Haunted Horses are a trio from Seattle, Washington who play impossibly eerie, dark post-punk. Watcher is abrasive, dissonant and unsettling; full of rumbling tribal drumming underneath ominous synth drones and piercing, trebly guitar picking. Where many death rock and post-punk bands adhere to what are essentially pop song structures and tropes – albeit dark versions of such – Haunted Horses definitely draw their influence from the opposite end of the spectrum.
These tracks are free-form and impressionistic, steering well clear of anything even closely resembling new wave in favour of hypnotic marches and schizophrenic song structures that veer wildly from robotic repetition to explosions of volume and dissonance and back again just as suddenly. Eschewing the bass-heavy melodicism of other post-punk acts, these tracks have a nerve-shredding obsession with higher frequencies and atonality played off against drums that can come off as both tribal and organic and robotic and completely off-kilter. The vocals, too, veer wildly, from a flat apathetic drawl to harsh hollers, but they always sound distant and mostly are all but consumed in the cacophony of the instruments, like a ghostly afterglow adding yet more menace to the proceedings.
You better get on your knees, the apocalypse is coming and its four horsemen are Dreadlords. This group of ritualistic racket-makers summon up an unholy concoction of apocalyptic blues, Satanic southern gospel and shamanic sacrilege. This blasphemous demo tape sounds like the sonic incarnation of a Flannery O’Connor short story or Cormac McCarthy novel – back before he started winning literary prestige awards and was still writing twisted Southern bloodbaths about incest, scalping and backwoods violence.
Guitars and piano clang and crash in a free form fall through a cathedral-sized chamber of reverb, while Dreadlords’ singer rants and raves like a schizophrenic madman at the pulpit, veering from Nick Cave-style blues sermonizing (once again, think less his later dad-rock, Kylie Minogue duet-ing phase and more his spastic early years) to black metal-esque croaking and snarling, and even the occasional haunting howl of a werewolf in full moon fever.
I’m a firm believer that music can be used as a weapon of protest against the fuckers that want to downpress the poor of all colors around the world. In the world of corporate greed and apathetic youth, it’s rad to know that bands like COP PROBLEM have not given up the good fight. Their new EP Buried Beneath White Noise straight brings the ruckus and turns up the fury past 10! Today CVLT Nation has the honor of streaming COP PROBLEM’s new song “Bear Witness” below…If you reside on the east coast, make sure to check out their upcoming tour starting on Nov. 1st, plus stay tuned for something very special that we have in the works with them…PROTEST & SURVIVE!!! Buried Beneath White Noise will be released digitally on Oct. 24th via their bandcamp, and by the end of the year on 7″ via The Compound (North America)/Prejudice Me (Europe)/Earsplit.
I have no idea what to make of this. Like, legitimately no goddamn clue. Albatwitch, apparently from “parts unknown,” though my guess is somewhere in backwater Pennsylvania, has totally stumped me. Their facebook describes them as “blackened swamp crust noise drone folk,” and what the hell else could Only Dead Birds Sing Over the Graves of Fallen Kings even be?
This is just a weird fucking record, through and through. About half of the tracks are some guy playing banjo, and the opener is partially sung in German. And then there’s stuff like “A.M.P.I.C.,” which is the most necro sound imaginable, drum machines pounding under guitars that sound like they’re being played through a boombox.
And what the hell is an albatwitch, anyway? According to this website, it’s a sort of dwarf bigfoot that haunted a very specific part of rural Pennsylvania, prior to its extinction in the 20th century. The name, somehow, derives from “apple-snitch,” as the little things apparently liked to steal apples and throw them at picnickers. Seems apt for a black metal band.
And is this album actually about hydrofracking? Well, the last two tracks are titled “Frack-ture” and “Black Waters Rise,” and the former seems to contain a long sample of testimony about the deleterious health effects that come from natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, so I guess it’s fair to say at least part of it is. But then again, there’s also someone screeching over top of everything, so I have no idea what this is actually about. Could it just be a concept album about bigfoot? Possibly.
Kayo Dot celebrate one decade of activity with their new album, Hubardo, a monstrous one and a half hour-long ordeal of beautiful and mesmerizing avant garde blackened doom. The album is a triumph for the band and a towering achievement in their ten year history for three reasons mainly. First of all it embodies perfectly, all in one place, everything that Kayo Dot is and has ever been. In recent times, the band had ventured into more goth-tinged and abstract post-rock composition leaving much of its metal roots behind. Hubardo maintains the trend but also brings back the crushing heaviness of albums like Choirs of the Eye and Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue, while even taking things even further on the heavy side of things, packing the album with an extra load of weird, twisted and mind-blowing heaviness and sonic evil we had not witnessed in their music ever before. Elements of Deathspell Omega, Gorguts, Beherit, and even Portal can be heard throughout the work, and all this horrific load of heaviness is once again beautifully wrapped in Kayo Dot’s notorious avant-jazz and free-form composition musical cocoon.
