Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Sky Black Snow - a FG winter mix

This here's a mix I made about this time last year, a ballet about a man lost on foot in a mountain forest during a severe blizzard. Don't worry, the narrative's totally legible.
Stay cold:

Black Sky Black Snow by ForestGospel
Black Sky Black Snow from Mediafire

tracklist, as best I can:
Mouthus - "The Duration Myth"
Zs - "Concert Black"
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - "Dark Night of the Soul"
Tom Waits - "Falling Down"
The See Through Boy - "Interview"
John Wiese - "Circle Snare"
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky - "Act I: Scene and Waltz of the Snowflakes"
Mount Eerie - "Wind Speaks"
The Fun Years - "The Surge is Working"
Mount Eerie - "Lost Wisdom pt. 2"
Frog Eyes - "Bushels"
David Lynch and Alan R. Splet - "In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dixie's Death Pool - The Man with Flowering Hands

(Drip Audio, 2011)

Beautifully, Dixie's Death Pool's The Man with Flowering Hands, the sole 2011 release from the absolutely amazing Drip Audio label, is, like sunlight, a revelation.  Dixie's Death Pool is a collagist's dream, interweaving gorgeous psych-country balladry and ghostly, drug-addled folk-pop with an improvisatory sensibility.  Based around four or five perfectly composed songs, the band, a hodge-podge assortment of musically blessed criminals and specters and cowboys and, perhaps most accurately, Canadians (all lead by one Lee Hultzulak), quilt the album together with a wonderfully bewilderingly avant garde jazz featuring blustery electronics, chugging percussion, spectre-traced textures and other creepy atmospherics.  It is a fluid concoction, equal parts dark and light, inviting and menacing (read: menacingly inviting), and the best of what might be termed, loosely, as avant-country (or some such similar genre title).  My attempts to wrap words around this album are destined to fall short.  It's viscerally engaging, magnetic and unassumingly memorable.  Amidst contemporaries like Califone and Skygreen Leopards and Vibracathedral Orchestra and Jackie-O Samuel L. Jackson, Dixie's Death Pool's The Man with Flowering Hands is a volcanic, essential work. 

Dixie's Death Pool - Sunlight Is Collecting On My Face by Drip Audio
Dixie's Death Pool - The Man With Flowering Hands by Drip Audio

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Emuul - The Drawing of the Line

(Digitalis, 2011)

The Drawing of the Line
is simple, like drawing a line; though, as it is for me, an effortlessly beautiful line isn't so easy to accomplish.  Drawing one.  And what seems simple, Emuul baby-stepping a low grade incline, a mountain ridge, curtained with fizzling grains of earth-wobbling feedback, is actually quite a feat: not overly constructed/layered but never dulling and absent.  Making something akin to what I imagine it sounds like when mountains speak to one another, sped up 10,000X.  It's a beautiful language and Emuul produces wonderful conversations: a motherly mountain training her son, counseling erosion, rock-slide, volcano.  There are a lot of drone-based records out there trying to strike a perfect balance between minimalist composition and voluble maximalism.  Few of them strike so closely as Emuul has here.

Eli Keszler's "Cold Pin" installation

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Val Britton

Zs - 33

(Northern Spy, 2011)

Two seven-inches: four side of palette cleansing, junkyard raking, free-shoveled abrstractionism from the almighty Zs.  This is the doom-laden interlude to the forthcoming Northern Spy onslaught, I assume, Zs being new to the roster.  And I can't wait.  The band, fresh off their monstrous beastly best, New Slaves, seen here stretching, popping the joints in their neck, cracking knuckles, rolling out the bones in their collective shoulders, rumbling clatterously: take heed, the beast is awake...

