KEN Mode, Pyrrhon (Record Release!), Fight Amp, Couch Slut

KEN mode (an acronym for Kill Everyone Now) is a Canadian metallic hardcore-influenced noise rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba that was formed in September 1999.

Formed by brothers Jesse (guitar/vocals) and Shane Matthewson (drums) and long-time friend Darryl Laxdal (bass), the group released several demos from 1999 to 2003, leading to the release of their debut full length Mongrel on Escape Artist Records.[2][3]
Several tours followed with the likes of Relapse Records' The End ,[4] Sulaco and American Heritage [5] in addition to regional dates with Mastodon, Burnt By The Sun, Anodyne, Pelican, Harkonen, Breather Resist, The Dream is Dead, Psyopus, Daughters, and Buried Inside across the Midwestern and East Coast United States, and throughout Canada. In 2004 Laxdal left the band,[6] only to rejoin in 2005 to finish the band's follow-up record Reprisal, released in 2006 on CD by Escape Artist Records, and on double-LP by No List Records. After the recording of Reprisal Laxdal and the band parted ways again.[7] Picking up bass duties after Laxdal's departure was Drew Johnston (guitarist in Electro Quarterstaff)[8][9] who also played with Jesse, Shane and Darryl in Hide Your Daughters.
In October 2006 the band took part in the "Exclaim! Magazine Aggressive Tendencies Tour" with Pelican and Daughters across Canada.[10] Bass duties were handled by former Kittens and Projektor member Jahmeel Russell who played with Jesse, Shane and Drew in Hide Your Daughters.[11]
KEN mode went on to work with Jahmeel for the band's third full-length, Mennonite, which was released in July 2008[12] on CD by Jesse Matthewson's own label, Arctodus Records, and on 3x7" vinyl by No List Records.
Prior to releasing Mennonite, Chad Tremblay joined the band as their fourth bassist in two years. The band embarked on a European tour with Welsh rockers Taint.[13] Chad would go on to direct the bands debut music video for the song "Extending Common Courtesy Throughout The Evening" from their Mennonite album.[citation needed]
In 2010 the band announced that Profound Lore Records will release its fourth full length album, titled Venerable, to be recorded August 2010 with Kurt Ballou of Converge. They also announced several North American tours with Gaza, Engineer, Rosetta, Buried Inside, Wolvhammer, Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire, and others.[14]

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.

Fight Amp

Fight Amp (Translation Loss / Brutal Panda Records) is a metal band from Williamstown, NJ. According to the Metal Review "Fight Amp have correctly identified the rhythm section as the driving force in their chosen style, and holy hell do these boys bring in the bottom end. Bassist Jon Dehart's über-gravelly bass tone coats even the band's more restrained moments in knee-deep sludge, and Mike Howard's tom-heavy skinsmanship is equally propulsive during both speedy segments and the band's miles-deep grooves. Phil Cope (Baroness, Kylesa) delivers an absolutely perfect sound for Manners and Praise; the guitars sound bristling and barely in control at times, but the band as a whole never gets mired in their own murk.

And that sense of just-barely-holding-it-together is crucial to what Fight Amp are trying to do here. These guys draw just as much from a punk-rock sense of unease as they do from metal's sonic firepower. Their songs are documents of the frustrations regular people face as they go about their lives; Dehart and guitarist Mike McGinnis's everyman vocals spin tales of quiet, grinding desperation and encroaching apathy. If Fight Amp relied on the grandiose and/or cartoonish lyrical themes that pervade so much metal, their messiness might be a drawback. Instead, it's a boon."

They're on their third extended tour this year starts this coming Tuesday, September 6th across the U.S. and Canada.

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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