OpinionHated

The Hated Opinionated One

Posts Tagged ‘Art Rock’

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Take The Offensive With It’s Blitz!

Posted by Scotio on March 12, 2009

its-blitzStop me if you heard this one before: A nerd, a goth & a fashionista walk into a bar. They set up to play some songs, and end up having the whole bar wanting to be social misfits. You heard that one already? Well, I’m sure you’d have to had either lived on another planet or under the Earth’s surface to not have heard of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs by now. With their new album It’s Blitz! they unleash a lot of familiar and a bunch of new. Karen O, Nick Zinner & Brian Chase prove to the critics and fans that their once every three years LP output is more than enough to solidify their position in someone’s future Hall Of Fame.

To start off, let’s talk about the lead single, “Zero.” With Mr. Zinner’s guitars distorted and strumming along to the pulse of the synth makes heads bob like birds on the roost. Mr. Chase no longer plays the role as the third wheel in the band. His cadence is more than up to par, and his hi-hat hits draws the attention of anyone in the mood to boogie on down. Ms. O’s lyrics are the anthem for all those original hipsters who were hip to the YYYs before the media frenzy caught onto them. Letting all the Zeros out there know that they feel the same way. The song seems more like a statement of self expression in regards to their strange climb of fame. The weirdos & company totally have a track to cut a rug with, now. But, don’t be alarmed if the sheep follows them to the dance floor.

“Soft Shock” is even stronger in the force that is Synth-Pop. If not for nothing else but to see them perform all the synth work, I’d love to see this track done live. It’s hard to say this, but it seems that Karen O is the one playing the sidekick to this track. The work that Zinner & Chase put into the production of the track is just enticing. Brian keeps up with Nick’s amazing instrumental work. I’m sure Sitek’s production direction helped greatly in the making of it, as well. Wait, allow me to clarify. I, by no means, am trying to imply that Karen O’s work on this piece is minuscule & meaningless. It’s just that her vocals stood out so much more in their traditional style. In this formula, her voice seems, well, comfortable. It’s like it belonged here all along. So, for the more accustomed fan, it’s a bit throwing for the production to be so full and lively.

“Dull Life” comes off with a strange vibe. No, it’s not a bad track. It just sounds like something from the Throw Your Bones work. Whereas everything else is so strong and “different” for the band, that familiar sound seems to be holding them a bit back. No, not in general, but for this album. Though I love that sound, it isn’t well suited amongst these other vibrantly filled up pieces. For “Dragon Queen,” Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio(Sitek’s main band) sings background for the entire song. The sound of the track comes off like something from the time of Disco. In fact, if you had a time machine, went back, and played them this track I’m sure they wouldn’t think that it was anything different from what they were already jamming to. So, don’t be surprised if James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem falls in love with this song and enforces it to be played everywhere he goes.

My official love track of this offering is “Hysteric.” It’s a YYYs take on Dream Pop. And, dreamy it is. Ms. O’s voice is soft & delicate on this track. She seems to be singing from her heart rather than her sass. “The cinders, the cinders/ They light the path/ Of these strange steps/ Take Us Back, Take Us Back/ Flow sweetly, hang heavy/ You suddenly complete me.” The lyrics indicate a couple that was once on the brink of destruction, only to allow that destruction to bring them back together and fall back in love. Zinner’s atmospheric instrumentation is epic in it’s lo-fi sort of way. It plays like the soundtrack to a dream. Chase’s drum work goes back to it’s original position within the band’s dynamic. But, it works even better than it did in the original structure. Rarely changing, but constantly pushing you to keep going. The ending with the tambourine & whistling is reminiscent of Old School Soul music.

What’s familiar is their producer of choice(the highly in demand Dave Sitek) and their brass outcast attitude. What’s new is their Dance-Punk gyrations, their symphony string additions, their acoustic implementations and their openly honest confessions. If you acquire their Deluxe Edition, you’ll be treated to Acoustic versions of some selected tracks from the album. Replacing all the electronic work with acoustic guitars and brilliant string performances. This three piece have showed that they can roll with the movement of musical shifts without selling their souls or cashing in their hearts. They were once a band paying hommage to a generation that they were only eye twinkles when it was alive. They didn’t try to emulate that sound, but rather put their own unique spin on it. With this album’s sound being updated to the generation that succeeds their original sound’s influences, the same has taken place. A nod to the dancing pop era, but in the fashion of the three strangies from Brooklyn. If they keep it up, they’ll always be behind . . . and since Retro is always the “new” new, they’ll always be ahead.

Preview

Purchase

Advertisements

Posted in Music | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The New Regime Coups In A Destined Direction

Posted by Scotio on December 7, 2008

iz8ew0

So, Nine Inch Nails has a new drummer coming up. And, it’s a guy that’s under 21 years old. Interesting considering the shoes that the kid will have to fill from those that came before him. Ilan Rubin is his name. And, more interesting is the fact that he has a solo record. Did I mention that the guy has also been playing the drumming role for lostprophets since their drumming position was left open? Already possessing a very impressive record all before he’s even legally allowed to drink in the USA, young mister Rubin seems to be a force to look out for. This review is on his solo album titled Coup. His “band” name is The New Regime. I use the quotation marks around the word band because he seems to have taken a number out of his new boss’s page in recording the record: performed all the instruments himself. Though there are tons of kids coming out of the woodworks with their “bedroom band” ideas, this isn’t one of them. It’s as polished as the bands he’s already played in. Coup brings about a likeness to other already established acts in its execution. Me being a super huge fan of Captain M.T. Reznor, I feel obligated to apply a “hawk’s eye” view for the works of the people that play in the live incarnations of Nine Inch Nails. I wouldn’t be a good and true fan if I did not do such.

