Monday, 15 December 2008

Top 50 Albums of 2008

It feels like this year I should have an enormous preamble to my Top 50 list, and I will; just not quite yet.

This year was probably the year when people’s listening habits became more fragmented than ever – which left the music industry struggling to smother any individual with marketing. More of these kinds of thoughts later, but I say that because it leads me to this (then I will get on with the matter in hand):

Everyone seems to be saying that this year was genuinely pretty dull for music, and there were no Big Events like Arctic Monkeys. Whenever anyone says anything remotely close to that sentiment to me I always reply “you don’t listen to enough music” – which is almost always true. I had loads of seismic revelations about music, brought on by newly discovered artists breaking into my field of vision. Those people who say there was no equivalent Arctic Monkeys this year, who then glide past MGMT have simply not been paying attention. Word of mouth hasn’t moved so virulently as it did when carrying the name Bon Iver around the country this year. I am totally claiming that, I told you so on that one. How can someone who is making peoples number ones, yet was unheard of 4 months earlier not be counted as a Big Thing.

Either way, more on those thoughts later. You know I don’t care about Big Things, or Little Things, and if you don’t I will explain why in the coming weeks. But for now, I start my Top 50 albums of 2008. For bands and artists that have released more than one thing this year, instead of splitting them up and placing them individually I put them together with a kind of aggregate placing, or just placed them wherever the hell I felt like.

This was an awesome year – making this list was nigh on impossible.

50. Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling
(PIAS/Wall Of Sound)

For a couple of albums there, Mogwai weren’t really making Albums as involving or with as visionary a narrative as Young Team or CODY, so when ’The Hawk…’ came out I wasn’t expecting much. Well, Album Mogwai are back and sounding as much like Mogwai as they always do…except here on The Sun Smells Too Loud, which has a totally euphoric hook, is the closest they have ever come to a pop song and the most different they have sounded….ever?

49. Rose Kemp - Unholy Majesty
(One Little Indian)

A couple of years ago I came across Rose on MySpace and loved her delicate folk songs and the group of acoustic artists she was associated with around Bristol. I turn my back for a year then come back to discover she’s been dabbling with metal riffs, noise textures and is fast becoming the new Diamanda Galas or Jarboe. Woah.

48. Natural Snow Buildings – Laurie Bird / Slayer Of The King Of Hell
(Students Of Decay) / (Digitalis)

The beautifully named Natural Snow Buildings are the French duo of Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte . They have jammed out too many albums, in too limited quantities, to have kept up with - 10 this year – so they could have better ones than these, but these are the ones I’ve held on to and continue to get the most out of. Huge, heady landscapes of heavily effected guitars, ringing feedback, layered chanting, percussion and the occasional distant sightings of drums on the horizon – the beats in Song For Laurie Bird come after twenty minutes and take another ten to develop into a suffocating climax.

47. Pocahaunted – Chains / Island Diamonds
(Teardrops) / (Not Not Fun)

The Eagle Rock, CA based duo of Amanda and Bethany brought in the drum and production talents of Bob Bruno (of Goliath Bird Eater) to both these records and took their hypnotic, smoky psychedelia two different ways – 'Chains' lifted their sound up to the poppiest end of their rainbow while the heavier 'Island Diamonds' sunk it down to a murky, clanking dub.

46. Barn Owl - From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light
(Not Not Fun)

Another two-piece, Barn Owl are Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras. In ‘From Our Mouths…’ they presented a shamanic ritual; all shuffling percussion, barefooted dust storms and majestic headshaking, carried along on the winds of organ drone and electric currents of guitar. It also comes on white vinyl, which looks way cool.

45. Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Black Yolk
(Bro Fidelity)

The Melbourne based duo of brothers Toby (guitars) and Ben (drums) Matthews smashed out this album of mostly improvised heavy, noisy post-rock/metal album that drew inspiration, but never limited them to, the sounds of the likes of Karma to Burn, Om, Torche, Capricorns, Mogwai, Goliath Bird Eater, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The long songs gave the listener time to breathe, but it was in the shorter ones that really held focus and I have yet to find a more rocking track this year than The Lakeshore Strangler - five minutes of joyously intimidating riffs; of surging rhythm patterns set on top of a sawing distorted backdrop with drums that switch between psychedelic dexterity and cantering locked-groove.

44. Wild Beasts – Limbo, Panto

This year’s Voice belonged to Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts. If you heard it, you had an opinion on it. In the same way that the rich soul of I Am A Bird Now surprised people by coming from the body of Antony Hegarty, the epic falsetto sweeping, tearing and plunging across 'Limbo, Panto' equally shocked by coming from a skinny white indie kid from Kendal. It helped that the album’s guitar and piano based arrangements supported the grandeur of it, while lyrically it was all juxtaposed with football fan angst, peace offerings of cheesy chips and joyriding.

43. Brael & Tokyo Bloodworm – Living Language

An album of such quietly brushed electronic-folk, that it was barely there in volume, bit in presence it consumed the room. Acoustic guitars were submerged into a humming exhalation of a record with a centerpiece, Golden Mean Triangle that sighed as mournfully as a Godspeed interlude.

42. Sparkling Wide Pressure – Touching Pasture
(Students of Decay)

Named after a Jupiter Moon special move from Sailor Moon, one man Tennesse’en band Sparkling Wide Pressure is Frank Baugh’s musical foil to his paintings. This album is immediate. From the very first track; Tearing Rippling – built from a woozy, thick, bassy drone-riff, haunting tone pealing off from it, soft beat patting underneath - the record progresses through a heaving, throbbing, buzzing wilderness of whited out scenery, with enough detail hidden amongst it to keep coming back to.

41. Der Blutharsch - The Philosopher's Stone

Elvis style sideburns and shades adorn Albin Julius as he greases up his industrial outfit Der Blutharsch with a newfound sense of Rock and Roll. Mixing it with a heavy loping style of kraut-rock, a free-wheeling sense of sixties psychedelica and a core of rhythmic neo-folk, 'The Philosopher’s Stone' comes off like Grails forced into leathers and jack boots – against their will.....

40. Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping

Skeletal Lamping, the ‘never going to be as good as 'Hissing Fauna…’,follow up to my Number 1 album from last year in which Kevin Barnes revealed his transgender, bisexual black alter-ego, is a bloody-minded, deliberately awkward listen – and not just because it’s mostly about him doing it. Each funk-soul-pop-noise-hybrid is jarred against the next, each a rapid fire rush of too many ideas to keep up with, each one a potential technicolour fucking headache or a life changing mini pop-opera. Sexual deviance has never been so…well yes actually, it has always been this entertaining, but this is something else.

39. Wavves – Wavves
(Fuck It Tapes)

Sing-a-long choruses, insanely catchy harmonies and invigoratingly short songs all totally overdriven to oblivion, pushed right up into the red and in your face, interspersed with feedback and pedal carnage. Wavves is Nathan Williams from San Diego, California and his creation is a motherfucking surf-rock noise punk record that is as obnoxious as it is instantly gratifying. Quite how Fuck It have reflected two of this years niche trends I have no idea - More surf-rock and overdriven beauty to come.

38. Varghkoghargasmal – Drowned In Lakes

Varghkoghargasmal is Avenger; A one man ambient/acoustic Black Metal band from Germany who describes his sound as ‘Wooden Metal’ and that is as apt a description as any, despite how ridiculous it sounds. Wonky didn’t just hit dubstep this year, it hit BM too – This album is a compelling drunken dance with beats that barely stay in time, surf-rock riffs that dip in and out of time, keyboards pumping along to their own merry minor-key march, with it all haunted by a weird, reverbed otherworldly atmosphere and structure.

37. The Donkeys – Living On The Other Side
(Dead Oceans)

I think Dolphin Center is about swimming with dolphins, I dunno, but the rest of the songs are definitely about girls and getting high. This band could not get more sundazed and stoned if they sat out in the Californian sun for days getting stoned more. Sorry. But they couldn’t. You can hear the lead heavy arms of the bassist straining to get that last note, heat slackening the strings; lazy elliptical organ riffs pulse through the centre of the songs, the singer’s dry hazy voice drifting across the calmest of sea breezes. You can almost see the heat shimmer rising from the pavement.

36. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Until DLZ came along, Kids was probably my favourite song of the year….just like everyone else then. No surf-rock here though so, moving on…

35. Crystal Antlers – Crystal Antlers
(Touch & Go)

First time I heard this Long Beach, CA sextet I did actually think it was just formless noise with all the different members pulling in different directions and falling over each other in their efforts to get there. Maybe I needed that first listen like a warning shot across the bows, so I could retreat a bit, figure out what the hell it was that I was facing then shift my feet and change posture accordingly. After it squeals into action and Jonny Bell’s first delayed/reverbed vocal screech dies down, the totally organic single minded entity reveals itself and explodes into an infinitely repeating fractal pattern of cosmic psych, surf-rock (yes, again, I told you it was everywhere), sludgy punk, and roaring blues until the final 7 minutes of Parting Song for the Torn Sky which pins the chaos down with the lowest slung bassline groove and the most euphoric key change of the year. All of that in a record that is under 25 minutes long.

34. Woven Hand - Ten Stones
(Sounds Familyre)

David Eugene Edwards's Woven Hand band release an even more muscled and deep wrinkled, dust-blown record than 2006’s Mosaic. A steely gravitas imbues these songs, a grimness that recalls Tomahawk’s ‘Anonymous’, an album that is only a couple of metal heavy sidesteps away from this with it’s Native American influences. It feels like a constant presence shadows this record, some dread spirit watching over the Wild West, a doomy boiling tension building as thunderclouds on the horizon, breaking out into stomping beats war dance style in Kicking Bird – either to fend off the evil, or bring it upon an enemy. Either way, it’s a pretty scary prospect.

