Albums For Swingin' Lovers
Pissed Jeans - Honeys

image

Ever since 2009’s King of Jeans I’ve been completely hooked on this band. I’ve mentioned on here before how much I dig them. I pretty much try to go every time they come to NYC and it’s a lot more than you’d think for a band that hasn’t had a proper album in over 3+ years (I’ve said it before but their live show is a hell of a good time). But despite all of that, the new album Honeys lives up to the hype. Not quite as accessible and initially loveable as King of Jeans but it still destroys pretty much every other band out there trying to capture that 80’s sludgy hardcore sound and attitude. With bands like Japandroids, Metz, and even The Men catching a lot of buzz for their raw punk and hardcore sensibilities, none capture it as well or feel as authentic as Pissed Jeans. They just don’t. And with every release Pissed Jeans are still yet to stray. They still give as little of a fuck as they did on 2005’s debut, Shallow.

With their Jesus Lizard, Killdozer, Fang, Flipper, influences still right there on their sleeves. Honeys is as brash and cynical as any Pissed Jeans release. The subject matter is still pretty similar. Lots of jabs at conformist culture and middle age suburban lifestyles.

The album kicks things off in true Pissed Jeans fashion with the sludgy and abrasive romp “Bathroom Laughter”. From there things get a little sludgier on “Chain Worker”. But fans of the live show will be happy to know that despite some of the sludgier tracks on this, songs like “Romanticize Me” and “Vain in Costume” will be right there to liven everything up. Both songs are perfect example of the raw and unhinged fury of this band and why myself and so many others hold them heads above the rest.

Some of my other favorites on this include the very Scrach Acid/Jesus Lizard heavy “Male Gaze” which is a fantastically slow moving fury that hits harder than most straight ahead fast paced punk can. One of my favorite tropes of early 80’s sludgy hardcore.

"Cathouse" is one of the more polished and straight forward punk tracks on Honeys and it works really well. Pissed Jeans to me aren’t necessarily an album band but for a punk band they are quite adventurous and versatile so their albums tend to ebb and flow. Never feels stale which is pretty impressive for a post hardcore band 4 albums in.

The last two tracks are probably my favorite moments on this album. Starting with “Health Plan”, a punk song about the mundane and cookie cutter lifestyle of the safe. “Health Plan” is not only one of my favorite Pissed Jeans tracks but one of my favorite straight up furious punk songs in a long time. Relentlessly furious and funny, it’s definitely a stand out and an instant hit. “Teenage Adult” gets a little bit sludgier and a little harder hitting in terms of social commentary. Pretty self explanatory and the music perfectly reflects the sentiment. An excellent ending to an album that doesn’t let up from start to finish. Completely worth the wait. They continue to be one of the best bands out there.

My Bloody Valentine - m b v

This is a momentous occasion, not only has Kevin Shields and company released a follow up to Loveless after 20+ years, but this now makes My Bloody Valentine the first band/artist to get 3 separate blog posts dedicated to them on Albums For Swingin’ Lovers (my blog). That’s a pretty big honor and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it’s very much so deserved. A new album was honestly something that I (and everyone) just thought was never going to happen, like a follow up to Since I Left You or a new Smiths album. I had become fairly comfortable with My Bloody Valentine just touring and remastering their old work. So on Saturday night when this all went down, I was pleasantly surprised. And with unreasonably high expectations from every music fan in the world, I’m even more surprised that it’s absolutely great.

This is also pretty special for me because my little blog here is very rarely current. In fact even now I’m already pretty late to the party. It seems like with all of the hype and press about this, Kevin Shields is right next to Beyonce’s halftime show on every major music blog and website.Kind of crazy but again very well deserved. I guess that’s what 20 years of legend and time to show people Loveless will get you. But enough history because everyone already knows it and anyone reading this I’m sure has spent a lot of time immersing themselves in the brilliance that is Loveless. So I should probably mention that this album is not that, but it’s something really great in its own respectable ways.

Now how do you top a bonafied masterpiece that has had 20 years to get hyped and praised until it takes on a godlike status? Apparently you just pick right up where you left off. From the very first notes of “She Found Now”, you feel as if you’re whisked back to 1991. A hazy wave of mellow sweeping distorted guitar in the vain of “All I Need” and “Sometimes”. And right there we are taken back to MBV’s world, like 20+ years never happened. And while it may not be the sensory overload, mind numbing trip of Loveless, its a damn good blend of later period MBV and the early stuff.

"Only Tomorrow" and "Who Sees You" continue with the hazy single guitar distortion and mellow tempo of the first track. And it’s a much welcomed continuation. Belinda’s vocals on these and pretty much the entire album tend to blend in more with the music than on some previous MBV albums. For me it’s a nice change and accents the mood of this album very well. I’m also completely in love with the solo’s all over this album especially the end of "Only Tomorrow". It’s absolutely beautiful. And if you’ve had the pleasure of immersing yourself in this album through a nice set of speakers, it’s even better.

"Is This and Yes" is one of the many surprises and welcomed changes in My Bloody Valentines arsenal. A full blown synth driven bliss out that’s both lovely and ethereal. "If I Am" and "New You" continue with this theme of less heavy swooping guitars and more beautiful melodies. No that I prefer one to the other, it’s just a nice balance and that’s something that MBV do very well.

Now to my favorite part of this album, the last 3 tracks staring with “In Another Way” which for me is a perfect example of what this band can do. It’s just a really solid MBV track. It has frantic and abrasive elements but at its core its all beautiful melodies and gorgeous guitars. Belinda’s vocals work so well here and the arrangement and pacing really work for me. This track for me is a full court press and my favorite moment on m b v. “Nothing Is” however is also great but in a very different way. In an album of familiar, but different “Nothing Is” definitely stands out. A repetitive and thunderous romp like we’ve never really seen from them before slowly and subtly building before our eyes. I may be a bit of a fan-boy here but I’m a sucker for repetition and surprises. They nailed it there.

And for the final track, “Wonder 2” we have an excellent send out complete with air plane sounds drifting through your speakers and guitar tones building and soaring with grand optimism over a frantic smattering of drums.

And as I’ve mentioned before, I think Kevin Shields is absolutely brilliant and has done wonders for music and art-rock alike. So if you are reading this and rolling your eyes, you pretty much knew what you were getting into. And I do want to point out that it’s not a completely world stopping masterpiece but dammit it’s pretty great. And in 20+ years of copy-cats the masters really have come back to put everyone in their place. And while it’s not Loveless it’s a nice little blending of it and their earlier work, creating something wholly different and familiar at the same time. I hope anyone reading this enjoys it as much as I have in these past few days.

