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Mgła - Presence (2006) (...like diamonds in the shit of smugglers)

Black Metal is a genre long stigmatized for its quantity over quality approach, 'grim-to-the-point-of-stupidity' attempts at atmosphere and lo-fi production masking the oft proved incongruity of a boy playing a badly tuned guitar in the bedroom of his parents house trying desperately to convey misconceptions of Nietzschean values. Its usually pretty hard to sift through the crap to find something half worth your time, so much so that most people give up with Black Metal as something that begun and died with thee old Norweigans. Mgła is an exception to these (unfortunate) rules.

Presence is a monument. Delivery is honest and full of conviction. Simplicity fine tuned by variations in guitar composition and what I know I will regret calling catchy binary beats you hear all too rarely in MEHTUL. Total dedication not just to the blueprint of Black Metal but to the abnegation of Christian values and society. Not another fatuous band copying Darkthrone but a messenger. Alright, this is meat and potato Black Metal, but its done properly and for the right reasons, and hopefully, you will hear that. Enjoy and Support!







The Endless Blockade/Hatred Surge - Split (2007)

Genuinely one of my favourite records, this split LP on Schizophrenic Records features two of the best bands doing hard/fat/loud music right now, and manages to be blisteringly good whilst being pant-shittingly scary.
The vinyl is transparent with pink splatter, imagine how nice that looks spinning around and around, like a baby in a blender.  Sounds like it too.




Eddy Current Suppression Ring - S/T (2006)

In the ongoing arms race which is 'punk' music, you'd be forgiven for feeling a little bit seasick as the music gets faster, louder, more incomprehensibly grunty, MOAR TECHNICAL!  Then there is the other side of punk which just seems to be an excuse to get drunk and play badly.  That makes it all the more rewarding to find a band like ECSR, playing skin-tight garage punk pop, free of pretension and cringeworthy lyrics you often have to try and ignore.  Last years Primary Colours was a perfectly crystalised triumph and as a result was loved by everyone and is pretty easy to find.  This, their debut, was released in 2006 and has more recently got a repressing in the US, and is harder to find on the internet, so get this, then go get Primary Colours and go on a bit of a journey with this fantastic band.


Buy Now  //  ECSR

Beak> - Beak> (2009)

Beak> are a band consisting of members of three separate bands all signed to Geoff Barrow's (out of Portishead) Invada record label, including Geoff himself.  Portishead are a band much revered by critics and the wider public, and their latest album Third was a genuine highlight of last year.  Portishead have a very distinct polished sound, meticulously created and produced which has lead to some albums having pretty long gestation periods.  Beak> by contrast wrote and recorded their album in twelve days and is noticeably more "jammy', taking cues from kraut, psychedelic and post-punk influences.  Whilst this sounds nothing like Portishead, knowing the connection between the band makes you appreciate the spontanaity audible in the music, though the inventiveness which drives the core of Portishead's songwriting is still conspicuously joyful .



Buy Now  //  Beak>

Extra Life - Secular Works (2008)... (And a fanboy's account of almost seeing Kayo Dot.)

Way back when in September of this year, myself and the gentlemen who also contribute to this blog went to see our (correct me if I am mistaken) joint all-time favourite band Kayo Dot on their very first European Tour. At least we hoped we were, as it became known to us that their bassist and drummer had been detained in France. Our Dark Lord Toby Driver (Peace be upon him) told us the customs officials were suspicious that the group weren't coming to the UK to work. So although it wasn't what we had waited for with baited breath for at least AN ENTIRE YEAR, we were treated to an exclusive set of Tartar Lamb; Toby and Mia's two piece contemporary classical side project. It proved to be exquisite.

Anyway, I digress before I've even started.

The point of this post is to introduce a completely different band: New York-based Extra Life. On my return from seeing the greatest band ever (this is not opinion, this is cold hard FACT), I wanted to see if I could find another 'avant-garde rock band' that could perhaps live up to the impossibly high standards set by Kayo Dot and its predecessor, maudlin of the Well.

