Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artist of the Day: Amon Tobin

I think it would be a little cheeky if I were to approach you with IDM, trip-hop and DnB extraordinaire Amon Tobin and flag the very old-news that he's incredible. With a catalogue reaching back into the furthest parts of the 90's, old Tobin has been pumping out some of the best experimental electronic music to be found for - and it makes me feel incredibly young to say this - as long as I've been alive. There's been no sign of restraint, either, as the round of end-of-year lists in 2011 saw his most recent LP, ISAM, clasp hold of surprisingly low numbers. With good reason, of course: it's an absolutely jaw-dropping mindfuck. In fact, I'd be remiss to leave out the fact that it was one of the key albums in accelerating my tastes towards the weird (and the wonderful) notes that routinely reach my ears today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Album Review: Beach House - Bloom

Album Rating: A
I don't really know how to feel about Beach House not changing their formula at all over the six years that they have been releasing albums. After the just-noticeable-enough reinvention of their sound on 2010's masterpiece Teen Dream, I was expecting a drastic change in Beach House's sound on the next album. On the other hand, I am more than satisfied with the duo's ability to keep the same sound, making the most miniscule of tweaks in between releases, and still be able to make it sound incredibly new and refreshing. Bloom is definitely not a renovation of Beach House's signature dream pop sound, but it's better than anything they have ever done before.

Album Review: Joie de Vivre - We're All Better Than This

Album Rating: A-
Our lives revolve around goals.  Some of us unfortunately have our goals determined by others or the situations that we are born into, but for many of us, the focus of life specifically deals with personal goals.  We set goals for ourselves so that we have a sense of purpose – something to work toward.  One of the biggest falsehoods of mankind, however, is the belief that once we achieve said “goals,” we consequently acquire happiness or, at the very least, satisfaction.  Joie de Vivre’s newest album, We’re All Better Than This, explores this concept of seemingly unattainable happiness, making it painfully obvious that no one “thing” in life will ever grant us the ability to remain comfortable for more than a short while.  We’re All Better Than This spectacularly demonstrates that, at the end of the day, the people you meet, places you go and goals you may complete are all temporary fixes for the unaccomplished feelings that haunt so many of us.

Album Review: Suis La Lune - Riala

Album Rating: A-
Swedish emotional hardcore act, Suis La Lune is simply the little band that could.  After all, it has been years since the band’s inception and still it has not “broken out.”  Despite label switching and an oversaturation of similar bands, Suis La Lune just keeps on trucking, taking it all in stride.  And while the band has not exactly flourished into the media grabbing darling that it by all rights should be, Suis La Lune still has a dedicated and loving fan base.  If 2008’s Heir and 2006’s Quiet, Pull The Strings! has proven anything, it is that the band is an ever evolving, and incredibly talented force in the genre; a force that we as music listeners are blessed to hear.

Artist of the Day: The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

To the extent that their name tests the limits of one's tongue, Connecticut sextet The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die make music that gives the eardrums a lot to process.  Yet in a craft governed by subtleties and sonic nuances, with an error margin that shrinks proportionally as venue square-footage diminishes, over-saturation can be an otherwise impressive basement act's coup de grâce.  TWIABP manage to dodge the tinnitus-inducing deadfall that engulfs so many others, finding their niche somewhere between massive post-rock swells and the mesmerizing off-kilter croons of frontman Thomas Diaz, all the while managing to not pulverize listeners with an overdone mix.  With two EP's and a split 12'' with New Hampshire's Deer Leap already under their belt, and plans for a four-way split and upcoming full-length on the horizon, there's really no better time to get into TWIABP.  Spend not a single moment more of your life missing out on some truly captivating New England sad-jams - listen to The World Is A Beautiful Place, and realize that you probably are still at least a little bit afraid to die.

