Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I'm a bit late to the party with this one but given it's been on what can only be described as 'heavy rotation' for the past couple of months I felt I should do it the justice of at least a few column inches. I narrowly missed seeing them play at the weekend (sold out) and I was so gutted that the fine mexican food and cans of PBR at the Motor City Lounge that took a poor second place lost all of their taste.

I asked a few people what would make the top album's of 2010 list and aside of the long drawn out bouts of silence peppered with 'fuck me it was a shit year for music' the only other common denominator was this 'King Night' by Salem.

Personally I had managed to avoid all of the fuss surrounding this, mainly because I thought it was by Z-list metal band Salem but also because the people telling me to go listen to it couldn't really explain why I should or what it sounded like.

In time cool monikers for the genre apparently championed by Salem came along.

'It's Witch House'

'It's Rape-gaze'

Well what to say other than 'You had me at hello'.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect other than some really dense, mid-fi beat based music and the first couple of times I played it that's exactly what I got. Kind of like sorry for it's self trip-hop (ugh) fed through the Kevin Shields machine. Then I started using it to calm number one son when he wouldn't stop crying, well okay mostly it was to calm me but as I did I started to get into it.

To say the sound is dense is an understatement, Salem have succeeded in packing so much into their sound it plays like the needle is being dragged through a dirty old suitcase stuffed with shit-stained clothes salvaged from a hospital incinerator and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Its music that's so dirty that it smells. Really though, it does, of beer, of sex, of heroin shit on stone-washed denim.

High pitched keyboard squeals layered over budget drum machines with a voice at the back of the mix so smacked out and slowed down that if the singer needed a Black Metal name he would be called Mogadon. There's some orchestration in there as well and surprisingly, the entire thing managed in part at least to come across as anthemic. Something that despite of itself you could imagine a room full of people dancing to.

I now find myself in the same position that my much hipper friends found themselves in last year: Trying to recommend something to people without really being able to label the sound or explain the musical motive, but that's okay because it's about fucking time.

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