More Metal Creeping In

I have been listening to a lot of metal lately from the large collection that Alex and I recently acquired. I haven’t yet gone through it all in depth though nor made any notes so that I can do a write-up. I’m kind of busy (or at least I should be) with prep for the show next month. Just to keep things going though, here is a taste.

Black metal legends Carpathian Forest. Have fun.

 

I also highly recommended Wolves in the Throne Room if you are a fan of SUNN0))), Randall Dunn, or anything in that musical realm. (There are some new SUNN0))) things coming down the line that will probably show up here in the near future.)

Here is a short description of Black Cascade taken directly from their bandcamp page:

Black Cascade is characterized by a heavy and powerful analog sound and a deft touch with songwriting and arrangement. The crumbling roar of decidedly old-school tube amps unite with layers of mossy analog synthesizer and cataclysmic percussion. Blazing and crystalline Metal riffs slowly collapse and shift into ritualistic dirges that invoke endless rain falling upon the ancient cedars of the pacific North West.

 

You can pick up a copy of the new WITTR album Celestite in a gate-fold clear vinyl format (Celestite is the instrumental companion piece to the recently released Celestial Lineage album.) along with a bunch of other cool stuff here:

http://www.wittr.com/products/

T-shirts are just $15, the vinyl is $25. Pretty sweet deal.

— JS

Bass Drum of Death

Hello all, I am excited to present a piece from our new friend Charles. He was gracious enough to donate his time and energy to write up a post for the club. I urge everyone to let him know how much you like it (even if you continue to completely ignore all of my posts.)

—Jeff


 

Being new here, I want to get something off my chest and it needs to be addressed. I am a self-proclaimed hipster (the first step to fixing any problem is admitting you have one; “Hi guys, my name is Charlie and I’m a hipster.”). OK, now that that is out of the way, let’s get into the music.

I’m a relatively new fan of BDoD, the Oxford, Mississippi based dirty garage rock band, but a fan nonetheless. Their name alone should have scared me away, being the hipster I am, but I gave them a listen and did not regret. I dig the lo-fi, do-it-yourself vibe they have. That vibe exists because that’s pretty much what they do. John Barnett basically said, “Hey, I’ve got a bass drum and a guitar and I want to make music. Let’s do this.”

It worked.

 

Ignore the bad video. It was 2008. Just listen.

 

Since starting in 2008, BDoD has released two EPs (Stain Stick Skin {2008} and High School Roaches {2010}) and two full-length albums with a third on the way (GB City {2011}, Bass Drum of Death {2013}, and Rip This due in October). I’m pretty excited to for it. Some bands are meant to change things up and try new sounds that still infuse a little of the early styles from their music, but BDoD is not one of those bands. Sure their music has gotten a little bit more complex, but not much, and quality has gone up, but that’s because of better recording. You won’t hear a song from them and not know it’s them. What you hear is what you get. There new single, Left for Dead, still has the same vibe as their early stuff.

 

 

It’s still grungy. It’s still aggressive. It’s still Bass Drum of Death (even if it’s more guitar driven). It’s still something you can listen to and do whatever you want. Want to take a road trip? Bass Drum of Death. Want to cook supper? Bass Drum of Death. Want to play volleyball with a monkey? Bass Drum of Death. OK maybe not the last one, but you get my point. It’s music that is unapologetically exactly what it is. It’s punk, garage rock. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less.

 

If you’re only going to listen to one song: Nerve Jamming.

 

If you get the chance to see them live, which is a strong possibility with a new tour happening right now, do it. If you get a chance to talk to them and tell them how good they are, don’t because Barnett already knows it. They put on a hell of a show though, so go see them. And pick up Rip This when it comes out in October.

