On the latest episode we share our thoughts about two amazing debuts on full-length distance, as elite screamo from Richmond, VA meets top-notch screamo from Nuremberg, Germany. This is the fourth installment of Notes From A Smooth Talker featuring todlowski (FFO: Masada, Rêche, Lost Boys) and ostraca, formally known as Kilgore Trout (FFO: Old Soul, Youth Funeral).

ostraca - last


Right before their European tour, Richmond-based emoviolence outfit ostraca have released their first Long Player on Skeletal Lightning and i corrupt records. Since then, the groundbreaking album has rocked the foundation of the entire international screamo community. Recorded at Minimum Wage during the end of the previous year, last follows Faces of The Moving Year - a split with Denton’s Fflesh Born - and the band’s 2015 debut EP Deathless. The threepiece from Virginia establishes a dense and versatile sound straight from the beginning of “Waiting for the Crash“. While the opening stunner comes along with a well-structured composition, the following “The Orchard“ is forged out of chaos and incensement, before “Childlike initially returns to disentangled fairways. During the span of the whole album, Brian, Gus and John are able to master the balancing act between the genre typical dissonant sound and majestic melodies, which are brought to bear in songs like “Worn Away“ or the epochal ten minutes song “Nausea“. Last mentioned builds the centerpiece of the album, captivating through its ingenious buildup. This leads to a stormy climax, where Gus Caldwell begins to scream “Is there anything more to life than just trying to find what little joy in it you can?“ - only to notice that “You’ll get nothing and think you deserve it, fight and fight to cry at the outstretched hands of the angels in your life. Suffer through it all to find a friend and then recoil.“ shortly after. With last ostraca set new standards in songwriting, delivering a six-song collection, which will be thought of as a modern classic really soon.

“There is nothing more awful than the knowledge that you can and will hurt people, especially the ones closest to you. How much easier to pray for the meteor, or the quake, or the wave. At my worst, I am waiting for the crash so that there’s nothing to explain. To everything you made: wave goodbye. The hospital’s never going to call, it was you all along.” [Waiting for the Crash]

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todlowski - s/t #2


Nuremberg and its nearby cities have a little, but thriving underground scene, yielding stunning screamo acts such as Masada, Lilith, Lost Boys or Rêche. Attracting genre lovers from everywhere with their distinctive sound, they all have long made a name for themselves far beyond city borders. Originating from the same set as the above-mentioned bands, todlwoski consists of Oliver and Nico. The duo, known for their intelligent and humorous, yet crucial lyrics, have now digitally released their very first record on full-length distance. Just by looking at the cover, there’s a certain fuck you attitude floating towards the beholder, later manifesting itself within the band’s rough and minimalistic sound and lines like „PC spielen und porno, guten morgen, bon giorno, Einschlaflektüre serviert von Adorno, leben mit Sinn, ist nicht mehr drin, wer danach fragt, hat längst versagt!“. Todlowski puts emphasis on multi-vocals and mathy sound-structures, which unfold their full impact right from the start of pardon, the opening track of the self-titled album. Arranged by the distorted guitar, virtuosically played by Oliver, choppy melodies and changes in pace are drawn through each of the eight songs. In katze cola or mimimi moralia the two-piece seems to be on top of their game, refining their overall work on their energetic debut Long Player.

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We’re back with a brand new episode of Short But Sweet, Polite And Respectful. Besides the blistering, self-titled debut of Austin’s Portrayal of Guilt we also discuss the fabulous split between 5000 and cape light - probably two of the most underrated screamo bands out there - and In Memory, the very first release of Richmond-based Majorel. SBS #45 also includes Juliane’s double review for Massa Nera. As always, each of the releases is worth listening to.

Portrayal of Guilt - S/T


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With Miss The Stars Records and Contrition Recordings being the conductors of the hype-train, which currently rolls across the screamo landscape, it’s time for you to get your tickets. Austin-based emoviolence blast, portrayal of guilt, just released their debut EP on both DIY labels and it couldn't be a better departure for the rising newcomers from Texas. The self-titled EP features three vicious songs, combining screamo with nightmarish black-metal influences, where diabolic screams are hunted by the blastbeating drums. If you’re into blackened screamo or bands like Majority Rule and pg.99 you should not hesitate to head over to the group’s bandcamp and stream those three tracks, while clenching your hands like claws, raising them towards the dull sky.

