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Archive for July, 2009

The Silent Years Makes Us Hold On As They Let Go

Posted by Scotio on July 9, 2009

***Updated***

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The term “Let Go” usually is used when facing troubling times. When things have gone to a point that you need to get away. You need to remove yourself from whatever it is that seems to have it’s hold on you. Rarely do you hear such a term used when association with something deemed good. But, Detroit’s The Silent Years have released an EP titled Let Go that has the phrase standing in a very positive light. Main member Josh Epstein calls it their musical piece that helps them move on. Move towards a forward direction in his band’s sonic career. I say that Josh is onto something here.

The lead single of the EP is “Madame Shocking.” It comes in as something that you might feel that Beirut(the musician) might have thought of originally. The opening music is best compared to that of music played at a town fair in the mid to late 1800s. Even Epstein’s vocal melody holds some sort of barring with that time frame. Though, the thing that doesn’t complete the suit of a hommage to the yester century are the lyrics. Filled with the expression of a man nearing the bottom of a bottle and revealing the bottom of himself. Then, in an almost comical fashion, the music does a rapid leap about 100 years. The Silent Years show a very keen sense in the Indie Pop genre, at this point. And, if you’re introduced to them with this song, by this point you get the feeling that these guys(and I use the term not for gender basis but for grouping) deserves a bit more of your time and attention. That, perhaps, you should begin to investigate how the rest of this 6 track plays out.

Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park” is a title that sounds like you walked in on the middle of a sentence. Not hearing the beginning, and lost for the ending. Luckily, this track doesn’t give you that feeling at all. The opening cut for Let Go welcomes all new listeners to the band with open arms and an upbeat smile. Ryan Clancy’s drum work is driven and gives the track an almost pivotal moment feeling. Fabian Halabou’s guitar work is creatively travel between the safe zone in Indie Pop and travels all the way outward towards Noise Rock/Shoegazing territory. A bold move, but it pays off by the truck load. Josh’s vocals coo and beckon you closer, then takes you to great soaring heights. The overly simple chorus of repeating “Da-da-dada”‘s cheats it’s way into getting into your head that much easier. With lyrics like “Sing us a song/ Only don’t sing too long/ You know I would get bored in a while” and “They got in my head and they’re painting my thoughts with the honest answers that offend me” it comes across as being told from the perspective of a twenty-something whom is facing the trueness of reality at an unsettling yet introspective rate.

Every track on this EP plays a valuable position in broadcasting how truly comfortable this band is with themselves. Call it a six staged attack, if you must. But, let it be known that the final stage “Claw Marks” is every bit a closing argument. It brings together everything in a very credits rolling manner. The most reclined of the six tracks, it also packs the most powerful punch. With repeative lyrics and merrily dreary music, there’s no denying the feeling of “it’s over, I’m letting go” that it holds. For almost the last 2 minutes, the track goes completely instrumental and picks up its pace. This is past the point of the climax, this is the part where all the pieces are reviewed and you can see the whole picture. If I’m making this EP seem cinematic, in it’s own charming way, it is. There is no flowing theme going on for it. It’s just fun and raw.

Let Go is for The Silent Years what Good News For People Who Love Bad News was for Modest Mouse. Or, even what Wincing The Night Away was for The Shins. Both of those bands house a similar sound to what The silent Years bring with this release. And, like the bands mentioned, this seems to be their “Hey, man . . . let’s nix intensive planning and just do it” album. If, and I hope they do, The Silent Years continue with this style, it could take them long and far in open relateability with listeners. After releasing 2 LPs, and, now, 2 EPs, The Silent Years have seem to find their proper stride. Now, where they walk from here is anyone’s guess and every one of their fans’ hope.

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***Note: Physical Copies available July 14th from SideCho Records. Click the Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park title for a free download of the song.

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PSY/OPSogist Brings You To The Sleep Kingdom

Posted by Scotio on July 9, 2009

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What can I say about PSY/OPSogist? I mean, he was the first unsigned artist that I reviewed. So, of course his music holds a special place for me. So, to find out that he has released a new album, of course I have to review it. It’s not a question that should even be asked. Kings Of Sleep is the title of his new work. Little did I know, that the work was very conceptualized around the title itself. You have to love concept albums done well, right?

The aptly named “K.O.S. Intro” features various movie soundbites that which talk on the topic of sleep in different perspectives starting with Hypnosis. While the soundbites play, you’re treated to a slow tribal-like musical backdrop that takes you to a dreamy state of the ancient Middle East. The intro flows perfectly into the first full song,”King Of Infinit Space.” That track possesses such a strong sense of IDM/Downtempo brilliance that it’s hard not to compare it to the likes of master knobtwisters Boards Of Canada. Which, in itself is amazing in my book. But, the fact that it was broken into pieces and the pieces reassembled by one man speaks in volumes that has yet to register on any stereo to date. With the drumbeat and the distorted guitar parts playing, you can hear their disconnection with sounding whole, yet that makes it all the more together.

To believe that the whole album would play like some strange attempt at creating a “missing BOC album” would leave you feeling the fool. PSY is more at work this time around, because, remember kiddies, sleeping isn’t a playful situation. What he does do with the precision of someone whom is Obsessive compulsive is have every song bridge into the next. Leaving no room for you feel the need to skip to the next track.

“Chariots Of The Gods” is very badass. The song would be the perfect musical score backdrop for a grand robbery scene. It houses elements of music that you’d find in spaghetti westerns, old school mob movies as well as 70’s high speed car chasing films. Sprinkling in small digital beacons to remind you that you’re not trapped inside of a Tinsel Town Time Machine. The rumbling bass guitar in the song would have any Pulp Fiction fan pulling out the Batman dance. The heavy attack of drums and cymbals that creates an illusion of gunfire is just sensational. If the Gods really bring this sort of noise when they roll through town, it would have all the people staring in awe for the music more than the sight.

On “Unusual Behavior” PSY takes things back to a more Jazz-Influenced Hip-Hop era. Of sorts. Imagine like a completely amped up version of an old A Tribe Called Quest song. I’m speaking on the vibe of the song. The song itself houses far more from Old Jazz and Blues tracks. The drums harken on old black juke joints where everyone really used to “get down with the getting down.” The distorted horns call out more as a sign of distress than a good time happening. Hmm… I guess this would be more Big Band-ish than Hip-Hop, though. Especially when considering the proceeding track, “The Lips Of God.” This song encompasses the complete structure for a sentimental/heartfelt/honest Hip-Hop track. It even has a strained vinyl sound to it. Giving it more of a Golden Era Hip-Hop appeal. The sickest part of the song kicks in around 2:12. PSY/OPSogist pulls out his inner Jay Dilla and basically dares any real emcee to NOT freestyle over it. But, the breakdown only lasts until around 2:39. Short, sweet and to the point, right?

The only flaw that I can actually find in this work would have to be the Untitled hidden track at the end. It’s a long stretch of one of those the sound of rain sleeping aids with sleep-like voices growing in clarity and volume as the song proceeds. It tends to drag on a bit too long. I get the point of it, I love the idea behind it. It’s just stretched too long. A track I absolutely love on this is “Travelers.” The guitars in the song just hold my attention and keeps me at the ready as if something is going to happen at any minute. The wavering machinegun snare hit sounds like a helicopter just teasing your ears for the first portion of the song. The steady ambient sound inside of the song gives it a cold and sterile feeling, where the guitars battle that with their organic beauty(they are acoustics). The soundbites are very well placed and enhances the overall sense of a dream going very wrong.

With Kings Of Sleep, PSY/OPSogist has proven that he is definitely a musician to be reckoned with. The album flows in and out of multiple musical fields. So much so that it’s hard to classify it as anything save for “Lo-Fi Electronic”(Though he personally chose the label of Atmospheric Headphone Music or AHM for short). Otherwise, you’d be there all day adding in labels to this work. It was well thought out, exceptionally executed and has a place for anyone into really dope music. Not to mention, he’s offering it for free as well as a special collector’s edition of only 100 CDs printed. I suggest you grab a piece of history made, and hold onto it for bragging rights. This visionary is going places.

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