Friday, May 28, 2021

Stereolab - Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night (1999)


There I am, watching a YouTube video about underrated albums, and of course, there's a lot in there that I disagree with. For instance, in what fantasy land is Darkness on the Edge of Town underrated? It's one of the most acclaimed albums by one of the most famous rock musicians of all time, and features at least 4-5 of Springsteen's signature songs. 

More relevant to this post, though, is the inclusion of Dots and Loops by Stereolab. EGREGIOUS. Everyone loves that record. If you're gonna talk about underrated Stereolab records, Cobra and Phases should be first on your list. It's maybe their most challenging, experimental record -- sonically layered to the point of impenetrability, full of awkwardly clipped grooves and angular melodies, and boasting an 11-minute drone-rock centerpiece that rides a single chord, in various forms, for its entire runtime. Essentially, Stereolab made their most Stereolab-y album, practically every critic took a big shit on it, and it's never really gotten a reassessment, even though it's a masterpiece imo.

Track listing:
1. Fuses
2. People Do It All the Time
3. The Free Design
4. Blips Drips and Strips
5. Italian Shoes Continuum
6. Infinity Girl
7. The Spiracles
8. Op Hop Detonation
9. Puncture in the Radak Permutation
10. Velvet Water
11. Blue Milk
12. Caleidoscopic Gaze
13. Strobo Acceleration
14. The Emergency Kisses
15. Come and Play in the Milky Night

Tonight I'm gonna make ornate indie rock like it's 1999:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Pighead - Rotten Body Reanimation (2012)

German brutal death, definitely on the more composed, technically proficient side of the subgenre. Disgusting and violent, but refreshingly devoid of the pointedly misogynistic violence that is generally par for the course with brutal death metal.

Track listing:
1. Dead Flesh Alive
2. Atrocious Determination
3. Radioactive Death Trip
4. Grub into Addled Meat
5. Rotten Body Reanimation
6. Kill the Living, Eat the Dead
7. Japanese Nuclear Holocaust
8. Resurrected Malignity
9. Ragged and Fractured
10. Breed of Genuine Destroyers

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Mark Dwane - The Monuments of Mars (1988)

Thanks to everyone for the killer workout music recommendations, keep 'em coming! (They don't have to be tough-guy stuff, if that's not what floats your boat.) But since it's been getting so intense around here, let's cool off with some synth-tastic new age. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, and become the alien.

Track listing:
1. Eternity
2. Pyramids of Mars
3. Metamorophosis
4. Solstice Ritual
5. Cydonia
6. Water Age
7. Pyramids of Mars (Reprise)
8. The Martian Sphinx
9. Another Eternity

Also give these a listen:

Monday, May 24, 2021

Benchpress - Stay Hated (2012)

6 tracks of tough, extremely heavy hardcore seemingly built for pumping iron. As I mentioned in a recent comments section, the breakdown in the title track is a frontrunner for greatest hardcore breakdown of all time, and it has seen me through countless planks. This is a fitness blog now, post all your favorite iron-pumping jams in the comments. Free/name your price via Bandcamp.

Track listing:
1. Hellbound
2. Out of My Mind
3. Better
4. Grudges
5. Misery

Other stuff on my playlist:

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Inverted - The Age of Harvest (2015)

Stellar, slept-on Italian death metal. Despite having released two excellent, fat-free albums that expertly split the difference between OSDM brutality and modern precision and atmosphere, I have never heard anyone mention Inverted in any context. Pretty sure that I only know about them because I accidentally clicked on them while searching for the Swedish Inverted on Metallum. And I have zero hope that this will amount to anything, but if anyone has a digital rip of their first album, PLEASE put a link in the comments because I only have the cassette and I can't find it.

Track listing:
1. Abiura
2. Across the Snow to Nowhere
3. Caves
4. Vexilla Prodeunt Regis Inferi
5. E.R. Weapons
6. Tunguska
7. Towards the Summit of No Return
8. Clear Sky

Also listen to:

Friday, May 21, 2021

Excruciating Terror - Expression of Pain (1996)

Classic LA grind. Sick vocals that jump back and forth from low grunts to reverb-heavy howls, a burbling mass of guitars, fuzzed-out bass. Perfect 90s grind. First heard Excruciating Terror way-back-when via the great Reality Part #2 comp, which also hipped me to Gasp, Dystopia, Noothgrush, and Spazz.

