Saturday, May 1, 2021

Ida - The Braille Night (2001)


Downcast, low-key love songs with rich vocal harmonies courtesy of three lead vocalists. Ida have been accused of trying too hard to be pretty, and they're definitely too earnest to be considered 'cool', but I got into them at just the right time -- in my early 20s, trying to navigate a doomed relationship -- and this record (and Will You Find Me) stuck with me to this day.

Track listing:
1. Let's Go Walking
2. Ignatia Amara
3. Arrowheads
4. So Long
5. Blizzard of '78
6. So Worn Out
7. The Braille Night
8. Gladiolas
9. Ocean of Glass
10. Moves Through the Air

We're just haunted in our skins
By all that could have been
You hide it from your face
But it still shows


More sad lovey-dovey music:

Friday, April 30, 2021

Simon Scott - Navigare (2009)

Excellent first solo album by Simon Scott, best known as the drummer for Slowdive. Haunting, evocatively layered ambient pieces that kind of sound like distant echoes of Slowdive songs.

Track listing:
1. Introduction of Cambridge
2. Under Crumbling Skies
3. Flood Inn
4. Derelict Days
5. Repulse
6. The ACC
7. The Old Jug and Drum
8. Ashma
9. Spring Stars
10. The Night and the Artificial Light


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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Excessive Force - Conquer Your World (1991)

Related:
Rock-tinged industrial-dance from Buzz McCoy (My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult) and Sascha Konietzko (KMFDM). Truly sounds like a cross between the two projects. Like everything early-KMFDM-related, Conquer Your World sounds gloriously dated and makes me want to smoke cigarettes and drink vodka-Fruitopias on a playground somewhere in suburbia.

Track listing:
1. Conquer Your House II
2. Conquer Your World
3. Blow Your House Down
4. To Death II
5. Ride the Bomb
6. We Like War
7. Worship Me
8. Finger on the Trigger
9. Conquer Your House III


Similar vibes:

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Turmoil - The Process Of (1999)


Philly metallic hardcore. Tough and super-pissed, and with big bonehead mosh energy (BBME) but enough dissonance and compositional chops to convey something deeper than "I am very mad." If you're wondering whether or not there's a chugga-chugga breakdown over which the vocalist lists things that he absolutely WILL NOT do: you fuckin' know there is.

Track listing:
1. Playing Dead
2. The Discipline of Self Loathing
3. The Locust
4. Killing Today for a Better Tomorrow
5. Impending Doom Theory
6. Dear Jon
7. Let It Die
8. Fear of Falling Down
9. Ever Man My Enemy
11. Staring Back
12. Throwing Stones


More great hardcore from the same year:

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Gates of Slumber - ...the Awakening (2004)


First full-length by this US doom power trio. Thick guitar tones, gruff singing, and droning, sludgy songs with the kind of dual guitar solos that tend, at least for me, to conjure images of classic Sabbath. But make no mistake: this is Saint Vitus worship, straight up. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Track listing:
1. Resurrection from the Underworld
2. The Awakening (Interpolating the Wrath of the Undead)
3. The Judge
4. The Jury
5. Broken on the Wheel
6. The Executioner
7. Blessed Pathway to the Celestial Kingdom
8. The Burial
9. The Cloaked Figure [bonus]


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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Portrait of David - These Days Are Hard to Ignore (2001)


Melancholic, minimal post-rock by Ola Fløttum (of The White Birch). Acoustic guitars, echoing keys, misty atmospheric drones, and understated vocals. A beautiful, subtle, and bafflingly obscure record.

Track listing:
1. Wide Open Doors
2. Lake
3. Nine-Day Wonders
4. Beautiful Flimsy Kite
5. Hot-Air Balloon
6. Constant Flow
7. Sweet Thief
8. In the Garden
9. David's Portrait
10. Seaweed


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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per un amico (1972)


An Italian prog classic. Colorful, ornate songs performed on a veritable army of instruments -- piano, harpsichord, organ, flute, violin, piccolo, bells, virtually every kind of guitar, something called a mandocello -- broken up by pretty vocal sections, and full of stylistic hairpin turns that somehow make perfect sense in context.

Track listing:
1. Appena un po
2. Generale!
3. Per un amico
4. Il banchetto
5. Geranio


More Italian prog:

Friday, April 23, 2021

Monaural - Monitor Interference (1999)


Detroit experimental psych that takes from dub, drum n bass, and space rock. Has a slightly rough, homemade feel, which tracks considering that it was "recorded exclusively in Monaural's dining room studio."

