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                                 Northern Liberties / Errant Ray



- Maximum Rocknroll. issue 389, October 2015
     
     
    Northern Liberties / Errant Ray

Northern Liberties have slowly become an under-appreciated Philadelphia institution, this being their sixth full length album since the turn of the millennium. They seem to have an endless supply of songs and art pencils with which to draw the artwork that surrounds them, and this new album is as good a selection as any.

Like most bands with half a dozen albums under their belt, they really sound a lot like themselves, to the point where Northern Liberties can (consciously or unconsciously) appropriate Fugazi rhythms, pop-punk riffs, Hum’s deft balance of the heavy and melodic, Load Records’ neon scree and a dozen other musical signifiers I’m missing without ever feeling like a direct rip-off or homage to anyone besides Northern Liberties.

For a band that is just a bassist, vocalist and drummer, they cover the sonic spectrum pretty well, rather than homing in on a very specific and singular vibe ala Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. The lyrics tend to quickly drift off into prog-fantasy territory, not unlike fellow underground scribblers Human Host (you better believe there’s the line “paramecium – gaze upon the flame”). I can’t imagine anyone would try to stop Northern Liberties from continuing, so maybe they’ll go on forever?

- Yellow Green Red (LINK), September 1st., 2015

 
   
 





Northern Liberties / Glowing Brain Garden

Use this album as a manageable entry point into the world of the Duerr brothers and their longtime best friend Kevin Riley; who, together for over a decade, have been crafting what they call “ghost punk” - and I’m inclined to take their word for it. In the least because they have always created within the confines of vocals, percussion, and bass; bending to Occam’s Razor - the law of parsimony, which states that until a greater demonstration reveals itself as necessary, the most succinct one shall rule.
-- "Best of 2012" from liveatthedifference.blogspot.com -  (liveatthedifference.blogspot.com)

Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Glowing Brain Garden

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Glowing Brain Garden

RECOMMENDED
Even those with active new music intake can only hope to hear about five to ten records of this power and transcendence in one lifetime. So, I’m torn between two or twenty-eight different attitudes when faced with the task of actually reviewing something like this. One of them goes like this: “There might be art I will never be qualified to comment on. Yep, face it, Mr. Summer School AFTER 12th Grade In Order To Genuinely Graduate in….the…..hou…” And another goes like this: “Is this some sort of a joke or a ‘90’ reissue that is doing exactly what the reissue game is supposed to do (unearth brilliance that was overlooked the first time around)?” That I might be suspicious of something this consummately uplifting and powerful is 100% commentary on the sad state of affairs elsewhere on the tunes-ville landscape…or is it? The weird and terrifying degradation of underground rock – it is finally happening in an Illuminati sense despite the crying-wolf nature of saying so in public and despite the fact that no one will really believe me or you if this happens to be an adopted party-line in the near future – has not brainwashed me into some peanut-butter cognitive mush that hugs and embraces and spews superlative soup all over anything that simply DOESN’T SUCK. No, this album is one of the best ten long-players I’ve ever heard within the context of contemporary….aka “post-1985” underground rock/hardcore/punk/indie/noise-rock, etc. And that’s it. What awaits those lucky enough to get their hands on one of the remaining (??) 300 copies? Imagine if Cop Shoot Cop had GBV hooks along with the best moments of Scott Walker singing into the heavens. It’s a drummer (oh, what a drummer…), a vocalist/percussionist (playing what is probably a
stand-up kit rather than this being a double-drummer set-up) and a bassist playing the fucking instrument like Lou Barlow taught everyone who was listening and properly processing Dinosaur Jr’s You’re Living All Over Me (an album also in that aforementioned top ten). Get this. Hear this. This is the sound of hope and inspiration and it made me feel something I wasn’t ever planning to feel again. (http://www.northernlibertiesband.com)
(Andrew Earles)

from http://still-single.tumblr.com

 



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Glowing Brain Garden

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Glowing Brain Garden

You know the type of person that has to constantly be creating something? Someone who goes to jury duty for a day and comes back with an intricate sixteen-page comic book sketched on loose-leaf? That’s the impression I get from the Northern Liberties boys, two brothers and another who dispense all sorts of art like a fountain, both as the group Northern Liberties and individually. Glowing Brain Garden features sprawling, colorful art both inside and out, with enough pencil-strokes to make Nick Blinko’s hand cramp, as well as a couple of inserts. Visually alone, it’s a labor of love. Musically, I know I’ve seen these guys in at least one basement, but Glowing Brain Garden is more realized and structured than what I remember – kind of like a low-budget version of At The Drive-in trying out some of Lightning Bolt’s signature moves. Lots of musical technicality and tempo changes, fantasy-styled lyrics and a home-spun grandeur (with an apparently endless supply of colored-markers to fuel their ship). I’ve always figured Northern Liberties were a little too Burning Man for my tastes, but at the very least, the effort they put forth to document their existence has certainly expanded and improved my perception.

from

http://www.yellowgreenred.com





Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Glowing Brain Garden

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Glowing Brain Garden

First thing I noticed about Glowing Brain Garden was the elaborate artwork that is featured pretty much everywhere on the record. It also includes a couple inserts that also display the same type of sprawling images. Have to appreciate the type of effort that went into putting this together, a completely self-funded venture it would appear and one that is obviously a labor of love. As for Northern Liberties and their music, they actually kind of mimic what you see covering every inch of this release. At least in terms of imagery, as lyricist Justin Duerr takes a rather psychedelic/fantasy turn with the themes for this. The music itself ends up falling into a much noisier/abrasive area, but one that likely lands smack dab in between say…Karp and Lightning Bolt, kind of drawing elements from both styles I’d imagine but never really committing to either completely. Multiple listens has found me enjoying it more, and while the old bass and drums setup is a plentiful one they do well here in a adding a bit to it instead of merely taking up space. Despite this being their 5th record, from what I understand, this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing them. Busy individuals it would appear; probably will have two more releases out by the time I get this one on the site. Kidding, give it a listen.

from http://builtonaweakspot.com




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Ghost Mind Electricity

Wild beats and tweaked instrumentation combine with a vocal approach somewhere between Davids Byrne and Yow for an eclectic emission from the tri-partite Ghost Mind. Militaristic drumbeats seem to herald the dawning of a spirituality that becomes more physical than spectral as the tracks roll on through tales of “Children of the Unholy Cross,” “Psionic Sorcery Song” and “Dead Deer House.” At times subtle and restrained, but more often than not barely under control, these 12 songs possess a frenetic underworld energy that is singularly arresting as the pieces flower and decay. One can’t help but wonder what it would sound like if the songs were ‘overmastered,’ given additional layers and effects capable of building and destroying alien graveyards. As with the previous Secret Revolution, the artwork by vocalist Justin Duerr is excellent, an intricate illustration of the “ghost punk” ethos at work. Would probably be most amazing live.

See it here! from PANISCUS REVUE




nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Secret Revolution

Utilizing a more tribal and psych-folk approach than the noise/metal onslaught of some of Worldeater’s other collaborators, Northern Liberties eschews the use of blunt force and instead creates a guitarless acid punk that works. Inventive arrangements and an array of effects, not to mention the surreal art of the lyrics, combine to create a unique and compelling entity. “Featureless Observer” has a nice touch of Specimen to it, “Monument” and the vibrant “Love Dove” are standouts, and the album comes with four bonus tracks including a remix of “Uniform” by labelmate Twentyagon, a pair of trippy “extractions” and a live recording of “Monarch.” Think “After the War”-era U.K. Subs, add a dose, and there you have it. Comes with some great cover art and an amazing B&W CD booklet centerpiece that’s like a female version of Blinko’s Peni art, all by (I think) AgentA.

See it here! from PANISCUS REVUE



Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation


Philly Weekly 'Suffocation' review:

NORTHERN LIBERTIES

It's a grand plan: Release a limited-edition, 200-copy run of a vinyl album that features one song and then play that song/album in its entirety, "Thick As a Brick"-style. Northern Liberties say they will only play the piece, titled "Suffocation", live twice, once in Bethlehem, Pa., and once at Johnny Brenda's. What will it sound like? Only a select few know, but the band describes it as "somber - essentially a 'winter song' dealing with problems inherent to existence in a physical dimension." If "Suffocation" is anything like the early 90's DIY/grunge/postpunk vibe blended with off-kilter, avant-garde jazz rhythms the band is normally known for, it could be epic.

-- Katherine Silkaitis, Philadelphia Weekly, March 18-24, 2009   -

See here!

 



Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation


Ghost punk involutioners Northern Liberties have always put on intense shows. As Kevin Riley’s bass and Marc Duerr’s drums distort the senses, Justin Duerr writhes and pounds away on his percussions in a turret of tattooed fury, but at Johnny Brenda’s this Friday, they plan to take it up a notch by unveiling a new 30 minute long song called Suffocation, which will be available on a limited edition 12” vinyl. This will be its official debut live performance, and the band currently plans to only play it one other time so don’t miss out on one of those nights that people talk about how you should’ve been there!

Also on the bill are local punk folk darlings Mischief Brew who are always incredible live, but before they play Johnny Brenda’s, they’ll be dropping in at The Fire for a special all ages acoustic set. Johnny Brenda’s 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 PM, $10 myspace.com/northernliberties

- Bill McThrill

http://www.thedelimagazine.com/philadelphia/




Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation


MUSIC . One Track Mind
Northern Liberties "Suffocation"

Call it a prog-noise opus. Call it a gathering thunderhead. Need a better categorization? You have plenty of time to think one up. The new 12" from captivating experimental punk trio Northern Liberties is 30 minutes of rumble, swell, shriek and release, a single thrilling song enveloping you in a manner that entire albums would struggle to match. The sludge riffing heard in the earlier part of "Suffocation" builds into pattering marching toms and mantra vocals, a beautiful feedback devotional. Then there's some distorted bad-trip synthesizer and pounding march to the sea — so much is going on here, so many bits to chew on as the music runs its course. The band calls this its winter song, recorded last December and debuted on the vernal equinox to exorcise those dark months. On a higher level, we've been mired in winter for much, much longer than that, and the band has tinkered with this composition for all that time, all those years. Look at this as a rapturous catharsis to usher forth brighter days.

Northern Liberties will perform "Suffocation" in its entirety only twice. This Friday at Johnny Brenda's will be one of those times.

by John Vettese
Philadelphia City Paper - Mar 18, 2009



Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation

Northern Liberties prepare to lay their 'winter song' to rest
March 16, 12:50 AM

Every so often there comes along a piece of music that is so much more than a just a song. Because of its length and brilliant composition, as well as the other components of its complex structure, it becomes a work of art, a masterpiece. In my experience, this has only happened a handful of times, with songs such as: Nofx’s “the Decline,” Craw’s “Caught My Tell,” and Maiden’s “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.” Such songs are somewhat like the "A la recherche du temps perdu" (Marcel Proust's literary masterpiece) of music. It would seem that every generation has its own “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” just as Iron Butterfly did in the late 60’s. And now, the Philadelphia avant garde punk and neo-progressive ghost-core band Northern Liberties has given the Suicide Generation its very own “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The song is titled “Suffocation,” and it consumes a small piece of eternity with its many-layered and intricate parts, which begins with a well-constructed noise base of feedback and distant vocals and continues along a course of varying intensity and heaviness and range. For some odd reason, "Suffocation" reminds me of old Christian Death, the Theatre of Pain days, along with Craw, somewhere between Lost Nation Road and Strontium. It's obviously a very personal song, with an undercurrent of fierce emotion, in addition to a deep intellectual well from which springs a mighty fountain of thought. All told, “Suffocation” is twenty-nine minutes in length, and it's worth every second of time that it borrows from the universe.