Hear everything from The World Is... on their bandcamp, here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Album Review: The Composure - Stay The Course

Album Rating: A-
Making pop music is much harder than you think it is. While anyone can recycle melodies, you need to know how to recycle correctly to make a song that simply sticks in the back of a listener's head and never lets go. On that account, you need to give credit to (among others) Will.I.Am and the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears (and their songwriting teams) for being able to continuously knock out insanely catchy hit after hit. fun. and Gotye have recently brought pop music to a more alternative sound, but it's still the same concept; they needed to make a hook that simply dominates everyone that listens to it. The Composure, while a bit more rocking and far less popular, uses these same conventions in their latest EP, Stay The Course.

Album Review: Lemaitre - Relativity 2

Album Rating: B
It’s going to take me a few more minutes to fully process the fact that Daft Punk released Discovery, the album that single handedly sparked a bloodlust for catchy, feel-good dance music, over a decade ago. It’s comes as such a surprise because the album’s legacy is such that repeated playings have kept it in a perpetual state of “just-being-released.” People simply did not get bored with it; at all. After all, it took a good six years for Cross (Justice) to appear and claim a stake in Discovery’s undying reign, and even now the legacy of those two albums dares any would-be dance aficionados to match them. People have tried, of course, though I think it would be a stretch to suggest that releases by the likes of LMFAO will leave much of a lasting impact. Sadly, until the time comes where we’re once again swept off our feet in a wave of feverish, ecstatic dancing, we’re forced to keep searching. One of the more recent and promising duos to step up to the plate are Lemaitre, who recently released their third EP, Relativity 2. 

Artist Of The Day - The Elwins

The Elwins may be from Keswick, Ontario, but the cold weather seems to have not affected their music. There's nothing cold about their music, from the bright cartoons on the artwork for their debut full length And I Thank You, to the warm summery indie pop rock music that they play. Vocalist Matthew Sweeney sounds like a brother of Forrest Kline of Hellogoodbye fame, and the musical arrangements have the lush feeling of songs from Would It Kill You?. But the band also brings in the beachy feelings from the 60's, or if you're looking for a more modern comparison, Best Coast minus the massive reverb would do. And I Thank You is the perfect album for the upcoming summer, and with warm weather already here, it's worth purchasing right away. You can stream and purchase And I Thank You on the band's Bandcamp, right here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview With Mansions, Round Two

We previously interviewed Christopher Browder of Mansions back in April of last year, and what a year it's been for him. Anyone who listened to his latest album Dig Up The Dead absolutely fell in love with it, just as I did, putting it at #5 on the list of my favorite albums of 2011. Mansions is now prepping to record a new album, and we talked to Chris about how the new album may sound, as well as touring with William Beckett, the reasons for making the acoustic version of Dig Up The Dead publicly available, news that the long rumored split with John Nolan may actually begin to surface in the next few weeks, and much much more which you can read below.

Artist of the Day: Lavers

Lavers is a new indie band with a very old sound.  They released their EP The Street Is A Symphony earlier this year, and the band has a growing fanbase on the internet and on tour.  The Street Is A Symphony features five very good songs: it has the powerful acoustic song "Blue Rose," it has the ballady "Meet Me At The Merry Go Round," the very rocking "Old-Fashoned Girl," the epic "Cosmic Ambulance," and the folk sounding "Tangled Up In Dreams."  Every song on the album presents a different and unique sound, but is a sound that should still sound very familiar to the listener.

Lavers The Street Is A Symphony sounds like the perfect playlist for 1990's indie music: it combines the catchiness and youthfulness of Oasis What's The Story Morning Glory? the instrumentation and quirkiness of Radiohead's The Bends, and the in depth songwriting of Built To Spill's There's Nothing Wrong With Love.  

Listen to "Cosmic Ambulance" and be amazed.


New Muzik Monday (5/28/12): Memorial Day Mosh Edition

With May coming to a close, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge a few of this month's standout hardcore releases from Expire, Old Wounds and Raindance, as well as one of my most anticipated 2012 EPs that is due to come out next month, The Out Crowd Blues, by Florida's Vices.

