Saturday, December 4, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: motorhead069

Now that I'm filling in for cedar, I'll start off with probably my most compatible contributor, motorhead069. Despite that opener, however, you shouldn't expect our lists to be similar. From varieties of noise rock, punk, metal, jazz and all sorts of vanguard music, he has only one album that appeared on mine, and few that will appear much elsewhere. A very unique list indeed.

10. Nobunny - First Blood

Nobunny is a character that Justin Champlin has been performing with since 2001, originally made his stage debut as an animal-masked Elvis impersonator under the moniker Elvis Bunny.
In this album Nobunny goes through several genres of rock ‘n’ roll including subgenre–bubblegum pop, garage, rockabilly and psych. First Blood is an album that is my personal favorite lo-fi pop album of 2010. Being a fun, high energy album that you can dance to. It has moments where you would think it was a 50s doowop pop album with a dirty mouth.

9. Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs

“Safe In The Steep Cliffs” is a set of finely-crafted, epic instrumentals from Portland-based electronica/hip hop/downtempo producer Emancipator, featuring tight, syncopated percussion, organic melodies and eclectic samples.

To some, it must seem like this young electronic producer came out of nowhere this year. Emancipator played his first live show in July 2009, opening for Bonobo at the Roseland Theater (cap. 1500). Since then, he’s toured with Bassnectar, drawn crowds at festivals like Trinumeral and Symbiosis, and closed out Sound Tribe Sector 9’s late night parties in Denver at the request of the band.
But those in the know have been following Emancipator since he self-released his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, at the age of 19 in 2006. His agile melodies layered over headnodic, immaculately-produced beats captivated fans across the internet and across the world.

“Safe In The Steep Cliffs” blends new instrumentation and organic samples with the signature Emancipator style of clean production, silky melodies and addictive drums. Dense layers of choirs, horns, American folk instruments such as the banjo and mandolin, violin and some distinct Asian influences make for a playful but refined album built out of intricate tracks listeners can enjoy on as many levels as they want. Dance to it, chill out to it, immerse your mind in it.

8. We Were Skeletons - We Were Skeletons

Citing such admirable influences as Hot Water Music and Off Minor, We Were Skeletons is the brand of scream-filled, rampageous hardcore that long-time fans of the genre will be able to relate to and respect. Mixing the best elements of post-hardcore, screamo, mathrock and melodies that would make any musician step back and question their own abilities, this album is a breath of fresh air and would be a great addition to anyone's CD collection.
The lead singer delivers an uncompromising scream, back to the basics style, back to the passionate emotion that fueled the rage back in the day.

7. Happy Birthday - Happy Birthday

Kyle Thomas sings in a great, distinctive voice. It’s weird and nasal, but still kind of tough. Though the songs are actually tightly woven and structured, there’s a trashy element and sloppy feel to the sugary melodies they deliver on their self-titled debut. Lyrically the album is totally adolescent, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. While today’s pop scene is taken up by a questionable nostalgia for childhood, luckily Happy Birthday’s return to youth is not prepubescent but forcefully teenager.

6. Zs - New Slaves

One thing that is for certain is that Zs cannot be accused of being slaves to any particular soundworld. Their discography is a whirlwind of sonic references, from free-jazz to minimalism to noise to punk to downtown and beyond. While making sense of their body of work as a totality is daunting, New Slaves is arguably their most challenging album yet, which doesn’t make the task any easier. One must eventually stop totalizing and learn to love the chaos of the darting sound-instances and their elusive origins. The sounds — created by guitars, mysterious electronics, percussion, and tenor sax — are grinding, emphasizing friction and rough texture. While the inverse of Steve Reich-like tranquility is captured.

5. Univers Zero - Clivages

The best songs happen when Univers Zero sticks to what they know and do best: disturbing, classically orchestrated, meticulously composed pieces. "Warrior," "Earth Scream," and "Straight Edge" are among the best on the album, dark and brooding, just the way I like UZ. This album will not disappoint fans of chamber rock, and as far as that goes it's not a bad place to start either. So far, this is one of my favorite Univers Zero albums, but I have only heard four of them. Still, the debut is the only one I prefer to this right now, and both are incredible. Clivages is an absolute progressive pleasure, and so, Univers Zero reveals that it still has lots of creativity and strength to go on providing us great classics for the present of avant-garde rock.

