage like the opening track. There's a break of silence and then the maddening noise sets off again for one final sharp burst.

To be honest, Tristan Tzara's sound is unlike anything I've heard. They play with more of a grind influence, which overpowers their screamo sensibilities a lot of the time and that shows up in their shorter songs like Song 7. That being said, there are some great melodies sitting underneath the vocals. The untitled fourth track is a good example of where they mix mid-paced and crazed tempos together to create a more math atmosphere. The sole screaming at the end is quite chilling as well. No Poem is one minute of pent up rage and bile, all released in an explosion of raw emotion. I've Seen It All and Schwule Uber Euro follow in quick succession, not allowing the pace or momentum to slip. The extended instrumental passage in the middle of Schwule Uber Euro is really well played and allows you some respite from violent side of the band.

The closing duo of Dance Macabre and Our Society (Is Fucked Up) show Tristan Tzara's grander side. They're longer songs that focus less on their violent side and more on their thoughtful song writing and instrumentation. Dance Macabre is mainly instrumental and builds itself up to a thirty-second blast at the end. The hip-hop sample at the start of Our Society (Is Fucked Up) keeps playing on repeat for the entire length of the song. It's kind of harrowing really and hammers home the fact that Tristan Tzara were lashing out the society around them for being so messed up. It also harks back to Refused and The Shape of Punk To Come in a strange way.

Overall, Omorina Nad Evropom was and still is a harrowing, violent screamo record, which invokes emotion and despair in the listener. For a band that released two albums before disappearing into obscurity, this record certainly leaves it's mark.

You can hear Omorina Nad Evropom below:-


The tape itself is completely sold out from LTA's store so the only place you'll find it is on Discogs or from private sellers. You may though be able to find vinyl versions is some distros.

Because Tristan Tzara ceased in 2002 there is no Facebook page, but there is an Myspace page which is semi active here http://www.myspace.com/samyrosenstock.

Aske/Hap - Split Tape



So, I've come to the last review of this look at Listen To Aylin Records. This split tape was the last release to date that was solely put out by LTA. It features song from two bands, Norwegian screamo four-piece Aske and fellow Norwegian's Hap, who refer to themselves as "Powerhiphop". This was again limited to 50 copies and was released in mid-2011. Aske contributed two songs to the split while Hap added the other four songs.

Tracklist:-

1. Alt Jeg Kan (Aske)
2. Forsta Meg (Aske)
3. Hap (Hap)
4. Knips (Hap)
5. Pieierske (Hap)
6. Blanke Ark (Hap)

Like the Tristan Tzara tape above, Aske present a more violent take on screamo with their two contributions. Alt Jeg Kan’s mid-paced, with indie emo instrumentation and Norwegian language lyrics. I have to admit that I like the more introspective form of screamo and Aske to present a decent take on it, in between their more chaotic moments. Forsta Meg is very similar to Aske's opener, but its guitar is more prominent. It's a very meandering track this one, with a more stop-start approach and very cathartic vocals throughout.

Hap presents a more energetic image with their side. Their songs are all around or under a minute and a half, but in those songs they put forward a very musical sound. Their opener is a great example of this. The vocals in Knips are more abrasive but that goes hand in hand with the thirty-second playing time. They perfectly counterbalance Aske's more considered approach to this sub-genre. There's more of an obvious post-hardcore element to the like of Pieierske and Blanke Ark, but that only goes to add to their overall sound. It's more controlled and reminds me a lot of the French screamo I recently featured from bands like Aguirre and Who Needs Maps! The guitar during Blanke Ark is some of the most furious guitar on the whole tape and helps round things out brilliantly.

Overall, the two sides and bands complement each other on this tape. They both have slightly differing approaches but work well. It's a more sedate introduction to screamo for me, but one with plenty of merits. Both Aske and Hap are well worth investigating if you like your screamo with plenty of musicality.

Again you can hear the whole tape on LTA's bandcamp page:-


This tape is also sold out from LTA's store, so you may struggle to find copies if you want one.


Aske - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aske
Hap - https://www.facebook.com/pages

So there you go, a look at a great screamo label and four records that they put out. There are of course loads more great records that they've released, along with other like-minded labels. You can hear them via their bandcamp page. There will be a special compilation CD coming out in the future as well.

Make sure you visit the Listen To Aylin store here - http://listentoaylin.storenvy.com/ 

Listen To Aylin Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/listentoaylin 

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