Tapes and shirts are now available here
Tapes will also be gettable in the next week or so from
USA: Anthems of the Undesirable
Finland: Kaos Kontrol
probably Scream and Writhe in Canada and Bis Aufs Messer in Germany
Irish folks, get them from us or Into The Void (Dublin) and Art For Blind (Cork) in the next few days.
In 2013 I had the pleasure of releasing an LP and a split 7” from one of my favorite current bands. By now, pretty much anyone reading this should know who Godstopper is, and Mike Simpson is the talented weirdo responsible for that project. As another weirdo and Godstopper supporter Numero Uno, I was of course curious as to what Mike had to say about the past year:
I did a “Top 5” last year, and I’ll give the same caveat I did for that list- I’m definitely not an accomplished album listener. I’ll be the 1000th person to tell you the new Gorguts was good (although to be honest, my attention span for death metal is like, 2 or 3 songs), The Body’s EP was wicked, and releases from Toronto bands like Ayahuasca, Hammerhands were great too. To be honest, my most played record in 2013 was Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid m.A.A.d City”, which I started listening to at the end of 2012. To editorialize for a moment, I feel like that album has a breadth of experience that I feel metal albums lack, by and large, and which heavy music artists could learn a lot from, to better the flow of their own albums. But I digress; as I said earlier, I’m no expert. Oftentimes I get more excited about buying T-shirts than buying albums.
So, to that end, let me talk about stuff I feel more qualified to talk about- good times I was a part of in 2013. In chronological order:
*Birthday in San Jose (with Column of Heaven):* Touring with Iron Lung was quite an interesting and cool experience for me. Not just because I got to see the west coast for pretty much the first time, dive into the Pacific Ocean (it was really really cold, if you were wondering), see MASTER play “Pay to Die” in front of 10 people at a totally wack metal show in Portland, and witness the majesty of the Vivid office building upon our entrance to LA. For me, the most intriguing thing was observing the iron-clad self control possessed by frontman Jensen Ward. When their records didn’t show up on time, when the van got packed wrong, when his dog ate my Clif Bar because I left it out, nothing seemed to faze him. But hanging at this particular post-show party in San Jose took the cake for me as evidence of his composure. It was my birthday, as of midnight; I smoked the most potent west coast weed of my life with members of Dead Pressure, who played an amazing 5 minute long set opening for us, and sold their shirts for the staggeringly reasonable price of $8. Within moments I was being reintroduced to the owner of the house we were in, because I said I hadn’t met him, since my now-ruined memory forgot his name and the fact that we’d just had a 45-minute conversation. Later on, Eric told me I was going on about what my favourite letter of the alphabet was. My partner in crime when in comes to raging, David Kristiansen, was probably equally incoherent; I’d say the whole party was, really. Meanwhile, there was straight edge Jensen, good-natured throughout it all, seeming to have a good sense of humor while all these wasted people talked about practically nothing, patiently waiting til his lit-up tour mates were ready to pile in the van, eat burritos and then pass out on a guest room floor.
*(The aftermath. Waiting for burritos. Pre-passing out.*)
*Ice Cream in Norfolk:* The Godstopper show in Harrisonburg was canceled, so we had a day off in Norfolk. Our good friend and gracious host (as well as releaser of both our album, *What Matters*, and our more recent split with the excellent Tendril,) Ryan Stoner, got us set up to explore downtown Norfolk. Got weirded out at a multilevel gun shop, Miranda got a sheep tattoo, and then Phil, Tobin and I went over to Doumar’s, home of Abe Doumar, the creator of the world’s first waffle cone.
*(I thought this was Abe when I snapped the photo, turns out this is his
brother George. But they worked closely together.)*
The excitement of receiving the ice cream we ordered was dashed after Tobin
suddenly ran out of the restaurant, gagging. A faecal smell started to
permeate the air. Tobin returned inside, somewhat revived, revealing he had
seen a homeless guy, standing nearby us inside the restaurant, the man’s
pants apparently falling to his ankles and Tobin, who happened to be
looking in that direction, was made aware of a deposit of excrement firmly
entrenched in the man’s nether regions, all while the man was singing the
chorus to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (he was kicked out shortly after).
We let the remainder of our milkshakes be and exited the establishment. I’m
hoping next time will be better. (Editor note: I’ve gone to Doumar’s for thirty years and have never seen anything of this nature. Get a cherry limeade, also, fuck Cookout.)
