New music by Life of Agony (Transgender Day of Visibility)

“River Runs Red” by Life of Agony is an iconic masterpiece in the grey areas between hardcore and metal. I love it and still listen to it frequently to this day. Lyrically, it’s a concept album about a teenager dealing with substance abuse and shitty parents which ends in his suicide. In this regard, it was pretty unique in its era. Subsequent releases (“Ugly” and “Soul Searching Sun”) were, in my opinion, pretty terrible. Re-listening to them one is reminded of Nickelback, Creed, and other similarly terrible bands, though LoA pre-dates the musical diarrhea of the former.

There are uncountable different genre’s at the intersections of punk, hardcore, and metal, each containing their own scenes, artists, and fans with considerable overlap. LoA was part of a nauseatingly testosterone-laden east coast hardcore and metal scene in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Though I wasn’t a part of that scene, being both too young and not living in that area, I can’t imagine it was an environment that was accepting of LGBT people. That’s why I was surprised when I learned LoA’s singer, Mina Caputo, came out as trans. In regards to her relationship with that scene:

Caputo says after the revelation, there were some uncomfortable moments trying to continue in the world of metal. She adds, “The majority of our fans have always been male, and I’ve experienced a lot of closed-minded people in the metal world. You know, a lot of people that just don’t know what’s going on. What I want those people to know is that I’m a beautiful human being. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had a lot of support [in the metal scene], but there has also been a lot of rejection and criticism about my life.”

She’s immensely talented and has made some fantastic music over the past 25+ years. Below is a new song, an incredibly moving music video about her transition (stunningly, the comments are heartwarming and NOT a cesspool of bigotry), and a live version of a song off “River Runs Red” performed last year:

Good music!

As I get older, I’m less and less aware of new music. In addition to my increasingly rapid transformation into a grumpy old person that dislikes new things, I heavily blame podcasts. I listen to way more podcasts than music and it’s kinda sad.

Anyways, here are my favorite 10 albums of 2016 in no particular order:

  • The death albums: Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker; David Bowie – Blackstar; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree. I wasn’t too familiar with Cohen, and to a lesser extent Bowie, before the releases of their final albums, something I eagerly rectified. Nick Cave, on the other hand is one of my favorite artists. During the recording of Skeleton Tree, his son died in an accident. While the album was mostly written by this point, parts of it were amended and the result is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard.

  • Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder. A welcome return to their iconic black metal sound

  • Anohni – Hopelessness. I don’t think I like this as much as the Antony and the Johnsons material but this is still really good shit.

  • Mizmor (מזמור) – Yodh. This is what I was listening to, entirely coincidentally, as Milwaukee burned 6 blocks away from our house this past summer. Gorgeous album cover.

  • Charles Bradley – Changes. Charles Bradley covering Black Sabbath? Yes plz!

  • Angel Olsen – My Girl. Awesome music from someone under 30!

  • G.L.O.S.S. – Trans Day of Revenge. More people under 30! It’s nice to be reminded that punk’s not dead, even though the band, sadly, is.

  • Ghost – Popestar. This EP has my favorite song of 2016. It’s a cover of a song by the Swedish band Imperiet, better known as their earlier punk incarnation Ebba Grön. I nominate this as the song that plays if and when our glorious empire burns.

Man and woman learned how to make fire
And the kingdom’s walls were extended
By the fourth day the walls were reaching so far
No one knew where they ended

Now no one heard that voice anymore
And metal cities came to ascend
On the fifth day spring turned into fall
And a rain fell over the land

But no walls can stop such a rain
That keeps on falling forevermore
I was told that by the sixth day
The world was like an open sore

Now who will pray for Babylon
Sing a song to Babylon
On your knees before Babylon
Beat that drum because Babylon is falling

*****

Other shit that is good, but slightly less good than the aforementioned:

  • Sumac – What One Becomes
  • World Be Free – The Anti-Circle
  • Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
  • Alcest – Kodama
  • Direct Hit! – Wasted Mind
  • Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – Hella Personal Film Festival
  • Dinosaur Jr. – Give A Glimpse of What You’re Not
  • Bob Mould – Patch The Sky
  • A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
  • Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan
  • Panopticon – Revisions of the Past
  • Death Grips – Bottomless Pit