MUSINGS ON MUSIC
GUN OUTFIT - Dream All Over (Paradise of Bachelors)
Gun Outfit songs are similar to the landscape while driving — the scenery may remain similar (road, trees, signpost, 8 miles until…) but it promotes getting lost in one’s thoughts, staring off into the distance and working through the muck inside. Dream All Over also has this quality: opener “Gotta Wanna” rides that Grateful Dead groove thing; “Compromise” is reminiscent of Cats and Dogs era Royal Trux; sitars mix into psychedelic grooves on some songs, and lyrics act as half thoughts, and afterthoughts. This is the kind of album that lends itself to an afternoon hammock or an aimless walk — it transforms as you transform, it moves as you move, it takes its time and allows you to feel the wind and notice the browning grass in spots. This is a place of peace and space, pace as a strength. I am into it.
PROTOMARTYR - The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)
“Before recorded time, in some suburban room, see the devil in his youth…” and so begins the magnificence that is the latest Protomartyr album, The Angel Intellect. Protomartyr is the rare case of a guitar, bass, and drums rock band that is beyond the ideas of antiquity associated with the traditional rock form. Their albums are full of drama, humor, fractured characters, and stories of heartbreak, woe, and triumph. If we think of all that is great about the rock form, informed by Joy Division, The Birthday Party, US Maple, Monster-Movie-era Can, and other ingredients, this is music of color and complexion, shape and spirit. “I Forgive You” is the beauty of budding rose; “Ellen” is masterful and radiant, the patience and temperament are the stuff of awe, the close up on the trickling tear. This is the “If you buy one record in October” part.
SCARFACE - Deeply Rooted (Facemob Music)
Something is happening, or happened, I don’t know what it is, but this is probably going to a record year for rap albums, because some dynamic ones have come out this year. Scarface is of a master class all the way around — rapping and content, lyrically and conceptually. It is not amazing that Scarface made an amazing album, what’s amazing is that this is his TWELFTH album. Scarface is making the album of a 40 year old, and it is as raw and potent as anything he has ever done, “The Hot Seat” recounts an arrest from smoking weed in the street that unfolds into a tale of the racism of law enforcement and the jail system that covers everything from judge to inmate. “Steer” is equally amazing. “God” may be one of his best songs to date. Scarface is not concerned with keeping up or even remaining relevant, he is performing on a level that is beyond comparison even with is own discography. Face has dropped the mic and now the feedback is al that remains, the audience is speechless.
FUZZ - ll (In The Red)
Fuzz’s second album takes off not only where they left off, but also takes the baton for rock music and sprints. The product of Charlie Moothart, Chad Ubovich, and Ty Segall, this is the majesty of 60’s garage, psychedelic rock closer to the rock side, early heavy metal…it is the rock music that fuels the “today’s music” arguments, it is not as much classical as it is the game played well, the Spurs beating the Heat, it is everything that finely played rock music is. “Let it Live” is revival celebration rising from a black cloud. “Pollinate” is the flaming sword of Excalibur slicing straight through your Bluetooth speakers. “Jack the Maggot” will render half of the songs on your mp3 device irrelevant. A giant hand is rising from the ocean — run peasant!
LANA DEL REY - Honeymoon (Interscope)
A Lana del Rey album isn’t so much something that affects the climate of music as it is another chapter in the saga. Lana Del Rey is a character, or maybe not, but who really gives a fuck, I am down with the science. The songs come from a place of elegance and sadness, a half empty wine glass and long-ashed cigarette, from a bedroom window, a lover passed out on excess while the protagonist finds strength in the fucked up path they have chosen, no pity or shame, almost resilient in the collapse. Orchestral ballads collide with almost trap beats on songs like “High By the Beach” or “Art Deco,” the uptown girl on the wrong side of town. This album moves along like a drunken night, never moving beyond the mood of forlorn regret, it is cinematic in scope. It isn’t music for any occasion other than listening to Lana Del Rey, and yet every time I listen to it that seems to be the appropriate occasion.