Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cathedral - Supernatural Birth Machine (1996)

Meanwhile, Cathedral's hanging out, playing half-speed buttrock riffs, sounding like Macho Man Randy Savage switched out (some of) his cocaine for psychedelics, put his rap project on hold and started a killer psychedelic cheese-doom band. After practice, they hop in their spaceship, where they smoke a few joints with a bunch of re-animated skeletons and Satanic robots while flying to Saturn, where they're all gonna drop acid, bone sexy aliens while watching Planet Earth explode, and release flawless album after flawless album, all while not giving a single fuck that surprisingly few people notice that they're one of the best metal bands ever.

P.S. I'm headed to Acapulco this afternoon, where I will live the good life 'til Sunday. See you suckers sometime next week.

Track listing:
1. Cybertron 71 / Eternal Countdown (Intro)
2. Urko's Conquest
3. Stained Glass Horizon
4. Cyclops Revolution
5. Birth Machine 2000
6. Nightmare Castle
7. Fireball Demon
8. Phaser Quest
9. Suicide Asteroid
10. Dragon Ryder 13
11. Magnetic Hole

Earth children arise
Transformation for final flight
Justice in our hands

Monday, November 24, 2014

Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous & Jack DeJohnette - To Be Continued (1981)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous & Jack DeJohnette - S/T (1978)

Second of two collaborative efforts between guitarist Terje Rypdal, bassist Miroslav Vitous, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Atmospheric, dynamic, free-form compositions that might work as an easy primer on 'the ECM sound.'

Track listing:
1. Maya
2. Mountain the the Clouds
3. Morning Lake
4. To Be Continued
5. This Morning
6. Topplue, Votter, & Skjerf
7. Uncomposed Appendix


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Iconoclast Contra - Combat Is the Voice of the Heathen (2010)

Ugly blackened death metal from fucking Salt Lake City. I found Iconoclast Contra through their connection to Black Seas of Infinity -- he's their dummer -- but their guitarist and vocalist were both in Ibex Throne, who I have never heard (oops) but are apparently a band that people care about. Anyway, if you like bands like Profanatica, or Ibex Throne, probably, you should give this a spin.

Track listing:
1. Murder Division
2. Wolf Sect: Profane
3. Passage Rites to Cerberus
4. Combat Is the Voice of the Heathen
5. Force-Fucked with Artillery Fire
6. Torture Assassin
7. Warheads Towards the Holy Land
8. War 'Til Death

Humanity is worthless

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Big Moe - City of Syrup (2000)

SO fucking gangsta. Big Moe has a smooth, half-sung delivery that, along with the often upbeat-sounding instrumentals, injects the hedonism of the lyrics with a welcome dose of levity. Since he's a Screwed Up Click affiliate, there are SUC/Houston all-stars all over the place, including DJ Screw, Big Hawk, Z-RO, Yungstar, and a million others. And in my book, he gets a thousand bonus points for paraphrasing my favorite Zapp song (actually, one my favorite songs, period) on the title track.

Track listing:
1. Momma M.O.E. (Skit)
2. Barre Baby (feat. Ronnetta Spencer)
3. Get Back (feat. Lil' O & Big Hawk)
4. Maan! (feat. E.S.G. & Big Pokey)
5. We Da Shit (feat. E.S.G. & Z-RO)
6. I'll Do It (feat. Lil' O & Dirty $)
7. Drank (Skit)
8. City of Syrup (feat. DJ Screw, Z-RO, & Tyte Eyez)
9. Choppaz (feat. D-Gotti, Noke D, & D-Wreck
10. I Wonder (feat. Enjoli & Tyte Eyez)
11. Payin' Dues (feat. Z-RO)
12. X (Time) 4 Change (feat. D-Wreck, Al-D, Will-Lean, Noke D, & Ronnie Spencer)
13. Po' It Up (feat. Z-RO & Big Hawk)
14. Ra-Ra (Skit)
15. Ridin' Candy (feat. Noke D, C-Nile, & D-Gotti)
16. Whatcha Want? (feat. D-Wreck, D-Gotti, & Tyte Eyez)
17. Freestyle (Skit)
18. Freestyle (June 27) (feat. D-Mo, Kici, Yungstar, Big Pokey, & Haircut Joe)
19. Leanin' (feat. DJ Screw, Mike D, & Michael Wilson)

Rollin' in my candy red car
Sippin' a big daddy cup of barre

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dwight Twilley Band - Sincerely (1976)

Sincerely is the kind of perfect, would-be classic power pop record that makes you realize just how arbitrary success in the music business is. Like, I think that in some weird, imaginary world, every record that I post on here would be a hit, but Sincerely could have been a huge hit in this world. Listen to this and tell me I'm wrong.