33. Religious Knives – It's After Dark / The Door
(Troubleman Unlimited) / (Ecstatic Peace)

A double whammy of albums that disappointed the feral purists, but excited those who felt that the clouds of the storm parting heralded a freshness and a future. The three headed noise generator found some limbs and cast off their distorted shroud to reveal sleek lines of nocturnal rhythms with a progression of increasingly kraut-rock and post-punk albums reflecting New York at night, the hulking silhouettes of the skyline, the white noise and clamour of the city floor, the claustrophobia of its subterranea, the hearbeats that propel it, encapsulating it all in heady cyclical drone and sweaty momentum.

32. Kowloon Walled City – Turk Street

The tone of this record is absolutely perfect; A rocking, heaving, juggernaut of thick warm fuzzy fuck-off Metal with softly rounded edges – an all consuming velvet buzz, fat, solid drums and vocals that remind me of Jens Kidman’s from Meshuggah - at times the music does too, but this Californian four-piece’ are much less complex, much more direct and all the better for it.

31. Deerhunter – Microcastle

Bradford Cox’s meticulous attention to detail resulted in this fascinating album of mini epics. The signing to Kranky is a clue to where the sound is at on this album – a heavier emphasis on the soundscaping that backs the pop – but pop it still is nonetheless, moving ever closer to a harmonic fusion of Echo and the Bunnymen and Brian Eno.

30. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement

The main draw of this album – recorded in two weeks, no less! – is undoubtedly it’s unashamedly brash Scott Walker arrangements (courtesy of Arcade Fire’s Owen Pallett), complete with all the lyrical subversion of grandeur that goes with it, accents intact. The other draw, may be the portrayal of glamour within the album, not just on the cover. Along with the musical style of the late 60’s, it is all about smoky femme fatale figures; some with the potential to deliver and reward - ’Kiss me properly and pull me apart’ – but that is the first track, acting as a lure to draw you closer. Thereafter she is unobtainable. Dangerous hot sex appeal smoulders inside the high-street sirens that stalk the songs, like in Only The Truth where weak male minds are snipered by ‘The girl with many different strategies’. Noir then, but elevated by galloping Spaghetti Western rhythms, uplifting orchestral flourishes and camp twists and turns of phrase, resulting in a musical eloquence perhaps unexpected, and entirely absorbing.

29. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life

With his last ever album as Leviathan, Wrest has left an indelible mark and an insurmountable legacy for one man black metal bands to assail. That anyone playing in a band can sound this spontaneous is an impressive feat, let alone against themselves and machines. All the Leviathan elements are here in force; the suffocating atmosphere, the grim dirgy ambience, massive riffs twisting and cutting from highly kinetic thrash to grinding funeral march at just the right moment to leave you a little breathless in awe, hypnotic rhythms ratcheting up the tension with a poise, elegance and intensity pervading it all like no one else can. A flawless execution in every way.

28. To The Boy Elis - Love Is Like The Cost Of Living
(Pocket Change)

A free download from a San-Fransisco based post-rock/ambient oriented net-label, this was the starkest contrasting release on their schedule this year, and one of the most contrasting albums released by anyone. To The Boy… is Henry Derek from Atlanta, Georgia. He plays the rawest form of blues imaginable, singing them in a gnarled sneering croak of a voice that twists its vowels and drags its consonants viciously across the gravelly instrumentation. Mixing the more traditionally destitute delta-blues sound of battered strings and footstomp beats with a more modern, yet primitive preternatural howl of tape loop noise and ambience, this album comes across like a lost in the woods slasher film, and a blood chillingly tense one at that.

27. Foals – Antidotes

Shame after all that cool 7” artwork that the album cover looked so shit. It’s kind of a shame that all those singles weren’t on this album too, but then it wouldn’t have sounded so much like an album. Sounds were one of they key tabloid hooks for this too; the big question was who did a better production job on the Foals album - Foals or Dave Sitek? There’s only one way to find out – FIGHT!! Or leak those tapes please. It was a bold move to ditch the original mix, but this version sounds great; For a dance band, Foals created a very cohesive record that, as well as sounding dead fucking cool (debatable for sure, but I say Cool), lived up to repeated listens by incorporating not just polyrhythmic guitar lines and locked down grooves for the disco, but detailed textures and narratives to the tracks. The Afro-Beat rhythms that everyone thought were going to take over 2008 were pretty much dealt with single handedly – no one could do them better than Foals, and it would have been embarrassing to try (stand up and get out Vampire Weekend). They could work a crescendo like no one else and flip it on the head of a pin, plus the lyrics to Cassius do say “Laurence is an accident”, right? Don’t disappoint me.

26. M83 – Saturdays=Youth

They arrived around a similar time, aren’t exactly the same, but for some reason I had M83 and MGMT stuck together as two composite parts of a whole. That both take their main influences from the 80’s probably had a lot to do with it, and both wore them on their sleeves pretty proudly. Both had massive dancefloor filling trance tracks at the centres too. But where MGMT were the singles band,, M83 was the album band and the one that delivered a richer environment; a whole John Hughes/Joel Schumacher stage, set for an overwrought teenage drama to unfold; right the way from the dramatic piano lead opener You Appearing, the (doomed?) twilight couple Kim & Jessie; the distraught gothic girl lamenting “I'm fifteen years old and I feel it's already too late to live” in Graveyard Girl, through that huge heart-stopping, pulse-quickening neon-shoegaze rush of Couleurs down to the ghostly Twin Peaks like haunted coda of Midnight Souls Still Remain.

25. TV on the Radio – Dear Science

I’m pretty certain that DLZ is my favourite song of the year (although tells me Late Of The Pier’s Heartbeat pips it at 19 to 14, but it doesn’t know everything). It’s definitely the Wolf Like Me of ‘Dear Science’ – the silence before ”Never you mind / Death Professor"” is the most devastatingly weighted and well poised in any song you could mention – it’s the song that delivers the greatest musical release after all the pent up funk, twitching post punk and motorik running on nervous energy, with the clipped rapped vocal lines an especially arresting departure. ‘Dear Science’ captures a Brooklyn, and by extension America and possibly the world, in a fitful state of paranoia and alientation – its surface may be slick and clinically presented, but underneath factions rage in turbulent aggression with each other. It is a lyrically angry album, balanced by potentially chart-friendly instrumentation with so many ideas jostling for space that it is almost uncomfortable – but most definitely bearable, and more so.

24. Pete & The Pirates – Little Death
(Stolen Recordings)

A beautifully rich voice and elegantly penned songs about life on the mean streets of teenage indie-kid-hood characterized the second album from Reading’s Pete & The Pirates. There were some ballads (Moving, Humming), but mostly this was a set of rocking grubby disco numbers. Even when they were melancholy (The vocal harmonies on Dry Wings are almost heartbreaking), this album surprised with it’s instant, persistent charms; the spiky aggression punching in both frustration and elation – Lost In The Woods and Bright Lights tearing it up with euphoric rushes of soulful fury, the comedic moments like “Get out of bed, it’s the wrong one” from Knots and the bit in Bears after singer Thomas Sanders says “Oh mummy bear and daddy bear as angry as can be” where the guitar solo goes apeshit. As true an Indie album and as rewarding a listen as you could ask for.

23. Grouper – Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill

Liz Harris’s shimmering solo outfit hits a murky peak with her third album, veiling half singing/chanting under spectral guitar tones. The title may be land-based, and somewhat grim, but the noisier gristle of previous albums has been cast off in favour of a more watery sound, a lot of this echoing the movement and sounds of the sea; a constantly rolling wash reverberating across its 12 immersive tracks. Yet it is still a brittle creature, delicate and fragile, each layer of sound hanging across the next with intricate details hidden deep between them. Yielding much now, and hopefully more after further listening, this isn’t an album that gives up its secrets easily and may never be likely to.

22. The Mausoleums - Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire
(Chinese Workers Labor Union)

The second album from Chicago based one man Black Metal band The Mausoleums plays mostly with overdrive, feedback and volume - and this was almost certainly the loudest thing I heard all year, pretty much the only thing I need to turn down before pressing play. Underneath those three key elements, submerged beneath the ferocious blackened buzz and boiling distortion is a record that understands Pop. It is coming at it from a whole load of angles; swirling shoegaze guitar lines, cantering super rhythmic, super fast beats, rattling Link Wray riffs, thick and fast BM drone, shrieking vocals that layer on more distortion. This is where the surf-rock turns nasty. It’s a risky formula; waaaay too noisy for radio, too rocking for pure black metal, too black for pure rocking, too dreamy in places to be scary and too intimidating overall to really ever be Pop but that’s what makes it all the more engaging. Absolutely not background music, this is right up there in your face, demanding attention.

21. Portishead – Third

If they had changed their name and released ‘Third’, except for Beth Gibbon’s distinctive voice giving it away, no one would have known it was Portishead. Maybe that’s why they didn’t want to call it anything other than ‘Third’. They are still as subterranean, dense and claustrophobic sounding as ever, but with a renewed faith in music delivered by bands such as Om and Sunn O))) the resulting album is more brooding and bleak than ever before. Opener Silence sets the eerily gothic tone, its funeral aura carried on the rippling kraut-rock pulse, setting the sound of the rest of the record; the grim tearing noise in Hunter adds to the crushing darkness, while the very real threat of night terrors abound in We Carry On. It is a chilling album and one which will probably exorcise those coffee-table demons that haunt the previous two.

