Ladybird’s 2012 Demo Cassette/CD

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This sludgy masterpiece starts off seemingly harmless, with some reverb-drenched string-plucking, much akin to the beginning of Godflesh’s legendary tune “Anthem”. The second you feel secure, not even thirty seconds in, the fuzz kicks in and Ladybird are tearing at your face. Welcome to the next thirty minutes of your life. I’m always up for a good time, and Ladybird are willing to provide it as long as they’re allowed to break a few bones in the process. Opening track, “Ontological Physicalism” is possibly the ugliest boogie I’ve ever heard. If that sounds bad, trust me when I tell you that it isn’t. It’s a slithering horror of riffs and venomous vocals. This is the sound of Southern-fried misanthropy. For all I can tell, the lyrics are about butterflies and sentimentality, but I’m kinda doubting it.

Bands like Ladybird are hard to describe without seeking parallels, as music like this doesn’t often have room for creativity or ingenuity, but these guys craft a refreshing brand of sludgy beatdown. I’m reviewing this with beer in hand, which I never do, but it’s just too appropriate for this album. I’ve listened probably half a dozen times since I received it in the mail, and it still sounds fresh and enjoyable. I like to imagine these guys have beards that put my own to shame and that their concerts are filled front to back with heads nodding violently in rhythm with the music. Feedback is everywhere, the vocals sound like they were downright painful to record in places, the distortion on both guitar and bass are cranked to eleven, and the drums are a crashing menace. Each riff is compelling and unique yet somehow familiar. When this demo seems like it’s just oppressive all the way through, “Gone Away” relents into a sweet Sleep-esque jam for the last minute or so, giving just enough of a break to prepare for the crushing closing track, “Slow.” I can’t pick a favorite track, moment, or riff, because each song is compelling and downright badass in its own way. I’m hoping these guys tour soon, because I want an opportunity to write about more than a three song demo.

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Also, I need to make mention that they went above and beyond with the package they sent me. Initially, their demo could be received with an email request. I asked for a tape and they sent me three tapes, five CDs and a mini-DVD demo from fellow Arizona crushers Pigeonwing. The Pigeonwing demo is awesome too, but I just wanted to mention how much I love it when a band believes in themselves enough to aggressively self-promote outside of just spamming facebook. I’m expressing serious love for these guys and I hope you’ll find it worth your while to go visit Ladybird’s bandcamp page and purchase a tape or CD. It’s only five bucks and it’s worth every penny. If you’re cheap you can download it for the price of your choosing, but you can get that anyway with just an extra few bucks and it’s sweet to have a tape or disc. Also, since they’re really hard to find on facebook because of many other pages including the phrase Ladybird, here’s a link to their facebook page. Like ’em and tell ’em I sent you. More reviews coming soon, since I’m drinking excellent beers tonight.

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