Archive for August, 2013

Album Review

In The Meantime Part 2: Bad Dreams

The second part (of a two parter, this is it. ICYMI: part 1) of what I’ve been blasting the fuck out of for the past few months. Here lie the black, doomed, & loud as hell records that are front to back awesome.
 
 
hope drone album cover
Hope DroneHope Drone (OSCL)

100% killer post black metal out of Australia, blistering & furious with raspy roaring vocals and a grim outlook set to annihilate you that’s not very often seen in the Cascadian stuff, it’s low on the shimmer (though it’s there a bit) and heavy on the heavy.
 
 
sadhaka - terma album cover
SadhakaTerma (Pest / Sick Man Getting Sick)

Super fucking awesome USBM band that sadly only got their record released overseas. This is some insane post everything shit, a little post metalcore here, a little post black metal there, but monstrous through & through, thick atmospheres, major dark riffs that are admittedly a bit catchy, but when this thing explodes, it’s so beastly, vocals sounding like they’re being echoed out of a bottomless abyss and spot on heart attack beats. Been playing this one almost nonstop since I found it.
 
 
quttinirpaaq - no visitors album cover
QuttinirpaaqNo Visitors (Rural Isolation Project)

Hands down the weirdest record in this list, these guys have churned out some gruesome industrial sludge that sounds like it was scraped from the bottom of an evaporated acid bath and splattered up against bass heavy grooves & rusted iron drum beats, gritty & heavy as fuck with a Bachelor’s degree in bombastic noise punk and a minor in scorched psych, something a freakish cult would dance to as they burn you alive in your fevered hallucinations.
 
 
old witch - come mourning come album cover
Old WitchCome Mourning Come (self released)

Holy fuck this is one huge goddamn record, the most perfect blending of doom, black metal, & drone I’ve heard in a long time, monstrous drums & earth rattling guitars that will tear the fucking world apart as we all fall into the pits of hell, and definitely a Carpenter/horror score vibe with backing synths that turn this into a brutally tense nightmare. Hands down of of my favorites this year.
 
 
surachai - embraced album cover
SurachaiEmbraced (self released)

This one came out of nowhere and it fuckin rules, just one dude who enlisted a bunch of pals to flesh things out and give this a truly overwhelming sound, Embraced is some next level shit, complex wall of sound black metal that’s super fuckin precise, tight tremolo shredding on top of a controlled chaos of percussion a la Zach Hill or Greg Fox, this is nonstop amazing.
 
 
peste noire album cover
Peste NoirePeste Noire (La Mesnie Herlequin)

Forget all those shoegazey French black metal bands, Peste Noire is the Frenchest black metal there is and they’re the fucking best. Their newest record eschews a lot of the black metal norms and takes on a heavy dose of punk & cabaret styles, both of which I normally hate, but for some reason the accordion, xylophone, classical acoustic guitar, spit in your face vocals, and all the other non-BM sounds on here get folded in with the blast beats & buzzing guitars and end up making the craziest, noisiest, coolest fucking (mostly) black metal record.
 
 
when woods make graves - whispers from the black lake album cover
When Woods Make GravesWhispers From The Black Lake (self released)

Solo British dude who’s pretty prolific, cites my favorite classics (Burzum, Paysage D’Hiver, Weakling, etc) as influences, and makes his shit free* for the taking, there’s no reason not to love him already. But his records are incredible and his most recent one is no different, with 6 tracks (4 of which break the 14 minute mark) churning out guitar squalls & murky atmospheres, overwhelming in every way, he’s just as good at making lengthy devastating epics as he is switching out his guitar for some synths and laying down massive bleak drones.
 
 
hivelords - cavern apothecary album cover
HivelordsCavern Apothecary (Anthropic)

Some fearsome shit right here, these Philly dudes spill fresh blood in the blackened doom arena, frenzied blast beats & killer fucking riffs b/w a slow plodding death march & clean majestic vocals, at once black, heavy, doomed, & pure fucking evil, these guys have a path to the Dark Throne laid out right in front of them.
 
 
charnel house - black blood album cover
Charnel HouseBlack Blood (Sygil)

