A Place To Bury Strangers
A Place To Bury Strangers

Cover Image
A Place to Bury Strangers - A Place to Bury Strangers

August 13, 2007

US CD Killer Pimp PIMPK004

  1. Missing You
  2. Don't Think Lover
  3. To Fix the Gash In Your Head - [MP3]
  4. The Falling Sun
  5. Another Step Away
  6. Breathe
  7. I Know I'll See You - [MP3]
  8. She Dies
  9. My Weakness - [MP3]
  10. Ocean

Oliver Ackermann - Guitars.Vox.
Jay Space - Drums.
Jono Mofo - Bass.

A Place To Bury Strangers have often been called "the loudest band in New York". This may very well be the case, but unlike much so-called "loud" rock and roll that's out there, APTBS is not loud simply for the sake of it. The sonically overdriven sound they've accomplished is no clumsy accident, but a carefully cultivated and well-maintained entity all its own, fostered by an unbridled passion that's clearly evident in every live show they play and each recording they make. A Place To Bury Strangers does not so much play songs as allow them to pour out. They are songs about longing, heartbreak and confusion played extremely well and at a passionately loud volume.

While there are obvious reference points: Pornography-era Cure, early Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and pre-1990s Jesus and Mary Chain, the sound is all their own, in part due to singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann's day job of building custom guitar pedals (see deathbyaudio.net). Coupled with the solid bass of Jono Mofo and the relentless drumming of Jay Space, the APTBS team is a force to reckon with.

These ten songs have been floating around for years on CD-Rs sold at shows and MP3s circling around the Internet, but are presented here uncompressed in their full glory, professionally mastered for CD. From the time that Killer Pimp first approached APTBS to release these songs until the time of the release, interest in the band has exploded, they have played South By Southwest, and have been offered recording deals with bigger sized labels. We're excited to release these songs because even as self-recorded tracks they are all blistering, intense, energetic, and powerful.

The origin of the band's name is biblical. See Akeldama.

The Falling Sun: (video)

I Know I'll See You: (video)

The Falling Sun: (live)

Perennially referred to as the “loudest band in New York,” this trio from Brooklyn is sweeter and more palatable than it would like you to believe. The band’s throbbing, Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired shoegaze makes liberal use of effects pedals and electronics, and while its songs are indeed loud, they’re also curiously lulling. - The New York Times

The trio from Brooklyn, NYC look terrifying - that bassist is surely on Wanted posters in at least 30 States - and sound only marginally more approachable, coming across like Suicide fucking with Therapy?'s cover of Joy Division's Isolation. And they are quite brilliant. At the end of their 30 minute set, the frontman kicks the volume switch up to 666, white noise erupts from the speakers and every last person watching immediately plunges their fingers into their ears lest they start leaking brain matter. Only then does the guitar-wielding sadist, mute, moody and menacing throughout, allow himself the slightest hint of a grin. Watching another band after this is simply inconceivable. - Paul Brannigan, Kerrang

This band is sick. - officer, NYPD

This debut album is a very loud, noisy, psychedelic thrill. Revved-up guitars, trippy vocals and pounding percussion propel the songs — all of it anchored by a bedrock, feedbacky, distortive sonic clatter, a la Sonic Youth with elements of Gang of Four. - Gregory Bryant, Cape Cod Times.

There would have been seizures, if not deaths, had these feedback-infatuated guitar sadists forced any more noise and strobing light into the Drake Underground during their eardrum-smashing Dec. 29 gig. A Place to Bury Strangers' recent debut album available in a 500-copy CD pressing from Killer Pimp Records or a vinyl release on Important Records delivers slightly less sensory overload, but it confirms the New York trio as the most exciting thing to happen to worship of the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy since ... well, the Jesus and Mary Chain reunion. Anyone who dug on front man Oliver Ackermann's old band, Skywave, will find a slightly Goth-ier extension of the same merciless noise-pop vision. I haven't been this worked up about a band in months. - Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

One gets the feeling My Bloody Valentine decided to reunite because of bands like A Place To Bury Strangers. There are no shortage of groups emulating Loveless's classic template and MBV must have figured, "If all these bands can profit off of this, why not us?" If Autolux took on MBV's more lush tendencies and Serena Maneesh handled the ambient side, then Brooklyn's A Place To Bury Strangers are all about the noise. You can practically hear your eardrums shattering at a show when you spin the group's self-titled debut. It's soaked in Joy Division dread and early Nine Inch Nails effects for good measure. They're obviously not the first to mine this territory, though they might be the most exciting. That three people could produce a sound this big is astonishing. That they could be good enough to render obsolete the entire MBV comeback is even more of an accomplishment. Noah Love, Chart Attack.

This album has the potential to be one of those that I remember from the year. It's dark and moody, kind of like me in Menorca. The band's fuzzed-out guitars remind me of Interpol or the Warlocks, while the claustrophobic effect of the electronic side of their music brings to mind Depeche Mode and My Bloody Valentine. Paul Shirley, ESPN

