Monday, December 8, 2008

Salamander - Birds of Appetite (2003)

Salamander is a band I know next to nothing about (you can find a more complete bio at Camera Obscura); based out of Minneapolis, this troupe of psychedelic marauders has apparently been turning out their own smoldering brand of space rock since the early 90's, although the label bio linked to above would seem to suggest the band's currently status as one of semi-permanent hiatus. While the basic instrumentation here is somewhat standard psych-rock fare (guitar/bass/drums), the band prides itself on both its non-traditional use of said rock instrumentation and its use of non-traditional rock instrumentation, including "hammered dulcimer, shenai (an oboe-like instrument), and something they call the 'space whistle'." This particular album, 2003's Birds of Appetite, was my first introduction to these masters of ambiance (though I have no idea how or where I discovered it), and it remains my favorite of their works.

While the Om-like album opener 'Vessel is Vacant' suggests strict Summer of Love worship with its tablas and half-chanted vocals, it's eventual descent into gentle drone foreshadows the album's subsequent minimalist turn. On Birds, Salamander is most successful at creating long, smoldering songs that utilize crescendo much as a post-rock band might without falling into the conventions of that most amorphous of genres; for all of it's bombastic song lengths (it does feature four songs over the eight-minute mark), this album has a distinct late-night psych feel matched by a earthy, folkish tone. With little or no vocals on most of the sparsely layered tracks, the music is left here to speak for itself, evoking a mystical, haze-ridden atmosphere with a drummer and lead guitar player who make no attempt to mask the influence of Indian classical music on their playing styles. The band's name - which comes to us from a semi-mystical animal thought in ancient times to be born of fire - is a perfect fit for the mood achieved here, at once brooding, lysergic and somehow vaguely alchemical.

Those of you with a Paypal account can still get the 'Birds of Appetite' CD here, or download it from us.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gong - Pre-Modernist Wireless: Peel Sessions 1971-74

First off, thanks to postcooksey for shame-kicking my lazy ass into restarting this once-stagnant blog. I have a slew of to-be-posted albums on my desktop, and it is time for me to get to work on them. Here's goes.

This album, which is actually not an album at all, compiles the appearances of trans-continental prog champions Gong on the legendary John Peel show on BBC Radio. Gong, a band of tripped-out fuckheads that is almost as famous for its bizarre mythology as for the idiosyncratic music it produced, show themselves here as a capable live act, with the songs losing none of their charm whatsoever without the playground of a studio (a common trait of late-60's sike, where production techniques often masked boring, by-the-book pop numbers as bold and experimental). In fact, what this set accomplishes is to demonstrate that for all the conceptual wonder-pinnings of their long-form concept albums, Gong wrote fucking great self-contained songs that hold up even without spoken-word interludes about 'pot-head pixies' and the like (not that there's anything wrong with that!). From acid-folk ('Magick Brother') to irreverent ska ('Clarence in Wonderland') and of course the cosmic anthem "You Can't Kill Me," Gong provides one of those rare listening experiences that feel like one has been temporarily transported into the mind of a lunatic, only to discover that it's actually a lot more fun than the so-called 'real world' (a dull waste of time, this author can assure you).

For those of you unfamiliar with Gong's studio output, you can find their essential first five albums over at Black Acid; as a hint, the band generally followed the era's transition from psychedelic to progressive rock, with their early works resembling an especially spaced-out take on late-60s psych, exploding into full-blown prog with the infamous "Radio Gnome Trilogy."

It seems to be out of print but you can find "Pre-Modernist Wireless" as a $45 import on Amazon, or opt for sheer musical piracy here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Warning (UK) - Watching from a Distance

Here's a fairly recent release from Warning, a depressive UK-based doom band I should have heard of sooner. I have no idea if Swill (creator of this blog and friend of mine) is going to like this, but this is my idea of astoundingly good doom. I've recommended some doom and stoner rock gems to Swill in the past, for example Valkyrie from Virginia (go listen to them), and he's shot them down. He also thinks Asunder sucks and I would call that a stretch. (not true. just said that their albums are boring, which I stand by - swill)

I hope he will enjoy this band if he hasn't heard it cause this is without question the best doom record I've listened to this year. Yes, it came out in 06. Chronic weed smoke means I'm slow on the uptake, why are you judging me? Please forgive me for being slightly behind schedule in faithfully delivering you free music you ungrateful jerk.

