August 3, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-08-03

Baroness - Live at Maida Vale Side B

* Poulenc: Works For Piano (Parkin) (d.2-3) (Chandos 3CD)
* Poulenc: Complete Chamber Music (Nash Ensemble) (d.1) (Hyperion 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Media Dreams (d.2) (Saturn/Art Yard 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Disco 3000: The Complete Concert (Saturn/Art Yard 2CD)
* Lowell Davidson: Trio (ESP-Disk’ CD)
* Larry Coryell: Spaces (Vanguard LP)
* Pat Metheny: Watercolors (ECM LP)
* Pat Metheny: New Chautauqua (ECM LP)
* Steve Tibbetts: Yr (ECM LP)
* Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires: Second Sight (ECM LP)
* Last Exit: Iron Path (Virgin CD)
* Mark Nauseef/Ikue Mori/Evan Parker/Bill Laswell: Near Nadir (Tzadik CD)
* Divination (Bill Laswell/Laraaji): Sacrifice (Meta CD)
* Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Moers Festival, Germany 2012-05-26 (FM FLAC)
* Mary Halvorson Quintet: Saalfelden, Austria 2012-08-25 (FM FLAC)
* Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You (Atlantic/Mobile Fidelity CD)
* Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia CD)(†/‡)
* Daft Punk: “Get Lucky” (Columbia 12”)†/‡
* John Fahey: John Fahey Visits Washington, D.C. (Takoma LP)
* Grateful Dead: Madison Square Garden, NYC 1987-09-18 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Madison Square Garden, NYC 1987-09-19 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Eric Clapton: Slowhand (RSO/Mobile Fidelity LP)
* Camel: Rain Dances (Deram/EMI CD)†/‡
* Uriah Heep: The Magician’s Birthday (Mercury LP)
* The Police: Synchronicity (A&M SACD)
* U2: Achtung, Baby (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)†
* Talk Talk: The Colour Of Spring (EMI LP/DVD)
* Talk Talk: Spirit Of Eden (EMI LP/DVD)
* Tears For Fears: The Hurting (Mercury LP)
* Tears For Fears: Songs From The Big Chair (Mercury LP)
* The Dream Academy: The Dream Academy (Warner Bros. LP)
* ABC: The Look Of Love (Mercury LP)
* ABC: Beauty Stab (Mercury LP)
* ABC: How To Be A Zillionaire (Mercury LP)
* The Art Of Noise: Who’s Afraid Of…! (The Art Of Noise) (Island LP)
* Robert Pollard: Honey Locust Honky Tonk (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Yo La Tengo: Fade (Matador LP)
* Queens Of The Stoneage: …Like Clockwork (Matador 2-45RPM LP)
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/Sony CD/DVD)
* Katatonia: The Great Cold Distance (Peaceville 2LP)
* Katatonia: Night Is The New Day (Peaceville CD)
* Anathema: Weather Systems (The End 2LP)
* Kylesa: Spiral Shadow (Seasons of Mist LP)
* Kylesa: Ultraviolet (Seasons of Mist 2-45RPM LP)
* Baroness: Live At Maida Vale (BBC/Relapse EP)
* Black Tusk: Tend No Wounds (Relapse EP)
* Animal Collective: Centipede Hz (Domino 2LP/24-bit FLAC)
* Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity (Polyvinyl LP)
* Deerhoof: Deerhoof Vs. Evil (Polyvinyl LP)
* Deerhoof: Breakup Songs (Polyvinyl LP)
* Locrian: The Clearing & The Final Epoch (Relapse 2CD)
* Locrian: Return To Annihilation (Relapse 2-45RPM LP/CD)
* True Widow: Circumambulation (Relapse LP)
* ASG: Blood Drive (Relapse 2-45RPM LP)†/‡
* Lord Dying: Summon The Faithless (Relapse LP)



Lots of interesting releases on the Relapse Records label lately, most notably this vinyl-only EP from Baroness, Live At Maida Vale. Check out the bad-ass etching on the B-Side drawn by leader John Dyer Baizley, who is also a gifted visual artist, his work gracing a number of album covers by numerous bands besides his own. Man, that is just too cool! The A-side consists of the band ripping through four songs from last year’s brilliant double-album Yellow & Green, recorded in July 2012 for the BBC, just before the near-fatal bus accident that derailed the band for nearly a year. Now back on a lengthy world tour, this limited edition EP shows how these guys bring it on stage – albeit now with a new rhythm section, with bassist Matt Maggione and drummer Allen Bickle having left the band in the wake of the horrific incident. The reborn Baroness is nothing short of miraculous and this lovingly produced EP is a fitting testimony to their former bandmates. Good stuff!

