Xanthochroid discussing the implications of being anally-fucked until your ass is wide enough for shit to fall straight out.
Xanthochroid discussing the implications of being anally-fucked until your ass is wide enough for shit to fall straight out.
When I was a little boy, just learning to talk and still figuring out the intricacies of the English language, I would caution others to “be carefully”. Little kids say the funniest things, and they say these things with the sincerity and urgency of those whose possess an extremely limited…
Read this: it’s important.
Oh wow, there’s a photo of me on tumblr.
No problem, dude! Glad to find fellow metallers on Tumblr!
“No Cars Go” - Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire is an almost wholly unique band, with very few bands really equating in terms of sound. Sure, they’re not the only group to have created a large, ensemble sound like this: Neutral Milk Hotel, a large influence on the group, broke new ground with In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, which, similar to Arcade Fire, relies on Lo-fi production techniques, a wide array of bizarre instruments (probably the only album in history to put the musical saw to frequent use) to create a warm, resonating ensemble sound unlike anything heard at the time; Electric Light Orchestra use string instruments and atmospheric keyboards to create a different kind of ensemble sound; even Queen, with A Night At The Opera, achieved a somewhat similar style. Win Butler and his massive backing group don’t exactly cover new ground with Arcade Fire, but they achieve their ensemble style in a fashion quite unlike the music before them. This time around, the sound is far more innocent, lively, and soulful, evoking feelings of nostalgia, happiness, melancholy, reflective somberness, and just about everything in between. Yes, other bands have done this enveloping-sound before, but none of them have come alive life Arcade Fire.
With its nine-or-so members, the faux-orchestra of sorts have covered it all, from simple, yet beautiful pop ballads (“Une Année Sans Lumière”) to grand, heart-broken stadium epics (“Wake Up”) and simultaneously warm and harrowing masterpieces (“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”). Win Butler, the group’s lyricist, seems to adore making massive statements, with each album being in what appears to be a concept cycle revolving around his reflections on the power of the youth. Their marvelous debut, Funeral, poignantly reflects upon the hardships of life and the difficulties associated with coming of age, all masterfully back-dropped with the excitement and simplicity of youth. Their sophomore effort, Neon Bible, expresses the hardships of having finally reached adulthood while being surrounded in a world whose beauty, drenched in commercialism and corrupted by television, has become impossible to find. Their most recent epic, The Suburbs, perhaps their deepest, most powerful work yet, deals with the eventual return to the neighborhoods of Funeral only to discover that they’ve changed, all leading to the bittersweet acceptance of life as it is. The topics and the stories they express throughout these records are powerful, provocative, highly memorable, and, most importantly, pretty universal.
While Funeral and The Suburbs are their most bombastic, grandiose releases, Neon Bible, while not necessarily intimate or reserved by any means, seems to take a closer look upon its theatrical, larger-than-life sound, and is definitely the outfit’s most downright “fun” record, tracks like “Keep The Car Running”, “The Well And The Lighthouse”, and “No Cars Go” containing melodies so infectious that resisting the urge to romp around in excitement is damn near impossible. Yet despite these songs, it is also the group’s darkest record, as underneath the joyous and poppy melodies, there lies a deep bleakness as Butler faces the world around him with an outraged pessimism, unwilling to accept that which pains his home. In moments of the record in which he directly confronts its flaws, such as on “Windowsill” (Why is the night so still? / Why did I take the pill? / Because I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill!”), the album’s true beauty shines through, inspiring us to ponder upon the same questions.
Arcade Fire’s catalogue has really taken its fans on quite an interesting ride, following the universal journey of human existence in a manner more grandiose and meaningful than most. We can only hope that wherever they take us next, considering the completion (as far as we can assume) of the collective cycle featured in these first three records, will be as monumentally moving as what they’ve already gifted the world with.
this man….. great in his every single moment!
The most perfect movie.
