Streaming Sausages: Hear The Melvins’ 30th-anniversary covers album, catch ’em on tour

The Melvins: Everybody Loves Sausages(The) Melvins: Everybody Loves Sausages (Ipecac, 4/30/13)

(The) Melvins, embarking on a 30th-anniversary tour (in both standard and Melvins Lite variations, depending on date) on July 12 alongside Honky, is releasing a covers record April 30. Entitled Everybody Loves Sausages, the album showcases the band’s many talents by covering artists as diverse as David Bowie, Queen, The Jam, and Venom. It also features myriad guest stars, including JG ThirlwellScott Kelly (Neurosis), Jello Biafra, and more.

Roadburn Festival 2012

Roadburn Festival 2012

Holland’s annual Roadburn Festival begins today, featuring some of the most adventurous names in metal (and beyond) from across the globe over four days of festivities. This year’s ALARM favorites include: Ancestors, Michael Gira (of Swans), Killing Joke, OmSleep, Pelican, Manorexia (JG Thirlwell), Nachtmystium, Barn Owl, Jucifer, La Otracina, Justin K. Broadrick SavioursTombs, and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation.

See the complete schedule here. Though the festival is sold out, it’s never too early to plan for 2013!

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Kronos Quartet, Kimmo Pohjonen & Samuli Kosminen’s Uniko

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Kronos Quartet, Kimmo Pohjonen & Samuli Kosminen: UnikoKronos Quartet, Kimmo Pohjonen & Samuli Kosminen: Uniko (Ondine, 2/1/11)

Morrow: In 2004, the unparalleled Kronos Quartet premiered a new commission of material written by Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and sampler / electronic percussionist Samuli Kosminen.  Though it only was performed on a handful of occasions, it proved so resonant that the six performers finally recorded the seven-movement suite, which was released last month by independent classical label Ondine.

Kronos has always attained high marks for its diversity of projects.  Uniko, first and foremost, remains a contemporary chamber piece, but it’s most set apart by the electrified and effected sounds of Pohjonen’s accordion and the soft laptop beats of Kosminen.

Pohjonen also adds wordless vocals that at times resemble throat singing.  It’s another interesting element, but the movements’ structures are the real key to Uniko‘s success — whether building into a stirring Balkan folk melody in “I. Utu” or stacking pizzicato and staccato passages over buzzing percussive samples in “III. Sarma.”


Record Review: Zs’ New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion!

Zs: New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion!Zs: New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion! (The Social Registry, 1/25/11)

Zs: “AcresRMX” (Gabe Andruzzi Remix)

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It would be just like the beaten-to-death art of the remix to take on new life in scorched earth.

Nothing about New York avant-garde group Zs has a hook to give people a happy thrill of recognition when it pops up combined with something unexpected. Not only do sax player Sam Hillmer and his bandmates create sounds that no sane instrument maker could have intended, they do so systematically, in drawn-out patterns of percussive fury.

It certainly has elements of noise and free jazz to it, but even that doesn’t do credit to Zs’ disciplined pursuit of alien, enveloping sound mass. Processing its music can be so demanding — the band has a stated goal of “challeng[ing] the physical and mental limitations of both performer and listener” — that making sense of it might as well be a constructive act of hands-on interpretation.

Refreshingly, the remixers on New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion! use the opportunity to explore the sounds that Zs pried from extended technique and beyond-maddening feats of repetition on the first New Slaves. Three tracks — “New Slaves,” “Concert Black,” and “Acres Of Skin” — get two remixes here. Neither pair immediately seems to come from the same source, and that’s a great sign.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Foetus’ Hide

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Foetus: Hide

Foetus: Hide (Ectopic Ents, 10/1/10)

Morrow: Foetus is the best-known moniker of eclectic composer JG Thirlwell, whose multifarious recordings stretch across art rock, no wave, electronica, exotica, chamber music, big-band jazz, classical orchestrations, and much more.  He has fought the classification as being a forebear of industrial music, particularly for his early material, and his later projects — Steroid Maximus, Manorexia, and the material for The Venture Bros. TV show — have expanded his exotic instrumentals.

Underneath it all, his material as Foetus has tied the aesthetics together, with eccentric and melodramatic vocals helping to create his “poppiest” songs.  Hide is his first studio album as Foetus since 2005.

League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots: Mechanized Performers

Founded in 2000 by Eric Singer, LEMUR is a collection of robots designed to play virtually any instrument in any style imaginable. Though the mechanical musicians may elicit skepticism and raised eyebrows, Singer’s bots have worked with acclaimed musicians such as Pat Metheny, JG Thirlwell, Morton Subotnick, and others.