Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Dehd - Blue Skies

Dehd - Blue Skies

Dehd

Album title: Blue Skies
By John Noyd
Posted: Sep 2022
Label: Fat Possum
(99) Page Views

Chicago’s upbeat three-piece Dehd shoots from the hip and say what they mean in unvarnished pardons and pounding shout-outs built from the ground up, stitching tasty basement greaser-rock onto lovelorn pop-punk rumbles. Honest, unadulterated songs whose succinct pitches and skeletal melodies stick around long after the record ends, “Skies,” relies on unpretentious friendliness, common problems and universal worries, connecting sensitive ends to streamlined means with gritty simplicity and daring sincerity. Cleansing benders sending headstrong throngs into last-chance dance-offs, the trio’s tribal tempos and lo-fi anthem shorthand finds joy in misery, trust in frustration and palatable salvation in cathartic martyrdom; a bonding call and response for tag-team dreamers shaking off life’s rat-race shackles. Dehd hit Madison’s Majestic Theater Wednesday, Sept 21st along with wonky word-spitter EXUM.

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The Soft Hills - Viva Chi Vede

The Soft Hills - Viva Chi Vede

The Soft Hills

Album title: Viva Chi Vede
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2022
Label: Black Spring Records
(372) Page Views

An Italian phrase meaning alive to see, The Soft Hill’s latest laser-guided escapades envision brain-teasing mazes padded in fragile astral magic. Dreamy bleeding synthesizers sprinkled over twilight pining melts into sublime sunshine, tender expressions rendered with a touch of twang layered in crackling static floating over heavenly havens, The Soft Hills’ yielding, congealing fieldtrips conjure microcosmic odysseys whose surreal charades offer lighthouse fog melancholy alongside jaunty polyrhythmic mischief.  Navigating psychic spaces in a soothing confluence of frail alien transmissions, vagrant pedal steel and unwavering folk-pop sincerity, “Viva,” asks only a moment before capturing the long last in the might have been; a translucent infusion of witty sympathy, luminous despair and cool absolution. Good-natured and well-meaning, the album’s weathered effervescence envelopes the groovy with the moody.

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Colin Stetson, Billy Martin, Elliot Sharp & Payton MacDonald - Void Patrol

Colin Stetson, Billy Martin, Elliot Sharp & Payton MacDonald - Void Patrol

Colin Stetson, Billy Martin, Elliot Sharp & Payton MacDonald

Album title: Void Patrol
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2022
Label: Infrequent Seams
(425) Page Views

Time arrested, contested and suggested, “Void Patrol,” blooms in unraveled prog-jazz cocoons, collateral accidents coalescing through communal grooves moving in electronic ripples, saxophone splashes and wood-block waves laying a dark rhythmic undertow bubbling beneath darting catharsis and textured conjecture. Ambient phantoms whose disruptive conjunctions yield strangely logical options teetering between ephemeral genesis and unruly conclusions; Stetson on saxophone, Sharp on strings and electronics, Martin on drums and percussions and MacDonald on keyboard percussion lunge from cunning conundrums to sinister quivering, chasing pacing deviations towards distinct destinations. The experimental quartet culls years of experience with bands as disparate as Arcade Fire and Medeski Martin and Wood to navigate murky curiosity for thirsty excursions through galactic abstractions basking in exploratory detours with casual grace and eerie accuracy.

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Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky

Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky

Porridge Radio

Album title: Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2022
Label: Secretly Canadian
(1515) Page Views

Visceral, truth-spewing grooves building introspective art-punk mantras into ranting garage-rock anthems, “Waterslide,” rides mystical misery into empathic catastrophes with raw, authentic sentiments defending emotional devotionals stalking haunted contemplations and spouting mouthy outrage brimming in incisive insights. Focused, corrosive, struggling to restrain strenuous contentions, Porridge Radio tunes into life’s terse mercies, punctuating twists and turns in calculated impacts, maiming refrains and struggling couplets. Swirling Wurlitzers slithering in melancholy waltzes and shoegaze guitars launching cauterized onslaughts, the band’s driving force is scored in core values, deep-seated feeling and existential energy. Earthy diversions cruising and perusing wounded crusades centered in impenetrable futility, the British quartet’s latest effort begs in dredged confessions while styled in unwavering obsession, a mesmerizing maelstrom whose subtle culmination drives aggressive messages with smoldering diplomacy. 