As an aside, we played the night before with Moutheater, another band based out of Norfolk, who are in the middle of recording a new album- be sure to cop it once it’s out, as well as their back catalog.
*Oxbow/Godstopper/White Ribs/Thighs @ The Garrison: * Probably my favourite opening slot with Godstopper to date (until we open for Behemoth, at which point all of my dreams will be realized). The other bands were great;
original concepts, cool ideas, and different directions than what I’m used
to. I’m still not super close with anybody in Thighs or White
Ribs, but if you dudes read this and want to do a show, let me know cause we’d love to!
Anyway, OXBOW- I believe it was either their second, or possibly their first time in Toronto? Either way, the band was great: tight performances, and the instrumentalists still possessed a humble mentality, in the sense that they seemed to still be very eager to learn new things- a “wide-eyed” quality I think all musicians who have something to say must possess. And then there’s Eugene, who I almost feel like I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said about him: yes, he stripped down to his underwear, yes, he yelled at the top of his lungs, yes, he put on a great show. I am consciously trying to avoid ”fighter” cliches in the description of his performance, but yeah, they did occur to me. At the end of the show, he asked us for a Godstopper shirt, to replace his sweated out performance clothes. I most definitely obliged, and got the very cool Kasia (Meow’s Imaginarium) to take a photo of us.
*(PS that Iron Lung shirt is definitely my go-to cool show shirt, til death do us part.)*
*Blood Ceremony birthday:* Funny story, I’ve known Blood Ceremony’s Alia
O’Brien for over ten years, going back to when we were both in the Hart
House Jazz Ensemble at U of T (I played bass). As fate should have it,
years after falling out of touch, I re-met her through Lucas Gadke, BC’s
bass player, and a very good friend of mine (we play together in a
sports/comedy/rock opera called Vince Lombarrdi). Anyway, I was invited to
celebrate Alia’s birthday at Thirsty and Miserable, the place where your
love of classy beer and heavy music intersect in beautiful ways. To my
surprise, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Rise Above Records/Napalm Death fame,
was there. He had recently visited LA, and figured he might as well stop by
Toronto. “It *is* just around the corner”, I said to him, after Sean, BC’s
guitarist, had introduced us. “Yeah”, Lee uttered, in a sarcastic tone. Lee
got my joke! This was a big success for me and inside, I was losing my
shit. I wanted to tell him “Utopian Blaster” was the first song I ever
learned on bass. And how frightened and confused I was the first time I
heard From Enslavement to Obliteration. But nah, I just left it at that.
Four sentences exchanged; that’s fine.
Later on that night, in keeping with the fact that I never remember how my
nights end at Thirsty and Miserable, I ended up at the apartment of a
friend who I know from karaoke’s couch, draped in towels for blankets.
*My first time street rapping:* I finally made good on my resolution to go
out and rap on the street. I’ve done it a couple times; the second time was
more successful audience and money-wise, but the first time, done in a
not-so-well trafficked area of my neighbourhood, produced stuff like this
old dude “breaking” while I did Nas’s “Halftime”.
(filmographer: Justin Oakey/Burial Offerings)
*Photo editing by Matthew Davenport
Everyone who is complaining about an energy drink company writing an article on grindcore, yet vehemently defended free shows/7” e.p.s from a car company needs to get the fuck out. The two are not unrelated. You allowed corporate sponsorship into our scene and have no right to complain about how stupid it makes things.
Fuck all the corporate apologists forever
You get the scene you deserve.
Every time somebody calls you an elitist for decrying shit like this, know that you’re doing something right.
The world we’ve attempted build for ourselves through punk, hardcore, and DIY culture need to be a self-sustaining world.
Tomorrow I head up to Baltimore for the A389 Anniversary/Birthday Bash. IN the spirit of the event, and Charm City itself, tonight’s installment in our Most Undesirable series is from another one of my favorite Baltimore personalities: Hope Guzzo.
In 2012 my friend Jake recommended I get Anthems copies of a cassette from this new, Holy Terror-affiliated act THEE HIGH PRIESTESS. After the A389 Bash last January I crossed paths with the girl behind the act.
I wouldn’t do justice in describing Hope’s artistic resume verbally, so go check out hopeguzzo.com to see her photography, or her bandcamp page to hear Thee High Priestess. In the meantime, check out Hope’s thoughts on last year’s best here:
2013 was a good year for music. There were a lot of strong releases and I was able to check two bands off my “must see before I die, even if I force a reunion myself and most reunions are lame” list: Neurosis (best set of my life. I cried) and Left For Dead (2nd best and most intense set of my life but I did not cry) So here are my top 10 albums of the year plus some 7”s.