The riff proficiency here is clearly top shelf and no internerd out there will convince me otherwise. But what's truly brilliant about this album is the vocals, and I think that's what might hang people up with this band. I won't ruin it for you by describing them too much, but they're unique. If you don't like the vocal performance then I just don't understand you. Personally I am blown away. Few doom bands are this successful at creating an atmosphere so bleak and depressing. Someone on the collective zine board described it as being like "listening to Loss and Red House Painters at the same time."

I'm cursing myself for sleeping on this because every copy seems to be sold out now, including the reissue on Metal Supremacy earlier this year. Fuck... I'm stuck with these mp3s:

Gris - Il était une forêt (2007)

Here's some black metal from Canada. You can tell by the excess of color and presence of a toy boat on the cover that you're getting into delicate post-rock influenced territory. Usually when I hear bands like this I'm like dude, wheres the metal, but this is actually amazing. Most "depressive/suicidal" black metal bands should feel embarrassed by the level of musicianship and songwriting on this album. The atmospheric passages are all excellent and don't sound like some nerd with a keyboard lifted the melody from a Nintendo game. How many black metal bands can you think of who can play competent chamber music?

At first I felt kinda bad for letting you internet cheapos download this fine slab of blackened art for free, since its pretty recent, but then I was like fuck it. You can decide whether or not to buy this from Sepulchral Productions; their website makes it seem like you'd be supporting Québécois nationalism and possible Nazi connections. Buy it (and potentially support separatist bombings) or download it from the link below. Or don't, see if I fucking care. Does my opinion mean nothing to you?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Contropotere - Nessuna Speranza Nessuna Paura LP

One-of-a-kind experimental punk made by like 9 Italian squatters. Contropotere is really fucking bizarre and you will probably not enjoy it. Dual female vocals (not to be tokenizing) and strangely structured songs with atypical instrumentation. This would completely alienate most crust kids I know - a rare virtue. Their name translates as "counterpower", and apparently they were heavily involved in the Napoli autonomist movement during the 90s.

This is is their first LP, which came out in 1989 on Attack Punk. They released a demo tape, an EP, and an additional LP, all of which are available on other blogs. Oh yeah, and a CD of fucked up techno. After this their shows seem to have become mostly high concept performance art, which I'm sure pissed off alot of fans, which rules. Check youtube.

"Contropotere is every one of us.The power to transform us, to come into contact with our part more True, more intimate, more powerful person.To transform us to be able to transform.To pass from what risks becoming a simple game, a possibility without potentiality, in something serious, less spectacular perhaps, less recognizable and catalogabile as the spirit that continues and it animates…the power that every one of us has as potential of transformation.Every form to be able imposes.Easy to be authoritarian to the outside of us.Difficulty to be with ourselves.Difficult because the correct street.The power on if same is the first footstep toward the change.The transformation through our transformation.The self-discipline that becomes management of own power.That natural power as a lightning that doesn’t recognize external authority to itself, but it recognizes that every to be able is balanced to the other, that every living being is connected to the other…in a delicate equilibrium.The reality, further to be a fascinating mystery is very hard and Raw / the life that we live is a stage on which all recite a part looking for the more possible than to be comfortable..."

Some dude on the Profane Existence message board hosted this, I can't take credit. I don't own it cause this album is out of print as fuck.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Zeroid - 2004

Here's some classic dark hardcore from Germany - oppressive, dissonant, rapidly changing downtuned riffs coupled with throat-tearing screams of absolute desperation and hatred for daily life. I think Zeroid fucking rules, but the reviewer for Violent With Anger Zine #57 has a different opinion. Here's the dude's take on an earlier Zeroid album:

