Archive for the ‘Sunn O)))’ Category

Jack Midalia’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

10. Sunn O))) — Kannon
Consider this a provisional tenth place for Sunn O))), as I still haven’t had the chance to listen to Kannon on a sound system large enough to do it justice. But I can tell already it’s got everything you’d want in a Sunn O))) album — a whole pile of dark, intense drone, with a sense of focus and purpose often missing from the genre. Kannon is a relatively short work, but it still feels like an epic journey from start to finish.

9. Fourteen Nights At Sea — Minor Light
Alternating between soaring noise and sparse, beautifully textured ambience, Minor Light is another staggeringly fine piece of work from Melbourne’s Fourteen Nights At Sea. I’ve frequently put this album on in the background while working, only to find myself just staring off into space, transfixed. As well as impeccable production, Minor Light’s real strength is the sense of restraint found throughout; everything on the album is essential. A brilliant recording.

8. Kurt Vile — b’lieve i’m goin down…
Kurt Vile’s sixth record, b’lieve i’m goin down…, doesn’t exactly reinvent the KV wheel. Having said that, the usual elements work together perfectly here to create a little gem of an album. The usual reverbed fingerpicking guitar is pretty constant throughout b’lieve, with the pace and intensity changing depending on the mood. Vile’s voice seems to be getting better with age, sounding fuller and richer, while maintaining its distinctive slacker drawl. A wonderful slow burning record to add to a rapidly growing catalogue of excellence.

7. Mount Eerie — Sauna
Despite being released in February, I still feel like there’s a world hidden within Sauna that I’m yet to discover (a song like “Turmoil”, for example, is a simple, straightforward song imbued through its instrumentation with a sense of uneasy depth). There’s the usual juxtaposition of traditional folk and almost-noise, and experimentation that works together to create a beautiful, haunting and mysterious world. One well worth exploring.

6. High On Fire — Luminiferous
A flat out awesome, conspiracy-filled riff-fest… what’s not to love about High On Fire’s latest record, Luminiferous? There’s been a lot of attention on the Icke-influenced lyrics that fill Luminiferous, but nowhere near enough attention on just how much of a brilliant, perfectly-produced album this is.

5. Elder — Lore
Elder’s brand of doom-tinged psych is on excellent display on Lore. From the sly nod to “Immigrant Song” of opening track “Compendium”, Lore expertly walks the fine line between hypnotic repetition and monotony. There’s a dynamic typical of heavy three-pieces that can sometimes prevent the emergence of depth and texture. Elder avoid this, imbuing their tracks with a sense of space at some times, as well as a sense of balls-out rock at others. Lore is an impressive record for such a young band — one that promises much in the future.

4. Low — Ones and Sixes
Forgive me if I don’t sound enthused about this record. It’s not that it isn’t great (it is), or that Low are just going through the motions (they’re not). It’s just that the band are such a reliable producer of ridiculously good records, that I always have a certain amount of an “oh, another masterpiece… yawn” attitude for Low releases. That being said, Ones and Sixes takes everything you’re used to from the Minnesotans (breathtaking sparsity, chilling harmonies), but with a focus, clarity and added intensity from their recent output.

3. Drowning Horse — Sheltering Sky
Another example of a band in 2015 that took a stunning live sound and perfectly translated this to record. I’m going to skip any attempt to describe Sheltering Sky, and just link to The Black Captain’s perfect review.

2. We Lost The Sea — Departure Songs
I’ve had the privilege of seeing We Lost The Sea a few times this year, and they’ve completely blown me away every time. There’s plenty of Australian acts, however, that can pull it off live but not lack something on record. No such problem here. With Departure Songs, We Lost The Sea have eschewed the usual tired post-rock tropes and created something uniquely brilliant and beautifully poignant.

1. Sufjan Stevens — Carrie and Lowell
I love pretty much everything Sufjan Stevens has done, but Carrie and Lowell might be his masterpiece. The record finds Sufjan in stripped-back mode and makes you realise what makes him such a great artist — it’s not the bold production choices or layering, it’s just simple, well written songs and an instantly recognisable, beautiful and stark voice.

Despite the fact that the world can be a dark place (and this record does go to numerous places lacking in any light), the fact that the darkness can spawn such incredible beauty as Carrie and Lowell is, at least, a small comfort.