 

HCJ


 

I took the liberty as editor, of adding the tour info for everyone as well as a preview of the self-titled album from last year. Enjoy, and as always, show your support and buy it if you like it. —Jeff

Shows

Sep. 04
The Basement
Nashville, TN

Sep. 05
40 Watt Club
Athens, GA

Sep. 09
Siberia
New Orleans, LA

Sep. 11
Spanish Moon
Baton Rouge, LA

Sep. 12
Bottletree Cafe
Birmingham, AL

Oct. 01
The Demo
St Louis, MO

Oct. 02
Subterranean
Chicago, IL

Oct. 03
Horseshoe Tavern
Toronto, ON

Oct. 05
Signal Kitchen
Burlington, VT

Oct. 06
The Middle East Upstairs
Cambridge, MA

Oct. 08
Santos Party House
New York, NY

Oct. 09
The Barbary
Philadelphia, PA

Oct. 12
Grey Eagle
Asheville, NC

Oct. 13
529
Atlanta, GA

Oct. 19
The Echo
Los Angeles, CA

Oct. 20
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA

Pain is Beauty

So, today is the one year anniversary of the release of Chelsea WolfePain Is Beauty, and to commemorate that she has released a new video for Kings.

She has also reduced the download price of the album on bandcamp to just $3.99! Three days only so get it now, it is one of my favorite releases of the last year, I highly recommend it. Just ignore all of the lame Lorde loving fake new goth girls that have latched on to her lately. (Oooh, I’m so witchy. I’m gonna play with my tarot cards and talk about the moon all the damn time.) It’s great for her sales, but is unfortunate for her image as a good artist.
I’m sorry if that offends anyone (not really) but in case you haven’t noticed already, I hate most people and I’m irritated by everything.
I am a very pleasant person.

 


 

I have some other exciting news, that might help to mitigate the bitterness that I just spewed above at half of the young female population of the world. I will be putting up some new posts by a guest writer who could possibly become part of the family here. This means that we will hopefully be getting posts at more regular intervals than the somewhat sporadic rate at which I have been releasing mine. I understand that he is an avid movie watcher like me, so we might also be adding a movie review section as well. I am getting a little ahead of myself here though.
Here’s to the future.

— JS

Warpaint (The Lost Posts: third and final)

Okay, here is the last post that I wrote up several months ago. I’m finally getting around to putting it up here.
I guess these young ladies are pretty popular now, so I doubt any of this will be new to many of you. I think I just read that Love Is To Die was featured on an episode of True Blood. I’ve never watched the show, but I know how fanatic some people are about it. Oh well, good for them.

This is totally unrelated, but any of you that might follow my IG account saw that Alex and I had an amazing record store bargain bin experience the other day and walked away with a huge stack of metal CD’s for less than a dollar a piece. Now when I say metal, I’m talking about real metal, not Metallica or any of that weird sing-songy new stuff that supposed metal fans are always listening to. Anyway, after I have had a thorough listen through all of them I will probably be writing up some stuff here for no one to read. (I know you read it Alex, but I think you are the only one.)

metal_detector

I have no idea where this is from, but it makes me giggle and is relevant to the above comments.


 

After waiting patiently for a new Warpaint release for so long, then very impatiently (The Fool was released in 2010), I got a little nervous about how a new album might sound. I feared the dreaded sophomore slump, plus the fact that there had been no news of a followup for so long was not giving me a lot of confidence in a new album, if one were to happen at all. Then they finally let out two official pre-release tracks from a new album, Biggy and Love Is To Die. With bated breath I listened to the aforementioned tracks, then hung my head in dismay. That’s it? I waited this long and this is it?

Don’t get me wrong the songs aren’t bad, I just think that I set my expectations far too high. When I first heard the Exquisite Corpse EP and the quickly following LP The Fool, I was excited, really excited. Unfortunately, years of listening and searching for new and lovely sounds creates a jaded ear. That is exactly why it filled me with such giddy anxiety (like waiting in line for a roller coaster) to listen to each song from the then newly discovered to me, Warpaint. I was so infatuated that I think I listened to the EP four times consecutively before I even considered putting something else on. Both the EP and LP stayed in fairly constant rotation at home and in the car for quite some time after that. The strange thing about those two releases is that in regard to the music, there isn’t exactly anything groundbreaking happening. There are in fact quite a few fairly obvious reference points, but not presented in such a manner as to make it feel like a rip-off, it’s quite the opposite. Instead the songs sound more like they have been constructed by musicians that truly love and appreciate their influences. When those influences shine through, rather than attempt to hide them, they are handled more as an homage to which the listeners can nod in appreciation along with them. But the handling is done with far more skill and far less kitsch than when people ham-handedly attempt to plaster their movies with references (read copies) to the movies they love and call it an homage, as happens so often with countless terrible horror movies. (I feared that others reading this might feel the same negative connotations from someone calling something an homage as much as I do. We aren’t talking about horror movies right now though, you don’t want to get me started on that or we’ll be here all day so I’ll get back to the point.) The songs are terribly catchy and sound as if they are songs that you have known and loved for years, yet you are hearing them for the first time. It was that good for me.

