Split 7" with Hey Colossus Writeup
A crushing double dose of extreme low end downtuned heaviness from these two UK heavyweights, up first, long time aQ faves Hey Colossus, who tackle an unlikely cover, Andre Williams' "Jailbait", and transform it into some seriously creepy crawly doom blues. A monstrous chugging plod underneath distorted mush mouthed rambling vocalizing, sounding much like a sludgier Oxbow, or maybe the Melvins covering King Snake Roost. As the track progresses, the vocals get more and more garbled, and the background chugs grow more and more intense, transforming from churning riffage into a blurred sheet of black buzz, undulating beneath the relentless pound and chug. AWESOME.
Field Boss, formerly known as Tractor (as they're credited on the 7" label) kick right back with some of their own low slung creep, all thick ropy bass, coruscating sheets of feedback, a sound that's equal parts old school AmRep crush and industrial pound, the song title "Headache" maybe referencing legendary noise rockers Big Black, which would make sense, cuz there's definitely that sort of vibe about this. The track slowly unfolds into keening slo-mo super distorted guitar leads that tangle and become more and more atonal, draped in layers over the churning sonic sludge, until finally, the song explodes into a final tangle of grinding blasting punkish crush, pelted with swirling clouds of hissing distorted static. So good.
Some essential heaviness for sure, and gorgeously packaged in a super swank silk screened black on metallic silver, cardstock 6 panel fold out sleeve, LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!
Split 7" with Hey Colossus Review
Field Boss used to be known to this world as Tractor, before being bullied into a name change by an elderly band of the same name. Figures, really, because with this long, chuntering track (aptly entitled 'Headache') you can see why a bunch of respectable old gimmers might not want to be associated with such a disagreeable AmRep racket, the band having got the whole mid-paced Unsane bit down pat with a relentlessly grotty bass grind, atonal guitar assault and muffled, ball-gagged vocals. True enough, it picks up a bit towards the end, but by that point your will to carry on is nowt but a smear across their rugged workboot.
Hey Colossus do their thing on the other side, clumping through an Andre Williams cover that keeps the beat relatively intact by way of lewd bass blarts and stumbling drumwork, but replaces the good man's tones with some unhinged Snarf-like gibbering that makes you worry whether they may be taking those 'Jailbait' lyrics a little too far...
Split 7" with Hey Colossus Review
Instead of greeting you with a long-winded, foolhardy introduction passage for this review, we’re going to dive right into the musical discussion. I was rife with anticipation for this little slab of wax, and expectations were half met. Thankfully, the half of them that were met (and exceeded) is reason enough to recommend this release to interested parties!
Field Boss is really Bristol’s Tractor; the insurmountable trio of Craig, Kunal, and Hank previously interviewed and reviewed here on Hellride. Much like the Middian fiasco, it seems there was another Tractor out mowing the fields, and they were none too happy about someone else horning in on their patch of grass. That’s ok, because Tractor said, “Fuck you, we’ll promote ourselves to the position of Field Boss then, and see how you like it!” I love this band. Their self-described mission of “Unsane playing Godflesh covers,” couldn’t put things in a clearer perspective. Perhaps add a bit of the ascending, capillary popping noise squalls of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Today is the Day’s Willpower, and you’ll have the full image. “Headache,” is right up there with the band’s best work. Hell, it might be the best thing they’ve written to date. I played it 6 times in a row, without ever having to force my hand to move the needle to the beginning. It was a goddamn pleasure to hear it again, and again. They bunker down hard in this one, luring you in with piercing feedback, settling on a doom-y, DENSE as a motherfucker bass/drum groove (the bass sound here is like Dave Curran’s tone boosted by PCP, steroids, and meth…fat, festering, and fucking threatening), wrapping around your cortex like a python with saddened, heart-ripping guitar melody lines, climbing the padded walls with cracking, tidal waves of white noise, and dashing the remainder of your sanity against the rocks with sharp-tongued, yelling vocals. The Boss even gets frisky towards the end of this one, rising above their normal mid-tempo rattle, for a punked-up finale of sloppy, blown-out speed, and blankets of suffocating noise deconstruction. An impeccable recording job tops off the band’s track as the feel is loose, live, and ornery, but with clear separation between the myriad of sounds firing off into the black of night.
