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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flipper-Gone Fishin' (1984)


So by now many of you have definately heard Flipper's Generic, it's a classic punk album and a lot of people love it and equally hate it. This is their second album that was never released on cd until late last year, it came out in 1984 and i can definately see why punks hated this band because this album spits in the face of punk. They add xylophone, horns, and synthesizers to their sound. They even get a little poppy with their melodies. The lyrical bile is still intact but the sound is evolving and exploring new ground for them. This second album is art punk at it's finest and they made it without giving a damn about the punks who hated them in the first place. By not adhering to the "rules" of punk they created a truly punk masterpiece and furthered the exploration of sound that punk seemed to want to do in the first place. By stepping to the side and opening up their sounds i salute Flipper for creating a nice little noisy piece of art more akin to Can than the Dead Kennedys.

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 22, 2009

UM FUCK YEAH

THE JESUS LIZARD just announced their first real non festival show and it's in SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!! it's at the fillmore on oct 17th and tickets go on sale this sunday at 10!!!!! it's 25 bucks but this shit is the shit

Friday, April 17, 2009

The USA Is A Monster-Space Programs (2008)



So I have always had a bit of difficulty getting into this band. I have always liked them but I feel that i never really got it. They always kind of reminded me of a lazier more noodley version of Lightning Bolt with vocals. They always sang and made albums about how much the US is hypocritical and wrong in pretty much everything they do.

Enter the new record. It's fun, the other albums always seemed a little heavy handed. This album is fun as shit. The best way to describe it is if, first off Man Man went back to being good. Also it's like Andrew WK formed a space rock/krautrock band heavily influenced by Zappa and then throw in some of the Advantages's Nintendo song writing.

One thing i love about this album is that it definately has a groove to it, it's almost jam band-like in a way not in a shitty yuppie hippie way but more of a let's all get stoned in a field and have a kick ass concert going experience kind of feel. This is some kick ass summer music, some hot sun fun summer beach blanket music (i'm looking south in your direction, Alex!)

But yeah really fun really kick ass get a hold of this shit

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

Lee Perry and the Upsetters-Roast Fish, Collie Weed and Cornbread (1977)

So I am definately not the biggest reggae fan, in fact I am sure most of you have heard me rant about it's shittiness from time to time. With that in mind and my tendency to be picky with my music, me liking this album might come as a shock to some of you. Now where I don't like reggae much I do like Dub and some of the early forms of reggae like island ska and all that good stuff.
This is definately one of reggae and dub's weirdest albums. It was the result of Lee Perry hunkering down in his Black Ark studios, which was basically a glorified shed in his backyard and tinkering with new sounds and exploring the standard ska beat and adding layers and layers on top of it to create something fresh and new. It's not that aurally weird in general but to the reggae genre it is very odd. Most of the songs are Lee Perry ranting about personal health and how good weed and good food and water are for your body.
He takes the standard ska beat and piles on weird bubbly sound effects, babies crying, cows mooing and out of tune whistles and dings and clanging making the whole experience kind of like a swaying boat filled with a cow, a baby, and random shit clanging around. The album as a whole can be very disorienting but i believe that was the point and it's all the more powerful for it. This was Lee Perry's first real solo album where he sang on every track and had complete creative control over the Upsetters for the first time.
To me this might be the best reggae album of all time because it shatters a lot of stale traditions placed upon reggae by it's biggest fans and blazes it's own trail becoming a beast of it's own design.

Love it.

