Monday, 27 December 2010

boxing day thread

It's not still boxing day, but that's what the thread is called. weekly stats; here y'go.

Give & Receive

On my own in the office the last few days of this week, felt really decadent, gave me loads of time to listen to music and it mostly turned out to be Bedroom Databanks 1-4.   Tried to bit of bit of xmas spirit into the mix but I can't do it all day.  It is next to IMPOSSIBLE to find good versions of songs unless I'm looking in all the wrong places.  Got the Phil Spector album, obvs and Low's Christmas is just off the edge of this 10.

Bonus fact: I did not buy anyone CDs as presents this year, nor did I get any. First year ever.

01. Atlas Sound - 106
02. The Young – 61
03. Lower Dens - 55
04. Ghost Animal - 40           
05. Golau Glau - 35
06. Agalloch -26
07. Autre Ne Veut - 20
08. Perfume Genius - 18
09. Mark McGuire
10. The Rainbow Collections – 15

02 – Watch this band next year; Mexican Summer's next level release.
04 – Dirty distorted 7 warped high functioning pop music. Kind of Christmassy in that it reminds me of Spector's densest walls of sound.
05 – Christmas ep is lovely,  Christmas mixes are aces too.
06 – Ice magic
10 – Classic childrens songs slightly reworked – as refreshing as it is annoying - and well arranged with loads of cool instruments and choirs.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

DOWNLOAD: Klaxons - Landmarks of Lunacy E.P

For one day only, the pioneers of the genre that must not be named have put up a free ep of outtakes from the Myths of the Near Future session of 2008. Pretty cool stuff.


Landmarks of Lunacy E.P


There are periods of time that we have spent together as a band that the only suitable word that comes close to describing them is "Magical" . The three nocturnal weeks spent at Black Box studio in 2008 under the loving guidance of James Ford was undeniably the point where the magic was peaking.

Tales of "Talking Dogs" , " A Rotten Apple named Mr Tabernacle " , "The Grid" , "Numerous Synchronic and Celestial Moments" and "Rejection" followed but what has remained hidden until this day is the music . Sometimes the only way to let a story release it's full power and potential is to offer it up to the universe.

So here it is - "Landmarks of Lunacy". It's time to let the music do the talking.

Download the 'Landmarks of Lunacy EP' HERE.

Merry Christmas

Love Klaxons


Friday, 24 December 2010

Negative Pegasus - For Life (pseudo nippon rmx)

Here's two versions of the same song for you, both pretty great in their own ways, and each way being in the opposite direction.  Fittingly for a band called Negative Pegasus, the guitars give great whinney, pulled back hard with the bit in their teeth, rearing up kicking out.  Heroically poised.  They're a two piece from Brighton with four tracks over on their Bandcamp page, each one is a furiously pent up little slice of edgy psych rock that you should check out immediately. Yes it's Christmas Eve, even more reason to treat yourself.  Sling back that morning sherry and imbibe a healthy dose shot of Psychic Energy.

The remix, by the equally heroic and no less elegantly poised Pseudo Nippon is, as he says himself "a little xmas-y, got that tinkle tinkle vibe so get your slippers on and put your rubber duck on your head."

Damn straight.

Here's the before and after shots.



NFR Does Xmas: Maccabees - Walking In the Air

Today's seasonal treat for you is this one from Brighton's finest; The Maccabees with their cover version of Walking In The Air from the The Snowman that they did for Channel 4's On Track with Seat live series.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

STREAM: †‡† - Ritualz

This reached it's download limit of 100 almost immediately earlier today, and luckily for everyone who grabbed it they've got a real piece of art in their hands. Unfortunately the rest of us will just have to stream it to be able to hear it, and that's a bit of a pisser because this one I'm going to come back to as much as album tracks Kvltstep and San Marino. †‡† / Ritualzzz / Ritualz (not quite sure what the preference is) has taken the WitchHouse sound he helped set up, and tweaked it ever so subtly onto the next solar plane; a beautifully absorbing slice of speedball sideway sliding drugginess; neither an up or a down just a high, and whichever way you take that is entirely of the listeners own making.

Also freshly exhumed today is a remix of Health's In Violet - The noisy clatter of the original smoothed out, to an extent, and worth it just for the juddering finish as the clapped out rescrub surges to its climax:

True Womanhood - The Grey Man

True Womanhood
Grey Man

The last song True Womanhood released was called Nite Prowlers and it did just that, slinking along under cover of darkness it flowed along a similar earthen or subterranean track; deviant rhythms twisted and bent off course just as they begin to settle into themselves; a skewed pop sensibility similar to bands like Blank Dogs, Ghost Animal and others proponents of this years evolution in no-fi skuzz and noize.  This new one Grey Man, probably won't have you bleeding from the eyes in response, but it does get more fucked up as it goes deeper into itself, starting off with some probing bell chimes that could go in any direction; ominous clangs and a well oiled beat lock in then the vocals start and begin to draw things back inside, inverting the momentum of the track by shifting focus onto their inverted Thom York sighing -drawled strung out vowels mutating in the wake of the grim rhythm ploughing forward - starting that melting slide of the music that starts to blur all the clean lines that preceeded it and pull the final moments of the track down on top of itself.  Interesting self destructive stuff.

  The Grey Man by truewomanhood

NFR Does Xmas: Atlas Sound - Artificial Snow

Bradford Cox releases MORE awesome Atlas Sound material on his blog and it's a Christnmas song! He's made five different vesions available, each one diffent enough to warrant your attention.  Great stuff, as ever, and another chance to get over to his blog and get those four brilliant Bedroom Databank albums if you haven't already.


1. Artificial Snow (Notown Version)
2. Artificial Snow (Bedroom Version)
3. Artificial Snow (Rhythm Mix)
4. Artificial Snow (No Drums Mix)
5. Artificial Snow (Campfire Metallophone Version)

Work tapes for a song I made for my roommate David's annual Christmas compilation. Lockett also made a song, as well as David and Colin's band Hollow Stars and a bunch of other rad people. I think David is releasing it in the next few days.

