Thalia Zedek has spent decades out of the hard oversold limelight, instead skirting the edges where her style has made its way into some of the most pivotal sounds of American music. Artists like Kurt Cobain, Dinosaur Jr. and indie god Bob Mould have all tipped their hat her way.

Yet she still remains largely unknown. 

In our Off The Record series, we caught up with Zedek, where she performed in one of only a few places in Boston we felt were appropriate enough for such a dominant figure in music counterculture: The Model Café dive bar. 

» The Legendary Thalia Zedek Performs On Off The Record


OOIOO – Gamel (Thrill Jockey)


As you might guess by its title, Gamel is an experiment in Javanese gamelan music. And knowing Yoshimi P-We’s oeuvre with Boredoms and OOIOO and the myriad projects she is and has been involved with, emphasis is heavily weighted on the word “experiment.”

While gamelan music focuses on metallophone instruments with rigid melodic potential, bamboo flutes are often employed at the discretion of the group. As these woodwinds are often unpredictable and poles apart from the idiosyncrasy of the ensemble’s tonality, one can imagine why the caution is encouraged — particularly if you’re performing for a king who wants something “light” for his dinner conversations.

OOIOO is that flute times 10, flinging the kitchen sink at reverence while simultaneously dragging it to a higher plane.

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For so many years, as a young kid who realized he was gay before he even had a word for it, I was trained to believe that it was Satan himself who was “turning me gay”; I believed that being gay was “evil,” and that by extension, I must be “evil” too. One might presume that a consistent black metal ideologue would celebrate such anti-Christian behavior and non-reproductive sexuality as legitimately Satanic. So imagine my confusion when I realized that the burgeoning black metal scenes of the ’80s and ’90s — rife with band names like Sodom and songs called “Fistfucking God’s Planet” — were every bit as homophobic as my family church. It’s one thing to be rejected by Jesus, but where do you go when you’ve been rejected by Satan?
Norman Brannon discusses Camp, the church, Susan Sontag, and reviews The Soft Pink Truth for The Talkhouse

The Skull Defekts — Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown (Thrill Jockey)


Sweden’s Skull Defekts fall on the propulsive/rhythmic side of the post-punk spectrum. The Ex aren’t a bad point of comparison.  Both groups have a tendency to focus on particular passages, to zero in on them and embrace repetition; you could get lost in some of these sections — though thankfully, Skull Defekts’ skill doesn’t lead to moments of indulgence. Both outfits have worked with a range of distinctive musicians, from avant-garde saxophonist Mats Gustafsson to José Gonzalez. Some of their collaborations fall closer to their own post-punk tendencies. Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown is their second album collaborating with Lungfish vocalist Daniel Higgs, here credited for vocals, percussion, and “ghost catcher.”

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