Wednesday, 6 May 2015


   Since Xmas I've been listening to Cameron, as opposed to blotting him out, as I'm intrigued as is anyone, with someone who so thoroughly presents the fiction of conviction while their anorexic soul long-since leaked out of their cells and pooled around their sandals. Not a single thing Cameron has said or done since Christmas has been anything but gas. He can't even present the ghost of hope or belief anymore. Like David Cameron, I too saw Christmas as a chance to reaffirm those 'christian values' so many Stalinists and apologists for Johnny ISIL want to see destroyed in our national life. I hoped 2015 bought more censorship of sexual content in the media and arts, a tightening of laws against induced abortion, an encouragement of sexual abstinence outside of marriage, the promotion of intelligent design in public schools and colleges as an alternative to evolution, laws against same-sex marriage & support for laws against the acceptance of homosexuality into mainstream society as well as an increase in the desirability of organized prayer in state schools . . .

   I misunderstood apparently. Not THOSE Christian values, He meant the carey sharey 'Christian values'. The essentially humanitarian ones that aren't Christian in origin at all. The ones that he and his party have absolutely set their govt in opposition to like caring for the poor and vulnerable. The ones like compassion and empathy that he's actually driven out of public life in preference of greed and divisiveness. The 'Christian values' of that man who existed called Jesus Christ whose ideas and principles would surely be deemed idealistic and inadequate in 'dealing with the deficit' and 'addressing the real concerns' of the people? In the temple busy with the money lenders Cameron  spent Xmas bleating and mewling before deciding what particular brand of lying slime he should annoint himself with in 2015, what bullshit he shall grease his tentacle treads with as he continues to sell-off and destroy anything and everything we still have left. Like many,  I wished him a shitty Christmas and an absolutely fucking nightmarish new year. I hope this continues on Friday. 

   Welcome, everyone, to the minority voting experience. We vote Labour on 7th May out of fear. Real, close, fear. Fear that if the Tories get in and we have another five years of these lunatic asset-strippers selling off what little we have left in the UK, people we know, friends, lovers, students, parents, neighbours, brothers, sisters - are going to die. Are going to be killed by neglect. Welcome, everyone, to the minority voting experience. Exercising your prerogative as an expression less of hope, purely of fear. Vote Labour. Leaders come, leaders go, but public services cannot be left in Tory hands for another five years or there'll be nothing left to fight for. 
This is not hysteria, or over-reaction. The inconvenient poor must be silenced somehow, pushed to a margin and who cares what precipice they fall over so long as they're safely out of the way, so long as their demise can't fuck with the narrative. 

Winning the global race like Zola. 
No time for falling Deckers. 
Spikes in the calves. 
Bring them down, slowly, rakingly. 
Make it look like an accident, not a plan. 
Because after all, it's not a plan.  

   The paperwork goes walkabout before a link can be made. The UK press, owned and run by oligarchs and barons, ignores the fact its government is killing its people, instead rushes to anoint Cameron's suppurating anus with the sycophantic balm-drool of their greedy lies and diversion tactics. This is called press freedom and we are proud of it.  Everyone in a position of deniability. No-one plans for these fatal consequences, this isn't about heartlessness, for who castigates a money-counter for not having a heart, who condemns a hole in the wall for its lack of largesse? These are machines. A Tory is a machine whose sole self-appointed role on this planet is to please the greedy, appease the selfish, enable the destruction of the weak. And the poor keep dying faster. This is Tory success, the buffeting back and forth of an endless creative destruction, an undying howling Schumpeter's gale. Of course they and theirs wont fall. Of course, we're in the path. That's what we're here for. To feed the cyclone. 

   Ask anyone who works in public services. We've SEEN people die because of what this government has done. We know that if they get in, they'll feel enabled to make that process even faster and crueller. Poor people, disabled people, young people, vulnerable people, people with mental health problems, single people, married people, black people, white people, living people, dead people. We all know people who will be killed by another Tory government. Killed by them. 


Killed. And if you think I'm exaggerating, what fucking country are YOU living in? Driven to a point where death is inevitable, or the only option for escape. This is what the Tories want to do. Dispense with all of us who seem unwilling to join in with our own endless flaying and salting, including the 'hardworking'. It doesn't matter to them. You are a number, an income, a credit rating. Humanity is only extended to the wealthy. And the greedy. The humans who are just like them.

A prime minister who can exploit his own son's death to prove his 'committment' to an institution he wishes to destroy. Nothing is beneath him. For when it's all about PR, when you don't believe a word of it, it doesn't matter anymore what's right or wrong. All that matters is how it sounds. Whether it's sellable to the biggest number of cretins. Cameron has always known this, it's the full extent of his concern about 'politics'. He may end up being a victim of democracy, although his dissolute indifference to whether he gets elected or not has always been massively apparent. Revealing, as was all Western Europen governmental reaction to South European political change. ‘Democracy’ is the value that Cameron always totes as the ‘reason we fight’, the British value of freedom at the ballot-box (yeah, it’s a British idea, didn’t u know?) that yr terrorists and yr tyrannical leaders don’t understand (unless they have oil we need in which case shush yr mush yeah?). The moment that voters in Europe actually exercised that right in the interests of change, in the interest of challenging the dominant political narrative of austerity, the narrative that sustains Cameron’s self-appointed remit of overseeing & finessing asset-stripping and victimisation, it becomes a different matter. A faint wrinkle of the nose. A ‘regrettable outcome’. As if any electorate who refuses to ‘understand’ the ‘harsh realities’ that GDP is all that matters, that happiness and humanity have no place in post-crash politics, aren’t exercising their democratic rights ‘properly’. It sickens Cameron and his friends that there remains a section of the European people who haven’t been successfully bludgeoned into dazed submission by the “realities of the marketplace” i.e we fucked up, YOU PAY. 
   The idea that ‘austerity’ won’t solve the problems but IS the problem is not so strange to most of us, here at the sharp-end where the most vulnerable are tortured daily for the mistakes of the rich. To Cameron and his class such an idea is anathema because in truth, their ‘clients’ are not us but the financial and business interests they collude with in carving up and destroying whatever hasn’t been sold off yet. Fuck the Troika, and fuck austerity and god bless the Greek people for reintroducing a strange thing to European political life that night: hope. I don’t think I’m being stupid to feel it, still. And to be hopeful going into this election. Hopeful for chaos at the least. The chance for the Torys to flail, and shame themselves even more. Because their words condemn them, always. 

"You’ve got to get out there and find people, win them over, get them to raise aspirations and get them to think that they can get all the way to the top".

Always with Dave, there's the patrician tone of a P.E teacher waiting at a pummel horse. Keen to praise. Eager to also humiliate. Send to the wall, fingers on lips, until the wall can swallow them up. Take up thy bed and walk type shit is all Cameron can rhetorically throw at the weak because unlike the rest of us, he doesn't have to worry about the way his words translate in the street. 'Raise our aspirations' means 'take any old shit to get you off JSA, here's a workfare placement at Poundland and don't come back to the Job Centre". The less he can turn on the belief, the emptier, the more desperate he sounds. He's Blair without the glassy-eyed belief. A new kind of emptiness of character and soul. The kind of man who can forget he has children, unless they die in which case they become useful totems, things that prove his belief in the state. The kind of man who works on a schedule and has never really had to think about what he believes in, only what belief he believes it would be beneficial to pretend to believe in. A word of truth on his lips would sting his sinus, overwhelm his senses. Make him gag. Campaigning hasn't suited him at all. The time when he most has to appear like he cares. Everything he's said of late has seemed to evaporate in a puff of hot air. Cameron, like Bojo, is a terrible campaign politician because it involves having to argue, defend positions, which absolutely requires belief, something Cameron will never ever be able to convincingly simulate. A liability, perhaps worse than Major, just marginally better than Michael Howard/IDS/Hague. Gratifying to be reminded of this. Utterly out of his depth. A floundering, mediocre PR man. Remember him this way. And remember this government's emblematic moment - Thatcher's funeral. As Cameron starts reading from the Gospel of St. John, inside the coffin her eyes flare open, thinning slowly, a smile crossing her face. If they win on Friday she will still rule the country. We don't want that. We want her to continue to roar and rot in hell for all eternity. 

Vote Labour. We'll sort out the leader afterwards. But vote Labour. It's the only way to kill the beast. For her minions are still with us. Her evil still lives. It is our duty as human beings to always seek ways of destroying it. 

Monday, 23 March 2015


My mixcloud page has gone just a bit fucking nuts. Have put ALL my long-used but still-ace 'Spare Hours' mixes up, also all sorts of other bootlegs and gubbins and good stuff - crucially I'm clearing the decks a little before I start recording my own proper weekly podcast coming soon. So if you're stuck for something to listen to at the moment you're lying aren't you. 

Stay tuned to here, and there, for more annoyance and irritation soon. Thanks for listening.

Friday, 20 March 2015


The superb Primitive Man 
(BangYaHead Entertainment)
Nothing to do with Harold Faltemeyer, Axel F is the nom-de-plume of J. Rocc of Beat Junkies & MED aka Medaphoar. Their soon-dropping 'Theme Music' album is phenomenal and probably won't get picked up by any cognoscenti until 2018ish. Get in early on this astonishing track — nowt but a wobbly, disturbing slab of bass slammed down over progressively more tense and turbid beats. Guilty Simpson's verse only adds to the dread and chaos. If you say you were into this now you're gonna be the hippest motherfucker on the block come next year. Get in and get in early.

(Cinematic Music Group)
I know I know, this has been rotating awhile round your way, but after recent disappointments (that frickin' single with Kiesza + the album 'B.4.DA$$' aint so great) still sublime to hear Joey rip it on a track that suits his voice, that matches it for grain, oddity and barely-held-in paranoia/hysteria. Smart of Kirk Knight of Pro Era to slather the stereoscape with his vocal during the chorus, the little bits of echoey wibble he seems to coat every single loop with contrasts beautifully with the sharp heaviosity of the beat here. Great jazzy vibed-up outro too. Superb.


Always worry when live bands and hip-hop meet — for me always in danger of slipping into noodling jazz-funk territory and surrendering of the essentially mechanical, inhuman and futurist elements of hip-hop production that have always most excited me. Hats off to BADBADNOTGOOD for managing in a live sense to actually replicate a dementedly clipped kind of nu-school production, a meandering slice of jazz-funk played as if it's a loop, strings and colour building the intrigue until 'Ray Gun' reaches the kind of lush and lurid heights and depths of a primo Lalo Schifrin production. Ghostface and Doom on point but wish I could hear more of them — the aptly-titled album 'Sour Soul' is on the shopping list for shitsure.

(Brick Records) 
Can't stop listening to that Phryme album partly because Premo seems so liberated by finally collaborating more on the musical side of things, contributing only as part of a team — here he's back on his own producing but does seem to have been affected by his experiences with Adrian Younge, the strings here descending like black clouds, the orchestration as sublime as an Axelrod or Barry. Massachusetts heavy hitting veterans Big Shug and Terma (and new Bostonia spitter SK) add to the growing sense of apocalyptic doom and menace — this is determinedly grainy, rainy, East Coast hardcore hip-hop that bodes enormously well for Shug's soon-come newest opus 'Triple OGzus'. Superb last blast of winter.

(Fresh Herring Records)
Manc MC Burgundy Blood's debut album 'Suede Comet' has been leaking tracks for a while now and this is the latest joint — typically dusted insanity ("I'm like Orpheus/pop a tampax in every orifice") and production part Bollywood, part Pete Rock. The album also features cameos from Kool Keith, Sadat X, Meyhem Lauren, X-Ray, Konny Kon & Chalk. Check this and you'll want to check IT. Make sure you do both.

(IGC Records) 
Cannibal Ox have been elliptically travelling the solar system a while now, but their 14-year orbit is nearing its next pass of earth — 'Iron Rose' is the first probe they're dropping before the release of their newest opus 'Blade of the Ronin' and it's... nuts. As you'd expect. Antarctic-cold, as jagged and rugged as a meteor-belt, Doom side-eyeing Vast Aire and Vordul Mega to the point where you can't tell if he's a willing participant or a terrified hostage. No-one else sounded anything like them. No one else sounds anything like them now either. Superb and a cold fuzzy to all psychonauts who remember. They're back.


Sorry Chezza but I can partly trace my parentage back to the mole-volk of Enceladus actually. Don't beat me up in a nightclub toilet please y'racist bitch.

DEMO 2014
Nasty, brutish, short 5 tracker from Toronto. Reminds me of Kepone and Jesus Lizard. Not a single song over 90 seconds long. Grab it before it self-destructs.

(Creative Juices Music)
Oh man, when your ears are as old as mine the incessant diet of deodorised-noise and digi-cleanliness so much modern hip-hop production gives you can grow exhausting — see this as a nice deep bath to get properly cleansed in, Maylay Sparks and Jeru the Damaja adding a few neat verses to DJC's jazzy loops and post-hardbop abstraction. These cats can really swing.

(Six2Six Records) 
Loose, langourous, jazzy track from CD's just-dropped 'Avant Garde' set. Could be from any point in the last 30 years but no less on-point for it: good to hear razor-sharp clarity in the beats, loops and rhymes here as opposed to the overly-impressive racket so many crews shoot out there. Tasty.

