30 April 2007

Diapers...in a good way.

My first musical crush, Dinosaur Jr, will be dropping their new album, titled Beyond, tomorrow. Original lineup...it's been nearly 20 years since Bug. I completely forgot this was happening and peed myself a little. A lot. I peed myself a lot.

28 April 2007

Find Yourself a Waterfall

One of the few things I miss about life in the Mid-Hudson Valley is the waterfalls. Back when I was living there we'd pile in cars during the summer and drive from Poughkeepsie to a sweet, secluded spot about 45 minutes away. After a short hike through the woods, there was an amazing waterfall with a huge pool at the base. The water was generally cold as hell, but if you timed it right, the sun would filter through the trees and keep everything a perfect temperature. Me and my friend Dave used to not bathe and use that as an excuse to go to the falls every few days. It was amazing.
Anyone who knows me well knows that my stories, if they have a point, generally take way too long to get there. So there is a point to the above story, particularly if you've ever had a transcendent experience with a waterfall. Not too long ago somebody posted two tracks from a French band named Year of No Light. I loved the two tracks and couldn't wait to get my hands on the full record. I can't even remember who posted those tracks (though a huge Thank You if it was you). All I can really say is go buy Nord straight away. Get it straight from the band. Crucial Blast is releasing it stateside; get it from them. People have been throwing around all sorts of crazy descriptions of this band. "Brutal shoegazer" and "The Cure playing sludge" are both hilarious yet fitting.
I put it on and, while digesting, memories returned of sitting under those falls being crushed by constant torrents of water. In my opinion the territory covered is where I would have preferred Isis gone after dropping Celestial; heavy, predominantly dark atmospherics mixed with industrially-tinged post-metal. Although they don't really sound like them, YONL remind me of City of Caterpillar and may be a functional equivalent in this genre of what CoC was to their Virginia hardcore counterparts.
Writing about music never makes any sense, just go check this band out. I really hope they tour here, I'll be there in a second.

16 April 2007

Wicked Broke

Yeah, I'm wicked broke right now, but hopefully I'll get paid this week and buy a dumpload of records or something. Oh, and get to some shows as well. So check back this weekend and I should have more opinions. In the meantime I'm just gonna listen to lots of Screeching Weasel to keep my spirits up in this neverending floodstorm.

03 April 2007

Stay away from the expletives

Great show last night at Lit Lounge featuring some friends' bands. I can't hear anything today 'cos I forgot my stupid earplugs, but I digress....The show featured the recently posted-upon Rising Up Rising Down and Brooklyn locals Stay Fucked.
Stay Fucked totally ripped shit up and it was the first time I've seen them live. Normally I just hear them across the hallway in our respective practice spaces. Their drummer, Hank, keeps two blogs going so I'm putting up links to both of those (one is for the band) so go see what they're all about if you've never heard of them. They like jazz, they like rock'n'roll and they like to make you boogie when you can follow the beat. It's great.
Stay Fucked's blog
Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
The RURD boys informed me that their album will be officially coming out in late May and will be having a release party with fellow Hudson Valley-ites Dead Unicorn. The show will be May 24 at the Rosendale Cafe up in Rosendale, NY. I'm gonna try to get up there for that somehow because risinguprising-Dan Madsen told me that Dead Unicorn's new album is amazing. I find this all to be exciting. Now go do your (music) homework.

01 April 2007

Radiation, meet brain

Two reviews in one day? I'm throwin' rocks tonight! As I continue through my box of CDs that I ignored for months, I've pulled out one that I've tried to listen to a few times already but had to put aside for reasons of retaining sanity. Pittsburgh's (((Microwaves))) have one of those great names that lends an idea of what greets your ears. In the case of Contagion Heuristic that means wiring your head to your household appliances while completely fucking stoned. Tonight was the first time I got through the whole thing, mostly because it's such a laborious listen. Now I'm not saying that this album is terrible or unlistenable, because it's not. More accurately I'd say that it's incredibly dense and well...
This album abounds with textures surprisingly uncommon in the digital era. There are cracks, pops, fizzles, weird synths and a friggen panoply of distortion tones layered throughout. I chaulk that up to a masterful production job and an extensive knowledge of effects pedals. Unfortunately, though I do find a lot of the sonics here to be impressive, too much of the songwriting leaves me wanting. Experimentally structured, Contagion Heuristic can come off as "jam" of sorts. The album was probably a hell of a good time to make, and involved some fun drugs (unless these guys are of the drugless-genius-of-Zappa-variety), but I ultimately had to force myself through it over several listens that were weeks and weeks apart. For the most part I would take a look at "(((Microwaves)))" and say to myself, "shit, I know I should listen to this, but I'm really just not in the mood to deal with it right now." So yeah, I guess that thought kinda sums up this record, a lot of really impressive ideas that don't really end up going anywhere, or at least places I would want to go on a regular basis. There's gotta be folks out there completely digging this, these are just one man's opinions.
You can find this over with the folks at Crucial Blast.

"All of these goats are retarded."

I'm not the slightest bit kvlt and I hate to admit that I do find "true" black metal culture more than a little bit campy. However, the idea of an ironic, neo-black metal band to me is simply abhorrent. A brutal, fast, grimy black metal record is, plain and simple, a true pleasure. So when I get "black metal" records like Striborg (see my recent review) it really, really pisses me off. Black metal is supposed to make me want to drink blood, sodomize creatures and smash brittle things. I don't want to hear some weak, experimental garbage from some talentless misanthrope in a basement somewhere. Now I'm all for keeping alive the DIY spirit, but just because a record is poorly recorded and hateful doesn't make it "black metal," it just makes it a bunch of unlistenable crap.
If you want a unhealthy dose of negativity and bloody satan worship then I seriously suggest Urgehal's Goatcraft Torment. This is the first I've heard of these guys, though they've been around since the early '90s (I told you I wasn't kvlt), so I have 4 other albums and other demo stuff to track down now. Carpal-tunnel guitars and battering-ram drums; lyrics in English and Norwegian; sentiments of death and ritual sacrifice. Hell, they start the album by proclaiming, "This is satanic black metal!" Urgehal understands the the basic elements of a great black metal record, only with the added bonus of listenable production. Gee, what a concept! I absolutely hate overproduced albums (particularly metal albums) that strip the songs of their raw energy and emotion. But I also hate poorly produced works that fail to demonstrate the full potential of a band. Goatcraft Torment is a great example of an face-knifing black metal record that actually sounds amazing. It's another one from Southern Lord, so go find it. I might have to do that because my promo copy is fucked up, though the headache stutter would probably be appreciated by the artists.