Zoroaster

Zoroaster

I sincerely enjoy the fact that “Their sludgy style of music has been described as menacing and unrelenting” is a real sentence; the sense of academia with which a doom band is being analyzed is quite delicious. And completely accurate at that, since it’s describing the cruising doom sludge that is Zoroaster. Formed in 2003 in Georgia (again with the South, what is in the water down there?! … wait don’t answer that, probably a lot of things), Zoroaster’s 2010 debut album Matador is subtly crushing, letting you ride the rivers of sludge without realizing just how heavy the surrounding metallic muck has become. And just when you think you have a firm hand on this here gondola ride, in float breathy, almost dark wave vocals, that somehow match perfectly to their droning, sludgy habitat. Give it a swirl, or don’t, but beware the sludge deficit in your life if you unwisely choose not to. (For those toe-dippers out there who just want one, solitary, lonely little song to start with, the song for you is Odyssey.)

Speaking of crunchy death-doom (yes, I’m aware we weren’t exactly speaking of crunchy death-doom, but I mean, c’mon guys, segue sentences are tough), Lord Dying put out their first album last year on Relapse Records and it is magnificently brutal. For a band that’s only been around for a year, they’ve racked up quite the touring record, having already played shows with the likes of Red Fang, Yob, and Valiant Thorr. If that’s not enough of a plug, then you’re on your own.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: Savory by Jawbox

Lord Dying

Lord Dying

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So. Can we all talk about how amazing Native Daughters are live? With intensely synchronized double drummers and a sound nearing what it would sound like if Kylesa did covers of Explosions in the Sky songs, they’re bound to be great anyway, but then on top of it there was that indefinable knack that makes you think, “woah, this is why I love music.” Native Daughters, on this illustrious New Years Eve show, was followed by Helms Alee, who as hard as I try to like, I just can’t. I understand what they’re going for, which I assume is some sort Neurosis-Kylesa mash-up, but the vocals are always just off enough that their set could have been over much, much sooner than it was. Then enter The Sword, who are fronted by literally the most rock and roll man I have ever seen. I would  have to sacrifice a goat to even come close being as cool as vocalist John Cronise, with his flowery 70’s button-up shirt, bell bottoms, shaggy hair and soul patch, and perpetual look of dull sorrow mingled with a sense of I’m-too-cool-to-care-about-anything. And with all that already going for ’em, The Sword proceeded to crush out the glorious stoner doom everyone had come for. There was much rejoicing, but just not too much, since per the band’s request, there was a zero tolerance policy for moshing (what?!).

And not like this is news or anything, but seriously Cheap Trick’s In Colour is genius and you have zero excuses to not be listening to it right now. Right. Now. Just a reminder.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: Texas Never Whispers by Pavement

Pizza, Murder, & Comps

December 16, 2013

The Pizza Underground

So. There are many things to be said and not much to be said about them. Let there be a list!

1. I may be the only person that gets excited about this, but here we go anyways: Mackaulay Culkin has a Velvet Underground cover band called The Pizza Underground and all their songs are about pizza. And they actually don’t suck either, flying right in the face of all your child-star stereotypes. So check it out here.

2. If you could pick any band to soundtrack killing someone to, who would it be? Swans, you all say unanimously. You think I’m kidding, but just listen to the industrial, gothic beats and lonely crooning in all its psychopathic glory and you will know what I’m talking about.

3. Speaking of Swans, Have A Nice Life sounds like you took a baster full of Swans and injected it into a shoegaze turkey (that was a visually unpleasant metaphor). Definitely give them a listen, because who doesn’t want to find out what music-to-kill-by sounds like when you make it mellow?

4. Flying Lotus released a comp of outtakes for free, including collaborations with Captain Murphy and Baths, remix’s of songs off Yeezus, and a whole wheelbarrow full of other neat odds and ends. Get it here.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: Damages by Converge

NIN on Tour in 2005

Is it just me or is not having GA tickets at a stadium show kind of heart wrenching? Like I could be over in that lovely looking pit not but thirty feet yonder, but alas I am stuck in a squeaky chair with some beer guzzling knuckle head behind me who feels the need to yell over the music to regale his date with tales from the land of bro-dom. Regardless of my positioning though, Nine Inch Nails puts on a pretty darn good live show, bringing the crowd to an absolute frenzy with Head Like a Hole and then making them damn near sober up by ending with Hurt. Plus the light show was exceedingly impressive; you could have told me that people died trying to make it perfect and I really wouldn’t have trouble believing you. And with Explosions n the Sky opening, you really can’t complain about anything for the rest of the night anyway. They were absolutely fantastic live, but apparently no one else even knew who they were; for example, as I was buying their t-shirt the vendor asked if I knew that the shirt was for the opener and not Nine Inch Nails… yes, could I get that Nine Inch Nails shirt that says “explosions in the sky” on it? Thanks, that must be the name of their new album or something.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: 40 Something Witch Doctor by Mtn. Lions

