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07 Nov 07 00:00 |


Snarling folk



With the appearance of a heavily bearded tattooed prophet, DANIEL HIGGS emerged from the early-‘80s hardcore punk scene as an underground icon with a near-mythological status. He sharpened his teeth in the music scene as a wild-eyed vocalist in the legendary Baltimore hardcore group Reptile House. The group disbanded in 1986 and Higgs, who was raised on Yeats and Dylan Thomas, became involved with the Apathy Press poets and started doing open-mic poetry readings. As the lead singer of the band Lungfish, Higgs’ stage presence was part Jim Morrison stream-of-consciousness poetry and part G.G. Allin unbridled lunacy. In his shows, he evoked specters of Franz Kafka and Walt Whitman in his lyrics while performing outrageous shenanigans like rolling his eyes back like a madman and trying to pull his own tongue out, or stabbing himself in the forehead with a safety pin while spouting rants about the Antichrist. His first solo album was recorded in 2006 and released on Holy Mountain and combined minimal meditative hillbilly blues, Eastern mysticism, and lyrics about physical and ethereal demise at the hands of demons. The beautifully packaged Atomic Yggdasil Tarot was released by Thrill Jockey in June 2007, and combines a book of his art and poetry with a CD of abstract lo-fi instrumental drones, with intentions of conjuring a tarot-like force when experienced simultaneously. GROUPER is Liz Harris from Portlan, Oregon. The space drones that dominated her debut album where consisted mostly of looped vocals and fx-fuckery and woulld almost remind one of a female version of The Skaters. Grouper’s second full-length focusses more on guitar and actual song structures but keeps that particular atmosphere. Ethereal shoegazdronefolkpop for those who like noisedronetapehissloopfx. The young Belgian ruler of apocalyptic folk, Stef Heeren, after his much aclaimed debut album of last year, returns with an amazing follow up. “An Interlude For The Outermost” combines the dark mantra-ish folk of his first record with sharpened folkrock, intense melodies and heart-ripped spleen. His punkroots are still clearly present in his powerful voice, the themes are still slightly pagan. The difference with “If The Sky Falls, We Shall Catch Larks” is the fact that on the new album we much more hear the product of a band, with profound arrangements and detailed production. “An Interlude For The Outermost” has become the masterpiece we all expected from KISS THE ANUS OF A BLACK CAT. The recordings of “An Interlude For The Outmost” already started in August 2006, when Heeren, together with guitar player De Maré and drummer David Stubbe (ex-Thee Plague Of Gentlemen) took a room in art center Vooruit (Ghent) to record the basics of the new album. After that, Heeren started to reshape the songs by inviting different musicians to play different parts and by getting everything together on the computer. Thematically not much has changed. He still screams his soul into the mic. and carries all the shit of the world on his shoulders for the time the album lasts. Even though some melodies might prove the contrary, the feel of this album hasn’t much to do with the joy of life. This young musician’s main worries are both the heritage of 09/11, the banality of the individual and society. This desillusion he tries to put into his lyrics and music. And how… With the rock line-up he has clearly found his thing, and presents us the new album that is definitely one of the highlights of the contemporary darkfolk movement.

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