Invisible Guy recommend some of the best blogs for the end of 2012!

As you all know, I can’t be the king of the hill. There’s always someone else influencing me and blogs that I check regularly. But I know a lot of blogs that you should check out if you haven’t had the chance to do it yet. Since there’s a lot of blogs, there’s also a lot of blogs that will not be mentioned. When I check out blogs, I usually do that because they’re writing in an interesting manner, or that they’re sharing music that I like. If it isn’t one of those factors, it’s because they introduce me to a whole new world.

Some blogs might’ve put down the sign ages ago and some blogs might’ve just started their business here on the internet. These are the blogs that I return to on a regular basis, because they have something other blogs do not. This will not be your regular ranking with numbers and countdowns, this will simply be a description of the blog and why they deserve to be on this list. Also, this list is by no means hierarchical.

ribbon

Ribbon Around A Bomb is an American blog, with a very dedicated author, whom almost always update her blog on a regular basis. There’s a flow in the blog that never ceases to amaze me and if it isn’t there, well then she returns with the best and most interesting stuff to read. Even though I don’t like modern art, some of it can be fascinating and intriguing. It’s like a blend in between modern art, old pictures of legendary bands, odd pictures of obscure bands and also a lot of talk about the radio show she’s running. Which mostly focuses on female acts within the punk-sphere and everything surrounding it. She’s got a very captivating style of writing, which sucks you in and makes a mess of you. It’s one of those blogs that I check on an odd, yet regular basis. I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing her, so if you’re interesting in knowing more about this blog, check out the interview.

Plunder-the-TombsPlunder The Tombs is an Australian blog that fascinates me on so many levels. Since I’m an avid goth and death rock fan, anything that can dig out the best of forgotten goth would deserve a medal. This is also one of the better and more well-written blogs that handle the topic of obscure, old and forgotten goth/death rock bands. It might not be a blog that continually updates the material, but it’s a goldmine for everyone that loves to seek out old gems from the past. Since I wasn’t born in that time, this blog makes it even more interesting. He’s also got a lot of expertise within the area, which some blogs fail to have when writing about this stuff. If you want to read well-written pieces about times past, great records and anecdotes from different angles – this is the blog for you.

cropped-banner_021Last Days Of Man On Earth was a blog from Australia/US that was run by Joe Stumble. I actually had a shot to interview him, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to do it. His blog is the epitome of music-blogging, with a lot of very well-written pieces on things like The Hardcore Superiority Myth – Or, why did I choose 87-90? which you should read if you haven’t already done it. He generally wrote a lot about obscure bands and music that I hadn’t heard before and he actually made me stumble upon one of my favorite bands, which are called Cipher. It’s a shame that he put his blog on hiatus, but what better way to end a glorious reign than to quit when you’re on the top? Well, that’s what he did. As I look through what he’s written, I’m also inspired by the structure of his language and how he made his posts flow like water, which made reading them for the first time a total joy. Sometimes I wish I was even close to what he was and still probably is, when it comes to writing. It’s an inspiration to look through his blog and he’s one of the reasons why I started mine.

lukinLukinzine is a hardcore/punk-zine from Sweden that have influenced me greatly within that sphere of music. He was actually the reason for me picking up hardcore and writing about it in the first place, which generated support for Hotet Från Skogarna, my Svensk Punk och Hardcore-podcast and many other things related to it. You can’t really mention hardcore or punk within Sweden, without mentioning him. He’s like one of the more well-known godfathers of the blogs when it comes to that particular subject over here. Probably the most influential one at that, as he photographs shows, keeps up with the scene, do interviews and reviews on a regular basis. Even though I don’t like blogs that don’t produce a lot of text when it comes to reviews and daily updates, there’s something about Lukinzines writing that keeps you on the edge. Which is a compliment, since there aren’t a lot of blogs around that can write intriguing stuff in just a few sentences or more. Also, if you’re Swedish, you might want to check out my podcast as I’ve interviewed him.

