The Psychic Paramount:
Like a phoenix, The Psychic Paramount rise from the ashes of one of New York's other loudest bands, forgotten '90s noise-rockers Laddio Bolocko, to unleash a greatly improved, more focused version of that band's deranged racket on audiences everywhere. Although TPP made a minor splash in the experimental rock scene with 2005's Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural, this year's follow-up, II, is their real coming-out party. Built around an obscenely tight bass-drums-guitar power trio, II is thrilling, a diamond-sharp bulldozer of an instrumental rock album that effortlessly demonstrates just how much noise three people can make playing in a traditional format if they really put their minds to it. None of this would matter if they couldn't fully realize their dynamic space jams live, but, lucky for us, they totally bring it during their smoke-machine-and-light-show-assisted live show, one of the most punishing and relentless I've ever seen. Catch one of their rare hometown shows and relive the glory days of Hawkwind and Blue Cheer through the lens of '80s no-wave and early '00s math rock. And get your eardrums blown out. Stream excerpts of their two albums here.
Although their album Leave Home shares its name with the 1977 classic by the Ramones, those who delve into Brooklyn gang The Men's Sacred Bones LP expecting an album of party-ready punk will be left bitterly disappointed and probably terrified. The Men, you see, specialize in throwing down the kind of rock noise that has been scaring parents and aggravating neighbors since the early '90s, but they separate themselves from all of today's clutch of hard-rocking misanthropes with a serious sense of variety. On Leave Home post-punk and doom metal rub shoulders with shoegaze, post-rock and moments of pure melody. Listening to Leave Home or catching The Men live is the most eclectic way that you'll get tinnitus this year. Stream Leave Home here
Named for Jim Thompson's surreal, brutal 1964 crime novel set in the badlands of Texas, the music of this cyberpunk trio from Brooklyn transports listeners to a very different desolate wasteland, a harsh retro-futuristic version of '80s New York inhabited by freaks, monsters and perverts. Although Pop. 1280 may seem high-concept, their music is simple and catchy, but defiantly debased, and they use seasick synths, metal-on-metal guitar and deranged sounding vocals to bring their nightmarish vision of NYC to life. Watch the video for EP highlight and title track "Step Into The Grid" here
Sinister Cold Cave sideman Dominick Fernow's been in the noise game for what seems like forever and has taken up the role of an elder-statesmen in the new noise scene, discovering and signing new noise and punk acts on his Hospital Productions label and releasing 26 LPs under his Prurient moniker alone since the early 2000s. But Bermuda Drain, his latest record, seems like a new beginning, the first Prurient record that seems to openly invite listeners that are new to the genre. Based more on synths and melody than any past noise release, there are moments where, were it not for Fernow's larynx-shredding vocals, Bermuda Drain would sound almost pretty. Power electronics purists may balk, but for anyone with a passing interest in noise this is a great entry point. Stream the album here.
Just because Brooklyn-based black metal crew Liturgy are mocked by some within the scene as "hipster-metal" doesn't mean that Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's undeniably powerful and intricate riffs on this year's critically-acclaimed Aesthetica rock any less or his raw-throated screams any less galvanizing. Leave out Hunt-Hendrix's pretentious technobabble about Liturgy representing the next evolution of transcendental black metal and you're left with a unique band, making swelling, triumphant music that sounds a million miles away from anything else on the market today. They might sound like the Animal Collective for the metal and leather set, but that sounds great to me. Listen to excerpts of Aesthetica here.