This Week’s Best Albums: April 30, 2013

This Week's Best Albums: April 30, 2013

Each week, editor-in-chief Chris Force and music editor Scott Morrow choose ALARM’s favorite new releases for This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic set of reviews presenting exceptional music.

Melvins: Everybody Loves Sausages

Melvins: Everybody Loves Sausages

(Ipecac, 4/30/13)

"You're My Best Friend"


Over the past 30 years, sludge-and-roll godfathers (The) Melvins have influenced countless bands in heavy rock music. Now, with its pearl anniversary looming large, it’s only fair that we hear Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and co. take on the bands that shaped them.

A 13-track covers album, Everybody Loves Sausages displays its breadth within the first two songs. Venom’s “Warhead” goes atomic with guest screams from Scott Kelly of Neurosis, but it’s promptly followed by Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” with a chiptune treatment. From there, the album is an assortment of rock-soaked influences, from David Bowie to Throbbing Gristle and from Roxy Music to the theme to John WatersFemale Trouble.

If that’s not diverse enough, the album is given extra range by other guests that include Jello Biafra, JG Thirlwell (Foetus), and Mark Arm (Mudhoney). Whether or not you want to peel the curtain on the Melvins’ youth, these modernized renditions are worth the admission.

-- Scott Morrow

Coliseum: Sister Faith

Coliseum: Sister Faith

(Temporary Residence, 4/30/13)

"Bad Will"


For 10 years, Louisville’s Coliseum has banged out no-nonsense punk/hardcore tunes behind the direct, abrasive riffs and gruff vocalizations of guitarist Ryan Patterson. Stylistically, Sister Faith offers much of the same — only this time with more rock hooks and a host of guest contributions (including members of Boris, Burning Airlines, Jawbox, Sebadoh, and The Fiery Furnaces).

“Love Under Will” showcases a “sensitive” side of Coliseum, with a bass groove (courtesy of new member Kayhan Vaziri) setting up breathy singing and guitars that ring out with emotional release. “Under the Blood of the Moon” directly follows with what could be a Killing Joke B-side, and after that, “Used Blood” and “Black Magic Punks” channel a bit of Fugazi in Patterson’s vocals. Despite its similarities, this ain’t your daddy’s Coliseum.

-- Scott Morrow

Ceramic Dog: Your Turn

Ceramic Dog: Your Turn

(Northern Spy, 4/30/13)

"Lies My Body Told Me"


Guitarist Marc Ribot is a man so prolific that it’s impossible to assign him a genre. Whether rock, jazz, world, or experimental, his music always bears the mark of a master.

Ceramic Dog, his outfit with Shahzad Ismaily and Ches Smith of Secret Chiefs 3, plays a brand of guitar-driven experimental rock that would seem disjointed in lesser hands. Your Turn, the group’s second album, puts the band’s diversity on display — from the bluesy cursing of physiology in “Lies My Body Told Me” to the winding, polyrhythmic title track to wailing psych solos to “free rock” freakouts and a rock rendition of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”

Elsewhere, Ribot’s raspy vocals lead the quirky ditty “Ain’t Gonna Let Them Turn Us ‘Round,” the old-school jazz feel of “The Kid is Back!”, and the horn- and electronics-infused “We Are the Professionals.” As always, Ribot’s virtuosity is on display throughout — but there are plenty of pleasant diversions and surprises along the way.

-- Scott Morrow

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 3

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

(Constellation, 4/30/13)

"High Above a Grey-Green Sea"


Do an image search for Colin Stetson and the result is rows and rows of the man wielding a five-foot monstrosity of brass known as the bass saxophone. But the spectacle of his horn is just the beginning of Stetson’s story — a jumping-off point for exploring new sonic territory.

Stetson’s third album, titled New History Warfare, Volume 3: To See More Light, finds the serial collaborator (Tom Waits, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire) summoning familiar sounds, with quick fingering and splintering lows lending a simultaneously soaring and claustrophobic feel. His performance employs circular breathing and numerous sax-mounted microphones to capture an array of droning and rhythmic sounds all on one track, with next to no studio magic.

The major change between this and prior efforts is the use of overdubbing for vocal tracks, which feature contributions from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The difference made by Vernon’s harmonies (and growls on “Brute”) is immediately noticeable, elevating tracks that might have sounded lacking into the realm of the haunting and sublime.

-- Brandon Goei

Sole: No Wising Up, No Settling Down

Sole: No Wising Up, No Settling Down

(Black Canyon, 4/30/13)

"I Think I'm Emma Goldman"


Activist MC Sole is back, barely six months after his last album, with another blast of hip-hop truth-speaking. On No Wising Up, No Settling Down, the Occupy Denver participant stretches his net wide and confronts globalism, rap tropes, class immobility, animal consumption, and more.

Less explicitly political, his fifth solo full-length is a “macro-social” affair. “People Piss Me Off” chronicles the tiny wrongs of the world; “My Veganism” tackles Sole’s lifestyle choice; “I Think I’m Emma Goldman” offers an orchestral introduction to anarchism.

The guest-heavy production is another diverse and experimental take on pop rap and beat-driven electronica, and as a result, No Wising Up, No Settling Down finds Sole as rangy as ever — playing against type while an ever-shifting backdrop matches his soapbox flow.

-- Lincoln Eddy

Honorable Mentions:

!!!: Thr!!!er (Warp)

Akron/Family: Sub Verse (Dead Oceans)

Alessi’s Ark: The Still Life (Bella Union)

Arsis: Unwelcome (Nuclear Blast)

The Body: Master, We Parish (At a Loss)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: Brooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam)

Debashish Bhattacharya & Friends: Beyond the Ragasphere (World Music Network)

Hanni El Khatib: Head in the Dirt (Innovative Leisure)

Heliocentrics: 13 Degrees of Reality (Now-Again)

Hessian: Manégarmr (Southern Lord)

Howl: Bloodlines (Relapse)

Iggy & The Stooges: Ready to Die (Fat Possum)

Malaikat Dan Singa: Open the Crown (K)

Os Mutantes: Fool Metal Jack (Krian Music Group)

Neon Neon: Praxis Makes Perfect (Lex)

Prolyphic & Buddy Peace: Working Man (Strange Famous)

The Ocean: Pelagial (Metal Blade)

Purson: The Circle and the Blue Door (Metal Blade / Rise Above)

Wolf People: Fain (Jagjaguwar)

Zs: Grain (Northern Spy)