Wow hey guys how’s it going its been a while. How’ve you been? I’ve been terrible. Just awful. You too eh? Brutal. Well not to worry, here’s a brand new edition of Phil’s Phive to distract you from how miserable you are for the next, I dunno, two minutes or so before your stimulus addicted mind gets bored and opens a new tab on your browser. To those of you who make it all the way through to the end; I have a treat for you. So stick around. This is what it’s come to eh? Bribing my readers to stick around for the whole article. That is if there’s any of you even out there!
I skipped August. Why? Lots of reasons. I guess it comes down to the fact that I just wasn’t really feeling it.
I mean, other than the Frank Ocean, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, Marconi Union, and Mizmor records, I couldn’t even come up with five records to talk about. Wait. Hmm…
Anyway, here we are now, fresh, full of vigor and life, ready to talk some fucking, you know, music and albums and shit. As it stands, September was the best month for music in 2016 easily. I could have made a Phil’s Phten edition, but I already did that gag with Phil’s Phsix and I’m all about keeping it fresh, folks. I did do that right? Releases by the likes of Nicolas Jaar, Nick Cave, Bon Iver, Danny Brown, and Solange have cemented September as the most solid month of 2016 critically, and rightfully so. Those are all incredible records, and deserve all the recognition they deserve.
So here at Phil’s Phive, I wanna talk about some other, more under the radar records that came out in September.
Why? Because these records were just as good and need more recognition, and also what’s the point of talking about albums that 4 million people have already substantially written about? Oh yeah, my take on the new Solange album that maybe 10 people will actually read is important and must get out there. Give me a break. So, here is the Phil’s Phive Other Good Music of September 2016. This is where you shotgun your beer.
5. Spire – Entropy
Black metal is one of my favourite genres because it can refer to a very wide variety of different sounds, as long as the heart of the music stays the same. The fact that the industrial pop-metal of Blut Aus Nord’s Cosmosophy, to the noisy, dirt-lofi onslaught of Wold, to the ambient worship of Burzum and countless other bands can all be considered ‘black metal’ is fascinating to me, because despite their disparities, I hear and understand the core, thematic connection between all of these bands.
Entropy, the debut record from Spire, is more along the lines of fellow frenchmen Blut Aus Nord’s non-777 releases, encompassing the very essence of what most would call ‘typical’ black metal; blast beats, tremelos, and high pitched, demonic shrieks. Yet Entropy remains aware of the flexible backbone of its genre foundation, and tastefully incorporates references to all the various forms black metal has been prone to take over the years.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: towering French black metal
4. Grumbling Fur – FurFour
I’m gonna try and say this the most succinctly I can without being offensive: the only reason Grumbling Fur aren’t popular are because they aren’t very good looking. Let me explain. This British masters of psychedelia pop make fantastic, catchy songs that are weird, yes, but no less weird than, say, Bon Iver (who’s on track to sit on top of the Billboard Top 100 this coming week). The sounds are sometimes weird, yes, but the songs are usually fairly straightforward psychedelic pop songs, tracks any fan of British psych-pop could grow to love (um, the Beatles???)
But no, for some reason they’ve been delegated to this underground cult status, despite having songwriting chops to match and/or master the charts. The only explanation is that they just don’t fit into the current musician/model standard of fame that us assholes have imposed upon the music world. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, because Grumbling Fur are amazing, but instead we worship motherfuckers like G-Eazy. Like, come on.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: alternative universe psych pop
3. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
It’s difficult to grasp the importance of Neurosis. Most of your favourite bands, at least in the capacity that they’re able to create genre-shattering music, wouldn’t exist without these guys. Post-metal seems like a cop out to describe Neurosis, yet it is a genre they almost singlehandedly created. They’ve been around for more or less 30 years, and yet, to this day, every time they release a record, it’s still an event. We’ve been blessed with a mere 4 year wait between their previous, Honor Found In Decay, and Fires Within Fires, and we should all be extremely thankful for that (it was a 5 year wait between Given to the Rising and Honor). Honor was a relatively subdued record by Neurosis standards (not that that’s a bad thing – their calmest record, Eye of Every Storm, is my favourite of theirs) and Fires seems like a reaction to this.
This is a heavy album, a testament to the power that Neurosis is able to conjure. It’s also their most economic album, with a mere 5 tracks clocking in at 41 minutes. It’s a streamlined approach to a Neurosis record, the sound of a band who knows exactly what they want to achieve as a grand statement in the span of a single record. A relatively short, heavy album isn’t exactly what the modern Neurosis fan would want/expect from them at this point, but it comes off as a refreshing reminder that we should never get comfortable with the band that basically invented boundary pushing in modern metal.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: inter-dimensional post-metal
2. Every Time I Die – Low Teens
I have been a fan of Every Time I Die for a very long time, probably 12 years now. I was bumping Hot Damn! back in middle school and bought their masterpiece, Gutter Phenomenon, the day it came out in 2006. Every time they release a new record, I always think that this is gonna be it, this is finally gonna be the album where they lose me. Metalcore is a pretty silly genre, one that I have long since grown out of, but along with Converge, ETID are the masters of the genre, and always find a way to keep it fresh, 20 years into their career. There has been moments along the way where they threatened to derail this unbelievable winning streak (here’s looking at you, New Junk Aesthetic) but they more than redeemed themselves with Ex Lives and From Parts Unknown, records brimming with anxious, punky energy unlike anything they’d released before.
But Low Teens is a new beast entirely, taking all the sounds of their career and making them bigger and better. Keith Buckley, by far the most charismatic frontman in the history of the genre, hits a new high on Low Teens both vocally and lyrically; the tragic desperation of the events surrounding this record shaping his delivery into the most forceful it has ever been. Twenty years into their career, and Every Time I Die are making some of the best music they’ve ever made, all the more impressive given the potential for stagnation this particular genre of music holds. Not to mention, closing track ‘Map Change’ is arguably the best song they’ve ever made. So, being the ETID expert that I most assuredly am after 12 years of fandom, here is the new comprehensive list of Best Every Time I Die albums.
- Gutter Phenomenom
- Low Teens
- Hot Damn!
- Ex Lives
- From Parts Unknown
- The Big Dirty
- Last Night In Town
- New Junk Aesthetic
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: blue ribbon Buffalo metalcore
1. True Widow – AVVOLGERE
‘Stonegaze’ sounds like a dumbass genre that I would make up while being ironic and stupid. Yet that was the absurd portmanteau being thrown around to describe True Widow back when Circumambulation came out three years ago. Not only does it really mean anything at all, True Widow never really sounded like a stoner rock or a shoegaze band, so I don’t know what all that nonsense was all about. Luckily, with AVVOLGERE, we won’t have to worry about any stupid, head-shoved-up-ass genre classifications because this album is pure rock and roll through and through (with that True Widow twist, of course).
Past True Widow records have been shrouded in shadow, the cover art for Circumambulation serving as the perfect visual representation for the music inside. Dirgy tempos, brooding vocals and minimally sludgy guitars and bass came together to give True Widow one of the most simplistically distinctive sounds in modern underground rock. While still dark and shadowy, AVVOLGERE sees the band dropping a lot of the dreary aspects of their work for something that is a bit more, well, kickass. The BPMs are up, the riffs shred, some of the songs have actual choruses…this is about as close to a straight forward rock record as we will ever get from these guys.
Yet, trust me, this is coming from a guy who basically hates rock music these days; True Widow are low key one of the best bands on the planet these days, and they make their flavour of rock and roll one of the most compelling around. Everything you love about the band is still intact, just with sharper songwriting chops and a lot more energy than what we’re used to. Along with O’Brother’s Endless Light, AVVOLGERE is one of 2016’s finest rock albums, giving me hope for a genre that I had basically given up on.
Ridiculous Made Up Genre of the Day: dark rock