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Old 01-29-2021, 09:45 AM   #1281 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post

Damien Jurado - Visions of Us on the Land

He’s been making good music for a while now. As long as he keeps it stripped down it still works here. The big production stuff sucks though. Keep your trigger finger on the skip button.
Revisiting this album I have to say I really love this and I also love the production. Gotta come clean and correct myself on this one.

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Old 02-03-2021, 05:30 PM   #1282 (permalink)
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Default Funkadelic-Maggot Brain

Released one year after the "feedback drenched" (wikipedia) Free Your Mind..., Maggot Brain continues the spiritual struggle that the album set out to define. The opening of Free Your Mind... began with a drug soaked insistence that spiritual freedom was necessarily intertwined with freedom of the body. This most likely had something to do with the hard and especially heavy funk that characterized the grooves on that record: Eddie Hazel's guitar is heavily distorted and the treble frequencies sound like they are turned to the max; the drums are loud and pound like something off a Led Zeppelin song; the vocalists all cry and shriek in furious ecstasy about the disenchantment of city life, gangs, economic participation, and cheap sex. Like Karl Marx, as well as some sort of spiritual guru, George Clinton (no not the president) observed the sickness around him and the confusion it produced about the Mind, Spirit, the self, and reality. Clinton and co. seem to also be critical of institutionalized religion and it's infatuation with other realms. He proclaims: "the kingdom of heaven is within", not the kingdom of heaven is achievable only through death. Rather, that the social ails of the time are the evil keeping their lives from being a heaven on earth.

These themes and concerns all return in Maggot Brain, but the overall tone of the album is arguably more desperate, cynical, and angry. Though the previous album was also very ambiguous (especially the closer "Eulogy and Light"), the album cover is the most telling difference. Free Your Mind... is a sky blue cover with a woman appearing to physically surrender to spiritual ecstasy while Maggot Brain is all black with the title written haphazardly and has a woman (possibly that same woman from the previous album) buried in the ground with only her head exposed so she can let out a cry of pain, fear, or any combination of those with other things. While the previous album was an introduction to the spiritual struggle, Maggot Brain seems to signify the war wounds (psychic or otherwise) that were made since then. Hence the album closer "Wars of Armageddon", an open jam with background noises such as a crying baby and a cursing man, the focus being the man whose inability to tolerate the crying child is taken as evidence of warped priorities (not necessarily by the man alone).

The other most obvious instance of the slight darkening of the mood is the ten minute long guitar epic that is named for and begins the album. "Maggot Brain" is the album's, as well as Eddie Hazel's, defining moment. It begins with the sound of a machine gun shortly followed with George Clinton reading the following:

"Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y'all have knocked her up
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own ****

Come on Maggot Brain
Go on Maggot Brain"

These lyrics have a sense of urgency. There are allusions to death all over it. Whether it be from the maggots in the mind of the universe or from the sensation of drowning. The harsh emotions these images evoke also confuse the listener. Is this a literal death? A spiritual death? Or both somehow? Today, academics (which are slowly becoming a dying breed--if not something else), talk of post-humanism. George Clinton seemed to be concerned about something similar and he pleads we heed his words: "come on maggot brain". Also, drowning in one's fecal matter is also not the best way to go. It is humiliating and disgusting. You don't need to try it to know that. From the first song we learn that the maggot brain in question is all who approach this record without an immediate understanding of George Clinton's concerns and hopes. He has his doubts ("Can you Get to That") and even offers solutions ("You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks") in terms that are supposed to sarcastically resemble the "life of credit" that characterizes the sick he sees surrounding. He doesn't think much of drugs apparently ("Super Stupid"), probably thinks of them as Marx did (opium for the masses--or was that religion?), but thinks they are okay in moderation(?) ("Hit It and Quit It"). "Back in Our Minds" is a compelling track because it seems to represent a state in which the problems of society are solved:

"We don't fight no more (we don't fight, y'all)
We don't close that door
This time for sure (we don't fight, y'all)
We can't stand no more

Fussin' and a-cussin' each other
When we're souls to your brothers
Livin' in this world we all live in"

But the music is wacky. It's actually kind of Zappa (someone Clinton was fond of). It may also supposed to represent drunkenness. Avoiding typically heavenly metaphors that are riddled with historical racism and antipathy towards the body (that's not very funky). Or it may be something else. I'll leave it to the listener to ponder this.

Musically, Maggot Brain sounds a lot more sophisticated than it's predecessor. It seems less like a Rock-funk record focused around very loud guitar riffs and noisy sound fx. The band jams better and the songwriting is more varied in it's emotional breadth and effect (especially considering the two albums are very similar). Eddie Hazel solos ALOT more on Maggot Brain, which is a good thing because so is he. He's rock in the tradition of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin: heavy blues influence with a noticeable preference for danceable grooves. The solos themselves are danceable too not just the fact that they accompany the very funky rhythm section. The editing seems better too. More focused and intentional. Instruments used to represent crazed psychological states are clever. Overall, you'd be simply incorrect to call this a bad record. You don't need to subscribe to the spiritual Marxism to appreciate it either. It's well made and showcases a very good band with very good musical sensibilities.

1) Maggot Brain
2) Can You Get to That
3) Hit It and Quit It
4) You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks
5) Super Stupid
6) Back In Our Minds
7) Wars of Armageddon

Rating: 5/5

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Old 02-04-2021, 11:40 PM   #1283 (permalink)
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Default Freak Fighter by THE SHRINE

Freak Fighter is quite simply a hilarious bit of trash metal/skate metal. They remind me of Angry Samoans but with a better ear for song structure and musicianship. Musically, the song sounds like a theme song to some TMNT/Toxic Avenger cartoon series. It's about one Freak Fighter who was "born in a hospital" and "will always remain". He is generally speaking a badass out to paint the town red and "doesn't care what you are good for". The lyrics are set to music in the form of punchy pre-punk revival power chords with splashes of computer-like guitar licks and feedback thrown in for "good taste". After the second chorus there's a ripping guitar solo that volleys off the robot-noise guitar licks that infest the rest of the song. The vocalist has this not quite but almost douche(ish) hardcore vibe that resists the urge to go full on hardcore so as to keep the hit TV theme vibe alive (all without sounding cheesy). Well worth a listen.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:23 AM   #1284 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post
Preciate the comment sister

Next review:

Houston Oiler (Slowed & Chopped) [Explicit] by Paul Wall

First and foremost I want to get this out of the way. This album is ****ing unassailable. The lack of recognition for this album, this artist, the entire Houston scene is straight ****ing bull****. Paul Wall played a pivotal role in the Houston Swishahouse scene which is one of the most important revolutionary artistic movements of the last fifty years. And ****ing of course I choose the chopped version. Talk about drug music! Limit pushing black hole insanity borderline death drug use. But one thing that is often overlooked about the whole Screwston scene is how soulful it is. Isaac Hayes is buttered all over this music. **** a hip hop fan who’s not down with this scene.

Paul Wall!
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