Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Album Review: Lil Wayne - Tha Carter IV

Its been three years since Wayne's last Carter release Tha Carter III, since that we've had the leftovers in the form of Rebirth and I Am Not A Human Being. This is Wayne's ninth album and the hype for this has been fairly strong but has it really deserved the hype?

Personally I find the album a little underwhelming, there's some tracks on this I really enjoyed and some I thought were just "meh". This is definitely a Wayne sounding album he has his signature dirty sound on some of the tracks that tr00 fans will like. I'm not a tr00 Wayne fan, I didn't really like Tha Carter III which featured a track I listened to a lot at one time. A Milli a track I'm still unsure whether its a really cool track or completely stupid because its just so ridiculous.

Anyway back to this album, one thing I really liked was the beats on some of the tracks Blunt Blowin was one of these with its soft synth and much grittier beat over top. Another was 6 Foot 7 Foot with a great sample throughout the track, this is probably my favourite on the album as Wayne does a great job on this also. One moment I thought on this album that was kind of funny was the track How To Hate has a bit of the A Milli drum beat in it.

The main problem I have with this is its just long and full of throwaway tracks that really don't do anything for me. The second half of this album especially apart from maybe the "diss" track just cause it's something different. Even if a Lil Wayne, Jay Z feud might be one of the biggest "who cares" feuds today the track is pretty solid and at least shows something at the end of this album. With it being so long its tough to really keep interested if there's two or three lame tracks in a row  and I think this is its biggest problem.

Overall Lil Wayne and his unhygenic sounding voice has produced a pretty uninspiring album here, there's some cool tracks on this but not enough to really keep me that interested throughout this album. The beats on this album are my favourite part of this and even some of the guest verses help make some of these tracks really cool (Andre 3000, Cory Gunz, Busta Rhymes).

Overall Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Album Review: The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love

I'm going to make this real short for today cause I'm being lazy

bullet point notes about this album

*Dance Punk album
*Vocals are terrible
*Fourth album by the group
*Music isn't really anything special
*Some of it reminded me of Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap (I didn't like that band or song)
*Attempted to listen a thrid time but couldn't get through it

Overall rating: 2/10

Monday, August 29, 2011

Album Review: Wooden Shjips - West

This is the third album from psychedelic rock band Wooden Shjips, this four piece from San Francisco have been around for five years and with this their third release and a couple of solid releases before it the band has been starting to build a following. This album seems like a no brainer for me to like, I'm a fairly big Psych rock fan so this seems like something I'd dig not to mention I enjoyed the first two.

Unsurprisingly I am a huge fan of this, I love the unkept dirty sound that this album produces. The bass lines are distorted to fuck, such a cool rough sound being produced, the fuzzy rock sounds being produced are so good. The album starts very distorted with the track Black Smoke Rise the organ that joins in gives the song a very Doors feel, not over organed like them though. The backing music is very patient not to go over the top during the vocals which are quite chilled out and Morrison like. (yeah it reminds me of The Doors)

The albums to me can be separated into two parts of why I really like it, one of them is that the overall patient in the tracks is amazing, the instruments take their time to develop the sounds. sound growing and the moments when the solos hit are so powerful and slightly over the top. Another part I love of this album is the fuzzy, distorted raw sounding music, the almost drone like distortion that sits on top of the tracks as the layers of organ and guitar change throughout the tracks.

I found tracks like Home to have some southern rock influence to them more than the psych rock sounds that were far more apparent on the earlier tracks. The distortion is turned down a little on this track and the guitar is far more of  a southern/classic rock sound. My favourite track on the album would have to be that of Flight the longest on the album, the layers this song has and the overall patient in how it develops is really cool. The Organ carries the track with the maraca the guitars explore throughout the song and this is the best psych track on the album.

Overall this album has some great riffs, the production is fuckin great also. The overall sound of the album to me is really cool and as a big Psych fan its definitely worth listening to this album. There are parts of this album that sound a little samey at times but the distortion and patience this album shows when developing sounds is enough for me to look past these problems.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Friday, August 26, 2011

Album Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

New album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, tenth album in fact (great achievement) and who would've thought that after that abomination that is Stadium Arcadium they would attempt to subject us to anything else? Well guess what fans of RCHP faithful your in for another album whether you like it or not.

This review is a struggle so I'm going to say it straight away, does anyone really want to hear another RHCP album? no seriously? Stadium Arcadium blew so bad and the fact there was twice as much as usual just made it twice as painful as it could have possibly been. Add the fact John Frusciante is now gone from the band adds another reason for this band to stop (no offence Klinghoffer, loved the drums on Exquisite Corpse EP)

Here's my biggest problems with the album, everything seems so toned down from what they were, creatively there is nothing being brought to the table on this album. Everything is so soft that this is a shadow of what they were when they were one of the great rock bands around. The songs are just far too weak to even really care about, I get a feeling like these guys just don't have it anymore which is a massive shame.

