Welp, the terrible folks in positions of power across these United States (and all around the world) are still at it. Seems like every day we wake up to worse and worse news about increasingly-emboldened lawmakers coming up with more and more devious plots to take away people’s rights, especially LBGTQ+ people, and ESPECIALLY trans people.
It’s hard not to feel frustrated and helpless in the face of so much shittiness and — if we’re being honest — outright maliciousness and malevolence. But for what it’s worth, there are at least some good people out there trying to be helpful. People like Trans Lifeline, “run by and for trans people” to provide needed support for the community.
Also people like Food Desert Recordings, “supporting charities that uplift and empower maligned communities.” Today the digital label officially launches its third fundraising compilation, a gargantuan 27-track effort ranging from traditional heavy metal to post-metal, avant-garde black metal to dark ambient, harsh noise to trap metal. The artists, which include members of the trans community and allies, have donated tracks which in many cases are exclusive non-album singles or alternate versions you won’t find anywhere else. And all proceeds go to Trans Lifeline, which according to the label have totaled nearly $700 so far just from pre-orders.
Various Artists – Please, Just Let Me Breathe: A Compilation in Support of Trans Lifeline (Food Desert Recordings, 28 April 2023)
Hey! As we continue inching ever-closer to the conclusion of yet another calendar year, let’s continue talking about some of the great music that has come out in 2022.
Today I’ve got two albums to share: one that was just a recent discovery for me, that I somehow missed when it came out over the summer but which has been getting SO much attention lately as all my writing peers have started publishing their own year-end lists, and then one that just came out this month, and based on that timing I’m afraid it may have inadvertently missed catching many other people’s attention.
Here we go…
Chat Pile – God’s Country (The Flenser, 29 July 2022)
Lebrique – Head Trap (Trepanation Recordings, 02 December 2022)
Well anyway, today I’d like to make sure you’re also acquainted with another label that just opened up over the past few months. This one started out when an individual from British Columbia, who happens to hang around a few of the same Discord servers I sometimes frequent, was tossing around the idea of creating an explicitly anti-fascist, anti-sketch, and anti-capitalist cooperative (since unfortunately, way too many of them turn out to be far in the opposite direction). He joked that the name would have to be the most stereotypically Canadian thing anyone could think of, and came up with Syrup Moose.
The record label’s online bio clearly specify that it had just started out as a joke — which is absolutely true — but within weeks the collective found itself with an ever-growing roster and quite an unfunnily busy slate of upcoming releases, including cassette versions of each, as well as unique (and highly collectible) tarot card designs exclusively painted and printed for each new release.
Out of that already-extensive-and-rapidly-expanding catalog, I’ve selected one of the first as well as one of the most recent, to share with you this afternoon. The fact that both of these artists happen to be based in Pittsburgh is purely a coincidence — honestly!
Chloe Dancer – Chloe Dancer EP (Syrup Moose Records, 02 September 2022)
Drazen – EP (Syrup Moose Records, 09 December 2022)
Hello out there! We’re back from the holiday weekend and slowly starting to emerge from the mini ice age into which we had been plunged for the past several days.
And suddenly we find ourselves swiftly approaching the end of another calendar year. Many other writers and other websites are busily publishing their year-end lists; most of the larger outlets who also have print editions have had their lists out since last month if not earlier. Here in the Valley that window stays open until the last day of the year, as always, and the year-end list will be posted in the appropriate spot on the first of January.
But given that it is nearly the end of 2022 and everyone is in just a reflective mood, let’s take a look back at a couple of releases from much earlier this year which we inadvertently hadn’t gotten around to covering yet…
An Evening Redness – An Evening Redness (Transylvanian Recordings, 25 February 2022)
E-L-R – Vexier (Prophecy Productions, 11 March 2022)
Hello — and Merry Christmas Eve Eve, to those who celebrate.
