Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Album Review: Cults - Cults

Another day, another post today it's on the new (and debut) album by indie pop band Cults. I've always thought cults were bad ass, not that I've ever been in one or really want to be in one, but the idea of them seemed cool, plus hilarious when you have groups of idiots like the KKK and religious groups that end up doing a group suicide. The band originated as a two piece consisting of Brian Oblivion (Guitar, Vocals) and Madeline Follin (Vocals) and has now developed into a five piece band.

This album isn't trying to be something elaborate, crazy, over the top, it's merely a pretty solid indie pop album for fans of the genre. The album starts off pretty well with the track abducted incorporating soaring guitar work after a slow start to the album giving people a feel of what to expect, the tempo is strong and positive. After this is the already released Go Outside which fans of Cults pre album days would've heard on the EP also a self titled release.

Go Outside was the best track on that small EP and again it is the same on this album, the vocals are sweet and the lo fi elements add another dimension to the song. The xylophone solo is pretty sweet, another interesting element to the overall song. This album reminds me at times of retro pop tracks, Most wanted does this pretty well, the vocals, the simple beat, the lyrics even do this so well. The xylophone element continues later in the album with the song Never Heal Myself, its cool, but less cool and doesn't really need to be incorporated in this, thankfully it isn't as relative as the earlier track so's to avoid it being a rip off of the earlier song.

I feel the biggest let down on this album is its a little samey, but that's because this band seems to stress simple indie pop tracks. With this in mind the real reason this is cool is the vocals, mainly of Madeline Follin whose sweet voice is for me anyway the highlight of the album.

Overall this isn't an album that shall blow you away, its simple as fuck and won't be talked about in a year, but it is a nice release with cool vocals and at times some interesting elements in the music itself. Which makes this a fun indie pop album for the fans, definitely worth a few listens.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, May 30, 2011

J Williams, Cashing In On Beating His Girl?

Now some of you might have read about Jay Williams the NZ hip hop star..? I don't know if he's a star, I haven't heard a song and hadn't heard of him before I read an article about the incident that made him blog worthy, guessing I'm out of date with what the kids are listening to. The incident in question is from this article  sadly I didn't even flinch when I saw this article, more because I couldn't give a shit about this guy and after reading didn't think very highly of him at all.

To my surprise I read he was an ambassador to the Rugby World Cup, I already think this idea is ridiculous and that hes just as relevant to rugby as another ambassador, former rugby league star and forever a rugby hater Reuben Wiki (nice research whoever chose the ambassadors, DICK!). Do we want hip hop d listers going round trying to encourage people to watch New Zealand's most popular sport? I doubt many of these kids even know who he is, lucky them.

Now to the main idea of this post and that is Mr Williams cashing in on his discretion. Already he has done something incredibly wrong in beating his girlfriend, something that is fuckin disgraceful. Someone should give him a beat down or better yet beat down and later thrown in prison, this might sound harsh but that's how I roll. What made this worse was the fact he wrote her a song when trying to get her back in his life, now the premise of this I don't mind, he's a singer, there's a good chance he speaks better through music. But to release it and essentially make money off this is ridiculous in every way,  its bad enough what he's done but to then use it in a way to make money no matter how sincere the song is makes it merely a tacky and heartless way of cashing in.

This is the song in question, which funnily enough is his hit single, I'm sure now that people know what that its about will feel less for this song. This song has also helped him receive a Pacific Music Award but don't worry they talked to him and found out he was "remorseful, very aware of his responsibility and very aware that there was a public that required more from him." what is he remorseful for? that people found out what he did? he wrote a song that made him money that was about all the wrong things? or that his win has essentially taking any of the awards spotlight away from the other winners because he has it for all the wrong reasons?

No matter how you look at it all, as a person J Williams shouldn't be respected, now that it has come to light he used his indiscretion to cash in, he shouldn't be respected as a musician either and I hope he never sees another NZ On Air cent.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Live Review: Cut Copy San Francisco Bath House Wellington New Zealand

It's been a while my blog reading friends, MF DOOM the last in fact, but thankfully Cut Copy took place Wednesday night to end the gig drought. Was this gig worth the $45 ticket price? a resounding yes is the answer with the Australian Synth Pop, electro rock, dance pop whatever you wanna call them act playing their first club show in New Zealand at the very nice (but smallish) San Francisco Bath House (capacity of about 500). The change in venue size must've been interesting for the band coming off playing Coachella festival recently to a massive crowd.

Before Cut Copy we had the warm up act Ruby Frost to start us off, having never heard any of her music I didn't know what to expect but she was really cool. She reminded me of Zola Jesus at times, particularly in the vocal style and interesting music that backs her. The synth combined with drummer and David Farrier look a like was superb, the crowd that had showed up early seemed to really dig what she was doing, definitely interested in checking this band out again live.

Now for Cut Copy who we were all here to see, the gig was sold out and I had heard really good things about the live show and what hit us was a dance music explosion. The band mainly played tracks from arguably the top 2 (of 3) albums In Ghost Colours and the newest album Zonoscope, with tracks like Lights and Music, So Haunted, Hearts on Fire from In Ghost Colours really getting the crowd into this. While Take Me Over, Where I'm Going, Pharoahs & Pyramids, Corner Of The Sky from Zonoscope being standouts during the set.

Now what I really enjoyed about how these dudes performed was the fact they showed not only they wanted to be there, but the enjoyment and energy from the band was incredible. The crowd responded with similar energy on the floor, with an incredible atmosphere to be involved in. Moments that took the energy of the place to the next level were the instrumental breakdown on So Haunted and the chorus on Hearts on Fire, everyone in the place was going mental by this stage. Not only the musical parts were amazing but Tim Hoey the guitarist of the band was at times a man possessed with his insane dancing with maracas during a track and him incorporating not only a drum stick to help play his guitar but also the speakers, really showing a strong desire to give it everything.