20. Iron Pirate – Iron Pirate
(Neigh Music)

“Welcome to your doom!” So begins the home recorded, hand-made, self-released journey of the Iron Pirate as he takes his first steps into his 8-bit, digital thrash metal odyssey. It isn’t just the concept of this that is compelling, but that the songs themselves are such gargantuan entities in their own right. If this was an album played out with full thrash/death metal instruments it would be hailed as one of the greatest collections of Metal anthems committed to tape. Despite its lack of vocals, there is a fully realised imagery conveyed through the music and the battle lore invoked through the song titles is tangible – Cathedral Of Doom, In The Realm of The White Spider, and this, probably the best thrash title ever: Abominable Iron Steamship Of Death. The artwork is exceptional, each track illustrated by iconic 80’s cartoon imagery and embellished by the hands of the Pirate himself. As with any high octane metal record, there are so many moments when one riff yields to another, synthesized or not the section in Iron Steamship where the steely pumping section grits its teeth before baring down, all sword-slashing gun-blazing synth-guitar soloing. Pretty much the Crystal Castles of metal, and yeah, 1 better than Portishead……..and in a mystery I have just discovered, he seems to have disappeared off the face of the internet. The links up there used to have him, but no more.

19. Woodpigeon - Treasury Library Canada
(Awesome Calgary Awesome)

Originally named Woodpigeon Divided By Antelope Equals Squirrel (or W/A=S in equation form), this Canadian chamber-folk troupe revolves around the songwriting and lyrical direction (and verbose song-titling) of Mark Hamilton. There is a lightness and daydreamy quality to the music, a heartwarming prettiness and joyful twinkle that belie the darker subject matter of the lyrics. Sometimes the songs are stripped back to the bone and the dry, black humour lounges so comfortably across them, sometimes it only takes a brief flicker of embellishment to makes it, like the opening Knock Knock where a tremolo hammered guitar line peals away from the body of the chorus, but on others, serious issues arise; the dour tales of bedridden depression in Battle of Sun Vs. Curtains Sun Wins and We Sleep Until Noon that are backed by the full quietly rocking folk orchestra, ornamented with brass, organs, and percussion played by the ever changing collective line-up. A work of contrasting, beguiling, disturbing beauty.
18. Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now Youngster

It took me a long time to get in to Los Campesinos!, and now I have I am not sure what put me off. I think it sounded so horrendously twee at first, the clique mentality of all the references to ATP and the accompanying journalistic gush were all equally nauseating. But then in a somewhat more lucid moment of calm and reflection, when those aggravating factors had diminished, this album just totally floored me with its whip smart sense of humour, genuine youthful zeal, enthusiasm and excitement. Each Arcade Fire style epic rush of song was like a sweet hit of reminiscence and nostalgia for an attitude that has deserted me, but they are laced with a cynicism and knowing self-effacing demeanour that I can totally appreciate. It’s still twee as fuck mind, but that was never the bad thing in itself.

17. Pyha - The Haunted House

Black metal thrives on rumours and incredible stories just as much as the music itself, and things don’t get much more incredible than those surrounding Pyha. I will hand this over to the horses mouth, Aquarius Records and tUMULt label head Andee to explain the story:::

“Recorded over the course of a year or two and released when he was 14 years old, it took almost two years to track Pyha down, and then almost four more to sort out the eventual release of this grim depressive black masterpiece. Here's how it started: Longtime aQ pal Steven Schultz (he of Puny Humans and Stalin Claus Superstar infamy) was studying in Korea and bought a bunch of records. None of them really impressed him that much, except for one mysterious disc, by a 'group' called Pyha, which in Korean means 'ruins'. He later discovered that Pyha was the work of one man, err, kid actually, a 14 year old eighth grade black metaller! Needless to say, WOW. Anyway, on returning, Steven passed the CD on to Andee who was BLOWN AWAY. Completely floored, so much so that he knew he had to release it. More people HAD to hear this. So the hunt was on. How to track down a 14 year old kid in Korea? Pre-internet it would have been impossible. But another aQ pal, Jason, was actually living part time in Korea, weirdly enough he's a minor television star there, and offered to try and track down Pyha. Which miraculously he did, and we then discovered that there were in fact 4 albums, all recorded when Pyha was between the ages of 14 and 17! All of which are amazing, and all of which should eventually be released on tUMULt. But this is THE ONE.”

I took that from the Aquarius website - There is more detail on it and the story gets more incredible when you learn that this album is full of anti-military messages, yet Pyha himself, now some 20-odd years old, has been conscripted into the Korean army. But enough story – what does this sound like? It is a fiercely blown out, filthy black pall of a record that exerts a considerable emotional pull, either through a beautiful chord progression and weighted ambience, or through sonic terror intimidation. The beats come from distorted drum machines, the guitars move from lightly plucked acoustic passages to ferocious walls of buzzing noise, while the vocals vary similarly, from crooning whisper to choked rasp, to guttural bellow. It is a combination of the original frosty pulse of Burzum, the modern cavernous atmospheres of Leviathan, the wild feral scree of WOLD, and the fuzz-washes of Wrath of the Weak. All the while listening to this, remember: 14. Years. Old.

16. Krallice – Krallice
(Profound Lore)

Clean, clinical, precise, meticulous production values. Rare features amongst traditional characteristics of black metal, yet all those things and more make this one of the most progressive and important releases of any genre this year, not just across the metal spectrum. Behold...the Arctopus’ Colin Marston and Orthrelm’s Mick Barr (along with Astomatous’ Nick McMaster – and Lev Weinstein on bass and drums) brought their avant-garde, hyper-shred-technical abilities to bear on an album that focused them, dispensed with a lot of the showy, superfluous fretboard abuse and streamlined it into six sleek and elegant tracks of repetitious, hypnotic black trance. A thick, clear drum sound complemented the shiny tones of the guitars, with a bass sound that punched low and hard with a real physical presence – the final 15 minute long Forgiveness in Rot, bringing the album to a climax with a huge set of essentially only three riffs that slide into one another creating an unbearably steely tension that never quite breaks, each new loop of the cycle ratcheting it up another nerve fraying level. Thoroughly absorbing and rewarding, Krallice set a milestone for black metal, marking 2008 as the year that something genuinely shifted.

15. Prussia – Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly
(Common Cloud)

I heard of this Detroit based indie soul outfit through Ongaku Baka. An utterly un-self-conscious smash and grab soundclash of happy musics that, in 30 minutes of the most tastefully (but not cynically) measured fashion, takes in elements of Scratch Perry dub, Tamla shimmy, strutting Calypso, Mexican mushroom psyche, sun-dazed surf-rock…..the Sesame Street theme...Great Lakes really does sound like that, but even that isn’t off-putting in the context of the song – it’s a little ray of innocence in an album greatly concerned with the woes of the planet. I haven’t heard of them anywhere else, probably because this was limited to 300 copies of hand-screened and numbered artwork, but if is, and it l surely deserves and will be, awarded a re-release, I expect to see their name around big time next year.

14. WOLD – Stratification
(Profound Lore)

Another wintery fusion of black metal, industrial strength noise and the cold fury of Mother nature at her most aggrieved, WOLD bring album number three to bear on to a world that is barely recovered from the almost unbearably bleak ‘Screech Owl’. Well, even bleaker is the landscape formed by ‘Stratification’, and even less forgiving are the minds of Obey and Fortress Crookedjaw. The album is built on a lot of trance inducing repetition; Sleigh Ride features an almost rhythmic wobbling bassline underneath a fizzing blizzard of white distortion, the numerical duo of Nine Paths and Nine Creeks are an almost dry and wet mirror image of each other, both featuring a similarly scratchy guitar riff with the former focusing a crackle, splintered top layer, and the latter a rushing undercurrent of psychotic babble. Brief, relative, mercy comes in the form of The Frozen Field, where all the layers of guitars drop away leaving the crackling buzz of a drum beat smashing an irregular rhythm, punctuated occasionally by the violently feral, blown-out screech of the vocals. WOLD dwell in a harsh place, absolutely, but if you can take the pain there is a lot to get out of the experience and it will stay with you too. Life’s most harrowing episodes always do.

13. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

With lyrics like “Midnight organ fight / Yours drips into mine / it’s alright”, the second album from Frightened Rabbit is as visceral, sexual, and very possibly anti-sexy, as anything penned by Aidan Moffat and looks set to stand the band in as cultishly admired a position as Arab Strap themselves. Detailing the events and aftermath of a relationship breakup, ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ is very much like getting in the middle of a fight you should never have been stood near in the first place; Listen to Scott Hutchinson nonchalantly threatening “I might not want you back but I want to kill him” in Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms, and in Keep Yourself Warm spitting a sour “You won’t find love in a hole / it takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm." By the end, the details get pretty gory and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise of the ending for you. Lyrically, this is not an album to take lightly, but the music almost works counter to this, making them all the more durable; mostly short songs of throaty folk-rock that hit their peaks quickly and move on in the most refreshing fashion. One of this year’s most potently accessible releases.

12. Women – Women
(Flemish Eye)

Canada seems to be producing no end of incredible bands at the moment. I am not sure if that has always been the case and I’ve only just started noticing, but Women are another band of essential Canucks to add to the list, and like Prussia, expect to see everyone going nuts for this band in the New Year when this album gets an official US and UK release. This album is built of so much that it is hard to nail it to any overarching genre; rhythms cast from post-punk angular rock, noisy backgrounds and interludes, brief rafts of ambience, gritty driving proto-skronk - It’s this blatant disregard for any one listener’s taste and flagrant disrespect for any potential marketing that makes it so great. The overall effect of ‘Women’ is like every Velvet Underground album condensed down into ten tracks of jaw-dropping rock. Truly, this year has been one of casting indie bands into fiery pits of noise, galvanizing them with a gnarlier exterior and leaving them scattered across the blogosphere for unsuspecting net-fiends to find and claim as their own. I claim this one: Women. Have them. You will love them.

