Oranssi Pazuzu


Philip Montoro, Reader music editor, is obsessed with…

Oranssi Pazuzu, Kosmonument The second album from this psychedelic Finnish black-metal band—which came out late last year and has yet to see stateside release—combines the trudging-across-the-desert rhythms and heat-trance haze of Earth and Horseback with the sensation of being drugged into an extradimensional stupor by tentacled space vampires and then slowly, thoughtfully torn to ribbons.

Cosmic Hearse Aesop Dekker has drummed for Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, and the late, lamented Ludicra. On this music blog he sticks mostly to metal (usually obscure or out of print) but takes frequent detours: jazz, blues, Krautrock, folk, hardcore, pop. Dekker’s snappy, direct writing is zero percent bullshit and often very funny—he describes Duran Duran’s self-titled debut, for instance, as “a whispered lie from the urethra of oblivion.”

Caspar Brötzmann Massaker Led by the son of free-jazz reedist Peter Brötzmann, this toweringly Teutonic art-rock trio reimagined the electric guitar as an ancient bone-splintering abomination more fearsome than Grendel. Massaker last released a record in 1995 and have been largely inactive since, but in 2010 they started playing again—if you saw the band’s set at the 2011 Roadburn festival, you might’ve noticed Michael Gira of Swans losing his shit in the front row. A new album is allegedly on the way.

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Jail Flanagan, vocalist and dancer, Forced Into Femininity, what he’s obsessed with. His answers are…

Xina XurnerCredit: Eric Allix Rogers

Xina Xurner, Die Embodied by Chicago artist Young Joon Kwak (who’s backed by noise musicians Michael Perkins and Marvin Astorga), Xina Xurner is a powerful diva who can get a little scary when she’s pissed. “You Will Die (I Will Fuck You)” and “Sex” combine happy hardcore, 90s industrial, and power electronics to form irresistible dance-floor anthems. Everyone should be imitating this band but so far they aren’t.

Die Tödliche Doris, ” “ I like this German group’s other albums too, but this untitled first LP from 1982 is the most regressive. Their aim seemed to be to reduce every song structure to a bunch of heterogeneous parts independently squawking, yelping, and screeching. They do deconstruction in a way that’s more juvenile and rancorous than academic and dull.

Alabaster Choad, Crash of the Limburger on Bebusland This Bay Area band is pleasantly perverse in instrumentation. An upright bass thumps along with out-of-tune drums, two creepily robotic lead singers, and a warbly cornet. Like a refreshing breeze coming from off-center.

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Charles Joseph Smith, composer and musician, aka performance artist Mr. Forefinger, what he’s obsessed with. His answers are…

Franz Liszt, Grosses Konzertsolo, performed by Leslie Howard This 1849 Liszt piece, a bit of a spinoff of his great Piano Sonata in B Minor, is in the form of a 17- to 18-minute Romantic symphonic poem with several recurrent motives, wide contrasts in emotion and difficulty, and dramatic fluctuations in tension and resolution.

Emily Bear

Emily Bear on WGN-TV news in 2008 Rockford prodigy Emily Bear, now ten years old but just six when this footage was shot, is truly a wonder pianist; I saw her live at Chicago’s Curtiss Hall in 2011, performing the very difficult Gershwin Prelude No. 1 right before my eyes. She’s amazing, and even more amazing to me is that we’re both alumni of the great piano teacher Emilio del Rosario, who passed in October 2010.

Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Live in Houston 1977 DVD Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” here in the version from the full-length arena-rock spectacle Live in Houston 1977, attempts to do something that Van Halen would later accomplish—embrace the fantasy elements of classical music from within the world of 1970s rock. This wild ride could’ve made any band into a one-hit wonder—but of course for Queen it was just one of many smash singles.