Saturday, 18 January 2020

2019 End-Of-Year List From Mikey Ortega (This Noise Is Ours Contributor/Reader/Noise Musician)

Here's the second EOY list, this time from longtime overseas friend, noise musician and occasional review contributor Mikey Ortega. Mikey provided a list last time I did this early last year, so it only seemed right for me to include another one of his lists, as his music taste is way more varied that mine. I hope you enjoy this one.


Another year has gone by, and in a few days not only will we be starting a new year, but a new decade. The 2010’s has been a really interesting one. Lots of bands and artist I would have never thought I’d be a fan of. Doom Metal and Noise have mostly dominated my music collection. But as the years gone by, post-punk, indie, and folk, have been creeping up into my playlist. While compiling my list for Best Of 2019, I’ve noticed that my Top 10 doesn’t consist of Metal bands. Of course there’s some heavy bands and artists, but I wouldn’t consider them “METAL”. I have to admit, this is a list that I’m very proud of and I hope someone will take the time to check out some of these albums.


When this Dutch band put out OPTIMIST back in 2017, I thought they were a killer addition to the Post-Rock/Post-Metal scene. With WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING?, Gold have established a sound that can only be there’s. Once you listened to “He Is Not”, you can’t mistake that what you’re listening to is a Gold song.




If there’s one thing to say about ALL MIRRORS, it’s that it shows how much Angel Olsen has grown as a musician and a songwriter. Every track was composed with a very dreamy tone that only an inspiring singer-songwriter can dream of. It’s awesome to see all the attention that it’s brought to Angel Olsen, which goes to show what an amazing album ALL MIRRORS is.

Angel Olsen Website -




Never in my life did I ever thought a post-punk album will make me feel dirty. Not only by the lyrics but the music arrangement and tone. Even though this features a member of Drab Majesty, VR Sex is nothing like Drab Majesty. This is more raw and dark, but still you can still dance to the songs.  HUMAN TRAFFIC JAM will make you feel like you’re in a dark underground club in NYC or London.




One of many bands that cemented my love for the Boise music scene. After listening to IT RUNS AROUND THE ROOM WITH US back in 2017, I’ve been anticipating for what Sun Blood Stories will brew up next. And HAUNT YOURSELF did not disappoint.  It’s everything that you expect from Sun Blood Stories. Not that HAUNT YOURSELF sounds like their previous album.  It’s that it goes to show that Sun Blood Stories are capable to take their sound and songwriting to the next level.

Sun Blood Stories Website -




I did not think that BIRTH OF VIOLENCE would be on this list. But after many many listens, this album has become a favourite of 2019. Of course this is nothing like HISS SPUN. But this is a perfect combination of Chelsea Wolfe’s early acoustic stuff and her current work. The album was promoted as an acoustic album, but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be a “return to roots” album, but BIRTH OF VIOLENCE turned out to be more than that and goes to show why I will continue to be a Chelsea Wolfe fan.

Chelsea Wolfe Website -




One of my favourite finds of 2019. VEILS OF WINTER by Blackwater Holylight is a heavy album that you will find yourself singing along to. This Portland band made a killer album that crosses doom and 90’s indie/alternative rock. The riffs are awesome and the harmonies are amazing.  It’s one of the reason I love the PNW scene. Definitely one of the best releases that Riding Easy Records has put out.

Blackwater Holylight Website -




Another album that I’ve been anticipating for 2019. A while back, Michael Gira mentioned how the recent Swans line-up was coming to an end. So it only made me wonder how the new line-up was gonna turn out like. Upon hearing the first single “It’s Coming It’s Real”, it really made me excited for LEAVING MEANING. Swans continue to bring a whole new experience to the listeners and take them on a trip to the mind of Michael Gira. Gira’s vocals still bring a chill to my spine and with the way the music was composed, it really made for a great experience that only Swans can create.

