These guys are my friends, so I’m sure some queef huffer in the comments is going to accuse me of using my position as best music journalist in the world to logroll for buddies again.
These guys are the de facto worst rappers to ever come out of Scotland, mainly because they’re the only rappers to ever come out of Scotland. This is one of those albums that people who actually like rap will think is a load of pretentious, noisy horseshit, but art students will find interesting. In other words, curdled milk in rap-man form.
If you get a lot of press releases, you might confuse an artist actually having buzz with their publicist burrowing a hole in your subconscious. Dena is one of these musicians. No matter how many emails Clayton sends me, she’ll always make music I can only stomach with enough ketamine to knock down Seabiscuit.
Schoolboy Q is so cool he could get away with wearing sunglasses indoors for the rest of his life. He’s got this trippy, drugged-out thug vibe that we’re thinking is going to be big this summer. Because of Schoolboy and Oxymoron, we’ve already started stocking up on tie-dye, bucket hats, and selective-fire assault rifles to rock at our next company turn-up function.
Close to the Glass
Holy shit, dude. Sometimes you just want to punch God in the face. Every time these fucking krauts spew out another aural queef nugget I try to give it a chance, but the second I hear the singer’s thin monotone melodies backed up by lifeless, pointless beats, I remember how few shits anyone would give if these dickweeds were from Chicago. Yeah, yeah, Neon Golden. Sure. I’d sooner give Udo Kier a standing 69 under the Brandenburg Gate than hear this album again. Actually, that sounds fucking awesome, that guy’s a babe.
GENEVIEVE MAY DOBBINS
Friends of Friends
I’m almost 30 (and a woman), so every time I order something from West Elm I pretend for an afternoon that I’m a full-grown adult. Then I put on some electro-soul dinner-party music like this and cram my novelty Spider-Man dildo down my throat. Seriously, what is wrong with me? This EP would pair nicely with a Loire rosé, a Selles-sur-Cher, and a diaper full of poopy kaka turd dung shitz.
Ghosts of Then and Now
In an world dotted with shiny, overproduced Disclosure replicants, it’s refreshing to hear a bit of crackle now and then—maybe a fuzzy field recording, or a rhythm section that sounds like you shook that tampon bin in the bathroom at work.
Death After Life
Getting embarrassingly into electronic music is part of every punk’s life cycle, like breaking edge, or becoming a monthly sustainer of your local public radio station. When this happens, it’s important not to fight it but also not to fully embrace it either. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pack of drunks in Judge tees ramping up to sugary EDM, but it’s heartbreaking. Nay, bleak and minimal analog experimental dance music like this should be dealt with alone, nude, and preferably under the influence of scotch and Quaaludes.
Stars & Letters Records
Wow. Here’s a triple LP with a million songs on it, and I’m OK with that. This band is exactly as good as you’d imagine a band with releases on Flying Nun and DFA would be. The minimal dance stuff and cutesy girl vocals made me amped up enough to clean my room, and there’s even an acoustic ballad on here that made me stop and text my girlfriend to say that I love her. New Zealand wins again, and their reward is another devastating earthquake. Maybe that’s why their music is so good.
Minutes of Sleep
Scissor & Thread
There’s a special type of person who can survive two decades of after-hours ketamine baths and still have enough brain cells to pronounce the words musique concrète. At the dawn of techno’s 30th birthday, you can find the genre’s elder statesmen either drooling on an Ibiza beach or newly rebranded as modern classical composers. Francis Harris—formerly minimal-techno mainstay Adultnapper—is among the latter. It’s time to turn down for 2014 because this record is the dopest #napjam I’ve heard since Ben Frost released Theory of Machines, like, seven years ago.
† † †
The first time I got really high was behind the Goodwill where I worked as a clerk in high school. Me and some coworkers were smoking out of an apple in the back lot and I remember not feeling anything at first. Then, when I walked back onto the floor, P.O.D. came on the radio like, “I… I feel so aliiiiiiive! For the very first tiiiiime! And I think I could flyyyyy!” and it blew my mind all over the men’s outerwear section. Since then I’ve held a deep respect for bad music meant to soundtrack a teen’s first psychic mesa. Deftones-guy’s shitty new album should do the trick for your nephew, but for adults this is trip-hop Chinese water torture.
Real Hair EP
I don’t know what the hell is going on in Western Massachusetts these days, but I want in, and I’m looking for partners to go in on a winter timeshare! Here’s the plan, team: we’ll rent out Kim Gordon’s tool shed and start hanging around Northampton High in a totally non-pedo way. Years of aimless, clove-fueled drives from Puffer’s Pond to the Springfield Savers have imbued an entire senior class of scowly bozos with an inborn ability to steal their parents’ Xanax and craft perfect mixtape alt.