Now I've left a couple of tracks off that should get a mention, those were part of the encore performance, the crowd certainly showed their desire to hear more and the band came back on and played two songs for us. Those were the single of the latest album Need You Now, my favourite song on In Ghost Colours and my favourite song from the bands catalogue Out There On The Ice, bands playing your favourite song is always a real treat, LCD earlier this year, Sufjan did the same and now Cut Copy. I made my feelings of how great this was of them to do when I got the chance to meet the guitarist Tim as I was watching the end of the State of Origin match later that night, he was a very nice guy and very appreciative of my comments about the band during our chat.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Album Review: Liturgy - Aesthethica

Dear Sorbo

you call yourself a music blogger but haven't at any stage reviewed an album from the best genre in the world, METAL \m/ \m/

stop being a pansy bitch and review a REAL ALBUM

have a metal day

from hendrixthebest666

So I got this message and realised that I hadn't really acknowledged METAL at all on this blog, its weird I used to be such a metalhead...well sort of, I had all the metal shirts, went to the shows and listened to mostly metal. One problem is there isn't a lot of metal worth reviewing right now, now of course Pridmordials new album is out, I'll get to that eventually, but what did you want me to review? new Protest The Hero!?!?, no you can't put me through that. So to the album review, this is the fourth album by the black metal act Liturgy, I'm not the biggest of black metal fans around more because there's a fair amount of loss that surrounds the small quality albums out there.

Before I got to a first listen I was told great things about this release so my expectations were very high, thankfully this exceeds everything I had expected as it wasn't to me a stock standard black metal album. For a start the production is really nice, this one isn't trying to be too tr00 with shitty production instead the album is much smoother and lets the instruments flourish. The instruments on this album certainly do flourish, with it giving off an incredible prog metal vibe, the noodly guitars are something you get hit with a lot of this album.

While this is cool it takes away from any possible atmosphere the album might wish to include, I love atmosphere in my music particularly heavier music ala Sunn O)))'s Black One which has atmosphere that gives you such incredible visual images through their music. Again the prog guitars and occasional moment of classic metal blocks this and hark back to bands like a much metaler Rush or even Black Sabbath. Early in this album you get a strong blast of black metal with strong screams, powerful blast beats and some "in your face" guitar work and as this album progresses so doth the sound. The Early parts of Veins of God remind me of Black Sabbath, these ideas make this album very awkwardly sounding, but the way they make it sound gets it all to work. The final track Harmonia the end track is by far my favourite, after the chanting interlude the album explodes with all its heaviness to put to rest anyone thinking this isn't a strong release.

Overall its a strong and intriguing album, not that I expected, this is long winded with prog moments that keep you pining for what they shall come up with next, with incredible instrumental workings and a strong vocal presence when needed, this album is a metal listeners dream and something you will (hopefully) end up listening to a lot.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Album Review: Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See

This shall be a difficult task for me, I'm a huge Arctic Monkeys fan so theres going to be a little bias to whats written, not too much but to call this an unbias review would be a load of shit. This is their fourth album, I love the first three with Favourite Worst Nightmare being my favourite. The last album Humbug totally moved away from the faster sound of the first two, showing that they were maturing in their music more and more (with the help of Josh Homme). I still think Humbug is there worst release as it moved away from the raw, "Play as fast as we can" attitude that were probably my favourite parts of the band, there were teasing moments that they were to continue this on Humbug particularly with the song Pretty Visitors however it was just a slower, maturer album.

This one takes them to another level of maturity, the guitar sound is more refined, the drums move away from the usual sound of up-tempo to a slower but booming sound. This is definitely another loud album, but again everything about it is much more refined, perhaps even too refined for my liking, the lack of rawness to the sound  on this album is a real shame as they're trying to become somewhat of an overproduced rock band now, when before they seemed to be all about making songs fast, loud and about chavy issues.

Another thing is that of the lyrics, with the maturity comes the change in lyrics, the sense of these dudes being tracksuit wearing chavs is gone now, not really even a hint of what was there before a shame really when this was some of my favourite parts of the album and what's been replaced is kind of a mash up of weird "trying too hard" to be young lyrics which I don't feel as strongly about.

While I seem to be beating up on them a little here I still enjoy the album enough, there's moments that show explosive drumming and heavier than usual guitar work things that you wouldn't expect from them but at the same time are quite cool. Alex Turner might not have the soaring yet straining vocals that were great, instead he's replaced them with a much more conservative quieter style and incredibly clean sounding something that he touched on Humbug.

Songs like Reckless Serenade, Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair and Black Treacle all are different to what has been done but still posses the Arctic Monkey's swagger that they've always shown no matter what the song is. Don't Sit Down creates a darker guitar sound, a heavier overall musical sound, combined with some soaring vocals create a pretty strong single. My favourite though would have to be Library Pictures as if reminds me the most of the Arctic Monkeys that I really enjoy, the drums are strong, the tempo at times teases you into the old days, Matt Helders shines the most of this song, my favourite member of the band also.

Overall this isn't the best release, in fact its probably my least favourite however the Arctic Monkeys have done enough to at least make a solid record for themselves, the mature sound seems to be what we shall expect from them from now on, although the teasing moments of old make me hope they'll attempt to combined the new and old sound on the next album.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Upcoming Gigs

It's been a while since I've seen some bands (MF DOOM the last gig I went to), I turned down checking out Yellowfever a couple of weeks back although it would've been a fun gig I'm not devastated I missed this. The gigs I have got lined are;

Cut Copy May 25 San Francisco Bath House, Wellington

I've been pretty pumped about this gig for a while, I'm a huge fan of In Ghost Colours and Zonoscope is such a strong release to back up what really was a break through album, having never seen them before and hearing really good things this shall be a great night. Really looking forward to hearing Out On The Ice, my favourite track from these dudes, but no matter what they play I'm going to enjoy.

David Dallas June 4 Queens Wharf Ballroom, Wellington

If you regularly hit the blog you will know I'm quite the fan of the new David Dallas album, hot after the release of this was the announcement of shows, having never seen him and the ticket price being only $15 I jumped at the chance to check him out, should be a fun and interesting show to see how this album holds up in a live sense.

