By Tim Murr
The debut album by Mortals from Brooklyn, NY is a black/thrash/sludge metal-enthusiast’s dream. Cursed To See The Future hits hard and never relents across six tracks, clocking in at around 50 minutes. With brutal, pummeling rhythms, throat-shredding vocals, and unimpeachable guitar and bass work, Cursed sets a high bar for a debut.
I don’t think it should be necessary in 2014 to make a big deal about Mortals being an all female power trio that rightly earns comparisons to High On Fire and Darkthrone, but there you go. These three women—Caryn Havlik (drums), Lesley Wolf (bass/vocals), and Elizabeth Cline (guitar)—create rhythmically exciting metal that stands shoulder to shoulder with any of their contemporaries. Track 5, “Series Of Decay,” backs up that assessment nicely.
After buying this album, it’s been pretty much all I’ve listened to, and before that I’d been listening to their Death Ritual EP and Night Terror Demo. I like Mortals quite a bit and highly recommend Cursed To See The Future. It’ll be exciting to watch this band continue to evolve; they’ll certainly be one of Relapse Records MVPs. If you can catch them on tour make sure you buy them each a quadruple espresso!
Does anyone remember what an album was? Do they still call a music “release” an album anymore? Well, back in 1980, when a band released an album, you bought an album, a piece of vinyl inside a paper sleeve slipped into a cardboard sleeve. I think I might have paid about $8 for this record when it came out in 1980. I was 15 years old. A bit of background may be in order.
To call Orenda Fink’s Blue Dream meditative isn’t at all a stretch. It’s an exploration of the meaning of love, death, and spirituality, all filtered through a dreamy, gauzy haze and sung in an incredibly intimate way. Listening to Blue Dream is like walking into someone else’s slumber: a place where you’re welcome, but it’s all a bit disorienting and dark and a little eerie. It’s a captivating record.
There was once a time when “Sir” Bob Geldof was known for something other than organizing huge benefit concerts to feed the hungry. In fact, there was once a time when he was the hungry one. Hungry to find meaning in the world, and to find his place in it. In 1979, Geldof and his band The Boomtown Rats released one of my favorite albums, but the fact that it contained what amounted to a novelty hit (“I Don’t Like Mondays”) consigned The Boomtown Rats to “one-hit wonder” status and left the rest of this masterpiece of angry pop criminally undiscovered. In fact, the album was extremely difficult to find on CD in North America until a 2005 release added some bonus tracks.
“Cause fancy disguises deceive no one
Recently I’ve realized that I’d prefer to watch a movie that doesn’t arrive at any sort of definite conclusion. I’d rather sit during the credits wondering what exactly it was I saw and trying desperately to figure it out for the next few days, and if it takes me that long to decide if I actually liked the movie or not, even better. The same goes for music. Hearing so many of the same types of bands over and over again, from disposable, EDM-influenced Top 40 pop to the kind of beardy and/or tremulous music found in commercials for Apple products, it’s become increasingly difficult to find something that has genuine staying power.
And that’s where Lower comes in. Rarely does a band subvert, confound, and exceed expectations as much as this. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything like Lower. For the last few weeks, I’ve vacillated between whether I loved or hated them. Such an extreme reaction can only signify one thing: Lower is doing something genuinely unorthodox and you need to hear them for yourselves to figure out upon which part of the spectrum you reside.
Made In America is a small documentary made by Ron Howard about a very diverse concert put together by Jay-Z. Pearl Jam, RUN DMC, Skrillex, and many more deliver a wonderful concert but a subpar documentary.
There comes a moment in every parent’s life where you realize that your kid is officially cooler than you. It’s a humbling moment. They spend so much time as younglings, looking up to you, enjoying all the music and movies that you like, because it’s all they know. And they want to be you when they grow up, because they can’t imagine anything greater.
This is the South, damn it, and we are nothing if not polite. When attempting to obtain female companionship, we may leer at a girl from a distance for a while, but really, that’s the same thing women do while shoe shopping. Look at the shoes, imagine what the shoes would look like on, think about taking them out for a night, and then return them to the store the next day because they just don’t fit.
Is that wrong?
Billy Joe Shaver is quite a character. His songs have become classics (“I’m Just An Old Chunk Of Coal,” “Ain’t No God In Mexico”); he was the spiritual advisor to Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman (who is himself a character); he’s acted in The Apostle; and he even sings the theme for Adult Swim’s The Squidbillies. He’s kicked against the country music establishment, recording what is regarded as the first “outlaw” country album, and he shows no signs of giving up his prickliness just yet.