Music Discussion Thread #09: Super- and Not-So-Supergroups

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 PhillySportsFan): What are the best and worst supergroups? A supergroup, by the way, is defined as a group of musicians, famous in their own right, collaborating together. Examples include Blind Faith, Temple of the Dog, and Zwan… Zwan? Sure, Zwan. Here’s a list from Wikipedia:

Sigil’s Music Journal (2018-08-30/2018-09-06)

79Pulse.jpg79. Pink Floyd – Pulse (1995). The big draw for this was its packaging. It had a red blinking light, which was ridiculous. I remember my brother, when he saw that I bought this said, “Oh that has a weird case, doesn’t it, like play music or something?” I was like, “Yeah, if you take the CDs out and put them in a CD player.” I thought that was rather clever (BTW I’ve since encountered at least two albums that have packaging that plays music though I haven’t bought them, The Boredoms’ Vision Creation Newsun special edition boxset played a sample of the music contained in if you if the inside was exposed to light; and the compilation Women Bring Back the Noise had a ‘noise cookie’ that you could kind of play around with to make some noise). The other special thing about this, I suppose, is that it contains a full live performance of Dark Side of the Moon. Since this is the post-Waters Floyd, it also includes a number of cheesy selections from Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. Of those “Sorrow” and “High Hopes” are actually pretty good here. On the other hand, since this is later day Floyd it has a bit of the reak of Old Dude rock on it. It’s fine, but certainly not something I would usually grab to listen to. 7/10

80Raccoooon.jpg80. Raccoo-oo-oon – Raccoo-oo-oon (2008). This band with an incredibly silly name is pretty good freak folk jams. The sound is muffled by choice, and the vocals are buried in echoes and delay effects, so it sounds like a kind of distant dream. I bought this mainly for the name, and it was getting a fair amount of hype from the sadly defunct Aquarius Records. I like it well enough, and I’ve listened to it a number of times. It’s okay. 7/10

81HauntingPresence.jpg81. The Haunting Presents (2012). Enemies List was a label run by the guys from Have a Nice Life. Have a Nice Life had, and probably still have, a small but dedicated fan base thanks to their Deathconsciousness release. At the end of 2012, they offered a subscription type service to help fun with their upcoming releases. They had promised a fair amount of goodies every month, and this was part of the package for the holiday season. It’s was a sampler of upcoming music on the label. Unfortunately, that whole thing kind of petered out after a few months, and I don’t even think a lot of the music that was released on here ended up being released. Still, for the most part, it has some very good tracks, concentrated in a sort of dark industrial emo type of genre. A lot of distorted beats and depressing lyrics. Bands include Frustrator, The Human Fly, Sleep In, Planning for Burial, and i do not love. As I said, many didn’t really get a very wide release. This release also included a weird sort of parody of the Drive soundtrack, by Dan Barrett, half of Have a Nice Life. That sort of synthwave sound that he explores here would be explored further on his Black Wing project, which, again, is quite good. Still, it’s just a sampler and doesn’t offer much beyond a teaser of some other releases. 6/10

82Mystery.jpg82. Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy (2000). I had not heard of Jeff Buckley until the owner of the record store in my college town was playing this in the store. I was blown away, but when I finally bought it I was like, wait… what was I listening to that day. I think it might’ve been the version of “Eternal Life” on here, which has a real 90s hard rock edge to it. Buckley is at his most interesting when he’s playing around with his voice, and he gets a lot of opportunity for that here. But, I don’t think I’d ever consider myself a Buckley acolyte. The songs are good, the performances are great, the sound is a little thin. “Kanga roo” is probably the best track on here, as it’s the song that Buckley let himself and his band go the most wild, with an extended outro of vamping and vocal flourishes. 7/10

