Brian Cook "This World Just Eats Me Up Alive (Ba Da Bing!)"
It has been a long time since we heard a solo-album from New Zealand psych rocker Brian Crook (The Terminals, The Renderers) but The World Just Eats Me Up Alive (Ba Da Bing) erases any time in between with an emotional, noisey, psych garage wonderland. Hushed vocals, Velvet Underground-esque band chugging along, with adventurous, alien guitar lines up front. This is the real deal. Check out the unnerving “Dragged Both Ways.”
Moon Duo "Stars Are The Light (Sacred Bones)"
If you are in the mood for some exceedingly bubbly, psychedelic disco good times, then look no further than the newest release from Moon Duo. Stars Are The Light (Sacred Bones) finds the duo indulging every danceable instinct they’ve ever left off of their prior LPs. The mesmerizing result is a wavey, trippy celebration of grooves and grooviness. I know, this isn’t exactly what we’ve come to expect from Moon Duo, but what fun is being predictable? A heady mix of the aforementioned disco, throw in some 90s rave music, and mix that with their signature guitar lines, and this is a guaranteed good time. Check out the head-nodding “The World And The Sun.”
Alessandro Cortini "Volume Massimo (Mute)"
As the keyboard player for Nine Inch Nails, Alessandro Cortini has done… well… I’m assuming you know what that sounds like. But what of his latest solo album, Volume Massimo (Mute)? Well, if you can imagine an instrumental Nine Inch Nails at their most melodic, pretty, and sensitive, you have a good idea of what’s going on here. Swirling layers of perfectly programed synths with minimal percussion, this is like an otherworldly dream of an album. Check out the haunting tension of “Amore Amaro.”
M83 "Digital Shades Vol. 2 (Mute)"
Anthony Gonzalez and the rest of the M83ers wanted a place to release music as M83, but not get the hopes up of the pop-loving section of their fan base. So they created the Digital Shades series of releases. Meant to stand alone from their discography while also existing within it, this is where they are able to indulge their nostalgic fantasies of Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and more. For Digital Shades Vol. 2 they basically made video game music for retro games that don’t exist. Performed and recorded entirely on analog equipment, the whole this is a glorious nod to days past. The whole affair reminds me of early ‘80s fantasy/sci-fi movies, some of the lesser-known releases by Mike Oldfield, and of course-retro video game music. Simultaneously cinematic in scope and as intimate as a record you fall asleep to can be-this very well might stand as underground a classic as can exist for a band as popular as M83. So dust of your NES controllers, call your Mom and ask if she threw your D&D rulebooks away yet, and maybe buy a van with a wizard painted on the side of it. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the triumphant “Hell Riders.”