Black Sabbath - Master of Reality

When it comes to classic and influential albums, for me Master of Reality is pretty much the top. Black Sabbath and this album is particular are for the most part responsible for about 80% of the albums and bands that I love today. While I love mostly everything they’ve ever done pre-Technical Ecstasy, Master of Reality is definately the high point for me although S/T, Paranoid, Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and even Sabotage are all classics in their own right.

If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written in here you probably already know that when it comes to metal/punk I tend to lean towards the slower, sludgy and stonier-y side of things. And that all pretty much goes back to this album. And not only is this album an absolute classic because of how influential but its also some of Sabbath’s best song writing and by far some of the coolest riffs and arrangements they’ve ever done. An album still very much loved today by metal and alt rock/indie bands alike over 40 years later.

Due to Tony Iommi and Geezer’s famously downtuned guitars, this album is sludgier and darker than nearly anything they or anyone else had done previously. And while this album is beautifully sequenced and broken up by the slow jams of “Embryo”, “Orchid”, and “Solitude”, the real meat of this album, lies in the monsterous riff heavy 5 tracks that make up the bulk of this masterpiece. Starting off with “Sweet Leaf”, an absolute classic metal and stoner rock anthem for the ages. A perfect way to start of one of the haziest and most riff heavy albums of the 70’s, sets the tone for the rest of the album and had includes one of my favorite solo’s Iommi has ever done.

The excellent “After for Ever” and “Children of the Grave” are a little more on the up beat side of this album but are still very much so rooted in the groove based blues of “Sweet Leaf”. Which brings us to the unbelievably awesome “Lord of this World”. One of my favorite Sabbath tracks of all time, this song chugs and slowly head bangs its way through 5 and a half minutes some of the the coolest grooves and guitar work they’ve ever done. Not to mention this track is funky as all hell. Absolutely awesome and probably my second favorite moment on this classic.

But that all pretty much just leads up to the final track and my personal favorite Sabbath track and favorite riff of all time, “Into the Void”. This song is just absolutely killer from start to finish and to this day it’s my favorite metal track of all time. Still as bone crushing as anything anyone else has put out in the 40 years since its release. An absolutley classic metal riff and groove. This is what puts MoR above 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath for me. I could listen to “Into the Void” all day and not get bored (don’t hold me to that) but there is a lot of truth to it. Its groovy, funky, heavy, switches up at the end into one of the coolest and darkest grooves ever. Fucking badass album. I’m sad that its taken me this long to highlight it but here it is. I like to think that all of the metal I dig stems from my love for this album. Absolutely essential and a classic now and forever no matter what Ozzy or Sharon do to water down Sabbath’s legend. Amazing.

Prince - Sign “O” the Times

No self respecting music fan can have a blog praising albums and not include the one and the only, Prince. A true legend and one of, if not the greatest pop/rock/funk/R&B/music writer and performer of all time. Not only is he incredibly successful and beloved but he’s done a great deal for music as a whole. A great storyteller and incredibly versitile musician who really has done it all from rock, R&B, avant garde psychadelic pop, wedding and radio friendly number 1 singles, controversial and overtly sexual deep cuts, movies, soundtracks and much much more. Pretty much as successful as any artist could ever wish to be. Purple Rain is like 13x Platinum or something crazy like that. He’s beloved worldwide by casual music fans, snobs and critics alike, and for damn good reason too. As far as music writing is concerned Prince is the king in my eyes.

While many of Prince’s albums ,espessially his 80’s releases are absolutely brilliant, I do tend to consider Prince a singles artist for the most part. And while he has some increidble hits and b-sides collection, I find myself going more towards the albums and deeper tracks more and more everytime I go through a Prince phase. With that said I should also point out that Prince is one of the few artists that I love where the b-sides are just as good as many of the album tracks and singles. And from 1980’s excellent Dirty Mind till about 1988’s Lovesexy, Prince really did have a beyond successful and great run of classic albums and soundtracks. With albums like the afformentioned Dirty Mind, the unbelivablely great 1999 which we can all thank for “Little Red Corvette”, Controversy, the less talked about but equally amazing Around the World in a Day (however “Raspberry Beret” is still probably his most played wedding jam), the beyond genius and probably my second favorite Prince album Purple Rain (completely undeniable album, “The Beautiful Ones” is one of my favorite songs ever by anyone), Parade (for “Kiss” and “Mountains” and “Sometimes It Snows in April”), Lovesexy, and of course my favorite and in my opinion the most consistantly brilliant album he’s ever done Sign “O” the Times.

And I say this damn well knowing how unbelievably tight and perfect Pruple Rain is. And believe me choosing Sign “O” the Times over Pruple Rain wasn’t easy but but I think when it comes down to it it’s a slightly better album however both are beyond classic and have some of his best tracks he’s ever done. And while Pruple Rain successfully took mainstream pop music to even more catchy, funky, rocking and thought provoking places, Sign “O” the Times is such a culmination of everything that Prince is great at what what we all love about him, its impossible to deny it. For me it’s truly his masterpiece.

Topics, musical styles, and overall mood change throughout this album so seamlessly and so often that it truly is amazing, but it never really loses its momentum and always feels like a whole. The album gets off to a much more realistic and world aware start than we are normally used to from prince albums. One of his most powerful songs on the album, “Sign “O” the Times” is a very current state of the world concious track over a funky groove where prince rattles off a few examples of the state of things today which is not only relateable in 1987 but today as well. At first I dimissed it as some of his cheesiest lyrics but more recently I’ve changed my tune about it. Say what you want but its a great opening track and a departure from a lot of Prince’s more sexually charged and previous work. From there we have the much loved “The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker”, a very engaging and groovy tale of seduction, lust, and adultury.

My next favorite track from there is the love letter to being unique and different, “Starfish and Coffee”. Which has in recent times become one of my favorite Prince tracks. A nice little song about not being afraid to be odd and unique, a sort of fuck you to conformity. Embrace your differences. Something that Prince is no stranger to. A really lovely and happy song, one of my favorite moments on here and it also adds to the diversity of themes and styles which is one of the coolest and more charming aspects of this album. From there we have the very sexy and dancy “Hot Thing”, and “U Got the Look” where we hear a lot from “Camille” Prince’s alter ego around that time.

Next up for songs from this album that I really love is “If I was Your Girlfriend”. A very moody and chilly almost gothy vibe of a song about a obsession and love. The narrator wants to become more than just a boyfriend, wants the closeness of being a girlfriend instead of just a boyfriend. Wants to help her pick out her clothes, wash her hair, and cry togehter. And from there the track brilliantly heightens into uncomfortable territories. Its truly a fantastically written and layerd track. A fine example of Prince’s genius.

