Total Shutdown / Boxleitner Reviews

Heartattack #30 (June 2001)
Total Shutdown: Maybe the way I feel about this is the way people felt when they first stumbled into the Cabaret Voltaire and heard a dadaistic sound poem; confusion, dread, anger, disinterest. Maybe I lack the artistic sensibilities that would help me to enjoy this kind of racket. Maybe, like so many people with Dada almost a century ago, I just don't get it. It's all just really badly recorded, discordant noise, which - in my opinion --- is neither worth my time, nor my money, nor my interest. It's very obvious that I don't get the joke. Actually, I'm glad I don't. But maybe these bands are just ahead of their times: I certainly do "get" Dada now, so maybe a century from now, I'd be able to "get" Total Shutdown. Who Knows. Boxleitner: more of the same. But if you're one of those folks who like (or pretends to like) The Locust, then this is right up your alley. MH (Marianne Hofstetter)

Wire Magazine, January 2002
Size Matters - 3", 7", 10" and other misshapes
Total Shutdown are a part of the new herd of young groups informed by the discordant flare of no wave. On their split singel with Boxleitner, Poems For Top Gun/Oreo/Swine Flu/Hot (Thin The Herd ZUM013 7"), they combine this perceptive ugh with a brand of destructo power nearly worthy of The Germs or early Boredoms. It's really a pretty ripe combination. Boxleitner have more apparent allegiance to the mainstream of punk thought, but they also sound as unhinged as any other practicing young American. And these days that's a statement of decency.

--Byron Coley

San Francisco Bay Guardian
Written by Mike McGuirk
Total Shutdown
Feb. 22, Kimo's

A year and a half ago I did not enjoy Total Shutdown's sets. This was when they were on just about every bill worth going to so I saw them plenty more than I wanted to see them. Then one night they played Cafe du Nord, and something had changed. Maybe it was them, maybe it was me, I don't know, but that night was the first time I heard the balls-out noise-rock-jazz-metal-whatever-the-fuck big-punch delivery they've been laying down, and I started to ease up a little on my apathetic feelings toward the band. Now it's more than a year later, and they're still hitting their stride; their momentum continues to build, everything they do is an event, and let's face it Š this is a wicked mint thing to witness. These days their songs have a crushing power; they're playing with a confidence and ease that wasn't there before. I don't want to get all New Agey on them but: I think these guys have found themselves! Friday night's set was a brief, pugilistic dance around the maypole, made complete by the utter mayhem that's always been a part of Total Shutdown's particular thing. Going absolutely apeshit is one of the finer points of the band's credo, and the past few shows have been goddamn crazy nuts. Between guitar player Paul Costuros, singer Bob Linder, and bassist-ape grunt vocalist Nate Denver, there was so much audience-charging that I expected the drummer to pick up his set and try to take a few people out himself. Denver is a big guy, and seeing him crowd-surf with one of those giant Fender basses swinging around just begging to take a divot out of some unlucky sap's forehead is a friggin' thrill, I'm not kidding. The high point of their set for me lately has been this song called "Five," a two-minute-long burst injected into a scree-scraw-ing attack Š there's a punctuated bass riff that sounds more like a nail gun on repeat, with a reactive, full-band crash following just behind. The guitar and sax go this way, then the rhythm section goes that way, creating this confusing dance groove, and the effect on the listener is at first disorientation and then surprise and then an uncontrollable urge to scream at the top of your lungs. Friday night's version was no exception; they nailed it like they nail everything lately, and it made me deliriously happy to hear it. Total Shutdown are playing a type of music heard nowhere else. The only band they come close to are the earliest incarnations of the Flying Luttenbackers, back when Weasel Walter first appeared touring with a five- or six-piece unit and playing the dive-bomber jazz metal that freaked everybody out. Total Shutdown are even more insane than those early Luttenbacker formations were Š somebody described them as Anal Cunt with saxophones, which says it all if you ask me. Is there any other band worth being compared to besides Anal Cunt? Hell no, Anal Cunt rules. Anyway, between that night at du Nord so long ago and the Friday-night gig, Total Shutdown have slowly but surely assumed a spot as my most favorite band in the city. Their shows are becoming legendary Š a week ago they hammered down their rep as sexiest band in the world by releasing a debut 12-inch that is without a doubt the best record ever printed on vinyl and sold to the general public! I wish I could explain why Reflections is the best record ever, but in case you hadn't noticed, this is a live review of their set at Kimo's on Friday night and not a record review, so that's all I'm going to say about it. You might care to purchase one for yourself or perhaps for a loved one. (Mike McGuirk)

