Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Corollary To #474 (Or, How I Used This Entry To Post Things From My Hard Drive)

Slayer covers, from yours truly, of "Dead Skin Mask" and a medley of "Chemical Warfare", "Evil Has No Boundaries", and "South Of Heaven".  "Enjoy"

#474 - "Seasons In The Abyss" - Slayer

Released On:  Def American, 1990

By 1990 Slayer had already proved that they could do blisteringly fast thrash metal (Reign In Blood) and a grimmer, slower-tempo heaviness (South Of Heaven).  On Seasons In The Abyss they decided to prove that they could do both on the same album, and crafted a blood-soaked metal masterpiece.  Kicking off with the "victory means massacre" antimilitary stance of "War Ensemble" the album knocks out track after track of classic Slayer anthems, touching on war, societal decay, corruption, and good old fashioned metal Satanism.  "Dead Skin Mask" in particular is a great example of just how creepy Slayer could be, with it's eerie minor-key riff underlining the dark story of serial killer Ed Gein.  When the little boy's voice comes in near the end, those of you who don't feel an uncomfortable pressure in the pit of your stomach will at the very least get a shiver through your arms.  That's an honest metal moment.

Where You'd Know It From:  Any metalhead you ever knew, ever, had and loved this album.

Track Listing:
1.  War Ensemble (4:54)
2.  Blood Red (2:50)
3.  Spirit In Black (4:07)
4.  Expendable Youth (4:10)
5.  Dead Skin Mask (5:20)
6.  Hallowed Point (3:24)
7.  Skeletons Of Society (4:41)
8.  Temptation (3:26)
9.  Born Of Fire (3:07)
10.  Seasons In The Abyss (6:42)

("War Ensemble")

("Seasons In The Abyss")

("Dead Skin Mask")

#475 - "Nine Times That Same Song" - Love Is All

Released On:  What's Your Rupture?, 2006

With their hyperactive lead singer, reverb-soaked fast-pace rhythms and wailing saxophone, Love Is All could have been carbon clones of first-wave punk icons X-Ray Spex.  There is a spiky joy to this album, though, that X-Ray Spex never really had, and a sweetness to tracks like "Turn The Radio Off" deeply root the band in the late Oughts.  Nine Times That Same Song is a rare album that draws in both the twee and the skater crowds and delivers exactly what both want:  sweet, heartbreaking melody and off-the-wall punk rhythms and energy.  Plus, with the rarity of saxophones in this generation's rock 'n roll, any album that uses them as consistently perfectly as Nine Times That Same Song does is an automatic classic.

Where You'd Know It From:  Hipsters, indie-punk enthusiasts, Swedish nationals.

Track Listing:
1.  Talk Talk Talk Talk (2:50)
2.  Ageing Has Never Been His Friend (2:45)
3.  Turn The Radio Off (3:55)
4.  Used Goods (2:20)
5.  Busy Doing Nothing (3:25)
6.  Make Out Fall Out Make Up (3:02)
7.  Felt Tip (4:18)
8.  Spinning And Scratching (3:05)
9.  Turn The TV Off (1:57)
10.  Trying Too Hard (3:25)

("Turn Off The Radio")

("Make Out Fall Out Make Up")

("Felt Tip")

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

#476 - "My Brother The Cow" - Mudhoney

Released On:  Reprise Records, 1995

Starting off with the seasick punk riffery of "Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme" and ending with the Stooges-honoring feedback-soaked ocean of "1995", My Brother The Cow is one of the finest slabs of Pac-Northwest rock ever conceived.  The sludge that informed and characterized their earlier releases (like the corroded garage-punk of "Touch Me I'm Sick") is still there in large part, but the songs contained here are tougher, and more cohesive.  The group's trademark snark is still intact; "Generation Spokesmodel" takes wide swipes at Eddie Vedder, while "F.D.K." lampoons Christian fundamentalists mercilessly and "Into Yer Shtik" tells an unnamed copycat of the late Kurt Cobain to blow their brains out too.  Mudhoney would come close to achieving this level throughout the rest of their career but never quite made it.

Where You'd Know It From:  Grunge completeists and hip punk rockers from the mid-90's will have this one  kicking around their collection.

Track Listing:
1.  Judgement, Rage, Retribution And Thyme (2:34)
2.  Generation Spokesmodel (2:33)
3.  What Moves The Heart? (3:12)
4.  Today, Is A Good Day (3:05)
5.  Into Yer Shtik (3:48)
6.  In My Finest Suit (4:57)
7.  F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers) (2:16)
8.  Orange Ball-peen Hammer (3:21)
9.  Crankcase Blues (3:06)
10.  Execution Style (2:24)
11.  Dissolve (3:17)
12.  1995 (5:43)
13.  woC ehT rehtorB yM (39:00) *Hidden Track*

("Judgement Rage Retribution And Thyme")

("Generation Spokesmodel")

("Into Yer Shtik")

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

#477 - "Domination" - Morbid Angel

Released On:  Earache Records / Giant Records, 1995

The last great Morbid Angel record (ie the last to feature 'vocalist' David Vincent) is also the first album to (ever-so-slightly) slow the proceedings down and find a bit of a groove amongst all that brutal death metal.  The bass drums pounds as fast as ever on tracks like "Dominate" and "Eyes To See, Ears To Hear" but the real centerpiece is of course the five-minute heavy-groove odyssey "Where The Slime Lives", which was the first song I was ever shown by the man who taught me how to adapt a pentatonic scale to any situation, Saskatchewan guitarist Ben Winoski.  The "Slime Pack" special edition of the album tried to get gimmicky about it, but in true death metal fashion the slime in the cases was discovered to be actual toxic slime and thus was never released.  Br00tal as fvck, amirite?