Instrumentation: Electric Bass and Jazzmaster through Fender Super Reverb, Drum Kit, Maracas, Weird African Tambourine, Xylophone, Metallophone, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Moog Rogue Synthesizer, Vocals

Recorded on Tascam DP-08 Portable Eight Track

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Video: Food Pyramid - Cruisin

Meditative KrautKlang from Minneaoplis. I give you; Food Pyramid Pretty cool, huh?

NFR Does Xmas: When a Train Hits A Truck - Stay

Today's Christmas song is not so pretty, breaking away from all that. This one's purely for fun, and it;s one of those non-christmas Christmas songs from your favourite East End boy band - East 17; covered in fine style by When A Train Hits A Truck.

VIDEO: Nothing To Fear

Animated short from Simon FA Russell, backed by the music of Ólafur Arnalds with sound effects and further music by Ben Ash of Candle Music.  It's the music of Arnalds that drew me to this, and it serves as a great, haunting foil for the 1984 style industrial de-humanising automation of the people in the main thrust of the story. The drawing is beautiful, hand drawn, nicely weighted shading, scratchy black and white. I like it a lot.

VIDEO: †‡† - ▲

Video for one of the best tracks from one of the finest witch house acts of the year: †‡†.  Diorected by Petit Pistolette it's a refreshing break from the de Xam dominated visuals that usually accompany anything of this genre, and the lo-res graininess of the film suits the low contrast bleakness of the track, which in spite of itself strives and succeeds at achieving a kind of slo motion euphoria. This one's a keeper.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

NFR Does Xmas: Beach House - I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun

This did the rounds last week, but that's no reason not to give it to you again today. It's really pretty.  Todays Christmas song for you; Beach House - I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun

DOWNLOAD: Vortex Rikers - O (Dream Of Each Other) Feat. GR†LLGR†LL

German dark-ambient/witch house soundscapists Vortex Rikers have joined up with the US slash/chop&screwer GR†LLGR†LL to bring a slice of haunted vocal ectoplasm to float through your speakers.  There's a heavy feel of Fever Ray about this, something in the way the vocals melt into the swelling synth hums really brings that looming cover art character to mind; the track summoning the same controlled power as that spinning forcefield/energy beam she's holding between her hands.

VIDEO: Demdike Stare - Hashishan Chant

Video for a track of one of the albums of the year - The best tryptich of the year, for certain; Demdike Stare's Hashishan Chant from Voices of Dust.  This eerily freaky video was produced by Jonny Redman who runs the lovelockandload European cult movies website. The trilogy will be released on triple CD as Tryptych, out January 2011 on Modern Love

Monday, 20 December 2010

NFR Does Xmas: Golau Glau - Myrrh & Myth

Golau Glau
Myrrh & Myth


To make up for the ultra violence of the UKBMW I am counterbalancing it with a week of festive songs; just one a day, let's not go overboard. Having a child is definitely adding new meaning to Christmas and he's two now so he really gets that there's an occasion to be had and he's up for it so this is as much for him as it is for you, or rather if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be doing this!

I'm starting off with a full free album download from the wonderful Golau Glau, released on Pin Factory records. If this doesn't bring to mind the most romantic, wintery and twinkly festive vista for you then nothing will.  There are six songs and a remix in the album and the download also has the video for Yew in it. They have videos for all the songs from the ep on their Vimeo page HERE.

My choice for the Christmas song for you is their cover of the traditional hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. Much more beautifully sung than the inchoate mumbling that passing for carol singing in most church services.

DOWNLOAD: AMDISCS & BEKO End of Year Double Split

AMDISCS & BEKO End of Year Double Split



This special festive mega-comp features 48 tracks from artists involved with two of the years' most consistently inspiring labels; AMDISCS and BEKO. If you get this, along with Mishka's GraveWave comp you'll own a huge slice of the year's most interesting music - 2010; the year something happened.  This isn't all witchyhouse/hypnogogia or whatever; both these labels take ina lot more than that, an anyone who has downloaded just a few releases from either of them will be able to tell you how on point they both are as visionary labels.

Feast your eyes on the artists this bumper set includes, in no particular order:

Jef  Barbara, C V L T S, WILD EYES, LIBRARIES, Catamaran, DannielRadall,  Wools, Golden Axe feat. Princess Chelsea, Keep Shelly in Athens, Luke  Chrisinger, Police Academy 6 + unouomedude, Kodak To Graphe, Port City,  Courtship, M∆S▲C∆RA feat. The Present Moment, Mellow Grave, Λ, Dream  Boat feat. Last Kiss, BL§§D ØU†, Elekseveneks, WALSH, Teams, Bad  Karaoke, Craig Cruiser, every, Ra Cailum, Monroeville Music Center,  Medallion, Chrome Wings, LORD BOYD, Star Slinger, Young Adults, Pariah  Carey, mediafired, Ghost Animal, Spent Man, Chat Logs…

In their own words:


Dear friends we end this year with precious compilation that is being released on French label Beko.
Featured are 48 songs by various artists that we admire. the compilation is for free & beyond any calculable value.
 All of the artists featured, conjure up the pale light from the deep within our souls. Occult related sounds call down the spirits of future tense vernacular. enjoy the curved moon’s waning rays, and marry xmas to all of you.

From BEKO:

This compilation amalgamates artists that can be found on previous AMDISCS  releases as well exclusive upcoming stuff and marks directionz we set  to follow_ all of the artists featured, conjure up the pale light from  the deep within our souls_ occult related sounds call down the spirits  of future tense vernacular_ let thee enjoy the curved moon's waning rays  and marry XMAS_ thanks to all of the lunar-chaste artists_ AMDISCS:Futures Reserve Label

STREAM: James Ferraro - iAsia 2 Raver

Here's a new track from hypnogogic American hero James Ferraro. If you're cold at all the heat off this should melt away any frost bitten ends. Here's over half an hour of freeflowing solar shimmer, bounced about by beats, sucked through wormholes and buffetted by cosmic winds.  The piece is called iAsia 2 Raver, made up of seven parts then given a further title:

Digital Hair Gel Ravers


Sunday, 19 December 2010 thread before Christmas.

