Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Knock the Rok!

Here's another underrated gem from Roky Erickson's back catalog: a collection of loose, improvised, fragmentary covers of oldies, recorded as a warm-up for the band The Aliens in preparation for the seminal album The Evil One. Never intended for release, the songs contained herein are sloppy, full of missed notes, sung off key, and simultaneously hilarious and poignant. The opening track, for instance, is "Teenager in Love," but by the third verse Roky is stealing hubcaps and lamenting wistfully "Why must I be a teenager in jail?" Full of false starts, cracked falsetto, and between-song bloviating, this one is perhaps for fans only, but those Roky lovers among you should lap it up lustily.
Bumblebee! Bumblebee! Zombie! Zombie!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rikki Ililonga - Soweto

Rikki Ililonga was a pioneer of the sound retroactively known as Zam-rock, fusing African rhythm and consciousness with psych rock, soul, and funk. His group Musi-O-Tunya was debatably the first to play in the style and perhaps the most varied and ambitious as well. Rikki possesses a sweet high tenor similar to Curtis Mayfield or Jimmy Cliff, and like those men his honeyed voice is used to convey dark, fiery political conviction and righteous anger, as well as more reflective self-examination and the occasional song of love. Crucial, heartbreaking work from a mysterious visionary, Soweto is a monument to a man who should have taken a seat in the pantheon of greats but remains mostly unheard and unknown.
You Got the Fire

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nips - All the Time in the World

I've got to make this a quick one as well, but let me just say that this single by the Nips, a.k.a. the Nipple Erectors, features future walking cautionary tale Shane MacGowan of the Pogues on vocals, as well as band members who would go on to be in such diverse projects as the Pretenders, Skrewdriver, the Damned, and Culture Club. Blending the standard '77 punk sensibility with hints of northern soul, Animals-ish R&B, and nary a whiff of Irish ballardry, these two songs are over before you can brush your teeth. Astute Swamplings may recognize the b-side from that Drags record I posted a while back, and those with brain cells to kill might want to try Googling "nips all the time" just for wheezy, whiskey-induced giggles.
Don't Mess Around With Me

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pretty Toney

Too busy to deliberate and bloviate tonight, dear ones, so tide yourselves over with this audio self-help book from Ghostface.
Nah mean?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Varghkoghargasmal - Drowned in Lakes

Here's another strange one for you, a one-man black metal band from Germany that's equal parts madness and beauty. Varghkoghargasmal plays what is referred to as Wooden Metal, which would seem to be a mutation of atmospheric black metal similar to Swamp favorites Forgotten Land, but with a bent towards surf guitar, cheesy haunted house keyboards, and drums that sound as if they were laid down arbitrarily and without regard to which song they belong to, or what tempo they should be. It's pretty baffling, to be honest, but quite tasty for fans of unintentional gibbering brilliance created by the mad and retarded. Hints of Dead Milkmen, Men's Recovery Project, Sunn O))), Screaming Lord Sutch, the Mummies, Old Skull, and other sublime abortions.
Taste Of Orodrir

Friday, March 25, 2011


Woof, Swamplings! Holy Shit! Just freshly back from the bar, humoring a geographically proximate birthday boy, who wanted to go see a "party rock and roll" band. I lasted perhaps thirty minutes and three double shots into an indescribably awful "rap"/screamo hybrid abortion before slithering out the back door and into the comfort of my little happy place. I'm aware that this style of music exists, though my experience is limited to brief horrified fragments from Metal Inquisition videos. However, I was not aware the phenomena had encroached this far into Swamp territory, let alone performed by grown-ass men visibly older than myself. Horror!

As a psychic enema, let us peruse this nasty and inscrutable album by one-man band Bob Log III, late of the mighty Doo Rag. A sloppy cocktail of blues, garage-rock, titty obsession, noise, jumpsuits, vaccuum tubes, and cheap whiskey, Mr. Log III's second album comes on like the runt of a pack of giant squid left alone to figure out Hasil Adkins tunes on King Buzzo's down-tuned-to-oblivion guitar with only a stack of Barely Legals and yesterday's bacon and eggs as sustenance for all eternity, captured by Richard Nixon's Oval Office tape recorder and shot into space. Much more sensible than what the kids listen to these days, yes?
Clap Your Tits

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Not much clever to say about this recent vampire flick or its accompanying dirge-filled soundtrack, aside from the fact that I enjoyed them both and frequently spin this one in the dark of night to facilitate weird new states of consciousness, which I shall promptly begin now.
Fermentation Tank

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hooker 'N' Heat

Somewhat similar to the psychedelic albums produced by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and other blues men in the sixties, Hooker 'N' Heat is the collaboration between seasoned journeyman John Lee Hooker and upstart hippie blues nerds Canned Heat. Unlike many of those albums, this one is a natural fit, and sounds and feels like a natural collaboration than a capitulation for cash. Hooker's loose, improvised style was always a bit psychedelic in it's own right, and bolstered by sidemen content to follow the wanderings of his mind and guitar, the man sounds electrified. This album is a meandering, lazy, subtly sinister ride.
Meet Me in the Bottom

