Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kevin Braheny - Galaxies (1983)

So I'm not sure who or what started me down this road - I think maybe it was Steve Roach - but apparently, I like music that sounds like this now. Join me, dear reader, on a journey to a place where the impossible is possible, and one can scarcely breathe, struck dumb and paralyzed by the infinite wonder of the heavens. I'm talking, of course, about my seventh grade science class, which is where one could surely hear this music soundtracking an oppressively boring educational video. Features twinkly-dinklies, oohs and ahhs, something that sounds a lot like the THX intro thing, and a number of outrageously dated keyboard voices.

After writing the above, I read on Discogs that Galaxies is the soundtrack to a 'planetarium production.' Close enough.

Track listing:
1. Galaxies Main Theme
2. Starflight 1
3. Ancient Stars
4. Milky Way Rising
5. Galactic Sky
6. Southern Cross
7. Starflight 2
8. Pleaides
9. Starflight 3
10. Winds (Proxima Centauri)
11. Intergalactic Space
12. Ice Forests of Orion
13. Lookback Time
14. Going Home
15. Starflight 4
16. Down to Earth

To be fair, Mr. Lutsko was one of my favorite teachers.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Centaur - In Streams (2002)

Centaur was a short-lived band formed by guitarist/songwriter Matt Talbott in the wake of the untimely dissolution of the perennially underrated Hum, and can be heard as the more downcast, druggier flipside of Hum's lush, yearning sounds. In Streams, Centaur's first and only album, starts off somewhat reserved - the album opening "Life Begins" sounds like a bomb that wants to go off but never does, and the lukewarm second track, "Wait for the Sun", would've sounded all too at home playing in the background at The Bronze - before really taking off with the gloriously heavy, dark psychedelia of "The Same Place" and the slow-burning, woozy beauty of "Strangers on 5". For the remainder of In Streams' uniformly excellent duration, Centaur rides a majestic wave of stoned, fuzzed out euphoria that never fails to leave me wanting more.

Track listing:
1. Life Begins
2. Wait for the Sun
3. The Same Place
4. Strangers on 5
5. Placencia
6. Thimbles
7. Fields
8. In Strams

I wish we were so gone

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Razor - Open Hostility (1991)

Killer Canadian thrash. Yes: tight, fast as fuck, drum machine-driven riff-fests about killing people, how much the government sucks, and how awesome drinking is. No: acoustic guitars, half-assed epics, proggy bullshit. 10/10.

Track listing:
1. In Protest
2. Sucker for Punishment
3. Bad Vibrations
4. Road Gunner
5. Cheers
6. Red Money
7. Free Lunch
8. Iron Legions
9. Mental Torture
10. Psychopath
11. I Disagree
12. End of the War

I fight the system cause I'm offended

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Tuss - Rushup Edge (2007)

If you're disappointed that Richard D. James hasn't released anything new under the Aphex Twin moniker (unless you count AFX) in over ten years, and wonder what the hell he's been doing with his time since then, know that The Tuss is, in all likelihood, a product of his wonderfully warped mind. Whether or not it's him (seems like it probably is, but all of my knowledge on the matter is coming from Wikipedia, so...), The Rushup Edge is some really great acid techno. Sounds like stoned, tweaked British hipsters.

Track listing:
1. Synthacon 9
2. Last Rushup 10 F
3. Shiz Ko E
4. Rushup I Bank 12
5. Death Fuck
6. Goodbye Rute

Humanoid must not escape

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tony Wakeford - Not All of Me Will Die (2009)

A beautiful, mesmerizing album of atmospheric, psychedelic neofolk from Tony Wakeford, the man behind Sol Invictus, a band that, in terms of prominence, ranks among neofolk 'heavyweights' like Death in June and Current 93. Over the course of 51 minutes, Wakeford weaves a rich, diverse musical tapestry with oboe, clarinet, flute, keyboards, dulcimer, thunderous percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, and more, over which his and others' commanding vocals intermittently echo. Given Wakeford's sketchy past, it's worth noting that Not All of Me Will Die is inspired by and dedicated to the memory and works of Zuzanna Ginczanka, a Polish, Jewish poetess who was killed in the Holocaust.

Track listing:
1. Non Omnias Moriar
2. 2
3. Fullness of August
4. 4
5. 5
6. 6

So let my friends break out holiday goblets,
Celebrate my wake and their wealth:
Kilims and tapestries, bowls, candlesticks.
Let them drink all night and at daybreak
Begin their search for gemstones and gold
In sofas, mattresses, blankets and rugs.
Oh how the work will burn in their hands!
Clumps of horsehair, bunches of sea hay,
Clouds of fresh down from pillows and quilts,
Glued on by my blood, will turn their arms into wings,
Transfigure the birds of prey into angels.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lumerians - Transmalinnia (2011)

Lumerians have a new LP out, pick it up from their label here.

From SF/Oakland, aka the Psych Rock Capital of the US, Lumerians play a dense, vaguely sinister, largely instrumental take on classic 60s psych rock. Layered organ/keys and thunderous drums give their songs a pleasingly enveloping atmosphere, while reverb-y, idiosyncratic guitar and key melodies cut through the haze with a welcome dose of clarity and, at times, levity. For me, the clear highlights are the last two tracks, "Melting Space" and "Gaussian Castles", which decrease the tempos significantly, revealing a slow burning, trance-inducing grandeur. I saw these bros open for My Bloody Valentine a few months back, and they managed to catch and hold my attention, even as I eagerly and half-drunkenly awaited a set from one of the greatest bands of our time -- no small feat.

Track listing:
1. Burning Mirrors
2. Black Tusk
3. Shortwave Fields
4. Atlanta Brook
5. Hashshashin
6. Calalini Rises
7. XuluX
8. Melting Space
9. Gaussian Castles

Life without skin

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fear of God - Fear of God EP (1988)

OG Swiss grind. Lo-fi, poorly mixed, blown out insanity. This is Fear of God's first release, and if you dig Napalm Death circa Scum/From Enslavement to Obliteration, or anything on the noisier side of grind, it's essential listening.

Track listing:
1. Rubbish Planet
2. Controlled by Fear
3. Prisoner of Your Ideals
4. Under the Chainsaw
5. Trouble Maker
6. Proud on Your Pride
7. My Hands Deep in Your Guts
8. Which Way?
9. Pneumatic Slaughter
10. A Life in Rigorism
11. 7 Up
12. Circle A
13. Running Through the Blood
14. Raise the Siege
15. Pelzfotze
16. I'm Positive
17. The Two Sides of the Coin
18. Locked Away
19. I've Seen
20. Absolution
21. First Class People


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Roy Ayers Ubiquity - He's Coming (1971)

Pioneering jazz-funk from the great Roy Ayers, whose vibraphone mallets turned everything they touched to gold. In the early 70s, Ayers, already an accomplished jazz musician, formed the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, with whom he applied his technical prowess to the world of funk and soul, spawning a few classic records in the process, of which He's Coming is the first. Laid-back and breezy, but plenty buoyant and vivacious, with stellar performances all around.

Track listing:
1. He's a Superstar
2. He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother
3. Ain't Got Time
4. I Don't Know How to Love Him
5. He's Coming
6. We Live in Brooklyn Baby
7. Sweet Butterfly of Love
8. Sweet Tears
9. Fire Weaver

Free to stay forever, or to fly

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trist - Sebevražední andělé (2007)

Hazy, repetitive, extremely depressing black metal. Droning guitars play simplistic, two-chord riffs ad nauseam, drums plod along without fills or changes of any kind, and once in a while, high pitched shrieks come howling up from the abyss. Great music for slitting your wrists and taking a nice, warm bath.

Track listing:
1. Sebevražední andělé I
2. Sebevražední andělé II

Final relaxation

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wolfhetan - Was der Tag Nicht Ahnt (2012)

It should go without saying that the primary function of this blog is to direction attention towards bands and albums that IMO don't get enough attention or respect. Given that, it should also go without saying that I consider pretty much everything that I post to be underrated.

So it's redundant to say it, but... goddamn, Wolfhetan is just so fucking underrated. They're a German trio whose music, which can be classified as pagan black metal with folk influences, is raging but majestic, atmospheric but raw, sprawling but never meandering. Plus, their drummer is absolutely phenomenal. And it's not that their sound is particularly esoteric; fans of comparatively well-known acts like Agalloch and Helrunar, for instance, should find a lot to like here. Was der Tag Nicht Ahnt is their second album, and you need to hear it right now.

