Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ecstatic Sunshine - Freckle Wars (2006)

Ecstatic Sunshine is a creative outlet for guitarist Matthew Papich. What originally began as a duo (with Dustin Wong), it has now become a solo project for Papich. Freckle Wars was recorded when ES was still a duo, which makes this album different from the other albums in ES' discography.
From the beginning of this album until the end, the album make the listener really pay attention, as the music is a canvas for something so much better. While listening to the music, your mind is free to wander and wonder during each song. Some songs may take you back to your childhood, while others make one think about their future. I think this is why I beginning to love instrumental music more and more. You know what the song is about, and no one else. This album is also very happy album, which makes it all the more beautiful. The actual music on this album is some of the finest guitar work I've ever heard. The guitars also have a fantastic tone, which sets the mood for what you are listening to. I feel like taking this to some of my friends who think guitarists who shred are good, and say "This is what real guitar playing is like!" The guitars also have a fantastic tone, which sets the mood for what you are listening to.
Freckle Wars is an amazing album, the best in ES' catalog, and serves as a canvas for who ever is listening to it's mind to be free and have a fantastic time (being high while listening to this is great too!).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Forest of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves of Spring (2010)

In 2008, "Victorian occult" band A Forest of Stars surprised listeners with a refreshing take on black metal. From the from first song onwards listeners were engaged in a see-saw battle between eerie western themes (similar to the sounds of The Assassination of Jesse James , or Carnivàle) and a mid-paced (although possibly falling towards the edge of generic) black metal that twists and shines above one another, distorting the already dark sound of each into the atmosphere of a dust storm in the height of night.
To their possible credit, they achieve much of the same with their most recent adventure, 2010's Opportunistic Thieves of Spring. One is drawn into their steam-punk vision with ease. Violins tremble, pianos chime and guitars bury while the screams and shrieks from the vocalist so aptly named Mister Curse (even good bands need their kitsch) send us pain, only to be lifted with hope from the subtly sweet sounds from "Katheryne, Queen of ghosts". Also to their credit, while being samey, they are much tighter. As we look back, their debut, Corpse of Rebirth, seems almost more like an exhibition of their style, more than it is an album. Even with the atmosphere underneath it all, it was disjointed. Transitions could have been better, and riff-work wasn't quite strong enough to feel like it was given much care, but that certainly has been improved.
The counter to that, however, is that nothing really hits me quite hard. While this may be due to a lack of time to let it settle (despite that I am a bit late on this review), or just a general malaise (or sleep deprivation), I haven't really found any moments where I truly thought it was brilliant. For example, in the song Female, from their debut, it begins with a very cold piano section leading into the haunting violins, building towards the doomy riffs and the stunning anguish as Mister Curse groans about how "The moon pushed the sun down the spiral staircase of time"* all of which hit me into what, I feel, was their intention throughout the entire record. While I was taken out of that atmosphere less often, I just never found a moment quite like that in this recent effort.
Still, everything is in its place. The agony, the chill, the shining grace, all can be found if you navigate the gauntly dust bowl conjured by this album.

Download mp3 (sorry, for the indirect link, I guess. ) | Flac

Vendetta Red- Sisters of The Red Death (2005)

Here's the funny story about how I discovered Vendetta Red. Video Games. Yes, it was Saints Row, the GTA clone for Xbox 360 that made me discover this band. On the Saints Row soundtrack was a song called Silhouette Serenade. This song was performed by Vendetta Red.

I fell in love with the song from the orchestrated intro to the main chorus to the lyrics. It was just amazing. It was probably my favorite song for quite awhile. And it was my love for this song that made me seek out the album from which it came. What I discovered was Sisters of The Red Death. The Albums from which Silhouette Serenade came from. Now I honestly just got the album for that song but I ended up loving pretty much the whole damn album.

Now this was Vendetta Red's last album. They broke up in 2006 after various line up changes and disputes. Vendetta Red are an alternative rock band from Seattle, Washington. This album was a concept album. The concept being about a woman named Gloria, after a nuclear war engulfs the earth, she is born as a half medusa, half harpy. She blames mankind for her disfigurement and she takes over the world. This album is what happens when she falls in love.

Now be warned this album is very dark (a growing theme with some of my postings). One song being called Vendetta Red cried Rape on their date with Destiny. Some highlights of this album include the songs The Body and Blood, A Dark Heart Silhouette, Silhouette Serenade and Run.
This is a solid, and I mean solid alternative rock album. The lyrics are dark for the most part but the style is flawless. If only Vendetta Red were still together, they really were an excellent band.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

iLLy Mays - Pen Stripes (2010)



It's not often we get the chance to promote one of IGN's own, but I'm glad to present the debut mixtape from maybe the most popular IGN rapper, iLLy Mays, who goes by catitude on the boards.

I wasn't expecting much when I downloaded it because IGN's hip-hop board isn't exactly known for pushing their own good stuff. I was pretty surprised to find some gems here such as "Who Dat", "A Bone I Gotta Pick...", and my personal favorite, "Light Up". If you want to hop on the hype train before it leaves you in the dust, jump on now. catitude looks to have a bright future.

(This post wouldn't be complete without a milk tits reference, so there you go.)

Try it
Last.fm

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Panda Bear - S/T (1998)

As the first Animal Collective related release, this is a must have for Animal Collective/Panda Bear fans if only for the completist in you. While most diehard fans are split on actual quality of music on this album, it certainly was a springboard for greater things. The Police are a major influence on this album, though most note that the influence has left Panda in his more recent ventures. This album was also released on the Animal Label (It is from this label that Animal Collective get their name), which was run by friend and later band-mate, Deakin. Panda Bear himself has stated that he has no plans to ever re-release it, so don't feel bad about downloading this. (Also of note, astute Animal Collective listeners will recognize that Panda Bear uses the same voice on this as he does for Danse Manatee/Hollindagain era AC; No Beach Boys-esque harmonies on this album.)