Blood Drive, the Relapse debut from North Carolina’s, ASG (a/k/a All Systems Go), is a huge leap forward from their bar-band roots, with sharp songwriting and big hooks across broad range of feels and grooves, from acoustic ballads to head-banging bliss. Jason Shi’s distinctive voice carries these songs, comfortably ranging from a warm, baritone croon to a soulful, whiskey-soaked tenor to the occasional horrifically blackened shrieks. Overall this is more workingman’s rock than metal per sé, but there is enough variety on Blood Drive to appeal to a wide range of music fans outside the metal underground. Ably produced by Matt Hyde, the double-LP is pressed at 45-RPM and sounds really nice. The vinyl edition also contains an additional track, “Mourning of the Earth," a nice bonus. ASG is definitely a band to watch.

The prolific Chicago-based collective, Locrian, has recently dropped Return to Annihilation, which, despite the portentous title, is their most accessible and downright pleasurable release to date. Combining intense power electronics, drone-y, post-rock ambience with touches of black metal fury, the band has upped the ante considerably with this gripping, wrenchingly beautiful album. Not for everybody, certainly, but if you’re open to this kind of thing, Return to Annihilation is an utterly engrossing musical journey—and, again, the colored-vinyl edition is pressed at 45-RPM for superior sonics. This is a record I return to again and again only to hear it anew every time—definitely one of the top releases of 2013 so far.

Dallas-based True Widow is another up-and-coming band making their first LP for Relapse, Circumabulation, and it’s a bit unusual for the label. Despite the requisite heaviness and distorted guitars, they sound more like gloomy indie-rockers, Anglophiles besotted with Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain. And although the shambling, simplistic song structures have a scrappy, just-learned-to-play-our-instruments charm, it is the yin/yang, male/female vocal pairings that make these tracks memorable and elevates the record to something beyond merely derivative. Perfect for a rainy, dreary day.

Portland’s Lord Dying, on the other hand, fits right into the Relapse roster, with their chugging, death-obsessed, prog-inflected sludge. Sporting a fantastically creepy cover and song titles like “In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment,” “Dreams of Mercy” and “Perverse Osmosis” you know exactly what you’re getting with Summon the Faithless, their first full-length album. Despite the sometimes rote songwriting, Lord Dying’s youthful energy and enthusiasm is completely enthralling. These guys are clearly hungry and ambitious and Relapse is the perfect label to nurture their growth. Definitely another band to watch.

Finally, label stalwarts Black Tusk have a new EP out called Tend No Wounds. Like Baroness, the Tusk are in the midst of a massive tour and this record is something of a stop-gap measure, a bit of merch to sell on the road. Even so, it’s a groovy slab of 45-RPM goodness housed in a sick, glossy jacket illustrated by Brian Mercer. There’s nothing really new going on here but the string section on “The Weak and the Wise” points in an interesting direction. Tend No Wounds is a nice collectable, if nothing elseand imminently listentable to boot.

Summertime is usually a slow period for new releases but Relapse is bucking that trend with a full slate of strong records coming out in the past few weeks. Rock on!

1 comment:

Sam said...

That illustrated vinyl looks pretty cool!

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2013-08-05:

*Anthony Braxton/Ann Rhodes: GTM (Syntax) 2003
*Anthony Braxton/Gyorgy Szabados/Vladimir Tarasov: Triotone
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2011-12/2012-12 Nashville
*Duke Ellington: The Private Collection, Vol. 2: Studio Sessions Chicago 1957, New York 1962
*Duke Ellington: The Private Collection, Vol. 5: Studio Sessions 1957, 1965, 1966, 1967
*Duke Ellington: The Private Collection, Vol. 6: Studio Sessions New York 1968
*Duke Ellington: The Private Collection, Vol. 8: Studio Sessions New York, Chicago 1965, 1966, 1971
*Roscoe Mitchell Septet: 1976-02-08 Studio Rivbea, NY (CDR)
*New Loft: 2013-07-27 Snake Oil Recording, Richmond VA
*Charlie Parker: Complete Jazz at Massey Hall
*Secret Keeper: 2013-05-10 Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville
*Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers (disc 3)
*Sun Ra: Continuation (Saturn/Corbett vs. Dempsey 2CD)
*Scott Brookman: Smellicopter
*Chris Clark: Soul Sounds
*Deerhunter: Monomania
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2013-07-26 (wav)
*Flaming Lips: The Terror
*Grateful Dead: 1972-05-03 Paris (CDR) discs 1, 2, 4
*Grateful Dead: 1972-05-07 Wigan, England (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1972-05-10 Amsterdam (CDR) disc 1
*Grateful Dead: 1972-05-13 Lille, France (CDR) “Truckin’>Drums>The Other One>He’s Gone”
*Pere Ubu: Lady from Shanghai
*Prince: 2013 leaks 1 (boot CDR)
*Sleeping People: Growing
*Various artists: Sitar Beat! Indian Style Heavy Funk Vol. 2

Reading List 2013-08-05:

*Ellroy, James. The Hilliker Curse (started)
*Esslemont, Ian C. Blood and Bone (finished)
*Theroux, Alexander. Laura Warholic, or, The Sexual Intellectual (finished)
*Hyde, Lewis. Common as Air (in progress)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (in progress)