17 August 2014
Sneaky Creeps - Negative Space
I'm a bit late to the party here, but better late than never. Kansas City post punk band Sneaky Creeps' new record Negative Space is probably their best one to date. I was a big fan of their previous album Bell St. Radio and the EP Thin Man Wigs Out, and the band continues to push even further into new ground with Negative Space. Through the ferocious vocals of guitarist/loop master Andy Erdrich and drummer Max Crutcher plus bassist Isaac Ahloe, Sneaky Creeps make these 11 tracks into a ferocious post punk triumph. The tracks can very from very sparkly and pretty ("Hypnotist Convention") to pretty harsh and brutal ("Splitting Hairs"), but usually it's somewhere in between. And that's fine by me, cause it's a style of music that Sneaky Creeps is exceptionally good at. It feels like a combination of older Modest Mouse and a brutal rock band like Muscle Worship. I recommend you give it a listen if want your mind blown out by some really wild rock music. Enjoy!
07 August 2014
Max Uhlich - Hakiko
Alberta based musician Max Uhlich has released his debut album Hakiko, and I definitely think it's worth writing a review of. The 14 songs on this record are truly some of the strangest singer/songwriter tracks I've heard in quite a while. Most of them are very minimally composed, relying on nothing more than Max's unique voice and lyrics and some keyboard and guitar. Occasionally you'll hear some percussion (drums or drum machine) and some field recordings, but for the most part, Hakiko is very reliant on Max's one of a kind lyrics and voice. Each track has incredibly in-depth and well written lyrics, the amount of effort put into them definitely noticeable. And because of Max's use of very minimal instrumentation, his unique voice and lyrics are at the forefront of this Hakiko. And I'm most definitely ok with that, because they're both excellent features. While I do think the album runs a bit long (14 tracks and just over an hour), I definitely think Max Uhlich's first album is a very solid release that you should check out. Enjoy!
05 August 2014
B L A C K I E... All Caps, With Spaces - IMAGINE YOUR SELF IN A FREE AND NATURAL WORLD
Houston-based experimental rap artist B L A C K I E has been delivering his intense brand of industrious and noisy hip hop crossed with hardcore punk since all the way back in 2005. On his (I believe) 5th LP, B L A C K I E challenges listeners with perhaps some of the most abrasive and brutal music he's ever released. IMAGINE YOURSELF IN A FREE AND NATURAL WORLD is truly B L A C K I E's best work, the full realized potential of a man who's already earned my respect after years of solid releases. Michael Lacour uses IMAGINE YOUR SELF as a full exploration of sonic possibilities, using dense and distorted layers of synthesizers, bass guitar, wall rattling drums, mind numbing clarinet wailing, and of course, his signature abrasive vocals. Lacour just takes full reign of sound and noise on this album, unleashing horrifically strange sonic chaos upon whoever is brave enough to listen. I highly recommend that you listen to and buy this album as soon as possible. I think this is one of those albums you should experience. Enjoy!
31 July 2014
Little Whales - Demo
Coming in all the way from Mumbai, India, is the debut demo from the one man band of Vrishank Menon, Little Whales. While this demo is only three tracks and barely runs for 5 minutes, Little Whales make a great first impression in the little time this demo has. The short and sweet 52 second intro track "When I Was A Child, I'd Use My Dad's Jacket As A Blanket (The Jacket Won't Even Fit Me Now)" provides some very nice swells of drums and sparkling guitar leads that I find quite enjoyable. I do wish that if any of the tracks would've been developed a little more, it definitely should've been this one. There just could've been so much done with it from an instrumental standpoint. But hey, that's the whole point of a demo. The next track "Lucid Dreams" offers some more nicely placed guitar arrangements over our first real taste of Vrishank's voice, and it's not half bad. It's not perfect, but for the music he's playing, it definitely works. It blends into the mix very well and it shows a lot of potential. The last track, "I Even Learnt How To Spell Massachusetts", is probably my least favorite track on here, just because the mixing was a little weak here. The guitars really overshadowed the vocals quite a bit and the vocals just felt smooshed under the rest of the instruments. But other than that, I don't have many complaints on this demo. Little Whales definitely made a good demo, and I'll be really anticipating a full length album or EP from him in the future.
Dor - grey, north carolina
The most recent album from North Carolina collaboration project Dor, grey, north carolina, is a pretty wonderful and haunting trip through ambient IDM music. Typically (but not all the time), ambient music that has a very dense and wonderful sound to it is ruined once it brings beats and drum machines into the picture. It just takes away more than it adds for me, I don't know. But Dor does a very good job at mixing in these subtle but powerful beats into their droning soundscapes. Every single track on grey manages to keep a heavy hand on atmosphere and makes you feel like you're being transported wherever Dor feels you need to be to fully experience their music. The duo has the ability to shift between quick and fast paced to very disorienting and calm in very quick bursts. After listening to the album several times, I can honestly say that it's an album worth experiencing. Dor's incredibly solid grasp on tone and mood through dense and shoegazy soundscapes mixed with overall powerful and creative musicianship is incredible, and it helps elevate grey, north carolina to a status of high achievement. Well done, Dor. Well done. I recommend you check this out as soon as possible.
