Sunday, August 31, 2014

Yung Star - Throwed Yung Playa (2000)

Truth: I only recently found out about Yung Star, a good-natured and immensely talented Houston rapper who never quite made it, when a bunch of people (including Pitchfork) started pointing out that the amusing but dubiously talented Riff Raff appears to have directly lifted his style. Like many people, I haven't quite decided how to feel about Riff Raff -- seems like he's kinda just a clown, right?  -- but it's really easy to like Yung Star and the four thousand guests featured on Throwed Yung Playa, his first and only album.

There are two versions of this album. This is the later one with a bonus disc, which (obviously) has more tracks than the other version, but apparently doesn't have one of the original's best songs, for some reason. That sucks, but I can't find the other version anywhere, so this'll just have to do, you whiny, entitled jerk.

Track listing:
-Disc One-
1. Intro
2. Knocking Pictures Off da Wall
3. Ballin' for Position
4. Gots to Be Everything
5. Y'All Don't Know
6. Grippin' Grain
7. We Got Plex
8. Keep It Real
9. I'm Still a Baller
10. Pimping Pens and Blessing Pads
11. Let's Get It Together
12. Parlay and Sippin'
13. Commercial
14. Knocking Pictures Off da Wall (Remix)
15. Out of Sight, Out of Mine
-Disc Two-
1. Who We Are
2. The Third Coast
3. Blast Off Like a Rocket
4. Cracks to Dats
5. Ballin'
6. Grippin' Grain (Remix)
7. Ballin' for Position (Remix)

Butt-naked mermaids spittin' water in my fountain

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gormantatinus - Sersavina Decan, Anden Plaust (2004)

The second of three demos from this Korean solo black metal-ish project. Sersavina Decan, Anden Plaust is the sound of black metal decomposing -- disjointed, discordant guitars, reverb-drenched howls and monstrous growls, arrhythmic drums, howling wolves, and possibly some sort of pure noise source. Very much akin to the almighty Abruptum. Track listing doesn't apply, as it's a single, 21-minute long slab of aural terror.

Sinking into an abysmal pool of weeping souls

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bowery Electric - Bowery Electric (1995)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Bowery Electric - Lushlife (2000)

Sedate, airy shoegaze mantras for late-night, drug-addled auditory euphoria. Simple, sometimes single-chord chord progressions repeat ad infinitum with very little variation, broken up only by angelic, cooing vocals.

Track listing:
1. Sounds in Motion
2. Next to Nothing
3. Long Way Down
4. Another Road
5. Over and Over
6. Deep Sky Objects
7. Slow Thrills
8. Out of Place
9. Drift Away

Across the sky

If you dig this, try:
Implodes - Black Earth (2011)
Astrobrite - All the Stars Will Fall (2012)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

David Sylvian - Blemish (2003)

Droning guitars, snippets of feedback, and fractured synthesizers provide an anxious backdrop for Sylvian's haunted lyrical musings on the dissolution of love. If the music reminds you of Christian Fennesz, it's because he's all over this album.

Track listing:
1. Blemish
2. The Good Son
3. The Only Daughter
4. The Heart Knows Better
5. She Is Not
6. Late Night Shopping
7. How Little We Need to Be Happy
8. A Fire in the Forest

Do us a favor
Your one and only warning
Please be gone by morning

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summoning - Oath Bound (2006)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Summoning - Nightshade Forests (1997)

Another virtually flawless album from this Austrian duo. As any writeup about Summoning will tell you, their lyrics deal exclusively with J.R. Tolkien's universe. Musically, you can expect epic, keyboard-heavy, slow-paced, quasi-Medieval, atmospheric black metal that could, without the context of aesthetics and lyrical trappings, easily be mistaken for blackened viking metal. Oath Bound just might be my favorite Summoning album, and contains at least one undeniable masterpiece of their distinctive style in the majestic, album-closing "Land of the Dead".

Track listing:
1. Bauglir
2. Across the Streaming Tide
3. Mirdautas Vras
4. Might and Glory
5. Beleriand
6. Northward
7. Menegroth
8. Land of the Dead

Upon the plain, there rushed forth and high
Shadows at dead end of night and mirrored in the sky

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays - As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (1982)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Pat Metheny - Bright Size Life (1976)

Gorgeous ambient jazz from guitarist Pat Metheny and keyboardist/frequent Metheny collaborator Lyle Mays. The 20-minute-plus title track is an enigmatic, multi-suite masterpiece, and the rest of the album, while generally leaning a bit closer to center, is beautiful in a more easy-to-grasp way. Apparently, way back when, my mom used to put this record on when it was my nap time, and let it play as I slept. My dad played it for me last week, and it struck an oddly, almost biologically familiar chord with me -- gonna be honest, I got a lil' verklempt.

