Low – David Bowie (1977)

Low - David Bowie (1977)

“I’m gonna review Heroes. …Dammit, Ian! Okay… I’m gonna review Station to Station… Dammit, Ian!” T4B problems. The struggle is real.

This is a powerful testament to how much we like Bowie. He was always doing weird experimental stuff, switching up his style, and trying new things. We’re all about that. Low is essentially an album in two parts: the more “traditional” opening seven and the instrumental closing four. The opening seven are a mix of sounds appropriate for an arcade, 50s piano, rock riffs, and Bowie vocals. The instrumental tracks opened a rabbit hole to be discovered further later.

Choice Cut: What in the World

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You’re Dead! – Flying Lotus (2014)

You’re Dead! - Flying Lotus (2014)

I’ve already covered how Flying Lotus is the grand nephew of jazz greats John and Alice Coltrane, so when I say that this album is a jazz album, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. You’re Dead! is primarily about death, which usually comes with connotations of darkness and heaviness. This album isn’t really dark or heavy though. Sure, this album can get a little slower at times, but I would never say it’s depressing like a lot of music about death is. This album is jazzy, full of life, and experimentation. Kind of an interesting paradox really.

Choice Cut: Dead Man’s Tetris

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Mellow Gold – Beck (1994)

Mellow Gold - Beck (1994)

Mellow Gold is the embodiment of redneck and junk culture in the shape of late grunge-era rock. This album is gross, low-class, and repulsive…in a good way! I routinely make long drives through the US Southeast, and while the majority of the area is not what the stereotypes say, there are pockets where the stereotypes don’t go far enough. You can find these pockets all over the globe, not just my tiny hundred mile radius. In Mellow Gold, Beck unapologetically steals from the culture of these pockets and and bakes an excellent album from the sour ingredients.

Choice Cut: Soul Suckin’ Jerk

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Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise? – Art of Noise (1984)

Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise? - Art of Noise (1984)

Well, I’m not afraid of the Art of Noise, but I can see how you could be intimidated. I can’t really pin it down as clearly ambient or experimental. It’s a bit aggressive to be ambient, but it’s not regular enough to be dance. AllMusic calls it dance-rock, but I don’t even think that’s quite right. Two things are for sure: it’s interesting and it’s good. Art of Noise is exactly that, art made out of odd sounds – vaguely industrial, vaguely dreamy, vaguely dancey, vaguely rocky.

Choice Cut: Moments in Love
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Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes – USA Out of Vietnam (2014)

Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes - USA Out of Vietnam (2014)

I don’t really like metal music. There’s a difference between having a hard sound and having a wall of sound. USA Out of Vietnam seems to be able to stick on the hard sound side of metal though, and I think that’s fantastic. Sure, this album has its own share of post-rock and experimental, which can be heard notably in the drums. At the heart of this album though, it’s still sludge metal and drone. Sludge metal and drone music can get boring sometimes, but this album has enough explosive moments to allay that fear.

Choice Cut: Archangel
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To Be Kind – Swans (2014)

To Be Kind - Swans (2014)

To Be Kind is just barely longer than two hours long, and while that may seems like a daunting task to listen to, it’s worth every single second.  This album is loud, it’s intense, it’s repetitive, and it’s complex.  Everything about this album screams “I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR FACE IN WITH THE POWER OF ROCK AND ROLL”.  While it might not have more traditional face kicking with the power of rock sound, it’s certainly a good face kicking with the power of rock sound.

Choice Cut: A Little God in My Hands
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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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