Guess this means these are my Christmas number ones; so here's to Hear Hums!  Standard Sunday procedure, stats cross pollination:

sixteen shades of

01. Hear Hums - 66
02. Autre Ne Veut - 49
03. Visionair - 40
04. Golau Glau - 38
05. Kohwi - 36
06. Fujiya & Miyagi - 33
07. Agalloch - 29
08. The Besnard Lakes - 26
09. Braids - 25
10. Mark McGuire - 24
10. Winter Drones – 24

1 – Frenzied percussive out-of-bodying and ambient noise like Here Comes the Indian AC. Free download or cassette in the new year on Get Off The Coast's label. Lynx:
2 – A month of repeated laying and still so very very very very very very very very amazing
3 – Sleek new cosmic electro psych, for fans of Solar Bears – read my blog bit here:
4 – Beautiful free Christmas album released this week. Their version of O Come O Come Emmanuel is lovely.
5 – 'nother free download which I really love. Similar to Grasscut; vintage steampunk acoustic psych glitch....?
6 – New album out in January. Promo and videos doing the rounds now. Maybe even better than the likes of Collarbone? Maybe. If the world is ready for oblique kraut electro, now is their time.
7 – Transcendental Black Metal at its most profound.
8 – Just got the Roaring Night. Really nice.
9 – Album coming soon into 2011, it;s going to be a winner. File under that Is grunge coming back thread. It's coming back, but with style.
10a – The man is a genuis.
10b – Lead guy from Hush Arbors' new band – gauzy, aggressive swirly storm riding showgaze. Has the weirdest set of related artists on

Track of the week:

It's from months ago, I've been listening to it for a while but it still makes it for this week. It's called ACIDBATHORY. It should be TOTW every week just for that:

Saturday, 18 December 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart

I don't normally post about the deaths of musicians; The last time was Jack Rose almost a year ago, because that was such a shock, and I was nearly moved enough by her death to write about Ari Up, but I don't feel as though I can let the Captain's passing go unmarked. Even though his music is surely the creation of a man understanding the finity of life it's still sad to hear that he died. The song above taking on a whole new meaning and poignancy, if it wasn't already there in the first place.

Of course I first heard Captain Beefheart at university, Electricity was the first song I heard and it claimed me immediately then the rest of Safe as Milk followed right on the heels of that. From there, I ate up Bat Chain Puller, The Spotlight Kid, and Ice Cream For Crow, consciously avoiding the big one.  Starting on Trout Mask Replica was something of a self appointed initiation ceremony into becoming a proper muso (or thereabouts). At first it was something of a dare to be subjected to it, but all that myth around it being an impossible listen just didn't materialise; it was a genuinely revelatory experience that was wholly enjoyable. Later listens totally blown out on trips probably wouldn't have met with Don's approval, but I maintain they helped me understand him and his music further, opened doors deeper into it and enhanced my appreciation of it. It took hallucinogenics to get me to the same state as his sober consciousness.

Second favourite Beefheart moment - the song Captain's Holiday on Bluejeans and Moonbeams.  It's some backing singers trilling "Oooh, Captain captain"; The Captain's not there, he's on holiday.

Things you can do, other than breaking out any of his records, to celebrate his life is take heed of these two things:  Read the ten solid gold commandments he gave to aspiring guitarists on WFMU last year, and Watch an awesome interview with Letterman from a few years ago.

Rest in Peace Don, you've earned it.

Friday, 17 December 2010

FFFF: Purling Hiss - Passenger Queen

This week's Fast and Furious Friday Feature comes from Purling Hiss, with a new video for Passenger Queen off their/his (it's the solo work of Michael Polizze of Birds of Maya).  Released a couple of albums this year, one slightly more ferocious and blown out than the other. You'd be wrong to think this was off the harder one, and that's why I've got it blasting you into Friday afternoon. 

VIDEO: Fujiya & Miyagi - Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue

Brighton's most high profile Japan-obsessed electronic Kraut trio Fujiya & Miyagi (??...yes...they've done it all deliberately) release their new album Ventriloquizzing in January on Full Time Hobby and YepRoc.  They've teamed up with directors Bert & Bertie to create a little teaser for the album, above, and a video for Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue starring actor Philip Zimmerman below.  Don't watch either if you're a pupaphobe...unless it's too late.

This track's got a bit of a glam stomp to the guitars in the intro, a theme that gets smoothed out a bit as the track progresses but that's a kind of rhythmic pulse they've always had in past hits like Collarbone.  It's a good sign for the forthcoming album, keeping all the clean sleek futurist contours of the past and changing little of a blueprint that was addictive enough already. Colour me psyched.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

DOWNLOAD: Hear Hums - Psyche Cycles

Hear Hums
Psyche Cycles

Hear Hums is an experimental audio-visual group from West Palm Beach, Florida.  Following quick on the heels of their debut Notions Shift at Tryptamine Bay they've released another cacophanous swathe of deeply trippy heavily Animal Collective influenced rhythm and noise tracks on their new album, Psyche Cycles, to be released on December 21st through Crash Symbols - the cassette label of Get Off The Coastmediafire or the label's Bandcamp. blog. Generously, they've offered it up for free at both

This album draws the same allusionary parallel to it's environment that I got from ...Tryptamine Bay; Soaked through with fierce sun and salty wind blown sea water, these tracks have an almost tropical heat radiating off them, and a soporific quality that melts away the listener's energies with their own occasionally furious movements, echoing the pull of tides in the ebb and flow; heavy percussion and abstract chaos jutting out like hard outcrops, promontories between the tonal eddies that lap against them - “Like the sea, I think” as Kelly Brook once said, before diving off a yacht into some azure blue somewhere along the equator.