(Seriously, check it out. He’s local and it’s full of twinkly greatness)

Portishead

Portishead

Portishead. Where do I even start? All the cool kids have been listening to Portishead lately, so before I checked them out I just assumed it was some new underground electronica whatnot. But when I casually asked my dad if he’d ever listened to Portishead, I received the scoffing, “I listened to Portishead before you were even born” line. Come to find out Portishead goes way back to 1991 and is not at all what you could possibly be expected to expect. Take Radiohead’s Kid A, Bjork’s Post, and the sensual spunky soul of Nina Simone and float them on a pond of dark inky jazzy dream pop and you start to get an idea of what listening Portishead is like. Listless, alien electrobeats bleat and pulse, the lonely blackness occasionally illuminated by funky jazz samples, as Beth Gibbons’ vocals snake and wander coolly, hauntingly, through it all. Their sound is a bit genre defying, as arguably any truly good music should be. They’re apparently considered “trip hop”, but, a) what even is that? and b) whatever it is sounds kinda greasy and I refuse to acknowledge it as a genre, much less as a genre to which Portishead belongs.  Check it out if for no other reason than that you’ve probably never heard anything like it. I guess if I have to pick, check out Wandering Star or Over, but really just listening to Dummy all the way through would be a solid investment.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: Do You Remember by The Horrors

(Fun Fact: The Horrors’ album that Do You Remember is on, Primary Colours, was produced by Portishead keyboardist Geoff Barrow)

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

So I got kicked out of Fuzz. This is just one more example of the rampant agism we see in America today (and yes, out of all the pressing issues I can choose from, this is what I choose to get on soap box about.) As someone under 21, I’m allowed to operate a motor vehicle (which I do quite poorly I might point out), buy cigarettes, and I’m even entrusted with a vote in our government. But should I be able to soak in the sludgy, acidic magnificence of Fuzz live? Absolutely not, it’s too dangerous because I might wander over to the bar, convince the bar tender to ignore the fact that I have giant exes on my hand and, god forbid, obtain . . . ALCOHOL (said in a deep satanic voice). I know this really has nothing to do with telling anyone about good music, but I’d just like to point out the flaws in society that have been keeping me and other similarly musically enthusiastic youngsters from seeing bands like Fuzz live. Because it’s not ok.

Now that I’ve grumblingly put away my soap box, let’s talk about some witch house, shall we? Ugh all she ever writes about is stoner metal! Actually, although it does sound like a name for your standard stoner metal band, witch house is actually a sub genre of house music with occultish, shoegazey, gothic leanings. You see what I did there? You were going to leave because I said house music, but I saved it with the always intriguing adjectives occult, goth, and shoegaze. The witch house group with the biggest claim to fame so far is Crystal Castles, who really do deserve their status. With continuously pulsing, gushy electro beats, they’re great for dancing, doing drugs, thinking deeply, or all three. Definitely give a listen to Empathy off their second album or Untrust Us off their first. Another witch house group, comparative small fries to Crystal Castles, but great none the less, is Salem. Salem has equally pulsing beats, but with an accompanying sense of all the colors running together, swirling and melding, and with an added element of R/B over the top of some songs. Check out Trapdoor or King Night off their self titled (and so far only) album.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: He Who Walks Alone by Orchid

Salem

Salem

Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats

Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats

What is up with all the good ’70’s rivalism? Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats float out some horrifyingly glorious old school doom and you best give it a listen. How can you not get jazzed when heavy, fuzzy guitars straight out of Black Sabbath are put to work on concept albums based around things like early 60’s horror movies about crazed doctors who hunt people for game on a lonely island (i.e. 1961’s Bloodlust!). Their occultishly paranoid sound proves infectious on all three albums, Vol. 1, Blood Lust, and Mind Control, but especially on the first two. With a sludgy beat that never stops rollin’ and jammy guitar solos to make Ozzy proud, listening to these guys in public makes me look a little ridiculous because I can’t keep from groovin’. Psychedelic, acidic, satanic, and plunged in funky doom; what more could you ask for?

