Whoever came up with this shit is a freakin’ genius. From the seriously dreary, forlorn and feedback-imminent guitar stylings mixed up with seriously incandescent countryfied vocal lamentations (”Son of Ours”) that begin this work’s descent ino habituated honky-tonk altered in the spirit of fucking everything up, Bitchin’ takes the cake, so far, as this year’s record of renown. Stripped of any sort of pretense—well except for the for realz one, credibly gathered by repeatedly listening to Steve Hammond in any of his incarnations—this record is alternatively haunting (“Ready” and “Dark World”) and helacious (“The Night”) as it rumbles and bellows through a giant sense of loss and rustic fortitude. By the time finale “Calling and Calling” rolls out of this house of heartbreak, you’ll be thinking epic and saying bitchin’.
NoctuaStarlight Hysteria(Noctua Productions)
Whenever a band self-proclaims as “progressive rock,” and I hear about it, comparisons to Genesis—the Peter Gabriel version, pendejos—are inevitable. Here on planet Noctua, said juxtapositioning yielded the following observations: There are enough analog synth sounds, searing leads and very complicated drum fills on this album to drive me toward a more complete understanding of how prog functions as an aspect of heavenly expression, as in the opener, “On the Wings of Manticore.” References to English baroque and madrigal forms through the use of certain chordal structures has rewarding possibilities (“Into the Sun”) especially when those themes are systematically deconstructed on the following track (”Broken Symmetry”). Definitely a decent listen, but don’t blame me if you yearn for Selling England by the Pound, afterwards.
saturnerbeam me up satan(YBP Studios)
Okay, I get that the material on this record was recorded in 2016, but it was released last week on Bandcamp, see, and I just couldn’t resist listening to it, given the double references to both “Star Trek” and Satan, two forces which one supposes are opposed in the universe of humans, but in fact are probably just imaginary symbols for expectation and longing, or something like that. Anywho, as regards the recording: this EP comprises four very deeply flattened—like horseriding experiences can be—shoe-gazy, deliriously sad songs that seem to float out of speakers or headphones or the Earth itself with a plaintive beauty that is bounded by sultry singing and guitar gymnastics that wag in the breeze before a great storm. Favorite tracks: “bruiser” and “bugged.”