The album opens with two tracks that bleed into each other, a coastal drift of ambience that swiftly builds into a blurring rolling boil of tumbling beats and yelps, hallmarks of Here Comes The Indian era Animal Collective, and a very strong influence on this album, but one that I think has been reconfigured and executed with such a distinct atmosphere that it doesn't matter if you can hear the reverence for that record. The peak comes towards the end of the fourteen tracks in Toward Above - four minutes of tribal synaptic hexing, building to something even more skin strippingly cacophonous, then Change brings a beat that might almost fit a nightclub; but makes it clear this is music for open skied starry nights rather than clammy ceilinged indoors with its assortment of exotica embellishing that sturdy thump. Not one for the clubs, but easily one to throw on once you get back, especially in the hot night of Summer. Maybe turn the radiators on full for the now.

Here's a video of the first two tracks - the great double whammy opener - created by the band, all their own recorded material, using a colour saturated kaleidoscopic lens-flare technique that evokes further that heat-soaked beach-side aura of the music without being explicit about it:

VIDEO: Solar Bears - The Quiet Planet

To follow that Vision Air review here's no better a companian piece thanthe new video for Solar Bears' The Quiet Planet. One of the most epically propulsive tracks from their incredible She Was Coloured In album, the video sets about adding to the disorientating swirl of the music with some aerobatics and the appearance of mysterious inter-planetary explorers using footage from Planet of the Apes. It works really well and it looks like the Bears have found a very insightful and sympathetic visualiser of the sound in the form of Synesthesiae Films who have been producing videos for almost the entire album

Vision Air - A Vision EP

Reverberating echoes of Solar Bears, Worriedaboutsatan, and Dan Lopatin reflect and rebound off the sleek streamlined metallic lines and curves of the Vision Air ship as it glides through the silky cosmos of an emerging new breed of electronica that is as nebulously psychedelic as it is motorik and kinetic. 

This Dublin based outfit just released their new ep, A Vision through Soundcloud which you can download for free now. They have another EP, Autumn, posted in October, but no embed, so transport yourself HERE. Both are spectacularly adept sets of tracks that involve an emotional resonance, almost romantic in the lightly touched call and response melodies and sighing synth tones of Totem from the Autumn ep with the potentially harsh cold-void sounds of cosmic electronics, the sterility of Kompakt flushed with a blossoming energy that dials the temperature up to melt any of the more unforgiving edges.   

Like Solar Bears, the strands of cosmic vapour tied into these undulating seams of ambient techno are heated though subtle variations in their paths as they hurtle along, changes in pace create friction, charging the tracks and twisting interesting directions out of their course; the proper beat dropping on God's Hammer!!!! (exclamations theirs), the sudden surge of textural synths in UHOHM.  The throbbing masses of tone are tied to beats that push forward through the stillness surrounding them, a forward momentum through the silence buffering the noise. Where there's a slightly closer feel to the Autumn ep, there's an airless ambience to the four tracks on the A Vision ep; it's analogue suspense poised as if they've been holding their breath for almost too long, drifting off into a warm state of unoxygenated relaxation. Ultimately, it's too hard to resist the cosmic metaphors when the music is so deliberately crafted to evoke them;  HYPNOM begins with an almost shuffling side-stepped hypnotic disco thrust with rockets launching over it; slowly the blinking safety signal is shut off letting a series of melodic chords flare out, building towards a climax of klaxons screams and overheating circuit board chatter.  A hauntingly beautiful track that is the standout from a band that are now well on to my ones-to-watch list for 2011.


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

VIDEO: PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS - Phantasmagoria

I'm still waiting for the PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS Aoxomoxoa LP to be released. Not sure if it's snuck out without me noticing but I can't find it. I think it's going to be pretty special, on a par with Yoga's shapeshifting hypnogogic black metal. In the meantime, here's a video, directed by Cosmotropia de Xam, for the track Phantasmagoria that was unveiled in the summer.; A lot of these witch house artists keep spawning track after track, but not Pwin. He/she/it has barely any mp3's around illegally let along a host of Soundclouds, there's so little by way of material for this artist that what there is is made all the more alluring in it's isolation. This track is a blood curdling brain freezing ring-modulated soul burner, that dislocates sense and reason, mind and body with sinister effervescence; the video is vintage Cosmotropia, and there's also a Mater Suspiria Vision unrated skinfest version too:

VIDEO (of the actual LP): Sculpture - Rotary Signal Emitter

Sculpture is the London based duo of musician Dan Hayhurst and animator Reuben Sutherland. Rotary Signal Emitter LP is out now on Dekorder, limited to 300 copies. The Wire ran a feature on this in December's issue 322 and posted up a video of each side of the LP to show the incredible visual effects that come alive underneath a camera lens. The music itself is a kaleidoscopic world of rapid fire collage, with themes growing to conclusion, budding tangents then melting away as quickly as they appeared. There's little point suggesting any of the musical genres they actually involve within this, because they canter through this mixed terrain to fast to tie them down to anyone else other than artists covering similar ground themselves; from the darkness of Demdike Stare to the far more playful Grasscut alongside a GhostBox like fetishism for Radiophonic Workshop effects; to paraphrase Grasscut's label blurb - steampowered phonographic futurism.

Side A:

Side B:

After investigating a bit more about these kinds of visual techniques I discovered this neat and ultra clever bit of visual trickery/genius from an Austrian student called Klemens Kolger. Phonovideo is a VJ tool or visual instrument used to display animations in an analog way without the help of a computer, using multiple camera's, records and a mixing desk. Stuck in a Groove is the first film made with this technique, it serves also as a demo for the technique.  The music in the video is by Ritornell, taken from the album Golden Solitude on Karaoke Kalk

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

VIDEO: Smith Westerns - Weekend

This whole thing reeks of me at 16; Hanging out in woods with guns and blades, cinema, arcades, indie rock band. Good times.

DOWNLOAD: Kohwi - Hidden Trees

Hidden Trees


Here's the new album from US based electroacoustic waking-dream programmer Kohwi. The mediafire link includes bonus artwork but the BANDCAMP is name your price, so if you want the chance to donate to the 
ascendancy of this guy's career then you can get in now and say you had a part in it. I'd say it's almost assured anyway, but it might not be. But it really is. I mean, listen to this:

Now go get the whole thing.

