Weekly Roundup: November 17, 2017
There is a never ending onslaught of music coming out. Each Friday sees the release of a slew of new records worth your time and notice. Here are a small fraction, rounded up and reviewed to the best of our ability:
Full of Hell/The Body — Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light
RIYL: Code Orange Kids, Merzbow, Old Man Gloom
Collaboration is an integral part to being ain a band for obvious reasons. Musicians have to adapt and evolve their ideas and curtail their egos to serve a larger purpose of coming together and forming a piece of art that has a direct purpose and cohesive sound. Few full bands, however, manage to integrate with other full bands for a sound that does both justice as well as create something new. In fact I can’t even think of many other examples where this kind of collaboration has ever worked (though Touche Amore has had similar success on smaller releases). Full of Hell and the Body however are two bands who seem to lean into the challenge, collaborating frequently with artists both drastically disparate and relatively similar. Full of Hell already have one of the best releases of the year under their belt with Trumpeting Ecstasy and the Body have been far and away an influential undercurrent for some time since their record (and collaboration with Assembly of Light Choir) All the Waters of Earth Turn to Blood. They came together first for last year’s One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache and now for Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light. Both bands,known for being difficult, challenging, heavy sounds, turn in a similarly dense, challenging record on their second go-round but one without some of the same jagged edges as their 2016 collaboration. It is, however, a full, thought-through sound. It’s a singular collaboration that feels surprisingly organic despite the mechanized wea[pnry the sound actually imitates.
Louis Armstrong — The Nightclubs
RIYL: Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, music in general as a concept or artform
The notion of a review for a new collection of Louis Armstrong recordings is patently ludicrous. Armstrong is a titanic presence in music and the jazz world’s arguably single most recognizable and famous figure. The Nightclubs is a collection of live recordings from his heydey making nightclub tours. And, just as with every single one of his copious numbers of recordings, it is typically sublime. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that has the same warm quality as Armstrong’s signature growl and the tones of his trumpet. Interspersed throughout are small snippets of interviews and talking heads providing some context for some of the songs, which are entertaining of themselves (and to hear Louis Armstrong speak with reverence and respect while dedicating “A Kiss to Dream On” to Billie Holiday will make you grin like a wolf). We are still chasing the example Satchmo left nearly fifty years ago, and I have some serious doubts as to weather we will ever achieve it again. Sure you may have heard some of these songs before on one of his other endless collectons but honestly who gives a damn. Any moment you can spend listening to Pops is a moment well spent.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings — Soul of a Woman
RIYL: Charles Bradley, Leon Bridges, Etta James
Reviewing a Sharon Jones release is nearly as idiotic as a Louis Armstrong one. Sharon Jones was a modern legend of soul who sadly passed almost exactly a year ago. Soul of A Woman is her swan song, and it’s got every bit the same power and life that the world has come to expect from the powerhouse singer. She and the similarly recently departed Charles Bradley were two late-comers to the soul scene who in a short amount of time managed to carve out a stake on the history of the genre worthy of the legacies of the genre’s greats. Soul of a Woman is a fitting, poignant, and moving goodbye to a legend.
Civic Duty – Burden of Hate
RIYL: 86 Mentality, Protester, Pure Disgust
Triple B records’ sound is having its moment in the spotlight, perhaps best exemplified by the New Wave of DC Hardcore. Bands like the recently departed Pure Disgust and Protester have taken the Oi-influenced street-hardcore banner left in the district by 86 Mentality in the mid 00’s and run with it. Civic Duty is another band in the same vein playing fast, brutal, throwback hardcore with a bit of an Oi! bend to it. Put Negative Approach, SOA, and Bad Brains in a blender and you’d get a rough blueprint that Civic Duty manages to follow to a t, adding a new name to the burgeoning and reinvigorated DC hardcore scene.
You Vandal — I Just Want to Go Back to Hell
RIYL: Man Overboard, Broadway Calls, Handguns
The Saves the Day-referencing You Vandal have been touted around sites like Punknews quite a bit of late. And with the potential the band displays on their debut its easy to see why. These are carefully crafted pop-punk tunes that still manage to eschew typical pop-punk-ness. Their sound exists somewhere in between the underground darlings Man Overboard and the more orgcore-accepted Broadway Calls without really casting their way one way or the other too far. It simultaneously manages to bafflingly split the difference between New Found Glory and Screeching Weasel, and do so with adeptness.