Earlier this morning, I was getting a year-end favorite music list together for Tapes Of A Neon God, and thought I’d elaborate a little further here on what I’ve really loved listening to in 2013. Hope you enjoy the music! Here’s to more in the new year!
Disappears – Era (Kranky)
The Howling Wind – Vortex (self-released)
Lee Ranaldo & The Dust – Last Night On Earth (Matador)
Portal – Vexovoid (Profound Lore)
Skinny Puppy – Weapon (Metropolis)
Teeth Of The Sea – Master (Rocket Recordings)
Right before my set with Baghouse a couple of weekends ago, I accidentally plugged my guitar into the LOW input on my amp. What this meant was that, for the rest of the evening, I would be cursed with trying to sort out what was causing my sound to appear (to my ears) anemic–AND to play and adapt the best I could to the improvisation. In short, a brain fart. Classic. Undeniably stupid. Confounding, even . . . at the time. On one hand, I feel as if I NEVER do that sort of thing. On the other . . . I always seem to.
Luckily, everything else worked that night. I recently listened back to a recording of the evening and, despite feeling that my levels on loops fluctuated as I attempted to adjust in the chaos of the moment, it’s pretty excellent, nicely tense and has lots of fantastic playing & dynamics. Things were solid. Whew. Give it a go here, if you wanna get an earful of the proceedings at The World Famous in Athens, GA that evening.
It’s happening again this Saturday night at Head On The Door in Montgomery, AL. We’re going to do a couple of sets, making music, conjuring textures, tones and irregularities, seeing where the sound takes us. This is a call to all the weirdos and wanderers looking and listening for something freakishly pure. Music pulled from the air, shaped and reshaped, then shoved into your earholes. It feels like magic. Automatic writing. Baghouse. Come hear something being tapped into.
Wear a gasmask in case of brain farts.
I want music to touch and spark a deep emotion in me. It’s especially effective (and really kind of rare) when it reaches a darker part of me. I don’t require that there be any light within the darkness of heavier music . . . and am especially open to the kind of music which really embraces that. The Howling Wind have just self-recorded and self-released a new collection of songs on Bandcamp called Vortex that does just this sort of thing to me.
Of Babalon, their previous recording, affected me in the same way. But Vortex has an even darker, grittier edge, amplifiying The Howling Wind’s ability to slam raw noise, walls of dripping black guitar/bass/vocal damage and hulking/blasting/pounding drums together into songs that sling thick, dissonant riffage-upon-riffage into your face. I hate to condemn music to mere comparisons to other bands and genres, but I have to say that Vortex sits well nestled in between the most choice Venom and Celtic Frost, while still filling a void left for me by Watain after I realized that they offered no more true darkness than pigeon-killing and cat-cornering (they can just go sit beside Deicide’s Glen Benton and jack each other off, which would probably be more entertaining).
Vortex is raw, unrelenting and seething with oppressive ugliness. I don’t even need to see the lyrics to be moved by it. Couched within the disharmony & fury that these 8 songs are delivered with is something true that calls to me with a naked, harsh honesty. I’m always looking for this. I love it when I find it. The Howling Wind tap into a darkness that so many bands inefficiently dabble with. And they do it within the space of just over a half-hour. I am in and out of Vortex before I know it, stoked by it so much each time that I usually just start it over for a second round . . . which I just did while writing this. The creeping loop of the opening track “Tides” has just wormed into my ears again. I am ready for another go.
I don’t really even want to say that this is a review. I want it to be a thank-you.
Give your own thanks here.