Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Each week, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.
ALARM recently spoke with Dennis Callaci, general manager of the Inland Empire-based Rhino Records and The Mad Platter, about the sisterly record stores and the potential correlation between UFOs, Jim Morrison, and Vietnam (hint: he’s not interested). To kick off the Q&A, here’s a photo of Mad Platter employee Jonny holding his favorite record.
The connection between visual and auditory art seems natural to graphic artist David V. D’Andrea, who notes KISS album artist Ken Kelley, Metallica’s merchandise designer Pushead, and Dischord Records founder and designer Jeff Nelson as fundamental influences. “The artists I looked up to when I was young were all music based,” he says. “Early on I saw the music and visuals as one in the same.”
Since the early 1990s, D’Andrea has gradually become a staple in the West Coast music scene. Growing up, D’Andrea produced zines and fliers – generally in the DIY fashion of Xeroxing – for a variety of underground bands in the Oakland, California area. By the mid-’90s, the artist’s work began to receive well-deserved attention: D’Andrea soon had a commission for an album cover.
Producer/multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried at Sea) and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) have long and assorted ties in and around Chicago, where the two reside and contribute to the city’s vibrant underground.
Parker, in addition to his main gig in Minsk, has produced the likes of Pelican, Rwake, Unearthly Trance, Jai Alai Savant, Lair of the Minotaur, and Nachtmystium, and Lamont, outside of Yakuza, recently finished recording a solo album and regularly plays with other experimental metal and noise outfits (Decayist, Sick Gazelle) as well as improvised-jazz players (Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis).
Each man’s résumé is a mile long, and now the two have come together to pay tribute to Chicago’s late-’80s and early-’90s Wax Trax! industrial scene with their new project, Circle of Animals. A diverse and widely recognizable cast of drummers rounds out the lineup on this release, with names like Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste), John Herndon (Tortoise), John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage), and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) lending their talents.
From September 29 to October 3, the ninth annual Pop Montreal international music festival runs in dozens of venues and involves more than 400 musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, and independent cultural entrepreneurs.
This year’s five-day festival includes performances by Swans, Marnie Stern, Gotan Project, Holy Fuck, Municipal Waste, Menomena, Liars, Arrington de Dionysio‘s Malaikat dan Singa, The Budos Band, Portico Quartet, Xiu Xiu, Buke & Gass, Mount Kimbie, Immolation, and many more.
You never thought it could happen in your wildest drone-metal dreams, but it has: noise honchos Ted Parsons (Swans, Jesu, Godflesh), Aiden Baker (Nadja), and Colin Marston (Krallice) have joined James Blackshaw (Current 93), Marissa Nadler, Vern Rumsey (Unwound), and many others to work with R. Loren of Pyramids in his collaborative project titled Sailors with Wax Wings.
The debut self-titled album is due for release on September 28, via Angel Oven Records, and the project has premiered the song “And Clash and Clash of Hoof and Heel”with accompanying video.
After releasing music under names such as Foetus, Manorexia, and Steroid Maximus, composer/producer J.G. Thirlwell only recently has released under his own name — while maintaining his distinctive genre-mashing concoctions.
Though he’s been hailed as a twelve-string-guitar virtuoso for the better part of five years, James Blackshaw didn’t really graduate to the Jedi class of contemporary instrumental artists until the spring of 2009, when he made his much anticipated debut on Michael Gira’s Young God Records.