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Desert City Soundtrack / Settlefish / Sounds Like Violence - EP

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Album Review

Deep Elm wisely gives the opening slot of this stellar split release to Sounds Like Violence. "Push You Up the Stairs" is an insane doozie with the strength of ten tortured men, a direct descendent of Jawbox informed with the Scandinavian flair for stippling harsh arrangements and guitar squelch with great big piles of emotion. Woah. Bolgna, Italy's Settlefish is no slouch, either, as the band's three songs here prove. Best might be the angular guitar and insistent bass churn of "Who Placed the Dots on Dyslexia?," but the Afghan Whigs melancholy of "Glass Party" is pretty great, too. Desert City Soundtrack is another gem in Deep Elm's rock garden, and the Portland crew doesn't disappoint. Their couplet of tracks fall into deconstruction around Matt Carrillo's languid vocals and the piano/trumpet accompaniment of Cory Gray. This Desert City has as much in common with Smog as it does more noisy post-hardcore operators. Highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

And The Critics Say...

"This latest release is unquestionably the best of Deep Elm's split EP series, and goes down as one of the finest underground rock records of the year. Sounds Like Violence begins, a band that never seem to be short of energy. You Push Me Up The Stairs is a rip-roaring rock beast, with vocals that sound like they are screaming for their life. I consider SLV to be the very best new band I've heard in at least three years. Don't miss out because they'll knock you out. Desert City Soundtrack play yearning passionate, piano-based hardcore. Many think they are the best band on Deep Elm, and this is music that is hard to ignore. Settlefish have a slightly more experimental sound, with a touch of Pavement and Sonic Youth. Luckily, they don't let experimentation overwhelm them and write some touching, intelligent songs. While their debut album was an engaging listen, these few songs suggest the best is yet to come. All three bands demand your attention and this is a record that won't let you down. Highly recommended." - Penny Black Music "This three way powerfest from Deep Elm is a healthy serving of the barbaric beauty for which this hardworking indie label has won worldwide renown. Of the three, Desert City Soundtrack is my favorite and is one of the few bands that gives me chills with the sheer nerve of what they're doing musically. Their high-intensity theatrics are daring and caustic, wretched and angelic. Their two tracks showcase their love of blistering vocals and languid piano in the same song. Three songs from Italy's Settlefish showcase a hardcore band growing bolder and more secure in their methods. They pummel the listener with Dischord-like ferocity, the vocalist coming across like an animal with a thorn in his soul. Settlefish's raw post-hardcore should appeal to all fans of powerful and reckless music. They hold nothing back. The third act is Sounds Like Violence with a song that is noisy and aggressive. It packs an angry punch. This split shows that Deep Elm is still a label to reckon with." - Culture Bunker "This three-way split is so dense with great music that you'd be plum stupid not to go to the record store right now and pick up a copy. Sounds Like Violence start off with a gritty, intense song that brings to mind a post-hardcore-informed Sonic Youth. Excellent stuff indeed. Italy's Settlefish contribute three tracks, and my assertion that they are Deep Elm's best band is confirmed. Curse Loosely and Who Placed The Dots On Dyslexia? have everything that I love about the band's debut without ever repeating themselves. They are concise without being minimalist, adventurous without being pretentious and, from second-to-second, utterly fascinating. If you're interested in complex, slightly math-y indie rock then Settlefish should be at the top of your list. Desert City Soundtrack contribute two tracks and they're also on par with their recent, brilliant LP. DCS proves that it can beat any indie rock band at their own game with songs can only be described as downright beautiful, moving from the most delicate tones to abrasive, almost industrial sounds with impeccable elegance. After a few of their higher-profile bands like The Appleseed Cast moved on, I was a little worried that Deep Elm wouldn't spring back, but this EP may well be one of the best things the label has ever released. Pick it up immediately. Unless it's one of these bands' individual LPs I doubt you'll find a more substantial release this year." - Deep Fry Bonanza "The fourth volume of Deep Elm's split series brings together the label's three brightest talents for the best edition yet. They've created one of the largest musical Bermuda Triangles in recent memory, with a smorgasbord of interesting, original music in the middle of it. Sounds Like Violence is up first with I Push You Up The Stairs. In short, this song rips. The guitars slice through the melody with the vocalist singing like he really means it. Powerful mid-nineties post-hardcore stuff that is worth many a listen. Settlefish's contributions continue a lot of the ideas they expressed on their full length, but instead of rehashing the good stuff, they've expanded upon it. Curse Loosely has one of the most intriguing free jazz breakdowns I've ever stumbled across. Who Placed The Dots On Dyslexia? is akin to At The Drive-In, straightforward while still being challenging. They close with the quiet, introspective musings of Glass Party, showing much promise for their future. Desert City Soundtrack bring two new abrasive songs to the table. This band seems to be descending into madness, and Send Your Soldiers To Do The Killing isn't going to save them anytime soon. The song is a poison-filled rant at President Bush. The sheer power of this band as vocalist Matt Carillo explodes is absolutely insane. January's Loss contains the same spitfire of every DCS song, with banging piano chords being anchored by a spastic rhythm section; it's like Fugazi on crack. There are few bands really pushing the musical envelope lately, and Deep Elm has been lucky enough to capture three from across the world and unite them on this CD. Definitely worth picking up." - Punk News


Formed: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Desert City Soundtrack began in Portland, and featured Matt Carillo (guitars, vocals), Cory Gray (keys, vocals, trumpet), and Brian Wright (drums). Over a series of releases the trio perfected its lush, detached brand of indie rock that incorporated elements of Built to Spill, Sebadoh, Ben Folds Five, and the emo movement. DCS issued a few early 7"s before signing to Deep Elm and issuing the Contents of Distraction EP in 2002. The Funeral Car LP followed in 2003, and the band appeared...
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Desert City Soundtrack / Settlefish / Sounds Like Violence - EP, Desert City Soundtrack
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