11. Fuck Buttons – Street Horrsing
(ATP Recordings)

More noise covered skeletal frames for you, but this one – the two-piece of Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung from Reading – start from a basic chassis of throbbing electronics, pulsing drum machines and Pandora’s effects boxes, build them up with layers and loops of distortion and inaudibly mangled lyrics then stretch them out to six individually twisted narratives of around ten minutes a piece. The result is the most hypnotic psychedelic drone rock record of the year.

10. Times New Viking – Rip It Off

Ohio, Columbus based three piece TNV write acoustic based beautiful doo-wop harmony pop, reminiscent of Pavement, Guided By Voices, and even a bit of Yo La Tengo at their most succinct – then fuck it over with as much overdrive and distortion as any speakers could handle. Dubbed ‘Shitgaze’ this terribly named genre only really belongs to this band – but to it I add Wavves, The Mausoleums, and even Crystal Antlers in the round up of all the bands I have loved this year that would all be hailed as Pop geniuses if it weren’t for their concerted efforts to undermine any remote Pop potential by destroying all traces of it from their songs. For anyone that ever said demos sound crap, I can always refer them to Times New Viking – a band resolutely proud to put out cheap and deliberately ‘bad’ sounding records, then be highly praised for it. Released right at the start of the year, this album has had a lot of time to sit with me and reveal its songwriting skills and charms and there are a lot of them. The harmonic glow of Drop-Out, the over-excitable exploding mess of Faces On Fire, then after all the noise, they go and give you a sneak peek of what you could have won at the end of Times New Viking vs Yo La Tengo, where they cut back on their safety blanket and sit there, naked and acoustic as nature intended. The very best of this year of violently noisy pop.

09. Urfaust - Drei Rituale Jenseits des Kosmos
(Debemur Morti Productions)

Dutch ambient avant-garde black metal two piece Urfaust released this 20-minute 3-untitled-track mini-album in the summer and not once has another record been released that comes close to conveying the same sense of restless unease or disturbing imagery. This is a disorienting listen, immediately plunging the listener into a grinding squall, sawing layers of guitar tones shifting uneasily across each other, harrowing unearthly vocals and ghostly effects rising and falling through the mix. This record oozes atmosphere and mystery, not least because the origin of the sounds is almost impossible to distinguish – any physical playing of guitar riffs is blended into the heaving mass of noise, a smoothly churning noisescape more than actual riffing; the drums, a heavily distorted mechanic pulse add a woozy spaced-out ambience, a slow and hypnotically rhythmic element almost like they are gently steering the flow of the torrents of guitar and vocals. In an all too brief running time, Urfaust manage to conjure a deep labyrinthian environment and build upon all their previous releases with their finest work to date.

08. Action Beat – 1977 – 2007: 30 Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded

I’m not sure if this was released in 2007 or 2008. It was recorded and finished around the end of 2007, but what date stamp it has I don’t know. All I know is that I got it this year and was blown away. I went to see them and was blown apart some more. I describe them as 3 Sonic Youth’s playing at the same time. Maximum Bletchley sounds like that plus Holy Fuck - White hot sheet noise multi-drummer dance music. With each track containing varying numbers and combinations of guitars, bass and drums, occasionally augmented with saxophones and violins; you haven’t heard polyrhythms until you’ve heard Action Beat in full flow and you haven’t seen ANYTHING until you’ve seen this band live. Recently signed to Southern with an album due and about to hit the road for another year long stint of touring, Action Beat are going to eat 2009 alive.

07. U.S. Christmas – Eat The Low Dogs
(Neurot Recordings)

Coming from North Carolina, from a town in the Appalachians, US Christmas have a lot of space to star gaze, a lot of space to gaze into and a lot of space to make their band sound massive. Against that backdrop they play out like Crippled Black Phoenix, Neurosis and Hawkwind, the cosmic reference encapsulated in another band covering similar terrain – Comets On Fire. This is a kind of stoner rock, with none of the monged out drugginess. It is clear headed shades of light and dark, better able to cope with the paranoia creeping through the cracks and it’s played out on an enormous scale, shadowed by the mountains under which it was created. The album deals in a blues-rock based cosmic sludge, a coalescence of galactic effluence, space dust and solar gas. Against the hulking riffs and slowly lumbering notes progressing across the skyline, the constant whirr, fluttering, phasing and twittering of theremin builds the songs into a full on modern age psychedelic assault, neon tails of burning dust lighting the night with phosphorescent vapour. When the beat drops in on second track The Scalphunters, little pinpoints of light accelerate into streaks screaming past your periphery like hyperspeed just kicked in. Space rock in extremis. "WE ARE ONE AND ONE WITH GOD" – Euphoric disco beamed in from extremely fucking far away; an alien revenant fronting a musical combination of Spiritualised and Stooges; a majestic harshness. “PRAY TO THE SKY!” – drone soldiers in relentless skyward vigil. This is one of those long sought life-affirming albums you never even knew you’d been waiting for.

06. Horna - Sanojesi Äärelle
(Debemur Morti Productions)

Finland’s Horna are now 15 years into their career, with main-man Shatraug being the only surviving member. Chopping and changing line-ups seems to matter far less to metal bands than it does to many others – the departure of Graham Coxon from Blur, say, was the death knell for them. Any metal band in that position would have simply got another axe-man in and ploughed onwards. Another metal trait is the ability for bands to release superior work in the later stages of their careers. This is undoubtedly true of Horna, who on their seventh full album (and thirty sixth release in total, including 7”’s, splits, EP’s and a couple of live albums) have struck upon such a rich seam of instinctive, exploratory, black metal trance that it’s mesmerizing moebius strip of sensual assault holds focus across the full 85 minute double album. The production is impeccable – the keyboards wrap around the edges of the guitar tones like the banks of a river channeling the rushing, boiling torrents of riffs; the drums acting as both brittle and brutal punctuation when the tempo suits. For all its sophisticated song structures and considered, nuanced production this record is still defiantly primitive in sound and scope; as concerned with Satanism and the occult as ever. All the more reason to hail it as pure, unadulterated, dangerous, life affirming rock and roll - as it should be.

05. Rudi Arapahoe - Echoes From One To Another
(Symbolic Interaction)

Since this album was released in May, I have managed to discover absolutely nothing else about the sole composer responsible for it; but then, that enigmatic lack of detail has added a deeper layer of mystery to the music and moved what was already faintly tangible, otherworldly and unreachable that little bit further out there. Musically this is a mix of synthetic tones, samples and found sounds, musique concrete, a few stirring moments of haunting singing and occasional very minimal drum machine beats. The constant swell of soothing dreamscape suspends a story based around Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. ‘Echoes From One To Another’ starts with a death, possibly of the artist/narrator who then leads the listener, or perhaps it is the listener who should assume the role of the deceased. From that opening, the album moves through the afterlife, at which point, album highlight Conversation Piece starts throbbing it’s distant drum machine pulse, operatic vocals drift across the speakers, the eerie siren song bringing on the final theme of the album, a purgatorial debate over sin and specifically, lust. A beautiful, thought provoking and involving voyage quite unlike anything else this year.

04. Caïna – Temporary Antennae
(Profound Lore)

'Temporary Antennae' is Sussex based Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s third, finest and final album as Caïna (a 10”, 7” and 3”CDr will finish things up in the coming months). 2007’s ‘Mourner’ was one of the most groundbreaking metal releases of that year, but with 'Temporary Antennae' he has bettered both his previous record and the efforts of almost every metal artist in the last 12 months. Steeped in an essence of Englishness the profoundly involving nature of the album grew from it’s focus on elements, flora and fauna, the Gentian Osman watercolour stag beetle cover art and insert, through song titles like Willows and Whippoorwills or ...and Ivy Wound Round Him, and of course, the range of sounds it incorporates - 80’ s darkwave, post-punk and shoegazing drone. As an example of the fearless genre warping inventiveness, Ten Went Up River features churning roars of distortion that gently descend into brooding ambient passages, build through a shuffling acoustic section then gracefully morph into chiming effervescence. The centre-piece Larval Door is a shimmering Cure-esque instrumental, while the title track takes a long, meandering ramble through some dark, shadowy post-folk before exploding into a euphoric disco-trance finale. 'Temporary Antennae' is a remarkable album, from a powerful artist, one which has Caïna move black metal further into a stage where it could and should be taken as a far more meaningful genre deserving of wider acclaim. It is possibly a shame then that his new project The Red Cathedral (with members of Wraiths and Krieg), is to be a spite fuelled noise bastard black metal outfit; having promised so much for metal’s future, it seems he is already taking it away and replacing it with something far more primitive. But then, maybe underground is how he wants it kept.

.......So, my number three album of 2008 or the first of my joint-three number ones? I’ve kept swapping these three around so much, in this list, on my stereo, on the I-Plod, at work, at NFR – they are all so utterly different that comparing them against each other along any quantifiable measures is futile. So, you can consider these all number one, or in this almost arbitrary order, whichever suits. Here goes:.........

