Philadelphia’s Big Burly is releasing their debut 7” with Strange Mono on July 18. Big Burly, described as “Powerviolence Jesus Lizard”, is the long awaited side project from members of Spesimin, The Company Corvette, and Programmed Hatred. Big Burly’s signature sound puts bassists Jess Kramer and Ross Pritchet front and center. The guitarless band is balanced perfectly by Ian Dykstra’s pounding drum style while Dan T’s deranged vocals serve up relentless energy. Big Burly aims to remove the preconceptions of how Punk is supposed to sound. Wry humor, blisteringly short songs, and non-repetitive structures all combine to make something truly unique and fun to listen to.
“Inspiration for the lyrics largely came from my childhood experiences. Growing up in a rural area and playing with my friends in the trailer park. Observing alcoholism, violence, ‘Christian values’, and generally abysmal states of being that seem totally normal because you’re a kid.” – Dan T
“One night while hanging out in a warehouse full of moving trucks I admitted that I’d always wanted to be in a band with two basses and no guitars. Well, it was a good thing I did because as it turns out Big Burly is my dream band. Ross immediately said yes and a few months later we started playing with Ian , who was down to get weird with us. Every song we wrote as a group and we only played when we could and never forced a thing. I admit some of the licks I wrote were wonky as hell but somehow Big Burly made sense of them all.” – Jess
Proceeds from sales of this album are being donated to the Philly Bail Fund. “Ending the injustice of money bail requires shifting Philadelphia’s bail system from one that is based on wealth to a fairer and more effective system based on a presumption of release before trial, except in the most exceptional circumstances.”
Various – Strange Mono Benefit For Prevention Point (SM031)
Strange Mono is announcing our Benefit For Prevention Point 7”. This compilation features six of Philly’s best Punk / Hardcore bands and marks the first vinyl release for Strange Mono. All proceeds are being donated to Prevention Point, a harm reduction charity serving Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
Mesh “Potato Head”– Philly based four-piece punk band Mesh released their well-received self-titled tape in the Summer of 2020, and haven’t released new music until now! This opening single titled “Potato Head” is a brief, explosive homage to classic synth skronkers Devo. The song features entwined angular guitar-duo riffing, mid-tempo, motorik drums, and intermittent synthesized bleeps and bloops all propelling a single verse and chorus chanting in monotone about the dismemberment of nostalgic childhood toy, Mr. Potato Head. “Potato Head” is a dizzying, frenetic, catchy song that will get your head bobbing and your feet dancing blissfully into an open manhole.
Added Dimensions “Time Blind”– Sarah Everton, formerly of Blowdryer and Bleeding Rainbow, returns with her newest enclave, Added Dimensions. Added Dimensions is an exploration of New Wave and classic punk peering through a distorted, dystopian kaleidoscopic lens. Sarah released her debut self-titled tape in 2021, receiving much acclaim from the DIY community and the journalists over at Maximum Rock N Roll. This single “Time Blind” explores feelings of malaise and existential exile delivered with an effortless-feeling catchy melody. The sound is electric and metallic, like licking a battery. The perfect soundtrack for smoking cigs in space.
Shitty Wizard “Bust Through The Crust”– Philly’s Shitty Wizard are masters of comically perverse and nihilistic hyper-infectious party punk. Taking cues from bands like Mondo Bizarro era Ramones, GG and The Jabbers, and The Dead Boys, they deliver explosive rock n roll that prods the listeners with sardonic beer-soaked unbridled earworms. This track “Bust Through The Crust” takes its audience on a jet-fueled, powerful odyssey of kicking dicks and, well, busting through the crust. Hot licks, caveman drums, and guttural catchy vocals make “Bust Through The Crust” every hesher’s wet dream. One listen and you’ll be drinking gas and pissing fire like a real psychedelic cowboy.
Nothing Is Over “Think Long and Hard”– Hardcore punks Nothing is Over deal in unrelenting thrash and hardcore crossover that is equally pummeling and enlightened. On their single “Think Long and Hard”, the group hammers the song into your skull with dogged, chaotic yet dialed drums, powered by 80’s hardcore riffs which lay the foundation for clear and powerful primitive vocals. The song’s arrangement is well-plotted and has incredible structural dynamics. Thematically, the lyrics convey feelings of visceral contempt and foreboding revenge lust. Throw in a ten second absolutely insane shredding guitar solo and you’ve got local crusters pulverizing each other in the pit like its Black Friday at Walmart.
