Thursday, April 30, 2009

amps for christ - the people at large (2004)

I first encountered this album while I was researching for my radio program on 5RC. It was one of two releases AFC put out on the label, the other being Every Eleven Seconds, an album I had picked up years ago while travelling in New York. At the time, I hadn't cared much for that album- I found it too weird and too uneven. When my research forced me to go back and reconsider that album, I found it still to be very strange and hit-and-miss, and found The People at Large to be a similar experience. But this time the hits stuck out a little bit more, and that combined with Amps for Christs strange story, makes for a pretty interesting album. Before making AFC his primary project, Chris Barnes was in Man Is the Bastard (who I have to admit I haven't listened to before- are they good?)(also, did you know that Man Is the Bastard's last release was a split with Mumia Abu-Jamal on Alternative Tentacles??). Moving away from punk, Barnes continued his experiments with building amplifiers and other guitar tech, and explored a synthesis of folk and noise music in Amps for Christ. Its totally schizophrenic- some tracks are noisy, dissonant and unsettling, while other tracks are mellow interpretations traditional folk songs. The album doesnt really have any kind of obvious direction or flow, and kind be pretty alienating to listen to at points. But I think in the instances when all of the various influences and experimental sounds actually coalesce into something substantial, the results are pretty amazing.

Amps for Christ - AFC Tower Song
Amps for Christ - The Morlough Shore

Monday, April 27, 2009

pestilence - testimony of the ancients (1991)

I went on a technical death metal kick a couple of years back, and this was one of my favorite albums thats I discovered. This was the third album from Pestilence, a Dutch band that started out thrash and then progressed to tech death. By this album, the band had already replaced a couple of early members and needed a bassist, so they got Tony Choy (who at the time was in Cynic, and later was in Atheist). Death metal was sort of the last type of metal I came to enjoy, mostly because I was familiar with more modern brutal death metal types, bigger names like Cannibal Corpse, and I wasn't too into it. I found death metal to be too abrasive, too compressed, and too same-y. So it took me awhile to discover that I actually really enjoy early death metal, which still has a lot of thrash in its DNA (later I would discover that I even enjoy more modern and harsh death metal). Early death metal sounds dirty and nasty, like there is a layer of mud covering the amps and phlegm coating the vocalist's throat. I like to think about the transition from thrash, which was a little more fun-loving and party-ready, to death metal, thrash's dirtbag cousin. Anyway, this is still in the early era of death, but at a time when death metal musicians were getting more into pushing the limits of their musicianship and adding synths. Basically, it was the prog era of death. And Pestilence are one of the finest examples of this sound, along with Death, Atheist, and Cynic. Apparently, Pestilence went more jazz-fusion on their next album, which I have yet to hear (this doesn't surprise me, as that seems to be a common progression: thrash-> death -> prog/tech death -> jazz-fusion death). One of the more interesting things about this album is how it is sequenced; between every raw and thrashy metal song is a short ambient track. Personally I like this a lot, it makes the album stand out more than some of its contemporaries. I've even made a playlist of just the ambient interludes, which makes for an interesting listening experience.

Pestilence - Testimony
Pestilence - Soulless

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

gary war - new raytheonport (2008)

speaking of straight rip-offs, if this guy is different from Ariel Pink in any way, I'm not hearing it. I mean, he's less weird. but everything else is there, the lo-fi throwback pop etc. but that's ok with me. NYC can have their own Ariel Pink if they want. and I enjoy the album just fine. I wonder what critics think of this? I haven't checked around the web yet.

Gary War - Good Clues
Gary War - Please Don't Die

hijack - the horns of jericho (1991)

I mentioned in the post about London Posse that they could be considered, in some ways, to be the English equivalent of EPMD. well there is no such ambiguity here, as Hijack are basically just an English rip-off of Public Enemy. the rapping is a complete imitation of Chuck D, and the songs tackle social issues in the same way that PE do. still, this is pretty interesting as a novelty. and some of the songs are really good, too. just don't expect too much originality.

Hijack - Radio Hijack (Part 1)
Hijack - The Contract

parts & labor - escapers 2: grind pop (2008)

vocal harmonies and blast beats. to me, those two things are like a glass of warm milk and some soft blankets. my worries float away, and I settle into a comfortable blankness. so this appropriately-titled album blew me away when I first heard it. its pretty unlike other Parts & Labor releases, or at least I think it is because I can't be bothered to double check. all of the songs on this are around a minute long, flurries of blast beats and feedback and yes, pop melodies. the allmusic guide review for this gets it all wrong. this is a brilliant idea.

Parts & Labor - This Is What You Wanted
Parts & Labor - Fire Away

i stumbled upon this online

I think the path was The Homosexuals' wikipedia page -> The Homosexuals' CD review on pitchfork -> Johan Kugelberg's DIY list -> a google search of "Johan Kugelberg -> THIS, which is way too much information for me to process right now, but looks super interesting.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

fuck yeah!

jim jarmusch's new score

jim jarmusch is a bro for sure. he already established his metal cred for his score of Broken Flowers which featured Sleep, the best goddamn metal band out of San Jose (i think???) ever, and also for the time he and John Lurie tried to lure a shark with cheese so that they could shoot it.

this, along with um.... Gummo? and this movie:

metal soundtracks are the shit!! what movies am I forgetting?

acid mothers temple - new geocentric world of acid mothers temple (2001)

in general, I prefer to post about albums that I think are exceptional, but in this case I'm posting because I want some feedback. its not that this album is bad, but it is kinda aimless and I'm not sure I really understand the Acid Mothers cult following. is it just because they are Japanese and play psych music, and those are two easy ingredients for a cult following? or are there other Acid Mothers Temple recordings where they really do something exceptional or exciting? this one seems to just be drifting, improvised psychedelia, although there are a few standout tracks- Occie Lady, a blown-out hard rocker, and What Do I Want to Know (Like Heavenly Kisses), Pt. 2, which is a long, warm ambient recording that sounds a little like Tim Hecker, or a symphony warming up. I was going to go see them last night, but as has been the case the last couple of times I've had a chance to see them, I decided to pass. maybe the live show is the key to their appeal? are there Acid Mothers Temple albums that I'm missing out on?

Acid Mothers Temple - What Do I Want to Know (Like Heavenly Kisses), Pt. 2