Nut Suite. Mini reviews of albums old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers [?]. Occasional smugs.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RON GEESIN & ROGER WATERS / Music from The Body [1970]

For his bizarre 1970 documentary art-film, The Body, director Ron Battersby enlisted Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Ron Geesin (co-writer of Floyd's epic Atom Heart Mother suite) as the composers.
The results of these two collaborating on something so weird is unsurprisingly strange itself.  A mixture of short bio-music tracks (made up mostly of burps, belly slapping, crazed laughter and the occasional fart) with a few soft-folk numbers sung and played by Waters makes for a bit of a challenging listen.  As a heavy admirer of Ummagumma (and other art-noise Floyd works) this is a fascinating listen but I can honestly say I wouldn't recommend it to anyone without a taste for the same chaotic styles.

3 disturbingly intimate heavy breaths out of 5

Songs of Note: Old Folks AscensionGive Birth to a Smile

ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD / Christmas Island [2014]

For their fifth studio album, 2014's Christmas Island, anti-folk punksters Andrew Jackson Jihad beefed it up some more with producer John Congleton, known for his work with Swans, Marilyn Manson and not-surprisingly The Mountain Goats.
Pushing forward with a more fuller sound, that includes more fuzzy guitars, somber violins and humming 80's-esque synthesizers, AJJ are prepared for wider recognition.  They're still writing upbeat head-boppers but seemed to have found a love for some softer songs where frontman Sean Bonnette seems most emotionally comfortable.  His lyrics are still sarcastically vulnerable reality checks but as a whole the band sounds really tired which on many tracks it's used to their best bitter advantage.

3½ museum melt-downs out of 5

Songs of Note: Coffin DanceTemple Grandin Too

ANGELO BADALAMENTI / Soundtrack from Twin Peaks [1990]

With David Lynch & Mark Frost's 1990 primetime TV series Twin Peaks becoming a worldwide phenomenon it seemed like a no-brainer to release a soundtrack album featuring composer Angelo Badlamenti's iconic score.
Meticulously setting the tone of the oddball series with perfection, Badalamenti jumped from beautifully melodramatic to feverish-playful jazz, using a small ensemble led by his synthesized string section and flighty piano fingering.  The emotions weave in and out of dark, sad, quirky but most of all very atmospheric to the point that it's very much an unseen leading character of the television series.  As an added bonus to the score, we're graced with three wonderful source songs from the whimsically voiced Julee Cruise, written by Badalamenti & Lynch.
As short and sweet as it is, this is one of those albums that formed me into the person that I am today and it will forever be a defining staple in my collection.

5 dances for men from another place out of 5

Songs of Note: The Bookhouse BoysInto the Night (performed by Julee Cruise)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CLAMS CASINO / Instrumental Mixtape 3 [2013]

Hip-hop producer Michael Volpe aka Clams Casino returned in 2013 for his third and final instrumentals mixtape, before unleashing his full-length debut LP in 2016.
Pulling from various sources, including A&AP Rocky, Doom and even the GTA V soundtrack, Clams also throws in a few unreleased tracks to go for a variable but smooth sampler of his many styles of work that he produced over the year since his previous mixtape.  It's a noticeable departure from past works as he hardly makes use of any sampled voices and instead focuses on thickening up the gooey euphoria with slow, heavy beats and tranquil rhythmic ambience.  
It's not as strong a compilation as the first two outings but it still floats through the ears like candy-coated syrup under a flickering black-light.  Yum.

3½ adult swims out of 5

Songs of Note: CrystalsBird Call

RADICAL FACE / The Family Tree: The Branches [2013]

Radical Face's second part of The Family Tree trilogy, 2013's The Branches, was a case of instant love for me.
Here we're stepping into the year 1860 through 1910 and the sound has developed a bit more adding in some more instruments and sounds but still reflecting back to the feel and heart of the first album.  Ben Cooper's lyrics are so honest and raw it sincerely compliments his soft falsetto voice that's delicate, sad and intimately personal.  Still recording in his backyard tool shed, Cooper's production isn't perfect but it's creaky enough to make you listen even closer to wrap your mind around it's minor details and off-kilter moments that make it feel all the more dear.
With it's organic textures, ethereal design and lyrical beauty, it's a constant reminder to remain grounded in a world of good, bad and everything in between.  

