New This Week: Guerilla Toss, Neil Young & More

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 12.10.13 in Spotlights

Just a handful of New Arrivals today as we head fully into the holiday season. Let us know what we missed in the comments.

Guerilla Toss, Gay Disco: Listening to Guerilla Toss involves dancing your ass off and bleeding from the ears, says Douglas Wolk:

A quintet from Boston’s punk rock underground, Guerilla Toss belongs to the odd, persistent strain of brutally dissonant groove bands: the Contortions, the Big Boys, Dog Faced Hermans, Melt-Banana. Their take on that tradition incorporates their gift for turning nails-on-chalkboard noise into hooks — they lean into the skipping-CD beat of the album’s highlight, “Pink Elephant,” until it becomes genuinely funky, while guitarist Arian Shaifee slashes across the rhythmic grain and keyboardist Ian Kovac smears gobbets of squiggly analog-synth mucus all over. (They’re moderately serious about the “disco” part of the album’s title, at least: Drummer Peter Negroponte’s approach to his hi-hat cymbal definitely has some Earl Young in its DNA.)

The Velvet Underground, White Light, White Heat: Super Deluxe Edition: Another in the multi-format VU catalog reissue series. White Light, White Heat is by far the group’s oddest and most anti-pop outing, famous for the 17+ minute noise-out “Sister Ray” and the weirdo John Cale short story reading “The Gift.” The Super Deluxe edition is rounded out with alternate mixes, demo versions, and a recording of the group’s 1967 show at The Gymnasium in New York.

Neil Young, Live at the Cellar Door: 1970 recording captures Neil at his unplugged best. The one-man pared-down arrangements of classics like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “Tell Me Why” only cast a stronger light on the ragged, beating heart at the center of these timeless compositions.

7 Days of Funk, 7 Days of Funk: Snoop Lion collaborates with modern-funk evangelist Dam-Funk. Ian Gittins says:

Snoop’s latest moniker, Snoopzilla is a tribute to Bootsy Collin’s Bootzilla alter-ego. Inevitably, Snoop and his sidekick are too preternaturally laid-back and languid to mirror the intensity of Collins’s preposterous inventiveness and slapstick musical surrealism, but Dâm-Funk’s lascivious cocktail of bass-driven beats and lewd keyboard squelches is never less than engaging. Nor is this shift of genres any great leap for Snoop: funk, or rather G-funk, has always been hotwired into his musical DNA, and the slick, sexually charged “Faden Away” or “Hit Da Pavement” would not have sounded out of place on 1993′s Doggystyle. The name may change, but this wily old dogg remains adept at whatever he tries.

Mastodon, Live at Brixton: A career-spanning live set from Mastodon. Jon Wiederhorn says:

The first live album by metal veterans Mastodon, 2011′s Live at the Aragon, was a track-by-track presentation of their masterful psychedelic concept album Crack the Skye, along with a few fan favorites. Live at Brixton is a more comprehensive production, spanning the band’s career from the noisier chaos of 2002′s full-length debut Remission to the angular, melodic firepower of their most recent studio disc, 2011′s The Hunter. The set leans a little Hunter-heavy, with nine featured tracks, but with 23 songs in the set, there’s still a healthy sampling of classic back catalog.

Brendan Benson, You Were Right: New album from longstanding power-popper and sometime Raconteur has all the fizz and sparkle of ’70s pop. Benson’s voice is still in fine form, and the songs have the kind of melodic ease and grace for which he’s become known and loved.

Various Artists, Africa Express Presents: Maison des Jeunes: A couple dozen stars come together via Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project. Michaelangelo Matos says:

Where its 2009 predecessor, Africa Express Presents, presented uncut older African tracks chosen by several of the involved US/UK stars, Maison des Jeunes is full of interaction between them. Thus, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner and Nigerian drummer Remi Kabaka co-produced the delicious guitar shred of Songhoy Blues’s “Soubour.” Lil Silva, a British producer of UK funky, a style heavy on Afrobeat as well as house and garage, offers “Bouramsy,” an intricate mix of programming and playing that thins the line separating them.

Toy, Join The Dots: The second effort from British indie-rockers Toy. Andrew Perry says:

Their second album, Join The Dots, serves up a mind-bending 61-minute journey through consummately sequenced moments of trancey repetition and succinct pop melody, each equally ecstatic. The opening instrumental “Conductor” builds from an unsettling, near-John Carpenter-esque post-industrial ambience, into a quintessential Neu!-style motorik groove, pulsating with an ebb-and-flow of deliriously FX’d guitars.

Juaneco y Su Combo, The Birth of Jungle Cumbia: Brilliant collection of early ’70s recordings by this Peruvian combo fuse the sprightly tempos and arrangements of cumbia with a strangely psychedelic sensibility: fuzzed-out guitars abound, rhythms jog and melodies skip and leap. Joyous, jubilant music to help clear away the winter clouds.