Rat Capacity / Destroyed 7"

Justin (Mutators, Sex Negatives, Nons, Grotesque Modern, Emergency Room, visual artist, etc) joins forces with Mildred Smith and Elanor van Houten for the years-in-the-making debut of Random Cuts. Solid hooks are provided. Expectations of noise and no wave-isms are confounded. The first of three Random Cuts singles to be released on Nominal each month of the summer of 2009.

Initial pressing of 515 on blue vinyl.

Includes insert and download coupon.

Digital sales: http://www.midheaven.com/item/rat-capacity-by-random-cuts-7download

Sleep / Jail Stripes 7"

Fresh from their US tour with Nü Sensae, the second of three summer singles by Justin and the ladies. The sound of growing up on punk, grunge and absurdism.

Initial pressing of 520 on pink vinyl.

Includes insert and download coupon.

Digital sales: http://www.midheaven.com/item/sleep-by-random-cuts-mp3-download

Make Damage / Pigeon Park 7"

The third and final Summer 2009 single by Justin and the ladies. "Pigeon Park" is the lead vocal debut by Mildred. What is she doing hanging out with Vancouver's lost, strung out and soon to be relocated for Olympics beautification?

Initial pressing of 524 on yellow vinyl.

Includes insert and download coupon.

Digital sales: http://www.midheaven.com/item/make-damage-by-random-cuts-mp3-download



STILL STINGLE October 14, 2009

Random Cuts – “Sleep” b/w “Jail Stripes” 7” / “Rat Capacity” b/w “Destroyed” 7” / “Make Damage” b/w “Pigeon Park” 7” (Nominal)

Regional scenes have withered the last few years as record stores falter, and the Internet becomes the de facto, decentralized point of musical contact. Specific sounds are obsessed over and replicated. We’ve got dozens of Black Lips, Crystal Stilts, and Lebenden Totens (and even more of actual popular music), but the spatial disconnect means kids have been slow to make much of it besides reproduce these sonic markers and take pictures of themselves. Hope is not lost though, for something exciting is going on in Vancouver, and hometown labels Nominal Records and Grotesque Modern have done a bang up job documenting a thriving scene that effectively ties together several of the strongest elements of the past decade. Grotesque Modern label head’s one-man/two-mannequin project Random Cuts offer a triumphant triumvirate of 7”s, drawing many influences from their Seattle neighbors but incorporating elements of modern noisy post punk like his previous band, Mutators. Try as I might to avoid the comparison, there is a strong Nirvana element in Justin’s groaned howl and bass driven fuzz, though it’s the aspect of Nirvana that was trying to channel the Wipers, and none of the histrionic tantrums, or the self inflicted bass injuries. All three records have spot-on production, raw but huge. The guitars sound fantastic and varied, thick smooth fuzz, chiming rhythm riffs, and layered dissonant harmonized leads that remind me of the early Sonic Youth LPs. Hollow, thunking bass lines propel it all along. All three records are worth your time, but I’d start with “Sleep” 7”, one of the best singles I’ve heard this year; a sing along anthem opening with a wall of fuzz riff and tweaky noisy guitar bursts. “Make Damage” is second best, a further evolution of the concept, and its flipside, “Pigeon Park,” works a Bull in the Heather vibe. Three 7”s in three months and I want more. Approx. 540 copies of each on colored vinyl, with download codes.



OBSESSIVE SALT Saturday, October 17, 2009

RANDOM CUTS - three summer 2009 7"s (Nominal)

“Rat Capacity b/w Destroyed” 7” (Nominal).
“Sleep / Jail Stripes” 7” (Nominal).
“Make Damage / Pigeon Park” 7” (Nominal).

I have had countless conversations with people from all over the world about how insanely impressed I am with the quality and productivity of Vancouver's scene (specifically revolving around bands: like Shearing Pinx, Twin Crystals, Mutators, Channels 3x4, Nu Sensae (amongst many many more), labels: like Isolated Now Waves, Deer + Bird Lathe Cuts, Grotesque Modern, and their spots to let it happen and be documented: The Emergency Room and the regular “Fake Jazz Wednesdays” at the Cobalt. Vancouver is the unspoken capital of modern no-wave, weirdo punk, gothy scuzzy soul music and the tons and tons (and tons) of solo projects and side bands that spawn from ever single “group”.

