Scott Plant of Broken Prayer
Top 10 for 2013 (not including friends’ bands) 2013 rocked, rolled, noised and funked. This is a list of some of the stuff that affected me most this year. I hesitated to do the reissues because there is SO much good new stuff coming out - anyone who says otherwise is a registered dumb - but then I figured, you know, whatever. There are other lists out there. I tend to like novel production and cool sounds and rhythms, and generally in a bummer or headache producing direction. New Stuff: Wolf Eyes - No Answer - Lower Floors Cold cold beats for a bleak bleak record. This feels less like a sound track and more like a collection of songs than their other records, and it is a triumph. A triumph! They just keep getting better. Listen to it on real speakers and let the sonic volcano wash over you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbgI-DEk4U4 Mutant Video - Missing Fingers Beats, bass, synth, darkness. Here’s the futility of life put into cassette format. Their final release. http://ironlungpv.bandcamp.com/track/street-lightning Framtid - Defeat of Civilization I’m sure this will make many top 10 lists, as it should. Do you like having your head pummelled in by the kaotic hardcore noise of true distortion madness? You should. It’s for fans of that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fHRpnvnDrI Reissues: Devo - Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 & 2 Here are the coldest recordings, finally put to vinyl. If you’d like to hear Iggy and the Stooges on the Forbidden Planet, then you will like to hear this collection. Incalculably influential. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo7bgRMrnZQ Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction A disgusted, disgusting record. Isn’t humanity disgusting? Carcass would agree. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdS9ICBEJEs Funkadelic - Maggot Brain The A side of this record singlehandedly redeems jamming, and has some of the best guitar sounds ever put through a mic. A joyous celebration toward taking down The Man. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh3bleXWaCk Rulebreaker: Daylight Robbery - Distant Shores Just a great, sparse rock band with melodies other bands wish they could craft. They don’t get the attention they deserve in the states, but they do from me, so I’m giving it to them. http://daylightrobbery.bandcamp.com/track/distant-shores
Andre Foisey of Locrian
1) Volcano Choir “Repave” (Jagjagwar)
Power ballady kind of stuff that I can listen to whenever and wherever: my apartment, during one of my yoga classes, while I’m at work, whenever. Infectious.
2) True Widow “Circumambulation” (Relapse)
Some of the best songs that I’ve heard this year. Songs that don’t force you to feel anything, but that create a space for whatever it is you’re feeling at the moment to come up.
3) Insect Ark “Long Arms” (Geweih Ritual Documents)
Dark, mysterious, and beautiful. Highly listenable without compromising intensity.
4) Agarttha “A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands” (King of the Monsters)
Put this on, light some candles, and get in the zone. Doom metal, maybe, that’s not affected or corny.
5) Iggy and the Stooges “Ready to Die” (Fat Possum)
James Williamson is back and nothing can ruin that.
6) BLOODYMINDED “Within The Walls” (BloodLust!)
Not as intense as a BLOODYMINDED performance, but close.
Bill Roe of Trouble In Mind/Permanent Records
In No Particular Order
Ooga Boogas "s-t" (Aarght)
LOVED their first record from a few years ago & while that one was a brutish take on Aussie thug-rock, this new one is a head-scratcher in the best way. LOTS of different (seemingly) disparate things going on here & they all somehow work. "Let's Do It For The Kids" may be the anthem of the year, & "Sex in the Chillzone" must be heard to be believed
Eat Lights Become Lights "Modular Living" (Great Pop Supplement)
AMAZING motorik krautrock-inspired jams from this UK band (essentially one guy on recordings, but he has a killer live band). Reminds me a bit of Cave, but with more true "kosmiche" in the grooves. The 6-minute title track is my jam - repetitive without ever seeming boring for one second. It's a song that moves.
Heliocentrics "13 Degrees of Reality" (Now Again)
These guys get categorized as hip-hop often (and honestly that's what I thought they were until I heard a sound clip of this record earlier this year), but this is some super dense jazz/krautrock/funk happening here. Any record that can remind me of Can, "Bitched Brew"-era Miles, Sun Ra & the Art Ensemble is A-OK in my book. They are apparently killer live too - would love to see them!
Thee Oh Sees "Floating Coffin" (Castle Face)
Best band in the world makes their best record yet (since the last best record)... takes their mutant pop to dizzying & sinister new directions. So focused it's scary.
