Friday, April 29, 2011

Woe began in 2007 as little more than a casual experiment of multi-instrumentalist Chris Grigg. Inspired by both the classics and contemporary raw, underground black metal, the first demo, Absinthe Invocation: Five Spells Against God, was widely received as a worthy addition to the American scene. Fast forward to 2010-2011 and you'll find Woe breaking best-off year-end lists with their latest, Quietly; Undramatically, destroying stages across the states (including sharing the Scion Rock Fest bill with the likes of Morbid Angel, Fuck The Facts, and Bastard Noise), and generally taking the US blackmetal community by storm. Bubba Crumrine takes a moment with Grigg to learn more about Woe and what's coming next. Oh, and they just so happen to be one of the top acts for this May's BIG DAY IN.

IU: When you first started Woe as a one-man project, did you aim to bring it into a live setting with multiple members?

Not at all. The goal was to keep it simple and low-key. My nature is to always push for more so the live experience was the natural next step.

IU: What first brought your interests into the realm interest of black metal and extreme music?

Kind of like playing live, I guess, it was just the natural progression of things. I was always looking for something faster and more intense, more powerful, and I just ended up with black metal and grindcore. I've spent some time trying to write other music and get into other things but I always come right back.

IU: On your debut, you performed all of the instruments - an impressive feat to say the least. What is your musical background and how did you come to be so well versed?

I started playing guitar when I was about 12 or 13, maybe younger. Having to rely on other people really frustrated me because I was writing songs but couldn't get anyone to drum so the idea of getting a kit always appealed to me. I grew up living in apartments, basically, so I never had space for one but when I was a freshman in high school, I convinced my parents to let me get a kit and leave it in our living room. Neighbors were pissed but whatever. I started drumming for a band with some friends and eventually gave up guitar; when I started Woe, I had just started playing guitar again. My playing on the first demo is really, really rough -- I could barely pull it off. Necessity forced me to get better, though, and here I am.

IU: Woe's latest, 'Quietly, Undramatically' still holds to a very raw bm sound, was this your goal going in? Will Woe's sound continue in this direction for future recordings?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ehnahre’s avant take on extreme metal has been a source of intrigue and amazement here at the IU/FREE! camp since their founding members initial defection from Kayo Dot. For the uninitiated, the band melds a blur of doom, death, and black metal with avant and 20th century components and theory to create some of the most extreme, chaotic, atonal and relentlessly unpredictable compositions in the metal or experimental world.  This is so far beyond any ‘thinking-man’s metal’ it holds its own mind-altering level of complexity and drastically creative application of technical and theoretical musicianship.

Ithaca Underground aimed to bring the band out back last spring and have been holding our collective breath since. May 7th we'll take a sigh of relief and huge huff of extreme composition at its finest. Bubba Crumrine gets the latest on the band's activities, their latest release on Crucial Blast, and in-process material.

IU: How have you all been since we last spoke back in last February?

Ryan: Doing well!  Trying to stay out of jail and the hospital as best we can.

IU: I heard you ran into some troubles on the road last fall... what happened and what keeps you and the guys going and continued to be involved in DIY touring?

Ryan: We did a tour in the fall, and it was a little rough.  Pretty poor turnouts, no money, the usual story.  We booked it with this band Wolvserpent, from Boise, and we had a great time with them, but two relatively unknown touring bands made for some pretty dismal financial prospects.  And not like we give a shit about making money, but we at least need to come close to breaking even.  We're not 20 anymore, we're too old to run around touring with $1.86 in our pockets, stealing gas and food.  That shit was awesome 10 years ago, but we unfortunately can't really afford to do it anymore.   So for now, in the states, we're going to stick a little closer to home, and just play the northeast, until we get a little more exposure and can procure a minimal guarantee.  We are however, planning a return trip to Europe as soon as possible.  They seem to be more receptive to what we're doing over there, and treat touring bands much, much better.

IU: On a more positive note, give us the low-down on the new album, 'Taming The Cannibals'!

Ryan: "Taming the Cannibals" is our most recent release, it came out on Crucial Blast in November.  It's a little bit of a departure from our first two records, as we went from 3 guitarists down to 1.  But I think we actually prefer it this way, as the dissonant harmony is much more audible without 3 guitars muddying things up.  It's a concept record of sorts, as we always do, centered around dual themes- self destruction/self loathing, and the pitfalls of modern life, or our disassociation from our more primal selves.   We culled our text material from Robinson Jeffers, Georg Trakl, Walt Whitman, and F.R. Higgins.

