My 2011 list! Artists demos/debuts & lp releases from this year that i think you should also care about. No major label bands.
First off, the Demos:
Crushing fucking Death Metal. Riding the lines of Death/Doom to a fine precision, these San Jose kids put themselves on the map this year after nearly a half decade of hard work with their assaultive presence and blistering heaviness. Of the new wave of Heavy bands - Bruxers are the cream of the crop. They managed to also squeeze in two destructive recordings this year. Soon to come out on Deific Mourning and Gay Scientist Recordings.
Etheral Intergalatic Space Doom that is just Heavy as Fuck. This was a breakout year for Lycus as well. After nearly 4 years of sitting on this project, the crawling/tortured pace of doom that Lycus resonates on was unleashed. With three unholy tracks they turned the stale Funeral Doom Genre around and gave it new life. One of the most promising bands in the bay area. The sky is the limit for this young band. You will definitely be hearing a lot more from these folks in the next year. Their demo tape came out through Graceless records and is going to see a Vinyl release through The Flenser early next year. Expect even bigger label attention.
Connossieur: "Stoned Back to Life"
I can't even begin to think of a funner release or band from this year. Connossieur play whimsical hardcore with a reckless abandon for THC glory/violence. They churn out resin filled tracks with catchy singalongs and it's all a really good time. Their demo "Stoned back to Life" is chalked full of palpable head changes, this is probably my most listened to Demo of the year. If you like having a good time and if you enjoy Motavation, Connossieur is the band for you. Look for a Connossieur/Your Enemy split sometime next year.
Purple Mercy: "Private Pleasures"
From the moment this tape kicks in, you instantly feel the haze cloud headed your way. This is a aural trip of psychedelic lush laidback nature, stuff you can groove to. Private Pleasures is a Cosmic party for your mind, light up your best purples and have Merrrcyy. This Oakland band fucking rules, one of the few remaining psychedelic gems in America and this record is a perfect indication of that. Their bassist was also involved in the ultra Hazy Doom band Folivore.
One of the most Crushing/Vicious records in recent memory. After several years in the making this album finally sees the light of day/hopefully by some label soon. This is a disgusting foul beast- nuclear waves of venom are spewed forth with this debut. The band features some of the most aggressive and extreme metal artists in San Jose. Other affiliated bands include Necrite, Black Fucking Cancer, & Casket Blaster. Cyanic is a brutal mix of depression/fun & chaos while never straying to far from their roots of as an extremely evil entity. Im way into what these guys are doing right now, great dudes and they also feature one of the best drummers in metal, Jason Bursese, as well as one of the most defined killer death metal metal vocalist- Andŕe Cornejo.
Black Fucking Cancer: "Summoning Aural Hell" is an unrelentless assault, A thrashy/death-stricken black metal explosion. I remember listening to this bands practice demos and being floored well over a year ago. First off, they only practice on evenings starting at the witching hour through all of the satanic hours of the day. Usually wrapping up around 5-6am just pumping out the chaos and honing their craft. Also featuring members of Cyanic and Necrite, anything that The Bursese brothers(Drums/Guitar)are apart of is going to be a blitzing Juggernaut, this is no different. There's one thing clear when listening to this band and that there is no shortage of cosmic destruction accompanying them on this demo. They Truly Summoned Aural Hell with this one
Devil: "Time To Repent"
This album comes from a Norwegian band named Devil. They fucking rule and are gladly filling the hole that Witchcraft has left in the Traditional Foreign Doom Scene. This band spent the earlier parts of this year touring with Electric Wizard. That is fucking epic. Anyway, they conjure some pretty great sounds and are headed for an even brighter future. Get High and Listen to some Devil!
Bird is a grind/hardcore band hailing from Sannnnn Jooossseeee, California. They are incredibly fun and were one of my favourite bands in the bay area. Their live shows were always tons of fun. This is their first recording with their new vocalist, Andre Cornejo(Cyanic), and it was worth the wait. Really fucking awesome vocals and a really fucking awesome band. If you like having fun, fly around with these folks. Oh yeah they are a grind band that covers Three 6 Mafia. Smoke a ton of motavation and tweet tweet
Shitty Fucker: "Diarrheality"
This is a shitty fun good time. A short lived project in the name of the brown note from Oakland. These dudes started every show passing out gallons of whiskey/vodka and tons of blunts. Music to get fucked up to. Super pissed off dissonant angry punk rock from Oakland.
