College is making this hard. I want to keep writing reviews though. So I’m doing it.
The Men is a four-piece band from Brooklyn who seem to write a pretty large assortment of music, ranging from post punk, to noise, to doom, and pretty much everything in between. Leave Home is their third release on Sacred Bones records.
I’m just going to begin this by saying that there are a lot of aspects to this album that I really love. The overall sound is great because it was all recorded to tape which really gives it that old DIY punk feel. The energy radiating from this LP is so tangible that when I listen to it I feel like I’m actually listening to them live. It’s pretty incredible and it’s nice to have a refreshing take on the recording process.
The way this album is mixed couldn’t be better either. The vocals are never over-bearing, and everything comes through pretty well (as well as they can for being recorded to tape). The drums sound really thrashy and abrasive, the guitar and bass both sound muddy and distorted, and even the vocals have quite a bit of distortion on them that make them almost sound more like just another guitar track. The sound isn’t too diverse, but it works well with the energy this band has.
In theory, this album should be incredible, but there are a couple things that really hold this LP back from being amazing.
The biggest complaint I have about this LP is that even though the whole thing is bounding with energy, no aspect of it has any personality. If you look at a band like Fugazi, every aspect practically all of their records have a ton of personality. Everything from the vocals to the drums has something unique and interesting about them, but The Men rely on raw energy alone. I get the same vibe from The Men as I would with a cover band.
Another thing this album suffers from is a lack of consistency. The Men have a hard time finding their sound and sticking to it. I feel like almost every song on this album is trying to do something vastly different than the others. It makes it feel like the album isn’t one cohesive piece of work but instead a random collection of songs.
I do think fans of post punk and noise should give this album a try because it does have that old punk charm to it that I found really easy to latch onto. If you can look over the lack of personality and bipolar feel of this album, there is something quite good here. For me though, those two things really kept me from enjoying this album as much as I thought I would. This is a light 7 for me, but what did you think? Any suggestions for what I review next? (within the last couple years)
If You Leave…:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwPbG09kVI4
Shttin’ With the Shah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_lYl6AO5aA
Artists you might also like: Fugazi, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Rites of Spring, Drive Like Jehu, Iceage
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Where does the time go? Time for another album review.
True Widow is a three-piece “stonegaze” band from Texas. As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center of the Circumference of the Earth is their sophomore release on Kemado records.
If I had to describe this LP in one word, it would be “groovey”. I mean this quite literally, every single song on this LP has this very smooth, slow groove to it. I can’t help but find my body swaying back and forth every time I listen to this record. A lot of this has to do with how well the instrumentals blend together with one another. The bass and guitar tones are both very heavy and have that nice, warm, tube-driven break-up to them that create this massive wall of sound. The guitar is also dropped pretty heavily on some of the tracks which make the bass and guitar tones that much harder to distinguish from one another. The drums on this record actually take back seat to everything else and are pretty low in the mix. The beats are really simple, but it just adds to the cohesiveness of the instrumentals. Oddly enough, the hi-hat and tambourine are what really stick out to me in the drum section. Both just really drive the song forward and contribute to that whole “groove” feel.
This record is not technical or flashy at all. Some of the songs, like the opener “Jackyl”, rely on pretty much a single note the whole time. This might seem like a turn off, but it just works so well for their sound. The whole LP feels so relaxed. More than anything, this LP is driven pretty much purely by tone. The bass tone in this LP is seriously perfect. It’s the tone every bassist is (or at least should be) aspiring to.
The vocals on this LP do what the instrumentals are doing in that they just blend in with everything that’s going on. The delivery is slow, drawn out, and relaxed. They are also pretty heavily laced with reverb which makes them blend in even more.
The only real problem I have with this album is that there are a lot of songs on here that sound a little too similar. After four tracks or so I get pretty tired of listening to the same slow grooves and there’s just not a whole lot this LP has to offer besides that.
