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Antony and the Johnsons – Turning

November 20th, 2014
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Words In Need of Pictures

Antony and the Johnsons’ live album Turning is the denouement to the series of pieces that began as performance art collaboration between Antony Hegarty in 2006 with filmmaker Charles Atlas. In the original, repurposed images of 13 women (”beauties” as Hegarty called them) with a history of difficult life experiences were projected against a backdrop of Hegarty’s sobering and emotional chamber music. Their beauty contradicted their lives, and this juxtaposition was the crux of Turning. Atlas directed a documentary of the tour, and finally, Hegarty released this album of the isolated audio performances from the tour. Whether or not the music alone translates to a work of art itself is dependent upon the listener’s familiarity with the Hagerty; he is either a mesmerizing artist or a bore. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Liv Kristine – Vervain

November 13th, 2014
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Searching in Vain

Heavy metal frontwomen tend to fall into one of two categories: the scratchy, tough Joan Jett-esque rock stars, and the operatic “what’s she doing singing metal?” types. Norwegian vixen Liv Kristine falls into the latter group. In most cases, this over-singing is more effective when it is used sparingly, perhaps as backing vocals. On her fifth album, Vervain, Kristine displays talent and control as a singer as well as an instinct for lush and large melodies as a songwriter, but the album as a whole comes across as too serious and too big for its own good. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Nude Beach – 77

November 1st, 2014
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In The Garage Where I Belong

Anyone can play garage rock; that’s implied in the sub-genre’s name. All you need is three friends, a case of PBR and a garage. Oh — and some instruments. The implication is that the fun is not in the creating or the listening, but in the playing. The downside, of course, is that you may not find an audience for your indulgences save the neighbors and their dogs. New York’s Nude Beach is, for the most part, an exception to this. Their latest effort, 77, is filled with well-crafted pop songs delivered with raw intensity that make you want to stay and have another beer. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Zola Jesus – Taiga

October 23rd, 2014
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The Taiga Sheds Its Stripes

Electronic ambient music doesn’t get much more pop than Zola Jesus, the nom de stage of Nika Roza Danilova. Since her 2009 debut, The Spoils, she has mixed the aforementioned elements with goth, classical and industrial meanderings. On each album, she has become more focused and less experimental. Her latest LP, Taiga, may be her most accessible release to date, and it will be up to her fans to determine if that’s a good or bad thing. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Dominhate – Towards the Light

October 9th, 2014
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Light Within the Darkness

Hailing from Pordenone, Italy, Dominhate attempts to innovate within a genre that defies innovation. With their debut LP, Towards the Light, this death metal four-piece mixes up tempo changes, melodies and vocal rhythms in a way that sets them apart from their brethren. They do not pretend to cross over into any other genres, though, which will ensure they do not alienate any potential fans coming their way expecting to be aurally assaulted. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

My Brightest Diamond – This is My Hand

October 1st, 2014
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…My Very Heavy Hand

Once in a while, you come across music that is so non-categorizable that you can’t form an opinion. You can’t say you don’t like it or that it’s without merit, but at the same time you can’t say you want to listen to it again. My Brighest Diamond is such an act. Shara Worden mixes chamber music, prog rock, operatic stylings and cabaret into one baffling blur of sounds. On her fifth album, This is My Hand, this kitchen-sink delivery continues, and the experience is dictated wholly by the listener’s expectations and mood. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Hod – Book of the Worm

September 20th, 2014
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Honoring Obsequious Derivations, Perhaps?

First and foremost, Hod would like you to know that their name is not an initialism. It is not H.O.D. It’s Hod. It doesn’t stand for anything. The same cannot be said for this San Antonio five-piece grindcore metal band. They stand for the anyone who is not afraid to take their metal to the most extreme. They stand for anyone who is willing to look beyond macabre lyrics and uncover the frivolity within. Their second full-length, Book of the Worm, does not break new ground or provide a compelling reason to listen, but it is a solid collection of fast, loud, screaming metal. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Accept – Blind Rage

August 27th, 2014
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Meaty, Juicy Goodness

Accept is to heavy metal what Friendly’s is to fine dining. While it’s nice to enjoy a meal prepared with care and skill, sometimes you just want a fucking hamburger. Germany’s original headbangers have been presenting the same menu for nearly 35 years, and while it’s reasonable to push it aside in favor of more flavorful options, the comfortable and steady will always have customers. Their latest, Blind Rage, is another eleven songs of fist-pounding, flag-waving arena rock, delivered without irony or apology. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Darkest Hour – Darkest Hour

August 16th, 2014
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See the Light

When an album starts off with a screech that you can’t tell if it’s an instrument or a voice, you know you’re in for something mind-melting. However, the simple fact that DC metalcore heroes Darkest Hour chose to self-title their eighth album hints that they may have been attempting a sonic rebirth (see: Metallica, 1991). When they signed to Sumerian Records last year, they saw it as a good time to expand their sound, with the help of producer Tyler Larson. The end result may both lose and attract fans. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Mark Lanegan Band – No Bells on Sunday EP

August 12th, 2014
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Peak-a-boo!

A decade prior to the breakup of Screaming Trees in 2000, Mark Lanegan started releasing his crooner-soul-rock under his own name, working album by album to hone his skills and his voice and find the perfect match for both. As he approaches fifty years of age and prepares for the release of his ninth solo record, Phantom Radio in the fall, he is giving 1,500 fans a taste with the vinyl-only five-song EP, No Bells on Sunday, and it appears as though he may have overshot his target. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews , ,