Uniform & The Body – Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back
This album begins subtly. A low moaning builds for almost a minute before a pounding electronic war drum smacks you in the side of the face like a dead fish. Around the 2:30 mark, the song begins. If you’re not ready to punk out, swing fists, and warcry it might be best to avoid this album. This is doom metal meets electronic music and it digs into the deeps like an auger seeking water. It’s an oily grimy mess you want to pour over your face and down your throat. It’s a sonic heaven for those that feel like thrashing out a bad day. And if that was all the album gave, it would be enough. But this shit is truly fucking intelligent. It’s chock-full of musical references. The track “Waiting for the End of the World” is named after an Elvis Costello track. The world created by the collaboration between Uniform and The Body is colossal. It’s massive. It’s a black fucking hole that’s screaming out in existential mania. This is a David Lynch movie with a fat ass beat. These two have come to create something truly unique. And it’s worth a fucking listen.
Oh Sees – Face Stabber
At an hour and twenty minutes, this album is a monster. The first track is 8 minutes. Get that? Eight. And each minute is fucking perfect. It’s one of those jams that you play when you want to get a speeding ticket. You won’t be able to help it. The song will make you press the gas, light a smoke, and smile like a coquettish goblin getting finger banged. It’s a non-stop rock powerhouse with delight baked inside. Many psychedelic rock bands have tried to make this album and failed. There isn’t a cliche on this motherfucker. It’s innovative. It doesn’t live in the past (shocker!) You could set your watch to these funky rhythms as everything else ventures into deep space. This album fits more in the funk formula that it does psychedelic rock. It’s not 4 dudes high out of the gourds thinking they’ve each got the golden cock. It’s genuine. I didn’t know I missed psychedelic rock & roll until I heard this. And now? I can’t get enough of it even if this shit is an hour and twenty minutes. This album shows the difference between the obligatory guitar solo verses a guitar being used to express the ineffable. The pushing drums move like a nefarious train on a pursuit to Oh Fuck Ya. This shit is fan-fucking-tastic.
Erkki Veltheim – Ganzfeld Experiment
Hold on to your hats, motherfuckers. This one is a doozie. The “ganzfeld experiment” is a technique to test if someone’s got ESP. Yep, that’s extrasensory fucking perception, mind readers and telepaths for you comic readers. Have you ever looked at something, stared at it for a second, and then thought, “hmm”? Only to hold out your hand and try to move that motherfucker with your mind? Well, it’s possible that shit didn’t work because you hadn’t heard this album yet. This could, potentially, open up your world. Or, more likely, it’s just a truly interesting mindfuck done sonically. Do I actually believe this could give you ESP? Not really. Not yet anyway. I think we have a fuckton more evolving to do before we get to move shit with our minds. But for those that believe you can’t have a transcendental experience through music, you’d better listen to this shit right quick. It’s a single track that swells and shrinks at 45 minutes. This is less of an album and more of an experience. But, man, what a fucking trip.
The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion
There are artists out there that create relatable and lovable characters within their lyrics. Some argue that’s why Bruce Springsteen exists. And, sure, maybe he did this at one point. But the Hold Steady makes that shit look like a Hallmark card. Right off the bat you’ve got lines like, “He shaved his head at the airport in the bar at the end of the concourse.” BAM! Already that character is more vivid and real than anything The Boss has written in the last 10 years. Look, I’m not here to shit on classics. Bruce is boss for a reason. But you don’t listen to a Hold Steady song, you live the fucking thing. You have characters and best friends that feel as real, at times more real, than your own toenails. It’s as vivid as the hand in front of you. These songs are full of derelicts, dreamers, delinquents, and the despondent. When the album closes you miss a place you’ve never been, you miss people you’ve never met, and yet the reality drawn into these songs isn’t some fevered dream or idyllic world. You see the cracks in these characters’ faces, smell their bad breath, and you keep secrets from them. The music provides a backing for the lyrics that help create this realism. Without the fun rock tunes, these lyrics would feel like they’re trying too hard. It’s a perfect blend of poetry and music. Have there been more concise Hold Steady albums? Totally. But a lack of focus isn’t this album’s weakness. Instead, you have a wide array of characters travelling the world and being human. You feel their loneliness, their dissonance, and when a tune can do that you know it’s well fucking written.
Annelien van Wauwe, Orchestre National de Lille & Alexandre Bloch – Belle époque
(sorry the link isn’t working for some strange fucking reason)
This album is silly and spunky little bitch. It’s like a sexy otter. That’s right, you read that shit right. This album is like a sexy otter. At times it feels like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Because even during its ominous times, like when Bugs has the cold business end of a shotgun shoved between his teeth, you know everything’s going to be okay. Fudd’s gun goes flaccid. Bugs gets away. The danger was never real. And that’s what the belle époque (beautiful era) is all about. The era in question is the ass end of the 19th century. Shit was pretty fucking sweet. Tunes were happy, warm, and romantic. Motherfuckers like Debussy, Widor and Pierné were writing halcyon jams all about nature and strange chaotic fun. The world hadn’t seen a world war yet. In fact, such an event would have been unthinkable. Maybe you’re some cynical fuck that’ll turn your chin at such music. “No!” you’ll think while drinking coffee the same colour as your soul, “I’m a realist. All my music must be based in painful fucking existence.” Listen here fucko, hate to tell you this, you’re not a realist you’re a surefire pessimist. Also, you’re shit at parties. Stop going to them till you learn to lighten the fuck up. If there’s such a thing as falling apart, there’s gotta be such a thing as building something up. Does that sound corny? Good. Fucking great. I like my corn. I even like my corn with a fat wad of melted fucking cheese. Every real motherfucker smiles sometimes.
Alongside these old school jams on the album, you’ve got modern fucks like Trojahn, Berio, and Tassyns. Because you don’t have to live in a pre-world-war world to smile. Look at Charlie Chaplin. Dude lived some strange shit. The most evil man to have ever lived stole his fucking moustache! What he do? He beamed light. He mocked and Bugs Bunnied the motherfucker in the famed movie “The Great Dictator”. Wanna see Hitler bounce a world balloon off his ass? Here’s your flick. It’s fucking hilarious without drawing away from what’s real. Annelien Van Wauwe plays the clarinet straight boss. Perfect tone, pitch, and purity. She’s picked these tunes. All these compositions were written in places she has lived and has studied. She brings this history into her notes. Lady puts the feels in. She didn’t release this album during a time of perfect harmony. Naw, she knows what she’s doing. It takes a brave and smart motherfucker to know that, even at the worst of times, the real world comes shining through if you just smile. Enjoy this taste of cheesy-corn like the realist you are.