Mercury Rev-Boces (1993)

Easily one of the weirdest albums ever made, definately one of the weirdest on a major label. But it's not that surprising this was on Columbia records since it was 1993 and it was released right in the middle of the alternative explosion that happened in America.
Regardless of label affiliation this album is fucking weird. If you like current or a few years past Mercury Rev and are not that adventurous than you will hate this but if you are into somewhat out there music you might just like this better than their well known stuff, i know i do.
With the presence of original vocalist David Baker this band was on a loose leash of his were their sounds were allowed to swirl and fluctuate at a whim based on what seems to be his will( when he left the band after this record their sound mellowed considerably).
He is a weird vocalist too, almost spoken word like in his delivery, very much like the singer from Need New Body.
The sound of the album draws from all over the musical landscape. Pulling from noise rock, Jazz, Pop, Orchestral music, Indie rock and the Avant Garde in equal measure, it is an overall tripout. Their are hints of the Boredoms here and there as well as Pink Floyd.
All in all this is an album that should not be forgotten and it has sadly fallen out of print but if you are lucky you can find it randomly in used bins and I suggest a listen.

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.

Micachu-Jewellery (2009)


OK so I touched on this in a previous post about how in these times, quite a bit, I feel like there is a lot of unnecessary music being made. A lot of artists seem to be coasting by or just keeping up tradition(which can be awesome) but very few musicians seem to be actually trying to present something new.
Enter Mica Levi. Mica Levi is a 21 year old British prodigy who first entered the music community with a Dub/Grime/Spoken word mix that apparently did very well in England. Then she was commissioned to write a symphony for the London Symphony Orchestra, she did just that.
Fast forward about a year and she got restless and decided to take the sum of her influences and form a group called the Shapes to round out her live sound.
The album consists of 13 tracks 5 of which feel the Shapes the rest are all her aside from 1 track with a guy who's name I don't recognize(Man Like Me).
The tracks with the Shapes are mostly excellently written fucked up art pop with a band setup with a ton of added instrumentation piled on top.
The tracks without the Shapes are like little off kilter warped versions of what MIA and Lily Allen do. Now when I say fucked up I mean really fucked up, it's very innovative and catchy and poppy but always very abstract and arty.
Every song is a highlight and it is excellent seeing someone really trying hard to present something new and catchy and fun and weird and interesting and....
just get the thing or download it

oh yeah and the whole thing is produced by Herbert which is excellent

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:

http://www.severedways.com/

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

Honest Thomas

So here's a little story. Last week Sarah and I went to Rasputin(the same day we went to Virgin) and as we got on the elevator to go up to the top floor we noticed the elevator guy was playing some elliott smith on his little boombox and we thought whatever. So we get back on and he talks to us about something random and we got off on another floor. So on our way down we get in the elevator again and the guy starts rattling off about how he has heart murmurs and his mom told him not to drink caffeine because he could die. All the while Sarah and I are wondering why the hell he is telling us all this with a ferver and excitement this kind of conversation does not warrant among strangers. So in his flurry of words he ends the conversation by handing me a way too expensive postcard for his band Honest Thomas and with a "I'm the shit" smirk tells me he is playing bottom of the hill on April 6th(which is tomorrow). I take it and go home. 20 minutes ago i went to their myspace page.

This is a warning. Do not support this band. This band sucks and needs to not make music. With so many interesting artistic endeavors floating around this city, no one needs Honest Thomas and their half baked emo/nu metal but we still look like indie kids horse shit. If any of you know these kids I am not sorry for what I have said and I would encourage you to tell them to stop making this music. It is god awful.


here is their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/honestthomas

don't hate me please for what you hear.

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

Mastodon-Crack The Skye (2009)


So after sitting on the new Mastodon for a few days I decided I would give my two cents about it.
First off, the vocals will turn a lot of people off, it did for me initially. They have for the most part stopped growling and yelling and have exchanged it for actual melodic singing which at first just reminded me of nu metal but now it has a proggy Ozzy Osbourne quality to it.
Second, the music is still pretty awesome, a little smoother around the edges but it seems this time out they wanted to make a prog album instead of a metal album with prog touches and it mostly works. The 2 10 plus minute songs on the album are constantly interesting and overall the album is pretty good. To me it is the worst Mastodon album so far though, which isnt to say it isn't a good album, it is, it's just not their best.

Oh and I could really give a fuck about the whole astral projection time traveling rasputin era Russia concept album.