After battering us into a state of bright-eyed submission for more than 10 years, industrial pioneer Justin Broadrick’s Jesu project has built a catalog nearly as deep as his seminal output with (currently reunited and touring!) Godflesh. More than simply his outlet for clean vocals and shoegaze textures, Jesu channels Broadrick’s tonal savagery and production mastery into monolithic compositions just as rooted in the mind (see: your interior retreat into long-buried emotions) as in the body (see: the wide arc formed by your sludge-paced headbanging). Though the project’s EP releases can stretch into drifting side-long structures or incorporate electronic techniques developed under the Pale Sketcher moniker, each “proper” Jesu album finds Broadrick complicating his template of defeated balladry and distorted catharsis in the context of another song cycle.
“Homesick,” the opening track of the forthcoming Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came LP, buries Broadrick’s vocals a little lower in the mix than usual, while his unmistakable down-tuned guitars pound out a major key progression in time with the martial drum track. As ever, God is in the details: the chiming synth phrases that crest over the low-end, the four-chord arpeggio masked behind the wall of gain, and guitar overdubs layered in as the track climbs up to its conclusion.
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came arrives September 24 through Broadrick’s own imprint Avalanche Inc.
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
There are videos that exist as ideas before the accompanying music is ever settled on, and then there are videos that hear a song out and proceed to break it down into its basic visual forms. The new video for “Burt,” the closing track to Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk’s new album Think Tone, encapsulates every familiarity heard in the nearly seven-minute duration of the song: slow-moving waves; occasional glimpses of light; layers of skin and cloth rolling over each other and folding in on themselves, rising out of and falling back into the dark; and a mass of blackness absorbing and reforming the Beach Boys-tinged ocean vibes rolling inward on the coast.
These images by themselves are eerie and disconcerting, but with “Burt” ringing out of your speakers, it’s clear that under the layers of water and smooth linen lies that glowing light: a core where everything is made incomprehensible before it all becomes one. It’s the BBDDM way of pulling layers of sunshine from the ambient din at the center of every song, and it has never been more prevalent than on this track, with guitar strums and vocal harmonies rippling outward before fading and returning to the source. We are the woman on the beach, covered and only seeing the light when the obscuring sheet is pulled from our eyes, allowing us to finally see where all the warmth is coming from.
Think Tone is out now on Fire Talk Records.
“How Many Hearts Do You Hold”
Captivated by grime and goop, ears are cleansed of filth only to be replaced with the sludgiest of all beats. High wizard JFM not only delivers the muck of sound sacrifice in his temple of fuck-drip, but also sweats this vibe through excreting samples and grainy textures of any kind, really. Casting down upon the unconverted, JFM becomes their mind’s eye and morphs into what their body needs to move. Gripping everything, including souls and mental health, JFM will stop at nothing to bring your feet to a maddening degradation of psyche.
But lemme keep this brief: I was trolling a typical music source of mine today and stumbled upon JFM. Digitally stumbled upon. Like, I’m fucking trapped in this machine, and it’s at my full-time job. I NEED OUT. HELP. THIS IS REAL. JFM HAS ABSORBED ME INTO MY WORK COMPUTER. And my only way out is if you buy up his Self Titled LP album on Divorce Records!
The members of the world of “noise” have been largely veering away from the screeching blasts of feedback and white noise and have instead shifted their focus to crafting pieces that, while not exactly “harsh,” are still physically unsettling and creepy. This occurred to me when I saw a recent performance by Aaron Dilloway on an excellent bill that also featured John Wiese and Jason Lescalleet. All three of these dudes are capable of making some of the most brutal shit imaginable. (I remember listening to Wiese’s Magical Crystal Blah Vol.3 three times in a row during college, making myself viscerally ill in the best way possible due to all of the record’s harsh frequencies.) However, at this show, Dilloway, Wiese, and Lescalleet focused more on creating works that were deeply eerie, always threatening to explode but never quite doing so — prime examples of what Nate Young described as “the spook.”
With this in mind, Dilloway’s Opened Door may be one of the most thorough examples of this aesthetic to date. The two sides of Opened Door never really shock with volume or frequency, but a constant threat remains. With these two pieces, Dilloway weaves a murky, often clangorous tapestry out of his signature setup. At times, the B-side has a beautiful fractured quality to it, like one of Nate Young’s Regression experiments without the synth sheen; the A-side even has a beat. But despite the musical nature of this material, Opened Door is still wonderfully haunting and full of dread. Dilloway and his cohorts seem to have figured out that noise doesn’t always have to work with the same signifiers in order to affect a listener viscerally, and it’s fascinating to witness.
Opened Door is out now via Chondritic Sound. You can stream the album in its entirety below:
The good folks at Miasmah are set to release yet another incredibly moody, exquisitely detailed album, this time by Kaboom Karavan. It’s called Hokus Fokus and sees Bram Bosteel amplifying the surreal and filmic qualities of his music, evoking both terror and immersion with structural suspense and textural versatility. The album sounds aggressively modern, with its interplay between abstraction and narrative, but it also sounds anachronistic at times, with the creepy Kreng-like atmospherics heading straight into a pre-WWII smokehouse of clunky Tom Waits rhythms and sinister vaudeville theatrics.
“Kolik” is the opening track, and its video, despite its minimalism, makes clear just how visual the album can be. In fact, Bosteel — who composes for film, theater, and dance — originally created the song for a film by director Liesbeth Marit, titled Yuri and the frustration of our ponies; the video here is sourced directly from the movie. Check it out below, in all its understated beauty and unsettling creepiness:
Miasmah will be releasing Kaboom Karavan’s Hokus Fokus, as well as a vinyl version of his debut album, Short Walk With Olaf, on Friday. Go here for more info.
“둘 중에 하나 (Runaway)”
Korean pop confectionery KARA just dropped their brand new Japanese album Fantastic Girls, but the real gem of their career’s past week is mother-tongue hit “둘 중에 하나 (Runaway).” Formed by DSP Media in 2007, the girl-group quintet reflect the wisdom of their years with this sophisticated R&B ballad. When it comes to the Gaon charts, only the Brown Eyed Girls — a clear influence here — have such a deft grip on pop this mature and self-assured.
“둘 중에 하나 (Runaway)” is a breezy delight, perfect for those late-summer nights. The single boasts K-Pop rarities aplenty: an expert live band smoothed by delicate studio glaze, lithe melodies and harmonies in no hurry to convince you of their salability, a gratuitous rap so apt it fails to register as gratuitous rap, and — perhaps rarest in Korea (or pop anywhere) — a climactic modulation capable of affecting the desired frisson. Above is the superior full-length version, but you can watch the video’s hugely popular two-minute reduction if you’d like to get your K-drama on.
Also, KARA girls are about to make it ¥en across the Asia-Pacific. Visit their website for more info.