Dave Cutbush’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

LIFE IS NOISE’s head honcho shares his favourite releases from 2015, with Elder, High On Fire and Shlohmo among the year’s best.

10. Sunn O))) – Kannon
The drone giants Sunn O))) return in 2015 with another crushing display in the form of Kannon. It is heavy, it is slow, it is fearful and it is imposing. My only criticism is that it is a little short. I wanted more than just the three songs. Who knows, perhaps this is just a tease for another Sunn O))) album in 2016. After all, six years is too long to wait for such epic majesty.

9. Echoes of Yul – The Healing
The Black Captain introduced me to Polish act Echoes of Yul. Ever since I have loved their work. You can read The Black Captain’s review here. I love the dreamy dark quality of this record. It is a melancholic masterpiece.

8. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
Windhand return with the their third record Grief’s Infernal Flower. As heavy as ever and featuring the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Dorthia Cottrell, Windhand have a great balance between the depth and crushing on one had and the ethereal and haunting on the other. Grief’s Infernal Flower is a consistently good album and confirms Windhand’s pre-eminence in the worldwide doom revival.

7. Church – Unanswered Hymns
My favourite debut album of the year came out of the blue from Church (or Chrch as they are now known). Unanswered Hymns has a musical bed of depravity and destruction with vocals that sound like a demon sacrificing a virgin on a satanic altar on top. An occult masterpiece from these Californian natives.

6. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell
Sufjan returns to his folk roots on record number seven. He gets to me when he is super sad, and on this album he is at times at his most serenely melancholic. ‘Should Have Known Better’ is my favourite in this respect. It is what folk music should be and most often isn’t. Stripped away from the overburdening production of previous work, Carrie and Lowell gets down to basics. It has beautiful melodies and thought provoking lyrics. Dare I say it — a return to form for Stevens.

5. Ahab – The Boats of Glen Carrig
Funeral doom/nautical doom/progressive rock/post-rock whatever. The Boats of Glen Carrig may be an interesting fusion of styles packaged in their ever expanding worlds of boats and krakens and wrecks but when you boil it down it is just a great heavy record. Super riffs aplenty, great clean vocals and brutal growls. Super catchy in a destructive way.

4. Drowning Horse – Sheltering Sky
The latest Drowning Horse album is totally crushing. Read The Black Captain’s review here. No other words need be spoken.

3. Shlohmo – Dark Red
Shlohmo is a consistently amazing electronic producer. His latest album Dark Red is no exception to this. He inhabits a dark and weird world most of today’s beatmakers dare not inhabit. But the final word on this should come from the press release for the album, where we are told Dark Red would sound like “if Electric Wizard tried to make an R&B record, or if Boards of Canada met Burzum by the River Styx” – maybe not true but certainly an interesting concept.

2. High On Fire – Luminiferous

Lyrically mind-altering and musically earth-shattering, the latest effort from High on Fire is another pummelling journey from the metal three-piece and a great addition to their great catalogue. All members are in great form. Des Kensel’s drumming is relentless, Jeff Matz’ bass work is as always without fault and team leader Matt Pike’s vocals and guitar work have reached a new pinnacle. But with all the Motorhead-style fast fury, it is the slower tracks that stand out for me. ‘The Falconist’ has a sneering menace, while ‘The Cave’ is the standout for me. High on Fire have developed as a band with Luminiferous. There is power aplenty but listen further and you can reach other dimensions.

1. Elder – Lore
In 2015 nothing beat the power riffs and melodic mastery of Lore from Massachusetts band Elder. It is a tip of the hat to the iconic rock legends of the 70s but Lore is a furious modern stoner take on all things psych and doom. I love how Elder meld various passages in their songs so seamlessly. At times monolithic and bludgeoning and at others beautiful and delicate, Lore is impressive from first to last listen. It’s an album I have punished but continues to give me great joy every time I put it on. Thanks Elder – you just keep getting better.