So I think you can understand my apprehension about listening to a new album, it couldn’t possibly create the same thing for me. Anyway, I got the new self-titled LP. While it cannot be for me what the first EP was, it is still quite good. I think they still have a bit of magic left in them, and maybe after getting the second album out of the way they can be relieved of some of that followup album tension (if they ever had it, I know I would. Lord knows, Jeff Buckley did.) When listened to as a whole, the album is far better than what the two singles suggested. I think one of the problems that I have with the album is not a fault with the songs themselves but with the production. It’s sometimes hard to put you finger on things like that, but if you put them side by side you can definitely hear the difference. The earlier recordings are more raw, befitting the songs, whereas this newer batch of recordings has been too polished which doesn’t work well for a non-technical band that obviously doesn’t have a lot of vocal training. It’s an unfortunate side effect of getting more studio money for big name producers I guess. For one thing, they’ve all but entirely lost the dark, airy, atmospheric 4ADness that was so prevalent on that first EP, and turned it into a Coldplay album. It’s good, but they’ve taken some of the steam out of it for me. Just listen to Bees or Elephants from the two previous releases, then listen to either of the singles for Warpaint, neither of the tracks from Warpaint are the standouts that either of those two previous tracks are.

Yes, that is Theresa Wayman, the bathtub suicide girl who kills herself over Sean Bateman in The Rules of Attraction.

Who knows maybe neither were yet ready for release, but I would have put out Drive or Son, the album closers, as singles before either of the ones that they did. Or maybe I’m just saying that because that is what is playing now as I am typing this.

Okay, so after scanning back through, I was definitely just saying that because it was what was playing, haha. I like them, but that doesn’t mean that they have the oomph and marketability that the single picking guy is looking for in a single. But I really do think that I would have chosen Hi in lieu of one of the two that were released, probably Biggy.

Enough of my blathering. Listen to it and form your own opinion.

If there is any confusion from that mess I just wrote, I am recommending Warpaint – S/T, I just can’t say it’s an essential listen. And who knows, if you are unfamiliar with them, then maybe it’s better to start here and work back to the older material. Just make sure you actually do get to the older material.

 

 

— JS


 

I’m throwing this in here just for fun because I am an eternal fan of Duran Duran and this song in particular, regardless of what anyone else may think of them.

Pyramids/Horseback and The Observatory

I’m kind of busy right now, so just listen to this and think of me.

 

 

As always, show your appreciation and support the artists when you can.

http://pyramids-hhr.bandcamp.com/

http://ujikaji.bandcamp.com/


 

Also, if you are in the Oklahoma City area, I am contributing a couple of small pieces to the SOCIETY’s third anniversary show. Alexandra has some stuff in there too. Come by and check out some arts and musics, it’s free.

 

Friday August 8th 7:00pm – 11:oopm @ the SOCIETY in the Plaza

1609 Blackwelder Ave. #4

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Until next time.

— JS

Benji (Lost Posts pt. 2)

I have left everything as it was when I first wrote this however many months ago that was. The portion at the end about William Schaff was somewhat time sensitive, but I wanted to leave it in anyway to bring attention to it even if the donations aren’t possible anymore. The links are probably still valid so you should check them out anyway.   — JS


I did something very stupid, actually I guess it is what I didn’t do that was stupid.

So as you might remember from the recent post about Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon, I discussed how I felt he has been maundering a bit musically and that I think everyone would really enjoy it if he would give us a bit more than the nylon string guitar and his vocals. He has proven repeatedly in the past that he is more than capable of it. Well, I also mentioned at that time, I think, that there was a new record slated to be released, Sun Kil MoonBenji. It has now been released, but at that time you could make pre-orders on Caldo Verde for the album on vinyl, which I think I might also have mentioned that you are as likely to find his vinyl at the record store as you are to find a unicorn with a doctorate in your guest bathroom. I had every intention of ordering it, I really did. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he will come play nearby again and I can buy the record there like I did with the last one. Not likely though.