Where You'd Know It From:  Those crazy longhair kids that always dress in black and blast impenetrable screaming music from their beat-to-shit cars.

Track Listing:
1.  Dominate (2:39)
2.  Where The Slime Live (5:26)
3.  Eyes To See, Ears To Hear (3:52)
4.  Melting (1:20)
5.  Nothing But Fear (4:31)
6.  Dawn Of The Angry (4:39)
7.  This Means War (3:12)
8.  Caesar's Palace (6:20)
9.  Dreaming (2:17)
10.  Inquisition (Burn With Me) (4:33)
11.  Hatework (5:47)

("Where The Slime Lives")


("Inquisition (Burn With Me)")

Monday, 28 March 2011

#478 - "The Orb's Adventures In The Ultraworld" - The Orb

Released On:  Big Life Records, 1991

"Ambient House for the E Generation" was an earlier mission statement for The Orb, before they brought out this, their debut.  Truer words were never spoken.  A wide wash of chemical drug use hangs around this album, ecstasy for the all-night ravers and bright sunshine acid for the headphone set.  Under the right circumstances, the first time you hear this album can be a revelation, especially one you reach the blown-out end of the second disc, "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld", which is 18 minutes worth of pure mindfuckery.  As long as your in the mood to take a journey, this one can take you anywhere.

Where You'd Know It From:  If you've ever taken acid, you've heard this album, whether you recognize it or not.  Also, it's a rave scene classic, chillout at it's finest.

Track Listing:
1.  Little Fluffy Clouds (4:27)
2.  Earth (Gaia) (9:49)
3.  Supernova At The End Of The Universe (11:55)
4.  Perpetual Dawn (Solar Youth Mix) (3:48)
5.  Into The Fourth Dimension (9:14)
6.  Outlands (8:20)
7.  Star 6 & 7 8 9 (4:22)
8.  A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld (18:47)

("Little Fluffy Clouds")

("Supernova At The End Of The Universe")

("A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld") - PART ONE


#479 - "Since I Left You" - The Avalanches

Released On:  Modular Recordings, 2000

This album was never meant to be widely distributed.  As such, the Australian duo dove in headfirst with a pair of samplers and patched together electronic funk made out of snippets of other people's recordings.  3500 samples, to be exact.  The results are endlessly fascinating, a funky, carefree world that always changes just when you think you've heard it all.  It's a tour de force of sampling, and a definite slap in the face to anyone who claims that there's no talent to be found in the art.

Where You'd Know It From:  It was on the Billboard Electronic Albums chart for a bit, also if you happen to be Australian they released five singles from the album.

Track Listing:
1.  Since I Left You (4:22)
2.  Stay Another Season (2:18)
3.  Radio (4:22)
4.  Two Hearts In 3/4 Time (3:23)
5.  Avalanche Rock (0:22)
6.  Flight Tonight (3:53)
7.  Close To You (3:54)
8.  Diners Only (1:35)
9.  A Different Feeling (4:22)
10.  Electricity (3:29)
11.  Tonight (2:20)
12.  Pablo's Cruise (0:52)
13.  Frontier Psychiatrist (4:47)
14.  Etoh (5:02)
15.  Summer Crane (4:38)
16.  Little Journey (1:35)
17.  Live At Dominoes (5:39)
18.  Extra Kings (3:46)

("Frontier Psychiatrist")

("Since I Left You")


Friday, 25 March 2011

#480 - "Dear Science," - TV On The Radio

Released On:  Interscope, 2008

The brief, intense period of giddy hope that took place during and shortly after the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections had a soundtrack, Dear Science,.  It was also the moment when the Brooklyn band started injecting more pop into their careening experimentalism.  The result was a hooky, jazzy set of lean songs with passion and panache.  The propulsive thrust of "Red Dress" oozes sex, with horns and guitars twining around each other like lover's legs.  "Halfway Home" starts off in rather straightforward manner before leaping off into the mystic with an explosive push.  "Golden Age" (in itself a November '08 anthem) pushes and pulls with a sexy swagger.  "Family Tree" is the most accessible, immediate song in the TV On The Radio canon, an honest-to-god ballad by a band that had, thus far, completely eschewed such things.  A genuine "in-the-moment" classic.

Where You'd Know It From:  The album was a Top 40 hit.  "Golden Age" and "Dancing Choose" were both singles.  "DLZ" was used in Breaking Bad and The Vampire Diaries.

