Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley


Perturbator, James Kent, has been operating in the genre of electronic music called “Synthwave,” since 2012. Along with Lazerhawk, who is slated to release his follow-up to Skull and Shark this year, Perturbator has been on my list as one of the most enjoyable listening experiences in modern music. This music operates in a sleek, stylized, retro-futuristic world that delves into technological uprisings, the dark side of city nightlife, and driving fast cars at night in the rain, whether rebelliously alone or accompanied by an insatiable pickup, the stories unravel through a web of crystalline tones that inhabit a part of your memory soaked in nostalgia.

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Deströyer 666 – “Wildfire”

Destroyer-666-Wildfire-500x500With a belligerent riff and a scalding wail, “Traitor” welcomes the listener to one of the best records of 2016. Wildfire, by Deströyer 666 is pummeling black/death/thrash of the highest, most esteemed, variety. The songs are energetic, flagrant, and filled with memorable riffs aplenty. “Live and Burn,” carries the torch with a catchy chorus and screeching guitar solos. Wildfire bounces with 80’s youthful indiscretion and scorches with early 90’s aggression. There are so many moments that make you sit back and remember why you love metal so much, moments that make you say out loud, “Yes, that was awesome.” Continue reading

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The Presidents of the United States of America: “The Presidents of the United States of America”


It was the late winter of 1996 when all the members of Mrs. Lutz’s fifth grade class seemed to have the same song stuck in their collective unconscious. The students had absorbed the song in a manner so effective that Mrs. Lutz could only dream of any of her lessons having a fraction of the impact. The song was rammed into the brains of these ten and eleven year-old children by a 3 minute and eleven second commercial called a music video. It was in constant rotation on MTV. The song was “Peaches” and the band was a strange Seattle-based group called The Presidents of the United States of America.

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The Smashing Pumpkins: “Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness”


Lost inside the dreams, of teen machines
The useless drags, the empty days
The lonely towers of long mistakes
To forgotten faces and faded loves
Sitting still was never enough

It’s 1999 and I am 14 years old. I have been a freshman in High School for a few months and for the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel old. The routines and rhythms I’ve grown to rely on are rapidly changing. I have recently stumbled into my first romantic relationship and with it came a new group of friends that demarcated my social life into two distinct eras. I had survived Junior High School with a close-knit group of friends who were beginning to find their own teenage clans; our friendship took on the air of an old habit.

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Oranssi Pazuzu – “Värähtelijä”


It starts, and it is, off kilter. The dissonance curdles a smile across my face. Oranssi Pazuzu have returned once again to dispatch their brand of freakish, psychedelic black metal to the world, and we are all better for it. These Finns have something special locked up and they dole it out to the satisfaction of eardrums ready to be taken by it. A hypnotizing gyre that slithers with the troubling tenderness of an ulterior nature. This is not a nap on a Surrealistic Pillow, this is not Magical or Mysterious, at least not in the sense that the 60’s would have you believe it to be purveyed. This is infected, damaged, compromised, and operating on a plain that seeks, and revels, in the destruction of all things. There are good trips. There are bad trips that happen to good people. This is a good trip happening to a bad person. They were correct when they stated that this album was darker than anything they have done before.

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Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


When you were young

You were the king of carrot flowers

And how you built a tower tumbling through the trees

In holy rattlesnakes that fell all around your feet

Hearing these opening lines to Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea for the first time affected me.

You see, up until this point, I was a classic rock kid. My school folders were COVERED with the same 5 band names written out in a myriad of ways: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles.

Everything I listened to was epic, either because of its sound or the myth surrounding its creation. In a lot of cases, it was both.

Then I heard Jeff Mangum singing about the King of Carrot Flowers from what sounded like a studio tucked away in a basement. I was challenged and immediately hooked.

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