Sick twists Cult Mountain


"Tomorrow's looking shit and it's Tuesday" — OMFGodfathers, what a twisted collection of talent has come together here. Milkavelli, Lee Scott, the mighty Trellion and Sumgii (producer behind the equally mind-bending Piff Gang and Problem Child) knock six tracks together, available as limited-edition cassette and also download and vinyl.  Groggy, wasted, drugged to the eyeballs, trippy-as-fuck production populated by nowt but Theremin and slo-mo dub dementia, truly diseased rhyming particularly from Trellion, a general feel of deranged untrammelled nastiness and 24/7 fucked-upness that's addictive and compelling. If you don't understand how to listen to massively offensive music and read it like an adult then please disregard. If I was editor of the NME I'd have these sick bastards on the cover like fucking YESTERDAY. The true sound of the estates. Search for Cult Mountain on Bandcamp and gorge yourself soon as. Single of the year thus far.

Dubby, spacey stuff from the ever-essential Defenders and Prophets, 'Ferme La Bouche' is perfect for this cold weather, so damn spectral and suggestive it feel covered in stalactites, sharp rhymes from everyone concerned and a unique vibe I'm not hearing anywhere else. On the flip 'Smash & Grab' is a little more conventional, but even here you find glimmers of oddity, a strange keyboard creeping into the chorus, rap music absolutely possessed and infected by its own unique northern sense of place and space. Go get.

(Walk Tall Records) 

I remember him playing Cov and out of sheer desperation interrupting the gradually deteriorating chaos with a chorus of 'In Our Coventry Homes'. Fuck off Pete, sorry PeteRRRRRRRRRR. You're from Beduff! You don't speak with an accent exceedingly rare and if I wanted a cathedral you WOULDN'T have one to spare.  ANYHOO - here's his comeback single in which the overrated yet cleaned-up turnip sings a heartfelt song about Amy Winehouse/himself. Best thing he's ever done by miles. A fucking shit-awful dirge.


Love what Prydz has done to yet another typically tedious Chvrches track here. Ripped out the verses pretty much entirely and taken them down the tip (hope he's correctly put it in the non-recyclable hatch so there's no danger of them reappearing ever again) pulled out the chorus hook and slapped it atop his usual euphoric, exquisitely appointed widescreen bounce. A brutal act of butchery that has salvaged gold from gruel. A properly irreverent, brutally efficient rerub.


Now THIS is how you do a comeback. Still sounding as fresh as when they first got pinched off, set on fire and left on our doorstep FNM channel the best bits of 'Album Of The Year' and 'Angel Dust' into this five-minute pocket rocket. Love the drama, the desert-psyche bridge, Patton's growl recalling Chris Cornell back when he wasn't an international embarassment, Billy's keys as ever vital in tearing FNM away from the potentially macho expanses of chest-beating rock and to their unique place between grand-guignol, cabaret and pulverising pop metal. Superb to have them back and seemingly at their best. Can't wait for 'Sol Invictus'.


Dig the big fat brassy synths this starts off with, wish 'Real Joy' could stay a little dry, close, intense rather than losing itself a bit in the big space opened up once the kick comes in but it's still a wickedly punchy thumping track good enough to make it into Zinc's sets so most definitely good enough for me.

(3Beat Productions)
Look, Fuse ffs - if you're gonna push a crossover-crockashit like this out there crucial thing is you do it with conviction.  'Thinking About U' sounds like something you've been frogmarched into, a forced euro-friendly over-autotuned nursery-rhyme vocal so shameless in its aim for radio-friendliness and enforced catchiness (that's how so much pop works now, not by being catchy by dint of personality or idiosyncracy but by closely cleaving to the most anodyne jingle-type infantile constricts it can, so it sticks like velcro shit) you almost sound ashamed singing it. You certainly sound non-committed, like you clocked on, sang this with one eye on your phone, and then clocked off and went home. Lazyness abounds. Lazyness everywhere.

Haim & their biggest fan
Fucking HELL. See? Guess how long it takes before you can hear that chugga chugga 'Edge Of Seventeen' guitar in this? Gwan guess. Five seconds? Nope. Ten seconds? Nope. 2 Seconds, nope.

ONE FRICKIN SECOND. That's all it takes. And almost immediately you know every single thing you're in store for on the ensuing 230 seconds of time-wastage on offer here. Are the vocals double-tracked? OF COURSE THEY ARE. Is the verse an entirely forgettable run of cliched melody and lyrics only in place to build towards the sea-of-hands anthemic chorus? YR DARN TOOTIN. Is there a moment when it breaks down to an overly busy 20-odd tracks of backing vocals in a straining, pathetically inadequate homage to Stevie's finest moments of studio-bound sorcery? Oh yes. Sound that tastes glossy, that coats the mouth with a thoroughly un-moreish plasticity because nowhere within this music is a single unique or original idea. I LOVE dated music but I hate being told I should be impressed with this kind of utterly emotionless assemblage. Well done everyone, you sure do have expensive studio facilities. Well done.


Nice memories of Crystal Waters 'Gypsy Woman' sparked by Lauren Mason's vocal here on this otherwise fairly pedestrian house tune - thankfully HS know they're onto something and foreground her as much as possible, keeping the rest minimal, repetetive, undistracting. I would turn this up in the car. That's the only objective criteria I have left anymore to be honest.

In one of the greatest children's books ever, 'Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator' (far more worthy of cinematic treatment than its more famous prequel just don't let that Tory fecker Tim Burton near it please) Willy Wonka gives the bed-bound grandparents a shot of Wonka-vite to get them up and at 'em upon the families safe return from space and the battle with the Vermicious Knids. The inevitable overdose necessitates a trip to minus-land to retrieve Grandma Georgina who has gone beyond babyhood and backwards beyond her birth into a strange netherworld. In minus-land Willy Wonka hits Georgina with a puff of Vita-wonk which has the unfortunate affect of making her 358 years old. Vita-wonk is what modern British male singers are injecting into their voiceboxes (or spraying with newly available atomizers) on a daily basis. Like steroids, Vita-wonk's consequences for cock-size are all too counter-intuitive and imaginable but more importantly for those of us who would like to listen to daytime radio without wanting to striate our wrists and neck with a blunt spork it's having a truly calamitous effect on young male voices, and future expectations/limitations of young male voices. Why do these young men with guitars want to sound so fucking old? Like the beards or dreads these witless bores always sport, it's a false and easy earning of gravitas, an affected spray-on sense of world-weariness that can't mask the utterly empty blaring shitcuntery of their music. Luke Friend is merely the latest casualty of this current vogue for men whose balls haven't dropped sounding as if they have leathery auld knackersacks that they trip over when running for a bus but he won't be the last. Utterly grisly music.

(Audio Danger Records)
On the quiet, AD are sending some great stuff outta Cambridge (check out the superb 'Moose Funk Volume 1') — the key to why 'Speaker Attack' is so brilliant is Sumgli's production, a sparse, eerie mix of decaying synths and dubby slo-mo grime that's utterly undistorted, completely clear and yet somehow pumped full of just the right balance of low-end punchiness and trebly spookiness. Great verbals as you'd expect from Inja combine with Sumgli's soundpad to create a track that immediately hooks you, demands you check out more of AD's brilliant output. Don't sleep. The sun rises in the east.


Oh BOY did these guys have me fooled. Remember when the Strokes came along and killed rock forever by being so good and so sexy at it the legion of copyists that came in their wake just seemed like they were trying to suck off a dead horse?

I'm being serious. I fucking loved those first two Strokes albums. Anyone with ears should.

Well, from the flotsam and jetsam that was DJ-able soon afterwards (Art Brut, Pink Grease, Maximo Park etc) Interpol's 'PDA' was a fucking amazing thing I used to play out regularly. The album that came . . . . wasn't. And since then it would appear they're freefalling into turgid turbid cesspits of enshittitude that show no signs of abating on 'Anywhere'. Lumpen, dated, a song that's wearing a very very long coat but hasn't got the balls to roll it's sleeves up. Makes both The Killers and Arcade Fire sound 'edgy'. Apprehend for a moment just how pisspoor a song would have to be to achieve that. Apprehended it? Good. Swerve this shit.

(High Focus)
What's so thrilling about the rise of High Focus is both how aware they are of hip-hop history but also how irreverent they are to any perceived limitations behind the form, just how fully they explore all the possibilities still inherent in the hip-hop blueprint. Love the sound of 'Incoming', a spectral, suggestive, almost haunted set of hypnotic loops over a droning one-note bass and exquisitely measured beats, JB dropping lines that increase in intrigue all the way to the inevitable rewind you have to pull at the end. Superb production from Chemo aka Telemachus (and my god, his new album's a doozie too) throughout the new JB opus 'So We Ate Them Whole'. Get it in your life now.

I ask these questions cos I know the answers and just want someone to prove me wrong - Why the fuck would anyone want to still make music like this? To JT's credit he's produced the absolute living fuck out of 'Rabbit Hole'- armed himself with a rhythm section and a fuzz pedal that takes his essentially tedious buskery-bollocks and chrome-plates it for battle. But seriously - why would you want to make music like this? To just contribute more to the piles of this kind of stuff that have already been created? To be an inspiration for Jake fucking Bugg? I mean, we have enough 'spikey' music don't we? Enough 'punky' troubadourism? Something about guitars, how flaccid they look now when playing this kind of dull dickcheese, how spunk-encrustedly dull this old toy for old boys looks when used to make such frighteningly conservative music.
   An old hobby, like battle-recreation at the weekends. Hope JT still enjoys it, that's the main thing. I only listen to guitar music now that sounds like it was played on guitars shaped like battle-axes and I suggest you apply the same rigid criteria to your listening too. Parses out alot of this kind of shit for a start off. You can thank me later.

(Tape Worship Records) 
(Magnetic Eye Records) 
 Fr'instance. SO MUCH ACE doom/sludge/crust on Bandcamp difficult to know where to start (check out Watchtower's mighty 'Radiant Moon' EP seeping out of Melbourne, Oz right now btw) but 'Nachthexen' kind of bullies its way to the front not just by dint of its sheer length (30 minutes odd and nary a moment you'd excise) but because it takes those vital steps away from the Sabbath/Kyuss/KarmaToBurn imprint and stumbles into moments of Goblin-style guignol and Amon Duul-style space opera that are totally convincing, crushing beautiful and entirely ace. Up there with Sonance's magnificent 'Blackflower' as new noise you absolutely need.

Yeah right! As IF I'm gonna listen to this. I'm not getting fkn paid y'know! Instead, please to be reading a review I wrote of Coldplay's last single that I never got to use and is now massively out of date, a bit like M&S's conviction that the Hothouse Flowers were the pinnacle of Western pop culture. You might think this is irrelevant. I don't care, I KNOW it's absolutely crucial before we can go any further . . .

Chris sat alone, trying to work out the song, fidgeting. He felt sick and bloated from the McDonalds he'd just eaten in a fit of macho pique, couldn't deny that her Pappardelle Duck Ragu that she did every Tuesday night was much missed. The song, Chris thought, and whispered, THE SONG. Concentrate. Images came to mind, the same images of vaguery and faint urgency that the band had put out before. It comforted him. Stars. Rhymes with 'heart'. That's good, thought Chris, that's good. What then? Dry. What the hell he thought - yeah, that bit after can be an instrumental. I can do my shit dancing on that bit if we need to do it live. Was he losing his motivation? Undoubtedly he was lonelier than he'd ever been before. Still, a verse and a bridge, that's not bad work for an evening he consoled himself. The band can fill in the rest with their usual gubbins, thought Chris. Some twinkly Radiohead/U2isms, they always work - desperate to turn his procrastination into worthwhile conceptualising he flailed around for impetus - I'll get a friend to make it dancey, a remix might make a few more ackers, maybe get Diplo involved? His thoughts, unformed as they were, were suddenly interrupted by a ring on the doorbell. Who could be calling at this time? Punching the intercom button with trepidation Chris pondered - who the hell? Lawyers? Management? HER?
It was David. "Hi Chris, it's you-know-who". Sighing, Chris hit the entry buzzer. He'd been expecting this. David had rung as soon as it had all fallen apart, had offered help ("I'm here for you Chris, just like Coldplaywere there for us"), but Chris had been in too dazed and despairing a state to process it. Now, with his fresh flush of inspiration, but with a growing sense of isolation and purposelessness, he needed some company, some warmth. A minute later, David stood frozen at the apartment door momentarily as Chris sized up his paunchy yet appealingly pink frame, clad in loosely-tailored chinos and old denim shirt. Heart starting to race, Chris let him in: 'Hi David, what's up?" he asked nervously. "One guess" growled D, eyebrows rising, then gaze dropping down to his own rapidly tenting groin. "I want to talk to you about the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony . . .". "But Prime Minister" stammered Chris, "this is all so sudden". He knew he was lying. By the wicked leer on D's face, Chris could see HE knew he was lying. "Shut up Chris" barked Cameron, "what was that song you wrote, The Hardest Part?" . . . Chris nodded, jaw dropping . . . "well I've got a real Rush Of Blood To My Head, can you help me out?" snarled the Prime Minister. Behind them the door slowly swung shut on a world that didn't matter tonight. A world that could never know . . .

