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Best Albums of 2011

December 31, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, news

Hey. I have a blog. That means I get to do one of those goofy “best of 2011” lists! Okay, so this is pretty much a list of every album I got in 2011, but all of these rule. More caveats: They are in no particular order. I’m sure there’s other good stuff I didn’t hear, but I’m pretty confident if I listened to anyone else’s best-of list, these would still come out on top. **UPDATE: now with links, several are free downloads**

Meager Sunlight/Skeleton Warrior split 12″

I’ve definitely listened to this record repeatedly the most times this year, just flipping and flipping it. One side dark synth jams that could have literally been major radio hits in 1988. Other side mutant synth jams part DEVO, part Oingo Boingo, part bizarro.
Get it from Hot Releases or More Records.

Unicorn Hard-On/Container split 12″

Unicorn Hard-On’s track “Persian Cats” is just about song of the year and makes this split worth it alone. the other UHO track is great too and Container does “minimal techno” or maybe “fake techno” AKA the genre that noise became in 2011.
Also from More Records and Hot Releases.

AIDS Wolf “Ma vie banale avant-garde”

Epic abstract harsh guitar tracks. Still torch-carriers of the no wave bad vibes.
Get it from Lovepump (free download by mailing SASE).

Mincemeat or Tenspeed “Games of Chance”

Best Mincemeat or Tenspeed album? More headbanging noise but freakier sounds and tighter changes. Davey (dude behind this project) calls this “fake techno” too but uh… this would definitely still be half on the noise side of the fence.
Get it from Harshnice.

White Suns “Waking in the Reservoir”

Ah, a refreshing blast of negative noise-grind-dirge to wash yourself clean from all that reverbey indie-hippie nonsense.
Get it from ugExplode.

Dead Rider “The Raw Dents”

Slick and skilled and unsettling and really kinda OFF in a weird way – all at the same time.
Get it from Tizona.

Gay Beast “To Smithereens”

As good as their last one “second wave” but this seems to have been overlooked by most people, maybe because the band split up before it came out and weren’t able to support & promote it. Compositionally ambitious prog/no wave.
Get it from Skin Graft.

Black Pus “Primordial Pus”

Rocking drum-n-noise numbers. Kind of unhinged and spontaneous compared to the Black Pus 4 album, but with more blood sweat and tears.
Get it from Load Records.

Dick Neff “Dunce Slap”

Okay, apologies to Black Pus, but I think Dick Neff one-upped him at the one-drummer-noise-band thing. Lance (dude behind this project) calls this “fake metal” and it is heavy. Triggered synth tones fight each other as he drums like a maniac and everybody wins! The heaviest metal band that’s neither metal nor band.
Get it from Lance himself, I guess whenever you see him somewhere.

Mutwawa “Mayan Mutations”

Totally ruling merger of beats, noise, samples with a sci-fi/conspiracy theme. Sinister and tense and mind-blowing awesome.
Download it free from Free Music Archive.

Skoal Kodiak “Kryptonym Bodliak”

This is like what I was hoping !!! would sound like, but didn’t. Post-apocalyptic funk played by mutants and malfunctioning robots.
Get it from Load Records.

Dog Leather “Greezy Man and Stinky Man”

So this album did seem kind of short and half the tracks felt a little like filler, but the meat of it was still great even if it’s really sort of an EP. It’s probably too much to hope that this heralds a return of the goofball pseudo-music noise bands – last heard from around the time when we had Danse Asshole, Meerk Puffy, Wolf Eyes’ first album on Bulb… But I can dream!
Get it from Ehse Records (free download available).

Satanized “Technical Virginity”

Pretty much no one else touching this caliber of complex, skilled, aggressive music today  (outside of metal).
Get it from Skin Graft.

Doomsday Student “A Jumper’s Handbook”

Most of the Arab on Radar crew reunite and make what’s basically more Arab on Radar music. Nary a disco beat in sight, just atonality, dissonance, shrill shrieky guitars and voices. Yeah, it’s been done, but it was done by most of these same guys and I kind of wish there were more people making this music so welcome back boys.
Get it from Anchor Brain.

