Group Doueh - Guitar Music From the Western Sahara (Sublime Frequencies)
If you're like me, you've been pretty much sucked into the vortex of the Sublime Frequencies label and eagerly await the intrepid Bishop/Gergis/Mayet triumverate to return from whatever secret corners of the world they've plundered to see a twice-yearly block of musical collecting results spit itself into the WFMU mailbox. Not one of these suckers has disappointed as of yet, and the new vinyl here from southern Moroccan guitarist Baamar Salmou (aka Group Doueh's guide) is among the most fried and amazing of the catalogue. Hisham Mayat sought Salmou out after taping a song off Moroccan radio in 2005, and through much investigation and detours, landed in the man's house. Informed by James Brown, Hendrix, Mauritanian, Spanish and of course Sahara/Sahrawi sounds, Doueh started up in 1981 and stuck strictly to home-cassette recording techniques transposing themes on love, family, refugee struggle and politics into a blasted mess of Venusian electric guitar, mixed way up front like some kind of Saharan Half Machine Lip Moves. The technical prowess is at full blast despite the primitivity of these recordings, the flanged "Fagu" could be the Western Sahara equivalent to Van Halen's "Eruption" in some ways. "Sabah Lala" (Real Audio).
Boris w/Michio Kurihara - Rainbow (Pedal)
The ever-prolific Japanese band Boris have already issued a pile of records this past year, and even though they've been around a decade, it's safe to say that a big chunk of new followers jumped on board just this past year via the Pink, their first U.S. release via Southern Lord. Pink was one of the most blown out rock records of '06 for sure; rich, massive and motoring riffs, crushing everything getting in the way at breakneck speed. Their NYC show this past summer with Sunn o))) showed them in a much different mode, more psychedelic, still with overpowering volume, but much more in an Acid Mothers/Ghost frame of expansive, enveloping heaviness that stretched out rather than resided in the condensed blasts. It's a pretty frequent characteristic of Boris to display different hues from album to album, and of course live you may see them with their massive Orange amp stacks as a given, but what will be performed is always a variable. So now, with yet another new LP out with Ghost (and former White Heaven) guitar master Michio Kurihara, Boris really psych out, still heavy but getting into repetitive and dreamy rhythms, well augmented by Kurihara's distinctive leads (as usual, pretty informed by all things 1960's West Coast-psych, Quicksilver especially oft-cited). As a Boris record it's pretty good, turning especially great when Michio cuts loose during more tempered moments and lets those leads flow; in fact, when he appears halfway through the spacious arrangement and crisp production of "Arco-Iris" it's so overloaded that it flattens everything in sight. I'm glad that these heavyweights chose to focus on contrast rather than trying to out-bulldoze each other, it really makes this record majestic.
Wold - Screech Owl (Profound Lore)
My insatiable appetite for the most twisted, unformulaic and weird black metal is one I share with a handful of pals and we constantly inform each other immediately on anything that has vaulted the bar, at least for the moment. Thankfully my mind gets continually blown hearing variations of stuff in sub-sub-sub genres; we even got a package this week of Christian black metal (dubbed "Unblack Black Metal") from the E.E.E. label in Illinois and it sounds as destroying and grim as anything. It's getting extremely strange out there, people, and you can always count on sparsely populated locales in furthermost hemisphere reaches (Norway, or in Striborg's case, Tasmania) to cultivate a lot of sit-around time to come up with something dastardly (and usually home recorded). Enter Wold, from Saskatchewan, Canada.. Screech Owl was recorded this past year (or rather "demonically actualized") at the "Lodge of the Mytho-Poetic", and it almost makes the already-nutsoid Striborg look like Gilbert O'Sullivan (sorry, Sin Nana, I don't mean that). Unrelenting, pulsing walls of bleak fuzz atmosphere buried drums and sick vocals stewing in this ugly hellhole of a record, but unlike a lot of so-called noise records, this one sucks you in and almost puts you in a tranced out state of calm amidst all the shredding shitstorm. The group is the trio of Opex, Obey, and Fortress Crookedjaw, and this seems to be their second disc. "I'm the Chisel" (Real Audio) is almost the hellish bretheren of some Berlin minimal techno track, subtle, repetitive medley rises out of a swamp of scumbeats and carries you away.