IN ROTATION: Our most played albums in December 2019

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TOM BOATMAN’S DECEMBER IN ROTATION LIST

So here we are, the year 2020. It’s been an interesting end to the year for me. A lot going on. Last night I came back from a long Christmas/ New Year break, seeing my parents and friends dotted around the UK. I also collected quite a hefty load of vinyl, some new, some having been absorbed into my friend’s own record collection for the past hmmmm 10 years maybe. I think there’re going to be some serious blasts from the past for me in the coming weeks. But for now, what got me over the line in 2019 comes below…

Eyehategod – Take As Needed For Pain

As a longstanding fan of many of their peers, it’s odd that I came to Eyehategod so late in the game, but it’s only since I discovered their most recent, self-titled album that I’ve really gotten into these pioneers of Hardcore-infused, New Orleans Sludge Metal. Some years ago when I first took a listen I found this too abrasive, but now I love the repeated backdrop of feedback and Mike IX’s strangled yelling. Dirty and nasty just what the doctor ordered for the moody misanthrope in you.

Acid Bath – Paegan Terrorism Tactics

So here’s the deal man. I’m in this new (well new to me) flat in Prague. Half the price of my last flat, living on my own. It’s great. One problem (apart from the battles with mould): the damned internet. I went through extended periods of December with no connection – not the worst thing in the world – but to entertain myself I downloaded the great NOISY documentary of the NOLA scene, featuring interviews with members of DOWN, CROWBAR, EYEHATEGOD, GOATWHORE etc, and watched it again and again and again. One plus was it reminded me to revisit one of great, but all to shortly lived bands coming through those parts in the mid-90s: ACID BATH. Both albums (this being their second) are well worth investigation. Singer Dax Riggs is a very singular vocalist, with a memorable, moaning, crooning style, sometimes evoking David Bowie and some extremely strange and evocative vocals. The music is Sludge, but although you can relate them to other bands of the scene, they are quite their own beast: dirty, grimy, rocking, sometimes thrashing, and with more than a sprinkle of doomyness, there’s never been nothing quite like ACID BATH. Unfortunately both albums are pretty hard to get hold of, but get on Discogs, find yourself a second-hand copy and take a chance. You will not be disappointed.

The band isn’t even on youtube (aside from some skuzzy live recordings), or Spotify, so for a sample I had to delve into vimeo:

Swans – Cop

In recent times I’ve been listening to a lot of Sludge Metal, new and old, often when I want something really dirty, noisy and punishing to blast my ear drums. Well, although they’ve never really been Metal, “Cop” by SWANS has probably influenced a lot of bands with an MO to slowly pound you into the ground. This whole album is track after track of the nastiest, most masculine, unadorned, grim, savagery. All is not as straightforward as it seems though, and there are lots of clever sonic subtleties here. Definitely one to listen to on headphones, for the full, immersive experience.

Oxbow – The Thin Black Duke

There is always time for OXBOW as far as I’m concerned. We had to wait 10 years between “The Narcotic Story” and this, their most recent album, but it was well worth the wait. Niko Wenner’s skills as a composer and arranger, just leave me flabbergasted. If nothing else, as a guitar player, I can’t wrap my head around how he devises these novel tunings and the unusual melodies he creates from them. Add to this, some excellent use of strings, piano and horns and of course, Eugene Robinson, the eloquent, visceral, stalking frontman, with the bizarre, primal vocal delivery and beautiful poetic lyrics; this music just leaves me in awe.

Today Is The Day – No Good To Anyone (track)

As some of you may be aware, I am a rabid obsessive of this band. I’ve been eagerly awaiting their latest album “No Good To Anyone” for the whole of 2019 (now due sometime in 2020). Finally, last month, the band unveiled a stream of the title track and I am not at all disappointed. Steve Austin always brings a new angle with every TITD release, this time I’m hearing some of the huge, sonic resonance of “Temple of the Morning Star” era, alongside a melodic hook that’s reminiscent of “Who Is The Black Angel” from 1999’s “In The Eyes of God”. This taster for the upcoming album however is something much more, seething and understated, with a huge reverberating bass texture and an insistent melody that burrows into your head like a tick. Sinister and malevolent, it feels just like what the band should be doing right now.

Tom Boatman

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