If you know me, or listened to some of the podcasts I’ve been on, or even read much of this blog, you know that I love the band Shallow North Dakota. I saw them play with Keelhaul at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland in ’97 or ’98 (I can’t recall exactly). It was my first exposure to both bands, and both made a very lasting impression on me. They were both the heaviest, gnarliest stuff I’d seen up to that point. A year or two later, some of you may recall a service called EMusic.com gained some traction. This service gave you unlimited mp3 downloads for a flat rate per month, and I was briefly subscribed. I was astounded when I saw that they offered up some of Shallow North Dakota’s back catalog and downloaded it (along with a ton of AmRep stuff). I listened to those 128kbit rate mp3s a lot, but sorta of lost touch with the band since they were so far underground that little news ever made it to me in Ohio.
Fast forward to a few years back, and I saw a Facespace posting in the Noise Rock Now group from someone in the band making a joke about how expensive their CDs were on discogs while he was sitting on a vast supply in his basement. I sent a PM inquiring how to order and within a week or two, I finally had This Apparatus Must be Earthed and the split with Kittens in a physical format. Score! Sadly, last year it was revealed that the band’s vocalist and drummer, Tony Jacome, was diagnosed with cancer. Straight away, we saw a benefit split release featuring Kowloon Walled City, KENmode, and SND themselves (totally rips, BTW) and I was amazed at the outpouring of support (because I’d never talked with anyone who’d even heard of them around here). I should not have been surprised given the band’s impact on me, but I was. They really touched a lot of people. Sadly, the news eventually broke that Jacome had passed away. Then, out of nowhere, more news dropped that this massive twenty-nine track, double CD Tribute album had been compiled featuring a veritable who’s who of underground heavy hitters like The Great Sabatini, Fashion Week, Fuck The Facts, Intercourse, and The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, just to name a few. Holy crap.
After teasing tracks for the past few weeks, the entire album saw it’s digital release today. All I can say is… WOW. To be fair, I haven’t listened to the originals of many of these tracks in a long while, so I listened to this with pretty fresh ears and most of the bands really knocked it out of the park. This is too long (again, 29 tracks) for me to do my typical track by track breakdown, so I’m just going to call out some of the highlights after my first listen. This is gonna take me some time to really digest!
The Great Sabatini’s take on The Deadman Has A Memo is righteous. The band sounds awesome with perfect production, and it’s heavy as all get out. This band is truly amazing and you owe it to yourself to check them out.
The next track to really leap out at me was Work Party’s take on Backbone. The band sounds burly and hi-fi, especially following the sludgy grime of Asbestos Worker. The fast paced vocals sound awesome and this is a barn burner.
Cuz is one of my favorite SND tracks and Throat does the song justice, deliving a filthy, sludgy slab that hits as hard as the original.
I’m not familiar with Anthesis at all, but they truly bring the heat with a pissed, raging cover of Perna Du Pau. This is some nasty sludge! The bass sounds massive and the vocals sound like they’ve marinated in battery acid overnight. Awesome.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of NYC’s Fashion Week, and their contribution was one of my most anticipated cuts on this Tribute. Josh didn’t let me down. Chain Drive 5000 (Speed King) hits like a ton of bricks and sounds ferocious. The bass sounds gnarly, the guitar feedback is sick, the riffing is mean, the drums are in your face… the vocals are raw and blistering and I think perfect. Hot dang! This KILLS.
Outside Dakota is another fave of mine and Bison tackle the song with aplomb. It’s got all the energy, all the swagger… it cooks! This band rocks.
I love that someone covered Untitled because it’s a great song with lots of energy and a killer bouncing groove from the split with Kittens. Kudos to Not Of for bringing the ruckus!
The industrial-metal, drum-machine slog of The Swine might be one of the more original sounding covers on here, taking the source material into a different genre thanks to the inhuman drumming and brutal “death-ish” vocals. Autobody Crusher sounds truly crushing, like some vengeful machine eating through wrecks in a junk yard.
Both Tunic and The Grasshopper Lies Heavy are excellent bands, so to see this collaboration appear on here is cool. This cut doesn’t pack the same sonic heft as many of the other songs on this compilation, but the execution of Odd is second-to-none. The groove is good, and the riffs are heavy, delivering a mighty offering of stoner metal glory. I’m banging my head and scowling in disgust. Rad.
I saw Fuck The Facts a lifetime ago in the basement of Annabells alongside fellow Canadian killers, KENmode, but I’ve otherwise not kept up with the band. Their grindy, near off the rails take of Open Minded is bad ass. At this speed, the song takes on an almost Nasum like vibe. especially with how the hooks land. This is nasty! Rules.
Yep, I was also super pumped to hear how Intercourse would interpret SND and Blowhole left nothing to be desired. It rules. Ahmed posted that his vocals were largely ad-libbed about a Juggalo McDonalds he worked at as a teen, which is hilarious in concept (truthfully, I can’t make out much of what he’s saying) and the band sounds gnarly as heck. The groove is killer and I can’t help but massively headbang in agreement. Grade A.
The two-piece maelstrom of BEDTIMEMAGIC works surprisingly well covering a full band, and their cover of Diga is capital N, Nasty. I continue to be impressed by how many textures and layers these two put into their recordings. Rad.
Man, Sean Arsenian has the nerve to show up and kill it with both The Great Sabatini AND with Cell Press?!! This is another blazing slogfest, plowing through a fierce interpretation of Target that sounds like a dump truck falling on an ICU. This is a massive neck-wrecker of a tune with an awkward pulse that really makes the song sound that much nastier.
Naw is another band I have never heard from, and their treatment of Experiment certainly makes me want to seek out more. The band is heavy as lead and they tear into the material. I love the horns through the trippy bridge, and the melodic vocals are a nice touch too, but the screams are beyond pissed. Rules.
Evil Age is swinging to knock your head off with their intense romp through Blown. Dang, this brings the heat! I’ve never listened to Evil Age either, and that’s clearly a mistake because they kick all the butt on this track. Nice!
You need to get this ASAP. All proceeds go to the Jacome family, so order that double CD and dig in! – Jason