Runhild Gammelsæter - Amplicon (2008)

This is my favorite LP of 2008. And not only because Runhild Gammelsæter has a PhD in Biology as I have, and is (was?) on topics not far from mine. And not only because she is one of the more charismatic and impressive female doomster, a sort of viking woman that came from her cold land (she's from Norway) to become the leading voice of Thorr's Hammer with Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley 13 years ago. No, but because her first (and last since there has been none since this one) solo album is one of the most powerful, strange, complex, biological and visceral musical piece never released in musical history. Honestly, this is not an LP to be listened to anytime anyplace, but this is an aural experience that will deeply move you if you are ready for extreme sensation and open to any unknown exploration of the dark nucleus of our most private fears. Yes, this is the album that seems to follow "Gog & Magog" from Peter Hammill's In Camera in 1974. Nothing here of the sometimes ridiculous doom folklore that I indulge to find interesting even if I am aware that it's quite naive and rudimentary. Runhild introduces us in the mud of the life cycle as painted it one century ago Gustave Moreau. Impossible to describe this music (especially when you're not a fluent English writer like me). All I can say is that I promise that you will find in this album things you are not used to find elsewhere. "Do you believe me?" would say Alex Harvey. Try it here.

Here's below a picture on stage I found on the net but I don't know if it was for a solo or a Khlyst concert, the group she forms with James Plotkin and Tim Wyskida.



Grey - Sisters of the Wyrd (2008)

Doom by women. There's more and more doomsteuses (as we'd say in France) in the world, I think in particular of Dark Castle, Murkrat and of course of the great Runhild Gammersaelter (either in solo of in bands), and Grey has released last year a very fine old school doom record. It's like it was 1990 again. Most of the time, I'm quite allergic to this passeist approach of doom but here I find the taste OK for me. I prefer to inform those not familiar with doom that although it's a woman who sings, the voice is not feminine and respects the roaring codes of doom. I've understood that this blog is not visited by doom fans (just a look to the dl stats is clear on that), but I'll keep posting doom album between my old and weird rarities because this is the music I listen to most of the time and this style is unfortunately confined in a sub-category, and I regret it. Please have an ear to these ladies of the dark spirits floating in the dead of the night, here.



Bastards - Frank/Loser 7" (1988)

This is the last of our Bastards forgotten songs lost on splits or in singles. This single was the second one from the band, just between "Who Care/Shit for Brains" and "Scenes at latest battle..." that you can find elsewhere on this blog. This is the weakest of the 3 for me since the 2 songs are confined in a rather academic punk style and this is not for that I think they were a better band than most. Actually I don't possess the vinyl of this single but got the songs on the CD version of Monticello and on an EP compiling the 3 official singles of the Bastards and called "You Didn' Give A Damn About The Exploding Man Because You Killed Him" (there's surely a story behind this title but I don't know which one). If Joachim Breuer reads this blog, I want him to know that he's been one of the greatest guitarist songwriter of the decade. Enjoy this last deliverance on the compilation here. Later, other noise bands from this exceptional era on this blog. Below, a collection of pictures taken by Antoine d'Agata (the photograph I used a picture for the Groundhogs single), summarizing quite well the atmophere of the Bastards songs (for me).



This Weary Hour - No Hand To Confort You EP (2009)

It's never too soon to go back to doom. And this fits my evening mood (doom reversed). One more discovery for me this Irish band from Cork. This is doom with a sludge perfume but the drumming and the general instrumentation are not quite the usual sludge glass of mud. There is something old school and gothic in it, that reminds me of the old Paradise Lost or Anathema (before these bands completely lost my interest, or is it the reverse?). Actually, there is not much need to write a text about a new doom band when the reader can listen to their myspace here and dl their EP here. But don't forget to support these bands (it's a political act in the best sense of the term). And the sound is much better than in the MP3 format. I feel (when looking at the dl statistics) that the doom posts are not those that the visitors of this blog are the most interesting in (is it english?) but try again, maybe you'll finally find the same vibration I found in this style 20 years ago and never ceased to find. I chose to post the last song of the EP, not on the myspace and with a splendid final. Listen to this guitar, it's 1st class. PS. The complete cover painting is in the rar file.



Bastards - Scenes at the Latest Battle in the City Market Area 7" (1989)

One more 7" Bastards and we will be soon arrived to the end of the journey (a singles ticket). This featured a Monticello song on A-side (the fantastic "Neighbor") and an "unavailable anywhere else" song on B-side (the good but not exceptional "Motor City Kid", which had been added in the CD version as bonus track). The sleeve and the title referred to a battle that apparently occured between the police and civils on a market but I don't know the details of this event (if you do, tell me in the comments). On the back side of the sleeve, one could see the genitals of the transexual of the Monticello cover but the quality of the sleeve was awful (a basic photocopy) and I only reproduced it here for historical reasons. This would be the 3rd and the last of the official Bastards singles before Joachim Breuer formed Janitor Joe (and not Genital Joe). The 1st one was "Who Care/ Shit for Brains" that you can find here, the 2nd one was "Loser/Frank" that I'll post later on. Many would find all the songs of Joachim Breuer either in the Bastards or in Janitor Joe to be quite similar and that his approach of rock lacked diversity. But this is one thing I like in this guy, the way he explored the same vein until the blood pours out in our ears. This is probably this cerebral characteristic that made him follow a scientific pathway afterwards and be a PhD. Enjoy it on the compilation here.