"Strange Relationship" is pretty straight forward but excellent nonetheless. "I could Never Take the Place of Your Man" is probably my favorite Prince track of all time. Its a fun, soulful and rocking but also very realistic song about replacing someone who has wronged you in your life. "The Cross" is a very pretty guitar driven and ever building soulful sidestep about spirituality, again adding to the many different directions and places that this album is willing to go.

And last but not least, the album leaves us with the very beautiful and excellent soulful album ender of “Adore”. And after an hour and 20 minutes of this pop/rock/soul/etc rollercoaster, if you arn’t completely in love and won over by Prince, I really don’t know what to tell you. This album really is everything that is great and that I love about music. Great writing, inventive and forward thinking production and arrangement, its not afraid to travel outside the realm of convention, and you can just tell that prince loves people, storytelling, and of course music. So many different, themes, characters, storys, topics, and influences. A truly great album and deserves all of the praise and love it’s gotten over the years. Its certainly not the end all and be all of his catelog but for me this is his greatest album. Absolutely brilliant.

System of a Down - Toxicity

Noel Gallagher once said “Do you ever look at the sky and think, I’m glad I’m alive? After I heard System of a Down, I thought, I’m actually alive to hear the shittiest band of all time. Which is quite something when you think about it. Of all the bands that have gone before and all the bands that’ll be in the future, I was around when the worst was around.” Well he can fuck right off because he obviously knows nothing, one of the coolest of the early 2000’s crossover metal bands and Toxicity is one of the best and one of my personal favorite modern rock records of the past 11 years. So hell with you Noel Gallagher and thanks for making me like this band even more. Anyway….

This album doesnt tend to get a lot of love these days but my god its incredible. It also still holds up really well despite being over 10 years old. I can’t say that for all of my beloved albums from the early 2000’s. But this one struck a chord with me then and still today as I revisit it. Really great band and Toxicity for me will forever be their masterpiece.

One of the few albums that i’ve ever worn out from merely just playing it everyday. And give or take the Deftones and a few others, SOAD is one of the very few bands to emerge from the nu-metal scene who were able to transcend that label. Not only were they in that boat but their influences ran much deeper than the Korn’s, the Linkin Park’s etc with elements of Thrash, Mike Patton and Tool influences creeping in than the rest of the pack.

From the first line “They’re trying to build a prison” immediately followed by an onslaught of sludgy blasts, this album gets off to a great start with “Prison Song” one of the coolest moments. But from the first track up until the very end of “Aerials”, Serj Tankian and crew really don’t let up. Its loud-quiet-loud instrumentation, its break downs at every corner, and its melodic rage is nonstop throughout the entire 45 minutes of this album. Not to mention one of Rick Rubin’s finest albums he’s ever produced.

This album is absolutely relentless and completely designed to not only crush you through your stereo but to just crush audiances live. It’s perfect. An incredible modern crossover metal album full of political statements, tales of American and LA corruption, and just incredibly weird but awesome moments all over the place. From the badass little track against police brutality “Deer Dance” to the amazing anti establishment romp of “Shimmy”, this album is full of thrashy and aggressive little treasures ever.

But some of the greatest moments come from the albums amazing 3 propper singles “Chop Suey!”, the classic title track and the afformentioned album ender of “Aerials” which all transcent the intense-calm-intense formula of a lot of this album. While I had loved the self titled album, it wasn’t until “Chop Suey!” that I was completely sold on them. I was in early highschool when this first came out and I can honestly say this is one of the very few albums that all social groups could agree on in my class. Just a truly incredible album that over time I’ve only loved and argued for since. I havn’t loved any of their albums (solo or as a group) this much since but this album will forever be a classic in my eyes and a good reminder that even some of the most hated subgenres and musical fads have some straight up gems that came out of it. A true masterpiece and deserves to be up there with every other beloved and critically acclaimed album of the early 2000’s.

Converge - Jane Doe

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Jane Doe that hasn’t already, it’s one of the most celebrated and loved metal/metal-core albums since its creation 11 years ago. Its one of the greatest albums of all time and deserves every ounce of praise that its gotten. A true masterpiece and the album that set Converge apart from the rest of the metal-core heap. Every single moment of this album is absolutely killer and essential. Absolutely brilliant.

An intense and relentless fury of an album that grabs hold of you from the very beginning and never lets up until the very end. Kurt Ballou’s (mastermind, guitarist and producer) production is incredibly appropropriate fierce and rugged, taking a lot of cue’s from former collaborator Steve Austin. Every track sounds absolutely great. This album blends and compliments itself from track to track. But while the mixing, production and sound is all fucking perfect, the real strengths of Jane Doe lie in its riffs, furosity, and its brilliant and tortured lead vocalist/lyricist Jacob Bannon whose pain and frutration can be heard and felt throughout this entire album. And as lame as it may sound, this album album is a metal breakup album easily relateible by anyone who has ever lost or been hurt by someone they loved. And very seldom has a writers heart and pain been as well converyed and raw as it is on Jane Doe.

The album starts with the all out assult of “Concubine”, one of the most intense moments that they’ve ever had, so right from the get go you know you’re in for one hell of a rage filled adreniline rush of an album. From there we move to some of Converge’s most beloved and best songs that they have. Including, “Fault And Fracture” which continues where concubine left off, only letting up a little bit just to build the pace back up to an even more intense place. There is also “Hell to Pay” a prime example of one of this albums slower paced but still exhilerating than ever moments. One of the best and most meorible riffs of the whole album, this album slowly builds throughout the corse of the soong and then ends on one of my favorite moments of the entire album, an intense onslaught by all members where the entire song just peaks beyond where you ever thought it would go, making “Hell to Play” the classic Converge track that it is. And with every slow burning Converge their is another intense kick in the throat right around the corner as is the case with “Homewrecker” coming right after. One of the most primal and intense performances by Jacob on the whole album. The moment when all frustration and anger really takes the forefront of whats going on musically. Its fucking perfect. His screams are some of the most firece and startling he’s ever had.

"Bitter and Then Some" ands the four part scream filled bitter breakup portion of the album coming right after "Hell to Pay", "Homewrecker" and The Broken Vow" which are some of the albums most intense and real moments all having to do with the loss of a certain jane doe. Bitter and then some however tends to lean towards a more thrash metal direction than most of the album, with one of the most early metallica-esque riffs they’ve ever done. One of the coolest moments on the album and just a really great guitar sound and blend of thrash and metal-core tendencies. To this day its one of my favorite Converge tracks.

