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Earth / Black Spirituals (live at Komedia)

Brighton 24 February 2015

Last time Earth came to Brighton they played The Haunt, a tiny space which scores highly on the intimacy scale, but you couldn’t help feeling a band of this stature deserved a bigger stage, both literally and metaphorically. It’s pleasing then to see them upgrading to the Komedia, but before the main event we have the intriguingly named Black Spirituals, who turn out to be a duo from Oakland, California.

Black Spirituals Komedia February 2015 2Zachary Watkins, on guitar and electronics, provides a hazy mid-range backdrop over which drummer Marshall Trammell improvises ever-changing percussive patterns, like an expressionist painter daubing Miro-like pictograms over his bandmate’s canvas. He’s a superb drummer – I was repeatedly reminded of Rashied Ali’s playing on John Coltrane’s ‘Interstellar Space’,

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Earth – Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II

Southern Lord

It’s long been traditional for “psychedelic, stoner, trippy, headfuck or whatever you want to call it” music, for the most part, to deal in Space. From Sun Ra to Chrome Hoof, from Sunn0))) to Hawkwind, the imagery’s been of space travel, or the void, or Heavenly light. And to be honest, Earth have also dealt in this, their monolithic and lazy-but-intense pace conjuring up visions of the planet rotating in that void. But even as their music becomes more palatable, more “mainstream”, if that’s even a thing, they’ve chosen to go underground in the most archaeological sense of the word.

The clues have been there, of course. From the very name of the band (which

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Earth/Beak>/Sabbath Assembly (live at The Scala)

The Scala, London 12 April 2011

Sabbath Assembly is the rather surprising spin-off from noise-manglers and avant scribblers the No-Neck Blues Band. Surprising why, exactly? Not just because they show that, yes, they are actually good musicians, but that they can also play tight, Seventies-style power pop of the sort which has a solid groove at its heart and an earnestly-sharp, clear guitar raising the rooves, church-band style, as they waft in on a hefty block of incense which flames up like the herald of the light bringer himself. In this case though, singer Jex Thoth is praising Lucifer as well as JHVH and the Lord Jesus Christ through the medium of hymns penned by the very whacked-out hippy psychedelic sect The Process Church of Final Judgment. Once this rather odd factor becomes accepted, their music is strangely – and offputtingly – like

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Earth – Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light

Southern Lord

Earth – Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of LightHey kids, welcome to another exciting edition of “Fuck Yeah Science”, with me, your host, Dr Deuteronemu 90210, here to show you that not only is science a thing, it’s also a FUN thing! Now, if you’d like to start your educational CD (or whatever you youngsters are listening to music on these days), Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light, you can listen along to it as an accompaniment to the lesson.

Everyone playing the album? Great. Then let’s begin.

First, let’s take a look at PHYSICS. Physics is a particularly awesome science, dealing, as it does, with many things, the most relevant to today’s lesson being the parts about how much stuff weighs, and how it moves.

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Earth – The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull

Southern Lord

The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull - sleeveThe progression from early Earth to modern Earth makes perfect sense, to me at least. Behind the change from dirty droning guitars to country doom, Earth retain a distinctive quality. The sound has changed, and the lineup has changed around Dylan Carlson, but the quality remains: a slow slow moving riff looping round and round, seemingly going nowhere, and catching you out when you start to think that. The riff is, and always has been, one of the keys to Earth. Where the early sound was as stripped down as possible, often solely consisting of a slow ultra-sparse grunge churn, modern Earth has started the process of building up again.

The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull, and Hex before it, has a much more detailed sound. Earth

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Wolves In The Throne Room/Naked Shit – Earth/Sir Richard Bishop (live at The Underworld)

The Underworld, London 10 and 12 February 2008Naked Shit Naked ShitThe day after a chunk of Camden Market burnt down, Southern Lord‘s finest black metal act touch down in The Underworld. Thankfully the conflagration was at the other end of the High Street, so the gig continued as scheduled with the only hint that something had occurred being the line of police officers across the road by the tube station.

Support act Naked Shit are notable not only for their terrible name, which at least sparks debate as to whether it’s a nude turd or an excretion performed in the altogether, but for the presence of a horse as the bass player. OK, so it’s really a man in a suit with

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