19 November 2013

Yuppies - "s/t"





Nebraskan noise punk 4-piece Yuppies' new s/t LP is a very quick, fast and abrasive musical blast to the face. The band has been around since 2007, but this is the first I'm hearing of them. And I gotta say, the first time I listened to this album, I just sat back in awe. From the very weird somber and then suddenly explosive first two tracks to the weird guitar noise that penetrates both songs (and the whole record for that matter), I was just immediately drawn in. Each track provides doses and doses of pure punk strangeness. Every time the band gives you a very accessible moment, they have it immediately followed with something stranger. Yuppies' frontman Jack Begley's odd monotone mix of screams, yells and spoken word is very polarizing at first, but the more and more I listened to this record I fell in love with the man's strange vocals. They fit the incredibly polarizing sounds that the band produces as well absolutely perfect. It's definitely a mind ripping musical experience that I recommend everyone try. Stream it right up above, and buy it if you feel so inclined. Enjoy!

06 November 2013

Pigeon Breeders - "Oblique Temperatures"





We all know I love my experimental music. It's obvious if you even step two pages into my blog. While I was a bit nervous going into this Pigeon Breeders LP  Oblique Temperatures, I came out definitely loving it. The 5 songs that  the Edmonton band craft on this LP are incredibly drone heavy, ambient, somewhat calming but also quite eerie. Each song is incredibly layered with noises and sounds that I can't even describe as anything other than creepy. And the thing that drives me crazier is that this band has only 3 people in it. The band makes the walls of sound that I think sound more fit for about 20 people at once just playing sounds. Not 3 guys playing with field recordings and guitar feedback drones. Either way, no matter the personnel used to make this record, Pigeon Breeders still make one of the most interesting and breathtaking musical trips you'll hear all year. If you're a fan of ambient music like Helios, Earth, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this is definitely right up your alley. It's hard to really go into depth about songs on hear because each track just has a plethora of inventive sounds and noises that I can't fully explain. All I know is that the way Pigeon Breeders arranges said sounds and noises is just masterful to no end. There are many ways to make an ambient music album, and Pigeon Breeders just definitely went on a totally different path and made a record that, to me, is fantastic. I highly recommend you stream/download the record above and let yourself get tripped out. Enjoy!

Monster Bad - "Freak King"





Simply put, I love the new Monster Bad LP.

Right off the bat, the album starts off with the incredibly catchy and interesting "SUNY x Overture". The track has this synth in it that feels like something out of a newer Modest Mouse record, and a beautiful amount of vocal layers that make the track just pretty wowing. All the songs on this record are quite emotional and often show a fast and loud punk urgency, but Monster Bad frontman Chris Graci is not by any means afraid to get quite. The very loud and rocking "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" is a very quick burst of manic energy that transitions into the next track, the lo-fi and slightly ambient ""Name Song/Drown", better than a majority of albums I've heard could do. Making these transitions is difficult, but Graci maneuvers them with relative ease. His incredibly well written lyrics and great songwriting seems to tie everything together perfectly. I really can't pick a favorite song off this album, there's just so much that I love I can't really pick favorites. The album is an incredible combination of emotion, rock music, acoustic/ambient moments and a healthy dose of angst. I highly recommend listening to it. You can stream and download it up above. Enjoy!

Soccer Mom - "You Are Not Going To Heaven EP"





This is an old EP. It's been out since October of 2011. The reason I wanted to call your attention to it was because a wonderful record label up by the name of Sweaters And Pearls Records sent me a multitude of their vinyl releases, this being one of them. Seriously, it's an incredibly top notch label that puts out some amazing music. Check them out!

