New music reviews: Goh Nakamura, Jah Wobble & Keith Levene, High on Fire
So much new music has dropped this month that my head hurts–and I love it. For starters, there’s a soundtrack CD that veteran indie musician/upstart actor Goh Nakamura dropped in the mailbox for me between his stops on the film festival circuit. You won’t find the Kickstarter-funded release in stores yet–although some of it can be sampled on SoundCloud–but I’m guessing Goh will have copies at the Asian American Showcase on Friday, April 6 when Daylight Savings makes its Chicago premiere. Catch him there or wherever you can!
Goh Nakamura – Music From The Motion Picture
Because the songs and scores were intended to support scenes from director Dave Boyle’s Surrogate Valentine films, this sprawling collection might not be the best introduction to singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura‘s ultra clever, catchy, and honest Elvis Costello-meets-The-Beatles pop–although there is plenty of it (“Walk,” “Here’s a Secret”…). However, it is an awesome sampler of his skills and versatility. From dreamy instrumentals (“That’s Why I Miss You,” “Don’t Look Away”) and funky bumpers (“Shirtless Curtis,” “Whistlin’ “) to Plimsouls-like power pop (“Better”), the tracks show as much range as they do polish. Acting may be new to Goh’s repertoire, but the conceiving of heartfelt music for different scenes and moods is nothing but a musical, masterful game of H-O-R-S-E for the ace guitar player. [Goh Nakamura]
Jah Wobble & Keith Levene – S/T EP
Levene’s screeching guitars and Wobble’s throbbing bass are instantly recognizable in “Back on the Block,” a cool, killer instrumental that recall not only the duo’s contributions to the first Public Image Ltd. releases but also the generations of bands they influenced from Butthole Surfers to Fugazi to Radio 4. Their dubby baseline and droning guitar are as timeless as they are hypnotic and catchy. “Mississippi” is almost the polar opposite: snappy and organ-driven country-flavored pop. Its too-good-to-true vibe is tweaked only by Wobble’s disarming lyrics about the smell of gasoline. Two dubs (one coasting, one toasting) round out the limited-edition 12″ EP that comes in a hand-stamped envelope. Definitely worth seeking out and playing often. [Pressure Sounds]
High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
While leader Matt Pike has reunited his previous band (the much loved and more stoneriffic Sleep) for the festival circuit, High on Fire keeps ratcheting up the tension. Producer Kurt Ballou (Converge) brings a dose of crushing post-hardcore intensity to the mix, bringing the band’s Motörhead-heavy riffs and Slayer-speed solos to new heights and ensuring that the song cycle’s conceit about a conspiracy involving Jesus’ twin brother and time travel never gets in the way of the rock. All of the cuts are capable of shaking the hair between one’s nuts, but “Madness of an Architect” might be the heaviest, grooviest song of all, at once recalling the droning brilliance of Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” while space trucking into the future cosmos. [oOne Music]