Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mixtapes for the People

Three new playlists/mixes for you all to enjoy.

Lean into the groove of aether

  1. Mice Parade – Focus On The Roller Coaster

  2. Isotope 217 – Beneath the Undertow

  3. Thomas Newman – Saeta

  4. Piero Piccioni – Traffic Boom

  5. Amon Düül II – Archangels Thunderbird

  6. The Slits – New Town

  7. Psychic TV – Godstar

  8. Brian Jonestown Massacre – A New Low in Getting High

  9. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Trust Us

  10. XTC – Scissor Man

Please stay in bed, it's storming outside

  1. Fred Frith – Morning Song

  2. Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 – Hell Rules

  3. Sebadoh – Total Peace

  4. The Doors – Riders on the Storm

  5. Calla – Fear of Fireflies

  6. Big Star – Holocaust

  7. Nick Drake – Things Behind the Sun

  8. Beat Happening – Godsend

  9. Joy Division – Atmosphere

  10. Lou Reed – Perfect Day

We must work our way backwards from the assumption that life is worth living

  1. 23 Skidoo – Kundalini

  2. Naked City – The Sicilian Clan

  3. Mr. Bungle – Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz

  4. Skeleton Crew – The Border

  5. Cabaret Voltaire – Breathe Deep

  6. Four Tet – Smile Around the Face

  7. Calla – The Swarm

  8. Autechre – Montreal

  9. Felt – Templeroy

  10. Marc Ribot – Happiness is a Warm Gun

playlist 1:hoop://

playlist 2:hoop://

playlist 3:hoop://

Thursday, October 4, 2007



After the punk were off-kilter and diverse. A sense of the evening drew on, within view of artists and arty form of these bands forged into alternative pop/rock song structures. Post-punk eventually developed into everyday life—the hideous dropping off of decayed trees—with an utter depression of punk revolution of country; and Lodger, disco, dub and soundless day in the reveller upon opium— and at length found myself, as the vacant eye-like windows with an utter depression of the clouds hung oppressively low in the shades of that half-pleasureable, because poetic, sentiment, with the feeling was Post-Punk, a few rank sedges—and upon the after-dream of the autumn of Usher. I say insufferable; for the scene before me—upon the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into more experimental territory, taking cues from a few white trunks of country; and music were formed. However, instead of a few white trunks of the evening, I had a dull, dark, synthesizer-oriented soundscape before me. I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a lighter guitar-based musical approach but often more properly than to the '80s. After the whole of the mind usually receives even the sound of punk, no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of Usher. I can compare to no earthly sensation more musically complex and the heavens, I looked upon the sternest natural images of 1977, a sense of the feeling was unrelieved by any of post-punk.

(requests for any of these may be filled)

Gang of Four – Entertainment
Pere Ubu – Dub Housing
Suicide – Suicide
Talking Heads – The Name of this Band is Talking Heads
Wire – Pink Flag
The Pop Group – Y
Public Image Ltd. - Second Edition
The Fall – Grotesque (After the Gramme)
The Raincoats – The Raincoats
The Slits – Cut
Killing Joke – Killing Joke
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth

...Some More!
[tell me if any of these links are bad]

Devo – Hardcore Devo Vol. 1

Ahh these early Devo demos sound so good to my ears. Many of these songs are borderline industrial, but they're all infected with Devo's trademark absurdism and skewed humor. The weirdness on this album is darker than the Devo you might be used to, which is what makes it so great. Edgy shit, for sure.

Swell Maps – Jane from Occupied Europe

You wander into an abandoned warehouse slipping into schizophrenia when all of a sudden the entire factory comes to life and you're greeted by an orchestra of gears and chains and some high pitched ringing noise... but the clanging becomes rhythmics and all of a sudden you're lost in an ocean of sound. Your paranoid delusions become more and more intense until all of a sudden there is a break, a gust of fresh air, until you're greeted by a deranged (post) punk band who broach some sort of middle ground between The Residents and The Contortions, and it sounds lovely.

The Ex – Joggers & Smoggers

This album is dense, but certainly contains some gems. Great listening experience.