A couple of the tracks are from previous ep in the summer, rerecorded and given layers of extra emotive nuance and ambition; Tides especially sounds more soulfully endowed that the last version with thicker tumbling percussion. Not entirely sure Kohwi gets so deeply into the zones of each of these pieces so quickly, but he does and he takes a different angle to the heart of each one, be it stuttering glitch, ear-quaking pitch abuse, cosmic distortion or vocal samples it's always a beautifully crafted tone, balanced out with sumptuous accompaniment.  The whole of Play With Me is cosmic, the vintage sample, the glitch, the slow reentry to Earth, then onto the gritted beat of Mesa (neat galactic reference there) and its mutated vocals there too.   He's got some big blog names in support; Jheri Evans (getoffthecoast blog) did the artwork, and also contributed a bit of prose to accompany the album (which you can see on the Bandcamp/in a txt file that comes w/ the DL), so expect him to follow the same trajectory as Blackbird Blackbird in terms of hype acceleration.  Plenty to get involved with in this album, it's the most kinetic trance inducing listen you'll hear for a while.

Brian Wood of Wonderbeard Tapes is doing a cassette release of 80 editions.  Preorders up now, with shipping starting mid-January. Get it for nowt now, then on soem nice warm and cosy analogue for when its even colder out.

DOWNLOAD: Khmury - Live

More new Russian-based mayhem for you in the form of Khmury's new release; a two track, twenty minute live gig taped in nice and deep hi-fidelity.  The band includes Fedya, of Twilight Owls' fame, an artist who is getting some wider attention through his releases on Amdiscs, and deservedly so as I've said before. On his own he works in shades of drone, but this band is an entirely different beast and they start off this set with Youth Against Youth a song that stamps the rock throttle on full and drops some squealing leads closer to Guns N' Roses than Barn Owl. It's an awesome start to the instrumental set than soon yields to a decelerating passage than recalls the Twin Peaks theme, deliberately or not, lightly enough that it owns the musical passage but also with enough atmosphere to put you straight into the surreal headspace of Lynch's pine forests complete with a chilly tension.  From there the thirteen minutes swirl, pummel, soar and pound past in a pretty triumphant mix of post-rock and a range of harder stuff that feels good to bang your head into.   The second track, a brief four minute roar called Broken Bass Jam is the sound of an overdriven  amp and the most guttural Sabbath worshipping punishment capable of being dealt out by the band, with more of that savage lead guitar work crawling and scrawling across it's face.

Love this band, even more so for the fact thy keep giving it out for free:

Cut out and keep:  DOWNLOAD


  Khmury - 01 - Youth Against Youth by twilightowls

VIDEO: Chasing Voices - Acidbathory

Somehow I've missed out on this for the last seven months.  Rest assured I'll be making up for that bu playing it fifty times in a row. The track is epic! The video is by Cosmotropia de Xam, the track is Acidbathory by Chasing Voices.

A mysterious artist whose positions them more into the realm of witch house than anything else, but that's pretty debateable. Although Cosmotropia is involved this sounds closer to dubstep than anythign else, maybe taking off from Distance, that dirtier more menacing edginess, and adding a little cosmic-italo through the sinuous and subtle length of it. It's pretty dark stuff, relentlessly intense in it;s slow build that holds a vice-like grip onto your ears as it teases slow progession out of it's layers - a vocal snippet judders, then coalesces into an almost coherent sentence, a distant fuzz worms it's way up from deep within the shadows of the mix before suddenly realising itself in full overwhelming speakers eating distortion in as slow an advance as it is sudden, and the effect is chilling; a movement it repeats in overlapping waves of increasing volume and density until you're consumed in the thrall of a howling storm.

Monday, 13 December 2010

VIDEO: GAMES - Strawberry Skies

I love that GAMES' videos look so much like fan-videos in their roughness and dusty archive finish; but they're clearly not, posessed of just a little too much knowing, pefectly imbued with the same sense of nostalgia fetishism as the music, and the same subtle twists of editing and sleight of hand that make them such a compelling band.  This track especially, with Laurel Halo's vocals draped seductively across a song that slinks off into a teasing fade-out, like the girl you had your eye on at the school disco leaving too soon because her dad came to pick her up early. Inspired track and an equally inspired video to go with.

Asian Women on the Telephone - Good Night Brighton Witch

Nikita of Asian Women on the Telephone emailed me to give me this track, which they've recorded as a dedication to my city, Brighton in response to all the love me and Fokkawolfe have been showering on them after getting hold of their albums a month or so ago and subsequently freaking out over the whole rich seam of crazy music there is to mine from the Russian underground.

The track they've conjured up is called Good Night Brighton Witch. I think they've nailed us. On a good night this really is what the backstreets of Brighton sound like - fucking hairy, blown out balling freestyled noise with some kind of dirty sexiness going on there even if you've got to pick it up off the pavement before you can properly check it out.  Nikita said the name of this track is actually reminiscent of this song from trashy Russian hair metal band EST called Good Night Brighton Beach. Check it out. It's trashy Russian hair metal.  The third and clearly most important influence in creating this track was A 259 Multiplex Bomb "Outrage" by Simon Strong; a book which takes place in Brighton and Hove in the early nineties, involves a time travelling murder mystery surrounding Jim Morrison, with plenty other musical references littered throughout it's warped narrative. Much like AWOTT themselves.

Nikita says "it's our thanks to you and hello to Brighton. wish to visit it some day. seems like very cool city"

Thanks Nikita. You seem like cool guys, and you have an awesome band. We'd love to have you here too.

VIDEO: Mogwai - How To Be A Werewolf

Antony Crook's short film Thirty Century Man features a remix of the album track How to Be a Werewolf from Mogwai's upcoming album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.

More info on the new record at the label SubPop

Sunday, 12 December 2010

this is the thread

Didn;t do this last week, preperation for the UKBMW was all consuming. Back now, with a vengeance:

my reply to this thread starts with 01.

