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Top Best Albums of 2011 by Jayson

Out of the way. Quick & Dirty. Stuff I reviewed only. I think anyway. Order does not imply ranking. I didn’t want to re-review these here, if I had any additional thoughts, I’ve added them.

Full Lengths:

Batillus – Furnace

I spent the whole time from when the vocals where announced to when I got to listen to it worried that they’d screw it up. They didn’t. Not at all.

Matt Bauer – The Jessamine County Book of the Living

Emotionally devastating to listen to.

Letna – Adria

In this broad genre of ambient music, this was the brightest light in a year of fantastic stuff.

Wugazi – 13 Chambers

Mashups are art, 13 Chambers is proof.

We’ll Go Machete – Strong Drunk Hands

Noise rock is back, people.

naisian – Mammalian

Picking up where Isis left off.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage

Wolves’ Oceanic.

Harmondale – Spirit of 73

So one lady proves she understands country music with her first release better than any new artist I’ve heard this year.

SP-33 – Escape From Tha Carter

This is music from a real future that exists somewhere.

Mastodon – The Hunter

I was super hard on this, but honestly in the wake of a year of challenging releases, The Hunter is seriously my go to album to unwind with. Girlfriend/In the car metal for life!

Special Dispensation:

Hurray For The Riff Raff

Technically this came out in the USA, where I am in 2010, but we were actually contacted by the UK pr and reviewed the UK release of this album. I loved it, heartbreaking. I am cheating to put it in here, but I can do that.

Graf Orlock – Doombox

Yeah, the 10″ has new material, but it’s most about being a comp.

EPs:

Soul Khan – Resolution

Soul Khan had an incredibly prolific year in 2011. Of all the stuff he did, Resolution is my favorite. Khan is now one of my top 5 living MCs, real talk. Also as a thing, this has Nine on it. Seriously any day I hear ‘Whutcha Want’ on the radio, I think it’ll be a good day.

Big’n – Spare the Horses

Noise rock is back. Seriously back.

Butterfly Trajectory – EP 2011

So looking forward to what this band does next.

Witch Mountain – South of Salem

I want to listen to this and make out with a girl that has slightly crooked teeth.

So anyway, musical year in review. I kinda came back to metal this year after near total burnout last. There was some good, enjoyable stuff out there and I was glad to listen to it. Noise rock coming back was the big thing. I don’t want to get into the ‘yeah, but has it musically progressed?’ argument. It’s being back is really enough for me. As you can see by the list, though, it didn’t quite dominate my listening. Nothing really did. I view that as a good thing. This is a pretty well rounded list of the kind of music I like to listen to and review. It was also really hard to pick the top out as it was a uniformly good year here. I don’t have any major disappointments either, because there was very little I had serious anticipation for. As I sit here writing this though, I am really at a loss to say anything other than 2011 musically was the year that was.

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Review: Black Face by Jayson

So just in case you don’t know what the deal with this is: This is a 7″ with two songs Chuck Dukowski wrote in the day, meaning the Black Flag day and have sat around for 20 odd years. Eugene S. Robinson is singing. This at least seemed like kind of a big deal.

To start out with, I screwed up. I listened to “Monster” first because the sides aren’t labeled A & B, they’re Death & Monster. Pay your money, take your chances I guess. “I Want To Kill You” is the A side really. It sounds just like a Black Flag song, oddly enough. I know right? It’s just like… I don’t know why this didn’t make it onto an actual Flag Album. It’s like… maybe not quite the instant classic status of the stuff on the First Four Years comp, but it could pretty easily be one of the not quite as good songs on Damaged like Room 13 and Padded Cell.

“Monster” is actually roughly a ton better. It doesn’t sound anything like a Black Flag song. It’s got way more of a Stooges vibe. Where on the first song Robinson is pretty much going for the “shouting like I’m in Black Flag” on the second he’s more in Oxbow/Iggy Pop mode. I am not sure what this means about the state of who I have become as a person since such times as when I contemplated getting the Black Flag tattoo that everyone has, but yeah. Flag minus Flag sounds a ton better.

The only other thing that really stands out is how pretentious this whole deal is. Like this is kind of a cool little deal, a single that is guaranteed to sell with aging punks and weirdos. Done deal, I bought mine. It’s just stuff like the Death side, ooooooh the DEATH SIDE. That and the little thing on the back of the stickers:

Black Face: a selective collective take on music as riot and Dukoski-era Black Flag.

