THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
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THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN

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Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Title: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records

Welcome to the new Supercoolnothing feature "underGROUND." Since SCN's inception, we have encouraged independent artists to send us a sample of their work for a little free publicity and hopefully greater exposure to the world at large. Now granted SCN is a little fish in a big pond--but what we lack in readership we make up for in enthusiasm for the genre and a sincere intention to spread the word about deserving artists.

The first band to respond to our challenge was an industrial outfit out of New York called Things Outside The Skin. From them, we received their latest disc dubbed "You Knew It All Along."

Now first of all, I have to say that this CD is absolutely CRAMMED with music, spanning a boggling twenty-two songs. I sincerely doubt another note of music could be squeezed onto this thing. Ten of the songs are remixes, so it is almost like getting a free remix album with your purchase--which is a bit of a nice bonus. (Everyone knows that rivetheads are whores for remix collections anyway, so this will save you some green.)

How does TOTS sound? Well, it turns out that this is kind of a hard question to answer. Musically, it is all over the place--but what else would you expect from a band that names such diverse groups as DEVO, Run DMC and Ministry as influences? It also seems that Skinny Puppy might pop up as a common comparison, primarily due to the extensive experimentalism that goes on from track-to-track. They are plenty of dark electronics, samples and filtered vocals to keep most diehard industrialists happy, but you also have some relatively straightforward guitar/bass/drums elements making themselves known. Heck, even a bit of rapping pops up from time to time! TOTS also eschews Puppy's lyrical ambiguities and presents a fairly direct message with each of their songs. For example, you have American Way's political diatribes, Cow Tippin's pro-vegetarian rant and Another Dead Comedian's commentary on celebrity and insanity. TOTS is not completely serious though--we do have a DEVO and Spice Girls (!!!) cover to round things out. With a name like Things Outside The Skin, you have to expect social commentary is going to be a key ingredient to their songs.

Presentation-wise, the band scores points too. Professionally-done jewel case and minimalistic black n' white artwork suit the vibe of the band. I also appreciate the fact the liner notes contains the lyrics to their songs, because unlike a lot of bands these songs strive to communicate important ideas to the listener--even if they be for the purposes of humor or irony. Personally I'm more drawn to bands like this than ones out to simply glorify rebellious behavior to be cool with the kidz.

As far as production goes, the levels seem to be appropriate for this style of music. The synth work is clear and crisp, and the vocals are prominent enough to be discernible. The only sort of snag one may run into while listening to this CD is perhaps a lack of flow between the songs. I got the sense I was listening to a collection of individual and unconnected singles rather than a cohesive album. For many this won't be a problem, but my personal preference is for an album to have an identity or vibe that continues through every song until the end of the disc. The extensive number of remixes added to the end don't really help with this feeling of discontinuity.

Final judgment: I'm grateful for Chvad SB and his crew for sending us their latest offering to absorb and report back on. Things Outside the Skin are a band that challenges your perceptions and expectations (which is something this webzine strives to do as well!) TOTS may truly be one of the more innovative bands in the genre of industrial, which is plagued with unimaginative sound-alike and copycat bands. If there is one thing you can count on, it is this band never repeating themselves. Some may see this as a weakness, but in the long run I feel it is more aesthetically satisfying to explore the sonic landscape to see what uniqueness can be cultivated. The journey will always be interesting.

If you are interested in checking out Things Outside The Skin, you can listen to a few of their tracks here: http://www.myspace.com/tots

TOTS also has a content-heavy website: http://www.outside-the-skin.com

Finally, if you like what you here, please support the artist and purchase their CD from CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tots - www.supercoolnothing.com


Brooklyn experimental music project THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN are back with a new full length CD that represents a definite evolution and improvement over their previous, more dark, release. "You Knew It All Along" packs together twenty-three tracks of cutting edge aggro-electronica that mixes together experimental vibes, aggressive electronic music, aggro-industrial attitude and mechanical noises all complemented by a refreshing and intelligent political punk attitude. The band reminds me of australians Eye, but if you don't remember them, you might thing of T.O.T.S. as a well mixed cocktail of Skinny Puppy, Pop Will Eat Itself, Consolidated, Godflesh, Sloppy Wrenchbody, Flugschadel, Headcrash, Ministry and other similar bands. All these comparisons are very fitting, for one reason or another, and it's up to you to find out how these influences are mixed together. A good occasion for that, would be their visually-enhanced live shows. If you don't live in NYC, they'll be on tour in November to support the release of this record. Don't miss out.
-Marc 'the MEMORY Man' Urselli-Schaerer - http://www.chaindlk.com


