Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Albums like "Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1" always arouse suspicion in me. They seem to be the result of some shrewd record exec's desire to cash in on some trend rather than a genuine musical expression from a serious artist or band. They may look right and may even sound right, but there is something inherently phony and slapdash about them. "Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1" was released in 1974, perhaps a bit late to truly capitalize on the psych trend, but still making a vain attempt. What comes to mind first are the uncanny Morrison-esque vocals of Mr. Phantom (Ted Pearson) himself. You can almost hear some ambitious A&R jerkoff foaming at the mouth at the prospect of a Doors-like band performing horror themed bargain basement psychedelia via Vegas lounge jazz. Upon its release, rumors (perhaps started by the band's management) abounded about how it was indeed Morrison lending his vocal talents to "Divine Comedy Part 1," and I'm certain that Capitol Records higher-ups did little to nothing to dissuade such notions. Did it work? Well, have you ever heard of this album? Is it a bad album? Not by a long shot, my friend. Is it a great album? Well, quite frankly, no. However, it is good enough, strange enough, and rare enough to be included in the Cosmic Hearse pantheon. Phantom lays down nine songs rich in imagery crawling with spiders, wizards and demons, and even if the music is somewhat flat and unoriginal the whole affair is rather enjoyable, even if for its goofy, naive take on the psych/hard rock genre. Phantom never got around to recording "Divine Comedy part 2" (let this be a lesson to young bands, don't call something a "part 1" unless "part 2" is in the can and ready for release), so this album remains Phantom's sole contribution to the vast musical landscape of the early '70s. On the sultry "Tales from a Wizard," the album's first track, Phantom sounds most like the bloated deceased Lizard king he seeks to emulate. On "Devil's Child" Phantom opts for a more exagerrated soulful voice over a composition that sounds as if it could have been one of Joe Raposo's Sesame Street songs from the '70s. "The Calm Before the Storm" is another song that might have been culled from the Door's dumpster and "Half Life" is a creepy ballad that actually reminds me of later Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, had Nick Cave been born 15 years earlier. Smack dab in the middle of the proceedings comes the album's crown jewel, the geniusly titled, "Spiders Will Dance On Your Face While You Sleep." More of the same Halloween Super Store hard rock ensues until the albums epic closer "Welcome To Hell," a slow and slinky, melodramatic tale that encompasses all the themes explored in the album's other songs. Corny beyond belief, but still great fun. Welcome to Hell.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Although Bone Awl choose to exist in the realm of black metal, at heart they are a crust punk band of the highest order. From their filthy, simplistic riffing, to their anti-art cut and paste design sense, Bone Awl reject all that is clean, and modern. The band, made up of members, He Who Gnashes Teeth and He Who Crushes Teeth, release only cassettes and vinyl in very limited numbers. "Magnetism of War" is Bone Awl's first tape ,released in 2002, and limited to 150 copies.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Nekromantik, Jörg Buttgereit's 1987 film is so much more than your standard gross out horror flick, it is the complex story of a love triangle between two deeply devoted sociopaths, Rob and Betty, and the corpse Rob brings home from his job cleaning roadside accidents. Things start off well enough but soon it becomes apparent that Betty prefers the company of the corpse, and Rob's world starts to decompose as does Betty's deceased paramour. I won't spoil the end, but let me say that is one the most bizarre and memorable scenes ever. Shot with 16mm film, Nekromantik has a grainy, low-budget look that doesn't detract from the film's inherent beauty at all. It is an unflinching and totally amazing piece of art that I can not recommend enough. Then there's the soundtrack. Sparse and lonely violins, pianos and orchestral pieces strain to convey the absolute desperation and misery of Rob, the callousness of Betty, and the indifference of the dead body that comes between them. Interestingly enough, the music was written and performed by Herman Kopp and the actor who played Rob, Daktari Lorenz. It is a simply beautiful soundtrack that compliments the film perfectly. John Waters called Nekromantik "The first erotic film for necrophiles." I call it a date movie for people who prefer Cannibal Corpse to "When Harry Met Sally." Enjoy.