Friday, January 31, 2014

that dog. - Totally Crushed Out! (1995)

Perfect 90s power pop. I saw That Dog open for Foo Fighters shortly after this album came out, and because I was young and dumb, barely paid attention to them. In fact, all I remember about their set is that no one in the audience really seemed to care about them either, and some asshole nailed the vocalist with a flying shoe. Oh well -- our fucking loss, obviously. Totally Crushed Out! sounds like a punk-er, harmonious hybrid of Last Splash, Exile in Guyville, and The Return of the Rentals (an album to which bassist/singer Rachel Hadden contributed backing vox.) Yes, I'm probably talking it up too much, but whatever, people who hold a candle for this style of alt rock and have slept on this band will cum in their pants when they hear them.

P.S. If you dig this, you should head over to GrrlBandGeek, where I originally picked it up, in the form of the blog's homemade 'deluxe edition' -- awesome!

Track listing:
1. Ms. Wrong
2. Silently
3. In the Back of My Mind
4. He's Kissing Christian
5. Anymore
6. To Keep Me
7. Lip Gloss
8. She Doesn't Know How
9. Holidays
10. Side Part
11. One Summer Night
12. Michael Jordan
13. Rockstar

Come out, come out, wherever you are

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Inade - The Incarnation of the Solar Architects (2009)

Transcendent dark ambient from sunny Germany. The Incarnation of the Solar Architects makes me feel as though I am a human-shaped pile of ash and dust that is being blown into the æther by cosmic winds. You know, like in Altered States.

Track listing:
1. The Engine of the Mind
2. Abandoned Inferno
3. A Lefthanded Sign
4. Altar to the Unknown
5. The Tellurian Vortex
6. The World Behind the World
7. From the Angle of Aleph
8. The Veil of Eternal Unity
9. Canon of Proportion
10. Aion Teleos

Above all and beyond

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moon - The Nine Gates (2013)

Second and newest full-length from this depressive, hallucinatory Australian black metal solo project. Moon is Australia's answer to Xasthur: lushly layered, enveloping clean and distorted guitars, distant vocals, and a fondness for sickly harmonic dissonance. Put this on the next time you want to summon a ghost who will kill you.

Track listing:
1. The Rejection of Flesh
2. Inhale Darkness
3. Poison from the Abyss
4. Sabbat
5. Astral Blood
6. Lilu Drowning
7. Spiritless Winds
8. Gate of the Moon


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

David Darling - Cycles (1982)

To the five of you who care: Sorry I've been neglecting the ol' bloggy-blog. I have been spending my free time trying to finish recording what will be the first official album from my solo black metal project (of course I have a solo black metal project), and things like "writing half-assed blog posts about semi-obscure albums" have been pushed to the back-burner. OH NO.

But here I am, home, too tired to record, listening to some ECM, so, might as well slap together this incredible writeup. I've posted about cellist David Darling before; this is his second album, and it's definitely one of my all-time favorite ECM records. Saxophonist Jan Garbarek puts in a reliably sharp, emotive performance, and there's a little bit of sitar and tabla here and there, too, giving it a slightly exotic (ugh) feel. K, I'm done.

Track listing:
1. Cycle Song
2. Cycle One: Namaste
3. Fly
4. Ode
5. Cycle Two: Trio
6. Cycle Three: Quintet and Coda
7. Jessica's Sunwheel


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Skywave - Echodrone (1999)

Yesterday, I posted an album by A Place to Bury Strangers, a band who I feel got a bum rap -- not nearly poppy enough to go mainstream, but toured with NIN, thereby by alienating themselves from the indie crowd. Nonetheless, they've gotten plenty of press over the years, and as a nerdy music blogger who claims to specialize in 'hidden gems', THIS is what I maybe should have posted instead. My bad; I was high, y'all.

Skywave was Oliver Ackermann's band before APTBS, and any fan of shoegaze will know that they're going to love them within the first ten seconds of Echodrone, their excellent, lo-fi second album. While a few songs ("Nothing", "Girlfriend's Dead", "It's in Your Eyes") point the way to APTBS' jet black, noise-addled post-punk-gaze, most of the material here resides in that beautifully blurred area somewhere between heartbreak and euphoria that's occupied by pretty much every great shoegaze record.