I can’t really imagine anyone disliking this LP. It’s an easy listen, it’s not really pushing any boundaries, but it does succeed in being a very laid-back and groove-heavy rock record. This is a decent 8/10 for me, I enjoy it a lot but I just it had a little more to offer. What did you think though? Love it? Hate it? And what do you think I should review next? (Make it within the couple years or so).
Blooden Horse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59Tgf3cBceo&feature=related
Artists you might also enjoy: Worker Bee, Family Room, Doctor Nurse, Earth.
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Now, now is the time. Now is the time for another review. I’ve decided to review an…avant garde? Noise? Jazz? Record? I really don’t know what to call it exactly because it’s unlike anything I’ve really listened to. I feel like I have played similar music though with Rusty People (about two of you know what I’m talking about). Little women is a four piece band from New York, but they feature a pretty strange lineup. They have one guitar player, a drummer, and two saxophone players (one tenor and one alto). Little Women’s album, “Throat”, was released in April of last year on AUM Fidelity records. The first thing I want to say about this record is that I don’t really think of this record as a collection of songs, but more as a “sound experience”. I know only a very few amount of people will be able to appreciate this record, but I think if you give it a chance, you might find something pretty interesting in here. And by “pretty interesting”, I mean completely disorienting and downright frightening. I’ve really never had an album make me feel the way this one does, and I’m always very hesitant on revisiting it because it’s something that’s just so ugly and so intense that it’s really hard to take sometimes. If I have this record on just in the background while I’m doing something, it’s pretty desensitizing and boarders on annoying, but when I’m listening to this with headphones on, alone, only focusing on the record, it literally makes me feel like I’m going insane and I just feel like screaming and sobbing and I just want to tear off all my clothes. The strangest thing about this whole thing is there are no effects on any of the instruments. Everything is very raw. Even the guitar tone is stripped down to just a standard clean tone. There’s not an ounce of reverb on anything and it’s so interesting to me that this band was able to provoke such emotions out of me with all of these very bare sounding instruments. Most tracks on here I feel are all trying to do the same thing; essentially pulverize your mind and make you feel like you are going insane. There is one oddball here though, and that is the track “Throat IV”, which actually ends up sounding very pretty in certain parts, and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Listening to this track on its own, I’m able to appreciate how beautiful this track is, but in the context of the album it just makes me feel like I’m going even more crazy because there’s this random curveball that is sent your way and I just can’t wrap my mind around what is happening. I know the majority of the people who end up listening to this thing will just dismiss it as “a bunch of noise”, but I really think there is something more going on here. If you really focus hard on this thing, there is definitely a purpose and an emotion Little Women is trying to get at, and I believe they really succeed. This album is a strong 8 for me, it’s pretty incredible but also just really out there and it makes it hard for me to revisit this record. What do you think though? Love it? Hate it? Why? Also, what should I review next? Rating: 8/10 Favorite Tracks: Artists you might also enjoy: Rusty People, The musical styling’s of John Morrow. If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Now, now is the time. Now is the time for another review.
I’ve decided to review an…avant garde? Noise? Jazz? Record? I really don’t know what to call it exactly because it’s unlike anything I’ve really listened to. I feel like I have played similar music though with Rusty People (about two of you know what I’m talking about).
Little women is a four piece band from New York, but they feature a pretty strange lineup. They have one guitar player, a drummer, and two saxophone players (one tenor and one alto). Little Women’s album, “Throat”, was released in April of last year on AUM Fidelity records.
The first thing I want to say about this record is that I don’t really think of this record as a collection of songs, but more as a “sound experience”. I know only a very few amount of people will be able to appreciate this record, but I think if you give it a chance, you might find something pretty interesting in here. And by “pretty interesting”, I mean completely disorienting and downright frightening. I’ve really never had an album make me feel the way this one does, and I’m always very hesitant on revisiting it because it’s something that’s just so ugly and so intense that it’s really hard to take sometimes. If I have this record on just in the background while I’m doing something, it’s pretty desensitizing and boarders on annoying, but when I’m listening to this with headphones on, alone, only focusing on the record, it literally makes me feel like I’m going insane and I just feel like screaming and sobbing and I just want to tear off all my clothes.