Expire - Pendulum Swings

Bridge 9 newcomers, Expire, just put out their debut full length, Pendulum Swings, as a follow up to their 2011 Suffer the Cycle EP that was released through Six Feet Under Records. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisc., Expire play gimmick-free, bare bones, heavy hardcore much like that of contemporaries Backtrack and Trapped Under Ice.  From the immediately bitter vocals of "Just Fine" to the final chants in the title track's outro, the album pummels the listener with relentless guitar grooves, breakneck drumming, and memorable vocal breaks that hit even harder thanks to super-crisp and powerful production.  At just over 20 minutes, Pendulum Swings is a fun and direct take on hardcore that spares no aggression throughout its course.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Album Review: Kubrick's Cube - Odissey

Album Rating: A
Racking up 22 tracks and - if you enjoy your music in FLAC - over 900mb of disk space, the decision to title this release with such a grandiose name as Odissey comes as no surprise (bar the deliberate spelling mistake to avoid the rather inevitable search-engine clash with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey). Kubrick’s Cube is a project born from one shared idea of 10 Moscow-based musicians: to erase the notion that music is something that can be categorised. For them, music has evolved beyond genres and styles, and with the dawn of electronics beyond even the studio/ live split. In their own words, they strive “to combine incompatible elements and go in search of new sonic territories.” It strikes me as quite ironic that this is now a fairly old-fashioned statement, but what can be heard on Odissey is anything but. For once, it seems, such bold claims are exceeded, as Kubrick’s Cube have crafted something that sounds like nothing to have come before, yet will likely be echoed in thousands to come after.

Artist Of The Day: Hammock

About a month back, Muzik Dizcovery writer Sean Milo featured Boards of Canada as the Artist of the Day. If you took a look at the article and checked out the band, then I hope you'll find something you like here: today's featured artist is Hammock, an ambient instrumental band that leans towards post-rock, rather than the experimental electric sounds you might hear from the former.

The music that comes from Hammock's Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson parallels some of Explosions in the Sky's more controlled and relaxed works. Much of what Hammock tries to create is soft, nostalgic and light, as though one is floating through a distant memory of childhood. It's smooth, and incredibly easy to listen to - I found myself finished with an album without really noticing it until the end, but I was so absorbed into the music that I'd felt like I had been listening to it for years, and it was just another play-through. The other thing about Hammock's music is that it's stunningly beautiful, without being overly complicated. There tends to be a fair amount of layering, but the blending of the electronic haze with the reverberating guitar tones creates a cloud of sound that the listener is gently coaxed into, and surrounded by delicate waves of sound for however long they please. It puts you in a wonderful, peaceful place, with space to think and room to breathe. I would absolutely recommend Hammock to anyone, to easily make their day calm, collected, and less stressful.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Interview With The Sun And The Sea

The Graduate released one of my favorite albums of 2010, as well as some great b-side EPs in 2011, so when they broke up in July of 2011, I was heartbroken. However, all members but vocalist Corey Warning decided to keep making music as The Sun and The Sea, adding vocalist Chris Rhein to fill that void. Max Sauer took some time to answer some questions from us at MuzikDizcovery, such as how they decided as Chris Rhein to be their vocalist, the basis and themes for the Nightfalls EP, where the band sees The Sun And The Sea in comparison to The Graduate, physical copies, a new music video, and much more which you can read below.

Artist of the Day: Rabbit Troupe

I may be running out of fantastic local bands to write about, but I don't think I'll ever run out of things to say about such bands. Rabbit Troupe is a four piece punk outfit from somewhere in northern New Jersey. The band specializes in noisy and incredibly lo-fi catchy punk, citing artists such as Pavement, Beat Happening and Pixies amongst their influences. Just this year, they came out with their third EP, Treasures Are Miniscule, released on the band's own Beta Snake Records.