(No Label Just Us) 

A mean, nasty, twisted little track. Crucial are the drone keyboards, keys jammed down with the weight of a dead body, Divided Souls producing things with immense control and the clear intent to utterly unhinge the listener. Good work you freaks. Essential.


 Oh fuck — something about the phrase 'Vine sensation' has me immediately thinking 'flybynight', but don't let the means of Atlanta upstart OG Maco's meteoric rise blind you to his skills. ' In LA' is only one-hundred-and-ten seconds long but within that time-frame he absolutely grabs you by the lapels and makes you listen. There's an insistence and grain to his voice that suggests a deep intent to communicate, there's a brilliant sparseness and robot-like repetition to the track that makes a minute-fifty both fly by and loop in on itself. What you'll keep rewinding for is the verbals though, tangled, suggestive, great punchlines, truly atmospheric. I'm going backwards from this to the '15' EP and holding tight for the 'Children of the Rage' album that'll be dropping later this year. I stongly suggest you do the same.

(High Focus Records) 

 Stunning production as ever from Chemo — a spooked, deeply haunted, trippily psyche mix of phased honky-tonk piano scattered like skimming stones over an ocean of bass and kick, perfectly suiting Onoe's reflective unfathomable leaps from street to Marianas-Trench depth to vertiginous overview. An unsettling track in the best possible way, less interested in simply laying the rapper's mind over a pre-determined track, rather having that more natural relationship 'tween production and voice where each seems to be emanating from the other. The soon drop 'Voices From Planet Catelle' album from Onoe coming soon on HF is entirely produced by Chemo, and just might be that amazing label's greatest masterpiece yet. Pre-order NOW for one of 2015's undisputed highlights. Essential.


(Prhyme Records) 

Phyrme is DJ Premier and Royce 5'9 and this introductory salvo from the just-dropped self-titled album indicates everything that makes it a new lease of life for everyone involved. Premo seems to enjoy being pushed to the edges a little, collaborating with more musicians to limit his role has refined what he does, made him just an awesome player with a set of other likeminded headz. And Royce's verses are just sublime, passionate, direct, angry, punchy, packed with drama and intent. The album crept out just before Christmas and may well have slipped under your radar. Don't proceed with the rest of the year without checking it. Superb.

'Scorn' from 2012 revealed just what a unique slab of monstrous molten heaviosity this Portland 3-piece can cook up - the split 7/10/12"s that have come since with Xaphan, Hexis, Fister and Hessian have only deepened the awe and intrigue and this new EP is yet more addictively aggravated mayhem. Truly a mirror to our times and absolutely essential.

(Ill Adrenaline) 
Yes it was the Rah Digga cameo that suckered me into this but damn glad I investigated cos this is, as we used to say, some ill shit. While normally resistant to the US MC/European producer matrix that seems to be becoming a habit for so many US rappers in search of fresh inspiration, Pro-P & Ak have been creating great beats for a long time out of Upsaala, Sweden, and 'For the City' is no exception, a simple but rich and warm roll and ruckus, not especially innovative but as comfortable and enjoyable as anything off those Phryme/Bada$$ albums you're all bumping right now. And of course, a joy to hear Dirty Harriet herself Rah Digga spitting on such a sweet backdrop. From an EP called 'All Year: Every Year: Winter' that forms one seasonal quarter of a soon-come album. Love it.

TOUCH ME (Soundcloud) 

 "Backwash, I just keep tasting the same old" — totally fresh spice from The Purist, who previews his long-awaited new collabo EP with this slow-burning corker, featuring the ever-compelling Mick Jenkins (whaddayamean you've not heard 'Free Nation Rebel Soldier', GTFO of here!). A smeared, sexy, diseased, febrile, ice-hot production laced with exquisitely fragile piano and unearthly b-vox, Jenkins hook-vocals slurred and slowed like Spark Master Tape, the utter fearless genre-carelessness of the joint bodes well for an EP that will also feature Freddie Gibbs and Roc Marciano. Welcome back nutter. 

(Mello Music Group) 
"Beat box, this is back to the block/Before every rapper sold rocks/Before everybody needed rocks in their watch/ Just watch, now it’s all about board rooms and stocks/ Words paint pictures, I’m an artist non-stop/Raw beats, raps, this is called hip-hop"... beautiful reaffirmation of what's important, what's generous, what's giving, what's funny, what's crucial about hip-hop. For all true believers.


No, sorry, can't weigh in. I detest Sheeran's music with a passion only rivaled by my passion for 360° commissioning-models and dwelltime dashboard paradigms, but so does Noel 'Hates Women And Black People' Gallagher. Noel Gallagher has been way more damaging to British pop than Sheeran (& don't forget, Sheeran did make the best Music Of Black Origin in 2014 and according to 1Xtra is the most influential black artist of the decade). Yes I'm sick of 'down to earth, lovely chaps' in pop. But if the alternative is what's posited by Gallagher, i.e gobby thick prejudiced narrow-minded English Rock Defence League fuckers then count me out. Let Sheeran sell his cheese. At least he's just a thief and a bore, not a thief, a bore and a bigot.

(3 Beat) 
Dogshit. Absolutely everything that's wrong with 'drum and bass' at the moment (although using those words in association with music like this always seems like a misnomer - after all there's NO BASS and what beats you can hear hit you with all the punch and incisiveness of a wetwipe). Of absolutely no interest to anyone else, or anyone who actually likes music - this is most assuredly snowboarding music.  For snowboarders.

What an absolute pair of fucking cuntbubbles. Just watch the video for this. The fact that this ugly unfunny duo of ambulatory Dick'n'Dom burdturds have been signed by a major and are having their utterly shit mix of sub-Therapy/Feeder rawk and 'zany' lyrics boosted by said major (yeah, cheers C.Montgomery Beard) is angry-making enough. But the style in which they throw this reheated diarhoea in your face, in a manner that suggests they're not only the wittiest band on the planet but also the most 'attitudinal' will seriously make you want to put your spikes on and kick the fuckers in the face repeatedly until their gurning punchable phizogs are a tattered mess of ribboned cheekflesh and seeping unhealable puncture holes. Doubtless like their god Timmy Mallet they'll count any irritation they cause as some kind of justification but 'Mantaray' is by some distance the most aggravatingly pissweak thing you'll hear all year. Here's hoping they become the hapless victims of a major slurry-spill incident soon, just to wipe the smirks off their hateful fucking faces. Definition of cunts.

Boy Better Know better start doing better. A crock of shit.

KEEP LIVIN' (Show & Prove) 
If there's any left by the time you read this, snap up this corking little 7" from Brighton (MCs The Remarkable One & Native Son) via Hamburg (producer Merlin), featuring Exile and some tasty cutting from DJs Highfly & Tones. Noisy as fuck, like a good marble-red 7" should be.

