Here's the compilation of my favourite pieces of doom-sludge or assimilated music of this year. I didn't try to put a particular number of tracks nor a particular lenght nor a sample of all the bands I preferred this year (eg. no Gnaw Their Tongues although it's one of the best LP of the year) but only a crude choice of the tracks that I found the most fascinating, powerful, innovative or ear-destroying. In that game, only 7 players survived. It's about 60 min of music. Not a weak second. Here's a faithfull (what a word for doom) insight in my way to consider great music in 2010. It might change but I'm an age things become fix until death. Hope you'll find this post of some interest. Kill this damned year pleasantly here. The cover sleeve is made with the picture I liked the best this year, one from the great Raven StarblOOd (or BlOOdbathory), a New Zealand model that provided an incredible amount of splendid iconography for macabre music here. Many more pictures from her on Scoptophilia in the further weeks. I dedicate this compilation to her since I know she's not in great mood and health condition. Hope she'll recover soon.
Thou - By Endurance We Conquer
Here the first of a series of posts featuring unreleased or shelved or withdrawn or issued decades later EPs or LPs. And the first is a fantastic surprise. Here's the story. Some months ago, I posted an LP of Liquid Tricks (here), their apparently only one, but a fantastic one. In the comments, one week ago, there was a comment by a (ex) member of Liquid Tricks who told me that they had recorded an EP with the band in 2003, mixed and mastered in 2005, but never released. He added a link to the EP to dl it. And when I listened to it, I was stunned by the quality of this EP, one of the best thing I heard in the noise movement, and honestly I can say I heard most of it. Since there was not cover sleeve, I did it (from a picture by Zensen) and post it tonight, to end beautifully this fucking sinister year. Please, dl it, it's a real gem. You won't regret it. There will be more to dl soon by various bands who faced refusals by stupid A&R men or label bosses. Enjoy this here. And thanks again for this wonderful gift. They will be remembered as a great band.
Last Place First
Here are my fave songs of the year. They are 12. The first and last are instrumentals from the Portal of Sorrow Xasthur album and can't be considered as songs per se, but do splendids intro and outro for this fake LP as they do for the real Xasthur LP. There is no doom or sludge tracks here. It will be for another compilation, if I have the energy and envy to do it. Each of the songs of this compilation , in their very varied styles, has been my musical friend (help I might say) at a moment or another of the year during ups (too few) and downs (too much). They will be associated in my memory to this year. Some of them will surely stay with me longer, some won't. Difficult to say which ones. But in a whole, they tell a lot on my vision of music, and who knows of life. And you're authorized to don't care since I don't even know if I care myself. I tried to chose a fine order for this compilation but of course, it could surely be improved. Taste it here this 2010 epitaph if you feel to. In streaming I put one of the rare songs I didn't post in this blog previously.
TV Personalities - She's My Yoko
My last coup-de-coeur of the year probably. A one-man-band from Toronto who seemed to become a real band recently in order to tour. At last, something really new, innovative, building a new structure in music, with many influences of course (Khanate, the early Sonic Youth, Unsane, Drive Like Jehu, the Swans, Psyche-garage-60's bands) but so singular in their agency that Godstopper brings really something new to our ears. No best news in this end of year. It's not easy listening, but who cares. Music is one of the rare things in life that makes me think that life is worth the trying. And this kind of records contributes strongly to this feeling. Don't miss it. Even if you first think it's not your cuppa teeth, bite in it again. You'll be addict soon. Not far to be the best thing that occured in rock this year. Thanx to Drowning Earth for the discovery. Their bandcamp's here. PS. The cover sleeve is not mine. I just changed a bit the colours and added the name with the police they use. The thing is here.
Only 3 months after the failure of the "Broad Daylight" single, Island released another single from the band, and the choice was much better since it was what will remain as one of their most elegant and vicious riff (but is it a riff?), "I'll Be Creeping". This one will fail again. Surely it was too subtle for the period (and for any period since I don't believe it could have been a hit anytime in rock history). If there is one Free song that should not be forgotten, this is the one (actually there are many that should not be forgotten so my sentence is rather dumb). The B-side was a non album intrumental track (but the Free album on which these A-sides were to be found will be released only in October the same year), very unusual for Free cos' mainly influenced by Cream, and more specifically another hero of mine, Jack Bruce (Andy Fraser tries clearly to imitate him, but fails to match his model while Paul Kossoff is for me a much more exciting soloist than Clapton, and I won't talk about the drums, Simon Kirke being one of my favorite drummers while Ginger Baker usually quite sucks). The title probably deals with the famous Jim and I guess what's the sugar is but when you know how Paul Kossoff was stuck to dope, it's a little strange. Too many words, now, go to the music freely here.
Below the song with the lyrics in the window
A live version played at TV in 1970
Sugar for Mr Morrison
Madness offers us a splendid present with 13 songs from their recent UK tour entitled the Don't Adjust Your Nuts tour. They entitled this free dl LP 12 songs of Madness in 13 parts but since they previously proposed (also free, these guys are really 1st class I must say) 2 songs from this same tour, I gathered the 15 on the same file and changed the title in 12 songs of Madness in 15 parts. Moreover I'm quite surprises (and deceived) that they didn't follow the setlists orders on this compilation, this being very important cos' a Madness show is a little bit similar to a fiction movie with a given progression in the climax culminating with the incredible "Nighboat in Cairo", here captured on their last night at London and really stunning. So here you have the complete available songs from this tour (15) with a light setlist (each Madness show includes about 25 songs) in the right order. This is the music you need to save your Xmas day if you're alone at home, and to make it still funnier if you're with your family. Enjoy this proof that fun and intelligence can walk hand in hand, here.
My Girl (not the My Girl you know but a new one, with a splendid Motown flavour, I think the next Madness album will be something)
It's rare I post a one-track demo since I like to make fake singles or EPs of them and I need at least 2 tracks to do it, but here I find the band so fantastically powerful that I can't wait for their next demo to satisfy my guilty (and stupid) pleasure, and post it tonight. After all it's Xmas. Supreme pleasure, these guys are from my own country i.e., France (the north) and it's so good to know that this bleak country can give birth to such demoniac doom bands. Actually, it's more stoner doom than sludge, even if there's something quite muddy in their sound, but they could be more assimilated to High on Fire (when they're good, that means not very often unfortunately). Hope that they won't deceive but I'm sure they'll make it big. Enjoy this prime choice here. Their myspace's there.
The first of a series of posts on the singles discography of one of my fave 70's band (and more widely, of any period): Free. We begin with a single, drawn from their second LP only entitled Free, and released in March 1969 (it seems "I'm A Mover b/wWorry" from the Tons of Sobs LP was also released but only as a promotional copy). The choice of the song was quite strange (not bad but did Free did any bad song?) and it failed to chart. The B-side was a non-album track called "The Worm". All this has been now issued on the remastered versions of the albums but it was long impossible to find them. Why being so fond o f this band? Maybe because there is something totally idiosyncrasic in their approach of the blues, each member being a band in himself, the whole always being on the edge of collapsing but never falling. Each song seems a tour-de-force. No formula, no "routine", they were blues sculptors even if in doing that they invented another music, the less rooty of all the bluesboom movement maybe. And their followers all betrayed them in mimicking, without half of their genius, what they created. So many plagiarists it would be tedious to name them all. But all have missed the point: Free has never been a hard rock or a rock 'n' roll band, their atmosphere are moody, even doomy, and the rock 'n' roll circus and the rebel posture have nothing to do with them. They took their shti damn seriously and it was the alchemy of these 4 geniuses that gave birth to such an incredible music. Separated they became totally ordinary (compare Free to Sharks, Bad Company or Back Street Crawlers to verify). I bet you all know the songs I'll post (but I'll try to post the singles versions, often different of the LP ones), but anyway, if you missed one single, take the first here. Since there was no cover sleeve for this single, I did one with the inner sleeve of the LP.
A limited vinyl edition of this seminal folk LP (that she recorded with her talented son, Oliver Knight) has been released some months ago. I posted previously 2 songs from this album on a fake single (here), maybe 2 among the greatest songs ever done (one was covered last year by the Unthanks), but i think it is useful to remind everyone the importance of this record, so I decided to post it entirely (since it seems the links in flok's blogs are dead). It will be a welcome addiction to Mandy Morton's if you did not know Lal Waterson. Her voice is very different, more in a Billie Holiday/Karen Dalton mood, but totally idiosyncrasic actually. She died in 1999, at 55 yrs, after a last record called A Bed of Roses. Sad that 2 of the greatest folk singers disappeared from view so early. Meanwhile, folk the cradle of your sadness with this mother's voice here. The above cover is maybe the one of a limited CD edition. It's better than the official one below. Below again is the limited vinyl edition one. The rip is not prime quality (only 256 kb) so buy the album then.
Phoebe. Phoebe, don't look on helplessly. Cannot you see this tangle of three. Oh my Harvey stop and stay with me. Feel how our knees buckle beneath, See how the trees bow down in safety. Phoebe, don't look on helplessly. Cannot you see that heart has been broken, And comes with no rider in slow motion. Phoebe, don't look on helplessly. Cannot you see this tangle of three.
