Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of 2016

The goal was to have this list out before March, and it looks like we just made it under the wire!  There was a lot of great albums this past year including an actual solid release from Thrash Metal pioneers Metallica, another scorcher from Deftones, MIA's final album AIM and A Tribe Called Quest's double-album masterpiece "We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service!"  However, Idol Threat is here to highlight the lesser known, but you all know that already.  So here is Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of 2016 in no particular order (see the full list by clicking on "the jump"):

Gonjasufi – Callus 
Sumach Ecks aka Gonjasufi is a wholly unique being.  Hailing from Chula Vista, California, the half Mexican half Ethiopian yoga teacher got his start with San Diego Hip Hop crew Masters of the Universe.  He rose to prominence after an appearance on famed experimental producer Flying Lotus' album Los Angeles, which gained him the notice of independent UK label Warp Records.  Warp released his debut album “A Sufi and a Killer” in 2010 and has released his subsequent two albums; including his latest “Callus.”

Gonjasufi is a vocalist unlike any other, his ragged singing haunting the tracks like a mystical haze, his delivery often times alternating between insightful and pleading.  Sumach does away with the samples that normally inhabit his production, yet it still remains decidedly lo-fi and psychedelic.  The music here fuzzes, drones and echoes around his raspy voice as cavernous, dub-like drums combines with distorted guitars that snarl out broken melodies, with buzzing synths and the occasional sitar joining them.   While Gonajsufi handles all the production, former Cure member Pearl Thompson lends his guitar stylings to a couple of tracks as well.   

This record is very much about the ills of society and self and can easily be seen as a reflection of the world we’re in today.  Callus can be seen as a result of becoming numb to the world’s pain, but I prefer to feel like it’s more of a hardening to it.  This record scrapes at the core of our woes and simultaneously steels us from them. Gonjasufi has always had a sound of his own, but his latest has seemed to distill all his influences into something new altogether.  His darkest album is also his greatest.

65daysofstatic - No Man's Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe 
65daysofstatic has been releasing quality music for nearly 13 years with every release nearing perfection. In fact, if I heard their last album “Wild Light” months earlier than I did it would've easily made our 2013 Top 20 list. The Sheffield, England instrumental band's infusion of electronic elements into their music has made them a unique standout from peers such as Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You and Mono. This 2016 album only further solidifies their place amongst their post rock contemporaries.

Music for an Infinite Universe is their latest album which also happens to be the soundtrack to survival video game No Man's Sky. This is the second soundtrack they have done, with 2011's Silent Running technically not a soundtrack but more of a re-score of the 1972 film of the same name. 65Daysofstatic's music is cinematic, majestic and energetic making it a perfect fit for the action-adventure sci-fi of No Man's Sky. Normally when soundtracks are made for film or video games the music released is rather sparse and lacking without its visuals, but that isn't the case here. The impressive feat that the album can stand alone on its own merit is only overshadowed by the fact that this level is held up across a double-album.

Whether its skittering, distorted electricity or Rob Jone's drumstick acrobatics the drumming on No Man's Sky provides a great backdrop to the reverb-drenched guitars, pianos, crescendos, synths and samples provided by 65dos. Sci-Fi references are also scattered across the album with titles such as Asimov, Monolith and Hypersleep. When listening to No Man's Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe adjectives such as relentless, transcendental, ethereal and epic comes into mind as 65dos plays the full gamut of their career across 2 discs of what may be their best work yet.

Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows 
I'm sure that almost every artist or band feels that their next album is their best, it should be a given for musicians who constantly strive to better themselves and push the envelope. Even still Richmond, VA post-sludge band Inter Arma must have felt that their latest release was something special, an even greater progression than simple evolution. Paradise Gallows proves not only to be Inter Arma's magnum opus, but one of the best post metal albums to come out in quite some time. Inter Arma brings black and death metal into the tried and true combination of atmospheric sludge to devastating effect, a testament to the versatility of vocalist Mike Paparo and the dexterity of the band. 

Harvey Milk howls, black metal shrieks, bellowing growls and even droning chants envelop the sonic landscape, which at times resembles a desert wasteland and at others the victim of a destructive hurricane. Tempos twist from trodding hooves to rolling thunder to excruciatingly slow crashes. Thrash riffs, acoustic passages and even southern rock solos can also be found buried deep in the doom that permeates the album. Despite the diversity there is a certain constant sheen of sludge that is both stratospheric and cavernous that ties everything together. Progressive doom, heavy psych, post death metal – whatever you call this album it is clear that its one of the best fusion of different metal genres out. 71 minutes of metal has rarely been so varied and succinct.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Over 400 Labels & Artists Join Bandcamp in Donating Friday’s Profits to the ACLU #NoBanNoWall

We've been busy trying to finish up our 2016 year end list, and we weren't going to post anything else until that was done.  However, Bandcamp has made a pretty important announcement and we felt that this needed to be shared.

Today any purchase made on Bandcamp will have 100% of their share of the proceeds donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, who are working to oppose Trump’s Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States. Over 400 artists and labels have joined them in offering to donate their Bandcamp profits today to the ACLU and other organizations in support of immigrants and refugees. 

