Friday, March 17, 2023

Forensics - On a Bridge Atop the Heap of Friends Who Jumped (2003)


Great 3-song EP from a band that, for me, never quite lived up to their potential from here. I saw them right after this came out with an old friend and bandmate (who sold me on them as a pg.99 side-project, which is kind of a stretch in retrospect -- sure, one of their guitarists is in there, but it's essentially the brainchild of Brent Eyestone, founding member of Waifle [and a bunch of other bands] as well as owner of Magic Bullet) and they blew me away. See, this was back before post-rock had been absorbed into virtually every genre of music, and it was still novel, even a bit confrontational for a hardcore band to open their set with a long, pretty, slow-building instrumental. And their style was pretty unique, taking cues from the melodic end of skramz, riff-y metalcore, and sludge/post-metal. But their full-length just didn't quite land -- the recording was awkward, the song titles were even more obnoxious -- and my interest fizzled. I still rock this one, though.

Track listing:
1. Boat Day at the Marina
2. So There's This Movie "Corvette Summer"
3. Pulling Rank

If you like this, try:

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld (2004)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

You know what I absolutely love? Albums that started with their longest, least accessible track. As opposed to the prevailing idea that you have to immediately grab a listener's attention or you'll lose them, it says: "This is our house. You're absolutely welcome here, but we're not gonna put on airs." Such a baller move. Other examples that spring to mind: Get Up with It by Miles Davis, ...Is Eternal Life by William Hooker, and Northsuite by Velvet Cacoon.

Anyway, this one's another request, and as long as y'all keep asking for great shit that I'm stoked to revisit, I'm happy to deliver. Ghost truly is one of the greatest psych bands to have ever graced this wretched planet, and from its amorphous, free-jazz-leaning opener to uptempo psych rock to its haunting psych-folk closer, Hypnotic Underworld is for sure one of their best.

Track listing:
1. Hypnotic Underworld: God Took a Picture of His Illness on This Ground
2. Hypnotic Underworld: Escaped and Lost Down in Medina
3. Hypnotic Underworld: Aramaic Barbarous Dawn
4. Hypnotic Underworld: Leave the World!
5. Hazy Paradise
6. Kiseichukan Nite
7. Piper
8. Ganagmanag
9. Feed
10. Holy High
11. Dominoes - Celebration for the Gray Days

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Monday, March 13, 2023

Grimlock - Crusher (2003)

Starting my week by blasting out a bunch of pushups to some groove-heavy Boston metalcore/beatdown. If you want a record full of irresponsibly hard breakdowns precipitated by a yoaked-out Masshole saying stuff like "I'm a brand new man" or "I'm king of the fucking jungle" or "I will rise forever", you can't do much better than Crusher. But, statistically speaking, you probably don't.

Track listing:
1. Ritual of Steel
2. Mad Titan
3. Crusher
4. The Last Holy Fool
5. End of the Dream
6. Revolution (Return of the Power)

More like this:

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Laughing Clowns - Mr Uddich-Schmuddich Goes to Town (1982)


Got a request for more Laughing Clowns, and I'll take any reason to listen to this amazing band. Here's their first album. Australian experimental punk/post-punk/whatever-you-wanna-call-it with the added layer of a small but cacophonous horn section.

Track listing:
1. In Front of Your Eyes
2. Come One, Come All
3. Laughter Around the Table
4. A Knife in the Head
5. Theme From 'Mad Flies, Mad Flies'
6. A Song of Joy
7. Mr Uddich-Schmuddich Goes to Town
8. When What You See

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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Hunstville - For the Middle Class (2006)

Abstract, instrumental folk-jazz/post-rock from a Norwegian trio. Dreamy, droning, but bubbling over with life, For the Middle Class sounds both improvisational and expertly composed, and is probably a mix of the two. A favorite of mine ever since the golden age of the mp3 blog.

Track listing:
1. The Appearance of a Wise Child
2. Serious Like a Pope
3. Add a Key of Humanity
4. Melon

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Saturday, March 4, 2023

Wayne Shorter - Odyssey of Iska (1970)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

I'm a little late but: R.I.P. to one of the greatest jazz musicians to have ever lived. A brilliant piece of amorphous, simmering avant-garde jazz, Odyssey of Iska capped off a positively ridiculous 8-album run that rivals pretty much any other in music history. (Not that the albums before or after are bad by any means, but Night Music through Odyssey is, to me, just about as good as it gets.)

Track listing:
1. Wind
2. Storm
3. Calm
4. De Pois do Amor, O Vazio (After Love, Emptiness)
5. Joy

If you like this, listen to:

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Scott McGill - The Hand Farm (1997)

Dissonant, noodle-y fusion/jazz-rock by American guitarist Scott McGill. The Hand Farm is all knotty, herky-jerky time signatures and manic, fluid fretwork, but there's something woozy and atmospheric at work that helps to elevate it above your standard fusion wank-fest.

Track listing:
1. The Great Unwashed
2. The Secret Linen Service
3. Pools
4. Death by D.M.V.
5. 2000 Allen Called
6. Uncle Zippy
7. Luggage
8. Ignoramus Rex
9. Calvinist Pancakes
10. Labyrinth
11. Alaskan Brick

If you like this, listen to:

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tucker Zimmerman - Tucker Zimmerman (1972)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Another one from the old (and I do mean old) request pile. Second album, right on par with the first. Warm, homespun, stoned outsider folk.