Over the past two years, Rabbit Troupe have released two EP's, two singles and a full length album, Cauldron Boy and The Nemesis, all of which contain some of the catchiest punk music I've ever heard. Rabbit Troupe is a great listen for any fan of DIY, lo-fi and overall gritty homemade rock.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Neat

In my experience, the best thing that a support band can hope for is to make an impression on its audience, even if it's not an overwhelmingly positive one. Obviously being good helps, but even if a band is utterly dreadful the likelihood is that their name will stick around due to such provocation - which surely beats turning up, playing and being forgotten in an instant. The Neat clearly understand this, and as such seemingly approach every one of their opening slots with the sole aim of leaving a dent. The first time I saw them, back in 2010, I honestly didn't know what to make of it all. Whilst waiting for my beloved Frightened Rabbit, I was confronted by a quartet of oddballs from Hull, hellbent on making an unintelligible repetitious racket which could hardly have been further removed from the night's headliners. Did I love it? Did I hate it? I really had no idea. All I knew was that I found it hilarious.

Album Review: State Lines - State Lines EP

Album Rating: B+
Over the past few years I have acquired a somewhat bleak outlook when it comes to new music. I have grown to never expect anything out of my favorite artists, because often times, I fear that the music they have already put out will simply never be topped. Without hoping for a band to improve upon a release that is already “perfect” in my mind, then will be no reason to be bitterly disappointed if the newer work does not meet my overinflated expectations. New York’s State Lines, for example, released the shockingly mature Hoffman Manor last year, which made it hard to imagine how such a unique debut could be topped. Upon hearing word of the band’s signing to Tiny Engines and their plans for an upcoming self-titled EP, I proceeded warily, trying to ignore the ever-building hype train inside my head. The new EP, however, makes it apparent that State Lines have no intentions of slowing down, and certainly will not be shackled by the success of their full length. Though the EP is not quite the event that the cohesive Hoffman Manor was, the four new tracks carry just as much replay value and emotion as anything off the full length, giving plenty of reasons to be excited for State Lines’ future.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Album Review: The Walkmen - Heaven

Album Rating: A
When we speak of bands operating within a comfort zone, we usually do so whilst implying negative connotations. The Walkmen, however, have on the whole been exempt from such rulings, and it must be said with good reason. The New Yorkers settled into a sweet spot pretty swiftly following their formation in 2000, and have since made only subtle amendments to a formula that's become both familiar and distinctive. Sticking to what they know has hardly been a hindrance though, and has earned them a reputation among the most consistently excellent bands that indie-rock has to offer. Indeed the only real criticism which could be levelled at them is that they've never managed to deliver a truly great record; the type that moves a band up a level and immortalises them at the expense of countless contemporaries. Commendable though their catalog is, The Walkmen have long seemed destined to be American indie's nearly men - always a pleasure, but never quite capable of pulling alongside The Nationals and Arcade Fires of this world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Artist of the Day: Brutal Youth

Brutal Youth seem to have a knack for implementing just the right amount of wackiness in their music without going overboard.  The punk four-piece from Ontario, Canada undoubtedly nod at catchy 90s hardcore acts like Kid Dynamite and emphasize brevity in their catchy, energetic tunes that shamelessly make use of sometimes juvenile, self-depreciative lyrics and “whoa-ohs.”  Their 2010 full length, Spill Your Guts, is an outrageous 15-minute ride in which vocalist Patty O’Latern spares no time in delivering his often hilarious messages over frantic drumming and a brazen, power chord-ridden approach.  Take “Artful,” for example, Patty’s 45-second declaration of love that takes a turn for the ridiculous when he reveals the song’s subject: his dog.  These moments of wit and satire are laced throughout Brutal Youth’s music and only add to the sheer enjoyment provided by the upbeat punk instrumentation, creating what one might expect to hear from a musically-inclined baby produced by The Ergs and Shook Ones. 

With that being said, Brutal Youth’s new split with their Canadian brethren in Tightrope features a much more serious lyrical approach that manages not to detract from the band’s “fun” factor whatsoever.  Few bands can come up with lines such as, “Righteous indignation amounts to thinly veiled contempt,” and even fewer can make it fit within the context of a one-minute punk song, but Brutal Youth accomplish both in a naturally catchy fashion on "Heart and Soul."  Fleshed out vocabulary and improved songwriting on the split make it clear that Brutal Youth have no intentions of slowing down, and with a recent post by the band revealing the completion of 16 new songs, one can only hope the progression will continue on this next release.  

