Hey Marvel: if Buckcherry and Soungarden were good enough for the Avengers soundtrack, why on earth did you slight Grand Magus? Something tells me that Thor would prefer the Stockholm trio’s hard-rock reinterpretations of Norse Mythology to another bone-dumb Papa Roach song about scars or last resorts, or something. Case in point? “Valhalla Rising,” a track that proves why the heavy metal model is still effective: take a catchy melody, cloak it in sludgy riffs and a relentless beat, top it off with a screaming solo halfway through, and you’ve got yourselves a brutal beauty. It even opens with the musical equivalent of a dramatic action sequence: a demure piano riff suddenly gives way to JB Christoffersson’s militaristic shred. If this doesn’t end up on the soundtrack to Thor 2, then maybe Loki does deserve to make us all his minions — or at least, the people who make lame superhero movie soundtracks.
Grand Magus’ The Hunt is out June 5 via Nuclear Blast.
Michael RJ Saalman
I’ve been getting a bit antsy waiting for the debut tape from Biosexual, a duo consisting of Michael RJ Saalman and Zac Nelson. So in my ever-antsiness, I decided to reap the benefits of Mr. Saalman’s ridiculously fruitful SoundCloud page (which first got me hip to the music of Biosexual with the amazingly titled, pristine pop of “Sleigher”). I then decided to share the luscious berries available for picking there, which leads us to this: an incredible three-part work from Saalman called Eventually Dead. You might want to tie your jaw up with a piece of string or something. And find something firm and solid nearby to hang on to as you make your way through this. Those synth arpeggios can get a little dizzying.
• Michael RJ Saalman: http://soundcloud.com/michaelrjsaalman
Hubble + Patrick Breiner
In their most grandiose game of cat and mouse, Ben Greenbreg (Hubble) and Patrick Breiner present “Hubble Chase.” Patrick blowing channeled diddies on ya right ear. Ben shredding salad in ya left. Your mind crashing down at the center. On the fake, put this MP3 on repeat, and you’ll hear things from the beyond. Like, inner-trans-dimensional shit arises behind your face, and maybe that’s an elephant or an ambulance sound. Maybe all your bodily functions are vibrating in such a tuned frequency your insides are transported onto a different plane of reality where people “walk” around inside-out. On the reel, “Hubble Chase” is exclusive to Suongs Records’ 2012 complication Soungs Kompf, out and shipping as of today.
“East Kensington Run Down”
Nothing is uniquely “American” anymore, is it? You know why? America sucks. Traditionally, American music, at its core, does not suck. We know this. Chris Forsyth knows this. But Americana as an essential essence is just not as essentially essential of a thing in 2012 as perhaps it once was, and I think Forsyth is probably hip to this notion as well. So, here with “East Kensington Run Down” he sneaks in some real Eastern hypno-raga drone stylings into this linearly moving piece of music, touching simultaneously on folk and psychedelic spirituality, mixing the two into a nice blend that’s a thing of calming comfort to sink into. Check the rhythm here especially: softly motorik in pulse with nary a falter, a toe-tapper to which you can truly set your watch. And that guitar tone — nice and deep and just lovely, isn’t it?
Forsyth has a new album forthcoming on Northern Spy. Be on the lookout for Kenzo Deluxe this July.
“Terrorist Threats” ft. Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko
Compared to the rest of his Black Hippy cohorts, Ab-Soul is probably the most mysterious. Always hidden behind a pair of shades, the California rapper has a menacing cadence that stands in stark opposition to the more playful styles of Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. With his latest solo endeavor, Control System, Ab-Soul has once again demonstrated his mastery of dramatics and wordplay, and the video for his new single “Terrorist Threats” stands as a fascinating testament to that prowess. All of the rap video clichés get unsettling reinterpretations; instead of throwing his dollar bills at the camera, the rapper lights Mr. Washington on fire, while Danny Brown looms in the background with a spliff. There are no grandiose cars or mansions to be found here, just creepy shots of the empty city streets and grainy newsreels. It’s more indicative of Trent Reznor than T-Pain, and coming from a member of one of the most talented and socially-conscious rap collectives around, you’d expect nothing less.