Rock-tinged industrial-dance from Buzz McCoy (My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult) and Sascha Konietzko (KMFDM). Truly sounds like a cross between the two projects. Like everything early-KMFDM-related, Conquer Your World sounds gloriously dated and makes me want to smoke cigarettes and drink vodka-Fruitopias on a playground somewhere in suburbia.
Philly metallic hardcore. Tough and super-pissed, and with big bonehead mosh energy (BBME) but enough dissonance and compositional chops to convey something deeper than "I am very mad." If you're wondering whether or not there's a chugga-chugga breakdown over which the vocalist lists things that he absolutely WILL NOT do: you fuckin' know there is.
First full-length by this US doom power trio. Thick guitar tones, gruff singing, and droning, sludgy songs with the kind of dual guitar solos that tend, at least for me, to conjure images of classic Sabbath. But make no mistake: this is Saint Vitus worship, straight up. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
1. Resurrection from the Underworld
2. The Awakening (Interpolating the Wrath of the Undead)
Melancholic, minimal post-rock by Ola Fløttum (of The White Birch). Acoustic guitars, echoing keys, misty atmospheric drones, and understated vocals. A beautiful, subtle, and bafflingly obscure record.
An Italian prog classic. Colorful, ornate songs performed on a veritable army of instruments -- piano, harpsichord, organ, flute, violin, piccolo, bells, virtually every kind of guitar, something called a mandocello -- broken up by pretty vocal sections, and full of stylistic hairpin turns that somehow make perfect sense in context.
Detroit experimental psych that takes from dub, drum n bass, and space rock. Has a slightly rough, homemade feel, which tracks considering that it was "recorded exclusively in Monaural's dining room studio."
Glimmering new age bliss from American violinist/composer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Kindler. Synths, layered violins, guitars, autoharp, and various forms of percussion form a warm, bright sound that occasionally approaches fusion.
Old-school hip-hop straight outta New Haven, Connecticut. A former EPMD dancer, Stezo's flows are perfectly enjoyable, slightly above-par old-school fare -- "I'm the man with the plan to make you stand / Get up and clap your hands" kinda stuff -- but his beats were seriously ahead of their time. His aesthetic, not so much.
French prog metal. Crushing, dynamic, immersive sounds that take from djent, progressive death, post-metal, and neo-prog. Featured on this blog's first best-of-the-year list, which, despite its clunky formatting, holds up surprisingly well as a representation of my favorite records from that year.
German psych greatness. Dextrous, anxious guitar interplay, organ, violin, and occasional male and female vocals. Each song constantly changes motifs, or stutters briefly only to pick back up again, as if the band is grasping for a stable reality that never quite materializes. Too bad it's their only record.
The music of Mark Oliver Everett -- aka E, best known as the only permanent member of Eels -- has remained more or less unchanged for about three decades now. Sure, he has singer-songwriter mode (his default setting), weirdo pop mode, 'rock' mode (NOT GOOD), and even Shrek mode, but it's all splitting hairs around the same mopey, lovesick smart-ass. The only thing that's really changed about his music has been its quality, which has taken a significant downturn over the past 15 years or so.
His debut album, A Man Called E finds him in full-blown pop-rock singer-songwriter mode, and it's often more effortless, thoughtful, and mature -- not to mention concise -- than anything he'd put out as Eels. Due to having first heard them as a stoned sadsack teenager, I'll always have a very special place in my heart for Beautiful Freak and Electro-Shock Blues, but as a content but anxious adult, A Man Called E is my favorite thing dude's ever done.
Laid-back Swedish prog. Folk- and jazz-infused, subtly expansive instrumentals for gazing at the stars, or -- if you, like me, live in an area where there's too much light/actual pollution to really see anything up there aside from a gray haze -- pretending that you're gazing at the stars.
Swedish power pop of the 90s alt-rock variety. Short, punchy songs enlivened by elements of noise pop and shoegaze. Popsicle would have sounded right at home ripping through a set on the rooftop of Empire Records.
Haunting ambient instrumentals from Daniel Lanois, who, despite having released a number of solid-to-excellent ambient and singer-songwriter records, is best known for his work as a producer for massive artists like Bob Dylan, U2, and Neil Young. Mysterious, nocturnal, somewhat cinematic pieces for a wide array of instruments. Another record that I first discovered while searching the Pitchfork archives for their worst reviewed records (I know that musical taste is subjective, but goddamn can they get it wrong sometimes.)
Years before Tesseract, Periphery, and their legions of disciples were fusing heady, math-y heaviness with dark, melodic alt metal, there was Elementary. It kinda sounds like if hardcore-Cave In and alt-Cave In made a record together. Unfortunately, fans of The End never stopped pining for the Calculating Infinity-worship of their debut EP, and they never really found a new audience to replace the old one. Thus, both of the band's excellent Relapse albums were largely either ignored or hated on, and they broke up shortly after the second one (Elementary) was released. Frowny-face.
Essential Swedish melodic death metal. Instead of emphasizing brutal catchiness or machine-like precision like so many of their peers, A Canorous Quintet made sorrowful, misty music that's almost as close to gothic death/doom as it is to melodeath, with high-pitched rasps that help to give it all a blackened feel.
Just remembered I told someone I'd post some Amp. Here's their second full-length. Much like that Light record, it's a hazy, somewhat lo-fi take on ambient shoegaze/psych that's probably best listened to while high, late at night.
I'm in a celebrating mood, so here's a personal favorite: the first Fantômas album. God-tier, horror-themed, experimental grind/thrash/sludge/jazz-noir/spazz-core from the folks who brought you, among many others, Mr. Bungle, Slayer, and Melvins. Obviously, this is, by this blog's standards, fairly well-known, but 1) Tomahawk finally put out a new album and it's got me on a Mike Patton kick, 2) Who says everything I post on here has to be obscure? and 3) I guarantee you there are people reading this who have never heard Fantômas and are about to have their minds blown out their asses.
30 tracks. You can't make me type them all out. Here's a track listing if you want it.
(I have no idea why I had the release date as 2009 initially. I first heard it in summer of 2001. Must be my dumb brain again.)
Lovely, organic-sounding IDM -- think early múm without the vocals, or even The Album Leaf -- from Danish producer Jonas Munk Jensen. I got my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday and my body has been simulating a flu ever since, which means I've been spending all of my time either rewatching movies for the millionth time (Young Frankenstein, Life of Brian, Mars Attacks!, that kind of thing) or listening to gentle electronic music like this.