gehitGe Hit Musiken is a pop music blog from Gothenburg operated by Bojan Buntic and his minions, which unfortunately for the international readers, is only written in Swedish. I don’t really like the music that he display over there, but sometimes he’s got a lot of new music that people should’ve heard a long time ago. A pretty good blend between mainstream and obscure music, mostly within pop or electronica. But he’s also got some great reviews of music that range from industrial to everything else, as its being said in the header of the blog. Even though there’s been a lot of pop lately and weird new music, he’s got something that other blogs don’t. He is actually one of the few blogs that focus more on poetic descriptions of the music, rather than namedropping a lot of bands that sound like the aforementioned one in the reviews he conducts. I also think he’s got some great and well-structured “Best Of” lists for the year 2012. It’s one of the blogs I read on a regular basis, at least when there’s some interesting material on display, if not; then I’m only there for the love of the Swedish (poetic) language. You should give him a chance and tell him to do more interviews.

cropped-header_main2Esau.se is a blog ran by Esau Alcona which is entirely dedicated to the phenomenon of pop. I don’t know where to begin really, but he seems to have a lot of expertise within the area. Even though I generally don’t like the music that’s being displayed, I find his blog to be interesting. He seems to have a lot of passion for what he does and the way he writes is correct but welcoming. It’s one of those blogs that I can read when I need some quick information about the latest happenings and what music Esau likes. I must say that I adore what he does, even though he didn’t include me in his countdown to Christmas! But, hey, I think it was very good anyway. He also did a mixtape for my blog which was presented by both his blog and mine, which you can find over here: Esau.se och Invisible Guy presenterar: Hipster Porn mixtape! Well, what more can I say? I hope that he continue doing what he loves to do. There’s a lot of things to check out, but I’m always checking his site when I need to know something about the latest pop-sensations. Be careful though, this is some obscure stuff, which the Invisible Guy likes a lot. I mean, I like the fact that he praises the more underground and obscure stuff, rather than the more mainstream. But each to his own.

att_mota_morkretMosher.se is a blog-zine from Sweden which is ran by Richard Ingemann and circuits around hardcore/punk, written in Swedish. Even though I don’t check his blog on a regular basis anymore, I do it when he publishes new material. It’s too bad that he haven’t updated it for a while, but I’m hoping for a comeback. He’s got a regular language and a correct one at that, which makes what he read a little bit more intriguing. There’s also something about the new design of the blog-zine that also heightens the reading experience. I think he’s got some unconventional material at times, like the essay about Totalt Jävla Mörker which is titled: Att Möta Mörkret – om “Söndra & Härska” av Totalt Jävla Mörker. It is one of the best and most concise essays I’ve read when it comes to that particular subject. He’s also got some nice interviews that he’s conducted with various bands within the sphere of punk and hardcore. But one of the more interesting additions to his blog is the scanned pieces of older Swedish punk and hardcore zines, which makes for a great read. Hopefully I’ll check in to his blog even more in 2013 and I hope he’s got some material that I would like to read. So hopefully we’ll see more of this blog next year.

CMI-HEADER-2Cactus Mouth Informer was a blog from the UK that was ran by Highlander and had been active since 2007. But since the 10th of December, he apparently ceased his activities with the blog, which is a shame. One of the more interesting additions when it comes to post-punk, goth rock, death rock and everything in between. A lot of interesting posts and clippings from different popular magazines about those genres. Which have given me a lot of information about them and let me read some of the interviews I might’ve missed and also reviews for that matter. He also uploaded a lot of music from that time, which is the 80’s and I’ve heard more obscure bands over there than anywhere else, when it comes to the 80’s. The quality of the blog was consistent and there was always something to read, if not clippings from Zig Zag Now, then something else worthy of your time. Even though there weren’t a lot of writing per se, there was a lot of material which you should’ve gotten your hands on a long time ago. I was also introduced to a lot more blogs when it comes to pure .mp3 and FLAC-blogs. Which was awesome, since I found a lot of music during that route. Let us hope that he continues somewhere else and show up on my radar, sometime in the future.

