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Music Mondays: Boris, Matana Roberts, Ana Roxanne, Pottery & More!

Every month, dozens of albums get added to KSPC’s ever-growing library. Our dedicated staff of DJs and volunteers have a long tradition of sharing music that we love with each other. In this column, we open that up to you all by going over recent additions to the library, both old and new, for your reading/listening pleasure. If these write-ups pique your interest, do support these artists if you are able!

This week we have releases in the jazz, ambient, rock, and metal genres as well as a bit of a musical curveball thrown in with some “Neoclassical Darkwave” from the mysterious Lingua Ignota. This past weekend was a Bandcamp Friday, where all the sites proceeds went directly to the artist. KSPC stocked up on some releases, some of which you’ll find here. Keep reading to find out more!

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Boris – No

By Alan Ke PO ’22

Over a career spanning nearly three decades, Boris has never had an issue with change. Being the group that released classics in every genre they experimented with during their heyday, their last decade of material has been lacking to say the least. With No, however, Boris reinvigorates their sound by traversing territory they’ve yet to explore, that being the coarse underbelly of hardcore punk.

On No, Boris are back to fast, heavy, in-your-face riffing a la Pink accompanied with the sludgy writing of 2002’s Heavy Rocks. Though here they have swapped their thick guitar noise in favor for chugging power chords, crossing over to crust punk territory on tracks like “Anti-Gone” and “Temple of Hatred.” For the most part, Takeshi’s slow, drawn-out vocals are replaced by growly shouts and twisted screams. Songs “Zerkalo” and “Kikinoue” lean heavily into these darker sounds, ending up with parts evocative of doom metal. While the writing on No is more straightforward than on any other Boris project, there is never a moment that lacks the relentless fury that Boris captured on albums like Akuma no Uta. The album’s lead single “Loveless” stands as the hallmark of Boris’ foray into hardcore punk. Its marriage of a thrash-worthy jam in its first half and a sludgy breakdown during the second embodies what this era of Boris is all about.

The magic of all of Boris’ more adventurous endeavors is that they recognize that no genre can define them or suit them perfectly. No is just that, an effortless blend of all things sludgy, stoned, and crusty. By far the group’s best in years and a promising sign that the band has still got it in them.

Bandcamp

Lingua Ignota – Caligula

By Alan Ke PO ’22

Welcome to the domain of Caligula, where we are rendered but servants to the beast that rightfully dominates us all. Kristin Hayter a.k.a. Lingua Ignota realizes an unparalleled vision and on this sophomore effort, she lets her imagination go wild. Taking on a persona of a merciless, devil-worshipping empress, Hayter revels in the morbid with songs of epic, operatic proportions. On a track like the unforgiving “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR,” Hayter invokes a bit of the terrifying, a bit of the sanctimonious, and a whole lot of pomp to make for a 10-minute journey that’s equal parts glorious and demoralizing.

Some moments will make you cower in fear and others will make you feel worthless, and that’s exactly what Hayter wants. Not every track contains wretched noises or thundering orchestras, but those that do use patience. Hayter milks every second, accumulating both awe and dread before entertaining her sadistic tastes. Say what you will about the cheesiness of some aspects of her alter ego but compositions like “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” are unmistakably powerful and dominating.

This record is like a repulsive monstrosity that’s just as disturbing as it is alluring. You will feel helpless, but that’s why you’ll keep coming back.

Bandcamp

Pottery – Welcome to Bobby’s Motel

By Alan Ke PO ’22

The most Talking Heads album not written by Talking Heads. Though David Byrne and company were among the most influential artists of their generation, not that many artists follow their footsteps directly. I mean, who the hell can come up with another Remain in Light? Well, Pottery are certainly up for the challenge. It only took them four decades to show up.

These Canadian art punks boast a sound that takes the funk and twang of the Talking Heads tunes you know and love, a note from the quirkiness of Devo, and dashes of Zappa’s rock fusions tastefully thrown in. Pottery cook up a fun tune here and there but nothing quite as memorable as the influences they wear on their sleeve. It sounds like Pottery are still finding their sound, with the occasional song displaying original ideas like the dance-y “Take Your Time” or the romantic “Hot Like Jungle.” While Bobby’s Motel might certainly seem fun at first, its novelty wears out quick. The best moments aren’t when Pottery tries to imitate, but rather innovate.

Bandcamp

Matana Roberts – COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis

By Graham Hirsch PO ’23

This was a genre of music I have never explored before. I thought it was going to be jazz and it’s anything but that. While there are a lot of elements of jazz throughout this album it’s more noise that backs some remarkable spoken word poetry. Roberts has created some excellent poetry here about what it’s like to be black in the south. Her emotions shine through her lyricism, describing the few times she’s feared for her life as well as the years of racism she has faced.

