Archive for the ‘Emma Ruth Rundle’ Category

Noiseweek: Pajo on recovery, John Doran’s new book, Space Bong, Inventions and more

Friday, March 20th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


John Doran — the veteran UK music journalist who currently steers the ship at The Quietus — is set to publish his first book, Jolly Lad, a memoir that delves into his alcoholism, music writing, mental illness and breakdown. From the description: “Jolly Lad is about gentrification; being diagnosed bipolar; attending Alcoholics Anonymous; living in a block of flats on a housing estate in London; the psychological damage done by psychedelic drugs; depression; DJing; factory work; friendship; growing old; hallucinations; street violence and obsessive behaviour – especially regarding music and art.” Pre-orders are available now from Strange Attractor.


RTRFM have finalised their line-up for this year’s edition of In The Pines. Felicity Groom, Thee Glold Blooms, Grim Fandango, SpaceManAntics, Eduardo Cossio Quartet and a reunited Rosemary Beads joining a lineup that already includes Husband, Lanark, Rachel Dease, Methyl Ethyl and a slew of other amazing Perth acts. It all takes place at the Somerville Auditorium at UWA on Sunday, April 19. More details over at


The Road to Recovery with Slint’s David Pajo | The Thin Air

“I mentioned that it’s important to beware the ‘dangerous and completely untrue thoughts’ above. But there are quite a few things you can do. Don’t internalize your darkness: pull them out of your head and dump them on every person you can trust with your feelings! Yes, just drop it on them. When you’re bummed, you don’t want to burden anyone with your darkness so you keep it all inside. Fuck that. If they love you, it’s not a burden. Dump it out, lay your cards on the table with people who will react with compassion and not hold it against you. Do this all the time. If it’s in your head, let it out. It’s like releasing a valve, all that pressure starts releasing. Every little bit helps. Don’t hold back.”

Cvlt Nation interviews Emma Ruth Rundle | Cvlt Nation

“I love heavy music. The ways bands and scenes connect is something someone could write a paper about, or draw up a big family tree to illustrate the intricacies of connectivity between musicians. I can see how the association works in this case. I have NEVER once felt sexism present in the scene. The world of “heavy music” is one of the friendliest and most loyal I have experienced. The musicians and the listeners are (in my experience) the best people… and I often have the best times when we get paired up with a “heavy” band – Russian Circles for example. The only sexism I tend to experience in my musical life comes unexpectedly, and almost never from a fan or fellow musician. I once feared the “for a girl” mentality I know exists, but I never think of it anymore. I never feel it. There are many incredible women in and out of the heavy music world who can play technical and creative circles around some dudes – not to swoon too much (and I don’t want to play into any sex-based bullshit), but Helms Alee are one of the heaviest and most unique bands I’ve ever heard, two thirds of which are women. Good music is good. Who is playing it doesn’t seem to matter to me or to anyone else watching or listening.”

Meaningless Pain: An Interview With Full of Hell | The Quietus

“I just wanted things to be as extreme as possible, I didn’t want any middle ground at all, so bands like Discordance Axis and artists like Merzbow were just the greatest things I’d ever heard in my life because there was just no compromise at all, it was just seriously, seriously over the top. And it still felt like there was some kind of artistic expression involved, and that’s always been really important to me. And y’know, just in general I always felt that Hydra Head as a whole was offering real top quality; I knew I could trust anything they’d release even if I didn’t really know the band or artist. And it was totally my dream, ever since I had my first band, to someday put out a record on Hydra Head — unfortunately that will never happen though. Although, I kind of feel that Profound Lore — they label we’re with now — have sort of taken up the Hydra Head mantle. Which is great, they’ve put out some amazing records.”


Relapse Sampler

Relapse Records turns 25 this year, and they’ve been celebrating for the past month with a series of retrospectives features and releases, the pinnacle of which is this free, ridiculously extensive 184-track sampler. Highlights include cuts from Nothing, Neurosis, True Widow, Harvey Milk, Minsk… fuck, the whole thing’s full of highlights.

