It's that stupid time again for the year-end roundup. I felt like this year was my worst ever for being on top of checking stuff out. Soon I'll be that idiot going "they stopped making good music around (insert year when driving 5 - 10 hours out of town for a show stopped being an option). Nonetheless, still plenty of fantastic music to be had in 2015 (it's just I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll hear most of it many years from now).
I'll start off, as always, with a short summary of my own bullshit. Not a lot of new from me but many things in the works. Here are the releases (don't blink):
MERDARAHTA - AS THE DARK CLOUDS SWEPT AWAY WE COULD SEE THE SUNSET
THE SUN THROUGH A TELESCOPE - LIVE AT POMPEII
Wow, huh? Busy guy! Well, I've also got some other stuff in the works. My new band HAMN has got an EP in the can just waiting for a final mixdown. The next TSTAT full-length is completely demoed and itching for some live drums and re-amped guitars to get laid down on it. WORLD WAR 4 has also (believe it or not) got some drum tracks in the can for some new tunes. 2016 will most likely be a little more fruitful where new music is concerned. There's also my still-fairly new radio show THEN & NOW which keeps me real busy. Check it out, why don'tcha?
On to the list. As always, no particular order. Here's what came across my desk in 2015:
1) TORCHE - RESTARTER "These guys have proven themselves to be quite reliable as far as a real STRONG album goes. There's awesome power in their anthematic riffage."
2) LOCAL H - HEY, KILLER! "I was more than happy to contribute to the crowd-funding campaign that helped get this album made. Possibly the most unlikely band to come out of the 90s-grunge thing smiling. They exist comfortabley and righteously on the periphery of alt-rock."
3) BIG DICK - DISAPPOINTMENT "The first time I saw these guys, they did an Inbreds cover. That's when I knew.....they were probably the same age as me."
4) NO JOY - MORE FAITHFUL "Certain songs hit me in such a way as to make me think they were written specifically to cater to my own tastes. Which makes me think someone somewhere down the line fucked something up, rather than entertain the notion that unspoken human connection would be an option for me."
5) KEN mode - SUCCESS "As I've probably said before in these writeups, I'm a huge fan of when bands make huge changes to their sound. For better or for worse, the idea of every album sounding like a different band is a good one. In this case, it works fantastically."
6) METZ - II "A frustrating band indeed. By that I mean, practically every part makes me go 'Why didn't I think of that??'"
7) WEIRD OWL - INTERSTELLAR SKELETAL "An awesome blend of fine-tuned pop and weirdo psyche."
8) COSMIC GROUND - 2 "I don't have the slightest recollection of how I came across this. Probably dicking around on Spotify or something. Damn, it's tasty though. Spooky ambient sounds."
9) CHELSEA WOLFE - ABYSS "This ain't metal but it is DAMN heavy! Heavier than most of the garbage that actually would be classified as metal, funnily enough."
10) MARRIAGES - SALOME "I happened to catch and really enjoy EMMA RUTH RUNDLE when she opened for ALCEST this year, found out she's also in this band MARRIAGES. A great example of what I want from alt-rock (ie: twisted pop, not twisted moustaches)."
11) DEAFHEAVEN - NEW BERMUDA "The online pants-shitting virgins who'll go to their graves claiming that DEAFHEAVEN are 'NOT METAL!!! NOT METAL!!!' can rest easy thanks to this album which basically answers back with 'You're right, we're not'. So SHUT UP, already!"
12) MUTOID MAN - BLEEDER "The next-best thing to a new CAVE-IN album is a new MUTOID MAN album, especially when it's just firing on all heavy metal cylinders."
13) LOVIATAR - DIVA'S HYMN "Ottawa's got the stoner/doom thing covered right here. Man, I love those vocals too!"
14) KURT STENZEL - JODOROWSKY'S DUNE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK "I was so bummed after I saw this movie to learn that no official (or otherwise) release of the soundtrack existed. And so unbummed once I learned that someone decided to right this outrageous wrong!"
