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Guest Review: DJ H-Bomb on Devin Townsend
Artist: Devin Townsend Project
Album: Free Online LIVE EP http://www.insideoutmusic.com/specials/DTP/
Released: February 15th, 2011
Labels: HevyDevy, Century Media, InsideOut
While we wait for Devin Townsend Project, aka DTP, (fronted by Devin Townsend of Devin Townsend Band, Strapping Young Lad, Ocean Machine, Punky Brüster, Steve Vai) to simultaneously release their two (yes two) double albums Ghost and Deconstruction, we can fill our ears with Townsend’s famous vibrato found in a FREE Live EP released by Century Media. The EP opens with Supercrush! from the most recent release Addicted. I’m not sure if I am smiling ear to ear by Townsend’s perfect pitch, the sampling piped in from his Apple computer, or his constant insults directed to the crowd. We are only 7 seconds into Supercrush! when Townsend taunts his crowd, “Come on you lazy pricks…Very good…that’s 4% less lazy. But I love you anyway!” Townsend’s vibrato and pitch correctness that he intersperses with his shrill screams and growls is unmatched by any other. Nobody should be able to do this live. The song builds to the last chorus and Townsend gives the crowd another obscene ribbing that not even Q could play on his safe harbor show, “You feel bad about yourself? Just look at me and then fucking eat shit!” Now this is KMNR material through and through. The last palm mute rings and Townsend makes another suggestion to the crowd. “Kiss my grits!” Incredible…
Kingdom is up next. Again, Townsends clean vocals soar. His heavy vocals are a bit coarse and sound like they experienced a bit of tour damage…or is it just that he isn’t fully warmed up? Who cares, this is a take on his old material that die hards like me can’t live without.
Truth…an oldie from Infinity is up next. A nasty word or two wouldn’t keep me from playing this one on the air after 10pm.
OM is up next. Townsend offers us more advice during the drum intro. “Some nasty shit in the world. Isn’t there? You know what? Just be who you are. Don’t be afraid to be a fuckin’ cheeseball baby. And then continue to fucking crush it” And crush it he does with the powerbacked DTB project band. There is no cheese in this tune…only this review.
“ZILTOID!” Townsend brings us song 2 from Ziltoid the Omnicient. By Your Command sounds like a bear to play live and DTP delivers. Townsends heavy vocals sound much tighter with an unmatched intensity now and his melodic vocals are still pitch perfect and give me an earful…I guess he just wasn’t quite warm for Kingdom. The rhythm section punishes us for 3-½ minutes before Townsend asks the crowd to break out their lighters. “One lighter!!!” The crowd responds with more lighters “…looks like the electric light parade. You know…Disneyland…real metal.” The shred(dish) section begins as Captain Ziltoid summons the humans’ finest cup of coffee with the help of piped in samples from the album version of By Your Command.
Captain Ziltoid: Commander
Commander: Yes Captain Ziltoid
Captain Ziltoid: Have the humans delivered their ultimate cup of coffee?
Commander: I have it right here sir.
Captain Ziltoid: …yes….(sips) FETID! HOW DARE THEY PRESENT THIS TO ME? FOUL! THEY HIDE THEIR FINEST BEAN! PREPARE THE ATTACK!
This release will require safe harbor (and a dump button for some tracks) but it is magnificent! It is easy to feel like you were at the show while you listen to this album…just close your eyes and imagine that a bald version of The Food Network’s quirky Alton Brown is screaming obscenities at you through a SM58 at 110dB while he shreds with a custom series flying-V Peavey guitar. Did you get it? Good let’s move on.
If you don’t want to risk a naughty word on air, at least download it for the price of a Tweet or Facebook shout-out! This album was a bargain but it only makes me want the 2 upcoming double albums more. Devin Townsend has done it again.