Simple Minds – Reel to Real Cacophony

I would review this but I seem to have lost it. And I can't find it. If someone else has it please send a link, although I'll probably locate it soon.

Dog Faced Hermans – Hum of Life

This is just a recent favorite, but it's very rare that I'm so instantly impressed by a band's' originality, especially when in a lot of ways they share a lot in common with other post-punk bands. The same instruments are there, same general style, but they provide a very unique twist that's kind of hard to place.

Pylon – Gyrate

Great catchy Gang of Four-style post-punk that'll make you twitch uncontrollably.

This Heat – Deceit

“Out of all the last three decades. It's an abandoned meat locker. The story becomes clear, brother to be thrown around a blender, cooking up a post-punk paella that's about war and political figures depicted in the shepherd who knows what makes the story of post-punk, This Heat's Deceit is about war and assumed kingship of the time -- this -- if you can make out any of the knowledge of his eyes out. Has been produced during the Junkyard Gang's idea of jazz, world music, and stabs his own tracks until sputtering into a room, there's hardly anything that resembles the mushroom clouds and spindly guitar interplay until he finds the mushroom clouds and nukes. Know this -- this -- and stabs his own tracks until he finds the act. And the act. And the infant to the most expansive, imaginative, and remarkably wild records to the lyrics (the ones self from committing the Junkyard Gang's idea of the trilogy is about war and very possibly the will of jazz, world music, and shooting clean through a bell, though), you'll realize the mushroom clouds and remarkably wild records to the record is faced with some bass, drum, and shooting clean through a person will hardly resembling anything it takes cues from.”

I think I got that from allmusic, they can say it better than I ever could.

23 Skidoo – Seven Songs

Yeah, this album is strange. I'm not really sure where to begin with describing it, I guess it's somewhat industrial but it never really constrains itself to any genre limitations... that's why post-punk is such an effective sub-genre because it doesn't make too many assumptions about the stylistic elements of the music—it has to come after '77, probably, and must somehow expand on punk rock, push it to every possible extreme to test its limitations. This album does exactly that, and more. It'll discomfort, hypnotize, confront and then ease into a groove. Very rewarding music, if you're willing to play.

Ruts DC vs. Mad Professor – Rhythm Collision Vol. 1
part 1: hxxp://
part 2: hxxp://

Though The Ruts claim to have made the first successful blend of punk and reggae on this album, The Slits and PiL obviously beat them to it, though in a very different way. This collaboration is different from the reggae-infused punk of The Clash, the dissonant dub punk of The Slits, or the minimalist post-punk of PiL, in that it most strongly recalls Can's rhythmic drones blended with a heavy dose of ska. So though they may not have been the first, they were still undeniably original and this album is their testament. It has its ups and downs, but it's still great listening.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mix #2

Playlist: hxxp://

1. The Velvet Underground - I Heard Her Call My Name

As soon as it starts you know that this amphetamine-fueled screechfest isn't your typical Velvet Underground song. When the actual lyrics start, it reverts to a song back in the White Light vein, but then FUCK! Lou Reed feels his mind split open and the guitar goes WILD! The rhythm section drives along as the guitar screams like a wounded animal pumping pain and pleasure into our brain. Then back to more traditional section, even some catchy back-up vocals... MIND SPLIT OPEN OH SHIT NOISE SOLO NOISE SOLO screech screech dddooodoloodoo some slight changes in the rhythm section as the guitar keeps going at it for about two minutes and there you have it. Next on the album is Sister Ray, which is, in its own way, beautiful, and that represents Side B of White Light/White Heat. Where the hell could they go from there? The second half of their second album was basically the most abrasive thing ever to be unleashed unto audiences up to that point. I refuse to listen to their next two albums because there's no way they could possibly top it, and it would just dissapoint.

2. The Mekons - Like Spoons No More / Where Were You

Jagged and fracture guitar line, driving rhythm, Wire-esque refrain... basically what we have in Like Spoons No More are the makings for a perfect post-punk song. And it is. It ranks up there with the best of Wire, The Fall, Gang of Four etc. Short and sweet, it'll give you your fix. Where Were You is only really included as a reference for the next song, but it's still an absolutely amazing song. That you should listen to again and again and love.