Nero in Metastasi
Grindcore has finally come full circle, from everyone taking it way too seriously in the 80s, to everyone treating it like a hilarious joke in the 90s, to everyone getting all Ryan Trecartin about it in the 2000s, to today, when Cripple Bastards are free to spray their bazillionth record of hateful dog piss into the ether for no reason. These guys are so old that all their parents are probably dead. Who are they trying to piss off with this shit anyway, their kids?
THE RED STRIPE GUY
HAVE A NICE LIFE
The Unnatural World
How come the host of every after-hours drug party these days insists on throwing Fisher-Price: My First Doomgaze Project on the stereo? Don’t they know we’d all rather be singing Saves the Day karaoke into empty beer cans until we’re hoarse and the guy won’t come back?
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
These guys are my friends, so I’m sure some queef huffer in the comments is going to accuse me of using my position as best music journalist in the world to logroll for buddies again. This makes me feel bad, until I remember that my friends are about a thousand times more talented, attractive, and fun than you and yours. This is not sarcasm, it’s an unvarnished fact that makes my cell phone contact list a shoo-in for Top 50 Albums of the Year. That said, I almost gave these guys a pukey because Tucker keeps canceling on me when I invite him to the spa.
ALAN GRANT, PH.D.
On the other hand, I’m supposed to give these private-school cock knockers a good review because all the girls in the VICE office have rock-hard clits for them. Oh, you formed a budget Strokes clone and named your major-label debut Manhattan? That’s cool. Here’s a message from everyone in Brooklyn: eat a dick, you fake fucks.
BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
What was that? Four dudes made a record of reverb-drenched Swervedriver worship? Why yes, I’d love to give this a good review, thanks for asking, publicist! God, 1993 is like the mob. Every time I try to get out and live straight, it presses a $825,000 gem into my palm and convinces me to garrote some union delegate.
DARK E. SMITH
WE ARE THE IN CROWD
We Are the In Crowd got their start by killing every band that appeared on the Vans Warped Tour from 2006 to 2008, throwing their corpses into a gigantic blender, and going on a yearlong sabbatical in a North Florida Hot Topic where they survived off noxious smoothies of human flesh and Manic Panic residue. This is the sound of all the liquid shits they all got after drinking it.
I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN
At first, Epitaph wouldn’t give me this record because they thought VICE would give it a bad review, but I conned them into sending me a promo with the whole “there’s no such thing as a bad VICE review” trick. Now I’ve got a copy of this limp-dick Australian metalcore on my desk, staring me down as a reminder of why it’s important to have high standards for all those doofy roofuckers down under. Whenever anybody talks about Australia these days it’s all UV Race this and Eddy Current that, as if the Midwestern United States had a monopoly on sonic mallrat jizz.
I can get down with this. If you’re going to play blackened death with stratospheric guitar solos and double kick pedals you better be from Gdan´sk, and you sure as shit better have a singer who stomped a mud hole in leukemia’s ass and looks like Nick Zedd. Plus, these guys have been around for 23 years, and according to our market-research lady (hi Julie!) that’s older than your pimply ass, so show some respect, tweens.
Triumph and Power
Maybe this is too Walmart of an opinion to have, but I think metal should have riffs and hooks and make me want to stage-dive into a pit of flaming boobs. Sure, it’s nice to hear Mick Barr tear your local DIY loft party a new ass every now and then, but when you’re huddled around a grill with a pack of bearded denim-vest dudes and Hank finally found cables long enough to string computer speakers out the window, I’ll take shit like this over anything remotely “challenging” every time. Metalheads are sort of pussies in
GUIDED BY VOICES
With 20 songs on this album in about 15 minutes, GBV has solidified themselves as the one-pump chump of dad rock. They’re in me just long enough to crash the custard truck, but then they’re turning over in bed breathing heavily and saying yes to whatever I say. I’m not implying I have a problem with that. What I’m saying is this is a short, solid record made by grown male adults and my giney has sealed shut from underuse.
When you live in a punk house there are always weirdos flopping around on the floors and couches. The best you can hope for is a cute chick who keeps showing up until you realize she just lives here. Everyone will have a different opinion about her doing the dishes, and the whole thing will feel like that Agnes Varda movie about the hobo, but that’s how I met Lelah, the drummer of Tacocat. One day she was just living up in my attic, unsure of when she was going back to Seattle, if ever. I was sort of pissed at first, but then I realized her mom was staying there too, and every punk house needs an actual mom who's over 19 around. All that said, Lelah’s band is totally fine except when they sound like the Dance Hall Crashers.
THE CASKET GIRLS
True Love Kills the Fairy Tale
Wait, which fairy tale are you talking about? The one where your Z-list fuzz-pop band produces a single memorable song? They may call Savannah “The Paris of the South,” but that’s only because it’s filled with pretty girls with no talent.