Jakob June 11 San Francisco Bath House, Wellington

Back to the bath house for a band I've seen a little bit of live, Jakob who are an incredible post rock back from New Zealand. I caught the end of there set in Auckland over a year ago when going to see Isis (good show by the way!) I only caught the end because it took me 30 minutes to find where the fuck the venue was, what I heard was very interesting, once I got the albums I was blown away with how great this 3 piece is, can't wait to get in a full show after the stresses of my first exam.

Helmet June 19 Bodega, Wellington

Of all bands I gave up on seeing, Helmet were on the list, when I saw this announced I wasn't even excited or sure I'd go to this, after all its pretty much a glorified solo project now. However after reading some positive reviews of recent shows and that a fair amount of O.G. stuff gets played this really has to be a gig I get to.

Doomriders July 20 San Francisco Bath House, Wellington

I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of Doomriders but the prospect of seeing them at such a cheap price at less than $25 makes this a "why not?" situation and so I'll definitely be attendance to this one, hoping the place is packed out for a Wednesday night gig, I'm sure many a beers will be consumed and a strong rock show to be had.

Big Boi August 25, Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland

One of my favourite albums last year was the Big Boi solo album Sir lucious Leff Foot, Son Of Dusty Chico, so to hear he was playing his first ever show in New Zealand I was a definite to attend, unfortunately its in Auckland which means travel costs, but this will happen.

Hopefully this doesn't sell too well and  gets moved to the Powerstation in the city, cause last time I went to this venue to see Megadeth/Slayer (good gig by the way!) it took two buses (from the airport) to get there, missed connection bus meaning an hour in the roughest part in Auckland, being one of only two white people there, walking in on someone doing something illegal (I walked into the toilets at maccas and the dude in there said "oh shit almost got snapped") then once getting onto our connection bus a school of intellectually handicapped people hopped on making this an hour bus ride from hell without even knowing if we were on the right bus.

Yeah...this should be an amazing gig though!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Album Review: Tyler, The Creator - Goblin

Yeah this albums been out a while now, but I decided to hold back on reviewing to avoid all the HYPE!, so have left it till now to give you my thoughts on probably the most anticipated album of the year so far. The hype for this album and the collective group before the album was released was incredible, every major music website had something to say about them and I even wrote something before it was "officially" released here. So this is the second album by Tyler, the leader of the Odd Future rap, hip/hop, skate group, he writes, produces his music and even directs his own music videos (he keeps reminding us Kanye isn't the only one who does this.)

So with all the hype it received has it lived up to the expectations? well I think it has to a degree, sure this isn't what I'd call a career defining album or even a classic, it definitely though is a strong release from Tyler. The problem I see is some have such crazy expectations on this album that an improvement on the last titled Bastard isn't good enough, it must be better. Well I think with a moderate expectations I had for this album I am more than enjoying what Tyler has produced here. One of the criticism's I have seen is about the beats, now I can understand why people might feel this way, but I dig the lo-fi crudeness to what has been put together, the beats give the album a raw sound to which Tyler (and company) shall rap over.

Now the album starts with a continuation of the last, the first track titled Goblin relates back to Bastard with the whole psychiatrist link that Tyler used really well in the first album. The much earlier released song Yonkers is next after this and even if I've heard this song nearly a hundred times (seriously) it still sounds as good as the first time, the lyrics are some of my favourite on the album with lines like "(What you think of Hayley Williams?)/ Fuck her Wolf Hayley robbin em/ I'll crash that fuckin airplane at that faggot nigga B.O.B. is in/ and stab Bruno Mars in the god damn esophagus/and won't stop until the cops come in." and "I'm a fuckin walking paradox/ no I'm not threesomes with a fuckin triceratops."

The album mixes it up to cater to multiple members of the group, the sweet, slower songs like She which features Frank Ocean and Her. Both are as deep as any other track on the album but without the in your face angry attitude that is what we're used to and at the very least he is definitely keeping with the emotional strain that he is trying to portray. The stand out tracks for me are still the ones released before the album, those being Yonkers, Sandwitches and Tron Cat, but songs such as Radicals, Transylvania and Analog are right up there are strong tracks.

The featuring artists on this do a great job, Hodgy Beats shines through as a big up and comer on this album, his verses on Yonkers, Sandwitches and Analog are some of the best on the album, while Left Brain does a good job on Transylvania. You can see the potential in not just Tyler, but also the rest  the crew which is great looking to the future.

Overall this album had the hype of a breakout album, it didn't however meet these standards. What it did do however is at least in my mind improve on this first album Bastard and at the same time continue to show the raw potential that Tyler and all those in Odd Future have, with a slight improvement on what got the hype started.

Overall Rating 8.5/10

Skrillex, Keeping Up With What The Kids Like?

Before this goes anywhere fans of wub wubber Skrillex might want to stop reading, this won't have much nice things to say about him, or you could continue to read and see I have a point to this all and not just that he blows. The name of this post was either going to be that or Dubstep The New Emo Rock?, because the sudden rise to the genre of Dubstep (bwwuuuurrrrrrrrrrrr be be be bwurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp wub wub wub) has been pretty powerful over the last couple of years, inciting plenty to jump on its bandwagon.

Skrillex is the alias of former emo rocker Sonny Moore who was in the band From First To Last (not one of my favourite bands), he was loved by the legions of emo's the world over, I was at High School at this time, the kids loved him, I didn't. He was one of the poster boys of emo rock, with his crazy hair and eyeliner, well lets just say cliche emo look.

Here's a pic of the great man, ladies wanted him, men wanted to be him, Sonny probably just wanted to slit his wrists because of his popularity (purely speculation).

Now with the sudden rise of a genre with incredibly annoying noises, shitty remixes on youtube that would make any electronic music fan cringe. Out pops Sonny Moore or should I say Skrillex, is it that surprising he's decided to join the latest music craze? again he is now making waves in the Dubstep arena with some god awful music, that makes people comment on it with lines like "Durrrrrty, Filfy Dubstep". It helps of course that those that followed the emo rock craze have moved on to the next fad and have remembered their once loved Sonny.

After listening to Skrillex I'm reminded of why I just can't get into the genre so much loss, the dwuuuurb bwurrrb beow beow wub bwurrrb noises are just terrible, it isn't anything special although "Dat Bass iz phat, doof doof" might think so, but they spend all day cruising.

