Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here, but do please remember to also pay attention to the more niche threads; if your post would either fit better or equally well in one of them, please post it there as well. I absolutely do not want to steal traffic from those threads.
Prompt for this week (suggested by Zkywalker): What music did you listen to in High School or earlier? Do you still listen to it? Has your opinion of it changed?
Sigil’s Music Journal (2018-08-02/2018-08-09)
54. The Isolatarium (2013). This is a compilation to accompany Brad Rose’s sci-fi novel of the same name. Brad Rose ran Digitalis recordings for a number of years (before it seemingly disappeared off the face of the Internet), and he gathers a number of Digitalis regulars on here. The music ranges from abstract electronics to more pop oriented ballads. It’s a fairly uneven compilation, but it has some interesting stuff on it. I have no idea how well it works as a soundtrack to the book as I’ve never read it. 6/10
55. Björk – Verspertine (2001). When this came out, I kind of regarded at as a bit of a departure for Björk. In retrospect, I’m not sure why that is, it follows fairly directly from Homogenic. Additionally, after this, with all of the re-releases, live albums, DVDs, greatest hits albums, and electronic releases of albums, it seems like the last time she was fairly straightforward in her releases. I’ve always liked Björk, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever truly connected with her. I don’t like this album as consistently as I do Homogenic, but some of her best tracks are on here, like “Pagan Poetry.” It’s also been a fairly long time since I’ve listened to this all the way through, and the tracks from “Heirloom” are probably my favorite things on here. 7/10
56. Bill Orcutt – A History of Every One (2013). Bill Orcutt takes a cheese shredder to a few standards here, grinds them into a fine paste, and then shaves his chest with it. It’s difficult to place where ‘White Christmas’ actually is in the track that bears its name, but Orcutt conjures up his picking from some primordial tar pit, breathing heavy and moaning his whole way through. 7/10
57. The Drift – Noumena (2005). The schtick of The Drift was, basically, Tarentel but with a horn. That probably meant more when Noumena was initially released, and Tarental was still a somewhat recognizable Post-Rock name. But they’ve largely dissolved, and before they did, they left a wide ranging discography. A better description now, might just be, relaxed by rhythmic post-rock with horns. The trumpet on this release really does give a unique edge. The rest of the instruments are typical rock elements, but the horn echoes through creating a resonant voice. 7/10
58. The Cure – Bloodflowers (2000). Smith has said that this is the final part of a trilogy that includes Pornography and Disintegration. I don’t know how that holds up anywhere outside of Smith’s brain, but I bought them together one pathetic season after a bad breakup, and they’re all so ridiculous that it kind of made me say, okay knock it off. These songs are over long and kind of dull, and since, in general I’m not really a fan of The Cure, I don’t have much of an opinion beyond that (for the record Disintegration is really good, but I don’t need the other two). 5/10
59. Chasms – Silicone Islands (2013). A fairly early Orange Milk release, I think this is one that I ordered but it was out of print and the owner hadn’t updated the page. It’s okay: A bit of a lighter ambient record with an emphasis on synthesizers. It’s a short cassette with five unnamed songs. I don’t really have much else to say about it. 5/10
60. Andreas Brandal – Then the Strangest Thing Happend (2011). This is a release that is notable mostly because it came out on Stunned, which, for me, is still the gold standard of cassette labels. Everything they put out was good to great. This is one of the good ones. It’s interesting listening to this after Chasms, because you can draw a pretty clear distinction between the relative relaxing and bright drones of Silicone Islands and this which is much darker and sinister. I’m not really sure if that was the intention, but the approach creates an uneasy feeling. 6/10
61. Azeala Banks – Broke with Expensive Taste (2014). I’ve been a fan of Banks ever since “212” (which appears on here), though I think my favorite track of hers is “Nathan” (which does not). This is a pretty good album, but it doesn’t quite fulfill the promise of her singles. Banks, unfortunately, gets more attention for her incredibly stupid statements and actions; I tend to ignore that, even though maybe I shouldn’t. But this album is great. 7/10