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yyrkoon - Occult Medicine

There's always a little something special about French metal, especially of the black and death varieties. Yyrkoon is no exception: they weild a hybrid style somewhat akin to, say, Anaal Nathrakh, but with an added twist of 90's-style death-n-roll à la Entombed and some nutso ESL lyrics. Lazy comparisons and genre-milking aside, my main attraction is of course to their Lovecraftian mindset and commitment to madness. Occult Medicine is a set of songs based around Herbert West, Re-Animator - both the short novel and the series of films. My only minor gripes with this album are the too-clean production and lack of dynamics, but this is more than made up for by the ferocity of the playing and the whirling chaos of the songwriting. Their next album, Unhealthy Opera, is a full descent into Lovecraftian cosmic horror, but tonight the splattery spray of fluids and concrete-muffled night terrors of this one just felt right.
Their heavy steps
And their twisted steps
Awakening a vision of terror
Freezing each human’s brains

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reino Ermitaño

Tonight we require a bit of soothing and hypnosis to focus long enough on this flickering screen to be able to adequately communicate with my Swamplings, and conversely we had already planned to post this strange album by Peru's doom coven Reino Ermitaño. The immediate thing this brings to mind may be Acid King, as it is fairly straightforward traditional doom metal, with female vocals and entwined, melodic guitar. But whereas Acid King feels like a walk in the woods with a handle of whiskey, this album is more of a siren-beckoned stumble into black oblivion, nudging it toward the Jex Thoth/Blood Ceremony camp. Lyrical themes - as far as my rusty Spanish can be relied upon - include isolation (the band name means "Hermit Kingdom"), lucid dreaming, and witchery. This is their first album of three, with the promise of another this year, so keep the fires burning and don't forget to feed the toads, dearies.
Profundidad De Las Sombras

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cold Fact

Mysterious 60's hate-folkie Rodriguez put out two albums in the early seventies that rivaled Dylan at his pissiest in their sneering aristocratic contempt for both the establishment and the fading flower-power counterculture. As peace and love give way to madness and burnout, and the American populace learns to hate its leaders, Rodriguez hovers over it all in his black bubble of spite, singing songs of subtle disdain, barely-disguised loathing, and finally outright screaming profanity (not necessarily in that order, but it is possible to re-align the tracklisting along this arc if one needs to angry up one's blood). Sonically, this album is about 10% heavier than Cat Stevens for 70% of its length, 30% heavier than The 13th Floor Elevators 20% of the time, and 50% heavier than Blue Cheer's Outsideinside for the last 10%, the seething volcano of proto-metal "Only Good For Conversation." Got that, hippie?
My statue has a concrete heart
But you're the coldest bitch I know

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crime - First Blood

Semi-legitimate seven inch release containing three songs unearthed towards the end of the eighties on famous bootleg label Punk Vault. The three songs present are among the best they ever recorded. Crime are Swamp veterans - hooky, menacing, coke-fueled ur-punk of the most vile breed. In other words, I absolutely love them. Weirdly, this seems to have been produced by Huey Louis.
Rocking Weird

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Castle Freak Soundtrack

While cited less often than Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, From Beyond, or Dagon, Castle Freak is nonetheless essential viewing for the Lovecraftian student. Loosely based on the old boy's story The Outsider, it is a tale of secrecy, revenge, and suppressed rage. Fans of those other movies need know only two things: Jeffrey Combs plays the lead and Richard Band did the soundtrack.
unclean, uncanny, unwelcome, abnormal, and detestable

Monday, March 14, 2011

Juju Claudius

Well, all those predictions turned to turnips at midnight, didn't they? As usual.

I'll be honest with you, little one, Billy Childish is one of my heroes, way up there with Swamp Dogg, Otis Redding, and Wendy O. Williams. It's easy to be cynical about somebody that's not only a prolific songwriter and musician, who's appeared on more than a hundred LP's and countless 7 inch records, but who also rounds out his resume as a compulsive painter, poet, novelist, vegetable farmer, mustache connoisseur, haberdashery critic and snappy dresser, but all snarkiness and boredom dissolves in the face of the man's humble, mad vision.

I'm far too drunk and simple-minded to summarize his lifetime of work in a few unruly sentences, but: Spoiled blowhard Damien Hirst debuts his £50 million diamond-encrusted skull, "For the Love of God." Upon learning of the 16 year old street artist "Cartrain" who's used the image of said skull in some cut-and-paste street art, Hirst sues and wins a measly £200 from the poor kid. Billy Childish immediately steps up to the plate and paints a numerous series of "paintings" on wood that just say "Damien Hirst" in big ugly block letters, not only paying the young artist's fine but also managing to slightly re-align British copyright law in favor of the kids.

