Monday, October 31, 2011

Album Review: Pianos Become the Teeth- The Lack Long After

Album Rating: A
Let no man say that what Pianos Become the Teeth lack is passion, for their visceral, heart wrenching approach to their craft is the very definition of the word itself. With their hearts pinned fast to their sleeves, the band has been a commanding force in the new wave of post-hardcore/screamo, stealing the hearts of those who’ve heard their ferocious and captivating brand of music. Crawling from out of the shadows of their larger, more recognizable contemporaries, they’ve been making a name for themselves within the scene, commended for imbuing a sense of freshness in a genre where emulation is commonplace. While it’s hard to deny that City of Caterpillar and Envy have certainly left an impression on the men of Pianos Become the Teeth, it must be said that the band has simply captured the spirit and energy of said bands, rather than riding on their coattails. This was certainly true on the band’s debut, Old Pride, and is even more true now. Pianos Become the Teeth has not only matured, but they’ve diversified and expanded their sound to such a degree that their latest, The Lack Long After, manages to be a wondrous outing that sees the band top everything else they’ve ever done before.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Album Review: Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials

The annual NME Awards Tour is a pretty big deal in the UK, since it has an uncanny knack of showcasing the best up and coming artists in music just before their popularity balloons. The opening slot on the four-band bill is particularly notorious, having previously housed the likes of Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand, and back in 2008 - the year in which I first attended - the position was occupied by a madcap ginger who went by the name of Florence & The Machine. She'd already received a fair bit of hype, and gained unanimous approval from the half-filled room, but there's no way that I, nor anyone else who decided to come out early would have predicted Florence Welsh to blow up to such meteoric proportions. Yet blow up she did, and for someone who witnessed her perform before becoming a household name, her ascendancy has been a pleasure to behold. Debut album Lungs was awash with boldness and ambition, and those traits were thoroughly rewarded with sales in excess of four million, while a string of well received festival appearances, most notably at Glastonbury saw her stock raise even higher.

Album Review: New Orleans Swim Team - To Be Something, To Be Anything

Here's an anecdote: On a sunny Saturday morning earlier this year, I sat crammed into the backseat of an undersized Toyota Corolla with four members of a family I did not know, driving the five hours from Pittsburgh to D.C. for a distant cousin's wedding. I had drank too much the night before, despite having told myself not to do so, repercussions of which were beginning to team up with the tingling cold sweat start of carsickness. As I laid my head back, closing my eyes and breathing in through my mouth to avoid the stagnant odor of an overly-perfumed woman and her sweating husband, trying to fight off the nausea and dizziness of my lingering intoxication and the impending hangover, I came to a realization that had never reached me before. In that moment of stifling discomfort, I saw the infinite chaos of the universe in its entirety, tangible and true, contained within a bead of perspiration on my forehead. All at once, my existence had become larger than life itself and I was the quintessential Romantic Hero - I looked upon the inexplicable bedlam of life's uncountably simultaneous chains of actions and reactions not with bewilderment or fear, but with an omniscient gaze of patience and understanding. In that ephemeral yet spectacular instant, I knew that I could and did know everything; at once I witnessed the movements of every molecule of every organism and understood their ways and purposes, I instantaneously calculated partial differential equations that could map solutions to any given occurrence and could distinguish which exploded star each and every atom had come from; I understood the motions of celestial bodies and the motivation behind every Titus Andronicus song. And just as the beauty and magnificence of this vision began to fully manifest itself atop that tiny droplet of sweat, with the entirety of cognizance that had eluded all of history's most gorgeous brains only centimeters from my grasp, I lost it. In another instant I had returned to the Corolla, aware only of my own infinite potential and the impossibility of its fruition.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Album Review: Good Weather for Airstrikes-To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came

Post-rock has been my genre of choice for a number of years now. She's treated my well these past years, giving me some of my fondest musical memories. But it must be said that I've become disillusioned with the genre as of late, with copy/pasted formulas becoming commonplace, and ingenuity becoming rare. Yet every so often a band comes along and reminds me why i fell in love with post-rock in the first place. Good Weather for Airstrikes is one such band.

What first struck me about Good Weather for Airstrikes is that it derives its name from one of my favorite songs off of one of my favorite albums, Sigur Ros' brilliant Agaetis Byjurn. As if this weren't enough to win me over, Good Weather for Airstrikes proceeded to offer me interesting and provacative post-rock that I couldn't simply tag as an "Explosions in the Sky clone." Their debut, To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came, is a bold release from a band that has something to prove; an impassioned and energetic work makes me once again believe in the wayward genre I once adored.

Album Review: Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale

Drawing attention early on has plenty of short term positives, but it can nevertheless prove problematic further down the line - just ask Summer Camp. The British duo originate from a time not so long ago when boy-girl duo's weren't greeted with a familiar sigh of "not another one," and could even be said to have helped kick start the current trend. They began to make waves on the blogosphere in 2009 mere months after their inception, but having only written a handful of songs a major release was still some way off. It's only now that they've mustered enough quality material to finally unveil an LP, but it's been born into a very different environment to that in which they initially made waves in two years ago. Jenny And Johnny, Cults, Sleigh Bells, Big Deal, Best Coast... a seemingly endless conveyor belt of boy-girl duo's has sprung to life while they were at work, and now that Welcome To Condale has arrived, it's entered into a genre which has become saturated - and to a degree one-dimensional - in double quick time. But now that they've had their thunder stolen, do Summer Camp still do enough to stand out among an increasingly dense crowd?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Area 52

Well isn't this a lovely surprise? No sooner did I start my "End of the Year" list did Rodrigo y Gabriela give me a reason to already start looking towards 2012. The brilliant Spanish duo captured my heart back in 2009 with their phenomonal 11:11, a whirlwind of frenzied guitar pieces that displayed a prowess not often seen in modern contemporary music. It was surprise highlight of mine then, and their upcoming release, Area 52 is keeping me on the edge of my seat in anticipation.

Why does an obscure album from a little known duo have me so excited, you ask? Well you'd have to listen to only a mere sample of the band to discover why. They radiate passion, utilizing their guitars for not only the string aspect, but the percussion aspect as well. Often wild and unpredictable, Rodrigo y Gabriela never disappoint, so mark your calendars for January 24th, when Area 52 officially drops.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Album Retrospective: Ash - 1977

I've always thought of the term "great singles band" as a bit of a backhanded compliment. Yes, it acknowledges the fact that the group in question are capable of producing excellent music, but it's also a phrase with plenty of negative connotations, namely that none of their actual albums are worth their salt. Ash are often called a great singles band (and indeed they were), but landing that label has sadly caused many to overlook just how good their LP's were. Indeed it's telling that their popularity has fallen so significantly since they abandoned the format in 2008, and equally ironic that their standards have taken a nosedive since they began devoting their time exclusively to the 7". Sadly, instead of highlighting how good they once were, this fall from grace has caused many to forget how good Ash once were, and at no time did that beacon burn brighter than on their debut LP 1977 - named and inspired by the year in which Star Wars was released.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interview With K Será

K Será has been one of the more intriguing bands in the music scene over the past two years. After starting with a simple pop-punk sound, they quickly morphed into a tightly orchestrated cinematic rock band, not unlike Forgive Durden or The Dear Hunter circa the Violet EP. The band is releasing their brand new EP titled The Cantos ii on November 1st, and the band agreed to talk to us regarding the brand new EP, how it connects to The Cantos i, working with Thomas Dutton, and much more that you can read below.

Album Review: Hubble - Hubble Drums

I've had my eye on Hubble for a number of months, awaiting with bated breath the release of his debut. The little nibbles I've heard impressed, enthralled, and stoked the embers of anticipation. His fascinating use of multiple guitar lines promised greatness,as well as something completely new and unique. Well the time has come, and Hubble has dropped his first full length recording, Hubble Drums.

Hubble Drums is difficult to describe, despite how shockingly simple it really is. The crux of the album is Ben Greenberg's cosmic warping of the guitar. It's part lo-fi, part psychedelia, and part ambient, but 100% guitar. That's the dominating sound here, as it's the album's only musical instrument. Yet it's not what is being heard, but how you hear it. Hubble Drums is mind-bogglingly complex, but at the same time somewhat simple. Greenberg isn't doing much here, but the sonic warpings create a confounding atmosphere.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Album Review: Real Estate - Days

Sometimes it just seems like life is a constant quest for simplicity more than anything. The Christian often times believes in a God to make their life easier, just as an atheist doesn't believe to make their life easier. The Liberal votes for the Democratic candidate because he or she will make their life easier, just as the Conservative votes for the Republican candidate because he, she, or Sarah Palin will make their life easier. Even though are beliefs and actions are mostly made up of contradictions they are often done to find a unique utopia of simplicity that only fits our life and our situation.

Album Review: A Loss for Words - No Sanctuary

Album Rating: C+
Abington, MA’s A Loss for Words became the third of four of Rise Records’ current pop punk roster. Together since 1999, A Loss for Words is one of pop punk’s most veteran groups still active. However, A Loss for Words has over the years had very little luck getting the attention of a serious record label despite having such hype. In 2009 they released fun yet ultimately underwhelming The Kids Can’t Lose, followed by a Motown classics cover record a year later. However, that much time spent in the industry is sure to draw some connections, and on the 2011 Warped Tour the Rise Records tent distributed The Kids Can’t Lose. Given Rise’s recent pop punk push, A Loss for Words’ contract with Rise came as no great surprise. A Loss for Words stays true to form on their Rise debut, No Sanctuary.

Album Review: O'Brother- Garden Window

It didn't take much for me to get excited about O'Brother's new record. After all, their debut material was exceptionally satisfying, and the fact that they've toured with the likes of The Dear Hunter and Thrice only sweetened the deal. They've slowly been gaining recognition for their sublime amalgamation of post-hardcore, indie, and progressive rock, resulting in a bold and resplendent sound. Despite their growing fame, they aren't immune to the pressures of the "sophomore release," an outing that often makes and breaks careers. Luckily, their latest, Garden Window sees the band not only retain their solid aesthetic, but it improves literally every other facet of the band.

Various Artists - Run For Cover Records presents Mixed Signals

As many would probably know, Run For Cover Records and Topshelf Records are probably the two most quintessential labels in today's indie punk/pop-punk/emo scene. With lineups involving greats of the underground such as Tigers Jaw and The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, a great majority of the great indie punk music that makes the scene so flourishing is administered by either of those labels. Mixed Signals, the latest compilation released under Run For Cover which also features friends from Topshelf (and is exclusively available from the country's greatest music retailer, Hot Topic), brings together all of the great bands, hailing mostly from the general New England area, that consist of today's ever-growing punk scene.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musical Madness

You may prepare for the end of October by buying your winter clothes, starting your Christmas shopping, studying for your finals, working, or even getting your Snooki or Situation costumes ready for your big Halloween party. The end of October for you is about preparing for social gatherings and winter weather.