Trac…err Field Boss kills the other side though. To be honest, the band’s sound actually terrifies me. Try spinning their side in the dead of night at a decent volume if you can get away with it. You’ll feel the demons pulling away your flesh as you slip into a mirage of decayed, begotten industrial Hell! “Headache” is an intense mind-fuck of the highest caliber, and the songwriting’s firmly in the upper echelon of its genre (par for the course for these miscreants). I’m still hoping for a full LP of tunes one day. You can now purchase a retrospective cassette from the band’s website that contains the S/T EP, the Cattle EP, and the track “Ghost” off their split 10” with Geisha. If you haven’t gotten a chance to hear the band yet, my strategic advice is to pick that up if you like psychotic noise-rock. You’ll thank me later. Despite a poor effort by Hey Colossus, this one is a keeper for Field Boss, and the eerie, unsettling art/layout.
Tractor - Cattle Demo Review
I can’t get enough of the UK’s Tractor. These guys define cool. To my count there has only been one official Tractor release thus far and that’s the 10” split with fellow conspirators in noise Geisha. The other two releases I’ve got by the band are demo EPs that crush as hard as most things out there on the bigger labels.
Continuing with that streak of undeniable awesomeness is the band’s latest EP, Cattle. When I first opened up the package I was greeted by a handmade layout so unique that I had to take a second to examine it in depth. Amounting to nothing less than fold-out paper it still manages to pack in a full layout, all of the lyrics and even an attached suction part that holds the CD in place. I was totally astonished at the care put into creating such an interesting package. While it’s not going to store easily on shelves (I put the CD in a separate case to avoid damage), I’ll be hanging onto the outer portion of the “case” due to its sheer DIY inventiveness.
Making matters even better is that the music is scathingly top-notch; brain burning noise-rock of the highest order. No pretenses, no screwing around just relentless pulverizing rhythms nailed to an escalating wall of guitar noise that borders on pure unhinged insanity in certain cases. Even when the guitar work totally leaves the rails the rhythm section sticks to a cathartic groove that keeps things in place. Raging over top of this blown out assault are the rabid yelps of vocalist/guitarist Craig who paints tales of true dementia. I’m talking some of the best loose cannon lyrics in the genre. The delivery and the lyrics add together to complete the ticking time bomb that is Tractor.
Locked on in rhythm and intent is the carpet bombing of “Traction Man” that batters through a mean, back alley groove over and over again until it is three feet into the ground. When the groove reaches that point they pound it in some more. Infectious but purely deranged is the ethos of this song with a rising tide of guitar noise so painful in the later portion that listeners less inclined to this sort of thing will be reaching for the volume button frantically.
Dragging its way further through the sleazy underground bars and strip joints is “Neck Grin”, a fearsome rumbling of thick overdriven grooves and devastating bass volume. Here the guitar zeroes in on the rhythm section for the most part to create a thick, gooey swing that oozes over the listener like an unstoppable grime that can never be washed off. Nerve damaging noise guitar licks roar over the propulsive drum n’ bass battery to pure perfection, giving everything a level of pain quite unlike anything I’ve experienced as of late. “Neck Grin” actually appeared on the band’s very first demo but here it is realized in all of its true, skin peeling triumph.
Rhythmic proprietors Hank (bass) and Kunal (drums) comprise one of the most slambang sections in the entire extreme noise-rock underground as their unmistakable clatter goes for the jugular with no restraints in place. Their keen skills help pound finale “25” into a decisive groove that even draws in a hint of doom with a time halting, repetitive churn that shows Tractor have a distinct knack for tuneful repetition amid endless throes of hatred.
Far and away this is the best set of tunes from Tractor yet. Somehow they managed to get even meaner, noisier and dirtier in the transition between recordings. If you wired together the circuits of Godflesh, Unsane, 16, early Today is the Day, The Melvins, King Snake Roost, Jesus Lizard and Swans; the ensuing catastrophe might sound something like what these three madman are creating. This is noise straight from the glory days but played in modern times. In a perfect world these guys would be huge.
Seriously, if I was running a label I’d sign this band, round up this EP and the last one for a release on one disc and patiently await the boys to drop another LP’s worth of material. Then I’d release that too. Hell, how cool is that you can shoot the band an email and get a free copy of this? You don’t have to be working for the press either. Get in touch with them and they’ll hook you up free of charge. No excuse for noise-rock fans to miss out on this one.
Tractor - Cattle Demo Review
A new demo from this UK based Tractor hits the Mashnote headquarters again. Last time we advised them to move to the country side to blow off some steam. Apparantly they didn't. These 3 songs are still bleak and angry. The slow metallic, bass heavy sound makes this outfit abrasive with lots of distortion, noise and callous, bombastic riffs. I like the talked vocals a lot and they make Tractor's sound a least THAT bit easier to listen to in the second song. Basically this is a punishing and brutal power trip that fits this time and age when you think about it. Appreciated.