Space Bong — Deadwood to Worms

Speaking of heavy, Adelaide doom sextet Space Bong just released “Deadwood to Worms”, the first single on their new full-length due in September this year. At 14-and-a-half minutes, it’s a rollicking chunk of ugly, bottom-feeding doom with the perfect amount of riff idolatry.

Inventions — Maze of Woods

The always excellent Temporary Residence Ltd. label — whose catalog includes releases from Young Widows, Mono, My Disco and Watter — have just put out the latest effort from Inventions, the collaboration between Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper and Explosions in the Sky’s Mark T. Smith. Only half of the record is available for free streaming on Bandcamp, but the album’s first three tracks boast a wondrous array of sounds as Smith and Cooper play with trip-hop beats, ghostly textures and otherworldly ambience. Highly recommended.

Matthew Tomich’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Life is Noise editor Matthew Tomich closes our best of 2014 series with his favourite records of the year.

10. DORVAL & DEVEREAUX – Dorval & Devereaux

Though the pulsating single ‘Heavy Hands’ is the standout track on this debut collaboration from White Ribbon and Samantha Glass, the 36 minutes of Dorval & Devereaux unfold like a painstakingly crafted hallucination. Ethereal in parts and unsettling others, these are synthetic textures for daydreams and night terrors. If the 90’s Playstation game LSD were to ever see a re-release, this record would make the perfect soundtrack.

9. TINARIWEN — Emmaar

Even though the songs are sung in their native tongue, Tinariwen’s epic desert blues transcends barriers of language and culture. It helps that the Malian band’s brand of rock — a label that does little justice to Tinariwen’s diverse and often spiritual aesthetic, but feels more appropriate than any other term in Western music criticism — bursts with flourishes of familiarity, from Hendrix to Dylan. Emmaar feels like a bridge between worlds, a fact best exemplified by its opening gambit ‘Toumast Tincha’, a riff-filled odyssey that’s equal parts intriguing and recognizable, grooving and introspective. Emmaar is the perfect soundtrack to journeys unknown.

8. ESBEN & THE WITCH — A New Nature

Esben & The Witch do not rush into things. While that leads to some meandering moment on the 14-minute ‘The Jungle’, it’s largely to the trio’s advantage, a record that feels equally consistent and diverse, as if each song is another side of the same story. It’s excellently paced, too, placing its longer, brooding numbers next to its more subdued meditations. The guitars shimmer and distress, while Rachel Davies delivers her most poignant performances on the penultimate ‘Blood Teachings’, where repetition morphs her utterances into mesmerising mantras of near-transcendent proportions.

7. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE — Some Heavy Ocean

Even at her own shows, I hear Emma Ruth Rundle’s fans compare her to Chelsea Wolfe. If they weren’t labelmates and the only two female frontwomen on Sargent House, maybe the conversation would be different. It certainly should be: beyond a fondness for reverb and a penchant for morose, film-noir vocal delivery, Some Heavy Ocean owes little to Wolfe’s recent output. Rundle – who also fronts shoegazing trio Marriages and played guitar in the now-defunct post-rock band Red Sparowes – is stripped bare on her debut solo record, the delayed guitars of her past exploits exchanged for a steel-stringed acoustic, occasional percussion and some synths to hint at the dark clouds ahead. Rundle’s voice strains as it soars in ‘Run Forever’ where the main refrain becomes more desperate and compelling with each repetition: “If we both get caught then we’ll run forever/if we both go down we’ll go down together.” But it’s on the closing track ‘Black Dog’ where Rundle shines, even if the song is brimming with darkness, one of the most lyrically and sonically compelling odes to depression.

