I am playing catch up here (DTH21 already dropped…) and here is Dragged to Hell 20! This mix features a slew of genres; spanning noise, industrial, pop remixes, hip hop, pop, synthpop, nerdcore, and noise rock. Enjoy!
Andre Martel – Blow-Up Dolls [Prod. By Eyedress]
Ricky Eat Acid – this goes out to…
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Meth Dad remix)
couples counseling – hope u nevr hear this
Weyes Blood – Summer
Niil Dymon – Go Online
Thom Yorke – Truth Ray
Panda Bear – This Side of Paradise
Bleachers – Take Me Away (feat. Grimes)
Dope Body – Repo Man
Godflesh – Carrion
Sylvan Esso – Play It Right
Crosses – Prurient
Yung Lean – Leanworld
Lttle Phnx – Ethiopian Opal
Ultraklystron – Spike Bracelet
YTCracker – Night Terror
Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Schwarz Club remix)
Thurston Moore – Vocabularies
Pharmakon – Body Betrays Itself
(photo by me of “Snowmagedon”)
This is my last list of releases and it was probably the hardest list make. I think 2014 had some excellent releases across all genres/subgenres of guitar based rock and roll music. From heavy metal to indie, there were some excellent releases. As with my first two lists, I made a mix that you can listen to on Mixcloud with a track from each release.
Ramesh – the King: I was a huge Voxtrot fan, and was able to catch them live a few times before they decided to call it quits several years ago. And then here comes Ramesh, dropping a solo record that made the Voxtrot fan in me smile.
Holy Wave – Relax: This is the first of two psychedelic releases that I included on this list. I saw them open for GOAT once and have been a big fan ever since. This is a playful, summer record. Sometimes I get a Beach Boys vibe off of them.
Temples – Sun Structures: This is the second psych release on the list. They have really blown up this year, going from DC9 to the 930 Club for DC venues, quite the upgrade. They have nice sing-a-long sound with lots of harmony; also, slightly hypnotic and groovy.
Lagwagon – Hang: I was not into Lagwagon in the 90s, but started listening to them in the early 2000s when I saw a CD of theirs at a used record shop and noticed the Fat Wreck Chords stamp on the back, and I have not looked back. Everything they do is great. Joey’s voice is as good as ever, and while the lyrics of his music reflect a more grown up persona, there is still that playfulness that is a Lagwagon trademark. Oh, and it has been 9 years since their last full length (6 since their last EP) and it doesn’t sound at all like they have missed a beat.
Sorority Noise – forgettable: This was a random find, and I am glad I found them. I was checking out random bands playing Metro Gallery in Baltimore, and found these guys. While I didn’t go to the show (which I regret), I have become a huge fan. I don’t know what to call this. Pop-Punk. Emo. Post something or another. Whatever it is, it is another one you can sing with, with songs about life. I can see these guys becoming a Hot Topic crowd favorite, but wont let that stop me digging them. Plus my fiance likes them, so it is always good when we can enjoy the same bands.
Nothing – Guilty of Everything: Although I am still a huge shoegaze fan, Nothing was the only band making that kind of noise to make this list. They are also extremely polarizing. I have friends who dig them, and friends who hate them. I am on the love side of the spectrum, and finally caught them live at the Ottobar for a festival.
Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire: Goldflesh! They are the Aphex Twin of this list, as it was also thirteen years between their records. This is heavy industrial music. I was a big industrial fan in the 1990s for a while, and this release brings me back to that time in my life.
Swans – To Be Kind: This is a hard listen. Long songs. Two hours long. Brutal riffs. Beautiful melodies. Gira and company continue their trajectory of making excellent albums after their 14 year absence from 1997 to 2010. My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky is still my favorite post-reformation album by them, but this one is still great. I look forward to seeing them for time number three next year.
Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium: I have been a fan of Max and Igor Cavalera for a long time; ever since Chaos AD came out by Sepultura. I do not dig new Sepultura without Max, and I do not really dig Max’s band, Soulfly. But Cavalera Conspiracy? Them I do dig. Crushing riffs, brutal drumming, Max’s roaring vocals – it is everything I would want from those brothers. They even include traditional Brazilian elements to some of the songs, which was always one of my favorite parts of their old music.
the Skull Defekts – Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown: I saw the Skull Defekts twice. Once with Daniel Higgs, and this year, without him. It was still an uplifting night of what they dub street metal. This album captures that same vibe, with their music being very percussive and can almost induce a trance in the listener. I cant wait to dig into their SECOND 2014 album, which they actually called Street Metal, one of these days soon, as I bet it also shreds.
