Hot Chip, "One Pure Thought"
Hot Chip is dance music, basically, with some nice melodies. But while this is perfectly nice, it's never really clicked with me very much, and I just have the one album from them. I guess the closest thing I listen to regularly is LCD Soundsystem, and it's not totally clear why I prefer one over the other.
Pond, "Perfect Four"
As always, a quick clarification that this is the rock band from Portland in the mid-90s, not the Australian band in the 2010s. Pond more-or-less arrived fully formed with their first, eponymous album. While their songwriting would get sharper, this album is still chock full of excellent rock. That they should be claimed by the anti-grunge vortex is one of the shames of the 90s.
Yautja, "Tar and Blindness"
Where is the line between noise rock and metal? Is it in the vocals? The rhythms? I think both of those, yeah, and the tempo and overall feel. Yautja play metal that is just on the far side of the line from noise rock. There's something a little too aggressive in their attack, in their vocals, to be noise rock. But it's close, and there are moments when they're sort of on this side of the line. There's not a ton separating this from, say, Unsane's more aggressive moments.
Where is the line between...aw, fuck it.
Lard is a supergoup featuring Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of Ministry alonside Jello Biafra formerly of the Dead Kennedys, with Jeff Ward (Revolting Cocks, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails) on drums initially. Marrying Ministry's mid-period relentless guitar attack with Biafra's sardonic lyrics turns out to be a winning combo, and the first Lard record is better than anything Ministry ever put out. The industrial touches were kept to a minimum, and it plays out as more of a hardcore record, which means it's aged better than Ministry's material. This is the opener to the first album, and they certainly announced their presence with authority.
Palace Music, "The Brute Choir"
Palace Music is one of Will Oldham's many alter egos, from one of his best periods. Viva Last Blues is an outstanding, warm album, with his backing band providing great accompaniment. Oldham's singing is in top form, and this album is one of the key albums in all of alt-country.