Melodic industrial tinged with hip hop and overall crazy shit is one way to describe the latest t.o.t.s. offering, "You Knew It All Along. One of the more eclectic discs out there today, t.o.t.s. style runs from a more traditional industrial style to hip-hop inspired drums and bass tracks with songs like Town & Country then progressing into darker moody pieces like Horror Culture III: The Victim. Even better than those tracks that you can define are the ones you cant. Like the Phil Hartman tribute "Another Dead Comedian" or the vegan inspired "Cow Tippin'" that defy classification with their indefinable beats and sharp wit. Chvad SB and company may have out done themselves on this one. Well-done boys!
-Sameerah Blue - http://www.ectomag.com/


We knew it all along. How could we ignore it? But what is exactly... that thing? That thing looks like something outside the usual MTV muzak we've fed on the last few years. That thing sounds like a denounciation. That thing acts like a mean machine. That thing, after much consideration... is THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN! What is THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN? An Aggro-Tech ("Industrial" / "Coldwave" for the rest of us) trio from Brooklyn, NY, USA (whose talent makes you wonder why in Hell they aren't signed yet. I guess that asking the question is answering it!) and "You Knew It All Along" is their latest effort. The third one in fact. Still self-produced mind you and what an effort it is! If you didn't know all along that it would surpassed the already hard kicking "God In A Box" (Facility Records, 1999), then you've got a lot of catching up to do. The album opens up with the virulent "American Way". You knew it all along, it's an anti-Bush song. Just imagine Kevorkian Death Cycle with attitude and you should get the idea. The hip-hop inspired vocal technique of Chvad SB is very effective on that song and bites you on the ass with a vengeance. The song has all the potential of becoming a club hit. Now wake up America to the sweet THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN sound. But the vitriol bottle has just been opened up. "American Way" is just one bomb thrown at the american society. "Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy", "Horror Culture III: The Victim", "Cancer Song", "Cow Tippin'" (with its pro-PETA message) are more bullets loaded in the gun. You knew it all along... the styles do differ on each song and I appreciated that. THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN (or just T.O.T.S. for short) shows diversity in their approach and display musicianship. At times, T.O.T.S. might sound like Skinny Puppy, sometimes like Velvet Acid Christ and from time to time like Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) with a social and political conscience. Or maybe it's like The Residents on a killing spree. Or is it a bit like a pissed off Al Jourgensen (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, etc) too... but always original. T.O.T.S. has a sound of its own. A sound not easily pigeonholed. Hats off to that. The fun doesn't stop there. The gun is still smoking with 2 raw covers. One in-your-face from DEVO ("Going Under") and an eerie one from... The Spice Girls ("Spice Up Your Life")!!! Both are excellent by the way. Wait, there's more: 8 kick-ass remixes from more underground bands (from "You Knew It All Along" and "God In The Box") + 3 radio edits ("American Way", "Another Dead Comedian" and "Cow Tippin'"). That's quite a ride for the money. And if that wasn't enough, there's a link to a secret page on the bands website. There you get more remixes and some other goodies. Personally, it's my year's personal favourite from an independant band. The band is tight and the production is nifty. Warning: You might need a few spins before really enjoying the T.O.T.S. wicked sonic mixture. But when you step into Chvad SB's universe, you get yourself addicted. Well, that's my case. I knew that all along. "You Knew It All Along" is objectively a great album. I strongly recommend it. What? Still not convinced? Log on to http://www.outside-the-skin.com/tots/audio/ or http://www.outside-the-skin.com/tots/videos/ . And see/hear what you've been missing all those years. To get your copy (directly from the band): http://www.outside-the-skin.com/tots/totsSHOP/

-Alien - http://www.musickforum.cjb.net/


Today, one of the most interesting newcomers to the circle of electro-industrial music is from the USA, direct from Brooklyn, where you would normally expect to hear rap or hip-hop acts. None the less, this is the home of THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN. The music from TOTS is classic American-Electro and is similar to bands like Ministry and Skinny Puppy. Electronic samples and sounds dominate the sound picture and the music is socially critical and satirical with topics about life situations and social causes. The first song, "American Way", shows you the direction of the album. With the intensity of the song, you need to listen closely to the lyrics to hear the message. Horror Culture, Another Dead Comedian, Cancer Song or even Wormface are all very deep, intense writings and depicts American and European life styles and cultures. Assuredly, TOTS provokes you with "You Knew It All Along" and with Spice Up Your Life the band delivers a totally crazy conversion of the original hit by the Spice Girls, so irately furious but bittersweet that you might lose your appetite. Whoever likes the music of Ministry will surely enjoy TOTS. Fans of this genre will be happily fulfilled. It is nice to see that bands using this music format still exist and that they really have something to say. Top tracks: The Most Appealing Thing, Cow Tippin, Going Under, Cancer Song. Summary: A STRONG ALBUM! (translation by Emma Olson and Marjorie Wood) - http://www.darkheartmagazin.de/


REVIEW: Things Outside the Skin - "You Knew it All Along" by Marcus Pan Things Outside the Skin push out their 3rd full length with You Knew It All Along (Facility Records). A November 2005 tour is planned. Based in Brooklyn, the threesome of Chvad SB (vox/synths/guitar), Blight (bass) and Tim Durland (drums) can be found shredding NYC clubs fairly often. At first listen, You Knew it All Along seemed lopsided when taken as a whole, with strange workings, fluffy high melodies at times and funky covers - but after a few spins it's apparent that Things Outside the Skin aren't your typical outfit. At first the opening track American Way immediately reminded me of Quite a Dilemma era Bunker Soldier only a bit more serious. With a rap-centric style, heavily vox-laced, and groovy accompniaments American Way is a refreshing piece of songwriting with everything from the well layed out tracking to the spit-style metal-dirged vocals laced with contempt and more than a bit of "I've had enough" attitude. Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy however takes things into a heavier industrial deepness. One of the best things about their work is the lyrical content - splittingly angry and blindingly dark, the lyrics alone are worth the price of admission. With such rants as Cow Tippin' to the government blasting of American Way, this is one of those CDs where you want to read the jacket along with the music. Vocal style is SMP-like , but muted with a more underground feel. Everything from government to commercialism is discussed - or railed at - throughout You Knew it All Along. Lyrics take you to twisted and enjoyable directions as well such as in The Most Appealing Thing ("It appeals to me but can't reveal to me") or So Emotional Tao ("Music is Amotional"). It's a long album as well - 22 tracks long. I'd consider less than half as full song offerings, the rest being strange covers (Spice Up Your Life, Going Under), radio edits of previous tracks and remixes by such acts as Headache, Flood Damage and The Gothsicles among others. The Going Under track is a dreamy modernistic take on Devo. Things Outside the Skin's You Knew it All Along is strange but surprising, mixing up drum 'n bass thythms, Devo-esque lyrics, industrial melodies and a healthy dose of spite. Some of the better lyrics I've read in a while, as good as favorites like Lucid Dimentia or Noxious Emotion , and while the album doesn't profess anything extraoridinarily new it certainly takes the best of what's already been there to create something refreshingly unique.

