Hey everybody, I’m Mitch, the hopeless plebeian who likes OK Computer. You may know me as Ebola Zaire or carcinoZaire or whatever the hell other nickname I’ve used on various internet locales.
If you’d have told me at the beginning of the year that I’d be embarking on this project, I’d have been more than a little skeptical. While I did think of my tastes as mature (they weren’t, past Mitchell liked Muse) I didn’t listen to what could be considered a “variety” of music at all. However, really starting this year, I’ve made a conscious effort to dive into more and more music, and hopefully I’m pretty well equipped to handle this.
This is some of the music I’ve been listening to in the past week. Remember that you can view our rating scale by hitting the “About” button on the sidebar!
6 Whirr Distressor [EP] (2010)
I didn’t actually pick this up in the last seven days (the horror) but it was very recent and I’ve been hitting it hard enough that I think it warrants a spot at the top of this week’s roundup. I went into this album with no expectations; I hadn’t listened to a single track, and I only knew the genre. The opening track was just weird enough (featuring a short repeated riff and a spoken word bit) to turn me off a tad. However, the remaining 23~ minutes of this EP were gorgeous, swirling soundscapes and some of the best vocals I’ve heard in shoegaze.
Those familiar with the indie scene know that it’s sort of in vogue to incorporate elements of shoegaze into their music; artists like The Horrors, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Deerhunter, M83, etc. have all played with shoegazing tropes (with varying degrees of success) but have mostly stayed towards a lighter, poppy sound. That’s almost the inverse of what Whirr does; Distressor builds huge and drowning walls of sound (somewhat similar to Jesu, though not nearly as droning or metal-influenced). The vocal effects and layering is somewhat similar to My Bloody Valentine (whose influence is notable on this EP), but the delivery is much closer to dream pop aesthetics.
The most obvious critique is that all of the songs generally stay the same and seldom leave the band’s comfort zone; however, I found myself drawn so into the EP’s texture and aesthetic that this failed to detract from it. I hope that they further develop their sound and am really looking forward to a near-future debut LP.
5 the pillows FLCL Original Sound Track No. 3 (2005)
Genre: Alternative Rock
The official anime of !, now in soundtrack form!
Strictly speaking this is a compilation album (and not original); I think only two songs were composed for FLCL (“I Think I Can” and “Ride on Shooting Star”). Despite my general avoidance of compilation albums, I really couldn’t pass up such a great selection of tunes that I knew from the anime.
As an album, this is not likely to be something that I return to often; however, while listening to it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of some great moments from the show and I think that it’s a testament to the music’s fittingness that it was able to evoke that characteristic FLCL feel. Plus, it’s great workout music.
Rather annoyingly, the title of the album does insert a space into “soundtrack.”
5 Pinkshinyultrablast Happy Songs for Happy Zombies
I hate it when the album title is too long to fit into one line.
Though unlikely to impress anyone with its length (clocking in at just under 14 minutes) this is a really solid shoegaze EP. Fun fact: Pinkshinyultrablast are from Russia! I guess even godless communists are capable of writing nostalgic tunes that capture the sound of early shoegaze albums.
The songs here are most reminiscent (to me) of The Jesus and Mary Chain and pre-Loveless My Bloody Valentine; “Deerland” in particular sounds like it would fit right in on You Made Me Realise or Psychocandy. I am also really digging the vocals here; I can’t tell if Luba (the lead singer) is singing in English or Russian, but who cares about lyrics in this genre anyway; it’s the sound that matters. They remind me a fair bit of the female vocals on LSD and the Search For God, which in turn reminded me somewhat of the Cocteau Twin’s Elizabeth Fraser (but don’t take that comparison very far, because Fraser is far more dynamic).
P.S.: In case you were on the fence about this one, the last song is titled “Ode to Godzilla.” That should be enough to convince you to listen.
4 Have a Nice Life Time of Land [EP] (2010)
Genre: Doom Metal (?)
Definitely doomy, not so metallic though.
This feels like a comfortable step from Deathconsciousness (Have a Nice Life’s 2008 debut LP); musically there’s not much extrapolation here, although the production is a bit nicer. Dan’s vocals are not as reverbed as they are on Deathconsciousness, so they end up reminding me a lot of Giles Corey (his 2011 solo LP). The songwriting is kind of rough and uneven (also like Giles Corey); “The Icon and the Axe,” especially, really fails to evoke any feelings and the yelling/drop thing that happens about midway through feels kind of silly and forced. However, I still enjoyed this, even if just for “Woe Unto Us” which sounds like a pleasant combination of “Bloodhail” and “Deep, Deep” (two of my favorite tracks from Deathconsciousness).
2 Lovesliescrushing Bloweyelashwish (1993)
Genre: Ambient, Shoegaze
I don’t think this album has melodies, just loads of feedback and ethereal “Oooooooohhhhhhh“s. It’s not strictly bad in that nothing seemed like it was actively hurting my ears, but there was nothing for me here beyond some nice textures that I wish had been developed into a coherent structure. Weirdly, I think the short, intermission-esque tracks are the strongest here, and the titular track is actually really nice.
Also, fuck this album, the second track is too short to scrobble.