Check out Brutal Youth's various Internet headquarters HERE
Listen to the Tightrope/Brutal Youth Split HERE

Album Review: Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts In Snow

Album Rating: B+
They may be a relatively unknown quantity in most quarters, but in their native Scotland, Admiral Fallow have amassed a significant cult following. They are in fact regarded by many as key players in the nation's flourishing folk scene, and some have even raised the possibility that they could eventually break out and connect with an altogether wider audience. Debut album Boots Met My Face showcased a band comfortably excelling in both acoustic and electric styles, and although by no means perfect it was capable of hitting truly marvellous heights when it kicked into gear. Given the necessary attention, there can be little doubt that its impact would have transcended elsewhere, and that's something they've quite clearly aimed to achieve second time around.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eli's Super Indulgent Anniversary List Extravaganza--Part III

This month marks the one year anniversary of me joining this most revered site.  I've shared plenty of music I genuinely love, and I have found some great things along the way.  However, I would like to share with you, lovely readers, the albums that have changed me the most as a music lover, rather than a music critic.  I'll spread it out a bit to give the due attention to each album, with five separate days of music goodness.

Let part III commence:

Artist of the Day: Rachel's

There is the under-appreciated and the underrated, and then there is Rachel's.  Rachel's is an instrumental band from Kentucky, and has been around for more than 20 years.  Since the band's inception, it has released five full lengths a split and an EP.  More mesmerizing is not the number of albums, but what is contained within.

Rachel's are not your average instrumental band.  There is beauty and melancholy, and just about every emotion in between, sure, but there is so much more that the band brings to the table.  Rachel's imbues a sense of experimentation to its music; a dark yet wonderful sound all its own.  Handwriting and Music for Egon Schiele--the band's earliest material--existed as extremely well composed neo-classical outings.  Both utilized strings and piano and guitar to make a lush and vibrant sound.  Later releases were decidedly different, although the difference were very subtle.  Rachel's began tinkering with atmosphere and dark sounds.  This is where the experimentation came in, and despite some mixed results, the new direction is what makes the band so legendary.  One cannot hear The Sea and Bells from any other band, because no other band could pull it off quite so perfectly as Rachel's.

It's been seven years since the band's last proper release, and nine since the last full album.  Since then, no other band has quite made music like them, and I fashion to guess that no one ever will.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Return Fight

Anyone who knows me and follows the site knows that I'm an enormous fan of You, Me, And Everyone We Know as well as the members' post-break-up projects. While guitarist Augustine Rampolla and drummer Kyle Gibson went to The Little Indians, multi-instrumentalist (including keys, guitar, and mandolin) Rico Vigil and trumpeter John Farrell went their own way with The Return Fight. The band follows along the same path as The Little Indians, not diverging too much from You, Me, And Everyone We Know's sound, but focusing more on only two people's strengths and tastes rather than six. The Return Fight definitely has a beachier and sunnier feel than the other two projects, which is very strongly expressed on opener "I'm A Selfish Asshole." Hellogoodbye's ringleader Forrest Kline puts his mark on the music on the boards by giving the music a warm mix while Rico and Farrell show how important they were to the success of You, Me, And Everyone We Know. The instrumentals are tight and varied, as everything from the bouncy bass, to the twinkling bells, to the powerful trumpets all bring an important layer to the song. The rest of the songs on the band's debut self-titled EP are just as great, so you should absolutely listen to it on the band's Bandcamp page, which you can find right here.

