Ocean-Pantheon of The Lesser

Ocean Pantheon of The Lesser:

If you like long stretches of big scary chords followed by a long quiet build up followed by even bigger scarier chords than this ones for you. If not then avoid at all costs. These guys epitomize what a lot of drone metal bands are going for.

Rating: 12/15 sunn amps

John Cale-Sabotage/Live

John Cale Sabotage/Live:

A set of abrasive punk interspersed with lighter tunes and more traditional keyboard heavy rockers. Musically top notch, Cale and his band flirt with many genres effectively, and manage an interesting take on punk in particular with awesome bass playing throughout. Cale’s lyrics can be a tad goofy at times, but never to the point where it ruins a song.

Rating: 12/15 Rockin’ violas

Jesu-Conqueror

Jesu Conqueror:

An interesting mix of heavy metal and shoe-gaze, with a greater emphasis on the shoe-gaze. Long melancholic songs with layered vocals and plodding riffs, which occasionally get distorted and involve growling are the norm for this disk. A good album to sit back and listen to, though it stays with certain riffs too long and other riffs not long enough.

Rating: 12/15 Napalm Fleshes

Trey Gunn-Music For Pictures

Trey Gunn Music For Pictures:

Short dark pieces of modern progressive rock. Heavy on droning synthesizers and polyrhythmic electronic percussion, Gunn decorates these pieces with his absurd collection of string instruments, including his beloved bajillion string tapping guitars. An interesting disk of short pieces, but the album suffers for lack of cohesion.

Rating: 11/15 Crimsos

Hawkwind-Electric Teepee

Hawkwind Electric Teepee:

As with most aging progressive rock acts the lure of corny synthesizer sounds and laughable vocoder drenched vocals seems inescapable. Fortunately the couple upbeat rock numbers, are actually quite good, and most of the forays into ambient textures are pretty decent to. Though theres quite a few moments that sound like rejected themes for Dr. Who. I have to hand it to these guys for trying something new, and actually putting together an album thats pretty listenable.

Rating:10/15 Lemmy Kilmisters

Pete Dello-Into Your Ears

Pete Dello Into Your Ears:

Psychedelic folk music. Sounds like Syd Barrett but sane. Dello’s lyrics are pleasant as is his mild croon. The arrangements, are solid, and sometimes go to unexpected places. Overall a good listen, but nothing groundbreaking.

Rating: 11/15 Honeybuses

Kronos Quartet-Plays Sigur Ros

Kronos Quartet Plays Sigur Ros:

Its amazing how well stripping down these songs to four acoustic string instruments, and removing the vocals actually works. The music swells and retracts then changes course keeping one completely enamored and interested at what will happen next. One of the true highlights of this album comes when one or more instruments play the vocal melody. The phrasing is so beautiful and exact that I may even prefer it to the original vocal track. A great release, with a lot of incredibly emotive playing.

Rating 15/15 unpronounceable song titles

Altenberg Trio Wein-Polish Piano Trios

Altenberg Trio Wein Polish Piano Trios:

Wonderful and haunting performances of two fairly obscure Polish composers. The music is largely dark and dissonant, but in a way thats more likely to catch your interest than turn you off. The musicians are astoundingly tight, and obviously know the pieces extremely well. Great and rewarding for fans of Modern Classical.

Rating: 14/15

Paul Weller-At The BBC

Paul Weller At The BBC:

A good mix of Weller’s three-chord take on soul music, and acoustic tunes. Spanning 4 CD’s one gets a feel for all of Weller’s lyrical capabilities, which are considerable, and his knack for crafting simple tunes. Weller has the fortune of having a great backing band, that completely understand the mood of each tune. Weller has aged more gracefully than most and gone through several distinct creative periods, many of which are represented here. A solid release.

Rating: 13/15 Jams

Wayne Kramer-The Hard Stuff+

Wayne Kramer The Hard Stuff+:

A clever mix of fuzzed out punk and soul. The lyrics cover a wide range of topics, from Kramer’s personal life, to a mournful farewell to Charles Bukowski. The music is simple enough to be catchy, but intricate enough to hold your interest. As always Kramer’s guitar soloing is loud and passionate, complimenting his songs wonderfully whenever he decides to let loose. Can’t find a fault in this one.

Rating: 15/15 MC5’s