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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

PRIMUS / Suck On This [1989]

Like Jane's Addiction and Husker Du, prog/funk rock act Primus decided to release a live recording for their debut album, 1989's Suck On This.  
A tight little package showcasing Primus' undeniable talent after only 2 months of being together and the already dedicated rabid audience.  With Les Claypool's nasally vocals & slap-happy bass, Larry LaLonde's discordant tripped-out guitar lines and Tim Alexander's pounding drums all melding together to create some ever-shifting tempos that shouldn't work but somehow it works like magic. Primus is an acquired taste that seems to only attract musicians and fans of Captain Beefheart & Frank Zappa but make no mistake this is one of the best debut albums ever. 

5 fat bastards out of 5

Songs Of Note: JellikitHarold Of The Rocks

DAVE PORTER / Breaking Bad: Score Album [2012]

Like the music of Twin Peaks, LOST and Seinfeld, Dave Porter's score for the AMC series Breaking Bad becomes an instantly recognizable character all in itself. 
Departing from a traditional score, Porter utilizes electronic textures & layers, haunting soundscapes and a vast array of ethnic instruments from all over the world to create a nightmarish modern Western flavor lacking any sort of friendly melody.  The best way to describe it is Ennio Morricone, Trent Reznor and Thomas Newman in a blender and left to chill.  The cold, empty, disturbing imagery it conjures up makes for a fascinating yet challenging and unsettling listen. 

4 Mr. Chips turned Scarface out of 5

OINGO BOINGO / Good For Your Soul [1983]

Continuing the trend of critics hating them and fans loving them, dork-rockers Oingo Boingo really come into their own on 1983's Good For Your Soul.  
Scaling back the punk sound they had been getting a little to comfortable with, Elfman brings the ska and African influences in the foreground.  Juggling country and new wave into the mix, Good For Your Soul has a difficult time really gelling together into a cohesive listening experience, which is unfortunate considering each song showcases Elfman's strongest songwriting yet.

3½ Laws of Dr. Moreau out of 5

Songs Of Note:  Pictures Of YouLittle Guns

MUMFORD & SONS / Babel [2012]

Rising out of the West London Folk scene, Mumford & Sons' 2012 sophomore album, Babel takes the sound of their debut album and perfects it.
Even though the band is primarily made up of acoustic instruments it doesn't stop them from allowing the songs to build-up and soar into a swirling, majestic finish.  It might work for a few songs but the band seems to fall back on that apotheosis a little too often to really have the same emotional effect past the middle of the album.  Not to say it's a bad thing, far from it actually.  It's just as a continuous album it gets a little tired, however scattered among a compilation, the songs, no matter which one, would no doubt be a highlight of that mix.

4 hearts in glass out of 5

Songs Of Note: I Will WaitBelow My Feet

LK / Graceless (1998)

LK were a typical late 90’s alternative rock band.  The only difference between them and other acts from that same era is that no one ever heard of LK.
Most songs start out quiet, guitar-led with teasing drums, then erupt in a loud, angry chorus with strong female vocals that I imagine would kick ass live.
It’s not an amazing album but it’s full of interesting elements, and has a rousing attitude.  I’d have liked to hear a stronger 2nd release but unfortunately this was the only album they ever made.

Songs of Note: Chickenbone; DIA

3 hidden bruises out of 5

VARIOUS ARTISTS / Frankenweenie Unleashed! [2012]

Disney released the marketable pop album Almost Alice to pair-up with Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland and while it wasn't very good it must have made enough coin to warrant a similar album for Burton's stop-motion film Frankenweenie
Featuring a host of quirky alternative artists who are as threatening as apple pie, 2012's Frankenweenie Unleashed! reeks of commercialism front to back.  It's fairly boring and hardly offers anything worth repeat listens with the exception of a small handful of tracks.  
Oh well.  The 12 year old girlies might like it.