Top Five (there isn’t real an order except for number 1)
1. Children of God “We Set Fire To The Sky”
Holy shit this album blew me away. Listen to it with headphones and then blast it at 2am going 85mph down the highway. Oscillating between crushing and melodic, this record will haunt you . They’re also great live with video projection, and the whole everyone drumming thing,
2. Lycus “Tempest”
Some of the best doom I’ve heard in a long time. I would say it’s “beautiful” but I don’t think that’s metal. It was the only thing keeping me relatively sane the 6 hour flight moving back to Maryland from California.
3. Seven Sisters of Sleep “Opium Morals”
SSOS has been one of my favorite current bands for a while now. Opium Morals has just about everything I
like- sludgy doomness with fuzzy guitars, riffs and (excellent) blast beats. Also, seeing Tim throw a mic stand and hit a kid in the head was a show highlight this year.
4. Full of Hell ”Rudiments Of Mutilation”
If you haven’t heard of or heard this album you haven’t been paying attention. It’s dark, viscous and noisy. I don’t have a lot to add to the other great things people have said about it so just get it if you don’t have it already.
5. Dead In The Dirt “The Blind Hole”
Sludge! D-beat! Feedback! Bands that take an ethical stance without being assholes! Sold.
Five through Ten (again no order)
- Weekend “Jinx” I think this is post punk? Indie shoegazey rock? Anyways the opening track ‘Mirror’ might be my favorite song of 2013. ”Jinx” is great follow up from “Sports”. Also I kept getting confused when people would talk about ‘the weeknd’ which/who I’ve never heard and know nothing about other than I’m sure he/they aren’t as good as this.
- Inquisition “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse” This is a complicated record I mean that in a good way- I find black metal can get stuck in Darkthrone/Mayhem/etc worship (sorry/not sorry, metal snobs) but this definitely does not. Lots of cool guitar parts and note bending riffs and of course blast beats.
- Prurient “Through The Window”
I fucking love Prurient. Dominick Fernow has been an inspiration and influence on Thee High Priestess with his blend of harsh noise, ambient soundscapes and distorted echoing vocals.
- Ilsa “The Maggots Are Hungry”
Technically a re-release or this record would have made the top 5. I love the vocals especially on the stand out tack “Primrose Paths”. Ilsa is DC based and it’s cool to see them from their first show to now.
- Nails “Abandon All Life”
This record makes me want to break things. Luckily I’m half the size of most people listening to this record so there’s nothing to worry about. The end.
- Old Lines- “If You See Something, Say Something” Crusty angry hardcore from Baltimore. These guys keep getting better.
- WarXGames “9 Trax/No Nightmare”
Hardcore the way hardcore should be. No long songs no bullshit. xxx
Weekend Nachos- Still
Lady GaGa- Art Pop
So last year at A389 I finally met up with this Baltimore metal kid I’d met through Tumblr. He had helped lock down the Sidebar so Gehenna could play a hundred-and-change capacity venue with Despise You, Dead In the Dirt, Ancient Shores, and WarXGames. The show was bananas, and Hasan proved to be an awesome guy who is constantly striving to bring upcoming metal bands to the area. In April he helped Godstopper with a last-minute show, and in July be booked the veritable fest “Only Turning 25 Is Real,” with Horrendous, Ilsa, Nothing, Satan’s Satyrs, Multicult, Celtic Frosting, and Dweller in the Valley, among tons of other shows I’m less prone to remember being that I live five hours away - but the point remains that Hasan kicks ass and is an asset to the Baltimore DIY scene. Here are his picks for the best of 2013:
I usually don’t do these, but I was flattered when Ryan hit me up about contributing a list of my favorite things from 2013. Here’s a list of my favorite albums/demos and my favorite shows from 2013. I didn’t want to limit myself to a specific number nor a specific order.
Top albums/demos of 2013:
Night Sins - To London or The Lake
Sokushinbutsu - Holy Ground
Outer Heaven - Demo 2013
Obliteration - Black Death Horizon
Rituaal - Rituaal
Wolvserpent - Perigea Antahkarana
Lycus - Tempest
Vastum - Patricidal Lust
My Bloody Valentine - MBV
Esoterica - Aseity
Recluse - Recluse
Manifesting - Descension Through the Seven Forbidden Seals
Scolex - Torn from Beyond
Whores. - Clean.