Seriously? You’re dudes recording some old tunes. I mean I am not going to be the guy that says music is not important, but at the same time what is this artist’s statement crap? What does music as riot even mean anyway? Neither the cops breaking up Flag shows in the day nor Eugene having his dick out at Oxbow shows really constitute a riot. It seems even more exceptionally pretentious in the year of the Arab Spring, the increasing brutality of the police reaction to the OWS protest and the actual serious for real rioting that burned whole chunks of London down. It’s just like… ‘music as riot’ says nothing greater to me than punk rock has a disproportionate sense of it’s own gravity & depth.

Still available on grey at the Hydrahead shop. 

– Jayson



Reissues by Jayson

I’m pretty much against reissues. The exception being if there is a new music on the reissue, which is frequently not the case. This week I was kinda sad to find out that I am still a mark. I say this because there are two reissues out that I was really close to buying, and still haven’t entirely walked away from.

The first is the Walkmen’s first album Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone, which is out on a 180g vinyl edition of 1000. That is kind of the issue for me. I like records, but they’re not they thing they are to me that they become to serious collectors. However limited edition pushes some very weird and deep seated desire to own the what-have-you in question. I also think it’s really the band. The Walkmen are one of my favorites, all time. I’ve said You & Me is my top 10 of all time. They’re one of those bands whose music ended up being a really accurate map of a constituent part of my psyche. So with those two things I’m really like, restraining myself from buying it, because really… like what am I going to do with this? Play it and tell myself it sounds better than CD? Feel like I’m genuinely participating in the band’s 10th anniversary on a level greater than making a mere purchase? But am I really showing my love because that’s how you show your love to a band, by giving them money? I want them to keep making music and stuff…

The other album that is an object of contention is this Old Man Gloom Christmas Eve I & II + 6 + Live in NYC.

What’s worse here is that the OMG dudes and Hydrahead basically know they’re selling a false premise, to wit:

So, Old Man Gloom is milking old material for another “new” release, that’s what you’re thinking right? And you’re also wondering why you should shell out a portion of your not-so-hard earned cash in exchange for an item manufactured with the sole intent of making more money for an already wealthy group of individuals, yes?

To which the answer is the Old Man Gloom is better than anything out anyway and you should get this record, which is also an official RECORD STORE DAY release. Which I am already scheming to get a hold of despite the fact that I have ripped Record Store Day for being just a thing to peddle a bunch of reissues that are just going to get hawked on ebay the day after they’re purchased. Again though, love for OMG is strong, they’re the topography of my inner turmoil in audio format, or something. Also I am apparently a bigger mark that I previously thought.

Two records I already own, won’t listen to, but really want anyway. That is sad.

– Jayson

 



Tuesday by Jayson

Ok.

I have a bunch of great music sitting around to review but it is all in the post-rock/progressive/ambient category. I love that stuff and will review it all, but I am also kinda like… post-rock/progressive/ambient’d out for the moment. I am seriously out of adjectives. I am going to try to write about some other stuff this week to power up for all of that.

Also working on Top Best Music of the Year. It’s going to be good. There will also be some new things, couple of albums that never got reviewed here, some revised opinions, etc.

Official thoughts on the American Nightmare/American Nothing/Give Up The Ghost reunion:

Ok, I like this band. I think they’re good. I have both their albums turns out and one of their t-shirts was my favorite shirt that got worn until it died. I was never superfan #1 though. I liked their stuff, but I wasn’t crying because they understood me so well. I am kind of an airhead when it comes to a lot of this, in fact until their site launched, I always thought it was SCREAMING DEATH TO NOTHING. Because you know, it could be, it’s lyrics, lyrics I never bothered to read. Anyway, this is basically what I said on a comment at Stuff You Will Hate, but it is weird to me how they’re a Thing now. Seriously, these were dudes that I saw opening for various bands, like Trustkill’s big touring bands in their heyday. I am really pretty sure no one cared as much then as they seem to now.

hayley-williams-and-american-nightmare

This is the shirt. Soulmates...

The photo is what blows my mind. This is like some Twilight Zone shit to me. Now AM are a Significant Band, this is Weezer all over again really. Now you can wear an American Nightmare shirt when you are the singer of a pop punk band and you want to appear credible, to who exactly? I am losing the plot of this whole credibility thing anyway.

Still IF ANYONE HAS ONE OF THESE IN GOOD SHAPE IN A SIZE LARGE, LET ME KNOW. WE CAN DO BUSINESS. 

The two dates thing sucks. They should do a real tour, play the Agora Ballroom again. We can get some of that shitty pizza and reminisce, good times.

Creedstock 

Since finding out about it last night, Drinkify is my new favorite site. Here are apparently the ideal drinks to go with what I’m listening to:

“THE GRAVEDIGGAZ”

  • 8 oz. Vodka
  • 8 oz. Cranberry juice
  • 12 oz. Coconut milk
Combine in highball glass and serve.

