Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vol. 11 - Autumn


Yes, you'd be right. This shit is mad late. Like, on a seasonal level. The BB machine should be back up and running in full capacity soon. Chris picked this theme, for the record. Sorry for taking so long, duder.

Tyler: Bill Withers - I Don't Know

Autumn in Mexico sure ain't the same as autumn in Seattle. I'm on vacation. Which for me means lots and lots of public transit and looking at leaves. After a few days with the headphones on in imagining leaves to be rojo rather than verde, I settled into a distinct Bill Withers groove. The most reluctant of soul stars, Withers' voice rumbles out strong enough to send the leaves spinning around you, it seems. 'I Don't Know' is a slow burn as inevitable as the season that changes the most.

Aesop: Die Kreuzen - Cool Breeze

Die Kreuzen's "Cool Breeze" is the sound of autumn, its solemnity, its chill, and it's vague sadness. The sound of things that wither and die, the sound of shorter days and the crunch of leaves beneath your heavy feet as you trod on towards the white death of winter.

Asa: Katatonia - Day

Sometimes, autumn enchants me with its rusted beauty. At others, I just love listening to the rain in safety of my dorm room. The guitar tone in "Day" is the aural equivalent of raindrops- shimmering, splashing, and running down to the wet ground below.

Jason: Dismal Euphony - An Autumn Leaf In The Circles Of Time

There was a time about 12-13 years ago when I would walk about a mile to a bus stop, catch the bus, ride it for about 15 minutes, then get off and walk another mile into work. I would do this everyday. This was Northeast Minneapolis. During this time I was heavily into symphonic black metal. Not overly pompous trite like Therion, and before bands like Dimmu Borgir and COF went so commercial it was ridiculous. These records were the progenitors of that crap, but had a lot of merit, especially at the time.

At that time, Dismal Euphony was one of my favorites, and their album "Autumn Leaves" was on my Walkman many times on those daily trips to work. When I hear this song now, it doesn't seem quite right without the sound of crunching leaves under my boot and cars passing by.

Jess: Witch - Psychotic Rock

A 2008 golden, Witch’s Parazlyed set the perfect autumn sun. In "Psychotic Rock," guitars melt in amber tones. The acid riffs paint the sky, changing summer colors from gold to mustard, or sherbet pink to purple plum. At 2:45, Witch drip the sun like magma and I can imagine kids flinging fall leaves in the air in slow motion. Then the kids parade like monsters as J Mascis pounds a march at 3:28. Playful yet mysterious, colors swirl into a hot mess, like a Pollock masterpiece fucked in the ass. What’s left is feedback, kids unconscious from sugar overdose, and a smoking leaf pile.

Hasan: Evoken - Antithesis of Light

Evoken are purveyors of the funeral doom metal genre, they really show off the beauty of this style of music by taking it further--progressing album after album, and adding their own spin to the genre. Now, there's plenty of Evoken tracks that could of fit with this theme like Into the Autumn Shade, but that would of been too easy!

Plus, I believe that the atmosphere and depth found in Antithesis of Light is better than some of the other potential tracks. The fact that the sun sets early incongruence with the start of the Autumn season is not the only reason behind why I chose Antithesis of Light. Believe me though, I really fucking hate seeing the sun go down so early. When I hear the slow pounding synth and harsh vocals in this track, I envision dark clouds sending slow falling rain and leaves being drifted away by a violent wind. I can also envision myself walking through the muddy and leaf covered paths in the woods, watching the sun go down and feeling the air get colder, and feeling more and more isolated from everything.

Adam: Frijid Pink - House Of The Rising Sun

I’m not entirely sure why I chose this, but it just feels right. When I think of autumn I tend to think of maturity. When I think of maturity I think of dads. When I think of dads I think of dad-rock, which is how we find ourselves at “House Of The Rising Sun” by Frijid Pink.

True, I could have picked the Animals’ original version of this song, as its definitely more dad than the fuzzed-out cover by Frijid Pink, but this version just seems to hit my autumn spot more. Really, I could have just chosen to archetypal dad-rocker of Phil Collins, but I’ll spare you. It may be blasphemous, but I prefer this psychedelic version of the classic Orientalist tale to the rockin’ original.

Just let the chill feedback and weed smoke and/or acid flashback envelope you.

Chris: Klabautamann – Rabenmorgen

Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. I really love everything associated with autumn, which for me, also includes black metal. I first got into black metal a fall once long ago, particularly because of Klabautamann. They're sort of a folky, proggy black metal outfit from Germany. Someone posted their song “Forlorn Sea” on a forum I was frequenting, and curious, I checked it out and was amazed at how closely it fit the season’s mood, and my own mood. I checked out some of their other stuff and found this song, “Rabenmorgen” of their 2003 Our Journey Through the Woods, to be even more autumnal. Even as I’m listening to it right now, I can hear the trees shivering leaves away and the crows calling off in the distance.

Bitsy: Sons & Daughters- Rama Lama

A lot of significant transformations take place during the autumn season. The once green leaves transform into brilliant hues of yellows, reds, and oranges, longer days transform into shorter ones, and in accordance with Sons & Daughters’ “Rama Lama,” it also transforms men into murderers. Well, at least the one mentioned in this song. Clicks, drips, whistles, (and not to mention one beautiful lady bassist) create what could be considered a pretty eerie murder ballad. Rest assured while listening to this track you can let the leaves fall—and the dead bodies too.

Download the Autumn mixtape HERE.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vol. 10 - Late-Night Listening

Because some songs just fit those weird moods you feel yourself getting into.

Quinn: Whiskeytown - San Antonio

Late night listening is pretty much a pastime for me. Generally, most people go to sleep and I foolishly stay up for no good reason. In my defense, I'll say that there is a good reason and that's to listen to music -- not just to listen to it but to experience it. I'd say that the best time for really experiencing music is many hours after the moon has come to work. You can close your eyes if you want, but I prefer the lights out. Turning out all the lights and laying somewhere with a great record on is one of the best things life has to offer. Personally, an all-time favorite late night track for me is this b-side/unreleased cut from Whiskeytown. It was supposed to come out on the Stranger's Almanac deluxe reissue but it didn't. Huh. Anyways, happy listening.