You might be asking yourself why I would care so much if my love for him has been waning. As you might expect, or at least I would since I didn’t make that order, this album gives us much more and I have probably already listened to it more times than the last two albums combined. His material seems to be becoming progressively more autobiographical in a way that can be a little bit uncomfortable and/or painful at times, as if putting diary entries to music, but because nothing is omitted there are also moments of levity and passages about just living that keep it from being too oppressive. Mark definitely lives under the pall of a very strange cloud, although I think that he is more than a little like me in this regard, and he would likely be the first to admit that most of that darkness and pain is self-induced. The strangeness comes from the more than usual number of odd occurrences that have touched his life of which he sings on Benji. He is also more than aware of the incongruity of some of his beliefs and emotions as he sings of having a charmed life and being able to live without it in I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love and then later in I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same the lyrics touch on the depressing wisdom and introspection that only comes from growing older and closer to the end, which courses through all of the last half of the album. The album grows increasingly darker now as I am writing about it, and I am not ashamed to admit that it brings me to tears at least once every time I listen to it. In my defense and to mitigate some of the “wuss” thoughts going through your heads right now, I have only ever listened to it while I am alone, which is most of the time, and I probably have some emotional issues as evidenced by the fact that I am constantly disturbed by the dearth of real meaning in our lives and the inanity and pointlessness I see everywhere.
Whoa, lighten up man.
Okay. I’m alright now.

So the music, yes the music, I haven’t written a word about it yet. It has also progressed and has more of an openness to it, the performance is a little looser but lends itself well to the nature of the songs, like early Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen (Yes, Chris I know your feelings about those two. I still say you are wrong.) In more contemporary circles it has reminiscences of Will Sheff, although a little more in the lyrical content and vocal style than the music, since as I’ve pointed out repeatedly Mark’s music has grown less complicated and layered in these last few releases, much unlike most of Okkervil River’s output. He did mix it up a bit on this one though, both with the music and the vocals, instead of the typical echoey effect that you might find on the vocals, he does some layering where he accompanies himself. There is even some brass in the closing track, which is unusual for him.

Overall it is a slightly new direction for him, while retaining his recognizable style. There is a moderately lighter feel to it, even in the cover art that still looks like a Red House Painters, Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon cover, but this time it’s in full color which is a departure. Maybe this new perspective will provide us with a new and exciting chapter like what Michael Gira, despite what some detractors have said about him, has continued to do with his musical career.

In a somewhat related topic, William Schaff (not the same guy as Will Sheff), the artist that has provided the beautiful artwork for nearly every Okkervil River release is struggling to keep his home from being foreclosed. As a visual artist I fully understand how difficult it is being continually broke and unable to function without the almost constant support of some very generous people in your life. So if you find that you have a little extra, please consider giving a little to support him or visual artists in general (that means me.)

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hold-down-the-fort-saving-fort-foreclosure

http://www.willsheff.com

There are some really great gifts you can get for making a very modest donation.
This might have to be my next step, haha.

— JS

Sophiebear and Catnip Cassettes

This is marginally related to what I am doing here but I thought I would post something a little more lighthearted than the usual fare. When I asked why no one ever wants to comment, I was informed that I can come off as intensely opinionated and maybe less than inviting of viewer participation.

So, I am sorry.

I actually would really quite enjoy a bit of discussion here, instead of feeling like I am just talking to myself like a crazy person.


Alex got some toys for the kids from the lovely people at toobadmice.

catnip-cassette

cat-cassette-back catnip-cassette-full   sophie-playkitty-cassettesophie-cassettepooped-kitty

You can visit them and get your own handmade organic kitty toys at:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/toobadmice

Sophie had a good time with her cassette. She could smell it as soon as I got in the door with it and made it nearly impossible to get those pictures of it without her silly nose in there trying to grab the package.

LP-helper-cat

She also likes to help pick out the records.

 

 

 

Record Rip-offs & Wax Trax Dance Parties: AKA Your Mind Belongs To The State (The lost posts pt.1)

I’ve noticed a very alarming trend. Hopefully I am just having really bad luck, but of the last ten or so vinyl purchases I have made, all new, none used, only one of them came with a download certificate. It’s bad enough that I used to be able to purchase records for, oh I don’t know, certainly not what is being asked for them now, but now I am not to be given my rightful download for an album purchase as well? These guys are like drug dealers, telling you ‘hey, come buy this vinyl please, we’ll give you a digital copy with it, pleeease.’ Now that they’ve given everybody a taste, and for whatever reason, buying vinyl has amassed widespread appeal like it is a new thing or something, all the prices are going up in ridiculous increments as well as these pushers getting all Orwellian on us.

