Car Made of Glass – Every Song Is a Good Song (Montgomery Street)
California’s Car Made of Glass is a peculiar thing indeed. Though it started as a sort of emoviolence, grindcore, and noise blend and made plenty of split releases in that style, it reached a crossroads on their debut, Foreign Graffiti. Even though, it seems, the band’s experimental and noise demographics seemed to wax while the rest dwindled as time passed, there is a juncture, a breaking point, that was reached on that album. Some tracks are purely of the former, and some of the latter, and some, still, are a continuation of what they were doing before: a mix of the two. There is no ambiguity about Every Song Is a Good Song, however. The more forward-thinking population within Car Made of Glass won the civil war, and we get an album that mainly focuses on ambiances, noises, lowercase recordings, jazz, and free improvisation. It’s really amazing how the five tracks can be different from one another, yet how they nevertheless sound so much alike. I believe this is the band’s best release to date, and I’m eager to find out where we’ll be headed to next!
Dreadnought – Emergence (Profound Lore)
Emergence is solid but short, which may suggest an assessment that the band has “tightened their sound” or “cut the filler”, neither of which is accurate. Dreadnought has never had filler, and their sound neither needs nor receives any tightening, as its fluidity and flexibility is essential to the band’s compositional style. Rather, one must conclude that Emergence is short simply because the band was able to tell the story they wanted to tell efficiently and they didn’t need to pad its duration just to satiate ravenous fans like myself. I would have happily devoured another long track—perhaps the one they reserved for a well-deserved and exciting placement on the latest Adult Swim metal compilation—but we must accept Emergence for what it is: another spectacular achievement by one of the best young b– . . . no, one of the best bands in metal.
John Zorn – The Hierophant (Tzadik)
It’s the same thing as always, with John Zorn: The Hierophant is astoundingly great but also pretty hard to find. I guess that a musician with his reputation can afford to be cryptic and not listener-friendly. Zorn’s newest album for jazz trio is nowhere to be found streaming online, but a fan like me had a little money saved just for that disc. First of all, the visuals and packaging are stellar. The dark and mystic sleeve hides a second sleeve, darker still and with a Tarot depiction, which then holds a bright white disc along with a card, just like a Tarot card. Uncovering this album for the first time is an experience in itself. Listening to it is quite another. The nine compositions on record each represent a card of the deck, heralded by “The Hierophant” title track, which is possibly my favourite one as well. Dissonant, winding, surprising, and eventful: those are four qualitatives that go quite well with the whole of the album overall. But then, not only are the compositions brilliant, the performers have made their marks as well. Most striking to me, as a bassist, is Trevor Dunn’s bass lines, which are all over the place; creative and varied as well as played with an undoubtable mastery. Of course, there are also the parts played by Brian Marsella on piano, which is truly the centrepiece of the album, and the drums of Kenny Wollesen, its backbone. The Hierophant is an astonishing album, and I’m already looking forward to John’s next release.
Snooze – Familiaris
I’ve always been a huge fan of Chicago’s math rock slash post-hardcore band Snooze; well, since their Actually, Extremely debut at least. You’ll be glad to learn that they keep their almost skate punk sound, while refining their math and progressive edges. Familiaris is filled with hooked melodies and odd rhythms. In other words, it’s fantastic!