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Young Thug – Slime Season 3


junkheadv1tmbYoung Thug – Slime Season 3

In many ways, Slime Season 3 should be typical. The beats are sparse as the latest style dictates, but here they don’t matter. Light sizzles and pulses exist only to make way for a voice, the bitchy little auto-tuned yelp of Young Thug.

Why it’s compelling is hard to explain. Thug is so fucking annoying that you’ll probably want to punch your speakers the second he comes on, but he knows how to wrap his voice into a pop-friendly package. His flow, hooks, and percussive spurts all come to a fine point early on with tracks like “Drippin” and “Memo”. A couple tracks give Thug a solid minute of time to just move freely over space, and they’d be pretty appealing to even the most mainstream ear.

Not surprisingly, the finest moments are all straightforward pop. “We ran out of digits/We ran out of money/We ran out of digits/We ran out of money/We ran out some digits/We ran out some mon-aaay” will be looping through your head for hours*. “Worth It” is the most honest hood ballad you’re likely to find, and “Tattoos” is the only time a delicious beat sneaks alongside the vocal gymnastics.

Nothing sticks out as particularly bad, but “Problem” and “Slime Shit” are standard trap garbage in comparison. Losing all of the slick style, they’re all “Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-BLAH (‘EY!)/Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-BLAH (SKIRR)”, probably a bid by Thug to keep one of his feet grounded in the ghetto.

But Thug can’t fight it; he sold his soul years ago and mainstream vampire blood is in his veins. A couple top 40 hits will do that to you. Thank the corporate shills for that.


*This is clearly an example of Ay-hole’s Track Five Conspiracy©. I’m tagging this post as such.




Last week I picked up Origami, the five disc Lush vinyl box set. I really only wanted Split, and since I have not spotted it under $75 for over a decade I decided that I could spend a few more bucks and get all five and a concert ticket. I would have gotten two tickets but I worked on record store day, so I was late to the party and they only had one left for the box set purchasers. I also did not get the new Lush EP, because they smartly postponed the release until today. I, however, smartly did not call to reserve my copy, so when I got to the record store after work they had sold out. Now I have nothing to listen to and have to wait some more. Working stiffs are so privileged. I should just quit and write D&D character sheets for food. So, instead of reviewing my most anticipated release of the year so far, I’m going to write on hipster/chamber pop.

Meilyr Jones – 2013

Meilyr Jones released 2013 last month. The pluses are it is fantastically intricate, great care was taken with writing, and his voice is pretty good. He has that whole “avant garde pop” thing going on. The first song is dancey and bombastic. The second has a harpsichord and sounds more like a less funky Van Morrison. The whole album kinda sounds like less funky 60’s non-rock & roll rock & roll.  Yes, what you read. People talk about “Don Juan” like it’s the best track on the album, but we all know that means it’s probably the most boring.

“Passionate Friend” sounds like fun movie music. The whole album kinda sounds like fun non-modern movie music. Modern movie music usually all sounds like doo-doo. The next two tracks are super toned down reductions. “Rain in Rome” sounds like auto tone created the whole song. It stops a lot and skips like a bad youtube connection or mp3 purchased from itunes. There is applause in the background to thunder and one might sense it may be symbolic. “Strange Emotional” is a very typical 60’s song but is also very revived sounding, which is probably a result of the deeply expressive singing.

The rest of the album is just more of the same. There is some good style changes and variety, but it’s very dense and filling. “Be Soft” is probably the best track because it features richly textured multi-layered instruments and beautiful reverb. Interestingly, there are some bad pops on the vocals. How could someone miss that in mixing? It must have been intentional.

“How’d I do, fellas?” “Oh, great. Just in time, too. We just maxed out the time. Better move along.” *whispers* (what? the quiet parts bloody suck? just throw some reverb on them and let’s get going! i have to get to the dog show! no, i don’t want to listen to it. you lock up… and get that record to the press, it’s late already.  what? prince is dead?) “What!?  Chyna!?”

