The Drones are a grizzled, straight-up hard-rock band from Australia. I’ve been stuck in a twisted post-rock/hard rock cycle after downloading the top 25 releases from Touch & Go last week (Slint has haunted me since high school, the Jesus Lizard is further eroding my sanity). I haven’t slept much, and my dreams have been sinister. The Drones have not helped my predicament.
This isn’t typical IndieMuse material, but this album has hit me hard. Singer Garret Liddiard sings, screams and growls his way through the songs, following loosely constructed guitar narratives that are as gnarled as they are melodic. The more grizzly segments are punctuated by fluid, post-rock instrumental breakdowns and intense, cross-panning guitar solos; a shining light lent to the chaos. Their crescendos reach drastic heights, only to immediately plummet into paced, segmented arpeggios, an approach that mirrors Liddiard’s overwhelmingly bleak lyrics. But where the album is universally downcast – failed marriages, broken friendships, and a general disdain for the human race – it’s a contextual down. It’s an accessible heartbreak, because while his stories sound far more wretched than anything encountered in my own life, I’m totally with him when he wails at the end of “Nail it Down”: “Cause I’d try anything if I could only get along with you.”
On “Luck in Odd Numbers,” random double drum hits, spaced throughout the song, propel warbling guitars into the cosmos, backed by a spindly, walking bass lead that sounds like a corrupted John-Paul Jones. Each drum hit lends Liddiard more confidence, an increased gait as he spits his story. And deep into the song comes the requisite hard rock solo – squealing leads and layers of fuzz, a massive guitar and drum attack; the complete, visceral discharge of the previous seven minutes. Check the lyric sheet here.
I’ve recently been obsessing over a delightful album called Silent Shout, the 2006 album by Swedish brother/sister duo The Knife. First, a little background on The Knife: Composed of siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, The Knife released their debut self-titled LP in 2001 on their own label, Rabid Records. Since then, they have released two more LPs, Deep Cuts in 2003 and Silent Shout in 2006, before announcing a three year hiatus after the release of Silent Shout. Karin Dreijer Andersson has already turned heads in 2009 with her self-titled debut Fever Ray. Silent Shout is truly one of the best pieces of music I’ve heard in a while. The sound of the album could fall loosely into the genre of minimalist techno, but yet there is so much more.
The album’s sparse drum loops, simple arpeggios and thick reverb layered sound calls to mind Thom Yorke’s 2006 solo effort The Eraser. But tracks like “Silent Shout,” “The Captain,” and “Forest Families” create an aura something closer to psychedelic trance inducing vibes of Brightblack Morning Light, Black Moth Super Rainbow or Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. The vocals are unique and varied; some songs feature Olof Dreijer moaning at a distorted evil low pitch while others find their energy in the sheer power of Karin’s voice. Whether she’s spitting rhythmically, in songs like “Neverland” or the brilliantly catchy “We Share Our Mother’s Health,” or emotionally proclaiming her love over brooding synths during “Marble House,” Karin Dreijer Andersson is what gives The Knife their cutting edge. Upon doing more research on the group, I quickly became acquainted with their oddities. Wearing strange masks onstage and in photo shoots, sending people to accept awards for them, etc. For me, their mysterious personas only made the album even cooler, because Silent Shout is one of those albums whose rich textures makes you feel like you’re in another world. The album comes paired with Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience, which is a recording of a show during the Silent Shout tour. From the looks of photo’s like this:
Not only was Where the Wild Things Are one of my very favorite books growing up, it was also my breakout role as an actor when I was a little boy. No joke, my day care put on the play. I think I was only three, but I kicked-ass from what I remember.
The trailer just premiered today on Ellen, and looks amazing–I can’t wait for this movie to hit theaters in October.
Spike Jonze directed (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, various music projects). The great music in the background is a new version of Arcade Fire’s song “Wake Up.”
Hey everyone. Just wanted to quickly share some sweeeeet music with y’all.
I don’t really watch anime, but in terms of soundtracks, some of the most thoughtful arranging and composition can be heard in shows like Cowboy Bebop, for example. A friend of mine recently gave me the soundtrack to Samurai Champloo, a Shinichirō Watanabe creation. It features work by producers, musicians and artists: Nujabes, Fat Jon, MINMI, Force Of Nature, Tsutchie. It’s amazing. Once again, I don’t know much about the show, but the use of sampling, sequencing and fusion makes for an unbelievably smooth, Eastern-influenced compilation spanning four discs and 79 tracks–if you like what you hear, you will not be disappointed. It is a tasteful balance of trip-hop beats, jazz and the underground Japanese hip-hop movement that feels new and comfortable all at once. For your weekend chillout: