Legend — Fearless (Artoffact Records)
A blister forms in the soft, wet skin inside your mouth, inside your cheek. You squeeze it; the skin stretched fine as the iridescent exterior of a bubble gives with a satisfying pop, and hot lymph splashes on the tongue. The blister slowly fills, and you tongue the spot again, eager for the moment it’s full enough to pop once more. The tension of a boil swelling and the itching certainty that you should leave it alone, but can’t resist pressing in with your teeth. The salty, alluring taste of your own body splitting.
Voivod — Target Earth (Century Media)
There’s a conversation around this record that won’t stop happening. Founding member and guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour died back in 2005, and seven years on the narrative is still dominated by this loss. Katorz was based on riffs that Piggy had left on his laptop before he died; Infini contained songs that had been recorded with Piggy before his passing. Now, Target Earth is new, written and recorded with Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (who has been wit the band since 2008). And still, it is expected to stand as a monolith, a new marker on the tomb. There is a time when respect for the dead drags on too long, ties ghosts to the earth. This album shouldn’t be forced to haunt itself. Don’t carve it out of marble when it’s a bloody-minded nuclear bullseye.
Tegan & Sarah — Heatthrob (Warner)
Friendship often gets a bad rap as a secondary relationship status. You reject someone by saying that you just want to be friends. There’s the fraught minefield of the “friend zone.” You friend and unfriend, connect and then decouple ourselves to exes and former high school friends. Friends are cats and knives. This album has what might immediately seem like a distance to it, a kind of arms-length-ness, that at first seems to push away intimacy; on repeatedly listens, it reveals itself as a different kind of intimacy. Friendship founded in a deep and abiding love. Friendship as being a key, a core relationship, steel shod soul mates. Lovers aren’t the only ones who hold hands.
My Bloody Valentine — MVB (self-released)
God, what do you so when someone you haven’t seen in two decades walks into the room? They’re someone you loved one, intensely though probably immaturely, either badly or from a distance, but the imperfect flame of your love was halogen bright, blowtorch intense. You spend a decade building that affair up into the essential, eternal, ideal emotional connection, and then another decade telling yourself you made too much out of too little, all vaseline smears and rose tints. You’ve grown up and grown hard and you finally know what’s real. And then they walk into the room again and oh god, you were right all along, they are perfect.
This Hisses — Anhedonia (Transistor 66)
There are two types of anhedonia: motivational and consummatory. Both forms get to the same root illness: the inability to experience pleasure from traditionally pleasurable things. It is languor and abject boredom, rejection and numbness and mild, but pervasive disgust. Every burst of joy of flavour reduced to ash. This record, though, is positively lascivious, stretching out lean muscles, each riff reverberating and tactile. Soaked in buckwheat honey, the vocals insist they cannot taste the sweetness; smelling of roses and gunpowder, but pretends to be rendered grey and odourless. Anhedonia tries to reject sensation, but does so through unbearable sensuousness. Synaesthesia.
Natalie Zina Walschots is a poet and music writer based in Toronto, Ontario. Her second book of poetry, DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, was published by Insomniac Press this spring. You can follow her on Twitter at @NatalieZed.