Track Listing:
1.  Halfway Home (5:31)
2.  Crying (4:10)
3.  Dancing Choose (2:56)
4.  Stork & Owl (4:01)
5.  Golden Age (4:11)
6.  Family Tree (5:33)
7.  Red Dress (4:25)
8.  Love Dog (5:36)
9.  Shout Me Out (4:15)
10.  DLZ (3:48)
11.  Lover's Day (5:54)

("Halfway Home")

("Golden Age")

("Family Tree")

Thursday, 24 March 2011

#481 - "Under The Bushes Under The Stars" - Guided By Voices

Released On:  Matador Records, 1996

Under The Bushes Under The Stars.  In the classic rock n' roll story that is GBV, the album is the beginning of the Big Change, where school teacher Bob Pollard's part-time band of uber-prolific garage rockers makes it (relatively) big and starts treading into the dangerous waters of Professional Rock.  It marked the first time the band didn't record everything themselves; Pixies and Breeders alum Kim Deal produced, adding proper volume consistency, and punchier sound.  It's also the first GBV album to feel like it's overstaying it's welcome; for a band that regularly put out 20-30 song albums, it is perhaps telling that the proceedings finally begin to drag a bit.  Most of it, however, is as brilliant as any thing else in the post-Propeller era.  "The Official Ironman Rally Song", their most accessible song to date, is the textbook example of a rock anthem.  "Your Name Is Wild", "Cut-Out Witch", and "Lord Of Overstock" find them with a punkier inflection courtesy of the new production kick.  "Bright Paper Werewolves", "Acorns And Orioles" and the haunting "Redmen And Their Wives" allow Pollard to show off his delicate, minor-key acoustic sensibilities (save for the loud-as-hell coda of the latter track).  An often-underrated indie classic from the Nineties' best band.

Where You'd Know It From:  "The Official Ironman Rally Song" had a video, that MTV played in the graveyard rotation.  I'm unsure as to whether or not MuchMusic ever played it.

Track Listing:
1.  Man Called Aerodynamics (2:01)
2.  Rhine Jive Click (1:34)
3.  Cut-Out Witch (3:04)
4.  Burning Flag Birthday Suit (2:22)
5.  The Official Ironman Rally Song (2:48)
6.  To Remake The Young Flyer (1:43)
7.  No Sky (2:03)
8.  Bright Paper Werewolves (1:14)
9.  Lord Of Overstock (2:34)
10.  Your Name Is Wild (2:01)
11.  Ghosts Of A Different Dream (2:30)
12.  Acorns & Orioles (2:12)
13.  Look At Them (2:27)
14.  The Perfect Life (0:59)
15.  Underwater Explosions (2:02)
16.  Atom Eyes (1:42)
17.  Don't Stop Now (2:39)
18.  Office Of Hearts (2:06)
19.  Big Boring Wedding (3:43)
20.  It's Like Soul Man (2:09)
21.  Drag Days (2:50)
22.  Sheetkickers (3:17)
23.  Redmen And Their Wives (3:55)
24.  Take To The Sky (1:50)

("The Official Ironman Rally Song")

("Redmen And Their Wives")

("Your Name Is Wild")

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

#482 - "Destroyer's Rubies" - Destroyer

Released On:  Merge Records, 2006

Dan Bejar's work with the New Pornographers can always be counted upon to be the most off-kilter, artsy songs on the record.  He has an eye for over-running lyrics and an ear for gracefully dancing melodies, both of which reach an apex on Destroyer's Rubies.  The album kicks out with the sprawling "Rubies", which showcases such typical dramatic lyrics as "all good things must come to an end/the bad ones just go on forever/isn't that what I just said?" and "Quiet Ruby, someone's coming/oh, it's just your precious American underground/and it is born of wealth/with not a writer in the lot".  That last line is telling; Bejar fancies himself as the intellectual author of the Oughts' indie set, and Destroyer's Rubies is the closest album to proving him correct.  It's sort of a lyrics geek's wet dream, especially when backed with such heady, tightly conceived indie-pop instrumentation.  Overshadowed though he is by his better-known supergroup, anyone with a love for the language owes it to themselves to pick up this record.

Where You'd Know It From:  More people will have heard of the New Pornographers than of the various solo works spawning from it (except maybe for Neko Case), but the indie heads will probably already have this album.

Track Listing:
1.  Rubies (9:25)
2.  Your Blood (4:14)
3.  European Oils (4:52)
4.  Painter In Your Pocket (4:09)
5.  Looters' Follies (7:25)
6.  3000 Flowers (3:46)
7.  A Dangerous Woman Up To A Point (6:01)
8.  Priest's Knees (3:06)
9.  Watercolours Into The Ocean (4:43)
10.  Sick Priest Learns To Last Forever (5:53)


("European Oils")

("3000 Flowers")

#483 - "Icky Mettle" - Archers Of Loaf

Released On:  Alias Records, 1993

A roaring debut album from North Carolina that was so great it was impossible for the band to ever follow it up. Swirling, punchy guitars jump out of every track and are wrestled into place by the drank-all-night vocals of Eric Bachmann.  Song after song careens wildly and lurches like all those great, sodden nights you had in university, crammed together into the space of an album.  An Nineties indie rock classic to measure all future indie rock classics against, to be sure.

