Nov. 17The Body and Full of Hell, “Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light”Unless you are well-versed in the noise scene, I can guarantee that you have never heard anything like “Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light.” Last year, weird doom band The Body and grindcore band Full of Hell released their first collaboration record, “One Day You Will Ache like I Ache,” and it was an exercise in extremity. This new record brings the ferocity and speed of Full of Hell balanced with the strange, electronic backbone of The Body. Chip King, vocalist for The Body, has one of the most distinct voices in metal, sounding like a banshee wailing on the blackened moors. The guitars roil like a tumultuous sea at midnight, leaving you gasping for air before you are pulled under again. Sometimes it feels like a traditional punk rock or grind record, but there is always something off about it, whether it’s the weird silent spaces, the shrieking passages, the echoey vocals, or when the thing finally stops and you’re able to wonder what the f you just listened to.
Morrissey, “Low in High School”In “Low in High School,” Morrissey is channeling the angst that has always been at the core of his music. And by god, there is plenty to be angsty about in this world these days. There is a distinct layer of snark throughout the record, with Morrissey taking the piss out of a lot of the things he derides throughout the album. Musically, it is warm, dense, and entirely unremarkable to my ears. Morrissey sounds the same as ever, with a dreary sing-song delivery that has been his trademark for decades. This is one of those records that isn’t going to win him any new fans, but most people have made their decisions about Morrissey years ago.
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “Soul of a Woman” Sharon Jones was a badass lady. I’m bummed out that I never got to see her rock out live. My old co-worker saw Jones on her last tour and had nothing but wonderful things to say. Jones was touring between bouts of chemotherapy to combat the pancreatic cancer that eventually took her, performing bald after the chemo took her hair. This album is a collection of tracks recorded before her death in 2016. It is pure soul. There are powerful songs, there are vulnerable songs, each one timeless in its own way. You could play most stacked against soul classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s and they would stand above. Album closer, “Call of God,” is an immediate gospel classic, with the slow introduction of the choir that Jones led at the Universal Church of God she attended. It is a fitting album to cornerstone a wonderful, reserved career and a fitting celebration of a woman who was dancing and shouting until the very end. Rest in Peace, Sharon Jones.
Other notable releases this week: Bob Seger, Barenaked Ladies, Charlotte Gainsbourg, a greatest hits from Green Day, Talib Kweli, Godflesh, and Mavis StaplesCooper Stapleton