To compound all of these problems the album is long as fuck at about an hour long, so painful to hear a band you used to like make a poor album and have it be too long to listen through (I got there eventually). So in closing listen if you want but this isn't a redemption from Stadium Arcadium it merely helps anyone that thinks this band can't go back to the glory days.

Overall Rating: 1/10

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Album Review: Today Is The Day - Pain Is A Warning

I've been a Today Is The Day fan for a while (not from the start obviously) but these guys are seriously cool. I've always enjoyed how they were more than your average core band incorporating noise rock into it something I'm a fan of. This is the bands ninth album with only "Stone Cold" Steve Austin being the only constant member throughout this.

After the string of  albums I'd been listening to and reviewing I had been looking for something a bit more in my face that had some sort of brutality to it. This album certainly hit that spot as after the initial slow intro to the album on the track Expectations Exceed Reality, Steve Austin's distorted screams are krieg as fuck, with the loud quiet loud formula being used his softer vocals at times do sound maniacal and devil like making the overall sound of the song just great. Death Curse is a much less subtle song as it immediately comes at you with brutality and Austins distorted vocals screaming at you at most points in the song.

Pain Is A Warning starts with a stoner rock kind of beginning and reminds me of Doomriders stuff who I saw recently (review here) the song is very guitar rock sounding, but overall a heavy stoner rock track with Austin's strong screams. It is obvious at this point that I love the explosiveness of this album, its not to say I like this general tempo but the way the riffs sound just make this great. The riffs on Wheelin' and death Curse are particular tracks that really make the songs fast and energetic while the others seem to be lesser in this aspect. While not being fast and hard hitting they did allow a different sound to which Austin's vocals could shine, with the stoner/hard rock song The Devil's Blood being one that shows off a different style to the album.

The album with all its anger and in your face parts has space for a slow song or two we have Remember To Forget which shows some real emotion "Gone away, swept away, inside it hurts so bad/ outside a life ive had/locked away, swept away" the firm drum beat that follows it. While the track This IS You is a straight BAS track and a pretty decent one at that. Obviously I have made many references to the vocals on this album and thats because they really are great, Austin sure does know when to have his vocals distorted and not, plus when he decides to drop down to a slower song he hits the emotional notes spot on.

Overall I really like this album, it might have its limitaions at times on being a core album (I only like this genre so much) but the songs on here are great, the vocals are great, the different styles that are explored are done very well also. A well made album indeed!

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Review: Primus - Green Naugahyde

Its been over 10 years since Primus released a full length album but guess what...? PRIMUS are back, does anyone still care? of course some do, while others probably forgot they existed anymore once the 90's were over after all they were a 90's band... Returning to the drums for this incarnation is Jay Lane who replaces Tim Alexander and on guitar we have longtime guitarist Larry LaLonde.

I must say it had been sometime since I had really cared about Primus but when I heard a new album was in the works I started listening to the albums again. I was never a huge Primus fan but I certainly enjoyed the quirky nature of it all, Les Claypool's lyrics and general song matter were always pretty fun/cool to me so was hoping this was again to be the case.

Thankfully and unsurprisingly the answer to this is yes the lyrics are fairly goofy (yeah I called them goofy) but for this it obviously fits the bill. I've found a few songs on this album Enjoyable, Jilly's On Smack is great definitely my favourite song on the album with its darker feel. While tracks like Last Salmon Man, Eyes Of The Squirrel and Moron TV definitely cause my interest. There are some downsides to this album while these songs are pretty cool there are far too many reminders of Les Claypool solo projects particularly Hennepin Crawler which wasn't a great track for me.

I do think tr00 die hard fans of Primus will love this as they do a lot of the other Primus releases, however the more I listened to this album (4 or 5 times by the time this was reviewed) I came to realise one this about this album. I just don't care, I enjoyed it a fair amount first time through however with each listen I gave less of a shit about every song on the album. Apart from Jilly's On Smack I don't really have any interest in hearing these songs again. I don't really feel its the albums for at all but more this band is pretty much "whatever" to me at this stage.

If I was to compare this band to another its like if Rage Against The Machine released another album, would people really care? I know while I liked the old stuff (Evil Empire is still the shit) I doubt many care for a new album. Is this album by Primus really what the fans wanted? I'd prefer to see them live and them do a world tour or two then trolley out an album I'm not going to care about come next week. If anything this album is targeted at die hard fans or those that love to indulge in nostalgic bands, that's not a criticism to those that like this I just don't.

Overall there's some cool songs on it that remind you of old Primus there's three tracks a quite like but the album does remind me of Les Claypool side project at times. My biggest problem with this album really is I just don't care for it whatsoever.

