1. Black Metal For Leftist Nancies Like Me
Even though I describe my politics as leftist, some of my musical tastes often resonate as dissonant with my own beliefs to people who know me personally. I can't count the number of bands that I listen to who contradict my own beliefs, and by far, some of the most hairy instances arise from the occult right wing of the black metal scene.
However, those who enjoy less cognitive dissonance than I will be thrilled with the latest movement of American black metal. Riding the critically-acclaimed wave of support for extreme metal and crust with leftist / eco-anarcho beliefs generated by Agalloch, Fall Of Efrafa and Wolves In The Throne Room, other underground acts such as Peregrine, El-Ahrairah, Lockstep, Skagos, Falls Of Rauros, Seidr, Panopticon, Vestiges, Ash Borer, Fell Voices and even Ohio's own post-doom band Vit are generating a great deal of buzz in extreme metal blog rings.
This new sub-subgenre is often referred to as "Cascadian" Black Metal, and often combines post-rock, atmospherics, acoustic passages and more traditional elements of black metal, crust punk, doom metal and other styles. Not coincidentally, most of these bands are from the U.S. and Canadian areas of the Pacific Northwest (near the Cascade Mountain range) or in areas of the Midwest that lie along the Canadian border (except the few from rural areas of Kentucky and New England). Many of these acts claim allegiance to Black And Green Anarchist or Anarcho-Primitivist philosophy and espouse natural and Native American themes in their music. For a good idea of what to search for, check out the above-mentioned acts or read the blog Red And Anarchist Black Metal.
2. U.S. Industrial Tape Labels
While the boom of tape labels from 2005 / 2006 (the "Wolf Eyes On Sub-Pop" years) brought labels like Fag Tapes, Gods Of Tundra, American Tapes and Hanson into the limelight of the U.S. experimental music scene, a smaller niche is being carved out now by people getting involved in the rebirth of the heavier, bleaker and more "miserable" U.S. industrial scene. As of late, U.S. power electronics, death industrial, dark ambient and harsh noise artists have enjoyed the attention and promotion of several small boutique labels such as Phage Tapes, New Forces, Danvers State Recordings and others such as Fusty Cunt, Waves of Decay, Atavistic Transformations and the newly-revived Live Bait Recording Foundation.
Those labels are apparently being watched over by their bigger cousins such as Malignant Records, Crucial Blast and Hospital Productions, who are finding many new artists to contact based on the buzz generated by the limited D.I.Y. tapes of these bedroom operations.
3. KVLT Nights In Columbus
Highlighting the "dark side of electronic music," KVLT is a showcase at Skully's Music Diner in Columbus on the last Friday of every month that brings in acts ranging from EBM, witchouse, dubstep, darkwave, power electronics, neofolk and dark ambient. The next one is on Friday night (Feb 25th at 10 P.M.) featuring sick, dark, electronic music from Textbeak, Stereolea and Mahssa Taghinia. KVLT will also be bringing through Brooklyn neofolk act Cult Of Youth for their March date and industrial / dubstep act Deathface for May. The best part: it's free for 21+ before 11 P.M. (only $3 after) and only $5 for all ages. Check it out!
4. Things To Watch On Hulu Because My Netflix Is In Use By Two Or More People
A lot of people pay me to use my Netflix streaming service, which is awesome because I break even on it usually, but it can have some drawbacks. Namely, when the two viewer maximum is being used, and I'm not one of the viewers. Because I don't have cable and only a few DVDs (one of them being Primus' live DVD...), I often have to resort to the ghetto of unwatched basic cable shows that is Hulu.
People, the selection is grim. Most of the videos on there are unfunny SNL clips, bookended by last year's "too hot for TV" Red Bull ads. However, there are a few gems. For instance, Hulu has 2-3 episodes of FX's under-appreciated comedy, The League and every episode so far of Fox's strange animated sitcom Bob's Burgers. However, that's where most of the selection ends. Disappointingly, they only have clips of Fred Armisen's scathing hipster parody Portlandia and only the first two minutes and opening credits of every episode of Parks And Recreation for non-paying users. Fuck you, Hulu.
5. Dark Circles Records
Hey, congrats to Chris of the Whale Zombie / Valleyboys crew for getting his fledgling D.I.Y. label off the ground. Dark Circles Records has been steadily releasing digital, CD-R, cassette and (coming soon) vinyl copies of bands from Athens and the surrounding area. Fans of shit-fi shoegaze, atmospheric pop, acid rock and other forms of subversive indie rock should take note: releases from bands such as Whale Zombie, The Valleyboys, Sportfishin' USA, Homemade Drugs, Mutual Benefit and others are available for free from the blog (hosted through Bandcamp).
Columbus-ites should take note, on Saturday (February 26), DCR is taking over Cafe Bourbon St. for a show with Whale Zombie, Spooktober, Jay Harmon and others. Support this label. People often talk a big game about starting labels and then move on when that shit turns out to be too hard. Chris and his crew are doing a ton of hard work and really making an effort. Kudos, dudes.
--Aaron Vilk, Promo Director