Archive for October, 2009
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.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Been a while. What have I been listening to?
The answer is, “not much.” My appetite for new music has taken a pretty steep nose-dive this year as I’ve immersed myself in photography. My appetite for live music has remained unchanged, though, or even increased a bit. But I haven’t bought all that much new music this year. That said, here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently…
- Anti-Pop Consortium - Fluorescent Black — Anything new from these guys is welcome; I was never all that taken by any of the side projects since their 2002 breakup (not counting the sublime Antipop Vs. Matthew Shipp). On initial listens, this sounds pretty great although perhaps not quite up to the lofty standards of Tragic Epilogue and Arrhythmia.
- Baroness - Blue Record — Just massive, massive praise for this one from metal critics. I’ve listened to it streaming on Myspace a couple times and don’t see it yet. Good stuff but hardly amazing. Red Album - which I loved - seemed more coherent and compelling to me, but perhaps this just needs more listens.
- Do Make Say Think - Other Truths — This on the other hand is fantastic. I’ve had one listen to a pre-release copy and it sounds like an absolute must-buy. Four long tracks in the classic DMST mold: laid-back, melodic, slightly repetitive post-rock that is somehow beautiful, sublime, and never boring.
- Echoes of Eternity - As Shadows Burn — Female-fronted melodic metal whom I first heard on tour with Unexpect; their first album was absolutely laughable, but this is actually pretty decent. Lots more substance here and Francine Boucher’s voice is integrated into the music instead of floating weirdly on top of it all. Still not anything I would call great, but a quantum leap forward from Forgotten Goddess, which is better left forgotten.
- The Faceless - Planetary Duality — Since this young tech-death band has attached itself to seemingly every major U.S. death metal tour of 2009, I’ve already seen them live three times this year. So I figured I’d pick up their record; it’s solid technical metal with a few standout tracks like the amazing “Xenochrist.” Soon enough they’ll be headlining their own tour.
- General Surgery - Corpus In Extremis: Analysing Necrocriticism — One of my new discoveries from Maryland Deathfest this year; this is a solid, if unspectacular, record full of slightly grindy gore/death metal. “Solid, if unspectacular” is more than enough to make General Surgery stand out from a sea of utterly mediocre goregrind bands.
- The National - Boxer — My main discovery from this year’s Virgin FreeFest. I love their laid-back, tastefully orchestrated take on indie-rock, and vocalist Matt Berninger’s deep croon suits them perfectly and sets them apart a bit.
- Om - God Is Good — As it turns out, Om without drummer Chris Hakius is still Om. Pretty solid album spiced up by the appearance of new instruments like tamboura, flute and, in an absolutely genius moment, Mellotron. Check out my review at the City Paper.
- Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line — Melodic, slightly sappy indie-pop, helped by some excellent contributions from a cellist and violinist. Like Cloud Cult but with fewer awkward melodies and vocal lines; this is a really promising debut.
- Shpongle - Are You Shpongled? — This is hardly new, but I found myself spinning it on a long drive recently. Upbeat electronic music, kind of like if Ozric Tentacles just took the techno-ish parts of The Hidden Step or Waterfall Cities, and made a whole album out of them.
- Spunk - Kantarell — I’ve always found Spunk to be one of Maja Ratkje’s more accessible projects. This one is soundscapey, almost relaxing at times, with acoustic instruments peeking in through the electronics at refreshing intervals. I like to imagine that astronauts landing on an alien planet and turning on their radios might hear something like this.
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 bands 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.
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.)
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).