Life Stinks "s-t" (S-S)
A late-breaker for me. This one JUST came out & it's already glued to my turntable! Nihilistic, scuzzy back-alley skumrock from San Francisco. The singer Chad used to be in a great band called The Outdoorsmen, who were not too far from this (but in a more Mummies/Budget Rock direction), but Life Stinks has a health dose of treachery & menace that is missing from a lot of R'n'R & punk these days. To me they sound like the unholy collision of Fang, Flipper, Modern Lovers & VU. Yeah. It's that good. (Check out this 11-minute demo of the closing track "My My My" which is re-recorded & expanded to 16 minutes for the actual album. Geezus!)
Focus Group "Elektrik Carousel" (Ghost Box)
I think I'm including this one because it sounds like no other record I've heard this year. Mind melting fusion of Sound Library, exotica, electronic, pop & more. It's kind of baffling, in that it sounds like numerous radio transmissions cutting in & out over the course of the record. Bits of spoken word, some samples & tape collage... I dunno. It's essentially a pop record, but one made by aliens or witches or something. Its some weird stuff.
Fuzz - "s-t" (In The Red)
We put out these dudes' first single, so they are near & dear to our hearts. And this album SHREDS. Just like I knew it would. A lil' Blue Cheer, Sabbath, Grounghogs a thrown into the heavy & heady riffs Charlie's spewing out. BONKERS live band too - don't miss 'em.
Obnox "Corrupt Free Enterprise" (12XU)
NO ONE is making the kind of KBD-inspired, weed-fueled, misanthropic Ohio scree like my man, Bim Thomas. Dude used to drum in Puffy Areolas (and still plays in Bassholes), so his pedigree is rock-solid. HOWEVER, when he launched his Obnox solo stuff last year I didn't expect this exploding pipe-bomb of sounds constructed from garage, punk, free-jazz, DIY, funk, soul & experimental music. Bim makes it all work & sound completely original & his own. MASSIVE PROPS.
Birds of Maya "Celebration" (Little Big Chief)
These Philly dudes have been at it for MANY years now & the world is only just now catching up. These two tracks (both cut live at two different shows) Grab you by the throat & choke you seductively until you submit to their will! Busted-ass guitar wailing courtesy of Mr. Purling Hiss hisself Mike Polizze & bass-tumpage by Jason Killinger (aka "Spacin') - these dudes jam on trogolydyte Stooges repeato-riffery & Japanese psych-rock (see Flower Travellin' Band & Blues Creation) with a healthy dose of Blue Cheer. Power trios don't get much better than this. SOLD OUR right now, but a repress is somin' from Little Big Chief. Grip this as soon as you possibly can.
Cave "Threace" / Bitchin' Bajas "Bitchitronics"
I put these two together 'cuz they're both essentially springing forth from the mind of Cooper Crain, and while in previous years they have sounded like two disparate projects; Cave is where he worked out his yearn to rock & Bajas to bliss out in the warm embrace of THE DRONE. This year the two projects came closer than ever before - Bajas' "Krausened" EP on Permanent last year signaled a new road on the same path that eked ever-so-closer to Cave territory & "Bitchitronics" is Cooper in full-on Frippertronics mode (hence the reference in the title I'd imagine). Tape loops & blessed out guitars launch skyward in an attempt to get everyone to just CHILL OUT (ha!). "Threace" move Cave a slosh further away from their rocking' masterpiece "Neverendless" from last year & into, yes - Afro-Funk & electric-era Miles Davis (Tribute To Jack Johnson, anyone?) with some seriously funky & free sax & flute jams. A mesmerizing listen that makes you wanna move.
All the Members of the Band Big Eyes
None of us really listened to much new music this year, so here is a combined top 10 list from the 3 of us(in no particular order)
Crystal Antlers - Nothing Is Real
Obits - Bed and Bugs
Audacity - Butter Knife
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan - Uzu
Mikal Cronin - II
Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork
Dead Ghosts - Aint Got No
Radioactivity - S/T
Night Birds - Born to Die In Suburbia
Death Fix - S/T
1. Hoax-Hoax LP (Hoax self-released)
I admit it; I’ve been a serious Hoax groupie for a few years now. I loved their demo, all of their EPs and the half dozen times I’ve been fortunate to see them perform live. I’d already assumed that their debut album would be incredible, but they actually managed to exceed my already unrealistically high expectations. This is everything I ever want and need in a hardcore record…and then some. Even when this isn’t playing on the stereo, it’s playing in my head. If I’m ever over at your house and notice that you don’t have this record in your collection, I’m going to feel sorry/embarrassed for you and we probably won’t be friends.