33~ - Zs by Northern Spy Records

RxRy - Alpha

(Sweat Lodge Guru, 2011)

Hyper-ambient wonder-kid, Not Noah Lennox, or some couple of dudes now (people seem to be thinking ("Neither Noah Lennox?")), RxRy, finally, after three bedroom-churned bliss-outs (and some EPs)--freely distributed--can now be heard where it was appropriate he/they should be heard from all along: etched into a vinyl plate.  Alpha finds RxRy perpetuating the crumbling pulse-heavy astro-electronics of previous albums, only this time with a healthy dose of ADHD.  Clocking in somewhere between an EP and a full-length, Alpha is headphone candy of the brain-burstingly serene variety, in as much as the two can coexist.  The step up to a physical format is much deserved.  Hopefully the first in a long line RxRy tunes pressed to wax.

rxry - alpha (album preview) by experimedia

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stephanie Augustine

John Wiese - Seven of Wands

(PAN, 2011)


John Wiese 'Scorpion Immobilization Sleeve' (PAN 22) by •PAN•

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Red Horse - Red Horse

(Type Records, 2011)

There are moments when, simply through the act of hearing a specific thing for the first time, one can initiate and monitor an acute sense particle realignment wherein one's brain matter is reconfigured in order to process experiences similar to the following experiences:

sound alignments arranged as starving, carnivorous animals
sounds with the propensity to drink up all the earth's oceans, lakes and seas
sounds backbroken to goad electricity, out of sympathy, improperly through a listener's heart and lungs

And the opportunity isn't often.  Comes around maybe once or twice a year, maybe.  Last year it was Subtle Lip Can and New Slaves by Zs.   Peter Kolovos's New Bodies in 2009.  The kind of music you have to put quotes around ("music").  Intelligent, dynamic sound routed through punk viscera.  Growly, animalistic, oddly patient though not without its tongue hanging out, dripping saliva.  Devouring-type music.  Red Horse creates something like that.


Red Horse - Red Horse by _type

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Noah Saterstrom

Iceage - New Brigade

(What's Your Rupture?, 2011)

You all know how good this is already, right?  You listen to music, find all the hot stuff.  I am listening to this more than anything else right now, because I'm scandinavianpunkhardcore like that.  So are you?  You should be.  The end.

Iceage - You're Blessed by What's Your Rupture?
Iceage - Broken Bone by What's Your Rupture?

Lisa Hanawalt

Above image being a detail from a larger image advertising this!  Really hoping to make it there...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lawrence English - The Peregrine

(Experimedia, 2011)

The Peregrine is a concept album, an audio homage to the J.A. Baker book of the same name, but I haven't read that book and you don't need to read that book to appreciate and utterly sink into English's work here.  Why?  This may be Mr. English's quintessential composition.  And for those well ingrained in the history of Lawrence English, in the wide ranging discography and collaborations, to make a quintessential claim at this point in the game is saying a lot.  Without saying much (I never do), I am trying to say a lot.  This is an album that pulls and meditates, storms and swells, literally takes heart, talons and wings--and despite having never heard of or read Baker's book before English's album, the album falcons about, dominating the landscape like a peregrine peering down over its domain.  English's drones have never been so rich, his composition never so evocative.  I did a brief interview with English about using the book as a catalyst.  He obviously loves the namesake of his album and I couldn't think of a more wonderful way to recommend a literary world than something as thoughtfully and impressively artful as this album is.  Looks like I'll be heading to the bookstore shortly as well.

Lawrence English - The Peregrine (album preview) by experimedia

Friday, November 4, 2011

Katsuhiro Otomo

Remembering how much I love the art of Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pete Swanson - I Don't Rock At All

(Three Lobed Recordings, 2011)

Pete Swanson is no stranger around these parts.  His work as half of Yellow Swans--particularly with their last few albums--is among the most convincing evidence that gritty, mottled darkness can simultaneously breathe blurred light and strangely shadowy beauty.  I Don't Rock At All is similarly amazing--blurry light flashing throughout--and similarly dense--evoking many shades of beauty settling in among multitudinous nooks and crannies--but I don't think I would describe it as dark.  Architecting I Don't Rock At All, Swanson has taken it up himself to knock out a few exterior walls and broom-hole some additional sky lights into the ceiling.  And the results are electric: guitar scraps stacking and swirling together like sediment: Swanson's mode finds a chaotic kinship with sometimes collaborator, Karl Bauer, and his work as Axolotl, not that they hadn't shared an audience before, but in the way that I Don't Rock At All digs into a quasi-spiritualism that feels ancient and bizarre but also filled with a wonderfully skewed sense of deliverance.  Suffice it to say that it is essential.  Believe it.

