Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - May 2020


Written by: RaduP, nikarg, musclassia, Starvynth
Published: 20.06.2020


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - May 2020
Metal Storm's outlet for nonmetal album reviews



The place where we'll talk about music without growls or blast beats
unless they still have those but still aren't metal


We here at Metal Storm pride ourselves on our thousands of metal reviews and interviews and article; metal is our collective soul and passion, which is why we bother with this junk. That being said, we'd be lying if we stuck to our trve-kvlt guns and claimed that metal is the only thing we ever listen to. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do check out some other stuff from time to time; some of us are more poptimistic than others, but there's a whole world out there aside from Satan-worshiping black metal and dragon-slaying power metal. We do already feature some nonmetal artists on our website and have a few reviews to back them up, but we prefer to limit that aspect of the site to those artists who have been a strong influence on the metal scene or who are in some way connected to it. This article series is the place for those artists who don't matter to metal in the slightest but still warrant some conversation - after all, good music, is good music, and we all know metal isn't the only thing on this planet for any of us.

Down below, you might find some obscure Bandcamp bedroom projects or some Billboard-topping superstar; as long as it ain't metal and the album itself isn't a best-of compilation, it fits. Obviously, we're certain that not everything will be for everybody (you guys can be viciously territorial even when metal is the only thing on the menu, and we're all supposed to like the same things), but we do hope you find at least one thing that you can enjoy, instead of just pointing and screaming in horror "Not metal!" as if that would be an insult.

Here are our previous features:

May 2020
March 2020
February 2020

And now to the music...





Wailin Storms - Rattle
[Punk Blues | Deathrock]


Wailin Storms have being described as a band playing doom rock, post-grunge, post-punk, death rock, noise rock, gothic blues, and I can go on forever with labels that have been attributed to them over the few years they have been around. Their music indeed features elements of the aforementioned styles, borrowing bits and pieces from early Danzig and Samhain, to 16 Horsepower and Swans, and to Bauhaus and Christian Death. The eerily dark atmosphere of their compositions is accentuated by Justin Storms's mysterious voice which evokes tortured vocalists like Glenn Danzig, Jim Morrison, Nick Cave, or even Chris Isaak.

Rattle is Wailin Storms' third album, which sees the band dive deeper into doom, punk, and psychedelia. The album is a raw, unhinged, passionate and moody hurricane of sounds that blend different facets of rock. That said, most songs follow a pattern of a sombre and melancholic intro building up to a noisy and threatening crescendo and this cycle is pretty much repeated throughout the album which makes it somewhat linear-sounding. However, its really emotional character, its heavy rumbling and its sludgy vibes make it worth the tumble down its fuzzy nightmare.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by nikarg



Ka - Descendants Of Cain
[East Coast Hip Hop | Abstract Hip Hop]


Biblical rap isn't really something that I thought would ever be appealing, but I wouldn't really call this christian rap. Here, it takes more of a mythological approach, using stories like Cain and Abel's as a parallel to things in Ka's life, echoing some of the darkness, betrayal and desolation, as well as growing up with not necessarily the best "patron saints". It is albums like this that give biblical stories a new perspective as myths to be appreciated the same way we easily appreciate myths from other mythologies without necessarily tying them to their current zeal. Even if it's just a backdrop used to talk about social and personal issues, Ka seems to have become quite skilled at using bits of culture as such, with Honor Killed The Samurai (as well as Orpheus vs. the Sirens from the Hermit and the Recluse project) previously bolstering the same technique.

And Ka's approach is quite unique as well, in the sense that it often feels more like a spoken work album, perhaps a bit one-dimensional at it, but with it being very subdued and subtle, a lot more emphasis is placed precisely on his lyrics. He's almost whispering at times, but he never hesitates or loses his footing. He's got his story to tell, but he's telling it to you very personally. The beats are very subdued, as mentioned, but they're also fairly odd, making the entire thing feels as uneasy as it is dark. It isn't that far off from his previous material, but it feels like some of the wounds are deeper. And I don't know how to properly tie this to the rest of the review, but remember when Ka got doxxed as an anti-cop rapper while being a fire fighter?