But for me the end of October has always meant something completely different. The end of October is not exciting to me because of a change in climate, it is not exciting because of social gatherings, it is not exciting because of poorly made costumes or haunted houses, and it is not exciting because I'm studying or looking for a job. The end of October has always excited me for two reasons: some of the best music releases of the year are coming out and college basketball is about to start. I don't need to put on a disguise or costume to enjoy a Midnight Madness or a great new indie album, I don't need a social gathering to watch Super Tuesday or to listen to a new album on Spotify, I don't need to study basketball and I do not need to labor to enjoy music. The start of college basketball and the new music of the fall give me hope that no stupid costume or futile social gathering could ever give me.

The struggle for me though has always been finding people who share my love of College Basketball AND my love for music. The people who really love basketball usually only love Mainstream Hip-Hop and the people who really love my music usually detest that people who dribble a ball get such acclaim. Music and sports have been divided by an invisible iron curtain of class, elitism, ego, and social awkwardness for so many years that it seems like it is not even worth trying to fix or even worth trying to talk about. The people who really love music and the people who really love music believe that they are such polar opposites that it would seem like there is no way that someone besides me could have a unique love of both College Basketball and music.

Album Review: Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

How does one appraoch a new offering from one of the world's largest musical acts? Surely their are lofty expectations, as well as a magnified sense of what said new offering should be in regards to its impact on the modern musical landscape. Coldplay are no strangers to egregious expecations and hyper-srutiny, as they dominated the alternative rock seen last decade, finding fame from all across the globe. Their mellow alt-rock stylings found them lying in the hearts of the mainstream dwellers as well as the more jaded musical listeners. Since their debut they've been picking up steam, piquing with their 2008 release, Viva la Vida, an album praised for it's no holds barred sense of creativity and musical exploration. Well, the Coldplay of 2008 is nothing like the Coldplay of present, which on itself is nothing like the Coldplay whom the world fell in love with. No, this is a different entity entirely, which has its shares of pros, as well as cons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Live Review: The Joy Formidable, Newcastle Riverside, 20/10/2011

There's a lot to be said for touring extensively in support of your records, but it must also be a source of great frustration for bands who'd like nothing more than to move on to the next phase of their careers. This is particularly true for new bands with limited flexibility as to what they can actually play, and in recent months The Joy Formidable have provided a classic example of such issues. In Januray, the Welsh trio released their long awaited LP The Big Roar, which remains among the strongest debuts released all year, while continuing to thrill live despite the fact that they'd essentially been touring with little restbite for two years. I myself witnessed their live show both prior to and in the immediate aftermath of the album's release, and each time they were mightily impressive, but tonight's gig at Newcastle's Riverside unfortunately fell way short by comparison. In fact, you could even make a case that they were overshadowed at their own gig, with the excellent And So I Watch You From Afar arguably grabbing the spotlight with their support slot.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Live Review: The Horrors, Newcastle Digital, 18/10/2011

Changes in direction are commonplace in music, but even so it's difficult to think of many bands in recent times that have done so with as much success as The Horrors. Since switching their focus from the gimmicky garage-rock of their debut album Strange House to a more shoegaze orientated sound, the Southend quintet have turned the heads of critics and fans everywhere, so much so that they're now regarded as one of the key acts of the UK's indie scene. Also reaping the benefits of such a transition are their live shows, something that's been especially evident on their latest sequence of gigs in support of latest record Skying. Given that recent success and growing notoriety in the live arena, it's curious that they're still playing in relatively small clubs such as Digital, particularly when the same city holds venues twice the size which the band could probably still pack with ease. This drew no complaints from those in attendance, though, as they're clearly at home in such modest settings, and the more compressed surroundings are a factor which suits their music to the ground.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Album Review: Bjork - Biophilia

Bjork is a tough nut to crack, and an even tougher one to describe to someone who's never heard of her. I could talk ad nauseum about her stage presence, her one of a kind fashion sense, her strife filled biography, and even her Academy Award nominated performance in Dancer in the Dark. I could almost have a disertation on my hands before I even got to her music. And despite the glorious, outlandish, and completely unpredictable nature of Bjork as an institution, it's really the music that makes her one of this generations most cherished artists.

Album Review: Transit - Listen and Forgive

Boston, Massachusetts' Transit have had a quick rise to the top. Transit has been less interested in gathering a following based off of standard gimmicks such as big hooks and cliché lyrics, preferring to have a more 90’s emo influenced sound. This approach gave Transit a unique vibe, garnering critical acclaim and recognition from the industry itself, earning a surprise signing to scene giant Rise Records. Rise has a reputation for being concerned more with the viability of a band to be successful rather than having quality music, quickly catching on to trends within the scene, and they have been so successful in doing so that they are now in a position to set the trend. Rise saw the potential in Transit and quickly scooped them up. Thankfully, Transit has much more substance than most of the rest of Rise’s roster, and with the financial resources of Rise, Transit has managed to create their most impressive effort yet, Listen and Forgive.

Interview with Cassino

Cassino is a Nashville folk rock band that was formed in 2005. Cassino has released two great albums in Sounds of Salvation and Kingprince. Cassino amazes listeners with their lyrical imagery, unbelievable instrumentation, and their ability to completely change their sound on just about any given song. Nick from Cassino was kind of enough to discuss the bands progression, change in sound, songwriting, and the bands next LP.