Bonus Discs

Thighpaul.jpgThighpaulsandra – The Golden Communion (2015). Oh man. I didn’t just get this or anything, but I just wanted to mention it here because I listened to it for the first time through the DAC and Sennheiser headphones, and it sounds totally amazing. The interplay between all of the elements in the tracks is a lot clearer. And that clarity really benefits the sort of “collage made up of everything you can think of” feeling that Thighpaulsandra’s releases always have. It was surprising to see the critic at Brainwashed’s critique of the record as he came down hard on the lack of coherence and overambitiousness of the album. I found that really weird, because, to me, this is way more coherent than any of the other releases I’ve heard from him. His debut I, Thighpaulsandra is similar in scope, but there seemed to be a lot more pop songs enclosed in weird atmospherics on that one. This has a similar tracks, but the long pieces here, “The Golden Communion” at 25:56, and “The More I know Men, The Better I like Dogs” at 26:48 seem more straightforward, with their more pop elements blending more seamlessly into the rest of it. On the longer tracks on I, Thighpaulsandra it was like 15 minute weird atmospheric intro, 4 minute pop song, 15 minute outro, as if you were whacking your way through a jungle and found someone dancing to a jig in the middle. This release is also notable for the posthumous presence of John Balance on the last track and, apparently, Peter Christopherson somewhere else in here. Thighpaulsandra was a frequent collaborator, if not straight up member, of Coil in the later stages. This album is more restless than Coil ever was… which is saying something. 10/10

700Bliss.jpg700 Bliss – Spa 700 (2018). Moor Mother and DJ Haram team up for a way too short mixtape. This, of course, has a totally different feel than Moor Mother’s Fetish Bones. It’s far more beat oriented, and as such Moor Mother switches her flow from the spoken word rhythms of Fetish Bones to a more traditional hip-hop beat. Haram brings a lot of world beats to the background. It’s really good, but it’s only 13 minutes long, which is way too short. 6/10

Hunter.jpgAnna Calvi – Hunter (2018). This is a new album by an artist that I had not previously heard of. The title track, “Hunter” gave me a very strong Bowie vibe, so I had to check out the rest of the album. This is another album that explores gender fluidity and sexuality, which seems to be a fairly popular theme with albums that I’ve been keen on this year. “Hunter” is still the standout track here, for me, but it’s a great album all around. 8/10

Chicaloyoh.jpgChicaloyoh – Porte Devergondee (2016). Chicaloyoh is a project by a woman named Alice Dourlen. I encountered it in my early days of browsing bandcamp for free interesting music. She’s kept up over the years, putting out two releases this year, but this might be my favorite. Of course, being a cheapskate, I haven’t actually bought it yet, but she quite deserves the attention. Dark, somewhat bass heavy atmospherics with breathy speak/sing french vocals over it. This record prominently features free sax playing which contrasts with the slow burning atmosphere of the rest of the music. Apparently the physical release of this features, or did feature, a booklet with illustrations of Dourlen’s dreams which seems appropriate for the oneiric feeling of the album. 8/10

Higuchi.jpgKeiko Higuchi – Between Dream and Haze (2016). A free jazz shmear of vocals, scrapes, skronks, and piano. Higuchi has a similiar vocal style to Diamanda Galás, particularly Galás deeper more seething vocals. Higuchi uses her voice somewhat differently, however. Whereas Galás centers on horror and degradation, contrasting her shrieks and howls with more conventional singing, Higuchi dives all into the cacophony, singing with unpredictable rhythms and phrasing. 7/10

UnicornHardOn.jpgUnicorn Hard-On – Weird Universe (2014); Dream Machine (2016). The delightfully named Unicorn Hard-On (Valerie Martino) had been making music for quite a long time when these two releases emerged. Weird Universe was released on Spectral Spools, a sublable of Editions Mego, which gave Unicorn Hard-On larger exposure than she had previously received. Both of these feature noisey beat heavy music. It’s not really dance music per se, though it’s pretty danceable. I suppose one could consider it IDM, but it’s funkier than that. Oh, I don’t know. I’m probably overselling its uniqueness, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Unfortunately, these were the last two releases from the project and Martino has been largely silent, at least on the commercial release front since. 7/10