The magnificently intense music of The Armed

Started by Johnny Yesno, October 17, 2021, 08:20:57 PM

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Johnny Yesno

I heard their track Faith in Medication on the Freak Zone earlier this year and was pretty blown away by it: https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/faith-in-medication

There's some other excellent tracks on Ultrapop, an album utterly worthy of the name. However, it doesn't really get going until about track 5, An Iteration (https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/an-iteration), and I started listening to Only Love instead.

And, fuck me, that is a blinder of an album. For example:

Heavily Lined: https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/heavily-lined

Parody Warning: https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/parody-warning

Luxury Themes: https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/luxury-themes

It's like a cross between the best work of My Bloody Valentine and Atari Teenage Riot. The drumming is just ludicrous. Not rhythms but clouds of beats. And the production is distorted and brickwalled to fuck. Great musicianship but buried in noise. Everything in service to the energy.

And it's pay what you feel, which makes me think 'Why wouldn't you buy this masterpiece?'

'we are a punk rock band from detroit, mi.' has to be one of the most comical bits of underselling I can remember seeing.

BeardFaceMan

Doesn't get better than the Spreading Joy EP for me, particularly this little belter - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aomnf17g_lg

Actually gone off them a bit since they started doing albums with longer songs with more synths, I preferred the shorter intense blasts of music on the EPs of their earlier stuff. Great fucking band though, if you can call them that, I think they're more of a collective.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: BeardFaceMan on October 17, 2021, 09:57:02 PM
Doesn't get better than the Spreading Joy EP for me, particularly this little belter - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aomnf17g_lg

Actually gone off them a bit since they started doing albums with longer songs with more synths, I preferred the shorter intense blasts of music on the EPs of their earlier stuff. Great fucking band though, if you can call them that, I think they're more of a collective.

Yes, that stuff is great too and I'm working my way back through it. I really like this off their first ep: https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/track/woodenlung

They've definitely been on a musical journey and it's one I'm glad they made. I can't think of anything comparable to their new stuff but perhaps I'm ignorant of that scene.

I think you're right about them being a collective and it's a collective that seems to have attracted amazing drummers. A collective with their priorities sorted, in that case :-)

BeardFaceMan

They've just released a concert film called Ultrapop: Live at the Masonic Temple, I'm looking forward to that. Well, I say 'concert film', it's a bit more arty than that - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmgEyUFd-sI&feature=emb_logo looks really good though.

Johnny Yesno

October 18, 2021, 08:51:20 AM #4 Last Edit: October 18, 2021, 10:53:55 AM by Johnny Yesno
Here's a track from it:

The Armed - WHERE MAN KNOWS WANT (Live): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oaa9YOKijY

It sounds live but there appears to only be three people in the audience and one of them is a squirrel or something.

Johnny Yesno

I really hope they come to the UK some time. This gig recording suggests they sound immense:

The Armed - "Luxury Themes" (live): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuj_NnDmpPo

Johnny Yesno

This is another 'live' from earlier this year:

The Armed - ALL FUTURES (Live): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbo21aWFbhQ

It's not the album version for sure.

niat

Quote from: Johnny Yesno on October 18, 2021, 08:54:18 AM
I really hope they come to the UK some time. This gig recording suggests they sound immense:

The Armed - "Luxury Themes" (live): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuj_NnDmpPo

They are playing at ArcTanGent next year, so will hopefully do a few other UK dates in August. Can't wait!

I watched the Ultrapop: Live show on Saturday night and it was excellent. It was $12 to watch one showing and unfortunately there are no replays unless you got the "Red Carpet" premiere, which was in the middle of the night UK time. Hopefully it will get a DVD/streaming release as it's well worth repeat viewings. I listened to Ultrapop again after watching it and it revealed loads of new sounds you could hear in the live performances that are buried in the overwhelming production wall of noise on the album.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: niat on October 18, 2021, 12:27:05 PM
They are playing at ArcTanGent next year, so will hopefully do a few other UK dates in August. Can't wait!

Excellent news!

QuoteI watched the Ultrapop: Live show on Saturday night and it was excellent. It was $12 to watch one showing and unfortunately there are no replays unless you got the "Red Carpet" premiere, which was in the middle of the night UK time. Hopefully it will get a DVD/streaming release as it's well worth repeat viewings. I listened to Ultrapop again after watching it and it revealed loads of new sounds you could hear in the live performances that are buried in the overwhelming production wall of noise on the album.

Fuck! I was out on Saturday night at a shitty nightclub drinking expensive shitty beer. My decision making is poor.

niat

Tickets are still available for Live at the Masonic, here: https://ultrapop.live/ until the 26th of October.

You can only watch it "as live", though, and the times are all in EST (the 6PM showing is at 11PM BST, for example).

Well worth the $12. That's less than nine quid in real money!

No word of a Blu Ray or DVD yet, but I'm guessing they'll wait for these streams to finish before announcing it.

sevendaughters

inheritors of Death Grips' mantle of hype/no tunes

Johnny Yesno

October 20, 2021, 07:43:10 PM #11 Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 08:00:44 PM by Johnny Yesno
Quote from: sevendaughters on October 20, 2021, 04:31:57 PM
inheritors of Death Grips' mantle of hype/no tunes

What? Are you deaf, sir? The Armed have more ideas in one album than most bands do in an entire career.

Also, how are The Armed in any way lauded as much as Death Grips? I know a lot of music passes me by these days but The Armed have been going for over a decade and I only heard about them this year. On the other hand, I've heard Death Grips mentioned dozens of times from multiple sources over the past few years and heard enough of their music to form an opinion of it.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: niat on October 20, 2021, 02:42:01 PM
Tickets are still available for Live at the Masonic, here: https://ultrapop.live/ until the 26th of October.

