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My mp3 blog can beat up your mp3 blog



Updated: 2008-05-26T22:33:35-07:00

 



Nest - Nest

2008-05-26T22:33:35-07:00

On the net there is a label called Serein. It's very good and I recommend nearly everything on it; the artists there are among the best "folktronica," or "electro-acoustic" artists out there, or whatever you want to call them. Tape...



Earthless - Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky

2008-01-20T19:49:49-08:00

If you're wondering where I've been, let me tell you: I've been busy uploading this beast of a song for the last month of so. Well, not really, but you get what I'm saying. Only about 15 seconds short of...



For the record

2007-11-26T21:01:16-08:00

100,000 hits. Hell yes. Thanks for reading. I'll give you guys a big song soon.

(image)
100,000 hits.  Hell yes.

Thanks for reading.  I'll give you guys a big song soon.




Doves - The Cedar Room

2007-11-25T11:43:50-08:00

I would have gotten this in the glory days of Audiogalaxy, back in 2002, when The Last Broadcast was radio fare. So it's not really new. But I haven't found myself interested in Doves since Lost Souls; like many bands...

(image) I would have gotten this in the glory days of Audiogalaxy, back in 2002, when The Last Broadcast was radio fare.  So it's not really new.  But I haven't found myself interested in Doves since Lost Souls; like many bands that make it big, the pressure of a wide listening audience ended up diluting their sound.  However, Lost Souls was a good album with a lot of great songs, the best by far being "The Cedar Room."  I say this with minimal effect from nostalgia; while I still hear many songs from that period through ruby-tinted speakers, including other Doves songs, this one really holds its own 5 years later.

The longest song on the album, it recalls the very best of brit-rock from the era.  And although saturated bass, layered guitars, and steady drumming sound sweet, they aren't especially memorable in and of themselves. It's the songwriting and melody that are fantastic - at more than seven minutes, every second passes pleasurably, and it's been playing regularly in my Winamp for half a decade.  This is one of those songs I think everyone should have, but probably a lot of people missed when it was just floating around as a single.  Definitely worth your time.

Here's "The Cedar Room," by Doves.




Grails - Burning Off Impurities

2007-11-17T14:19:13-08:00

The last album I had by Grails was more of a compilation - the work of several years compressed into one excellent 45-minute journey. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this album, but whatever it was, I have...

(image) The last album I had by Grails was more of a compilation - the work of several years compressed into one excellent 45-minute journey.  I'm not sure what I was expecting from this album, but whatever it was, I have been pleasantly surprised.  The noodling, eclectic ephemera of Black Tar Prophecies has been replaced by a kind of Eastern European/old-school Kinski sound.  It's dark, it's loud, it's layered, and it's very good.  I feel that Grails now has the cred to stand on equal footing with such giants of the genre as Mogwai, Mono, Do Make Say Think, and hey why not, Godspeed.  Of course, Grails doesn't have nearly the discography under their belt as, well, any of those guys.  But given a little time, and given how much they have (in my opinion) improved and tightened their sound and songscaping abilities, I have faith that won't be a problem for too much longer.

The album opens slowly but strongly with "Soft Temple," introducing you to what is a theme throughout the album (and genre) - the building up of instruments, the slow twisting of dials towards that "10," and more specifically to Grails, a sort of foreboding bass section accented very well by the drums, which are played with tactful restraint.  The banjo, piano, bass and tambourine make for an sound that is hard to identify as one thing or another... and in the end, that it sounds "foreign" is all that can be concluded.  The album is well produced, and the soft beginning blends faultlessly into the ear-pounding crescendo without you even noticing.  "Silk Road" is placed in between two atmospheric tweener tracks I could probably do without, and is a sort of drawn-out spice-seeking caravan of a song, sounding like the background music for a scimitar fight.  "Outer banks" follows the mold as well, with a bouncing, insistent beat and concise drumming.  The title track is probably my favorite, mating an easy-listening intro to a fantastically well-paced blowup at the end.  It sounds to me like storm clouds gathering over the Gobi desert and just dumping rain and sleet on a bunch of insane monks.

This is an excellent album and even if the whole thing isn't for you, there are at least a couple songs that are pretty difficult not to like if you're even slightly into bands like those I mentioned above.  These guys have a well-crafted and unique sound, like Kinski crossed with Pelt, and I mean that in the most complimentary possible sense.  Give it a shot, you won't regret it.  And turn that fool volume up.

Here's "Burning Off Impurities," by Grails.

bonus! This album was released on Temporary Residence, my favorite label.  Go buy it!
 




Deerhunter - Deerhunter

2007-11-15T17:46:19-08:00

Their debut album, this 30-minute LP was also known at the time as "Turn It Up Faggot," which was apparently a common taunt during their early shows. Not surprisingly, the album is often referred to as their "self-titled debut." I...