Track listing:
1. As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls
2. Ozark
3. September Fifteenth (dedicated to Bill Evans)
4. It's for You
5. Estupenda Graça

The waves at night

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Strawbs - From the Witchwood (1971)

Progressive, psychedelic folk rock. The lyrics are dark, but the vocal harmonies, kaleidoscopic sitar leads, frilly keyboards, and chiming acoustic guitars are sunshine and gentle breezes. It was hard to pick which Strawbs album to post, as they have so many great ones, so I just went with From the Witchwood because I associate it with summer and I don't want this summer to end like it's about to. And Rick Wakeman plays on it, so you know it's the shit.

Track listing:
1. A Glimpse of Heaven
2. Witchwood
3. Thirty Days
4. Flight
5. The Hangman and the Papist
6. Sheep
7. Canon Dale
8. The Shepard's Song
9. In Amongst the Roses
10. I'll Carry On Beside You

Like some evil bird of prey
The scaffold spreads its wings
The people build their fires and bolt their doors

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tony Molina - Dissed and Dismissed (2013)

Despite a less than 10 minute-long runtime, Tony Molina says Dissed and Dismissed is an album -- not a mini-album, nor an EP. This may be because the twelve fleeting power pop songs on here surely could represent a half-hour album's worth of ideas. Most of the songs feature the basic components of a pop song, but completely avoid repetition, leaving stripped-down but complete songs that, had they been elongated, could have sounded right at home on The Blue Album or Return of the Rentals.

Track listing:
1. Nowhere to Go
2. Change My Ways
3. Can't Believe
4. Tear Me Down
5. Nothing I Can Do
6. Sick Ass Riff
7. See Me Through
8. Don't Come Back
9. Spoke Too Soon
10. The Way Things Are
11. Wondering Boy Poet (GBV cover)
12. Walk Away

Back to my old ways

Friday, August 22, 2014

Eddie Henderson - Sunburst (1975)

I'm back from the beach, NYC, and motherfuckin' Towson, baby! Sorry to take off so suddenly on you, but you know I gotta do me. To make it up to you, here's some spaced but hard-hitting jazz-funk from trumpeter Eddie Henderson and company that I recently had the pleasure of listening to while walking around Loch Raven reservoir, high on hydrocodone and muscle relaxers. (I realize that this is the second post in a row in which I've mentioned being high on pills, but I refuse to put effort into these little blurbs, so you can take it or leave it.)

Track listing:
1. Explodition
2. The Kumquat Kids
3. Sunburst
4. Involuntary Bliss
5. Hop Scotch
6. Galaxy
7. We End in a Dream


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bathory - Requiem (1994)

Having mastered epic, heavily layered metal with Twilight of the Gods, Quorthon scaled down his vision for Requiem, an album of evil, raw, ripping blackened thrash. It's not groundbreaking, but -- and maybe it's because I was high on a cocktail of alcohol, pills, and weed the first time I heard it -- the riffs and solos have this hypnotic, spectral quality to them, even as they're playing what ostensively is moshy thrash. Plus, at this point bro had already played a crucial role in the formation of both black and viking metal, so he had earned an album of pure rage.

Track listing:
1. Requiem
2. Crosstitution
3. Necroticus
4. War Machine
5. Blood and Soil
6. Pax Vobiscum
7. Suffocate
8. Distinguish to Kill
9. Apocalypse

The house of God burned down to the ground

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gato Barbieri - Fenix (1971)

An excellent, high-energy record of percussion-heavy, groove-based, vaguely Latin jazz led by Argentinian tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri. His playing here is phenomenal -- informed by both the forceful, improvisational melodicism of hard bop and the shrieking abandon of free jazz -- and he's backed up by a stellar cast of musicians, including bassist Ron Carter and pianist Lonnie Liston Smith. I understand that from here Barbieri quickly moved on to the bland, unintentionally comical world of smooth jazz, so I'd like to assure those familiar with only his later work that this is quite far from that shite, and worthy of your attention.

