New Music Review – Monolord (two tracks)

a1025789202_10Monolord are a psychedelic, doom, sludge, and monster threesome of a band that sound infinitely more villainous than you’d expect a trio of gents to. Despite forming in 2013, this band has already brought a menacing mixture of proficiency and nasty sounds to the table. These young doomers are releasing their debut EP, Empress Rising, on April 1st (or are they? April fools is a bitch) through the newly named indie label Riding Easy Records and it has to be said, it’s a well thought out move on the behalf of both parties. I’ve had a chance, just like any has, to preview two tracks from the upcoming EP and so far, things are looking suitably chunky and full of evil.

The title track of the EP, Empress Rising, is a 12-minute long monolith of a track that saunters around the naughty parts of town, flaunting its fuzz ridden backside. The guitars in this track are massive and could completely swallow up your face, given the opportunity. What also works for me is how crisp the drums sound, the bass could use some more love, especially if we’re getting really dirty.

The drums feel every bit as big as the guitars, which is how it should feel with an outfit as mean as this. The vocals waver in the background, adding a bit of depth to the track, but they never feel central. This isn’t a bad thing, but it would be nice to see some more vocal play.

Icon is goes straight for the jugular with its intro, holding no guitar tabs back. This track is, so far, my favourite, if only because of the absolutely glorious breakdown where the guitar has a second or two to breathe a sigh of relief. But it’s not long before it screeches with anguish is dragged back in for some smashing chords. The reversed outro is quaint and brings things to a close quickly.

With the full release coming soon, it’s getting exciting. Fingers crossed this isn’t a plan in advance April fool’s joke. You can check the band out of Twitters and Facebooks and preorder/buy Empress Rising from their Bandcamp.

Chat soon kids.

New Music Review – Levi Civita – Event Horizon (demo track)

a0263113042_10Local bands are always that and a bag of potato chips, especially when you know a member of them so you can get free swag and other such nonsense. However, they do also offer some of the best talent you’ve never heard of; sometimes. In this case, we all get a special first look at Nottingham based prog-metalheads, Levi Civita.

Levi Civita has released their debut studio track, Event Horizon, after tearing it up at the local battle of the bands. What have we learned from seeing them live and listening to their first bit of studio material? That this band has a lot to offer the music scene and the collective ears of said scene.

 

Event Horizon shows listeners what the band are all about, and if you’re going off of what you can hear, then you’ll get an impression of stellar twinkling guitars, blissful synths and rythemic bass. That is, until the world comes crashing down around a wall of distortion and intense sound. At times, the tracks can sound somewhat like Russian Circles, or even the harder sections of instrumental Oceansize, but what it all amounts to is this: tight songwriting and music that tantalises .

The band itself, offers up five members, each uniquely talented with their weapons of choice. What might also interest any potential listeners is that the track was recorded in two hours, one dreamy almost spring Sunday, which more than shows off the band’s proficiency music and their knowledge of the technical wizardry behind it. Two guitarists offer up the majority of the texture for this track, but live tracks have much more attack from the instruments, especially the bass.

More tracks should be coming soon. As such, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on these gents as they raise up through their well put together scene of metal, maths and mechanical mayhem.

Right now, the band are selling their track for a ‘name your price’, price and it would be great to see these guys get some support. So head on over to their Bandcamp and contribute some wonga.

You can also follow the lads on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Collection Review – Hotline Miami OST

Hotline Miami came out back in late 2012 and was crowned as one of the best fuck-em’ up games of this generation. It incorporates gameplay elements of top-down beat-em ups, mixed with the speed and mentality of a frightening drug trip. Clearly something needed to be done to soundtrack to step up the game of this already, brutal game. Thankfully, the developers at Dennaton Games have incredibly good taste in music. This taste in music adds a massive layer to the atmosphere of Hotline Miami and cements it’s foundations in the neo-80s feel that the game offers along the fucked-up trip of a story.

