Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Abe Vigoda - Skeleton (2008)

I'm lazy, so here's another review to tell you the story:

AV Club:

"Proud veterans of The Smell, the not-for-profit L.A. venue/art space beloved for its vegan snacks, $5 covers, and inclusive ideology, tropical punks Abe Vigoda are fuzzy and tenuous in the vein of peers No Age or Mika Miko, peddling post-hardcore guitars and flat, muted vocals. But despite an obvious affinity for echo and murk, the Chino band's third LP, Skeleton, is surprisingly delicate, its punk rock bravado countered by an unexpected (and not unwelcome) fragility—as if the whole thing might just burst into shards if you dare to turn it up too loud. Mostly, Skeleton is jagged and weird: Opener "Dead City/Waste Wilderness," with its trilling, crooked guitars and nonstop cymbal crashes, is about as sweet as Abe Vigoda gets (see the nail-chewing dissonance of "The Garden," "World Heart," or "Endless Sleeper," which feels like a music box gone wrong). But if you can take the knocks, the band is at its finest when embracing discordance—listening to Skeleton can feel a little bit like getting whacked backwards by a wave, mouth full of sand, ears ringing, equilibrium gone, praying for light and air, and savoring the ride."

Try it
Buy it

(ed's note: Haven't had the chance to listen to their new album yet. Will post when I can.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Siah and Yeshua DapoED - The Visualz Anthology (2008)

New York-based indy-hip hop pioneers. They released their 1996 debut The Visualz EP on Bobbito Garcia’s highly regarded label Fondle ‘Em Records. Most of the beats and rhythms that drive these songs are very rooted in jazz. The duo also pretty much had a hand in the excellent production that was handled by Jon Adler too. The whole thing just oozes with creativity. It has that New York feel to it, but they make then entirety of The Visualz sound like their own. Both MC's have their own distinct style, so there is plenty of variety.

The biggest stand out feature of this album is the song "A Day Like Any Other" that clocks at 11 minutes and changes beats and tempo for a change really making it an adventure. This album is a real gem of an underground Hip-Hop album.

Although it's really a compilation, but shhh.


Nicolay - City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya (2009)

Your favorite producer may no longer be your favorite producer, folks.

Nicolay is a Dutch producer with a large body of very enjoyable work. In addition to his many solo projects, he's one half of the hip-hop/R&B group The Foreign Exchange with Phonte of Little Brother. In 2008 he released the album Time: Line with Kay of the foundation. His instrumentals are very laid-back and mellow. Live instrumentation is also often used as opposed to samples.

This is a mostly instrumental album except for occasional vocals delivered beautifully by Carlita Durand. The concept is that you are on a vacation to Shibuya, Japan and this is the music of the city. There are some beautiful sounds used to create a very relaxing album. Teetering on the edge of must-listen territory.

Try It

Buy It

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tudor Lodge - Tudor Lodge (1971)

Charming album here. Somewhere in-between folk and 60's pop, with little notches of psych and Canterbury-scene prog. Kind of a folkier version of Rubber Soul-beatles, mixing male and female vocals over their acoustic pop music. Recommended for anyone in need of some calm, pretty music.

Buy (use the order form)

Friday, September 24, 2010

LPC Interview With unouomedude

I had the opportunity to get in touch with unouomedude (Uno) this week, whose song "Island Summer" was posted a little over three weeks ago. We talked about past summers in Florida, future collaborations, and what the term "chillwave" really means.

Why the name "unouomedude"/"you know you owe me dude"? Is there a story behind it?

One day my cousin was telling me that he came up with the name "unoiouboi" (You-Know-I-Owe-You-Boy) for some sort of screen name. It was basically just a way to poke fun at people constantly trying to shorten words. He never ended up using it, and I needed to make a screen name for AIM and I just modified "unoiouboi" and came up with "unouomedude" and it's stuck with me ever since.

Before getting to know more about you, I got the Florida-style beach vibe from tracks such as "Island Summer". Of course you'd be from Jacksonville! Does living in Florida and going to the beach influence your music and how you write?

A lot of the songs on Marsh, including "Island Summer", are about my memories of past summers. "Island Summer" is the only one specifically about the beach though. I actually don't go to the beach very often, haha. When I was making Marsh I was aiming to make a summer-y pop record. So for this record, my songs were definitely influenced by my memories of Florida and the beach.

When did you first gain interest in writing and performing music?

Well, In 8th grade I made a video with puppets about pirates for a school assignment. In one part the video I decided to do a first-person rap about the pirate William Kidd. My cousin helped me make the beat. After I learned how to make beats, I made a few silly raps with/for my friends. One day I went to an MC Lars, Patent Pending, and Suburban Legends show with a friend. It was the first show I ever went to and I saw MC Lars with his homemade beats, controlling his own projector and still putting on a great show. That's when I realized I didn't need a band to take making music seriously. So that's when "unouomedude" started.

Your music has generally been labeled as "chillwave", which is a fairly new genre that didn't get much public notice until we heard the likes of Washed Out, Toro y Moi, etc. Do you like that label or do you feel that there's a better description for your music?

I'm not completely sure what chillwave is anymore. When Carles (of Hipster Runoff) coined the phrase, he seemed to use it to describe sample based, nostalgic, electronic, synthpop. I think since then, people have started using it to describe other music that has a few of the same qualities of the artists originally classified as chillwave. So I'm not sure if chillwave is changing, or if people are just using it to classify artists that fans of chillwave may like. But it's been helping people, including myself, find out about some pretty awesome bands even if no one knows what constitutes chillwave. I just pretty much just call my music "lo-fi pop" though, its easier, haha.

Are there any artists you feel have influenced your music?

