Monday, December 5, 2016

Ghost Ship

It's been a while since I've been motivated to write anything that wasn't "I play on this release, please buy it"

When three members of The Exploding Hearts lost their lives when their van crashed driving home from a show in July 2003 many of my peers could relate. We’d all been there; long drives late at night, desperate to get home to our own beds, going back to work on two hours sleep after returning from tour, pushing ourselves to physical limits.

With the news of the fire at Ghost Ship in Oakland and the – at time of writing – death of 36 people in the space there is not one of my friends, be they producer or consumer of culture, that doesn’t understand the tragedy that’s occurred and hasn’t recast their own personal involvement in DIY culture with new endless “what if…” and “it could have been any of us”.

It could have been any of us.

We’ve all been at the dangerously overcrowded post-fest show in the local DIY space, unable to even go to the bathroom, suffering varying degrees of anxiety attacks in our hard won inches of space, we’ve all been to a venue that was a concrete underground bunker with one wooden staircase to enter, those of us in bands have all loaded gear up the rusty fire escape – the only way in or out – into the third floor apartment over the bike repair store, and those of us not in bands have all been to that space, carefully edging our way past smokers in Discharge shirts hanging out on that one rusty fire escape we all have to use.

It could have been any of us.

But it wasn’t and let’s not take that away from the members of our community that lost their lives in the tragedy last weekend in Oakland.

I’ve talked about this before, but as I get older my interests in music and culture rarely lie strictly within genre lines anymore, they lie within the methods we create, perform, reproduce, or consume culture. My interests over the last few years have taken a sharp turn towards the spatial, an aspect of culture I was always involved in, but went by largely unnoticed or uncommented to me. It was a natural progression; how else do I explain my continued interest in how culture is produced, whilst being frequently disappointed with many of the cultural products that are produced? How do I find ways to understand the necessity of punk when most punk means little to me now? How do I frame the politics of punk when they’re barely present in lyric sheets, when bands are regularly being called out, and when the digital era makes the means of production and distribution something that everyone does regardless of intent? Is there even any point in framing a politics of punk in 2016?

To me the politics of punk that are consistent are the politics of space, the politics of producing space, the politics of producing culture within our spaces. These politics are not new and they are definitely not exclusive to punk, they’re a facet of all cultures that are outside the field of large-scale production, from Sound Systems that have their roots in Jamaica in the 1950s, to late 80s UK Acid House culture, to the huge network of squats and autonomous venues of Europe, to the warehouse scene of the Bay Area and much more beyond these examples. Culture requires space, culture modifies the space it is created within, space modifies how culture is created and consumed, how culture is shared and participated.

So frankly, I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like the music that was playing at Ghost Ship on December 2nd 2016, it’s not relevant; these people were doing the same shit we do. They were regulars in our world too; in 2016 there is significant overlap between cultural fields, that strict separation is long gone. These are our people, our community, our politics, our strategies, our tactics.

In times when cities promote competition and economic entrepreneurship, and make decisions based on cost-benefit analysis and not social need, when gentrification means barely anyone can afford to live in cities, when development means there is a rental crisis, and our spaces to do anything beyond drink expensive cocktails, buy refurbished driftwood coffee tables, or line up to buy artisanal bread at the farmer’s market are gone how we create and experience culture matters. How we work towards collaboration over competition, how we work towards collective interests and not towards reinforcing the same atomized individual experiences, how we pursue politics that don’t commodify individual identities, these all matter. How we produce knowledge and culture matters. How we promote alternative economic and social practices matters.

What is happening in Oakland is a tragedy on multiple levels, this isn’t kids dying at a rave, this is not carefree hedonistic millennials perpetually in search of the next high-risk, low responsibility thrill.

This is one hundred fucking percent not that.

Friday, September 9, 2016

This is Exactly Who You Are

Intensive Care's debut 7" is available now on Iron Lung Records - you can buy it here - a slight shift from the material on the Pay Pig cassette from a few months earlier.

Both releases are on Bandcamp as pay what you want downloads; don't pay less than $2 if you pay anything, most of that money goes to PayPal and Bandcamp in those cases.

Thematically this record bridges the gap between Pay Pig and the next release, Voyeurism, recorded and due out sometime before the universe under goes heat death. Pay Pig is ostensibly informed by anti-work politics, as found in the work of people such as Kathi Weeks, and tempered with a shit-headed power electronics berating. Voyeurism centres on the idea that in order to earn merit and be granted humanity the suffering masses of the world must display their shame and pain; see any frankly vomit inducing artist (usually a photographer) trying to show truth and honesty, usually through pictures of starving children, economically dispossessed drug users, or homeless people. A similar example would be when politicians, actors, and various CEOs camp outside to raise awareness of homelessness.

Anyway, This is Exactly Who You Are connects those two releases.

Final show of the year is at Not Dead Yet in Toronto with Barcelona, The Lowest Form, Private Room, Pedestrian and others.

