One might be well inclined to meet Sierra’s earnestness and e-hustling with a little cynicism. The debut EP, after all, when pre-ordered came with a signed poster, a postcard, and was limited to one hundred copies that were individually numbered.
It’s been seven long years since Bigg Jus released a record – the excellent Poor People’s Day – but an even longer nine years since he has referred to himself as Kingspitter. This is telling, the resurrection of the persona that tore shit apart on Black Mamba Serums but was curbed for the musicality and consistency of theme of Poor People’s Day.
We can speculate, to be sure, of what happened in the five years between Aesop Rock’s last record and this one, and how much of what did happen made its way into Skelethon, and it had been a tough five years: good friend and collaborator, Camu Tao, died, El-P pulled Def Jux into hiatus and Aes’ marriage fell apart.
I’m not going to lie to you. Between the last Squarepusher record I purchased, Hello Everything, and this one, Tom Jenkinson released three other Squarepusher records. Each of those records was odd in such a way as to make me wary enough to not buy them. The first, Just a Souvenir, was an attempt to provide a soundtrack to a fucked up dream he'd had. The next two were called Solo Electric Bass, Vol. 1 and Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator, so I have no idea what was going on there.
Those Darlins are a country-rock band that have, as evidenced by the cover art wherein someone has jammed their finger up Jessi Darlin’s nose, punked up their sound and now sound like a country-punk band. They are, however, an interesting band regardless of whatever nasal intrigues might be taking place in that they seem to operate more as a collective than as a band. The songs are never written by more than two members – quite often just the one – and it isn’t necessarily true that everyone in the band played on every track.
It’s hard to imagine, but there are still bands that can live up to the hype that precedes them. After all, there are only so many times that rock n’ roll can be saved (or be said to be saved) before yr ready to fuck it all to hell and hunker down with some Slint records and a Mission of Burma EP. This, at least, is the excuse I give for having taken so long to pick up Royal Headache’s self-titled debut.
Is El-P a paranoid fantasist? or is he just preternaturally tapping into society’s malaise? At first glance the question answers itself – how else do you explain the promo shots in which he’s hooked up to a polygraph? or the besieged mentality that permeates his record?
Soon after Swans had decamped from our golden shores in March last year, an e-mail was received from Young God Records offering the chance to purchase a limited edition double CD recording of their recent performances. The double album was intended as a way of raising a little money to help cover the cost of recording the new Swans record. So quick did this live CD sell out that it was decided that a regular version would be made available, also a double CD.
The title track from Blockhead’s last record, The Music Scene, summed up the record rather nicely. It had a psychedelic, thumping feel and a video clip that suggested nature being subverted by technology, or vice versa, it was hard to tell.
You won’t find Ishmael Butler’s name anywhere on Black Up, much less any reference to his previous incarnation as Butterfly in the Digable Planets. In a way it’s a shame he dropped the Butterfly appellation as his career has seen a series of transformations: from the jazz of Digable Planets to the dark, stoned funk of Cherrywine to Shabazz Palaces.
The cover of Bill Callahan’s new record is a Paul Ryan painting, Apocalypse at Mule Ears Peak, Big Bend National Park in West Texas. The painting is an impressionist one. Similarly, Apocalypse is something of an impressionist work, creating a sense or a feeling without focussing on the details.
The last record of PJ Harvey composed songs was the gothy-folk White Chalk, in which Harvey sang creepily in a higher than usual register. She appeared on the cover dressed as Miss Havisham and also toured in support of that record in the same dress giving the impression that she had finally gone mad.
I suppose that if a band were going to release an album that consisted of two tracks but also of one, it was going to be Japanese band, Vampillia. I’d never heard of this band until I came across a promo copy of Alchemic Heart, which is a little surprising as the album features Jarboe (ex-Swans) on the first track and Merzbow on the second, two artists that have always been on the periphery of my musical tastes.