The Hated Opinionated One

Posts Tagged ‘Progressive’

The New Regime Coups In A Destined Direction

Posted by Scotio on December 7, 2008


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.



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Death Cab Reaches For A New Floor With Stairs

Posted by Scotio on May 2, 2008

Death Cab For Cutie. You know them. Everyone who is into Indie Rock music knows them, or has, at least, heard their name. With nearly each member becoming a hallmark in modern Indie Music as well as the band itself being the vocalized expression of the generation that followed after Generation X, they’ve created quite a prolific rap sheet. Now, they have a new album, Narrow Stairs, that they recorded in a new fashion for a new sound. The Quartet from Washington kick things off in this new gear with “Bixby Canyon Bridge.” What begins as a seemingly normal DCFC song, ends up becoming an all out Progressive Post-Rock musical assault. With guitars blazing and Gibbard merely humming along to provide an extra layer of sound, the song is a serious departure from the run-of-the-mill Death Cab sound. Following after that is the lead single, I Will Possess Your Heart. As most of you have already heard, the killer bassline and eerie ambient synth, not to forget the brief piano melody, to this track is what opens it up. Then, comes the enchanting light guitars, which is followed up by the hypnotizing drumtrack. For a moment, you’re not even sure if this is DCFC, anymore. It isn’t until around 4 mins and 42 seconds that Gibbard cuts through the music with his all too familar vocals. Even on “No Sunlight,” the band weaves in and out of familiar territory. The chorus and vocals are ordinary for the crew, but the music has a more . . . how would you say, “grimey” and unpolished feel to it. Sounding more like a veteran band that played together for years upon year, and, then, finally getting the chance to go and record an album. There’s professionalism with the way this is forged, but that’s something they’ve always had. With Narrow, though, they bring out a new hunger. Even when they stray back inside of their more comfortable area, they still sound refreshing, as the songs were recorded with the band together, and not individually recorded pieces put together. For “You Can Do Better Than Me” the crew pushes their music to a more pop sound from the late 60’s/early 70’s. The lyrics, skillful as always, fully pushes out how it feels to truly be in love with someone. To feel like they are grand leaps of levels above you, and you’re not only lucky, but confused at how you’re actually with this person. “Pity And Fear” houses a middle-eastern influence. Which, to say the least, is pretty surprising from the act. “The Ice Is Getting Thinner” would have to be the most easily recognizable amongst the tracks as something you’d expect from this band. With the soft keyboard and guitar/bass going along with it, you’re allowed to feel “at home” again with the band. Though, that might be a good/bad thing, depending on how you take in the rest of the album. Clearly, “Grapevine Fires” is a stand-out track. Having drums calls out to the little soldier inside of every person and a good combination of Indie and Pop sensibilities, this song has to end up one of the singles from the band, and could actually end up being the biggest hit single from this crazy, yet insanely smart collection of songs.



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Puscifer’s Viagra Enhances Vagina

Posted by Scotio on April 30, 2008

Yes, the title of this remix album, “V” Is For Viagra, is as outrageous as the title of the original was for those who are my “straight and narrow.” But, this album, nor the original, was created for those types of people. Maynard James Keenan of Tool & A Perfect Circle fame created his own little personal outlet through Puscifer. Offering up some insane music as well as some pretty groovy threads for you, your lover, and even your animal companion. This album features redone tracks by contributors to the original album, as well as other’s who weren’t included in Vagina’s creation. Since the eager release of “V” Is For Vagina, MJK has been sitting cool without the houndings of the demands from a major label. Yes, he self-released the album, as he has done again with this little remixed gem. Viagra opens up with one of the smoothest remixes I’ve heard in a long, long time. Half of the New Orleans-originated/Chicago-based Electronic act Telefon Tel Aviv, Josh Eustis, conjures up pure experimental bliss with his JLE Dub take on the song “Indigo Children.” With the lush layered ambience sitting underneath earth-splitting bass, the song just takes on new breath. The Dirty Robot Mix of “Country Boner” by Mat Mitchell & Contradicktator(aka Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens Of The Stone Age, A Perfect Circle, Failure & Enemy fame) is a serious stand-out track. Sounding absolutely NOTHING like the original song, the duo of remixers teamed up to make a very dance-heavy Synth-Pop/Industrial track from the spoof country song. Using the line “It won’t go down on me” as the chorus, it leaves it open to add in extra thoughts of “going down” . . . if you know what I mean. MJK and Lustmord must have created a very strong relationship as Lustmord remixes 2 of the songs, as well as has a speaking role on the album on PSR, LOL!. Lust’s Desert Porn Mix of “Trekka” closer resembles his normal sound than his Guns For Hire Mix of “DoZo.” “Drunk With Power”‘s Hungover & Hostile In Hannover Mix by Joey Jordison(aka Member #1 of Slipknot, Murderdolls & KoRn fame) is a more disturbing take on a song about a Pimp named Pooh Bear missing his girl named Hunny. Featuring samples of feet marching, and sounds that bring to mind a sort of dim-lit torture chamber, the song just grabs at your more obsessively dark regions of mourning for a lost love. The Deflowering Mix of “Vagina Mine” by Paul Barker(of Ministry fame) sounds more like a song from Barker’s former band than it does something of traditional MJK flare. Even equipping the song with sound-bites and a steady tribal-trance drumtrack, you’re waiting for Uncle Al to hop on the song and make it a duet. Danny Lohner(of Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle & Black Light Burns fame) cooks up a Late For Dinner mix of the satirical track “Sour Grapes.” Housing piano riff similar to the band where he mainly got his industry start(NIN), Lohner opts to sing on the latter half of the track, as well. Belting out “You know it’s going to be sour grapes for you boy, until you get right with Jesus,” Having Maynard’s original vocals providing backup in the background. This is one of the most stand-out remix albums that I’ve ever come across. Done very well to the point of the some of the songs sounding like they hold little-to-no connection to their Vagina companions . . . aside from the lyrics, of course. Fans of MJK’s main and secondary bands might have tiffed over Puscifer’s first full-length, but after listening to it multiple times, they’ve come over to let the mad genius have his fun. With this album, he lets others have their fun with it, and hopefully it won’t take fans as long to warm-up to this masterful remix collection.



