Saturday, September 27, 2014

Crime & the City Solution - The Bride Ship (1989)

Crime & the City Solution has over the years gone through a number of incarnations, and IMO The Bride Ship represents the strongest of these incarnations -- it's half of a recently disbanded Birthday Party (Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard), Harry Howard, Epic Soundtracks (of Swell Maps), and Simon Bonney, the band's founding member, vocalist, and principle songwriter. Thus, as one would expect, The Bride Ship is the project's most confident, dramatic, and ultimately compelling work.

Perhaps to the album's detriment, the clear highlight is the first track; bolstered by sweeping strings and a passionate lyrical declaration of personal liberation, "The Shadow of No Man" is one of the all-time great album openers, and sets a bar that the rest of the record can't quite reach. However, it's a great record, and any fan of Nick Cave, These Immortal Souls, and any of the aforementioned bands should definitely give it a good listen.

Track listing:
1. The Shadow of No Man
2. The Greater Head
3. Stone
4. The Dangling Man
5. Keepsake
6. The Bride Ship
7. Free World
8. New World
9. Three/Four

He said,
"In the end, we are all brothers!"

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gary Lewis - Listen! (1967)

An excellent, obscure gem of sunny psych pop. I think I'm trying to counteract the rapidly approaching rainy season with songs like "New Day" and "Look Here Comes the Sun" (which, it's worth noting, was written before the Beatles song), and it's working, kinda.

Track listing:
1. Jill
2. Don't Make Promises
3. She'd Rather Be with Me
4. Look Here Comes the Sun
5. Happiness
6. Bring the Whole Family
7. Reason to Believe
8. New Day
9. Small Talk
10. Angel on the Corner
11. Six O'Clock
12. Young and Carefree

Turn to the east, watch for the dawn
The night we loved in is now nearly gone

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Svartsyn - ... His Majesty (2000)

Raw, relentless Swedish black metal. The perfect mix of brutality and occult reverence, with zero dilution. A severely underrated band and album.

Track listing:
1. Apocalyptic Prophecy
2. Dungeons
3. Tunnels of His Majesty
4. It Breathes
5. Nekromantic Flesh
6. I'm Cleopatra's Killer

I received a vision
To form in clay a mask
Of your demon face
To complete my black testament

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kozeljnik - Deeper the Fall (2010)

One of my favorite black metal records of the decade so far. There's a touch of orthodox French black metal, and plenty of melodic riffs and leads, but it rips in a way that a lot of black metal bands, no matter their scene affiliation, often do not. Plus, I love the deep, epic clean vocals, and they are from Serbia. Upon first finding this record, I listened to it back-to-back four times, and I highly recommend that any and every black metal fan hear it at least once.

Track listing:
1. The Truth Is Death
2. The All-Consuming
3. Void to Final Consumption
4. Deeper the Fall
5. Breeding the Apocalypse
6. A.O.T.U.

I shall speak and blood from my mouth will flow
And no soul shall seek no path, no longer

Monday, September 22, 2014

Labradford - E Luxo So (1999)

Just read that Labradford's going to be working on new music for the first time in over a decade. Quite interested to see what they come up with. In the meantime, here's the record that got me into them. Expect chiming guitars, stately pianos, strings, clattering electronic percussion, and an overall vibe that lands somewhere between post-rock and ambient.

Track listing:
1. Recorded and Mixed at Sound of Music, Richmond, Va.
2. With John Morand and Assisted by Brian Hoffa
3. Dulcimers Played by Peter Neff, Strings Played
4. By Chris Johnston, Craig Markva, Jamie Evans
5. And Jonathan Morken. Photo Provided By
6. Leta O'Steen. Design Assistance by John Piper

Lazy Blog Post Written by Dear_Spirit

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Veil - Dolor (2005)

First-rate depressive black metal from famed metal hub Minnesota. An atmospheric, static-y wash of heavily distorted guitars, funereal drumming, and strategically placed, high-pitched screams. Though they've been around for over a decade, Veil has released precious little music -- a two-song promo, this demo (which includes the promo songs and a Burzum cover), and a full-length album -- but they've made it count, as this is truly draining, mournful stuff.