What a nasty, ugly day this has turned out to be: snow, rapidly plummeting temperatures, and huge wind gusts that very nearly sent our trash cans careening down into the river. Again. That is, we lost one of them to the river during a windstorm a couple years ago; this time both of them did go flying after they were emptied this morning, but I was able to rescue one from the edge of the embankment, while the other has managed to wedge itself between two trees halfway down the hillside, just out of reach of any of the long-handled implements I have readily available so I’m hoping it will stay in place long enough for me to figure out a way to retrieve it.
Anyway, enough about that, let’s listen to some nasty, ugly music befitting such a nasty, ugly day!
S.I.D. – City of Chemistry (digital 15 July 2022; vinyl 14 October 2022, Gruesome Records / SFA Records / V.A.N.G.A. Records)
Private Prisons – Extrication (Trepanation Recordings, 16 December 2022)
“Are you the guys on the beach that hate everything?”
Right around 30 years ago, as hair metal was in its final death throes along with most other remnants of the Reagan 80s, and the grunge movement was just starting to come into full swing in terms of global mainstream recognition, Californian hard rockers Ugly Kid Joe dropped their debut full-length, kind of bridging the gap between the dominant sounds of the previous decade and the one that had just begun.
This writer was in eighth grade at the time, and America’s Least Wanted may have been the very first cassette I ever bought for myself, or if not, at least one of the first two or three.
So when I heard that the band was releasing a brand-new album this fall — even working with the same producer they did three decades ago (Mark Dodson) — based on the nostalgia factor of course I had to check it out. But I ended up discovering that these guys (two who’ve been around since the founding days of the band and two others who’ve been on every major release in their history; only the drummer role has changed hands a few times over the years) have crafted a very good, very solid, rock record.
Ugly Kid Joe – Rad Wings of Destiny (Metalville Records, 21 October 2022)
For those not actively involved with (or even lurking in the fringes of) the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club community … first of all, you really should check it out! It’s a bunch of kind souls who will buy you stuff from your Bandcamp wishlist on your birthday. All they ask in return is for you to do the same for other folks on the mailing list if you’re able to do so. Club members get great new music to add to their collections, artists make some extra sales, and everyone wins.
Anyway, the social interactions within the Gift Club frequently (and understandably) revolve around sharing music recommendations, and somewhere along the way this thing called “No Metal Monday” evolved. As the title suggests, this is an opportunity to focus on music of non-metallic varieties. And in that spirit, I’d like to share a collection of metal-free tracks with you fine folks on this fine, dreary Monday afternoon.
The Human Veil – Compilation (self-released, 25 October 2022)
Happy Friday! Got something brand-new for you all today…
Although North Carolinian ecology-themed band Escaping Aghartha is more often associated with the sounds of extreme death and doom metal, they’ve just dropped an album completely consisting of mellow ambiance.
Avian is an ambient album in which each song has been crafted around the vocalization of a specific species of bird, resulting in other-worldly and deeply immersive atmospheres. The album is a celebration of the wondrous diversity of shapes, survival strategies, vocalizations, colors, behaviors of birds and their intellectual prowess.
Escaping Aghartha – Avian (Hiraeth Records, 16 December 2022)
It’s been two whole years since Pittsburghers Úzkost put out their delightfully deranged “Blood Debt.” But just a few days ago they returned with a brand-new single, and the promise of more forthcoming! Here’s “Mt’hr.”
Following Being for the Benefit of Equality, Food Desert Recordings‘ fundraiser from earlier this summer in support of the transgender community (and especially trans youth) of Texas, the Maryland (USA)-based digital label is at it again.
Once again guided by their mission statement of “supporting charities that uplift and empower maligned communities,” this month a second benefit compilation has dropped, this time in support of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, in light of a recent plague of legislation all over the country whose sole purpose is to restrict or remove those rights.
Various Artists – Let No Man Pass Judgement: A Compilation to Support a Woman’s Right to Choose (Food Desert Recordings, 02 September 2022)