Brooklyn noise-pop trio A Place To Bury Strangers are frequently tagged as "retro." To many, late '80s U.K.-based noise groups never went away. Some, like My Bloody Valentine, still seem contemporary. The Raveonettes are a good approximation of The Jesus & Mary Chain's pop side, but aren't dangerous enough to draw any blood. Norway's Serena-Maneesh hits closer to the mark, a bit like The Birthday Party playing Ride covers, fronted by Nico and Chick Corea. But few bands today match the chainsaw freneticism of A Place To Bury Strangers. On this year's self-titled debut LP, the group lays out their philosophy succinctly in the song "To Fix the Gash in Your Head." Singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann croons, "I want to beat you up / I don't care and I won't feel sorry." It's easy to call his bluff, but the message is clear -- this band is out to get you. The LP was intermittently recorded over the span of four years, and a listener hardly needs liner notes to tell. Each song is sonically distinct; some drift into space while others are uncomfortably direct. Vocals shift in and out of focus. Guitars clatter in the distance and disappear. Even the drum machine is part time, sharing the record with live drummer Jay Space. Regardless, the album is one razor-edged fuzz blast after another. The opening clangs of "Missing You" should wake neighbors at low volume. "Another Step Away" steals a beehive or two from the Jesus & Mary Chain, and "My Weakness" shimmers like a knife. Letdowns are seldom heard, and the top material ranks with the best skronk-pop made since 1987 or so. Ackermann is a gifted songwriter, capable of weaving different approaches into his band's focused attack. The album's strongest songs, "Don't Think Lover" and "I Know I'll See You," break from the album's pace, highlighting his strong melodic sense while maintaining intensity. "Don't Think Lover" is an insouciant love song, by turns achingly beautiful and corrosive, and "I Know I'll See You" is a nod to Mancunian post-punk. Comparisons are inevitable, but originality isn't what they're selling. A Place To Bury Strangers seem capable of finding a voice, but for now, they're content to kick your ass. - Mike McGovern, ALARM Magazine

I used to frequent the Tonevendor distro searching for the best new shoegaze bands, such was my obsession with the genre. At some point in the last two or three years, a resurgence of the genre has led to the coining of the term "nu-gaze" branded with same kind of derogatory manner once used by the British press to dismiss the first wave of artists in the genre. While none of these new groups have yet to produce a second generation successor to Loveless, it hasn't kept them from making some extremely good albums in the process. One of these was Skywave's 2004 album Synthstatic. That band's frontman, Oliver Ackermann continues in much the same vein with his fabulous new group A Place to Bury Strangers. On the bands self-titled debut album they manage to kick up some of the most ferocious feedback since The Jesus & Mary Chain's classic Psychocandy. Oh and of course they reference the almighty sound of My Bloody Valentine circa Isn't Anything and the "You Made Me Realise" single. Much of the thunderous guitar blast you'll hear on this record is the result of Ackermann's other job, building homemade guitar pedals. He has an online store where you can buy them straight from him and even hear examples of how they sound, the website is www.deathbyaudio.net. I won't name them all here, but some of his clients include Lightning Bolt, TV On the Radio, and Serena-Maneesh (with whom A Place to Bury Strangers share some similar qualities). Another nicely executed facet to the album is the contrast between live drums and drum-machine often in the same track. "To Fix the Gash in Your Head" best illustrates this technique by pitting pummeling Ministry-esque beats against a tumultuous wall of fuzz. One of the important things to consider for any sort of album that builds so much of its' uniqueness around a specific sound is the quality of the songs themselves. A band can have the best guitar pedals and production in the world and not be able to conjure up a decent melody. Fortunately A Place to Bury Strangers are not glossing over the details with false facade. Tracks such as "Ocean" and "I Know I'll See You" owe as much to the bass-driven songcraft of Joy Division and New Order as they do to The Jesus & Mary Chain. "The Falling Sun" fortifies this by pouring a gaseous haze of vaporous guitar over buried vocals. A Place to Bury Strangers have released the best shoegaze album of the year, hands down. Using the template established with his former band to form the foundation of this one, Oliver Ackermann, JSpace, and Jono MOFO have laid down some of the most aggressive and nihilistic music the genre has seen. The self-titled album brings the listener into a glorious sound world of first rate noise-pop and never lets go. -Joe Davenport, Delusions of Adequacy

It's the sound. Oliver Ackermann's distortion levels could be measured on a Richter scale the way they landslide everything else on his band's self-titled debut: instrumentation, discernible melodies, potentially readable lyrics. Any metaphor works, really; the guitars bleed with magma (fire and brimstone!), oozing blood (human offerings!), and of course, the shrill swipe of jet engine blades (vrrrrrrr!). And yet, and yet, for all the noise there are songs underneath. Almost laughably poppy ones in fact, with a refreshingly nineteen-eighty-something holographic quality. Like most auspicious debuts, a band this skeptic-proof could well collapse under their own heavily gimmick-founded architecture, but for now that gimmick is a scream. Fairly easy to tag a Psychocandy rip or the big, bad Return of Shoegaze, many are claiming A Place to Bury Strangers as one-trick ponies. Which is understandable. If it was this easy to be exciting, more Euro-aping New Yorkers would throw everything in the red. That would be profoundly irritating, so if accusations of Ackermann's fraudulence are necessary to keep the imitators at bay, let haters hate. Fact is, his small band (only three people making all that racket) evokes more than just chainsaws and industrial machinery crushing all humanity at the hands of cyborgs. For one thing, the sludge varies: hear the decayed ballad "The Falling Sun" swallowing itself just as the catchy "Another Step Away" begins to click into place, its every beat followed by what sounds like train tunnel echoes. Then arrives "Breathe," a hardly touched, old-fashioned guitar riff. Anyone who waded through the initial bursts of feedback would've found themselves in this versatile trio that calms and varies the album's middle - not that the feedback bursts weren't hot shit either. "Missing You" has one of the most rousing openings heard on a debut - or any other record this year, for that matter - drums pumping like classic punk, near-violent bursts of heavily treated sludge, giving way to the safety of crystalline single-note guitar but sporadically threatening to reopen the melee at any moment. The clincher is A Place to Bury Strangers' impressive final quarter: almost structured like a minituarist's Zen Arcade, the nasty pyrotechnics show set off first as a statement of intent, followed by the true songs, and then takeoff is achieved in the denouement with true anthems. Fuck if anyone can make out what Ackermann's moaning in unwavering monotone during "She Dies" or the arena-ready "I Know I'll See You," but both, especially the latter with the gummy bassline, could dominate 1980s college radio if these sonics could travel back in time. This sound only goes up. - Dan Weiss, Lost at Sea