Track listing:
1. Suicide Winds
2. Dirge
3. I Follow
4. Ea, Lord of the Depths
5. Suicide Winds (Reprise)
6. Endless Night

Rulers fall
Empires end
Change is eternal

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Teebs - Collections 01 (2011)

Chilled-out, textural beats from LA producer Mtendere Mandowa. Brief and beautiful.

Track listing:
1. Just the Yellow Bits
2. Cook, Clean, Pay the Rent (New House Version)
3. Pretty Polly
4. Jahara
5. Verbena Tea (feat. Rebekah Raff)
6. Your Favorite Weekday
7. LSP (feat. Austin Peralta)
8. While You Dooooo (Extended)
9. Red Curbs Loop (Stuff I Dream About)
10. Yellow More New

Everything in its right place

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Only Ones - Even Serpents Shine (1979)

Behind that fiery, apocalyptic artwork lurks an album of charming, punk-ish power pop. Who would've thought?

Track listing:
1. From Here to Eternity
2. Flaming Torch
3. You've Got to Pay
4. No Solution
5. Inbetweens
6. Out There in the Night
7. Curtains for You
8. Programme
9. Someone Who Cares
10. Miles from Nowhere
11. Instrumental

If you wanna come face to face with love
You've got to pay and pay and pay

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Inspectah Deck - Uncontrolled Substance (1999)

Did any of you see the shitshow that was Wu-Tang on the Daily Show a few weeks back? Not only did they rap over backing tracks (oof) but Ghostface didn't even bother to memorize his verse. Then, as if to drive home the point that they (as a group) suck now, they did "Triumph", thereby reminding the audience of what good music actually sounds like.

So, here's Inspectah Deck's 1999 solo debut. It's one of my favorite Wu-Tang solo albums, and surely way better than whatever lazy pile they're about to put out.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Movas and Shakers
3. 9th Chamber
4. Uncontrolled Substance
5. Femme Fatale
6. The Grand Prix
7. Forget Me Not
8. Longevity
9. Word on the Street
10. Elevation
11. Lovin' You
12. Trouble Man
13. R.E.C. Room
14. Friction
15. Hyperdermix
16. Show n Prove
17. The Cause

My style's so underground, I write rhymes on fossils

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd - The Moon and the Melodies (1986)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Harold Budd - Lovely Thunder (1986)
Harold Budd - The White Arcades (1988)
Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd - After the Night Falls (1997)
Cocteau Twins - Lullabies to Violaine (2006)

An excellent collaboration between Cocteau Twins and ambient composer Harold Budd. I'm trying to pack in as much laziness as possible before school starts again, and this album is helping me to achieve my goals.

Track listing:
1. Sea, Swallow Me
2. Memory Gongs
3. Why Do You Love Me?
4. Eyes Are Mosaics
5. She Will Destroy You
6. The Ghost Has No Home
7. Bloody and Blunt
8. Ooze Out and Away, Onehow

The thinner the air

Monday, September 15, 2014

Progenie Terrestre Pura - U.M.A. (2013)

Progenie Terrestre Pura are an Italian duo (one of whom plays bass for Urna, one of my favorite current doom metal bands) whose sound fuzes atmospheric black metal with twinkling, quasi-futuristic, sci-fi-esque synthesizers. Their first proper album, U.M.A. is all peaks and valleys: long, slow builds that eventually explode into flurries of blastbeats and tremolo picking. They're not the first black metal band to explore outer space -- Trist and Darkspace leap to mind -- but PTP's sound is brighter, less cacophonous, and more overtly psychedelic, thus making them likely to appeal to the bearded fans of so-called "post-metal" and "post-black metal", as well as fans of the aforementioned space explorers.

