Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on…..so in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.
There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………
The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
Niche – Heading East
Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
Dilly Dally – Sore
The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
Robert Forster – Songs To Play
Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
Esmerine – Lost Voices
Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
Vienna Ditto – Circle
JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
Ken Mode – Success
Dead to Dying World – Litany
Myrkur – M
The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
Ought – Sun Coming Down
Big Brave – Au De La
The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
Alif – Aynama -Rtama
Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine (Expanded)
ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
Flies On You – Etcetera
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
There is a veritable cornucopia of new music of the death/doom metal ilk around at the moment. The new Myrkur album set the bar pretty high but this one takes matters several notches higher. Now then dear reader if you are thinking I don’t like that doom/death stuff, don’t be put off by the genre classification because I think this one might pique your interest as it’s not your usual chaps with long hair and lots of tattoos howling at the moon. Indeed it is a far more complex and rich slab of impressive music.
Dead To A Dying World are from Dallas, Texas and employ a fairly unique combination of instruments for this genre, most notably a viola, and an amalgamation of differing vocal styles. They first emerged in March 2011 with an eponymous debut which marked their territory fairly clearly. The initial style Incorporated elements of doom, crust, and black metal with a cello and upright-bass driven sound that managed to be simultaneously brutal and beautiful. There have been some subtle changes for this new album with the cello being replaced by a viola, the upright bass being removed, and the structure of the pieces becoming more complex.
At 73 minutes the second release demands a degree of attention , four of the six tracks exceed 14 minutes and you will need to set aside some time to be able to fully appreciate the content. If you have not heard the first album I suggest you do so in order to appreciate the band developing it’s approach.
My immediate mental headline on listening to the album was “God Speed You Black Emperor on steroids”. It has the epic post-rock feel of Montreal’s finest, utilises string instruments in a similar fashion, and delivers complex musical pieces, of many parts, rather than basic tunes. Another comparison has to be Fucked Up both with the combination of vocal delivery and the structure and length of the material. Having noted those similarities I must be clear that this stands on its own merits.
The musical pieces move from reflective choral moods to all-out aural bombardment with ease. The length of the tracks allows the scope for variation which was not apparent on the first album ,which was more about post-rock with doom vocals with leaps into complex familiar riffing. In the intervening period the band appear to have developed as writers, offering a wider palette of styles in delivering their mammoth slabs of sound. There is a chance that this could all become a little grandiose, too epic, and overblown, but this band have reined in the excesses that generally apply to “metal” and provide fascinating aural stimulation.
The title Litany implies repetition and recurring formulae and indeed there is some of that but even more so there is tangible organic development with echoes of the styles of the likes of Isis, Sunn 0))), Earth and the aforementioned bands above being utilised.
The core of the band is
Mike Yeager – Vocals
Heidi Moore – Vocals
Eva Vonne – Viola
Sean Mehl – Guitar
Gregg Prickett – Guitar
James Magruder – Bass guitar
Cyrus Meyers – Drums
This is enhanced for this recording with additional vocals by Brett Campbell (Pallbearer) , Daron Beck (Pinkish Black) , Jamie Myers-Waits (Sabbath Assembly), and Sarah Alexander, the latter also featuring on Hammer Dulcimer.
Litany will be released in multiple formats, the digital and gatefold CD on October 16th, and a deluxe 2xLP shortly afterwards. Gilead Media will handle the CD release, and combine forces with Alerta Antifascista Records and Tofu Carnage Records for the 2xLP version. This album is for those who truly appreciate the aesthetic value of deluxe packaging with heavyweight 200-gram vinyl with both Gold with Black Splatter and Black pressings for North America and Gold inside Milky Clear with Bone Splatter and Black pressings for Europe, it features heavyweight spot-varnish printed jackets with foil-embossed graphics.
This is a remarkable release marking a strong progression for this area of music and is highly recommended,