But on to the music. Soccer Mom makes some very nice and somewhat emotional rock music that is pretty impossible not to love. The unique guitar layering and riffs being played on the first track "(A) Natural History" are ear catching right off the bat. And it helps that said interesting riffs are insanely catchy. Every track on this EP displays a great rock sound. The 4th track "Celebrity Unrest" has some awesome guitars stacked on top of eachother and it just sounds amazingly crunchy. In a weird way, this bands guitar sounds remind me of My Bloody Valentine minus the insanely large amounts of reverb. Lot's of whammy bar, slides, etc. It's all just incredibly well done. This technical ability is mixed with some fairly emotion filled vocals from the bands lead singer. His vocals, while not my favorite, work very very well with the songs that Soccer Mom makes. My favorite track on this EP is easily the previously mentioned 4th track. The crunchy guitars, particularly emotional vocals, and the very fast paced instrumentation make it an incredibly well done rock and roll ride. This EP is pretty darn good, from start to finish. I highly recommend giving it a listen. And if you really enjoy it, be sure to go pick up the vinyl from Sweater And Pearls over here (seriously, amazing label).

02 October 2013

The Meets - "It Happens Outside"





Almost a year after the release of the excellent Even When The Time Comes EP, Pennsylvania musician Brandon Locher's inventive project The Meets have released their new full length It Happens Outside. I must say, right off the bat just reading this album's credit, I had a feeling I was about to get into a musically dense and sonically experimental territory. The LP was mastered by the infamous Nick Zammuto of the amazing band The Books (R.I.P) and of course Zammuto. You can definitely hear that influence of The Books on this record; incredibly eclectic, dense and very hard to pin a genre to. Another sign of this album's huge sound mass (that's a word, right?) is the list of 20 musicians that contributed to the sounds on this record. And you've literally got everything on this record as far as instrument being played: cello, violin, crystal bowls, TV, shruti box, etc. And you definitely tell while listening to this record that Mr. Locher took full advantage of all the instruments being played and all 20 musicians on deck.

Each track is just an incredibly well oiled machine. Despite the incredibly unpredictable nature of these songs (trust me when I say that), it still feels like Brandon is leading these masses of sounds and putting them exactly where he wants them and where they should be. The first 7 tracks on this record are all pretty excellent, each song leads right into another and they sound superb. My favorite one is "She Who Laughed Last", it sounds like a very traditional jazz/funk song that someone gave some acid and made into a very panoramic and wild 2 minute burst of energy. The next tracks continue the style that the first 7 set, but continue to progress the ideas with further interesting sounds and instruments. I love the very strong jazz/funk sound on the 8th and 9th tracks that reminds me of some Beats Antique songs actually. But, like I said in the first part of the review, I love how all of the sounds are actually being played live. "The Witching Hour" is an interesting composition, it keeps evolving into more and more sounds. At first it starts out with some somber guitar, leading up into an explosive mass of instrumental power, and it continues to swirl around for another few minutes till it leads into the 7 minute long "As A Period In Which Nothing Happens". This track is definitely Locher's most experimental moment on this album. All those jazz elements that the previous songs held suddenly turns into this long and weird free jazz orchestra piece. I love listening to it, it's definitely the most odd track on this record and it's so incredibly well done. It's easily my favorite song on the album. Then this trip of an album comes to abrupt end with "Broadcast Fireworks Display (Pt. 2)". It's a very chilled out and trippy end to an excellent LP. It just feels like all the wild sounds on the record led up to this point, and they all just froze in time and then it's just over.

All in all, It Happens Outside is an incredibly original and interesting album. Brandon Locher's created a batch of songs that honestly remind me of the very first time I listened to a record like The Lemon Of Pink. It's just so radically different than what my previous musical standards where, and it's just a venture through sound different than any other. I highly recommend checking this album out. You can download the record and buy the awesome vinyl LP made available by Locher's imprint My Idea Of Fun here. Enjoy!

31 August 2013

Your Friend - "Jekyll/Hyde"





The time has finally come. It's been about a year since Taryn Blake Miller debuted her project Your Friend to the Lawrence scene to impeccable acclaim. Many Lawrencians have been patiently waiting  for her debut record Jekyll/Hyde to come out for what feels like forever. And after listening to it a number of times in the first few hours I bought it, I can definitely say it was above and beyond worth the wait.

