Some really good shit – Converge, J.A. Mäki, Haraamo, Hebosagil, Liturqy, Mount Eerie, Oneothrix Point Never, Negură Bunget, Linkopii, Martolea

Good music that’s been on the block lately. Last weeks have had an influx of really memorable tracks from a diverse landscape of genres and sounds.

Converge & Chelsea Wolfe – Coil (Bloodmoon I, 2021)

Chaotic hardcore group turned doom. Converge has flirted with doom on all their latest albums but now they did what some doom lovers dared to dream of, go all in. Coil is probably the most easily approachable track with astounding tension and soundworld.

On first listens of the beginning trinity of Bloodmoon I was almost on a fanatical religious zeal. Unfortunately the latter side of the album never reaches the aggressiveness of old Converge and lacks quite a lot of diversity. When Converge albums used to be fast paced with occasional slowness, now the album is about 90 % slowness and even the faster bits are mostly mid tempo. Good stuff nevertheless and hopefully a sign of things to come with more versatility abound on Bloodmoon II.

J.A. Mäki – Hauta meren äärellä (AAVAA, 2019)

J.A. Mäki is better known as the singer of the best Finnish live band and one of my all time favourites Radiopuhelimet. I can’t believe it took me over 2 years to check out his solo project. Hauta meren äärellä includes naturefeels and calm death atmospherics. Exquisitely gleaming humming background scenery and gripping lyrics. It is rare for a song to create such a nature experience.

Haraamo – Menettämisestä (Aikamatkustaja, 2021)

Sci-fi Finnish indiepoprock retrowave melancholics, with a bit of hardcore shouting. Didn’t realize someone could make stuff like this. This is no gimmick either, the album is a very strong debut.

Hebosagil – Tämä on nähty (2021)

Hang on with me for one more Finnish track. Hebosagil from the Finnish capital of noisy obscurerock, Oulu. What a killer track, Hebosagil is a master of all major trades, weirdness, heaviness and pop hooks. Can’t wait for them to release the new album Yössä (25.2.2022). I hope it will also have longer tracks and not just pop hook brilliance that Tämä on Nähty kindly provides.

Two copied recommendations from Hebosagil’s playlist

Liturqy – GOD OF LOVE (H.A.Q.Q., 2019)

Almost definitely one of the weirdest black metal bands you’ve heard. Chaotic, wall of sound, abrubt pauses, yet perky and melodic. Big kicks on first listen.

Mount Eerie – Waves (Ocean Roar, 2012)

Ever thought that rushing and roaring sound walls could sound incredibly beautiful? Well they can.

Oneothrix Point Never – Long Road Home (Magic Oneothrix Point Never, 2021)

Ever thought that glitching experimental electronic music can actually be quite pop and still good? Well it can. There is some magic in Oneothrix Point Never. No one else really crafts sounds like this and the cover art is at par with the music.

Negură Bunget – Toacă Din Cer (Zău, 2021)

Toacă (the Romanian version of a semantron, a percussion instrument often made of wood that is knocked on with hammers by Eastern Orthodox monks to summon others to prayer). Din Cer seems to mean “from the heaven” or “from the sky” (Google translated).

This posthumous Negură Bunget release is a fine eulogy. Their main man Negru passed already in 2017 but had recorded drum tracks and percussions for the third part of their “Transylvanian trilogy”. The tracks were otherwise completely unfinished but luckily rest of the band members finished this work some years later. Posthumous releases are often met with too much praise but in this case i feel Zău was met with too LITTLE praise. For me it’s their best release since Vîrstele pămîntului (2010), topping also the new Dordeduh release (Dordeduh consists of ex-Negură Bunget members).

Toacă Din Cer might be the best Negură Bunget track ever. It is grippingly emotive with chanting vocals, soul penetrating melodic riffs and angelic haunting backgrounds. I only wish the lyrics were available somewhere. The last piece from the heavens indeed.

Martolea – Răsăritul Lunii (Noaptea dihăniilor, 2010)

Martolea is a pretty unknown side project of a Negură Bunget. Much more stripped of instrumental layers. It has a lot of the same aesthetics present but executed almost solely with band instruments. Flute is one of the unexpected prime instruments. Pretty good.

Linkopii – 2005 (Lanteet, 2020)

Bare with me for one more Finnish rock track. Linkopii who I don’t know where they are from but considering I found them through Hebosagil their heart must be from the capital of Finnish obscurely gripping rock, Oulu. In all honesty, apparently Linkopii was formed in Helsinki and previously some of the members have lived in Jyväskylä.

