Listen Hear(4)

Since there’s no accounting for taste then there’s probably no accounting for why we haven’t been able to get this stuff out of our heads this past month.
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THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA & TRA-LA-LA BAND: HORSES IN THE SKY
(Engineered by Howard Bilerman)
It’s the best loves that start out the worst.
“He doesn’t want to do the piece. He says the music recording press are a bunch of dirty whores.”
“Well, you tell him if we wanted anymore crap out of him we’d squeeze his head.”
But he called Albini, found out we were jake, and the loving was on. The he in this instance? A one Mr. Howard Bilerman and this mighty record of his expands on the whole post-punk palette of lush largeness á la their associated GOD SPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, cross-pond cousins MOGWAI et al. Almost a movement. An orchestral one, with production raw and dynamic enough to make you rethink, you know, things.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY: THE BLESSED HELLRIDE
(Produced by Zakk Wylde, Engineered by Eddie Mapp)
Man we thought we were soooo over skulls, skeletons and all other manner of high school loose leaf binder obsessions. But like judging a book by its cover is bad for business so was the dismissive contempt with which we slathered Zakk’s whole mise en scene. And then, we heard it. Look in the dictionary under Crush, Kill, or even Destroy and you’re likely to find this thing doing all the things that make some recordings great, and dangerous (Think The Stooges’ Raw Power): daring to completely disregard just about everything in the service of a sonic slapdown. Perfect.

TIGHT PHANTOMZ: CRAZY WHEN WET
(Produced by Tight Phantomz)
As cocky swaggers go, these guys got a mighty cocky one. We mean for an indie band. Who should know better. Witness: the big, deep kick drum, the sharp staccatos and arpeggios, all guitar licks and hip strut, and a boogie bass line that almost excuses the sincere cheese of a lone ballad. Expertly captured at the band’s Phantom Manor Studios in Chicago, Crazy When Wet has all the in-your-face presence of a live recording. Sure, it’s clean, mostly clear and crisp, but it’s not spit-shined and polished to the point of blindingly perfect nothingness.

IDIOT PILOT: STRANGE WE SHOULD MEET HERE
(Produced by Daniel Anderson and Michael Harris)
We strip them. We get a CD in we just strip it. Sure we slipped with the Black Label Society, but we usually strip them and put them in a pile and listen to them shorn of all the trappings of the machinery that sells music like they were selling margarine. No cool haircuts. No insouciant and reckless looks from PR photos. Nothing. So imagine our surprise again when it was discovered that the producers of this thing were also IN it and were owners of cool haircuts and insouciant and reckless looks, and one of the coolest sounding records we’ve heard in a long while. Recorded all with free software they downloaded off the net. Do tell. Oh, we will. Next ish.

ISIS: PANOPTICON
(Produced by Matt Bayles)
Total disclosure: friends of ours. We ain’t going to dog it. However while they ARE friends they’re not felons and so we played their CD with abandon this past month under no undue pressures. And it’s delightful. Which is not the word expected when discussing a record with bass cameos from Tool’s bassist and production by Mr. Mastodon, Matt Bayles. Seasick and lurching, and called everything from ambient metal to roil rock (ok, we just made that last one up), Isis and Bayles have a CD here that’s neo-post-Spectoresque wall o’ noise will (should) shame all of their bloated peers into adoring silence.