-Marcus Pan - www.legendsmagazine.net - http://www.legendsmagazine.net


You Knew It All Along, Things Outside the Skin's third album on Facility Records, is essentially a relatively short 11-song album ballooned out to 70 minutes with 8 remixes (a few being remixed tracks from previous albums), 3 radio edits, and a *cough* 1-minute bonus track. Hints of Skinny Puppy, Ministry, NIN, old My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and Rob Zombie among others permeate the band's stylistically diverse sound, blending strong industrial percussion, noise, and more coherent synth and guitar work with vocals that range from the rap industrial variety to the more traditional distorted industrial brand. Lyrically, it's certainly far from understated, from the anti-Bush/anti-war theme of "American Way" to the vegetarian anthem "Cow Tippin'" to "Another Dead Comedian", peculiarly choosing the murder of Phil Hartman as its subject matter. In other words, those with thin skin or strong rightwing leanings most likely need not apply. Two of the tracks here are covers: an unexpectedly straight-faced, plodding, moody take on the Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" and an electronic-percussion-heavy industrial interpretation of Devo's "Going Under". The opening anti-Bush "American Way" is one of the strongest tracks here, steady, NIN-esque industrial percussion and underlying electronic loops providing the backing for a bass-driven semi-rapped, semi-snarled, relatively blunt delivery. "Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy" is fairly short, barely exceeding 2 minutes, a well assembled, angst-ridden cacophony of industrial guitar riffing, distorted vocals, horror film synths, and thumping percussion. "The Most Appealing Thing" is a slower track, crazed spoken ranting filtered through distortion atop a sinister electronic foundation, while "Cow Tippin'" is a nicely rhythmic, bass driven offering with hip-hop undertones. "So Emotional Tao" is a one-minute foray into faster industrial electronica territory, while "Another Dead Comedian" is something of a catchy industrial swing track with a lovely mellow interlude featuring female vocals and a chaotic finale. The instrumental "Town & Country" builds to a dance industrial frenzy, while the following "Horror Culture III: The Victim" certainly stands out form the crowd if just for its notably atmospheric delivery, blending lush synths and wobbly vocals atop layered electronic percussion. "Cancer Song", the last of the disc's original tracks before delving into remix territory, is a fairly solid 3-minute instrumental overlaid with spoken word samples about cancer treatment. Of the disc's numerous remixes, "Spice Up Your Life: Slice Up Your Wife Mix" and "Cow Tippin': Cold and Cowculated Mix" are certainly the most interestingly titled, the former turning the original cover a shade darker and the latter a steady up-tempo dance remix. The others range from the noisier "Another Dead Comedian: CliffMonk-A Remix" to the slightly eerie "God in a Box: hERESY Mix". Overall, the remixes are rather good and remarkably sonically consistent with the rest of the album, creating a cohesive listening experience rather than feeling tacked on (save for the repeated radio edits, which are likely to appeal only to DJs, completists, and those offended by the originals' unedited lyrics). As a whole, You Knew It All Along is an interesting hybrid release, sort of half original album and half remix album. Its use of rapped vocals and often less-than-eloquent lyrical phrasing may be a turn-off to some. However, despite being a bit rough around the edges, it's a fairly sonically interesting and stylistically diverse industrial album with unique production and a few interesting covers.

-Joshua Heinrich - http://www.graveconcernsezine.com/


Now here’s something a bit different. Take a smidge of lo-fi new-wave, add a good dose of satirical, biting humour reminiscent of Frank Zappa (just listen to “Cow Tippin’” to hear what I mean), and put it into a mixer where anything can happen. Then let the inventive minds of Chvad SB, Blight Productions, and brilliantly-named drummer The 1-2-3-4 loose on it, and if you can get your heads around that little lot, then you’ll have some idea of what Things Outside the Skin are about. It’s a mix that the band refer to as “agit pop.” While it is an unpredictable listen (in the best possible way, of course), it’s never over-indulgent, although some of the remixes do push their luck a bit, proving that original is always best. There’s a sense of discipline throughout which prevents the album from becoming experimental or just plain dull. Picking out highlights is no easy task, although the opening duo of “American Way” and “Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy” both demonstrate the trio’s knack for blending the adventurous with the easily accessible with gritty guitars, and some excellent bass in the case of the former, making for a late ‘70s feel. The freeform angry ranting vocals that provide an effective counterpoint to the slow-moving soundscape of “The Most Appealing Thing” are another standout point, giving this otherwise moody track an injection of energy and adrenaline. There are a couple of covers too. While I can see where they’re coming from with the Devo influence, covering “Going Under,” the last thing I expected to hear was a Spice Girls cover, but here it is; “Spice Up Your Life” getting the TOtS treatment, transformed beyond recognition into an atmospheric electronica outing, with additional vocals from Animary. Also, I love the sick subtitle of the remix; pity they didn’t rewrite the lyrics and release it under that title! This is what the band are all about, unleashing one surprise after another, but showing good musicianship in the process. To get the most out of this you’ll need to put yourself in the same open frame of mind as the band must have been in when they recorded it. So if you can drop your preconceptions and embrace an album that is most likely unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, then You Knew It All Along may be just what you’re looking for.