03. Brown Jenkins – Angel Eyes

Whenever I have read anyone this year saying that they haven’t discovered any bands to get obsessed with Brown Jenkins is the name that always smashes straight into my frontal lobe. In fact, it was already there before the question was raised; this year everything has revolved around the shadowy figure of this Texan one-man black metal band. No metal album could touch Umesh Amtey’s vision in it’ vastness, originality or execution. The music comes from an incredibly dark, primal place, minimal in vision but maximal in scale and space. Bleakly down-tuned, minor key arpeggiated notes cascade across the foreground, layered over distorted blurs of seething masses of shifting riffs. Songs are almost dragged along on inexorable paths of driving monolithic doom, sharply detoured by dynamic shifts in tempo hurling them in a new direction, maintaining momentum and intensity. The drums are machine generated but the whole record carries a spontaneity that belies them, yet at the same time, the drunken, stumbling style that characterises Angel Eyes could almost come from Umesh constantly chasing the beat with his riffs were the overall effect not so conspicuously deliberate. Occasionally the pace quickens from polyrhythmic sludge to buzzing hypnotic trance-like states of proto-thrash, splinters of guitar tones shearing off the massive body of music. The vocals are invigoratingly brief. Themes of the occult and Lovecraftian cosmic horror and mysticism are dealt with in sparsely distributed lyrics, each song may have only five or six lines of deeply bellowed mammoth roars through it’s length. Like Caïna, this is Brown Jenkin’s prelude to the end. In November Umesh called Brown Jenkins to an end, with the project to be concluded at the end of 2009 with an already recorded album titled 'Death Obsession.' Despite that, it’s still not too late for this man to change you.

02. Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

This is an album whose genius snuck up on me entirely. From their demos of 2006 and singles of 2007 there were occasional flashes of inspired songwriting, but that full Zarcorp demo was all over the place and only the Erol Alkan produced Bathroom Gurgle really did them justice. 'Fantasy Black Channel' totally overhauls everything that went before and like some wondrous feat of metamorphosis converts all that caterpillar potential into a fully actualised entity with an almost butterfly effect in the songwriting – one snare hit here triggering a voodoo hip-hop stomp there and a glitch breakdown further down the line. Singer Samuel Dust (Their stage names are great too) said something that helped tune me in to 'Fantasy Black Channel'. He said they don’t like all of the parts of the album but everything in it was necessary to finish each song. Those are the words of someone creating art. We also had Friendly Fires release an album along similar lines, to show what happens when this kind of dance-oriented mashup doesn’t work. This album unassailably does. This smashes a hole straight through the dead-end of new rave, taking all the excitement that it was built from and bolting on some seriously high-powered multi-genre upgrades. In the one song that encapsulates the band in as much as is possible, the vampiric protagonist of Space And The Woods makes no apologies for its behaviour “Not after what I’ve done” before standing it’s ground with “I’m shit hot so say what you think about me”, then divulging another personal secret about their musical aesthetic “chopping chopping me down so I fit in your laptop.” Either that, or it’s seriously how they disposed of the body. All that, plus they live and practice in a house together – I don’t know how long since they started in 2001, but that’s a good long time, and a good situation to get to know each other. All those things – names, ethics, house - make me want to reference Beefheart’s 'Trout Mask Replica'. Yeah, I did just compare LOTP to The Don.

01. Paavoharju – Laulu Laakson Kukista

It would be too easy to say this that album is too hard to describe, but that’s nigh on the truth. Making reference to other artists is futile – there are too many flitting around, interwoven into this complex tapestry to name, but this is everything that makes this, very probably, the greatest album of the year. Paavoharju are a Finnish free-folk collective of ascetic Christians who, in a year of really, really weird free-folk from Finland (Udon, Islaja, Kemialliset Ystävät, Lau Nauk, Shogun Kunitoki, Kiila to name a few), have created an album that pushes everything just about as far out as it can get. The 6 main members, centered around two brothers, Lauri and Olli Ainala, along with 13 additional musicians follow up 2006’s ‘Yha Hamaraa’ debut with ‘Laakson Kukista’ (“A Song about Flowers of the Valley”). It is an album that defies expectations even moreso than Late Of The Pier. This small orchestra of musicians weave an enchanted dreamworld of a record with a Brothers Grimm fairytale darkness lurking in the forest shadows; the effect is an almost pastel coloured Ingmar Bergman or Guy Maddin film - in turns ethereal, playful, innocent and creepy, sinister, menacing. This band and record utterly trumps the frail and tentatively genrefied folktronica of bands like Tuung and Four Tet - This is a seamless and natural marriage of the mechanic and organic, acoustic and electronic, a spiritual channeling of the modern and historic; formed from guitars, pianos, all manner of string, wind and brass instruments, curious pieces percussion, with the weirdness set by interludes of animal and baby noises, songs interspersed with field recordings, choruses dissolving into musique concrète. If all that sounds like a twee campfire concert, then take songs like Uskallan and Kevatrumpu, that suddenly shift into grand swells of bombastic, operatic pop with thumping drum machines, glitchy techno and churning guitars. As definite as it is abstract, this is a hauntingly evocative album that fuses a human soul with Reason and lets nature take its course.


Sunday, 14 December 2008

November’s mix is the 4th installment of my 8 monthly Not For Resale IMP mixes. Every new one of these I do I think is the best one yet. All 4 back to back would be….a night at NFR! Without further ado, let the demo mayhem commence:

Not For Resale Vol. IV (IMP 40, November 2008)


01. Power Up - Not For Resale Jingle
02. John The Savage - Hoser (Demo)
03. Diagonal - Child Of The Thunder-Cloud (Diagonal, Rise Above)
04. I Hope You Suffer - I Could Move Mountains For You (Sampler, Pocket Change)
05. Kontakte - Life’s Road Movies (Winterlight Remix) (Life’s Road Movies, Drifting Falling)
06. Laish Quartet - The Love Written Down (One:18, Toy Soldier)
07. Lebanons - One Arm (Demo)
08. Nullifier - 30 Minute Heat (Demo)
09. Plastic Passion - Beneath The Light (Contrived Imagery, Knew Noise)
10. Bats - These One’s Lay Eggs (Demo)
11. Old Mayor - Bring In The Sleeper (Demo)
12. Grasscut - Muppet (Demo)
13. Last Days Of Lorca - I Am Rat (Demo)
14. Turbowölf - Ghost Hunt (Demo)
15. I Haunt Wizards - Frost Mountain Part II (Demo)
16. South Central - Golden Dawn (The Owl Of Minerva, Egregore)
17. Spleen & The Flesh Machine - Will To Kill (Demo)
18. Awesome Wells - Not For Resale Jingle


Parting Songs For Tearing Skies (IMP 39, October 2008)

October’s mix has no theme at all, just stuff that I have been listening to a lot recently. I have been using a new program to mix these with ,so it was more an exercise in learning to use that…which means there are some dead fucking smart segues and transitions in it, even if I do say so myself. The ones between High Places and Deerhunter, Zombie Zombie and TVOTR are perfect, perfect I tell you!

Parting Songs For Tearing Skies (IMP 39, October 2008


01. High Places - Papaya Year
02. Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened
03. Frightened Rabbit - The Twist
04. The Black Angels - Science Killer
05. Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat - The Firesky
06. Paavoharju - Uskallan
07. Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free
08. TV On The Radio - DLZ
09. Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk
10. Woodcraft Folk - Old House At Home
11. Shackleton - Death Is Not Final
12. Cotti - The Search
13. Sparkling Wide Pressure - Tearing, Rippling
14. Appleblim - Vansan
15. Wovenhand - White Knuckle Grip
16. Shearwater - Century Eyes
17. Crystal Antlers - Parting Song For The Torn Sky
18. The Donkeys - Pretty Thing


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Disciples Of Frith (IMP 38, September 2008)

Here is the second posting of my IMP mixes.

September's mix was smashed out just before Syd Hauk was born. I knew that if I never got it out before he arrived it would be waaaay late, so it is kind of rushed and kind of simplistic. It's a load of new British bands that I thought my IMP friend across the pond might like to hear in case they never make it over.

Disciples Of Frith (IMP 38, September 2008)

01. The Indelicates - Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock & Roll
02. Hateful Abandon - Lungs (Demo Version)
03. David Thomas Broughton - Aint Got No Sole
04. Future Of The Left - The House That Hope Built
05. These New Puritans - Swords Of Truth
06. Metronomy - My Heart Rate Rapid
07. Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle
08. A Forest Of Stars - Earth And Matter
09. Jonquil - There Is No Ian Bridgwater
10. Frightened Rabbit - I Feel Better
11. Pete & The Pirates - Mr Understanding
12. Los Campesinos! - Broken Heartbeats Sounds Like Breakbeats
13. Wild Beasts - Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant
14. Working For A Nuclear Free City - Eighty Eight
15. Errors - Pump
16. Double Handsome Dragons - I Saw Simon Dance
17. Caina - Constantine the Blind
18. Wreaths - Bury My Tracks

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

IMP Downloads

I am going to start posting up the mixes I make for the International Mixtape Project. I am not going to be posting them up on the actual IMP site, because Muxtape got shutdown for hosting mixes and I don't want the same thing to happen to the IMP. Not that I think me alone would cause that to happen, but shit like that happens...especially to me.

So, there will be one mix a month coming, but over the next few days I am going to back date it a while, starting from the summer. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in this at all but it's no effort to post them up so i might as well.

Introduction over. Here's the first one:

The Killer (IMP 37, August 2008)

August's mix started off a just a load of tracks I'd been listening to recently. then I kind of tightened it up into a cohesive atmosphere but it still didn't really feel right until I found a title and sorted the artwork. It's nice when that happens, and i don't use that approach too often but I especially liked this one a lot for it when it all clicked together. Despite what it seems I don't actually spend all my time listening to music and songs that remind me of killing or death....not all of my time anyway.


