Review: Kaada – “Closing Statements”

The new record from the Norwegian composer Kaada is a beautiful thing, immense in scope yet startlingly intimate. But, while it plays on a theme – Death; the record, after all, is called Closing Statements – its songs, taken as a cycle, sometimes feel too content to color within the lines. The LP, out today…

Review: Frog Eyes – “Violet Psalms”

Frog Eyes’ frontman Carey Mercer has said Violet Psalms – the band’s goodbye record, out late last week on Paper Bag – was written and recorded like a debut, “when there’s no expectation that anyone will actually listen.” “The goal was to disorientate,” he added. Frog Eyes has made quite a habit of disorientating listeners…

Review: Dead Cross – S/T EP

Surprise, surprise, indeed. The hardcore-punk super-group Dead Cross dropped an unannounced, four-song EP on the public last week via Ipecac and, for all its distractions, it’s a pretty cool little addendum to last year’s full-length debut of the same name. The record, essentially a 7-inch single with two remixes tagged on, shows how the band…

Review: David Grubbs & Taku Unami – “Failed Celestial Creatures”

From the early notes of “Failed Celestial Creatures” – the meditative, 20-minute-long title track to the unanticipated debut collaboration between guitar-composer David Grubbs and Japanese musician Taku Unami, out Friday via Empty Editions – you get the sense you’re listening to something special. While Unami paints with fuzzy clouds of electronic sound, Grubbs repeats wonderfully…

Review: The Elephant Parallax – “Loam and Sky”

There are two epic songs battling for your attention on Loam and Sky, the new EP from The Elephant Parallax out Friday, and either could launch a fit description of why the record is indispensable. First, there is the opener, “The Conscious.” Though it begins with “Bloody Mary”-style drums and a pixelated, Battles-ish guitar onslaught, what…

Review: J. Foley – “Drone Loops”

Now, this is the way EXPERIMENTAL music is supposed to sound – epic, thought-provoking and loud! The Austerity Program guitarist J. Foley departs sonically from his pseudo-full-time noise-rock/art-metal gig with a new four-composition EP of drone loops titled, yep, you’re a smart one, Drone Loops. (It came out May 5 on Controlled Burn.) But, while…

Review: Elephant Rifle – “Hunk”

As pig-fuck goes, this is some of the best. For those just tuning in, pig-fuck is the unfortunately titled genre of explosive post-punk that, at first, was cut in Chicago and the greater American Midwest in the 1980s and 1990s – think bombastic acts like Big Black, Vesuvian ones like The Jesus Lizard, and masters…

Review: Dylan Carlson – “Conquistador”

I know it’s utterly blasphemous to suggest in underground circles, but my first point of entry when listening to Dylan Carlson’s new “Conquistador,” the title track to a series of brain-melting epics for distorted guitar, was not Herzog’s Aguirre but Neil Young. Not the commercial Young, mind you, or he of the Crosby, Stills &…

Review: Grouper – “Grid of Points”

Grouper’s new LP – Grid of Points, out tomorrow via Kranky – is no Ruins, but its sparse pairing of multifaceted, ghostly voices with borderline-skeletal piano is nonetheless pretty engaging. Working, surprisingly, from a palette that’s more stripped down and gray than that aforementioned 2014 gem, solo performer Liz Harris taps into a well of…

Review: Rob Ford Explorer – S/T

Just wow. The new self-titled LP from Reno’s Rob Ford Explorer, out earlier this month, is a potent gem, a heady amalgamation of jazz fluidity and math-rock specificity, and a roar-from-the-rooftops collection on par with some of the best you’d hear from similar outfits like Hella or American Don-era Don Caballero. This pair is the…