We are currently writing an LP.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

All the rest of the shows between now and 2017

Some shows coming up, also, a huge never ending fuck off to blogspot and its appalling formatting

Saturday July 30th, Doors Pub, Hamilton

Intensive Care
Black Iron Prison
Thick Piss

Flier by Chelsea Watt

Thursday August 11th, The Lair, Buffalo NY
Gas Chamber
Intensive Care
God of Gaps
Flesh Trade
Grain Assault

Friday/ Saturday August 12th 13th, Yellow Cab, Dayton OHA lot of dudes with card tables and boutique pedals
Scalp Elevator will also be playing.

Sunday August 14th, Mousetrap, Chicago, IL

Intensive Care
Sea of Shit

Saturday September 3rd, Coalition, TorontoFull of Hell & The BodyCrux of AuxIntensive CareBlack Iron Prison
Flier by Dee Riley
October 13th-16th, The Silver Dollar, Toronto, Not Dead YetIannis XenakisMorticianNelly FurtardoIntensive CareGreg Benedetto (DJ set)Fun Boy 3A Guy Called GeraldNo Warning playing the hits of Nihilist Spasm Band

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fragile Bodies

A song from our forthcoming 7" on Iron Lung Records due this summer.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pay Pig

Intensive Care - Pay Pig tape available now.

I should have posted this earlier, a few places have sold out, Faith/ Void in Toronto has copies, Analog Worship and Anthems of the Undesirable in the US still have copies and it'll be available at probably the next few shows we play.

Anyway, my first post-Column of Heaven material, with long term collaborator Ryan Bloomer (The Endless Blockade, Scalp Elevator, Ride at Dawn), we recorded it back in November but took our sweet time making it available.

I haven't put it online yet, though i will at some point (and if some blog puts it up we're fine with that).

It isn't online currently because I can't escape the "ex-Column of Heaven, ex-Blockade" thing (though that's fine), and this really isn't in that same vein at all; there are zero blast beats and next to no hardcore or grindcore influences, so i wanted to put stuff out a bit slower to try and limit those expectations. If you were into Blockade or Column of Heaven largely for the speed/ power violence factor then this probably isn't going to do it for you (it's also not my "sludge" band).

The other reason it's not online is because in this era all music is weighted the same and this should not be compared to the later recordings of any of my previous bands, it's a sign post to the future, but it doesn't have the same weighting as Primitive or Precipice; Intensive Care doesn't have the accumulated experience yet.

Anyway, Pay Pig, an ode to the modern work ethic in five songs, informed primarily by the Head of David/ Fall of Because/ early Godflesh circle, along with Headbutt, Grey Wolves, Slug, Unsane, and Hammerhead. Bass, drums, vocals, synth, percussion.

This is Exactly Who You Are 7" is at the plant (Iron Lung Records), Voyeurism 7" (Divergent Series) is close to being recorded. More stuff in the works.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


March 27th at Faith/ Void (894 College St, basement), Toronto, all ages, $10

Abyss (ex Column of Heaven)
Cages (not ex Column of Heaven)
Black Iron Prison (ex Column of Heaven)
Intensive Care (ex Column of Heaven)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Column of Heaven/ Suffering Luna split LP

Available now from Nerve Altar

Recorded a long time ago and finally out now after a multitude of delays:
  • Changing the label it was originally going to be released on when it was about to go to press.
  • Deciding to change the mix, then not having access to any of my equipment for five months, followed by a further three months of not having anywhere to set up a new home studio.
  • Classic cover art delays.
  • New normal bullshit pressing plant delays as Record Store Day, deluxe Fleetwood Mac reissues, and Horace Goes Skiing video game OST crush all. Hey, did you hear that vinyl is back? What next, eight tracks cassettes? LOL! (kill me)
Anyway, it's here, enjoy.

Pay what you want download whilst Bandcamp gives me credits (200 per month), please don't pay less than $2 otherwise Paypal and Bandcamp take over 90% of the money.

There's also this:

And this:

RIP Column of Heaven, finally dead forever. No more releases.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

We Know Now What a Modern Society Can Do with a Parking Lot

My first physical release under my own name, this was originally intended to be a Wolves of Heaven tape, but i just wasn't able to make vocals work on it at all so i edited all the harsh sections out and added some new layers. It's not Wolves of Heaven, but it fits into the same lineage as that project (and Column of Heaven to a much lesser extent)

It's mostly edited and composed field recordings with some synths appearing on side B.

99 copies on cassette via Absurd Exposition, available to order here, take advantage of the shit Canadian dollar and get it at a vastly reduced price if you're not Canadian.

Invocation of Obscene Gods

Intensive Care are on the Invocation of Obscene Gods comp on Backwoods Butcher Records along with Ride for Revenge, Fossil Fuel, Goatpenis and a slew of other family friendly rock and roll acts.

Intensive Care - Pay Pig five song tape out sometime soon (i know i keep saying this, but it's been finished since October…) and we just recorded four songs that will be on a 7" later this year via Iron Lung Records.