01. Urfaust - Untitled (Drei Rituale Jenseits Des Kosmos Track II))
02. The Mausoleums - Commerce
03. Racebannon - The Killer
04. Thee Ohsees - The Guilded Cunt
05. A H Kraken - Black Borny
06. Brown Jenkins - Forever Funerals
07. Deerhunter - Never Stops
08. M83 - Kim And Jessie
09. Der Blutharsch - Untitled (The Philosophers Stone Track II)
10. Awesome Color - Already Down
11. Double Handsome Dragons - There Are Ghosts
12. Come Jolly Death - That Night Everything Went Slomo
13. Ihopeyousuffer - Armed With Colour
14. U. S. Christmas - Uktena
15. A Place To Bury Strangers - To Fix The Gash In Your Head
16. I Haunt Wizards - FF
17. On Earth - Risen


Friday, 5 December 2008

Not For Resale Setlist 4th December 2008

So. End of the year as far as NFR goes. Me and the Fokka Wolfe went of 2008 blazing our best tracks from the last 12 months - or at least, as many as we could squeeze in to 4 hours. To hear that Krallice track at intense volume was worth the trip out alone. An amazing riff to spend 15 minutes with.

More on details later though - This is almost a prelude to my own Top 50 of '08, which will be coming soon. But it isn't. It's EN EFF ARGH!!!!

Next Penthouse jam is 5th February. Wrap up warm, don't get lost or hurt and we'll see you then.

M83 - Kim & Jessie (Saturdays = Youth, Mute)
Diagonal - Child Of The Thunder Cloud (Diagonal, Rise Above)
Religious Knives – The Storm (The Door, Ecstatic Peace)
Cotti – The Search (12”, Soul Jazz)
Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno – Brainstorm (Sonic Attack (Psychedelic Warlords, Trensmat)
Crystal Antlers – Parting Song For The Torn Sky (Crystal Antlers, Touch And Go)
The Black Angels – Science Killer (Directions To See A Ghost, Light In The Attic)
Krallice – Forgiveness In Rot (Krallice, Profound Lore)
NFR Jingle – Awesome Wells
Plastic Passion – We Have Come So Far (Contrived Imagery, Knew Noise)
Pete & The Pirates – Dry Wings (Little Death, Stolen)
Wavves – California Goth (Wavves, Fuck It Tapes)
Caina – Temporary Antennae (Temporary Antennae, Profound Lore)
Deerhunter – Little Kids (Demo) (Nothing Ever Happened 7", Kranky)
Fucked Up – Golden Seal (The Chemistry Of Common Life, Matador)
Of Montreal - Alter Eagle (Id Engager 7”, Polyvinyl)
Pocahaunted – No More Women (Chains, Teardrops)
Who Owns Death TV – Cathode (One:18, Toy Soldier)
Turbowolf – Ghost Hunt (Demo)
Kowloon Walled City – My Hands Are Turning To Bricks (Turk Street, Word Clock)
Nullifier – 30 Minute Heat (Demo)
The Death Set – Around The World (Worldwide, Counter)
Errors – National Prism (It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, Rock Action)
Double Handsome Dragons – I Saw Simon Dance (Double Handsome Dragons, Pocket Change)
TV On The Radio – DLZ (Dear Science, Interscope)
Paavoharju – Kirkonväki (Laulu Laakson Kukista, Fonal)
Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud (The Hawk Is Howling, PIAS)
Foals – Two Steps, Twice (Antidotes, Transgressive)
Late Of The Pier – Heartbeat (Fantasy Black Channel, Parlophone)
I Haunt Wizards – Pimp Someone Else’s Ride (Demo)
Benga – 26 Basslines (Diary Of An Afro Warrior, Tempa)
South Central – Golden Dawn (The Owl Of Minerva, Egregore)
Tweak Bird – Whorses (Reservations, Volcom)
U.S. Christmas – The Scalphunters (Eat The Low Dogs, Neurot)
White Hills - Be Yourself (Sonic Attack (Psychedelic Warlords, Trensmat)
Awesome Color – Already Down (Electric Aboriginies, Ecstatic Peace)
White Fang – Acid Reaper (Demo)
Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Cup Weekend Murders (Black Yolk, Bro Fidelity)
The Mausoleums – Skeletal (Blackened Fawns Will Cleanse The Earth With Fire, Chinese Workers Labor Union)
Oneida – Untitled/Track 1 (Preteen Weaponry, Jagjaguwar)
Witch – 100mph (Paralysed, Tee-Pee)
Black Mountain – Stormy High (In The Future, Jagjaguwar)
Iron Pirate – Shark (Iron Pirate, Neigh Music)
Medicine & Duty – Flags And Cannons (Flags And Cannons, Foolproof Projects)
Frightened Rabbit – The Twist (Midnight Organ Flight, Fat Cat)
Varghkoghargasmal - …Near The Stars (Drowned In Lakes, Tumult)
Grails – Take Refuge (Take Refuge In Clean Living, Important)
Action Beat – Maximum Bletchley (1977 – 2007: 30 Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded, Self-Released)
Brown Jenkins – Forever Funerals (Angel Eyes, Moribund)
Wold – The Frozen Field (Stratification, Profound Lore)


Monday, 10 November 2008

MxBx back catalogue up for download

To mark the occasion of new recordings commencing (both Meat and other) I have put all the Meatbreak releases up for free download.

New material coming soon.

Previous emissions, here:

First full album of bassline noise, electric buzz and psych drone, released 2007


01. The Sun
02. Masked Target Recovery
03. Grinding The Meat For Bungalor
04. They Will Follow The Stick If It Has A Good Beat
05. Socioneurological Entropy
06. Serpentine Tuberculosis
07. The Death Of Meatbreak
08. The Moon


Bliss drone/ / skewed electro ep from winter 2006


01. Spirit Shifter
02. The Conjuror's Best Trick
03. Variant


Live two-piece / head-to-head Drums and Bass recordings from spring 2006


01. Thunderfoot vs the Hydra
02. Auto Necrotic Asphyxiation
03. Grind The Floor Electric
04. The Rising Tide Of Belief
05. Low Wood Watersports
06. Penny Reel


First Meatbreak recordings and early demos from 2002 - 2006


01. Chrysalis
02. Reasion Chews
03. Demonstruate
04. Frozeneon
05. Noiss
06. Oooh Jiggy!
07. Slabac
08. Hocum Pocum
09. Arborate Them
10. Monkey Trap
11. What's It Made Of
12. The Deathslide
13. Poon On Bush
14. Must Keep Moving In The Light
15. Life Is Better Left Alone

Not For Resale Setlist – 6th November

Thanks to everyone who attended that grand NFR return to The Penthouse this month. Thanks too go to Oli for covering us while we took a bit of time off to get to grips with some new developments.

The time off meant we'd totally stocked up on a streamlined, otherworldly, outlandish full night's worth of new releases and demos – we still dropped a couple of regular essentials in for The Research and their fans (and Peter & The Wolf, The Special K's and The Fayres – hello again to youze all).

So yeah, we are back – next one's the 4th December. See you there for more of this:

I Hope You Suffer – I Could Move Mountains For You (Sampler, Pocket Change Records)
Kontakte – Life's Road Movies (Winterlight Remix) (Life's Road Movies, Drifting Falling)
Oneida – Preteen Weaponry III (Preteen Weaponry, Jagjaguwar)
A Place To Bury Strangers – To Fix The Gash In Your Head (A Place To Bury Strangers, Killer Pimp)
129 Die In Jet – Progression (Demo)
Cotti – The Search (12", Soul Jazz)
John The Savage – Hoser (Demo)
Racebannon – The Killer (Acid Or Blood, Southern)
Sparkling Wide Pressure – Tearing, Ripping (Touching Pasture, Students Of Decay)
Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened (Microcastle, 4AD)
M83 – Kim & Jessie (Montag Remix)
Paarvoharju – Kevatrumpu (Laalu Laskson Kjukista)
Caina – Larval Door (Temporary Antennae, Profound Lore)
Crystal Antlers – Vexation (Crystal Antlers, Touch And Go)
Pocahaunted – No More Women (Chains, Teardrops)
Turbowolf – Ghost Hunt (Demo)
Tweak Bird – Shivers (Reservations, Volcom)
Nullifier – 30 Minute Heat (Demo)
Late Of The Pier – Heartbeat (Fantasy Black Channel, EMI)
Telepathe – Devil's Trident (7", Merok)
Lovers – Teenage Shutdown (Think, Wichita)
Wavves – Wavves (Wavves, Fuck It Tapes)
T.V. On The Radio – DLZ (Dear Science, Interscope)
Women – Black Rice (Women, Flemish Eye)
Diagonal – Cannon Misfire (Diagonal, Rise Above)
Religious Knives – Basement Watch (The Door, Ecstatic Peace, 2008)
Mayors – Aiplanes (Megan's LOLZ, Self-Released)
Horna – Liekki Ja Voima (Sanojesi Aarelle, Debemur Morti)
South Central – Nothing Can Go Wrong (The Owl Of Minerva, Egregore)
Shackleton – But The Branch Is Weak (Soundboy's Suicide Note 12'', Skull Disco)
Mogwai - The Sun Is Too Loud (The Hawk Is Howling, Wall Of Sound/PIAS)
Double Handsome Dragons – Goat And Chicken, Best Of Friends (Double Handsome Dragons, Pocket Change)
The Black Angels – Science Killer (Directions To See A Ghost, Light In The Attic)
Wovenhand – White Knuckle Grip (Ten Stories, Sounds Familyre)
Grasscut – Muppet (Demo)
Friendly Fires – Paris (Friendly Fires, Xl)
Of Montreal – Ed Engager (Skeletal Lamping, Polyvinyl)
MGMT – Electric Feel (Justice Remix)
Bats – These Ones Lay Eggs (One:18, Toy Soldier)
Plastic Passion – Everything Changes (Demo)
Hotel Wrecking City Traders – The Lakeshore Strangler (Black Yolk, Bro Fidelity)
Late Of The Pier – VW (Fantasy Black Channel, EMI)
Action Beat – Justice Yeldham (1977 – 2007…Thirty Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded, Self-Released)
The Mausoleums – Skeletal (Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire, Chinese Workers Labor Union)
Urfaust – I (Drei Rituale Jenseits Des Osmos, Debemur Morti)
Spleen & The Flesh Machine - Useless Pumping (Demo)
Errors – Pump (It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, Rock Action)
Shackleton – El Din (Part One) (12", Mordant)


Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Pocket Change Records Label Profile

Pocket Change Records
A glimpse of the future in an interview with an internet label.

