Ada Lea – what we say in private
The giant, dumb, and dumbfounding popstar-making machine loves doling out cute foibles and turning them into fuckable eccentricities. Enjoy tattoos and strange piercings? Let’s give it a huge cock. Like pink hair? Let’s give it a nice set of tits. The machine throws peaked, primed, and painted-faced pop prince/princess with pitch-perfect vocals up to a mic to say, “I’m not like the other guys/girls. I’m an outcast.” Why? Because you’ve got strange coloured hair, obnoxiously spell your name wrong, and there’s a rumour of some off-vanilla sexual act on tape? It’s difficult not to become cynical after watching the nth scandalously clad teen “rebel” for shitpiles of cash. And it’s a relief to listen to Ada Lea. Sure, the genre she plays might be categorized as pop/rock and she is undeniably quirky, but her eccentricities don’t work as a Wonderbra. Her lyrics won’t make your ass tighter, give you fuller lips, or sell you a sparkling beverage. This music and style are hers. They’re honest. This is Ada being her authentic self. This album glides between pop/folk/rock/experimental with the ease and grace of a happily stoned figure skater. The honesty of the lyrics will keep you awake as the experimentation will have you cracking smiles. Behind most rebranded products is a purity that we crave. We crave fat because of our ancestral days spent as hunters. We crave sugar from our time gobbling fruit in trees. We crave salt because of our time spent with the ocean. Ada is the purity behind the pop. And you can hear it. She’s legit, unprocessed, and real as a motherfucker. When you finally try this shit uncut, the mass-produced imitation turns nauseatingly pale in comparison. In short, Ada’s addictive for all the right reasons.
Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno – Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks
You might think this shit is a simple remastering of an older album in order to sell something that used to be popular in the ’80s. But this motherfucker’s got 11 new tracks. If you don’t know Brian Eno then you need to immediately get on that shit right fucking now. I’m not joking. Eno’s scope of influence is massive. First when he was a synth player for Roxy Music (which got him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), to paving the way for an entirely new genre, to helping Bowie create his famed Berlin Trilogy, to helping the Talking Heads create their best albums, to coining the fucking Microsoft sound, to influencing everything you’ve ever fucking heard in your whole fucking life. Like I said, get on that shit. But I digress. Back in the ’80s, Eno, his brother Roger, and famed producer Daniel Lanois decided to make some space tunes. Why? Because of Apollo 11, motherfucker. The world lived in the shadow cast by the Cold War’s looming threat that everything would simply vanish. Poof. So long everyone. Goodbye humanity. With the earth so grime people turned skyward and space became insanely popular. Shit was fucking everywhere from rockets, to robots, to fucktons of sci-fi movies. Whenever humanity has felt thoroughly fucked and raw, whenever we felt hopeless beyond all belief, we looked up. We looked up to the ancient Sumerian god El, the Greek Gods, to the idea of landing on the moon, all the way to Elon Musk colonizing Mars. We looked up to find hope. This album is three ambient music gods creating a soundtrack for space. It’s coated with that special ’80s hope in life. Is it cheesy? Sometimes. But that’s hope. These days it’s easier to understand that ’80s desire to reach the stars. Why do you think we’re all nostalgic for this shit? Listening to this album helps connect two entirely different generations by lifting their collective chins. If you’re not much of a stargazer and don’t like this kind of shit, good for you, Earthling. Me, the Eno brothers, and Lanois will be sure to send you a postcard from t
Lingua Ignota – Caligula
This is what happens when opera decides to scream till it shits itself and metal accepts that it has nothing to do with rock. To be honest, I don’t quite know who this album is made for. Don’t see many tuxes at metal concerts or spiked collars at Don Giovanni. But if you can imagine an audience dressed up in both them shits, that’s where this album resides. This is not an easy listen. Sweet marmaladed fuck, this is not an easy listen. It will make you uncomfortable. It’s designed to. Like opera, it requires a dedicated listener willing to chill and wade deep into thick story and emotions. And, like metal, the emotions portrayed can be uncomfortably fucking heavy. At times, Lingua will swear and scream like a cursed banshee witch condemning the earth after losing her child to a storm. If you sit on the opera side of things, this sound might be grating to those sensitive ears. But, don’t be fooled, this style of singing takes incredible amounts of practice, talent, and dedication. Those vocals ain’t easy to do right. But Lingua doesn’t just scream. She can also sing in clear harmony with a few Celtic wavers thrown in for kicks. When you combine the wailing, the swelling strings, the piano lines, the distorted bass, and its unparalleled grandness, this album carves out its own unique world all dressed in black lipstick, top hats, mascara, ballroom gowns, three-piece suits, neck piercings, and Mohawks. And it’s a beautiful fucking sight to see.
Joshua Sabin – Sutarti
Ever heard of those polyphonic north-eastern Lithuanian tunes called Sutartinės? Huh? What? What is Brightly fucking talking about? Well, Joshua Sabin sure has. Dude dug deep into those folk music archives at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre Ethnomusicology Archives in order to listen to this kinda shit. It’s a type of singing where the aim is to create a kind of beating that occurs when two frequencies are just out of sync. No shit. This is a real fucking thing. Check it: If you link up two soundwaves perfectly (like two flutes playing the same fucking note) the sounds becomes bigger, brighter, and stronger. But if one of those motherfuckers goes off slightly, then the soundwaves fight each other. And when those waves throw punches, a wavering beat is created. That’s right, north-eastern Lithuanian folk music is badass. Joshua took this model and plugged it into the wall. The end result is transcen-fucking-dental electronic music. Is this shit strange? What do you think? But if you’re of a certain persuasion and the bizarre and the strange excite you, then this album is your fucking jam. It’s gorgeous in its minimalist breakdown of a physics concept and in its output. But even if you knew nothing of how it was made, it would still be beautiful. Yet in understanding that the concept behind this album is this fucking old, you feel a connection to humans from way, way, back in the day. You feel a connection that goes beyond language, culture, gender, time, and space. You feel a core humanness in its pursuit. And when an album can do that, you know it’s fucking good.