Month: March 2019

The Comet is Coming — Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

The Comet is Coming Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery Impulse The Comet is Coming play a weird and trippy blend of jazz and electronica, with even some rock in there.  And by electronica, I mean like electronic music of the quieter end of the 1990s, less Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method and more Ninja Tune’s roster.  All three members go by stage names, Denaogue, Betamax, and King Shabaka.  Shabaka is a towering presence, and plays one mean saxophone.  If he played a guitar instead, The Comet is Coming would be stoner rock. Shabaka is actually Shabaka Hutchings, one of the leading lights of jazz music, and has lended his talents to everyone form Makaya McCraven to Sun Ra.  We’re talking one heavy dude, and a brilliant musician.  Denagogue and Betamax, then, provide the earthly soundtrack to Hutchings’ wanderings. Dan Leavers is the keyboardist, Denagogue, and Max ‘Betamax’ Hallet rounds out the trio on drums. Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery is not just good advice for living, it’s their sophomore album, after releasing Channel the Spirits back in 2016.  It was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, losing out to Skepta’s brilliant Konichawa. Trust… starts off with a nearly five-minute prelude, ‘Because the End is Really the Beginning,’ which is an earthy and eery collection of electronic noises and rolling drums, to the point where it...

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Stephen Malkmus — Groove Denied

Stephen Malkmus Groove Denied Matador I have to admit to not paying any attention to Stephen Malkmus since the demise of Pavement back in 1999, much to the consternation of my friend, Max.  Max spent a lot of time in the early 00s trying to convince me of Malkmus’ genius with his new band, the Jicks.  But Max also once tried to convince me of the Mouldy Peaches’ greatness.  So there’s that too.  Anyway, I digress.  This is the first time I’ve listened to Malkmus in any serious was since Pavement went kaputski. It seems I picked a good point to re-acquaint myself the man.  In my head, I think of Malkmus and I hear his voice in the county-tinged ‘Range Life’ off Pavement’s second, classic, album, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, wherein he explains how the Smashing Pumpkins don’t make much sense to him.  His voice is clear and young and kinda bratty.  He was 27.  He’s 52 now.  HIs voice has aged like fine scotch, it’s deeper and I wouldn’t recognize it if I didn’t see the name on the album.  I like this version of Malkmus’ voice. Groove Denied is perhaps his first completely solo album.  His first album after Pavement split, the eponymous one from 2001, was actually recorded by the Jicks, the band he’s worked with since, but Matador wouldn’t release it under that name and...

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Walks Ins (And What Follows) by Joshua Halberstam

Anti-Genre #7 plays with the concepts of “Walk Ins.” Halberstam’s speakers often find themselves caught in the act of interrupting others who are doing something private that they would not want us to see. Other times, his “walk-ins” recall the new-age concept of a person whose original soul has departed his or her body and been replaced with a new, ostensibly more advanced soul. Weirdly philosophical snoops, Halberstam’s speakers give us the uncomfortable pleasure of interloping on fictional lives. *** WALK INS (And What Follows) He looked to his right then to his left and seeing no one he...

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Theatre Feast and Theatre Famine: On “Reza Abdoh, a Retrospective” and “Babette’s Feast”

Production Photo: “The Law of Remains.” Copyright John Zalewski     I have come to the conclusion that plays never end. They just look like they do. I have no academic credentials to back this claim up, just an accumulation of anecdotal evidence scrabbled together over two decades of working with alarmingly smart directors, playwrights, designers, dramaturgs, and actors. I am not talking about remembering plays, about feeling sentimental about favorite plays, or about failure to wrest oneself from resentment over lousy ones. I am not attempting to slight live theater’s gorgeous immediacy, the agreement between audience and performer...

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The Claypool Lennon Delirium — South of Reality

The Claypool Lennon Delirium South Of Reality ATO Les Claypool is the visionary bassist and leader of the oddball rock band, Primus. Sean Lennon, aside from being the son of royalty (John Lennon and Yoko Ono, if you didn’t know), is an oddball himself, with a long musical career, dating back to the 90s in Cibo Matto and as a solo artist. They met during a 2015 tour consisting of Primus, Lennon’s The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, and Dinosaur, Jr. Claypool and Lennon stayed in touch and, presto blammo, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, a delicious compound of psychedelia, released their first album, Monolith of Phobos in 2016, following that with an ep, Lime and Limpid Green in 2017. South of Reality, though, is where things really start to come together for Claypool and Lennon. On the first album and ep, it seems that they were mostly noodling around in a studio, the songs lacking structure and being somewhat haphazard. But, here, they explode out of the speakers into a retro 60s psych stomp. It certainly helps that Lennon sounds so much like his dad it’s kind of scary, so you always have this Beatlesque feeling, but the music is weirder and more psychedelic than the Beatles ever could be. On South of Reality, two musicians known for their oddball and avant-garde leanings (Lennon is, after all, also...

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