3hree Things: Awesome Records That Aren't The New Bon Iver

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, in which Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native. bibi1-581x387.jpg​Bon Iver's highly anticipated second album, Bon Iver, seems like it's had a stranglehold on a good portion of the music media since it leaked a little more than a month ago. Rightfully so -- because the record (properly released on June 21) is fantastic. The reviews I've read have been unanimously positive, it seems that Facebook and Twitter feeds have been blowing up with folks gushing about it, and all the actual word-of-mouth that I've been exposed to has sounded more like an orgasm and less like conversational English. I get it. It's good. Or great. Or [insert Pitchforkian Hyperbolic Adjective-Riddled Phrase here].

To be honest, while I've truly enjoyed the four or five spins I've given it, I haven't been totally consumed by the album the way I was by For Emma, Forever Ago in 2008. And it's not because it's not a great record. It's because 2011 has been such a damn good year for music (the past two months, especially) I just haven't had reason to devote myself to a single record for weeks at a time. I'm sure I'll get around to giving Bon Iver its due, but not before I play the following three discs to death.

If you follow my personal blog semi-regularly, you've probably already read about how much I love these records, but I figured I'd share them with my OC Weekly readers just in case they slipped beneath your radar.

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1) Battles, Gloss Drop (released June 6)

Experimental rock from New York City, featuring ex-members of Helmet and Don Caballero, this record is bizarre in the best ways possible. It's full of angular guitar work and percussive keys and synths layered over some absolutely stellar drumming from John Stanier. I'd guess it probably gets labeled as "experimental" because it defies genre classification.

I've found that Gloss Drop moves me in the same way that a jazz or electronic record might, with its depth of textures and nuances that take on new life with each repeated listen. And because of that, it's definitely not a "first listen" record, but one I've found myself appreciating more and more each time I listen to it.


Take a listen, and if you like it, buy it here.​

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2) Cave In, White Silence (released May 24)


I've been a raving super-fan of Cave In since a few years before Thrice had the life/band-trajectory-changing experience of touring with them in 2001, I was crushed when I heard they were going on hiatus in 2006, and I almost exploded when I heard they were writing and recording new music for a 2011 release.


That release, White Silence, is everything I hoped it would be and more. It has the crushing dynamic shifts of Jupiter-era Cave In (one of my favorite records of all time), the brutality of Until Your Heart Stops-era Cave In, the melody and semi-psychedelic Pink Floyd/Beatles vibe of Steve Brodsky's solo work, the headbanging sludge of Caleb Scofield's Old Man Gloom and Zozobra projects, the thrashiness of Adam McGrath's Clouds project, and it's all neatly packaged into a concise 36-minute LP. Depending on where your musical tastes reside, you might not care for everything on White Silence, but it's such a diverse record, I'd posit it contains a little something for just about everyone.


Take a listen, and if you like it, buy it here.


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3) Helms Alee, Weatherhead (released June 21)


Once I found out they featured Ben Verellen (ex-Harkonen and brother of Dave Verellen, of one of my all-time-favorite bands, Botch) I figured I'd probably like Helms Alee, but had no idea just how much I'd come to love their debut record, Night Terror. (It ended up being just on the outside of my Top 10 records of 2008.) I was eagerly awaiting the release of their follow-up, Weatherhead, and it proved to be everything I'd hoped for and more. I've been listening to it daily since its release. If you like nasty guitar and bass tones, odd time signatures, and three-part male/female harmonies in dark, heavy, riff-driven rock & roll, you'll love this. With Weatherhead, it seems they've found the perfect balance between discord and melody layered beautifully over pummeling drums. It's truly chill-inducing rock -- and a lock for my Top 10 this year.
Take a listen, and if you like it, buy it here.



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3 comments
Tom
Tom

battles and cave in are the last 2 albums i bought, i need to check out Helms Alee

Rimfandango
Rimfandango

I fully agree with what you said about the new Bon Iver record. Or simply that it didn't grab as For emma did. The best thing out of 2011 I've heard so far is Giles Corey - Giles Corey. Dark folk that is just incredible. Some gloomy stuff so be advised before you dwell into it. But if you do you wont regret it.

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