The Most Listable Time of the Year – Part Two

"Cool Santa" by Unknown Artist

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Editors’ Note: Hello. Go here and read this. Then come back here.

It’s been quite the year. We think. We’ve forgotten most of it already, and what we seem to have retained is just a swirling mass of bizarre faux-pas and horrific crimes committed mostly by famous people and politicians, as one after another after another was revealed to be either corrupt, a nonce, or both. That warm fuzzy Olympic glow never seemed so far away, did it?

We here at Demon Pigeon are now utterly convinced that we’re going through life at super-speed, too fast to be able to appreciate things like ‘writing’ and ‘music’ and ‘Demon Pigeon’. That’s because every turn of the clock gives us something fresh to anticipate and plan for. You’ve barely finished icing your Nigella Lawson Christmas cake before it’s time to start planning your New Year’s Eve pale ale and pomade party, by which time the Creme Eggs are already in the shops.

No wonder it feels like we’re getting flushed through life’s reeking U-bend at top fucking speed, getting mugged at every hand. And if it isn’t actually Valentine’s Day or Hallowe’en—neither of which are particularly different from the other (pissed people in fancy dress howling and moaning all night)—then the world just starts making up reasons why you should buy things. Our last actual vivid emotional memory is from July, of some teenagers fighting one another in an ASDA over a ~*SuMMeRY*~ Coca-Cola bottle with their name on it, while we struggled to pay for our groceries. 

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Demon Pigeon presents:

40-Ish Albums From 2013 About Which Our Lazy And Distracted Bunch Of Voluntary Content Creators (AKA Battery-Farmed Egos) Could Not Justify The Effort Involved In Writing; But Now—Having Been Pestered, Cajoled And Psychologically Wounded Into Compliance—They Have Roused Themselves From Their Respective Slumbers To Excrete Their Views Into A Spontaneous And Largely Unwelcome Puddle, Which You Can Inspect Below! Thank’s.

List begin:

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

I was a 15-year-old once, and Daft Punk was the thing to be seen to have knowledge of, along with JUSTICE. That was the high-water mark of a spectrum that I would like to call “the mistake phase” of young personhood, which submerged itself right alongside other totally unforgivable things, like nu-rave and Lostprophets. I’m not about to state that Daft Punk is music for arseholes; some of my best friends are Daft Punk fans. But even they’d agree this was a disappointing collection of elevator music, entirely absent any of the thumping impact of their previous records. Dross. JB

NailsAbandon All Life

As short and to the point as this write up, as unremittingly furious as a teenage gamer on Xbox Live, as brutal as Iain Duncan-Smith‘s welfare reforms, as powerful as Cillit Bang Extra and as intelligent and sharp as these similes are not—this is a ball of hateful grindcore that makes most rivals look like amateurs. Glad to see these fellas ageing disgracefully. AW

My Bloody Valentinembv

One day it was never going to happen. And then it did. It starts out kind of exactly how you’d imagine, all shimmering textural unriffs and ghostly murmurs, and honestly? If it had stayed sounding just like the child of Loveless that it first indicates it’ll be, that would have been just fine. It doesn’t do that though, preferring instead to channel that curious half-light that you only ever see on the way home from those nights where all you really remember is how much fun you had with no specifics available, and filters that uneasy smirk through a heady brew of ever-spiralling tension and paranoiac, splintered tones. A fine riposte to one of the longest-running musical punchlines. RM

Clutch – Earth Rocker

I remained agnostic on the subject of Clutch until earlier this year, when this album came along to reset the standard for whisky-necked fighting music. Nothing has really touched it since. NOX

FactorWoke up Alone

2013’s best hip hop concept album about a man attempting to bring his wife back from the dead using necromancy. GO

"Cool Santa" by B0bJones

“Cool Santa” by B0bJones

Weekend Nachos Still

Ridiculously fun grind-tinged hardcore that somehow managed to be the toast of the indie mags, despite it actually being rather good. PS

Carpet – Elysian Pleasures

Easygoing, laid-back organ-rich jazz-rock provides the underpinning to this morsel of summery psychedelia. NOX

DeafheavenSunbather

When the dust settles on the infinite best-of-year lists across the music press and blogosphere, this album will likely have secured enough number one picks to ensure its inevitable reissue will have a sticker big enough to cover its subversively pink cover. Thankfully, the hype is mostly justified, as Deafheaven’s oh-so-clever meld of black metal and hipster douchebaggery manages to emerge as something both brutal and understatedly beautiful. PS

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

I’m quite pleased that Trent popped his muscular tree-trunk neck out of the mud and spat up a new album. This has a striding enthusiasm that is good to see out of a musician this prolific. This naughty, groovy album pumps like set-dressing music from an Underworld/True Blood crossover fanfic, and yet NO—it sounds cool, still. Really, I promise. JB