Frankly, I could go on and on, but let's at least take a moment to listen to this album, yeah? It's a bit quieter than his usual work with such gnarly bands as Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, and the Buff Medways. It relies on a handful of well-chosen covers of Hank Williams, Slim Harpo, Jimmy Reed, and the old reliable Public Domain. It's some punk blues country righteousness distinguished by taste and dignity.
Bring Me Water

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Nothing but chaos on this end of the Swamp, tender saplings, which means I can only post during sporadic intervals. What this means for you, the reader, is several posts in a row refreshingly free of commentary (at least until we can gather our resources). Thusly, I leave you this album until normal gibberish is resumed. Wail amongst yourselves.
Hear the angels sing

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Back Soon

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thou Shalt Suffer - Into the Woods of Belial

Thou Shalt Suffer was the pre-Emperor death metal band of Ihsahn, Ildjarn, and Samoth. This compilation contains their demo, 7" EP, and a live set, all recorded in 1991, just before the shift from death metal into black. Consequently this group gets little love from die-hard black metal nerds and is rarely held up as an example of classic old-school death metal, either. Sad, that is, because the material here is pure, soul-snuffing Lovecraftian foulness. Hints of their future direction crop up during the intro, various gothic keyboard flourishes, and, in the case of Ildjarn, the gritty, hissing sound quality. Thou Shalt Suffer eventually became an ambient/drone side project for Ihsahn before he struck out under his own name - look for the album Somnium if that sounds like your cup of tea, but be warned there is little in common with this.
I seek the path of obscurity

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tem Eyos Ki

This is the only full length recording from Swamp veterans Tem Eyos Ki, and sadly their death knell as well. Wildly ambitious and weirder than anything they had done up to this point, the album branched off from their Martian-punk Nintendo Maidenisms into doom metal, folk, funeral dirges, grind, and all manner of unclassifiable strangeness. Unfortunately the album was hampered by a watery, uneven mix with the vocals too loud and the guitars muted and thin. This does little to dampen my enthusiasm, though, as the album is positively brimming with ideas and beauty and hair-raising moments of creepiness. There is no record anywhere that sounds like this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Scum of the Earth

Upon reading the news, earlier today, of the possible Shaggs biopic in the works, I realized I hadn't posted anything from the strange underworld of so-called "outsider" music in a bit. I dislike the catch-all term, though it's less back-handed than "idiot savant music," which I've used upon occasion. Nonetheless, I am an aficionado of the secluded, self-contained artists who make music seemingly influenced by nobody and intended only for themselves. Such is the case, to a certain degree, with ham-fisted garage punk group Captain 9's and the Knickerbocker Trio. They don't sound like anybody else, their songs are simplistic and blunt to the point of being potentially brain-damaging, and they are at war with the world. Lyrical themes involve revenge, violence, soured romance, fat fetishism, being lazy and smelly, and two (count 'em) songs about wanting to be a fireman. Oh, and a twisted cover of "Yummy Yummy Yummy" about drinking blood. The approach is all Incredible Hulk, but the soul is pure Ignatius J. Reilly.
Goddammit I'm Pissed

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sodom - In the Sign of Evil

Straddling the razorwire line between first wave black metal and the burgeoning thrash movement, this early classic finds the band exploring purer Bathory/Venom territory than the nuclear-war-themed albums they would soon release, pure occultism. As much as I like those later works, and ignoring from the fact that they would fit better within the thematic orbit of this blog, I just love this one too much not to post it. Far more primitive than the sound Sodom would come into eventually, this possesses a croaky, echoing ambiance that whispers sweet blasphemies to my dark and mutinous little heart. Plus, we get a nuclear anthem at the end, the immortal "Burst Command Til War."
I turn the cross upside down
and read Satanic Bible with fucking grown [sic]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ahulabrum - Magonia

Strange weather outside tonight. Pressure drop, red skies, hot winds. Ominous.

West Virginia's mysterious black noise experiment Ahulabrum consists more of ghostly signals from the stars than it does of traditional earth notions of "music." Ham radio transmissions, humming telephone wires, and phantom vibrations play as much of a part as the guitar or vocals or muffled, subliminal drums. Each song is based on a real-life close encounter, and will reward the diligent researcher with shocking revelations. This is genuinely unnerving art, helping put in perspective the tiny speck of light we circle around, surrounded by oceans of unending blackness and unfathomable horror.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

D.O.A. - War on 45

Possibly my favorite record from one of my favorite punk bands, this no-filler 12 inch EP is a focused blast of righteous anti-war venom (and, uh, "Let's Fuck"). Eight songs, including covers of the Dils and Edwin Starr's classic funk monolith "War," which sounds surprisingly non-dorky in the hands of these pasty Canadians.
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