Track listing:
1. In Die Stille Der Zeit
2. Abschied
3. Vollkommenheit
4. Eispalast
5. Was Der Tag Nicht Ahnt
6. Tagtraum
7. Ankunft


Monday, November 18, 2013

Royal Trux - Untitled (1992)

In which NYC duo Royal Trux, having conquered the world of experimental 'rock' with the monolithic Twin Infinitives, start exploring more traditional songwriting, while retaining their ragged, noisy, drug-addled approach, and create the sound that would more or less provide the basis for the rest of their recorded output.

FUN FACT: Did you know that that song by the two skater kids in High Fidelity is actually "The Inside Game" by Royal Trux? This is not some huge secret - it's on the soundtrack under its actual name - but still, I didn't know that until years after the fact, so maybe you didn't know, either? Whatever, I don't have to explain myself to you, get the fuck out of my house.

Track listing:
1. Air
2. Move
3. Hallucination
4. Junkie Nurse
5. Sometimes
6. Lightning Boxer
7. Blood Flowers
8. Sun on the Run

Lovely nurse, my junkie nurse, I never wanna burn ya down, so just bring me a prescription when you next come downtown.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oneness of Juju - African Rhythms (1975)

KILLER, percussion-heavy jazz-funk jams designed to free both mind and booty. For maximum party, the first side of the LP is mixed as a single, extremely dance-friendly set; the second side, while just as great, breaks up the party with the hypnotic, downtempo, slightly menacing "Incognito". Very few of us are as rad as the men and women involved in the making of this record, but at least we can listen and pretend, right?

Track listing:
1. African Rhythms
2. Kazi
3. Funky Wood
4. Tarishi
5. Mashariki
6. Chants
7. Don't Give Up
8. Incognito
9. Poo Too
10. Liberation Dues
11. Liberation Dues (Instrumental) (bonus)
12. African Rhythms (45 Version) (bonus)

Keep on pushin'

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Constance Demby - Sacred Space Music (1982)

Two stunning, meditative pieces by Californian new age composer Constance Demby. Built on the magical, kaleidoscopic sounds of hammered dulcimer, and fleshed out by lush clouds of viola, synthesizers, piano, chiming bells, and angelic vocals, Sacred Space Music is pure, immersive New Age gold.

Track listing:
1. The Longing
2. Radiance


Friday, November 15, 2013

Miroslav Vitouš - Infinite Search (1969)

First album by Czech jazz bassist Miroslav Vitouš. Energetic, playful, and heady, Infinite Search has one foot in the then-new world of jazz fusion and the other in slightly more avant-garde territory, and features a formidable cast of musicians, including Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Joe Chambers, and Jack DeJohnette.

Track listing:
1. Freedom Jazz Dance
2. Mountain in the Clouds
3. When Face Gets Pale
4. Infinite Search
5. I Will Tell Him on You
6. Epilogue

Beautiful place to

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mono & World's End Girlfriend - Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain (2005)

Welp, I think it's been long enough. Friday Night Lights wrapped up over two years ago, advertising agencies have ditched Mogwai soundalikes for Beach House soundalikes, and here in sunny Portland, OR, the crust punks have abandoned their wannabe Godspeed projects to start wannabe Joy Division projects. Finally, I can listen to tearjerking post-rock without barfing.

To celebrate, here's one of my favorite post-rock albums. It's a collaboration between Mono, Japan's foremost purveyors of heartbreaking, eardrum-shattering instrumental post-rock, and World's End Girlfriend, a Japanese musical project with which I am, aside from this album, completely unfamiliar. Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain is a single, patient, transcendent, deeply sorrowful piece of music. Across five tracks and an hour and fourteen minutes, layered cellos, wordless female vocals, piano, chiming guitars, and cymbal washes build and recede, at times coalescing into huge, distortion-filled payoffs. So, a lot like Mono, but with an overall darker, more neoclassical vibe.

Track listing:
1. Trailer 1
2. Trailer 2
3. Trailer 3
4. Trailer 4
5. Trailer 5


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Harold Budd - Lovely Thunder (1986)

Here are some soothing, keyboard-based ambient compositions from American composer Harold Budd. They are beautiful, and I am exhausted. Good night.

Track listing:
1. The Gunfighter
2. Sandtreader
3. Ice Floes in Eden
4. Olancha Farewell
5. Flowered Knife Shadows (For Simon Raymonde)
6. Valse Pour le Fin du Temps
7. Gypsy Violin

An echo of night

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition - Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition (2001)

First, let's take a moment to fully appreciate that album cover. Really take it in.

