Classic Album Review

Shadow of the Erd Tree’s Best OSTs

FromSoft has finally dropped the long-awaited DLC for Elden Ring. And in classic FromSoft fashion, they’ve casually imbued it with some of the most riveting OSTs of the century.

Quick disclaimer: I’m not a gamer. I’ve tried playing Elden Ring (at my younger brother’s behest) and was laughably horrible, dying immediately any time I encountered one of the hundreds of blood-hungry NPCs that roamed the map.

However, I do love good music, and Shadow of the Erdtree delivers. Here are the (in my expert opinion) best five tracks from the DLC.

“The Twin Moon Knight”

In terms of sheer emotional impact, “The Twin Moon Knight” is comparable to the iconic “Slave Knight Gael” from Dark Souls III.

Undoubtedly a far more complex composition, “The Twin Moon Knight” requires multiple rounds of listening for proper appreciation. Each time I replayed the track, I was struck by a new detail — a backdrop of plaintive vocals, a muted strain of ethereal strings, a subtle callback to Rennala’s theme, etc. — and the song’s tangle of sounds began to solidify into a frankly insane composition.

Where “Slave Knight Gael” is initially slow-moving, laboriously working up to its climax — much like Gael by the end of the game — “The Twin Moon Knight” is quick-to-strike and unrelenting from the first second, popping off immediately with woodwinds, percussion, vocals and heartwrenching strings.

It’s poetry. It’s opera. It’s devastating, and I can’t not go back for more.

By the end of the song, you’ve been utterly sliced to ribbons by ebullient arrangements of overlaid strings and stomped into the dust by a thudding percussive finale. It’s a song of many arcs, richly loaded with atmosphere and lore.

“Divine Beast Dancing Lion”

The Dancing Lion is one of the most grotesque creatures I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Its corpse-green eyes and pearly white mouth of teeth, paired with its bruised and filthy human limbs, drive me absolutely crazy with revulsion.

It’s only the best kind of ironic that such a uniquely repulsive creature would possess one of the coolest OSTs in the franchise.

Composer Shoi Miyazawa expertly matches the OST’s sound to the beast’s whirling chaos, with susurations of stony male vocals and buzzing strings creating the illusion of churning air. When the Lion reaches its second phase, the atmosphere grows thunderous and the strings reach a frantic, lilting speed.

Arguably one of the most unique tracks from the DLC, “Divine Beast Dancing Lion” is frenetic and unforgettable.

“The Lord of Frenzied Flame”

While “The Twin Moon Knight” and “Divine Beast Dancing Lion” were exemplary for their complex, high-energy compositions, “The Lord of Frenzied Flame” is good because it’s plainly horrific.

From the first note, “The Lord of Frenzied Flame” drips foreboding. A percussive thud barely audible beneath a string and woodwind arrangement gives the impression of footfalls, of a horrible and formidable foe lurching ever-closer.

Also composed by Shoi Miyazawa, this track captures the fight’s — as stated by YouTube commenter TuomasH– “you have to kill this guy before he leaves the room and ends the world” kind of vibe.

Others compare the sound to the Bloodborne soundtrack — dark, dyspeptic and laden with unease. Pure drama from beginning to end.

“The Promised Consort”

This, according to my brother, is the single best track of the franchise. And I think he’s got a good argument going. To put it simply, the song is epic, the perfect backdrop for a long-awaited battle featuring legendary characters.

Twin swells — uproarious symphony for Radahn and delicate strings for Miquella — punctuate the track’s first phase before dissolving into something downright heavenly. Diegetically, the energy is intense, everything culminating in an unforgettable finale.

Classic Album Review

Kravitz and Cree: “Street Faërie”

If any album can convince you to get a belly button piercing, it’s going to be this one.

Most of us know Cree Summer as the raspy-voiced woman behind our childhood cartoons as “Numbah Five” from “Codename: Kids Next Door,” or Susie Meyerson from “Rugrats” amongst many others.

My Gen X-ers know Summer as the ever-spunky Freddie on “A Different World.”

However, my favorite incarnation is the scratchy and soulful singer of the here-and-then-gone 1999 album “Street Faërie.”

