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Posts Tagged ‘Electronic’

Van She Tries To Tickle Your V-Spot

Posted by Scotio on August 8, 2008

Van She is an Australian band that I’ve been eager to hear an LP from since last year when I came across their self-titled EP debut. Granted, it didn’t come out last year, but that’s when I heard it. And, it was such a great sunny album. It was fully of the right pop influences from the 80’s that blended things together wonderfully. I know, I talk about how great some recent bands are with their imitation of 80’s sound, but this was different. This didn’t “remind” me of something from the 80’s, this FELT like something that was teleported directly from the vault of lost 80’s should-have-been hits. So, with my chance to actually review this album, I began salivating with eagerness.

I’ll state this right off the bat: This album is so not what I was expecting from this band. From the very first song(“Memory Man”), you’re hit with the realization that this band not only grew since their 2005 release, but also had the concept to almost reinvent themselves. I am always a fan of growth . . . if done in a proper and constructive way, of course. With that said, the band went from a sunny vacation spot anthemic band to a more Dance-Punk styled band that seem to add little pieces of Dream Pop to styles created by bands like LCD Soundsystem(Typically with the song “Strangers”), and even go so far as to throw in Shoegazing for the mix(Especially with the track “The Sea”). It just seems like they wanted more out of themselves than just synthesizer manipulations.

On the song “Talkin’,” they combine two things that you wouldn’t have expected, A digitalized Voice-Box & Radio Pop. Though you might think that you heard something like that before, just imagine someone like the iconic group Daft Punk teaming up with a more poppier David Lee Roth(California Girls style). Then, you could get a glimpse of how the song should sound. For a brief moment in the song(after the 2nd chorus), the beat turns completely digital and the vocals are uneffected. But, as I said, the moment is brief, so don’t think that you’ll start to hear what you heard on the EP. It’s over before it even starts.

Before you go and start having a little hissy fit over the change of style, you will find a revamped version of their song “Kelly” on this album. It sounds like the Older Brother of the original. The production is slightly tighter. The instrumentation has new little subtle additions to make it pop out to you more. It’s almost like they did a cover of their own track. The best way to compare it is like the changes that Mgmt. did to their song “Kids” between their Time To Pretend EP and their Oracular Spectacular LP. This track has always been their standout piece for me. It was the song that I based them on. That one track that just shone brighter amongst all the others.

Tracks like “So High”(which just screams to be used if there’s ever a Flashdance remake) and “Virgin Suicide” is where they add in the pieces of their original outting with the style that they’ve picked up for this piece. The latter sounds like it would make a wonderful B-side for “Kelly” or even a good follow-up single, and the former is a display of their synthesizer arsenal attack(Though not as completely electronic as on “Temps Mort”). Then, a track like “A Sharp Knife” or “Cat And The Eye” is similar to that, but shows more comfort with them being in their Van She skin. Both songs seem like they stand firmly between where they wanted to reach for and where they originally started at. Those types of songs on the album shows them at their best and most dynamic.

Is the album brilliant? No. Let’s just be honest here. But, is the album fun, catchy, and wonderful? Hell yes, it is. Should you go out and buy this album immediately? Not without listening to, at least, half of it first. Make sure it’s your type of fun. Make sure it’s not too catchy to where when you play it everyone will want a copy and piss you of when they walk around chanting the lyrics. And, last, make sure that you have enough wonderful moments going on to where the tunes will feel right at home for your personal soundtrack. Standouts are “Kelly,” “Strangers,” “The Sea,” and “A Sharp Knife.”

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PSY/OPSogist Helps Open Hip-Hop’s 3rd Eye

Posted by Scotio on July 19, 2008

Yesterday, before I began my trek out of the house to go and see The Dark Knight(review of that coming soon) I was given some music that I was asked to review(album: Suffused With Static). Since I’m always eager to hear new stuff, I accepted it. Once I heard that it was by an unsigned artist(PSY/OPSogist), I was both excited and skeptical about pushing play once it was loaded into my iPod. But, alas, the play button was pushed as I made my journey from home to cinema.

What flew out of my headphones and into my ears was something I wasn’t expecting(granted, I should have figured it out by the genre classification applied to it by the creator: Fucking Ill). Of course the Intro of the music kicked in. It was a heavily distorted voice over what sounded like Vinyl minor scratching and a music box from the 1800s playing in the background. As the sound started to build, so did my eyebrow. I wasn’t sure where the path of this was going to lead. It was either one of two paths that this was going to go down: 1.) Leading to a pit of despair, 2.) A saying of a single profane word that would come about with every beat shift.