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Pendragon - Love Over Fear
[Progressive Rock]


I've actually seen Pendragon live before, which I think is a first for any of the acts featured in this article series, although I must confess my memory of their set at a prog rock festival back in 2015 is pretty minimal. Love Over Fear is my first time hearing their studio output, however, and their eleventh LP demonstrates that over forty years after their inception, they are still more than capable of producing music that stands on its own merits, rather than the legacy that precedes it. The style of progressive rock here is fairly classic; between the soothing vocal tone, lush, emotive lead guitars, seamless interweaving of twelve-strings and subtle complexity all displayed together on opening track "Everything", Pendragon's origins in the same UK neo-prog scene as the likes of IQ, Pallas and Marillion are not surprising to discover.

Coming with that neo-prog sound is a propensity towards folk ballad-y tracks, such as "Starfish And The Moon" and much of the lengthy "Truth And Lies"; generally, I find the band more captivating when they move away from this towards more of a lush rock sound, such as during the closing minutes of this same track. This isn't a universal truth, however; "360 Degrees" goes full-on folk with its fiddle arrangements, and will most likely be the first song from the record that gets embedded in your brain. Nevertheless, the standout moments on Love Over Fear for me come on the lengthier, more expansive tracks, particularly "Eternal Light" and the solos in the latter half of "Water". Overall, Love Over Fear is a thoroughly impressive record for one that comes 35 years after the band's debut; time clearly hasn't begun to diminish Pendragon's talents.

Bandcamp | Apple Music

by musclassia



Pattern-Seeking Animals - Prehensile Tales
[Progressive Rock]


Having already given Prehensile Tales a spin or two before looking up Pattern-Seeking Animals, I wasn't shocked to find out it was a supergroup comprised of former and current Spock's Beard members/collaborators. "Raining Hard In Heaven"'s mixture of convoluted writing, instrumental technicality and 70s pop-rock sensibilities is in line with the sound their other band has consistently created for decades by now. However, whilst this isn't any kind of grand departure soundwise, it's not quite Spock's Beard under another name. I can hear hints from other bands in the prog scene, past and present, particularly The Dear Hunter and Steven Wilson, and despite its similarity to other work by the project, I've found myself enjoying Prehensile Tales to a similar or perhaps even greater extent than any of the Spock's Beard material I've heard previously.

After the aforementioned "Raining Hard In Heaven", we get three more mid-length tracks before the two closing epics. Of these, "Here In My Autumn" is perhaps the standout, nicely encapsulating that particular bland of accessibility, complexity and emotionality that shines through on this record, aided in part by its extensive use of acoustic guitars. Nevertheless, the showstoppers here are the last two tracks, in particular "Lifeboat". The band were happy to bring in various other instruments on this record, including violins, cello, saxophone and brass, all of which contribute to this multi-faceted journey of a track, poised and measured in its progression as it narrates a lengthy tale. "Soon But Not Today" has a lot to live up to after this track, but rounds out the album with aplomb, with a more uptempo manner than the almost constantly mid-ranged "Lifeboat". Unsurprisingly given the pedigree of the members involved, the instrumentation is excellent across the board, but the bass lines are consistently attention-grabbing throughout. For those who enjoy prog rock but haven't come across Spock's Beard at any point, Prehensile Tales is both an approachable gateway to that band and these musicians, and a fine record in its own right.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Aksak Maboul - Figures
[Progressive Pop | Rock In Opposition]


Aksak Maboul isn't necessarily the band I expected to see releasing an album in 2020. A Belgian "Rock In Opposition" band that released two pretty cool underground albums, Onze danses pour combattre la migraine in 1977, and Un peu de l'âme des bandits in 1980, as well as a collaboration that, while recorded in the early 80s with The Honeymoon Killers's Véronique Vincent, only came out in 2014. But since that 2014 album, it seems a lot more archival and remix releases were pulled out from the void, but now we have a legitimate new Aksak Maboul record, with Véronique Vincent once again on board. And it's a pretty massive 75-minute album, so we get plenty for all the lost time.

