Do you like your hearing? I conceived a spite against mine ever since I heard the solipsistic shamanistic shudder of doom metal juggernauts Bongripper many years ago. Their Chicago-based Sabbath-bothering riffage has been trundling up to Edinburgh for the last few months, so I took my ears down there for a good hard thrashing. Also in attendance were Edinbugger doom-babies and photographer-assaulters Atragon and rowdy Liverpudlian lads Conan, who made an almighty noise. Pre-booked Humanfly had van issues, so were not in attendance, and Bongripper arrived in a taxi at 10:45pm after thirteen hours of travelling but didn’t dare let down the side as they launched into a brutal bit of eardrum bothering. The evening reached a surreal nadir when Bongripper bass completely dropped out, and guitars continued until the low-end rumble resumed, but not before bass player Ron brained himself on the overheads (clearly labelled ‘heids!’) and threw a particularly metal fit at his own instrument. I’ve never seen anyone try to attack something they’re wearing before. Despite all the taxi-no sound check-head bang-bass dropout the Bongripper show was one of the sweatiest and most punishing I’ve witnessed since Sleep tore up the Arches in Glasgow roundabout this time last year. So time to clock in and take the Bannerman’s challenge. Lose five pounds in ten minutes? Sweat it away.
(Kwest The Madd Lad – This Is My First Album)
It’s a cliché we all hear: record companies are greedy, overbearing manipulators, pressuring their artists to sell out, sucking their talent dry and casting them aside when they’ve outlived their usefulness like an old loofah. The assumption is so commonplace I worry it’s being reduced to stereotype because this sort of thing really does go on, often to the ruination of passionate musicians who ended up being the victims of circumstance, profit margins and different priorities. I often find, however, that generalizations like this fail to bother me unless I can relate to it, unless I hear the story of a certain person who has suffered as a result of this experience. (To go to that famous quote of uncertain origin, but often misattributed to Joseph Stalin, “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic”) Well, here’s a very real experience from a talented guy that I’d like to share with you.
I only get my rocks off when I'm peaking - The spirit of Sabbath lives on, but not where you think - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #163
Ye gods! Is it that time of the week again? A sunny Saturday, simulataneously Roadburn Saturday (where many fine darlings of this very blog are doing their best to rend the space-time matrix asunder with the sheer amplified power of the unintuitive Godhead), 4/20 AND mutha’fuckin’ Record Store Day? Yew’betcha hombre, and another thing. Iiiiiiiiiii’m back! That’s right! After a brief sort-of hiatus where instead of writing about music I wrote about writing about music, if you see? No? Well if you follow me on Twitter (which you totally should do because you’re automagically entered into a competition where you could win twitter updates from me) you might know for the longest time I’ve been assembling a gargantuan dissertation-shaped thing about music journalism, music journalists, and trying to find a job. If you want to hire a pre-emptively washed-up hack with a penchant for the slightly weird of the rock world, please let me know. I’ve contacted Vice but I don’t think they’ll give a job to a prick like me so I’m all unemployed. Time to bask in the post-coital glow of a finished dissertation and enjoy unemployment. And listen to Groundshaker’s excellent Got Those Blues on repeat, because I can and will.
(Or:- why you and your entire family deserve to die in nuclear Armageddon for being wrinkly out-of-touch old scrotes).
The future is getting better, honestly. Don’t think that nostalgia and email hating is all I’m about (I also like the Wire). I just downloaded Bobby Dylan’s latest, the Tempest at long last. I trumped for the iTunes LP because I was tired and broken, thinking it was just some MP3s and a soulless dickless little JPEG. When I got down to it, however, I discovered an anomalous button hovering around which read “Play iTunes LP”. As Duquesne Whistle got going I was treated to a full screen album cover (big as a 12”) and a little bit of interactive liner notes to play with. Lemme tell you it’s just as fucking good as LP, or CD, or hearing the fucker live (okay, let’s not go crazy) and now I’m going to tell you why.
There aren’t too many genres in which you could not only get away with making something as bizarre and esoteric as The Unseen, but to be applauded and rewarded for it. Yes, one of hip hop’s greatest modern producers Madlib came onto the solo scene back in 2000 with one of the most thoroughly bonkers albums the genre has ever seen, yet I’ll be the first to admit that something about it is simply irresistible. Supposedly conceived and recorded during a week-long binge on magic mushrooms, every song on this warped record gives you a hazy vision of Madlib’s experience, like gazing through a fog into the doorway of his mind, like pursuing him down the rabbit hole in the wake of his psychedelic ramblings.