Best Tracks: Mich Mit Einer Mond, Fire!, O Please Bring Her Back, Ain't Got No Troubles, Sometimes When It Hurts Bad Enough It Feels Like This

  1. "Inside a Great Stadium and a Running Race" (5:49)
  2. "Mich mit einer Mond" (4:10)
  3. "On the Farm" (4:00)
  4. "Ohne Titel" (2:38)
  5. "Fire!" (2:44)
  6. "O Please Bring Her Back" (3:35)
  7. "Ain't Got No Troubles" (3:59)
  8. "Winter in St. Moritz" (2:13)
  9. "Liebe auf den Ersten Blick" (4:41)
  10. "A Musician and a Filmmaker" (4:30)
  11. "We Built a Robot" (3:16)
  12. "Sometimes When It Hurts Bad Enough It Feels Like This" (4:01)
  13. "A Lover Once Can No Longer Now Be a Friend" (5:11)
  14. "Ohne Titel" (2:50)

Dirty Tactics- It Is What It Is (2010)

Philadelphia's Dirty Tactics are a band to look out for this year. They are gaining notoriety as one of the more exciting young bands on the punk market right now. Now, I wouldn't technically call them punk, I would slide them more to indie category. Dirty Tactics are known for their catchy melodies and sing along choruses. It Is What It Is starts off with an audio clip from an interview with The Clash about why punk rock was started. I found it kind of odd to start an album in this way but it works for this band. This band is all about melodic punk rock. My personal favorite being the track Baltimore. Baltimore starts off with a fantastic riff that just sucked me into the song. What follows is a tale of the band detailing a trip to Baltimore, at one point where they shout out "So what am I doing in South Philadelphia". The track truly was the highlight of the album for me. We also see some other genres mixed in this album.

In Side Of The Road, we are given an acoustic song with almost a Tenor vibe as one of the band's members belts out the lyrics with vibrato. The song then transits to a gritty punk feeling. My other personal favorite song on the album is Train Song, a soft relaxing melodic beauty of a song. "I missed the train again, I fell asleep at the station" It just wants you to just sit down and soak in the song and you do. We also see some electronic sounds used in Train Song. It is almost MGMT inspired. Arkansas is a mellow ditty that just flows nicely. The whole album is pretty smooth. Dirty Tactics are truly a unique band and should be heard. The album ends with the amazingly slow and smooth song Blind Man. "I'm painting you a picture with words, but you'll never see it". But Dirty Tactics have painted us a great album. If you like melodic punk music, take my recommendation and give Dirty Tactics a try.

Track Listing
--------------
1. "When You Wake Up"- 1:51
2. "Baltimore"-2:24
3. "The Process"-1:57
4. "Side of the Road"-3:09
5. "Train Song"-3:06
6. "Highway Robbery"-2:01
7. "Secret Lives"-3:33
8. "Arkansas"-2:06
9. "It Is What It Is"-3:26
10. "Blind Man"-2:42

Friday, July 23, 2010

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)





The months of inevitable hype and speculation is over. Arcade Fire’s third full-length studio album, The Suburbs, has leaked, 11 days prior to its commercial release. I’ll say right now, I’ve already listened to this album 3 times in the past 12 hours and I’m pre-ordering it later today.


After the 00s came to a close and Funeral was hailed as a classic in the top of most critics ‘best of the 00’s’ lists, the expectations on Arcade Fire where always going to be high with whatever they did next. Neon Bible, a fine album in its own right, expanded their sound with the band making use of an organ, harp, accordion and supposedly, a choir. Although generally accepted by critics as a suitable follow up to Funeral (a score of 87 to Funeral’s 90, thank you Metacritic), some fans felt that the expansive instrumentation of Neon Bible diminished it’s emotional quality, which is what made Funeral such a powerful and enjoyable album. With The Suburbs, it sounds like Arcade Fire have tried to find a middle ground between the emotion of Funeral and the expansive sound of Neon Bible, and in my humble opinion they’ve succeeded.


In some ways, The Suburbs is perhaps their most expansive record yet, compiling of 16 tracks at nearly 64 minutes length. But the album never really seems to drag on, because every song has an enjoyable quality to it. In terms of sound, they’re not doing anything amazingly new or innovative with this record, but what makes it work is that it has its own distinct feel and atmosphere like their previous releases.


The Suburbs’ central theme is based on Frontman Win Butler and his brother William’s experiences of growing up in the suburban areas of the Woodlands, in Texas (Both Win and William were born in California, then raised in Texas. Win moved to Montreal in 2000). The album opens with its title track, a beautifully catchy opener with a terrific chorus. It’s a song of reminiscing past troubles with a partner, someone close. The opening lines ‘In the suburbs I, I learned to drive; and you told me we'd never survive, grab your mother's keys we're leaving’ suggest that it’s not a relative, perhaps a classic love story were a young couple in love escape their troubled past to live together in happiness etc. The second part of the verse, ‘You always seemed so sure that one day we'd be fighting; In a suburban war, your part of town against mine’ hints at tension between two ‘sides’, possibly parental disapproval. The chorus, ‘Sometimes I can't believe it; I'm moving past the feeling’ is the closuring part, the moving on and beginning a new chapter. The following song, ‘Ready to Start’, tells of a failed relationship between two people who have unresolved feelings towards each other, which possibly links to the previous story. By the end of the song, the protagonist is ready to resolve the issues between the two.


‘Modern Man’ and ‘Rococo’ are what I consider to be the only mildly, somewhat ‘weak spots’ of the album. They’re enjoyable songs, but they just don’t have the same energy as the first 2. The following track, ‘Empty Room’, is a catchy, incredibly energetic song with great vocal harmonies between Win and Regina. ‘City With No Children’ is a guitar driven, more personal song, with Win singing about his old home in Texas, ‘Dreamt I drove home to Houston, on a highway that was underground; There was no light that we could see, as we listened to the sound of the engine failing’.


