Tournament 'Swordswallower' CD EP
The latest from the always intriguing Trip Machine Laboratories is "Swordswallower", the debut EP from Brooklyn, NY's Tournament, which breaks off five tracks of extremely diverse hardcore/punk meets indie/noise rock in 16 minutes, and makes for another fucking stellar release that really took me by surprise. You immediately notice the raw, natural warmth of the recording, which has a great sense of ruggedness to it that really works perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the material (not to mention excellently accentuating the killer vocal work) – actually adding pieces to the puzzle when you look at the big picture. The majority of the songs are short but sweet two-and-a-half-minute bursts of energy, be they driven by rocked out hardcore/punk power chords and distant, furious yelling; sludgy, 70's styled dual guitar runs (believe it); high-speed, borderline chaotic riffing; or even some truly gutwrenching uses of melody and atmosphere that really come at you out of nowhere from time to time. Take, for example, the completely unexpected Interpol meets Planes Mistaken for Stars vibe of the much longer and darker "Traveler", which falls smack in the center of the EP. So… there's a lot going on here, and it's all fucking superb. The disc is housed in a nice, simple screenprinted chipboard digipack with a big matte insert (that also looks screenprinted) for all of the lyrics, so that rounds things out nicely and seals the deal.