So, when the first actual track kicked in (“Birth, Space And Time”), it sounded like an opening to an industrial rock piece. But, that was just a ploy. A ruse, if you will. He tricked me. It was Hip-Hop . . . which was just what I originally assumed it would be from the Intro. But, it wasn’t crappy Hip-Hop, nor was it one filled with lyrical overstatements. It was just the beats talking for him. And, the song had a sense of magic, to me. Sadly, I don’t feel magic with much Hip-Hop, today. The last time that happened was in 2005, when I heard the instrumental music of a female producer by the name of Buttafly Plague and her “unreleased” album called Instru-Mental Bliss, Vol. 1. Before that, it was when I heard Danger Mouse‘s production for the Grey Album(No, Jay-Z wasn’t a factor in that. I give all the respects to DM).

So, for me to classify someone in that highly elite category of mine is really something to be in awe over. The second full song, third track, “Between The Keys” only helped to keep the magic alive. The piano riffs and the standing bass inside of the song was just really pushing me to look around as if someone else was able to hear the music, too. You know, to share the experience of hearing something that truly is masterful. It was just something really incredible and thought provoking. My only complaint was that, he didn’t switch up the drums. If he would have thrown something in like a drum pattern shift, or even slow down his drums and add distortion to it, it would have been insane.

On the track “TIME (a. Not Just Madness b. Clarity c. Anaethetised)” PSY/OPS flips a soundbite of one of the best movies of 2007: Michael Clayton. The scene where the character Arthur Edens(played by Tom Wilkinson) is talking to Michael about his coming to clarity whilst he was submerged inside of his insanity due to him not taking his medication. I felt that the speech given by the character was not only a giant WTF, but also holding some sort of truth to it all. It was really dynamic. So, for PSY/OPS to add that in there was a giant kudos, from me. But, not only did he do that, but the music creates and constructs around that soundbite and others featured in the song is like if Tyler Bates would forge a production duo with James Lavelle(during the first leg of the act U.N.K.L.E.). It’s cinematic, it’s moving, and it’s heart pumping. It gives you the feeling that, for that particular moment of time, your life is a movie.

PSY/OPS has a good scope of sounds and soundbites. He masterfully adds in pieces of various movies and television shows that adds to the moment of his music and not distract from it like a lot of producers end up doing haphazardly. On “Potent Spirits,” he throws his bid in from Early 90’s revival Hip-Hop. It’s fun, soulful, and intelligent. His samples are done eloquently. Placing the vibing era somewhere between a Good Times episode and an Gangstarr concert. On “Opposing Drives,” he brings the type of bass attack that would make Dirty South car enthusiasts climax on themselves when they play this song in their stereo. It isn’t a speedy adrenaline pumping sensation, but rather a “2 miles an hour” type of moment.

With “V-SIS”, PSY/OPS uses simple mid-90’s East Coast drums with a standing bass. The pattern of the standing bass’s riff is one very similar to an Oriental style of music. Due to that, it gives off a feeling that you’re listening to a “Ghetto Ninja” theme song. The drums, as stated, aren’t complicated, nor are they abrasive. They add the right touch with their simplicity. His use of electronic melodies and sounds for the song only heightens the mood, from the eerie ambience at the beginning to the wall of noise in the middle ending with the playful crystal chimes mixed up with a the child hissing and breathing out in a rhythmic fashion. The man is good at what he does.

All in all, I was very impressed with the music from beginning to end. There were a few pieces here and there that I wished he would either punch a little harder, or throw in a more blatant surprise. But, aside from that, the album is very solid. It’s a shame that he isn’t signed and doesn’t have a strong following behind him. He deserves it. I’m not sure of his race, but music isn’t racial. Music is a universal thing, regardless of where it originates. Still, I know people will feel the need to pick at it because it’s Urban Music(When the hell did Black music become known as Urban?). But, for me, it doesn’t matter. As I stated, this is in my elite Hip-Hop category for the first decade of the 2000’s right along with Danger Mouse’s Grey Album production and Buttafly Plague’s Instru-Mental Bliss, Vol. 1. As they say, good things come in a package of 3’s. So, this rounds out that Tri-Force, for me. It’s witty, playful, smart, and good music. I’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy DJ Shadow, U.N.K.L.E., Hi-Tek, or even Tricky not to enjoy this offering. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not connecting to things properly. Plus, the man offers it for free.