I’m not going to go into every song in detail. Mainly because I’m too lazy, but also because I don’t need to. The Suburbs is such an immersive record, a journey in a way. It takes you through happiness and sadness, heartbreak in ‘We Used to Wait’ (‘So I never wrote a letter; I never took my true heart, I never wrote it down’) and humor in ‘The Month of May’ (‘I said some things are pure and some things are right; but the kids are still standing with their arms folded tight’). The highlights of the album for me are ‘Deep Blue’ and the two-parters, ‘Half Light I & II’ and ‘The Sprawl I & II’. The synthesizers in the second parts of both add a whole new dynamic to the album, a climax-like feel that almost splits the album into two parts, and does it wonderfully. The album finishes beautifully with ‘The Suburbs (continued)’, a reprise to how the album began, with Win and Regina again singing the words ‘Sometimes I can't believe it; I'm moving past the feeling’ in beautiful harmony. In the final track, Win chimes the words ‘If I could have it back; all the time that we’ve wasted’. I can assure you this album is not a waste of your time, all 64 minutes of it.


Try it

Buy It

Wiki

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Foxy Shazam- Introducing (2008)

Deep in the city of Cincinnati is a band by the name of Foxy Shazam. If you're curious what Foxy Shazam means, it means "Cool Shoes" according to lead singer Eric Nally who discovered the phrase from a student while in high school. Foxy Shazam's biggest moment as a band had to be when their song Unstoppable was used in Super Bowl XLIV this year. But I'm not here to talk about the current Foxy Shazam album. I'm here to talk about their follow up album to the fan favorite The Flamingo Trigger. Introducing was Foxy Shazam's second album and in this album Foxy introduces themselves to the world and in this album we discover what Foxy Shazam is all about.

What we discover is that Foxy is a band full of energy and insanity from Eric Nally's screaming vocals to straight up madness, Introducing truly is a delight. Introducing combines so many different elements of music from pop to rock to alternative rock to piano rock. There is literally a song called Yes!, Yes!, Yes! where Nally delivers these lyrics " I can't control my feet, I feel like moving". This line along with the piano infuse a sensation of uncontrollable madness. And that's not even scratching the surface. In the opening track Introducing Foxy. Nally repeats the line "I wish I was black, I wish I was black, I wanna be black" You just sit there baffled by how random the line is and yet it fits the band perfectly.

Introducing is an album that literally makes no sense and yet it makes a lot of sense. Every song is catchy and different. Some are straight up rock songs, some are pop songs, some are piano infused ballads. Introducing is a jambalaya of genres and madness. Eric Nally is basically Freddy Mercury re imagined from the mustache on his face to the lyrics he sings. Foxy Shazam truly are one of the most unique and energetic bands on the scene right now. If you want to give them a try, I suggest you seek out this album like I did.

Track Listing
----------------
1. "Introducing Foxy"- 3:18
2. "The Rocketeer" - 2:49
3. "A Dangerous Man"- 3:06
4. "The Science of Love" 3:04
5. "A Black Man's Breakfast"-3:30
6. "It's Hair Smelled Like Bonfire"-2:41
7. "Red Cape Diver" - 4:17
8. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" - 2:55
9. "Ghost Animals"- 3:28
10. "Cool"- 4:12

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ludo - You're Awful, I Love You (2008)

St. Louis, Missouri pop punk quintet Ludo are unlike any other band I had ever heard. After seeing them perform at a show with Relient k, I purchased this CD. The only song I really heard from them before purchasing the CD was Love Me Dead.

A song about man wishing to hollow out his girlfriends body and use it as his coffin when he shall perish. Ludo's lyrics are very dark but done in a way that makes them ridiculously catchy. Here are a few lyrics so you can get a taste of what goes inside the mind of lead singer and song writer Andrew Volpe.

Love Me Dead
----------------
She moves through moonbeams slowly
She knows just how to hold me.
And when her edges soften.
Her body is my coffin.

The Horror of Our Love
----------------------------
I'm a killer
Cold and wrathful
Silent sleeper
I've been inside your bedroom
I've murdered half the town
Left you love notes on their headstones
I'll fill the graveyards
Until I have you

As you can see their lyrics seem to have a dark vibe and yet the music is catchy and cheerful. It is a delicious combo and one I rather enjoy. You're Awful, I Love You was Ludo's major label debut with Island Records. This whole record is a gem for anyone who want a pop album full of dark lyrics yet upbeat sounds.

Ludo as a band are a Diamond in the Rough. I wish them the best with their fourth album due out this fall, Prepare The Preparations and expect me to review that album on LPC as well.

TRACK LISTING
--------------
1. Love Me Dead- 4:20
2. Drunken Lament- 3:09
3. Please- 3:18
4. Topeka- 3:04
5. Lake Pontchartrain- 3:36
6. Such As It Ends- 3:25
7. Mutiny Below- 3:40
8. Streetlights- 4:18
9. Go-Getter Greg- 3:12
10. The Horror Of Our Love- 4:28
11. Scream, Scream, Scream- 3:52
12. In Space- 3:57
13. The Boat Song (Hidden Track)- 2:52





Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum (2007)

