BY COOPER FELIEN-GATZMER AND SAMUEL STROUP
Locos Only is a casual and stark conversation between Minneapolis music fanatics Cooper Felien-Gatzmer and Samuel Stroup about the most exciting, underground and loud greater-612 new releases. This month they review a Minneapolis metal release and a techno release.
Tvær –Uvær (Bindrune Recordings, May 2021)
Tvær is a black metal band from Minneapolis. Their debut album “Uvær” is out now on Bindrune Recordings and finds a strong black metal sensibility mixed with a melodic folk metal sound with notable guitar-forward arrangements.
Cooper: I love some of these eastern tonalities (If I may be so bold) in the intro, into what becomes a nail-biter of a first song.
Sam: For sure, these guys are so melodic while so dissonant at the same time. Each chord change is a total surprise.
Cooper: The first track (“I”) comes in with the crunchiest lead guitar and the purestgrowl. It locks in and out and back in again like a riff buffet.
Sam: And the vocalist (A.C.) has such a beautiful shriek. Equal parts death rattle and battle cry. These guys have such an awesome singer and such competent guitarists that they don’t need to shy away from instrumental breakdowns or vocal-centric moments, you feel?
Cooper: The guitarists (A.C. and M.H.) march through such anthemic melodies, especially on “II.” They give me heavy sea shanty vibes, to be honest. They also have the guitarists going in and out of heaviness, and have some great clean-tone dueling spells.
Sam: Yes bro, this band does such a great job of showcasing their guitarists; they play so well together but never step on each other’s strings, as it were. The guitar tones at work here are something of an embarrassment of riches. There are all these little moments on “Uvær” of prettiness that are made so much more poignant by all the harshness that surrounds them.
Cooper: Definitely loving these sprawling outros and intros, serving a little stoner metal. I really like the clean mix. It’s anthemic. Sort of circumventing the sludge to arrive at this death growl—forgive me for being flippant with this metal terminology. The whole album gets dirtier as you get cleaner, like a towel.
Sam: Honestly, it’s a 10/10 for dropping a fresh, unique and noteworthy black metal album in a 2021 where Burzum is ostensibly a household name.
Cooper: And it’s a 10/10 for wondering which neighborhood in Minneapolis these guys are from.
Pillfinder – Shameless Opulence (Eyemyth Records, released April 2021)
Pillfinder is a Minneapolis underground techno project from Benjamin Mills, aka Unpure Impulse.
Cooper: This tape is like sucking down a Newport as you exit the club wiping the sweat off your temples. Praying the Uber driver has a cassette player, PLEASE can I pop “Shameless Opulence” in? Or at least pass the aux.
Sam: Exactly, this is music for staying up until the sun comes up, and the music mirrors that. Pillfinder has all these drunkenly confident synth lines that echo and pulse but always push forward.
Cooper: This IS Midwestern underground techno. My favorite track has got to be “In a Hostile Way.”
Sam: Yeah, the crunch of the kick drum and the sheer grittiness of the bass bring this joint to life. For me, “No Spin Zone” took the cake. All the little metallic percussion hits were so cool I felt like I was a piston headed down the assembly line at a factory.
Cooper: A hit-making factory, no doubt. The award for crispiest and most unrelenting high hats go to Pillfinder.
Sam: Along with the award for most insistent synths, Pillfinder drills home these ghostly little ostinatos with a purpose.
Cooper: Literally, all in all I’m getting very pure and refined techno. It’s experimental without distractions; the man is totally steadfast in the vision.
Sam: Not to mention exceedingly hard-hitting. And honestly, it’s the drum sequencing for me. All the little blips and metallic hits in his beats make the tracks so rich and cultivate such a vibe. One moment the drums will be the focus of the song and in a moment they become part of the backdrop.
Cooper: Which track do you think had the most crispy, crunchy, gnarliest vibe?
Sam: Gotta be track five, “Your Obsession.”
Cooper: Oh yeah, I’m definitely frantically shredding incriminating documents to track five.
Sam: “You wouldn’t download a car”-type music for sure.
Cooper: Respectfully, “Shameless Opulence” is a 10/10 for not having any skips and keeping me engaged and enthralled. Pillfinder’s obsessive and apparent love and knowledge of underground techno music. Keep it coming.