DUKUS P. TEKUM
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
Man, maybe I’m wrong about everything I hate! Ever since I got a promo copy of this Scottish indie rock I’ve been mowing more gash than I did during the great Decemberists fuckwave of 2003. We’re giving this one-man band worst cover of the month because no one can use the Nirvana typeface for any words besides “nirvana,” “bleach,” and “flower sniffin’, kitty pettin’, baby kissin’, corporate rock whores,” which pretty accurately sums up this prancy chamber-pop street pizza.
SUN KIL MOON
Mark Kozelek, the singer-songwriter behind Sun Kil Moon, tells vividly imagined stories with his music. The stories are usually about trying to fuck Korean women and being depressed. Not one to disappoint, Kozalek yet again slapped together a collection of mediocre acoustic whiners—a.k.a. the soundtrack to an as-yet-unreleased Cameron Crowe movie. The absolute bottom for me is the track “I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love,” a song that would wake a coma patient up just so she could say, “Hey dude, cheer up.”
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
So Long, See You Tomorrow
Writing VICE reviews is easier than you think—a lot of it is just racking your brain to remember choice synonyms for fart and ejaculate that have been buried since childhood. But for this one, we’ll scrap all the synonyms, homonyms, and big words for dicks. After reading a few interviews where these bozos trash “the current indie scene,” we’re all just tickled to hear what they’ll say about us when we call them, quite literally, the worst fucking rock band any of us have ever heard, ever.
GARDENS & VILLA
By 2026, our robot overlords will have fully sunk their fleshlike tendrils into the totality of humanity, and there will be no more rock ’n’ roll. All guitars will have been confiscated, along with all human desire for love, lust, liberation, and other feelings that start with the letter L. All that will be left is oppressively shitty bands like Gardens & Villa. While driving the scions of our mecha-masters to robot soccer practice, we’ll be forced to listen to this album, its grooves pounding like a boot stomping on a human face—forever. Also, they say once is a fluke and twice is a tradition, so I’m starting a ritual for reviews of bands on this label: Secretly Canadian secretly stinks. [Editor’s note: see the August 2013 issue of VICE.]
THE PETER ULRICH COLLABORATION
Peter Ulrich used to be the drummer in Dead Can Dance. Much like that band, his new project is a collection of near-unlistenable jingle-jangles of the sort that NPR plays at 3 AM. World music was invented by suburban moms so they could pretend to seem socially aware. I didn’t listen to this album enough to confirm that a didgeridoo was used in the recording, but asking that question is like wondering if someone will use the N-word in a Jack Hill movie.
Here’s what you need to know: this is the chick who made “Buffalo Stance,” a song that has preceded so many bouts of white-knuckled crotch grinding she’s basically the Hitch of 3:49 AM. She hasn’t put out a solo record in 16 years, and then out of the blue she drops a disarmingly personal record of pop and electro. This thing even has Robyn on it. If you want anything more, you’re selfish.
How come every time Johnny Ding-Dong at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge wanted to talk about “Old New York,” it was always getting knifed in Tompkins or shooting up ecstasy with David Wojnarowicz? I remember another side of the city, and it was a safe space for adorable Japanese girls to rent cheap apartments and make funny trip-hop about food.
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
I’m a swarthy Ukrainian Jew, so by the time I turned 12 I’d grown enough body fuzz to learn (the hard way) that if I didn’t wash my ass hair with shampoo it’d turn into a matted net that caught southbound turds like a smelly black spiderweb. When this happened to me, I didn’t panic. No way. I kept my head on a swivel and pulled a budget MacGyver, cutting the whole knotted mess out with my pen knife and throwing everything out the window. Then I took a hot shower and no one was the wiser—until now. If I’d been caught, I’d probably have started a band like Xiu Xiu and spent the rest of my life puking up fake gothy trash to punish my gross butthole for making me gay. Jamie, sometimes you just gotta wash your ass and move on.
JARGON SCOTT’S LEGLESS DOGS
This ex-Emeralds ginger seems like a good enough dude, and I’ve enjoyed his previous blissful guitar solo material a lot, but wa-holy cow the liner notes for this thing... Here, this is how it starts: “This album contains many stories. These stories have been told before, through many forms, by many peoples, stretching far back throughout history. At its core however, there is but one story. This is the story that burns in the heart of all mankind; the quest of the individual seeking the answers to the great mysteries of life; to truly understand the elements which not only contribute to the great cosmic construct known as the universe, but also that relentlessly veiled, ever-elusive, and endlessly perplexing facility which is ultimately the most important factor in experiencing this incredible universe—the self.” There’s more. Much more. Pages more.