This concludes my list for this year. I know that there are a lot of blogs that I can’t remember right now, but that I might not visit on a regular basis. Who knows, I might write a little thing or two about them too. But this post is dedicated to blogs that have had, will have or is having a legacy that affects me in one way or another. Some of them might not last, some of them may, but time will tell. Hopefully they’ll develop into their own little niche and make something of their time on the web here among every other shitty blog that is out there. However, these blogs are far from shitty, which is a great thing. I’m hoping that more blogs will pop up that create something unique themselves.

– The Invisible Guy

Harvesting #12: Something forgotten – something new?

Now you’re in the realm of Harvesting, we’ve already reached beyond the number which is called “ten“. I’m hoping that you’ve been with us since the beginning, otherwise, you should join me in the march for even more Harvesting. I believe I will continue in this fashion, and I will introduce some nice things to you via this edition. There will also be a hell of a lot more stuff within the forthcoming editions, since I will pack them even full(er) with stuff you should listen to or may find good. In this edition I’ve carefully selected some of those releases that lie in the future or are new and some that I should’ve planted on the blog some time ago. The following bands and blogs are to be featured in this edition of Harvesting #12: Astro Children, The Foreign Resort, Sun Of Eyes, Leidkultur and Ribbon Around A Bomb. The last mentioned is a blog which is run by somebody from San Fransisco, so I’ve decided to interview the person behind Ribbon Around A Bomb this time around, hope you’ll enjoy it and the bands too.

Astro Children – Lick My Spaceship!

An interesting and naive record, with major shoegaze influences. With the first song “The One We Start With“, it sounds like they’re trying to employ something straight out of a cartoon-show. It sounds like something kids would listen to, or a happy-go-lucky kind of approach to both pop, with an alternative twist that clouds the more happier edge of it, into a more spaced out formula. But there’s a certain vilifying strength to the distorted background-noises, as I wallow through the sound-scape, with an increasing and tightened focus for the songs at hand. Even though the first song sounded like something I might’ve tried to listen to before, like Revillos meets a child-show, I think the second song “The Tribal Song (Suck My Shoe)” demonstrates perfectly clear that they don’t want to be categorized as what I’ve just said. There’s a more serious notion to this instrumental song than there was in the first song, but it served as a good opener, which made me think of them as more serious when I came to the second song. It might not be anything advanced, but I like the spaced out freakishness of the sound-scape, with a rock-oriented melody at hand but with a huge touch of the lunar sounds of shoegaze taking place in the foreground.

One of the better songs on this album, which I include when I review stuff, is the fourth song “Interlude“. Even though it might just be that, I like how they sound Astro, and therefore I can finally accept their name. The effects in that song are amazing and bring forth a sense of adventurous lust. I’d like to head into space anytime, thanks to this song. Hopefully they’ll finance my spontaneous request and fill me with joy, by docking in my spaceship and playing their tunes for me. If they’d ever need an environment to be in, space would be the first thing that would pop up in my head. I also like the fifth track very much, it’s like a ballad straight out of their alien hearts. Titled “Humiliation (Encore Song)“, where I get to hear more from the vocalist. I think her voice is absolutely fitting for this sound-scape and it sounds a little bit mournful, but at the same time the instrumentation in the background employ a semi-happy sound. So there are conflicting emotions whilst listening to this, but I think it’s got a good vibe to it and reminds me somewhat of our heroes from the same region: Opposite Sex. A pretty good album all-in-all, definitely something you should check out and get a taste of. We’ll all go to space someday.

Buy their album from their bandcamp and either receive a digital-only download for 7 US Dollars. Or you could get the limited edition album, with a hand-stamped and numbered recycled cardboard sleeve. Featured within this is a full colour insert and a pin-up poster. This goodness is limited to 100 copies, add some more dollars and you’ll get it for 15 US Dollars.