I'm usually more influenced by visuals than I am by music. But when it comes to music, there are several artists that I listen to that indirectly influence my music. Listening to artists like Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Jack Johnson, AFI, Thrice, and Rancid taught me how to write songs and work on arrangements. I always hear small things in my songs that are probably subliminally influenced by bands that I've listened to for years.

I know that you've wanted to do a track or two with Blackbird Blackbird. Name some other artists/bands you'd like to collab with.

Yeah Mikey (Blackbird Blackbird) and I have been trying to put something together for a while. There are several other artists I would love to work with though. Star Slinger, Emay, Teenage Reverb, Kiss Kiss Fantastic, PePePiano, pretty much every artist I listen to really. For me, some collaborations work better than others, depending on the similarities in the artists writing styles. I recently did a track with Police Academy 6 which was really easy for me to write to and came together easily. I do have some collabs on my bucket list though. I would love to collaborate on a track with Zach Gill and Zach Hill one day.

Recommend a band or artist to listen to for our readers, preferably up and coming.

There are so many good artist I've found out about this year. I've been listening to a lot of Star Slinger lately so everyone should for sure check him out.

What's next for you? Will you have any more releases in 2010 or are you done until we hit 2011?

Well, I've been working on a few remixes and collaborations lately. I'll probably put out a few singles this year, maybe another EP. But I'll probably be putting out a lot more stuff in 2011.

Steaming Coils - Never Creak (1987)

An album that 1queer recommended to me a while back and is still one of my favorite albums. In the world of strange music there is the likes of Captain Beefheart and The Residents, which are responsible for some of the most brilliantly bent music ever created. But be as that may Steaming Coils are are a very creative band that are responsible for musical madness of the same likeness of the above mentioned, but without the mainstream success that they had.

Plus the album cover is awesome.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Track of the Day for September 22, 2010

Ducktails is an artist I discovered back last spring when it was starting to get hot again and my mind started bringing up thoughts of the beach, great summer nights, and a general love of the ocean. His music has transformed into something less loop-based and less-chillwave sounding, but it still works so well. This, along with being on the upcoming "Hamilton Road" single, will be on his new album "Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics", due out in November.

Ducktails - Art Vandelay

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Envy - Recitation (2010)

I'd guess that nearly every blog that would be interested in this has it up, but even if I'm late, it's better than not having it at all. Japanese screamo legends Envy release perhaps their best effort to date with Recitiation, again mixing their devastating "doom screamo" with lighter, "post-rock" passages including, what I'm sure are nicely worded, soft-spoken passages, but non-Japanese speakers will have to rely solely on the tone to gain enjoyment.
I suppose we can start with the cover. Seemingly a reflection on the music itself. Sparse yet impactful, dark and bright, the music itself paints the landscape that appears. The upper raises the heavy abrasive music as we fall back to and settle with the lighter songs, maybe some confusion between the two interjecting sparsely.
I'll refrain from going track to track or even a slight play-by-play. For one, the album is far too long for that. Over an hour of this and that doesn't lend itself to a through dissection, especially with one listen. Mostly I'll say that this is certainly recommended for anyone that was a fan of the Heaven in Her Arms album I posted towards the beginning of this blog. Also, even though the two genres mentioned come with a fair amount of stigma, please leave your silly predispositions at the door. While they carry a significant amount of themes from each, Envy comes together as an excitingly different beast, transcending those labels. It's not necessarily screamo, and it's not necessarily post-rock, it's just damn good music.

Buy (preorder) (CD or 2xLP)

Track(s) of the Day: September 21, 2010

JEFF the Brotherhood are a two-piece band from Nashville, Tennessee. They're usually labeled garage but I'm not sure how accurate that is. I don't know much about garage but what I have heard of it has been more raw than JEFF. I was going to do a review of their latest album Heavy Days but it honestly isn't that great. It has its moments, and some of those moments are very good, but this duo still has a lot to learn about making an album. That being said it is worth a listen. Even at its worst it still makes for good background noise. They have potential and I'm excited to see what they can do in the future. If you take anything away from this post though, it's that they are a phenomenal live band. Even with just two people (and one of them playing a guitar with only three strings) they pull off a great performance full of energy. They're especially great in a small venue. I was lucky enough to see them in a record store and it was one of the best shows I've seen.

"Heavy Days" (Tame performance but best sound quality I could find)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sonics - Here Are The Sonics!!! (1965)

Over the last year or two, I've listened to a whole fucking truckload of garage rock. I've discovered this brilliant history of recent rock'n'roll spun by the many side projects of too-little-known dudes like Greg and Jack Oblivian, Mick Collins, Mark Sultan and King Khan. I've cherrypicked from compilations of one-hit garage wonders from the 60s to assemble killer mixtapes packed with great tracks. In all that, I've never lost sight of the forefathers (okay, if I'm being honest, there were others like the Kingsmen and the Wailers and probably a whole host of bands I've never heard of, but none of them released the greatest debut album of all time (as far as I know - nested brackets ahoy!)). Almost everything I love about garage rock can be traced back to the Sonics, who took pop music and remade it in their own raunchy, explosive image. For my money, the Sonics are the greatest, most awesome rock'n'roll band the world has ever seen.

Here Are the Sonics!!! is the quintessential garage rock album. The Sonics’ songs touch on such divine subjects as fast cars, dance steps, and cruel women. The lyrics are wonderfully forgettable and Here Are the Sonics!!! gets by through sheer force of will. No songs could contain this energy. It’s actually best that the songs just give way to the frenzied power of the band.

Finesse wasn’t even remotely the point of the Sonics. They blasted you away with pure rock ‘n’ roll power. Their fuzzy-sounding guitars put a twist on that high energy Little Richard R&B. “The Witch” was the hit single that initially catapulted the Sonics in garage rock lore. Old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll songwriting like this has long since seen its demise. At some point it was simply time to move on, but it’s great to go back and check out when it worked so beautifully. These were a bunch of kids with time on their hands and a dorky conviction to cutting loose with some instruments.


