Friday, April 23, 2010

Important Changes

I've decided that this blog will no longer serve as a 'musical journey' as such. I'm becoming interested in freelance writing, and this will become my portfolio. It will remain focused on music, and I'll be attempting to give a proper, solid review on one or two albums a week. I'll mention gigs and such, but expect the informality to cease here.

I have changed the title also.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Misfortune

Yeah, so earlier I was a BIT upset. But you know, it's cool, but then I saw the Splendour in the Grass line-up and nearly died. HOLY IHJBFIHBHIB JSBDKJNSIJNDSBCJHBDCKJNSLKMDLNHSIDHBEIUC. Yeah, it ain't too shabby. I can't go to that either. So what I'm going to do is list each gig I've missed out on this year:

- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Grizzly Bear
- Big Day Out
- Soundwave Festival
- Two different Dinosaur Jr. shows
- Pixies
- Sunny Day Real Estate/Glassjaw/Jimmy Eat World thingo
- Brand New
- Groovin' the Moo
- New Found Glory
- and now Splendour

That's all I can think of, without listing the 20+ no-name bands that I coulda-shoula-woulda seen,

I'm just one lucky guy, eh?

I better end up going to Dillinger in May, and also a few sideshows for Splendour...hopefully Grizzly Bear...at least.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

...I've got nothin'

Coming to you live from Sydney, yeah, with not too much news. I didn't end up going to New Found Glory, Break Even, or Paper Arms and successfully pissed off a scalper. I had a moment of glimmering hope, but then it was crushed with relentless cruelty. Yeah, it's disappointing...but you know, the bands aren't all that great.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Again...New Bands

Insomnia has reared its ugly head yet again. It's half-past two in the morning and I'm supposed to wake up in three hours. It's gonna be a fun drive!

Whining aside, I've got important news for you, my loyal readers - I'm going to see New Found Glory, Break Even, Paper Arms, and a stack of other bands in a few days. I don't particularly like any other those bands, but it beats sitting around at my uncle's place. I'm getting my NFG tickets for less than half of the retail price too. SICK!

Down to business.

When the Sea Became a Giant by Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate): Well, strike me down and call me an idiot, 'cause I thought 90s emo was...well...still in the 90s. I discovered them in a really strange way, the guy who owns the label they're signed to sent me a private message (which I assume was somewhat superficial) that attempted to strike up conversation about Mineral. Regardless, I can forgive his shameless advertising. Damn this is good. Don't let my branding of 'emo' fool you with immediate connotions of lyrical reliance; this collective has an idiosyncratic instrumental focus, that goes to the extent of offering an exact polarities of their (10-year prior) 'contemporaries'. I'm noticing a pattern in the current journey, and that's an undeniable emo streak surfacing. I'm cool with it. Definitely look them up. 4/5.

Whirlpool by Chapterhouse: Found 'em cruising around Last.fm, as per usual. Another shoegaze band, with remarkable soundscapes and density. I keep using density a lot lately, but it's really the only way to describe what I'm listening to. There isn't much of a deviation from the traditional shoegaze form, so there isn't much to talk about, but they're also worth a spin. 3/5.


...I probably need sleep. See you on the other side.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Violent Soho: Self-titled

Finished exams today. Thank God. HA. The skin on my middle finger has worn through about 6 layers. Preeeetty cool.

Anyway, now it's down to business.

I'm going to dedicate this entire post to one of my FAVOURITE Australian bands, Violent Soho. They've recently released their second full-length Violent Soho.

---------

Violent Soho are an interesting collective. Their debut We Don't Belong Here rates as one of the best albums I heard last year, but disappointingly, this one doesn't reach the mark. Firstly, my main issue is with the recording. Violent Soho's attraction is the utter rawness of their art. The pounding riffs of the "original" tracks such as "Love is a Heavy Word" and "Jesus Stole My Girlfriend" is truly remarkable. It even challenges one to consider grunge as still having traces of life, behind the flannelets and binge drinking. When I downloaded my "copy" of this new endeavour, my hopes were crushed. Brutally.

The album is essentially a regurgitation of over half of its predecessor, 7 out of the 10 tracks are remastered. The production seems to have detracted from this raw nature Violent Soho can pride themselves on; it's kind of hard to articulate, but in short, the heavy drawn out bass-line that dominates the previous work is reduced to a cheesy overlay of a "do-do-do" and childish attempts at anthemic rock.

Here, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig8k9XZOOrQ

Can you hear the intensity? The "rawness" that I'm talkin' about? Eh?

Yeah, I thought so.

In short, I heard it and was immediately reminded of The Vines - Awesome debut, then crash and burn baby.

Make sure you ain't misunderstanding me, I'm not feeling this album due to the fact that they've lost their raw grunge spirit and haven't even bothered to write a new album. This album is more than likely to thrust them into popularity off the back of a year-long US tour. It's just got that kind of feel to it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Side Project

Check this, I'm trying out tumblr.

http://maythemusessmileuponyou.tumblr.com/

We'll see if it's more of a success than this?

Photos from the best Youthie Gig ever.




Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two New Ones.

I'm trying to space this out a little. I've had a massive few days with exams and all, so I'm sorry if anybody actually reads this.

The Destruction of Small Ideas by 65daysofstatic: Ever heard an album for the first time and immediately love it to bits? Well, that's how I felt. Last year I got heavily into post-rock for the first time, and I'd never really gotten around to checking out these guys. I'm an idiot. This is well and truly some of the most unique manifestation of post-rock that I've ever come across in my three years of listening to 'real music'. As much as I hate borrowing opinions, particularly from last.fm, I'm going to have to mention the industrial sound these guys have got. It's truly idiosyncratic. They have dense instrumentation that comes off as gritty, coarse and marvelously textured. I've got their entire discography in my library now, and I can promise you that this will be a band that'll stay with me for a long, long time. I feel privileged to listen to it. 5/5.

Landscapes by To The North: I rarely enjoy Australian bands. Maybe I'm just pretentious, well no, I AM pretentious, but this band got me excited. I found them through word-of-mouth after hearing that they'd toured with La Dispute (see past blog) mid-last year. I'm also disappointed that I missed them. This is only an EP, but yet I could sense an incredibly high level of sincerity. Many bands of this mathy-screamo hybrid type genre come off as highly sentimental, attempting to cling to their fleeting youth. To The North aren't like that. Heavily confessional lyrics with "we try these waters / It makes me weak" in tracks such as "Drift Away" that truly redefine as to what it's like to "drift away" top sincere math jams. 3.5/5.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Bands

I'll get straight into it this time.

Rockets Red Glare by Rockets Red Glare: I stumbled on this by complete chance on a blog which I wish I'd followed, but now I've lost it. Drats. Rockets Red Glare is a surprisingly minimalist approach to 'hardcore'. Well, they describe themselves as a hardcore band, but it really seems to be more post-punk with pronounced math elements with tracks such as 'Backwards Masking' and 'Trance Nation'. All in all, I enjoyed it. 3.5/5.

The View From This Tower by Faraquet: Upon first listen, I was immediately entranced. The sustained density of the album is truly to be praised. I'm certain that I'll be playing this for quite some time to come. For a purist math rock fan. 4/5.

Everything Goes Wrong by Vivian Girls: It's good, but somewhat limited by the vocalist's range. She seems to be able to only sing in one monotonous tone without venturing or exploring her limits. Shame. Lyrically the album stands out with themes that bind the album together. Each song seems to reflect a chapter. To take anything from it, you've really got to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.

I've got some stuff to do, so that's all for now. There's tons more.

Also, I should mention that I'm heading down to Sydney in a week so I'll be aiming for 5+ gigs. Should be good. YES! Also +1, The Dillinger Escape Plan (my FAVOURITE mathcore band), are coming to Australia! I've never seen them before, so I'm definitely going to be getting in early on the tickets.

Friday, March 26, 2010

La Dispute

So, yet again, I've changed my philosophy. This seems to be a frequent occurrence, yet I still feel like reviewing bands. I'm not very good at it, but the process of analysis and articulation of thoughts sets me in good stead for school related work

So screw you, I'ma non-conformist. Ya'll dig?

Now that I've permanently tarnished any self respect remaining, I shall continue.

Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair by La Dispute: I've been holding this sparkling gem back for quite a while, four months to be exact, and to be perfectly honest - it's easily one of the best damn albums I've ever heard. La Dispute, a five-piece post-hardcore band from Grand Rapids, Michigan are truly the unsung pioneers of post-hardcore. In this endeavour, they've aimed high with a debut full length album that centres around themes of love and loss. Apparently, they've stated that Somewhere... attempts to "prompt discussion regarding the aspects of ourselves that prevent us from maintaining our happiness as people by documenting both their own experiences in the matter and the experiences of those around them". I honestly couldn't pick up these themes in the work, but seriously, don't let that fool you. This lyricist is one of the finest poets I've ever heard, they've managed to forge energetic tracks such as "New Storms for Older Lovers" with angular riffs and complimentary vocals offering an outpour of emotion that their post-hardcore contemporaries would cut their fringe for. Truly a fine album that you need to have.

As a side note, La Dispute had actually toured Australia six months prior to my discovery, while I was even in Sydney. I am so devastated about that. I'm actually planning a trip to the US at the end of next year during my gap year, before I head off to the wonders of University and I'm definitely going out of my way to visit these guys multiple times. It'd be worth it.

Here's a few tracks off the album performed live that truly encompass the magic that is La Dispute:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NiXY2VO3ng - "Said the King to the River"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm2Kqvubc3w - "New Storms for Older Lovers"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLCfcUSNCzQ - "Damaged Goods"

And this one isn't off the album, but rather an EP entitled Vancouver that is one of my all-time favourite videos in the internet. Amazing show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYpDuHMBgKQ - "Future Wars"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Gigs: Exhaustion

As expected, there wasn't much to take from the heavier gig. The sets were sloppy and more emphasis seemed to be placed to attempts at brutality.

Ha.

There was this one kid that kept trying to make a circle pit and was constantly flicking me in the face with his head banging. What did I do? I jumped in the pit and messed him up good. I hadn't been in a 'pit' for quite sometime, even though this one was fairly sedate.

I can still hear Intentions playing in my ears, just a continuation of ringing.

Well, I must say that was the craziest night I've ever seen at the Youthie. Absolute brilliance. Here's how it went down:

First up was We Caught the Craken, a mathcore band from Tamworth. The set was too short to be enjoyed - 2 songs - so I really couldn't take much out of it. It seemed tightly composed with technicality to boot.

The crowd wasn't as big as I'd anticipated for it to be, so that was a bit of a disappointment. I reflected on this as Romeros took to the stage in yet another ridiculously short set. I couldn't get into it. As much as I love them, this was the worst set I've ever seen them play. Lyrics were forgotten, the cover wasn't performed correctly, parts were out of time and there was far too much sweat in the crowd. Ha. I'm just a little old man I guess.

I'd been looking forward to seeing Crouching 80s Hidden Acronym, mainly because I've really only just got around to listening to their EP. I'm planning on writing about it soon, I just need to give it a few more listens. Their set was excellent, fast paced and packed with energy. Although I was upset that they didn't cover Holiday in Cambodia by Dead Kennedys, but oh well I guess At the Drive-In will suffice. Ha. It seemed a little awkward though with various members jumping off the stage and joining the crowd. Maybe there's one member too many in that band? Anyway, I highly enjoyed it.

Surprisingly, The Spontaneous Kevin Costner were excellent tonight. I almost considered leaving just for their set because of how shitty they were last night, but I was so pleased. I even bought their demo, which I am yet to hear. They pack so much enjoyment into their performance that seeps through into the audience. A great experience. Although the vocalist annoys me endlessly with his eccentric dancing and hand movements that seem to be reminiscent of Oli Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon. I managed to block that out and I throughly enjoyed their set. Once major setback was the bassist's foul mouth. Seriously, I don't need to hear the 'c-bomb' whenever I go to a gig. It detracted from their performance.

Intentions. Wow. What a band. I discovered them right at the beginning of this year and I have a digital copy of their 3-track demo. To be honest, I really didn't hear anything special in it at first. I've really only started to appreciate it more and more in the last month. Excellent timing, huh? They played my favourite track - Abdicate, which was truly the highlight of the night. I haven't been to a gig in a long, long time in which a band performs on the floor. It provides such an intimate experience. I had a brief chat to their drummer about Anthrax and he seems like a really nice guy. To help them out a little, I bought a t-shirt which I am still wearing. They topped off a perfect gig.