Vastum: "Carnal Law"
Oldschool Brutal fucking death metal with a heavy lean towards the doomier side of things. Super primitive, dingy, and absolutely disgusting. This band seriously crushes! Vastum is a super-band with members of Acephalix(Guitar, Bass & Vocals), Hammers of Misfortune(guitar) and Infest(drums). That pedigree alone should tell you how awesome this record is going to be. Vastum are another of the new onslaught of incredible bay area death metal bands that you are going to be hearing about over the next few years. Get into them!
Windhand is incredible. Hazy-as-fuck tripped out aural bliss. The bassist from Swamp recommend them to me recently noting they just put out a new record. Praise be to the dark saviour. Leading the new frontier of retro doom, this band has made it perfectly clear they are to be known. This record is fierce, it's electric, it's mystical and it's crushingly orchestrated to keep you constantly under their spell. This is some powerful stuff, one of the best releases of the year and it was released on Purple Vinyl! Now to track down two copies.
Lp's this year:
Alaric is one of my favourite bands from the bay area. They are fucking incredible. They remind me of a modern day Rudimentary Peni. This is a brilliant dark gloomy punk debut. Alaric are supremely talented- composed of members of Noothgrush(Russ), Dead and Gone(Shane), and Uk Subs(Jason), meaning you shouldn't expect anything less than amazing from these folks. They do not dissapoint, this record finds it's way into your conscioness and sinks it's hooks in you almost rendering you to a mindless drone just swinging back and forth to their melodies and reality. The tones are great on this record and the overall production is top notch. It's death rock with an edge, these aren't just your normal token goths, this is grown up punks playing something they love and doing it very fucking well. Alaric is extremely catchy and very entertaining. I can see very big things happening for this band and if this lp and forthcoming split with Atriarch is any indication of what's to come- Im looking forward to hearing what's next.
Atriarch: "Forever the End"
This record is sensational. What this Portland Quartet has accomplished and conjured on this record is truly infectious. Atriarch wander between the realms of mental anguish and physical pain while cascading down the creepy and grimey halls of Death Rock. The tracks form an evolution of shifts like seasons of the year and tell a harrowing story of expansion, of mind, being and person.
The sounds and atmosphere captured on this record are incredible, you can thank Brooks(Guitarist) for his love and obsession with vintage sounds and crazy space pedals- his effort pays off in a completely refreshing manner. This was a highly anticipated debut from some of the major players in the American Heavy scene, there's dudes from Graves at Sea(Nick plays Bass) and Trees(Lenny sings) in this band. I've definitely been following these guys quite a bit for the past few years. I've had the opportunity to see them a bunch and I think we'll be playing together later this year, which is also very cool. If you are looking for an intense dark groovy trip, I highly recommend Atriarch.
Hollow Mirrors: "S/T"
Hollow Mirrors from Sf have produced a sonic trip. I saw them perform a few months ago in Oakland and they totally blew me away, following their set I had to support them and get this record. Their debut album is packed with great melodies and super lush spaced out atmospheres. This is quality American Psychedelic Rock, pure head swooping cosmia. It's music to zone out to- that completely takes you over. It's rare that you find a band willing to create that sort of atmosphere and trip for their listener. Remember laying back on your beds and putting on a pink floyd record and just getting lost in the experience? That's the same sort of experience you can have with Hollow Mirrors and it's truly appreciated. These guys obviously care very much about the genre and their dedication to creating an awesome experience rules. This record is an incredible debut and I can't wait to hear more from them. Rumor has it a Flower Travellin' Band cover is on the near horizon!!
Ash Borer: "S/T"
Ash Borer keeps getting better and better. This record is beautiful. It's really passionate and extremely intricate while still maintaining it's frightening Heavy distorted sound. Hailing from the Pot hills of Arcata(Cal), this band sounds like walking into a whirlwind of emotional chaos. Their logo is one of the coolest in Bm, you can totally just stare at it and have fits as it strains your eyes to even look at it- that's fucking grim. If you are fiending for a band that is a good representation of the "Cascadian" movement, look to Ash Borer's Self Titled. But don't stop there- the rest of their discography is also great.
All out destruction. Grind gods.
Brainoil: "Death of This Dry Season"
This record truly marked the death of the dry season. The heavy music scene in the bay area was bleak and with the return of Brainoil in the past few years/it really has helped shift the momentum and turn the scene back into a thriving spot filled with kids churning out the heavy tunes. This record really did signify the change in the dormat season and it couldn't have came at a better time. This record is incredilby hard hitting and rockin', way crustier than their previous Lp. This record tells the story of a pissed off band looking to have a good time while still maintaining the fury-filled assault that people have grown accustom to in Bay area bands. It's epic, it's brutal, it's heavy as fuck and it's super fun. This group of people is incredibly special and anything they are involved in is going to be wonderful. If you haven't checked out Brainoil, this is a great record to start out on.
