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Late Reviews for the Week
Don’t get too excited….
Clea Roddick- Songs of the Year: Vol. 1- As soon as the first track started playing I immediately thought of Regina Spektor. Soft female vocals with a piano accompaniment, it’s cute and upbeat. Check out “Astronomy” and “Chickadee”
Small Black - New Chain- Fairly eclectic for a synth-pop album, Small Black mixes 80s- inspired beats, colorful synths that make me feel like I’ve entered the mind of Willy Wonka, and ethereal melodies. The vocals are your typical synthesized high-pitched indie boy sound, but I think the background makes up for it. “Photojournalist” is by far my favorite.
Sun Airway- Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier- It’s always nice to hear electro beats that aren’t extremely in your face. This album creates a melodic atmosphere while maintaining a decent rock sound. RIYL Animal Collective, The Killers.
The Companies - Keep Me in Mind- Best described as post-punk alt rock, this album makes you feel like you’re in the London underground scene. And just when you think you really understand them, they pull out “Mami,” which is half rock, half salsa. Check it out if you enjoy The Cure.
The Extra Lens- Undercard- Smart folk rock reminiscent of They Might Be Giants minus most of the quirk, Flogging Molly minus most of the Irish, and Simon and Garfunkel minus most of the Simon. Led by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, it’s definitely worth a spin. Check out “Communicating Doors”
Short Reviews by E
Uz Jsme Doma - Caves
Progressive Rock - Uz Jsme Doma is one of those bands that has a sound that is so hard to place. Fans of King Crimson’s older work, Magma, and any progressive rock band from the 60’s and 70’s will feel right at home with this album, Caves. The album features odd rhythms, a very prominent, upbeat horn section, and a very unique vocalist. I can’t say too much more other than I really dig this album and plan on playing it heavily on my show.
Recommended tracks- # 2 ,5 ,6 ,8
Personally recommend- # 2, 4, 8
Leyla Fences - Liars, Cheats, & Fools
On Leyla’s website her music is described as “Traditional Honky Tonk County”. After a listen through, I can hear what they mean. Though I would add that she does incorporate modern pop-country/country rock heavily into the mix. Worth a listen to if you’re into that kind of thing.
Recommended Tracks- # 1, 3
Alessi’s Ark - Soul Proprietor
Folk-pop- Alessi Laurent-Marke really created something special with this one. By the time it was over I was wishing for more. The album had a very cool, mellow, sweet, and, for the lack of a better word, “real” feel to it. It wasn’t overly produced nor was it redundant with its musical themes. Awesome addition to the library.
Recommended Tracks - All (there are only four tracks, though track two had a profound effect on me.)
KNUCKLES STRIKES AGAIN
Pigeon John - “Dragon Slayer”
The perennially awesome master of self-deprecating rap (think the ANTI-dick
swinger) is back with new album and a title that seems like he’s
dropped the shy, unlucky guy image for more of a heroic one. On “Dragon
Slayer” Pigeon John has indeed tried to reinvent himself a bit, but
thankfully he hasn’t dropped the mister-nice-guy-finishes-last persona
that has made his music so refreshing in this age of ‘screw them hoes’
style gangsta rap.
Pigeon has decided to maintain his image while exploring his general
song-writing abilities more, creating a rap album that exudes wit and
warmth. His mood changes throughout, while staying in an almost ambient
mood that serves to draw you into the narratives he chooses to create
with his lyrics. He ends up singing most of the time instead of rapping
over backing vocals as he has done before, and at moments he lets the
music swell and push him off stage in a very indie-pop manner.
