1 mar 2014, 18:43This plays like experimental album is supposed too, weird and leaves you wondering what exactly you're listening to, but ultimately enjoyable. These songs will go from a pleasant ambient electronic beat similar to what you would hear in a soundtrack, but then also get extremely dark and messy. I don't know what exactly the band was going for but if they were aiming for the visual experience of LSD in auditiory form, I think they nailed it.. This album is essentially weird incoherent sounds passing in and out of your ears for around 45 minutes, but with a pleasant theme of hope being weaved throughout the entire project. It picked up about halfway through tho.
1 mar 2014, 17:48So this is the band first full length and comes from a pretty interesting past. This apparently comes from a very dark place in the singers life where he was contemplating suicide a lot. Before this band he was in a hardcore punk band and I think this album's influences can me seen this is a much harder take on the basic shoegaze formula. It works well with the heavily distorted guitars, but the whispery vocals can get a little grating. This is my man complaint with the album really, the vocal delivery I would imagine from something like this should be a little bit more emotive. The instrumentation is great tho. We get punk drums beats with heavily shoegaze inspired guitar work,, but I would ultimately classify this much more as a punk record than a shoegaze one. I'm actually curious to see how Dominic was singing before in the punk group, because I have to imagine it was much more abrasive than this. The dreamy guitar work work well with the vocals, I was just hoping for something else, something more punk rocky than the shoegaze trope of the perishing alt rock voice. Especially combined with the more aggressive shoegaze music that is being played. I guess I'm just not a real fan of this trope, even though I do like the music that is being played, I just can't really get over the whispy vocal delivery, which I think might be a reason I never really go into showgaze. I would be much happier with a shoegae band that could shovel out some serious vocals chops. I think it might just take me awhile to get over it, but I personally can't get over yet the effects that are used to layer the voice in on itself and create this like ooze of sound that doesn't particularly sound like a vocal delivery so much as noise, but not a noise of to much passion, a noise of giving up. Where in some stuff you get caught up in the emotions and it seems like the singer is overwhelmed with emotion, in song with this vocal delivery the singer seems like they don't have the will to even delivery the actual words of the song. While this hasn't talked about the album much, this is the biggest problem with it. Same with Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Radiohead, and a dozen other popular artist. I don't really have a really basis for not liking it, just that I don't.
28 feb 2014, 16:00So after the "Blurred Lines" controversy it's pretty understandable that Pharrell come out with this album. Its described as a "loose" concept album on feminism, which I think is really awesome, I think it's probably not the most conscious album about feminism, but still it's always good to hear something that in support of feminism. But anyways the title is stylized as such to show how the view of women in society is unbalanced which I'm on board with, but outside of this I want to get to the music. Pharrell is a well known producer and I would argue that this is where he really shines. The majority of the songs produced by him I really enjoy and he's featuring a very slick and funk/soul style on this record which is a departure from his last LP which was 8 years ago. I vaguely remember this album coming out and having the general feeling of being underwhelmed. I think Pharrell has matured a lot since them with his work with N.E.R.D. and production work. I honestly can say the first song that came out, "Happy" I was thoroughly entertained. Although it is pretty repetitive and a very basic structure, it has a good message and what Pharrell did with the 24-hour music video is very interesting. So getting further into the song, the production on this album is of course spot on, the only complaint I have is a few of the songs are a bit repetitive, but this is what you have to expect from pop music. Speaking of pop though the guest spots on here read like the most popular artist right now. Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberland, and Daft Punk. Pharrell is making it very difficult to miss this album if you follow popular music at all. Do these things work? Yes and no. Yes I think Pharrell has made a solid pop record, but I don't think he realizes that an album about feminism and an album of love songs are two different things. I think this is less about women feeling empowered and more about just praising women for being women. One stand out track for me is "Lost Queen" which is decidedly not popular and gets a bit experimental with an interlude of waves and the beat switches to something you could hear on a Andre 300 track or Frank Ocean track. Right after this track "Know Who You Are" we get a sort of reggae beat, but Alicia Keys verse on this track is amazing and I think saves the song for me, I would consider this is my least favorite track on the album. So overall a fine pop record, but I was expecting more from these tracks. With the exception of a few songs Pharrell has compiled a list of some of the most popular artists and enjoyable songs. This is sure to be a huge success.
28 feb 2014, 15:10This band is definitely not what you're going to come cross unless you're really into music, but none the less I don't think this record should be discredited. This is a super bluesy record and reminds me of what a western should sound like essential, which makes sense since these guys are from the Sarah Desert. This is world music and I'm actually a big fan of this even if I'm not a fan of everything in general. It's a shame most people won't give these guys a chance due to the style of music, but it's still pretty good. They managed to get my head bobbing and I enjoyed the majority of the tunes, they make desert music and a sort of chanting style that I enjoy. It reminds me a lot of traditional African music with the repetitive drums and the chanting, but it also has the combination of the intricate guitar. The lyric these guys do apparently have a very strong political leaning, but since they are singing in a different language it's pretty impossible to tell what they're saying. So I guess I have to focus a lot on the music, although this album has a lot of clearly blues sounding rhythms on this record apparently the band had never heard American Blues until they started to tour internationally. This really illustrates how weird trends can be and how they can follow the same lines all over the place. Also another interesting fact about the band and I get the impression that a lot of "world" music bands are like this, but they are a collective that has members coming in and out of the band constantly so a solid line-up is never actually specified so I assume a lot of music has to be improvisational then. Especially in their concerts. The songs kind of blend together near the end and I think it would have been better as a shorter album. I don't think I'll be coming back to this one, but I do like the diversity of the music. It's just not experimental enough for me.
27 feb 2014, 00:28So before I get into the lyrics which are apparently something to behold, I have to say a few words about the music itself. Essentially they just made a very solid sounding album. A few parts on here are extremely memorable like the build up in "Utopic" but even with that aside the majority of these songs are just decent things to listen too. These songs just rock, plain and simple. They break up a lot of the songs with more acoustic parts which is by no means necessary these by no means are difficult songs to listen to, they're actually pretty listenable even without but hey, that's fine. Moving on to the lyrics apparently this is a concept album about feminism which I'm totally on board with. One my first listen the concept of the album wasn't readily determinable, but after doing some research (google) I found out that the main character is Elizabeth and her rebelling against the dominant culture. I'm definitely a fan of that and want to listen further, sitting down with the lyrics to know exactly what's going on. Actually really enjoyed this album even if I can't name a lot of the tracks. It's one of those things where I think the majority of the album is good and it just evolves into "This album is good" instead of individual tracks. The last track takes a kind of creepy turn with a voice over of hopeless people, and distorted guitars. Solid album, will definitely be coming back to it to analyze the lyrics more.
26 feb 2014, 18:25Bayside remind me of being a teenager and give me a good impression of what alternative kids are listening to these days. I wasn't even quite sure they made generic pop punk like this anymore. The lead singer actually reminds me a lot of Motion City Soundtrack's vocal delivery and the instrumentation reminds me of Taking Back Sunday. I really don't have much to say besides these guys are the new flavor of the week in an endless deluge of pop punk band marketed towards teenagers that want to seem "hardcore" Let me be clear, these guy do seem to like they're fine at what they do. All the song sound fine, the lyrics seem like they have the right amount of angst, the appropriate amount of punk to not alienate the causal listener, fine vocal work, it's just not particularly interesting to me. I think the pop punk genre needs a kick in the pants to be honest. Generic album after generic album seem to keep coming out with little innovation from the majority of artist, but maybe that will change. Lots of people complain that this genre is a bit childish and I don't agree with that, but I do agree that there is a certain level of emotional maturity that one reaches and certain topics aren't as interesting as they once were. Bayside's lyrics play like a teenager running away from home or a Josh Green novel. I often kept thinking this album was much longer than it actually was. After a four tracks I was thinking I must be near the end, only to see that I had 7 more similarly sounding tracks to listening to. All of the instrumentation could be interchangeable really with every song sounding more and more like the last. The rare occasions when the band decides to make the jump to a heavier sound are the most interesting parts of the album. My advice for Bayside would be to abandon the pop-punk side and become a solid post-hardcore band. I think the lyrics would work a lot better in a post-hardcore sound really. There's not a lot more to say about the album besides if you're not into pop-punk you'll probably enjoy the album. These guys don't seem to me to be doing anything extremely experimental or out there, but then again they're not doing anything wrong. This isn't the worst pop-punk has to offer, but it's far from the best. Just another to add to the mix in my opinion. Oddly enough the opener and the closing track are the two tracks that I enjoy somewhat on this record. The slayer opening and the chanting are near and dear to my heart, even if they are pop-punk tropes. All and all just a generic album in my opinion.
