OF NATURAL HISTORY (2004)

of-natural-history

Artist: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Label: Web of Mimicry
Producer: Dan Rathbun, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Cover art: Per Frykdahl
Length: 71:52

THE ITALIAN FUTURIST movement embraced the often-destructive march of progress, while the Unabomber railed against it with some homespun destruction of his own. On their second album, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum find common ground between these ‘two contradictory pillars of 20th C. Anti-Humanism’ to espouse their own theories on the future of humanity.

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MEDÚLLA (2004)

medulla

Artist: Björk

Label: One Little Indian
Producer: Björk, Mark Bell
Cover art: M/M Paris (design), Inez and Vinoodh (photography)
Length: 45:40

‘DID OUR LANGUAGE commence with singing?’ Charles Darwin asked in his collected notebooks from 1836-1841. ‘Is this the origin of our pleasure in music?’ While cognitive psychologists, neurologists, anthropologists, and even animal psychologists are still asking this question, there is no doubt that singing is one of humanity’s oldest activities. On Medúlla, Björk taps into the elemental power of the voice to say something about what it means to be human.

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PRAYERS ON FIRE (1981)

prayers-on-fire

Artist: The Birthday Party

Label: Missing Link
Producer: Tony Cohen, The Birthday Party
Cover art: Jenny, Poly & Evan
Length: 42:06

WEARING NOTHING BUT a loincloth, and with the word ‘HELL’ painted on his chest, a skinny geek twirls around a stripper pole in a circus tent before emerging into a burning Melbourne trash heap, where he cavorts with his bandmates, several psychiatric patients, and a goat. Those only familiar with Nick Cave as Australia’s answer to Leonard Cohen might be shocked to see this video for “Nick The Stripper”, which perfectly captures the carnivalesque hysteria of The Birthday Party’s Prayers on Fire.

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BUCKETFULLS OF SICKNESS AND HORROR IN AN OTHERWISE MEANINGLESS LIFE (1989)

bucketfulls-of-sickness-and-horror

Artist: Alice Donut

Label: Alternative Tentacles
Producer: Alice Donut, Robert E Miller
Cover art: Tomas Antona
Length: 40:15

ALBUM TITLES DON’T get much more morbidly sardonic than Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life. Always looking on the bright side of nihilism, Alice Donut pick at the scabs of civilised society to reveal what wriggles underneath so they can point at it and laugh. And it’s on their sophomore album that this blend of cheerfulness and grotesquery first truly came together.

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THEY WERE WRONG, SO WE DROWNED (2004)

They Were Wrong So We Drowned

Artist: Liars
Label: Mute
Producer: David Sitek, Liars
Cover art: Beate Schlingelhoff-Gross
Length: 40:42

‘I NO LONGER want to be a man, I want to be a horse,’ Angus Andrew chants on “Broken Witch”, the opening track of Liars’ second full-length album, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. A statement of intent, this incantation expresses not just a wish for transcendence from humanity, but the band’s messy transformation from your garden-variety dance-punk act into a herd of untamed art-punk weirdos.

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