2. Brainbombs-Disposal Of A Dead Body 2LP (Skrammel Records)
Arguably, Brainbombs is my favorite band ever. After five years of waiting for a new album to finally surface, this release more than makes up for lost time. Recorded over the previous four years, it consists of twenty four (!) songs, making this the most new material they’ve ever unleashed in a single stab. Rest assured the quantity does not diminish the quality or the depravity! Sure, the breadth of this release might be a little overwhelming for some, but if Brainbombs have proven one thing over the last two decades it’s that they’re consistent. Their sound and substance hasn’t changed. They’re not evolving or mutating. They’ve always been perfect and they continue to be perfect. Thank fuck.
3. Church Whip-Psychedelic Nightmare LP (Vinyl Rites)
Church Whip has certainly gotten a lot attention from armchair activists and message board nerds in the last year. Unfortunately, most of it has been negative. Coinciding with their debut LP release, they’d planned a string of Southern/Eastern/Midwestern U.S. performances, the first time playing their raw Black Metal outside of their native state of Florida. However, the provocative and unapologetic titling of their tour, “Raping the East,” proved too much for the PC scene police to bear. Most of their shows (including Chicago) ended up getting canceled, apparently in fear that our great nation’s geographical territories might be sexually violated. Their latest EP, published only a few weeks ago, was sadly announced to be the final flagellation. The whip may have unraveled, yet the congregation remains permanently kneeled.
4. Pharmakon-Abandon LP (Sacred Bones Records)
My pretend girlfriend, Margaret Chardiet, has had a banner year. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve undoubtedly heard (or at least heard of) Pharmakon. Her material has been reviewed and critically acclaimed in every cranny of cyberspace while she’s been busy touring her ass off, across the U.S. and Europe, in support of her first full length release. Much like her live performances, this record is a cathartic ritual, an exorcism of personal demons. Her atmospheric power-electronics are structured with clarity and sophistication. There is also an inherent vulnerability present in her work, underlying the often overt brutality. This is top shelf Industrial music and evidence that all of the praises she’s been receiving are wholly deserved.
5. Raspberry Bulbs-Deformed Worship LP (Blackest Ever Black)
Raspberry Bulbs originally started as a Marco Del Rio (aka He Who Crushes Teeth) solo project, in the wake of Bone Awl being on indefinite hiatus. After numerous tapes and an LP recorded on his own, with “Deformed Worship” Raspberry Bulbs have finally blossomed into a full five piece band. This is spastic black metal punk on Xanax, guaranteed to make you stomp and twitch. Incidentally, this is the second release on my list (the other being Pharmakon) which was recorded at Sean Ragon’s (Cult of Youth) Heaven Street Studio in Brooklyn, NY. There’s clearly some magic in the air over yonder…
6. Society Nurse-Society Nurse LP (Iron Lung Records)
After the release of their first EP in 2010, I thought that Society Nurse were a “good” hardcore band. In the interim between then and this, their full length debut, they have clearly become an “amazing” hardcore band. Personnel changes, including a new singer, have helped their focus, urgency, and desperation increase exponentially. The twisted and surreal cover art by Salvation’s Matthew Adis foreshadows the anxiety and social claustrophobia found within. Double thumbs up for the lyrics printed on the back cover like asylum inmate wall scrawling, in both style and content.
7. Ancestors-Ancestors III LP (Youth Attack)
Ancestors is one of Mark McCoy’s (Youth Attack) innumerable projects. This is simultaneously their debut LP and the third part of a trilogy, following two EP releases spread out over the last five years. While technically released at the end of 2012, copies didn’t actually ship or get distributed until this year. This is thematically based around spectral activity and Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), buried beneath cacophonous crescendos. If you’re looking to open portals to other dimensions, this just might be the perfect catalyst. Getting through both sides of this record in a single sitting is a real endurance test, though. It‘s just absolutely unrelenting, like a 21 minute long amphetamine-fueled tour through a haunted house in Hell.