You can only watch it "as live", though, and the times are all in EST (the 6PM showing is at 11PM BST, for example).

Well worth the $12. That's less than nine quid in real money!

No word of a Blu Ray or DVD yet, but I'm guessing they'll wait for these streams to finish before announcing it.

Oh, cool. I thought I'd missed it.

BeardFaceMan

Quote from: Johnny Yesno on October 20, 2021, 07:43:10 PM
What? Are you deaf, sir? The Armed have more ideas in one album than most bands do in an entire career.

Also, how are The Armed in any way lauded as much as Death Grips? I know a lot of music passes me by these days but The Armed have been going for over a decade and I only heard about them this year. On the other hand, I've heard Death Grips mentioned dozens of times from multiple sources over the past few years and heard enough of their music to form an opinion of it.

Yeah that was an odd comment, I've never seen them hyped anywhere, just look how popular this thread is, I'd wager most people have never heard of them.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: BeardFaceMan on October 20, 2021, 09:09:38 PM
Yeah that was an odd comment, I've never seen them hyped anywhere, just look how popular this thread is, I'd wager most people have never heard of them.

A musical crime I was trying to put right! :-)

BeardFaceMan

Fair play to you, the more people that know about these nutters, the better. :) It doesn't help that they do things anonymously and off the radar, for the most part, it's hard to find out any proper info about them. I'm not even sure how I came across them, it was that video I linked above, probably in my Facebook or YouTube feed. God bless the algorithm!

sevendaughters

they're hyped as fuck and huge in the online bromusic world

BeardFaceMan

Quote from: sevendaughters on October 20, 2021, 09:34:11 PM
they're hyped as fuck and huge in the online bromusic world

I have no idea what that is so I'll take your word for it, I guess.

Johnny Yesno

Same. Wtf is the online bromusic world?

And how come you can't hear the tunes, sevendaughters? I mean, they're buried in swathes of noise but anyone who likes MBV and ATR should have no bother perceiving them.


Johnny Yesno

And where's The Mollusk? I'm surprised he doesn't have The Armed on his list of punk bands that are better than Idles.

BeardFaceMan

I'm on their mailing list so get an email when they release new music, that's hype as fuck.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: BeardFaceMan on October 20, 2021, 10:43:44 PM
I'm on their mailing list so get an email when they release new music, that's hype as fuck.

Me too! I'm hyp'd and bomb'd, bro.

Gradual Decline

It sounds a bit like DEP here, a bit like Converge there. A bit like other noughties noisecore acts everywhere else. All sounds a bit like stuff I heard 20 years or more ago. It's all very familiar, chucked in with some straighter punk/hardcore tropes.

Produced by Kurt Ballou, well of course it is. That Godcity twang is bloody everywhere... still. Who knew the You Fail Me era guitar tone would become so ubiquitous?!

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: Gradual Decline on October 20, 2021, 10:52:14 PM
a bit like Converge there.

Ah, that comparison helped me find this article on the current drummer Urian Hackney:

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/drummer-and-producer-urian-hackney-reflects-on-a-remarkable-year/Content?oid=33210641

QuoteHackney joined Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou's other project, art-house hardcore act the Armed. That band, a supergroup of sorts with a sometimes rotating membership, released its third full-length LP in April, the critically acclaimed ULTRAPOP. The Armed, which currently also includes Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age and Chris Slorach from Canadian punk rockers METZ, will embark on a tour in 2022.

Ah, I see: METZ!

I don't care how much anyone yawns, Hackney's a spectacular drummer.[nb]as is Ben Koller (who it turns out is also from Coverge) who played on Only Love.[/nb]

Johnny Yesno

Oh, interesting. Hackney is the son of one of the members of the proto-punk band Death:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(proto-punk_band)

Heh! Detroit: the city you will never leave.

boki

Been playing this semi-regularly since it came out, but because of everything being swathed in noise, it lends itself pretty well to being used as background music when I'm working.  One day, I'll finally give it a proper attentive listen, but I do enjoy it and definitely looking forward to seeing them at ATG.

Johnny Yesno

Quote from: boki on October 21, 2021, 01:21:53 PM
Been playing this semi-regularly since it came out, but because of everything being swathed in noise, it lends itself pretty well to being used as background music when I'm working.  One day, I'll finally give it a proper attentive listen, but I do enjoy it and definitely looking forward to seeing them at ATG.

I know what you mean. Much of Only Love is a beautiful blur that pushes my ambient buttons, and the tracks where the drumming goes really mental make me think of free jazz such a Black Woman by Sonny Sharrock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUyyQ7hQ7_U


Johnny Yesno

I dunno. The criticism that it 'just sounds like a bit of this and a bit of that' completely misses the point. I mean, yeah, if those bits were all put in a massive cannon and fired point blank into a brick wall, destroying both the cannon and the wall.

niat

It's interesting to see who's actually involved in this band.

My favourite album so far this year has been Genghis Tron's Dream Weapon (Ultrapop is a close second). It's nothing like The Armed, though their earlier stuff did have some similarities.

They got a new singer for this album: Tony Wolski, who just happens to be the most visible member of The Armed at the moment, though he isn't credited on Ultrapop and did interviews as "Adam Vallely", who's actually a British music blogger. It gets very complicated, as Kurt Ballou is definitely still involved in The Armed but isn't officially credited either. He produced Dream Weapon, too.