Just a question for you lot: what carrier do you prefer for your music? Personally, I still highly prefer to own physical products. I am old school in that sense. I don’t really have a preference for vinyl or cds. And while I am telling you this it crosses my mind that 90 percent of my hardcore and punk collection I own on vinyl, while 90 percent of my metal collection is on CD format. All other genres are CD only, so perhaps I do have a preference, but it depends on the genre? It is only recently that I have purchased some music through Bandcamp and even then I mostly want to own a physical carrier as well.
Reading that, you’ll understand that I think it is very unfortunate that records stores are almost extinct. I love browsing through records and seeing what I can find. Perhaps it is because I love that so much that I cannot help myself browsing through online shops and distros. The shipping costs are a thing, though. I mean, if it doesn’t make any difference for the shipping costs if I order one LP or four, I am tempted to buy four LPs.
Are you into screamo?
When I was browsing through a webshop looking for Naedr’s amazing debut Past Is Prologue, I could not help adding a few things left and right. One such album is Empatía’s Discography. Empatía is a screamo and emoviolence band from Bogota, Columbia. Their whole discography, 13 songs, recorded between 2017 and 2019 fit on one 7”. This should give you an idea what we are dealing with. This is raw stuff, but really cool. I am reminded of a bit of an underproduced version of La Quiete.
Another album I just had to get was When I Die, Will I Get Better? by Svalbard. I somehow missed the opportunity to review it. Silly me. One of the reasons I like this reviewing stint so much is because I can check out new music from bands I dig before the release date. And what do I do? Completely miss an album from this band… To make matters worse is that I slept on what I think might just be their best record yet. The blend of aggression with sad melodies (stolen from post-rock bands) is next to perfect.
Who needs a singer anyway?
Neànder is another band that completely slipped past me with their last release. I quickly corrected this and got the album: Eremit. This new instrumental post-metal epos is a big step forward for the band. They refined their songwriting skills on this album. Where lots of post-metal bands look to the sea or the ocean for inspiration, Neànder seems to tap into the same vein as fellow post-metallers Omega Massif. They sound different from each other, but both bands take you on a mountainous trip.
Whilst shopping I could not help but also pick up an album by My Sleeping Karma. Long, long ago, in a time we now know as “the past” I saw them live at Hellfest. Their show left an impression. Somehow I never added their music to my collection though, until recently. I have to admit I remember it as more impressive when heard live but, still, this is excellent stuff to dream away on. More post-rock than post-metal perhaps, due to the lighter and more introspective sound.
Welcome to the death and doom department
After hearing a few snippets last summer I was excited for the new Dauthuz record. I had my patience put to the test, but now that new album is finally here! My fellow Dutchies sure delivered and released their best music to date with Cold. They are three releases in and working with their third singer. I don’t know where they find all these blokes, but once again it is a perfect match for their Swedeath sound. Another line-up change occurred in the drum department. I don’t know how much influence this had on the writing of the album, but Cold sounds a tad faster and more aggressive than the previous EP and album. It suits them perfectly. This is highly recommended stuff!
Much, much slower and looking for a completely different vibe are the Italian doom metallers of Shores Of Null. I reviewed last year’s Postvorta album Porrima, which dealt with the five stages of grief. They were not the only band to be inspired by grief, as Shores Of Null have also put this model to music on Beyond The Shores. In one big 40-minute track to be precise. Starting off as a My Dying Bride worship (or a tribute to their sound?) this quickly evolves into a sound of their own. Over 40 minutes this song changes shape to fit the mood.
And now for something completely different
Having always loved the underground I sometimes struggle with accepting the fact that artists I like break through to bigger audiences. I hope it brings them what they dream of, but I find it charming (for lack of a better description) to listen to great music not a lot of people appreciate. Do you recognize this struggle? Anyway, Phoebe Bridgers is one such artist for me at the moment. I really dig what she does. I do find it a bit tiring to see her every time I open the internet. It is probably my search history that is at least partly to blame for that, but she appears to be omnipresent at the moment.
An artist that is active in the same musical landscape is Julien Baker. This should not surprise you, as these two together are two-thirds of Boygenius. Her previous two albums were very impressive. I wanted to type here: I can’t wait to hear her new album, but I have not yet even though Little Oblivions was released about a month ago, so apparently I can. As Cookie Monster would say: delayed gratification!
Other albums that I am really excited about are the new John Paul Keith album The Rhythm Of The City. His previous albums are perfect rock ‘n’ roll albums that I listen to frequently. Nick Waterhouse is about to release a new album somewhere in April, which is something to look forward to, as his high energy take on blues and R&B is extremely contagious.
After reading this you may think I spend too much money on music. Which perhaps is the case. Bear in mind that I know in advance each year that January is going to be an expensive month for me, as I allow myself to go on a shopping spree after reading a lot of year lists and discovering so much stuff that I missed out on earlier. I am prepared for that, and did not have to sell a kidney to be able to afford it. I am getting more and more worried about the amount of space my collection is already taking up and will take up in the future. Hmmm… perhaps I should change to an online collection...