Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (Constellation)
While noise-rock peers Mogwai has moved toward minimalistic, electronic landscapes, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra’s latest album heads in the other direction, featuring a lyric-based, multi-textured approach to its epic, genre-defying music. Making good use of its two violin players, the latest incarnation of this Godspeed! You Black Emperor offshoot earns its “orchestra” appellation, weaving spiraling, hypnotic soundscapes throughout the six songs on Fuck Off Get Free, each building to dizzying climaxes and drawn-out denouements. With screeching guitars, shouted vocals and pounding drums, Fuck Off Get Free is 50 minutes of nearly relentless musical intensity, pausing only for the delicate, creepy “Little Ones Runs.” ★★★★☆
Sherman Baker, Sherman Baker (Self-released)
It’s easy to get lost in the wash of layered harmonies and tremolo-drenched guitars on this third album by Sacramento-based singer-songwriter Baker, who somehow crafts intimate, quiet songs that avoid sounding sleepy. Across a brief nine tracks, Baker moves easily from finger-picked acoustic numbers such as “Highway Prayer” to the driving, dark-pop of “Sean,” synthesizing his classic rock, folk and alt-country influences into an album full of songs that are both moody and appealing. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a night alone with a bottle of whiskey. ★★★☆☆
Potpourri of Pearls, We Went To Heaven (Self-released)
Philadelphia-based Potpourri of Pearls makes music overtly influenced by late-1980s and early-1990s synthpop acts such as Erasure and Yazoo, only betraying their modernity with occasional auto-tuned vocals and shimmering house sounds. In that, Potpourri of Pearls isn’t much different musically than Capital Cities, M83 and Electric Youth, but the trio’s image (and yes, name) surrounding their sonic profile is stocked full of artsy gay innuendo. Overall, the songs on We Went to Heaven aren’t going to blow any minds—standouts “Hang Me” and “Island” could make perfectly enjoyable singles—but so long as the album gets your booty shaking on the dance floor, Potpourri of Pearls will probably be satisfied. ★★★☆☆
Upcoming on Pj’s radar …
MARCH 11: Yes, 311 is still around, and predictably releasing its latest album, Stereolithic, on 3/11.
MARCH 18: La Dispute returns with another blast of intense post-hardcore on Rooms of the House.
MARCH 25: Out Among The Stars, a new album by the late Johnny Cash, features 12 unreleased songs recorded in the early 1980s and “lost” until recently.
MARCH 31: U.K. indie band Kaiser Chiefs releases another organ-drenched set of emotionally charged music, Education, Education, Education & War.