Archive for the ‘Sumac’ Category

Alex Gillies’ Top 10 Albums of 2015

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

The next instalment in our end-of-year wrap-up comes from Alex Gillies, of No Anchor, Grieg and A Savage God.

1. Baroness – Purple
Very few bands in the world that can make heavy and beautiful mix seamlessly. The newly rebuilt Baroness have done that refining the melodrama and further defining the possibilities of their brand of metal.

2. Sumac – The Deal
Old Man Gloom/Russian Circles/Baptists all rolled into one lumbering mental-case of musical gristle.

3. High On Fire – Luminiferous
Returning with an even better dosage of the riff-filled metal that brought them this far.

4. Deafheaven – New Bermuda
A stronger, tighter and more ferocious blend of blasts and atmospherics. The old guard still hate it but this sounds like the future.

5. Drowning Horse – Sheltering Sky
Doom metal done right. Bleak and barren songs pushing you along like a slow march to hell.

6. Hope Drone – Cloak Of Ash
Like Deafheaven, a new generation pushing the boundaries of metal’s blackness and sophistication.

7. Built To Spill – Untethered Moon
The indie stalwarts’ latest incarnation of Neil Young-styled guitar squall. Made more so by singer Doug Marsh’s unique cathartic philosophical meanderings.

8. Torche – Restarter
Metal that makes you feel a million bucks! Crushing riffs, caustic melodies and a beautiful taste for the absurd.

9. Last Chaos – Only Fit For Ghosts
Raging Japanese-style hardcore punk from Brisbane that’s kicking teeth in left right and centre.

10. Yukon Dreams – Little Worlds
Dark twilight songs from Pall of Black Heart Procession, filled with musical saw and sung from the bottom of a whisky glass.

Noiseweek: Depeche Mode, GWAR, Lollapalooza, Sumac & Tideland

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

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


Are Depeche Mode Metal’s Bigget Secret Influence? | Rolling Stone

“As with like-minded groups the Cure and New Order, Depeche Mode’s mid-Eighties appeal to Future Metal Leaders of the World lied in an almost morbid, matter-of-fact gothy iconoclasm. What set them apart from their peers, though – other than a sparing use of guitar – were the ornate lattices of synthesizer counterpoints and clanging rhythms that defined their albums beginning with 1984’s Some Great Reward (and its hit “People Are People”) onward. It’s a sound that has gone on to inspire many industrial bands, notably Nine Inch Nails and Ministry (though the latter, who started out sounding like Depeche Mode, would later disavow them). That sound would become increasingly sexually charged and trance-inducing on albums like 1986’s Black Celebration, the following year’s Music for the Masses and their masterpiece Violator.”

Alternative nation’s last stand: Lollapalooza 1995, an oral history | Washington Post

“Lollapalooza ’95 would mark alt-rock’s peak, and the beginning of its decline. Metallica would headline the festival the next year, radio station megashows would begin to compete for headliners and the genre eventually collapsed on itself with the arrival of shamelessly commercial bands such as Matchbox Twenty and Third Eye Blind.
But on the road, in those twilight days of alt-rock, life was crazy, fractious, boring — and hot. While some made friends for life, there were outcasts, at least one backstage brawl and even an altercation with the audience.. It was the world’s strangest summer camp, populated by artsy rock stars, a disappearing diva and one giant, inflatable Buddha.”


Tideland — All I Know

There’s an earnest quality behind the slacker vocals of this first track from Tideland’s Love Luster. You hear it in the verses more than anything else — those subtle fluctuations in delivery that expose an emotional nerve and make the song all the more endearing. It’s all guitars awash the rest of the time, and even though this kind of song could’ve easily been made two decades, there’s a timeless vitality to Tideland’s irresistible hooks. All I Know is out August 21 through Robotic Empire.


GWAR and Regional Identity in Richmond, VA | TEDxRVA

Though this particular GWAR performance is Cuttlefish– and beheading-free, there is a de-skinning to introduce this thesis on the relevance of GWAR to Richmond, VA, courtesy of GWAR Slave Dr. Michael Bishop. In his talk, Bishop examines how the coalescence of Richmond’s urban decay and the GWAR members’ academic disillusionment with Virginia Commonwealth University led to the creation of one of the most fascinating and enduring art projects-turned-global-musical-phenomenon’s in the the last half-century.

Sumac — Live at Warsaw

There are few things on this Earth heavier than the force of Aaron Turner, Nick Yacyshyn and Brian Cook. This live clip from a recent show at Warsaw in New York shows you why the trio is the best supergroup in metal right now.

