Playlist: Austin Lunn

Austin Lunn is a musician, artist, anarchist, and brewer of beers. Besides being the sole member of the one-man anarchist black metal band Panopticon, he is also a founding member of Seidr as well as a former member of Anagnorisis and Plainwords. He's provided excellent drum work for the forthcoming album from Falls of Rauros, and was one of my first interviews for HSS. He is also just an all-around hell of a good guy.

As spring begins to glow and rain falls, I have this tendency to turn away from my typical icy and bleak winter tunes and move towards things that pulse with life. Here is a list of some of the records I have been spinning:

Candlemass: "From the Thirteenth Sun"
I heard this record for the first time on a visit to Stockholm and couldn't believe it was Candlemass. I think it's the best one so far, even though it is a totally different line up (except the bassist). It crushes. It is super psychedelic and gritty, like an old Sabbath album, but with a cult underground metal sensibility. Such a criminally overlooked album.

Tater Tate: "Fiddle and Banjo"
This record shreds. Pretty traditional, but the banjo playing and fiddle on it is out of this world. I know a lot of folks are pretty obsessed with the tech stuff, but I am here to tell you that Origin and Necrophagist have got nothing on a lot of the old blue grass pickers.

Blackberry Jam:
Sick eastern Kentucky bluegrass. Can't find an album anywhere, but I watch their live youtube videos DAILY. Their banjo player makes me want to hang up my banjo and never lay eyes on it again.

Music of Coal: "Mining songs from the Appalachian Coal Fields"
An awesome compilation of old union songs and coal miner songs. Nimrod workman is on there...Sarah Organ Cunning, Jean Ritchie and some great covers of some of their tunes by the Reel World String Band ("come all ye coal miners"...Sarah's original brings me to tears every time) and Jim Ringer's haunting rendition of Jean Ritchie's "Black Waters", a lament to the Kentucky landscape ravaged by mountain top removal...the late Hazel Dickens blazing "Yablonski Murder" is on there. It comes with a booklet about the history of the coal fields and their struggle to unionize and fight for the workers. On that subject you all should watch "Harlan County USA", a documentary that deals with bloody Harlan ( the union struggle of the 30's) and the union struggle in the 70's. It is certainly an important film for any one from Kentucky or West Virginia. Follow that up with the documentary "Mountain Top Removal" to get the whole story. Here is the trailer. (I used some samples from it on my upcoming record actually). It deals with folks in Southern West Virginia and their struggle against Massey Energy.

Junior Kimbrough: "Sad Days and Lonely Nights"
I grew up in Memphis TN and my folks used to take me to see the blues all the time. I took a long time away from it all while i was exploring punk and metal, but now as I grow older,the deep, somber soul of the blues that echos through the south grips me pretty brutal. Junior Kimbrough's sound is chilled out and smokey, like hanging out in an empty bar on a summer day,drenched in cigarette smoke. "Oh Lord,Have Mercy On Me" is a killer track and the whole album is fucking amazing.

Townes Van Zandt: "Live at the Old Quarter"
Townes life was wrought with tragedy and addiction. His songs are honest and real, expressing his loss and loathing, but yet he still has a light-hearted creative soul that breaches through. This record is a brilliant testament to a brilliant man.

Falls Of Rauros: "The Light that Dwells in Rotten Wood"
I was fortunate enough to work on the album as a studio musician, so I feel weird putting this in my list, but hell, Falls have been one of my faves for many years and I have to say, their song writing on this album is brilliant. The lyrics are passionate and the music grips your heart. They are amazing to watch live, and Seidr has toured with them twice. I love them as people and I am blown away every time I see them play. They truly are the best black metal the U.S has to offer right now, in my humble opinion.

Altar of Plagues: "Mammal"
This record is a beast. It is crushing, grueling, and has an agony and honesty that I can't explain. This band just gets better and better as they grow and change.

Viter: "Dzherrelo"
I know that there are some undesirable ties Kroda has, but lets face it, we are talking about music. Kroda put out 3 brilliant full lengths,and every spring the sounds of lively flute harmony and blasting drums just seems to perfect with the green haze of the budding trees and the flowing streams on slate rock beds here in KY. When Viterzgir left Kroda, my favorite part of that band left as well: the music. Then I heard Viter, his new project. This is brilliant folk metal. Lush and organic and in my opinion a step up. He also did Kroda's amazing visuals, so it is great to see Viter's art in a similar style.

Blood Of the Black Owl: everything.
This project means so much to me. Chet is like a shaman, providing healing for so many through his music. His work is ritualistic but still crushing. His albums have been the sound tracks to countless soul searching walks in the woods and mushroom hunts, meditation around the fire and time spent with friends. To me, BOTBO can do no wrong simply because it is from the heart. That honesty will ALWAYS ring true.

Waldgefluster: Femundsmarka
Waldgefluster has always been awesome, but this record is a whole new level. It is black metal, but takes are the subgenres and seamlessly pieces them together with atmosphere and neo-classical interludes. The album is long, but not in a painful the same way a drive through the mountains is long. It is simply brilliant and every moment is enjoyable.

Death and Control Denied:
Chuck's work has the power to get me through my darkest of days. Mostly his later career..."Human" and on.... these records inspire me every time I hear them. His words have heart and hope, insight and spirit. His vocals are honest...his guitar licks are better than anyone. I don't care how many sweep arpeggios you can do....Chuck's riffs are better. The fact that there is a new Control Denied in the works with Chuck's final recordings makes me wanna do fuckin' back flips. He will always be the godfather of death metal and the soul of metal.

and lastly:

Mineral: "End Serenading"
This record is so honest and passionate. I loved it when i was a teenager and to this day it still gets a lump in my throat (especially on the track about his grandfather). They just don't make em like this anymore.

Well, that's my list. Thanks for reading. Hope to see some of you on the road ahead. Stay creative and stay alive.

Til next time,

1 comment:

Van Damned said...

Great mix! Lots of new stuff to track down. Thanks, Austin.