62. Papa M – Live from a Shark Cage (1999). One of the grandfathers of post-rock, being one of the four bobbing heads on the cover of Spiderland, Dave Pajo seems to save his most restless material for his solo records. This is probably his most solid record over all, despite a couple of filler tracks. Songs like ‘Drunken Spree’ and ‘Plastic Energy Man’ demonstrate that post-rock power of repetition and return. This release holds a weird place in my head, because, while writing an ill-fated novel in undergrad, I wrote a scene where the main character falls asleep to this record by… falling asleep to this record and recording my dreams. It wasn’t particularly good. Don’t do that. 8/10
63. Liars – Liars (2007). Liars fourth studio album is really just a great solid record. The two previous records had a general concept behind them, and had a sort of This Heat vibe to them, but this album seems a lot more fun and song focused. There’s a lot of propulsive beats and just general rocking. I eventually got rid of this album (I think), because I didn’t really listen to it that often, but listening to it now, it’s a good album and one that’s nice to pull out every once in a while. This was the last album I bought from them. I should go back and listen to the subsequent releases. 7/10
64. Current 93 – Thunder Perfect Mind (1992). I have the deluxe edition of this album because I lent my original 1994 reissue of it to a friend and he never returned it. That’s fine, the deluxe edition has a bunch of bonus tracks. They don’t add a whole lot to the original album, but I’m not sure how they could. I was a Current 93 fanatic for awhile, and this is really their ground zero. I don’t think it’s their absolute best work (that would come later with Sleep Has His House), but it’s an important album and is as surprising and weird now as it was over two decades ago. My first Current 93 CD was a double live album that I bought on an impulse at Atomic Records, probably back in 2000. I had heard of Current 93 because they were a one of the bands that had a site on Brainwashed. I asked the clerks what they sounded like, and they kind of looked at each other and concluded… They’re just… weird. That they are. David Tibet’s vocals are intense and enigmatic, building a religious and spiritual world around idiosyncratic symbols and myth. For instance, the longest (and best) piece here is “Hitler as Kalki (SDM)” the SDM stands for Savitri Devi Mukherji. Devi was a large proponent of animal rights (good!), Hinduism (okay), and Nazism (uh-oh). Devi’s thing was that Hitler was an avatar of Vishnu, who would introduce the end of the current age, and bring in the apocalypse and the renewal of the yuga cycle. Hindu scripture holds that we’re in the hast of four epochs, the Kali Yuga, which signifies a decline in spirituality. Don’t worry, yugas are anywhere from a million years to half a million years. The Hindus play the long game. Anyway, Tibet doesn’t really think this is a good thing and explicitly says any idea that this song is advocating Nazism is patently absurd. 9/10
65. Pere Ubu – Les Haricots sont pas salés 1987-1991 (2018). The last boxset of Pere Ubu reissues released on the Fire label, though the third chronologically. Despite really enjoying the other boxsets in this series, I didn’t anticipate getting this one, or enjoying it very much. The three albums contained here (The Tenement Year, Cloudland, and Worlds in Collision) don’t have very good reputations; they’re kind of Pere Ubu’s flirtation with mainstream music. I don’t even think the band really cares about them; unlike all of the other releases in this series they’re presented at the normal CD quality audio, the majority of the other digital versions are mostly in 96khz/24bit or 192khz in the case of the first box set. I was really pleasantly surprised, however, after listening to them. Sure, they’re not as brilliant as The Modern Dance or Dub Housing or as out there as New Picnic Time, The Art of Walking, or Song of the Bailing Man, but it’s not like they’re totally conventional. Even on the most straight up pop oriented songs, Allen Ravenstine is still twiddling away at his synths, and David Thomas is still wailing away like a nut. There is a fair amount of dated 90s cheesiness in here, especially in Cloudland and Worlds in Collision, but it’s still Ubu, no doubt. 7/10 (slight addendum: Worlds in Collision pretty much sucks, but not enough to bring my score in general down)
Record of the Week: Liars – Liars. There really isn’t a stand out release this week; I know there are higher rated albums on here, but this was the album that I kind of ‘rediscovered’. I like the Liars, but I don’t listen to them enough. And you don’t either!