A record unlike any other, this is some sort of beautifully dark atmospheric black metal, but not the kind you’re thinking of, this is a record straight out of a haunted house, eerie guitars & bass jamming a fucked up atmosphere while some ghost lady seduces you to the Underworld, lurching drums that rise up from the basement to burst out in flaming blast beats. I don’t know what depths this came from but I both hope I never find it and am pissed I’m not there already.
 
 
cultes des ghoules - henbane album cover
Cultes Des GhoulsHenbane (Hells Headbangers)

A truly twisted black metal record, equal parts thrashy, heavy, and fucked, this is grizzly necro show with dual vocals that howl & groan, debased buzzing riffs, start & stop drums, crazy samples, a candlelit graveyard stomp, the kind of shit that Satan himself rocks to.
 
 

Album Review

In The Meantime Part 1: Good Dreams

Just because I stopped writing for a bit doesn’t mean I stopped listening. Actually felt like I did way more listening than usual, or maybe it was just more quality listening without the review cloud storming up in my brain. Either way, here’s a quick rundown of some chill records I’ve been jamming these past few months. Part 2 will be the louder noisier scarier stuff.
 
 
danny paul grody - between two worlds album cover
Danny Paul GrodyBetween Two Worlds (Three Lobed)
Omfg this is one of my favorites from this year, Grody (of the forever missed Tarentel) goes way beyond the experimental guitar soli stuff and turns solo guitarscapes into a lush & serene ocean spanning this life and every other, delicate drone, subtle piano, & obscured vocals breathing bliss into every moment of this record. For a guitar record, it goes places you never dreamed of.
 
 
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Alessandro CortiniForse Volume 1 (Important)
This has been getting tonnnns of spins over here. Cortini is from Nine Inch Nails and How To Destroy Angels, which automatically (shamefully) made me not care about this. But for some reason I listened to a sound sample and was instantly sold. This is some incredible minimal/maximal single-Buchla-synth drone stuff that’s got the occasional rhythm and is fucking out of this world awesome. Sadly you missed your chance with the 2xLP, it’s sold out. Luckily, Volumes 2 & 3 are forthcoming before the year’s end. This is gonna be a trilogy to write home about let me tell you.
 
 
Hell On Earth Bathetic copy
EarnHell On Earth (Bathetic)
Why this guy isn’t at the top of the drone chain yet I don’t know. But lets hope Hell On Earth puts him there. I can hardly imagine a more beautifully dark record than this, channeling soft woozy bliss into a black mourning shroud, this is the ghostly stuff you see out of the corner of your eye on a sun-drenched foggy morning, supremely perfect, definitely one of the best drone records you’ll come across this year.
 
 
HM1993CD_preview.indd
Henry PlotnickFields (Holy Mountain)
It’s hard to not call every embarrassingly talented kid that hasn’t even hit high school a genius, but here we have 11 year old Plotnick’s debut 2xLP of melodic loops in the vain of the early minimal masters and goddamn this guy is fuckin going places. Regardless of his age, Fields is a fucking triumph of transcendental zoning. Fingers crossed he keeps recording.
 
 
the archivist - the wooden laser album cover
The ArchivistThe Wooden Laser (self released)
I was maybe a bit biased from the get-go due to this guy’s name but objectively speaking this record is the fucking best. The Wooden Laser is a barely there minimalism, crank this fucker up and you can still hear you pet’s heartbeat 3 rooms over. An ambiance formed around dusty tapes and whispered electronics, you can give 100% of your ears to this and it’ll show you all the crevices in the fabric of reality.
 
 
sarah davachi - the untuning of the sky album cover
Sarah DavachiThe Untuning Of The Sky (Full Spectrum)
A debut of this caliber shouldn’t be going as unnoticed as it is, Davachi has cuddled up next to a variety of electronics (ARP, Buchla, Serge, Mellotron) and coaxed tender long-form minimal drone dreams out of them, deeply saturated in warmth & finessed to a level of tonal perfection I don’t think many people ever achieve.
 
 
d burke mahoney - loran-c album cover
D. Burke MahoneyLORAN-C (self released)
An homage to the 1350 foot transmitter LORAN-C in Greeland that collapsed in 1964, this is a beautiful drone record that’s overwhelmingly minimal, the kind of sounds you hear emerge from a silent room that has various quiet machines powered up, the sound of a room breathing, exceptional, precise, & absolutely perfect. Also, it’s free.
 