Rock In Opposition, often called just RIO, is a very niche subgenre of prog rock music that I still find pretty hard to define. Bordering on avant-garde, but also extremely likeable and melodic, just entirely odd and surreal. The French singing is so charming here, that along with the surreal music it gives it a dreamlike quality that is quite opposite to the ethereal version of the dreamlike quality that most music has. It's still quite a trip, but more akin to Alice In Wonderland than Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. The album might be a bit too long for its own good, but it feels so vivid throughout its runtime that I can't help but fall victim to its soundscape and fall into the rabbit hole. A lot of it is due to Aksak Maboul being wonderful musicians and all, but a some of it is due to how some modernized production and electronic soundscapes makes it feel much more immersive.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Ben Lukas Boysen - Mirage
[Electronic | Modern Classical]


Mirage is first and foremost an ambient electronic record; however, it does feature some intriguing additions of modern classical and smooth jazz elements. Opener "Empyrean" doesn't make the presence of these combinations immediately apparent, serving as a purely electronic introduction to Mirage, the third release from Ben Lukas Boysen under his own name on Erased Tapes Records. However, the subdued piano and percussion of "Kenotaph", and other instruments that soon arrive afterwards, sound right at home alongside the synths that are slowly incorporated into the track. "Kenotaph" feels relatively conventional in approach; however, "Medela" sees Boysen take things in a more disjointed direction, and explore his desire to blend the human and the machine by digitally distorting the contributions of saxophonist Daniel Thorne.

Boysen was classically trained in his youth, but made a name for himself, first under the pseudonym Hecq and now under his own, as an electronic composer, and the electronic side does dominate Mirage. "Venia" is a soothing yet complex synthesis of background ambience with a litany of overlapping glitching sounds, coming across as hectic yet at the same time utterly at peace. As enjoyable as these standalone electronic tracks are, the ones where the additional elements are brought into play are the standouts here, particularly "Clarion", with its emotive cello, slick drum rhythms and tender piano seamlessly incorporated alongside the sound-filling synths. Nevertheless, wherever his focus lies, Boysen is more than capable of conjuring up gorgeous compositions, whether sedate ("Kenotaph") or stirring ("Love"), and Mirage makes for riveting listening.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Sparks - A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
[Art Pop | Progressive Pop]


Quite hard to imagine that Sparks are still going after 50 years and that they're still quirky as they always were. They were there for glam rock with Kimono My House and Propaganda in the mid 70s, before appearing as innovators and household names in a completely different genres, with the synthpop electro-disco N° 1 in Heaven in 1979. The 80s saw them embracing new wave, and the new millennium saw a chamber pop direction. They even made a concept rock opera about Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, as well as a collaborative album with indie rock / post-punk revival band Franz Ferdinand. No wonder they still can't hold still and have to go to a progressive pop direction too.

The duo was never really easy to get into and I can see why they never really caught on that much. As fun and intelligent of an album as A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is, I hate to say it, but it has absolutely no bite at all. This isn't really to do with them being in the biz for over 50 years and over 20 albums, but just that this has always been their approach. The synth soundscapes are interesting, there are peculiarities especially in some of the more theatrical moments, and there are well integrated moments of saxophones and horns. But it feels so inoffensive despite some of its lyricism. In a way it reminds me of a lot of the softer prog rock bands of the 70s that flirted with pop rock, but without the actual prog rock parts. It's great in its own way, but it isn't that easy to appreciate. Or ironically, it's too easy.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Jeff Rosenstock - No Dream
[Power Pop | Pop Punk]


I'll be the first to admit I'm not too big on either power pop or pop punk. I wasn't that big on either the later Hüsker Dü or The Replacements records compared to their earlier stuff, and I only marginally listened to Green Day or blink-182. That was never my schtick. However, I can appreciate some of that rowdy punk attitude taken to a more melodic pop direction, as if the Ramones were neither. One name that keeps popping up lately in regards to this sound is Jeff Rosenstock, who I've kept on with since 2016's Worry, and even though 2018's POST- didn't really feel like it lived up to it, I think I might actually like No Dream the most out of all his stuff.

Not are there some legitimately heavy punk moments, but even the usual melodic ones seem very earnest and angsty. And this is a sincerity and a passion that clearly oozes in how authentic the music sounds, and how emotionally resonant the misery, desperation, frustration and the lack of agency feel like when listening to this, as well as, obviously, a huge amount of discontent with the state of the world. Who can blame Jeff, really? At least he's pouring it all out. No Dream was apparently recorded live, so there's some extra tightness in how it is performed in addition to its emotional baggage, rooted in how this is probably the most fucked up the world has been lately.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



DEADLIFE - City Of Eternal Rain
[Synthwave | Dark Synth]


For the most part, my encounters with synthwave have either been 'smooth mood' music like Kavinsky's "Nightcall", or the intense cyberpunk dystopian soundtracks conjured up by the likes of Perturbator and Carpenter Brut. City Of Eternal Rain is very much in the latter camp; those ominous pulses opening "Generation Damage" make that abundantly clear very early on. It's impressive how the bouncing, pulsating rhythms and slick synths of tracks such as this can almost instantly conjure up visions of Akira and Blade Runner, but the dark synth style has become intrinsically linked with such futuristic dystopias, and DEADLIFE revels in this connection, as reflected in the artwork. I'm not an expert in the genre by any means, but from the limited amount of it I've heard, this record seems very rooted in the established synthwave sound, and with the songs to back it up, I can see this appealing to anyone with any interest in the style.

When the album is not rushing forth with "Generation Damage", it is locking into more "Nightcall"-esque laidback grooves for tracks such as the anthemic "We Are One & The Same". From there, the album drifts back and forward in tempo, perkiness and melodicism, all whilst continually retaining that exquisitive dark future vibe. "Tomorrow's Children" is predominantly languid in approach, whilst "Downpour" is a pounding piece with some infectious synth melodies, and "Young Fury, Endure" is very upbeat in comparison to the rest of the record. Compared the restrained nature of Carpenter Brut's Blood Machines soundtrack and its collection of ambient interludes, City Of Eternal Rain is the real deal when it comes to dark synthwave, touching all bases whilst providing the soundtrack to your own dystopian daydream and capped off wonderfully with the moody, atmospheric final track "Rebuild Through Compassion".

Bandcamp | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Einstürzende Neubauten - Alles In Allem
[Art Pop | Post-Industrial]


It's sheer impossible to talk about Einstürzende Neubauten without mentioning their great influence on the global evolution of experimental music and their unorthodox approach of replacing conventional instruments by custom-made instruments made out of building tools, scrap metal and everyday objects. They are considered to be one of the most important pioneers of German avantgarde-rock, noise and post-industrial and thus often and rightfully cited in the same breath as Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can as one of the most influential German bands of the 20th century.

Formed in 1980, Einstürzende Neubauten are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so their first full-length of new material since 2007 can be regarded as some kind of an anniversary gift, not only for their audience but maybe also for their home town. But Alles In Allem is only partly a hommage to the city of Berlin, first and foremost it's a critical reflection on the modern history of the German capital, for the most time very subtle and only rarely in a more direct manner ("Am Landwehrkanal"). Musically, Alles In Allem presents the group's most accessible work to date and a logical progression of the 2007 album Alles Wieder Offen. The harsh industrial passages of their early works are of course long gone and unlikely to return, yet many of their hallmarks are still there, they are simply not that obvious and emphasized anymore. Or would you have guessed that the drum sound on the song "Taschen" has in fact been created with suitcases and old plastic bags? Not to forget the huge wurlitzer organ, a harp, violins and last but not least the legendary turntable-powered wind-instrument "air cake"... It's still undeniably Einstürzende Neubauten and it's unmistakably Blixa Bargeld's sonorous voice, maybe even at the peak of his vocal performance. Alles In Allem's strength lies in its predominating calm passages and it can offer a very rewarding listening experience if you're ready to dive deep into its dense atmosphere. Headphones highly recommended.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by Starvynth



Elysia Crampton - ORCORARA 2010
[Electronic | Ambient]


Between the minimalist piano and range of eerie sound effects, "Secret Ravine (Chakana En General)" sounds like it belongs in the soundtrack of a horror movie. However, as it progresses and the piano becomes more developed, a gentleness embodies the track, and the menace of those mechanical sound effects ebbs away. The quest to find peace and solace amidst harshness permeates throughout ORCORARA 2010, right up until closing track "Flora", in which these same sinister, horror sounds give way to gentle ambience and a spoken word declaration, "I want to settle myself where the river falls on hard rocks, where no one can reach". This is one of several readings of poems by Jeremy Rojas to appear on ORCORARA 2010, an otherwise predominantly electronic ambient venture that utilizes scene-setting ambient synths, piano, and a myriad of electronics and other sound effects to craft tracks that can be soothing, abrasive or a mixture of the two.

