Archive for the ‘Windhand’ Category

And The Rest of the Best of 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

We close out our 2015 end-of-year list-a-thon with contributions from LIFE IS NOISE friends and contributors Sally Townsend, Louis Dunstan, Liam Matthews and Gram the Son of Sam.

Sally Townsend, Perth-based music photographer
I am a lover of music first of all, and firmly believe in supporting live music and local artists. I will travel for the indescribable magic that is live performance, and am trying to capture it the best I can with my camera. I’m a riff-worshipping, doom-loving, dedicated listener and participant in both the local and international heavy music scenes. There was too much good stuff released this year, so it seemed fitting to do a top 15 for 2015. In no particular order…

Bell Witch – Four Phantoms

High On Fire — Luminiferous

Windhand — Grief’s Infernal Flower

Uncle Acid — The Night Creeper

With The Dead — With The Dead

Dopethrone — Hochelaga

Monolord — Vaenir

Elder — Lore

Blackout — Blackout

Watchtower — Radiant Moon EP

Chelsea Wolfe — Abyss

Cult Of Occult — Five Degrees Of Insanity

Space Bong — Deadwood To Worms

Holy Serpent — Holy Serpent

Deafheaven — New Bermuda

Louis Dunstan (EXTORTION/Big Bread)

1. Ghost — Meliora

2. High On Fire — Luminiferous

3. Drowning Horse — Sheltering Sky

4. Tame Impala — Currents

5. Napalm Death — Apex Predator/Easy Meat

6. John Carpenter — Lost Themes

7. Jaakko Eino Kalevi — Jaakko Eino Kalevi

8. Elder — Lore

9. Ufomammut — Ecate

10. Ahab — The Boats of Glen Craig

Liam Matthews (Fourteen Nights At Sea, Old Bar/Public Bar, Melbourne)

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

2. Hope Drone — Cloak Of Ash

3. Self Defence Family — Heaven Is Earth

4. Deafheaven — New Bermuda

5. Nadia Reid — Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs

6. Luke Howard – Two & One

7. Mogwai — Central Belters

8. Mares — Mares

9. Closer — Heartache/Lifted

10. The Electric Guitars — The Electric Guitars

Gram the Son of Sam’s top Oz doom, occult and stoner of 2015

1. Witchskull – The Vast Electric Dark

2. Tarot – The Warrior’s Spell

3. Aver – Nadir

4. Hydromedusa – Hydromedusa

5. Space Bong – Deadwood to Worms

6. Seedy Jeezus – Seedy Jeezus

7. Watchtower – Radiant Moon

8. Roundtable – Dread Marches Under Bloodied Regalia

9. Drowning Horse – Sheltering Sky

10. Little Desert – Saeva (This could have been #1 but just not enough time to shine)

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

Noiseweek: Hardcore Architecture, Flying Lotus, Windhand & Fait

Friday, September 4th, 2015

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


Inside Hardcore Architecture | Pitchfork

“Chicago-based artist and teacher Mark Fischer of Public Collectors has given us a strange and revealing new window on MRR and the ‘80s underground with Hardcore Architecture. Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of American hardcore bands in the 1980s. On his Tumblr, Fischer unites band info, demo tape, and record reviews culled from MRR issues from the ‘80s with Google Street View building images of the original contact addresses for bands. The juxtaposition of punk/hardcore/metal band names, ranging from the familiar (Sonic Youth, Judge, Didjits) to the unsung (Public Enema, Abra Cadavers, Death Puppy) plus text samplings from MRR’s quick hit reviews (“thrash” is inescapable) against images of fairly innocuous, sometimes charming, and often suburban homes (Fischer removes the exact street addresses from his postings for privacy reasons) gives us a different perspective on hardcore and its proponents. Ultimately, the blog tells a story about hardcore as a loose but passionate nationwide cultural network.”

How Flying Lotus Built Brainfeeder, His Spiritual Little Empire | The Fader

“This latest turn in Flying Lotus’ career hasn’t come out of nowhere. Born Steven Ellison, Steve to his friends, he has spent most of the past decade as the figurehead of the beat scene, an awkward term for a movement that sprung up in the late 2000s following years of experimentation at the edges of hip-hop and electronic music by artists such as Prefuse 73, Dabrye, and Madlib. A network powered by the internet and manifested through various physical nodes—the biggest of which remains Ellison’s hometown of Los Angeles—the beat scene reconfigured independent hip-hop by moving the focus away from rappers to instrumentals, and drawing on a wider sonic palette. It also helped make Ellison a household name, following a string of critically acclaimed albums on British label Warp Records and regular tours that had him circling the globe. In 2013, he was given his own radio station on Grand Theft Auto V, the fastest selling entertainment product of all time. He started 2015 with a six-month residency on BBC Radio 1. And now he has his own corner of a late night comedy show on U.S. television.”


Windhand — Hyperion

Windhand channel True Widow in this latest cut from Grief’s Internal Flower, which is shaping up to be a ripper of a record. It’s a surprise it took so long for that beautiful mix of doom and shoegaze to become in vogue, and her it works so well, with those ethereal vocals sailing atop an ocean of thick, plodding fuzz. And how fucking heavy is that riff? Grief’s Internal Flower is out September 18 through Relapse.