Jekyll/Hyde starts off with what is probably my favorite track on the whole album, the impeccably beautiful and loud "Bangs". After a minute of Taryn's beautiful voice behind some almost twinkling guitars, the drums kick in and then the track just gets epic. The near minute and a half long breakdown at the end is just incredible. The distorted panned bass, the delayed and and beautiful guitars, and the incredibly well produced drums matched up with Taryn's voice is just impeccable. Next is "Peach", a beautiful track that takes an incredibly well done electronic edge towards the end. Tons of pretty synthesizers, little offbeat noises, and some pretty awesome drum machines bring an already very emotional track some extra emotion. "Pallet" is actually the first Your Friend song I ever heard, and when I first heard it, it was incredibly heavy reverbed soaked ballad. In this recorded version, the heavy washed out reverb that was heard in Taryn's earlier live performances is swapped out with incredibly lovely and lush synthesizer strings that are just absolutely incredible. The production treatment this track gets just sounds amazing with all the synths placed just perfectly on top of each other. "Tame One" is a mind blowing mix of Taryn's incredible indie rock style and an amazing post rock breakdown, very similar to the opener "Bangs". The title track "Jekyll/Hyde" is just beautiful. There's no other word for it. It's just as incredible as it was the first time I heard it back when it was a demo on Taryn's bandcamp. All the extra instrumentation and background vocals are an incredible extra addition as well. The near 6 and a half minute close "Expectation/Reality" is an interesting beast. The first half is has Taryn's vocals layed over incredibly droney and atmospheric guitars, and it seems to match very well into a beautiful song. Then at about the 3 minute mark, this vintage sounding drum machine that sounds like it came straight from an early Casio keyboard, soon becomes the background beat for a pretty wonderful indie rock song. Added in are some incredibly distorted and bombastic drums that make the track pretty complete. While the track has far from my favorite melody on the album, it's still a pretty lovely indie rock tune.

All in all, Jekyll/Hyde is pretty darn close to perfect. Taryn Blake Miller's incredible lyrics/songwriting ability plus Jordan Geiger's hand in the production on this album makes it sound pretty incredible from every standpoint. It's been an amazing year for the Lawrence music scene, and this album is icing on a gigantic cake of that is a metaphor for the amount of incredible LP's and EP's that've come out in the last 9 months. Let's go Lawrence.

22 August 2013

Daniel Klag - "Inner Earth"





Daniel Klag is a New York ambient/drone artist. And for those who know me, you know that's probably my favorite genre. But, it definitely takes a special musician to make a very memorable and different drone album these days when so many people are making music in that style. For people looking for new drone stuff that is original and amazing, allow me to introduce you to Daniel Klag.

Daniel's latest album Inner Earth came out earlier this year on Constellation Tatsu, and it's a darn good release. It stars with off with the 7 and a half "Infinite Arc", a very slow building drone filled with lo-fi and ambient synthesizers, and what I think is some distorted guitar. Daniel proves right from the get-go that he has pretty much mastered the art of drone, it's an incredible track. Up next is "Litany", an incredibly ambient and chilled out drone featuring very weary synthesizers and some lazy female vocals buried in the background. "Moth Wings" has an incredibly emotional melody that is just beautiful. It's just beautiful, simply put. The distorted guitar just amplifies the track to astronomical heights. "Awakener" has a great drone with some random additional vocals and little synth blips and bells that make it pretty awesome. Ending the LP is the 12 minute monster "Manticore". Right from the first few seconds, it's a very powerful and loud drone that is beautifully layered throughout. It definitely shows that, just like the other tracks, Daniel certainly has his own style of making very relaxing drones that you can just totally zone out to that I just love. It's pretty incredible.

The 5 tracks on this album make up one of the best ambient releases that I think has come out in 2013 so far. It's incredible. Nothing more to say. I highly recommend streaming it up above, buying it either digitally or buying one of the awesome cassettes from Constellation Tatsu. Enjoy!

