Playlist: Jenks Miller

HSS readers should know Jenks Miller as the man behind Horseback and Mount Moriah. As a friend and supporter of HSS, we're pleased to present his playlist as the first installment of our new feature.

1. Arbouretum The Gathering - This record is far and away the best rock record I’ve heard this year. The Gathering’s lyrical content is largely inspired by Jung’s posthumous, hallucinatory tome, The Red Book, and delivered completely free of irony (which is refreshing these days). A cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman” seems out of place at first, but is soon revealed to be critical, serving as an archetypal anchor for Dave Heumann’s billowing imagery. The songs themselves are long and transporting, like Richard Thompson leading OM in a series of barn-burning jams.

2. Deaf Center Owl Splinters - Intricately composed, beautifully recorded, and completely spellbinding ambient stuff.

3. Caltrop - Along with Pontiak and the above-mentioned Arbouretum, Caltrop has quietly developed a variety of Southern rock music that is intelligent, complex, and devastating in equal measure. They’re one of my favorite live bands, and since they’re located here in Chapel Hill I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them quite a few times. Their as-yet unreleased new record uncoils World Class’ sprawling, muscular song structures even further into the stratosphere.

4. Locrian The Crystal World - This is, thus far, Locrian’s crowning achievement, and it’s also one of the crowning achievements of the new “dark psych” movement. (Can I call it a “movement?”) At any rate, The Crystal World is a classic.

5. Rabbits Lower Forms - This record is what I always wanted the earliest Today is the Day records to be. It’s noisy, sludgy, and mean, with hooks.

6. Negative Plane Stained Glass Revelations - If In the Nightside Eclipse had been performed by evil trolls with a fondness for surf-rock it might have sounded like this. Bizarre, willfully obscure, and awesome.

7. Circle Rautatie - Another triumph from the Finnish genre-bending geniuses. This record might be the best synthesis of classic/fantasy metal and krauty experimentation they’ve come up with yet. Anyone who couldn’t get into Earthworm or Hollywood should give this one a shot.
8. Profanatica Disgusting Blasphemies Against God - Sick and filthy, bass-heavy USBM.

9. Earth Angels of Darkness Demons of Light - Another fantastic-sounding record from Earth, with a creaky cello answering Dylan Carlson’s chiming tele lines. Magical, meditative stuff.

10. Gate A Republic of Sadness - Another left-turn from Michael Morley’s Dead C side-project. Creepy electro-funk (??) with Morley’s unmistakable, drunken vocal incantations perched awkwardly on top. I love this.

> One Year Old

1. Lungfish Sound in Time - I’ve probably listened to Sound in Time more than any other record. It never gets old.

2. Inquisition Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult - Hell’s Headbangers’ reissue of Infernal Regions is one of those rare cases where a careful mastering job makes a classic record feel even more powerful.

3. Total Eternity’s Beautiful Frontispiece - I’m always listening to something by Matthew Bower.

4. Incantation Mortal Throne of Nazarene - Arguably the most influential record from Incantation, as evidenced by legions of present-day death metal bands borrowing from its cavernous, doom-laden riffage.

5. Death The Sound of Perseverance - Relapse’s recent 3CD reissue offers an enormous selection of demos and instrumental versions of these classic death-prog tracks, giving me a yet another reason to revisit my favorite Death record.

6. Coil The Ape of Naples - Peter Christopherson was one of modern music’s most influential and prolific artists. I’ll miss him.

7. Sir Richard Bishop Improvika - This record gets better with every listen. These days it’s my favorite thing SRB has done.

8. Spacemen 3 Perfect Prescription - Not a lot needs to be said about this one.

9. Joseph Spence The Complete Folkways Recordings - Weirder than all the “New Weird America” stuff that was popular in the last few years, and heavier than just about every folk record besides First Utterance.

10. Comus First Utterance - Rise Above is the perfect home for the latest reissue of Comus’ classic debut. Absolutely essential; interested parties should also track down Castle Records’ double-disc anthology from a few years back, Song to Comus, as it’s probably the definitive Comus collection.


Krumbled Kookie said...

Awesome stuff, Jenks. Thanks for sharing this stuff. Great selections.

Hayabusa_Ryu said...

Peter Christopherson is alive, well and composing great music:

Coil's frontman who passed away is John Balance.

Chris said...

Sadly, that is not the case. Both John and Peter are no longer living. A quick Google search will lead you to a number of websites which pay tribute to Mr. Christopherson, who died on November 24, 2010.