Young God Records/Swans Webstore -



Holy shit! I have not been excited for a country album since Nico Case. Really surprise to see Orville Peck on a legendary label like Sub Pop. And after listening to PONY, I can see why Sub Pop added Orville Peck to their roster. This isn’t the kind of country that you hear on mainstream. This is very old school and very fresh to hear. Orville Peck has a voice that you hardly hear anymore and with adding elements of indie and shoe gaze, it really makes PONY stand out, not only in country, but music in general. Yee-haw!

Orville Peck Website -




This is a band that KRBX in Boise, Idaho really got me hooked on. The French Tips created an album that is a perfect combination of melody and attitude. IT’S THE TIPS is a album with some bad ass tracks and catchy songwriting. With songs like “Buzzkill” and “Burn It Down”, it does bring me back to the days of college, watching bands playing at a DIY venue. Just hearing the album, you can tell they put their heart and soul into this and because of that, I was really able to connect with the record and it is why it made my list.




Any Extreme Metal band that put out an album in 2019, I like to think that they knew they would be no match to what Kristen Hayter was going to unleash. For a couple of years, there have a been a huge buzz surrounding Lingua Ignota. 2017’s “ALL BITCHES DIE” left a huge impression on me. It reminded me of why I love experimental music. With “CALIGULA”, this album exceeded all of my expectations. It not only shows that Hayter is a amazing composer, but that she really knows how to think outside of the box. And because of that, “CALIGULA” sounded very refreshing. The rawness and dark atmosphere are taken to a whole new level. It’s not a album that tries to scare you, but make you understand of the World we live in.

Lingua Ignota Website -

Mikey eluded to this in his opening paragraph, but his list is probably the "least metal" list that you'll read on a site that covers the genre. That's okay though, because with the lines between genres continually being blurred, so it makes complete sense. Thanks to you Mikey for sending this in.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Politess - The Sound Of Crowdfunding (No Funeral Records)

Labels: No Funeral Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 29 Nov 2019


1. Confrontation Par Le Son
2. Obsolescence Recyclable
3. Un Vide A La Fois
4. Tommy S'achete Un Condo Sur Mars (The Chronicles Part. II)
5. Spinner Dans L'fish N' Chips
6. La Police Du Bon Gout

Reaching the mid-way point of the usual weekly grind is always cause to celebrate. I'm gonna celebrate it with...some grind! This is the latest release from (another) Canadian band called Politess. It was released last November on tape via No Funeral Records, as well as digitally via both label and the band themselves. Politess released their first EP band in 2012, before a self-titled full length record in 2015 and then another EP (also released with the help of No Funeral Records) in 2018.  Third EP "The Sound Of Crowdfunding" was released less than twelve months later. This is more than grind and contains loads of mathy nonsense akin to Daughters and Genghis Tron etc. 

This is glitchy, jazz-laden grind with heavy use of electronics. Confrontation Par Le Son is what happens when a screamo band mixes with off-kilter grind and Merzbow. Crazy instrumental acrobatics courtesy of the percussion and guitars sit perfectly with the piercing harsh vocals. Industrial coldness and high-pitched screams that would make The Body proud are present on Obsolescence Recyclable. It also sounds like someone employed an 80s sci-fi robot and lasers for added effect, which should be mandatory if you ask me!

The majority of their songs are what you’d expect from a band majoring in mathy, technical grind and Un Vide A La Fois dials up the weird even more with plenty of reverb-laden vox and Casio-like keyboard effects. What comes next is very different. Tommy S’achete Un Condo Sur Mars (The Chronicles Part II) is their take on minimalist, noisy sludge except it’s being played by an avant-garde jazz troupe. It’s experimental by sheer virtue of being bizarre and so enjoyable. Sandwiched in between Tommy… and the EP closer, is Spinner Dans L’fish N’ Chips, which is just fifty-five seconds of utter madness. That kind of describes the whole EP come to think of it.

