Friday, August 31, 2018

Daryl Hall - Sacred Songs (1980)

As Hall & Oates enjoyed their first string of hits, Hall sidestepped and made an art rock record, colored by the woozily beautiful guitars of Robert Fripp. And it's not just a curio -- it's fucking topnotch stuff. The first song and a half lull you into a false sense of accessibility, then, midway through "Something in 4/4 Time", the wall of Fripp guitars hits, and you realize this is not just another pop/rock record. This back-and-forth continues throughout the record. Recorded in 1977 but -- as is tradition for any great experimental record by a mainstream artist -- shelved by those damn money-blinded record company fat-cats.

Track listing:
1. Sacred Songs
2. Something in 4/4 Time
3. Babs and Babs
4. Urban Landscape
6. The Farther Away I Am
7. Why Was It So Easy
8. Don't Leave Me Alone with Her
9. Survive
10. Without Tears

They're all sacred songs
They're not easily won

You would probably also enjoy:
Mick Ronson -
Slaughter on 10th Avenue (1974)
Dwight Twilley -
Twilley (1979)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cam Newton - Welcome Aliens (1980)

Energetic, playful jazz-rock/fusion helmed by guitarist Cam Newton. Herky-jerky time signatures and intricate, busy playing help to create a sense of constant forward propulsion, even during more laid-back moments.

Track listing:
1. Heroic Proportions
2. Water Baby's Chant
3. In the Temple of the Falling Leaf
4. Cumulus Waltz
5. Welcome Aliens
6. Recent Developments
7. The Theme
8. Up the River


If you like this, listen to:
Out of Focus -
Four Letter Monday Afternoon (1972)
Passport -
Looking Thru (1974)

Storming Darkness - Sin-Thesis (2008)

Russian black metal. Some really great, inspired guitar work here, but it's the kind that you really have to give a close listen to appreciate. The kind of album whose DL link I'm gonna have to re-up in six months because you people need a bunch of clicks and whistles with your black metal. But, as before, consider this: we all love a nice, fancy meal with a bunch of stuff on the side and charred this and creme fraiche and all that shit, but sometimes, you just want a really well-cooked steak. And that's what Sin-Thesis is: a really well-cooked black metal steak.

Track listing:
1. V. & R. / Supreme Murderer Moral
2. Weaved of Worms
3. Awakening in Sin
4. Steps for Hell
5. Black Night of Soul / Eschatological Hallucinations
6. Necrofaith Song / Voiceless Decadence
7. Black Rapture and Furious Hunger of Darkness!
8. Sufferings in a Dreadful Passion
9. Return to Mother Night

For the fruitful horizons of flesh
On the way to Satanic revelation

More like this:
Nattsvargr -
Vinterblod (2010)
Malediction -
IX Sorcerers (2011)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Icarus - Six Soviet Misfits (2003)

A two-disc compilation of EPs from English duo Icarus. Abstract, drum-n-bass-rooted sounds with skittering, jazz-y percussion, dark, reverberating atmospheres, and some flashes of glitchy harsh noise. Withdrawal's giving me hella brain zaps, which in turn is making me relate hard to music like this.

Track listing:
   -Disc One-
1. UL-6
2. Borichaen Pintack
3. Deutshe Oper
4. Benevolent Incubator
5. Despair
   -Disc Two-
1. Nine Fresian
2. Dolphin Lylic
3. Kipperkun Scratch
4. Xot Zioks
5. Skate Glug
6. Elephant Kiosk


More like this:
Richard Thomas -
Shoes and Radios Attract Paint (1998)
Black Faction -
Internal Dissident Part 1 (1999)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Funckarma - Solid State (2001)

Excellent Dutch IDM. Lush, shiny synths, stuttering rhythms, and hella glitched-out atmospherics. Having listened to this in full and completed the in-depth analysis that you've just read, I'm about to attempt to sleep again, so good morning and good night, nerds.

Track listing:
1. Blex
2. Lolala
3. Lawk
4. Zena
5. Emplinx
6. Bace
7. Nuncas
8. Arati
9. Knildnuos
10. Lone


You should also listen to:
Slicker -
Confidence in Duber (1998)
Plat -
Compulsion (2005)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Exhumed - Anatomy Is Destiny (2003)

Third album from the gods of gore metal -- who, for some reason, people LOVE to pretend never put out anything good past their first record. Those people are wrong, and this record proves it: they didn't lose the spark until they broke up and reformed as a more polished, less interesting version of themselves.

Anatomy Is Destiny finds Exhumed taking on a more varied, dynamic sound that emphasizes guitar interplay and more thought-out song structures, while keeping things as gory and fun as ever. Many songs really take off midway through -- from the harmonized leads on "Waxwork" to the d-beat mosh-bait on "Consuming Impulse" (pretty sure they covered Disrupt at MDF the following year) to the driving, palm-muted breakdown on "Death Walks Behind You", it's the bridges that take this record over the top.

