Archive for the ‘godspeed you black emperor’ Category

Noiseweek: Cobain documentary, OK Computer in the Library of Congress, NYT on Liturgy, new music from Death Grips, Godspeed and more

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

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


Radiohead’s OK Computer has been selected for preservation at the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in recognition of its “cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.” The organisation selects 25 recordings each year, and Radiohead’s seminal 1997 release joins The Doors’ 1967 self-titled album, Steve Martin’s comedy record A Wild and Crazy Guy and 22 other recordings ranging from the 1890 to 1999 to receive the honour this year.


The HBO-produced Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck which did the rounds with its debut trailer a couple of weeks back has been confirmed for a theatrical run in our little island nation. US sources point to an April 10 debut in cinemas before the HBO premiere on May 4, but that’s likely a US date; the only solid information on an Australian release points to June 25.


Earth have struck up a deal with LA-based label / management company Sargent House, joining a stupidly talented roster of the world’s best power trios including Boris, Marriages, Helms Alee, Mutoid Man and Russian Circles. No word yet if this means a severance of Earth’s long-running partnership with Southern Lord.


British book publisher Strange Attractor are taking pre-orders venerable UK mag The Wire’s latest foray into print publishing with Epiphanies: Life Changing Encounters with Music, a collection of the publication’s Epiphanies column which has been running for over 17 years. Contributors include Michael Gira, Jonny Greenwood, Simon Reynolds and Lydia Lunch.


The Ark Work is Liturgy’s Third Album | The New York Times

“In his interviews and writings, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix — Liturgy’s singer and songwriter and one of its guitarists — rejected the common black-metal rhetoric of decay, doom and negative certainty in favor of the opposite: building, liberation and positive indecision. He wrote a manifesto about “transcendental black metal,” which he read aloud at an academic symposium and which was excerpted in a journal of poststructural philosophy. (For all of this he was called pretentious, as if black-metal bands of the early-’90s Norwegian period, with corpse-paint and bullet-belts and inverted crosses, hadn’t ever known pretension.) In any case, Liturgy’s music, and the predictable response to it, seemed based on what it was not — how it stood apart from what it sounded like.”

Perennially Contentious: The Return of Faith No More | Pitchfork

“While “alternative rock” was a nebulous descriptor even during the genre’s late-‘80s/early-‘90s heyday, Faith No More were the rare band to truly exemplify both halves of the term. On the surface, the San Francisco quintet resembled the sort of long-haired, ripped-denim hellraisers filling up the dance card on “Headbangers Ball”, but their absurdist take on rock owed as much to Zappa as Zeppelin. And their ubiquitous 1990 breakout hit “Epic” both defined rap-metal and defied it, gilding its atomic funk with progged-out synth fanfares and classical-piano flourishes, like a mosh pit choreographed by Cecil B. DeMille. ”

Why Would A Band of White Dudes Name Themselves Slaves? | The Fader

“From Anal Cunt to Cerebral Ballzy, there have always been bands whose names provoke a reaction, especially in the punk and hardcore scenes. Shock tactics and strong political statements are often at the heart of art—and, more cynically, marketing plans—but lately, several bands have been causing a backlash for the overtones of cultural and political appropriation evoked by their names. Prostitutes, Girl Band, and Viet Cong—who played at FADER FORT last week—all make very different music (techno, noise, and rock respectively) but the one thing they have in common is that they’re all made up of white men. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’ve been at the centre of the discussion, with Viet Cong even having a recent university show cancelled by a promoter who deemed their name “offensive.” (The Calgary band have since issued a statement claiming they were “naive” in choosing their name and “never meant to trivialize the atrocities or violence that occurred on both sides of the Vietnam war.”)”


Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

That happened quick. Godspeed only announced their fifth LP in late February; Asunder… is out on March 31 and was made available for streaming earlier this week. Some of the cuts might sound familiar — I’m almost certain the opening of “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!” was a live staple on their first Australian tour in early 2013. It’s a track mired in dirge and drudgery, anchored by a beastly symphonic below. In fact, dirge and drudgery abound on this record: after a few listens, it feels like the most apocalyptic record yet, as if the collective have traded in their hope for nihilism.

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving — The Albanian Sleepover

Speaking of dirge, Perth quartet and LIN favourite Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have debuted the first track from their forthcoming sophomore LP. At a second under 10 minutes it’s probably the album’s shortest tracks, but it showcases the band’s darkly melodic tendencies as fields of static rise and fall under a ten-ton-heavy riffage before a brooding interlude, a crashing crescendo and a “to be continued…” until we get to hear part 2. I’ve little doubt this will be one of the best records of the year.

Drowning Horse — Drowning Horse

The most punishing band in Perth are in the midst of work on a new record that, fingers crossed, will be out before the end of the year, and before they play their first show of 2015 at our five year anniversary show at The Bakery on April 2 (tickets here!), they’ve made their debut record for free, or whatever price you may feel like paying.


Inventions — Peregrine

The first video from Inventions’ Maze of Woods is an eerie, home video-style piece of cinema that recalls cultist found footage, Jason Voorhees and Chuckie — an odd mix of aesthetics given the track’s relaxed tone, but it’s a fitting juxtaposition. You can stream more from that album at Inventions’ Bandcamp.

Joy Division + Teletubbies

It’s the film-noir fever dream you’ve always wanted.

Live Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Perth Festival

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Godspeed-press-shotGodspeed You! Black Emperor at Chevron Festival Gardens on Monday February 11, 2013 Review by Matthew Tomich Photos by Caroline Forsberg It’s hard to expect anything less than a transcendental experience from a GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR show. The 20-year-old […]

Godspeed You! Review

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Gig reviews: what the hell? It pains me to even begin this way but I’ve always had a particular disdain for the constant stream of nonsense and no context that this form of critique represents, a shallow, hollow shell of a thing with strings of adjectives either positive or negative being thrown about like the proverbial ragdoll. Preamble: I’m an asshole. If you don’t want to read on, I’ll cut the crap for a moment and lay it bare: this was a professional show by a competent touring rock band. The mystique is gone.

Carey picked me up in his Rav 4, but he’s no soccer mum, he’s just a ridiculous dude. Giving me crap for my bright shirt, I completely forgot to wear a Black album shirt or rock a beard like I was supposed to. I guess I misread the memo on this one. Godspeed, huh? One of the monoliths, a supreme giant of a thing, I mean, how many times can a man listen to Lift yr Skinny Fists in a darkened room, the only light emanating from a dilapidated laptop screen, showcasing another old thread of shut-ins discussing the best version of ‘The Dead Flag Blues’ or what brand of screwdrivers have taken Efrim’s fancy on the Yanqui tour? Just heaps, heaps of times. Driving to the show, I remembered a whole bunch of these formative experiences, heading out of adolescence into the unknown, and these smelly Canadians were there every step. Their records were mysteries waiting to be uncovered, dusting off until finding the life-affirming crescendo underneath, Coney Island Cyclones and Rockets falling all about, that secret track at the end of F# that nearly blew up my father’s speakers, waiting for a date with Slow Riot, you know, all that shit. I knew this gig was going to be an albatross, how could it possibly live up to my (extremely) ridiculous expectations?

Carey and I walked in, grabbed some beers and some cold lamb rolls, which, not to piss anybody off or anything, tasted like cardboard. I know this because I’ve been a student for nearly my entire life. As the crowd shuffled in, and oh lord they were shuffling, the suitably overcast day provided a light drizzle: my immediate thought was ‘if it starts to rain real heavily during this set, that would be the most fitting thing since my pair of three dollar rip off-Connies’. Carey, being a shut-in Godspeed fan who was finally venturing outside, was sweating pretty bad. This was going to be good. It has to be transcendent, it has to be better than Swans at the Forum, Boadrum ’10, Bariken at the old Hydey, Deerhoof at the Rosie, it has to be life-affirming. For an hour and a half, I want to be lifted. An array of equipment on stage signified the modern campfire, as the drone became a long ass drone, people uncomfortably realizing that the show had technically started, the talk becoming whisper becoming quiet, as one by one the slightly depleted ensemble stepped out, wearing T-Shirts and pants: what the fuck? I thought these guys were going to be druids or something! (I am fully aware that these musicians are regular people, a painful experience I will recount in maybe two paragraphs’ time).