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2001
Yeah, I’m just going out of my way to sit and watch a bunch of douchebags use my studio while I labor over their shitty music for free.
Lol hey guys I’m hip woah.
After having waited what felt like a life time to hear the new Sigur Ros album, anticipating any new releases long before its name was even announced, I have finally had a chance to listen to hear the legendary Icelandic post-rock group’s latest album an entire week before its release. Despite my love for the band, I was a little worried going in. So many bands I’ve loved for the longest time have had pretty lackluster releases within the last year, and I really hoped that any group so close to my heart wouldn’t fall into the same pit, releasing something so anticipated that could’ve been so much better. Hopefully, they wouldn’t delve too deep into their recent poppy style and lose all that made them unique, as its hard to imagine them sinking so low. But as soon as I started listening to the album, my reservations were completely dissipated.
Valtari is a beautiful record, and the group are definitely taking a step into the right direction.
In a lot of ways, Valtari actually sounds like a more cohesive, efficient, and comprehensible version of their first album, Von. Similar to that record, the music is mostly composed of very soothing and dreamy soundscapes that sometimes build to a wonderful crescendo in the classical Sigur Ros style, but the soundscapes, rather than being almost entirely made by wonderful Orchestras and feed-backing bowed-guitar, are created through electronic samples and keyboards. But unlike Von, the songs are filled with more arrangements, and the sound is much grander and more epic, not allowing everything else to be drenched in the almost foggy amount of atmospheric sounds. It almost sounds like a combination of the best melodes of (), and Takk… wrapped in the composition style of Von, and the result is one of Sigur Ros’s best works to date.
More in depth review coming soon.
I’ve been waiting for this album for quite a while, as I desperately love Sigur Ros and everything about them. I’ll be reviewing it soon for anyone who’s interested.
This is my favorite thing,
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Though the phrase “changing the face of music” is thrown around a lot, it’s pretty rare that an album that comes out actually does so: not only does something different, but does it loud enough for the entire world to hear it. One could cite albums like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for essentially creating Progressive-Rock, or The Dark Side of the Moon for defining it and transforming it from a psychedelic curiosity into an important sub-genre of Rock music. Sure, Abbey Road and Animals are all classic albums whose influence can be seen sporadically throughout the music of other Rock groups, but these albums simply cannot compare to the aforementioned two in terms of innovation and legacy. Though it isn’t exactly a record of yesteryear, having been released in 1998, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the definition of a modern classic, being entirely unique (something almost every record fails to do) while also speaking to the human heart more passionately and singing to its depths more effectively than even the best of albums. It is a work that any die hard indie musician wishes they had written, as it flies far higher than the genre’s best; better than anything written by Radiohead of Modest mouse.
Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of the group, especially of its enigmatic frontman, the sweater-sporting Jeff Mangum, is that in the midst of all the Alternative acts simply aiming for gut-wrenching coolness, Neutral Milk Hotel aimed for authenticity to a beautifully horrific musical vision that is, in a wholly non-exaggerated sense, almost completely unlike anything ever conjured up by any other musical entity. There is nothing even remotely normal about this record, almost to the point that talking about the group is a herculean task, from Mangum’s nightmarish and warm lyrics to the band’s irregular carnival-esque instrumentation and its perplexing cohesiveness, especially with a collection of amazingly wild songs that still manage to strike such a powerful chord in the listener. At the beginning of this musical journey, one is presented a somber, yet sweet acoustic ballad decorated with Mangum’s iconic nasally voice that quickly leads into a bizarre ambient build-up of guitars, horns, and musical saws over which he stiflingly belts, “I love you, Jesus Christ / Jesus Christ, I love you, yes I do”. It’s not uncommon that exactly at this moment, people give up with the record and immediately switch back to more accessible music, but from sitting through it in its entirety, Mangum finally immerses us in his previously inaccessible and surreal world, finally revealing to us a confusing universe that is just as complex and inexplicable, yet undeniably engaging and memorable as our own.
