Review: WiiRMZ – “Faster Cheaper”

The joyfully bombastic quartet WiiRMZ hail from the same city that defined (and arguably invented) post-rock in the 1990s with bands such as Slint and Rodan. And they also come from the state that gave America two well-known right-wing windbags: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tea Party-backed Governor Matt Bevin. But on their sometimes-too-good-to-be-true debut LP, Faster…

Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (Spectrum Culture)

David Grubbs & Taku Unami – Comet Meta [Blue Chopsticks] The record begins in unassuming territory, two undistorted electric guitars unfurling jumbled yet glassy, complementary yet dissonant post-rock measures that resemble rivers floating suspended in the air, sentiments that are both fully formed and feathery-light. Two minutes into the title track of Comet Meta, though, you…

Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (PopMatters)

My contribution to PopMatters‘ top 50 (so far): Chicago-based cellist Alison Chesley is accustomed to providing the sonic equivalent of accent marks and highlights on other people’s statements of intent. She has appeared on some 150 LPs, offering the bowed weep and illuminating scope of her instrument to the likes of Anthrax, Russian Circles, Bob…

Review: Coriky – S/T

Legendary Washington, D.C. post-hardcore act Fugazi has been on an indefinite hiatus for nearly 20 years. But the debut LP from super-trio Coriky, which features Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally alongside the Warmers’ Amy Farina, will forever exist in the presence, not the absence, of its most prominent forebears. That’s a damn shame. Though…

Review: Cat Clyde – “Good Bones”

Calling something “old-timey” can be a flat-out misnomer. The history of recorded music remains too new, relatively speaking, to know what signatures were writ large on long-long-gone eras and most of what we associate with the genre, the familiar skeletons of it all, aligns with signifiers from contemporary ephemera, particularly other music. That said, Cat…

Profile: Steve Albini (2020)

Eight hours each way. That’s how long Tim Midyett and his friends drove to see Big Black play live in Seattle in 1987. Archaeological artifacts place inhabitants in the Missoula, Montana area at the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Native American tribes like…

Review: Bibio – Sleep on the Wing

The closing and 10th track off Bibio’s Sleep on the Wing, “Watching Thus, The Heron Is All Pool”, is arguably the new record’s finest moment. Like some of the tracks on Ribbons, from 2019, the song wraps itself in the adornments of mid-20th century British folk – the acoustic guitar and accompanying strings do magical little flights…

Review: Mr. Bungle – “Fuck The U.S.A.”

Mr. Bungle, which reincarnated Friday in the form of an online cover of the Exploited‘s anthemic (and rather timely) “Fuck the USA”, has always been utterly chameleonic. Throughout three brilliant studio LPs and four much-sought-after, cassette-only demos, the San Francisco Bay Area pranksters darted headstrong from one idiom to the next, christening themselves in metal’s blood, flirting…

Review: Soft Plastics – “5 Dreams”

Carey Mercer is back! Just two years after the glorious art-rock ensemble Frog Eyes dissolved into the ether, Vancouver’s favorite troublemaker surfaces today with company as Soft Plastics, a band/project both sonorous in annunciation and, obviously, provocative in execution. Listeners don’t have to wait long to cue the drooling. On the very first song, “St. Tosh the Actor”,…

Review: Inventions – “Continuous Portrait”

After some laughter, the song “Hints and Omens” begins with a swirling sci-fi refrain, a keyboard-pulsing “space-themed” trill that could be a stand-in for the promising vistas of Utopian worlds concocted straight to VHS in the 1980s. It’s a little broad, a little too on-the-nose, and that seems to be the intent. Within a minute,…