Hotline_Miami_coverThe soundtrack boasts 9/10 different artists (depending on how you classify featuring artists) and each of the musicians offer a unique twist on the tracks provided. The soundtrack mostly gives listeners this neo-80s synth sound to everything, but there are a few occasions where you’re presented with maybe more industrial laden tracks and even a few rock ones. All of which aggressively bookmark where you are in the game. Whether Scattle’s Knock Knock has you erupting onto the scene and caving in the heads of Russian mobsters, or Sun Araw’s Deep Cover brings you back to your increasingly grimy and surreal digs. The artists do their jobs with great talent.

What these artists do right with the entire soundtrack is mark that tension and deep feelings of visceral unease. Turf, by El Huervo, creates this incredibly brutal track that initially has no placement or direction until it contorts and twists with these messy beats into something more disturbing and vicious. The beats get larger, angrier and messier. The perfect track for Hotline Miami. We also get someone that I’ve heard of before! You also get to see another side of El Huervo with the chill track Daisuke, which just sounds like it was designed for lounging around before you destroy a gang of gents and their apartment. It’s got some really laid-back piano and great relaxing rhythms that would be right at home in a neon lounge club. Or a porn.

Jasper Byrne, who’s also worked on the indie game, Lone Survivor; a game about, well, a lone survivor that takes a deathly Silent Hill approach to mood and gameplay. Jasper has, in both cases, created wonderfully suited music for each game, which shows off this gentlemans ability to adapt to the game; Mr Byrne is no one trick horse!

Check out his Hotline Miami music and his Lone Survivor music.

What’s important to remember about this soundtrack is that it works best with it’s playable counter-part, but what makes it so strong, is that almost all of the tracks you can listen to individually. That being said, I can’t listen to Horse Steppin’ or Deep Cover for too long, if only because I begin to feel more and more like the protagonist as the track goes on; uncontrollably mental.

Tracks like Perturbator’s Miami Disco and M.O.O.N.’s Crystals stand alone well enough to warrant multiple listens. Turns out they also work fantastically well for studying; they get you pumped in such a way that you need to take a break, just because you’ve done so much! Or just started writing complete nonsense. M.O.O.N.’s tracks seem to be mostly focused towards the levels of extreme violence and chaos, which is fine, since it suits him down to a tee. Hydrogen is worrying; the lead that it uses is fraught with chaos and intensity that fits the ultra-violence you dish out as the protagonist.

Overall, this soundtrack does it’s job and there are very few tracks that I’ll actually skip when they pop up on my music player. They all change how you see the world around you, for the worse, so be considerate with your usage and be aware of your mentality at all times.

Does it stay in the collection?

Yes, it might beat me up otherwise.

P.S. very excited for Hotline Miami 2.

 

 

New Music Review – Cloud Boat – Carmine (Track)

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Facebook is funny, ain’t it? Sometimes, it can really hit the nail on the head, but from what I’m used to doing and used to seeing other people doing, it’s better to just rip on it. This time, however, it hit the nail on the head, through the table and onto my poor foot. In the best possible way(?).

A suggested post came up, recommending the band Cloud Boat and their brand new (free) single, Carmine. Now, I know nothing about Cloud Boat, so it would almost seem unfair to just jump right into this track and rip it up, but I gave it a go. Like every writer and his cynical uncle, I was initially skeptical, but I gave it a listen and was in a few minutes lost at sea on a boat of clouds and mist, with no company but the gentle tones of Carmine.

The song glows with a wonderful chord progression, dripped with reverb, care and atmosphere. The atmosphere is very reminiscent of dream-pop and shoegaze, but very difficult to pin down to a single genre as it mixes in elements from the above and more so efficiently.

This eloquent and stunning mix of music comes from two people dream-boats (boosh) Sam and Tom. Despite these two using simple building blocks to construct this song, they manage to create something beautiful that it, by and large, hitting the larger scale airwaves. It may be possible that we’re seeing a reassurance of shoegaze and dream-pop that was so prevalent back in the 90s.

Carmine feels like a boat trip along where the ocean meets the night sky with twinkling synths, elegant guitars, dreamy ambiance and submissive beats. From what I’ve seen so far, Cloud Boat looks like a band to watch for 2014. So keep those telescopes prepared and those sails of dreams and stars at the ready for a voyage.

