The Summer of Doom

My recent listening habits haven’t been jolly. I suspect they reflect the dumpster fire that World News is at the moment.

The Stranglers – Rattus Novigus

A big alternative band of the 80s, who were personally big in my 90s. I saw them live (without original lead singer Hugh Cornwell, which was off-putting) at one of the Leeds Free Festivals at Roundhey Park, and their Greatest Hits lp was constantly on my mate Foz’s stereo when I went around. Attitude-wise, they’ve always struck me as the same joking about – but oh so deadpan – that Faith No More also displays. So recently, I’ve been working through their back catalogue, listening to ENTIRE ALBUMS. So I started with their debut Rattus Norvegicus and not got very far beyond that. Its got one of my all-time songs, Get a Grip (of Yourself), and the leary “do they mean it or are they being ironic” Peaches (both on the aforementioned mates Greatist Hits tape). But what was new to me and has become my theme tune over the last month or so is their hauntingly stomping Goodbye Toulouse, which apparently is inspired by Nostrodamous prediction that this French of city will suffer a catacymisic end. Doom my friends, doom.

Recently keyboardist Dave Greenfield passed away. His bandmates released this poignant song on their latest LP.

Iggy Pop and James Williamson – Kill City

Made in the aftermath of the Stooges’ implosion from drug use in the early 70s from sounds which were meant to be that band’s fourth album after Raw Power. Guitarist James Williamson would get Iggy to do vocals on weekend release from the rehab. Lacking the fire of Raw Power, It’s like a big sleazy soundtrack to a 70s gangster film, telling stories from the viewpoint of its anti-hero stars. Listen to Joanna and its not the loving romance song you initially think it is. This is the remastered version, with all sorts of sounds filling out the rather flat vinyl version I picked up second-hand in the 90s and held on for grim life in my post-student days.


How did I miss this band in their 90s heyday? I’m doing general discovery with this band, who came out of Washington DC and were peers of my beloved Fugazi. Recorded two LPs on independent label Discord Records before being on Atlantic for two, then disbanding in the late 90s, members going in other directions (including the wonderful Office of Future Plans), and then reuniting to tour in recent history and reissue the two major label releases on their own label. Phew!

Here’s the out-and-out rocker, Breathe of their Atlantic debut, which made the hairs on my neck stand up on end when I first heard it.

And talking of Doom, let me introduce …


Another discovery band, who’ve been on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label since the 2010s. Described as “Doomgazing” they really are a fantastic mix of atmospheric rock music, with breathy vocals, occasional grimaced shouting, crash bang wallop drumming, space rock(!), sludge, doom, progish leanings (but from NY state). I picked up on them since Ipecac are promoting their latest LP, but this is the one I keep on playing on repeat.

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