“Suffocation” is a song that’s not afraid to run with scissors. Nor does it throw salt over its shoulder or knock on wood. It laughs off the seven years bad luck of broken mirrors. And if a black cat should cross its path, it will kneel down and run its cold hand over the animal’s sleek midnight-colored coat, pick it up, and take it home. In other words, it is a rather daring composition. And, to be sure, it leaves enormous footprints in the ground of its path, making it quite easy to track through the wilderness of the City Earth. And I will no doubt follow it to one or both of the only two shows at which Northern Liberties will be performing it live. One in Philadelphia. And another in Bethlehem.

Currently we stand on that invisible line which separates the seasons, spring from winter. It's time to bid farewell to the biting cold and the frost covered ground, to the seemingly perpetual gray skies and the stoical faces of passersby on the street, and the lingering piles of dirty snow melting into the gutters around the city. The sun heralds the approach of spring, and with it the funeral procession begins with head-swelling feedback and noise art, with duel percussion, with keys and thick strings and voice. So, we follow it. And in doing so we realize that we are about witness a "winter song" laid to rest. Simultaneously we lament the loss of one season and celebrate the arrival of another. I am among them. "Suffocation" by Northern Liberties is the music of the occasion. We will hear it live only twice, the first time in Philadelphia, the second in Bethlehem.

James Carlson
Philadelphia Indie Music Examiner


Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation

from Duck's blog at WKDU.org --

NORTHERN LIBERTIES--SUFFOCATION 12"--Self Released
1 song, 1 record, 2 sides, who has the balls to do such a thing? Northern Liberties, that's who! An epic, creepy, droning yet rocking tune that only this West Philly trio can provide. And for those of you too lazy to flip the record, it also comes in CD format...


Northern Liberties Easter Island 7 Inch Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Suffocation

From a post by CJ Marsicano, found at the excellent -- 'Your Opinion Doesn't Count' blog ---

Diggin' In The Crates "Giving Some Love To My Homies" Edition
This week, just like the title of this post says, I'm showing some love to some homeboys of mine who just put a new record out...

On October 30, 2004, I made my second pilgrimage in as many years to one of Philadelphia's finest alternative/indie rock venues, The Khyber, to witness a performance by my good friend, punk legend Mike Watt (The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Banyan, Iggy Pop & The Stooges), who was then touring behind his third solo album The Secondman's Middle Stand.

Most likely by coincidence, all three of the acts on the bill were three-piece units. Only the first band of the night, the Perfection!sts, was a conventional guitar/bass/drums unit. Watt's band on this outing, as on his then-new album, was an organ/bass/drums band. And then there was the band in the middle of the bill. I'll let my paragraph on them from when I reviewed the show for PunkNews.org tell it:

Second opening act Northern Liberties (who also run their own Worldeater label and distribution company) -- a trio consisting of bass, drums and percussion -- played a high energy set of music from their debut full-length album Erode + Disappear. With K's effect-laden, pick-driven bass covering all sonic frequencies and most of the melody, singer/percussionist Justin came off like a tattooed, ultra-hyper, depression-and-epilepsy-free Ian Curtis as he sang and played, unpreturbed by minor mishaps with both the mic cord coming out of his delay pedal and with accidentally knocking over a pitcher of water on the stage floor (where Mazich had to set up his organ right afterward - fortunately, no Stone The Crows like electrocution mishaps occurred) - definitely one of the best unsigned bands I've ever witnessed.

 

After the evening ended, I met lead singer/percussionist Justin Duerr, bought copies of his band's first CD Erode + Disappear and their 7" Easter Island off of him (the CD itself was $6 for a full-length album!). I played the CD in my car on the drive home and was hooked for life. Since then, I've been following the band's releases (three more CDs, a limited edition DVD, a split 7" and three side project releases by Justin) as well as keeping a good correspondence (and trading mix CD's) with Justin (not surprisingly, my CDs had some J-pop goodness, which he dug immensely.) All are highly recommended by me.

Their newest release is rather interesting as it's their first non-7" vinyl effort. The record consists of one 29-minute, 51-second song entitled (what else?) Suffocation. Despite the length of the song, it seems to go by pretty quick. The band only intends to play this piece live twice, once on March 20 in Philadelphia and once in Bethlehem a week later. The vinyl itself (which Justin tells me is the band's preferred way to experience the recorded version of the song) has a locked groove on side two, but they're not putting CD and iPod owners out either, as every copy of the album has a bonus CD with some extra tracks (a few drones excerpted from the multi-track recording of the song, plus some live tracks from a California radio appearance). The album's cover itself is silkscreened by NL's bassist Kevin Riley.

Vinyl collectors may want to jump on this soon - there's only 200 copies pressed, and mine was numbered 59. Check the band's website at http://www.northernlibertiesband.com

-- CJ Marsicano, re-posted from blog.


nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

Thursday, April 3, 2008
Northern Liberties – "Easter Island"

So Northern Liberties is this freaky band I saw a couple weeks ago at Circle of Hope when I went to see British Lit play. They were awesome. Both bands, actually, but NoLibs also had a 7" for sale so lucky you.

They were a three-piece consisting of a drummer, bassist and singer/percussionist. Sometimes the singer would scream and get in the crowd's faces, sometimes he would strap on one of those marching band tomtom thingies and just start pounding. Oh, and they brought their own smoke machine.

So yeah, they ruled, and if they're ever playing in your town make sure you go see 'em. They played a Nirvana cover, too ("Dive")! The only thing I'm on the fence about is their name. I think it only sounds cool if you're not from Philly. But that's most people, so I guess it's OK.

The single is a couple years old and consists of intense noise and yelling. Not too heavy on the extra percussion on either side, unfortunately, but intriguing nonetheless. I'm posting the b-side because it's the one that grabbed me more. And I'm posting only the b-side because if you like it you should go buy it. Mine's numbered four hundered something out of 500 so like, time's runnin' out. Get on that.

Posted by Bjorn Randolph at 03:22

http://shelflifetunes.blogspot.com/2008/04/northern-liberties-easter-island.html


Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Northern Liberties "Ghost Mind Electricity" (Bad Master)

The American group looks quite at Les Savy Fav but more complex and Fugazi with a big layer of madness.
You have the sort of disc that is good everywhere and that one listens to carefully and enjoy every moment. The structures are offbeat and surprising in the way of a good Shellac. The singing is fabulous and flies on big guitars. The bass is very forward and often full. The sounds are sometimes disturbing and it is very hard to move in this musical setting that is so unconventional.
Fortunately, the group at the delicious idea recover all the world with "Dead Deer House" in the middle of the CD. A piece much more direct and punk with a melody very strangely The Cure at an early stage. An original group that should not go unnoticed among twisted. If you find this nice yellow digipack and you are looking for something different to put you in the ears, then it's time to crack. (Chris)

GENRE : Post Punk/Hc

******************************************************************************

Untranslated version, for all our French speaking friends:

Northern Liberties "Ghost Mind Electricity" (Bad Master)
Ce groupe américain ressemble pas mal à Les Savy Fav mais en plus complexe avec du Fugazi et une grosse couche de folie. Vous avez le genre de disque qui fait du bien partout et que l'on écoute avec attention en dégustant chaque instant. Les structures sont décalées et surprenantes à la manière d'un bon Shellac. Le chant est fabuleux et s'envole sur de grosses guitares. La basse est très en avant et souvent saturée. Les sonorités sont parfois inquiétantes et on a beaucoup de mal à se diriger dans ce décor musical qui se montre de manière non conventionnelle. Heureusement, le groupe à la délicieuse idée de récupérer tout le monde avec « Dead Deer House » au milieu du CD. Un morceau bien plus direct et punk avec une mélodie étrangement très The Cure à leur début. Un groupe original qui ne devrait pas passer inaperçu chez les tordus. Si vous trouvez ce joli digipack jaune et que vous cherchez quelque chose de différent à vous mettre dans les oreilles, alors c'est le moment de craquer. (Chris)



French paper & online music 'zine 'Walked In Line'....

http://www.wilrecords.com/news/indienews.php3




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Friday, February 15 2008 @ 12:00 AM PST
Contributed by: S:M:J63

Label: Badmaster Records United States

Genre: Psychedelic / Post-punk / Grunge

01 Controlled by Voices from Beyond
02 Children of the Unholy Cross
03 Among the Unborn
04 Psionic Sorcery Song
05 Justice for Tommy
06 Changing
07 Silver Fire
08 E.G.G. (Emerald Ghost Garden)
09 Dead Deer House
10 Cre(mate)
11 Asylum
12 National Anthem (For Birds)

Okay, there’s two things you should know – firstly, I am not much for listening to ‘conventional’ music these days, simply because a great deal of it is just simply regurgitated dullness while at the more commercial end it’s just pure unalloyed pap; secondly, and more importantly in the context of this review, that despite Northern Liberties’ music being quite conventional compared to the normal run of my musical tastes I have to say quite unequivocally that this is bloody excellent quality stuff from the quirky Philadelphia trio, starting right from the bright yellow six panel digipak decorated with vocalist & percussionist Justin Duerr’s striking naïve artwork (which continues on the interior with the exception of the band portraits) and on to the music itself. One of the more noteworthy aspects of their music is that they break away from the conventional band structure of guitar, bass and drums, relying on just percussion, drums and bass to build musical pictures of their strange and very much out-of-kilter universe.

It’s slightly shambolic and tinged with madness, but don’t let that fool you for one second – in reality sharpness defines everything on this album, from the tightness of the musicianship to Justin’s imaginative lyricism and poetic imagery. Taking some of the lyrical and unsettling surreality of the seventies’ psychedelic scene and marrying it to a post-punk grunge aesthetic, Justin, his brother Marc and bassist Kevin (no second name given) construct a driving behemoth of a musical vehicle imbued with energy and razor-sharp edginess. To top it all off Justin’s plaintive, nervy and asylum-inflected vocals are the perfect counterpoint to the drums- and bass-propelled backing framework, investing it with even more nervous electricity and lighting it all up with a neon-lit brightness. The world that Justin sings about is a disturbing, fuzzy, out of focus and more than slightly unhinged one, a place seemingly solely inhabited by interestingly pale gothic heroines, fortean phenomena, devil children and misplaced souls still looking for their owners.

Above all though, it’s that tension between the nervy vocal delivery and the dirty self-assured and self-confident powerhouse of the music that contributes to the deliciously electric shiver-inducing frisson of pleasure this album produces and is also the main reason why I like it so much. Personal favourites are ‘Controlled by Voices from Beyond’, ‘Children of the Unholy Cross’, ‘Psionic Sorcery Song’, ‘Changing’ and ‘Cre(mate)’ – absolutely perfect examples of what happens when the alchemy of words and music is handled by masters of the art.

In a world where the musical, cultural and aesthetic tastes of the many are seemingly dictated by the so-called music media and governed by the lowest common denominator it’s always a joy to come across those who are resolutely determined to swim against the tide, just like these folks are doing. What pisses me off most though is that these same people, who have genuine talent and ability in buckets, will never get to the top of the pile where they deserve to reside while the no-hopers get spoon-fed to the drooling glassy-eyed masses and passed off as the genuine article. Ah well, at least there are those of us who are more than discerning than the vast majority it seems....

http://www.heathenharvest.com



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

This album definitely has its moments, and when it's on, it's on - the first song being one of the coolest I've heard in some time. Armed only with bass, percussion, and vox, NORTHERN LIBERTIES seem to channel a David Yow-esque sort of weirdo rock, musically and vocally. The vocals at times also have a bit of that INTERPOL -style fake Ian Curtis to them. The lack of guitar does cause this to feel a bit incomplete, but at times the holes seem to actually create the melodies. Unfortunately there are tracks throughout this album that I can't tolerate one bit. Those are just a bit too "out there" for me. All in all, this disc is a rather eclectic collection of tunes that has some definite winners.