So, much like their spiritual comrades, Big Star, the Dwight Twilley Band mixed 70s dad rock sounds with a kinda fey, pop-oriented approach and ended up generating a series of positively perfect power pop gems while toiling in virtual obscurity; unlike Big Star, though, DTB --and their namesake, who continues to record and release records to this day -- have stayed there. I only found them because their song "Looking for the Magic" is prominently featured in the movie You're Next. Having finally heard it, though, I genuinely believe that Dwight Twilley should be at least indie-famous by now, and I implore you: give this one a spin.

For more info, here's an article that I found; apparently, I'm not the only one who's made the Big Star comparison, nor the only one to think that Twilley should be a star.

Track listing:
1. I'm On Fire
2. Could Be Love
3. Feeling in the Dark
4. You Were So Warm
5. I'm Losing You
6. Sincerely
7. TV
8. Release Me
9. Three Persons
10. Baby Let's Cruise
11. England
12. Just Like the Sun
13. Did You See What Happened [bonus]
14. Look Like an Angel [bonus]
15. Miserable Lady [bonus]
16. Rock Yourself, Son [bonus]

I don't wanna sit and watch it all roll by

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chris & Cosey - Technø Primitiv (1985)

Two former members of Throbbing Gristle making dark, synth-based 80s dance music. Drenched in reverb, Cosey (Fanni Tutti)'s vocals sound hauntingly disconnected over the duo's pulsing, atmospheric instrumentals.

Track listing:
1. Hazey Daze
2. Misunderstandings
3. Morning
4. Haunted Heroes
5. Stolen Kisses
6. Shivers
7. He's an Arabian
8. Last Exit
9. Do or Die
10. Technø Primitiv
11. Silent Cry
12. Sweet Surprise

I hope you will be by my side

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

McCoy Tyner - Expansions (1968)

One of the very best out of many stellar releases from this jazz pianist great, Expansions splits the difference between relatively straightforward hard bop grooves and frantic, atonal avant-garde jazz. I can't even imagine coming close to making music that's this advanced.

Track listing:
1. Vision
2. Song of Happiness
3. Smitty's Place
4. Peresina
5. I Thought I'd Let You Know

The high priest

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Apples in Stereo - Science Faire (1996)

The Apples in Stereo are, as far as I know, the only band from the Elephant 6 collective who still actively record and put out albums. Science Faire compiles a bunch of singles and EPs from before the release of their first (and IMO still best) proper LP, Fun Trick Noisemaker. Personally, I prefer this fuzzier, messier, more lo-fi material to the exuberant, polished power pop they ended up making. I dig that shit, too, though.

Track listing:
1. Tidal Wave
2. Motorcar
3. Turncoat Indian
4. Haley
5. Not the Same
6. Stop Along the Way
7. Running in Circles
8. Hypnotic Suggestion
9. Touch the Water
10. Glowworm
11. To Love the Vibration of the Bulb
12. Time for Bed / I Know You'll Do Well
13. Rocket Pad

Silvery light of a dream

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius (1976)

Here's virtuoso bassist Jaco Pastorius' classic solo debut. There's a good deal of variation -- low-key, spaced out improvisations, full-band funk, melancholic vignettes -- so it's stays consistently interesting, and the material is 100% excellent.

Track listing:
1. Donna Lee
2. Come On, Come Over
3. Continuum
4. Kuru/Speak Like a Child
5. Portrait of Tracy
6. Opus Pocus
7. Okonkole Y Trompa
8. (Used to Be A) Cha-Cha
9. Forgotten Love
10. (Used to Be A) Cha-Cha (Alternate Take) [bonus]
11. 6-4 Jam [bonus]


Friday, November 14, 2014

Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer (1992)

I do not understand why I check Metalsucks on a semi-daily basis. The writers are generally not very funny or inventive in their approach to writing about music, and unlike Pitchfork, which I check for hipster drama and new music (I put little to no stock in their overwrought opinions, of course), Metalsucks doesn't actually cover a lot of music that I give a shit about. Maybe I read it for the little bit of good music that it does bring to my attention, and maybe it's a hate-read.

But the fact remains that I do visit the site, and this is why I am aware that today they (correctly) named Black Sabbath as the greatest metal band of all time. In the writeup, Grim Kim -- the only writer for the site that consistently covers awesome, new bands -- re-affirmed the popular notion that while their later stuff "had its moments", Sabbath peaked with their first four records. Though I'd add records #s 5 and 6 to that assertion, I agree in spirit.