Where You'd Know It From:  People who went to college in the Nineties and fell in love with indie rock.  They've never really gotten their due from the mainstream press; no one seems to go apeshit over rumours of reunion tours, unlike their contemporaries Pavement and Guided By Voices.

Track Listing:
1.  Web In Front (2:09)
2.  Last Word (3:35)
3.  Wrong (3:40)
4.  You And Me (3:10)
5.  Might (2:04)
6.  Hate Paste (2:46)
7.  Fat (1:19)
8.  Plumbline (2:09)
9.  Learo, You're A Hole (3:51)
10.  Sick File (1:42)
11.  Toast (4:38)
12.  Backwash (3:27)
13.  Slow Worm (3:32)

("Web In Front")



Monday, 21 March 2011

#484 - "None Shall Pass" - Aesop Rock

Released On:  Definitive Jux, 2007

Too dense to fully grasp on first (or even second) listen, Aesop Rock's flow is a thick river of sound that packs more lyrics into sixteen bars than certain rappers can manage in entire careers.  This everflowing wellspring of words is backed up by solid production from not only longtime producer Blockhead but from the man himself (who produced five of the fourteen tracks).  Every track hits hard and every track has something great to offer, whether it's the rapid-fire automatic bursts of "Getaway Car", the light-fingered paranoia of the title track, or the way the guitar-spackled, spacy intro to the lead-off track "Keep Off The Lawn" resolves into hard-edged funk and a battering-ram first verse from Aes.  How alive?  Too alive.

Where You'd Know It From:  It's alt-rap, so hipster periodicals and mouthy hip-hop heads.

Track Listing:
1.  Keep Off The Lawn (3:45)
2.  None Shall Pass (4:03)
3.  Catacomb Kids (4:07)
4.  Bring Back Pluto (4:29)
5.  Fumes (5:00)
6.  Getaway Car (ft. Cage and Breeze Brewin') (3:15)
7.  39 Theives (ft. EL-P) (4:15)
8.  The Harbor Is Yours (3:58)
9.  Citronella (4:53)
10.  Gun For The Whole Family (ft. EL-P)
11.  Five Fingers (4:06)
12.  No City (4:28)
13.  Dark Heart News (ft. Rob Sonic) (3:59)
14.  Coffee (ft. John Darnielle) (9:34)

("Keep Off The Lawn")

("None Shall Pass")

("Dark Heart News (ft. Rob Sonic)")

#485 - "Album" - Girls

Released On:  True Panther Sounds, 2009

The end of the generation provided some of the haziest, druggiest good-time music since the Brian Wilson hit the ground tripping.  Unfortunately, a lot of it took the lo-fi aesthetic to an extreme, pushing their recording equipment into the red and layering everything with an obliterating swath of distortion.  Girls took the opposite approach, keeping the laid-back, sunny California stoner vibe and ditching the standoffish recording style.  The result is one of the chillest albums made in the last thirty years, ranging from the wistful sigh of "Lust For Life", the white-hot beach-punk of "Big Bad Mean Motherfucker" and hitting every point in between.  "Laura" is the perfect song for sitting in bright sunlight and pining after some girl; "Hellhole Ratrace" is just a perfect song.  If this is the kind of music that comes out of being a former member of the Children Of God cult then maybe more members should pick up instruments.

Where You'd Know It From:  Hipsters playing endlessly in the summer of '09, My Life As Liz.

Track Listing:
1.  Lust For Life (2:25)
2.  Laura (4:51)
3.  Ghost Mouth (3:11)
4.  God Damned (2:17)
5.  Big Bad Mean Motherfucker (2:15)
6.  Hellhole Ratrace (6:56)
7.  Headache (4:00)
8.  Summertime (5:39)
9.  Lauren Marie (4:58)
10.  Morning Light (2:36)
11.  Curls (2:08)
12.  Darling (2:59)

("Lust For Life")


("Hellhole Ratrace")

Sunday, 20 March 2011

#486 - "Didn't It Rain" - Songs:Ohia

Released On:  Secretly Canadian, 2002

Heartbreaking folk-rock haunted by the ghost of gospel, evocations of the Sixties hangover of After The Gold Rush; Jason Molina was in a blue mood (4 of the 7 song titles reference "blue") and wrung it out in gorgeous tones.  These are songs meant to be played live in front of a very small audience, confessionals built to be uttered in smoky, sweaty rooms with sticky draft beer.  "Ring The Bell" and "Steve Albini's Blues" exemplify the album:  sorrowful folk songs played on well-loved instruments that build into meditational drones  and harrowing blues.  It sounds best when only lit by candles.

Where You'd Know It From:  Not exactly obscure, but obscure in the "people-who-don't-spend-their-sad-lives-worrying-about-music" kind of way.