pete swanson - i don’t rock at all (album preview) by experimedia

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dead Luke - Meanwhile...In The Midwest

 (Moon Glyph, 2011)

Dead Luke: dead blues, corpsing psychedelia, fractal guitar licks, corruption.  Meanwhile...In The Midwest, Dead Luke is resurrecting, amassing muscle, sinew, tendons: illuminating.  Whereas before Dead Luke was the walking dead: limbs falling off, corrosive flesh-eating layers; now: a heart beating in the chest, even if irregularly, words speaking/singing--because of a mouth without holes in the cheeks.  All said, Dead Luke is a more handsome dinner companion now.  For whatever type guest you're interested in, Dead Luke seems to be spanning the full register of available deadness, this time leg-wobbling on the livelier end of things.  Real American music, for those interested in the current state of America.

Dead Luke - "God Of Nothing by Moon Glyph

Sam Vanallemeersch

Katie Bell

So smitten.

Hubble - Hubble Drums

(Northern Spy, 2011)

Ben Greenberg, guitar-man for the mighty Zs (also Pygmy Shrews), is Hubble.  And Hubble, ridiculously (ridiculously awesomely), is Greenberg's solo guitar project that is officially sanctioned by NASA as the soundtrack to a video of Hubble Telescope-captured space imagery.  I find that hilarious, and, since listening to the album, appropriate, and the elementary student in me that used to love (still does?) Bill Nye the Science Guy is ecstatic about that world colliding with my love of experimental music.  And Hubble Drums delivers: cosmic guitar swirls patiently creating, expanding and charting distant galaxies of its own.  Hubble's work is patient work, and I imagine it works even better in conjunction with the video, but is still a compelling listen for those with a persistent ear.  mangling its minimalist template over the course of three long-form tracks with only a guitar, Hubble Drums is stark, painting an electric wasteland, yet as its revolutions evolve and push, that wasteland proves considerably lush.  A unsurprisingly successful outing for Mr. Greenberg.  Looking forward to future iterations of the Hubble sound (in addition, obviously, to ZS).  

Nude Ghost by hubbletrouble

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roman Muradov's "Psychic Detective"

Selections (buy here, view here):

Spomeniks, Photographed by Jan Kempenaers

For some reason, these feel appropriate to post alongside Grooms' Prom--heaven knows why.  Incredible, socialist-era Yugoslavian monuments photographed by Jan Kempenaers.  Simply amazing.

Grooms - Prom

(Kanine, 2011)

Grooms' debut, Rejoicer, was my favorite album of 2009.  I have a fondness for and often slip back into the gritty guitars and general dissonance of 90's indie rock and Rejoicer struck so hard on that aesthetic, those hooks and the general feeling of rawness that I was immediately smitten.  It's a difficult thing, becoming so brazenly attached to an album, and then not feel some sense of disappointment when the follow-up isn't quite as awesome.  That's how I felt about this year's Gang Gang Dance album, Eye Contact, the follow-up to another year-end favorite: Saint Dymphna.  However, this is not how I feel about Prom.  Released in the summertime months, I have been digesting this album for a little bit and I have come to the conclusion that Prom demands a gestation period.  Rocking a little less urgently, a bit more casually, with the same sense of 90's-era shabbiness but not quite as loudly as on Rejoicer, Prom is calmed and, for lack of a better word, mature; but mature, as Dismemberment Plan taught me (among so many other things), is not so bad a word, and Prom is an absolute stunner.  I am smitten again and surprised, really, to not be at all disappointed.  Such an amazing album.  Don't sleep on Grooms. Prom is amazing.