Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Album Review

Top 20 Metal Records Of 2016

I did it! I made another list. I didn’t think it would happen, but it happened. No more lists, though. This is the last one for 2016.

Lots of black metal this year. And I mean lots. But it’s all A+ Amazing. I didn’t hear too much doom (or rather too much premium doom) this year, but, again the doom that was good was really fucking good. There’s tons of weird shit in here that pushes the limits of metal that you should come to expect from my metal lists. Also, I gotta say I’m surprised at the amount of color found on these album covers. 10 of them feature full multi-colored artwork and even more toss in some non-greyscale-but-still-monochromatic flair.

I did something that some of you may find treasonous. I have 2 records tied for first place. So, technically, this is a Top 21 list, but whatever. I spent way too long (like, weeks, maybe even months?) trying to decide which of the two I loved more and just couldn’t settle on one answer for more than a few days. And when I was putting this post together I realized “fuck it, there’s no reason I need to choose one over the other” and thus the Tied For Number 1 spot was born. I’m happy about it and you should be too.

As usual, I try to keep the big names/labels off the list because I’m definitely not a metal blog and I’m sure you all know that The Body, Ash Borer, SubRosa, Cough, ColdWorld, and Primitive Man put out truly outstanding records this year. You don’t need another site to tell you how good they are.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Album Review

Top 30 Drone Records Of 2016

I did it! I made a list. I didn’t think it would happen being a new dad and all, but it happened. I’m going to try to make a Top Metal list too, but no promises.

At 30 entries, this is the longest Top Drone list I’ve made. But I’ve been eschewing reviews lately and focusing on AGB Radio and A Thick Mist, so I figure 30 is acceptable if you count how many records I’ve directly recommended over the past year.

I seem to continually expand my definition of what a Drone Record is, which means there’s probably a few on here that are stretching the confines of that label, but I still did my best to try to keep it as Drone as possible.

There’s plenty of reoccurring themes in here. Namely, lots of voices/singing (11 have vocals present at least somewhere on the record) and lots of organs & harmoniums. Neither of those are all that surprising, though. But there’s two solo records from drummers, so that’s kinda cool. There’s also two heavily inspired by traditional Indian music, also kinda cool.

I had fun with this one. I changed a few things up this year. First, I decided to exclude any artist that’s been on any previous list. This meant no Saåad, Roly Porter, Andrew Weathers, Sarah Davachi, Mamiffer, Ian William Craig, Danny Paul Grody, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, etc. (Seriously though go listen to the new Saåad and Mamiffer records.) No one likes to see the same people on such a niche list over and over again, so this was a good way to keep things new and exciting.

The other thing I decided to do was not rank this in the traditional way. Instead, I put the records in positions 7-30 into four groups of six, and the records within each group aren’t ranked. So that means the records in group 7-12 aren’t ranked, aside from me liking them more than the previous 13-30 drone records. I did this except for the top 6, which are ranked traditionally. I hope it’s not too confusing.

As usual, I try to keep the Big Droners off this list because anyone who’s a fan of drone probably already knows that Eluvium and Tim Hecker put out records this year and while their music is A+ Amazing, they don’t really need a little DIY blog to help them out.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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CONTEST WINNER: Troller’s Graphic

troller logo
 

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of Troller’s newest record, Graphic. Some really good ones, but Laura Ruth here fuckin nailed it. Check her haiku below, then head over to Troller’s Bandcamp or the Holodeck shop to snag a copy before they’re gone.
 

Love to pretend you’re
Ophelia in that painting:
Floating, mouth agape.

CONTEST: Win Troller’s Graphic

troller giveaway
 

It’s quite unfortunate that Troller gets tagged as “darkwave” because so many people immediately right off that genre as a whole, or anything -wavey, or even anything remotely derivative. It’s unfortunate because they’re so far from darkwave it’s almost (but not quite) not even worth mentioning. I’m not sure if you remember my review of their self-titled debut from a few years ago, it was quite hyperbolic (surprise!) but it was also 100% true, I fucking love that record so much, still, and can’t get enough of it. Graphic is just as good, if not better, it’s a little less “graveyard hallucination pop” and a little more dreamy goth pop (there’s a difference, I swear), the vocals just as dramatic but a little less angelic, the melodies a little more overt, the ambient interludes a little more developed, and the gloom a little more gloomy, it’s so dark and so heavenly, I just want to fucking die every time I listen to it, thanks mostly to Amber Star-Goers’ majestically heart-melting vocals, but also that hellishly deep bass thrum, it fucking. kills. me.

All in all, it’s currently sitting in the #2 spot of my favorite non-drone, non-metal records of the year. And I want to give you a vinyl copy for free. If you need more convincing at how utterly fucking amazing Troller is, go stream Graphic, then come back and enter this contest.

All you have to do is write a haiku about trolls, goths, graveyards, BDSM, anti-darkwave, angels, etc, and send it to graphichaiku [at] antigravitybunny [dot] com before the end of Sunday, August 28th.