8. The Repos-Poison Head Cs (The Repos self-released)
The unreleased first and last LP by The Ropes before alleged threats of litigation forced them to revert back to The Repos. This limited cassette first appeared early in 2013, produced by the band and initially exclusively sold at the Los Crudos show that they performed in support of. More recently, an expanded, remastered, and retitled edition was issued by Youth Attack as “Lost Still Losing.” I’ve spent most of the year getting acquainted with (read: obsessively playing) this version, but the reissue will certainly give more bang for the buck and should be easier to track down in physical format. Tight and vicious, as usual.
Archival/First time on vinyl:
Anenzephalia-Funkspeile LP (Tesco Archaic Documents)
Rectal Hygienics-Even The Flies Won't Touch You mLP (Torn Light)
Sol Invictus-In The Rain LP (Auerbach Tonträger)
Deviation Social-Tempus / Deathwatch LP (Dais)
Martial Canterel-Navigations LP (Electric Voice Records)
Rusted Shut-Rehab LP (Dull Knife Records)
Alberich-Machine Gun Nest: Cassette Works, Vol. 0 LP (Hospital Productions)
City Hunter-City Hunter Cs (Blackout Rage)
Die- Die EP (Sonic Terror)
Rectal Hygienics-Cold Meat 7" (Diseased Audio)
Druglust-Dusted EP (Cruel Noise)
Haus Arafna – All I Can Give EP (Galakthorrö)
Gag-This Punk Shit is Cool 12” (Bedside Records)
S.H.I.T. Demo II (S.H.I.T. self-released)
Stoic Violence-Tour flexi (Stoic Violence self-released)
Fugitive Demo (Twerp Records)
Lumpy And The Dumpers-Sex Pit EP (Muckraker)
Vatican Shadow @ Empty Bottle
King Dude/Chelsea Wolfe @ Schubas
Cold Cave/Boyd Rice @ Empty Bottle
Pharmakon/Marshstepper @ Bottom Lounge
The Repos/Stoic Violence @ Albion House
Martial Canterel @ Burlington
Hoax @ Club Rectum
Death in June/Cult of Youth @ Otto's (Baltimore)
Raspberry Bulbs/Alberich/Rectal Hygienics @ Club Rectum
Architeuthis @ Liquid Lizard Lounge
Gag @ The Ice Cream Shop
Tanner Garza of Tanner Garza/Black Leather Jesus
The List - 2013 - Tanner Garza 1. A.P. Felix - Electronic Tonalities (I Had An Accident Records) - Cassette A.P. Felix is actually Andrew Felix. This cassette differs from his other work in that it is made only from the sounds of his handbuilt modular synths. Great work that sounds like it was recorded in the 60's. 2. Brahms - Shimmer/Suffocate (Bridgetown Records) - Cassette Sounds like childrens toys. Weird abstract-ambient sorta stuff. 3. Jonwayne - Cassette 2 (Stones Throw) - Cassette The best current Rapper/Producer in my opinion, and this second cassette of the three released really shows off his skills as both. 4. Waves Crashing Piano Chords & Tanner Garza - de Sade (Forever Escaping Boredom) - Cassette Probably unfair to add myself to this list, oh well. The collab I did with WCPC, the Juggalo madman, is an odd pairing. It outdid either of our expectations for sure. Weird meshing of Ambient tape loops & Power Electronics. 5. Pedestrian Deposit - Eleventh Hour (Tour Only Release) - Cassette Pedestrian Deposit is THE GREATEST current noise act in the United States. Nuff said. 6. Kevin Greenspon + Former Selves - Betrayed by the Angels / Apropos of Golden Dreams (Bridgetown Records) - Vinyl LP Comes off like a modern take of what Steve Roach used to do, but in song form.. more or less. 7. BANKS - London (Harvest & Good Years) - Digital/CD/Vinyl Amazing Pop singer that has heavy R&B influences. Definitely worth checking out. 8. Wet Dream Asphyxiation – Hearse Sessions II (USR Records) - Cassette Got this tape from Ques himself while I was on tour with Black Leather Jesus. Wonderful Long form Wall Noise. 2 hours total on the tape. 9. TALsounds/Greyghost – Mugen: Volume 2 (Hausu Mountain) - Cassette Words fail me in trying to describe how good this tape is. Just go buy it. 10. Andy Loebs - Hibernation Sickness (Twin Springs Tapes) - Cassette Made with a borrowed synth. Recorded on a karoke machine. Spacey/dreamy/abstract. So good.