Black metal as the light returns - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #195

I've had a heavy phase recently, possibly prompted by being asked to write a history of genre in black metal, and then a re-reading of Albert Mudrian’s excellent Choosing Death and a trawl through Bolt Thrower, Pig Destroyer and Napalm Death; before looking out a buncha obscure new-release American black metal for my Muso’s Guide column (last Monday of every month, read it now kids) and stumbling upon/remembering that one of my favourite people in music has a new band, and new records out. As I summited the volcanic mountain at the centre of this ancient city, contemplated the shortest day and the lengthening of daylight thereafter; then stumbled between jostling drunks and addicts and xmass shoppers (and tried to determine which of the three I should avoid more) I remembered this bizarre, challenging and important new black metal record. Enter Adam Black Savage and his new thoughtful and tasteful musical experience, Cemetery Piss.

2013's last hurrah - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #194

In the dying embers of a meaningless year, in the midst of critics picking through the debris and pulling out their hair; re-spinning early-runners trying desperately to find something that could come together to be called an end-of-year list. The truth, we’ve found, is that there isn’t a list. A tired net of no-hopers and high-minded misfires is all you can hope to string with this year. But there is still good stuff getting made and getting out. The life-changing bands aren’t touring the world, they’re plying insane quality between the arcade machines and the fire exit in some smoky bar on a Wednesday night. But don’t despair, the number of audionauts may have fallen to new lows, but our lords and masters wisely press their wisdom into metallic tape, vinyl and hidden in ones and zeroes for posterity. Regular readers (and their psychoanalysts) will know I have a fondness for glacial doom. Melodic and intellectual explorations in blue whale-heavy formats. Also I have a fondness for female vocalists (female anything really) AND I also think Britain does this shit better than most countries, because we’ve got the oppressive climate and the national self-loathing; and so the new Tartarus/Graanrepubliek/At War With False Noise records split between two of Britain’s most excellent female-fronted drone doom bands is so up my street it should be downright illegal.

Blow up the xmass tree! - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #193

I will never ever be a critic unless I have calculated stupid contentious opinions (like the people who say Equilibrium is better than the Matrix or the people who say Garden State is watchable) so I’m going to tell you all about why you should totally make Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell number one (ignoring the fact their record comes out limited to 100 and will never ever sell more than some whiny x-factor shit smear cacophonising a classic that is played at shit people’s funerals). So, behold my unusual and contentious opinions!

Black Days - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #192

When you complete your initiation into music criticism, when you still have warm calf’s blood on your face after gutting it with a snapped Oasis record. Your nether region is still strangely vibrating from the midnight ritual, and you have collected your critic papers, your obligatory stupid haircut and small idiosyncratic foibles (and there’s many a good tune played on a small foible) you are, at the most solemn part of the ceremony, handed a metal tin containing a single small red pill. You are informed that taking this pill will erase the memory of any single song. If you ever hear something that changes your world, convinces you that music isn’t the transcendent art form you always knew it was but actually was the greedy soulless hustle everyone keeps telling you it is. If ever you hear this song, take the pill, and you’ll be able to go on being a critic. “You’ll know when the time is right.”

[Disclaimer: Do not click this link. Do not expose yourself. If you feel you must damage yourself, seek out the number for the Samaritans in your country. This is present only to illustrate that like an inoperable eyeball cancer or a mushroom spore from outer space, Rebecca Black continues to make 'music'.]

The anguish of post-krautpunk and the essence of a sleeper hit - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #191

It’s a nightmarish world at the moment, and getting worse. I’ve been asked by a variety of music-purveying places for me Best O’ Tha Year assumptions, which is ridiculously forward. Not that there’s much on the horizon of this porridge hurricane of a year, but I don’t know that I could pick out a Best O’ 2012 just yet, I’m finding new things every day. I’ve already said that if we did such a thing in this fine virtual establishment [we don’t: Ed] there would be a few things up for the title. Chiefly Bong’s superb Idle Days on the Yann, which you can still get all digital noncorporeal like from a few places. And the wonderfully serpentine leftfield underground smash by ZX Electric, about which I shall rant for the next 400 words. Tally ho.

"And now there's no chain..." - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #190

End of year lists? I shit ‘em. I’m not doing one, partly because I haven’t heard every piece of music this year and there is always always something that comes totally out of left field and blows away what I thought was great from each year. See: Man’s Gin’s Smiling Dogs in 2010, Liturgy and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan in 2011 and Frisk Frugt’s weirdness from last year. Basically, fuck your Gregorian calendar and all its idiosyncratic nonsense. The year ends at the solstice anyway motherfuckers. That be the change, from shorter days to longer ones. Really we have two years every 365 days. One where it gets progressively better (culminating in the summer solstice) and another where it gets progressively darker and worse and worse until Christians come along and build a church in the middle of your circles, breaking up the laylines and forcing you to spend the following thousand years standing in WalMart praying to a god nobody really believes in that they’ve still got those funny mittens you think you saw because the person in the office you secretly harbour a smouldering loathing for might like them and you haven’t got him anything yet. Way to go humanity in general and Jesustianity in particular. Instead of some pathetic end of year list just designed to rile up fanboys, I’m going to just spend the month of December chewing in detail through some of my fav records of this year. Singles, EPs, whatever. Surf the 2013 tag to find tons more of this stuff. We won’t be rehashing anything [except your tired descriptions of things – Ed], so if you want to know why Deap Vally are great or Savages are something you should hear or Heliotropes are still my absolute darlings, then go back and read it!

Now that's what I call bluesic - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #189

Fuck xmass. Fuck your pagan trees and your corporate Santa and your Jesus-freak nativity scenes. Fuck the Daily Mail and Rill O’Bile-y’s “war on Christmas” (turn on a television for five minutes to disabuse you of that fucking notion). It might have been a good one, but final reports say comet ISON is just a cloud of dust and burned memories after its close encounter with the sun. And I’ve got the perfect announcement and the perfect record to get this non-xmass mood. Electric Wizard are good again. They are also embroiled in legal troubles over their forthcoming album. Electric Wizard’s overlooked (especially by me) Legalise Drugs and Murder 7” is actually good. I considered it simply another piece of Leckie Wizard’s steady slide from life-changing super-slow doom to really pretty tedious and retrograde regular doom.
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