Tonight's show was by far the best Youthie gig I have ever been to, and perhaps the 2nd best Tamworth show as well. Intentions made the night for me. I was stoked.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Forthcoming gigs and the usual

In about two hours I'll be at the Youthie. I'm not sure how it'll go, it'd be cool to see The Spontaneous Kevin Costner since I've never seen them, but other than that...meh. It'll be interesting to see Your Name on a Toe-Tag 'cause I haven't seen them in about 8 months, even if the lead singer is a douche.

It is a heavier gig and they haven't particularly been enjoyable. Maybe this one might change things. I hope so.

BUUUT! The best gig ever to hit Tamworth is happening tomorrow night! Stay tuned for that.

Now for the listening:

Broom by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin: Quite easily the best indie-pop band I've come across this year so far. I love how they aren't pissy little tweens unlike their counterparts. There's some really sincere and profound music to be enjoyed here. I suggest you oblige. They've also got another album, Perishing, that I also enjoyed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Few new bands.

School work has been monumental of late, so here's a quick little summary of what I've been listening to.


La fine non รจ la fine by La Quiete - Fantastic screamo/emo violence band from Italy. It seems that Italy has a thriving screamo scene, which functions as a breath of fresh air into a stale genre, dominated by Bring Me the Horizon type bands. Even though I could not understand a word of it, it was a great experience.


Carry Me Home by Loss of a Child: Amazing to say the least. It's hard to quantify down to a specific genre, but more or less post-rock with pronounced math rock and classical influences. I really loved this album. It is entirely instrumental, so if you like that kind of thing, I advise you strongly to check them out. Another cool thing about them is that all of their releases are under Creative Commons, meaning you can download them for free and its perfectly legal. Here's a link:



Blue Record - Baroness: I discovered this band by complete chance - by planning to attend Soundwave (and of course, not going). Perhaps this offsets all my disappointment from missing an amazing lineup. It's really hard for me to find a sludge metal band that I can take an instant liking to, but Baroness have done it with pounding riffs, wails and screams that put my pretentious nature to shame. Great album.

I'm going to two local gigs this weekend, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

House Gigs

Last night was a friend's eighteenth and I went.

Shock horror.

I thought was a unique experience, since my social engagements are somewhat limited, but I did enjoy it.

A band made up of other friends played as well, Romeros. I've got to say it was fantastic for the entertainment value. They played about five songs, with Singstar microphone, and various members of the audience joining in for hearty singing in the middle of surburbia. I bet the neighbours were pissed.
I normally wouldn't enjoy this kind of thing, but I strangely did. They were at times a little bit messy, but it didn't matter - everyone was having a great time. i'm now starting to view music as something that isn't conceited; that is inclusive, all encompassing without bigotry.

...Yeah, it makes me feel all mooshy inside too.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Music.

There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die. ~Paul Simon


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh my, you've got Bright Eyes...

I've been listening to so much of Connor Oberst's work lately, I've been listening to him for at least a year now, but moreso of late because I've just been feeling really angsty and terrible. DON'T LET THAT PUT YOU OFF! - the man is incredible. In this post I'm not planning on offering opinions on various albums, in fact I don't think I will do that anymore. I'd rather keep my thoughts to myself. If I were someone else reading this, I wouldn't want someone else's opinion being rammed down my throat. It just seems so conceited. Anyway, I will list the albums that I've loved:

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes
Letting Off The Happiness by Bright Eyes
Read Music/Speak Spanish by Desaparecidos

I love the confessional nature of his music, it's like he can just completely unfold and let loose with his music being his medium. Maybe my great interest in him is because I can relate, but I don't want to get all touchy and emotional 'bout it.

Oh, and as a side note - you need to make up your own opinion; that's why I'm no longer 'reviewing' or what not. My opinion is my opinion, nobody else's. With that being said, I doubt anyone actually cares what I think, but yeah, just check him (and the others that I post) out.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Bands

I've been super slack with documenting all the stuff I have been listening to...

Bad Luck by Trophy Scars. I'm a massive fan of Native, and these guys were mentioned to me by Bobby Markos so you know, I just had to check it out. I loved it. They aren't similar to Native at all, but they bear a striking resemblance to La Dispute (in a good way, of course). In particular this album, I could hear some really complex metaphors interwoven with screams, yells and singing all bouncing into a sound wave. Track-by-track it also stands apart, with everything from a latin/acoustic sounding El Cowboy Red to an ear-shattering Nola. They have managed to pull it off. I just love it when artists aren't afraid to mix it up and experiment, rather than being plain and boring. Anyway, I enjoyed it. You can make your mind up. 3.5/5.