Music for the Post-Snowpocalypse
Pendulum- Immersion- This album is much different than Pendulum’s 2008 release In Silico, so if you’re looking for songs like “Propane Nightmares” (which I’ll admit I was) you may be disappointed. They opt out of highly dynamic beats for more atmospheric ones paired with vocals coming from members of Prodigy and In Flames. It gives me sort of a Linkin Park vibe when the vocals emerge, so if you like the sound, check out “Watercolour” and “Witchcraft” If you’re more in it for the music behind it, I suggest “Genesis” and both parts of “The Island.
Mogwai- Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will- A post-rock album good for some background music. It’s heavy on the music, low on lyrics, and full of talent. I suggest “Letters to the Metro” and “Mexican Grand Prix.”
Kitten- Sunday School- Cute indie rock complete with a female lead vocalist with an impressive range. The EP will definitely make you want to listen from start to finish, but I highly suggest the beginning track “Kill the Light,” “Chinatown,” and “Allison Day.” RIYL We Landed on the Moon!, The Grates
Telekinesis- 12 Desperate Straight Lines- One of my favorite albums of the year so far. If you’re not familiar with Telekinesis, it’s the indie rock ensemble created by Michael Lerner, who has an ear for decent riffs. The whole rock outfit is good, but the bass guitar on the album is especially impressive in songs like “You Turn Clear in the Sun” and “I Cannot Love You.” RIYL Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie
Bright Eyes- The People’s Key- This album went better than expected. As much as Conor Oberst’s voice seems to scream the message of a thousand angsty pre-teens, the music behind him is pretty decent on this record, and if you’re a fan of Mr. Oberst, more joy for you. I really enjoyed “Firewall,” which is prefaced by a speech by David Icke, infamous for his grand conspiracy theories. It was quite the touch. Other than that, check out “Jejune Stars” and “Haile Selassie”
Cold War Kids- Mine Is Yours- Upbeat, poppy rock with a lead singer that conveys emotion into all of the tracks. I was really impressed with “Mine Is Yours” and the rest of the songs fit in well with the current sunny weather. There’s a lot of soul in this album and it wouldn’t hurt you to check it out. RIYL Modest Mouse, Jack Johnson
Kristoff Krane- Picking Flowers Next to Roadkill - I tend to stay away from hip-hop because it always seems like the most talented artists have the most disturbing material, but I liked this album. The background music is pretty good and the lyrics don’t insult me. Try “Brighter Side” and “Leave the Summer”
New Musix (and more to come!)
Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean- A good companion to The Decemberists’ recent release “The King is Dead,” Samuel Beam brings a slower indie to the party. There aren’t any tracks that really jump at me, but I’ll accept “The Tree by the River.”
Vanity Theft - Get What You Came For-Four girls, including LaLaine (aka Miranda from “Lizzie McGuire”) come together and produce a sexy-confident rock album somewhere comfortably between The Ting Tings and The Runaways. The track “Trainwreck” provides us a look into what happens when a girl sees her boyfriend with another girl and likes what she sees, while “Missing Teeth” is a sweeter, slower ballad about letting go.
Little Comets- In Search of Elusive Little Comets- My personal favorite album of the week, In Search of Elusive Little Comets is modern Brit rock at it’s best. No haunting melodies, no mixed beats, just a straightforward rock sound to which I can play the air-drums. Check out “Isles” and “One Night in October.” RIYL The Wombats, Babyshambles, Mando Diao
Plan B- The Defamation of Strickland Banks- An Englishman does R&B, and he does it pretty damn well. The album carries a whole lotta soul and motown we really haven’t seen in the past 40 years. “Writing’s on the Wall” provides a classic sound while “Stay Too Long” and “The Recluse” add a little rock to the mix. RIYL The Temptations, Amy Winehouse
Rooney- Eureka- Back with a self-produced album, Rooney brings back the Cali-rock scene that spiked in popularity around the time of The O.C. Robert Schwartzman’s vocals sound eerily similar to Rivers Cuomo’s, but nevertheless, he brings in his own sound on happenin’ tracks like “I Can’t Get Enough” and “The Hunch.” Overall, I really enjoyed this album, I just wish I had a beach to go with it. RIYL: Weezer, The Beatles, Coconut Records
How about some Content?