(image) Their debut album, this 30-minute LP was also known at the time as "Turn It Up Faggot," which was apparently a common taunt during their early shows.  Not surprisingly, the album is often referred to as their "self-titled debut."  I bought it at the Deerhunter/Ponys show because I'd never heard of it, and wanted to know what their early sound was.  Now let's be clear: this sounds nothing like Cryptograms.  I do not recommend this album to people who do not like noise rock.  It's abrasive, it's noisy, it's unpolished, and honestly if I heard it before Cryptograms, I would never have guessed it was the same band.  But still, it deserves a listen because while they don't sound as good as (or at all like) they would later, this album carves a relatively unique sound.  I don't listen to that much noise rock, but I can say that I'm reminded of some early Hot Snakes tracks, and maybe with some of the rawness and jarring atonality of something like Shellac.  It's hard to nail it down, but at the very least it's quite loud.  I've been listening to it in my car but now having ripped it to my hard drive, I can hear that it's actually pretty well recorded and clean.

If you're not paying attention, the tracks are going to run together; some are meant to, but they have common elements anyway: heavy bass, trashy and noisy guitars, and layered, distorted voice courtesy of the dangerously thin, sun-dress-wearing-dude of a singer.  While they tend to spoil the songs a bit by blowing them up into noisy climaxes instead of a logical, controlled conclusion, there are some excellent grooves that turn up, the first being "Adorno," largely due to the excellent bass and mantra-like vocals.  The band has gotten better lyrically since then, as there is a lot of repetition and use of the vocals as simply controlled noise on this album.  Some tracks, like "Ponds," have more complicated structures and change things up more, but for some reason that track isn't as compelling as the more sort of fundamentally good tracks like "Oceans" and "Basement," the latter of which actually begins to hint at their more psych-based offerings to come, though not nearly as well-done as newer tracks like, say, "Strange Lights."  The album closes with the deafening and terrifying "Death Drag," which takes the mantric vocal and noisy buildup approach to a whole new level.

It's a freaky album to be sure, and I really can't recommend it to people who don't either A: already like noise rock or B: already like Deerhunter.  If you're curious (as I was) that's good too, but be prepared for some weird, noisy stuff.

Here's "Adorno," and "Basement," by Deerhunter.

edit: corrected ... I do recommend it to SOME people




OLO - 011

2007-11-14T17:40:53-08:00

I dare you to find anything substantial about this "band." The closest thing I can find is this site, and even there I can find no record of this song. I found it on another thing which apparently doesn't exist...

(image) I dare you to find anything substantial about this "band."  The closest thing I can find is this site, and even there I can find no record of this song.  I found it on another thing which apparently doesn't exist on the internet, a compilation called But It's Not Really Music... (A Post Rock Odyssey).  Go ahead, google "post rock odyssey" - there are four results.  Four!  But I found some cool music on it; if I knew where to buy it, I would.  This was just one track that stood out, a sort of synth-rock adventure, a cross between Macha and Black Moth Super Rainbow.  I had it stuck in my head for a few days before I even figured out what it was.  I'm going to see what else I can dig up, but in the meantime check this fun little track.

Here's "011," by OLO ... or at least, I think that's what it's/they're called.




Land of the Loops - Multi-Family Garage Sale

2007-11-11T17:53:29-08:00

I've moved out of the loop genre for the most part, except when it's something a little weirder and heavier like The Psychic Paramount in the last post, but this track has a special place in my heart. My brother...

(image) I've moved out of the loop genre for the most part, except when it's something a little weirder and heavier like The Psychic Paramount in the last post, but this track has a special place in my heart.  My brother had this CD and it was kind of an introduction to this type of music - lots of samples, loops, beats, but light-hearted and easy to like, not all serious and "chill" like so many DJs.  There's not much to say about it, this is just a fun little track that goes on my list of "songs that always make me smile" along with the Comas' "Moonrainbow," Architecture in Helsinki's "Spring 2008," and the Magnetic Fields' "Acoustic Guitar" among others.  Hope you enjoy it!

Here's "Multi-Family Garage Sale," by Land of the Loops.
p.s. I've always loved the cover art.




The Psychic Paramount - Origins and Primitives Vol's 1 and 2

2007-11-10T19:58:35-08:00

It's hard to imagine what could have spawned the many-headed, fire-breathing monstrosity that is Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural. That album was so unexpected that I never thought to look up whether these guys had any earlier records. The answer...

(image) It's hard to imagine what could have spawned the many-headed, fire-breathing monstrosity that is Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural.  That album was so unexpected that I never thought to look up whether these guys had any earlier records.  The answer is apparently "no," from a perusal of their catalog at No Quarter Records, but they did release this compilation of home-recorded experiments, which cover a wide range of musical styles, but only hint at the power they would later be harnessing.  Although it sounds little like their other release, it's a great collection of music and one I can easily recommend for any fans of of, say, Fridge, Deerhunter, Eluvium, and other experimental yet accomplished artists.  However, if you are not a fan of loops or delay pedals, I suggest you turn around now and walk away.

To begin with, there is an alternative version of the furious Gamelan track "Echoh Air," which on this record is, like all the other tracks here, sans drums.  This version is a little slower and has more room for the guitar/bass interplay to show through.  "Microphone II," the longest track in the collection, is a meandering sonic landscape that, while slightly overlong, has a cool sound to it.  "E5" sounds like, if anything, like "Red Ink" or some other tweener track from Deerhunter's Cryptograms.  It's nice, showing an ear for texture.  "Dsinter Blues Recorder" is my favorite track on Origins - although it is somewhat repetitive, I love the layered and looped guitars and the sort of gestalt rhythm that form from them.  "Melancholy I" shows the band's unplugged and basic side, and similarly "Sorcerer" is a less processed version of "Dsinter Blues Recorder."  "The Perfect Request" uses the same layering of acoustic guitars, but also adds a sort of drone layer that eventually overpowers the chime of the guitars.

