Thursday, August 18, 2016

The 2015/1967 Countdown - 08/18/2016 Update

Today, let's turn to the most challenging mix in either collection, 2015's Nut Squeezers and start with singles from two of the three veteran acts represented on this volatile mix of post-punk, black metal, and hard-hitting thrashers.

And when it comes to hard-hitting thrashers, few acts have delivered the goods over the last twenty years like Providence, Rhode Island's drums and bass noise-rock duo extraordinaire Lightning Bolt.

Though a "can't miss" live act, most of their recorded music is so extreme, the vocals so weird (drummer Brian Chippendale sings through a microphone stuffed into his mouth like an S&M plug), and the mixes so lo-fi that I've felt most of their music would be too much even for the open-to-anything ears of our mix collection fans, and thus I haven't included any efforts from the band since one track from 2005's Hypermagic Mountain.

But in 2015, Lightning Bolt entered a high-end studio proper for the first time, and the resulting album Fantasy Empire, while no less crazed or hard-hitting, really benefits from the improved production and is their most accessible album to date (relatively speaking). There were several tracks I considered including in this mix, especially opener The Metal East and the wild Dream Genie, but ultimately, I went with the steady heavy-metal chug of Horsepower.

Another band that delivered the hard-hitting goods in 2015 was beloved Boise-based indie-guitar act Built To Spill, whose Untethered Moon offered another batch of those knotty guitar lines and Neil Young-styled vocals fans have been eating up since the band's inception back in 1993.

The album lacks the "through the roof" peak efforts of some of their better second decade releases like 2006's You In Reverse, but is still solid front-to-back, and as with Fantasy Empire, produced several tracks I considered including on this mix - scorching closer When I'm Blind, the quaint Never Be The Same, chugging opener All Our Songs - before settling on the album's tightest, punchiest number, Living Zoo.

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