-- Review by Justin Briggs, from Maximum Rock N Roll issue number 297, Feb. '08




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Number 1 on CFUV in Canada

NL



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Number 6 on CFUV in Canada

NL



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

N ow that the whole no guitar pure bass and drums band formula is going into some sort of toddler-like stage we can assess the work of bands like this Philadelphia foursome and used other templates as a point of comparison. Of the most distinctive and that we could probably tag as a flagship band we got Big Business (Here Come the Waterworks), whose latest work has taken a right turn and has improved greatly simply by re-targeting the songwriting towards a more immediate sound. Northern Liberties’ newest recording is somewhere in the middle, not so far to the left as to come off as way experimental, nor too right indented as to come off as formulaic, radio-ready, or to grant the tagging of ‘fucking sell-out’, it works quite well for a few tracks, but then it sort of falls and gets rather bland.

It’s obvious that the main instrument is the bass here, its tone is low (though not lower than say a Kyuss guitar) and clear but it carries the weight of the music making the absence of the six strings quite rightful. There are no riffs here, but notes moving up and down and side to side and drums playing their part, quite conservatively I must say, considering this is a band with no guitars. Brothers Marc and Justin Duerr handle the drums and voice/percussion here, and is obvious that in some parts there is an extra layer of skin beating.

The things is Ghost Mind Electricity comes off strong; “Controlled By Voices From Beyond” sounds like a more no wave and cro-magnon Talking Heads, and is followed by “Children of the Unholy Cross’, another strong cut that is singularly great at crafting a different take of the standard rock format. The absence of the guitars is here not an issue; when the track goes hard, fuck who cares about the fucking guitar? But as we approximate the middle of the album the songwriting gets lazy, hooks vanish and ideas of great bands Northern Liberties might evoke are no more. There is great stuff here, but it just isn’t enough and the songwriting isn’t even. “Changing” lacks everything, it sounds incomplete and uninventive. The sad part is the second half screams for a guitar, which kind of breaks the whole objective of the structure of the band.

Deaf Sparrow



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

THE PAGODA FIVE: Best Albums Of 2007, Entries 10-6

9. Northern Liberties - Ghost Mind Electricity (Badmaster) Third album from the Philadelphia trio that discovered the fine line between Joy Division and the Misfits. Recorded at the legendary Inner Ear Studio in Virginia (home of 98% of the Dischord catalog) with its equally revered owner/engineer Don Zientara, its’ the trio’s most accomplished recording yet. (http://www.northernlibertiesband.com - available on CD)

Posted by: CJ Marsicano on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Northern Liberties are like a mini goth-punk cottage industry, spanning comps and 7-inches, live EPs and a DVD limited to 23 copies. Their third album Ghost Mind Electricity is a thudding, low-end-heavy journey through sorcery, unborn children, cremation and dead deer made all the more unsettling by the trio’s guitar-less setup and drummer/singer Justin Duerr’s half-detached, half-crazed missives, akin to those of Wilderness’ James Johnson. If there are metal tinges to “Silver Fire,” “Changing” is quiet and even pretty. This may be their best showing yet, but the way to experience Northern Liberties is live, where the crunching and munching of bone is right in your face.

(Doug Wallen) -
Philadelphia Weekly




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Ghost Mind Electricity was picked as on of the top 10 cds of 2007 by the Philly City Paper - Read On




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

This is the third full length album by Philadelphia's own NORTHERN LIBERTIES.

It's obvious that lots of people can relate the energy of live music to a spiritual experience, but
Northern Liberties are one of the few bands whose music is MEANT to be a spiritual experience.
The brainchild of Valiant Death logo artist Justin Duerr (author of "Decades of Confusion Feed The
Insect" zine), this album is the best recording of Northern LIberties to date (and I've loved this band
since I was 16...) - heavy, heavy rhythms and bass driven melodies yet again set the stage for Justin's
occult themed lyrics.

This isn't just good music written about weird stuff, this is a tome of belief, a testament to the ideas
behind what Duerr refers to as "Ghost Mind Electricity" and the foundations for what has only come
to be known as "Ghost Punk".

Beautiful packaging for this CD - a 6 panel full color digipak and a 8 page lyric booklet, in addition
to the long running time of this 12 track album make this a very worthy investment for anyone seeking
something new and different.


- Bucky Lewis -

http://www.valiantdeath.com



NL

JUSTIN DUERR~
Radio Pigeon Man
Justin Duerr, Northern Liberties and the C.O.D.E. space by Alison Leigh, 2007/8?

I am here to tell you a story. A story about a person, a place, some other people and some thoughts. Oh and some birds as well.
   

    Let’s start with the subject of this article- Justin Duerr. While attending a show at the C.O.D.E. space in Philly one night, I was blown away by a band called PRE. Then I watched a band from Israel who were really really funny. Then as I stood on the mini ramp across the room of this seemingly endless place where bands can set up just about anywhere and play a show, I witnessed three people begin their set. I snapped away with my little camera and captured what appears to be some sort of death march cult chant of darkness taking place in a dungeon in some church on the wrong (right) side of town. 

The pictures tell it all really. Oh and speaking of cults, um the C.O.D.E. space is what one might refer to as a cult. Not the Kool-Aid suicide kind of cult mind you, but the gather-everyone-up-and-do-something-awesome kind of cult.

    C.O.D.E.— the Church of Divine Energy—was founded by Justin and a guy name Seph. The two of them currently reside at the space but it was once a place to see shows practically every night of the week. They stopped with the band stuff because it got boring or something. Anyway, they wanted to have things going on there all the time but the band thing took over so they decided to, I don’t know, feed the space some tainted Kool-Aid and end it all. Well, they youtubed everything that happened in that place for your viewing pleasure. Here’ some.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs9yQYcBVBA
    
 
So anyway, back to the band. The words dark, moody, intense, frightening— all describe their sound. They are a three piece with one bass player and two drummers. The band is made up of two brothers and one childhood friend. They have been in bands together since they were 12. I guess you could say they have had plenty of time to figure out their sound, right? Anyway, they have a website. It’s  right here.
http://www.northernlibertiesband.com/NL/HOME.PHP
 I will give a run down of what I saw in the order that it happened, to give you all an idea of what it’s like to see them play a show. First, I was your average jaded person in the crowd. I saw two great bands in two different parts of the venue so I didn’t even realize that another was about to start, on an actual stage. So all of the sudden there was music. And for about 5 seconds I was like “Ho hum what are the chances that there could be 3 good bands all in a row? Like zero out of a hundred mil——wait— this band is actually fucking AWESOME!” Seriously, that is verbatim what my brain said to itself.

 I got my camera ready, and found a spot atop the ramp. I tuned in just in time to see a man with really short hair and white face makeup wearing a scary red cape, RIP the cape off of himself to reveal a crazy looking house dress with a gigantic collar. All in a matter of 1/8th of a second. Brain asplodes.

    So I proceeded to take pictures and get involved with what was going on. The music is seriously enveloping the whole room. I was jealous of the people who were close up to the stage, but at the same time I was at a good vantage point for seeing the show. Not so great for photos but I liked what the pics were looking like— they were weird as hell, and I just can’t complain about that!

    THEN, at some really dramatic point during a song, Justin whips out a marching band drum  that rests on his shoulders (see pic) and starts playing this marching band type of beat— like marching straight to your death— in  a single line— expressionless but wildly happy- the kind that feels like you joined a cult and were quite naive and content about it;   you just feel the sound. At this point I was like— ready to add them to my list of favorite new bands on my myspace, so you KNOW it’s for real!

    Just when you think it couldn’t get any creepier, he starts reading from this book. I have no idea what he’s saying whatsoever but it really didn’t matter.  It was the cadence and the seriousness of the words that made me stop and listen. And of course when asked what it was he was reading, I was let in on something TRULY. FASCINATING.

   The Toynbee Tiles.

     Maybe you read that link. Maybe you didn’t. In any case, Arnold Toynbee is a writer. The book Experiences was the one being read. The writer is referenced on this website. I dare you to read it. Seriously- DARE!

  “A stop-watch would, no doubt, have registered that the duration of this transport had been infinitesimally brief; yet, in virtue of the poignancy of the experience, the momentary posthumous spectator’s imagination was able, ever after, to recapture the atmosphere of that dire reunion of husband and wife; and this one scene in the tragic drama of a civil war between a Roman Republic and an Italian Confederacy would call up, before his mind’s eye, a series of dramatic incidents running back past the climax of the catastrophe to its eve…”

Uhhhh….. makes me a tad stupified.  Anyway, someone is doing a documentary on the tiles, which they believe originated in Philadelphia and ended up in random towns in South America. Justin is  featured in the doc and is referenced in the Wiki entry. I really recommend you to peruse the articles I linked. It is quite bizarre information to say the least!

Moving on…

    So after the show was over I was all crazy blown away and had a great time. One of the best shows I’ve been to in a really long time— actually, it was the day after the MEMES show I attended so the weekend has gone down in history as one of the best-  for the sake of the music of now, and for the good of all mankind— hallelujah! Northern Liberties has 3 albums out, two  7”s and 2 live acoustic shows they recorded on the fly. The newest of which is called Ghost Mind Electricity and is available for purchase. I can attest to this cd’s value— it’s so serious and intense but not preachy or annoying. It’s heavy as hell, it makes you want to dance at times, or smash a glass at others. Makes you want to blast it loud and scream at your parents! Awesome hahaha!

—-this article was scribed with the very blood of my wrist- that which I had to cut for the completion of this article. I suffer for my work….and so should you

post script~ the pigeon reference in the title has to do with the fact that he used to raise carrier pigeons. He now takes care of sick and injured birds with a woman named Enid. Together they are in a band called the Vivian Girls Experience. They sing songs about pigeons at times and it is available for purchase as well. I believe they may be pigeon people! Also check out their art photography together. It’s inspiring and disturbing, yet funny and practically high fashion as well. Basically, the deeper one digs into the lives of these people, the more fascinating they become….

post script script~ both Justin and Seph are ordained ministers and have performed wedding ceremonies at the CODE space. FYI!
*this was published a few years ago. This just happened: Directing Award, Documentary:
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, director Jon Foy, Sundance, 2011
He also has painted a mural in Eskandalo http://www.justinduerr.com/ArtPage1/htmPages/ArtPage1Image17.htm check it out! Congrats to all involved!!
the film! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcZELQhpf_o
There’s quite a bit of missing links in this article, and for that I aoplogize. Just recreated it for here real quick. Hope you are inspired to google up some stuff!


Originally Featured in the Eskandalo! Zine




Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Review from preemptive_strike, via Centerfuse.net --

"ghost mind electricity" is the lord knows how many-th record by west philly heroes northern liberties. usually a band who are much better represented by their live show then by their recorded output, the band appears to have finally struck gold, doing it up right and heading down to inner ear to let don zientara run the knobs on this. the result is definitely the best sounding northern liberties output thus far. the music is the same formula, drums+bass+vox(and sometimes more drums). the result is very offbeat and loose but still punk sounding. a record can break into either an intense moment or a stoner jam on the drop of a dime. while still a band that you really need to see live to get the full effect, this is the best shot so far at a truly AWESOME record by the band. i cant even recommend any tracks because they are pretty much all awesome.



Ghost Mind Electricity Cover
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Reviewed in the DUCK blog , on wkdu.org

Way back when, in the early days of this new decade/millennium, when Northern Liberties (the neighborhood) was quickly becoming the next stop on the gentrification express; I had a small glimmer of hope that the rise in the profile of Northern Liberties (the neighborhood) would in turn help rise the profile of Northern Liberties (the band). Granted I never believed for a second that the majority of people who would possibly become aware of this West Philly trio by their association (in name) with an up-and-coming neighborhood would accept them with open arms. But hey, any press is good press, right....