The strangest thing about this whole thing is there are no effects on any of the instruments. Everything is very raw. Even the guitar tone is stripped down to just a standard clean tone. There’s not an ounce of reverb on anything and it’s so interesting to me that this band was able to provoke such emotions out of me with all of these very bare sounding instruments.
Most tracks on here I feel are all trying to do the same thing; essentially pulverize your mind and make you feel like you are going insane. There is one oddball here though, and that is the track “Throat IV”, which actually ends up sounding very pretty in certain parts, and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Listening to this track on its own, I’m able to appreciate how beautiful this track is, but in the context of the album it just makes me feel like I’m going even more crazy because there’s this random curveball that is sent your way and I just can’t wrap my mind around what is happening.
I know the majority of the people who end up listening to this thing will just dismiss it as “a bunch of noise”, but I really think there is something more going on here. If you really focus hard on this thing, there is definitely a purpose and an emotion Little Women is trying to get at, and I believe they really succeed. This album is a strong 8 for me, it’s pretty incredible but also just really out there and it makes it hard for me to revisit this record. What do you think though? Love it? Hate it? Why? Also, what should I review next?
Artists you might also enjoy: Rusty People, The musical styling’s of John Morrow.
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Time for a LOCAL…hip…hop…review? I guess?
Shabazz Palaces is a hip-hop group from Seattle, signed to Sub-Pop Records. “Black-up” is the first full length LP they have released.
Just as a precursor to this review, you have to understand that I generally don’t listen to hip-hop, but due to all the accolades this album has received thus far, I decided to give it a chance.
I was actually pleasently surprised on everything happening in the background of this album. There are a lot of things that really made my ears perk up when I heard them. The beats, the electronics, the samples, the instrumentals, are all pretty well executed throughout this entire album. This is especially true on the opening track “free press and curl”, where it starts with all of these interesting ambient noises before the actual beat kicks in. I really like the beat on this track too actually, every time the synth is used, it goes from being panned from the right to the left. It creates this really cool effect where it sort of feel like the sound is running from one ear and runs through your head until it hits the other ear. It’s not all perfect, on pretty much every track there is a part in the song where it will relapse into the very cliché sounding beats and cuts away anything that made the rest of the song interesting.
Even though everything in the background of this album is pretty good and interesting, I have a major gripe with the vocals, and even the lyrics throughout a good portion of this album. The vocals just have that same relaxed, “cool”, pretentious (in my opinion) delivery that is almost always included in hip-hop. It’s just something I have a really hard time getting over, especially because they are so loud and prominent in the mix so I can’t really avoid them. I was hoping some of the lyrics would at least save the experience for me, but it’s really nothing I haven’t heard before. Rappers just need to stop talking about how much better they are than other rappers/people. It irks me so much just because they all act like it is some competition and they want to persuade me that they are winning it. Not all the lyrics are guilty of this though, and there are some rhymes that I thought were really well executed, but those other lyrical moments really just ruin the experience for me.
The last thing I want to talk about are the female vocals on this album. These were actually some of the higher moments on the album for me and I really wish they were utilized more often. They’re very sweet and smooth and are a great break from the rest of the vocals that I’m not particularly a fan of. They really saved some tracks for me. “Recollections of the wraith” would normally be one of my least favorite tracks on this LP, but those female vocals just sound so good and meld so well with the bass that I can really get lost in them.
“Black-Up” was a hard listen for me. I really feel like I should like this LP, but I just don’t. I know a lot of people who are into hip-hop will find this to LP to be pretty enjoyable (the Stranger gave them a “Music Genius” award), but I just can’t get that into it. I guess this is just a testament that a lot of music is personal and subjective. I’m feeling a decent 5 on this, it is not awful, but I do not see myself listening to this LP again in the near future. What do you think though? Love it? Hate it? Why? Any suggestions for what I should review next? (has to be within the last year or so).
