Way back when on my best of 2010 list, I said I planned on posting this album soon. Suffice to say my definition of soon is a bit more loose than most's. I believe I described this album as "a multi-genre escapade based on a foundation of Latin jazz." That's about as well as I can describe it. It's all instrumental, featuring mainly horns of various sorts with a solid rhythm section and sometimes makes room for a guitar to sneak in. You never know quite what to anticipate from this album. A polka-sounding march can give way to an 80s guitar riff, and all the while it makes you want to sing "Babalu."
What not to expect from this album: A multi-genre masterpiece that seamlessly bridges various styles of music into a pleasing, perfect sound.
What to expect from this album: A silly mixture of sounds that will sometimes make you smile and sometimes make you scratch your head. But you'll be glad you listened to it, even if only to have the knowledge that it has, in fact, been listened to.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Yes, this is the very same Lil B who promotes the violation of bitches. And yes, I am doing a serious analytical write-up on his music. Illusions of Grandeur, the latest mixtape installment from the based one, doesn't bring a whole lot new to the table. arrogance and first-hand knowledge of the ghetto lifestyle is nothing new in the realm of rap, and Lil B knows that. But that doesn't stop him from telling it his own way, in his own words, from the perspective of his own life. While he doesn't have the smoothest flow or choice of rhymes, Lil B has enough charisma alone to make you want to listen to his words. So whether he's spitting verses over some Toto, Kanye or dazzling 9th Wonder production, Lil B is out to prove a point, that he loves hip-hop, he loves music and he wants people to hear his stories.
I've always loved the counteracting extremes withing screamo. When I first heard Kulara a couple years ago, going from the rapid, thrashy-ness of something like Bridge to the soft acoustic beauty of Episodes was incredible. The beauty of each style work with and against each other into and incredible feeling. Matsuri is no different. In fact, it's evident from the first song. The beginning of a four part piece goes in and out of these two styles, beginning with the serene, adding harsh vocals, then clashing everything together and back. Bittersweet melodies flow and ebb in and out of the foreground and the entire sound just seems so jarring on the surface. Everything is so well-done, though, and as this album continues on, you'll notice how incredibly flush everything sounds. All in its right place, for sure.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I was a bit mislead here. Sometimes claimed to be nearly direct descendants of Ved Buens Ende (and that a cover of Coiled in Wings appears on here is another clue), but that's not necessarily it. For example, the first track is relatively straight, especially considering the twisted manifestations of Ved Buens Ende. Something lying in the vein of one of the "hipster black metal" bands of the current, although some horrifyingly demented vocals buried in the tremolos (a croon that is admittedly close to Czral does sound briefly); not something that you'd mistake for Written in Waters, at least. And the next song... is this hardcore punk? A riff from deep in the gut and grunting vocals lead to it and then there's even a rapid solo. hm... I guess, for those looking for a direct rip-off of Ved Buens Ende, it's not here.
But don't skip this, don't even think about it. The first song I mentioned? It's brilliant. Intense, moody and throughly engaging. The second? Wholly entertaining for anyone who's even had a feigning interest in the sort of chug-heavy hardcore/stonerish rock stuff. And my denouncement of the Ved Buens Ende sound isn't entirely accurate. They don't appear to be directly in line with one of the new "neocrust" bands (Vestiges, Fall of Efrafa) (which they do occasionally sound like), they, at the very least, have the same sort of spirit of Ved Buens Ende.
Enough with parallels, they don't share enough (or they share too many). At any given moment you could probably try to relate this to another band: this point has a little of the second wave black metal sound, this one like hardcore punk, this... what is that sound? At the most basic, they do seem to teeter between all sorts of tropes typically considered black metal, mostly keeping everything at a ferocious rate, a key on pummeling drum lines. In fact, that cover of Coiled in Wings I mentioned? The original is 7 minutes of a fairly laid back scene. This one is just under 4 and hardly intelligible. Only the replication of Czral's brand of croons seems to relate.
But, again, I must remind myself to stop comparisons, there are so few! Walls of sounds so intriguing I can't even collect myself to find anything that sounds like it. It's sonically expansive and somewhat of an aural abuse. But even as it's stretched to extremes it breaks itself from monotony with underlying sounds and structures that are just plain weird. If Ved Buens Ende is a bad trip, it's only one that creeps deep within you and leaves a lasting memory. This is the scare that leads you to a mental breakdown. In Mulholland Drive, if Ved Buens Ende relates the moody journey out of Winkie's, Dreams of the Drowned is the moment at the dumpster.
Download (also, free for download on last.fm)
Buy (I don't know, but I haven't looked at the moment of writing this. Plan to, though)
Monday, March 14, 2011
There's no doubt in my mind that there will be pissed off Strokes fans after hearing this record. First Impressions of Earth copped a lot of hate just because the band tried to expand their sound. Well, now they've gone and completely changed it. But you know what? It kinda worked.
The real high points of the album come early. Opener 'Machu Picchu' has a nice, cohesive blend of keyboards and guitars, with a catchy bassline to match. 'Under Cover of Darkness', has a great memorable riff here, a great memorable riff there, and a diabolical chorus that just oozes brilliance. It feels like they finally nailed the expansion on their classic sound that they tried so hard to achieve on First Impressions of Earth. 'Two Kinds of Happiness' is notable for its distinctive electronic drums that lead into a surprisingly fast-paced chorus. 'You're So Right', while far batter than the demo version, is still a weak track that sounds out of place, though it does have a nice guitar solo. 'Taken For a Fool' is a bit of a sleeper track that didn't really stand out to me at first, but after re-listening, it feels like it could've been a single for Room On Fire. 'Games' and 'Call Me Back' are the points where the album loses its momentum. 'Life Is So Simple in the Moonlight', the album closer, is a simply wonderful song, not much more to say.
The Strokes have arguably suffered from the 'debut album' syndrome worse than any other band over the past decade. I see this as each album having a single standout track with several nice accompanying tracks skewed across the rest of the album, while Is This It felt more like a collection of stand out tracks. Still, that's not to say The Strokes have only one worthwhile album. I honestly believe they have four.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Well I'm on Spring Break and I feel like posting something. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I discovered the Get Up Kids after people recommending them to me. Anyways our track of the day for this Saturday, March 5th is Holiday by the Get Up Kids.
Posted by Eric Walsh at 11:00 PM