Album Review: The Tower And The Fool - How Long

Album Rating: B-
Before we delve into details, lets make one thing absolutely clear - The Tower And The Fool have a hell of a lot going for them. A patently capable instrumental caste, a superior sentimental knack, a pair of excellent vocalists who double over as a fine songwriting partnership; these are assets that most can only fantasise of, and initially, at least, the Providence sextet seemed to be putting them to good use. Commencing their career with a pair of immensely accomplished EP's, they bore all the hallmarks of a band arriving fully formed, exhibiting a maturity in both conception and execution far beyond what you'd expect even from an established Americana outfit. A full-length would of course present a whole new set of challenges, but early signs suggested they'd have little trouble sustaining such excellence.

Album Review: M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion

Album Rating: A-
I used to spend a lot of time wondering why M. Ward was not one of the biggest artists in the world or even in his genre: he makes music that is not only sounds beautiful but is so well crafted that it actually makes you feel like you are living in another time period, he is one of the best storytellers in modern music, and at least a fifth of his recently released songs feature “America’s Sweetheart” Zooey Deschanel.  M. Ward is an artist who makes music that can move you at a million miles per second yet stop you in the middle of your most intimate thought, it is music that is transcendental and time traveling yet somewhat still relevant, it is music that tells us stories yet allows us to create our own stories to the same music, and he has music for every occasion not only in our life but for the life of anyone who came before us.  You would think that a musician who makes music so transcendental and timeless would be one of the biggest artists in the world, but if I walked down the street right now and asked people what “M. Ward” was, they would probably think I was describing one of my 13 medical conditions.  Why do more people not know of the majestic music of Matthew Ward?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Artist of the Day: Scrimshire

Ever since the internet became a necessity instead of a luxury, the idea of releasing a single has become something of an oddity. We're told that 95% of homes have a file-sharer under the roof, so the singles charts have become redundant: how do you know if a release has been successful if next to no one between the ages of 12 and 50 buys music any more? For the same reason, there is no longer a necessity for releases to be cheaper in order for people to buy them; if anything sales numbers have been replaced by YouTube view counts and Twitter hash-tags. So imagine my surprise when, just yesterday on another miserable English Saturday afternoon, I stuck my hand into the great torrent of music pouring out of the internet only to emerge with a single that would introduce me to one of the most interesting indie musicians to be working today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Artist of the Day: Titus Andronicus

At this point in modern punk rock's brief history, what's really left to be said about Patrick Stickles and his support from New Jersey's Titus Andronicus?  Surely, plenty of sharp-tongued critics have long since had their go at properly articulating just what makes the weathered Americana foursome so alarmingly appealing, but another nail in the coffin can truly do no harm.  What Titus Andronicus have unfailingly injected into each and every track of their two LP's to date is more than just bitter angst, uncouth musicianship and an aptness for significant literature of the past several centuries - it's the haunting relevance of coming up short, again and again and again, and fighting an interminable losing battle in the homeland of the not-so free; the turf of the questionably brave.  2008 offering The Airing of Grievances chugs onward and inward with battle hymns of an innocence lost, drowning beneath the sonic weight of John C. Everyman's insurmountable existential crisis.  2011-dominating The Monitor likewise plays itself headlong into the cracked dry earth, repeatedly ascending from its ashes only to gloriously burn up again, finally culminating in a 14-minute closer capable of shaking the earth between the mighty Bruce Springsteen's own feet.  Now, with plans for LP number three to be released later this year, Stickles and co. have carved out some mighty big footprints for themselves to fill.  Yet regardless of outcome or critical response, Titus Andronicus and their fans know that the fight is not up until the dog is in the dirt, a hopeful sign that the ardent song-crafting of these Jersey natives will live on until "us" and "them" become We.

Listen to Titus Andronicus, you teat-suckling pansy-ass.