Some of these are people that I have come to know and love over the years, some are just casual friends who's work I adore, but seeing and playing with these bands in various places and frequently over the past few years, I have come to the conclusion that few places are as blessed have have such a plethora of specific energy. I'm not saying I think everything within the confines of their community is perfect. I'm sure (okay, I know) that there are “people problems” getting in the way up there too. However, I can not put enough emphasis on how important I believe the output from this huge group of people is. DIY feels most alive and well right there, and the participants scramble and support each other and crossover and bleed through each others bands and labels in a beautiful and noisy display of natural intersection. The pie graph would have too many layers and be entirely to dense to attempt to consume, and a linear connection scheme would ultimately end up looking like the cover to RANDOM CUTS' “Rat Capacity”.

All of that being said: this is the new solo project of Justin Gradin, who I met as the drummer from Mutators, which came through Phoenix a few times, unfortunately scoring under-attended shows, though playing with as much intensity (and volume) as if it was the most exciting living room full of people they had ever performed in front of. Mutators were very much part of that Vancouver crew, their music was grungy and noisy and they all had their own things going on outside of that project too. (In fact, Justin does the label Grotesque Modern). However, with Random Cuts, Justin has truly veered off the path a bit, in both sound and approach, and these three singles (as well as playing with / seeing him do this live at a show with Nu Sensae over the summer) have really made for something special.

These six songs are amongst the most “normal” and “accessible” from this community, and they speak a familiar language that is so heavily intertwined with all of the bizarre music that people like, it begins to become hard to point back to what it is that correlates. Is it pointing to the first few Wipers LPs? The earliest of the Murder City Devils material? (if you are in you're mid to late 20's, you'll understand how that would be a good thing). Nirvana? Sure, sure. Gritty, driving, somewhat dirty punk / rock, with riffs that make the songs just as memorable and solid as the vocals do, with the perfect aesthetics of all three really just driving it all home, just in time for sleep. (Honestly, these three singles all look incredible. I don't know how anyone could not want to buy these or at least be drawn in and way interested / temped by the artwork alone).

In the live setting, rather than just play along to pre-record tracks, Justin actually takes the time and space to drag along his band-mates, Mildred Smith and Elanor van Houten, who indeed are mannequins,... and not only do they adorn their own bass and guitar, but on the track that Elanor does the lead vocals on, he moves the mic over to where she is. Justin has been quoted as saying “I have learned that it is sometimes better to deal with plastic humans than real ones”, but there is so much going on here than just that. I think that Justin is in love, and I bet the three of these people had an extremely good time making these unbelievably perfect 7” layouts.

All three of these come highly recommended, as does virtually all of the Nominal catalog. Check them out here: NOMINAL RECORDS.




LIGHTNING'S GIRL August 11, 2009

Random Cuts

I've made it no secret that I have a hard on for this label since day one but damn it they keep releasing records that blow my mind and my speakers... so as long as they keep doing that, I am going to keep praising them on my nerd site.

Here is what the Nominal Records site says about the Random Cuts: Justin (Mutators, Sex Negatives, The Nons, Emergency Room, Grotesque Modern, etc) finally makes good on the long promised Random Cuts. Hooks, not noise. A single a month for July, August, and Sept. Summer US tour with Nu Sensae.

First of all I hate to argue with a two dimensional screen of my computer but as I hear this, yes there are hooks but noise too. The best kind of noise. Noise that I can only compare to the blazing guitar antics found on early Treepeople records (that is pre Built To Spill for all you squares) mixed the deadpan chaos of early Flipper channeled through a trio of one dude and two ladies. (or two female mannequins if I am reading these covers right)

Each record is wicked limited (slightly over 500) comes on candy colored vinyl, and flat out rules BUT if I had to place the trio in favorite order for those of you who lack the funds to score all three here ya go.

The winner : Make Damage / Pigeon Park
Runner up: Rat Capacity / Destroyed
Third Place but still no loser: Sleep / Jail Stripes.