5 collections of scars out of 5

Songs of Note: The MuteReminders

FAITH NO MORE / Sol Invictus [2015]

18 years after their previous album and much-publicized self-destruction alt-rockers Faith No More returned in 2015 with Sol Invictus.
Picking exactly where they left off, FNM are still skipping around the boundaries of hard rock and bizarre art-rock, never once giving a toss about radio play (their first comeback single is a low-key operatic piece not-so subtly titled "Motherfucker").  Their smirking sarcastic humor and sinister piano lines are still firmly intact within the inviting tension they conjure up with each track.  For some odd reason, it seems as if the group forgot how to finish songs and each one peters out with slight boredom and misdirection.  The song order is a mess but with a customized re-arrangement one can easily remedy this minor problem.
There's a bit of dust and cobwebs collecting but hopefully this is just the boys getting back into the groove before they deliver another stellar album.

3½ leaders of men out of 5

Songs of Note: Separation AnxietyMotherfucker

GIN WIGMORE / Gravel & Wine [2011]

Sassy humored Gin Wigmore's second album, 2011's Gravel & Wine, is finer realized step-up from her upbeat soul-pop 2009 debut.
Armed with a coarse deep voice that explodes with passionate attitude, devilish playfulness and sultry seduction, Wigmore's songwriting compliments it with dirty blues, highway twang and a 50's diner daydream rock that was missing from her previous works.  The production is bright, big and spirited enough to never let her voice overpower the music and vice versa.  It might be an exact retro-replica of the music of yesterday but this is a pretty damned good reason as to why someone listened to those type of songs in the first place.

4 bad women to keep out of 5

Songs of Note:  Man Like ThatIf Only

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

VARIOUS ARTISTS / Blue Velvet (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [1986]

Like the 1986 David Lynch masterpiece, the original soundtrack album for Blue Velvet is a grand mixture of the beautiful and bizarre.
Marking the first collaboration between the director and composer Angelo Badalamenti, the score is a dark nod to Bernard Herrman's neo-noir works with it's romantic combination of lush string writing and an ominous brass section.  The other half of the album transports you into the unspecified forgotten era of the film with a series of both modern and classic pop songs, a series of sound effects and some cool cat jazz numbers.  It's a nice little piece of audio memorabilia from the film but misses several musical moments that cries for an updated deluxe version on it's 30th Anniversary.  

4 songs that aren't This Mortal Coil out of 5

Songs of Note: Main TitlesMysteries of Love (performed by Julee Cruise)


Nick Mason, the only constant member of Pink Floyd, apparently released Fictitious Sports as his debut solo album but in reality it's songwriter/jazz enthusiast Carla Bley's show where she's merely assisted by the rock drummer as co-producer.
What this all results in is a relatively catchy alt-rock/bizarro jazz album that's more or less disappeared into the sands of time.  The amusing songwriting and coarsely captivating vocals by Robert Wyatt (who sings on 7 of the 8 tracks) stand out amongst the so-so inoffensive musicianship.  As a Bley album, it's a pretty average outing that simply leaves you not regretting the 30+ minutes you invest in giving this album a chance.

2½ creepy rust-lickers out of 5

Songs of Note: Can't Get My Motor To StartDo Ya?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kamen Rider Blade Song Collection (2004)

For years I lived under the assumption that only Hajime and Tachibana-san had character songs. Nope. Not only do Kenzaki and Mutsuki have them, so too do Hirose and Shirai! The duet between Kenzaki and Shirai where they sing about being're melting my soul Toei!!! There's also this weird 70s romance movie/80s cigarette commercial song, both OPs, and another Ricky led RIDER CHIPS missive. All amazing. Who really cares about the one meh song that sort of sounds like a 555 leftover, when the rest is perfection?

Songs I Failed to Notice: Wanna Be Strong; HERO

4½ Chances to Find Yourself, No Matter How Far You Fall out of 5