IU: How did you get hooked up with the fine folks at Crucial Blast?

Band Name:
Sun Spells

Location: Ithaca, NY

Formed: Fall 2010

Akyurtlu, A.,
Anderman, J.
Marshall, O.
Valla, J.

Releases: N/A

Tell us about yourselves!
Sun Spells are a reenactment society interested in the preservation of primitivist North American charismatic drone rites. Traditional electroacoustic drone performance finds its roots in the late 18th century, where naturally occurring voltaic piles and hand-cranked oscillators produced low frequency bio-acoustic waves, catalyzing the transcendent experiences of the camp followers. This colonial elaboration on the just intonation organ drone of the medieval catholic mass found further elaboration in various esoteric utopian communities. The cloister at New Harmony, the Log Tabernacle of the Beaver Island Kingdom of the Strangite Mormons, and the underground labyrinth of the pietist Amana Colonies are all known or suspected resonant structures, vibrating sympathetically with lunar, choral, and paleo-industrial fundamentals. We're also greatly influenced by
post-war movements such as Krautrock, Japanoise, and British psychedelia. We use (for the most part) guitars, drums and a modular synthesizer, though our ensemble will eventually include a large choir. The band started when the first three members (Jeff, Judd and Owen) met at a séance in an abandoned lighthouse. We've played two shows thus far. The first was at an art gallery, where we managed to shake two paintings off the wall over the course of the set. The second was in a basement, where we managed to evacuate all but three audience members. Big Day In will be our third show, and our first as a four-piece following the addition of Aydin, our bassist and color guard.

Sun Spells - "He Came From the North" by owenmartial

Monday, April 25, 2011

The upcoming Big Day In will see the Ithaca return of the Binghamton grind crew Sepsis! Last seen totally demolishing the CSMA alongside Fuck the Facts, Lux Carentes, and Genital Holograms, Sepsis are stoked to be back and once again bring the grind to Ithaca. Vii Caso caught up with vocalist Dennis Michael Lamp via email to find out what's been going on in the world of Sepsis.

IU: It's been a while since since Sepsis has played Ithaca, are you guys stoked to be back as a part of Big Day In?

Dennis Michael Lamp: We are always very psyched to be playing Ithaca. The scene up there is so diverse and always so positive. You all have shown us a lot of love from the get-go and we are very appreciative. As always, Bubba has a stacked line-up. Very honored to play amongst such heavyweights as Tombs, Woe, Sulaco and our pals in Inerds and Hiroshima Vacation.

IU: What's been going on in the Sepsis camp these days? I heard you guys recruited the drummer for Circle of Dead Children for a while?

Dennis: We have had a bit of a turbulent year, there was some inner band b33f which caused our founding drummer Dom to leave us for awhile. We picked up Mike Emm (from Binghamton grind band These Machines) to fill in for us for some time. He did a great job and is a really good dude. As of late all bullshit was cleared and Dom returned harder, faster and more ready to play then ever. We are very psyched to have the original line-up back. As far as our long time friend Matt Francis (current drummer of CODC/Hank Williams III) , he was going to be our hired gun to fill in for us if any touring/recording possibilities arose.

IU: I also heard that Grindcore Karaoke was going to release something from Sepsis. Truth? Or is there another lucky band called Sepsis out there?

Dennis: Haha that's actually a funny story. One day I saw that J.Randall twittered (or tweeted I don't know what the fuck it is) that he would be releasing Holglust, Inerds, Sepsis and a few other bands on his internet label Grindcore Karaoke. I was taken back for a moment, because we had never spoke to him whatsoever so, to clarify I emailed him. He told me he was in fact talking about another group of the same name, but was very into what he was hearing by our band and he was very interested in doing a release with us. Long story short after several emails between him and I, we concluded that a name change was in order. So as it stands we are in the process of changing our name, which I feel is necessary anyway at this point being one of many bands sharing a name. So be on the lookout, ideally our next release under a new name will be on Grindcore Karaoke.

IU: Does Sepsis have any new releases planned?

Dennis: We have a slew of new songs that were written before Doms hiatus. We have jumped right back into practicing them and it feels so good. Hopefully there will be a new name/record out this summer. We've been throwing around a few ideas for a split with local band/great dudes/providers of a practice spot Your Hero. Be on the lookout for them, think The Locust/Charles Bronson/Punx.

IU: Will you be performing any new material at Big Day In?

Dennis: We will absolutely be playing some new songs. I think roughly 2-3 from a year ago that were put on the back burner, and one totally brand new one that doesn't even have lyrics at the moment. Jason Kruger is a fucking riff machine.

IU: Any final words?

Dennis: Thanks so much Sev and everyone in Ithaca who has ever watched my band or given a shit. Bubba and everyone who make Ithaca Underground the powerhouse that it is. It's really great to see such a diverse and flourishing scene in upstate New York. Also just off the top of my head everyone should support Inerds, Revoked, Colony, Crime Pays and Hiroshima Vacation!

Photo by Kyle Edwards Balles

Sepsis will perform at BIG DAY IN on May 7th, 2011 at The Haunt with Tombs, Woe, Ehnahre, Sulaco, Oak & Bone, Night Owls, Lux Carentes, INERDS, Mouth To Mouth To Mouth, Hiroshima Vacation, and Sun Spells. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

This May will see the return of the Syracuse sludge-hardcore powerhouse Oak & Bone, back for their 2nd Big Day In show in a row. Vii Caso caught up with vocalist Weston Czerkies via email to hear his thoughts on returning to Ithaca.

IU: Two Big Day In shows in a row! Are you guys stoked to be back?

Weston: WAY stoked. Ithaca rules.

IU: Was last December's Big Day In your first time playing Ithaca?

Weston: The last BDI was a blast and considering we were a last minute addition, we felt really lucky to be a part of it. It was our first time playing Ithaca and we’re glad we left a good enough impression to be asked back.

IU: What did you guys think of the Ithaca music community?

Weston: From what I can tell the Ithaca scene seems great, really supportive of diverse independent music. It’s hard to get people on the same page when you’ve got all sorts of different genres of punk, indie, metal, etc. blending into the same shows, but from what I can tell people here seem to really be into it. It’s refreshing to see more than one type of band on a show and to see that there are enough open minds to appreciate that.

IU: Oak & Bone has a pretty interesting sound. It's hardcore, but I pick up a definite sludge metal influence.

Weston: Yeah, I might actually be the only one in the band who still thinks of us as a hardcore band at this point. At first there was definitely more of a sludge influence but I think now we’ve begun to blend more drugged-out rock riffs with a quickened hardcore pace. We all take cues from different music and the results are just a focused version of our individual influences. More of that genre-blending, yanno?

IU: Do Oak & Bone have any future releases coming out?

Weston: This June should see the release of our first full-length LP out on HEX Records! We’re thrilled to finally have this completed and to get it out to open ears. Hopefully some touring to support it will follow.

IU: Any final words?

Weston: Follow the smoke to the riff-filled land.

Photo by Maciej Wojtkowiak (who btw, does amazing work and you should check him out)

Oak & Bone will perform at BIG DAY IN on May 7th, 2011 at The Haunt with Tombs, Woe, Ehnahre, Sulaco, Night Owls, Lux Carentes, Sepsis, INERDS, Mouth To Mouth To Mouth, Hiroshima Vacation, and Sun Spells.

Thanks to everyone who came out for Ithaca Underground's five-band night on Wednesday. If you missed it (or just want to relive it) check out the videos below - including the surprise reunion of Crime Pays! No word on whether more shows are in the works but we'll keep you posted. A pleasure seeing you all as always and thanks for your continued support!  Special thanks to McNeil music who have been a huge help this spring with PA equipment, especially with the sub for this one.

The American Dollar - Fade In Out

The American Dollar

Crime Pays

Crime Pays

Paper Armies

Paper Armies

The Atomic Forces

Kites In Space

Kites In Space

Saturday, April 16, 2011

BIG DAY IN: May 7th, 2011

Welcome to another BIG DAY IN - Ithaca Underground's DIY day-fest of 12 bands for only $5. Click for details.

More vids up now from the Ithaca Underground YouTube page! We have over 230 uploads now so come visit. Footage from Pygmy Lush, Des Ark, Zevious, The Invisible Hand, Makeshift, Plasma 36, Rye n' Clover, and Kaboosh! below:

Pygmy Lush live at The Space @ GreenStar

Pygmy Lush live at The Space @ GreenStar

DES ARK live at The Space @ GreenStar

Zevious live at CSMA

Zevious live at CSMA

The Invisible Hand live at CSMA

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Band Name: Kites In Space

Location: Trumansburg/Ithaca

Formed: Summer 2008, though most of us have been playing music together for ten years or so.

Members: Benn Bartishevich, Steve Burton, Katelyn Glanton, Scott Nelson, Chris Ploss,

Releases: Kites In Space (full-length, 9/08), Machine Machine (EP, 8/10)

Tell us about yourselves: The band formed after the dissolution of our original band, Seth Feldman, because we wanted to make more interesting, exciting, and ambitious music. All of our music is self-recorded in various houses and barns. Right now, we're recording our second full-length album, which we hope to release by the summer. It's being recorded by our drummer (who is also one of our primary songwriters), Chris Ploss, who has also recorded bands like Beach Parade, Fight A Scary Dog, The Pop Winds, Baby Pony, and The Motivators. We like playing music in basements and drinking beer in the woods, and we hope we can be your friends.

Don't miss Kites In Space performing live with The American Dollar, The Atomic Forces, and Paper Armies on Wednesday, April 20th. 8PM at the GreenStar Annex (aka The Space at GreenStar), 700 W Buffalo, Ithaca, NY 14850. $5

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We've got a nice batch of live videos from earlier this spring for you! Footage is all from Kyle Rothman of DAADs (sans the Matta Gawa clip).

Footage by Bubba Crumrine

Friday, April 8, 2011

Over the last 2.5 years, we've been communicating with the supporters of IU through an eNewsletter which required a user sign-up. Recently, we've started posting these on and Facebook as well. It dawned on us that maybe we should be posting here as well. These updates on FREE! may continue or they may not so, feel free to give us your feedback! We know there are still people in Ithaca and the surrounding areas who do not know we exist so hopefully this additional medium will help others get involved and help spread the word on the artists we love and support. 

Greetings from the underground,

Thanks to everyone who came out to the annex Sunday night for the show! Great sets from Womyn Boiz, Inerds, Coworkers, and Pharaohs – looking forward to seeing Inerds’ dual female fronted powerviolence at Big Day In! We’ll have WB and Coworkers back soon too. If you’re looking to catch Pharaohs, they’re playing a benefit at CSMA on Apr 9. They’ll split after spring graduation!

We have some sad news that BANNER PILOT decided to drop off their upcoming tour with THE QUEERS – this show is still on for Tues, May 24 at The Haunt with Beach Parade and Fight A Scary Dog 5PM doors, 6PM start $10 and presale are up now: - just no BxPx.

BIG DAY IN: Saturday May 7th 2011 was finalized as TOMBS, WOE, EHNAHRE, SULACO, Oak & Bone, Night Owls, Lux Carentes, Sepsis, Inerds, Mouth To Mouth To Mouth, Hiroshima Vacation, and Sun Spells. Still just $5, 12PM-10PM at The Haunt. Help us spread the word on this one!

We posted two new ‘Meet The Band’ pieces right here on FREE!
The Invisible Hand

Looking ahead, next week we continue one of our best April’s with the likes of Des Ark, Pygmy Lush, The American Dollar, Zevious – and a whole lot more!

Here's some footage from Sunday's show!  Apologies that it's a bit grainy. We had to lighten it quite a bit because of how back-lit the space is. Enojoy!

- Apologies that this one had to cut out partway through. There was a technical issue but the first half of the footage is good.

We've got one more Womyn Boiz clip coming soon, so check back!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Band Name: The Invisible Hand

Location: Ithaca, NY

Formed: 2010

Members: Mark Pearson (bass, guitar), Devin Conathan (drums, keys)

Releases: The Invisible Hand (2010) available HERE.

Tell us about yourselves!
Forcibly ejecting itself from your speakers like some mutant hellspawn, The Invisible Hand creeps up behind you in the darkness to tear you limb from limb. Dense swirling subsurface waves of bitcrushed deconstructed noise assault your senses as a pounding pulse keeps you barely grounded in temporal existence. Amid the undercurrents of this sea of loud, melodies struggle to the surface, gasping for breath, and quickly succumb to the undertow, plunging into oblivion like some rollercoaster designed by a genocidal maniac. Lightspeed four-four hardcore punk riffs unexpectedly pivot into odd-meter atonality and back with reckless abandon; walls of noise build and build and build, challenging the listener to back down first. Amid the chaos, a continuous ever-evolving groove embeds itself in your subdermal areas. Make no mistake about it, this is a dance band in wolves' clothing. (We did, after all, start out as a funk band oh so many years ago.) Amalgamating everything you've ever heard, The Invisible Hand puts the blender on liquefy, retiring to their dank, dusty, sometimes-flooded basement, reemerging weeks later with a primordial soup of whatever
mediated by one cardinal rule: no shit.

Our music is a pure representation of our life and times, offered as a testimonial to the transformative power of music, as demonstrated by all of our favorite bands. Free your mind and your ass will follow. The kingdom of heaven is within.