Title: Pleasuring The DivineArtist: Jesse Sykes And The Sweet Here90 plays
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter - Pleasuring the Divine (Marble Son)
After five years of studying the secrets of loudness with monastic-doom-scholars Sunn O))), Appalachian Amazon Jesse Sykes and her merry men return with a new collection of dirged-out twangfests. Their time spent with the hooded amp-friars is readily apparent; the first track is an 8 minute blast of distortion, noodling, and fog any stoner-rock afficionado would happily stroke his beard to. Things get more wistful and slide-guitar-y afterwards, but the bite is never too far away, and is a welcome addition to their sound.
Title: Human QualitiesArtist: Explosions In The Sky544 plays
Explosions in the Sky - Human Qualities (Take Care, Take Care, Take Care)
A common complaint in recent years about meticulous thundergods Explosions in the Sky is that of stagnation, of mining the same cinematic crescendo-core that the rest of the old-guard of that most nebulous of genres ‘post-rock’ got bored with sometime around Mr. Beast and Takk… (to an even greater amount of complaints of course)
They may have not experimented a whole lot with their sound over their decade-and-change of existence, but close inspection will reveal a definite, if subtle, variety. Certainly the fuzzed out skittering going on up there is a thing I’ve not noticed before.
In the end, EiTS are one of those rare bands whose sound would probably suffer if they did mess about with it. Their intricate, monolithic sonic constructions sound timeless, if not positively ancient, from the second you hear them. Of course the drums are going to go “BOOM” a third of the way through. When you have a drummer as peerless at going “BOOM” as Chris Hrasky, you bloody well let him go “BOOM” every chance you get.
Once upon a time there was a band named Helmet. The young men of Helmet thought that heavy metal was the bee knees, but also that alternative rock was the cat’s pajama’s. It was only a matter of time before the idea of a creature with the knees of a bee and the pajamas of a cat haunted their dreams. They called it… Alternative Metal. The sound caught on, and they enjoyed a taste of the great Post-Nirvana Alternaboom of the mid-90’s, but didn’t set the world on fire or anything. They called it quits just in time (of course) to watch a bunch of ridiculous clowns who sounded kind of like them set the world of fire, and were subsequently sent to prison on the charge of ‘Korn’.
They were released five years later, and decided to cash in, and recorded a new album of crunchy riffs and angsty yowls. It was (of course) universally lauded as ‘some dudes who sound kind of like Puddles of Mud, whatever, have you heard the new Radiohead album?’
TV On The Radio - Repetition (Nine Types of Light)
As baffling and wondrous as its predecessors, monumentally-coiffed sound-magicians TV On The Radio’s latest treasury of correctly-made music slides them right into the Murphy-sized hole in our correctly-made-music-loving hearts.
The pacing is wonderful throughout; the gentle ramp from the intricate beauty of Killer Crane into the charging last third of the record is masterful, and the way the first song follows the flow of the whole like it’s some kind of musical Mandelbrot set is nothing short of delightful.
Title: Palaces of Montezuma (Barry Adamson Remix)Artist: Grinderman100 plays
Grinderman - Palaces of Montezuma [Barry Adamson Remix] (Palaces of Montezuma)
Eerie atmospherian and long-time Nick Cave ally Barry Adamson gives Grinderman 2’s finest moment a whooshy, minimalist spin, making one wonder if this wasn’t the way the song was supposed to sound in the first place. Five stars!
Here’s LCD Soundsystem’s final gig at Madison Square Garden from last night in it’s entirety. All three hours and a half hours of it. It’s pretty bloody incredible and has some nice little surprises in it too like a cameo from Arcade Fire.