15) GAUSS - SOFT FACE, SOFT GAZE / "CHARM" "An awesome recommendation via my very favourite Toronto (previously Ottawa [briefly]) band SHAHMAN. Sort of the indie-rock version of post-rock, complete with sad-sounding horns."
16) KILLING JOKE - PYLON "Yet another strong album from these golden oldies. Most bands are lucky to put out any kind of album 35 years in, let alone GOOD ones!"
17) TEETH OF THE SEA - HIGHLY DEADLY BLACK TARANTULA "Sort of like TRANS AM through a HAWKWIND filter. Lovely."
18) UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS - THE NIGHT CREEPER "You'd think this would be a SABBATH soundalike but you be wrong. Weird, creepy, heavy rock."
19) THE JERRY GROSS ORGANIZATION - JUST PULL IT DOWN "Another Ottawa band, this one made up of members of THE CITY ABOVE and THE BAND WHOSE NAME IS A SYMBOL. This is almost like if GUIDED BY VOICES take a stab at stoner/doom. That's a good idea, right?"
20) GNAW THEIR TONGUES / DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT - N.V. "Heavy, unsettling, feral - very good!"
21) MAMMATUS - SPARKLING WATERS "The weirdest house party featuring an ambient project tag-teaming a twisted jam-band. Cool party!"
22) PYRAMIDS - A NORTHERN MEADOW "Weird, black metal type stuff but with pretty, singy bits and whatnot. The kind of crap I like, in other words."
23) FIGHT AMP - CONSTANTLY OFF "If your riffs are this massive, there's not much else you really need."
24) SUNN O))) - KANNON "My mom went and ordered the CD of this (I buy those) from HMV for Christmas. That was very sweet of her. Still waiting."
25) HYPNODRONE ENSEMBLE - THE SHAPE OF SPACE " The band name and album title say it better than I can."
26) KRALLICE - YGG HUUR "Weirdly, I was not into this album on my first listen. I gave it another shot a few months later and loved it. Must have been binging on DARKTHRONE that first time or something."
27) APHEX TWIN - SOUNDCLOUD "RICHARD D JAMES uploads a massive amount of demos spanning his entire career for free and basically makes Christmas a 365-day affair for LEIGH C NEWTON."
28) FUCK THE FACTS - DESIRE WILL ROT "The lyrical content of the song THE PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE sums up everything I love about this band (it's a song about opening bands being snappy about getting their shitty shit offstage)."
29) HENRY BLACKER - SUMMER TOMBS "A very strange version of heavy rock, indeed. These guys sound like music is sort of a faraway concept for them. That's a compliment, I think."
30) BLOOD INCANTATION - INTERDIMENSIONAL EXTINCTION "Normally, death metal (especially the kind where the bassist goes 'Hey, I know! FRETLESS!') can take a flying fuck at a rolling dick-nut but, I dunno, this just does it for some reason."
FAILURE - THE HEART IS A MONSTER
FAITH NO MORE - SOL INVICTUS
HIGH ON FIRE - LUMINIFEROUS
WINDHAND - GRIEF'S ETERNAL FLOWER
SOMBRE - FLORA AND FAUNA, FEAST UPON MY FLESH
ZOMBI - SHAPE SHIFT
MASERATI - REHUMANIZER
BELL WITCH - FOUR PHANTOMS
Wow, an even 30! I didn't mean for that to happen. How nice and round. I usually have a "TOP-40 type songs that are actually decent if not amazing" type list to finish off but, ever since we got satellite radio in the car (unhumble-brag), that stuff is totally off my radar in lieu of DIO, SABBATH, PRIEST, MAIDEN and the 5 other bands they play on OZZY'S BONEYARD (that's some Sirius XM humour right there). All I got for that aforementioned list is:
TAME IMPALA - CAUSE I'M A MAN
COLD WAR KIDS - FIRST
U.S. GIRLS - SORORAL FEELINGS
Not exactly the mainstream, more like an example of songs I really, really liked from albums I really didn't think were any good.
Oh, also, that CAN'T FEEL MY FACE song can fuck itself forever in Hell. Happy New Year!