Track of the Day for September 19, 2010

Catitude strikes again.

iLLy Mays - How You Doin?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Heads - Under The Stress Of A Headlong Dive (2006)

Straddling Stooges-inspired fury and droning, Hawkwind-esque deep space exploration, the Heads churn out a psych-punk maelstrom that answers the rhetorical question “What would Sonic Youth sound like if it sported a massive set of hairy balls?” The Heads bash out careening, catchy heaviness on “Earth/Sun,” the conga-driven “pass, the void” and “Your Monkey Is My Master,” Factor in some loopy, mind-warping psychedelic interludes and a couple of thoroughly engaging extended freakouts (the nearly 20-minute epic “Stodgy” and “Creating in the Eternal New Is Always Heavy”) and you have a quality album that stands on its own.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Track of the Day, 2010 September 17th day

Henry Cow side-project with Chris Cutler, Lindsey Cooper, Dagmar Krause, and Zeena Parkins.

Robert Wyatt (of Soft Machine, and numerous other works) on vocals here.

Full Dhat Discography

Dhat is dead. At least for now. A couple of years ago, this trio from St.Louis captured my heart with their twisted EP, I. Their strange vocals, math-rock attitude and general, I'll just call it "avant-gardery" was such a unique, wholly interesting sound, I found it impossible to get it out of my head. But, alas, after three years of relative silence, Dhat is on an indeterminate hiatus, according to their drummer. And, after a request to him, here is "pretty much everything [they've] ever recorded", sent to me with the message "Thank you for listening. Feel free to share."

Expect a very "chill" math-rock, with slightly Residents-esque vocals, and nothing like you've probably heard before. Although the members are still performing in other bands, it's a shame something so nice, so unique, had to stall in obscurity. I guess this is a bit late for a shoutout (not to say I didn't try to spread the word earlier), but I suppose there is no bad time to promote a band, whether live or dead.

bandcamp (all the songs streaming here are also in the myspace, I think. This is just another place to download their EP)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Track of the Day, 2010 September 16th day

Vidulgi OoyoO - Seeing Me Through Your Eyes

Nice shoegazing with a satisfying buildup towards the end

Name is translated as "Pigeon Milk"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Track of the Day for September 15, 2010

Deerhunter's new album leaked today, and it's fantastic. I don't know if I can rank it above Microcastle yet, but it's definitely in my top ten for 2010. Here's the lead single from the album, "Revival".

Deerhunter - Revival

Note from management: The next mixtape should be released by the end of September; we'll try and think of a creative theme just for you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Track of the Day for September 14, 2010

Animal Collective's "freak folk" label really lives up to its name in their visual album ODDSAC. If you haven't seen it yet, prepare to be WTF'd. The best scene and best song from the movie is "Screens"; Panda Bear/Noah Lennox makes this one fantastic.

Animal Collective - Screens

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ludo- Prepare The Preparations (2010)

As you all know I am a fan of Ludo as I had reviewed their album, You're Awful, I Love You earlier this year. We now got to hear the follow up album, Prepare The Preparations when it came out last Tuesday. Being one of the few who listens to the band on LPC. I bought the album because 1. I love the band and 2. I had been anticipating it's release all month. So let's get on with the review.

PTP starts off with Too Tired To Wink , a catchy power pop song that a nice starter to the album. It's energetic, catchy chorus and overall a very enjoyable song. Andrew Volpe shows off his lyrical strengths through out the album. The second song Cyborgs vs Robots is almost Muse inspired, mainly noted the guitar work sounds somewhat similar to Knights of Cydonia. One again, a very catchy power pop song with a more technical flair.
After Tired to Wink and Cyborgs vs Robots, we switched to the ridiculously catchy, head bobbing sing along jam Whipped Cream. A song primarily devoted to Whipped Cream itself and also a metaphor for wanting that sweet savory love of your woman. I mean here's the chorus "I think I'm entitled to your body, Gotta little problem with personal space and I've been pounding the Jaeger , my breath and behavior been driving the patrons away" and that's basically the premise of the song. Ludo then turns from Energetic power pop to slow moving love songs. First of the two, Anything For You, Volpe details every ridiculous thing he would do just to be with her. From chopping down evergreens to giving up wishing leprechauns , he would do anything for her. The her I'm referring to is of course, his wife. He was married during the recording of this album. Following up Anything For You, We get Manta Rays

Manta Rays is another love song with a different message, this song is about wanting to be with someone, it's actually one of my favorite songs on the records because of the moving chorus. During the song, it just feels like you're floating underwater, anyways as for the chorus it goes like this "All I want is to know your name and whisper it in your ear, but I'm weightless like I'm falling on the moon. I'm falling slow for you". It's just a really mellow great song about trying to find love, I personally love
it. The thing that is great about this album is Ludo basically offers something new with each track.

Following this we have Skeletons on Parade, a song that could be on any major animated Halloween movie this year. it's said to be inspired by Nightmare Before Christmas and if they did. They nailed it. It also has a taste of Dropkick Murphy's in it near the end. I'll Never Be Lonely Again is almost a lounge act song. I visually could see Volpe singing this on a cruise ship as a lounge act. It's an odd image but that's what I see. It's another stellar track. Ludo goes semi Country on us with All The Stars in Texas. A song that is all about good old Texas, it's a love song once again. Volpe must have gained inspiration from his wife writing this album. This album is so lovey dubby. It's not a bad thing , but it just misses the energy of the begining three tracks.

Rotten Town is basically a story told in song, it's rocking, it's not heavy but is the chorus catchy. That's where Ludo reels me in. Their choruses are so damn good you can't help but sing along. "I scowl at the angry moon, I am sick of myself, I'm a bum. What have I become? A Drunk marooned on the ground in this Rotten Town". Volpe has talent and he knows it. The Finally three tracks changed up the pace once again. Overdone is an emo ballad about finding love once again. Once again, another Love track. Not a bad thing since it's one of the most written about things in music. The guitar work in Overdone is great. another strength of Ludo is their guitar work, it's fantastic. The final two tracks well, they're something else.

Battle Cry is the anthem of the album with a cheesetastic chorus. It seems like something you would hear in one of those straight to dvd college comedies. "WE ARE YOUNG, BUT WE WILL NEVER DIE. WE WON'T GIVE UP, THIS IS OUR BATTLE CRY, WE WILL DEFEAT THE OTHER GUYS" It seriously makes me laugh not because it's necessarily bad. It reminds me of GI Joe for some reason. The final track of this album is Safe In The Dark, magnificent alt pop machine with soft lyrics and hard chorus. It just chants hauntingly over and over. It's actually the best song in the 2nd half of the album. One of the best closing tracks I've ever heard. Overall if you like Ludo, you'll like this album, it's on par, with You're Awful , I Love You. I hope these guys stick around a few more years. They're a wonderful little gem of a band.

Best Song: Manta Rays
Worst Song: Battle Cry
Hidden Gem: Safe In The Dark

Sotos - Platypus (1999)

I suppose I'll just make this my "obscure avant-prog band of the month". For those that do know, it's mostly because of the connection to the wonderous Bob Drake. The drummer behind such bands as Thinking Plague and 5uu's records this ambitious French quintet in their debut album, Platypus. Named after a syndrome that causes cerebral gigantism, the music gives a similar feeling with dizzying compositions serving as constant reminders of composers such as Bela Bartok or Igor Stravinsky. The chamber sound and jolted strings are something that purveys most of the works of this genre, as well as a frequent need for strong drumming, which is abundant here.
Even with those "restraints" (restraints in much the same way that all thrash bands need a distorted guitar speeding through riffs) this band manages to sneak in more modern interpretations. Some slight use of sampling here and there, some slight noise rock additions, and plenty of riffage, making them sound maybe closer to Doctor Nerve than they do Henry Cow.
It seems that the first seven tracks are combined as a whole to form one continuous track, Malstrøm . Part 2 may stand out as my favorite, but I do admire when they get into some of Magma-esque, fusion grooves, as in Pt. 6. Also, after the first 7 parts, you get the 27+min "Wu" which is more of the same, but not ploddingly so. It frequently feels quite a bit less structured than the previous Malstrøm, however, so it may be a little out of place being on the same record.

Track of the Day for September 13, 2010

And only because it took me literally eight years of my life to discern enough lyrics from this song to search it on Google and find out what it was, despite this being played probably once a week or more on the radio station I work at.

The Young Rascals - Good Lovin'

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Track of the Day 9/11

Where the Last Wave Broke

The third track off of Insomnium's most recent album is a major standout. The song features some excellent riffs, the trademark Insomnium melody and mood and fantastic vocal work. The verses feature the great gravelly screams of Niilo Sevanen before heading into the incredible chorus. The chorus really makes the song in this case. Sevanen's screams perfectly sync up with guest vocalist Jules Naveri's clean singing to great effect. Read the lyrics to this one while you listen; they are very cool.

NOISM - ± (2008)

Hard to find words for this one, mostly because it leaves my brain as a goo running out my ears. Beginning in Tokyo in the late nineties, NOISM set the goal of pursuing the ultimate brutality and complexity in music.

Maybe they succeed.

This is aural assault, plain and simple. The drums pound at the speed of light and the guitar noodles in and out of abrasive passages at a comparable tempo. Even at a paltry 21 minutes, it's hard to make it through. This is drill and bass at it's most ear shattering. Everything crashes and clangs in such an intelligible measure, it's hard to even imagine someone actually programming it.

I'd almost say it's impossible to *like* it, but, somehow, this is absolutely amazing.

Fang Island - Fang Island (2010)

Brooklyn-based indie rockers Fang Island have delivered a self-titled debut that practically slaps you in the face to grab your attention. Though it doesn't quite measure up to the Andrew W.K. levels of 'Awesome rock', the combination of progressive-style math rock and catchy indie make for an enjoyable album. The first few tracks are the highlights of the album, but it never really dips off or gets boring due to its 32-minute length and fun-loving nature.

There's not much to take notice of in the lyrical department, but as the instrumentals are the primary focus of the album this isn't much of an issue. There's plenty of variation, with moments of heavy drumming and grooves that get the progressive comparisons with the likes of Rush, in contrast to some of the simple, riff-driven elements that hint at early Weezer-like power pop. It's a bit remarkable at just how much this album achieves in only 32 minutes, but then again if it went on too long it would probably be too exuberant.

Try it
Buy it

A Perfect Circle - 13th Step (2003)

If you're like me, you've always wanted to give metal a chance only to be scared a way by hairy men and growling vocals. This the album for you.

A Perfect Circle is a supergroup formed by guitar-player Billy Howerdel (Nine-Inch Nails, Fishbone, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.) and Tool front-man and vocalist Maynard James Keenan as well as a wealth of other well-known figures in the heavy metal scene.

The majority of the album is smooth instrumentals with Keenan singing in a soft, deliberate voice interspersed with heavy, loud conclusions on many of the songs, you'll find no growling here. It also gets bonus points for being a concept album about the twelve steps of addiction. It's deep, fun, and beautiful.

Try It First (Mediafire, 69MB .Zip)

Buy It

Youtube Samples:
The Package
The Noose
The Nurse Who Loved Me

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prizzy Prizzy Please- Prizzy Prizzy Please (2007)

I've tried writing this review several times but for some reason I've had a lot of trouble writing it so I'm going to keep this short. What I can say is that Prizzy Prizzy Please formed out of the same Indiana punk scene as Good Luck, the first band I posted. They take a far less serious approach lyrically than Good Luck but an even more intense approach musically. Whereas Good Luck sing about relationships and growing older, PPP sing about evil space monkeys attacking a captain named Bob. Good Luck like to cover Prince. PPP like to cover AC/DC. In fact, PPP are the only modern punk band I know of that openly embraces glam rock sounds, and they do it without a single guitarist in the band. Instead they opt for a heavily distorted keyboard. They also feature a saxophone in many of their songs, giving their glammed up punk a unique jazzy feel.

This review might be short but that's a fault of mine and not the music's. Prizzy Prizzy Please are one of my favorite bands going today. To sum them up, they're a fun, energetic band whose music sometimes makes you dance, sometimes makes you sing, but always makes you smile.

Musical Family Tree- You can stream their newest album, Chroma Cannon, here.

Let me know if this doesn't download right. I had some trouble uploading it.

Weezer - Hurley (2010)

After three poorly received albums in a row (including last years, Raditude, which was almost universally panned), Weezer was pretty much left for dead. Outside of a track here or there, even many fans were starting to turn their backs on one of the most influential bands in Alt-Rock. However, with their first album on their new label, Epitaph Records, Hurley seems like its going to start a new era of Weezer relevance.

The track most of you may have heard is the lead single "Memories", and while I didn't care for it, others enjoyed the track. Thankfully, its not representative of the rest of the album. While I don't like to say this, the rest of the album feels like "Old" Weezer, but with a more modern twist. It feels like the whole album takes from their best work (Blue Album through Maladroit), but adds a new flavor to it, keeping it fresh and not making it sound 16 years old.

There are a few dud tracks, like "Where's My Sex", but for the most part, the album is a really good ride, and a return to prominence for a band that many of us fell out of love with a number of years (and bad albums) ago.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Track of le day: September 9th, 2010

Soul Position - Mic Control

RJD2, one of the best producers around, with Blueprint, one of the best rappers around. It's a super-duo gone horribly right.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Track of the Day: September 8th, 2010

I love this song...surprisingly found it in a tribute to Rue McClanahan (watch the music video, you'll understand)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Track of the Day: September 7, 2010

It's after midnight here so I'm counting this. It might be cheating a little but today's my birthday. Let me have this.

The Soft Boys - Underwater Moonlight (1980)

The soft boys have a peculiar mix of influences and underwater moonlight exemplifies that wonderfully. They wear their influences on their sleeves(The Beatles, Syd Barret, The Byrds), but on this album they have enough originality to make it their own. Robyn Hithcock's lyrics are best described as arranged stream of conscience...being that he'll take random, off kilter thoughts and put them together to make a cohesive theme(most of the time). The music provides a superb backdrop to this. The band are very tight players(not in the sessionman sense)and stylistically diverse as well. Whether playing hyper rock & roll(i wanna destroy you), jangly pop(the queen of eyes), or loopy krautrock-ish instrumentals(you'll have to go sideways), the band pulls it off with ease. If you're a fan of late 70's-early 80's British music (Wire, Gang of Four, Joy Division, etc.), but get tired of the gloominess and (sometimes) pretentiousness of it. Then this album is your swan song. <--Yes I did just say that. Buy it
Try it

Track Of The Day: September 6th, 2010

Cause I had to do this while I was already on the blog.

Flying Lotus - Galaxy In Janaki

Sadistik & Kid Called Computer - The Art of Dying (2010)

Listening to this EP makes me realize how stupid I am. Not because it's so intelligent and I don't understand any of it or anything like that, but because the guy who has nearly my exact taste in hip hop hyped it up as amazing, and I still put off on listening to it until the following month. As you've probably realized, I like this EP. A lot. The first person who comes to mind when you hear Sadistik rap is Slug, but the only things they have in common is a very similar voice and a lot of emotion. If there's one rapper Sadistik reminds me of though, it's Sleep of Oldiminion. Especially how they are both great at rapping double-time but are smart enough to only use it when it will truly benefit the song. Another thing that Sadistik has in common with Sleep (and further removes him from Slug) is his technical skill as an emcee. This dude has some of the craziest rhyme schemes and multis I've heard in awhile. The last couple of minutes of Save Yourself are especially ridiculous (if you're Canadian you may understand when I say that I was making Mindbender faces due to how great it was). Sadistik raps about serious topics with palpable emotion, and this mixed with his technical skill makes him a very well rounded emcee.

Kid Called Computer handles all the production, which goes without saying given you know he's a producer and not an emcee. Not that I did, I had never heard of him before listening to this. He's certainly unique, his production has a fine ambiance to it with use of hazy, soft noise and pianos. He provides a good fit to Sadistik, who apparently likes production that isn't totally rooted in hip hop seeing as his other album is produced by Emancipator.

All six songs here are fantastic, I'm not even sure what I'd refer to as the highlights. It far from overstays its welcome; I love the 30 minute length for modern hip hop releases, plus, the sound very well may have become a little much over the course of 40 minutes or longer. There is one guest spot on the EP, not by a rapper but by a singer, Louise Fraser, who stops by for Ghost in the Machine. The singing may be my least favorite part of the EP, (saying that that isn't saying a lot would be an understatement) it isn't bad by any means but it feels like it just seems kind of there. It's definitely recognizable and enjoyable but it seems like some truly great singing would have really knocked Ghost in the Machine out of the ballpark. Regardless, this is far from a major nuisance, and The Art of Dying remains one of, if not the, best hip hop releases this year.

Sadistik's official website (to buy the EP/listen to 'Bed of Flowers')


Dert - Talk Strange (2009)

Whenever I make a 2009 list, I always forget this tape. I guess that's to be expected since it was released on New Years and I still had a "2008" mindstate, but I can't believe I keep forgetting this since it's probably one of my favorite releases this year.

Dert is best known in the underground hip-hop circuit for his mash up tapes made of samples from various artists. On this one he decided to use primarily Bjork samples throughout the entire album, which basically sounds heavenly. It has a nice cool feel which like a lot of Bjork's music too. So since I love Bjork so much, naturally I thought this album was great, not to mention it's free so all you reading this have no reason not to pick this one up. | Download | Myspace (If people still use that)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Man or Astro-Man? - Destroy All Astromen! (1994)

Only Man or Astro-man? could incorporate NASA samples into their music and make them sound exciting, with their hypnotic surf rock and infatuation with cheesy, low-grade sci-fi flicks. Covers of Dick Dale, the Rezillos, and even the Mystery Science 3000 theme song can be found on this album. Not as experimental or "out there" in comparison to their material on Touch and Go Records, but it still holds true to the Man or Astro-man? ethics of being ahead of their time in the surf genre.

Not going to lie I got this album primarily because of the album cover and band name. But I'm really glad that I decided to pick this one up. Every track is bursting with hard nosed traditional surf complimented by their trademark space-age sounds. Masterful guitar work and those wacky voice clips from old B-movies.

Try it
Buy it

Track of the Day, September 5th 2010

This is my jam mo fuckas.

King Tuff-Sun Medallion

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Anberlin- Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place (2010)

Anberlin's follow up to New Surrender will be out this Tuesday and I got a hold of a copy. Being indifferent on the band since I've only heard two of their albums, I overall enjoyed this album. We Owe This To Ourselves starts the album out and it's rocking. Stephen Christan asks "Is This The End of Everything" In the chorus, he says "We owe this to our selves, We owe this our selves, we just can't let this go" It's catchy and overall enjoyable. Next up we have what will be the mainstream darling of the album, Impossible. It's is almost Angels and Airwaves inspired better yet a U2 wannabe. It's catchy, It's got a good riff, you want to sing along, If you haven't figured it out. This album is Anberlin trying to reach mainstream? Is that a good thing? I guess that's up to you.

Next up we get Take Me ( As You Found Me) it's the slow moving jam of the album. The chanting and slow music, it's almost adult contemporary. The chorus is "Take me as you found me, take me as you found me, won't leave me to die, leave me wanting, leave me wanting, the rest of your life". Closer is another song which I don't know what to say, it's repetitive , it's rocking but it's a dud overall for me. You Belong Here is the piano infused love song of the album. it has almost an 80's feel to it. Like something Casey Kasem would have on the Top 40.

Pray Tell is a rhythmical power ballad. it's decent but it lacks excitement. It's another dud for me. It's just not good enough for the album. Art of War has almost a techno induced intro with a constant popping sound. and technical sounds, this is another song which sound's like the 80's. What I'm basically saying is Anberlin is channeling U2 in this album, and for the most part they succeed. To The Wolves is a heavy drum bashing jam, it's good, pretty damn good and could be another possible hit for the band. Down is the slow burner of the album, it's slow and sweet and just transits well from To The Wolves. The final track of the album is Depraved, it's slow, mellow and well ties the album together nicely. Overall Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, is Anberlin channeling U2 with mainstream hits and 80's inspired pop. It's a savory appetizer but it's not the full course meal you want it to be.

Best Song: Impossible
Worst Song: Closer
Hidden Gem: Art Of War

Big K.R.I.T. - K.R.I.T. Wuz Here

I'll make this short since someone is waiting on this. Recently I've been falling out of love with Hip-Hop. Other than artists like J. Cole and Curren$y, I've just been uninterested with the genre entirely. And then I heard this. I liked a Hip-Hop album this much since Below The Heavens. It's just gritty yet well polished debut, and K.R.I.T. is a pseudo Pimp C in the fact that he produces and raps (Not to mention his voice sort of reminds me of his), but unlike Pimp C, I find him a lot more enjoyable at rapping than him. K.R.I.T. is really capable of making some great music, something that I really needed to hear.

Track of the Day, September 4th 2010

Real heavy hip hop, not unlike dälek.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Track of the Day for September 2, 2010

Just noticed we didn't have a post up yet for it, so I'll go ahead and do it. unouomedude, while having a very interesting band name, has made one of the best tracks of the summer in "Island Summer". And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.

unouomedude - Island Summer

Danava- UnonoU (2008)

Countless bands have tried with varying degrees of success to rehash the hard rock sounds of the '70s. Few modern bands have been bold enough to do so to the extent of Danava, and even fewer have gotten away with it. Danava's vocals recall Ozzy. The guitar playing is an homage to Tony Iommi. The drums are like a split between Bill Ward and John Bonham. The synths come straight from Rush and Pink Floyd. And yet with all this, Danava somehow get away with it.

When describing Danava to people I always like to use this quote from Allmusic's review of this album.

"Danava's eponymous first album already suggested that they might be visitors from a distant galaxy, located somewhere between Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Rush's favorite black hole, "Cignus [sic] X-1"

This describes their heavy '70s influence that I've already touched on, but it is also about their unmistakable spaciness. Through all the guitar riffs, drum beats, and fuzzy Rickenbacker bass lines is the synth which almost never carries the melody by itself but is always in the background. There's a part on "The Emerald Snow of Sleep" where all the other instruments let up and an almost operatic vocal comes in and it really does take you up so you can get a better look at Danava's own little riff-filled, solo-laden planet. This spaciness permeates throughout the whole album. In fact, RYM doesn't even bother describing the band as anything other than Space Rock.

Only two of the seven tracks on this album clock in at under five minutes and only the lead single, "Where Beauty & Terror Dance" has even a hint of mainstream appeal. Three of the remaining five are over eight minutes. The composition isn't perfect; they could certainly stand to trim the fat a bit. However, this has less to do with approach and more to do with the fact that their songwriting is still developing. Danava don't sound indulgent, and they certainly don't sound pretentious. Maybe it's their blatant attempt to avoid a mainstream audience or maybe it's hard to imagine a band that is borrowing so many pre-established sounds is trying to force their own musical message on anybody. It's difficult to think of Danava as anything other than genuine. Even when they decide to start playing Led Zeppelin's "Achilles Last Stand" in the middle of a song, and then build a 13-minute-long song around it, it doesn't sound like plagiarism as much as tribute. In a lot of ways they're like the prog version of Mudhoney, another band who drew from '70s hard rock and at times seemed more interested in drum and guitar solos than writing a tune. Maybe it's not a coincidence that both bands hail from the Pacific Northwest.

I opened this review by saying that Danava rehashes '70s sounds, but that discredits them a bit. They don't rehash as much as truly recreate. They've combined these sounds and made their own fuzzy, spacey, wonderful one. Here's another quote from the same review I quoted earlier that I also like to use.

"At the end of the day, though, the biggest compliment that UnonoU pays to its creators is affirming that Danava may sometimes sound like several different bands, yet no band sounds quite like Danava."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Gay Blades- Ghosts (2007)

The Gay Blades are a Trash pop duo from New York City. Now despite the odd name, this is a very solid band. They kind of remind me of Head Automatica. Ghosts starts off with O-Shot, it's very stripped down and vocally stellar. The oddly named Bob Dylan's 115th Nightmare follows O-Shot and uses the Gay Blades trash pop style to it's advantage. The brilliant Hey She Say is next up and it's opening riff gets you ready for the song. It's somewhat catchy on the same point. The chorus is the strong point of this track. The Gay Blades are an very interesting band with a formula. Catchy trash pop and great vocal arrangements. One of my favorite songs has to be Dog Day Afternoon, it's a stripped down guitar strummer that is so beautiful executed it's meant to be heard.

Prologue to a Broken Heart almost sounds like a lounge song, it's just so cool and blues infused. NDHN is begging to be a sing along song with the oh oh oh's like most songs like that are. This band has no bass. Clark Westfield plays Guitar and Puppy Mills drums. It's an odd hipster like experiment but it works. We Wear Mittens is the duo's duet with repeated uses of "My heart is cold, my heart is warm. We follow this with You're a Garbage Barge, I'm a Dream Boat is almost a ballad without the star quality. Next we have the hilariously named Robots Can Fuck Your Shit up. There is no mention of Robots at all and the song is actually about a man trying to convince a woman she needs him. Why Can't I Grow a Beard? no not me, that's the song title. All of these songs names sound like they were drawn randomly from a hat. As for Why I Can't I Grow a Beard, it's another beauty. The second to last track Compliments Can Kill seems to be the gem of the album with infectious lyrics and a rocking beat. Whatever these guys are doing, it works. The closer of the album is the echoing Cellphone Song, a slow winding road of a song you need to hear from beginning to end. Overall, Ghosts was a nice album for me to try and listen to after reading about them way back when. If you like Indie rock or want something new. Give Ghosts a listen.

Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People (2010)

I'm admittedly not a very big fan of Sufjan Stevens. I love his voice but I hate how his albums end up sounding long and drawn out. This led up to me not really picking up any of his albums post or even pre-Illinois. However I heard good things about this EP, and seeing as EP's are supposed to be short I decided to give this a shot.

Before I continue on, it's about an hour long, which is about the length of most albums. So those expecting a short, sweet collection of songs, prepare to be disappointed at that aspect of it. But behind it's considerable length, you realize that this is a really amazing EP, and it's probably the best I heard in years. Sufjan still has his beautiful voice, as you immediatly notice as your thrust into "All Delighted People", a track that had me singing along to it which is something I haven't done in a while. Enchanting Ghost has a more folk-ish feel to it, which is to be expected from Sufjan. But interestingly enough, this EP is has a lot more electronic than previous efforts but Sufjan "purists" will be happy to know that this isn't really common. You can hear only hear them prominently on the closing track "Djohariah" and "From The Mouth Of Gabriel". All in all, this is a great EP, and it's definetly one of the highlights for me this year.

