Sad news today as Roky Erickson, who build a career as a psychedelic rock founding father has died. He was 71 years old. No cause of death has been revealed at this time. A beloved artist by popular and underground acts, Roky first came to attention with seminal 1960s rock band 13th Floor Elevators. Erickson and the band coined the phrase psychedelic rock with the group and had a brief but impactful four years as a band. The bands’ trajectory was slowed down by Erickson’s issues with mental illness and depression. While he sought help, he was systematically abused in the system for years, which impeded his career further. But artists ranging from The Flaming Lips, Dave Grohl, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, Primal Scream, ZZ Top, Big Brother and the Holding Company, My Bloody Valentine, Ghost, The Black Angels, Ween, Mazzy Starr, The Verve, and more touted him and 13th Floor Elevators for years in song and in the press as a heavy influence. Ghost’s 2013 cover of ‘If You Have Ghosts’ has almost five million plays on YouTube. The 2007 documentary You’re Going to Miss Me’ led to renewed interest in his career. We send our condolences out to Roky’s family, friends, and fans at this time. Continue reading
Every now and then a band comes along to bring back all the emotional, raw feelings rock and roll thrives on. A typical trend within the genre for a while now, there have been a lot of misses and very few hits. Nothing, is a band of the latter. Continue reading
When someone uses the words “It’s a grower”, it is invariably journalistic shorthand for a record that they wish they liked more than they did on first listen. There are lots of reasons for this: the time taken to listen properly to the music may not have been as acute as required; the fact your mates like it more than you do may now be playing, rather unhelpfully, on your mind. You get the drift. Continue reading
The only certainties in this life are death, taxes and Holy Roar not releasing bad records. With both Conjurer and Rolo Tomassi already blazing a trail this year, Holy Roar’s next world-beater comes to us from Denmark’s Møl, who may have just about perfected the whole Shoegaze/Black Metal trend with Jord (Holy Road Records), a record whose delicate intricacies are as emotionally devastating as its grossly incandescent rage. Continue reading
In a new interview with Pitchfork, My Bloody Valentine leader Kevin Shields revealed that a new MBV album has been worked on, and will see a release sometime in 2018. The band hasn’t released new music since their critically acclaimed 2013 comeback album MBV (m.b.v. records). Continue reading
A sure sign that time is passing quickly was the sudden realisation that multi-instrumentalist and driving force par excellence of Crippled Black Phoenix, Justin Greaves has been putting forward the sonic ideas for this project for nigh on twelve years now. I could scarcely believe it but then, as Greaves and his co-conspirators have never been ones to rest on their collective laurels, delivering music that is hard to pigeon-hole but easy to love, then one can be forgiven for not paying attention to old father time. Continue reading
Featuring three guitarists and two drummers, there’s a whiff of Cult of Luna hovering around Bordeaux natives Year of No Light, and it’s not just down to their multitude of members. The band play post metal with elements of drone and the occasional heavy trek into doom/sludge realms, and also operate as a kind of collective entity, with collaborations and compositional work the order of the day. In case you hadn’t already guessed, the music on Tocsin is very heavy, very depressive and very slow. It’s also very damn good.
Opening track ‘Tocsin’ clocks in at nearly fourteen minutes and doesn’t really do much until about halfway through when a menacing post metal riff makes its presence felt through the ambient noise like a mastodon emerging from fog. This, accompanied by some squalling guitar noises and simple, yet devastating percussion sets the scene for a near hour long crawl between the two pillars of doom and dissonance, a place where there is little, if any light. By contrast, ‘Géhenne’ is a mere six minutes and employs some much quicker tempos. Imagine Baroness covering a My Bloody Valentine track via an endless field of amplifiers and the crushing wall of noise that is the Year of No Light modus operandi begins to make sense. At this point it may be advisable to check that your ears aren’t bleeding.
‘Désolation’ is a much more sombre affair, the morose keys more than embodying the track’s title as we take a turn into more depressive territory. Or should that be swan dive? Either way, the feeling of utter emptiness is an oppressive one, in no way helped by the deep bass notes and mounting wall of distortion that threatens to consume all and sundry within its devastating path. You almost wish some vocals would come along to indicate a human presence, but tough luck; there aren’t any, just the drone and the void.
The haunting synths that open ‘Stella Rectrix’ are little more than a false dawn, scattered rays on the aftermath of a battlefield, perhaps with funeral doom monarchs Skepticism as the overseers. The funereal pace of the crushing guitars, marching ever onwards is utterly devastating, while the use of repetition never becomes dull, as the music subtly evolves and changes texture. This is akin to having your soul crushed in slow motion, and the thing is, you want it to happen. That’s only how the hazy drone and blackened, pummeling riffs of closing epic ‘Alamüt’ are capable of being withstood without collapsing, weeping to the floor under the sheer weight of the whole thing.
Not for those with short attention spans or those who like music with a sunny cheerful disposition, Year of No Light create challenging, intense music, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call it art. It’s art of an outsider nature however, and for those who have been looking for an act to bridge the gap between Cult of Luna and Sunn 0))), this is an undiscovered Rembrandt. And vocals? Who needs them anyway?