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Black Light Burns Holes In Bedsheets

Posted by Scotio on June 28, 2008

It’s been a little over a year since Wes Borland, former Limp Bizkit guitarist, released the material from his creative output known as Black Light Burns. Since then, he’s gone on to underground success for his new act; tearing up club stages, and displaying a much more gothic styling to his former stage persona. For the most part, he’s had a good deal of nice reviews for the debut album Cruel Melody, but there are always naysayers no matter what you do or who you are. Still, fans of the band have been eager to hear the next album from the act, as Borland said that he will waste little time hitting the studio up to release it. Then, it was announced that the next offerings from the band would be a CD/DVD combo. The anticipation rose. Then, it was announced that the CD would be full of covers and other little odds and ends that didn’t make the debut album. At that point, the anticipation froze. “Cover album? WTF!” the fans said. Then, when they announced the list of cover songs, it was revealed that you couldn’t find something reasonable to allow hearts to soar for eagerness of hearing the BLB crew ripping through the tunes. But, still, as shaky as the fans were, they were still oddly curious to know what the material would sound like. Me, being a fan of the band, I was similarly eager, yet slightly put off. After all, BLB is an Industrial band. There aren’t any Industrial covers or material that inspired Industrial music being thrown in the pot.

So, when I received the album, you could only imagine my wanting and stalling of hitting the play button to listen. Still, curiosity always controls in the end, doesn’t it? The moment it came on, I will admit, I as still riding the fence. But, the twenty second mark hit, and I found myself lost in the world where Black disappears and White glows with a blue hue. The cover of Lard’s “Forkboy” sounded incredibly energetic and extremely chaotic. Borland’s vocals on the track, amazingly, are really great. He doesn’t even sound like Wes. He sounds like a man possessed. A creature hidden inside of the enigmatic music maker. Something that headbangers would flock to see in a live performance. The song assaults the listener with its aggressive guitar work and the hair-pulling visualization of the singer in front of the mic. In truth, it took me back to the days of the Broken EP. If you don’t know what that is, then you’re really wasting your time reading this review in the first place, aren’t you?

What followed next was the thriller, Love And Rocket’s “So Alive.” Again, outside of his realm, Borland’s vocals seem perfect. The Industrial reformation of the song seems so brilliant. It isn’t heavily distorting, nor isn’t playing a quiet backseat role to the movement of the melody. Like a fine Chef’s work, it seasons the song just right. The Post-Punk attack that is Sisters Of Mercy’s “Lucretia My Reflection” seems like it would be such an off-shot for Borland & Co. Yet, with his insanely brilliant insight, he tames that beast and makes it his bitch. Riding it with such insecure confidence that you’d might even want to go and check his location of birth . . . maybe he’s a Brit in disguise. It perfectly captures that “Look at me, I’m shying away” feeling that Robert Smith tagged as Post-Punk Perverted Cynosureness(he didn’t create that term, I just tagged him as that).

There are some really odd parts that might take a few listens to get it easily down to swallow. Like their rendition PJ Harvery’s “Rid Of Me.” Don’t know, but after hearing the great covers before it, it just sets out as being awkward. Another one is Fiona Apple’s “On The Bound.” It’s not bad. It’s just so far fetched from what you’ve been hearing. That is, of course, if you never heard Borland’s Big Dumb Face. And, speaking of BDF, they even do a cover of one of their songs “Blood Red Head On Fire.” I always thought it was odd when someone does a cover of their own songs. Is that even truly declared a cover? But, I will state that it is a more cohesive sound than the original. I suppose because he has an actual band doing the positions and it isn’t all on him.

After the 10th track, the music is switched over to original compositions by the band. What kicks it off is the song “Drowning Together, Dying Alone.” It, for the most part, is the sister track of the song “New Hunger” that was featured on their first LP. Housing acoustic guitars in place of electronics and electric guitars makes the song more mellow and dreamy . . . despite its morbid title. Also, being entirely instrumental sure helps with that. “Falling” also contains material heard before. Expanding on a solo that was featured on the debut album, as well. The slightly goofy electronic melody played throughout (I couldn’t tell if it was simply a guitar with a weird effect or an actual electronic styling) sounds almost like it’s 8-bit/Chiptune styled.

Mr. Borland dives deeper into the Industrial world on the track “Ribbons.” Though it’s under a minute and a half long, it leaves a lasting and eerie impression on listeners. Something that isn’t easy to accomplish, and you wouldn’t have actually expected from this unexpected guy. This song starts the trend of very schizophrenic songs that follow after it. Stuff that seems to have been created when Wes wasn’t eager to take his medication. Stuff that, though it’s so strange, you find yourself questioning your own sanity for your enjoyment of it.

All in all, this album is not only a surprising one, but one that I feel bad about having questioned it in the first place. All those out there that are on the unknown about checking this out, and have enjoyed the first album needs to go out on a limb and snatch this up. In a very bold statement, I will encourage you to download this first, to see if it does tickle your fancy fully, then, if it does, purchase it and support him. Though he does come from a heavily commercial band, he is now on the underground circuit. So, every piece of support does let him know that his efforts at branching out are worth it.

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Dropz Drip Out Sonic Absinthe

Posted by Scotio on June 11, 2008

You ever sit around in a quiet place and have music playing in your head as if you have a mental jukebox? Being that I can’t hear you answer that question, I’ll just move on as if you answered and I didn’t care. Well, that happens to me quite often. Which I guess by today’s clinical standard, that should mean that I should be on some sort of pill. But, I like my little internal music. Sometimes it’s a song I never actually heard before being played in it. More often, though, it’s music that I’ve heard before . . . just not recently. Well, such was the case a few days ago. And, the song was “The Concept” by the band Dropz. I asked a friend of mine, who shares a similar love for Sneaker Pimps as I do, if he ever heard Dropz‘s album Sweet Oblivion or any music from them. He responded with no. At which point I was not only floored, but forced to play him hear a few songs from them. While that was going on, I thought about how many people never knew that the band even exists(ed?). So, I decided to cook up a review of their album in hopes to spark interest in their music. Let’s begin, shall we?

The aforementioned song “The Concept” opens up the album. Which is a very groovy way to do so, with the song housing the lines “There’s a Beast inside of us”  for the chorus. Everything about the sound is somewhat familiar to anyone who has heard the Becoming X album by Sneaker Pimps. That will be for two reasons: 1.) The main composer of the music, Hoshino Hidehiko aka Hide(from the J-Rock iconic band BUCK-TICK), listened to that album heavily when he was crafting the sound for this album; 2.) The lead vocals are handled by Kelli Ali(formerly Kelli Dayton) of Becoming X fame. Cube Juice makes up the third leg of this tripod group.

The following track’s sound, “Read My Mind,” is as uplifting as its lyrics are depressive. I know I’ve said it before, but this is really a summer track. A musical soundtrack to a fun trip traveling somewhere new and adventurous, or even just a good song to play while folks are on an amusement park ride. For me, it leans the most to the latter, due to childhood memories of music similar to this playing when I was on such rides. But, as I said, the lyrics aren’t as bright and sunny as the music is. Kelli sings about a turbulent relationship and their inability to properly communicate. It’s an odd mixture, but again, if you’re a Becoming X fan, you’re very familiar with such a combination.

The brilliance about this is that, every member seems to make the song better. Such is the case with the track “Dream Machine.” Cube takes Hide’s electronic guitar and drum attacks, fills it up with his electronic distortion and static harmony, then Kelli comes in and lays the track out flat with her simple, yet bold, lyrics that point out how fickle our society is about machinery and physical enhancements. Stating how people of today can easily go and get anything fixed on their person to the point where “turning you on’s like turning on TV.” Granted, everyone nowadays is saying that, but this was made in 2003-2004. So, at that time(though it was only a few years ago) folks were declared “dweebs” for not following the trend . . . ass implants, ladies?

One of the biggest and most rocking out tracks on this collection is “I Spy.” Hide strums his axe with ease and precision. The live drums are loud, noticeable, and hip-moving. Kelli doesn’t stand-out from the music. Instead, she rides inside of it like a piece of paper on a wave. Cube’s additions to this aren’t heavy, either. Also, he just adds to what’s there, builds with it, and doesn’t try to overshine Hide’s work . . . well, at least not until the end of the track.

