Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby (1987)

01 Rocket Machine by deef deeferson
02 Magick Power by deef deeferson

Man is it awesome when you find an older album that sounds completely fresh and current by today's standards! This album is a perfect slab of scuzzy drugged out plain and simple heavy slow rock. It predates Dead Meadow, The Kills, Moon Duo, Comets On Fire, you know all that kick ass leather jacket type rock. One major touchstone is definitely Royal Trux in both sound and construction.
This band was comprised of two major players in the Paisley Underground scene of the 80s. Now for those unfamiliar of the Paisley Underground, it was a micro scene that lasted roughly from 82-89 and consisted of quite a few bands going back to 60s bubblegum pop and byrdsian type rock and fusing it with the somewhat neo hippie fashion sense of floppy hats and bellbottoms. basically they loved the 60s and 20 years had gone by so it was time to revive.
The bands these two came from were The Rain Parade(David Roback, guitar) and the Dream Syndicate(Kendra Smith, bass and vocals). Both of these bands were huge in that scene. Guess what though....this album sounds nothing fucking like that shit!!!! at all! It seems like they tried very hard to distance themselves from their previous bands successes which works very well for this release.
There isnt too much i can say about this album except that it will hit the sweet spot for many of my friends, i mean i seriously cannot stress enough, if you are a fan of lazy kick ass rock complete with crazy solos and creepy organs this music is meant for you. Oh yeah this is for fans of T.Rex, if you ever wanted to hear t rex melodies within a comets on fire sound mixed with Royal Trux than this shit is yours!!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

aesahaettr - aesahaettr (2010)

Aesahaettr - The Sundering Blade of Bolvangar by speedglueandmusic_aw
Aesahaettr - The Fury of the Panserbjorn by speedglueandmusic_aw

Black metal comes in a lot of different flavors.  There's the raw, evil sound of early black metallers, all harshness and aggression.  Or the slower, more melancholy style pioneered by Burzum, furthered by Weakling, and propagated by about a million modern black metal bands.  There's industrial black metal, false & hard-rocking black metal, lo-fi & experimental black metal, shoegaze black metal ("depressive rock"), 8-bit black metal, wooden black metal, epic war black metal, folk black metal, noise black metal, orchestral black metal, etc etc etc ad infintum.  It can get overwhelming, and so its something of a relief that Aesahaettr, a new one man black metal project from Montreal, doesn't add anything new to this pantheon of black metal offshoots- in fact, this is almost exactly what I would call the textbook definition of modern black metal.  This is not a bad thing, because Aesahaettr do by-the-book black metal right.  Side A of this, Aesahaettr's self-titled demo cassette, features black metal in the driving, upbeat, riffing style, all fast picking and programmed drums.  I like the sound of drum machines and I like drum machines in black metal, so that was one thing that appealed off the bat.  But what I am truly a sucker for (and what I think is the primary thing that sets Aesahaettr apart from other like-minded bands) is hooky, empowering riffs, and Aesahaettr brings some real fist-pumping-head-banging moments on Side A.  I have to admit that I do feel somewhat conflicted about this, as black metal is meant to be dissonant, misanthropic, isolating, and basically the opposite of "catchy".  But I guess that's why I'll never have trve grim kvlt black metal cred, and instead will spend my time listening to music that claims to be evil, yet sounds like the sort of speed metal used to soundtrack a Mega Man game. Side B of this tape fulfills Aesahaettr's obligation to the other main style of modern black metal, the Wolves in the Throne Room back-to-nature epic that takes at least 15 minutes and requires strings and live recordings of the outdoors- and Aesahaettr succeed in pulling this off.  Basically, if you crave something new and different from contemporary black metal, look elsewhere.  But while this may be more of the same, its more of the same done really well and should appeal to fans of meat-and-potatoes black metal.

The Dirtbombs - Party Store (2011)

01 Cosmic Cars by deef deeferson
02 Sharevari by deef deeferson

So this is a very interesting one, in both concept and sound. First off, a few details about this album in concept: this is a Dirtbombs record with all the same members(plus 1 special guest i will mention later), it is a covers album(they have done this before), it's a covers album of 9 detroit techno songs made popular by the likes of Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, 2 Cybotron songs, and Derrick May to name just some of the original song authors.
Now in case you aren't familiar with the Dirtbombs music prior to this, they have always been a soulful garage rock band led by Mick Collins who used to front The Gories. They have always been consistent and pretty much awesome their entire existence.
This album is a whole different beast altogether.

