Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Best Of 2017 List

Without further ado, here is the Nerve Salad Best Of 2017 List. It is in NO particular order. I WILL say that Sugarfoot - The Santa Ana is at the top of my list, if numbered by importance. It's been a great year, and a huge thanks goes out to the bands on the list (especially the ones that patiently dealt with my questions while writing reviews.)

1. Psychic Temple - IV

2. Living Colour - Shade

3. Devil Electric - S/T

4. Onionface - Roll Over Dog... And Run!

5. Motorpsycho - The Tower (& California EP)

6. Sugarfoot - The Santa Ana

7. Hair Of The Dog - This World Turns

8. Devil's Witches - Velvet Magic

9. Hippo Campus - Landmark

10. Demons - Embrace Wolf

11. Clouds Taste Satanic - The Glitter Of Infinite Hell

12. Trading Licks - Out Of Time

13. Elara - Deli Bal

14. Spaceface - Sun Kids

15. Ex People - Bird

16. Mt. Mountain - Dust

17. Spidergawd - IV

18. Dead Cross - S/T

19. Here Lies Man - S/T

20. Relaxer - Unreal/Cities

(These last 5 are honorable mentions)

21. Taiga Woods - S/T

22. T.G. Olson - Foothills Before The Mountain

23. Adrift For Days - The Sleepless Grey

24. The Necromancers - Servants Of The Salem Girl

25. Botanist - The Shape Of HE To Come

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Laverge - Handle This

Let's get down to business:
Spain has good stuff happening.

I can't stand using the term "foodie". It's so silly-sounding. It just makes me feel like I'm a little kid that can't say my "big boy words" yet. I prefer the term: "Lover of fine cuisine". I really like to see what the other parts of the world are eating.
The Spanish are known for many fine things.The Paella, for instance. This caught my attention, as a young teen, back in the '90s when it was mentioned (numerous times) on the TV show Northern Exposure. A couple of characters literally lamented over it as being something they "needed" in episodes, or simply wishing they had their Paella dish. So, I've eaten Paella. Looking back at those times I had eaten it, I often wonder if I'd actually gotten the real deal, or I got the Americanized "we'll use what we've got on hand" version.
I learned that some believe the Paella may or may not have originated in Valencia, Spain, while others believe that it was first created in a village outside of Valencia. So I looked up recipe after recipe to find the right one. There are several varieties to choose from, with some being more authentic than others, or more regional than others. Let's go through the proper make-up of a Paella:

Firstly, it has to have class. It needs to scream out: "I'm awesome simply because I exist!" in front of several people, but have the humble decency to know where it came from.
It needs an air of mystery. Threads from a high quality imbuement favor what makes up the bulk of the dish, complimented by a simple blend of flavors, yet complex enough for the palate to start doing subtraction and addition.
It needs girth and heft. Something that carries the weight of the flavors, yet adds their own distinct touch. It's got to leave you feeling full, and with a feeling that you experienced something, rather than just filling the hungry void.
It needs an identity, a personality. Paella is made all over the world. If we are going to borrow the recipes, we need to put a spin on it that separates it from the original. The truth is, no matter how "traditionally" we try to create such a thing, nobody except the originators will make it the same way. Perhaps even the original Paella has no idea what it was, anyway.
It needs complexity. Most Paella dishes I've seen have more than one kind of main ingredient. Many different things make up the entirety of a normal Paella. These come from the sea, the air, and the land. This adds the wonderful quality of having a different texture with each bite. Such complexity allows the meal to be enjoyed even more, and confounds the mind enough make a person think about it long after experiencing it.

I took all of these principles into consideration, threw them into my special, patented SHRIMPP () Processor (SHRIMPP = Stoner, Heavy Rock, Indie, Metal, Psych/Prog). It calculated and assessed. It made a few "boopity-boop, beep-beep" noises, and then spat this out:

 Laverge. From Valencia, Spain. It appears that they have appealed to the Paella principles, as stated before. These guys have class. They come in strong with a new album called Handle This. Listening once will be the grand realization of their classiness. It's a little spicy, in a good way. Heats up the palate. They have a definite set of influences that you can pick out immediately.
They have mystery. The songs are well-done, but the surrounding additions to the whole of the dish are fresh and crisp. You wonder how they mixed the flavors so well.
They have heft. The weight of the songwriting carries the album, and the musicianship borders with a light touch of sweetness over the initial spiciness.
They've got personality. They borrow from a few different recipes, each touch combining into a surprisingly unique dish that stands on its own. An interpretation of several elements, thrown into a special blend and coming together in a tasty array, suitable for gourmands of all palates everywhere.
They have complexity. This combination of different textures and flavors makes it a satisfying engagement.
Overall, the band nods toward an accessible alternative rock sound.
In essence, they takes cues from recipes by Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, etc. You can scoop up the influences like creamy turrĂ³n. However, there is an underlying deviousness in there that shows the complexity of the grand feast. You get this whimsical aftertaste that sneaks in like a bright paprika. A "what was that I just had?" sort of feeling that comes over you after you have an unusual flavor. You truly feel like something sneaked into your cupboards and replaced your normal herb sachet with something a little more vivid.

Perhaps it would be best to ask the band what their favorite recipe for Paella is before I go completely off the deep end with gourmet comparisons. The obvious truth is that I know nothing of REAL Valencian cuisine. After having a taste of the music that comes from that (extremely old) city in recent years, it's no doubt that the fine traditions kept alive in their food are also kept alive in their music. Laverge have a recipe they have crafted into a fine thing, worthy of the finicky palates that all share the same revolving globe. It's tasty.

Bandcamp 'em

Facebook 'em

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lark's Tongue - Peoria Psychedelia

Sometimes a band comes around and causes issues in your life. Existential quandaries begin to surface.
"Just how truly in touch with reality am I?"
"Why does music like this slip past me?"

Lark's Tongue come from Peoria, Illinois. Made up of members of Minsk & Men Of Fortune (among others), they appear to be stealthily putting out music for a number of years. They can be classified in the "stoner rock" section, but really have little in common with the genre. It's a spacey affair. Slow, beautifully menacing, and swirling with neon psychedelia. Within the dark aeon they inhabit, concessions are made to hang up a sludge-y backdrop and allow the musicians to systematically beat the dust from it with their respective instruments.

 Their first EP came in the form of a 7" called "The Rope/Tucson, Arizona"

This was followed by a split with Men Of Fortune. Within the first ten seconds from the first Lark's Tongue track, you start asking those questions from before. It becomes obvious that this is a band you have not heard the likes of.

If you were not struck blind by the time you get to listen to their next split LP with Across Tundras (who are another story altogether), you will be. Songs like "Aluminum" ease you in to the Lark's Tongue sound, with its beauty-in-darkness feel. Reverb-drenched guitars cascade like stark white snow into a world of monochromatic blue. Sharing the journey are two heavy tunes from T.G. Olson & crew in Across Tundras. This really couldn't be a better fit considering both bands are equally incorporeal.

"Narrow" comes in, a gorgeous, crystalline glacier magnifying idyllic ages past. A slow-creeping monolith, reading bygone days like an ancient, immortal scribe. Progressive and layered, jagged and dense, this album is a culmination of what had gone before, but now wears of cloak of wisdom. Synths lope along doggedly while heavy funereal guitars fill the path with a soft morass. Laminations of voices loom over the album like monastic stewards. The album can be quite a bucolic trip when used in the right ways and allowed to utter its incantations within the proper surroundings.

All fancy stuff aside, there is talk of Lark's Tongue releasing new material in 2018. During this time, it might be wise to familiarize yourself with the rest of their albums. I'm finding that this prog/psych/drone band from Peoria, Illinois are a band that I should have discovered some time ago. Don't get yourself into the same bind when they put out a new album. Let Lark's Tongue cause some issues in your life.

Find Their Faces In A Book

Camping With The Band

Monday, December 4, 2017

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

I'm not necessarily reviewing this album. It does not need review. There are quite a few out there for you to read and enjoy. And the album is available to listen to as we speak. You can listen to this, knowing full-well that you're safe with KG&TLW.

This post is to push the release of Polygondwanaland in this LP format. This is nothing new. This has been released on various variants from various labels. You can most likely get yourself a crazy glow-in-the-dark swamp dill pickle swirl, with a fruity pebbles splatter, and a hand-dipped hot dog-scented cover. Maybe not, but there are a ton of "limited" releases out there.
I like this one:
Diggers Factory and the band are offering this LP, numbered + limited for only 1 measly little Euro. In the words of the band:
"This album is FREE. Free as in, free. Free to download and if you wish, free to make copies. Make tapes, make CD’s, make records."

It would be wise to jump on this limited release right now.

Get It Here! Don't wait on this one!