Following the relentless pulses of "Dog Clouds", an early album centrepiece, "Morning Star-Red Glare-Sequoia Bridge", fills out its 15 minutes of runtime with stretches of gentle ambience and piano, similar to Nine Inch Nails's Ghosts V from last month; however, those ominous sound effects slowly build in prominence during the song to create an air of unease, before taking over entirely as the track descends into a discordant cacophony. The two songs with sung vocals are probably the most divergent tracks here; "Grove", featuring Embaci, is an acoustic guitar song overladen with hydraulic noise, whilst "Crucifixion" starts off serene enough but becomes increasingly chaotic as it progresses. This balance between peaceful ambience and intrusive discordance is a central feature of Elysia Crampton's latest effort, dedicated to indigenous inmates recruited to fight wildfires in the Sierra Nevada, and reflects the contradictions of recruiting those whose cultures were destroyed by colonialism to fight the damage to their environment caused by colonialism. ORCORARA 2010 explores complex themes and political issues through music and poetry, and makes for an challenging yet rewarding listen.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Kari Rueslåtten - Sørgekåpe
[Folk Pop | Singer/Songwriter]


Kari Rueslåtten, mostly known around here as ex-The 3rd And The Mortal singer, as well as having been in a project with Fenriz and Satyr of all people; has been having a more pop-oriented solo career ever since, which is something that can be said about Anneke Van Giersbergen and Liv Kristine, all of them part of a seminal gothic metal acts of the 90s, and all three of them toured as The Sirens a while back. It's a somewhat interesting trajectory that all of them similarly went through, but Kari Rueslåtten is the only one that completely left the metal world since the mid 90s.

She even left music for a few years, but thankfully decided to come back. We do have a fair share of her albums since, most of them in the same folky vein as Sørgekåpe, but this is the first of her albums to be completely sung in Norwegian. A fairly conventional and radio-friendly, varying in quality from country-pop to pastoral roots folk, and you can take a guess which one I favor. Kari's voice is just as evocative as it was all those years ago, but in this context it still works just as well to evoke Norwegian pastoral landscapes, with a slight dreamlike quality, and they are certainly the very best thing about this record. The occasional twang of the guitars and the folky strings do their job most of the time, but their job is still just supporting Kari's voice.

Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
[Ambient | House]


"Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?", a quote from Paul the Apostle, is repeated imploringly throughout "Shall", the opening track of The Soft Pink Truth's album sharing the same name. This may reflect the experience of mastermind behind the project Drew Daniel (also of Matmos) questioning his creative process in a post-2016 world, in which he decided to react to respond to the anger inspired by Trump's election by making music that was constructive and life-affirming rather than raging. Whether what follows after this question has been posed to the listener could be considered as such is open for debate; however, the calm ambient soundscapes that comprise the record certainly give off a vibe of positivity far from the twisted interpretations of black metal found on the project's past release Why Does The Heathen Rage?.

In "We", house elements are incorporated into the album's sound; however, much of the first half of the record is ambient and freeform, particularly a track as meandering and elliptical as "On"; the seemingly wordless vocals that dance around the shimmering synths and aquatic sound effects only add to this loose vibe. The turning point on the album is "Sinning", a disorienting cacophony of various jazz instruments featured together but seemingly disconnected from the house beat beneath, with ringing bells on top to further inspire dizziness. From this point on, the tone somewhat darkens, with much of the rest of the record dominated by melancholic piano and subdued synths, albeit for a rather attention-grabbing burst of sound towards the end of "Grace". Shall We Keep On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? feels very much like a singular journey thanks to the shifting mood and tracks seamlessly segueing together, and whether or not it accomplishes Daniel's intentions, it's an interesting listen.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Moses Sumney - Græ
[Art Pop | Ambient Pop]


Another double albums that we have on our hands, this time one that was technically released in two batches around one month apart, but is still considered one singular album. Courtesy of falsetto aficionado and ambient pop artist Moses Sumney, this album is split in two also in regards to how minimal and ambiental the sounds are, with the sparser tracks coming in the second half, ones more akin to his debut album, 2017's Aromanticism. But despite the divide, there is a running thread in between all of them, and it's not just Moses' subtle and fragile falsettos, it's also just how emotionally open they feel. And also not even at their most richly textured, the songs never feel crowded.

Fusing bits of soul, psychedelia, jazz, R&B and ambient into his elegant art pop, Moses never shies away from making the songs feel grandiose, huge in how emotional and dramatic they are, but without that dramatism ever feeling cheesy. Like a soul being stripped bare in front of you, there's not much you can do but listen. And with it being so long and ambiental, it lacks a bit of that immediacy, but it still never feels boring or not entirely immersive. Not only are the vocals so sweet and sultry, but the soundscapes feel so damn comforting, that listening to them feels like an embrace you can never really get tired of. And with interludes talking about the ethological origin of "isolation", as coming from "island", and thus feeling "islanded" being the perfect description of that feeling, there's always something that really sticks with you.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



I Break Horses - Warnings
[Dream Pop | Synth Pop]


The ominous title and noirish artwork of Warnings, the third album from Swedish duo I Break Horses, suggests perhaps a bleaker listening experience than it ultimately provides. Going big early on by opening with its longest track, the dreamy vocals, languid xylophone arpeggios and subdued percussion of "Turn" conjure up an effortlessly gentle and lush sound. If you dig into the lyrics, the darkness that the packaging hints at can certainly be found, particularly on "Death Engine" (inspired by the attempted suicide of a friend of singer Maria Lindén), and there is a more than a hint of melancholy, and a sense of longing or nostalgia, in the hushed tone of Lindén's singing and the muted synths. Nevertheless, the mellow tone that is sustained throughout much of Warnings means that it's not purely a doom and gloom experience.

Amongst the standout tracks here include "I'll Be The Death Of You", with its retro-synths that blur the line between upbeat and subdued; I've seen I Break Horses tagged as shoegaze online, and I can hear clear elements of that sound on this track and others, but also hints of acts such as Boards Of Canada. The writing of this record was inspired by cinema (early writing for the record was done whilst watching movies on mute), and "I'll Be The Death Of You" would sound right at home in an 80s/90s coming-of-age drama; there is a notable cinematic quality to some of the music on Warnings, which is further emphasized by the samples used during the interlude tracks. "Neor: Lights" is perhaps the most vibrant-sounding track here, its bouncy introduction nicely contrasting the downtempo vibes of "A Prophet" and its up-tempo pace distinguishing itself from the sedate nature of most of the album. However, even then, the warbling, eerie synth sound and hazy singing keep the tone consistent; there's no particular shocks to the system when listening to Warnings. If the idea of a melancholic record drawing clear influence from alternative sounds from the 80s and 90s, particularly shoegaze, dream pop and synth pop, sounds a bit too low-key for you, then you will probably find yourself itching to skip to something else long before this near-hour-long record reaches its conclusion; however, if that description stirs your interest, then I can heartily recommend Warnings, a touching, poignant and patient record.

Bandcamp | Google Play Music | Spotify

by musclassia



Perfume Genius - Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
[Art Pop | Chamber Pop]


There aren't a lot of musicians out there that feel as subtle and fragile and dramatic at the same time the way that Perfume Genius does. The singer/songwriter has been evolving the project's sound over the past few records, with Set My Heart on Fire Immediately feeling most like a continuation of the previous album, No Shape, in which Perfume Genius became more and more distanced from some of the lo-fi sounds of earlier released. On both of these aforementioned records, the production is more lush and pristine, with a flourish of instruments, whether strings, harpsichords, flutes, synths or guitars. All with just a touch of retro.

The fairly huge array of sounds and instruments is also noticed in how much ground, whether genre-wise of mood-wise, is covered here. Some synthpop-ier, some more soulful, some more chamber-like, some very very subdued, but all of them having those same three qualities: subtle and fragile and dramatic. It is the voice and the lyrics that give it most of its emotional quality, as much as I can't deny the great arrangements making this album dynamic and entertaining, but the songs about all the challenges and pleasures that the human body has to endure, and the mood fits from either dark, yearning or grandiose. Also what an instantly striking title "Set My Heart on Fire Immediately" is.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated Side B
[Synthpop | Dance-Pop]


I would like to say that I'm a bit tired of hearing so many love songs coming from Carly Rae Jepsen since that seems to be the only thing she's able to sing about, but that would be a lie. For having such a one-dimensional theme, she still somehow finds a way to make a shitload of love songs that don't feel like they're really stagnating, like she's finding all these different facets and subtleties of being in love, and not only that, but there's not a lot of love songs that are cheesy but still put me in the mood for love. And even if there's nothing that can ever come close to hearing "Run Away With Me" for the first time, Carly always finds a way to make those feelings and music about them appealing.