Photograph/cover by me of the Skull Defekts at the Gold Bar in Baltimore in 2014
2014 was a great year for electronic music (or at least for the kind that I like). From noise, to experimental, to pop remixes, to hip hop, to shoegaze, and witch house; there were great examples of all kinds of knob twiddlers this year across a ton of genres. These are the ten “electronic” releases that I enjoyed the most this year. As with my Baltimore list, I included a link to Mixcloud that features a mix that I made highlighting one song per release.
That Was Then This is Now – Fables: This duo (producer BLVCK CEILING and vocalist Moon Mirror) make dark electronic music heavy on the beats and the melodies. They make music that could be described as haunting, and beautiful. This full length by them was in heavy rotation for me this year.
Screen Vinyl Image/Bloody Knives – Split: This was one that could have either gone on this list (it does feature synths) or on my next list, for “rock” releases (it does feature guitar/bass guitar). I am a huge fan of both bands, and am glad they were brought together for this twelve track release by the ever excellent Accidental Guest Records. RIYL Shoegaze.
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes: Two things about this release. 1. It is minimal interesting little electronic ditties by Thom, RIYL Kid A. 2. He had an interesting way of releasing it, focusing on torrents (link is in the title).
clipping – clppng: Clipping might have been the most exciting act that I saw this year, (I am still working on my live list) and also dropped an album that is the perfect mash of noise and rap. The lyrics are tight and delivered with a fast flow, while the beats bang and hiss, just on the edge of being grating (in a good way).
Meth Dad – Remixes: This is the first ever non-Baltimore release that Friends Records has put out. And for good reason, Meth Dad slays the pop world and makes beautiful beats. This features his re-imaginings of such artists as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
the Body – I shall die here: The Haxan Cloak plus the Body? Yes please. This eerie album pairs scary atmospherics with a relentless beat and pounding bass. Wailing is had. This is what pain sounds like.
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden: Pharmakon delivers another monster of an album. Seeing her live is quite the treat, and she is able to somehow capture the intensity of her live shows, in record form. I look forward to seeing her again (saw her at Hopscotch in 2013) next year.
Aphex Twin – Syro: I bought Drukqs while living in South Korea, and was quite disappointed by Aphex Twin’s (one of the first electronic musicians that I got into in high school) last album. That was a long 13 years ago. A lot has changed. Including the fact that their is now a new Aphex Twin album, and it is actually good. The tracks are all solid, beat driven affairs. The formula is followed: glitchy beats, distorted and twisted sound and synths, and weird track names.
††† (Crosses) – Crosses: Chino from Deftones side project that is a mix of shoegaze like guitars, electronic beats, and synth soundscapes. Prurient might be my favorite song of the year. I was really blown away by the tunes, and this one ranks up there for me for amounts of times I listened to it.
Zola Jesus – Taiga: Rounding out the list is Zola Jesus. I have been a fan for a couple years, but this album really caught my attention on first spin. Masterful electronic tracks that recall a handful of subgenres, her music could definitely blow up and become the next big thing. I could see this competing against some of the other heavy hitters making modern pop music.
Cover image of clipping is by me, taken at Metro Gallery in Baltimore in 2014.
December – snow, playoffs, fireplaces, Christmas… And end of the year lists. This is the first of three that I will be posting. Each will be 10 releases, LPs or EPs, grouped together in a particular way. The first list is my favorite (not best of, I hate that term) releases from Baltimore artists in 2014. In addition, I made a mix that can be heard on Mixcloud, featuring one track from each release:
WIldhoney – Seventeen Forever: First up is the newest EP from shoegazers Wildhoney. Three slabs of walls of sound, mastered by Jake Reid of Screen Vinyl Image fame.