01. Atlas Sound - 76
02. Mark McGuire - 48
03. Autre Ne Veut - 44
04. Games - 30
05. Lower Dens - 25
06. Barad-Dur - 22
07. Philip Jeck - 15
07. Solar Bears - 15
09. Urfaust - 14
09. Ealdulf - 14
09. No Joy - 14

1 - Why isn't AS up in everyone's lists. Was number one for me last week and again this week. 4 albums of Cox is a lot to take in.
2 – I can see why this is placing higher than Emeralds in some people's EOYLs
3 – Mrs Meat fucking HATES this...
4 – ...but somehow I can get away with this
5 – She loves this though. Why did no one tell me about Lower Dens earlier? It's like School of Seven Bells with balls.
6 – Last of the UKBMW interviews
7a – Hadn't heard this until Carruthers' write up spurred me on to the shops for it. Love Sand, this is just as good.
7b – Unlikely to tire of Solar Bears for some time, great at any time!
9a – Enjoying Der Freiwillige Bettler a lot, same as previous albums, but why mess about with a good thing. No one else makes as bleakly haunting a noise as this.
9b – UKBM on point. Epic and folk-spirited but littered with modern twists and invention.
9c – Finally got this after seeing the video of Lookout, Lookout. Beautiful, heatbreaking, chilling. All kinds of amazing.
9d – This is still kickin' it too. Worth it just for Hawaii, if you don't have a copy of Goo to hand.

Track of the week:

Gala DropDrop
Cosmic tropicalia / tropical Cosmicalia

Friday, 10 December 2010

UKBMW XIX: DOWNLOAD: UK Black Metal (NFR Mix 06, December 2010)

UK Black Metal
NFR Mix 06, December 2010

The finale to my UK Black Metal Week that started HERE. This is it, the end, the concluding chapter to five days of subterranea.  This is your cut-out-and-keep souvenir mix of the occassion, one which I hope you'll cherish and keep close to your now pitch-blackened heart forever

As with the week itself, this mix is not intended to be an exhaustive comprehensive overview of everything – a three CD mix wouldn’t cover the demands of that - instead, the tracklisting has been chosen to flow and create a sense of movement as any decent mixtape should. Enough of the presentations and theorising, here’s total music.


A Forest of Stars - Chapter One Sorrows Impetus (Opportunistic Thieves of Spring, Transcendental Creations)
Wodensthrone - Black Moss (Loss, Bindrune Recordings)
Luggaldimerankia - Inducing the Deepest Core of Morbidity (Within The Very Depths of Depravity, Demo)
Sleeping Peonies - Mist and Sea Spray, Mermaids Singing Far Away (Rose Curl, Sea Swirl, Todestrieb)
Hateful Abandon - Lungs (Famine, Todestrieb)
White Medal - On`t Borough (Agrbrigg Beast, Turgid Animal/Seedstock)
The Antichrist Imperium - Kill For Satan (Demo)
Cäina - Temporary Antennae (Temporary Antennae, Profound Lore)
Ghast - Hexed Under Moon (May the Curse Bind, Flenser)
Winterfylleth - A Valley Thick With Oaks (The Mercian Sphere, Candlelight)

Artwork: Oak by ~Resusan

Thanks for downloading.  Enjoy!

UKBMW XVIII: FFFF - Anaal Nathrakh

Yes, even this week I have a Fast and Furious Friday Feature to throw down, or should I say especially this week, because over ten years after it was recorded there is still little in the Black Metal pantheon (which is to say in any musical pantheon) that can rival this track for pure unbridled misanthropic hostility.

The Birmingham duo of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Dave Hunt) and Irrumator (Mick Kenney) formed Anaal Nathrakh in 2008 and are continuing masters in producing catastrophic industrial strength Black Metal ultraviolence. If Atari Teenage Riot made black metal, this is how they would do it.  This album was released as we ticked over into the new millenium and there are still very few pieces of music that can match the ferocity with which this track sucks up energy and multiplies the intensity tenfold with each new wave it smashes down upon the listener.

The Supreme Necrotic Audnance from the album Codex Necro


Ealdulf have produced one of the most spirited and subtly inventive black metal albums of recent years. Featuring three members of the depressive ambient entity Self-Inflicted Violence, yet sounding sufficiently different that you can tell they are separate entities. There's some of that mournful melancholy associated with the depressive genre (if you must, that's never sat right for me - helplessness and Black Metal are not compatible energies, or lack thereof) but those emotional tones are used to colour a music operating on a grander scale, and the combination is incredibly effective.  From the very first moments of the self-released Hrimcealde Sæ you can just feel there is more going on with this band than the forested album cover would have conveyed on its own; it opens with angular stabs of bass that sound like Martin Hannett is sat in the producers chair goading some kind of urban dystopian aggression out of them, then the sheets of treble shift into the foreground and all the BM influence comes rushing back over the top, driving drums rush along and pull the heavily tremeloed rhythms guitars up towards a faster more trance inducing state. The vocals have a good range between screeching and guttural bass There are echoes of some of the great viking/pagan bands such as Enslaved or Falkenbach in the heroicness of Mod Geondhweorfeð (The Memory Of Kinsmen), but the constant presence of a thick bass tone keeps their sound with a foot along either side of fantasy and reality, their songs are possessed of a grip a grounded grip round their throat that stops them getting too flighty, even when the lead guitars lean back and soar off into pealing solos, and that constantly lean, taut, pulsing rhythm section still keeps the whole thing locked down. very many standout moments and tracks on this record; a few more to finish before an example: Three minutes into the relatively folky Oft Earmcearig (Bereft Of My Homeland) there's a pause in the music, a weighted silence then a savage sped-up StoogesDarkthrone riff in the distance of Eald Enta Eeweorc (The Ancient Work Of Giants), overlaid with vaporising sheets of misty guitars, and the epic introduction to the climactic Ofer Waþema Gebind (Over The Frozen Waves) like riff comes crashing through the silence barrelling towards a rocking finish than gets time-stretched down to its conclusion; and the encroaching canter of

Like I said at the start, a band with a surprisingly subtle yet devastatingly effective sound and the tightness to execute it with style. Absolutely essential.

