Fuck me, there is a LOT of music out in the world.
Here at Frozen Yogurt Funyuns and Fuck You Friday, we are cultured as balls. As a result, today we will dispense with some of the normal histrionics and instead pair each of this week’s learnèd, rarefied recommendations with a work of art from a different field.
It’s basically like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except with your Uncle Kevin and an actual slab of bacon that someone has fashioned into a passable imitation of the Guggenheim. And, because we want to be nothing if not persistent, let’s top it off with a drink pairing as well.
Fuck you, why not go listen to some of THIS music?
Terminal – R.A.T.S.
Suggested pairing: Beethoven, Symphony No. 6
Norway’s Terminal probably wasn’t around when Beethoven penned his sixth symphony in the first decade of the nineteenth century, but the truth is only ever a sneaky Wiki edit away. On the duo’s debut album R.A.T.S., they plunder several veins of dense, heavy music, from heaving industrial metal to flat-affect goth to spacious, ricocheting dub.
Beethoven’s sixth, called the “Pastoral” symphony, is a paean to nature, full of delicate folk melodies, imitations of birdsong, and the cleansing ritual of thunder and rain. The first movement’s title translates to “Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside.” Terminal, therefore, sinks down in a rut of urban decay and misdirected lust. The drum machines whir and thud, the guitars drag Godflesh through a Scandinavian underbelly. The earth quivers under the threatening dub of Scorn.
Fuck you if you thought I wouldn’t mention the keening guest vocals from Agnete Kierkevaag and Pia Isaksen, or the synths that occasionally warble and honk like a trumpet player caught in a defunct auto assembly line. Consider them duly mentioned! Consider your ears goddamned pastoralized! Consider thy staff broken and buried certain fathoms in the earth, where deeper than ever did plummet sound Terminal will drown your ears.
Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm. Enjoy your crumpets, ye peasants.
Suggested drink: Blade Runner back-alley rain runoff filtered through a sieve full of rusty nails
Cystic Embalmment – Folklore De Fond D’egout
Suggested pairing: van Gogh, De sterennacht (The Starry Night)
In case you were under the impression that Montréal was a city strictly of Old World mystery and impeccable class, the sewer-churning goregrinders of Cystic Embalmment are happy to clear up that misconception tout de suite. This debut LP is 25 songs in 29 minutes of viscously careening gore with whiplash transitions and an inerrant sense of timing.
Again, I am sorry if you were dropped on your head as an infant so many times that this is not obvious, but van Gogh’s Starry Night is the only possible accompaniment here because, although your average yak-licking yacht rock boner assumes it was painted with oil, good ol’ Vince actually drenched his canvas with vomit and lard after listening to Cystic Embalmment. “WHAT’S THAT?” he yells. “YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK INTO MY GOOD… WELL, INTO MY EAR.”
“YES, HELLO VINCENT, FUCK YOU AND ISN’T IT A NICE DAY. Do you suppose your happy little trees would be so happy if they knew they were the byproduct of a Ketel One enema gone wrong?”
Van Gogh, he no can gogh too well with the comebacks, but Cystic Embalmment’s vocal exhortations follow Michelle Obama’s famous quip, “When they go low, we go low-HIGH-low-HIGH-low-HIGH-loooooooooooooooow [gargles a thousand tiny razors] now let’s OPEN THIS FUCKING PIT UP.”
Cystic Embalmment: smart enough to make stupid sounds with just the right balance of sass, sewer, sun, and sand. Well, mostly the first two. This album fucking rips, so get the goddamned poutine out of your ears and listen up.
Suggested drink: Pus.
Astrochemists – Supernova
Suggested pairing: David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross
If you’re paying attention, you’re probably just waiting for an “always be closing” joke, right? Well fuck you, we are here to talk about Astrochemists, the Singapore-based duo whose latest album Supernova is probably not inspired by real estate salesmen, but again, I don’t really care for your tone. The Astrochemical Attack :™: here is three long-form pieces across 40 minutes, generally kicking out straightforward-ish stoner/psych doom riffs. The bass and guitar riffing (along with programmed drums) are accented by space-forward synths which play a prominent role. “Prominent” means important, but I guess what I actually mean is “very good.” The synths are very good and also nice and I like them. I am so sorry to bum you out with positivity.
Does the beginning of “Supernova II” sound to you like mid-period Mortiis pirating old Cure songs off an AM radio while trying to remember how to play “Funeralopolis”? If so, please go to the doctor; untreated syphilis is no joke.
But yes, David Mamet! I am recommending Mamet’s play for its famously verbose and fast-talking style inasmuch as that is exactly like the entirely instrumental music of Astrochemists. I mean, no, not really. But hey, at 5:57 of “Supernova II,” the guitar plays a lead that is a straight lift of a Sabbath riff that I can’t place at this exact moment, much in the same way you might assume that Mamet lifted some of his dialogue from coked-out longshoremen. Do you even fuckin’ lift, you dramaturg?
See? No jokes. Always be closing your internet browser before reading such rubbish.
Suggested drink: The Fragile Moscowlinity Mule, which is the same as a regular Moscow Mule except that if, as you drink it, the Mule senses you have recently felt like crying, you have to punch a brick wall 500 times until your emotions are squeezed down so tight you hear a cork popping anytime you clear your throat.
Sorrow – The Call of the Dark Mountain
Suggested pairing: Kate Chopin, The Awakening
The Call of the Dark Mountain is a terrific little second-wave black metal from Colombia. Can’t that be enough for you, you insatiable sod-huffer? The songs are powerful, direct, and filled with a pleasingly raw emotion yet perfectly polished sound. It blasts and snarls when needed, but the aggression throughout is tempered by a patient melancholy.
“Damn Legion” sports an arrogant, triumphant heavy metal stride, although “The Kingdom of This World” might be the album’s finest moment, with its spidery, understated guitar melody that feels like folk music from the earth rather than embracing any tin-whistle silliness.
It would take more than all the fingers and toes I’ve got to count the number of ways in which The Call of the Dark Mountain is exactly like Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel, The Awakening, but that’s only because it takes an army of digits to spell out the words “N O N E W H A T S O E V E R” on a full-sized soccer pitch. Chopin’s protagonist closes out the novel by walking out into the Gulf of Mexico to commit suicide, and while it’s been a hot minute, I promise that it’s actually a stirring bit of proto-feminism. Just like… Colombian black metal?
N O P E, say the fingers; T R Y A G A I N, say the toes; G E T A L L O F T H E S E F U C K I N G D I S E M B O D I E D A P P E N D A G E S O F F T H E F I E L D, says the ref.
Suggested drink: I mean, uh, seawater seems a little dark, so maybe… a nice white rum?
Zwodder – De Profundis
Suggested pairing: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Spoonbridge and Cherry (sculpture in Minneapolis, MN)
If you ever thought to yourself, “Hey man, you know what would really exemplify the hip vibe of the Twin Cities? A big-ass fuckin’ cherry on a dooooooooooooope spoon,” then congratulations, you are either a visionary sculptor or a remorselessly stoned ice cream store employee.
Similarly, if you ever thought to yourself, “Sometimes you gotta just throw it all away to make fun of Pearl Jam through a funeral doom record,” then don’t call me Zwodd-errrrrrr, not fit terrrrrrrrrr; the pick-churrrrr left will remi-i-i-ind meeeeeh.
Heyyyyyyyyyyy, here’s some music for you: Zwodder! Fuck you, I also don’t know what it means, except that I do know you will like it if your dong sings a song, your box thinks it rocks, your member remembers, your dingle a-tingles to the likes of Nortt, Urna, Monolithe, or Batushka. The spoon is funeral doom: groooooooooooowls, spoo(n)ky church organ, reverb so wide you might not hear it until tomorrow; the cherry is the cosmic sheen that wraps the whole jam in a touchscreen gloss.
Suggested drink: Stale church basement coffee. If you stir it with a spoon, that’s five Our Fathers. If you even so much as think about a cherry, that’s eighty Hail Marys.
Nightosphere – Katabasis
Suggested pairing: John McTiernan, Die Hard
John McClane doesn’t like flying. He is advised to combat jetlag by walking around on carpet and making fists with his toes. He takes a limousine ride and enjoys some Christmas music. Eventually he has disagreements with some European businessmen.
Fuck you, I don’t know how the members of Kansas City trio Nightosphere cope with the stresses of air travel, so what in the Hans Gruber do you expect me to do about it? For the sake of argument, though, let’s imagine that they wrote their debut album Katabasis while on a long-haul flight while watching Die Hard. It’s an insightful meta-commentary on the nature of the work of art in the age of yippee-ki-yay motherfucker reproduction.
No, that’s not what I meant to say. Katabasis is a moody album, often hushed but sometimes coiled and tense. The basic terrain it stalks is informed by slowcore, early Midwestern post-rock, and shoegaze, which means no, for fuck’s sake, it is not even in the slightest bit a metal record. If you would like to lodge a complaint, please don’t. Did you look up at the top of the page here? This is Fuck You Friday. It’s not “Make a Lot of Shitty Whining Noises Monday,” nor is it “Tugboat Tow-Rope Tugjob Tuesday.” It’s Fetid Yam Fricassee and Fuck You Friday, baaybeeeeee.
So, Nightosphere. The guitars sometimes turn into decaying fuzz, punctuated by feedback (as on “Dead Man’s Curve”), and sometimes the trio whips into an agitated, mathy fervor (like on “Faim Devorante”), where they come across a little bit like a Rites of Spring or a Don Caballero on, well, Codeine. But mostly, they move in a captivating niche alongside forebears like Rodan, Mojave 3, very early Low, and Slint.
Suggested drink: The Nakatomi Negroni. It’s the same thing as a regular Negroni, except instead of ice, you serve it over shards of glass that have been plucked from bare feet.