 
lustmord - the word as power album cover
LustmordThe Word As Power (Blackest Ever Black)
I was never too into Lustmord but when I heard this was a drone record based on various guest artists’ vocals (Jarboe! Soriah!), I had to check it out. Blew my expectations right out of the water. I love some quality black magic ritual drone like Phurpa and Zurvan and this fits right in, expansive & evocative detailed drones resonating through empty caverns, so fucking excellent.
 
 
marisa anderson - mercury album cover
Marisa AndersonMercury (Mississippi)
How I’ve yet to hear of Anderson before this record is a baffling travesty. She picks & strums her way on electric, acoustic, and lap-steel guitars playing 100% awesome experimental Americana, twanging & echoing under wide open skies and doing an assortment of styles, bluesy drags, lazy folk, dusty Appalachian ragas, and tying it all together with an old fashioned tenderness. Love this so much.
 
 
Big Blood - Radio Valkyrie 1905-1917 album cover
Big BloodRadio Valkyrie 1905-1917 (Feeding Tube)
Insanely fantastic record from this Maine psych folk duo, only their second full length and somehow they’ve already honed a hazy dark sound that puts everything else to shame. Songs fit for midnight forest rituals and ghost stories by the fire, a seriously warped ethereal vibe that’s unshakeable after the first track’s vapors seep into your pores.
 
 
molly drake album cover
Molly DrakeMolly Drake (Squirrel Thing)
Unearthed recordings from the 50s by Nick Drake’s mom!! This woman has an undeniably charming & enchanting voice, singing sweet somber tunes & floating effortlessly on her piano, this is a record that’ll transport you to the drawing room you never got to hang in.
 
 
agarttha - a water which does not wet hands album cover
AgartthaA Water Which Does Not Wet Hands (King Of The Monsters)
Agarttha is one Francesca Marongiu (of Architeuthis Rex) conjuring a doomy folk, or folksy doom, or some manner of subdued occult magik that pours out of your speakers like a fog, offering elements of psych & pop that are as inexplicable as they are welcome. One weird fuckin record, covers you in a thick layer of moss that you’ll never wash off.
 
 
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Julianna BarwickNepenthe (Dead Oceans)
Been enthralled with Barwick ever since I saw her open for Eluvium years ago and her new record takes her layered vocal bliss to uncharted heights, sometimes venturing into pop territory, but pure fucking heaven through & through. Hands down one of the most beautiful records and completely deserving of all the praise that’s been heaped upon it lately.
 
 

AGB Guide To Hopscotch

Hopscotch logo
 
I did one of these things last year because some of yall were interested. Since I’m going to Hopscotch again, and since some of yall are interested again, I went ahead and did one, again.

This is basically my own personal schedule, meaning anything that’s not on my schedule I’m almost certainly not going to. The bands on my shortlist are either ones I already know & love (I am NOT missing Charlemagne Palestine) or ones that have sparked enough interest in me to risk choosing them over a sure-fire winner (maybe Alexander Turnquist is better than either Dan Friel or High Aura’d but come on). I know there’s lots of other cool shit going down at Hopscotch that’s not on my list, that’s what makes it a near-perfect fest, but I can only see one band at a time (hope there’s some top men working on a solution to that) and this is to help me (and maybe you) narrow shit down before you panic in the moment and accidentally see Saints Apollo instead of Cian Nugent.

Anyway, here’s the night-by-night breakdown, here’s my recs in spreadhseet & PDF forms. There’s also gonna be some KILLLERRRRR day parties that haven’t been officially announced yet but keep an eye on Cory Rayborn’s/Three Lobed’s insane Kings Barcade day show. Last year it was one of the highlights of the fest and this year it looks to be even better OMGGGG.
 
merzbow

Merzbow by Louis Caldarola

THURSDAY

First things first, Black Twig Picker & Pelt dude Nathan Bowles kicks things off at the Fletcher Opera Theater at 8:30 with his high brow banjo, followed by an hour and a half of the intimate dreamfolk from the lovely Angel Olsen at 9:30, which bleeds right into crowdpleaser Grouper at 11. Definitely a stacked chill venue for the opening night.