Overall Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Album Review: Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

This is Girls second album the first album (titled Album) was released in 2009 and was to put it simply a pretty solid album. Girls then went on to release Broken Dreams Club in 2010 a 6 track EP which was one of my favourite EP's of last year. Before we go any furhter this band maybe called Girls but doesn't actually have any girls in it, sorry to dissapoint those that were expecting female vocals or something of that extent.

The album really does start strong with the track Honey Bunny, the galloping of the drums really get things going and the sweet vocals of Christopher Owens. After this we get a track called Alex that reminds me a lot of the track We Can No Longer Cheat You by The Cribs, the songs aren't exactly that similar but the song was straight into my head after listening. The energy and tempo of this album is great at this stage and with Die (sounds like Muse maan) starting a little bluesy, a little Muse like it seems to be continuing. But just over halfway through the song completely slows down and with it the album decides to really slow down.

With the slowness of the album I feel like the emotions in Owens vocals increase further, its easier for them to be protrayed with everything stripped back anyway. When I first listened to this album I found the middle part of this album quite boring and the slowness ruined the album a little bit, but since then I've found tracks How Can I Say I Love You and Myma lead up to what is the best track on the album really well. The track in question is Vomit, a track many may have already heard as it was released early, the sheer bigness of the album alone is enough for you to rtelise this is the centerpiece of the whole album incredible song indeed.

If anything the slower middle section shows the true soul of the album, the true emotion. Once the track 8 Magic comes about its like Owens is over the sadness and "getting over it", the line "thats why I'm sticking with you, nobody makes me feel better". The album goes through so many emotions in the lyrics, the music behind builds the songs up to show it off even more. With all this I kind of wish there were les slow songs, the balance of slow to not so slow is a little off as personally while my favourite track on the album is Vomit, the first three tracks on this album are the next best. That being said after multiple listens the slower songs I appreciate more and make this album even better in my eyes.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, August 22, 2011

Live Review: Times New Viking San Francisco Bath House Wellington

Its been a couple of weeks since I saw some bands (last was GZA, good show by the way!) so I thought why not go see Times New Viking at San Fran. This was a fairly cheap gig $22 so it made the decision easier in choosing whether to go and once confirmed the first band wasn't coming on till 9 (had work till 830) I locked it in.

Got to the gig a little late and missed the first opening act Sheitgeist and when I showed up to the venue it was very much in a laidback way. Couches going round the floor area which meant people watching the second support act Terror Of The Deep could do so from close range and comfort. I thought these guys were pretty solid, nice lo fi indie rock with garage and blues rock influences with some almost southern sounding vocals. They certainly kept me interested and the people there to see them seem to enjoy themselves they're definitely a tight sounding three piece band hopefully I'll see them again soon.

Now before Times New Viking got on stage I purchased their vinyl Dig Yourself from the merch table, only $20 good deal. Next up was Times New Viking and almost immediately they ran through a bunch of tracks many of them from the new album Dancer Equired (good album) It's A Culture, Ever Falling In Love, No Room To Live and Try Harder feastured early in a set that had songs from all over the discography.

The band were pretty relentless in the way they played, stopping only a couple of times during the set with drummer and singer Adam Elliot asking "Is there any questions?, theres never any questions". The vocals of both Elliot and Beth Murphy and how they fed off each other at times was really great. Another small aspect and completely uninteresting to many was guitarist Jared Phillips playing left handed it's not any achievement but I'd never seen a left handed guitarist. The further this gig went along the faster the band went, almost like old shool punk as the songs were less indie and more over the top speed with little substance.

Overall all it was a pretty nice gig, nice atmosphere, nice band, nothing that you will ever go crazy about but at merely $22 you got your moneys worth so it was a fun way to end the week.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anticipated Albums Of 2011 Pt 2

I did one of these way back, most of the albums from that post I liked, some I loved and one I'm still kind of dissappointed about (I'm looking at you Arctic Monkeys). So with some more cool albums coming out why not look at what I'm interested in hearing.

Mastodon - The Hunter
Release date: Sept 26
Four albums and the band still haven't made a bad one yet, Crack The Skye was the last release and least heavy from this four piece prog metal band. I can't see this one failing and if it doesn't this band will continue to cement themselves as one of the top metal bands around today.

Primus - Green Naugahyde
Release date: Sept 12
We haven't had a Primus album since nam, do I care that much well not at the time of them not making music, but now I'm kind of excited to see what they do next. I've never been a massive Primus fan but I've always appreciated their music from afar.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
Release date: Not yet known
Man sometimes you just don't want to be right and this is an album I just hope doesn't blow as it just seems like its going to be. Another album by these guys and its been a while since they released anything good. If this one blows will they please jsut stop, come on make it good so I can listen to you guys again.

Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Release date: Sept 13
Its been a couple of years since the band that was seriously my favourite during High School released an album. Since then the band has lost who was essentially the leader of the band drummer Mike Portnoy and been replaced by Mike Mangini. Will be interesting how much the band changes (I'm guessing not a lot) and if this album is a success.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams

This is the second release from Indie rock band Dum Dum Girls this year, the first being a 4 track EP titled He Gets Me High. That EP included a great cover of The Smiths track There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, a cover that actually got me back into listening to them. This is also the second full length album from the all female four piece from Los Angeles.

The first track Always looking is a really strong start to the album, its a really punchy indie track that shows some similarities to Crystal Stilts in the guitar sounds (not a Girls Names like copy though). The guitars on this track remind me of the song wipeout so an early surf rock influence is apparent on this album. To be honest this is just like some heavier more alternative sounding surf rock tunes, the formula is simple with the vocalist Dee Dee singing about her "guy" and how much she needs, wants and cares for.

The songs don't aways protray sadness and at times Dee Dee's vocals soar incredible to make the song even bigger sounding. I get the feeling like at times its dream pop just with heavier slightly distored guitars and a little faster, like a punk rock edge.This album is like a soft surf rock sound inside a really cool alt rock album, the drums are simple and the songs are really lead vocally. Its a shame that the distortion that was great on the EP from the track He Gets Me High doesn't really appear on this and if anything it means the tracks don't differ too much throughout.

The album is only 36 minutes but keeps your attention from start to finish Always Looking is certainly my favourite on the album and helps you getinto the album straight away. While a track later in the album Wasted Away is another of this mould an almost frantic sounding track.

Overall this is fairly simple album, it won't blow you away but at the songs on this are still really good and defintely end up in multiple listens. Dee Dee's vocals are strong and powerful on this album and the alt spin on songs that are essentially surf rock tracks makes it less cliche.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Album Review: Ganglians - Still Living

I started listening to this album on Monday morning when the sun was out in Wellington and it was the day after the first legitimate snow fall in forever. Since then we've had two days of snow so to say this album has been listened to in completely different conditions before this review are pretty spot on. This is Ganglians 2nd albums and the indie pop band from Sacramento have certainly bought out a big album in terms of content.

As said its a big album, 55 minutes long isn't what I'd call the average length of an indie album but thats because you don't have too many 4-6 minute tracks on the albums, while on this over half are at that mark. When listening to this the firsxt time in the sun it seemed quite appropriate it, the guitars glowed through and influence from surf rock were apparent almost immediately. Another aspect I noticed was the lo fi intro to the first track Call Me which helped to make their intentions clear early on.

The track Sleep pushes away from surf rock and into a more synth pop/electro pop idea with a punk edge, the chorus really shows some attitude while the keyboard gives it a sweet and fuzzy appeal. As the album goes on after this you gett he idea that this band has a lot of different ideas and sounds they want to incorporate. This might be why the album is just under an hour because we get a surf rock start, then fuzzy pop, electro pop, electronic pop, synth pop and punk even. This might be cool that all these are incorporated but I kind of find that all the ideas are just thrown on the page and apart from the surf indie rock stuff is refined as it begins the album and gets two or three tracks in a row.

The rest of this stuff is almost designed to be filler but its really the only stuff I really enjoy, the track already mentioned Sleep is definitely great while my personal favourite on this thing is The Toad which is just a really cool psychedelic song, probably the most well made track on the album. The vocals are powerful and in front of some cool while the crunching guitars give the song some attitude.

Overall theres probably a song for everyone on this, but I'm not so sure theres an album here at all if you like an album to explore different genres song by song this might be your thing. I don't mind a band having a bunch of different ideas from different styles but atleast try tie it together. Bunch of cool songs, just not a great album of songs.

Overall Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nothing Is Worse Than...

Party Rock Anthem, yes that terrible group that seems to be killing it on the airwaves and in the clubz, I'm not going into detail about this song because it at all points shows off parts of music I hate. Its like the Black Eyed Peas made a song and thought "yeah not even we would release this" and LMFAO thought "Yeah bro this is meeeeeaaaaaaannn" So now I shall merely take a dab hand at poetry (well sort of) here it goes;

Nothing Is Worse Than Party Rock Anthem

I'd rather feel like a plastic bag...than like Party Rock Anthem
I'd rather be bullied because I made the song Friday...than like Party Rock Anthem
Death...than like Party Rock Anthem

Being a juggalo...than like Party Rock Anthem
I shall not shuffle everyday...or like Party Rock Anthem
Spend a day with dubstep bros > Party Rock Anthem

Willing to enjoy the music of Drake...than like Party Rock Anthem
I won't rewind it back...or like Party Rock Anthem
Use the term LMFAO in normal conversation...than like Party Rock Anthem

My house shant be rocked...or like Party Rock Anthem
lose my hearing is ok...having to like Party Rock Anthem NO
Never be in Miami...than like Party Rock Anthem

Party Rock Anthem...please go away.