5000 / cape light - split


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Classical screamo is alive and breathing. 5000 and cape light, both hailing from Tokyo, combined their forces to burn down a chaotic firework of tumultuous guitar work and raging vocals. The top-notch split record feels like a throwback to the golden era of the genre during the late 1990s, helping the Japanese duo to finally advance into the dimension of groups like Lord Snow, Cassus or Piri Reis. Despite their great ability to write songs on top-level, 5000 and cape light unfortunately still fly way below the radar of international screamo enthusiasts. From HELPLESS to mukishitsu, each of the six tracks is reason enough to make this change and to fall in love with the tremendous sound of the bands.

"思うのやめた 君のことを 考えることもなかったけれど"

Massa Nera - will it be enough for you to keep going
& no estamos separados



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The five piece from Linden, New Jersey, released their first two EPs over the course of last year. Massa Nera plays atmospheric post-hardcore influenced screamo. This band knows how to build up powerful songs with delicate melodies. Their first EP "will it be enough..." is composed with mostly English vocals. But on both tracks Hatsukoi and Hatsuyuki the band puts some Spanish lyrics into the mix as well. They keep up the good work on their second release ”no estamos separados”. Playing with quieter and more intense parts, Massa Nera puts together another three songs. On the second track "Surely, we'll see each other soon" Dean Scordilis of Our Wits That Make Us Men joins in with spoken word vocals. Besides digital download, both releases are available as cassettes at Adorno Records, UK. Massa Nera also recently recorded a full length, so keep an eye on this band.

"You live with vague ideas concerning limitless potential, ‘til you’re blindsided by the passing of time and realize you’ve run out of options." [I'll be the next to go]

Majorel - Restless in Memory


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Sass bands like SeeYouSpaceCowboy and gif. from god have found a formula to extract the best elements of metalcore and combine them with the iconic sound of late 90s screamo bands such as Jeromes Dream or Neil Perry. An interesting way of proceeding, also applied within the sound of Majorel. Haling from Richmond, VA, the quartet has released their debut In Memory on Canada’s Zegema Beach Records. The five songs on the Extended Play appear to be one mighty ebullition full of shrieking vocals and heavy guitar chords. Placed right in the middle of the EP “Attempting Coherence in Form and Intent“ is revealing the full potential of Majorel, marking the highlight track of In Memory.

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The Ghosts That I Fear of Vancouver’s dad thighs deserves so much more attention. Down below we tell you the reasons why. The new episode of Notes From A Smooth Talker also contains Juliane’s review about the German / Swedish collaboration between La Petite Mort / Little Death, Vivre Sa Vie and Young Mountain.

dad thighs - The Ghosts That I Fear


When it comes to emotional punk music it’s a convenient diversion to stumble upon something like The Ghosts That I Fear. The first album of Vancouver-based dad thighs sticks quite closely to the quintessence of the genre, without feeling like a cheap replicate of already existing works. Yet proved in the past with numbers like Left My Heart in Langley, the band once again showcases their ability to craft pure and sincere emo songs. Mastered at legendary Dead Air Studios in Massachusetts, the record starts with an anthology in the form of the binary epos, Going to the Dump to Watch the Bears. Both parts are beautifully arranged by the synergy of the group’s mathy instruments, caressing the vocals of lead singer Victoria. Every now and then the voice of guitarist Felix joins in, hereinafter leading to a breathtaking canon, where he finally confides “I can't say that I've never fantasized about my own funeral and who would be there“. The following tracks perfectly engage with each other, making The Ghosts That I Fear a coherent piece of art, temporarily culminating in My Favorite Valentine, a ballade sustained by smooth dual vocals, which flatter the listener’s ears. Characterized by a bright usage of all kinds of chants like spoken words during The Shadow that Desires is Left with Nothing but a Relic of Someone Else’s Dreams or rough, almost screamed vocals whilst The Rain it Raineth and Of Summer, the album’s composures are rich in variety, encircling the poetic lyrics. This record is a gem and it definitely deserves way more attention as it currently gets. So go and listen to The Ghosts That I Fear, spread the word and order a cassette from Damn Fine Tapes or Old Press Records.

“If this is love then we have learnt nothing, if this is love then where is life meant to lead us except in circles, and I'm pained and I'm dead and I'm going to bed with wide open eyes again.” [Going to the Dump to Watch the Bears Part I & II]

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La Petite Mort // Little Death / Young Mountain / Vivre Sa Vie - 3-way Split


