Friday, December 27, 2013

Anthony Braxton- 3 Compositions of New Jazz [1968]

A friend of mine once astutely noted that Anthony Braxton was the Modern Classical equivalent of the jazz world (which would make Art Tatum the Classical Era equivalent, if you enjoy extending analogies too far).  Graphical notation and a penchant for unique instrumental combinations that lead to slanted, atonal eddies of sound adequately sums up most of Braxton’s career, although such a superficial description is a disservice to the iconoclast.  His first release before the solo improvisational For Alto, 3 Compositions of New Jazz finds Braxton arriving at the logical conclusion of the then blossoming free jazz movement.  Ditching the archetypal rhythm section for the occasional expressionist drumming and atmospheric accoutrements, Braxton and his fellow musicians create a complex web of conversation amongst one another.  The indecipherably named first track revolves around the lovely vocal melody laid out at the beginning of the record, yet quickly spirals into a display of raw instrumentation and interplay.  Braxton’s music is as free as free jazz can get, yet still possesses the mathematical intricacy of the Modern Classical music he often cited as influence.  But don’t be misled: Braxton’s jazz is still visceral and mysterious in its outré display of emotion.  Much like his cryptic composition names, this music possesses depth that reveals itself only after intense scrutiny, and even then still might come off as obtuse.  A must-listen for anyone who is a fan of boldly unique music. 


Lost Flood - Lost Flood [2011]

Lost Flood’s eponymous cassette brings together some filthily lo-fi black metal that borders on noise. Sloppily recorded drums crash on in the background over needle-thin walls of guitar noise and tortured howls from Peter McGee, who wrote and played all the music on this tape. McGee manages to bring together the repetitive drumming of atmospheric black metal and extremely noisy tremolo guitar riffs that combined create a truly dark and haunting atmosphere that is only exacerbated by the layers of noise obscuring the music .“Hunter’s Eyes” is among the best tracks here, devolving from Lost Flood’s hellishly raw and low-fidelity black metal into bursts of feedback that die out slowly as the track fades out. It's not a particularly long tape, but well worth checking out for those interested in some of the most abrasive and gloomily atmospheric blackened noise on offer from the british isles.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Deep Freeze Mice - My Geraniums are Bulletproof (1979)

Some blissfully sarcastic and cheerful post-punk. Self-published band, The Deep Freeze Mice, made and released this incredibly solid and staple post-punk album for just £500. The album sums up post-punk as a genre really well: It's just a crazy deconstruction of the punk rock genre. The last track is also worth mentioning, it's a peculiar 27 minute long track that just goes all over the place, it's probably my favorite song off the album. It's a great album for anyone trying to get into post-punk, but because of it's relative obscurity it's a great gem to listen to if you're already a fan of the genre.

I can see both sides
But I can't see which is real
I can see both sides
But which is real

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society - A Very Scary Solstice (2003)

An album consisting entirely of Lovecraftian parodies of classic Christmas carols. Do I honestly need to say anything else I mean the album already sounds perfect doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Simon Finn - Pass the Distance (1970)

Exquisite psych-folk gem right here. Finn has a really great gravelly voice. This album is really fantastic, I mean I'm going to be the thousandth person to say this but Jerusalem is such an amazing track, Simon Finn just loses it on that track. The whole album is nuts, I mean that in the best way possible of course. I really just can not stress enough how much I love this album, one of the best psych folk albums ever created, and if you think otherwise you're just silly, that's just my ~very~ humble opinion of course. Every second is gorgeous and the whole album is like one big acid-laced stick of cotton candy.