Programmed Hatred “Power and Control”– Half man, half machine, Philly’s Programmed Hatred are a grab bag of power electronics, hardcore, powerviolence, and cyber punk inundated with samples and a heavily anti-capitalist, anti-police ethos. Their newest single “Power and Control” is a forty-five second nuclear war. This song takes a bleak, spastic yet memorable jaunt into a digital hardcore hellscape. Its sound is cohesive and congruent but fresh, unpredictable and unhinged: a post-apocalyptic hallucination. Prepare to be uploaded, assimilated, and annihilated by the next generation of heavy music.
Concrete Caveman “Doom Scrolls”– Concrete Caveman take a calculated, sadistic, yet artful approach to heavy music. They are masterfully-versed in punk and metal, and their songwriting is a brutal blend of these genres. Their newest single “Doom Scrolls Master” is a mid-tempo, heavily-textured, expansive composition. The guitars bleed metallic dirge over pulsing, stompy drums in a focused and controlled arrangement. The vocals are largely influenced by toothy classic American hardcore, feverishly barking and snarling. Nothing is overplayed, creating a sense of tension and control. “Doom Scrolls Master” is a raw and feral conceptual beast, untethered, free-falling, and decimating everything in sight.
Truculent – A Workers Guide To Transfiguration (SM035)
Truculent is the moniker for Philadelphia guitarist Dan Timlin. Since 2016 Truculent has developed his sound by blending melodic rhythmic guitar compositions with field recordings and found sounds to create atmospheric soundscapes. Truculent began as a therapeutic exercise to connect thoughts and trauma with positivity through music.
Fugue State is a solo project of Western Massachusetts multi-instrumentalist & producer Shane Bruno (Bridge of Flowers, et al), who wrote and recorded the songs that comprise “Subtlety’s Dead” in relative isolation between 2020 and 2022 in his home studio.
Fugue State takes everything we love about bands like Pere Ubu, The Cramps, Butthole Surfers, and early Sympathy For The Record Industry releases, and creates a fresh sound rooted in the fundamentals of Rock. Crunchy, in your face, and relentlessly catchy, “Subtlety’s Dead” is not afraid to get weird. Tracks like “Mundane Man” and “Ship On The Ocean” are sure to stick to your ribs with their ecstatic Sax freak outs (performed by Wednesday Knudsen of Pigeons and Weeping Bong Band). While “Abscess” and “The Pipeline” take on moodier, more freeform grooves. This debut marks Fugue State as an up and coming artist to watch.
Proceeds from sales of this album are being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds to help their mission to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access
Strange Mono is announcing the release of Ixian’s “Collective Indiscipline” available May 16. From Athens GA Daniel Shroyer has been consistently delivering intense and inspired Black Metal as Ixian since their debut “Many Machines” in 2019. Honing in on what makes the genre special, Daniel deftly crafts his songs with more attention to detail then your typical Black Metal performer. Ixian places experimentation above conforming to genre. Pushing the boundaries of a genre burdened by repetition is no easy feat, yet Ixian’s blend of harsh noise, pummeling drums and frenetic guitar riffs, seems natural and organically inspired.
The album’s opener “Centrocaspian Dictatorship” hits like a ton of bricks to the face preparing the listeners for what’s to come. The album churns with brooding intensity and erratic drum machines “Holodomor” offers listeners the briefest glimpse of a melody then swiftly reeling back into the obliterated noise. The albums namesake track builds on the bleak themes present throughout, revolving around frantic guitar arpeggios. In total Ixian’s “Collective Indiscipline” is a worthwhile addition to a discography of bittersweet, noisy, and unique Black Metal.
Ixian is extreme to its core.
Proceeds from this album benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds in their mission to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.
Ruah‘s first full length album “Ruwa” sees producer/songwriter Benjamin Schurr laying the groundwork for the project utilizing various types of analog, warm guttural distortions against hypnotic mantras, speaker rattling bass synths, post-industrial rhythms, ethereal pads and ancient acoustic instruments.
“Lyrically I wanted to focus on the power of belief and devotion in the face of a pervasive violent uncertainty. Sonically I wanted to maintain the songcraft I was honing with my old band Br’er but take it into new, unfamiliar realms and make sure that all the sounds felt both unknown to me and also emotionally affecting”. The record was recorded between Richmond Va and Philadelphia, where Schurr was born and recently returned, features guests Maura Pond (Luna Honey, Nyxy Nyx,) and Madeline Johnston (midwife)
The album has scope. Flowing through the industrial synths of “A Violent Sound” and “Spite”, the primal rhythms of “Guidance” and “Synthesized Skies”, ultimately resolving into the sparse drama of “Lord Come Down”. Ben shows us how capable he is, both as a producer and a songwriter. Showcasing a maturity of craft and attuned ear, the product of years of dedication.