Seriously the amount of times I heard this song over the last month or so is the reason while I truly hate the song, I don't even care if you like it cause whatever. The idea for this has been around for a couple of weeks just this is the way I chose to express it, but at the end of the day this song is just the bane of my life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun

Its snowing!!!!, now for some of you outside the hills of Kel Bizzle or Wellington in general this may not be that odd but its really the first time its legitimately snowed here since nam. So in turn as I haven't really listened to many new albums I thought a winter themed blog post was in order. Metal fans shall fill their facebook stati with updates about shit becoming black metal, which is right it has.

Now I'm just going to roll out some of my favourite winter songs/albums cause really it doesn't make sense to be listening to Best Coast's album during a snow ball fight or the Beach Boys for that matter. Nothing is greater than a winter sounding album when its cold, feeling like you're actually part of the frozen tundra (Lambeau reprazent) as you listen gives you a greater appreciation to the visuals through the use of sound the band is making.

Now the title of this blog post is taken from a song by a band I'm a big fan of, it was actually there kind of christmas song. (don't worry I ain't going to start posting christmas songs) The band that did this was Beach House.
Everytime when its freezing cold in the morning and the sun is out I always think of the title of this track, it makes even more sense today as it snowed. Obviously being a Beach House song you'll get beautiful as fuck vocals and a pleasant soun throughout.

Another track by Beach House to me is not only a summer but also a winter song, this is my favourite off the last album with it called Norway (grim and frostbitten), I guess it being called Norway is almost enough for me to declare it winter and I just feel like the music video would be them walking through thick snow.

Now theres an album that to me is the ultimate in portraying grim weather and that is Sunn 0))) - Black One, everytime I listen to it, the feel of the album is just cold snowy nights as if your actually in the forest listening to this. The visuals from the sound are so so great and the track Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons) has the most cold winter blizzard start to the track, so much atmosphere in it and the album as a whole.

Seriously, shit got black metal today

Friday, August 12, 2011

Album Review: Lee Noble - No Becoming

This albums been out for a while now, but theres been very little released that I couold find or bother researching so I thought I'd stick with this one. The first time I heard this I just thought "fuck reviewing this" as I didn't really know how I was to go about it all, but now I guess I have no choice so here it goes. Lee Noble is a drone artist and this album No Becoming is the first of three albums to be released this year and with a bunch of albums released last year he is obviously a prolific musician.

Now when I'm dealing with listening to drone music I gotta be patient which is hard as I have a short attention span, Lee Noble's tracks are certainly slow cookers when they come to the music he is making. Starting with the track Cop Show we just have a smooth as fuck tronic sound that combined with standard drone elements allow for it to be quite a cruisey track. The song also incorporates subtle pieces to give the song something extra without over doing it.

While the first track is very smooth, the second is far from it Paradise Life has a stronger drone sound with the occasional addition of acoustic guitar and some small wobbly electronic bits. The song is much more monotone sounding as well as being a far stronger wall of sound with distortion elements included. As the song gets further along when pretty much have a BAS piece underneath the drone sounds, the clashing of beautiful BAS and gritty sounds is pretty special.

The album then takes a far more electronic turn, with greater beats, less grit and a much more uplifting sound than ever seen in this album. If it wasn't obvious before then it is now that Lee Noble is an electronic artist and not a drone artist (yeah, I just looked it up). Track four Emotive cloak also the shortist on the album is definitely my favourite on the album, its atmnosphere, its uplifting sounds and the overall flow of the song combine to make this a killer track.

The rest of this album has its moments, it exchanges electronic beats and drone phases but without being too in your face. He also finds a way of including some soothing vocals which work so well, if anything its something I'd like to hear more of. The vocals on the track Born Mistake glide along the track and the minimal beat and some form of guitar? sounds add to this songs dour perspective.

Overall this is a solid album its definitely slow to get used to, it has atmospheric moments, some solid electronic pieces and some decent drone. It does come with downfalls such as being something that takes a lot to get interested in as its slow and feels long even at 35 minutes long.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Song Battle, Songs Of The Same Name...PT 2

So I've already done one of these but thought as I haven't really prepared anything else for today that I'll do this again. Simple really two songs from different artists (no covers) pitted against each other to take song name supremacy. Of course if you disagree or have songs to put against each other feel free to comment and I might have them on this next time.