Let's talk about sound.

One thing i can say is that the drum/guitar interplay catches my attention the most and it can come of as both equally amazing and boring. i say amazing because in order to pull off some of this stuff on actual instruments is hard as hell, i say boring because of that same reason these riffs can sound boring as all hell in their repetition on traditional rock instruments. Some songs sound fresh and moving due to their original author's sense of rhythm others sound bloated and repetitive because their isnt much of an earworm of a riff or pattern to it. To me this album was going to divide ears no matter who was listening, i just didnt think it would divide them so much within the album song to song, i thought this would be more of a "this album is amazing" vs "this album is garbage" kind of scenario.
The album is cheesy, cool, aggressive, playful, it basically is a long list of contradictions and this does bleed into the sound quite a lot, while i love the opener "cosmic cars" i kind of hate "good life" and so on. But above all the collaboration between the dirtbombs and Carl Craig on the 20 minute centerpiece "Bug in the Bass Bin" needs to be heard to be believed...and yes i did just say collaboration Craig plays analog synth on the track!

Now even though this album is a whole new concept i have never seen before, i have heard some of these sounds before. I hear a lot of Echoes period Rapture going on, i also hear a lot of the first OUTHUD album. There is a little bit of Soulwax in there as well.

This album is in no way a disappointment at all, i think the concept is very interesting and i feel the music matches up to the originals pretty well also. I think i would definitely recommend this album to a detroit techno fan over a fan of the dirtbombs because to be honest unless you have a real open mind or love detroit techno and you are a dirtbombs fan this will probably be your least favorite album of theirs. if you like adventure and weirdness and electronic music this will most likely be your favorite album of theirs.

so head on down to the party store and see what happens when a hero in one genre honors heroes of another.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

video: C V L T S - "angel chromosome" (from C V L T S/Umberto Split 7" (2011))

L V S T, the self-released debut of Kansas' C V L T S, was an excellent assortment of simple yet engaging synthscapes.  I'd been looking forward to new music from these guys, and "Angel Chromosome" from their upcoming split with Umberto (who uh I know nothing about) makes for an excellent (though unfortunately brief) reminder of why this group stands out in an increasingly crowded field of bedroom keyboard kids.  Sounding retro without sounding stale, sounding epic without being overstuffed or pompous.... C V L T S definitely have a take on synthy drone that appeals to me.  Much more than, say, Night Satan.

Bonus: C V L T S Mixtape: featuring your favorite experimental electronic weirdos The Skaters, Mark McGuire, Stellar OM Source, Matrix Metals, etc... plus Jan Hammer, and Peter Gabriel(!).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

track review: moon duo - "mazes" (from mazes (2011))

Moon Duo - Mazes by souterraintransmissions
One of my favorite San Francisco groups, Moon Duo, announced their newest release (and full-length debut) Mazes today.  Like the bizarrely warm weather we've been experiencing here, this news makes me excited for the end of winter and the beginning of long months of sun- Moon Duo's previous EP releases of mellow-yet-propulsive hazy psych were the perfect jamming soundtrack for last summer (Mazes comes out just before the sunny season, on April 18th).  The title track, released today as part of the announcement, promises that Mazes will mostly be the same Moon Duo we know and love.  It features the same motorik beat, the sustained keyboards, the rising and falling outer-space guitar that carries the music through the cosmos.... but in a more energized form than Moon Duo's previous releases.  The chords are a little brighter, a little more upbeat; the vocals are more clear, less hidden by reverb, than older Moon Duo tracks.  However, these slight differences do not fundamentally change the overall vibe- I think this bodes well for their debut.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Night Satan-Midnight Laser Warrior (2010)

