Friday, October 6, 2017

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard - Murder Of The Universe (ATO, 2017)

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Murder Of The Universe

Rating: 8 ice dragons out of 10

They're not quite in Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard territory, but King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard release a lot of records.  And what often happens in these cases is I get overwhelmed with keeping up/digesting their music, and eventually tune out.  According to Discogs this is their eighth full length in the last three years, three from just this year - and apparently they are planning on releasing two more before 2018 gets here!

Anyways, yadda yadda yadda, I somehow end up with a digital copy of "Murder of the Universe," popped it on for a listen I thought wouldn't make much of an impression, but was smitten from the start.  Technically there are twenty-one songs, but really it's just three intertwined epic jams titled "The Tale of the Altered Beast," "The Lord of Lightning vs. Balrog," and "Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe."  As you might guess from those titles, the lyrical content is a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons-type silliness, or an even nerdier version of the shit all Led Zeppelin songs are about.  Lyrical content aside, the music is killer - the most perfect combination of kraut rock, prog, and "New Wave of British Heavy Metal"-esque heaviness.  The "Altered Beast" section is especially great, so driving and aggro and I'm pretty sure if I listened to it in my car I would start speeding right away.  Lots of spoken word narration through the whole thing - it's like someone did a mash-up with a "Lord of the Rings" audiobook and a rock band.  And shockingly, delightfully, it works. 

The whole record is pretty damn ridiculous, but I'm way into it.  Still on the fence?  There's a song called "Vomit Coffin."  Case closed.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble - Find Me Finding You (Drag City, 2017)

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble
Find Me Finding You

Drag City

Rating: 7 lucky stars out of 10

I listened to so much Stereolab this summer, easily the most I've listened to since college when they might have been my most-played band, so it was kismet that Stereolab founder Laetitia Sadier released a new record "Find Me Finding You" under the group name Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble.  Outside of the tropicalia-inspired opening track "Undying Love for Humanity," there's no denying this is basically just an older, wiser, more mature version of Stereolab, musically speaking.  I don't mean to sell her former bandmates short, but the ears hear what they hear.  There's not quite as much synth on this album - it's more of a garnish here as opposed to the main course - but Laetitia's voice makes comparing this record to anything other than her classic outfit a real reach, and pointless.  Sure, if I want to hear Sadier I'm much more likely to grab "Mars Audiac Quintet" out of my collection first, but "Finding Me Finding You" fits in nicely with her oeuvre.

Thurston Moore - Rock N Roll Consciousness (Caroline International, 2017)

Thurston Moore
Rock N Roll Consciousness

Caroline International

Rating: 7.5 hell youths out of 10

Thurston Moore, best known as the front man of Sonic Youth, has been known to get weird on some of his solo material.  To be honest, too weird for me a lot of the time...but that's not the case with "Rock N Roll Consciousness."  Maybe it was his split with Kim Gordon and the seeming end of one of the greatest indie rock bands of all time, but now instead of using his solo platform as an outlet for his more esoteric musical thoughts, it has apparently become the repository of what would have been Sonic Youth songs if the band still existed.  Pretty much every track here could have been featured on any album Sonic Youth released since the "Dirty" era, but especially their early oughts material like "Murray Street."  Hell, Steve Shelley even plays some (or all?) of the drums on this, so with two of the four members of the band involved it's as much a Sonic Youth record as it isn't.  The best song for my money is "Cease Fire," which technically isn't on the album unless you snag a Japanese version (and I think it might also be available when downloading), so seek this version out.   If you told me "Cease Fire" was a lost 20 year old classic by the band I wouldn't have questioned it for even a second.  

Your only decision when deciding if this album is for you is figuring out how much you want to hear a new Sonic Youth record, regardless of the name on the front cover.  A damn good new Sonic Youth record at that.