Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, ’13 Blues for Thirteen Moons’ (Constellation)
Possibly spooked by the specter of global warming, this freakfolk spin-off from Godspeed You! Black Emperor shakes the new-age romanticism of their earlier albums and makes like a doomsday cult. The Montreal group has never sounded so desperate or epic as on their fifth album’s four earth-scorching, quarter-hour compositions. The broken rhythms and angry call-and-response of the title track, and the bitter, sustained drone of “Black Waters Blowed/Engine Broke Blues” are relieved only by the soothing strings and weary, defiant vocals of “BlindBlindBlind.” Perhaps it’s no surprise Godspeed recently went on hiatus, expressing frustration with the band’s message in the shadow of the Iraq War.