Showing posts with label savages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label savages. Show all posts

Monday, January 25, 2016

video review: 'adore life' by savages

Well, not quite as great as I was hoping, but still a fair bit better than a lot of critics have given it credit. Highly expect this one will get a critical reappraisal.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN, followed by Megadeth - stay tuned!

album review: 'adore life' by savages

This has been one of my most hotly anticipated albums of the year.

And really, if you go back to listen to Savages' incredible debut album, you'd see why. Silence Yourself may have been preceded by stark proclamations that many could read as reaching for impact, but the music could back it up, a haunted cacophony of noisy guitars, pummelling bass grooves and drums, and Jehnny Beth's harsh but starkly emotive delivery, walking the line between sultry and righteous rage. And that's before we get into the writing, blunt on the surface but nuanced in the framing that contorted relationships through a fiercely dominant but complex sexual picture. In other words, with every listen it only gets better and it was definitely one of my favourite albums of 2013.

And yet since then, Savages seem to have eschewed anything that would hem them in artistically or away from the more intense, difficult music they want to create. This first manifested in 2014 with the performance art piece Words To The Blind, an improvised collaboration with Japanese acid punk group Bo Ningen that delved into failures of communication across a divide that could only be spanned by regressing down to the simplest and most raw of moments - especially considering that failure of communication wasn't shy about implicating the audience in their own lack of understanding. And thus when I heard that their full-length sophomore release was partially inspired by Swans... well, I wasn't surprised, especially considering the themes and repetition that underscored To Be Kind. So I was prepared for a tough but inevitably rewarding listen with Adore Life - did I get it?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

video review: 'words to the blind' by savages & bo ningen

Wow, this was a welcome surprise. A little late to post it tonight, but still a great album all the same. Next up... not sure, really. Need more time for TV On The Radio, but I probably could talk about Pink Floyd soon... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

album review: 'words to the blind' by savages & bo ningen

Let's talk a little about collaboration albums. Outside of hip-hop, pop, and occasionally country, it's fairly rare to see artists from two different acts work together on an official collaboration, especially when you venture towards the more indie genres. Sure, you get your supergroups or when a member of another band jumps on a song or two to provide some additional texture, but team-ups between two distinctive bands or musical acts is a hell of a lot rarer, especially over the course of an entire album - mostly because it doesn't always tend to work. It's not like a guest rapper jumping on for verses, this is the fusion of distinctive artistic styles in songwriting and instrumentation, and most often it results in both acts meeting in the middle with watered-down blends of their own unique styles, or one group completely subsuming the other.

And yet this year one of the collaboration albums that has been high on my personal radar was this one, an enigmatic single track stretched over thirty five minutes to "album" length. The first contributing group was the all-female post-punk group Savages, who you should all remember from last year dropping one of the best records of 2013 with Silence Yourself, delivering a brutally cutting message through potent and explosive instrumentation. The second group is the Japanese acid-post-punk group Bo Ningen - and I'll admit right out of the gate that I wasn't all that familiar with them, and what I did hear was a little disconcerting and not exactly to my tastes. For one, the tone of their material was a lot more spasmodic, jerky and off-kilter between melodic and dissonant intervals that didn't seem to have the coiled intensity and grit of a band like Savages.

Now it turns out they've collaborated before - lead vocalist of Savages Jehnny Beth has contributed vocals to a few Bo Ningen songs, but their most recent collaboration 'C.C.' featured a lot more messy, noisy guitar lines and a frantically overstuffed mix that didn't flatter anyone, especially Bo Ningen lead singer Taigen Kawabe with his skittering, shrieked vocals. And considering this project was a single track, I was very concerned this could prove to be a real ordeal to sit through. But then again, Savages has earned enough goodwill with me, so I steeled myself for whatever might come and listened through Words To The Blind - what did we get?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

the top 25 best albums of 2013

And now we're down to the final list - my top twenty-five albums of 2013. This year, I reviewed 135 albums - and frankly, I should have done more. But I feel it's a plenty big sample size to discuss my choices, and all of these earned their slots on this list. I'll also try to keep this as quick as I possibly can - I've already talked about all of these albums in detail, and you should all check out my reviews if you want a more in-depth discussion. Also, my list isn't exactly going to correspond with common critical consensus - there are albums I have picked that have been ignored, and there are certain albums that some critics lauded that I didn't find nearly as strong. Got all that? Good, because we're not waiting any longer, let's GO!

Monday, August 5, 2013

album review: 'silence yourself' by savages (RETRO REVIEW)

I didn't get into punk music the 'typical' way. I wasn't given an old punk record by a family member or dropped into that particular music scene by a group of friends or attended a party or concert where said music was being played. No, pretty much any exploration of punk music - and indeed of underground culture from the mid-70s to, well, now was entirely a self-driven endeavour.

Funnily enough, I started looking into punk from one of the harder-edged scenes on the fringes of the genre: anarcho-punk. Coming out of an anarchistic high school phase, I was actively listening to Chumbawamba and started to get intrigued about their contemporaries. So one day, I picked up two four-disc collections that I highly recommend to this day as a great sampler of music of the time: No Thanks! The 70s Punk Revolution and Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The 80s Underground. And I honestly can't count the number of bands I got into thanks to these two multi-disc sets, exposing me to several entire genres of music that I had never heard on mainstream radio or any of the clubs I frequented.

Interestingly, there was only genre that seemed to span both disc collections - and it wasn't punk music. No, it was the dark, brooding, complex, oft-inaccessible genre of post-punk, composed of the leftovers of the punk revolution and a gateway to all manner of weird, twisted music that I fell in love with instantaneously. These were acts like Wire, Bauhaus, Sonic Youth, The Sisters Of Mercy, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Television, Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Chameleons, and more. These are among some of the most critically acclaimed acts of the 70s and 80s, and they pushed the envelope of music further than ever before.

It's not entirely surprising, then, that as 70s nostalgia returned through this year (to say nothing of the rise of darker, industrial-flavoured music across the charts), post-punk would make a return appearance. But while Nick Cave did release a mind-blowing album this year with Push The Sky Away, it wasn't so much a post-punk revival album as a moody piece of atmosphere alternative rock from an elder statesman of the movement. 

Instead, we got a debut album from a new act that had been swelling in the underground since 2011, just waiting to explode with a mission statement scrawled in block capitals.

The band was simply called Savages, the debut album was titled Silence Yourself, and it is goddamn awesome.

Youtube review after the jump