La Police Du Bon Gout closes out “The Sound Of Crowdfunding” with a lengthy and musical piece. It’s probably the closest you’re gonna get to conventional music on the EP, but even then it’s not that close. Politess once again show their penchant for experimentation, strange sounds and even a sample of what sounds like someone stopping to have a drink in between. It’s a song that builds in volume and layers, but it never reaches the noisy heights that you might be expecting. 

I have a feeling that Politess is going to be on heavy rotation at TNIO towers for quite some time. This is great experimental grind with a bit of post-hardcore sensibility too. No Funeral Records have smashed it out the park again and considering this small label turned me onto bands as great as Albatros and Paper Hats already, I shouldn’t really have been surprised. Make sure you check this out!

Stream and purchase "The Sound Of Crowdfunding" digitally below:-

Physical tapes can be purchased via No Funeral Records here -

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Territories - Quit This City/Defender 7" (Pirates Press Records)

Labels: Pirates Press Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 25 Oct 2019


1. Quit This City
2. Defender

With all of the usual bluster that people get swept up in during the autumn/winter months, it's unsurprising that there are releases that were missed. There was a lot of punk release towards the end of last year and this 7" from Canadian band Territories was late addition to my inbox. It was pressed on vinyl by Pirates Press Records and also released digitally by the band in late October, to coincide with a run of shows in the US. Both band and label are no strangers to each other, as Pirates Press Records on various LP variants, on CD and as a special set of 12 picture flexi discs back in in 2018.

This is great easy-going and heartfelt punk. Quit This City is a story of wanting to get out with your loved ones and break the shackles of where you live, that are holding you down. It’s really well played and even quite nostalgic. Territories is a band made up of members of fellow Canadian punk lifers Knucklehead and they sit comfortably alongside Off With Their Heads and The Draft (US) etc.

Second song Defender is more of the same. It’s mid-paced like the title-track, catchy and true. As quickly as it starts, it seems to end and it’s not even a quick song, it’s just such an effortless listen. That’s the musical nous that Territories has as a band. There’s nothing over-complicated, just good old punk with a down-to-earth attitude and none of the preachiness. 

“Quit This City/Defender” is why the 7” format was made. Short releases containing enough music to allow the listener to enjoy whatever band they’re listening to, while not giving away too much and allowing for further investigation and enjoyment of them down the line. You’re in safe waters with Territories. 

You can stream and buy this EP digitally via Bandcamp below:-

You can buy the 7" separately or part of a bundle via Pirates Press Records below:-

Monday, 13 January 2020

Haunt - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom Records)

Labels: Shadow Kingdom Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 10 Jan 2020


1. Light The Beacon
2. Hearts On Fire
3. Mind Freeze
4. Divide And Conquer
5. Saviours Of Man
6. Fight Or Flight
7. Have No Fear
8. On The Stage
9. Voyager

The heavy metal genre lost one of it's modern greats when Beastmaker's Trevor William Church announced that Haunt was going to be his primary focus, but fans of the music needn't have worried too much. Haunt takes what Beastmaker created and runs with it. 2019 was a bumper year for the band, seeing the release of a full-length, an EP and two splits. 2020 has only just started and the quartet is back with their their full-length "Mind Freeze". The line-up, completed by drummer Daniel Wilson, bassist Taylor Hollman and guitarist/backing-vocalist John Tucker are here to make sure that 2020 is their year.

The heavy metal wave has continually crashed against the wider metal shore for the last year or so and it shows no sign of stopping. Haunt, like genre comrades Khemmis, are focusing on catchy and melodic metal. Opening song Light The Beacon contains everything that we’ve come to expect from Haunt over recent years and magnifies it. Melodic vocals, striding guitar-work and drumming to match.

Their sound leans way more towards the traditional end of the heavy metal spectrum and the galloping, up-beat tempos of Hearts On Fire are a perfect example of why Haunt’s music is held in such high regard at the moment. There’s nothing offensive (volume-wise) here and the clean singing will appeal to a wide audience, especially those jumping in from a hard rock direction.