"A few hardcore wanna - be's tryin' to play some nihilistic death - metal influenced whatever-core. To make it short: If you've ever been listening to the real gruesome shit, than you definitely don't have to waste your time on this crap. Weak and powerless drums and uninspired and straight-to-no-point guitarriffing makes this one a pain in the ass of true death-metal maniac's. I'm not sure if there's even a bass line 'cause of the low - level production, which was made in several no-name studio's which i've never heard of and hopefully never ever have to. The vocals suck. If this is the future of the "hard-and-heavy" genre than you better start headbangin' to the new eminem cd. However, reading the 16-paged booklet doesn't make it more comfortable to bore through the full-length (nearly 70 minutes) digital desaster: The lay-out is done only semi-professional and seems to be stolen from arty-farty photocatalogues no one ever wants to see. But the really pathetic and offensively senseless lyrics are more interesting: These guys have the guts to heavily flirt with suicide, death and destruction. Real sickos will love it. It's been released on formerly totally unknown bremen based hardcore label "Unsociable" whose mastermind gives proof of excellent bad humour by turning the unholy but still sacrificed "Earache" logo into a "Hellache" synonym. Really funny, guy. This record is so shitty that i've to honor it with 9 out of ten points on my very own "crap-of-the-month" scale."

Hahaha... anyway here is the last (and best?) Zeroid disc. I can't find any other blogs hosting their music and they're one of my favorite bands so I might put some more of it up later. You should pick this up, by the way, from Pray for Death, a sweet distro out of Savannah :

Or download it here you cheap fucker.

01. rien ne va plus
02. kurzschlußüberlegungen
03. frage / antwort
04. wir gewinnt
05. warteschleife
06. vorletzter akt
07. auf zielkurs halten
08. rohrkrepierer

Friday, September 5, 2008

Naked City - Torture Garden

Here's another old school Earache release. Fans of total mindfucking music are hopefully familiar with avant-garde multi-instrumentalist John Zorn, but if not here's an album of some of the most fucked up jazz(?) you will ever come across.

This pretty much defies classification. If I had to pin it down I'd call it jazz grind, but there's surf, country, and punk in here too. Also featuring horrific screams from Boredoms member Yamatsuka Eye, this is the perfect album to put on at a party after you've taken too many drugs and you want all the squares to leave.

1. Blood Is Thin - 1:00
2. Demon Sanctuary - 0:38
3. Thrash Jazz Assassin - 0:45
4. Dead Spot - 0:31
5. Bonehead - 0:51
6. Speedball - 0:37
7. Blood Duster - 0:13
8. Pile Driver - 0:33
9. Shangkuan Ling-Feng - 1:14
10. Numbskull - 0:29
11. Perfume of a Critic's Burning Flesh - 0:24
12. Jazz Snot Eat Shit - 0:24
13. The Prestigitator - 0:43
14. No Reason to Believe - 0:26
15. Hellraiser - 0:39
16. Torture Garden - 0:35
17. Slan - 0:23
18. Hammerhead - 0:08
19. The Ways of Pain - 0:31
20. The Noose - 0:10
21. Sack of Shit - 0:43
22. Blunt Instrument - 0:53
23. Osaka Bondage - 1:14
24. Igneous Ejaculation - 0:20
25. Shallow Grave - 0:40
26. Ujaku - 0:27
27. Kaoru - 0:50
28. Dead Dread - 0:45
29. Billy Liar - 0:10
30. Victims of Torture - 0:22
31. Speedfreaks - 0:29
32. New Jersey Scum Swamp - 0:41
33. S & M Sniper - 0:14
34. Pigfucker - 0:23
35. Cairo Chop Shop - 0:22
36. Fuck the Facts - 0:11
37. Obeah Man - 0:17
38. Facelifter - 0:34
39. N.Y. Flat Top Box - 0:43
40. Whiplash - 0:19
41. The Blade - 0:36
42. Gob of Spit - 0:18

This came out in like 1989 or 1991 or something... who gives a shit, I'm drunk.


Nocturnus - The Key

For my first contribution to this blog (swill has been on me to post for a while but I'm a lazy stoner), here's one of the most insane and atypical death metal albums ever released. Does this album belong on Burning Minds? Not sure, but theres no doubt it completely fucks my brain.

Anyway, Florida band Nocturnus released The Key in 1990 on Earache. Vocalist, drummer, and main songwriter (!!) Mike Browning had played earlier in Morbid Angel, a far more well-known Florida death metal band. DM from this region was exploding in popularity during this time, but Nocturnus never quite got the exposure of peers like Obituary, Death, or Morbid Angel. It certainly isn't due to inferior musicianship, so I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that this album is fucking weird.

