Hello, I’ve started a new blog over at http://dyingwillbethedeathofme.wordpress.com/ so there will be very few posts going up on here in future. If you’ve enjoyed my tumblr posts then please check out my new blog as well.
Salem - “King Night” (IAMSound Recordings)
Having already heard their bass heavy sluggish, screwed and skewed remixes of Gucci Mane, I had an idea of what this album would sound like. Oof! This album is fantastic. The sluggish, dragging tempos, stuttering Michael Watts style chopping of the beats and pitch dark swarming synths all come together to make some really intense crawling Witch House. Although that genre name is pretty much an internet joke, it’s really appropriate here; this is the electronic soundtrack to witches cooking up potions with frogs and puppy dogs tails. Influenced seemingly from hip hop equally as much as house, with the addition of sampled rapping on several songs, this is excellent music for hubbling, bubbling, toiling and troubling.
Death Grips - “Ex-Military” (Self-Released)
With bass heavy beats, frantic sampling and one of the angriest sounding MCs ever, this is hip hop unlike any other. Featuring Zach Hill from Hella on drums and, the otherwise unknown to me, MC Ride, this is rough and heavy hip hop with a punk approach to roughly edited samples and hollered vocals. Sounding like a really angry RZA, MC Ride gets over mainly due to his constant boisterous shouting, not necessarily his lyrical content. At several points there are large recognisable samples, sometimes playing with little or no accompaniment, which reminded me of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Paul’s Boutique’ album. Other parts of the album also reminded me of El-P’s ‘Fantastic Damage’ album or even Fever’s ‘Too Bad, But True’. If you’re a fan of any of those albums, or can listen to aggressive hip hop with an open mind, then this is definitely a highly entertaining album.
S.C.U.M. - “Again Into Eyes” (Mute Records)
Although their painfully hip appearance put me off from listening to their music at first, this album is actually really good. Initially sounding like a mixture of Interpol, Nick Cave, Killing Joke and a little bit of Joy Division; this is swaggering dandy indie goth-lite. Starting from track six, ‘Sentinal Bloom’, the second half of the album is dreamlike and ambient. Like an even more abstract version of the Jesus and Mary Chain, this sound is just getting tiresome when the final track brings in disco beats. This album is almost a triumph of style over substance, but thankfully there are some great tunes here too; well worth checking out.
Oneohtrix Point Never - “Replica” (Software)
Apparently this is the first Oneohtrix Point Never release to be crafted on modern software, rather than the vintage equipment Daniel Lopatin has favoured on previous releases. Sound wise you’d not know it however; this album is based on warmly humming ambient sounds, floating together and gradually developing. Tangerine Dream would be a good comparison, as would any number of eighties science fiction soundtracks. Almost entirely beatless, when there are beats, as on ‘Nassau’, they are somewhat reminiscent of Autechre material like ‘Chiastic Slide’. Although very slow to develop, this is an entertaining release that’s well worth the time it takes to get going.
Wold - “Freermasonry” (Profound Lore Records)
Unlike previous Wold albums, I couldn’t really call this music Black Noise. I’ve not really kept up to date with their previous two albums, but 2007’s ‘Screech Owl’ was black noise by default due to being extremely harshly produced black metal. With this new album the band seem to have evolved to pure abstract droning noise. The vocals, whilst heavily distorted, are very far from typical black metal vocals as well. I think I preferred the older stuff, but this is still worth checking out if you’re, like me, interested in what goes on with the fringes of the black metal scene.
Lugubrum - “Face Lion Face Oignon” (Aphelion Productions)
The world’s finest purveyors of brown metal have returned! This album is like black metal covered in a layer of soggy dead leaves, the guitar is a little too friendly and soft sounding, whilst the drums are also kind of chipper sounding and bouncy. The vocals, meanwhile, are throat burning twisted rasps invoking brown pixies for some nefarious purpose. All of this makes the bands music sound ridiculous, it’s not it’s just rather outlandish and difficult to describe. When in full flight it sounds rather like a funky take on black metal played as krautrock. I particularly enjoyed the vocals on ‘Jaffa’, which sound like drunken trolls hazily recalling their earlier sanity. Melancholic but cheerful and playful; grizzly, gravelly and fun! This is yet another great album from a unique and special band.
The Best Albums of 2011.
Prurient – “Bermuda Drain” (HydraHead Records)
When I originally reviewed this album, I jokingly referred to it as possibly the pop album of the year. It has since been the album I have listened to most this year. It’s bloody good.
Djevel – “Dødssanger” (Aftermath Music)
Liturgy – “Aesthetica” (Thrill Jockey)
Caina – “Hands That Pluck” (Profound Lore Records)
Tyler, The Creator – “Goblin” (XL Recordings)
Cave In – “White Silence” (HydraHead Records)
Krallice – “Diotima” (Profound Lore Records)
Jay-Z and Kanye West – “Watch The Throne” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
Begrime Exemious – “Impending Funeral Of Man” (Dark Dsecent Records)
Deafheaven – “Roads To Judah” (Deathwish Inc.)
A$AP Rocky - “LiveLoveA$AP” (Sony/RCA/Polo Grounds)
This is A$AP Rocky’s debut mixtape released in October, after several months of posting songs on YouTube. Although from Harlem, Rocky’s style and flow is very much indebted to the early releases from Three 6 Mafia and also to sippin on Codeine, which he loves to mention. He rhymes with an energetic fun pace, although the influence of screwed music can be heard throughout; there are occasional slowed vocals and stuttered beats. He sounds great rhyming over the ambient, atmospheric beats that are the trademark of Clams Casino, with other production also handled by the similarly Mystic Stylez loving Spaceghost Purrp. With guest spots from A$AP Twelvy, A$AP Nast, A$AP Ferg and SpaceGhost Purrp, it seems like the A$AP Mobb could have a really good year in 2012. This album is definitely well worth checking out.
Peopling - “Peopling EP” (Self Released)
Peopling are clearly heavily influenced by the Butthole Surfers. Everything on this EP carries the hallmarks of that band; distorted sneering vocals, drums that are like a constant over the top military roll, guitars singing and whining discordantly and a general irreverent noisy demeanour throughout. Sounding most like the Buttholes as they were on ‘Independent Worm Saloon’, especially because of the somewhat Ministry-esque heavy handed drumming, all this is not a bad thing. After all the Buttholes haven’t done a new album for ten years, and not a good one for fifteen years. Most importantly, buried beneath the squalling feedback, this is a fun record. Seek it out and enjoy!