SubRosa - More Constant than the Gods
Vaura - The Missing
Dopecopper - Sadistic Intent
Genocide Pact - Demo
True Widow - Circumambulation
Stomach Earth - Stomach Earth
Top Shows of 2013:
My 25th Birthday Bash (Horrendous, Ilsa, Nothing, Satan’s Satyrs, Multicult, Celtic Frosting, Dweller in the Valley)
Infest at MDF
Bolt Thrower at MDF
Catharsis in Baltimore & D.C.
Tragedy at Sidebar
Whirr/Nothing in Philly & D.C.
Atriarch Travis’ birthday bash
My Bloody Valentine
Loss at MDF & Autumn Screams Doom
Dinosaur Jr. at Ottobar
Aaron is one of the most intelligent,and forward-thinking people I’ve met in years, and embodies a lot of the things I love about the DIY, punk, hardcore, and noise scenes and the people involved in them. I admire his critical-thinking and efforts to thwart heteronormativity, transphobia, sexisim, racism, and general laziness in the DIY scene. He became one of a handful of friends that remind me of the passion I had for change in my early twenties and often lose sight of in the drudgery of parent-hood, full time employment in the mire of corporate America, and living in an area without a steady DIY venue or scene for outsider music (beyond straightforward hardcore at least.
I became aware of Nyodene D in 2012 when friends were singing praise of the “Caged Dog / Common Criminal” 7” and “Edenfall” CD. Then Aaron and I connected online and traded records for pomade (like you do.) In 2013 he released the excellent “Atop Masada” cassette on Nil By Mouth, and has a new full length coming in early 2014 which I eagerly await. He’s also become something of an extension of the CLBOHVN family, and performed with them at Not Dead Yet in Toronto this past November.
On top of all of this, Aaron is god damn beacon of style. Here is his “Best of 2013” list.
Top 10 thrifting finds of 2013:
10) White and red paisley skinny tie and blue monochrome pattern skinny tie - Had to replace the loop on the back of one, so I cut up some TOTAL power electronics duckcloth patch for fabric and used that. $2
9) Fred Perry vintage tipped polo, black shirt with white trim and laurel and Ben Sherman microcheck gingham grey and white longsleeve shirt - Both were one (or so) sizes too small, but made for lovely and rare gifts for hard-femme friends - $30
8) Vintage disposable-blade straight razor, blue metallic handle - made me feel old-school cool and masculine as hell until I sliced the skin under my chin open right before a date, leaving a visible scar. Still did some smooching though - $5
7) Burgundy knit v-neck pullover sweater vest - went great with green gingham or neutral polos, stolen out of our car outside of The Empty Bottle in Chicago. The thief also got my hand-mended Ben Sherman messenger bag containing a Ben Sherman shirt, a pair of black Levi’s, all my cute underwear and a nearly full jar of Layrite pomade. If a Chicago street punk got dapper all the sudden, tell him to send me a thank-you note. - $3
6) Chocolate Brown slimfit men’s blazer - Tailored look, but fits me perfectly, goes well with mod styles, but no pocket for pocketsquares. Hoping to find a black one with a similar cut - $4
5) Doc Marten’s Brouge-style black and white platform creepers. A tiny bit too large (maybe half a size) but rare “Made-in-England” shoes (worth about $200), found for a quarter of that at a costume shop in rural Ohio. Bought a faux-leather Muir Cap for an extra $10 too. One rockabilly’s loss is another soft oi boi’s gain. $60
4) Navy blue “Oxford”-style cardigan with cream-colored stripes on sleeves. This one was definitely worth the mending work I put into it. Private catholic academy-style logo over the chest was covered with a cream-ink on navy blue riot grrrl band patch that reads “I have a lot of feelings” (designed by Anna MeiLi Carling), buttons were switched from black to a shade of cream that match the stripes. I get a lot of compliments on this one. - $10 (including new buttons and the patch).
3) Doc Martens black Made-in-England Oxford shoes - $180 shoes found sitting at a consignment shop. Well made, hardly worn. Really look stunning, first pair of non-boots I’ve enjoyed wearing in years - $30
2) Navy blue Pringle lambswool v-neck sweater, Kings Road burgundy v-neck sweater, Orignal Penguin slimfit black cotton pullover vest - Amazing week of vintage knitwear scores finally helped me move past the loss of my burgundy v-neck on tour. Emotional catharsis achieved through a depressive knitwear thrifting binge. $10 total - retail therapy still less expensive than psychotherapy.
