Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Tear Garden - To Be an Angel Blind, the Crippled Soul Divide (1996)

The Legendary Pink Dots - Chemical Playschool 1 & 2 (1981)
The Tear Garden - Tired Eyes Slowly Burning (1987)
The Legendary Pink Dots - The Maria Dimension (1991)
Download - Furnace (1995)
Skinny Puppy - Brap (Back & Forth Vol. 3 & 4) (1996)
The Legendary Pink Dots - Plutonium Blonde (2008)
The Legendary Pink Dots - The Gethsemane Option (2013)

My personal favorite Tear Garden record. Written and recorded in the wake of the passing of founding member Dwayne Goettel, To Be an Angel Blind, the Cripple Soul Divide is more subdued and 'organic' than any of the band's previous material, and without a trace of proper industrial to be found.

Track listing:
1. Ascension Day
2. We the People
3. In Search of My Rose
4. Crying from Outside
5. Psycho 9
6. With Wings
7. Judgement Hour
8. New Eden
9. Tasteless
10. Cyberspider
11. Malice Through the Looking Glass
12. Phoenix
13. The Habit

It transforms itself to nothing
I want nothing

Also listen to:
Holy Toy -
Panzer and Rabbits (1984)
Fear of Dolls -
When the Organ Played at Twilight (1999)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Corvus Corax - The Atavistic Triad (2000)

Pacific Northwest symphonic black metal with folk-ish, pagan leanings. Some chintzy-ass keyboards, for sure. Epic, sorrowful, and sadly, the only album this band ever made.

Track listing:
1. Son of the Earth
2. Terminus Est
3. Sojourn
4. Mystagogue
5. Dead Man Walking

I am the one and the many within me

More along these lines:
Necrofeast -
Soulwinds (2000)
Aquilus -
Engraved Souls (2006)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Popol Vuh - Messa di Orfeo (1999)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Popol Vuh - In Den Garten Pharaos (1971)
Popol Vuh - Spirit of Peace (1985)

Soothing aural meditations from the great Popol Vuh. Drifting synths, gentle voices, and buzzing bees (among other nature sounds.) A brief but much-needed reprieve from this toilet earth.

Track listing:
1. Deep in the Ocean of Love
2. Strofa 1
3. Nascita dell'ape
4. Strofa 2
5. Dall'origine al divenire
6. Strofa 3
7. Strofa 4
8. Primo Movimento
9. Strofa 5

Wind of the stars in their eyes

Similar vibes:
Bearns & Dexter -
The Golden Voyage Volume 1
Al Gromer Khan -
The God Perfume II

Friday, June 26, 2020

Boscoe - Boscoe (1973)

A masterpiece of epic, musically and politically radical Chicago soul.

Track listing:
1. Introduction / Writin' on the Wall
2. He Keeps You
3. We Ain't Free
4. If I Had My Way
5. I'm What You Need
6. Money Won't Save You
7. Now and Den

War is the precedent of peace

You might also want to hear:
Jerry Peters -
Blueprint for Discovery (1972)
Marsha Hunt -
Attention! (1973)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cenotaph - The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows (1992)

Old-school Mexican death metal. A murky, sludgy, gut-rumbling journey into the lysergic abyss.

Track listing:
1. Requiem for a Soul Request
2. Ashes in the Rain
3. ...A Red Sky
4. Evoked Doom
5. Tenebrous Apparitions
6. The Spiritless One
7. Infinite Meditation of an Uncertain Existence
8. In the Cosmic Solitude
9. Repulsive Odor of Decomposition

A perverse embryo is staring at me
From a dark tower of sand

You should also hear:
Afterlife -
Surreality (1992)
Disastrous Murmur -
Rhapsodies in Red (1992)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Soul Whirling Somewhere - Please Sennd Help (2001)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Soul Whirling Somewhere - Eating the Sea (1993)

Fourth and seemingly final album from the great, unsung Soul Whirling Somewhere. The 'confessional' lyrical approach suggests emo, but everything else -- the reverb, the slo-mo, ethereal instrumentation, the ever-present sense of doom -- evoke the golden eras of 4AD and Projekt.

