Some context! I’ve been working a lot. Like….the last time we parlayed via this lovely medium known as blog, aka Phil’s Phive Bloody English edition, I was already pretty out of it. If you couldn’t already fucking tell. I was on my 30th or so day of working straight, and my friends, that has not let up in the slightest. On this fine evening of the 5th of July as I write this (JULY?!!?!?!?!?!?!!?) I have the evening off for the first time in years or decades or something like that and I knew that I had to deliver Phil’s Phive for my fucking four devoted readers but I also knew that this would likely be my own and only opportunity to get miserably hammered in the span of months in any direction so here we are! Expect many run on sentences similar to the preceding one, lots of cursing and a general lack of logic when it comes to just about anything. Also I’m not gonna reread this before submitting it so what you see is what you get folks! If you’re reading this still somehow right now: thank you for you toughing it out over these past few sentences and installments. Shit has seriously gone off the rails around here! Now….let’s fucking, do some lists.
5. Sumac – What One Becomes
Can you even imagine how shitty it must be to be Aaron Turner?
LOL I mean…the band that he should have gone down in history for, due to their absolutely immaculate hybrid of post and sludge metal, will likely be forever hushed due to their insanely unfortunate naming. ISIS. Lmao ISIS was this legendary band that everyone loved and nowadays you can’t even really talk about their existence because sooooooome certain sect of radicalists decided to also call themselves that and become the widely accepted largest global threat to international security. This article has probably already been flagged by the FBI!
Jokes on you guys I’m Canadian and I’m talking about a metal band. It’s called Wikipedia you pricks. Look it up. On Google. Anyway Sumac’s latest album is fucked up. Turner has described Sumac as being almost therapeutic for him, a means of release moreso than a vessel for songcraft. What One Becomes ends up being one of the most untraditional metal offerings I have heard in some time, existing more as a synthesis of emotion between Turner, bassist Brain Cook, and Nick Yacyshyn, the Baptists drummer who ends up adding more to this record than you’d ever expect possible. This record is a difficult listen but an extremely vital one as well. Plus there are parts that are heavier than anything else I have ever heard put to tape.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: impressionist sludge metal
4. Swans – The Glowing Man
Swans…wow. What they’ve accomplished over the past 5 or 6 years is unprecedented.
Basically no other band can claim to have the peak of their career be around the 30 year mark, after a decade long hiatus and relative fame in the 80s. Swans were always good, but the trilogy of the The Seer, To Be Kind, and June’s The Glowing Man makes for one of the most incredible runs and career arcs in history.
The fact of the matter is that The Glowing Man is at least just as good as either of the preceding, incredibly hailed records, but people are uncomfortable with talking about it. I was too! The allegations this year against Michael Gira by Larkin Grimm were disturbing, and disheartening. I lost faith as well. I was afraid to listen to this record. But when I finally worked myself up to listening to it, I realized that The Glowing Man is a fantastic record, and true or not, Swans is more than Gira.
To discount everything else that this entire band has accomplished with this record, regardless of the admittedly shaky claims against Gira, would be discounting what is in fact a massive artistic feat. Morality is a tricky subject in this day and age, and its often difficult to determine right from wrong. Immersing yourself into the 2 hour long experience, and suiting finale that is The Glowing Man with a clear mind and conscious is worth the experience, regardless of all the guilt-ridden implications that its enjoyment may have.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: post-ambient rock
3. YG – Still Brazy
Still Brazy starts with a threat. “Don’t Come to LA” is a stark response to the West Coast’s hip hop tourism that has infiltrated the streets since Dre made it a hotspot.
To YG, Compton isn’t a hypothetical tough as nails breeding ground for the next up and coming hip hop star; it’s home, for better or for worse. It’s right there in the title; after My Krazy Life, YG blew up, becoming the next West Coast saviour of rap. But regardless of his status in the rap world, YG is adamant about the fact that nothing about his place in the hood has changed. Still Brazy plays out as a self-aware reconcilation of his two roles as both superstar and true to the hood rider. YG’s decision to move away from DJ Mustard’s club-infused future beats to more organic g-funk fits his mentality on Still Brazy perfectly; fame will not change him, his word is bond.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre: reaffirmation West Coast shit
2. Huerco S. – For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
Hey. Welcome back. Um…so yeah. For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), or FTOYWHN(AATWH), or FTOY as I will be refering to it from now on for what I hope are obvious reasons, has been my bedtime album for the past month or so at least.
Huerco’s attention to texture often feels like a soft bristling massage on your brain, which, fuck, I’m telling you, has been extremely necessary.
Ambient music often has the tendency to get caught up in how wholly inoffensive and barely there it is, but Huerco’s history in the techno world speaks to his play on ambient, with its emphasis on tone, texture and build/release. This album can either engage or detach, depending on your particular frame of mind. Myself, I use it to lull me away from the stressors of life, and the album’s very subtly menacing undertone serves as a subconscious reminder that this is only a vacation, and not a permanent escape. A friend commented to me that this music sounds ‘scary’, but if you ask me, there is nothing scarier than the innocence of the nursery.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: post-club lullaby
1. Gojira – Magma
June 2016 was an absolutely insane month for metal.
Between this record, the Sumac record, the new Nails and Cough albums, it has been one of the single best months for the genre in recent memory. But of all these great releases, Magma has been by far the most listenable of all of them. I’ve seen a lot of Metallica’s Black Album references thrown around when it comes to this album, but I don’t really think that’s fair because I really don’t thnk Gojira will ever suck.
As far as quote unquote crossover records go, Magma stands apart due to its commitment to concept. Magma doesn’t sound like Gojira ‘getting soft’; it sound like Gojira adjusting their sound to fit their current point in their career and lives. Given the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding the creation of this album, Magma serves as the Duplantier brothers’ Lemonade, channeling the intense emotion of their mothers’ passing into a powerfully mature work of art.
All this aside, Magma stands as some of the tightest, catchiest metal written this year, reminding me at many times of Mastodon’s finer later day hard rock gems and Strapping Young Lad’s commitment to wall of sound earworms. Also, guys, come on. That album art.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: solar metal