Head over to PTP's bandcamp, where you can pick up this album and a name-your-price two-song promo.

Track listing:
1. Progenie Terrestre Pura
2. Sovrarobotizzazione
3. La Terra Rossa di Marte
4. Droni
5. Sinapsi Divelte

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pale Saints - Slow Buildings (1994)

Following the dark, experimental In Ribbons, Pale Saints returned to comparatively sunny sounds for Slow Buildings, their final studio album. There's still plenty of darkness to go around -- most notably, there's ten-minute slow-burner "Henry", which rides a moody, churning bassline with organ accompaniment to a dramatic, funereal conclusion -- but a good chunk of the album is spent returning to and refining the bright, upbeat sounds of their early singles. Also, ex-Lush vocalist Meriel Barham, who did secondary vocals on Ribbons, steps in as lead vocalist, and she's great.

Yes, that's an awful album cover. It took me years to move past it and give the album a shot, and I'm glad I did.

Track listing:
1. King Fade
2. Angel (Will You Be My)
3. One Blue Hill
4. Henry
5. Under Your Nose
6. Little Gesture
7. Song of Solomon
8. Fine Friend
9. Gesture of a Fear
10. Always I
11. Suggestion

The seeds left in her head

Saturday, September 13, 2014

David Axelrod - Song of Innocence (1968) + Songs of Experience (1969)

Amidst all of the totally justified animosity directed at U2 for forcing their crappy new album on something like 100 million people, no one seems to be pointing out a more subtle reason to be mad at them: the album in question is called Songs of Innocence, and they have a planned follow-up album called Songs of Experience. Meaning, not only did they sneak their album into the libraries of countless innocent Apple devices, they're ripping off David Axelrod.

Of course, Axelrod's records were named after poet William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, but he made no secret of this, as the albums were written as musical interpretations of Blake's work. So, in order to glean some sort of positivity from U2-gate, I'm sharing Axelrod's brilliant first two albums, which weave together psychedelic rock, baroque pop, and jazz fusion, forming a gleaming, kaleidoscopic tapestry of instrumental bliss.

Track listing:
-Song of Innocence-
1. Urizen
2. Holy Thursday
3. The Smile
4. A Dream
5. Song of Innocence
6. Merlin's Prophecy
7. The Mental Traveler
-Songs of Experience-
1. A Poison Tree
2. A Little Girl Lost
3. London
4. The Sick Rose
5. The School Boy
6. The Human Abstract
7. The Fly
8. A Divine Image


Friday, September 12, 2014

Stereolab - Switched On (1992)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
McCarthy - I Am a Wallet (1987) + Banking, Violence, and the Inner Life Today (1990)
Laetitia Sadier - The Trip (2010)

When I first heard Stereolab, they were about the hippest thing imaginable -- they were indie, they sounded French, they had vaguely pro-communist lyrics sung in a pretty, forceful, but oddly disconnected female voice, and their music was fuzzed-out, propulsive, yet droning, and laced with nods to retro-cool Space Age bachelor pad music. To this day, they're one of my favorites. Switched On compiles Stereolab's first three EPs, and though it's way less sonically busy than their later stuff -- it actually sounds like a 'rock band' -- it shows that they came out of the gate with their genius more or less fully formed. To anyone unfamiliar with this exceptional band: this is the perfect entry point.

Track listing:
1. Super-Electric
2. Doubt
3. Au Grand Jour
4. The Way Will Be Opened
5. Brittle
6. Contact
7. Au Grand Jour
8. High Expectations
9. The Light that Will Cease to Fail
10. Changer

Some see the flesh before they see the bones
Some see the bones before they see the flesh

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prevalent Resistance - Eternal Return (2008)

Meat and potatoes black metal that will remind you of what attracted you to black metal in the first place: epic tremolo-picked riffs, hoarse, raspy vocals, brutal mid-paced sections, and, of course ............................................. Satan.