Sagarmatha by The Appleseed Cast. Funnily enough, I also enjoyed this. Last.fm tells me that they actually used to be 'indebted' to emo bands like Mineral and The Gloria Record (two of my favourites), but here it is virtually impossible to pick. There's some really cool post-rocky noise going on, that is actually incredibly difficult to articulate. You'll just have to go and check them out. 3/5. (Yeah, I'm becoming more conservative with the ratings and all)

Entertainment! by Gang of Four. They are classed as post-punk, but I really don't agree. They've probably got that label just because they're from the late-70s and liked seedy clubs. That's where the comparison ends. I found it relatively boring, nothing fresh. Again, you'll have to make up your own mind. 2/5.

Fortress by Protest the Hero. Here comes the diversity. This is an exceedingly energetic album, with hooks, riffs and supa rad beatz that'll be leaving you disoriented. I'm mainly listening to them due to their impressive technicality, even though the vocalist sounds lame and poppy. Pretty cool, I've got 2 of their other albums which are awesome. 3.5/5.

Friday, February 12, 2010

General Listening

I had the download count reset a few days ago, so I'm back at download speeds of 900+ kb/s with a phenomenal amount of new music. I won't write them all down at once, but I'll spread them out over a few entries.

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes. This is absurdly good, I've listened to it about 6 times back-to-back, and that's just today. There's some really great fusions of gutsy folk and blues, that are just shoe stompin' goodness. I love it when each track sounds different from the last, but on this album, each track has a different theme! Ah, man. Brilliant. 4/5.

Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons. I was a bit apprehensive about this at first, mainly due to the commercial outburst of 'Little Lion Man'; but surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I heard it for the first time on the bus today, and in all seriousness, the album moved me. I know it sounds 'wussy' or whatever, but I don't care. It just did. I'm reminded of an intensive epic poem when listening from beginning to end, experiencing a million emotions. I'm so, so glad. As soon as I get a chance, I'm buying this. Sadly, I think that with their next album, they'll break through as a commercial band...then we are faced with their music being played to death on every radio station/commercial/dumb ass kid's iPod. Oh well, in the meantime, enjoy it. 4.5/5.

xx by The xx. Kind of like being stuck in a sweaty, filthy indie club with little room to breathe and little room for individualism. Seriously, you aren't kidding anybody with hushed vocals. 2/5.

Monday, February 8, 2010

General Listening

I'm pretty stoked that I've got 100 views on this page already...haha, it might have something to do with all the shameless advertising I've been doing. I've got just a little experiment, if you are reading this; can you pretty please 'follow' the blog? I'd really like that.

Now, I've been tied up like a sexual deviant to the dominatrix of Year 12 lately, so much of what I've been listening to has been generally mellowed out study-music. Does that means it's terrible? Oh god no. I've even found a few new artists!

Too Much Too Soon by New York Dolls. I didn't enjoy it, although I have only listened to it once all the way through, and a few random tracks here and there. The repetition gets to me too much; each song is like the last. 2/5.

Broken Social Scene by Broken Social Scene. This album blew me away, no exaggeration. I never thought I could describe an album as sprawly and erratic, but absolutely love it at the same time. It's hard to describe their sound, but think experimental pop/post-rock/avant garde...and you might be getting close. The density of the album was what initially attracted me. I have no idea how many musicians are in the band, but in tracks such as 'Ibi Dreams of a Pavement' its nearly impossible to count the instruments. There seems to be a pattern with albums that I've been getting into lately, and this one perpetuates the trend. 3.5/5.

Argh. Right now it's 5 minutes to midnight and I've got to be up at 6am. I was initially intending to write more. Well, I guess its goodnight then.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Albums and the Like

Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors. I found this on last.fm and yes, I did enjoy it. New York seems to be the place to be for the funky art-house kids like this experimental pop outfit. Some of the tracks like 'Temecula Sunrise' are magnificently crafted nylon-acoustics that drift of into euphoric highs. On the subject of instrumentation, I loved the amalgamation of digital sampling and the somewhat 'revolutionary' practice of playing an instrument. For me, it signaled an equilibrium between surrealism and realism; an absolute key for the genre. Similar artists that I also like: Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Panda Bear and Atlas Sound. 3.5/5.