What influenced you to start Ruah?
“I wanted to take the wisdom (ha!) I possibly acquired from the years of doing Br’er and other projects to move forward with intention. I don’t want there to be a formula to what the project can and can’t do, and I still want to feel like I’m discovering fire when I’m creating the music; but I do want the delivery of how it arrives in the world to be very much on a path”
What inspired your album art? “The album art comes from a stained glass piece called Amos made by Jacob Landau at synagogue Keneseth Israel which I went to as a child. I remember being transfixed looking at it during services while this incredibly somber powerful organ music would play, Which is a feeling I would access a lot while writing the record. The whole still shows this really intense abstract sense of people being both hypnotized by a terrifying tv face and reflecting the sort of almost orgiastic horror of being deafened and lured in by the noise of music. Seemed appropriate”
What motivates your writing process?
“I see songwriting as one of the few places that’s truly mine, and I want that space to be honest. whether it’s reflective or trying to manifest something. In ways it’s like casting spells, and It’s about what energy I want to draw from and draw in, which echoes my sentiments towards being very intentional in my work, and def being aware of what I’m attempting to say/attract. I’ve worked no shortage of shitty jobs and i really value the time I have to hopefully put something meaningful into the world, and I don’t believe anything good will come from me not being true to my intentions as a songwriter”
Can you walk us through your approach to producing?
“I like the collage approach to production that’s kinda a tapestry of a bunch of weird sounds that are meaningful to me that I weave together into a (hopefully) cogent piece of music. I’m always chasing the sense of wonder and discovery of finding new (to me) sounds and textures. I also really love finding old ideas that I maybe forgot about and recontextualizing them, I never get sick of the thrill of putting weird shit together!”
Strange Mono is announcing the release of Philly duo Idiot Mambo’s debut album “Flamingo In Limbo”. Married couple Benji Davis and Leah G. have been creating music together for the last few years usually resulting in one or two songs every few months. “All of the material was written and recorded during a manic episode in December” Benji explained about the burst of creative energy. “I’ve usually got musical ideas bouncing around in my head, but I’m inconsistent when it comes to doing anything with these ideas“. Benji says “I decided to push myself to grind out a bunch of tracks in a timebox, and Flamingo in Limbo is what I ended up with.”
All proceeds from this album are being donated to The South Philadelphia Community Fridge. A community-centered and 100% volunteer organization dedicated to giving all Philadelphians access to fresh and healthy food.
Flamingo In Limbo showcases Idiot Mambo’s songwriting range from Indie pop earworm “b tru 2 ur st8” to the subtle Nilsson-eque “Love Thyself” and “Omnibus” which does a 180 into 90’s style club beats. Throughout Flamingo In Limbo Benji and Leah make it abundantly clear just how skilled they are at crafting catchy inspired tunes. Benji describes his production process.”On occasion I’ll write out a song fully on a guitar and then build around it. More often, I’ll start with a snippet of a melody or something and get that germ into my computer. Then I’ll flesh out rhythm, instrumentation, vocals, and evolve it into something I can call ‘done’. I must’ve been feeling nostalgic about the keyboards I messed around with as a kid because I constructed most of the beats for this tape using Casio ‘Super Drums’. It’s janky, but it feels like home. The whole project is sort of like a demo tape that I got to make with my 7 year old self.”
“Some keen listeners will read between the lines and appreciate this song as a pondering on the nature of statism, or maybe a musing on social identity theory, but I’m actually just reading off the wikipedia entry for Pennsylvania. We needed an anthem”- Benji on the inspiration behind “b tru 2 ur st8”.
A textile designer by day Leah worked meticulously on the design for the album. The J-cards for the tape are printed using risograph “[I] wanted to create a riso printed zine a few years ago, but never did. This album art seemed like the perfect time to finally try riso!”. Risograph printing can be described as ‘digital screen printing’ which forces designers to take a different approach than what they are used to. “Our vision for the art always included neon pink flamingos. One cool thing about riso printing is it allows you to print fluorescent pink. We used pink, blue, and yellow ink which created some other shades when colors overlapped. We think the crunchy look of the art and printing technique echoes the sound of the album perfectly.”
Why did you pick south philly community fridge as your benefit? “No one should go hungry while others have more than they need. The South Philly Community Fridge has established six ‘free fridges’ around my neighborhood over the past few years. They’re founded on a model of take what you need, leave what you can, but they also work with local restaurants and grocers to redistribute food before it goes to waste. I appreciate that there’s no office to stand in line at, no forms to fill out, and no questions asked—just fresh food made available to people that need it. I’m also optimistic that the fridges, being visible in public spaces, will force some complacent or oblivious folks to confront the issues they address. Inequity is a seemingly intrinsic part of our culture because we’ve accepted it as such. We can cultivate the will and the means to abolish gross disparity.”