Church of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum

Like belching up a throatful of stagnant ditchwater and then murdering a prostitute with a hammer. But in a good way. NOX

"Cool Santa" by Dreamstime.com

“Cool Santa” by Dreamstime.com

Boards Of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest

*swoon* Yeah, that’s how I feel about this, pretty much. Seriously lovely electronica from the masters of the art, all analogue squelchy niceness underpinned with some disturbing, devilish arpeggios and head-wrecking, yet still comforting beats. RM

Altar of PlaguesTeeth Glory and Injury

Absolutely disgusting. Sounds like Satan being sick on an animal shelter that’s on fire. At Christmas. I love it. GO

KataKlysmWaiting For The End To Come

Blander than a beige cardigan wrapped around a tub of vanilla ice cream and painted magnolia, this album couldn’t be more aptly named. No chuggy gooey delicious yum here, just robbed Arch Enemy riffs and the worst vocals ever. WD

MogwaiLes Revenants

Scotland’s finest instrumentalists soundtrack France’s blockbusting horror export to overwhelming success, ranging between eerie and terrifying with remarkable ease. PS

Kanye West – Yeezus

Despite Kanye West being, for many, a laughing stock akin to internet troll victim Christian Weston Chandler, there’s actually some excellent stuff to be found on Yeezus. Savant sampling of Nina Simone—that would have sounded ridiculous, had anyone else done it—made me grin from ear to ear. People call Kanye West a narcissist, but the anger and urgency on Yeezus make me think he might be far more grounded than people say he is. JB

"Cool Santa" by gts

“Cool Santa” by gts

Norma JeanWrongdoers

Having somewhat underwhelmed on their last few efforts, metalcore’s sole remaining interesting band return with a snarling, feral beast of an album, which even manages to remain listenable when the inevitable emo choruses kick in. PS

Ghost – Infestissumam

Fuck knows what this is supposed to be. Fucking do one mate and take your stupid fucking hat with you. NOX

Billy WoodsDour Candy

Billy Woods released one of the best albums of 2012 in History Will Absolve Me. Billy Woods also released two of the best albums of 2013. Billy Woods is clever. GO

Armand HammerRace Music

Billy Woods again, this time with Elucid. This one has a Cold Vein vibe about it. If that means anything to you then you should get onto this album right away. If that means nothing to you then you should get onto this album right away. GO

Run The JewelsRun The Jewels

Well, it’s El-P and Killer Mike innit. It could hardly fail to be at least fun, and it fulfilled the vague brief of ‘old-school type shit’ fantastically well. El-P has some serious songwriting skills, and proves he also knows how to sequence a record almost perfectly to keep you interested and occasionally make you do a big old eyes-bulging ‘WTF!’ face (see the drop from DDFH into Sea Legs for one stellar example). Full attack mode from everyone that raps on this makes it a charged, occasionally funny as fuck (Prince Paul as Chest Rockwell, notably) romp through some effortlessly modernised gangsta rap. RM

"Cool Santa" by Unknown Artist

“Cool Santa” by Unknown Artist

AmenraMass V

The bleakest, most horrifying album of the year, this post metal epic is harrowing in every way, from its blood-curdling vocals to discordant guitars and forays into bleakest doom. In other words it’s fucking great. PS

CelesteAnimale(s)

What is it with the French this year? Couple this with the aforementioned Amenra album and you’ve got two possible signals that French need to up their collective Valium intake. PS

Action BronsonSaaab Stories

He’s a dead good rapper, this bloke. Especially if you like Ghostface Killah and wondered what he might sound like about five minutes before his tea’s ready. Interesting flow with a voice that’s easy to listen to, with some fine production care of Harry Fraud. Whilst this is much darker than the likes of Blue Chips, Bronson is still fun and nonchalant enough to carry it off. RM

Melvins – Everyone Loves Sausages

I love Melvins and their cover of You’re My Best Friend here instantly brings a grin to my face, so it’s already better than anything else on this list. NOX

Black Sun EmpireVariations On Black

A fucking ace collection of remixed tracks from the finest drum & bass production crew out there, in my opinion. Two and a half hours of headbanging, bassface-inducing floor-pointers – seriously dark and nasty, but never forgetting the crucial element of funk that makes all the best d&b so irresistible. RM

"Cool Santa and Reindeer" by ICP_SyntheticDarkness666

“Cool Santa and Reindeer” by ICP_SyntheticDarkness666

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of MedicineWhite People And The Damage Done