Men’s Room tape

Like HEALTH in an AmRep world or something. Way, way blown out and effected-into-oblivion guitars with rock drums and unintelligible vocals. Sounds kind of like garage rock pushed into the red until it becomes industrial noise.
Download it free from Bandcamp.

last second entry: Bloodhuff tape

Just grabbed this tape literally yesterday! Some Providence noise girls doing something sort of like punk rock. Every once in a while something like this convinces me that maybe punk rock is still a good idea. The sound is pretty subterranean and the vocals are almost strangely prominent but the weirdness of the sound only helps. Urgent and weird and spooky. Hard to say if something I only listened to once yesterday has earned its place on a “best of” list, but I’ve got a hunch this is better than that Iceage album everyone raves about but I still haven’t heard.
Get it from Price Tapes (free download available).

 

AIDS Wolf fall 2011 tour dates – w/ Unicorn Hard-On!

August 20, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: dates, news

I got these tour dates in my email and my first reaction was “Huh, why is this person sending this to me?” but then I thought “Oh wait, I do a blog! Maybe this is one of those promotional things!” along with “It sure would be great if all the bands I liked emailed me their tour dates so I don’t have to pay attention to Facebook.” And so to encourage y’all to do just that, I am presenting here AIDS Wolf’s fall tour dates! Several of these are with the awesome Unicorn Hard-On, whom I’ve raved about plenty before. (AIDS Wolf video at the bottom)

10/20/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio
10/21/11 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
10/22/11 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/23/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/24/11 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s Oasis
10/25/11 – Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
10/26/11 – Normal, OK @ Opolis
10/27/11 – Austin, TX @ 29th St. Ballroom @ Spide
10/28/11 – Denton, TX @ Rubberglove
10/29/11 – Hot Springs, AR @ tba
10/30/11 – Birmingham AL @ Firehouse
10/31/11 – Athens, GA @ Farm 255

11/3/11 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s
11/4/11 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
11/5/11 – Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub
11/6/11 – Atlanta, GA @ 529
11/7/11 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight
11/8/11 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Festival Ballroom at JMU

11/10/11 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
11/11/11 – New York, NY @ 92Y Tribeca
11/12/11 – Binghamton, NY @ Pajama Kazama
11/13/11 – Boston, MA @ Church of Boston

All October dates w/ Henry and Hazel Slaughter; all November dates &
Halloween show w/ Unicorn Hard-On

And here’s AIDS Wolf playing a song at their practice space:

 

Rat Bastard, humanbeast, AIDS Wolf, Shawn Greenlee, Diamond Black Heart, DubKnowDub at Death by Audio 01/15/11

January 24, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

HumanBeast at Death by Audio

HumanBeast at Death by Audio

Phew! Some kind of line-up, right? This is going to be the Brooklyn show to top in 2011. And there were lots of big cameras popping off everywhere, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this event has already shown up on a bunch of other music blogs. But hey, I was there, I took pictures, it was awesome, I may as well put my show review out into the virtual world too.

dubknowdub – live at zebulon

So first of all, I missed DubKnowDub, but they’re great. I know the show had 6 bands on the bill, but this being Brooklyn, I still didn’t believe the show would actually start before 9PM. So as a consolation, hit play on the above track and let it be your soundtrack to No-Core browsing. (Music starts about the 1:45 mark.) I don’t know who DubKnowDub are exactly, but they get on lots of great shows somehow and they’re tons of fun. Yup, it’s kinda dub, and also kinda noise. Great live. Don’t make my mistake next time!

