A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Philip Montoro, Reader music editor
Paal Nilssen-Love at Corbett vs. Dempsey on December 14 The last concert at CvsD before its move to 2156 W. Fulton was an improvised solo set by Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (Large Unit, the Thing). I love how organically he allows the competing poles of so many dualities to interpenetrate in his playing: pulsed and free, sparse and frenzied, textural and melodic, delicate and bruising.
Daughters, You Won’t Get What You Want I finally caught up with this great album after missing Daughters’ Chicago shows in November—but luckily, I’ll get another chance at Bottom Lounge in March. The band greases its bleak, artsy posthardcore with nihilistic swagger, propelling shattered sheets of glassy black neon-lit noise with rhythms that range from a numbing throb to a laser-targeted barrage—at its most toweringly evil, it sounds like it’s played with the thumpers from Dune and the Death Star cannon from The Last Jedi.
Kirani Ayat, “Guda” I enjoy lots of things about “Guda,” the second single from Aisha’s Sun, the forthcoming debut album by Ghanaian rapper Kirani Ayat: his clear, powerful baritone voice, the catchy Afropop-inflected chorus, the English phrases that pop out of his inspirational Hausa lyrics, the thick, slewing bass synth that sometimes shadows the beat. But the video puts this song in a category of its own: shot in the town of Bolgatanga, near Ghana’s northern border, it showcases the beauty of the people, traditions, and landscapes of the West Sudanian Savanna.
Philip is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Kriegmeister Hatestorm, front man for Neckbeard Deathcamp
xAbruptx Heavy music is protest fundamentally. Anyone who says otherwise is a dummy. Grind and powerviolence have never skipped a punch in that regard and take little time to parse through layers of shit to see who can hang. The pursuit of punishing riffs and blastbeats is a treasure cruise through this Chicago duo’s discography. Drummer Rob and guitarist Elisa (they both sing) were some of my first friends when I moved here, and their tolerance for bullshit is consistently less than zero—a trait I have worked hard to absorb. Their split with Minimum Wage Assassins slaps, and I wouldn’t be the Hatestorm I am today without it or them.
The Temple of Murmur Defunct DIY venue the Temple of Murmur was the house in which my last holdout pastel choices in rebel radio were euthanized. It was also the house in which my first musical project, WHITEPHOSPHOROUS, was born. On a November evening in like-minded counsel, I played a set titled “First Horseman.” Thanks, Jack. For everything.
Haggathorn Where grind and crust are an easy cracker on which to spread left politics, black metal proves often a little soft-spoken on the issue, oddly enough. Haggathorn are a powerful exception to that rule, and still do the things we like about black metal. Their intensity, outspoken hostility, and stage performances all hit the spot. They also learn quickly and take hits well. Haggathorn guitarist Nathan Scripter will curate the final third of this In Rotation.
Hatestorm is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Nathan Scripter, guitarist for Haggathorn
Zao This West Virginia band’s 1999 album Liberate Te Ex Inferis (which roughly translates to “Save Yourself From Hell”) has a darkness and heaviness that’s always stuck with me. I grew up in a strict Christian family. We were only allowed to listen to Christian music. I was beginning to explore the occult and Satanism when this record came out. I felt a deep connection between its darkness and all the struggles I had learning about my own darkness while living in that environment.
Grave Gnosis This incredible black-metal band from Florida are a huge inspiration to me. Many of their songs have been calculatedly written through black-magic ritual—and they’re some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with.
Hyems These guys are an anti-Nazi black-metal band from Germany, and they have really tight riffs. Their latest EP, this summer’s 1997, features a track called “Nazi Black Metal Fuck Off.” It’s always good to see other black-metal musicians taking a stand against racism. v