Summer’s lyrics walk the line between fresh and cynical, intimate and erotic, poetic and plainspoken in a way that feels almost reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s work.

She effortlessly weaves that earth-mother-barefoot-beauty with a decidedly tough, no-nonsense sensibility.

“Street Faërie” was produced by Lenny Kravitz, whose fingerprints are sonically all over the album.

From lush arrangements to backing vocals, he added tangible shape and color to Summer’s vision.

Forget Don Henley and Stevie Nicks; Kravitz and Summer create auditory leather and lace together.

Her vocals are equal parts delicate and forceful, uniquely free of her signature spoken rasp, whereas his guitar has that tell-tale driven ’90s crunch laced with powerfully ’70s swagger.

While the album reeks of what I can only imagine is Lenny Kravit’s spicy cologne, it feels like a disservice to dismiss it as his pet project as some reviewers have.

As far as content goes, it’s all Summer – from “Curious White Boy” to “Naheo,” she pulls from her reality to find the beauty in mundanity.

Her songs run the gamut from interracial dating to period sex, each one handled with a deeply personal intimacy that brings the listener deeper into a wonderland entirely of her making.

Despite what the title may suggest, the whimsical “Street Faërie” keeps both feet firmly planted in reality.

– Bodhi

Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: Nemo’s “In Stereo”


The underground rock scene of the late 90’s and the early 2000’s has always been a charming era to me. Bands like Hum, Bowery Electric, Southpacific and many more brought the space rock genre back to life in many ways. Whether it be combining the genre with midwest emo, post-rock or shoegaze, the result almost always ended up sounding great.

This “space rock revival” scene captured the glory of outer space and the joy of humanity’s monumental achievement in exploration. Bands attempted to match the feeling of the temporally appropriate film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” with its grandiose and horizon-widening perspective. This narrative was pushed to the absolute limit with the album “In Stereo” by Nemo.

“In Stereo”

Darrell Simpson, Patrick McGuire and Todd Harapiak made up the band Nemo, which released its only work as a band, “In Stereo,” on June 8, 1999. The album consists of 8 songs, totalling 66 minutes in length, with the last song, “Space Suit,” taking up almost half of that runtime.

“In Stereo” combines space rock, shoegaze and metal in an extremely satisfying fashion. This album feels like you are strapped to the side of a rocket engine as it propels into deep space. The album has some very artful additions to it that make it feel all the more atmospheric. Some examples are the beeping electronics throughout the album, which resemble spaceship modules, and the playful reverb on some brighter guitar parts that sound like satelite dishes sending out signals to space. Also, in “Bleary-Eyed Me,” the distortion on the vocals resembles the radio between mission control and the team onboard the spacecraft.


Not only are the band members geniuses at nailing the atmosphere, but they do a pretty good job of making some solid, earwormy riffs. For example, “King Valley 55” sounds like the combination of Blur’s more poppier side, and Have A Nice Life’s cathartically heavy instruments. “Bedhead” is a groovy, jumpy song that sounds like if Spiritualized listened to Primus. “Hyperdrive” feels like it is a child of the 2020’s emo/shoegaze revival scene twenty years before it was supposed to happen.

“Space Suit,” the closing track, is my favorite song on the album. Starting with mountains of reverb, the song slowly builds into a masterpiece of density, with one of the most gut-wrenching guitar tones I’ve ever heard. After continuing on for six minutes, the riff dissolves into a heavy, intoxicating drone, with more off-kilter guitars leading. I would like to imagine this as a spacecraft losing contact with the rest of humanity and slowly inching into deep space. The drone fades out after about fifteen minutes, and we are left with silence for the remaining runtime. Whether or not the silence at the end is intentional, no one knows. I like to think this represents all contact with the Earth being lost, the craft succumbing to the silence and blackness of space.


Nemo’s “In Stereo” shows not only the wonders of space travel with its depth-defying highs, heavy and glorius riffs and soaring vocals, but also the horror of having your back face humanity’s reality, facing a universe that no human has explored as deep as you will.

Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Top Ten most Epic fish of all time” by Sintel

Hello internet, and welcome to my album review of “Top Ten most Epic fish of all time” by Sintel! It’s a pretty unique album, with its silly gimmick belying some genuinely beautiful fish in it. That out of the way, let’s dive right in!