-carlj - http://www.regenmag.com/


"You Knew It All Along", the third album from the Things Outside The Skin (TOTS from now on) trio can be described as fun. "Getting piss drunk after a b-movie and doing 90mph while DUI to the nearest strip-bar where you waste away until the sun shines" fun. It's ugly, offensive, aggro industrial hip-hop with a punk edge for good measure. While occasionally dumber than even Mindless Self Indulgense in their lyrics, even in a most amusing fashion, TOTS deliver with a gritty and noisy style that will certainly earn them a loyal fanbase in their homeland, dealing with an assortment of subjects ranging from the good old American Way of thinking, to processed cow meat, to homicide of comedians and whatnot. Typical US fare, I presume.. The music is mostly plain, yet effective, the synths and bass giving a nice deep sound that accompanies the lyrics well, providing a decently dark and heavy sound. The best example might very well be their cover of Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" which never must've sounded creepier (and thus better). The addition of 8 remixes and 3 radio edits may initially look like filler to reach the admittedly long playing time of 70 minutes, but most are worth a listen, specially the Hypoid ones which could rather easily be taken on any dance floor.

-FiXXXer667 - http://www.connexionbizarre.net/


Discography

2008 - "The Return of the Wetlands", Invisible Records
2005 - "You Knew It All Along", Invisible Records
2003 - "You Knew It All Along", EP, Facility Records
1999 - "God in a Box", Invisible Records

Compilations/Soundtracks/Other:

2007 - "Clown Carol", original score
2007 - "Negative Impact Vol. 2", Pitchfork Productions
2007 - "Marathon", original score
2007 - "The Sexes"
2006 - "The Pod", original music
2006 - "Lovecracked The Movie", original score
2006 - "Negative Impact Vol. 1", Pitchfork Productions
2005 - "Fully Automated -The hEADaCHE re:mixes", Uncoiled Loops
2005 - "Sylvia's Baklava", original score
2003 - "UV Refractions", BLC Productions
2003 - "Interbreeding II:Industrial Mutation", BLC Productions
2003 - "The War Against The Teeny-Boppers!", Invin-Kor
2003 - "Unto Ashes "Empty Into White"", Projekt Records
2003 - "Doggie Tales", , original score
2002 - "CitizenToxie:TheToxic Avenger IV", TROMA Records
2002 - "Diverje: "2:40 AM"", DSBP Records
2002 - "Notes From Thee Real Undergound Vol. III", Invisible Records
2002 - "Teen Feeding Frenzy!", Go-Kustom Records
2001 - "SpudSuckers! A Tribute To DEVO", Facility Records
2001 - "Delicate Furies", InstrumenTales Records
2000 - "F.E.S.T.E.R.: A Tribute To The Residents", Facility Records

Photos

Bio

THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN will have a strong appeal to fans of Ministry, Pigface, Mindless Self Indulgence, SMP, DEVO, Michael Patton, Skinny Puppy, Combichrist, Slip Knot, Korn, Snog and Godflesh. Their last release, the highly praised "You Knew It All Along" has garnished enough attention to catch the eye of Invisible Records label owner Martin Atkins leading to THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN signing with Invisible Records, the home of legendary acts such as Pigface, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Attrition, Bile, Sheep on Drugs and many many more. T.O.T.S. live performances are second to none. They've pounded stages across the US with nothing but a growing fanbase left behind. The live show is largely characterized by their extremely energetic performances, strongly integrated lighting and visual presentations along with bizarre circus and sideshow antics.

Reviews:
"A Must Buy"
-Gothic Beauty Magazine

"Their industrial-punk attitude and gruff mix of electronics and guitars provides a noisy and high spirited experience."
-Octavia, Outburn Magazine

"So offensive that I contemplated piercing my eardrums with a ball-point pen."
-Industrial Nation

"The only fitting musical comparison is Skinny Puppy on crack."
-Illinois Entertainer

MORE INFORMATION:
For videos, more music, printable hi-rez graphics and a downloadable one sheet go to:
http://www.outside-the-skin.com/tots/promotional

You can also check us out at the following sites:
http://www.outside-the-skin.com
http://www.myspace.com/tots
http://www.youtube.com/t0t5