Dandelion Gum is BMSR's best album and a treat for anyone who listens. Funky and folky at the same time, all the while being experimental pop, this album is well worth the listen. Here is the band's own description of themselves: "Deep in the woods of western Pennsylvania vocoders hum amongst the flowers and synths bubble under the leaf-strewn ground while flutes whistle in the wind and beats bounce to the soft drizzle of a warm acid rain. As the sun peeks out from between the clouds, the organic aural concoction of Black Moth Super Rainbow starts to glisten above the trees."
  1. "Forever Heavy" – 4:16
  2. "Jump Into My Mouth and Breathe the Stardust" – 2:33
  3. "Melt Me" – 2:22
  4. "Lollipopsichord" – 1:32
  5. "They Live In the Meadow" – 2:33
  6. "Sun Lips" – 3:16
  7. "Rollerdisco" – 2:34
  8. "Neon Syrup for the Cemetery Sisters" – 2:52
  9. "The Afternoon Turns Pink" – 2:37
  10. "When the Sun Grows on Your Tongue" – 2:40
  11. "Spinning Cotton Candy In a Shack Made of Shingles" – 3:11
  12. "Drippy Eye" – 3:13
  13. "Lost, Picking Flowers In the Woods" – 3:22
  14. "Caterpillar House" – 1:58
  15. "Wall of Gum" – 0:59
  16. "Untitled Roadside Demo" – 3:34
  17. "Untitled" (Hidden Song) – 3:10

The Olivia Tremor Control - Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle (1997)


I just listened to this album for the first time yesterday, so I can't say much about it but I was really impressed. here's a summary I found:

"Take the heart of the Beatles and wrap it in the melodies of Neutral Milk Hotel and/or the Flaming Lips... and you have Olivia Tremor Control -- one of the best swirls of neo-psychedelica in history. "Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle" is an intoxicating, sprawling mix of abstract soundscapes and Beatles-esque pop -- and it never stumbles once.

The first song opens with a slowly revving bass, haunted by a backdrop of peculiar feedback sounds... followed by a majestic, poppy "Opera House." Things take a slightly stranger turn in the eerie music-box melody of "Frosted Ambassador" and the fizzing, exotic "Tropical Bells." But still there is the upbeat, slightly warped Britpoppy "Courtyard" and slightly ominous beauty of "Holiday Surprise 1,2,3."

But after the lush piano-pop of "Marking Time," things take a rather surreal turn. A ten-song cycle called "Green Typewriters continues, mixing distortion, fuzz and sputtery percussion with synths and lilting vocals. They return to their previous sound with the brassy pop of "Spring Succeeds," but most of what remains is eerie and strange. The climax is "Dusk at Cubist Castle," a sprawling seven-and-a-half-miniute track with a dark, shimmery background and the sounds of a Tibetan prayer bowl.

It's hard to criticize any one song on "Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle," because it feels more like a musical tapestry of many different colors. Diss one song while praising another? Can't be done. Even "Green Typewriters VIII," a ten-minute sprawl of ominous sounds, seems to fit in perfectly.

The biggest flaw might be the obvious debt to the Beatles -- at times you can almost swear you hear John and Paul in there. But the Beatles at their most psychedelic never made anything like this -- space bubbles, sparkling piano, trombones, the singing saw, Tibetan prayer bowls, all overlaid on jolly pop melodies and ominous soundscapes teeming with fuzz and distortion. Even at its most abstract, Olivia Tremor Control's sound is hypnotic.

The vocals are handled by Robert Schneider and Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum (who is rumored to have joined the circus or something like that). Their vocals are a bit off-key, but pleasant and warm. And the songwriting reflects the music -- it starts off relatively normal with "Conflict in our heads makes us see/without the depth that we used to/all of the problems in our way." Pretty ordinary, huh? But the second half has dreamlike songs like "Dusk at Cubist Castle/all the clouds are in past tense/all the kingdom is in fragments/and these paintings don't make sense..." You don't need to understand -- just listen.

Olivia Tremor Control's "Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle" is a sweeping psychedelic tapestry, full of strange dreams and even stranger music. This unrecognized classic is a must have, for those willing to dream and imagine the Cubist Castle."

Youtube 'NYC-25'


Tracklist:

  1. "The Opera House" – 3:12
  2. "Frosted Ambassador" – 1:02
  3. "Jumping Fences" – 1:52
  4. "Define a Transparent Dream" – 2:49
  5. "No Growing (Exegesis)" – 3:00
  6. "Holiday Surprise 1, 2, 3" – 6:11
  7. "Courtyard" – 2:57
  8. "Memories of Jacqueline 1906" – 2:15
  9. "Tropical Bells" – 1:40
  10. "Can You Come Down with Us?" – 2:18
  11. "Marking Time" – 4:28
  12. "Green Typewriters" – 2:22
  13. "Green Typewriters" – :24
  14. "Green Typewriters" – :59
  15. "Green Typewriters" – 2:11
  16. "Green Typewriters" – 1:10
  17. "Green Typewriters" – :38
  18. "Green Typewriters" – 1:38
  19. "Green Typewriters" – 9:39
  20. "Green Typewriters" – 1:21
  21. "Green Typewriters" – 2:39
  22. "Spring Succeeds" – 2:25
  23. "Theme for a Very Delicious Grand Piano" – :57
  24. "I Can Smell the Leaves" – 1:50
  25. "Dusk at Cubist Castle" – 7:35
  26. "The Gravity Car" – 1:45
  27. "NYC-25" – 4:39


Buy it
Download it
Wiki

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Childish Gambino - Culdesac (2010)


On July 2nd, the artist known as Childish Gambino put out his new CD Culdesac. If you aren’t familiar with Childish Gambino, it is the rap name for Comic/Actor/Rapper Donald Glover from Derrick Comedy (The Youtube Comedy Group... Also the Makers of Bro Rape) and Community. He also wrote for Tina Fey on 30 Rock. Glover also put out a few mixtapes in 2010, but Culdesac is in essence his first “album” release.

Although Glover is known for being a comic and actor, make no mistake, Culdesac shows that he is not joking around when it comes to his rap career. This album is incredibly solid. You can really see Glover’s enthusiasm and attitude come through in his songs. Glover has a really great flow going on, and his song lyrics are very well thought out and clever. The album is loaded with clever lyrics such as “I’m coming harder than these chicks that you would swear were pissing” and “NBC isn’t the only thing I’m coming on tonight”. Culdesac addresses a number of different topics, from Girls, Donald Glover’s early life and troubles, and how Glover has struggled with being “different”. This album really shed’s Glover’s “comedian” persona and is a solid piece of work. Culdesac is one of my favorite albums of the year because of its originality and cleverness. My favorite song on the album is “Hero” but the rest of the songs are almost equally as good.

Childish Gambino's Website
Free Album Download Here

The Residents - Duck Stab (1978)



To see the Residents at their most intriguing, one cannot do much better than the Duck Stab/Buster & Glen album. The highlight of the work, "Constantinople", is a droning bit of whimsy whose effect is sufficiently hypnotic as to make you peruse the record for evidence of subliminal backwards masking. As is typical of the work, the entire album is synthesizer-laden, filled with ominously non-sensical lyrics, and a range of parody and homage which includes styles as diverse as 50s Elvis-style rock, the invented musics of Harry Partch, jazz which alternates between pre-bop and Sun Ra and veers into Beefheart-esque territory.

If you have not "bought into" the Residents, this is an excellent start--it's sophisticated and yet very D.I.Y., musically complex and yet arguably as much a product of Shreveport as San Francisco. My only real critique of this album is that it's entirely eerie, but perhaps that's one of the many points.

Buy It
Download It
Wiki
Myspace

Monday, July 19, 2010

Haco - Happiness Proof (1999)


To take a quote from Sonore's wonderful book on Japanese independent music (subtly titled, Japanese Independent Music), Haco was noted as "embodying a light attitude which consciously embraces and critiques both kitsch and experimentalism; Haco has for the past decade stretched and broken the notion of the pop song". With her 1999 release, Happiness Proof, (also featuring Astushi Tsynama and I.S.O. drummer Ichiracku Yoshimitsu, and more) she exemplifies that statement, bringing her soft, cheery voice into slow charming tunes, and then carefully displacing it, adding lush distortion, cacophonous structures and atypical instruments such as a pocket theremin and electric mandolins.
It's quite the varied album, if you weren't already keyed to that. Her childlike innocence continually reacts with her harsh sounds and samples, creating its own casual struggle as we're left try to catch up. It's pop, and unpop. It's avant-garde, yet inviting. Occasionally she'll bring you into an environment of her creation, developing a song enough to initiate a response, but as soon as it's over, you're picking up your thoughts with a flurry of samples and broken melodies.
Not that I want to scare a listener. This isn't harsh (well, comparatively so). At it's core, this is pop music. A knack for rhythms, her enticing vocals, bright atmospheres, all this comes together for the majority of the album to float along as a primal achievement. There are these keys of inorganic, inhuman experimentation, but the counter-play becomes as much of an enjoyment as the expression of it all. This is avant-garde for the curious and scared. Outstandingly complex and cautiously safe; it's a blend that never seems to sound right, but Haco does it without fail.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle (2010)


Gogol Bordello are a Gypsy Punk band from the Lower East Side of New York City. Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music. Now Gypsy is a hybrid of Romani music and Punk Rock. Gypsy bands will use drums, tambourines , accordions , fiddles and trumpets in their music. Trans-Continental Hustle was produced by Rick Rubin. This album was inspired by front man Eugene Hutz time in Brazil.

Overall I really enjoyed this album, it has a flair about it that is rather enjoyable. Now part of the lyrics are in Ukrainian and the other in English so you may not understand everything completely. What you have here is a nice punk album with an eastern flair.

Trans-Continental Hustle is one of the best albums of 2010.



Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kurt Vile - Constant Hitmaker (2008)



Kurt Vile (yes, Vile is his actual last name) is a musician from Philadelphia who makes dreamy music best described as "bedroom pop". Vile began to gain fans quickly in late 2008/early 2009 when his track "Freeway" started to gain steam, getting mentions on assorted blogs and websites all throughout the internet. It culminated in a record deal from Matador Records, one of the most respected indie labels in existence, and newfound fans like Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.

To me, Vile is at his best on this 41 minute album in which he goes from hi-fi ("Freeway") to no-fi ("Breathin' Out"), from straightforward to sleepy and dreamlike, and so on and so on. The standouts here are "Freeway", "Space Forklift", "Slow Talkers", and "Classic Rock in Spring/Freeway in Mind" (the latter half being an acoustic version of "Freeway"). Vile's latest release, Childish Prodigy, was his first on Matador and was the album that received rave reviews from Gordon and many other music review sites. Check this out; you won't be disappointed.

Try it
Buy it
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Gellers - Gellers (2007)

Maybe you've heard of Shugo Tokumaru. His unique, cutesy folk sound with atypical instruments and various toy sounds has been gaining attention since his debut in 2004, but most notably capturing listeners with 2007's Exit and more recently with his fantastic album from the present year, Port Entropy. Here, he performs with four others, including drummer Shingo Shinmachi, who creates a unique noise-pop sound under the moniker of Chanson Sigeru to make a very interesting sound, blending various style into a delicious pop/rock brew.
The album seems to be a bit split, however. The first two songs are these abrasive, thick sounds with only a slight resemblance of Shugo's folk leanings. Noise pop, shoegaze, math rock, folk rock, etc. etc. etc.; it's tough to get a perfect grasp when relegating to common music "genre"s. 9 Teeth Picahia starts us with these nice calm melodies, even with the distortion, with soothing male vocals floating above it, and then slams the drums and increases the feedback, keying to the vocalist that he should probably shout to be heard. He obliges. And it continues to flow between the two in the 7minute track, occasionally throwing some samples just to make sure we aren't settling into the sound. The next track, Buscape, starts with an oddly timed riff, a cowbell, and shouting far off into the distance before fading off only to come back to a much more dense form of the beginning riff, supported this time by drums and a synth composition with a sound somewhere between a car horn and the broken accordion. Intensity builds up and falls off until finally leading us into a cacophony of sound, stopping to reprise and then leading into the next.
And it's at this point that it seems that Shugo takes command. The album because much softer, those charming melodies that were there before become even more charming, but also a bit clearer (not necessarily cleaner, however) and I believe Shugo also handles more of the vocal work (not cited) . It really ends up becoming very reminiscent of 60's pop bands. A little Beach Boys here, a little The Zombies there, and then taking that sound on a tour through modern Tokyo.

Buy (this is about the only place I can find it, sorry)
Official site (this is one of the coolest band pages I've seen in a long time. I can't really get past the language barrier, unfortunately)

Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling, Jon Christensen & Terje Rypdal - The Sea (1994)

Bjornstad Darling Rypdal Christensen's 1994 recording The Sea is one of my favorite 2 albums coming out of ECM Records. It is one of my very favorite ambient jazz albums and as a matter of fact, one of my favorite albums, period. It is great music flowing through a very ambient background reminding at times of Gavin Bryars - Sinking Of Titanic. All instrumental parts are superb starting with Ketil Bjornstad's piano, through Terje Rypdal's guitars, David Darling's cello and ending with Jon Christensen's drums.

Sample


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Oblivians - Popular Favorites (1996)


I've been recommending this band for a long time now on the Vesti to someone who is even remotely interested in Rock or Punk, and have a been a favorite of mine for a while now.

The trio's musical-chairs approach to instrumentation makes it nearly impossible to keep track of who has the mic at any given moment, but despite the juggling act, the record maintains a cohesive sense throughout. Marked by abrasive guitars that call to mind everyone from the Gibson Bros. and Junior Kimbrough to the New Bomb Turks or Lazy Cowgirls, the Oblivians' dirty rock calls to mind images of panicked parents in the 1960s trying to shield their children from the evil powers of rock & roll. Well, everyone knows who won that battle. Mixed among the riotous guitar treble and gruff vocals are songs with universal themes like "Guitar Shop Asshole" and "You Fucked Me Up, You Put Me Down." Though the back cover boasts that "There never was a sound like this before," spinning discs by acts like the Mummies, 68 Comeback, Iggy & the Stooges, or Them Wranch will prove otherwise, but who's complaining? If you dig through the record collection of any self-respecting rock & roller (or the list of bands who influenced acts like the White Stripes or the Strokes), odds are there'll be at least one Oblivians opus (or Oblivians spin-offs, like Jack Oblivian's Compulsive Gamblers or Greg Oblivian's Reigning Sound). In a move typical of the hipsters over at Crypt, the album cover art is half the fun. An overlooked classic, the cover of Popular Favorites is a photo of concertgoers wherein a guy and gal in matching Black Sabbath t-shirts are standing next to a mulleted young man proudly displaying a homemade t-shirt that reads "Kill a Punk for Rock & Roll."

Oblivians 'The Leather'
Oblivians 'The Milkshake'

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The '59 Sound- The Gaslight Anthem (2008)

The Gaslight Anthem are a rock and roll band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. Now I saw some talk about them last night on The Vesti so I decided I would post this album for you guys and gals. The '59 Sound in my opinion is The Gaslight Anthem's best album. These guys are heavily influenced by the man they base their music on, Bruce Springsteen. After playing with Springsteen on tour at Glastonbury Festival. Album sales increased 200%.

eMusic named The '59 Sound the best album of 2008. Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones does guest vocals on the song The Patient Ferris Wheel. So if you like Bruce Springsteen or old time rock and roll. Give The Gaslight Anthem a try. My experience with them happened when I went to see Rise Against at a local venue. I was blown away by their music. I loved it. I bought the album at the show and I'd say it's very well in my top 10 of all time.


Beautiful Swimmers - Swimmers Groove (2009)/Big Coast (2010)



There's not a lot known about Beautiful Swimmers, a group that creates slick electro-funk/disco type releases, which I'd also consider tropical. Their big claim to fame so far is making a video for their song "Big Coast" which has set the blogosphere ablaze.

They don't stop there, though. In the five songs included on the two releases, you'll hear sweet sounds on "Swimmers Groove" that remind me of early mornings on Saturday for whatever reason. "Big Coast" is the obvious standout here; however, don't just stop there.

"Big Coast"

Big Coast and Swimmers Groove
Buy Big Coast (Swimmers Groove out of print?)
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Honor Bright- Action! Drama! Suspense! (2010)

Now I know not all of us are a fan of the pop punk genre since I guess technically no one can honestly say what you would consider Pop Punk. Anyways for those of you who like Pop Punk. I have found a band by the name of Honor Bright.

Honor Bright are from Syracuse, NY. Their musical style had drawn comparisons to Taking Back Sunday and early Fall Out Boy (before they whored themselves out). To me, they sound like a young Yellowcard. This album reminds me of One For the Kids by Yellowcard. Now once again, you may only like this if you like Pop Punk but give it a shot.


Slim Cessna's Auto Club - Cipher (2008)


Cipher immediately lives up to its name thanks to its cryptic liner notes, written in, of course, cipher. While this is all well and good, it does kind of defeat the information-conveying purpose of liner notes. Once the track listing has been deciphered, it becomes obvious that there is a motif running through the album: four of the 15 songs are titled “An Introduction to the Power of Braces” with the respective subtitles “Arms”, “Legs”, “Teeth”, and “Faith”. The general theme of these songs is that oft-painful braces are used to straighten and strengthen physical bodies, so why not use them for spiritual bodies? It’s a good point, especially in these days of soft, easy faith.

It’s not all fundamentalist fervor here; SCAC tackles Woody Guthrie with “This Land is Your Land Redux”. Like the original, “Redux” is a protest song, but with a violent twist Guthrie’s work never had. Slim Cessna also seems to be a graduate of the Sufjan Stevens School of Strange Song Titles: Cipher includes numbers such as, “All About the Bullfrog in 3 Verses” and “That Fierce Cow is Common Sense in a Country Dress”. Luckily, the lyrics are as interesting as the song titles, and a nice break from Slim Cessna’s street preaching. The strongest song of the record is “Children of the Lord”, a hard driving gospel song that could make a believer out of just about anyone. Hell, even if you’re not a believer, you just might find yourself tapping your foot and singing along to its catchy chorus.