Hasan: Celtic Frost - Nocturnal Fear

My love for Celtic Frost should come as no surprise to any of you, so I'm going to keep this short. This is my favorite song to jam out to in the evening. It perfectly tops off a great night. At home or in the car, the song's just perfect. It also perfectly exemplifies Celtic Frost's greatness --crushing riffs and solos, quirky time signatures, wackyness (interlude at the 2:00 mark), and of course the grunts! Can you count all the "ugggghs," kids? Now if you'll excuse me, I have some thrashing to do while in my boxers. Enjoy!

Jason: Thought Industry - Worms Listen

I have had many life-changing musical experiences on a Greyhound Bus. When I was in my twenties, I moved a lot, and I usually did it via Greyhound. In western Montana, on my way to Minneapolis, MN, I fell in love with Thought Industry. I was listening to a tape that John Haughm gave me with Thought Industry on it, and I was blown away. A lifelong love affair commenced from that point forward.

This song is appropriate for more than the title. When I was first listening to this song, it was about 3 AM, with no lights visible except for what the headlights of the Greyhound illuminated. Enjoy one of my favorite bands, ever.

Jess: Dissection - The Somberlain

Insomnia has the best of me lately. As the night sky darkens, my psyche awakens. So it’s suitable that this week’s theme is late night listening, because that’s all I’ve been fucking doing. Never underestimate the intoxicating effect of lethargy and black metal. While one pulls your soul down, the other lights your ass on fire. And that’s exactly what happens when I listen to Dissection’s “The Somberlain” at three in the morning. Harmonious guitars don’t both me only because they’re accompanied by unforgiving rhythm. Plus, I just can't argue against 1993 Dissection when I've had too little sleep. I am the Somberlain, indeed.

Adam: Talk Talk - John Cope

Talk Talk’s late period, made up of sister albums
Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, is my favorite music ever recorded. I would say that these albums are all you need for late-night listening music, but since we only get one song each, I’ve gone with a b-side from that era.

“John Cope” seems to have been recorded somewhere in between the sophisti-pop of
The Colour of Spring and the ethereal and introspective Spirit of Eden. Naturally, “John Cope” ends up being the best of both worlds and stands as one of Talk Talk’s finest moments, combining both the delicate feel of Spirit with a more pop song structure than that album. It’s simply breathtaking.

Aesop: Moëvöt - Untitled 4

There is absolutely no better late night listen than the ghostly cantos of Les Legions Noire entity Moëvöt. Every druggy, cobwebbed, spectral groan is the perfect accompaniment to a late night of consummate anguish or just general Parisian ennui. Like a séance of sound. Nocturnal as fuck.

Bitsy: Cat Power - Nude As The News

After the usual functioning hours, sitting in a poorly-lit basement seems to be the only appropriate place for me to have a good listen to Cat Power’s “Nude as the News.” Sunshine and daylight would do this song no justice. It’s one of those tracks I first experienced in the small hours before sunrise, when the rest of sleepy civilization seemed to be falling two steps behind. So I choose to keep it there—in the dark hours of the morning when I need some extra time to get ahead. With her powerful vocals and cleverly eerie lyrics, I’d like to think Chan Marshall wrote this one with us late night basement-dwellers in mind.

Tyler: Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill – Turn Your Lights Down Low

This song was beyond on smash in 1999. I remember hearing it for the first time at about two in the morning on a weeknight, writing and thinking about girls. My main hope for life at that point was that I would find someone who looked or possibly sung like Lauryn Hill and sit with her on a bench or hammock or something as this song played and shyly make eye contact. Night would become a big deal during my teens, and I would tape this song off the radio shortly after and listen to it with my eyes closed during the summers following, with visions of whoever my current Lauryn was accompanying.

Chris: Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Midnight Black Earth

To me, late night is all about the dark, atmospheric music. One of the better groups for this sort of music is Bohren & Der Club of Gore, who style themselves "doom jazz". Listening to this song makes me want to sit at a dingy bar way after dark, after having had way too much to drink. Enjoy!

Asa: Nick Drake - Road

If you've known me for more than a minute or two, one thing will become unquestionably clear: I adore Nick Drake. Every weekend, as I begin to carefully wind down, I begin what I call the "Drake ritual." Even if Chris wants to have a chuckle at me for it, this little nighttime habit is more than simply passing out to Pink Moon in its entirety. I carefully adjust the volume of my speakers just so, making sure the twangs and pops of Drake's playing don't keep me any more awake. As the record begins and I lie down to relax, I visualize one of two things. First, a ghostly Drake-- who would now be past sixty-- and still looking boyish through the wrinkles and the gray, carefully plucking his Guild m20 acoustic in the corner of my pitch-black room. Then, I imagine him seated on a green hill, illuminated by moonlight under a clear and starry sky. "You can say the sun is shining if you really want to," he croons, "I can see the moon and it seems so clear." Indeed.

Download the Late-Night Listening mixtape HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vol. 9 - War

We're ten proponents of honesty here at BBHQ, and there's but one reason for the lackage of posting: Asa's total laziness. Sorry, alright? Right, on with the show...

Chris: Vindensång - Mountains of Bone

If there's any war I love to death, for whatever macabre reasons, it's World War I. I'm a junkie for everything WWI, despite being a pacifist. I'm actually really into the music of WWI, and thought about straight up putting a song written for the war effort here. However, I didn't think it would fit that well. That is, until I just recently listened to Vindensång's "Mountains of Bone". This fits quite a bit better. The song takes a British WWI song, "It's A Long Way to Tipperary" (I think the particular recording is John McCormack's 1914 version), loops it, and adds a layer of noise (gunfire, static, etc.). The juxtaposition of such a cheery, whimsical tune with the grave and violent sounds of war IS World War I to me. Total war.

