12 albums snapped from the ether this past week
Abdu Ali – FIYAH!!! (04/19/19)
Shards. Why am I so fascinated by music that splinters and rearranges itself so quickly and violently? Is it because it stays a second ahead of my brain the whole way, or is it just that, in this case, Abdu Ali uses it so seamlessly? Listen to the deconstruction of jazz into frenetic electronic smithereens on some of these tracks, and how it propels the whole record forward…
Big Up Menace X – RAW CUTS VOL 1, A SENTIMENTAL PIECE DEDICATED TO MY LIFE (03/29/19)
It rushes up to meet you like a poisoned river of late 20th century detritus, American style. Noise pulls you forward. Noise as a description of motion in space. Noise as a description of a familiar, grey hell. This wouldn’t happen to have been made during a Detroit winter, would it? Brilliant record.
Epectase – Astres (I, Voidhanger, 05/24/19)
This one drags you down another darkened, underground river—thick and abyss-like. A classic cavernous metal river. Sound like a place you’ve been? Probably, but isn’t it nice when it’s this absorbing? Bearing some real warmth to go with the sepulchral chill. Makes it almost feel like it’s really happening…
Guided by Voices – Warp and Woof (04/26/19)
Goddammit I love this band and I’ll never be able to help it. The powers that run the universe stuck a song-tap in the old man, a well-spring. Robert Pollard is a fucking natural resource, and this record is as rewarding to listen to as any of his earlier material. I think this is starting to qualify as divine inspiration. Starting?
Kassel Jaeger – Le Lisse et le Strié (Latency, 05/09/19)
Sound research only begins to describe what’s happening here. Read the artist statement. Or don’t: I didn’t and I still heard it. A masterpiece of texture, a sonic surface, with enough detail as to practically be cartography.
Lost in Kiev – Persona (Pelagic, 04/26/19)
I’ll admit I’m a sucker for artistic packaging. This record looks fantastic, but then again, in the era of multimedia art-making, shouldn’t that be important? And, all AI dystopianism aside, this is beautifully crafted post-art-rock, worthy of its oddly clean and precise masks and busts. A real pleasure to be with, all around.
Mammoth Penguins – There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win (Fika, 04/26/19)
It’s nice to hear something unrelentingly positive every once in a while. OK, the lead track is about the end of a relationship, but it’s so damn mature. For once, things worked out all right, everyone learned something, emotions are dealt with, reflected on. It’s just so…right? And it’s catchy. Dare I say uplifting.
Pheeyownah – Silver (Labrador, 05/03/19)
Sonically rewarding, effortless pop. It’s smooth, and it serves up enough auditory candy to be as stimulating as it is catchy. It also allows for a good zone-out to happen, which is welcome. Sonic spaces this pleasant to occupy are a gift.
Protovulcan – Life is Twigs (Midwest Action, 05/31/19)
Premiered exclusively on heavyblogisheavy this week. Not officially out yet, but sounds very promising. Noisy, heavy, contemporary Chicago psychedelia. Remember, kids, rock & roll is fun.
Soft Issues – Soft Issues (Opal Tapes, 04/26/19)
On the opposite end of the positivity spectrum, here’s something unrelentingly violent. Delicious, overwhelming waves of harsh electronics puncture you like icy little knives. This is an almost inhuman state of being. But then, if not human, is it really negative?
Sontag Shogun – It Billows Up (Youngbloods, 05/17/19)
This melding of post-rock and contemporary composition is so natural, and so well executed. Damn hypnotic. Something I love about this genre is the way it peeks it’s head into the high-brow, while keeping it’s feet in the murk of daily substance. This work is very grounded, yet it has it’s spirit up in the clouds.
Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness (20 Buck Spin, 05/10/19)
This one’s getting a lot of buzz. That’s because it’s excellent. Yes, it’s classic metal, but it also feels contemporary. This isn’t a genre exercise. This is people who have absorbed something fully and are living through it. And so long as that is happening, styles and genres never become outdated…