Friday, June 30, 2017


Welcome to June's installment of Chainlinks! At the end of each month, we at The Chain reach out to friends and colleagues to find out what's been inspiring them. Anything goes – music, film, a book, an idea... This month, we talked to Megan Osztrosits of Couch Slut, Dan White of Pray to Keep, and Matt Cronk of Qui.


Megan Osztrosits of Couch Slut

Megan Osztrosits is vocalist for Couch Slut, the Brooklyn band whose upcoming sophomore album Contempt (out July 28 on Gilead Media) has been described by NPR Music as "perverse beauty."

I've spent about 80% of my daylight hours so far this month floating on a raft in a pool, and barring death or any other physical catastrophe that would keep me from getting wet, I don't see a change happening until late September. Here are three songs that have accompanied said lounging.

1) Milt Jackson & John Coltrane - "Blues Legacy":

2) Máté Peter - "Elmegyek":

3) Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - "Like a Lover":


Dan White of Pray to Keep

Dan White is the drummer of Pray to Keep, and a photographer, skate enthusiast and production whiz based in South Philadelphia.

1) Things I see on the street

On my days off I love walking around the city, exploring, and just looking at everything. Trash, art, people, architecture. It’s all inspiring to me. I currently have 12,000 pictures on my phone camera roll because I’m always drawn to new things that I see. There are so many little details in our world that most people glaze over, and I set out to find them.

2) Musicians on Instagram

I follow lots of musicians online, people are always creating and sharing new melodies, beats, and songs. This pushes me to discipline myself more and practice my craft, to have fun with it and spend extra time behind my drum kit or practicing piano (though I’m not very good). I like to play along to old favorites and post them to Youtube (username: danwhite123). Seeing other people do this drives me to want to eventually create more content and hopefully inspire others.

3) Zines

My art is very visually driven and I am very inspired by others who create work with the same DIY ethic. I collect lots of zines from local artists, and attend local zine fairs to gain new perspective and support the scene. Because I take so many pictures, at any given time I can be in the middle of creating 3 or 4 different books myself so all it takes is the free time for me to get organized and put them together. It keeps my brain active and the creative mind healthy. My last zine was 30 pages of all black and white photography from my neighborhood in South Philadelphia, all the intricate things that most people would never see, but make the area so unique.


Matt Cronk of Qui

Matt Cronk is guitarist and vocalist of LA band Qui, with releases out on Ipecac Recordings and Three One G.

1) Droolball 

My dear friend Nicole has been kind enough to contribute artwork for several of our records, tour posters, and soon, a new T-shirt design. She is also the creator of Droolball, her clothing line. She started out making handmade granny panties, embroidered with slogans like, “Hatchet Wound," and, “I’m With Stupid.” From there she has branched out into other garments and accessories like her handmade coffin-shaped handbags. She has made a few shirts for me, the most recent being a black shirt with sparkly red letters that reads, "Don’t Tell Daddy." I love Nicole and her oddball aesthetic. It has become very much a part of Qui’s visual presentation.

A post shared by Nicole O (@droolball) on

2) Dead Rider 

Dead Rider is the current band of former U.S. Maple guitarist, Todd Rittman. They are great players playing truly odd and unique music that doesn’t sound like anyone else. Totally weird and idiosyncratic. They are as discomforting as they are funny. I’m real stoked for their new record. 

3) Butthole Surfers, Rembrandt Pussyhorse 

I go through jags with some records where I can’t get enough of them. This is a current one for me. I’ve been listening to this record since I was 13 and I swear, I like it more and more the older I get. There is a common thread between a lot of what I find deeply inspiring that, for me, invokes a certain dark humor that is both sophomoric and intelligent at the same time. Pussyhorse is, in my opinion, a perfect alchemization of high-concept art and low-brow filth. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but the piano part in, “Sea Ferring,” has always sounded like it was bitten from “Cabin Fever,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I’ve always liked to think they were taking the piss out of Mr. Cave and I get real kick out of that, even if I’m just imagining it. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SARIN + Culture Creature

Stream the band's latest track, "Bloom", as well as read an exclusive interview via Culture Creature, here.