Jump back to the present, and now Northern Liberties (the neighborhood) is one of the city's hottest spots to live & hang out (at least until Fishtown/Kensington gets off the ground), and Northern Liberties (the band) remain one of Philly's best kept secrets. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, I mean some of the greatest artists spent their entire lives shrouded in obscurity waiting patiently for the rest of the world to develop the eyes, ears, or whatever senses are required to fully appreciate their work (I believe the scientific term for this is The Van Gogh syndrome). And that definitely puts these guys in with good company...

But on the other hand, now that Northern Liberties (the neighborhood) is a safe haven for hipsters & yuppies alike (though in actuality there is little difference between the two, the hipster of today is really just the yuppie of tomorrow, you know, when mommy & daddy cut off the trust fund and they have to get, like, a real job, but I digress...), people approaching Northern Liberties (the band) for the first time may be a bit puzzled by the odd choice of name. Well let me be the one to enlighten you there newbie. Let's step back in the Way Back machine shall we & take a look at the city in years of NLBG (Northern Liberties Before Gentrification, for those of you not down with acronyms). And what did this now hip & bustling community look back then: A vast, teeming industrial wasteland of abandoned warehouses, broken street lamps, danger, & madness (remember folks this was, more or less, the area of Philadelphia that inspired David Lynch to make Eraserhead). And it is these images that, in a way, best describe the music that Northern Liberties makes.
Make no bones about it, these boys are all about the doom & gloom, but they also can recognize the beauty & wonder that exists in this modern urban asylum.

(Note to the band:
If you're looking for critical endorsements to slap on the cover, I humbly offer the previous statement as well as the following:
"The Soundtrack to Humanity's Spiritual Apocalypse & Rebirth"
"Songs About the Things That Go Bump in the Nightmare of Your Psyche"
"What Lurks in the Shadows When You're Alone at Night? Listen to This Album and Find Out!"
"Hey, If You're a Pigeon You'll Love This Band!")
Which brings us (at last!) to Ghost Mind Electricity, Northern Liberties newest tome to the mysteries of modern life. Recorded by Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studios, this album tackles subject matter such as: voices calling from other astral planes, the dreams of unborn babies, death, resurrection, dead deers, war, blood, psychic nurses, & in Northern Liberties' ongoing struggle for the rights of birds everywhere, finally, a National Anthem (For Birds).

My reaction to this album, as well as the other Northern Liberties' album & most of all their live shows, is really hard (if not outright impossible) to put into words. It definitely grabs me in an intellectual level, as well as a gut level, but in the end it grabs me the most in a spiritual way (hey here's another blurb: Finally a Band That Will Make The Atheists Believe In...Something!). Each encounter with this band (and once again the live shows especially) is like a baptism in fire, blood, & electricity, and every time I reemerge I'm still convinced that the world is a dark & scary place, but I also have a renewed hope that there still is something resembling magic in this world...

Once again Justin Duerr & co. have walk down that fine line between madness & enlightenment into the gaping jaw of the unknown & have come back, souls intact, with an album reporting what they have found for benefit for all of us true believers...



NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Ghost Mind Electricity

Northern Liberties :: Ghost Mind Electricity (Badmaster Records)
By Jay Snyder September 26, 2007

I have been following Northern Liberties for a few years now. I have reviewed their two previous full-lengths as well as a 7” for Daredevil and I’m always chomping at the bit to see what this unique, Philly three-piece come up with next.

“Ghost Mind Electricity” is their brand new record and continues to expand on the mixture of psychedelic rock, post-punk, grunge and general drum n’ bass debauchery that these guys make so irresistible. The band have stripped things down a lot on this new record and have removed a lot of the effects on the vocals and in other places as well. In addition they have also trimmed the record length to a succinct 12 songs. In the past the band often crossed over into the 15+ song territory.

While some of these changes were a bit unexpected as soon as the offbeat punk meets rock n’ roll of opener “Controlled by Voices from Beyond” comes rolling through my speakers I expelled all of my possible doubts. The song begins with a brief sample and kicks into an up-tempo jam that features busy bass/drum interplay that locks into an unwavering groove that allows Justin Duerr to spit out his always engaging lyrics with his usual style of emotive singing. There’s a punk foundation in this track but there are straight-up rock and roll elements as well giving the song a varied, multi-dimensional strength that is one of Northern Liberties many unique qualities.

“Children of the Unholy Cross” sounds a bit more in line with the material on their last album “Secret Revolution” as it mixes a dash of grunge, post-punk and Butthole Surfers style strangeness. The track has an unstoppable bass riff that rides over top the wall of intense drumming that features some quick and deadly fills that combines in double-time with Justin’s additional percussion. This song has a great verse and strong chorus that adds in some nervous, shouting vocals. Things even build to an almost metallic intensity later in the track with the drum and bass attack getting heavy enough to rival something like Big Business.

The band also shows that they still like working with lush, clean textures too, like on their previous albums. “Among the Unborn” has a dark and haunting intro that features clean bass guitar that mingles softly with the light singing vocals. The mood seems as if it will stay that way but the band again hit you with distortion and a wall of drums and various percussion that helps kick start the song into a number of far more rocked-out moments.

These guys still haven’t shed all of their slight, stoner tendencies either as “Psionic Sorcery Song” has a bass tone that is seeping with classic rock influence and delivers some of the band’s grooviest riffs to date. I feel the Butthole Surfers influences very present on this track and it is nice to see the band incorporating that influence like they did in the past but within the context of highly evolved song-writing. The vocals are also powerful and filled with hooks that will have the lyrics stuck in your head permanently. The rest of the record finds the band exploring all of their different personalities to great effect.

They show their love for ear-damaged, rocking punk with tracks like “Justice for Tommy” and “Dead Deer House”. I will go as far as calling “Dead Deer House” the “Love Dove” of this album as the track is short and to the point with catchy, explosive punk leading the charge with the subtle influence of stoner blues lingering in the distance. The song operates on an incredibly simplistic yet off-kilter lyrical approach that makes the lines short and punchy with hooks so catchy that they are almost deadly. I never thought I’d have a chorus that consists of, “Dead Deer House, Dead Deer House, O’ Dead Deer House” cemented into my cranium but with Northern Liberties I always expect the unexpected. The band continues to excel all over the rest of the tracks as well, firing on all cylinders to consistently assault your senses in ways that you didn’t expect.

The beautiful “Changing” has great lyrics sung with a ton of heart and emotion as the music works in the context of their patented light/heavy aesthetic with the percussion/drumming being pretty much heavy throughout but the bass remaining clean for half of the track. The second half is a nice contrast between the first because it is basically the first part’s louder, rock n’ roll brother.

“Silver Fire” is a total freak-out and sounds about one second away from collapsing even when the song wanders into epic clean sections. The final stretch of this song has a galloping metal influence that knocked my socks off with some fucking wild, 70’s psych bass soloing. This is one of the best songs that Northern Liberties has ever penned and even if the build up wasn’t worth it (which it most certainly was) the end of this track completely took my breath away.

“E.G.G.” is an upbeat rock and roll song that also draws in a certain bit of pop punk influence mixed with stoner weirdness and some acid incuded freak-outs. Its got the bouncy clean bass guitar of “Love Dove” from the previous album in its first half but then goes into a psychotic, noise burst that will really mess with some heads. I’m talking really noisy stuff, as weird as anything out there including Butthole Surfers and the Boredoms. They couldn’t have closed things off any better with “Nation Anthem (For Birds)” which is a generally quieter affair with a bombastic ending that sees the band getting almost sludge-y as they descend into distortion and noise in the final stretch.

This is a fantastic record through and through. I have yet to be disappointed by anything that these guys have done yet and “Ghost Mind Electricity” is an album boasting some of their best work thus far. I find everything that they have done to be an essential listen if you are in the mood for something out of the ordinary that combines a melting pot of influences both classic and modern. This is seriously some forward thinking music.

Vocalist Justin Duerr also provides his unusual artistic style all over this lavishly designed digipak. His art style is highly unique and helps to enhance the atmosphere of every Northern Liberties release and just as the music continues to reach higher levels so does the art that he graces each package with. This is a great record and I can’t wait to see where they can possibly go from here. Only 1200 of these babies were pressed, so get one now!

- http://www.hellridemusic.com





 
:: Northern Liberties ::
Live Review from Phillylist.com

Dude. So the length of my exposure to metal is System of a Down. And even then it was just as much for their political awareness as it was for their music. It was abrasive, but I felt comfortable enough to blast it in my room if I was in the right mood. The Northern Liberties, though, were a totally different animal for me: probably a large, shadowy animal lurking just out of eyesight waiting tear a hole in my head and suck my soul through a straw. It was a simple trio: a {Bass}guitar, full drum set and a lead vocalist on a snare. The set started on loud, aggressive chords and drums much too fast for dancing. The lead banged out a drum solo reminiscent of African dance troupes. The lights turned red and a smoke rose from behind the stage as the lead stopped abruptly, snatched a microphone and barreled out into the audience, screaming incomprehensible lyrics and swaying wildly, eyes rolled back, half falling backwards, just gone. He avoided the light afterwards, holding his head. Ripped out the mic cord and threw it aside as if it were a snake getting ready to bite him. The guitarist asked if he needed help. He said something about the colors. I stayed for another song but soon enough I headed back to the bar to get some air. My companion for the evening remarked on the darkness in the Millcreek's front half. "It's perfect," she laughed, "it's like this half is heaven and the other is hell." "Ya, "I said. "Perfect."



NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Compendium Interview

... Northern Liberties Interview by Kevin McKeon "If we could do a national tour of insane asylums" says Northern Liberties' drummer Mark Duerr, "we'd be huge". It seems like the people that are right on the edge are the ones telling us, 'I get it, man!'"
"I am sure that a large percentage of people consistently interested in what we're doing have been through the mental health system," adds vocalist and brother, Justin Duerr.
... Mark continues, "It's more the fact that people who have been misunderstood by the world as a whole have spent a large portion of their lives looking for something to make them feel normal about the different way they view things. When they see us take on music in a non-traditional way, I think that's the thing that makes us accessible. "
... Indeed, listening to Northern Liberties is not a sign of mental illness. It just means that one is able to appreciate something out of the ordinary.Hypnotic, other-worldly melodies are propelled by bassist Kevin (who goes solely by his first name) with no other instruments outside of the rhythm section. Well, that is unless you count the delay pedal Justin uses on his vocals as an instrument, as the band does. It certainly adds another dimension to his strangely poetic lyrics.
... At the same time, the band's brand of "ghost punk" is not a million miles away from most blues-based rock. There are times when they sounds as straightforward and rowdy as any punk band, or as catchy as any pop band.
"I don't really think of us as experimental," Justin explains. "We pretty much know how things are gonna go down when we start. The songs are pretty much the length that Western music has followed for the past eighty years. Our intention was never to focus on any preconceived genre or sound. 'Ghost punk' is a good genre name."
... "If we were totally experimental," he states, "we wouldn't have [general] appeal; it'd be too off the grid. But a lot of the times, it's the older Vietnam vets that... get what we were doing. I don't think they would if we were just playing noise. We're just enough like The Eagles, but then totally different.
... " Live performances are just as strange and engaging as their music. Justin can sometimes get up close and personal with the audience. He might also decide to put on a dress. Actually, there's no real way to describe all the things he might do, but whatever they are, they're certainly exciting.
... "I'm just trying to engage people in an actual event," he says. "It's like, 'well, you're here with us now, so lets all have this experience together,' and it's gonna be real. I'd like to think of it as cathartic and humanistic, but in this way where everybody can participate... even if that means they're just standing there. If they want to stay in the back, they're free to do that, but I will walk over to them. If they want to be with me, they can. If they want to punch me, they can. If they want to leave, they can. I just want to engage them.
Having formed back in 2000 and released two albums, Northern Liberties has honed their craft in a most unlikely way; by not trying too hard to do so. Their songwriting process is every bit as spontaneous and unpredictable as their performances.
"Most song writing is by inspiration, "explains Kevin. "There's not really a lot of math involved. If we don't have the vocals, or if we try too much studio trickery, we get confused.
... "We play it 'til it feels like it should change, "Mark chimes in, "and that's based on when one of us gives an eye symbol." While he says this with a laugh, it's unclear to what extent he is joking.
... Northern Liberties has adopted a similarly impulsive attitude in the studio. "On our first CD, " Mark recounts, " we tried to do the bass and drums separately, and then the vocals and everything. That didn't work out as well. It [is] so much better for us to all be in the room when we record because we play off each other. The way Justin sings, he never does it exactly the same way twice. "
And exactly what is he singing about? "The words themselves are pretty abstract. [They] are kind of like a garden, but the seeds that are grown are randomly gathered. I don't know what they're gonna be, and then certain weeds choke out other flowers. I'm not as interested in something that's... overtly message-based. I like things that have a spiritual or religious connotation, but if it becomes very specific, it's a bit of a turn-off."
... Don't look for anything specific in Northern Liberties' long-term goals, either. They intend to have an album out in the near future (as well as another collaborative album) and an 18 day cross-country tour. Their ultimate goal is simply to keep chugging along.
Kevin points to the longevity of their personal relationships. "Those two [are] brothers and [I went] to high school with them and have known them since I was 12. It's pretty much just [a question of] how long will we physically be interested in playing music together or how long will our bodies physically allow us to do it. "
... Northern Liberties is highly optimistic toward the Philadelphia music scene, in particular, the multitude of basement shows in West Philly. Especially that they're run by younger people, most of whom have learned to accept different kinds of music and look outside the confines of MTV and record companies.
... "These kids have this support network that consists of the internet and people they never met in other cities... so their tastes have become way more diverse," says Mark. "What we're doing, it's not really that weird to them."
... " Philly's always been the underdog, "explains Justin. "Like Rocky. [He]tries his very best and in the end, it kicks ass. He still doesn't win, but he's the true Philly hero.
..."I really feel like Philly is poised to almost win. There's an incredible amount of bands around now. "
The times are getting stranger and for Northern Liberties, that is a very good thing.

COMPENDIUM - Vol.3 - Issue 2




nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties start out their "Midnight Train To The Dogfood Factory" is a slow way, but it seems as if the band will become increasingly energetic with each passing second. This occurs about halfway through the track, something that allows Northern Liberties to tie a brooding instrumentation with a chaotic output. Northern Liberties cannot be easily lumped into a specific sound, as what could be given them as a title does not related perfectly to any existing genre. They are chaotic, a harder, more noisy version of Jane's Addiction, and they craft this sound into something that is simultaneously intense and thought-provoking. The inclusion of tribal drumming during tracks like "Angels With Broken Glass Teeth" provides the perfect canvas which the bass can add onto and the guitar can jump off from. The speed which Northern Liberties can achieve is impressive and seems natural. The biggest problem with a number of harder bands than Northern Liberties is the fact that their speed seems to be crafted largely by computers, that no human could conceivably create the music on the disc. This is not the case with Northern Liberties, and this is why they succeed. While some individuals may be apt to put their music closer to a post-punk style (and this is a criticism that has a lot of merit), the music that Northern Liberties put forth on "Secret Revolution" and on tracks like "Mold" have a vitality that few post-punk tracks could achieve. The swirling eddys of guitar and drums that come to bear in a number of tracks on this album are perhaps the strongest outputs of Northern Liberties on this disc; the war dance of the disaffected and revolutionaries that will occur after listening to this CD will be prestigious, at least. The band gets into their full glory with "Featureless Observer", a track that continues the chaos and the Strike Anywhere vocals with guitars shredding that would be perfect back in any hair metal album. Northern Liberties are scavengers, using so many different scraps of influence to come up with something completely new and detached from anything else before it. I think that anyone would be able to find something that they liked about Northern Liberties; all one needs to do is give "Secret Revolution" a few listens and chances are good that individuals will be hooked from then on. Give it a go, for sure.
Top Tracks: Lonely, Featureless Observer
Rating: 7.5/10

-- James McQuiston, Neufutur webzine



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties is one of those bands from the Worldeater Records Summer Sampler that, well, quite honestly, confused the living fuck out of me. While they are yet another indie band, there is something strangely wonderful about the music they create. Believe me, I despise indie. With a burning passion. It may be the interesting art conceived by Vocalist/percussionist Justin Duerr. It may be the fact that they have a very tribal sound due to the music being written strongly around drum beats and bass lines. Who knows. All I know is that many of the bands coming out of Worldeater Records definitely deserve more recognition than they're getting. I know for a fact these guys beat the pants off the likes of Battleship and Horse the Band. Battleship being the biggest headache I have ever experienced in my time here at Heathen Harvest, but that's another story best saved for another time... I guess calling them indie really isn't fair. They do lean more towards Punk Rock. I can hear comparisons from the likes of old-school masters The Ramones to the newer up-tempo Legbone. I must admit that, lending to further confusion, this band doesn't seem to be about much of anything, and everything at the same time. While one would assume with an album title like "Secret Revolution" that this album would be intensely politically charged. While this is true in a much more drawn back sense, there is also a strong sense of romanticism in the poetry that Mr. Duerr writes. Imaginative, and even at times quixotic, Duerr forces up many images of an almost impulsive war within the city itself, painting the late night skyline with flame. There are also many experimental sections in this music to be found, such as on track 6: Auto Pilot. They try to use a very interesting delay effect on Duerr's voice, and while I'm not sure if they really meant for it to come out like this, it seems rather brilliant for the song's lyrical values. Even if you're not a fan of indie or punk rock, the sheer artistic value of this release is well worth the purchase. If nothing else, Duerr's paintings are indeed very talented for a young man in his choice of scene. Besides, if many of these artists are going to get the attention they deserve, Worldeater Records could definitely use the financial support. They are a non-profit label, and I respect that immensely.

- Lord Lycan of heathenharvest.com



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties is something of a dark horse in the Philadelphia music scene. Led by artist/poet/writer/drummer/quasi-mystic Justin Duerr, the band draws comparisons to local legends Ink & Dagger and West Philly mainstays, Stinking Lizaveta, but hasn't achieved the same widespread recognition as these groups. It's possible that this plays a part in the title of Northern Liberties' new album, Secret Revolution, but then again maybe not. One never knows. The band is as strong, as menacing, and as idiosyncratic as ever. Plowing through nineteen songs in about an hour can be a lot to take in, but by and large it's worth the time. The sound of two drummers and a distorted bass is primitive and abrasive, to great effect. Brothers, Justin and Marc Duerr lock in to create rumbling, hi-hat and tom-driven jungle grooves that accent on odd beats and fill at unexpected times. Over top of this is Justin Duerr belting out his poetry in an intense snarl. The music works because of its uncompromising individuality. Northern Liberties can be described as punk, alt-rock, and/or experimental, but each of these genres has specific inherent characteristics that Duerr uses and discards as needed. A song like "Midnight Train to the Dogfood Factory" resembles the Talking Heads with its pounding drums and free association lyrics, while the drone and acoustic guitar on "Beyond Beyond" brings to mind early Leonard Cohen. The lyrics succeed despite their revolving around desperation, alienation and poetic flights of fancy. These themes and style have not only been done to death, but often executed poorly enough to almost come off as parody. However, the strong sense of Duerr's personality dominates the work and keeps it from coming off as derivative or mediocre. The combination of dark poetry and intense, bleak music creates many striking moments, especially in the anti-war martyrdom of the song, "Don't Kill My Sister." The band raises hell with driving basslines and especially thunderous drums. Cymbal crashes sound like explosions as Duerr repeats "Rain them down/Rain them down on me." As the cacophony dies down, he pleads "Don't kill my sister/with your bombs and your guns/don't take away the moonlight." In many ways, this sums up Secret Revolution. The music, while aggressive and defiant, isn't quite metal, punk, or even avant-garde noise. It is, however, very effective. Similarly, war has become a hot subject in just about every genre of music, but few songwriters can capture their feelings on the subject as poignantly as this, or in so few lines.
By: Jack Firneno from
Wonkavision magazine
Rating: 4/5



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties - Secret Revolution (released 2005) Worldeater Records - Punk and metal experimental group Northern Liberties are back with a smashing album, that in my mind is perhaps the band's best effort to date. "Secret Revolution" features the usual mix of bass, percussion and vocals, with added effects to make every track different. Additionally the lyrics are a bit more clarified and less ambiguous, something I found hard to follow in previous releases. Now I can see that the band is a bit of socially aware, a bit of politically charged and a bit romantic. The romantic part being that they apply themselves differently that they do with the political and social stuff, Northern Liberties actually offer somethign less motivating and more inviting. Songs like "Love Dove" and "Monument", with their impassioned prayer for the subject, show the lighter side of the band. Other tracks, like "Midnight Train To The Dogfood Factory", "Mainframe" and "Autopilot" feature Northern Liberties social awareness and motivational side of the sound and message. Incidentally, these are also some of the faster paced songs on the album, which only helps underscore the message the band is delivering on each one. Taken as a whole, the album doesn't come across as an experimental album at all, it's very well structured and in tune with a tight message that presumably is what the band was looking to spell out for listeners. I've been enamored with previous efforts from Northern Liberties, although I haven't always understood their motivation; on "Secret Revolution" however, I think I am finally seeing the light. This release is groundbreaking for me to understand the inspiration of the band and I'm certain it will open the doors of the mind for others as well. A great release, that also features some hidden and hard to find material from the band. "Secret Revolution" is for fans of underground social change music, punk metal and well thought out experimental, Northern Liberties latest release is not to be missed.
-MG of
www.hussieskunk.com



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties bypass all the heavy handed mixing and remastering that's going on today, and deliver a brasher edged thrashy punk style with their Secret Revolution release. Made up of Justin Duerr (voice, percussion, art), K. (bass) and Marc Duerr (drums & cymbals Ð though I find it silly to list cymbals, really) they keep a very down trodden sound that works for them most of the time. Occasionally they'll get a little over the top with it, but it's a fun kind of over the top Ð a big fuck off to the music industry itself. Drums in particular are very hard edged, well played and recorded high throughout. Marc's an accomplished drummer with an all-over-the-place attitude to his art. This is apparent from the beginning, especially on the drum happy Angels with Broken Glass Teeth. I love the trippy bass in Mold, combined with the drums they make for a solid mix alone. Here the vocals are half-assed done, with reasoning towards the basement style and industry flipping. Lonely is interesting in its ballad attitude slammed against angry vocals. Auto Pilot is a melodic thrash piece done with style, though it will get a bit messy, vocals floating away from the rest of the pack. An interesting piece though. Beyond Beyond is deep down rumbling track, great basswork by K. As we move through the half way point of Secret Revolution the album gets a bit thrashier and unkempt. Don't Kill My Sister for example is crude-level Ahab Rex[1] and Alice Donut[2]. Monument even has similar guitar riffage to stoner rock, surprising me in its Blind Dog[3] stylings. The drumwork of Mainframe once again shows the prowess of Marc Duerr, with K. joining him to create a heavy-handed rhythmic wall of sound. Nicely done. Latter tracks on the album, especially those after the listed fourteen (there's a couple bonus tracks thrown on here for good measure), are done very sloppily and probably ended up on here as an afterthought it seems. Northern Liberties have some interesting work here on Secret Revolution. Thrashy but occasionally melodic to add a bit of a twist, a nod to the basement level of music creation without the overly done mastering coming from the big boys of the industry. Strays occasionally a bit too far into this, sometimes, as Northern Liberties look for that happy medium. Excellent drumming and bass, a bit boorish with the vocals. But otherwise it's lots of fun, noisy and boorish, but never cumbersome.
By Marcus Pan,
Legends online magazine