Track listing:
1. Under the Moon
2. Nothing
3. Baby It's Just You
4. Got That Feeling
5. Sixteen
6. Get the Girl
7. All I Had
8. Slow in Space
9. Girlfriend's Dead
10. It's in Your Eyes

Speed into the night

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Place to Bury Strangers - Worship (2012)

NYC power trio A Place to Bury Strangers applies a muscular post-punk rhythm section and a violent, gothic aesthetic to the strung out, noise fucked yet melodic sounds of Pyschocandy. For Worship, their third album, they ease back just a bit, resulting in a more accessible style - if it weren't for the emotionally desolate lyrics, "And I'm Up" would be the first upbeat song they've recorded - and a more dynamic, spacious mix that allows the listener to hear, in crystalline detail, guitarist Oliver Ackermann's exquisite textures and tones.

Track listing:
1. Alone
2. You Are the One
3. Mind Control
4. Worship
5. Fear
6. Dissolved
7. Why I Can't Cry Anymore
8. Revenge
9. And I'm Up
10. Slide
11. Leaving Tomorrow

It's gone

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bunny Wailer - Blackheart Man (1976)

If you didn't already know, you might still have guessed that Bunny Wailer was one of the original members of The Wailers. Blackheart Man is his highly acclaimed first solo album. I don't know all that much about the genre, but I do know that this is easily some of the best roots reggae that I've heard.

Track listing:
1. Blackheart Man
2. Fighting Against Conviction
3. The Oppressed Song
4. Fig Tree
5. Dreamland
6. Rastaman
7. Reincarnated Souls
8. Amagideon (Armagedon)
9. Bide Up
10. This Train

No trial

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Brendan Benson - One Mississippi (1997)

Brendan Benson's debut, One Mississippi, is a flurry of catchy, succinct, guitar-driven pop/rock songs that went largely unnoticed upon its release, sending it to a purgatory of supposed 'lost masterpieces'. While I wouldn't go that far, I do think it's a memorable, inspired, adrenaline-shot of an album that more people, especially fans of power pop, should hear.

Track listing:
1. Tea
2. Bird's Eye View
3. Sittin' Plenty
4. I'm Blessed
5. Crosseyed
6. Me Just Purely
7. Got No Secrets
8. How 'Bout You
9. Emma J.
10. Insects Rule
11. Maginary Girl
12. House in Virginia
13. Cherries

I still feel pain each time I hear my name

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Funeral - Tragedies (1995)

Classic early Norwegian funeral doom. Full of harmonized guitars and classically-inspired acoustic bits, Tragedies' crushing emotional center is lead vocalist Toril Snyen's perfectly melancholic, angelic performance. I think it's one of the greatest doom metal albums ever recorded. I'm also stuck in bed with some sort of stomach sickness that I'm hoping isn't H1N1.

Track listing:
1. Taarene
2. Under Ebony Shades
3. Demise
4. When Nightfall Clasps
5. Moment in Black
6. Forlorn

I loathe the presence of God

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Phil Ochs - Greatest Hits (1970)

Phil Ochs is known best as a hugely influential figure in the world of American protest music, whose songs inspired countless activists to (momentarily) put down their picket signs and pick up acoustic guitars; many might consider this a dubious honor. However, starting in 1967 with the godly Pleasures of the Harbor, Ochs' music blossomed into an ornate, symphonically embellished folk-rock-pop-country hybrid, and his lyrics began to take on a more personal, and often darker tone. As the story goes, he was also drinking a lot and popping Valium. By the time he recorded his swansong, Greatest Hits - it's a studio album, not a collection - he was writing bizarre, haunted, escapist country rock songs that featured soulful female backup singers, saxophones, pedal steel, and a conspicuous sense that Ochs was consciously alienating himself from his musical past. As you can see, he'd also started wearing a gold lamé, Elvis-inspired suit.

