Yeezus – Kanye West

Soon as they like you / Make ‘em un-like you.” Can’t deny that the man is working on it: it takes more than simple chutzpah to transform the bravest move that either Billie Holiday or Nina Simone ever made into a snit of pique over the difficulty of keepin’ yo bitches from running into each other in the VIP box, or repurposing Dr. King to celebrate the fact that a pair of boobies are “Free at last / Thank God almighty“… who, by the way, is the author’s alter ego. The musical culture clash (featuring, among others,  Daft Punk, Kid Cudi, and Justin Vernon, with production assistance from Rick Rubin)  is by turns bracing, annoying, turgid, and breathtaking, layered enough to repay multiple listens, and childishly self-centered enough to make every one of them a chore.



 Kveikur- Sigur Rós

The press release says that Kveikur shows Sigur Ros moving “towards a more direct, aggressive sound.” For this band, now a three-piece, that’s obviously a relative term, but there’s no question that this feels like something close to a 180 from the languorous (to be kind) Valtari. One thing about Iceland: the concept of an “aural landscape” doesn’t necessarily carry the same static suggestions it might over here: “Ísjaki” is evidently about an iceberg, and both “Hrafntinna” and “Brimstone” are hot and heavy volcano action. The title track is what you might get if Iceland gave us a Steig Larsson movie soundtrack, while “Rafstraumur” would be a pop pick to click in a better (or at least weirder) world.



Big Sur – Bill Frisell

Speaking of aural landscapes, Frisell’s first release on the revived Okeh label is a suite composed for last year’s Monterey Jazz Festival; like Brian Wilson and others before him, Frisell finds inspiration in the spectacular scenery of the California coastline. The Big Sur Quintet (violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts, and drummer Rudy Royston) support Frisell’s varied takes through jazz, bluegrass, and surf rock. “Song for Lana Works” is a glorious standout for Roberts’ sensitive playing, “Going to California” is Frisell versus tremolo, and the title song blends rising and falling lines from the strings into a haunting pictoral.


Other Notable 6/18 Releases

3 Ring Circus – Live At The Palace, Sublime
Anthem, Hanson
Be, Beady Eye
Blind, Crippled & Crazy, Delbert Mcclinton and Glen Clark
Blue Heart, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Blue Velvet Soul, Maysa
Blunderstone Rookery, Stephen Kellogg
Born Sinner, J. Cole
Extended Play, Statik Selektah
Fashionably Late, Falling In Reverse
Human Nature, BWB
Ice On The Dune, Empire of the Sun
More Light, Primal Scream
Natural Born Days, Tommy Malone
Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Primus
Seeds & Stems, Bill Kirchen
Still Fighting The War, Slaid Cleaves
Talk a Good Game, Kelly Rowland
The First Record, Tracii Guns’ League of Gentlemen
Time Machine, Nektar
Value of Nothing, Eddie Spaghetti
Ventura (6 CD), Phish
Waiting For The Dawn, The Mowgli’s
Watching Movies With the Sound Off, Mac Miller