Sorry for those who come here for fishing some 70's or 80's old shit, I'm again in a sludgy doom period these days. And tonight one of the rare stoner doom band to have found its way to my hypothalamus (usually they stop at my ears). They're from Virginia and their singer is a female, which is quite my present taste these times (soon to come, the impressive Undersmile). A Kyuss meets Electric Wizard way to approach the genre. Could have been done in the seventies actually but nothing too plagiaristic. A flavor that was missing in my world lately. I really dig this sound A personal inclination since I was a kid and listened to the Paranoid LP. This is not a real EP but a demo, but it's much better than most of the usual CD releases. So take it here before everybody. You will say "I was the first". Their myspace there (I forget too often, sorry).
In March 1997, some months after the "Never Again / Useless" single (posted here), Buzzov.en released this CD 5 song EP that was quite weakened by a lo-fi production due to the band himself. The drums are particularly badly recorded and ruined the strenght of the songs (if you can call them songs, remember, it's Buzzov.en). The hate is always there (see lyrics shit... sorry sheet, my bad English that leads me to confusion) but not so vivid it seemingly was. And there is the terrific and terrifying "Crawl Away" (in streaming below). The Arik Roper drawing on the cover sleeve is a fantastic one. All in all, it's impossible not to possess anything this incredible band has released so take it here.
After "The Polaroid" in 1979 (here), "My Experience" in 1981 (here) and "Paradox Drive" in 1982 (here), "Film Noir" will be a new attempt of Peter Hammill to exist in terms of single artist (in both acceptions of the term). But it'll fail. Honesty, this song is not really a major one to say the least. This single is more worthy for the fact that the B-side would be an unreleased one, until the CD version of Enter K will be issued. You can hear (unfortunately) the 80's flavor on it but the David Jackson sax makes it more sapid that it could have been. The lyrics are still about one of the main obsessions of Peter Hammill (and mines): the non permanence of things, of life, time's passing. An addition for your future Peter Hammill singles As & Bs compilation that you'll get at the end of this series. Enjoy it here. Since there was no cover sleeve with this single (at least I think cos I got none), I did a one inspired by the text.
Seven Wonders. Well, it must have been here somewhere,that which the culture highly prized: the list of ancient buildings, the attitude of mind, the wisdom of the prophets, the catalogue of books.... You can't get off it, you don't know where to look. I know you don't know what to say and it's strange now, see how everything's changed, including the Seven Wonders. Nothing is permanent here. New kick, new game, new theory, the rest reduced to nought: it only takes a moment, one clear and lucid thought. Once the process has been triggered all previous process disappears.... I don't know what it is you fear, I don't know what it is you fear - the shift is nothing to be afraid of. Strange now, see how everything's changed, including the Seven Wonders. Nothing is permanent here, that's part of the spell we're under. Getting old then, say when you're happy to hold your personal Seven Wonders. Nothing is permanent here.
In 1996, Buzzov.en released its first real single since previous 7" were EPs. The band was no more in the wake of its Roadrunner contract and things were beginning to turn bad. But this single is great, with "Never Again" being their most Black Sabbath track to date and "Useless" a sort of sludgy Stooges song that is now a sort of classic. There will be another version of this song on the At A Loss LP released 2 years later with Bill Anderson. Unfortunately, I do not possess this 7" and I had to find it elsewhere, not very well ripped (in 128 kb only) but anyway it's a great addition to your collection if you do one, and you should. Hate music forever, until hate will kill ourselves. Eat and hear this hate here. Beware, it's in MP4. Just convert it with appropriate free software if needed.
With Asbestosdeath, FuManChu and Neanderthal, here one of the most important 7 inch EP of the sludge movement. Muddy as few before them, this is pure dereliction rock. Many found this to be the borderline they couldn't cross and considered it was only shit. Me not. It became one of my depressive period sonor companionship for some months. And I think it is a milestone in its domain. The cover sleeve was totally about the track "Fleshpress", that's mean about extermination camps and the 6 millions jews (and gays, gypsies...) murdered, killed, reduced in ashes through gas chambers. Contrary to other sludge bands, here there was no unsane indulgence for the horror they described, but a true empathy and denonciation. This made of Grief a band I really found more interesting than most although they might be less impressive musically. This is a small contribution to their important one to a style I like above anything: sludge. I won't say enjoy it here, cos' the word would be indecent, but anyway, get it here.
Below, one of the most terrible picture even taken in this awful period and included in the inner sleeve of the EP.