Spin Artist of the Day - October 30, 2007
Who? Where most shoegaze revival efforts fall short, Brooklyn-based trio A Place to Bury Strangers takes off with the most frustrated, lacerating take on noise pop in arguably more than a decade. Singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann, bassist Jono Mofo, and drummer Jay Space -- who got together after Ackermann disbanded his dream-pop act Skywave -- have already earned the title "The loudest band in New York" thanks to their pedal-mangling, ear-splitting feedback. They've toured with the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Brian Jonestown Massacre; their self-titled debut LP arrived via the Killer Pimp imprint in late summer.
What's the Deal? A Place to Bury Strangers matches these live bloodshot decibels on their debut album, letting their own line of effects pedals cater to an aggression as close to My Bloody Valentine's earth-shattering sonics found on their 1991 classic Loveless. While "Missing You" crashes open with reverb-driven riffage and "To Fix the Gash in Your Head" is an industrial-tinged hammering attack threatening to "kick your head in," APTBS isn't all bestial guitars, drum machines, and beautiful destruction. The monotone crooning and electric trebles on "The Falling Sun" escalate into sweeping echoes and dark emotional carriages, insisting upon a space for wandering lamentations which, though perhaps premature, are a product of so much more than, well, the band's employment of their own product.
Fun Fact: As if taking over New York City wasn't enough, APTBS's recent gig at Loisada got crashed by cops after the second song because of noise complaints by local tenants. The police officers let them finish their third song, however: one officer said, "This band is sick." - Taleen Kalenderian, Spin

Sound Technician: "I've got your guitar running through three reverb, two crunch, and twelve fuzz pedals. The vocals are so wet, it sounds like you're in a sunken, hollowed-out submarine. I've got fuzz pedals on the drums for Chrissake! Don't you think this is all a bit much? Overkill, if you will?"
Oliver: "Great idea! Try adding the Overkill, between the Annihilator and the Discombobulator. And while you're at, is it possible to get some reverb on the reverb?"
Not much else needs to be said. if the preceding dialogue doesn't intrigue you, the music won't either. But I'll make a few quick points anyhow. A Place To Bury Strangers is two things: 1) a band and 2) an album. The band is noisy. They made a noisy album. It is awesome. Descriptors: The Jesus And Mary Chain plus shoegaze on steroids. - Colour Me Impressed

Noise Pop fans can now rejoice. A Place To Bury Strangers have produced the greatest fuzz-fest since The Jesus and Mary Chain's seminal 1985 release Psychocandy. This eponymous debut by the Brooklyn trio A Place To Bury Strangers delivers the same melodic underpinnings and distorted psychedelia that lies at the heart of the noise pop genre, but they take each element to the extreme. Distinct guitar lines are super-hooks, coated in pure white sugar, and the blasts of echo and distortion hit like an overloaded freight train. Front man and foundational member Oliver Akermann's voice is presented as if it's trapped under glass, and whether this was a creative decision, or simply to hide his shortcomings, is no matter. The monotone echo chamber vocals fit like a glove, although they certainly won't win any awards, unless there's an "Ian Curtis Flat Uniformity" award I'm not aware of. On first listen A Place To Bury Strangers presents like a wave of static and factory gears, instruments melt into each other, and the borders take some work to find. But it won't take an attentive listener long to gain ear focus, and hear the resplendent work of song craft that lies just beneath the haze. - Rhapsody Radish

It should come as no surprise that A Place To Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann makes his living by building customized distortion pedals for guitars. Every song on the group's self-titled debut is built upon a wall of distinct, super-loud distortion that sounds twice as sharp and abrasive as that of the average rock band. As noisy as the record gets, it doesn't come close to capturing the sonic attack of their live show. The studio recordings contrast the fuzz with sleek electronic rhythms that resemble the sinister grooves of late '80s Depeche Mode, or early Nine Inch Nails. "To Fix The Gash In Your Head" buries Ackermann's voice beneath waves of white noise, electronic buzzes and hammering beats without sacrificing the simple hook at the heart of the piece. - Matthew Perpetua, Associated Press

Leave it to a maker of boutique guitar pedals to be the key cog in a band that has been crowned the "loudest band in New York" (and google apparently agrees). Oliver Ackermann is said individual, and along with providing guitars and vocals in the band A Place To Bury Strangers, he builds custom guitar pedals under the fitting name Death By Audio. Although the group has been kicking around for some time now, with many of the songs on this release floating around as MP3s and CDRs, this ten track album is the official debut and it's a stark slash to the head compared to just about everything out there. Comparisons can be drawn to Pornography-era Cure, Jesus And Mary Chain, and even the blistering sonics of My Bloody Valentine. As a three-piece group, they create a hell of a racket (perhaps only rivaled by The Psychic Paramount), and the pedals by Ackermann are at the forefront of it all, turning his guitar into a screeching, blistering, assault of sound at times. "Missing You" kicks things off and sets the tone early with a somewhat tinny rhythm section offset by soaring verses and absolutely scorching choruses. Ackermann sings in an almost robotic monotone, and it fits well within the context of the music. On "Don't Think Lover," the Loveless-era comparisons are definitely warranted as guitars heave and groan like they're going to rip up the floorboards in places while the group launches into almost dry post punk sections in other places. "To Fix The Gash In Your Head" mingles drum machine beats, almost industrial buzzsaw guitars, and more of Ackermann's completely cool and detached vocals into a furious song with twisted lyrics that should fuel goth clubs for years to come. "I Know I'll See You" is eerily Cure-esque, with the same brittle rhythm section and hollow vocals, while splashes of heatwave guitars wash over everything in places. The production on the release is done in a way that emphasizes the fury of the guitar, and in addition to sounding over-compressed, the treble is near tweeter-shredding at times. It's a seriously uneasy listen in places, with a sort of lo-fi retro sound that gives the album the feel of being a couple decades old. If you get your kicks off any of the aforementioned bands, you will definitely want to hunt this one down ASAP. It's a kick in the pants debut, and here's hoping they carve their own unique sound out even more in the future. - Almost Cool

