Thursday, December 16, 2010
1. Agalloch - Into the Painted Grey
Agalloch’s 2010 release, Marrow of the Spirit, begins with the sound of a bubbling brook, birdsong, and melancholic cello, but then switches to this track, possibly the fastest and most aggressive the band has done to date. None of Agalloch’s albums sound the same, and Marrow of the Spirit is indicative of this. It is a much more mature, complex album, drawing in all of the band’s various influences, yet remaining entirely cohesive and unmistakably Agalloch.
2. Roky Erickson - Cold Night for Alligators
I don’t know why it took me so long to get into the music of Roky Erickson, which seems kind of insane; heavy, raw, rock about monsters, the devil, aliens and the Bermuda Triangle all played by a genuine crazy person are a formula that should have drawn me in years ago. This song conjures the vivid image of alligator people lurking in a foggy swamp as dogs snarl and bark at their presence every time I hear it. Also, “it’s a cold night for alligators” is now a permanent part of the ways in which I describe weather.
3. Swans - Reeling the Liars In
Holyfuck Swans got back together this year. They released an album, which ruled, and toured, which absolutely blew me the fuck away. Holy fucking fuck.
4. Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee
This is some truly triumphant music played by old dudes who, at least in my mind, remained dedicated metalheads since the 80’s. I once heard these guys described as “deadbeat dad metal”, and this album also has songs about the pros of drunk driving, skull fucking and drinking the blood of priests. Rules.
5. Sperm of Antichrist - Serpent Mass Litany
Absolutely filthy, hypnotic, lo-fi black metal is a subgenre I really can’t get enough of. This song was the soundtrack to any thought of extreme hatred I had within the last year.
6. Zola Jesus - Sink the Dynasty
I don’t restrict my love of the hypnotic and lo-fi to just metal; Zola Jesus plays dark, gothy and mesmerizing music that I cannot stop listening to. Her newer stuff is a little more polished, and while I like it a lot, it is her older, haunting bedroom recordings that really resonate with me the most. Also, I am almost old enough to be her father.
7. Alcest - Ecailles de Lune (Part I)
Alcest’s debut album, Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde, was one of my favorite records of the last few years. Its very original post-metal shoe gaze (created as a soundtrack to the creator’s alleged childhood visits to the Other World of faerie folklore) seemed like an extremely hard act to follow. The follow-up, Ecailles de Lune, exceeded all expectations. Focusing on the more depressive elements of the magical Other World, Neige returned a bit to his darker, faster, more metal roots while still maintaining the ethereal melodies of the first album. I had a chance to see Alcest live this year, and I was very excited to find Neige’s music played live was just as phenomenal as it is recorded.
8. Coil - Tattooed Man
I’ve been a casual fan of Coil’s early material for years, but at Sal’s recommendation I picked up their final album, The Ape of Naples, and immediately fell in love. This song is a big reason why. John Balance’s vocals here are so tortured and heartbroken I can’t help but sense they are very sincere. Absolutely haunting, especially since both band members are now lying in their own graves.
9. Coloured Balls - Human Being
I discovered this song on one of Fenriz’s mixes released through Vice Magazine. So badass, and asks the age-old question, “mama…what is a human being?”
10. Teitanblood - Morbid Devil of Pestilence
I’m pretty sure I got into Teitanblood’s album Seven Chalices in 2009, but I only secured a copy on lp this last year, so I’m including this track. Bestial, dark and fucking scary blackened metal of death played by cryptic occultists who seem to wield their instruments as weapons in a war on all existence. I’m still convinced this album will make me bleed from my eyes one day.