Exploring music of Alaska as part of Post-Independence Marathon! Dive into PIM archives to hear music from Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana and more!
James Church (Lucidstatic / Pandora’s Black Book)
Synopsis: Noise Terrorist
Much like IHN Alaskan native James Church understands that noise comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes – in his case its a mash of glitch, breakcore, ambient, industrial and IDM all sharing vast sonic universe occupied by his projects Lucidstatic and Pandora’s Black Box.
To say that Church is prolific would be an understatement – in addition to his own work (that goes back to early 2000s) he contributed to albums by Mangadrive, Millipede and Manufactura. He also runs CRL Studios – “more than just a label, a support group for musical outcasts”.
Synopsis: voice of an angry angel, accompanied by layers of vocals, guitar, ukulele and whatever else she’s got her hands on at the time, all looped through a Boss effects pedal to make a symphony of sound (Anchorage Press)
Its no coincidence that Street have Bjork’s photo displayed on her FB page – you can tell that she learned a good lesson from Icelandic diva. Last year’s “Black and White” features intricate pop songs that blend live/acoustic instrumentation and layers of loops/electronics – a kind of record that reveals more and more details with each subsequent listen.
The Wagner Logic
Synopsis: Psychedelic post basement rock
Back in 97 in Boston Mark Sandman (RIP) and Morphine crawled into an empty box sent by an anonymous woman. 20 years later The Wagner Logic (namesake of its current sole member and founder Jeremy Wagner) took that experiment further by putting a box into a van and dropping it from far above.
All box talk aside, “Dropped From Far Above” is a great example of an evolution of one band’s sound – TWL was around since 2000s (“self-produced in the dark basement of a small cabin located in a quiet fishing town called Kasilof in Alaska”). The single demonstrates a huge improvement in both quality and confidence over the band’s past efforts and if its anything to go by their upcoming LP “Heart of Dark” should be a keeper.
This quintet (initially a quartet) has so far put out two vastly different EPs – spacier self-titled one in 2015 (which featured since-departed Meghan Dee on vocals) and more abrasive/heavier “Loveis4losers” (with Jacob Dee taking over mic duties).
As Anchorage Press points out
Where Dutchess – EP may have been trepidatious, Loveis4losers makes no apologies about its abrasiveness. “We pulled away from math-ier, more pop sounds and leaned more toward music we could get lost in while we were playing,” vocalist Jacob Dee explains in a phone interview with the Press.
The High Pets
Synopsis: Set to maximum velocity
Self-described “children of the 90s” THP were raised on Soundgarden and Queens of the Stone Age and in spite of (or because of) their other duties (raising children, day jobs) they still find time to tour and record. And while music on their debut “Born in a Cave” bears a stamp of their influences its also an entirely a thing of its own.
In an interview with Anchorage Press vocalist Becky Griffin explains
The album title ‘Born in a Cave’ is scooped from a lyric in ‘Shake,’ the album’s second track,” Griffin explained. “I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of a woman who has no desire to conform to any of the conventions that might otherwise mold her into a muted, smaller version of herself. By shaking off that mold – she promises the listener – one is able to experience a much deeper and more joyful connection to the life that surrounds her
Synopsis: Overheard by a friend at Friday’s show: “this is terrible it’s causing me physical pain, when will it end?”
Thanks for the compliment.
Cliff and Ivy
Synopsis: Alaska’s goth duo
“Goths in Alaska” may sound like a punchline for a joke, but Cliff and Ivy hold their end up rather well (and there is some humor in their music too). In the end few bands can live up to descriptions like these
Moby and Killing Joke thrown in a lockbox with Ministry
Siouxsie Sioux and Iggy Pop had a baby
That is exactly how this band sounds, however – their discography is vast and varied enough for both statements to be true. Of note too – “Live from the City of Fallen Angels” features backup band consisting of members of 45 Grave, Screamers and Adolescents.
Cliff and Ivy also run their own label called House of Extreme Darkness and do a radio show called Extreme Darkness with Cliff and Ivy. HoED’s most recent release is benefit compilation called RainbowGoth, fundraiser for Identity Inc, a nonprofit organization which provides vital services to the LGBTQ community in Alaska.
