weekly pollution

weekly pollution: june 15, 2015

I’m using SamBolstad’s comprehensive categorical list, which is my choice as the most inclusive scale of reviewing records.

Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last
2015

Castle Face

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 4
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 3.75
Vocal expressiveness – 4
Musical originality, creativity – 4.5
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.25
Variation over the album – 3.5
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3.75
How does it compare to the canon? – 3.75
Cover art – 3.75
Personal bias – 4.25

39.5/50 = 79% = ★★★★

ESSENTIAL: “Withered Hand”

Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, girl
2015

Sacred Bones

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3.75
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 4.5
Vocal expressiveness – 4.5
Musical originality, creativity – 4.5 
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.25 
Variation over the album – 4
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 4.25
How does it compare to the canon? – 4
Cover art – 4.25
Personal bias – 4

42/50 = 84% = ★★★★

“What is it to take care of yourself?” Jenny Hval creates the best record of her budding career with her Sacred Bones debut, a record that dazzles with her transcending voice and ensnaring lyrics. Hval does all of this over gorgeously constructed music, featuring stellar musicians like Thor Harris of Swans. “That Battle Is Over” stands tall as one of the fiercest musical moments of 2015, plodding along like a walk through wartime America before it shudders and shakes off the fear and hate when Hval breaks out and lets her emotions free with “You say I’m free now, but that battle is over / and feminism’s over / and socialism’s over // yeah, I say I can / Consume what I want now.”

ESSENTIAL: “That Battle Is Over”

Crosss – Lo
2015
Telephone Explosion

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3.25
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 4
Vocal expressiveness – 4.25
Musical originality, creativity – 4.5
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.5
Variation over the album – 4
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 4
How does it compare to the canon? – 3
Cover art – 4.25
Personal bias – 4.25

40/50 = 80% = ★★★★

The definition of the paradoxical phrase “psychedelic metal.”

ESSENTIAL: “Interlocutor”

Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
2015
Merge

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 4
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 4.25
Vocal expressiveness – 4.5
Musical originality, creativity – 3.75
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.25
Variation over the album – 3.5
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3.75
How does it compare to the canon? – 4
Cover art – 4
Personal bias – 4

40/50 = 80% = ★★★★

One of the brightest hopes we have in music today, Alabama native Katie Crutchfield and company twist pop structures into solid, vintage indie rock feels – pleasing to hear and wonderful to submerge into Crutchfield’s fantastic lyrical prowess. Every syllable of Crutchfield’s delivery is a treat, welcoming itself into a highly elite group of albums that lyrically grasp you by the throat and never let go. If you are slightly into good music, don’t miss this delight.

ESSENTIAL: “Poison”

The Helio Sequence – s/t
2015
Sub Pop

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 2.5
Vocal expressiveness – 3.25
Musical originality, creativity – 3
Songwriting, movements, layering – 2.75
Variation over the album – 2.5
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3
How does it compare to the canon? – 2.5
Cover art – 3.25
Personal bias – 2.5

28.25/50 = 56.5% = ★★½

Jesu – Silver
2006
Hydra Head

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3.25
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 3
Vocal expressiveness – 3.5
Musical originality, creativity – 4
Songwriting, movements, layering – 3.75
Variation over the album – 3.75
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3.5
How does it compare to the canon? – 3.5
Cover art – 3.5
Personal bias – 4

35.75/50 = 71.5% = ★★★½

ESSENTIAL: “Silver”

KEN Mode – Success
2015

Season of Mist

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3.5
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 3.75
Vocal expressiveness – 4
Musical originality, creativity – 4.25
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.25
Variation over the album – 3.75
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3.5
How does it compare to the canon? – 3.75
Cover art – 3.5
Personal bias – 4

38.25/50 = 76.5% = ★★★★

From the moment I watched KEN Mode’s first video since their fiery, wondrous debut, Entrench, I was catatonic. There are only so many layers of sludge that can wash over me before I am absolutely nothing, and KEN Mode achieve it in the first fifteen seconds of their lead single and essential-track-to-obsess-about-for-years, “Blessed.” From the opening drum twirl until the unraveling, chugging death machine that putters out, “Blessed” had me from the get-go, featuring noise from Dylan Walker of Full of Hell… AND production from the incomparable Steve Albini… You could say I was hooked from the first hit. The next eight hits aren’t as incendiary, but they do each punch and kick with fury.

ESSENTIAL: “Blessed”

Jamie xx – In Colour
2015
Young Turks

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 4
Lyrics, topical focus, originality – 3.5
Vocal expressiveness – 3.75
Musical originality, creativity – 4.25
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4.5
Variation over the album – 3.5
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 3.75
How does it compare to the canon? – 4
Cover art – 3.75
Personal bias – 3.75

38.75/50 = 77.5% = ★★★★

ESSENTIAL: “Sleep Sound”

The Agromaniac – Inferno
2015

Antistack (Subviolet imprint)

Catchiness, aesthetic appeal – 3.5
Musical originality, creativity – 4.25
Songwriting, movements, layering – 4
Variation over the album – 4
Structure, pacing, cohesiveness – 4.5 
How does it compare to the canon? – 3.75
Cover art – 4
Personal bias – 4.25

32.25/40 = 80% = ★★★★

ESSENTIAL: “Atrophy” feat. Lunacybot

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