New Music Review – RedWater – Day 1

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Artist: RedWater
Album: Day 1
Genre: Electronic, ambient
Social media: Soundcloud/Bandcamp

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Let’s do some more ambient/electronic music, because why not? I mean I’m totally getting encapsulated within it recently with all this Boards of Canada and such.

RedWater, is the instrumental, electronic project of this Utah based produced that has previously released two other bits (an EP and another LP) both of which sound surprisingly different to RedWater’s most recent effort, the effort we’re looking at today, Day 1. When I say different, I don’t mean anything leaps and light-years away from the previous sound, but there’s a bigger focus on some interesting synth textures and percussion than the previous album, Natural Division.

Every track on this little album feels like an intimate little snapshot of RedWater’s life and composition style, and because of this, nothing ever feels too similar. From the poppy/lounge feel of Second Chance, to the largely progressive electronics going on in Temporary Permanence, you’ll find a brief little moment to fall for. Even the tracks I’d consider to be lesser than the others still have aspects that make them interesting and worth listening to – Entropy and the Intervals didn’t particularly thrill me, but I appreciated some of the fascinating aspects in each tune. I mean Entropy almost sounds industrial at times and that’s sweet when you consider the majority of the material here is all rather major sounding.

The End Of April, also contrasts this major sound well by being one of the more serene tracks that I’ve heard this year.

I guess if we’re nit-picking, I’d like to nit-pick at the intro to Day And Night, it seems to go on way to long with some rather plain piano and synth chords before things take a more interesting turn later in the song. However, I do like the erratic percussion on this track and the twinkling arpeggios in the second half… Oh and the skanky beat that in the second half as well. Oh, I suppose the track RedWater is a little dull when compared to the rest as well…

Final Thoughts:

I don’t really have much to say on this album because I think it’s worth your time in its gorgeous simplicity. Day 1 is varied, curious and delightful for it’s short playtime, so why not at least give it a quick listen? If you like music from electronic producers, or you love music you can stick on in the background while you enjoy a book, grab this album. It’s a name your price album and it’s worth however much you can give RedWater and then some.

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New Music Review – The White Mega Giant – TWMG

a0215946163_10Band: The White Mega Giant
Album: TWMG
Genre: Post-rock
Social-media: Facebook/Bandcamp/Twitter

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The Mega White Giant or, TWMG as we will now call them to save words, are an Italian post-rock, electronic band that have an incredibly spacey vibe about them with their mass of effects, loops and walls of sound engulfing listeners. They put out their first album back in December 2011, Antimacchina, which had a typical post-rock sound with lots of crisp guitars and echoing delay, marching bass, epic drums – post-rock through and through. However, TWMG have recently put out their latest album, TWMG, which takes things in a similar direction, but with some more subtleties and electronic elements thrown in that make for an interesting and deep listen.

There’s a much larger focus on textures this time around and it shows, with moody walls of atmosphere and some rather grand screens of distortion. I mean, the album starts with a two part song called Hubots – the first song is an extremely slow build-up, with a thick synth wavering around for a minute until you get some effected vocals coming in. Then the song grows around this quiet guitar and piano; it’s a good intro, but the second part steals the show with the massive wall of distortion and stunning guitar melodies that stomp on for a good three minutes, until it fades into the next song: Heart Beat Quantize.

This track is atmospheric, everything sounds very airy and dreamy and ambient with the way it’s been produced, but not in a tarty over-the-top way. The drums on Heart Beat Quantize are incredibly simple for the first part of the song, even after they’re not much different, but the idea that the drums are this minimal for so much of the song is brave. It does kind pay off, but it would have been nice to see a bigger, more bombastic pay-off for the drums at the end of this track.

I’d say that the other more ambient focused tracks on this record do suffer from being somewhat forgettable when compared to some of the majestic walls of sound you have on TWMG. Songs like Pulse Rate and Meccatronica sound great with the buzzy synths mixed with looping noises (they almost sound like 65daysofstatic), but then shorter tracks like Analog and Automaton are just kind of there. Considering how adept this lot seem at using textures and some gorgeous melodies, it’s just a shame that these tracks didn’t stand out as much as they could have.

Final Notes:

Despite some dull ambient tracks, TWMG do succeed in creating immersive atmospheres that have some interesting twists to the. The final track Meccatronica is wonderful, in its colourful wall of sound that feels as strong and immediate as TWMG can be. I can honestly say that I think TWMG are at their best when they’re building their music into these tasty goliaths of music that soar majestically through the airwaves.

