Amoeblog

Der Blutharsch's Psychedelic Farewell

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 18, 2009 02:30pm | Post a Comment

Austrian apocalyptic-industrial collective Der Blutharsch have just released their follow-up to last year’s The Philosopher’s Stone. The appropriately titled, Flying High!, reaches a peak in the bad-trip psychedelic heights the group began maneuvering towards on 2005’s When Did Wonderland End? (which remains the group’s most accessible album to-date). High’s CD slipcover uncharacteristically features a tongue-in-cheek photo of a presumably hallucinogenic, heart-shaped cake with the album’s title written in blue icing - preemptively answering the question one might ask upon first listen of this disc: “What kind of drugs are these people on?!?”

Der Blutharsch began as a one-man project featuring only Vienna-based Albin Julius just prior to leaving the medieval/ritual duo, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, in 1999. Over the last decade, Der Blutharsch sojourned through phases of dark-ambient, post-Industrial, martial-industrial, and neo-folk collaborations with Death In June’s Douglas P. before settling into the gloomy apocalyptic-rock the now-expanded-to-a-4 member group plays. Julius has caught a lot of flack over the years for his various aesthetic and stylistic choices, from the Laibach-like controversy caused by critiques over military-related artwork and samples to angering fans over his apparent all-together abandonment of martial-industrial, a genre he is often credited with helping found. Julius, seemingly unfazed by any of this, has delivered one of the strongest albums in his discography. This means the band will end on a “high” note, now that Julius has announced that this will be the last Der Blutharsch album of new material as he plans to retire the name and move on to other projects.

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Noblesse Oblige: 'Offensive Nonsense' Gets Reissue

Posted by Aaron Detroit, September 30, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment
Thank the fates for the explosion of deluxe edition reissues! While some serve as mere cash cows for record labels with unnecessary previously-unreleased-for-a-reason vault-raping bonus tracks for nerds, many give previously overlooked gems and obscure nuggets a proper introduction to music fans. Such is the case for the limited edition deluxe reissue of the Berlin-based Noblesse Oblige’s mischievous debut album. In 2006, the then London-based duo of German singer/songwriter/producer Sebastian Lee Philipp and French singer/songwriter Valerie Renay released a small-run of their debut LP entitled Privilege Entails Responsibility, via the obscure and now-defunct UK imprint Horseglue Records. The album of nighttime grooves and tri-lingual self-proclaimed ‘Offensive Nonsense’ slowly gained a cult following via hundreds of increasingly packed European live shows and steady word-of-mouth. The band eventually moved to Berlin and began work on what would become their well received, more accessible and quite excellent sophomore LP, 2008’s In Exile via Germany’s RepoRecords. On the heels of Exile’s success, Repo is reissuing Privilege this week with ten(!) bonus tracks including two brand new forward-moving tracks and padded out with eight additional remixes.

While In Exile explores the band’s love of dreamier and filmic music (which no doubt rubbed-off on queer indie-rockers The Hidden Cameras, whom Philipp worked with on tracks for their recent lush offering, Origin: Orphan), Privilege is an inviting and darkly comic (sometimes even knowingly ridiculous) yet misanthropic and intense ride via the Goth and Waver club dance floors of yester-year. Philipp pays homage to his fellow countrymen KMFDM on “Bite Back“ and “Bitch” with big cheese-rock riffs and tongue firmly planted in cheek while somehow remaining quite serious and sincere. “Fashion Fascism” sounds like it could be a cover of Madonna’s “Burning Up” on some obscure late-80’s Wax Trax 12 inch while Philipp invokes the spirit of Leigh Bowery on “Daddy (Don’t Touch Me There).” Sadly, the Minty-commissioned Noblesse Oblige cover/remix of Bowery’s “Useless Man,” which appeared as the b-side of N.O.’s single for the bouncy “Quel Genre de Garcon,” does not appear among the bonus tracks here.

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The Big Pink and A Place To Bury Strangers Heart Feedback

Posted by Aaron Detroit, September 22, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment
If the gentlemen of London’s The Big Pink and New York’s A Place To Bury Strangers are to have their way this fall – you will have a serious case of tinnitus by Winter Solstice via their dark-veined noise-pop. Both bands love the volume loud, worship at the alters of 80’s Gloom-Pop and early-‘90’s Shoegaze, and both have new releases out in the next month. While both bands paint with Kevin Shields’s and Daniel Ash’s brush-strokes each band shades their canvas quite differently and uniquely.

