Album Review

Dhow – Amara (Inam, 2014)

dhow - amara album cover
DhowNhi (Inam)

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The supremely talented and ridiculously prolific Ryan Huber, who works under guises like Sujo, Olekranon, and others, as well as running the Inam label, has put out yet another insane record, this time as Dhow (the second release under this name), and holy fuck he knocks it out of the park with this one, a little more shoegazey than his other monikers but Amara still goes to 11, getting loud & fuzzy, catchy riffs and big swells of feedback that sound like the world is ending, total apocalyptic vibes on here, crushing Angelic Process-esque sounds alongside heavenly blissed out drone clouds à la your favorite euphoric masters, soft, gauzy, and serene as fuck, like suffocating in a thick fog on top of a mountain, a mask of massive static to take you to the other side, the most explosive & bombastic fucking drone record I’ve heard that seriously just makes me wanna die. This dude knows no bounds. And if you don’t slack on this, you can get the super limited (to 40) CD-R on the cheap ($8!!) and it includes and even MORE limited (to 23!) sexy 7″ lathe with mono variations of the first two tracks on the CD. The artwork up there is for the digital version, which is slightly different than the CD-R & lathe.

Album Review

Cleared – Drown (Immune, 2014)

cleared - drown album cover
Cleared – Remote Ocean Prayer (Immune)

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Cleared is drummer Steven Hess (Locrian, Pan-American, etc) and multi-media artist Michael Vallera (aka COIN) and with only a few killer releases under their belt, Drown is looking to be their breakout record. So while this is essentially a guitar/drum duo, these dudes take that trope to a whole new level, making an almost-but-not-quite-metal noise/drone record that’s bookended with two amazing tracks that go way out into dream pop & shoegaze territory, something that walks the line between dark & heavy and light & drifty, with tons of feedback drone, static skitter, dark ambient shadows, cosmic expansion, shimmery guitars, and hypnotic percussion, it’s really just the fucking best, an absolutely stellar weird droney poppy record that’s hitting all the right spots for me right now, I honestly can’t get enough of this. Brought to you by the strangely underrated Immune, a seven year old slow burning label that’s doing everything right.

Album Review

Planning For Burial – Desideratum (The Flenser, 2014)

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}
Planning For BurialWhere You Rest Your Head At Night (The Flenser)

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After a ton of EPs and tapes and singles and splits and experiments, Planning For Burial, aka Thom Wasluck, finally follows up his 2010 debut LP Leaving with this second magnificent beast of a record (and his first foray into vinyl). Thom is the gloomiest bastard I know and Desideratum showcases that perfectly, this is beautifully depressing shit, taking the monstrous shoegazed metal from Leaving and building on it with the tender low-key sadness from other releases like Quietly, he’s turned a wild mix of styles & genres including doom, slowcore, black metal, drone, gothwave, and everything else into a patented buzzing darkness that’s loud as fuck and just pure fucking excellence, overwhelming in sound and emotion, bleak walls of noise that build and crumble, huge waves swelling & crashing against cliffsides in a foggy storm, it’s blissful and devastating in the best way possible. If you dug Leaving as much as I did, rest assured Desideratum will not disappoint. It’s PFB at his best and it will fucking destroy you.

Album Review

Fatalism – Mystery Of Death (Eternal Death, 2014)

fatalism - mystery of death album cover
FatalismIsabelle (Eternal Death)

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Holy fuck this is some next level shit. Debut record from this duo featuring members of One Master and Morgirion playing some heavy dreamy gloom, mixing up elements of black metal, shoegaze, darkwave, and doom, giving it a (high) potential of sounding bland or generic but comes out sounding wholly unique and goddamn perfect. Just 4 songs, but each one fucking rocks, with echoing unintelligible vocals that blur into a hypnotic chant, this stuff is bleak, hard, and somehow still kinda catchy, ethereal buzzing guitars drifting through foggy cemeteries and then BAM a wall of blast beats to crush your soul, this burrows deep into your subconscious similar to that Charnel House’s Black Blood from last year, but this gets way more rowdy. Seriously, this is a killer fucking record. Hits all the right spots. Definitely keep an eye on this band.

