These Arms Are Snakes – Tail Swallower and Dove

8 11 2008

These Arms Are SnakesTail Swallower and Dove
2008 – Suicide Squeeze

You know, I like math rock. I’ve come to terms with it. That particular taste is largely a product of my age and the kind of music that was popular when I was record shopping every weekend and buying the CDs of every single band my band ever played with or every show I saw. Though I haven’t listened to them in a while, The Owls were fairly big in my musical sights in the early 2000s, as were Cap’n Jazz, Battles, and to a lesser extent, Don Caballero. Looking back on it now, those were much more earnest musical times, or at least what I saw was, and I may have missed a lot.

Anyway, I’ve bought all of TAAS’s albums, but I haven’t liked any of them as much as I like this latest, unexpected (by me, anyway) release. Math rock (well, lots of music from the early 2000s) is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. My husband is something of a rock purist and has no patience for instrumental music or complicated mathy noisy stuff. Though I dno’t define my musical tastes based on his, I do respect his musical knowledge and opinions, so I’ve been harbouring kind of a guilty affection for math rock, which, I’m now thinking, Husband would say sounds “emo.”

Anyway, Tail Swallower and Dove brings me back to those days when I was just starting to really figure out the music scene outside of my hometown but under the radio radar. There are mathy breakdowns and strange time signatures, but they don’t sound requisite in this record; instead they sound like a fond memory, and I like ’em. TAAS use electronic noises and guitar loops to achieve some almost industrial-sounding sonic backgrounds and then throw distorted vocals and hooky, odd-signatured guitar riffs into the mix, and the whole thing just makes me incredibly nostalgic in a way I’m having a hard time really explaining in any kind of effective way. Sorry.

So, where TAAS’s firt album was a bit noisy for me, and their second was a bit industrial-sounding, this latest album hits it just right for me. Take a listen!


Old Time Relijun

31 05 2008

Old Time RelijunCatharsis in Crisis
2007 – K Records

Old Time Relijun actually got together in 1997, which surprised me to read after having listened to Catharsis in Crisis. They are from Olympia, and while they started out as a trio, they are now a four-piece.

Here’s what I thought, blow-by-blow, of today’s album:

Track 1 – Sounds like Nick Cave if he lived in Olympia. I mean this in a quasi-purjorative sense.

Track 2 – I’m starting to get it. It’s a backbeaty, younger, more saxophone-intensive Grinderman. Sort of. The singer’s voice is a little too whiny for me, though he does this other thing where he kind of sounds like a really intense beat poet, which sounds annoying but is sort of appropriate?

Track 3 – The vocals are not good.

Track 4 – I like the drummer and guitar player, but I think they probably get pushed around by this singer a lot. He sounds like he’s really pushy.

Track 5 – Saxophones are back, and this time they sound like they can actually play, even though they’re obviously using metal mouthpieces. This is my favorite track so far. The saxophones sound vaguely like Mulatu Astatke’s stuff, which I love.

Track 6 – Surf rock with 13-year-old Nick Cave singing?

Track 7 – Opening bars are promising. I like the guitar sound on this album. Now, at the very end, there’s a cool fuzzy drone, but the singer is trying to do some kind of Hildegaard Von Bingen thing. It’s interesting, but it sounds like A Silver Mount Zion when their singer gets really annoying.

Track 8 – Okay, now he sounds like the guy from Coheed and Cambria.

Track 9 – Spanish! I think. This album sounds like it’s been recorded in a large, white room. It’s really spare, and it works.

Track 10 – The first 4 seconds sound like they’re about to launch into a 60s Detroit Motown song. There’s a neat texture with bass clarinet, and it sounds like this song would be good to have sex to if you weren’t distracted by it.

Track 11 – It’s disco music without the bass. And with, apparently, hurdy gurdy. This is another good track.

Track 12 – Chanting, Indian (North American Indian)-sounding drums, and twinkling sounds. Kind of neat.

Track 13 – “Oh canopy of constellations”? I like that I don’t listen to lyrics. This song started out kind of drony and mezzo forte, and now it’s building, and there are saxophones again. The guitar tone is still really nice.

Track 14 – These guys listen to Sun Ra. Most definitely. But they also listen to Tom Waits.

Also Listened:

Constantines – Kensington Market
Pixies – Wave of Mutilation – Best of Pixies
Free Kitten – Inherit
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Is Is
Dog Day – Night Group
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits
The Smalls – To Each A Zone
Teenage Head with Marky Ramone – S/T