After a 3 years hiatus with West Bruce & Laing, and after his experience with Lou Reed on Berlin, Jack Bruce is back with an album of songs called Out of the Storm (surely the WBL storm) backed with Steve Hunter (the man behind the Rock 'n' Roll Animal era of Lou Reed) and the 2 Jim (Keltner & Gordon) on drums. The album is nothing less than a masterpiece, as were the 2 previous ones. One month prior to its release (in November 1974), a single is issued. Bruce did not release many singles and this one faded unnoticed although the A-side could have been a minor hit whereas the B-side was no less than a gem. It is the main reason I post this single. Enjoy it here. There was no cover sleeve so I did a quick one. Not very good but I got a little short of inspiration. Lyrics are of course by his permanent lyricist, Pete Brown.
Golden Days. Keep those golden days From going separate ways Keep the harbour lights Burning inside The streets of old (Can't hear the names they call) Shelter from the cold (Long ago, so far inside/Where the past still tries to hide) Find the dusty sun sleeping Trying to sail where rapids run Riding our frail ships out to the sun Playing for time, searching for signs Save the eyes so bright (Can't stop the things they see) From closing in the night (Long ago, so far away/Where the fires spark and play) Keep the softest flame burning Trying to sail where rapids run Riding our frail ships out to the sun Playing for signs, searching for time (Long ago, so far away/Where the fires spark and play) Keep the softest flame burning...
The 3rd single from Buzzov.en. Unfortunately the 3 songs are driven from the Sore LP released the same year so no rare track here. If "Behaved" and "Done" are less sludgy and more Stoogesy than the usual genre of the band, "Hollow" is nothing less than a masterpiece of sludge punk, one of the milestone of hate rock. Signed by the Roadrunner label, it seemed (and I feared) that the band would become more conventional (it was the sad destiny of bands signed by this label) but it would not be the case and honestly, I think the RR staff might have been quite deceived by what they heard on Sore. How make of such a band a big seller? Impossible. And actually this single was released by the Allied label, although songs were on Sore. Surely an explanation to this strangeness but according to the title, they were unwilling to explain. I hope you will listen and dl it here.
And now a personal pleasure: creating a fake A-only side single with an ATV track recorded in 1986, with the personal of the Peep Show album, during a radio session in Bangkok (the reason I chose these pictures for the front and back sleeves, taken from this site here, without any courtesy I must confess). A very different kind of music that usually plays the band across its various personifications. Much rockier, not far from the Fall at the same period, but always with this superior emotion power that Mark Perry puts into his music compared to Mr Smith. More than 7 min of greatness by a band I never stopped to cherish since it was born. This track can be found on the rather heterogeneous The Radio Sessions album released by Overground records almost a decade ago. This before a real rarity I'll offer to you very soon from the same band. Meanwhile take it here.
The most dl album of this blog is Magic Lady by Mandy Morton (here). I agree this is one of the best of the ones I posted here but I can't deny I'm quite surprise by this success. I also posted the next one, Sea Of Storm (here) and the previous one, published under the name of the Spriguns and entitled Time Will Tell (here), the band from which she was the lead singer, but they don't reach of course the same level of excellence than did Magic Lady. The LP she released (again with the Spriguns) before Time Will Tell is surely the best after Magic Lady. Completely in the folk tradition of the seventies but more on its doomy side (Comus, Strawbs) although apparently softer and happier, it's a nice collection of songs. Of course it surely can be found on folk-specialized blogs but here it is to complete your Mandy Morton discography. If it's more uneven than Magic Lady (here some songs should have been better omitted), it's still the proof what a great folk singer was Mandy Morton, and more than that, one of the most striking artist of the last 50 years. Many consider her vocal tone is too monotonous and distant, but this is what I enjoy in her, this neutral way of singing that does not stand between the song and the listener. It's this way and this way only that something of the old manner to see life can emerge and that the past can become our present mood. Enjoy it here. Very emotional for me was to discover than in June 2009, Mandy Morton, now a radio journalist, interviewed Melanie (Safka of course). My 2 fave female singers in the same studio. I would have loved to be here and to tell them how they were great. You can listen to that discussion here for part 1, then the 4 other parts are indicated.
Gosh, this band kills, sludge at its most destructive, efficient, sapid, jubilatory, erectile (don't even know if all these words exist in English but don't care). It's High on Fire meeting Unsane meeting EyeHateGod, but more powerful than the 3 together. This Danish trio (my name is dk but I'm not Danish, only a coincidence) is 7 years old it's said in the bio (reproduced in the rar file I post) but this seems to be their first real own recording and it's a landmark for those who love to have their ears and brain sound-blasted (I guess most of you dear visitor, except if you come here only for my oldies). Don't miss it please, they deserve to be massive as is their music. I would like to see them live, it must be something (it is said that they did gigs with Unsane, I imagine the way you must feel after 2 bands like that). And the cover sleeve is a welcome change in a rather uniformized imagery world. Take it here and buy it then via their myspace there.