ALBUMS OF THE WEEK: Drab City and Jehnny Beth

Separated by instrumental pieces that sound like old, warped cassette recordings, Drab City’s debut album is the perfect Halloween album. Sonically, it’s got gritty production that makes each song sound as if it is slowed down or twisted, creeping across your speakers like some kind of protoplasmic haunt. Like someone murdered a girl group from the ’50s, and now they’re back to get revenge. Or one of those ’90s Mazzy/Portishead type of bands got put through a woodchipper and somehow survived.

And look at the video above. I mean, it just stranger and stranger. Or this one…

…Which feels like a spoof of The Beastie Boys.

I’m not even sure what genre this is, but it’s fascinating.

And let’s go from one genrebuster to another: The solo album by Jehnny Beth, of Savages. Where Drab City offer slow terror, Jehnny Beth provides swelling anger. Her songs also creep simmer under the boiling point, but often explode. Think The Pixies, but more ambient.

The album is a tribute to David Bowie, and that’s perfect. Bowie shimmered and slid between images, constantly changing, and this album does the same.

Both my picks this week are genuine ALBUMS. They don’t work nearly as well when heard as collections of songs, or when one or two of the creations is played out of context.

Writing these up made for a very nice week.

Runner ups:

Alphabetland by X. The band called X returns with a very strong record. It’s exactly what you’d expect from these tireless pioneers of punk.

Dua Saleh’s new EP is very interesting. Not quite interesting enough to hold me (personally) for future listens, but a quality electronic soul album about the gay Muslim experience is definitely worth at least one or two spins. Great vocals!

And last but definitely not least: John Craigie’s new album, Asterisk the Universe, is a smooth folk/rock listen. Very nice.

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