Details about a full-length release are minimal, but it would be fair to say that something could be released this year, it’s just a case of as and when; keep an eye out.

If you like Carmine, head to their website for a free download.

Until next-time kids, keep shoegazing.

March’s Albums Of The Month

Trying to keep this blog feature active, since the other one didn’t work out so well. The idea is to post a few of my favourite albums from March, these might not have been released that month, but I’ll have been listening that month. I will get some from that month in though (if they aren’t shit).

Let’s get this flea circus tickin’.

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

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Although this album didn’t really convert me to the Elbow craze rocket that everyone always seems to be going on about, I did enjoy some of the songs on this album and from the songs I’ve heard, it feels a lot better than the previous albums (that’s right fans, come get me), but I’ll have to have a proper listen around at some point.

The Megadudes – Postcards From The Past

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Released on the 3rd of March, this power-pop outfit rocked onto scenes with an exciting debut packed full of power-chords and character that gave listeners a very immediate idea about who The Megadudes are and what they’re about. Which is? Catchy tunes, fun rock music and not taking the scene they inhabit too seriously. I also had a look at Postcards From The Past, a week or so ago, check that out, here.

Tycho – Awake

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The follow up to Tycho’s 2011 effort, Dive, may not have been praised as much as it should have been, but, Awake was a solid effort from one of the more interesting IDM artists out there. I personally, would like to see Tycho take a page from Trentmoller’s book and incorporate some vocals into his next album. Even if it would nice to hear a voice in the journey of this album, it’s still a solid album that I enjoyed. Very angst ridden.

Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit

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Good ol Mr Jazz hat released this carefully considered jazz album back in September last year, but, I heard Water Under Bridges and work and fell in love. Gregory Porter, has put together a gentle collection of tunes for the broken of hearts, the needy and more importantly, for the the people. A very enjoyable jazz album that requires a rainy night lit with nothing more than a desk lamp and an accompaniment of your thoughts.

Moonlit Sailor – We Come From Exploding Stars

a1235811192_2Inspiring-core post-rockers Moonlit Sailor, released We Come From Exploding Stars last month and I was rather late to their ill-lit party, but it definitely deserves a mention. These guys mix some new styles into the mix of their uplifting status quo and as such, have grown as artists. Nice to see them remaining consistent with the strength of their releases. This is another one I took a closer look at, right over there.

Between The Buried And Me – Colors

660f815b1d93A very crafty purchase from work. This bad boy was released back in 2007 and still remains as one of my top albums, ever. Colors is also, what I consider to be, Between The Buried And Me’s most unforced, eclectic release. These guys jump into different genre breakdowns a lot and on this album it feels tighter, less flamboyant and a lot more consistent than their most recent album,The Parallax II: Future Sequence. Also, dat intro song man.

I’ll have to add some more later, cause I’m almost positive that I’ve forgotten something. Let me know what your top albums of March are!

New Music Review – Moonlit Sailor – We Come From Exploding Stars

Recently, I made a post about some of the best albums to listen to while you work or write late into the night and on that list was Swedish post-rockers Moonlit Sailor. Little did I know at the time that just under a month ago, they released a brand new album. Complete with beautiful album art, which we’ve come to expect from these guys now anyway, but still.

Now, I’m no fan-girl when it comes for Moonlit Sailor (yes I am), but I instantly goshed and O-M-G’d all over the shop. While we do have the more veteran post-rockers like, Mono, putting out newish material for us to turn to, but, it doesn’t sound quite as refined, epic and passionate as Moonlit Sailor’s newest release, We Come From Exploding Stars.

a1235811192_2Moonlit Sailor have almost always opted for a positive tone to their songs, which is a welcome change from a lot of moody post-rockers, and it’s nice to see that they’ve stuck with this formula. However, it’s even nicer to see that the band have grown and composed some genuinely striking moments of emotion. A combination of major key compositions with optimistic song-writing make for one grand album, which is exactly what you get with this new Moonlit Sailor effort.

Moments where the instruments spark around the studio seemingly randomly and uneventfully always turn into this satisfying clash of music. For example, when a guitar plays a lonely little riff, to suddenly be accompanied by the bass, drums and another instrument, it all clicks and works so seamlessly.

The first track on the album, Minutes From Somewhere Else, sticks out beautifully in it’s gorgeous sounds, it’s uplifting build-up and ultimately emotive climax that lets you know, you are listening to ‘hope’ being turned into a musical format by four Swedish gents. To be honest, it’s very difficult to talk about this album without just getting a sample, pointing when something cool happens and just being like: “I know, right!?” when it happens.

I know, right?! That being said, there are plenty of moments on here that are interesting and showcase, not a new direction, but how Moonlit Sailor is expanding and becoming a major contender to post-rock veterans like Explosions In The Sky.

The song, Dollar Underwater is a magical experience of a song that really shows off how well Moonlit Sailor gels as a band. The drums are prominent, the bass is naughty and the guitars shine bright like a diamond. Also intro after the drum sequence at the start sounds inhuman in the best possible way; was it a wizard? The breakdown near the end is also extremely neato. Before that, we have a short number, Into The Fray, that’s led by a synth and twinkly wee piano; give it a few seconds and the quiet, rest of a moment is taken over by a kaleidoscope of sound that is over before you can say, delay.

Some people could argue that We Come From Exploding Stars, might become too sickly sweet after a few listens and  that’s cool. This album might not be for people that enjoy their post-rock with the deep, crushing atmosphere that you’d expect from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but with Moonlit Sailors, you get something else. A very different type of post-rock that uplifts and soundtracks the more hopeful and graceful periods of everyday life. There are many moments in this album that I haven’t mentioned, in fact, I don’t think I’ve done the album much justice at all, but that’s because, like a lot of music, this is something that you should experience first ear.

Welcome to the soundtrack of all those moments in Spring and Summer that you wish you could remember forever.

If you love what you’ve heard, head over to their Bandcamp and grab a copy of We Come From Exploding Stars, it’s a name your price album and worth every penny you pay, or not.

Does this deserve a spot in your collection?

In a short answer, yes. In a long answer, yeeeeeessssssss.

New Music Review: Linkin Park – Guilty All The Same (Track)

So, Linkin Park are back. It’s been about two years since they last put out an album that was met with, mixed reviews, even though a lot of the less than favorable reviews could be taken away as, old-Park fans that snub anything new. Understandably so though, it should be said. Their newest song, Guilty All The Same, dropped back in March 6th and I feel a little bit guilty not getting to it sooner. Mainly because me and LP have shared fleeting moments of a fling in the back of speeding cars occasionally. But only briefly! And they didn’t rush me.

Linkin Park have put out a new effort, something that fans have said, is slightly reminiscent of the old days of of the Linkin Pizzle (a pet name that will never catch on). Mind you, only some fans have said this, others are very quick to tie a a rope around it’s neck and hang it over the stairs. In my opinion though, the song is nice; swish; decent. The first thing that strikes me about this track is the heaviness of the intro. It also has this quite, I know it sounds strange but, vampire like guitar lead, it’s very hard to explain, but it’s cool and standout. There’s also this quivering piano that comes in afterwards to back up Chester’s vocals and for the most part, it feels suitably bombastic. The accusatory lyrics, brass-tarty piano epicness and non-offensive vocals all sound rather familiar. Obviously, I’m not saying they sound the same, or Linkin Park copied, I’m saying that it all sounds rather similar. Although they do use very familiar clouds…

That being said, the track still sounds alright, although I do have to agree with the fans that have said it would great to hear Chester get a little bit moody again. Shout! That’s what I (and a lot of other people) enjoy about Linkin Park; the merging of genres like metal and hip-hop. The track as a whole though, is a step in the right direction; the instrumentation is heavy and unforgiving and Chester is (hopefully) returning to vocal form. Big fan of the softer parts in this song; the smooth synths that chunk things up in the quieter parts; really killer choice.

Get back to some Faint though guys, only for a song or two, but do it for the kids!