"ONE OF YOU TURDS IS ABOUT TO GET SMACKED IN THE MOUTH" — hell, I'm a sucker for a great intro and I'm loving this daffy, goofy, B-movie-rap little gem. The last thing I'd expect from Toronto but there it is, backwoods-bound space-age boombap, Timbuktu, Chokeules and Savilion swapping rhymes with a beautifully nonchalant ease and charm that you can't buy or pre-program, but that oozes from every groove. Gonna go check out their latest 'Outer Limits' opus on Bandcamp right now and strongly recommend you do exactly the same. Oh Canada.

(Ministry Of Sound)
Noooo! WHAT THE FUCK have you done you pricks? The original of this that came out in 2013 on Fool's Gold was an absolute fahooking barnstormer, just a peach of a pop/club house track, big fat slabs of synth, brilliantly bassy danceable pop music. In repackaging it for 2015, with new vocals, Ministry Of Sound have somehow managed to suck all the life out of it, deoderise it (perhaps with an eye on day-time radio, perhaps just operating under the hypnotic aegis of their C.E.Overlord the one they call Mephistopholes, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Ozmodius, the beast, the fallen one, the Prince Of Lies, Abbadon, the archangel of human sorrow you get the jist).
   It's actually intriguing seeing how they've done it. Deflated the beats. Fatally made the bass fit correct notions of compression and 'sitting in' the mix, rather than the belligerent bullying brilliance of the lo-end in the original. Added new lyrics that stop the voices warping and wefting around the peripheries and make the whole thing a more 'centred' performance from a clearly identifiable ego, rather than the liquid polymorphous identity-blurring bliss of the original. NATAS SI DROL.


"If you know your rent's due get the fuck out da club!" — something about Tink I like. I think it's her unwillingness to fit with any of the previous archetypes for femme-MCs, her guardedness, her refusal to give everything just yet. Also the girl can spit — there's great lines here that you feel are only scratching the surface of everything Tink has to say. Just wish Timbaland would find some more interesting beats for her to spit on.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Couldn't believe most of the end of year lists I've seen. Not just cos I've never heard or listened to any of the artists who have featured, I've come to expect that in recent years not just cos of general decrepitude but also as my estrangement from the industry accelerates through  a mutual forgetting, as the footfall of jiffybags through my door dries beyond a trickle to outright silence and emptiness. An exile that suits us both, it's just that now I can't waste anyone's time talking about all that white music I don't really understand anymore because I never get sent it and have so little time to seek it out. Thought it might happen eventually, I'm a lazy lazy man and they're getting younger and younger.

   Anyhoo, no, it wasn't the content(mentof the lists that threw me,  I just couldn't believe the TIMING of the lists. In much the same way that shops start hawking Xmas shit as soon as the Halloween tat is taken down so I couldn't help noticing that people were bringing out their end-of-year-lists when it was still November. I was getting e-mailed lists of label-releases for end-of-year chart consideration when I was still slopping rotten pumpkins into the garden wheelie bin. Why the gun-jumping? Why the rush? Why the desire and the assumed ability to call a year out musically well before that year has actually drawn to a close? And why are so many critics, though unable to deny the utterly transformed nature of music-access and distribution in the current age, still so tethered to those old traditional industry-cycles of December shutdown?

Little Simz' last release of the year came out 2 days before Christmas

   Partly it's about over-enthusiasm. Critics LOVE doing end of year lists. Makes them feel all important and criticcy, cloak themselves in an eclecticism that justifies their political silence, 'corrects' the limitations of what they've been allowed to write about all year. Partly though I think it's about something going fatally wrong with music critique at the moment and it's a problem beyond my usual whining about lack of purpose. I checked the NME list, the Wire list, the Q list, the Mojo list, the Uncut list and noticed one very telling thing best expressed in a double negative: next to nothing on those lists WASN'T on a label, didn't arrive in those writers lives via a jiffy-bag or a friendly e-mail. And that's at such utter variance with the way I've experienced music in 2014 I start wondering whether I can even call myself a music critic anymore, whether being a music critic now in a palpable and powerful sense means you're plugged in, PART of the industry, another PR tendril, doing favours for mates. Because for me, and for alot of people I know, music is found now anywhere BUT major labels, music is found in places that seem ripe with possibility not constricted by committee-think commercialism, crucially music is found and got from places where it's either free or you feel that the money you spend on it goes directly to the person making it. The idea of giving money to a corporation to give me music, to not find a way of getting that money to the artist another way, via some method that doesn't imply a system of indentured debt and slavery, via some way that's direct - it's disappeared for me in 2014. It has been a year where bar-coded major-label/major-subsidiary-indie product hasn't really been a part of my listening. It's been the year of Bandcamp and direct purchase from tiny labels. Bandcamp perhaps more than anything else.

Strange U emblematic of what's ace about Bandcamp

    It's in its infancy but I can't think of a more exciting place to hear music on the planet. Best bit of music news I heard all year was its taking care of potentially threatening changes to digital V.A.T legislation. So much of it to wade through yes, so much dross yes but some real fucking gold as well, especially in those marginal musics so forgotten about by most established labels. All you need is a nod, a wink, a pointer in the right direction from somewhere or someone you can trust and before you know it you can get lost in Bandcamp, following up supporters and like-minds, finding oceans of all kinds of music that even when applying the most stringent of criteria (I still say every bit of music I hear has precisely 10 seconds to grab me & lead me on and if it doesn't it's dispensed with) still deluges you with too much to hear, an endless game of catch-up.
   Because Bandcamp isn't really a 'community' it's genuinely diverse. There's no bullshit 'shared spirit' behind the millions of artists on Bandcamp. Each one is allowed to be themselves. Because Bandcamp isn't a label or part of a racist sexist industry there's no racism, no sexism on bandcamp unless you're actively looking for it. You can explore genres if you wish but it's way more fun to just follow trails and digressions, previous releases, namechecked friends, other artists, links to mixes. And the fact most of these artists and bands can't get record deals, don't want record deals, have committed themselves to bringing their music out on a platform they can control, means you hear alot of astonishing music absolutely shorn of any of the mainstream's ideas of compromise or presentability. Because this stuff isn't hand-fed to journalists, and consequently remains untouched by music journalists' suffocating rhetoric of cross-reference and hyperbole-of-the-mediocre you have to make up the mythology yourself. Bandcamp fundamentally for me is a place where the mystery and magic of music is allowed to remain intact and where something like a fair way of making a living out of it is emerging. Slowly I know. Very slowly. But as an alternative to those venal corrupted traditional channels, Bandcamp is something that needs exploring, supporting, rhapsodising about. Besides anything else it's made buying music in 2014 feel right. I haven't bought much product from labels this year. I've mainly exchanged money for music from people. And hopefully helped them to continue. Bandcamp feels pure, untainted. The only thing I can see that's wrong with it is that the bands can't compete in a promotional sense with the powers-that-be. In every other sense that matters, Bandcamp kicked ass in 2014. I hope music fans start to catch up more. I hope it becomes the primary platform. I've stopped listening to much else.

The unique Gavlyn

   Similarly and analogously - I've stopped listening to critics to be honest, to the point where I find it hard to name names, only really remembering the few I trust. Loads I wouldn't trust to organise their own shit into the pan without help, usually from those places that try most closely to cleave to auld habits, insist on a general optimism to masque their reshuffling of the same old shit, their adrev-friendly corporate cheerleading. In 2014, like most people the places I find out about music has been forums, fan-reviews, the odd straight-up music site  where you feel that people untutored and unhinged enough can show you the way with genres you might not have time to get fully absorbed by. Long been convinced that crossover is anathema to good music/stuff I wanna hear. Rather it's those things furthest WITHIN their respective genres that are most pleasurable, the darkest metal, most un-chartfriendly grime, the harshest d'n'b, the strangest most unsignable pop. Thus, it's sometimes those writers who you feel absolutely DON'T listen to loads of different genres who are most useful at the moment, those bloggers and monomaniacs who can pick through the surplus from deep within their respective obsessions and bring you the golden nuggets. Quietus and Resident Advisor for electronica, CVLTNATION for metal, directly from DJs (community stations and places like Rinse/Itch have been goldmines all year) and fans for hip-hop, d'n'b and grime.

As heard on Rinse FM, Sir Spyro

Speaking of which, Grime's been a totally refreshed love for me this year. BOYA DEE, THE CLICK, FOOTSIE, SLIMZEE, D DOUBLE E, MANGA, RIVAL, GHETTS, EYEZ,  JME, FRISCO, P.MONEY, BIG NARSTIE, M.I.K muscled themselves back into my days, courtesy pretty much of one radio show. SIR SPYRO'S show on RINSE FM is a weekly check-in I get alarmingly excited about every Sunday night - then the wait until the morning for the podcast to be up so I can dl it and burn it to a disc and stick it in the car and on the stereo (hooking my deck up again has meant that computer-sized music simply doesn't satisfy anymore, has to be room-sized, house-sized, car-sized). Simply put, with its futurist beats, dubby bass-heaviness and total lyrical freedom and fury and finesse and fuckery it's two hours of the most exciting British music every week, ever-surprising, ever-joyous, ever hilarious, ever mind-blowing. Some of the guest cameo freestyles he's had on this year have been the most free-wheeling, intellectually far-ranging, hysterical human transmissions from anywhere on the planet in 2014.  Spyro knows his shit, has the best guests, plays the best music.  Make his show, downloadable from the Rinse podcast site,  a part of your weekly digest immediately.

D Double E


In drum and bass, WITH ONE CRUCIAL EXCEPTION I'LL RETURN TO LATER,  I've liked the dirty stuff, the attention to detail stuff, the stuff that sounds like the best EBM, prime Front 242, the industrial strength stuff that remembers the bass part of drum and bass (far too much stuff out there, especially now the Americans are involved, that just coasts on trebly Skrillex-style EDM noises and ballachingly predictable builds/drops). Stuff like XTRAH ft. MIKAL's chrome-plated fucked up masterpiece 'No Good' (Metalheadz Platinum Breakz). Stuff like ANTAGONIST & PARAGON'S 'Deadly Design EP', four tracks of ice-hard brooding d'n'b so dark the only place you could hear it on the radio this year was on DOC SCOTT's always superb Future Beats Radio Show (also on the intriguingly shady NurturedBeatz check out INTERLINE's bruising 'Mentality' EP). Stuff like SCAR's 'Fairgame' (a revoltingly wonky bass-heavy monster from Survival & Script), everything I've heard from BATTERY, OPTIV & BTK's self-descriptive 'Zero Tolerance', EPs like MINDSCAPE's brutal 'Rat Pack', MAKO & DLR's 'Hungry For Atmosphere' IVLAB's 'Missing Persons' and MISANTHROP's nutzoid 'Greed Of Gain' (which crosses into the same electro-harshness as everything I've greedily devoured from BODIKKA this year).


As with grime, Podcasts and specialist Radio have been the best way to find out about d'n'b this year. Doc Scott's show does it exactly right, chat to a minimum, no pointless guest-interviews (as a rule d'n'b creators don't make for the most fascinating chats), just two hours of ace music every month. DJ FLIGHTs show on Rinse FM was a similar goldmine, a brilliant mix of her own wayward musical consciousness and exclusive dubs you could only hear via her, a real shame to hear her 'Next Level' Rinse show is coming off the air and hope she re-emerges with something new in 2015 cos she's that rare thing, a DJ you can trust, a DJ genuinely there to show you music, not themselves. Rinse are saying it's all about 'giving new people a chance' - I fucking hate that kind of thinking. Flight is awesome and as a rule any company that starts getting rid of awesome people for the blind stupidity of pointless 'change' is fucked somewhere, fucked somewhere centrally just under the ribs. Her shows are archived on her mixcloud page and are as good an index as to what was happening in 2014 as you'll find anywhere.

The superb DJ Flight whose Rinse show will be sadly missed

   Oh yeah, I said re: d'n'b that I've been into the dirty stuff in 14 with one exception - that exception is the utterly ravishing 'Fourfit EP' on Marcus Intalex' Soul:R records. Intalex was previewing stuff from this in November 2013 and is a master at playing dubplates well in advance of release to build anticipation, anyone who heard LSB's startlingly beautiful 'Leave' on MI's superb Metalheadz podcast back in November 2013 was pretty much gagging and dribbling innappropriately by the time it found a home on the four-track 'Fourfit' come September this year. The EP was everything that liquid d'n'b COULD be, everything it seemed so rarely to attain bar the most gorgeous Calibre productions (Cal's rerub of BREAK's 'They're Wrong' was an undeniable highlight of the summer). 'Leave' itself was hypnotic, oceanic, subtle, magical, Boymerang/Spring Heel Jack in its delicious detail, pure club-roller in its rampaging warmth. Also on the EP was FD's 'Ice209' which similarly skewed dreamy drift with diamond-hard beats and ANILE's stunning 'Depths', hinging on a piano-hook that lanced you like an unplaceable untraceable childhood memory, bustling on beats that hit with the pleasure of full-phat Dillinja. Just a sublime record from front to back that I shelled out cash-money on cos I had to have it in my life and my god on vinyl it sounds awesome. Don't let 2014 slip by without checking it.