New Music Review – Lucasle – Temporary Collection

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Artist: Lucasle
Album: Temporary Collection
Genre: Electronic
Social-media: Soundcloud/Bandcamp/Facebook

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Lucasle is the musical project of Lucas Herrera from Sweden and although this album isn’t exactly new, we’ll be taking a look at Temporary Collection. This album was released on the 24th of November 2013 and is available on Bandcamp for a name your price price. Lucasle uses guitar and various electronic arrangements to create his music in various creative and colourful ways. From the get go, I’m willing to say that Temporary Collection houses some very organic and blissful tracks that show off how original Lucasle can be with his music.

What I really appreciate from this artist is the use of… well, everything in his music – the guitars sound clear and consistently wonderful, the synths are full of life and the percussion is not just your usual run of the mill crap you’ll see in pop. However, I could definitely draw some positive comparisons between Lucasle and the electronic composer Pogo – both musicians share an inspired use of their instrumentation, in my opinion and both sound lovely in their own rights.

Let’s get into some actual songs! From the very start, you get a very clear idea of the kind of sound that Lucasle is going for and that sound is consistently pursued throughout the entire release. When I first started listening to the track U, I thought the sudden breaks in sound didn’t work, but almost instantly, I was converted as more instrumentation was brought in and the song structure remained ever changing. The interesting use of dynamics is used repeatedly through Temporary Collection and no two songs sound the same.

I also really appreciate the snippets of vocals use in tracks like Baños, Hardy, Towidode and Telephone Airplane – It’s not just shameful use of sampling, it’s considered and measured. The use of guitar is rather pleasant as well; it breaks up the electronic work rather finely. I think the best example for this, is the previously mentioned track Towidode: the beats and electronics are all well and good, but the guitar is a really nice break from what could become incredibly boring if it overstays its welcome.

There are also some rather memorable melodies on this album too, with tracks like Span and (again) Baños, being some of my favourites. I do feel, however, that this album could have done with some more slower moments, completely devoid of beats or anything like that. While I do think tracks like Halo and Hängöver do deliver, I personally think that Hängöver is one of the weaker tracks, if only because it feels very flat compared to the rest of the music here.

Which leads me to my next bit of fussing: I think that the second half of Temporary Collection, feels rather dull when compared to the first (or at least to track 7). I wouldn’t say that the rest of the tracks after Baños are boring, but they don’t measure up to some of the wonder that is Span, or U. At the end of the day though, this is still a great listen.

Final Notes:

Temporary Collection is an album that falls flat in the second half, but only because of the wonder built-up in the first half of this album. You’ll find innocence and child-like wonder within the creativity of Lucasle’s work and especially within this album. Temporary Collection is available for a name your price price, so if you like what you’ve heard, support this artist.

New Music Review – k. – k. songs unreleased or not finished

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Artist: k.
Release: k. songs unreleased or not finished 
Genre: Singer-songwriter, rock
Social-media: Bandcamp

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k. is probably the musician with the shortest name I’ve ever had, k.s is also from Ohio and has recently put out a short release of unreleased material, titled, k. songs unreleased or not finished. This was released back in October 21st of this year, so let’s get in to it! Now, what sort of music can you expect from k.? On this release, I’d say you can expect some alt-rock, maybe singer-songwriter style music that is all very restrained and minimal in its instrumentation and production.

The first song, Do You Like It, was difficult to listen to for me, why? Because I found the vocals and lyrics to be so troublesome to listen to. It’s not bad for the first section of the song, while it’s all backed up with the funky bass, but for me the outro vocals were painful to listen to and just made me want to stop the song. That being said, the last little vocal snippet (listen to understand) wins Do You Like it? Some points.

The second song, Lover……………………………………………………………………………………………………………I Miss Her, which will I will now be calling, Lover, for undisclosed reasons, is much preferable. The guitar is rather plain and simple, with some subtle effects over it and it works for a sing-songwriter like song. It’s just rather sweet too, which is nice.

Strangely, I got a very old school rock n’ roll vibe from the next track, 400 miles home at about 60MPH. The vocals at the start get it all kicked off rather quickly and when the guitar gets some distortion slopped over it, it all sounds fun and almost like some Kinks. What I also found rather interesting was the slightly staggered second guitar on this recording – it sort of sticks out and I’m not sure whether this is me mishearing things, or something else, but it struck me as odd.

I wrote a poem, is probably the track that strikes me most, if only because of the way that the guitars mesh together here. It sounds pleasant with the vocals. I also liked the lyrics on this song, because, you know who ever does write their poem correctly after the first draft? Funnily enough, it almost seems like this song is a metaphor for this entire release. ‘I wrote it wrong, so I turned it into this song’.

Final Notes:

While I don’t think this project feels in anyway finished as it is right now, there are some good building blocks here; blocks that demonstrate that k. should be out there searching for a band to create with. The instrumentation is nice at times and the bass is always groovy, so why not expand into other projects and offer something with other musicians? I’d be very interested in seeing what k. has to offer in the future.

P.S. I dig the album art.

 

 

New Music Review – Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy

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Band: Frankie Cosmos
Album: Zentropy
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Social-Media: Facebook/Tumblr/Bandcamp

Frankie Cosmos is the musical project of Greta Kline and over the years she has amassed a load of EPs on Bandcamp – it almost feels dangerous to jump into her discography. I mean, today, I’ll be listening to her March release Zentropy, but since then she’s released two EPs – Zentropy just so happened to be the first release I heard. Cosmos’ work all feels relatable in its vulnerability and I believe that this is what makes this such an effective album – It reminds me of Weezer’s Pinkerton or Carissa’s Weird in the way it portrays itself as an incredibly personal release.

Like the rest of Kline’s work, that I’ve heard, the songs are almost like diary entries in the life of a coming of age outcast. For example, the albums opener, Art School, talks about the ins and outs of life in art-school and how it sucks, “All your friends drunk and wild/All my friends are dickheads.” It’s immature but loveable in the way the persona that the persona in the song could appeal to anyone that felt like an outcast.

It’s this charming outcast that makes this album so accessible and easy to listen to. The instrumentation is also really quaint, almost nostalgic for a simpler time in music. The laid back guitar in the album does a great job. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly lo-fi, but Zentropy does not have or need all the bells and whistles that some bands think are necessary.

The way that Zentropy sounds feels very similar to 1960s garage-rock bands and Kline’s lyrics do an impressive job of creating some truly memorable songs. The first opening lyrics of Dancing In The Public Eye, are a laugh, “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone and if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Then it pops into a catchy tune with thick guitar and a nice little vocal hook. It’s this clever use of lyrics and song-writing that put this album out there as a great singer-songwriter release, as opposed to a standard, ‘going through the motions’ acoustic plucker release.

This infectious cleverness also emerges in one of the albums best songs Birthday Song, which, despite its short length (just over a minute) still manages to be witty and catchy. “Just because I’m a certain age, doesn’t mean I’m older than I was yesterday.”

Zentropy is hard to pin down to a single mood, besides awkward-teenage-girl, but that’s fine – The way the songs move around in their tempos and moods fit the style of music that cosmos makes. Sad 2 is as upsetting as you might think and it also pulls the whole album together with the subtle strings behind the guitar and the quivering synth humming constantly.  And for final words from an album “I wish that I could kiss his paws.” I think it’s fitting and effective for this album to end like this.

Frankie Cosmos have created a memorable album of clever vocal hooks, warm instrumentation and relatable songs that will speak to anyone at that certain age of teenagedom. And maybe it’ll speak to a few young adults beyond that, but either way, you cannot resist the charm of Zentropy and Frankie Cosmos.

New Music Review – Calf – Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy

10519533_306847229475300_2703509669127013318_oBand: Calf
Album: Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy
Genre: Noise, post-rock
Social Media: Facebook/Bandcamp

Calf is a noise/post-rock band from Greece that play what you’d expect to hear during a vicious descent into a discount hell. This four-piece is renowned for their ruthless music, surreal artwork and no shanks held approach to their craft and it certainly shows with their most recent release, Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy, which for my sake will now just be shortened to Bastards.

The album itself starts with the monstrous tune, Are you Laura Palmer? No I’m a fucking psycho, which I’ll admit, is a challenging listen. Why? I find it difficult to get into noise music, but there is more than enough substance here, amongst all the layers of noise, distortion and hell, for fans of other genres to get into. There are riffs dotted throughout this song, most notably on the bass and some gnarly drumming and sampled vocals. When the track finally does come to a halt, you breathe a sigh of relief, if only because of the ceasefire on the overbearing noise.

You’re only given a few seconds before the next song fades in, Lunacy box demon booth. This one drew me in a lot more; there are lots of little touches going off like little stops and starts, tempo changes and some groovy bass play. At one point it almost sounded like I was listening to Primus. Lunacy box demon booth, sort of loses any real puff it has for about a second and then kicks back into a barrage of noise, jarring guitar and thick bass.

Squeezing blue hope from my christian numb cock, is the first real break the listener is given. With numb hearing muscles, I exhaled and fell back into the post-rock mechanics kicking into place. Also, that title is a real mouthful (did have an innuendo here, but decided to be the bigger man, heh). This track shows versatility in the Calf ranks, but it also shows an important amount of restraint (sometimes). The guitars sound typically post-rock in tone, without sounding too tarty, even when things go in a different direction. This is the track you should listen to, if you want Calf lite.

The next two songs are The artist formerly known as a hipstercunt pt.I and of course The artist formerly known as a hipstercunt pt.II, not sure why they needed to be part 1 and part 2 since they fade into each other like the rest of the tunes…

Anyway! In both of these songs you’re getting very much typical and lethal Calf, granted, these songs feel much more measured in comparison to the dangerous levels of noise in Are you Laura Palmer? No I’m a fucking psych. Of course this is not a bad thing, I think Calf are at their best when they measure themselves out, otherwise the abrasive sounds and crushing tunes just become boring.

Thankfully, Calf did not become boring for me at all during the last two songs, although I preferred the long build-up, tease, silence and then RELEASE or part 2. That could just be my wimpy post-rock fan side coming out though.

Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy, kept me listening  curiously until the end and despite having a few unexplainable bruises (most likely from summoning Satan), I enjoyed my experience. I’m surprised they didn’t put more distortion on the bass and I would have liked the vocal samples to be brought forward a bit more, but hey ho.

Calf are all about playing the long game; teasing their listeners until they can’t take anymore and then they change things up. This serves them incredibly well on Bastards and I was left guessing and scared, numerous times. I’m not sure how to describe Calf without referencing big names like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It’s just a case of listening to this uncompromising album and deciding if it’s your thing or not.

If it’s not, that’s okay, just pick up your woosy t-shirt and alcopops on your way out x

New Music Review – Parachute For Gordo – Ten Metres Per Second Per Second

a3254726899_10Band: Parachute For Gordo
Album:Ten Metres Per Second Per Second
Genre: Math-rock, post-rock
Social Media: Facebook/Bandcamp

Recently, I reviewed a release by the killer gents from TwoThirtyTwo, a bunch of indie-rockers that dabble all over the shop in fun experimentation. More recently, a band on the same label got in contact with me about their new album. Who was I to say no? And especially after they asked so nicely too!

Parachute For Gordo are difficult to pigeon-hole from the start thanks to an experimental ethic that can easily throw off the majority of people that might want to label it. With their music, you get elements of post-rock, noise-rock, experimental music and even some spoken word. In their newest release, Ten Metres Per Second Per Second, which came out on March 15th 2014, it sounds like they’ve still managed to avoid being pinned down to a single distinct sound, but is that a good thing?

I’d say so, yeah.

Ten Metres Per Second Per Second sounds incredibly ambitious through the recordings, but even more so when you consider how this album was made.

“In typically obtuse and independent Parachute for Gordo style, it was recorded live in the space of three hours and represents the band exactly as they are, intense and violent and beautiful with bruises and scraped knees entirely intact.” – From the press release.

What I like about this method and the album as a whole is how this DIY ethic comes about during the execution of their music. The instruments sound incredibly cherished and the songs themselves sound very real. I Offered You A Small Dog In The Kitchen, sets the perfect example: the instruments have that same kick that they’d have during a live show, the quiet bars of this song have a fantastic intimacy to them. Also, the turnaround in this song is glorious.

The short attention spans and experimental nature of these three makes for some lively and amusing songs that work for this band. What I mean by work is just… make something eclectic and excitable flow, without feeling forced.

I think the two best examples of this would have to be,

I think the two best examples of this would have to be, Bandage Of Scat and 10,000 Bay Leaves In A Koala Bears Mouth. The former, being the first song, prepared me for something entirely different than I got; the drum machine makes the track and again, surprises. While 10,000 Bay Leaves In A Koala Bears Mouth, (mother of god, that’s a mouthful) sounds like it could be a run-of-the-mill post-rock song, but makes use of exciting tempo changes and volumes to sound like an ever changing surprise.

It’s this experimentation and short attention span that makes these guys, Parachute For Gordo. The monolith that is The Labrasaga – Part I: Labrador Deciever, Part II: LabraDoodlebug, is testament to how much these guys can weave between the harsh and the polite in just a few short seconds.

Just also going to say that the vocals on this track, “The blood on the wall, the hole in my head, well I just blew my mind, pardon the mess”, is so fucking cool. It really straightens a path for them to go down with this song, even if the path is twisted and dangerous along the way.

The bonus tracks on the digital version are the most ordinary songs on the release. This isn’t a bad thing however, I believe that the singers really tie the songs together and add enough to make this release an even more varied bunch of musical sweeties.

I think it’s fair to say that Ten Metres Per Second Per Second is a must listen to for all of you fans of music out there. I mean, if you enjoy music that lapse at your eardrums like a tongue to a… lollipop, then you’ll love this persistently surprising album by the guys and girl over at Parachute For Gordo.