Lita Ford – Time Capsule


junkheadv1tmbLita Ford – Time Capsule

In a desperate attempt to make some quick cash, Lita Ford pulls out her cauldron and eye of newt to revive the hulking golem that was pop metal. Filling the room with that witch’s brew steam, she emerges from the mist with a beast that mostly succeeds.

For the ’80s hags, this album will be total gold. It kicks off with two reelin’ power ballads, “Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight” and “Killing Kind.” The latter would fit nicely on Bat Out of Hell II, complete with Meat Loaf clone duet that screams overblown. Later, Lita plows through all your favorite Ratt and Motley Crue rewrites once again, with “Rotten to the Core” digging it’s talon-like hooks into your brain immediately.

Lita almost tricks you into thinking it’s 1988 again, but not before Time Capsule gets bogged down by general goofiness. “Mr. Corruption” has a sleazy fake arena mix, with space-jam drum fills and a weird, bloated guitar sound. The instrumental jack off “Little Wing” is best skipped; anyone who’s actually picked up a guitar will laugh at the incredibly basic blues scales Lita trips through. It’s immediately followed by the similar solo showcase “On the Fast Track”, an utterly worthless exercise on an album otherwise filled with real songs.

So yeah, this is better than most Frontiers Records drivel, but worse than that Van Halen song off the film Twister. The one where the CG cow flies by.