Note: This reissued version doesn't include "Ten Cents a Coup", the only overtly political song on the original album, and the track order is slightly altered. IMO it's more effective this way.

Track listing:
1. One Way Ticket Home
2. Jim Dean of Indiana
3. My Kingdom for a Car
4. Boy in Ohio
5. Gas Station Woman
6. Basket in the Pool
7. Chords of Fame
8. No More Songs / Bach, Beethoven, Mozart & Me

I'll talk, I'll talk
They live by the sea
Surrounded by a cemetary

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stained Glass - Open Road (1974)

Well, I'm headed to the coast, where I plan to stick my feet in the sand, drink some whiskey and some cheap beers, catch and eat some crabs, and stare at a mist-veiled Pacific. Here's some lovely, private press English folk that we'll be listening to on the way. Peace and love, my brothers and sisters.

Track listing:
1. Wild and Free
2. Winter Traveller
3. Just a Day
4. Black Jack David
5. Kiss the Day Goodbye
6. City Song
7. Poll Miles
8. Jolly Beggar
9. Lord Franklin
10. White House Blues

Better days are nearer all the time

Friday, January 17, 2014

Strid - Strid (2007)

First off: I am in the process of re-upping ALL of my expired links. There are, I believe, around 80 of them, so it'll take a while, but it'll be done sometime soon.

OK, on to the post. Strid is/was (according to Metal Archives, they're active, despite not having released any new material since 1994) a Norwegian black metal band considered by some to be highly influential in the sub-subgenre of depressive black metal. This compilation is composed of their only two releases, the 1993 End of Life demo and a self-titled EP released the following year, along with all of the material recorded under their previous moniker, Malfeitor. The Strid material is slow and sickly - it's easy to hear echoes of this material in the music of artists like Xasthur and Make a Change - while the Malfeitor material is, at the risk of being reductive, good, but somewhat standard lo-fi black metal. Members of Dødheimsgard, Nocternity, Ved Buens Ende, and others.

Track listing:
1. Det Hviskes Blant Sorte Vinder
2. Nattevandring
3. End of Life
4. Intro
5. 666 Hear My Call
6. Death Warrior
7. Sense of Doom
8. The Smell of Death
9. Abyss (Intro)
10. The Fog Drifts Over the Evil Ground
11. Soon You Will Die
12. The Black Castle
13. 666 Hear My Call

Woven into blasphemies

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Forseti - Windzeit (2002)

Meat and potatoes German neofolk. Acoustic guitars, cello, simplistic percussion, and deep, understated vocals. There is no better answer to the question, "What does neofolk sound like?" than Windzeit. Listen to this the next time you're sitting on a stone by a river, looking at little fish.

Track listing:
1. Verzweiflung
2. Welkes Blatt
3. Sturmgeweiht
4. Letzter Traum
5. Wind
6. Windzeit
7. Herbstabend
8. Einsamkeit
9. Abendrot
10. Black Jena

Hear the whispering of the wind
The shadows calling

Ningizzia - Dolorous Novella (2002)

It was another dreary day in Portland, OR, so here's some quality death doom by way of France and Sweden. A grand, lush sound boosted by pseudo-symphonic keys, acoustic passages, and words like "among the shadows, I walk alone." Perfect music for gazing out the window, wondering if you will ever see the sun again.

Track listing:
1. Spirit of the Abandoned
2. Point of No Return
3. Ode to the Realm of the Ancient Wisdoms
4. Emptiness
5. Everything Dies

I saw the death of the sun
I tasted the tears of heaven
And I saw it all pass by

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ascension - Consolamentum (2010)

German black metal. Due to their fondness for dissonance and theistic Satanism, and their decidedly unorthodox, subtly psychedelic approach to black metal, one might compare Ascension to some of the usual French suspects (Deathspell Omega, Aosoth, maybe Blut Aus Nord.) Throw Consolamentum on the next time you have some friends over to drink mysterious muddy potions, slit each others' wrists, and invoke dark otherworldly powers.