Mind Freeze as a title-track has to be the standout song on the album for me. It’s the longest song on the record and while sometimes, those lengthier songs can lose the listeners attention, Haunt keeps it thanks to some epic guitar work that catches the imagination. Drawing comparisons to Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath may seem lazy, but they make sense when hearing this song and hint at the quality on display.

As well as the obvious traditional heavy metal leanings, there’s also an element of fantasy that’s been brought alive by Haunt, which may have remind you of European bands like Blind Guardian and Hammerfall. Divide And Conquer has that influence, but without the cheese. The synths on Saviours Of Man gives way to a very empowering song, played with focus and urgency. They’re a nice addition to the sound and help to pull you out of that brief fantasy realm.

The empowerment continues on the short but sweet Fight Or Flight. This shorter format of song is used to keep momentum high on “Mind Freeze” and it manages to stay on the right side of being called filler. That’s one term you can’t use when talking about Haunt. There are a lot of bands that try and pull this style off, but who fail to get close and Have No Fear is a song written by a band who’ve transcended that level.

The musicality doesn’t stop there either, as penultimate song On The Stage comes at you with a mix of Ramones-era punk and glam rock. It’s subtly woven in but it’s there and is packaged together really well alongside the band’s metal backbone. Album closer Voyager gives birth to one last head-banging heavy metal anthem and draws a line under an album that highlights a band that’s really maturing and growing.

At this point, I’d like to say that I don’t usually mention as many other bands in my reviews as I have done in this one, but the reason I’ve done it here is because it highlights how widespread Haunt’s fanbase could be on hearing this album. I’m not sure it’s as strong as 2018”s “Burst Into Flame”, but “Mind Freeze” is still an awesome record and the fact that Shadow Kingdom Records has made it available across multiple formats just goes to show the belief that they and the band have in it. That belief is fully justified.

You can stream "Mind Freeze" and purchase it on all formats below:-

Sunday, 12 January 2020

2019 End-Of-Year List from Sean McGuire (Sing The Nation Electric blog)

We're nearly halfway through January already, so this is coming out a little later than planned. Back in late November/Early December last year, I asked via social media if people wanted to submit their EOY lists for inclusion on there blog. Sean, having been a returning reader for god knows how long now was the first person to bite the bullet, so here's his list.


This list relies heavily on recommendations by, and must therefore acknowledge credit to, Landon Wonser, frontman of Tacoma, WA's CZAR, a band which is extremely likely to appear on one of these lists the next time they release something.

10. Not Your Friends - Constructing A Mental Breakdown (Math/Grind/Screamo)

When you have a band that casually dunks on half the black metal that came out this year in less than 2 minutes ("It Is Happening Again"), you gotta include it on some kind of list. This Pennsylvania wrecking crew plays a savage set of songs that take a scalpel to the patriarchy and then beat the wound with a baseball bat. Proceeds from album sales go to Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.


9. The Central - Van Dyke's Brown Crystal

This odd couple has never been in the business of sounding like other grind duos around the world. True to form, VDBC doesn't compromise their carefully honed brand of chaos. In fact, this time around, these grind freaks add some more ornaments to their particular style of home decor. Go knock on their door. They're always welcoming guests.


8. USA Nails - Life Cinema

"I am a human traffic light," snarls the lead at the beginning of a noise rock album that's so precise and well-oiled that it fools you into thinking it's not one. Gawd, every groove and every rhythm is on point. "It's Ordinary" might be the best cut of the lot, but it's not easy to make that call. Each song captures humdrum monotony and the fierce revulsion to that humdrum monotony, all at the same time. It's a vibe.


7. The Callous Daoboys - Die On Mars

What a party. "Contrail Crucifix" has the breakdown of the year; don't @ me. Everything you've ever wanted from mathcore and metalcore in general can be found in this album; it's sassy without being obnoxious, feral without being incoherent, and angsty without repeating itself. In a year that some called "twenty ninescene", the Daoboys have my vote for prom king and queen. 