Song battle one: Baby

The Roots


Verdict: Baby is a great rap song  and The Roots unsurprisingly have built a great beat for the song, its definitely nothing special by these guys but still a great track. On the other hand we have a newer track by Warpaint from their debut album The Fool, this is actually my least favourite track as its pretty much too BAS on this album. Winner: The Roots

Song battle two: Far Away

Cut Copy


Washed Out

Verdict: This is kind of an close with both being so different, Cut Copy's track is such a fun dancey synth pop track which gets you moving. While Washed Outs track is much more subdued and slow but beautiful all the same. Winner: Cut Copy

Song battle three: Get Out

Birds Of Tokyo


Faith No More

Verdict: While the last might have been difficult this one is a lot easier, Birds Of Tokyo's track is one of my least favourite from the band its a pretty boring track all together. While Faith No More's is a great opener to a great album. Winner: Faith No More

Song battle four: Flower

The Charlatans



Verdict: The first album by The Charlatans had many moments of brilliance on it, this song a much slower song to some of the upbeat ones before it work well to show what the band can do. While in Soundgarden's corner we have a track that's not one of the great tracks buts still a strong song Cornell obviously kills it vocally and the guitar sound is great. Winner: The Charlatans

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Album Review: Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

For something that had all the makings of a possible explosive and creative collaboration I feel like the hype on this album was next to nothing. I mean the only mention of this album being reasonably close to release was the article on them signing an exclusive deal with Best Buy and Itunes, which not only is embarrassing but showed this as almost exclusively a cash cow for them. So as the release date hit I kind of forgot this had been released, I grabbed it late in the day and gave it a first listen and the album just left a meh feeling.

My biggest problem with this album is that the album is sampled to fuck, I mean samples are cool but when they are drowning out Kanye and Jay (it might actually be a good thing) then it seems a little too over the top and really annoying. With Kanye involved it was always going to be way over the top as this is what hes become a larger than life his own mind especially. Tracks such as Otis which samples Otis Reading is a prime example of the sample being just too much, I mean parts of Jay's verses are underneath the sample vocals.

Its like they're trying waaay too hard to show how great they are in this, there's verses in this thing that would be a lot better if you could hear them properly. A couple of shining tracks on the album were both involving Odd Future member Frank Ocean tracks No Church In The Wild (the album opener) and Made In America. To me what I liked was they toned down sampling and allowed all three involved to actually do their thing and Frank Ocean has taken another big step in becoming a big name after this.

Now while I have been pretty critical in this so far, I still feel like this is at the very least a decent album, Kanye and Jay Z still show moments of class in tracks but unfortunately they rarely put it together for a whole song. Obviously the two Frank Ocean songs are two of them, to a lesser extent Welcome To The Jungle (seriously that sample tries to ruin it) and Murder to Excellence (another sampled to fuck).

Overall this is a dissapointing release by these two, even if you had low expectations on this (me) then you'll still find it a shame that they just ruined it with something like production mainly, something that Kanye is supposed to be good at. I quite like some of the verses and if this were to tone down the samples then I think I'd like it a lot more.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Album Review: John Maus - We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves

Its been nearly 4 years since the last John Maus album and incredibly when I heard this album the first time the immediate reaction to listening to this was "Wait is this Ariel Pink?" cause shit sounds very similar. This lo-fi synth pop album has a very similar retro feel to that of last years breakthrough album from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Before Today which definitely was a favourite of mine.

While this album has similarities to that of the Ariel Pink album particularly in its lo fi approach to these pop songs, it without a doubt produces its own sound and style. The swagger in which Ariel sings his music isn't in this album, Maus seems far more soft and laid back in his vocals, the music seems a little more subtle and without a miriad of backing vocalists. Another point of note is that this album is far more electronic based which is great the songs have a much greater head bobbing beat to them.

A favourite track of mine on this is Hey Moon, starting with a very simple sound it slowly builds with Maus and backing soothing voice, overal its pretty good BES. Another track that certainly caught my attention was the very short track Crucifix which to me is the closest to an Ariel Pink song the beat is simple and the vocals show off some of that retro pop swagger we heard last year. These songs are just that little bit better than the rest, but the overall retro feel of the album is evident and works really well.

Overall this is a pretty cool album, but certainly not an album for everyone. Someone that appreciates synth pop with sucyh a retro feel will really enjoy this, obviously Ariel Pink fans will like this with its similarities. The simpleness of the album is great, John Maus certainly played around with some cool electronic sounds and didn't take over it with his vocals merely putting it out there at the right time.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dubstep, Am I Supposed To Move In Slow Motion?

So I went to the clubz on Saturday night (I do that sometimes) and inevitably I ended up somewhere playing the music of bros dubstep. Now I never really enjoy club music anyway as the music usually blows bunch of top 20 video hits remixed poorly that would make any legitimate DJ embarrassed to be given the name. Obviously not all places are like this and the fact I avoided having to hear Party Rock Anthem (worst song this year by far) means at least the music was bearable. Now while I was at the club they were playing some solid drum & bass with a noice beat and the energy in the place was pretty good then the dubstep hit...

ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO SUDDENLY MOVE IN SLOW MOTION!?!?! cause seriously the energy in the music and beat slows everything down so much. I know most will continue to dance at the same rate as they were before this and fair enough but the song slows errthang down I don't get the dance aspect of it. I know I'm basically pointing this more in the brostep direction as not all dubstep is like this but to most brostep is all thats played and loved by in these clubz. To me its just music people use to show off their fancy new soundsystem in their boyracer car to show how much bass they have.

So what makes dubstep so appealing to dance along to? the slowness? the phat bass? the filfynis? either way I don't get it, would rather listen top far more interesting and upbeat forms of electronic music like house or drum & bass or electronica or even...techno. At the end of the day though is that dubstep? guess I should move in slow motion now.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Days 5 Songs Stuck In My Head

Just another week on the blog, thank fuck its over I've kind of been in a weird music listening mood this week. Barely being able to finish albums and just listening to a bunch of random tracks some of the time connecting to a video I had seen. I've also had 5 different songs stuck in my head this week one for each day conveniently so I've decided to make a post on each of these songs. Usually when they get stuck in my head I relentlessly listen to the song, sometimes a few times back to back for a while.

Anyway here it goes;

Monday's song: The Black Lips - Bicentennial Man  
(no youtube link)
Anyway I barely got to the end of this album this week, again I was struggling to finish any albums but for some reason I skipped to this track and I had it in my head while at work. I whistled it and sung the chorus a few times while no one was around.

Tuesday song: Foo Fighters - Everlong
"Hey maaan you hate Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters" while some might actually think this its infact not true and this song is one of the songs I really like about them and after watching the garage tour vid on youtube. I was compelled to go back and listen to some of the songs I used to love from these guys and this unsurprisingly got stuck in my head.

Wednesdays song: Jay Reatard - I Know A Place
I posted this on Facebook on Wednesday night because I had this stuck in my head. All because again I watched the trailer to the doco about him and the songs in it. Once I listened I was hooked on pretty quickly and lead to me going through the singles collection as with what happens when I listen to one of Jay's tracks it snowballs into an album or two.

Thursdays song: tUnE-yArDs - Gangsta
I kind of forgot about this album, its nice but not overly great and worth that many repeat listens. However the track Gangsta got plenty of listens yesterday, this thanks to watching her performance from the Jimmy Fallon show which was great.

Fridays song: Cut Your Hands - Fooling No One
Now I reviewed the new album by these guys this week and this was easily my favourite of the album. I'd been listening to most of it fairly regularly but now I've got it on my iPod the listens to this song in particular have risen. Such a cool, fun alt rock song that harks back to The Smiths and even The Cure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Album Review: ††† (Crosses) - EP†

Now this is pretty fresh in release, its the new Ep from the side project of Deftones singer Chino Moreno and also features Far guitarist Shaun Lopez. I never have cared for Deftones or Far for that matter, I've never been that big on Deftones screams and prefered at times if they just didn't as the clean vocals had more appeal for myself anyway. This is the first release from this project in the form of a 20 minute EP released for free.

To begin this album already you know theres going to be some electronic influence in this all, as the first moments are a pretty decent hip hop sounding beat. The beat as great as it is only disapoints when Chino comes in and doesn't start rapping a true shame indeed. Chino basically only uses the soft vocals which I don't mind, they sound quite powerful and remind me of Anders Friden of In Flames particularly in the most recent albums. You can hear the strains not vocals but in the emotion Chino is putting into this it works.

The greatest thing about this album to me is the experimenting electronically, the beats are quite cool and track twos incorporation of guitar in a much more obvious light brings it to a more alternative sound. The album is smooth as fuck and flows beautifully throughout and everything goes together so well. While this album is really subtle and I do like this, I don't find that they have pushed boundaries in their songs something that we might hear when the promised full album released is dropped, its good not great.

Overall this is a pretty nice start for this side project and definitely moves completely away from Deftones. The potential is fairly high and the sound is clean with Chino's vocals beautiful throughout.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Album Review: Robedoor - Rock Bottom

I'm not even sure if this is very new, I just found it on my mediaplayer and realised its from 2011 so decided it was worth reviewing. Also being a shorter album meant I didn't have to spend as much time listening to the album as my customary 2 listens before reviewing wasn't to take very long. Anyway this is a psychedelic album (well that's what mediaplayer says anyway) by the band Robedoor a two piece from musicians Britt and Alex Brown. This album Rock Bottom is one from a very prolific discography a group that releases multiple albums a year, I've never heard of them so it was interesting starting so late into the discography.

One thing you notice pretty quickly is this is some experimental shit going on, very drone sounding and not only psychedelic but also a great deal of noise rock influence. The dense walls of distortion, drone and sound in this is what makes it incredibly intriguing, the subtle changes in the sound the overall grittiness of it all shows imperfection. The first track Back On The Ground is slow to give off a lot of these features instead going for a fairly classic sounding psychedelic intro with pieces of lo fi distortion thrown in to show grit. The second track is some atmospheric drone that sounds like it would easily fit into a track by Sunn O))) definitely has an evil tone throughout the track even if the track gets a little boring after a while.