“Take Control” is a very impressive song. So impressive was it that I found myself telling myself “I enjoy this new People In Planes track.” I had to respond to myself with “But this isn’t People In Planes.” Now, some might assume that when I reminded myself of that, I would be giving a negative mark to The New Regime. No, such did not take place. Actually, it was the contrary. I find People In Planes to be one of the most imaginative and creatively on cue bands that have graced my ears. Yes, that means ever. So, for Ilan to perform such a task all by his lonesome really speaks volumes. And, those volumes echo vibrantly. The drumming on the track is probably the most impressive drumming I’ve heard from such a young person since Travis Barker started letting his inhibitions go or when Dave Grohl grabbed the time keeping reigns for Nirvana. It not only keeps the pace for the song, but it, for me, showcases that the young sir should be able to bring as close to a Josh Freese element to NIN that can only be topped by Josh himself. Rubin’s attacks are on point and extremely percise. If this is him at 19(age when recorded the song), I eagerly await him breaking the 30 mark in age and where he’ll be musically. His guitar work is excellent, as well. Beautiful layering his work overtop of itself to make it sound like a sonic cloud for the chorus. During the verse section, the guitar runs with in a simple two hit manner that shows minimized genius. Surprisingly, the kid has some pretty good singing chops on him. Not many people who plays in the background section would be as willing as he to belt out vocals like he does for the chorus. The song shows massive maturity in such a young individual.

“This War Time” fully displays his California roots. I have to admit, I’m not too keen on this track. Not for the fact that it lacks, but for the fact that when compared to the first half of the album, it just seems so Pop Rockish. If I had to compare it to another band, it would have to be the current form of Incubus. And, just like that band today, Ilan is much better than this song. It’s a good song for a good band, but he’s not good. He’s great. Still, this type of song does well for people his age(and moreso his home state). I just wish that he could have used this for a soundtrack single or something else. Possibly a B-Side or something. “The Credit “We” Deserve” is of that same vein. It’s nice in it’s attempt, but why shoot for nice when you have the ability to give out awesome? Instead of Incubus, this sounds more like something from Rooney. If the show The O.C. were still active, I could seriously see the producers throw this song in the midst of an episode and on their seasonal soundtrack release.

“Order Restored” is perhaps the first song that caught my full attention. With it’s Workstation Organ pushing out something that the Phantom of the Opera would be playing if he was trapped under Guitar Center as it’s opening tune, I couldn’t help but be taken in with it’s sinister vibe. Instead of allowing the song to become cliche, he builds on top of the opening and go in a more artsy progressive alternative direction. I really can’t hold against him the fact that his voice is similar to Gareth Jones. Yet, I will say that with that being said, it does add another comparable note to People In Planes. And, again, I have to tip my hat at the young man instead of ridicule him for the almost parallel sound.

I do have another mild vexation. That comes in the form of the tracks “Time Erase” and “Haunt My Mind.” With the former, the track is Nightmare Before Christmas-ly beautiful. Though, I would have preferred him singing in a less airy tone of voice. Something with more heaviness would have completely set the proper mood for the tune. His piano work is as brilliant as some stuff that Danny Elfman would create for a Tim Burton movie. That isn’t my irritant with the songs. Actually, allow me to state such before I begin talking about “Haunt My Mind.” See, the bother deals with their actual placement on the album. Positioned at the middle of the album, I feel it forces them to lose their power that they could possess if they were in fact placed as the last two tracks on the record. “Haunt My Mind” follows up brilliantly where “Time Erase” leaves off in the dark melody since. The song enters in with complete digital sounds. Ilan, singing of his loneliness to a lost one, could make even the most melancholy of emos blush with envy. After singing the line “I count the days until I can have my freedom back,” an erupting cadence of snare attacks takes place before the full force of the additional instruments detonate in the listener(s) ears. The song is, EASILY, the most powerful of all ten tracks. With such a performance piece, it’s hard to live up to the new heights that it reached. Sadly, all the tracks after that does not. Because of that, it would have been best to place these coupled songs at the end of the album rather than the middle. Though they do showcase the end of one “side” of this release, the other “side” just seems to not be able to top what has come before it. Such a thing forces the listener to have to pause or stop the album, clear the palette, and then play the last half of the album with a clean slate. Not a good thing for an album.

Coup also has a eerily similar cover as Have A Nice Life‘s Deathconsciousness. Yes, the covers are of the same Jacques-Louis David’s painting(The Death Of Marat, to be percise). But, where Have A Nice Life have zoomed in on the image, The New Regime chose to show the entire painting(albeit with a few modifications). This similarity, though, is more than likely merely coincidental(due to the fact that Have A Nice Life are an pretty seriously independent band). In terms of the similarities in sound with the other bands, I doubt that is less coincidental and more influential. I don’t believe that Ilan is imitating them, rather taking the aspect that he enjoys from them and tries to incorporate those aspects into his own sound. With this being his first release, he shows more promise than a little bit. His multi-instrumental skills revival those of Dave Grohl(whom, I might add, also did some work with NIN). He is a talented young man through and through. The New Regime should be a name/band/project that should, rather needs, to continue forth to display the growth that Rubin will achieve throughout the years. Coup, if nothing else, is a testament that Ilan can indeed hold his own with the best of them. It also shows that Trent Reznor has just acquired a more Alternative Art Rock young version of himself.

Preview

Purchase

Posted in Music | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »