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

Monday, June 29, 2015

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE / I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)

Astoundingly competent burnished brass tones sell this entire effort as the soundtrack to a Silent Hill game that sadly never was. If you know the history of the band well enough you’ll be aware of the concrete origins of some of these songs. This can result in three-fold meanings dancing before your eyes as you settle in for a listen. Some long-form song-craft is dabbled in and the best delivers a slowly decaying lament whose bitter-sweet beauty grows in equal measure to its desperate raggedness. Being pre-Revenge and out of print makes it a hidden gem by default, but the quality really does justify that label, handily.

4 Foolish (But Entirely Necessary) Escapes out of 5

Friday, June 26, 2015

VENETIAN SNARES / Rossz Csillag Alatt Született [2005]

2005's Rossz Csillag Alatt Született was my introduction to drill 'n bass artist Venetian Snares (aka Aaron Funk) and is still my favorite of his vast library of offbeat offerings.
Drenched in heavy melancholy, Funk does his best to break your brain with intensely abrasive electronic shifting and sonic manipulations over mostly string samples from a variety of Hungarian classical pieces.  Usually all over the map, here Funk follows a basic theme and mood to make for his most coherent listen to date which still doesn't make it particularly friendly to everyone's ear.  The meshing of classical music and the attack of skittish breakbeats sound like a potential disaster but somehow it works beautifully and even if it does overpower with despair one can't deny the dizzying brilliance of this album.

5 lonely pigeons out of 5

Songs of Note: Öngyilkos VasárnapHajnal

Friday, June 19, 2015

RICHARD WRIGHT / Broken China [1996]

Richard Wright's second solo studio album, 1996's Broken China, has Pink Floyd stamped all over it, beginning with it's textural mood then leading into it's structure and conceptual narratives.
 The keyboardist's final full-length studio outing, before his death in 2008, is drenched in a deep depression that makes for an unusual and disjointed listen compared to Wright's previous efforts.  Where, someone like Roger Waters who's sadness came out in anger, Wright's sadness mirrors his persona, gentle, dreary and somewhat mysterious.  It's a conceptual album stuck in it's era but still manages to conjure up some pretty interesting musical ideas complimented by some fascinating lyrics.  For the average listener it'll probably be lost but for a Floyd fan this is one of the better solo efforts.

3½ tributes to Mildred out of 5

Songs of Note: Night of a Thousand Furry ToysBreakthrough (feat. Sinéad O'Connor)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

OLIVIER DERIVIÉRE / Remember Me (Original Soundtrack) [2013]

Capcom's 2013 sci-fi-action game Remember Me suffers from a really great concept with a less-than-stellar execution but composer Olivier Derivière graces it with one of the best scores of the year.
It's a tale about a memory hunter who's ironically had all her memories wiped clean and Derivière paints the perfect sound for such a concept.  The main theme makes use of the London Philharmonia Orchestra with it's brass bombast and urgent string ostinatos that immediately reminded me of Don Davis' ominous main theme for The Matrix.  Here's where things get interesting: the orchestra was then digitally manipulated with an assault of glitches & skips that shouldn't work but with some time and care it's simply amazing.  The first few listens will cause the brain to hurt but once you get used to it, it feels nothing short of organic.  It's a seamless blend of old school orchestral work and digital synthesized scoring that many well-established composers don't have an easy time perfecting.

5 beautiful glitches out of 5

Songs of Note: Nilin The Memory HunterRise To The Light

THE LONE BELLOW / The Lone Bellow [2013]

Alt-folk gospel act The Lone Bellow's 2013 debut album makes it easy to draw comparisons to other acts but unlike their peers these guy's sound are fully established right from the get-go.
Through seamless male-to-female vocal harmonies and finely detailed country instrumentations, the trio make the best of their quiet verses and louder choruses with a sound that is perfect for a wide variety of genre radio stations.  The sound is big, bold and boiling over with passion that never goes overboard with melodrama.  My only real qualm with the act is that it's way too finely polished for my tastes, considering I like this sound to be a bit rough around the edges.  I can enjoy it but I'm willing to bet Mom and Dad will enjoy it more.

3½ hearts & duties out of 5

Songs of Note: Tree to GrowYou Can Be All Kinds of Emotional

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SAY ANYTHING / Hebrews (2014)

Max has a few things on his mind. Mostly, his new daughter and gaining weight. He also chastises those who want him to suffer in the service of writing better songs. Max, I’m not upset because you’re happy. I’m upset because for a decent chunk of this album I have NO. FUCKING. IDEA. what you’re even talking about.

Song of Note: …I thought there was a good one, but upon second thought, nah.

0 Tom DeLonge Appearances Next Time, Please out of 5

Thursday, June 4, 2015

NIGHTWISH / Endless Forms Most Beautiful [2015]

Finnish symphonic metal act Nightwish's 8th LP, 2015's Endless Forms Most Beautiful is their first studio outing with ReVamp vocalist Floor Jansen.
With their previous album, Imaginaerum, being a full-blown concept album (and film), this most recent one still follows a loose theme, based on Charles Darwin's optimistic look on the evolution of life, existence and it's often-puzzling reasoning.  I loved former vocalist Anette Olzon's operatic pipes, so when I heard Jansen wouldn't be exploring that sound so much, I was a little apprehensive at first.  Fortunately Tuomas Holopainen's more intimate songwriting on this album doesn't call for a lot of that style and Jansen fits in like a glove.  Instead of going with a smug all-out guns a blazing powerhouse of an album, Nightwish wisely opts for more of a standard symphonic, rather than metal sound which might deter fans of their earlier works but if you're in for the imaginative worlds they transport you to then this will suit you just fine.

3 origins of species out of 5

Songs of Note: ÉlanEdema Ruh

MÖNGÖL HÖRDE / Möngöl Hörde [2014]

Known best for his folky-punk songs, nice guy Frank Turner takes some time off from his busy schedule to have a laugh while returning to his harsher punk-rock roots with the 2014 self-titled album, Möngöl Hörde.
The three-piece act are as loud and aggressive as The Refused but never once do they sound like they're taking themselves too seriously.  Yes, it sounds pissed off (and probably is) but it's more of shit-eating grin "fuck you" than an overly mundane "you're all mindless sheep" fuck you.  The lyrical subject matter for the most part is pretty light on substance but when it does make a clever point, it sneaks up on you and smacks you square in the face.  It might just be a one-off album but the song-writing is solid and the playing it tight enough to make one hopeful for more material in the future.

3½ tapeworms in Natalie Portman out of 5

Songs of Note: Make WayStaff to the Refund Counter

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ZEE / Identity [1984]

Kudos to Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright for trying out something different while away from his prog-rock outfit and dip into the new wave sound with synth-duo Zee's first and thankfully only album, 1984's Identity.
Synth-pop act Fashion's Dee Harris on vocals makes this is very much a product of the early '80's with it's clunky drum-machines, tired keyboards and overly dry Fairlight synthesizers.  As a Floyd enthusiast, this is like finding out your favorite great uncle, as a wee lad, used to make late night visits to the local petting zoo and fondle the livestock for sexual pleasure.  With a thorough search, one might find some mildly interesting moments hidden beneath the coked-up shit you're fed but it really isn't worth the trying work.

1½  light things out of 5

Songs of Note: Strange RhythmBy Touching

EMILIE AUTUMN / Fight Like a Girl [2012]

Inspired by her time spent in a psychiatric ward, theatrical violinist Emilie Autumn came up with the idea for the 2012 musical concept album, Fight Like a Girl.
Scaling back the presence of the violin, Autumn focuses more on the glam rock and Victorian cabaret aspects of her music, giving it a full-blown Goth rock opera feel.  The song-writing itself is finely tuned, with the exception of a few weak lyrics scattered about but it's obvious Autumn is feeling very confident with what she out's to prove.  Snuggling in traces of crunchy industrial drones and jittery harpsichord plucks over Autumn's frantic vocals make for a pretty entertaining listen.  Individually the songs don't really work, so if you have the time and patience the album is best heard in it's complete form.

4 asylums for wayward Victorian girls out of 5

Songs of Note: Girls! Girls! GirlsWhat Will I Remember?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

JOHN MORRIS / The Elephant Man: Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture [1980]

After the nightmarishly puzzling Eraserhead, director David Lynch took more of a conventional approach with his sophomore follow-up both in film narrative and music with 1980's The Elephant Man.
Instead of scoring the film himself a second time, Lynch turned to Young Frankenstein composer John Morris and the results suit the surreal black & white heart-break of the film to a tee.  For the main theme, Morris channels the same sort of somber Eastern European off-kilter carnival tones Danny Elfman would relate to early in his career.  The tickling xylophones, twinkling chimes and swaying organ of the main theme counteract with the heart-wrenching strings and crying woodwinds of a secondary theme that harkens back to some of Bernard Herrmann's more dramatic scores.  It's all very simple composing and orchestrations but it's easy on the ears and works with the film so perfectly it's nothing short of a success both on-screen and on it's own.

4 adagio for strings out of 5

Songs of Note: The Elephan Man ThemeRecapitulation

PRIMUS / ...& The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble [2014]

I suppose if someone were to successfully re-imagine Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse's bizarre soundtrack from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, it'd be psycho-funky weirdo's Primus.
 With Tim Alexander back on drums, in his first full-lenth since 1995, Primus are in fine form and prove their creepy quirkiness and spaced-out playfulness is perfect for the light-hearted darkness of the world of Willy Wonka and all his sinful delights.  Aided by a cellist & mallet percussion, the band manages to re-arrange the songs into their own style without losing a lot of the orchestrations of it's source material.  It's certainly an ambitious project that doesn't always hit the mark but when it does it leaves the most demented grin on one's face.  Clearly Primus are doing whatever the hell they want and that's why, for a fan anyway, this album works.

4 freaky-ass boat rides out of 5

Songs of Note: Golden TicketOompa TV

Monday, June 1, 2015

GIN WIGMORE / Holy Smoke [2009]

Upon first listen to New Zealand singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore's 2009 full-length debut, Holy Smoke, it's pretty obvious she's a talent to be reckoned with.
Like Amy Winehouse before her, Wigmore packs a mighty soulful voice that's aged well beyond her youthful years that's instantly likeable and obviously the center-point of the album.  Her raspy sass is complimented by a tightly wound rock back-drop, courtesy of Ryan Adams' former band The Cardinals but as strong as they are, something doesn't quite gel together on a majority of the songs.  It never takes away from the enjoyability of this thoroughly entertaining album but one can't help but constantly thinking "she's really good now but once she's tuned in a bit more she'll be fantastic".

3½ roads to redemption out of 5

Songs of Note: Hey HoI Do