Honourable Mentions
Vhol – Deeper Than Sky
Glowsun – Beyond the Wall of Time
Hope Drone – Cloak of Ash
Sumac – The Deal
Dungen – Allas Sak
Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving – Yield to Despair
Kowloon Walled City — Grievances
We Lost The Sea – Departure Songs
Ecstatic Vision – Sonic Praise
Built to Spill – Untethered Moon
Fourteen Nights at Sea – Minor Light
Joanna Newsom – Divers
Wrekmeister Harmonies – Night of Your Ascension

Chris Pearson’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The host of PBS 106.7FM’s Po-Jama People shares his top picks from 2015.

Here are 10 nuggets from a year that brought shite loads of great music from home and overseas. Five Australian albums to start:

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving — Yield to Despair
A band that can only just squeeze five tracks onto a double LP is OK in my book. Tangled Thoughts play some of the most interesting proggie art-rock around. Check out ‘Albanian Sleepover’ parts 1&2

Fourteen Nights at Sea — Minor Light
Following on from their excellent Great North, released last year, Fourteen Nights at Sea carry the bleak and moving nature of their post-rock to infinity and beyond. I look forward to seeing how their sound evolves with a new band member.
Check out ‘Chiltern Justice’.

We Lost the Sea — Departure Songs
Since the death of We Lost the Sea’s vocalist Chris Torpy in 2013, the band’s reinvention as an instrumental behemoth has been achieved with great aplomb. This album as a tribute to Chris, intended or otherwise, has a darkness and a sorrow with a little glimmer of light.
Check out ‘A Galant Gentleman’.

Seedy Jeezus — Seedy Jeezus
Seven tracks of the best 70s-inspired psychedelic rock around with a big twist of stoner. Recorded live at the iconic Tote Hotel. Great songs, huge riffs and more hair than anything this side of ZZ Top.
Check out ‘How Ya Doin’.

My Disco — Severe
Five years since their last album, this latest offering has elements of post-rock and noise, with a little post-punk sprinkled in for good measure. Well and truly worth the wait, in my opinion.
Check out the track ‘Our Decade’.

And five international albums…

Elder — Lore
Their latest album Lore added a big block of prog to the already brimming bowl of psychedelic-stoner-doom-metal. Much cleaner sounding than the epic Dead Roots Stirring, this is an album recorded by a band wise beyond its years.
Check out the title track.

Mogwai — Central Belters
The Glasgow five-piece need no introduction. A band that can do no wrong (in this Scotsman’s eyes). I am usually doubtful about compilation albums entering the arena just before Christmas, but this is an exception to that rule. Central Belters is a three CD (or six LP) monster. It’s a 20-year retrospective, above and beyond the call, 2 CDs of album tracks and one of b-sides and rarities.
Check out the 20-minute long closer ‘My Father My King’ (recorded by Steve Albini).

Papir meets Electric Moon — Papermoon Sessions, Live at Roadburn 2014
Danish trio Papir are joined here by Sula and Lulu from Electric Moon and Mogens from Oresund Space Collective. Three of the best heavy psych jam bands rolled into one, recorded two massive slabs of the best improvised space-rock this side of Uranus.
Check out the track ‘Powdered Stars’.

Sunn O))) — Kannon
A late addition on many of this year’s best of lists I am sure. An album in three tracks, clocking in at just over half an hour. It may be short on time but lacks for nothing else. This trio of tracks manages to be subtly uplifting while conjuring the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Do not listen to Kannon after midnight.
Check out the middle track ‘Kannon 2’.

Various Artrists — Electric Ladyland (Redux)
The classic Jimi Hendrix double album is reimagined by All Them Witches, Earthless, Wo Fat, Mos Generator, Gozu, Mothership, Elder and many more. This could be the best tribute album ever.
Check out all 15 minutes of All Them Witches’ version of ’Voodoo Chile’.

Chris Pearson presents Po-Jama People on Melbourne’s PBS 106.7FM.
All the psychedelic-stoner-post-space-doom-rock that can be squeezed into the last two hours of Wednesday night.

Noiseweek: Weedians, List-o-mania, Sunn O))), Oneohtrix Point Never + More

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

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

Wondering what to get for the Sleep fan who has everything this Christ-myth? How about one of these incredibly detailed Weedian figurines? Dopesmoker cover artist Arik Roper worked with Unbox Industries to get every last detail right, down to the vape tanks. They might not ship until January, but who actually cares about christmas anyway? Meanwhile, Sleep keep adding dates to a Summer 2016 Europe tour which now includes Roskilde, ATP Iceland and Les Eurockeennes Festival in Paris in July.


