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Sacred Bones

Sqürl – EP #260 (mcd 2017)

I got to know Sqürl because the American director Jim Jarmusch plays in it and Sqürl played a big part of his film “Only Lovers Left Alive” that I badly need to see again.

Sqürl makes very slow, (mostly) minimalistic, instrumental drone / stoner / psychedelic rock music that fits “Only Lover Left Alive” perfectly. The band produced a couple of EPs: “#1”, “#2”, “#3” and now “#260”. There are two full-lengths. One is the soundtrack of the said film, the other a live recording. The ‘ambient rock music’ works well as background music, it is moody and somewhat dark. “#260” Does not contain my favorite Sqürl music, but it certainly is a nice album to listen to.

Sqürl moved to the varied and interesting label that houses artists and bands such as Zola Jesus, Moon Duo, Blank Mass, David Lynch, Lust For Youth, Pharmakon and Factums.

Links: Sqürl, Sacred Bones

Pop. 1280 ‎* Paradise (cd 2016)

I discovered this noisy band a couple of years ago when I was looking for electropunk. They were formed in 2009 and have released their third full-length in four years time. The band uses guitar-noise that may remind of a band like Swans here and there, but they have also got ‘pulsating electronics’ which are closer to a band like zZz. Sometimes the sound goes in the direction of ‘electropunk’, at other times the band has more of a noise-rock sound. There are also softer, more experimental tracks.

Like on previous albums “Paradise” is not an overall masterpiece, but most tracks are nice to good and a couple of tracks are very good.

I like to listen to the noisy side of popmusic nowadays. Often that is the ‘shoegaze’ side of the spectrum, but I must say that this dirty kind of ‘electropunk’ is a welcome addition.

Funny sidenote, the band shares labels with noise-lady Pharmakon and the famous Zola Jesus.

Links: Pop. 1280, Sacred Bones Records

Pharmakon * Bestial Burden (cd 2014)

Pharmakon was suggested to me by Based on the project name I guessed it would be dark ambient. Then I went to see if Deezer had anything of this project and the covers of both albums more looked like indierock to me (also the cover of “Bestial Burden” looks sweet on a small screen). Neither is true! “Bestial Burden” opens with a breathing lady with some ambient tunes on the background. This takes a bit too long, but after this it becomes clear that the breathing lady of the first track is not a sample, but the artist. Pharmakon is a ladies-noise/industrial project! You probably would not say that she makes pretty extreme music when you would meet Margaret Chardiet on the street. Music wise she goes from earcracking noise with dramatically screamed vocals to (Sistrenatus like) ritualistic industrial and more downright industrial sounds. I prefer the tracks in which Chardiet uses her voice in another way than for screaming, but I can say that this is quite varried and at times very nice noise.
The label, Sacred Bones, is interesting to have a closer look at too. I noticed that shoegazers Led Er Est, the electropunkers of Cult Of Youth, the noise rockers of Factums and even famous people like David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch are part of their roster.
Links: Pharmakon, Sacred Bones Records

Zola Jesus * Versions (cd 2013)

For some reason I had the idea that Zola Jesus was an old (ex-)industrial/goth singer who had gone solo and pop. Fact is, that this singer is only from 1989 and only started to perform under this monicker in 2008. However people seem to categorise Zola Jesus in the industrial/goth genre, it looks like it is more electropop that she makes. When I heard that her latest cd was written for a performance in the Guggenheim museum of New York and Zola Jesus cooperated with James George Thirwell (Foetus) I thought it was time to spend some time listening to her music.
“Versions” appears to be a more modern-classical approach to (mostly) the previous album “Conatus” (2011). There is a small orchestra, sometimes electronics and of course Jesus’ recognisable voice. Zola Jesus is not going to be my new favorite popartist, but “Versions” is a nice (be it somewhat melancholic) album.
Links: Zola Jesus, Sacred Bones Records