CD Reviews: What Is the Meaning of What, Born Villain, Army of Mushrooms

Psychedelic Math Rock Folk

Turing Machine What Is the Meaning of What (Temporary Residence Limited)

Need some motivation to break shit or drive recklessly fast? This record’s opening guitar riffs and driving bassline will put you in the mood for some feel-good aggression. The first album in eight years for the NYC band could be the soundtrack for a modern heist or a midnight drive through the desert, especially when it blends into the groovier “Lazy Afternoon of the Jaguar.” What is the Meaning of What continues on an aural journey until the last notes of “Bovina 2/23/08.” If you’ve never given Turing Machine a listen, but enjoy the music of UNKLE, add this album to your iPod—you won’t be disappointed. Guest drummers, including Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem and the Disappears’ Brian Case, stepped in to help with the completion of the album when Turing Machine’s Jerry Fuchs died in 2009 after falling down an elevator shaft. The band started working on the album in 2008, and some of Fuchs’ last recordings are featured on the album as well. ★★★★☆

Industrial Goth-Rock Metal

Marilyn Manson Born Villain (Hell, Etc.)

Oh, Brian Warner. I fear your latest Marilyn Manson offering appears as if you’ve lost your bloody razor-blade edge. What once was entrancingly dirty, edgy and guaranteed to scare the shit out of anyone over 25, now just seems slightly a snooze. Although technically the band’s musicianship has evolved and superfans will instantly latch on, Marilyn Manson’s eighth studio release falls a bit flat without any particular standout track, even after multiple listens. Songs such as “Pistol Whipped” feel as if Manson is trying too hard to be lyrically controversial, and awkward disembodied whispers run the length of the LP. The crusade to make classic hits delightfully creepy continues on “You’re So Vain” with the addition of Johnny Depp. But there’s so many layers of gritty distortion, it’s difficult to pick out his vocal stylings … oh wait, Depp isn’t even singing, but playing drums and guitar on the song? Interesting. As much as I was pulling for this one, it just didn’t strike the right chord. It feels mediocre, and unfortunately won’t go into heavy rotation like previous Manson albums. ★★☆☆☆

Electro Psy-trance

Infected Mushroom Army of Mushrooms (Dim Mak)

The ’Shrooms are growing. For the Israeli electronic band, their eighth LP finds them continuing to branch out from their psy-trance sound for an inventive, more industrial and overall pleasingly diverse offering. From the danceable opening track “Never Mind,” Infected Mushroom showcases an ability to incorporate anything from electro and trance to hip-hop and dubstep all in a single, lushly layered track. The exploration of sound continues, complete with lyrics in their native Hebrew on “Send Me an Angel” then into the dark, glitchy sounds of “U R So Fucked.” Each track can successfully stand on its own, like the emotion-laden “Wanted To” and a 2012 reworking of their track “The Messenger,” but all work cohesively in creating a full album experience as well. Infected Mushroom even throws in an enjoyable cover of the Foo Fighters’ “Pretender” with the group’s Amit Duvdevani successfully handling vocal duties for what could be the next rock-influenced surprise club-banger for major DJs’ sets. ★★★★☆

Originally published in Vegas Seven.

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