Track listing:
1. From Beyond the Chains
2. Altars of Our Black Cult
3. On Wings of Steel
4. The Eternal Return
5. Apotheosis

The passing of flesh from this mundane world
Is a circle ending but to begin
To separate oneself from the obedient herd
Is the will emanating from within

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Gowan Ring - Love Charms (1994)

I have a terrible, terrible hangover. Wanna hear about it? No? OK, well, I've thrown up three times so far -- once last night, twice this morning -- and my head feels like it's been injected with cement. I'm laying in bed with a cat and a big glass of water at which I'm tentatively sipping, and I'm listening to the spectral, psychedelic folk music of In Gowan Ring, hoping that it staves off my desire to run to the bathroom for some dry heaves then smash my head open with a big hammer. Have a good day you guys!!!

Track listing:
1. Listen to Colours
2. Love Charms
3. Spindle Tree (With Dreambox)
4. A Swan Song
5. Stone Song II
6. Dandelion Wine
7. Within Rings (With Dreambox)
8. Of Water Wiverings
9. Urn and Water

As clever as snakes
As innocent as doves

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nightlands - Oak Island (2013)

Retro-futuristic, widescreen, soft electro-rock from the bassist of your current favorite indie band, The War on Drugs. Richly harmonized vocals that sound like robotic Beach Boys, hints of tropicalia, and a sense of commitment to a state of euphoria attained through disconnection with the here and now.

Track listing:
1. Time and Place
2. So Far So Long
3. You're My Baby
4. Nico
5. So It Goes
6. Born to Love
7. I Fell in Love with Feeling
8. Rolling Down the Hill
9. Other People's Pockets
10. Looking for Rain

I'd like to invite you
For just a little while
To a place I used to go
When I was only 17
Back to the place
The place that I once knew

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gerry Rafferty - Sleepwalking (1982)

The last time I posted a Gerry Rafferty record, it got taken down due to a DMC violation within a week of being up. But that was City to City, his most commercially successful record (due to two huge singles, "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line"), whereas this is Sleepwalking, a relative commercial flop whose dark, introspective lyrics and heavy use of synthesizers alienated fans and critics. Anyone familiar with this blog should know that "dark lyrics" and "heavy use of synthesizers" are pretty much what I'm all about, so for me, this is right up there with his more celebrated works. And maybe EMI won't care that I'm posting it, who knows?

Track listing:
1. Standing at the Gates
2. Good Intentions
3. A Change of Heart
4. On the Way
5. Sleepwalking
6. Cat and Mouse
7. The Right Moment
8. As Wise as a Serpent

Driftin' along with the wind

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sudden Death - Suddenly... (1971)

Occult heavy psych/proto-metal.  Suddenly... has already made the rounds on the blogs, and I likely know even less about it than other bloggers before me, so I'll just point you to the page that hipped me to this shit, and a more thorough examination of the record. If you're not into this, don't come around here no more.

Track listing:
1. Come Away with Me
2. Road Back Home
3. It's Lonely Here
4. The Zoo
5. My Time Is Over
6. Leather Woman
7. Country Livin'
8. Crazy Lady

Think I'll take an overdose

Friday, September 5, 2014

Suicide - A Way of Life (1988)

Look, I know, their first album is phenomenal, and absolutely deserves to be heralded as a classic, but why do so many people act like it's the only fucking Suicide album? Their other records are so good! A similar thing has happened to lots of bands -- first album is a groundbreaking classic, and no one fully gets down with anything they do afterwards -- but not to the degree of Suicide. Like, Psychocandy is the only JAMC record that gets accolades, but at least people acknowledge their other albums. (For the record, I love Darklands, Automatic, and Honey's Dead.)

