Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jim O'Rourke - The Visitor (2009)

Jim O'Rourke is best known for his efforts as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and collaborator. Amongst his impressively vast credits and catalog, there is not one particular genre that he has been exclusive to (though he certainly has a slew of avant-garde noise and jazz endeavors). O'Rourke was also a member of Loose Fur with Jeff Tweedy and Glen Kotche of Wilco, as well as Sonic Youth from 2002-2005. Depending on which O'Rourke record you are listening to, you may hear his formidable voice, or he may not make a peep. In this case, he will not be heard in singer/songwriter mode during your acquaintanceship with The Visitor.  

The Visitor is a sombre, yet dreamy 38 minutes of piano, clarinet, banjo, organ, cello, harmonica, drums, and a number of incomparable guitars.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sailors With Wax Wings

For the sake of throwing a few sub-genres out there, Sailors With Wax Wings harnesses a prodigious combination of shoegaze, noise, post rock, doom, drone, and elements of black metal - so it's really slow. Sold yet?

Project leader, R. Loren (Pyramids, White Moth) and his highly reputable studio lineup (refer to bandcamp), entrance the listener with an album that is entirely textural and hypnotic. The male to female vocal ratio is contrasted perfectly; about as well as its rapid trem-picking over crawling, yet crushing tempos. Each track melds into the next fluently, which results in a 53 minute product that climbs and cascades dynamically for the duration of the record, though seldom reaching a climax. One might think negatively of such a characteristic, but the listening experience actually keeps me on the edge of a very comfortable seat.

physical media:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lambchop - Live at XX Merge (2010)


Approximately two years ago, I had made a mental note to become familiar with Lambchop's entire discography after buying this live album. Some way or another, I did not follow through right away, but this week has been all about Lambchop. I often become overwhelmed by massive discographies. As a result, I tend to put many artists on hold until I take action and figure out where to begin.

This record is the perfect introduction to your new love for Lambchop. Songwriter Kurt Wagner is quite a quirky fellow. His music has a strong presence of dark humor, wit, and melancholic irony. The lyrics and phrasing are most often narrative but never monotone. His lyrical content and melodies are generally heavyhearted. I especially realize this after finally listening to the studio albums. Sometimes we need some bittersweet sad bastard tunes in our life though. If Lambchop strikes you where it hurts, congratulations on being human! However, most songs on Live At XX Merge have a happier vibe, as they are tailored for a band of eleven highly professional musicians! The live renditions of these songs are also up-tempo in comparison. It's best for putting a giant grin on a face.

Try it out, then look into the studio albums. Backtracking has been a great time this week, especially while comparing the album versions to the live ones. I do not think I would have understood the appeal of Lambchop quite as well if I started from scratch. Live At XX Merge will tell you that you like it!!

National Talk Like A Pirate Day


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Birthed in the year 2000, Since I Left You speaks for itself. If you've ever closed your eyes to bask in some imaginary sunbeams, you're bound to enjoy a lush DJ oasis with The Avalanches.

 Brilliant and hilarious video for Frontier Psychiatrist

Bonus 25 minute mix!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Snakes - Audit in Progress

Rick Froberg and John Reis are one of the coolest pair of guit-choppers from the last decade (they're choppy weavers). Hot Snakes were another one of those great bands I wish I knew about before they broke up. Their music actually prodded me to get the money together for a nice Fender Telecaster. Every chord they slice through is like biting into a crisp Granny Smith. I noticed Reis is playing a Les Paul with a lipstick pickup in the video below from Lee's Palace. I've never seen that before. It would almost seem sacrilegious to do that to such a nice guitar, in most cases. However, my nerdy opinion is that it was a brilliant choice for the music they gave us.
Terrific footage and swell audio.


Friday, November 18, 2011

The Tango Saloon (2006)

I can well imagine what a Tango Saloon may look like. I picture myself entering through a pair swinging panel doors with intentions of downing a few fingers of XXX Whiskey. Much to my dismay, the room is filled with red wine and roses; each and every rose clasped between the teeth of brutes all around. Gunslingers would be dancing torso to torso with their partners, and doing that tango shit. Now take a moment to speculate on what a Tango Saloon may sound like. In comparison to its title, it sounds like a tasteful hybrid between Ennio Morricone's western film compositions and incidentally, tango music. There are also certain elements that do not quite fit into the western or tango category, but overall, composer Julien Curwin has created something very compelling here.

In addition, there are ample jazzy horn sections, and moments that bring Looney Tunes and sneaky tiptoeing to mind. The Tango Saloon is incredibly unique altogether, so have fun giving it a twirl!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Severed Heads

Severed Heads were an Australian electronic/noise/industrial group founded in 1979. I have not yet listened to their entire massive discography, but so far, I gather that they were far beyond their time in the 1980's. The group made the decision to retire in 2008, so there is indeed heaps of material. They pioneered a lot of innovative electronic sounds and styles, similar to which we hear in much electronic music of our current generation. Experimentalists like the Severed Heads need to be recognized where credit is due. I may have never heard of them until a month ago, but I guarantee that industrial heroes like Trent Reznor and the like were influenced by them. I can also bet my boots that experimentalists like Johnny Greenwood and Thom Yorke have been inspired as well.

