Release Day Roundup – 12/14/18

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure…

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Swans & Michael Gira – The Great Annihilator/Drainland (Reissue)

Though Swans has had several sonic reincarnations, The Great Annihilator is one of the most important phoenixes in the flock. After five perverse, punishing records, Michael Gira and crew began to slowly drift up from the gutters into some puzzling territory. The band followed up Children of God (1987) with an unexpected absolution and released The Burning World (1989), a collection of gothic-tinged neofolk album which was easily the most pleasant offering they’d composed up until that point. Then came sister albums White Light From the Mouth of Infinity (1991) and Love of Life (1992), which strayed slightly from their predecessor but took the general framework along with them. Swaying between dismal post punk, morbid folk and unidentifiable bliss, these albums flirted with a sound that Gira and crew would perfect on The Great Annihilator (1995), one of the greatest achievements of Swans initial life as a band.

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Bless Your Ears With Lowlands’ Gloomy Post-Punk Debut, Lovers Blessings

Saying any particular genre is dead has to be one of the lazies things a (supposed) music fan can do. Punk bears the brunt of these types of claims, but I’ve seen virtually every genre from hip-hop to black metal to jazz receive some variation of this critique over the years. Saying this is an indication of laziness more than anything else; given the intersection of genre proliferation and the ease of music discovery, there’s really no excuse for missing the multitude of bands who either pay homage to or actively progress virtually every genre in existence. Post-punk is a solid example of this – so many people are content rocking their Unknown Pleasures shirts and remaining oblivious to the fact that the genre didn’t start and end with Joy Division. There are notable installments made in the genre each year, and with their debut album Lovers Blessings, NYC-based duo Lowlands makes a compelling case for why they’re the post-punk act of the year.

Mamiffer – The World Unseen

Typically, having Aaron Turner on a band’s roster is a sign of unquestionable success. His work in Isis alone is deserving of endless admiration, let alone his output as a solo artist, collaborator and one third of the phenomenal Celestial-worshiping Sumac. Yet, Mamiffer may be an exception to this standard, but not for the reasons apparent from a surface-level understanding. Mamiffer’s music most obviously solidifies this observation, as the project’s headfirst foray into organic, droning ambiance resembles only the fringes of Turner’s typical work. But more importantly is the fact that Mamiffer is a duo, with Turner’s actual other half truly dominating the conversation. Faith Coloccia pours herself into Mamiffer, which is especially true on The World Unseen. The ambition of the album emanates from sonic and emotional channels derived straight from the depths of Coloccia’s soul.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Find Out What “Granfalloons II” Means By Way Of Yardsss!

Experimental music is sort of my go-to when people ask about all the weird music I listen to. I think it’s always interesting that I show bands like Swans and White Suns to people and they wonder how I could get enjoyment out of them, when in reality their sheer excess is what really makes them so enjoyable. The same goes for Yardsss, a band that sounds like a weird mix of Swans, post-rock, and orchestral music. Their upcoming album Granfalloons is going to be super awesome, and if you don’t believe me, you can hear for yourself by streaming “Granfalloons II” below, and give yourself a taste.