This article appears in the September Issue of VICE
BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Negative Feedback Resistor
Some bands were born in the wrong era. It could have been Gary Wilson instead of Ariel Pink or Blu instead of Common. If Destruction Unit formed between the years of 1977 and 1982, they would be the biggest psych or punk band ever to leave a trail of sonic sludge across this godforsaken planet. I swear, brother, if Father Time messed with history, the freaks in high school would be subbing in Deep Trip shirts for Misfits garb. Not to slight Glenn Danzig and company, but seeing D-Unit live is a mind-bendingly holy experience—at least if viewed from within a space-time vacuum. It's not that they aren't original today, but let's be real: if you think a bunch of dudes from an Arizona art collective who eat shrooms and make head-y guitar music in 2015 are ever gonna make it into the rock canon, you might as well start jerking it to VHS tapes and cancel your Brazzers subscription.
~ BUD LUDDITE
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
BRING ME THE HORIZON
That's the Spirit
Allow me to, um, allow the press release for this pile-of-garbage-worthy-only-of-being-torched-and-having-a-backflip-done-over-it-with-a-dirtbike speak for itself: "British metalcore [sic] act [sic] Bring Me the Horizon will release its fifth album [sic], That's the Spirit, on September 11 via Columbia Records [sic]. Eleven tracks were laid down [sic] for the CD [sic], which was produced [sic] by Bring Me the Horizon keyboardist [sic] /vocalist [sic] Jordan Fish."
~ EWOK TO REMEMBER
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
This whiskey dick right here's a jazz-fusion spin on "girlfriend jams," a special genre name I reserve for extra-soft synthpop: mostly weepy (with a beat you can shuffle side to side to, so as not to stare at other girls) and sung by somebody who's been in a relationship so long that even his singing voice is "just a suggestion"—you also know all the synths must be analog because why would they have stopped leaving their apartments? I don't currently know anyone who would be a fan of this, but I do know catching up would be a drag, Duncan. Let it die.
~ LUKE BADONTOUCH
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
My friend said he doesn't like Beach House because they're like a bed with too many throw pillows: You're just piled on with more layers and layers of sound until you're hot, sweaty, and begin to realize you're suffocating. Pretty spot-on, but I think it's more like getting a handjob in that overindulgent bed: A tug can be methodical, consistent, maybe even thoughtfully textured. It's fine, I guess—you're getting the old baboon greased, after all! But the climax is ultimately a weak puff of smoke, followed by a gnarly Dutch oven that does the real suffocating.
The Meth Lab
Hanz On/Tommy Boy
It's that time of year again—you're all getting ready to hang up your thong sandals and light one last bonfire. But before you make the beach smell like the undercarriage of a horse and drink the rest of your sister's Coors Light, you'd better make sure Siri's got The Meth Lab queued up on your fucking iPhone because you, Murphy, Powers, O'Reilly, and Sinclair, are gonna need it to pre-game to. If you guys are lucky, Powers will cry actual tears, forever tarnishing your memories of driving home drunk from the golf course, feeling a connection with Method Man.
~ OLDMAN GRUMPY
Trapavelli Tre Mixtape
Is 2 Chainz out of his goddamn mind? He's got the Dream, Wiz Khalifa, and Kevin Gates on his new mixtape and production by Zaytoven all over the place! Straight off the bat, let's get it straight: Wiz Khalifa is crack to millennials; unless they're actually smoking crack for some reason—probably ironically. The first track to drop, "Watch Out," is classic 2 Chainz: It has the simple keyboard jingle, clap sounds, and bass drops. It's nothing compared with his past tracks, though, and to pick that track to introduce the tape might have been a bad choice, to be honest. Here's why this mixtape is lit: He loves to rhyme things that don't technically rhyme by changing the pronunciation of the word, he unabashedly talks about smacking dat ass and jack hammering "thots," and he cleverly describes a jet-setting, blunt smoking life we'd all love to have, all while avoiding wack controversies and politics. If you're looking for a mixtape to pump for the end of the summer, this is worth the space in your Dropbox or downloading to the HD, especially because it's $FREE.99. Put this record on while you roast a Dutch and/or get your wiener slobbed on, or just listen to it on your headphones on the subway quietly—it's perfect for any occasion.