We can see from your Twitter and Facebook feeds how angry you all are; angry about trains being late, angry at people putting apostrophes where they should’nt be and absolutely furious at who got voted off I’m A Celebrity when it should have been her off that thing with that bloke from Hollyoaks. You’re at boiling point, mate. Where do you go from here? Well, if you can’t get any more angry, then Jello Biafra can do it on your behalf. Except he does it with wit, sarcasm, and – well – with something worth actually being angry about as the subject matter. The most punk lyrics these days seem confined to hip-hop or grindcore over actual punk rock. Glad to see Eric still showing the young pups how it’s done. Visceral. AW

Light Bearer Silver Tongue

There’s a bit on this album that sounds like all 16 of the colossi from Shadow of the Colossus losing their shit (probably over being systematically stalked and killed by some little twerp) and stomping the shit out of the whole world. Actually only 15 of them, because there’s one that can’t move isn’t there? That one’s shooting its fireballs anyway. GO

Stuart WarwickThe Butcher’s Voice

High-voiced man sings lovely sounding songs about gender identity and taking a staple gun to the mouth of Ann Widdecombe. GO

YC The CynicGNK

This guy is about 12 but his rapping skills are ridiculous. God knows how good he’ll be when he finally gets some pubes. GO

Sleepers AwakeTranscension

Depsite almost universal acclaim from the very best music writers out there—and also us—this metal epic seems to have remained firmly under the radar. With nods to Opeth, Iron Maiden, Porcupine Tree and While Heaven Wept, this is packed with ideas, melodies, riffs and all the other things that make a classic album. Lyrics too. It’s got lyrics. AW

"Santa Looking Cool With A Bit Of An Attitude On His Shiny New Red And Chrome Chopper" by Anon

“Santa Looking Cool With A Bit Of An Attitude On His Shiny New Red And Chrome Chopper” by Anon

No Bird SingDefinition Sickness

Caused my other half to exclaim “what the fuck is this shit?” So I really like it. GO

Russian CirclesMemorial

Wilfully ignoring the fact that it is no longer 2005 and nobody really cares about instrumental post rock any more, Russian Circles deliver another crushing mammoth of an album. PS

PelicanForever Becoming

Wilfully ignoring the fact that it is no longer 2005 and nobody really cares about instrumental post rock any more, Pelican deliver another crushing bore of an album. PS

IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

Careering out of the speakers and mashing up all manner of noises like some preposterous aural smorgasbord, old Vegard the bearded wizard spat this opus at us as the year drew to a close. A dark and sexy fusion of black metal, jazz and prog (if you find that sort of thing sexy), this album is so dense and weird that you will either love it or you will just not get it (in which case you will need to pretend you get it to look clever). Buy it, if you like. AW

HumanflyAwesome Science

Completely shedding their bleak metal  past in favour of progtastic deftness of touch, Humanfly released a stunningly good album and then promptly split up. Boo, hiss etc. PS

"Cool Santa (Royalty Free)" by Dreamstime.com

“Cool Santa (Royalty Free)” by Dreamstime.com

ASGBlood Drive

Stoner pop veterans return to a market buoyed by the success of Baroness, Torche et al, and deliver rather an excellent album. PS

WindhandSoma

More doom than you can shake a gloom at. PS

Red FangWhales And Leeches

No doubt utterly fed up of being compared with Mastodon and considered a pale imitation, we are here to compare them yet again, but venture the controversial opinion (#edgy) that they are a better version of Mastodon—less bloated and meandering, more focused and to the point. A tasty juggernaut of proto-metal noise. AW

HacktivistHacktivist EP

Hacktivist are a band who have conjoined words for their band name and we don’t like this. Portmant-no! Far too 90s. They have also conjoined grime/dubstep and djent too. Individually these things are quite good but mixing them up is just wrong. If you think this sounds like your cup of tea then you should listen to them (Hacktivist) and they have done a record and it is an EP called Hacktivist. AW

The Old WindFeast on your Gone

This was originally a solo project of ex-Breach singer Tomas Liljedahl, then he decided to round it out with a full band, so he hired most of Breach. But it isn’t Breach. It does sound quite a lot like Breach, to be fair, except with a bit more gloomy doomy about it. This is in no way a bad thing. Basically if you like Breach, you’ll like this. If you don’t know Breach then they sound a lot like this, except a bit less gloomy doomy. Just buy the fucking thing, will you? PS

"Cool Santa" by DarkVigilante

“Cool Santa” by DarkVigilante

KEN ModeEntrench

Thoroughly enjoyable pissed off techy hardcore from one of the genre’s unfairly unsung bands. PS

Inter ArmaSky Burial

Hands down this reviewer’s new favourite band, this takes all the best bits of black metal, post metal, doom and prog and squashes them into one thoroughly unpredictable lump of excellence. PS

milothings that happen at day/things that happen at night/cavalcade

Actually impossible to pick the best out of these three EPs so they’re all going in. However, if you’re after a rap EP that samples folk rock band America (and of course you do) then start with Cavalcade. milo sounds like no one else. GO

"Cool Santa" by GoneGalt1993

“Cool Santa” by GoneGalt1993

NoisemAgony Defined

12-year-olds release album of outrageous goodness. Everyone over 16 feels ancient and useless. GO

RestorationsLP2

When I listen to this I put my rucksack on both shoulders, I grab the straps and I sway back and forth, pointing my face to the sky with my eyes closed. GO

Armed for ApocalypseThe Road Will End

The kind of metallic hardcore that will get you windmilling in your office if you don’t pay close enough attention to what you’re doing, with the added bonus of a Phil Anselmo-alike singer that allows you to imagine that Mr Anselmo has been in a good band at least once in his long career. PS

Pro-PainThe Final Revolution

Punch things and kick things and maybe join the army and invade a small Arab nation or at least play Call Of Duty whilst swearing down a microphone. Gary Meskil is back to teach you a lesson and to play the bass very loudly in your general direction whilst shouting stuff. Effortlessly brilliant thumpy, jumpy, groovy hardcore with more than enough yelling and probably some pointing too. AW

"Cool Santa" by peter_h_hammond_1953

“Cool Santa” by peter_h_hammond_1953

THE END. Have a magical M&S Coca­-Cola Tesco McChristmas. We love you.

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The Most Listable Time of the Year – Part One

"Cool Santa" by Unknown Artist

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Editors’ Note: It’s the nub-end of the year again, the time when we draw another metaphorical line in the accumulated sands of time (by now burying us up to our armpits) and try to use it to accurately gauge the worth of whatever the hell the last 12 months of our lives have been about. It’s a tradition as old as time itself.

For those of us who feel important enough to flick our opinions out into the void of the internet like extra-long, deeply-rooted bogies (or “boogers”, for our foreign readers), it also means declaring our list of the tippest-of-the-top, absolute-cream-of-the-crop top 10, or 20, or 50, or a hundred and four of all the albums that came out in the calendar year; as if it is actually possible to stack and assess against each other all the many, many albums strewn out into the world, across all the many genres, because music, and therefore life, is really just a childish game of Top Trumps. It’s a tradition as old as music journalism itself.

Obviously, as you know by now, we here at Pigeon Towers are above such things. Yet, at the same time we really, really want to show off how knowledgeable we are about music, (much more knowledgeable than you are, you see), so we settled on doing this instead.

So without further ado, ladies and jellyspoons, Demon Pigeon presents:

23 Albums From 2013 About Which Our Heroic Crew Of Writers Felt Strongly Enough To Actually Review, Without Realising That At The End Of The Year Some Needy, Self-Important Editor (Hi Mum) Would Harvest A Few Words, Completely At Random, From Their Carefully Considered And Constructed Opinions, To Hastily Cook Up An End-Of-Year List, In The Increasingly Frayed Hope That Readers (That’s You) Might Click On The Links, And Provide An Ailing And Practically Defunct Website With Some Desperately-Needed Traffic!

This just can’t fail.

Cult of LunaVertikal

“If it had been released in December it would have been adorned with all sorts of ‘album of year’ histrionics, but it wasn’t. So now every reviewer has to find room for the line ‘We’ve only just seen the back of end of year lists but mark my words,come next December, Vertikal will be challenging for album of the year honours.’ It’s the law.” PS

TomahawkOddfellows

“I love this. In fact I bloody love this. You can now refer to me as Will ‘I bloody love Tomahawk’ Downes.”WD

Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsPush the Sky Away

“Nine tracks, and not an ounce of fat.” PS

HatebreedThe Divinity of Purpose

“The lyrical highlight for me is Jamey Jasta screaming ‘nothing fucking scars me!’ like he’s fucking Wolverine or Wolverine’s brother with the nails and that.” WD

"Evil Santa" by Crimson-X

“Evil Santa” by Crimson-X

Uncle Acid & The DeadbeatsMind Control

“Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats haven’t made a bad record, here. It’s pretty decent drugs-rock, as drugs-rock goes… but there’s surely a dozen other perfectly decent drugs-rock records of equal unoriginality that have been released in the last month or so. Can I recommend this record over those records? Having not heard them, of course I can’t.” PGR

Earthtone9IV

“Not bad for a bunch of old farts. Here’s hoping they finally achieve the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. If they do, it won’t be because of their history, or their legacy, it’ll be because 15 years after their debut, there’s still nobody out there who can touch them.” PS

The OceanPelagial

“Scary noises now. Guitars and keys all doing different things. Can’t concentrate. Can’t get a handle on any one thing. Time… slowing down. Stretching.” CM

Dillinger Escape PlanOne of Us is the Killer

“It rocks like a motherfucker.” PS

"Evil Santa" by JammyJet

“Evil Santa” by JammyJet

Black Sabbath13

“There are some decent bits, there are some absolutely terrible bits, there’s way too much of it and the artwork is pathetic. Ozzy is drenched in so many effects to mask his ailing pipes that it sounds like Stephen Hawking burst into the studio—obligatory heavy metal horns raised—skidded his wheelchair to a tyre-smoking halt in the vocal booth and refused to leave until he’d overdubbed the whole thing in his best ‘sad robot’ voice.” RM

Queens of the Stone AgeLike Clockwork

“I can’t pretend I hate Like Clockwork, and it’s hard to imagine why anyone would give a shit about it, either. But if you do, that’s great.” NOX

CircleSix Day Run

“If you like weird loops and lumpy time signatures that gleam like a petrol puddle caught in a chrome hubcap, and which stick in the musical bit of your brain like roofing nails in a horse’s hoof, then you’ll wanna check these six instrumentals out sooner rather than later.” PGR

Alice in ChainsThe Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

“Right off the bat it has a rubbish cover, a rubbish title, and Layne Staley is no more alive than he was four years ago, so the omens aren’t great. But while still nowhere near as enticing as the band’s historical output, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is at least seven per cent more interesting than its predecessor. And that’s a money-back guarantee, if not exactly a glowing endorsement.” PS

"Evil Santa" by Kasek

“Evil Santa” by Kasek

Causa SuiEuporie Tide

“What do you need to know about Euporie Tide? It’s fully instrumental. It is one hour long. It grooves. It swings. It writhes. It rocks. It rolls. It JAMS. And it riffs. Oh, how it riffs. All across its length, this record is bursting not to piss itself over its own building euphoria, its joyful momentum driven by the interplay of jazzy organ passages, lightning-hot, soaring guitar licks and a craggy, dusty, desert rock atmosphere.” NOX

Vista ChinoPeace

“Josh Whomme?” NOX

King CrimsonThe Road To Red

“If I were alone on a desert island with just this, a generator and a means to play it, I would live out my years with all the musical entertainment I need, nursing my painful, distended loins, and weeping under the starless, bible black skies.” CM

Monster MagnetThe Last Patrol

“This record is perfectly acceptable. And that isn’t good enough.” NOX

"Evil Santa" by KornFanHead

“Evil Santa” by KornFanHead

All Pigs Must DieNothing Violates This Nature

“It’s 33 minutes long, full of what I suppose you might call ‘faceripping riffs’ and ‘full-on bangers’ if you were a wally prone to insane hyperbole, wrapped in some lovely artwork, and buying it will instantly make your record collection 1.45% cooler (2.18% on vinyl).” RM

EarthlessFrom the Ages

“Like losing control and wiping out while sledging down a reeking mountain of sticky bud on the back of an exploding Marshall stack.” NOX

The Fierce and The DeadSpooky Action

“It’s rare that an instrumental album is so full of melodic hooks, never taking its eye off the goal of entertaining the listener, even rarer for one to do so in juxtaposition with noise and academic compositional theory; advanced harmonic sense and polyrhythms.” CM

Monkey3The 5th Sun

‘There’s a machine-like quality to Monkey3’s sound; the loping, lazy turns of its rhythm possess precision, like an enormous, eternally meshing internal clockwork; the squealing guitar leads and grinding organs that outgas in vivid curlicues, like coronal mass ejections; and a shimmering halo of reverb that blankets the work in a furious, wincing light, even when it goes dark—like staring at your warped reflection in the glowing hull of something completely alien.’ NOX

"Evil Santa" by MichaelRoydenoya50

“Evil Santa” by MichaelRoydenoya50

Pearl JamLightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt is crammed from start to finish with the kind of masterful songwriting that Pearl Jam do so well. If you enjoy hooks, then this is like walking into a giant out-of-town fishing emporium that’s having a BOGOF and a January sale, simultaneously.” PS

RSJHiggs Boson

“They’ve got bits of all the good things about the sort of heavy metal you wore baggy jeans and facial piercings to a few years ago, grounded in a proper appreciation for the sort of heavy metal that still demands you have long hair and wear jeans that fit you properly.” RM

GroanRide the Snake

“Unforced, loose-limbed strut and shimmy.” RM

"Evil Santa" by A7X_Sam_1996

“Evil Santa” by A7X_Sam_1996

Part two is coming soon! Bye!

Rolling Stone Top 500 Challenge IV

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I am still doing it—’it’ being a joyless trudge through one of these exhaustive musical lists everyone’s so fond of. Except this one is massive, and is crammed up to the eyeslots with hurt. I am now 20 per cent of the way through. Do you think we’ll ever be troubled by what Rolling Stone imagines are the real best albums of all time?

The Rules: Try and listen to all the albums on the Rolling Stone top 500 albums of all time. No vetoes. I’m not even allowed to veto things on the grounds that they contain Ian Brown.

My Progress: 424-400

424 Bruce SpringsteenThe Rising: The Boss’ first album in seven years was a response to 9/11, and was chock full of positivity and healing ‘vibes’. Which probably means I’m a really bad person for finding it as soothing as eczema.

423 Diana Ross and The SupremesAnthology: Do we really need another three disc anthology on the list? Especially one that’s not actually on Spotify and needs to be manually recreated from their entire discography? There’s naturally a lot of filler on here, especially the later 70’s stuff when they shift from Motown to disco. But for the most part, this is good pop.

422 The RonettesPresenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica: Ah, the Phil Spector wall of sound. Whoever came up with that term has clearly never heard of Ufomammut. We transition from 1960s girl band pop to 1960s girl band pop, and I’d rather listen to this than Pic n Mix or whatever the current girl band du jour is. It’s also an actual album rather than an elaborate box-set compilation, so doesn’t take the best part of a day to listen to.

421 Various ArtistsThe Best of the Girl Groups: Ah yes, good old Various Artis—wait, more 60s girl band pop? Jesus. Ok then. Once again this took longer to assemble in Spotify than it did to listen to it, which is slightly irritating. I’m starting to tire of the 60s sound now. Need riffs please.

BuddyHollyChirpingCrickets

420 Buddy Holly & The CricketsThe “Chirping” Crickets: I loved Buddy Holly when I was growing up, so much so that my parents took me to see the musical Buddy four times. I’m so metal. Anyway, Buddy Holly was excellent. So there. Still, can we have something that is younger than I am please?

419 PortisheadDummy: That’s more like it. One of my favourite albums of all time, still as haunting and weird now as it was then. I have no idea how this managed to end up as popular as it did, but then the people have to get something right every now and then. Roads is still the best of all the best things.

418 WingsBand on the Run: Baaaaaaand on the ruuun, baaaand ooon the RUN. JET! JET! Wooo  Oooooooooo Ooooooo! This album is equal parts ‘hey Macca was a great songwriter once, wasn’t he?’ and ‘oh shut up Macca you insufferable buffoon.’ Mostly the latter.

417 U2Boy: Oh for fuck’s sake. I have counted five U2 albums on this list, which means it is, objectively, at least one per cent complete bullshit. And to push our statistical analysis still further, there are 11 U2 tracks on this album, which makes it, definitively, 100 per cent bullshit.

416 Tom WaitsMule Variations: Here’s a lesson for all aspiring singers. Bono can hit lots of those notes that you hear about. Tom Waits, by contrast, can’t hit any of them; nor can he sound like anything other than a drunken vacuum cleaner. But I would rather listen to Tom than Bono from now until the end of time.

415 Van HalenVan Halen: Tremendous fun, great guitars, sleazy vocals, all delivered with an earnest cheeky chappie delivery and a twinkle in the eye. Whilst this was playing in my head I became Dalton from Road House. I’d love to be Dalton from Road House. Such hair, many bar fight. Wow.

414 The Go-Go’sBeauty and the Beat: Well this is jolly. New wave pop with Belinda Carlisle on vocals. A delightful breezy bundle of hooks and jaunty jangly guitars.

413 MinutemenDouble Nickels on the Dime: So often when you get to hear something that is considered a pivotal record, the result is disappointing; a legacy forming all the bands and albums that follow in its wake tarnishes whatever brilliance it may have once held. I assumed this would be the case with Minutemen, a band I’ve heard about for years and never got round to. How wrong. Mixing early hardcore with the songwriting brilliance of the Pixies and the funk of—well, funk, this double album full of one or two-minute bursts of magnificence is quite something.

412 WirePink Flag: Steady on Rolling Stone, you’re actually introducing me to some good albums here. This record was recorded in 1977, the same year the Sex Pistols were releasing Never Mind The Bollocks. Whereas the latter is an infantile energy bomb that has (let’s face it) not aged well, this was quietly setting the template for the post punk and hardcore scenes while punk was in its infancy. Brilliant.

411 Eric Clapton461 Ocean Boulevard: If this is the kind of album you make when you’re recovering from heroin addiction then it’s a good job Kurt Cobain shot himself in the face instead.

