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Black Light District's Top Dark Music Albums of 2009

Posted by Aaron Detroit, December 16, 2009 01:22pm | Post a Comment
Folks at Amoeba Hollywood like to refer to the area in the store where the Goth/Industrial and Metal Sections reside as the "Dark Corner."  Black Light District is sort of a virtual extension of The Dark Corner (as well as its former resident, the Experimental section), so the year end lists here reflect those flavors and also include those darker-leaning titles from the creepier nooks in the rock section. Next week, we'll examine the 20 best of the decade. Now without further adieu...2009's greatest from the darker realms....

1. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close (CD/LP) [Heartworm/Matador]

Love Comes Close is an infectious slab of 9 inspired dark-wave and synth-pop anthems. Cold Cave couldn't have timed their debut any better either, with synthpop bound for a big comeback with the release of BBC's stellar documentary Synth Britannia. Read my review of Love Comes Close from earlier this year here.

Listen: Cold Cave "Heaven Was Full"



2. Tor Lundvall - Sleeping & Hiding (LP)
[Dais]

Come-down album of the year! Need a soundtrack while hiding in a secluded cabin in the forest? A score for floating or drowning? Astral-projection? Look no further! Nods to Pygmalion-era Slowdive and Steven Reich....Gorgeous.

Listen: Tor Lundvall "Falling Trees"







3. Fever Ray – S/T  (CD/LP) [Rabid]

Fever Ray (aka The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson) makes very filmic music. Dark & neon, not unlike Shriekback's contributions to Michael Mann's Manhunter soundtrack but with pitched-down vocals that sound thick and woozy like a NyQuil trip. Psychedelic, creepy, perfect.


         Listen: Fever Ray  "Keep The Streets Empty For Me"






4. Piano Magic – Ovations (CD/LP) [Darla]

Piano Magic call in heavy-hitter Gothic Godfathers Brendan Perry and Peter Ulrich of Dead Can Dance for their tenth LP, Ovations. Perry's vocals help the album reach its apparent goal of sounding like an O.G. 4AD release, recalling not only DCD but Cocteau Twins, and This Mortal Coil while also lovingly mining Gloom Pop and Shoegaze territory. Ominous, foreboding, and quite beautiful. Frontman Glen Johnson was on a roll this year, also releasing his stellar solo LP, Details Not Recorded.

            Listen: Piano Magic "Recovery Position"
 
                                                                                                                        Listen: Piano Magic
                                                                                             featuring Brendan Perry "The Nightmare Goes On"



5. Ruby Throat – Out of a Black Cloud Came A Bird (CD) [Sleepslikewolves]

Katiejane Garside became quite prolific this decade with three separate projects running in tandem with each other; the long-running Queen Adreena with former Daisy Chainsaw cohort Crispin Grey, her solo project Lalleshwari, and her Folk-Noir duo with guitarist Chris Wittingham, Ruby Throat. Out of A Black Cloud... is Ruby Throat's sophomore release and was released in a limited run this past November (no fear, a standard CD edition is on its way soon). Black Cloud finds Garside's unsettling and psycho-sexual fairytale-stylings covered in ethereal-psychedelic dream-wrap courtesy of Wittingham's instrumentation. Her voice is equal parts PJ Harvey, Alison Shaw (Cranes), and Hope Sandoval -- though sometimes a bit of Diamanda's babelogue madness creeps in.



6. Jessie Evans – Is It Fire? (CD/LP) [Fantomette]

Jessie Evans (Subtonix, The Vanishing, Autonervous) reinvents herself as the sultry siren with the orgy-inducing maracas. Budgie (Banshees, The Creatures) and Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop) show up for the party. See my review from earlier this year here.

Listen: Jessie Evans "Blood & Silver"





7. Rome – Flowers From Exile (CD) [Trisol]

The extremely prolific, self-proclaimed "Chanson Noir" group’s most accessible, textured, and varied album to date. Intricate neofolk arrangements of Flamenco guitar, strings, spoken-word samples and eerie & subtle synths ordered around electronic beats and acoustic percussion. Dark, longingly romantic balladry with deep tenor-Leonard Cohen-via-Andrew
Eldritch vocals from frontman Jerome Reuter. Top Notch!