Noiseweek: Chelsea Wolfe, Lycia, Sumac and Tyranny is Tyranny

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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


New book alert: Drag City are releasing a collection of posters from the Louisville punk scene that birthed the likes of Slint and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Though never as celebrated as a music capital the way Seattle, Nashville, New York or Chicago ever were, the Kentucky city played a pivotal role in the development of noise rock, hardcore and its others — names like Rodan, Squirrel Bait, June of 44, and more recently, Young Widows, Waxeater and Watter. Titled White Glove Test, the book brings together poster art from 1978–94 and is available for purchase at the Drag City website.


Seems like tribute records from the 90s are the new reunions. There’s currently crowdfunding campaign to finance a cover of Helmet’s debut Meantime, with contributions from KEN mode, Kings Destroy and The Atlas Moth among others. The starting goal is pretty low at $5,000 and as of writing a little over 40% of the way towards its target. Head over to the Kickstarter campaign page if you’re keen to throw some coin.


How Much is Music Really Worth? | Pitchfork

“Putting the debates about artists’ income from Spotify, Pandora, and their ilk in a broader historical context, it becomes clear that the money made from a song or an album has clearly decreased over the last several decades. What’s equally clear, though, is that the value of music is almost as subjective financially as it is aesthetically; the economics of music, it turns out, is more dark art than dismal science.”


Join The Chant? Pop’s Endlessly Problematic Relationship With Politics | The Quietus

“There’s a sense, some reckon, of heads-down expediency among today’s generation, that however tousled their hair may be or serrated their ‘indie’ guitar stylings, they are aspirational rather than countercultural. Is there even such a thing as the ‘counterculture’ anymore, outside of the dreams of 40-and-50-somethings brooding wistfully over their large vinyl collections? What has become of the insurrectionary spirit of rock’s halcyon years, before postmodernism set in and hip ironicism usurped an older, angrier spirit of authentic rage? Where is the Doc Marten energy of the old days, of rock music as soundtrack to petrol bombs and stand-offs with cordons of crewcut police?”


The Man Who Broke The Music Business | The New Yorker

“From 2001 on, [Dell] Glover was the world’s leading leaker of pre-release music. He claims that he never smuggled the CDs himself. Instead, he tapped a network of low-paid temporary employees, offering cash or movies for leaked disks. The handoffs took place at gas stations and convenience stores far from the plant. Before long, Glover earned a promotion, which enabled him to schedule the shifts on the packaging line. If a prized release came through the plant, he had the power to ensure that his man was there.”


Lycia — Silver Leaf

I first heard of Lycia when the late Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele described the Arizona outfit’s music as the most depressing he’s ever heard which is lofty praise from the drabbest of the drab four. Now a duo, Lycia remained largely dormant for the first decade of the 21st century before resurfacing in 2010. “Silver Leaf” is one half of a forthcoming split release with Black Mare through Earsplit, and it seems Steele’s description still holds true; if you start your morning with the tides of reverb that envelop Mike VanPortfleet’s stark incantations, you’re useless for the rest of the day.


Tyranny is Tyranny — The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Tyranny is Tyranny first came to my inbox about six months ago with word of their ambitious concept album, Let It Come From Whom It May, based on American writer and critic Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of The United States. Rarely is protest music infused with such a vivid aesthetic — in this case, a vivid and violent sound somewhere between mid-west emo and Fugazi (Russell Emerson’s vocal delivery falls right in the middle of Ian Mackaye marching orders and Guy Picciotto’s attitudinal rebel yell. Tyranny’s latest record takes on Naomi Klein’s breakdown of disaster capitalism,The Shock Doctrine, and this time their adaptation is better produced and rich with guitars that convey vulnerability and power all at once. Extra props for this being the only record on Bandcamp tagged Zinn-core.


Sumac — Thorn in the Lion’s Paw (Live)

As much as I’d love an ISIS (the band) reunion, it almost seems unnecessary. Between Old Man Gloom, Zozobra, Mamiffer and now Sumac, the members of the late post-metal vanguards are producing some of the most exciting heavy music in the world. Sumac is the youngest of those projects, having just released The Deal through Profound Lore earlier in the year. This video from one of their first shows ever back in March in Vancouver showcases how utterly gargantuan a three-piece can be. That’s Turner on vocals and guitar, Baptists’ Nick Yacyshyn on skins and Brian Cook of Russian Circles / Botch / These Arms Are Snakes fame on bass. This is the most crushing thing you’ll hear all week.


Chelsea Wolfe: ABYSS album trailer

Your Sargent House Gush of the Week features the first taste from the fifth album of the new Noir Queen. This excerpt is easily the heaviest Wolfe’s ever sounded, and the visuals of a chiaroscuro California show the limitless potential of her cinematic world. Abyss is slated for a summer 2015 release.