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

This band doesn't color inside the lines. They are going to be tough to categorize. I'm going to go with something like experimental post-punk or maybe experimental post hardcore. There are no guitars. They use vocals, drum, percussion, and bass. The vocals are very offbeat and oddball sounding. They are a-typical for punk. They use a lot of echo, makes it almost sound like there are more than one person singing. The bass plays leads. The lyrical content is a bit vague (or maybe abstract) in a poetic sort of way that begs individual translation. The art-core crowds will like this, as will the smarter punks, and maybe even some of the screamo kids. Its probably not going to be everybody's idea of a good time simply because it lacks a frame of reference. How do we take these guys? Who's the target audience? What are you going for? I'm left with a lot of questions. The band sounds great. The talent is obvious. The hard work is evident. Why won't people get it, probably because that would take an effort. If you try, its not difficult at all to find a lot of valuable listening in this CD.
-NEO-ZINE



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Roarrrr...Grrrr... Three guys - on bass, drums, and guttural screams, respectively - play definitely heavy, thoroughly metal anthems called things like "Don't Kill My Sister". They pack an impressive stash of effect pedals, which warp the bass from growls to screeches, and include standout percussive passages whereby they rhythmically pummel things with sticks. Opener "Midnight Train To The Dogfood Factory" sets the LP's tone: racous, obnoxious, and sometimes absurd. After listening to 19 exhaustive tracks of morbid imagery and slaying bass lines, you may feel tortured enough to write your own Liberties-inspired anthem of pain. I'd simply call mine "Ouch".
-- Reviewed by KG in Punk Planet #75, Sept./Oct. 2006



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Some bands just follow the fashion and bore the hell out of me. Rarer are those that find a niche of their own. They also don't make life easy for the common music reviewer, but at least they command our undivided attention. Philadelphia three-piece Northern Liberties, founded in 2000, only need drums, percussion, bass and vocals to make their music work. Of course this is conjuring images of NoMeansNo and Ruins, and strangely enough Northern Liberties cover a song by a band called Ruin (not Ruins). Secret Revolution is basically a rock album, where the bass is played like a guitar, giving the music a weirdly humming and droning sound. The lack of guitars puts the music into a very deep register, but Justin Duerr's vocals sometimes have this enigmatic punk quality that gives the songs a festive ambience. His brother Marc enriches the songs with his busy drumming, while bass player K. provides melody and rhythm. Northern Liberties are best when they are carried away by big melodies, like on Angels With Broken Glass Teeth and Long Distance Shadow. Their punk roots are showing when they cover Ruin's Great Divide or on the Fugazi-like Auto Pilot. The album's only problem is that one hour is just too long for this genre so full of detail. The artwork has been created by singer Justin Duerr, who combines exceptional technique with a weird twist of spirituality into an artistic entity which is as original as it is beautiful to behold. Sold for only 6 US$ (plus postage if you live outside the US), Worldeater Records distribute their releases for the lowest possible price. Those who are into guitar-less alt punk rock music which is experimental and catchy at the same time, will have to get a copy of Secret Revolution.

-- DISAGREEMENT.NET, May 2006



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties - Secret Revolution CD (Worldeater Records) You want edgy, angular, experimental post-hardcore, you say?Want it to be quasi-intellectual, you say? As if it could be anything else - given the first demands. And you want a whole hour of it? Don't want to pay too much for it, either? OK, Worldeater Records will sell you this album or $6. That's pretty fair, I think. It's a good album, too, even if, with 18 songs on it, it's a bit much, especially since Northern Liberties are something of a Dogme project, in that the line-up consists of one drummer, one percussionist, and one bassist. OK, you get vocals, too,, lots of effects on top of it as well, but if you want guitars, you'll have to search elsewhere. What you get here is raw, artistic expression in the vein of No Means No or Shellac. Not an easy album to listen to, by no means, at times it's extremely bleak, but it's rewarding in its own way. If you dig: No Means No, Fugazi, Shellac

reviewd by - Jon A., Lowcut #36, Aug. 2006.




nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Fuzzy bass-drums-vocs music that seems heavy but sounds more like Pavement than say Nirvana or the Melvins, cuz of the doubled up melodic vocals. Very early 90's dirty indie-rock, reminds me a lot of Charles Brown Superstar or Swirlies or other indie-rock bands that put distortion pedals on the bass and leaned heavily on melody. Good stuff, if you like this definitely check out Charles Brown Superstar. Moments of this could be lumped in with Comets on Fire.

1) simple bass melody, idie rock'ish vocs a la pavement, grungy distorto moments but pop is maintained
2) noise intro followed by big tribal drum onslaught and fuzz-bass
3) cool echo bass line, very pop vocals
4) driving fuzz bass fun
5) tribal intro turns into melodic, midpaced, reflective
6) heavy psyche rock, grunge tone, less melody and more heuvos, echoey vocs set tone
7) reflective indie rock wth acoustic intro and ÒheavyÓ later part
8) up-paced driving pogoÕing rock, tribal out-tro
9) feedback intro, good driving rockin
10) spacey feedback/efx intro turns upbeat rock
11) acoustic instruments in intro, same rockin
12) different beat, tribal, devolves into indie rock melodic vocs
13) a bit doomier, darker
14) slow bass arpeggio, heavy waltzy, psyche grungy
15) ignore, 6 seconds
16) quiet space intro to wild spazz psyche rock a la Comets on Fire, goes back to spaciness here and there
17) looped sound collage with beat
18) kinda gothy with chorused bass and slow echoey pace
19) brief acoustic instrumental

-- Reviewed by "your imaginary friend", from the online music archive at KZSU 90.1 FM, Stanford Ca.



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

I suppose these folks would be full-scale extreme--the lyrics certainly fit--but it seems they have more delicate constitutions. That's not bad, actually, as these stripped-down songs are perhaps even more menacing in this context. One of the more intriguing bands I've heard in a while.

http://www.aidabet.com



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Rad 14 song album of spazzy basement art-punk from this Philly drums/bass/vox trio that's tied up in the intriguing urban-underground Worldeater collective, who also cranked out the fucking stellar Humanasaur CD-R reviewed elsewhere on this list. Northern Liberties are sort of a heavier, modern day version of The Butthole Surfers, a psychedelic punk assault slinging metaphysical vibes all over their album, but with a spare drums/bass/vocals n' effects lineup and apparent love for black mascara post-punk that puts these jams somewhere between the dissonant riff-heavy freakouts of Lightning Bolt, sullen Cure/Joy Division gloom, melodic hardcore marches, and spacey, psychedelic angular avant-punk that touches on USAISAMONSTER, folk, and cosmic effects tripouts, bound together with bizarre feverdream lyrics and really cool zoned out vocals. Yep, a cool, weird mix of Load Records damage, the Butthole Surfers acid visions, and pop punk.

http://www.crucialblast.net


nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

Holy drummers. There's about fifty ounces of percussion to every ounce of bass. No guitar. Vocals and percussion. Tons of rhythm. Noise punk with experimental edges that are barren from what people normally associate rock music with. Sometimes they land with a dull thud and sometimes it's really damn good. I think I'd like it more if they really amped up the bass licks a bit.

- J-Sin - http://www.smother.net



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

The new NORTHERN LIBERTIES CD has come out and it is amazing! Really, it is so good. If there was ever a band in Philly that gets overlooked it's NORTHERN fuckin LIBERTIES. They have a sound that goes beyond explanation. Similar to the band that once called Philly home, MACHINE THAT FLASHES, NORTHERN LIBERTIES is a percussion and bass combo overlaid with vocals. A fellow named Justin belts out bizarre lyrics with a sense of infectious madness. Here are the words to Midnight Train To The Dogfood Factory - "O canned food, Broken hearts, Heads on sticks + burning cars, Flightless birds + sightless worms, Fly into a black sun, that never burned - Midnight train - pulls away - Destination: Death Factory." Yes, their words are out there. Seeing them live sometimes gives me goosebumps it is so- so- fuck, words fail me to get the right mood, and the sound they build. Comparisons - humm. a bit Joy Division, with part Fugazi and an added touch of heaviness, it's damn intense. Definitely if you want to check out a band that is pushing boundaries that need to be pushed, it is NORTHERN LIBERTIES. The recording they built sounds real good and the CD is filled with Justin's artwork - intricate drawings that make me think of what Nick Blinko would do if he ended up squatting in Philly during his formative years...

-- reviewed by - MIKE STRAIGHT from SLUG AND LETTUCE number 87, Spring 2006.



nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution

I was really excited about this disc and now that it is finally in my hands all I can say is that Northern Liberties are one of the most unique and forward thinking acts around these days. Building on a foundation of so many varied influences that touch on rock, punk, indie, goth, dark grunge and a slew of other different genres these guys are at the top of their game on their sophomore disc "Secret Revolution". While their last album, "Erode and Disappear" already had many of these elements, "Secret Revolution" expands on everything ten-fold with songs that are even more out than then ever before. They've got a sound that still loosely reminds me at times of Butthole Surfers' "Independent Worm Saloon" mixed with a little Black Sabbath a pinch of Christian Death with all kinds of other influences going on. It's just impossible to pin them down at any moment and with so much variety in song-writing here it could be easy for things to get clumsy and sloppy but Northern Liberties never let that happen for an instant. There is no guitar present but the bass-work is outstanding and since it has to pick up the slack of guitar there's all kinds of awesome stuff going on with the playing style from organic, clean rhythms to distorted riffs and freak-outs that completely kick ass. The drumming is tight and Justin Duerr's voice perfectly suits their sound with his off-beat and unique range that can stretch from shouts, to spoken word and very interesting singing with some effects used to make things really out there and psychedelic. As for the songs themselves, it would be impossible to describe them here as each song is so different than the one preceding it that it would take a 4 page essay to write all of the details out although each one is a stand-out as far as I'm concerned. ?"Auto Pilot" rocks hard with heavy riffs that reminded me instantly of Black Sabbath only a bit quirkier but the feel is there and the pissed off vocals during the chorus really add some extra punch. "Beyond Beyond" is another really unique song that ranges from spaced rock complete with acoustic bass guitar and soft, eerie vocals before exploding into crazed indie, stoner punk that rocks and grooves with an excellent bass riff and rock solid rhythms. Then there is the one, two punch of "Monument" and "Love Dove" the records two most powerful tracks. "Monument" begins with an intense spoken word segment that for whatever reason reminds me of Rozz Williams type stuff and then once again the song erupts into a frenzy of electrifying riffs that are heavy on the punk and rock n' roll influence with an undeniable groove that you won't be getting out of your head anytime soon and the song is immediately followed by the catchiest song on the album "Love Dove". This song is just so catchy and unique that I can't even get over it. It's got upbeat acoustic bass guitars and another show-stopping riff that sounds so simple but it is absolutely perfect. The song reminds me of so many different things, hell even some type of odd grunge and Justin's vocals once again remind me ever so slightly of Rozz Williams at times especially when he delivers the line "God is hanged to love". I really don't know what else to say about this record. This is something entirely different and they really have carved a niche that is all their own. There's also some bonus material here including a live song and some other extras. The disc is topped off by another top-notch layout including the kind of cool artwork I have come to expect on all of their releases. I highly recommend this record as this is something truly unique and original and a record that is so damn well written that these guys better get some serious attention for their efforts!

