Atlas At Last – A Composition of Functions

I call you function, it’s a reference to formulaic happiness.

The last few months must have been pretty horrific for Atlas At Last. Compared to the DC trios selftitled debut EP from 2013, A Composition of Functions is a big leap into darker territories. Sonically the four songs are noisy, raw and brutal, to say the least. While its predecessor wasn’t necessarily a happy affair per se, it managed to pair walls of distorted guitars with great melodies and harmonies. This time, the melodies haven’t disappeared, they are just buried a lot deeper in the mix.


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Miles & Feet – Lies.Words.Love

Time stands still and we watch our past mistakes

When I was about 16 and had gotten really deep into hardcore, I was listening to a lot of bands that sounded like Miles & Feet. American new-school hardcore, with mosh-break downs, metal dual “At the Gates”-metal riffing and this angry voice spitting emotional lyrics. I would have killed to play in a band like that. But living in a small place, all I could muster was a band sounding more metal and with guys that didn’t have the same musical background. It was still lots of fun. Then I got older and somehow the wave of bands coming over from the US were just meager copies of what I learned to love a lot. So I walked away from that sound.

A couple years down the road and hardcore got me back. The fresh sound from bands such as Touché Amoré, La Dispute and Pianos Become the Teeth brought back my love. But this year, all of a sudden these bands decide to grow up. While on the one hand I can fully understand that development and it definitely springs as no surprise. But who will cure my need for emotionally fucked up vocals? Yes, the answer comes from Leipzig, Germany!

Be yourself, set you free, leave the dream
You could be what you want to be

Four songs, plus an intro and interlude is all it takes to make a pretty clear statement for this young band. Miles&Feet play positive emotional hardcore at its best. The metal riffing reminds me a bit of a more melodic version of With Resistance. The thick and bass heavy production of Killswitch Engage. But then there’s this angry voice, full of razorblade sharp distortion. Tom is not a vocalist, he’s a singing distorted guitar!

It’s damn nice to see a band like that coming from Germany! They are so worth checking out!

Facebook Chain Mails. Or: Name 10 songs that have influenced you.

There are obviously a lot of songs that you listen to throughout your whole life. The question is what sticks to your mind? What do you actually hang on to? And what do you really remember several years down the line. I hate facebook chain mails and I hate how Buzzfeed et al tend to accumulate lists and sell them as journalism. What I liked about this particular idea though is that taking your time to think about this lays out a map of who you are. So this list is quite a personal one but I’m sure everyone out there can relate to some parts. Maybe you’ll even start thinking about your own list. 10 songs is not an awful lot but it narrows down the possibilities and forces you to make decisions. It’s like going back to the Beatles who only had 4-tracks to record some of the best pop music written. I’m not saying this is the grand list of pop, but it’s mine. It’s a big part of the soundtrack to my life so far.

1. Spider Murphy Gang – Schickeria

My love for Bayern Munich is no secret to most of my friends. But this song has nothing to do with the fanclub but with one of my earliest music memories. I can recall sitting on my dads leather chair as a small kid, singing along and miming playing the guitar to this. ‘Schickeria’ is the opening song of the bands 1981 album ‘Dolce Vita’, an album that spent 91(!) weeks in the German charts. It’s not the biggest hit, that was reserved for ‘Skandal im Sperrbezirk’, a song about a callgirl in Munich. It was the first record I owned, after my parents handed me down the album on tape. It was a worn out, nicotine yellow and when I revisited the song recently, I have to admit, it’s not a song written for a young kid. I didn’t understand it back then, when Günther Sigl sang about people doing cocaine now rather than smoking weed. It’s a perfect time-capsule for the start of the 1980s, when hippies made way to the yuppi generation. When people became more concerned about their own wealth and well being than taking the streets against war or equal rights. And unfortunately we still see and feel the remainders of that time today, I would argue.

2. The Offspring – Self Esteem


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Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

Frankie was a heartbreaker, I didn’t know it at the start

Is it possible to capture pure sex on a record? I’ve been asking myself this question quite a few times recently. Especially when listening to the new Death From Above record. And if someone has managed to do it, the two guys from Toronto have probably done it. And it’s not your pretty flowery sex, it’s the total opposite.

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Talking Pop: Grace Mitchell

I know that we haven’t talked about pop music in quite a while. I mean, we all do love our indie, punk, noise or whatever influenced bands that play the crappiest venues all to be able to release some tunes recorded in their bedrooms or garages via bandcamp or on small run vinyl. But from time to time there is an urge and a void that can only be filled by massive pop tunes. Tacky hooklines that block your ears for days and nights, one-liners that make you long for a relationship with the girl of your dreams (yes, there are lines in Modern Baseball’s songs or even in Blink 182 songs that will be similar, but let’s face it, it’s just not the same!). And they are mostly graced with audacious production and mostly sung by stunning girls.


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Beatsteaks – Beatsteaks

I never was an astronaut, I never was a drummer. I never was a Beastie Boy but it doesn’t really matter!

It’s great when there’s a band you grew up with together. I don’t mean that in the sense of you went to the same school, hung out at the same bars or on the same playground etc (even though that is quite cool, too). I mean it in the sense of you discovered them quite young and as you grew up yourself, the band also got bigger and bigger. I love it when you can connect a band’s discography to your own biography. I guess there’s not that many bands out there. And for me one of those bands is definitely Berlin’s finest – the Beatsteaks.

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Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

Looking at your face in the dark, you don’t even look that smart

Some things take a little while to reach a certain degree of quality. Things like a good red wine, a single cask whiskey or a great guitar are getting better with age. Some bands tend not to follow this logic. Their debut albums will always be cherished by some fans as the opus magnum.
When you think about punk rock, it doesn’t even have to go that far, as some bands tend to exist for only a handful of years, and if they do manage to exist for longer, their output might stay quality (think Bad Religion, Nofx et al), but it never reaches the heights of their earlier work anymore.
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