Track Listing:
1.  Didn't It Rain (7:49)
2.  Steve Albini's Blues (5:51)
3.  Ring The Bell (6:11)
4.  Cross The Road, Molina (6:00)
5.  Blue Factory Flame (8:29)
6.  Two Blue Lights (2:14)
7.  Blue Chicago Moon (6:49)

Download It:


("Ring The Bell")

("Steve Albini's Blues")

("Blue Chicago Moon")

#487 - "Fear Of A Black Planet" - Public Enemy

Released On:  Def Jam / Columbia, 1990

Fear Of A Black Planet was recorded at the tail end of the controversy surrounding Professor Griff's claim that Jews were responsible for most of the wickedness in the world, and P.E. leader Chuck D's mishandling of the situation.  Consequently, the album is even angrier and more confrontational than it's angry, confrontational predecessor, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.  It's also denser than lead.  The Bomb Squad's production kicked off the 90's with a bang, incorporating anything and everything they could lay their hands on, piling samples on top of samples until it feels as though every recording from the previous twenty years is represented throughout.  Such events would rarely happen again; as the 90s progressed, the haters began equating sampling with stealing and such dense sampledelic stews would fall by the wayside.  The only real cringe-worthy moment is on "Meet The G That Killed Me", where Chuck descends into blatant homophobia, which seems like a big misstep on a record that eloquently describes the plight of African-Americans at the dawn of the last decade of the 20th Century.  Still, "Welcome To The Terrordome", "911 Is A Joke" and Do The Right Thing theme "Fight The Power" remain incisive, anthemic slabs of early hip-hop mastery.

Where You'd Know It From:  Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee's 1989 exploration of urban relations.  Many of the songs are old-school classics and get blasted at retro nights at the more urban clubs.  "Fight The Power" was on Def Jam Rapstar.

Track Listing:
1.  Contract On The World Love Jam (1:44)
2.  Brothers Gonna Work It Out (5:07)
3.  911 Is A Joke (3:17)
4.  Incident At 66.6 FM (1:37)
5.  Welcome To The Terrordome (5:25)
6.  Meet The G That Killed Me (0:44)
7.  Pollywanacraka (3:52)
8.  Anti-Nigger Machine (3:17)
9.  Burn Hollywood Burn (ft. Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane) (2:47)
10.  Power To The People (3:50)
11.  Who Stole The Soul? (3:49)
12.  Fear Of A Black Planet (3:45)
13.  Revolutionary Generation (5:43)
14.  Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man (2:46)
15.  Reggie Jax (1:35)
16.  Leave This Off Your Fuckin' Charts (2:31)
17.  B Side Wins Again (3:45)
18.  War At 33 1/3 (2:07)
19.  Final Count Of The Collision Between Us And The Damned (0:48)
20.  Fight The Power (4:42)

Download It:


("911 Is A Joke")

("Fight The Power")

("Welcome To The Terrordome")

Saturday, 19 March 2011

#488 - "Maybe It's Me" - Treble Charger

Released On:  Smokin' Worm / RCA, 1997

Balanced on the knife edge between the indie-ish, Built To Spill-lovin' band that came before and the trashy, boneheaded pop-punk band that would come after, Maybe It's Me is one the finest examples of "Pop-Rock" ever committed to plastic.  "Friend Of Mine" charges out of the gate like a bullet, with a distortion-wash intro fade-in that gets scratched into your soul pretty quickly.  Tracks like "Ever She Flows", "Stupid Thing To Say" and "Forever Knowing" marry the old There's Nothing Wrong With Love-style summer-breeze melodies with a confident, full-sounding alterna-rock backing.  The album centerpiece is, of course, one of the Great High School Ballads of the 90s, "Red", with it's wistful lyric and singalong chorus.  Like Heaven Tonight, it was a perfect album by a band that would never again achieve such gorgeous balance.

Where You'd Know It From:  If you grew up in Canada in the 90s, you likely know this album.  "How She Died" was used on a Hallowe'en episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Track Listing:
1.  Friend Of Mine (3:46)
2.  How She Died (3:18)
3.  Stupid Thing To Say (3:09)
4.  Kareen (4:22)
5.  Red (4:41)
6.  Fade (4:06)
7.  Ever She Flows (3:54)
8.  Forever Knowing (4:13)
9.  Mercury Smile (3:37)
10.  Christ Is On The Lawn (4:23)
11.  Scatterbrain (3:50)
12.  Takes Me Down (3:18)
13.  Left Feeling Odd (3:16)

Download It:

BUY IT:  (Yeah, iTunes doesn't carry it.  Shocking, huh?)

("Friend Of Mine")


("Ever She Flows")

#489 - "Drums Not Dead" - liars

Released On:  Mute Records, 2006

First off, those drums.  THOSE DRUMS.  If anyone were to ever ask for a working definition of "pagan" in relation to a drum sound, show 'em this album.  Recorded in a radio bunker in the formerly communist parts of Germany, those drums sound as though they're being pounded right beside you, sending seismic shocks through the deep parts of your soul.  Surrounding those drums are what is, for liars, a pretty ambient record:  where the album preceding it (2003's They Were Wrong So We Drowned) filled every available space with unsettling noise, Drums Not Dead is ripe with the sort of tension you feel alone, in a large house, just after sunset.  Then, right at the end, the band takes a hard left turn with "The Other Side Of Mr. Heart Attack" and ends the album with a brief moment of sunshine bursting through the windows.