Album Review: Junius - Reports from the Threshold of Death

Boston-based project Junius isn't just going to kick the door in with the new record coming out October 25th - they plan to decimate it until nothing remains. Reports from the Threshold of Death is such a strong follow-up to the well-received 2009 work The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist that the album has received critical acclaim even prior to world release, and for good reason. The album is a veritable canvas upon which life, the universe, and everything are laid out plain for the eyes to see, and for the mind to develop. There isn't just one way to view and understand this album, it's a fluctuating, evolving experience that takes time to take in and longer to truly understand and appreciate, although its beauty is blatantly apparent right off the bat. It's a fantastically smooth listen and an experimentation in dark wave and space rock that leaves a unique taste in the listener's palate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Album Retrospective: elliott Smith - Roman Candle

Elliott Smith, being quite possibly the greatest singer-songwriter of our time, was also one of the most tragic figures in 90's music. As one could tell just from listening to Roman Candle, Smith was in no way a happy person, writing lyrics that often deal with his struggles against depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Although going head-to-head with 1997's Either/Or for my personal favorite album by Smith, I often consider Roman Candle to be his masterpiece. There are no songs on this album that don't touch me emotionally in some way, or at least spark some sort of reaction. "No Name #1", which has made its way into my top ten favorite songs of all time, is a perfect representation of Smith's emotion. The lyrics depict a story of standing alone at a party, not talking to anybody, and the one girl that you talk to you say something awkward and silly and she walks away from you, a moment of rejection that anybody can relate to.

MuzikDizcovery Exclusive: Again, For The Win "The Legend Of" Stream

Again, For The Win should be one of the prides of Austin, Texas. Combining the sound of 90's emo, piano rock, and punk, their unique sound has brought them plenty of acclaim from those lucky enough to have heard of them. First album Bonus Deluxe Edition has been up for free download on their Bandcamp page, and it is an excellent introduction to Carter Francis' powerful vocals and the rest of the band's immense musical talent. The band has been preparing to record a brand new eleven track album, out early 2012, and decided to release one teaser track beforehand. Synths and backing vocals are just a few of the new tricks that Again, For The Win has brought to the table with this track, the first recorded with a new lineup. "The Legend Of" will be reconstructed and put on the new album, but the current version can be exclusively streamed below.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Live Review: WU LYF, Newcastle Other Rooms, 17/10/2011

Every year can boast a selection of excellent new bands, but it's rare for one to arrive so fully formed that greatness seems virtually inevitable. Manchester quartet WU LYF are, however, one of those anomalies. Having built a multitude of hype through rejecting PR in every form, the band are at long last allowing their music to generate the fuss, and on this first ever full tour they showed just why they're quickly building such a dedicated cult following. Debut album Go Tell Fire To The Mountain was a special way to announce themselves, but many still had doubts that they could reproduce it's magic in the live arena, and that it'd only serve to magnify their flaws and diminish their strengths. But although you could probably count their total live appearances on two hands, this show proved that while imperfect they're very much on the right lines, and in doing so highlighted just how special a band they are.

Album Review: Bright And Early - Getting Through It

Bright And Early's "Nothing Personal" was an intense slam of the Gabe Saporta, Alex Gaskarth and the rest of the "scene", yet Bright And Early's Louder Than Words EP still brought vague memories both of Midtown and All Time Low's early works. They could have "forgotten what they knew" and went in the direction of the two previous frontmen's later works, and could be much more well off in life for it. But frontman John Browne and the rest of the Bright and Early crew decided to go in the opposite direction, expanding their sound towards a more creative output and becoming more than just another Pennsylvanian pop-punk group.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Album Review: Cassino - The Weight of Bother

The thing that makes music so unique is that it is more of a gold rush than it is an answer sheet. When someone wants to know who the best team in sports is all they have to do is look at a teams record or ranking, when someone wants to know what movie is the best all they have to do is look at the movies rotten tomatoes or other ripe reviews, and when someone wants to get to know another human being all they really have to do is Facebook them.

But music for some reason has withstood the 21st centuries easy solutions and easy answers. This is because the best music is often the music the music that you have to search the hardest for. A majority of the people who love music will tell you that the best music is not on the radio or on top of the charts. A majority of people who love music will tell you that they discovered the music they love from reading a review, from hearing about it from a friend or family member, or from just randomly going see one of the band gigs. For the people who genuinely care about music this is one of the things that makes listening to music such a unique, thrilling, and often life changing experience. Instead of giving us all of the answers, good music invites us on a lifelong gold rush that is just as exhilarating and new as it is rewarding and tiresome.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Album Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's come in for some harsh treatment over the past decade or so. It's no secret that his output hasn't exactly matched the standards he set himself in the mid-nineties, when he banged out classic songs almost at will, equally it's not been the creative drought many have claimed. The final two Oasis albums, Don't Believe The Truth and Dig Out Your Soul were probably their best since the height of cool Britannia, and even their lowest trough, 2003's Heathen Chemistry contained at least three brilliant reminders of the songwriter-in-chief's genius within the field. That ceaseless ability to produce classic singles meant that even the band's least inspired albums weren't without their worth, and also means that this solo debut - his first move since the band's sticky demise - is the first time in quite a while that Gallagher senior has actually had a point to prove.

Album Review: Russian Circles - Empros

Chicago-based trio Russian Circles is a strong headliner in the post-metal business, and with the release of their fourth album, they mean business. Empros itself is a tour de force, and brings a fantastic progression from Geneva that does not beg to be played, but commands it. The sheer onslaught brought on by this album is like trying to fight a tank with your bare hands - the weaving riffs and quiet intensities only exist to serve the overall purpose of building an album so very reinforced that the entire release is a juggernaut. Simply put: post-metal fans, wait no longer. The brutality is here.