You are no more evil now
Than you were when you when you began

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sun Ra - Of Mythic Worlds [1981]

“Mayan Temples” is a great slow-burner of an opener that sees some beautiful flutework weaving its way through Sun Ra's keyboard melodies and the fantastic percussion work, ending with some well deserved applause. It leads into the extremely jaunty piano-led “Over The Rainbow” sees Sun Ra at perhaps his most whimsical, witH the beautiful piano melody meandering along over the steady drumbeat - Sun Ra’s interpretation of this Wizard of Oz classic is easily my favourite that I’ve heard yet, even outdoing the version on Ra’s “Disco 3000 “Inside the Blues” again sees Sun Ra’s piano as the focal point of the piece and sees some passionate soloing from Ra over the infectious handclap rhythms. However, things take a turn for the weirder with “Intrinsic Energies”, as Ra’s keyboard takes on a far less conventional sound alongside the far looser percussion and odd, low electronic sounds floating around in the background and the cacophonous trill of the Arkestra’s horn section. The titular closer is easily the best piece here, clocking in at almost 13 minutes: It starts off with a groovy percussion jam between Arkestra members before Gilmore’s [?] saxophone kicks in over Ra’s plodding keyboard melodies. As the saxophone soars with spiritual fieriness, Ra’s keyboard stabs into the foreground, running through lines at a crazed pace as the saxophone melody starts to sound even more desperate, almost strangulated, as the percussion players bang on in the background, being drowned out by the frenzied saxophone playing. The saxophone eventually fades out as Sun Ra’s otherworldly keyboard melodies take centre stage, swirling around, spaced-out over the increasingly frenetic drumming, before the saxophone returns in triumphant ecstasy, with the track ending in beautiful cacophony.

Dig It

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Family Fodder - Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling) / My Baby Takes Valium (1979) and Boris Policeband - Stereo / Mono (1979)

Other than the year they were released these two singles have nothing in common. It's just that I'd just feel bad if I dedicated an entire post to just one single

Good ol' Family Fodder. This is their first release, a fantastic, synthetic, scrambled post-punk single. It's a lot less clean and sharp than their later releases. But a fantastic single nonetheless. Great songwriting, catchy and adorable instrumentals, it's an all-around great single really.

I'm so happy with my life
Theres times I feel fungus growing on me

Now this is a real hidden no wave gem. The album is basically a critique of New York police in the late 70's. And it's done in such an interesting manner. The single consists of a bunch of very short, noisy, spoken word songs. It's almost like a really early power electronics album. Just noisy, demented, and raw. The album is so to-the-point. It's like a deliberate and organized kind of chaos, which is incredibly interesting. The album is a hypnotic subterranean gem.

Yeah I know the beat
Full of surprises
Don't feel safe on these streets with just a gun, a fuzzbox, and a stick
My wife can't sleep

Monday, December 16, 2013

Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun (2006)

Well first off, happy 100th review everyone! I don't really have words to describe how thrilled I am that the little blog that me and a few friends started together for fun grew and grew and now (after a brief hiatus albeit) we've managed to reach 100 posts and well over 30,000 page views! On behalf of the whole crew, thanks everyone! So I decided to review an album that's near and dear to me for the 100th review, it's near and dear to a lot of the writers here in fact. This album is honestly a masterpiece. A combination of beautiful, layered, intricate drones, gorgeous folk tracks, and some fantastic and hypnotic more tribal sounding freak folk tracks. It's just an album that I think everyone should listen to. As long as it might be Twinsistermoon and Isengrind make every second worth hearing. The french duo originally only released 50 copies of the album, and I am lucky enough to own one of those copies, and I ripped it just for this occasion. Thanks for staying with us and expect to see a lot more great content in the future!

The Moon and the Sun
Will dance together
And deploy their arms
To grab the earth

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Heratius - Gwendolyne (1978)

Quite an interesting album. This album is a fantastic under the radar avant-prog gem from France. It's real out there, just a really strange album. Heratius play all over the place, from really relaxed tracks to spastic jams, the whole album is a real non sequitur. It's just a beautiful kind of nonsense that makes for a great listen. The group is immensely underrated if you ask me, France just never seems to get as much credit as it should for being home to a lot of amazing musicians. All in all this is an off the rails prog gem that I would definitely suggest checking out.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

God Is My Co-Pilot - Speed Yr Trip (1993)

So apparently Queercore is a genre of music. It's actually pretty good too. Well it was more of a scene and a movement, occurring it a lot of mediums, journalism, art, music, etc. but this is just a music blog so let's talk about it like it's just a genre. God Is My Co-Pilot was a great little gem from the music side of it. Best described as noisy, unorthodox, anarcho-punk. They were spastic and all over the place in the best way possible. This album is full of short, blunt DIY punk songs. It's such an in-your-face kind of album, like a big musical revolt against mistreatment of the LBGT community. It's a splendid politically-fueled album that's definitely worth a listen.