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Perhaps when you think of Brazil you think of sun-drenched beaches, painful pube waxing, or really hot transexuals, but I think of raw, untamed hellish metal!!! In the late '80s and early '90s Brazil was fertile ground for crazy thrashing blackened death noise. At the forefront of this scene was Cogumelo Records. The label still exists to this day. Over the years Cogumelo has released albums from such Brazilian legends as Sepultura, Impurity, Vulcano, Sextrash and many more, but the 1986 compilation, "Warfare Noise" is Cogumelo's early mission statement. Four of the label's earliest, and best, signings are presented. All four bands presented are from Belo Horizonte Brazil and all seem to push the tempos beyond anything any other metal bands were doing at the time. Chakal kick things off with two rabid cuts of sloppy, barbaric thrash. Mutilator are a bit tighter than Chakal but still as fast. Next is Sarcofago, the godfathers of Brazilian satanic terror. Sarcofago is a band you should know, their influence on modern black metal is huge. If you don't know their album "I.N.R.I." then you'd do wise to seek it out. The war-obssessed Holocausto finish things off with their clumsy, primitive tracks. Although Sarcofago is my favorite band on here, it is Holocausto's contribution to "Warfare Noise" that I find most compelling. As great a comp as "Warfare Noise" is, it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how immense and weird the Brazilian scene was, but it's as good a place to start as any. Agora acreditar su alma a Brasileira metal!!!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
... I present another Japanese record. Here are two of the best noisy hardcore bands of the '80s on one bootleg 12" vinyl. If you are a seasoned fan of Japanese hardcore, this will be old hat for you, but if not, this may just blow your fucking mind out your goddamned earholes!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Alrune Rod hailed from Denmark. This is their first album, it was released in 1969, and it is an epic piece of psyche/prog greatness. Alrune Rod was fond of long, expansive arrangements and slow, doomy scapes of sound. Moments of hippy folk strangeness lead into dark ominous guitar-driven passages making for an engaging, dynamic listen. Another lost treasure of pure Scandinavian acid eccentricity.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Celestia is another beautiful and strange black metal band from France. "Apparitia-Sumptuous Spectre" is their first full-length album after releasing a staggering number of demos and splits, it was released in 2002. What sets Celestia apart from your average blasting cult of disenfranchised satanists are themes of romantic love and gothic imagery. Celestia could only come from France. Aesthetically, Celestia mirror the works of such French writers as Maldoror, Bataille and Baudelaire. So it seems fitting that "Apparitia-Sumptuous Spectre" appears to have a linear story within its eight gnarled canticles. Noktu is haunted by the ghost of his deceased lover, eventually he is driven mad and takes his own life in order to truly be with her. So fucking French! The photo of the band in the booklet is dated 1933, awesome.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Part 4 of Cosmic Hearse's 5 part series of ZZ Top vinyl rips. Fandango was ZZ Top's half live/half studio album. The live side showcases their unstoppable energy, but what a lame choice of material, the studio side smokes, and contains some of their best work. Enjoy.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Black Flag's 1982 demo was the band's only recording made with Chuck Biscuits on drums. Dez was still playing rhythm guitar. These songs ended up on later albums except for "Yes I Know" and "What Can You Believe?" This recording (and another 4 song demo with Bill Stevenson and Kira Roessler) have been bootlegged time and time again, but Black Flag is one of my favorite bands and I wanted to pay tribute here on the Hearse. The band never released this, there is no artwork, so I have opted to post one of my favorite Pettibon drawings instead.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
It's Sunday, and Sundays should be about fun, so here I present to you one of the sweetest little records to ever come from the AIDS ravaged, open grave known as Zambia. There is a youthful innocence, a third-world naivety that permeates "My Ancestors,"the 1974 album by Zambian guitarist, Chrissy Zebby Tembo. Fuzzed-out wah wah psych had obviously made it's way to Africa by 1974 and Chrissy Zebby Tembo was at the forefront of the scene. If you happen to own the great "Love, Peace & Poetry: African Psychedelic Music" compilation, you may remember Chrissy Zebby Tembo's instrumental "Oh Yeh Yeh", which is also featured on this album. The sun shines all over the 9 songs here, and it's hard not to smile when Chrissy's kooky, relaxed vocals come in. The album has a warmth and closeness that make it absolutely infatuating. I fell in love with "My Ancestors" upon my first listen, and I imagine, you (being a person of distinction and taste) will too.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