Diamond Black Hearted Boy at Death by Audio

Diamond Black Hearted Boy at Death by Audio

I did get there in time to catch Diamond Black Hearted Boy, a guy I’ve met before though I didn’t mentally piece together that it was the same person until I talked to him at the show! DBHB comes from the same Richmond freak scene that Narwhalz and Shams do and performance-wise you can tell he’s on the same page. Live, it’s kinda confrontational (for anyone who’s not into it) or just good fun if you are into it. Lots of goofy genre tags have been slapped on him, but honestly, I’d say his music is sort of proto-industrial. Claustrophobic, pushed-too-far-into-the-red samples and loops, usually rhythmic, sometimes with actual beats. Tonight DBHB also made ample use of a piercing whistle blown straight into the microphone which sounded pretty awesome (maybe a little tiresome after a while though) like it was hitting the resonant frequency of your eardrums.

Shawn Greenlee at Death by Audio

Shawn Greenlee at Death by Audio

Shawn Greenlee’s performance was really fantastic. He used some kind of camera to scan from a handmade book, and then what must have been custom software to turn the images into noise. Then there was a weird spinning disk, and he’d use the trackpad kind of like a Kaossilator, and… well, just watch him do his thing here. That’s my best guess as to what was going on. It sounded super-sweet too, better than it came out in this video. I was captivated.

And then, humanbeast. This was SO GOOD.

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 3

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 3

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 2

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 2

Last year at the International Noise Conference in Miami, I, like any mortal person, had to take a break and miss some of the acts. When I got back and asked people what I missed, everyone kept saying “Humanbeast! Humanbeast!” (I’m using the no-space spelling that appears on the tape I got) – so I was excited to finally see these guys. They did not disappoint! Their music was absolutely gorgeous, while at the same time being really dirty and messed up – which was also sort of how their performance played out – and how the theme of their lyrics go – taken together it’s cohesive, deadly effective, and totally entrancing. Amazing music meets amazing noise. Again, I couldn’t really capture the sound in full, but here’s my video of them playing “Come Through the Cloth.” I just watched it again and got chills at the point where she sings at the top of her lungs without the microphone.

Rat Bastard & Co at Death by Audio 2

I don't know if all those expensive cameras are safe there...

And then Rat Bastard of INC and Laundryroom Squelchers fame took to the stage, with his guitar with only 4 strings and 4 tuning pegs remaining. He was joined by Roger of Monotract fame and another guy who I probably should know but don’t, both on guitars. This was basically a performance following the Laundryroom Squelchers M.O. – a terrific squall that sounds at first like sheer white noise. The infamous Nondor Nevai made his trademark after-the-band-has-started appearance and took over vocals, striking poses but largely inaudible over the din. The thing about these Rat performances is that the beginning always seems just like random loud noodling, but if you’re willing to keep listening it starts to take shape and details come out at you. And these guys must have been listening to one another, because somehow they all knew when it was done around the same time.

AIDS Wolf at Death by Audio

AIDS Wolf at Death by Audio

AIDS Wolf went on last, and this was the first time I’ve seen their new(ish) 3-person line-up. (and Chloe’s new glasses!) Losing a guitarist has certainly not diminished the volume or chaos of AIDS Wolf live. In fact, I think I like the new sound even better. The band members really seem to be working toward some sort of Harry-Pussy-like psychic communication music that relies on feeling and intuition more than counting beats. They also introduced some sampled sounds and vocal effects which broadened the sound pallet. At least, I think that was an effect and not just a technical difficulty – but you know what? I really enjoy it when a band can make me wonder what’s intentional and what’s not. Living at the edge of chaos. I was also happy to see that the musical chaos inspired some physical chaos in the crowd. It looks like people are just standing around in the above photo, but there was some serious mosh action happening.

In closing: Awesome show. Good people, good times, great sounds. Show ran on time?!?! (props to Edan) Amazing. I went home feeling reinvigorated about music in general.

downloadable noise-rock albums, get ’em while they’re hot!

June 18, 2009 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, downloads

And not just from some unknown punks neither, but some danged “luminaries.”