Interview With Deas Vail

Deas Vail has been a band around for close to ten years, and have been constantly blowing away people with their exceptional musicianship, stunning vocals, and great songwriting. The band has just released their eponymous third album, which I enjoy greatly. Guitarist Andy from the band took some time off in the middle of travelling to the band's upcoming tour to answer a few questions from us at MuzikDizcovery, such as the reasoning for starting the record off with keyboardist Laura's vocals, the long delay in releasing the record, the band's partnership with Sony Red Music, the self titled record's more guitar based sound, an upcoming Christmas EP, and more which you can read below.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Sealings

Sometimes even when a band is in the most primitive stages of it's existence it can be obvious that they're going to be worth their salt. That's very much the case with British noisemakers Sealings. Currently a two-piece, the band are still looking to add a drummer to their ranks, and for now are filling the role with an iPod app. It sounds amateur in the extreme - and it kind of is - but even so they've managed to assemble some excellent music using such techniques. One tool which they evidently do have at their disposal is a distortion pedal, and that's what proves to be their main weapon. Their songs all have a solid melodic core, but that's engulfed by a swarm-like cloud of fuzz which makes them delicious and pulsating in equal measure. It's how you'd imagine a collaboration between Thurston Moore and Kevin Shields would pan out, with Steve Albini thrown into the mix for extra hostility.

Sound good? That's because it is! Check them out on their Soundcloud page


Artist Spotlight: The Little Indians

Well, here's the first of hopefully many future positives to come out of the nasty break between Ben Liebsch and the rest of You, Me, And Everyone We Know. Augustine Rampolla and Kyle Gibson has teamed up to make The Little Indians, which features Gibson on drums and Rampolla working every other tool in the band, including production and songwriting. Rampolla finally gets to show off the creative talent that may have been dampened by Liebsch's leadership in You, Me, And Everyone We Know with the two tracks off the band's debut digital 7". Opening track "Let's Split" is an obvious reaction to Ben's betrayal and the band's decision to break up, a predictable topic for a song by Rampolla, but the track contains a contagious chorus to support the aggressiveness of the lyrics. "What Makes You Grin" is extremely similar to tracks off You, Me, And Everyone We Know's former tour mates Hellogoodbye's latest album Would It Kill You, while adding in a touch of Beach Boy influenced harmonies. With the announcement that Liebsch is playing a show as You, Me, And Everyone We Know in the coming days, it seems that the intense breakup may lead to more positivity than misery for the fans. Two great bands are better than one, even if the sound and quality of Some Things Don't Wash Out may never be matched. You can download the digital 7" for free on The Little Indians' Bandcamp here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Album Review: Ryan Adams- Ashes & Fire

The 2008 version of Facebook was great. In 2008, Facebook felt like a small fraternity of your closest friends sharing pictures together, sharing videos together, poking each other, and just having an awesome time without really speaking a word to each other. The 2008 version of Facebook was like a graduation party, a scrapbook, and a frat party all beautifully tied together by one connection. In 2008, Facebook was basically the online epicenter of nothingness. But just like everything that was once good, Facebook changed in a negative way.

Facebook became such a big secret among teenagers that now in 2011 almost every adult has one. This means the Facebook that was once a frat party is now more like an awkward family reunion combined with a daily online visit to church. The freedom of speech we once had online has now awkwardly turned into a freedom to have to friend Grandma, the elegant scrapbook of 2008 was now a textbook written in Braille, and what was once pleasure had turned into a torture filled obligation. The online epicenter of nothingness now officially meant nothing to us. Facebook had stopped be a generational hangout like it was in 2008 and had started to be the internet version of the Roman Empire in 2011.

Album Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach

France and Italy are often cited as the nations which boast the sexiest voices, but when it comes to singing there's nothing that can beat the ragged, windswept Scottish drawl. No matter how harsh, tuneless or pissed up the voice, there's something undeniably beautiful and serene about that far northerly accent which is capable of igniting even the most lifeless of songs. Given that it's residents have such a powerful natural attribute, it's unsurprising that Scotland yields so many great bands, but even by it's standards the current crop is exciting. Biffy Clyro, The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit have all achieved a level of critical or commercial success (or both), and although they count those peers among their key influences, Edinburgh crew We Were Promised Jetpacks can now also be categorised alongside such prestigious company.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Album Review: Wilco - The Whole Love

First things first--The Whole Love is way better than anyone could have, and should have expected. After all, Wilco has sort of been on a bit of a downward slope since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. To be fair, how couldn’t they be? After all, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was a defining release, helping shape 2000’s indie, as well as being a stunning album in its own right. Impossible to top, yes, but Wilco haven’t been anywhere near their A game since, release records to little fanfare, and mixed critical acclaim. Well, whatever funk they were in has ended, as Whole Love not only sees Wilco return to their former, amazing selves, but it sees them creatively invigorated, ready to prove they aren’t down for the count.

Album Retrospective: Van Morrison - Moondance

The fatal flaw of youth is often is often found in its immediacy and ignorance. It goes by so fast that we often only remember the "good times" or the "bad times" but never really remember anything accurately. We grow so attached to things in our youth that we often believe that they are the best: the things that happened when we were in our youths were important not because of what they represented by what time they represented. The albums, movies, television shows, and celebrities of 2011 will really only be important to the youth of 2011. Because the youth of 2011 have adopted all of these albums, movies, TV shows, and celebrities not out of necessity or love but out of a burning desire to be "the generation that really made a difference."