Basically, it's an interesting, and good, record but not particularly focused and certainly not as terrifying as Gamelan.  People looking for an atmospheric psych-out fix should definitely check this out - and if you were scared off by the other Psychic Paramount record, let this one be a gateway for you.

Here's "Dsinter Blues Recorder," by The Psychic Paramount.




Lichens - Ömns

2007-10-27T13:27:19-07:00

I had Lichens' last release (I believe), "The Psychic Nature of Being," but somehow lost it. I remember it being mysterious, calm, and pretty weird. That's what I came in expecting with Ömns, and I think that's exactly what I...

(image) I had Lichens' last release (I believe), "The Psychic Nature of Being," but somehow lost it.  I remember it being mysterious, calm, and pretty weird.  That's what I came in expecting with Ömns, and I think that's exactly what I got.  These chilled-out soundsmiths have an absolutely amazing control over the tone of their music, and however they managed to create these great textures and soundscapes (most likely trial and error), they sound great.

There are few artists that use the human voice truly as an instrument.  It's one of the things I seek out, so I have lots of examples in my library, but on the whole I find that the voice is just that, a voice.  It's recognizable and celebrated for what it is.  But I find Lichens and a few other bands (Howard Hello for one) use the voice as something more basic: basically, a string to be bowed.  The first song, "Vevor of Agassou," reminds me of parts of The Wind-Up Bird's Whips in the way it layers voices as Joseph Grimm layers strings.  It never reaches the saturated level of that artist's excellent release, but it has the same
strange power.  "Faeries" takes the voice-scape idea to another level, as the track contains almost entirely layered voice.  "Bune" reminds me, if anything, of the beautiful soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man," which is almost entirely solo guitar by Neil Young.  Lichens has absolutely nailed the tone of the guitar, and the track is nearly 9 minutes devoted to exploring its rich, strange sound.  "M St r ng W tchcr ft L v ng n Sp r t" is a little more traditional-sounding, if you don't count the 10-minute wilderness and birdsong solo at the end.  "Sighns" is a beautiful, beautiful track; its only flaw is its short runtime.  It's another tone experiment, and the closest thing I can come up with to compare is one of Sir Richard Bishop's older releases, recorded softly with a sort of sonic halo about the notes.  I imagine it's what the world sounds like after you've drowned.

So this is a weird album, but it's also beautiful, interesting and original.  It's calm but evocative, and certainly worth checking out.
Here is "Vevor of Agassou" and here's "Sighns," by Lichens.




Moody Blues - Go Now

2007-10-27T12:57:45-07:00

I found this on one of my Mom's CD's. When I think "Moody Blues" I think "soft rock," I think "Crosby." But as it turns out, they burst onto the scene in 1964 with their version of this song, and...

(image) I found this on one of my Mom's CD's.  When I think "Moody Blues" I think "soft rock," I think "Crosby."  But as it turns out, they burst onto the scene in 1964 with their version of this song, and it's awesome.  It's old-school brit-pop of the best sort, and I've been listening to it nonstop for the last week or so.  I doubt I'm unearthing a forgotten gem here; after all, it was a #1 single in the UK.  But I hadn't heard it, so maybe some of you haven't yet, either.  Enjoy, this post is mainly to add a little roughage to the next week or so's posts, which will contain almost entirely very long psychedelic rock.

Here's "Go Now" by the Moody Blues.




The Psychic Paramount - Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural

2007-09-26T11:24:00-07:00

I'm under the influence. I'm not in my right mind. Because right now I'm listening to this album for the fourth time in a row. Even when I got Deerhunter's album, I wasn't as immediately crushed by the music so...

(image) I'm under the influence.  I'm not in my right mind.  Because right now I'm listening to this album for the fourth time in a row.  Even when I got Deerhunter's album, I wasn't as immediately crushed by the music so much that I had to hear it again to be sure it was that awesome.  Maybe when I first heard Don Caballero's "Sure We Had Knives Around" I had to rewind it a few times, but that was playful - this is deadly serious..  Maybe on Earthless' album, I had to check to make sure it really was two 20-minute guitar freakouts in a row, but neither of those tracks rival the balls-out intensity and chest-thumping power of this entire album.  I kind of hope these guys don't ever play in Seattle, because if they do, the City might burst into flame.  Again.

The album is entirely instrumental, and the band is made up of 3 guys.  One is playing 8,000 guitars, one has a bass strung with string theory, and then it's just Cthulhu on drums.  It opens with a sickening and disorientating blast of noise - it sounds exactly like the title, "Megatheion" - as if the music is a 10-mile monolith that has just sprung legs and crushed a suburb.  "Para5" is the track I am giving you.  It is as the players are actually on fire, and are trying to put out the fire by playing something as shocking and unbelievably awesome as possible.  It is divided into three parts, like the holy trinity, and I'm starting to wonder whether they're related.  "Echoh Air" comes on a little slower, but gets continually louder and more nuts until it fades into "X-Bisitations," which is less a guitar freakout than what appears to be an actual live recording of Hell (if Hell were awesome; I think not).  The title track starts with what sounds like a guitar loop, steadily building on it with more layers, drums, and bass, until at about 4 minutes or so you realize it has become quite loud, and by the time another few have gone by, it's positively deafening.