John Carpenter Lost Themes II

tinyjunkheadv1a Windows Movie Maker used to be good. It’s terrible now. I use iSkysoft movie editor or something.
tinyayholev1a Could I get an older Windows movie Maker?
tinyjunkheadv1a I don’t think so, what Windows does he have?
tinyayholev1a Windows 7. When can you do the dialogue?
tinyjunkheadv1a Now.
tinyayholev1a Okay, lemme get ready.
tinyjunkheadv1a Hold on, I gotta do something.
tinyayholev1a I’m just going to sit here then.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright, I’m ready.
tinyayholev1a So, featured above is the standard issue Lost Themes II “die-cut jacket with printed inner sleeve.” There is a bonus track available for download and on the CD release. It’s called “Real Xeno” and is a rockin march.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright, let’s start this.
tinyayholev1a You there, Josh?
tinyjunkheadv1a You go ahead.
tinyayholev1a The introduction of the album is excellent, almost a four minute build
tinyjunkheadv1a So that’s how we’re starting it? We should be like…we’ve been waiting months.
tinyayholev1a I dunno. I already started with the bonus track.
tinyjunkheadv1a Or talk about your Record Store Day experience getting it.
tinyayholev1a There I was, after work. I was like, “where is the record store day stuff?” And the man behind the counter pointed straight down at the cardboard box in front of me. “That’s what’s left.”
tinyjunkheadv1a And the only thing in there was John Carpenter’s Lost Themes II.
tinyayholev1a That and one thousand copies of “Cavern of Anti-Matter.”
tinyjunkheadv1a What is that? If I made an album of rubber band noises I’d probably call it that.
tinyayholev1a It was a 12″ clear vinyl in a clear plastic bag. It looked a lot like wall art from Pier One.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m glad you got Lost Themes II. Ay-hole had me come over the next day and listen to the whole thing. Then we had a bonfire and burned all his mail.
tinyayholev1a Honestly, the real reason I went to record store day was to get the Lush box set. I was lucky to nab Lost Themes II as well. It did officially come out on Friday, the day before, but I apparently get a bonus download track, which I assume comes with every purchase. I was super excited to listen to it, really. The whole album, that is.
tinyjunkheadv1a I thought it would be better than Lost Themes I. The sample tracks online were really rockin’, so I figured the whole album would have a new vibe.
tinyayholev1a It is slightly more rocky at times and most of the tracks seem to be more divided than the first. There are lots of little themes.
tinyjunkheadv1a A lot of the tracks are broken up into different little bits. Most borrow liberally from John Carpenter’s large body of work, but there’s definitely some fresh variations on the old motifs. One thing that I sort of liked about the album was how the first and second side had different feels.
tinyayholev1a If by “different feels,” you mean, the second side was a remix of last years album and Escape From New York, yes. I think the second side had one track that stood out, other than the guitar solo on “Dark Blues,” and that stand out track would be the final track, “Utopian Facade.”
tinyjunkheadv1a Well, the first side has a lot of rockers. The synth bubbles in “Distant Dream”, “Angels Asylum”, and “Windy Death” have all the pounding snares and stoic guitar work. Side two is a little more bland. “Bela Lugosi” has to be the most vanilla synthscape ever made.
tinyayholev1a That is the most adequate description. I think I’ve spent 15-30 minutes thinking about that track alone, trying to describe it. I think it’s quite an accomplishment, when you put it that way. Perhaps he intended the second half to be more experimental.
Let’s talk about the rockin first half some more.
“White Pulse” is the bee’s knees. It has this repetitive synth pulse melody and some excellently mixed background strings. For exploratory music, this one can be used in almost any atmosphere, and short of two minutes in we have an post industrial breakdown.
tinyjunkheadv1a It sets the tone for the whole first side. Songs are broken up into multiple movements, fluctuating from slow and brooding to mid-tempo and pounding. “Angel’s Asylum” has got to be the single though. It’s not far off from a slick electroclash except for the awesome acoustic guitar breakdown at the end.
tinyayholev1a It is one of the two available tracks on bandcamp. It does just about everything right. It’d make a good clubbin’ song, if it was acceptable to put real music on at the club.
Actually, I think now I have a new touchtones favorite.
I wonder what Cody and Daniel Davies influenced.
tinyjunkheadv1a Cody probably plays guitar. Cody’s a guitarist name.
Daniel probably wrote “Bela Lugosi”. That sounds like a Daniel thing to do.
tinyayholev1a I was not aware Daniel and John had such an intimate relationship. Apparently, John thinks of him as his godson.
tinyjunkheadv1a It’s best to do that when you share creative endeavors. I like to think of you as my son, Ay-hole.
tinyayholev1a And I think of you as my distant father from a washed up rock band.
tinyjunkheadv1a Or a washed up film career.
tinyayholev1a What do you think of the bonus track?
tinyjunkheadv1a I felt like it was left off the LP with good reason. The pieces don’t really mesh, and it doesn’t really start cooking until the third section.
tinyayholev1a … which ends approximately immediately.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I don’t get why that was thrown in. Two and a half minutes of random leftovers.
tinyayholev1a I still think the whole album is better than most, but the difference in quality between the first and second sides seems like too great a chasm to cross.
tinyjunkheadv1a The crossing isn’t so bad. The second side clicks occasionally, but the whole collective goes into cruise control. It felt like Lost Themes 17, where they totally run out of any new ideas.
If Lost Themes II is already half hackneyed, I hope they end it on the next one.
tinyayholev1a Maybe Daniel will make an entire concept album, John and Cody will steal it and an crazy chase scene will ensue.
tinyjunkheadv1a Maybe that’s already what’s happening. The kids are capitalizing off daddy’s big name with all their Escape from New York copies.
tinyayholev1a John is in a wheelchair, locked in a room with nothing except a catheter and a food tube. In an effort to break free, he uses his own excrement as a corrosive and melts the hinges off the door. Crazy chase scene ensues.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m guessing John Carpenter’s vegetarian. I wonder how much tofu and spinach you’d have to eat for your poop to corrode solid steel. Or titanium.
tinyayholev1a Vegetarian poop is brutal. The smell alone could gas a WWI trench.
tinyjunkheadv1a So the real question is, are you going to buy the Lost Themes II remix LP.
tinyayholev1a I’m guessing it will come out for Halloween, like the last one. Probably not, unless there’s some cool demos. The first Lost Themes was better on the whole.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, at least between the two of us, we have one and a half good albums.
tinyayholev1a Between the two of us, like you do not want that comment to appear in the dialogue, or the first half of LTII is good, so our combined LT interest is only the one and one half?
tinyjunkheadv1a Definitely the latter.
That bonfire was pretty sweet though.
tinyayholev1a It was. We burned all of my mail.
Polica is playing tonight, probably right now, at the Blind Pig. I’d go if Mothxr wasn’t.
tinyjunkheadv1a I wish I could afford to go to that John Carpenter concert.
I mean, I could, but then I couldn’t buy dozens of records better than LTII.
tinyayholev1a Too bad I didn’t get a free ticket with my purchase. It would have been awesome.
Wrapping it up, there are a variety of flavors to purchase the first side of Lost Theme II. You can find them for half the price of a brick and mortar store at http://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/

Micro-Reviewery 6: Like Pacific, Yuri, Phyllomedusa


There’s still more stuff from the past few weeks that deserves no more than a brief paragraph.


Like Pacific – Distance Like You Asked

’90s pop punk died so numb nuts like these guys would burn in hell, but like the bombs dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the atrocities inflicted upon innocents never really escape our consciousness, do they?


Yuri – Demo I

Blink and it’s over fastcore on cassette. It does a great job sneaking actual riffs into the hardcore punk mess, somehow making this two and a half minute demo feel as meaty as any thirty minute LP. Honestly, maybe speeding every album up until it’s two minutes would make the world a better place.


Phyllomedusa – Fijian Holiday

Jack-offs of all trades and masturbaters of none, goregrind was pretty bad before Phyllomedusa started playing it super slow. It’s honestly death metal nap time music, which has to be the worst kind of nap genre.


Your Enemy – Eradication of the Parasitic Hordes

D-beat crust-grind is rarely this consistent, although most won’t tell the difference. Like if you set one of those Sleep Easy Sound Generators and turned the dial to the “pretty good d-beat crust-grind” setting.


Hypnic Jerk – Live at the Precinct

Noisecore needs to be harsh, but this is just digital garble. It’d sound better if they used a single track tape deck instead of their shitty laptop mic, but I can still respect anything that punishes the listener without being annoying.


UFO – Live Sightings


junkheadv1tmbUFO – Live Sightings

For most bands, four disc live sets are never a good idea. There’s going to be too much track overlap, the original versions were better anyway, the singer sounds like he’s panting like a dog in heat half the time, the guitarist misses some crucial notes. That studio magic will always trump a sound board guy in some sweaty club in Raleigh.

That’s where UFO proved the world wrong. Their album Strangers in the Night raised the bar for all live albums to come by drastically improving the flaccid mixes of their studio work. UFO was always a little too tight for their own good and more than a little bland in their riffs, but get them on a stage and it’s like unleashing a starved Malawi Terror Beast out into a massive crowd of children and elderly people. Even clunkers like “Mother Mary” and “Too Hot To Handle” become rock ‘n’ roll juggernauts, morphing prosaic riffs into metal poetry.

So when Michael Schenker left UFO in 1980, the band took a huge plunge. After Strangers hit the UK top ten and US top fifty, the prospect of more mainstream success was like the band eating tons of cheese without their fiber supplements: the studio productions sounded more constipated than ever before. As far as listeners knew, UFO was the shittiest band in the world and couldn’t dump anything good if they tried.

That’s why Cleopatra desperately needed to release this collection. The post-Schenker era needs a brief revisiting, and their studio work is not the place to do it. These four sets from ’80-’82 will reveal the real truth of how the band sounded when Paul Chapman took over Schenker’s lead guitar spot. I mean, isn’t that why he’s prominently on the cover wagging that guitar over his groin?


The Chicago ’80 set that kicks things off is absolutely ball-breaking, at times better than Schenkers in the Night. The guitars are bloated and overpowering throughout, pushed up to the front right next to Phil Mogg’s never faltering voice, setting the tone for most of the following discs. Chapman’s solos are also the perfect blend between mid-range wankery and high-pitched meedly-mee, and the high-hats bleed into your ears in a way that only the most professional bootleg can. Most of the songs are Schenker-era tracks, but this proves the band were still power chord heroes after he split.

The second disc is another Chicago show from ’81. The opening tracks end up being the standouts, but this is mainly due to the continuously dropping sound quality. The first tracks are crystal clear, but the further you get, the more everything sounds like it was recorded on an answering machine strategically placed in a ventilation shaft. The closing classic “Doctor Doctor” gets totally neutered, a shame considering this is its only appearance.