CONTEST WINNER: Terence Hannum’s Beneath The Remains

anathematalogo
 

There were some excellent entries to last week’s Beneath The Remains contest, but only one victor. The winning haiku by Laura Ruth Beattie is below. To everyone else besides the author: head over to Anathemata Editions and snag a copy of one of the best books you’ll read all year. It’s a steal at $10 even more so because it includes a digital download with the physical copy.

 

Neon headphones peek
Through the waxy iris bed:
World will let her be.

CONTEST: Win Terence Hannum’s Beneath The Remains

beneath the remains

 

AGB is venturing into new territory here you guys. Well, sort of, or maybe getting back to my roots depending on how far back you look into AGB’s history. This giveaway is for a copy of Terence Hannum’s debut novella, Beneath The Remains. You should all know Hannum already: his solo music is unfuckwithable and he’s a member of the legendary Locrian as well as The Holy Circle. He’s also an incredible visual artist who works primarily with cassette tape as a 2D medium. For real this guy is like #1 jack of all trades, master of all of them.

I just finished reading this book last week. I have, like, negative time for reading, but this was good enough (and short enough, roughly 75 pages) that I blasted through it in just a few days. It’s so fucking good. The short synopsis is two young brothers are forced to move to Florida with their mom and new step-dad. The older brother, who hates almost everything except death metal and literature, goes missing. This is teeming with 80s/90s youth culture living alongside the depths of human malice and strangeness. I loved it and I’m pretty sure you will too.

The book is published by Hannum’s newly minted Anathemata Editions and the winner will receive a PDF of the book as well as a physical copy. All of you have to do is write a haiku about your childhood, Florida, death metal, evil, Shakespeare, or whatever, and send it to beneaththehaiku [at] antigravitybunny [dot] com by the end of the week (Friday, June 10th).

CONTEST WINNER: Jon Mueller’s Tongues

rhythmplex

 

Thanks so much to all who entered the haiku contest for Jon Mueller’s insane new solo record, Tongues. The haiku magnificence by winner Taylor McKenzie is below.

 
Partly parting waves
Thunder crashes; speaking tongues
Stone ‘n’ brush flail to say
 

The rest of yous should head over to Rhythmplex stat and snag a copy of the record before it disappears.

CONTEST: Win Jon Mueller’s Tongues

Jon Mueller - Tongues
 

Jon Mueller’s music is un-fucking-real. Most recently, he headed up the Death Blues project, which celebrated Life and the present. He’s worked with all your favorites (James Plotkin, Asmus Tietchens, Z’ev, Duane Pitre, Rhys Chatham…) and was/is in Volcano Choir, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and Pele. And he’s just the coolest fucking drummer. His newest self-released record (well, released by Rhythmplex) takes his hypno-drumming to the next level, with 2 side-long pieces of ritualistic Truth seeking transcendence that combines densely layered droning vocal chants and relentless percussion, music that can’t possibly be contained by time or place, let alone genre, it’s the sound of everyone you’ve ever met gathering together in an attempt to understand their existence.

So, this is another haiku contest. You write a haiku inspired by the record, drumming, speaking in tongues, truth, transcendence, life, etc, and you send it to drummingintongues |at| antigravitybunny |dot| com by the end of the weekend (Sunday, May 22). The winning haiku will be revealed next week.

Watch a video here, buy it here, and catch up on Mueller’s back catalog here.

CONTEST WINNER: Braeyden Jae’s Fog Mirror

whited sepulchre records
 
Some amazing haikus by you guys, seriously, so many good ones, thanks for all who entered the contest. Only one winner, though, obviously, and the prize goes to Clem McCulloch. Check out this beauty:
 

through this thick blanket
a vast shadow comes to light,
the void manifests

 
And the rest of yall should go buy a copy from the fresh-faced Whited Sepulchre Records, or Braeyden Jae himself, because Fog Mirror fuckin rules.

CONTEST: Win Braeyden Jae’s Fog Mirror

braeyden jae - fog mirror giveaway
 
You need this. And you can have this. SLC’s Braeyden Jae has been doing his thing for at least as long as AGB has been around, if not longer, and if you’ve been following this site for a while, hopefully you’d recognize his name (Braden J. McKenna) or any of his numerous alias/groups (WYLD WYZRDZ, Navigator, Weighted Pines, Mario Kart, Sleepover…), but regardless of your familiarity with this musical prodigy, this is what you need to know:

Fog Mirror is Braeyden Jae’s debut vinyl outing, and it’s the first release on the newly minted Whited Sepulchre Records (set up by Tome To The Weather Machine’s Ryan Hall, who also runs that charity label Heligator that I just highlighted on AGB Radio) and holy mother of god is it amazing, definitely a Drone Of The Year contender, Braeyden doing everything he can to win me over, stellar misty ambience with lulled piano and warm subtle washes of bliss, gauzy guitars reeling in the clouds, muted static numbing your thoughts, a low volume noise that gives you nothing but the most peaceful embrace, absolutely fucking beautiful.

So winning this is easy, just like the last contest, I want you to write a haiku inspired by fog, or wizards, or Mario Kart, or sepulchres, or whatever, you get the idea, something sorta related to this. You write that haiku, and you email it to foghaiku[at]antigravitybunny[dot]com easy peasy. Submissions will be taken until the end of Sunday, May 1.