OK. Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition are a goregrind band from France. Beefed-up production and tinges of death metal make this an overall more polished strain of goregrind than, say, this insane pile of shit. Awesomely, there are no actual lyrics on this album, just wordless gutturals and screams.

Because there are no words, there are no song titles, so I won't bother with a track listing. There are 21 untitled tracks.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Robyn Hitchcock - Moss Elixir (1996)

An often passed-over record by one of my favorites: Mr. Robyn Hitchcock. Released three years after Respect -- an excellent album that has unfairly been pegged as the nadir of his discography -- Moss Elixir is, with a few notable exceptions, a relatively restrained affair. Harkening back to the sound of Eye and I Often Dream of Trains, two of his most well-received collections, Hitchcock sticks mostly to acoustic and clean electric guitars and his own very English singing voice, and the results are as strangely gorgeous and sad as anything he's made.

Track listing:
1. Sinister (But She Was Happy)
2. The Devil's Radio
3. Heliotrope
4. All Right, Yeah
5. Filthy Bird
6. The Speed of Things
7. Beautiful Queen
8. Man with a Woman's Shadow
9. I Am Not Me
10. De Chirico Street
11. You and Oblivion
12. This Is How It Feels

She worships the sun

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vomitoma - A Liquid Harvest of Putrefied Stomach Contents (2009)

Vomitoma is a goregrind band from Ohio that makes Mortician's muddy, drum-machine driven mess sound radio-friendly. Music like this really makes me question my own tastes. Why do I like such objectively unpleasant sounds? What do I stand to glean from listening to a wall of utterly incomprehensible downtuned guitars, conspicuously synthetic drum machines, and gurgling vocals that literally sound more like a half liquid-half solid making its way down a drain than anything that human vocal chords might produce? Mind you, I have no answers, but the fact remains: I love this incredibly shitty/awesome record.

Go here for a list of 53 song titles like "Colostomy Bag Drug Smuggler", "Bludgeoned with Frozen Intestines", and "Her Face Was Eaten Off and Defecated Down Her Esophagus".

Discharges of the deceased

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paul Bley - Fragments (1986)

Icy, drifting sounds from a quartet of topnotch ECM musicians led by Canadian pianist Paul Bley. While Bley lets his free jazz roots take hold in spots, and there's certainly an exploratory freedom throughout, these are mostly sparse, moody, eerily restrained compositions, some of which are reworked arrangements of songs from his acclaimed solo album, Open, to Love.

Track listing:
1. Memories
2. Monica Jane
3. Line Down
4. Seven
5. Closer
6. Once Around the Park
7. Hand Dance
8. For the Love of Sarah
9. Nothing Ever Was, Anyway

Uneasy sleep

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rattenfänger - Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum (2012)

How did I manage to sleep on this band? All this time I've wasted listening to inferior music, when I could have been listening to Rattenfänger, a death metal project featuring all four members of Drudkh (which, of course, also means members of Hate Forest/Blood of Kingu/Astrofaes/Old Silver Key/etc.) Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum is, thus far, their only release, and it's an annihilating behemoth of old school, Bolt Thrower-style, doom-tinged death metal, bolstered by Roman Saenko's unearthly gutturals. Soooooo good.

Track listing:
1. Coelo Affixus Sed Terris Omnib
2. Grimorium Verum
3. Victa Lacet Virtus
4. Nunc Scio Tenebris Lux
5. Allegoria De Gula Et Luxuria
6. Clausae Patent
7. Deest Remedii Locus, Ubi, Quae Vitia Fuerunt, Mores Fiunt
8. Regno, Regnavi, Regnabo

Letters of obscure men

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gore Beyond Necropsy - Noise-A-Go Go!!! (1998) + Go! Filth Go! (1999)

"Kill everyone now. Condone first degree murder. Advocate cannibalism. Eat shit."

Two albums of ear-fucking, experimental noise-grind insanity from one of the most unhinged bands in the history of the world. Yes, they are Japanese. Concise, poorly recorded, disorienting musical assaults of indecipherable guitars, echoing guttural growls, harsh noise, and spastic drumming. And, there are John Waters samples. Between two albums, we're looking at 117 tracks and just over 50 minutes of next-level chaos.

If you want track listings, go to Discogs.

