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Alternative Three - June #2

  • Written by  Steven Dinnie
  • Media

Scientists have determined that the Earth’s surface will not be able to support human life much longer, due to pollution and overpopulation. In 1957, Dr Carl Garstein proposed three alternative solutions. The first was a drastic reduction of the human population on Earth. The second, the construction of vast underground shelters. Alternative three?

In a world of frightened dullards, there is always a sorry shortage of outlaws, and Alexander Shulgin was more than a hellraiser, he was a chemical adventurer, the psychedelic conquistador. He explored psychedelic drugs in a way that transcended chemistry and turned into something closer to art. His writings stand up with Alexander Trocci and William Burroughs and Aldous Huxley. This blog is dedicated in part to Sasha, I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of the black metal.

Now that the summer has come and the first creeping vibes of an acid frenzy are crawling up your fingertips to your sunburnt wrists, and tickling your hayfever nose, it seems musical production has gone into overdrive. Prodigious creativity abounds at the moment, with record after record proving that rock and roll is still resolutely the Cure For What Ails Us. Last week my meek and worthless attempts to group records together was an abject failure, I shall now group them by price, into three paragraphs of frothing bug-eyed raving. With corporeal records first, digital somewhere in the middle and right-up-in-yo-grill free at the end (is this an ultimately arbitrary distinction? Well however did you see through my elaborate ruse?). And if you’re going to slyly mention yet again that I’ve written about more than three albums please go off and bother someone else with an increasingly badly named column. Also I moved house this month, so any inaccuracies and general malaise can be put down to that. Also midway through writing this month through one of the remarkable coincidences that attend the making of this column, I discovered that Gareth Gates covered Norman Greenbaum’s excellent ‘Spirit In The Sky’, for shame. With any luck Norman won’t just turn in his grave, but jump right out of it and kick your teeth in.

Why not kick off with the newest from old hands Sunn O))). It’s always struck me as peculiar that one of the most oppressive and least accessible bands in the world have gone on to have something of a mainstream success. When O’Malley and Anderson got together I doubt they imagined there was quite such a market for doom, gloom and the utter absence of sunlight. LA REH 012 blots out the sun with the best of them. On a sunny Sunday morning you want to listen to the output of Graceless Recordings, bandcampin’ it up out of Nashville, quickly becoming the prime purveyors of every kind of underproduced echoey slime and hate-fuelled dirge. There is too much here to try to highlight one, but my personal favourite this week is Alraune’s self titled tape. Get on everything they make, but particularly that! I recommend Gatecreeper on the name and album art alone, but once I’d listened in full to their almost peerless grubby death metal rumble, I was convinced they were one of those metal bands much much too great to get signed. They probably will mind you, and spoiled no doubt. Go and download for free (or get that artwork in limited edition corporeal CD) before they get signed and ruined. QRIXKUOR’s debut Consecration Of The Temple is finally here, on the awesome cassette format. For the last week I’ve wandered round in a haze, like I was the only one who heard the late-night newscast about the imminent asteroid impact and everyone else was wilfully blind to it. Haven’t you heard QRIXKUOR? How can you continue to just go to work with all this in the world? Ever just sound your barbaric yawp over the rooftops at the thought of no new Be-Helds records? Fret no longer, because the Orange Drop are here with their own quintessential brand of poppy-doom. Limited edition artefact CDs always welcome. Go and listen to Deathcats, now already! Now, if you’ll excuse me: THERE’S A BAND CALLED DWELLERS AND THEIR ALBUM IS CALLED PAGAN FRUIT AND THEY’VE GOT JOHN BAIZLEY-TYPE ARTWORK AND SASPARILLA GROOVE AND LIMITED EDITION CDS AND IT’S THE GOOD KIND OF STONER ROCK, NOT THE AWFUL UNCLE ACID TYPE BUT ACTUAL GENUINE STONER ROCK OH YES YES YES. Ahem. Anyway, feeling energetic and lively while still communicating effective doom is a tough one, but Buioingola manage it, their Dopo l’Apnea is driving and intense but also crawls at a snail’s pace.

