Sunday, December 30, 2018

BEST OF 2018

(in no particular order) 

In November, I was invited to perform at a benefit show in Mexico City to benefit victims of the earthquake there in 2017. The show was set up by Dominick Fernow (AKA Prurient, Vatican Shadow) and Becka Diamond, who run Hospital Productions. Hospital has been releasing rare and obscure underground transgressive harsh noise, techno, black metal and whatever else weirdo shit they want for the past 20 years, never deviating from that path once. The steadfast attention to detail on all the releases, the packaging, and the impeccable taste and curation of all things dark, heavy, and extreme has been a huge influence on my life over the years, and it really seems like Hospital Productions is cementing their place in underground history with events in NYC like their Hospital Fest, that saw some of my favorite artists like Merzbow, Power Trip, Silent Servant, Jesu, Ancient Methods, and Ron Morelli all share the same stage. Support the underground!!!

Gothboiclique members, Cold Hart and Yawns dropped a really great EP in 2018 called “Wish Me Well” that saw the duo deviating farther and farther away from their rap influences and getting more in to a sort of 1980’s goth territory with Cold Hart’s low voice over Yawns’ guitars. But for me, it was their newest single, “Eyes” that really shows their strength creating something new entirely. The song is so catchy and brilliantly produced by Yawns it really doesn't sound like anything else right now. Its a dark pop punk masterpiece. Im really excited to see what these guys do next.  

In April and May, i toured around the United States and Canada with my friends, Alice Glass and Zola Jesus. It was amazing to see them perform every night. Each artist being extremely unique and powerful. Alice Glass is such a legend and an immense talent, i am really happy and excited about her new music and to see her blossoming in to her own radical solo artist after the breakup of Crystal Castles. And shoutout to Zola Jesus for turning me on to the crusty lo-fi black metal of Ildjarn! Much respect to them both. 

Old Tower is a mysterious entity from the Netherlands known only as “the specter” who creates masterful true dungeon synth that is a real throwback to the golden age of period 1 Mortiis in the mid 1990’s. Crude, beautiful, cold and bleak, the music is very transportive, whisking you away to some sort of ancient land haunted by the spirits of slain warriors and illuminated only by candle light. Old Tower really manages to stand out, but there is a lot of new great dungeon synth being made right now with artists like Fief, Thangorodrim, and Spectral Kingdom making incredible compositions. Highly recommended if you are in to dragons, dungeons and corpse paint.  

Bliss Signal is a duo comprised of WIFE and Mumdance, each respected producers in their own right. i have been a big fan of Mumdance’s “weightless” grime productions for years now, but its with Bliss Signal that these guys are really capturing something special. The project is brutal ambient electronic black metal, fuzzed out, distorted and beautiful. With synths and guitars melting in to each other over repetitive blast beats. Its triumphant stuff and really uplifting and gorgeous. A highlight of the year for me. 

I liked to throw this album on the PA system before the shows on my tour with Alice Glass and Zola Jesus. It really set a serious vibe. I know they are from chicago, but I dont know much else about this band. This is their first proper album, and i fell in love with it more with each listen. Its just really nasty proper industrial that is both heavy and empowering, and it sounds great LOUD. Turn this shit up ! 

A close personal friend of mine, Rafael Reyes, of the San Diego “cholo goth” band, Prayers, got married this year to the talented tattoo artist and makeup entrepreneur, Kat Von D, and i got invited. Guests were permitted to wear a strict dress code of only black, and the wedding reception took place in “heaven” and “hell”. Two rooms that were either all white or all red. The food was all vegan, and there were tens of thousands of red roses and white flowers. I got to meet Bam Margera and Moby and see Kat Von D serenade her husband on an all red piano around red chandeliers and candles, with dancers in all red xentai suits. To say the least it was the most extravagant, surreal and beautiful wedding i will probably ever see in my life. i really got emotional seeing rafael break down crying telling his wife his vows. Love is beautiful man. Fuck. Congratulations to them on their new child. 

Doomshop is a collective of artists creating some of the coolest lo-fi dark and twisted rap music right now in my opinion. Heavily inspired by the 90’s memphis underground, the music is a continuation of that aesthetic, not just ripping it off. It is authentic and real, and really refreshing in an era where so many rappers are trying to be flashy and poppy, Doomshop artists are hiding deep in a graveyard in the dark. Their members are based all over southern California, Texas and other places. DOOMSHOP Records consists of: owner/ rapper MC Holocaust, owner/ rapper Cursed, Baker, KevinTheCreep, Occvlt, Dom, Stonedogg, Lil Kaine, DJ Akoza, DJ Fat Junt, Freddie Dredd, Ned Bundy, Da Menance, Robson, DJ Killa C, Bruvalurk, DJ JT, Hydra Mane, and Tenngage. Dive deep in to their world on their bandcamp.

NYC’s very best, Warthog, dropped and incredible new EP this year. Featuring maybe the coolest cover art I've ever seen, drawn by Alexander Heir. The music is everything i could want out of a hardcore punk band from New York. Its furious and angry, blown out, disgusting and raw as hell. Released on Static Shock records, home to so many great hardcore punk releases, This is the sound of the streets, the crumbling remnants of a city in flux. 

ive been a big fan of Yves Tumor’s work for years, and have known him personally since way back when he used to make music as TEAMS. But it was incredible to see this release come out on WARP records with a fully formed advanced raw vision and incredible art direction. the Promotional photos and design are all just insane to me. And the music is just masterful. there is just nothing else like this really right now. it reminds me of “bittersweet symphony” by the verve. really 90’s but futuristic and timeless at the same time. Im really happy to see him killing it and getting the respect he deserves. What a great album god damn. 

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