“Here’s the vinyl you must have. We have now decreased the price to $34.99 (previously $20 but all records have been committed to memory holes) for your pleasure.”

“…and the download?”

“There was never a download comrade.” (As he calls in your thoughtcrime.)

“Thank you INGSOC” (I’m already dead.)

Now I find myself shaking my head in disgust when I catch myself saying things like, “Hey, this is only $15. That’s cheap.” When compared with the preponderance of them going for well over $20 or even $30 for a single release, and it’s not unheard of for some of them to be as high as $50, a fifteen dollar album is cheap I suppose. Anyway, I will try to be happy despite the increasing prices, that due to the growing popularity of vinyl that now even old releases that were hard to come by or never saw a vinyl release at all, are becoming more widely available. Take for instance SlowdiveSouvlaki, I was very excited to find this recently, but to my dismay it was thirty-five dollars! This has gotten more than a little out of hand in my opinion. I reluctantly purchased it because, well, I really wanted it. After getting home with it and tearing into my purchase I found myself once again empty-handed where a download was concerned. Alex just laughed at me while retrieving the download certificates from her purchases. Thanks Alex.

Now that I have vented my spleen about something that I clearly paid for willingly, I can write about something hopefully less spiteful with the caveat that it is entirely possible that I will relapse into complaining. I have a predisposition toward seeing the world as an execrable heap. I just put on my happy face for you guys.


 

So, while on the same record store excursion that robbed and confounded me, I found some wonderful little gems in the new arrivals used bin. Apparently someone had dumped off some of their old DJ vinyl to my pleasure. Amidst the dust and crap records I found Meat Beat ManifestoStrap Down 12″ the sound defence[sic] policy remix (the original Sweatbox release from 1988.)

This is pretty cool since as far as I can tell it isn’t really on any of the proper releases that I have other than my old Wax Trax Storm The Studio double 33 12″ (which happens to still have the old mail order sheet listing all of the vinyl LPs for $8 and 12″ singles for $5! If only I could still order from it.) and in yet another incarnation on Armed Audio Warfare as Give Your Body Its Freedom.

Happily after listening to all of them again recently, they are all definitely different and I think I prefer the Sweatbox single version that I just got. Yay me!


 

Something else that I grabbed out of the bin, and this is funny because I just wrote about them in the Soap&Skin post, is Front 242Headhunter v1.0 b/w Welcome to Paradise v1.0.

“I’m looking for this man to sell him to other man”

Hahaha, you can’t beat that. Now if only I could find the Bigod 20 single for The Bog with Jean-Luc De Meyer of Front 242 lending his voice to the track. They’re almost a pair, they fit together so well. Both are dance-floor favorites that you are sure to hear if you ever find yourself in the darker recesses of the dance clubs of 1989. If you are confused as to how you should move to the music you can either do some ‘dodge the bats’ moves or, and this is more appropriate for both of these tracks, the militant stomping in place to the beat dance. Now that you are EBM ready, put on something black and let’s hit the floor! Just leave the cloves at home, I will not tolerate those things.


 

Another single, also from the late 80s, that I got was Severed HeadsHot With Fleas.

While not my favorite track by Mr. Ellard, I quite enjoy them and will always pick up a Severed Heads single when I happen upon one. (Apparently he is of the opinion that making electronic music has become far too easy, unlike when they started in the 70s, and is focusing most of his attention into making video games. I am inclined to agree with him.)

That video has absolutely nothing to do with the single that I purchased, but it is one of my favored Severed Heads songs. It’s from the 1994 album Gigapus, I think I was one of about five people who purchased the album. If you are interested there is a Sevcom bandcamp website with almost all of this stuff and Tom Ellard solo. Most of the albums can be yours for just $5 US and a few of them are ‘name your price.’ I am definitely going to be getting a few of them. I pretty much burned up my cassette copies of Come Visit The Big Bigot and Rotund For Success back when I could fill up my little red Geo Metro for six dollars and then drive all over the country avoiding life. I really miss that car. While I’m at it, I really miss gasoline for under a dollar too. The tracks Harold and Cindy Hospital, Legion, and Propellor/FM Stations Blow Up in particular were my jam. Check them out here:

You should go to the site and look around. I particularly enjoy Tom’s commentary on each of the albums.


