There was time when I would latch onto a band at some point midstream in their production line and instinctually seek out all previous material. What it would mean is piles of c-90's (I was a college DJ back then and could just tape off the whole Christan Death catalog during my show. The Circle K by my apartment wisely sold blank tapes for this very purpose) of music that would get a cursory listen, a quick scry of the song titles and the chonology so I could participate fully in the Music Minutia pissing contests and confidently emerge the pisser, not the pissee.
Now, when all band info on anything ever done is assembled online, and stuff for free everywhere if you look for it, I can't even be bothered to scrape up time to put it on my SoulSeek queue. There is too much goddamn music coming out, and bands just don't die off. It's a microcosm of population explosion. I'm not calling for some draconian culling mechanism, or insisting that a band be carted off to Carousel when their double-album invariably gets realized, I'm just saying, much as I feel compelled to, I cannot keep up with, say Elf Power's ever unfolding lotus of a catalog, with all I got else to do. Its time to play favorites amongst all your children.
Number one son right now is named Boris - a sludge/noise/garage rock/drone trio from Japan that lives up to the stereotype of Japanese appropriation of gringo culture - they do it faster, harder and more efficiently. Its an easy choice, since all other music is rendered superfluous when Boris come on. Last year, my favorite record was their re-issue of Akuma No Uta which was either 2 or 200 million years old, depending on how the pure volcanic sound of their mix of droning psychedelics and kidney-punch-heavy rock was crafted. This year they garner my favor with Pink, a slap of mindbenders that acme out last year in Japan. Outsideleft thankfully does not have a star based rating system, because I would have to inquire through opium haze emanating from this masterpiece "How many stars are there?"
They open with an anthemic atmospheric "Farewell" sounding all the world like Sigur Ros, but the mayhem at the title track that quickly follows dissipates any fears that this band has fallen down their own rabbit hole. Lightning strikes in the breakneck beats and deep dirty beats. This would be the perfect song to listen to right before you killed yourself on one of those Anime motorcycles jetting to annihilation.
Being on Southern Lord and collaborating/touring with dark magus cadre Sunn O))) has had its effect (or vice versa perhaps) based on the black hole that opens up from "Blackout" but again, they save you from the coma with "Electric" a power-punk-garage track that rocks harder in 1:15 than anything since Bad Brains' "Pay To Cum."
Pink roams the nuclear wasteland like this throughout the rest of the record coming to a the 18-minute masterpiece "Just Abandoned Myself" kicking in the turbo from the get go and not letting up for ages. Its like "Sister Ray" with the upbeat underlying hippy groove replaced with Sonic Youth and a forlorn extended burnout. I've been relistening to a lot of old Sonic Youth albums lately, and this track gets to where they were trying to go on Evol and Bad Moon Rising, an emotionally heavy distorted crying jag that projects you down the dark highway of the soul with no hope of stopping. It is tremendous, beautiful stuff. There is tons in the Boris catalog I haven't gotten to yet (like their 65 minute single track monolith Absolutego) but the strength of the two albums I have come to love, I'll be willing to forego a lot of other things to get there.
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com
Memories are Now, is a bold and inventive collection from Jesca Hoop who says each new record begins with a musical identity crisis