After those first six records, this is the Sabbath record that I return to most frequently -- no, not Heaven and Hell. It marks Dio's temporary return to the fold, and its sound can be likened to a polished synthesis of all of the best eras of the band. Of course, it's not as amazing as that might sound, but it's pretty fucking great, you know?

[Edit: Check out the undeniable similarities between the above record cover and that of Arckanum's Fran Marder, which I posted yesterday. This was not intentional.]

Track listing:
1. Computer God
2. After All (The Dead)
3. TV Crimes
4. Letters from Earth
5. Master of Insanity
6. Time Machine
7. Sins of the Father
8. Too Late
9. I
10. Buried Alive

Are we all haunted by
The ghost - imagination
It just can't be
I've seen them there
Howling at the moon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arckanum - Fran Marder (1995)

Pure black metal, no surprises. I guess the clean vox are slightly unorthodox, but not really. The album plays out exactly the way you might expect: creepy keyboard intro gives way to tremolo picking, double bass, and vicious vocals that more or less continue for the duration of the record, interrupted only by the sound of wind through trees, thunder, trickling brooks, and the occasional owl hoot. A friend of mine came over the other evening with the intention of learning the ways of true black metal, and this is one of the records that I had intended to put on before the evening devolved into drunkenly watching gangsta rap videos on Youtube.

Track listing:
1. Hvila Pa Tronan Min
2. Þe Alder Hærskande Væsende Natur
3. Svinna
4. Kununger Af Þæn Diupeste Natur
5. Gava Fran Trulen
6. Fran Marder
7. Bærghet
8. Trulmælder
9. Kolin Væruld

Desolation in purest shape
Neither melodies nor cries
Resound in this cold silence

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jane Siberry - The Walking (1987)

The Walking is a truly strange record. Not only is the music itself a virtual labyrinth of knotty verses, muttering asides, new-age-y sap, lyrical surrealism, and big, extended pop hooks, there's a real cognitive dissonance to hearing such progressive, avant-garde music employing pillowy, keyboard-saturated, radio-ready 80's production. No one seemed to care much for it when it first came out -- this was reflected in Siberry's choice to severely rein in her progressive tendencies from here on out, cementing The Walking as an outlier in her discography -- but it's always been my favorite of hers. Most of you will probably not like this, but just a few of you might love it. And it's my goddamn birthday.

Track listing:
1. The White Tent the Raft
2. Red High Heels
3. Goodbye
4. Ingrid and the Footman
5. Lena Is a White Table
6. The Walking (And Constantly)
7. The Lobby
8. The Bird in the Gravel

Well, maybe she should go to school
No, no
She's a table

Monday, November 10, 2014

Martin Rev - Clouds of Glory (1985)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Suicide - A Way of Life (1988)

Martin Rev was one half of bizarro-world greats Suicide. Clouds of Glory, his second solo album, consists of endlessly repeated melodic mantras, shrill sustained tones, and chaotic SFX, all (I believe) courtesy of synthesizer(s). It's like someone took an unreleased Suicide record, removed the vocal tracks, and replaced them with synth oscillations, chirps, drones, and explosions.

Track listing:
1. Rodeo
2. Clouds of Glory
3. Metatron
4. Whisper
5. Rocking Horse
6. Parade
7. Island

It's doomsday, doomsday

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Japan - Adolescent Sex (1978)

Japan's first album combines the strut of glam and the nervous energy of post-punk, then runs it through a smooth sheen of new wave and funk. Apparently the band disowned this record, but I'm definitely not alone in thinking it's their best.

EDIT: Re-upping the link in 2020, I feel like I have to mention that I no longer think this is their best record. I still love it, but this versus Tin Drum? Gimme a break.

Track listing:
1. Transmission
2. The Unconventional
3. Wish You Were Black
4. Performance
5. Lovers on Main Street
6. Don't Rain on My Parade
7. Suburban Love
8. Adolescent Sex
9. Communist China
10. Television

Your mouth is open wide but your body's too soft

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Love Lost But Not Forgotten - Love Lost But Not Forgotten (2000)

Been on a bit of a nostalgia trip of late. It started with The Rentals putting out a new album, which led me to revisiting their older stuff, which led me to Matthew Sweet, then Tripping Daisy, then Hagfish (lol), and somehow I ended up at this savage, angsty as fuck album. Though I don't feel as though my entire world is crashing down around me nearly as often as I did back in high school, Love Lost But Not Forgotten makes for a handy simulation.