Listen: Rome "We Who Fell In Love With The Sea"



8. Der Blutharsch – Flying High!(CD/2LP) [WKN]

The Austrian apocalyptic-industrial collective Der Blutharsch’s most seamless and cohesive of its “rock n’ roll” triptych. Read my review from earlier this year here.










9. Funeral Mist – Maranatha (CD/2LP)
[Norma Evangelium Diaboli]

It’s certainly not groundbreaking in the Black Metal genre to hate on religious dogma, but Funeral Mist’s sole member Arioch (aka Mortuus, current lead vocalist for Marduk) makes a gloriously blasphemous racket when he gets his hateration on. Youngsters, take note: Black Metal should be increasingly more like this -- with trumpets and sick-ass choirs!

Listen: Funeral Mist "Anti-Flesh Nimbus"



                                                                                
10. Current 93 – Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain (CD/2LP) [Coptic Cat]

Current 93 adds another landmark to its immense discography. This is David Tibet’s greatest masterwork since Of Ruine Or Some Blazing Starre or The Inmost Light trilogy. Heavy, doom-laden guitars and occasionally-treated vocals accompany Tibet’s feverish tales of apocalypse. It also features the oddest of odd guest appeances, including cameos from Rickie Lee Jones and Erotic Film Star Sasha Grey. Also check out the AMAZING Andrew Liles’ Mono-mix of the album, Monohallucinatory Mountain.

                          Listen: Current 93 "April 26 2007"



11. Wolves in the Throne Room – Black Cascade (CD/2LP ) and Malvolent Grain (12"EP/CD-R)
[Southern Lord]



12. Andrew Liles – Ouarda (CD)
[Dirter]



13. Former Ghosts – Fleurs (CD/LP)
[Upset the Rhythm]



14. Xeno & Oaklander – Sentinille (CD/LP)
[Weird]



15. Amesoeurs - S/T (CD/LP)
[Profound Lore]




16. Yoga – Megafauna (CD/LP)
[Holy Mountain]




17. All Hail The Transcending Ghost – S/T (CD)
[Cold Spring]




18. Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light (CD/LP)
[Secretly Canadian]




19. Cobalt – Gin (CD)
[Profound Lore]



20. Yellow Tears – Don’t Cry (LP)
[Hospital Productions]




Honorable Mentions:

Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars (CD/2LP)
[Candlelight]

Throbbing Gristle - The Third Mind Movements (CD)
[Industrial]

Worm Ouroboros - S/T (CD)
[Profound Lore]

Les Paradisiers – More Tales From The Garden (LP)
[Disques de Lapin]

Beherit - Engram (CD)
[Spinefarm]

Birth! - S/T (Cassette)
[This Head Is For Burning]

Habitat – Code Gray (CD-R) 
[Self-Released]



Best Compilation of 2009:


Various Artists - Pagan Folk und Apocalyptic Psychedelia
(CD)
[Steinklang Industries]

Excellent  (and inexpensive!) comp of the ever-growing traditionalist, pagan and psychedelic movements within the Apocalyptic Folk genre. Features exceptional tracks from The Joy of Nature, Jahrtal, Allerseelen, Sangre Cavallum, and TONS more. All songs are taken from releases on the Ahnstern, Heimatfolk, Percht and Vrihaspati labels. An amazing rainy day listen.


 



Best Reissues/Vault Releases:

1. Bauhaus -
In The Flat Field & Mask Omnibus Editions
(CD Box Sets) [4AD/Beggars]

2.
Skinny Puppy – Last Rights (2LP+CD) [Nettwerk]

3. Coum Transmissions – The Sound of Porridge Bubbling (LP)
[Dais]


4. Sixx - Sister Devil (CD/LP)

[Nuclear War Now Productions]

5. Cold Cave – Cremations (CD/LP)[Hospital Productions]

Honorable Mention:


Death in June - Symbols & Clouds (Box Set) [NERUS]

Relevant Tags

Best Of 2009 (2), Fever Ray (6), Tor Lundvall (3), Piano Magic (4), Ruby Throat (6), Jessie Evans (4), Rome (band) (1), Der Blutharsch (4), Funeral Mist (1), Experimental (6), Current 93 (4), Cold Cave (12), Black Metal (9), Industrial (26), Goth (44), 2009 List (25)