Nick Galanin (Indian Nick / Silver Jackson)
Synopsis: battered old soldier in the customary and contemporary art worlds (Decoy Magazine)
Whether visual art or music, Nick Galanin is one of the rare artists capable of gliding effortlessly between two worlds. Recently released “Meditations in the Key of Red” is a debut of his band Indian Agent and he also recorded hip-hop EP “Digital Indigenous” as Indian Nick in 2011.
His most active musical outlet is Silver Jackson, which, to date produced two full-lengths and a number of singles with latest (2015 “Starry Skies Opened Eyes”) being inspired by a close brush with death. As he explained in an interview with CBC News
I was halfway through recording the record when the accident happened. Everything changed. I broke four vertebrae and some other bones. It has been a long healing process. As soon as I was able, I got back into the studio and worked on finishing the songs.
I was in a relationship that was not the greatest, that ended in the accident. Gratitude and daily presence grew from the accident — all of this translated into the record in sonic code.
Synopsis: Alaskan witch-hop
In an email by a dodgy PR agency “witch-hop” would’ve sounded embarrassing, but in case of Harm it fits perfectly – the “witch” part comes from a combination of psych and folk elements as well as soaring female vocals, while “hop” part comes from all the looping, layering and beatboxing. Instrumentation list is no less impressive than the music itself with harmonium, cello, clarinet and synth all figuring in the mix on their first LP “Mother Carries”.
In an interview with Anchorage News the band’s founder Rebecca Menzia hinted that the band is winding down as she feels that the band has reached its creative apex. If it is, indeed, the case they leave behind a small treasure chest of interesting material including videos such as this one
The Super Saturated Sugar Strings
Synopsis: alt-folk, gypsy-rock-cana, new timey, southern fried, alaska-chilled
Synopsis: Alaskan Native electronic music producer and visionary artist atmospheric sound design
Throughout last few years Dawn Tuesday’s (nee Dawn Tuesday Jurado) material appeared on a variety of netlabels (45 Echoes / Hortus Cultus) and compilations (Vol. 1 Dark Ambient). Long and drawn-out, her compositions are clearly not meant for people with short attention spans, but they also share a strong sense of atmosphere (often foreboding one at that) and a certain cinematic bent equally fit for a sci-fi movie and a psychological thriller (think Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana or Lustmord for comparison).
Synopsis: Acoustic, Depressing, Nature, Indie
“28”, Dewith’s latest, is his first EP and the fourth overall release following 3 (!!!) full-length albums that were all released in 2017 (treasure trove of material written in previous years, one presumes). His brand of spacey, ethereal pop brings to mind the likes of Flaming Lips, Spiritualized, Bowie and Sparklehorse and sounds better with the headphones on (much like his Bandcamp page implies).
Synopsis: Lost in the confusion of youth. Hung by the rich man’s noose.
Samm puts “bad” in “badass” with her brand of banjo-driven punky take on Americana/roots music (all the promo shots also add to badassery). Active in music since 18 she’s currently signed to Montana-based Farmageddon Records.
In addition to music, she’s also a writer – “Heavy Metal Meditation” (which shares the name with one of her singles) “is a novel that follows the travels of Samm Bones. Soul searching at the bottom of dumpsters. On freight trains, in tipi’s, buses, vans, tents, sailboats and under bridges. From the wild of Alaska to the desert of Peru. Lost in the confusion of youth, hung by the rich man’s noose. All to find her calling swimming in the world of music.”
Synopsis: Hardcore/Noise/Grind from Anchorage, Alaska
Not to be confused with Scottish electronic artist of the same name, this Lamplighter clearly spent a lot of time studying their Botch and Converge records. Dissonant, oppressive and angry as hell they also win the most when they start to slow things down (Soma) and get into a bit of a groove – there’s also a barely recognizable cover of Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s “Maps” which turns the original into a slice of spacey/doomy hardcore running at snail’s pace.
Synopsis: Blackened doom from Alaska
While there are only two tracks on Druj’s debut “The Malignant Dweller” both of them leave a rather strong impression / provide a good glimpse into their m.o. – one being a heavy primal stomp of an instrumental (going out with a Sunn O))) like bang) and the next one serving more of the same atmospheric insanity with manic growl/screams on top.
As No Clean Singing reports
When the music begins to rumble and pound in the mid-section, it’s a head-moving (and skull-cracking) experience — but thanks to the unnerving buzz of the lead guitar you can still feel the disease spreading through your system.