I want to dedicate about a paragraph to Naught, and possibly a whole article, and a blog, and the wing of a children’s hospital because their music is the Real Deal and quite possibly the Cure For What Ails Us. Extremely extreme metal has been trapped in the gutter for the longest time, facing off between the ultimately nihilistic or anti-ego message of the music, and the fact that tight, muscular heavy metal music is ultimately uplifting and energising. Real heavy metal is about pride, identity, power. On Tómhyggjublús (translation: ‘Emptiness Blues’) Naught deliberately strip any kind of hopefulness or reluctant power out of their songs. It’s one of the few albums which genuinely brings you down, works you out, leaves you feeling wrung, drained, somehow broken by the experience. While their doom is muscular and crushing, there’s no power behind it, no form and no pleasant musical resolution. These boys from a shithole Icelandic town in the middle of the North Atlantic have done something pretty spectacular.

Enter Venus by Druglord is technically free, but you really ought to drop at least some denero on them for lobbing this massive unrefined hunk of pure proto-Sabbath Wizardyness at the wall, and the enthusiasm with which some of it sticks. I particularly love how the vocals are buried beneath an entire pyramid of fuzz, to the point where they’re only discovered thousands of years later by explorers, and their tomb is probably cursed. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but Cemetery Piss are probably the best black metal act currently in America, and in a nation responsible for Cobalt, Liturgy and Agalloch that really is something, anyway, Cemetery Piss now have a bandcamp so tally-ho, eh? I had to take to listening to Altar’s perfectly titled Plague Pit in my garage rather than my house because the hundredweight of pure bloody mulch it chucked up with every repeat was starting to permanently stain the carpet. Everyone in my stunted, sprained little circle has been tugging themselves silly over Veils’ debut Unquestionable Appreciation Of Suffering. It doesn’t take much ingenuity to start your debut with the phrase ‘god is dead’ but it takes some serious stones. Like proper hardcore it sounds like a wasp flying around in a shed. Finally, Threshing remind me of Culpeper’s Orchard, despite inhabiting utterly different (though perhaps neighbouring) musical pastures. Lumpy, meditative, hugely druidic rock and roll, both playing to legions of nightworking mountain men pogoing all their CND buttons off. Rawk the fuck on, chaps.

One of the more interesting efforts of the month was the Soft Pink Truth’s Drew Daniel mixing intros and outros together into some sort of hypermasculine Neil Young Arc type thing. Somewhere on the internet there is an hour and a half mix of The Grateful Dead tuning up, and it’s the same as this: baffling, pointless, and utterly riveting. Also on the slab is Chrome’s Feel It Like A Scientist which I haven’t got round to hearing, but I feel secure in recommending anything those mentalists put together on good faith. Also the ever-excellent Black Moth have a new video, ‘Room 13’ is pretty sweet.

Lastly, if you’ve been awaiting Julian Cope’s new novel 131: A Time Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel in the same way a shipwreak victim awaits rescue, you’ll be satiated by checking out 131 Doorway, a website warmup for what is sure to be simultaneously the best and worst novel you’ve ever bothered to patronise with your heathen eyes. There’s plenty of utterly nutzoid stuff on there, and a million hand-crafted treats. Most of it is free too, you lucky bastards, and whether you’re looking for electro footie anthems (a ‘Whirled Cup’ is apparently under construction in Brazil, so this might be peculiarly apposite) or a fifteen bloody minute nouveau-metal droneathon fictionally created in 1972, you’re sure to find something of warped interest among the stuff.

Until next time, party on, dude.

What did I miss? What did you miss? Who do you miss? As usual, comment, twitter, or explode a series of stars in morse code, I’ll pick it up.

Act now and you too can regret following me on twitter @stevendinnie


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