The Foreign Resort – Scattered & Buried

A familiar name in my vocabulary, returning with a pristine and totally new album. They’re actually one of the few bands I know that employ such an emotional sounding mix of post-punk, post-rock and new-wave. It’s noticeable in their first track on the album, titled “Delayed“. I’m also surprised over the fact that they’ve managed to balance the sound-scape so good, because every instrument can be heard and it gives the music that little extra touch. The vocalists voice is enthralling and pokes me at the base of my heart, since he really gives the instrumentation a face and voice to be reckoned with. Spilling out their hearts and minds into the miniature sound-scape, which can change at the blink of an eye and introduce a whirlwind of post-rock madness at the same time. The fluorescent riffs and the emotional edge to everything they do in this song is simply marvelous. It hits rock bottom and then carries you up on its shoulders once again, to fill you up with some kind of joy. It’s noticeable that they’re pretty varied and multifaceted when it comes to their music, which is even more present within their next song, “Buried“. A more up-tempo post-punk virtuosos, within a shell of post-rock. Fast drumming, flanged riffs and an induced feeling of some funkiness. I always find myself thinking about them being in between the mainstream and the underground, because they have some unconventionality to their music, definitely something that can be appreciated by both camps.

Their third song “Rocky Mountains” also employ about the same structure, but with more bombastic overtones this time around. A down-tempo sound-scape that reminds me more of bands on the industrial side of the sphere. They don’t let any influences slip away from them, utilizing these with extreme care and within a perfect range. The fifth song “Tide” is an emotional roller coaster, which enhances their standing, musically, in these times – to a pure maximum. I don’t know of any other bands that can keep such emotions and bring them to a whole other level. At least not in this genre of borderline post-punk/new-wave. I believe they can take it even further, which I hope they do. I hope that when I look back on these times, I realize how much of an impact The Foreign Resort made, at least within their realm. This album is much better than anything they’ve ever released before, and to have such a great line between the good and the old is just fantastic. There aren’t many bands that heighten their activity and make even better albums the further into their musicianship they get. You should be proud of yourselves and your music, because you’ve done a heck of a great job on this album and it’s surely in the top as one of the best releases 2012 had to offer. Let’s hope that you stay that way and lets hope it gets experienced by many, many more people in the years to come. I must also add that some of the remixes were good, but they got a lower number in my chart, because their original songs were superior in that aspect. I’d have to put in the following remix as an honorable mention: “Orange Glow (Novachild Remix)“, which was the best remix the album could offer. However, a big round of applause for this album, you must listen to it.

Buy their album from their site, so click this link. You can also get the physical CD from wherever you find it, but I think that Monolathe Recordings will supply you with it. There are a lot of options over at their site.

Sun Of Eyes – Bedroom Demo

This demo is really weird all-in-all, but contain some pure noise. The song “Idioten På Stranden (The Beach Idiot)” had me dying of laughter. Because I don’t know if this was meant to be serious, but probably not. It sounds like someone trying to hum something below water, so the only thing that comes out of it is incoherent babble. If you’ve ever tried to give away a sound when bubbling away under water, you should know what it sounds like. This sounds exactly like it. At the same time, the instrumental sounds pretty much Mediterranean. For some weird reason it reminds me of an old Onkel Kånkel song, at least in some parts of it. The fourth song “Clouded Judgement” is really one of the better songs on this album, it’s pure noise-rock at the core with an almost inaudible sound-scape. Reminds me of a lot of the earlier death-rock demos for some weird reason, but it’s also got a nice rhythm to it which keeps me listening to it. Even though I had to turn down my sound, because the noise is so overtly audible in the mix. Which in turn renders in both a plus and a minus, even though the song is good when you see to its structure and what kind of feeling I get from it, the noise is so loud that it’s annoying at times.

