Best Of 2016: JG Thirlwell

Published on January 5th, 2017 in: Best Of Lists, Movies, Music, TV |

2016 was full of personal and professional triumphs and external troubles. Here is my bloated 2016 cultural year-in-review list.

Photo © Tina Schula

JGT’s 25 Albums of 2016 (although not all of them came out in 2016)

David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia)
Anna Meredith, Varmints (Moshi Moshi)
Bent Knee, Say So (Cuneiform)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Ears (Western Vinyl)
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, Stranger Things Soundtrack (Lakeshore Records)
Chromb, 1000 (InOuie)
PJ Harvey, The Hope Six Demolition Project (Vagrant)
Swans, The Glowing Man (Young God)
Bon Iver; 22, a million (Jagjaguwar)
Ian William Craig, Centres (FatCat)
Ital Tek, Hollowed (Planet MU)
Maxwell Sterling, Hollywood Medieval (Memory Number 36 recordings)
Jaga Jazzist, Starfire (Ninja Tune)
Elysian Fields, Ghost Of No (Ojet)
Klara Lewis, Too (Editions Mego)
Gnarwhallaby, exhibit A (Populist Records)
Peder Mannerfelt, Controlling Body (Peder Mannerfelt Produktion)
John Zorn, Madrigals / Painted Bird / Commedia Dell’Arte / Sacred Visions (Tzadik)
Vicky Chow, AORTA (New Amsterdam)
Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Rest In Fleas (Northern Spy)
Zwoyld, 200 000 (Bandcamp)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nonagon Infinity (ATO)
Tristan Perich, Noise Patterns (Physical Editions)
Alessandro Cortini, Risveglio (Hospital)
Nicotina es Primavera, Animal Cerámico (Bandcamp)

Notable Concerts:

I went to dozens of concerts and events in 2016. Here are some of the most notable. All in NYC except where noted.

Jan 8 and Jan 19: Holy Holy at The Highline
Mar 10: Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie at Lincoln Center,
Mar 19: Matmos at National Sawdust
April 1: Magma at Le Poisson Rouge
May 10: Diamanda Galas at the former St. Thomas the Apostle church in Harlem
June 13: Anthony Pateras and Erkki Veltheim for The Inland Concert Series at Church of All Nations in Carlton, Melbourne
July 28: Jaga Jazzist at Le Poisson Rouge
Aug 10: Senyawa at a loft on Bowery for Blank Forms
Aug 14: Kris Davis Quartet play John Zorn’s Bagatelles at the Village Vanguard
Aug 16: PJ Harvey at Terminal 5
Sep 10: Wet Ink present a multi-channel concert at St Peter’s Church in Chelsea
Sep 14: Suzanne Ciani at Roulette
Sep 18: ELO at Radio City Music Hall
Sep 27: Morton Subotnik at Issue Project Room
Oct 8: Glenn Branca at Roulette
Oct 22/ 23: John Zorn at National Sawdust / The Guggenheim
Oct 29: Ghédalia Tazartès at First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn
Nov 3: Mivos Quartet and others play Patrick Higgins at Pioneer Works
Nov 11: Aurélien Bory’s Plexus at BAM’s Harvey Theater.
Dec 4: Ashley Bathgate at Dither Festival, 17 Frost Theater
Dec 11: Vicky Chow at National Sawdust
and Tredici Bacci, everywhere


The Witch
The Neon Demon
A War
A Hijacking
The Tribe


Silicon Valley

I also keep a Tumblr blog where I talk about events I check out and other cultural obsessions.

Find out more on JG Thirlwell on

We reviewed JG Thirlwell’s Venture Bros. Original Score Volume Two on July 21.

Less Lee Moore: Best Of 2016

Published on December 30th, 2016 in: Best Of Lists, Comedy, Horror, Movies, TV |

By Less Lee Moore


The year began with the death of David Bowie and then just got worse. Prince died in April, and throughout the rest of the year, dozens of other well-loved, talented, influential artists continued to leave this earthly plane. December continued the onslaught of pop culture deaths, with George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Richard Adams (Watership Down), and Debbie Reynolds dying within days of each other.

Still, there was a lot of amazing pop culture in 2016, which definitely helped ease the pain of these sad passings, as well as the foreboding political climate of the US (not to mention countries around the world; too numerous to mention). Here’s hoping 2017 is less traumatic for all of us.

