Krallice, Liturgy & Lightning Swords Of Death (Two Of These Things Are Not Like The Other)

I’m not one for “if you’re into it I’m out of it” posturing. Depending on the source, the opinions of others can be a tremendous boon, especially as we float down this wide open river of digital distribution and incredibly easy access to cultural objects.

That said, Krallice is basically unlistenable. They don’t suck like Agalloch* sucks; they’re not unlistenable like older Aube and related strains of noise; they wouldn’t send me running from the room, hands over ears begging a blind and helpless universe to make it stop, just please dear god make it stop a la The Decemberists. But they’re boring, overly-long and just fail to fuse the disparate parts of their influences (prog metal, shrieking, post rock lengthiness) into anything interesting. I tried to like Dimensional Bleedthrough, having bought it upon the recommendation of seemingly hundreds of people, but I have finally given up months later. I think it’s pretty terrible, having neither hook nor tune nor anything to make it stand out as an object of interest.

I would not bring them to the prom.

Liturgy is halfway there. I enjoyed a giggle at the oft-tortured reasoning of frontman Hunter Hunt Hendrix in the first Black Metal Theory Symposium collection about American transcendentalism and “burst beats”. Not my bag, but hardly fatal, especially in a sub-genre pool that includes the idiots from Watain**. The music, however, is only halfway there. Renihiliation has some very interesting drumming and construction, but ultimately fails to reach the lofty heights their frontman claims to reach for. I will check out whatever comes next, probably.

In contrast, Lightning Swords of Death lost a bet with someone and ended up with a band name you might find on a sitcom where the teenage daughter is dating a scary “rock guy” for one episode. (He gets arrested for stealing a car, or perhaps smoking marijuana.) It sounds like a joke, the songs are titled like jokes, and yet my son and I agree that The Extra-Dimensional Wound is one of the best albums of 2010.

Strapped in his carseat, his legs and arms flail to the martial intro of “Damnation Pentastrike” (ha!), head nodding along to the beat and laughing with the sort of glee that amoral babies possess in great quantity. While he doesn’t love it as much as the intro to “Raining Blood” (his favorite song at 15 months), it never fails to calm him down.

I think this band is so likable because it is nothing more than it is – 30 tons of riffs, lyrical puking, and nicely balanced between ridiculous posturing and catchy songwriting.

*Sometimes I feel as though someone is playing a practical joke on me. Or perhaps I am blind to some kind of transcendent beauty in the creation of a post-metal Dream Theatre. Or not.

**Let us be serious – when it comes to sheer criminality, even the most brutally extreme satanic black metal bllarrrgghghghghghahhhahhhhh “nihilism” fails far short in both body count and general criminality behind most mainstream music genres past and present; the drug trade that fueled the rave scene; the drunk and disorderly wife beating brigades of country music; or just hip hop in general. It’s about as scary as the Insane Clown Posse, and nearly as sad. All of the ridiculous baggage and none of the success. All the severed goat heads in the world can’t make up for being a cartoon in a postmodern age where actual terrorism – both of the state and stateless variety – is so common.

Perhaps Sweden is a bit too comfortable?

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Could Probably Use A Bit More Subtlety

If nothing else, it takes stones to ask a complete stranger to fuck over their professional reputation for the sake of your own instant gratification.

Now, I’m not a fan of Panda Bear, Ariel Pink, or the rest of the shit-pop-drowned-in-reverb “hauntology”* thing; I’d even go so far as to say the entire concept should drop the Derrida-isms and just call it pastiche. It’s the T.G.I. Friday’s of music, much like mashups are the backyard wrestling of DJ’ing. But to expect some degree of discipline when the objects of sound art contain no inherent cost for most of their listeners is foolish.

Having spent more than a few minutes revealing the lazy fakery on the part of students submitting papers they swear were written days ago and somehow lost in the electro-aether (a modern “dog ate my homework” excuse, but even less believable), I’d even go so far as to call it generational.