In hip-hop, well - it's been a year for hip-hop to do its job. I can't remember  a year in the recent past that's been as healthy for dissident voices, contrary perspectives, hip-hop fulfilling ALL it's functions and not just adhering to the commercial entertainment strictures it's been so willing to fall into for so long. Again, not for me a year of albums per se, more a year for individual single transmissions that are inarguable, crash in and take you over. Emissions and emanations like 7EVENTHIRTY's 'The Problem' . . .

Stuff like COMMON & AB-SOUL's bruising 'Made In Black America'

From the US in general I was digging the isolated, the cut-off, those too busy zeroing in on the unique thing they had to say and the unique way they said it rather than engaging in twitter-beef and diss-tracks and the other forms of connected tedium yr whiteboy hip-hop critics get so excited about. PARANOM & PURPOSE's 'Microphone Phenomenal', RAVEN FELIX' hilarious 'Girl', ROC MARCIANO's unique 'Trying To Come Up', JAMAILL BUFFORD's dazed disasterpiece 'Oh My God Forever', GAVLYN's haunting 'Guilty Pleasure', JUNGLE PUSSY's ribald & rude 'Satisfaction Guaranteed', catching up with everything I could find by SPARK MASTER TAPE, MICK JENKINS 'Free Nation Rebel Soldier', FIDDY's impossible good 'Hold On', AMIRI's 'Still' & VON PEA's 'So East Coast' both on the ace HipNott Records, THE GROUCH & ELIGH's awesomely wasted 'My God Song', 9TH WONDER's incredible 'Jamla Is The Squad' comp, SKYZOO & TORAE's superb 'Barrel Brothers' LP, STEPBROTHERS' amazing and vivid and deliciously lurid 'Lord Steppington' album, BADA$$ & FREDDIE GIBBS on 'Carry On', J-LOVE's ace collabo with Ghostface & Cormega on 'Glorified Excellence', MAX MARSHALL's sweet-as-anything 'Your Love Is Like', DENZEL CURRY's febrile funkadelia on 'Stadium Starships', NEHRUVIAN DOOM on Lex, JUNCLASSIC's 'No Realer', PLAYDOUGH & SEAN PATRICK's awesome Edan-like 'Been Dope', ENDEMIC EMERALD's 'Cardinal', OPEN MIKE EAGLE's truly bizarre transmissions and CASTLE & HAS-LO's hilarious 'Return Of The Gas Face' LP both on the ever-engrossing Mello Music Group, the long-awaited returns of BLACK MILK and also J-ZONE . . . . phewff, it's been a fucking awesome year and Iggy and Banks and Kanye and all the people the twats on twitter twat on about have absolutely fuck all to do with it.

Open Mike Eagle

    Massively exciting year in the UK, from the WHOLE UK (if you're only looking in London my god you've missed out, especially on the amazing stuff coming out of Bristol, the South Coast, East Anglia at the moment). SLEAZE & REKLEWS cone-destroying 'Heads Will Know', BILL NEXT & PARO's 'Weedmasons EP', MELANIN 9's wonderful 'Amulets', ED SCISSORTONGUE's amiably ambient 'Theremin EP', ROCKFORMZ grainy & paranoiac 'Grow Room', FLIPTRIX and JAM BAXTER and BVA on the rising High Focus Records (keep em peeled on HF in 2015), ILLINFORMED's ace 'Rld' tape, KINGDOM OF FEAR's 'Be Still' and CONFUCIOUS MC's 'The Highest Order' LP and JEHST's fucking awesome 'England (Boot Remix)'  all on the ever-ready YNR . . .

Couple of names really stood out from the UK this year for me, STRANGE U just got better and better and stranger and weirder and mightier as the year went on, culminating in their utterly startling 'EP#2040'
and I also massively dug the oceanic, sharp-as-fuck, beautiful work of LITTLE SIMZ this year - her 'E.D.G.E' album from June was one of 2014' most criminally undersung highlights.

The wonderful cover-art to Mizmor's astonishing 'Hell'

What with 2014 not being a year where either THROWING MUSES or JUANA MOLINA released records, records with guitars on didn't bother me much this year bar IAN CRAUSE's stunning 'Songs Of Phaethon' and 'Vertical Axis' releases  Everything else I heard still tethered to the six and four sounded both appallingly dated (forgiveable) & just plain weedy (unforgiveable). Something you could ever accuse 2014's best metal albums of being - here was a genre where I actually treasured the long-form, the album, here was a genre where once again untraditional avenues of investigation & discovery yielded gold, another genre best served by Bandcamp. All of my metal this year was on Bandcamp. All of it.
  HIghlights for me in 2014 (once I'd caught up with 2013's two most vital metal releases, BOLZER's astounding 'Aura EP" and PRIMITIVE MAN's scarifyingly awesome 'Scorn' LP) included מזמור aka Portland fuck-ups MIZMOR's utterly utterly pitiless "VII - Epistemological Rupture", NOÛS' 19-minute megabeast "ἀηδής", NAUGHT's really quite unpleasant 'Tómhyggjublús', THRESHING and GATECREEPER's s/t debuts , the charred pustulence of ALTAR's 'Plague Pit', Londoners QRIXKUOR's 'Consecration Of The Temple', tapes from Nashville's GRACELESS RECORDINGS (check out PISSGRAVE and SEWER GODDESS) and Northern Idaho's SOL Y NIEVE (check out NEMORENSIS 27-minute nightmare-scape 'The Lady In The Lake' and HELLEBORE's 'Anouf Thwo'). The growth in tape culture, especially in metal, isn't just an empty retroism, it's both homage to the way metal found its underground in the 80s and also an attempt to drag metal back from hi-fidelity commerce to a new murk, a new dankness, an artistically untrammelled, fan-controlled place again. Two things stood head-and-shoulders above the pack in 2014, IRKALLIAN ORACLE's simply staggering 'Grave Ekstasis' (only available on tape before 2014) and Portland bass'n'drum duo TOWERS' P.I.L/Scorn-style dub noise on the utterly fucking awesome 'II' from Eolian Empire. Wrote about the former here,  and the latter here.  They both warrant repeated revisitings and cannot wait to hear new things from them both in 2015, horned hands crossed.

Towers (photo by James Rexroad)

Although a good year, I worry about 2015. I wonder, with Flight's departure, how many other supposedly 'underground' places will start mindlessly chasing/boosting youth in a way that serves neither young nor old. I worry, as I hinted here, about the BBC. I worried like fuck about the V.A.T thang for Bandcamp, succumbed to the sense that things like that were too good to be permitted to carry on under the grind of greed from everywhere else. I hope that in 2015 its potential is tapped, especially politically - this year I want to hear music from those places where music is an important choice, not a hobby, those places where music is increasingly being demonised. Stay vigilant, stay busy, stay lost. In a years time lets hope there's more people we can trust. More people we help to make music.