This is an incredible gesture in a time when the ACLU needs our support the most.  We try not to get too political in here, but we feel that this isn't just about politics but basic human decency.  So if there's anything you thought about buying on Bandcamp please do so today, and check out a partial list and links of labels participating after the jump:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Run the Jewels - RTJ3 [FREE Download]

We were going to take a break for the holidays, but RUN THE JEWELS aka Killer Mike & El-P aka Jaime & Mike have decided to release their third group album EARLY as a present to all their fans! (That includes US!)  Enjoy what we can safely assume is an amazing album, here's what the duo had to say about the release:

"For Our Jewel Runners Worldwide,

Fuck it. We couldn’t help ourselves. It just feels right. After a crazy fucking year and with a full tour about to set off we asked ourselves what we were waiting for… and we just couldn’t come up with a great answer. You’ve been with us since we started this thing and its made such a huge difference in our lives to have your energy and love. Thank you. So as a gift to all of you who have allowed us to continue to do what we love: RTJ3. We busted our asses on this one and we think we made something special this round. Grab it for free, buy it on any of the digital platforms you like or stream it. Physical copies will still be dropping in January as announced but until then: enjoy and we will see you on the road!

With our love,

Jaime and Mike."

(*Disclaimer: They released it early for purchase on iTunes, then as a free stream on their website.  Their website has since crashed because of all the traffice, so El-P has Tweeted a link to download it for free.  Hurry and download it at the link below before it becomes inactive!)


Friday, December 02, 2016

Tommy '86 - Transhumanism [FREE Download]

If you’re itching for more synthwave since my Perturbator post, then this post is the one you’ve been waiting for! Transhumanism may not be quite as dark as the Perturbator album, but it’s packed with just as much aggressive, nostalgic synthy goodness! This album is also being released by Blood Music, the same label that put out The Uncanny Valley so you know you’re in for the same type of ride. Tommy ’86 may be a reference to his birth year, but it’s more likely a reference to the era that influenced his music the most. Transhumanism is a concept album that is set in the machine-dominated dystopian town Citymulation, in the year 2332. There we find the The L.V.T.H.N. Project which is a group intent on creating AI that emulates the human brain, an attempt that inevitably goes awry as the AI evolves beyond its creators. According to the label this is Tommy 86’s first darksynth album, a departure from his “retrosynth” releases from the past. This album also features label-mates and fellow Frenchmen Dan Terminus and the aforementioned Perturbator. Download it for free below and buy the physical copy from Blood Music if you like what you hear!

Download Here: blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/transhumanism

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Godchilla - Slurf Demo [FREE Download]

Now here’s an interesting mix. Psychedelic surf meets sludge music with this Icelandic band named Godchilla. That's a pretty killer fucking name that also shows that the band has a sense of humor, which is needed when you’re combining these disparate genres. Metal writer Kim Kelly describes the band with the following: “If Dick Dale up and defected to Iceland and started a band with a bunch of dudes who worship Buzzoven and Crowbar, Godchilla would be the mind-melting result.” It’s hard to come up with a better, more succinct description so I’ll just leave it as that. In 2013 they released two tracks under the aptly named demo Slurf which is available for free download via their Bandcamp page. Their first full-length COSMATOS also includes the two tracks, and is available for $7.00 or more. Have an open mind and give it a listen; you might like what you hear.

Download here: godchillah.bandcamp.com/

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Free Food on Thanksgiving from Furious Spoon in Chicago/ Big Ed's BBQ in Waukegan

Furious Spoon is one of the many Ramen shops that opened up in Chicago.  The original location first opened up in the Wicker Park neighborhood and offered free bowls of ramen on their opening day.  Since then they have opened up another location in nearby hip neighborhood Logan Square, another in downtown inside the Revival Food Hall, and another upcoming location in the Pilsen area.  Now that Thanksgiving has come along, Furious Spoon is once again giving out free food at their original location in Wicker Park.  

The free bowls of ramen is intended for those who "need it most" and will be given out from 11am until 4pm, or until they run out.  No proof of any kind is needed, just come and get a bowl if you need one.  We don't normally do posts like these but this is pretty awesome and deserves more press.  Furious is one of the few shops that makes their ramen noodles in-house and also one of the few that serves the Tsukemen style dipping noodles. So please share this news to those who would benefit the most from it.

If you're closer to the Northern burbs in Illinois Big Ed's BBQ in Waukegan will also be giving out free food tomorrow from noon to 3pm in their 75 seat restaurant.  Everyone is welcome and “It’s going to be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings including green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and also sweet potatoes and soda,...”


Furious Spoon Wicker Park

1571 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Big Ed's BBQ
4030 Northpoint Blvd
Waukegan, IL 60085

Website: furiousramen.com/

Website: www.bigedsllc.com/

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Relapse Records 2016 Sampler [FREE Download]

It must be Fall because it's time once again for the yearly Relapse Records Sampler!  One of the best independent labels for extreme music is offering a whopping 41 tracks from their roster of artists for free download!  This is the biggest sampler yet (not counting their 25th anniversary released last year) and includes tracks from new signees The Obsessed, Cloakroom, King Woman, Gatecreeper, ILSA and legendary hardcore band INTEGRITY!  You can of course find tracks from Relapse staples such as Red Fang, Obscura, True Widow, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Cough, Chicago's own Bloodiest and more!  The release also features a track from recent signees S U R V I V E the retro-synth band, half of which were responsible for the soundtrack to the wildly popular Netflix series "Stranger Things."  Download the massive sampler at the link below where you can also purchase some Relapse gear as well.

Download Here: relapsesampler.bandcamp.com/