When I first randomly downloaded "Loathing" (off of Napster, bonus nostalgia!) I could not believe my ears. The over-the-top, high-pitched shrieking, the breakneck time signature changes, the almost smooth clean guitar breakdowns, the fact that the screeching continued over top of said smooth breakdowns -- it was complete insanity. I quickly tracked down the rest of the record and listened to it four million times.  Still ranks as one of my all-time favorite screamo (note: old definition) records.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Means to No End
3. Loathing
4. Save Me from the Outside World
5. Believe
6. Supine
7. Push Past
8. Cutting Away
9. Drown
10. Unfound
11. Swallow
12. Untitled

Headless, sleeping soundly

Friday, November 7, 2014

Luke Vibert - Lover's Acid (2005)

Playful acid techno that's sure to remind some of you of Richard James circa the Analord series (there's even a song called "Analord" on here, fancy that.) I'm pretty damn twisted as I right this, and this shit sounds the way my head feels.

Track listing:
1. Funky Acid Stuff
2. Cash 'n' Carry Acid
3. Homewerk
4. Gwithian
5. Prick Tat
6. Analord
7. Lover's Acid
8. Acid2000
9. Come on Chaos
10. Orch Garage
11. Dirty Fucker
12. Flyover

Pillowy clouds of mashed potatoes

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Perry Leopold - Christian Lucifer (1973)

A truly great psych folk obscurity. Lush, sprawling, heavy-lidded acoustic jams featuring cello, flutes, keyboard, hand drums, spiritually-oriented lyrical concerns, and a darker, more cerebral tone than that hippy-dippy album art suggests.

Track listing:
1. Sunday Afternoon in the Garden of Delights
2. The Windwill
3. The Starewell
4. Serpentine Lane
5. The Annunciation
6. The Journey
7. Vespers

All the clergy is weeping

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blitz - Second Empire Justice (1983)

In which an upper-echelon Oi band follows up its instant classic debut LP with a dark, atmospheric sophomore effort that's entirely devoid of anthems about "the boys" handing out beatdowns, thereby alienating most of its violent, bald-scalped fan base while failing to garner much outside attention. Second Empire Justice, it would seem, is a terrible Oi record.

The twist: it's a great post-punk record. It undoubtedly sounds like the work of a completely different band, but a really fucking great one. Big, moody leads? Check. Ghostly vocals? Big check -- dude sounds like Ian Curtis on a few songs. A beefy, locked-in rhythm section, complete with gated reverb on the snare? Check. I missed the boat on this one for years because my punk elders told me to steer clear, but as it turns out, adult me is going to listen to this way more than Voice of a Generation.

For poops and chortles, watch the video for "New Age", which isn't on this album, and kind of serves as a bridge between their immediate past and future.

Track listing:
1. Flowers and Fire
2. Underground
3. Acolyte
4. Into the Daylight
5. Telecommunication
6. White Man
7. For You
8. Skin
9. HKM Grey

We will move together
Even though it won't last

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Demigod - Slumber of Sullen Eyes (1992)

Slumber of Sullen Eyes is an absolute beast of a debut. In fact, I'd say it's straight-up one of the best death metal debuts of all time: the type that casts a formidable shadow across the rest of a band's discography (see also: Onward to Golgotha, Dawn of PossessionSlowly We Rot). Demigod tried to avoid this by waiting a full decade before releasing their second album, but it didn't work.

Hey, want to know what it sounds like?? OK. It's mostly mid-paced, with some obvious doom influences, the odd keyboard flourish, and a dark, dirty atmosphere that will make fans of Incantation (those that aren't already familiar, of course) pop long-overdue metal boners.

Track listing:
1. Apocryphal (Intro)
2. As I Behold I Despise
3. Deadsoul
4. The Forlorn
5. Tears of God
6. Slumber of Sullen Eyes
7. Embrace the Darkness / Blood of the Perished
8. Fear Obscures from Within
9. Transmigration Beyond Eternities
10. Towards the Shrouded Infinity
11. Perpetual Ascent
12. Darkened [bonus]

Dismal dreams of lives forgotten in the visions of my slumber
They lie silent in chasms

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dust - Hard Attack (1972)

Totally sweet 70s rock (proto-metal?) from a lesser known American band. Catchy riffs, wailing leads, and appealingly clean, higher-register vocals that work as an effective counterpoint to Dust's harder moments. Though this is front-to-back killer, I have to single out "Thusly Spoken", whose laid-back, ballad-like feel (complete with string section) make it a strangely beautiful outlier that's all the more strange for the fact that it's about armageddon.

Track listing:
1. Pull Away / So Many Times
2. Walk in the Soft Rain
3. Thusly Spoken
4. Learning to Die
5. All in All
6. I Been Thinkin'
7. Ivory
8. How Many Horses
9. Suicide / Entrance

Angry angels cried
Satan yearning casts a spell on us
Cherubim with wings that cannot fly
Dancing demons fill the sky