Tone Worlds, Noise-Rock Spew, Passion Fruit Dub
“Who are your guys?”
Gendered question aside, I always found this prompt from Marc Maron's WTF podcast amusing, eye rolling and useful. (Can't say I've listened to an episode in years, but still admire his skill as an interviewer.) This is record store clerk shorthand for your ride-or-dies, the artists who get you and maybe you get them, too.
I recently spent an hour tweeting about Low and ranking my favorite albums
There's no voice I covet more than Scott Walker's harrowingly tender croon
Manilla Road's epic metal owns a solid two blocks of an Ikea Expedit
There's seemingly a Neil Young record for every significant event/era of my life (young ambition, breakups, depression, epiphanies, marriage, childbirth)
There's always a Paramore CD in the car; "Now" makes me cry every time, without fail
I have three or four Starflyer 59 essays in my head that just need to be written already
I own an MF DOOM lunchbox
Mariah Carey is my queen
Don Cherry is another one of "my guys." So how thrilled was I to read that Blank Forms will not only release some previously unheard music but also an academic journal dedicated to his late '60s and early '70s work with Moki Cherry.
More than the Coltranes, more than Ayler, even more than Sharrock, Cherry expanded my music consciousness as a living, breathing, evolving and universal being. More to come, hopefully on NPR Music, but just wanted to share the news!
A new sixer (almost) every week. Follow my collection on Bandcamp.
USA/Mexico, Del Rio (12XU / Riot Season): This is the kind of blasted, slow-motion noise-rock spew that makes me wanna do my best Byron Coley impression, tripping over mixed metaphors and debased imagery to somehow capture the ugly-ass music contained herein. Del Rio is a bloody, muddy bulldozer of mangled amplifiers, dumpster howls and riffs so slow and weird that they become streaks of distorted grease running down your cheeks.
William Parker, Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (AUM Fidelity): Not gonna lie to y'all: I have not listened to all 10 volumes (594 minutes!) of this pretty major musical achievement. But I'm trying to be better about giving out flowers to the musicians I admire while they are creating, so consider this both a heartfelt recommendation as well as an accountable note to return often to these compositions that span the breath of William Parker's remarkable, human music.
Predznanie / Культодиночества / Vrazek, Split (HИИ): It took last year's deep dive into the Russian underground to fall back in love with gothic rock… or rather, the slippery slope that somehow includes post-punk, coldwave, dark ambient and all manners of austere expression. Predznanie tosses a death-metal howl into its Joy Division worship every now and again; Vrazek's urgent post-punk crosses into emo territory; Kультодиночества smears shoegaze and cloud-rap textures over electro-pop drama in a way that reminds me of early Future Islands. But the best tracks are the collabs between Vrazek and Kультодиночества, a blackened post-punk rager that scratches an Amesoeurs itch.
Fax Gang, Aethernet (No Agreements): The kids are calling this "surge." For a generation that doesn't like to be labeled, they really love to name extremely niche genres. ANYWAY, my dude Mano is trying to convert me to hyperpop besides Charli XCX, so he got in DMs about Fax Gang. To these Millennial Oldz ears, Aethernet's chiptune-smashed pop pretty convincingly pummels DNTEL, mall-punk malaise, shoegaze noise and the earnest, Auto-Tuned confessionals of 808s & Heartbreak into a blurred bummer. The palette's monochromatic, but paints a static haze.
INYECCIÓN, Demo (Educación Cínica / Discos Enfermos / Planeta Destrozado): Bristling punk from Chile and Argentina. Dueling vocalists scream over tin-can guitar distortion, sounding like a cross between Exit Order and a 5th generation dub of a Hellhammer demo.
Yu Su, Yellow River Blue (bié): Like Maral's Push, here's another record that makes me yearn for a dark basement with a robust sound system, but maybe sipping a passion fruit cocktail in neon lighting. Yu Su's music simultaneously sinks into soft sheets of ambient dub and sprinkles airy melodies atop downtempo house, but is dynamically designed to catch your ears as you float away.
28 tracks. Haunted Shed has a classic Athens indie-rock sound. The Cosmic Truth's got a thing for Traced in Air-era Cynic, but who doesn't? Rubbery ambient dub from Tomaga. Crunk is not dead; Duke Deuce is here to shout you into hype oblivion. I want to watch DijahSB win. Archival dream-pop bliss via His Name is Alive. Mr. Bungle came back in 2020, so Tomahawk's here for 2021. New Pagans has a little Life Without Buildings in them. Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Bill Callahan and Ben Chasny lay down some weirdo fuzz on a Palace fave. I always knew that Sam Woodring (formerly of Two Inch Astronaut, now Mister Goblin) had a bittersweet ballad in him, just never knew it'd be about Six Flags (featuring Sadie Dupuis). Throwbacks to Guadalcanal Diary, Love Tractor and all of "my guys."
RIYL lettuce punch you
What: One Perfect HEADshot (Twitter)
Why: With a toddler at home and movie nights limited to, well, Pixar or Disney nostalgia surely marred by problematic tropes and racist caricatures, I don't have much opportunity to watch action flicks right now. Not gore, mind you, but just lots of punching, kicking, car chasing and fighting with knives and guns. This Twitter account shares clips of the dirtiest brawling, the most outrageous stunts and the silliest slapstick from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Korea… oh, and sometimes the U.S. It's enough to fulfill my face-punching lust, and expand a long list of movies to watch. Their love for Jackie Chan, too, is so charming to me, because it's exactly Jackie Chan's choreographed musicality that opened action cinema to me.