Where You'd Know It From:  The Crystal Castles dancefloor remix of "It Fit When I Was A Kid", maybe.

Track Listing:
1.  Be Quiet Mr. Heart Attack! (3:28)
2.  Let's Not Wrestle Mr. Heart Attack (4:31)
3.  A Visit From Drum (4:19)
4.  Drum Gets A Glimpse (4:14)
5.  It Fit When I Was A Kid (4:02)
6.  The Wrong Coat For You Mr. Heart Attack (3:59)
7.  Hold You, Drum (4:42)
8.  It's All Blooming Now Mr. Heart Attack (3:09)
9.  Drum And The Uncomfortable Can (4:55)
10.  You, Drum (1:15)
11.  To Hold You, Drum (4:04)
12.  The Other Side Of Mr. Heart Attack (4:45)

Download It:


("It Fit When I Was A Kid")

("Lets Not Wrestle Mr Heart Attack")

("The Other Side Of Mr Heart Attack")

Friday, 18 March 2011

It's come to my attention...

That 64% of the people who've visited were using Internet Explorer.  Terrible.  To think that in this day and age people would still use such a medieval browser when things like Chrome walk the Earth.

#490 - "The Final Cut" - Pink Floyd

Released On:  Harvest Records, 1983

Bitter, dour, politically volatile songs, full of distrust of the past and a grim, peculiarly English fear about what the future would hold:  It was The Wall, with all of the illusory feel-good moments cast aside.  The Final Cut, when Roger Waters saw the inherent problems with the rise of neo-conservatism in the early 1980s and for one moment found himself in perfect agreement with bands like Crass.  Gilmour hated it, of course, and would take the band in a much more pedestrian direction after Waters left (see:  The Division Bell), but what made The Final Cut really excel was never about what David Gilmour brought.  Waters himself had the best explanation:
     "The Final Cut was about how, with the introduction of the Welfare State, we felt we were moving forward into something resembling a liberal country where we would all look after one another...but I'd seen all that chiselled away, and I'd seen a return to an almost Dickensian society under Margaret Thatcher"
(From Comfortably Numb - The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd, Mark Blake, 2008)

Where You'd Know It From:  Your dad's Pink Floyd collection, your stoner buddy's Pink Floyd collection, your Pink Floyd collection (you pothead).  It's Pink Floyd.  I imagine you've heard of them?  No?  Too plebian for you?

Track Listing:
1.  The Post War Dream (3:00)
2.  Your Possible Pasts (4:26)
3.  One Of The Few (1:11)
4.  When The Tigers Broke Free (3:16)
5.  The Hero's Return (2:42)
6.  The Gunner's Dream (5:18)
7.  Paranoid Eyes (3:41)
8.  Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert (1:17)
9.  The Fletcher Memorial Home (4:12)
10.  Southampton Dock (2:10)
11.  The Final Cut (4:45)
12.  Not Now John (4:56)
13.  Two Suns In The Sunset (5:20)

Download It:


("The Postwar Dream")

("When The Tigers Broke Free")

("The Fletcher Memorial Home")

#491 - "Tweez" - Slint

Released On:  Jennifer Hartman Records, 1989

In their review of In Utero Rolling Stone claimed that the riffs on "Scentless Apprentice" veered into Metallica territory.  As usual, Rolling Stone got something about the Second Postwar Generation wrong; the riff had a lot more in common with the zen-like, hypnotic riff that forms the backbone of "Kent", on Tweez.  Where later bands applied precision and pop-focus, though, Tweez applies a lot of randomness to the serpentine twists of it's math, and songs often change course two or three times in their path.  It's not very similar to the band's more well-known release (the near-perfect Spiderland) but it is a fascinating, heavy record, full of twists and riffs perfect for anyone who would keep Tool's contemporary album Opiate as a fellow traveler.

Where You'd Know It From:  I had to learn about it from 4chan.  There.  I said it.

Track Listing:
1.  Ron (1:55)
2.  Nan Ding (1:47)
3.  Carol (3:40)
4.  Kent (5:48)
5.  Charlotte (4:29)
6.  Darlene (3:05)
7.  Warren (2:32)
8.  Pat (3:35)
9.  Rhonda (2:56)

Download It:





Wednesday, 16 March 2011

#492 - "Mirrored" - Battles

Released On:  Warp Records, 2007

On Mirrored Battles proved that even prog-rock could be cool.  To pull off this rather interesting miracle, they took influences ranging through prog, math, and Kraut-rock, tossed them into a digital blender and spun it.  The results came out as the most danceable complexity you're likely to come across ever.  Witness the pulse-pounding lead-ins for "Race: In" or the Wizard Of Oz-referencing "Atlas".  Check out the way chaos forms into an actual song while you listen during "Rainbow".  The cover art was perfectly apt:  you're looking in on some ultra-dimensional band from beyond - one that also happens to play drums and guitars.