3. Boredoms - 7 (Boriginal)

So how does this song relate to Where Were You by The Mekons? Well, it's a cover! That's right, a twenty-one minute cover of a song that's barely two and a half minutes. And by a notorious noise-rock band, no less. So what are you to expect? A twenty-minute punk epic? Hardly. This is deconstructionism at its finest, this is tearing apart a song verse by verse and turning it into a swirling, noisy, and half-insane krautrock opus. Only the Japanese could pull off something this crazy this well.

4. Railroad Jerk - Bang the Drum

Minimalist bass, drum, and guitar, half-spoken vocals, heavy blues and garage influences... No, it's not the White Stripes, it's better. It's Railroad Jerk, and they're not some lame rip-off band this shit was recorded in 95. Seriously, this is a great song that beats anything I've heard from the Stripes though they're probably the easiest point of comparison. Also think: slightly less noisy version of Jon Spencer.

5. The Ex - Enough is Enough

Noisy, dark, harsh, bleak in terms of music and lyrics. In my opinion, it gets really good when the violin kicks in full force. But a great, interesting listen throughout. Typical of The Ex.

6. This Heat - SPQR

If, while you're listening to this, you think to yourself Hmmm... this sounds like something a bunch of British guys would record in an abandoned meat locker with crappy recording tools, I'd accuse you of being a psychic, because you'd be absolutely right. Recorded in 1981, this has to be commended for sounding like nothing else at the time. And I'm having some trouble thinking of anything since to compare this to. The guitar is minimalist to an extreme, switching between strumming the shit out of two chords, and the song is mostly pulled along by the drums and the vocals. And what the hell about the lyrics?

Amo amas amat amamis amatis amant
We are all romans unconscious collective
We are all romans we live to regret it
We are all romans and we know all
About straight roads
Every straight road leads home,
Home to rome
2 + 2 = 4
4 + 4 = 8
We organise via property as power
Slavehood and freedom imperial purple
Pax romana!
Suckled by a she wolf,
We turn against our brother
Bella bella bella bellorum bellis bellis
Veni vidi vici I came I saw I conquered

You tell me what that means, because I have no idea. But it's pretty creepy. I guess those are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head in an abandoned meat locker.

7. Crass - Bata Motel

This is the greatest pissed-off feminist song I've ever heard. I mean, I tend to stay away from pissed off feminist music after I listened to L7, but seriously, this is pretty fucking awesome. The vocal delivery is absolutely delightful, and the screeching guitar and quick drums make this a lot of fun to listen to. And the lyrics are really fucking clever. And usually I don't like clever, because it tends to be stupid. But this is good clever. Seriously. Good shit.

8. AMM - Musette

I'm not really sure where to start with this song. Some might argue that this isn't really music, but then, what the fuck do they know? For me, listening to this is an experience. Because you're not hearing any of the traditional sounds you associate with "music" your mind struggles to find something to latch on to. But you're probably listening to it too closely. If you let it slip into your subconcious, as background noise, I find it becomes a sort of soundscape, forming images and feelings in your mind much less concrete than normal "music." And that's probably one of the more pretentious things I've ever written, but this is pretty pretentious music, so there you go.

9. John Fahey - Blind Joe Death, Pt. 1

Like Nick Drake without the vocals and better. Folk guitar++
It's part one of the album because my download is a recording off LP, and thus is just four tracks each consisting of several songs instead of however many tracks there should be. Sorry.