Anywhere but here
With anyone but you

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monoton - Monotonprodukt 07 (1982)

Monoton as certainly an interesting group, formed in 1979 in good ol' Austria, whose music scene always seems to get slept on because most people are too busy idolizing Germany. Anyway the group makes some very chilling minimal synth. They offer such a textured sound and create such a spooky soundscape for being so repetitive. The album reminds me almost of a more minimal 20 Jazz Funk Greats, the two certainly have the same sinister atmosphere to them. It's just a great, hypnotic record, that needs to be heard to be understood, the album was so ahead of it's time, and it's definitely worth a listen if you ask me.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Double Leopards - Halve Maen (2003)

Now, I'm not a humongous drone fan, I was never super into more conventional Drone or Ambient albums. But I can surely say that, without a doubt, Double Leopards are definitely a solid act. They really create such a bleak and dark soundscape that can totally immerse the listener. The length of the album might seem a little daunting (to someone who doesn't listen to any Drone or Ambient that is) but it's definitely deserving of your time. The whole album just has such a great atmosphere. It's dark and cold and beautiful at the same time. It's an excellent starting point into the genre if you ask me, and it's worth a listen for sure, even if you don't know anything about the genre.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Various Artists - New York Noise Vol 1, 2 and 3 (2003, 2005, 2006)

The New York Noise trilogy. These three compilation albums, ironically enough published by a London-based label, are definitely the best albums to showcase New York's infamous No Wave scene, a kind of sarcastic deconstruction of New Wave, which was insanely popular at the time. This album really shows a different side to No Wave though. It wasn't as one-dimensional as some people seem to imagine. There was more to No Wave than just Swans or DNA, there was another side, seemingly influenced by disco and funk, just as crazy and spastic as a lot of other No Wave, and this comp does an amazing job tying everything together. There are more danceable tracks, there are songs more in the style of DNA (hell there's even a DNA track or two on these comps), and interestingly enough there are even some pretty early Hip Hop tracks on here. It's amazing how these albums manage to bring Post-Punk, No Wave, and Hip Hop all together seamlessly. The whole album is energetic, spastic, and crazy. It perfectly sums up No Wave, and it's pretty much an essential listen for fans of the scene, or even for people who want to get into No Wave, there's no better entry point than this in my opinion.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lemon Kittens - We Buy Hammers for Daddy (1980)

Lemon Kittens were a really far-out Post-Punk who emerged from Reading in the 80's. The duo is really just all over the place on this album, ranging from bombastic and hyper tracks to song that are more slow and morbid. It definitely seems to me that these guys were influences by the No Wave scene going on in New York at the time. I also pick up an early-industrial kind of sound, which is great to see because I can't actually think of too much Industrial Post-Punk groups. They're like the bastard child of Throbbing Gristle and Y Pants, I mean that in the best way possible. Intriguing, unique, spastic, and demented, overall this is a really solid album that can do nothing but grow on you over time.

And we take time to dance

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tangerine Awkestra - Aliens Took My Mom (2001)

Free-Improv by kids ages 3-7. Do I really need to say much more? No this isn't a joke. It's incredibly interesting in concept alone and these kids actually manage to make it work in reality. It's not just a bunch of preschoolers fucking around on their father's keyboard, it's a bunch of preschoolers making full-fledged Free-Improv that's genuinely good. It's not overdone, it's pretty subtle in fact. It's honestly a solid Free-Improv album and the fact that it's made by people who don't even know their ABCs yet makes it even more interesting, because let's be honest, music doesn't really exist in a vacuum. I highly recommend it.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Chris Knox - Seizure (1989)