“THE ISIS”

  • 12 oz. Horilka
  • 12 oz. Lemon juice

“THE KOOL KEITH”

  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Coco López
  • 8 oz. Nordic Mist
Combine in highball glass and serve. Stir slowly. Garnish with shrimp.

“THE BOARDS OF CANADA”

  • 10 oz. Gin
  • 10 oz. Elderflower cordial

Combine in highball glass and serve. Stir vigorously. Garnish with sugar.

“THE WESTSIDE CONNECTION”

  • 1 bottle Gin

Serve neat.

oh, and:

“THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE”

  • 8 oz. Cognac
  • 8 oz. Coco López
  • 10 oz. Red Bull

Combine in highball glass and serve. Garnish with pickled carrot sticks.



Review: Flaming Lips – 7 Skies H3 by Jayson
November 1, 2011, 10:00 am
Filed under: Credibility, Experimental, Failure, Money, Review | Tags: , ,

Jason is the Flaming Lips fan, but I’ve taken it on myself to review this because it is more my basic deal. Weird music that is.

10 minutes in. Remember when the Flaming Lips were cool? I do. Way way way back in high school they did stuff like that video with all the Christmas lights. That was cool. So 10 minutes into this, I checked out the Wikipedia entry for LSD to see what the negative effects were. Nowhere did I see “doing so much that you become really, really boring and think everything you do is a good idea.”

Matt calls it the Anti-Philip K. Dick Effect.

It’s a shame, because they really seem to be suffering from it. What is sadder still is that I’m seeing on the World Wide Web that Flaming Lips fans, much like Metallica fans have crossed into that sad space on the map where you like the band so much you’ve convinced  yourself completely their shit doesn’t stink. I don’t know what to say, I’ve been down that road myself with the Melvins and there is a nothing there except the accumulation of a shitload of records and assorted tchockies that you’ll buy and never ever listen to or do anything with.

Actually, I’m not super worried there, because getting the skull up there will set you back 5 grand. (Admittedly, the phrase “a hard drive embedded in a real human skull” is kinda cool.) Which kinda leads me to wonder if this is some kind of meta commentary by the band about what they’ve become or could become or about music fans unquestioning loyalty or is this just basically what happens when you have some success and money but your thought processes are stuck at ‘what if there’s a universe inside my fingernail, maaaaan?’

Ok, 30 minutes in. It’s basically been doing the same thing. It’s like the song wants to be totally epic and majestic, but just manages to be loud and annoying. I find it difficult to imagine this going anywhere I want to be.

40 minutes in: it’s different now. Checking to see if I didn’t hit play on either VLC or Zune. Nope, this is it. This is more better, but I am still not super into it. I would be enjoying it if it was just the guitar at this point.

50 minutes maybe? I dunno, I’ve paused it a few times. What’s going on now really isn’t bad. Right now I’m trying to figure out if I like enough to backpedal on my earlier comments. Not quite there. I wonder if I could make any money bootlegging the hard copy…

Hour and 10 in. This is kinda nice right now. Part of me is just tempted to stop listening here and remember it on a high note.

0:1:14? ohshitvocals! Well, I guess there were vocals the whole time. Singing with like, words and stuff is now happening.

0:1:25 spaaaaaaaaace rooooooooooooock

2 hours? I guess. Bored again, not sure if I want to listen to anymore now.

It’s some over two hours now, I’ve totally lost track. This kinda does it to you.

Call it 0:2:30? I think it’s changing again.

Ok, not really, it was a trick I guess.

I am totally doing other stuff while I listen to this.

What’s sad is that I am such a total sucker for gimmicks and limited editions I’d have bought this if it was like $50.

0:2:45 f it.

So I read an interview with Wayne about all the stuff they’re doing. This thing just seems to be a product of a sort of indulgent indifference. Seems like the thought processes went like ‘Whoa! A place that sells real skulls! We should do something with those! We could like… get some and put some music in them and make these sweet art objects!’ Aaaaaand that’s it. This is just that thing where like… they’ve gotten to this point where they can just do stuff, a lot like Insane Clown Posse, really. What bothers me is that it’s neither fun and entertaining or profound and meaningful. Or maybe it is? Where is my credibility on this? I still have 20:00:15 to go. Will I get anything out of the rest of it? I want to say the question itself is an indictment. Like, if I was into it, I’d be into it. If I’m asking myself about that, then I’m not into it and the music ain’t doing it’s job. Right?