These are some of my favourite West Oakland Rappers that you should check out if you are into rap. Just to preface, these are not floofy college rappers, these are street dudes who are also in the struggle. Im way into diy and these dudes are all very Do It Yourself. My focus to rap is crucial because it's the only form of music that is all vocals, you have to be clever/train your breathing to be able to have a good pedigree to deliver those lines, any slight pitch or alteration of speech helps give you a defined sound and i totally dig that. For these reasons- i recommend checking these guys out.
Shady Nate is probably my favourite of the current Bay Area rappers. Shady's delivery and lyrical depth/content is on point. He's very clever and his patterns are always cool as fuck. Shady Nate put out a new album this year called "Son of The Hood", it's honest and his approach to story telling rules. If you are into clever and smooth rappers with a bunch of swagger and confidence- Look to Shady Nate.
H.U. is fucking quality. His tracks are rad and his style commands your attention. This video is a perfect example, all of these local rappers wanted to come together for this because the track is so hot and a real topic to these folks. It's a family out here for these guys and that's something i really fucking appreciate. Unity through art and friends. A lot of this was filmed right outside our house. H.U. is the real deal
Lil Blood is legit as fuck. He dwells in the 30s and reps it for life. He's been one of the most consistent rappers putting out multiple solid mixtapes and records in the past few years. There's an elegance in his delivery, he is able to maintain a hood aesthetic while putting words to some really opulent sounds. A really good representation of the rap movement in the bay.
Lil Goofy is good-time enhancing party music. Goofy is super young and has been contributing to the 3rd World/Livewire peer scene in the past few years and is about to put out his first record as well. Lil Goofy has immense potential, he's real clever and has a great vocal tone, his breath control is phenomenal. Super rad tunes to get Super Fucking High to.
HD is probably the most lyrical concise of the group of artists. He has a way with getting a bunch in a little and you can just tell that he's going places. He's aligned himself with some incredible artists and will continue to keep being an integral part to the bay area rap scene.
Honorable mentions in quality records/releases this year:
Fell Voices: "Untitled"- This recording came out last year, in 2011 it finally was given the proper treatment from the always outstanding production of Gilead Media. Really incredible work and awesome record! The record also comes with a patch and is on beautiful thick 180gram vinyl.
Noothgrush - Erode the Person Reissue ltd White Vinyl. Fuck yes. Absolutely crucial Heaviness.
Flower Travellin' Band - Two releases i've really wanted to own were finally reissued this year! Made in Japan/Satori are both quality releases on 180gram. Featuring some of the finest tripped out sounds to ever be captured. Highly recommend buying these.
Whirr - "June" Two awesome summer tracks on a beautiful 7". They are probably one of the best Shoegaze bands in America right now and this is another wonderful addition to their catalog of sounds. Get your gloom on.
Vesicus - "Magi: Within the Sigil of Kia" - Pretty standard dsbm with some cosmic freakouts, totally fucking killer vocalist, definitely worth checking. If you can find the tape, i suggest that route - the distorted tape sound magick is great for this band.
Rotten Funeral -"Resurrecting the Sodomizer". Rotten Funeral are definitely my favourite Black Metal band from the Central Valley. Angry pissed off vile black metal. Their live shows are perverse sick rituals to witness,their singer, Nekotüs, slices open his flesh with this crazy looking blade and then they all start into a blitzkrieg of punishment. This is a cassette tape of that.
Ash Borer - Tape Discography. Incredible.
Heavy Eyes: "S/T"
This is good ol' boy music. The Self Titled record from these folks is simply good music to have a good time with. Their vocalist sometimes sounds like Axl Rose and that's pretty awesome. The general music is killer, overall, it reminds me of a modern Cactus. This record is a collection of catchy infectious grooves. I dig it, one way or another - i definitely recommend checking them out.
Blood Ceremony: "Living With The Ancients"
I love this band. A lot of retro doom bores the shit out of me/it's usually too kitschy and lacks honesty and appreciation for the genre... Fortunately Blood Ceremony are very Genuine, their sounds are cosmic/honest and real. They are all about the trve righteous psychedelic groove. Most bands lead strong and then falter with their second release, not Blood Ceremony, this is another Enchanted Journey. Check them out with Ghost, Feb 1st at Bottom of The Hill(SF,CA)next year. One day, somehow, we shall play together!
YOB are modern day legends, another highly imaginative and spectacular release from this generations Black Sabbath. Incredible work- as always to be expected when Mike Sheidt is involved.
Ghost - Opus Eponymous. YES!!
40watt Sun/Patrick Walker is the fucking man!