I think everybody should hear this album.  But it's pretty hard to prepare yourself.  I've listened to a lot of music and this is some of the most intense stuff I've heard in my life.  I'd like to congratulate The Psychic Paramount for creating some utterly punishing music that's also really, really good.

Here's "Para5," by The Psychic Paramount.




The Willowz - Cons and Tricks

2007-08-22T19:34:13-07:00

A true one-song post - I've never heard another song by these guys, ever. I heard this on the radio probably a year ago and it's as good now as it was then. It's got a kind of spitting Sonic...

A true one-song post - I've never heard another song by these guys, ever.  I heard this on the radio probably a year ago and it's as good now as it was then.  It's got a kind of spitting Sonic Youth spirit, but it's more poppy.  I can't say I enjoy the singer's enunciation (wrong = rahhh-ow-ong) but it works in the context of the song.  It's basically good straightforward noisy guitar rock, with a little twist of extra instrumentation.  Not much else to say; just give it a listen, eh?  I said, EH?
Here's "Cons and Tricks," by the Willowz.




Grails - Black Tar Prophecies Vol.'s 1, 2, and 3

2007-08-04T13:17:31-07:00

It's trouble for the humble music reviewer when a band likens itself to nothing in recent memory. The closest thing on the map is probably Cul De Sac, and those guys are pretty much off the map to begin with....

(image) It's trouble for the humble music reviewer when a band likens itself to nothing in recent memory.  The closest thing on the map is probably Cul De Sac, and those guys are pretty much off the map to begin with.  These people don't even have the common decency to pigeonhole themselves into something as vague as "post-rock"!  And with members hailing from Neurosis, Yellow Swans, and M. Ward, you can't even categorize them on origins, as Slint-based or Pumpkins-based bands can be.  Of course, in the end, no one really cares what box they check under "genre" - because their music is awesome, categorized or not.

The first two tracks are relatively easygoing, letting you into their weird, mystical little world with a little hand-holding.  "Belgian Wake-Up Drill" tricks you into thinking it's like that too, but just when you think you're listening to Colleen, Grails headbutts you in the kneecaps.  The laid-back Cuban stylings of "Smokey Room" soothe your aching joints, though.  The rest of the album is just as solid as the first half, and the undefinable antics of the remaining tracks are both entertaining and compelling.

I found this album very easy to like and surprisingly easy to listen to considering how variable and unorthodox the sound is.  Several times I've listened through the whole thing without realizing it, but not because it's wallpaper music, but because it's easy to get lost in, like Charalambides and other mystical-type music.  I really think people should give this a shot.  Furthermore, they're now releasing their new album on Temporary Residence, easily one of the best labels out there, so you know they have good taste.

Here's "Belgian Wake-Up Drill," and "Erosion Blues," by Grails.




Grizzly Bear - Horn of Plenty

2007-07-15T21:19:59-07:00

(warning - I'm late to the party on this one) It's another one of those albums where I had no idea what was coming. Well, I had some idea, but it was buried so deep in my "music to get"...

(image) (warning - I'm late to the party on this one)
It's another one of those albums where I had no idea what was coming.  Well, I had some idea, but it was buried so deep in my "music to get" txt file that I could barely remember.  Lo-fi pop, I think I thought.  Folk.  Well, I was almost right.  Grizzly Bear has a cool thing going on - their music is relatively simple, but subtle and very good.  They remind me of Parsley Sound first, in their hushed Simon and Garfunkel-esque vocals.  Then it's like a shot of the Shins' first album, but furry and de-jangled.  Lastly, there's a hint of the naive brilliance of Remora, whose simple melodies couldn't be called accomplished, but whose essential knowledge of making compelling music is unquestionable.  I might even throw a little Kallikak Family in there, just to make a sort of hipster four-play.

There's an experimental quality to the music as well; for example, "Alligator" has the distorted, unearthly sound of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and the vocals of "Disappearing Act" and "Showcase" tread where Elliot Smith only dabbled.  The songwriting is hit-and-miss, to be honest.  For every sure thing like "Don't Ask" there is a misstep like "Fix it," where you see where they were going but you can tell they didn't get there.  While I understand the members of the band to be pretty accomplished, the music is far from technically good.  The bulk of the harmony is created by multitracked vocals, which can be great but can't always create the right sound for a song.

In any case, since I'm so far behind the times, I look forward to stepping right into these guys' newer releases; perhaps they've smoothed out the hiccups in the last couple years.  I guess there is also a set of remixes out there, though I don't see this music lending itself too well to any new mixes.  Still, this is a great album and even if you don't like the whole thing, there are some songs that are too good to pass up.  Here are the first two.

Here's "Deep Sea Diver" and "Don't Ask," by Grizzly Bear.




