50 Days of Soundcloud #15

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“Empire’s Comin’ Now We Gonna Get Blessed”

Another entry in my series of “songs that use synths to make something approaching heavy rock and/or punk”. Noisy, ravey, and I really like the coda.

The death of Soundcloud made The Pitch a few days ago!  Also of note from that article:  the phrase “broken embeds, dead links, and lost sounds” sounds like a stellar name for an album that I’m totally going to do now.

As always,

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50 Days Of Soundcloud #12

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“Formula Modernia”

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Feel free to check out some books:  today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).

50 Days Of Soundcloud #11

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“Waiting For The Sign”

I want to say this was 2005, at the tail end of doing these sorts of faux-guitar sludge-heavy electronic tracks with creepy Apple Talk forced melodies. At the very least I remember it being the last one of them I ever really did. I still like the reversed beat that threads through parts of it.

Feel free to check out some books:  today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).

China: 20 Years of City

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Strapping Young Lad – City

Released February 11th, 1997 on Century Media

Devin Townsend is fully aware of how completely ridiculous many of the tropes in metal are.  Think about it for a second.  They are.  There’s a reason that the genre is most popular among 14 year old boys – it’s because those are the people most willing to swallow absurdity in the face of pure, naked aggression (see also Trump supporters).  Townsend knows how ridiculous the tropes are because he lived them; before forming Strapping Young Lad, the Vancouver musician was best known for providing the vocals to Steve Vai’s uneven 1993 album Sex And Religion.  His experience with record labels and the music business led him to his awakening:  metal is absurd, the business is absurd, so you may as well have some fun with it.  A little burned out and feeling like a “musical whore” for working his muse at the command of other people, he recorded Heavy As A Heavy Thing, an album lost on it’s contemporary listeners, even in 1995.  People sat up and took notice when City came out, however, and it marks the beginning of the metal community’s embrace of Strapping Young Lad and their balls-out, “twist-the-dial-back-and-forth-until-it-snaps” version of extreme metal.

 

City is a solid trash metal album buried carefully in a really stellar industrial noise album.  For every moment of straight-ahead pummeling (like the beginning of “Home Nucleonics”, or the massive breakdown in “AAA”) there are layers of digital textures and those Townsend vocals that sound like they were lifted whole and breathing off of dank, bloody German industrial records.  The influence isn’t particularly surprising – Vancouver is, after all, the home of Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, and a bajillion other industrial acts – but Townsend’s mixing of it with his obvious mastery of metal forms is what puts City over the edge into being a bona-fide classic.

The 100 Best Albums of 2015: Part 1, 100-81

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#100:  Sunn O))) – Kannon

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The drone-doom-noise band finally follows up 2009’s transcendental Monoliths and Dimensions with a more immediate and visceral trio of noise-soaked dread.

#99:  Rose McDowall – Cut With The Cake Knife

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If you ever missed spiky, snotty Eighties pop, look no further.

#98:  BC Camplight – How To Die In The North

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Velvety and yet dangerous, like the upholstery on a late-70s vintage Buick.

#97:  Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth

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He’ll spend the rest of his career living down his ill-fated sophomore album (he recently grudgingly encouraged the destruction of physical copies of it) but Tetsuo & Youth shows where his career should have gone.

#96:  Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

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Six albums, five years, and a couple of big lineup changes finds John Dwyer’s day job band rocking out bigger and harder than ever before.

 

#95:  Destruction Unit – Negative Feedback Resistor

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Blown-out industrial noise-punk, like Big Black with a better appreciation for depth.

#94:  No Joy – More Faithful

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The alternagaze duo returns for a murkier, more complex record that plays directly to their strengths.

#93:  Hot Chip – Why Make Sense?

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A strong mid-career album for the veteran indie-dance group, with solid grooves and a touch of early 90s UK rave.

#92:  Carly Rae Jepsen –       E-MO-TION

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An 80s banger of a pop record, once you get over the essential Robin Sparkles nature of E-MO-TION it becomes a great soundtrack to an energetic night.

#91:  Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls

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A double album of shapeable, moldable pure sound from longtime noise artist Dominick Fernow.

#90:  Echo Lake – Era

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This record is liquid, in that the sound expands to fill whatever room you play it in.  Expansive dream-prog with an ambient touch that is deft and subtle.

#89:  Alabama Shakes – Sound And Color

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Brittany Howard looks a third grade teacher and sings like the Goddess of Soul. The band is okay too.

#88:  Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin

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Mercury Prize nominated UK hip hop artist goes full out in an amalgamation of grime, U.S. hip hop, and electronic influences.

#87:  Mount Eerie – Sauna

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The calmest, quietest sense of dread you may ever experience, and something of a comeback for the former Microphones frontman.

 #86:  Zun Zun Egui – Shackle’s Gift

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A truly world-reaching experience, the Bristol band draws on a number of diverse influences to create hard-hitting, crunchy songs that are close in approximating rock n roll.

#85:  Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance

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The band takes a hard skew towards dance pop on their umpteenth album, bringing some much-needed fresh air into their act.

#84:  EL VY – Return To The Moon

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A meeting of the minds between indie stalwarts The National and Menomena, EL VY is one of the rare side projects that hits all the same pleasure buttons as their respective member’s day jobs.

#83:  The Roadside Graves – Acne/Ears

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This is a rustic country album, if it were made by a less-crappy Gaslight Anthem, or if The Men took the folk-country side of New Moon and ran with it. Which is to say, it’s as Jersey as anything else you can name.

#82:  Wilco – Star Wars

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The veteran alt-country band keeps that train a-rollin’, not letting age or maturity get in the way of a good rock n roll hook. It may be “music for dads with receding hairlines” as Shameless put it, but it rocks all the same.

#81:  Insect Ark – Portal/Well

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Dana Schechter creates a bedroom electronic record that shifts and transforms as much as it makes a serious attempt to claw up your face and wriggle into your ear.