Sunday, October 31, 2010

Electric Wizard - Black Masses (2010)

Electric Wizard are back and I have to say that they're as heavy as ever. The riffs seem more focused this time around and more groovier than in the past. In a way it takes elements from several of their album and combines them into one. And that is not a bad thing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reminder to our readers

The third edition of our mixtape series will be released next Monday evening. Prepare your media players and devices for the ear-splitting awesomeness.

Some other notes to followers:
  • We're going to begin posting top ten lists from our writers soon (top ten albums, top ten songs of 2010, etc.). Hopefully we'll be able to start this in mid-November or so.
  • Join our group if you haven't already; we're always open to blog suggestions.
  • If you're a writer who hasn't written anything in a while or at all, you need to get in touch with either myself of The_Red_Agent. We need your help in the end-of-year stuff.
  • As always, if you'd like to become a writer for the blog, just let me know how you can add to the blog and you can become a part of the staff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Worlds End Girlfriend - SEVEN IDIOTS (2010)

Let me start this off by saying that I have no idea how to describe this music. I've given myself the daunting task of describing this album, especially constraining myself in word count, and I don't know how to even begin. Throughout Katsuhiko Maeda's (here: World's End Girlfriend) entire career, he's been churning out unholy works flowing in and out of lethargic passages of the ambient or post-rock variety to highly-involved, glitchy noisy nightmares, and everything in between... at the same time. There have been attempts to pigeonhole him. Some call him post-rock, but he's really nowhere near the GY!BEs or Slints. Some call him math-rock, but he's nowhere near the Don Caballeros or Polvos. Some have called him IDM, et cetera et cetera. The truth is that he is somewhere in between, and although I have no intention on trying to condense this into such boring categories, I'm not being helped.
There are moments of post-rock, certainly. He uses tons of slow-moving passages, punctuated by lush strings and very solemn movements. And from that he can go into his math-rock and IDM areas, mixing a very glitchy electronic foreground with a rock base with his guitar pumping riffs with his frequent string samples. His music isn't much limited by what most would think is logical. He'll lead with a solemn, aching trip and fall right into a cheeky, 16-bit melody without a second thought (The first two songs of "Dreams End Come True"). There is little in terms of bounds for him musically. This is shown frequently throughout his career and is again highlighted with his latest, SEVEN IDIOTS.
Again, I have no idea were to begin. He has a slight intro, which introduces some of the general sound and a leitmotif (it doesn't really make many appearances, though). It's glitchy, slightly upbeat, kind of close to a "Shibuya-Kei" sound (think Cornelius or Pizzicato Five). And much of the album, surprisingly follows suit. This is most likely the catchiest WEG has ever been. You'll likely find yourself stamping your feet, clapping your hands, wiggling your hips, whatever happens when you get yourself in a dancy beat. Largely guitar dominated, he weaves these very sweet melodies in between quick rhythms that couple with his strings to make a sort of "ballroom" atmosphere. Perhaps a youthful, hippies-in-the-grass kind of ballroom, but a cheery affair regardless. This is frequently destroyed by his glitch and pummel, yes, but you won't find anything this upbeat and poppy in his catalog.
Don't let me mislead you, though. Later in his album the melancholy and unholy noise does take the stage. The finale is a heart-tearing little piece, the one before keeps chunky fuzz and demonic sampling in place with sparse chords (also heard in the song before it). I'd be fairly certain there is much in terms of thematics here. There are references to Dante's Divine Comedy. One could possibly believe that the beginning of the album represents a lavish lifestyle, or maybe heaven, the 3 part for the "Bohemian Purgatory" may be just that, and the last terrifying, noisy affairs are the inner depths of hell themselves. The boiling blood, the torture, the shrieks of despair, they are definitely represented. There is a lot to inspect, for certain, and if I had a better knowledge of The Divine Comedy, maybe I could give more insight. Even without I could dissect this and that, explaining what each glitch and sample represents for this journey... but, again, I wouldn't know where to begin.

Have A Nice Life - Deathconsciousness (2008)

A review from sputnikmusic:

"There's no better way to sell a concept album then to have lore surrounding the album's narrative. Pink Floyd has enjoyed massive success with the anarchical The Wall and the spaced out Dark Side of the Moon. Dark Side of the Moon has such a deep legacy that people figured out that it can be synced up with the beginning of "The Wizard of Oz," the opening ambience of "Breathe" accompanying the Miramax lion growling. The Mars Volta have led their fans through crazy narratives. Their first album, Deloused in the Comatorium, had an accompanying booklet that gave insight into the storyline, which allegedly documents the psychological journey of a friend who ODs and while trapped in his own psyche, decides to let himself die on the last track. That album alone spawned countless fan theories, interpretations, and online communities just to investigate the odd world of Cerpin Taxt. So when I got my copy of Deathconsciousness in the mail, and was presented with a double-disc album in a slim DVD case, and an accompanying 70+ page booklet documenting the life, literature, and followers of a 13th century Italian writer and religious figure named Antiochus, I was immediately wrapped into a realm of heresy, religious persecution, and murder (which are more aptly labeled as suicides). As a historical figure, Antiochus is absurdly obscure, and the collected materials in the booklet may be the most complete documentation of his existence as I cannot find anything on the internet or using my school's library browsing system. In short, the concept is lofty, convoluted, and intense, not unlike the drug-induced dreams of The Mars Volta or Pink Floyd.

