50 Words or Less: November 2012
Can't keep up with all the music released each month? It's cool, Ian Rogers has you covered in 50 words or less.
The Weeknd - Trilogy
I don’t know if ‘happy’ is the right word for how I feel about these retched and ugly R&B mix-tapes getting a wider release, but it’s overdue. My girlfriend calls them, ‘that weird Tracey Chapman you listen to’. She’s 50% right. The other 50% is smooth Patrick Bateman.
how to destroy angels_ - An Omen EP_
If I had Trent Renzor’s cultural capital I’d cash it in too. But then I’d make something a lot worse than this weird, idiosyncratic and subtle industrial music. I’d probably be the worst guy ever, playing nu-metal in the space shuttle, on Andrew WK’s pizza guitar. Be thankful, damn.
Soundgarden - King Animal
Out-of-step? Maybe but when have Soundgarden ever been of the times? I’ll also take the consummate hard-rock weirdness of King Animal over their last album, and most other hard rock albums this year. Maximum swagger somehow sounds less poseur than DIY slap-dash in 2012. Beats me.
Aerosmith - Music From Another Dimension
Out-of-step? Absolutely and without question. This sounds like the backing track of a demonstration video. A pity really. Aerosmith were wonderful in their early letchy glam-metal daze. But now all I think about is how they promised to break up after three consecutive bad albums and didn’t.
Solange - True
Ripping 80s noir pop from Solange Knowles (main image). Not exactly minimal but really gets across via simple methods: a great voice, deep hooks and mixed with golden ears. I’m impressed. And well I should be, injecting this sort of sound with this much pathos, with that surname, is no mean feat.
The Smashing Pumpkins - Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness Reissue
I’m one of the few critics that considers the original was an interesting and impressive feat but, for serious, I do not want more of it. The Areoplane Flies High had more than enough filler for one lifetime and I don’t have the energy to seize this and remember.
The second album back for these revitalised ambient metal titans is assertion more than a step forward. And yet it rocks in their very, very unique fashion: blissed out glam on the stereo and caterwauling riff-brutality in the headphones. I have no idea how it works. But it does.
Silver Screens - Shill
Brisbane drone dudes Silver Screens are an interesting band. They deliver a fairly non-linear, vocal-free psych flow, as if pouring steadily out of a broken pipe. Don’t expect big things, jagged turns or epic highs. Instead expect disorientation without starts and endings and all the better for it.
Dirty Projectors - About To Die
Sometimes Twitter is actually a worthwhile thing. It can be a tremendous archive of ones thinking. For example, from November 16th, the day I heard this EP: “@ikrogers: As far as I'm concerned The Dirty Projectors are a violation of the social contract on par with crapping on the sidewalk.”
Lana Del Rey - Paradise
Far from the abomination many claim her to be, LDR quite purposefully takes Old Hollywood misogyny and layers it over today’s celebrity culture and presto: a straight fit. Isn’t that messed up? Who else in the mainstream even goes near this stuff? This EP of new material isn’t bad either.
High Tension - S/T
There are moments on this where Karina Utomo’s voice reaches into pure, unadulterated chaos and I feel something close to legitimate existential dread. Bleak and accomplished across the board, the greasier weirder b-sides work a little better to my ears. Killer now but undoubtedly the best band of 2014.--
Hunt / Gather - Hunt / Gather EP
The Scottish are those weird type of people—like the Icelandic—who punch well above their weight in music-making. So this Glaswegian post-hardcore band manage to find extra hidden pockets of outright brutality in fairly well trodden places here. A mix of heavy thrills expected and unexpected noise.--
One Direction - Take Me Home
Look, it’s near total dogshit, okay? So please don’t bleat that, ‘there’s something guilty and wonderful about all pop music,’ line at me because I’m an academic and we invented that (tired) schtick. I don’t want to even think about what listeners are ‘bringing’ to this. Take it somewhere else.
Mogwai - A Wrenched Virile Lore
These remix things never work as albums but occasionally deliver a few killer tracks. In the here and now I don’t mind Tim Hecker’s take on ‘Rano Pano’ and Justin Broderick’s (Jesu/Godflesh) mix but I liked those artists beforehand and I love Mogwai already so really, what’s the fucking point?
Raime - Quarter Turns Over A Living Line
Extremely grim but extremely listenable minimal goth techno from the UK. Can’t recommend this enough. Imagine Joy Division channelled as EDM instead of spun like some ironic and empty dance floor fodder. Then add good ideas cribbed from dubs—, Swans, Ben Frost and industrial electronics, and lots of grey mist.
The Evens - The Odds
An enjoyable and immaculately recorded second album from duo Ian MacKaye (Fugazi) and Amy Farina (The Warmers). The slinky, dubby vibe of this is expected if you know the personnel, but the heft of it impresses most. This is what a lifetime of dedication to music as art gets you.
Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Remastered)
Catchy title eh? I couldn’t hear much difference in the impeccable - yet goofy - original. But the bonus disc of demos and sessions hints at a parallel universe where Interpol didn’t take over the world for 5 years. What is learned? The same as always: determination and luck almost equal talent.
The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe (Box Set)
How many times can one album be used to dry-hump the cash cow? Many times it seems. Fortunately the original album is still one of the greatest albums ever made by humans. And now I will review the other 5 discs in six words: Oh, they’re okay I guess.
Gucci Mane - Trap God
Entertaining enough mixtape from Gucci, his third for 2012. Still works. A tremendous amount of menace is still getting mined out here and the hooks, while far from innovative, get the job done. So once again, Gucci catches the ear and slurs all sorts of nasty paranoid shit into it.
Blank Realm - Go Easy
The progression of Blank Realm from noise-drone to sunny AM pop is one of the most atypically Brisbane stories I can think of. What’s the point of a music community if it doesn’t support change? The reward: we get this collection of weird, casually-bent ‘classic’ songs. Love it.
Ian Keith Rogers (@ikrogers)