11 August 2013

Beaded Hall - "Honey Feather"






For those familiar with the Whatever Forever collective and the musicians who record and play at Seedco Studios, Andrew Frederick is a very familiar face. Usually you will see Andrew as the eccentric and wild front man for OILS and more recently the bass player for CS Luxem. However, seeing Andrew doing solo efforts is a much less frequent happening. But, directly after a month on the road, Andrew dropped his first official solo EP. And just like it's two sister releases (the debut OILS EP and the new CS Luxem album), it's absolutely fantastic.

Right from the first phasered guitar chords, I knew I was gonna like this EP. Through the 5 tracks on Honey Feather, Andrew crafts a very eclectic and well made batch of songs. Andrew's voice is as emotive and wonderful to here as ever, and his guitar skills are much more up front and kind of experimental and psychedelic here. The opening title track starts out with this guitar phaser drone and then breaks into a loud and distorted guitar solo right in the middle of it, plus some very far and washed out vocals can be heard in the distance toward the end. "silence generates" starts as a quiet emotional guitar ballad that's really enjoyable, then transitions into this loud looped guitar effects show that's really interesting to listen to. "ahhhh" is easily my favorite track; a brief but excellent track of guitar and vocal loops that sounds just incredibly psychedelic and lovely. I'd love to hear Andrew or even OILS play with more stuff like this in the future. "I have been" is a nice singer songwriter moment with just Andrew and his electric guitar and some phaser, and it sounds wonderful yet again. "the feather fold" is a very quiet acoustic track that I like a lot. It's the EP's most minimalistic moment, by far and it's a very relaxing treat to end the release.

It's a great EP, I would highly recommend it along with the recent string of releases coming from the Whatever Forever artists. Download it and stream it above, like always. Enjoy!

10 August 2013

Remedies - "Inanimate"





Remedies is an experimental bedroom dream/psych pop duo from Birmingham, Alabama. They released their Inanimate EP about a month ago, and I definitely would recommend checking it out. If your a fan of home recorded electic pop/rock artists like R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink, I think this is definitely gonna be up your alley. The first track "Dybbuk" is easily my favorite track. It starts with a long and crucial buildup of old school sounding drum effects, pretty acoustic guitars, and nicely layered synthesizers, and then breaks into a very loud and haunting psych pop track. It's almost kind of Post Rock sounding when this track reaches it's amazing climax. The next track "Lost" has a very strong and admirable 60's vibe that definitely feels nostalgic to sounds of the past but not to wrapped in it's influences that it becomes hard to listen to.
The title track reminds me of a much more poppy version of the breakdown on the first track, which I'm definitely a fan of. Although I don't think it quite needs its five and a half minute run time, the track is still a very nice addition to a solid EP. "You Were Always Around" feels like a much more electronic and dreamy Jesus And Mary Chain or The Cure song almost, I think it closes the EP perfectly. While Remedies second EP isn't quite perfect, it is quite good and I recommend it highly to fans of home recorded music who want a new band to listen to in genre. Download and stream the EP above.

22 July 2013

Top Releases Of the Year So Far!

Why hello everyone! It appears after an extended period of silence, we're back. I thought a good way to start things back up would obviously be my favorite releases of the year so list. I hope you all like it!

Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy

A hyperactive mix of not only Anamanaguchi's typical "guitars-meet-video games synths" sounds, but also Japanese Pop, some House influences and some of the poppiest and brightest sounds they've come up with so far on this massive 70+ minute album.

Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa - Open The Crown

An very wild, oddball rock record filled with Arrington's very manic vocals mixed with very noisy and busy punk instrumentation that really add up to a super satisfying and bizarre ride. Certainly one of the wildest rock records to come out this year so far. For fans of his more throat singing/more experimental works, the LP he put out this year with Ravi Padmanabha is a must hear.

Body Cheetah - Ten Thousand Thunders

A favorite for me very early on in the year, Body Cheetah's latest LP is perfect in most every way. Each element of this album turns it into a simultaneously wicked and poppy experience.

