A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Kevin Warwick, Reader associate editor
Nails, “You Will Never Be One of Us” The title track from this SoCal trio’s new full-length of hell-born hardcore (out June 17 via Nuclear Blast), “You Will Never Be One of Us” is a raging avowal that you shall wallow in flames of inferiority for however long this godforsaken planet deems to be eternity. Barely over a minute long, the Kurt Ballou-produced track combines blastbeats, enraged vocals, and rapid-fire, HGH-injected riffs—the kind that steamroll you so convincingly there’s no need to back up and confirm the damage.
Horse Lords, Interventions Baltimore’s instrumental art-rock scene is alive and well, thanks in part to Faust devotees Horse Lords. Their new Interventions is a doozy, with looping riffs that devolve into looping riffs ad infinitum, all the while poked at by saxophone skronk and off-kilter percussive-doodad rhythms. The saga “Toward the Omega Point” demonstrates the engaging and mesmerizing power of repetition—even the track’s subtle tweaks in tone feel like part of a bizarre chant—but it’s the challenging, noise-driven “Intervention” series that makes the album feel whole.
Savages at Metro on April 7 This show was very sold out, and those who hadn’t seen Savages prior were probably at least familiar with the four-piece’s reputation as a dominant force onstage. Still, when front woman Jehnny Beth dramatically climbed toward her upper register as the first song, “I Am Here,” began to crescendo, my significant other slowly gripped my arm in a way that could only mean “Holy shit.” The rest of their set was on par.
Kevin is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Sullivan Davis, talent buyer at the Hideout
Slow is cool I’ve had Rex’s 3 on the turntable for weeks, and after a few strung-out songs, I’m realizing that slow is cool. With summer starting, I only want to hear bands too hip to be quick—Codeine, Tindersticks, Low. I’m glad that there continue to be folks like Scott Tuma and bands like Earring who still think this trend is relevant.
Kara-Lis Coverdale & LXV, Sirens This 2015 collaborative release from Montreal’s Kara-Lis Coverdale and Philly’s LXV is one of the loveliest things I’ve heard in a long time. LXV can work some pretty dense textures that get harsh and pile on top of one another seemingly out of nowhere, while Coverdale’s more familiar layering and melodic sounds balance that out.
Nadia Reid, Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs I got hip to this 2015 record by following one of my new favorite labels, Oklahoma-based Scissor Tail. They release a lot of progressive instrumental folk, so it surprised me that they also put out music by a great, accessible singer-songwriter like Nadia Reid. The New Zealander is deeply emotive as a singer, and her tunes exist somewhere between heartache and hope, which is songwriting gold.
Sullivan is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Laura Callier, who performs as Gel Set and in Simulation and God Vol. 1
Various artists, Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban The Bandcamp page for the Gqom Oh! label explains, “Derived from an onomatopoeic Zulu word signifying a drum, ‘gqom’—in the local slang—’iz da sound u get wen u drop a rock on tiles.'” This 2016 compilation from South Africa is everything I love in electronic music: minimal, dark, and gritty, with fun drum programming and samples.
Selena Gomez, “Hands to Myself” I like listening to big-money pop music to hear what those artists do production-wise. I just read John Seabrook’s 2015 book The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, about manufactured pop through the ages. Max Martin, a key player in the book and one of the writers of “Hands to Myself,” says the song was inspired by Prince—so this is my sideways homage to that nasty, funky man chillin’ in the purple rain of heaven.
Gone Girl soundtrack If I met Trent Reznor in real life, would I like him? Who knows. But I’ve had a crush on him since the early 90s, when I used to cut pictures of him out of Spin magazine to tape to my wall. Sometimes when I feel creatively uninspired, I listen to this soundtrack, because it’s so dynamic and rich with textures. By the way, if you’ve never seen the 1991 Hard Copy episode about the FBI investigating footage from a Nine Inch Nails video that a Michigan farmer found in his field (a balloon-borne Super 8 camera had gotten loose), you should go YouTube it ASAP.