Friday, April 29, 2011

Jex Thoth - Live in Kunstverein

Well, little ones, I'm off for a few days into the wild, but this live set by the mighty Jex Thoth ought to tide you over until Monday. There's already a backlash against this type of metal, primarily among the no-fun kvlt kops, but we're not about to allow them to break the spell for us, are we?
Seperated at Birth

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roger Miller - Golden Hits

Howdy goddamn do! Hopefully all of my wonderful little Swamplings easily grasp one of the over-arching themes we deal with here in the Swamp: everything you've ever been told is a lie, unless there's a country song about it. Roger Miller was an ambitious young hillbilly who swiped a guitar from a traveling country singer and tried to figure out how to play it, correctly assuming that it was his only ticket out of his little doomed bullshit town.

Sure enough, he got caught and, rather going to jail, chose to join the army, where he simultaneously discovered speed and honed his defense against adversity by perfecting his hilarious but complex brand of country music. After many years of struggle he became Johnny Cash's speed dealer and was thusly capulted into stardom, eventually resulting in the erosion of his sharper, amphetamine-induced edges and then his famous soundtrack for Disney's Robin Hood. One would think that he would've peacefully died when his head exploded while driving a tiger around in his big-ass Cadillac, but he lived long enough to pay for the fifteen packs of cigarettes he smoked every day for fifty years.

Not to belabor the point, but I don't normally traffic in "Greatest Hits" albums in the Swamp. However, every single song on here is awesome and the individual albums tend to be full of filler and covers. Just listen to this, and keep your eye out next time you go out looking for something to help you forget the shame.
Atta Boy Girl

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When in doubt, post some Manilla Road! Here is the long-running metal underdogs' ferocious Poe-themed sixth album, Mystification. Straddling the thin line between traditional heavy metal and thrash, this record is just unbelievably thick, dense, packed with allegory, and darkly resonant. Another flawless gem from a criminally under-appreciated band.
Oh, Prince Prospero
All of your dreams
Fade with your last
Dying breath

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poly Styrene RIP

What a year already...RIP

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nikki Sudden and Rowland S. Howard - Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc

Here's another album of unlikely collaborators - Nikki Sudden, front man of the wildly underrated post-punks Swell Maps, and Rowland S. Howard, guitar player of The Birthday Party. Come to think of it, can you call a band post punk when they started in the early 70's? Proto-post-punk, does that work?
Nonetheless, no post-punk this; instead we have dirge-like acoustic jangling stabbed through with sinister two-note electrical stings from Howard, with each man trading off vocals. Not many lovey-dovey duets here, sadly. The atmosphere of dread is palpable, with much pregnant weight lurking between the sustained notes, and steadily-rising maddening percussion and ambient racket on certain tracks. Chilling.
Hello Wolf (Little Baby)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I don't know a whole lot about these Spanish psych-thugs but I sure as hell know that this album is a flat-out scorcher. Hints of Blue Cheer power-trio blues, sweet harmonies that remind me of The Move, some tasteful piano boogie, and a few genuinely strange moments all come together into one tight, slightly ESL platter providing a soundtrack equally suitable for fucking, fighting, or spiritual exploration.
Gooseberry Park

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin - Copy Cats

This overheated, bluesy album of duets from former New York Doll Johnny Thunders and the singer of the punk band Snatch (yeah, I've never heard of them either) seems to fit the hazy, bug speckled atmosphere in here right now. We have covers of Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Seeds, Elvis, The Shagri-Las, and many more. While this was produced right in the thickest, darkest part of the eighties, they're nary a gated snare, fake hand-clap, or cheesy synth on this album - instead we have gritty horns, lush strings, and ambiance for miles. Thunders is in fine voice, tackling these oldies like the anti-Buster Poindexter, and keeping up with the lovely Ms. Paladin seems to be propelling him every step of the way. One foot in the boroughs, one foot in the swamp.
She wants to mambo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

African Sixties Garage vol. 1

Some great stuff on the turntable today, a compilation of sub-Saharan garage from the era where American fifties rock and sixties punk, along with British invasion sounds, began to filter out of the radios of white colonizers and out into greater Africa. There's little information on these bands, and the sounds vary greatly from songs almost indistinguishable from their northern hemisphere counterparts to crazy fusions of local rhythms and patois with off-kilter surf and psych. Twenty three songs, and not a dud among them. This is in the same league as the mighty Nuggets and Back From the Grave comps, but almost from another planet.
No Money No Honey

Monday, April 18, 2011

Corpsickle - Zombie

After an unexplained absence of three days I return to you with only this disgusting zombie metal record as commiseration. Really quite foul and perverted, this one, full of splattery sounds and lapses in taste. What a weekend...
Undead Transvestite Rising

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trouble - The Skull

Patience, little ones! I must exit the Swamp forthwith, but earlier today I found a copy of this seminal doom masterpiece on the cheap and I've just listened to it twice in a row. I know this blog thing is frequently full of rushed excuses and lazy half-explanation, especially lately, but your humble narrator has been unreliable from the beginning, so let's not get too upset, eh? This album ought to throw your own individual flaws into sharp relief, helpfully deflecting all criticism away from me.
The Truth Is, What Is

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer

I don't have much time tonight and, not coincidentally, little to say about this excellent album except that it may be the first true example of the "Gothenburg sound" made famous by At the Gates and In Flames. Dark Tranquility didn't quite reach the level of fame as those bands, but this classic clearly places them at the forefront of the genre they helped to create. The slightly goofy lyrics add a touch of humor and absurdity to a formula usually dominated by angst and self-seriousness, helping this album maintain distinction among Dark Tranquility's otherwise more stoic catalog.
A bolt of blazing gold

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet - The Essential Sounds From The Far East