The setlist goes as follows:
Dance Yrself Clean (with “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc intro) Drunk Girls I Can Change Time To Get Away Get Innocuous! Daft Punk Is Playing At My House Too Much Love All My Friends Tired (with “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes snippet) — Set 2 45:33 Part One 45:33 Part Two (w/ Reggie Watts) Sound of Silver 45:33 Part Four 45:33 Part Five (w/ Shit Robot) 45:33 Part Six Freak Out/Starry Eyes — Set 3 Us v Them North American Scum (w/ Arcade Fire) Bye Bye Bayou (Alan Vega cover) You Wanted A Hit Tribulations Movement Yeah (Crass Version) — Set 4 Someone Great Losing My Edge (With “Da Funk” by Daft Punk snippet) Home — Set 5 All I Want Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson Cover) New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (with “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti intro)
Treacle-voiced delight-miner Rose Melberg sweeps back into our lives with her new band Brave Irene (named after famous Canadian stunt-pilot and dynamite-juggler Irene Reeves). Melberg sticks firmly to her wheelhouse (being wonderful), dishing out eight quick, wistful, virulently catchy pop songs about love lost, found and wallowed in. It suffers from the mandatory haze that all Slumberland records are bathed with, even though Melberg’s songs beg for clarity, but I suppose Albini can’t record everything.
As anyone who has witnessed a Dinosaur Jr. gig will attest, laconic guitar-deity J Mascis generally prefers to let his instrument do the talking (and by ‘talking’ I of course mean ‘making everyone in a three-mile radius weep like babies in a mixture of pain and joy as their ear-drums threaten to explode out of their eyesockets’). So it’s surprising that his much-anticipated solo album seems to be mostly him locked in a broom-closet yowling away and plinky-plonking on an acoustic guitar. Not so surprising that it is fantastic, the man could play a cigar box strung with Courtney Love’s thong (sorry) and still sound amazing.
Lyrically, our hero showcases an unprecedented level of intimacy, but this is J Mascis we’re talking about, so that generally boils down to “Hey you guys I actually give a crap about several things! Like stuff, and whatever. I’m not sure why though!” It doesn’t matter at all though, because he remains as supernaturally gifted at speaking through his fingers as ever.
First surprise entry in 2011 Favorites. It’s shaping up quite nicely.
In less horrific Japan-related news, amplifier-worshipping (usually?) sonic-apocalypse Boris have a new album coming out*! It’s called, of course, New Album. Here is a song from it. It is… surprising.
A few listens in, I think I approve. It’s like a shoegaze-techno soundtrack to one of those anime cartoons where giant robots beat eachother up on the moon and have feelings? Everyone loves robots. And Boris. And feelings.
*Actually they have two. Three if you count the thing they’re doing with Merzbow. Boris is awesome
Earth - Descent to the Zenith (Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1)
Ancient mountain-gods Earth continue to sound very different from their initial bowel-loosening rumble-metal landmarks, incorporating even more languorous desert-sadness of into their signature doom-growling. It’s a good sound for them. Keep it up Earth.
Reluctantly-titanic art-weirdos Radiohead suckerpunched the world last weekend with their 7th (Ed: Actually it’s their eigh-) SEVENTH (but what about Pabl-) SEVENTH! album, to both boundless delight and furiously insistent nonchalance (at the announcement).
Reaction to the record itself is similarly mixed, with some applauding the band’s inroads into cutting-edge bleepybloopyness, and others bemoaning a perceived abandonment of the humanist warmth that tempered their previous robo-sadness clickfests so well. Still others think the whole thing is just, to borrow a phrase, ‘boring as balls’, but they are probably the type who think High and Dry was the pinnacle of Radiohead’s output, so.
Personally, I think it’s pretty good! It’s very much like two separate EPs, one of passive-aggressively experimental bass-music herkyjerkery and the other of classic Radiohead mumble-balladry, stuck together; each working great on their own, but maybe not coalescing into a single unit as well as a Radiohead album ought to. The comparisons to Hail To The Thief are also very apt, and I have the feeling it will be similarly marginalized whenever their next record comes out and crystallizes all the ideas in this one, and that will be similarly sad.
In summation, listen to Hail to the Thief you jerks, it is so good.