01 Four Eyed Cyclops by deef deeferson
02 Death Chess 2000 by deef deeferson

hmmmmmmmmm so this is an interesting one and i still kind of dont know what to think about it. basically it's what i believe to be 3 guys from finland, and they have walls and walls of synths at their disposal. they also use electronic drums and have vocals for about 30 seconds on the first song. this stuff is like a weird cross between symphonic metal/cheesy 80s production/video game music(old school)/prog rock and some of the ambient/soundscapes of someone like tangerine dream or klaus schulze but all very new agey. On paper this must be sounding either awesome to some and like shit to most and that would be a correct assumption. I honestly cant tell if i am giving this album too much of a chance or if i am being blinded and it actually sucks.

there are a few things in its favor.
first, i have never heard an album like this(good thing and bad thing)
it does have quite a few amazing passages that evoke something like a futuristic goblin
i really love how they use the electronic drums, the programming is simple yet satisfying.
the album art is amazing!

the cons:
its cheesy as shit
its really really cheesy

i mean this shit is fucking dorky!!!!!!!!

but for the first time in one of my reviews i am completely offering up my authority and i want others to please tell me what they think of this thing
i am just posting the 1st 2 tracks
enjoy and get back to me!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

burzum - fallen (2011)

Burzum - Enhver Til Sitt by speedglueandmusic_aw
Burzum - Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen by speedglueandmusic_aw

Proving that the Norwegian prison system works, Burzum has now released his second post-prison album, and has not yet been caught committing any hate crimes.  His first post-prison work, Belus, surprised me with its focus and intensity, and exceeded my low expectations by far (and ended up at the #1 spot on my best of 2010 metal albums list).  I had no idea he'd follow Belus up so quickly, but nevertheless I tentatively hoped Fallen would match the quality of it's predecessor.  It definitely succeeds in doing so- if you liked Belus then you will likely be happy with this.  It mostly follows the template set forth on Belus, but this time Varg spends a little more time crooning than before, and several of the songs feature a martial, mid-tempo near-motorik beat (as on "Enhver Til Sitt") that brings a hypnotic groove the record.  While most of the album follows a particular formula, "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen" ends the album on an odd and spacey note- definitely weird in a good way, but hopefully not an indication that Varg is itching to get relive his ambient days.  The biggest fault this album has is the thin production; I thought that Belus sounded thin but figured it might just be low-quality mp3s.  Fallen also has a pretty wispy sound, but I found that turning the bass up on my sound system and listening to this at a higher volume improved the experience.  Varg definitely seems to found a new sound that suits him well- if he keeps putting out albums of this quality, this period of his career may be regarded as highly as the Filosofem era.

Buke and Gass - Riposte (2010)

03 Your Face Left Before You by deef deeferson
11 Bundletuck by deef deeferson

I had heard rumblings about this album a few months ago, i remember stereogum doing a feature on them and i believe dusted really liked it as well, but i sat on it. i think i heard 1 song that was pretty decent and just moved onto other things(not a very responsible music critic but oh well).
So what is this band's deal? well it's two people named Aron/Arone who made two instruments one is a bass ukelele(Buke) the other is a bass/guitar hybrid(Gass) and they play these on every song. Each song is backed by a few other various instruments and thudding loud as shit drumming that really doesnt go beyond the tom/kick combo played at the same time in alternating patterns.
This style to songwriting means that inherently all the songs will sound similar. They do but not in a bad way and they vary the melodies enough to not get stale instead of songs that sound the same you instead end up with an overall feeling to the album...which to me means consistency and an original sound they can ride for the duration.

Now where does this album stand in the musical evolution timeline and who do i feel they are influenced by? Well just think about every good strong female voice out there in the rock/indie rock world. there are touches of Marnie Stern, Sleater Kinney, Neko Case, Geraldine Fibbers, Fiona Apple, and the list could really go on and on. This is not to say that Arone is a rip off in her vocals at all instead she finds a nice niche in between all of these acts and calls on a voice all her own. At once operatic than turning into blistering rock wails to almost coy cutesy type stuff. Her voice carries this stuff beyond a normal indie rock act.

The music i havent been able to pinpoint as well, it's definitely got a caveman-like stomp to it and they are all about repetition in the way 20th century minimal composers were, but this isnt minimal in the slightest, there is a lot going on.

Some of you reading this might hate it for being to normal and indie rockish others will praise it for carrying on the traditions of the greats that have come before them. at any rate this should be an interesting listen for anyone clicking on those samples down there...and for the record if i had paid attention to this earlier it would have easily made my albums of 2010 list.