Speaking of the European Summer (almost), the mind-boggling Roadburn line-up just got a little more insane with the announcement that Converge will perform their 2001 masterwork Jane Doe in full at the 2016 festival, “for the first and last time”, as well as a special collaborative set Blood Moon “focusing on the band’s slower, more ambitious work”. They join Neurosis, Paradise Lost, Cult of Luna, Black Mountain, G.I.S.M., Full of Hell and a ton more at the festival in April.


It’s that time of year – the lists keep coming. Spoiler alert: Windhand taking top spot on Consequence of Sound’s Top 25 Metal Albums of 2015 list; LA’s Volahn getting top spot on LA Weekly’s Top Ten and you should probably just read The Quietus’ 100-strong best of 2015 list. We’ll be rolling out our own lists from Thursday.



Enduring Love: Why Swans Are More Vital Now Than Ever | The Guardian
“Speaking as a journalist, it is difficult to ignore the amazing stories that have built up round the band over the years. Once, for example, an unfortunate sound guy made the mistake of asking the singer what he wanted the band to sound like. He replied: “Like this” and punched the hapless engineer in the chest.”

Phil Anselmo And The Business Of Heavy Metal Horror | Forbes
“A revered figure in metal who continues to draw live audiences, Anselmo gladly leverages his own brand to promote his Housecore artists by having them open for headlining tours with his own bands like Down and The Illegals. Fully aware of the effect his name has on his business, he actively strategizes how to use it to serve the label’s agenda.”

A Crushing Embrace With The Earth: Ecological Sound In 2015 | The Quietus
Sound and music also have key roles to play in this process, through highlighting the complexity, intimacy and emotional texture of the relations between ourselves and the rest of nature. In her 2015 paper Geopolitics And The Anthropocene: Five Propositions For Sound, political geographer Anja Kanngieser argues that sound makes visceral, even comprehensible, aspects of the world that normally lie beyond our perception.


Sunn O))) – Kannon
It’s here. And it’s immense, as you’d expect.

Extreme Misanthropy Crew – Revelations One
Featuring members of Sydney’s Making and Tanned Christ – nasty, noisy improvised post-drone.

Florian Schneider – ‘Stop Plastic Pollution’
The Kraftwerk co-founder samples a dripping tap as part of his bit to stop the Great Pacific garbage patch as part of the Parley for the Oceans campaign.


Dinosaur Jr. – ‘Forget the Swan’
As part of a seven-night stand at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut LP Dinosaur. Guests each night have included Kevin Shields, Jeff Tweedy, Mike Watt, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Kurt Vile among others. Can we have a Deep Wound reunion next please?

Oneohtrix Point Never – ‘Sticky Drama’
All the end-of-year lists can be overwhelming, then you catch something you somehow slept on. Daniel Lopatin’s ‘Come to Daddy’ comes with its own prologue video.



Noiseweek: EOY Lists, A Love Supreme, Arca, Fourteen Nights at Sea, Sunn O))) and more

Friday, November 27th, 2015

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


The inevitable torrent of end-of-year lists begins in earnest, with Rough Trade first out of the blocks with their 100 best LPs of 2015. Bjork’s epic Blood on the Tracks break-up album Vulnicura took out the top spot, with Australian acts Courtney Barnett and Royal Headache both in the top ten at #3 and #8 respectively. British/German composer Max Richter’s eight-hour-long classical lullaby suite SLEEP surprisingly taking out fifth place, alongside more predictable fare like Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic and Jamie xx’s solo debut In Colour all among the top ten. Keep a look out for LIFE IS NOISE’s end of year lists in the next few weeks.


Good news for a number of Melbourne’s favourite venues this week with the state government giving out $250,000 in soundproofing grants, with Cherry, Ding Dong, 1000 Pound Bend, Revolver, Bakehouse Studios and the Bendigo Hotel all sharing the spoils for soundproofing works undertaken between 2010 and 2014, The Age reports. The grants are being welcomed as another step in protecting and nurturing the city’s vibrant live music scene after the enactment of last year’s ‘Agent of Change’ principle in planning regulations, which shifts the expense of soundproofing works on to new developments where a dispute arises, rather than existing venues. In other words: we were here first, you deal with it.


