Artistically baffling Canadian band shakes it up on 'UZU'
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (Suicide Squeeze)
This face-painted, elaborately costumed, artistically baffling Canadian band left an indelible mark with its excellent debut “YT//ST,” so much so that it's been reissued multiple times since it dropped in 2011. But what the band has come up with on “UZU” has to shake up even its most ardent fans.
That's not meant in a bad way. It's just that “UZU” is such a huge artistic burst from Yamantaka//Sonic Titan's debut that I wonder if there are boundaries that could possibly confine this band. The record sprawls over an incredibly dramatic, catchy 10 tracks, offering electronic pulses, prog-style rock magic, fiery distortion, and the soaring vocals of Ruby Kato Attwood. The peaks are the unreal psyche damage of “Hall of Mirrors”; dramatic storyteller “Whalesong”; the chaotic, bombastic rock of the dual “Seasick” cuts; and the cosmic exploration of “Saturn's Return,” which should enthrall experimental music fans and those who just love sweeping beauty. This band should be headlining gigantic music halls, and hopefully this great record gets it there.
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan play an all-ages show at the Smiling Moose Saturday night at 7. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door.
Russian Circles (Sargent House)
The fifth record from Chicago instrumental rockers Russian Circles is their heaviest, most aggressive to date, and while they've never been outright categorized as metal before, they probably can be on “Memorial.”
These eight cuts are tumultuous, boiling, lava-splashed, and outright aggressive, and even on a quieter cut such as the album-closing title track, which features the haunting vocals of Chelsea Wolfe, you still should find yourself feeling utterly unsettled. Other selections, such as opener “Memoriam,” “1777,” and “Burial,” will render your mind battered, your ears will bleed, and you will have no choice but to genuflect to Russian Circles' absolute power. This is their best record yet.
‘Black Tar Prophecies Vol's 4, 5 & 6'
Grails (Temporary Residence)
Portland, Ore., instrumental agitators Grails are prolific, mysterious, and hard to keep track of because it seems like they're always creating something bizarre. On this new collection of work from its “Black Tar Prophecies” series, the band shows even more reasons why it's so fun to follow and menacing to embrace.
Starting with the chilling, eerie “I Want a New Drug” (NOT a cover of the Huey Lewis song), they use a haunting sample of “No One Knows the Trouble I've Seen” as a spooky lead-in that only builds from there, from the Allman Brothers meets space horror “Self-Hypnosis,” to wormhole madness of “Wake Up Drill II” that stirs and shakes you, to psyche-washed folk of “Chariots.” If you didn't catch these selections as they were released the past few years, Grails have your back. Just keep watching behind it for when they sneak up on you again.
Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-rap mogul ‘Suge’ Knight arrested in deadly LA hit-and-run
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians journey afield for ‘Play N’At’
- Skillet hopes Christian music tour Winter Jam fans the flames of hope
- Highlands Alumni Cabaret Concert brings alums, students, teachers together in harmony
- Review: ‘Rodelinda’ a big success for Pittsburgh Opera
- Marilyn Manson still happy to ‘prove people wrong’
- New York City-based band Antibalas not afraid to be a step, or Afrobeat, ahead
- PSO’s return to classics mixed
- Bob Seger an enduring ‘non-rock star’ star
- Gaffigan brings magic of ‘Wagner’s Good Friday’ to Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
- The classic sound of Gladys Knight and the Spinners endures