Tag Archives: music reviews

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Joy Division in Retrospect

1,528 words

On this day in 1977, a band from Salford, England called Warsaw took to the stage for the very first time in their career. They were supporting the Buzzcocks at the Electric Circus concert in Manchester.

“Warsaw” was the name chosen by a group of young men, namely Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Terry Mason, and Peter Hook, Read more …

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Reactions to Rammstein

826 words

Even on the waves there is fighting
Where fish and flesh are woven into sea
One stabs the lance while in the army
Another throws it into the ocean

— “Reise Reise” (2004) Read more …

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Hegel from the Ghetto

1,944 words

You’d rather see me in the pen
Than me and Lorenzo rollin’ in a Benz-o
Beat a police out of shape
And when I’m finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still getting swole off bread and water
I don’t know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down, and grabbing his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun, they can’t get none.

— N. W. A., “Fuck tha Police.” Read more …

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Crisis’ Holocaust Hymns

1,257 words

Crisis was an English punk-rock band formed in 1977 in Surrey. Their initial lineup consisted of Insect Robin the Cleaner, Phrazer, and the most famous two who didn’t have absurd nicknames: Douglas Pearce and Tony Wakeford. Crisis was explicitly a Leftist band, appearing at various Rock Against Racism concerts and collaborating with artists and organizers from the Anti-Nazi League. Read more …

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Arne Nordheim’s Draumkvedet

1,108 words

Arne Nordheim was the most celebrated Norwegian composer of the 20th century. He is known for both his avant-garde electronic works and his large-scale orchestral works and music dramas. Nordheim’s Draumkvedet (“The Dream Ballad”), a music drama based on the medieval Norse poem of the same name, fuses his modernist idiom with folk influences to great effect. Read more …

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Alcest’s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde

909 words

“Sure,” they say, “he flirted with far-right politics when he played in Peste Noire, but he’s changed.”

— Mainstream fans defending Neige’s musical heritage

French band Alcest is one of the premier exponents of the blackgaze scene. Read more …

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Changes’ Fire of Life

1,627 words

Changes can be considered the very first example of a neofolk band. Formed in 1969 by cousins Robert N. Taylor and Nicholas Tesluk, Changes has its roots in the earliest days of the folk revival and hippie scenes in the United States. Read more …

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Death in June’s Essence!

1,519 words

Essence! is the most recent batch of material from Douglas Pearce’s Death in June, released on November 30, 2018. Essence! pulls from the earlier output of 90s Death in June, including its eclectic sampling work, noisy elements, and tastefully perverse whip-cracks for its compositions. Pearce brings the Death in June sound into the modern age, however Read more …

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Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

1,210 words

Rumours was recorded by putting five musicians who hated each other inside of the same room for two months. The results were immaculate.

This seems to be contrary to logic, however. Wouldn’t forcing several creative types — people infamous for their egos — who have major beef with each other to work on the same project end in disaster? Read more …

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Sol Invictus’ In the Rain

2,035 words

Sol Invictus, fronted by Tony Wakeford, is one of the “neofolk” scene’s best-known groups, alongside Death in June and Current 93. Sol Invictus emerged following Wakeford’s departure from Death in June — and later departure from controversial Above the Ruins — with a sound that progressively became lighter and more classically-inspired than most of what can be considered “neofolk.” Read more …

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Current 93’s Swastikas for Noddy

2,254 words

Current 93 is a neofolk group fronted by David Tibet. Its name is derived from Aleister Crowley’s numerological manipulation of the words Thelema and agape, the “93 Current” of the present age.

If that’s not weird enough for you, it gets better! Read more …

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Cliff Martinez’s Contagion: Original Soundtrack

1,661 words

There is a new infectious disease sweeping the planet, and those it doesn’t infect or kill, it locks behind closed doors. Modern man can’t sit still for longer than five seconds, so while we hide from the impacts of a lethal virus, we pass the time by watching movies about the impacts of a lethal virus. Torrenting numbers for Scott Z. Burns’ Steven Soderbergh-directed 2011 thriller Contagion are through the roof, Read more …

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Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts V & VI: Together & Locusts

2,385 words

Nine Inch Nails released the albums Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts simultaneously on March 26th, 2020 with a whopping price tag of free. Trent Reznor, the group’s central creative member, announced the surprise records with a Tweet: “Anyone out there?” Read more …

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Morrissey’s I Am Not a Dog on a Chain

1,926 words

How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?

Morrissey, our favorite gay (postulated) racist (dismissed) vegan (confirmed), released his 13th solo album today, March 20th, 2020. It is called I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, which is a fantastic example of just how kneecapped the self-awareness of the rich and famous can be. Read more …

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Elle King’s Love Stuff & Shake the Spirit

2,243 words American singer-songwriter Elle King.