Sarin’s newest LP, Darker Lakes, will be released digitally via Bandcamp as well as on vinyl through Zegema Beach (NA), Dingleberry Records, Arkan Records, and Dead Punx (all EU) on July 25th.

Preorder digital album here | Preorder vinyl here.

Darker Lakes LP:
  1. Ice Wrought
  2. Amber Guide
  3. Darker Lakes I - Moraine
  4. Embers Circling Downwards
  5. Darker Lakes II - Crater
  6. Bloom
  7. Ocean Burn
  8. Darker Lakes III - Glacial
  9. Low Moon

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


"The provocatively named Brooklyn band looks to the miserable spew of Unsane, Today Is the Day and Oxbow to stir its own, but its second album, Contempt, is not without perverse beauty, dripping from the sludge."
–NPR Music

NPR Music presents the premiere of new Couch Slut song, "Company Picnic with Dust Off," from the Brooklyn band's upcoming sophomore album Contempt.

Listen, here:

"Company Picnic with Dust Off" chugs forward in the militant, minimal tradition of forefathers like Unsane and The Jesus Lizard – a real bulldozer. In contrast to the unshakeable noise-rocking of guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, bassist Kevin Hall, and drummer Theo Nobel, vocalist Megan Osztrosits groans and wails freely in a way that feels urgent, real, and cryptic. She rants with extreme purpose, like a very wasted person delivering an important message. Erupting into climactic peals of harmonics at the end, the song is a prime example of Couch Slut's ability to rattle a listener on two levels: it punches the gut and and tickles the brain. 

Contempt will be released July 28th on Gilead Media. Pre-order here:

From Brooklyn, New York, Couch Slut shook the underground in 2014 with the release of its debut, My Life as a Woman. Gilead Media owner Adam Bartlett says this: "As a label that releases a fair amount of black metal, doom, and other varieties of 'extreme music,' the concept of visceral and transgressive art is nothing new to Gilead Media. But Contempt may stand as one of the most vicious and unnerving releases in the label's history."

Contempt was recorded by Couch Slut's Kevin Wunderlich and former member Amy Mills. It was mixed by Caley Monahan-Ward (Extra Life, Voice Coils) and mastered by James Plotkin (Leviathan, Sumac).

Photo by Roger Hayn

LESS ART + BrooklynVegan + Invisible Oranges

BrooklynVegan and sister site Invisible Oranges have teamed with Less Art to debut the band's new single, "Wandering Ghost."

"Wandering Ghost" appears on the band's upcoming debut album, Strangled Light, due out July 28th on Gilead Media.

Listen, here:

And here:

Less Art is the alliance of brothers Riley and Ed Breckenridge of Thrice, Ian Miller and Jon Howell of Kowloon Walled City, and Mike Minnick of Curl Up and DieOn debut album Strangled Light, these five veterans bash out their own new version of post-hardcore – the musicianship is world-class; the perspective is world-weary; the sound is fresh and urgent and crackling with feeling.

Strangled Light's nine songs add up to a modern, muscular incarnation of the vibe set forth years ago by bands like FugaziUnwound, and Drive Like Jehu. 
Like those bands, Less Art rages – emotionally-charged and electrifying – yet also knows how to wield dynamics as a weapon. "Wandering Ghost," premiered today, is a moody number that cuts deep with a lurching pulse and Minnick's candid lyrics about addiction.

Strangled Light was recorded and mixed by Kowloon Walled City frontman Scott Evans at Sharkbite Studios and Antisleep Audio, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Full of Hell, Mutoid Man) at Audiosiege.

Pre-order, here:

Less Art will set out on a quick West Coast run in August, followed by East Coast dates with Vattnet in September.