Album Review

Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World (The Flenser, 2014)

have a nice life - the unnatural world album cover
Have A Nice Life – Guggenheim Wax Museum (The Flenser)

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I’m going to refrain from bragging about how much I love Have A Nice Life, but for the sake of this review you should know that a) I hate the term “fanboy” and b) I would without hesitation call myself a hardcore Have A Nice Life fanboy. Their debut Deathconsciousness is fucking untouchable, easily in my all time Top 10, if not my Top 5.

If this is the first you’ve heard of HANL (Dan Barrett & Tim Macuga), I’m so fucking psyched to share them with you. Think Nadja plus Joy Division then forget that and just listen to that sample up there. Fucking life changing. Honestly, some of the best sounds to ever grace this sweet doomed planet of ours. The gloom is infinite and I accept it wholly. This is the massive dejected pop you’ve always needed but could never find, with bombastic pulverizing percussion echoing in an empty warehouse, deafening catchy riffs, smooth black synths, and boundless reverbed ghost vocals singing about the closeness of death and the woe of Nothingness.

Compared to Deathconsciousness, The Unnatural World is cleaner, better produced, more consistent, and more mature (whatever the fuck that means). But it still sounds like a blown out lo-fi home recording, it’s just that the atmospheric tracks don’t sound like sound they’re being played by your neighbors next door. The beautifully suffocating “Music Will Untune The Sky” is a perfect example, instead penetrating your core and making you feel like you’re drowning in slow motion, watching the life dust float in sunlit water, waiting for your last breath to expire in your lungs. And while Dan & Tim might be in a healthier emotional state while making TUW than they were for DC (pure conjecture on my part), this is every bit as depressing & devastating as their first record.

I hold DC up on the highest fucking pedestal. I mean on its own DC closer “Earthmover” is the single most soul obliterating song I’ve ever heard, and TUW never reaches that level of apocalyptic dread. But compared to TUW, DC feels a lot like an experiment. This new record is HANL leveled up, everything that you love about DC has been refined, turning the genre-less madness into a motherfucking masterpiece. I had insanely high expectations for TUW and it’s hands down one of the best goddamn records I’ve ever heard. It might not overthrow DC in my all time Top 10 but that’s probably more for sentimental reasons than anything else. I know I’m an enthusiastic hyperbolic kinda guy but I say this without the slightest bit of exaggeration: TUW couldn’t possibly be any fucking better. It’s literally flawless.

Album Review

Millipede – The Lower World (self released, 2013)

millipede - the lower world album cover
MillipedeDungeon Dweller (self released)

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Tennessee’s Joseph Davenport is back with a new Millipede record, this first since 2011′s Realms (although he did have a new piece on my free comp You’re All The Fucking Best) and it’s a fucking winner. This dude belts out the noisiest harsh bliss I’ve ever heard, sounding like he’s tossed a hundred guitars into a raging bonfire, caked in scorched & burnt feedback, with gauzy melodies climbing out from a pit of red hot embers, some blown out mixture of shoegaze, psych, drone folk, & space rock, taking all of those sounds and leaving them out to crust up in the desert sun, the core still peaking through the shell, and in fact the “lead” guitar is more noticeable than ever in The Lower World, nuzzling up to your ear drums while the caustic distortion bores through your skull, this is a masochistic record of pain & pleasure, the beauty buried deep in grit and wholly worth excavating, one of Millipede’s best, and exciting as hell because this the second part of a trilogy (Realms being the first), so we know there’s more destructive brilliance on the horizon.

Haiku Review

Lisa/Liza – Ancient Edge (self released, 2012)


Lisa/LizaBlack Out (self released)

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Download Ancient Edge
/purely intimate/
/shining voice obscured by clouds/
/melted harmony/

Album Review

Haute-Cimes – Khmaer Krahom (self released, 2012)


Haute-CimesPertt (self released)

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A caustic debut by this new French dude, and he’s giving it away for free. Grab it first, read later. This is some awesome fucked noise, like Yellow Swans on a murdering spree or Gnaw Their Tongues doing power electronics. Scary brutal static, nauseous paranoia, fucking intense blow outs of grit & grime, clear and distorted vocals, dappled with moments of respite, beauty, chirping birds, none lasting too long before being jerked back into the terror. Film samples get thrown around, sometimes recognizable & enjoyable, like a clip from My Neighbor Totoro, others are a bit more horrifying, like the one of a girl screaming for her life while a maniac laughs. Some uniquely killer shit, no reason to pass over this. Digitally free, or pay some cash and get a tape.

