Michael Nelson
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We just posted this month’s Black Market a few hours ago, which means the new song from Primordial — which just dropped a few minutes ago — won’t be eligible for inclusion till October’s column. But you can rest assured, it will be included. I was actually under the impression the Irish band’s upcoming eighth album, Where Greater Men Have Fallen, wasn’t out until next March, but either my intel was bad or it’s been moved up by four months, because apparently it’s now set to arrive in November. That’s a pretty good time of year to listen to Primordial: cold, windy late autumn, on the verge of winter: a good time for leather jackets and over-ear headphones and loud, burly, epic Irish heavy metal. And this record delivers just that. Primordial had been trending away from harsher black-metal sonics and toward a more traditional metal sound for some time, but Where Greater Men Have Fallen goes all-in: This thing is almost Maiden-esque in its majesty. The album’s opener/title track is a snarling, wild beast; it is available to stream now, and I encourage you to do just that.

One of the things I love so much about Ryan Adams’ new self-titled LP is the way in which he incorporates all these atavistic, objectively uncool ’80s sounds and wrings from them this absolutely devastating emotional power. Scott rightly compared the record to Bryan Adams; Chris Ryan at Grantland — also rightly — compared it to Tom Petty. And that’s all in there! By way of additional evidence, Ryan Adams covered Foreigner’s inescapable 1984 ballad “I Want To Know What Love Is” as part of his performance on NPR’s World Cafe. And today, audio of that track has landed. The original doesn’t exactly skimp on the portentous gloom, but Adams strips the song down to its essential components and makes it both bigger and sadder. The guy is having a great year, and this only adds to it. Stream or download below.

Copenhagen’s Communions are inextricably tangled up with the Danish scene that spawned bands like Iceage, Lower, Vår, and Lust For Youth: Communions share a rehearsal space with the former two bands (among others), and they have released music on Posh Isolation, the label owned by Loke Rahbek, who is a member of the latter two bands. But Communions do not sound anything like any of those bands. For my money, they are so much better! When I listen to the band’s new two-song 7″ (which follows the Cobblestones EP from earlier this year), I can hear some early Real Estate, some La’s, some Go-Betweens, but it reminds me of nothing so much as the Stone Roses’ 1989 debut — which is about the highest praise I can think of. It’s a warm gust of spindly, spider-y guitars and heavy-lidded, heavenly vocals, all soaked in good LSD and set to a bubbling, effortless, joyous rhythm. I’ve now listened to the A-side, “So Long Sun,” a few dozen times over the past hour, and I’m already starting to itch for a full-length. You can check it out below, and you definitely should do just that.


 +1Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

This, for me, is the essence of MY problem with the whole thing:

“And in defense of her if it came out that she was one of the members of precious indie pop band Ex Cops I think the metal community would dismissed her out of hand.”

If she was real concerned about that, she should have done a much better job concealing her “civilian” identity. How? Don’t release your first album on the biggest metal label in the country! BUILD that alias, nurture it, spend YEARS creating it. No one on earth believed Relapse just stumbled upon some wood nymph who made records that sounded like Ulver but had never released a single demo. OF COURSE it only took like an hour for the entire internet to find out the “truth.”

That’s the other thing: Her “real” identity DID come out, and you know what? NO ONE CARED. People who dismissed her out of hand would have done so anyway (her bio says RIYL: Deafheaven and Wolves In The Throne Room, which is shorthand for “hipster metal”), everyone else assessed the music on its merits.

On that note, I am with you Blochead, it is an excellent record. I hope she continues to make music as Myrkur because I think she might produce something MASSIVE in the future.

 +1Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

Also, in case it’s not clear, the Captain Murphy thing was ALWAYS a gag, which makes it seem to me a little less insidious. Complex knew as much when they did the interview (I strongly suspect they did anyway). The way they phrased the question is intentionally revealing: “What can you tell us about this Captain Murphy CHARACTER?”

 +1Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

I can’t compare the two because I never saw the press materials that went out with Burial’s first release. That said, the primary difference in my eyes is that William Emmanuel Bevan wasn’t both an established model and an established musician (working in another genre) when Burial emerged.

Here, a better example is Captain Murphy. Would I say that FlyLo deceived his fans by not initially revealing he was Captain Murphy? Yeah, I would. Consider this 2012 exchange with Complex:

Q: Getting back to your recent collaborations, what can you tell us about this Captain Murphy character?

A: He’s a young dude from L.A. He’s really really shy. I met him through hanging out in the scene and shit. He’s a young dude not giving a fuck about being famous and shit. He didn’t even want to release the music he’d been passing to me and just did the shit for fun but I convinced the dude to start pushing himself and getting the music out.