Robosexual's Top 10 Album Openers

2007-06-08T17:44:11-07:00

Funny story - I was on top of this medium-sized mountain in the middle east and tripped over these two big, flat rocks. I turned back to curse them and saw they were covered in writing, so got my crayons... Funny story - I was on top of this medium-sized mountain in the middle east and tripped over these two big, flat rocks.  I turned back to curse them and saw they were covered in writing, so got my crayons out and did a rubbing.  I was going to give it to the scholars in that area, but as I was passing through this wonderful garden I heard a sibilant whisper in my ear: "Pooossssst it... posssst it!"  I was skeptical.  Who was this mystery benefactor who gave such unquestionably good advice?  I don't know - I didn't look, and they won't let me back in now to find out.  86'd from paradise! So, then, here are Robosexual's Top 10 Album Openers.  This list is for those songs that come on right away, and for whatever reason immediately impress you.  All genres are allowed, except for the ones that suck (you know what I'm talking about).  The order is semi-arbitrary.  By the way, if an mp3 is weird or incomplete, tell me so.  The uploader was being shady. 10. The Beastie Boys - License To Ill - "Rhymin & Stealin"I know - obvious, right?  But I guess the almighty G-D loves this album as much as everyone else.  He probably just wanted to get this out of the way.  Really, when your first track is a concept rap about sailing the seven seas, you get on the list.  I'm not uploading this song because... come on, you've probably got this in your cassette deck right now.  Admit it.  Well, HE knows. 9. Black Keys - Thickfreakness - Title track This was the first song of theirs I ever heard, and it only took about 10 seconds for me to realize I'd been missing out on an incredible band.  The sound on this track in particular is great - chunkier than their debut but without losing any of the soul.  Their reliance on old-school technology paid off big time.  I still think The Big Come Up is a better album, though. 8. Alaska! - Emotions - "The Western Shore"If there were a top 10 worst album names, Emotions would be a real contender.  Fortunately, it shines in the opening track, which is just one of the most straightforward and awesome post-OK Computer alternative rock songs, period.  Lots of qualifiers, but also lots of quality.  Shame the rest of the album didn't live up to the example, but this track sure made you believe it would. 7. Spiritualized - Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Title trackCertainly one of the most beautiful songs recorded by these guys, this was more than just a first track, though - it was like getting getting dunked in reverb and multitracked by Jason Spaceman himself.  As far as I know, it's the only song in the world that sounds like ... whatever it sounds like, and it's fantastic.  Luckily, the rest of the album was as transcendent and skillfully made as this track. 6. Oval - Ovalcommers - Untitled (Track 1)Robosexual veterans will be familiar with this charming little ditty.  Composed from, apparently, a thousand modems crying out at once, then being torn to pieces by wild routers, this absolutely stunning track resets my brain every time I hear it.  I can't concentrate, and it's not just because of the noise.  It's because nothing in the world sounds like Oval, and even if something did, it wouldn't be as good because Markus Popp simultaneously created the genre and the pinnacle of the genre.  This song [...]



Bach - Violin Sonata in G, Andante (BWV 1027)

2007-06-07T20:19:28-07:00

Don't worry, this isn't part of a plan to overhaul Robosexual into a classical site. But I've had this song stuck in my head since I saw it played at a recital in London. And you have to admit that...

(image) Don't worry, this isn't part of a plan to overhaul Robosexual into a classical site.  But I've had this song stuck in my head since I saw it played at a recital in London.  And you have to admit that no matter what your taste in music, it can always use a little more Bach.

At Benaroya the other day part of the program was a tribute to John Williams, the composer behind, well, most film scores.  The music was good but there must have been something like 35 instruments playing all at once, not to mention a 50-piece choral ensemble.  I had to run home and listen to this beautiful, straightforward piece for two instruments whose haunting melody pursued me all the way from the UK.

I love the harpsichord, which is part of it, but I also love how capricious the melody is, going from somber to uplifting in the space of a trill.  We'll be return to our normal programming shortly, but in the meantime hit the link and see if it tickles your fancy.

Here's Bach's "Sonata in G, Andante."




Russian Circles - Enter

2007-06-06T19:40:44-07:00

Where can a guy get some good instrumental post-metal? The last Red Sparowes album was slightly disappointing, mainly because the first one was so good. Pelican is okay but spotty. Mono and Don Cab have different styles going on. Where...

(image) Where can a guy get some good instrumental post-metal?  The last Red Sparowes album was slightly disappointing, mainly because the first one was so good.  Pelican is okay but spotty.  Mono and Don Cab have different styles going on.  Where can you get something new, chunky, and technical without those grating vocals?  Well, I'll give you a hint, it starts with an "R," and ends in "ussian Circles."  This is a relatively new band (their first EP was in 2004) from Chicago with, I guess, some pedigree due to their previous bands.  They play dynamic, well-planned instrumental metal, much like Red Sparowes and Pelican, but with their own flavor.

