Feb. 24Zeal And Ardor, “Devil Is Fine”One of the most unique self-released albums of last year finally gets a label and I couldn’t be happier. “Devil is Fine” is an amalgamate of genre culminating in a showcase of the African-American life experience from a historical perspective. It utilizes black metal, trap, blues, hoodoo rhythms and spiritual hymns to build a record that I can guarantee is unlike anything you have ever heard before. I implore everyone reading this to at least check it out. The words don’t do it justice.
Pissed Jeans, “Why Love Now”A reason to celebrate! Pissed Jeans is back! One of Sub Pop Records’ flagship artists, Pissed Jeans is easily one of the best noise rock bands on the planet. “Why Love Now” is one of those sausage-grinder types of records. If you aren’t ready for it, it will chew you up and spit you out. It is just as willing to laugh at itself as it is to laugh at you, dear listener. Subversion and inclusion at the same time can be a beautiful thing. Pissed Jeans is the epitome of disgusted and aroused, in the best way. They also manage to write a song about Jamie Lee Curtis-hawked yogurt, which is the most punk rock thing I have ever seen.
King Woman, “Created in the Image of Suffering”Imagine Black Sabbath with Mazzy Star singing. Did that grab your attention? If so, then I have a treat for you. Enter King Woman’s “Created In The Image of Suffering.” King Woman bring in elements of drone and ambient to create a layered masterpiece of fuzzy doom. My initial impression is that this record is as more sprawling than the genre contemporaries like Windhand or Pallbearer. It also, in a strange turn of events, is a doom metal record with four-minute long songs, so while the atmosphere may sprawl, the songwriting is tight to the point of near-abruptness, which is not negative: the most important thing about doom metal is that it is immersive. The fuzz should blot out any sense of time or space that you have outside the music, and King Woman certainly succeeds there.
Crystal Fairy, “S/T”Another one of those dreaded super groups. This one features our favorite fuzz rockers Buzz and Dale from The Melvins, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At The Drive In and The Mars Volta, and Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes. This album is actually astounding. Rodriguez-Lopez’s bass playing is a highlight, bringing a funk to the weirdness that fits perfectly. Teri Gender Bender’s voice cuts through the fuzz like a lubricated knife and adds a lightness that balances really well with Buzz and Dale’s trademark low end. An essential album for fans of any of the involved groups.
David Bowie, “No Plans”This is an EP of songs that were recorded during the Blackstar sessions before Bowie’s passing at the beginning of last year. It is entirely possible that these will be the final “new” Bowie songs. If that isn’t enough to convince you that they are worth listening to, then you were lost long before I could redeem you.