~ BROWN BEAR
Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
My teenage nephew tells me that he's into hip-hop, so I play him ODB, and the kid just yawns at me. It seriously breaks my fragile heart. These days, you can just make up a dance and you're now the greatest thing since Fred Astaire made 'em laugh. Originality is dead. Long live Nae Nae.
~ UNCLE JON
I read somewhere that it is "close to impossible to read Young Thug's mind," which is crazy, because if people can possibly read Young Thug's mind, that means that there is almost certainly someone who can definitely read my mind. If you're out there, what am I thinking about right now? You got it, I was thinking about how funny it was when the iPad came out; remember how the menstrual-blood-fearing techno-Illuminati made this magical device into a second grader's reaction to foie gras? "Ew, what a fucking disgusting name for the machine of our wildest dreams!" they would blog, which caused a disruptive chain reaction of social media word hurl. If Ford—wait, no—if Honda unveiled a flying car tomorrow called the 2015 Honda Condom, would that bother you? Do condoms fucking bother you, man? Pig. It's really funny, though, because now no one has iPods, and when people say "iPad" it sounds like they're saying "iPod," but like a crotchety, old son of a bitch from the Hamptons.
~ JIMMY CALIGULA BREATH
Invite the Light
Come here, Jimmy. Come sit on Pop Pop's lap. I'm getting very old, and before I vanish off the face of this here planet, I want to tell you a secret I've never told anyone. Can you keep a secret? Back in the day, your Pop Pop lived a very different life. Before I started reading mystery novels, before I started watching re-runs of JAG, I used to be a musician by the name of Dam-Funk. Things were off the motherfucking chain, Jimbo. I had some money; I was making tunes for a living and puffing from an endless supply of the Devil's herb. I had a white Impala that would make hoochies wetter than the Amazon! Fuck! It was the life. But then, one day me and one of the girls went for a cruise in the whip. Jim, always make sure you understand how hydraulics work before you drop ten grand installing them in your car. This bird in the passenger seat started nibbling on Pop Pop's pecker, and it got real hot, lemme tell you. Before you know it—BAM! I accidentally hit a switch and the suspensions went off, jabbing my ole one-eyed snake right into her left cornea. She became the real one-eyed something, rather. I panicked and tossed her out of the car, leading to her untimely death. Your Pop Pop had to split town and drop the whole music thing to avoid the fuzz. Went deep undercover and started anew—new name, new haircut, new ethnicity, you name it. I met Grandma working on a farm on the other side of the country. It's been damn near 60 years since that fateful ride! Boy, do I miss that car. Anyway, it's time for your bubble bath, champ. Your Pop Pop loves you.
~ POP POP
This is what I'm talking about, man. Leg-shattering disco-dub bangers from a couple of legends that get about as pretentious as a dish-detergent company flaunting their product's capacity to clean an oil-soaked duckling. Music that can save the world and music that can make our own meaningless existence less difficult to trudge through can be the same music, and here it mothersucking is.
~ NEFIR T'BRIDE
Orphaned Deejay Selek (2006–2008)
It's comforting to know not only that insane geniuses are alive, well, and active, but that people actually respect and love them. It's like a Natural Born Killers kind of thing. It's so true, too—we love insane people. In fact, even the phrase insane people could be taken to mean awesome people in the parlance of our times. Crazy, insane, ridiculous are all words to describe irrational behavior until they became words to describe awesomeness. How fucking stupid is that? Even stupid can mean very sometimes, in which case, my previous sentence makes absolutely no sense, especially because fucking was used to mean very. Fucking has always meant the same thing, or at least Game of Thrones would have you believe so. People love to argue about the historical accuracy of that show, and I'm like, OK, can we just enjoy learning about where we all came from and not bicker over the details? Geez.
~ T. KID
I once told a lie—just one lie ever in my life—that I did not bury a set of stolen Sonic the Hedgehog temporary tattoos in my backyard. Actually, the lie was that I didn't steal them. I did bury them. To this day, their function as a royal-blue, supersonic tell-tale heart in my life has caused me unending distress. It actually feels good to get the lie off my chest to you now, dear reader. It reminds me of one other lie—only one other lie, ever in my life—that I have told, that this kind of music is for people who try too hard to hide their inferior intellect by drawing elaborate, impossible comparisons between Tarkovsky movies and a dream they had once but say is recurring. I actually don't believe what I've said to be true, this lie; in truth, I think I'm one of these people because I went to a Montessori school.