Album Review: Deas Vail - Deas Vail

Over the five years of their career, Deas Vail has developed a reputation for excellence, falsetto vocals, and the ability to bring something unique and beautiful to pop/rock music.  Listeners will expect nothing less from the band’s 3rd and self-titled full length album.  As a longtime and avid Deas Vail fan, I have been formulating my opinion of this album for months, hoping to unearth brilliance in spite of my high expectations for this band.  In the past, Deas Vail has demonstrated an ability to write sensitive and unique melodies and dress them with the fragility of Wes Blaylock’s elfin falsetto, all the while creating a rich tapestry of piano and revving guitars.  And they’ve done it consistently—whether they are writing minor tragedies like “Atlantis,” lengthy ballads like “Shoreline,” or a raucous pop/rock song like “White Lights.”  It is this consistent excellence that makes the collection of songs on Deas Vail, which mostly range from clumsy to conventional, so puzzling and, in the end, nothing short of a disappointment.

Artist Spotlight: This Town Needs Guns

This Town Needs Guns is a fairly new band, having only been around for the better part of six years. Hailing from the UK, This Town Needs Guns has released an EP, as well as an album, both to critical and commercial success. Both featured a very straightforward alternative rock/indie sound, but with an exceptionally well executed math-rock twist.

This Town Needs Guns is equal parts Maps & Atlases, Sharks Keep Moving, and Minus the Bear. There's a hefty amount of guitar noodling, with infectious hooks sprinkled in as well. The band is solid, and the music they make is infectious, which is evident on their newest 7'' entitled Adventure, Stamina & Anger.

With two songs, the 7'' offers only a mere taste of this rather incredible band. It's brief, but it's well worth looking into. It's addicting, endearing, and just plain fun. Afterwards, This Town Needs Guns may just be your newest dig.

Stream Adventure, Stamina & Anger here

Monday, October 10, 2011

The 14 Day Spiritual Journey

It has become clear to me that just about everyone likes music to a certain extent. Their are people who like music, people who like music a little bit more, and people who absolutely love music. Their are many things that separate people who like music from people who love music. People who like music view it simply as "music" while people who love music view it more as experiences or moments in time, people who like music can name you three mainstream albums while people who love music are constantly editing their albums of the year list, people who like music view music as a hobby while people who love music view it as something that is a critical reflection of the health of an individual and the health of a society. For people who simply like music it never really gets past anything other than catchy choruses and lame music videos, but for people who really love music the music becomes somewhat spiritual. Spiritual because it gives us so many different moments and experiences. And spiritual because it means so damn much.

Album Review: Talkdemonic - Ruins

Talkdemonic feels like a difficult band to place, genre-wise. They're somewhere between instrumental, avant-garde, electronic, and post-rock, but share so much in common with each of these genres that they could be technically classified as any of them. However, this could be a good thing - with Kevin O'Connor's expressive interest in rhythm and mixing, and Lisa Molinaro adding with all the power and heart of classical strings, the project is essentially label-defying. Ruins seeks to push the limits of what Talkdemonic is perceived of being capable of doing, and after a straight listen, any sane listener would have to agree that the melodies, dynamic ranges, and constant flow of ideas are inexplicably brilliant.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Album Review: Future Islands - On The Water

The first time I listened to Future Island's sophomore album, In Evening Air, I was pretty underwhelmed. While the album had a strong emotional tone to it that made it appeal to me in some ways, the music itself seemed way too repetitive, with almost every song having the same beat at almost the exact same tempo. After giving it a few more chances, it eventually grew on me until it became the best synthpop album I have ever heard before. Every single track began to strike a chord for me and became incredibly catchy. And now a year later, the Baltimore trio drops their third album, On The Water. Singles "Before the Bridge" and "Balance" gave us the impression that Future Islands kept the same catchy musicianship and emotional overtones as they did on In Evening Air. The emotion is still there and stronger than ever, but the musicianship leaves a bit more to be desired.

Artist Spotlight: Fighting Fiction

Social conscience is something which can be used in virtually any genre of music, but for me, at least, none convey it as well as good ol' fashioned punk rock. The tradition started back in the late 70's, most notably with The Clash, and is upheld to this day by acts such as Frank Turner, The King Blues and - more recently still - Fighting Fiction. This earnest Brighton four-piece may not be reinventing the wheel sound-wise, but in this case the familiarity is welcome, since their brand of punk is among the most likeable and relatable varieties of music out there. Fist punching anthems and singalong choruses can still bring a unique thrill when done correctly, and excellent singles 'We Will Not Forget' and 'Rock And Roll Is Dead And It's Corpse Is For Sale' clearly show that this young band have developed the knack of perfecting such tried and tested formulas. Their debut LP still doesn't have a concrete release date, but once it does surface it's sure to set the heart racing, as well as attract more punters to their excellent live shows.

Album Review: Kite Party - Baseball Season

There's a nifty little term, coined by the ancient Greeks, used to describe the excessive pride and arrogance expressed by an individual that most often results in the bearer's demise. "Hubris", commonly portrayed in Greek Mythology, refers to the larger than life haughtiness of a hero, especially that which causes him to believe that no feat is unattainable. Odysseus, Kanye West, Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper - they all display some level of hubris with their notions that they can indeed do no wrong. At first listen, Baseball Season sounds completely hubristic in nature. Frontman Russ Edling drops such presumptuous lines as "the wind told me my future". Guitar lines rise and fall and tumble upon each other in their ceaseless effort to garner more of the listener's attention. At the dawn of each chorus, the members of Kite Party seem to play with absolutely zero regard for tomorrow or each other. This is the point where Baseball Season should fall flat on its face.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Album Review: Kidcrash - Naps

Listening to Kidcrash evolve and progress over the course of five years has been an absolute joy. From their humble beginnings to their sadly looming hiatus, being a part of the profound and beautiful ride that is Kidcrash has been a wonderful thing. Reflecting upon their career, the 2007 release Jokes immediately comes to mind, as it changed not only the way I thought about emo, but music in general. It melded everything the genre had been up until that point, whilst also being shockingly unique and fresh. Truly, it was one of last decades defining releases. Now four years later, Kidcrash has quietly dropped an EP, feeding those starved individuals who can only stand bewildered at the uncertain future of the band they love.