And just to put into perspective how many love songs she's written, she apparently wrote close to 200 songs in the Dedicated sessions. So she technically could come up with up to about Dedicated Side N if she really wanted to. Thankfully, this Side B still has a similar enough level of quality to the original, but this time we also get a lot more material that the previous album's Side B. This does also mean that the tracklist also has a bit more songs of doubtable quality, that had a clear reason to be B-sides, as well as two songs, "Felt This Way" and "Stay Away" that, while absolutely great, clearly feel like two versions of the same song. But as a whole, more than half the songs could go toe to toe with anything on the original album.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Charli XCX - How I'm Feeling Now
[Electropop | Bubblegum Bass]


Back when this album came out, the quarantine seemed like the biggest thing of the year, and this is really an album that signifies that very moment. Recorded in quarantine, in tandem with a whole bunch of weekly livestreams, as well as a performance at a festival in Minecraft of all things, How I'm Feeling Now is a pretty low key piece of pop, but not without that PC music bubblegum feel. I skipped talking about her previous almost self-titled record, mostly because I was way behind on publishing the article, so it got axed. Thinking about it, I probably should've just left it for the next month, but whatever. We have another piece of exciting and glistering pop with another somewhat lewd cover art from Charli XCX.

Being a lockdown album and all, or a somewhat "bedroom pop" album, the production is a tad more unpolished, but unlike most lo-fi indie stuff with the same bedroom pop appeal, Charli XCX's beats are as jagged and glittery as ever, quite like an industrial take on the most bombastic EDM of the high energy late 00s. A lot of the lyrics deal with love, and especially love in this isolated state, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any bangers like "pink diamond", just that most of the album finds Charli as a lot more vulnerable than usual. But even without the pandemic as a backdrop, it is somewhat exciting to see an album where the internet and social media have such a huge impact on how it was made.

Apple Music | Google Play Music | Spotify

by RaduP




And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month.



 



Written on 20.06.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 19   Visited by: 66 users
21.06.2020 - 19:48
Hellthunder
I definitely have to check out band with name "Pattern-Seeking Animals"
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23.06.2020 - 00:21
musclassia
Written by Hellthunder on 21.06.2020 at 19:48

I definitely have to check out band with name "Pattern-Seeking Animals"


Hope you like them! As someone who's been somewhat indifferent towards Spock's Beard in the past, I was surprised by how much I found myself liking it, albeit with certain reservations
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23.06.2020 - 02:17
DeliciousDishes
Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal!
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23.06.2020 - 19:25
Darkside Momo
Retired
Quote:
Formed in 1980, Einstürzende Neubauten are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so their first full-length of new material since 2007

Well I have to point to Lament, released in 2014 for the WWI commemorations. Fantastic album, btw
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My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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23.06.2020 - 20:04
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by Darkside Momo on 23.06.2020 at 19:25

Quote:
Formed in 1980, Einstürzende Neubauten are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so their first full-length of new material since 2007

Well I have to point to Lament, released in 2014 for the WWI commemorations. Fantastic album, btw

You're totally right and it's not that I tried to conceal the existence of this release.
But apparently, Einstürzende Neubauten have never regarded Lament as e regular album, they're usually calling it a commissioned work only.
Great stuff though, no question about it.
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signatures = SPAM
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23.06.2020 - 20:41
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by Starvynth on 23.06.2020 at 20:04

You're totally right and it's not that I tried to conceal the existence of this album.
But apparently, Einstürzende Neubauten have never regarded Lament as e regular album, they're usually calling it a commissioned work only.
Great stuff though, no question about it.

Sure it was a commision, but it's definitely worth a full-fledged place in their discog for all I know
----
My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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23.06.2020 - 23:56
nikarg
Mod
Looking at Blixa on the cover... time is relentless.
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27.06.2020 - 09:46
tintinb
No RtJ?
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27.06.2020 - 09:54
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by tintinb on 27.06.2020 at 09:46

No RtJ?

