I feel like I just did a roundup post, but there's still a lot of great shit crossing my path and I need to spend next week figuring out my list of year-end favorites, so... here's another batch of music that deserves a nod. As always, in alphabetical order...
Long defunct Australian duo Deathless boasts lineup ties to Khost and King Snake Roost (amongst numerous others) and recently (sort of) resurfaced by way of this utterly massive double-disc collection of unreleased studio takes (disc one) and obscure tape-only outings (disc two) through the Innercity Uprising label. If you're unfamiliar with the band, they had a really interesting sound comprised of bass-centric industrialized doom-punk. At least herein, I hear bits and pieces that bring to mind Godflesh, Bodychoke, and a weirdly hardcore-ish sheen of Voïvod. There are actually a bunch of melodies that bring to mind early Fear Factory, too—in a manner that somehow doesn't really sound like Fear Factory at all!? As a whole, we're talkin' damn near two-and-a-half hours of music recorded between 1989 - 1998 or so. I haven't had time to properly dig through all of it yet, but I've heard enough to confidently state that the set is absolutely worth hearing.
Painfully limited to a mere 60 physical copies, they're CD-Rs, of course. It depresses me to no end that CDs—and obscure reissues—are so poorly appreciated these days that such an intriguing collection is relegated to scant numbers on a not-exactly-long-term format. But, the most important factor is simply being able to hear the music, so for that, I'm grateful. Head to Bandcamp for a name your price download, or hard copies (while supplies last).
It's been too long since I last wrote about something from the great Moonlee Records, so I was excited when Od Vazduha i Sunca, the sophomore EP from Serbian group Gazorpazorp, caught my ears (and eyes). The band's uniquely rockin' style of post-punk has that dark, melodic energy to it, but also swerves into slightly more aggressive territory with a few pseudo noise rock tendencies. There's a lot of interesting layering and the instruments almost never double each other, so all of the different pieces just sort of wind in and out amongst themselves, which always makes for an enjoyable listen when handled with this level of accuracy. "Tango" even breaks out the jazz flavor with some horns, too! Quite a cool little EP.
I actually covered Jars—a Russian trio led by guitarist/vocalist Anton Obrazeena—in another roundup earlier this year, and now they're back with a new rhythm section for full-length #3. And, once more, expect some seriously powerful and well-produced noise rock excellence. This band is so damn good and truly deserves wider appreciation. They just nail so many of the qualities that I look for when it comes to this particular niche: great songwriting pinned down by a hard-hitting rhythm section with a rock-solid bass presence, jagged guitar runs with apt fits of dissonance, etc. This album offers increased diversity, though, and the vocals feel a little more vicious this time out as well. From the minute-long mangled hardcore Converge-isms of "Mr. Visionary" to the pounding 10-minute behemoth "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears," ДЖРС III is most definitely "noise rock plus"!
Limited to just 200 copies, discs will be out in February, but you can pre-order now through either P.O.G.O. Records (Europe) or Forbidden Place Records (U.S.). If you're a loony motherfucker that doesn't care about collecting real and true music, you can have your way with Spotify.
Obscurae is a black metal project conducted by Chad Davis, an unbelievably prolific musical genius—perhaps most known for Hour of 13, The Sabbathian, Subklinik, and countless others—that far too few are familiar with. To Walk the Path of Sorrows is Obscurae's full-length debut, and emits a steady stream of raw-yet-powerful black metal with all the trademarks of the greats—near-relentless gnashing tremolo picking; crawling dissonance; distant, scathing screams; and chilling cascades of synths. Whereas many black metal acts that explore significant degrees of keyboard-driven intros/interludes/etc. simply result in throwaways, that's not the case here, where such passages actually possess proper atmosphere and don't detract from the overall context of the album. Make no mistake, however: cacophonous black metal elite is the dominant motif herein.
True Faith is a promising "coldwave" duo out of Boston that's preparing to release their debut LP, As Much Nothing As Possible, next month, and apparently they've been working quickly since their first EP just came out over the summer! "Coldwave" is one of those genres where I don't really know exactly what the hell it is, but whenever I hear a band that classifies themselves as such, it just kinda "makes sense." From the few tracks that are out so far, As Much Nothing As Possible offers a sleek, crisp take on goth-tinged post-punk with droning washes of synths and loads of sneakily catchy earworms. More than once in the past two weeks, I've found myself looping melodic snippets of "Borrowed Time" in my head hours after listening. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing more!
Out on January 8, As Much Nothing As Possible is available for digital pre-order via Bandcamp; or choose from a selection of vinyl variants via À La Carte Records. Listeners of the intangible, find True Faith on Spotify.
I read about X. Kubrick through No Echo earlier this week, and have already spun The Seven Levels of Happiness several times since then. The seven-song EP finds Xavier Wilson—the guitarist of Simulakra and Vicious Embrace—exploring '90s-styled hip-hop to masterful effect. The beats/production totally have the vibe that I prefer when it comes to this type of thing, bringing to mind a Mobb Deep or Wu-Tang type of aesthetic with a degree of modern crispness—not to mention some clever lyrical lines and generally memorable compositions overall. Having been put together over the course of six months earlier this year, I'd love to hear more from this outlet. I'm picky about hip-hop, so this may well be the first contemporary output I've really taken an interest in since I heard Meyhem Lauren like 10 years ago. Very cool.
Grab The Seven Levels of Happiness as a free download at Bandcamp. Limited discs are available via From Within Records, and Rebirth Records is already on a small second run of cassettes. Spotify for everyone else.