Extra Life may just have achieved that with their first full-length, Secular Works. Hell, these guys sure know how to play. Of course, the instrumentation is a little more interesting than your standard rock 'n' roll fare with the addition of mournful violins that melt over jagged math rock guitars like warm Nutella on toast and this is likely to be more than a subtle nod to Kayo Dot's set up. The composition and technique is of a high calibre, lying somewhere between the intricate delicacy of Don Caballero and the weight of Isis... if Isis were at all 'weird'.



But what really shines here are the vocals. Guitarist/vocalist Charlie Looker seems to be an afficionado of medieval and Gregorian music, bringing something very new to a genre that thrives on originality and experimentation. These antique melodies grab and lead the music from piece to piece. It is without doubt the centre piece of the whole show. And, boy, can this guy sing. Looker's technique and ability can be seen particularly on See You At The Show where your mind will be boggled at how someone can enunciate and sing so clearly in such a complex and spastic rhythm. Album closer, Bled White, is an a'capella piece that exhibits Looker's perfect pitch and consistency even when unaccompanied by his band mates. All in all, a triumph for experimental music.

(But not quite as good as Kayo Dot :P)


1. Blackmail Blues
2. I Don't See It That Way
3. I'll Burn
4.The Refrain
5. This Time
6. See You At The Show
7. Bled White

Buy Now // Extra Life

Orrery - Nine Odes to Oblivion (2008)

What began as a chance discovery, swiftly became my favourite raw black metal release of all time. And it was only released last year! That's reason enough to make this record my first post on our shiney new blog. Orrery were an instrumental black metal project from Tasmania of all places, and this is possibly the reason that they are so criminally underrated. That, and because they dissolved the band as soon as Nine Odes to Oblivion was released. Although this is certainly disappointing, there have been a few bands in the history of black metal who have grouped together, kicked out some jams, released a marvelous record then promptly called it a day. Weakling of course comes to mind.

It is this striving to achieve perfection that makes albums like this so admirable and mysterious. As artists, they had the courage and foresight to realise they had achieved everything they had set out to do in one record.



And what a record it is. Recorded in a rustic shack high in the Tasmanian mountains, it's the perfect setting for an album that seems to revere the land around it. Although 'wind' sound effects were digitally added after recording, the attentive listener can actually hear low rumbles and pops of the gale force mountain winds in the microphone, threatening to rip their lair apart! This single microphone was hung from the rafters above the band who then simply unleashed their lo-fi beauty upon it.

However, don't let talk of beauty disarm you. This is black metal at its very limits of rawness. The first track opens with a droning blast of feedback and gives way into what can only be described as a fucking awesome riff. The drums, tinny and sharp, add a few accents and then it kicks in, with the second guitar rumbling underneath like a blunt buzzsaw. Though poorly recorded it helps the atmosphere of the album to no end as guitars dreamily cascade and blur between eachother over a drilling rhythm section. In between the black metal assault however, Orrery give us the respite of five acoustic interludes throughout the record.

Released on cassette and CD, all the tracks are untitled.


Oxbow - Fuckfest (1989)

As I saw Oxbow playing in Birmingham last week I thought it would be fitting to make them the first band I posted-proper about. Fuckfest was their debut album, and is long deleted and mega-rare...until the 15th of September 2009 when it was reissued in time for their current tour, a tour where they are promoting a new EP. A tour to promote your oldest and and most recent material is a wierd idea.
Anyway, considering the band has been around for twenty (!) years now, they are still a powerful presence on record and on stage.
Anyway, I am a geek and have a first pressing copy, and it sounds great, so if you haven't heard this album yet, get it
, and keep your eyes peeled for a cheap copy to appear or discogs.




First Day

Well this is the start. This is a blog. Featuring music. There will be links to download albums and strong hints to then go out and buy those albums, find the artists online, go and see them at gigs, and hopefully one day we will be lucky enough to share your recommendations. We eat up music pretty voraciously.
This isn't going to be genre specific, seeing as we all have fairly eclectic music tastes, come across different things at different times and our tastes vary with our moods.
A pattern may emerge. But I'm not going to tell you what it might be.
Stick around.
Work it out.
Enjoy the ride.

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