Track listing:
1. The Wedding
2. Nani
3. Aileron
4. Salt Angel
5. Shivering Fox
6. You Stutter When You Sleep
7. Box
8. The Sun in Braids
9. In On
10. Little Gaze
11. Gaze
12. Happy Valley
13. I Give Up. Goodbye.

Pale, near-virgin paper
Barely creased or ever read
The scent of your lipstick
Still preserved where you kissed it

More along these lines:
Lycia -
The Burning Circle
and Then Dust
The Hope Blister -
...Smile's OK

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Alec Empire - Generation Star Wars (1994)

Debut solo album from German digital hardcore pioneer Alec Empire, perhaps best known as an OG member of Atari Teenage Riot. Here, there's a greater deal of nuance than the work he became known for, as his signature bludgeoning, distorted beats are balanced by lush, at times melancholic synths and strings.

Track listing:
1. Lash the 90ties
2. Stahl & Blausäure
3. 13465
4. Maschinenvolk
5. Sonyprostitutes
6. Blutrote Nacht Über Berlin
7. Pussy Heroin
8. New Acid
9. Smack
10. N.Y.-Summer
11. Konsumfreiheit
12. Microchipkinder
13. Sieg Über Die Mayday-HJ

My body cannot die

You might also enjoy:
Philip Jeck -
Loopholes (1995)
The Third Eye Foundation -
Semtex (1996)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Clockcleaner - Babylon Rules (2007)

Philly noise rock with extremely dark, Tom Antona-sounding vocals, and anchored by rumbling, sludgy bass.

Track listing:
1. New in Town
2. Vomiting Mirrors
3. When My Ship Comes In
4. Caliente Queen
5. Human Pigeon
6. Man Across the Street
7. Daddy Issues
8. Out of the City

The birds and bees won't save you now

If you like this, listen to:
Fudge Tunnel -
Hate Songs in E Minor (1991)
Drunk Dad -
Ripper Killer (2014)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Caïnan Dawn - thAVMIAL (2014)

French black metal. Droning and melodic, and undeniably a part of the orthodox wave that was in vogue at the time of the album's release.

Track listing:
1. Keter
2. The Brood
3. Legionem Daemonicus
4. World Among Worlds
5. Kaon
6. Vigrid
7. Raunen

Now the portal of black blood are open

You'd probably also enjoy:
Kozeljknik -
Deeper the Fall (2010)
Acrimonious -
Sunyata (2012)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sparklehorse - The Black Sessions (2006)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Sparklehorse - Distorted Ghost EP (1999)

I rarely cry when celebrities/musical heroes die -- John Prine, David Bowie, and Prince also come to mind -- but Linkous really got me. This March was the 10th anniversary of his untimely passing, and I really fucked up by not posting this to mark the occasion. The Black Sessions is a crisp, punchy bootleg of a performance on French radio show France Inter, and includes songs from all four Sparklehorse records. Grab the tissues and saddle up.

Track listing:
1. Gold Day
2. Sad & Beautiful World
3. Apple Bed
4. Hammering the Cramps
5. Painbirds
6. It's Not So Hard
7. Eyepennies
8. Spirit Ditch
9. Weird Sisters
10. Ghost in the Sky
11. Don't Take My Sunshine Away
12. Someday I Will Treat You Good

The moon it will rise with such
Horse laughter
It's dragging pianos to the ocean
If I had a home
You know it'd be
In a slide trombone

You might also like:
Luna -
The Days of Our Nights (1999)
Hospital Ships -
The Past Is Not a Flood (2016)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

South Circle - Anotha Day Anotha Balla (1995)

Eightball & MJG - Comin' Out Hard (1993)

Houston gangsta rap that, considering the smooth production, flows, and overall vibe, was clearly taking cues from what was happening on the West Coast. Another should-be classic that I first heard over 20 years after the fact.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Geto Madness
3. It's Going Down
4. New Day
5. Unsolved Mysteries (feat. Eightball & Tela)
6. Pimp Thang
7. Anotha Day Anotha Balla
8. Attitudes
9. Final Call
10. No Escape (feat. MJG & Tela)
11. Neva Take Me Alive
12. Mental Murder
13. Gotta Maintain (feat. Eightball)
14. Everyday Allday

I smoke so many trees, Smokey the Bear's out to get me
Ice cold soul drippin' from my asshole

You'd probably also like:
Gangsta Pat -
Deadly Verses (1995)
Dead End Alliance -
Screwed for Life (1998)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Jasper van 't Hof - Eye-Ball (1974)

John Lee & Gerry Brown - Infinite Jones (1974)

Tasty jazz fusion led by Dutch keyboardist Jasper van 't Hof and featuring a killer band. This record has gone through at least three album covers (not to mention being labeled Eye Ball, Eye-Ball, and Eyeball) so I'm just going with the one I like the most, which is from the 1980 reissue.

Track listing:
1. Bax
2. Viber Snake
3. Eyeball I (Piano Solo)
4. Hyrax
5. Schwester Johanna
6. Laur
7. One Leg Missing
8. Eyeball II (Piano Solo)
9. The Rev

Night after the day before

Also listen to:
Cam Newton -
Welcome Aliens (1980)
Spaces -
Border Station (1981)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Asgaroth - Trapped in the Depths of Eve (1997)

Majestic Catalonian black metal. Layer after layer of gauzy synth wrapped around epic, mid-paced perfection. This has got to be the longest I've ever gone without posting a black metal record on here, so I'm making it count.

Track listing:
1. Cry the Way We Greet Our Fates
2. Victorious Men of Earth
3. Omens (Presagios)
4. A Call in the Winds...
5. The Dark Force
6. Last Battle (Tower of Doom)
7. Lost in Natura
8. The Choirs of the Elemental Deities
9. Prelude in Dusk
10. Placious Echoes at Darkwoods You Greet... Silvering Moon Between My Shadows
11. Outroduction

Murmurs from our dying sun

You should also listen to:
Aeternus -
Beyond the Wandering Moon (1997)
Ancestors Blood -
Hyperborea (2016)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Anja Garbarek - Smiling & Waving (2002)

Japan - Adolescent Sex (1978)
The Dolphin Brothers - Catch the Fall (1987)
Rain Tree Crow - Rain Tree Crow (1991)
No-Man - Together We're Stranger (2003)

Excellent third album from Norwegian vocalist/songwriter Anja Garbarek. Cryptic, unsettling songs backed by downtempo, string-heavy, jazz- and electro-tinged sounds courtesy of a cast of musicians that includes, among others, Mark Hollis, Steven Wilson, and Steve Jansen.

Track listing:
1. Her Room
2. The Gown
3. Spin the Context
4. Stay Tuned
5. You Know
6. Big Mouth
7. The Diver
8. That's All
9. And Then
10. It Seems We Talk

I'll get back to you

If you like this, try:
Savant -
The Neo-Realist (At Risk) (1983)
David Sylvian -
Blemish (2003)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Scarling. - Sweet Heart Dealer (2004)

This one goes out to the person on my followers list with Marilyn Manson as their profile pic -- I see you and I'm with you. Dark alt rock with sharp-edged, shoegaze-y guitars and the beguiling vocals of Jessicka Fodera, formerly of Manson affiliates Jack Off Jill. On Sweet Heart Dealer, Scarling. almost comes off as a grownup version of Jack Off Jill; in fact, the thick, distorted bass that opens the record directly recalls "American Made", the first track on JOJ's first album. The bitterness, heartbreak, and spookiness are still in place, along with the aggressive instrumentation and Fodera's willingness to shred her vocal cords. But it's altogether way more complex, more ethereal, and less angsty.

Track listing:
1. The Last Day I Was Happy
2. Band Aid Covers the Bullet Hole
3. Crispin Glover
4. Alexander the Burn Victim
5. Baby Dracula
6. Black Horse Riding Star
7. Can't (Halloween Valentine)

And I can't have fun
Makes me feel like nothing

If you like this, try:
Medicine -
Her Highness (1995)
Year of the Rabbit -
Year of the Rabbit (2003)