Monthly Archives: October 2008

Today Is The Day – Axis Of Eden

I don’t like the way this album sounds, all muffled and muddy and kind of smashed in the parts that should be more dense and dramatic. All the space was used for the drums – which are admittedly ridiculous because Derek Roddy is a machine – but everything else, including Steve Austin’s vocals, get very little room to breathe. The man has destroyed his voice over years of dedicated screaming, but despite this – and as every other Today Is The Day release shows – the processing and layering used sounds great with a bit more room to bounce around.

Stylistically, this is more along the lines of 2004’s Kiss The Pig, their last album on Relapse; their split with the label is covered on “Broken Promises and Dead Dreams” in the typically amicable and friendly style that fans of Austin’s work are so familiar with:

“I should kill you / beat you black / corporate hit man / worse than bush / watch you burn / life in hell / relapse” Continue reading

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Autechre and The Myth of Difficult Music (TM)

When people say “album xyz is difficult” what they most likely mean is that album xyz is annoying or grating or otherwise “not fun.” Sometimes this is a subtle way of telling someone that they’re not actually going to like a certain band, avoiding the reflexive combat instinct some folk display when someone tells them “you will not enjoy this.” That reaction probably stems from an underlying sense that when someone says “you will not enjoy this,” what they’re really saying is “you are too stupid and uncultured to enjoy this.”

While that attitude is embarrassingly foolish – you are not made better or worse by the music you like any more than the core of your being is actually touched by the clothes you wear – it is also driven by elitism’s deformed twin, anti-intellectualism. After all, if something isn’t immediately understood, it’s obviously being difficult on purpose, right? Someone can’t possibly follow their heart to a weird conclusion of tiny, private sounds or long stretches of feedback or 12-tone plonk. It must be meant to offend, to annoy, or to otherwise throw a curveball at the terminally straightforward.

Of course, if that is what they’re actually doing – if the intent is really just to annoy – all that can be invoked is a hearty and heartfelt “so what?” But where’s the fun in that?

Everywhere. Continue reading


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Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling

One thing people must understand is that while these guys are a Scottish good time gal soundtrack for football (meaning soccer) games playing in the background while everyone gets knackered (meaning drunk) and a wee (meaning small) bit sad (meaning sadness), in America they’re the soundtrack to a prom night afterparty that never, ever ends. Prom night is very important to people, even people who hated the whole idea of proms, or went to alternative proms, or never went to the prom.

There’s an emotional attachment to the whole concept, except maybe in all-boy Catholic schools, but priest-bait training grounds probably have their own soundtracks and “edgy” literature provided by G. K. Chesterton. For the rest of the normals, proms are a kind of last hurrah, perhaps one of the last surviving transitional ritual spaces left in American culture, where boys become men and girls become women, even though it’s still just children dancing in the dark to whatever is floating in the musical atmosphere at the time. Continue reading

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