I’m not saying it’s SINISTER but yes I would consider that deception. It’s deception! By definition, that is deception.

It’s still not a perfect parallel — that is an ABJECT lie, whereas Myrkur’s statements at least contain a tiny kernel of truth shrouded in a whole fog of non-truth. That said, FlyLo was associated with Captain Murphy from the outset, where Bruun has (still) never publicly claimed ownership of or connection to Myrkur.

Look, I firmly agree with you on this point: Artists have every right to claim whatever identity they choose. But I didn’t out Amalie Bruun as Myrkur! And I would not have done so! Had she not chosen to out herself, I would not have written anything at all about her again until/unless necessity demanded it. And if she NEVER outed herself and at some point necessity demanded I cover Myrkur, I would have played along. “The mysterious black metal act called Myrkur…”

 0Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

Aw thank you!!!

 0Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

It is! It’s the old munitions factory; my wife took that photo when we visited the island. Good eye! That whole place is cult.

 +1Posted on Oct 1st | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

I guess it depends on how you define “lie” and/or “cheat.” Because this is a public forum and not a court of law, I’m only gonna cite examples that were published, rather than disclose details of any one-on-one correspondences.

1. The bio that initially went out to press with her record said only this re: her identity:

“Emerging from the darkness of Scandinavia comes the debut EP by one-woman black metal band MYRKUR.”

That’s definitely not forthcoming. Are there any abject lies in there? I suppose not. Bruun was born and raised in Copenhagen and she allegedly still lives in Denmark some months of the year (and also allegedly recorded the Mykur EP there). She’s really publicly identified with NYC though, as indicated by the thousands of pieces written about her modeling career, her solo work, and Ex Cops, not least among them that Elle profile in which she takes the writer on a “tour of her artist-beloved Brooklyn shopping scene.”

There are couple other at least questionable claims in that bio: It’s technically her “debut EP” under the Myrkur handle, but Bruun has four releases under her own name, two with Ex Cops, one with Minks, and a bunch of other ancillary stuff (she was in a Lonely Island video, guested on a R.A. The Rugged Man track). Myrkur is nominally a “one-woman black metal band,” although in more recent interviews Bruun has revealed that somebody named “Rex Mynur” did all the drums. Again, are these abject lies? Not really, but they do seem like omissions-of-truth, to me.

2. The first interview she did (on 8/7, more than a month in advance of the album’s release: included the following exchanges:

Q: I’m curious to know how a one man band with no other releases managed to sign with such a big label as Relapse Records?

A: They heard me sing in the forest and offered to sign me.

NOPE. That didn’t happen. Benefit of the doubt: Maybe they heard a demo she recorded in a studio located in a forest-y area? Still, it was presumably a demo she shopped to Relapse (and other labels). That’s fine! That’s what you do! But this account is pretty much, at best, a severe re-working of the details and it comes PRETTY CLOSE to a lie. I’d actually respect it more if it were an outright lie, but based on everything else, I kinda get the feeling there’s enough of a fleck of truth in there to keep it from being a pure fabrication.

Q: Is Myrkur your first band?

A: It is not a band, it is just me, I am Myrkur.

EHHH. I mean, you really wouldn’t call that deception? She totally dodged the question and then, in her non-answering evasion, implied that she was solely responsible for music on the EP (” it is just me”), which is patently false (the existence of her drummer was revealed to the public only later).

I don’t mean to condemn Amalie Bruun or the Myrkur project — I like the music very much and I think she’s pretty respectful of black metal’s traditions and history. I don’t question for a second her seriousness, her talent, or her commitment. And if you can think of a better word than “deception,” I’ll happily acquiesce. To me, “deception” applied.

Honestly, I just think this was a PR approach that was fucked from the start. Within 30 minutes of posting that first Myrkur track, I was getting emails from NUMEROUS people filling me in on the details (off the record). If it’s gonna fall apart that soon, why bother with the ruse in the first place?

Carson that’s a hell of an analysis. Thanks for sharing.

 +5Posted on Sep 30th | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

Aaron can verify this but if I remember correctly, Tompa Lindberg was in the crowd for Sacrifice at MDF and just LOSING HIS SHIT. That dude’s love for metal is legitimately inspirational.

 +1Posted on Sep 30th | re: The Black Market: The Month In Metal - September 2014 (35 comments)

Thanks, Blochead!

One’s an essay from the Awl about how messed-up the lyrics to “No One Else” are when you actually consider what the song is suggesting, and the other is an essay by Rivers Cuomo about how he sort of dehumanized and sexually exploited his female fans (which led to him becoming celibate for years).