"Heaven in Her Arms" is another absolute classic Converge track with one of their best and most memorible riffs. The next track "Phoenix in Flight" slows things down a little bit to a feedback drenched slow burning build of a track that while slowing the pace down surely turns into one of the coolest endings of a track on the entire album. I’ve always thought that the ending should be used in some sort of blockbuster end of the world type movie trailer. Completely badass.

Rounding off the album are two powehouse tracks sitting side by side with “Thaw” being one of my favorite Converge tracks and some of the coolest guitar work Ballou has ever done. And last but not least the eleven plus minute slow churning, arm swinging sludge fest of the title track. One of Converge’s most beloved and the first Converge track that i’d ever heard. A track that completely sucked me in and much sludgier than most metal-core bands of their time were willing to go.

Jane Doe is an incredible blend of a multitude of styles and genre’s and thats what makes me love it so much. A metal-core band not afraid to dip into other areas of metal and rock. And the end result is a kick ass classic from start to finish. Not to mention one my personal favorites, an album that clicks with you even more when you’re at your most frustrated and mad. When I first heard this over 10 years ago it clicked with me like few albums could, and even to this day it just floors me. Thats a pretty powerful thing and only a few other bands could have that effect on me. Still Converge’s masterpiece in my opion however the incredible new album All We Love We Leave Behind, the completely amazing Axe to Fall (second favorite Converge release), No Heros, and You Fail Me that have all followed this are all absolutely great. They are just one of the best bands around and very few even come close.

Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

I promise that someday I will feature a Black Sabbath album on here, probably more than one depending on how long I continue this thing, but I tend to write about albums that I’ve been completely obsessed with in the past few days and unfortunately my last ajor Sabbath phase was before I started this blog. But until then, here is another incredible band/album that takes a lot of major cue’s from Sabbath but takes them to a new place.

This is not only my favorite Candlemass album but probably my favorite Doom album ever. The title Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is completely perfect and fitting in every way. Every track is epic as hell, doom and gloom is everywhere, and the whole thing is sumply metal as fuck.

From the pretty and unassuming acoustic intro to the downtuned monster riff that comes shortly after this album starts off with a very accessible and killer bang with “Solitude”. From there on this album does not let up once. Its a slow motion headbanging and air guitar filled romp through 6 of the coolest riffs, solos, and operatic belting you’ve ever heard. From beginning to end you’re sucked in, I don’t care what type of rock/metal you like, if you have any soul at all you’ll love these riffs. After Sabbath and Sleep this is usually an album I reccommend when trying to get people into the slower and groovier side of metal.

While “Solitude” is a great intro to the album and really gets the ball rolling in an instantly accessible way, for me the real magic of this album starts at “Demons Gate”. One of the coolest riffs on the album that just turns into one of the most epic and drool worthy series of incredible soaring solos and guitar work. It’s been over 26 years since its release and it not only still sounds fucking great but it still stands up to mostly anything released today. Holds up so well.

From there we have “Crystal Ball” another one of the albums many highlights, a trudging and epic rifftastic little song where singer Johan Längqvist really takes off in my opinion. Shortly after he left the band and Messiah Marcolin took over who is very loved, but for me Johan’s barritone vocals on this are so appropriate dispite the opinions of many. it just wouldn’t be the same album without him. There is a great contrast with the very clean opera style combines with very down and dirty doom metal riffs that really works here.

Which leads me to my personal favorite moment on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and possibly y favorite Cabdlemass track, “Black Stone Wielder”. The album’s 7 and 1/2 minute centerpiece that starts off as any but about halfway through begins to take you on a spectacuar and very natural sounding incline of riffs and melody truly fitting for an album this epic. Some of my favorite guitar work of all time. I don’t usually consider myself a huge fan of solo’s, usually prefer riffs but the solo’s on this are just killer. Not to mention the full court press of an ending with every member going full boar.

The final track “A Soarcerer’s Pledge” ends thing on an epic and rocking note closing off one of the most epic albums ever with one of the most monster riffs on the album and gloomy progish synth to really take things to even grander heights.

From start to finish this album delivers. A perfect entry point to old school Doom, and now and forever one of the greatest metal albums ever made. It has a little bit of everything. Lyrically they’ve never been my favorite band although I do respect Leif Edling, Candlemass bass player and songwriter extraordinaire. I think his songs are wonderful but for me its all about the riffs and the incredible production on this. An absolute classic and one of metal’s finest albums. It’s beloved by many and for good reason. One gut punch of an album. Once I start it, its very hard to hit stop. An album that deserves to be played from front to back.

Current 93 - All the Pretty Little Horses

I do want to try to make it a point not to repeat too many aists becuase there really is so much music out there, and so many artists that I want to show appriciation to. But with it being Halloween and the fact that I’m currently shut into my apartment due to a hurricain roaring outside of my apartment, I have t make an exception. Very few acts do artsy/terrifying quite like Current 93 and it’s mastermind, David Tibet.

The sky here is an eerie purple and trees thrashing back and forth while heavy rain continues to fall. With lyrics like “Everything seems so close So very very close Should a storm come Should a storm break and halo all around us As some savage and blind god Jerking his hands out to us The birds drop all around us”, “The wind blows so slowly now The trees are dry dead Walls to me they cannot hold back the storm any longer It will bread around us first” and “So anyway we fall beneath the waves And hope to be remembered anyway” its the perfect soundtrack for a world ending apacolypse or in this case a very terrifying storm.

As I have said before, I think David tibet is a musical and more importantly a lyrical genius. He makes every word count and he’s one of the very few artists that puts me on edge from word to word. Its masterful and very rarely does a lyricist affect me in that way. Its an extremely engaging and often fun listening experiance. And this album is one of his very best. It’s also probably one of his most accessible along with Thunder Perfect Mind. IProbably the best place to start for anyone looking to become interested in the vast and exciting world of David Tibet and Current 93.

And while some of David’s greatest lyrical moments are on All the Pretty Little horses, he didn’t do it alone. This fantastic album is the work of everyone involved, not just Tibet. Steven Stapleton as always, makes this album the brilliant one that it is. His unique blend of vocal manipulation and twisting sounds for the most terrifying effects as possible, really takes Tibet from great to the greatest. One of the greatest example of this is “The Inmost Night”, It’s Dogs Blood Rising era of terror and intensity.

And while Stapleton and Tibet give their usual excellent performance, there are two unsung heros of this album. Lillity Stapleton, Steven’s daughter of Soliloquy for Lillity fame, adds some very jarring vocals to most of the albums finest moments and Nick Cave gives a great performance on two of the albums finest moments.

Unlike my favorite Current 93 album, Dogs Blood Rising, this is Tibet and crew at some of their prettiest but also some of their most unpredictible and eye opening. At its core its a post apocolyptic folk album complete with a variety of strings and drones. A far stretch from some of their earlier works, but a much welcomed one. I rarely like folk artists or albums but Current 93 completely changed how I saw the genre once I heard this album. “The Frolic”, “The Bloodbells Chime”, “All the Pretty Little Horses”, are some of my favorite tracks Current 93 has ever done, and they are full on folk but its folk done right where I hang on to every word. I love it. The stars all aligned on this one, every contributer helped to make this what it is. Probably my second favorite Current 93.

"Twilight Twilight Nihl Nihl", and "The Inmost Light" are also two of my favorite but don’t nessisarily follow the pretty folk trend of a lot of the album. But thats another thing that sets this album a part from the rest. There is a very natural and also unpredictable flow and balance to this album. Its a wonderful trip of a record. I’m going to try to put a limit on repeating artists but this album is so fitting for the season and it’s all I’ve been listsning to through this hurricane so far. Its been a great soundtrack but I should probably switch gears to something more upbeat. We’ll see. Anyway, definately check this album out if you havn’t already, a great starting place for one of the greatest and most haunting writers in the medium.

Glenn Branca - The Ascension

Now for a slightly less terrifying but equally brilliant album, The Ascension by Pennsylvania (my home state, not sure if I’ve mentioned until now, if you’re reading this I probably know this, anyhow moving on) born avant-garde musician Glenn Branca. I first got into Glenn’s music after being completely obsessed with SY and in particular Lee Ranaldo (he’s one of the four guitarists on the album).

For any fans of Sonic Youth’s early albums or no wave as a genre, The Acension is probably already one of your favorite albums. Very much in the same vein as other more popular no wave albums and artists, Laying the ground work for many popular and beloved late 80’s alternative bands/albums to come (i.e. Daydream Nation). Glenn’s blend of abnormal guitar tunings and unusual compositions blending and overlapping tones and technique, creates a fantastic listening experience for both adventurous listeners and casual rock fans.

The Ascension works in a few ways, its par extremely rocking and building rock music, its part head trip and mind bending tones and metals strumming together to form a composition unlike most traditional rock albums. It can be treated as an alt rock record or an avant-garde art piece. Both challenging and rockin’ at the same time. Its been a few years since I first discovered Glenn but this album is as new and exciting now as the first time I heard it.

With exciting and uplifting melodies over a post-punk like drum beat like on “The Spectacular Commodity” its hard to deny many of the PiL, Pop Group and other post-punk as well as the longer Faust and Phillip Glass like compositions and influences going on here. The Ascension marks a point between the experimental post punk and the new and abrasive alternative rock to come.

With every composition morphing and changing throughout, we are left with some very epic and very eclectic moments. Throughout the album we are assaulted with guitars clanking and weaving in and out of one another with precision timing and calculated effect, but on the final and ultimately my favorite moment of the album, the tile track, we move towards a much noisier and dronier place. “The Ascension” is a full blown drool inducing droney bliss out us escalating and changing notes building and strumming towards an ever heightening apex. A wave of beautiful guitar noise, this album ends on an incredible high and possibly my favorite thing Glenn has ever done (although I can’t say I’ve heard everything he’s ever put out, but so far this is the peak for me). This album is a true work of art and an equally enjoyable early no wave rock record.

An album that was completely forward thinking and very much so ahead of its time, The Ascension is one of my favorite albums and a very important piece of music for many of the bands and genre’s that I’ve come to love over the past few years. Laying the groundwork for Sonic Youth, Swans, Sunn, and many more. Its completely fucking awesome.

Current 93 - Dogs Blood Rising

With Halloween right around the corner and the Seer being the last album Ive listened to/wrote about in here, it’s only fitting that we dive even further down the dark and bizarre rabbit towards the scariest music ever made. Which brings us to the brilliant and ever exciting Current 93, and the wonderful world of David Tibet and company. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Animal Collective got me into freak folk, Sunn got me into drone metal, and hundreds of other bands took me to new places and introduced me to worlds and genre’s of music that I never knew was out there. Current 93 is another one of those bands that showed me something new. Before Current 93 and more specifically this fucking insane but also fantastic album, Dogs Blood Rising, I never knew quite how exciting/terrifying/and downright squirm inducing hat music could be. When I think dark art rock I usually think of bands like Coil and Throbbing Gristle or even later Scott Walker. But no album showed me what it meant to really be completely and utterly captivated by an album all while being completely scared by what you’re hearing. While there is no denying the creepiness of some Throbbing Gristle tracks nothing to this date really compares with this era of Current 93.

Part “music”. part chilling statement, part soundtrack to a nightmare, Dogs Blood Rising is many things. Its not really an album I put on when I want to rock out, or calm my nerves, its a full on experience of its own, more so than any other Current 93 album or mostly any album out there. Its an album that conjours up so many emotions and thoughts per listen that each time its a different experience. The terrifying spoken word chants/screams flow in and out on “Falling Back in Fields of Rape” in various forms like Steve Ignorant, a double tracked Shining type effect, and even a child like voice which really sends he shivers down your spine. Its actually fucking terrifying. The first time I ever heard this album and in particularly that track, I almost waned to change it because of how crazy it was making me feel, but that’s also the brilliance of it. Very seldom does music or an art piece make me feel that uncomfortable or paralyzed. Dogs Blood Rising really is something special.

With Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), Steve Ignorant, etc, David Tibet has been putting out excellent and interesting albums since he early 80’s. Since then Tibet has built a huge cult following and has worked with such names as Nick Cave, Om and Andrew WK. With everyone from fellow musicians, goths, punks, metal heads, and trendy internet sites singing his praise Current 93 have been beloved for a long time, and have made a multitude of diverse albums over the years. Same goes for Nurse With Wound, equally challenging and engaging. But in my opinion, nothing quite matches up to this 1984 masterwork.

From the chilling artwork to the even more eerie first chants of “Christus Christus”, you know you’re really in for something new. An album that challenged everything that I had heard prior, it albums a level of weird and enlightenment that few albums provide. I seriously evaluated everything I knew about art and music when I first hard this. With many of the vocals sounding like they’re coming from an empty mausoleum somewhere in a desolate corner in hell, the various modulations of pitch, tone, and inflection, the vocals alone are enough to terrify the most daring of listener. With much of the lyrical content pertaining to death, rape, war, jesus and other light hearted subject matter, its pretty safe to say that its not just the tones of the voice that is chilling either. I also don’t think I can hear “The Sound of Silence” the same way ever again.

I also don’t anyone to think that this album is purely shock value scare tactics. It certainly is not the equivalent of a scary movie now matter how much I seem to harp on its scare factor. Its more of a deep dark glance into the bowels of evil, not just of demons but of everyday people. Its a dark glimpse a the horrors of humanity and the things mankind has done and brought to the world. I see this album as an art piece first, music second. And while I love the rest of Tibet’s catalog (Thunder Perfect Mind is brilliant in its own right, need to at least mention it here) and NWW as well, Dogs Blood Rising being my first encounter with any of them and still the only one that makes me feel the way that it does, it will always be my favorite and possibly my favorite industrial album of all time. Turn the lights off, drink some red wine, lay down and get ready to scare yourself stupid. Truly a brilliant album and perfect for the ever worsening weather and dreary months to come.

Swans - The Seer

I’m trying not to repeat too many arists on here mainly because there are so many out there that I love that I shouldn’t have to but some just deserve it. A while back I gave a lot of praise to Children of God which is still my favorite album and era of Swans/Gira, but the newest album The Seer is just absolutely killer from start to finish and a perfect culmination of everything that makes them the greatest.

Throughout the bands long lifespan they have undergone a fair amount of phases and musical shifts. From their noisy and furious no wave days of The Filth, their slowed down but sill undeniably loud and powerful Cop/Young Gods era, the softer and more gentle terror of Children of God, the noisy and droney perfection of Soundtrack for the Blind, to their monstrous “comeback” album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky which not only proved that hey still got it but was one of their heaviest and best albums of their career, Swans have been one of the most consistently awesome and exciting bands ever to do it. Not to mention the mind numbingly brilliant live show and live albums. I just saw them for the second time about a week ago and once again they blew me away. From start to finish the Michael Gira and crew captivate and completely floor everyone in the audience. I consider myself someone who goes to an above average amount of shows and they are by far one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen. A must for anyone who hasn’t yet.

With the Seer we see Swans almost effortlessly combining all of their styles and phases from the past 30 years into one magnificent and sprawling 2 hour monster. I know this album has gotten a ton of buzz and has been talked about quite a bit this year but goddammit it deserves it all. From the opening chants (with a little help from the awesome Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of low) and marching band from hell style drums, we are thrust into a dark and epic world that’s both repetitive and captivating. This builds even more on the nervous and beautiful Mother of the World showing some of the first glimpses on this album of Swans elegant and pretty side which we come to see a little more of later on.

Which takes us to the title track, this epic roller coaster ride of a centerpiece shatters our ears and minds with bagpipes and hectic noise before knocking us down only to slowly build everything up again. “The Seer” slowly builds us up to a nervous frenzy all while Gira sings “I see it all, I see it all”. When the track finally comes crashing down, we are right there along for the ride with all of its glorious crashing guitars and violent drums hits. The next track is a more familiar romp, “The Seer Returns”, not to mention one of my favorite moments on the album. While noise and ferocity takes a back seat, lyrically its one of Giras most impressive and chilling in years. “I’m down here naked, There’s a hole in my chest, Both my arms are broken, Pointing east and west” utters Gira in a low drawl over an incredibly infectious foot stomping groove.

After that the album dives into more eclectic territory, with the noisier and primal No Wave tangent of “93 Ave. B Blues” and followed by the incredible side 1 closer of “The Daughter Brings The Water”.

Side 2 is kicked off by the very pretty Karen O sung “Song For A Warrior” channeling Swans more elegant side. “Avatar” on the other hand is more in tune with Swans more familiar and frequent repetitious and loud rock that we have come to expect. But that’s the beauty of this album, its all here, and once you start to get comfortable with one style the albums takes a brilliantly welcomed turn. Which is displayed brilliantly on “A Piece Of The Sky”, a gloriously droney and noisy mind melter which very organically takes a turn down a very beautiful and sweet path, easily one of the most memorable moments on the album and a prime example of the furious roller coaster ride that this album and Gira as an artist loves to take its listener on. Which brings us the monster of an album ender (as if this album deserved anything less) “The Apostate”. A 20+ minute journey through sludge, a thunderous drum battle that sounds too calculated to be human, squelching horns, Gira’s primal yelps, and a whole lot of wonderfully unsettling and noisy guitar tones. Not to mention its an absolute highlight of the live show.

Not really sure why I broke down every single track, I’m still getting the hang of writing about albums I love and still trying to understand the point of this blog but good lord this album is just fucking so great. No matter what era of Swans you love or what kind of dark, loud and soul crushing art/punk/metal/rock you love, there is something on this album for you. It just fucking slays. Proof that not all aging rockers have to put out piles of shit in their later years, Swans is and will always be one of the coolest hings happening in music, period. This album is getting lot of well deserved press and it can’t happen to a better album or band. That’s all. Its really great. Enjoy, or if you already love the album, go see them live, and if you’ve already done that then, I dunno, I’m still figuring out the purpose of this. Thanks for reading. Hopefully this will be my last Swans drooling post for awhile. Probably not if they put out another album as rad as this.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F♯ A♯ ∞

Godspeed You! Black Emperor have been talked to death and are beloved/praised by introverted nerdy music lovers everywhere. And with good fucking reason. Say what you want about about Yanqui U.X.O. and Lift Your Skinny… but the first album and EP will forever make them beyond classic in my eyes. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with me discovering F♯ A♯ ∞ when I was 17 and at my most introverted/angst ridden, but this album’s bleak end of the world/Stand/Time of the Wolf-esque moods hit me in a way that very few albums ever could.

The now iconic opening narration of “The Dead Flag Blues” get things going in such a devastating way that it hangs and resonates over the entire next 60 minutes. “The government is corrupt And we’re on so many drugs With the radio on and the curtains drawn We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine And the machine is bleeding to death” a monologue originating from an unfinished screenplay written by guitarist Efrim Menuck only becomes more true with each passing year. From my 17 year old self to my 26 year old self, these same feelings are here today. A sad and scary dystopian future brought on by convenience, ignorance and corruption seems like the work of sci-fi for now but the moods of this album very much so bring us to the time where this is our reality.

And with those moods and tones in place we drift forward on the highways and rails of a post-apocalyptic world brought on by a government and people in power that have failed us. The rest of “The Dead Flag Blues” takes us on a wonderful and even pretty at time trip through abandoned cities and countrysides. I like to think of it as Chill Out by The KLF if that album took place after a nuclear holocaust. This track has been broken up into 3 parts. The part that comes 3/4 of the way through “The Cowboy” is one of my favorite moments on the album. A prime example of Godpeed taking moods and styles of the past and blending them into their own beautiful/country-tinged way that fits so perfectly with this overarching apocalyptic vibe smeared all over the the course of the album.

