Friday, January 29, 2010

Restorations - Live on the Pink Couch

Restorations - Strange Behavior from If You Make It on Vimeo.

So these folks are ex-Jena Berlin(or Jena Berlin changed their name? I'm not honestly sure, I know most of these guys are/were in Jena Berlin.) This song reminds me of some Hanalei songs. You can stream their 7-in here. I'm very excited to hear new songs from these guys because Jena Berlin's "Quo Vadimus" is one of my favorite unexpected discoveries.

I was working at my college radio station, and we had about $4000 left over at the end of the year, so we decided to have a party. I ended up booking Nakatomi Plaza and their touring partner, Jena Berlin to play a house on campus, and it was a fantastic show. Nakatomi Plaza was, as always, tremendous, and Jena Berlin really blew me away with their aggressive brand of post-punk, so yeah, it's definitely exciting to see them continuing to create new music.

RVIVR - Derailer 7-in

I just keep listening to this song over and over. It's not been a particularly great couple of days, and it's fucking cold in Chicago, and for some reason, RVIVR is melodic punk that sounds like winter to me. Like the best Lawrence Arms songs, or the early Alkaline Trio, triumphant and fucked up and angry and bitter. This is not to imply that RVIVR really sounds like those bands. Just there's something similar in the conviction. Anyway, they've got a full length coming out later this year. Should be pretty great.

RVIVR - Derailer

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicago in Feb, a Guide

Chicago is freezing fucking cold right now, and there's no better way to warm up than going to see live music. Here's a couple shows that I'm excited about, and will hopefully be attending, job situation willing.

Feb 4 - Sweet Cobra @ Beat Kitchen

Feb. 5 - Algernon Cadwallader @ Strangelight

Feb. 7 - Drunkdriver @ Halfway House(Drunkdriver is also playing a free in-store at Reckless Records earlier in the day.)

Feb. 12 - Millions @ Ronny's

Feb. 15 - imadethismistake @ Ronny's

Feb. 17 - Blue Ribbon Glee Club @ Ronny's

Feb. 27 - Justin Townes Earle @ Lincoln Hall

Feb. 28 - Blacklisted/Harm's Way @ Sub-T's

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - The Shadow Out of Tim

On The Shadow out of Tim, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets have finally produced an album that successfully manages to mix their weird brand of humor without sacrificing the crawling horror of the work of their inspiration, H. P. Lovecraft. The Shadow out of Tim is a re-telling of the HPL story "The Shadow out of Time", a "rock opera" in the parlance of our times. Most of the music is catchy, but straight-ahead rock with tinges of punk and heavy metal providing a bit of flair. The notable exceptions include "Chapter V: Return To Melanesia", a mostly percussion/vocal based number and "Chapter IX: Ride The Flying Polyp" which provides a charmingly entertaining King Diamond impersonation by Toren Atkinson, the lead singer. It should be noted that Toren has a gift for making HPL-style vocabulary sound absolutely normal in the context of a rock song. Given HPL's tendency to use turgid and florid prose more often then not, this is a true talent.

The most impressive bit about this album is how it slowly sucks you into the creeping horror of Tim's plight. The songs start bouncy and charming and slowly get darker and more foreboding as the situation unfolds. Luckily, the Thickets avoid the biggest risk with more serious material and never become turgid parodies of their normal fare, instead opting for a Lovecraftian less-is-more tactic, narrating their narrator's shock at what he sees inside of explaining exactly what he is terrified of. Somewhere, Nyarlathotep is smiling.

Visit the Thickets at their website, and you can purchese the physical cd from them here or from CDBaby.

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets - Chapter V : Return To Melanesia

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whourkr - Concrete

This is the catchiest album of stuttery, glitchy, drum-machine driven grindcore imaginable. Imagine Alec Empire-tinged digital violence mixed with the pop sensibilities of Mike Patton and Melt Banana, and you're close to the madness this French duo create. In "Slaagt," chopped and processed pig-gurgle vocals swirl around clipped guitar riffs, with drum machine blasts grunting underneath and then all of a sudden there is peace, a soaring operatic vocal line over piano and then again the song takes over, skittering drums and yelping vocals obliterating the calm. The entire album veers from extreme to extreme to extreme, constantly shocking your expectations, but never at the expense of cohesiveness or listenability. These songs chitter and squall like alien parasites, and nest in your fore-brain the same way. Highly recommended.

Crucial Blast is re-leasing this beast, pick it up here.

Whourkr - Bore Injektion

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2009, a retrospective, the end.


Drakkar Sauna - 20009

"He aimed for the stars and often hit London."
- Mort Sahl, on Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun

"I aim for the stars, but sometimes I hit London. Surely that's got to mean something."
- "Von Braun at Nuremberg (For Mort Sahl)", by Drakkar Sauna

Drakkar Sauna provide a manic look at the history and future of space travel, ranging from ancient Eygpt, to the Moon Colonies of the 25th Century, careening along with the sensibilities of a 1950's pulp writer on LSD. Musically, they're a country band, landing somewhere between the close harmony styling of the Louvin Brothers(who Drakkar Sauna covered extensively) and the New Weird America school of folk. Lyrically, Drakkar Sauna knocks everyone else out of the park. When I compared them to 1950's sci-fi, I'm talking Ray Bradbury-esque resonance. Bradbury had the uncanny ability to elicit strong emotional reactions despite his fantastic settings or stories. His stories were about alienation, rootlessness, the need to create, the need to discover, and Drakkar Sauna has tapped into these same anxieties. The characters on display here were flawed before space, space just throws everything into sharp relief. Too much clarity is a curse.

Drakkar Sauna - Von Braun at Nuremberg (For Mort Sahl)

Friday, January 22, 2010

2009, a retrospective pt. 2


Liturgy - Renihilation

This is the light at the end of the tunnel. Inhuman, alien, unfathomable. Black metal beyond hatred, beyond the silly trappings of cartoonish Satanism or NS ideals, black metal with purpose and clarity. Riffs that owe as much to Glenn Branca as Burzum, drumming out of space and colour, there is something unsettling in this music. It's draped in the familiar tremolo wash of black metal, but a mad robotic heart beats at the core of it, terrifyingly efficient. This is the sound of black metal to come.

Liturgy - Pagan Dawn

2009, a retrospective pt. 3


Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

This album kept surprising me. I returned to it periodically, throughout the year, and kept finding new and lovely things about it. I fell in love with each song on the album, slowly switching between favorites. Neko Case provides an album that is essentially about the dark side of nature(including human). Between her stunning voice, and her deft lyrical hand, the beauty in the phrase "nature, red in tooth and claw" is showcased. Her backing musicians(which include M. Ward, Howe Gelb and Sarah Harmer) deserve as much acclaim as Ms. Case. The music remains interesting while never distracting from the words being sung. Beautiful album. Absolutely beautiful.

Neko Case - People Got A Lotta Nerve


I am sorry I didn't finish my list even close to on time. My job has really kicked up this month, and as a result, I've had absolutely no time to write or even think about writing. It'll be done today, and hopefully I can get a head start on some other things I've been thinking about lately.