So to end, Skrillex is making terrible music, he has merely just jumped from one fad to another, his image of a different look compared to others of course helps him, his music isn't progressive for the genre but he seems to be making a career for himself based on what the kids like, smart man indeed. I can't wait to see what the next fad is to see where he ends up next.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Album Review: Saul Williams - Volcanic Sunlight

Saul about Saul right? ok that was bad but thankfully this new release by political hip/hop artist Saul Williams is very cool and incredibly interesting, Saul is not your everyday hip/hop artist, with the man delving into poetry, writing, acting, voice acting and obviously music. He also looks to explore Electronic, spoken word and the obvious hip/hop he seems to have used all his interests and mashed it into one big piece, the outcome is not only really interesting but also very, very powerful. This of course isn't his first album but in fact his fifth release, with his self titled release, his debut album Amethyst Rock Star and The Inevitable Rise and Liberation Of NiggyTardust! are all great albums in there own right.

Now the album opener has a little bit of everything, starting with an open word piece we get thrust into a explosive drum beat with the beat made fuller thanks to the help of African "noises" to make a totally strong start. This combined with Saul's beautiful voice, piercing lyrics and small hints of electronic ideas we have the beginnings of not only a strong album but evidence of a great song. The African theme is very strong early on this album something that I'm really diggin, small bells, tambourines all sorts of little pieces that go with a not so cliched drum beats makes this really cool and very alternative to your average hip/hop album.

The beats on this are probably my favourite bit about this album, they really over power everything else on this and while that might seem a problem when you're essentially dealing with someone with political ideas in his lyrics, the beats are just way too cool to turn away from. The singing by Saul is a little understated but still holds its own greatly, the track Triumph is a great track to use as one that is definitely vocally a lot stronger, while the beat is fun it takes a back seat to allow Saul to say what he wants to say. The inclusion of an electronic interlude even small in this track really breaks it all up nicely to allow the track to flourish, the electronic "noises", solid rap pieces, soulful singing and strong beats are what is carrying this album really.

I do however have a problem with what is going on in this album, while the beats are incredible early on, Saul seems to move away from the African influence later in the album and look further into electronica music, which takes away from what I really enjoyed early on. The album is just under an hour which isn't too long for a hip/hop album, but I kind of got a little over this by the end, the change of direction in the way things were going is definitely a reason. Finally the one song that I really didn't enjoy was Girls Have More Fun which reminded me of a really bad N.E.R.D. song with Kofi Kingston from the WWE singing, seriously it was that bad.

Overall this is still a strong release, definitely something worth at least one listen, hopefully you like it as much as I have, the beats should keep you interested, while Saul has incredibly interesting lyrics and a strong voice to portray this.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Album Review: Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

I've never been the biggest fan of Manchester Orchestra or even Math, the only other math I've enjoyed is Mute Math but after Armistice which was incredibly boring I've lost interest in them. Simple math was aight only because it was simple and I could do it in my head, so for Manchester Orchestra's new album to be titled Simple Math it brought back memories of when I wasn't such a lazy student and found shit really easy, sure this might've been back in the nam' days but that's irrelevant. Again not a huge fan of MO but I always thought that after listening to them I should get into them more, they're almost like my Opeth of BAS in the sense that they're great and all but I never feel like listening to them, so to review this is somewhat of a task.

The vocals are so powerful and important for this band, starting the album off slow and stripped back for the track deer, the album immediately gets into the meatier side of the band with the appropriately titled track Mighty, I feel ideas of Alice in Chains, the guitar and drums showing grunge influence which is great cause I dig AIC and grunge for that matter. The vocals force its way to the front and Andy Hull does an amazing job of this, the song takes a turn to a much fuller orchestral sound (appropriate huh?), they certainly showing their intentions to explore early.

Being a predominantly Indie rock band they will still continue with a signature indie rock sound Pensacola and Pale Black Eye both look in this direction, nothing outrageous but still nice and keeping with the tried and true formula which has served this band well. An almost dark scene descends onto this album with the track Virgin, slowed down with a girl chanting to lead the track, Hull really brings out his softer vocals, combining well with the grim outlook in this, the group vocals bring this together really well.

This album doesn't really seem that simple, Hull explores so many ideas throughout, sometimes you really don't know what he's getting at and then he goes on to sing about simple math, the album is definitely spiralling into an abyss of BAS, but for now the orchestral instrumentals particularly on this track are phenomenal, something that makes this band so unique, not just that they do it so well because no one wants a "HEY look at us we have an orchestra we must be different maaaan" then have a bunch of loss tracks.

The songs on this seem to start of slow and build to end very strong and powerful, stripped back with maybe just a single acoustic guitar and finishing off with a strong full orchestral ensemble, its a nice way of going about things particularly with such a strong vocal presence over this but the song Leave it Alone sounds bland and predictable, nothing about it stands out not even the vocals or lyrics.

The last section of this album has been a little bit of a let down but it ends with a different feel, not dark, full, spectacular, almost like it meanders to the finish not trying to blow you away, merely letting you sink in the last song for all its worth as it fades away to nothing more. Overall this was strong, the whole album works well, the full orchestra added to the already strong presence of the rest of the band is a well worked formula that should continue to flourish, some down and predictable bits try to ruin this, but doesn't do so.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Album Review: David Dallas - The Rose Tint

When I started this blog I certainly didn't think I'd ever end up reviewing a David Dallas album, but with his new album The Rose Tint being released for free I thought why not give it a try, well was I surprised with what was produced. Before this goes any further I don't care for NZ Hip/Hop because most of it blows, at times its just a sad American copy, when they should be putting a New Zealand spin on what is being produced. After downloading I didn't think to read up about Mr Dallas, just assumed he was still situated in NZ and for some reason wanted to release this for free. To my surprise I see a track featuring Freddie Gibbs someone whose making moves in the rap game since his EP Str8 Killa was released (great EP by the way!).

