Tag Archives: music reviews

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Ivan Zajc’s Nikola Šubić Zrinski

Hollósy Simon, Zrínyi’s Charge on the Turks from the Fortress of Szigetvár, 1896.

1,304 words

Nikola Šubić Zrinski is an opera written in 1876 by Croatian composer Ivan Zajc that retells the Siege of Szigetvár. It is Zajc’s most accomplished work and is considered the national opera of Croatia. An excellent recording of the opera was released in late July featuring the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra Read more …

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Sabaton’s The Great War

1,118 words

Sabaton is a Swedish metal band hailing from Falun. Their musical style, in the loose sense of the word, is mostly unremarkable power metal combined with a typically European harte vocal inflection courtesy of the group’s part-Czech lead singer, Joakim Brodén. Sabaton’s shtick, for lack of a more fitting term, is their use of “history” Read more …

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Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft’s Alles ist gut

1,349 words

In memory of Gabi Delgado-López (April 18, 1958 — March 22, 2020).

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, more concisely known as DAF, is a German electronic music band from Wuppertal consisting of Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl. Their name contains a light touch of irony, rendered into English as “German-American Friendship.” Read more …

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Rome’s The Lone Furrow

1,182 words

Rome is the project of Luxembourgish multi-instrumentalist Jerome Reuter. Genre-wise, one could call Rome “neofolk,” if one assumes that “neofolk” as a genre simply describes reedy guitars and deliberately vague attempts at mysticism. That describes the music of Rome to a T, a project that attempts to synthesize the often-complicated Read more …

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Washed Out’s Life of Leisure

1,221 words

Ernest Greene, the solo multi-instrumentalist behind Washed Out, was born in the state of Georgia. This extended play, Life of Leisure, is a drowsy chillwave mark that has impacted spheres far beyond its initial scope, most notably for the use of its “Feel It All Around” as the main theme for the television show Portlandia. Read more …

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Bright Eyes’ Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was

1,132 words

Believe it or not, there was once a time in the now-enviable 2000s in which Midwestern indie bands were considered the epitome of cool. If you wore plaid shirts (sometimes, with a t-shirt over said shirt), could play passable guitar, and had a just-so-slightly off-kilter voice with which you could sing about outsiderdom and ennui, Read more …

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Golden Gods & Guitars:
Led Zeppelin IV

Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (right), Chicago, 1977.

2,100 words

Someone told me there’s a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair

— “Going to California”

Led Zeppelin’s back catalog already includes songs like “Ramble On” from the rocky Led Zeppelin II and the melancholic classic “Tangerine” from the flower-powered III. Read more …

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Steely Dan’s Aja

1,222 words

Steely Dan is a band composed of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Their biggest hits have a kind of eternal life, anthems that grace barbecues, bars, and band jams for their simultaneously irreverent, yet wholesome outlook on American culture. This is perhaps best expressed in the group’s own name Read more …

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Venetian Snares’ Rossz Csillag Alatt Született

1,474 words

Venetian Snares is the working name of Canadian music producer Aaron Funk. Funk is best known for producing in the style known as breakcore, which comprises the bulk of this record. “Breakcore” is a semi-recent style developed when new possibilities afforded by sequencing and music production technology allowed artists Read more …

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Joe’s (Wagnerian) Garage

2,519 words

As you can see. . . girls, music, disease, heartbreak. . . they all go together. . .

About three months ago, I was asked to give one of those “four recommendations” type interviews for an eminent publication (an old buddy’s blog) in the old country. Read more …

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Taylor Swift’s Folklore

1,718 words

Author’s note: Tomorrow marks one year of my writing for Counter-Currents.

Folklore is Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album. It joined the hallowed halls of other so-called “isolation records” on July 24, 2020, in a surprise release Read more …

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Singing in Secret:
William Byrd’s Catholic Music

1,256 words

Earlier this year, the Marian Consort, a vocal ensemble known for performing Renaissance music, released an album of Catholic sacred music by English composer William Byrd. The album, entitled Singing in Secret: The Clandestine Catholic Music of William Byrd, is one of the finest sacred music releases in recent memory. Read more …

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Angel of Avalon

1,746 words

“My favorite singer out of all the British girls that ever were.”

— Robert Plant

I first came across the name Sandy Denny on the liner notes of the classic Led Zeppelin IV. Read more …

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Death in June & The People’s Temple Choir

1,444 words

The Peoples Temple, the utopian death cult best known for the Jonestown Massacre, recorded a gospel album under the name of the People’s Temple Choir in 1973. Far from an amateurish production, the album He’s Able features slick studio trickery and a surprisingly talented backing band for the choir to swing cuts of pop songs, Read more …

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Crystal Castles

1,719 words

Crystal Castles is a Canadian band, initially consisting of singer Alice Glass and producer Ethan Kath. The two met each other because of their mutual connections in the large and prolific Toronto music scene, and collaborated on one track, the chaotic “Alice Practice,” as a mere experiment. The two never intended to form a full-time group Read more …

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Brigitte Bardot’s B. B.