The Dreebs bring their avant anti-punk noise pop blasphemy to the Kennedy Theater at 9, then this year’s superhyped-with-good-reason Pharmakon will rupture guts and bang heads with her sleazy atomic darkwave at 10. The new Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) and Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) collab Sal Mineo follows at 11, who I haven’t heard yet and while I’m not a huge fan of either of those dudes’ respective bands, they have an upcoming album on Important so I’m game. Then finally, FINALLY, motherfucking WOLD will play their fifth show ever at midnight. Their nightmarish black noise is not to be fucked with (that recent vinyl reissue of Freermasonry on Ideologic Organ was hellish) and they’ve got that whole mystery thing going for them so long story short I am fuckin PSYCHED for this set. Sadly, there’s a problem…

They’re right in between a killer bill at Kings Barcade. Japanese noise legend and this year’s “Improviser In Residence” Merzbow starts at 11:30 and everyone’s favorite ferocious dudes Wolf Eyes are at 12:30. What’s a noisehead to do? Not only that, but Ohio’s Mike Shiflet will set the scene at 10:30 with his beautiful & precise massive darkness. Fuckin bill of the century right there. A couple of guys named Boyzone start off at 9:30. I don’t know em but their picture on Hopscotch looks like they put on a good show of “playful mayhem.”

Golden Void’s brand of San Franciscan catchy shreddy psych is sure to be awesome, they’re on at 11 at Deep South. Also at 11 but at The Hive is sprawling spaced droner Expo ’70. If you’re looking to math it up, Liturgy’s Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is also in the band Survival, who brings some sweet modernized math rock jams at Lincoln Theater at 10:30, then my #1 guitar tappin lady Marnie Stern will get your existential self racing on an endorphin high at 11:30 (also at Lincoln).

Endless Boogie kinda speak for themselves, and righteously so. They play at 11:30 at Slim’s and I’ve heard their shows are pretty fuckin great. They’re followed by Jonathan Kane’s February, who’s up against Wolf Eyes at 12:30. They’re new to me but with comparisons to Swans and Jon Mueller’s Death Blues set last yet, I can safely say this show will be fucking awesome.
 
charlemagne palestine

Charlemagne Palestine by Fabio Lugaro

FRIDAY

The main stage at City Plaza has Future Islands at 7. Even though I’m not into huge stages/crowds like that, Future Islands are cool enough to maybe venture into that abyss. Plus, nothing else will be going on.

CAM has what seems like a pretty sweet lineup all night with OXYxMORON at 9:30, Helado Negro at 10:30, XXYYXX at 11:30, and Ryan Hemsworth at 12:30. I’ve only heard of Hemsworth but I’ve never listened to anything more than a song or two by him. The other artists sound similarly cool if not more so and the laid back electronic jams, soft pop & sharp hip hop might be a good way to spend the night. And CAM is a great spot too, albeit a little out of the way.

Another venue that has a bill I don’t know much about save for the 100% incredible noise pop of ex-Parts & Laborer (RIP) Dan Friel is The Hive. Friel is on at 10 and if his solo set is anything like a P&L show, be prepared to get the fuck down. Just before him at 9 is Waumiss, a husband/wife duo crafting a strange & extraordinary bedroom pop. Then there’s the new project from Brian Foote of Nudge called Leech, doing what sounds like a minimal classy ambient techno kinda thing at 11, followed by Nightlands at 12 playing a lush harmonic pop with a dash of sunny psych.

There’s two other places, Kennedy Theater & Long View Center, with bills running parallel set times and similar genred bands, but Long View strays more towards the experimental, especially as the night progresses (so they win I think). Kennedy Theater starts with the gorgeous expansive calm of Villages at 9, Alexander Turnquist’s exquisite 12-string picking at 10, MA’s own garage freaks Speedy Ortiz at 11, and the gloomy glamour of Waxahatchee’s brooding folk at 12.

