Antaeus are surprising for a French black metal band, because they subsume the weirdness beneath an assaultive barrage that reminds me of Destroyer-era Gorgoroth. It’s seriously mean stuff, made more interesting by the traditional chromatic filigrees and hints towards atonality that are par for the course in other French groups like Blut Aus Nord. The drumming is a particularly interesting blur of triggered blastbeats and high-speed grindcore flailing, glued together with unpredictable stops, starts and industrial ambient interludes.I’ve been looking for something like this, and other fans of Anaal Nathrakh should give Blood Libels a listen.
As I seem to do every so often, I wandered off into the weeds for a few months there. But it’s fall, and the election is almost past (PRAISE BE), and I can start to think about things other than politics, economic misfortune, and the unfortunate impossibility / undesirability of revolution in a post-industrial, media-driven and self-aware society. And Sarah Palin. Fucking Sarah Palin.
I’ve continued to trawl the MP3-blog depths, and am no closer than I was six months ago to figuring out how to describe what I’ve found. I’ve heard a lot of music that’s new to me this year, and I’ve found an intimidating amount of it interesting, entertaining, or weird enough to hold my attention. I’ve been emitting little drips of information on my Twitter feed, but I’m not sure there’s enough context there to make it interesting to anyone other than myself. In the end, I’ll just have to start writing here every day again, and see if that knocks loose anything interesting.
Of course, I’ve been continuing to buy music. I’m enough of a completist that I’ll probably provide a complete dump of everything I listened to over the summer at some point, but for now, here’s what’s most interesting to me, my October shopping trips to Amoeba:
- Antony & The Johnsons: Another World
- Arckanum: Antikosmos
- The Breeders: Cannonball
- The Breeders: Divine Hammer
- The Breeders: Pod
- The Breeders: Title TK
- Darkthrone: Soulside Journey
- Ladytron: Velocifero
- A Minor Forest: Flemish Altruism (Constituent Parts 1993-1996)
- The New Year: s/t
- Sparks: Indiscreet
- Sparks: No. 1 in Heaven
- Sparks: Propaganda
- Sparks: A Woofer in Tweeter’s Clothing
- V/A: Dubstep Allstars, Volume 6 (mixed by Appleblim)
- V/A: Uproot (mixed by DJ /rupture)
- Vivian Girls: s/t
- Akimbo: Jersey Shores
- Antaeus: Blood Libels
- Bass Communion: Molotov and Haze
- Loren Chasse & Michael Northam: The Otolith
- Coelacanth & Keith Evans: Wrack Light in Copper Ruin
- Darkspace: Dark Space III
- The (Fallen) Black Deer: Requiem
- Daniel Menche: Creatures of Cadence
- Slagmaur: Svin
- Urfaust: Drei Rituale Jenseits des Kosmos
- New Egypt: White Magic
Aside from the limp and lifeless new album by The New Year, these are all interesting records, worth further discussion, and if I can, I’ll say more about them. Right now, I’m listening to the Darkspace record as the band seems to have intended (i.e. listening to Dark Spaces I through III straight through, at which point they becomes something more than a churning blackened crust-metal soundscape and start living up to the grandiose, symphonic concept indicated by the album and track titles). And last night, I listened to the A Minor Forest record, and was delighted to know the songs deeply and immediately, despite never having heard this record before. A Minor Forest were a shambling mess at times (especially for a math rock band), but they put on a great show, and their studio records sound more live than not.
Also, since I last wrote here, I saw Polvo and My Bloody Valentine play live. Polvo were OK and deserve credit for trying to wrap their weirdness around “Mexican Radio” (one of my favorite songs), but My Bloody Valentine did things with sound I didn’t know were possible, and the experience was more satisfying to my inner 19-year-old than I really had any right to hope going in.
I’ve been busy, and I continue to be distracted, but it’s a really good time to be a music fan.
And oh yeah, if you don’t have these records, your musical experience of 2008 is sadly incomplete and you are probably a hollow shell of a person:
- asbestoscape: s/t
- Clark: Turning Dragon
- Fucked Up: The Chemistry of Common Life
After reading this inspirational article, I decided to do my part for the music industry and pay a visit to my friends at Aquarius. Some of this stuff had been on hold for me for months now, so it was past time.
I spent a while distracting Andee and Allan while they feverishly tried to finish the newest edition of the infamous and sprawling Aquarius New Releases list. And “feverish” is right – there’s a certain amount of urgency to the proceedings, but they’re also not too tough to distract, the sustained effort of putting together the behemoth list having broken them down until they have the attention span of disease-enfeebled gerbils.
Here’s what I got:
- A Sunny Day In Glasgow: Scribble Mural Comic Journal (notenuf)
- August Born: August Born (Drag City)
- Buried At Sea: Ghost (Neurot)
- Dead Meadow: Howls from the Hills (Xemu)
- Malicious Secrets / Antaeus / Mutilation / Deathspell Omega: From the Entrails to the Dirt (End All Life)
- The Necks: Townsville (ReR)
- Paolo Parisi / John Duncan: Conservatory (San Sebastiano) CD + book (Mascietto Editore)
- Jack Rose: Raag Manifestos (vhf)
- Torche: In Return CD + 10” (Robotic Empire)
- Wolves in the Throne Room: Two Hunters (Southern Lord)
- Xasthur: Defective Epitaph [2CD Daymare edition] (Hydra Head / Daymare)
The Torche is packaged in a seriously beautiful gatefold sleeve with the vinyl in one sleeve and the CD fixed inside the gatefold, with art by John Dyer Baizley (by way of Pushead and Alphonse Mucha):
(Many thanks to Cosmo Lee for his excellent article on John Dyer Baizley’s illustration, which alerted me to the existence of this record. I shamelessly stole his high-quality scans, which are of course © John Dyer Baizley, used only for purposes of promotion and review.)
My record is marbled pale green vinyl; if anybody else with this stops by, let me know what color yours is.
SPECIAL, POSSIBLY RECURRING, FEATURE!
While I was at the store, keeping Andee from finishing his reviews, he was kind enough to bring me up to date with the goings-on at his label, the mighty tUMULt, source of many things kvlt and trve. He’s been extraordinarily generous to me over the years, so the least I can do is pimp tUMULt’s new releases a little here:
Nordvargr / Drakh: The Betrayal of Light: Blackened ambient (that means “lots of spooky noises and ominous drones” in normal English) from two of the members of harsh industrial artist Maschinenzimmer 412 / MZ412.
Crebain: Night of the Stormcrow: reissue of one man NWOSFBM band’s first demo. It’s aggressive and very weird, like most black metal out of San Francisco’s cultish underground scene.