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Revenge of the 90's Indie!
Obits - Moody, Standard & Poor
Obits is a “veteran” indie rock band, featuring band members from Hot Snakes, Pitchfork, Edsel, and (one of my personal favorites), Drive Like Jehu. Their sophomore effort, Moody, Standard & Poor improves upon their debut album, I Blame You. I Blame You had catchy songs, but the production was somewhat lacking. On MS&P, though, Obits have beefed up their sound and have turned out a great garage-rock album. Influenced by punk old-school punk, surf rock, and other genres, MS&P is varied enough to keep the listener interested. Rick Froberg’s guitar antics aren’t as crazy as in Drive Like Jehu, but they still suit the songs. Recommended if you like garage rock or punk.
J Mascis - Several Shades Of Why
On his first studio album, J Mascis drops most of what has made him an underground icon in Dinosaur Jr (loud guitars, squealy solos, the effects pedal), and instead focuses on his songwriting with a mostly acoustic album. There are still a couple songs that feature his trademarks (Is It Done features an electric guitar solo), but most of the songs are J Mascis with an acoustic guitar and a few friends to back him up. Fans of Dinosaur Jr will not be surprised that J Mascis is still a great songwriter. This might be his most sincerely emotional album yet. There isn’t much in the way of blistering energy, but the songwriting is definitely enough to make up for it. Recommended if you like anything J Mascis has been involved in.
"Method reviewing: Become the album. Live as an LP for a year before you write about it. The same sort of romances, break ups & downs, etc." -Damien Jurado (discovered by Margot the Red)
The Sounds- Something to Die For- New Wave electro rock with a female lead who conveys a punk rock attitude. This album is a bit of a throwback to late 80s-early 90s rock, and a nice alternative to the softer indie rock currently trending. Check out “Better Off Dead,” “It’s So Easy,” and “Something to Die For.” RIYL: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blondie
The Strokes - Angles- This album has been in the works for two years, and the end result is damn good. The guitar riffs are modern and catchy, and Julian Casablancas’ vocals are the standard for indie rock. “Machu Picchu” is an awesome start and songs like “Two Kinds of Happiness” and “Taken For a Fool” keep up the pace. RIYL: Arcade Fire, The Killers, Phoenix
Austra- Beat and Pulse- An interesting mix of synthesizers and female vocals reminiscent of Florence Welch or Deborah Harry. It’s got a darker more ethereal sound, so RIYL Depeche Mode, Amy Lee.
Shinobi Ninja- Rock Hood - An interesting mix of hip-hop, rock, and pop that provides a wide range of perspectives coming from a bunch of different music producers. “Brooklyn to Babylon”is probably my favorite on the album, as more of a hip-hop track. Around track 5 it turns into a hard rock album with hip-hop sampling until “Black Dreams” where it brings a rock-backed reggae. It’s kind of like going to six concerts playing at once in the same venue. Figure it out.
Lykke Li- Wounded Rhymes - A retro sound reminiscent of the 60’s with echo-y vocals and plenty of earthy percussion. The sound goes from “I Follow Rivers,” a well-produced track with a memorable chorus to “Unrequited Love,” which fits into classic country. RIYL: Duffy, Dusty Springfield
The Joy Formidable- The Big Roar- Grungy arena rock perfect for listening to while driving around with your windows down. “Don’t Want to See You Like This” brings in a whole lot of power and is quickly followed by “Austere” which also commands your attention. The album then turns to an empowered ballad, “A Heavy Abacus.” I was really impressed with the quality of the album and the ferocity each song brings in, so I recommend you check it out. RIYL: Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies
Injured Ninja Vs. Skylazer
I know that I’ve been MIA with the whole album review thing. That is because, honestly, I felt like I could never do a proper review of the music coming in. After listening to each album in the past I felt like I had nothing to offer because the music didn’t move me, it didn’t make me think, and I was left with nothing to write about.
With that said, After listening to Injured Ninjas’ album, I felt like It was my duty to write a review because it is one of the best albums to come into the station in a while.
Though, I’m warning you now, the album very heavy on the experimentation, dissonant chords, in-audible vocals, and abrasive electronics and something like that can be hard to swallow for those who are new to it. For those who are intrigued though, will find that album remains interesting and fresh from start to finish. Every song on the album features some new ideas and sounds that keep me listening. I know that experimental rock isn’t for everyone but i would highly recommend this album to anyone looking an awesome album.
Music Reviews for Your Ultimate Convenience
Adele- 21 - She’s only 22 years old, and somehow Adele manages to capture the spirit of songstresses three times her age. I enjoyed every minute of this album because of the emotion and sass reminiscent of the 60’s era. “Rolling in the Deep” is nothing short of awesome as well as “Set Fire to the Rain” and “Someone Like You.” If you appreciate vocal talent, listen to this album. RIYL Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Etta James
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - Booty City (Single) -After listening to this track, I can’t wait for what’s to come. These guys bring back the blues-funk scene in the best kind of way. “Booty City” is upbeat, full of soul, and giving it a spin will make your day a whole lot better.
Dom- Sunbronzed Green Gods- Pop rock for the indie lovers amongst us. It reminds me a little of Peter Bjorn and John, especially the first track, “Jesus.” It’s not bad to listen to, so if you’re into the scene, check it out. RIYL- Peter Bjorn and John (duh), Best Coast
Seven Octaves- Encouragement - A very interesting electro album that spans a wide variety of sounds. It kind of makes me think of video game background music from 1996-2002. Track 2, “Press On,” caught my attention by sounding like an N64 version of a pirate/arabian theme. Skip “The Real Me,” but try out “Hot Potato” and definitely “Out of the Bluez.” It’s different, so be prepared.
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”