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Thrice’s 2nd Time Charm

Posted by Scotio on April 10, 2008

Thrice has become well known as one of the most innovative bands in the Progressive Alternative genre. With their latest opus, The Alchemy Index, they’ve cemented their position in music. After releasing the first half (two of the four volumes) of the album almost a half a year prior, the band finally releases the second half to extremely eager fans both old and new. Opening up the Air volume is the mesmerizing song “Broken Lungs.” Starting off as a mellow track akin to those featured on their Water volume, it breaks off into power chords and lyric belting come the middle of the song. Fully emotive and spirit pulling, properly bringing to music the impression of your lungs direly desiring air. “The Sky Is Falling” marches its way into your ears with no regards to what you were doing before it even arrived; demanding to be heard and refusing to be ignored. If the sky was actually falling while this song was playing, no one would care. They’d be too busy pumping their fists and stomping their feet to the enchanting sounds dominating their ear canals. The band even manages to sneak in a little Nine Inch Nails hommage in the midst of the song with the line “My Fear Just Fills The Hate Machine.” Thrice even manages to pull out their inner Neo-Hippy with “A Song For Milly Michaelson.” Sounding like a protest song from the 60’s revamped for modern times only slightly more than one of longing, you’re compelled to start a bonfire and wait for the National Guards/Right Police to come storming in. With such a stripped down orchestration for 4/5s of the song, it’s mind-boggling how they manage to stir you up so easily. The lullaby sounds of “As The Crow Flies” sweeps you up, and gives you back the memories of a care/worry-free childhood. Harking you back to moments of laying idly in the spring regrown grass watching the clouds and birds fly past above you. “Silver Wings” brings out the chance of being the most memorable moment of the Air volume. Almost as alluring as the “Digital Sea” was for the Water volume, but just a tad more breezy. The Earth Volume follows in with “Moving Mountains,” sounding like some hidden song featured on O’ Brother Where Art Thou? The sound is too stripped down to be Country, but too country to be called Blues. But, this Ol’ Timey song speaks out on something that we all feel, no matter how much we go through it: “I don’t know the first thing about love.” “Digging My Own Grave” sounds like it would fit perfectly at some smokey nightclub in the 1940’s. Dustin gives Michael BublĂ© a run for his money in the crooning department. Having the distinct honor of being the only song on the Earth volume with full uptempo rhythm and a snazzy melody, “The Earth Isn’t Humming” doesn’t disappoint at all. It definitely calls out to the early period of experimental rock when The Doors were setting stages ablaze. Kensrue doesn’t pull out his inner Morrison, but he doesn’t have to. He has his own style of getting the message across, and he does that with total ease. All while the rest of the band proceeds to being the right measure of sonic ingredients to induce swaying. “The Lion And The Wolf” fully compliments Air’s “As The Crow Flies.” The possibility of them being companion tracks wouldn’t be something that would be far fetched in the minds of many. “Come All You Weary” is the first single of this second set of volumes. It’s the perfect song for anyone who’ve had a long journey just to find a place to call home. This time, though, Kensrue finds his inner Dylan, and pours his whole soul out into singing this powerful song. All in all, the entire series was one of sheer brilliance and innovative excellence. Truly showcasing and letting the world know the imaginative mastery that Thrice was only casually considered for. Though the band wanted all four to be released at once, it has a much stronger impact being released as it was. With each of the two volumes in each sets perfectly reflecting the other. A must have for anyone and everyone, especially those who understands the importance of a shooting star, and it’s marvelous image as it passes by in the deep dark blue sky.

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