Rat Capacity Ep / Sleep Ep / Make Damage Ep
Nominal Records 2009

Trio de Vancouver, 1 garçon et deux filles. Les Random Cuts viennent de sortir une série de eps 2 titres assez originaux cet été. Le visuel des pochettes, fait par leur chanteur Justin (personnage très actif à Vancouver), est assez dadaïste et très coloré. Les eps sont eux aussi colorés. La présentation est donc soignée et originale. Un bon point...La musique est aussi variée, colorée et très surprenante. Étonnement, les Random Cuts croisent des influences casse-gueule, qui posent une super mélodie, un sens de l'harmonie et en même temps pètent tout, déconstruisent tout sans excès en deux minutes. Rat capacity est un morceau qui reprend les traces nerveuses de Nirvana, avec des intonations à la Corbain. Les influences sont tracées entre Nirvana, Mudhoney, la destruction wagnérienne de Flipper (à noter la réédition de tout flipper y compris le génial gone fishin') et l'univers renfermé (presque autiste) des Wipers. Surprenant car les Random Cuts ont laissé tombé le côté surproduit pour faire trois eps qui se complètent sans violence et sans chocs bien que les paroles soient assez sombres (Jail stripes) et que la tension soit bien contenue. 3 eps, 6 titres qui croisent grunge, rock et post-punk...qui font faire des dégâts. À croire que les vagues sonores de San Francisco, Portland et Seattle viennent de frapper de plein fouet Vancouver en été 2009. (à l'intérieur des eps, un code est disponible pour télécharger les morceaux...bonne initiative!)
-Fab tigan (02/09/2009)

The Random Cuts are a trio from Vancouver who have recently released a quite original series of two-song singles this summer. The artwork in the inserts, made by the singer, Justin (an active member of the Vancouver scene), are rather Dadaist and very colourful, as are the singles themselves. A solid mark for careful and original presentation … The music itself is also varied, colourful, and very surprising. Astonishingly, the Random Cuts mix their influences with abandon, producing a strong melody and harmonious quality while breaking them down, deconstructing them all without pedantry in two minute tracks. Rat Capacity is a track that takes up the nervy traces of Nirvana, with Cobain style intonations. [Within the singles can be found] the influence of Nirvana, Mudhoney, the Wagnerian destructiveness of Flipper (take heed of the re-release of Flipper’s entire back catalogue including the superb Gone Fishin’) and the claustrophobic, almost autistic universe of The Wipers. Surprisingly, The Random Cuts have foregone the generic to produce three EPs that combine tension and dark lyrics (Jail Stripes) without resorting to [simplistic?] violence and shock. 3 EPs, 6 songs crossing grunge, rock, and post-rock that will do some damage; just imagine soundwaves from San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle crashing over Vancouver in the summer of 2009. (Inside the EPs is a code for downloading the tracks … great idea!)
-Fab tigan (02/09/2009)



Rat Capacity, Sleep, Make Damage : 7"'s

Postpunk meets no wave somewhere in the middle and the results are pretty good. Not some mere retro act, Random Cuts use the past as a foundation and build something of their own on the ruins. Catchy rhythms, despite being minimal, set everything in motion, with guitars that are discordant without being obnoxious or forced. The first single, “Rat Capacity,” is the most subdued of the three. The second single, with the A-side, “Sleep,” is the dance party hit. More sonic, and the vocals are more direct and in your face, so to speak. However, the most interesting song of this whole set is the B-side of “Make Damage,” which is “PigeonPark,” where Mildred Smith takes the vocal duties. The pace is lurking, the vocals have a withdrawn quality, and the repeating of “There’s a weirdo on the corner” puts things in a very different light. I recommend getting all three singles at once. Doing so, you can listen to the progression of music on each one. The first is more bare bones, and the other two start to fill in the open spaces without losing any of the edge. Seriously good stuff.
–Matt Average


DISCORDER September 2009

Riff Raff

And while you're at it, score yourself ex-Mutators Justin Gradin's new combo Random Cuts on the aforementioned label. Not as noisy and discordant as his prior project, Gradin's got a brand new bag of tricks that lay somewhere between the post-punk-isms of Wire and the new-school proto pop of their contemporaries Defektors (particularly on "Rat Capacity", but "Destroyed" also displays some chops that fans of some of of the current crop of In The Red Records groups like The Intelligence may agree with). Apparently two more singles are hot off the press and ready to go, so you'll probably see more ink being spilled on this group in the future.
-Bryce Dunn