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Melvins – The Bride Screamed Murder

Ipecac

The Bride Screamed Murder is superb. Not at all what I expected, but sees the Melvins in fine form. A Senile Animal (2006) and Nude With Boots (2008) saw the Melvins gelling as a tight four piece unit, with Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover playing alongside Big BusinessCoady Willis and Jared Warren. Now I love both these albums, and I would have welcomed a third helping. But we’ve all seen bands fall into formulaic ruts rehashing variations of the same album again and again until everything fresh and innovative is long gone. The Melvins have side stepped this pitfall. The Bride Screamed Murder finds them returning to a looser jam-based sound, reminiscent of their early stuff. This sounds like the renowned Melvins who will fuck up.

And then as now, when the Melvins jam

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Torstein Wjiik – Wjiik Let Angreben Af Influenza

Ambolthue/Synesthetic Recordings

Wjiik Let Angreben Af Influenza sleeve imageApparently this is the debut CD of Torstein Wjiik, which is really hard to believe when you look at his discography, where you can find lots of MP3 and CD-R releases. Wjiik is the alias of Norwegian experimental artist Kjetil Hanssen. Knowing that this young man has been around and producing sound since 2004, some would say it is about time he appeared on the proper CD format. However, this is usually no guarantee of a more proper listening experience.

The title suggests that Wjiik is slightly attacked by influenza, just like Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen was described when his health got worse six years before his death, and the tracktitles can certainly be a chronology of getting the flu. Firstly the “Gag Reflex” followed by “The Flu Has

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Jazkamer – Chestnut Thornback Tar

Pica Disk

Chestnut Thornback Tar sleeve imageThe May edition of Jazkamer‘s monthly series starts with an almost twenty minute long drone track. It’s very deep dark and with mellow synth sounds to start with, moving about in my headphones, almost without recognising it, the track creeps upon me, moving more, being more intense and distorted. I hear adding layers, adding sounds, but almost not noticing it. I am feeling relaxed by this soothing, meditative track. Hypnotizing me to go to another place, until the end is bliss-full of wideranging distorted noise.

Then the album changes to a more experimental focus. Next up is six short tracks, spanning from just under thirty seconds up to almost four minutes, and one last track of almost fourteen minutes. Most of them are experimental, very varied tracks within themselves. Expressions as a simple

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Pan Sonic – Gravitoni

Pan Sonic‘s extirpated crackle and hiss approaches the low end of dub with a fiercely deracinated edge, not so far removed from the stepping imperative as might perhaps be assumed from its harsh extremity. This is the sound of oscillators and radio noise in decaying mutual orbits, the capture and release of tensed bass thumps and scarred metallic shards of noise describing the heat death of not only Pan Sonic (this has been announced as their swansong album) but perhaps of the universe, as exemplified by the ominous skree and drones of “Väinämöisen uni/Väinämöisen Dreams,” with final liquid drips echoing into nothingness. Likewise, the snarling buzz of “Suuntaa-Antava/Indicational” soon shrivels everything in its path, including ultimately, itself, fading in entropic dissolution to hissing, then silence – and as for “Hades,” from the slow heartbeat rhythm, suffice to

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Trans Am – Thing

Thrill Jockey

Trans Am - Thing sleeveWow, this is a really different kind of Trans Am album. But wow in general, too, it’s also a pretty fucking great album. The first thing that struck me about Thing was its soundtrack-like quality. At points it is more like a vision of Blade Runner rather than the electro rock we know and love from Trans Am.

Thing began life as project for a sci-fi horror adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The project never happened, but Trans Am continued with their album exploring lots of directions. To ensure the sufficient feeling of exhaustion and paranoia Trans Am stayed in their studio until the early hours of the morning. Now that’s the kind of commitment I like to see in a band. It reminds me of Steve Vai fasting for seven days

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Lazer Crystal – MCMLXXX

Thrill Jockey

MCMLXXX CD sleeveLazer Crystal come from Chicago and this is their first full release. The title MCMLXXX is a real declaration of intent, or at least a real advert to the albums contents. And it is, but at the same time it isn’t. I’ve heard many bands that are really stuck in the 70s or 80s to the point of sounding like a stale copy. Lazer Crystal aren’t one of them. Indebted to the 80s, yes; in awe of the 80s, almost certainly; but not stuck in them.

They give us a gloriously mad synthfest. The 80s never actually sounded this demented. Like an unholy mixture of Ian Curtis, Fad Gadget and “Crockett’s Theme” delivered with the screwed up spasticity of Aphex Twin or Squarepusher. The mad electronica through a food processor sound is distinctly more recent. It’s a

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