A Place To Bury Strangers are really something. Branded as "the loudest band in New York", they're actually taking the shoegazing revival scene into a whole new level, incorporating its typical self-absorbed attitude with more industrial and aggressive sounds, which somehow remind me a lot of "Songs About Fucking" from 1980's underground project Big Black, mixed with a hint of gothic philosophy. Surrounding those distant and cold melodies (think Jesus and Mary Chain or Joy Division) and analog synthesizers, there's layers and layers of guitars, reverb, static noise and distortion, all so loud, poignant and sharp to the point of leaving everyone's ears bleeding. Apparently, aggressive noise can be a beautiful thing. (9/10) - Random Types

Their industrial gaze-rock is dark and terrifying, it's making me scared to leave the house. - Alex Miller, New Music Express

Somewhere after 1960, Man found the new primal release...
...in our contemporary world of monorails, cars, airplanes, iPods, cyborgs, cereal bars, defibrillators, jet-packs, nukes, lasers beams, and post-modern-philosophy, the experience of conjuring fuzzy waves of noise with guitars, pedals, and blown-outputs is the new embodiment of release; in a cold world of technology and formality, it charms the illusive element of electricity into contemporary man's naked, liberated jaunt through the woods with the glow of a freshly started fire with sticks rubbed together and a howl at the moon... These shredded shrieks and disorienting whirls stretch the senses in a welcomingly painful sort of way...like a great big yawn that ends with a tinge of pain through your back muscles as you extend your arms upward. But at the same time, A Place To Bury Strangers (a Brooklyn-based trio Oliver Ackermann-guitars/vox, Jay Space-drums, Jono Mofo-bass) is not a heavy-handed, overly intellectual protest against melody or the restraints of structure, nay; the recording of this album is amazingly crisp and galvanizes each layer (feedback, fuzz-effected guitar, bass grooves, drum-machines and pounded percussion) so perfectly that you can almost feel them fall upon you as distinctive raindrops. It feels less like a dissertation on the absolute uniqueness of noise pop (anyone can learn to play C-sharp and G-minor, but can you make it sound like a dying Tyrannosaurus?) and more like a real guitar-player's album of straight-forward experimentation with shoegaze-inflected drones and a mingling of goth and dance-rock. Every review will name-drop My Bloody Valentine here...but Stranger's self-titled lacks the dizzying waywardness of the former's flagship Loveless and almost never (and if so, always briefly) loses the downbeat, a distant pound of the skins can always be felt so that the listener is never lost, albeit overwhelmed by the jet-engine-esque roar of feedback that haunts the overall narrative like a specter--sometimes hovering and other times falling upon you like a shroud. The captivating effect this creates is one of openness and claustrophobia...sometimes at the same time. Ackermann's vox-effected, ghost-robot vocals sound as chilly as any of the trio's darkly-noise-pop predecessors (Jesus and Mary Chain) and conjures bleak-but-beautiful imagery of suburban dystopias and overly-technologized-nihilism. Ackermann's buzzed-voice of quasi-monotone poetics float serenely over disarming Cure-like new wave melodies ("I Know I'll See You") with arresting pedal effects. The relentless machine gun rhythms and wavy grooves of "To Fix a Gash in Your Head" reveal a dark and frazzled vision of New Order. For all-out-bash-the-mailboxes-as-you-bull-down-the-street-noise: "Missing You" provides driving percussion and metallic clangs of explosive reverb. "The Falling Sun" is clearly the potent centerpiece, a solemn but powerful beat slowly marches as Ackermann conjures a trembling, heartbreaking tone that eventually crashes against you like a wave as he laments, "I feel so far away..." Set aside that their influences show on their sleeve. This is a staggering debut with layers of errant, mystical roars born from man's relationship between his guitar, a chord, and a speaker. A noisy escape in a world too clearly delineated. A primal scream that's plugged in... - Jeff Milo, Stylus

Oliver truly is a musical mastermind. He prides himself on making the loudest sound that is humanly possible come out of his guitar and amp. When his equipment wasn't able to create a loud enough sound to fit his needs, he simply started making his own pedals and amps. This soon became a lucrative business for him, called Death By Audio. He has bands lined up to buy his pedals from all over the world, including the members of TV On The Radio. He first started on his musical crusade with Skywave in the 90's, out of Virginia. Upon relocating to Brooklyn he soon formed a new band, A Place To Bury Strangers. This debut album is a collection of songs that they have been working on since 2003. Each one is layered in a heavy sonic fuzz of distorted pedals and guitars. Fans of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and The Mary Chain, and BRMC will love this album. APTBS's music harks back to the early shoegaze days while still sounding fresh and prevalent today. - Crashin' In

