Despite teases here and there, it's now been five long years since the last Irepress record (yes, I realize this is a Lazer/Wulf playlist--I'll get there next sentence, I promise). Given that the group is one of my favorite acts around, it's high praise that stumbling upon Lazer/Wulf has helped satiate my craving for new material. Not only did the Georgia trio put out one of the most eclectic and interesting instrumental(ish) records you'll hear this year with The Beast of Left and Right, but Phillip Cope, Laura Pleasants and Carl McGinley (aka Kylesa)--three folks whose musical tastes I respect--put the sucker out on their Retro Futurist Records. So when we hit up bassist Sean Peiffer and guitarist Bryan Aiken for some suggested essential listening, it didn't come as a surprise that their picks were all over the place. Once you're done perusing their selections, pick up a copy of Lazer/Wulf's debut LP here.
Trans Am's "Television Eyes" (from 1999's Futureworld) Bryan: Every day should begin with Trans Am, and often does for us. This groove practically raises the sun, dries your sheets and brushes your goddamn teeth for you. No argument can be made for synth-rock being super rad without invoking this band--these three dudes justify an entire genre. A lot of their early stuff slams and some of it is too ambient to be appropriate for this list, but “Television Eyes” is the dissonant compromise. It’s a gentle, caffeinated cloth across the forehead. Good morning.
The Fucking Champs' "Esprit De Corpse" (from 2000's IV) Bryan: The Fucking Champs are fucking essential, both individually and as a group. And as their discography ages, it’s becoming more important to talk about. Nobody touches today what they did with only two guitars and a drum kit. Or three guitars and zero drums, if that’s what it took. Symphonic and major and intelligent, but with zero pretension. It’s like watching Drunk History: equally refined and sloshed. Every song is another harmonizing eagle triumphing across your brain cervix.
Mercyful Fate's "A Dangerous Meeting" (from 1984's Don’t Break The Oath) Sean: The other guys may disagree with me on this one, but Don't Break the Oath is the perfect driving album. This song in particular brings about a feeling that I am embarking upon an epic quest. We have to listen to it loud to cover up my attempts to sing whole songs like "The King". Because it is going to fucking happen.
Bryan: I do not disagree, and it does happen.
Decapitated's "Day 69" (from 2006's Organic Hallucinosis) Bryan: It’s true, though--Lazer/Wulf agrees on few things. But Decapitated is the monolith upon our common ground. This band alone validates the single guitar metal model with creativity and ferocity. To say nothing of Vitek’s legacy, there’s something about Vogg’s songwriting that jettisons bravado and shred worship in favor of...well, fucking songwriting. Unstoppable.
Aphex Twin's "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" (from 1997's Come To Daddy EP) Bryan: Brilliant idea for a song, man. He’s made a lot of great, dark tunes, but this one is so damn inspired. Since the second half draws from the sound of a bouncing ball, there’s a visual component to the music. You can see the song as you hear it.
Sean: It was awkward at first, sending my young mind into swirling chaos. But as I grew into a man, it just seemed right. We will cover this song at some point in our lives, so L/W officially calls dibs.
Cinemechanica's "Get Outta Here Hitler" (from 2006's The Martial Arts) Bryan: Further essential listening. File it under mathrock and be damned, but Cinemechanica rips through that genre into something rabid and urgent. This whole record is amazing, and our mutual love for it is how Lazer/Wulf found each other. Here’s an instrumental song they did, which I’m picking only because a) it kills, and their use of double drums remains unparalleled to this day and b) they’ve since swapped singers from this album toward something way tougher. The new shit is tough as Nails. I don’t know when they’re going to release their new album, but you’ll know, because the Earth damn blew its brains out.
Dysrhythmia's "Room Of Vertigo" (from 2009's Psychic Maps) Bryan: There’s no understating the importance of Dysrhythmia in the instrumental world. It’s not mopey or flashy or post-anything. Nor is it unlistenable madness. They just write great songs that work on the surface level, but offer a transformative depth to those who look for it. Remember those Magic Eye pictures? They’re all pretty and shiny, but then there’s a fucking boat hidden somewhere in there? That.
Zu's "Carbon" (from 2009's Carboniferous) Bryan: I wish I didn’t love this so much. It’s so unlikable. A saxophonist, bassist and drummer, all piloting mosquitos into your stupid eyes. But it’s so joyful and confident and Italian. 100/10.
Sean: We had the pleasure of playing with the Italian syncopation masters in Pisa. I couldn't believe it. I had no idea they were off hiatus. I was excited then, and even more excited now that they’re recording again with Gabe from The Locust on drums. Carboniferous is on steady rotation when we’re on the road.
Dying Fetus's "Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses)" (from 2000's Destroy The Opposition) Sean: At 17 years of age, a young man hears--seemingly--the most extreme music ever created. He would never be the same. A treasured classic of utmost brutality, Destroy the Opposition is still the go-to record for nostalgic, head-slamming fun.
Bryan: Yeah, this record is a total watershed for me, too. The opening track both introduced me to and galvanized my love for no bullshit death metal, back when I required “melody” and “pacing” and “structure” and all that pussy shit. Absolutely warlike.
Soundgarden's "4th of July" (from 1994's Superunknown) Bryan: But before anything else, this is the song that started it all for me. It started me. I was nine years old and I knew I loved music, but I didn’t know what instrument was mine, or what type of music I belonged to. So try to find that place in yourself before you listen to it. Hollow everything out, and know nothing of the world but Ninja Turtles and the Jurassic Park theme. Then...those chords. That dread. I became, if not a man, a guitarist that day. Superunknown is still my favorite record of all time.
*Pick up a copy of Lazer/Wulf's The Beast of Left and Right here
**For past Decibrity entries, click here