Grammatics by Gramatics. Pissy vocals. Misdirection. General shittiness. 1/10.

Romance is Boring by Los Campesinos! Yeah, I don't know. It's pretty much identical to the other two albums, seriously. As a test, I listened to all three this afternoon in one sitting and I couldn't tell where one album ended and the other begun. Also, the length is way out of wack - 15 tracks. Far too ambitious and overly-endearing. They seem to have fallen into the trap of contentment with their fan-base, and are just playing to them with little or no experimentation. 2/5.

Fits by White Denim. YES! Finally, here comes the positiveness! This record is a refreshing listen to (what I think) is a re-vamping of the garage punk genre. Some really complex, brain shattering riffs. Great experimentation on 'Radio Milk How Can You Stand It?'. Wonderfully crafted. 4/5.

Yep, that's it for now...more to come.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gig: Youthie

I went to the Youthie last night, mainly to watch a band made up of friends. They're called Romeros, and yeah, they are pretty good. The venue is starting to get a little small given the fairly recent influx of dumb-ass scene kids. All in all, I had a pretty good night, even though I was feeling incredibly sick. This year is going to kill me.

Oh well, three bands played last night:

1. Romeros
2. Red Letter Day
3. Four Degrees Hotter

Four Degrees Hotter were absolutely woeful, that is, if you actually enjoy out-of-time/shitty ACDC covers. From memory I think they played two originals, which were also terrible. Why were they terrible? Well, other than having a vocalist that sounded like Kurt Cobain with laryngitis, they couldn't hold down a decent beat, and just can't write music, at all....let alone play. I got so frustrated I went into the back room. 0/5.

Red Letter Day were also terrible; they also played out of time, out of tune, got lyrics wrong, and were generic. I couldn't really get into it. It was kind of awkward how everybody else was dancing, yet I just couldn't bring myself to move - even the lead singer (forgot his name) yelled out, 'Hey kid in the Sonic Youth shirt, why aren't you dancing?!' Yeah, good. The set was sloppy and I could barely distinguish the separate sounds of the different instruments - that probably had something to do with the fact that three microphones were positioned on each amp...great, eh? 2/5.

Romeros were very good. That isn't coming from someone that has such close ties with the band...I really mean it. They are starting to mature really well. They're even starting to get some noisey/ambiance about them...I'm excited. They even played the two new demo tracks that I wanted to hear. I also finally got around to purchasing their EP, even though I already have a digital copy - I'll write a review...and yes Dean, I might do one of the Crouching 80s EP as well. You'll have to keep reading this because I'm not going to be on facebook for a while.

Speaking of purchasing music/being a cheap bastard, I think that I'm going to change my philosophy. From next year, I am only going to buy music...and that's a promise. I think the experience of going to a dimly-lit record store is far more enjoyable than waiting 5 minutes for a download to complete.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Genre: Emo

Wait...I'm gonna talk 'bout the good kind of emo, not the shitty My Chemical Romance type. I've been listening to stacks of first and second wave emo music lately, maybe it's because I'm a miserable bastard. Here's a few albums by various artists that have been passing through my headphones (yes, headphones...not the awful ear-bud ones).

American Football by American Football. This is their first and only full-length, which is a real shame because they're one of my favourite 90s emo bands. Overall the tone is soft, and almost surreal. You can really hear depth in the lyrical quality, almost multi dimensional as it entwines at various stages with the music at melodic highs. This is a great album to listen to just before going to sleep, or in my case, trying to go to sleep. 4.5/5.

Analphabetapolothology by Cap'n Jazz. This band is pretty awesome, but this particular album is more of a retrospective of their complete recorded works. Full of sporadic moments that pound the ears, and nourish the mind. Absolutely loaded with incandescent genius and hyperactive brilliance. 4/5.

Split by Moss Icon and Silver Bearing. Moss Icon are one of my favourite bands of all time, but I hadn't heard of them doing a split with Silver Bearing...and even worse I hadn't noticed it sitting in my library, staring me in the face. It's a unique fusion of the angsty early-hardcore elements of Moss Icon, with the obscurity of Silver Bearing. I can find it at times to be a little overbearing, and perhaps the frequent breakdowns do seem a little self-indulgent. 3/5.