You have breathed your last breath. You have sighed your last sigh. You are no longer alive.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wayne Shorter - Super Nova (1969)

Excellent, adventurous album led by saxophone great Wayne Shorter, who I was just talking about. A highly diverse set, ranging from frantically energetic fusion that borders on free jazz ("Supernova", "More Than Human") to relatively straightforward hard bop ("Water Babies") to reflective and low-key ("Sweet Pea".) Atop all of these great moments, though, rests the album's centerpiece and undeniable highlight -- "Dindi", a mind-melting journey from clattering percussion and nervous, sparse melodic elements to a gentle, acoustic-led Portuguese ballad, then back out through explosive, climactic full band improvisation. Features John McLaughlin, among others.

Track listing:
1. Supernova
2. Sweet Pea
3. Dindi
4. Water Babies
5. Capricorn
6. More Than Human

Wild flower

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Milton Nascimento - Minas (1975)

One of many jaw-dropping albums of breezy, evocative, effortlessly innovative jazz/folk/ornate pop/psych tunes from Brazilian music legend Milton Nascimento. Released shortly after Native Dancer, a fruitful collaboration with saxophonist Wayne Shorter that granted Nascimento a worldwide audience, Minas is bursting at the seams with ideas -- one moment, laid-back folk rock glides over skittering jazz rhythms; the next, a choir battles towering guitar feedback; the next, syncopated hand percussion and wa-wa guitars disappear into a cloud of lush strings. All this, yet Minas makes for an easy, cohesive, one might even say, relaxing listen.

Track listing:
1. Minas
2. Fé Cega, Faca Amolada
3. Beijo Partido
4. Saudade dos Aviões da Panair (Conversando no Bar)
5. Gran Circo
6. Ponta de Areia
7. Trastevere
8. Idolatrada
9. Leila (Venha Ser Feliz)
10. Paula e Bebeto
11. Simples
12. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (bonus)
13. Caso Você Queira Saber (bonus)

From the lonely afternoons

Monday, November 4, 2013

Vidna Obmana - Echoing Delight (1993)

Vidna Obmana is Belgian composer Dirk Serries, who specializes in the same type of drone-based, tribal-flavored ambient as Opium Hum favorite Steve Roach, with whom he has released a couple of collaborative full-lengths (here's one that I posted back in August.) Echoing Delight is arguably his defining moment: a spacious, shimmering, nocturnal world of drifting synths, drones, and insistent, trance-like percussion.

Track listing:
1. Winter Mouvement
2. Crystal Traveling
3. The Empty Night
4. Echoing Delight
5. Narrow Gloom (Part Two)
6. Glass Splendour

At the edge of everything

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Long Live Death - To Do More Than God... to Die (2003)

Flowerchild deathcult vibes from one of my all-time favorite Baltimore bands. Fatalistic lyrics, mournful cello, fingerpicked guitars, flute, and percussion courtesy of Chris Freeland of Oxes. To Do More Than God... To Die is their first release, and includes five haunting, sorrowful originals plus a sinister cover version of Garth Brooks' "That Summer." My old band had the pleasure of playing a number of shows with Long Live Death, and their performances were truly awe-inspiring and humbling: unpredictable, life-affirming, and often, participatory. Should I mention that my sister was in this band?

P.S. I'm including in the download "Anna's Song," a rarity that was featured on some Baltimore music comp and is probably my favorite LLD song.

Track listing:
1. There Is No Death
2. That Summer
3. Bending Time
4. Bits and Bits
5. Strings of Time
6. Patience Through All Worlds
(+ Anna's Song)

These stumbling skits

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Moğollar - Moğollar (1976)

The sounds of Turkish folk music run through a hard psych rock filter. Offbeat, percussive grooves, fuzz guitars, and bağlama, bağlama, bağlama! I admit it, I'm just trying to score some extra page hits by piggybacking on the bağlama craze that's currently sweeping the nation.

Track listing:
1. Kâtip Arzuhalim Yaz Yare Böyle
2. Bahçelere Geldi Bahar
3. Hicaz Mandıra
4. Üsküdara Giderken
5. Karşıki Yayla
6. Yine Bir Gülnihal
7. Şehnaz Longa
8. Drama Köprüsü - Bolu Beyi
9. Çanakkale İçinde Aynalı Çarşı
10. Misket
11. Özüm Kaldı
12. Behind the Dark
13. Halicte Gunesin Batisi
14. Hitchin
15. Berkay Oyun Havasi
16. Ternek
17. Yalnizilgiin Acikli Guldurusu
18. Dag Ve Cocuk
19. Garip Coban

Too much