Album Review: Radare - Hyrule

Album Rating: B
Back in 2010 a little album called The Infinite Regress graced my ears and changed my thoughts on post-metal as a whole.  It was not the "chugg into infinity" record I'd become so accustomed to.  Instead, the album was a very deep experience, full of fresh ideas and beautiful sounds that meshed into an incredibly absorbing album.  Needless to say, I was an immediate fan.  Here we are almost two years later, and Radare has slipped another record right from underneath me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Composure

Every year there are a couple of little pop rock EPs that I just can't stop listening to. Last year had Coyote Theory, Select Start and Farewell Fighter, all of which continue to pop up on my playlists. This year's early candidate for the title of "extremely catchy pop rock EP that has a easy song of the year candidate," is The Composure's Stay The Course. As part of Punchline's record label (and actually containing ex-Punchline member Paul Menotiades) and opening for Bruce Springsteen, The Composure has been on my radar for quite some time, but Stay The Course is the first time that they've legitimately blown me away. Upbeat opener "Stay Away From Me" is a powerful opener and a perfect introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the band, and "Satan" is perhaps the catchiest damn song of the year (other than "Somebody That I Used To Know," but that's just unfair to compare any song to that, and besides it officially came out last year). Handclaps, bells, brass instruments, strings and stunning guest vocals from Bright & Early's John Browne just add to the pop perfection of "Satan." The other four songs on the EP are just icing on the cake of Stay The Course, assuring it a place in the best that pop rock has to offer in 2012. You can follow the band's updates on Facebook, and download "Stay Away From Me" for free on their Bandcamp page here.

Album Review and Interview: Light Black - Ex Wives

Album Rating: A
Light Black’s two-person studio repertoire with Paul Hundeby handling bass, drums and vocal duties, and Walter Kappler on guitar, has proven to be an effective framework for the Boulder, Colo. emo rockers.  Desperately screamed vocals, poetic, profound lyricism and fluctuating rhythms synthesize as one on Ex Wives, yielding impressive results that most four or five-piece groups fail to achieve.  Even with such a dense array of instruments and sounds, the album’s guitar work still manages to shine through as its strongest feature.  Through incessant, weaving guitar lines interspersed within a powerfully ambiguous post-rock atmosphere, Light Black prove that while many bands can noodle, some simply noodle harder than others.  Although each aspect of Ex Wives is executed with poise and precision, the result is an organic, naturally flowing album that plays much more like a unified experience rather than a collection of songs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artist of The Day: Armor For Sleep

Armor For Sleep's What To Do When You're Dead has to be one of the more underrated albums of the mid 2000's.  It was the album every pop-punk and emo artist of this "era" wanted to make: it was a concept album that wasn't cliche, it was a emotional album that wasn't narcissistic or depressing, it was an album filled with 11 catchy songs that never sounded forced or alike, and it was one of the few albums of the era that actually had some staying power.

Album Review: Swarms - Low Sun

Album Rating: C-
Looking back on the yet limited discography Swarms have to offer, I don’t think it’s possible to say that the direction they take on Low Sun is any surprise. This unlikely trio (with two setting their roots in ambient/post-rock and the other hailing from the foreign land of EDM and Dubstep) seem to have been continuously re-establishing the compromise between their influences: with their incredibly bass-laden, slow-motion take on contemporary dance music steadily giving way the more ambient approach that made them so popular in their full-length, Old Raves End. Low Sun sees them continue down this path: shrugging off the bass and complexity for a more straightforward and muzzled pastiche on urbanised electronic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse is of significant importance to the indie rock scene of the Pacific Northwest. Isaac Brock, Eric Judy, and Jeremiah Green helped guide Modest Mouse through its early years, with Isaac Brock's unique vocal style - sometimes screaming, sometimes crooning softly, but always satisfying - leading the way. With early records like This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About and The Lonesome Crowded West, some fans had been garnered around the small indie band. However, it wasn't until The Moon and Antarctica that the band began breaking out into mainstream success. It was their first record with a major record label, and it was well promoted, which is why it really helped them move towards bigger audiences.

In 2006, the lineup started changing for the first time. Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths, was tacked onto the roster, as well as Joe Plummer and Tom Peloso. These gentlemen were recruited for the recording of We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank in 2007, an impressive follow-up to the band's 2004 masterpiece, Good News For People Who Love Bad News. They took three years to enjoy the success of Good News, and also to work and evolve musically. We Were Dead didn't disappoint fans, since such care was taken with the record to ensure a second genuine success. The band has since released a B-sides EP titled No One's First and You're Next in 2009, and are in the process of recording a new album, so we'll see from them soon.

