Bandcamp Picks of the Week 9/20/17
Bandcamp Picks of the Week, as large and in charge as ever
Jute Gyte – OVIRI
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal, Black Metal
Favorite Tracks: “Democritus Laughing,” “Mice Eating Gold,” Fauna of Mirrors”
To say black metal is challenging would be an accurate, if basic, assertion; to say Jute Gyte is challenging would be a horribly, horribly gross understatement. The one man act from Missouri knows this, and on his latest release, OVIRI, he wants to make sure you know it by bashing in your fucking skull with brutal experimentation that somehow transcends well beyond the broad confines of black metal. What begins as a few maddening guitar plucks on opener, “Democritus Laughing,” quickly plummets into full-on insanity once it hits the 30-second mark. Fortunately for you, two minutes into the track, there are about eight seconds of breathing time: frontman Adam Kalmbach’s offer to turn back now before he cranks it up to 11. And whether you escaped or not, his growls return, and grating with awesome fury, pose the eternal question: “Where are those who were before us?”
The drums pummel with enough force to break through the speakers and the searing guitars battle over each other at land speed records. Meanwhile, Kalmbach takes on this multidimensional, demon-like guide of OVIRI’s landscape, going from choking growls to vocals masked in a reptilian gurgle, a technique most effective on the doom/black metal frankenstein, “Fauna of Mirrors.” It is a truly terrifying, disorienting experience—and I say that with the utmost praise. Amidst all this chaos and horror are beautiful details. The dripping xylophone haunting its way through the coda of “Democritus Laughing” will continue long after to prelude your nightmares, and then there’s “Mice Eating Gold,” whose assembly of trudging synths and grinding riffs is something Trent Reznor wouldn’t even touch. The terrific imagery conjured on the titular closer finds us in an “Ouroboros-circled abyss,” a seemingly interminable, all-encompassing sonic netherworld that’s only forced to spit you out because of its runtime. Jute Gyte would have been better off calling this album “A VISIT TO HELL.” You can listen to OVIRI here. [Nick Funess]
Opa Yeti – THERE’S A YETI ON MY COUCH
Genre: Indie Folk, Sadcore
Favorite Tracks: “Chrysanthemums,” “Getting Bored,” “Tommy Lee Jones Strikes Back: Part II”
Yes, suburban college students are still making music. Some of them, not all, do it very well. Opa Yeti—comprised mainly of two kids from the Chicago suburbs just as interesting as their band name—is one of those bands. THERE’S A YETI ON MY COUCH, released in January of 2016, was the band’s first official release, and while they’ve put out two additional projects since then, their debut showcases an intimacy that is less present in their latter two projects.
The consistent plucking and sliding of strings on “Chrysanthemums” and “Getting Bored” has the ability to sweep you off your feet into a sort of Alice in Wonderland-esque alternate universe. It feels as if band members Paul Tisch and Izzy Fradin have invited you to go on a pleasant acid trip with them, resulting in you seeing the world through their eyes. On “Tommy Lee Jones Strikes Back: Part II,” there’s a hint of punk interwoven into the generally subdued track, which provides a preview of the array of sounds and styles the band is capable of. This aggression that comes out through drummer Chris Neuhaus’s screams on the chorus provides a nice balance to the song. While the lyrics on this album can, on the surface, seem sad or even cynical, they provide a sort-of holistic, ironic humor about the mundanity of life. On “Tommy Lee,” Tisch sings, “All they wanted was a mindless evening / no reminder of life’s brevity / put off thinking just a little longer / and make that drink a little stronger.” This provides a humorous insight on human being’s favorite way to cope with the overwhelmingness of life: drinking.
If you’re interested in hearing something coming from the Chicago music scene that isn’t Chance the Rapper or Whitney, Opa Yeti are embodying the Windy City in a unique way not many other artists are. Check out THERE’S A YETI ON MY COUCH here. [Emmett Garvey]