When I get to the fifth song on the album “Birthday Party Strychnine“, it reminds me a lot of their latest addition. Since I made a mistake of not reviewing this first, it might be a little bit weird in retrospective. But I have to say that this reminds me of some good old The Birthday Party. Maybe not as catchy, maybe not as violent and schizophrenic, but almost headed in the same miserable direction. That, in turn, is a great compliment for this band since I think its got some potential flowing out of the cracks. I don’t think this demo is that great to be fair, but I think it shows a potential of wanting and trying to be something. It’s also just a demo that they’ve released recently and I must say that they bring a whole other kind of music to the table than most of those that have released a demo in 2012. I appreciate this at times, but sometimes it’s just too much. Hopefully they’ll continue, since they’ve already put out something after this and I hope that they’ll get closer to their main goal – whatever that is. I’ll be keeping my eyes wide open for this band.

You can download this for free over at their bandcamp. Or send them a mail if you’re interested in buying the album, via the contact-button on bandcamp.

Leidkultur – For A Better World 7”

One of the first German hardcore punk bands that I’ve found myself. Since I like the German language a lot, I believe that the first song “Der Horst” packs a punch, German-style. It’s got one of the typical sounds of the old school American hardcore, but at the same time states its sovereignty within the sound-scape. Which sounds a lot like the older oi punk bands from Germany to one point or another, utilizing a great strategy of combining a pissed off vocalist with nice riffs and fast drumming. I like how they’ve crammed the baseline into the foreground instead of forgetting it in the background. Second song “Mariyam” is even more up-tempo, but adding a lot more melody to the mix and some nice tempo-changes before letting loose on the total destruction of the sound-scape. Feels like I’m in the pit already, invited by Leidkultur themselves. Running around in circles to this music or jumping up on the stage and doing some crazy stage-diving to this music would be a more concrete vision. Third song “Trottel Zum Aufziehen“, is a continuation of this great formula. There’s not much changing, but now they’ve also got a back-up singer in the mix. I like how the sound-scape is on the border of being to balanced, but has some kind of muddy feeling to it when listening through it.

Their kind of hardcore seem to be something special. With their last song “Giving Truth A Bad Name Since 1903“, the aggressiveness turns itself up a notch. But I feel like they’ve shown their steam in the other songs and leave this as a reminder in the end. It feels like the other songs, but it differs in a way that I really can’t explain. Maybe there’s a little bit more of a change, structure wise, because it switches from up-tempo to down-tempo in between and employ otherwise forgotten things in the mix. However, this album was pretty good and they’ve really bashed their way through my skull and made me realize that it’s a form of hardcore that I haven’t heard for quite a while. It’s got a little bit of that american touch, but I don’t know what I should call it. They’ve got a lot of steam, aggressiveness and attitude – like hardcore-punk should have more of. Which have managed to show me another side of hardcore, when I was thinking that I’ve discovered the most of it. Good album, maybe not the greatest, but definitely has a lot of potential.

You can buy their album from their bandcamp. Or you could venture over to their record-label, Spastic Fantastic Records, to acquire different sets of vinyls for the same release.

I interviewed the author behind the “Ribbon Around A Bomb“-blog, which I found to be very interesting. She goes by the name of “La Lengua“, and she’s based in San Fransisco.

What’s the story of Ribbon Around A Bomb, who are you and where do you think you’re heading?

– Ribbon Around a Bomb started as space to post my ruminations about art and music primarily for myself, and has evolved into collection of subversive material that other people use for both educational and inspirational purposes. I think it helps that the content is tied together with motifs like experimentation, the ‘60s/‘70s, and generally offbeat and radical ideas. RAB has also become a radio show with a focus on strictly female-fronted punk, noise, goth, hxc, post-punk, and DIY sounds. Both the blog and the podcast are most popular in Latin America, although I haven’t figured out why.

Oh, the projects I’m always trying to complete for the future! I want to do more interviews, more giveaways, and make it more interactive. I’’m working on mailing a compilation of rare French punk to readers, as well as making some cool design-y t-shirts to sell.

So you’re living in the San Francisco area? What usually happens around there, could you tell me about the shows in that area that can be interesting and have been?

– San Francisco is the shit. It’’s progressive and beautiful and a hot mess of different cultures, types of art/music, foods… everything. Best shows I’’ve been to since moving here about a year and half ago have been: Noh Mercy, fIREHOSE, Raincoats, Frightwig, Ceremony, and lots of small local groups that play all the time. Favorite venues include Slim’s, Bottom of the Hill, the Knockout, El Rio, Gilman, and Thee Parkside.

