The Toxic's "Horse and Director" was always one of the most striking jams on the now ancient Prae-Kraut Pandemonium comps. "Horse and Director" was included on Volume 6. At the time, early to mid '90s, those compilation albums were a bit of a groundswell here in the USofA ,exposing us garage nerds to a ton of unheard, this-side-of-the-Iron-Curtain, Euro-beat. Right, well, last week I was stoked to find a copy on offer, so I bought it, my Xmas gift to myself I reckon. This was, when making comp tapes for all my friends at the time, always the lead-off track. It's prolly one of my most fave sike tracks...it's got everything...harmonies, ploddy, dirving bass, Eastern-flavored guitar licks...and that "I Can See For Miles" rave-up opening It's a perfect example of the jump from freakbeat to sike.
Yes, great track, but I know nothing about the group, other than that the record was a local, private-press single in Germany.
Fuckin’ a. Year-end lists are always difficult to make, and if they’re not, you just haven’t been listening. While wading through a desk full of killer albums, there are certainly the ones that stand out amongst others and are worth mentioning: Exhumed’s long awaited return, All Guts No Glory, Seattle blackened death metallers Book of Black Earth’s tribute to Swedish punk The Cold Testament, Disma’s skull-pounding debut full length Towards the Megalith, to name a few, but like all streamlined year-end lists, there’s really only room for five.
Now if I were to truly go by amount of listens alone, my top album of 2011 would have to be a record that didn’t even come out this year, but was reissued by Earache. Woods 4: The Green Album by Northern Ontario doom/post black metal quartet Woods of Ypres easily topped my most played list. I have to take a break from this one, though, as it’s difficult for me to hear the lyrics, “Life is just pain and piss/It’s nothing that I will miss,” being sung in the deep Peter Steele-esque baritone voice of Andrew Gold, considering the 31-year-old vocalist was tragically killed in a car accident just one week ago.
But I digress. Now going by the somewhat draconian year-end list rules set in stone by music journalists worldwide, I must push forward and choose wisely. Here goes:
5.) Benighted: Asylum Cave: From the abrupt yet familiar “What’s Up Doc” of Bugs Bunny that starts off this record to the lightning-fast blast beats of Kevin Foley and heinously unsettling pig squeal vocals of Julien Truchan, this French five-piece surely live up to the name of the genre they so proudly rep: brutal death metal. While at times it approaches death core territory, their chugga chug breakdowns are tasteful and never cringe worthy, unlike the Impending Dooms and Job for a Cowboys of today.
4.) Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich: After a few albums that really didn’t stand out much, Polish death metal crew Vader returned in 2011 with a meaty dose of old-school death, filled with memorable thrash-influenced riffs and fist-pounding anthems. Nothing too technical here, just pure, righteous, death metal awesomeness.
3.) Wolves In The Throne Room: Celestial Lineage: So this is the end of Wolves in the Throne Room's three-part concept album, which began with Two Hunters and continued with Black Cascade?? If so, it's gone out in great fashion, as this record combines all my favorite of their elements—the moody, dark ambience and their melodic-but-fierce brand of Weakling-like black metal, while keeping things precise and tight enough not to bore me. I admit, I have pretty bad musical ADD. The seven minute-long opus “Subterranean Initiation” is quite possibly my favorite single song of the year.
This story has been updated since its original publication.
Continue for the top two picks...
I always think that New Year's Eve is a night to spend at a house party, one with old friends and a few new ones to make. I am stuck home tonight. Let me live vicariously through you. What are you doing tonight, and what's gonna be the best part about it?
If you're going to a house party tonight and want a bottle to walk in the front door with, fret not: State liquor stores are open until 8 pm.
NYE Bender: John Tejada, Bit Funk, Lucine, Sean Majors vs. Gene Lee, Blondzie
(Neumos) See Data Breaker.
Metal Chocolates, Don't Talk to the Cops, Katie Kate, OC Notes
(Chop Suey) See feature.