Thankfully all his humor and character as omnipresent as his other cd’s. His
version of a ‘I come from the streets and had to work for this sh**’
song, “Buttersoft Seats” rebels against the gangsta-rap cliches by
describing how he never got Rolex’s, only Casio calculator watches, but
it’s all okay now - he has a brand new truck with buttersoft seats. His
version of ‘aw hell, it’s about to get real’, “Dude, It’s ON”, is a
mellow, slow-swelling song about a fight outside a motel where the music
speaks more than he does. “Davey Rockit” is about the son of a failed
and abusive DJ, but Pigeon manages to create full and dynamic characters
in this short track that makes you truly care for the people he sings
Really, most of the album plays like a very good indie rock/pop album with only
mild electronic instrumentation. The main difference is that Pigeon
John has the ability to write in a more MC style, and his knowledge
allows for a better story to be imbued into each track that drives the
album to higher levels than his previous releases - which is saying
something for a guy who regularly gets top ratings from critics.
Best of all? He still comes off as the nicest MC you’ll ever hear.
Shrt Rvws By E
Underworld - Barking
Electronic/trance - Underworld is the collaboration of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, both of which have been producing music since the early 80’s. Though I have not listen to much electronic music in my day, I can certainly recognize the catchy appeal of this album and I’m sure that those wanting to put new electronic/trance into their libraries should pick this album up.
RT #1, 2, 3
Suuns - Zeroes QC
Experimental rock/pop - Suuns, a minimalist rock group from Montreal, caught me off guard with this album. Being a progressive rock, jazz, metal guy I usually get turned off when I hear the word “minimalist”, but this album features some pretty sweet tunes. The first track “Armed For Peace” has some especially cool riffs and rhythms.
Other RTs #3, 7, 8
Evolett - For Your Consideration
Rock - Fans of rock bands with a female lead should listen to this album up. It has a very strong Paramore, Evanescence, Fly-Leaf pop-rock feel. That is all…
RT #3, 5, 8
We've got a variety of stuff in this week. Ch-ch-ch-check it out! (featuring a review by Doug 2.0)
We Landed on the Moon!- This Will Be One For the Books- It may be a bit of shameless promotion for the upcoming Freaker’s Ball (OCTOBER 29th at the MOOSE LODGE), but in all honesty, this album is a really good one. If you’re unfamiliar with WLOTM, their sound is an ambient rock similar to Ida Maria or the Grates. The lead singer has a strong voice that is very memorable and the instrumental section of the band proves that your classic instruments can produce a modern sound. I love the first track “The Good Fight” and “Across the Sun” is a catchy riff that really hooks you into the rest of the album. Also check out “On Our Last Legs” and “No Show”
Eskmo- Eskmo- If you like dubstep, you’ll like this album. If you don’t like dubstep, or don’t really know it, you’ll probably still like this album. Eskmo, the alias of Brendan Angelides, creates an ambience that lightens up your basic dubstep, adds some glitch, and expands your awareness of the capabilities of music. Check out “Cloudlight” fo’ sho’ and while you’re add it, “The Melody” and “Become Matter Soon, For You” (Ben Williams liked it, so it has to be the best, right?)
Sufjan Stevens- The Age of Adz- Fans of Sufjan will love this new album. His style using soft vocals and soft harmonies proves again to be effective as well as his experimentation with synthesizers and more electronic beats. The variety of music on this album provides something for everyone. “Too Much” has a good sound to it as well as “Vesuvius” and “Age of Adz” but I think “Get Real, Get Right” is my favorite.
Various Artists- The Vampire Diaries Original Television Soundtrack- In the tradition of franchises that glamorize vampirism, this soundtrack has a surprising amount of good artists and tracks. The flow of the album is pretty good, with songs that probably any vampire show exec would associate with dark stereotypical new-age vampire scenes. Check out “We Radiate” by Goldfrapp, the poppy, “Obsession,” and the Gorillaz “On Melancholy Hill” and try not to be put off by the other tracks made to arouse 13-21 year old girls who LUV VAMPIREZ.
Bo Burnham- Words Words Words- If you love dick jokes and facials, you’ll appreciate Bo Burnham’s new comedy album. While I appreciated greatly his track “Rant” which calls out religious hypocrisy and “Art Is Dead,” a track where he pokes fun at himself for being an attention whore, some of his material was more offensive than clever and I didn’t really appreciate it. But that’s just the angry feminist in me.