Free Press and Curl:
Swerve…The reeping of all that is worthwhile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znDsRydk3_w
Endeavors for Never:
Recollections of the wraith:
Artists you might also enjoy: …I don’t listen to much hip-hop, but I do like Death Grips, which is not like this at all.
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Once again, it’s time for another LOCAL album review.
Seacats is a five piece pop rock band from Kelso and “Metal Music” is their first release. The record is about 40 minutes long, spanning 12 tracks.
I had heard a good amount of buzz about these guys before I decided to listen to their record and so my expectations were pretty high. When I put the record on, I was startled because it was obvious from the first track that this was a power-pop/pop-rock album. I had heard really good things about these guys before I listened to them from people who I really trust when it comes to taste in music but…this is power-pop. There’s no way it can be good, right? That’s what I initially thought when I started listening to this but I decided I would give it a fair chance before just dismissing it as another garbage power-pop record.
I think it was the third time I was listening to this record that things just clicked. I was able to swallow my musical pride and enjoy it for what it is, a simple, catchy, fun pop rock album. What made this record actually enjoyable for me though is the fact that despite its’ pop roots, there are very few gimmicky aspects to it that are usually way to prevalent in a typical pop album.
In fact, I really only had problems with two of the tracks on here, Aluminum and Broken Star. Aluminum has stereotypical sounding palm-muted guitars and a cheesy guitar solo that just make it sound so formulaic. The one redeeming quality to that track is the fact that in the lyrics, they recognize that the song does sound that way, but for me, that one line doesn’t just make everything okay. Broken Star starts out good, but as soon as the chorus hits it really goes downhill for me. It just sounds very typical and boring.
These two tracks certainly don’t ruin this record for me though, because the rest of the ten tracks are all pretty enjoyable. The thing I really admire about the rest of the album is how it’s willing to really step outside of its’ genre and experiment with it. The most obvious example of this is one of my favorite tracks, “Hard Truth”, where they break into a very country-influenced style but bend it to their own sound so it doesn’t sound out of place on the record.
There are also a lot electronic noises and softer tracks on here that are a nice break from what I would normally find on a pop rock album. On these more electronic tracks, I really feel a strong influence from bands like the Postal Service. Another really notable influence is Weezer, and maybe even a bit of Motion City Soundtrack. I also sense a bit of Dinosaur Jr., but that might be just because the vocalist who sings on tracks like “We don’t sleep” has a voice very reminiscent of J. Mascis.
One last thing I like about this album is it’s not afraid to throw a little humor in there. On the song “The K”, it talks about not wanting to listen to metal music anymore and throws in a breakdown in the final stretch of the song. This song hit close to home for me and so I found it hilarious and the fact that there was a super cheesy breakdown in it only made it better. It really works in the album’s favor too because even though it’s being humorous, the song itself is still good. This record never sacrifices sound just for a laugh which is exactly the way it should be
This record was a pleasant surprise for me. It helped me personally sort of “renew my faith” in pop-rock. It also teaches a lesson to never dismiss certain genres of music because the music should speak for itself. Other bands in this genre should really look to these guys and realize that it’s okay to branch out and pull influences from other genres of music because it can really yield positive results. In fact, I wish this band would branch out even more because it works really well for them and it’s always good to be innovative. For me, this album is a strong 6 to a light 7, I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I thought I would. What did you think though? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next?
Favorite Tracks: Zombie, The K, We Don’t Sleep, Hard Truth, Take You On
(Listen Here: http://seacats.bandcamp.com/ or just buy the whole thing for less than 2 dollars!)
Artists you might also enjoy: The Postal Service, The Cat From Hue, Candysound
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
HOLD ON! THIS BAND HAS THEIR ALBUM FOR FREE ON THEIR BANDCAMP! GO DOWNLOAD IT! (Link at the bottom of the review)
Time for not just another review, but a LOCAL review. Once again if you’re tagged, it means I’m interested in hearing your opinion on the album or I think you might enjoy it.