The Big Pink signed to cult-label 4AD this year. The team-up couldn’t have been a better fit as the duo’s tunes could slide in nicely in a playlist alongside tracks from the label’s 80’s and 90’s roster of ethereal and gothic-leaning releases. They also share with their predecessors a keen eye and love
for packaging their music -– a dying art form for sure --adding dimensions to the music and an additional keyhole into the universe the band has created within their sound. The band’s pre-4AD releases of dead-sexy lo-fi electro vs. feedback bliss-outs were accompanied by homoerotic and ethereal sleeve artwork by Dennis Cooper (The duo also borrowed the title for their song “Frisk” from Cooper). The band’s newly polished, less-amorphous and refined sound (courtesy of major league mixing-czar Rich Costey) featured on their debut LP, A Brief History of Love, is issued with a murky, blurred and slightly unsettling cover photo of a bare-chested woman - insinuating and helping inject a similarly subversive sexual tone of their indie releases into the hazy pools of stoned reverb and romantic wistful grooves of the new album.

Beatles or Stones?... or Goth-Pop Beatles Covers!?

Posted by Aaron Detroit, September 5, 2009 12:50am | Post a Comment

Beatles Or Stones?” I’m one of those people who is definitely more Rolling Stones than Beatles. That’s not to say there aren’t Fab Four songs or albums I enjoy or even adore (White Album!), but The Stones suit my tastes and aesthetic preferences in music and art much more. The Stones have a classically debaucherous mythos attached to them and their vibe was always darker, nastier and convincingly Satanic compared to their Liverpool rivals.  True: The Beatles certainly had their more nefarious moments (“Helter Skelter,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” The Butcher Cover and Aleister Crowley's appeance on the Sgt, Peppers' album sleeve), but I’m definitely more “Paint It Black” than “Good Day Sunshine.”

However, some people still believe The Beatles held the keys to the infernal gates of Hell. Certainly several of my teenage Goth-Pop icons saw a dark thread in the Beatles' work (or maybe it was just their genius for unforgettable melodies – those do help bands cross-over!) Siouxsie Sioux’s devotion to the Fab Four turned out two great covers; first, an incendiary and punked-out “Helter Skelter” on the Banshees’ 1978 debut Scream:



...and the band scored one of their biggest International hits with their lush 1983 reading of “Dear Prudence.”


Banshees’ contemporary Daniel Ash (Bauhaus/Tones on Tail/Love & Rockets) displayed his shine for John, Paul, George and Ringo via a (now somewhat-dated) cover of “Day Tripper” on his 1991 solo album, Coming Down.

Dais Records Unearths COUM Transmissions

Posted by Aaron Detroit, August 11, 2009 04:00am | Post a Comment

Bicoastal boutique label Dais Records --founded in 2007 by Gibby Miller in L.A. and Ryan Martin in Brooklyn -- has, in its brief history, quickly amassed (with no signs of stopping) an impressive back-catalog of instantly classic releases by artists on the obscure and dark end of the spectrum. The label’s roster of quality limited vinyl pressings includes albums by Cult of Youth and Tor Lundvall as well as the sought-after Cold Cave 12”, The Trees Grew Emotions and Died.  The label has also developed a trusted working relationship with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge which has resulted in the vinyl release of Psychic TV’s recent full-length, Mr. Alien Brain vs. The Skinwalkers, and a haunting, previously unreleased 1968(!) archival recording from P-Orridge entitled Early Worm (now out of print).  

A third upcoming team-up between P-Orridge and Dais is another archival release, entitled The Sound of Porridge Bubbling by the infamous COUM Transmissions. Its release will mark the first time most will hear COUM Transmissions, a transgressive performance art collective and band founded, in part, by P-Orridge in 1967 (whose detailed story can be read in a 1999 illustrated biiography entitled Wreckers of Civilisation by Simon Ford). By the time Sound was recorded in 1971 its members also included Cosey Fanni-Tutti and, by 1976, eventually evolved into the seminal and forever holy/unholy Throbbing Gristle.
 
The recordings went unreleased until now due to the rapid activity of the collective pushing them off as a priority.  However, now that the seal on the vault has been cracked, further COUM archive releases via Dais are also in the works .

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