1 Winona Ryder out of 5

STOLEN BABIES / Naught [2012]


6 years after their debut album, There Be Squabbles Ahead, off-kilter cabaret metal group Stolen Babies finally grace us with their follow-up, 2012's Naught.  
Well educated by their Mr. Bungle and Oingo Boingo albums, the Babies are gracefully and viciously led by vocalist/accordion player Dominique Lenore Persi who seamlessly bounces back and forth between twisted theatrical vocals to snarling growls and screeches. Sure there's legions of other acts that pull off this sound better but the Babies are the most instantly digestible and entertaining for the uninitiated.  

3½ Crab Scramblys out of 5

Songs Of Note: SplatterSwimming Hole

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FAITH NO MORE / King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime [1995]

After parting ways with guitarist Jim Martin and replacing him with Mr. Bungle's Trey Spruance, Faith No More mixed things up musically even more than before with the 1995 fan favorite, King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime.
While often criticized for it's insane genre hopping, I feel it's one of the album's strengths, next to Mike Patton's wonderful vocalizations that match each song perfectly.  Unfortunately the album is mixed quite dryly and exposes the absence of Roddy Bottum's gothic keyboards in several songs.  When the songs are strong they're magnificent and when they're not...well, they're kind of plain.

3½ Spanish Nose-pickers out of 5

Songs Of Note:  EvidenceKing For A Day

GREEN DAY / ¡Uno! [2012]

Pop punkers Green Day return to scaled down sugar-sweet rock, in the first of a trilogy of albums, 2012's ¡Uno!
It's nice to hear them ditch the political agenda, with no intentions other than to entertain with radio-safe pop songs and la-dee-da lyrics. Although it sounds more like a polished version of their b-sides collection Shenanigans  than anything else. I'm not saying it's all bad, it just doesn't grab you right away and leaves you wondering if they'd be best off releasing one lengthy album and kick-ass with an army of decent b-sides to dump on us for the next few years.

3 you're kinda old to be singing about Sweet 16's out of 5

Songs Of Note:  Stay The NightKill The DJ

Monday, September 24, 2012

THE LEVELLERS / Static on the Airwaves (2012)

10th studio album from the Folksy Brits that have helped hippies and punks put aside their grievances and become friends.  You’d think that after 22 years they’d be running out of steam but they’re most definitely not.  They’re still giving it 100% with an unshakable attitude to the political landscape and the human condition that works equally well at a protest rally or a candlelit pub with friends.
The slower tracks, while not as fervent, give you time to reflect and find perspective; the conviction is certainly still there.  Brighton still rocks.

Songs of Note:  Our Forgotten TownsThe Recruiting Sergeant

4 guardians of the watchtowers out of 5

DAUGHTER / His Young Heart EP (2011)

This is wonderful.  Female singer / songwriter Elena Tonra has a similar vocal pitch to Florence (of Florence + The Machine) but it’s altogether more emotionally engaging and poetically sincere.  Florence is stadium music; this is small venue, up close and personal music.  Click on the links below, they’ll do a much better job of selling this to you than I can.  My one criticism is that it’s much too brief.

Songs of Note: Landfill; Candles

You can grab it for a few coins from bandcamp HERE.

 little voices out of 5

Sunday, September 23, 2012

THE SCORCHED EARTH ORCHESTRA / Plays Cradle of Filth (2006)

Can you believe it?  A tribute album that’s actually damn good.  For a start it doesn’t have Dani caterwauling over the music, which is a good thing.  It takes the gothic beauty that CoF can do well if they choose to, and applies it in a more liberal manner that’s purely orchestral.  There are no violent drum patterns and ear-bleeding guitars here.  Fans will recognise the harmonies and avant-garde musical shifts.  Everyone else can appreciate it for its grace and splendour.  It'd be great in a live setting.

Songs of Note: Nymphetamine (Overdose); Thank God for the Suffering

4 harpsichords in the fog out of 5

BURZUM / Burzum (1992)

The term 'Burzum' first appeared in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. It means 'darkness' in the Black Speech created by Sauron. The first Burzum album takes the early Bathory sound and imbues it with Varg’s conceptual ideas, auditory landscapes that reflected the birthing of evil from the womb of Mordor as described in Tolkien’s writings. It’s cold and desolate, a soundtrack to pain and decay. It’s a little uneven compared to his later works but remains an essential purchase for anyone interested in the Norwegian Black Metal scene.

Songs of Note: Feeble Screams from Forests Unknown; My Journey to the Stars 

4 weeping Orcs in winter out of 5

THE WONDER STUFF / Hup (1989)

This 2nd album is filled with radio-friendly, well crafted pop tunes that The Wonder Stuff were so very good at.  The occasional use of violin, harmonica, and banjo gave it a folksy element that distanced it a little from the usual lazy guitar British Indie sound of the era.  It may even help you forget the awful bubblegum pop of their début.  They were criticised for their cynical and angry lyrics that were at odds with the music but conventions exist to be broken, don't they?

Songs of Note: Golden Green; Unfaithful

4 awkward moments in the bathroom out of 5

Note: Review is of the original release (more precisely the 2000 re-master) not the re-recorded 21st Anniversary Edition.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

TYPE O NEGATIVE / The Origin of the Feces: Not Live at Brighton Beach (1992)

The second album from Brooklyn's finest highlights perfectly the wickedly dark humour that critics of their sound failed to recognise.  It’s mostly reworked re-recordings of their debut album, with track titles changed and some fake crowd noises added.  Their contract demanded a live album so they delivered this.
You can clearly hear the gothic Sabbath-esque sound they perfected on the seminal Bloody Kisses (1993) album being born.  Vocalist Peter Steele alternates between his anger fuelled wails and his unique seductive drawl.
The original cover had a close up of Pete's anus.  For your viewing pleasure I chose the re-issue artwork.  You can put away the eye-bleach.

Songs of Note: I Know You're Fucking Someone Else; Hey Peter

4 dead girlfriends out of 5

Friday, September 7, 2012

VARIOUS ARTISTS / The Best Of Peaceville (1996)

If you hadn’t already guessed, this is a best of Peaceville label sampler.  Being released back in 1996 means there's no Opeth, Akercocke, Katatonia or Darkthrone on the roster.  It’s dominated by the 3 biggest artists they had at that time: Anathema, My Dying Bride, and the gloomy Paradise Lost.  There's one track from the short-lived Dominion, from an album I have yet to buy.
There’s nothing to encourage existing fans to buy, but as a sampler and a snapshot of an important label for British metal, it’s a great collection.

Songs of Note: MDB / A Sea To Suffer In; Anathema / Lovelorn Rhapsody

4 vile acts out of 5

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NEW MODEL ARMY / No Rest For The Wicked (1985)

If you're new to NMA I'd recommend Thunder and Consolation (1989), because the sound on early albums may seem dated to new fans, then work your way forward through their discography.  If you want to explore further then work back.
This second album has the inimitable NMA style, and the usual lyrical themes.  The biggest difference is Stuart Morrow’s aggressive bass style which gives the music a belligerent tone, something that lessened on later works without him.

Songs of Note: Better Than Them; No Rest

4 voices of history that echo all around of 5

KENJI KAWAI / Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Kenji’s use of modern synthesised technology spliced with traditional Japanese instrumentation captures the very essence of the Ghost In The Shell film.  The opening track uses a female choir to set the tone but what follows is primarily minimalist, reliant on sparse percussion, chimes and bells, and an oddly eerie atmosphere.  The feeling of floating in a sea is an apt analogy to describe the ominous embrace and peaceful enveloping serenity that unfolds.  It’s both emotionally sombre and spiritually beautiful, which seems like an impossible contradiction to me.  I adore beautiful contradictions.