From Life is Abuse dot com January 2002
"Splattery jazz-core without macho attitude. Horns and a broken Casio poking up everywhere out of a bass/guit/drums whirlwind. Screaming, oh yes, there is screaming. There is room to throw a rock and sometimes a boulder through the mix. Not a wall of noise- it gets sparse. Songs, definite songs, but played so ferociously that you may think itÕs improv. Awesome moves from all members. Usually things are broken. Band members and audience members alike hit the deck. All in all, terrible fun. I will not compare to other bands. Your turn!" -Dave Broekema.
Yep the TO TALSH UTDO WN disc is looking to see a March release date if all goes as planned. Indeed spastic, maniacal, what some would refer to as "rainbow violence cocaine jazz" inspired by Judy Blume and the ill's of modern culture.

During the past couple of years, while attending concerts and classes and reading interviews and reviews of records and performances and attempting to find some sort of connection with what IÕve come to know as society, it has become apparent to me that hardly anybody--student, press, or audience, understands TOTAL SHUTDOWN. Irresponsible naysayers often refer to the sounds as Ņburps, gargles, tirades, purposeless, diseased, naked, unfortunate, and other sorts of doo-dahs,Ó not understanding, perhaps, the love and reason that went into each TOTAL note. However, theirs is a brand of mixture so finely stirred, no sieve could separate itÕs intrinsic parts one from the other. Bright and dark blend homogenously. Contrary to popular rumor, itÕs really totally unlike building a database at work, plugging numbers and suffering sore eyes. Far from it and the faux-success of its association! In fact, more like a melted sofa in the arson of Andre RisonÕs mansion, their ash settles in the lungs for years to come. TOTAL SHUTDOWN are the livening death sounds youÕve come to expect from Thin The Herd Records, and will no doubt hear more of within the ensuing FULLBODYCAST series, of which Reflections is the first of six consecutive degrees of burn. --Joe DeNardo, stout observer.

TTH10 - TOTAL SHUTDOWN - "Reflections" 1-sided silkscreened LP of raging neuron misfire, and the first degree burn in our latrocious new FULLBODYCAST series. The sound of a library and a museum of technology colliding two feet above your head. --Zack Spinal cord hurts! Strings break and machines howl! Gory beats! San Francisco headache scientists continue their research. A band disliked by no one good! ---Zack