I've been listening to way more, but school work is really starting to catch up on me. Stay tuned

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Band: Trash Talk

Now I'm really showing the diversity of what I've been listening to lately; yesterday it was mellow indie/hip-hop, and today it's fast paced hardcore. Now, for those that know me fairly well, you'll know that I absolutely love hardcore in just about every form ('cept most generic post-hardcore posers). The crowd that hang around hardcore gigs are generally dickheads, but I try to ignore them the best I can.

Now, enter Trash Talk. This is bloody fantastic material. I've yet to discover any band (even some of the all-time faves) which have managed to rack up 200+ plays in just a few days. They are defined by their pace and aggression which just makes me want to crack a bottle on someone's head and wreak havoc. Pretty cool, eh?

Well, here's what I've got sitting in my library:

1. Walking Disease EP
2. Self-Titled
3. Plagues
4. Steel Trap/Trash Talk Split
5. 2005 Demo
6. Live at United Blood 2008

What really sets Trash Talk apart from the rest of the angsty hardcore kiddies is the song length. Now, song length is key for music of this intensity. Each track on Walking Disease EP and Self-Titled sits at around 40-60 seconds, which really helps to condense a piece of work which can actually be listened to from start to finish without having to pause and conduct relaxation techniques.

I also found the lyrics to be quite exceptional as well, since they compliment the strong (to say the least) riffs and drumming to a full extent. You'd love lines like 'rip me, stab me, pull me, fuck me...' too, yeah?

I wouldn't recommend listening to their material if you're fairly new to hardcore as this is pretty much as heavy as it gets before crossing into trashcore. Seasoned listeners are required.

4/5.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Band: Why?

In this new open-minded attitude I'm trying to adopt, I decided to take some baby steps and dabble into some alternative/indie/hip-hop. At first it might seem at little ambitious to fuse such genres together, but I really enjoyed the product; that is, product of Why?

Now for the music (haha, it's becoming a bit of a catchphrase!). The following are the albums I have sitting in my library:

1. Elephant Eyelash
2. Alopecia
3. The Early Whitney EP
4. Miss Ohio's Nameless
5. Rubber Traits EP
6. Sanddollars EP
7. The Hollows

All in all, it's a fairly impressive discography if I might say so. In particular, Elephant Eyelash contains some interesting experimentation that doesn't particularly have an orthodox feel for a hip-hop/indie record. They are eager to chop from lo-fi, avant garde, prog, rock...so I guess it's suiting that they're signed to AntiCon Records.

Lyrically they also stand out from the crowd. The traditional lyrical rulebook for hip-hop is thrown out the window for a more refreshing taste of a genre that seems to frequently be coming under the spell of generic 'homeboy' type clones.

Apparently there are several projects by the members of the band, so I'll have to locate a few records by 'em and write up some reviews.

3.5/5.

Several Albums

Since my fairly recent foray into the wonderful world of blogspot, I've been discovering several unheard of and fantastic-o math rock/noise bands. So, for this entry, I will dedicate my discoveries solely to obscure music.

How To Survive a Sneak Attack by Wild Catting. These guys are very much unheard of from Michigan, and you'll probably only be able to find them through blogspot. They've got some really cool noise/post-rock ambiance about them combined with strong mathy jams. I really enjoyed this. All of the song titles are verbs, which I also thought was pretty cool. 3/5.

Victorialand by Cats And Cats And Cats. Watch these guys; they're going places very quickly. I found this to be a lyrical standout with melodic backings that make me want to drift off to a faraway land (in a good way, of course). Like the Wild Catting album, I'd class it as post-rock/math rock, just because of the complex riffs and melodic vocals. I can't really emphasise just how great the vocals are on this band when combined with strong sampling effects. 4/5.

Of the Body Prone by Ahleuchatistas. Here's some real good avant-garde stuff right 'ere kiddies. I found this long EP/album to be tightly composed, topped full to the brim with impressionistic textures and completely unpredictable with spontaneous changes in time signatures and direction. Think early Captain Beefheart. 3.5/5.

Demo by Zorch. I really didn't enjoy this, at all. They are just too reliant on sampling/laptops. It seems too forced, too fake and a pitiful attempt at being 'cool'. 1/5.