These kids grew up with cultural objects being easy to appropriate and basically free to distribute. Yes, it probably means they appreciate music far less than record nerds from 20 or 30 years earlier do, but that’s not only true of most everyone else who grew up back then but also the nature of living at a certain time. We all appreciated not getting polio very, very little in the 70s and 80s.

So “free stuff yay!” is a condition of their existence**, and it’s not going to change unless various doomsayers are right and we get all post-apocalyptic up in here. Having grown up on doom-and-gloom (contrary to popular reimaginings, narratives of impending nuclear and ecological destruction were constant companions in grammar school), I suppose “free stuff for everybody yay!” is something of a decent half-step up in terms of childhood memetic clusters, but it seems to make for fairly shitty proto-adults with no concept of the Real.

That this is an echo of an argument made about every generation since generations were generated is just another bittersweet ha-ha on the road to death.

*Yes, I realize this term is also applied to groups like Demdike Stare and anyone else who samples records from the 70s. It’s still T.G.I. Friday’s, and wholly unremarkable in that sampling and thematic throwbacks have been with us for a long, long time.

**Cheap jokes about bailed-out billionaire banks and spoiled public sector unions and everyone else feeding from the rotted nipples of Leviathan can be deployed or discarded as you wish.

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“How To Hate…”

There are no more sacred cows, except maybe giving lip service to the imperial presidency (and even then, it’s a site-specific, team-specific sports bar kind of thing). Not liking The Beatles is up there with giving a small child a mohawk – it may seem a little weird to anyone over 40, but is otherwise unremarkable.

It’s just hair, after all.

Outside of the relatively good advice in bullet point #5, there’s something incredibly false about these articles. It generates pageviews, but passion is far too easy to bait. (Passion may be far too easy in general, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.)

Now, I don’t like The Beatles. Above all else, there’s something glossy and kinda ear-gross about the vocals that I can’t adequately explain. Perhaps it’s just having grown up with them played everywhere, seeping into memories of shoe shopping or waiting for booster shots? Regardless, it’s not a very remarkable stance; even my halfhearted insistence that Yoko got a bad rap isn’t terribly uncommon. Hell, she helped shape the world that La Monte Young was able to garner a foothold in, thus helping in a small way birth the incoming small-a avalanche of minimalism and ambient music to follow. Yoko gives us Tim Hecker, sort of.

I like this:

Very Six Organs of Admittance, no? Or very Yoko of SOoA.

Anyway, I know criticizing NY Mag for being shallow is swimming upstream in a flood but at this point in American culture – pop or otherwise – there is no need for formalized “exit strategies”. It’s a lot of silly nonsense because people can seemingly no longer discuss things without getting all arm-flappy and twittery/Twittery.

It’s just music, after all.

We are all taste tribes of one, united only by some form of extracted tribute to Leviathan (even the underground economy pays some sales taxes) and very little else. Enjoy the ride down while you can. Like The Beatles. Hate The Beatles. Feel utterly indifferent to Bruce Springsteen despite having been born in New Jersey. Get “Laugh Love Live” tattooed on your arm above a well-executed reproduction of Abraham Lincoln’s last moments in Ford’s Theater.

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Subrosa – No Help For The Mighty One

In a conversation with a friend this weekend we agreed that “amazing” and “wonderful” and other superlatives need to dropped from our vocabularies. Even “great” is just too overused; if everything is a high, how do you mark the middles? Does it simply serve to make the good incomprehensible and everything else from ok on down drift into hateful? Is that why everything must either “rule” or “suck” these days?

It’s kinda fucking with our ability to talk about cultural objects, be they cupcakes or codpieces.