1) Ted Baker purple dress shirt with silver, white and bronze paisley with matching gold and pearl cufflinks - Found a $250 UK designer shirt with French cuffs kicking around at a favorite consignment for a tenth of the price. Bought the fuck out of it, and a tasteful pair of matching cufflinks for $5. Looks stunning with the aforementioned brown blazer and some brown oxfords. Wore it in my favorite selfie of the year. - $25
Most heartbreaking thrifting experience:
Dragged my tourmate David to a thrift shop in Columbus, OH where I found three gorgeous Fred Perry / Ben Sherman dress shirts for about $10 each, none of which fit me right. Also a used Morrissey tour shirt that was marked for $18. The experience wounded me psychologically until I could drown it in free cans of Black Label at the show that night. Should have bought and sold the shirts to skinheads on Instagram.
Ryan Brassard is a friend of ours who operates Unholy Anarchy, a distro and label, out of Pasadena, MD. In 2013 Unholy Anarchy released albums by Ashencult, Agathocles, Sinister Haze, and more. On a personal note, he helped me score a copy of Entombed’s “Clandestine” on vinyl, so he’s basically a hero among men. Here’s Ryan’s best of 2013:
A few thoughts on 2013…
2013 will always be significant to me, as it is the first year for Unholy Anarchy Records as a label – we put out five releases, all unique and not confined by genre or style. As far as music that came out this year, there was plenty to like. I am not sure I can point out a “bad” year for extreme music, as there is always quality within the seemingly endless amount of stuff coming out. Anyway, these are the albums I enjoyed the most…
15. SACRIPHYX – The Western Front (Nuclear War Now!)
14. LANTERN – Below (Dark Descent)
13. WINDHAND – Soma (Relapse)
12. CARA NEIR – Portals to a Better, Dead World (Broken Limbs/Halo of Flies)
11. DEICIDE – In the Minds of Evil (Century Media)
10. NAILS – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord)
9. UZALA – Tales of Blood & Fire (King of the Monsters)
8. STOMACH EARTH – S/T (Black Market Activities)
7. SUBROSA – More Constant Than the Gods (Profound Lore)
6. INQUISITION – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (Season of Mist)
5. CAUCHEMAR – Tenebrario (Nuclear War Now!)
4. FULL OF HELL – Rudiments of Mutilation (A389)
3. PRIMITIVE MAN – Scorn (Throatruiner)
2. TRIBULATION – The Formulas of Death (Ajna Offensive)
1. CULTES DES GHOULES – Henbane (Hells Headbangers)
A few albums and labels I am looking forward to in 2014:
THE WOUNDED KINGS – should be yet another fine release of doom…can’t wait.
INTERNAL BLEEDING – one listen to the teaser track on YouTube and you will be hooked. This year will bring the first material with the original lineup in 15 years.
RINGWORM – really hoping this will be a return to early stuff…but totally looking forward to this one.
Pretty much anything THE CRYPT is releasing…and EARACHE is reissuing (Read: ENTOMBED – Wolverine Blues).
Stoked on DARK DESCENT this upcoming year – they are getting better with age (wish I could say that).
Interested to see what direction KING OF THE MONSTERS goes this year…love the label roster, and the releases are all choice.
…and of course, TO LIVE A LIE – my favorite hardcore/powerviolence/grind label, who bring it with each and every release.
Finally, a few local bands that really stuck out to me in 2013…I definitely look forward to seeing what they do this year.
FORTRESS (Hagerstown, MD) – some of the most crushing doom I have ever heard…love these guys. Full length in the mix for 2014…should be sweet.
SOKUSHINBUTSU (Baltimore, MD) – two former members of Eddie Brock…and this stuff simply DESTROYS! There is much more of a death influence, but still some righteous HxC.
NOISEM (Baltimore, MD) – so I guess this is a bit cliché, especially for as successful these kids have been since A389 released their debut, Agony Defined. Noisem (formerly Necropsy) play their ass off live, and I am glad these kids are getting their due.
DWELLER IN THE VALLEY (Fredrick, MD) – some really cool experimental black metal that is exceptionally well crafted. They deliver live as well…and I continue to have respect for drumming vocalists.
A few years ago a friend posted a video of a new Toronto band on his blog and I dug what they were doing. I emailed the band and ordered copies of their demo for Anthems, and somehow (through the magic of teh Interwebs) I ended up helping put out and distributing their LP last year. That band is Godstopper, and you’re probably aware of how strongly I feel about them.