Church Gone Wild/Chirpin' Hard by Hella. Another one of Zach Hill's musical endeavours, I really like this guy. His work is becoming increasingly popular, and here in this dancetastic math-rock collective, I can see why. This album is incredibly technical and intricate, yet highly spastic and eccentric. I love how they can minimally arrange this album and retain a highly idiosyncratic melody. 4/5.

I think that's enough for you, all two of my loyal readers. Now go forth, and spread the seed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bare Arms

As good as it gets, seriously. This band has me dancing for joy for the future of post-hardcore! Finally, a p/h group that doesn't sound exactly like 1000s of other 'bands' like A Day To Remember, Alesana and all that rubbish.

As a bonus, they're local too. Unsigned and unheard of - WIN WIN WIN!

Now, for the music. They've only released a self-titled five-track EP and a few demos, that are awash with lyrical complexity, bass oriented direction, and a kick ass female lead singer that shreds hard.

Of particular note is the track 'The Refrain' on the self-titled EP. I've pretty much had this on repeat for four days now and it amazes me. The opening crescendo and bass line gives me shivers.

I've heard along the grapevine that they might just be touring in my town, so that'll be pretty awesome

I've posted two links, from which you will be able to find their material as free downloads.



Hugh.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Band: Reatards

Well, Hughie needs to get with the times. This garage-punk outfit rock as hard as I could hope for with catchy riffs, wailing vocals and lyrics that make me cringe - 'did he just say that?!'

Apparently, the front man, Jay Reatard, died fairly recently. I'm upset about this and yet I've only been listening to them for a few days. For me, I think that's a strong indicator for a good group; getting attached and dragged in a short period of time. Hardly any bands do that to me.

Now, for the music. The various melodies, loops and riffs remind me heavily of an angsty second-coming of Ramones. This is a winner. I really can't be bothered writing up a review for each individual album, but here's a list of what I've got sitting in my library (listed in order of preference):

1. Not Fucked Enough
2.Grown Up, Fucked Up
3. Teenage Hate
4. Bedroom Disasters

I'd imagine there'd be more material floating around cyberspace, but hey, those albums are an excellent starting point. I put Bedroom Disasters last as it isn't particularly compact; it seems to be like Sonic Youth's Dirty -just a mashing of tracks with no direction.

One facet of their work that I really like is the song length. For me, length is everything. I have the attention span of a fourteen year old on Viagra when it comes to music, and with an average song length of 1-2 minutes; I am suddenly calmed down.

Also, the dude that died - Jay Reatard, has solo material. I'd get on that shit too.

Hugh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

#01 Exploding Head By A Place to Bury Strangers

[I just realised I have misspelled the URL of this blog, oh well, I'll live]

A Place to Bury Strangers (alongside My Bloody Valentine) are the band/s that prompted my fascination with the genre of shoegaze. Now enter the new album, Exploding Head that was released on the 12th of October 2009. It was an album that I have truly enjoyed and, I would even love to see them perform live in their upcoming tour, but, I've got other commitments. I know I'm a bit late, but hey, you can't rush it.

Now for the music. In this album APTB certainly to not abandon their reputation as 'New York City's loudest band'. I really love how they whisper their lyrics alongside a heavy sound that leave your ears stunned. It's a real treat.

Below I've posted a link to what is, in my opinion, the best track on the album. It reflects the overall feel of the album in it's entirety.


On a negative note, I really feel disconcerted that Exploding Head is so similar to the previous Self-Titled album. For me, it signifies no progression and exploration of sound. This negative aspect is offset by the sheer experimentation of APTBS, which I find as being a truly admirable trait in any band.

As a final verdict, Exploding Head does live up to it's heavy, loud and rhythmic name that concludes in a sensory overload.

3.5/5

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh Man! Not Another Elitist Blog!?

Well, here we are...yet again. I've tried my hand at blogging, but I never seem to be able to sustain it regularly, but I'll try with this one.

As you might have gathered from the title, this is a blog dedicated to chronicling bands that I like, or that I've discovered. And you know, it'll help sharpen my creative writing. Sure, if I go to a few gigs, I'll be sure to write up a review.

What music tastes will this cater for?

Well, it'll obviously cater for mine. So if you like noise, post-punk, hardcore, alternative, indie, lo-fi, folk, blues, avant-garde and really weird shit - this is for you.

So yeah, that's all I have to say for the moment, but stay tuned.

Hugh.