Liverpool’s Carcass first began churning out its unique brand of psychopathological gore in 1985, when guitarist Bill Steer joined forces with drummer Ken Owen to form the nucleus of this UK-based quartet. By the time Steer and Owen were joined by bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker in 1987, they had become a far more formidable, serious unit, eventually landing a deal with the trend-setting Earache Records. The group’s debut LP for the label, 1988’s Reek Of Putrefaction, featured a stomach-turning, full-color collage of distressed body parts for a cover sleeve, but this didn’t stop it from making it all the way to #6 on the UK Indie LP chart, establishing Carcass as one of the pioneers of the grindcore genre. 1989 saw the UK release of Carcass’ second LP, Symphonies Of Sickness, which boasted radically improved production values and a quantum compositional leap. This album also marked the beginning of the band’s career in earnest, as Steer gave up his part-time gig with Napalm Death upon the completion of Napalm’s Japanese tour. Since Symphonies Of Sickness was issued overseas, the band has completed a full Earache package tour (also featuring Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and Bolt Thrower), and has done a full-blown US tour in support of Death even before S.O.S. was made available domestically. Carcass (completed by guitarist Mike Amott) is presently working on its third album (second for Combat/Earache), which should be recorded this summer and released in late 1991.
As 2012 came to a close, George Clarke and Kerry McCoy were living off of food stamps in a small apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco with six other roommates. They slept in closets and partitioned corners, licking their wounds after a year of touring with their band Deafheaven. While their debut album Roads To Judah was met with high praise, there wasn’t a large audience for their signature hybrid of black metal, shoegaze, and post-rock. Consequently, the band amassed a mountain of debt on the road and lost 3/5ths of their members to the financial security of full-time employment. In the rare moments of solitude within those cramped quarters of the Mission apartment, Clarke and McCoy began piecing together musical fragments that would become their sophomore album Sunbather, an album thematically fixated on the un-punk dream of climbing out of poverty and living among the leisure class. Despite the underground’s aversion to such open pining for comfort, stability, and luxury, Sunbather was a massive critical success and an unexpected crossover hit. With their new bandmates Dan Tracy (drums), Stephen Lee Clark (bass), and Shiv Mehra (guitar), Deafheaven began selling out clubs and landing high profile festival slots across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. No one could have anticipated a band that drew from equal parts Weakling and My Bloody Valentine ascending to such heights, and that incomprehensibility added to the band’s singularity and allure.