Oh, and if you’re lucky, you would have snagged yourself a Limited Edition of the album, which has a second disc featuring all the songs from the main album but remixed by the group’s artists and electronic disco techno knob-twister Bryan Black. Yeah, I guess another thing similar to Becoming X, only it features all the songs and not the selective ones that others liked and wanted to bunch up the album with repeatedly. The remixes are just as nice and neck swinging as the originals. The remix album is so solid that it could be a stand-alone disc and could equally compete for dominance against the original work. I know, I’ve faced horrid remixed material, as well. So, trust me when I say that such is not the case, here. But, I will say that the remixes would fair over better with those deeper into electronic music than the average listener. And, typically, the Japanese market(where the album was primarily released).

Out of all 20 tracks, my favorite would have to be “Lose The Boy [Antidepressant Remix].” It has more oldschool Hip-Hop styled drums, and Electronic Madonna-styled voice effects . . . so much so that if you told someone it was a new or unreleased Madonna track, I’m sure they’d believe you. But, it’s just something about it. The original is magical, also, but this remix just does something. It reaches some sadder more sullen place, yet smooths everything out to make the bad seem ok. The electronic effects that are laced throughout the song are just enchanting. They hold you dearly, and craddle you like some type of depressing, yet soothing, lullaby.

I’m sure that a good bit of people have discarded this album simply because of the similarities to Becoming X. But, fans of that superly solid debut album by such a ground shaking Trip-Hop act should look to this as “What if Sneaker Pimps redid their music and added Kelli back into the fold in this day and age?” This is that sound, but not quite. I say that because none of the SPs housed the guitar savvy skills that Hide does. I will say that Cube Juice would put them in for a good run for their money, and the winner of that outcome would have to be witnessed and not predicted. Still, I feel that this album holds a special place for me due to the special place that Becoming X holds. Is that fair? Who knows. Who cares, either? Because if it wasn’t for Becoming X, this album, let alone this group wouldn’t have ever been created in the first place. Top that, cool cats!

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Ulterior Has Fiendish Motives

Posted by Scotio on June 9, 2008

I’ve just recently found out about this band Ulterior. I was browsing around and came across their name and a picture of the band(the one listed above). So, I decided to see if I could find anything out about them. Well, the only thing I could find that contained samples of their music was their myspace page. So, I sighed, and clicked away. Usually, when I have to do this, I’m treated to a bunch of rubbish and foolishness that makes me wish I saved the last 1 min and 42 seconds of my life that it took me to visit their page. Surprise Surprise. I was in store for something altogether different than whatever I was expecting. The band is just mind melting. It’s music that’s hard to place inside of one category. They blend electronics, with shoegazing and 70’s styled Punk music. It’s like one big giant WTF. What’s odd is that, the music isn’t really that hard to perform. It’s quite repetitive in it’s nature. Yet, for some strange reason, it’s highly addictive and infectious. For me, out of all the music I listed that it combines, I think the spirit of it is closer to that of 70’s punk. With it’s no holds barred style, coupled with the cocky yet drugged out uncertainty. It’s just so dirty, rugged, and unshaped that it’s almost beautiful. I literally used profanity out loud when I first heard their music. Which was their song “Weapons.” What followed that was their more structured, if you could call it that, song “15.” But, what sealed the deal and made me stare into my monitor as if it was going to nod up and down and say or flash the words “Yes, I know. I feel the same way as you. I’m just as blown away.” was the track titled “Dream Dream.” I mean, I’ve heard a lot of retro music, recently. Most I like, not all, but a good bit. THIS, though, this is something completely and totally different. It’s strange enough for me to request that the water from their well in the UK be checked for some sort of contaminant or something. And, if there is anything found inside of the water, it should be bought and sold to the stupid recording artists hogging the radio and TV airwaves with their slapstick joke-for-talent music. I feel like writing/emailing all the major acts that are going to be touring my area in the next few months and demand that they add these guys as opening acts. Seriously, it’s like their music is some sort of hypnotizing rhythm that should be treated as a possible controlled substance, or even something that could contain subliminal messaging demanding your full attention. I can’t go on about them enough. I’m just really hoping that this British 4-piece band comes together and pushes out an album sometime between the end of this article and 76 mins til my death. Which should be just long enough for me to hear it twice. Then, I can brag about hearing it at whatever is next after this life. Do check them out, and tell them to push out an album IMMEDIATELY if you enjoy it.