Wye Oak – Shriek: Wye Oak changed it all up. No longer did guitars rule this duo. The old formula was vocals plus guitar plus drummer who is also playing bass parts as he drums. The new formula was singer playing bass with a drummer who is also playing lead parts on synth. This new synthpop sound really works for them, and I spent an excellent evening at the 930 Club this year watching them do their new thing.
Mt Royal – Mt Royal EP: Anything Katrina Ford is on is excellent. Mt Royal’s debut is not any different. I had patiently waited for this for a long time after seeing them perform a few times.
Future Islands – Singles: This could almost be called the year of Future Islands. They went from local darlings to one of the biggest indie bands in the planet. Their Letterman appearance shouldn’t need to be mentioned – their music does the speaking for them. This release followed their trajectory of pushing their envelopes with lyrical composition, vocal styling, soundscapes and other synth goodness, and their ever steady bass anchoring it all together.
Silk Rhodes – Silk Rhodes: This release is pure funk. Disco, funk, soul… It all exists in the same realm for these two Baltimore artists. This is extremely danceable. I have not had the pleasure of catching them live (versus every other artist on this list, at least once, if not several times) but hope to remedy that in 2015.
Wing Dam – Shifter: Wing Dam followed up their last classic with another classic. I had already heard a lot of these songs live, and instantly dug it. I was fortunate to be allowed to sit in the producer booth while they recorded a couple of these, and for that I am eternally grateful. It was quite the experience and it was a lot of fun to hear the finished product, and see some of the recording process first-hand. They are one of the funnest bands to catch live, and some of the nicest people around.
Hive Bent – dyatlov: Two piece that crush. Heavy heavy heavy. I don’t have much more to say other than I love Hive Bent. Go grab their newest EP, you wont regret it.
Multicult – Variable Impulse: Multicult are another great band on record and live. The on one hand look to Shellac for inspiration and on the other surpass them in terms of energy.
Roomrunner – Seperate: Roomrunner’s newest EP is a bit of a departure for them sonically. This time around they recorded with J Robbins, who helped the record catch a slightly different groove than their previous (and excellent) releases. They still look towards the 1990s, but this time you can feel a variety of influences creep in.
Horse Lords – Hidden Cities: One of the most intriguing bands to see live. Their rythum cant be beat. I have been mesmerized in a trance every time I have seen them. This record does a good job of captuing their vibe, but if you haven’t seen them live, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Dragged to Hell 19 is hip hop heavy. Commercial and underground are mixed in this mix, side by side. Most of the popular tunes are slowed down.
This mix also features a little bit of noise and experimental music at the end. (originally released a couple months ago. Volume 20 coming soon)
Force Publique – Sacrifice
Milky Chance – Stolen Dance
Ami Dang – Kissed by the Fire
Tinashe – 2 On (feat. Schoolboy Q)
Abdu Ali – Shiva (prod. by B L A C K I E)
Shabazz Palaces – …down 155th in the MCM Snorkel
Waka Flocka – Move That Dope (DatPiff
clipping – guns.up
Atari Teenage Riot – We Are From the Internet
Puerto Rico Flowers – After The Weekend
Ellah A. Thaun – K I L L YouR F R I E N D S
Locrian – Triumph of Elimination
York Factory Complaint – Loved
cover/picture by me
Dragged to Hell 17 features 22 rock and roll tracks from some amazing female voices that are currently kicking ass. The tracks run the gamut from indie folk to noise-punk. 1 hour and 10 minutes long. Image was taken by me of the only Afghan girl that I saw in 9 months.
SoftSpot – The Cleansing Hour
Which Magic – High Already
the Courtneys – Insufficient Funds
Body/Head – Everything Left
SLUTEVER – No Offense
NUDITY – BADD TEEETH
Jail Solidarity – Cries and Hues
Manic Sheep – You Lie, You Choke the Rules We Trust
Pleasure Leftists – Passage on a Ghost Ship
Shannon And The Clams – Into A Dream
Potty Mouth – Damage
White Murder – Safety in Numbers
Speedy Ortiz – Tiger Tank
the Stargazer Lilies – Sad Colored Tears
SISU – Light Eyes
Veronica Falls – If You Still Want Me
Joanna Gruesome – Satan
Young Trynas – Be Gone
GOAT – Run To Your Mama
Hunters – Brat Mouth
Magik Markers – Mirrorless
Perfect Pussy – III
If only I was usually this prolific! Three posts within a day? Unheard of around these parts. I told myself I was going to write more, and then I only post once in January. Once. Oh well, I now have to play catch up, as I went to a few concerts since then, and definitely have been enjoying new music.