french zine STNT !
(translation may not be 100% acurate considering I used a program that instantly translates languages, but I think it adds to the review)
There was K records with Olympia, it will thus be necessary now to count on THIN THE HERD RECORDS... this 7" is in fact Split live of two American groups whose principal common characteristic is to play like bargeots in the purest vein SKIN GRAFT & CO: Between noise NO WAVE + piano with the cecil TAYLOR (!!!) for TOTAL SHUTDOWN and Noise way ARAB ONE RADAR for BOXLEITNER. It will be necessary to pay attention to the next outputs of these groups because even if the sound of this disc is somewhat rotted (and even more than that!), the same does not apply for from there completely burst structures of the pieces of the two groups! A vinyl any white for a good black night in concert devastator! To follow!
Label: Zum
Total Shutdown and Boxleitner have joined forces for zum's latest 7" (zum013), a co-release with our Olympia buddies Thin the Herd (The Lowdown, Enemymine, Vaz, Black Man White Man Dead Man) on glorious white vinyl. Decadent. Total Shutdown feature former members of Fisticuffs Bluff and current members of Ee. The chaotic mutterings of Bob Linder and Nate Denver are augmented live by horns, drum kit mutilation, keyboard bashing and audience shelter-seeking. This is their first wax, though they have releases planned for Sound on Sound and Thin the Herd, as well as an appearance on the upcoming Troubleman compilation. Boxleitner (barely) contains members of Megaweapon, Chync, Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, and the Petticoats. Boxleitner have been described as "motivational speaker core," "mediocore," and "Caverom." They will break up before you "get it."
Title: Split
Format: 7"
***The debut release for both of these highly energetic young bands. BOXLEITNER switch on the "unload" button and go total apeshit in a drum and guitar noise orgy, while TOTAL SHUTDOWN get hysterical with a combination of free jazz, grindcore and performance art hoot. Both band's enjoy breaking their instruments as well as their bodies, and are a welcome addition to the underground family.
Total Shutdown - removing hair and skin at 132 minutes per hour. 4 men that don't know when to say anything in a known language. Comparable to your favorite band. Boxleitner - come descant the insalubrious with this dilapidating duodendum of degenerative indulgence. George (Zum Records co-founder) and Gabriel play a mixture of sound and noise that will have you standing, sitting or lying down in no time flat!
Total Shutdown/Boxleitner / Split / Zum/Thin the Herd (7")
This one's recommended for lovers of art/noise punk bands like The Locust and Arab on Radar. If you're looking for things like harmonies, pop-song structure and lyrics you can sing along with, you should probably go hide in a closet until this is over. Of the two groups, Total Shutdown probably does more damage with their single track, "Top Gun". The band attacks in a blur of pummelling guitars, unintelligible vocal hollering and out-of-tune piano bludgeoning, then withdraws just as quickly to muster their next assault. Finally, in a sustained burst of noise, they bring the piece to a truly punishing end. Boxleitner, meanwhile, present three shorter tracks. "Oero" is tighter-knit noise, and "Hot" adds the slightest bit of wry wit, while "Swine Flu", which sits between them, pursues the same abrupt "take no prisoners" approach as "Top Gun". This is the debut release for both bands, and both acquit themselves as well as their challenging genre will allow. Oh, and it's on white vinyl, which should seal the deal for most of you. - gz
TOTAL SHUTDOWN / BOXLEITNER split 45 (Thin the Herd)
Feral hardcore noise heavy on the noise and heavy on the heavy. Atonal magical screech beating, with what sounds like a piano too.
t bands from northwest-USA (incl. some ex-members of FISCUFFS BLUFF) with aggressive and chaotic art-noise- punk,omewhere in between LOCUST, BLACD DICE and ARAB ON RADA.. limited edition on white vinyl & and with a full-colosleeve!
TOTAL SHUTDOWN/BOXLEITNER Split-EP on THIN THE HERD!....................7" 10.-
debut for bh bands, TOTAL SHUTDOWN features ex-members of FISTICUFFS BLUFF, hammerg out art-noise-core that will appeal to fans of ARAB ON RADAR and the LUST! BOXLEITNER is an equally outrageous & nondescrib- able noise-perfornce... proving again that THIN THE HERD has become one of the most innative & outstanding labels in a short period! full- color sleeve and presd in a limited edition on white vinyl!
BOXLEITNER / TOTAL SHUTDOWN Split 7" (Zum / Thin the Herd) 7" 2.98
Pressed on white vinyl in an edition of 500. Two Bay Area bands duke it out for the title of aggro art rock poseur. Split release on our friendly friends at Zum and OlyWA's Thin the Herd.
Total Shutdown/Boxleitner Zum EP 10.00
total shutdown sound like the bastard child of lightning bolt, the locust, arab on radar and deerhoof while boxleitner on the flipside draw comparisons to the swans, harry pussy and captain beefheart all at once.

Total Shutdown: "Looks like Weezer...sounds like an AA meeting in the 9th Circle of Hell" --???

