On the second part of our update concerning the releases by God Unknown in the last few months, we will look at the regular stuff, i.e. albums not part of the «Singles Club» series. We begin with a duo who will be contributing to that series with a split alongside Harvestman set for release on November 7, Markers.
Their debut album, «Heaven in the Dark Earth», is the result of four years of guitar explorations by Jason Carty (Geiger Counter, Art Of Burning Water) and Jodie Cox (Ursa, Sex Swing). As Anna Bajor-Ciciliati puts it in the record’s press release, “these two seasoned musicians set out to conquer a completely new territory. Opting to reject the protective shield of the hard rock formula left them utterly exposed, as they pinned all their faith on the primordial power of strings plucked by a human hand.” More so than any of their previous bands, the fact that Jodie Cox supplied additional guitars on «La Strega and the Cunning Man in the Smoke» by drcarlsonalbion and on «Primitive and Deadly» by Earth is quite telling of the sounds explored here, which, returning to the aforecited text, are “inherently suggestive of exploration and self-discovery,” and draw favour from “the appreciation of a fleeting moment, still present but already on its way to disappearing into oblivion, along with that barely articulated haunting chord sustained for precisely as long as it requires to exhaust its content and die away.”
«Heaven in the Dark Earth» was released on digital and vinyl formats on February 22 and is available at this location. The album was recorded by Rory Attwell at Lightship 95, with additional recordings by Wayne Pennell, who was responsible for its mixing at Otho Court. Mastering duties were handled by Frank Merritt at The Carvey and artwork was done by Simon Fowler.
Things get heavier, much much heavier, with Henge. Their 2015 self-titled debut had enough of an impact to drive JR Moores at Bandcamp Daily to say that “the whole thing’s so hilariously miserable, misanthropic, and mist-ridden that it makes Black Sabbath look like The B-52s.” Enter their second full-length, «Nothing Head», and every facet of their sound has been pushed to further extents, with songs like «Human Being» managing to build to overdose-inducing levels of slow, distorted fuzz in less than three minutes, an exercise that has taken many a great musician to require half an hour to undertake in such a convincing fashion. The press-release had it right when it suggested us to “think Black Sabbath through an Amphetamine Reptile filter, via Pigs x7.”
«Nothing Head» was released on March 22, on digital and vinyl formats. The latter has since sold-out, but the digital version is still available here (we’d also suggest reading the story behind the ecstasy pill on the album’s cover).
It took less than a month to go from the slow might of Henge to the surf/psych tinged post-punk insanity of the new Blaha album, their first in the label after four albums and an EP in their first two years of discographic existence (their previous releases can be found here, here, and here). To keep things short, Blaha started as the solo endeavour of Mike Blaha from The Blind Shake, purportedly picking up “where they left off on Celebrate Your Worth, with their roots firmly in tangled post-punk while exploring psych, power-pop, garage, and surf punk.”
«The Calming Room» was released on April 13 as the label’s Record Store Day 2019 release. Its digital version is still available here.
This brings us to the first of two upcoming releases to talk about today, «Begin Anywhere» by Charles Hayward. This time around, the prolific experimental drummer does the utterly unexpected by not eschewing drums altogether and presenting instead a recording of personal “fragile yet powerful” songs on piano and voice. Below, listen to the album’s opener, «Watching You». Afterwards, you can always feast your ears with the contrast between its beauty and the drone-like experimentation of «Anonymous Bash», in which Hayward plays with a vast ensemble of musicians, with the entirety of Gnod‘s current line-up included.
«Begin Anywhere» is set for release on June 21 on digital and vinyl formats, the latter of which has already sold out in pre-orders. The digital version can still be purchased at this location. Unlike others in this article, this is a joint release by not only God Unknown but also Klang Galerie, who is handling the cd version of the album. Cd pre-orders are available here.
To wrap things up, we go from a beautiful piano song to so-called “low rent caveman hate music from Birmingham” at the hands of Rainbow Grave, whose stellar line-up is spanned by Nicholas Bullen (Napalm Death co-founder and former Final and Scorn member) on vocals, guitars, and electronics, John Pickering (Doom co-founder, also of Sore Earth and Police Bastard fame) on guitars, Nathan Warner on bass, and James Commander on drums. After releasing the «Sex Threat» EP (here) and a split with Orthodox (here) last year, the quartet is now gearing up for its first full-length, «No You», which promises to explore “the blank despair of negative punk through layers of distorted psychedelic damage: dirty guitars, freeform pedal abuse and effected vocals coagulate around cyclic bass and drum rhythms in repetitive and minimal structures.” A first display of what it will all be about can be heard below in the form of «Brainsick».
«No You» is set for release on July 5 on cd, digital, and vinyl formats. Pre-orders are available at this location.