I wont go into too many details, but I promised someone a ride to Baltimore and I had to deliver. I was beat. I was starting to feel sick. But I sucked it up and got my ass to the Ottobar. Because, what can only be labeled a “chill rager” was about to happen.
I got there early and had a bit of time to kill. I grabbed a beer and a spot near the stage. The venue was extremely empty, and after a slight delay, it was showtime. Goblin Mold was up first. They had been on my radar for a little while (after touring with Wing Dam) but this was my first time experiencing them live. The band featured two guitarists (one that sang and one that looked barely old enough to buy smokes) and a drummer. They played mellow tracks, masterfully sewn together with quick guitar phrases and a steady beat.
Next up was Wing Dam. This was my third time seeing them, but the first time at a proper rock club (both other times on outdoor stages at music fests; ScapeScape and Hopscotch). They played a set of (almost) all new material (the exception being one of my personal favorites, Cocoon) that should be getting recorded for their next release over the next few months.
Small Apartments played third. This spinoff band (of Free Electric State) played a fun set. I do not know their music all that well, but enjoyed what I heard. By this point the crowd was getting packed, and they seemed to also enjoy the rocking tunes.
Last up was Weekends. I was ready. I hadn’t seen this fun two-piece since a show at former DIY spot in DC back in 2011. They were just what I remembered. Fuzzed out rock, played by two guys taking turns swapping singing, guitar playing, and drumming. The crowd loved it and sang along to their signature delayed vocals. I was in bliss. I left the venue glad I made a promise to give someone a ride, or I might have skipped out on an awesome music experience with some of Baltimore’s finest.
(pictures by me)
Dragged to Hell 16 was released on December 31, 2013 and features some of the music I was enjoying at the end of the year.
DJ Dog Dick – Dried Old Leaves
Gatekeeper – Imperatrix
Thundercat – Seven
Death Grips – This is Violence Now (Dont get me wrong)
the Stargazer Lilies – How We Lost
Purple – The Club
Teams – Alchemy
∆AIMON – Darkness
ANTWON – work 4 me ft. himself (prod. by dj sexplay)
Zombelle – Tropocalypse
MADDEN – You Thawed (Party Trash remix)
signs – ILUVYOU
Police Academy 6 – Moss Agate (80’s Stallone Remix)
Laurel Halo – Melt
TOO DEEP – TRY THIS
Ellah a. Thaun – We melt again
David Lynch – Last Call
Sometimes you hear an artist and you think to yourself, “Damn, when the rest of the world hears this, they are going to be HUGE!” Of course due to the fickle nature of the internet, this doesn’t always happen. But I can see big things in store for this artist. From her Bandcamp page:
“D’Esprit Luvrs is the debut album from New Zealand’s lovelorn synth-siren Lttle Phnx (AKA Dancer/Singer/Synthesist: Lucy Beeler of Auckland City). A hypnotic nine tracks of heavy heart-throb beats, conflicted bass-dirge, and ethereal lamentation. Haunted-pop that has grown through teenage flirtations with the occult and black nail polish to deliver a luminous deep-blue-vs-black alternate-gothic-pop. D’Esprit Luvrs is an evocation of the Old Gods of Synth-Pop via Disintegration, an ode to the maturity of knowing you are happiest in Robert-Smithian outside-looking-in longing.
Aural Sects once again prove why they are the kings of the internet. Aural Sects is a forward-thinking netlabel (and one I dedicated a whole Dragged to Hell mix to) that mainly puts out free releases. This EP is no different (though if there was a pay option, I would gladly do it for this release). It is the creation of Spell Hound, a moniker used by (according to the small info section) McKaylea and Evin. I do not know much about these individuals, save the fact that they make beautiful, dark music. Its a nice mix of witchy beats, and ethereal vocals. Spell Hound could be the next big thing. Or they can remain a hidden gem in a sea of music. Either way, this EP is essential, and if there is a canon of dark electronic music, this would definitely be on that list.