Archive for May, 2012

Album Review

Toning – Paranormal Romance (Skell, 2012)


ToningSki Dubai (Skell)

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Toning, a dude named Cody Brant, is tearing it up with weirdness on his recent tape on newish label Skell. All sorts of sounds on Paranormal Romance, made only with guitars & synths (and the occasional drum machine) but spanning enough genres that it’s damn tough to pin down. It’s got some drugged up Eric Copeland drips, buzzing Zomes drone jams, dusty & twangy Americana melodies, spaced out lazer burns, and everything in between, a dozen or so bite sized tracks for coping without your ADD meds, each looped in its own way, some blasted & crazy, others subtle & delicate, but mostly just hypnotic & engaging. Totally awesome stuff. Only 50 copies, of which I believe there are still some left. Definitely jump on this.

Album Review

T.O.M.B. – UAG (Crucial Blast, 2012)


T.O.M.B.Tribe Of The Corpse (Crucial Blast)

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Normally these PA dudes (full name: Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) do black metal type things, with some other strangeness thrown in. UAG (aka Undercovered Ancient Gateways, aka we get it you like acronyms) has them stripping all metal from their sound but going blacker than ever. Black noise, black ambient, black industrial, just completely fucking black. The metal fury is gone and replaced with a bleak industrial howl, a post-mortem skullcracking drone that rots your bones from the inside out. I’m not sure where UAG was recorded, but they’ve been known to do field recordings in asylums & crypts, so who knows the location of these haunted sounds. These guys can take the sound of the wind and turn it evil, and there’s lots of percussive elements, cemetery gates and butcherware clanging in an arhythmic lurch, and on one track it’s even akin to a faded blastbeat, heard through six feet of earth a thousand miles away. Boiling static and hissing rain, thick with decay, harrowing walls of death, so much creep & screech that it’ll be hard to sleep soundly after hearing this. There’s even a track that’s made from the sounds of scraping a contact mic “across the rotting flesh of an actual corpse.” It doesn’t get more fucking necro than that. T.O.M.B. really outdid themselves on UAG. So glad there are labels like Crucial Blast putting out awesome shit like this.

You’re Too Kind (Also, AGB Shirts)


 
WOW. You have all overwhelmed me with your generosity. I wasn’t even sure I would reach the goal of $250, let alone double it. I can’t believe how kind you all are. I’m endlessly grateful for all of your donations. It honestly means a lot to me.

Since I not only made enough to replace my busted iPod (and I’m listening to the new one RIGHT. NOW.) but made that and then some, I’ve been racking my brain as to what to do next. I thought I could make extra mixes of various genres and then you could pick which one suited you most (or just download all of them), I thought I could spend some time ripping my favorite weird LPs that I’ve never gotten around to posting and offer up a batch of 10 or so of those, but that’s still just extra work on my part and pretty much doing things I would do anyway, just more concentrated. And that feels a little lame having you donate extra money and then being like “Sweet, thanks, I’m gonna go buy more records.”

So I thought I might take that extra money and make some AGB t-shirts! I know some of you have expressed interest in that in the past, and I thought I would send everyone who donated a shirt for free, and then sell whatever I had left over. I’d get my wife (Argyle Whale) to draw it up and then get them screenprinted somewhere local. Does that sound like a decent extra reward? And are there any of you who didn’t donate that would be interested in buying an AGB shirt? Just trying to gauge the market. If there isn’t one, I’ll still make some for those who donated.

I’m still working out the details of those extra digital rewards (mixes, old LPs, etc) so don’t hold me to that just yet. But I’ll definitely do something extra awesome because your extra awesomeness will not go un-noticed.

Thank you all so much. You have saved AGB.

Album Review

EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad – Sustained Layers (BLWBCK, 2012)


EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad3AM (BLWBCK)

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A collab of crazy proportions! And quite worldly, a Costa Rican, a dude from the UK, and a French duo, making absolutely breathtaking drones of the highest order. This is some dark blissful stuff, which is the best kind of stuff right now. Dense and soaring, black anvil clouds rolling over open plains, always on the edge, seeing the sun rays glow and the grey mass shift, an impending fury that always threatens, never breaks, trapped in the undertow but wholly welcoming it, sheets of euphoria masked by the haunt of life, embrace the truth, let the stars rain down, pre-apocalypse enlightenment created by layers of heavenly darkness. It doesn’t get much better than this. This is what you see when you get to the top. A fluorescent green beast of a tape, only 66 copies and it drops in a few days. Preorder this hunk stat.