Aesop: Discharge - /A Hell On Earth / Cries Of Help / The Possibility of Life's Destruction

Once again, as the oldest Blog Body, I will drop the age card. See, these young pups probably don't remember the Reagan/Thatcher '80s where these two monstrous figures of global politics graced the covers of any punk records worth a salt. Why did their gruesome visages leer back at us from so many albums? Perhaps because it was a time where everyone, punkers, rednecks, squares, all lived everyday with the notion that nuclear armageddon was just a pussy hair away, and Reagan and Thatcher symbolized western aggression and nuclear proliferation with sculpted hair and forced smiles.

It's tough living day to day under constant threat of global annihilation and nobody felt or expressed the urgency of the time better than four lads from Stoke-On-Trent, Discharge. Their take on war was so blunt, and never wrapped in poetic metaphor, you could tell they were absolutely serious. It was almost as if they bore the very real and tangible scars of Hiroshima and Nagasaki just under their spiky leathers, they seemed to speak from a higher understanding of war, as if they had been there. As a teenager in a comfortable suburban setting, their matter-of-fact descriptions of the horrors of war were most uncomfortable and troubling, and in turn they spurned an interest in finding out just how bad the arms race and these horrible weapons could be.

So while other kids my age read Thrasher and V.C. Andrews I jumped headlong into John Hersey's Hiroshima. I have chosen this trilogy of war(ning) songs from Discharge's unflappable album
Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing because of the middle section with the sounds of burned and bloodied infants crying out in pain, this passage still affects me, fills me with rage, and constantly reminds me of the terror and unfettered destruction that man can unleash on fellow man. War.

Jess: Deströyer 666 - Blood For Blood

Like true warriors, Destroyer 666 erupt in chaos. This track highlights the violent lust of their 2009
Defiance. Hot. Sweaty. Dark. Blackened thrash should sound that way, period. "Blood for Blood" is relentless in hatred as much as it is playful with ass-kicking riffs. There's nothing pretty about this track, other than the guitars. They propel every transition, like wind carries a loose loin cloth tied on a sweaty barbarian. (Yum!) The bass drum kicks like leather boots in mud. And vocals, the best part, bark much like a wombat that sees red. This playfulness suits these Australians. Yet, they save their mind tricks only for their most vulnerable victims. Before they draw blood, they unleash their war cry. "We shall have our day—we shall defy—we shall not cower beneath the tyrant's heel—before the master's whip we shall not yield." Now, it's time to die.

Jason: Devo - Cold War

One of my favorite Devo songs. Catchy, quirky and not nearly as violent as Zyklon B or Marduk. Devo offers up a light and airy reflection on love and war.

I'll keep this write up short and sweet like the song itself and let the music speak for itself.

Hasan: Amebix - Coming Home

These Bristol crust punk legends weave a tale of loss, disillusionment, and redemption in the mind of a soldier. Beginning with the opening lyrics "I just buried a friend," Amebix present the feelings of disgust that most soldiers feel when on the frontlines. Taking ques from fellow countrymen Black Sabbath and their song "War Pigs," Amebix question the motives of those in power and what purpose soldiers have for fighting someone else's fight. Blending the sounds of Motorhead and Killing Joke provides for a very atmospheric backdrop, detailing the uncertainty of the soldiers' role ending with a resolution of all downtrodden soldiers to put down their arms and go home: "The boys are coming home."

Bitsy: Stars - Celebration Guns

It’s outrageous- the number of songs that have been written about war; many politically charged-- some subtle and some not so subtle in their opinions and oppositions. Surprisingly enough, I managed to stray away from anything too littered with politics and landed on some innocent, eloquent, indie pop. “Celebration Guns” by Stars has just the right combination of carefully chosen lyrics, gentle female vocals, and heartrending instrumentals to generate its moving imagery.
In my experience first listening to this song, I pictured a group of Afghan children playing in the streets, laughing, just before a score of missiles rains down. Now after reading interviews with Amy Millan (vocals) and learning that the song is about Guantanamo Bay detention camps, it’s equally if not more moving. I dread the day when my children look at me in astonishment and ask if these things truly happened while I was growing up. In all honesty, I'm still trying to come up with an explanation for that myself.

Tyler: Sam Spence - Classic Battle

Despite the best efforts of my friends and family in reserves and combat, I have an extremely glorified vision of war. Maybe seeing more
Bernie Bernards will help me understand the horrors and humanity of it, or maybe Sam Spence has ruined me beyond sufficient empathy. Spence spent decades composing movements that would hypnotize kids like me into taking slo-mo NFL Films pieces way too seriously, soldering the foolish sport-as-war comparison into America’s psyche. Near as I can tell, he composed purely to crank listeners’ adrenaline; ‘Battle’ has the added bonus of making me paranoid. Maybe it’s nothing like being on a battlefield; I don’t ever want to find out.

Quinn: Drive-By Truckers - The Sands of Iwo Jima

One enters war knowing that they might possibly die. In order to fight and to face such a reality, one has to become comfortable with death. In fact, forget war. You need to be comfortable with death in order to truly live life. War tears a man apart. War is a mix of emotions running the spectrum from horribly depressing to incredibly happy. You can read about what war does to man, you can watch what it does in movies, but you will never really know the true impact it leaves on a man's mind and spirit. Here, Drive-By Truckers give a portrait of post-war life for a World War II veteran. This track defines the word "poignant" for me. Apparently, Patterson Hood's uncle actually once said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima."

