Thursday, June 30, 2011

Death Grips - Exmilitary (2011)

As a fan of noise and black metal and all sorts of other ugly musics, I've had to discuss the idea of value in aggressive music and the use of screaming and destructive melodies fairly frequently. Occasionally it's something as simple as "happiness or pleasure isn't derived directly from something that makes you feel cheery" which is simple enough to accept I think. Occasionally I'll have to bring up Schoenberg's sprechstimme and the idea of jilted dynamics and vocals to heighten the atmosphere and expression of a piece, which works itself into a circle when they insist on pure entertainment and such. All that aside however, there is a certain appreciation that is to be had in a very primal anger in music, like Salo to cinema, and an idea that it's something that must be done for the full spectrum of art.

And here rests a great example. From the takeoff, we're treated to a brief sample of an interview than none other than criminal and musician Charles Manson, leading into a thick heavy beat with a pointed grunt accompanied with a yell claiming this lead vocalist is the terrible beast he worships, later expanding discussing how he's not afraid of "the time he's taken past the point of no return" and that one should "wage war" as there is no hell and no worries for the future and such. Aside from the subject matter itself, the lyrics are incredibly poetic and theatrical. It evokes powerful imagery with ease, casually shouting down the powers of the earth and painting all the "evils of man".

The rest of the album follows in roughly the same path with some minor changes. Guillotine moves more slowly, with a thick low end beat settling as a sort of sludge underneath more angry vocals. Culture Shock has a more glitchy beat with a smooth subtle vocalist. Blood Creepin has some sort of tribal yell to transition into the first verse. But through every change, this album keeps its intensity and vileness.

At the very least, you're unlikely to hear much like this. You can get the same sort of angry vocals in something like Kill the Vultures, but that's generally much more lethargic. You could get the noise and destruction and, i suppose, wordiness, in something like dalek, but while that is sharp and, in certain respects, promotes human, this is thick and spiteful. While I was showing this around, one listener could only remark "I'm breathing heavy and stuff". Regardless of whether or not you find entertainment in this, very few can hit the atmosphere of this tape, and of everything released this year, this demands a listen more than anything.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi - Rome (2011)

When an album takes five years to make, you have to wonder if it's gonna be worth the wait. Well thankfully this is. In traditional Danger Mouse fashion, Rome is a nice genre-blending record that's engaging and of course, well-produced, incorporating elements of alt. rock, folk and chamber pop. The recurring theme of this record is spaghetti western films, and it comes across well in the record, as this could very well be the soundtrack to a modern western film. In addition to all this, Jack White and Norah Jones supply terrific vocals to some of the tracks. At 35 minutes, this album is short, sweet and a definite front-runner for AOTY. Highlights of the album for me were 'Season's Trees', 'Roman Blue' and 'Her Hollow Days'.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

VIRUS - The Agent That Shapes The Desert

Brief apology for the downtime. We aren't dead yet.

First of all, I love Ved Buens Ende. Written In Waters is easily a top ten album, and if there's one band that upsets me more than any other for a lack of output... well that's a debate but they are up there. Because of this, my relationship with VIRUS, czral's creation after VBE, an admitted departure from their sound, is a bit wish-washy. But even with the slight departure and coincidentally, my slight disappointment, I can't stay mad. Abandoning the slight black metal tinge of VBE, VIRUS becomes the janky post-punk/progressive sound that countered it expanded into it's own, previously shown on 2003's Carheart and 2008's The Black Flux.

If you've heard those, this isn't much different. It's an avantgarde rock sound somewhere inbetween Vivoid and The Pop Group with the same sort of funky groove as Talking Heads or Discipline-era King Crimson. The atmosphere is otherworldly as the guitars twinge out in the ether while Czral croons his surreal lyrics over the top of jazzy, syncopated drum patterns. It's another one of those dissonant, janky albums that still manages to be overly catchy and "poppy".

Thursday, June 2, 2011


It's 2:30am, and all I can think about is "Wow, this kid is fucking amazing". This is not an album review, or even a track review. This is just a rant, a preach, a lecture if you will. What this kid is doing for the Electro House world is superb, and at the age of 17 Madeon is taking the dance world by storm. Not too much is known about him, or what he is going to be doing. But I can say that I am excited as hell. I mean, if this kid can take such a terrible, horrible, shitty wreck of a song like "Raise Your Weapon" by Deadmau5 and turn it into a work of art, there is a lot to look forward to. Do yourself a favor and start listening to his work, you won't regret it.