24 July 2014
Chapa Mamba - S/T
This self titled album from Brazilian garage rock two piece (I believe they're a two piece) Chapa Mamba is pretty freaking awesome. I might go as far as saying it's my favorite rock record of the year so far. The band just does so many things right on this album, and I just can't help but enjoy it. Chapa Mamba mixes the constant structural changes of a band like Tame Impala but replaces all the extra synths and phased out guitars with Nirvana-esque distortion sounding like it's being played on a warped record. Throughout the record, Chapa Mamba doesn't really give me a sense of emotion, but however it does give me something different. That rare feeling of listening to a rock record that makes me feel uneasy and intrigued. While the feeling isn't as intense as it is when I listen to Women's Public Strain or Many Moods Of Dad's The Consequence Of Trying, I would still put this album in a category with those albums. Chapa Mamba just puts forward some sort of recorded aesthetic that makes it feel unique amongst all the albums I've heard so far this year. But while I also get unique vibes from this album, it's also an incredibly catchy and fun listen that will appeal to almost everyone. I would recommend you check out this record as soon as possible. Also, the whole record is in Portuguese. This is the first time I've heard garage rock sung in Portuguese, but I freaking love it. Check it out!
23 July 2014
The Ovaries-eez - Snow Day
God, do I love bands with awesome names. All girl 3-piece The Ovaries-eez (brilliant. So brilliant) have released their debut EP, ironically but fittingly entitled Snow Day. The reason that I say fittingly is because The Ovaries-eez present the 4 tracks on this EP as very somber songs meant for the winter. Meant to warm the listener with it's use of beautiful vocal harmonies, enticing lyrics and minimal-yet-pretty guitar playing. The EP is incredibly short, at just under 10 minutes, but it definitely works at this length. Just enough time for it to sink in. I'm digging this EP, check it out!
08 July 2014
Well, that's it. It's over. Done. There's no saving it.
Like most music journalists, I just viewed the Miley Cyrus and Wayne Coyne (it's not a Flaming Lips collaboration, you and I know it) video collaboration "Blonde SuperFreak Steals The Magic Brain." Apparently I'm supposed to be impressed with a constant loop of the string section from The Flaming Lips' "All You Need Is Love" cover along with Miley Cyrus screaming "fuck!" while a naked lady runs around with aliens. Now don't get me wrong, I'm always down for a little avant garde performance art. But, not when it's the most forced and pretentious thing I've seen in quite a while. Here's the bottom line: Miley Cyrus makes pathetic cliched pop music, and so far she's never proved herself as anything else than a hyper-managed pop star who's every move is precisely planned out. The Flaming Lips are the one of, if not, the most innovative rock band of the last several decades. They deliberately messed with the rules, both musically and on stage. Whether you're talking about the pure genius of the Zaireeka concept, the practically unknown magician that is Ronald Jones, or the paralyzingly depressing The Terror, it's very easy to see why I don't consider Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips to be in the same realm of musicians. But, however, Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus are slowly becoming the same types of people. Bullshitty, fake, pop stars. Wayne Coyne is no longer the mystical magician of a frontman he once appeared to be. He is now the man known for kicking out longtime Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock because he spoke his mind, and smoking weed with Miley Cyrus. Why? Well, that's a great question that I don't know the answer to. But here's what I do know. Wayne Coyne is dead to me. As a dedicated fan for years of The Flaming Lips, it really hurts to see him make the change from frontman to fake celebrity and still pretend that the music he once helped create has any sort of value other than furthering The Flaming Lips live agenda. In a way, I'm almost relieved that they've taken almost all songs from The Terror off the setlist. Because those songs are so emotionally powerful for me personally, I just don't think they should even bother with it. Their live set is nothing more than a party that Wayne orchestrates now. And he knows it. Some people might be ok with this, and that's fine. Their shows are meant to be enjoyed, so I can't say that people should stop going if they're looking for a good time. But I can't support Wayne Coyne's BS anymore. And this god awful, overblown, pretentious LSD trip with Miley Cyrus is the nail in the coffin. Thanks for all the good things you've given us Wayne, but I hate what you stand for now. If the Flaming Lips is all about love, as you insist, prove it to me.
06 July 2014
Good Willsmith - The Honeymoon Workbook
Good Willsmith is a experimental/ambient trio from everyone's favorite crime ridden metropolis, Chicago. The group's debut record The Honeymoon Workbook is truly a fantastic release in the drone subgenre. The massive soundscapes that Good Willsmith creates are incredible in more ways than one. Incredibly dense and textured, the 8 tracks on this album were all recorded in one live session with no overdubs whatsoever. Using vocal looping, synthesizers, electric tabla, record players, contact mics, guitars, bass, and lots and lots of looping, Good Willsmith makes tracks that sound like they took months and months of multi tracking and studio finesse as opposed to recorded live. There's lots of small subtleties in each track, both musically and in the production decisions, that would be enough to make it far above an average drone record. But I definitely benefited from multiple listens here. Each time I heard the album it pulled me further and further down into a state of melancholy and I've developed an emotional attachment to these movements. I'm really loving Good Willsmith's debut, it's fantastic. Check it out!
25 June 2014
Superdensecrushloadfactor - Themes
Australia's Superdensecrushloadfactor (say that ten times fast, why don't ya) 4th album Themes was recently released this month, and I definitely think you guys should give it a listen. While upon listening to his previous work, I can tell that the man has always had avant-garde tendencies in his music. But on Themes, Superdensecrushloadfactor really brings those tendencies to new extremes. This 4 track album (that spans to almost 50 minutes in length) features some of the strangest and most obtuse music I've heard this year. Strange compositions, noise, ambient looping, and some moments of just insanity all come together here in the most beautiful and unsettling ways possible. Superdensecrushloadfactor has really caught my attention with this album and I think it will be something I will continue to return to throughout 2014. Enjoy!