Asa: Miligram - Let's Kill

The college Chris, Quinn, and I attend (and Tyler graduated from and Bitsy once attended) recently paid Karl Rove an honorarium somewhere along the lines of $45,000 to speak at our college for all of twenty or so minutes (the rest of the two-plus hours were Q & A with students). At some point during the evening, in the midst of answering a question, Mr. Rove remarked that "Now, y'see, our army is
very good at killing people." I could only shake my head at the former Senior Advisor/Chief Deputy of Staff's bluntness, and as such have picked a similarly blunt song bearing a (I think) sardonic title, given the rest of Milligram's discography. Jonah Jenkin's powerful pipes rage beneath layers of guitar fuzz and splashy, punishing drums as the song's drudging riff, recalls a the unwavering intensity of the thousand-yard stare.

Adam: Bilskirnir - For Victory We Ride

Perhaps it was my nerdy upbringing spent playing fantasy games or maybe it was my realization that the civilized warfare of today is not only just as barbaric as that of yesteryear, but a thousand times more boring! Either way, I, at the age of 21, still love glorified and chivalric valour more than most. But who could possibly be even nerdier and like this stuff even more than me? The answer is quite simple: National Socialist black metal dweebs.

Bilskirnir, who is the project of
potential skinhead (read: potentially sexy) Widar, is not only one of the best black metal projects I’ve ever come across, but also has its fair share of nerdy-ass moments. There’s nothing harder (sarcasm) than a vaguely-Germanic dissident spouting off lyrics like “the battle has begun/for victory we ride!” In the end, “For Victory We Ride” is the triumphant call to arms and the subsequent vanquishing of all those who oppose the great Widar: Z.O.G., AIPAC, and that nefarious NWO!

To download the War mixtape, click

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vol. 8 - Blog Bodies Does Romance

Romance...(and songs to make love to)
Pardon the absence, folks! College is back in session, and it's taken a bit for some of us (COUGHASACOUGH) to get settled. Jess picked this topic, which could easily (and likely will) be interpreted by some in very odd ways when it comes to choosing songs. Get ready for lovin'!

Jesu - Sun Down

This song melts with slight imperfection. That's Jesu in a nutshell. Far from the industrial Godflesh, this Justin Broadrick labor of love maneuvers overdriven sound with organic composition. Distorted guitars and looped reverb dissolve effortlessly. Never mind the altered balance between distortion and delicacy. Contrasting black-and-white imagery molds this mid-paced ballad into a suitable love song. Modern slang 'lick my lollypop' this and 'try my milkshake' that contaminated innuendo for good. Perhaps that's why the few words sung in "Sun Down" speak so much more. Minimalism is not overrated. Broadrick knows this best. Even though he slows things nearly to a halt midway through, there's no doubt he'll carry the Jesu aesthetic to the very last second.

Chris: Slowdive - Machine Gun

I couldn’t bear to not pick Slowdive for this one. When I think making love – not sex necessarily-- they are the first band that pops into mind, mostly for sentimental reasons. Beyond the sentimentality, their album Souvlaki just sounds like how making love is to me. Not hard like a fuck, but slow and dreamy and comforting. Yet, making love is something that also cannot last forever (even if it lasts quite a long time), and that lends a sort of sadness to it. This combination of sadness, dreaminess, and comfort perfectly describes Souvlaki as an album for me, as well as this choice song. The lyrics aren’t really directly about making love, so it’s mostly a choice based on sound. Enjoy!

Pixies- U-Mass

Frank Black’s explosive scream may not exactly set the mood for you, but “U-Mass” will definitely give you some rhythmic inspiration. So many songs came to mind when Jess unveiled this week’s theme—and honestly, sad and sappy were the general feel of most of them. I then took a moment and thought this through— sad, sappy sex? What? That sweet, sweet love should never be so unfortunately described! Fully charged, this track won’t entirely rule out the romance—it just gives you a little something more to work with. The Pixies drop some sexual knowledge in this track that should be valued between every set of sheets.

“Of the April birds and the May bee… oh baby. It’s educational.”

Tyler: Janet Jackson – If (Siik Remix)

janet. was all about trying to be a standalone ‘let’s-get-the-draws’ mixtape, and ‘If’ in its original form is actually not in contention for its best sex jam on the album [that would be this]. It’s a banger and something to strip to, but doesn’t work as well in the bedroom as you’d expect - because lyrically, it is the dirtiest radio-ready song ever. Ever. We’re not arguing. Siik solves all instrumentation shortcomings by bringing the vocals down a little and grooving an instrumental more bump-and-grind than freaknik. It’s the rare short song you could get down to on repeat, especially because this version takes a few listens to get just how dirty the lyrics are.

Quinn: Portishead – Wandering Star

There was no getting around it. I had to choose one and this one was a constant possibility. By ear I can’t determine exactly what the bass is in this song – organ or synthesizer? Whatever it is, it has always been very entrancing to me and has served to make “Wandering Star” one of the most hypnotic things I’ve ever heard. The vibe of this song is something inescapable. I know I already picked a Portishead track for a previous mixtape, but there was no way I could find anything more suitable for this theme. Normally I’d have a lot to say, but for this song, all I can say is listen with headphones and live there for a while.

Well, I avoided actually talking about the theme. I’m just trying to keep the blog family-friendly.

Jason: Miscreant - Naked

Okay, so my obvious choices would have been "Book Of The Month" by Lovage, or 'Easy" by FNM..but I decided to not be quite so predictable. I chose to look back at our Swedish friends in Miscreant.

Miscreant were an overlooked Swedish death metal band who only released one album. Their brand of metal is fairly average, but has some weird moments here and there. "Naked" was chosen for obvious reasons.

Asa: My Bloody Valentine - Sometimes

Allmusic took a bit of an easy route in concluding My Bloody Valentine's Loveless as concerning "either druggy sex or sexy drugs." Forget the narcotic element-- Kevin Shields did the record on a massive binge of sleep deprivation. Somehow, he came out with what sounds like the aural crystallization of romantic passion. Being in love around the time I was spinning Loveless regularly no doubt had a part in my interpretation, but come on-- that overdriven-as-possible, all-consuming fuzz is absolutely sensual. Shield's vocals have a wonderful sort of androgyny to them; it could be your beloved whispering right next to you. Meanwhile, the low-mixed acoustic guitar grounds everything rhythmically. When I listen to "Sometimes," I just want to melt into the arms of that special someone as the haze of warm, comforting distortion fills the room.

Hasan: Jesu - Brighteyes

There's nothing more powerful than the feeling you get when you gaze into your lover's eyes. To me, this song perfectly presents that extraordinary feeling of love, hope, and promise. The eyes say it all and just as they can leave you feeling hopeful, they can also leave you feeling doubtful-- the heavy-natured melody and soft spoken lyrics of this Justin Broadrick tune present the listener with a feeling of both. Still, don't just take the negative vibes you get with the song. I find the song to be more positive and uplifting. The layered guitars and effects create a beautiful soundscape that's balanced by Broadrick's shoegaze style vocals, you can't help but have an inner feeling of peace and happiness as the chorus "those eyes" echos through. The atmosphere and warm feeling presented by this song will not only make you appreciate the company and touch of your lover, but also the powerful nature of their glare. So, be sure to put this on a playlist or mix for that significant other.

Adam: Flipper - Sex Bomb

What a perfect week for my return! I could have easily picked some sexy-ass shoegaze like MBV or Slowdive (they work well...especially on one's lonesome), but I decided to go for what I think is the ultimate sxxxy muzik song. Flipper's definitive moment is also one grade-A aphrodisiac. With lyrics like "Sex bomb baby yeah!" and "She's a sex bomb, my baby yeah!," "Sex Bomb" acts as the ultimate, gender-neutral panty-peeler. This song is everything sex should be: swampy, spastic, saxophone-equipped, flat-out retarded, and, if you can last that long (SHUT UP), just under eight minutes. Get your tips wet.

Aesop: When I was first told of the subject of this week's post, I immediately thought of so many great songs about sex (Sweet and 2 Live Crew come to mind,) but none of these songs about sex actually seemed very sexy. Nothing is more sexy to me than a coy glance or a whispered suggestion, subtlety is sexy. So with that in mind, I chose Fovea Hex's "Allure." With its slow, sleepy, bedroom drone, and its images of clothes being removed, tongues of flame, and kneeling before an object of desire, "Allure" is a right sexy tune. It's a song about a booty call, a very classy and romantic one, but a booty call nonetheless.

Download the Romance mixtape HERE.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vol. 7 - Dinosaurs

Wowee it's been awhile. And the freedom of summer is still temporarily taking members from us-- Aesop is back, but Adam has left for a week and a half. We stride onward and await his return. In the meantime, please welcome Aesop back and get excited for our newest mix theme, picked by Hasan!

Hasan: Tad - Behemoth

DINOSAURS! Man, I loved anything dinosaur-related when I was a kid-- I could watch Jurassic Park all day and never get sick of it. By the age of 9, I had already decided that I wanted to become a paleontologist and discover some new species of dinosaur. Eh, so much for that. Anyway, I had a tough time figuring out what song to choose for this week. Then it came to me: Tad!

Tad were a monstrous '90s northwest rock machine that combined old school punk rock riffs with a heavy distorted noise that came to be known and popularized as "grunge." A band that has been overlooked and went through some tough times, underrated for sure. Seriously, Nirvawho? Tad's music is very appropriate given its primitive and hulking nature. But what made me really choose this song in particular for this week's theme (aside from being on a huge Tad kick lately) are the lyrics. I can't help but picture vocalist/guitarist Tad Doyle (possibly drunk) wailing away and yelling at some gigantic "terrible lizard" with nothing else but his old Fender in hand. "You will fall down behemoth, motherfucker!!!"

Jess: Grief - Predator

Discovering deception sucks. As a child, naivety beat fallacy. That’s how it was with dinosaurs as a kid. Upon realizing that a) those things aren’t alive and b) they’re not all cute, friendly and, um, purple, I got my first taste of revenge. Barney-- damn you and all your tricks. If Grief’s “Predator” was edible, it would bite like blood from a mouth wound. That bitterness drives this track with relentless urgency. Decomposing riffs and urgent war cries tell a tale of man versus beast. But Grief tells a more unfortunate story by the name of the album alone: …And Man Will Become the Hunted. Man defeated by beast? Pfff. If this were my fairy tale, I’d savor a fresh limb from the purple freak as testament to my victory. Yes, Barney, let’s make a fossil out of you.

Aesop: Yogurt - Cars Are The Dinosaurs Of The Future

Whew. Just in from a whirlwind three-week tour of the USA with Ludicra and Hammers of Misfortune. Managed to meet two more of my fellow Bodies, Hasan and Jess, both of whom are as adorable and sweet as I imagined they would be. However, I am tired and eager to crawl into my own bed and sleep off the adventure. I can’t really write a big thingy about dinosaurs or the
song, but I have chosen “Cars Are The Dinosaurs Of The Future” by Yogurt. I played drums on the track. Yogurt was the side project of the late, great genius Matty Luv of Hickey. It tells of a future ecological utopia where cars are reduced to hulking memories, and all in just over a minute. Matty is dead now, but I see more evidence of the songs prophecy everyday. Cars truly are the dinosaurs of the future.

Tyler: Hardknox – Fire Like This

Real talk, I almost picked Was (Not Was)’s ‘Walk The Dinosaur’ this week. Seemed cheap, though, so I ended up listening to Hardknox and stomping around my apartment. The big-beat duo of Steve and Lindy only released one full-length, an uneven self-titled that works best when they just go for amped-up entrance themes. If a T. Rex could put sunglasses on with their stubby little arms, they would do it to ‘Fire Like This’, which is a heat rock working its way up the food chain on the strength of cranking primal drums and features a cheerleading group of elementary kids. And no one holds it down for dinosaurs like fourth-graders.