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
This short demo from the UK’s Tractor has literally had my soul stolen as of late. I can’t stop listening to the damn thing. Tractor are a noise/rock trio from Bristol that lay down a wall of punishing noise, groove and violence all throughout the four tracks contained on this demo. Some points of reference include Godflesh, Swans, Unsane, early Helmet, Rabies Caste, 16 and Killing Joke but the Tractor boys combine these influences into a sonic stew that is all their own.
This band is a total wall of sound that assaults the ears with crushing bass swells, noise laden guitar work, battering drums and deranged, shouting vocals. These guys are always locked into each track very deeply and allow their arrangements to morph into hypnotic displays of brooding evil. There is good amount of variety flowing throughout each of the tracks as well because Tractor is easily capable of both throat ripping noise/rock jams and slower, more droned laced numbers.
“Man from A.N.O.T.H.E.R. P.L.A.C.E.” gets things started off on a blistering note as this track is a pull no punches noise/rock masterpiece with hammering riffs, untouchable rhythmic destruction and saliva spewing vocals that shout out some pretty pissed off lyrical statements. Tractor truly possesses that street level intensity that bands like Unsane and Helmet perfected but they spice it up with their emphasis on gut-shattering, industrial strength bass/drum interplay that takes no prisoners in its sheer, unadulterated heaviness. Seriously, the bass guitar tone on this first track (and the rest of the disc for that matter) is vicious enough to turn a city into a dusty wasteland in seconds and it provides a deadly foundation for the rest of the band to work around. There isn’t a weak link in this band, that’s for damn sure.
“Korean Shopkeeper” is where the band show off their slower, droned out side as the track revolves around repetitive bass lines and an ever mounting tension that explodes into pummeling grooves just when the time is right; grooves that are heavy and dark enough to end your chances of cracking a smile for days but increase your chances of smashing up everything in your entire home. This song also features some ear-splitting guitar noise that broods beneath the rhythm section to create a very unsettling vibe.
“…To Ashes” is another mean and slow number that brings some darker, heaving guitar grooves to the table that eventually erupt into another masterpiece of full on noise/rock battery towards the song’s crippling ending.
The final track “Neighbour” ends things off just as the demo started with another no punches pulled, noise drenched, heavy grooving assault that is topped off with perverse lyrics about a man who seems to enjoy watching what’s going on at the next door neighbor’s house a little too much. There is some killer psychopath on the loose lyrics on this track that puts things in the realm of 16 just a bit. The sampling in this one also adds to the overall feeling of dread that the music and lyrics paint on their own terms.
This is an outstanding demo all around. I’m actually kind of shocked that Tractor only has one other release than this one (a split 10” with Geisha where they have only one cut). Every time I listen to this demo I get the feeling that I’m listening to a band that already has a couple albums under their belt. Seriously, this band is that damn tight. If you are a fan of crippling noise/rock that isn’t afraid to play with conventions by adding its' own twisted mark on things then Tractor is required listening. Hopefully someone gives this band a record deal after this demo because this is shit that needs to be easily available for all fans of this style out there. I can’t wait to see where they go next with their sound because I can only see great things on the horizon for this band.
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
I didn't really care for their split 10" with Geisha, but the 2006 demo from UK trio Tractor is a vast improvement - taking their brand of scraggly "noise rock" (or whatever the hell you want to call it) into much more structured and enjoyable territory. The slow, pounding tempos are driven largely by pulsing basslines and stripped down beats with surges of guitar noise and simple power chord rhythms; while the vocals are basically straight up yelling with just a little bit of a distant sort of distorted crackle - which is probably due to their raw recording methods alone, because there are no fucking frills here, my friends. And I don't say that as a complaint, because I actually dig the recording - and everything else, for that matter. It wouldn't hurt if there was a little more brightness happening to bring out some of the additional grittiness of the textures and therefore draw out a hint more separation between the elements, but that's a minor issue. Bizarre lyrics, too. There's sort of a storytelling kind of vibe going on, but through choppy little phrases and statements. I don't know, they keep it consistent here, there's not much else to say. Given the stark improvements they've undergone thus far I'll definitely be looking forward to hearing more.
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
Helmet has definitely played a part in the creation of the sound of Tractor. The strict un-oiled thrust between instruments has the same mechanics and carries the same weight. Beyond that obvious comparison though, this Bristol trio are a much bigger beast, with a much uglier sound, a tiring pace and a whipping force capable of turning Page Hamilton into Screech from Saved By the Bell. Dumb jokes aside, Tractor is a more basic unit that specializes in noise rock and whose sound is basically comprised of very rudimentary playing. Unlike Helmet, Tractor dwells for longer and dives in deeper in the noise elements they bring into their music resulting in a much more concise and blunt force and less groove-oriented recording. On the other hand Demo 2006 has the same head-bobbing and hypnotic inducing element caused by 4/4 drums and a giant bass sound that basically trudges through the songs time and time again.