Track listing:
1. Anatomy Is Destiny
2. Waxwork
3. The Matter of Splatter
4. Under the Knife
5. Consuming Impulse
6. Grotesqueries
7. In the Name of Gore
8. Arclight
9. Nativity Obscene - A Nursery Chyme
10. Death Walks Behind You
11. A Song for the Dead

Masticate your own genitals, choke on your bludgeoned testicles
With a hunger that will not be denied
The sweetest of meats is your soft, fatty teats
That I'll be stuffing your face with tonight

If you like this, try:
Nominon -
Diabolical Bloodshed (1999)
Those Who Bring the Torture -
Those Who Bring the Torture (2007)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Caretaker - A Stairway to the Stars (2002)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
The Caretaker - Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom (1999)

Leyland Kirby's second album as The Caretaker takes place in the same haunting world as the first, in which old, forgotten records are dusted off and given new, unsettling life as heartbroken ghosts, stuck pursuing a golden age of wine and romance that no one else seems to remember.

Track listing:
1. We Cannot Escape the Past
2. Cloudy, Since You Went Away
3. Emptiness
4. Consigned to a Yesterday
5. Masquerade Ball
6. Malign Forces of the Occult
7. On the Edge of Breakdown
8. Robins and Roses
9. Date with an Angel
10. It's All Forgotten Now
11. Each Today Doesn't Lead to a Tomorrow
12. Home
13. Friends Past Re-United
14. A Stairway to the Stars

I saw your face in a dream

Also listen to:
raison d'être -
Residuality (1993)
Murderous Vision -
The Times Without Gods (2002)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Satanize - Demonic Conquest in Jerusalem (2009)

Portuguese raw black metal. Amateurish recording quality, sloppy playing, a total lack of dynamics -- what more could you possibly want??

Track listing:
1. Instigate the Sermon (Intro)
2. The Pact Between Plague and Eternal
3. Infection of Flesh
4. Invocação ao Reino das Sombras
5. Demonic Conquest in Jerusalem
6. Into Thy Obscure Realm
7. Hierarchy of Implacable Soldiers

Hellish summoning of diabolic energy

More like this:
Hoth -
Rites of the Black Goddess (2001)
Epäkristus -
Untame the Beast (2005)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Horrified - In the Garden of the Unearthly Delights (1993)

Greek atmospheric death metal. You'd be forgiven for expecting a band called Horrified with a song titled "Baptized in Venereal Blood" to play grind-y, gore-soaked death metal, but they are actually very much in line with the moderately raw, epic sound for which the Hellenic extreme metal scene is most famous, complete with droning keyboards and quasi-operatic, lady-of-the-lake-sounding guest vocals.

Track listing:
1. The Awakening
2. Elisaph
3. Early Dawn Enraged
4. Crawling Silence
5. Down at the Valley of the Great Encounter
6. Dying Forest
7. Baptized in Venereal Blood
8. Poetry of War
9. Unbridled God
10. Dancing Next to Dying Souls

Lying sun
Forgotten faith

You'd also like:
Cryptic Tales -
Anathema (1992)
Mindrot -
Dawning (1995)

The Stylistics - Round 2 (1972)

Immaculate second LP from Philly soul legends The Stylistics. Tastefully ornate arrangements color in tender songs of love and heartbreak, carried by lead vocalist Russell Thompkins, Jr.'s honey-sweet falsetto.

Track listing:
1. I'm Stone in Love with You
2. If You Don't Watch Out
3. You and Me
4. It's Too Late
5. Children of the Night
6. You'll Never Get to Heaven
7. Break Up to Make Up
8. Peek-A-Boo
9. You're as Right as Rain
10. Pieces

Late at night
When all the world is safe within their dreams
I walk the shadows late at night
An empty feeling creeps within my soul
I feel so lonely
So I go into the darkness of the night
All alone I walk the streets
Until I find someone who is just like me
Looking for some company

If you like this, listen to:
Sylvia Robinson -
Pillow Talk (1973)
Freddie North -
Cuss the Wind (1975)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Telefilme - Fade In, Fade Out (1995)

Electronic-tinged lo-fi Spanish indie rock, straight from the playlists of heaven. Light years ahead of their time and informed by new wave, synth pop, soft rock, and krautrock, Telefilme mastered an anxious, melancholic, but dreamy sound that hipsters young and old are still chasing after today. Perhaps most importantly, though, these are beautiful, inventive songs that would stay compelling even if reduced to their most basic components.

Track listing:
1. Radio Esquivel
2. 23rd Century Chase
3. Moroder
4. Il Diavolo
5. Alien
6. I Love How You Love Me
7. Single Bee
8. Teenage Siouxsie
9. Coma
10. Undergrounder
11. Tokyo Monogatari

Aliens calling me

If you like this, check out:
Pram - The Stars Are So Big, the Earth
Is So Small... Stay as You Are
Hospital Ships -
The Past Is Not a Flood (2016)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Today Is the Day - Sadness Will Prevail (2002)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Today Is the Day - Willpower (1994)
Today Is the Day - Today Is the Day (1996)

Sadness Will Prevail is the harshest, most ambitious TITD record by a comfortable margin. A two-disc masterpiece of punishing, metal-leaning noise rock and sludge, interspersed with disturbing sound experiments, and climaxing with a 20-plus-minute instrumental voyage into total paranoid psychosis titled "Never Answer the Phone". Not the most obscure selection, but I've had a particularly anxiety-ridden day and the only way out is through intensely negative music.