-- reviewed by JS, www.daredevil.de



NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Secret Revolution Release Party Story

Taking Liberties, In the cave with Philly's rock extremists.
by A.D. Amorosi

"When we play I try to make ghosts come out of our amplifiers," says Justin Duerr. Conjuring spirits is nothing new for Justin and Northern Liberties, the trio he sings and writes for. Ghosts are a musical part of the "biorhythms and environmental factors" that Justin Duerr claims pushes their metallic sound. Ghosts haunt the lyrics he calls "silent love-wars"?improvisations filled with flowers, bees, hibernating birds, dreaming deer and soft-antlered mud worms. Their records?like their brand new Secret Revolution?are gorgeously extreme, effects-laden maelstroms punctuated by pick-driven bass and voices that caterwaul and mumble. Not the xtreme of Killswitch Engage, snowboarding and X Games. In a universe where obviousness rules, making music that's extreme yet doesn't yield to stupidity is an anomaly. The shaggy trio from Overbrook and South Philly?Justin Duerr, Marc Duerr, Kevin Riley?make their music almost covertly. Theirs is a more underground ideal than most, despite its joyful primordial roar. Chromelodeon and Robotrake look like Christina and Britney in comparison. "We're the only band doing what we do," says Riley. Dick-size posturing? There's a prideful resignation in his tone. You'll sense Joy Division, Syd Barrett and the spiritually imbued Ruin in NoLib's minimalist sound and lyrical abstractions. But there's a hidden code to what they do, something obtuse and beautiful. Before 2000, Northern Liberties' members were in Eulogy and Firetruck of Beer. They lived in squats, recorded hours of music no one would ever hear and played often at the infamous Catbox practice house in West Philly. "Liberties was born at the Catbox," says Justin, who moved out of the Box in 2003. There's no connection between this heaving metal trio and the poncy Philly neighborhood of the same name. Their moniker refers to the old meaning; "northern liberties" were sections of cities like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia where no one tied down their animals. They didn't have to. These neighborhoods were considered wild, outlying regions. "We saw ourselves as a musical equivalent?a band choosing a path of untethered freedom on the outskirts," says Justin. "Northern Liberties is pretty poncy. But it was back in 2000 when we named ourselves." That renegade vibe describes Riley's Worldeater label, home to Northern Liberties and at least 15 other bands. We're talking CDs and vinyl from hybrid metal/punk acts like Hellblock 6, Kiss Kiss Kill or World Famous Crawlspace Brothers. The acts were chosen because, like NoLibs, they're on the edges of their respective genres. That's where the comparison between band and label ends. The minimalist dynamics of Northern Liberties sound like nothing else on the label. Ask them to explain those dynamics and weird magic kicks in. "Pigeons weren't meant to live in holes?they're cliff dwellers. So I'm not so into pigeonholing things," says Justin. "We are trying to discover a sound that's beyond us, beyond ourselves as individuals, beyond direct frames of reference." He says Northern Liberties likes to step aside and let the songs out with as little interference from the band as possible. Talking about what he calls a "feedback loop" philosophy of writing songs "through electrochemical, electroharmonic vibrations," Justin says he believes that the band creates music while reacting to it. "That is why we are "rocked' by our own music." Having witnessed their performances, electric and acoustic, I can attest to the trance that envelops all comers. "We're not just playing the songs. We're hearing it as it unfolds?as audience members," says Justin. Through screeching psychedelic volume or quietude, there's holiness at work. Not religion, exactly?although Justin is a minister in an order of his devising, Church Of Divine Energy?but rather a force field of ghost electricity and all attendant powers. "Music is a spiritual pursuit," according to Justin. If you're moved by Secret Revolution, it's because you are that music. It's your quietude, your holiness. It's a place, like they speak of in "Mainframe," where a song can endow a person with supernatural powers. Amen.
Northern Liberties will play Thu., March 2, 9 p.m., $8, with Radio Eris, Kandy Whales and ShellShag, The Khyber, 56 S. Second St., 215-238-5888, www.worldeaterrecords.com, www.justinduerr.com.

--Philadelphia City Paper, March 2- 8, 2006





NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

For five dollars, this CD is a steal. It's cheaper than most cover charges, yet the sound you get is akin to being in some dank club watching the opener before the opener. One of those bands that you've never heard before, and you came early just to get a seat at the bar, one of three other people watching the band (this includes the bartender, doorman, and sound guy).

Don't get me wrong -- Erode + Disappear isn't a bad album, and the rawness of it actually works it in its favor. If it was a polished and well-produced album, the inconsistencies and weakness might overpower the experience. As it stands, Philadelphia's Northern Liberties have created an album that definitely sounds original. Nothing about it is hackneyed or overdone. Definitely a keeper.

-- www.spacecityrock.com

 

nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

"Easter Island" (side A) is slow, dark, morbid, "goth-metal". The vocals and lyrics are ominous, though as usual in much of the newer rock, I only knew them because they're printed on the back of the cover. "Chromosomatic" (side B) is a bit faster and just a shade or two more "upbeat", relatively speaking, though with the same scare imagery - "cloud(s) of razors, painful wounds, nameless sins..." Here and there are some "off-key" notes, but as I noted in my last review of his music, I guess that's just the style Justin's aiming for. Very nicely packaged in a cover featuring Justin's own art & design, this disc was a really cool translucent orange-yellow. Mine was 5 of 500. I'm honored!

-- James N. Dawson, Xeens And Things, #17

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Live Review

Mike Watt & the Second Men / Northern Liberties / The Perfectionists

Second opening act Northern Liberties (who also run their own Worldeater label and distribution company) -- a trio consisting of bass, drums and percussion -- played a high energy set of music from their debut full-length album Erode Disappear. With K's effect-laden, pick-driven bass covering all sonic frequencies and most of the melody, singer/percussionist Justin came off like a tattooed, ultra-hyper, depression-and-epilepsy-free Ian Curtis as he sang and played, unpreturbed by minor mishaps with both the mic cord coming out of his delay pedal and with accidentally knocking over a pitcher of water on the stage floor (where Mazich had to set up his organ right afterward - fortunately, no Stone The Crows like electrocution mishaps occurred) - definitely one of the best unsigned bands I've ever witnessed.

-- cjmarsicano :: PunkNews.org

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

"The same night, there's the other CODE minister, Justine Duerr, the vocalist and front man for what has to be the most "on" and innovative industrial underground band in Philadelphia since the Stickmen -- and we're talking late '70's early 80's here -- Northern Liberties..." "...apocalyptic power groove trio"... ".....think of Primus in their hay-day and The Cure, espescially their percussive masterpiece, the album 'Pornography'. Riley plays bass with such facility as to suggest five or six other instruments. Justines brother Marc is a drummer possessed by the gods (espescially the dexterous, many armed Hindu or Tibetan ones). For that matter, the band Northern Liberties...... is also ethereally in command of its instruments."

-- Frank Walsh :: P.A.W. Print :: Vol. 2 - Issue 3, June 2004

 

nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

This two song 7" was supposedly recorded on Easter day in 2003, but that might just be a gimmick the band came up with. Three years under the Bush administration make it hard to believe most anything you hear these days... Either way, the two tracks on this record are pretty good. Dark and impulsive post punk insired by bands like Joy Division. "Easter Island" is slow and beefy while "Chromosomatic" is a little more upbeat. Well worth checking out.

-- Mike Haley :: Heart Attack #42

 

nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

Northern Liberties recently blew me away with their "Erode and Disappear" album and I'm really glad to finally be reviewing this one. This 7" continues the sound they were going for on the full-length which was a mix of heavy riff-rock, alt/punk and Butthole Surfers style weirdness. On this release you get two new songs that are all out ass kickers. Once again they deliver powerful songs without a guitar anywhere in sight. I've actually heard a few people say negative things about these guys because there isn't any guitar in the band but don't listen to any of that, because these guys are tight musicians and manage to create a full sound with only bass, drums and vocals. The bass playing on this 7" is truly unique delivering fluid, powerful riffs that are catchy and deep giving the sound a heavy, rhythmic backbone. Side A features the epic track, "Easter Island" which switches from quiet moments to thundering, riff driven assaults with those sung/shouted/spoken vocals right up front. Side B contains "Chromosomatic" which is drastically different from "Easter Island". This song is a mix between dirty rock and roll and catchy alt/punk sounds and it's areal rocker for certain. All in all, this is another fine release by Northern Liberties that makes me excited to see what they come up with next. If you dug the full-length, then definitely give this 7" a listen. These guys are a truly unique band that deserve more attention, so check them out damn it!

-- JS :: Daredevil Magazine

 

nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

2 tracks. Low - fi and gothy, the first track scared me. It sounded like a hillbilly version of Love And Rockets, dressed up as vampires, hunting down little kids. The song on side B has a more forward rock feel, but there's still too much reverb on the vocals and the recording overall is pretty abysmal. I guess this is cool, if you like to chase bats with your truck.

-- Marianne Hofstetter :: Heartattack # 41

 

nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

It's hard not to think of noodly late-eighties indie rock when listening to Northern Liberties -- but on this particular 7", the band makes a notable change to the unofficial indie rock credo, completely dropping the guitar from both of these tracks. The result is a rhythm-heavy trio that cross-breeds DC hardcore with Touch & Go faves like GVSB and The Jesus Lizard.
"Easter Island" has a tense start, with strummed bass chords and fiery percussion that eventually give way to a droning rhythm and reverb-drenched vox. Listening to "Easter Island" is like dropping in and out of a cough syrup-induced sleepiness: you may do your best to remain conscious through the hypnotic whirr, but you'll only be resuscitated for a brief taste of reality when the cavernous howling vocals break across the beats. There's even a false ending here, full of tinkling percussion that simply isn't necessary.

Skittish drum beats and a simplistic bass line begin "Chromosomatic"; the four-string alternates between pulsing low-end and trebly chorus-complementing phrases. Vocalist Justin may be on the flat side, but he gives it all he's got, letting loose a controlled eruption of gasps, shrieks and slurred phrases that command your attention. It's melodic without ever resorting to rehashed pop ideas. The cryptic lyrics still leave me wondering what the hell the tune's about, but the music is so intoxicating that you'll soon be jamming along, regardless of the deeper meaning. The more I listen, the more I like it.

I'm not sure how well an entire rhythm-heavy CD of these sorts of songs would fare, but this brief introduction is intriguing. Sick of guitar? Try Northern Liberties' take on indie rock and see what this trio can accomplish without the evils of six-string slinging.

-- Andrew Magilow :: Splendid eZine

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

I never knew geek-metal existed until I tripped over WorldEater Records and their stable of eyebrow-raising acts. While Northern Liberties appear to be on the high end of the label's DIY spectrum (as opposed to say, Bitchslicer), I'm at a loss as to the depth of the audience for music that sounds like Motorhead dragged through an RPG game table (or a copy of Dianetics read while drunk, high and antisocial). But to their credit, Northern Liberties don't deserve nearly as much shit as I'd give them if I were a dismissive bastard.
Sure, their singing is sophomorically bad and their harmonies are pointedly unharmonious, but it gives them a certain kind of charm. Yes, the lyrics are tantamount to bad sci-fi rambling and "make it up as you go along" belief systems, but it's nice to see the unpolished side of geek chic. And I must say that the lads play their instruments well enough to not get booed offstage, and occasionally stumble across a serendipitous riff. When push comes to shove, they fall back on the double-time rant and wail approach, buoyed by flat drumming and droning guitars that sound like they could use a complete restringing -- but somehow, for all their flaws, they actually pull it together enough for me to say, "If you like this kind of brutal suburban basement navel-gazing, Erode + Disappear would actually be a good listen." For the rest of us, I'm not so sure...but hey, everyone needs an outlet.