As far as I can tell, the short answer is that I like this album because it reminds me of a bunch of other stuff that I also like. With its hints of depressive, graceful melody obscured by squalls of feedback and broken, juddering drum-machines, it's sort of a cross between Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain and Automatic-era Jesus and Mary Chain. And, I mean, that's like two of the best four Jesus and Mary Chain albums ever right there (Automatic is better; I don't care what your Spin Alternative Record Guide tells you). And there's other stuff in there too. When the drum-machines really kick up a storm, I get welcome ninth-grade flashbacks to Ministry and KMFDM. In his Pitchfork review, Marc Hogan also mentions a sort of Joy Division/Factory Records hard-echo bleakness, which is definitely somewhere in the mix as well. And in the constantly cresting guitar-waves, the band seems to be consciously recalling the entire shoegaze class of '92. This isn't exactly a unique combination of influences; a Place to Bury Strangers is basically the bazillionth shoegaze-revival band to come along in the last couple of years. But they're the first of those shoegaze-revival bands I've heard that remembers more than just the wounded-romantic beauty of those early-90s bands; they also recall the forbidding buzzsaw ugliness of their drug-rock predecessors. So: they revive something that all the other shoegaze revivalists forgot to revive. That might not be sufficient to earn them a Nobel Prize or anything, but apparently it's enough for me. See, a Place to Bury Strangers might not write great songs, but they have a great sound. And if it's a sound that a bunch of older bands already mined, fine. That means they mash down hard on a whole range of reptilian brain-associations and pleasure-center tinglers that exist somewhere in my DNA and in the DNA of at least a few music-dorks. Those associations have everything to do with effects-pedals, so it makes sense that Ackermann would've devoted a significant portion of his life to building and perfecting effects-pedals; it's almost as if he's chasing an innards-scraping guitar-fuzz Platonic ideal, using both his business and his band to get as close as he can to that plane of perfection. And maybe it's because they make me think of older, better songs, but the way the Place to Bury Strangers tracks bleed into the atmosphere when I'm walking around the city at night in a vaguely misanthropic mood is a very powerful thing. Enjoyment doesn't always require qualifications or explanations. A Place to Bury Strangers may be derivative as fuck, but that doesn't mean that they can't be really good as well. They've made a truly enjoyable album out of preassembled parts, and that's really no less an achievement than making one from scratch. I can't say if I'll be listening to a Place to Bury Strangers years from now, but right now, when I'm in the right mood, they do the trick. - Tom Breihan, Village Voice

Various bands throughout the past 20 years have made their own cases for being the loudest in rock `n' roll. Most thirty-somethings who were young enough to catch them in their heyday will tell you that Dinosaur Jr. is the loudest band in the land, though their reunion removes any doubt about that noise's sustainability. Mogwai have also been touted as the loudest, their wide-swinging volume dynamics having caused a few hearts to skip a beat due to the excessive force being thrust from their Marshall stacks. A friend of mine said the loudest band he'd ever seen was Shellac, who he described as being `louder than God.' And the loudest band I recall seeing is Kansas City's The Life and Times, who, for three guys in a tiny room, left their audience with a lingering case of tinnitus. New York's A Place to Bury Strangers has been touted as the loudest band in their home city, which may be a less overtly boastful claim. Considering that New York City is home to Helmet, Sonic Youth, Unsane and Anthrax, however, they clearly have to be making some unholy din. While I haven't seen (or heard) them live, A Place to Bury Strangers is most certainly ungodly loud on record. It's best to prepare yourself before pressing play on this one--the shock of the clatter being shot from your speakers is bound to knock you out of your seat. The buzzing, metallic clash of guitar fuzz that opens "Missing You," atop a super-cool Jesus & Mary Chain style bassline, is one hell of an opening noise, but one that deserves being played over and over again as your ears begin to heal themselves from the initial shock. Before long the track becomes a trippy, psychedelic melody that's as pretty and melancholy as it is muscular and unsettling. On "Don't Think Lover," the fuzz becomes so thick, the intro melody is almost undetectable, but like pupils dilating in a dark room, the eardrum begins to find a sort of structure among the chaos, and in time it becomes a simple, yet destructive groove. On "To Fix The Gash in Your Head," one of the greatest titles I've heard all year, drum machines propel a Big Black-like machinepunk track, among the catchiest here, but still mercilessly brutal. Yet "The Falling Sun" provides a decidedly different experience altogether. It's still harshly distorted, static and feedback bathing every effects-laden note, yet it's a tender ballad, somber and trippy, and beautiful in a very unconventional way. "Another Step Away" is more closely aligned with Psychocandy's Phil Spector in Hell sound, while "Breathe," still distorted, takes a turn toward clarity with a melody that's allowed some, wait for it, breathing room. There are no two songs on this album that sound alike, though all share the common characteristic of glass-shattering, pacemaker stopping noise. A Place to Bury Strangers may very well be the loudest band in NYC, but they're much more than that. They don't just use noise because they can; noise is merely a vessel through which this band creates thoroughly amazing music. By relying heavily upon something quite ugly, they create something beautiful. - Jeff Terich, Treble

If you think the A Place To Bury Strangers album is loud, then I've got to warn you -- its most abrasive moments are just a shadow of what they sound like in person. However, as impressive as they are with insane volume and inescapable physical sensation, the endearing mixture of shoegazer guitar tone, industrial beats, goth gloom, and new wave melodies evident on their studio recordings gets lost in the din. At their best, the group sounds like the contents of a mopey college kid from 1989's record collection pureed, poured into a cup, and served with a bowl of broken jewel boxes. If there was any justice in the world, there would be a maxi-single for "I Know I'll See You" backed up with a bunch of cheesy late 80s/early 90s style dance mixes, just like the Cure or Nine Inch Nails. - fluxblog.org