Seizure is only what I can describe as an odd mix of Punk Rock, Indie Rock, and Post-Punk that somehow manages to work perfectly. Another one of the many great releases from the Flying Nun label. The seasoned New Zealand musician Chris Knox makes this interesting combination of styles flow perfectly into an album that's surreal, dreamy, and snide all at the same time. The whole album feels diverse and it doesn't fall into the pointless samey-ness that Indie Rock albums are generally susceptible to. I think it's mostly because Knox incorporates a lot of other genres into his music, some of the songs are more Punk influenced, while some even seem like a nod to Rock 'n' Roll, it's enough to keep the album constantly changing and make it insanely captivating. All in all it's just a really fun and energetic album that's really worth a listen.

But you know you wanna see
All this pain an misery

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Broadcast - Extended Play Two (2000)

Broadcast is an elusive tropical orchid obscured by olivine shrubs stealing the ecosystem’s sunlight; they had everything needed for cult recognition, but faced the inescapable, “wrong time, wrong place” clause. The expressive talent in the group’s work flourishes through chemically fusing their influences as though a magnify glass is needed to explore their stylistic heart. Without being psychedelic or hazy, Broadcast boldly layers their adapted sound in stark melodies jumping through hoops together. The Joy Division qualities are there, the Velvet Underground sound, the Stereolab, and The Focus Group, but all of which are so precisely refined, Broadcast stands as a rarity against its derivative roommates.

What’s so special about their pallet of influence? The particular artists that are so beautifully reminiscent in their music juxtapose as colors all belonging to a unifying aesthetics, but refrain from bringing the same hues to the table. Joy Division adds a distinct production value, and clarity. The Velvet Underground, notorious for bridging post-punk with the pleasant baroque pop of the ‘60s, contrast the sinister with the playful, accumulating as a foundation to the dark/joyful duplicity of Trish Keenan’s  lyricism and gorgeously #retro #vintage voice. The harmonic fluid piling on the ethic is delivered by Stereolab’s fusion of synth based sounds in rock orientated songs while adding an entirely updated array of equipment. With their high caliber technical ability, Broadcast manages to never abuse their understanding, but play with it by dabbling in improvised sound manipulation much like The Focus Group. The rainbow of melodic interplay feels open to interpretations of synaesthesia. Broadcast are a band that truly match their strengths with their name. A spectrum of dancing colors, a posh English fashion designer, a rain puddle glowing with oil.

The band’s early discography that built the sound relatable today started typically strong, and contains, what I feel, their strongest release, Extended Play Two. It begins with Illumination, an emotionally atmospheric cluster of synths guided by gentle vocal overtones that lead into rest of the EP charmingly. Unchanging Window, a track that reappears watered down on their full length album, The Noise Made By People, enacts Broadcast’s very essence. Four minutes of strophic whirling around breakneck percussion that intensifies into a controlled yet spontaneous jam flurries into the next track. From this point, the popular mechanics continue to reoccur but are clouded magnificently in a dissonantly sharp musicianship that can really only be encountered as an existing dynamic on this collection of work alone. By Drums On Fire, the krautrock arrangements relentlessly die with the very ending of the sound. Short in length, and massive in mesmerizing content, should be FUCKING listened by you, if you even like music.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dog Faced Hermans - Mental Blocks for All Ages (1991)

Dog Faced Hermans, wacky, crazy, hyper, epileptic post-punk, what more could you even want? This Scottish group really just brings such a memorable sound to the table, what could best be described as a unique blend of post-punk and anarcho-punk. And along with that their unconventional instrumentation and sweeping female vocals, that are almost operatic at times, really make them a band that doesn't lose their appeal after a few listens. Dog Faced Hermans is one of the few bands I can honestly say has not released a bad album in my opinion. And this particular album just seems to perfectly sum up the band's hectic sound, and it's definitely my favorite release by them, and even one of my favorite albums of all time. Fun, noisy, quirky, and enthralling all at the same time, it's a really hard album to pass up.

Fortune has a double edge
Sometimes I think it cuts
Today you've got enough
And others not too much