There is not yet one particular album that is my favourite from their gigantic catalog, so I will not be posting a download link. However, I do have a Bandcamp link that will stream nearly all of their records (along with some Tom Ellard solo albums)! Please enjoy some of their visually stimulating videos too! Have fun sifting through the wacky world of the Severed Heads! Ooooga Boooga.




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coliseum - Parasites EP

A new release from Coliseum is always exciting, but I was particularily excited to see that my favourite Hot Snake, Rick Froberg had done the artwork. Not only that, J. Robbins of Jawbox was the producer, which is coincidental as I just posted their 1994 album. I love when awesome bands push the EP envelope by throwing in 8 songs instead of 4-6! I am currently having my first listen and it's rock-rolling me so hard that I don't think there's going to be much else on the listening roster today. These tunes are brash and full of mustard. Anyone who is currently into bands like Red Fang, Burning Love, Young Widows, and Fucked Up would likely have an appreciation for Coliseum. The first track actually reminds me of early Constantines, which is always good news. So how 'bout it? Today is the Parasites EP release date. Give it a listen, then give a further fuck with your credit card!!

stream it:

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

This one came out in 2010. I was hooked as soon as I heard it. At first, it might make you grimace and wonder what is causing you to like it. You're probably liking it because at some point you've taken some drugs, or smoked some reefer at least, then felt floaty and whimsical like this record. Word to my elders: Before Today might take you into the past and into the future at the SAME TIME. Oh mercy, what decade is this? Who cares anymore maaaaaan? Just smoke it yo.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Miasma and the Carousel of Headless Horses - Perils

Perils is an incredibly well-orchestrated instrumental masterpiece. It is very dark and dreary; mood music for when you feel like a sinister prick. Seriously though, this album is absolutely incredible (and creepy) so don't hold out on yourself. If you appreciate the notion that October should be renamed Halloween and celebrated all month, Perils could be a perfect listen for you. There are also moments throughout this record that makes me think of gypsies, but I'll say no more, since nobody likes them.

Daniel O'Sullivan, guitar, harmonium, autoharp; Sara Hubrich, violin, viola; Orlando Harrison, piano, organ, glockenspiel; David Ledden, bass; David Smith, drums, percussion; Jamie Gomez Arellano, sound; with Sarah Measures, flute


The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead

I consider it crucial to mention how powerfully strong an album like "Forget the Night Ahead" is. It has had massive staying power in my repertoire since it was released in 2009. It is blasting and soothing. It is crushing and comforting. It is a product of perfection. James Graham's Scottish accent characterizes the songs and plays a gigantic role in their sound. If you have not heard this, and you love Mogwai, The National, Mono, and My Bloody Valentine, you just might poo a little. The song, "I Became a Prostitute" happens to be on this one. ;) Their new album, "No One Can Ever Know" is to be released in February, 2012.


Handsome - s/t 1997

Here we have Handsome's only release. This is another record that can be filed under "stuff you may have missed". Featuring members of Helmet, Quicksand, Murphy's Law, and the Cro-Mags. I declare this album to be catchy, heavy, terrificent and magnific. 

discontinued. find a used one.

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart


After listening to "For Your Own Special Sweetheart" for the first time in 2009, I was surprised to find out its release date was in 1994. I also wondered why I was hearing it a whopping fifteen years later. At first, I thought I might have been living under a rock, but then I considered my age. There's always something new to me that I've caught onto late. Better late than never!

What else can be said about a record such as this that can't be said about many other great albums from the 90's? It probably would not have been so underrated if it had more publicity. However, finding a gem like this is always very exciting to me. A cover of "Savory" can be heard on the Deftones' B-Sides and Rarities collection.

Here be a reunion video from 2010, on the Jimmy Fallon rock-roll show.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Indian Handcrafts

Indian Handcrafts!! They are not only the buzz; they are the scuzz, the dirt, and the fuzz. If I were the treasurer of "cool", I would open up my lock-box and hand out enough Indian Handcrafts to everyone in need of the antidote for "lame". If music were a competition, they would spank you. If music were a form of discipline, they would reward you with a delicious microwave lunch, and I ain't talkin' no Swansons! As music is simply expression, they will spank you.


mclusky - the difference between me and you is that i'm not on fire

If you have not heard this album before, you must. It is quirky, sneering, sarcastic, clever, and crusty ass. If that sort of thing turns your crank, you are in for a delight. TDBMAYITINOF is always a celebratory listen, and a major milestone in my life. I can't say enough about this record, so I won't.


Zechs Marquise - Getting Paid

I'm going to call this refreshingly different psychedelic jam funk... or post/new/nu/crabcore. How's that for a genre? The band features three groove-infused Rodriguez-Lopez brothers, excluding Omar. For fans of The Mars Volta, The Budos Band, RX Bandits, Sleeping People, Maserati

Judge it!


Indian - Guiltless

First and foremost, I'm going to try not to review music too seriously. I am not a reviewer, nor do I often care for reviews. It is necessary to praise this album if you are a fan of the almighty "crushingness" that only burly mammoths seem to understand. Doom metal for fans of early Earth, Wolves In the Throne Room, Converge, The Melvins, Pig Destroyer etc. Either you get it or you don't. Be a judge.

Preview, enjoy, then purchase if worthy.