Music Review: JG Thirlwell, The Venture Bros. Original Score, Volume Two

Published on July 21st, 2016 in: Comedy, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews, Science Fiction, Soundtracks and Scores, TV |

By Ben van D


The truly terrific soundtrack should be harmonious with its narrative and transcend and elevate the work as a whole. After all, Psycho isn’t Psycho without its violent shower strings; Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without its “Imperial March;” and the panther isn’t pink without Mancini setting the palette. JG Thirlwell is equally inseparable from the DNA of the Venture Bros., and this collection is hard evidence as to why.


Best Of 2015: JG Thirlwell

Published on January 7th, 2016 in: Best Of Lists, Movies, Music, TV |


2015 was jam-packed with life events and huge amounts of work, but I barely left NYC.

Here is my bloated 2015 cultural year-in-review list.

Best Of 2014: JG Thirlwell

Published on January 9th, 2015 in: Best Of Lists, Movies, Music |

Photo by Robert Kenney


Here is some popular music I have been absorbing this year. Some on this list came out this year and some didn’t.

Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Rocks Or Cakes (Northern Spy)
Swans, To Be Kind (Young God)
Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence (Polydor)
Pye Corner Audio, Black Mill Tapes Vols 1-4 (Type Recordings)
Mica Levi, Under The Skin OST (Milan / Rough Trade)
Tredici Bacci, The Thirteen Kisses EP / Vai! Vai !Vai! (Bandcamp)
Ákos Rózmann, Twelve Stations six-CD box set (Mego)
Arca, Xen (Mute)
Kavinsky, Outrun (Universal)
Klara Lewis, Ett (Mego)
Ben Frost, Aurora (Bedroom Community)
Winged Victory For The Sullen, Atomos (Kranky)
The Advisory Circle, From Out Here (Ghostbox)
Gesaffelstein, Aleph (Vinyl Factory)
Anna Calvi, One Breath (Domino)
Lawrence English, Wilderness of Mirrors (room 40)
Athanor, Vos Cites Sont des Tombeurs (Le Chene Creux)
Katie Gately, Pipes (Blue Tapes)
Elysian Fields, For House Cats and Sea Fans (Ojet)
Child Abuse, Trouble In Paradise (Skin Graft)
Stars in Battledress, In Droplet Form (Believers Roast)
David Bowie, “Sue (or in a season of crime)” (Columbia)
Coh, To Beat (Mego)
Mario Diaz de Leon, Hypnos (Shinkoyo)
Ghost Of A Sabre Tooth Tiger, Midnight Sun (Chimera)
Bryce Dessner, St. Caroline By The Sea (Deutsche Grammophon)
Goat, Commune (SubPop)

Concerts and Events

I went to dozens of concerts and events in 2014. Here are some of the most notable. All in NYC except where noted.

Jan 30: Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra @ Jack
Feb 7: Bee Mask @ Issue Project Room
Mar 22: Colin Stetson @ Ecstatic Music Festival, Merkin Hall
Apr 1: Kraftwerk @ United Palace
Apr 4: Demdike Stare / Phill Niblock @ First Unitarian Church
Jun 2: Jana Winderen Installation @ Park Avenue Tunnel
Jun 4: Francisco Lopez @ Issue Project Room
Jun 14: SURVIVE @ NMASS Festival, Austin
Jun 21: Meshuggah @ Best Buy Theater
Jun 27: Ashcan Orchestra @ Issue Project Room
Jul 5: Cloud Become Your Hand @ Knockdown Center
Jul 13: King Buzzo @ Santos
Jul 18; OOIOO @ Rough Trade
Jul 25: John Luther Adams @ Lincoln Center Plaza
Jul 26: Mahmoud Ahmed @ Pioneer Works
Aug 30: Hal Wilner @ The Stone
Sep 10 & 11: Phillip Glass and Steve Reich @ BAM
Sep 19: Andy Stott / Demdike Stare @ The Bunker, Output
Sep 21: King Crimson @ Best Buy Theater
Oct 16: Xylouris White @ Union Pool
Oct 25: De Player @ Fylkingen, Stockholm
Oct 30: Liturgy / Child Abuse @ Death By Audio
Oct 31: Silent Servant DJ set @ Bunker, Trans Pecos
Nov 2: Todd Rundgren @ BB Kings
Nov 2: Deerhoof @ Death By Audio
Nov 7: Yarn Wire / Marcus Schmickler @ Issue Project Room
Nov 11: Raul De Nieves The Fool Opera @ Issue Project Room
Nov 13: Dan Deacon @ Death By Audio
Nov 21: Battle Trance @ Issue Project Room
Nov 25: Maja S.K. Ratkje with Mivos Quartet @ The Stone
Nov 29: John Zorn’s Cobra @ Roulette
Dec 2: George Lewis / Pamplemousse @ Columbia
Dec 5: Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Swedish Energies Festival @ Issue Project Room
Dec 12: Swans / Liturgy @ Warsaw
Dec 19: Sparks with Heritage Orchestra @ The Barbican, London


Films I dug:

Under The Skin
Nymphomaniac, parts 1 and 2
Abuse Of Weakness
Paradise: Hope
Dawn of the Planet Of The Apes

I also keep a Tumblr blog where I talk about events I check out and other cultural obsessions.