In the end Tractor is more of an acquired taste, requiring several listens before one can assimilate such stiff constructions and classify them as musically rhythmic. Demo 2006 contains four songs, all of which follow a raw sounding template. “Man From A.N.O.T.H.E.R. P.L.A.C.E.” is toneless singing, equal parts droney guitars and mighty basslines, while “Korean Shopkeeper” has more of an industrial element that initially recalls the best material of Prong. “…To Ashes” is almost sludge metal, with its lethargic spirit leaves all reminisces of Helmet behind. Were these dudes making ten minute tunes Tractor would lodge in your brain as the natural successor of Iron Monkey. Last cut “Neighbour” would be more auspicious were we to shuffle the songs and place it somewhere else. It re-works the other songs offering a concoction that’s been nearly exhausted by the previous three cuts. Tractor have found a formula, their own sound perhaps, but a full album of songs molded like the ones offered here may just be a bit too repetitive.
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
Tractor is Mr. Superfi's own band. This is their 2006 demo, and the second
release i get to hear from them. And their sound is still quite the same.
It's dirty, slow and noisy, just like a tractor should be. The lyrics to the
songs are little stories of urban disgust. And they are sung with a
screaming voice drenched in distortion. I get the impression these dudes
need to move to the country for a while. Because everything sounds so dirty,
noisy and angry, it's time for a break. They seem to need it. This demo is 4
tracks long, and it could've been better with a heavier production. Even
taking into consideration the fact that it's a demo. The noise makes up for
that though. 4 Tracks of utter rage, frustration and bass-heavy music. For
fans of Unsane and Unwound.
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
Rapidly becoming one of my favourite UK labels of the current times, SuperFi Records have been putting out some awesome stuff for the past couple of years. This is the demo of SuperFi Records main man Kunal’s own band in which he plays drums.
Coming across like Unsane crossed with Toad Liquor with some of that Am Rep skronk noise rock stuff but maybe slowed down. It’s a basic recording but it doesn’t take away from the monstrous, distorted bass and pounding drums and gives the claustrophobic vocals space to breathe. One minor niggle is the really low guitar in the recording, but it’s early days.
Really good stuff, any band that makes me think of Unsane is a good one.
[Die Shellsuit Die]
Tractor - 2006 Demo Review
So Tractor have been around a while, but as far as I know have until now only released a 10" split with the equally marvellous Geisha. This is a new demo to showcase their new material and new drummer Kunal (of SuperFi Records fame), their old drummer having left to join Geisha strangely enough. This demo hits the spot straight away... with sleazy dirty distorted vocals, sludgey guitars and bass. The vocals and drums reminiscent of early Jesus Lizard and their previous band Scratch Acid. The guitars head towards Melvins territory. Creating a fuzzy warm feel that leaves you feeling a touch dirty and soiled afterwards. The lyrics are subtle to the sound and very well written. In fact I'm surprised this isn't planned for a full release in EP form, it's that good. The sound recording being of a high quality and fitting with the band's dirty sound. I suggest if you like sludgey groove based music you'd better mail Kunal and pick one of these up.
Tractor - 2003 Demo Review
Most of the time when you get given a demo at a show it’s either by some bouncy little indie kid who thinks he’s going to be discovered, or some intense rock bod who demands to be listened to. But when it’s passed over almost apologetically by an older, unassuming gentleman, your curiosity impulse kicks in. What was it going to be like I wondered? Standard rock? Quaint country? Electro noodlings? How wrong I was. For Tractor, as a musical entity at least, are downright bloody frightening. Stark, aggressive melodies fight for attention under the most brutal bass sound you’re ever likely to hear this side of Big Black. There’s just the two of them, as is seemingly the trend this month, but they make a noise big enough to sink a dead big ship. Go see them, but keep something heavy in your pocket, just in case. firstname.lastname@example.org
[Decode Issue 2]
Tractor - 2003 Demo Review
This demo, funnily enough contains 4 songs from awesome rock/metal/sludge/groove/stoner band Tractor. They mix the primal and catchy grooves of The Melvins, the amazingly flexible stoner/alt rock of Shellac and an amazing guitar sounds, to make the sound, that is tractor. The first song, ‘All yours’ is an amazing trip into the Melvins back catalogue. You’d think you WERE listening to the Melvins, if King Buzzo had been replaced by Tractor main man Craig. Second song, ‘headache’ is a romp of sludge and slow doom awkwardness. Say if drone kings SunnO))) did a Cathedral cover, you’d possibly start to get a view into how this band sound on record, they’re an awkward, jagged, spiked beast that bites at your ear drum, punishing it to such a degree that you think twice about playing ’4 songs’ again ,for fear of going deaf, but you do, and you love it! In fact on repeated listens, you do find that there influences span further! Unsane and Sonic Youth both spring to mind. A simply awesome demo! To end this, I shall say this, Tractor, are the most enjoyable pain in the arse you can experience. Superb!
