Archive for the ‘New Releases’ Category

My thoughts on Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I just returned from a vacation which had me out of the country for two weeks, but while I was gone, my review of Magma’s new record appeared in the print edition of the Washington City Paper, and also online. Short version: it’s no K.A (which might actually be my favorite Magma album ever), but it’s good, and an obviously worthwhile purchase for any Magma fan, despite the steep price tag.

Initial thought on the new Present

Friday, November 13th, 2009

The last three minutes of “Vertiges” are really, really fucking awesome.

More thoughts later but after a few listens, this whole record seems pretty great even if there’s only less than half an hour of actual new compositions on it. Haven’t peeped the DVD yet.

I forgot one!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

In my list of new stuff that will probably rock, I completely whiffed on one huge release, now out, that I am going to grab ASAP: Shrinebuilder. This is about as super as a supergroup gets, for doom metal fans, with members of bands like St. Vitus, The Melvins, Neurosis and Sleep. I don’t even count myself as a huge doom metal fan, but from hearing the one track that’s up on the group’s Myspace page, I think I’m going to really like this.

I was reminded by a review by Brent Burton that appeared in this week’s Washington City Paper. Thanks, Brent.

Speaking of which, I’ll have a review of the new Do Make Say Think in next week’s City Paper… let’s just say my impressions of it changed pretty drastically after I had more than one cursory listen.

UPDATE: Here’s the DMST review.

ReR USA has the new Present

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Just got this email:

Well, it’’s finally here, after years of hard work, and we’’re really proud of it. Roger Trigaux’’s (ex-Univers Zero) band, PRESENT, returns with a vengeance on this release: a new studio album CD, plus a three-hour DVD. These are compositions that spread out and expand upon the style of the band’s latest works, NUMBER 6 and HIGH INFIDELITY, and include the Trigaux duo’’s latest epic, VERTGES, as well as Present’’s slick version of JACK THE RIPPER, and Pierre Chevalier’’s fiery, A LAST DROP. The DVD is comprised of live footage from the band’’s two RIO France performances in 2007, and roughly half of the Gouveia Art Rock Festival performance from 2005. As an added bonus, there is archival footage, some of which dates back to the early days of the band, featuring Daniel Denis and Christian Genet. All of this has been exquisitely recorded and mixed by Udi Koomran, with post-video work by Asaf Carmeli, both of whom were out to re-define the parameters of modern-day Rock In Opposition products. The disks come in a spiffy, 8-panel digipack.

Obviously, this sounds amazing. It’s also steeply priced at nearly $40, but I’m sure it’ll be well worth it. In addition to the new piece, I’m really stoked to hear the recording of “Jack the Ripper” - when I saw Present’s show in North Carolina in 2005, one of my absolute favorite moments was when they unexpectedly launched into that classic Univers Zero composition.

New stuff that will probably rock

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I’m excited about all of these upcoming releases for the remainder of 2009:

  • Anti-Pop Consortium - Fluorescent Black (heard it last night and I already know it rocks)
  • Baroness - Blue Record
  • Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis (probably early 2010)
  • Do Make Say Think - Other Truths
  • Epica - Design Your Universe (I am a total sucker for this band)
  • Espers - III
  • Evangelista - Prince of Truth
  • Gaza - He Is Never Coming Back
  • Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough
  • Magma - Emehntet-Re (is this really coming out in November??)
  • Present - Barbaro (isn’t this supposed to be out already? can’t find it anywhere)
  • Sajjanu - Pechiku!!
  • Univers Zero - Clivages (technically January 2010)
  • Wrnlrd - Myrmidon

Obviously, I have very little idea about what’s going on in the prog world these days. Any other avant-prog releases I should be paying attention to? (Please don’t tell me about the new Transatlantic album, I care even less than I did five years ago.)

I kind of really want this

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Soloing over Alanis Morissette. Ha.

Also, and on a more serious note, I really want this: Anti-Pop Consortium’s new one, Fluorescent Black. Will grab from eMusic tonight (before I let my subscription expire this month because eMusic kind of sucks now).

Marc Ducret’s “eleven-tet”

Friday, April 10th, 2009

That’s so obviously not a word. Sue me.

Via Downtown Music Gallery’s invaluable newsletter comes info about this release, which I hadn’t known anything about at all, until now. Ducret, the avant-jazz guitarist whom I know and love through his work with Tim Berne, has apparently put together an 11-piece group (instrumentation: guitar, bass, drums, keys, sampler, vibes, 3x reeds, trumpet, trombone) and recorded an album called Le Sens de la Marche, about which Bruce Lee Gallanter of DMG gushes:

This is most likely the largest ensemble (11 piece) that Marc Ducret has led, certainly on record it is. It would seem that Marc has taken some time to compose this adventurous music and whip this ensemble into shape. No easy feat since the music is complex and the group is super-tight and obviously inspired… “Total Machine” starts with Ducret’s distinctive sleek guitar tone with some twisted yet funky horns in counterpoint (great bari in there). When that marimba soon enters and the horns play those intricate arrangements it feels we have entered Zappa-land via The Grand Wazoo. I dig the way the band is broken into a few different layered and inter-connected parts simultaneously, another great trick that us Zappa fans savor. The first smokin’ sax solo comes from Hugues Mayot, with the rest of the band in splendid form around him cheering him on. This piece ends with a suspense-filled minimalist dreamscape that is surprising but works perfectly to let us down slowly back to the planet earth. “Tapage” is another Grand Wazoo-like piece with an ominous marching beat, layers of horns, superb vibes solo and some incredibly tight and complex rhythm team work. The interplay between the guitar and clavinet is especially snazzy. Although “Le Menteur Dans L’Annexe” starts with a calm, thoughtful intro we soon find our way into an intense, crazed el. guitar and Fender Rhodes duo, then back to some ‘Waka Jawaka’-like wackiness with layers of goofy spoken word vocals in the background. At nearly 73 minutes, this treasure has to be one of the best and most ample progressive/jazz-rock discs of this year or any other year in recent memory.

<wipes drool off keyboard>

My review of the new Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

…is now over at the Washington City Paper, print version out tomorrow. I liked the album. Some of the diehard grindcore freaks on the Internets are already all pissed off because Agorapocalypse isn’t, well, pissed-off enough, but I have a feeling they’ll be in the minority. It’s a good record.

Things that didn’t make that review due to a pretty strict word limit:

  • The album starts off all thrashy and grindy, but then seems to slow down as a whole by track 5.
  • “Question of Integrity” ends with a drum solo, which is implicitly hilarious since all the drums on the album are programmed.
  • Those programmed drums sound really good. In the past they clearly didn’t sound real, although that wasn’t really a problem since it almost seemed intentional (after all the band was going for unrealistic bpm heights).
  • Kat’s vocals fucking slay. I think her voice might annoy some of the old fans, but as a fan coming from as much a death metal as a grindcore background, I love what she adds to ANb’s sound.
  • “Moral Distortion” ends with the quote, “My National Enquirer says that musicians cannot play a single note unless they eat drugs first!” Which I just find really hilarious for some reason.

That’s all. Fun album. Out next Tuesday, and the vinyl version contains a bonus track apparently.

Joanna Newsom is back!!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Joanna Newsom news has been scarce ever since her 2007 EP release; she played a couple isolated shows last year but nothing else. She has no real website and no Myspace page. I’ve been stalking her ever since Ys came out, and have been vaguely worried that she got bored with music or something like that. But there’s great news: she debuted about two hours of new music (!) this past weekend, some of which saw her play piano instead of harp.

It’s always an interesting moment when one of your favorite artists takes to the stage to showcase their next evolution of musical progress. However, from the first pluck of her harp through the last note the performance was nothing short of rapturous. The makeup of her new songs combines the strong melodic presence of songs on the Milk-Eyed Mender with her continued instrumentational prowess and maturation beyond Y’s. It was unclear how many of the songs covered in the course of the two and a half hour set would ever be recorded, but there was never a sour note or “should be cut” moment to be heard. If anything a double album here would make perfect sense, and be one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard in ages.

Go read the full article. The sentence “after seeing her new material performed live I think it could easily be her strongest, most enjoyable album to date” also appears. So yeah, Ys might be my favorite album of the decade and I’m kind of uncontrollably excited right now.

Hat tip to the ol’ Pitchfork.

Pitchfork & PopMatters on the new Decemberists

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Pitchfork reviews The Hazards of Love and gives it a lowly 5.7. In the summary blurb, the phrases “stoner metal sludge” and “prog-folk” are invoked. On the other hand, while PopMatters’ review starts with the ominous phrase “There have been signs that this was coming” and compares the album to GenesisLamb (usually a kiss of death in a mainstream publication these days), the review ends up being very positive indeed. All this makes me feel cautiously optimistic about how I might like this one. I haven’t bothered listening to the low-bitrate version that leaked a couple weeks ago, so I’m looking forward to hearing the release with fresh ears.

Also reviewed today at Pitchfork: Kylesa’s new one, Static Tensions. Kylesa are a hip sludgy metal group with at times very distinct Pink Floyd influences, two drummers, and a rotating cast of vocalists (though the chief screamer is guitarist Laura Pleasants, who rocks). Pitchfork gave it a good review, and I agree: this is a good ‘un.