Thou from Baton Rouge are the mightiest doom force on the planet for some time now, as their spotless, overwhelming discography impressivly proves. And still, 2014 will be remembered as a unprecedented peak in the bands history, with one stroke of genious after the other: ‚Heathen‚ and ‚The Sacrifice‚ and ‚Released from Love‚, the first of two epic collaboration with The Body, which will find it’s imposing continuation in 2015. And while a visit to Europe seems to remain a pipe dream for now, Thou do the honors and take care of day 24 in the Heavy Pop advent calendar: guitarist Andy Gibbs presents some of his albums of the year.
…in no particular order and excluding many other excellent releases:
Grouper – ‚[amazon_link id=“B00MZHNVH0″ target=“_blank“ ]Ruins[/amazon_link]‘
I find myself listening to Grouper more and more these days. When I first encountered ‚Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill‘ I thought of it as a really beautiful record to put on while doing other stuff or falling asleep. After the ‚Dream Loss‘ and ‚Alien Observer‘ records I learned to pay closer attention, and the songs resonated so much deeper. ‚Ruins‘ is no exception despite being such a sparse and fragile record.
Weyes Blood – ‚[amazon_link id=“B00MMKROYG“ target=“_blank“ ]The Innocents[/amazon_link]‘
I discovered the last Weyes Blood record (‚The Outside Room‘) a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love. It quickly went into heavy rotation at my house and I pushed it on anyone willing to click a Youtube link. This new record is considerably less cerebral put paints with many of the same colors. I’m really hoping she tours the West Coast so I can see how this translates live, but in the meantime I’m content to listen to ‚Hang On‚ twenty times in a row.
Bohren & der Club of Gore – ‚[amazon_link id=“B00GXQ5XHK“ target=“_blank“ ]Piano Nights[/amazon_link]‘
Perfect for cold and rainy nights. Less perfect when you’re on hour 6 of an 8 hour shift in a kitchen, which is when my coworker always chose to put this slow-burner on. If nothing else, I have to give this group credit for using tasteful saxophone in a non-jazz setting and for the sheer patience it takes to play through plodding songs with minimal changes. I can relate to the latter, for sure.
Holly Herndon – ‚[amazon_link id=“B00GK4CIHS“ target=“_blank“ ]Chorus / Home[/amazon_link]‘
A year or two ago I probably wouldn’t have even given this a chance, but there’s been a steady stream of electronic artists subtly drawing me in with a noise aesthetic and then keeping me hooked with more danceable sounds. I like Holly Herndon not only for being genuinely „out-there“ but for the inventiveness with which she deploys her sounds. This is music whose means of creation I can’t fully understand, which makes it all the more intriguing. Perfect music for the dystopian tech-industry hellhole known as the Bay Area.
Pharmakon – ‚[amazon_link id=“B00M8HWHB8″ target=“_blank“ ]Bestial Burden[/amazon_link]‘
Metal bands take note: this is what scary music sounds like. Between this album and The Body’s collaboration with The Haxan Cloak lies a world of terrifying music I hope more adventurous artists will explore. Abject fear and contempt.
Many Thanks to Andy Gibbs / Thou for the participation to the Heavy Pop Advent calender 2014!