4. Nice Face - Immer Etwas

Immer Etwas is an LP with 13 tracks of drum-machine driven blown out hook-laden punk rock. Shock_Troop was the one to so kindly introduce this band to and while I enjoyed their first release 'Can I Fuck it?' quite a bit, Immer Etwas just puts that album to shame.
By employing a third-world super-group of sorts, with members of Livefastdie and Imaginary Icons, Magee’s new Nice Face still manages to honor the wrist-slash of the perfunctory solo-version of Nice Face on “Selectron,” convulsing on drum machines and flammable guitars, and vocals underwater. But for the bulk of Immer Etwas, the band barrels through big menacing, almost possessed rock songs. Nice Face embrace a rebellion past meaning, a subculture which has evolved into a culture parallel whatever it tried to once sneak under.

Nice Face is cockiness without fronting, a gospel of dirty, chanted melodies pulled from under the twin bed into the master bedroom without making a big deal about it. One could practically say they’re bringing it back to the unselfconscious swagger Iggy epitomized.

3. Electric Wizard - Black Masses

This isn't Dopethrone,this isn't Come My's something more intune with the late 60's...early 70's vibe. All the heavy sludge of graves and occult insanity is here..just more under produced. I mean this in a good way...The album starts off a bit on a faster note than you would expect. With a full blown devil chorus.. Black Mass..Black Mass...almost like a mantra of evil fury.
Black Masses follows quite the same production pattern as A Witchcult Today, only this time is more crisp but at the same time more heavy and dirty, creating a perfect drugged up, psychedelic atmosphere. While I understand that the overall production might seem a bit weak to some fans, I also believe that this dirtiness, this noise galore (indistinguishable noises and samples form movies and recordings that are constantly in the background) are acting somehow as an added value to the whole psych atmosphere. I for one think that this is probably the most accessible record in Electric Wizard’s catalogue and also their best since Dopethrone.

2. Heaven In Her Arms - Paraselene

I don't know what to say for this album that T_R_A hasn't already said, it's an incredible album with an amazing blend of Screamo and Post-Rock. And while this style of music seems to becoming popular in the Screamo community, Heaven In Her Arms pulls it out fantastically with this album and I would recommend it to anyone.

1. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

What else can be said about Swans that hasn't already been said by their millions of fans? Swans is one of the most unique groups to ever enter the world of music and have a distinct sound that no other band can match. Travelling through several genres such as Avant-garde, Post-punk, Experimental, Art rock, Noise rock, Industrial, Post-rock, No Wave it's hard to imagine what their next album is going to sound like. And after 14 years of absence when a message appeared on their myspace titled "SWANS ARE NOT DEAD" I could have cried. I will admit that I was a little scared that they would have lost their touch after all this time (as Atheist did with their latest release bleh). But this album did not dissapoint, the return of Swans brings a new sound with echoes of the old and of Angels of Light. Five of the eight tracks exceed 5 minutes, making this an album of mostly epic pieces with complex tempo variation and shifting textures around that wall of sound which oscillates between jangles and drones. The exceptions, Reeling The Liars In, My Birth and Little Mouth stand out in their own ways.

To me the most impressive are the 9+ minute No Words/No Thoughts and the one in the middle, You Intercoursing People Make Me Sick. The first opens with glockenspiel/chimes before setting off on a winding road in a barrage of layered guitars and shifting rhythms, whilst a didgeridoo introduces the second of which the first part juxtaposes the voice of a guest vocalist with that of a little girl to eerie effect, somewhat like Identity on Love Of Life. Then the metal/industrial sounds burst forth with great ferocity.

Gira, through his many years as a champion of alienating force, has come up with something pretty amazing. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is an advance for Swans, and Gira comes across as less of an eccentric noise-generator, and more of a presence that requires our attention.


  1. Even though they didn't quite make it, Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus is a heavy contender. And I wish I had listened to Sun City girls latest release earlier, otherwise they might have made it.

  2. Great list, digging the emancipator love

  3. Yeah, well I wish I had listened to the CoO and Wrath of the Weak releases earlier.

    Not really sure if either would have made it, but it's really no big deal, I guess

  4. Great reviews. I'll have to check some of these out.