Tag diving is a lot like dumpster diving. But instead of digging through garbage and finding a perfectly good mostly intact glass eye, I dig through a tag on Bandcamp and share neat music with you. Today’s tag is gross. I’m telling you that’s the tag, not warning you that the tag is a gross one. Although I guess I’m doing both.
STORY TIME, LOSERS. I’m a teacher in the real, much more terrible world, which usually makes for a good chuckle when switching gears between writing/listening to gross music and teaching 11-year-old girls how to play the flute. Today, however, my hardened wall of sanity cracked a bit when I took my kids on a contest trip and sat for a couple hours on a charter bus full of children while watching Alvin and the Chipmunks 2. I did not know there was a live action Alvin and the Chipmunks 1. Processing that made the sequel destroy me a little more.
Anyway, I needed to cleanse myself with some gross music. I can only take so much of my students’ happiness before I need to bathe in filth. Some of you helped me out in the Facebook group (thank you, blessed nerds), and here’s what I found diving into the Bandcamp tag.
We’re starting this with guns blazing. Worry is your favorite sludge band you didn’t know you had yet. Everything is ridiculously heavy with guitar and bass tones sounding like they’re on the verge of a dying star-type collapse. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the vocalist, with everything from manic barks to wild shrieks, was the thing making the star die a horrible blazing death. What I’m saying is that a black hole in the near future doesn’t feel completely out of the equation when listening to A Celebration of Suffering. Comparisons to Primitive Man would be apt, although there are a more elements of seething, battering hardcore sprinkled in. Stop reading and listen to this short but beautifully gross album, download it for name-your-price, and pick up a $12 vinyl.
I found Worry’s perfect touring mates. Nurse Ratched sound similarly gross, similarly pissed off, and similarly satisfying. These guys lean heavily on catchy, doomy death metal while holding fast to a sense of utter rage. And just when the riffs have been good and riffy for awhile, they’ll take a hard left into grind territory to make sure everyone is paying attention. I think the band formed when one guy was carrying around a bunch of grind riffs and another guy had a few pockets full of doom and a third guy was smuggling some death in an anus balloon, and then a bus ran over all three and smooshed them into this album. But different sized chunks of each guy kinda clumped in various combinations of thickness and viscosity. Lost In Aokigahara is a genuinely fun and unpredictable ride. While I’m pretty certain these guys aren’t active any more, you can pick up all of their tunes for a name-your-price download.
Alright, now we need to get really gross. Curd is a…a band, I think, that probably…uh, probably more or less writes music. Putrid Tales is more of an experience than a collection of songs. Little snippets of bizarre, distorted narration are broken up by wild, indecipherable blasts of what I’m assuming are songs. I don’t know anything about the really deep reaches of noise, sub-categories of grind, etc, but I do really enjoy the constant rotation of absolute mayhem with the calm yet disturbing moments of narration. Oddities like this may not get much play in my day-to-day rotation, but I genuinely like situations where a listener is forced to think about what music is/can be, what role it can play, what statements it can make, etc. And look, you clicked on an article with “gross” in the title on a toilet site, so you’re here with me whether you like it or not. Click play and ponder existence or be a loser.
This last album is another thinker. The artist’s description sums it up well for me: “this is about hating music. this is about hating technology. this is about how garageband makes it so easy to make pleasant music that is is now a struggle to make unpleasant music. this is all music made exclusively with garageband’s loops and filters and my voice.” I was fairly ready to skip over this before I read that description, but keeping it in mind honestly kept me hooked through the whole thing. Jim Hickcoxseems like a diverse, creative, and odd fellow, and while nothing about this is what you would call “metal,” the sentiment he expresses is undoubtably intertwined with much of what we do in our terrible corner of the music world. Enjoy this weird, gross collection of sound.
So what did we learn? While I was grateful to not have to wade through a zillion pages of albums with the tag “gross,” on Bandcamp to write this, I was really expecting to find more metal or metal-adjacent music with that tag. I really enjoyed what I found but I think we need to include “gross” in genre descriptions now. Grossgrind? Grosscore? Grossgaze? Brutal grossing slam? I don’t know, but let’s make it happen.