Track listing:
1. Open Hearts
2. Grey Light Sibling
3. Rebellion Flesh
4. Grant Me Light
5. Fire and Faith
6. Amok
7. Angel of the Burning Sun
8. Consolamentum

So dance, my child
Dance with wrath and pride
Dance, my child
Towards his eternal light

Monday, January 13, 2014

Corrections House - Hoax the System / Grin with a Purpose (2013)

Mike Williams (Eyehategod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, Minsk), and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Bloodiest, Minsk) make atmospheric industrial metal; unsurprisingly, it's fantastic. Old-school (read: 90s-sounding) drum machines, massive industrial soundscapes, deranged Neurosis-y guitar work, and the pure distillation of disgust that is Mike Williams' voice. Tension builds and builds but never quite releases, instead continuing its expansion until it becomes an all-encompassing, almost physical presence. Somehow, my band recently got to open for Corrections House, and they fucking KILLED it.

P.S. They have a full-length, too, and I highly recommend picking it up. And here's the music video for "Grin with a Purpose".

One big happy family with a passion for bloodshed
Where disposal of the body is nine-tenths of the law

Friday, January 10, 2014

Muleskinner - Muleskinner (1972)

My fluffy 'lil warrior, Toast, is dying of lung cancer, and I am very, very sad. He's sitting next to me, purring and wheezing, and I am trying not to burst into tears. Consequently, I can only listen to music that funnels its bitter, tear-stained sorrow into catchy, upbeat songs. This is one of those albums. Living in Portland has burnt me out on bluegrass - fucking everyone feels like they need to play it at their restaurant/coffee shop/BBQ - but this I love.

Track listing:
1. Mule Skinner Blues
2. Blue and Lonesome
3. Footprints in the Snow
4. Dark Hollow
5. Whitehouse Blues
6. Opus 57 in G Minor
7. Runways of the Moon
8. Roanoke
9. Rain and Snow
10. Soldier's Joy
11. Blue Mule

He walks the runways of the moon
And he fears he runs condemned
Condemned to wander out of rooms
Of loved ones and of friends
I walk his phantom footprints
From a cloudless point of view
Oh, can't he find a place to stand
To catch a glimpse of you

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eberhard Weber - Fluid Rustle (1979)

Previously on Opium Hum:
The Colours of Chloë (1974)
Pendulum (1993)

Another phenomenal album of ambient jazz from Eberhard Weber. There are no drums on Fluid Rustle -- just a pillowy haze of vibraphone, marimba, balalaika, guitar, and wordless female vocals, with Weber's double bass at the center. Gorgeous, haunting, and infinitely soothing.

Track listing:
1. Quiet Departure
2. Fluid Rustle
3. A Pale Smile
4. Visible Thoughts

On a white horse

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cop Shoot Cop - White Noise (1991)

Cop Shoot Cop was an experimental band from NYC who, starting in 1991, released a series of four pretty undeniable albums over the course of the same number of years, of which White Noise is the second. A thunderous rhythm section (including two bassists), vocalist Tod Ashely's abrasive, throaty, often toneless vocal delivery, and an overall sense of barely contained chaos, places their sound somewhere in the vicinity (and quality) of vintage Am Rep, with an ever-so-slight industrial edge.

Track listing:
1. Discount Rebellion
2. Traitor/Martyr
3. Coldest Day of the Year
4. Feel Good
5. Relief
6. Empires Collapse
7. Corporate Protopop
8. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
9. Chameleon Man
10. Where's the Money?
11. If Tomorrow Ever Comes
12. Hung Again

Judas or Jesus, which one was smarter?
The traitor or the martyr?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bone Crusher - Attenchun! (2003)

Attenchun! goes hard as FUCK. Sounds like a more ignorant, crunk version of DMX, minus all feelings and pop sensibility.