A further surprise was that he had signed for an American label Duck Down Records, so really the potential is there, but has he shown up on this album? well the short of this is yes (please don't stop reading) well sort of anyway, its a solid album at the very least and pushes himself away from the boring shit New Zealand is accustomed to. First point I'll make about this album is the production is top notch, no problems with it for me anyway, the last thing he needed was a breakthrough album with shitty production quality, thankfully it past this test.

This album isn't mindblowing or anything, there isn't something that will be talked about in 10 years as a classic, but it is a strong restart to David Dallas' career (yeah, I'm not going to count his earlier start as being any good) his flow isn't outrageous but he puts everything together really well and the raps are pretty cool. The beats and samples are tight (Ricki Gervais sampled) while he might be living in America now he does keep some references to New Zealand which is nice and not too many so to not sound like a faggot. This album also includes a few guest artists including PNC and Che Fu both prominent New Zealand artists, that definitely hold their own in the whole scheme of things.

Caught In A Daze is my pick of the bunch, sure this might have something to do with Freddie Gibbs also being on the track but the track on the whole is baller. The message throughout out is nice, much more empowering and motivational compared to your average album, not that there's anything wrong with the Odd Future like rapping this is just a nice change. The Life Is (Interlude) does such a great job of slowing things down before he looks to burst back into the album with Til Tomorrow which is up there as a top track, while Postcard has my favourite beat of the album.

Overall this has the potential to lift David Dallas to new heights, while this isn't a classic, its strong enough for people to at least take notice, combined with the it being freely available over the internet, surely he can go places that most of New Zealand Hip/Hop can only dream about. The production is strong, the beats are strong and David Dallas himself does a good at putting it all together lyrically.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

David Dallas Flipping The Bird To The NZ Record Industry?

Now I doubt this actually happened, but with the recent law changes essentially made by the big corporate record companies (and if a recent article would suggest American Government as well) it was very surprising to read David Dallas was to release his album for free is the last thing those record companies would be expecting. Now I've never been big on NZ Hip Hip, cause most of it is unimaginative and boring it also doesn't help that the albums aren't available to "taste test" before buying cause spending $20 on an album based on a single from a genre that in New Zealand really isn't that strong, isn't going to encourage people

To me I can see this album going a lot further than it could've ever had gone now its not only available on the internet, but also for free. Hell I'm listening to this album right now (album review to come), something I wouldn't have done if I couldn't access it for free. What does this mean for NZ Music? well hopefully it means more than just the unsigned indie bands are going to release albums for free, David Dallas didn't do anything revolutionary here, plenty of indie bands have released their albums for free on Bandcamp, but this is a statement to the record companies in NZ that someone who did have at least a small social celebrity presence in NZ has decided to release his album for free.

Some might point out he's signed with American label Duck Down Music, but New Zealand will still be a huge market for himself, so to release this for free was refreshingly good, whether the album is actually any good. Hopefully those in New Zealand take notice, not that you should just move to America if you want success, but releasing the music for free could lead to success for the artist in more ways than a handful of records sold and being gone just as fast as you hit the scene. The exposure this album has been getting (over eight thousand downloads in the first 24 hours of the release) can only be a positive, if this album becomes successful then I'm sure some people will hope there will be a physical copy for those  that are like myself who still cherish a CD or vinyl. Not to mention the potential to play sold out gigs in New Zealand and the world, cause people are now listening.

To End, Big Ups David Dallas I hope the albums a success for you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Album Review: Okkervil River - I Am Very Far

Mang it's been a pretty good year so far for Indie Folk albums, started by The Decemberists release which was decent (a pass mark atleast) we have been expose to another album by The Mountain Goats (solid release), an incredible album by Fleet Foxes in the form of Helplessness Blues and even the surprisingly cool No Color by The Dodos. Well with Okkervil River's new album I Am Very Far we have another winner, this is great!

Now to the album which starts of really cool, stripped down and simple with just an acoustic guitar and single drum beat accompanying the vocals, powerful as always. The song immediately starts to build up to a fuller sound, something that is very prevalent on the album, the added instruments make this a strong piece to begin the album. The album goes in a different direction with Piratess being very much a vocals track, Will Sheff showing off a cooler side to the uncool folk vocalist he usually (yeah, folk singers aren't cool) the track even includes a weird electro/noisy/noodly bit in it, why? I don't know but it doesn't detract from the overall strength of the song and merely separates the first half from the second.

Back comes the acoustic something we are all very familiar with when listening to an Okkervil River album, this album does feel loud, but not too loud to ruin the quality of the album, the intensity of this album picks up enough from the last and really gets this album going, Sheff again commanding the song with a full background of music. The burst of noise to end the track makes this even better. The tempo of this album changes with every track a sadder track in Lay Of The Last Survivor slows things down nicely and just as this ends it picks itself back up off the deck, thankfully it doesn't run on an fast, slow, fast, slow track list thankfully and the middle of this album really slows down, with Show Yourself being the pick of the bunch, so stripped back and sad sounding it really does a great job in bringing out the emotion in Sheff, building throughout the track to a much louder moment with a nice instrumental piece and Sheff telling us "I've had enough".

Thankfully I haven't had enough of this album and full, loud sounding album continues to keep me interested even with this album over 50 minutes in total and not being that different track from track in sound. This isn't at all the most intricate or over the top folk album, but the subtle changes throughout keep you wanting more, the whole band seem to be working so hard throughout and have reaped another great album.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Gig Etiquette, Nig You Gon Get Pushed

Now this topic I completely forgot about, considering its been a while since I've seen someone get angry over getting pushed at a concert but this article about someone getting attacked at the Katy Perry concert in Wellington this week brought back memories of things similar. Now my initial thoughts were was I was at work and saw the pic and immediately thought it was someone who got their ass kicked at the Disturbed, Trivium, As I Lay Dying gig which took place recently. When I got to the headline and read part of the story I burst into laughter, not because someone got hurt (I'm not condoning violence here) but the fact that of all gigs where someone got hurt and a small brawl took place, a Katy Perry concert to me seemed like the least likely of places  for this to take place.