Haiku Review

Sujo – Terran (Inam, 2011)


SujoCeptian (Inam)

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Download Terran
/fog thick blackened bliss/
/grey dawn turns to wall of noise/
/faint spectral crackle/

Concert Review

Boris, Asobi Seksu, Liturgy at Royale

Liturgy: huge transcendental black metal which nobody seemed to give a shit about, Royale only at about quarter capacity when Liturgy went on, only played a half hour set which would have been pretty lame, but it was ok because they didn’t actually sound all that great, the lead guitar & drums were all you could hear, drowning out the second guitar, bass, and vocals, literally couldn’t hear any vocals unless it was one of those solo vocal loop songs, and the second guitar was almost non-existent, theories: a) I was standing in front of the lead guitar amp so it was my own damn fault, b) the sound guy did a super shitty job, c) the lead Liturgy guy came down with a case of the big egos… at least the drummer was a fuckin BEAST

Asobi Seksu: never sounded better, they were loud as hell, more metal than pop, falling right in line with Liturgy & Boris, covered JAMC’s “Never Understand” and Yuki jumped into a mostly bland audience but it was still super fucking awesome, lots of Citrus love which was great for a Citrus lover such as myself, finished with one of the more epic songs on Citrus (can’t remember which one) and then Boris’ drummer Atsuo came out to fuck shit up on his set while Yuki took on Tony’s drums and Tony messed around with James’ pedals while James destroyed his guitar, so so cool

Boris: LOUD doomgaze psych metal awesomeness, lots of newer material but the good stuff, crowd was way into ‘em, obviously, sadly only did a couple of the slow doomed shit, still great, ended with “Pink” and an epically long “Aileron,” expectedly bangedover this morning

 

Liturgy


 
Asobi Seksu



 
Boris




Album Review

Millipede – Realms (Dead Pilot, 2011)


MillipedeDestroyers And Usurpers (Dead Pilot)

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It’s been way too long since Millipede (aka Joseph Davenport) has put out a full length (only a year but still) and he comes back on a new label (previously on Install) and with some trendy cover art (ignore it if it’s not your thing but either way I don’t think it says too much about the sound. Just imagine it’s a version of the Triforce because this dude started out making Zelda inspired noise). Truly fantastic sounds on here. Scathing & grating guitar harshness, a Neil Young worshiper getting high on Skullflower, Love Is A Stream taken to the next Holy Noise level, My Bloody Valentine recording on the surface of the sun. Nearly impenetrable grit with glorious melodies shining through, Davenport clearly honing his skills, diving deeper into the bliss birthed from cacophony. If you’ve followed Millipede through the full blooms on Death Mountain, this is the next stop on the journey and an absolutely necessary one at that. Noobs take a seat and learn how it’s done.

Video

Vitamins – No Notion Of Anything Only Whatever Is What

My buddy Crawford from Tome To The Weather Machine sent me over the newest video his band Vitamins put out. “No Notion Of Anything Only Whatever Is What” is a nice shoegazin kraut psych pop track with lots of room for partying. High stakes ice skating videos chopped & layered, triple axels blowin the roof off the place. The end is fuckin teaser of the year.
 

Album Review

Pet Milk – Pet Milk (Peasant Magik, 2010)


Pet MilkCherry Outline

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Note: I got a massive batch of 15 tapes from Peasant Magik. I debated on either giving a few of them the regular full blown review treatment or doing the burst shot quick & dirty reviews to get through as many as possible. I chose the latter. So this is one in a slew of short portraits of some of the newest Peasant Magik releases.
 
As soon as this tape starts up, you’re lost in the fuzz. ROCKIN fuzz. It’s full of high-energy bite-sized punkgaze with obscured boy/girl vocals and even more obscured pop riffs. There’s epic melodies and a slight cosmic feeling that sounds a lot like if Hum made a shoegaze record. I’m sure if Hum did that it would be 100 times better than everything else in the world (including Pet Milk) but this is still a cool enough imagination primer. Either way though, Pet Milk is definitely going for that old school C86 vibe in a truly awesome way. Also, they cover MBV’s “Paint A Rainbow” and they do a pretty decent job.