Andre Nickatina, Eli aka Smoov-E, Mumbis, Mike P, Chillest Illest, DJ Prince
(Studio Seven) I haven't listened to Fillmoe legend Andre Nickatina since 2004's Bullets, Blunts N Ah Big Bankroll, which included a Last of the Mohicans–sampling beat, one of Mac Dre's last guest spots (RIP), and more of Nicky T's typically outlandish rhymes about cocaine, blunts, cocaine blunts, and liking/eating food items ranging from candied yams to spicy prawns. But judging from the sheer amount of kilos, Swishers, and stripper butts present in his latest video for "Call the Dealer," not much has changed for the 41-year-old formerly known as Dre Dog. Nickatina headlining this New Year's Eve show at Sodo's perfectly grimy Studio Seven can only mean that this will be one wild-ass night. Expect at least a few clenched jaws and sniffling noses in the crowd, and remember, kids: Don't do drugs that are harder than you. MIKE RAMOS
"The Rolling Stones," Night Beats, Country Lips
(Comet) At their best (from 1966 to 1973), the Rolling Stones were one of the greatest rock bands ever. (Now you know.) Seattle tribute band/supergroup "The Rolling Stones" have reached an exalted point where they've replicated their idols' swaggering panache, lubricious groove mechanics, and melodic bonhomie so well that even Mick and Keith would have to recognize their mastery. Know this: In 2011, "The Rolling Stones" at least equal the real deal. Speaking of swaggering panache, local garage-sike zealots Night Beats almost do for 13th Floor Elevators' debut album what tonight's headliners do for the Stones. But they do it with true-believer fire and they originate from Texas, like Roky and company, so it's cool. Country Lips? I see what you did there. DAVE SEGAL
Starfucker, Champagne Champagne
(Crocodile) At the very least, Starfucker cover Madonna's "Burning Up" with more finesse and sincerity than Ciccone Youth. Thankfully, there's more to the Portland group than that modest feat. They've worked their way up to near the top of the modern electro-pop heap with lovingly contoured, sugar-spun ditties that beguile with a kind of effortless tunefulness. Leader Joshua Hodge's breathy near-falsetto wafts above buoyant songs that never mean any harm but rather only wish to charm and disarm. Starfucker's shiny moodiness makes for archetypal, contemplative dance songs geared for folks born in the '90s. DAVE SEGAL
The Vera Project is just a few thousand dollars away from raising their $40,000 fundraising goal, so if you're feeling generous and have a little extra cash, head over to theveraproject.org/donate to help them out. All donations are tax-deductible, too.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
There's surely no shortage of ragers to choose from this New Year's Weekend, but in case you haven't committed just yet and your musical tastes lean more toward Megadeth than Morrissey, here are a couple gigs to consider.
Evangelist Farewell Show: Tonight at Galway Arms
I’ve always admired three-piece metal bands. While a good majority of death metal, hardcore, grindcore and black metal bands feature four plus members, often times with a vocalist whose sole contribution is vomit-like barks, it takes a certain amount of talent to consistently shred both rhythm and lead guitar parts while simultaneously singing/screaming in time. It’s no easy feat, but for the past eight years, local progressive death-metall-y power trio Evangelist has done just, all the while adding their oddball sense of humor to the mix (some song titles: "Chicken in a Bag," "Fondled By a Woodchipper," and "Sandblasted Beauty"). Tonight, Evangelist will be laid to rest in a triumphant manner, as the band promises two completely different 45-minute sets during their farewell gig at the Galway Arms in the U District. The performance will be recorded and re-leased posthumously. While tonight’s show is free, any and all donations will be given to Doctors Without Borders.
Sanctuary, A Lesson In Chaos, Fallen Angels, Reciful, Elk's Blood: Saturday, December 31st at El Corazon
Remember a few months back when the breakup of longtime Northwest mainstays Nevermore was announced? Well, while guitarist Jeff Loomis is busy recording his new solo album with 7 Horns 7 Eyes guitarist Aaron Smith, vocalist Warrel Dane and bassist Jim Sheppard have reunited their late '80s project, Sanctuary and will be headlining El Corazon Saturday night. Show up early for a crust-caked dose of dirty thrashing death metal from the likes of local heathens Elk’s Blood.