FINAL WORD: I’ll stick with the simple yet effective ‘fucking awesome.’ like Any of the bands above, get a copy of this, NOW!
INFLUENCED BY: Rapeman, Shellac, Unsane
Tractor / Geisha split 10" Review
"SuperFi matches two blistering Bristol outfits on this
10" slab of black wax, showcasing some of the more
ferocious avant noise-rock coming outta the UK at the
moment. You may recall GEISHA being jocked quite
highly in our last webstore update, where their Hymns
For The Living Dead was a featured release...that
CDEP's brutal but melodic wash of lacerating
white-noise rock was truly exhilerating, and we were
stoked to also get our hands on a small amount of this
split 10" that features the song "Blood Around The
Mechanism" from GEISHA. "Mechanism" starts off with a
laid back,jangly riff that reminds us of CODEINE (if
they were drunk), but doesnt stick around for long as
the band takes off into a howling, bass heavy
MELVINS-y noise-rock freakout that gets noisier and
noisier as the song progresses, layering more and more
white noise on everything until the whole song becomes
an atonal,formless smear of cymbal crashes, screams,
and looping noise, disentegrating into a bleary eyed,
string scraping DEAD C-like free-rock jam that finally
closes out in a squelchy locked-groove of
TRACTOR are new to us, but with a name like that, we
expect heavy. "gHost" brings it, with noisy,droning
feedback-rock, plodding and heavy and NOISY. Starts
off sorta like UNSANE if they mellowed out and tried
their hands at some UNWOUND style post-rock, but then
a gargantuan dirge/noise riff and very pissed-off
sounding vocals kick in,sending TRACTOR off into some
sort of unholy GRAVITAR/MELVINS/early SWANS muck, a
shitstorm of buzzing instrument cables, minimal
shouting, amp speakers ready to explode, and ferocious
bass. Hell yeah."
Tractor / Geisha split 10" Review
OK, so im just reaching the closing minutes of Tractors side of this bastard noise 10", and Tractor bassist Hank has seen it fit to give my head a good kicking in. Now, my speakers arent huge by any means but so low is the bass of hank tractor, that the items on my desk are moving themselves around... vibrating from one end to the other. The song Tractor serve up to us is entitled 'gHost', a full frontal noise dirge rock song, that's no short of brilliant. You can add Melvins, Swans and any Steve Albini bands you care to name check in Tractors list of aggressive influences. Geishas side of the 10" officially throws you over the edge! Geisha' chugging paranoia rock stumbles and flails it's way around it's side of the wax like leatherface tossing his chainsaw over his head. Mix the Melvins with Isis and i think you pretty much sneaking up on what Geisha's brand of sludge rock sounds like.
To sum up the this two song 10" i can only say im very proud these bands are from the UK. In todays society of pop punk and throw away rock bands, it's incredibly satisfying to hear two bands that are so grimey, so repelently evil sounding and well, just, so anti establishment! It's just so unusual to find two bands doign something so grimey and so original hailling from the UK.... and you get them both on one beautiful piece of 10" black wax! Superb!
FINAL COMMENTS: Where 'low end' really does mean low end!!
SOUNDS LIKE: The soundtrack to a mugging....?
Live Review - 23rd January, 2005
So on come Tractor to close tonight's proceedings with their rumbling, heavy grind core with tribal undertones and hang man bass. They were absolutely mesmeric. There was a long moment where The Sex Pixels were projecting some dark as fuck animations onto the screen behind them, involving puppies and puppets, while their flat, driven repetitive growl boomed out: I was held, rooted to the spot, off somewhere else. As soon as the track and animation finished I, delayed action, woke from the trance and grabbed my camera, but it was too late.
Despite the volume, the threat and the uncontrollable forward motion in my neck, I found them strangely comforting and warm. The feeling of walking out of Room 101, utterly broken, knowing that Big Brother loves you and will kill you when he chooses; the safety and absence of fear or discomfort in such a situation would be very much like listening to Tractor in a sensory deprivation tank. Sign me up for a session.
Adrian KK Hicks from [egigs.co.uk]
Interview [here] also.