ADDENDUM:

As a butthurt reader correctly pointed out, this album is about something after all. Thanks, Tim. I belittled them, as is my right and duty as a blogger. To be honest I feel like this is a bit of a journalism fail. In the interest of fairness to myself, I did really try to find actual information as to whether this was about anything or not. Every other outlet media outlet (being the first page of a Google search) was covering this on the basis of “hey, the Flaming Lips 24 hour song is out today.” During the interview I found, when Wayne was asked specifically “What is this project about?” He spoke exactly as I represented him in the preceding paragraph; as a dude more interested in creating a novelty art object than explaining the deep, serious and profound meaning this is supposed to convey. He then went on to talk about how many calories were in the gummy skull they put out and how the band is going to release another USB album in a in gummy vagina, where the owner will have to reach inside to get the drive. I will buy that if it is in the neighborhood of $50. Basically though, I think while I missed a core fact here, it doesn’t even remotely change my thesis.

– Jayson



Thursday by Jayson

Man, we ate it again this week. Didn’t even meant to this time. HELP US. BECOME A MUSIC WRITEY MAANS OR WOMMANS. FOR US.

We would like to get another writer or writers willing to make regular contributions. If I had my druthers I would love to get some people I kinda know who write about one kinda music exclusively like… if you do that and secretly love something totally different and want to write about it, I’d love to you have you doing that here. Likewise you know, if you are like ‘man I want to write about music’ just send us something. I am not going to get my hopes up because the one time we had a contest we couldn’t even get the winners to give us their addresses for the prize, but hey. I will add there is no money, we don’t make any either though, so hey. Don’t send promo style copy though, not that anyone will send anything, that is the last thing anyone wants to read.


I talked with William Gibson on Twitter. That is basically more exciting than anything. I asked him what the fictional band The Curfew in his “Bigend trilogy” sounded like. He told me he wanted to the readers to project and put it to us on Twitter.  People responded with Slowdive, a cross between Gang of Four and Sleater-Kinnery, Juliette Lewis from the movie Strange Days, The Bauhaus, Pavement, and Sonic Youth. I always thought of them as sounding like Sleeper, but not the track I posted, more like how they sound on Cunt London. This is also funny because on my me-as-dude/professional account basically no “famous” graphic designers have ever responded to a tweet, proving that no one has ever told them being a famous graphic designer is like being the world’s tallest midget.


I think I want to replace the term girlfriend metal with in the car metal or metal for the car. That used to be what we said in the day. Like a band could be good but it wasn’t something you’d listen to in the car. To be proper music for the car it had to be basically what the official girlfriend metal page says:

Inoffensive, fairly melodic metal with enough pop structure that even your girlfriend who dislikes most metal will enjoy listening in the car.

See? That guy knows. I have to say again, I completely unironically love that stuff. That sentence basically describes the formula for good listening and good times. Who would I be measuring my metal extremity wiener against exactly? The kid at the Kreator show with dandruff on his glasses and a Belphagor “BDSM & Satanism” shirt? You win, bro. It is vitally important to have some good jams for when you’re driving around.



This Halloween, forget the Misfits LISTEN TO BALZAC! by Jayson
October 5, 2011, 10:08 am
Filed under: Credibility, punk rock | Tags: , , , , ,

I  don’t really like Halloween. It is basically a fine holiday for children and maybe people up to their early 20s? I think it’s largely because I don’t enjoy dressing up in costumes at all that I tend not to care. My interest in Halloween peaked at my graduation from school, since I was no longer guaranteed a party with at least a dozen women dressed like slutty fairies.

I was Reign in Blonde’s Mr. October last year and posted a Halloween playlist that was pretty much universally despised for not being a metal thing on a metal blog and because my general character and tone were generally found to suck by a variety of dudes. However FNG, I’d roll the same thing out again here, but I really just want to focus on Balzac.

I love these guys. There is a singular focus that only the Japanese seem to be capable of, combined with an inability to fully grasp whatever it is exactly the thing they’re copying’s role in its native culture. Or something. Whatever it is, it frequently equals total awesome. Where like the Misfits broke up and Danzig’s sense of humor completely died, the dudes who would go on to form Balzac took the basic Misfits thing and distilled it down to the imagery and songs written around yelling GO! and WHOA-OH! a lot; therefore ultimately becoming superior to the Misfits in every way but having a slightly worse mascot. In fact, if I was forced to care about Halloween and/or there was a worthwhile party I think their skeleton suit-bag over the head costume is pretty much the ultimate quick-cheap-still kinda cool Halloween costume. I’d make it happen if I had to.

They’ve take some detours; changed their look, did that one kinda industrial gapper-beat style record, but you know what, they’re still awesome!

They did do some stuff with the Jerry Only Misfits, but don’t hold that against them! I got some of their albums at Best Buy in the day, but I think Amazon is your best bet now. You can’t get much from their website.

– Jayson