Mar 25, 2008

BIG BROTHERS AND LIL COUSINS - Releases of the Music Sort

A breather's been took and now I'm back, typing at you again. Another missive from the off-season crescent island.
I liked some things, I was bored by some other things. Read on, you intrepid stooges! Read on!
First up, the conclusion of the black metal saga...for now.

Peste Noire - Mors Orbis Terrarum, self-released 2xcass box
This here contraption compiles all the demos of these Fronch nutzoids in a tidy lil box. It's cute, I swear! You know, in a Satan-approved way.
The earlier songs kinda lack the punch I've come to love from records like Folkfuck Folie and that full-length rehearsal thing they pressed up a while back. They never romp and fizzle like Furze do, but then again they don't wander into Windham Hill snooze-core like Alcest or Amesoeurs neither. Mostly, they wad the black metal in all sorts of gnarly knots and expect you to untie 'em. Nowhere on this set do they ever get mathy and smart-mark like the aforementioned noodlers, and that's something to crow about. And did I mention the box is really cute? That gryphon's got such a button nose...

Sapthuran & Hills of Sefiroth split - Heralding the New Song of Ruin, Wolfrune Worxxx cass
I mark out for Sapthuran like almost nothin else in the black metal camp, what with his solitary, warped nature-enthusiast-turned-antihumanist vision. Imagine a hollow-sounding merger between the Twenty-Six sensibility and the speed of the Ulver black metal triumvirate. Now we're talkin! Plus there's the added mystery of something like this coming from Northern Kentucky. (Is that landscape really worth fighting for?)
Unfortunately, I had to sit through the HoS side first. I advise the cautious reader to use the fast-forward as a PLP, lest you will find yourself curled up on the corner of the mattress wondering who put on the Judas Iscariot outtakes. And, no, I ain't talkin bout the two-piece improv grind outfit. I'm talking mumbly, tired, Midwestern fudge. I'm all for a rollick in a drone-y field, but this is ridiculous. If you's gonna work on one or two riffs for 45 minutes, you better make 'em good. HoS is about two-notches below "musty carny" on the evil scale.
I'm sure the Sapthuran side was better, but I was so blinded by the lack of science on the HoS flip, I had to dunk my head a bathtub fulla akvavit to cleanse the palette and by then, I just wanted some Danish coffee and a hunk of silence. Sorry, Sappy, honey. Invite me over next time you're alone; then we can talk.

Lascowiec - Gesamkunstwerk, Funeral Agency cass
Lascowiec - Gunshots Ring Out Over Vinland Streets, Funeral Agency cass
I was convinced this solemn little moper was Polish, but apparently, "In Slavonic [sic] mythology, Lascowiec is a woodspirit; a wolf riding atop another wolf, who protects all the wild animals of the woods." (I suppose that's tougher sounding than David the Gnome.) Alas, Lascowiec, the good witch of the Slavic forest, is from the grim and frozen land of Frisco, CA. Go figure. Granted, he shares those mean streets with spooks like Malefic, Wrest, and Ancalagon the Black (of Crebain). Maybe they can have a bike gang or a discussion salon!
Gesamkunstwerk is the earliest of the Lascowiec demos and boy do I like it. Half-time, crumbly guitars, blown out factory vocals, and the icing of dubby drums, all submerged in the bog of tape distortion. Minimal isn't a term I use often in reference to the black metal or anything else--mostly cuz sound is so live and busy as is--but the Lascowiec approach of stretching ideas, but knowing when to reign them in, fits the title. It's kind of like if Hills of Sefiroth got their shit together--which ain't gonna happen, so we have this guy to carry the crusty black torch. Fine by me.
Gunshots begins with some classy Slavic Romanticism before bottoming out into Sapthuran-style Appalach raga-ness. At its worst it's a wrong-speed Robotic Empire release where they forgot to mix the drums in. At its best, it's a codeine-fed Kiwi freakout. I can live between those two poles, no problem, so this gets the seal of approval, too. Good luck and good selling, you tanned wood sprite!

Cheveu - Cheveu, S-S Records LP
Did these cats survive the jump from kid to parent? Can they sustain interest for longer than a 7"? It's a little less than cold turkey, since there are 4 tracks on here from previous singles. However, their power isn't what sustains this album. What does is a voracious style-hopping that I had never really noticed. "Happiness" turns Philip Seymour Hoffman's schpiel from the Solondz flick into Jonathan Richman's submission to the Penthouse forum. "Unemployment Blues" perfectly captures that squinty, alienated feeling you get when you hop off the couch, hungover, and don't...actually have all...any time soon. Or maybe ever. Talk about a 21st century blues! If they mentioned Xbox, it could be the anthem of my generation.
Wow, that's actually horribly depressing.
Good show, anyhoo.

Mar 1, 2008

KIND OF LIKE A REVIEW SORT OF MAYBE, Tomb Of... - Those Dismal Moments, Tour de Garde cassette 2007

I'm in a new place. I've found myself at a strange distance from what I'm listening to and reviewing. It's not the music; certainly I've been marveling at the stuff since my age was a single digit. So...I guess it's the writing aspect.
I'm sure this is something everyone that writes about music, whether it's on a blog that 6 people read (like this one!) or in a proper magazine goes through. Shit, it's probably something everyone goes through with everything. This isn't a new impasse.
Thankfully, the ripe and wild whiff of the black metal has called me back to my senses. The black metal is sometimes sloppy, frequently bleak, politically naive or just plain stupid, DIY, and always reaching around in the dark for ideas and identity. In short, it's perfect outsider art, to use a term I hate as much as the aforementioned "DIY." Maybe it's got something to do with hearing stuff like this Tomb Of... tape and wondering what the hell is going on inside their grease-painted Grecian domes, but I've been drawn back inside the speakers at last. I can't tell what's good--actually good--and what is a personal revelation poppin' out of a tangent anymore. I know that I like this tape, but I can't say why--at least not definitively.
I can tell you that this sounds like an unholy blend of an imaginary soundtrack for Zombie Nightmare (not the Motorhead song that opens the real movie) and the whispery, hissy atmosphere of the Constellation Records crew if they didn't have their Galois-smoking heads so far up their anarcho-rumps. The guitars are buried and ring out in the distance like the tinnitus that closes a long night of fruitless mischief. I'm not even sure if that amounts to a good listen or something that will make me want to spin these reels in future days. But whatever. I had a moment and I ain't gonna loosen my grip on it til I'm good'n'ready.