Track listing:
1. Lock & Load
2. Never Scared (Intro) (feat. Jermaine Dupri)
3. Never Scared (feat. Killer Mike & T.I.)
4. Back Up (feat. Dru)
5. Grippin' the Grain (feat. Lady Ice & Marcus)
6. Transaction (Interlude) (feat. Young Hungley)
7. Puttin' in Work (feat. David Banner & Lady Ice)
8. Break 'Em Off for Life (Interlude) (feat. Hezo, Dano, Jack Frost & Rico Love)
9. Gettin' It (Get Dat Money) (feat. Jack Frost)
10. It's Me (Lane to Lane) (feat. Lil Jon & Chyna Whyte)
11. For the Streets
12. Sound the Horn (feat. Bizarre)
13. Hate Ourselves (feat. Goodie Mob)
14. Vainglorious (Interlude)
15. Ghetto Song (feat. Lil' Pete)
16. Peaches & Cream
17. The Wall (feat. Chris Hardnett & Baby B.)

I'm starting to suspect that this guy has had his hand in some shady dealings over the years

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fleshcrawl - Descend into the Absurd (1992)

Murky, doom-ridden old school German death metal. Caveman riffs, reverb-heavy production, disgusted vocals. If you've only heard their later, more melodic/generic material, let me assure you -- Descend into the Absurd is first-rate stuff.

Track listing:
1. Between Shadows They Crawl
2. Phrenetic Tendencies
3. Perpetual Dawn
4. Purulent Bowel Erosion
5. Lost in a Grave
6. Never to Die Again
7. Festering Flesh
8. Infected Subconscious
9. Evoke the Excess

The chambers of incineration

Friday, January 3, 2014

Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Kill City (1977)

Recorded by Pop and Stooges guitarist James Williamson in 1975 (that's two years after Raw Power), Kill City can be considered a 'lost' Stooges record. As might be expected, they continue their progression towards a more easily digestible, Stones-y sound, while retaining the nasty, unhinged delivery and sense of drug-fueled, sex-crazed abandon that helped to make the Stooges one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. There are strutting rockers ("Beyond the Law", "Consolation Prizes"), dark, saxophone-driven protopunk ballads ("Sell Your Love"), some of the most unabashedly 'pretty' moments in the Stooges' catalog ("I Got Nothin'", "No Sense of Crime"), and even some synths. Don't be fooled by the half-assed album cover -- this is mandatory.

Track listing:
1. Kill City
2. Sell Your Love
3. Beyond the Law
4. I Got Nothin'
5. Johanna
6. Night Theme
7. Night Theme (Reprise)
8. Consolation Prizes
9. No Sense of Crime
10. Lucky Monkeys
11. Master Charge

The scene is fascination, man, and everything's for free
'Til you wind up in some bathroom overdosed and on your knees

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Julie Ruin - Julie Ruin (1998)

Just watched and loved the Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill/Le Tigre) documentary, The Punk Rock Singer ; if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do. Among other revelations, I learned that shortly before Bikini Kill split, Hanna put out a solo album of lo-fi bedroom electro-punk under the pseudonym Julie Ruin. This probably is common knowledge. Having given it a few spins, I now agree with her hubby Ad-Rock's assertion that it's "a fucking masterpiece."

Track listing:
1. Radical or Pro-Parental
2. U.G.I.
3. A Place Called Won't Be There
4. Tania
5. Aerobicide
6. Apt. #5
7. My Morning Is Summer
8. I Wanna Know What Love Is
9. The Punk Singer
10. On Language
11. Crochet
12. Interlude
13. Stay Monkey
14. Breakout a Town
15. Love Letter

You make me want to... CROCHET!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Astrobrite - All the Stars Will Fall (2012)

Previously on Opium Hum:
Astrobrite - Pinkshinyultrablast

Here's one for your hangover. On All the Stars Will Fall, Astrobrite does away with all 'pop' elements, instead focusing on hazy, nocturnal guitarscapes bolstered by angelic vocals and sparse, pulse-like percussion. At once soothing and deeply mournful.

Track listing:
1. Silvery and Starless
2. The Void Inside
3. Wandering Birds (Blind)
4. Haunter
5. Unknown Color
6. I Am a Ghost
7. My Darkest Heart
8. Smiles Like Knives
9. Eyes Are Colorless
10. 'Til the Stars Fall from the Sky