Issue 3.2 page 86
seven-inch reviews by Wally Filter
4 prongs
Total Shutdown/Boxleitner "Top Gun"/"Oero," "Swine Flue," "Hot" (Zum/Thin the Herd)
TOtal Shutdown start off this madness with three (three!) live versions of their song "Top Gun" recorded at Kimo's, a San Francisco club located on lovely Polk Street. Brutal, spastic and completely awesome, every version rocks with that microphone-in-the-monitor kind of feedback jolt that just warms the heart. Boxleitner clean things up a little but still find time to destroy half of a single with the kind of stuff that would kill granddad in about three seconds. Stupid in a smart way. What more do you need to know?
Boxleitner / Total Shutdown
Squeeky Rating - 8
Split 7"
Zum/Thin The Herd
My my, we're talking a crzy insane little record here by these two Bay Area artsy, thrashy, psychotic bands. Total Shutdown play one very long song "Poems for Top Gun" recorded live at Kimo's in San Francisco. It's performed i three acts like a play almost, twice tricking you (and the audience clapping on the record) into thinkingit's over and then it bursts into another conniption fit blast. The music is completely out of control: the bassist growls death metal style while the main singer sounds like he's shouting through a megaphone. The keyboardist smashes through the keys in quick explosions, and the drummer is a total spazz (and according to the press sheet, an award-winning jazz drummer.) All of these freaks come together in a delightful cacophony of noise and energy that can only be caught with the spontaneity of a live performance. Boxleitner impressed me instantly when I saw them perform in Olympia back in August on their short West Coast tour. when they played, there was only two members and the guitarist was having some difficulty playing while in a strait jacket. This recording is a good time of arty hardcore terror with four members, including zinesters George from Zum on drums and Ceci of Suburbia on bass. The music is a refreshing take on the style as these are kids more known for their pop affiliations, giving the music a playful brilliance. I totally love this messy record.
BOXLEITNER/TOTAL SHUTDOWN split 7" (zum/thin the herd)
the Boxleitner side is pretty lo fi recorded , sometimes even live. They play fast jerky loose hardcore screamo' like the kids love. They've got catchy hooks and lots of distortion noise and chords. Pretty good stuff. Total Shutdown side sounds recorded with the same sound system, the live thing. Their stuff is way more loud and noisey and screamy and , well....chaotic. Both bands aren't bad at all, but don't really present anything interesting. This 7" seems like it would be to go to a show with both bands playing. I'd probably would hope their sets were like 10 minutes long cuz it would get old real quick. (JK)
Total Shutdown/Boxleitner 7Ó (Thin the Herd/Zum)
Total ShutdownÕs Hardcore sporadic nerve jolting noises and screams. Crashing pianos, distorted bursts, hints of saxophone, and harmonica even. They put out a demo cd with some nice songs on it, but this 7ÓÕs has got 3 versions of the same title songÉ IÕm not sure why. Wow, maybe I shouldnÕt be saying that. I should know these things. Maybe weÕll find out. How about an interview? BoxleitnerÕs got some rolling noise and snippets of shrill screams, broken down drum samples tweetering toward some solid avant garde hardcore. Both: intense sounds kick the head in fer sure. Both from Bay Area.

Total Shutdown Boxleitner review, Maximum Rock and Roll
June 2001 by Tom Hopkins.
Is it ok to say that TOTAL SHUTDOWN bored the shit out of me live, playing too long with over baked Spiv freakouts? Tell me what you think after listening to the three live live takes of the same song on the Zum and Thin the Herd split with BOXLEITNER. The song has growling muppet-core for 15 seconds to jangly guitar tweak (UOA) and back and forth and back and forth. BOXLEITNER=hand claps, shrieky dual vocals, garage sale electronics, and steady drumming. Don' worry, Zum put out a great CD by INTIMA and the VAZ LP on Thin The Herd floored me.

To purchase the Total Shutdown / Boxleitner Split 7"
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