Tanner Elle Schneider, better known by her stage name Elle King, is an up-and-coming musician in the genre of American roots music. Her specific style has several influences, the confluence of which arrives at a triple point between rock, country, and blues. The overall effect often is a bit hypnotic. Her singing voice is even more unique, compelling, and slightly reminiscent of Janis Joplin. Read more …

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Burzum’s Thulêan Mysteries

2,232 words

Thulêan Mysteries is the 13th album released by infamous Varg Vikernes under his working name Burzum. Mysteries comes after Vikernes previously stated that he was finished recording under the Burzum name. To that effect, Mysteries is a collection of tracks that Vikernes has been working on since his last album that were not intended for release as a cohesive unit. Read more …

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Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young’s Déjà Vu

1,344 words

Déjà Vu, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s first recording as a quartet, was released on this day, March 11th, in 1970. It was greeted with a mixed reception by critics at the time of its release, but has since come to be included in innumerable “best of” lists and is frequently cited as the best work of the group. Taken as a whole, Déjà Vu displays impressive attention to detail and warm, friendly tone, but similarly lacks Read more …

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50 Years of “Cat Food”

705 words

King Crimson’s “Cat Food” was originally released in 1970. It’s a chaotic, piano-centric slice of pop fun that helped cement King Crimson’s image in the eyes of the public as being capable of more than dreary ruminations on dying or losing your mind, as their highly-acclaimed 1969 album In the Court of the Crimson King mostly focused on. Read more …

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Death in June’s The Rule of Thirds

1,784 words

Released 12 years ago yesterday, March 3rd, 2008, Death in June’s The Rule of Thirds is a somber and introspective record that tussles with the concepts of aging and death, love lost, and the decay of the surrounding world. It’s recorded in the characteristic stripped-back, solemn, guitar-centric style of Douglas Pearce, Death in June’s sole constant member, Read more …

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Bond Songs, From Best to Worst

1,548 words

Is Billie Eilish’s new Bond song, “No Time to Die,” the worst Bond song ever? Close. But sadly, there is a lot of competition for that title. Here is my ranking, from best to worst.

Note: Not every Bond theme is a Bond song. Doctor No and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have instrumental themes. Beyond that, many Bond movies contain non-theme songs that are, nevertheless, strongly associated with the films. I will discuss two of them here.  Read more …

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Real Estate’s The Main Thing

1,536 words

The Main Thing, the fifth studio album from the corduroy indie band Real Estate, was released today, February 28, 2020. It contains some of their most mature work yet, coupled with a healthy attitude towards introducing more complex synthesizer work and poetic lyricism for an album that can be beautiful in its feather-lightness. Read more …

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Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die”

863 words

Eilish. Billie Eilish.

Never afraid to wring every drop of money out of a pop sensation, this is who the film industry is having sing the theme to the new James Bond film, No Time to Die. The media is billing this interestingly; the New York Times covered the song with glowing praise and a mention of Eilish being the youngest person to ever record a Bond theme. Read more …

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Grimes’ Miss Anthropocene

1,683 words

Miss Anthropocene is the fifth full-length release of Canadian avant-pop songstress Claire Boucher, known professionally as Grimes, and it’s considerably darker than much of her previous work. This is fitting — Grimes has stated that the concept of Miss Anthropocene, a triple-entendre, is that of an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change.” If this sounds like a bunch of woo nonsense to you, you’d be (mostly) correct. Read more …

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One Day as a Lion

1,556 words

Rage Against the Machine is going on a reunion tour. How unexpected! The highlight of this roadshow, which they are calling the “Public Service Announcement” Tour, will be a series of dates played in or near infamous American border towns like San Antonio, Las Cruces, Phoenix, and the band’s hometown of Los Angeles. Read more …

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Valentine’s Day Special:
Alessandra Mussolini’s Amore

1,122 words

It’s February 14th, and love is in the air. What better way to soundtrack today’s romantic escapades than with Alessandra Mussolini — the granddaughter of Il Duce himself — and her sultry, Japanese-released city-pop record, Amore?

Released in 1982 exclusively for the Japanese market, Read more …

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Iggy & the Stooges’ Raw Power

1,563 wordsCover of Iggy and the Stooges' Raw Power.

Iggy and the Stooges released the proto-punk slammer Raw Power on this day, February 7th, in 1973. It’s a raw, aggressive record that set the tone for genres as diverse in sound and era as punk, hardcore, grunge, and metal. Raw Power is also an early example of the importance of mixing and the dangers — or benefits — of studio control being handed to musicians.  Read more …

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Squarepusher’s Be Up a Hello

1,626 wordsCover of the Squarepusher album, Be Up a Hello.

Tom Jenkinson, the Warp Records mainstay better known as Squarepusher, released his 15th studio album on January 30th. It’s called Be Up a Hello, likely a reference to the old days of game controller cheat code combinations, and it marks a return to Jenkinson’s old production methods. Read more …

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Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead

1,674 words

Few recording groups in human history have left behind a wholly worthless legacy. But then there’s the Grateful Dead, who are remarkable for their ability to poison an entire music scene with their catalog of half-baked, consumerizing, milquetoast wannabe-radical jam band masturbation — and then get praised by music journalists from 1960 to 2020.

Read more …

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Billie Eilish’s WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

2,210 wordsCover of Billie Eilish's "WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?"

Billie Eilish is the youngest person to ever be awarded Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, for her debut effort WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? [1] At just 18, she swept the ceremonies, earning over 60 awards in categories that ranged from Best New Artist to Best Song. Read more …

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Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats

1,224 wordsCover of the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats.

One of the first albums to be recorded on 16-track tape, Hot Rats spawned a jazz standard, a sprawling meditation on prostitution, and some of Captain Beefheart’s best vocal work outside of Trout Mask Replica. It’s mostly instrumental, but does not lack any substance, and the sounds it contains are both timeless and reflective of the late 1960s. Read more …

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