Def Karaoke Jam: Use Your Illusion III
When DJ Tanner released DKJ vs. the World over a decade ago, it was compared to The Catcher in the Rye due to its emotionally poignant, perceptive apologue of one man’s comprehension of his human condition. See my analytical thesis on its impact (albeit edited of controversial content) here. (Look Ma, I made it…my work has been published.) Unbeknownst to us at the time, Tanner would become as reclusive as J.D. Salinger upon publishing his influential opus, silencing his powerful voice and not releasing any new material. Until now. The driving impetus for DKJ’s return is uncertain, though the economic recession and conflict with society have been posited. The UYI3 EP, being released exclusively through free Internet download due to Tanner’s contempt for “The System,” is DKJ’s Chinese Democracy. Stand up. Support the cause.
Dispel the images of KISS rejects prancing around the forest with swords and sickles. This is not your daddy’s black metal. Drastus is a one-man black metal band from France who produces a harsh, hypnotic attack in this five-song, twenty-minute jewel of white-noise riffing, savage snarls, and apocalyptic ambience. The cascading guitar mantra, “Columns of Decline Part I,” is an eerily beautiful prologue to the relentless blast beats and auditory blood spatter of “Part II,” which hits you square in the kisser like a Mongolian prostitute’s closed fist. You’re taken aback at first. You may find yourself being overcome by rage. But the more you think about it, the more you like it. Oh yeah, that’s the ticket.
After Sleep received an advance from their record label, the band spent it all on ganja and the creation of this 63-minute long song that manages to transcend any and all limitations of the doom/stoner metal genre. The deal went up in smoke after Sleep refused to rework the massive metal monument and it ultimately led to the group’s demise. The misunderstood masterpiece eventually saw the light of day and, although I have heard about it over the years, I finally invested the time to purchase and listen to it. Imagine if Sabbath jammed out on “Sweet Leaf” for over an hour with heavier-than-Satan’s-balls sludge crushing everything in sight and droning vocals about weed pilgrims melting right into place. Disorienting tones and ethereal riffing that will vibrate your lungs, this is definitive doom. Drop out of life and follow the smoke.
The Mountain Goats: The Coroner’s Gambit
If it’s complex musical arrangements and industrial strength production you crave, keep it moving. If you seek depth of imagery and lyrical complexity, make yourself at home. The Coroner’s Gambit has officially engaged at least three other records in fisticuffs for the honor of being my favorite TMG album of the moment. Literate and emotive godsends like “Jaipur” and “Baboon” are dynamic parables set to rhythm and “Family Happiness” makes me fucking glad to be alive. John Darnielle structures stories in three-minutes like no other and is, quite possibly, the closest thing today’s transparent and corruptible world has to Robert Allen Zimmerman. There. I said it. I know I’ll regret it, but never mind that; get your hands on this album and choke on the tragedy behind the words. Darnielle has created such an overwhelming amount of material throughout the years and this is an excellent starting point before you eventually work your way to The Sunset Tree.