Herocop is a three piece band from Seattle, specializing in the math-rock genre. Tukwila Mockingbird is their second release on God Sags his Pants records.
Tukwila Mockingbird is a short, but sweet album clocking in around 25 minutes. It’s also a much more stripped down release than their previous self-titled release, and while I’m usually all for making things more complicated and adding a lot of layers to songs, in this case I think it actually works much better for them.
The whole album is much more in your face and easier to digest than their previous release so it didn’t take very many listens to know I liked what I was hearing. The sound is so simple, but in no ways incomplete. Every instrument works well with one another and it all just sounds very tight and full. I do think the guitar really stands out the most though; the parts are so technical and interesting, but still easy to listen to. I would mostly attribute this to the fact that the vast majority of this album is tapped which allows the guitar to just sound very sweet and melodic. The drum and bass section really help the songs keep a steady, even pace that drive the whole record and keep everything together.
I’m actually a pretty big fan of the vocals on this album as well. They have a little bit of a bite to them, bordering on a shout at some points but they are capable of being very sweet as well. I really can’t help but feel like they sound a lot like Isaac Brock’s (Modest Mouse) vocals sometimes, they just have a very similar vibe to me. I really wouldn’t be surprised if these guys were at least a little inspired by early Modest Mouse. Even the way everything was mixed and the way the guitar sounds brings me back to Lonesome Crowded West. This is by no means a complaint though, I love the way the album is mixed. I especially love how low the vocals are in the mix, it just makes those near-shouts so much more powerful to me.
Tukwila Mockingbird is a really great, simple, relaxing math-rock album. I find myself coming back to this album all the time just because it’s so accessible and easy to listen to. Whenever I want to take a break and listen to something simple but still have that technical and interesting edge to it, I put this record on. This album is a strong 8 for me, just because even though I love it a lot, it certainly doesn’t do anything too outside the box but it definitely succeeds in what it’s trying to do. What do you think though? Love it? Hate it? Why? What else should I review?
P.S: They put on an amazing live show and it really sucks for everyone who missed them play at Healthy times last Saturday because that was going to be their last show for a while.
Favorite Tracks: Off the Chain, Glial, Higgs Boson (download their entire album for FREE at their bandcamp!: http://godsagshispants.bandcamp.com/album/tukwila-mockingbird)
Artists you might also enjoy: This Town Needs Guns, Girlfriends, Maps and Atlases
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.
Time for another review.
Today I’ve decided to review the newest LP, Ἀποκάλυψις (pronounced “Apokalypsis”), by artist Chelsea Wolfe. This title actually translates to “revelations” and given the mood and song titles of this album, I feel there is something transcendent trying to be achieved through this LP.
The album begins with much more straightforward songs that are very accessible and easy to get into. I find throughout the majority of these more accessible tracks, they have a great groove to them that slowly and steadily push the song forward. Some of these tracks really remind me of something Warpaint or even Blonde Redhead might do. Although I initially found these first few tracks not as captivating as the later ones, as I revisited them I found that they have their own sort of role in the album that makes the album feel like one complete and consistent work.
As the album progresses, the tracks became much more atmospheric and really build until they end up as just huge bodies of sound that are very thick and hypnotizing. I feel as if I’m almost being swallowed by all the sounds being made by the end and it’s just this wonderfully feeling that completely engulfs you. The tracks really start to remind me of something I would find in a Godspeed You! Black Emperor record or even something Sonic youth would do.
There are very obvious influences on this record, but Chelsea manages to really make them her own and mold them to her own sound. The entire album is just so dark and droney. All of the instrumentals really just blend together into one force and there really is no brightness about any of the sounds. Even the drums manage to sound dark with these huge resonating cymbal hits and the whole kit just sounds like it’s a mile away which makes them fit in so perfectly with everything else going on. The vocals are the only thing I could kind of sense some light coming from but they are so breathy and are just dripping with reverb that even they end up getting lost in this dark cloud with the rest of what’s going on.
