Marissa Nadler, PHARMAKON, Youth Code, Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

Marissa Nadler is an American dream-folk and indie-rock musician. Nadler studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she began her performing career after writing songs for many years. Nadler writes strange, yet classic, melancholy songs. Her voice is often bathed in a wash of reverb and space echo and creates a ghostly, atmospheric feeling to the music.

She has American Gothic leanings; her songs often take place in an imagined, idealistic time with a cast of characters of her own creation. Her links to American Gothic are reinforced by "Annabelle Lee", the last song on her debut album, Ballads of Living and Dying, which puts the poem of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe to a musical backing. Singing in a haunting mezzo-soprano, the foundation of her songs are her delicate 6-string acoustic guitar, often accompanied by variety of instruments, including electric guitar, theramin, and piano. Marissa Nadler is continuously thought of as a prolific and thoughtful musician, and it seems that a neverending flow of beautiful songs pours from her fingers and voice.

"Circular drumming, gauzed vocals, and synthetic harmonium suggest the unlikely union of Cocteau Twins and Swans...It's like Grouper coming back down the Hill or Valet emerging from the Acid, but more memorable and accessible than both." - Pitchfork, 8.3

PHARMAKON is the solo noise project of MARGARET CHARDIET, an unexpectedly powerful performer who's won praise for her shows all over New York. Combining ghoulish, distorted and reverberating vocals over harsh industrial beats, Brooklyn Vegan hailed her performance for its demonic possession, the spilling over of a rage so pure, powerful and misanthropic that it seized total control"-- Brooklyn Vegan

Youth Code

Few bands are as committed to classic EBM and Wax Trax-style industrial as Los Angeles' Youth Code. Dark wave is in. Minimal synth. Noise techno. But EBM and early industrial seem to be pushed to the periphery, existing more for nostalgic aging goths than cool young people like you and me. Youth Code seem like cool young people, though, and they employ sampled dialogue and clashing synths without sounding dated or cheesy. "Carried Mask," from their forthcoming debut album, is genuinely menacing, echoing the true sonic terrorism of Throbbing Gristle and its offshoots as opposed to the more poppy and less timeless bounce of, say, Nitzer Ebb. The screamed vocals and cluttered density of noise make "Carried Mask" viscerally exciting, and its production is heavy and crisp, allowing it to feel like a 2013 continuation of the Wax Trax aesthetic rather than a sad 2013 stab at reclaiming the past. - Ad Hoc

Continuing to shapeshift and unravel, while using unorthodox songwriting techniques that border on the incomprehensible, avant-garde extreme metal quartet PYRRHON return with What Passes For Survival. Dense, volatile, and drenched in manic ferocity, What Passes For Survival is an aural challenge that refuses to adhere to genre conventions, merging strategic orchestrated bursts of death metal chaos with expanses of unhinged improvisation. The latest stage of PYRRHON’s metamorphosis is one that demands repeated audio submersion from the listener, and satisfies those craving sonic extremity that pushes limits.

Couch Slut

From Brooklyn, New York, Couch Slut shook the underground in 2014 with the release of its debut, My Life as a Woman. Stereogum called that album "engagingly smart and terrifyingly blunt" and pegged the sound as "a little bit Oxbow and a little bit Today Is the Day during the AmRep years... It's catharsis through pain, both for the listener and the band. But it's also smart in the way it sets expectations and subverts them."

New album Contempt carries on in this fashion – Couch Slut's savagery and intelligence are both in full effect, adding up to an album that thrills on two levels. Opening track "Funeral Dyke" sets the tone, with a skronking saxophone buried under a grimy, blackened, noise-rock blitz. Later in the song, a tambourine rattles along happily with the beat as vocalist Megan Osztrosits screams, "I will fuck you, now you're dirt!"

Contrasts such as those on display in "Funeral Dyke" are what make Contempt the engrossing, dynamic affair that it is. The band's foundation rests on the scorched earth between Unsane's pounding NYC hate-rock and Darkthrone's mournful metal, but Contempt is filled with surprises. The songs are peppered with odd instrumentation – the aforementioned saxophone and tambourine, as well as tuba, trombone, accordion, viola, and concert bells – and tend to begin on one path and end on another. A cold dirge erupts into a chugging thrashfest; a sludgy rocker slides into a wistful jam recalling Sonic Youth's more tender moments.

A consistent force throughout the album is Osztrosits' wild-eyed, hair-raising voice. Harsh and unsettling, every snarled word slashes at nerves. Atop the twisting, writhing, and rocking of guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, bassist Kevin Hall, and drummer Theo Nobel, her confessional lyrics paint horrific pictures of "anger, depression, terror, drug abuse, mental illness, violence, the surreal, longing, and loss."

Gilead Media owner Adam Bartlett says this: "As a label that releases a fair amount of black metal, doom, and other varieties of 'extreme music,' the concept of visceral and transgressive art is nothing new to Gilead Media. But Contempt may stand as one of the most vicious and unnerving releases in the label's history."

Contempt was recorded by Couch Slut's Kevin Wunderlich and former member Amy Mills. It was mixed by Caley Monahan-Ward (Extra Life, Voice Coils) and mastered by James Plotkin (Leviathan, Sumac).

The cover art was created by Leandro De Cotis, the artist behind the X-rated My Life as a Woman cover which sparked many discussions upon its release.

Sporting brains and brawn, Couch Slut makes music that punches the gut and stimulates the mind. Contempt's harrowing version of rock reflects its hometown – dirty, dangerous, dazzling – and secures the band's place in the line of great NYC documentarians, from Sonic Youth to Swans, from Unsane to Pyrrhon.

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