25 feb 2014, 07:01The first most striking thing about this album are the vocals they remind me of a doom metal album or a mix between that and Oasis a bit. the instrumentation has a solid root in sludge metal. They remind me a bit of Kylesa with the female vocals. I think they must be a solid influence of these guys, although they seem like a less heavy version of them which is nice considering Kylesa music come sometimes be overpowering at times, i.e. Everything meddles together into a wall of noise that's at times in comprehensible. This keeps everything a little bit more sedated so it's not as difficult to follow along with the line of music. Also, I know music is awesome and everything but can we stop for a second to talk about how crazy and cool looking this album art is? I would definitely check out this album purely based on the album art work. Back to the music though the production isn't great on this thing, Although it is much easier to follow the plot in these songs music wise, the guitars is quite as crisp as I would have liked them to be, and honestly the vocals style I am not a fan of. It's a decent way and often how they do it in sludge metal, but still not my fav. Helms Alee never seems to have one consistent lead singer with the band switching of vocals between the three of them which is kind of good for switching it up and keeping things interesting. Talking about particular instances on the record, quite a few times I get a black metal feeling seemingly out of nowhere that, in my opinion, really works well with the mix that Helms Alee are going for. I think the influence of Kylesa cannot be denied. They are dangerously similar bands but as Kylesa has progressively gotten more psychedelic, Helms Alee seems to stay rooted in their sludge metal sub-genre. I guess it is worth noting that the guitarist/vocalist for Helms Alee is actually the brother of Dave Verellen, lead singer for the legendary mathcore band, Botch. Obviously a very talented group of individuals. A stand out track for me is slow beef which goes all sorts of places and ultimately settles into a a very experimental outro with synthesizers seemingly out of nowhere. Then on the last track the band slows things down a bit to give you a chance to breathe before picking things back up for some very nice guitar work to close out the record. Depending on where this band goes next they could have something extremely interesting on their hands. If they can possible get away from their influences.
23 feb 2014, 00:48So Angel Olsen seems like a generic signer/songwriter but it has been getting some hype behind it, so I decided to check it out. Something I'm actually learning from this endeavor is I generally like the first track of an album. Almost any album I listen to the the first track I think "Yeah this is gonna be a pretty good album." which I suppose it's designed to do, but none the less if every song is as good as the first track on an album I would be a happier camper. So the first track has this weird lo-fi sound with her vocals coming through very distorted. The lyrics on this thing seem to be classic "I'm lonely, I want to fall in love." fare, but granted I have not delved in enough to give a very in depth analysis. But the first track grips me, wants me reading for more. Then it's a bit of a blur until things slow down on "White Fire" which ha very quite instrumentation with Angel almost whispering everything out. This also has the lyrics for the album title in them "Burn Your Fire for no Witnesses" which I think has something to do with a sort of cathartic element to it, but her delivery on the album is far from passionate. The tracks start to take on an alt-country feel and end up reminding me of the Rosanna Cash album that was released early. Although I say it is alt-country this album does have a hard time being classified into one genre, but that seems to be every album these days. It get somewhat noisey at times but the majority of the album sticks to a mellow folky space. I fail to see what exactly everyone is raving about, but maybe the genius would show itself with further listens. I think it might be the folky mix of so many genres, but I'm not sure. It has a very whimsical feel actually which is a kind of start contrast to the "Burn Your Fire for no Witnesses" moniker. Further listens might improve my opinion but for now, just a mediocre folk album.
22 feb 2014, 01:26I think Q set himself up to fail with this one, claiming you're going to come out with a classic like GKMC is raising the bar super high. I love everyone in the Black Hippy crew really, but Q isn't one of the stronger rappers. I think Kendrick by far exceed his ability, but expectations aside, I do like the album. I think the production is spot on and interesting beats, but the rapping isn't nearly as complex or gripping as GKMC, which I think bares comparison considering this is the first debut on a major label after Kendrick's. The concept of the album is rapping about horrible stuff to provide for his daughter. I just don't know if the gangster rap stuff is still working these days, Kendrick raps in a cautionary type of way, Ab-soul talk about so serious stuff too. The Tyler joint with him on production is solid, a very weird stripped down beat. Not really what I would have expected from Tyler. I do like all the bits about his daughter because of course I am sucker for little girls. The album starts to sag a bit with "Blind Threats" and kind of mellows out. Some stand out tracks are "Los Awesome" "Collar Greens" and "Man of the Year", the highlight on the back half of this album. Although I'm by no means calling the album bad, it's a decent album, but definitely not as solid as GKMC. This against might be an unfair assessment, but this is the threat you run when you're part of a collective with one very talented artist. I doubt the other members of Odd Future appreciate being compared to Tyler on every release, but that's the risk you run. Not to mention I get the feeling that Q or maybe TDE are trying to capture lightening in a bottle with the same things they had going for GKMC. What made Good Kid, M.a.a.d City so great was obviously the rapping, but also concept. Kendrick is doing exactly what others rappers use to be doing, i.e. reporting on the ghetto not glorifying it. He talked about his childhood and growing up in Compton and coming from such a negative place to become something positive, extremely good positive message right? Well switch back to Schoolboy Q's album where it is glorifying the lifestyle with all the same tropes used on Good Kid. Q raps about his childhood, his grandmother, his drug addict uncle, but of course it's not as tragic or interesting as in Kendrick because he is often saying "How badass and gangster is this?" instead of "Look what I had to do with" He even did the same thing that Kendrick did, singling out a track on the record that was very personal to him and splitting it into two parts, can you say "Sing About me/I'm Dying of Thirst" anyone? He even goes as far as to use the slash like Kendrick to and has a different producer for every track, which factors into why none of the songs seem to be particularly linked musically. Everything that I see in this record seems to be Schoolboy trying to repeat what Kendrick did and it just doesn't work, but again this is a decent record, just don't try to impersonate Kendrick Q,do your own thing.
21 feb 2014, 21:33This isn't for you, this is for me. On the off chance you think it's for you and decided to check this out anyways, don't. I'm sure there will be something you want to talk to me about or ask me about, don't. You might be very tempted to ask me something like "Oh You're listening to every album in 2014? That's awesome! What albums would you recommend?" don't. Look at the list if you want, check out the albums if you want, but don't ask me to do more work for you because for every album I list, I've listened to probably like 5 more. Anyways without further ado, the best albums in my humble opinion that have come out so far.
Sun Kil Moon - Benji
So just becoming a true through and through music nerd I knew about piss all about Sun Kil moon. First impression of them? You spell kill with two L's douche, we're not about efficiency in the English language, which becomes very apparent when listening to this record. (This record plays less like a Folk album and more like a Russian Novel, in a the best possible way.) I failed to recognize the name as reference to the Korean Boxer, Sung-Kil Moon. Forgive me for my lack of South Korean bantam weight boxing champions, I'll try to do better next time. But I digress, the album: It has a loose concept based around morality that leads to a lot of melancholy songs about death, but what's more prominent than death is the lyrics on this thing. Let me be clear, I am a sucker for lyrics every time and this is a wordy album. Mark, the creative force behind Sun Kil Moon, manages to tell such mundane stories is such details it's easy to get lost in his mundane life, but underneath those mundane lyrics are some of the most emotionally honest albums I've heard to date. Seriously, "Micheline" a tribute song to a mentally handicapped women Mark grew up with almost had me crying like a bitch. If I had not been in the middle of a Belgian supermarket you can almost guarantee I would have been crying, singing along. Low key instrumentation too which can get a bit repetitive, but I think it works just fine considering the style. Also he has a tendency to layer his voice which gives the impress, to me at least, he's speaking more about himself and for himself? It serves to make the songs more complex, but still have enough coherency to follow along and not be overwhelmed like in some other genre's in which the listener is assaulted and ultimately overwhelmed if they're not careful with noise.
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Seriously thought against me was completely out for the count after "New Wave" and "White Crosses" were just so far away from where they started, and it's still that way on this record, I don't think they have the same feeling as their first albums, but they gain something. I'm a sucker for lyrics every time and the opening track is some of the most straight forward emotional lyrics I have ever heard. Against Me! seems to have a knack for it, but still Laura's struggle really comes to life through the lyrics on this record. I almost wish she would have come out before so we could have had this same amazingness early, but I doubt we would be able to have it without the struggle that she went through.
Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope
St. Vincent - s/t
This was just not what I was expecting at all.
Behemoth - The Satanist
Big Ups - Eighteen Hours of Static
Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
So this is a seriously awesome album. It mixes psychedelic and black metal in a way I've been even heard before. It makes the black metal bits very listenable and I don't think it's just because I am accustomed to Black Metal I feel like this would be a really good introduction to the genre and you can move on from there. The lyrics are kind of catchy, although they might be satanic? This must be a very good year for Satin.
Moodymann - s/t
Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Wanderlust
Young Fathers - Dead
One of the few albums I've listened to multiple times this year. Calling this hip-hop is a bit of a stretch for me. experimental hip-hop of course though. It has such a charm to it, and I get the feeling that there is a real connection to the hip-hop culture on this record, plus the album art is pretty interesting. I had been sleeping on young fathers for a long time, but I think this might be one of the best releases so far, which is kind of dumb to say since it's so early in the year, but still. Also some of the lyrics really get stuff in you head, "AK-47 Takes my brethren straight back to Heaven"
Lake Street Dive - Bad Self Portraits
Completely out of nowhere I liked this album. Had no idea about this band before, and really it's a very basic type of indie pop album with a bit of choir singing and jazzy feels. I'm realizing I like pop a lot more than I originally thought I did before, I have the feeling though this is pretty good far. They have a bit of a New Orleans feel to them too. They remind me of "Company of thieves" a bit.