OBN IIIs – Live in San Francisco

Now that is an album cover. Wide eyes, mid-snarl, sweat dripping down, grabbing a mic-stand like a set of hips mid-orgasm; what an excellent picture of the raw energy that is a live concert. The OBN IIIs are a garage rock band out of Austin, Texas who were featured as a part of Castle Face…

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

If heavy metal had standards like blues or jazz, then Paranoid would comprise about half of them.1 Is your band angry and political, maybe a little punk-ish? “War Pigs.” Crazy stage antics, frontman a little mental? “Paranoid.” Want some old psychedelic vibes? “Planet Caravan.” Don’t mind the pop realm, want a recognizable crowd-pleaser to start off your set?…

TOYOMU – 印象III : なんとなく、パブロ (Imagining “The Life of Pablo”)

印象III : なんとなく、パブロ (Imagining “The Life of Pablo”) is the perfect metaphor for the cultural zeitgeist of 2016. Produced by Japanese producer TOYOMU in response to Tidal’s lack of presence in his native country – on which Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo exclusively premiered – Imagining represents the dichotomy between the ubiquity of information…

18 Carat Affair – Adventures in Schizophrenia

With the exception of a various artists compilation, Adventures in Schizophrenia by Missouri musician Denys Parker of 18 Carat Affair was the final release of Fortune 500 – one of the first professional vaporwave labels that sought to bring the genre outside of the realms of 4chan and message boards. This is no bombastic closer:…

Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

While the California punk culture is known for its skate punks and as the birthplace of American hardcore, there’s an oft-forgotten art punk scene that played rhythm guitar to the leading one in New York City – the most famous (and visible) of which are San Francisco’s Dead Kennedys. Acts such as The Units and The Screamers utilized gender-bending imagery…

SEPHORA脳バイブス – HOTEL GALANTHUS

Named after the Andorran hotel, spa, and ski resort, HOTEL GALANTHUS bills itself as a “digital compilation of the sounds of confort(sic),” but it’s really just a standard sample curation album of mall muzak and easy-listening jams. That’s not a bad thing when the curator elicits an aesthetic leitmotif with careful presentation and editing; unfortunately,…

Beirut – Gulag Orkestar

At seventeen years old, New Mexico native Zach Condon dropped out of community college and flew to Eastern/Central Europe with his brother, where he traveled with gypsy bands and studied indigenous folk cultures in the Baltics and former USSR.1 Upon returning, the young musician started a one-man project2 called “Beirut,” through which he created music…

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

By the band’s own admission, Hail to the Thief is kind of a mess.1 Exhausted (and rightly so) from the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions, Radiohead opted for an organic, spontaneous recording environment for their sixth studio album, relocating to the Hollywood area and writing songs in studio rather than meticulously planning them out through computers and…

「fluence」 – elemental

After dropping several tracks on streaming services,「fluence」released the downtempo vaportrap album elemental on the Dream Catalogue label – one of the foremost in professional vaporwave marketing and production. Sporting one of the prettiest album covers in the whole genre, elemental forewent the silliness of Blank Banshee for a decidedly somber vibe in common with 音…

Napalm Death – Scum

If Scum sounds like two different albums by two different bands, that’s because it is. Napalm Death recorded the first side in August 1986 as a three-piece,1 then shelved recording for nine months before entering the studio again in May 1987 with no returning members other than drummer Mick Harris,2 whose obsession with blast-beat percussion – a…

Burzum – Belus

In appreciating his contribution to the evolution of heavy metal, it’s easy to forget the horror that is Varg Vikernes. This is a man who killed his bandmate by stabbing him over twenty times,1 set fire to at least four old Christian churches,2 incited a potential “major terrorist act” in France,3 and escaped prison while…

Against Me! – Against Me! As the Eternal Cowboy

Against Me! As the Eternal Cowboy is where Against Me! went electric, pissing off punks everywhere who were enamored with the Gainesville quartet’s folk instrumentation and unrefinedness on debut Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose.1 Whereas the latter album featured hand-claps, muddy production, and romantic odes to anarchism, As the Eternal Cowboy is cleaned up,…