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Acid King / Alunah (live at The Black Heart)

London 27 July 2017

Acid King live July 2017Our Black Heart, on a dingy sidestreet in the middle of Camden, is rapidly becoming one of the capital’s finest purveyors of underground heavy music. Not only does it once a year double as the command centre for Desertfest‘s weekend-long celebration of all that is doomy and stoned

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Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life

Polydor

Lana Del Rey - Lust For LifeSo summer’s here (kind of), Twin Peaks is back on TV (and oh boy is it fucking BACK) and everyone’s favourite unofficially-Lynchian songstress Lana Del Rey is also back with her long-awaited new album Lust For Life, with a cover that couldn’t look more ’70s if it tried.

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Laibach – Also Sprach Zarathustra

Mute

Laibach – Also Sprach Zarathustra

OF COURSE THEY DID.

So Laibach made an album called Also Sprach Zarathustra. Which displays the kind of self-confidence, arrogance and sheer fucking balls for which Laibach are famous.

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The Tear Garden – The Brown Acid Caveat

Metropolis

The Tear Garden - The Brown Acid CaveatAh, The Brown Acid Caveat. We’ve all heard of it, though not necessarily by name. Delivered over the PA at Woodstock, it was an exhortation to avoid a particular type of tab that was doing the rounds. Probably well-meaning, it almost certainly led to a huge amount of freakouts among people who up until then had been tripping away merrily on that self-same acid.

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Einstürzende Neubauten (live at The Forum)

London 4 May 2017

Einstürzende Neubauten live May 2017Einstürzende Neubauten are a band very close to my heart — indeed, they reside in tattoo form on my left arm, so it’s literally a matter of inches. So I am delighted when, having given up on seeing what’s billed as a Greatest Hits set due to lack of funds, I find out at the last minute that I’ve been assigned to cover it for this esteemed organ (no giggling at the back).

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Desertfest 2017

London 28-30 April 2017

Friday

Vodun at Desertfest 2017

GP: It’s the one date on my calendar that I look forward to each year. Three days of having my ears pummelled by some of the heaviest bands around and a chance to see some artists perform in the UK for the first time, this is Desertfest. Across five venues in three days, Desertfest takes over Camden Town with heavy guitars and an audience with more long hair and beards than you would see in an average Viking film.

Every year the event seems to get larger and attract more and more people; this year the large cavernous space of The Roundhouse is one of the venues. Each time, the organization that goes into hosting the event gets better, even though it gets bigger. It

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Swans – The Great Annihilator / Michael Gira – Drainland

Young God (Americas) / Mute (Europe)

Swans - The Great AnnihilatorWith the latest phase of Michael Gira‘s Swans project drawing to a close, the bundled and remastered edition of The Great Annihilator and Gira’s solo album Drainland could hardly have come at a better time for new converts who are interested in learning about the band’s history.

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The Bug vs Earth / Bong (live at Heaven)

London 12 April 2017

The Bug vs Earth live April 2017Belinda Carlisle was right when she said “Heaven is a place on Earth”. David Byrne, however, despite the superiority of his recorded output, was wrong when he said “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens”. Although he was KIND of closer to the money when he said “the band in Heaven play my favourite song, play it one more time, play it all night long”.

Because first up on the bill tonight at Heaven are Bong, a band I have never heard, but from their name and seeing them as they come on stage, I am reliably ensured by my own experience that I will like them.

And yes. Some high fantasy stuff declaimed at the start, amps cranked up to

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Mayhem / Dragged Into Sunlight (live at the Electric Ballroom)

London 29 March 2017

Mayhem live March 2017In the early ’90s, the Norwegian metal scene was a scary place to be. Church burnings, murders, violent assaults and a total refusal to take metal’s Hammer movie schtick as anything other than deadly serious mean that anything written about the era is as much true crime as it is musical history.

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Wardruna – Runaljod: Ragnarok

By Norse

Wardruna - Runaljod: RagnarokWadruna are something pretty unique in the world of extreme music. Formed in 2003 by Gorgoroth‘s Einar Selvik, they are possibly the truest expression of all things Norse currently available in popular music form. A million miles from the awesomely campy Viking histrionics of Turisas, Wardruna offer a far more measured, esoteric and respectful take on Nordic history and culture.

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Nick Cave – One More Time With Feeling

Bad Seed

Nick Cave - One More Time With FeelingOne More Time With Feeling was designed to ideally be watched before Skeleton Tree was released; so to watch it for the first time now, after living with that raw, naked and shivering mass of beauty and heartbreak is, clearly, a very different experience than that originally intended. But I don’t think that makes it any less powerful a film in its own right.

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Wormrot / Afternoon Gentlemen / The Atrocity Exhibit (live at The Underworld)

London 23 February 2017

Wormrot live February 2017OK, so full disclosure — it’s been at least a decade since I went to a grindcore show. At least a decade; maybe two. So I’m coming at this with… if not “fresh”, then at least “renewed” eyes (if not ears). I’ve not been keeping up with the live scene, let’s put it that way.

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Boris / The Broken Oak Duet (live at The Electric Ballroom)

London 13 December 2016

Boris live Decemebr 2016 Boris are back! One of Japan’s finest rock bands are back in town to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their crossover hit album Pink, by… well, by playing it, obviously!

But first we get The Broken Oak Duet, who I don’t want to sound too mean about, because they kick out quite a noise between the two of them. They’re tight, focused and rock hard; their real problem is that they’re maybe a little TOO tight and focused — it’s all a bit precision-engineered.

They’ve got the technique and the discipline, but what they’re really lacking is some craziness and chaos. They’ve got all the riffs and big sound you could ask for, and would make a kick-ass

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing / Andrew O’Neill (live at the O2 Academy Islington)

London 18 November 2016

Andrew O'Neill live November 2016

Men guitarist Andrew O’Neill opens the show, an amiable, affable presence beneath his comedy black metal goatskull backdrop. His is a fascinating cocktail of comedy — the gentle absurdism of an Eddie Izzard or Ross Noble shot through with a pitch-black streak and edged with a harder political sensibility, all filtered through the lens of Heavy Fucking Metal.

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Before Victoria / B-Movie Romance / Martha Makes Mistakes (live at The Islington)

Before Victoria live October 2016

London 21 October 2016

As the nights draw in in Old London Town, it seems everyone’s ill. The photographer, the replacement photographer, half the musicians… but that’s not going to stop anyone having a raucous old time at the debut live showing of Marc Burrows‘s Regency-punk outfit Before Victoria in a small though tastefully-appointed venue at the back of The Islington pub in, well, Islington.

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