Monday, December 30, 2013

'Black Metal of the Americas' Zine Editors - Top Albums of 2013

After covering the Black Metal of the Americas recently we found out that the zine did not have any plans on publishing a year’s end list. Furthermore the two Editors tastes are so eclectic that it wouldn’t make sense to include their lists in a publication that concentrates strictly on regional black metal. Since Idol Threat covers music of almost every genre we decided to offer the zine writers an opportunity to share their top albums on our blog. They graciously accepted and here it is, click on the jump to get the full list:

Patrick Loy's Top 13 for 2013 (yes, I am clever :-/)

These albums are presented in the order they were hastily and drunkenly scrawled on a piece of dirty piece of scrape paper.


The Body- Christs, Redeemers
This album represents The Body at their most noisey & experimental; sure some will not like it. Particularly those whose musical diets consist of nothing but heavy, downtuned riffs, will wonder what the hell is this. I for one have nothing but respect and admiration for a group that blazes its own path so brightly.


Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
At once a consolidation of strengths and a reiteration of distinctiveness, this collection of songs capture Chelsea Wolfe at her best so far. Deeply cinematic and diverse (despite what the album title suggests), perhaps the most haunting record this year.


Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
I knew this would make my end of the year list before I had even heard a single note. What I didn’t know was how joyous it would sound. Here we have two men who grew up loving Hip Hop and wanted share that love and give something back to a community that are part of. That they did, several times over in fact. 


Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand– The Cosmic Trigger
After last years initially underwhelming ‘The End of the Beginning’ (it has grown on me considerably since then), I was dreading/looking forward to the new album. All my apprehensions were quelled after the propulsive first track; in fact this may be the group’s most direct album yet. Albin Julius & Co once again provides proof that they are sound sculptors of the highest order.


Fire! Orchestra – Exit!
Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson is one prolific fucker! This year alone there is the collaboration with Merzbow & Balázs Pándi called ‘Cuts’, the collaboration with The Ex under the banner of The Ex & Brass Unbound (which also includes Ken Vandermark) and the album his trio The Thing released the excellent ‘Boots’ on their fledgling label. Phew! After all that the man still had time to be on this absolute monster of a release. For this release the usual three-piece ballooned to a 28 piece beast. If you can imagine taking a shit load of bad acid and then putting on the entire ESP Disk label catalog simultaneously then you are halfway there… well, perhaps a third of the way.


Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge - Twelve Reasons to Die
To be honest I’ve never been a Ghostface fan, or not a fan of the beats on his albums. Simply put - way too many soul samples. I enjoy Hip Hop as its own distinctive genre; I don’t want to hear a soul album with some rapping on top of it. That being said, I get why some heads weren’t feeling this - “too soundtracky” was the general consensus. Well that was reason why I loved it, as some who really digs Giallo films/soundtrack this was manna from hell. Apollo Brown did a remix of the entire album which may suit aforementioned heads. 


Kylesa – Ultraviolet
Critics of this album called it unfocused, meandering, or plodding at slow or mid-tempo for most of its duration. For a band whose music is rooted in Sludge Metal what the fuck did you expect!? Ultraviolet is beautiful, nuanced, and furthers the direction they headed on ‘Spiral Shadow’ with amazing results. Laura Peasants takes on a pronounced role on this album with her songwriting dominating the proceedings. While one is tempted to claim sexism, it would be entirely reactionary and probably inaccurate. It just seems to be another case of band trying to move forward and some people unable to deal.


Årabrot – Årabrot
If the new Tomahawk album underwhelmed you then this album may be your savior. This Norwegian Noise-Rock trio unleashes some seriously ugly, loud jams that will scrape and tear at your face. It is also very catchy and you can violently twitch to it! Get at it children.


Swans – Not Here/Not Now
Another essential live document of Swans in the way you are meant to experience them. This captures them during ‘The Seer’ tour working out new material. What emerges is a BLUES band that shits on thousands of millennial, insipid bluesy indie rock bands. M. Gira & Co have breathed new life into the genre making it fresh, vital, and transcendentally frightening. The update of the classic ‘Coward’ is absolutely shattering in a way only Swans can do. LONG LIVE SWANS!


Corrections House - Last City Zero
This is 21st century Industrial music done right. Industrial music is one of those genres that have been increasingly codified and rendered toothless over the years - 'Last City Zero' makes the case that it may not be moribund after all. This album takes the collective members’ searching qualities for constant shifting moods and sounds, to capture the desolation modern world.



Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
After the slightly disappointing ‘Middle Cyclone’, Neko seems back on top of her game with The Worse Things Get... If the title is any indication this album is her warmest and most open collection of songs yet. It’s not stripped down in the least, as every track is filled to the brim with tiny details that warrant multiple listens. We all love you Neko, and now we all know she loves us back.


Cristobal Tapia de Veer - Utopia (Original Television Soundtrack)
Few things released had me waiting in anticipation as much as this. The fact that it scored my favorite television program of the year made doubly good. Some fans of the show may have a few gripes about the presentation of the album. Notably, these are different mixes than the TV mixes that floated around leading up to the album’s release. Another thing - the vocal samples on the album have been “chopped & screwed” in a way that makes you think you got a bad bootleg. These things only struck me as being a unique aspect of the album and the exceptionally talented composer.

Marnie Stern – Chronicles of Marnia
This is the POP album of the year.


Ed Blair’s Top 10 of 2013



Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
The ‘Wondaland Arts Society Collective’ has rebuilt Prince with less religion and more ambition. Nothing felt this right all year.

Hoax - S/T
This is the sound of the spots behind your eyes when you cough too much. Vocals with more clot than the sludge you spat out last time you had dental surgery. Wired-eyed tension for 21 minutes. Hardcore for no-one.

Pissed Jeans - Honeys
Finally, punk rock that really speaks to me. Self-castigating without the indulgence most faux misery traffics in. I don't miss Killdozer so much anymore.

Skagos - Anarchic
I heard this in 2012, but still, there's not much that was able to touch it. Sprawling and ambitious; Canadian black metal with no compromises.

Run The Jewels - S/T
Great rapper, great producer: act as hard as they wanna. If you're smart, you'll realize it's an exercise taken to the point of abstraction. If you aren't, well, that's why I couldn't watch them live. 
 

Joanna Gruesome - Sugarcrush
Fuzz and heartbreak, snarls and winks. Make me a mixtape?

Yellow Eyes - Hammer Of Night
Freeze to death. Reflections of the night.

Carcass - Surgical Steel
Sometimes the old ways are the best. Riffs for miles and centuries.

Los Campesinos! - No Blues
Steven who? I never cared about Johnny Marr.

Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess
Epic without being vomit-inducing. Shred, shred, shred, sing.

I don't know about you but I'm going to and check out every album I haven't heard on this list!  The great thing about year end lists aren't finding the general consensus, but discovering new music!

Be sure to ask for The Black Metal of the Americas Zine at your local bookstore or pick up copies online here: http://blackmetaloftheamericas.bigcartel.com/

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