Ofer Waþema Gebind (Over The Frozen Waves) from the album Hrimcealde Sæ

UKBMW XVI: Skaldic Curse

Coming from the savage misanthropic old school of the more deathly incarnations of Mayhem, Darkthrone Skaldic Curse take their version of Black Metal right down into the pits of filthy, claustrophobic primal noise, yet on both albums have employed a clean production technique that gives a separation to the instruments and allows far more clarity into this world that Deathcrush ever offered, including a distinct bass sound that throbs and bumps around the lower reaches of their sound and fills a space that never seemed empty so before.  They are one of the more challenging bands I've got this week; their most recent album World Suicide Machine refusing to fit into any current tropes and combining lengthy complex structures with that clean sound alientating many fans from either by crashing the two forms together under the murky (simplified) sonic aesthetic of blackened death metal; a hostile mix of misathropic aggression that is wielded with agility.

Again...The Knives from the album Pathogen

Thursday, 9 December 2010

UKBMW XV: Legends - Axis of Perdition

 One of the most creepy, convoluted, Lovecraftian horror emulating bands ever comes from Middlesborough - The Axis of Perdition. More specifically they are influenced by the game Silent Hill and over three albums, and ep and a demo to begin it all, they have contributed a peerless body of work, and the list of bands they have been involved with is immense. More than essential in any Black Metal collection, they totally deserve a place in my Legends list.

Pendulum Prey (Second Incarceration) from the album Deleted Scenes from the Transition Hospital

UKBMW XIV: Barad-Dur

"Black Metal is an ethic"
                                                                       Nathan Watson, Barad-Dur

is a
solo artist, Neithan from the Northwest,  named after Sauron's tower in Lord of the Rings, and the lyrical themes of the band are centred around fantasy, as well as Norse mythology; as well as these inspirations, the influence of the music of Burzum can also be clearly felt, in the brittle wintery fuzz guitars and haunting melancholic ambience of the synths, and during this year's self-released album Regulus features two occasions of delicately epic folk music amongst the buzz. It's a combination of sound and literature he sees transcending the sonic sphere;“To me, Black Metal is an ethic as well as a musical form. Through Black Metal I can convey my innermost thoughts. By this I do not necessarily mean in words, but through the music itself. I believe that the music as a whole should be used to convey feeling, whether this be anger, pain, hatred or loss.”

The idea the Black Metal is more than a musical genre, but a lifestyle or way of thinking has been posited by other bands already this week, so does he see it as a positive move, that so many artists are forgoing any real connections to the original sounds of which his own music is so indebted to?
“I prefer to see a wide range of influences rather than everyone settling on one common style. We, in the UK, are in a good position to do this. A strong history of metal - here, I feel it is apt to make a reference to Venom. What would an interview on UKBM be without mentioning one of the most famous first wave bands? - and a wealth of influence from the early Scandinavian scenes are a recipe for some truly original music. Add to this elements of native folk and other non-metal musical styles and you are left with a very diverse set of influences.”

Throughout the interviews conducted for this week I've been turning up polar opposite answers to the notions that there are any kinds of quintessentially British or English Black Metal sounding strains of Black Metal at the moment, but Neithan isn't so convinced that there has been a significant wave of any one kind; “Within the underground bands, I haven’t noticed a shift for one main reason. The UKBM scene seems to be pretty diverse, with a lot of bands crossing over and taking influence from other musical genres from crust through to post rock. This is essential in order to avoid stagnation. In terms of the more well-known bands, I would say that there are a fair amount of UKBM bands playing melodic or symphonic Black Metal. Also, there seems to been a resurgence of bands identifying with their ancestral and cultural heritage. As I have found most of the UK bands I enjoy through trading, I’m afraid I cannot say too much more about other, more famous bands.”

Though there i
s a strong Norse element to his music, I asked him whether the closer environment of the British countryside is something which informs his music? “More recently, nature and the environment have influenced what I write. Obviously, living in England means that it is mainly the English countryside that I experience, but I would not want people to think that Barad-Dur’s music is limited to appreciation of just this country. My appreciation of nature spreads further afield. Heritage and the associated national pride is an interesting point. I would only write about England’s cultural heritage form a historical point of view, and even so this theme is of no great importance to me. I find more inspiration in other themes.”

In advancing some of the more ambient elements of Barad-Dur, Neithan set up a drone label called Frozen
Tendril - as an outlet for work he can't consider in Barad-Dur, and to release the work of other artists he sees potential in;“Although Black Metal is generally seen as a type of music produced by solitary groups or individuals, support from like-minded people is always appreciated. It is good to know that people support what you do and wish that you continue, as this isn’t something you would hear often from people outside of the ‘scene’ I have found people from other underground scenes to be very appreciative too, not only sharing a passion for extreme music but also for the DIY ethic.”

There are no you tube rips to post up to give you examples of his work, but you can jump over to MySpace where he has several tracks up on his player. If I was going to pick one to post here, it would be Summoned, for the reverential piano run that appears halfway through, and ghosts through the centre of the mix, building into a quickening flurry of classical accompaniment to the furrowed guitar work. Go listen HERE


One of the most appropriately named bands in the British scene, Fen say that their primary goal "is to draw the listener into a windswept and desolate landscape, bereft of hope." I'm not sure it needs the last emotional qualifier, but their music is an extremely powerful entity, which I am sure is capable of inspiring a range of emotional responses in a wide audience. Last year's Malediction Fields album has been a slow grower on me, taking almost a year to really sink in it is finally proving itself an equal to the works of Wodensthrone and Winterfylleth in the sonic personification of its environment - the wide open space and misty vistas of England's fenlands are thoroughly invoked in the bands form of hybrid post-rock black metal.  In January Fen release Epoch, their second full length album and one which should do for them as The Mercian Sphere has done for Winterfylleth in the field of UKBM and add them alongside Alcest as a major force in the romantic shoegaze genre of black metal. The rehearsal track of A Waning Solace posted on their MySpace has an excellent mix of synth melody and atmosphere, rasping and clean vocals, ambient guitar playing that builds to a rushing torrent of riffing and percussion, indicating their new album will be a move away from the more earthy feel of their previous record and up toward a spiritually elevated music capable of communion with the natural elements surrounding it, and a sublime harnessing of ancient and beautiful forces.

