This Week’s Best Albums: December 16, 2008

This Week's Best Albums

Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses: Perils LP (Rise Above)

Originally released in the US by Mimicry Records in April of 2005, Perils is the outstanding debut album from this British quintet. Counting Leo Smee (Chrome Hoof) among its members, Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses weaves passages of creepy Eastern European folk music mixed with neo-classical string work, doomy bass riffs, and psychedelic flourishes. Now available on vinyl, Perils is the perfect primer for anyone interested in hearing Miasma’s eclectic sound.

Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses: “The Mage” (excerpt)

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God is an Astronaut: s/t (self-released)

To label this Irish instrumental outfit as “post-rock” would be doing it an injustice, even though its mixture of melodic, clean-channel guitars, potent distortions, and distant droning recalls some of the sounds of Mogwai or Hum. God is an Astronaut has more happening, as the beginning to “Zodiac” can attest; tablas and sitar build the song’s introduction before a big rock storm takes it over.

God is an Astronaut: “Zodiac”

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Baroness: First & Second (Hyperrealist)

These stoner-metal Savannah residents have their out-of-print 2005 EPs reissued on one CD from hometown label Hyperrealist. The disc has been available for a few months through mail order, but today is the official “release date” through Amazon. The release is more for preexisting fans of Baroness, but it proves that the group established its bona fides well before it signed to Relapse.

Baroness: “Rise”

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Peteris Vasks: Cantus ad Pacem (Wergo)

Latvian composer Peteris Vasks is a noted bassist and orchestral musician, and his string quartets have been performed by such illustrious American company as Kronos Quartet. But he has also drawn praise for his dark solo works for organ, which are interpreted here by cathedral organist Talivaldis Deksnis. The disc also includes Deksnis’ renditions of two of Vasks’ orchestral compositions.