It seems like you’re concentrating on delivering female punk-bands, at least when you do your radio bit with RAB Radio. Why is this and what gems would you recommend for this blog?

– Really, I just feel like there are SO MANY female artists who make incredible punk music. It comes down to: I like it. That said, I think women put their own unexpected spin on aggressive music, and they don’t get as much credit as some of the more popular all-male bands, so why not support them as much as possible?

Lately I’’ve been really into Bizkids (Netherlands), As Mercenarias (Brazil), Vacum (Sweden) Sin 34 (USA) and Honey Bane/Fatal Microbes (UK). I don’t listen to many contemporary bands, but I like White Lung (USA), and of course Pussy Riot (Russia).

What kind of categories are steadily returning to your blog and what is their purpose?

– Art, music, things going’ on in SF. It’s all ultimately for me to create some sort of record or documentation of these things that are important to me, all in one space. I guess there’s very little purpose for the reader, but if they want to check it out, well by all means…

Since we’re pretty different when it comes to art – could you explain what you find interesting with modern art? Like the Bauhaus school of art, for example?

– I honestly don’t think that I can. Not in this interview, anyway.

What other blogs do you read on a regular basis when you’re online?

– Only the Young Die Young, Bad At Sports, and girl shit like Pinterest. For music: Good Bad Music, Maximum Rock N Roll, Mutant Sounds, DIE or DIY, (and recently!) Invisible Guy.

I’d also like to ask you something about your vinyl-collection, what does it consist of and where did you get your latest vinyls from, and which bands/artists?

– It’’s a clusterfuck of DIY punk, cowpunk, anarcho-punk, proto-punk, post-punk, folk punk, no wave, new wave, darkwave, hardcore, queercore, grindcore, noise rock, krautrock, garage rock, math rock, indie rock, avant-garde, minimalism, obscurities, desert/Southwest/American Indian songs, with a healthy dose of ‘60s soul and motown. Recent acquisitions include the Gits first EP from Thrillhouse Records in SF, and Yeah Yeah Noh’s “Cottage Industry” from a thrift store.

You also do travel a lot it seems – what’s your favorite place in America and what other countries do you like?

– New Mexico and New York are my two favorite places to visit in the states. As far as abroad, I loved Buenos Aires, Athens, Reykjavik, and Ho Chi Minh City. I’’m hoping my next trip is to Berlin to visit my sister!

What kind of labels do you like and could you recommend anything we should know of?

– I dig me some Acute, Superior Viaduct, SST, Fan Death, RRRecords, and 99.

You’re also very enthusiastic about the “no-wave” genre, what would you say is good about it and what would your own recommendations be that people might not know of?

– I can (and will) talk to people for hours at a time about why I love no wave so much. So I will attempt to keep this relatively short and bearable. But for me, I think everything (space-and-time, wise) lined up impeccably to produce this jarring, nihilistic movement that was destined to destroy itself. I still haven’t found a genre as abrasive and relentless as no wave. It NEEDED to happen. I think before I had no wave as a reference point in my mind, I felt desperate and confused. I didn’’t know how to think about music. The fact that material can exist that is at once art-y and theatrical yet no less authentic and violent… that’s important to me.

Plus, it’s just good, strange music. I love that it’s an extremely isolated and cohesive movement, but manages to include an enormous variety of influences- at times cerebral, funky, angsty, atonal, melodic, mellow… all tied by a certain violence. It’s not “pleasing” music. And that pleases me. If you haven’t listened before, it’s customary to start with Eno’s No New York compilation. Then I recommend digging more into DNA, all of Lydia Lunch’s projects, and Glenn Branca / Theoretical Girls. After that, you might want to check out NY post-disco like Bush Tetras and Liquid Liquid.

Thank you for this interview! Say what you want down below!

– Muchas gracias!

You can find her blog over here:

http://ribbonaroundabomb.com/