All Photos & Text by Darryl Reid
“Well that was fucking insane”.
These are first words heard in the dead silence immediately after Toronto’s Column of heaven destroyed a local venue here in Ottawa and I have to say that this is the best description ever to describe their live show . It’s not often that a band can make a room erupt into total chaos the moment the first chord is rung out. Column of heaven did just that with their genre defying style of music that combines elements of power violence (what does that even mean anymore?), Hardcore and various styles of Metal. Live they are scary good with the aforementioned ability to turn a venue upside down. I’ve seen them twice these pictures are a mix of those two shows.
I rarely fear for my equipment (camera flash etc) in a pit: but during column of heaven I was convinced this was the show my camera would get destroyed (fortunately; only my knee and not my camera got fucked up-we have free healthcare so fucked up knee is cheaper than fucked up camera).
Along with Absolute, Kremlin, School Jerks, S.H.I.T and Column of heaven: Toronto is representing some insanely good punk these days.
Dive into their large selection of recordings.
Featuring Genavieve Beaulieu of Menace Ruine and experimental musician James Hamilton, member of Column, Annihilist and Nebris (his latest project), Preterite is a band you should not miss. Following the release of their debut album, Pillar of Winds, the duo returns today with their sophomore full-length, From The Wells. What is interesting here is that Beaulieu and Hamilton leave behind the dense sonic soundscapes and retreat to a much more stripped down version of their music. Focused primarily on Beaulieu’s unreal voice and the acoustic guitar, From The Wells can be perceived as a minimalistic album.
Of course the excellent instrumentation that Hamilton provides is still present in Preterite’s music but seems to be contained. The minimalistic mist of sweet compositions is brought forward out of the darkness in “Edges of Nowhere” to craft the perfect setting for Beaulieu’s voice. Her vocals are enthralling, glorious to behold, offering redemption or despair to all who listen. The nice, peaceful melodies of the opening track give way to mystical dimensions that the band conjures with “Gleaming Escape”, with the ethereal vocals absorbing your very existence while the instrumentation is pushing you further and further into the depths of despair. Soon enough, an ocean of melancholy is rising through the slow progression of the title track, making the journey take a more introvert turn, awaking emotions and bringing back long forgotten memories. The sound is slowly hypnotizing you, while the bleak creations of Preterite are distorting the reality around you.
In 1960, American novelist John Steinbeck wrote:
“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox.”
Over the decades, Texas has produced a lot of great music, from thrashy 60s proto-punk in the form of the Zakary Thaks, to a large amount of formative and influential punk and postpunk in the form of bands like The Huns, Stickmen with Rayguns, MDC, the Big Boys, the Dicks, Scratch Acid, and Really Red — on up to World Burns to Death, and over to unique performers like the Reverend Horton Heat and outsider musician Daniel Johnston.
In the 1990s and in the past decade, a few Texas bands began exploring the sonic territory that acts like Current 93, Death in June, Fire + Ice, and others had opened up – a type of music that’s been called both “post-industrial” and “neofolk.” Verdandi, who were one of the first Texas bands to begin playing neofolk, hail from Houston. Awen are from the Dallas area, and Gabhar call Austin home. While Awen will be playing in Europe soon, both bands will be opening for Death in June’s show in Austin, Texas on September 14. American neofolk bands are still fairly rare, although groups like Cult of Youth and King Dude (both of whom have either worked with or have professed an admiration for Awen) and others like Wreathes are making up for America’s heretofore poor showing in the neofolk arena. So, while European acts like Rome, Osewoudt, and Of the Wand and the Moon still dominate, American neofolk — especially neofolk of any decent quality — is still relatively unusual. Given that fact, that Texas is home to at least two of the better US neofolk bands there is all the more remarkable.
An interview with Awen
Awen founder and singer Erin Powell was interviewed by Oliver in December, 2012.
Lux Interna’s there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun has been one of my favorite surprises of the year so far. Mixing the doom-isms of Nick Cave with the kind of tinkered Americana popularized by groups like 16 Horsepower, and adding a huge dose of rhythm, it dances instead of drones. I spoke to Kathryn Mary and Joshua Levi Ian via email as they traveled around Europe, and we talked about real and artificial space, inspiration vs. influence, and playing live. Enjoy.
Where have you been so far?
Kathryn: Right now I’m writing from Goteborg, Sweden. We’re currently living in Berlin, but have just been on the road a lot lately.
When did you move to Berlin?
K: We moved to Berlin last Autumn.