Here they are: the drone supporting the meandering, all fucking about with long delayed chords and scrapes across the violin and double bass, cymbals being gently caressed. These are truly anarchists not afraid to play a venue named after a mining company at a government funded festival. The red lights were dimmed, the projections were suitably nonsensical, the sound immaculate as the complete silence of the crowd was punctuated by the screwdrivers on strings, ‘Mdlaic’, and while I loved the record, there was a sense of unease washing over me as the melody returned and was stretched out. Another thing I learned from this show: yobbos/bogans also like Godspeed, as the silence that had entranced the crowd was broken when the piece ended (no segues?), and some blowjobs kept yelling ‘FUCKSPEED’ and other crap. Also, it was around this time some fat guy kept accidentally elbowing me.

The flathead vs. Phillips head screwdriver championship was in full swing as they prepared the second piece, which to my delight was ‘Moya’, Carey obviously not impressed as he was messaging his lover around this time. The ensemble played it perfectly and that’s not necessarily a compliment; this piece potentially lends itself well to being lengthened, heightening the tension and inevitable release, but alas, it was just like listening to Slow Riot on headphones with a muffled audience track. When this was finished and ‘East Hastings’ begun (I’m pretty sure it was this, apologies if I’m wrong), again played like consummate professionals, another thought entered my mind: these guys can be excused for indulging in a victory lap. When you’ve essentially created a subgenre, essentially created a label, essentially created an adoring fan base and have oodles of critical stock, why not take the time to bask in that glory? That and our friend Carey was reacting like so many audience members, slightly bobbing his head with his arms firmly crossed.

The next piece, which I couldn’t put a name to, seemed to run like a reverse Godspeed structure, and was the most exciting yet also strangest part of the set; it sounded like they have finally copped to their Black Flag influence and gone stoner metal. The riffs sounded like the proverbial sledgehammer and the presence of proper slide guitar is always welcome; I knew they were onto a good thing because everybody, not just our friend, was covered in sweat from bobbing along. This slight change in style carried over to the final piece, and after an hour and a half of standing around watching seven Canadians huddled together on a stage jerking off, it was the end, with slight waves to the audience as a classy acknowledgment of our existence. As the crowd shuffled on to the sounds of DJ Tyranny spinning some Swans (he continued to play some cool ass shit, so keep hiring him!), I had a sense of unease about this whole night.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor were not a band to me, not even a group; they were this alien thing, this experience that could never be explained or equaled. While I’m grateful they came to our hallowed shores, and played a show of a reasonable length and price, I felt that their workmanship like performance was disappointing. They have made some of the most transcendent and majestic records of the past twenty years, and for me, this show was merely a blip on the radar. Godspeed became just another live band for me, and that’s kind of heartbreaking. Of course, this is just my reaction and I’m sure that if I’m recognized in the street, you might want to kick me in the balls, but hey, the heavens never opened up as intended. Maybe I just realized that the more I see of the world, the less I need crescendos.

New Godspeed

Monday, October 8th, 2012

GodspeedThere’s nothing that gets us excited here at Life Is Noise quite like a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record. Their first new LP in a decade, titled Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, was simply released at the merch desk of the band’s recent Boston show.

The new record is everything you’d expect in a Godspeed record and more. Comprising two tracks that have been doing the rounds live (under the names of “Albanian” and “Gamelan”) and two shorter drones, the four-track LP is vicious, haunting and beautiful.

Stream Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! over at The Guardian, and pre-order it from here.

Efrim Menuck Preps Solo Debut

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Hirsute post-rock innovator Efrim Menuck is set to release his debut solo album Plays “High Gospel” on the 24th of May. As the driving force behing the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Menuck has been responsible for some of the most ambitious and successful explorations of the limits of what rock music can acheive and transcend. Plays “High Gospel” appears to be a more personal work laden with death and grief, opposed to his more political work with GY!BE. There is little information available about the record apart from what is written here, but it sounds tantalising; ‘i am a motherless child’ advertises itself as an “unabashedly celebratory pop song”. I’m not expecting something akin to Yazoo, but stranger things have happened.

Check his soundcloud, featuring two tracks from the album, here.