Cakes The Killa - The Eulogy

Not too much rap has caught my ear this year, but Cakes Da Killa was just way too wild for me to ignore it. Cakes Da Killa is part of a rising scene of gay rappers and because of his wicked flow, funny wordplay, and fast and ear catching beats, this is probably the best rap album I've hear this year.

Carey Scott - Flint And Steel

I've been waiting for a really long time for this album to come out, and it was well worth the wait. I've loved Carey's lyricism and voice so much whenever I've seen him live, and it's just as good, occassionally even better, here on this record.
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Oh man. It took me a few listens to come around on this album, but the new Daft Punk is certainly one of my my favorites of the year so far. Whether they're playing disco, soft rock, or funk inspired tunes, Daft Punk take all these all ideas, infuse them with their own sound and a healthy dose of vocodeer robot vocals. I will defend this one to the end.
Dirty Beaches - Drifters / Love Is The Devil

A lot of people weren't sure what the new Dirty Beaches album(s) would be like after the first single, the title track to the second LP on this monolithic double album from Alex Huang. This album perfectly mixes the older side of Dirty Beaches and a brand new side, previously unheard up until his experiments with ambient music on the Water Park OST that not many heard. Lots of lo-fi rock glory and tons of ambient experiments make this album very well worth it's long run time.

DIY▲PYЯΛMID - Silver♂♀Babies

An even MORE monolithic album than the one previously mentioned, the monsterous Silver♂♀Babies is an insane 3hrs and 15 mins long. For those with the patience to slowly sit down and stary breaking down this record, it will be very rewarding for fans of experimental music.
Hospital Ships - Destruction In Yr Soul

Indie rock is certainly not a specialty of mine. Whether that be for reviewing or just casual listening anymore. Hospital Ships though brings a very fiery approach to the genre on their third album that is hard not to love.

James Blake - Overgrown

For me, I didn't really care for the debut James Blake album. But, Overgrown impressed me much more in almost every way. The composition of the electronics mixed with James' excellent voice is just incredible.

Kanye West - Yeezus

Sorry not sorry.

Many Moods Of Dad - The Consequence Of Trying

Very few rock records have reached the astronomical heights that Many Moods Of Dad's debut has for me. Despite being just over 20 minutes, the album is just a incredible display of power and musical force that few albums have been on replay more for me this year.

Muscle Worship - Muscle Worship LP

If you are a fan of brutality, the long awaited Muscle Worship LP is right up your alley. Each song is just a musical blast in the face, again and again. It's been about 5 years in the making, but very well worth the wait.

My Bloody Valentine - MBV

I really love zoning out to this album. It's just very relaxing and soft, whether that be in the sound of the guitars or the vocals. The mixing is a little irritating at points, but as whole I still thinking this is a fantastic record from the band.

Pale Hearts - Hollowtown

The man more-or-less known as Scary Manilow (or simply as Rob Gillespie) and his newest band Pale Hearts just rock it out on their debut album. Each song for me could be played in the middle of a desert action movie and fit perfectly.

Panda Circus - Friendly Unicorn Campground Kingdom

It's been a while in the making, but Panda Circus' second record is just as awesome as their debut. Despite an initial sense of maybe silliness, the album is definitely lyrically just as fun and introspective as their first. And also, it's pretty darn catchy.

Pro Era - PEEP: The aPROcalypse

This mixtape was definitely one of the biggest surprises for me I've had all year. I kind of liked Joey Bada$$'s debut mixtape, but I just didn't think I would like this. But man, I love it. Each rapper brings a different flavor to this very well produced and social concience mixtape.

Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

It's just a straight up awesome album. There's no other way to describe it.

Skating Polly - Lost Wonderfuls

Honestly, the first listen through, this album just kicked me in the face. Whether it's the mix between Kelli Mayo's incredibly abrasive or Peyton Bighorse's slightly softer but nonetheless attention grabbing vocals, the excellent recording and production that can switch between very pretty and clean and also very raw and distorted in a second, this record is just absolutely incredible.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Fly By Wire

I wasn't supposed to hear this so early, but nonetheless. This record is definitely not the seminal and praised Broom, and I don't think it needs to be. SSLYBY definitely took a much more indie pop direction as opposed to their typical alternative/indie rock style, and some people are definitely not going to enjoy it. It definitely took me a few listens, but I really really enjoy it now. It's a surprisingly mellow record for the most part that's very enjoyable if you're open minded to it.

