Swans – Filth

We are going to review every Swans album in order and we are starting knee deep in Filth. I am up to my hips in Filth and it is cold and damp and uncomfortable. In absolute defiance of my expectations and my general understanding of Swans’ ouvre though, it isn’t very scary. This seems like a justifiable grounds upon which to rate this bands’ discography. Swans albums are scary! They are dense, lengthy monoliths that are treated more like museum pieces than discs to set on a platter. They are treatises, they are intensity and uncompromising voice. They exist in … Read More

Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods

Justin Timberlake, Mr. “Suit and Tie,” led up to this album with a Levi’s commercial and the promise of “it’s like the Wild West, like now,” and that maybe tells you everything you’d absolutely ever need to know about Man of the Woods, because, you see, Man of the Woods is exactly what that sounds like. It sounds like a Levi’s commercial with Instagram filters. It sounds like designer trucker jackets. It’s the sound of a pop star pretending to go back to his Tennessee roots with songs called “Flannel” and “Montana” and a Chris Stapleton feature and it almost feels like I’m … Read More

Field Music – Open Here

Field Music is the only band I’ve ever gotten into through discogs. I went through an extremely short phase where I really wanted to have my record collection cataloged, and this led to an even shorter phase where I thought about becoming a record collector instead of a record purchaser. This led down a strange rabbit hole of messaging discogs users about NM- copies of shoegaze albums and learning that yeah the record is actually supposed to ship outside the sleeve. It was during this minuscule dalliance with discogs that I came across Field Music’s second album, Tones of Town. … Read More

Portal – Ion

Ion is buried in details it willingly blurs. Ion can be summed up with an easy set of descriptors, to the point that I almost wrote this review with nothing but references to deep moans and explosions of shredded guitar tones. It might’ve looked like this:   I would’ve also probably set aside the track “Phreqs,” whose jogged two-chord march divebombs into the early half of the album and offers a nice break in the violence exploding around it. But, barring an eye in the storm, Portal are constant in their pace, to the point that I couldn’t zero in … Read More

scallops hotel – sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face

“I am emptying the sea into this hole.” So said a little boy to St. Augustine, when the Church Father asked why he was scooping seawater with a scallop shell into a little hole on the beach. Reportedly, this episode led Augustine to conclude that man could never understand God’s entirety. Apropos of this review, “I am emptying the sea into this hole” sounds like a line Milo—or, in this case, his alter ego Scallops Hotel—would rap, one of many he would rap, being such a profuse gentleman. This is not a putdown. Milo/Scallops Hotel has always had a way … Read More

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup

I wonder how seriously King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard considered the phrase “quality over quantity” when they committed to their absurd five-album release schedule for 2017. The idea of any band surviving long enough to release five albums is kind of hard to imagine, let alone a band surviving long enough to release five good albums. But King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard was going to do just that in a single year? Alright. Here we are almost a month into 2018, just enough time to evaluate that schedule’s ultimate payoff. With only hours on the clock before 2017 … Read More

Michael’s Favorite Albums of 2017

I’m a little short on summaries for 2017. My relationship with music was maybe the most distant it’s been in years – definitely since joining Hearing Double however long ago. There would be days where I wouldn’t even touch music, preferring to just bide my time in silence or commute quietly to wherever it was I was heading. This has way more to do with me than it does music at large, though. It’s not like music just stopped, or that 2017 was somehow a worse year for music than others. On the contrary, there were a few albums and … Read More

Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno – Finding Shore

I must admit, as someone who values texture in music, how the right tone or recording setting fleshes out and contextualizes the ideas in the music (the notes, the lyrics, the keys and tonal modalities, and so on). I have never been one for ambient music, which approaches, in as pure a manner as I surmise, texture qua texture. This isn’t to say that I hate ambient music, or practitioners of ambient music, but it’s a rare occasion these days when I find myself compelled to put on an ambient album. Why does one play ambient music? Is it a … Read More

Jeff Rosenstock – POST-

POST– never outright says what it’s following, even though the quickest glance through a lyric sheet could probably lead you to an obvious culprit. Within the first seven minutes or so, Jeff Rosenstock has already spat obtuse references to Middle America, media cycles and a wayward joke, seething with distrust, disappointment, and several other D-words before collapsing into good ol’ fashioned American boredom. But in those same seven minutes, Rosenstock’s swung a hard reference to the Crickets-by-way-of-the-Clash, parleyed through jagged emo-inflected pop punk and sunk his opening track into post-punk-lite. To the cadence of “You promised us the stars and … Read More

Remembering Tom Petty

I have no idea when I first heard a Tom Petty song. As far as I know, “Free Fallin’” and “Runnin Down a Dream” have been a part of my cultural lexicon since I first heard a radio. They’re omnipresent, the kind of pop songs played by radio sweethearts and bar bands everywhere. The radio loves them. Your local cover band loves them. Your mom (probably) loves them; mine does! That’s because Tom Petty, the singer and the songwriter, knew how to write for America. He knew how to make a song just vague enough for any American listener, with … Read More