Songs of Note: Making Of Cyborg; Nightstalker

5 night birds singing as the dawn approaches out of 5

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

THE EDEN HOUSE / Timeflows EP (2012)

The Eden House is one of those revolving door ‘super-group’ projects.  It has three permanent members:  former Fields of the Nephilim bassist Tony Pettitt, Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd engineer, and Elizium producer) and Steven Carey (This Burning Effigy).  It sounds exactly like you’d imagine it would with those guys attached.  Simon Hinkler (The Mission) lends his guiter, as do Valenteen, Amandine Ferrari, and Meghan Noel-Evans on vocals.
Its cut from a very traditional Gothic template, it’s ethereal and dreamy, skilfully played and slickly produced but ultimately mostly safe and predictable.

Songs of Note: Neversea; Timeflows (Part 1)

3 old Goths never die, they just get darker dye out of 5

BONZAI KITTEN / Done With Hell (2011)

Rock 'n' Roll + Psychobilly = Bonzai Kitten.  They also throw in a spattering of that nerdy punk similar to what America produces much of, which is the kind of punk that I dislike.  What kept me listening was the upbeat hillbilly aspect.  It was fun.
Vocalist Tiger Lilly Marleen has a strong voice and she’s clearly filled with enthusiasm.  Lyrics are in English despite the band being from Berlin.
This wasn’t my kind of music but I applaud its unusual nature, and I sincerely hope it finds its deserved fanbase.

Songs of Note: Strawberry Dress; Chronic Of My Life

2½ social abortions out of 5

SCOTT KELLY AND THE ROAD HOME / The Forgiven Ghost In Me (2012)

Scott Kelly, better known as front man of Neurosis, has penned a wonderfully introspective semi-acoustic album that sounds nothing like his day job.  It more closely resembles the bastard child of Hank Williams, Swans, Tom Waits and Todd Snider.  It’s full of darkly brooding confessions, accompanied by a strum that is repetitive but intensely purposeful.  This is folk music for when it hits midnight and all you have for company is a bottle of Bourbon.
Some might question why this is on Neurot Recordings but I say it deserves to be, and it deserves an audience.

Songs of Note: A Spirit Redeemed To The SunWe Let The Hell Come

4 stones in the river out of 5

Monday, September 3, 2012

IRON MAIDEN / The Number of the Beast (1982)

Bruce Dickinson’s first Maiden album fully deserves its place in history.  The soaring vocal ability of Bruce is a perfect match for the galloping rhythm section, which is now tighter than a nun’s ass.  Steve Harris and Clive Burr work together on bass and drums respectively like two parts of the same beast, while the twin guitar attack thunders along, breaking the charge with some classic solos.
Every one of my friends in high school owned this album, and I'd guess every one of them still do.  It contains my all time favourite Maiden track that still gives me the jollies to this day, twenty-five years on.*

Songs of note: The Number of the Beast; Hallowed Be Thy Name *

5 fires burning bright out of 5

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS / How To Destroy Angels EP (2010)

HTDA is Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, with Mariqueen Maandig on vocals.  Reznor plays it safe most of the time, sticking to what he knows best.  It’s a mix of NIN’s own Ghosts (2008) album albeit with the addition of female vocals, the drone of The Fragile (1999), and the production of With Teeth (2005); Fur Lined could fit easily on the latter.  The quieter moments, particularly the closing track with its haunting piano, are the most interesting.  It’s not the departure from NIN that was promised but it’s free from the official site so there’s no reason not to try it.

Songs of Note: The Space in Between; A Drowning

3½ closed narratives out of 5

Saturday, September 1, 2012

THE SISTERS OF MERCY / Some Girls Wander by Mistake (1992)

Some Girls Wander is a compilation album but it's not a Best Of... It's a collection of the almost impossible to find and even harder to afford early Sisters vinyl releases from 1980 to 1983.
The striped-down sound can be cavernous and muddy to non-fans, and admittedly Doktor Avalanche sounds primitive but for Sisters lovers it’s a genuine goldmine of classic era SoM, and a history lesson in atmospheric minimalism.

Songs of Note: Alice; Temple of Love

4 'Into the mess that scalpels make' out of 5