Friday, July 29, 2011

Album Review: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lenses Alien

I have been criticised for reviewing too many obscure indie albums on here, thats not really my intention as I usually don't know the genre of albums until just before I listen as I've usually never heard of the band. Hell if more non obscure bands released albums for me every week I probably wouldn't bother reviewing these obscure ones at all. Anyway this is the second album from the indie band Cymbals Eat Guitars, the band is from New York.

To start the album its something I don't usually expect from an indie band, that might be because its not your usual hipster faggot indie rock but more of an emo rock sound (tr00 emo rock, not that faggot fad shit). The track (Rifle Eyesight) is the longest on the album and while it starts as something pretty standard it evolves later in the track with more exploring guitar sounds, it sounds much more reckless and off the cuff but at the same time keeps with the track but fading out. All that happens in the first 3 minutes of the track and the song again picks up to some much more standard stuff, its like a new song has started. This song is like or 4 songs in one, weird idea but still solid stuff.

After something something so over the top the rest of the album is a bit of a let down in comparison. Obviously they haven't chosen to continue this formula have instead gone and resorted to some much simpler emo pop rock stuff which is pretty nice sounding. The guitar work is very refined and carries songs Shore Points, Definite Darkness and Secret Family. The guitar is very simple on these tracks, while we get the track Keep Me Waiting with the really cool, sloppy riff through the song that makes it really fun toi listen to. There are also darker sounds coming from this particularly from Plainclothes and The Current which had its metal sounding screeches to start the song and the eerie background throughout. To me while its more or less a simple song, Secret Family is my favourite song, the lyrics are so well thought out and sung, you can hear the emotion coming from the words even more when it all slows down at the end, a really nice effort.

As the rest of the album is much less spectacular and different as the album opener I have said much less sa its much less memorable. All the songs are actually quite nice and sound cool and all, but the album lacks any real punch that could make this a really strong album. The strained vocals at times are quite cool and the guitar does such a good job on this album at leading you through songs. At 39 minutes this isn't too long and before you get bored of what they're doing its over, solid album just not at all spectacular.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Album Review: Girls Names - Dead To Me

This is the second album by Indie rock act Girls Names, I never did listen to this bands first or hear about this album until recently but decided to give it a go. Why you might ask? well its because I had nothing better to review and it was at the top of my new albums I had downloaded and the results of the listens changed as it went on.

During the first listen I found this album to be pretty standard retro indie rock sounding, I don't mind the retro sound but thought this was a little too retro sounding. I also felt it had nothing different to what had been done to give it a "Girls Names" difference. However after further listens I notices more and more influences in this album, you can hear similarities to those of the Black Lips new album Arabia Mountain (which I love), but it the retro sound is also influence by surfer rock which I thought was a cool touch.

I really like the monotonish vocals in the album, the vocalist tries to sound a little bored at times and the sound thats produced is pretty nice. The instrumentation on this album is very minimal and simple sounding, its good, not great but gives the album a solid backbone to work off. I found myself bobbin my head to many of these tracks, they seem very pleasant and this had the makings of a solid summer album and you definitely get a summery feel from the songs.

There is however problems I have with this album, I found it just a little too repetitive, to the point where I was bored. Singular songs or a group of songs in small doses are great but listening to this album as a whole isn't so fun, even if it isn't exactly long. Another massive problem is this album sounds exactly like the Crystal Stilts album from earlier this year, but a watered down one, shame really I did like that album. There is however songs worth checking out many times like the sadder and slower Kiss Goodbye and album opener Lawrence.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Song Battle, Songs Of The Same Name

So I am going to attempt to do a few of these cause obviously theres a lot of songs out there by different artists witht the same name. I'll give my opinion on what one I prefer and if you wish comment below on the songs you prefer and ownership of the song name.

Song battle one: Come Together

The Beatles


Primal Scream
Verdict: Both tracks are from classic albums and arguably the best album each band made (Beatles - Abbey Road, Primal Scream - Screamadelica). The Beatles track is one of the most famous and a truly strong song from the discography and the bass guitar is really nice sounding to go with the vocal performance , while Primals track just flows so nicely for sucha a long period. Its hard to decide because both are great tracks but for me its The Beatles.

Song battle two: Ice Cream



Verdict: Battles track is the best from the new album and the intro is cool/hilarious (seriously it sounds like gay sex) and the overall song is fun. While the Raekwon track has a chill beat and the rapping is really tight on this one. Again tough, this one to Raekwon.

Song battle three: Family Tree

The Black Lips


TV On The Radio
Verdict: One track has some great energy in the Black Lips one and Coles vocals are really great to go with the psych/retro indie guitar sound. While TV On The Radio have a slow beautiful song that shows off emotion and to me this is the difference, TV On The Radio win.
Song battle four: Honey

Best Coast - Honey


Matthew Dear - Honey
Verdict: A battle of 2010 songs in this matchup. While this song by Best Coast doesn't differ much from the others on Crazy For You, its still a strong track and Beths vocal tone goes really well with the slow booming drums and the sadness that drips from the song. Matthew Dear too has some sadness in his song, but in a much different way, an incredibly slow intro to this song, the minimal beat that backs Dear is really cool and Dears vocal effects work well. Matthew Dear for this one.

Aight so heres what I thought of these songs being matched up, now obviously some come from different genres so simply what song do you prefer? If you have any songs with the same name by aoll means comment below on them and I might put them in the next one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chaotic Life = Creative Genius?

With the death of Amy Winehouse, it marks the end of the life of another creative musician one that many saw potential to be truly great. Of course you could say that she was a great artist anyway, with an album as strong as Back To Black boosting her to such a heightened status is the music industry but unfortunately we never did get to see if she could be a great.

But really this blog post isn't actually about Winehouse per se but about those reckless souls that die early but produce some incredible music or even those that are fucked up and have lived on somehow. Now my question is if they ever curbed their addictions would it mess with them creatively? now obviously I don't know this answer but from a music listeners point of view I think the mad scientist attitude that may or may not be helped due to drug/alcohol abuse is pretty damn interesting. A dude that died early from drug abuse that I thought was a little bit crazy was Jay Reatard, the man had talent and wrote some deep and interesting songs that made people listen (myself included). The craziness that came with his personality transferred to his music and to try tame him would ultimately lead to him making tamer music.

So really what I'm trying to say is as a listener (remember this) I don't want crazy creative musicians with large amounts of problems to try get help. I'd prefer they keep making music that means a lot to them and stuff that can continue to be personal to the musician. Whether it be Winehouse, Reatard or even someone like a favourite musician of mine Anton Newcombe, cause dude hes fucked up. The man is shown for what he is in the documentary Dig! an absolute lost, confused and strange man, one though that could make an album. The best albums hes ever made are during this documentary which shows him heavily under the influence at many points, is it pure coincidence that now he seems to have gotten somewhat clean and their latest album Who Killed Sargeant Pepper? is one of the weakest to date?

Obviously not all creative genius' are completely fucked up, that's not really what this is about nor is it about one endorsing this lifestyle cause having them die young isn't great. 

Of course I never want anyone to continue to spiral out of control like those mentioned in this blog or anyone that is loved as a musician but is destroying their health. But from a music point of view it does make for some incredibly interesting music that has no boundaries and a mindset that isn't known by the average human. So in closing whether the reckless to their health lifestyle is actually a factor in ones ability to make better music than a clean lifestyle. I always like to think that a crazy fucker making crazy music shouldn't be tamed and instead live as hard as possible to the unfortunate death.

Monday, July 25, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

I feel compelled to write a post on her, cause she definitely deserves more recognition for the music she produced (particularly Back To Black). Now I'm going to admit I wasn't an early fan of Winehouse it took me a while after Back To Black released to even bother listening to her music. But Back To Black is just an incredible piece of music that got to so many people and turned them to instant fans that thrust her suddenly into the public eye.

I still remember when I first heard Rehab I immediately wanted to find out who it was and what more there was to listen to. The voice is ridiculous the lyrics are so personal and real you can hear the soulfulness just ooze from at every point in her singing. Her ability shone through the most and was able to produce something that was praised by not only the casual radio listener, but also the critical music listeners, something that I don't think happens very often but that's how good she was. The epicness of moments in her music, Back To Black (the song) is just so powerful in every way, the orchestral backing takes the song to heightened depths and Amy merely tops it off with singing from her soul.

Enough of this, I don't want to go over the top with this, Amy Winehouse had an incredible voice one that probably changed lives (not mine). But she also found a way to be appreciated by all with just using her voice such a powerful tool and one absolutely classic album that doesn't have a bad song on it.

Now before I end I don't really want to get involved in things such as its her fault she died cause I didn't do this post to state my opinion on those subjects. This blog is about a musician that had an incredible voice that should be remembered for that and not for ruining her life with drugs whether you agree with the actions she took on the way is merely unimportant now, shes gone so celebrate whats left of her.

Her personal life didn't have anything to do with me, I didn't care about it then I sure don't now whether what she did then was right I don't give a fuck.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Live Review: Doomriders San Francisco Bath House Wellington

I have to admit before the gig announcement I'd never heard of the band Doomriders. I was curious though after finding out the kind of music they were and the price of the show, seemed like it could be a cheapish chance to catch a band from a genre I'm not a huge listener of. With this band being a stoner rock/stoner metal/hard rock sounding band I was quite interested. Now once reading further about this band I noticed guitarist/vocalist was none other than the bassist from Converge Nate Newton I was again further encouraged to check them out. Now obviously I checked out the bands albums before I made a final decision on going, after checking out both studio albums Black Thunder and Come Alive it was definite that I liked the band and this could be a lot of fun.

Before Doomriders they had 3 support bands, I unfortunately missed the first Old Loaves I believe they were called and only saw the end of the second Entrails. Entrails stuff I wasn't big on, didn't really like the screams but my friend at the gig said the early stuff on their set was a lot different to the stuff I caught, lots more speed metal tracks as oppoed to the more core stuff I caught, A shame I missed it. Now the last support was I Exist, this is a band from Australia with a large amount of possible touring members depending on whose available. I have to say I thought they were a pretty solid live act and quite polished for an act that has different members at times. The hardcore music isn't my favourite of the metal genres but I felt they had a pretty solid set and a song about Unicorns (even if it was about how sick they are). During their set I got the chance to see some Hardcore dancing for the first time, I found it hilarious particularly the one that only knew one dance move and chose to do that the whole set.

Now Doomriders were finally up and without being a huge fan of theres I was blown away almost instantly with the energy they possessed on stage. Nate was really great as a frontman you could see how much passion he has on stage and even the fact hes for once the focal point of the band. The fast hard rock tunes being played were great, the anger and evilness in some of the songs really shone through well. The set consisted of songs mainly off Darkness Comes Alive and included some of the songs i enjoyed most in the few listen I gave them. Some of the tracks I really enjoyed them playing were Heavy Lies A Crown (one of my favourites from the band), Knife Wound, Jealous God and my most favourite of the set was The Equalizer. That song i wasn't so fond of when listening to the album, but live it explodes out with so much power and strength the song drags you in so quick, great head banging track. Instrumentally everything was really tight sounding, the lead guitarist Chris Pupecki had some strong sounding guitar work that allowed Nate to really get the crowd going and show off all his energy.

Overall this was a fun gig for me, not often I go see bands that play this type of music and at the price I paid for my ticket ($24) it was well worth the fun that was had. They certainly converted me into a bigger fan of the back of this and shall definitely give the next album (whenever that happens) a listen.

Overall Rating: 8/10

To end I shall give you a story from the night, pretty embarrassing considering who it was I was talking to. I decided to buy both Doomriders albums on Vinyl (a steal at $20 a piece), I had realised the guy was in the band but had no idea which member he was. I ask "which one of the band are you?" to which I got the reply "huh?" so I say "who are you?" and this stage he being very nice replies "I'm Nate" "from Converge?" Nate: "Yeah", "dude I love Converge". Nate "thanks man".

Seriously awkward shit, to compound this I went back a few minutes later to get him to sign them, seemed generally interested in talking to the fans while selling merchandise.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sorbos Top Album(s) Of All Time: Pixies - Doolittle, The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Give It Back!

Sorbo Speaks hits 100 blog posts, never did I think I would get to 100 without at least skipping a few days but I haven't. I started this blog to put my opinion on all types of music out there, whether it be the good albums or the incredibly bad. Sometimes this blog has offended people like the Adele and Skrillex blogs, this merely proved that someone was willing to read this thing. As this is my 100th post I thought I should do something really cool for the post, I asked people on Facebook but got very little suggestions, that's either because people don't give a shit (fair enough) or I still have no fans (that's cool). In the end I decided to put the two albums that are far and away my favourite of all time into one blog, these albums are Pixies Doolittle and The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Give It Back!. I've been asked more than once before about which album is my favourite of all time and I usually just say Doolittle, then quickly say ah Give It Back! is my favourite as well.

So what I love about both albums is they both posses some of my favourite songs from each band. Pixies have so many great tracks, but the elite tracks from the band such as Debaser (my favourite track by the Pixies in general), Hey, Gouge Away, Monkey Gone To Heaven are all incorporated in this. TBJM have it similar as well with tracks like Servo (fo lyfe), Satellite, Super-Sonic and The Devil May Cry (Mom and Dad Don't).

Another part I love about both is how well the album is set up, the run of songs by both albums is really strong. The songs seem to flow effortlessly and at the same time bring something new to album whether it be the 5 song run to start Doolittle, while incorporating the loud quiet loud vocal style. On Give it back the tempo of the album changes from song to song, the psychedelic guitar sounds are magic and keep the album together and the last 4 songs on the album do such a great way of slowly phasing the album out.

I've always found it to pick one over the other, Doolittle has so many really amazing songs and a couple of below par ones (well really Silver, Dead is just borderline decent for me). While Give It Back flowed perfectly and has no a single bad song, only a few are fantastic with Servo's flowing guitar sounds and the general sadness that comes from The Devil May Cry.

As it stands I can't see one beating out the other, they'll both be at the same level for me and really only something remarkably great would be able to eclipse these albums as my favourite.I could probably go into more detail about these albums but I generally just like almost everything about these albums so theres very little reason to try go in depth.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Album Review: Incubus - If Not Now, When?

Never would I think an Incubus album or even a song would ever make this blog, not because they blow but because I didn't realise they still made music. The last time I heard they're music was one of their early tv hits Are You In? (is that the name of it?) when I was at the cricket, they usually used it when a run out attempt had gone to the thrid umpire. I may not be the biggest fan of this band or even had bothered to check out the most recent of albums before this but what the hell lets give this a try.

This album opens up real soft, perhaps lamely soft, the album feels lifeless from the get go which is a shame. The song is very stripped back and I get a soft rock 80's feel from the song, not something I was a ever a fan of so this to me is a terrible start to the album. With the beginning of the second track they keep up with the soft rock appeal, with the mediaplayer telling me this was an alt rock album I guess my expectations of some form of energy on this album were incorrect, well atleast to start that album.

This album lacks any sort of energy and is borderline acoustic/unplugged, what isn't borderline is that it sucks from head to toe on the album. Sure Brandon Boyd has a pretty decent voice, its reasonably nice, but again what surrounds this is completely zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz accompanying incredibly lame lyrics, nothing to capture a listener.

When I listened to this I kept on expecting a song to come to life and bring some form of redemption to this album, it didn't unfortunately and its just shit quality BAS. Sure Switch Blade makes an attempt at lifting the album up but by then its too late and this song is Jason Mraz type stuff when he went to Hawaii. After 5 years between albums I assumed they'd try come back with some form of authority to tell fans of old that may have forgotten that "they're back". Instead they're the short dude in the back of the crowd trying to see and are jumping trying to get someones attention but no one wants to take notice.

Overall this is a really really bad album, maybe worse than Limp Bizkit (atleast that was good for a laugh) the songs are slow boring and seem lifeless from the first note on the album to the last. The only people that might have any interest in this are hardcore Incubus/Brandon Boyd fans but this will definitely not be something to get excited by in the slightest.

Overall Rating: 1/10

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I've Got A Feeling...Thank Fuck Its Over

Humans of the world rejoice today is a great day in music as we will no longer have to hear new songs from the band some have loved and others have tried to figure out why. The Black Eyed Peas are no longer together after reading this article on stuff I was pleased that the one of the worst bands making music was to no be making the most literal and stupid songs out there.

With classic shitty songs like Lets Get It Started and I've Got A Feeling they certainly built a following for people that needed their music spelt out to them kind of like how normal people talk to their dumb friend cause he doesn't understand something really simple. You know that condescending slow retarded voice people do? yeah thats what its like.

I used to think about what songs we might next get from the BEP and started making song name suggestions just incase they ran out of ideas. Songs titles like "I just had a shower and now I'm clean" or something else like "I went in the snow and it was cold". I feel like its just too easy to just make up really dumb song names for these guys so I'm going to attempt sopme lyrics for when they inevitably get back together.

The song shall be titled: I Was Running Out Of Gas, So I Filled Up The Tank (Full Tank)

The music video shall feature Fergie wearing very little (it wasn't my choice but she never wears much does she?) driving a convertible with Will in the passenger seat. They notice low gas so pull into a gas station and the song begins...

Will: Yo yo guurrrl can you believe what I see/
low, low gas how can this be?/
So pull into the station to get this tank full/
then fly down the highway cause its what we do/

Fergie: Fly? Fly Will? we can't do that/
we driving not flying, but this car will go fast/

(more verses needed but its hard to take seriously)
Low gas sucks, I wish it weren't true/
but we are BEP and richer than you/
So we go into the station and fill it up full

fill it/
fill it/
fill it up full

Obviously it needs a bit of work, but its nothing the creative minds of Black Eyed Peas (lol) couldn't turn into a radio masterpiece and in turn club anthem. They have certainly left an annoying mark in the music carpet, you know when you try everything to get it out and yet theres still a little bit left that won't go away.

But in an attempt to wrap this shit up, the Black Eyed Peas leaving us is something that is truly great, god damn the thought of them making more rediculously literal music that is unavoidable is a scary thought. The band blew every step of the way and thankfully people will probably stop listening to them in a few months like most commercial bands do after they stop releasing stuff.

So to end this poor attempt in music blogging I end with this classic BEP line "Bob your head like epilepsy, up inside your club or in your Bentley. Get messy, loud and sick."

God Damn.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Album Review: Wu-Tang Clan - Legendary Weapons

Its been a while since I had been excited about a release form the Wu Tang colective, but with the release of Legendary Weapons I was moderately excitedthat something good was to come from it. The recent solo albums by the members have always kept the Wu-Tang brand strong and I feel like this album is merely a reminder that theres still something left in this group thats worth listening to.

With more and more new school rappers entering the game, I feel like this album is a great job in utilising the old school sound they helped create so well. At the same time this is like a reminder to the up and comers that these guys are still one of the best still, no matter how old they are now. The album starts with some signature sampled samurai dialogue, then we get an almost party like hip hop track featuring Raekwon and RZA, a pretty solid track really getting you into the mood to listen.

This album is really short for a rap album, hell even short for an album in general at less than 40 minutes,but to me when you've accomplished as much as these dudes you don't need some long ass album to show wassup. To anyone who doesn'ty see them noting the rise of other rappers should look no further than the track Legendary Weapons which contains the lyrics "rocked that black and yellow before Wiz Khalifa" this track is one of the best on the album the strong tone in the vocals and the track is signature RZA sounding.

While I think some of the songs on this are quite good the album is always going to struggle when in the shadow of 36 Chambers, this album is a really solid album that definitely proves that their signature sound is still really great. The Rhymes at times seem so effortless, the album seems a little too effortless like these guys didn't really have to try. Again this is a solid album with it being short had its pros and cons, we want to hear more, but at the same time this is like a short reminder of their greatness.

Overall this is an above average rap album, the Wu have proved they're still worth listening to as a group and while we all know individually in the form of numerous solo albums that these guys still have it, to see them back together and releasing some strong songs is a cause to be pleased about for future releases.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, July 15, 2011

Album Review: Lil B - I'm Gay

So I've finally given in and listened to a Lil B album, I heard about this album when it dropped and some people were loving it. Before this the most exposure I'd had with this is someone linking it to me as much as someone might try to Rick Roll someone, I never listened. Just before this album I listened to this song and immediately assumed that he really blew, although since listening to this its been an improvement (thank god)

Now Lil B is one of these dudes from the young new crew of hip hop with dudes like Odd Future and Wiz Khalifa also making names for themselves. Lil B has used things like twitter and Myspace to build his following, getting him the hype and praise from working hard. This album starts with some great head bobbin hip hop beats, B puts over some solid rhymes and is definitely shopwing some reasoning to the praise he has gotten in the past.

This album isn't overly great, instead the songs are just really solid in every aspect, beats, rhymes and delivery. One of the better tracks is Unchain Me, B definitely rapping about life and making it in the business, a fairly tr00 song about himself really doing a great job on this one. I'm trying really hard to see why people are so in love with this album as its not breaking ground whatsoever, the albums flows aight and I feel like Lil B is doing such an effortless job but the album lacks a lot of explosiveness in every aspect. I feel like hes rapping within himself and not giving his all, now I might be wrong but theres really nothing on this album that can get you excited about him.

Overall this is a "nice" album its a decent rap album and very listenable, but it doesn't cath your attention in the slightest, the songs are pretty forgetful quickly and while some might be seeing this as a strong release I'm struggling to find any part of this that will draw me back into later listens.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Album Review: Cut Hands - Afro Noise I

This is a weird one for me, I have no idea who Cut Hands are and when looking it up I found very little about this band (I didn't look very hard to be fair). The onoly knowledge I really have is that this albums genre according to Media Player was Noise, interesting but as I listened this was an experimental, instrumental noise band with some cool ideas.

The only other instrumental album I've listened to from this year is the Psychich Paramount's new one, which I thouyght was pretty explosive and cool. This album though to me is much more intriguing and experimental, looking into all thoughts of different sounds in creating this. The dark sounds that begin in this album are quite cool, the atmosphere of the album is strong already and the multiple layers on offer give this a strong start.

The album then becomes almost frantic with the track Stabber Conspiracy, the drum beat is really good and keeps the pace up well with it being the only sound on offer. This album is very dark and early the its almost exclusively drums that have been on here until track 4 Nzambi Ia Lufua which is such strong sharp sounds, not the most tolerant for your ears either. That track is almost used as an interlude with the drums continuing to shine again after this, the more I listen to the drums the more I feel a tribal like influence in the drum sound.

The second half of this album is where I enjoy it just a little bit more, the album starts to develop a more electronic heavy sound as opposed to the drum heavy sounds before this, the beats are much more electronic and the noise aspect is far more apparent. My favourite track on this album is Ezili Freda, to me its the closest thing to the two ideas that are used in this coming together, the noise and electronics are strong while the drums back this all up perfectly.

Overall this is a solid noise album, if you're into electronic instrumental music as well as drum heavy music this could be your thang. For myself anyway I got a little bored of it all, the ideas in this are great, its just I didn't really dig it that much.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Album Review: The Wax Museums - Eye Times

Its very rare that I listen to punk albums, I mean I was never into a lot of the classic stuff, Sex Pistols did nothing for me The Ramones were prett meh overall and I was basically only really interested in The Clash. I haven't listened to the Clash or any real tr00 Punk in so long, so this album interested me as to how punk albums sound today.For anyone that still preaches that "Punk isn't dead!" can stfu cause its been pretty dead for a while, nothing new and influential has been released in so long causing its death.

This album first and foremost to me is quite fun the songs are classic punk in length, with almost all of them less than two minutes you'll definitely get some quick punk songs with some pretty cheesy lyrics. I feel like some of these songs aren't fast enough, they just meander along early in this album. The barely over a minute track Between is one that certainly picks the album up and really tries to shove some old school revival punk down your throat, does a pretty solid job as well.

As I don't take this album overly seriously, I have fallen for a few tracks which to me just seem like really fun songs, Between was one of them and another that is really quite cool is Sunburn. Its another of the faster tracks but its quirky song matter (pretty much sunburn) makes it pretty nice to listen to. I do love that they have distanced themselves from the classic punk content, no one really cares about that shit no more anyway...

With there being 13 songs and only 2 over 2 minutes it was going to be a short listen, at just over 21 minutes is comes as an advantage. The album if it was much longer would probably lose any fun it had with it becoming boring really fast. The album overall isn't special but does produce some fun punk songs and fun topics.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Album Review: Beirut - The Rip Tide

Again its been a pretty strong year for folk albums, with Fleet Foxes being the best of them to date and a slew of other folk albums at least being pretty strong. You would think that there can't be that many more that find a way to impress. Now with the new album from Zach Condon who works under the name Beirut we have another album that looks to keep up the strong year for folk and do so without sounding like anything else that has taken place before this.

Immediately you get a strong electronic presence in the album, some nice looped keyboard sounds guide the songs through, helping create that back bone of the songs with the drums. At times the songs have additional instrument in the form of trumpets, acoustic guitar and organ to give the songs a grander sound.

One thing I've found from listening to this album is that the album doesn't just stick to a formula, the songs evolve and change as the album goes on. We get some keyboard in the first couple of tracks, then we slow things down and strip it back to a much more soft setting. Then we have horns become a stronger influence on the album, the drums falling back into the mix to allow the horns to take a front seat. By track 5 Payne's Bay we already have a fourth different sound going on in this album, the way Zach Condon has been able to cram so many ideas in so quickly (and eventually the rest of the album) in a very short album is incrediblky cool (only 33 minutes long).

With the shortness in mind and the fact theres 9 songs that theres still time for songs to develop and aren't at all cut short, also the instrumental moments help the greater flow of the songs allowing the beautiful voice of Condon to top this album off.

Overall this is more than a standard folk album, if anything I get interested in the greater use of electronic pieces in the songs, give it a more modern kick and something complletely different to work off. You are still reminded this is a folk album and a lot of these songs do a great job of just flowing on through effortlessly.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Monday, July 11, 2011

Album Review: Limp Bizkit - Gold Cobra

Before anyone thinks i didn't listen to this than they don't realise how great this was to listen to, not because it was at all a decent album. But because this album is just hilarious, I feel sorry for anyone that actually likes this, I mean come on you still aren't hanging on to listening to a bunch of Nu Metal are you? it blew then and it still does.

One thing you learn pretty quickly is that this thing is hilarious in every aspect, the lyrics are stupidly funny, almost laughing to tears. The guitar work is so fat cunt, works really well with everything else on the album though. Again the lyrics on this album are too good not to listen to atleast once, Fred has certainly tapped into his killer ability to write some great songs (do you sense the sarcasm?).

So to end this very short album review (theres very little you can say about this really) I shall post up a couple of my favourite lines from the album. First we have a line from the track Bring It Back "We still rain the blood in the club like slayer flip it up like Limp Bizkit." and from the song Douche Bag we get the killer chorus " douche bag ima fuck you up, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you up"

Overall Rating: 0/10

Friday, July 8, 2011

DVD Review: Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Now this movie was released in cinemas last year, it didn't make it to New Zealand which was a shame as I'm quite the fan of Rush. Rush, Moving Pictures, 2112 and Farewell To Kings to me are classic albums, some of my favourites of all time so to see this documentary on the band would be an interesting a fun watch. I had also already read a book on the bands career a few years back, so I had a decent knowledge on the band already which made understanding this a lot easier.

One of the first parts you notice is that this dvd is really well made, Sam Dunn who did the Iron Maiden Flight 666 and Metal A Headbangers Journey made this one and again its spot on. The artists that are talked to in this thing are some of the biggest names in rock, Mike Portnoy, Billy Corgan, Kurt Hammett, Danny Carey, Trent Reznor is just a taste of the musicians that talked about why they love this band.

The dvd takes you all the way back to the start of the band, before Neil Peart was even in the band, it discussed the early years of Alex, Geddy and Neil. It showed what the band went through in the early years, playing in a small room for $10. Without telling you everything that happens in this dvd I'll try to just give you a general idea of what is being shown in this instead. The bond between Geddy and Alex shows why this band has been around for so long without any real hint of a breakup. Neil's tough period after the loss of his daughter and then wife, they also delve into the lengths it took for the band to comeback from that.

With such a large amount of albums, the movie still talks about every album, anything of note that took place, a change in producer, a change in sound and arguments between band members that may have taken place in the recording process. This movie finds a way to get in every piece of interesting material helping the viewer to get to know the band, a band that definitely isn't one that's ever been commercially popular or in the public eye.

Overall to me this a fine movie a fan of Rush will love this, a fan of rock music would also like this and with it so well made and easy to follow even just a fan of music and learning about a band they have never heard of will atleast appreciate the band that has achieve so much. As Geddy Lee put it in the movie "I always like to consider us the worlds most popular cult band"

Overall Review: 9.5/10

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Album Review: The Horrors - Skying

This is the third album for English rock band The Horrors, this band that started with a punk/garage rock album in Strange House which was great. After this they made the album Primary Colours which involved more synth/electronics and a much more psychedelic sound. With a big shift from album one to two, the third album was essentially "what next?" for fans of the band and again this band have changed it up.

I've been listening to this new album for a couple of days, I didn't want to review it straight away because I wanted to get used to the change in sound that comes with this band. After listening to Primary Colours the first couple of times I was disappointed because they moved away from the sound that introduced me to the band and it took me a while to get used to everything about it. Now with Skying I've gotten through it a few times and come to a few conclusions about the album.

One thing is for sure is they've once again changed their sound, once again it works incredibly well. I've always found The Horrors as a band that love old garage rock or even old music in general and when they make their album they take the retro ideas and sounds and put a modern twist on it all. We had a track released early for this was Still Life, a great choice for sure as this to me is close to the best song on the album. This track mixes all the sounds on the album perfectly and Faris' voice in his almost monotone manner works so well.

One of the main differences I've found on this album is how much in front the synth sound is, it leads the opener and takes a leading role in the album. Faris' side project Cats Eyes seems to have some sort of influence on the track You Said, not necessarily in the sound, but in the vocals and the way he sings in this one. There's a small amount of brit pop influence on this album also, the track Dive In definitely reminds me of the Manchester scene a little,  maybe some Charlatans/Happy Mondays listening perhaps?

After early listens I felt the first half was a little slow, now I completely disagree with that idea and think the band was more experimental in the songs and tapping into a lot of different areas, before settling towards the back end of the album.While Still Life for me is the ultimate highlight for me, after this track the album kicks into gear and tracks like Wild Eyed with the incorporation of a kick ass trumpet solo and Monica Gems which allows the guitarist Joshua Hayward to break the shackles and actually play a bit heavier harking back to Strange House times with the distortion and loudness allowed. Album ends slow with Oceans Burning, Faris' showing his versatile voice changing it completely up with such sweet, soft vocals that compliment the song as it sways along with the fading of the album ending.

Overall this is a great album, one of the best so far this year, there isn't a bad song on this thing and if there's a criticism its that it takes more than a couple of listened to get used to the album. The first half could be seen as a bit boring but after getting through it a few times found it incredibly interesting and experimental. Definitely another step in the right direction by The Horrors and again I'm wondering what might the band do next.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Album Covered

While ultimately the album is the most important part of an album, sometimes a great album cover just lures people in to buy the thing without even knowing who the band even are. Some of my favourite album covers a have some of the grossest album art out there, but then at times even the simplest of art can compliment what is a superb album.

The Beatles (White Album) is a prime example of an album that is just incredibly simple in appearance, after all its just white. If you were to walk into a store just seeing this white cover with nothing on it having no idea who the band were (well you might know these guys id it) would only give you more interestin this.

Now to album covers I really like, first I'll start with some of the more gross looking albums that many people would thing aren't good at all.

Cannibal Corpse - Butchered At Birth is definitely one of the coolest looking album covers, sure its not your average album cover with death babies hanging in the background  and two people butchering babies but its still incredibly cool.

Mastodon - Crack The Skye is my favourite album by these dudes musically, it's also one of my favourite album covers. Mastodon have always had great album covers but this one for some reason is just greater than them all.

Dr. Dre - The Chronic may not seem like an album cover that's anything great, but to me I find it really hilarious to the point where I love it. What isn't funny about a portrait of Dr. Dre on the cover, he looks half bad ass, half nice guy and I loved this album cover so much i found he released a t shirt with this cover on it an bought it, great purchase indeed!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Album Review: Brian Eno - Drums Between The Bells

Its been a while since I bothered to give an album by Musical great Brian Eno, but his new album Drums Between The Bells popped up as a new release so I thought I'd give this a try. When I told someone I knew that I had given it a listen they immediately asked me if it was ambient, he was kind of disappointed when I told him it wasn't although he hasn't listened to this...

As already said this is less ambient and more weird sounding electronics, Eno incorporates them well at times in this album, but at the same time he fails miserably. I found a few songs on this album to be really really great they just happened to be on the second half of this album. The first half eases you through the album, although I find it painfully slow and boring, nothing is happening the ambience doesn't really work and merely makes you feel like this album is taking forever to get through.

The second half though is pretty good, Sounds Alien is a legit electronic song that I dug, was quite a shame I had to wait so long in the album to hear a song I liked. On from this Dow keeps things interesting and I now feel this album has life, unfortunately I feel like I've been listening to this album for hours and it isn't even over.Cloud 4 and Breath of Crows are another couple solid tracks to end this album on a high.

Overall this album is poor, this album doesn't flow whatsoever, I feel like this is a collection of songs some good, some bad, some really bad. I also found that this album took forever to get through it dragged pretty early and even if the good moments came up late, it was too late to enjoy.

Overall Rating: 4.5/10

Monday, July 4, 2011

Album Review: Washed Out - Within And Without

This album got some fairly early hype with the early release of the track Eyes Be Closed, which was incredibly cool and even just a little too early for me in giving us a taster, after all its been a couple of months since then. What then happened was I had completely forgotten the new album was dropping around now and a lot less interested at what was to be heard.

One thing you will definitely notice throughout this album is how laid back and chill this thing is, this isn't like those faggy, laid back Sunday compilation discs you can get but instead a well crafted electronic chillwave album that is very mellow. The first track is a different version of the early release Eyes Be Closed, the intro to this song reminds me of this track, don't worry I won't hold it against them though. This song does such a great job in setting up what is a really pleasant and easy album to go through, very effortless sounding with the soft vocals topping it all off.

Another feature of this album is it isn't just squarely stuck in the chillwave genre, this album looks into synth pop and with tracks such as Echoes and Amor Fati give a extra aspect to the album. What I like about the addition of synth pop is that it avoids the album from becoming a little stale, the beats are heavier and the vocals have a little more freedom. My favourite track on this album would have to be Far Away, it mixes the synth pop and chillwave elements pretty well, the beat is very pronounced throughout the track, the other instrumentations on this song also work as nice addition sound, the vocals are incredibly sweet sounding to make it easy for me to pick as my favourite. The album has a great run of chillwave songs that end this album from tracks 6 to 9, this is like they're phasing the album out on us and it definitely works well.

Overall this is a good album, if there is any criticism it isn't great but merely good, the songs are very well done and should be a must listen for those that dig easy listening types of stuff, or even synth pop/chillwave fans. This really is a well made album and can put you in a daze pretty easily, good stuff from these dude, very enjoyable.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Friday, July 1, 2011

Album Review: Bon Iver - Bon Iver

The new album from Bon Iver (his second) was getting mad love before its release. Justin Vernon the brainchild of Bon Iver has been increasingly in the public eye after featuring on Lost In The World from last years much loved (and slightly overrated) My Dark Twisted Fantasy. Pitchfork was frothing at the mouth at what was to be produced and unless you had as high a hopes as Pitchfork you won't be disappointed.

The most amazing part about this album is that pretty much the whole thing flows so effortlessly, you glide through the album with such ease, its beautiful to listen to and you really don't realise how far through the album until its over. You get a ride of emotions throughout, the peacefulness and slowness of the album is really nice, Justin Vernon has such an amazing voice. The instrumentations on this are really great and help build scenes in your mind as you listen to it all, the instrumental breakdown on Perth is one of those that does this really well.

My favourite song on this album is Minnesota, WI I love the vocals on this more than anything, his lyrics are powerful on every track and this ones like no other. With it moving through tracks so fast, it can be very difficult to find a select track you like the most as it might not even be the track you thought it was. I feel the peaceful folk of it all puts together a really nice album with solid instrument arrangements that allow the mood to flourish throughout songs, while his voice continues to be as beautiful as ever.

There is of course a couple of problems I have with the album, the final track Beth/Rest is a big WTF, it doesn't go well with the album at all and left me scratching my head at why it was incorporated into an already strong album. Also the sameness at times of some tracks leaves you a little underwhelmed, sure the tracks are good, but there's obviously potential to be a lot better.

Overall Rating 8/10