Track listing:
1. Self Destruct
2. Look at the World
3. Expression of Pain
4. Keep on Screaming
5. Suspense
6. Extortion
7. Cutdown on Life
8. Mental Prison
9. Life Ends
10. Think Again
11. Last Act of Man
12. Nothing to Lose
13. Stupid War
14. Crippled
15. Under the Burning Sky
16. 3rd Aftermath
17. A Technicality

As you excrete

You should also hear:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Silo - Alloy (2001)

Mesmerizing Danish post-rock colored by shimmering electronic elements -- I think that combination is where they get the "alloy." As hypnotic and groove-based as this album is, it's written almost entirely in odd time signatures, which makes it all feel uneasy, like it's a beautiful, intricate piece of architecture built on quicksand. A front-to-back excellent album that would still sound fresh if it came out tomorrow.

Track listing:
1. Bulk
2. Prime Movers
3. K2
4. Motor
5. Contrast
6. Evolved as into Vertical
7. Foliage
8. Those Adopted by People
9. Repose

If you like this, check out:

Monday, May 17, 2021

Machinedrum - Now You Know (2001)

First album by Machinedrum, one of the more influential figures in the world of glitch hop. Fragmented vocal samples, rich synths, and sharp, bass-heavy beats coalesce into some positively massive grooves.

Track listing:
1. Big Booty Hose
2. Wishbone Be Broken
3. Drums of Steel
4. Hello My Future
5. In Between
6. Thanks Very Much
7. My Visuals
8. Monique
9. Hihowareyoudoingiamfine
10. Reel Cleer
11. Fury
12. Are I
13. Liquid Thursday
14. Jewlea

You might also like:

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Traumatomy - Transcendental Evisceration of Necrogenetic Beasts (2013)

Mostly Russian (their vocalist lives in Japan) brutal death. Chugging, blasting, guttural carnage. Been working out regularly for the past few weeks, and it's been really good for every aspect of my life aside from my taste in music, which has come to incorporate a lot more brutal death metal, alt metal, and tough guy hardcore, which I've been doing my best to protect you from.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Disintegration in Suffering
3. Domination of Impulsive Perversions
4. Transformation into a Putrid Mass
5. Wretched Antropogenous Simulacrum
6. Transcendental Evisceration of Necrogenetic Beasts
7. Impregnated with Pus
8. Strategic Dismemberment
9. Grown in the Mold Sores
10. Extraterrestrial Mutilated Torture
11. Outro

More like this:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Alpha Stone - Stereophonic Pop Art Music (1996)

First record from Alpha Stone, a grouped formed by Pete "Bassman" Bain, who you know and love as one of the non-Pete Kember/Jason Pierce members of Spacemen 3. A hazy, droning star-world of synth, drum machine, heavy-lidded vocals, and fuzzed-out guitar.

Track listing:
1. Special One
2. Destiny Angel
3. Transfixed
4. Farmer C
5. Astro
6. Fall on Me
7. A Hard Day's Fun
8. Martian Interlude

More like this:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sonic Sum - Films (2002)

Arty hip-hop from the Bronx. Features the extremely abstract flows of Rob Sonic (frequent Aesop Rock collaborator) backed by heady, psychedelic beats courtesy of a trio of producers. Affiliated with Antipop Consortium. 

Track listing:
1. Oscillator
2. Moth
3. Choking Victim
4. Films
5. Marathoner
6. Negatives
7. Novelty Model A
8. Chopper One Slow
9. Rocket
10. Medicine Motto
11. Circuit Breaker
12. Ordinary Mower

You should also check out:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Stratosphere - Lost in Unity (1992)

Minimal ambient/dark ambient pieces from Belgian composer Ronald Mariën, a.k.a. Stratosphere. From the preset keyboard voices to their dark, dramatic tone, some of the songs on Lost in Unity end up feeling an awful lot like predecessors to the so-called "dungeon synth" sound. Elsewhere, it's pure, underground ambient bliss.

Track listing:
1. Lost in Unity 1
2. Lost in Unity 2
3. Lost in Unity 3
4. Far Beyond Imagination
5. Lost in Unity 4
6. Lost in Unity 5
7. Lost in Unity 6
8. East of Heaven
9. As Night Falls

More like this:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Andrea True Connection - More, More, More (1976)

A nice, generous slice of disco nirvana. Airy, laid-back workouts full of big hooks, locked-in grooves, and extended solos. True got her start as a porno actress, which somehow eventually led to her being hired as commercial spokesperson for a Jamaican real estate firm. While she was in Jamaica, the government banned asset transfer to the US, meaning that in order to return to the States, she would have to either forfeit all of her earnings or spend them; she opted for the latter, demoed "More, More, More", the demo got remixed, the remix became a surprise hit, and she landed a record deal. I love that story.