410 Bob DylanTime Out Of Mind: Okay, Rolling Stone, I get that you really like Dylan. There are 12 of his albums on this list after all, but if an album doesn’t get anywhere near an artist’s individual top ten, do you really think it should be counted as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time in any genre of popular music? No. This is fine, but Highway 61 it is not. It’s also the source of the song Make You Feel My Love, which surely classes it as a biological weapon of some kind.

Morrisons Doors

Morrisons Doors

409 The DoorsStrange Days: Can’t go wrong with The Doors. Not much more to say than that.

408 Sinead O’ ConnorI Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got: So much cheerfulness I don’t think I can take it. At first, I would have said I enjoyed this, but on balance, I don’t think it’s an album to enjoy, so much as to endure. Bleakness sliders pushed to maximum. By the end I was checking how much runtime was left every few minutes, which isn’t a great sign. Afterwards, I moved on to something more uplifting, like undercover slaughterhouse footage.

407 The ClashSandinista!: If, like me, 99 per cent of albums recorded in the 1980s make you want to replace your headphones with a pair of power drills, you’ll probably not be so keen on this. But aside from the awful production, this manages to take a handful of genre-bending scraps of excellence, then pad them out with over two additional discs of utter bilge, which lasts longer than eternity.

406 PJ HarveyRid Of Me: This is the sort of album that worms its way into your very core; a dirty, snarling bit of brilliance. I love Polly. More Polly please.

405 Big StarRadio City: Not going to lie, I was expecting big things from this, given how much I loved the two albums lower down this list. But this fell a bit flat. Shame.

404 Dr. JohnDr. John’s Gumbo: I used to think Jools Holland had tainted “the boogie woogie” so much that I couldn’t actually listen to it any more—until I listened to this, which was excellent. Now I’m just confused. Who could ever have guessed “the boogie woogie” might actually be good?

403 Lynyrd Skynyrd(pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd): I have a ridiculous amount of affection for this album, but then given that it contains Tuesday’s Gone, Simple Man and Freebird amongst its scant eight tracks, maybe it’s not that ridiculous. I mean, some of the other songs are a bit shit really, but if you like your rock served southern and you don’t love this album, you’re doing your life wrong.

402 NasIllmatic: Oh look Rolling Stone remembered hip hop exists! This album is so good, it makes pretty much all the other mainstream hip hop albums ever made cower in incredulous inferiority.

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401 Red Hot Chili PeppersCalifornication: A festering pustule of an album. The moment when alternative rock as a genre finally jumped over the entire Jaws saga. The sum total of all of history’s cumulative banality. This album is all of these things. If your reply to this is ‘yeah but Flea is a great bassist’ then fuck you. You need to have a good hard look at yourself, because you are what’s wrong with almost everything.

400 The TemptationsAnthology: Jesus wept, this seems to be the episode of many anthologies. I don’t mind The Temptations, but I don’t need two hours’ worth of what is quite frankly a very repetitive formula, repeated once every three to five minutes.

But with 100 records down, and one-fifth of the entire list thoughtfully digested, that’s me done. Do I feel suitably enriched by my experience with the lower echelons of time’s greatest music? I suppose there’s only one way you’ll ever find out. Until next time…

Interview: Red Fang

Editors’ Note: Hello everyone. This is an interview with David Sullivan (of rock band Red Fang fame, not David Sullivan, the infamous proprietor of The Sunday Sport newspaper). Red Fang are either a stoner rock or heavy metal band and have been going for a while now. According to Wikipedia: “Red Fang opened the Jägermeister stage on 2011’s edition of the annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival which also featured headliners MegadethGodsmack, and Disturbed.” Good for them.  

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Demon Pigeon: The new album is called Whales and Leeches. What can you tell us about it?

David Sullivan: We recorded this one under a self imposed deadline. We had been touring so much that we hadn’t had time to write. We usually travel in a van, so there’s not really any space to sit with guitars and play while on the road. We could probably write in a hotel room after the show, but usually there’s not much time before we have to get up and drive again, and we’ve already sort of released our musical creative energy during the show, so writing after shows while on tour doesn’t really work for us either. So this time we had a break of about 3 months at home and decided to book studio time and use every moment we had for writing and recording a new album.

DP: The sound is a bit more sludgy than Murder the Mountains, but the songs themselves seem a lot more hook laden. Did you go into this album with a specific sound in mind, or has it been more of an evolution?

DS: It’s a natural progression, we don’t really plan things out or try to do a particular style. We just try to write songs that we like to play, and hopefully people like what we do.

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DP: This album seems a lot more cheerful than its predecessor, are you a happy bunch now?

DS: Hmmmm… I think writing and playing music to avoid depression is still a factor in what we do. But I do agree that musically at least (not necessarily lyrically) the album feels more upbeat.

DP: The album art is pretty special, who made it and how did it come about?

