ALBUM REVIEW: Mono – Oath


A sensuous, rapturous and thought-provoking collection of superior, post-rock instrumental music, Oath (Pelagic Records), from Japanese four-piece Mono, was recorded and mixed by late, great and already much-missed engineer Steve Albini, who passed away last month, aged 61.Continue reading


Steve Albini, Leader of Shellac, Big Black, and Iconic Alternative Rock Producer Has Died


Arguably the most influential producer of the last 30 years Steve Albini has died. He was 61 years old Steve died of a heart attack. And no further information is available. That’s known as the iconic producer with his own electrical audio studios in Chicago, who confirmed the news of Steve’s passing to Pitchfork.com, Steve is also the well-known leader of bands such as shellac and Big Black. Shellac is about to release a new album, and Ghost Cult was attempting to secure an interview with Steve to discuss it. As a producer. He recorded incredible eighties and nineties albums such as Nirvana’s In Utero, PixiesSurfer Rosa, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me, and many more. Unique in his approach Steve considered himself less of an actual typical producer and more of an engineer who translated the music that was made to tape as opposed to having the ego that led him to believe he was influencing the performances of the band much. He also refused to charge a lot of money, considering the stature of his name and experience, and he never took points on records in his entire career which is something that has now become a standard for producers in lieu of former high pay rates. He also believed in bands coming in prepared to record asap, getting instrument sounds and levels and often recording albums in a day or two, not months and years. A record produced by Steve meant it came with an instant cache, and that it was going to be one of the best albums you ever heard in your life. Steve had a keen sense of years and knew what was going to translate to every format a record was made on. This is a tragic loss for the music world as Steve is very young at 61 and we send our condolences out to his family friends and fans. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Rated Eye – Rated Eye


Almost 60 years on from the kaleidoscopic cultural explosion, tied to the back of free-loving, flower-powering, mind-warping hippies and the kicked-open-door of artistically experimenting possibilities, Hard Rock-New-Wave-Jazz-Punk ensemble Rated Eye demonstrate on debut Rated Eye (Wax Donut Records) that people are definitely still strange. Continue reading


EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: Solaris – “Maledetti/Marnero”


Italian noise band Solaris has debuted a new music video today for the twin tracks “Maledetti/Marnero” – filmed with a combination of live performances and striking visual content. The track comes from their recent album Un Paese di Musichette Mentre Fuori c’è la Morte, out now via Bronson Recordings. The live portion of the video was filmed by Claudio Stanghellini, shot at Bronson Club during a post lockdown release party. While the band seamlessly shifts dynamics and obtuse motifs, they blend different musical styles of noise, post-Rock, psych rock, metal, and more; they draw the most influence from artists such as Helmet, Shellac, or The Jesus Lizard. Un Paese di Musichette Mentre Fuori c’è la Morte was produced by legend Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Unsane). Watch the new video, exclusively at Ghost Cult

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GUEST POST: Luca Cimarusti of Luggage – Top 10 Albums of 2019


 

Here is yet another Ghost Cult “End Of Year” Guest post! We’ll be sharing lists, memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the globe. Luca Cimarusti of Luggage shares his Top 10 albums of 2019 with our readers. Luggage released their new post-Punk opus Shift this past fall via Corpse Flower Records!

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Lisa Sofianos, Robin Ryde and Charlie Waterhorse – The Truth of Revolution, Brother


Lisa Sofianos, Robin Ryde and Charlie Waterhorse - The Truth of Revolution, Brother

The Truth of Revolution, Brother: An Exploration of Punk Philosophy (Situation Press) is an interesting look at many of the common philosophies within the rebellious genre and it also acts as a biography for some of its key figures. Through a series of interviews authors Lisa Sofianos, Robin Ryde and Charlie Waterhorse, have crafted an insightful and at times dense examination of the personal beliefs that fuel the music, particularly in anarcho-punk.

Culled from over 20 different interviews with subjects including the likes of former Dead Kennedy’s vocalist Jello Biafra, producer Steve Albini and firebrand Gavin McInnes, The Truth of Revolution, Brother feels like a great documentary that hasn’t been shot yet. Punk isn’t just music, for the faithful it’s an unshakable bond that informs all of their daily decisions. It was an artistic liberation because it wasn’t the usual prog and arena rock that permeated the 1970s. If you had something to say now you can now express yourself even if you can’t play your instrument very well or have a record label to back you up. All the weirdos were allowed.

Punk changed the whole world for me,” says Albini. “Punk changed all of my friends. Everything that I do with my life. This studio. All of this that I am doing for a living. Everyone I know. Every significant friend I’ve ever had. Every significant life experience that I have had, I owe that to the Ramones.”

However, it is also quick to point out that while punk was the undiscriminating genre when it came to musical prerequisites, age or sex; it is also very much steeped in hierarchy as you are allowed to come in and participate only if you wear the right boots and black shirts. The prevailing Do-It-Yourself ethos acts as the backbone that allows punk to stand, but also means that there is less focus on quality control as anyone can come in and take a swing at it. Doing it yourself can sometimes lead to doing it badly.

But for me what was most interesting about this tome is that so many of the interviewed always pointed to anarcho-punk trailblazers Crass as one of their main inspirations and the reason for adopting the punk lifestyle. The consensus is that they were the first punk band to adopt the DIY mantra, foster pro-environmentalist habits and call for everyone to drop competiveness out of their nature in order to improve the community.

What is so deeply emotional for me about Crass, in particular, is that when I was sent to the correctional boarding school I was completely alone” says Jon Gnarr. “And I was so afraid that I carried a knife. I felt so alone, and there was nobody to tell me right from wrong, there weren’t even teachers at that place, so at a very difficult time in my life, Crass was there for me.” Feeling dissatisfied with his government’s handling of the 2008 Icelandic financial crisis, Gnarr would use some of that punk influence and form the satirical Best Party. In a shocking upset Gnarr ran and was elected mayor of Reykjavík in 2010.

So many other of the interview subjects continuously cite the short lived anarchist bent Essex unit, that it starts to feel like that you are getting an oral history of the band. Adding to that feel are insightful chapters directly from former Crass members Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher.

Something worth noting is that with so many citing the same artists and similar philosophies as vital the book can begin to feel a tad repetitive towards the middle, but all things considered it shines a bright light on the inner machinations of one of rock’s most extreme wings. Now if we could only get that complete Crass biography.

8.0/10

HANSEL LOPEZ