Album Review: La Dispute - Wildlife

Late one evening I was lucky enough to stumble upon Here, Hear III, a four track free release by a band with a strange name. The title of the release grabbed my attention, as the play on words was clever and I was drawn to the modest vibe of the name. Blown away by the beauty and depth of the release, I moved on to what was La Dispute’s most recent release, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River between Vega and Altair. The artsy title and album art made me weary, but the emotional ride that was the short intro track quickly vacated my concerns. Jordan Dreyer’s harsh and emotional cry over a dark soundscape made for one of most honest and real pieces of art I had been exposed to. I fell in love with the album and found myself collecting the rest of their releases with confidence. La Dispute released Somewhere in 2008, and in the time since that release they put together a pretty strong reputation for themselves. Now, three full years later, La Dispute releases their follow-up, Wildlife, through No Sleep Records on October 4th.

Album Review: Invisible Elephant - Anomie Or Swimming In A Black Sea

Anonymity is an interesting path for a rookie musician to go down. If executed correctly, it can kick up just as much of a fuss as an extensive promotional campaign, but equally it's a stance which preserves the privacy of the creatives in question, allowing them to work at their own pace without the pressure from fans and media which all too often inhibits artists still measuring their first steps. The latter it seems would particularly appeal to unnamed brit Invisible Elephant, who judging by this debut LP is reaping the benefits of remaining, well... invisible.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Album Review: Eepocampe - When Things Get Abstract

Ah, vocal post-rock. There isn't too much of it being released this year, which you'll notice I also commented on in my Cassie spotlight. However, Eepocampe hits the nail on the head with their second record, mixing vocals with an easy instrumentation for simplicity, but also an added effect of atmosphere. When Things Get Abstract brings a wave of music that just feels good to listen to, like a combination between Moving Mountains and Explosions in the Sky. The record is optimistic with a sense of drive that comes from the alternative and post-rock driven influences, and they mesh to create what basically sounds like Pneuma, with the touches of guitar riffs and melodies from All Of the Sudden I Miss Everyone, but a trained ear will notice that there's at least a bit to be desired from this album.

Album Review: Radiohead - TKOL RMX 1234567

Upon discovering Radiohead had dropped their newest album a day early, I proceeded to immediately download it. Granted, it was announced a mere week before then, but the anticipation was already too much to handle. Sure I was late to my first class, but I had The King of Limbs on my mp3 player, and ready to listen. Less than forty minutes later, anticipation faded and disappointment set in. I was sure what I had just heard wasn't Radiohead, but a tamer, more forgettable band. A band who'd let vapidity replace creativity. A band that wasn't the one I had grown to admire.

Although seven month's time made me reflect more kindly on Radiohead's most divisive album to date, I still couldn't help but feel like something was missing, something bold and daring, something more like the band I had fallen for when I was a teenager. That something is TKOL RMX 1234567.

Album Review: Lights - Siberia

It's not often that I stumble upon an artist's image dozens of time before I actually know they make music, but that was the case with Lights. Lights, known not only for her infectious pop music but for her looks as well, has her visage plastered all over the internet a la her many admirers. Once discovering that she did indeed create music, I jumped in expecting shallow, forgettable pop....and I was right. That's correct, my first impression of Lights was one of disdain; a revulsion at the synth laden music that neither challenged nor impressed me. Well I decided to give Lights a second chance, picking up her sophomore release, Siberia, almost immediately.

And thank God I did, because Siberia is an improvement in every single way possible, and a damn fine album in its own right.

Album Review: I Am the Avalanche - Avalanche United

Just so you guys know, we're giving away a free copy of this album today at 2:30 EST on WMUC-2 College Park Radio. Check us out here.

Vinnie Caruana has outdone himself. Sure, he kept fans waiting on the edge of their seats for the better part of six years, but Avalanche United, I Am the Avalanche’s long-awaited sophomore record, is well worth the wait. A rabble-rousing collection of 11 fists-in-the-air anthems, Caruana has crafted his best album since Forty Hour Train Back to Penn.

From the very first guitar squeal of opener “Holy Fuck,” it’s clear that Avalanche United is the soundtrack to a barroom brawl, an album to be enjoyed with a basement full of friends and a fridge stocked with beers. Caruana returns to his “shout it, don’t sing it” mentality with some aggressively delivered lines backed by gang vocals tailor-made for live shows. “Brooklyn Dodgers” has been floating around cyberspace for a while, but has never sounded better than on the album cut. The chorus goes full-throttle to the wall, making up for lackluster energy in the verses. Once the verses meander their way into the chorus, Caruana’s songwriting chops shine, proudly showcasing his best musical quality: writing punchy, stage-dive worthy choruses. Michael Ireland and Brandon Swanson’s guitar work on the album is at its crunchy, raw best on the bombastic “Amsterdam.” The track suffers from the same syndrome that plagued “Brooklyn Dodgers” with unimpressive verses that, if the listener can trudge through, offer an enormous payoff with one of the album’s most anthematic rallying cries of a chorus.