The Appleseed Cast - Illumination Ritual

The quintessential Kansas emo band may not be turning heads on their latest record, but it is still a very awesome musical ride that I've been listening to quite a bit since it was released.

The Flaming Lips - The Terror

I'm a [mostly] hardcore Flaming Lips fan. I've seen them live twice, I've got almost all their albums on CD or vinyl, I bought the infamous gummy fetus with a flashdrive in it, there music has helped shape my life. While The Terror is not as incredible as 2009's Embryonic, it's still a great record. The layers of dense electronics, ear scratching guitars, and some very depressing and dark lyrics bring The Flaming Lips once again into some wonderful new ground that I hope to see them play with more in the future.
The Knife - Shaking The Habitual

I don't care that it's a double album. It's incredible. It doesn't need some fantastical concept to tie it all together for me. These tracks are awesome and I love them. End of story.

Var - No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

If you're a fan of the vocalist from Iceage, and for some reason like electronic and experimental music too, you'll really like this. In a weird way, it's up my alley.

Zomby - With Love

33 tracks of very subdued and repetitive beat making that doesn't get boring as often as I'd think. It's pretty relaxing and also enjoyably eclectic for the entirety of this almost 3xLP.

Zorch - ZZOORRCCHH

You know that feeling when you eat too much candy and you're just on the verge of getting really sick from it but you don't and your just really hyper and energetic instead? That's what Zorch's new album is like. It's an incredibly hyperactive record from start to finish and I just love it.

Honorable Mentions
Bloodbirds - Psychic Surgery
Blue Meanie - dreams
Kavinsky - Outrun
Lost Trail - Holy Ring Of Chalk
mnttaB - Welcome to the planet, dear.
Pharmakon - Abandon
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels
Saint Pepsi - Studio 54 // Hit Vibes
Tyler, The Creator - Wolf

Top EPs

Boyfrndz - Natures


Just like rap this year, I haven't found a ton of EPs that I just really love. But, just like I thought it would, the new Boyfrndz really got me at first listen. Incredibly mathy and complex songs mixed with emotional vocals/lyrics like the band usually does, but with a thicker and better recording makes this thing inpenetrable.

changemod - summer/summer

A pretty amazing side project coming from Nate McKee from The Answer Page. Instead of his usual emotive indie rock style on Answer Page records like Orca and Featurless Beast, Nate takes a more electronic approach to his usual style of songwriting that works incredibly well.

CS Luxem - June Igloo

After hearing most of these songs played live frequently for the past year or so, I was really excited when I saw that this EP came out. It was nice to see these songs recorded after waiting for them for awhile, and they definitely didn't disappoint me.

Dean Monkey And The Dropouts - Dean's Steakhouse

This second EP from the Lawrence doo-wop kings and queens is just pure awesome. While these songs are funny, when you actually go to dissect them, you have very talented musicianship and some pretty amazing vocals coming from this bands 8 members. I can't wait for them drop a full length.

Oils - TOTAL OILS USA

I've listening to this non stop since the day it came out. From Andrew Fredrick's odd and witty lyrics, his very distinct voice and guitar tone, Mark Osman's powerful drumming, and just an overall sense of weirdo rock mastery, OILS' long awaited debut was well worth the wait.

Ponyboy - Dick Dick Dick

While the conceptual Pussy Killer will probably be Ponyboy's crowning achievement at least so far, this EP is also incredible. The lyrics are so emotionally powerful and deep and when mixed with lead man Charles McVey's very ear grabbing voice and catchy and memorable distorted bass riffs, plus the loud and proud drumming from David Zey, Dick Dick Dick is just an amazing release for those that can get past the cover art.