Saturday, 25 March 2017

11 IS ONE LOUDER: TJ Maynard (Bass) of Vermont Bass-Only Sludge trio chooses his top 5 Noise Rock Albums

Ghastly Sound are a gritty, loud, unforgiving and uncompromising trio focused on guitar less volume worship and a love for high-energy riffs.  The band began writing songs as a two-piece around the foundation of childhood friends TJ Maynard (bass) and Ryan Lewis (drums), who soon attracted the straightforward candor and raw power of vocalist Tyler Gurwicz.  Sounding like Torche playing Truckfighters with the ghost of Dio on vocals and also bringing to mind Big Business indulging in secret stadium rock fantasies.  Ghastly Sound’s presence is as large as it is loud:  rolling, thunderous tones blended with splashes of groove, sludgy bass riffs merging with spiraling time signatures, burning screams interwoven with anthemic melodies and pummeling hooks. 

Drawing influences from contemporaries like Kylesa, Torche and Every Time I Die as well as pioneers from Helmet to Unsane, Ghastly Sound’s debut EP is here to remind listeners of a time when bands and people lived authentically and loud.  Welcome Ghastly Sound and prepare to worship at the altar of volume, as we invite them to take us through their top 5 noise rock records, as we take our weekly trip into the extreme and turn the volume all the way up to 11.  Why do we go to 11,  because “It’s one louder, isn’t it?” Over to TJ Maynard for all the details

I’m TJ, and I play bass guitar for Ghastly Sound. When The Sludgelord approached us about doing a piece on Noise Rock, we all got really excited and sat down to come up with this list of bands. Since we recently our EP, we thought it would be fitting to select other EPs to talk about. While this isn’t really in any particular order, I’m going to talk about my personal favorite first.

These Arms Are Snakes – “This Is Meant To Hurt You”

Off the shelf, this record draws you in. With a title like that, how could you not want to listen? One of the great things about this band is how bold they were willing to be; they don’t sound like anyone but themselves. It’s completely genuine. They’re able to craft such dense songs that it takes a few passes to really pick up everything. As a listener, this band can take you as deep as you’re willing to go with them, and it’s a rewarding experience. Right up to now, Brian Cook remains one of the most stand-out working musicians.

Cave-In – “Planets of Old”

We’re citing this album, but let’s be honest — Cave-In is one of the most widely influential bands in heavy underground rock. Even if you’re not still listening to Cave-In records specifically, you’re likely listening to Mutoid Man, Old Man Gloom, or Clouds. If you’re not, you’re screwing up. Hard. Cave-In’s use of effects and willingness to go from atmospheric post-rock to hardcore to doom-caliber heavy riffs make them one of those bands that can serve as a default no matter what your current mood might be. 

Daughters – “Canada Songs”

This might be cheating because there are 10 tracks on this record, but with a total run-time of 11 minutes, 11 seconds, we’re calling this an EP. When talking about Daughters, we’ve got to address presentation. I was a sophomore in high school when this record came out, and we were all lucky enough to see them perform it at the iconic 242 Main. I remember they loaded in a shit-load of cabs wrapped in animal prints instead of tolex. They started to perform, and it was the most tightly-knit mess we had ever heard. In between songs, Alexis has this just complete-asshole character. Again, the willingness to be that bold and committed is something we all admire. The atmosphere in the room that night still sticks with all of us.

United Nations – “Never Mind the Bombings, Here’s Your Six Figures”

This is another example where presentation becomes just as important as content. When you first hear this band, you immediately think “Geoff Rickly.” Then you look a little deeper and find that none of the other members are actually able to reveal their identities. The mystery of it is kind of captivating! From a songwriting standpoint, United Nations’ ability to fuse ugly-to-pretty passages together is something that has a big influence on what we try to do. Especially vocally. Again, this is one of those bands that you hear, you know it’s familiar-sounding, and you know you like it, but you can’t really stuff them into one specific genre. I think that’s how most bands end up with the “Noise Rock” moniker, haha.

Glassjaw – “Our Color Green”

Glassjaw is instantly recognizable, another band that can only sound like themselves. For this EP to be as great as it is as a follow-up to - and with the gap in time between - “Worship and Tribute” is nothing short of extraordinary. I have no idea of the details of what went on between Glassjaw and Roadrunner Records, but whatever it was cost modern Rock & Roll in a huge way. Had Glassjaw gotten the support they needed, I think it would’ve completely changed the landscape as we know it today. We would have genuine, scary, rock bands. Instead, alternative rock radio basically consists of a bunch of bands that either sound like they’re recording b-sides for the lion king soundtrack or NASCAR commercials.

“Ghastly Sound” is available here

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