Post Rock, Ambient, Instrumental, Experimental, Electronic, Psychedelic, Analogue Noise. These are the sounds. The theme running through them, that binds all of Pocket Change Records’ releases so far, from the very first wreaths to the current (at time of writing) Talbot Arms, is one of an enveloping atmosphere. The ultimate goal of soundscape artists is to build a bubble that refracts the world beyond it; the wall of sound the speakers throw up doubling as a blank canvas for the listener to project synaesthetic accompaniment, an emotional relationship that invests itself in the narrative of the album that needs silence for reflection and solace after the music finishes.

Now that the MP3 is king of formats the rise and potential dominance of the net label is inevitable, free music is about to mean something more that just piracy and theft. Pocket Change is a free-download net label run by San Francisco based 21 year old Bobbi Westfield. He began it in May 2008 as a way “to help out talented musicians who may get overlooked because they're not sure how to market themselves” and already has a roster of 15 artists with over 1000 downloads clocked up and counting. What is it about an internet based, download label that attracted Bobbi to it? “With all of this "illegal downloading" and "Music piracy" going on today I think it's important that artists have a choice. If they want to charge people $17.00 for a CD that’s fine - but if they want to give it away - really want to because they are so excited and proud of their music, then I think they should be able to do that as well.”

EMI just brought in the CEO of a private equity firm to take over the helm and make it more profit. With the internet becoming the dominant music medium the death of traditional forms is inevitable: “The music industry today is trying to relive the glory-years of the 1960's - 1970's. And they are failing. I'm trying to keep it less about money and more about music/creativity/originality.”

Originality is something Pocket Change’s bands have in abundance. A defining feature of each release has been the sense that it starts in familiar terrain, yet instantly moves from there into uncharted territory. To describe just a few:

UK based Double Handsome Dragons’ combination of guitars, keyboards and samples offers an interesting and arresting angle to that heavy post rock template. I Saw Simon Dance and Goat & Chicken Best Of Friends are both incredibly propulsive tracks full of tricks, twists and riffs;

The Newcastle based wreaths creates doomy sad drone, embellished with touches of post-rock guitar work with a beautifully weighted production that oozes a heavy paranoid atmosphere;

Tunbridge Wells’ On Earth builds on a heady mix of ambient references that recall Eluvium, Meursault, Acre, Stars of The Lid, Natural Snow Buildings…a lot of intense records that combine into really beautiful flowing ambience;

From the USA, Arizona’s incongruously named ihopeyousuffer is a super heavy (but distinctly un-Metal) vista of guttural guitars mangled into a heady airless space with an inherently melodic core that makes for an exhilaratingly dense and claustrophobic listen;

Albuquerque’s ZH - who is the only artist Bobbi has put out two releases for, which should indicate how alluring this artist in particular is. As Bobbi himself says “Probably the most underrated artist I have. His work is genius” – both albums are woozy, surreal trips, intricate microclimates of sound with an overarching atmosphere that is similar to the apocalyptic sighing of the "They have a large barge with a radio antenna tower on it" section from Godspeed’s East Hastings;

Michigan’s A Death Cinematic, one of the farthest out of all PCR releases so far, is a one man instrumental (although nearly all PCR releases fit that description) heavy guitar drone improviser who you can really hear putting a lot of himself into his music. An intense artist with a direct, raw approach, stripped to the minimum that is a wonderful counterpoint to the detailed layers and textures of the other artists on the label.

Every new release has created a sense of anticipation over where Bobbi will take the sound of the label. Receiving submissions at a rate of “2-3 a week” is a very healthy start for such a young label. Is there a grand scheme at play with a mapped out trajectory and releases planned in advance? “Generally, I try and have a release every Monday. Sometimes I'm booked up with releases for a month in advance. We're working on a CD sampler that will have an original song by most of the bands on the label, so things have slowed down considerably while working on it. They will be packaged in beautiful white digi-packs with original artwork, and each and everyone will be handled, folded, stamped, and numbered by yours truly. They will go on a limited run of 200 copies with a PCR sticker, and cost less than $10.00. Aside from the CD release, there are a few big changes and surprises coming to PCR.”

Keep your eyes and ears, bookmarks and favourites locked to this label. Artists planned for releases in the near future include To The Boy Elis, [praw], Iconx6, and Yellow6. After such an encouraging start, with the owner’s focused, open minded attitude Pocket Change Records has the potential to develop into a postrock/ambient/beautiful sounds contender to rival current genre leviathans like Kranky and Constellation.


Pocket Change Records

Conceptual Reality -
A Death Cinematic -
Double Handsome Dragons -
False Awakening -
Icon6 -
ihopeyousuffer -
On Earth -
piers. -
[praw] -
Talbot Arms -
To The Boy Elis -
wreaths -
Yellow6 -
ZH -

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Not For Resale Best Of Mix

Not For Resale’s July mix has arrived and it’s a very special one for you indeed. We have reached number twelve in our series of free monthly downloads and to celebrate we present to you the very best of the bands and artists featured over the last year of our mixes.

Download: NFR Mix 12 (July 2008)...The Best Of...Part One

Download: NFR Mix 12 (July 2008)...The Best Of...Part Two

It wasn’t possible to fit all the incredible music we’ve heard on to one mix and be satisfied that we were really presenting the best of Not For Resale, so we have produced TWO for you with over 30 bands and artists spread across 140 minutes of unbridled demo and underground label mayhem including all these peoples…..

-A+M / Action Beat…The Noise Band From Bletchley / Awesome Wells / Bearhead / Bucks & Gallants / Candy Sniper / Comradedown / Cottonmouth Rocks / Curtis / Deliberate / Everyone To The Anderson / Fenech-Soler / The Flesh Happening / Foxes! / Hotel Wrecking City Traders / Kontakte / Kotki Dwa / Lonely Ghosts / The Middle Computer / Milk / The Miserable Rich / Monsters Build Mean Robots / Old Mayor / One Unique Signal / Plastic Passion / Power Up! / Pseudo Nippon / Quiznight / Revenge Of Shinobi / Sharing Sheaths / Turbowölf / Yuchi / Zettasaur….



Monday, 23 June 2008

Scalphunters From Space

U.S. Christmas
Eat The Low Dogs
Neurot Recordings

I've had their self titled 12" for months and had it on heavy rotation. Heavy rotation is something these guys know a lot about. Blues based cosmic sludge, the coalescence of galactic effluence, psychedelic neon tails of burning dust lighting the night with their burning arcs and phosphorescent vapour. This album is something I've been waiting for. Coming from North Carolina, from a town in the Appalachians US Christmas (named after the Sam Pekinpah film), or USX for short, have a lot of space to star gaze, a lot of space to gaze into and a lot of space to make them feel small. Against that backdrop they play out like Crippled Black Phoenix, Neurosis and Hawkwind, the cosmic reference encapsulated in another band covering similar terrain – Comets On Fire. This is a kid of stoner rock, with none of the monged out drugginess. It’s clear headed shades of light and dark better able to cope with the paranoia creeping through the cracks, it’s enormity and scale companion to the environment it was created in.

In The Light Of All Time flickers into life like watching distant stars stuttering grasp on the firmament, slipping on and off it. This first track sounds like it was recorded by people half conscious in the best way possible. When the beat drops in on second track, The Scalphunters, little pinpoints of light accelerate into streaks, to scream past your periphery like hyperspeed just kicked in. Which it pretty much has. The effect is something to feel and it lasts for four minutes. The lyrics, barked out "BLACK AND COLD!" softened by echo and reverb, hardened by cold and exposure and darkness. Space rock. "WE ARE ONE AND ONE WITH GOD" See, not metal at all. Just disco beamed in from extremely fucking far away. “PRAY TO THE SKY!” – the coda. The rich, parched voice hoarse and unyielding in the face of the night. “PRAY TO THE SKY!” – drone soldiers in relentless skyward vigil.

It might be a touch cold, but other parts of the album come swaddled in earthy blues, a throbbing heartbeat of humanity, all the while dripping space dust and solar gas. The constant whirr, fluttering, phasing and twittering of theremin building the songs into a full on modern age psychedelic assault that draws from a healthy understanding of it’s history and tradition – which is to say that there are solos and striding passages of emotionally wrought supermassiveblackriffs – but they are sentiments that will get you because by the time those string bends tear the sound up, scarring the hulking body of the songs, they’ll have hooked into your head and heart and will be dragging it screaming into the abyss with them.

That’s Screaming good, not Screaming bad, and that’s good Abyss, not bad Abyss.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

The McDonalds and a Gun Plan Fanzine Not For Resale Interview
(Also known as The Full Body Dunk and now The Fighting Drunk)

Conducted June 2007 - reposted for posterity

How did you get started promoting?

I write for the Brighton Source magazine, covering local band and label gigs, demos and releases which keeps me involved and in contact with a whole load of amazing music so we started Not For Resale in the upstairs bar of Fitzherberts in the middle of Brighton as a way for people to hear each other’s sounds and play the bands we find most interesting and exciting. We’ve put on acousticy stuff with a small PA and laptoppy things, though we did also have The Robot Ninja Dinosaur Bastards play up there once which was probably the loudest, heaviest thing to grace that pub ever - and it’ll probably never be topped either. I was asked by the manager of a club if we wanted to expand a bit and the prospect of being able to put on full band shows in a club environment was a done deal for us, it’s exactly what we were looking to do. That’s pretty much the story. Not much too it, you’ve just got to take the chances when you can.