While we’re on the topic of doom (honestly, when are we not?), if you’re an Electric Wizard fan, and by god you ought to be, then check out Windhand, a Virginia quintet with all the gushing sonic power and windy vocals to crush you into sludge heaven. I dare you, listen to the song Libusen off their self titled and try not to love it.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: Beneath the Flood by Albatwitch

Windhand

Windhand

Fuzz

Fuzz

Ty Segall has always been the stand out in the surf/acid lofi punk scene, successfully melding the bleached out vibes of Jay Reatard with sludgy distortion a la Electric Wizard’s Funeropolis. Well now he’s put a pause on the one man show and collaborated with guitarist Charlie Moonheart (a.k.a. Charles Moothart) and bassist Roland Cosio to form the deliberately obscure Fuzz. The band attempted to downplay the individual members’ fame in favor of a more low key focus on the sound, but as Segall was still the singer and sings in quite a distinctive way, it wasn’t long before the fuzz was out of the proverbial belly button. With only the subtlest hints of Segall’s signature surf pop, the album gushes thick, fuzzy, sludgy, up-beat acid rock to rival any 70’s band you wanna throw at ’em. With a definite Sabbath twinge, songs like What’s in My Head and Loose Sutures brim with jammy anthemic power that, as anyone living with me can attest, is quite hard to stop listening to.

In other news, Southwest Terror Fest is blowing through Tucson, Arizona this Thursday (Oct. 10th) bringing the likes of Kylesa, Red Fang, Dog Shredder, and upwards of 50 other bands. This may be the one and only time it’s appropriate to think, “Man, I wish I was in Arizona.” Check out the full line up here.

Did you hear? Hieroglphics is coming to The Aggie on Oct. 13th

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: 20 Seconds of Affection by The Field

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile

I’ve always operated under the somewhat gloomy assumption that real rock n roll died with the ’70’s, but finally I have a reason to be a little wrong. Kurt Vile, a singer/guitarist from Philadelphia and formerly part of The War on Drugs, has been floating out folksy, psychedelic lo-fi since late in the 2000’s, but his latest release, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, has been the first to really lace in some genuine rock ‘n’ roll.  Most of the LP is cloaked in Vile’s characteristic lo-fi smokey haze, but songs like KV Crimes and Never Run Away are shot through with a 70’s rock verve. Combine that with an inescapably catchy hook on Never Run Away and you’re looking at what’s probably Vile’s best song to date. The whole album sounds like lonely musings from atop a cloud, with occasionally lucid lyrics shining through like sunlight. In a hurried world, it’s hard not to fall into the lazily swinging hammock that is Wakin on a Pretty Daze.

By the by, if anyone’s a Black Sabbath fan out there, you should definitely give a listen to the album Bat Sabbath. It’s just the Cancer Bats covering 5 of Black Sabbath’s most popular songs, but it’s actually pretty good.

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: She Lives! by Swans

Holograms

I know revivalism isn’t usually that exciting; why would I listen to people trying to be The Monkees or The Sex Pistols when I can just listen to The Monkees or The Sex Pistols? But the ’80’s punk revivalism coming out of Swedish quartet Holograms can stand up to any Sid Vicious hair-do and even puts a gothy, synthed up twist on things in their new full-length, Forever. Singer Andreas Lagerström’s wails come straight out of something you’d hear in London’s ’80’s punk scene, with his careening low-pitched melodies snaking through the album. Juxtaposing their infectious hooks, they inject a gloomily gothic theme with song titles like Attestupa, denoting the Nordic practice of old men jumping from a cliff when they were no longer useful, or the album artwork which was taken from a William Bouguereau painting of tormented folk duking it out in the pits of hell. Despite this, the album never even gets close to anything I’d call somber or even remotely creepy; the tight punky hooks are just too buoyant to sink beneath the thematic gloom. Definitely five a listen to Meditations, probably the best song on the album in terms of pure punk revival wailing.

More Concerts!! (isn’t fall great?)

Surfer Blood on Oct. 16th @ Larimer Lounge, Black Breath on Oct. 17th @ The Marquis,      Tera Melos on Oct. 17th @ Larimer Lounge, King Khan & The Shrines on Oct. 19th @ Larimer Lounge

Whistle Worthy Song of the Day: We Hit a Wall by Chelsea Wolfe (who is coincidentally playing on Sept. 24th at the Larimer Lounge!)