What I really love about the mix is that even though everything blends together into one body of sound, everything is still so audible and you’re able to pick it apart from the rest of what’s going on. There’s also a ton of really strange, ambient subtleties that permeate through out this whole album. Like on the song “Moses”, there is what I believe to be reverse snare that adds almost a breeze-like sound to the song and really ties together the whole mood. There’s also a lot of what sound like electronic sounds that can be found throughout some of the album but they just sound way too natural and organic to be made artificially. My guess is that it’s just pitch-shifted or reverse guitar but a lot of it still remains a mystery to me. I love all of these little sonic subtleties that Chelsea is using, it makes it so every listen I’m able to latch onto something different and it just makes me want to listen to it again and again.
I found this album to be an amazing experience and I can’t really remember the last time I’ve felt so moved by a single LP. My only gripe with it is I just wish some of the songs would carry on a little longer but other than that, this album really succeeds at everything it sets out to do. I can’t wait to see what Chelsea has in store for the future. I’m giving this a strong 9, breaching 10 territory, it’s just that incredible. I’m really interested in what others thought though. Did you love it? Or Hate it? I’m also taking suggestions for what I should review next.
Favorite Tracks (Listen to the WHOLE THING to get the full experience):
Moses: (Make sure you listen to the version from this LP, not the last one)
Movie Screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oaavh9S0UnA
Artists you might also like: Warpaint, Sonic Youth, Portishead, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Earth, Worker Bee, Blonde Redhead
I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing some album reviews every few days and hopefully turn some people towards music I think is good or keep them away from music I think is horrible.
So today, I’ve decided to review Touché Amoré’s second LP, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Touche Amore is a five piece post hardcore/emocore/screamo/whateveryouwanttocallthatgenre from California. This alone was already sort of a turn off, seeing as a lot of bands in this genre coming from California seem to be especially awful lately. However, I found myself to be quite surprised when I started listening to these guys and actually enjoying a lot of it.
I think the first thing that really struck me while listening to this LP is how high the vocals are in the mix. They can really overpower everything that’s going on which I found to be a pretty big fault in some of these tracks. It was definitely deliberate though, this band really wants you to hear the lyrics over everything else because they have a lot to say. The lyrics on this album really range from being pretty powerful and interesting, to what comes off to me as really overdramatic and corny. There are portions on this album that are really interesting, asking the listener to think about their own funeral and what song would be playing, but there are just so many lines that really just kill it for me, even saying things like “No one really cares”. The album is full of cynicism and hopelessness and although it can be a bit much at times, at least the delivery is genuine. The vocalist has this mid range shout/scream that’s powerful and full of energy, but the problem is there is no variation in his voice.
In fact, there’s not too much variation throughout the whole album which I found to be a pretty big problem. It was especially frustrating when I got to the track “Condolences” where it opens up with this sweet piano that’s swimming in reverb but the vocals kick in that same mid range scream that’s on the rest of the album. Some spoken-word or singing would have just really helped round out this album.
As for the instrumentals of this album, I liked the tone of everything a lot. The guitars were very organic sounding, not too clean and not too distorted, and the drums fit the music really well with bright crashes that sound harsh but really drive the music forward. The bass was especially interesting, it was very warm and clean but it worked well to help round out the sound. The only thing that ever really bothered me was on occasion the beats just sound too poppy, especially on some of the opening tracks.
Overall, this was a pretty decent album. I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it and it was a nice surprise to hear something different coming out of this genre. This album is a strong 6 to light 7 for me. I’m interested in what others thought though.
Favorite Tracks: The Great Repetition, Home Away From Here, Amends
The Great Repetition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZrxOoGcac4
Artists you might also like: The Caution Children, La Dispute
If you enjoyed this album, support the artist.