Anyway, here's A Way of Life, which has sparse, electro-punk that's much in the same vein as their first record ("Wild in Blue", "Sufferin' in Vain"), an uneasy, girl group-style love song worthy of a David Lynch film ("Surrender"), a synth-driven re-imagining of Elvis-esque rock 'n roll ("Jukebox Baby 96") and an anthemic piece of driving almost electro-industrial ("Rain of Ruin"). And that's just the first half. Get your shit together, fans of awesome music.

Track listing:
1. Wild in Blue
2. Surrender
3. Jukebox Baby 96
4. Rain of Ruin
5. Sufferin' in Vain
6. Dominic Christ
7. Love so Lovely
8. Devastation
9. Heat Beat

My heart is a prison

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Basilisk - A Joyless March Through the Cold-Lands (2005)

Lo-fi depressive BM solo project from the UK. A Joyless March is mostly mid-paced, with dissonant, sorrowful guitars and distorted, high-frequency howls. Nothing that original to be found here, but Basilisk does this style better than most.

Track listing:
1. Deep in the Dark Where I Lay in Wait
2. The Force Inside the Opposites
3. Bitter
4. Assault of Vermin
5. Heinous Energies (A Legion of Hushed Voices)
6. Open the Grave
7. The Awakening of HIM

Hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eg and Alice - 24 Years of Hunger (1991)

24 Years of Hunger is so sophisticated and subtle, it's hard to believe that it's the result of a one-off collaboration between two then-unknowns [EDIT: Ignore that part. An astute commenter noted that Eg previously was a member of a boy band, of whom I had never heard, called Brother Beyond. Do you know them? I guess they had a number of hits. So maybe, just maybe, I should stop pulling ill-informed 'facts' out of my ass.] and not that of a team of seasoned studio veterans. This is mostly laid-back, smooth pop/R&B with simple but evocative lyrics. Kinda reminds me of D'Angelo's Voodoo -- not in the sense that they necessarily sound the same, but that despite being pop records, it's hard to imagine a mainstream audience fully embracing them. So although it makes sense that this record wasn't a hit, the internet really should have granted it more retroactive fame by now.

[9/2/18: Updated with much better rip.]

Track listing:
1. Rockets
2. In a Cold Way
3. Mystery Man
4. And I Have Seen Myself
5. So High So Low
6. New Year's Eve
7. Indian
8. Doesn't Mean That Much to Me
9. Crosstown
10. I Wish

You always talk of suicide
Well, you know that talk is cheap

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lou Reed - Magic and Loss (1992)

Magic and Loss is a strong contender for Lou Reed's most underrated album. Clearly it has enjoyed its share of accolades, but when it comes to discussions of Reed's greatest records -- even those dealing with albums other than Transformer, BerlinMetal Machine Music, and Coney Island Baby -Magic and Loss rarely seems to come up. But to me, this album's alternately big hearted, downcast, determined, harrowing, and ultimately life-affirming musings on mortality and the process of dying represent some of the most touching, unadorned, and all-in-all beautiful material that this otherworldly talent ever conjured.

Track listing:
1. Dorita
2. What's Good
3. Power and Glory
4. Magician
5. Sword of Damocles
6. Goodbye Mass
7. Cremation
8. Dreamin'
9. No Chance
10. Warrior King
11. Harry's Circumcision (Reverie Gone Astray)
12. Gassed and Stoked
13. Power and Glory, Pt. 2
14. Magic and Loss

Sitting with my back straight, it becomes hard to hear
Some people are crying, it becomes hard to hear
I don't think you'd have liked it, you would have made a joke
You would have made it easier, you'd say, "Tomorrow I'm smoke"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sortsind - More Days (2001)

Skin-crawling Danish raw black metal. Deranged riffs, high-pitched shrieks, relentless drums, disjointed song structures, all filtered through a thick haze of tape distortion.

Track listing:
1. Drömme Om Evig Nat
2. Blandt Grå Monumenter
3. More Days
4. Blot
5. Sorte Tårer
6. Jeg Er Kulden
7. Vandre Blandt Dödninge
8. Skumring

Maggots in veins