 

 

I also picked up the Chris + Cosey – Obsession 12″ single (Play it again Sam Records.) The artwork is only mildly NSFW. I think you’ll be okay.

This is not an official video, there probably isn’t one. This is just some video that someone has added to the music track, but it is probably more entertaining than staring at an image of the album cover, that was the other option. Plus it’s very weird and kind of fitting, sort of misogynist, but fitting. It’s actually far more NSFW than the artwork. Oh well.

For anyone unaware of this, Chris + Cosey (Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti) were a couple of the somewhat lesser known members of Throbbing Gristle, of which other members went on to form Psychic TV (Genesis P’Orridge) and COIL (Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.) I don’t have much from Chris + Cosey. I do have a Carter Tutti (basically the same thing with a different name) recording from a live radio show in 2004 that I think I enjoy more than any studio releases I’ve yet heard. This has no direct relation to the previous statement other than Cosey’s involvement but, Mrs. Tutti lends her vocals to one of the more haunting versions of Idumæa on Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky, although you don’t get to the Idumæa portion of the song until around the nine minute mark. It’s very dark, I like it a lot.


 

I have really got to make a list of what I own to prevent any unnecessary duplications from such compulsive purchases as to which I alluded in the Severed Heads section above, and looking at all of these singles has me thinking about it. It has happened more than once that I got home to find that the vinyl I just got, I already owned. Although, if I might be allowed to complain a bit more, I used to intentionally make duplicate purchases back when people didn’t buy records like they do now. During this time frame I would occasionally go to shops like Starship Records, which appeared from the copious overstock to be the graveyard of vinyl deemed no longer useful and therefore culled from the ever evolving DJ stacks, to peruse the tombs. It was rare that I ever paid more than a dollar or two for any of it and if I would happen upon something that I already owned and knew to be good, I would most often purchase it since the prices were so low, for the purpose of handing it over to a well deserving friend or someone desirous of it and not having the fortune of coming across it as I had. I guess that that is not so much complaining as it is lamenting a past never again to be. (Damn kids. Back in my day… hahaha)

Oh, I didn’t mention this before, but it is relevant. I had to pay about five dollars for every one of those singles. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering I could have bought the same thing only a year or two ago and I know this for a fact because I did in fact purchase several very similar releases at the same location, for maybe a dollar or two at that time, it’s obvious that the logic that the stores are having to pay more for the new releases and therefore having then to pass that expense on to the consumer isn’t wholly true and they are very clearly taking advantage of the growing appeal of vinyl to demand more for items that aren’t costing them any more to acquire than before. Those were the cheap ones. There was a Revolting Cocks single that I wanted, but it was $9. I just couldn’t do it, not for an old 12″ single. (I eventually picked it up on a later trip. I just couldn’t help myself.) I have one or two other Revco singles, probably purchased at Starship, that I likely got for a dollar. Go figure. I think that in the past most sellers would almost just give it away just to get it out of the way, and very few people really wanted it, so they were only asking a dollar or so because it was better than just slapping ‘FREE’ on it while having nearly the same effect. I know that some particular items are slightly more valuable, but having seen the change I can clearly tell that there is definitely a blanket increase that is happening now not based on any research toward an item’s collector’s value.

Oh well, I have caviled enough about this. It’s just the going rate now.

Yes, I know that I basically just referred to my own complaint as trivial— It is. I’m happy that there is new life in the record store market that I thought was all but extinct only a short while ago. I do understand that the records now are of a higher quality than they used to be, most on 180 gram vinyl, as well as a lot of gatefolds and fancy deluxe packaging. That’s all cool, but forty and fifty dollars a piece for individual releases is a bit extravagant. What is likely to happen is that the prices might begin to soften a bit if they find that their audience, like me, doesn’t feel the marked increase is warranted, or simply begins buying much less than we did before. We do all still have other avenues for acquiring the music, it’s why the record stores started going down the tank in the first place. And as far as the downloads are concerned, they should be included period, there is no defensible excuse for that.