Gang of Four - Content
Back in 1979, Gang of Four released Entertainment!, an album that forever changed the face of music. While most punk bands were starting to sound very similar, the Communists from Leeds breathed new life into the genre, mixing the extremist politics and tension of punk with downright funky drums and bass. Even now, you can still hear bits of Entertainment! in many other bands like Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, etc. Now, 32 years later, Gang of Four has released Content. With only the guitarist and vocalist from the classic line-up, expectations were not the highest. Fortunately, Gang of Four has passed with flying colors, releasing their best album since their second, Solid Gold. The guitar is louder and noisier, and the rhythm section is as funky as ever. Unlike the first and second albums, which featured stark minimalist production, Gang of Four uses a fuller, bigger production. The last time they tried this, they made a mediocre disco record; this time, they used it to further enhance their noisy tendencies. The first six songs, especially “You’ll Never Pay For The Farm”, are all great rabble-rousing funk-punk rock. Unfortunately, the album mellows out quite a bit after “I Party All The Time,” and rapidly loses the energy and power of the first half. Still, it’s one of the better comeback albums I’ve heard recently, and I highly recommend it.
Some new additions from our friends over at Planetary
Now, Now - Neighbors
Overall a pretty good album for those who are looking for a mainstream rock sound with a prominent female lead. Their song “Giants” stood out the most with me. The album features an acoustic version of that song as well. Check it out.
40 Watt Hype - Push
I’m not the biggest fan of Hip-Hop or Latin music, but I can dig this album. It definitely has an abundance of soul, which I like. I would recommend this album to any DJ that wants a laid back, soulful album to add to their show.
Personally I enjoyed # 1 “Only the strong Survive”
Black Pistol Fire- Black Pistol Fire
Black Pistol Fire’s sound brings to mind that ol’ loud, southern blues rock from the 70’s and overall their debut, self titled LP is pretty good. Fans of the genre or of more recent bands like The White Stripes or Jet should give it a listen.
…and that’s not all, check back in a week or so for more adds.
The Start of a Good Year
Break is over, and the new music blog is back in business. We’ve got a variety of music this week, so ch-ch-check it out!
The Decemberists- The King is Dead- The Decemberists bring back the folk rock complete with harmonicas, acoustic guitars, and some good-old-fashioned studio mixing. Their single, “Down by the Water” is a good one to start off with, but make sure to try “Rise to Me” as well.
Phantods- Creature- Interesting female-led rock. It’s got a decent beat and some good riffs. “Creature,” the first track, is one to try out. RIYL Paramore
Ian Axel- This is the New Year- Don’t underestimate the power of a man and his guitar. I would call this sleepy-time rock, full of sugary melodies and vocals. Check out “Waltz”
Modern Skirts- Gramahawk- This album goes from a good avant-garde beginning to indie pop in the blink of a track -switch. Some of the middle tracks get a bit redundant, but try “DUI”, “Glass of Water,” and “Shipshape” for something different and quirky. RIYL Architecture in Helsinki, Matt & Kim
Ninth Moon Black- Kalyug - If you’re into ambient rock, check out this album. The ethereal music mixed with the spoken-word on certain tracks gives it a post-modern vibe that could easily be the soundtrack to an Orwellian scene. Recommended track: “Causatum”
Times of Grace- The Hymn of a Broken Man- Two members of Killswitch Engage get together for a collection of metalcore with a common spiritual theme. Screaming ain’t my thing, but the melodies aren’t too bad, so check it out if you’re into the genre. RIYL Underoath, Killswitch Engage
N.E.R.D. - The Best of N.E.R.D.- Pop rock and hip-hop all in one, created by one of the most famous producers of the current era, Pharrell Williams. The lyrics are just alright, but the beats behind them are well-done. Check FCC, because there are few tracks you can play during non-safe harbor hours.