Word on the street is that he also likes Kid Dynamite.
Also, while Spotify has a lot of music, I couldn't find some of the tunes so here are links to them via bandcamp and YouTube and such, should you want to supplement the playlist:
"Somebody I Used to Know," by Gotye
"No Hands" by Wakka Flocka Flame
"You Let Me Down" by Joel Plaskett
"Ungirthed" by Purity Ring
"Our Last Shot" by Groenland
"Breath Clad in Happiness" by Envy
"Huzzah!" and "The Last Huzzah!" by Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
"Numbnuts" by Nacho Picasso
I submit Limp Bizkit's Keeping Up With the Kardashians:
Please submit your choice for Worst Album/Cover Combo of the Year in the comments section.
Still trying to decide where to be at midnight on Saturday? Here are just some of your options:
Produced by State v. Pan, Free Sheep Foundation, Canoe Social Club, and Vital 5 and featuring music and performances by Jherek Bischoff, DJ Darek Mazzone, Gabriel Teodros, Buffalo Madonna, Sten Skogen, King Dro, and many more. Ticket charge includes complimentary food and drink. See Stranger Suggests for more information. Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave, strangertickets.com, 9 pm, $100.
Jai Ho! New Year's Eve Bollywood & Bhangra Dance Party
Featuring DJ Armaan, DJ Dekilla, and DJ UV. Hosted by Prashant. Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave S, jaihoparty.com, 9 pm, $30-$50.
New Year's Eve Metal Extravaganza
With Sanctuary, A Lesson in Chaos, Fallen Angels, Reficul, and Elk's Blood. VIP tickets are available. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094, 8 pm, $30-$60, all ages.
Good's NYE Celebration
With music from Four Color Zack and Henski, hosted by Michael/Jordan, and decorations by Rock Paper Sketch. Includes a champagne toast at midnight. HG Lodge, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666, hglodge.com, 10 pm, $20.
New Year's Eve at Linda's
Linda's and DJ Hank Rock celebrate the New Year all night long with a New York countdown at 9 pm, a Chicago countdown at 10 pm, and a Mazatlan countdown at 11 pm. And as always, there's no cover. (And New Year's Day brunch starts at 10 am on Sunday.) Linda's Tavern, 707 E Pine St, 325-1220, 9 pm, free.
Not good enough for you? See 93 more things to do here!
UPDATE: There is another thing you can do! Somehow we neglected to include West Seattle gem Skylark in the print edition, and they've having a sexy, sexy New Year's Eve with Westside Burlesque Review. Here are the details:
The talents of Whisper De Corvo, Mr. Bawdy, and pick-up girl Kitty Kat are joined by a rotation of local burlesque, cabaret, and variety performers.
Past performers have included Jacqueline Hyde, Ava Raqs, Madisun Avenue, Scandal From Bohemia, Persephony Illiri, Dahlia St. Cyr, Chesty La Rue, Boom Boom L'Roux and many more.
Expect talented performances, naughty games, and interesting raffle prizes.
See more info here.
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Open Country Joy
(Tractor) See Stranger Suggests.
Pierced Arrows, Don't, Dude York, the Bermudas
(Funhouse) See preview.
NYE Bender: Treasure Fingers, Pezzner vs. Hanssen, Flat Black, BGeezy
(Neumos) See Data Breaker.
A Toast to Brandenburg: Seattle Baroque Orchestra
(Town Hall) After the stuff of a year has piled up in your system, you want to hear clean, crisp, cleansing baroque music. This is the music of Bach and Telemann. The anti-Tchaikovsky. The anti-Messiah, even. Every voice of every violin, flute, harpsichord, and recorder can be heard. Nothing clumps or jells, everything speaks declaratively. It will not only sound good, it will feel good. JEN GRAVES
Ezell's Chicken, Philly Fevre, that's all i eat...