First of all, Nocturnus was basically the first death metal band to use keyboards - this may not seem terribly novel eighteen years later, but it was definitely new and innovative in 1990. The song structures on here are more complex than your typical DM release and there is an absurd amount of soloing everywhere that's pretty much guaranteed to shred your head. This disc also has very unconventional lyrical content. While Satanist themes remain, the band has an unheard of sci-fi angle to their blasphemy - The Key is a concept album of sorts about a cyborg sent back to year zero via time machine in order to kill baby jesus and head off the rise of Christianity. Pretty hilarious and cool if you ask me... and just look at the fucking badass cover art. I love it.

01 - Lake Of Fire 05:04
02 - Standing In Blood 04:20
03 - Visions From Beyond The Grave 04:09
04 - Neolithic 04:51
05 - Undead Journey 04:16
06 - BC/AD (Before Christ/After Death) 04:57
07 - Andromeda Strain 03:42
08 - Droid Sector 04:21
09 - Destroying The Manger 06:09
10 - Empire Of The Sands 06:27

You can pay 50 bucks for it on amazon or download it free here:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Om - Splits with Current 93 (2006) and Six Organs of Admittance (2006)

It's no secret that I've been on a serious Om kick ever since their demise earlier this year. Featuring the (achingly slow) rhythm section of Stoner/Doom legends Sleep, Om's music centers around Al Cisneros' droning bass lines and hypnotic chanting, conjuring up mystical imagery that would make Alejandro Jodorowsky proud. This post is intended as a compliment to Anthem of the Space's incomplete discography, rounding out their LP collection with a duet of splits recorded with Six Organs of Admittance and Apocalyptic folk wierdos/legends Current 93. While the Six Organs release seems to be out of print, you can still grab the CD version of 'Inerrant Rays of Infallible Sun' from Jnana Records.

Grab 'em here

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Various Artists - Extreme Music from Africa (2001)

A mixed bag of harsh noise and other electronic wierdness compiled by William Bennet of seminal noise posse Whitehouse. While the anonymous nature of these songs along with the extreme obscurity of their performers makes such claims almost impossible to confirm or deny, I've heard accusations that these pieces were actually produced by Bennet himself and dolled up as 'African' in a crass marketing ploy. If so, kudos to Mr. Bennet for his sharp (if evil) mind as well as his prolific talent, but the variety of styles explored within would seem to suggest otherwise. Either way, the music(?) here is pretty excellent across the board, and manages to keep momentum even across a number of relatively-similar drone pieces. If you think this compilation embodies the imperialist tendencies of 'world music,' you'll love its follow up, the equally tokenizing Extreme Music from Women.

Available via PayPal from Susan Lawly.

Get it here

Friday, March 21, 2008

Moose - Jack EP (1991)

This debut EP from British alt-rockers Moose serves as a four-track microcosm of my oft-conflicted feelings about shoegazer music, alternating between syrupy-sweet early-90s-indie vocals that drive me insane and atmospheric guitar workouts for which I go nuts. Flagship members of The Scene That Celebrates Itself, Moose never got the gushes the music press heaped upon My Bloody Valentine and, to a lesser extent, bands like Ride and Slowdive and, to be completely honest, they didn't deserve to, serving up but a few gems across several EPs and an album before shifting to a more country-influenced style that I've never felt the need to explore. While the vocals on the title track embody some of the scene's worst pop tendencies, I'm never going to be able to say no to some shimmering, multitracked guitar haze, and this record's got it in spades, most impressively on the song 'Boy' posted below. Make sure to stick around for the closer 'I'll Take Tomorrow,' a soft'n'dreamy number replete with ethereal swells and some of the best slow tambourine playing this side of The Velvet Underground and Nico, a definite nominee for most beautiful song to fall asleep to (meant to be a compliment).


Get it here

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Kurt Schwitters - "Dada Antidada Merz" (2005)

When I came across it in Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, this compilation of poetry and spoken word pieces from three major contributors to the Dada movement was an offer I simply could not refuse. Although it was far more sparse than I had originally envisioned, I found myself entranced by their warped, brain-twisting take on verbal delivery and the recording medium itself. While I don't speak German or French, the two 'real' languages most often featured/referenced here, that didn't much detract from my experience of the works, which are focused as much on tonality and off-kilter timing as the semantic content to which they apparently correspond. To the these linguistically-naive ears, the result is like some kind of vocal free-jazz, a challenging and intruiging document of some incredibly challenging and intruiging 'artists.' Honestly, written description isn't going to do it here; you just gotta go with it.