-- Justin Kownacki :: Splendid eZine

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

Well this is my first experience with Northern Liberties and they did a damn good job of turning me upside down. This is a really cool record, that's very hard to nail down into any particular genre or sound. It's unique and not just for the sake of being different, its really good too. This honestly reminds me a bit of the Butthole Surfers (Independent Worm Saloon era), with its sometimes almost alt-punk/rock sounding tendencies but then the sound will shift into fluid bass groove and heavy percussion that is similar to Tool. You'd think they'd stop there, wrong! They change it up again and deliver some rock-influenced numbers that swagger along like Kyuss or Black Sabbath ("Dog Skies" can challenge any traditional stoner rock band in the groove department alone). I mean, no two songs sound the same here and Northern Liberties are damn good at balancing the different sounds, so I give them huge props in the variety department. A lot of bands would sound unfocused branching out so much, but not these guys. The vocals are pretty cool, with a raw feel to them and they range from spoken parts to intense shouts and they fit the mood and music really well. Nice packaging and production, round out the disc. I don't know much about these guys, but I know that this album impressed the hell out of me. I'll be reviewing some vinyl by these guys very soon, so in the meantime give this disc a listen, 'cause you won't be disappointed! I think everyone from fans of post punk, grunge, classic rock and stoner rock will be able to enjoy this one!

-- JS :: Daredevil Magazine

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear
nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

Northern Liberties have several releases on the World Eater label, which is a non-profit label. All the CDs are $5 and 7" records $3 including postage! This is the second release on the label and includes 18 tracks from 1-5 minutes in length. The band play a mixture of punk inspired rock. They remind me of some of the punk bands that I saw at the Gilman St. in Berkeley, California, when I went there nearly every Friday or Saturday night back in 1988-90.

Easter Island is the bands second release on World Eater. It was recorded on Easter Day 2003, thus the title. The band consists of a three piece (guitar, bass, drums). The lyrics are quite potent and the music heavy and distorted. The recording is quite low with the drums and bass mixed high and the guitars low. This is distorted rock with a punk attitude. Melodic at times, yet screaming raw all the time. Strange and intriguing stuff.

-- Scott Heller :: Aural Innovations

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear
NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

Northern Liberties is a Great mix of Styles. They are Part of a Great Lineup over at Worldeater Records. Bass, Drums, Percusion, & Vocals, and that is it. Definitely makes for lots of Interesting Listening. Erode has 17 Songs, all of which will kick your Stereo's Ass. The Easter Island 7 inch is 2 New Northern Liberties Songs recorded on Easter only Limited to 500 Copies and it's on Gold Vinyl. Gotta Love Colored Vinyl. This Record will Wreck your Turntable as Well as Your Hearing. A Definite Winner.

-- Scabz-n-Bones

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

The first song, "Easter Island", is a pretty o.k. Pop Punk song with a touch of Indie. A little heavy though.The second song, "Chromosomatic", is a little faster Pop Punk song that I like better than the first one. Nice with the aggressive vocals that reminds me of NIRVANA.A nice vinyl single that you'll survive without, no more no less. But if you got too much money, you should buy it just becuse of that.

-- HardRockInfo.com

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

18 songs in over an hour? But value for your money? First I thought that this record was a split, 'cus it looked like that on the cover. But later I found out that it wasen't a split at all....the band was NORTHERN LIBERTIES, and "Erode + Disappear" was actually the title. Funny, huh? This band is playing some kind of heavy Punk, that we can call Indie Punk to be more exact, and sometimes even Pop Punk actually. Some good songs, some bad songs, and it goes in through one ear and out of the other. The Pop Punk songs are their best stuff, the rest of it is just too boring. Maybe they should have done a Pop Punk EP instead? I would have liked that much better anyway.

-- HardRockInfo.com

 

Nl
:: Northern Liberties ::
Easter Island

The A-side, "Easter Island" is a slow goth rocker with vocals just soaked in reverb. The track shifts from gentle to heavy while the vocalist does a damn good Peter Murphy impression. The B-side, "Chromosomatic" is a bit more rockin', with more of a leaning towards Joy Division than Bauhaus. The poor recording quality does not give the songs credit and I think with some better production, Northern Liberties could crank out some pretty good stuff. This single was recorded on Easter Sunday, 2003, which is pretty neat. So is the clear orange vinyl.

-- Finding Datura webzine

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

I guess if you had to come up with a label for this you might call it "pop punk neo-goth". Like Justins zine, the lyrics have a "quasi gnostic" sound to them, though there's some social commentary as well. I liked the energetic, rythmic and somber, guitar and drum lead-ins in most of the songs, and the music maintains its quality throughout. But the lyrics are a bit crowded, apparently in an effort to convey a "meningful" message. And the vocals are a little grating and slightly off key. Some of the songs, with their rapidly spoken lyrics, remind me of Nada Surf's "Popular". Although I prefer a more melodic and mellifluous style, I'll grant there's some talent in here, and the cover and the CD itself have some exceptional artwork on them.

-- James N. Dawson, XEENS AND THINGS # 16

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

Blunt lo-fi post-Therapy?/Membranes psychiatrics from unnamed people and unknown places. Putting ID and id out to pasture, with much percussion and wailing Northern Liberties carouses through a new religion of glowing graves, cosmic lights, parasites, disorientation, paranoia, magnetic fields, psychic deterioration, and other such dark psychedelic wonders, all conducted with a childlike wonder flavored with the lysergic waves of tainted host. “Concourse,” “Devil Song,” and “Dog Skies” (“Roll on nightmare roll on / Like the dog skies are ready to split”) stand out, but there’s much more here than that. Loads of cult potential in these seventeen tracks of simple yet illustrious controlled substance abuse, making one wonder what the hell the live show is like.

-- PANISCUS REVUE

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

Interesting spacy lo-fi punk. Absolutly different from what's out there nowadays. I have to say that it's a fun journey. Vocals just haunting and twisted at times, and the music just goes from mellow to "turned up to 11" in nothing flat. A record to check out.

-- Bullet Proof Pope Mobile

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

The bass 'n' tribal drumming of Killing Joke, the bleak undercurrent of Joy Division, the inspired "Whoa whoa!"-ing of Naked Raygun, the uneasiness of The Stranglers: Philly's Northern Liberties might be the double-naught's answer to Proletariat ("Soma Holiday" is one of the essential '80s HC albums). No guitar player within 50 miles of the Rocky statue, but the instrumentation jabs like Ivan Drago on an Everlast bag. Melodic touches from Adrian, however, absorb the repeated right hands to the face. Best round: the strapped glove of "Suction," which (vocally) waves a "Pink Flag" at "Three Imaginary Boys" in the squared circle.

-- Gunther 8544 / Empty Wagon

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

Northern Liberties - Erode & Disappear - 2003 - Worldeater Records First off, there are eighteen tracks on this disc, holy shit do you get your money's with this purchase! That's like an hour of music, you just don't see that anymore! I wish more bands did that, hell I wish all bands did that! Northern Liberties are kinda all over the place with their music, at times it's exciting well-structured rock, other times it's slow drawn out ballads, then they come back with punkier tunes that make you jump around. The mastering on this album is strange, it sounds as though the band is actually playing in a garage with the bass and drums taking center stage. Those two instruments really stand out heavily on all the tracks. This is a strange album in that I just can't make any sense of who the influences are for these guys. I keep thinking Clash, because of the pretty much "play what we like" attitude, but the Clash never sounded like this. This is an interesting release, I would like to hear more from Northern Liberties and find out what they're all about. An interesting disc, full of good music; I only wish it sounded a bit cleaner. It was just hard to hear the guitars and the vocals through the talented and often chaotic rhythm section.

-- Matt / Hussieskunk.com Radio For Punk Snobs

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

Smart and strong indie rock with a punk rock attitude. The lyrics are what really stands out to me about this band. They are well written. Topically they sing mostly about spiritual, metaphysical, and occult matters. Musically, they are also a little different. There is no guitar. They utilize bass as the lead instrument, and drums + percussion fleshing out the groove. It gives them a very thick dark sound. Very modern and intense. The vocalists sound very emotionally tied to the subject matter. I’ve heard better vocals, but at least they seem to really have a vested interest in what they are screaming.

-- Neo-Zine

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

A wild three piece led by a fuzz bass, Northern Liberties follows the hallowed footsteps of Baltimore's Lungfish. Lyrical meanderings about the human existence and the confinements of definition set to monotonous tones - if it sounds pretentious, that's because it probably is. Props for the Harry smith cover art, though.

-- Punk Planet (Issue #56, July/August 2003)

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

This has an indescribable old quality to it. HICKEY comes to mind at certain points, given the diversity of the arrangements and the surreal bent of the lyrics, but it's nowhere near that brilliant. I can hear some BUZZCOCKS, which I always enjoy, but for the most part this band refuses to define itself. I've always seen that as a good thing, but if you scare easy and don't want your precious punk bands to play anything but GORILLA BISCUITS covers, avoid this. Still, I'm kind of partial to it.

-- Reviewed by Max Tremblay
Maximumrocknroll (Issue #240, May 2003)

 

NL
:: Northern Liberties ::
Erode & Disappear

In this era of cookie cutter punk rock bands and homogenized indie rock it's quite refreshing to come across the marginal oddballs known as Northern Liberties.

A band like this convinces me that rock can still be as urgent and raw as it ever was and not just doomed to zombie posturing.

Indeed, with a passion you'd be hard pressed to find in a lot of bands today, Northern Liberties conveys that rock is alive and well thank you.

The music is primarily Kebin Unlord's driving and melodic bass guitar with Marc Duerr's dynamic drumming. Alongside is Justin Duerr's forlorn and echoing vocals as well as his fortifying percussion. So, it seems Joe Strummer's proclamation of "No more guitar heroes" is taken literally. But by the end of the first tune, it's not even an issue.

I had a chance to catch one of their shows in the summer of 2002 at the Catbox in West Philly. It was hot as hell but they gave one of most animated and captivating performances I've ever seen from a band (and I've seen scores over the years and all across the states).

I imagined myself witnessing a ritual as performed by three primitives from the future. Half naked and wholly tattooed they wielded their instruments with wild abandon and conviction, but balanced with a magical grace and deliberate control. The songs with lyrics that seemed to be ruminations on occult matters probably helped this perspective. However, this is not to say that these guys are gravely serious and one dimensional. A listen to the lyrics of their "Devil -Song" will betray that they also have a sense of humor.

At times the music can be quite ferocious but then again there's brain with the brawn.

No doubt, they aren't aiming to be radio friendly, but hell if their "Erode and Disappear" CD doesn't have some damn catchy tunes too. For example, unsettling as it may be, I've caught myself singing one of them aloud, "I'm a creep - a creep in the concourse following you and your girlfriend."

However, it's "Bio-Vac." that's among my favorite tracks from this debut CD on the Worldeater Records label. Justin's lyrics here are more challenging than those of the songs previously mentioned, but with the groove of the tune as guided by Kebin and Marc, the song gets steered to seep in and reward you with a glimpse into what seems to be just one of the fantastic and dystopic worlds that Justin is exploring as well as the ones we dwell in.

That's why No Li are so refreshing. Not only can they rock, but they are just as adventurous with their lyrics as they are with their music.

So get refreshed yourself, and let Northern Liberties "communicate with the voices in your head!"

- Tom aka Vosco



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northernlibertiesband.com - Philadelphia based music by Justin Duerr, Marc Duerr and Kevin Riley - Since 2000AD