New Release Friday!! 10/23/2020
clipping.-Visions of Bodies Being Burned
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In his “Album of the Week” review for Stereogum, Tom Breihan described There Existed an Addiction to Blood as “cold, confrontational music, even when it slaps, which it often does.” Visions of Bodies Being Burned slaps even more often than its predecessor, although perhaps the only club it will do so in will be the burnt-out, radiation-poisoned rave of some science fiction dystopia. Their new album finds Clipping building upon the language of their already-revolutionary music, while still making the trunk rattle on dilapidated hearses and demon-possessed Plymouth Furys. Never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.
LOMA-Don't Shy Away
Don’t Shy Away is shot through with revelations, both joyful (“Given a Sign”) and sober (the clear-eyed title track), and winds from moment to moment with confidence and humor. Like Loma’s first effort, there’s a tangible and sensuous feeling of place; insects sing in the trees, an ill-fitting door creaks in the wind. But there’s also a daring and hard-won wisdom, underlined by Cross’s benevolent clarinet, which often sounds like an extension of her singing voice. “Ocotillo”’s desert landscape unreels into a blazing sun; “Elliptical Days” seems to ascend endlessly like Escher’s circling monks; the jubilant “Breaking Waves Like a Stone” appears out of a haze of synthesizers that pulse like fireflies. A series of guests wander through these absorbing soundscapes, including touring members Emily Lee (piano, violin) and Matt Schuessler (bass), Flock of Dimes/Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and a surprisingly bass-heavy horn section.
And then there’s Brian Eno. Loma invited him to participate in the mantra-like “Homing,” which concludes the album, and sent him stems to interact with in any way he liked. He never spoke directly with the band, but his completed mix arrived via e-mail late one night, without warning, and they gathered to listen in the converted bedroom Duszynski uses as a control room. “I was a little worried,” says Cross. “What if we didn’t like it?” But it was all they’d hoped for: minimal but enveloping, friendly but enigmatic, as much Loma as Eno—a perfect ending to an album about finding a new home inside an old one. I am somewhere that you know, Cross sings, above a chorus of her bandmates’ blended voices. I am right behind your eyes.
The Mountain Goats-Getting Into Knives
After working as the engineer for 2019’s In League With Dragons, Matt Ross-Spang suggested the band come down to Sam Phillips Studio for a tour—which in turn led to the decision to record in Memphis and to promote him to producer for the followup. Recorded in a single week with “magic” microphones salvaged from the Nashville Network, the record’s immediacy burns brightly in desperate contradiction. On “The Last Place I Saw You Alive”, Darnielle details the darkness of knowing you’ll never see a loved one again, and even the potential for hope is subverted. “Us worms turn into butterflies, I guess,” he sings, the heartbreaking sincerity ringing out over resonant piano half a second past the realization that worms aren’t caterpillars. Elsewhere, “Wolf Count” draws sympathy for a wolf being hunted, despite the wolf’s dreams of a good ol’ bloodbath.
“Everything becomes a blur from six feet away,” Darnielle sings on “Tidal Wave”. Written years before any concern for social distancing became a constant subject of conversation, the song insists instead that not every wave is a tidal wave. “Some waves are slow things that cover you without you having noticed,” Darnielle explains. But even that bit of grim perspective has its comforts. “With the album, you either slam the door shut or you open on to the next path,” Darnielle avows. “The trick is to sew up an ending, but at the same time open the doors to the theater and let the sunlight in.” Albums like Getting Into Knives sweep you out that door and away into the center of a vast sea. You may find yourself submerged into inky depths or reaching a purifying breath of air with songs like these. Songs that enlighten despite the inevitability of loss.
There are, after all, a number of ways that you can find yourself underwater. -Lior Phillips