Classic Album Review

Prison Affair and Snooper Join Forces with “Split”

Despite being separated by over 4 thousand miles, two iconic egg punk bands have produced a totally epic crossover.

“Split” is a collaboration between Barcelona’s Prison Affair and Nashville’s Snooper, and it sounds exactly like you’d expect.

Egg Punk’s Favorite Felons

Since the group’s emergence in 2019, Prison Affair has amassed an almost cult-like following. Frenetic basslines and intense synth trances give the band’s music that unique DEVO-esque “egginess.”

“Demo II” by Prison Affair

Prison Affair’s discography is rife with homoeroticism, entendre and crude humor — they’re named “Prison Affair” for a reason — and the band’s merch store boasts bizarre items such as action figures and adult intimacy products featuring “d–knose,” the band’s Kilroy-inspired mascot.

Having made my way through the band’s discography several times over, it’s clear that Prison Affair is, in a sense, a self-contained universe. There’s an artsy, tongue-in-cheek genius behind the band’s highly-concentrated aesthetic, and before their collaboration with Snooper, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that the band was actually a group of people rather than some kind of ironic abstraction.


Dedicated to silliness, spontaneity and simply cutting loose every once in a while, Snooper is an eclectic quintet making massive waves in the egg punk scene.

“Super Snooper” by Snooper

Borne of the COVID-19 pandemic and vocalist Blair Tramel’s love of papier mache, the band pioneers a uniquely vibrant and lighthearted take on punk rock distortion with songs about cool bugs, spy school and wacky hijinks. The band’s iconic mascot, a giant papier mache bug crafted by Tramel, is especially charming. At Snooper shows, a volunteer dons the creature and runs frenzied around the crowd.

“I think we’re teaching these tough punk guys how to have fun again,” Tramel said in an interview with NME.

“When someone is rocking with the puppet at the show, and they’re in a studded leather jacket, I’m like, ‘How did this happen?’ There’s something really magical about that. I’ll look from onstage and I’m like, it’s working!’”


The EP is featured in two parts, with three tracks uploaded under the Prison Affair name. These tracks are “Algo huele mal” (Something smells bad), “Apuñalamiento (pero entre colegas)” (Stabbing [but between colleagues]) and “Quiz​á​s” (Maybe).

The EP is a quick listen, with a runtime of just over five minutes. From beginning to end, “Split” is manic, with a rapid tempo and slurred, repetitive lyrics.

“Split 7″” by Snooper

My favorite track, “Apuñalamiento (pero entre colegas),” is a total earworm with its bouncing rhythm and funky beats.

Snooper’s half of the EP, “Split 7″,” is similarly untethered. While Prison Affair’s vocals are monotonous and grimy, Tramel’s high-octave voice is delightfully chipper and a stark contrast to the mounting distortion of tracks like “Company Car” and “On Line.”

While there are numerous stylistical differences between the two bands, “Split” retains sensory consistency throughout. The EP is fun all the way through, and leaves you wanting to scurry around like an insect.

Classic Album Review

The Summer-y Sounds of Tuesday Faust

Whimsical and sweet, the first time I heard “Paul” by Tuesday Faust, I was transported far, far away back to my elementary school field trips to the state fair and family summer vacations roaming the beach boardwalk carnival, watching the bright lights and listening to the lilting calypso themes emanating from various cash-grab rides.

Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Chicks Dig Squeeze And So Should You

I never thought Squeeze would be a divisive band, but I thought wrong.

Whenever the band appears in conversation, it’s accompanied by a chorus of groans.

According to a certain subset of the population, Squeeze is a girl’s band.

Did the band garner an audience of young women? Of course they did; they were halfway decent-looking young men singing love songs.

But how does that change the sonic validity of a group?

Historically, teenage girls have always been on the cusp of greatness with who gets their fandom.

Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Duran Duran, Madonna and Taylor Swift all captured teenage imaginations and were partially propelled to stardom because of it.

Now, we socially recognize the legitimacy of some of these artists as important to the fabric of pop-culture, but that was only until they gained a more adult audience.

So, what makes Squeeze different?

They ran in the same circles as Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, being produced by the former and the latter appearing on 1981’s “Tempted” and “There’s no Tomorrow” and 1982’s “Black Coffee in Bed.”

The Official Music Video for “Tempted” by Squeeze from the Squeeze YouTube page.
Audio for “There’s No Tomorrow’ by Squeeze from the Squeeze YouTube page.
The Official Music Video for “Black Coffee in Bed” by Squeeze from the Squeeze YouTube page.


For all intents and purposes, they ran with a cool crowd and played cool music. But because of their designation as a radio pop band for teenagers, they lost their luster.

I was going through my own record collection, and I stumbled upon my beat up copy of “Argybargy,” the band’s third studio album released in 1980 – and I fell in love.

It was a dollar bin lark because I liked “Pulling Muscles (From the Shell)” — a slightly dirty ditty about naughty diversions at the beach — but I never really listened to it until I pulled it from the stacks.

And goddamn was it good.

With “Argybargy,” the band enjoyed a brief flash of global domination and to quote Chris Jones of the BBC, “If you’re going to own at least one Squeeze album, this has to be the one.”

It’s jazzy, it’s fun, there’s almost a doo-wop flair to the dueling vocals of Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford and there’s a delightfully working class flair to the stories they tell — even with inconsistent songs — across the board it was a fun listen.

The album did well; they found an audience as young and spunky as their sound and they found their stride – good for them, because other bands would kill for a glimpse of that success.

So yeah, chicks dig squeeze (this chick certainly does) and maybe you should, too.

Perhaps we put too much weight on how popularity affects the “coolness” of something — a prevalent WKNC conversation — but I beg that something is popular for a reason…

You can call Squeeze whatever you want — New Wave, Pop, Airheaded-Teenie-Bopper-Love-Songs — whatever you want, but if the music sounds good and the band is respected by contemporaries, maybe we should respect it, too.

– Bodhi

Classic Album Review Music Education

Power on Dylan, or: The Power of Dylan

A look at “Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert.”

By 1966, Bob Dylan and his apostolic audience were at odds and that tension boiled to a head during one pivotal set at Manchester Free Trade Hall, not the misbilled Royal Albert Hall.

In 2022, Cat Power brought Dylan’s words back home, this time in the right venue.

Power, the notorious alternative folk songstress of ’90s acclaim, while known for being obtuse and inaccessible, feels remarkably accessible in this recording.

Released in 2023, as far as cover albums go – which she is no stranger to – this one is almost painfully straightforward.

Equal parts faithful reconstruction and self-aware reimagining of Dylan’s last supper, the album playfully tugs at the frayed edges of folk’s second death knell – Farcically, Dylan had already “killed” folk alongside Mike Bloomfield the year before at the 1965 Manchester Folk Festival.

Following the set song by song right down to the acoustic/electric split half-way through, Power effortlessly waltzes between her own delicate, ghost-like phrasing and Dylan’s nasally-spoken slide.

But as a listener, I’m not entirely sure what keeps Powers back from the precipice of empty pantomime she teeters on.

If anything, “Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert” feels reverential to the point of becoming defanged.

Whether it be the mix or the crowd, there’s a heavy silence that hangs over both the acoustic and electric portions of the album, miles away from Dylan’s caustic bite and his audience’s simmering discontent.

Warning: This Clip Contains Explicit Content.
Bob Dylan’s 1966 “Judas” Incident from YouTube.

It’s a beautiful album and a wonderful showcase of both Power’s vocal stylings and Dylan’s lyricism but it feels empty above all else.

The moment is too self-aware, too self-referential.

Her audience sits in rapt attention, intimately acquainted with each dip and turn of the score, even attempting to recreate the “Judas” moment…only for it to be on the wrong song.

It’s Power’s response to the Judas heckle that says everything about the auspices this project was conceived under; “No, Jesus,” she responded dryly before launching into a haunted rendition of “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

We all know what that moment meant for the future of music, for the folk messiah to betray the movement he helmed…it changed everything – and that is the albatross that hangs around Power’s neck throughout the set.

Because we know now what that concert meant and what he means to music, we can’t possibly recreate it in earnest – it’s holy, now…it’s larger than us.

But it shouldn’t have been.

“Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert” is a wonderfully accessible foray into Bob Dylan’s discography and the stylings of Cat Power. But beyond a well mixed, well arranged reproduction, Power doesn’t bring anything new or fresh into the conversation.

A good cover album, which, technically this is, should expand upon the material or revive the energy that captured audiences originally – and from where I stand, Power dropped the ball on both.

When in doubt, play it loud – Bodhi
Classic Album Review

Omerta’s New Single Takes a Sledgehammer to Genre

Pushing boundaries is nothing new to Omerta. With their latest single, “Charade,” the band blurs the line between music, cacophony, the avant-garde and the outright unhinged.

Let’s talk about it.

A New Era

Described by Culture Addicts as a “five-minute opus,” “Charade” is the first track of Omerta’s upcoming album “Suicycle.” The album is set to come out via Blowed Out Records, the label manned by Ross Robinson, Ghostemane and Bill Armstrong, later this year.

As I explained in my profile on Omerta, the band’s genre is hard to define. Despite the valiant efforts of Redditor music aficionados to uncover this sacred truth, the band’s classification ultimately depends on who you ask.

Cover for “i luv u 2” by Omerta

Are they nu metal? Trap metal? Metalcore? A flagrant affront to the music world in general? The Council has yet to offer an answer, and it seems Omerta is dead-set on only further tormenting musical purists.

Have you ever taken a college course that was considered a “make-or-break” type of class? If you’re a STEM major, you probably have. These classes are arduous and tough and often soul-crushing, designed to weed out the people who just can’t hack it.

In a way, “Charade” is a “make-or-break” kind of song. You either get it or you don’t.

Early Releases

I fell in love with Omerta after catching them live at Hangar 1819 back in 2022, during which they performed tracks from their debut album “Hyperviolence.”

Cover for “Hyperviolence” by Omerta

How to explain “Hyperviolence?” It’s vile and razor-edged and gritty, the kind of music you’d listen to as an angst-ridden teenager riding the school bus at 6 a.m.. Vocalist Gustavo Hernandez, despite being 5 feet and 2 inches tall, emanates palpable rage. The instrumentation is fierce, the lyrics capricious and the album’s central theme — violence — taking center stage.

In 2023, Omerta released the single “Antiamorous,” a downright caustic track with heavy experimental flair. You can read about it here.

After “Antiamorous,” the band teased “Suicycle” — referencing the term “sui generis” rather than suicice — calling the album the start of a new era. On May 1, 2024, they dropped “Charade.”


The first thing I asked myself after listening to “Charade” was: do I like this?”

The question was difficult to answer. So naturally, I listened to the song 20 more times. I’m still not sure if I actually like it, but it’s certainly interesting.

“Charade” features vocals from Vicente Void, former member of Darke Complex, and alternative rapper Hash Gordon. Both artists have worked with Omerta before, with Void producing most of the band’s songs and Gordon featuring on the “Hyperviolence” track “Cidephile.”

There’s a hard masculine edge to much of Omerta’s music, with the glorification of violence often taking on Clockwork Orange levels of absurdity. From the first few seconds of “Charade,” I knew I was witnessing something drastically removed from the band’s previously-established “brand.”

Photo by Breno Machado on Unsplash

I was shocked to learn that Gustavo provided most of the song’s vocals, especially those at the first half of the track. His hard, barbed edges are rendered smooth as breakcore-esque electronic beats crackle in the background. I was instantly reminded of the English covers of Vocaloid songs I used to listen to as a tween, and I thought to myself is this actually Omerta?

Just as soon as I asked myself this question, a distorted guitar entered the chat. The vibe instantly shifted, quickly ushering in what I would consider to be classic Gustavo: loud, throat-ripping and laden with expletives. Next, Hash Gordon sending the track into a full-on adrenaline rush with a rapid-fire slant. I was reminded of the insanity of Spider Gang (specifically, Methhead Freestyle).

At this point, I lost my grasp on the song entirely. Even now, having listened through it over a dozen times, I can’t really make sense of it. There’s simply too much going on for my mind to comprehend, hence my inability to truly state whether or not I actually like it.