Album Review

Black Eagle Child – Go Around, Again (Under The Spire, 2012)


Black Eagle ChildEighteen And Six (Under The Spire)

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Black Eagle Child (aka Michael Jantz, aka Avant Archive champion) is dropping a new LP on Under The Spire, which is certainly reason to celebrate. And after a couple dozen releases, Jantz has purified his tactics to give you the glorious Go Around, Again. Fantastic sounds on here, doing a sort of Citay-like ambient psych with elements of Ponytail’s light loop styles and The Books’ chopped pop, sunny and charming and everything pleasant. Jantz shows his cards on the first track, the A side stunner “Sun Cylinder,” where he touches everything with a gentleness, crafting hundreds of loops & layers that don’t build into any sort of climax but come and go as they please, a constantly evolving current, a vacation in his dreamworld. The three tracks on the B side are equally wonderful, cheery & easy, giving you the benefit of the doubt, hooking you with its playfulness & mass appeal, but then Jantz shows off his mad skills, every cut & fade a perfect segue to the next moment of bliss, and compiling what seems like a full warehouse of instruments, you get to hear everything in his collection, banjos & accordions, bells & xylophones, electronics & violins, drums & hand claps, lots of guitars & pedals, all that shit and then some, a never ending display of sweet kitchen sinkery. It’ll be shipping soon and it’s still in pre-order mode where you can get it for £2 cheaper than usual. No reason to skip out on this one.

Save AGB!


Well, not really. I’m not going anywhere yet. Sorry for the theatrics. Just needed to get your attention. But, I was only sort of joking.

If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a bit of a drought around here lately, and one of the reasons for that is my iPod broke. And I’m not gonna lie. I totally need an iPod to keep this shit going. Daily music submissions with no efficient way of listening to them? I’m never gonna hear new tunes and you’re not gonna hear what I have to say about ‘em. In short, I want you to help me get a new iPod!

So here’s the deal. I want you to donate dollars so I could buy one of these. But I’m not a scumbag. I don’t just wanna mooch off of your kindness. I want to give you something in return! And the more you give, the more you get! Like Kickstarter just without Kickstarter. I’m hoping to get around $250 (plus taxes and maybe AppleCare depending on how well this goes). If I reach that goal, I’ll celebrate by posting an awesome mix for everyone to enjoy. Yay! So even if you don’t donate, you can still win.

But there’s extra cool stuff for those who are feeling extra generous. Here’s the breakdown on what kind of things you might get rewarded with.

Donate $1-4
I’ll send you a thank you email for being super nice and I’ll reserve a future high five for you if we ever meet IRL.

Donate $5-9
You’ll get to download the awesome mix before anyone else and I’ll thank you publicly by linking to your website/blog/store/twitter/whatever in the awesome mix post when it goes live/a post of thanks if I don’t reach the goal.

Donate $10-24
You’ll get a physical copy of the awesome mix in the mail with handwritten liner notes and album art printed from my inkjet.

Donate $25-49
You’ll get a physical copy of the awesome mix in the mail with handwritten liner notes and extra special one of a kind album art made by these unskilled & uncreative hands.

Donate $50
I’ll make you a 100% original kickass mix based on the genre of your choosing, as long as I have a robust enough collection of that genre, with handwritten liner notes and extra special one of a kind album art, etc.

Donate more than $50?
You’re crazy and you’ll get the same as $50 but I’ll blast the mix from a boombox outside your residence Say Anything style (if you live close enough). (Please no one actually donate more than $50.)

I’m not doing this on Kickstarter because a) this would be a boring fucking Kickstarter and b) I’m actually going to reward those who donate regardless of whether I reach the goal. If I only get one $5 donation, they’re going to get their own individual thank you post with me gushing about how fucking cool they are.

BUT I’m not going to post that awesome mix unless I reach the goal. So donate away and be sure to leave details in the message section of your Paypal donation in regards to your reward (like your address or whatever).
 
Update: You’re still welcome to donate, in fact I encourage it, but the whole rewards thing is closed. You won’t receive anything other than a sappy thank you email from me, but that’s worth a buck or two, right?

Donate here and I’ll love you forever. Save AGB!

Album Review

Karl Vorndran – Thawing (Rubber City Noise, 2012)


Karl VorndranCrisis Inverted (Rubber City Noise)

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One of the dudes who founded Rubber City Noise and half of the Cane Swords duo, Vorndran’s making his debut outing with Thawing. Awesome harsh drones on this tape (yeah, that’s some high quality square art for the digital/Bandcamp whatever, the j-card is only slightly different), blazin lazers set to liquify, Excitebike motors revving & overheating, thunderous electromagnetic storms surging every socket in the house, bitter, acidic, & smooth like coffee, harsh, brittle, & warbled like some fucking alien roar, a guttural and insane swarm of noises, night terrors and fever dreams, chaos & control, darkness in the form of modular synths. A beautiful fucking mess of a tape and a magnificent display of Vorndran’s skillz. As with all RCN releases, Thawing is limited, so don’t dawdle.

Album Review

Chord – Gmaj7 (MIE, 2012)


ChordStasis (MIE)
Track removed by request.
 
