Nolens Volens = Dan Deacon + VCR5 + Uzi & Ari
Nolens Volens is Andrew Glassett. Andrew Glassett is a damn fine musician who just released his eighth album, Nolens Volens. Word on the WWW is that Nolens Volens was distilled directly from the Glassett family bloodline, each song representative of a member of Andrew’s family. I hesitate to use the word “heartfelt” because that implies that his other albums aren’t, but there’s an intimate vibe running throughout that gives this album a different feel from his previous work. I’m not sure if it’s the fragments of indie rock melodies/instrumentation that walk the Sebadoh-ish line of hokey, but heart-felt honesty, the samples of human voices, (compared with the robotic voices on other NV albums) or my own approach to old age and the whole family/bloodline concept, but this album stands as the most accessible and giving NV album yet. The next time you hear someone describe electronic music as being cold or emotionless, please smack them in the face with this album.
Hard Cobble Abdomen
Red Light Sound
AODL = Whitehouse + Merzbow
Released on black 12” vinyl by the excellent Red Light Sound and featuring silk-screened cover art, Hard Cobble Abdomen is yet another excursion into the blackest parts of our souls by the harsh noise activist, AODL. I wasn’t sure whether this was supposed to be played at 33 or 45 RPM, so I played it at both and I have to say that it was enjoyable (enjoyable in an S&M hurt-so-good sense) at both speeds—like two records in one. You know that scene in The Empire Strikes Back where they’re on the ice planet of Hoth and the wind is whipping around and Han Solo finds an unconscious Luke and stuffs him inside a cut-open tauntaun so they can survive the snowstorm? Now imagine C-3PO and R2-D2 in there with him, malfunctioning from the extreme cold, and beeping up a storm of their own. Yeah, pretty kinky baby.
The Castanettes = Sloan + Midlake + The Brobecks
First off, the press sheet almost made me write this disc off before I even played it. I’m not supposed to quote the press sheet, but DOODS! Get all that self-righteous garbage about “Logan’s seedy music scene” and “the void of hedonism” out of there. It’s totally cool that you’re Mormon, (really) but most of that just comes off as really condescending. </end rant> Fortunately, the tunes mostly made me forget all that and got me humming along to some very well-arranged and catchy power-pop gems in the style of Canada’s power-pop masters, Sloan. What, you’ve never heard of Sloan? Much Music? Eh? “In the Making” features some excellent swelling horns, strings, and an accordian that lead to a memorable ascending melody while “New French“ brings things down a notch with subtle organ drones, clean guitars, and a general air of subdued sobriety. “Telephone” starts out slow with harmonized vocals and gentle piano chords but is soon overtaken by … funk? Don’t laugh, it works. All of it. Except for the press sheet.
The Anatomy Series
Christian Asplund = The Bad Plus + John Zorn + John Mclaughlin
Recorded live, The Anatomy Series is a performance that took place on the Sonarchy Radio Hour back in 2000. Featuring Christian Asplund on piano, Greg Campbell on drums, and Mark France on guitar, the trio bang, plow, creep, and occasionally almost groove their way through nearly 55 minutes of metal-tinted prog-jazz. There are seven pieces here, but the CD is broken into 35 tracks, each containing a single movement, bringing many a tear to the iPod generation. The music changes time signatures frequently and stops and starts just as much, each pause usually followed by a wandering piano line or a screeching guitar and a lurching drumbeat. While some moments feel constrained by the mind/finger flexing of musical academia, the group occasionally opens up and busts out a mean riff that would fit perfectly in an evil clown-car chase scene. David Lynch, look these dudes up. If you ever want to film an evil clown-car chase scene, that is.