Final Thoughts

“‘Charade’ is cringecore,” the band said in a public statement. “It’s avant-garde. It’s post-post-hardcore. It’s acid jazz. It’s K-Pop. It’s prog rock. It’s an anime opening. It’s neo metal. It’s an overture heralding the arrival of a sui generis cycle.

“The postmodern condition has relegated Sincerity, Love and Beauty to vestiges of a bygone era, and in their stead, Cynicism, Irony and Ugliness abound. In this profound, suffocating darkness and loneliness, this song is our proposal for a vibe shift – a bullet through the skull of Nihilism.”

Whether or not “Charade” is truly a “bullet through the skull of Nihilism” or the members of Omerta have simply read too much philosophical theory (or watched too many arthouse films) remains to be seen. With the upcoming release of “Suicycle,” perhaps “Charade” will fit into a bigger, more coherent context.

Or perhaps not. But that may be, as the band suggests, precisely the point.

Classic Album Review

Machine Girl Traverses a Synthetic Heaven with “SUPER FREQ”

Machine Girl’s latest EP is a perfect blend of frenetic beats and ultramodern digital rhythms. “SUPER FREQ” channels Machine Girl’s classic anime-infused breakcore stylstics with an uncanny twist.

Produced for FREQ Records, the EP stands as a pesudo-soundtrack for “FREQ,” a new manga project by Nicola Kazimir and Dai Sato. Written by Sato, acclaimed for his screenwriting work on “Ergo Proxy,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Samurai Champloo” and numerous others, “FREQ” takes place in a universe governed by sound.

Finished Manga panel from FREQ Volume #0, illustrated by Good News For Bad Guys

According to the official “FREQ” Kickstarter, “The setting of Freq’s lore unfolds in a futuristic realm where the influence of sound frequencies governs all aspects of life. In this world, everything from traffic, AR visuals to warfare and of course music is orchestrated through the manipulation/extraction of sound frequencies [sic].”

Synthetic Heaven

Consisting of three tracks and with a total runtime of around 10 minutes, “SUPER FREQ” is fast-paced, energetic and futuristic. Though lacking in the stylistic complexity seen in earlier releases like “Wlfgrl” or “U-Void Synthesizer,” the EP is wholly solid.

While “SUPER FREQ” lacks the digital hardcore influence that underscores much of Machine Girl’s work, the EP’s “cleaner” vocal quality allows for Stephenson’s incisive lyricism to really shine through.

The EP’s first track, “Black Glass,” puts an esoteric spin on the digital age. The plight of the chronically online and technologically oversaturated becomes a “black mass,” with the human soul endlessly reflected as “shadows” across an endless expanse of “black glass.”

Crawl into the cave before it’s gone

Before the future turns to aches

Before your blood turns into plastic

“Black Glass,” Machine Girl

There certainly is no dearth of sci-fi futurist dystopias in media: decades-away worlds plated in chrome and illuminated in vivid technicolor. However, as Machine Girl suggests, the sci-fi dystopia is already upon us: our blood is inexorably laced with forever chemicals and our lives are consumed by synthetic stimulation.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Despite the song’s prescient message, it’s consistently upbeat. In fact, the whole EP maintains a sort of cavalier jubilation throughout. The next track, “Dance in the Fire,” is a techno-laced dance anthem. The third, “Big Time Freq,” a chipper instrumental.

Of the three tracks on “SUPER FREQ,” this one excited me the least. Compared to the mysterious “Black Glass” and the manic “Dance in the Fire,” “Big Time Freq” is…kind of bland.

There’s nothing particularly striking about this track, and it lacks the hypnotic frenzy of other Machine Girl instrumentals. My younger brother aptly described it as “video game idling music.”

Final Thoughts

While “SUPER FREQ” certainly doesn’t take away from Machine Girl’s artistic credibility, it admittedly falls short of its predecessors. The EP is fun and danceable, but it’s only “Black Glass” that really strikes me as iconically Machine Girlesque.

After nearly two years since Machine Girl’s last release, a soundtrack for the platform shooter “Neon White,” it’s fair to say that I hope the duo returns to producing the more involved and experimental LPs that have come to define the breakcore genre.