At surface they may come off as one of your typical indie rock bands, but on further peek there’s much more. A lot of strong elements and a pretty original setup. Good songwriting, strong guitar lines with a bit of 70s aesthetics a la Jukka Nousiainen, suomirock, punk and some bursts of psychedelic rock and weirdness. Sure, sometimes they are annoyingly bright and positive, but when a band has multiple sides, not each of them has to be of your liking. 2005, which is my prime cut has strong lyrics too.

I didn’t even mention the touches that remind of Risto. The second track of the album Anniina could be the counterpart of Risto classic: Rakkaani, mennään Aasiaan.

The judging metalhead in me really tried to like them less but I can’t.

Yacht – See Mystery Lights // NMMREM XXI

Spelled “Yacht” but pronounced “Throatwobbler mangrove”

This blog is really based on free download releases. But since lots of people are in the false impression that free download releases are shitty, and major record label releases are better. Exception confirms the rule. This time as a review there is an actual cd-release (ooh!). An album that I randomly bought from Norway in 2011.

The album in question is Yacht, a duo from Portland, Oregon and their 3rd full length See Mystery Lights released in 2009. I bought it cause it was cheap, but also the artwork was nicely minimalistic. Only later noted that it actually reflects light when looking at a right angle forming bigger and smaller triangles! Extremely cool.
I really had some hopes of this album after digesting the cover arts. Yacht also has a huge amount of listens in (3,5 Million) and all of the tracks of the album in question have over 50 listens last week. But Yacht’s See Mystery Lights is a mostly an annoying release. First time I lasted only 2 songs before the reek of trendy indie hipsters became overwhelming. Some 5 more times I urged myself to last the whole album because at least, it is varied and experimental enough to keep me well awake at work.

Album kicks off with a fine build up and a cool odd guitar melody, but unfortunately it proves to be the best melody of the album. The first song Ring the Bell does transform and could go to places but semi-annoying vocals and a stupid chorus keep it on the ground. I hope you go to hell.
Next track The Afterlife introduces the female vocals. I do not digest them; at all. In fact the vocals ruin the ok sounding backgrounds. The singer sounds like a cheap bootleg version of Finnish-American singer Vuk; but fails.

The third track I’m in love with a ripper puts in a steady and cool beat, effing up the second most promising track start. Only to become fucking annoying at 18 second mark with the terrible shout background effect. While I approve experimentations with vocal samples more than anyone, this is just not a beat/sample combo that anyone should put on repeat. Sounds like humour music but its not funny. It sounds very juvenile. But hey, the kids may dig it…

The album does have more cool ideas and odd breaks, but even more ideas that have a reek of indie hipster pseudo-intelligent oddness in them. Also very annoying vocal melodies and god-idiotic lyrics. For example Psychic City which does not really seem to go anywhere. It is really a shame cause the lyrics sound interesting for a few verses. Then it goes idiotic. Have you ever heard a humming melody “aai-aai-ai-aa” so without emotion and colour? No I am wrong it has colour. It is SHIT-BROWN, one of the most annoying vocal melodies I’ve ever heard.

I’ve spotted multiple comments of this being a “fun” release. What exactly is the fun of this. Tracks are not dancable, their lyrics are at best average, and usually sub-par + cheesy. The funnest song is probably Summer Song which cannot have been made seriously. The track has a sense of irony in it, as it is probably the darkest track on the release. The lyrics urge: “move your feet to the summer song” and it is absolutely not-danceable. The band makes sure of it by dullifying the rhythm when it seems to become danceable. I’m not sure if its intentional but it is pretty funny.

The only decent showing of the female vocals come in the minimalistic and short version of Psychic City, where she sounds actually good in a noir-bluesy way. Probably cause in this track she is actually forced to sing in her own voice and not trying to sound cool amidst compositions that should not exist.

Third of the three tracks that don’t make me want to tear out my hair is the combo track It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want. And it really is repetitive and quite boring, but it at least has a post punk vibe and decent vocals. It might be a homage to old Killing joke, which usually is pretty damn boring. But a lot better than Yacht, thank god.

The sounds are actually solid and lots of random odd and stupid ideas are thrown into songs. You can hear that a lot of creative effort has been put on See Mystery Lights. But overall; I really don’t get the point. If I wanted to dance, this record would make me sit down. If I want to listen music I prefer not to get fucking annoyed by it. To summarize i’ll quote Yacht’s song We Have All We’ve Ever Wanted:
“I don’t know so I ignore you”.

“Protect yourself from digital decay”.