Album Review: Lydia - Paint It Golden

Lydia has always seemed like a bit of a tragedy.  On their second album, Illuminate, the band achieved a masterpiece of austere and otherworldly melodies, but this early success made the rest of Lydia’s career somewhat elegiac.   After their youthful triumph, rumors of band conflict arose, a farewell tour was booked, and Assailants, a bitter, satisfactory, yet below-potential EP, was released.  It certainly seemed like Lydia was over.  Suddenly Antelman and Craig Taylor announced that the name Lydia was too big to leave behind and now, despite the band’s death, we have Paint it Golden.  Remarkably, despite the upheaval, Golden is a natural progression for the band.  In many ways, Assailants felt like a simultaneous grasp at the greatness and uniqueness of Illuminate while trying to move to a less fairytale sound, making it somewhat forgettable and confused.  Paint it Golden, on the other hand, is a full embrace of the more earth-bound sound (they even break out the acoustic guitars on “Eat Your Heart Out”), which allows Antelman to write the top notch melodies we’re used to while maintaining the delicacy of the band’s sound.  Though the album never attempts to be the next Illuminate, forging in a new direction, Paint It Golden still lacks something of the qualities that made the former so unforgettable. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Album Review: James Blake - Enough Thunder

James Blake might quite possibly be the only artist out there nowadays that is really doing anything that is unlike what previous artists have been able to accomplish. The cold, soul-tinged piano ballads of the UK electronic musician's self titled debut are completely unique to any other artist in the genre, dabbling all across the spectrum from blues to dubstep, even managing to pull off a breathtaking cover of the ever so delicate Feist. On Blake's latest addition to his already ambitious discography, Enough Thunder, a clear vision of the future of Blake's career is given, taking everything displayed on his self titled to the next level, giving dubstep a good name again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Cheap Girls

You may have heard Cheap Girls before. The Michigan trio have made their name over the past few years with a pair of solid LP's, as well as none-stop touring alongside the likes of Bomb The Music Industry! and The Descendents. Now they're reaping the rewards of such exertions, having sealed a deal with Rise Records who will release their third studio outing, due in the spring. So far, the only recording that has surfaced from those sessions is a demo entitled 'Cored To Empty,' but that alone seems to suggest they've upped their game significantly. Although it doesn't veer dramatically from any of their existing work, it's a song which only enhances all of the elements which make the band great. The hooks are catchier, the power chords sound more thrilling than ever, and perhaps most importantly vocalist Ian Graham sounds far more assured behind the mic, and that confidence has evidently rubbed off on his bandmates. Their sound is primarily that of a pop-punk band, but there are also elements of 80's alt-rock seamed in for good measure, so fans of bands like Dinosaur Jr and The Replacements could do far worse than give them a go.

You can hear the 'Cored To Empty' demo here.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

MuzikDizcovery Exclusive: These Branches "Purist" Stream

New Jersey's These Branches aren't big on equivocation. The Payoff, their most recent release on DIY label Kat Kat records, doesn't exactly leave a lot of (if any) space for it. Less than a dozen minutes are burned as the duo utilize their blitzkrieg approach to blast through four punch-packing tracks of raw, unfiltered punk rock. Band members Nick Hertzberg and Bryan Batiste make full use of each and every breath let loose on The Payoff, effectively voicing their discontent on anything from sleazy band promotors and manipulative friends to the uncompromising expectations of society. It's made quite clear that the system just isn't working for them, and the release marks the twosome's most recent effort to alter that fact. But something bigger than disappointment lies beneath these tracks. As the grievances regarding a disillusioned industry and failed relationships are sequentially aired, it's obvious that these two are absolutely loving their roles as condemners. With every ounce of dissatisfaction on the EP comes an equitable amount of pure satisfaction - the sort of gratification that goes hand in hand with being unequivocally in love with what you do every day. And that's exactly what Hertzberg and Batiste are doing with their time here. For these dudes, every waking moment is an opportunity to make music with friends, and the attitude on The Payoff shows this. They've paid their dues to an oppressive society. The Payoff is the sound of those dues paying back.

Stream track 'Purist' from the new EP exclusively here on MuzikDizcovery, and look out for the full stream on their bandcamp, as well as pre-orders for the 7-inch via Kat Kat in the very near future.
Purist by These Branches

Album Review: apolar. - the design.

On a few of their pages, apolar. has been described as the perfect combination between This Will Destroy You, Caspian, and Explosions in the Sky. This could not be any closer to the truth. The debut EP from apolar., the design. borrows sounds and aspects from each of these bands, as well as some of their influences, notably Pelican and Gifts From Enola as well, in order to progress their sound into something similar to an early exploration of self-produced post-rock, but far exceeds what one might expect from this.

Album Review: A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen

An up and coming ambient/classical act, A Winged Victory for the Sullen has quite the charming and intriguing pedigree. The duo is made up of Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid) and Dustin O'Halloran (Devics), two of the genre's heavy hitters. Stars of the Lid alone should perk up some ears, as that duo defined 2000's ambient scene with their two groundbreaking releases. A Winged Victory for the Sullen has big shoes to fill, with the aforementioned pedigree being both a gift and a hindrance.

Too many people will check out the band's self-titled debut with an unfortunate amount of per-connotations. But this isn't Stars of the Lid nor is it Devics. This is something else, but at the same time it is a logical amalgamation of either artist's sounds and abilities. It's piano driven, courtesy of O'Halloran, and very straightforward in its ambiance, thanks to Wiltzie. It's a beautifully composed meshing of minimalism and contemporary classical, offering a healthy dose of ridiculously pretty chords and lush swells and timbre.