Fait — Solace

Fait’s latest clip is low-budget — all harsh light and smoke machines in a darkened sound stage — but it’s an apt accompaniment for Elise Higgins’ latest offering of slow-burn builds and unresolved tension.

The Last Audio Cassette Factory

In this fascinating micro-documentary, Bloomberg Business profile National Audio Company, the Springfield, Montana, factory which now stands as the last bastion of audio cassette manufacturing. It’s a fascinating look into the staying power of analogue, the reversal of predicted technological trends and the business sense of defiant stubbornness in the face of presumed obsolescence.

Noiseweek: Windhand, Scalphunter, Making, Ought

Friday, July 10th, 2015

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


NME is set to become a free weekly magazine. In a blog post on Monday, editor Mike Williams outlined the magazine’s plans to rebrand, expanding its focus to cover cinema, politics and technology, and increasing its circulation to 300,000. The new edition launches September 18.


The entire archive of pioneering punk zine Slash Magazine has been uploaded online at Circulation Zero. The LA-focused punk zine ran from 1977 to 1980 and birthed the punk label Slash, which put out records from Fear, L7 and X in its earlier years. We can thank Austin-based archivist Ryan Reynolds for the upload, who was also responsible for the digitisation of Star Magazine and a number of other prominent early fanzines.


The Wall of Sound | Motherboard

“It was a signal moment in the history of sound that set in motion a years-long work in progress that would culminate in what’s arguably the largest and technologically innovative public address system ever built, and it started not with a bang, but with something of a casual, stoned proposition. This singular work of engineering would come to weigh over 70 tons, comprise dozens and then hundreds of amps, speakers, subwoofers, and tweeters, stand over three-stories tall and stretch nearly 100 feet wide. Its name could only be the Wall of Sound.”

The Anxious Ease of Apple Music | The New Yorker

““These services treat you like a criminal,” Steve Jobs said of streaming-music companies, in an Apple keynote address in 2003. “And they are subscription-based, and we think subscriptions are the wrong path. One of the reasons we think this is because people bought their music for as long as we can remember.… When you own your music, it never goes away.” Jobs was introducing the iTunes Store, which updated the old model of the recorded-music library. Purchasing a digital track or album, Jobs said, was now “the hottest way to acquire music.” For some years, it was. Then streaming services began to claim an ever greater share of the market, even as they struggled to turn a profit. Last week, surrendering to the apparently inevitable, Apple introduced Apple Music, its own subscription music bundle. For $9.99 a month, you win unlimited access to a library of more than thirty million tracks, from Michel van der Aa to ZZ Top.”

Why Films About Musicians Leave So Much Music Off Screen | NPR

“Music-focused cinema could provide something radical: a close view of the processes of composing and performing that reveals the work behind what seems, to listeners, like magic. Instead, like almost any other kind of cinema, it tends to focus on human relationships: on the interpersonal, not the inner personal. This understandable tendency has resulted in many great explorations of how musicians get along with each other, cope in the world, affect social change and build legacies. Yet it means that most music films (with a few exceptions) still sidestep what’s unique about music-making: the mix of obsessive practice and spontaneous experimentation; the balance between listening and self-expression; the sensual experience of living through the ears. Making music a character allows us as viewers to relate to these narratives, but it also simplifies something worth keeping complicated.”


Windhand — Two Urns

This week’s doom fix sees Richmond, Virginia outfit Windhand merge shoegaze and hypnotizing fuzz into a rich and dreamy sonic tapestry. “Two Urns” is the first cut from Grief’s Infernal Flower, the quintet’s third record, which is out through Relapse Records on September 18. This radio edit clocks in at a drivetime-unfriendly six minutes, but wouldn’t your daily commute be so much better when with tectonic riffs like these?

Ought — Beautiful Blue Sky

Ought are nervous and Wirey on this oddly catchy preview from the forthcoming Sun Coming Down. Tim Darcy repeats the meaningless platitude of small talk over feverish guitars before uttering the song’s central line: “I’m no longer afraid to die / because that is all that I have left,” before a prolonged wind-down. It’s relieving to know amongst all the post-punk revivalists who sought to dilute the genre with forced hooks and asinine lyrics about dancing to Joy Division, there are still bands like Iceage and Ought using that aesthetic to write off-kilter, moving and vital music. Sun Coming Down is out September 18 through Constellation Records.


The View From Here: Scalphunter

Part nine in RTRFM’s 12-part video series moves out of the studio and into the courtyard of The Bird a raucous 15-minute set from Scalphunter.

Making — Come 2 Me

Maybe it’s just the cold front coming in but I got chills watching this kaleidoscopic visual headfuck. While everyone’s talking about the surrealism of Google’s Deep Dream, Making are constructing technopocalyptic visions that Google couldn’t even summon in its nightmares. It’s a long time coming for the Sydney noise rock outfit — on a Facebook status posted yesterday, the band detailed the label woes that delayed the release, the long and short of which is that the album was finished a year ago and pressed by October with a national tour lined up to support it, but radio silence from the label pushed the process back a year. Now, with the support of TRAIT Records, Making next record is going to print again.