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Little Dragon Releases Dazzling Flames

Posted by Scotio on June 4, 2008

I have a thing for foreign music. You can’t call me a traitor to the US scene. I love good music from everywhere, no matter the country of origin. Little Dragon is a band whose music I would declare to be good, in every sense, with their self-titled debut release. Yukimi Nagano is, for the most part, the leader of this four-piece outfit. Her voice is purely enchanting. That is the key tool to unlock and disarm any hesitant feelings that you might have for this gem from Sweden.

Their first single, “Twice”, is also the album opener. Featuring simple synth playing, a piano strumming emotionally repetitive, and Nagano’s voice breaking you down to your core. I was lucky enough to have seen their music video for this song, as my introduction to them. The video, itself, is as warmingly beautiful as the song is. Performed by a team of puppeteers, you’re treated to something so simplistic that it can do nothing but compliment the seductive sounds you’re hearing from this act.

To believe that their entire album sounds like that first song would leave you to be the fool, in the end. They are across the board. Not settling for one sound/style, but rather seeking different structures to demonstrate the jazzy skills that they possess. They never get too heavy, nor do they get boring, either. That’s worthy of praise all its own. A personal favorite of mine is the track “No Love”. The song embodies the finger-snappin’ head-noddin’ moments of the early to mid 90’s sound of R&B(think Mary J. Blige’s My Life album). Nagano has to be some type of medium who is able to reenact, with full precision, singers from a time when music was sung from the soul and not for the currency.

“Constant Surprises” is another one of those Lost Time moments. Having a bassline from Jazz somewhere in the 40’s, with the drumming and slight turntable rewind scratching from Hip-Hop in the early 90’s, and the synth grooviness of Soul from the 70’s, it’s a strange combination that becomes a perfect homogenous mixture. One that sounds like it was destined to be put together. One where you’re left wondering why no one else seems to be pushing this type of sound to the forefront.

“After The Rain” seems more like it would be better suited in a musical than it would on an album that you’ve recently gotten used to at this point. Not saying that the song is bad, just stating that the song would seem to find more love in a Broadway musical where the female lead was having a slight break of the fourth wall and letting it be known that whatever she went through hasn’t pulled her into the depths just yet. Well, maybe not a Broadways musical, but certainly a musical movie. Similar oddity falls on the track that succeeds it, “Place To Belong”. This one isn’t a musical, but it features a good deal of electronic sounds. The style and formula of these songs are, for the most part, a departure in the sound you’ve become somewhat accustomed to by the time you’ve reached these two songs. Again, you’d be a fool to look at these as bad tracks. Could be just bad album placement, if anything? Or maybe not.

You have to take into account the fact that, after those songs, the band seems to have shifted their direction(if that’s understandable for an unpredictable band such as this). The song “Wink”, which is my personal favorite of the bunch, kicks in like a missing Erykah Badu song. The instrumental portion of Little Dragon pushes out a sound that you would have to believe Ms. Badu was aiming for with very limited success of current days. Ms. Nagano does her best interpretation of Badu’s tone and sass. The seductiveness of this track, along with the clapping sound, makes your neck sway and your feet pissed at you if you don’t have them in motion while the song is playing.

This little known band(and I’m only speaking for the American fanbase of them) from Sweden as such a loud and bold sound. They aren’t believers of pigeonholing themselves into just one placement. They are all over the place, but not in any location where they shouldn’t be in. They know their limitations, and they work around them. Little Dragon isn’t just a band, they are an addition in the movement towards more Soulful music. I’m not talking about Soul/R&B music. I’m talking about music from the soul and for the soul. Check them out if you ever get the chance. I know that I’m incredibly grateful that I did.

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Save Your Soul Because She Wants Revenge