1,920 words

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot is a famed French actress, singer, pop culture icon, and accidental provocateur. Bardot’s marks on pop culture include her popularization of the bikini, the eponymous Bardot neckline, and her collection of absurdly fun and often intriguing slices of French pop music that feel both timeless in their replay value yet Read more …

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Joy Division in Retrospect

1,528 words

On this day in 1977, a band from Salford, England called Warsaw took to the stage for the very first time in their career. They were supporting the Buzzcocks at the Electric Circus concert in Manchester.

“Warsaw” was the name chosen by a group of young men, namely Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Terry Mason, and Peter Hook, Read more …

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Reactions to Rammstein

826 words

Even on the waves there is fighting
Where fish and flesh are woven into sea
One stabs the lance while in the army
Another throws it into the ocean

— “Reise Reise” (2004) Read more …

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Hegel from the Ghetto

1,944 words

You’d rather see me in the pen
Than me and Lorenzo rollin’ in a Benz-o
Beat a police out of shape
And when I’m finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still getting swole off bread and water
I don’t know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down, and grabbing his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun, they can’t get none.

— N. W. A., “Fuck tha Police.” Read more …

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Crisis’ Holocaust Hymns

1,257 words

Crisis was an English punk-rock band formed in 1977 in Surrey. Their initial lineup consisted of Insect Robin the Cleaner, Phrazer, and the most famous two who didn’t have absurd nicknames: Douglas Pearce and Tony Wakeford. Crisis was explicitly a Leftist band, appearing at various Rock Against Racism concerts and collaborating with artists and organizers from the Anti-Nazi League. Read more …

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Arne Nordheim’s Draumkvedet

1,108 words

Arne Nordheim was the most celebrated Norwegian composer of the 20th century. He is known for both his avant-garde electronic works and his large-scale orchestral works and music dramas. Nordheim’s Draumkvedet (“The Dream Ballad”), a music drama based on the medieval Norse poem of the same name, fuses his modernist idiom with folk influences to great effect. Read more …

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Alcest’s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde

909 words

“Sure,” they say, “he flirted with far-right politics when he played in Peste Noire, but he’s changed.”

— Mainstream fans defending Neige’s musical heritage

French band Alcest is one of the premier exponents of the blackgaze scene. Read more …

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Changes’ Fire of Life

1,627 words

Changes can be considered the very first example of a neofolk band. Formed in 1969 by cousins Robert N. Taylor and Nicholas Tesluk, Changes has its roots in the earliest days of the folk revival and hippie scenes in the United States. Read more …

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Death in June’s Essence!

1,519 words

Essence! is the most recent batch of material from Douglas Pearce’s Death in June, released on November 30, 2018. Essence! pulls from the earlier output of 90s Death in June, including its eclectic sampling work, noisy elements, and tastefully perverse whip-cracks for its compositions. Pearce brings the Death in June sound into the modern age, however Read more …

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Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

1,210 words

Rumours was recorded by putting five musicians who hated each other inside of the same room for two months. The results were immaculate.

This seems to be contrary to logic, however. Wouldn’t forcing several creative types — people infamous for their egos — who have major beef with each other to work on the same project end in disaster? Read more …

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Sol Invictus’ In the Rain

2,035 words

Sol Invictus, fronted by Tony Wakeford, is one of the “neofolk” scene’s best-known groups, alongside Death in June and Current 93. Sol Invictus emerged following Wakeford’s departure from Death in June — and later departure from controversial Above the Ruins — with a sound that progressively became lighter and more classically-inspired than most of what can be considered “neofolk.” Read more …

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Current 93’s Swastikas for Noddy

2,254 words

Current 93 is a neofolk group fronted by David Tibet. Its name is derived from Aleister Crowley’s numerological manipulation of the words Thelema and agape, the “93 Current” of the present age.

If that’s not weird enough for you, it gets better! Read more …

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Cliff Martinez’s Contagion: Original Soundtrack

1,661 words

There is a new infectious disease sweeping the planet, and those it doesn’t infect or kill, it locks behind closed doors. Modern man can’t sit still for longer than five seconds, so while we hide from the impacts of a lethal virus, we pass the time by watching movies about the impacts of a lethal virus. Torrenting numbers for Scott Z. Burns’ Steven Soderbergh-directed 2011 thriller Contagion are through the roof, Read more …

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Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts V & VI: Together & Locusts

2,385 words

Nine Inch Nails released the albums Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts simultaneously on March 26th, 2020 with a whopping price tag of free. Trent Reznor, the group’s central creative member, announced the surprise records with a Tweet: “Anyone out there?” Read more …

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Morrissey’s I Am Not a Dog on a Chain

1,926 words

How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?

Morrissey, our favorite gay (postulated) racist (dismissed) vegan (confirmed), released his 13th solo album today, March 20th, 2020. It is called I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, which is a fantastic example of just how kneecapped the self-awareness of the rich and famous can be. Read more …

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