Soft Kill
“Seven Hundred”

At the tail-end of Gumshoe’s wonderful “Re-Labeling the Future” feature was a nod to Handmade Birds, a small label based in North Texas. In 2012 alone, HMB released some of my most favorite albums by some of my most favorite artists: Theologian, William Fowler Collins, Sutekh Hexen, Pinkish Black, Circle of Ouroborus, loveliescrushing, Panopticon, and… seriously, the list actually goes on. If you’re wondering what you may have missed last year, or you simply need something to soundtrack this bleakest of winters, I’m certain reviewing HMB’s output would be sufficient. Hey, as we learned, small labels need all the support they can get. Why not support one of the better ones? And while you’re buying Handmade Birds back catalog, why not look to the future, too?

On January 22, Handmade Birds will be releasing a new 7-inch EP (ltd. 500) from the now-Portland (hi, neighbors!) based neo-goth band Soft Kill (ex-Blessure Grave). This EP is the first to collect Soft Kill’s new material since their 2011 album, An Open Door. It contains two songs, “Current” and “Seven Hundred,” and is (predictably) quite good. On top of being “quite good,” or because of it, the EP features Atriarch’s Maximillion Avila on drums, was recorded by Stan Wright of Arctic Flowers, and was mastered by James Plotkin (who, if you didn’t know, also made some seriously great music in 2012).

So, yes! Support Soft Kill, who has another full-length coming in the spring, and support Handmade Birds. Make it your new year’s resolution to not be an asshole who steals music from small bands and small labels. I promise: it will make the real free stuff (see below) all the better!

• Soft Kill:
• Handmade Birds:

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.