Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I've been listening to a lot of new music lately and I realized that I don't do a good job of communicating what that music is to you, my gentle reader. So here's a list of a what I've been blaring through my speakers lately to the dismay of my lovely girlfriend:


Score one for the winning formula of Pure Pop listening station + too much free time + money burning a proverbial hole in my pocket = SOLD! I bought the first Dungen album when it first came out & I remember listening to it once, not being that impressed & shelving it. I was bored and hanging out at PurePop one day and decided to give their new album a listen...and I was completely blown away. It's not that it's all that much different from the first album; it's just that my musical tastes have been more in line with the ProgBlog lately---I've developed a liking for metal drones and stoner rock that I never had before.

"Tio Bitar" goes from heavy, fuzzy and loud ("Intro") to jazzy and Can-esque ("Gor Det Nu") to pretty and gypsy-atmospheric ("C Visar Vagen")...and that's only during the first four tracks! There is literally something for everyone here; I would highly recommend this album.


This is still my favorite album of 2007. Kevin Barnes and company have not-so-slowly evolved from a Beatles-esque twee band to indie-poppers to synth-dance Club Kid poets over the past few years, and "Hissing Fauna..." is nothing short of a masterpiece. Catchy and fun instrumentals intermingle with some of the darkest and most depressing lyrics you'll find anywhere (it was strange to watch thousands of hipsters bopping around to songs about anti-depressants and nervous breakdowns at Pitchfork. Ok, well, maybe it's really not that strange).

The band is showing a tremendous amount of range musically and lyrically, especially surprising considering they were making Beatles-esque twee songs that all sounded essentially the same a few years back. "Hissing Fauna..." has great dance songs ("Suffer for Fashion", "Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse"), darker minor-chord & oscillator numbers ("Cato As A Pun", "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal") and even Prince and Beck-esque funk numbers like the falsetto-infused "Faberge Falls For Shuggie" and "Labyrinthian Pomp". A great album that deserves a couple critical listens if you haven't already.


It's pretty well know that rock "supergroups" typically fall flat on their face--or at least pale in comparison to the works of the individual acts on their own. However, Boris & Sunn O))) were able to somehow pull of the mean feat of not only retaining their individual styles on a collaborative work, but actually intermingling the techniques to create an incredibly cohesive and brutally beautiful album.

While both bands dabble in similar genres (doom drone/metal, psych/stoner rock, ambient noise, etc.), they still have a noticeably different sound (compare Boris' "Pink" with Sunn O)))'s "Black One" for a good comparison). Somehow though, they managed to blend all of the influence together into one of the tightest collaborations I have ever heard, filled with dark heavy drones, gentle ambient synths, brutal drumming & all types of vocal styles (heavily distorted, Leslied and vocoded on "Atom Heart Mother"-esque "Akuma No Kuma", then beautiful and ethereal on "The Sinking Belle"). This album will probably pass under a lot of radars since it is usually housed in the "Metal" section of the record store, trust someone who is not a metal guy at all & pick up this album.


As I mentioned previously, I've been on a bit of a psychedelic kick lately. I think it started when I picked up the Sabbath "Black Box" set a couple months ago and began revisiting Ozzy in his heyday.

I actually found out about Mammatus by accident, after I downloaded the wrong mp3 on in an Animal Collective chat room. The track was off of their newest album, "The Coast Explodes" which is also incredible. I ended up buying the album & then realized that they had an earlier, self-titled work as well.

While "The Coast Explodes" is definitely a progressive step forward (with more eastern-influenced experimentation), I've been listening to the first album more lately. It's a bit darker (at least in the first couple of tracks) and they keep the vocals more subdued and minimal than in the follow-up (trust me, vocals are not their strong point). With the exception of an overly jam-bandy final track (the pretentiously named "The Righteous Path Through the Forest of Old"), "Mammatus" is a really engaging and energetic album that suffers only from poor mastering compared to "The Coast Explodes". Both are currently available on CD, and "Mammatus" is available on vinyl. "The Coast Explodes" will be available in a special-edition 2xLP vinyl set very soon.

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