We recently presented the song “Windchime” from La Petite Mort/Little Death here and now it is time to say a few words about the 12” split it is part of. Five record labels have this three-way-split in their catalog: Miss The Stars (DE), Zilpzalp Records (DE), Hardcore For The Losers (AT), Pundonor Records (ES) and Voice Of The Unheard Records (FR). The record kicks off with two songs from Gothenburg based Young Mountain. They start out with the atmospheric post rock influenced “Pilträdsvillan” fitting in well with the Swedish lyrics. Apart from a short ‘wohoo’ singalong part, the fivepiece dispense from singing altogether, as it was found on their first releases. Instead, they use different shouting and screaming variations which I totally dig. Their second song then sews catchiness with melancholy showing this band’s process of growth and “Bloom”. Following is the skramz band Vivre Sa Vie hailing from Stockholm. This second release for Wiljami, Jóann, Tobias and Osborn covers elements they used on their previously released demo. The song “Ehler​-​Danlos” demonstrates their typical fast and hacking sounding staccato style. The second one, named “Shield”, uses various elements like calmer spoken word parts switching to intense screaming, expanding into chaos back and forth, but ends in a surprisingly calm guitar picking with a distorted female voice sequence. Last but not least, La Petite Mort/Little Death from Rodgau contribute three songs to the split. They remain true to the mathy, tuneful sound recorded on their debut LP “Dear Reader…”. The Intro, a short blast, blows up the energy giving a peek into what this threepiece is up to and capable of. Then “Windchime” starts off again with these short, throbbing melodies in repeat. The voice fits in with a rapping, terse tone, often slightly off-key, growing into somersaulting shouts. They close the split with a melodic beat, harmonica and singalongs on “This name rings a bell” making me grateful to see such thrilling bands working together.

“Breathe into the sky, through perilous clouds and towards a new tomorrow. I will be there for you always, even when crimson rain comes pouring down. I’ll be by your side, you will be safe and sound. Yes this is my love-letter to you. Cross my heart, hope to die, your gift keeps me alive. And if we’re drawn apart, it's only distance my dear. I’ll be back soon in your arms, you have nothing to fear.” [Distance]

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The split “Eight Feet Under Vol. 1” will be released on June 1st and unites 8 bands from 4 different countries. Now you can exclusively stream one of its 22 songs: “No Hugs For Lucas” from Hamilton, Ontario, based The World That Summer.

The five-headed group experiments with a blend of different genres, inter alia infusing metallic post-hardcore with hints of screamo. Their sinister and heavy sound already has been put on display among several releases, like a split 10 inch with Sweden’s Nionde Plågan. On “Eight Feet Under Vol. 1” they contribute three new songs, including “No Hugs for Lucas”, which stands out with its wreaking drums, rolling right off the start. Subsequently the guitars join in and prepare the scene for the vocals, which interchange between growling, shouting and recitative. This urging sound transforms constantly - what once was initially fast and aggressive moves little by little into decelerated realms, building an intriguing atmosphere with a downshift of tempo, massive guitar walls and passionate vocals.

Of course The World That Summer is not the only reason to look forward to the epochal split, as it also features fantastic bands such as Vi Som Älskade Varandra Så Mycket and Via Fondo from Sweden, Nous Etions and The World That Summer from Canada, Sleeper Wave and Youth Novel for USA, and last but not least some groove from Lamantide and Pastel representing Italy. Who needs an Eurovision Song Contest, when you are able to catch this multitude of impressive hardcore from around the world within a single release. “Eight Feet Under Vol. 1” will be available via Zegema Beach Records, Shove Records, Through Love Recs, IFB Records and Don't Live Like Me Records on 2x12 inch black vinyl, wrapped in a gatefold cover with art by Italian graffiti artist '108'.

Dave Norman on the World That Summer, their song 'No Hugs For Lucas' and how the 8-way split came about:

The World That Summer formed in the summer of 2015 following a Life In Vacuum/Joliette show in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. We played some shows, wrote some songs, released a split cassette, a split 10" and contributed to an 8-way 2x12" split. We have three more songs that we will record this summer before I move to New Zealand, as well as two more shows (May 27th & June 3rd). We tried to be a screamo band at first but realized that we were more post-hardcore folks who happen to generally like screaming music. The song we are premiering is called "No Hugs For Lucas" and it is about the inability to shield my son (and children in general) from the horribleness of the world. We play it at pretty much every show and it was our closer for quite some time due to the ending of the song. I incubated this project for nearly three years and it is my other child 😉 It was inspired by the Microwave Says To The Pacemaker 2x7" compilation that introduced me to bands such as Phoenix Bodies, Advocate, Textbook Traitors and Rats Into Robots. We haven't played with any of the bands on the 8-way, they were just all bands that I loved and thought would mesh well together.






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Mastered by Orchid’s Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios, L’Amour Au Temps De La Peste is the sophomore release of punk veterans, Potence. The screamo / crust hybrid delivered an LP, which is definitely worth writing about. So, scroll down and read what Juliane thinks about it.

