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

Lost Desert – Heterogen Infiltration

“The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.” –Arthur C. Clarke   This shit is fucking weird. HETEROGEN INFILTRATION (which I will abbreviate as HI for the sake of my own sanity from fucking writing it out every god damned time) is the latest album from French Coldwave band LOST DESERT (which I will also abbreviate as LD for the reason above). LD starts this album with this weird Twin Peaks-esque waiting room Cold War vamp-ish song titled “Ouveture,” which our resident somewhat-French speaker Michael Frett would translate as “a hefty movement,” though it … 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

They Might Be Giants – I Like Fun

Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can’t Go Home Again. Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in The Dispossessed that you can go home again—because home is a place you have never been. I hone in on the significance on home here because, in a manner of speaking, They Might Be Giants have come home with their latest album, I Like Fun, recorded in the same space they recorded Flood. Not entirely the same though. Back in the day it was Skyline Studios. Now it’s Reservoir Studios, following a renovation in 2015-16. Stuff has changed in the interval; likewise with TMBG in-between Flood … Read More

Game Review: Subnautica

In my early teens I had a fascination with survival games. Something about them was inherently enamoring. I don’t know if it was the lack of direction, the continuous progression, or the flexible role playing that the genre offered, but I would gobble up any survival game I could. I would spend hours rifling through the Garry’s Mod server list just looking for a survival-based server to hop into in order to get my fix. I have since had a falling-out with the genre and haven’t really touched it since then. After playing Subnautica all these years later, I am reminded of … Read More

Game Review: Iconoclasts

There is a terrible bait-and-switch at the heart of Iconoclasts, the long-gestating game from Swedish developer Joakim Sandberg. For the first 3 hours, the game does everything it possibly can to convince you that it is a bad game. It got to a point early on where I dreaded even playing the game. I was stuck wandering around boilerplate environments solving simple puzzles in order to get crafting materials for extremely minor upgrades I didn’t need. The writing was a chore to get through, full of sentences that were unintentionally difficult to parse. I had no idea what my character’s ambitions … Read More

The Highs and Lows of Overwatch League

I imagine a beautiful future not too far down the road when I can tune in to my local radio station and listen to drunk people complain about how Dreamkazper’s DPS game is in the toilet or how ShaDowBurn is really carrying this garbage team they’ve got this year. Overwatch League, the concerted effort from Activision Blizzard to establish their shooter Overwatch as a competitive game worth watching, does a lot to move us closer to this goal. Even in its infancy it has been a ton of fun to watch. It puts on a show better than any e-sport broadcast … 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

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