CZARFACE – A Fistful of Peril
I had the last album, Every Hero Needs A Villain on my best of 2015 list from last year, and in keeping with the comic book theme, this seemingly under the radar supergroup continues to churn out great boom-bap hip-hop. Featuring Inspectah Deck (of Wu-Tang fame) on emcee duties, A Fistful of Peril doesn’t quite contain as many features on record, which allows him to fully fledge his rapping chops in a more isolated environment. Beyond that, beats are still great and grimey, and the flows are wonderful.
David Bazan – Dark Sacred Night
Suicide Squeeze Records
Ringing in advent season with a Christmas album is a-OK in my book. I was a good boy for Santa and waited at least until after Thanksgiving to start listening, and boy was Dark Sacred Night a surprise. Bazan is no stranger to sullen lyricism, but when you read a tracklist of traditional Christmas songs with a few contemporary songs thrown in, it’s a little bit of a jolt when he hits you with a line about whiskey daydreams, and haunted thoughts of whether his faith is even still a thing. Don’t worry though, Bazan ends on a nice cup of original Christmas cheer, quietly picking and tailing off about how he’ll never see his kids and survive as a drunk hermit. Seasons greetings!
Carla dal Forno – You Know What It’s Like
Blackest Ever Black
Introspective and brooding, You Know What It’s Like slowly churns on a short ensemble of artful electronics courtesy of Australian-born Carla dal Forno. The album is a short 29 minutes, yet dal Forno’s textured layering of synthesizers shines through with an overarching theme. Each track tends to feature a repetitive drum machine beat setting the stage for altered vocal performances to create an eerie mood.
Esben and the Witch – Older Terrors
Season of Mist
Rachel Davies is goth. Her band Esben and the Witch is also goth, but additionally much more intricate. Older Terrors is true to their sound, but at the same time expands compositions into longer affairs, wrought with brooding guitars and effects. I think of it as a GYBE! album of sorts; each track breaches the 10 minute mark, with just 4 songs total. Try it if you ever wondered if Siouxsie Sioux had a better set of musicians behind her voice.
Hideous Towns – Disquiet Living
Lost and Lonesome
Disquiet Living brings to mind a typical Warpaint record upon first hearing the reverb-laden effects and dreamy soundscapes. Makes sense given the Melbourne alternative rockers take to heart their influences. Heck, the band name itself is taken from jangle legends The Sundays, and it shows too.
Lambchop has nothing to prove at this stage in their storied career. Admittedly, I’ve never listened to their music until FLOTUS came out early this month, but as it stands, sandwiching two 10+ minute songs at the start and finish proved a nice standard for the lounge vibe that they represent. Basslines are plentiful, and the vocals resemble that of the subdued nature of much of Yo La Tengo’s music. Sure, the vocoder calls to mind Bon Iver’s latest record as well, but let us not forget who the veterans are and who is playing with new toys to breathe life into a standard formula.
Soft Kill – Choke
Not only do the guys in Soft Kill make great post-punk jams, but they’re also from my hometown of Portland, OR, so I have to give them some love. Geographical bias aside, Choke is a further culmination of the band’s darkwave influences, with ringing haunted guitar tone, and morose vocals to boot. The sound gives goosebumps with the shear cold feeling in each track’s building climax, with drum machines giving that piece of the puzzle. You will want to dance, but in a lonely sense.
Stiu Nu Stiu – Fake End
Chalk Swedes Stiu Nu Stiu up on the list of bands that have worked with Kurt Ballou (Converge) on their music. That will ALWAYS pay dividends! Blending a mixture of gothic rock, shoegaze, and some metal influences as a topper, expect to enjoy this one immensely if you enjoy stuff like Marriages and Cult of Luna (and Disintigration, but that’s the “Joy Division scapegoat answer).
Wolf People – Ruins
Some good old fashioned rock-n-roll is always welcome in any musical cornucopia. Wolf People fit the bill here once again with their new record, Ruins. Jack Sharp’s fierce vocals and piercing guitar solos make for a psychedelic-tinged adventure, capping off with more crazy chops from beginning to end. It’s probably just reinventing the wheel more than anything, but a fun listen nonetheless!
Wolves At The Gate – Types & Shadows
Solid State Records
Yay, two wolf bands in a row! I legitimately thought this was a Wolves in the Throne Room album when I first put it on. It was the melodic hardcore that quickly slapped me in the face with reality, but hey, I enjoyed this band’s first two records alright. Just file it under the Christian metalcore repertoire of August Burns Red and Underoath types. This is fun to listen to when you need good running music, but I guess there’s no more or no less to it.
I’m not doing a December YMHM…it’s list season! See ya in 2017. *kiss kiss*