First is the debut (sort of) LP from NYC's Margaret Chardiet, also known as Pharmakon. She's been making power electronics and noise for about 5 years, and after a handful of well-received CDrs and cassettes on smaller labels, this is her first studio album and first work that will see wider distribution. The mainstream press has even been doing their due diligence in looking into Pharmakon - I think NPR even did a short piece on her - and it's good to see someone who has worked so hard having some degree of success, on her town terms. The LP contains 4 songs - about 27 minutes worth of new material that is all wonderfully brilliant. Evocative atmospheres over well-crafted, textured noise collages (which often include her scathing vocals) that never become overly harsh or overwhelming. The songs - and these are actual songs - are downbeat, somewhat dramatic, and absolutely satisfying in every way. It's tough to be emotionally moved by noise music sometimes, but this record does the trick, and it's more magnificent every time I hear it. I can't gush enough about how good this record is. If you're going to buy one noise record this year, this should probably be it. You might even consider getting the limited edition of this, which comes with a cassette with another 27 minutes of killer music.
Both of these records should be shipping now from Sacred Bones.
Ash Borer have two vinyl releases coming very soon. First, the vinyl issue of the album Cold of Ages, previous only available from Profound Lore on CD, will be released on a glorious double LP, complete with all the various deluxe trimmings (heavyweight gatefold jacket, embossed and spot-printed, with two different vinyl options) on May 27th by our friends at Pesanta Urfolk. It's an increidble album, and has been specially remastered for vinyl, with a heavier and more aggressive mix. If you're on Pesanta's mailing list (to get the physical mailer through the actual mail, rather than email), you should be able to pre-order this now. The deluxe edition comes on 200 gram vinyl, so that's what I will be grabbing once I get my mailer.
Gilead Media and Kyle from Ash Borer's own label, Psychic Violence, and features great cover art by the renowned Timo Ketola. You can preorder it here or here.
Fell Voices, it would be criminal for us not to bring up the amazing new 2xLP from these guys. I've been a huge fan of Fell Voices since the 2008 demo tape, often referred to as In the Hands of the Blind God came out on Featherspines, and it's safe to say that they've only gotten better with time. Still playing a very raw, highly intense, fast-paced style of black metal that at times borders on all-out chaos, they've managed to incorporate new levels of heaviness into their sound. "Dawn," the third and final track from this double LP (with hand-screenprinted etched D-side) titled Regnum Saturni (the first Fell Voices release with a true title), is by far the heaviest thing the band has recorded and released, and still maintains the all-consuming, impassioned psychedelia that has become the band's signature sound. This is a vinyl-only release; the European pressing has been handled by Vendetta Records, and has been out for a couple of months, while the North American release, split by Gilead Media and Antithetic Records, is available for preorder here or here. (Note: the Euro pressing and North American pressing are a bit different; the Euro pressing comes in a fold out cover, while the Gilead/Antithetic release comes in a gatefold sleeve and is available with a t-shirt. Both, however, are pressed on 180 gram black vinyl.)
Lychgate LP and CD. Lychgate is indeed a unique entity, originally started by one man but now consisting of G.A. Chandler (from Esoteric), Aran (from the now-defunct Lunar Aurora, one of my favorite black metal bands ever), and Tom Vallely (of Omega Centauri and Sanctus Nex). That lineup will give you an idea as to what you'd think the album sounds like, but whatever that notion is, erase it from your mind and prepare to be blown away. Indeed, elements of doom and black metal are prominent here, but I've honestly never heard anything like this. The atmosphere is incredible, the songs are epic and progressive in their composition and scope, and the melodies are electrifying, grand, and very memorable. This is another album that will always be greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how impressive those parts are on their own. It's only one track, but listen to the track below and get a better idea of what this album is all about.
Now, I'm hoping you're ready to buy this, because I think you'll seriously come to regret it if you don't. This album has grown on me immensely since I first heard it, and I'm dying to have the vinyl in my possession. If you're a CD person, you can order it from Mordgrimm, but if you'd rather get the 180 gram vinyl (and perhaps the t-shirt that goes with it), you can pre-order it now from Gilead Media.
This is a lot to take in on one post, but the connections are obvious. Do what thou wilt.
Dreamless CD, All This Sorrow, All These Knives, put out by Handmade Birds a couple of years ago, which for some unknown reason, is still available (here). In fact, a lot of people have just recently been turned on to this album, and to the band. That's great. It's criminal how few people know about that album, considering how absolutely amazing it is. Listen to it once and it will have your head spinning for days.
One of the members of Dreamless, a fellow named Cory Strand (who is also a member of Yog-Sothoth and Kafka Dreams), also has this label called Altar of Waste. He has issued some other Dreamless material on his label - for example, just a day ago he released the Dreamless split with Planning for Burial, which sold out just about instantly - but for the most part, the label focuses on HNW (harsh noise wall, for the uninitiated), drone, and dark ambient recordings. The editions are highly limited, but are always fantastic - if you like this sort of stuff, and maybe even if you don't. I'm personally very selective about the HNW and dark ambient that I listen to, but I've got almost every Altar of Waste release, and I have not been let down, not even once. This is one label that I am always sure to support - once a new release is out, I buy it, whether or not I've heard of the artist and whether or not I have any money, because I've come to trust Cory's taste by now.
Occult Supremacy, a fine HNW label in it's own right, though Cory has copies for sale as well). I'm particularly excited for the just-released album Cory did with Love Katy, a HNW project that breaks down and celebrates the work of Katy Perry, and a project that I think has inspired Cory a good deal. Cory's exploration of the sounds of Weezer's Pinkerton is pretty amazing too. He's got a bunch of other really outstanding works as well - some under his name, some not - but suffice to say they're all pretty damn genius.
Like I said, if you're not into noise, drone, or dark ambient stuff, you might not be into this label, but if you're looking to explore the genres, this is a great place to start, as the label releases only the highest of quality. And if you're already a fan of any of those genres, you've got to pick up some of the fine stuff Altar of Waste has to offer. Some of my favorite releases are Lindskold's The Majesty of the Lidless Eye (sold out, sorry), Dead Body Collection's This is My Home, Carrion Black Pit's Necronomicon, Culver's Circle of Scars, Crown of Bone's The Serpent and the Rainbow, and any and all of the Cory Strand releases. I highly recommend the Lindsay Lohan reworking that just recently came out on Occult Supremacy - there's a great variety of sounds at work on that release and I seriously cannot get enough of it.