One bass, one guitar, and a drummer are all it takes to create their very full sound, but they also emphasize instruments, whether by solo or careful production.  They are also a fan of the soft-loud-soft thing, though not as all-out soft as Mono and Red Sparowes get at times.  There is also more of a quick, steady beat, unlike the slumbering giant of Mono or mind-breaking dynamism of Don Cabellero.  The album begins with some atmospherics and a mathy bass line broken by sibilant drums and chunky guitars - I was afraid they wouldn't differentiate themselves but they did shortly.  I just had to have a little faith - the robotic guitar peeping in around 4:30 is an excellent example of using an effect sparingly and well.  They're good at creating different sounds and combinations thereof - I found Pelican to be monotonous sometimes because their instruments were too well-defined, but here there are many different things to hear.  The same is basically true for the other tracks - they're constantly changing, and usually the new thi ng is well-timed and sounds good, although there are a few sour spots.  I haven't listened to the album enough to pick real favorites but there are no skipper tracks or really even parts that don't work for long enough that you notice.  This is a truly solid album.

So if you're jonesing for a little ear punishment, look no further.  This is a keeper, worthy of being put on your rack next to Under the Pipal Tree and At The Soundless Dawn.  Hope you enjoy it.

Here's "Carpe," by Russian Circles.
Uh, that file took like 5 years to upload due to shady wi-fi, so if there are any glitches in it let me know and I'll replace it.




A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Scribble Mural Comic Journal

2007-05-28T21:32:01-07:00

This is a good album, and nothing like I expected from reading about it. It's a little like listening to Gang Gang Dance, Yume Bitsu and Saturday Looks Good To Me at the same time... inside your dryer. It's kind...

(image) This is a good album, and nothing like I expected from reading about it.  It's a little like listening to Gang Gang Dance, Yume Bitsu and Saturday Looks Good To Me at the same time... inside your dryer.  It's kind of disorientating, but occasionally sublime.  It's difficult to describe, so I'll keep this short.

The rhythm is steady, with a dance-y kick drum providing a sort of pulse almost constantly.  There are guitars with a lot - a lot - of reverb and phase on them making things sort of dreamy and strange.  The ghostly vocals echo around you maddeningly, and occasionally drop out to allow the occasional extended instrumental trip.  The general sound of the record is pretty constant; tracks are different, but not that different from one another.  Some are better than others: "5:15 Train" is almost inarguably the best song on the record, while the next track, "Lists, Plans" seems unfocused and unconcerned about melody.  An interesting exception is the atmospheric "Panic Attacks Are What Make Me 'Me,'" which sounds like a cross between Loscil and old Manitoba.  I understand one guy does the music and his sisters do the vocals, so this must be an example of his "solo material."  Well, good!  Make more!

This album is definitely worth taking a look at if you can handle the sort of sensory overload at which it excels.  Give these songs a shot and see what they're about.  Since I'm so late to the party with this band they probably have another album out by now, so check that one out too if it exists - and get back to me.

Here's "5:15 Train," and "Panic Attacks Are What Make Me "Me," by A Sunny Day In Glasgow.




Asobi Seksu - S/T

2007-05-16T20:35:15-07:00

You've probably heard this New York band's newer album, Citrus, being played around. I listened to that one, but it didn't really grab me. However, I'm planning on giving it another chance after hearing their self-titled debut. This album is... You've probably heard this New York band's newer album, Citrus, being played around.  I listened to that one, but it didn't really grab me.  However, I'm planning on giving it another chance after hearing their self-titled debut.  This album is like a smörgåsbord of delicious post-rock and shoegaze goodness, and god bless the spellchecker for putting the dots above the o and a in that word.  Under pressure, I'd say that the band sounds like a sort of poppier A Beautiful Machine, but that's reaching.  Still, there are many soaring, roaring, wall-of-guitar moments throughout the album, with the sort of overdriven, twisted sound A Beautiful Machine and other extremely distorted psych bands cultivate.  There's songwriting here, too, and while I can't say it's super good, it provides a welcome structure for the music, even though it gets a little too radio-friendly at times. The singer often uses Japanese, which I'm more used to than most due to listening to things like The Pillows, though it still vexes me.  The cadence of the language doesn't work for me in this context, which is unfortunate but far from an insurmountable barrier.  The first couple songs are good, but not really memorable - the chorus guitar blasts catch your attention from time to time, but the verse sections are pretty mundane.  "Walk On The Moon" is more compelling, but overstays its welcome somewhat.  "Let Them Wait" is a great, concentrated little song with more guitar than you could even hope for.  "It's Too Late" is probably the highlight of the album - the longest song at over seven minutes, it's basically an example of soft-to-loud gone horribly right.  Like old Mogwai, it teases you for a while but really pays off in the end - the wail of the guitars during the climax is sublime, and the rest of the song is extremely good as well.  They could have spun it out longer, but it would sound stretched; they could have compressed it, but it would feel... well, compressed.  It sounds just right, moves just right, and is a fantastic song from tip to tail, which is why you'll find it below.  "Asobi Masho" is a fun little tweener track that would work great as a mix-CD opening track, and "Stay" is a sort of mini-"It's Too Late," good but less epic. This is a surprisingly good album, solid all the way through with several standout tracks.  They've got a good sound going on, although I can't say original, and they have a good sense for how to make their songs work, long or short format.  It came out in 2004 so it should be pretty easy to find, and I highly recommend that you do that. Here's "It's Too Late," by Asobi Seksu. [...]