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Diaries of Destruction - Diaries of Destruction

Diaries of Destruction - Diaries of Destruction

Diaries of Destruction

Album title: Diaries of Destruction
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2022
Label: Curated Doom
(458) Page Views

Sounds surrounding sounds, sounds inside sounds, sounds in raised decays and radiant fades, expansive granular tantrums and immersive dynamic phantoms, “Diaries,” detail Darwinian symphonies teeming with animated organics; semi-tamed industrial mayhem mutating into sonic topological ecologies mating mind-tripping experience to sedimentary evidence, questioning definitions through juxtaposed commotion. Gated mental-states fusing random ambience into laudanum compositions, world-building circuit-benders Elif Yalvaç, Arber and Michael Bearpark conspire to rewire. Supplemented by bassist Bryan Beller, the experimental theorists elevate nature through inclusive collusion and saturated artifice. Approximating without segregating, the project is open to a subliminal infinity supplying a terrifying ecstasy beneath seething frequencies. Environmental sensations compiled from processed electronics, pedalboard distortions and field recordings, the collaboration brims with vigorous synthesis, rocking out to unexpected perceptions and manipulated data.

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fanclubwallet - You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

fanclubwallet - You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

fanclubwallet

Album title: You Have Got To Be Kidding Me
By John Noyd
Posted: Apr 2022
Label: AWAL
(383) Page Views

Thirsty alt-pop curiosity propelling a bright, blithe spirit steering rockin’ hip-hop bottoms under boppy disco tops, “Kidding,” connects kinetic obsessions sprinkled in wit and delivered with a wink, a friendly nod acknowledging an extroverted urgency stepping out from shared honesty into carefree creativity. Refreshing tempo-buoyed textures deftly tethering dancefloor explorations alongside bedroom confessions, fanclubwallet’s lopsided novelty cultivates spacey appealing left-field charm whose classic beat-driven ear-candy empowers sound-salad splashes in New Wave pool-party cool, jacuzzi grooves moving from slinky kickers synched to freak-folk rollercoasters and cyber-tabulated ballads tapping sunny funk with trippy whimsy. Smirks and quirks in percolating verse, Ottawa-based Hannah Judge turns fanclubwallet’s fearless studio-noodled delirium into precocious proposals twisted in blinking synths, pratfall percussion and cyber-coated vocals; stereophonic homilies spawned in spunky contrapuntal clockwork.

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Frontperson - Parade

Frontperson - Parade

Frontperson

Album title: Parade
By John Noyd
Posted: Apr 2022
Label: Oscar St Records
(291) Page Views

Casually savvy pop polished in conversational playfulness, The New PornographersKathryn Calder and Mark Andrew Hamilton (aka Woodpigeon), stage sparkling heartache in the devilishly educated, “Parade.” Well-prepared flair paired with smooth musical nuance, the duo’s calm drama is gifted in uplifting riffs tumbling over punchy sunshine harmonies, fond swansongs waxing nostalgic with sunset forget-me-nots digitized in fizzy indie blizzards, plucked from baroque folk and tuned to tender acoustic roominess.  A sensitive blending from multi-talented collaborators trading smart segues between seamless ideas, the entire record breathes in cohesive reprieves, compassionate distractions packing effortless gentleness inside romantic candor to sooth life’s bumpy patches into heavenly getaways blazing with radiant syncopation.  Immaculate practitioners in crafted particulars, Frontperson looks ahead while refining what has passed into something reliably desirable.

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Kyle Rightley - The Hum

Kyle Rightley - The Hum

Kyle Rightley

Album title: The Hum
By John Noyd
Posted: Mar 2022
Label: self-release
(498) Page Views

Kicking things off with an aspirational Celtic jig melting into explosive folk, tinged with indie-rock, “The Hum,” is hard to summarize. Slide guitar slices to the quick, chamber-pop brass elevates poignant disappointments into elegant hesitation, mandolins swing in heart-wringing sympathy while ambient textures, crisp acoustics, gritty electrics and tasteful arrangements deftly fuse gallivanting dynamics into songs ambidextrous and effervescent. Ascending tensions both supportive and intriguing seize leads and control the flow jumping from miniature synth-rock operas to country-fried lullabies in an amazing display of multi-instrumental skills. Rightley’s perceptive lyrics unify the album’s encyclopedic styles; constantly evolving pondering, morphing meditations and persistent shape-shifting issues connect left-handed turns and expansive gambles to well-charted maps exploring contemporary territories in personalized fictions embodying modern contradictions within solid, accomplished compositions.

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Tone of Voice Orchestra - Tone of Voice Orchestra

Tone of Voice Orchestra - Tone of Voice Orchestra

Tone of Voice Orchestra

Album title: Tone of Voice Orchestra
By John Noyd
Posted: Mar 2022
Label: Stunt Records
(464) Page Views

A marvelous collaboration between singer-songwriter Trinelise Væring and Danish jazz saxophonist Fredrik Lundin, Tone of Voice Orchestra’s four singers, fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, cittern, saxophones, flutes, two drummers and double bass mix East European folk with North African jazz and Mother Earth Americana for Druid grooves, pagan refrains and snake-charmer barnstormers. Incorporating contemporary fairy tales into real-life delights and blossoming thoughts, ToVO’s celestial messengers address modern problems and universal concerns as meditative drum-circles merge with nurturing self-worth and campfire mirth, a rumbling coven of fertile dervishes manifesting tantric mantras with aspiring choirs, unfolding solos and simmering rhythms patiently weighing hypnotic options. Pastoral stories producing heady flowerbeds stuffed with anthropological solace, the self-titled debut gathers deep-breathing seekers under bright silk-screened skies with yogic motivation and wide-open eyes.

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Destroyer - Labyrinthitis

Destroyer - Labyrinthitis

Destroyer

Album title: Labyrinthitis
By John Noyd
Posted: Feb 2022
Label: Merge Records
(351) Page Views

Foppish yacht-rock kisses swish in a wicked laissez faire marriage between debonair doomsday soothsayers and groovy arthouse cabaret; “Labyrinthitis,” strides through stylish kaleidoscopes, a stymied primal dance dressed in frisky disco moments and dizzy synthesizer symphonics drawing royal cinematic sympathies. Admonished thoughts caught among casual affirmations and picturesque fiction slink in meandering anthems for castaway candidates, unrestrained language-plays staging mental mazes colored in palpitating pulses, rubbery hustle and aerodynamic glamour. A cabal of the banal twisted into mischievous quips, jaded persuasions and aloof truths, New Pornographer’s Dan Bejar and long-time collaborator John Collins deploy Destroyer’s glossy innuendos in shimmering crescendos rendering moody affluence, party pariahs talking behind your back as digital orchestras swell in chandelier soliloquies glow in smoldering myths, snickering enigmas and divested effigies. 

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Spoon - Lucifer on the Sofa

Spoon - Lucifer on the Sofa

Spoon

Album title: Lucifer on the Sofa
By John Noyd
Posted: Jan 2022
Label: Matador Records
(413) Page Views

Visceral bristling with slinky bootleg boogie slowly pouring over husky seductions singed in vintage derision while nestling tender affection, Spoon embodies irresistible rock ‘n roll grit with scrappy toe-tappers alluding to demonic grooves with crackling back-to-basics cool. Sweltering heartfelt rebels celebrating back-alley nostalgia with odes to radios and records, Austin’s primed front-line survivors dispense tempting friendships punctuated in sax blasts, scratched thrash and stripped riffs as load-bearing bass, rigid rhythms and doo-wop harmonies lay formidable foundations for antsy vamps and scampering slow-jams. Veering away from quick fixes and studio-assembled perfection, “Lucifer,” proves loose band bantering produces creative havens as well-rehearsed excursions unearth cozy lived-in verses, sensuous impetuous solos and boisterous choruses.  A stunning band live, Spoon play’s Milwaukee’s The Rave April 23rd with Margaret Glaspy

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Mitski - Laurel Hell

Mitski - Laurel Hell

Mitski

Album title: Laurel Hell
By John Noyd
Posted: Jan 2022
Label: Dead Oceans
(398) Page Views

Cloistered confessionals injecting micromanaged humanity into sparse artifice, “Laurel Hell,” is a sensual reckoning bursting in pent-up tension emphasizing monumental empathy itching to exist. From bright to brooding, solitary to magnanimous, Mitski sings into the night with candlelit synths, somber chamber-pop whose militant diligence and shadow-dispensing despair ignite symphonic flares reveling in elevated faith and incandescent strength. Wisely bridling majestic trepidation to end her time in, “Hell,” with spritely rhythmic sprints, Mitski finishes with beat-driven epiphanies glowing in rekindled desire for gloriously sonorous transformation, soulful control snowballing into tuneful communion between dark thoughts and tentative memories. Suspenseful interventions creating sage paintings, Mitski’s songs treasure deeply personal expression. Count yourself lucky to have tickets to her sold-out show March 15th at Milwaukee’s Miller High Life Theater. 

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