The group’s endlessly mystifying leader and songwriter creates this disjointed alternate-reality with the aforementioned eclectic range of instruments, using everything from Jeff’s overly distorted acoustic guitar, an extremely fuzzy bass, and a whirring and clipped musical saw to several different kinds of horns, an orchestral bass drum, a warm accordion, and so much more. But even throughout the album, there is variety, as each song is backed with a different and random assortment of wacky instruments, always creating a familiar, yet new soundscape. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea can also be majestically praised for being the best-sounding Lo-Fi album ever produced, as despite its absolute distortion and fuzziness, this seminal work is surprisingly easy on the ears and would probably lose much of its charm if it was actually produced “well”. This is quite uncharacteristic of me, as I am a die hard audiophile, collecting as little of my music in MP3’s and as much of it on Vinyl and CD as possible, but there is something about Aeroplane’s production that is simply perfect for the music, giving it a charm that few pieces of music share. Mangum’s right-hand man and studio-engineer, Robert Schneider, understood one aspect of Lo-Fi production that so many other Lo-Fi bands ignore: Lofi production, despite its moniker, does not need to be bad to be good.
Part of In the Aeroplane over the Sea’s unique charm lies in the lovely, yet unbearable atmosphere that this production helps to create. Mangum’s opus amost sounds as if it comes from a strange universe filled with carnivals, energetic and fuzzy Folk Rock, and what can only be described as weird flying sounds. It’s difficult to cite examples of albums that do the same thing, but this almost aesthetically cacophonous album paints images in one’s mind; images of a sort-of fantastical Penny Arcade conjure themselves up from the luscious Lo-Fi soundscapes while Mangum’s actual songwriting packs this world with every emotion in the human condition. There is something so simple and perfect about each song, despite them all being composed of beginner’s guitar chords - you can play every song on this album if you’ve played guitar for at least a year - that even some of the greatest, most technical albums sometimes can’t compare to. What makes them all so perfect is Mangum’s passionate, meaningful, and personal attitude to each song. Even on something like “Two-Headed Boy”, which is entirely composed of nothing more than the singer’s strained, throaty voice assisting the guitar, a strong feeling is evoked simply from his performance, driving the song forward with a charismatic energy and urgency, conveying a mood that is simultaneously whimsical and urgent, nostalgic and somber. Despite being nothing more than vocals and basic guitar chords, the song sounds special and unique, not quite like any other acoustic-songwriter. Thus, one discovers In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’s charm; it has the special ability to convey so many feelings at once, all back dropped by one of the most imaginative worlds ever created and all tied together with a stellar cohesiveness that is sparsely challenged.
But it still wouldn’t be what it is without what is possibly its most important trait: Mangum’s undeniably beautiful lyrics, which he uses to tie the ribbon around the fantasy world he creates. The record is a surreal concept album about - well, Anne Frank, sex, ovaries, tomatoes and radiowire, and a little boy in Spain playing pianos filled with flames. In other words, its lyrics revolve around a nightmare that rarely makes sense, oftentimes becoming so otherworldly and disturbing as to defy comprehension itself. It’s even made more inaccessible to fans as it requires that even to have a somewhat cursory understanding of its meaning, one must know its backstory.
Jeff Mangum, the infamously hermetic man that he is, has been known for writing incredibly surreal lyrics based off of recurring night terrors, with some songs becoming so horrific as to simply defy expectations as to what could be thought of by human beings. Thus, his lyrics have always retained a very personal and human feel to them while being incredibly alien and foreign, a fascinating mixture no doubt. The lyrics to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea would bring all of this to a completely different level, however, being derived from an experience that, while odd, is deeper than anything Jeff had written before: the terrors induced from his reading of The Diary of a Young Girl.