Track listing:
1. Dot
2. Brek
3. A (To the 10th Power)
4. Reed
5. Working Title
6. Last Exit
7. Light Module
8. Icebox
9. Untitled [unlisted track]


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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Steve Kindler - Automatic Writing (1985)


Glimmering new age bliss from American violinist/composer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Kindler. Synths, layered violins, guitars, autoharp, and various forms of percussion form a warm, bright sound that occasionally approaches fusion.

Track listing:
1. Invocation
2. Back Country
3. Something from the Heart
4. For You...
5. Dawn in Varanasi
6. Sometime Ago
7. Automatic Writing
8. Song of the Seabird


Similar listening:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Stezo - Crazy Noise (1989)


Old-school hip-hop straight outta New Haven, Connecticut. A former EPMD dancer, Stezo's flows are perfectly enjoyable, slightly above-par old-school fare -- "I'm the man with the plan to make you stand / Get up and clap your hands" kinda stuff -- but his beats were seriously ahead of their time. His aesthetic, not so much.

Track listing:
1. Bring the Horns
2. Freak the Funk
3. Talking Sense
4. It's My Turn
5. Getting Paid
6. Girl Trouble
7. To the Max
8. Put Your Body into It
9. Jimmy's Gettin' Funky
10. Crazy Noise
11. Get's into His Move
12. Going for Mine


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Hacride - Back to Where You've Never Been (2013)


French prog metal. Crushing, dynamic, immersive sounds that take from djent, progressive death, post-metal, and neo-prog. Featured on this blog's first best-of-the-year list, which, despite its clunky formatting, holds up surprisingly well as a representation of my favorite records from that year.

Track listing:
1. Introversion
2. Strive Ever to More
3. Synesthesia
4. Overcome
5. Edification of the Fall
6. To Numb the Pain
7. Ghosts of the Modern World
8. Requiem for a Lullaby


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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Siddhartha - Weltschmerz (1975)


German psych greatness. Dextrous, anxious guitar interplay, organ, violin, and occasional male and female vocals. Each song constantly changes motifs, or stutters briefly only to pick back up again, as if the band is grasping for a stable reality that never quite materializes. Too bad it's their only record.

Track listing:
1. Looking into Past
2. Tanz im Schnee
3. Times of Delight
4. Weit Weg
5. Gift of the Fool


Further listening:

Friday, April 16, 2021

E - A Man Called E (1992)


The music of Mark Oliver Everett -- aka E, best known as the only permanent member of Eels -- has remained more or less unchanged for about three decades now. Sure, he has singer-songwriter mode (his default setting), weirdo pop mode, 'rock' mode (NOT GOOD), and even Shrek mode, but it's all splitting hairs around the same mopey, lovesick smart-ass. The only thing that's really changed about his music has been its quality, which has taken a significant downturn over the past 15 years or so.

His debut album, A Man Called E finds him in full-blown pop-rock singer-songwriter mode, and it's often more effortless, thoughtful, and mature -- not to mention concise -- than anything he'd put out as Eels. Due to having first heard them as a stoned sadsack teenager, I'll always have a very special place in my heart for Beautiful Freak and Electro-Shock Blues, but as a content but anxious adult, A Man Called E is my favorite thing dude's ever done.

Track listing:
1. Hello Cruel World
2. Fitting In with the Misfits
3. Are You & Me Gonna Happen
4. Looking Out the Window with a Blue Hat On
5. Nowheresville
6. Symphony for Toy Piano in G Minor
7. Mockingbird Franklin
8. I've Been Kicked Around
9. Pray
10. E's Tune
11. You'll Be the Scarecrow


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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ragnarök - Ragnarök (1976)


Laid-back Swedish prog. Folk- and jazz-infused, subtly expansive instrumentals for gazing at the stars, or -- if you, like me, live in an area where there's too much light/actual pollution to really see anything up there aside from a gray haze -- pretending that you're gazing at the stars.

Track listing:
1. Farväl Köpenhamn
2. Promenader
3. Nybakat Bröd
4. Dagarnas Skum
5. Polska Från Kalmar
6. Fabriksfunky
7. Tatanga Mani
8. Fjottot
9. Stiltje-Uppbrott
10. Vattenpussar


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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Popsicle - Lacquer (1993)


Swedish power pop of the 90s alt-rock variety. Short, punchy songs enlivened by elements of noise pop and shoegaze. Popsicle would have sounded right at home ripping through a set on the rooftop of Empire Records.

Track listing:
1. Hey Princess
2. Popcorn
3. Undulate
4. How Come We
5. Pale Honey
6. Irreplaceable
7. She
8. Template
9. True
10. A Song Called Liberty
11. Bird
12. Sandy
13. Slow


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