Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens
One of San Diego’s most important bands Hot Snakes returns with Jericho Sirens, their first record in 14 years, and it feels as though they never left. It’s a terrific reunion album featuring tight songwriting and rip-roaring post-hardcore melodies, and it fits right in with the band’s past catologue.
Jericho Sirens is a killer guitar record. “Six Wave Hold Down” has crunchy riffs that flow effortlessly along with singer Rick Froberg’s scratchy punk snarl. The result is a frantic, chaotic vibe. Next, the title track is upbeat and anthemic, with an instantly catchy chorus. This album really gathers momentum as it speeds along – each song feeling fresher than the last. “Death Camp Fantasy” forms into a gnarly shit-kicker, while “Death Doula” zooms along in dark, ominous ways. The album is a document of rollicking, garage-y post-hardcore with hypnotic guitar melodies and chugging bass lines.
The final song “Death of a Sportsman” is a decisive punctuation mark – an enthralling exclamation point – to a tight, wild ride.
Mount Eerie: Now Only
Indie singer-songwriter legend Phil Evrum absolutely wrecked listeners’ emotions with last year’s Mount Eerie release A Crow Looked At Me, the incredibly cathartic ode to his deceased wife, and the spiritual journey he experienced while pulling himself from the wreckage. It was a meditative rollercoaster that was difficult to listen to at times because each second of it was just so poignant and vital.
His follow-up Now Only is another deep dive into his stream of consciousness, and another emotionally devastating portrait of recovery. With a whole album cycle having passed, Evrum takes a step back and examines the more existential – but no less heartbreaking – insights that have consumed him. With minimal instrumentation, he speaks directly to his wife in free verse on “Tintin In Tibet:” “I recorded all these songs about the echos of our house.” And he discusses his relationship with his daughter, and his responsibility as a parent while internalizing their profound sense of loss. On “Distortion,” he ruminates on the fears and anxieties of fatherhood. He paints a picture of Jack Kerouac, who followed his wandering, creative impulses, but abandoned his duties to his own daughter in doing so. I can go on and on describing the degree of vividness that he manages to achieve on Now Only, but instead I’ll just transcribe the lyrics to one of the more haunting verses on the title track here:
“I wrote down all the details of how my house fell apart, how the person I loved got killed by a bad disease out of nowhere for no reason and me living in the blast zone with our daughter and etc. And I made these songs and the next thing I knew I was standing in the dirt under the desert sky at night outside Phoenix at a music festival that had paid to fly me in to play these death songs to a bunch of young people on drugs standing in the dust next to an idling bus with Skrillex inside and the sound of subwoofers in the distance. I had stayed up till three talking to Weyes Blood and Father John Misty about songwriting in the backstage bungalows eating fruit and jumping on the bed like lost children exploding across the earth and a self-indulgent all consuming wreck of ideas that blot out the stars. To still be alive felt so absurd. People get cancer and die, people get hit by trucks and die, people just living their lives get erased for no reason with the rest of us averting our eyes.”
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Electric Indigo: 511539
511539 is the latest release from spacey experimental Austrian techno producer Electric Indigo. The album is a diverse haven of crunching, pulsating, warped noises and offbeat rhythm patterns that trying to keep track of every blip and twitch will make your head spin.
The first few tracks slowly ease you into a minimal pallet of sounds that nonetheless feel cohesive and expansive. On “Trois,” glitchy, beat structures begin to form and lay down a solid but unpredictable foundation for the rest of the album. Her sense of exploration is unreal; buzzing, dissonant sounds wind in and out of beats in filthy, atomic ways. Like all the best lengthy techno albums, 511539 is a true sonic journey, and it also explores highly artistic, experimental electronic textures. A bold one-two-three punch of tracks (“4.31 Hz,” “Sept” and “Perpetuate”) closes out the album in emphatic, cerebral style.