You might expect quite a bit from the band that calls itself "Evil," I think you will not be disappointed. Evil, from Brazil, play extremely weird lo-fi black metal. "Iron and Thunder" is perhaps one of the most poorly recorded black metal albums ever (which is really saying something), instantly making it one of my all-time favorites. These are songs collected from a demo titled "Revenge of Iron and Thunder" and a split with German cult horde, Moonblood. Evil used to be a full band, but quickly dissolved into the concern of sole member, Warlord. This was due in part to jail sentences (in one case a murder charge) and general bad trips. The music ranges from simple Beherit like black metal to RAC influenced punk all coated in static and fuzz. So fucking cult and primitive. Released in very limited numbers on the now defunct, and once great label, Autistiartili. At the time of this writing Warlord has decided to discontinue Evil, citing pressure from Brazilian authorities as his reason for quitting.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I'm sure that anyone reading this has some album or song that immediately floods them with vivid nostalgia. Upon hearing the opening few seconds of the record one is brought back to a very specific time and place. "Extra-Capsular Extraction," the first album by Seattle drone pioneers, Earth, holds many memories for me. It is 1991 and grunge and Sub Pop are king, but most of these flannel-wrapped ass candles fail to hold my interest. Hey, what's this? It's a record on Sub Pop without an exciting Charles Peterson photo of a not-so-exciting band playing live. Get a load of that cover, will you? That double-pupiled eye, the simple, sterile layout, and the small print across the top that reads "Postgraduate Seminars:Eye Surgery-Concepts and Problems PRODUCED BY EARTH AND THE EXCERPTA MEDICA." More appropriated medical texts adorn the back cover, making the whole package and aesthetic very similar to another record that caught my attention the same year: Carcass' "Necroticism Descanting The Insalubrious." My housemates and I would do whip-its to the crushing sound of Earth's gravitational pull and when I listen to this today, my lips still get cold. This "postgraduate seminar" consists of three droning monoliths, and there is even a guest appearance by a young guy named Kurt Cobain who had some kind of band in the '90s. I don't know.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Like fellow Scandi-metal mavens, Overdrive and OZ, Denmark's Witch Cross played fun, no-frills party metal. "Fit For Fight" is an album with more hooks than your Grampy's tacklebox. This may come off as a bit weak to some of you more agressive bangers, but if you dig catchy, melodic NWOBHM style rocking then I think you will love this album.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Maybe you missed this one when it came out in 1983, Antidote's "Thou Shalt Not Kill" 7 inch. Ripping, angry New York hardcore that is every bit as good as anything by Minor Threat or Negative Approach. The band pressed a scant 500 copies themselves, but several bootlegs have been made since. This record sort of marks the end before NYHC became a knuckle-dragging thug wonderland. Get it!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Life formed in Stockholm in 1970. They recorded this great album, got parts in the Swedish cast of "Hair", and then split. Life sort of sounds like Queen at times, and Deep Purple at others, but then again sounding nothing like either. That is the hallmark of a great band, one that can't be easily described, no matter how many other band names and adjectives you toss at it. This album has it all, and there is something in it for anyone who loves music. Orchestrated cheese sits harmoniously besides sun baked THC riffing, all extremely well-performed. Download it and listen to it with your dad, then tell him why you won't be going back to school this semester.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Gontyna Kry are a Polish black metal band of dubious political inclination. Their name loosely translates to "Temple of Blood" from it's proto-slavic origin. Everything Gonyna Kry has released has been magic, but it is "Welowie" (Ancestors) that is widely regarded by fans as the band's pinnacle. It is indeed an amazing album of mournful, layered black metal. The drums sometimes struggle to keep up but this is due to the fact that they were recorded after the guitars. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of recording knows why this is usually a terrible idea, but in the case of "Welowie" it only serves to add to the chaotic swirl of the album. There is something very distant and lonely about "Welowie". Gontyna Kry are not so much hateful bigots as they are reflective and despondent over the erosion of their ancient slavonic traditions, but they also hold an optimistic belief that someday ancient pagan values will be restored to Poland. Founding member Thargelion elaborates on this notion: "Today's world is full of corruption, lies and lack of responsibility. Most people do not take care of the achievements of their ancestors, it is unimportant for them, indeed, even senseless. Yet they fail to notice that behaving as they are, they are becoming worthless materialists, caring about their splendid career and money. I consider that a man lacking respect for the past of their country should not call themselves a citizen (partly a patriot) of that country. Personally, I foster and take care of the past of my Fatherland, actively support it in writing and music. I count on it that some beautiful day everything will go back to its roots, we will again become those people for whom ideals; honour and Fatherland were important. Today's world is devoid of these very values, morale falls down, ethos does not count anymore; only a small group of people, those real patriots, are aiming for the past to not be forgotten, and they still take care of the ancestors' achievements. There ought to be more such people, yet our times are very hard so one does not know how things will turn out to be; what one knows is that only the commonly known materialism counts, which actually is a kind of utopia for the whole of mankind."
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Chemotherapy's "Resist" ep is as much a piece of outsider art as it is a punk record from the '80s. Chemotherapy didn't wait until they knew their way around their instruments, they didn't spend a whole hell of alot of time on the song writing, the art, or the production, and with 12 songs in 6 minutes, Chemotherapy didn't really want to waste too much of your time either. Chemotherapy's one and only release is an Attention Deficit Disorder sufferer's dream. The 12 songs are just quick, poorly played yet impassioned punk jingles overflowing with teenage sass and post-adolescent attitude. More of a snotty, hissy-fit of a record than a balls-out anger-fueled hardcore rager. So bumbling and weird, it's impossible not to love Chemotherapy. This was self released in 1983. I have nothing more on this record or this band. Obviously they were American, but from where, I don't know.
Friday, January 11, 2008
How fucking wonderful was Sydney, Australia's Buffalo? Their utterly ruling proto-metal-throw-down dude rock, their ham-fisted, hairy-chested macho delivery, their unabashed misogyny all make for rock rulingness, but Buffalo pushed it so far that they bordered on cartoonish. "Buffalo Only Want You For Your Body" was the band's third album. After experiments in psych (Dead Forever) and more jammy, blues-based hard rocking (Volcanic Rock), it was on this album that Buffalo found their forte in muscle-bound biker rock and roll. Sadly, this would be Buffalo's last album of any merit, even though the band continued on in some form or another for many years after. So here's the deal, in 1974 Buffalo was one of the best, most potent group of pussy hungry rockers on earth and this is evidenced in "Buffalo Only Want You For Your Body." The album opens with "I'm a skirt lifter, not a shirt raiser," as if right off the bat Dave Tice wants you to know that he digs the hole, NOT the pole, so if you were planning on trying anything, think twice, mate. And it only gets better from there. Again I urge you to not take my word for it, let Buffalo tell you how it is.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Funeral was one of France's earliest black metal bands. Oddly enough the band's misdeeds (well documented in Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlund's book, Lords of Chaos) gained more attention than their music. Xaphan, Funeral's frontman, conceived of a new band while incarcerated for grave robbery. Seigneur Voland formed in 1999 upon Xaphan's release. The band released a few splits with other like-minded French bands, and this ep. Typical of the French black metal bands, Seigneur Voland incorporate a great deal of melody into their music. One might even call this ep "beautiful". The band split in 2002 but recently reformed to play some gigs in their country. Members of this band have also been involved with the bands Finis Gloria Dei, Blessed In Sin, Kristallnacht, and Desolation Triumphalis.