~ RAPHAEL FELLATIO
When I was in high school, I developed some big-boy feelings for this indie chick who lived a couple towns over. She dated this really hot dude in a pretty good band, hipped me to Arthur Russell, and sported the type of knockers that were impossible to look at without immediately going to the nearest bathroom to furiously jerk one out. While I friend-zoned myself in high school, I grew some pubes in college, and we started fooling around once a year during holiday break. My friends called her "the Perennial" because of the season-specific routine. It was the thing I looked forward to the most every year. Eventually, she moved to my neighborhood in New York, and I guess my weird-looking penis and doughy ass were no longer so charming when she had to deal with them on the reg. Now she's into fringe electronic music and dates a hot DJ. Hanukkah isn't very fun anymore.
~ DJ DICK
Temporary Residence Ltd.
I recently downloaded the Taco Bell app on my phone, which is fucked because I was just giving them a hard time on Twitter, saying it was a clever way for a suicide help line to disguise an app of its own. I still think that's a brilliant cross-promotional platform for these two massive corporations—each more massive in its own corporate right—to circle back on by EOD.
~ DR. DEW
Woman at Night
The new brigade is stronger, faster, cooler, and more willing to smoke DMT every single day without batting an eyelash at the cost of therapy. Let's face it, young people will find everything they need for free online. It's good that the fine freaks of Heaven's Gate are willing to give those of you with some semblance of mental stability a run for your Bitcoin. I hope someone accidentally plays this instead of Health at whatever ayahuasca ceremony you didn't invite me to so that I don't have to be only person in my therapist's waiting room playing Candy Crush anymore.
~ NUTE FROGHAIR
I had a lot of hope for this group. When they first hit the scene, they delivered everything you wanted from a band with the intellect of a third grader the day before Halloween. I figured they'd have called it quits long before being bullied into a half-assed compromise of a name change, which made anyone who came to their defense immediately think of that band HIM. For fuck's sake, HIM? I don't want to think about HIM! I'm not trying to watch CKY2K and be a virgin again. HIM? Jesus.
~ ROMAN NIGHTCUBE
There was this weird Married... with Children spinoff called Top of the Heap in the early 90s, starring Joey from Friends and the real-life husband of the woman who played Eva Braun in The Producers. You'd think that with such an all-star cast, the show would still be on today, but it lasted just seven episodes. At any rate, it's about how Joey and Hitler go around asking people how they're doin' (sic) over and over again until they're finally rich and rule the world. Everyone agrees that Fox took some huge risks back in the day and whatever paranoid conservatism they seem to flaunt now kinda fucked up their money-burning, coked-up legacy, which stinks. Why can't things just be the way I remember them? Like exactly as I accurately remember them—back when shit was so much fucking fun?
~ EDO ROCKY
Trouble in Mind
Methamphetamine isn't even illegal in New Zealand, and they have zero security at the airports there. In fact, you could fucking show up to the airport in New Zealand with another person's ticket—like if you found it on the ground or something—and just get on whatever plane the rightful owner of the ticket was meant to be on. I think this is a domestic-only sort of thing, but still! With all that said, forget about the Dunedin Sound, forget about the Clean—it's 2015, and New Zealand's thing now is legal meth, no-hassle air travel, and Salad Boys!
~ TREVOR BETREV
B'lieve I'm Goin Down...
Kurt's records are so consistently outstanding that I wish I could read whatever Faustian contract he drafted up for the Devil to produce such candidly robust hits over and over again. His trick is in how he pioneers pockets of familiar territory and stakes his individual claim on them, like when I built that sweet fort in my neighbors' backyard in elementary school but it pissed the neighbors off, so they came over and reprimanded my parents—all "Your kid better get rid of that jerk booth he built on our property"—but my parents didn't even know I had been building the thing, so my mom and dad got divorced or something. Whatever the case and whatever we're talking about, I didn't bring the porn into the fort. I think it was a homeless guy who was released on uncertain terms from the mental hospital that movie Session 9 was shot in. Anyway, you know what I'm talking about.
~ OOLONG GOODBYE
Year Of The Bud
People are always asking me what the state of ska music is today, and I really don't know. Here's the thing—the third wave is in a kind of receding, pre-tsunami phase because the motherfuckers tying to break new ground in the ska circuit are members of what is called the "Boomlet Generation," i.e., high school. High schools are a fertile, two-tone Garden of Eden for ska kids, because if you walk into homeroom on the first day of ninth grade with a Spamalot T-shirt on, they just hand you a fucking trombone. There's virtually no other way to get a trombone, honestly; they fall into three pricing categories: free, a million dollars, or willed by the deceased grandparent who took you to Spamalot the summer before ninth grade. As a result, third-wave ska is—and forever shall remain—in a kind of fugue state characterized by its worthlessness. The old saying goes, "Every time a ska band's horn section gets early admission to college, a bass player grows an ego," but sometimes the horns keep blowing after senior year. Sometimes they wind up in an indie band.
~ FAT BOOMLET
SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE
If John Waters ever had a kid, the type who took full advantage of a trust fund but still wore ratty clothes and lived in a squat, it would be this sleazy bastard. I have the rule never to date musicians (or equestrians, now that we're on the topic) because of fronting motherfuckers like SNS. You know those kids who snorted heroin once during sophomore year of art school and still talk about it a decade later? Shaking. My. Goddamn. Head. I'm sure Other Death is fine, but writing this passive-aggressive rant is already giving this loser more attention than he deserves. I'm gonna go watch Cry-Baby and think about how sweet it would be to have a trust fund. Living in this squat is getting old, and I would kill to move to Bushwick proper.
CATERPILLAR MUSTACHE MAN
YO LA TENGO
Stuff Like That There
If Matador were the Titanic, Yo La Tengo would be the band playing while Gerard Cosloy used a copy of the Earles & Jensen prank-call record as a life raft. Guitar Wolf would be trying to collect every jettisoned leather jacket, and Spiral Stairs and Stephen Malkmus would manage to build a revolutionary rowboat out of a milk crate full of wet magazines and refuse to just admit that they couldn't have done it without each other. Meanwhile, Mark E. Smith would be doing the last of his dry cocaine—also in a boat he made—bitching about how he built his boat first, and Kim Gordon would scold him, shouting, "People have been making boats forever!"
~ THIRSTIN 4 MOORE
This Is Post-Wave
You know how, when we're introduced to Arnie in Terminator, he's stark-naked, born from a motherfucking lightning bolt in a shit-burger section of LA near the biker bar? "Gimme your clothes," or whatever he says? Imagine if the scene unfolded exactly the same way but Arnie was born from lightning on the frog hair of a country club, and instead of getting decked out in sweet biker gear he looked like some blue-blooded fuckstick? That would be ripe! This sounds like being born in tight shape from a bolt of lightning, though; that's the connection.
~ KOLD KOFFEE
MICACHU AND THE SHAPES
Good Sad Happy Bad
I remember when A$AP Rocky first exploded into the mainstream and backpack-rap types were losing their marbles thinking that it was like an Aesop Rock–produced rap thing. It's like how this band made me think of Pokémon, obviously. Did you know that as of right now there are 718 Pokémon in the National Pokédex, not including variant forms? How the fuck am I supposed to catch all that shit? What the fuck sort of game is Pokémon, even? Why would you catch a pet and then make it fight other peoples' pets, which they caught for the same reason? What sort of fucked-up La Jolla noir is the Pokéverse becoming?
~ IGGLYBUFF U. UP
Brattleboro Is Flooding
It's so sad—this band just tries to make happy pop songs, but they always just ending up recording downers. You know what's also sad? When you love someone, and you love your group of friends, and you love the city that you live in, but then you break up with your loved one, and half of you friends disappear, and now the place that you live is poisonous, and everything in your life just goes to shit... Yeah... that's what this album is about.
~ GINGER SADDLINGSBY
When I was in high school I somehow got into AP Spanish, and we had to watch this show called Destinos, wherein, if memory serves me, a señorita named Raquel Rodríguez attempts to solve a mystery about her dead dad when she's not caught up in illicit flings with a cortège of nefarious señores—all of this so that I could learn Spanish at an advanced level. Her journey also involves buckets of sangria and delectable local fare. It was produced in the 90s, and even though I like to think that decade is on the wane with regard to current cultural relevance, Turnstile is definitely the sort of six-minute-long pair of songs I wish I could fuck Annie Lennox to.
~ YUNG CROSSFIT