Continuing our post-independence marathon collecting music from all 50 states – this one focusing on Alabama! We also got Louisiana mix from Guns of the Seneca as well as a roundup of mixes from Mass, Philly, New York and Virginia.
Synopsis: Crazy Horse Meets Nick Drake meets Townes Van Zandt
Willem’s beginnings in music can be traced back to the early 90s when he formed Ithica Gin with his brother Sloane – from there the story turns dark
While still in his teens, Maker began to experience severe, unexplainable manic episodes. The mania most closely resembled the onset of bipolar disorder with one disturbing difference. Those suffering from bipolar disorder have no memory of their manic episodes, but Maker was hyperconscious-wracked by an intense, dizzying mania that could last for days. Medical specialists were baffled and struggled for a diagnosis. It was not until much later that Maker and his family learned the cause: severe lead and mercury poisoning.
Story of Willem’s long and painful road to recovery was documented by both his label Big Legal Mess and No Depression – said recovery also resulted in 4 solo albums (latest being 2015 “The Earth is All That Lasts”)
Synopsis: ‘Bama Math Rock
Pace House debuted in 2014 with “Balancing Act” – initially a trio they expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Elliott Russo. Their latest is a split with Sleep Weather (GA) and here’s Gold Flake Paint describing PH side
Pace House kick off the second half of the EP with a distinctly math-ier feel, the skittering guitars and offbeat drums of “Anne’s Anthem” recall the more sparse parts of Don Caballero. Restraint is the name of the game here: complex basslines and drum patterns tightly interlock without becoming intrusive, allowing the inventive guitar playing and heart-on-sleeve lyricism to shine.
Synopsis: cinematicinstrumentalpostrock / assorted sounds and sonic textures
Quartet from Birmingham that self-released 3 albums between 2013 and 2017 – latest being “There is no Stillness”. Here’s Arctic Drones sounding off on TiNS
This record a pleasure to listen to. It works very well just playing in the background, but it also has enough technical and compositional substance to wrap your mind around when you’re just listening. The only form of criticism here would be the fact that conceptually this record feels pretty open-ended. For some people that would not be a problem, because this means that playing this record while simply listening results in being alone with undefined “feelings”.
Tragically, the band’s guitarist Zach Cooner died in a car accident on Aug 3rd, 2017
Synopsis: If you’ve ever wondered what a tornado set upon a railyard in medium fidelity sounds like, this is it.
Self-described “heavy two-piece blues from South Alabama” – their Bandcamp page features numerous singles as well as records by associates (Admiral Blues, Screamin’ Bones Jones & The Bone Daddies), plus there’s also a video for “Devilblues”
Synopsis: fusion of 70’s rock and 90’s metal and grunge with full blown floor tom
Four-piece with everyone in the line-up sharing the last name “Cobra” – they self-released two albums to date (2013 “High and Mighty” and 2016 “Armed and Hammered”) and wrote a theme for Blue Harvest podcast. Here’s what BhamRocks had to say about them:
Bringing the heavy since 2006, Stoned Cobra has been a Birmingham rock staple. Standing the test of time, the band has played City Stages to Bottletree, Saturn to Iron City, and opened for bands such as The Sword, Gwar, Butcher Babies, and many more.
Synopsis: brutal progressive sludge metal
Three-piece that features members of Hog Mountin and Capsized – here’s Metal Bandcamp’s Ulla Roschat sounding off
I don’t know, if the name of the three piece band from Alabama refers to this character, or the title of their debut album to the Tunguska event, what I do know is that it sounds like exactly that… an evil destructive hateful demon, vandalizing and burning the forest, occasional explosions included, killing all nature’s life, fueled by human poison.
Hexxus'(the band’s) weapon is five songs of southern Sludge Doom infused with Post Metal elements.
El Chupa Cobras
Synopsis: freak and roll on 11
“The Sheep Will Bring Trouble” might be the closest on recent memory that anyone came to resurrecting the spirit of mighty Dazzling Killmen – the keyword being “chaos”, whether we’re talking about riffs or vocals.
Synopsis: one of only hip-hop acts to hail from the city of Birmingham
Trio of Cameron Johnson, Ryan Howell and John McNaughton creating their take on hip-hop as seen through lens of other genres such as shoegaze and punk. Dopamine Decoder Ring, their latest LP, is “a 13-track chronicle of creativity, angst, sobriety and life in the American south.” as Huffington Post puts it
Also, according to an interview that Ryan gave to Southern Rambler:
Nerves Baddington means to get out of the way of yourself. All three of us in the band have a history of substance abuse and have fought our way through. I also wanted the name to have an old school blues ring to it like Howlin’ Wolf and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Synopsis: Alabama sound architect (Adhoc.fm)
Holly is nom de plume of Garrett Crosby, co-owner of Noumenal Loom label. So far he produced two tapes for the label – 2013 “Goldleaf Acrobatics” and 2015 “Peach Winks” EP. He also contributed photo essay to Portals in 2015.
Nest HQ called Crosby’s music “pleasantly strange”, while Decoder Mag wrote that
Holly Waxwing’s Garrett Crosby make abstract music that becomes spatial, wielding sharp or colorful palettes of figurative sound built through association.
Synopsis: Christopher Llarks (aka C. Jeely) new adventures in sound following Accelera Deck (1996-2006) demise
As Llarks, Chris put out out numerous singles and LPs through labels such as Lamour (Sweden), Kikimora Tapes (Canada) and Lathelight (US). His latest is “Reflections” that came out on Lamour in November of 2017
Llarks new album Reflections features extended use of guitar-orchestrations, micropolyphony, holy minimalism, and ghost-piano. It is a delicate and patient album focusing on gentle transitions of tone colors, unfolding atmospherics, and a quiet sense of nostalgia.
Synopsis: Sadistic, psychotic, and vile raw punk/industrial/noise/black metal from the sociopaths behind raw punk aberrations Japanese Women and Hadals, and spawned from the unholy womb of defunct cult noise/punk label Tapes of a Neon God.
This smart dude talks about Calques being a good band name in the new Decibel. I think it’s probably the one with Converge on it for the 43rd time. Converge will help you sell copies. Calques will help you go bankrupt.
“But we don’t really tend to write “fun” music. We also aren’t the most outgoing people so I doubt anyone really wants to jam with us.
In Snow / Loveislight
Synopsis: Speaking without tongues
It takes some hard work to Google names of both of those Alabama bands (tied together by common membership – Loveislight is a solo project of IS member Chris Suda), but perhaps its an ironic reflection of the fact that they work equally hard on their music (which is entirely instrumental)
In Snow have put out a number of (self-released, one assumes) demos, singles and EPs since 2013 (latest being “Four Lines”). As drummer Michael Pocus explained to Weld in 2013 interview
The music we make is instrumental, but it’s not that we’re thinking we’re going to make this music without vocals. It’s actually that we care about the music and want to make the music what people care about.
Loveislight is equally prolific – much of the project’s material came out on Step Pepper Records with Urgent/Ticking/Adjusting, project’s latest, is being described as
Delving into noisy drone and eerie ambient realms with ease while paying homage to the exotic and cerebral beatscapes of previous works. Shades of Suda’s post-rock band In Snow are apparent here, with samples from evangelicals and other motivational speakers becoming the album’s desperate inner-dialog; a paranoid paean to the power of purpose and authentic experience.
All the electronic burping and squiggling on last year’s “Fuck Iggy Pop” EP would’ve made Tomata Du Plenty proud – its demented music that you can still dance to (bet it sounds extra fun when you’re hard of hearing too).
These are compliments, in case if its still not clear – this is a an utterly mysterious project that seemingly came out of nowhere and will probably never record again (though they did received some love from both WFMU and Smashin Transistors)
Synopsis: All reverb guitar action full on, GO!!!
Formed in the winter of 1999 this sneaky enterprise rarely gives out interviews, performs in masks and refers to departed members as “casualties”. They also toured Far East in 2013 and were named one of the best foreign touring acts by Time Out Beijing.
Like its namesake, the music of Daikaiju is a great, mysterious beast. Compelling melodies, hard-hitting riffs and shifting dynamics fuse together to create songs that dare the listener to experience the secret history of the universe-a fantastic reality of giant monsters, super humans, and extraterrestrial invasions that unfolds like the soundtrack of the greatest monster movie never made.
The Pine Hill Haints
Synopsis: Alabama Ghost Music
Active since the late 90s, PHH play what they consider “dead” music – both originals and traditional gospel covers. As their Bandcamp page reports
Lead singer James Barrier is a sight to be seen at their live shows (of which they play many) poised tall and dandy behind his home-made wooden microphone stand.
He’s backed by a family of a band that provides honey-toned instrumentation through the use of accordions, washboard, saws, buckets – and of course the standards: guitar, bass, and drums.
Their latest release is Smoke, which came out on Arkam and in an interview with Times Daily Barrier admitted that he’s not sure how many albums the band has put out.
Gary Wrong Group
Synopsis: fell out of WiZZARD SLEEVE
Not to be confused with Gary War, this Gary was in Wizzard Sleeve (hence the tagline) and runs Jeth-Row Records. To borrow a quote – if Gary and his group are wrong, I don’t want to be right either as kind violent cosmic scuzz presented on their self-titled LP (which also happened to be a career-spanning compilation) doesn’t hit you as often and hard as it should.
Apocalypse-level murky madness from one of the U.S underground’s most crucial characters. RIYL : sending .zip files to help Levitation Fest’s creditors thru a spate of bad, bad news.