By Steven Dinnie
January 27, 2014
Scientists have determined that the Earth’s surface will not be able to support human life much longer, due to pollution and overpopulation. In 1957, Dr Carl Garstein proposed three alternative solutions. The first was a drastic reduction of the human population on Earth. The second, the construction of vast underground shelters. Alternative three?
2014 has got off to a good start, with goodness seeping from its very pores friends, and you can all dig in early. Why not indulge in the formless meditative guitar convulsions of Mike Vest as Basillica and his hot off the presses solo guitar album Black Distilment and Fine Membrane Sheath? The man who is in Bong, Haiki No Ku, 11 Paranoias, Lobster Priest and Space Victim has found time for a solo project, and it’s a stormer. Blank nihilistic industrial groanings, like the pressure of the infinite on the too-thin walls of a space station as it re-enters the atmosphere, worth ten times the two pound price of admission from Bandcamp. And Glasgow’s own Skullwizard have finally released something, sounding very live and very raw, The House That Varg Built/Skullwizard Theme is ten minutes of post-Hawkwindian double-dooming on espresso speed, a howling, whirling, exciting first outing for the band, and it’s free. Another free piece of thudding doom is released by Bong Cauldron via Superhot Records. You cannot afford to miss out on the most joyous sludge bludgeoning since the last Weedeater record. And yet ANOTHER record you should all urgently check out, especially if there are people surrounding your house Assault on Precinct 13 style and you can’t afford to fall asleep and you’re all out of benzo fury. It’s called the Hole by Los Angeles’ Obliterations and I’m in love. Did you listen to Workin’ Man Noise Unit when they put out their great tapes? No, because nobody did, but you should because it would be a good warm up for Obliterations. Playing like OFF! were involved in a horrific tour-bus accident with Volume 2 era Sleep’s guitar section and the amputee survivors vowed to come together and make a comeback. Seriously, do your ears a favour. Obliterations, available through their own bandcamp page. They’re signed to Southern Lord and you can say you were ahead of the curve on the Next Big Thing. Four dollars, less in real currencies. Phew, 2014 is off to a great start, and looking to get better. I’m childishly excited about Death By Burning, the debut from the outrageously great Mantar. February release, people will laugh at you if you miss it.
Gaiman’s Law posits that at whichever page a writer opens their own book, they will find a typo. Let me posit an additional law, whenever a music critic completes their “best of the year” list, the moment they send it to their editor, they’ll discover something great that they missed. So here I present to you MORE of the best of 2013; seeing as there isn’t much on the way for 2014 just yet, howzabouts a little tour round 2013 releases I was too slow or stupid to pick up on, but you’d be a fool to miss? Turns out 2013 wasn’t the year I pilloried it for being, it actually had a few sleeper smashes.
Urgently go over to Dirty Pillows Records. Partly because they’re based in Savannah, Georgia which is one of the coolest places on earth, but mostly because they put out the sublime Dead Collective Soul cassette by Harsh Vibes. I know what you’re thinking, “hippies make repetitive rock and roll cassette” but wait, it really really rocks. Throughout the four tracks, two sides and 28 minutes of recurring rock and roll meditation, you’ll fall in love with their fuzzy goodness, like The Black Angels at the end of a zoned out party. Find an excuse to get a hold of one of these super-limited edition artefacts and let it off the chain at a gathering and watch everyone dissolve in it.
Doomsters gather round the ashes of the solstice bonfire and crank out Lothorian’s otherworldly Welldweller. While not chomping at the bit to be original, for a debut demo, Welldweller presents something of a perfection of the form for heavy sludge metal with pummeling Sleep riffs and Electric Wizard syrup tempo and perhaps most convincingly, free from bandcamp. More crushing efforts come from black metal, with Profound Lore slipping out Necheshirion on behalf of Gevurah. Specialising in something between genres but with overwrought black metal influence, I’m not being hyperbolic when I describe the effect as running into a wall of sound. Do seek out Pylar and their doomy and alternative Poderoso se alza en my. If you thought Bong were too jolly and wanted more focus on the vocals, check out these droning funereal Spaniards.
For something more conventionally palatable, try Five Horse Johnson. They’ve been around forever and their latest, the Taking of Black Heart, is an excellent gumbo of riffs that sound instantly classic and barn-hopping rhythms. Any fan of my Black Joe Lewis recommendation should check out this lot. The Freeks were sold to me as “the new MC5” which is damning with fine praise. They aren’t that good, but their Full On album is still one of the cooler things from 2013. If you checked out Hot Lunch, you should check out these guys, they’re a little bit more manic.
Did you make any music based resolutions? I resolved to listen to old MC5 albums less, and modern music more, and 2014 is going to make that easier than ever. Which records are you looking forward to in the coming year? Do you have an album coming out? And what did I miss in 2013? Would you like to yell incoherent abuse at me? Messages accepted in the comments here, or on twitter, or written on a specific wall in Buenos Aires (you’ll know which one).
Written under duress by Steven. Act now, and you too could regret following me on twitter @stevendinnie