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Sorry about the rapidshit links.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Electric Six- Fire (2003)


Electric Six are an alternative rock band from Detroit, MI. Their musical style varies on who you talk to. Some call them a Rock n Roll Band. Some call them a Comedy Band. Some of them classify them as Dance Rock. And no album gave off that vibe more than their debut album Fire.

Fire is Electric Six's critical acclaimed best album. Critics have given it rave reviews including Rolling Stone which called the album "The summer's most brilliantly demented party record."So if you like to party or dance or just want to try a band with a different flair. Give this album a listen. It includes my favorite song of all time Synthesizer.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird (1964)



I literally have two or three minutes to write this, so here we go. The Trashmen are a surf rock band known best for the song "Surfin' Bird", which was repopularized recently by (unfortunately) Family Guy. There's so much more to them than a silly novelty song, though. There are some excellent cuts on this album - a cover of Dick Dale's "Misirlou", a tongue-in-cheek song entitled "My Woodie", and "King of the Surf" and "Bird Bath" are also standouts. One of the best surf rock bands to ever exist.

Surfin' Bird

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kayo Dot - Choirs of the Eye (2003)


This album, holy shit. Kayo Dot's music stops time and takes you out of your body. Choirs of the Eye is one of my favorite albums of all time and sets the standard for all music. The first track, "Marathon", is one of the best songs ever. The beginning makes this the perfect song to wake up in the morning, and gives that HOLY SHIT feeling right as you put the CD in the player (or right when you press play in Winamp). I won't give an exact moment in the song because almost everything is amazing. The burst at the beginning, the BRUTAWLITY that there is before, and the ambient second part that starts around 4:30 that can freeze time and suddenly everything is in slow motion. Thankfully after this song there is "A Pitch of Summer" so we can recover from the burst of geniousness.

Did I say the next song helped you rest? Lies! What you think is a ballad like song ends building up into a complete monster that may RAPE your ears. Don't come here unprepared. Then there's "The Manifold Curiosity", perhaps the greatest song on this album. I could simply say that the whole song is speechless. I don't know why every little note from this album touches my heart like no other band does. There are many great moments in this song that make me want to close my eyes and just lie on my bed listening to it. The sudden "musical explosion" that would make people jump if they come unprepared (4:40), the subtle background riff at 5:55 that always makes me smile...

But the real standout of this song is the amazing build up until the end that concludes with the most BRUTAWL piece of music ever. If there is one song that makes people shit, it's this. All the second part of this song is either the build up for this climax, or it. I'm never able to move properly when it comes, I feel nervous, like if the world would end in just a few seconds, and when the guitar begins with the crushing riff at 10:25, I already know it's too late. Don't try to talk me there, because I'll be unable to move. Also, check how loud the snare is at the end, holy shit.

Fortunately (or not) "Wayfarer" is all nice and pretty with cool solo but there isn't any holy shit moments (there are, but nothing that deserves begin in the HOLY FUCKING SHIT list). A cool relax after "The Manifold Curiosity". The final track, "The Antique", is less dramatic than in "The Manifold Curiosity", since the song is overall much heavier and doesn't build up like the other does, but it's still really great, especially when the acoustic riffing comes. Brutality paired up with something beautiful make an amazing pair. Also, the ending after that is really something magic, and IMO, the best thing of this song.

Get this album right now. You won't regret it.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Fun Machine - Sonnenhuhn (2009)

2009 ended up being a smash year for the Avant-prog/RIO(post-RIO?) scene. Releases from Univers Zero, Magma, Alamaailman Vasarat, Present and even some previously-unreleased music from leg-ends Henry Cow dotted the year, as well as some lesser-knowns scoring hits (Jono El Grande, Aranis, Runaway Totem), but even among those, Fun Machine's debut Sonnenhuhn stands out as, at least, one of the more interesting.

We could poke and prod at what makes it avant-prog, because there is enough of it there. Complex rhythms, linear drumming, looping guitar passages, start-and-stop melodies that are now more known for their place within math rock than anything else, as well as the obvious strings, organs, synths and horns will quickly relate this band to the classics. However, even with those common styles, this is without doubt, different.

But it takes a while. The first several minutes of the album mostly involve them noodling through passages with great efficiency, conveying what comes off as an inorganic form of what previously-mentioned bands had worked with. As the album goes along however, things change. The band has more fun and mischief with the music, and things become nearly satirical. Much like Samla Mammas Manna, or Cardiacs, they throw in these somewhat pop-ish passages, with vocal patterns very similar to Cardaics' own Tim Smith. Continuing throughout this happens even more frequently, switching between the rock and "progressive" aspects of their sound faster than one can realize. Couple these wild connections with cheep midis straight from a 16-bit RPG and you have a wild album that without a doubt deserves a mention with some of the heavyweights.
For fans of all progressive rock, or even a fan of a band like Mr. Bungle looking to get closer to the style that they were certainly influenced by.
Well... I guess it's for anyone. This is a fantastic record.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Panda Bear - Tomboy 7" (2010)



oh my dear god

"Tomboy" is good/decent, but "Slow Motion" is amazing. Don't have a top ten on me in terms of best tracks from 2010, but it's threatening.

I'll let you have your own opinions.

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Hopefully we won't get Web Sheriff'd over this.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cyne - Evolution Fight (2005)

Cyne are a conscious hip hop foursome hailing from Gainesville, Florida. They are consisted of two emcees and two producers: Cise Starr and Akin, and Speck and Enoch, respectively. Cise Starr is a great rapper, he has a distinctive flow and delivery and good lyrics to boot. Akin leaves something to be desired but he doesn't get as much mic time as Cise, and as such doesn't really detract from the album. The production is the real highlight though. The album is very cohesive, but all the songs would work by themselves as well. The songs, and especially the beats, have a habit where I tend to forget what they sound like, but when I actually listen to the album it feels like I've known them for years. The main exception to this is Automaton, which is more aggressive and forward than the rest of the beats. There's an extremely prominent vocal sample which I love, and Cise Starr raps about a dystopian future with a lot of social insight. Despite getting off to somewhat of a slow start, the album quickly picks up the pace, and really gets into gear by the time Haze (track 4) comes around, and every song after that is excellent, with the possible exception of Fuck America.

And in case I never post Water for Mars on this blog, I'm going to go ahead and post a song from that album, the best hip hop song to come out in the last few years, with amazing production from the late Nujabes.

Pretty Apollo

Back to Evolution Fight:

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lemonade - Pure Moods EP (2010)



Good summery EP. "Lifted" is on the summer mix I made for myself (probably will post on Last.fm or here). Quite the good dance/beat music.

AWmusic:

"Lemonade is a three-piece band who recently moved from San Francisco to Brooklyn. Their most recent effort, the five song EP Pure Moods, sounds like a Caribbean acid trip, warping steel drums, horns, and xylophones into a funky electronic jamfest.

Within the electronic genre, Lemonade finds a unique niche and gets down to work. The sound is hard to pin down, adding tropical instruments over more conventional melodies to create something new and interesting. The songs are all long; none is shorter than four minutes. This length makes melodies and riffs get a bit repetitive, but it’s almost a soothing repetition and one that doesn’t get annoying. A few personal favorites: ‘Lifted’, which features a xylophone, steel drums, a giggle, and an odd “dropping-a-heavy-object-into-water” sound. Like I said, a hard sound to pin down. Another favorite is ‘Sunsplash’, a grooving, laid back jam that uses a Loony Tunes-esque “boing” as percussion.

Pure Moods is something new. It takes “Caribbean Inspired” in a whole different direction. Instead of adopting the melodies, they take the Caribbean instruments and go in their own direction with them. Definitely an EP worth checking out."

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LeBronathon is tonight. 29 NBA teams (including mine, Memphis) will be disappointed, one team (most likely Miami) will be overjoyed.

If nothing else, he's already won the 2010 Attention Whore of the Year Award. Check out LPC in LeBronese.

In short, go to the Knicks.

MillionYoung - Hammock

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Young Legionnaire - Colossus/Iron Dream 7" (2010)

Early this year, the popular British band Bloc Party decided to take a one-year hiatus. Frontman Kele Okereke has been spending his time with his recently released solo album, guitarist Russel Lissack has been plugging along with his side project Pin Me Down, percussionist Matt Tong has disappeared entirely, and bassist and multi-instrumentalist Gordon Moakes has been busy taking care of his new baby girl and, in his spare time, working on a bit of music in the form of Young Legionnaire.

Young Legionnaire is the combination of Gordon Moakes, YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO frontman Paul Mullen, and La Roux drummer Will Bowerman. They sound like a comically mismatched trio, but they actually come together in a very cohesive way.

The band has released their first piece of work, the Colossus/Iron Dream 7". The first thing you'll notice about this music is that it is fairly no-frills Post-Hardcore affair, which actually seems somewhat refreshing in this day and age, especially considering the past work of the people who compose Young Legionnaire. There are no fancy basslines, alternate instruments, and very few glossy studio effects.

'Colossus' starts out with a pretty,chiming guitar riff before exploding into a fairly typical rock song. It is well-played and loud, but is perhaps a bit too generic to have any real lasting effect. The vocals are the weakest link in this song, at times even making the song sound like early Deftones. It should be noted that Paul Mullen, not Gordon Moakes, is the vocalist, and I must admit to thinking of the vocals of his past project YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO to be that band's weak link as well.

'Iron Dream' comes off quite a bit better, starting with a fast chunky-sounding guitar line and slowly growing. The vocals seem more earnest, the bass seems more involved, and everything seems a bit more interesting and lively. It has some nice falsetto vocals in the background and during the bridge and evolves fairly nicely, staying interesting throughout.

Young Legionnaire isn't breaking new ground by any means, but they have released a decent pair or songs and deserve to be cautiously watched for the future.

Youtube: 'Colossus'

Youtube: 'Iron Dream'

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Svarti Loghin - Drifting Through the Void (2010)


As another band riding the wave of music tying the line between shoegaze, post-punk, and depressive-suicidal black metal, it's hard to say that Swedish (I think) band Svarti Loghin is really treading any new ground. A review would almost work just as well just to describe the general sound of most bands performing within these bounds. Although the sound is certainly not as harsh as the comparable bands working with that black metal influence, the songs are bittersweet, the atmospheres are lush, and the screams are full of anguish and foreboding.

I do suppose that most of their uniqueness is with those vocals, though. I can't discuss too much on whether this is the style of the band or just this album, as I read that there are guest musicians, and I haven't been able to check Svarti Loghin's earlier album, but combined with the screams are clean vocals, almost reminiscent to Eddie Vedder, or any number of the vocalists from the early "grunge" movement. Surprisingly enough, it works well with the music. Unlike Pearl Jam, these clean vocals sounds more as it's straining to sound above the music. It almost works within itself to exude feelings of alienation and "drowning in sorrow", with the screams symbolic of an escape into oneness.

All that aside, it is good. While they don't really do enough to set them into any position of "must listen" for the genre, they do have enough to give them a unique *feel*. If you're a fan of bands like Thränenkind, Alcest or Amesoeurs, it's worth a listen, and considering how soft it is in comparison to the genre, it might be a decent place to go for "indie rockers" looking to get a feel for the style.

Also, there is a nice rendition of Black Sabbath's Planet Caravan, within. You could claim that it works against the band by including a cover, but I'll leave that as a personal judgment.