Next month
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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27.06.2020 - 12:44
Nejde
Musclassia, nice to see you include DEADLIFE this month after we talked about it Also a very nice review of the album and even though you say you are no synthwave expert I must say you seem to have a very good understanding of the genre nonetheless. Kudos
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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27.06.2020 - 20:53
musclassia
Written by Nejde on 27.06.2020 at 12:44

Musclassia, nice to see you include DEADLIFE this month after we talked about it Also a very nice review of the album and even though you say you are no synthwave expert I must say you seem to have a very good understanding of the genre nonetheless. Kudos


Cheers! I sometimes fear that I'm reducing synthwave down to just being that cyberpunk dystopia sound of Perturbator's The Uncanny Valley when I review it, but admittedly a large amount of what I have heard in the genre does come pretty close to that sound. I think it's something I'd probably want to dabble with on occasion rather than dig too deeply into, just to avoid it all blending together and losing some of its charm
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27.06.2020 - 21:51
Nejde
Written by musclassia on 27.06.2020 at 20:53

Written by Nejde on 27.06.2020 at 12:44

Musclassia, nice to see you include DEADLIFE this month after we talked about it Also a very nice review of the album and even though you say you are no synthwave expert I must say you seem to have a very good understanding of the genre nonetheless. Kudos


Cheers! I sometimes fear that I'm reducing synthwave down to just being that cyberpunk dystopia sound of Perturbator's The Uncanny Valley when I review it, but admittedly a large amount of what I have heard in the genre does come pretty close to that sound. I think it's something I'd probably want to dabble with on occasion rather than dig too deeply into, just to avoid it all blending together and losing some of its charm


Synthwave is just like metal, there are a lot of different subgenres. You got, retrowave, darkwave, cyberpunk, dreamwave, outrun, chillwave and so on. The diversity is actually quite big so you don't really have to worry about it all blending together. Two great Youtube channels are NewRetroWave and The '80s Guy with new uploads literally every day. And with the suggestion list you're just a few clicks away from the great synth/dream pop band Chromatics for example.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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27.06.2020 - 22:47
musclassia
Written by Nejde on 27.06.2020 at 21:51

you're just a few clicks away from the great synth/dream pop band Chromatics for example.


I've got a feeling I reviewed their most recent album for one of these articles last year, did it open with a cover of The Sound Of Silence?
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28.06.2020 - 09:38
Nejde
Written by musclassia on 27.06.2020 at 22:47


I've got a feeling I reviewed their most recent album for one of these articles last year, did it open with a cover of The Sound Of Silence?


That's the Closer To Grey album and that's a damn good one too. Must've missed your review of it though.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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28.06.2020 - 11:04
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Nejde on 28.06.2020 at 09:38

Must've missed your review of it though.

Here
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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28.06.2020 - 11:39
Witchslayer
Musclassia - seeing your interest in dark / synthwave I've been enjoying this YouTube mix for a few years now. Mostly dark cyberpunk themed electronica.

https://youtu.be/ajF2NOuYkjk
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Post / Sludge; Djent / Math / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Psychedelic / Stoner; Oriental Folk Metal; Ambient / Electronica
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28.06.2020 - 11:46
musclassia
Written by Witchslayer on 28.06.2020 at 11:39

Musclassia - seeing your interest in dark / synthwave I've been enjoying this YouTube mix for a few years now. Mostly dark cyberpunk themed electronica.

https://youtu.be/ajF2NOuYkjk


Cheers man, I'll keep it on my radar - I've heard music by Amon Tobin before but don't know any of the other featured artists so interested to hear what it sounds like
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28.06.2020 - 12:01
Witchslayer
Written by musclassia on 28.06.2020 at 11:46

Written by Witchslayer on 28.06.2020 at 11:39

Musclassia - seeing your interest in dark / synthwave I've been enjoying this YouTube mix for a few years now. Mostly dark cyberpunk themed electronica.

https://youtu.be/ajF2NOuYkjk


Cheers man, I'll keep it on my radar - I've heard music by Amon Tobin before but don't know any of the other featured artists so interested to hear what it sounds like


You're welcome. Also in the more psybient / chillout vain is this one including known artists like CBL, AES DANA or Vibrasphere:

https://youtu.be/eqzxBHSKVsQ
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Post / Sludge; Djent / Math / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Psychedelic / Stoner; Oriental Folk Metal; Ambient / Electronica
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28.06.2020 - 16:28
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
One artwork stands out, njaas, i give Credit to Kari and her mortal what lied Tears to the Earth, but generally few ivor style bands but rest is just rubish to my ears
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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