Having a guitarist whose day job is building custom guitar pedals must surely help a band achieve the sound they strive for and so it proves for A Place To Bury Strangers, whose self-titled album bursts from the speakers in a squall of scuzzy noise and distortion. With no let-up the band piledrive through 10 killer slabs of noise, sounding like a fucked-up meeting between Spacemen three, Ride and The Sonics. Forty minutes of flawless sonic fury. - Terrascope Online

Best New Music - Pitchfork, August 31, 2007
Never underestimate the power of the perfect guitar effects unit. The Jesus and Mary Chain's landmark Psychocandy would have sounded vastly less godlike without its use of a discontinued (and allegedly broken) Japanese fuzz pedal. Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis dredged his mythic decibel levels from road-worn Marshall amps, but his stoner racket wouldn't have been the same if he hadn't funneled it through the grinding fury of a Big Muff. In the right hands, one little black box can mean the difference between pummeling and decimating. Few people understand this better than Oliver Ackermann, frontman for thunderous Brooklyn three-piece A Place to Bury Strangers: Under his catch-all company name Death by Audio (it's also a music venue, recording studio, and collective), he custom-builds and designs his own hand-wired pedals, which are used by everyone from Lightning Bolt and Serena Maneesh to Wilco, Spoon, and TV on the Radio. Not coincidentally, anyone looking for a quick description of his own band can look to the names he gives these things: Interstellar Overdriver, Supersonic Fuzz Gun, Total Sonic Annihilation. With a bandname that's linked to both the Gospel of Matthew and the writings of British occultist Aleister Crowley, A Place to Bury Strangers represents something of a second coming for Ackermann. He was previously a member of defunct Fredericksburg, Va., dream-pop revivalists Skywave, whose records were all but baptized in the drones of (don't jump out of your checkered Vans!) the JAMC and My Bloody Valentine. After their breakup, Skywave's remaining members formed the like-minded two-piece Ceremony, and Ackermann moved to New York where he hooked up with drummer Jay Space and bassist Jono Mofo, turned up the volume, and began masterminding the wrecking-crew colossus that would become this album. Compiling mastered versions of the band's early CD-Rs and mp3s, A Place to Bury Strangers' self-titled debut LP sets tinnitus-inducing noise-pop against a tension-wracked Joy Division-meets-Ministry backdrop. Plenty of bands have tapped the trebly, ecstatic side of shoegaze in recent years, but none have imbued it with this band's frustrated aggression or lacerating feedback. What hits first is the reverberating distortion: The brutal textures announce themselves in pangs of blown-out guitar, crunching against the propulsive bassline and distant, static-soaked drums of opening track "Missing You". Thirty seconds in, the tempest recedes, revealing the song's love-wasted verses and murky, chiming guitars (think the Chills' "Pink Frost" and you're close), only to sneak up again for a shattered, metal-twisting chorus. The group's versatile squall can crumble majestically, as on the slow-motion starfighter explosions of "The Falling Sun", or growl like a wounded mountain lion, as during the pitch-shifting tumult of "My Weakness". And on "To Fix the Gash in Your Head", it even evokes the late-80s peak of Wax Trax! industrial bands, fleshed out by treble-heavy synth, buzzsaw guitars, and primitive, pre-programmed drum loops. For a dude creating such awesome bedlam, Ackermann's uneven monotone comes off Ian Curtis-bummed. The hammering, Factory Records-esque beats and blistering effects-pedal descent of "She Dies" take place on a "white-letter day" ("There's nothing for me now," Ackermann wearily intones). Finale "Ocean" barely glimpses its bassline's steady shore through waves of resigned heartbreak. But the epic atmospheres are rarely as dense as I might be letting on. What matters most is the substance behind the style, and here, even morose falling-out songs like "Another Step Away" are saturated with slender indie-pop melody, notwithstanding the occasional weak lyric about how there's "no photograph that can capture who you are" (totally rhymes with "shooting star"). A Place to Bury Strangers can pull beauty out of eardrum-puncturing bleakness, but the most tuneful offering here, "Don't Think Lover", is gentle and romantic-- when not exploding at the seams. "Don't think lover/ Love lasts forever," Ackermann sings, and it's never quite clear whether the sentiment is optimistic or misanthropic. The stalking "I Know I'll See You" seems to play off the know-my-love-too-well urgency of the Smiths' "Hand in Glove", with Ackermann even warning, "Don't take my hand/ 'Cause I'll take it away." Like the Italians Do It Better label's similarly moody After Dark compilation, A Place to Bury Strangers may not be easy for would-be record buyers to find-- it's currently limited to 500 copies and put out by, um, Killer Pimp Records-- but it's worth every effort. - Marc Hogan, Pitchfork

On Repeat - Pitchfork, August 29, 2007
It'd be more convenient if all music was exactly suited for the technology of the time, and today's recordings sounded best on shitty laptop speakers the way Motown was perfect for AM radio. Things are already stupidly convenient nowadays, though, with our iPods, iPhones, and flying iCars-- so take time just this once to plug in your headphones (or, jeebus, a decent stereo) for Brooklyn three-piece A Place to Bury Strangers. Singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann makes his own effects pedals, and good gawd. You'll want your eardrums to get the shit kicked out of them at full force. Plenty of bands have borrowed from shoegaze's poppier side, but even Ackermann's previous group, Virginia's unjustly neglected Skywave, were more interested in the head-bleeding distortion of My Bloody Valentine's famed live shows. Opening with jackhammering "Only Shallow" beats, "To Fix the Gash in Your Head" soon lashes out like a wounded jungle animal, its guitar textures wild-eyed, feral, and razor-sharp. The songwriting meets and surpasses the high standard of Skywave's Synthstatic; in a moody, industrial-stamped monotone, Ackermann explains that in order to fix that nasty gash, he's gonna wait till your back is turned, then "kick your face in." The production is just that physical, and pretty much gorgeous. If you feel a migraine coming on...buy earplugs. - Mark Hogan, Pitchfork