Where You'd Know It From:  A waiter at the Green Room in Toronto played it endlessly, apparently.  To the point where two successive members of my family have said "ugh, this waiter at the Green Room used to play this all the time.  No, no it's good.  It's just, he used to play it all the time" whenever I put it on.  Little Big Planet used "Atlas" very convincingly on a level.

Track Listing:
1.  Race: In (4:50)
2.  Atlas (7:07)
3.  Ddiamond (2:33)
4.  Tonto (7:43)
5.  Leyendecker (2:48)
6.  Rainbow (8:11)
7.  Bad Trails (5:18)
8.  Prismism (0:52)
9.  Snare Hangar (1:58)
10.  Tij (7:03)
11.  Race: Out (3:29)

Download It:





#493 - "This Is Our Music" - Galaxie 500

Released On:  Rough Trade, 1990

While This Is Our Music was never meant to be their final album, it feels like the perfect spot to end; the band always made dreamy, liquid music, but here the dream was starting to spiral down into sleep, and it was a good feeling.  The brash, electric feel of their two previous albums is still present in places:  see the relatively hard-charging lead-off track "Fourth Of July" (with it's "Candy Says"-nicking coda) and the shoegaze guitar-heroics of "Summertime" for further details.  The real centerpiece, however, is the band's hushed, gorgeous cover of Yoko Ono's "Listen, The Snow Is Falling", which approximates the sound of waking up beside someone you love with the sun filtering beautifully through the blinds.

Where You'd Know It From:  That indie-kid boyfriend you had in college who was always making you mixtapes.

Track Listing:
1.  Fourth Of July (5:36)
2.  Hearing Voices (3:34)
3.  Spook (4:37)
4.  Summertime (5:59)
5.  Way Up High (4:04)
6.  Listen, The Snow Is Falling (7:48)
7.  Sorry (4:15)
8.  Melt Away (4:36)
9.  King Of Spain, Part Two (5:08)

Download It:


("Fourth Of July")


("Listen, The Snow Is Falling")

Monday, 14 March 2011

#494 - "Generic Flipper" - Flipper

Released On:  Subterranean, 1982

In the noise-drenched songs presented on Generic Flipper, it's easy to see the squalling backdrops that Kurt Cobain would polish up and turn into In Utero a decade later.  The Sabbath-tempo power chords grind out a druggy, draggy atmosphere that takes hardcore and makes it despair.  The result is a trance-inducing bit of bleak riff-mining, a drone album masquerading as an earth-shattering punk rock album.  Nowhere is this more present than on the two side-ending tracks, the eight-minute "(I Saw You) Shine" that ends side A with an epically drawn-out headbang moment and album-closer "Sex Bomb", a seven-minute-plus exploration of one fundamental, primitive groove; if not for this album, the Melvins would likely never have existed.

Where You'd Know It From:  That twitchy hipster-punk you knew in college who played it endlessly.

Track Listing:
1.  Ever (2:56)
2.  Life Is Cheap (3:55)
3.  Shed No Tears (4:26)
4.  (I Saw You) Shine (8:31)
5.  Way Of The World (4:23)
6.  Life (4:44)
7.  Nothing (2:18)
8.  Living For The Depression (1:23)
9.  Sex Bomb (7:48)

Download It:


("Sex Bomb")


("(I Saw You) Shine")

#495 - "Smeared" - Sloan

Released On:  murderecords (1992), Geffen (1993)

"She was underwhelmed if that's a word / I know it's not 'cause I looked it up / That's one of those skills that I learned in my school".  Of such tongue-in-cheek beginnings was the entire saga of the Maritimes music scene made; the song ended up at #25 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and remains the band's most successful single outside Canada.  The album itself is a gloriously noisy pop gem, as much about Sonic Youth as it is the Beatles.  Later albums would de-emphasize the skronk in favour of more streamlined rock n' roll, but would never instantly ignite like this one.

Where You'd Know It From:  Some of the singles (OK, just "Underwhelmed", really) can be found on modern-rock format radio stations.  Fans of the 90's Halifax rock scene or just murderecords will probably have it in their collection.

Track Listing:
1.  Underwhelmed (4:41)
2.  Raspberry (4:02)
3.  I Am The Cancer (3:39)
4.  Median Strip (3:34)
5.  Take It In (3:56)
6.  500 Up (4:21)
7.  Marcus Said (4:32)
8.  Sugartune (3:27)
9.  Left Of Centre (2:34)
10.  Lemonzinger (4:10)
11.  Two Seater (3:04)
12.  What's There To Decide?  (4:19)

Download It:



("500 Up")

("Marcus Said"

Sunday, 13 March 2011

#496 - "By The Way" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Released On:  Warner Brothers, 2002

Subtlety has always been one thing the Chili Peppers have been lacking.  The brand of party-ready funk-punk explosions they traded in for the better part of their career was always in-your-face, brash, and very obviously sexualized.  Even when they got soft (like on the ubiquitous "Under The Bridge") it was a very obvious ballad structure, easy to recognize and awash in rock-star heroics.  John Frusciante was always a bit more evolved than that, however.  His second trip through the band's lineup would prove to be that rare and valuable beast, music that is commercial and creative gold.  Of the post-Californication albums, By The Way is the most delicate in terms of mood and melody; there is grace even in the dirtiest of funk, and the band manages to stop sexin' you up and starts making actual love to you on several occasions.

