Desk Quest II: The Deskening | Bleader

Desk Quest II: The Deskening

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In case you care, I'm still digging through the stacks of promo discs that have accumulated on my desk. And I've made some more discoveries.

A Storm of Light have a band name that sounds like the title of a Neurosis album, which is fitting considering that the guy at the center of the group, Josh Graham, used to do Neurosis's visuals and was until recently in Red Sparowes, who started out on Neurot Recordings. This project takes Neurosis-derived atmospheric metal, slows it down to sub-doom tempos, and adds some proggy space-outs. Everything sounds like it's in slo-mo--syrupy drums, guitars that collide like tectonic plates, and Graham chanting (on the nine-minute-plus "Black Ocean") "We will kill / For blood and money." Seriously. Heavy.

One thing about desk-cleaning listening parties is that you find lots of cardboard-sleeved CDs that have gone missing between layers of jewel cases. I don't know how long Telepathe's Chrome's on It EP has been hanging out around here, but I wish I'd run across it sooner, if only for the Mad Decent remix of the title track, which is full of burbling, twittering synth bass and a bumping, unhurried beat. Free Blood's freak-dub rework of "Bells" also gets high marks.

Lateef the Truth Speaker and the Gift of Gab getting together in the Mighty Underdogs sounds like a can't-lose proposition, and when the MCs let themselves relax everything's fine. But they had to go and drop some bullshit lines about "when music used to mean something"--as though there isn't plenty of meaningful music happening now. And indie hip-hop doesn't need any more cautionary tales and/or morality plays about young chicks who get hooked on drugs and turned out. (What's up with backpackers and their obsession with crack hoes?) The duo's Kool Keith-style turn on "Science Fiction" and some killer cameos (Lyrics Born, the inimitable MF Doom) help redeem the record, and the live-band-heavy production by Headnodic--a merger of 70s psych rock and 70s funk--could stand just fine on its own.

There was a time when I was absolutely obsessed with drum 'n' bass. I had a taste for the harsher, dirtier stuff, but I could never find anything as harsh and dirty as the tracks on Noisia's recent Fabriclive.40 mix. Most of them consist of a chopped-up Amen break and synths filtered till they sound like they're broken. Bonus brass-balls points: their own tracks outnumber all the other artists' tracks put together.

Landmine Marathon's Rusted Eyes Awake is a half-hour blast that veers between death metal and grindcore but sounds uniformly mean and stripped down. It makes me want to burn things with a hairspray torch, which means they're doing something right.

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