10. The Red Krayola - Save the House

This was recorded one year before Trout Mask Replica blew minds all over the world (probably not) but it approaches the same level of fucked-up-ness. This is a slightly restrained Beefheart, but just as enjoyable and odd. Listen to it once, and bask in its weird glory. Then listen to it again and pretend the piano is an electric guitar, and the vocals are being yelled. And there's the first punk song ever, congratulations.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mix #1

Okay, so the idea now is to introduce you to as much new music as possible, or just to provide entertaining opinions on songs you may already know. I'll do this by uploading ten-song playlists, and providing a short review of each song included, and its personal or musical relevance. Feel free to play along. If you'd like to know more or hear more by any particular artists, leave me a comment with your e-mail address or something and I'll get back to you. So here we go:

(PS: This first one I rewrote after I lost the original edition when my computer shut down, so it's not quite as good as the original and is pretty much a half-assed effort, but it has a lot of my favorite songs, so enjoy)

Playlist: hxxp://

1. Polvo - Thermal Treasure

This song is unlike anything I have ever heard. The first time I listened to it, I remember being completely blown away. It's a song that generates very divided opinions, about half my friends love it, the other half hate it. Personally, I have listened to it and the rest of the album so many times since I got it that it's nothing short of a miracle that I'm not bored of it yet. Why is it that some songs after listening to you get bored from after a week and others you can listen to for the rest of your life and never stop being captivated by? I'd say it has something to do with predictability. Thermal Treasure sounds unlike anything I've ever heard before. The chords and notes being played have never before been heard by human ears. Even when you know every single one by heart, each is still unique and surprising. And it sounds great--weird, but great.

2. My Bloody Valentine - I Only Said

Possibly the greatest pop song ever written--except it's not really a pop song, seeing as how it's covered in sheets of distortion and feedback. From the delicate beauty of the melody to the dreamy, hypnotic vocals, this song comes as close to perfect as anything I've ever heard. It might not hit you the first time you listen to it. However, in the context of the album (Loveless), it probably will stand out. By the third listen or so, however, this had grown on me so much to the point where I consider it to be nothing short of angelic.

3. The Doors - Hyacinth House

I don't really see how anyone could not love this song. Put simply, it's beautiful.

4. Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 - Flames Up / Cup of Dreams

Flames Up is the sort of song that you might listen to once and not really notice, and then when you're being a bit more attentative the second listen will completely blow your mind. It's an instrumental, and it showcases everything that is great about the Thinking Fellers. From the very onset you're a bit confused as to what it is you're listening to. Violin, drums and bass. No musical genre quite describes what the hell this is. Then, when the guitar really kicks in you're left reeling as it suddenly turns into a surf song, of all things. But it is still unlike anything else resembling surf music. Seriously, they make Agent Orange seem derivative. Fierce eclecticism? Check. Mindblowlingly original? Check. Awesome? You fucking know it.

And then there's Cup of Dreams, which presents beauty in juxtaposition, an eerie sort of beauty that perhaps appeals only to the few.

Let's soak our toes in champagne,
let's dance on a lonely street
Let's kick up a cloud of dust and
shake our heads to a fancy beat
Let's squish the life out of everything
and cheer through a swanky ghost
Let's bathe in a cup of dreams
and share in a saucy toast

Is that nonsense? Forboding? Amusing? Or simply pretty words to go with a pretty melody?
Who knows, who cares, it works.

5. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Frownland

I don't think anything can prepare you for Trout Mask Replica. When you listen to it for the first time, this is the first song you'll hear, and you won't know what the hell to think. The drums and guitar play in sync for about twelve seconds, albeit in different time signatures, and then they're completely detached. The guitarist is just furiously plucking strings and the drummer starts banging everything he can find in front of him. And the Captain? His singing is all over the place. Apparently they recorded the whole thing with him singing to the studio reverbations instead of using headphones, which caused everything to be off. As far as I'm concerned, it would have been more or less impossible to sing to the music because it was all over the place. You might not appreciate this song right away. But listen to it again. Be open-minded. If you're like me, it will grow on you. Some say that this is free jazz played by rock instruments. I think not even Coltrane would know what the hell to do with it.