But a concept album can have a good concept but not be a good album. In the case of Deathconsciousness, the emotions and happenings of the life of Antiochus are perfectly captured in the mood of the actual music. All at once the album can sound deadly, harrowing, ambient, subdued, rough and refined. The two primary band members, Dan (ex-In Pieces) and Tim, wear their influences well, combining shoegaze, industrial, black metal, post-rock, dark ambient, and alternative to make a paradoxical, intriguing sound. While the songs are expansive and plodding, some of them taking 10 minutes to unfold in the spirit of post-rock can also be claustrophobic with digital, industrialized percussion and distorted, fuzzed out guitar. While the songs are challenging and inscrutable, they also have downright catchy moments. While the album is amazingly ambitious (the individually named discs, The Plow That Broke the Plains and The Future explore countless musical and lyrical ideas over the course of its hour and a half run time), there is something grounded about the album considering the use of both analog and digital recording and the pop-dependent genres (e.g. shoegaze). They even rhyme casually throughout the album, which is a no-no in today's hyperartsy concept album landscape (consider the through-composed style of Circle Takes the Square's lyrics). Even their band name, Have a Nice Life, sounds more like a Hilary Duff song that of a lore-obsessed, genre-blending duo. Oh wait it is. Have a Nice Life's aesthetic, which is highly original and unlike that of any band I've heard before can only be described as sublime.

More specifically, these songs are incredibly powerful. "The Big Gloom" does exactly what its title implies. It's a shoegaze epic that is as beautiful and uplifting as it is dark and oppressive. "Earthmover" is a similarly minded track that ends the entire collection on a beautifully monotone chord progression that unfolds over the last 4 minutes of the song. "Holy Fucking Shit: 40,000" ends on an inexorable industrial march that is only sated by the sweet and wistful acoustic guitar to emerges after the din subsides. "Who Would Leave Their Son Out in the Sun" is gorgeous and uses reverb to perfection. In fact the entire first disc, The Plow That Brokes the Plains is perfect. There isn't one blemish and the disc is powerful, compelling, and moving. My only problems with this album lie in the weirder moments of the second disc, The Future. The track, "The Future," is an upbeat pop romp that feels goofier than it does anthemic. The opening track, "Waiting for Black metal Records to Come in the Mail" gets sucked into a similar trap. The synthesized drums fail to galvanize me into bopping my head along to the upbeat chorus. If a few things were tweaked in those two tracks though I'd be loving the variety in pacing that they provide for the album. As it stands though, there is something off about their construction. However, these off-putting songs are completely redeemed by the closing two. "I Don't Love" takes the concept of the wall of sound to its most washed out extreme, yet has the elegance to feel more serene than anything else. The touching bassline that runs under the soundscape is the icing on the cake, providing most of the melodic content on the song. "Earthmover" as aforementioned is epic and beautiful.

People who normally read my reviews are probable surprised that I haven't really gone into detail about the technical proficiency of the rhythm guitar on the 2nd interlude of blah blah blah... Normally I get super microscopic and enjoy the minute details of a a guitar lick or a vocal quirk. On this album, I feel I wouldn't be able to sum up my feelings on the countless moments that make this album amazing. Deathconsciousnesshas a dense, reverby wall of sound and a dense, lofty concept that is opaque and difficult to see through. Moments blend together and amble along for minutes at a time in the swirling mass of ideas that permeates this album. This album is the antithesis of one created by a band like Hot Cross. It is impenetrable and atmospheric, instead of tautly constructed and brittle. Deathconsciousness is an album to be enjoyed on a long car drive or a pensive late night. I personally imagine myself when I was younger. In the winter, there would be storms that would put out the power. My mom would light candles in the dining room so that we could do homework or read on the distinctive, antique table that we had in there. I remember myself sitting there with a soft glow lighting the room as nobody spoke. I would listen to my battery-powered CD walkman, listening to the Deftones' White Pony, being massively aware of the atmosphere of songs like "Knife Party" or "Digital Bath" blending in the the heaving of the storm against our house, the peculiar light of the candles, and the feeling of being in a room with my entire family. The atmosphere was a blend of music, light, sound, weather fronts, the breathing of people, the sounds of pencils scratching. When I listen to the fuzzed-out soundscapes found on Deathconsciousness I get the sense of the recording of this album. History blends with concept, religion, analog and digital recording, vocals, sound effects, and the things listed in the 70+ page booklet: "an old toy piano Tim found," "a shitty keyboard from the 80s." I can't help but feel that I'm listening to an album that is perfectly intimate with itself and its environment, atmosphere, or aesthetic, and is well off because of it."

Track of the Day for October 26, 2010

Only because this is perfect late summer/early fall music. Might be slightly past that time, but I don't care.

Atlas Sound - Criminals

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Miriodor - Mekano (2001)

Since their first LP, Rencontres (1985), the Montreal group Miriodor has evolved from a Univers Zero-influenced rock-in-opposition outfit to an exciting, entertaining, and downright clownish avant-prog band. This incarnation of Miriodor is a quartet. Longtime members Pascal Globinsky (keys) and Rémi Leclerc (drums) are joined once again by the fantastic avant-rock guitarist Bernard Falaise and bassist Nicolas Masino. Saxophonist Marie-Chantal Leclair, violinist Marie-Soleil Bélanger, and up-and-coming trumpeter Némo Venba (Fanfare Pourpour, Rouge Ciel) add instrumental touches.

Whacked out prog-rock mapped onto a faux-jazzy sensibility filtered through a Downtownish cabaret/calliope vibe. Miriodor internalize and form their personality out of some of the more challenging aspects of modern progressive music. Incorporating the highly detailed and intricate chops of the Canterbury bands like Hatfield and the North but without the jazzy improvisation; unorthodox chordal phrasing reminiscent of Captian Beefheart but without the atonality, drastic swings in direction and surprising instrumental entrances similar to King Crimson but never taking themselves seriously, yet wholly dedicated to their musical purposes.

Torche - Meanderthal (2008)

Most likely due its lack of accessibility, metal doesn't get a whole lot of attention on this blog. Of course we don't just dismiss it as a universally insignificant genre like some ignorant, pompous fruitcakes, but there are a lot of great metal bands making great albums out there that deserve some attention. Which brings me to Torche, a nice little sludge outfit from Miami. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term 'sludge' in music, it's a kind of jacked-up grunge. It's also highly accessible. If you're issue with metal is the hideous vocals or the overly fast-paced rhythm, then here's your fix.

Meanderthal, Torche's second album, follows the trend set by their self-titled debut (and later EPs) as being a fast-paced record with short tracks for the bulk of the album followed by a more lengthy songs towards the end of the record. Opening track 'Triumph of Venus' opens with a bang, as a metal album should, with heavily distorted guitars and banging drums. An intense instrumental, it does well to grab the attention of the listener. For metal-wary listeners this might not be an instant favorite, but it's only 1:44 and the album takes a much different tone with the following track 'Grenades', a much slower-paced song with melodic guitars and vocals to match. And this becomes an ongoing theme for the album, varying tempos from song to song, which works well because the songs are so short. And the longer songs on the album tend to combine the fast-paced nature of the shorter songs with long solos or bridges, which should be a pleaser for the more metal-oriented fans.

Do you like Grunge? If so, then you might like Torche. Do you like 'Stoner rock' like kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age? If so, then you might like Torche. Do you like metal? If so, then you very well might like Torche. And if you aren't a fan of the typical metal vocalist, well this might just be all the more sweeter.

Try it
Buy it
Video - Across the Shields

Track of The Day, 2010 October 23

Shad - A Story No One Told

A live rendition. Excellent lyrics and instrumentation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Track of the Day, 2010 October 22

Live drum version

I'll add another

The Foreign Exchange - Authenticity (2010)

The Foreign Exchange is a two-man "indie-soul" group composed of Nicolay on the boards and Phonte of the highly-touted group Little Brother doing vocals. Their first album, "Connected", was mostly a hip-hop affair. They followed it up with "Leave It All Behind" in 2008, which was nominated for a Grammy. It was a good album, but Nicolay's production mostly carried it. Phonte didn't sound as comfortable as he should have singing.

That problem seems to be fully rectified on this latest album. Every song is smooth and full of soul. No skips to be found here. Nicolay's production is relaxing and easy to listen to and, most importantly, it doesn't overpower or overshadow Phonte's voice. He hits all his notes well and writes great lyrics. He's a great singer and on this album you can tell he knows it.

On Little Brother's album "Leftback," Phonte raps, "Rappin 'Te, four-mic honoree/ Singing 'Te, one-time Grammy nominee."

This is as good as Singing 'Te gets.

Buy It
Try It

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mark McGuire - Living With Yourself (2010)

"I like Living With Yourself. A lot. After a few listens, the smooth sheen of McGuire’s playing becomes seductive, the earnestness charming and his methods entrancing. With this album, he’s succeeded in doing what only a few others (Oneohtrix Point Never also comes to mind) have: He’s made music that is experimental without carrying the weighty baggage that term entails, but nor is it anything that might even remotely be considered pop. It’s accessible without condescending to anything or anyone. It’s bold without making a big stink about it. It’s personal without being solipsistic. It’s a musical proof of Umberto Eco’s thesis: “Two cliches make us laugh, but a hundred cliches moves us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion.”

So all that multi-tracked noodling reveals itself to be a complex weave of spidery melodies, hypnotic, cycling chord progressions and hallucinatory levels of texture. Instead of slick trickery, the bright tone and positive mood of the pieces become a clear-eyed compositional vision. And that earnestness? No, it’s not nostalgia, but a meditation on memory, on how it accrues layers, confuses itself and gains new meanings with every pass we make through it. Turn that metaphor back on the music itself, and it’s an apt description of the subtle magic McGuire works on this album."
- Dusted Magazine

Brain Storm (For Erin) and Brothers (For Matt) are utterly amazing. Brothers (For Matt) hits you like a Randy Johnson fastball: after the entire album being much like Emeralds, the band McGuire is the lead guitarist in, or Ducktails with multitudes of guitar loops, McGuire comes out of nowhere with a ten-minute epic starting with a recording of his father interviewing he and his brother, Matt. Something about the recording really hits home for me; it reminds me of childhood and better times. It explodes into easily the loudest moments on the entire LP with McGuire flaming away on his guitar.

If you pass on this one, you'll be kicking yourself - this album encompasses everything that's right with drone music. Think about it for a second: Mark McGuire is 22 years old. He just made one of the best albums of 2010.

Try it
Buy it

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flower Travellin' Band - Satori (1971)

All you need to know is that this album is like Can and Black Sabbath made love and gave birth to Godzilla and instead of trashing Tokyo he just smoked out and rocked.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Snaarj- Road Snacks (2010)

I don't know enough about jazz to be able to write a good review of this but I'll try. Snaarj are an avant-garde jazz band who are, well, pretty avant-garde. The first track, "Snuggles," is far from typical but it isn't the most experimental thing in the world. However, this is merely a charade that is dropped at the start of the next track, "Remember the Turtle," which opens up with a quick count off and then right into an explosion of saxophones and drums before giving way to a drum beat somewhat reminiscent of Brain Mantia. The saxophones re-enter with a stop and go rhythm that holds the honor of being the only jazz music that makes me want to headbang.

Snaarj are a four-piece group with alto sax, tenor sax, bass, and drums. They are clearly students of the game. The saxophone players do their best Coltrane impersonations by stretching the limits of their instruments until they're almost screaming in pain while the drummer sneaks some rock beats into the music while maintaining a jazzy syncopation. This is all over mostly chordal electric bass playing. Speaking of the bass, Snaarj's bassist is a related to none other than Victor Wooten. I'm not sure what the relation is exactly but I've heard he's his nephew.

As I said, I'm really not a jazz guy. I think these guys are amazing though. Maybe somebody who's more well-read in that area can tell me if they're as good as I think they are.

I don't actually own this in any form so I can't upload it. But you can stream the whole thing here and buy it if you choose. The title track is available for free download.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (2010)

When I read that this album was going to be mostly electronic, it really took away any anticipation I previously had. All the Sufjan I love is all organic with acoustic guitars and banjos n shit, synths are for the young'ns and eventually our robot overlords, right? Well, actually, it's a nice change of pace and really shows Sufjan's evolution as an artist. The melodies are still there. Sufjan as a singer hasn't gotten any worse. Different, sure. Alright, so what do we have here song-wise, because I'm out of anything of worth to say about the album as a whole in the opening sentences? Well, Futile Devices and Vesuvius are probably the closest to traditional Sufjan you're going to get here. The former's a brief, great opener, which I feel lame comparing to Concerning the UFO Sighting, but will do anyway, while the latter always has me belting out the choir parts by the end. There's Too Much, which reminds me of Toro y Moi for some reason (minus the ending). Age of Adz and I Walked back to back is great. I Want to Be Well is the last highlight until...

Impossible Soul feels like it takes up 1/4th of the album. Mostly because it does. Covering 25 minutes and five movements, it may be my favorite song on the album. The first two movements are all fine and dandy, Sufjan sings about his women issues and we learn the plights of being afaid, respectively. Then we get to the third, which is largely based on autotune. I'd love to be able to talk about how 'Oh, just because it's autotune doesn't mean it's bad, Sufjan's someone who knows how to use it to actually benefit the song, he really showed you guys hardy har har' but, well, I wouldn't say it's bad, but it didn't seem at all necessary either. I can't say for certain whether it would have been better without it, but I can only imagine it would. But no worries, 'cause soon you'll hear 1, 2, 3, 4. Cue me singing like an idiot and getting half the words wrong despite how much I love this movement. And then some robots serenade you and I wish I still had something to be an idiot over before it fades out and you get that ORGANIC Sufjan you've been wanting. And it's pretty good. But that IT'S NOT SO IMPOSSIBLE stuff, whoo boy, I'll tell you.

