A Couple Of Excellent Records From 2015
Lugubrum : Herval (Aphelion Productions / Those Opposed Records)
Flemish holy fools Lugubrum are back with yet another excellent addition to their fascinating discography. They’ve been active for over 20 years and play “Boersk Blek Metle” (countryside black metal). Although being an open-minded person… but when it comes to black metal… please do not add sugar, gimmicks, shoe-gaze or whatsoever. With Lugubrum it’s a complete different story.. they’re a league on their own. They started out as a fairly traditional black metal band in the vein of Darkthrone but along their way they started to include more weird instruments, jazz explorations and extreme experimentation. They’ve posted some photos of Boris Mikhailov’s ‘Case History’ series on their Facebook and Lugubrum would indeed be the perfect band to do the soundtrack for this series.
In april 2015 I saw Lugubrum live at the ‘Veneration Of The Dead’ festival in Rotterdam and two songs in their set some members from the crowd started to call them out and asked the band to play older songs. The singer (wearing a colorful floral shirt) responded by changing his guitar for a trumpet, perfect! Their show was focussed on the songs from the Herval album and they became real ear worms so I was glad when it finally came out. Lugubrum is a band hard to describe but pour yourself an Orval beer and give this unique band a try.
Mike Cooper : Fratello Mare (Room 40)
I used to work at a record store and there was a period that we would listen to a lot of folk music a lot. At a certain point we of course started exploring the work of John Fahey. Along or way we’ve bumped into similar guys like Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke and also Mike Cooper. Good ol’ Mike has been cranking out records since 1969 but the first one that I really heard was his collaboration with Steve Gunn for the FRKWYS series by the RVNG INTL. label called ‘Cantos De Lisboa’. Cooper and Gunn met up in Lisboa, ate food, saw some live fado and then recorded this wonderful album. It’s highly enjoyable since both players are extremely gifted and play very natural but I don’t think this record will change someone’s view on music. While reading an interview with Mike Cooper I found out that he is a collector of Hawaiian shirts and that he divides his ‘tropical’ albums from the rest of his albums. Than I found out that ‘Fratello Mare’ just got out on vinyl, killer! I don’t know what this guy is doing with his guitar but it is some of the most fascinating things I’ve heard in a while completely unpredictable and with lots of field recordings, like nodding off drunk on a boat and waking up with a terrible sunburn in a humid forest, perfect! (If you like what you hear here I can also recommend his ‘White Shadows In The South Seas’ 2lp on Sacred Sumits records).
Diät : Positive Energy (Iron Lung / Adagio830)
I’ve just heard that the guys from Berlin’s Diät are all super into coffee, great! They’ve also released a killer debut album called ‘Positive Energy’. Original song structures with kool sarcastic lyrics and great drums too, keep hearing new things when listening to this album. If you can’t get enough of Total Control or Institute, why not give these Euro’s a try!
Wand : 1000 days (Drag City) / Golem (In The Red)
Biggest musical surprise this year for me was Wand. I’d never heard them before so when I saw their show I was blown away. During their soundcheck they played perfect Iron Maiden and during their set they killed it. Every member was up in his own world while playing but these guys played t-i-g-h-t. From hard rockers to more Bolan-esque folk, complete with occasional synths and prog elements. After the show the only right thing to do was to pick up their album (Ganglian Reef from 2014 on God?, a sublabel of Drag City curated by none other than Ty Segall). In 2015 they released two full lengths, each with a different atmosphere but still very Wand. Listen to them both and you will understand why they could not just merge these albums together as one. All killer, zero filler!