Strap yourself in for a blissful and deafening return to the saturated shoe-gazer sound of the early nineties
Tired of slick and hyper-polished bands pumping out studio-perfect indie-pop? Yeah, me too. Which is why I think A Place To Bury Strangers could be the best thing to come out of New York for a number of years. If you want to get an idea of where A Place To Bury Strangers are coming from, sonically, you're going to need to eject over a decade's worth of preconceptions from your brain. Then turn your stereo up as loud as it goes, sit back in a comfortable chair, and hit play on your remote. And then drown. Drown in an ocean of super-saturated fuzz, a vast dense barrage of tone that fills the room and washes out into the street beyond. A Place To Bury Strangers have been tagged as "the loudest band in New York", and listening to these ten lo-fi tracks, you can well believe it. Brian Eno once described overdriven guitar as "the sound of an instrument trying to escape its recording medium", and that's exactly what you've got happening here. This band play loud because you can't make sounds like this any other way; this is the sound of amplifiers running right up against the limits of their design specifications, straining to deliver the sound of guitar and bass running through custom-built effects pedals. It's vast. It's deafening. It's beautiful. Oh yes, it's beautiful - because the noise levels have accreted over the sort of delicately melancholic shoe-gazing songs that ruled the UK indie scene of the very early nineties. It's the age-old musical game of contrasts - the huge sound balancing the delicacy and pathos of the songs themselves. The lyrics and melodies are like delicate little ornaments, packed in the cotton wool and fibreglass of the instrumentation to protect them from the world outside. It's the sort of music you can get lost in. Of course, not everyone likes getting lost. My response to that would be that to truly explore the world, you must put yourself in places where you're not sure which way to turn ... but, you know, whatever. If you want to stick to well-mapped territories, that's fine with me. That just leaves me more room to wander in the awesome landscapes of bands like A Place To Bury Strangers. But mark my words - there'll be a land-rush on this currently obscure little continent within the next few years. Do yourself a favour - come and explore before the day-tripper tourists start littering the place up. - Paul Raven, Subba Cultcha

New York trio A Place to Bury Strangers has a well-earned reputation as one of the Big Apple's -- and the country's -- loudest bands. But it's not just noise for the sake of noise. Taking cues from the Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3 and MC5, the group offers up a killer mix of space, garage and noise rock. The guitars are sharp and piercing, the bass is throbbing, the drums are pounding and it adds up to a truly memorable rock-and-roll experience. The band's show last year at the Warehouse Next Door was a revelation, a jolting performance that was one of David's favorite of the few hundred he witnessed last year. - The Washington Post.

A Place to Bury Strangers absolutely drowns the listener in a type of static-like distortion that is practically always making its presence known. It.s definitely of the blistering white hot variety, simply being relentless. All the while underneath it all is the often distant and monotone vocals of Oliver Ackermann, whom also creates his very own guitar pedals to help further manipulate the bands sound into being something that will naturally destroy ear drums if listened to at a high enough volume. I.m led to assume that it wouldn.t have to be all that high really. But anyway, for those that enjoy their fair share of noise-pop or shoegaze on an ultra high Mary Chain kick, then definitely check out A Place to Bury Strangers. - Built on a Weak Spot

There's a certain tone and timbre to A Place to Bury Strangers that is unmistakable, and it's all in the effects pedals. It's like a sheet of noise, like static at a high pitch cranked to the maximum and unleashed on an otherwise innocuous song. It's like pre-Tremolo My Bloody Valentine or The Jesus & Mary Chain with a little echoing jangle in there for good measure. It happens virtually every time, and you know it's coming, and yet still you can't get enough. "The Falling Sun" crashes with different time signatures and Ackerman's decidedly Bauhausian vocals, rarely changing, rarely clear. Gradually, A Place to Bury Strangers start to carve out their own niche. "To Fix the Gash in Your Head" is the earliest indication that this band is just as heavily indebted to the post-punk luminaries of the late 70s as any shoegaze or noise-pop group. "I Know I'll See You" also has a more danceable beat than most Skywave songs, and here is the critical difference between the groups: With Skywave, it was well and dandy to rock out, but dancing wasn't really part of the routine. Here it's almost a drum machine sound and Jay Space's straightforward skin-beating keeps the emphasis on the feedback frenzy of Ackerman's guitars and anchoring accompaniment by stalwart bassist Tim Gregorio (ex-Virus). Together these guys are bringing the old noise back in a new incarnation. They're still young and they've still got a lot of growing to do, hopefully out and beyond a sound they have clearly already conquered. A Place to Bury Strangers is an ideal canvas for painting the dark portrait of a modern "American Gothic." They initially took fodder for having the band name of a bunch of angsty teenaged boys with ex-girlfriends and axes to grind; as their self-titled debut demonstrates, there aren't any lip rings or designer t-shirts involved here. It sounds like a graveyard, at night, in fog. That's rarely sounded like a better proposition than on these ten songs. - Audiversity

Some dude somewhere is always trying to transmutate Kevin Shields's droney noisepop gold with an arsenal of guitar pedals. APTBS attempt the sonic alchemy via amped-up Jesus & Mary Chain electronic pulsations. - Village Voice

