What to Listen to This Week

Denver’s Blood Incantation follows up a run of some of the most acclaimed death metal of the past few years with…an instrumental synth album?

SOMETHING OLD

No wonder the Beatles loved Harry Nilsson so much; they must’ve seen a bit of themselves in his close harmonies and clever-little-bastard songwriting. Nilsson Schmilsson has the hits, and Pussy Cats is his most drunken and debauched, but his peak as a writer may be 1968′s Aerial Ballet, a neat half-hour package on which the hirsute L.A. party animal seems to be gliding on his own talent. Opener “Daddy’s Song” is a good litmus test for whether you’ll find his sugarcoated snark insufferable or irresistible.

SOMETHING NEW

Denver’s Blood Incantation follows up a run of some of the most acclaimed death metal of the past few years with…an instrumental synth album? It’s a curveball, but Timewave Zero is as fearsome as anything they’ve done, heavy and foreboding with a throbbing low end. These two side-long suites draw from the maligned ‘70s tradition of synth-based, rock-adjacent music by artists like Mike Oldfield and Rick Wakeman, but it’s never ironic; in fact, it might just put the fear of the cosmos into you.

SOMETHING LOCAL

Jackson From Online’s time boning up on classic rave zines during the pandemic paid off. The Portland drummer-producer-graphic artist’s single “Arrival/Descent” feels like an underground party, from the bruising bass to the vintage “go!” sample to the voice-overs of mind-blown kids talking about profound experiences. “Arrival” is particularly impressive in how it cycles through three distinct movements—one nasty, one nastier, one pretty, all imbued with the filth and ecstasy of classic rave.

SOMETHING ASKEW

The ostensible compilation ‘96 Drum n Bass Classixxx was recorded in 2002 by one man, the hyperactive Bogdan Raczynski, under 12 increasingly ridiculous monikers. This is exaggerated high-tempo drum ‘n’ bass that makes Venetian Snares look sedate. It’s unapologetically drug music, and though a brain that’s been forced to race as fast as these beats might have no trouble grooving with it, we sober folks can only watch as these million-BPM rhythms zoom by like Roadrunner around a racetrack.