Fen's guitars/vocalist The Watcher, bassist Grungyn and drummer Theutus all play in Skaldic Curse (more later) along with Scapula who once played in Akercocke. The keyboardist Æðelwalh also plays in Wodensthrone.

A Witness To the Passing Aeons from The Malediction Fields


"The 'Black Metal band' should exist only as an attempt to conjure up some fraction of it, otherwise said band should not exist at all."
Andrew Curtis-Brignell, Cäina

Andrew Curtis-Brignell has been releasing increasingly complex and singularly minded albums as Cäina since 2004; from the ragged, harsh early demos through 2006's full length Some People Fall, to the more diverse influences and elaborate compositions of Temporary Antennae; “The way I personally define Black Metal has shifted and developed over time. Ultimately my preferred definition is largely attitudinal or atmospheric rather than musical/generic, and that's purely because it's the most utilitarian way of thinking about it. There are often vast stylistic chasms separating many of the bands that are comfortably tagged as Black Metal, far more so than within any other genre of metal, so it only really makes sense to me to consider Black Metal as a mode of thinking or feeling rather than a specific way of playing your guitar or using your voice.”

There are no other bands quite like him in the UK at present; there are bands that are marrying post rock elements to their Black Metal, but Cäina's uniquely emotionally provocative combination of sounds sees him remain starkly isolated from everyone else around him. The suggestions of a coherent sound that a scene might develop around fills him with revulsion; If a group of bands from a small group of islands decide to all sound like each other, I would question the need for any of them. Individual strength of idea and execution is the only creative currency that means anything nowadays – to paraphrase Morrissey, The Scene is Dead. As a small child, the idea of being in the Cubs or Scouts filled me with revulsion. In the same way I would take no pleasure whatsoever in belonging to some Onanistic, self-congratulatory boy's club as an adult. To me, those who are proponents of 'metal warriors together against the world' sentiments (regardless of the scale, whether it be in a wider scene or in a cliquey branded 'Circle') are merely displaying herd weakness and do nothing except mark themselves out as ones to be avoided at all costs.”

Individual strength is something he possesses in abundance; there;s no greater conviction executed than on his recent 3-track EP, in which he talks of burying churches upside down; of reordering and redesigning the kinds of power that a black metal performer should be able to wield, the greater extent that their vision should be able to encompass. Of all the defamatory lyrics black metal has produced, none has had the imagination to twist a whole building round out of the earth and smash it; a strong metaphor for the approach of his music. “There are compositional stylistic markers and lyrical signifiers that are unique to Black Metal, but I think these are secondary to that Black Metal 'feeling'. Kids on forums may have the time (and short-sightedness) to endlessly debate whether such or such a band is BM, but for me if it has that 'feeling', it's Black Metal. Unfortunately that atmosphere, or attitude, or feeling, or however you want to say it, is quite hard to put one's finger on. Not wanting to be too pretentious, but for me, the Black Metal feeling is really that little stir of dark energy that wells up inside you under certain musical, ritual or artistic conditions. It should be added that almost none of the bands who could be said to belong to the genre actually manage to evoke this, but it's a bit of a Plato-nic thing, I think – the 'Black Metal band' should exist only as an attempt to conjure up some fraction of it, otherwise said band should not exist at all.

Considering the existence of Black Metal's direct relationship to environment is one of the foundational idelogies of the genre. One of the questions I am posing throughout this week is whether the British countryside is having a unique effect on the sounds being created, whether it is as conscious a creation for British artists as it was for the Scandinavians, and whether environment plays an integral part of the Black Metal sound and psyche: I'm wary of such generalisations, but I think the type of person who creates successful Black Metal is usually the type of person who would emotionally if not practically reject the homogeneity and claustrophobia of urban society and feel more kinship with the natural world, so in a way I suppose that would be an innate aspect. I certainly fit into that mode (even if I don't necessarily create successful Black Metal). Actually I've just moved out of an apartment in a large city to a house backing onto a national park, and I love it. The view out of my back window is about a foot of snow covering the hills and moors as far as the eye can see. The view from my front window is the village, and the road that leads to a larger town. I like the back window.”

Despite all suggestions to the contrary, Andy is not quite the loner that all this may mark him out to be. He has been recording new material with a group of disgustingly heavy and aggressive sounding US artists for his new album Hands That Pluck with a line-up involving Imperial (Krieg), Vermin (Revenge/Blood Revolt) and Rennie Resmini (Starkweather). Scheduled for release in the first part of 2011 on Profound Lore the sound will be a return to the rawer more primitive sound of his early days, with Andy affirming that “I'm never going to make another album under the Cäina name quite as soft'n'fluffy as Temporary Antennae.

With a return to an arguably less enlightened, yet equally transcendentally potentiated sound, does he feel that there is still an extra element of frisson that Black Metal is still capable of provoking, regardless of how many extra influences a band's sound involves; “Absolutely. However, as I get older I'm actually starting to reject a lot of more 'experimental' work, and gravitating back to my first love, primitive and primal stripped-back Black Metal. As I make a rather bastardised form of BM myself I never really listened to a lot of the former anyway – too much like a 'busman's holiday' – but to be honest I think the last time I genuinely connected with another genre-cocktail band was a good couple of years ago. It's like alcohol. When I was growing up, I wanted outlandish, disguised booze (... and ... with a ... mixer), and lots of it. Nowadays I want a scotch on the rocks once in a while, and that's it.”

Here's to a fiercely advancing future of whiskey fuelled feral buzz from the hands of this man.

Ten Went Up A River from Temporary Antennae