Aug 4 - San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
Aug 5 - Oakland, CA @ 1234 Go! Records
Aug 6 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room

Sep 14 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge - w/ Vattnet
Sep 15 - Boston, MA @ Middle East - w/ Vattnet
Sep 16 - Washington, DC @ Songbyrd - w/ Vattnet
Sep 17 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts - w/ Vattnet

Photo by Scott Evans

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DEATH EYES + New Noise

“Death Eyes plays some frantically ripping and noisy hardcore punk. On this 7″, which follows a full-length debut from 2015, they get in, tear it up and get out before you even know what hit you.”
-New Noise

Read the latest review of Death Eyes' new EP, Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opción, via New Noise Magazine here.

Death Eyes first came to be in January of 2014, a merging of members from San Diego bands Rats Eyes and Death Crisis (hence the name), made up of Alberto Jurado (vocals), Jimmy Armbrust (bass), Jason Blackmore (guitar), and John Cota (drums). The band released their debut 12” in 2015 via Route 44 Skateboards & Records. Having since played with bands such as The Weirdos, Agent Orange, M.D.C., Nails, and Big Business, it’s evident that what emerged is something brutal, potent, and relevant to hardcore punk.

Death Eyes’ newest EP, Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opcion, will be released digitally as well as on colored vinyl through Three One G Records on July 28th. Preorder here.

Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opción EP:
  1. Life
  2. NPI
  3. Lesser Evil
  4. Larca
  5. Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opción

SARIN + Gear Gods

“Are you a fan of ISIS and Sumac, but wish those bands hit more of a Haxan Cloak-esque dark ambient edge? Then Sarin are the band for you. Their upcoming full-length, Darker Lakes, is a deep-dive into the experimental end of the extreme music pool – a collection of soundscapes equally lush and crushing.”
-Gear Gods

Stream the video for Sarin’s newest track, “Darker Lakes III: Glacial,” at Gear Gods, here.

Sarin formed in May of 2012 in a sweltering garage as a three-piece – guitar/vocalist David Wilson, drummer Aleks Hara, and a bassist who left in mid-2013 – in Ontario. After recording a couple of well-received EPs and playing as many shows as possible throughout southern Ontario, the remaining band members entered the studio with Southern Ontario’s “go-to heavy music guy,” Collin Young, in 2014 to record their first full-length, Burial Dream. After this, the duo of David and Aleks spent the next two years putting together a full outfit, ultimately deciding on the addition of guitarist Matt Dakers (Pagan Ritual), electronics/keyboardist Brett Cairns, and bassist Paul Barmak (Metsu). Darker Lakes, the band’s newest LP, was created with the aim of recording a more layered, denser and collaborative album. Now a full five piece, Sarin is landing increasingly higher-profile shows, most notably opening for Poison the Well last summer.

Sarin’s newest LP, Darker Lakes, will be released digitally via Bandcamp as well as on vinyl through Zegema Beach (NA), Dingleberry Records, Arkan Records, and Dead Punx (all EU) on July 25th. Preorder digital album here | Preorder vinyl here.

Darker Lakes LP:
  1. Ice Wrought
  2. Amber Guide
  3. Darker Lakes I - Moraine
  4. Embers Circling Downwards
  5. Darker Lakes II - Crater
  6. Bloom
  7. Ocean Burn
  8. Darker Lakes III - Glacial
  9. Low Moon 

Friday, June 16, 2017

PRAY TO KEEP + New Noise

PRAY TO KEEP: Philadelphia emo rockers present themselves with their Fred Mascherino produced S/T EP.

Stream “Bitter Half” ft. Fred Mascherino here, 

Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Pray To Keep emerges as a new breath of mid 2000’s influenced emo rock taking from the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Rival Schools, and Jimmy Eat World. Founded in 2016 by lead singer and guitarist Will Schaeffer, bassist Jason Duarte, and Dan White on drums, the band spent most of the year writing and recording. During this process they teamed up with Taking Back Sunday guitarist Fred Mascherino to contribute guest vocals and guitar, as well as being at the helm of producing the effort. Pat Voytko (Agitator) was added on second guitar shortly after recordings were completed.