Clang Quartet – A Slow Death For The Peacemaker (SM0NR2)
Strange Mono, in collaboration with No Rent Records, are announcing the release of Clang Quartet’s new full length album A Slow Death For The Peacemaker. Clang Quartet is the musical project of Scotty Irving (drummer for Spirit Of Hamlet, Geezer Lake, Eugene Chadbourne, and others) self described as “HARSH NOISE, DRUMS, PERFORMANCE ART FOR JESUS since 1997”. Clang Quartet can’t be contained by genre. A true industrial renegade from Stokesdale NC, Scotty has performed with artists like Mike Watt, Ariel Pink, Acid Mothers Temple, Z’EV, and countless more.
Scotty has been persevering under the moniker of Clang Quartet for over two decades. Refining his long form improvisational performances that utilize homemade instruments, sculptures, masks, and divine inspiration, into unforgettable moments in time. How does someone who has so brutally never fit in with his church, his peers, or noise music as a whole find the drive to keep going? Scotty believes in himself and his righteous acts of expression. He doesn’t know if what he makes will resonate or make a difference to those around him but he believes in the work. He believes in what he is putting out into the universe. He believes in humankind’s overarching search for peace through art and expression. Clang Quartet’s output can at times be as ugly as it is enthralling, and as brutal as it is endearing. Every coin has two sides. We believe in Scotty and so should you.
A Slow Death For The Peacemaker marks another step in the transitional sound for Clang Quartet. The use of lyrics, a more targeted approach to composition, and a directness of subject matter propel Clang Quartet into a new era. Building on his last release 2021’s Judge Thy Neighbor, Love Thyself, Scotty drilled down creating a more concentrated sound. The album’s first track “The Abortion Card” has a classic rock and roll structure of hooks that reinforces the lyrical depth. “With Weariness And Heavy Heart” has a more intimate feel with vocals that are subtle, heartfelt, and close, paired with sparse rhythms and an escalating atmosphere. Banished From Eden/A Christian Without A Church takes on a hymnal feeling with layered melodies and soft rising drones showing us what early industrial acts like Current 93 could have become in the later years. The album’s last two tracks are more a return to the classic Clang sound. Friends Become Enemies (Psalm 55:12-16)/Purification By Fire (Ezekiel 22:17-22)/Prayer For Peace (Psalm 139) has lush layers of noise, spasmodic percussion, and samples finally resolving in the flowing of a river. Sufficient Grace (sounds based on my December 2022 MRI)(2 Corinthians 12:9) the album’s final track is triumphant in its minimalism as Scotty attempts to recreate the sounds he heard as he underwent an MRI for his recent cancer diagnosis.
Clang Quartet has been an important voice in experimental music since the late 90’s and will continue to be “Until God is finished with me on planet Earth”.
All the proceeds from sales through Strange Mono are being donated to Second Harvest, a hunger relief charity that serves North Carolina.
Your new album “A Slow Death For The Peacemaker” is kind of a departure from your last recordings. What inspired the shift in direction?
“This new one is not as TUNE oriented as JUDGE was. JUDGE was made up of a number of unfinished songs that I was writing for another unnamed project. In the end I decided to use them for Clang Quartet. SLOW DEATH FOR THE PEACEMAKER has fewer riffs simply because I didn’t have many to use this time around. The ones I did have wound up being smothered in a volcano of harsh noise and percussion! I DID continue using words as part of the overall sound, and this release will have yet another lyric sheet with it. This is only the second time I have used a lyric sheet!”
Your first track on the Album “The Abortion Card” is delivered like the lord’s prayer. Asking forgiveness for the contradictions in modern christianity. Are these contradictions something you find yourself struggling with?
“What most Christians consider being CHRISTIAN these days is NOT a representation of what JESUS says in my opinion. I simply feel that we’ve turned our backs on basically ANYONE who is not like us, or someone in our immediate church family. I hear people say that their church is open to ALL PEOPLE, but I know people personally who would be asked to LEAVE their church if they visited, and one of those people is probably going to be ME.
I have a major problem with people who refer to themselves as PRO-LIFE but seem to only focus on unborn children. In other words, they focus only on people who can’t disagree with them, dress differently than them, can’t believe or DISBELIEVE in God, etc., but when these children are born, suddenly that LOVE just disappears. Then they treat these children the same way they treat the adults they don’t approve of. PRO-LIFE should mean LIFE PERIOD, not just pre-birth, shouldn’t it?”