Jesu - Silver

2007-05-10T21:46:39-07:00

I held off on Jesu for a long time. Due to some bad information, I think I had them pegged in my mind as a cross between like Sleep and Drive Like Jehu - which is not only wrong, but...

I held off on Jesu for a long time.  Due to some bad information, I think I had them pegged in my mind as a cross between like Sleep and Drive Like Jehu - which is not only wrong, but makes no sense.  Fortunately, I bit the bullet one day and listened to their self-titled album.  It was awesome.  While I was listening, I kept thinking, "What the hell, music this heavy has no right to be this good."  But (image) then I remembered how good stuff like Red Sparowes, heavy Mogwai, and other punched-in-the-ear bands can be so great, and I gave myself up to the crackling, ear-splitting roar that is Jesu.  The reason I'm not reviewing that album is because I tend to listen to it all the way through without thinking about it (like while I'm playing SNES games) and I fail to mark any particular songs that impress me individually.  But I've been listening to this EP/Short LP for a while now and, well, I felt like it.

The title song is the classic Jesu sound.  Crunchy guitar assailing you from both channels while slow drums and keyboards back it up.  A good amount of quiet-to-loud moments.  Good, abrasive times.  The second track doesn't fare nearly as well, mainly due to the emo vocals.  There are vocals in other songs, but they don't sound like Dashboard Confessional, so they don't bug me.  The instrumental parts are all right, but you're better off hitting >>.  "Wolves," the next track, sounds like it's going to be a retread of "Silver," but you're wrong - it's 23 seconds longer.  Okay, it is actually different, but it's the same structure with different words, chords, etc - but essentially it's the same.  Which is a good thing.  The final track, "Dead Eyes," is badass.  It's what Mogwai should be sounding like right about now, like Happy Songs For Happy People, but with more balls.  It also drops out completely right in the middle and gives way to a completely uncouth guitar part that sounds like it's being played by a guy with a goat mask on and a pentagram-shaped guitar.

Highly recommended for anyone into accessible noise rock.  And if you're already down with Jesu and haven't heard this EP, go for it, it's definitely worth it.

Here's that last track, "Dead Eyes," by Jesu.




Psychic Ills - Dins

2007-04-01T19:44:15-07:00

Once again, another album the popularity of which I am not sure of. I heard it in a coffee shop, but the girl who played it was also into some pretty random stuff, so maybe they're not so big as... Once again, another album the popularity of which I am not sure of.  I heard it in a coffee shop, but the girl who played it was also into some pretty random stuff, so maybe they're not so big as I think.  Regardless of how well-known the band is, however, they make some pretty awesome psych rock.  Like a cross between The Jesus & Mary Chain and Bardo Pond, they have a sound that is classic and easily placeable yet relatively distinctive.  I won't say original, I think, because they are treading ground well mapped by the likes of Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, and any other psychedelic/space rock outfit you can think up.  Still, that just means that Psychic Ills have roots, like any other good band. The album isn't very... well, songy.  I mean, there are songs, but they're more like distinctions between sections - mile markers along a single psychedelic road.  Opening with a sort of Far-East overture, then moving seamlessly into the next track, the first song doesn't really start for a few minutes, and if you weren't already convinced of the band's quality (as I was) it may try your patience.  Soon, though, the music starts in earnest.  As you might expect, there are phasers involved.  There is quite a bit of layering and hypnotic vibration in the guitars, which travel on their own, seeking a tonic which does not exist for that level of distortion.  The vocals are obscured by reverb and rendered somewhat androgynous, but they add a nice hazy layer to the music.  The bass and drums are more rhythmic more than musical, and most of the real music is done in the high end. There are really only four songs on the album, with introductory/separating tracks of various length and nature.  The first two are more straightforward, but the last two are more enjoyable to me.  What's the point of an instrumental break if it's only 45 seconds long?  "I Knew My Name" addresses this question by beginning the song - this is after the 2-minute intro track, you understand, which was trippy enough - with a further 4 minutes of hot bass-on-drums action before breaking into the song proper.  This raises the question of whether it was in fact an instrumental break, or whether they are just having a vocal break from an instrumental song.  Lao Tzu pondered the same question.  Sort of.  Anyway, after another tweener track, you have the album-ending "Another Day Another Night," which is excellent but more fun than the other songs, which makes you feel weird.  Should you be having fun?  This is serious music!  Stop bobbing your knee!  Knit your brow! I hear these guys are pretty nuts live, too, so if you see them posted on a wall somewhere, write down the date.  As good as this album is, I get the feeling it's only a shadow of what they're like live, improvising at full volume.Here's "I Knew My Name," by Psychic Ills.Well!  That file's definitely 16 megabytes... that'll take nice and long to download.  It's good though. [...]



Hot Snakes - Hatchet Job

2007-03-23T20:44:44-07:00

Hot Snakes' Suicide Invoice is one of my favorite albums. In my music collection, I've got representatives from every genre, but a sound that's sorely lacking is rock. Not classic rock, not psych rock, not rock n' roll, but just...

(image) Hot Snakes' Suicide Invoice is one of my favorite albums.  In my music collection, I've got representatives from every genre, but a sound that's sorely lacking is rock.  Not classic rock, not psych rock, not rock n' roll, but just rock.  It's so hard to find a good band these days that just rocks.  Fortunately the Hot Snakes were ready for that complaint.  However, as good as that album was, I couldn't get into their next, Audit In Progress.  I thought they sped it up too much, didn't spend enough time writing, and just weren't feeling it enough.  Of course, it wasn't all bad - in the middle was a good stretch of tracks, the best of which was "Hatchet Job."

I won't waste time describing the sound too much to you - basically just awesome, tight playing on the bass and guitars front, with real rhythm guitar and melody guitar integration, part of what made Suicide Invoice so good.  The singer half sings, half barks the lyrics, just the way I liked it before (his vocals on Audit In Progress sound lackluster in general), and the song itself mutates and progresses, unlike its friends on the album, which went for a more punk-ish feel with less melody and travel.  In any case, it's a good addition to anyone's library, so give it a whirl and if you feel more charitable than I toward their newer sound, go get yourself the album.

Here's "Hatchet Job," by Hot Snakes.
I didn't already review this album, did I?  My memory is starting to go.




Eluvium - Copia

2007-03-11T20:48:58-07:00

It's the new one! If you're unfamiliar with Eluvium, check out the other Robosexual reviews. His last full-length, Talk Amongst The Trees, was a far more atmospheric affair than his earlier piano-only work, and the newer EP When I Live...

(image) It's the new one!  If you're unfamiliar with Eluvium, check out the other Robosexual reviews.  His last full-length, Talk Amongst The Trees, was a far more atmospheric affair than his earlier piano-only work, and the newer EP When I Live By the Garden and the Sea was a mixture of both.  The feel of the latter is what pervades on Copia.  There's a little more orchestration, more instruments, but it's not the gauzy, narcotic drone of Talk Amongst The Trees.  I kind of miss that sound, but there's enough of it on that album to satisy.  So, if he began with a keyboard, moved on to his guitar and loopstation, Copia is where he seems to be experimenting with a more diverse instrumentation within each song and within the album itself.  Violins and oboes speak to one another on "Requiem for Frankfort Avenue," while many-stringed drones make up "Seeing You Off the Edges" and "After Nature," whiel the solo piano of "Radio Ballet" would feel very comfortable on An Accidental Memory In Case Of Death.  The long tracks are pretty and don't overstay their welcome, but they also don't have the strength of his older long format songs like "Taken" or "Behind Your Trouble" - the first of which gets better with time and the second of which is like a mini-EP.

To be honest, some of the tracks sound more like Max Richter than Eluvium, which is only bad if you don't like Max Richter.  I have always liked Eluvium's different sound, however, and while I like all the tracks, I'm concerned that his new instrument set is making his compositions less distinctive.  That sounds harsher than it is, because both artists are very skilful, and there are certainly enough tracks on Copia the likes of which you won't find anywhere else.

Here's "After Nature," and here's "Amreik," by Eluvium.




Growing - His Return

2007-03-10T20:06:59-08:00

[Classic Robosexual. Updated with working mp3 link] This is a pretty easy album to review. Three tracks and no irritating long song names or movements, no maps to the music or divisions within tracks. If you've listened to Growing before,... [Classic Robosexual. Updated with working mp3 link] This is a pretty easy album to review.  Three tracks and no irritating long song names or movements, no maps to the music or divisions within tracks.  If you've listened to Growing before, you'll know vaguely what to expect (Here is the Robosexual review of The Soul Of The Rainbow And The Harmony Of Light), but if you haven't, let me break it down for you.  Growing makes a sort of noisy, droney music along the lines of a Windy & Carl with more distortion, or some random psychedelic band's instrumental break drawn out to album length.  It's music to live in and have take over your whole head.  It's thick, powerful, and well-done - and if you can imagine other songs as punctuated lines, chorus-verse-break etc, imagine Growing as a big, fat green brush stroke that encompasses your whole sonic field of view.  That's a little much, maybe. The first track, "In the Shadow of the Mountain," which you will hear, is my favorite.  It begins with a shimmering, chopped up guitar that makes reappearances frequently, along with some kind of maraca. Then come the other guitars.  The big ones.  You think it's loud now?  Don't worry!  About 4 more layers of distortion are coming. Despite all the layers and samples, Growing still finds room to get some honest melodies in there.  They don't stray too far from the base, and it's mainly just augmenting the single chord that makes up the whole song, but damn, it sounds good.  The next track, a midget by Growing standards at 4 1/2 minutes long, is the only one in my mind that actually has vocals.  It throws me a little, but if you just consider the voice another instrument, it shouldn't distract you too much, and the rest of the song is great anyway.  "Wide Open" is a nice long track that doesn't pretend: what you hear is what you get, but it's going to get louder and louder until it cracks open and dies.  There is a little melody if you listen for it, and many layers to pay attention to, but don't expect a sudden change like they are wont to do sometimes. It's great headphone music, and I love to read to it; the distortion doesn't distract me, somehow, and the melodies are pleasant enough that your mom might take a shine to them.  It's a nice album and if you like it they've got more... so quit reading, and start Growing! Here's "In the Shadow of the Mountain," by Growing. [...]