John Fahey-Red Cross

John Fahey Red Cross:

During the nineties Fahey released a lot of sound collages and intentionally abrasive guitar music. All of that material sucks, its a sound sculpture of a bitter old alcoholic. This album is an attempt to incorporate some of the ground explored in those albums, i.e. effects pedals, with Fahey’s older material. Other than an ill-fated attempt at a drone piece, the tracks feature Fahey alone on an effected guitar. Although kind of cool in certain parts, the tracks sound in general sound like Fahey trying out pedals at a guitar store. They don’t feel composed or structured at all. Though this isn’t a bad disk, its disappointing that this is his final statement as an artist.

A reaction to Adult Nights by Wild Light

Another album of conventionally orchestrated, super slick, songs about girls and parties, with a couple of songs about death or something sad thrown in for good measure. Its hard to tell exactly what some of these tunes, are about because the lyrics, while successfully rhymed, are vague enough that some of them might be mistaken as poetic or meaningful.  Its not that this album is a terrible listen or that Wild Light is doomed to financial oblivion. If anything these guys write music which is balanced , catchy and mediocre in every way, thus giving them a pretty good shot at airplay.

Fortunately for major labels, and unfortunately for nerds like myself, hundreds if not thousands of bands are out there harping on the same formula. Its a formula that permeates all genres of popular music. Though somewhat complex, the formula boils down to be mediocre, and you will become at least mildly popular. Learn how to play your instrument, pick up a cute turn of  phrase or two, pick a genre and stick to it, don’t suck, don’t be challenging in any way unless its your first album and you plan on dropping anything confrontational from your sound after it gains you some notoriety, and most of all dress the part. Also, make sure to make ridiculous faces and exaggerated bodily movements while performing live.

This emphasis of craft over substance, insures we get a slew of potential Rolling Stones and U2’s while insuring that bands doing something original will have to work that much harder to gain notoriety in the long run, and money in the short run. Theres a lot of passionate and challenging artists out there that are expressing valuable ideas about the human condition, who deserve your money, more so than The Black Lips. I’m not saying that there isn’t room for brainless pop music, I own and listen to a lot of it, but challenging music deserves at least as much of your attention and cash. Most importantly your cash.

Glasses – Self Titled EP

Glasses Self Titled EP:

It’s made in Germany! You know the German’s make good stuff, even hardcore music. This is defiantly angry stuff. Musically it’s very sold. Nothing super new, but done so well that you don’t mind. The female screams add a bit of a nice twist. She also screams about pissing a lot, so if you’re into that and hardcore music you should have a super boner.

Rating: 12/15 assuming that you’re wondering if the singer is hot or not and not if the music is any good.

Manegarm-Vargstenen

Manegarm Vargstenen:

This album takes the crappiest aspects of power metal, death metal, and black metal, and mixes them together, for the expressed purpose of torturing your ears and psyche. Lyrically the album focuses on wolves, stones, and wolf stones. The vocals are either Gollum-esque croaks, or a ridiculous operatic yell. Musically its your standard goofy power metal chord progressions, but more heavily distorted. The sad thing is dozens of albums like this are released every year. Even more disheartening is the fact that  even when most of the worlds economies are in the toilet, a large enough fan-base exists to keep many shit bands like this successful enough to keep touring and producing albums.

Rating: 2/15 please fucking stop points

Svarte Greiner-Kappe

Svarte Greiner Kappe:

Dark eerie ambient music, that could easily be integrated into a horror movie. Cool for what it is, but I can’t see myself wanting to put on this record too often, unless I’m reading H.P. Lovecraft or performing a human sacrifice.

Rating: 11/15 Halloween sound effects

Brethren of the Free Spirit-The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb

Brethren of the Free Spirit The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb:

A 12 string acoustic player and a medieval lute player come together and create a beautiful harmonic climate. Theres a lot of influences at play here one can hear the echoes of everyone from John Fahey to J.S. Bach.  Dissonance is incorporated beautifully and never in a way which is unpleasant. The pieces tend to be fairly repetitive, but in a way thats mesmerizing. Subtle changes and fills compliment the tracks well, making them more active while not taking away from their hypnotic nature. A really interesting release for fans of acoustic instrumentals.

Rating: 14/15 lutes making a come back

Lewd Acts – Lung Patrol EP

Lewd Acts Lung Patrol EP:

Color me impressed. The first song is pretty meh; good, but nothing amazing. But then the second song has an amazing build up and the pay off is damn worth it. And the final song is just great. It has a country sound that melds into hardcore very nicely. Hopefully their next album will build on the momentum they have going.

Rating: 13/15 best thing out of San Diego