6. HELMS ALEE — Sleepwalking Sailors

It’s hard to stand out with labelmates like Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe, but Helms Alee are perhaps the best representatives for the Sargent House aesthetic — punishing yet fragile, diverse yet distinct and relentlessly innovative. On Sleepwalking Sailors, the Seattle trio are forever oscillating between moods: ‘Tumuscence’ shifts in tone from boisterous to vulnerable to pensive over the course of a single verse, thanks in part to the shared duties that juxtaposes guitarist Ben Verellen’s animalistic call-to-arms with drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis introspective wail.

But it’s the riffs, rhythms and unexpected turns where Sleepwalking Sailors really shines. As good as this year has been for metal and its various offspring with standout releases from YOB, Earth, Pallbearer, Tombs and so many more, the highlight of this year in metal for me has to be the closing 60 seconds of ‘Heavy Worm Burden’ — a song that transforms from a sludge jam into heart-wrenching transcendence as the low end drops out in favour of wailing, bent guitar strings and sublime sermonizing. I challenge anyone to find a passage of recorded music from 2014 that’s more compelling.

5. DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 — The Physical World

It’s hard to think of The Physical World as a comeback album because DFA1979 never really went away. They disbanded, certainly, but their first run was too short to comfortably fit them into the Reuniters Club – in 2006 when the dissolution became official, they were only five years and one album in. The Physical World came 3 years after the duo returned to the touring circuit and the break has served them well: while 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine flirted with the thankfully-defunct nu rock revolution, DFA1979 sound like a new band on this new record – confident, bombastic and aggressive. It’s middle-heavy – ‘Crystal Ball’, ‘White is Red’ and ‘Trainwreck 1979? might be the duo’s strongest three songs in their brief catalogue — a catalogue that’s sure to expand if the strength of this record is anything to go by.

4. ICEAGE — Plowing Into the Field of Love

Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has one of the most compelling voices in rock music today. Though he flirts with overwrought delivery from time to time, almost every moment in Plowing Into the Field of Love brims with sincerity and intensity, from the playfulness of ‘The Lord’s Favorite’ to the chaos of ‘How Many’ and the desperation of ‘Forever’. It helps that he’s backed by a trio of excellent musicians and superbly crafted songs — the instrumentation on Plowing … are seem permanently off-kilter in the most deliberate way possible, resulting in a record that’s eminently listenable yet always challenging.

3. SHELLAC — Dude Incredible

If there were ever a argument for a band taking their time, it’s Dude Incredible. After more than 20 years, Shellac have not mellowed, but on this record the trio feel more comfortable and assured than they have in years. Dude Incredible forgoes the short-burst punk rock and meandering 9-minute opuses of past release’s in favour of an approach that’s entirely focused, refined and strangely obsessed with surveyors. Easily the best release of their career.

2. YOUNG WIDOWS — Easy Pain

Young Widows’ fourth record marries the subtlety and texture of 2011’s In and Out of Youth and Lightness with the angular explosiveness of their earlier work to masterful effect, running the gamut of noise rock and post-punk without settling into either aesthetic. Few band straddles the line of nuanced tension and apocalyptic paranoia better than this one, and tension is the Louisville trio’s best weapon: songs like ‘King Sol’ bubble with an uncomfortable tension before climaxing in cathartic release at the precise moment they need to. These are songs for bad trips and trephinations.

1. SUN KIL MOON — Benji

Though Mark Kozelek’s year has been marked by petty feuds and pettier insult songs, he was also responsible for one of the most moving and honest records of the year in Benji, an ode to the minutiae of contemporary life that spans from San Francisco to Ohio to Newtown and back. There’s as much darkness as there is light in Benji, though it’s more poignant moments are the most heart-wrenching like opening track ‘Carissa’, where Kozelek uses his guitar and voice to make sense of the accidental death of his cousin in and give her life poetry. Rarely does an album feel like it’s being written and played right in front of you, the stories unfolding in real time as Kozelek seemingly finds the words as he goes to narrate the lives of those around him. Worth countless repeat listens.