Buy | Download |

The Final Frontier

In the world of metal, Iron Maiden has the distinction of being one of the few bands to put out quality material decades after their formation. Since the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith in 2000 with the excellent album Brave New World, the band has been on a major upswing. These middle aged metal gods are ready to impress once again with The Final Frontier. It is the band's longest album at 76:34 and possibly their most ambitious. The Final Frontier does a rather remarkable job at being a versatile album. The album starts out with a very strange introduction, Sattelite 15, that sounds atmospheric and creepy. The track is unlike anything Maiden has done before and while it is successful as an introduction, it isn't something I would listen to repeatedly. Eventually, the track fades into the first true Maiden song on the album: the title track. There is nothing especially complex about this song but it is catchy and has some good riffs thrown in. One thing to notice here is Maiden's annoying habit of repeating the same words over and over again (Bruce sings "The Final Frontier" repeatedly for a good portion of the song). This doesn't matter in the long run because the song is still very enjoyable. Up next comes the first single off the album: El Dorado. This song is the epitome of a grower. The opening bassline is reminiscent of Barracuda and then the guitars kick in to deliver a catchy groove. Most of the song is pretty decent but Bruce's singing leaves something to be desired. He doesn't sound like his usual "air raid siren" self. Instead, he balances between the lines of singing and talking throughout the whole thing. Track number 3, Mother of Mercy, invokes the same dark war atmosphere that was prevalent on A Matter of Life and Death and some riffs in particular are flat out awesome. After this crushing war song comes Bruce's lone composition with Coming Home. This song is great. It features great singing, nice guitar hooks, good lyrics and one of Maiden's catchiest choruses in a long time. Up next is The Alchemist. This song reminds me a lot of Seventh Son era Maiden. It has its moments but I wouldn't call the track a standout. Isle of Avalon is the first long track on the album, clocking in at 9:06. If I have to pick any song that really didn't do it for me on the whole album, this is it. The soft intro lasts far too long and isn't catchy enough to keep me interested. Luckily, the next song, Starblind, is an enjoyable listen. The chorus is somewhat annoying to me for some reason but the track is good. At this point, the album has gotten past its straightforward stage and transitions to the last 3 epic songs. The Talisman impresses on repeat listens with its lyrical voyage and fantastic chorus. The Man Who Would Be King is up next and it is merely decent. The tempo changes seem kind of forced and it isn't particularly interesting. What follows is easily the best song on the album and one of Maiden's best compositions ever. When the Wild Wind Blows is a juggernaut of a song. The tempo changes are smooth, the tale told is great (even though some of the lyrics are a bit vague), Bruce sounds as passionate as ever, the guitar solos sound awesome, Steve's bass is fantastic. Everything about the song is as beautiful, epic and amazing as anything Iron Maiden has ever written. Overall, The Final Frontier is another great album from a band that is arguably more relevant than it has ever been. Highly recommended.

Jyoji Sawada - Base of Fiction (1994)

Blogs been up for a while, so I figured I'd give a special treat of the greatest album of all time.
To start, it's probably important to consider the "state of Japanese independent music" at the time of release. A huge style was the sort of "neo-zeuhl", rio-influenced kind of music largely championed by bands like Bondage Fruit, Koenjihyakkei, and a number of other greats. Heavy use of classical stringed instruments, largely technical music, operatic vocals, and other outrageous sounds highlight the genre. Along side that we had the "noise rockers": Ruins, Ground Zero, High Rise, etc. Anyone vaguely knowledgeable of the sort of "experimental" movements within Japan will know of this style. Thirdly, "Japanoise". Exhibited by Merzbow and Masonna, this brand of free noise has become largely acknowledged as some very "outside" music. And floating in and out of all of that, we have the avant-garde and generally humorous stylings that seem to be present in anything that comes out of Japan.
Enter Jyoji Sawada, a self taught bassist that builds himself off of classical composition, film soundtracks, and even a fair bit of Brazilian and Indonesian influence. After some experience with jazz improv and some work with Choro Club, he set off to combine his large vocabulary of sounds into wild, avant-garde compositions for a solo career. And as wide as influences are, Jyoji seems to want to condense the entire state of Japanese Independent music with his debut, Base of Fiction.
But for this seemingly defining piece, it isn't really a solo project. Although all is settled with Jyoji's vision, he combines his talents with some of the largest figures of Japanese music, including: Yoshida Tatsuya drumming on several tracks, the incomparable Otomo Yoshihide appears a few times, Seiichi Yamamoto lends his guitar, and the album is produced by the God Mountain head, Hoppy Kamiyama. This is almost more of a collaboration of Japanese music as a whole than it is Jyoji's band, although it's execution should be attributed significantly the the man that composed all but the first track.
That execution, you ask? Brilliant. Sonic insanity from the beginning to the end, with those previously mentioned styles all making appearences in one way or another. Largely dominated by Jyoji's obscure atmosphere, created from a mixture of a chambered string section and an overall menacing figure that looms from the noise and ferocity of his more rockish elements, this album takes us in and out of "reality", which Jyoji himself notes in the title for the 9th track (trans.) "Between strangeness and the reality of daily life" [please inform me if this is incorrect]. Schoenberg-esque, "spechstimme" comes in and out from female vocals, strings shift from dense soundscapes to more technical passages, maybe recalling Glass and his use of arpeggio (as in Einstein on the Beach), sampling is frequent and jarring (Jyoji explores the wide range of electronic expression) and even toy instruments make an appearance as we are left either frustrated or impressed (or both) and most certainly confused by the inner workings of Jyoji Sawada's mind.
To dissect this album is futile. At any given second, there is too much to consider, and at the next moment, you're taken to a completely different realm without warning. It's best to let this album wash over you, let it jerk you back in forth between signature changes, let it turn your mind into putty and watch the abstract figures that form as it splatters on the wall.

Buy.... good luck. Out of print. I was able to get a used copy (for a hefty amount that I will not disclose so easily), but it's a tough find, for sure
Download V0 | FLAC
official site | Myspace (The samples of music on here recall his more contemporary classical/ soundtrack styles that he explores on his later albums and film scores. Don't expect to find such warmness on this one)

Track of the Day (Australian time zone version) - September 1st, 2010

Ahead =/= better.

I like this new idea. I like it a lot. I like it so much I'm gonna contribute.

Slowdive - Sing

Souvlaki is regarded as one of the crowning achievements of Shoegaze. A beautiful album from start to finish, perhaps the most beautiful and most mysterious song on the album is 'Sing'. The mystery comes from its lyrical interpretation, which is unclear due the fact that the lyrics themselves are unclear. Does Rachel chime 'Here comes my man' or 'hear you call my name'? Does that angelic voice wail 'And I know that he's gone away' or 'And I know that's it's not the way'? I'm sure if I listen to the song more (and I definitely will) that the actual lyrics will become clear. But the mystery adds to the beauty of this incredibly atmospheric song, in a way that's hard to describe. So hard that, well, I can't. What I can tell you is that it's beautiful.