The third track Deep Deep In Mexico incorporates vocals for the first time, they are way in the back of the mix but helps bring out the psychedelic nature of this album. As heard in the first track this definitely has psychedelic sounds and the guitars show this off, as does the slow drumming. The whole track is slow but flows beautifully as you just let the song sink in slowly you can even find small amounts of drone in this.

The final track on this very short album is Wake Of The Mythmaker, which at 14 minutes makes up for nearly half the album. The track starts off very slow allowing a long and slow building intro while this song is long and somewhat repetitive I did find myself being lost in the song I started to appreciate all the little things that were going on, this track is by far the highlight for me, it changes enough with the drum beat at 7 minutes elevating the song after the already soaring sounds before this. My favourite part of the song is definitely the guitar change after 10 minutes the psych rock feel grows as the guitar tones change, making the changes in this song perfect to not allow too much sameness throughout.

Overall this is a really cool album, at only 30 minutes and 4 songs you would think there isn't that much one can do. However the exploring of noise, drone and psych rock sounds without being too much of the boring repetitive nature allows this album to continue being interesting throughout.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Album Review: Zombelle & Myrrh Ka Ba - Tropicult

Another day, another blog and another album from a band I've never heard of until this. For once I'm also reviewing an EP, which is kind of nice because now I've got an excuse for having a short and shitty review. There's very little information I can find on this, but what I did find is that this EP is a collaboration between Zombelle and Myrrh Ka Ba (cool names). Zombelle brings the vocals to the table of this album while Myrrh Ka Ba brings some interesting experimental electronic music.

This EP from the start is pretty chill in its electronic beginning and layered over this is the beautiful vocals of Zombelle, with this being my first listen to her voice it is quite nice and mixes well with the music. The first track Bad creation shows off some great variation with the halfway point introducing a nice little beat hat adds to the almost wub like sounds before this.

The next track Beach Blanket starts with Zombelle breathing really heavy, its pretty weird and then the electronics come in. The electronics on this album as a whole are great and really are experimental as fuck, you certainly have no idea where they are going throughout the song and at times are really minimal. I also get the feeling that everything sounds so subtle, nothing is over the top and the layers of electronic sound mix so well and the vocals merely top it off to give it that extra layer. The moment that cements this as a pretty cool EP is the track Street Sharks, its full of really dark sounds, the atmosphere in the sounds are really strong and the fading vocals are only adding to the great sense of dark atmosphere this track protrays.

There isn't a lot wrong with this album, the electronics are really cool and the vocals work well with it all, if anything it just underwhelms me slightly. That might be because there is so much more that could be done, but at only 20 minutes is stopped before it can go anywhere. I feel over all this is just a taster to what can be done by this collaboration but at this stage it looks great and hopefully at some stage they do something more substantial.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Monday, August 1, 2011

Album Review: Cut Off Your Hands - Hollow

I never usually review New Zealand bands on this blog as far as I remember just the album by Beast Wars has thus far been the solitary New Zealand album. So when I found out the new album from indie rock band Cut Off Your Hands had been "released" onto the Internet, I felt compelled to listen to what they had made considering I was an admirer from afar.

Instantly into the album you  get some alternative influence into the album, I first thought The Smiths but as the first couple of songs were finished it definitely felt more The Cure. Either way there's definitely a nice 80-90's alt rock feel to this album and thankfully not in a way that makes it sound really retro. One thing I really like on this album is the vocals, Nick Johnston has done a great job making his vocals sound like they are really dreamy and laid back creating a cool feel to the album.

One of the worries I had as I was listening to this album was would it end up a little samey and thankfully this wasn't the case at all. There's some dreamier slower songs on this album that definitely interest me a lot and then there's moments such as Fooling No One (A stand out track) where the energy lifts, the classic influences are so evident on this song, with the guitars harking back to the great bands of old indie rock/alternative. Another aspect of this album I really enjoyed particularly early on was the minimal nature of the guitars, such subtle sounds that accompanied the flowing vocals allowed those songs to sound extra sweet.

While I did enjoy this album a fair amount, the more I listened and hoped to find something more, the more I couldn't find it. The songs and album have potential to be really great songs, I like them but certainly don't love many (well maybe Down & Out) its a shame cause you can definitely hear the potential in it.

Overall this is a cool solid indie rock album by a New Zealand act that certainly has the potential to become a greater band. The classic indie/alt rock influence on this band is really cool and evident on this album but only enough to show they like those bands and not trying to become a poor rip off. The vocals and guitars are like a dream, so I found this album would be perfect to listen to in the sun on a lazy Sunday.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10