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Slim Gaillard's story is so riddled with holes, contradictions, myth, conjecture, hearsay, and straight up bullshit that really only Slim himself knows the real deal, but he died in 1991. If one was to believe Slim's own accounts he would have had to live 3 or 4 lifetimes to achieve all he claimed. Born Bulee Gaillard in 1911, and again 1916 in Pensacola, Detroit, and even Santa Clara, Cuba, Slim spent much of his childhood aboard a merchant marine ship with his steward father. On one such expedition he was accidentally left behind in Greece. It was while in Greece he supported himself by tap dancing on the street. He also taught himself to play several instruments. In his early 20s, Slim found himself in Detroit where he took up boxing, worked as a mortician, and honed his guitar playing and tap dancing skills. Slim also called New York home. There he met rotund bassist Slam Stewart. The two of them formed Slim & Slam, with Scatman "Got killed in The Shining" Crothers on drums. Slim Gaillard practically invented his own language with words like "orooney" and "vout" and would often incorporate pop culture references of the time into his freestyle scat jive rantings. The guy was hilarious. And no slouch on the fret board, Slim's rocking solos pre-date Chuck Berry by more than a decade. But, alas, Slim got no respect from his peers, and though he could play circles around most of them, he was seen as sort of a Weird Al type character due to his satirical takes on such beloved celebs of the day like Yma Sumac, Count Basie, and Desi Arnaz. He was also a very outspoken critic of the American Federation of Musicians. He gets a mention in Kerouac's "On The Road," and he has a cameo in the film "Absolute Beginners," but all of this is, of course, secondary to the man's incredible music. Who else could create such amazing songs about chickens, poodles,potato chips, and a flatfoot floogie with a floy floy? The tracks here are from the abridged version of the "Laughing in Rhythm: The Verve Years" cd. It's a great overview of the range of Slim Gaillard and his amazing work from the late '40s and early '50s. Perhaps the only thing certain about Slim Gaillard's life is that it was colorful and it came to an end in 1991. Thankfully we have these recordings. Vout Oroonie Roo!!!
Monday, January 7, 2008
I don't know much, but I do think this ep by Saccharine Trust from 1981 never got the attention it deserved. Jack Brewer's frantic vocals and Joe Baiza's scraping tinny guitars make "Pagan Icons" a tense affair. As claustrophobic as a grimy L.A. apartment in Summertime, it's uncomfortable, it's creepy, it's desperate, and the whole thing ends with "Human Certainty", perhaps one of the greatest songs of all time. Decide for yourself.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Hey bro, you are invited to a party. It's going to be killer. Who's going to be there, you ask? Well, Ape, Speedy and Blade are coming. Hmmmm, who else? Oh yeah, Ruffneck and Spooky will be there. Oh yeah, and Quorthon, let's not forget Quorthon, he's bringing the flaming skull. This party is better known as "Fire In The Brain," the 1983 album by Finnish ragers OZ. "Fire in the Brain" is crazy fun from beginning to end. OZ had a sort of a ham-fisted, no-frills, caveman approach to classic heavy metal. Every song here is a keeper. And who wouldn't want to party with dudes with names like Ape De Martini, Speedy Foxx, Spooky Wolff, Jay C. Blade, and Mark Ruffneck. Jesus Fuck, bro, even their names are fun! I know "fun" may be a dirty word in some metal circles, but remember, OZ had the firm endorsement of Bathory founder, Quorthon, who lent his bloodied hand to the cover art. See, Quorthon knew a party when he saw one. Hey, if you are too entrenched in your narrow, little, kult and necro world to relax your banjo-tight sphincter and party with OZ then just stay here and sulk, I'm going to party with OZ. Later, bro.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Crucifix were from San Francisco, but if one didn't know better they might think that they hailed from the same grey English settings as Discharge or GBH. Though their albums were great, it's this ep from 1982 that holds the most interest for me. I was made aware of Crucifix from the live version of "Steel Glass Enclosure" featured on the "Rat Music For Rat People" compilation. "Nineteen Eighty Four" has the studio version of this song as well as two others, "Rise And Fall" and "Prejudice." When most San Francisco punks were concerned with being arty and weird, Crucifix focused on sheer political angst and agressive music. 25 years later, this ep still kicks ass, and that's pretty cool.