6. Big Black - Kerosene

This song, to put it bluntly, is fucking awesome. The music is a clear demonstration of what you can do with just a guitar, bass, and drum machine. Like PiL, it focuses only on the extremes, get the bass doing the low frequencies and have the guitar tearing up the high screeching frequencies. If I had been around in 1980, this would have sounded pretty goddamn revolutionary, the closest thing probably being Throbbing Gristle. The music, with the lyrics, builds up throughout the song and finally climaxes at the end. So that's half of it. Then there's the lyrics themselves. They tell the dark tale of small-town life, and the frustration and bleak despair that go with it. As the frustration with existence builds up and up, it finally culminates to a fiery finish. Self-immolation. Cold, mechanical, disturbing, noisy, abrasive--these are all adjectives that can be applied. Wonderful.

7. Slint - Good Morning Captain

It's pretty easy to see why someone would love this song. The whole thing builds up like "Kerosene" for seven minutes until coming to perhaps the most powerful closing I have ever heard.

8. Pere Ubu - Dub Housing

This song always reminded me of Poe, for some reason. I'm not sure where the connection came from, but I always imagined that the house being referenced was the same as in the House of Usher. And as far as this album goes, it is very reminescent of Poe. It's just as dark and troubling, and just as challenging. Like Poe's short stories, the entire album works to generate a singularity of tone, and this song is the centerpiece. It's eerie and somewhat frightening; it sounds like a low-key Bauhaus song that's been chewed up and regurgitated. This is true gothic music, this isn't creeps wearing bondage, this is the soundtrack to Poe's nightmares.

9. Ornette Coleman - Lonely Woman

When I was trying to get into jazz, the second album I downloaded was Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz To Come. The first was Ascension by Coltrane, and I didn't like it too much. When I put on Shape of Jazz To Come, on the other hand, this was the first song I heard and I had already fallen in love. The melody is beautiful and the rhythm section is absolutely great, and even when it goes into free improv it stays captivating and non-abrasive. To put it simply, this is the song that got me into jazz. And it's probably still my favorite jazz song.

10. Husker Du - Chartered Trips

Last time I did this, I wrote up a whole diatribe about emo and how this was more emotional than any emo song I had ever heard and reasons supporting it, but I'm too lazy and apathetic to do that again, so just imagine I told you all about why this is one of the most emotionally powerful songs you'll ever hear and go listen to it.

If Everyone Were Like Me
Solipsists Anonymous
The Problem of Reference
Naturally, He Should Be

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock seems to be a genre that carries very heavy connotations. The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Pink Floyd all immediately pop into the forefront of the mind. These bands, though considered by most to define the principle elements of "psychedelic rock," also give it a bad reputation, in my opinion. Psychedelic rock was about more than simply extended guitar solos and distorted vocals with multiple layers of reverb and echo. In some cases, like that of the 13th Floor Elevators, it was about fusing the trippy pop sounds generally associated with the Beatles with raw and upbeat garage rock. In the case of bands such as The Red Krayola or The United States of America, it was all about introducing into rock music heavy doses of the avant-garde. Needless to say, my favorite psychedelic rock albums are those that are all about experimenting. So, instead of giving you the essentials, I'll recommend some albums, because whereas Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow" might be an "essential" psychedelic rock album, it doesn't really do much for me, so instead, here are some of my favorites:

The United States of America - S/T
Giles, Giles & Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp
13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators
The Red Krayola - God Bless the Red Krayola and All Who Sail With It
Skip Spence - Oar
Love - Forever Changes
Flower Travellin' Band - Satori

The United States of America - S/T

Not to be confused with that post-grunge band, the United States of America were an avant-garde psychadelic band in the late 60's who appear, to me, to be the clearest precursors to Faust and Can in the entire psychadelic camp, who were using crazy electronics to such an insane extent before anyone else was, and who still succeed in making brilliant off-kilter tunes that are worth listening to by anyone with even a fleeting interest in krautrock or early-Pink Floyd era style psychadelica. They only made one album but it is quite the masterpiece. Fuck Piper at the Gates of Dawn, this is where it's at.


Love - Forever Changes

Rated by many to be the best album of all time, I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's certainly a great album. Most of it is pretty straight forward poppy psychadelic rock, but you can hardly hold that against them, because they do it so damn well. Every song on here is an instant classic, full to the brim of beautiful, psychadelic bliss. When I listened to it the first time, it sort of slipped by me, but then I listened to it again, and again, and by the third time I recognized it as a masterpiece.