6. The St. Pierre Snake Invasion - Caprice Enchante (Post-hardcore but chunky)

Remember all that chatter online about who should fill the void of the Dillinger Escape Plan? I used to think it was Cleric, but I think it's actually these guys. Cleric is their own terrifying beast and the St. Pierre Snake Invasion have all the lyrical flourish and ostentatious showmanship that truly defined the Dillinger Escape Plan. You ever hear something like "Braindead" that makes you wanna scream and strut at the same time? Boogie down, baby.


5. Parliament Owls - A Span Is All We Can Boast (Post-hardcore but like proggy)

Listening to this album made me realise something: when people used to tell me what they loved about A Day To Remember, teenage me imagined something that sounded like this-- or at least something that made me feel like this. The cleans are gorgeous and the compositions are huge and the heart is on the proverbial sleeve. I can't not love it.


4. Jute Gyte - Birefringence (Black Metal/Prog Metal)

This one-man project is loud and labyrinthine. There's bands with 5+ people in them who try and fail to sound this wild. Birefringence feels like another victory lap by a dude who's leaps and bounds ahead of his peers. Keep up if you dare.


(Harm Remissions)

(Their Holes Aroused By The Splinters Carved From Their Teeth)

3. Fawn Limbs - Harm Remissions/Their Holes Aroused By The Splinters Carved From Their Teeth

Thanks to Mathcore Index, it's been really really really hard picking my favourite releases under that umbrella. Fawn Limbs takes the cake over everybody else because A) their savagery just doesn't sit still and B) their work ethic doesn't sit still, either, considering that they put out TWO stellar releases this year which I'm totally counting as a single album. 


(Calling Whitetails To A Tuned Bow)

(All Tiny Breasts Crushed Beneath The Shadow)

2. Those Darn Gnomes - Calling Whitetails To A Tuned Bow/All Tiny Breasts Crushed Beneath The Shadow

They don't wanna be called metal, but sometimes you don't get to choose who loves you. Layers and layers of jazz, improv, grind, and straight-up noise are soaked in haunting vocals and poetry until your eyes are hollow and your face is golden and your mouth is coming apart at the seams, just like that glorious cover art. Even without its accompanying 2019 release: "All Tiny Breasts Crushed Beneath The Shadow", this was gonna be a highlight for the year. Together, it's one of the spookiest audio experiences this year.


1. DISPOSSESSED - WARPATH NEVER ENDED (Black Metal/War Metal/Death Metal)

There's this assumption that goes around that politically charged albums get inflated treatment from listeners solely because of the statement and not the music. If DISPOSSESSED can't kill that assumption, nothing can. It's a raw, terrifying, and necessary listen. Feedback-soaked riffs and venomous vocals make this the kind of black metal that laughs disdainfully at corpse paint. Even without DISPOSSESSED's ethos, it'd be one of the best releases out there. But it doesn't stop there. These guys have done something incredibly important by taking an art form steeped in European history/ideals and using it to express the pain, sorrow, and rage left in the wake of European colonialism. These guys are not here to comfort your white guilt; they were too busy recording the most rebellious metal album of the year.



Guttersnipe - Ode to Spongehouse
Dead Kiwis - Systematic Home Run EP
Detach The Islands - The Burden To Become Fact
Friendship - Undercurrent
Ground - Mourn Innocence
Misery Index - Rituals of Power
Unfurl - Waking the Void
WRVTH - No Rising Sun
Mussel Boy - Cookout
Plaxenta - S/T
Pariah - If The Ocean Rejects Me
Psychic Graveyard - Loud As Laughter/The Next World EP
Shin Guard - 2020
Thank - Please EP
Pelican - Nighttime Stories
Sachiel - Return To Nothing
Child Abuse - Imaginary Enemy

I just want to say a big thank you to Sean for sending this list over and for allowing me to publish it. Please go and visit his blog here -