pom pom – Ariel Pink (2014)

pom pom - Ariel Pink (2014)

Ariel Pink does an amazing job at harkening back to the days of Frank Zappa, lo-fi, and new wave all while keeping pom pom new and exciting. Not that Zappa, lo-fi, or new wave aren’t exciting to begin with, but those styles kind of get old after awhile. Maybe it’s the synthesis of these genres, or maybe it’s just how weird this album is, but whatever it is pom pom is most definitely worth a listen.

Choice Cut: Put Your Number In My Phone

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Mouth Silence – Neil Cicierega (2014)

Mouth Silence - Neil Cicierega (2014)

Did you like the concept of Mouth Sounds, but wanted less Smash Mouth? Well then Mouth Silence is what you want. In this album, we get “Love Rollercoaster” by The Ohio Players mixed with “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails, “Best” by Foo Fighters mixed with The Folger’s jingle, “Sexual Healing” mixed with “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, “Crocodile Rock” mixed with “Chop Suey”, “Love Shack” mixed with the theme from Psycho, and an…interesting… remix of “Wonderwall” appropriately named “wndrwll”. This album is pretty painful too, but like I said about Mouth Sounds, it’s beautifully painful.

Choice Cut: Wndrwll
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Mouth Sounds – Neil Cicierega (2014)

Mouth Sounds - Neil Cicierega (2014)

If you like listening to mashups of songs that should have never been mashed up, but still manage to work extremely well, then Mouth Sounds is the perfect album for you. In this album, we get Smash Mouth mixed with Modest Mouse, Smash Mouth mixed Full House, Smash Mouth mixed with John Lennon, Smash Mouth mixed with Daft Punk, Nirvana mixed with Michael Jackson, and The Beatles mixed with The Black Eye Peas. That might sound painful to listen to, and I’m not going to lie: it is, but it’s a beautiful pain to listen to.

Choice Cut: Modest Mouth
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The Modern Dance – Pere Ubu (1978)

The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)

Marks the end of the ’70s just as efficiently, as definitely, and as powerfully as Fun House marked the end of the ’60s. The post-punk era, in all its relentlessly experimental, genre-blending glory, begins here. I think “post-music” is a more accurate description, or maybe “post-apocalyptic.” The tense Over My Head is an air-raid siren going over a normal day in suburbia. And then the chaotic sound collage Sentimental Journey is the end of all things. Humor Me is what happens to the survivors. If you usually like things that are described as “not for everybody,” then meet your new favorite group.

Choice Cut: Non-Alignment Pact
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First Utterance – Comus (1971)

First Utterance - Comus (1971)

Comus sound like the product of a scene whose key players were born, lived, and died over a thousand years ago, with songs from the Dark Ages that were somehow displaced and put into the modern age. The album breaks music conventions left and right and relishes in its complete madness, with songs that passionately describe in detail subjects such as rape (Diana), torture (Drip Drip), and a man’s haunting journey to his own hanging (The Bite). No one knew what to make of it during its time, but this macabre album’s cult following sees it for the masterpiece it truly is.

Choice Cut: Drip Drip
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Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart (1969)

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart (1969)

Frankly, I have no clue where to start with Trout Mask Replica. Let’s put it this way: Frank Zappa produced it, so you know it’s gonna be weird. Some say Captain Beefheart was a paranoid schizophrenic who deprived the band of sleep. Some say they worked in a tiny room and barely ate. The album sounds like it came from an insane asylum. It sounds like it was crapped out carelessly, yet it’s so very intricately organized. I don’t even.

Choice Cut: Frownland
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A Tribe Called Red – A Tribe Called Red (2012)

A Tribe Called Red - A Tribe Called Red (2012)

My friend had the pleasure of going to Bonnaroo while I was working out-of-state. He said A Tribe Called Red’s live show was excellent and emphatically insisted that I check them out. They are an aboriginal Canadian dubstep group*. They combine vocal chanting, complex drumlines associated with days long past (sadly), and bass. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does work on both a musical and a cultural level. The idea could go wrong in many ways, so it’s a relief to see that it is handled with a healthy levels of respect and wobble bass.

*In the course of writing this recommendation, I found myself learning about the differences between Native Americans and First Nations Canadians. If I have made any factual errors, please respond in the comments.

Choice Cut: Electric Pow Wow Drum
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