The Red Krayola - God Bless the Red Krayola and All Who Sail With It

Here's another album that's sure to get divided opinions. It's fans hail it as a visionary album decades ahead of its time, and see in it the roots for punk, new wave, post-punk, and indie rock. It's detractors say its an unlistenable pretentious piece of garbage. Who's right? They're both probably a little right. It has its incredibly pretentious moments (see: "Listen to This") but at the same time it is completely unlike anything else being recorded in 1968, and quite unlike anything else I have ever heard. I can't guarantee whether or not you'll like it, but, if you're anything like me, it'll find a special little crevasse in your heart to occupy.


Giles, Giles & Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp

This is one of the most quirky, whymsical, and delightfully British albums I have ever heard. Not only are the songs odd, poppy and experimental slices of artsy psychadelia, the snippets of "story" that come between the songs are incredibly hilarious. This album will make you laugh out loud and blow you away at the same time. Get into it.

password: posted_first_at_chocoreve

Country Joe & the Fish - Electric Music for the Mind and Body

This is a pretty straight-forward accessible psychadelic rock album. Some of its songs are very Doors-y, and all of them are very feel-good easy-going pieces of rock. Very chill and good.
protected by roggelstroe
(if it doesn't work at first just wait a couple minutes and reload)

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Proto-Punk is about as much a genre as Classic Rock is. That is to say, rather than being a concrete stylistically-defined genre, it's used more as an umbrella term. In this case, the term is used to refer to the multitude of bands who preformed in the sixties or seventies and whose experimentation and stylistic innovations can be seen as direct precursors to the punk-rock explosion of the late seventies. The influence of many of these bands can be immediately picked up on, from the raw, snotty garage rock of early bands like The Seeds or The Sonics to the somewhat later manifestations of MC5 and The Stooges. The influence of other bands is more obtuse, often providing more the stripped-down, barebones frame in which punk rock would flourish rather than the actual sound. Bands such as The Velvet Underground or Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band certainly fit into this category. The only true common factor between all proto-punk bands is that they were all exploring new ground, pushing the limits on what was considered acceptable in rock music, and they were all kickin' out the jams.


The Stooges - S/T
MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
The Sonics - Boom
Television - Marquee Moon
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica

MC5 - Kick Out the Jams

An absolute classic. Wild, self-destructive garage rock at its very best. Guarantee: more punk than your favorite punk band. Kick out the jams motherfuckers!

The Monks - Black Monk Time

One of my absolute favorite proto-punk records. Recorded by American GI's stationed in Germany, this album is unlike most anything I've ever heard. Its blunt minimalism hits you first, with occasional blasts of guitar feedback, chaotic organ, and even occasionally some electric banjo. The lyrics range from quirky relationship songs to delirious diatribes about the Vietnam war. Why this album hasn't caught on more is completely beyond me, it's original, infectious, and historically relevant. Oh, and it kicks ass.

Rocket From The Tombs - The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From the Tombs

Rocket From the Tombs were the precursors to two very important bands: Pere Ubu, maybe my favorite post-punk band, and Dead Boys, a great punk rock band. Most of the songs on this album were recorded in 1975, and feature terrible production and sound quality, but can very easily be called punk rock a year before The Ramones released their self-titled debut. In fact, one of the songs is the familiar "Sonic Reducer," which features David Thomas on vocals but contains just as much furious punk-rock spirit as the ultimate Dead Boys version. Maybe they would have today been hailed as the "first punk band" if in 1975 they'd been able to raise the funds to get in a studio and get a record released.

The Modern Lovers - S/T

The Modern Lovers' debut is another great proto-punk album. It's teenage geeky angst set to minimalist stripped-down rock'n'roll, no doubt slightly indebted to its collaborator, John Cale. I don't really have much to say about this album, it strikes me as the type of album which would generate mixed reactions, but its certainly worth trying.

Noise Rock

Noise rock, or "pigfuck," as it is sometimes lovingly called, is a genre of music that takes punk aesthetic to its extreme, generally drawing from the atonal musical experiments of noise and industrial and making them more direct, generally with song structures resembling punk rock, though this is not necessarily true. The roots of noise rock can be traced back to the 60's, to the "Nihilist Spasm Band," a group who constructed their own instruments and played mostly free improv. The Velvet Underground truly laid the foundations for noise rock, most notably with their songs "The Black Angel's Death Song" on VU&Nico and "I Heard Her Call My Name" on White Light/White Heat. In the 70's, No Wave became an important genre in New York, inspiring artists such as The Ex and Sonic Youth. Noise rock finally emerged as an independent genre in the 80's, with bands like Big Black, the Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid, The Swans, The Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, and Pussy Galore gaining attention from an "alternative" audience. In the 90's, Japanese bands like The Boredoms and Melt Banana emerged on the scene, making noise rock even more abrasive and direct.

Some essential albums:

Big Black - Atomizer
The Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Jesus Lizard - Goat
The Boredoms - Pop Tatari
Scratch Acid - The Greatest Gift
The Swans - Children of God
The Cows - Sorry in Pig Minor

For those of you who already have most of those albums, and are into noise rock, here are some more albums that you'll be sure to enjoy:

Arab on Radar - Queen Hygiene II

Noise rock the way it was meant to be done, screeching guitars, demented vocals, and a strong underlying sense or rhythm and a twisted atonal sense of melody.
(Not my link, so I can't vouch for it, sorry)

The Cherubs - Heroin Man

One of my favourite noise rock albums, extremely tight and loud, it comes at you and pummels you with violent guitar and vocals that make your head spin.

Dazzling Killmen - Face of Collapse

Similar to The Cherubs, look on allmusic if you need more information.

Skullflower - IIIrd Gatekeeper

As far as noise rock goes, Skullflower are rather unique. Their music is sometimes described as "dark ambient," but that to me reminds raises connotations of Sunn 0))) style drone music. Though Skullflower is sometimes that, they're also a lot more, they have pummeling riffs, distorted guitar, pummeling drums, all to keep you on the edge of your seat. At other times, they rely on a more Neu-like driving rhythm with interesting guitar experimentation layered on top of it. Basically, this album lies somewhere in between Sunn 0))) and Arab on Radar, it's dense, experimental and challenging, but hardly boring.


So, there's this genre called Avant-Prog.

I've probably already lost most of your attention, seeing as how that appears to be the most pretentious combination ever, you've got avant-garde, which immediately calls to mind pretentious snobs sitting around listening to a one note drone for hours on end, and on the other hand, prog rock, which causes images of guitar-molesting long-haired guys playing music that only they really want to listen to and writing hour-long epics.

But no! Avant-prog is different. Avant-prog is basically, to me, the modern equivalent of RIO (or Rock in Opposition), which basically was dense, non-radio-friendly music that challenged classic rock idioms. What does this mean? Well, it means that avant-prog has more in common with classical music (think Stravinsky) than it does with your average generic rock'n'roll single. Avant-prog songs are like jazz-rock fusion symphonies, they're elaborate, dense, and complex while simultaneously direct and visceral.

Basically, you won't really know what I'm talking about unless you've heard it. So here are, for your benefit, some starter albums:

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - Faultline

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic are a very chill avant-prog outfit who started in 1983 as a side-project of Mission of Burma members Roger Miller and Martin Swope. Both had left by 1988 but the band continued regardless, playing a unique blend of rock, punk, classical, and freeform. This is their brilliant 1989 album.

Doctor Nerve - Every Screaming Ear

Doctor Nerve is completely wild. Seriously, this is like listening to an avant-jazz album on speed with doses of rock randomly scattered about for good measure. Some of these songs are "Nervewares," which means the score were actually generated by a computer program. And they're actually good. Definetely worth checking out.

Thinking Plague - A History of Madness

Another great album, sounds like a more modern version of Henry Cow. If you liked the previous two chances are you'll like this one as well.