Track listing:
   -Disc One-
1. Maggots and Riots
2. Criminal
3. Distortion of Nature
4. Crooked
5. Butterflies
6. Unearthed
7. The Descent
8. Death Requiem
9. Christianized Magick
10. Voice of Reason: Vicious Barker
11. Face After the Shot
12. The Ivory of Self-Hate
13. The Nailing
14. Mistake
15. Invincible
16. Aurora
17. Sadness Will Prevail
  -Disc Two-
1. Myriad
2. Spaceship
3. Flowers Made of Flesh
4. Your Life Is Over
5. Control the Media
6. Vivicide
7. Miasma
8. Times of Pain
9. Breadwinner
10. Friend
11. Never Answer the Phone
12. I Live to See You Smile
13. Sadness Will Prevail Theme

At night I wrap myself in pain
And I'll never see again

Pain Teens -
Pain Teens (1988)
Gasp - Drome Triler
of Puzzle Zoo People

7 Year Bitch - Gato Negro (1996)

Second and final album from the perennially underrated 7 Year Bitch. I remember hearing that lots of fans were upset with them for signing with a major label (and possibly for that silly-ass album cover) when Gato Negro was released, but I was too young to give a shit, so I just heard dissonant, pissed-off music that sounded best when played really fucking loud. Just snagged a copy of the OG green vinyl, and I think I like it even more now than I used to, as my older, jaded, life-sapped ears now can fully appreciate the darker, sludgier parts, which I used to skip over.

Track listing:
1. The History of My Future
2. Crying Shame
3. Disillusion
4. Deep in the Heart
5. The Midst
6. 24,900 Miles Per Hour
7. Whoopie Cat
8. Miss Understood
9. Sore Subject
10. Rest My Head
11. 2nd Hand
12. Jack

She came down the staircase
Climbed into a dumpster
She grabbed an index card and she taped it to her forehead and it read
"Poor White Trash"
She grabbed a gun, put it to her heart and pulled the trigger
Now she's dead
It's just a thought

You'd probably also enjoy:
Tad -
God's Balls (1989)
Katastrophy Wife -
Amusia (2001)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Zmrok - Blukanni ǔ Čiemry (2002)

Belarusian raw black metal. Nonstop tremolo picking and blastbeats, with seething vocals that sit a bit too high in the mix, right where they belong.

Track listing:
1. Ustup
2. Z Ciemraju geta pryhodzič...
3. Dužy svajgo ciela ja prynaszu ǔ ahvjaru
4. Sila zmroka i bol duszy adziny...
5. Zima...

Supreme primal darkness

More like this:
Blodulv -
Kristkrossare (2003)
Serpentfyre -
Of Darkness and True Light (2013)

Ariel Kalma - Interfrequence (1975)

Abstract, psychedelic synth-based pieces from French composer Ariel Kalma. Some are pure synth, others are colored by cosmic saxophone, flute, and motorik rhythms. With 18 tracks, most of which are under 3 minutes long, Interfrequence plays like a series of snapshots from a strange and beautiful alien world.

Track listing:
1. Generus
2. Casiopee
3. Oasis
4. Retour d'Elle
5. Danse Soeur
6. Promenade
7. Round You Go
8. Merry Forest
9. Barimpa
10. Gaite Blue
11. Vers Gaite
12. Rep Voc
13. Zdunska Wola
14. Trompe Vie
15. Chinassou
16. Ba-Tu-Kalma
17. Interfrequence
18. Source Fraiche

Fast road to nowhere

Also listen to:
Klaus Weise -
Baraka (1981)
Barry Cleveland with
Bob Stohl & Katy Epple -
Stones of Precious Water (1986)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Yasutaka Tsutsui / Kohsuke Ichihara / Masahiko Satoh - デマ Rumour (1973)

Hella tight, far-out psych/fusion. I don't really understand the deal with author (and noted non-musician) Yasutaka Tsutsui being credited with writing the "script" for the album, as it's all instrumental. Maybe it's the score for one of his plays? But I do know that it makes me feel like I'm floating around in outer space doing blow with aliens and dodging meteors.

Track listing:
1. Prologue
2. Information1 - Information21
3. Information22 - Information49
4. Epilogue

In the mirror land

Keep on floating:
George Russell - Electronic Sonata
for Souls Loved by Nature
Annette Peacock & Paul Bley -
Dual Unity (1972)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sentimen Beltza - Bizitza Osoan Zehar Sortu den Etsipenaren Ondorioak (2011)

Basque (oops) raw depressive black metal. Please don't make me say any more, I'm tired.

Track listing:
1. Hosto Eroriak
2. Ni Eta Nire Bakardadea
3. Zauri Zakonak
4. Etsaien Garaipena
5. Etsipenaren Ondorioak
6. Depresio Itzalak

Ascension from the abyss

You should also listen to:
Triumphus Mortis -
Crepuscolo Spirituale (2008)
Pure - Art of Loosing
One's Own Life