Strictly for the hardcore minimalists. These Chicago dudes play long form pieces off of single chords, and they play hard. This is the kind of power drone that transports. Gmaj7 has two side long pieces, two sides of the same coin, the first being a deep and detailed mind expander that pauses about 3/4 of the way through and turns into a dark & heavy many-layered wall of bliss. The B side is the first time these guys brought in some drums, so it’s perhaps a bit too dynamic for you purists, but it’s an elegant transition and it works beautifully, an uplifting and immersive track that builds organically to a lush, euphoric climax, sounding like a fuckin drone rockstar. I’m not sure how Chord haven’t already joined the ranks of modern minimalists like Sun Circle, but hopefully they’re on their way. Maybe Gmaj7 won’t be the one to vault them to the top due to its badass drums, but this is an absolutely killer slab of drone nonetheless. Drops next week on some sexy limited vinyl with handscreened jackets thanks to MIE.

Album Review

Number None – Strategies Against Agriculture (Land Of Decay, 2012)


Number NoneVile Gnarl (Land Of Decay)

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Such a shame, this Chicago duo continues to be one of the most under-appreciated bands around. And you may say, “If they’re so under-appreciated, how come you haven’t written about them before?” Well, I have, but for some inexplicable reason, I can’t find the review I did for Urmerica a few years back. I dunno. Blame Google? It’s a strange world. Anyway, Strategies Against Agriculture (yes, it’s a Neubauten reference) is their latest, a tape courtesy of Land Of Decay. Apparently this one’s been sitting in the vaults for a number of years, which is another goddamn shame because this shit is brilliant. Absolute destruction on here, Skullflowery apocalyptic feedback with brief and deeply buried moments of bliss. This is Satan’s tinnitus, a white hot static drone, caustic and penetrating, boring deep into your brain until your vision turns black & red, a maelstrom of electronics, harsh putrid noise without the powerfully violent bursts, a monotonous skullfuck that will make your eyes roll back and see Truth. No reason to skip out on this, and if it’s your first foray into the Number None fold, you’ve got a helluva back catalog to work through.

Album Review

Kyle Bobby Dunn – Bring Me The Head Of… (Low Point, 2012)


Kyle Bobby DunnEnding Of All Odds (Low Point)

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Honestly, I thought Ways Of Meaning would be the last Kyle Bobby Dunn record I wrote about. It was his best yet and he’s gotten big enough that I’m hardly doing anybody any favors by plugging the same dude. But then Bring Me The Head Of Kyle Bobby Dunn comes out and it’s got the album title of the year and it’s a 2 hour long double disc on Low Point and it’s just as good if not better than his last one. So, fuck. I gotta. This is fucking outstanding. A slight progression from Ways Of Meaning, Dunn is further refining the passionate & delicate sounds of the ether. The power of this lies in its depth and breadth, it has both quantity & quality, a wide open sky, free of clouds, absolutely pure, and without boundaries. The tracks flow perfectly into each other, an endless supply of next-level bliss. Nothing stands out, everything fits, and the warmth has no limits, wholly encompassing your every fiber, a homogenous universe of total perfection, taking everything you love about Dunn, stretching it out, extracting the positive, and wrapping it in eye-opening brilliance. When this drops next month, make sure you take a couple days off work because listening to this is all you’re going to want to do.

Album Review

Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Schaefer – Day Of The Demons (Desire Path, 2012)


Charlemagne Palestine & Janek SchaeferRaga De L’apres Midi Pour Aude (excerpt) (Desire Path)

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This right here is a seriously epic collaboration. Yes. These two dudes work insanely well together, and just look at the list of sounds here: shruti box, harmonica, carillon & desk bells/chimes, prayer bear (um, what?), sine waves, melodica, and, best of all, lots of voices. Two side long tracks that bring the fuckin drone. The A side starts out with an incredibly rich drone, warm & inviting, mostly blissful, that soon has Palestine’s vocals bleeding into it, groaning & howling, turning into some ceremonial Eyes Wide Shut shit, dark and creepy as fuck, layers and layers of voice, some conjuring good spirits, others warding off the evil ones. The other side starts out with some location recordings, people talking at a festival or something, then the drone comes in, this time the most unsettling harmonium/sine wave drone imaginable, a dense disharmonic wall of unintelligible fear and dark swells of demonic scum, more voices come in, speaking a foreign language, exorcising the evil, and the drone fades, turning into bells & pleasantries, eventually ending on a bright note with euphoric harmoniums and bright pure bliss. This is the fucking best. Honestly, Desire Path is literally the most potently awesome label right now. This is only their fourth release and the other three have been absolutely untouchable. Slow and steady wins the race, and Desire Path is miles ahead. As if you needed any more incentive to pick this up, it comes on flame red vinyl and is accompanied by a motherfucking demon mask.