Antony and the Johnsons- Swanlights- The songs are a little spacey, but I really enjoy the haunting male vocals on this album. The track “Ghost” reminds me of the opening song of an indie movie, with lots of well-placed piano. Along with “Ghost” check out “Fletta,” a collaboration with Bjork and “Swanlights.”
Pomegranates- One of Us- A great album with a mix of rock, pop, and ambient rock. I really dug “50s” and “Anywhere You Go” for their rock sound while “One of Us” and “White Fawn” were ethereal tracks. I get a Los Campesinos vibe from them while they liken themselves to Wolf Parade, Deerhunter, and Flaming Lips
US English- What Frontier EP- This album interested me. The lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking and the music behind them is quirky. The first track, “What Frontier” reminded me of a less-whiny Bright Eyes or a less-synthy Hellogoodbye. The album overall is accurately described as “avante-garde” and worth listening to if you want to try new things.
Other quick suggestions:
Folk/ Folk Rock fans:
The Avett Brothers-Live, Volume 3- Live folk album with some good tunes and some surprises. Track 2 totally caught me off guard.
Fistful of Mercy- As I Call You Down- An acoustic album with a variety of folk tracks, it’s easy-listening and good music to chillax to. I like the title track “As I Call You Down”
For those who like old school country (Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Horton)
The Secret Sisters- The Secret Sisters
The Black- Sun in the Day Moon at Night
DOUG 2.0 on Bassnectar’s Wildstyle
01 - Hot Right Now (Bassnectar Remix)Very deep and turbulant remix of the Amp Live original track. At the end of the track, it seems there’s a bit of a cliff-hanger. I keep waiting for the drop! Mmmph!!
02 - Wildstyle Method (feat. 40 Love)Starts off at a higher octive, but still has intense bass! And the drop x.x OMG the drop at 1:04 is intense. I spasmed all over, no joke. The tornado / nuclear war siren makes me chill near the 4 minute mark. This track left me needing new pants, especially with the low-pass finale.
03 - Falling (feat. Paper Machete)Gyee-tary! Paper Machete’s vocals add a calming ambient touch - luckily I don’t have to change pants again.Well, fuck. 1:22 brings in heavy dirty dubs. I spoke too soon. Falling ends fairly calm.
04 - The 808 Track (feat. Mighty High Coup)808808808808808808 I hate airhorns in my playlist. At least their not the main focus throughout the entire track. Still, the good ol’ dubs helped drawn out the airhorn drama.
05 - Underwater (feat. Tina Malia)Very ambient and snarey, followed by a dark and deep bassline. Tina Malia adds a softer touch, but Bassnectar pretty much dominates her softness with his hardness. Oh yeah, I went there >:3
06 - EncoreThis track is something I’d expect from a live performance. Indubidably, it is an encore. Commense the dancing.
07 - Fun with Synthesizers Fans of chilling children laughter will like this song. Hearing a kid laugh in music sometimes scares the shit out of me from all of my experience with bad horror movies. Don’t worry, this track isn’t creepy; the synthesizers make it so. The playful children probably symbolize something about Bassnectar messing about the synth with the innocense of childhood. Or something fruity/poetic like that.
— Tori, ElectrOasis
Get Excited for MUSIC!
Afraid of Figs - Radio Sampler
This promo consists of three incredibly sarcastic tracks. My favorite is a tie between the first and last: “I Ate a Vegan” where the band makes fun of “being green” and “Don’t Want to Be Your Facebook Friend.” These tracks are not melodic; they’re more upbeat ska punk. The sax is definitely a trademark of the songs.
Collapse Under the Empire - “The Sirens Sound”
This album is completely instrumental, primarily strings. Overall I’d describe the sound as ambient and there are a couple that sound a lot like The Postal Service, but obviously without lyrics. My favorite is track 2 “Grade Separation.” Absolutely beautiful.
Until next time,