Friday, January 4, 2008
...we lost a treasure, Phil Lynott. Why not drink some Jameson's (not Bushmills!!!), and listen to my personal favorite Thin Lizzy record, "Black Rose: A Rock Legend" In case you don't have it, I put it here:
Here's another fantastic band from the early '70s that released one phenomenal album and then just disappeared into obscurity. Hurdy Gurdys were from Denmark and had a ringer in guitarist/vocalist Claus Bøhling, whose fluid, stylish playing was integral to the band's heavy trips, he also painted that far out kelp-haired sea creature on their 1971 album's cover. The album has some mild filler, mainly the obligatory sitar song and some bluesy noodling, but the incredible "Spaceman", and "The Giant" more than make up for any hemp-addled transgressions made by Hurdy Gurdy. This has been reissued twice on cd once by Walhalla records in 1996 and more recently by Akarma with extra songs, I have included those here because, unlike alot of "bonus tracks" they are really great songs that should have made the final cut, and not just some tacked on, poorly-recorded live bullshit used to accomidate the longer playing time of a cd. Check it out, stoner.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Some time back, the great blog, True Punk & Metal (http://truepunkmetal.blogspot.com/) posted the No Mercy album. The author writes of being at a show in L.A. and being throughly freaked out by the level of violence surrounding the Venice scene and the bands of that time. And he's right, these dudes were fucking scarier then a hundred pasty, priveliged, Scandinavian black metal teens in panda make-up. The strange marriage between punk music and Southern California Latino gang culture was thoroughly frightening. More so than skinheads, jocks or rednecks. It was almost like a cult, a cult that had no qualms about stabbing you in the pit. Fuuuuck!!! I'm sure by now everyone's heard of Suicidal Tendencies but what of the other cyco cholos who filled out the ranks? So here I present the "Welcome to Venice" compilation LP from 1985, a great glimpse into the unnerving world of Venice hardcore. You get one previously unreleased song by Suicidal Tendencies, some great Motorhead worship from Beowulf, and some ripping crossover thrash from Los Cycos, Excel, and No Mercy. The Venice bands seemed to have a reverence for metal as evidenced by the presence of speed picking on nearly every track. Say what you will about the violence and the sheer stupidity of these bands and their homies, this comp is killer, esse.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Since Necropolis records is no more I guess this weird piece of black metal miscellenia is out of print and even sought after. Vondur's "Stridsyfllysing" came out in 1996 to derision and scorn, but fuck that, I love this album. From it's Star Wars art to it's moronic riffs to it's utterly lame drum machine, pure retard art from Sweden. Kind of strange that this sells on eBay for up to $75, but then again, people are fucking stupid. Just download it here, and use it to end the party when you've had enough of your douchebag friends.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
While you wasted 2007 worrying about global warming and the environment, you totally dismissed the notion that the earth might meet it's demise at the hands of an angry giant space viking as portrayed on the cover of this fine slab of Scandinavian steel. With that in mind, let's start off '08 right with Swedish bangers Overdrive ,and their 1984 album "Swords and Axes". Okay, not exactly a colossal opus of pure metal genius, but it is enough to remind you of why you love metal. Kind of fruity at times but all fun.