I fucking hate Snow Patrol. Amongst all the talent that Scotland is now churning out, we get these pieces of tawdry, mopey, quasi-depressed emo tenth-grader’s dream. By and large, despite having ‘Chasing Cars’ thrust in my ears every now and then, my hatred of them remained ‘normal’ – if hatred can ever be that. But now, after hearing them butcher Low’s ‘Just Like Christmas’, I want to torture them. I want to slowly rip their limbs apart so that they are never able to touch any instrument ever again. I want to rip their eyes and tongues out so that they can’t even notate music and annoy me by getting someone else to play it. After that maybe I’d play some early Darkthrone/Venom records for them so that the production on those albums (or lack thereof) makes them want to take their lives.
Anyway, here we go:
BLACK MATH HORSEMEN – WYLLT
Mix Isis, Neurosis, Kyuss and what do you get? Black Math Horsemen, a female fronted psych-rock/metal/stoner foursome. I rarely get excited by acts labelled metal these days, but this band is something else. They’re brilliant atmospheric without overdoing it – without sounding schticky and there’s enough space around to keep that element of their music intact throughout the album. It’s as inviting as it is unsettling, as brilliant as it is restrained, as loud as it is quiet. They’ve come pretty much out of nowhere but there’s not a minute on Wyllt that can be faulted.
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE – LUMINOUS NIGHT
Ah. Freak-folk. That crappily named and alluded to genre. Ben Chasny under the moniker of Six Organs of Admittance is probably one of the greater names within the movement (also: New Weird America – wtf?). There’s more electric guitar in this album – and at times it doesn’t actually sound off-kilter a la Devendra Banhart, but sounds oddly comforting. Anesthesia reads like a simple folk-song with an experimental touch vis-a-vis a reverb drenced droning electric guitar line. It’s a tough gig trying to balance modern instruments with an acoustic heavy approach, but Chasny’s playing is, as always, superb and even though at times the album sounds overwhelming sonically, aesthetically Chasny’s still in the centre, his fingers quietly plucking away at the guitar, his voice sombre.
The Ballad of Charley Harper
MOUNT EERIE – WIND’S POEM
Simply put, Phil Elvrum is one of my all-time favourite musicians/songwriters. He’s quite simply a genius. There’s often an argument regarding what sort of music is ‘better’; music that hits you in the face first time, or music that requires repeated listens to ‘get’ and ‘enjoy’, but which upon those and even further listens unravels itself to reveal more beauty. Elvrum’s music is rarely ever the former, whether it be his earlier The Microphones stuff or whether it’s Mount Eerie. His brand of lo-fi, noise folk has always seemed to grow as well, despite the superficially imposed limitations his ‘sound’ might seem to possess. Now, going into this album, Elvrum mentioned a growing fondness for black metal. To an extent, you can hear that on the album – especially on the opening track as Elvrum treats us to a couple of lovely sonic blasts. But it doesn’t last – and a lot of them album does sound like earlier Mount Eerie stuff with the natural growth. When I first heard this album I wasn’t too interested, but a couple of listens later I fell in love with it, and I’m still finding newer intricacies and inflexions as I listen. It’s a runner for one of the albums of the year already.
Between Two Mysteries
Lost Wisdom Pt. 2