A year later in St. Louis, the recording sounds almost studio quality. While it has a much needed harder edge than their then recent Mechanix album, every element is clearly mixed for maximum audibility. I’m proud to look at Chapman’s groin when I hear the solos, now mostly stuck in a higher register but keeping things melodic enough to hold interest. Almost the entire set is now Chapman period tracks, showing how awesome these songs are in the hands of real rock producers and not executive whores. If you’re interested in this era of UFO, this is easily its finest hour.

The final disc from Cleveland circa ’82 is pretty clean, but it’s only a little better than most modern cellphone recordings of Beyonce’s Super Bowl MXVLLIIILVMX performance. The set list is largely identical to the St. Louis recording except it sounds crappier.

Regardless of the redundancies, this really puts Chapman UFO in a new light. It proves the band wasn’t the Michael Schenker Show gone bust, with solid new tracks and a bruising power guitar sound. It’s essential listening for anyone who loves UFO, and while the uninitiated will scratch their head wondering why they have to listen to “Too Hot To Handle” four times, they have no taste in music and I hope they accidentally scratch their heads so hard that a finger sinks through their skull and pushes the part of their brain that makes people want to rock.

Individual disc ratings:

1: A-
2: C+
3: A
4: C-

Final rating: B




The white album is out and sending out the vibes. But what vibes? Let us melt those wax wings and dive into the California beech rock boys new release.

Musical style? Classic on most tracks in full emulation of every commercial success since “Say it Ain’t So.” But Cuomo says it is so in an iheartradio interview. “…it’s a straight up super sunny ‘Weezer at the beach’ album.”

Lyrical content? All the post-classic radio single themes are back: Lifting up girlz to angelic status while referring to them as being the antagonist in an abusive relationship and calling them evil; encouraging reckless-abandonment without planning into selfish indulgence and one sided fantasies; a whole song about smoking pot; pontificating on dartboard style fledgling fascination with random sciencey sounding Big Bang Theory level content. The final song, “Endless Bummer,” is a ballad about being generally upset about a relationship with a nineteen year old responsible female presumably with self-confidence and ownership of a car along with a moral deference with the song writer whom I hope is not trying to get a date with girlz less than half his age.

In comparison to the good Weezer albums, one might notice a lack of work ethic, self-realization, respect for other people’s dreams, and recognizing the female sex as an equal part of the human species to male. There also happens to be a continued fascination with Greek mythology, the type that lifts man up as the apex of beauty.

What vibes? Anything popular. I am convinced that if this album was written months later then there would be content about gravity waves, Brussels bombing, and something demeaning about Trump. Anti-misogyny is popular in part to Weezer’s past albums, but whatever the opposite to misogyny is might be the inspiration for much of the lyrics. Crippling self-doubt, anyone? It’s all the rage on Facebook.

I have listened, painstakingly, to every one of Weezer’s albums. The first four were great and that is why I keep coming back: because there is a flash of hope with every release that one might feel the embrace of bleeding heart stoicism and identifiable songwriting. 2014 brought hope, but it was a Trojan horse.

If lyrical content is important to you, avoid this album. You might end up depressed that you are not Weezer or a girlz.

Track 5 Conspiracy: A Bound Bridge is a Sound Bridge


ayholev1tmbSouthern Empire – Southern Empire

The first track is just for foreshadowing. The second is to get attention. The third track is boring. The fourth sounds like it belongs in an early 80’s feature length animation montage.

But the fifth track, “The Bridge That Binds,” is what this album is all about. It is written in with many different sections, giving it a very symphonic feel. The lyrical content is all about learning your place in the universe and stuff. Out of the 28 minutes, the introduction feels like the first 29. Eventually, classic Sonic the Hedgehog progressive jazz fusion kicks in and things are good.

There is a great build about a quarter of the way through bleeding into a smooth saxophone solo that Danny Lopresto had to sing over to keep the track under a half-hour, which is okay because the smooth saxophone comes back after some smooth guitar and some smooth drums and smooth bass which should have continued for the remainder of the bands career, but then they would just be a smooth jazz band.

