This week’s most important records

Out this week are two killer homespun jams that seemed lost to the sands of time until they got excavated by one of the best experimental labels in the world. PLUS the week in heavy DJ nights and gigs.

Last week, I hipped you to one of my favourite home-recorded albums that was recently re-released by Sub Pop. Out this week are two more killer homespun jams that seemed lost to the sands of time until they got excavated by one of the best experimental labels in the world, Important Records.

First up is My Only Warm Coals by Portland’s Holy Sons, aka Emil Amos, the dapper gent behind the traps in Om and Grails. Although I’m a huge fan of Amos’s blazing percussion work, it was his 2009 record, Criminal’s Return, and his amazing Suoni show at Sala that really left my head spinning. When Amos tightly grips the steering wheel, he safely swerves away from Om’s raga jams and Grails’ cinematic scope to thrill on his own.

Important’s re-release of Amos’s rare 2005 lo-fi jammer collects his basement four-track recordings from 1995–2010, including a number of bonus tracks, but the record’s blend of dark psych, epic pop and tape experimentation with found sounds is surprisingly cohesive. His vocals make an immediate impact as he whispers into your ear about nightmare scenes and deeply personal secrets. with no production gloss to buffer his emotional heft. Songs like “The Fact Facer” and the lo-fi dub ditty “Station ID #2” are just too good to pass up, and for those of you who actually have the original copy on the Dutch label Morc (yeah, sure you do), the bonus tracks actually beat out the original track list by a nose. This record is utterly mandatory for fans of homespun recordings and dark psych.

Another home recording seeing the light of day again thanks to the fine folks at Important is Günter Schickert’s 1974 psych/krautrock masterpiece Samtvogel. Oddly enough, it was Holy Sons’ Amos that tipped Important off to this, and he scribs the heartfelt liner notes to this reissue. Armed with some analogue synths, guitar, vocals, kitchen-sink percussion and two cassette decks, Schickert simply dazzles with the primitive technology of the time.

Fans of Tago Mago-era Can, Harmonium, Popul Vuh, Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Temple and other ’70s sonic architects from Schickert’s home country are sure to find finely spun gold here. This lo fi production plunges directly into the dark corners with some seriously unsettling psych and drone moments that will wedge directly into the frontal lobes long after this 45-minute listen has ended. With only three pieces — “Apricot Brandy,” the 16-minute “Kreigsmaschinene, Farht Zur Hölle” and the end piece, the 21-minute “Wald,” this is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Don’t let the weighty lengths fool you though; everything is calculated and fluff-free. Due to the era’s primitive recording tools, this massive head-trip had him toiling for three months before it would reach its state of perfection. Although Important blows my mind with each new release, this should be considered one of the biggest feathers in their already well-decorated cap. A true krautrock/pscyh masterpiece if there ever was one, and possibly the best possible soundtrack to your next DMT trip.

Next week I’ll have a look at another amazing Important Records release from one of my favourite modern psych bands: Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., whose new face-melter is called In Search of the Lost Divine Arc. I’ll also be getting giddy over this year’s Suoni per il Popolo festival.

Until then…

Tuesday – Yours truly will be spinning tonight as part of my monthly gig at Casa, hopefully making your hump day at work that much more painful. I’ll be selecting everything from raw soul to psych, punk and post-punk, with numerous drunken stops in between.

Wednesday – DJ Satannick has been holding down one of the best weekly metal nights in the city, Friends of Hell at Katacombes, but this Wednesday is going to be extra special. Her set list will be only the most frigid and seething choice cuts from the best of black metal. Black metal all night and the best terrasse in town! Questions?

Thursday – Montreal’s favourite horror punk band, Truth or Scare, have earned their way into the finals of En Route to Heavy MTL contest. Go down to the Corona Theatre to catch them for free and cheer ’em on. If they win tonight, they’ll get to perform at Beelzebub’s favourite fest. Go, Martha, go!

If you dig your thrash metal, you’re definitely going to want to head to Il Motore to catch the hesher sounds of Skeletonwitch with Anciients, Erimha and Venomenon.

Friday – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: Dead Messenger are the tits, Jack. Their new sophomore jammer, Recharger, is full of glimmering power-pop gems, which you’ll hear when the band plays at Barfly with birds of a feather the In and Outs.

For a night of dusty post-punk sides, head down to Casa, where DJs Ciemnosc and Tyg get behind the wheels of steel.

Saturday – Admittedly I was never into the Stranglers, but amid fans of first-wave punk, I’m clearly in the minority. The majority will probably want to check out this legendary band at Telus Theatre, with Mike Marlin and Hellbound Hellcats.

If Satannick’s Friends of Hell night on Wednesday got you hot under the collar, you might want to check out the long-running metal monthly Jour de Sabbat at Casa with DJs Fer and Luci. You can expect everything from n.w.o.B.h.m. to classic thrash, black metal to glammy hair metal.

My favourite bar in the city, Brasserie Beaubien, has been going in full force on Saturdays lately, and this weekend is no different. Cool yer heels for a night of Riot Grrl smash and bash with Dopplebanger, Heathers, Ruff Talons, Studfinder and DJ Hot Rock. All proceeds go to Rock Camp for Girls. It’s p.w.y.c. with a suggested donation between $5 and $10.

A couple of blocks down the street, the Drones Club promises a night of psych-punk with New York City’s Family Curse, Ultrathin, Hand Cream and the debut from ex-Grand Trine members Paradise.

If you’ve been lamenting the good ol’ days when death metal ruled the roost, don’t miss a chance to catch the kings of death, Cannibal Corpse, when they pulverize Club Soda. CC is guaranteed to eviscerate, but adding further ballast is legendary metal band Napalm Death, with Immolation and Beyond Creation, too. Damn, this is really a good week for death.

Soul DJ nights just keep coming. Divan Orange’s semi-regular Mess Around, with DJs New Breed Nick and A.C., is dedicated to Northern soul, Motown and R&B for the denim-and-trainers set. These two chaps will have you shaking and shimmying all night with rare grooves culled from their 45 collection. Not convinced? Stream their absolutely killer mixtape here. Huzzah!

Sunday – Oddly enough, my pick of the week falls on the Sabbath, when Texans Ringo Deathstarr will pack the tiny room at Kathy & Kimy with their lush, psyched-out shoegaze. Ringo Deathstarr is certainly a great poking stick to get you off the couch on a Sunday night, but adding extra incentive are young shoegaze dronesters Aim Low and gothed-out shoegazers Femme Accident. While you’re there, grab Aim Low’s drone-tastic 2011 CDR, Foulards, and Femme Accident’s debut slab of wax, Shiver. ■

Current obsession: Mess Around’s mixtape

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