Track listing:
1. Another Normal Day
2. Freeway
3. A Friend Like You
4. Left Hand of Moses
5. No Love Lost
6. She's an Easy Rider
7. Amusement Park
8. Back on the Road Again
9. Canary Island Rain
10. Keep That Fire Burning

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Sunday, February 26, 2023

Miroslav Vitous - Purple (1970)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Low-key, simmering fusion helmed by bassist Miroslav Vitous. I had a truly massive buildup of spam comments that I never deleted, and lo and behold, on the other side of that pile were a grip of comments from almost 4 years ago. One of them was a request for a post on this album from July 7, 2019. Better late than never?

Track listing:
1. Purple
2. Mood
3. Water Lilie
4. Dolores
5. It Came from Knowhere

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Friday, February 24, 2023

Tears ov Blood - Infinite Winter (1994)

Lo-fi ethereal darkwave/dungeon synth from Matthew Davis, who I believe is best known/remembered for his work as Secret Stairways. I am still new to Davis' music, but to my ears, these are some of the most haunting, compelling recordings of their kind.

Track listing:
1. Into Glamis Castle
2. Serenade
3. Our Winter Infinite
4. So Far Away
5. Falling
6. Something Scary
7. Reprise

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Sunday, February 19, 2023

Medusa - En Raga Sül (2008)

Raw sludge/noise metal from Bloomington, IL. A potent mix of punishing locked grooves and dissonant yet weirdly catchy riffs that I'm guessing won over every crowd this band ever played for. Somewhere between early Melvins and early Today Is the Day. Members of Racebannon.

Track listing:
1. Rain un Thunder
2. Mediatrix
3. En Raga Sül
4. Back to Dust
5. Transform
6. Destructor
7. Bruier
8. Throne of God
9. Inflict the Venom
10. Snakebite
11. Soldiers of Death
12. Body Count
13. Alucarda
14. Fresh Fly
15. Wicked Father

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Friday, February 17, 2023

Titonton Duvanté - Voyeurism (1999)

A bit of funky, acid-warped bedroom techno from producer/DJ Titonton Duvanté. Great mix of punchy, 808-driven, low-key bangers and downtempo cool-downs. In making this post, I discovered that he's doing a set tomorrow in Portland, but if you think I'm going to a DJ set that starts at 10 (at night?!), at which I am meant to dance, you're out your gotdamn mind. You kids have fun.

[This is the 2002 CD reissue with additional tracks and reworked sequencing.]

Track listing:
1. Foreplay
2. Taste Test
3. Bedpost
4. Favorite Position
5. Innuendo
6. Double Entendre
7. Remember
8. When We Used To.....
9. Boudoir
10. Novice with No Vices
11. Rugburn
12. Afterglow

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known Better (2011)

Melancholic, heartstrings-tugging post-rock to play loud while ruminating on regrets, dead friends, and the overwhelming sadness of our world. Crystalline guitars, shivering strings, slow builds, cathartic peaks, and dejected valleys. Everyone's too cool for this stuff 'til depression comes back around.

Track listing:
1. I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful
2. Waiting and Waltzing in Airport Terminals
3. The Lights Weren't That Bright, but Our Eyes Were So Tires

More along these lines:

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Dante Augustus Scarlatti - Demises of the Dynamic Microphone (in Monodelity) (2009)

A few months back, I found a crate in my garage full of old CDs of friends' projects and random shit that I accumulated while on tour back in the day. There's a lot of mid-tier punk and metal, but there are a few gems in there, like this one, which I got in Bloomington, IN, where, in 2009, there was a surprisingly rich scene for experimental, often black metal-adjacent sounds. Demises of the Dynamic Microphone (in Monodelity) presents a series of grainy, analogue synth and/or guitar abstractions against a backdrop of tape hiss and muffled field recordings. While there, I also picked up this tape, as well as this LP by the band OS, who we played with and whose house we stayed at -- neither of which I have the capability to rip, unfortunately.

Track listing:
1. Prologue
2. Re:verses of Decay in 1939's Kodascope Mass for Arachnid
3. Transcriptions of Subterranean Meteorological Phenomena in the Galaxie Deluxe
4. Vinyl Etchings Containing Hymns of the Sacred Greek Orthodox Funeral
5. Electro-Syncing Static Keys in the City of Dead Sound
6. Recitations of the Reel Rhythm in a Stern Seasonal Stereophonic Headphone Set
7.  Epilogue

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Friday, February 10, 2023

Black Priest of Satan - Element of Destruction (2016)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Just got a re-up request on the above post, felt like a good time to revisit this piece of mid-paced, doom-laden German black metal. Gnarly guitar tone, ritualistic atmosphere, riffs, and a touch of slop to let you know that practice comes second, Satanic Chaos comes first.

Track listing:
1. The Element of Destruction
2. Prophet of Fire
3. Blazing Fires in the Night
4. Unheard Prayer
5. Ritual of Three Candles
6. Guided by Two Moons

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