So yeah. Album of the year. Sufjan's not fucking around.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kno - Death is Silent (2010)

Kno shows once again why he's one of the best producers in the whole scene. I wasn't terribly excited for this CunninLynguists side project, but any expectations I did have were most definitely exceeded. Kno's production is as great as ever, though here it's a little darker than usual, obviously so that it fits with the theme of the album: death. This is also the most we've heard from Kno as an emcee in quite awhile, though there are a good few guest spots here. He's perfectly capable as a rapper; he doesn't have the most presence, and isn't really outstanding in any single quality, but he's very solid overall. I especially enjoyed his performance on La Petite Mort, some interesting Greek mythology references in there, among other things. Highlights-wise, there's not much to speak of because this album is so consistent. I'd basically be listing all the songs but two or three. It is definitely notable, though, that what may be the two best songs are placed right next to each other; the one-two punch of La Petite Mort and Rhythm of the Rain is definitely the best part of the album.

While Kno might not have the most commanding presence on the mic, he definitely does on the boards, and while the multiple guests are nothing less than welcome, there's by no means nothing wrong with him on the mic. Surprisingly, Kno's solo album, which didn't receive that much hype, turned out to be better than most recent CL albums, as enjoyable as they are. If he keeps this up with Oneirology and Chico and the Man, he'll pretty much have the underground rap scene in a chokehold.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Amocoma - Go To Hell (2007)

Hand-sketched skulls and an abstract representation of their name, all surrounded with a black border. Amocoma's debut, Go To Hell, with all it's melancholy, presents us of a case example where judging a book by it's cover can provide fairly accurate results. It commands us to head to a destination and even gives us a path of skulls (or maybe it's a pyramid, I guess?). Regardless of the cover's true perspective, it's clear that this album is a menacing beast, and it spends no time lightening up it's image.
From start to finish in this album, there is only darkness. Don't take it from me, they tell us themselves naming one of their tracks "These Are Your Choices... Darkness". There is nothing of a bright glaze. Every sound, from the guitar to the vocals is drenched in a thick fuzz. It trudges along from one melancholy outburst to another, dragging along it's simplistic riffs, and similarly simplistic, pounding, maybe almost tribal drums. As the guitar and drums continue, mostly looping themselves, we're frequently interrupted with demonic screams, themselves struggling to sound out above the fuzz. Possibly some resemblance in this respect to (for a band posted here before) Circle of Ouroborus (the occasional shrieks from them), but while CoO occasionally spends time with a more hopeful, existentialist view of the bleakness and torment, there is none here. The music is haunting, the growls are haunting, again, with this, there is only one choice... darkness.

Track of the Day for October 15, 2010

Birds of Tokyo - Broken Bones

They finished with this song when I saw them. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Track of the Day, 2010 October 12

Leave a comment on whether or not I should do a write up about the album I guess

also, I suppose a bonus track from the same album because we haven't had a track of the day for a while

Monday, October 11, 2010

Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun (2006)

The sole idea of listening to 160 minutes of music by any one band can seem like a daunting task. There aren't too many artists out there that I'd want to listen to for 2.5 hours in one continuous sitting. With that much music, you'd expect there to be a decent amount of filler material, but not so in this case. There are 25 tracks, with 4 of them topping 10 minutes long and only 2 are less than 2 minutes. However, this longevity of the songs is well-suited for the drone-heavy post-rock-folk they make. The band is consistent of two French men, one on guitar another on cello. They can be folky, more often ghastly, but there's never a doubt that they're talented.

Opening track "Carved Heart" sets the mood of what's to come over long journey ahead. Electronic whirs and wheezes then fill the room with "Cut Joint Sinews and Divine Reincarnation," making way for the trance inducing raga that lays ahead. Hand drums and finger cymbals are used to great effect, while the ominous drone in the background becomes louder and more threatening. It's definitely the most intense track on the album, and at 15 minutes long, by the end of it you can't help but feel a little scared. This is not the last of the rage-esque tracks on the album, but none of them are as fervent as this initial example. This release may
be hard to find, but if you like having your ears caressed and soothed for hours on end, seek this out at all costs.

If someone is looking to buy this album I can't find anything really. As far as i can tell, The Dance of the Moon and the Sun is out of print, and was supremely limited to begin with...


Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Band in Heaven (demos)

There are a ton of shoegazing bands. You could pin it to a number of reasons: Most anything with a bit of fuzz and feedback is considered shoegazing, in many cases you can forgo memorable melodies for unique timbres, My Bloody Valentine is heralded by many indie music circles, etc it doesn't really matter, all that I can say is that when roaming for underground bands, it's almost definite that there is a number of promoted bands labelled as shoegaze.
And with that come clones and, again, it has it's reasons. When a genre is occasionally forced a definition from something as simple as "pop and punk melodies with a heavy use of effects and feedback", there's bound to be some out there that oversimplify a sound.
So when I received this recommendation, maybe I was a bit scared. I like to think I can see past the simplicities of what some consider to be the genre, but maybe I was a bit frightened I'd hear something from a band masking bad music with a genre label.... I'd say I was wrong.
The Band in Heaven, a shoegazing band from South Florida, seem to consider themselves as coming off the steps of The Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators, not My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. They make punkish music that happens to be thick and fuzzy, not the other way around.
And it is, very, thick and fuzzy. They trash and chug through their songs, leaving little in the way of clarity. The riffs are mostly simple, a perfect compliment to their sound, as catchy as it is uninviting. Take The Jesus and Mary Chain's sound and drown it, and you're getting somewhat close to what is going on here.
It should be great to see what comes out of this act, if the demos are any indication.

Bandcamp (buy it there as well as a couple free downloads and every song streaming)
A download of the available free songs in v0 (FLAC and other bitrates available on the site)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Real Academia - Real Academia (2010)

So a couple weeks ago I got a message on my RYM account with some guy trying to advertise his band. Normally I just kind of shrug that sort of stuff off but I was in the mood to listen to something other than Noise Rock (I've been listening to No Age and Sonic Youth for like the past week and a half). So I decided to give it a spin and was mildly impressed. I really haven't listened enough to give it a proper review but just know that it's a Argentinian indie Pop band that likes to delve a bit into more Ambient tendencies. Really recommend picking it up, and it's pretty light on the wallet given that it's free. The download link is at their site, just click English then "Download Our Album". (Since linking is sucking today)

Reatards - Grown Up, Fucked Up (1999)

Music to shit your pants to. The Reatards are no frills, unfiltered, budgetless garage punk and Grown Up, Fucked Up is the group's most biting, intense album.

Track of the Day - October 7th 2010

It's finally on its way. Avey Tare, arguably the principle genius behind Animal Collective, is releasing his debut solo album, Down There, in 3 weeks. Brace yourself for unpleasant Person Pitch comparisons for months to come.

Lucky 1

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Track of the Day (10/6)- Whirring by The Joy Formidable

Since there hasn't been a "Track of The Day" post in a few days I decided to post one of the songs that I have been listening to lately. One track that I have been really feeling is "Whirring" by The Joy Formidable, a band from North Wales. This song is off their album A Balloon Called Moaning. "Whirring" sounds like some of the newer Yeah Yeah Yeahs' work. The song opens up with a guitar riff that sounds like something by Big Country and keeps the listener drawn in until the end.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (2010)

Maintaining the shoegaze-inspired style that made up Microcastle, Deerhunter's latest album Halcyon Digest expands their vast sound even further, with distinct influence from 60s pop, psychedelia and folk-rock combining to create that experimental rock/pop edge that has garnered their reputation. Although coming across as a generally wistful, gloomy record, Halycon Digest creates that rebuttal feeling of hope and contentment through nostalgia and beauty.

In contrast with the distorted guitar strum and cymbal crash that begins Microcastle, Halcyon Digest begins with a quiet tap/open-tap of a hi-hat. This immediately sets up the feeling of distance in sound and scope from the two albums. Halcyon Digest is very different from Microcastle in that it is less consistent, not in quality (certainly not), but in layout. Where Microcastle has a distinct, flowing sound to it, Halcyon Digest is much more varied in its structural order, which adds to the brilliant of the album. The shorter songs on the album, 'Don't Cry', 'Revival', 'Memory Boy' and 'Fountain Stairs' are some of the most brilliant, quirky post-Beatles pop music I've heard in a long time. In contrast, the mellow, folky low-key longer songs such as opener 'Earthquake' and closer 'He Would Have Laughed' seem to connect in a way that makes the album feel so complete. And they've still displayed some of the shoegaze influences from their previous album, with 'Desire Lines' having a minute-long reverb outro, and single 'Helicopter' incorporating psychedelic influences while illustrating that dreamy sound that is so familiarized with the genre.

Halcyon Digest is an example of how a band can vastly expand or change their sound with a new album without losing their touch or songwriting quality. It's an exciting and unpredictable record, with the ability to change tempo suddenly but in a way that doesn't seem unnecessary. Emotional at times, while at other moments carefree, Halycon Digest is at heart a well-crafted pop album, but it can be seen as so much more.

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Small Black - New Chain (2010)

It isn't often that a band wins me over with just one song. Usually I'll need the full album to really get into a group. This was not the case with Small Black, another chillwave/psych-pop group from the Northeast.

"Despicable Dogs", the first track from their fantastic self-titled EP released last year, was one of the best tracks I gave listens to in 2009 (it currently sits as the third-most listened to track in the last twelve months on my page) and is still held in regard by myself as one of the best chillwave tracks released so far if not the absolute best.

Their debut LP, "New Chain", is more of the same new wave-style beats and synths, with standouts such as "Search Party" and "Photojournalist". If you're into artists like Washed Out, MillionYoung, and Toro y Moi, you're in for a treat.

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LPC Mixtape Series, Vol. 2, September 2010: One For Pep Pep

I lied: I'm too lazy to make a better cover for September. But Altered Zones has some of the best backgrounds I've ever seen on a music site and I've got to use them. As the August mixtape was, this is simply a mixtape featuring songs from many of our writers that have been in frequent play for them.

At least the title doesn't totally suck this time, though. The next one will probably be about NBA Jam or something, I don't know.


  1. Ida Maria - Oh My God
  2. Anberlin - Impossible
  3. Refused - Liberation Frequency
  4. The Soundcarriers - Last Broadcast
  5. Arandel - In D#1
  6. Ketil Bjørnstad - 02 II
  7. Unwound - October All Over
  8. Flying Lotus - Time Vampires
  9. Real Estate - Black Lake
  10. TOKiMONSTA - Death by Disco
  11. Prizzy Prizzy Please - A Thundergust of Woodpeckers
  12. No Age - Valley Hump Crash
  13. Sun Araw - Beat Cop
  14. Four Tet - Slow Jam
  15. Gay Witch Abortion - Curses
  16. The Static Age - Already Dead
  17. Cassiber - Vengeance is Dancing
  18. Deerhunter - Desire Lines
  19. Hard Mix - Memories
  20. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Skeletons

For now, we'll leave these at twenty tracks. As visits to the site increase (we would like to thank all of our visitors for the 5,138 page views last month), we may make these more frequently and add or subtract the amount of songs on the mixtapes.

Think of Richard Dunn when you listen to this. Just for a tribute.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Sun Araw - Off Duty EP + Boat Trip EP (2010)

Cameron Stallones wasn't finished when he released his fourth LP titled "On Patrol" back in March. Continuing the police theme with these releases, this EP titled "Off Duty" is more fantastic work by Stallones.

"Last Chants" is high-quality and so is the rest of the EP. I'll shut up and let you listen to it.

By the way, am I the only one in thinking that this cover and the cover for "On Patrol" are two of the best in 2010?

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Wormed By Leonard (1988)

Forming music as strange as its genesis, the San Fransisco-based band comprised mostly of Iowans, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 showcased what is likely a reflection of that cross-American migration with their debut cassette, Wormed By Leonard. What comes through is a charming, very poppy example of the experimental "indie" rock that gained notoriety from, most famously, bands like Sun City Girls.
Which is why it's no surprise that TFUL282 later joined them on the San Francisco-based Amarillo records as well as nationwide tours. On here we get the comparison often. From the intro we're introduced to the mentality that groups them in that brand of post-punk. It's Seven is an abrasive little piece, not really accomplishing much outside of an impression of the members making an album just to put mind to matter.
And that's much like this entire album. One gets a real sense of a band making music for their own enjoyment. Little bits of humor and personality jump in and out of their broken pop hits, which is first highlighted right out of the gate, with the soft sounding and sweetly named, "Hell Rules" (which was included with it's own cheeky art, which is in the sample I'll include).
And that mostly punk attitude is a very attractive aspect of this band, shown with tons of catchy melodies, a nonsense approach to art and living, and a general lack of regard for what they're "expected to play". Not to say it's serious about that, either. Everything about this is tongue-in-cheek to the point that it's a surprise they find time to project their uber-silly lyrics, like in their epic about walking a deceivingly fierce dog, Nipper.
A remarkable aspect of this music I may have just glanced over is how catchy it is. Throwing in "Western" themes (such as Narlus Spectre's very involved "wild west" rhythms) with the California "outsider" music (not to be confused with the Californina Outside Music Association, which isn't too far away musically) they create a sound that is really quite hard to convey. I suppose that I can only say that the melodies are so natural, it's hard to imagine music this original is this original.
You're likely to hear people exclaim that something like Mother of All Saints or Stranger Than The Universe (or any other of their albums) is the band's best work, but I can't agree. I would never say that they don't deserve the title, but there is an atmosphere about this album that is wholly inviting. It's a charming album that is an output of a band playing music, and not necessarily making an album, if that makes sense. Mostly, Wormed seems like their most personal output, although I'd hate to count the other albums off as "manufactured", as they are far from such. TFUL282 could make a collection of Spice Girl covers and never once come off as impersonal and unnatural. They bleed through their music.

Note: This is the 1995 reissue with 5 extra songs, including the delicious "If I Were In A Shoe" and "Not In The Popply Dimension"

Phil Ochs - I Ain't Marching Anymore (1965)

This album is a valuable document of progressive opinion in the mid-60's. The dual injustices of Vietnam and white racism are tacked here, with a salute to the still-warm body of JFK and a nod to Appalachian labor troubles. There's biting satire in a number of places on this album but particularly in 'Talking Birmingham Jam', which would be a lot funnier if it hadn't been true. I'm consistently stunned by the craftsmanship of these songs. The album closes poignantly with the incredible 'Here's to the State of Mississippi', which is as moving as it is beautiful. There's a lot of romanticism here, but despite the occasional loftiness of the lyrical content I find these songs touching.

The lyrics take full focus on the record; they're less ambiguous than, say, Dylan's, but are no less clever or potent. They're thought-provoking and smart during his political songs, with beautiful and unique imagery on display during the story-telling tracks. Ochs' tone of voice and range is amazing and classic, yet it never detracts from the lyrical content; rather it allows it to breathe and grow throughout the song. The guitar, as well, is rather impressive in its own right, yet the lyrics keep the focus. Part of this can be attributed to the accomplished production which is damn-near perfect and keeps every piece of this album in place, and part to the savvy songwriting of Ochs.



Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sharpshooters - Choked Up (1997)

Choked Up is a blended medley of old-school hip-hop tracks and instrumentals. The album is a varied listen, with tracks ranging from funky hip-hop cuts -Mr. Supreme has a taking-these-chumps-to-school flow similar to Guru of Gangstarr on some tracks- and acid jazz and dub-inspired instrumentals with smooth, mellow drum-patterns.

On the tracks with vocals, the rhymes are sharp and delivered with great flow (Herbs in my sight tryin' to be best friends/ now they floating in the river rockin' cement tims). Subtle production helps underscore the easy listen-ability of these songs. This carries over to the rest of the album. Iit's very hard to not bob your head along through out the entire CD.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Electric Six- Zodiac (2010)

If you know me, then you know my favorite band is Electric Six. After 2009's Kill , I was surprised to see an Electric Six album coming out already in 2010 but don't underestimate the power of Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine (aka Tyler Spencer). Zodiac is somewhat of a concept album but the concept is kinda blurry. There are twelves track with each one corresponding to one sign of the Zodiac. With that in mind, our album begins. Zodiac kicks off with After Hours, an ode to city night life and living after hours. It's a catchy track and a great starter to the album. American Cheese is a catchy ska influenced jam with an outro so outstanding I don't want to spoil it. Clusterfuck! is a dance jam, you could play this in the club and everyone would be grinding to it. Countdown to the Countdown is a catchy rock jam and is literally a song about a a countdown. Sometimes I love the genius that is Dick Valentine, this is one of his strong points.

Doom and Gloom and Doom and Gloom is a hypnotic almost tribal rock song with a haunting chorus and an amazing saxophone solo that would make Bill Clinton jealous. One of the more catchy songs on the album is next with the dance groove jam that is Jam It In The Hole. This may be and quote me on this, the catchiest song ever written about sex toys. It is quite obvious what Valentine is implying with such line as "Low Battery but your lights are on" and "Flesh Fantasy, and our love goes on and on, we are good times in any form you choose". I rest my case and yet I will sing along to this like it's the catchiest thing on earth. Electric Six goes a different direction with I Am A Song! one of the best tracks on the album, I Am A Song sees Valentine comparing himself to a song and use some of the most vibrant and hilarious lyrics I've ever heard. Following this up is It Ain't Punk Rock, one of the catchiest songs on the album. The song is basically a mixture of references to astrology as well as an ode to Punk Rock itself. My favorite track would be track 9. This track is called A Love Song For Myself, and it may be my favorite Electric Six song of all time. It has almost a trance/pop feel to it but it's overall execution is flawless. Dick Valentine basically writes a love song to himself referring to himself with such brilliant lines "I'll always be here for me" and "sing this song of me". It's just a really fun, catchy, sing along song and it's the gem of the album. We see another cover from Electric Six with The Rubberband Man.

Originally done by the Detroit Spinners (a motown group) it has to be one of the best cover jobs I've ever seen. They give the song a new spin but it stays true to the original. Dick decides to go country alt rock on the track Tables and Chairs, one of the best song ever written about Marriage. "I see the meaning of life, girl and a house becomes a home" Not to mention the hilarious outro where he rambles about an invisible dog with a invisible fence and having a television the size of Oklahoma. The final track is one of the sexiest, Talking Turkey sounds like a B side from Kill. It has a smooth 80's sound to it, it's groovy and just freaking takes the cake to end the album. The female background vocals in the chorus complete the song and end the album nicely. Overall, if you like Electric Six, Zodiac is a solid album with a lot of genres to enjoy as well as lyrics that are catchy and witty in their own. Yes, Electric Six may just be Michigan's best kept secret.

Nice Face - Immer Etwas (2010)

Immer Etwas is the first full length release from this one man bedroom recording project turned full on five-piece live band. Nice Face have been turning out singles, comp tracks, and cassettes at a steady clip over the past two years and change. This LP is a solid thirteen tracks of drum-machine driven blown out hook-laden punk rock.


If not at least give this song a listen, it fucking rocks:

Nice Face-Situation Is Facing Utter Annihilation