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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Indian Handcrafts - "Civil Disobedience For Losers" / Binford - "Binford"

Many of the artists we showcase on Heavy Planet have similar experiences when forming their current bands. Members have previously played in other bands, that over time don't quite work out for whatever reason, but not before deep and almost spiritual relationships are formed between like minded musicians, either from within the old band, or from other bands going through similar experiences. which leads to the creation of new bands, often with amazing, spectacular results. Most of the bands I've had the good fortune to review this year have traveled down this road, a karmic path where mighty axes of doom forge kinships resulting in the finest music imaginable throughout the far reaches of the cosmos. While the exact styles of today's two features are solar systems apart, the inner core of their sound, of what they play remains the same - supernova guitars that reverberate with the force and the fury of the universe's first instant, expanding outward in an onslaught of power and brilliance. Binford from the Netherlands and Indian Handcrafts from Canada are, each, quality artists, one of a kind musicians, a considerable grade above the norm, with music seemingly crafted in the finest cosmic forges the universe has to offer.


Indian Handcrafts are 2 guys from Ontario, Canada, or The Land of the Ice and Snow, as they describe on Facebook.

Brandyn James Aikins takes care of drums and vocals while Daniel Brandon Allen handles guitar and vocals. No place for bass. Interesting.

There may only be two guys . . . one guitar and one trap kit between them . . . but there is a ton of music in their songs. These are the kind of songs in which you discover something new each time you listen through the album. There is more than just one guitar lick, more than one riff, more than a simple straightforward rendition of rock music from beginning to end.

The standard traits found in good stoner/doom music is, of course, here, with the huge, down tuned and fuzzy guitars driving the sound throughout. They make it abundantly clear on the opening of the first track of the album, "Bruce Lee", that they are a stoner/doom kind of band. The sound is one you've heard a million times, one you cherish as part of the signature sound of this great music. But very quickly you will discover that Indian Handcrafts are more than typical when the vocals kick in. This band's vocals are quite unique, a sort of modulated screech, which sounds too harsh in description, but is quite exquisite in actual rendition. The singularity of the vocals alone place their music up on a high standard. There's nothing quite like it out there that I've heard. The closest I could get is probably Corinne Tucker's beautiful screeching vocals for Sleater-Kinney, but Indian Handcrafts use more harmony on their vocals, modulating the sound for a truly beautiful quality that serves the rock and roll universe well, and is uniquely their own.

In addition to the incomparable and splendid vocal stylings of this Canadian dynamic duo are the songs themselves. Indian Handcrafts have handcrafted ten superbly written and executed songs, where both lyric and instrumentation combine to create the most pleasurable of stoner rock experiences.

"Worm in My Stomach" begins with a steady forward advance through melody and fuzz and ends with a superb up tempo stretch of sheer delight. This is followed by a quick and deadly onslaught of fury and speed in "Terminal Horse" where the drums of Aikins are front, center, and deadly in delivery, but not to be topped by Allen's demented and crazed guitar blitzkrieg.

Haunting and beautiful, wrapped in distortion and fuzz, "Coming Home" is memorable, powerful, and brilliant.

Another top song on the album is the equally beautiful "Centauri Teenage Riot". The vocals are ferocious and haunting, the guitar and drums unrelenting. The album closes out with "Lion at the Door" an adventurous, return on your investment kind of song, chock full of wonderous forays of voice and string, executed with heart, acrimony, and dexterity.

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Hailing from Roosendahl, Netherlands, and formed just last year in 2011, Binford are very much an up and coming band. They have a front woman who really belts out the vocals and are comprised of four additional musicians of the highest order.

Binford consist of:

Esther Vroegop - Vocals
Don Leenders - Bass, Backing Vocals
Stefan van Geel - Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Arjan Nieuwlaat - Lead Guitar
Jonathan Skip - Drums

These guys go all out in their music, writing wonderful standards and playing at full tilt, fronted by the beautiful and powerful vocals of Esther, showcasing the scorching laserbeam guitar work of Arjan, and perfectly wrapped up in the retro stoner sounds of Don's bass, Jon's drums, and the mega fuzz guitar of Stefan.

"Slate" pefectly opens the album, quickly displaying the beautiful guitar work found throughout this album. Esther's vocals quickly, too, are front and center adding to the aesthetic nature of the music with her full, rich, effortless vocals. Binford don't so much play solos as much as they are constantly expressing different riff stages throughout the song, some solo-like in intensity and tone, some displaying more fuzz and power, but always accompanying the underlying melody and rhythm as well as the vocals.

"Overdrive" could be said to be a retro type of song as the melody and rhythm are similar to some of the best rock songs in history while somehow managing to display it's own unique aspects to the delivery, adding special touches in distortion and vocalizations, as well as powerful outbursts of change and joy.

A more haunting melody in the beginning, "Forgot Your Name" manages to showcase Esther's vocals before and after a solo bridge in which the song executes an increase in tempo, as well as brandishing the dexterity and sound of bass, drums, and scorching solos.

"Subterfuge" is a high energy beauty, with melody once again front and center, delivered exquisitely by the band's superb instrumentation of power and brilliance. The solo section on
this song is perhaps the album's best.

Binford save the biggest, fuzziest songs for last, as stoner bands tend to do. Both "Red Light Changin'" and "Irish Red" are an absolute barrage of down tuned, distorted guitar that plays like a dream, embellished perfectly, once again, by Esther's vocals. They are perfect songs to close out a near perfect album.

Binford are immensely talented and supremely motivated. The stars seemed to have aligned for them with the formation of these 5 well matched musicians who both take their music seriously and have an immeasurable amount of fun playing it, as much fun as you will surely experience when listening to their wonderful stoner rock sound.


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