Synth nerds frothing over the collection of vintage analogue gear amassed by the newly established Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (M.E.S.S.) will soon get their chance to tinker with one of the largest and most comprehensive catalogues of modular synths, drum machines, samplers and other rare and obscure instruments, with M.E.S.S. opening to subscribers in early 2016. Established by local sound artists Robin Fox and Byron J Scullin, M.E.S.S. will offer 500 spots in its inaugural annual subscription program, with plans for training courses, workshops and live performances later in the year.


Arca’s Warped Beauty | Pitchfork

“Even more than Xen, which Ghersi now calls a “fragile” album, Mutant is made up of great extremes—the crushing bass of “Mutant” versus the viscous bliss of “Vanity”, or the metal chug of “Anger” versus the neo-classical strings of “Extent”. And one of the things that is so exhilarating about the record is how it’s constantly negotiating between two opposing poles. Tension is the air that Mutant breathes, and that is because Ghersi himself thrives on what he calls “those in-between states where you can talk to people about things that maybe aren’t OK to talk about otherwise—things that are taboo or repressed within us, things that we would never admit to ourselves.””

Seeing Through “A Love Supreme” to Find John Coltrane | New Yorker

“In the studio, there’s an undertone of serenity and also of composition that emphasizes the movement’s themes, of compression that builds the climaxes of a solo into repeated motto-like phrases or quick outbursts that soon resolve into calmer and more songful perorations. By contrast, the 1965 concert performance from France is full-throated, uninhibited, frighteningly wild and frenzied. It leaves a listener thrilled, shaken, drained; it’s a holy terror and a holy wonder.”

A Rational Conversation: How Do You Convince Kids To Listen To Vinyl? | NPR: The Record

“Our commitment or continued long-term participation to putting out vinyl records is largely based on our own emotional connection. Many of us who have been here for a while came of age listening to records even before the resurgence of vinyl that has happened over the course of the past five or six years. I talk to a lot of people I work with about this, but vinyl is freighted with this memory of the way you would listen to music. It’s less about what people talk about with the warmth or audio qualities of vinyl. It’s just about attention. If you can only fit 22 minutes of music of a side of vinyl, you’re doing little else during that time, and that’s kind of nice. So it’s definitely an emotional connection.”


Fourteen Nights at Sea — Minor Light

Get acquainted with the Melbourne post-rock mainstays’ latest release ahead of their shows supporting MONO in Melbourne and Sydney next week.

Roundtable — Dread Marches Under Bloodied Regalia

Yet another solid release recorded and mixed by Jason Fuller at Melbourne’s Goatsound studios, the trio’s debut full-length mines doom, stoner and classic prog and offers a contemporary take on the lost art of the narrative concept album.


Sunn O))) — Boiler Room

Club kids the world over are scratching their heads as to what the fuck just happened, with last week’s Berlin set from Sunn O))) featuring on the hugely popular Boiler Room channel. There’s form there – they’ve featured Earth and Boris previously, though for the most part it’s about pretty young things dancing behind (read: annoying the crap out of) superstar DJs.

David Bowie — Blackstar

For those who’ve been in a coma for the last week: The first single and title track from the ageing iconoclast’s forthcoming LP shows he’s still capable of the reinvention that’s defined his long and storied career. Apparently he’s been listening to lots of Kendrick Lamar and Death Grips, though long-time collaborator/producer Tony Visconti says it’s not going to be a hip hop record (in case you were worried).

Noiseweek: Sunn O))), Golden Void, John Carpenter, JAMC and more

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

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


A friendly reminder that Le Guess Who? in the Netherlands boasts the best festival line-up of the year. Deerhunter, Swervedriver, A Place to Bury Strangers, METZ, Blanck Mass, Lightning Bolt, Total Control; a Constellation Records-curated stage with Ought and Last Ex, and a Sunn O)))-curated stage with OM, Chelsea Wolfe, Magma, Julia Holter and Goatsnake. Ugh.

Speaking of which, Sunn O))) just announced their next LP: Kannon Kommeth, out through Southern Lord on December 4.

Per Pitchfork, director John Carpenter will be making his live debut at next year’s ATP Iceland in July.

SBS News mistakenly flashed a picture of music vlogger Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop during their reportage on Chris Mercer, the gunman responsible for the school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. More at Noisey.

Lush are reuniting to play their first show in almost two decades.

In other reunion news, per a recent Time Out New York interview, the Jesus and Mary Chain are working on their first new record in 17 years.

Pitchfork Radio will begin its first broadcast this Monday from Willy’s Detroit.

True Widow’s first two records, I.N.O. and As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth, are now available on Bandcamp.


Something on the outside: Cold Chisel reconsidered | The Monthly

“Someone somewhere in Australia is listening to a Cold Chisel song right now. Perhaps it’s you, tarrying with the ever-present ‘Khe Sanh’, or with ‘Choirgirl’, ‘Cheap Wine’, ‘Breakfast at Sweethearts’ or ‘Forever Now’. Maybe, without even needing to tune the radio to the nearest Classic Hits station or dig out the records, you can hear those songs in your head, like I can hear them, as if each were a part of some interior musical script learnt off by heart so long ago now that you can’t recall a time when you didn’t know it. What can I tell you about Cold Chisel that you don’t already know?”

Dissonant Joy: A Guide to Europe’s Punk Foremothers | Pitchfork

“Early punk histories tend to focus on New York and London, with hardly any credit given to the movement’s mainland European acts—and even less so when the creative forces behind those bands were women. Additionally, the continental identities of relatively celebrated female UK punk cornerstones like the Slits or the Raincoats are often overlooked. So while many of these European punks didn’t necessarily wield a significant amount of cultural influence, their lack of careerist ambition to appoint themselves as the faces of a scene is actually what distinguishes them.
A bona fide embrace of amateurism linked many of these groups; for them, punk’s anything-goes ethos wasn’t just a line to tote about while quietly cultivating expertise undercover. For most of their male peers, punk underscored natural freedoms, but the style’s sense of possibility offered these women a sense of liberation that was more radical, and they committed to exploring punk’s limits with dissonant joy.”

An Excerpt from the Memoir and Cookbook Red Velvet Underground by Freda Love Smith (the Blake Babies, Antenna) | The Talkhouse

“Being a musician on tour was the life experience that shattered my uptightness and helped me embrace a more flexible diet. Touring in a band presents a host of particular challenges: how to stay stable in constantly shifting surroundings; how to stay sane in often-crazy circumstances; how to stay civil in the close quarters of a van with four other humans; how to stay healthy in booze– and smoke-filled bars — and on the slim pickings of truck-stop food.”


A Swarm of the Sun — Deliver Us From Our Dreams

Caspian and Mogwai meet in a starry sky in this cut from Swedish duo A Swarm of the Sun. Taken from the sessions of their latest record The Rifts, this is the kind of thing you want to listen to from the window seat of transcontinental plane journey, when you’re bleary-eyed and trying to determine if the sun is rising or setting behind the horizon.


Golden Void — Burbank’s Dream

Is this real life or a video game? The Isaiah Mitchell-led Golden Void favour cheesy vistas and visual blending to accompany the bluesy Burbank’s Dream. It’s like a Windows Media Player visualisation come to life, but somehow it works. The track is taken from the group’s second record, Berkana, out now through Thrill Jockey.

Noiseweek: Sunn O))), My Disco, Iceage, Pere Ubu, Heads.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

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


South Of No North: Greg Anderson Of Sunn O))) & Goatsnake Interviewed | The Quietus

“Honestly, I’m both surprised and grateful about it every single day. When we first started no one, and I mean no one, really cared. And, if I’m to be really, really honest, we didn’t really care. Especially about what people thought. We just wanted to experiment and play music together, really the audience, the idea that people would actually listen to it was kind of an afterthought, we were really making music for ourselves – in some ways Sunn O))) is a very selfish project. I mean, we weren’t even sure if we were ever going to play live, we imagined that it would just remain a studio project. And then when we did start playing live eventually it really started connecting with people and honestly that kind of gave me a lot of hope for people because it’s obviously very difficult, very challenging music – I was like, ‘Wow! People can get into this? That’s awesome!’ Because you wouldn’t expect most people – or really anyone – to be that into it. So yeah, I totally see where you’re coming from and I kind of agree. I think Sunn O))) somehow connects with people on this super primal level – it’s very real, but at the same time the music helps create this alternate reality, and people seem to want to be in that dimension for a couple of hours or so.”