DS: Orion Landau did the art work for Whales and Leeches. He also did the art for Murder the Mountains. He had the idea at first to do a pop-up book style cover, and then decided to do the 3D lenticular cover. I love how it turned out.

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DP: You’ve released details of a European tour which seems exhaustive, and you’ll be out with Lord Dying and The Shrine. What can we expect to see from the three bands when you come over this side of the murky waters?

DS: We always have a great time in Europe. We’re on tour with The Shrine currently, and they are a great band and great dudes. We’ve also toured with Lord Dying and I’d say the same of them, great band, great dudes. Looking forward to drinking lots of new beers.

DP: Have you ever seen the film White Fang, and would you be confident at finding gold during the great depression?

DS: I’ve not seen the movie, but I did read the book years ago. I’m sure I could find gold, if I had a wolf/dog as badass as White Fang as a companion.

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DP: It’s been two years since Murder the Mountains. You seem to have spent all that time on tour, supporting seemingly every band under the sun. Who have you most enjoyed playing with?

DS: It was awesome touring with Mastodon in the US and in Europe.

DP: Do you ever get people coming to your gigs thinking it’s going to be a talk on legendary 1920’s Native American pro footballer Chief Xavier Downwind aka Red Fang? How do you deal with what must be a constant source of confusion?

DS: Haha! That hasn’t happened, but Bryan is constantly mistaken for Rob Zombie. I don’t really see the resemblance.

DP: Your artist profile states both ‘The band runs on beer,’ and ‘Tour to Live’. These seem like two good mottos. What else would you add to the list?

DS: Hugs, snacks, and rock ‘n’ roll!

DP: Last question, whales or leeches?

DS: I’d much rather hang out with whales.

www.redfang.net

Groan – Ride The Snake

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(Superhot Records)

We like Groan quite a lot here at Pigeon Towers. There’s nothing not to like, really—they play big, dense, swinging heavy metal like what they used to make in the Midlands some 35 years ago, they can do it live, and everything they’ve put out on round plastic objects so far has been top-class. Their new EP, Ride The Snake, pretty much carries on from where the second album (The Divine Right Of Kings, which was ace) left off, except with a couple of lineup shuffles and a fair bit more focus.

Chris West moves from drums to rhythm guitar, ex-The Ocean bass-dude Mike Pilat takes over lead guitar duties, and Zel Kaute (ex-Pettybone, also of Vodun) fills the throne from where West used to dictate the tempo. It’s changed their sound slightly, but not in any kind of bad way – the extra flexibility in the stringed department makes more room in the songs for Mazzereth to really stretch his vocals, whilst Kaute’s concise, hefty, yet never less than groovy batterings drive the arrangements firmly home.

There’s a lot more ‘rock’ about Groan this time out, and a bit less of the ‘stoner’. Even the last track’s eight-plus minutes are structured in a way that never meanders too far from the headbanging, bottom-wiggling point of Groan Mk II—no less exploratory, just way more direct and better for it. They’ve played out a fair bit with this lineup at this point, and it really shows in the unforced, loose-limbed strut and shimmy they exhibit all over the likes of  Drug Lord and Slice Of That Vibe. Top banana.

Can we get a full album of this please? Thanks in advance, nice gents and lady.

Score: yes, they probably do.

superhotrecords.bandcamp.com

RSJ – Higgs Boson

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(Dead Rat Records)

I think I’m getting on a bit, you know. Quite aside from the alarming dominance that the colour grey is starting to exert over my beard, the increased grumpiness, and the noises I now involuntarily make when getting in and out of my car, I’m also finding it more difficult to sub-categorise music. Quite liberating, actually. What was once a headscratching exercise in ultimate descriptive precision, resulting in a media library full of such exotic linguistic delights as ‘blackened math/tech grind’ has become, over the last couple of years, a simple process of “well, is it good or is it shit?” Liberating, yep.

What that DOESN’T do, however, is make writing these reviews any easier. People expect a certain level of literacy and descriptive flair in these things, it seems. I suppose I could say something wanky like “RSJ bring an early-millennial bounce and swing to their slab-thick riffing, recalling all that was so exciting about modern metal’s fusion with hardcore at the turn of the last century,” couldn’t I? Would that help you decide at all? I dunno. Might do.

I’m not going to do that though, so get that idea right out of your head. I’m going to do this instead: RSJ are really good. I like RSJ. Higgs Boson is a good record, and if you like heavy metal you should at least give it a listen. They’ve got bits of all the good things about the sort of heavy metal you wore baggy jeans and facial piercings to a few years ago, grounded in a proper appreciation for the sort of heavy metal that still demands you have long hair and wear jeans that fit you properly. RSJ – definitely good. Not shit at all.

Love,

An Old Bastard.

rsj.bigcartel.com