You can stream the whole thing on Bandcamp, and if you don’t win, I highly suggest picking up a copy anyway because like I said this is fucking perfect.

CONTEST WINNER: Gates’ Palace Of Mirrors

gates logo
 

Got lots of great submissions (thank you!!) to win a vinyl copy of Palace Of Mirrors by Gates, but only one hit it out of the park. Revel in Bronson Wistuk’s haiku winning prowess.

 

Tundra caving in
No fire, no light, smoke billows
Windows kept open

 

There was another that definitely deserves runner-up status, which is Christian Molenaar’s that follows the 5-7-5 pattern in both English and Japanese, which I kind of just have to take his word on, but whatever, it’s also just a fucking great haiku.

Japanese:
最終しぐれ (Saishū shigure)
冬の雨, 不老 (Fuyu no ame, furō)
バニー土産 (Bunny miyage)

English:
The last cold shower
The rain in winter, ageless
A gift from Bunny

CONTEST: Win Gates’ Palace Of Mirrors

gates - palace of mirrors contest
 

See that up there? That could be yours. Palace Of Mirrors by Gates on sweet sweet purple mist vinyl, limited to 100 copies, fresh off the press. This monolith was my sixth favorite metal record of 2015, although it almost made it onto the drone list instead of the metal list, because that’s how Gates rolls. This record is out-fucking-standing. Mega droned doom of the highest order. Stream the whole thing here if you want a taste.

So here’s what you need to do if you want to win this thing. Write a haiku, preferably inspired in some way by Gates, or Palace Of Mirrors, or doom drone, or something, you get the idea. Send that haiku to palaceofhaikus [at] antigravitybunny [dotcom] before the end of next Friday (March 11). That’s it. Have fun.

In case you don’t win, here’s a link to buy a copy for yourself, which you should absolutely do.

Also, to preempt any grammar jerks, I’m well aware the plural of haiku doesn’t have an “s” but it just worked better that way for hopefully obvious reasons.

Album Review

Top 15 Solo Drone Records Of 2015

This is my final list this year, which saw 3 more than usual to make up for the lack of non-AGB Radio action for the past 6 months or so. As usual, I tried to keep the big names out (no Philip Jeck, no William Basinski, no Thomas Brinkmann), as if there’s anyone who would read a drone list and not know Basinski put out one of the best drone records of the year. There were so many records that were absolutely amazing but fell a bit too far from my fabricated & arbitrary definition of drone to make this list (Félicia Atkinson, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Eartheater, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma). Maybe next year I’ll have a list of Almost Drone records.

The “Solo” part of this list is only to differentiate it from the Collaborations list I already posted, otherwise it’s essentially the same as my usual Drone list. I put this list together and realized only one of the records was not a solo operation, so I axed it and made the list 100% individual work (that’s not to say other people didn’t help out here and there on the records, though).

In case you missed em, there’s also my Top 10 Collaborative Drone Records, Top 15 Metal Records, and Top 20 (Not Drone Or Metal) Records lists.

Things will probably be quiet here for a little while after this. I have two more AGB Radio episodes planned (counting down this list next week followed by a holiday episode), then in January I’ll be moving and I have a baby that’s due, so I’m not making any plans for AGB until I got that shit on lockdown. Might be doing a bunch of AGB Radio re-runs for a while. No idea. You’ll know when I know.

Have fun. Thanks for reading/listening/appreciating.

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Album Review

Top 20 (Not Drone Or Metal) Records Of 2015

Third list! One more to go. No genre theme this time, but I excluded drone & metal records because they have their own lists. Although there are a few that almost made it onto either of those other lists (see: 12, 10, 7, 6), I felt they weren’t quite droney or metal enough to make the cut, so now they’re here. I hope there’s some new jams in here that you haven’t heard yet and that it’s not too predictable.

Have fun. Thanks for reading/listening/appreciating.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the huge lack of some of my favorite records that were just too big for me to want to include. Namely, Carly Rae Jepsen, Chrvches, and Purity Ring (among others). Those definitely wouldn’t seen some Top 5 action.

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Album Review

Top 15 Metal Records Of 2015

I’ve reviewed a decent amount of metal records, I’ve made four Black (Metal) Mixmas mixes, and last year’s non-genre list had a few metal records in it, but I’ve never done a full metal-only list (except for the little thing in Black (Metal) Mixmas IV), so I hope this doesn’t seem too out of place, but honestly I listen to wayyyyy more metal than I ever write about on AGB, so this sort of makes up for that I guess. I’m not as deep into the metal scene as I am the drone one, so I’m sure there’s way more awesome obscure metal records that would’ve made it onto this list had I heard them, but whatever. If you’ve got any recs, let me know in the comments or email!

And in case you’re not a huge metal fan, know that there’s plenty of stuff on this list that A: is only debatably metal (see: numbers 15, 13, 12, 1) and B: has plenty of AGB friendly elements aka drone, noise, etc (see: numbers 9, 6, 5, 4, 1).

Have fun. Thanks for reading/listening/appreciating.

 
 

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