In April, Godstopper made their way down the East Coast and we got to hang out for two days when they played Norfolk and then headed up to PA. Miranda Armstrong plays bass for Godstopper and shares my penchant for grunge and noise-rock from the 90’s (but doesn’t EVERYBODY?), so when the end of the year came around I was curious as to what she had to say about the best records of 2013*.
(Photo courtesy of Kasia Tanalska)
1. True Widow – Circumambulation
2. Hammerhands – Glaciers
3. Ayahuasca – Plato’s Dark Horse
4. Queens of the Stone age – …like clockwork
5. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
6. Biipiigwan – Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone
7. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
8. Melvins – Tres Cabrones
9. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
10. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
Part two in our year in review series is from Jamie Grimes.
Jamie is a friend and undesirable from Dublin whom I connected with online a few years back through mutual friends. You most likely know his work with Drainland, who released a few awesome splits and EPs and a CD on Southern Lord between 2010 and 2012. Aside from that however, he previously ran Suburban Mayhem Records (with releases from Sea of Shit, Ash Borer, Drainland, etc.), releases powerelectronics/industrial occasionally under the moniker PRISON, and is currently plodding away with two gnarly new projects: Lurch (a weird, sludgy, atonal sort of noise-rock/hardcore hybrid), and Coalinga (a more grind-oriented approach to being a noise-obsessed weirdo.)
Jamie’s a smart guy, and occasionally interviews other artists and shares his thoughts on horror films, punk.hardcore/metal/noise, and even parenting via his blog destroyedhuman.com and Metal Ireland (there’s considerably less about parenting on Metal Ireland though.) I recommend his essay on “Why the Evil Dead remake doesn’t work,” or his interviews with Deathpille and Urfaust.
Like 2012 before it, 2013 was a largely terrible, stressful year in personal terms that I’m extremely glad to see the back of. There were some small comforts that kept me sane -namely my wife & daughter, the cat, my friends and bandmates, and occasionally getting the hell away from Dublin.
I probably liked many of the same records you did (My Bloody Valentine, Swans, Pharmakon, Column of Heaven, Gorguts, Brainbombs,) and a quick survey of the shelves in my house reveals I bought an awful lot of records this year and many of them were in the “very good to excellent” category. If you missed them, I recommend Tile’s “You Had A Friend In Pennsylvania”, True Widow’s “Circumambulation”, the Tribulation and Sinistrous Diabolous lps and anything you can find by Wulkanaz, Slidhr, Lovely Little Girls, The Cosmic Dead, Dott, Cult of Fire, Shifted, Trepaneringsritualen, Raising Holy Sparks, Mohamed, Pornography, Basic House, California X, Joanna Gruesome, Guerilla Toss and Cultes Des Ghoules. And anything Iron Lung Records, Blackest Ever Black, Terratur Possessions or Diseased Audio put out. I could be here all day just talking about records alone, but here’s a list of mostly other things that made 2013 slightly better for me.
Heavy Days in Doom Town festival, Copenhagen, May 2013:
Wherein Una and I and a bunch of our friends decamped to what felt like the most expensive city in Europe to watch bands, drink beer, admire some beautiful scenery, watch horror movies, and eat massively addictive vegan hotdogs for three days. Hadn’t been to Copenhagen before and it’s a city I’d like to visit again purely to catch some of the stuff we missed this time around. And of course, to make repeat visits to the Posh Isolation shop, and the Mikkeller bar, both of which caused my wallet to take quite a kicking. The Ungdomshuset was the perfect venue for something like this too I thought, both in terms of size and atmosphere. As far as bands the standard was generally pretty great - Meth Drinker, Conan, Bell Witch, Moss and Mournful Congregation were but a few of many highlights, as was watching some of the Irish posse and Lecherous Gaze develop a mutual appreciation over a few beers one of the nights. Still slightly gutted to have missed Hexvessel the night we arrived, and Graves at Sea were fucking atrocious, but no complaints otherwise. We’ll definitely return in the future.
I had to include something horror related in this list, obviously. Couldn’t settle on just one film, and I was going to write a little about Grindhouse Dublin or Horrorthon but I was largely unable to attend most of those events this year, so instead I wanted to mention this. Strange Vice is a mail order service based in Scotland that stock a great selection of horror/sleaze/exploitation movies, books, soundtracks and the like. As US postal prices skyrocket, these guys seem to go out of their way to stock hard to find titles and decent labels from across the pond at affordable prices, in addition to having an excellent range of difficult to locate Euro and UK releases too. Any readers of this blog in Ireland or the UK into trash cinema like myself who prefer to have a physical copy of films you like rather than a download or stream, I’d urge you to support this little endeavour.