Pair that with Long View Center’s damn near perfect lineup of the thick fuzzy Ilyas Ahmed dreams at 9, Boston’s chief dark guitar drone hero High Aura’d at 10, Daniel Bachman’s dizzying & dazzling acoustic wonderland at 11, and thee mighty Charlemagne Palestine performing some manner of experimental minimal weird perfection at 12. Oh the things you’ll hear.

The killer hip hop show is going down at Lincoln Theater with Alpoko Don at 10:30, Action Bronson at 11:30, and Earl Sweatshirt at 12:30 (assuming he doesn’t cancel). And playing late into the night at Five Star starting around 12:30 is the beloved all over the place Magik Markers, doing stuff for the first time in a long time. Pretty fucking exciting.
 
charalambides

Charalambides by Jonathan Pound

SATURDAY

Things start off at City Plaza with The Breeders at 6:50 and Spiritualized at 8:40. Not that crazy about The Breeders and Spiritualized is cool but I don’t really listen to em all that much so this is a definite maybe.

Cian Nugent is at the Fletcher Opera Theater at 9 bringing his experimental Appalachian folksy brilliance all the way from Ireland. Definitely a rare set. The slow magic of Low graces the same place at 11. Fingers crossed they’ll do something like that droning 30 minute version “Do You Know How To Waltz?” Smack in between them at 10 but over at Kennedy Theater is Scout Niblett with her awkward & angular sparse creeprock.

Then things start getting dicey with lots of painful overlapping sets.

The Long View Center has a fantastic bill with Pelt, Lonnie Holley, and Califone at 10, 11, and 12 respectively. Pelt plays an incredible folk drone that kinda reminds me of the theme to the show Carnivàle in the best way possible. Lonnie Holley is a 63 year old dude doin some crazy fuckin anti-folk/pop/blues bizarro shit whose debut was just put out by Dust To Digital. So, don’t miss that, obviously. Then the criminally underrated Califone share their patented avant dust rock to a hopefully massive crowd.

The Scottish Richard Youngs plays for an hour and a half at Memorial Auditorium starting at 10:30. Never totally sure what to expect from his sets but it’s guaranteed to be some next level experimental folk genius. John Cale plays after him at 12 if you’re into that but I’d rather put my money on…

The muthafuckin Charalambides at Five Star at 12:30. Tom & Christina Carter’s slow spectral/spiritual folk knows no bounds and is exceptionally exceptional. Before them at 11:30 is the French weirdo High Wolf who plays some warped & spacey psych drone pop stuff. Sure to be out of this world. And before him at 10:30 is Arborea from the wilds of western Maine, and while I haven’t heard much from them, the instruments all hit the sweet spot for me (banjo, harmonium, Basho-esque guitar, etc). Pretty sure this whole lineup is A+ work.

But then there’s the fuckin metal show of the year at Lincoln Theater. Inter Arma is at 10:30 who seriously have one of the best records this year, Sky Burial, which crams heavy psych black post metal death folk doom monstrosities all into one insanely amazing album. Then the almighty doomlords Evoken, who admittedly aren’t the same as they used to be (only one original member remains) but that one dude has been perfecting funeral doom for 20+ years and goodgod they deserve all the fucking medals. Their latest, Atra Mors, is some mantle-worthy shit. Then venerable dopesmokers Sleep close out the night with some hefty fuckin doom that’ll crack open your head and let the craziness soar.

And if the electronic bug is bitin, then CAM is where it’s at with Horse Lords at 10:30, Holly Herndon at 11:30, and Matmos at 12:30. I just saw Matmos and Horse Lords a couple months ago, so I’ll probably skip out on this, but that shouldn’t tell you anything about their awesomeness, they’re both totally worth your time, especially if you’ve never seen Matmos before. Herndon is extra desirable though, her debut from last year Movement is still in rotation here, with some of the best contemporary composition mixed with sweet & sexy strange beats, it’s almost too much for a brain to handle.

Majical Cloudz goes on at 12 at The Hive. That new record is pretty cool in the slow dark catchy sorta way but I feel like it might be less inspiring live. Who knows. There’s also Foot Village closing out Slim’s at 12:30 and their bombastic shriek ‘n’ drums cacophony is hands down one of the best ways to end a fest.

So, pray tell, where are you gonna be?