WFMU : Freedom is Freeform!
jason on 11/05/2009 at 08:14PM
Back in November 2008, before the Free Music Archive website even existed, we compiled a feature for WFMU's blog previewing some of our favorite artists from the San Francisco Bay Area who'd be joining us here once the site launched. Along with station favorites like Bob Ostertag, Citay, Death Sentence: Panda, Negativland, Sic Alps, Kelley Stoltz, Wooden Shjips, and Xiu Xiu, I discovered a really cool free debut EP by Kowloon Walled City. Their Turk Street EP went on to top WFMU's Loud List, and now KWC are back with a debut full-length titled Gambling on the Richter Scale (Perpetual Motion Machine)
Kowloon Walled City is built on a metal foundation with hardcore ornamentation, and sinking in sludge under ominous shadows of doom. KWC distills the dark elements of these metallic forms, bringing to mind some of the best purveyors of loud-rock in its 1990s AmRep heyday. Their sound often recalls pacific northwest artists like Karp and Melvins, but through a lens clouded by Bay Area fog, raw like the Tenderloin (KWC's home neighborhood). Gambling on the Richter Scale has been extremely well-received across the board, including at local SF shop Aquarius Records. The Gambling record release show was an Aquarius-curated event, and that's saying a lot because aQ has an incredibly refined taste when it comes to the heavy sounds (just check out these recordings from the WFMU/Aquarius SXSW bill from earlier this year).
I actually first heard about Gambling On the Richter Scale when I saw it posted on an illegal file-sharing network. Now I'm not going to tell you what filesharing network this was because I don't wanna get anybody in trouble. But I will go ahead and tell you who uploaded it. It was Scott Evans, guitarist and vocalist Ian Miller, bassist for Kowloon Walled City. And it's already been downloaded 1,500 times from that torrent alone, helping to spread the word about the group's successful West Coast tour last month. This four-piece is able to harness the potential of free distribution, while they also producing physical releases that are well-worth our hard-earned dime (and will likely sell out). The Gambling on the Richter Scale 12'' LP comes in clear vinyl or black/silver, and includes a hand-silkscreened CD. From what I hear the first pressing is going fast, and you can pick up your copy at inthewalledcity.com.