Bangers & Thrash : April 2013 Edition

Spring brings changes, and this year that starts with the news that local record store Celebrated Summer is expanding. Currently residing in the back of Atomic Books in Hampden, they will be moving next door when Atomic Books itself expands to take over the adjacent storefront. The additional floor space will allow for a larger selection of new and used records, as well as what owner Tony Pence describes as a “living museum” of Baltimore punk show fliers, posters and other items on display.

There’s been quite a lot of buzz about the upcoming Baltimore metal band Noisem. Local label A389 Records recently sent out word that they have signed the band, who at the same time changed their name (they might be more familiar to readers by their old name, Necropsy). Lead guitarist Sebastian Phillips says the name change is due to “the thousands of other Necropsys out there.” He adds, “our new name Noisem is inspired by the term Noisome which means unsettling or discomforting, disagreeable… we all really liked it, as it isn’t so generic.” The newly branded group have an album, titled “Agony Defined”, on the way in June.

Noisem will also be playing the 11th annual Maryland Death Fest, along with other local acts Pig Destroyer, Ilsa, Old Lines, Eddie Brock, Full of Hell and Asthma Castle. In a first for the fest, it will occupy not only the former Sonar nightclub (now known as Paparazzi), but also the parking area beneath the JFX underpass. There will also be a punk and hardcore stage at the nearby Baltimore Soundstage nightclub (124 Market Place). Year after year, the Death Fest organizers manage to pull off an impressive line-up, and they’ve continued that tradition with marquee acts like Bolt Thrower (in a rare US appearance), Carcass, Down (featuring Phil Anselmo of Pantera) and Venom as well as a reunion performance by powerviolence pioneers Infest. Bobby Liebling’s Pentagram will be playing as well, their first area appearance since the release of the Liebling-focused documentary Last Days Here, and it’s a chance for them to share the stage with fellow 80’s Doom Metal luminaries The Obsessed, who are reuniting for a set at the fest. Between these appearances and sets by Sleep and the Melvins, this year’s MDF appears to be the Doom event of 2013. Of course, there are also plenty of young acts to see, including Pallbearer (who’s 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction topped many year’s best lists), Rotten Sound, DC’s Magrudergrind and Weekend Nachos. It all unfolds May 23-26 in downtown Baltimore. While many ticket options are sold out, others remain for sale at marylanddeathfest.com.

There are plenty of other notable shows coming up besides MDF: The Wayward, Big Christ and Headwounds play with Dangerous Ponies at Club K on Wednesday April 24th. Or, the same night, experience an 80s hardcore revival with Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I. and Sick of It All at Baltimore Soundstage. Grind lifers Triac play with Inter Arma and Earthling Sunday, April 28th at the Golden West. Also at the Golden West, May 2nd one of DC’s best punk bands, The Shirks (who have a new album out on Grave Mistake Records), play with Baltimore bands Hard Dads and Gutterhooks. On May 3rd at the Ottobar, the Gray March plays a show with John Stabb of Goverment Issue’s band History Repeated. During Death Fest weekend, May 24th, Kentucky hardcore band Coliseum plays right around the corner at the Sidebar with DC’s Give and Red Hare (featuring members of classic hardcore band Swiz).

In upcoming record news, Drugs of Faith is in the studio recording a new as-yet-unnamed EP to be released later this year by Malokul Records, a label started by the DC band Disciples of Christ (who also are recording for an upcoming release on the label). Strong Intention and Coke Bust also are working on new records, and Baltimore punks Double Dagger have a new posthumous ep out now on Thrill Jockey.