Then this shit comes along and, well, it’s great. It’s great as in I’ve been listening to it nonstop since I got the album from Profound Lore this weekend; I picked it up based solely on the strength of “The Inheritance”

There’s only a few small moments which run against the otherwise smooth sixty minutes of No Help for the Mighty One – a few growls and barks on “Beneath the Crown” mar Subrosa‘s  70s permastoned gloss. This short run into more stereotypical trappings is brief and not particularly debilitating. And though at first listen the a capella sea shanty “House Carpenter” is kind of confusing, that feeling passes. Melancholic stoner doom pop held together with extremely strong vocal harmonies should be confident enough to give the geetars a rest for a minute.

Subrosa has produced an exciting album that showcases the best that cultural hybridity offers us; post-rock builds and low end grind, offset by strong songwriting, memorable melodies and an overwhelming sadness. Sounds terrible on paper, but paper ain’t sound.

Special mention should be made of the album art – expanded upon in this Invisible Oranges post.

I will now shut the fuck up about how I don’t seem to enjoy female-lead “heavy music”. Here’s to how wrong I was.

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Meat Beat Manifesto & Not Breathing @ Santos Party House 2.20.11

This was a low-end affair, caught inside the world’s most well-orchestrated bass car.

Security was remarkably tight; despite the Class of Nuke’em High brigade’s plumage, mistaking signals of menace for fashion trapped in (gothy 80s) amber is confusion. Perhaps the city has been causing issues as of late? Regardless, if you enjoy a good pat-down, the Santos security team has you covered.

Not Breathing continues to be one of the most criminally underrated electronic acts in the United States.

The intersection of booty bass and broken glass crushing out of Santos fairly dang amazing sound system had this woman in front of us doing aerobics. Other people were bopping and dancing – the set’s undercurrent was a solid slab of a heavy kick drum – but she was genuinely doing aerobics. It was a bit disconcerting, no matter how appropriate for an evening of painfully loud power electronics meets acid dancehall.

But what I like most about Not Breathing is that perfect mix of the ugly and the funky, but humanized and humorized just enough to avoid the sterility of the clinical UK style take on that ideal. Check out the video below for the basic idea.

Meat Beat Manifesto is one of the few acts I’ve seen that actually gets the whole VISUAL MULTIMEDIA DJ EXPERIENCE right. Triggered samples and clips from movies running forward and backward in perfect synchronization. Jack Dangers knows he’s just a dude with a beret, and responds accordingly. The music was excellent, mixing old classics with a mostly straightforward runthrough of the new album, Answers Come in Dreams. The bass was nearly sickening, as in “blaarrrghhhh” sickening, not “bro that was most sick” sickening. The last show I remember being that dense on the low end was Pole (remember him?) doing a neat and tidy set in the old neat and tidy Cooler back when it still existed.

It was kind of absurd, but in a way that convinced me to pick up the last copy of the new album they had at the merch table. Much of the crowd had come to a similar conclusion at this and the other shows that had come before; bless their hair extended and welding goggled-hearts.

 

 

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The Best Album of 2010 That I Didn’t Hear Until 2011

Murmuure. I don’t rock umlauts, but people who liken this to that Blut Aus Nord hoser make me cry inside. On the outside I’m a study in stoicism, though.

It sounds like a bunch of stuff – old horror soundtracks and primitive synth drones and symphonic metal-ish shoegazey and what-have-yous – but it feels like if Coil had tried to be a band instead of two people who are terribly missed.

Go check this shit out and get back to them with money so they keep doing whatever the hell it is they’re doing.

Another good point of reference is the band Yoga, whose Megafauna has a similar aesthetic and is similarly great as hell.

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Live Set @ Silent Barn, July 27th (Brooklyn)

Hey y’all, I’ll be playing with Joe Salina (Isfet) on the 27th at Silent Barn in Ridgewood (off of the Halsey St. L train) next Tuesday night. We’re the opening act so we’ll be on around 9-ish, most likely. Nice mix of noise and dancehall and ambient techno.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127695870601218&index=1

GLOBULAR CLUSTER / And Um Yeah / Imaginary Weapons / Isfet

Time: July 27 at 8:00pm – July 28 at 1:00am
Location: Silent Barn

915 Wyckoff Avenue
Ridgewood, NY

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