Friday, February 28, 2014

Free Music: Aleph Null

Heavy metal has more subgenres than any reasonable person can keep up with. Tastes at The Typing Monkey offices skew toward the blues-based stuff from the '70s, the NWOBHM, and the nearly self-explanatory genres: doom, stoner and sludge.

It's within those last three that Düsseldorf, Germany trio Aleph Null operate. The trio can blast out riffs heavier than a bison's balls during mating season -- the classic Black Sabbath devil's chord blooze that's been the cornerstone of metal since the 1970s. And they can pull it all back to fuzzy, lingering drones that build the kind of tension that is a hallmark of doom metal. Throw in the shredded, grunge-style vocals and kids, you've got a winner.

We call your attention to Aleph Null not only because they're a good band with a strong sense of dynamics and mood, but because so far, every recording they've made is offered up for free download via their Bandcamp site. And their new LP Nocturnal is a bruiser.

If you're doom/stoner/sludge-curious, you can't beat free, and Aleph Null isn't a bad place to start. Play "Black Winged Cherub" for a taste:

We admit that Nocturnal didn't bowl us over as immediately as their previous EP Belladonna (2013). The four tracks on that collection sound looser and a little more cosmic to our ears. Check out "Solar Sail" to hear the contrast:

If you like what you hear, Aleph Null says download it, people, for this music is like Jesus' love. It is ours to accept. And if this sort of brain-melting sound pleases you, enjoy your wanderings around the Web to seek out more of the same. Many doom/stoner/sludge metal bands offer "pay what you can" downloads, so do that. And buy a t-shirt.

Stonerobixx and Doommantia, are two great websites dedicated to these subgenres. And we'd be remiss not to mention the late, great Cosmic Hearse blog, our gateway into most of this stuff.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Experimental Music on Children's TV

We're going to be visiting this blog regularly. Join us.

[Once again, thank you, James Barnes.]

Are You Ready to Ragnarok?

Remember back in Nov 2013, we alerted you to the Norse historical and mythology enthusiast in England who, per their calculations, predicted that Ragnarok was near, so they blew a ceremonial horn to mark the approaching end? No?

Then the Awful Fight Began
by George Wright, 1908
Oh well. It won't matter anyway because Feb 22 the fall of Asgard begins. That is, assuming the predicted date is correct. Hurry up and read about it. We haven't much time.


Bonus Bigfoot News!

Since we're all doomed, let's take a moment and embrace the snake-oil charm of self-proclaimed Bigfoot hunter Rick Dyer's touring show. To sum up: Dyer claims he killed a Sasquatch two years ago. He preserved the body and is now touring the United States, charging a fee to those who want to take a peek at the beast.

We could be offended at Dyer's claim. There's no chance of it passing the typical baloney detecting questions. But if Dyer wants to revive the medicine show to make a few buck off of believers and non-believers alike, why waste the energy? The Typing Monkey would put good money on the possibility that Dyer's story becomes a musical in a couple years.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Witch Fight!

Anybody with their compass pointed in the right direction knows that Feb 2, 2014 was Imbolc. Yes, it was also Groundhog Day and the day the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl.

While most of us were either tuning into the game, or doing anything else, spring -- real spring, not that Gregorian calendar impostor due in March -- quietly stepped onto the season cycle and began pedaling.

And we get it: It's ugly cold out across North America and throughout the Northern hemisphere nobody's about to step outside in tank top and sandals to sip iced tea and feel the sun's heat.

But do go out when you can and have a look around. Trees and bushes are budding. Bulb flowers are rocketing through the soil, arms of defiant green reaching for daylight that grows longer each evening.

We don't report this in a desperate grab for anything to stave off winter gray. We share this old world information because if you relax and let it in, the feeling of spring is there. Nature is waking up.

Here are two versions of a song written and made famous by Scotsman Donovan. The test of good songcraft is how well a composition holds up to different interpretations. The original has the nip of autumn about it that, when combined with the chorus, recalls October.

But Lou Rawls and his band find the Hammond B3 funk under the pile of leaves and loosen the tune up, adding considerable warmth:

[courtesy of marmalade166]

While Super Session takes it further still, opening the song up into a lengthy California stoner jam that skews closer to simmering blues and jazz while still landing, like Rawls, on the secret funk rhythm that has always been the backbone of the song:

[courtesy of jaquenuno]

Neither of these has anything to do with the Imbolc, but we dig 'em and used this post as an excuse to share. Happy spring to you.