Posted by Scotio on May 19, 2008

Clearly, She Wants Revenge is one of my favorite bands. They were heavily criticized about “ripping off” the Interpol sound. I didn’t think so. I thought they leaned more towards the Dark New Wave sound of Post Punk more than Interpol did . . . plus added in more sexiness to the whole thing. Their first two LPs got brutally attacked by Mainstream critics. Totally unjust for a groovy band with truly high octane potential. Finally leaving Geffen behind and pushing out their own music, the Terrific Twosome pushes out their Save Your Soul ep as their first offering. It’s only a 4 song serving, and it leaves you salivating for more. Starting off the EP is the song “Sugar.” The duo pushes an actual drummer on this. Something that they weren’t known to do in their studio recordings. And, it seriously pushes things up a notch. The bassline is pure gyration inspiration. The drum attacks offers up it’s own sense of sex appeal while Justin pulls it all together with his Joy Division‘s Ian Curtis influenced singing style. Justin & Adam must have used all of the money towards their studio. Yes, it pays off. Following up the buttery smooth mood is “Save Your Soul” the title track to the whole shebang. This song, the guitar riffs remind you of the SWR that you’re most familiar with. But, that lasts for only about 15 seconds into the song. Then, they bring out their new guns to the party, and they make those feet dance. The chorus is an easy chanting “Save your soul before it’s too late/Save your soul before it’s too late… `Cuz nothings going to change my mind/Nothings going change the ways.” It’s so infectious that it should require a vaccine to prevent you from being absorbed if you’re not normally into this type of music. Marching behind this song is the tune “Sleep.” Bass heavy as it wants to be, and old school Post-Punk drumming to make all you children of the lost generation feel found once again. It’s the most normalized rock song that you’re going to get from this. You’d be a fool not to feel the UK’s influence lacing everything about this song. The closer track, “A Hundred Kisses,” is the most envelope pushing song of all four. Coming in with a sound resting somewhere between Shoegazing and Ambience, they follow it up with something that they aren’t used to pulling out on their audiences: An Acoustic Guitar. The most mellow of all of the songs, and the most heartwarming of them, as well. It’s a captivating tune, and it demands that you fall into Stockholm Syndrome for it. The band is going in new, more bold directions. I guess with their creative freedom finally being held in their hands brings out the best in them. So, if this is just a 4 track delivery, I can’t wait to see what they are going to do for their next Full-Length that is supposed to reach their fans later this year.

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Maybeshewill, But I Know I Would Definitely

Posted by Scotio on May 11, 2008

Post-Rock is a beautiful thing. But, only when done right. Well, that’s with everything right? Well . . . everything except pancakes. But, I stray. So, this British Post-Rock band, Maybeshewill is as beautiful as a Botticelli Cherub. The foursome group implements some of the most grooviest rock orchestrations, with the perfect blend of electronics on their album Not For Want Of Trying. Think of them as a more softer side of 65daysofstatic, but not too soft . . . not by much. Well, on some songs, yes. But, allow me to continue, ok? The UK outfit is primarily a DIY one. They set up their own bookings, handle their own money, and produce their own music. They feel that music should be fun for the creator and not just the listener. And, yes, they seemed to be having fun jamming out for these sessions. Each track takes you to a new place, covers a new ground, and places in you a new vulnerable, yet empowering, state. The guys have a great sense of humor. They even named one of their songs “The Paris Hilton Sex Tape.” Though everyone has seen the tape whether they wanted to or not, not everyone has heard their musical rendition of that “Night In Paris.” And, if the sex tape was as grippingly moving as this music is, it probably would have made that nightvision moment that much more memorable. With sonic blastings of walls of guitar sounds, and a machine gun drum set-up, not to mention a motivating piano performance, it compels you to almost take up Prince of Persia-styled Free Running. Hopefully, you won’t do that unless you’re actually trained for it. On the title track, the quartet assaults listeners right out of the gate with blasting shoegazing power chords. Then, they pull out a Peter Finch sound sample from his speech in the movie Network. The music turns down for the first time the sample is used. Allowing Finch’s words to build you up where the music was formerly taken you. Then, when it comes back on, the music becomes one of the best backing tracks to such a stirring and teeth-clenching moment in movie history. It’s hard to say that this band is going to be the band that breaks Post-Rock into mainstream attention. Especially when Explosions In The Sky still didn’t hit that mark after creating the backing sound for the movie Friday Night Lights. But, it’s even harder to say that this band doesn’t have the goods to blow the socks right off of your feet and straight through the front of your shoes.

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First Aid Kit Repairs Souls

Posted by Scotio on May 10, 2008

First Aid Kit is probably the best band that you’ve never heard of. Hailing from Spain, this guy-girl duo(Carles Querol & Agnès Aran) conjures up some of the most enchanting music that can ever be heard with ears. Agnès is the lead singer of the band and she sings in English with an easily recognizable accent. The music is just crazy. Combining elements of Shoegazing, Electronics and Post-Rock, they create magic in the form of melody. Sounding like My Bloody Valentine, Explosions In The Sky, and a mother singing a soothing lullaby. They released their first LP titled F1rst in 2006, to virtually no notice over in USA. Which is completely sad. The album housed the mesmerizing songs “Still On Fire,” “Forgotten Sky” and “Greenish.” Actually, each tune on the album featured something that seemed to play at your lost childhood: an age of innocence and wonder. I would dare anyone to listen to them and state their distaste for their music. If such happened, I’d have to call the person a heartless monster. The duo turned around and decided to release a new collection of songs equally as soul lifting in 2008 on the album Plaits. Again, singing in English, the Querol & Aran bring more of the same. And, no, it isn’t something that would make listeners fret for feeling that they’ve already heard the music before. Why? Because it takes you back to the same wonderland that you went to when you heard their first work. Their lead single from this album is “Truth Can Hurt.” The video for the song features three children just being children. Having fun and showing no care for the troubles of the world at large. Wasn’t the world a majestic place when such was the case? The actual first song of this album “Fake/Real” actually has children singing on the song, followed by Carles and Agnès singing together using the same lyrics the children sang before them. It lets you know what you’re in store for the rest of the album. And, frankly, it should never be a problem to enjoy such delightful melodies and the joyous memories/feelings that they bring. If you can find their music, I strongly urgingly demand that you acquire it immediately. Yes, it can change your life . . . yes, it can.

Still On Fire Video:

From The Album:

Truth Can Hurt Video:

From The Album:

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Charlotte Sometimes…

Posted by Scotio on May 10, 2008

Let me start off by saying that I know that I usually have catchy titles for my posts/reviews. The only thing is, I couldn’t come up with something catchy for this album. So, I just let the name say it all. Now, on to the review, shall we? Named after a 1981 song by The Cure, which was in turn named after a Penelope Farmer novel from 1969, Charlotte Sometimes(which I guess could also mean that she goes by her middle name on occasions) releases her debut album via the Geffen record label after much coverage and anticipation thanks to the wonderland we call Myspace. This young 20-something is here to bring her take on pop music. Hoping to showcase that Pop music from America isn’t all about make-up, lollipops, booty gyrations and airheaded ideas, Ms. Poland showcases, to my surprise, much promise on her Waves & The Both Of Us album offering. Possessing a voice clearly ahead of her measured time on Earth, she has very good control over her range and has a good concept of her limitations. That is possibly due to the first 13/14 years of her life being spent in various dancing/vocal classes. “Losing Sleep,” her album opener, has a soft sound that fits between Sarah Bareilles and Vanessa Carlton, but with intelligent implementation of electronics in the song. She speaks for the current generation of listeners who loves pop and doesn’t feel that they’ve been properly satisfied with what’s offered(or their relationships in love/at home) with lyrics such as: “I’m awake/And I’ve been/Losing sleep/I’ve been fighting all my demons/I’ve been/Getting reamed/Cuz I’ve been/Trying/Trying/Trying/To be/Anything other than me.” It’s almost like she’s a Fiona Apple for a newer, less serious audience. The title track of the album is a more romantic song. Here, she talks about her longing for the man that drives her dreams into a moist loving place. Possibly a song written after spending the night with her beau on the beach, it’s going to be heavily used by females under the age of 22 for the rest of the year if this album catches on. On the track “In Your Apartment,” Charlotte dives deeper into her Fiona influence. A slow jazzy track of a love gone sour, possessing some smokey room styled instrumentation and piano lounge-themed singing. It’s a piece that displays confidence and insecurity intermingled beautifully together as a representation of how virtually every woman truly is. Stand out tracks are “How I Could Just Kill A Man,”(no, not a Cypress Hill cover) “Ex-Girlfriend Syndrome,” “Army Men,” and the breathtaking “This Is Only For Now.” The latter track features digital distortion and disruption of an acoustic guitar melody. It starts off with just Charlotte and the robotic guitar, then comes the club dance floor-ready bass drums. This song would tear airwaves apart if her A&R person is genius enough to have them release this as a single. Charlotte sings with passion, sassy, and determination. Even though the lyrics house some uncertainty from the narrator, the way that it’s delivered makes you think that she’s possibly just playing possum with you. It’s not a long track, though. Clocking in at a little over 2 mins and 50 seconds. This debut is one of a young woman with a true passion for pop music, and her determination to not be regarded as merely another piece of eye candy with cookie cutter musical offerings. She’s a bright little star. And, if she continues to develop properly in her future, then she better wear shades.

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