The leadoff track “Headstone Lottery” is the catchy singalong track where the vocal melodies are reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance’s break through records. This is where the combination of Fred Mascherino’s production and Vince Ratti’s signature mix truly shines the brightest. “Bitter Half”, takes a more raw and exposed approach similar to Armor For Sleep paired with looming vocals complementary to Jawbreaker.

With members who have played in bands such as Agitator, Rock Bottom, No Paradise, Cadet, and Brontide, Pray to Keep vows to pave their own path both musically and artistically. While having a strong musical background, the band prides themselves on being heavily involved in the arts. Bassist Jason Duarte, is the creative director of a studio, while drummer Dan White works on music videos and productions in Philadelphia.  

The effort was recorded with Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday, Terrible Things, The Color Fred) at Diverdown Studios, mixed by Vince Ratti (Circa Survive, The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw) at Skylight Studios, and mastered by Bill Henderson (Bayside, Neck Deep) at Azimuth Mastering. The layout and design was done by members Dan White and Jason Duarte, as well as Dom Pabon (Malice At The Palice, Jesus Piece).

The S/T EP will see a June 30th self release.

Track listing:
1. Headstone Lottery
2. Bitter Half ft. Fred Mascherino
3. The Sincerest Form of Flattery
4. Side Effects May Include
5. Class of 97’ (Graduation Pact)

Feeling Loved is Being Dead.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DYNE SIDE + The Noise

"Dyne Side’s lead single is an ode to all the visionaries out there looking to keep their hustle alive and rep their city while they do it." 
- The Noise

DYNE SIDE is a post-hardcore band from Miami, FL. August 11th marks the release of Immigrant, their sophomore LP, four years after their last. 

You can stream first single "Runners" via The Noise here:

With the opening track, “An Argument With Myself”, the band draws a heavier influence reminiscent to Underoath. The guitar tones are raw, and there is a bass heavy leading riff delivering a punch in the vein of Norma Jean. Tracks like "Nothing to Lose" and "Ask Columbus" are the album's hits, swaying back and forth from their heavier and melodic sides, guided with a strong song structure. “Despite” is the somber pop hit on the record with production nodding to Sade and Nine Inch Nails, and with vocals in tune with Glassjaw and Head Automatica. Vocalist Emman Costa Maya has an exceptional range, and it is particularly showcased on this track. 

The record relates to a lot to the human condition and is explained through many different perspectives. Immigrant has a lot of open ended stories being told throughout that allow the listener a chance to connect with the tracks. The title is fitting too, as bass player Ariel Ramirez came to America with his parents on a boat when he was 3 years old. 

Immigrant was recorded and mixed by Paolo Angulo at The Heat Studios, and was mastered by Kris Crummett (Sleeping With Sirens, Issues, Drop Dead, Gorgeous) at Interlace Audio.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SARIN + Decibel

“Canadian experimental metal outfit Sarin find their home somewhere between bright melodies that shine with each note and a maelstrom of blistering noise and doom.”
-Decibel Magazine

“This upcoming record, Darker Lakes, promises to be a somber ride through a fog laden forest of sounds and emotions...”
-Metal Injection

Listen to Sarin's latest track, "Amber Guide," via Decibel Magazine, here.

Sarin’s newest LP, Darker Lakes, will be released digitally via Bandcamp as well as on vinyl through Zegema Beach (NA), Dingleberry Records, Arkan Records, and Dead Punx (all EU) on July 25th.

Preorder digital album here | Preorder vinyl here.

Darker Lakes LP:

  1. Ice Wrought
  2. Amber Guide
  3. Darker Lakes I - Moraine
  4. Embers Circling Downwards
  5. Darker Lakes II - Crater
  6. Bloom
  7. Ocean Burn
  8. Darker Lakes III - Glacial
  9. Low Moon