An Imaginary Country
8 Listening to Hecker’s records has always been like falling into that swirling, multicoloured, pulsing wave thing that your laptop defaults to if you leave it alone for more than three seconds. The only thing that changes from album to album is the colours that you imagine yourself woozily floating in. Not sure if the sleeve disproportionately influenced me but this one is definitely warm greens and chilly blues.
9 Don’t let the fact that it’s on Southern Lord stop you from giving this one a go because blog metal it ‘aint. After six years and a meager couple of 7”s Orcusts finally vomit forth a full length and while it might tick all the corpse paint and disemboweled-amputate-fetus artwork boxes it’s easily the best black metal release this side of the last Deathspell Omega. Grim with lots of “I’s” etc etc
8 I never got Black Mountain. It just sounds like a po-faced version of Uncle Tupelo created in a laboratory to give Uncut readers involuntary ear boners to me. The Pink Mountaintops stuff that Black Mountain singer guy Stephen McBean whips up on his days off comes on like a tall glass of greatness though.
9 Woe betide anyone attempting to traverse the tricky bridge to grindcore land in 2009. Sorry, you’re bound to end up in the smelly stream of mediocrity at best or just get laughed offstage at Le Pub in Newport at worst. That is unless your band is called Insect Warfare.
Chained To The Nite
8 Earache have, in the past, pinned their tails on some pretty duff donkeys. The New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal may seem like another loosing bet but somehow Cauldron have rapidly wedged themselves into constant rotation in my iTunes and, worryingly, my head. It’s all swords, sorcery and assorted other silliness but I’ve not had this much fun since the guy from Dragonforce started doing 10-minute keytar solos.
9 Putting the word “hard” in your album title and telling anyone who’ll listen that you are “pre-occupied by the dancefloor” just makes you come on like a little kid with scuffed knees talking a big game in the playground. You aren’t fooling anyone Nathan. Beefier it may be but it’s equal parts sinewy, uplifting and as beautifully crafted as ever.
The Redruth Ripper
2 Maybe putting on six million festivals a year makes your ears so filled with music that you forget what “good” and “bad” sound like. Not that you won’t find me in Minehead come May. Just saying is all.
Jams R Us
8 Imagine The Black Lips but with boobs. Sounds good right? The Coathangers might just be better than even that. Note perfect, spiraling garage riffs, a tonne of sass and vocals that come on like Mary Weiss doing Huggy Bear covers. We should all be kneeling beside our beds and thanking the big guy upstairs for Atlanta every single night.
Goodie Goodie Mob
Coming From Reality
Light In The Attic Records
3 Just because everyone went monkey-nuts over David Holmes ‘finding’ Rodriguez and his long out of print debut getting reissued last year doesn’t mean you have to milk the poor cash cow till his udder teats are raw and rouged. Stick with last year’s Cold Fact set and be done with it. There’s a reason this was the last record Sixto cut before retiring.
1 Swoon? Faint From All Consuming Indifference more like. I’ve heard Eddie Stobart haulage drivers whistling in the toilets at Newport Pagnell services that had me nodding my head more than this would in a million months of Sundays.
Alexis Petri Dish
Metric Music International/PIAS/Intergral
2 The soundtrack to Grey’s Anatomy self release new record. World fails to even manage a partially interested “huh?” Has it really been four years since you couldn’t walk ten feet without hearing that “Monster Hospital” song? Does anyone still even care?
Tut Tut Now Shake Your Butt
9 Who’d have imagined when we put them on together at The Old Blue Last that Japanther and former Crass leader and eternal agit-heckler come stream of conscious poet Penny Rimbaud would disappear off into the studio and make something of unsurpassable excellentness? Not only did they manage to do just that but they also somehow squeezed matey from Spank Rock on there wittering about getting banged up in JFK for wearing a flashy necklace. Or something.
2 Lot’s of people I know really like this band. Not even in a passing “they’re ok” liking way but in a sing-it-from-the-nearest-spire televangelical liking way. Maybe I need to go home and have a long hard think about who I make friends with.
The Black Lips
200 Million Thousand
9 Still the most fun band of lovably roguish babes currently playing music? Check. Still making the jingliest, rawest garage-punk this side of the Swinging Medallions covering “Black Monk Time”? Check. Still likely to pee through your mailbox, run off with your girlfriend and somehow make you wish they were still around? Check, check, check. The Black Lips are still all of these things but this time around they have managed to squeeze gut-wrenching into their already brimming repertoire and if I “I’ll Be With You” doesn’t make you want to run off into some secluded corner and have a big blub then you are an emotional void.