This Week’s Best Albums: September 16, 2008

This Week's Best Albums

Orange Tulip Conspiracy: s/t (Mimicry)

This Orange Tulip Conspiracy debut, the first solo album / side project from Estradasphere guitarist Jason Schimmel, has been available for a little while. However, with the recent availability of its MP3s on Amazon and the little exposure it has received, it warrants a spot in this week’s list. Schimmel is an immense talent, and his far-reaching compositional skills help make Estradasphere the mind-blowing classical/Gypsy/metal/cinematic fusion that it is. This album leans more on traditional jazz parts, metal riffs, and psychedelic jam sounds, and it comes highly, highly recommended.

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Burst: Lazarus Bird (Relapse)

Hailing from Gothenburg, Swedish metal group Burst strays from the city’s well-known black-metal sound. Like previous works, Lazarus Bird worms its way through much of the rock spectrum, alternating between palm-muted chugging, pretty clean-channel melodies, and high-string metal squeals. The harmonized reverb-heavy ending to “Cripple God” is awesome (listen below).

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John Zorn: Filmworks XX: Sholem Aleichem (Tzadik)

When does legendary experimental composer John Zorn get a chance to sleep? His latest release, the 20th in his Filmworks series, is a disc of gorgeous songs often infused with Eastern European style. Featuring talented harpist Carol Emanuel, accordionist Rob Burger, and the Masada String Trio, the album acts as a soundtrack for a documentary on 19th-century Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem.

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Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger [ecopak] (A&M)

Do you remember how great the big riff on “Jesus Christ Pose” is? If you’re under the age of 20, chances are that you don’t. Problem solved: a re-release of Badmotorfinger came out this week. Chock full of sweet fret work from guitarist Kim Thayil and ridiculously high-pitched screams from front man Chris Cornell, Badmotorfinger rivals Superunknown as Soundgarden’s most seminal work. If you’re uninitiated to this album, pick it up.

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Fight the Big Bull: Dying Will Be Easy (Clean Feed)

The brain child of jazz guitarist and songwriter Matt White, Fight the Big Bull is equal parts a compelling standalone venture and homage to legends of the genre. The four songs on Dying Will Be Easy were composed and arranged by White, but his instrument typically isn’t the focus as influences from Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus come through. The distorted brass slide on the opening and title track steals the early spotlight, and the rest of the brass and woodwind section — more than half of the nonet — carries the load for much of the remainder.

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