Does Anybody Even Have Time For An 80-Minute Album? | NPR

“It’s interesting to think about the different ways that album length has evolved over time. For most of history in the album era, it was defined by format — first the 45 minutes or so of an LP, then the 80 minutes of a CD. In the LP era, you really had to justify the additional expense of production and the fact that you’d have to charge more. With CDs, that was no longer an issue, and in the ‘90s in particular you had some people feeling “ripped off” if an album only had 45 minutes of music, so in some cases artists would put on CD-only bonus tracks to make it seem like they were making the most of the format. But then of course file sharing and digital files changed all that, and suddenly, you could have albums be as long or short as you wanted very easily. There was an initial trend toward shorter releases, experimenting with a four-song or eight-song release, like the mini-albums Robyn released in the run-up to Body Talk.

But the longer albums now, in a lot of cases, and especially in all of these cases you mentioned, is a way to say, “This is important. You are going to have to spend time with this.” It’s a little harder to make an “event” out of a release if it’s 35 minutes long. The initial feeing is, “This is all I could do.” Whereas these [long] releases convey the idea of sprawling masterpieces, and by extension, they are presented as demanding art. I do think that, even though artists want to say, “This should be taken whole,” in the vast majority of cases the albums are rarely ever experienced that way. It’s a little bit of a thing where artists present the work this way and the listeners kind of play along, and may even pay lip service to the idea, but probably the truth of it is that people are picking and choosing.”

Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas talks being an underground legend and why he won’t call himself special | Noisey

“I don’t like photos. I don’t want to waste my time generating the limitless supply the industry requires. I know what I look like. I know what my mother looks like. I recognize her every time. What do I need a photo for? The government wants photos. Whatever the government wants I try to avoid. Good basic policy. I’m not in the business of being a pop star. I am a musician. The eye is a deceiver. It relies on the physical world and can be too easily fooled. It takes only 24 frames a second to deceive the eye into seeing real motion. It takes a minimum of 44,100 frames a second to deceive the ear. Sound is the authentic expression of human consciousness. The world is silent. Sound only happens inside the head of conscious beings. It is the by-product of consciousness. Why waste time with anything less?”


Heads. — At the Stake

Chris Breuer’s bass sounds like oozing pus, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Heads. imbue this slithering Melvins track with intoxicating menace thanks to the snarling tone of Ed Fraser’s flat-out evil intonations, along with his swampy guitar tones and the plodding rhythms. If the future of Heads. sounds more like this — brooding, meditative and plain evil — sign me up.

My Disco — King Sound

This is the the darkest track My Disco have ever made. While everything on 2010’s Little Joy was vibrant, King Sound is a faded strobe light in an empty prison cell. There’s a distinct Swans feel here, from the ritualistic rhythms to Liam Andrews’ prayer-like repetition of the song’s title. King Sound is taken from Severe, out October 30 through Temporary Residence.


Iceage — Untitled (Live at Pitchfork Festival)

Pitchfork saved the best footage of last month’s Chicago festival ’til last, finally uploading clips of Iceage performing this new, as-yet-untitled track alongside The Lord’s Favorite. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is as magnetic as ever, slinking and slithering around the stage, singing from the floor and equal parts confidence and nonchalance. No one else right now is making music or playing shows that feel so fucking vital.

Noiseweek: We Lost the Sea, Sunn O)), High on Fire and more

Friday, June 12th, 2015

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


Sunn O)) have launched a new Bandcamp page to document their live recordings. The collection spans from 2002 up to their most recent UK run last month, with each show going for $5 a pop.