Track listing:
1. Party Line
2. Keep It Up Longer
3. More, More, More
4. Fill Me Up (Heart to Heart)
5. Call Me

If you like this, listen to:

Monday, May 10, 2021

DEAR_SPIRIT Tells You About 5 New Records That He Likes

Welcome back to me! My absence has been due to two factors. One, I got out of town for a few days for the first time since the pandemic first hit. But more importantly as far as this blog is concerned, nothing that I've been listening to has been right for posting on here -- keeping in mind that I don't post new releases or stuff that's too well-known. So instead of leaving y'all hanging indefinitely, I figured that in the meantime, I'd just talk about some of my favorite new/newish releases. If you like them, please consider buying them, and helping the artists (and labels, etc.) to continue to make our world a little less hellish. I hope to do more posts like this going forward, but regular posting should resume shortly as well. 

Casper Clausen - Better Way

The solo debut of Casper Clausen, who you might know as a founding member of Danish post-rock group Efterklang. Released just 9 days into 2021, Better Way kicked the year off on a dreamy, cautiously upbeat note. Clausen takes cues from krautrock, 80s art pop, James Blake-style electro-ballads, and more, drawing them all together with the understated power of his voice, which, although I'm not sure it's fair, has drawn at least one comparison to Bono.

Illuvia - Iridescence of Clouds

Illuvia is one of a few projects by Swedish producer Ludvig Cimbrelius. The project's second record, Iridescence of Clouds, combines the worlds of ambient-electronic and drum n bass to breathtaking effect. Although every song essentially follows the same pattern -- clouds of ambient synth gather, breakbeats fade in, then eventually recede back into the ether -- it's as immersive, beautiful, and compelling a drum n bass record as you're likely to hear, especially over 20 years removed from the genre's heyday. Pro-tip: anything and everything that comes out on A Strangely Isolated Place is worth listening to.

Steel Bearing Hand - Slay in Hell

Just in time for beer season, it's an absolute fucking ripper of a death/thrash record from Dallas, TX. Throw in a bit of lysergic death-sludge and a lightly blackened finish, and we're looking at one of the best, most fun metal records I've heard in a while. Additionally, it has accompanied some pretty intense iron-pumping sessions around OPIUM HUM headquarters, so that means it's fun AND it's good for you! One of a few new thrash records that have really pumped my nards.

Karima Walker - Waking the Dreaming Body

From Tucson, AZ, Karima Walker makes music that combines hushed, homespun indie folk with grainy, analogue ambient via an evocative ebb and flow that plays like a conversation between the two styles, each one learning from and building off of the other. Synths drone, tape loops stutter, acoustic guitars whisper, Walker sings, and our cluttered world melts away.

Genghis Tron - Dream Weapon

Lastly, here's one that's sure to be on some year-end lists: the long-awaited third full-length from Genghis Tron. They made their name with spazzy, chiptune-infused art-grind that amazed some and irritated others, but Dream Weapon leaves all that behind in favor of a driving, psychedelic, drum-heavy sound that alludes to 70s synth and post-metal. Sometimes it sounds kinda like Black Moth Super Rainbow made a beard-metal album. I'm trying to avoid using the word "hypnotic" -- can't believe I made it through that Karima Walker writeup without dropping it -- but this is some seriously hypnotic shit. Damnit!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Ida - The Braille Night (2001)

Downcast, low-key love songs with rich vocal harmonies courtesy of three lead vocalists. Ida have been accused of trying too hard to be pretty, and they're definitely too earnest to be considered 'cool', but I got into them at just the right time -- in my early 20s, trying to navigate a doomed relationship -- and this record (and Will You Find Me) have stuck with me to this day.

Track listing:
1. Let's Go Walking
2. Ignatia Amara
3. Arrowheads
4. So Long
5. Blizzard of '78
6. So Worn Out
7. The Braille Night
8. Gladiolas
9. Ocean of Glass
10. Moves Through the Air

We're just haunted in our skins
By all that could have been
You hide it from your face
But it still shows

More sad lovey-dovey music: