I find a certain appeal to brevity in music. There is something admirable about being able to express yourself in a concise manner, saying what you want to say and not overextending your welcome. Hardcore punk is a genre that is often associated with brevity, where most of the songs are short and pass with blazing intensity.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
When considering the genre of heavy music, I can think of no band that is more despondent than The Body. And perhaps most surprisingly, they are able to accomplish this without appearing overly heavy-handed or gimmicky. The piercing banshee wail of Chip King, set over the distorted hum of his guitar, and Lee Buford’s monolithic drumming is truly a unique and oppressive force. As a band, the Body have been pushing against the confines of the metal genre since their inception. They have been strong proponents of incorporating noise into their music, along with utilizing pop song structures and elements of electronic music. Their album I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer was built largely from spliced together samples of their older recordings, and many of their albums feature choral arrangements from the Assembly of Light Choir, demonstrating some of their diversity of their approach to making music. Furthermore, they are incredibly prolific and are constantly working with other musicians, releasing collaborative albums with bands like Full of Hell, Thou, Krieg, and Uniform.
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Disclaimer: This post describes a song dealing with violence toward children.
In my years listening to music, I have heard many songs detailing violent or disturbing subject matter. The list of metal bands singing about atrocities is almost endless, though not many of those songs actually feel unsettling. A lot of this is due to the fact that their exploration of violent subject matter is usually just for shock value and has no air of believability. The song “Dallas Beltway” by Chat Pile is one of the first songs in awhile that unnerved me.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Over the past few years, I have found that YouTube has very effective algorithms for helping me find exciting “Midwestern Emo” bands. Midwestern Emo is a subgenre of Emo music that takes more cues from indie rock than the hardcore punk that influenced most early Emo bands. While still being guitar-driven, the guitars are cleaner and less aggressive than those from hardcore punk. The vocals are often whiny and not what would conventionally be considered “good,” though that is made up for by the singers’ earnesty. Despite the genre name, not all the bands are from the American Midwest, with notable early practitioners like Sunny Day Real Estate being from Seattle. As with most niche musical genre tags, you can find scores of Reddit posts with people arguing over what band belongs in what genre. My description would almost certainly be ridiculed by “true” emo fans.
Friday, May 28, 2021
For much of my life, I never connected with the blues. To me, most of the genre sounded same-ish, repeating similar lyrical content ad infinitum. This is a little surprising, given my love of sad and despondent music, and my allegiance to guitar-driven rock music, which arose from the blues. This mindset began to change when a good friend of mine introduced me to the music of Junior Kimbrough, originally by way of an excellent EP of covers by the Black Keys.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
The Baton Rouge sludge metal stalwarts Thou have been hard to pin down stylistically since their inception in 2005. While you could just slot them into the Doom / Sludge metal genre and call it a day, that would be underscoring their creativity. It is not uncommon for their tracks to intersperse crushingly powerful riffs with gorgeous post-rock ambient passages. If asked to think of a band that is able to be beautiful and ugly within the confines of a single song, Thou is the first that comes to my mind. Through a dizzying collection of releases, they have explored many different sounds. In 2018 alone, they released an ambient noise/drone EP, a grunge rock EP, a decidedly not metal alternative rock/acoustic EP, a full length record, and a split with the black metal/doom metal band Ragana.
Friday, March 26, 2021
A friend of mine prompted me to revisit Rilo Kiley’s music via a fantastic article on Pitchfork Media in anticipation for Jenny Lewis’ 2019 album On the Line. Lewis started her career as a child actress in the 1980s, but she grew tired of telling other people’s stories and started Rilo Kiley in 1998 with another child actor, Blake Sennett. The band became known for Lewis’ insightful and clever lyrics overtop fun and bright pop music, often a little at odds with the despondent lyrical content.