Perhaps one of the greatest and now thanks to its brilliant use in 28 Days Later, one of the most celebrated moments on F♯ A♯ ∞ is “East Hastings”. The 18 minute centerpiece which combines a brilliant guitar melody with a building orchestral arrangements that both evokes beauty and an ever enclosing evil hat creeps and chases us throughout the piece. Efrim Menuck guitar solo is one of my favorites of all time. “East Hastings” is one of he coolest things they have ever done as a band and one of the biggest and best moments of the album. An emotional roller-coaster and a truly riveting piece of music.

From there things mellow out a little bit and we are taken to “Providence”, nearly a half hour long beauty that builds into a furious pace that nearly evokes expansion and hope. Soon it moves and flows to uncertain and mysterious moments of drone and noise with an almost ethereal quality. The lyrics “where are you going” weave in and out towards the middle of the piece as to say what are we left with. Whats the point. We’ve ruined ourselves, now what. One of the mysterious beauties of this album and life. What are we doing. The album leaves us in silence and then comes back at the very end for one last thunderous (thanks to Canadian phenom Aidan Girt on drums) psychedelic blast of ethereal magic. Truly a fantastic album open for lots of interpretation. But no matter how you see it, its a powerful and rocking statement far bigger than your usual songs of love and hate. This album put Godspeed on the map and will for ever be one of my favorite albums made by anyone.

Autechre - Confield

I am certainly not the first person to give Autechre praise. For nearly two decades now, the duo have been pushing the boundaries of electronic music and making some of the most beloved and respected IDM around. They have firmly stood their ground amongst the greatest in there genre throughout all of the highs and lows that electronic music has taken over he past 20 years. One of the main ways they have achieved this is by literally dancing o the beat of their own spastic and irregular drum. Whatever is happening out there in the music world, makes no difference to Sean booth and Rob Brown of Autechre.

With genre staples like Amber, Tri Repetae and LP5, Autechre we’re already IDM gods going into their 6th full length LP, Confield. With a ton of EP’s, singles, and remixes under there belt, Autechre was already well established as a huge name in electronic music. Tri Repetae is already considered a classic and a was a very important landmark album in the mid 90’s. But even with all of those accolade and accomplishments, Autechre did no stop there. On the aforementioned Confield, Autechre truly took hings to the next level.

Largely abandoning the ambient textures contrasted with interesting and complex beats formula for more of just an all around audio assault on your ears and your mind. I mean this n the absolute best way. While I love a lot of Autechre’s early work for me some of their best work were the interludes and track ending moments of the criminally underrated Chiastic Slide, which tended to be just a lot of hairy, metal dropping on a speaker moments that were truly unpredictable, interesting and squirm inducing. They pursued these elements of their sound even further on the wonderful EP7 and Peel Sessions 2. Not that they completely changed their sound but they certainly pushed their goals and ambitions on to a slightly more extreme and challenging path.

Confield for me is not only one of Auechre’s best albums but one of the coolest and greatest achievements in electronic music, period. The album starts off by literally just throwing the listener into the deep end. The first track “VI Scose Poise” is one of the greatest and most challenging tracks on the album. A moody and beautiful entrance to an enchanting and complex album. The tinny drum sounds drop and dribble against what sounds like a thin sheet of metal. Rippling, speeding up and slowing down all while beauty lies in the background. Much like a lot of earlier Autechre, its just rarely been done with such spastic subtlety.

The next track on the album “Cfem”, we are taken to a much more familiar place. One of the most straight forward tracks on the album and the most like Autechre’s previous stuff. It takes a few turns for the disjointed and unpredictable but compared to the rest of the album this is a top 40 hit. Same goes with “Pen Expers”, not quite the squirmy weirdness that i love from this album, but this track is truly great and one of the most danceable tunes that they have. A surprisingly upbeat and banging track. Not all that common for the group, especially in the early 2000’s phase of Autechre. This track is a great anomaly and welcomed addition to an otherwise more cerebral less danceable listening experience.

The next series of tracks are some of my absolute favorite moments on the album and in electronic music as a whole. “Sim Gishel” is everything that makes this album great, it dips and dives through crunchy, electronic knob twiddling, hair raising manipulation of the speakers, all while keeping a beat that comes and goes and warps with the rest of the ever changing sonic landscape throughout the tracks 7+ minutes. The journey continues with the fantastic “Parhelic Triangle” and “Bine” which is quite possibly the best track on the album not to mention its most challenging. A true masterwork and a very fitting centerpiece, “Bine” takes the spastic drums, moody space ambiance, and rippling audio manipulation and throws it all into one big turbine engine spewing out a fantastic and mind numbing concoction of sound and drool a educing composition of complex unpredictability. A very fun and unsettling combination.

"Eldetic Casein" and "Uviol", bring us farther down the rabbit hole but into a little more stable territory. With its eerie abandoned space station traveling around he solar system vibes still in tact, the album continues to take us on a very spastic and overwhelming but rewarding journey. The final track "Lentic Caachresis" is absolutely incredible and a very fitting end to one of the most astonishingly relentlessly exciting audio trips that I’ve ever heard. The song paralyzes your ears and your head, interweaving the drums,bass, and ethereal tones in the background into one big mass of sound and drums. Very difficult to differentiate what is doing what, the speeds of each texture slowly become one. Ultimately leaving you floored.

Confield is a true masterwork in my opinion and in my eyes it is very much so Autechre’s peak. A work of two geniuses pushing their craft to the next level of greatness. For those listeners willing to follow them there, the album is an absolutely exhilarating ride. It’s not for everyone, even some of the most die-hard of IDM fans question its pay-off. But I for one am a convert. I really liked their previous work but this album really does separate them from the rest of he pack. A truly glorious trip into a very dark, heart pounding, futuristic machine world.

Funkadelic - Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow

Anyone who has talked about music with me in the past few weeks probably already knows that I have fallen very hard into a Funkadelic obsession. I was always very aware of their greatness but never quite went much deeper than Maggot Brain and One Nation Under a Groove. Parliament on the other hand I was a little more familiar with but never quite floored me. But Funkadelic’s suff on the otherhand tends to be more rooted in rock and experimental production is usually what I tend to fall in love with musically rather than clean pop grooves. Although, given how much George Clinton produced music i’ve listened to during this amazing phase that I’ve found myself in, I need to seriously go back and re-evaluate the Parliament albums because I was probably missing a lot. They all kind of share and swap members anyway, kind of hard to tell the difference between the two projects at times.

Having to narrow it down to just one album to showcase in this blog proved to be extremely tough. There are so many Funkadelic albums that just completely kill. Cosmic Slop because Gary Shider is incredible on it and for it’s great songs about prostituting to feed your family, coming back from vietnam only to find ou your wife has married another man, regrettable one night stands and not to mention an ode to the vagina. Standing On the Verge of Getting It On because of how incredible Eddie Hazel is. The self titled album for its phat grooves and because it laid the ground work for everything that was to come. America Eats Its Young, and of course Maggot Brain and One Nation Under a Groove which tend to be the consensus picks. And while all of those albums and even some of their more underrated albums that I failed to mention all have great moments, the album that really crushed me and just made it all click was an album that spawned out of George Clinton’s idea to “see if we can cut a whole album while we’re all tripping on acid.” Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow, possibly their best album title but unfortunately maybe their dumbest artwork. But that’s just me.

Free Your Mind just knocks me out every time. Such a great mind fuck of a funk/rock album. George Clinton really is a master of psychedelic production and he completely proves it all over this, most notably on the title track which is easily one of the greatest things Funkadelic has ever done, not to mention some of the coolest 10 minutes of music I’ve ever heard, any genre or any era. With a slow build up to the groove, the title track slowly becomes a noisy spaced out journey with chants of “free your mind” “your ass will follow” and “the kingdom of heaven is within”. which really sums up a lot of Funkadelic and what they were trying to do. A perfect opening track to an equally rad album. The track continues on from there to lock deeper into the groove, switching channels constantly creating a noisy bizarrely produced acid freak out of a funk jam. But for me the vocals are what set this apart. The primal screams and Sly Stone croons really make it all click. Just pure greatness.

And while I want to give a lot of the credit to George Clinton, billy Bass Nelson’s vocals are so great on this and while this might not be his crowing achievement like Standing on the Verge… Eddie Hazel rules all over this as usual. Nelson and Hazel are especially great on the incredible “I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You?” which is one of my personal favorites on this album. Starts out as a really great straight forward fuzzy funk jam and then it just rockets into a really fun and unpredictable spaced out acid induced jam of organs and percussion. Part of how great/weird/fun this album gets. It goes into some bizarre places but it all feels very natural and it all works.

Some other notable jams on this include the very fun “Friday Night August 14”, the hard hitting social commentary of “Funky Dollar Bill” and the very heartland bluesy acid washed foot stomp-er of “Some More” which evokes visions of jamming on a porch somewhere in the deep south.

It’s an incredible album by one of the greatest groups/collectives o ever happen to music, let alone mainstream music. Which is such a beautiful thing. If you haven’t listened to this in awhile definitely worth picking it back up. not only was it wildly influential but it just straight up fucking rocks plain and simple. Arguably their best work, but for me it really is the album that sets them apart from the rest.

Actress - R.I.P.

And we’re back. It’s been a few months since my last post on here but I feel pretty confident that I’m going to stick with it this time. Considering my last post was more of a guilty pleasure/ important because of specific memories type of album, now I wan’t to move on to an album that makes me genuinely excited and happy to listen to now and now just for nostalgic purposes. Anyway, that album is R.I.P. by electronic artist/producer Darren Cunningham, better known as Actress.

I first heard about him through a few message boards and really started loving his stuff after watching a surprisingly awesome interview that he did with Adult Swim awhile back somewhere in beween his second album Splazsh and his latest which is the album I’m showcasing right now, R.I.P. And while his older stuff is really great, nothing he had done previously really connected with me as much as his latest. Splazsh and Hazyville are both great in their own right but R.I.P. embraces not only everything I liked about his older work, but everything that I love about music/electronic music/IDM and put it all in one wonderful and exciting trip of an album.

Like many of my favorite electronic/IDM arists before him, you really get a sense that Darren truly loves the music he is making and those who have done it right in the past. Much like BOC and many Aphex Twin albums, R.I.P. doesnt stay too long in one spot. It really is a journey, sometimes its a woozy one, sometimes a pulsating one, sometimes a moody one, but whatever it is, its new/exciting and a different turn on every track. The kind of album that I really get nerdy about. Becuase while R.I.P. crosses a lot of genre’s and moods in electronic music, it all feels consistantly like a whole, and it accomplishes this pretty effortlessly.

Starting right off the bat with the title track segueing right into “Ascending”, you really get a sense that Darren is finally embracing a lot of his “pretty” tendencies that were there on the previous two but never completely placed on he surface. Even “Holy Water” is a little less moody/dark than a lot of his previous work. But then we get to the glorious and brilliant “Marble Plexus”. One of my favorite and most chillingly dark electronic/house tracks in a long long time. A very Select Ambient Works vibe. This is the first but certainly not the last track on the album that I absolutely fell in love with.

From there we wind and weave through more mood shifts and strings taking us right to “Jardin”, another highlight. One of the more blissful/glitch laden tracks on the album. Somewhat of a building block leading into “Serpent” a more beat driven blidd out of a track. Which brings me to this little side note, one of my favorite things about this album and IDM as a genre is how layered and complex a lot of it is. I notice different things that may have missed or not really focused on he first few times around. Your head and your body really pull you in two different directions. So based on my mood and where I’m listening to it, its a different experiance. Anyway, sorry about that. Moving on to “Shadow From Tartarus” which is not one of my favorite tracks but I’m glad its there. More of a deep pulsating bass track with a lot of really pretty ascending electronic space noises a la Music Has A Right To Children. It adds to the varied/electronic genre hopping that I really dig about this album.

Which brings us to my favorite moment on the album and one of my favorite tracks in years, by any artist, “Tree Of Knowledge”. A woozy/eerie/beautiful electronic trip bending, shifting and shaping morphing my ears and my brain for 4 incredible minutes.

Some more highlights include the incredibly pretty segue track”Glint”, the unapolagetically moody but fun house track of “The Lord’s Graffiti” and the beautiful come down track “N.E.W.”. Now I know I’m coming off as a huge fanboy here, just listing tracks that I think are awesome, but I really can’t stress enough how great this album is. Probably my favorite of the year so far. Even more than the new Swans of the Perfume Genius that I have been drooling over for the past few months. Hell R.I.P. even got me out of hiding from this blog for a few months. I hope you all enjoy it. It’s been out for awhile so this certainly isn’t anything new but it really is fantastic, just wanted to give my 2 cents. I’m not completely saying that he’s the second coming of Richard D. James but he certainly is awesome and is doing everything right. I hope you all love this as much as I have this year.