The Sequence of Prime Inter- (Self-released)
It’s been two long years (a decade in headbanger years) since Kansas one-man metal militia Brandon Duncan delivered an ass-chapping slab of electro-grind. Inter-, a concept album about black holes and the hostile entities that lurk therein, is worth the interval. From the decimating fusillade of “Tachyon,” a dire warning on the scientific use of void-creating Hadron colliders, to the stop-and-go avalanching of “Schwarzschild Radius,” which imagines, according to the lyrics, “passing through the esophagus” of time, Inter- is intellectual, elite industrial-thrash. Free download at TheSequenceOfPrime.com. ★★★★☆
Sigur Rós Valtari (XL Recordings)
Iceland’s Sigur Rós was once everyone’s secret, a group to spin alongside fellow dark soundscapers Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Now that frontman Jónsi does pop projects, such as scoring the film We Bought a Zoo, Rós sounds less like a whaling expedition gone nightmarishly wrong and more like a celestial children’s music box left open in a rainstorm. “Ekki Múkk” is a naïve epic, but the aggression has drained away, with long stretches of boring, minimalist piano chords.. ★★☆☆☆
The Walkmen Heaven (Fat-Possum)
This NYC/Philadelphia combo made a point of eschewing sentimentality and clinging to oblique lyrics and angular guitars. Wives and kids mellowed them; now they’re making the best music of their career. Heaven extends the sonic textures and romanticism of 2010 breakthrough Lisbon by placing Hamilton Leithauser’s tenor front and center and ditching, well, indie-rock. “Love Is Luck” is the loveliest ballad, and Heaven will haunt those who adore Frank Sinatra and Vampire Weekend. ★★★★☆
Upcoming albums on Jarret’s radar…
JUNE 12: Metalcore quintet Miss May I plays Warped Tour on June 20 in Luxor’s festival lot; prepare by listening to At Heart. For the The Lion The Beast The Beat, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals get songwriting and co-producing help from Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Thanks to last year’s “classic-lineup” reunion tour, Class Clown Spots a UFO is the second of three albums to be released by Guided By Voices in 2012. Jimmy Fallon’s Blow Your Pants Off offers stand-up, funny songs and guests Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake. JUNE 19: The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard unveils solo debut Rhythm and Repose. JUNE 26: Psyche-rocker Ty Segall’s Slaughterhouse shows off a new band and flirts heavily with the metal genre.