It’s time for everyone’s favorite (and perhaps only) virtual band! Although we’ve inspected the work of Damon Albarn before, this is our first chance to take on the Gorillaz, an unrelated ensemble of animated musicians — 2-D, Mudoc, Noodle, and Russel — who, as far as we’re concerned, are behind the music we’re hearing. On their latest album, Humanz, the Gorillaz introduce a bevy of artists, both old and new, to help with the project and take on its variety of subjects. Let’s follow along! And save room for a brief discussion on the subjectivity and flexibility of rating criteria where art is concerned.
Today we’re surveying the front lines of musical sensibilities. Avant garde singer, pianist, composer, and painter Diamanda Galás isn’t your everyday rom-com soprano. With a voice that’s been known to induce fear in a single note, bolstered by a three-and-a-half octave range, Diamanda’s followers range from fringe jazz cats to left field metalheads. Let’s let the work speak for itself; in this case, the work consists of peculiar re-workings of traditional jazz tunes… with a couple of surprises as well. The album is called All the Way, borrowed from its titular track, a cover of the familiar Frank Sinatra tune. Follow the originals with the provided playlist! We’ll explain them as we go. Also stick around for a discussion on the necessity of surveying all sides of the spectrum—good/bad, ugly/beautiful, moral/immoral—for only then do we have sufficient context for passing judgement.
Let’s traverse the cosmos to check in on our oft-mentioned composer of all things ‘space’, the one and only Vangelis. Although marrying electronic music to space-oriented themes is fairly intuitive, Vangelis, who cornered the market on it, also happens to have a penchant for paying homage to specific space missions. This time around, that homage is Rosetta, the musical play-by-play of the eponymous ESA probe’s voyage to Churyumov–Gerasimenko [comet 67P]. From the origins of the comet to Rosetta’s decade-long journey, to its dramatic end-of-mission impact—and let’s not forget about our brave little lander Philae—Vangelis has more than enough fodder for some juicy composition, as do we for some juicy discussion! Oh and our topic, you ask? Totally unrelated… SPACE.
At the behest of listener (and former guest Devin Jackson Mullen of Anxious Kids Make Good People), today we’re taking on Drunk, the latest project by Thundercat, the stage name of grammy-award winning bassist Stephen Bruner. Composed by Bruner, but with the help of long-time collaborator Flying Lotus and a myriad of guest artists, Drunk is a 23-track wormhole that explores the inventive and demented mind of the talented bassist — under any and all of life’s circumstances. Let’s explore the album together before broadcasting a monster monologue [@2:19:21 – @2:40:24] covering the ethics of criticism, a response to an artist, and some changes to the format of the series.
Put on your speedos and roll, yes, roll down your windows. Today we’re surfing through some retrowave, a genre that’s all about those bygone times… but who’s kidding who: those times are the 1980s. With a debut album called Atlas, FM-84 (the mostly one-man project of Col Bennett) introduces vocalists Josh Dally, Ollie Wride, and Clive Farrington to help him with his first LP. The idea certainly caught our attention, as did its striking album cover, but ultimately, does it pass the album test? We’ll hash out a few discussions along those lines while for our topic we wrestle with the question of whether nostalgia is a prerequisite for just about everything we enjoy in some fashion.
We are actually, extremely, keenly, and especially excited for today’s album. (Really.) You’ll want to stick it out to the end for this one as we’ve got a lot of material lined up for discussion courtesy of math rock band Snooze and their debut album Actually, Extremely. If you’re unfamiliar with math rock, take a chance on the genre, take a chance on Snooze, and take a chance on us! Let’s kick it off with some album art silliness and dive deep into some hardscrabble analysis. We also have out some pre-monologue monologues concerning—hoo boy—police brutality and how it is discussed.
Another dip into the wide world of electronica, this week we’re tackling an industrial techno album called Performance by Age Coin. Formerly of the band Lower, the duo behind Age Coin are Kristian Emdal and Simon Formann who, according to their label Posh Isolation, have (in Performance) divined “a cracked bump & flex from the condensation of a joyride.” Well! Cryptic orders aside, we hope your ears are as prepped as ours for a full analysis of Performance as well as a discussion on the inevitability of comparison and the mono-directionality of taste. Feel differently? Comment!
Once again, we’re reaching deep into the grab bag… a mysterious album brought to us by a mysterious listener: The Mysterious Mark H. Past harbinger of Black Messiah and FFS, Mysterious’s latest recommendation came with precious few clues, apart from it being dubbed “a curveball”, thus distinguishing it from his previous picks. Without letting on too much, the album is called Headspace by the band Issues. (And do bear with us, as, in all great mysteries, the “big reveal” is nothing without its share of red herrings.) Also stick around for a light discussion on personal thresholds for musical components.
You might know him from Something Corporate, or even from Jack’s Mannequin; well now, know him from his official solo project, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. As the artist appears to have settled on the new stage name (for now), today we’ll be looking at the second solo album released under that moniker, Zombies on Broadway. Afterwards, stick around for a discussion on how experiencing a live show or a studio album first can affect one another.
Oczy Mlody? …Otshee Mwodee? …Oxycodone? …Whatever it is, it’s the latest creation by alt rock veterans, The Flaming Lips. Inspired by phrases from a Polish translation of Erkine Caldwell’s novel ‘Close to Home’, Oczy Mlody is certainly a head scratcher, easing us into a dreamlike haze, surprising us in moments, and challenging our rating system like never before. Stick around after the analysis [@2:12:34] for a discussion on evolving perspectives, multiple mindsets, and the effort to avoid our own echo chambers.