“Punk is love” the band says. In times like these - with so many imbalances which remind of times of plague and cholera with all its ugliness - love and punk are essentially important. Just in time before the presidential election these French punks piped their energy into eight songs, giving strength to keep going despite all the Le Pens, Trumps, and so forth. In case of Potence “punk” names the attitude rather than the musical focus. Though French screamo with a thick crust edge might be considered as a special kind of punk. So, who is this band that mastered an admirable debut LP after just one demo in 2015?

Remember Daïtro? Yes, it’s their former singer Aurélien you hear. But the other members Anto, Nico, and Sylvain too aren’t new to the scene. Each of them plays in addition in crust bands like Géraniüm, Human Compost and Black Code. The sound which fuses into Potence makes perfectly sense keeping in mind Géraniüm and Daïtro: screamo-influenced crust. Or vice versa. Even if the band only formed in 2014, you hear the great experience joined together in this Besançon and Strasbourg based band. Three of the four songs on their demo made their way on the LP, including the name giving “L'Amour Au Temps De La Peste”.

Let’s look closer into this record with the medieval inspired cover design. The first song jumps directly in your face with 90s influenced guitar work and serious crust parts getting you headbanging and moshing around before you’ll know it. In the last third the song calms down with a spheric violin sound for a short moment, just to speed away again until the end. That design also works well on the following tracks, giving you a moment to catch your breath now and then before urging you to go wild again. Hard to name a favorite track, maybe number four “Le Discours de ta Méthode” mixing heavy riffing and desperate throat ruining vocals with lots of tempo variation and superb melodies? Not to speak of the fifth and seventh track, both with Converge-worthy uptempo drumming and intense breakdowns. Or “Le Conte du Facisme Ordinaire”, with a just epic build up. Potence got me and the volume can’t be high enough. Sorry neighbors. Or not, they should be heard!

I already had the pleasure to see Potence at Fluff last year, and soon they are touring Europe again so don’t miss out on them and definitely check out this LP, which is available via various labels including Contraszt! Records, Impure Muzik, Music For Liberation, Walking Is Still Honest, Subversive Ways and Dingleberry Records.

Canadian screamo is on the rise and with the release of World of Grief, the debut Long Player of Edmonton-based screamo outfit, i hate sex - one of the spearheads of the vibrant movement - it temporarily reaches its climax.

The four-headed group around vocalist, Nicole Boychuk, and guitarist, Ashton Burns, was able to gain a lot of international attention with their 2015 breakout EP, Circle Thinking, a masterful collection of seven songs, revealing the most charming and stirring lyrics the genre had seen back at that time. With the success of Circle Thinking new doors were opened for the quartet, which had to cope with the hype, triggered by the popular Extended Play, as well as two line-up changes. Besides publishing a couple of split records with some other well-known international screamo acts, they also had the opportunity to tour through Japan with Shirokuma from Sweden and local heroes, ilill. Eight months later and right before there very first European Tour, they now have released their debut full-length World of Grief - one of the most anticipated punk albums of the current year - on Dog Knights Productions and Day Crush Recordings.

The album surprises by a much slower sonority, redefining the band’s style right from the inception of Months & Months, where Boychuk’s singular vocals are bedded on a warm-toning bass fundament. Before a genre-typical Midwest emo guitar takes the lead, a grunge-like riff kicks off the song. With that said, the new arrivals, Byron Mayor on drums and Matt Wayne on bass seem to already have left a mark on the band’s songwriting. It feels like the new members brought some fresh wind increasing the variety in the group’s sound. Without losing any sense of i hate sex’s screamo identity, the different pacemaking and subtile addition of the new elements appear to be a game-changer on World of Grief.

Those aspects are channeled within A Certain Kind of Luck, The Flood and Voodoo Dolls of Old Friends, a troika of songs, displaying the new sound of the band most clearly. First-mentioned starts with a vigorous, Rock n’ Roll-ish bassline, quickly gathering pace before diabolic screams and drumming burst through, joining the distorted guitar and Wayne’s bass. Subsequently the band throttles it back until Boychuk stoically begins to echo: „One for Sorrow. Two for Joy. Three for Love. Four if I die. Five for heaven. Six for hell. Seven for reminiscing on the love my heart is missing.“ After the first repetition her voice cracks and the pace becomes faster and faster, leading to an energetic crescendo. The Flood eventually trails the unleashed storm of its forerunner, offering the most retiring composition of World of Grief - a side of i hate sex that formerly remained concealed. Following this, Voodoo Dolls of Old Friends rises up with its ever-recurring riff, telling the painful monolog about a miserable love affair. The gut-wrenching emotions, evoked by the well-written lyrics, literally covering the mood of the album in a dark shadow. Apart from Alex Terakita’s album cover, which could be considered as a reference for Horror movies from the 1970s, Boychuk’s undisputed passion for the film genre also found its way into the lyrics of the album. Passages like „I melt like the witch when I see your crucifix. And I want to do everything evil. Cross my heart hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye. Only death is real, and I want to do everything evil!“ in Mean Pills or „The town wakes every day to stab the stake deeper into my vampire heart – you rang me out, and you hanged me to dry. I can’t see my face in the mirror, so I wrote your name in the steam.“ in And Yet It Moves feel like taken right of a spine-chiller.