Giant Squid – Pathalassa

Like so many children, dinosaurs were my absolute favorite thing as a kid. I owned a metric dickton of dinosaur books and toys. I wanted to be a paleontologist so badly. While I'm not going down that road, I still find dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures awesome, and am particularly fascinated by ancient sealife. So too are proggy-sludge band Giant Squid. Most, if not all, of their songs are about the monstrous sea. This track, off their latest album and named for the ancient sea that surrounded Pangaea, definitely evokes plesiosaurs and rising above the waves. In this case, those plesiosaurs are attacking some sailors, somehow! While not really dinosaurs, plesiosaurs were the most badass creatures of the antediluvian ocean. No one enters their sea without getting crushed and eaten.

Nine Inch Nails – Corona Radiata

Can you imagine being in the presence of a dinosaur? It goes without saying that you would more than likely be more intimidated and pretty terrified than you would be excited or calm. Personally, I sometimes find it hard to believe that such creatures ever existed considering the animal life we have grown accustomed to here on Earth. With all that in mind, you would think it would be easy to find a song about dinosaurs. This was probably the most difficult one for me thus far. I figured Asa would go for Dinosaur Jr. or Valley of the Dinosaurs, so I stayed clear of those two. If I had had Was (Not Was)’s “Walk the Dinosaur,” I would have offered it.

There are a number of theories as to how exactly the dinosaurs became extinct. The one I recall the most is that the sky was afire as a storm of comets brought down the multi-million year reign of the legendary animals. I imagine that the last day of their lives was incredibly ominous as the sky might have been very dark and foreboding. It would have been the kind of scene in a film where characters are talking but no sound is heard except for silence or something equally as eerie. That day probably sounded like “Corona Radiata.

Asa: Dinosaur Jr - Sludgefeast

Now I know what you're fucking thinking. THAT ONE WAS TOO EASY. Well, sure, but in thinking of my song choice this week, I flashed on when I saw this Amherst trio in the fall of 2007. After the show, my buddies and I awaited the DC metro's arrival so we could make our way back to our Baltimore dorms. As we did, some shaggy douche with a leather jacket and band pins took note of my friend Mike's Choking Victim shirt. "Great fucking shirt, man!" he shouted nasally in a voice not unlike the Frank of the Professor Brothers. As we timidly returned conversation, dude quickly asks if we "were at the shitshow? Or should I say...the Dinosaur Jr show?!" Yes, we were. No, they didn't suck. "Yes they fucking do, man!" he spat. "They're all old now and shit...all those guitar solos...they are fucking dinosaurs!"

That's hardly an insult. Lou, J and Murph may be old, but they still got it. Feast on the primordial ooze of "Sludgefeast" and get over the fact that J Mascis' soloing is all the teen angst he had that comes through his hands and not his mouth. And damn if the results aren't something.

Jason: Gwar - Gor-Gor

Growing up, I had a very unique perspective on dinosaurs. You see, every summer I helped Jack Horner and his crew dig dinosaurs on Egg Mountain in Montana. I helped discover a dinosaur, and discovered one of the first Maiasaura Peeblesorum teeth.

So, this means my song is the best.

Gor-Gor is the biggest, baddest dino ever, and say what you will, but Gwar's first few albums are fucking genius. Hooky and catchy, humorous, but clever, and man, the riffs are amazing. The breakdown on this song makes me smile every time I hear it. Gwar used to be much more than the tools that they are now, and this is a testimony of that. Gor-Gor comes and you must die!

Bitsy: Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers - I'm A Little Dinosaur

I guess you could say I’ve been going through a dinosaur phase since I was about two years old. Being submerged in films like The Land Before Time, Jurassic Park, and Godzilla, I developed a deep appreciation for all of them (and especially that awesome Quaker oatmeal with the eggs that eventually hatched into tiny multi-colored dinosaurs.) Reverting myself to my childlike, dinosaur-obsessed state of mind, I chose Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ “I’m A Little Dinosaur.” Simple lyrics with catchy 50s rock and roll rhythm- I couldn’t pick anything better suited for a dinosaur mix

Download the Dinosaurs mixtape HERE.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vol. 6 - Transience

This week's post comes courtesy of Tyler and brings us from the tangible (Gundam) to the intangible. Aesop's still on tour and will rejoin the fold next week.

Adam: The Endless Blockade - Perfection

To me, this noise track on the Endless Blockade's most recent masterpiece, Primitive, is the first thing I think of when I think transience. The actual noise section of "Perfection" is book-ended by two eerie and nebulous samples, one an apparent radio transmission and the other an awkward conversation on religion. In between this comes a relatively brief burst of harsh noise with the gruffer of the two vocalists spouting off about Man's interpretation and understanding of a higher power in something much more intellectual than standard, punk credo of "NO GOD NO MASTERS" or "FUCK GOD." Ending on the line "Man understands divinity like a dog understands electricity," the song quickly flows back into the aforementioned conversation before fading out into oblivion.

Chris: Orchid - …and the Cat Turned to Smoke

Not to be too much of a downer, but in my life, the most transient things have been people. They kind of flit in and out of my life before fading out, for whatever reason. While not everyone is like this, certainly a fair amount of people I meet only are in my life for a seemingly short period of time, whether as friends or acquaintances, lovers or enemies. Screamo legend Orchid’s “…and the Cat Turned to Smoke” lyrically captures the transience of such relationships well. The song opens with the lines, “ we smiled and said,/ ‘I’ll see you this summer’”/-but we knew it was over.”; another romantic relationship has gone and died silently. On a more sonic level, the song transitions from Orchid’s trademark aural clusterfuck sound to more melancholic dirges, finally ending with violins fading to a dull hum. Life goes on.

Bitsy: Rites Of Spring - Patience

I know little to nothing about transience involved with music theory, but I do know of one band that could easily be pinned to the idea of a short-lived music career. Rites Of Spring, a post hardcore group, reigning just for two short years in the mid 1980s, had a pretty sizable impact among the D.C. hardcore punk scene. Putting out only one studio album (self-titled), one EP, and one compilation during their two active years, the band was around just long enough to make some waves within their genre. Their career quickly fizzled out as the members dispersed, pursuing other interests. All history lessons aside, to better signify the whole transient theme revolving around Rites Of Spring, I chose the shortest track off of their compilation, End on End. A brief song from a band that ended as quickly as it formed— “Patience” is a good sampling of Rites Of Spring.