XBXRX have made their new album, “Un Usper,” available for “FREE” download direct from their website:

http://www.xbxrx.com

This album is a nice mish-mash of punk rock moves, noise-rock attitude, free-jamming, synth sounds, and is that a xylophone? Nice.

Those quotes around free are, however, intentional. While you are permitted to download it for free, XBXRX ask that you make a donation in return. I know that sometimes it feels like digital music should be completely free, but I reasoned with myself as follows: I would blow 4 bucks just to make a round-trip subway ride to the record store, and that’s more than most bands on a label get from each CD sale, so heck, it seems reasonable to throw those few dollars to XBXRX and support really, truly DIY music. But hey, don’t let me discourage you from donating more… or less…

Next up, AIDS Wolf “Pas Rapport”:

It’s a tour-only tape of improv jams, or maybe they’re not totally improvised. The boombox quality recording is not too much different from the blown-out sound on their album proper and the tracks are all punctual full-band jams. So if you liked the albums, you will definitely want to grab this while the download link still works.

Get it here!

AIDS Wolf ask for nothing in return, but you might consider following their blog (http://aidswolfs.blogspot.com) so you can find out about things like this, and of course go see them when they come around on tour!

ENJOY.

AIDS Wolf "Cities of Glass"

March 04, 2009 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Alright, so I’m not quite on top of my new releases, but I have finally caught up with the new one from AIDS Wolf, who are proudly carrying the no-wave/bad-vibes-noise-rock torch right now. AIDS Wolf use loud, dissonant, non-chord guitar parts, flailing drums and the caterwauling of singer Chloe Lum to assault the listener. (All of these are good things in my book)

The first thing I notice is that they’re not going to shake the Arab on Radar comparisons with this record, especially starting the first song off with that fluttery guitar sound that opens some Arab on Radar songs also … but from there things take a turn for the more difficult. In fact, the first track, “M.T.I.,” is probably the most “out” on the record, just barely holding together and sounding like maybe, just maybe, it was an inspired improvisation.

I went back and listened to AIDS Wolf’s earlier “Lovvers LP” for comparison, and this one is much denser (both in terms of production values and playing) and more complex. “Lovvers” is similarly dissonant, but the song structures are rather straight forward. On “Cities of Glass” a clear effort has gone into deconstructing the music-making blueprints, not just the guitar sound and tuning. For example, on “Ch-ch-chatter” the guitars and drums sound ALMOST like they’re going to lock into a groove, but all the players are counting different numbers of beats and it never completely synchronizes. Most of the songs work this way, at least partly. (I’m guessing AIDS Wolf want this album to be their “Sang Phat Editor”)

For me, this makes for a much deeper and more fascinating listen. There may be some direct cues taken from the aforementioned Arab on Radar and U.S.Maple (it would be appropriate to name-drop Harry Pussy here too), but seriously, since all of those bands are defunct, how many current bands are trying to advance new music composition techniques? I don’t mean trying to advance new combinations of effects pedals, but trying to reconstruct “rock” music from the DNA up. (If you want to take that as a reference to the band, DNA, that works too!) I’m not going to go quite so far as to put “Cities of Glass” on a level with U.S.Maple’s “Sang Phat Editor” but right now AIDS Wolf largely have the field to themselves.*

One complaint, I wish Chloe’s vocals were clean, without that distortion on them through every song. I think they’d be far more expressive.

CD & LP on Skin Graft. Killer live show too, touring the States in March!

AIDS Wolf page at Skin Graft Records
AIDS Wolf on last.fm
AIDS Wolf blog

* Correct me if I’m wrong! I always appreciate musical recommendations!

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      Did you miss me? I can’t guarantee this will be a regular thing again, but I got the itch and busted out another one of these podcasts. Some weird stuff in this one. Featuring soundz from Lightning Bolt, Profligate, Xerobot, Moth Cock, Skeleton Warrior, Pod Blotz, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Mansion, Doomsday Student, Bromp Treb, Form […]
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