Spotlight On God Unknown Records
God Unknown Records was founded in 2013 and is the brainchild of Jason Stöll (Mugstar, Bonnacons of Doom, Sex Swing, Twin Sister). Having recently reviewed Twin Sister’s (read it here) debut as well as Sex Swing’s recent album Type II (review out in due course), I became intrigued by the label and its artists.
As a fan of independent labels, and as a person who doesn’t do things by halves, I had fanatically explored the back catalogues of SST, Amphetamine Reptile, Rocket Recordings and Riding Easy Records. Labels tend to get a bad rep, at their worst they can be viewed as conniving money men for whom the bottom line is everything and the artists interests are of a less priority. At their best they release music they themselves are passionate about it and treat the artists with humility and respect. God Unknown falls into the latter category and it would be safe to say that Jason genuinely loves the music he puts out and it shows in the quality. Simon Cowell and Syco this is not, thank Christ!
The following is intended to be a showcase of some, of what I consider, to be the key releases on the label. This list is by no means exhaustive and is entirely subjective. I enjoy the vast majority of the label’s catalogue but were I to list every single release, I fear that this article would be of mammoth proportions, as well as having the potential to bore the tits off you.
God Unknown Records have a Singles Club which you can subscribe to, and/or you can also join the membership which I am proud to say I have signed up to. With respect to the Singles Club you have a choice of purchasing individual split releases or if it’s easier the usefully compiled Singles Club Compilations.
Below are ten God Unknown releases which I would recommend as a good starting point for the uninitiated and intrigued. In no particular order…
Twin Sister ‘Twin Sister’
A fantastic debut from this 3-piece featuring label owner Jason Stoll. A collection of Swans/Sonic Youth style Noise-Rock/Heavy ass Psych. This is a captivating release that will blow your socks off, its loud, fucking loud to be exact.
A sadly overlooked noise/post-rock outfit from Leeds who were around from the early to mid-90’s. This is their long-awaited debut record (review). If the amalgamation of Jesus Lizard, Fugazi and Can sound good to you then is a definite must have for your collection.
Rainbow Grave ‘No You’
Featuring Nik Bullen (Napalm Death/Scorn) and Jon Pickering (Doom/Sore Throat), this is a deliciously nasty sounding record (review) that fans of Unsane will surely lap up. The apocalyptic cover certainly matches the music.
Blaha ‘The Calming Room’
I was stoked when I encountered this fine collection of Surf/Garage Rock goodness from Mark Blaha, having become a fan of his day job outfit The Blind Shake in recent years. Great fun and you don’t even need to be a surfer to appreciate it.
Henge ‘Nothing Head’
London based quartet, this is their sophomore release from 2019, a collection of fine Am Rep influenced noise-rock combined with Sabbath style heaviness. Not a million miles away from Pigs x 7.
John McBain ‘Accidental Soundtracks: Vol. 1 – The Alpha Particle’
John is a one-time member of space rockers Monster Magnet, psych supergroup Wellwater Conspiracy as well as a respected producer. This is a splendid electronic psych effort that would perfectly soundtrack a John Carpenter movie.
Whistling Arrow ‘Whistling Arrow’
Featuring Charles Hayward of no wave experimental post-punk outfit This Heat, The Raincoats and Crass (occasionally). Tasty experimental psych and noise music that fans of those genres will be able to appreciate.
Kill Life w/ Penny Rimbaud / Casual Sect / Melting Hand / KLÄMP
Integrity frontman Dwid Helion and Crass legend Penny Rimbaud collaborating on some challenging yet satisfying tracks, not for the faint of heart.
Rainbow Grave / Orthodox – Split
Noise-Rock and Free Jazz mayhem? Sign me up! This is the equivalent to Unsane and Ornette Coleman being on a split single and if that doesn’t whet the appetite then you truly don’t have a soul, or taste for that matter.
Wellwater Conspiracy ‘Lucy Leave/Sleeveless’
Featuring the aforementioned John McBain as well as Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd. This is an ace cover of the early Pink Floyd Syd Barrett penned classic alongside an original cut, the equally ace Sleeveless. Psych fun!
Buy and stream the entire God Unknown Records back catalogue over on the labels bandcamp page.
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