Tyler: Rosa – Starch and Carbohydrates

It took forever for me to land on "Starch and Carbohydrates," as my own topic reduced to me to shuffling my Zune towards the end of the week, hoping for something that was better than merely ‘unsettling’. Acoustic-punkers Rosa made one album in 2003, I, Mississippi, You, then broke up. Transience embodied (That link is basically the only page about them this side of a fan Myspace). "Starch and Carbohydrates" is a ragged little thumper of a tune, uncertain and unpolished, and it ends perfectly for this mixtape. Start ain’t bad, either, considering this alternate definition.

Hasan: Portal - Circle

Though we may understand what Portal is getting at with its main chorus: "just when the circle's drawn, just then the circle's gone." It's the subtle interactions between the lyrics and harmonies of this song that really present a deep and positive view on transience and impermanence. Through these layers and interactions we understand that just as the circle's gone, a new one is drawn, this is best exemplified through lyrics such as:

I am winter dormant in my solitude
You are spring alive and with new growth
I am summer burning in my beatitude
You are fall shedding leaves grown old

Just when the circle's drawn
Just then the circle's gone
The circle's gone

I am petals found in frail wayside flowers
You are wind blowing bare open
I am sunlight showering the rays of play
You are sand soft yet hard as stone

Paul Masvidal and Aruna Abrams beautifully deliver their lyrics with the message that with life there is death and with death there is also a new beginning, it goes full circle. Enjoy!

Jason: December Wolves - The Night That I Died

Transience is a pretty vague topic for sure. In audio engineering, a transient is a short increase in sound output, defined usually by the attack of an instrument. Using this definition, any song or even noise would qualify. However, I decided to also deal with the definition of passing in and out, passing from this life onto whatever lays ahead. December Wolves were an incredibly promising black metal band in the mid to late 90's that released one amazing album, Til Ten Years. After that, they went nuts, and went in a different direction entirely.

Quinn: Josh Ritter – “The Temptation Of Adam”

I took this week’s theme pretty literally, deciding to focus on acoustic guitar and its strength as an instrument. It’s so often the foundation upon which music is crafted as so many songs will begin on acoustic only to flourish into something bigger. It’s an instrument that brings people together (e.g. campfire sing-a-longs) or transforms the most poppy songs into something entirely new.

I was trying to think of some song done by some artist during the period of 1950-1970. You know…one man, one guitar, tons of reverb, epic sound? Have you ever heard Neil Young’s performance of “Old Man” from Live at Massey Hall 1971? It’s some deep stuff. Instead of choosing a well-known classic, I decided to shine some light on a lesser known artist and chose Josh Ritter’s “The Temptation Of Adam.” The song is enthralling and insanely poignant, even without the brass and string embellishments. I imagine Ritter grabbed an old wooden chair, sat in front of a mic, and played. It’s an example of how the company of an acoustic guitar can make a story all the more engaging and intimate.

Asa: Swervedriver - Son Of Mustang Ford

Transience speaks to me as a state of constant motion, whether physically, throughout life or otherwise. While I wouldn't want to subject myself to constant coming and going, I can't lie either: sometimes life stands still for too long. During these times, the yearning for an escape is overwhelming, and no band captures that longed-for rush like Swervedriver. Like many fans and critics, I assumed the band's melodic-wall-of-sound tunes to be mostly about cars until frontman Adam Franklin informed me last year that while this was partially true, many of his works were concerned "pining for something else, like a new place to live or a new person to hang out with." I knew that feeling as well as any other. Let's ride.

Jess: Om - At Giza

Om transcend the unconscious. “At Giza” best represents this fluidity. From the beginning, feel the nerves loosen to gaseous states, lifting solid matter several inches from the ground on which it should rest. This two-piece progress psychedelic adventures beyond familiarity. Similar chords and tones remind of late ‘60s groove, the kind my parents would swing to as teenagers. But there’s more to Om that even grey-haired hippies can’t comprehend. Om orchestrate a mind-numbing, psychedelic trip from sun-baked rooftops. Although only 15 minutes, this may as well last for days. The sun rises, the sun sets, and Om transcend throughout consciousness like a swirling stream of thick smoke. Relax.

Download the Transience mixtape HERE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vol. 5 - Mobile Suit Gundam


Adam hit us with one hell of a curveball this week. It's abstract, it's more than one word, and not exactly a choice anyone making a mixtape would make. Damn near everyone had a hell of time picking a song, but that's half the fun! From classic rock anthems to trip-hop to Japanese hardcore to British prog, this is likely our most diverse slab of tuneage yet. This post also marks the arrival of our newest Body-- Tyler. Welcome aboard, son.

Please note Jason is still remedying his computer troubles and should be back next week.

Bitsy: Beastie Boys - Intergalactic

Giant robots? Excellent. Most of my television- charged childhood revolved around the idea of man vs. machine, man infused with machine, or just vengeful machines independently. After brushing up on Gundam’s history (provided by Adam), the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” music video came directly to mind. Massive robot with sick dance moves attacking an equally massive octopus-headed creature—what kid wouldn’t love that? Using chunks of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-sharp Minor” also gives the track some badass credit. “Intergalactic” would be an adequate addition to any giant robot mix.

Aesop: Crow - Japanese Title

So I'm pretty fucking sure that I am the oldest Blog Body. This gives me license to be a grouchy dickbag if I want to. So with that said, fuck you, Adam, and your Gundam theme! In my day we had Shogun Warriors, big fucking Japbots with tough names like Gaiking and Mazinga. The toys were cool, but didn't stay around because of the almost Darwinian presence of choking hazards and eye-seeking projectiles. Gundam is weaksauce compared to that shit. Oh, and for the song I chose one by Crow. Crow are Japanese and a monstrous machine of utter nihilistic destruction. Gundam, seriously? I have to leave for tour now, assholes! (Catch Aesop on tour with Ludicra soon!)