Buzz Osborne tore into the latest contribution to the Kurt Cobain mythos at The Talkhouse last week, calling Montage of Heck “90%” bullshit. Now Osborne has elaborated on his critique in an interview with Riff You, questioning why people would ever believe Courtney Love and claiming people’s incredulity towards his position stems from his lack of wealth: “One of the biggest problems I’ve had with this scenario is that I am not really rich. If I was really rich, the respect with that would come…people would believe me more. Because I’m not, they don’t believe me. So be it. That’s 100% the truth. If people think I am gaining something from this, they’re out of their minds.”


High on Fire Talk Aliens, Acid and Why New Album ‘Doesn’t Suck’ | Rolling Stone

“I read a David Icke book, and it kind of woke me up a little bit. It doesn’t mean that I believe everything David Icke has to say, but I definitely don’t disagree with the guy when it comes to certain esoteric aspects of how I perceive the world. There’s too many credible people who have been abducted by aliens. There’s too many things that have been written in ancient scrolls and ancient tablets, things that Zecharia Sitchin brought to light. I’ve been to Peru, I’ve been to Egypt… a civilization builds ziggurats and pyramids that we couldn’t build today, and you’re going to tell me that they used stone-age building materials? It doesn’t make any sense. There’s a lost history of mankind; I find it fascinating, and I tend to sing about it.”

Mark Kozelek and Feminist Guilt: Why I Won’t Boycott Sun Kil Moon | SPIN

“So, what do I do now that Kozelek has directed his infamous ire at a peer? Am I supposed to be surprised? I’m not. I didn’t need a chauvinistic email to reveal it. But are the events of the last week — year, even — supposed to make me cut ties with Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon indefinitely? Is it my duty to embargo his music as a woman?”

Music Festivals in Your Thirties | The New Yorker

“St. Vincent opens her show with an announcement read by a Siri-like computer voice stating, “Please refrain from capturing your digital experience.”
Twenty-year-old me thinks, “Boo! How am I supposed to enjoy this show if I can’t hold up my phone to record it, thereby blocking everyone’s view, and then never watch it again?!”
Thirty-year-old me thinks, “Sensible and pragmatic. I approve.””


We Lost the Sea — A Gallant Gentleman

The first track from We Lost the Sea’s third album opens like the beginning of a eulogy — somber, reflective and reverent, with gentle guitars that ripple like breaks in still water. But what emerges as the track unfurls is triumphant, as choral harmonies breathe vitality into the song’s earnest tones, and before long this is not a eulogy but a celebration of life and triumph and, quite simply, one of the most moving pieces of post-rock I’ve ever heard. A naive reading would suggest this is a tribute to the band’s late frontman, Chris Torpy — in any case, it’s a remarkable deployment of post-rock’s sensibilities and an exciting preview of what’s to come. Departure Songs is out July 23 through Art as Catharsis.

Goatsound Studios cover Black Flag’s Damaged

Last month, Jason PC Fuller of Melbourne’s Goatsound Studios / The Ruiner gathered together 15 artists to reinterpret Black Flag’s Damaged to benefit Sea Shepherd. That collection is now available on Bandcamp under pay-what-you-want pricing, though aficionados are encouraged to donate as all proceeds go to Sea Shepherd. The collection includes a rare vocal performance from Hotel Wrecking City Traders on “Thirsty and Miserable,” a plodding sludge cover of “Police Story” from The Ruiner, a ball-busting rendition of “Gimmie Gimme Gimmie” thanks to Acid Vain and contributions from The Kill, The Sure Fire Midnights, Watchtower and more.


Jerusalem In My Heart — If He Dies, If If If If If If

The next release from Constellation Records is the second record from Jerusalem In My Heart, a transcontinental, multi-lingual collaboration between Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and Charles-André Coderre. Much of the Constellation Records catalogue remains mysterious to me, owing to the diversity and multi-disciplinarian tendencies of its various artists, but there’s a beauty in that mystery in this age of knowledge. The above teaser is unsettling but fascinating and ties into Coddere’s visual art practise, which involves re-photographing images and chemically treating them. If He Dies… is out through Constellation on September 4.

FÓRN — Suffering in the Eternal Void

In an act of ultimate doom, funeral sludge outfit FÓRN played a show in a cave, and yesterday, they released their entombed performance as the official video for Suffering in the Eternal Void. Unsurprisingly, the acoustics in a cave are awful, but the visual document is compelling — how many people can say they’ve played in a fucking cave?