With World of Grief, i hate sex delivered a strong debut on full-length distance. Solely the pre-released Weird Dream, Conscious Stream and the first 40 seconds of the closing No Exit reminded of the group’s approach on Cirlce Thinking, an EP which raised the bar for a whole generation of screamo bands, including i hate sex itself, who finally were able to break away from the expectations.


Our latest addition to the form und leere roster, Juliane, sat down and wrote her debut review for the blog. Check out the second installment of Notes From A Smooth Talker and read what she thinks about lypurá’s very first Long Player. The Episode also includes a review for the first work of Alex Bigman's and Niko Zaglaras' new project called Ghost Spirit.

lypurá - á


Lypurá from Karlsruhe started in 2014 and has already put together a quite distinctive piece of art. For their debut they found a home at Karlsruhe-based Twisted Chords records. I listened to the pre-released songs 'prerequisite' and 'weak' for a while until I realized that finally, the whole album was available on bandcamp. These first two tracks but also the demo from 2015 had already raised some expectations, which the other seven songs on á didn’t belie. The record has this beautiful dynamic and variety in each and every song absorbing you from the start. You’ll hear screamo crossing genre borders to post-hardcore, shoegaze, jazz and punk, building up energy during calmer parts, where you start clenching your fist, ready to raise it, and on the outburst screaming along in unison. While some songs surprise with growled parts like in 'a lost harmony', others - in the manner of the absolutely phenomenal 'growing' - have a dreamy attitude intensifying in chorus singalongs. The instrumental 'convalescence' could even be considered a shoegaze song.  On the other hand, you get glimpses of emoviolence on the track  'light'. Dani, David and Basti all share vocals, alternating between screamed parts and chants, reciting lyrics, which are permeated with self-doubt, disappointment and inner turmoil. The singing is not always on tone, but that makes the package even more likable. Despite the described rollercoaster of emotions caused by loneliness, the album, which is also available through the Italian DIY label Blessed Hands, ends with a hopeful 'In the end, everything will be just fine'. Give Lypurá a try - one way or the other, they might get to your heart.

“You promised me that we, too would get through this together / this darkens everything like unkind clouds” [aberration from path]

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Ghost Spirit - S/T Long Player


Recently founded Ghost Spirit is a LA-based screamo outfit, consisting of CMHWAK’s Alex Bigman doing the vocals, guitarist Niko Zaglaras, bassist Evan Henkel, and Taylor Jewell on drums. Within the scene, in one way or another, each of the four has already made a name for themselves, as the group features members of bands like Lord Snow, Fight Fair, Seeing Means More, Heritage Unit and VRIL. Released on Blue Swan Records, their self-titled debut starts with Reflections, an intense two-minutes screamo song full of changes in tempo and varying vocals - including background as well as spoken word vocals. At the latest when Bigman's voice kicks in, screaming „Trace your dreams onto a mirror and tell me what you see. Reflections engraved into eternity and drowned amongst the clouds.“ it becomes clear that melancholy and desperation is deeply ingrained to Ghost Spirit’s song-writing. Supporting those aspects during the entire album, the band’s angry sound is dominated by obscure harmonies, created by the guitar play of Zaglaras and Jewell’s incentive drumming. After a pack of four songs, it’s the instrumental interlude, Memories, Heirlooms, providing some space to digest the first eight minutes, before Ghost Spirit’s debut closes with Weightless, the most colorful track of the album and Distance, a love song, slowing down after its furious start, as Henkel, Jewell, Zaglaras and Bigman cautiously pick up the pace again until Distance reaches its carefully composed climax around the four minutes mark. Towards the end, the song fades out again, leaveing us with a strong impression about the first work of the Californian foursome.

“Breathe into the sky, through perilous clouds and towards a new tomorrow. I will be there for you always, even when crimson rain comes pouring down. I’ll be by your side, you will be safe and sound. Yes this is my love-letter to you. Cross my heart, hope to die, your gift keeps me alive. And if we’re drawn apart, it's only distance my dear. I’ll be back soon in your arms, you have nothing to fear.” [Distance]

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