”The Organist”/”Welcome to Nightvale” podcasts:
I spend approximately 2 hours commuting every day so I spend a lot of time listening to music on my phone on a bus. And out of that, a lot of that listening this year was to music I had to review for assorted websites, something I’m glad I won’t be doing in 2014 to be honest. After a while of all this forced listening, I got fed up listening to albums on my commute altogether and have spent the last quarter of the year just started listening to either Mixcloud mixes or podcasts on my way to work, and in the latter category these two were the two I’ve enjoyed most. “The Organist” is a podcast run by the people behind “the Believer”, a magazine which I’ve seen around but never read and know little about. The show covers art, music, literature and other oddities (ex-cult members and aural illusions two name but two), and normally features a short radio play type introduction that’s always fun. Fascinating and thought provoking in equal measure. “Nightvale” is a long running serial about a small town populated by hooded figures, scientists and sinister goings on, told in the format of a local radio show. Took a couple of episodes to get into, but once you do it’s very cleverly written and also often very funny. Think Twin Peaks or Buffy The Vampire Slayer by way of Garrison Keiller.
I feel like it has been a very strong year for local underground music of all stripes this year in Ireland, but for me 2013 belonged to Malthusian. These guys spent two years rehearsing, writing, and figuring out exactly what they were doing before breaking cover, and it shows. Their live sets have been utterly intense, the demo was incredible, and overall the quality and attention to detail in the song writing and aesthetic is to the highest standard. Essentially, Malthusian are the death metal band I’ve been waiting for locally for about 20 years. No surprise a couple of pretty big American metal labels have been sniffing around them lately, but just to confirm their integrity they’re staying with the local Invictus label.
I was never a strong swimmer and the last time I actually attempted to swim was probably 20 years ago. Myself and the girls were in the Salthill region of Galway city , on the West Coast of Ireland for a week this summer on holidays. It’s about 15 or 20 minutes walk from the city centre, and it’s on a beach. So after a couple of days paddling around I finally gave in and went for a proper dip in the ocean with the other two one afternoon, and it was fucking awesome. I mean, I felt like I’d been kicked in the balls when I got up to my waist for the first few minutes, and I had no stamina, but just floating in the sea and doggy paddling around was wonderful. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it was after not going further than my ankles for two decades. Vaguely related: in spite of my back being fucked by sciatica and not being able to so much as even ollie anymore, I also got back on a skateboard this year for the first time in a bit, and even just rolling around on the bit of concrete outside my house for a bit is another awesome little simple pleasure I’ve rediscovered.
Despise You & a bunch of other bands, London, July 2013:
Important thing you should know here, is that I don’t mosh. Ever. However, about 4 seconds into seeing my favourite hardcore band ever in a sketchy pub in London on an appallingly hot day this summer, I had officially lost my fucking mind and was being battered around like a human pinball, and was so ecstatic I barely felt the boot in the face I got during “No More Feelings” that temporarily knocked my jaw out of place. So yeah, Despise You absolutely delivered. Honorable mention to Lich and I Like Bugs who were also killer on the day, I missed Harrowed and The Afternoon Gentlemen because I was outside drinking ridiculous cider that tasted a bit like toffee.
Moose 23 Custom Electronics:
At the risk of sounding like an advertising pitch, my friend Cian builds noise gear, some of which he uses in his band Wolfbait, who some of you may have heard. But he also makes these great guitar pedals in his living room and guitarists/ gear nerds should take note. He custom built me two fucking amazing pedals this year that have been put to plenty of use: a distortion called The Grouch and a joint phase and tremolo in one called The Moonraker. Rather than simply clone existing circuits, he puts his own spin on things which I really like. It’s been great to see people picking up on his pedals this past year both locally and internationally and I hope his reputation builds in 2014. Definitely a local business I’m always happy to support.
In Solitude - Sister:
Fuck it, going with this as album of the year. Absolutely perfect record - the bastard offspring of a drunken threesome Mercyful Fate, Fields of The Nephilim and The Doors. “Pallid Hands” was my favourite song this year.
