God Is My Co-Pilot – Speed Yr. Trip

Art Punk, Experimental Rock, Queercore


This is a record that was well ahead of its time, addressing the arbitrary gender binary in 1992 and dismantling the co-opted ‘punk’ ethos via dizzying, unconventional song structures and arrangements. There’s a little Captain Beefheart in the proceedings, as Sharon Topper shouts atop the whirlwind instrumentation. While flawed – there’s not enough variation to keep the songs consistently interesting – Speed Yr. Trip understands what ‘punk’ really is and, to that end, presents an uncompromising vision.


God – Possession

Experimental Rock, Industrial, Industrial Rock


Possession crushes listeners beneath pounding, repetitive rhythms comprised of mountainous drums, thick guitars, and – idiosyncratically – jazzy alto saxophone courtesy of John Zorn. The record’s bludgeoning, soulless attack is reminiscent of Godflesh, though the experimental underpinnings distinguish it. “Black Jesus”, a noisy, haunting atmospheric piece, exemplifies this, as do the assorted free jazz influences.

Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio – Pakistani Pomade

European Free Jazz


One of the greatest free jazz records of all time, Pakistani Pomade is a consummate demonstration of airtight improvised musicianship and bold, fearless choices. While the music is chaotic, the trio (piano, saxophone, drums) leave space for one another to operate, resulting in engrossing pieces of whirlwind-like velocity with room to breathe. Indeed, compared to the likes of Brötzmann’s Machine Gun or Burrell’s “Echo”, Pakistani Pomade is an accessible listen; however, the power and unexpectedness of the music is paramount, and no one will ever mistake it for pop.

Buckethead – Pike 23: Telescape

Experimental Rock, Guitar Virtuoso


A couple of good riffs in “Between Sea and Sky” and some fun effects on “Launch Pad” can’t save this Pike from the series’ bottom dredges. Stylistically, Buckethead opts for distorted alt metal riffs with occasional effect overdubs and programmed drums; indeed, though the cover and song titles imply something space-themed, the tracks are basically by-the-numbers. Worst of all, the two-part title track, which comprises more than half of the album’s runtime, is a bore.

BEST SONG: “Launch Pad”

August Burns Red – Messengers



Despite my best efforts to keep it in check, my attention wandered as I subjected myself to this boring, breakdown-heavy metalcore record. The musicianship is strong, but the songwriting is unsatisfying, the after-market production is egregious, and the vocalist sticks entirely to blasé bellows ill-befitting his technical backdrop. Worst of all, no song stands out amidst this dense sea of tedium.

Ray Lynch – Nothing Above My Shoulders but the Evening

New Age


Nothing Above My Shoulders… is more eclectic than Deep Breakfast and No Blue Thing, opting for a mix of moods and styles as opposed to its predecessors’ retro-futuristic pastiche. Some of the ventures are unrewarding; namely, “Over Easy” is a horribly dated, chintzy throwaway. However, there are a couple of great tunes in “Her Knees Deep in Your Mind” and “The Vanished Gardens of Cordoba”, and Lynch’s languid earnestness is as enticing as ever.

Buckethead – Pike 22: Sphere Facade

Experimental Rock, Guitar Virtuoso


Featuring unconventional song structures, prominent electronics, and abrupt genre switch-ups, Sphere Facade is essentially Spiral Trackway Part Two. While an exhausting listen for the number of ideas at play, it’s a fun and daring album – barring the drab, all-clean closer. The title track is especially good.

BEST SONG: “Sphere Facade”