Once upon a time, there was a band called Skywave who became infamous for their overwhelming, Jesus & Mary Chain-esque noise freakouts. They released a number of singles, seven inches, EPs, and compilation appearances, though for some reason, noone ever seemed to pay them much attention. I first heard about them via the Blisscent compilations, and later, their excellent full-length, Synthtastic. The band has since broken up, with several side projects filling the void. One such project is Ceremony, of whom I.ve written before. Another project is A Place To Bury Strangers, featuring Skywave.s former frontman, Oliver Ackermann. The name might conjure up some metalcore or emo act, but A Place To Bury Strangers continues exploring the same, pummelling sonic territory of Skywave while delving even deeper into the darkness. Front and center is Ackermann.s so-painfully-loud-it.s-beautiful guitar, which always sounds this close to exploding from the sheer amount of noise and feedback it.s generating (due, no doubt, to the custom effects pedals Ackermann builds under the name Death By Audio). Buried under the guitar noise is an undercurrent of dark, surging rhythms that bring to mind early Cure circa Faith and Pornography.check out .Ocean. on their MySpace page to hear what I mean.machine gun-like drum programming, and Ockermann.s empty, detached vocals. Taken altogether, these make for a dark, punishing sound to be sure, bringing to mind savage nights in the dark underbelly of some Blade Runner-esque city in the depths of winter. And yet the trio plunges headlong into the frenzy with such reckless abandon, not caring how many lacerations and broken bones they suffer from their battery of sounds, that it.s difficult not to get caught up in the storm right along with them. - Opus

Hailing from New York City, A Place to Bury Strangers are explosively sonic post-punk/shoegaze outfit often deemed "the Loudest Band in NYC." Rather than being loud for the sake of being loud, the band combines the coarse sonic textures of both the shoegaze and no-wave movement with the craft and beauty of dreampop, a delicate yet perfect balance that is far more moving than it is unsettling. The origins of the band trace back to Virginia's Skywave, a similarly styled outfit featuring fuzzed out guitar tones and abrasive drum machines. Guitarist Oliver Ackermann relocated to NYC and took the helm of a A Place to Bury Strangers, expanding on the already jagged soundscapes of Skywave, adding more catchy rhythmic undertones and a more intense approach for this new outfit. Meanwhile, the remaining members of Skywave remained local and formed fellow shoegaze group Ceremony. On record, the band is overdriven and sharp, all instruments pushing into the red with a pseudo-industrial aesthetic, while on stage they are an intensely passionate and pummeling force of fury, a treat for both the eyes and the ears. Oliver is also founder of the Brooklyn-based experimental pedal company, Death By Audio. Many of the band's unique sonic textures are the result of his own audio experimentation and deconstruction of electronics. Needless to say, this band is best experienced at maximum volume. - Systems of Romance

If the modern electro-opulence of The Faint and the stark, attacking wall of sound-scapes of the Jesus & Mary Chain ever made eyes at each other in the dank corners of a smokey club, New York city's A Place To Bury Strangers would be their one night stand love child. The NYC trio have taken cues from JAMC's earlier years of ear-blowing feedback made into warped melodies and the sexy swagger and slither of bass-fueled synths. The lyrics follow suit with the stripped down simplicity of a Buddy Holly song gone wrong with so simple its clever lines like, "I wanna mess you up / I wanna beat you up". - Filter

The image of rock 'n' roll turned inside out: all the ugly viscera spilling out in an excess of anger, ghostly melodies, and crushing noise. - Lucas Schleicher, Brainwashed

Warning to the close minded: this is unlike anything you've ever heard. - Free Indie

Innocent bystanders blinded by flashing lights, ears trickling blood, grown men crying for their mothers, fragile women clutching their heads in a Munchian silent scream? Was this the apocalypse? No, just an early A Place to Bury Strangers show.
While I acknowledged the officially pronounced Loudest Band in NYC moniker quite impressive, I was happy to hear the deeply brooding melodies seep through the wall of fuzz, spread thickly with a belligerently European drone from the miniscule Oliver Ackermann. Ackermann had garnered no small respect on the NYC circuit in his former band Skywave, and was head-hunted by several prominent bands before joining forces with the lankiest man on the Costa del Ludlow, Gregorio. Co-founder and bass player Tim Gregorio, (first band at the age of 10), cut his rock teeth on punk with his band Virus, giving himself a reality check of life on the road. Thank God the little fool came back for more. Tim plays each show like it's his last one, and so comparisons are drawn with finger-shredders that came before him, justifiably so.
APTBS wear occasionally elaborate sleeves on which to show their hearts, and the big beating one that strikes you immediately is their love affair with the Reid brothers. Gregorio is very generous toward other Jesus and Mary Chain acolytes, where others are but mean-spirited, citing volume as a plus. This is a profound can of worms for APTBS with their friends asking if they can sell designer earplugs at their shows, yet the Volume and the Beauty works for Mogwai (this particular attendee screaming "louder!" at all shows) so turn it down to 11 yeah boys? "Don't let the insane amount of distortion come between you and the cover of the NME", wrote one friend. Drummer Jay Space executes his anger management homework on stage, providing the freight train to Ackermann's Luftwaffe drawl and Gregorio's distant roaring Triumph.
Well-loved and respected faces around the circuit in this den of iniquity, APTBS should be, in a fair world, on the same bill as BRMC, Spiritualized and the Warlocks. There is a new breed of bands in NYC, of whom APTBS are a leading exponent. Supportive of their fellow bands, their friends attest to their drive and passion, and generosity of rock'n'roll spirit. - Basia Zamorska, Indie911.