Now what does this remind me of? well have you ever been at a gig and people have gotten really angry with you because you've bumped into them? it usually happens when everyone surges forward, a lot of the time you can't stop but being pushed forward so seems pretty stupid to be at fault. Now its even worse when guys take their girlfriend and have taken position in a great spot close to the front and in the centre, when people start pushing they feel like being a big tough guy and try "protect" their gurl. Have these people never been to a gig before? cause nigger you gon get pushed when you take up a position so close to the front, if you don't want to get pushed, take a seat or stand right at the back.

The first time I saw this was when I saw Iron Maiden, my mates were "attempting" to mosh (poor effort really) during one of the warm up bands and accidently bumped into some faggot with his girl, he threatened he'd beat them up. When Maiden came on his close to the front and centre position wasn't great for him, a huge surge to the front ended with him quickly getting out no more than 30 seconds of Aces High the first track of the set.

At the end of the day people on the floor are going to get bumped into you, most of the time it isn't even their fault so to threaten to attack them or as happened to the lady at the Katy Perry experienced get the beat down put on them is completely ridiculous and flat out stupid. I really do wish that one day those people that attacked his lady end up accidently bumping into someone and realise its not always intentional or even better someone knocks these people get KNOCKED TO THE GROUND AND HAVE TO LEAVE so they know how it feels to miss a gig.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Album Review: The Oh Sees - Castlemania

Sorbo listens to more lo-fi today and thankfully this is a lot better, definitely different in sound and it all goes together so well for a lo fi album, in short its fun as fuck. So its a new album from The Oh Sees its their seventh borderline prolific perhaps? meh it doesn't matter.

What I love about this album the most is how much fun they seem to be happening while playing, immediately with track one you get an immense sense of fun going on, you can hear it in their playing and the track has me enjoying this listen straight away. The acoutic guitar and tambourine have you bobbin your head with the vocals coming through great, its certainly a strong start with what is about to hit you on this listen. This next track continues what was started, this time they speed it a little and again have you sensing enjoyment in the music. The lo-fi qualities are great, you can sense that its just that but it's not dragging the album down because they're not trying too hard to be underground maaaan.

Track 3 is kind of a cool mess of a track, the guitars meshing in weird ways with a simple drum beat to accompany it, I like it and the vocals on top of this all make it probably the best track so far. We finally get a greater sense of electronics being used in track 4 Corrupted Coffin, the synth and atmospheric noises that are incorporated make it very different from the first three tracks and the production is very cool. My favourite track on the album is track 5 Pleasure Blimp, the acoustic guitar is back, so's the tambourine and electronic sounds top it off to something great.

At only 39 minutes and a whopping 16 tracks, they've crammed a lot of music into what could be seen is a tad on the shorter thing, the lo-fi indie rock that is going on is fast frenetic and unfortunately later in the album it becomes just a little samey, thankfully it still is an incredibly fun album overall, there are moments of brilliance later in the album the title track is superb with the guitar sounding really cool and AA Warm Breeze brings the acoustic back with it sounding a little country, thankfully not too country.

The album ends on What Are We Craving? a sound that keeps its lo-fi roots but delves into subtle dream pop moments in around a slowed acoustic setting. Great fun on this album and at less than 40 minutes has many fun things incorporated.

Overall Rating 8/10

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Album Review: Psychedelic Horseshit - Laced

Yeah great band name right? wrong, its shit (no not horse shit...well yeah but you know what I mean) Well anyway this album is a lo-fi, noise pop and obviously psychedelic group. This is I believe their second full length album (rate your music and wiki and their tumblr all say different things) surprisingly this album was a real grower for me and could be describes a little better than tolerable while listening. I have to admit I'd never listened to this band before this release when getting started and perhaps I should've given this more thought.

The album is short for a full length release at only 35 minutes, one of its better qualities really, the band shows good signs from the start but the insistence on being incredibly lo-fi (which can be cool) at times ruins it. The album starts of with some cool little electronics and leads to a solid beat to get the album off with a solid start the track at less than 2 minutes is intriguing as to what this album shall be serving up. The vocals are usually surrounded with less ambitious music which I feel is disappointing considering the electronic interludes and instrumental pieces are some of my favourite bits, the vocals won't blow you away by any feat but are still cool.

My real gripe on this album though is that the songs are too short for what they're trying to do, particularly on the ambient attempts, cutting them into short songs really ruins it as it takes time for those tracks to build up. Another gripe is that the album is really all over the place, I really don't know whats next or what to expect, ambient? lo-fi? weird electronic instrumentals? psychedelic pop? either way they crammed way too many different ideas into such a short album that it doesn't work for me.

One thing I found was the stand out track didn't really appear until the end in Making Out, its pretty simple lo fi indie rock with a really cool drum beat, I don't want the whole album to be like this though, the song shows some sort of direction that the album lacks.

Overall rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hey Everyone Download Now While It's Still Legal...Oh Wait

I wasn't going to ever touch on this subject even if is kind of relevant to me (yeah I do download illegally) but this article reminded me about the subject and I thought "fuck it why not blog about it" so that's what I shall do. People's reactions to the new file sharing laws were some interesting and some hilarious almost as bad as some of the penalties the Government are suggesting.

"Hey I better download everything before this law comes into effect" pssst your still breaking the law idiot, I think file sharing has become so mainstream that people don't even see it as illegal, no one was ever getting penalised for their actions and it will be tough for the government to penalise people once these penalties come into effect. My favourite of all the penalties is when theres a mention of your internet service provider banning you from using the internet. Yip I can see companies lining up to stop providing a service that is bringing in the moolah, just cause the government told them to.

More concerns about this are that those that voted this in are actually guilty of this themselves, multiple politicians admitted to illegal file sharing the day after it was put through, guess this is what happens when you let a bunch of loss lead your country...

Another concern is, what do the musicians think about this all? do they really think people are going to stop and go buy cds again? surely not, new release cds are still overpriced in many places and unless they're one of my favourite bands, its unlikely I'd go out and buy it straight away or if ever. However if they were to be playing live I'd definitely put up my money to go see the band. Unfortunately this is how things are going, the law is being passed essentially by lazy record labels who aren't willing to change to suit the way music is changing.

Labels have to work out a way to keep profit margins in other ways, they can't just throw a shitload of money at an artist to get them on their label, get a fancy producer and expect them to repay them in record sales, they have to cut out a lot of the excess that isn't going to help them. Perhaps lowering the amount of advertising used, or not giving the artist the big bucks straight away, looking to have them tour extensively in big market areas in order for them to not only them become mega stars but financially viable to the label.

Either way I don't think I'll change my downloading habit and it won't take long for people to figure out how to avoid getting penalised, if anything there's going to be a bunch of people with unsecured wireless who are going to receive infringement notices without them doing anything wrong, poor souls.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sorbo Gets Brape Or Blope Or Whatever

This is a music blog right? right? fuck that shit, this has been hijacked to talk about another love of mine and that is Football (Soccer for those aren't cultured like myself) in the early hours involved Manchester United leading the league by only 3 points versus Chelsea (the team in 2nd) at Old Trafford. The Build Up was tense with only two games for each after tonight, Manchester dropped points against Arsenal the week before and while winning mid week against Schalke in the Champions League semi final, that tie was over before the 2nd leg. 

Could a fan of United dream of a greater start to the match? no after a great ball from the tireless Park Ji Sung, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez put United up one nil with a calm finish past Cech. The small but vocal crowd went up as one in the pub, sensing that number 19 was a whole lot closer. Chelsea were shell shocked and United went in for the kill, you could see they wanted this more than Chelsea and the goal to captain Nemanja Vidic was a prime example of this, forcing his way in front of Branislav Ivanovic to score with a strong header.

Again the crowd went up, it was almost like people didn't think this was actually happening and at barely over 3am United had all but wrapped up the match and the title. Funnily a trio of people walk in to see their beloved Chelsea down 2 nil, one might've been more an Arsenal fan as he asked the bar tender what the Arsenal result was "3-1 Stoke" "Your fuckin kidding me, your fuckin kidding me" "I don't joke about results"

As we know the rest is history, the small group of Chelsea fans thought abusing the United players the whole time would make their team look better unfortunately even with the Frank Lampard goal they fell short. Manchester United are now just 1 point away from title 19.

Oh and one side note, the weird Indian dude that looked like a heavily aged Kumar from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle was hilarious, waiting until mid way through the second half to ask someone next to him which team was which and who was winning, not just that he referred to Chelsea as "the blacks". He also liked saying wonderful a lot, like 3 times after each shot whether it was good or not, dude was fucked up, but hilarious as I didn't have to deal with him.

I leave you with this;

Dear Liverpool supporters

For years whenever someone talked about Manchester United's dominance, you would come back to the glory days of long long ago, unfortunately having the 2nd most league titles isn't the best and it's time to either win something or stfu.

Yours sincerely
The rest of the football world.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Album Review: The Antlers - Burst Apart

I've never been a huge fan of The Antlers but was still quite excited for this release after all its The Antlers maaan and it's their fourth release. The trio have produced what I see as a ho hum release, not something to get really excited over but a reminder that The Antlers are still around making solid Indie Rock. If you're a big fan you should really enjoy it, but if you're just a passing fan like myself you probably won't be turning into a big fan but will still something that's decent.

The band keeps to their signature sound, Indie Rock that still touches on post rock, dream pop and even folk. The album starts off on a "nice" note, they aren't trying to shove the album down your throat (unsurprisingly) and it kind of just creeps in, its very slow indie pop in all ways, the slow vibe is quite nice and "chill" the vocals that enter are borderline beautiful in every sense of the word. The minimalism is great and French Exit track 2 adds some nice keys to the overall atmosphere to song. Parentheses adds a jagged garage rock edge in the guitar added to the dream pop vocals brings an interesting combination.

The album seems to be delving into multiple ideas and sounds throughout, No Windows has a more electronic tinge to it, the lyrics of this song seem heartfelt and important while being completely mellow. Again this is nice and all but the album isn't kind of a muddled up mess of songs that sound great and all but don't really form an album too well. This album doesn't show any sense of change and seems like it's dowsing off Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Apart is the albums folksiest track and the bands attempt to rock it up a bit, I don't really dig it, this is more a token track in a sea of mellow slower songs.

My favourite track is near the end in Corsicana it's sweet as a motherfucker, the minimal instrumental arrangement combined with the beautiful as ever vocals with incredible feeling to it all, so sad and as it just fades away the album is near its end. I wish it was the final track as it seems like such an appropriate opener, while the final track Putting The Dog To Sleep isn't bad by any means, I just feel like it isn't as good as the one before the.

The album holds a solid line throughout, nice moments, with the mellow, chill, slow feeling throughout and at only 42 minutes isn't by any means going to put you to sleep.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hip Hop The Future Is Odd

"Oh not again another critic writing report, I'm stabbing any blogging faggot hipster with a pitchfork"

Tyler, The Creator's new album Goblin is to officially drop in less than a week and I feel like this post is long overdue, I have been planning to blog about this group but decided to wait until just before Goblin was to be released. Now before people think I just hopped on the bandwagon like a lot of people have recently don't worry I started listening to the Odd Future crew last year, particularly Tyler's release Bastard and Earl's EARL.

Of course this group is more than just those to members with other prominent members including Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Syd (The only female member), Frank Ocean, Mike G, Taco, Jasper Dolphin and Matt Martians. The crew isn't exclusively about rapping with Syd, Matt, Taco and Jasper involved in other areas such as production, engineering, photography and even just being a skater. The group to date have release all their works free to download off their tumblr mixtapes of the whole group and albums from individual members, another reason for you to check them out.

I could go into detail about the beginning but there's plenty of articles out there about that, you can either go read them and not return or just carry on and figure it out yourself. The group has been on the cusp of breaking through for a while and people were starting to take notice, Bastard is a really strong release and the emergence of Earl with his ridiculous flow had people starting to take notice. It probably wasn't until they ended up on The Jimmy Fallon Show before they truly got the recognition and publicity needed for them to become the next big thing in the rap game.