How long has NFR been going?

NFR has been going almost two years now. We started the NFR Live! club nights in April this year, so they’re pretty new, though the two shows we’ve had so far have been absolute stormers. We’re just about to have My Device play their new aalbum in it’s entirety live, we’re putting on Marnie Stern for a one of international guest special with Skill 7 Stamina 12, Ashley the drummer from Charlottefield’s other band and Towering Breaker with their freak noise fizz and crackle supporting, we’re having The Flesh happening and Robot Ninja Dinosaur bastards together at the same gig which will totally flip people out, we’ve got a black/death metal band playing but I haven’t figured out what other bands should go with that yet. Got to keep it mixed like some freaky compilation, not enough people willing to take risks and we’re one dangerous liability waiting to collapse under it’s own ambition but we’ll keep it that way until we do.

What are the goals of NFR?

Our goals are manifold really. We want the Fitzherberts’ DJ nights to be a place for people to come and listen to a whole load of freaky music and hear what other bands around town are doing. We hope it serves as a place for bands to begin and collaborations to form out of hearing each others work, which it has to some extent because the whole ethos behind it is to celebrate creativity not just to stand around getting pissed (though there’s massive sofas too, so if you want to sit and get lost in deep conversation you can) We want bands to be noticed by audiences and go off and see them live and pester them for demos – just get the whole thing moving along and keeping everyone enthusiastic. It’s a place for people to hear stuff they’ve never heard before and, though we don’t really like to say it because it sounds pretentious and is kind of implicit in the aesthetic of the night, we play a lot of obscure and very limited releases that people probably won’t be able to hear anywhere else. We love it when bands we’ve been playing demos of start to get big and the ball rolls out of control, like with Klaxons and the Horrors. It’s not something we brag about, it’s just what we do. I don’t know, maybe we should shout about the fact that we’ve been playing this stuff and it’s got massive, but that’s not our style, there’s really no need for it. Words getting around at a welcome pace The NFR Live! night is there to showcase bands that we’ve been playing at our bar night, putting our money (though it’s all free) where our mouth is and giving people the chance to jump around, dance and sometimes cry. It’s been known to happen.

What should anyone coming to an NFR night expect?

They should expect to get their heads wrecked. We give people a damn good time and they come away exhilarated and enthused about the infinite possibilities the universe has to offer. We crack open minds with mysterious new sounds and people love it. The other week I played demos from Extinction and Bone Awl – two very different Black Metal bands, back to back, watched as half the crowd went nuts and a few faces went deathly pale, then the whole place flipped when we dropped Holy Fuck on them straight out of Bone Awl.. Everyone went ballistic, running all over the place like their minds had just blown out their eyes. See, it’s mixing it up, grabbing people’s attention with stuff that we really enjoy and our people enjoy it too – sometimes they may not think so for a while, but then the moment takes them. Causing physical and psychological reactions – just getting people into the mind set of experimenting; offering them stuff they can’t hear anywhere else. A sense of mischievous aural terrorism coupled with the desire to include everyone works for us and the people that come to our nights.

The MGP’s idea of a Promoter differs from many other people’s idea of one - what do you think a Promoters job should be?

A promoters’ job is NOT about rinsin’ kids and bands to make a tidy profit. I’ll come back to that later. Money? You’re in the wrong game man, but I hear that’s what a lot of people are after. Promoting should be all about creating environments for people to hear stunning new music, finding it and giving it to people, making the most hard to come by stuff accessible, challenging people and creating that buzz in their head where they’re running off pure excitement. Picking the right combinations of bands to play gigs, giving bands opportunities to play and audiences the chance to hear them. It should be about making beautiful artwork and atmospheres, setting up the future, broadening horizons and setting new standards. You think a promoters’ job is to put on a gig? That falls way short of what we expect and deliver at Not For Resale.

Just how hard is it to keep a good night going?

Haha. Ask me in a year if we’re still going. How do you rate success? Keeping a night going is all about pushing yourself to find new and exciting stuff, simple as that. You’ve got to get out there and watch bands, get demos off them, scour the internet, go see stuff, don’t sit on your arse, be active, get involved. It takes energy and commitment, but it’s not hard. It would be hard if you didn’t really want to do it and if you don’t really want to do it then you’re not going to deliver and surpass peoples’ expectations. Every week I have something new that’s really worth getting worked up about and I often wish the nights would come round quicker so I can play stuff to people. Enthusiasm is contagious; I can see it in peoples’ eyes when I’m cuing something up and they’re wondering what the hell it’s going to be. Challenge people, but don’t come over all pretentious, play stuff to people like you know it’s about to become their best friend for life – shit, it already is their best friend, it’s just waiting for them to hear it.

What question would you most like to be asked?

The red pill or the blue pill?

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Right now I’m listening to some demo riffs for my band The The The Repeat Peters – but that’s not what you meant is it? A lot of Heavy Winged, absolutely the most essential band of the moment for me and everyone who comes in to contact with their records. Bone Awl, Furze - loads of Black Metal always, you’ve got to keep going back to Burzum to understand how to make beautiful music caustic and keep the emotion there; BM is on a totally essential cutting edge right now, especially the noise-BM crossover like Wold, Genital Tomb and Extinction; loads of psychedelic and Krautrocky stuff from Europe, like Tivol, Dungen, Circle, total headshaking multicolour drone bliss – American stuff like Wooden Shjips, Grails, Goliath Bird Eater, freak pop like Of Montreal, Candy Bars, Battles, Parts & Labor, all that psychotic dance like Justice, Digitalism, Knifehandchop, Para One, Black Strobe, Dandi Wind, Grabba Grabba Tape, Gui Boratto,…All that Ed Banger, Kitsune, DFAWrong Music, Gigolo stuff…Anything that Aquarius Records in California tell you to get, GET. They know their stuff. Anything from labels like Jagjaguwar, Not Not Fun, Todestrieb, Sathanas Rex, Battlecruiser, Nuclear War Now!, Battle Kommand, Code 666, Southern Lord, Polyvinyl, Brille, Snakes & Ladders, Kemando, Bella Union. This is making my head spin. There’s so much stuff around.

Can you recommend any new bands to the MGP?

That’s what we do. I’ll give you a load from Brighton, then we’ll move further afield:
The Flesh Happening – absolutely essential, like the first days of the Stooges when everyone was too scared to understand it; Robot Ninja Dinosaur Bastard – puke-tronic metal D&B dino-core; Revenge Of Shinobi – melancholic guitar dance with vocal loops and added disorientation; Old Mayor – the most amazing two piece Doom band ever, amazing vocals delivered at such a crushingly weighted pace; Zettasaur –they’ve got angles and they’ve got droney riffs hypnotically smashed together; The Mekano Set, gothy electronic effects heavy mood music like New Order zombified; Enid Blitz – wonderful full on indie stuff that goes straight for the heartstrings; Coin-Op - are back and meaner,. Faster, harder than ever; Vile Imbeciles – death jazz they call it and you’d better agree; Catnap – rioutous guitar scree with BEATS!; The Miserable Rich – beautiful folky pop, really sounding and overwhelming; Ben Parker – one name, whole band, awesome surfy melodic summer tunes with cheeky lyrics; Bearhead – one man effects heavy guitar drone genius; Dreamer – sub-bass black metal riffing on epic scales.

Let’s move on.

From London - The Be Be See - channel baiting spite-pop; Shock Defeat! - Urgent urgent rage wrapped melodi-core; The Roaring Twenties – yeah, they roar and it’s a beautiful noise;

O.K. I’ll speed up the tour:

Turbowolf from Bristol are fucking immense, and we need a band to replace DFA 1979 and they’re IT!, plus Kotki Dwa’s weird out pop and Love Team’s electro rock, Hasting’s Data.Select.Party do a similar thing really well, The Middle Computer from Southampton – totally fucked up noise, heavy dance beats and guitars, blessed out instrumentals, funny lyrics, the real deal, Curtis from Liverpool – heavily overdriven gorgeousness; Bucks & Gallants from Virginia, USA – like Oneida but more direct, totally pumping; Bay Of Creatures from Canada, real murky psychedelic freaky stuff……..

Come back to me if you need more, I live for this stuff.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time? We’ll have a record label that’s putting out all the stuff we love and runs of records will be selling out faster than we can print them. We’ll be putting on free gigs in massive venues with bands no one’s heard of to ecstatic audiences with their minds wide open in rapture. And they will be dancing. Industry people will be battering down our door demanding to know how we do it and we’ll tell them to ‘Fuck off’ because this is for the people, not for their pockets Other nights will be springing up all over the country playing demos from their town, invigorating every fucking scene everywhere, the nations mindset will shift from consumerism to activism, middle men like profit making shops that give shit all back will be cut out because people will realise they can go straight to the label or the bands themselves and the NME and Radio 1 and all that crap will become redundant when people realise they don’t need a seal of approval stamped on what they can listen to, people will absolutely not accept paying £140 for a ticket to a festival and the corporate bands that demand those fees will be buried under the DIY aesthetic and vigorous love for music in and of itself. The climate is right but the mass audience need to realise it’s there for the taking, we just need to tear down that veil that’s confusing them into not being able to take the initiative themselves. Every indie band member will have to work in a call centre, at least part time to talk to the man on the street and find out whether he really is a cunt or not. Not For Resale will be the catalyst to all that.