Quinn: Portishead - Machine Gun

When I learned that this week’s theme was going to be Gundam I was really thrown off. I know just as much about anime as I do about quantum mechanics. Thanks to this whole Wikipedia/internet thing, I managed to learn more about Gundam, a show that apparently deals with a lot of different themes.

After mulling over the possibility of choosing Megadeth’s “Hangar 18” I settled on the fabulous “Machine Gun” from Portishead’s most recent LP. The fact that it’s titled “Machine Gun” certainly seemed relevant to the show, but my decision went deeper than that. This song is haunting with its mechanized snare, chilling synthesizers, and the incredibly beautiful voice of Beth Gibbons. The snare starts off as an instrument but winds up embodying the definition of the song’s title. I imagine that flying around space in a mobile suit would at times become a bit lonely and maybe even a bit eerie. This song captures those feelings. “Machine Gun” sounds like a perfect soundtrack for the gloom of war.

I still don’t really know anything though about quantum mechanics.

Jess: Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town

I have little business with televised anime series, let alone Japanese ones with poor dubbing quality. For the most part, attempting to overcome the lackluster music choices in these, dare I say, cartoons is enough to make my psyche shrivel to a prune. But given the circumstances of Mobile Suit Gundam, the anime prior to the Transformers era, one classic must take precedence. Thin Lizzy know male camaraderie best with their hit “The Boys are Back in Town.” When morale wavers to unsightly depths, this tune cranked at maximum is enough to wake a sleeping giant with gusto. This is an appropriate battle anthem for 1979. Dismiss that Dance Dance Revolution nonsense. Blasted among neon-light laser beams, Phillip Lynott’s voice can’t be left unaccompanied. Put a little shimmy in that step, Gundam.

Adam: G.I.S.M. - Meaning Corrupted 1: "Fatigue"

Take any of the "structured" songs from the second LP from Japan's legendary G.I.S.M. and you practically have an exact auditory replication of giant, dueling Japanese mechs battling over the metropolis that is Tokyo. G.I.S.M.'s brand of mech-music is mid-paced hardcore and Iron Maiden-guitar filtered through the utter weirdness of the Gerogerigegege. With its raging, bob-your-head solos and unstoppable velocity, "Meaning Corrupted 1: "Fatigue"" is the closest thing to actual fighting Gundam. Sakevi's vocals bring to life the terror thrust upon those tiny, Japanese peons as they scurry away from the guarenteed death by shrapnel, glass fragments, and flame. Actually, that just sounds like the time Sakevi chased a crowd with a flamethrower. ENDLESS BLOCKADES FOR THE PUSIFUTERE!

Tyler: Lupe Fiasco - The Emperor's Soundtrack

What a start. I don't know anything about Gundam, so I called my sister, a Japanophile and ‘the anime one’ in the family. Now I barely know anything about Gundam, but did leave the convo with a theory: Anime fans are like hip-hop heads – gear-oriented, overly analytical, self-referential to the point of ostracizing others.

Given that revelation, here's ‘The Emperor’s Soundtrack’. Lupe Fiasco, an anime nerd who shouted out long-running manga Lupin the 3rd in his first big look, is at his most captivating when he’s trying to pull a ton of strands together – peep the cover for Food and Liquor, his debut. 'Soundtrack', a look-to-the-sky production stuffed with six punchy verses and a chanting hook about ‘knowing weapons’, sounds more like the warrior’s pregame. You could bump it in your Gundam while heading off to battle.

Chris: Sigh – Messiahplan (Gunface Alternate Guitar Solo Take)

If there’s one thing I can’t seem to escape these days, it’s my weaboo past. I used to think most everything Japan ever did was awesome. Anime, manga, video games, music, language; almost the entire cultural gambit. I didn’t even really listen to music outside of music that wasn’t a dorky movie soundtrack until I started listening to J-rock and J-pop in 10th grade. Thankfully, I grew out of that around the end of high school and have just become your average terrible person.

I never really liked Gundam, though. I couldn’t get into the giant robots and all. However, I did really like one song that reminded me of mecha and such in the past, and that was Sigh’s “Messiahplan”. It’s pretty cheesy to listen to now for me, and I think Sigh are better when they use saxophones, but I can definitely see this as a Gundam intro or battle. This version comes off the 2007 reissue, and has slightly better production values and a different solo than the version in my bepimpled days.

Asa: Camel - Lunar Sea

When I think Gundams, I think space. These shows can't be all bad English dubbing, "TETSUOOOOO!"s and laser blasts. The vastness of the cosmos has to be addressed too, goddamit, and for my money Camel do a great job with their instrumental "Lunar Sea." The quartet's playing not only translates the sheer size of space but also the serenity of floating in-- basically-- nothing.

Hasan: Bolt Thrower - The Killchain

To me Gundam is all about giant robots built for war and destruction. I remember viewing the television show every now and then in the 90s, I had no idea what was going on in the show except for the fact that there was a war raging on and that giant robots were the weapon of choice. I instantly knew which band would be appropriate for this week's theme, Bolt Thrower! "All tanks should come with a built-in Bolt Thrower discography and massive speakers welded to the hull."

Bolt Thrower has mastered and maintained the perfect soundtrack for war. Their sound is fast and chaotic, while at times melodic--perhaps giving the listener a feeling of safety or comfort, only to bring them back to the aural assault of bursting guitars, bass, drums, and Karl Willets' vocal attack. "The Killchain" pretty much centers on the progression of technology and its effect on war. As technology increases, new tools of destruction are made and the rules and strategies of war change. A "killchain": an endless cycle of killing. The characters and people in the Gundam universe are "caught within the mainframe of the killchain!"

Download the Mobile Suit Gundam mixtape HERE.