Where You'd Know It From:  listening to modern rock radio, where many of these songs are in long-term rotation.  Or, I don't know, drawing breath and living in North America since 2002.

Track Listing:
1.  By The Way (3:37)
2.  Universally Speaking (4:19)
3.  This Is The Place (4:17)
4.  Dosed (5:12)
5.  Don't Forget Me (4:37)
6.  The Zephyr Song (3:52)
7.  Can't Stop (4:29)
8.  I Could Die For You (3:13)
9.  Midnight (4:55)
10.  Throw Away Your Television (3:44)
11.  Cabron (3:38)
12.  Tear (5:17)
13.  On Mercury (3:28)
14.  Minor Thing (3:37)
15.  Warm Tape (4:16)
16.  Venice Queen (6:07)

Download It:


(By The Way)

(The Zephyr Song)

(Can't Stop)

#497 - "Geogaddi" - Boards Of Canada

Released On:  Warp Records, 2002

The band's name was always a bit confusing for the uninitiated; they were a couple of Scots but the name came from their use of the sort of warm, warbling synths that were often found in documentary shorts by the National Film Board Of Canada.  The intent of the music was also often confusing.  The melodies and motifs they explored in their particular brand of downtempo/ambient electronic were either child-like and innocent or dark and full of a chittering paranoia, depending on who you asked.  One thing that is certain, however, is that Geogaddi is classic electronic, full of dreamscape drum patterns and wobbly synths that border on a sort of disconnected madness.  I have rarely been as unsettled by something that is, on the surface, pretty unobjectionable stuff.

Where You'd Know It From:  Do you like Top Gear?  I personally don't but "1969" and "Julie And Candy" were both used in episodes.  The album was also a Top 40 the UK...

Track Listing:
1.  Ready Let's Go (0:59)
2.  Music Is Math (5:21)
3.  Beware The Friendly Stranger (0:37)
4.  Gyroscope (3:34)
5.  Dandelion (1:15)
6.  Sunshine Recorder (6:12)
7.  In The Annexe (1:22)
8.  Julie And Candy (5:30)
9.  The Smallest Weird Number (1:17)
10.  1969 (4:20)
11.  Energy Warning (0:35)
12.  The Beach At Redpoint (4:18)
13.  Opening The Mouth (1:11)
14.  Alpha And Omega (7:02)
15.  I Saw Drones (0:27)
16.  The Devil Is In The Details (3:53)
17.  A Is To B As B Is To C (1:40)
18.  Over The Horizon Radar (1:08)
19.  Dawn Chorus (3:55)
20.  Diving Station (1:26)
21.  You Could Feel The Sky (5:14)
22.  Corsair (2:52)
23.  Magic Window (1:46)

Download It:


(Music Is Math)

(Julie And Candy)


Saturday, 12 March 2011

#498 - "Oracular Spectacular" - MGMT

Released On:  Columbia/Red Ink, 2007 (Digital) 2008 (Physical)

The era of the Big Rock Star, which ruled the idea of rock n' roll in the 1960s and 70s, had one last huge fling in the hair-clogged 80's and keeled over dead, a victim of excess and self-parody.  The equation is simple:  take a Led Zeppelin, add time and mainstream dilution and out pops Warrant.  MGMT arrived too late to become globe-trotting Biggest-Star-On-Earth superstars, but slyly grinning irony is timeless and it is exactly that irony that propels Oracular Spectacular forward with such inhibition-shedding force.  The production work of Dave Fridmann, famous for his work with the Flaming Lips, probably has a lot to do with it as well; even while the album chuckles, it soars with the combined force of a thousand lesser albums.

Where You'd Know It From:  The Season 1 finale of Gossip Girl, the series premiere of that godawful remake of 90210, and the trailers for such winning, classic films as How To Lose Friends And Alienate People and Sex Drive all used the sublime "Time To Pretend".  Also, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, the party of cradle-robbing neo-con French President Nicolas Sarkozy, ripped off "Kids" on several occasions and even offered the band the generous sum of ONE WHOLE EURO to use it in the future.

Track Listing:
1.  Time To Pretend (4:21)
2.  Weekend Wars (4:12)
3.  The Youth (3:48)
4.  Electric Feel (3:49)
5.  Kids (5:02)
6.  4th Dimensional Transition (3:58)
7.  Pieces Of What (2:43)
8.  Of Moons, Birds, And Monsters (4:46)
9.  The Handshake (3:39)
10.  Future Reflections (4:00)

Download It:


(This video is MESSED UP by the way)