Lal Waterson - At First She Starts / Flight of the Pelican Fake 7"(1996)

Some female voices seem to talk to deep and untouched parts of our soul. These voices are not the sames for each of us. For me, only Billie Holiday, Melanie Safka and Mandy Morton have such a voice. But now, there is Lal Waterson. I wonder how I can have ignored her so long. It is true than when the 2 albums she released in the nineties were issued, I was not very curious of what happened in the folk area but I would have been touched by her grace even there. Then she died. Very soon after the second one. In 1998. God, what a waste. Thanks to the Unthanks for their cover of "At First She Starts" on their last LP (here). This made me listen to the original one, and my heart broke. Lal Waterson had a voice that shared some common points with the Melanie's one. But there is more despair and bitterness in it. Yes, she could be considered on a mid-point between Melanie and Billie Holiday. This fake single is only to provide an opportunity for the visitor of this blog to taste this voice and knows if his or her soul is touched as is mine. And you know I like to create virtual sleeves for fake records. So it allows me to satisfy my vice. But if you love it, you can find the album on several blogs such as the excellent "misha4music" here. And afterwards, do as I did: buy the album, I'm sure the money will be important for those who try to make her music lives since she died. One more thing. Lal Waterson composed her songs and here it must be said that she is a really great composer, with the same way to treat a melody than Robert Wyatt or Paddy McAlloon to my ears. Last, as Melanie, the wonderfully delicate guitar work behind her is from her own son, Oliver Knight. The mother & son love can provide really gorgeous records. (such was Crazy Love in 2002 for Melanie). The 2 songs I extracted from the LP to create this single are simply marvellous. I can't say there have been many as these in the past. Enjoy your soul here.

At First She Starts. First she starts and then she's startled.I see that light in her eyes. Didn't you realise you were a bird,At dawn when you woke with air in your throat. So far doe-ray-me. Sing to me loudly,Serenade me, Mess with the melody. Light and shade. All my eyes can see. Oh but you are the phrase at the end of the bar, a long and high refrain. Hanging around for the choir to strike sound, So's you can holler your joy and your pain

Flight Of The Pelican. We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn.In the last throws of an upstart old crow. Saw the flight of the pelican. Speak to me words don't give no fancy meanings, I never knew, I never knew, I never knew I was needing
We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn. I need the love peace brings. I need to feel easy in my need. I need to feel naturally greedy. I need the space for my feet. I need to feel safe while I sleep. I need the love peace brings and then I've no need. We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn. Your children's children's rights have gone.



Bastards - Groovy Space Man Pills 7" (1991)

Another rare one for your complete Joachim Breuer song compilation (left on the picture above). This is from the Endangered Species 6 x 7" box released by Glitterhouse Records, a German label that "used to take care of the SubPop Ger and Amphetamine Reptile" as they said. You can find the whole box to dl here. There are many interesting things on it, such as the fantastic cover of Led Zeppelin's "4 Stinks" by Unsane. But my idea is only to add another one Bastard gem (cause it is one) and so I post the song they provided for this compilation, "Groovy Space Man Pills", which is a thrilling good one. The other 7" side was occupied by the Cows, not a band I truly digged, but no band in these noise scene was bad to my ears. More to come from the Bastards in the next days. En attendant, enjoy this one on the compilation here.



Neanderthal - Fighting Music EP (1990)

Let's dig deeper and deeper in the mud that was the craddle of sludge. With Asbestodeath (here) and Fu Manchu (there), Neanderthal was the 3rd band that introduced me to this style in 1989-90. Then I would discover the great EyeHateGod and UpsideDownCross but it's another story I'll tell you one day if this blog still operates. Neanderthal was a 2-man band actually, consisting of Eric Wood and Matt Domino. The first will form Man Is The Bastard. Neanderthal only released this 7" EP to my knowledge. This is really ugly and dirty, sick and nauseous as sludge was in its baby's years. And among the 3 cited bands, this was the less influenced by riffs and rock. In an interview you can find on the blog Burning down the dreams forever, Eric Wood stated that "In Neanderthal’s case [...], we were about humans desecrating their very Garden of Eden through psychological torture of themselves". Nice way to describe what we can hear on this 5 "songs" 7" EP. The political content is quite unusual in sludge. Another difference with orthodox sludge, is the fact that all is not slow and muddy, most "songs" have a rather speed thrashy and even grinding pace. A something of Napalm Death can be found in Neanderthal. The opening track, "Crawl", is the only real sludge song of the whole. Consider this as a contribution to the untold story of sludge. Enjoy it here.

I've scanned the central pictures of the vinyl. Don't open it when children around. They could try this at home.



Crawl Back In - Hang All Hope From The Nearest Tree EP (2009)

A doom band as I like them. Not stuck in formulas, not kitch and mimicking used musical codes but creating their own universe, and one that I find perfect for my own way to feel life these days. There are sometimes thrash traces in their music, something also coming from old school doom (Entombed but also the forgotten and excellent Cerebral Fix). Some may have some difficulties with the voice, much more sludge and thrash than doom, but I don't. This fits superbly with the backing sonic assault. The intensity is impressive (listen to the end of "A Heart The Size of a Family Tomb"). This EP can be downloaded freely on their myspace here or on their site. I hope they will soon find a label to release their records on solid support since the cover is really fantastic. The last (and longest) song ("Amid Laughter Let Us Perish") is more Pelican-like (let's say Ocean-like) but once again, they achieve a great piece of music in avoiding any mediocre riff or thema as too often doom bands indulge themselves. The calm and long part has an interior tension that sustain the attention and it's a "tour de force" I'd say. Try it now here.