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All hail the greatest cover band in the history of fictional histories. Decepticons and Autobots iron out their differences to produce an electronic smattering of nerd-culture renditions. Not only do they regale their audience with synth-rock covers from the 1986 Transformers Documentary, they also perform themes from the likes of One Punch Man, Attack on Titan, and Kung Fury.
Their catalog of original music isn’t too deep but their single, “Cybertronic Warrior,” promises an auspicious and technicolored future.
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I had no idea it had a name, but Psychobilly’s a genre I’ve enjoyed for years. “Gutter Demons’” heart rests with its bass-slapping twang, but its heartbeat runs at a tempo that could punch a riot cop. Despite its punk rock influence, “Gutter Demons” offers some refreshingly clear vocals. Sometimes, its just nice to know what bands are singing about.
It’s as if Led-Zeppelin made an ancient Sumerian Goddess angry by interrupting her niece’s 7th birthday party. Then after the Deity magically swapped their bodies with a group of Seattle based women, The Zep embraced their feminine potential. Thunderpussy is great is what I’m trying to say.
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Kontravoid makes me nostalgic for an era I’m not even sure existed. Cameron Findlay’s solo act is a fine-tuned gothic synth set with elating hooks and moody concepts. I usually get lost in the genre’s indistinguishable chords and reverbed lyrics, but that was far from the case with Kontravoid. Findlay coordinates that cacophony of minor chords into something distinct and digitally organic.
I saw him live in 2018, but he hasn’t released an album since 2012. Here’s hoping for something soon. Maybe he’s waiting for the times to catch up to his transcendent nostalgia.
Rivers of Nihil:
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Fuck, I love “Rivers of Nihil.” Even if you’re not a fan of death metal, I feel like you can appreciate their complexity and depth. Incorporating symphonic harmonies, Lovecraftian pros, and blues-inspired breakdowns, you’re unlikely to find an equal to their idiosyncratic intensity. Whatever you’re going through in life, their song “The Silent Life” will help you get through it.
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All bands have a gimmick. All bands need a gimmick. Even if a band doesn’t have a gimmick, that lack of gimmick can be the gimmick. But when all is said and done, you still need to know how to play music. “Gygax” sings the praises of “Dungeons and Dragons.” I know of “Dungeons and Dragons.” That did not stop me from enjoying “Gygax.”
Their harmonizing guitars, 70’s rock vocals, and charisma for eons will effortlessly serenade your hears. Plus, they’re singing about dragons and dwarves. I can figure it out.
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I inadvertently discovered the genre at Disney World. I may have been eight, but I longed for a cassette of ambient cosmic drones. Alas, I regretfully never found that Space Mountain album.
Years later, I was delighted to find a plethora of minimalist synth music. Steve Hauschildt is a prime virtuoso of that digital atmosphere. Patient to earn his chords, Steve Hauschildt can just as easily entrance you subconscious with silence as well as sound.
Oceans of Slumber:
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I don’t know about you, but I can dig an 8-minute metal ballad. Throw in a double bass drum, cookie monster to crumble out a harmony, and a dynamic lead singer wrapped in leather and dreads, and I’m sold. While “Nightwish” comes off as overproduced, and “Evanescence” melodramatic beyond reason, “Oceans of Slumber” balances its gloom, tenderness, and power with a precision that never lets it get ridiculous.
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Nick Cave once called it “sad-bastard-music.” While growling poetry through a smoke-charred throat, Bruce Lamont effectively intertwines the experimental with the traditional. While “sad-bastard-music” sticks with a contemporary series of instruments, Lamont pretty much incorporates anything that can produce noise. “Broken Limbs Excite No Pity” is my favorite album of 2018 and I’m ashamed for taking this long to discover his work.