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Various Artists – Grind Madness at the BBC


Grind Madness at the BBC

This takes me back. Sometimes innovations can be pinned down to very specific musical moments. In the same way that Eddie Van Halen‘s tapping on “Eruption” spawned a legion of followers, Mick Harris‘ death blasts on “Scum” set the pace and tone of metal drumming for decades to follow. Its hard to overstate the impact of “Scum” and late 80s UK hardcore. Suddenly everyone was listening to it (well maybe not the 80s pop dullards with their heads burried in the sand) because it was just so extreme. Napalm Death and E.N.T. records (yes records) cropped up in unlikely places like the collections of goths and indie kids, as well the collections metalheads and punks. It was

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Cauldron – Chained to the Nite


Cauldron - Chained to the Nite

This isn’t what I’d expect from Earache at all. Cauldron are a “traditional” metal outfit from Canada. Not a hint of Grind Madness here. Maybe Cauldron are a sound of things to come. Growling and evil has dominated metal for quite some time now. Yeah it can be great fun, but its a little one dimensional isn’t it? And hey making devil horns and growls is quite frankly a little bit embarrassing. I got that out of my system when I was 13…

Cauldron get back to metal’s roots. Its something I’m hearing more and more of, especially from new young bands like these guys. Chained to the Nite is their début, and

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Do Make Say Think – Other Truths


When Toronto’s Do Make Say Think emerged over a decade ago, they came over as an enjoyable but slightly generic example of the Canadian post rock scene of the time, seemingly doomed to live in the shadow of Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor, before fading away when the post rock bubble burst. In the event, things have turned out very differently and as G!YBE themselves seem to have faded away into their “indefinite hiatus”, DMST have developed by leaps and bounds, creating ever more accomplished and engaging records, Other Truths being their sixth to date. The fact that the group have named each of the four expansive tracks (varying in length between 8 and 13 minutes) on the record after the four

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Melvins – Chicken Switch


melvins_album_coverUnlike a lot of remix albums where an artist gets a song to work with, the artists on Chicken Switch were given whole Melvins albums to work with. So each track is a remix of a whole album. The Melvins chose experimental electronic artists for Chicken Switch, with such names as Matmos, Lee Ranaldo, Merzbow, Kawabata Makoto and Speedranch getting involved. The result is a pretty extreme makeover. It isn’t an album of mixes that sound nearly identical to the originals. In fact, most of the tracks don’t sound that much like the Melvins. “Queen (Electroclash Remix)” by The Panacea and Lee Ranaldo’s mix are pretty wild chopped up metal. Farmers Manual‘s “disp_tx_skel_mach_murx” and Void Manes‘ “Overgoat”

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The Stooges – You Want My Action

Easy Action

The Stooges - You want my action While a 4CD set of murky cassette recordings of the same set from four different Stooges shows during Spring 1971 is clearly only of any real interest to hardcore Stooges fans, why would anybody not be a hardcore Stooges fan?

The three holy relics that have sustained the Stooges’ reputation for the past thirty five years are in themselves perfectly realised works of unparalleled slobbering rock ‘n’ roll transcendence, but at the same time offer up unanswered questions – like what happened before, after, in between? Eyewitness reports of early Stooges shows tell of a far more abstract and experimental music than that eventually captured (moulded?) by John

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Sister Iodine – Flame Désastre

(Éditions Mego)

Sister Iodine - Flame DésastreI first became aware of Sister Iodine when my group Fflaps played alongside them in Lille way back in November 1992. I enjoyed them a lot – they played a thrilling high energy no wave inflected punk rock, full of dissonant guitar savagery, filtered through an inscrutable Gallic nonchalance. Maybe their sound at the time owed a little too much to Sonic Youth, whose Lee Ranaldo had produced some of their earliest recordings, but they unmistakably had enough of their own identity to come over as serious contenders. Having spent mush of the nineties playing alongside such venerable names as Faust, Melt Banana, Stereolab, The Ex, Keiji Haino and Sonic Youth themselves, they retired towards the end of the decade for several years due

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Faust (live at Pop Montréal)

Pop Montréal, Ukrainian Federation, Montréal 3 October 2009

The gathering krautrock-keen fans filled both levels of the seated, community-centre vibe auditorium known as the Ukrainian Federation which has hosted the likes of Patti Smith, Joanna Newsom, Loudon Wainwright III, and A Silver Mt. Zion. For Faust’s first ever show in Canada, heralding their entrance, Jean-Hervé Peron started by squawking and squealing on a trombone from the back of the hall before hopping on stage with drummer Zappi Diermaier (a forbidding presence and the original Faust percussionist), James Johnston (synth and guitar wizard and co-founder of Gallon Drunk) and Geraldine Swayne (vocalist, guitarist and multi-talented member). Before long, on a brightly lit stage, the definitive beat was established within the psychedelic jam that would soon be interrupted by lush clouds of French/German ditties, which were then overlapped with industrial meanderings.

The mood was largely light, loose and informal and not as

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Pelican – What We All Come to Need

(Southern Lord) What We All Come to Need is Pelican‘s first full length release on Southern Lord and and continues their elusive path of powerful instrumental rock. Southern Lord have also announced a tour with stable mates Wolves in the Throne Room, which has the makings of some must see gigs. Two fantastic but very different bands.

What We All Come to Need is a superb album. At turns effortless and drifting then dirty and heavy. Pelican take their post rock post metal sound into darker directions with more emphasis on riff. Ok, post metal, and post rock for that matter, are troubling genres. Or maybe they are just troubled. It’s hard to pin down bands that get labelled post metal. In the case

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