Throughout his reading of the book, he was tormented by a series of related night terrors, mostly surrounding a beautiful Jewish family hiding during World War II and the inevitable, tragic events that occurred around them. “I wished I could have gone back and saved them with some sort of time machine,” he told an interviewer, basically explaining that he began to mourn so much for the constant destruction of this family that all he could imagine trying to do was preventing the awful incident from happening, even claiming that he cried for days after its completion. Certainly, the man might come off as a bit insane as to be affected by a novel in such an unusually powerful way, but it’s more than evident that the album is part of some sort of mesmerizing, esoteric horror that evoked such a strong personal experience that even glimpses of in musical form evoke such strong feelings.
The album begins so expertly with “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1”, a simple acoustic ballad over which Mangum recalls his grim, yet peaceful childhood fantasies spent with whom we can assume is Frank (or something analogous to her in Jeff’s mind) that, while so surreal, rings so truly to the bittersweet experiences of youth. “When you were young, you were the king of carrot flowers / And how you built a tower tumbling through the trees / In holy rattlesnakes that fell all around your feet,” re reminisces, telling of a romance between two lovers tragically underscored by stories of their parents’ violent discord (“And your mom would stick a fork right into Daddy’s shoulder / And Dad would throw the garbage all across the floor”). Along with his words, his music is sweet, his strange voice somehow smoothing the song out, all while backed by a lovely sounding accordion.
But it doesn’t last very long, as these innocent recollections are soon cut short by “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 2”, beginning with a powerful, droning church organ and a simple arpeggiating Banjo. All of a sudden, Mangum begins unexpectedly shouting, “I love you, Jesus Christ! / Jesus Christ, I love you, yes I do!”. One immediately shuts their mind off, as why Jeff would be saying these things is not immediately clear. Perhaps its meaning is derived from the combination of the ridiculous manner in which he sings (straining his voice and singing ridiculously loudly) combined with the juxtaposition of these lyrics praising the goodness of life to sad recounts of childhood, suggesting an existential, satirical critique of extreme religion. After hearing Mangum reminisce about these bittersweet stories that ultimately end in tragedy, hearing one’s praise of Jesus’ ability to make life wonderful feels somewhat absurd, essentially stating that life is instead rather sad and unfortunate. This belief is even further expanded on a little later on the title track, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (“What a beautiful dream that could flash on the screen / In the blink of an eye and be gone from me”), explaining that for all the happiness and beauty in the world, there is even more torment and sadness.
The final section of the opening suite, “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 3”, is an energetic, yet bleak overview of the life to come, summarizing each of its parts in a very brief, pessimistic tone (“Up and over / We go through the wave and undertow / I will float until I learn how to swim / Inside my mother in a garbage bin”). Beginning each section of lyrics with “Up and over…” over the top of incredibly Punky music, he finally goes through to the end of life at breakneck speed, ultimately trying to establish that life is meaningless, short, and tragic. With all the parts of the “King of Carrot Flowers” suite, Mangum expertly introduces us to his terrible world and its confused and troubling emotion while also preparing us for its undefinable world. Most of all, it allows Mangum the opportunity to take his audience on this bizarre musical journey of his. It’s an absolutely perfect way to open the album, and has only been equated to by the likes of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh?”, which opens The Wall.
Though there isn’t exactly a linear story line throughout the album’s songs, Mangum continues to tell heart-wrenching stories about these fantastical dreams. The title track, a warm psychedelic acoustic ballad with musical saws, brush drums, and trumpets, covers Mangum’s musings about how little of the time spent with his Frank-ish lover was spent, yet how beautiful it all was. The following “Two-Headed Boy” cryptically tells a subtly disturbing, yet wholly affecting tale of a bizarre, robotic two-headed child that never really makes its whole meaning clear, though there seems to be very heavy undertones of alienation from the rest of his family and the paranoia of being Jewish in Nazi Germany. While there isn’t any logic to its fractured story, one pieces it together in their minds in all of its tortured, ambiguous glory. This isn’t even half of the tale that the album offers, and one of its best traits is that following it along and trying to uncover its possible meanings is such an engrossing and fun experience.
But one thing is clear in the midst of the album’s idiosyncrasy; Jeff Mangum’s life, if the pieces of it we know are true, has not been an easy one, both in and out of his dreams. Perhaps his enigmatic nature is due to that rather than choosing to engage in the world and all of its confusion, he chooses to create a small world for himself that he can control. Yes, all the happy and gleeful parts of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’s world are surreal and nonsensical, and some of its disturbing parts as well, but the most critical aspects of it relate so universally to the most powerful parts of the human condition. Yes, he may be dealing with Anne Frank and Two-Headed Boys that eat radio wire, but with these things, he is able to profoundly explore love, loss, emptiness, sadness, and alienation, all things both Jeff and his audience have dealt with.
What makes this album’s “story” so engrossing, in all of its incomprehensibility, is that through all of its otherworldly and alien nature, it manages to be so familiar and human. As we listen to Mangum tell us his deeply personal stories, his pain, happiness, confusion, and complacency slowly begin to win us over and touch our hearts. We’ve all been in love and wanted to fly our lovers in aeroplanes over the sea, we all have bittersweet childhood days where we were perhaps the king of carrot flowers, we’ve all had horrible and tragic experiences akin to Jeff’s in “Oh Comely”, and we’ve all felt alone and terrified like a two-Headed boy. What truly makes Aeroplane so wonderful is that above everything else that it is, it is the story of a man trying and failing to understand a terrible world that is vital for him to understand. It may not be the first time this tale has been told, it has hardly been told so uniquely and eloquently. It’s such a personal story to Jeff, and the fact that he even had some of the elements of its ruptured story in his mind is slightly embarrasing, but his courage to say it to the entire world makes it all even more commendable and beautiful.
“All Tomorrow’s Parties” - The Velvet Underground
I can hardly think of a more unique sounding record than The Velvet Underground’s magnificent debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico, sporting Andy Worhol’s iconic pop-art banana design. Its production, while lo-fi, wouldn’t sound better any other way, and despite the band’s tendency to become so chaotic as to fall out of time with each other, they sound exactly as they should. But the production isn’t the only thing that sets The Velvet Underground & Nico apart from so many other records of its time (or all time, for that matter), its the band’s ability to experiment in ways that no other straight-forward Rock-and-Roll band has ever had the willingness to do. Simply put, this landmark of Experimental Rock transcends most of the so-called “Classic” rock albums, instead residing on a pedestal of their own, as it is not only marvelous music, it is music that creates a magical atmosphere that has scarcely been mirror both in terms of similarity and effectiveness.
The Velvet Underground’s masterwork has several landmark songs on it, spanning several styles and moods, quite a feat for an album which, while experimental, is so true to its Rock-and-Roll roots. While “Femme Fatale” is relaxed, Nico’s luscious vocals washing over the song, putting the listener into a beautiful sort of ecstasy, “Venus Furs” creates a feel almost reminiscent of Middle-Eastern music, yet so 60’s and Psychedelic, John Cale’s ominous droning viola highlighting Lou Reed’s bizarre, almost Sitar-esque guitar, fabricating an astonishing mirage of sound. “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, again sung by Nico, creating a dreamlike feel, subliminally forcing its listeners into a luxurious trance. Oddly enough, it bears a striking resemblance to My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep”, which wouldn’t be released until 1991.
There’s simply plenty of amazing songs on this album, and it served as a blueprint for the whole of Alternative Rock. Although some will listen to this band and shake their head at how inaccessible it can be, without Lou Reed’s messy beat-poet style singing, the record’s extremely lo-fi sound, and it’s disjointed improvisation, we wouldn’t have bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Sonic Youth, Death Cab for Cutie (though it is important to note that Ben Gibbard is an extreme faggot), and most of the Indie genre.