Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ken Geiger's Album Round-Up

Spring 2018

Well, I thought it had been some time since my last article for the site; and I have not really attended many live shows since then. Sure, I played a few; but I have a weird thing about writing about shows that I also play on. It feels wrong to me (But promoting my music on this kind of platform does not: check out KPG over on Bandcamp!). So I decided that, rather than force out a show review, I would take this time to recommend some new music to the readers. (Mostly) Everyone loves new music! I think most of the readers on this website are open enough to take suggestions from a weirdo like me; so I made this as short, sweet, and as varied in genres as I possibly could. Enjoy!

Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician: This album is WEIRD, even for The Melvins, a band whose last record was a double album with an avant-garde noise soundtrack on one side. Basically, the band decided, since they had already done lineups in the past with two guitarists and two drummers, they might as well try out two bassists (The Butthole Surfers' Jeff Pinkus and OFF!'s Steven Shane McDonald). The results could not have come out any freakier. McDonald adds some amazing wah-bass leads to Pinkus's low rumble. Pinkus adds some Butthole Surfers level noise and banjo to McDonald's more straightforward rock basslines. They completely mangle covers of The Beatles, James Gang, and Butthole Surfers to the point that they become no different from your regular Melvins tune. For once, I feel like King Buzzo and Dale Crover are not in the spotlight of a Melvins album with Pinkus Abortion Technician. Considering the fact that this is a band who has been centered around those two names for 35 years now, I applaud them for pulling off such a bold move like that. Out now on Ipecac Recordings.

Song to Watch for: "Don’t Forget to Breathe"

Flatbush Zombies – Vacation in Hell: This NY-based rap group popped up on my radar when Nick Cave name-checked them during a live performance I attended last summer. The man has good taste in music. This album finds Flatbush Zombies bringing a full force of psychedelic party instrumentals and downright aggressive lyricism rolled up into one intriguing package. Tales about death, gangbanging, and ducking the police are sprinkled all over the album. As heavy as that sounds, these MCs find a way to make it all sound like it's just another day in paradise for them. Ironically, I keep thinking of the 1960s psychedelic pop group the Zombies whenever I listen to Vacation in Hell. To me, the Flatbush Zombies truly capture some psychotic Summer of Love aura with this album that is hard to put down once you have had a sample of it. Out now on Glorious Dead Recordings.

Song to Watch for: "Facts (feat. Jadakiss)"

Sleep – The Sciences: I think Sleep are the only band that could release an album on 4/20, and not have it be seen as super corny. Maybe that has to do with the fact that The Sciences is the band's first album in almost 20 years, and it came from out of nowhere. Again, only a band this legendary could just drop an album with no press announcement prior to release. For a minute, I thought that it would be years until we saw this one surface, given the fact that all 3 members of the band have other hugely successful projects in the metal underground to focus on (Neurosis, High On Fire, OM). So how exactly does this album hold up to the rest of what is considered to be by many a near flawless discography? This may not come as a surprise to those who know Sleep well, but it is pretty damn good. Al Cisneros lays down his usual business on bass and adds some OM-style vocals to his repertoire in the band, which I honestly prefer to the earlier vocal work he did in Sleep. Jason Roeder has proven he is more than capable of holding up the drum mantle for this band. But let's be real here; Matt Pike is the MVP of Sleep. His riffs can crush and transport your body at the same time, which is something thousands of guitarists have been trying (and failing) to replicate since him. I think that The Sciences finally shows that it is time to stop lumping Sleep in with the rest of the Black Sabbath worshipers of the world. They are truly worthy now of their own worship. Out now on Third Man Recordings

Song to Watch for: "Giza Butler"

Goth Girl & Torturing Nurse – Goth Girl / Torturing Nurse: Decided it was time to give a nod to some more noise stuff in these things that I write. I think the masses can handle it… This split was put out by the wonderful Detroit-based label Contradiction Tapes, who also did a KPG release this year. Since working with them on that release, I have been hooked on the rest of their catalogue. This one really stands out above the rest though, in my opinion. Both Goth Girl and Torturing Nurse provide a perfect template for how awesome harsh noise can truly be. One of my main concerns when listening to music this extreme and lacking in rhythm is that it feels like a couple minutes can drag on for an eternity if it's not engaging. I do not feel this at all with this split. Both songs manage to hold your attention for the entire running time, which I think is just fantastic. I needed some more harsh sounds in my life again. This is a good introduction to those interested in the genre. Out now on Contradiction Tapes.

Song to Watch for: It's just 2 songs. Listen to them both.

The Lemon Twigs – "Foolin' Around / Tailor Made:" I do not understand why this Long Island duo is not huge around the Asbury area. They play that swinging, feel-good rock n roll sound that a lot of other bands try to do and actually sound GOOD DOING IT! Maybe it's the fact that these guys are only in their early 20s, write way more killer tunes than most, have some big-time fans (The Melvins and Mac Demarco), I don't know… I'm just listing what I think are feasible reasons to be hating on a band this talented. ANYWAYS: Nothing about the sound of The Lemon Twigs feels exhausted or boring. Yes, you can tell who the band really loves (Big Star, Queen, and Todd Rundgren are a few I can hear in their sound); but they are not prancing around trying to BE any of those influences. They have their own thing going with a sound I usually think has been played out, which is awesome. This is the second EP they have released in just as many years, but damn it… If The Lemon Twigs ever read this, just hurry up and give us the full length already. It's been a while since Do Hollywood. Don't we fans deserve a little something? Out now on 4AD.

Song to Watch for: Again, this is just a 2 song EP. Listen to them both. Then listen to them again. I know that's what is going to end up happening anyways.

Please send me anything you feel I may have missed or may like, based on the albums talked about in this article to kenfest@gmail.com. Or if I really just have an awful taste in music, you can tell me that too. I am open to improvement if it will make you feel better!

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