Props to Jon Jon, this is Av's best looking video yet, after, what, a dozen other great looking ones? The rap video essentials are all in place here; just check the dude whipping a one-of-one matte brown Lamborghini Murcielago through Pioneer Square, as the squarebutts of Seattle stay sleeping on him. This is not what could be filed by a numbnuts as "conscious rap", nor is it "party rap"—it's rap-rap, of the hardcore banged-out variety. I don't love everything I download at DatPiff, and I don't like about half the local shit I hear, but I've heavily fucked with every Avatar tape for the last 4 years. The Humble Villain coming soon.
Chad Lamont Butler, better known to the music world as Pimp C, died in 2007 in an LA hotel room from respiratory depression due to an accidental overdose of the same sizzurp he so often rapped about, coupled with a preexisting sleep apnea condition. The one half of Texas trill legends UGK, who dominated the Southern underground rap scene for most of their 20+ year career, would've turned 38 today.
Easily one of the best rapper/producers to ever touch a mic or mixer, Pimp C was actually responsible for both the beats and sung hooks for much of UGK's earlier stuff. But every time I hear one of his funk-laced, grain-grippin' beats, I think of the interview ace rap blogger Andrew Noz published the day Pimp C died that was conducted just months before. In it, he details an incredibly rich musical upbringing.
"I come from a classical background, I came up singing Italian sonnets, Negro spirituals and shit of that nature. In fact I was the youngest kid in our state to get a Division 1 on a classical solo in the 9th grade. I think I still hold a record in our state."
Pimp C not only helped pioneer a new style of rap music and helped bring Southern rap from the underground to the mainstream, he was also a complete musician and rare kind of artist. Read the rest of Noz's interview here, and learn about how Chad Butler was also a "Division 1 trumpet player" in his school band and how the French Horn was one of the hardest instruments for him to master.
For me, this, DJ Krush's "Shin-Ki-Row" (a sea mirage), stands as one of the most beautiful hiphop beats ever made:
Two Seattle labels—Hardly Art at #14 and Debacle at #20—made online zine Impose’s best of 2011 list. Both are well deserving of the honor, but the inclusion of Debacle is especially heartening. Run by Megabats member Sam Melancon, the imprint issued a lot of impressive experimental electronic and drone-based music this year. Crystal Hell Pool, Sorry, Brain Fruit, Karnak Temples, Daniel Bachman, and Melancon’s own Megabats all delivered important works in beautifully designed CDs.
(It’s too bad Impose transposed Crystal Hell Pool’s album title with the artist name, though.)
Go to 0.41 of this rough KJ Sawka track "Chronicles." It’s the Euphrates River. If the Euphrates River was the west end turn of the Large Hadron Collider. Through it, Sawka navigates a 40-foot Hunley Submarine Light Bike. His eight hands crank nucleons of the propeller shaft, quarking out pings of a submerged Mesopotamian wake.
On Feb. 16th, 1864, masked by darkness, the Hunley sank the USS Housatonic off Charleston.
On Dec. 31st, 2011 Sawka plays with Pendulum at the Shore Thing in New South Wales, Australia.
Because you’ve not yet had your fill of year-end lists this month, we present to you the top-10 albums lists of Seattle radio station KEXP’s programmers. If there’s one conclusion we can arrive at from this, it’s that KEXP's on-air talent (nine of 'em) loves Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up. (By the way, this is the only album that my top 10 has in common with KEXP’s DJs.) Black Up—along with James Blake’s self-titled full-length—are the great uniters among the station’s jocks. Peruse the lists here.
I know DJ Dee-rave Segalz rules the roost on outing cool breaks via his on-going "Give 'Em Break" posts. Well...I'ma steal just ONE for myself...Spooky Tooth's "Waitin' for the Wind"...yeah, and dig the return effect on the snare. This is from Spooky Tooth's second album, Spooky Two.
Spooky Tooth were a prolific English rock group. If you've bought any second-hand rock records in the past twenty years, I'm sure you've run across Spooky Tooth LPs in the cheap bins. They had American radio hits at the time, now, I'd reckon "Better By You, Better Than Me" might be their best known jam, maybe (?!), and by all accounts I've heard they could'a been the house bands at the Fillmore East.