An Agglomeration of Variegated Aural Pleasures

My recent trip to New Zealand was on the whole quite fruitless when it came to buying music, last time I bought a dozen or so discs. I bought only one used CD this time, and the two other CDs I got were from my brother who graciously let me take anything I desired from his large collection of CDs, so I took a couple. I did however get a brillo birthday present from him which made my day, as well as a couple of double-ups he had. And I have since added a few more after arriving back in Japan, so here is what I have in no particular order.

Burial – Subtemple/Beachfires

This is what my brother gave me for my birthday, and when he handed it to me I was quite flabbergasted. I never thought I would see another Burial release on vinyl as they are hard to get, in Japan at least, so I was extremely chuffed to get it. When I think back on all of the birthday presents I have ever received, I must say that this one takes the crown.

This is a very Burial release in that it is very atmospheric, so much so that it is pretty much devoid of actual melody and is more of a series of random crackly sounds and ghostly voices, but that is what I like about Burial. Judge for yourself though…

YouTube comment for this release: People are hating on this but it’s actually top tier dark ambient. Foreboding and uneasy, perfect to set up the stage for Beachfires, which is the epic culmination. I think they’re meant to be listened back to back, the split is just so people don’t feel too intimidated by the length. If there was a sonic representation of the coming of Cthulhu, this would be it.

Spot on.

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

Last week I went into Book Off to see what is what and found this. I was not aware of this 2011 album so I was most pleased to find it.

And it is another great Arctic Monkeys release. Not really much more needs to be said about it.

The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever

Another Book Off find, and another album I had never seen before. And also another great listen. Fun stuff.

That is all I will write about for now. There are plenty more but I have not listened to them yet, so I will do so then report back.

Music count 2019: 10

Misery Index – Rituals of Power

Misery Index are a death metal/grindcore band from Baltimore in the U.S. I got into them a few years back, and have all of their albums so far. This is their latest, just released a couple of days ago, and as soon as I heard it was released I immediately bought it for US$10 on Bandcamp.

I realise that absolutely no one reading this is probably into Misery Index, let alone death metal or grindcore, so I will keep it short.

It’s a good album, just as good as anything they have done before, but no real change either. A few more listens are required to decide if it is their best album.

Here is the video for the title track, followed by some comments left on YouTube.

This is gunna destroy the little subwoofer in my truck
My neighbours liked the song that much, they told the police about it…
The world does not deserve this band.
Boring…

Music count 2019: 7

System of a Tori

I have a couple of CD purchases to talk about.

System of a Down – Toxicity

I dropped by a Book Off I had not been to in a while and was chuffed to find this “limited edition” bonus CD version for only 280 yen. I already have this album as an iTunes download (does anyone use iTunes to buy music anymore?), so I was happy to get this on CD.

The bonus CD disc has a making-of video, which you can watch here if you are curious.

It is an excellent album, but all of their albums are really. It is just a pity that while they are still touring they have not released a new album for a very long time now. This is apparently because Serj, the vocalist, is mucking about while the rest of the band are keen to record again… musicians for you.

Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes

This album came out in 1992, and I probably bought it in the same year, or thereabouts. I really liked it at the time, but the album and I parted ways years later for reasons unknown. But, just a few days ago I thought it would be good to listen to it again, so I found it used on Amazon and it arrived a couple of days ago.

After listening to it I realised that I had forgotten most of it, the only familiar track was “Crucify”. I must say I was a little underwhelmed by the rest of the album, it is good, but my jumbled mind seems to have held it on a higher pedestal. It needs more listens though.

Tori released her 15th album in 2017, I must check that out, as well as some of her other albums.

Music count 2019: 6

Library Listens: O.G. Original Gangster

An idea suddenly appeared in my head that I should review various albums from my library of CDs, just for fun, and to see how the music stands up. And in my never-ending quest for knowledge it will give me a chance to learn more about my favourite artists. I chose this album because I am listening to it as I type, and I like Ice-T, he is dope.

This was released in 1991, which I didn’t really need to look up, it was ingrained in my brain for some esoteric reason. Actually 1991 was quite a year for music with the release of albums such as Nirvana’s Nevermind, Achtung Baby from U2, Badmotorfinger from Soundgarden, and Bandwagonesque from Teenage Fanclub, and I have all of those in my collection. There were plenty more.

It peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Chart, and number 9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Reviews in the day were mostly good, NME liked it a lot saying ” Ice-T’s best shot yet; riotous vignettes from a decaying America full of devious humour and striking pathos – all those things NWA profess to be but clearly aren’t.”

Select magazine, a now defunct mostly Britpop-oriented magazine, (the term “Britpop” was actually coined by one of the writers there), said: “Three tracks “Mind Over Matter”, “The Tower” and “The House” are outstanding while “much of the rest relies on a well-tested recipe of looped breakbeats and linear drums.” and that the album’s themes function “better as manifesto than as music”.

I remember buying this, probably in 1991 or 1992, and liking it a lot. It was refreshing stuff, and was probably the first Gangsta Rap album I ever bought. The only other rap bands I liked in those days were Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, Run D.M.C., and the Beastie Boys of course. I still listen to all of them regularly.

And I still like this album a lot, nothing changes with Ice-T. Good beats, lots of attitude, and funny at times. There are plenty of tracks too, 24 in all. I have a couple of other of his albums, but this one is always the bomb. The album artwork though is not the best.

If you want to see a good documentary then check out Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. Ice directed and produced this in 2012 and it is about how rap artists go about their trade. He visited rap luminaries all over the U.S. such as Q Tip, Chuck D, Eminem, Kanye West, and Rakim. Ice is obviously a nice fellow, and is good on camera.

I have never seen Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but I imagine he is good in that.

Ice is also in Body Count, a thrash metal band, and they are pretty good too.

Ice-T has a few children from different partners, and is currently married to an ex-swimsuit model. They have a four year old daughter named Chanel Nicole Marrow, and they all seem to be happy. He is 61.

To end these posts off I have decided that I must find a photo of the musician taken with Lemmy, and Ice-T did indeed meet Lemmy. The other homey is from Ugly Kid Joe.

JPEGMAFIA x Freaky – The 2nd Amendment

I bought JPEGMAFIA’s “Veteran” album on Bandcamp a while ago and liked it, so I thought I would get this ,too.

The music is a mixture of rap and hip-hop, and is also tagged as punk rap on Bandcamp. The lyrics are political or race related, with the rappers always sounding quite angry.

Overall it doesn’t really grab me much, JPEGMAFIA’s “Veteran” album is much better. But, for only US$5 I am not complaining at all.

The best track also has a video…

Music count 2019: 4

Kretchmer – Music in the Key of Minor

Doing a random search of good music to find on Bandcamp I came across this November 2018 release, and as it was only two pounds I thought it was worth a try.

This release is tagged as “detroit techno” as well as “electronic” on Bandcamp. The musician though is from Nottingham, and has only one other release titled “Music in the key of Major”, from 2016.

The music is nothing overly special, but quite listen able, and some of the song titles are amusing such as the first track which is called “Thinkin’ bout that galaxy, far, far, away”, and the last track “If we die, they live, a win-win situation ver 3.1471”.

Take a listen for yourself here. Using my fave music tracking website LastFM I found that I am one of only 49 people listening to Kretchmer, which puts me in an elite group I suppose.

Music count 2019: 3

Leningrad Cowboys – Total Balalaika Show

This is a CD album I have been seeking out for years, but I was just not able to find it anywhere here. It is available on Amazon Japan used for the nutters price of 20,000 yen (NZ$263, US$181)…some people!

Doing a search for it elsewhere was not getting far until I came across it on Discogs for the very fair price of 7.50 Euros. A chap in Germany was selling it, and I immediately bought it. Postage was also 7.50 Euro, but I was more than happy to pay it. It arrived this morning, only four days after it was posted in Deutschland.

I have heard this album several times before, but it was not very good quality, and as I enjoy the album so much it was my main purpose in life to find it on CD.

It is a live concert of the Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Choir, recorded in Helsinki in 1993. The sound quality is superb, and there are two discs worth of rock ‘n’ roll along with traditional Russian songs. There was also a DVD of the concert released, you can watch them perform the song “Delilah” here. I may consider getting the DVD too one day.

Unfortunately one of the songs did not rip well due to a slight scratch on the disc, so I am bummed about that, but it ain’t no big thing. And our pet bird, who recently loves to munch on paper, bit a small chunk out of the back CD liner (the CD was sent without the plastic case to save on postage costs). So if you have a bird just be aware of this potential situation.

An excellent listen, and my all-time favourite live album.

Edit: I ripped the song that was messed up again, this time using error correction, and it worked out just fine. Yay!

Music count 2019: 2