We could all take yet another step back and actually start using tapes again, this is the Cassette Club after all. I’m sure there are plenty of hipster d-bags out there that are doing it anyway for other reasons (I don’t think I can possibly be that cool though.) So if you are that cool (read: hipster d-bag), send me your blank tapes and Omnibot will make a mix for you, he’s good at that, he’s from the eighties it’s all he understands.

max-omnibot-headroom

But as for now this means that all of you are going to need to start sending money to me so that I can afford to continue buying the musics to type about to you here.

I will take monetary donations of any size, or records. Whatever works.

 

As always, buy the music when you can, but enjoy it either way, it’s why we have it.

 

— JS

The psychedelic ghosts of black metal

I was totally full of lies last time, and for that I must apologize. I have neglected my blog duties for all of my five or six faithful followers.
Seriously though, I did get a new computer but I still don’t have internet access or the files from my dead computer. (update: I just retrieved the files from the old computer) Oh well, I will push on without it. I mean it this time.

Okay, so I picked up a copy of SUNNO))) & UlverTerrestrials on Southern Lord vinyl. I recommend getting it, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up of finding a vinyl copy unless you already have it, not cheaply anyway. Sorry. According to the little bit of info on the back cover (there are no interior liner notes) Terrestrials was conceived between 2008-2012, presumably in-between working on their individual releases and many side projects. Stephen O’Malley is involved in another release separate from SUNNO))) that I also acquired, I’ll get to it later. So that’s about it for the back cover other than a listing of names of those involved, a transcript of the few lyrics used on Eternal Return, and a short description of the cover image which is kind of cool. It is a portrait of the sun in the wavelength of hydrogen alpha light (656.3 nm in the deep red) taken on June 10, 2012.
Do not be confused, this is not metal of any sort, black or otherwise, despite being created in Norway and both bands being associated with that arena of sound. I use the word sound, because I think that the preponderance of people have a definition of music that fits only a portion of musical output, but I will refrain from getting off on a tangent about that as I am so prone to do in my, what some might sometimes call turgid, ramblings. (Nathan would probably say that the very use of the word turgid proves the point.) Black metal is an oft overlooked sub category too readily dismissed by most because of the corpse paint theatrics and associations to murders and church burnings previously carried out by just a few members of this small community and their sycophantic devotees. Which for most of them being overlooked is just fine. People want to become a part of a subculture for a reason, and it certainly is not to fit in with the rest of society. I would like to stress that in areas such as this genre of metal that there are many musicians that have felt too confined by it’s murky and far too shallow depths. These artists have forged onward into new sonic landscapes, Ulver is one of those bands. We have a need to categorize things in our attempts to understand them and draw connections, and in most cases this is fine and even preferable. But the unavoidable drawback of this process is that evolving sounds suffer the fate of being lumped in with a group simply because a category does not exist for which they are truly suited and those lines of connections end up being chains. So you can clearly understand why someone would not want to be permanently yoked to a moniker with such negative connotations which only functions to their detriment. (like “punk” music – I apologize to all of you that enjoy punk music, but it is to me unlistenable crap. I will not be swayed.) Until some new category can be established, accepted, and put into wide usage, (like the term post-punk) some of these guys are stuck with that albatross, black metal. So we’ve fully established that this isn’t black metal. Good, now we can move along.

I assume that anyone bothering to read this has probably expanded their musical palette enough that I won’t need to go into great detail about the music, nor will they be totally offended if I just say it’s good, only to then listen to it and have their ears bleed in response because they are only acclimated to listening to Bieber all day. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to listen to Bieber all day that is your choice, it’s just not mine.

The sound of this release is more akin to Ulver than SUNNO))) if you are familiar with both of them. It is more orchestral and atmospheric with just a few brief moments of that warbling low end crush humming through the horns of Let There Be Light, but without the oppressiveness of The Grimmrobe Demos, and far more melodic. The atmospheric quality of it along with the very minor use of vocals, imbues it with a sort of soundtrack feel. As I am listening to it right now, it is reminding me somewhat of the more drone laden portions of GYBE! F# A# Infinity. I’m sure that that is a reference to which most people can relate.

While I am on the subject of soundtracks, kind of, the other Stephen O’Malley related album that I picked up is Ambarchi O’Malley DunnShade Theme From Kairos. Stephen O’Malley as I have already mentioned, is a member of SUNNO))), Oren Ambarchi while not a member, is a regular collaborator and is often involved in live performances with SUNNO))). Randall Dunn is a producer and sound engineer that has worked with many musicians including SUNNO))) and fellow noise makers Earth and Boris. As a musician he is a founding member of the group Master Musicians of Bukkake, a truly horrible name, I know.

http://alexisds.com/

The story behind this release is that the music was created for raw footage of Alexis Destoop’s film Kairos. Now whether intentional or not, Destoop’s take is that this allows for “a blurring of the line between diegetic and non-diegetic sound and a questioning of the intricate relationship between music and the creation of a fictitious universe.” This really sounds to me like it might just be some of the art school bs that they teach you to spout off when asked the rationale behind something that you’ve done that in reality had no predetermined reasoning behind it. Considering that the film’s premise is that an apocalyptic event called the Great Temporal Catastrophe has brought an end to linear time, it seems more than apropriate to, after the fact, attach meaning to something that in all probability was done out of sheer necessity based on the time constraints of the parties involved rather than actual artistic purposes. Either way, it’s an intriguing concept and maybe it’s a really good film or it could just be another Koyaanisqatsi. I’m not saying that Koyaanisqatsi is a bad film, it’s just one of those things that you can’t really enjoy for an hour and a half unless you are really high or have convinced yourself that it is high art and deserves to be patiently and reverently viewed to accumulate your pretentious points. I would personally much rather waste my time on Fulci’s City of the Living Dead (aka Gates of Hell) or The Beyond (aka Seven Doors of Death) to accumulate points for my horror fan merit badges. Although it has long been a dream of mine to be able to create an intelligent artistic horror film. I’ll just keep dreaming I suppose, but in the meantime, somebody seriously needs to take the cameras away from all of the vapid Korn listening morons that seem to be the only ones dedicated to making horror films anymore. Either that or someone needs to put a bullet in the head of whichever dolt it is at Lionsgate that keeps distributing all of this crap. It used to be that you could kind of have a sense of what you were going to be subjected to based on the distributor and possibly the artwork, but that is long since a thing of the past. Now the artwork has been homogenized into a lackluster mess of David Carson grunge style Photoshopped nonsense, but even that is giving it too much credit; David Carson was original in his time and these idiots wouldn’t even be on par with his worst work on their very best day. And since it is all the same jokers making the artwork for all of this stuff, even the really good films (a rarity these days I’ll admit) are camouflaged with this same sad cover art making it impossible to discern a straight to video release shot on someone’s handheld in their backyard from a top-notch French film like Room of Death (La Chambre des Morts.) At least Room of Death is a Canal+ and IFC film, which to me still holds some clout unlike the aforementioned Lionsgate, so that beyond the stupid cover art I was able to look at the back and see that it might be at least watchable before I picked it up.

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Look at that crappy US cover versus the one of the French versions. Why would you do that?

Well, I’ve gotten way off the point. I told you I’m prone to doing that especially if you get me on the subject of movies. I just watched two films that perfectly encapsulate the exact problem that I have been writing about here, maybe I will do another post and expound on that since I don’t feel I have to be exclusive to music here.
Back on point, Shade Themes from Kairos is probably my favorite of the two albums although I still really enjoy Terrestrials. You can get the vinyl of Shade Theme from Drag City for a somewhat modest $25 for a gatefold double LP and I believe Terrestrials is still available from Southern Lord in an mp3 or CD format. You might get lucky and find a vinyl copy at your local record shop though if you hurry. I know the one I got mine from still had a copy the last time I was there although I informed the person that I was shopping with that they should buy it, and they did. So don’t ask me where I got it because you won’t find it there anymore. Oh, there is also a bandcamp site from which to buy the SUNNO))) & Ulver album, that’s from where the above link came.

Yay! Bandcamp!

http://sunnulversl.bandcamp.com/

Since, we are on a somewhat similar topic, there is yet another Nordvargr release that everyone needs. I’m sorry if it seems like I am constantly inundating you guys with Nordvargr stuff, but I really like it. In addition, this is an EP of unreleased and re-worked material from For the Blood is the Life which is one of my absolute favorite Nordvargr releases. Go get it.

Later

— JS