The last track on the album “Sufficient Grace (sounds based on my December 2022 MRI)(2 Corinthians 12:9)” is stark, with its minimalism, yet at the same time triumphant and resolved. Do you think your power is made perfect in weakness?
“For those of you reading this who do NOT know, that MRI led to a low level prostate cancer diagnosis a few weeks later. I have had a biopsy, and my urologist and I have agreed to not go the surgical route at this time. This is a VERY slow moving cancer that more men die WITH than FROM. I will continue my six month visits to the urologist and take further steps IF needed. Now, my recording was a somewhat silly attempt at reproducing what I heard during that MRI, which was very interesting. I couldn’t bring a recording device inside the exam room with me, so it’s all from memory. Other people I know who have had MRIs have said it sounds pretty close! MY power is only mine because God is working through me. Until God is finished with me on planet Earth. I am going to do all I can to try and bring people closer together. For ME, Jesus IS that way. Not the militant version of Jesus so many people are trying to push these days, either.”
This album seems to focus on themes like alienation, the search for peace, and reconciliation with death. Can you share a little with us on how these themes have impacted your life?
“Some of this has been answered, but I will add that I feel people are far too focused on their political party today and not what their political party STANDS for. Politics and driving are very much alike because veering too far left or too far right will put you in a ditch. I do truly believe that some of my fellow Christians are more concerned about gun laws than protecting people. I know that some Christians have made comments about people like me as if we are trying to keep them from defending themselves or their families. I live in great concern over some of my neighbors more than I will ever fear another foreign terrorist attack.”
You seem to be sharing more of your feelings with these tracks. Was there catharsis for you in creating this?
“To an extent, every CQ release has some form of catharsis with it. I want people to understand that I know that I have fallen short of the glory of God. I can point fingers at other people and say “YOU, YOU, YOU”, but really it should be ME, ME, ME. I am never guiltless in all of this. I just pray my efforts are more helpful than UNhelpful.”
Here we are again at the end of the month rushing to share what has been on repeat here at Strange Mono HQ! This time we have something a little different! Jess went ahead and created a spring themed spotify playlist for your aural pleasures! You can thank us later.
Webb Chapel’s second outing with Strange Mono delivers another hefty dose of psychedelic pop songs. Primary songwriter Zack Claxton took a new approach to creating SPEEDING adding new layers of emotional urgency to Zack’s music. Comprised of new originals and original new takes on classic songs from post punk band Mary Goes Round and contemporaries Acid Freek.
Zack had this to say about the recording process “SPEEDING was made in a little studio space on germantown ave. It felt like there was a Tom Parker/Kathy Bates character who wouldn’t let me stop or leave unless another band was in there practicing. I didn’t see sunlight for what seemed like quite a while. I remember watching ‘all the king’s men’ about the Memphis mafia on YouTube and deep diving into Elvis as an entity or spirit. It seemed like he was commiserating or communicating with me on some level. Also Patti Duke interviews. By the time I was making Rosaline I was having trouble hearing notes or music, it all sounded like street noises. SPEEDING is an ode to 50’s/60’s workhorse bands with shitty contracts.”
This album features the titular cover from fellow Philly band Acid Freek. “I met Ben (drummer in Tagabow) when we were playing some shows together on a mini tour in the hudson valley. He told me about his other band Acid Freek and explained that he thought the recordings were basically unlistenable. I remember staying in a motel that night and everybody was watching Tombstone on TV and I listened to their record just by holding my phone up against my ear. I knew that it was something special pretty immediately and speeding stuck out as the flagship track as it were. For whatever reason I became kind of obsessed with it and my initial concept was to cover it 9 or 10 times in different variations but I bottomed out after 2.“
SPEEDING also features covers of three songs (Useless Day, Mary Sleeps Alone, Mary’s Garden) by the french post-punk band Mary Goes Round. “When I gave up on the idea of a full release of speeding covers, I decided to try my hand at covering other songs that I love. I was initially going to try to cover the whole album Sunset by Mary Goes Round but I gave up on that as well. I eventually decided to make the release a combination of both attempts with my own songs wedged in as some kind of fried smorgasbord.” After recording the songs Zack reached out to Jerome Avril (Mary Goes Round) to ask for permission to use the songs. “It felt like getting a blessing from the pope. They were both like ‘yeah, Awesome!’ I’m also thrilled I even got to communicate with Jerome Avril.”
PAWS is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Philadelphia’s homeless and at-risk pets. Each year, PAWS finds loving homes for thousands of animals in need, and enables thousands of families to keep their cherished pets. PAWS is working to make Philadelphia a no-kill city where every savable pet is guaranteed a home.