Ted McKeever’s “Miniature Jesus” and “The Extremist” :
2013 will go down as the year I apparently forgot how to read. I don’t know why exactly, but in spite of buying plenty of books this year, I just couldn’t seem to find the time to actually read them, which in retrospect I’m relatively appalled about. What I did read a lot of instead were comics. “Multiple Warheads”, “Revival”, “Tales Designed to Thrizzle”, “Bedlam”, “Satellite Sam” and “Fatale” were big favourites. About to get stuck into “RASL” for the new year, and anything I could get my hands on by Michael DeForge, Johnny Ryan and Josh Simmons went down a treat too. But McKeever is my main man, and his most recent series was complimented greatly by a decent collected reprint of my favourite series of his. Check them both out.
Being the Irish member of the Legion Of Aging Grindcore Guys Who Like Fancy Beer (we have chapters in the UK, Canada and America too obviously) I have to include this. Ireland has some great independent/craft brews at the moment, and while few get into the whole area of ridiculous “Doughnut and Cheesecake Flavoured Tripel” type fanciness, there are some great and tasty porters, ales and stouts. The likes of Trouble Brewing, Kinnegar, Galway Bay, Brown Paper Bag Project, Franciscan Well, Dungarvan Brewing Co and Metalman to name but a few are all killing it, there’s some great bars like Against The Grain, the Black Sheep, L Mulligan Grocer and the Porterhouse here in Dublin serving a fine selection of both local and imported craft beers. The Irish Craft Beer Festival wins the award for most ridiculous pissup of the year. Plus, crucially, a lot of supermarkets and convenience stores are stocking stuff by the little guys right now, which is great too as I’d much rather support these guys than those Guinness fuckers. Should you find yourself in Dublin, I’ll be happy to force a bottle of Dark Arts or a pint of Chameleon Smokescreen Rauchbier down you.
Last year we shared a series of best and worst of 2012 lists from friends and artists in our area. I had a lot of fun doing it and seeing what everybody had to say.
This year we’re doing the same thing with some of the same contributors and some new friends. Our first entry is from Andrew Aircraft, the main man behind Moutheater and Elitist Numero Dos at Anthems HQ.
Moutheater have been spending the past six months recording their sophomore LP, tentatively titled “Passing Key” and coming in 2014 on Anthems of The Undesirable. Between hearing live versions, demos, and initial tracking, I can tell you this album is going to be a monster. In the meantime, here’s Andrew’s “Best of 2013.”
I had 8 favorite records this year. I don’t even really know that I have much to say about them, but here it goes.
The Melvins-Tres Cabrones
Best Melvins record since the 90’s.
Column Of Heaven-Holy Things Are For The Holy
Andy and Co performing PV influenced industrial. Cool shit.
Raspberry Bulbs-Deformed Worship
Stop listening to boring death rock and black metal influenced hardcore bands and check out a post-punk and noise rock influenced black metal band. Ex-Bone Awl and Rorschach. Legit.
Iron Lung-White Glove Test
Not quite as memorable as the previous two LP’s but awesome nonetheless. I prefer the version with the noise synced in.
Best currently active VA band in my humble opinion. Do it.
Put out by our very own Ryan Stoner among others. Think early Today Is The Day meets Soundgarden, and you’re sort of in the ballpark of Godstopper. Major 90’s vibes. Great record.
Another killer Godstopper track with the flip side coming from local noise rock pit beefers Tendril. Another rad Anthems record.
Chelsea Light Moving-s/t
The best thing Thurston Moore has put out in at least 15 years.
I’m sure the CoH/RV split would be on here had I acquired a copy before now.
I kind of went through a lot of rediscovery of albums and bands from my childhood this past year and picked up a few new-to-me’s along the way. I’ve sort of realized that almost nothing is ever going to make me feel the way the records that I listened to when I was 11-15 make me feel. There’s a lot of great music being made right now, but the reality is that rock n roll is going down the same path as classical, jazz, and blues at the moment, becoming something of tribute and nostalgia. No matter how many great records come my way, no one seems to be able to do what Kurt, Jimi, Page, and Corgan do for me. The records I listened to before I knew hardly anything about recording, or “punk”, or music in general, those were the real magic ones. This is all pre-internet, by the way. My mind has not been blown like that in my adult life. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it probably won’t ever happen again. Maybe I’m just getting old and starting to sound like my dad. Or maybe I’m right and there’s a reason why the kids I teach still worship guitar players from 20+ (and that’s being kind) years ago. We’ll see in 10 more, I guess.