For more on JG Thirlwell, please visit

Music Review: Foetus, Soak

Published on March 21st, 2014 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


For another perspective on Soak, check out Julie Finley’s review from December 2013.

“I can’t control the wind and rain, but I control the thermostat.”
—From “Kamikaze”

The newest Foetus release, Soak, is a companion album to a previous release, in this case, 2011’s Hide (review). (Calling it Seek would have been way too obvious for a guy like JG Thirlwell. You have to work for it.) And like 2006’s Damp (itself a companion to the previous year’s Love), it’s something of a Foetus sampler and not a straightforward “album” in Foetus terms. It’s also the first Foetus release in a long time that I didn’t love immediately. This is not to say that it’s a bad album—far from it—but it takes a bit more time to sink in. Despite being so obviously a Thirlwell production (could he be mistaken for anyone else ever?) the songs are all quite varied in sound and scope with the connections between them slowly revealing themselves to be sly and subtle.


Best Of 2013: JG Thirlwell

Published on January 10th, 2014 in: Best Of Lists, Movies, Music |


Here is some popular music I have been absorbing this year. Some on this list came out this year and some didn’t.

Chrome Hoof, Chrome Black Gold (Cuneiform)
Ken Thomson/JACK Quartet, Thaw (Cantaloupe)
Fuck Buttons, Slow Focus (ATP)
Guapo, History of the Visitation (Cuneiform)
Goldfrapp, Tales Of Us (Mute)
Dominique Leone, January – December: Mr. Leone published a new piece of music almost every day in 2013 (Bandcamp)
These New Puritans, Field Of Reeds (PIAS)
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, UZU (Suicide Squeeze)
Noveller, No Dreams (Important)
Patrick Higgins/Mivos Quartet, String Quartet No. 2 (Ex-Cathedra)
Else Marie Pade and Jacob Kirkegaard, Svaevninger (Important Records) and Jacob Kirkegaard, Conversion (Touch)
Christian Gibbs, Sleep The Machines (Eastern Spurs)
Robert Haigh, Darkling Streams (Primary Numbers)
Tim Hecker, Virgins (Kranky)
The Field, Cupid’s Head (Kompakt)
François Bayle, Motion – Émotion (INA-GRM)
Oneohtrix Point Never, R plus Seven (Warp)
M.I.A., Matangi (Interscope)
Igor Wakhevitch, Logos/Docteur Faust/Être Dieu/Hathor (Lithurgie Du Souffle Pour La Résurrection Des Morts)/Les Fou d’Or/Nagual (Les Ailes De La Perception)/Let’s Start (Fractal)
Major Lazer, Free The Universe (Downtown)
A Hawk and a Hacksaw, You Have Already Gone To The Other World (LM Duplication)
Francis Dhomont, Mouvances-Métaphores (BVHaast)
Jonas Broberg/Erik Mikael Karlsson, Two Composers (Fylkingen)
Red Stars Over Tokyo, Melody Attack (Kompakt)
Dorit Chrysler, Avalanche EP (In My Room)

I went to a bunch of concerts and events in 2013. Here are some of the most notable . . .

1/19: Extra Life at 285 Kent
2/7: Swans, Music Hall of Williamsburg and 6/13 at Warsaw
2/10: Beak/Chrome Canyon at Bowery Ballroom
3/23: Stockhausen’s Oktophonie at Park Ave Armory
4/4: Clint Mansell at St Paul the Apostle NY
4/7: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Webster Hall NY
4/12: Barn Owl at Death By Audio
5/8: The Residents at Sodra Teatern, Stockholm
5/16: Tristan Perich at The Kitchen NY
5/31: Secret Chiefs 3 at The Stone NY
6/16: Asphalt Orchestra play Yoshida Tatsuya at the BOAC Marathon, Pace University
6/30: Tilt Brass/Holly Herndon at Winter Garden
7/6: Wolf Eyes/Hubble at St. Vitus
7/9: Squarepusher at Le Poisson Rouge
7/12: Cheap Trick at Coney Island
7/31: Melvins at House of Vans
8/2: Dan Deacon at Celebrate Brooklyn
9/17: Shining at St. Vitus
9/19: Lary 7 at Clocktower NY
10/16: Nicolas Bernier & Martin Messier La Chambre Des Machine at Lausanne Film Festival
10/17: Jason Lescaleet at Lausanne Film Festival
10/22: Mario Diaz de León at Roulette Brooklyn
10/27: Child Abuse/Cellular Chaos at Death By Audio
10/28: Sparks at Webster Hall NY
10/31: Raime at Output Brooklyn
12/6: Anna Von Hausswolff/Noveller at Union Hall Brooklyn
12/7 Frank Bretschneider at 285 Kent Brooklyn
12/8 Goblin/Zombi at Le Poisson Rouge NYC
12/15: Ken Thomson/JACK Quartet at SubCulture
12/21: Forma at Bowery Electric NYC
. . . plus John Zorn, various events for his 60th birthday

Films I dug:
Paradise: Faith
Paradise: Love
Only God Forgives (why did everyone else hate this?)
The Imposter
Cold Fish
Gravity (for the incredible visuals and 3D, not the questionable script)
12 Years A Slave

I also keep a Tumblr blog where I talk about events that I check out, and other cultural obsessions, etc.

I must say it was a year of professional ups and personal downs for me.
Some of the highlights were:

Touring Europe with Manorexia
Working, recording, and touring with Zola Jesus, and being musical director for a succession of killer string quartets
Performing my solo piece Cholera Nocebo in Stockholm, Istanbul, and Lausanne
Writing my first piece for solo instrument—a piece for double bass commissioned and performed by James Ilgenfritz
Working with modular synths at the ElektronMusikStudion in Stockholm, and all the great music I discovered in their library
Skydiving from 13,000 feet
Pat Noecker’s Assemble Project at the Ace Hotel
Plus, I released two albums—Foetus, Soak and JG Thirlwell, The Blue Eyes—and produced another—Zola Jesus, Versions—and contributed to two others—Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages and Kavus Torabi’s Exquisite Corpse project.

For more on JG Thirlwell, please visit

Music Review: Foetus, Soak

Published on December 31st, 2013 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Reviews |

By Julie Finley


Let me start off by saying it has been very hard for me to enjoy anything lately. This year has sucked the life out of me due to being in constant pain. When you are in pain, it is hard to focus on anything but agony itself. That agony becomes mental anguish on top of the physical distress, thus making everything worse. In order to break through the grip of throbbing torment long enough to take notice of anything else, it has to be of either A) exceptional excellence, or B) something that sucks worse than your current state. In the case of Foetus’s Soak, it is of exceptional excellence!


Music Review: Various Artists, The Exquisite Corpse Game

Published on September 19th, 2013 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


I first head the term “Exquisite Corpse” in the Bauhaus song of the same name, but I didn’t know what it meant or about its history. Popularized by the Surrealists, it is “a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed” (Wikipedia).

This method seems perfect for a variety of artistic collaborations, particularly music, where it can be utilized to create a textured mixtape quality. Musician Kavus Torabi decided to embark on an exquisite corpse project through his own label, Believers Roast, and the results—two years in the making—are remarkable and intoxicating. Each artist was only allowed to hear the final 20 seconds of the previous installment and was not allowed to hear the entire collection until it was completed.


Fifteen Minutes With: Doc Hammer & Jackson Publick of The Venture Bros.

Published on May 28th, 2013 in: Cartoons, Comedy, Interviews, TV |

Interviewed by Less Lee Moore


When you’re a Venture Bros. fan, you see things through Venture-colored glasses and everything looks so much better. There is nothing not to love about this show: incredible characters, an overabundance of wit, numerous pop culture references, clever visuals, and a narrative arc that puts most live action TV shows to shame. In anticipation of the show’s Season 5 premiere on June 2, I chatted with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, the show’s creators, writers, voice actors, and just about everything else. We started discussing how they work and what drives them and eventually got into the important stuff: Kajagoogoo concerts, whether or not Trent Reznor is a poseur, and Gary Numan. When I got on the phone, Doc and Jackson were already there, chatting with each other.

Jackson: Yesterday there was fake harpsichord hold music.
Doc: I think it was fake guitar.
Jackson: I think it was trying to be fake harspsichord.
Doc: Really?!