Perhaps it's a bit lazy to post two Japanese psych-freak bands in a row, but suppress your internet-bred automatic scorn response and just listen to this fucking thing. Contemporaries with luminary ronin like Guitar Wolf and Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, DMBQ are as gnarly and crazy as either of those bands without sounding anything like them. Heavier than a subway tube full of sarin gas, and wilder than a sake-drunk Godzilla staggering home and farting fire, this album is a hybrid of a more abstract MC5/BellRays joint and a lucid mid-period Boredoms record. Pound pound, scream, pound pound, scream, freak out, wah wah, scream scream, pound. Just like that, the album whirls like a massive wheel, threatening to hop the rail and crash directly into your forehead. Brace yourself.
Mo-Ya Mo-Ya

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shinki Chen and His Friends

Japanese guitar mutant Shinki Chen has appeared here before with his band Speed, Glue, and Shinki, but this is his first album, recorded under his own name while he was working on a Japanese production of the musical "Hair" (think about that for a second) with some help from his colleagues and associates. The opening number is a bit of a tease, an ambient drone number that could've been an Earth b-side; after this the album fully lurches into motion, rattling out of the speakers like a transmission from a lost colony of funky, acid-fried androids driven mad from an eternity drifting in a derelict space helmet with nothing but Hendrix records and millions of cigarettes to pass the time. Look into his eyes, people - do those crimson orbs look like windows into sanity?
Freedom Of A Mad Paper Lantern

Friday, April 8, 2011

Methuselah - The Sleeper in the Abyss

I was initially quite overjoyed to discover this obscure slab of funereal doom based upon several lesser-known Lovecraftian works, but upon opening my mind to its dark whispers the horror of my situation was thrown into sharp relief. Paced as slowly as the passage of aeons, littered with cruel, unintelligible voices calling obscenities in forgotten languages, framed by seemingly random notes plucked out on dusty, detuned piano, and hinting unsubtly at a universe of more horrid things, The Sleeper in the Abyss is the last recorded testament of British hermit Methuselah. As to his whereabouts I cannot speak, but surely he must've been in the final stages of syphilitic insanity by the time of this recording, for it contains nary a shred of human warmth or sympathy. A cold, bleak void yawns outward from my headphones and into my ears.
Ecce Lex

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fuck You All

Moving right along, here's a fairly recent album from Norse stalwarts Carpathian Forest, still cursing the name of god from their snow-blanketed mountainside encampment. Following a similar path to fellow pilgrims like Darkthrone and Impaled Nazarene, recent years find them devolving from haughty black metal fops into crusty old hill trolls, traveling backwards though time from Bathory and Discharge towards their common ancestor, Motörhead. Bits and pieces of each of these crop up in each song, and vocalist Nattefrost sounds like five different kinds of freak, echoing around through the songs like a berserker run amok in a church in the middle of the night.
Evil Egocentrical Existencialism

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Karen Black

Named for the actress known for her roles in everything from Easy Rider to Spinal Tap to Pootie Tang, and fronted by horror and porn star Kembra Pfahler, Karen Black (later known as The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) was a wild art-damaged punk performance art troupe more than an actual band. Their live shows were dominated by body paint, nudity, props, and general chaos and thus the albums tend to be soundtracks that lose some impact out of context. This early seven inch record was released before they had fully developed and so contains two primitive, snarling abstract songs played by barely competent budding musicians. With some Dead Milkmen style in-song banter, Lou Reed speak-singing, Plasmatics power-plod, and Throbbing Gristle scrape, this is a good way to flay your mind open on one of those boring suburban nights. Could be the soundtrack to Kenneth Anger's Grease.
Cleaner than what?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

RIP Scott Columbus


Monday, April 4, 2011


You can read my previous post on the Wrangler Brutes here. This is their LP, released shortly before their premature breakup. I haven't much time to expound on this one, but it's a sorely needed kick in the balls for your ears.
Things get fruity

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Last Emperor - Music, Magic, Myth

I suppose I should be impervious to the close-mindedness and xenophobia in the metal community after two decades, but it still strikes a nerve whenever I hear someone bitching about "that rap crap" - not only is it stupid to dismiss a form of music whose underground is as diverse and thriving as heavy metal's, but it often smacks of barely-suppressed racism as well. Seriously, judging an entire genre by what you hear on the radio is just as reductive as saying all heavy metal sounds like and is a valid as the faddish deathcore clones and seemingly unkillable nu-metal knuckledraggers that represent heavy metal to the straight world.
Enough sermonizing: let's get down to it. Long-time Philly underground champ Last Emperor has made a niche for himself weaving dense, allegorical rhymes on a wide variety of subjects, from cryptozoology to comic books, from metaphorical rap tyranny to literal anti-fascism, from wizards to womens. This album is thick with jokes and references, serious-minded at its core but wrapped in layers of strangeness. Do yourself a favor and stretch those brain cells out a bit - too much death metal makes your mind mushy.
Hold On

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magic Lantern - At the Mountains of Madness

Remember way back when I was debating making a weekly feature of concept albums based upon At the Mountains of Madness? Well, it's probably a good thing I didn't, as I would have run out of material in a few months and my ability to consistently post anything has waxed and waned with the seasons to the point where I would have forgotten or given up before long anyway. So, in the spirit of keeping it loose-limbed and addle-brained, here's a wild one by psych rock ensemble Magic Lantern. I really know nothing about these guys other than the fact that they're from California, they sound sorta like Hawkwind, and they're probably hipsters but since they don't pretend to play heavy metal nobody gives a shit. This is two ten-plus minute songs that reverberate like the tiny army of UFOs buzzing around inside my skull, futilely attempting to escape back into their own parallel universe.
Oh, and presumably you're aware of this situation, but are prepared to wait strange aeons...
Related Posts with Thumbnails