Which is still okay, because after a brief vocal interlude the Aussie’s go full swing into a classic prog-rock break down. There is a hand-holding-kumbaya that adds lyrical content and 8 repeating chords. The kumbaya ends with an excerpt from a Vincent Price film and jumps into a rockin’ synth exposÉ with a capital É because that was the only accent I could figure out. Alas, it ends too soon, again, and there is something about letting a river run red screamed over a heavy metal chug.

Finally, there is the revelation and resolution, where Lopresto has decided it is all up to me, uh… him. What classic prog-rock album would be without the flute, an ostinato strings, and overall orchestral syncopation? Not this one.

Even though the lyrical content is a little bleak and open to interpretation, the ending section could be the strongest part of the whole album, which is why it was foreshadowed in the first track. There is a brief revisiting of all of the lyrical content from the last two deca minutes while the band builds to a very short cadence that is literally one eighty-fifth of the entire song length. So close to one hundred.

The final track is a very typical progressive rock song and probably designed as filler.

Honestly, the entire album should just be “The Bridge That Binds.” As one track it is long enough to stuff an entire 33 and almost as long as the entire remainder of the album. But I will tell you why Southern Empire made the other tracks. Because they wanted “The Bridge That Binds” to be contender for track five of the year. They even stuck in track six just to seal their candidacy.

If you like prog-rock, listen to conXious. If you want more, listen to track five of Southern Empire’s self titled debut.

Micro-Reviewery 5: Catacombed, Cranial Crusher, October Falls


And yet even more stuff from the past few weeks that deserves no more than a brief paragraph.


Catacombed – Cave Beast

This one track does it’s best to sound like a cave beast in some catacombs and gleefully succeeds. In reality, it’s just a french guy recording echo drips and bass blorps, but the guttural sewer monster vocals really help the listener suspend disbelief.


Cranial Crusher – Necrópole

Pretty generic thrash from Brazil. The best thrash never experiments, but here something’s off. Maybe the song’s suck. The last track in particular manages to bury itself over the course of six minutes with its repetitive riffs. Still, over the fourteen minute run time, only sixty seconds are slow.


October Falls – Kulo

There’s a small group of metal bands that want you to believe that hundreds of years ago, acoustic guitars were the shit. Everyone crowded around medieval campfires eating their greasy turkey legs and drinking mead out of goblets studded with random gems, listening to some guy pluck one some strings while the wind blew through the wooded forests and castles of yore. They’re wrong, and so is this two track single.


Black Kirin – National Trauma


junkheadv1tmbBlack Kirin – National Trauma

It takes a lot to weird me out. I’ll listen to hours of throat singing, musique concrete, harsh noise, whatever, and I won’t bat an eye. If anything, radio music is what makes me feel uncomfortable. What’s truly grotesque is the notion that mainstream music has a cosmic appeal and objective acceptance. Godspeed to anything that lashes out against the norm, at least I can relate to being anti-everything.

Even so, Black Kirin is pretty strange. Their first full length has a truly unique sound that sounds simultaneously familiar and foreign.

On the most base level, National Trauma is melodic death a la Carcass’s Swansong, a style that’s as palatable as extreme metal can get. The vocals are mostly high shriek, the guitars play tuneful and dexterous evil riffs. You’ve heard it a million times before, and there’s little imagination left in the style.

Normally I’d give it a D- and dismiss it as derivative, but the very dominant folk elements are impossible to ignore. Rather than hopelessly boring renaissance fair acoustic masturbation, Black Kirin is into traditional Chinese folk flourishes. For the western listener, it will initially sound very corny and cliché. Your great grandfather would probably say it sounds oriental. You’ll either love it or vomit all over. The first track bears all: if the dizu flutes and erhu guitars don’t turn you off, the strange woman screeching like a cat in heat will.

But both style’s are well integrated. If you took out the metal, the folk would play on and vice versa. After awhile, the flutes, plucked guitars, and pentatonic pianos end up being essential to the formula, and you almost wish the Carcass singer would go away so the scary cat lady could whine and croon you to the metal heavens. Easily my record of the year so far.