Even if you have no interest in this genre of music, I would highly recommend listening to this album, solely to hear Roberts’ poetry. Your mouth will be fully open in both shock and horror as you get a sense of Roberts’ life. Especially during such a tumultuous time in the United States, this album provides an incredible lens into what it was like to be black in America during the mid 1900s.

Bandcamp

Ana Roxanne – ~~~

By Alan Ke PO ’22

Ana Roxanne treats sound with utmost care. As she demonstrates on her debut album ~~~, there’s something therapeutic in even some of the most unassuming of sounds. Through most of the album, Roxanne grounds listeners in aquatic caverns of remembrance, guided by the occasional poetry that may surface. Songs “Immortality,” “Slowness,” and “Nocturne” are the album’s most melodic and directed ambient works. Though not overtly spiritual, these songs radiate with a divine beauty and calmness that feels bestowed by some higher being. They inspire introspection and channel a meditative calm.

The highlight on this record is really not the flashiest at all, but rather the understated “It’s a Rainy Day On the Cosmic Shore.” It opens with an analog crackling, ushering in the steady rumbling of tides. These elements, though minimal, feel expansive when set against the backdrop of a humming drone and a few fleeting MOOG-like synths. But, just as they appeared, the sounds swiftly fade into the same noise that induced the song’s subtle trance in the first place.

The album’s closing tracks “I’m Every Sparkly Woman” and “In a Small Valley” find themselves in stylistic opposition but in complete compatibility regardless. The former is a lively, vivid tribute to the 80s/90s R&B divas that Roxanne attributes as influences. The latter is an intimate collage of various sounds, from conversations in Filipino (Roxanne’s mother tongue) to a tiny chorus. Roxanne cultivates a garden of sound, though blooming with vitality, always feels natural, immaculate, and purposed.

Bandcamp

Moises Sanchez – There’s Always Madness

By Jasper Davidoff PO ’22

I don’t use the term “sound explosion” lightly (or even at all, to be honest) but Sánchez’s newest release is truly just that. The Madrid pianist’s classical persuasion shines on this album through absolutely gorgeous compositions. Instrumentation is one of its biggest highlights. From trumpet and voice to vibraphone and auxiliary percussion, the tunes often dip into the minimalist or avant-garde, all backed by a solid core rhythm section: Sánchez, bassist Toño Miguel and Borja Barrueta on drums. Just as awe-inspiring is the amount of story Sánchez manages to tell in each piece — no track is the same from beginning to end, and it’s fascinating to hear the themes contort and reappear.

Sánchez was inspired by the Joker for the album’s title, he tells El Cultural, and the idea of madness as a purposeful force for creation fits like a glove. “There’s Always Madness” is jam-packed with harmony, texture and rhythm in the most delightfully incomprehensible way.

Bandcamp

yourboyfriendsucks! – ??? Episode 02

By Alan Ke PO ’22

Let me introduce you to yourboyfriendsucks! As one of the rising stars on DIY indie rock label Qiii Snacks Records based in Guangzhou, they’ve been toiling away at a sugary brand of dream pop that’s both incredibly catchy and highly promising. Be on the lookout for this band in the years to come! They’re truly making waves in the Chinese indie scene and you should know about them before it’s too late.

Episode 02 is less focused on the shoegaze side of things that they developed on their debut. Though the songs here are still quite dreamy, the band embraces the melodically-driven side of their writing. The songs are summery and carefree but will lodge themselves into your memory before they’re even over.

Bandcamp

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Lord Snow – Solitude

By Alan Ke PO ’22

Solitude is the sort of record that most screamo bands can only aspire to write, much less actually achieve. For that alone, Lord Snow ought to be commended for somehow reaching that with their debut.

From the get-go, Lord Snow pull no stops. Once the guitars come crashing down on “selfish sleep,” never do they come to a halt. Niko’s guitarwork is simply incomparable. Not a single strum or note is wasted, each one feeling like an incision right through your skull. Riffs hop around between sharp, high-pitched registers and low flurries yet never are they incompatible. This speedy playing is accompanied by fittingly frenzied drumming, often setting a song’s pace – if not hastening it. While not quite reaching a blastbeat, the percussion is consistently chaotic and jazzy. It’s rare for the drums in screamo to be this expressive, but Lord Snow really makes them feel at home on Solitude, driving the perpetual madness of their sound. Even the vocals reach a masterful balance between explosiveness and restraint, shrieking and some semblance of intelligibility.

Lord Snow never latches onto an idea for too long. Most tracks hover around the 1-minute mark, not out of undeveloped ideas but for concision. The few exceptions to this make expert use of their time. “Solitude” is full of momentum and despair, boasting some of the album’s darkest and most nightmarish lyrics. “yellow marillo//booker dewitt” is a case study in pacing in and of itself, a simple song that sports a lot of depth and memorability at once.

For a group that engrains their art in pop culture references, Lord Snow are not to be mistaken or underestimated. Their art is nothing less than the product/subject of nightmares.

Bandcamp

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