Track listing:
1. Tupac Amaru
2. Carnavalito
3. Falsa Bahiana
4. El Dia Que Me Quieras
5. El Arriero
6. Bahia

Under fire

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Popol Vuh - Spirit of Peace (1985)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Popol Vuh - In Den Gärten Pharaos (1971)

The music of Popol Vuh is a window to the limitless sorrow and joy of the universe. I'm not a religious man, but if I were, Popol Vuh would provide my spirituals. Spirit of Peace consists of four tracks: one stark piece for solo piano ("Spirit of Peace") and three gorgeous pieces that prominently feature choral vocals, two of which have guitar and piano accompaniment.

Track listing:
1. We Know About the Need
2. Spirit of Peace
3. Song of the Earth
4. Take the Tension High

Why do I still sleep?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ereb Altor - By Honour (2008)

Ereb Altor often gets talked about as the side project of Swedish Candlemass worshippers Isole. But this isn't really the case as far as I'm concerned; not only does Ereb Altor's first demo predate Isole's by two years, but they're also just as great.

Though they're unquestionably playing within the confines of viking metal -- the amusingly named "Winter Wonderland" would have sounded right at home on Hammerheart or Twilight of the Gods-- their doom metal chops are evident at certain points throughout the album, such as the title track's jaw-dropping midsection and funereal album-closing instrumental "Ereb Altor". This helps to minimize the cheese factor, and makes for a more evil, mournful, and organic sound than that of a typical viking metal record.

Track listing:
1. Perennial
2. Awakening
3. By Honour
4. Winter Wonderland
5. Dark Nymph
6. Wizard
7. Ereb Altor

Trembling I grasp my sword
Pulsating blood in my veins
This is the day of days

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Skullflower - Infinityland (1995) + Transformer (1995)

Here are two quite different Skullflower albums, both released in 1995. Infinityland epitomizes their early sound -- feedback, two-chord guitar riffs, and keyboards floating over thunderous, repetitive drumming -- while Transformer finds them exploring textural drone and mellow, abstract psych rock.

Track listing:
1. The Idiotsburgh Address
2. White Fang
3. Pixie Dust
4. Abraxas
5. False Magic Kingdom
6. Blood Orange
1. The Lords of Increase
2. 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Secs.
3. Cut Loose 1 + 11
4. Golden Hair
5. Morning Dew
6. Cicada
7. Surf Creature
8. Ponyland
9. Fake Revolt


Monday, August 4, 2014

Muga - Muga (2002)

Dark and chaotic hardcore with dueling male/female vocals. Japan's answer to His Hero Is Gone, maybe?

Track listing:
1. Instrumental
2. Unleash Before Death
3. Crippled
4. Symbol of Ignorance
5. Memory
6. Camouflage
7. Grotesque
8. Resuscitation
9. Kounryusui
10. Spirit of the Island
11. Journey to the End


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes - Reflections of a Golden Dream (1976)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes - Astral Traveling (1973)

Hippy-dippy, world-uniting desires as expressed through funk grooves, saxophone, wah-wah guitar, reverberating flute, shimmering piano, hand percussion, and lulling vibraphone ambience. Chill summertime vibes.

Track listing:
1. Get Down Everybody (It's Time for World Peace)
2. Quiet Dawn
3. Sunbeams
4. Meditations
5. Peace and Love
6. Beautiful Woman
7. Goddess of Love
8. Inner Beauty
9. Golden Dreams
10. Journey into Space

In search of truth

Friday, August 1, 2014

Starflyer 59 - Gold (1995)

I spent the evening in a nostalgic Youtube K-hole with an old friend, watching stuff like this and this and this and this. So, having 90s alt rock on my mind, here's an overlooked piece of grunge-y, shoegaze-y excellence. Gold is a druggy-er, gloomier record than its much loved (on the blogosphere, anyway) predecessor, Silver, and IMO it deserves the same kind of reevaluation that that record has received.

P.S. I seem to remember reading somewhere that this band was Christian, but I hear no evidence of this in their lyrics, and don't feel like Googling it.

Track listing:
1. A Housewife Love Song
2. Duel Overhead Cam
3. When You Feel Miserable
4. You're Mean
5. Stop Wasting Your Whole Life / Messed Up and Down
6. Messed Up Over You
7. When You Feel the Mess
8. Somewhere When Your Heart Glowed the Hope
9. Indiana
10. Do You Ever Feel That Way
11. One Shot Juanita

Leaping up into the air
Getting juiced up beyond belief