Of course Kanye tweeting about the song Yonkers which will be on Tyler's new album helped but that Sandwitches performance was unreal, the craziness of both Hodgy and Tyler on stage showed such incredible energy and a rebellious punk edge rarely seen in the hip hop world. These kids are young, smug and committed to making the music they wish to make and with them so far avoiding the big record labels showing they aren't in this for a quick millions and have their creative control taken away.

With the release of Goblin could lead to popularity going to newer and bigger heights, the group will certainly be set as the new fresh crew in the rap game, something we haven't seen since Wu Tang. Even if Goblin flopped (which I can't see it doing) this groups popularity is already strong and with a crazy live show of crowd invasions, members jumping into the crowd from amp stacks and full on anarchy, people are going to wanna see wassup.

So even if you haven't jump on the train that is Odd Future it isn't too late, they're about to become something that people talk about for a while, whether you like hip hop/rap or not the way they're going about their business is very respectable and the freshness that is coming from them is enough to make many excited.

This was written like a day or so ago, unfortunately Goblin has already leaked, earlier today even.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Album Review: Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

So Did you hear there's a new Beastie Boys album? well I did and I think it's pretty alright...ALRIGHT!?!? So a lot of people didn't dig To The 5 Boroughs, I however am a huge fan of the release, its easily an 8.5/10 which is pretty good considering the amount of win these dudes have made over the years. Pauls Boutique, Ill Communication and License To Ill are all hip hop classics, not to mention the other albums are atleast solid releases in their own right. With this in mind the band certainly had high standards to keep up with and they certainly did so...sort of

Now as I've already said its pretty alright, now I like it but I don't love it. When I listen I feel like the energy that makes this trio so great is being slowly suffocated out of them. Make Some Noise is O.G. Beastie Boys so much energy, with the party theme at the forefront of the song, great beat as always and some strong rhymes.

A strong start continues through tracks 2,3,4 the energy drops ever so slightly during Too Many Rappers which features Nas (why? no idea) he doesn't at all do a bad job, I just see it as a little pointless. The Beastie Boys as a trio don't need a featuring artist, particularly one that can't keep up with the energy the trio are known for.

After this track the energy isn't non existant at all, it just seems like we start to lose it slowly and slowly. It's not to say the songs aren't at all bad Say It is pretty strong while The Bill Harper Collection interlude is kind of pointless but still works to introduce the track Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win which also has a featuring artist in Santigold, I'm not much a fan of the track, feels like it slows the mood just for her.Long Burn  solid but nothing to get excited about. The album doesn't pick up again till Lee Majors Come Again which is one of the better tracks for me.

The end of this album is like the suffocation is over and the band is trying to get back into their normal mood and I think they have a winner in Here's A Little Something For Ya, my favourite on the album fo sur. Overall the album is solid, but as much as i want to love this I just can't, it still holds its own in the Beastie Boys discography, but won't seen as near the strongest release in my opinion.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May - The Redundant New Zealand Music Month

Yeah it could've been Big Ups Tuesday, but fuck that cause it's NEW ZEALAND MOOSIK MUMF, you know that month where poor commercial New Zealand bands usually get more attention than usual which is a shitload more than they ever deserved. It's a way for NZ On Air to attempt to get people going to the bands that somehow got the undeserved government funding.

Thankfully there are still some cool bands playing this month and now locating to the city I might be able to check some of them out. Unfortunately I missed out on David Kilgour last week and am unsure if I'll make it to Shayne Carter later in the week  although I'm not his biggest fan so it isn't a huge loss. I'm looking set to check out rock band Beast Wars on Saturday night who seem from the track I've heard and what others that have heard more have said it should be a great show and strong release.

Once again in May I'm more excited for an overseas band coming here and that's Cut Copy (will review it) near the end of the month. Last year it was Frank Turner which was amazing, included meeting him (nice guy by the way!). It's very rare that I go see NZ bands and unsurprisingly its not during this month as not every band use this month to try get people going to their shows.

Now don't get me wrong I thought the idea of this when first started was great, but I just don't see the use in this anymore if it isn't targeting the smaller bands looking to rise and not the bands with one hit trying to regain some popularity. With this in mind and the yearly show announcements during this month from bands of the Midnight Youth, Scribe, Savage, Hollie Smith ilk it seems to be a waste of time now. I'll go see Jakob outside of May (playing in June) and a bunch of new interesting local bands throughout the year as May shouldn't be a force feed of NZ music whether its the good or the bad.

P.S. Someone design a new t shirt the stupid target needs to changed, to anything you'd think something better could be made by now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Band Revisited - The Smiths

Another Monday means another band revisited, this happened a couple of weeks back and certainly wasn't planned as one I'd get back into listening to "review" whether I still like them. The reason for the sudden return to my ears of The Smiths is due to the recent Dum Dum Girls He Gets Me High EP which features a cover of The Smiths track There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. The cover is different and a pretty decent effort overall, well enough for me to jump back into listening to the great band.

For me The Queen Is Dead was clearly the best of the four studio albums, that's not to say the others aren't good cause they are, but this one for me is almost perfect, the album has so many great tracks that when revisited are still as good as ever before. Bigmouth Strikes Again is probably my favourite Smiths song, but also tracks like the covered There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, Cemetary Gates and The Boy With The Thorn In His Side are close to this level also. The other albums aren't as strong but have some killer tracks on them, This Charming Man is probably my second favourite Smiths song and it features on the great self titled release while How Soon Is Now isn't far behind it featuring on Meat Is Murder and lastly Strangeways  Here We Come song Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me.

Now when revisiting this (it had been well over a year if not two) I still feel just as strongly about this band, which is slightly surprising, as my taste in music has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. The Queen Is Dead still is an amazing album, it feels so short and just as you truly get consumed by the album in comes Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others and its all over. Most of the time I really like it when an album breezes by but at only 37 minutes you just sit their wanting more and more. The other albums I still feel strongly about, the riffs on How Soon Is Now and This Charming Man are my favourites from the band, while the lyrics on There Is A Light That Never Goes out are now my favourite they have and there's certainly some great lyrics in this bands discography.

All said and done re-listening to The Smiths have brought back all the feelings I had about this band before I stopped listening, I can't see me leaving this band for another year again before listening. I won't make that mistake again!