Buy it

download here

Monday, February 18, 2008

Electric Wizard - Come My Fanatics... (1996)

The album that took doom metal out of the caverns and into the stratosphere, Electric Wizard's Come My Fanatics is an absolute shit-storm, rumbling through one's bones with enough force in a single riff to induce multiple unplanned trips to the bathroom. If you thought you'd heard an overdriven bass guitar before coming across this album, think again; EW draw from subsonic influences including supernovae, continental drift, and the tortured cries of the imprisoned god Loki to produce a toxic rumble so heavy it will move your subwoofer several feet across the floor. Fusing impossibly fat, smoked-out blues with a Satanic take on the kosmiche style pioneered by bands such as Amon Düül II and Can, Electric Wizard occupy a metalliverse all their own, often copied but never equaled.

For more E-Wiz, including 2000's excellent Dopethrone, check out Anthem of the Space's collection here


Buy it

Try it

Monday, February 4, 2008

Devo - Hardcore Devo Vols. 1 and 2 + Be Stiff EP (1974-77; 1978)

Long before those silly hats and that oh-so-whacky video for 'Whip It,' Devo were one of the most exciting - and bizarre - bands to come out of the first wave of U.S. punk. Comin' straight outta Akron, Ohio to upset freaks and squares alike with their strange combination of 60s sci-fi fetishism and pseudo-corporate advertising, Devo laid down a form of bizarro agit-pop so loaded with irony that it was impossible to tell where the jokes ended and the real message began. While their debut LP "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" has been rightfully recognized as an absolute classic, their pre-Warner Bros. material has been more or less neglected by critics, giving the false impression that these Devo boys were some kind of avant-tard flash in the pan whose decent into the banalities of New Wave represent some lack of creative stamina. It is in the name of changing such perceptions that BURNING MINDS presents the entirety of Devo's independent catalog, represented by the two Hardcore Devo 1974-77 volumes and the Be Stiff EP originally released on the band's own Booji Boy label. Most of the songs here consist of 4-track demos, but even in their unpolished form these are some of the coolest, most whacked-out tracks this side of Don Van Vliet (an obvious influence in attitude if not in pure sound). Whether you're an old Devo-tee or a total stranger to the terrifying truths of Devolution, do yourself a favor and grab these yams while they're hot; monkeys might never look the same again.

Buy Vol. 1 + Vol. 2

Download here and here (or get everything here)

edit: in getting higher-bitrate version of these albums, I lost some versions of songs that I much preferred. Get the superior cut of "Social Fools" here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Boris and Sunn O))) - Altar: Complete Edition (2006)

A collaboration to end all heaviness, 2006's Altar sees the wedding of two of metal's most hallowed names, American drone/doomers Sunn O))) (for the uninitiated, yes, it's just pronounced 'Sun') and Japanese sludge psychos Boris (who awesomely derive their own name from a song off the Melvins' 1991 album Bullhead). Another exploration in the pseudo-genre of 'power ambient' neologized by Sunn-sters Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley, the set here merges the former band's moody doomscapes with the latter's awesome sense of tonality and texture to produce some of the prettiest and most trying heavy music you're ever likely to come across. The 'complete edition' I've put together here includes every track from the Southern Lord and Inoxia Records versions for a whopping nine songs clocking in at over 90 minutes. A record to be listened to at high volumes and in low light.


Awesome photos from a live performance of Altar

Buy here (direct from Southern Lord)

D/l link here

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Azul - Blue Demo (2002?)

A BURNING MINDS exclusive, this 5-track demo EP was cut by some friends of mine from high school in the early 2000s. Centered around some absolutely insane sax and guitar interplay, Azul lay down some of the best and hardest jazz/psych I've ever heard, all the more impressive if you consider that most of this material was written when they were 16, and their sound on this recording is full and hearty. Hands-down one of my favorite live acts, Azul went their separate ways after school, occassionally playing reunion shows in their native North Hollywood and the surrounding S.F. Valley. Lead singer and axe-slinger Brandon Intelligator now plays guitar in an NYC indie band called The Restless.

get it here