Featured Album: The Moon And Antarctica
As I said before, The Moon And Antarctica really helped Modest Mouse achieve their first major successes with audiences that weren't already loyal fans. It's a neat listen, because it's a transitional album between the band's true, underground past, and the well-known, indie rock band many people know Modest Mouse as today. Tracks like "3rd Planet" and "I Came As A Rat" help show of a little more of the former, while just about any Modest Mouse fan of today could rock out and have fun to "A Different City". It's a well-written and enjoyable record, and I think it's a good start for any new listeners out there.

Look out for news on their website, and go ahead and sample their music on MySpace.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Artist of the Day: The Tallest Man On Earth

The music of Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is the kind of music that you make hyperbolic statements of its quality, which would be completely warranted. In my eyes, Matsson is the greatest songwriter in the busienss today. There are two albums released under the Tallest Man On Earth moniker, 2008's Shallow Graves and 2010's The Wild Hunt, both of which are amongst greatest folk albums of the past five years. With a few minor exceptions, Matsson makes his craft with nothing but an acoustic guitar and his hoarse, yet elegant vocal cords.

The Tallest Man On Earth is returning this June with his third LP, entitled There's No Leaving Now. And if the latest track to be released, "1904", is any indicator, then There's No Leaving Now will certainly live up to the monstrous expectations that Matsson's first two albums have developed in fans.

Pre-order There's No Leaving Now

Live Review: Frankie & The Heartstrings, Hoults Yard Newcastle, 10/05/2012

The Neat, Let's Buy Happiness and Frankie & The Heartstrings; three of Northern England's hottest properties, all crammed under one roof, in a city warehouse, in a two-and-a-half hour time span. Not bad for £7. Ok, the stated purpose of the show was to showcase material from Frankie's in-the-works sophomore record, but given the calibre and locality of the supporting cast it felt like so much more.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Artist Of The Day: I Like Trains

There's hardly a shortage of great British post-punk bands at present, but that doesn't mean that it's a club closed to new members. With their third LP The Shallows, Leeds four-piece I Like Trains have become the latest addition, quietly perfecting their sound as widespread recognition continues to prove elusive. Not dissimilar from contemporaries such as Wild Beasts and Foals, their music builds around the permanent template entrenched by Joy Divison and adds colour in the form of their own unique modern twist. The end result is a record that's subtle, sophisticated and sexy, functioning faultlessly as a whole while each track also shines on its own individual merit. Frontman David Martin is the star of the show, with his seductive, eloquent vocals channeling the obscenely attractive middle-ground between Ian Curtis and Jarvis Cocker and delivering the type of sharp, unsettling lyrics which flourish in this style. Early indications suggest that The Shallows won't bring about the type of success that I Like Trains richly deserve, which is a shame given some of the dirge that receives industry backing. If they can keep delivering records as good as this, though, it's surely only a matter of time before they reap their just rewards.
Official Website

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Artist Of The Day - Killer Mike

Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music plants its flag high for all to see, imparting new life to the realm of hip-hop in doing so. Mike, via El-P's production, simultaneously channels the contemporary styling of Big Boi and peak '90s Ice Cube, drawing on the compositional prowess of the former and honing the powerful emceeing abilities of the latter. This blend of nuanced sounds and slick beats juxtaposed with Mike's engrossing narrative produces great results, and Mike's convictions are in plain view: "Mother fucker, my dad was a cop/You don't think I know a dirty ass cop when I see one?/Shake down, take down, disrespecting the badge!" ("Don't Die"). His words are poignant, and the music itself feels like some grand hip-hop revitalization; made to be be huge but fated to be overlooked by many. "Rap is my religion" ("R.A.P. Music").

The album can be heard here.

Album Review: The Post Riot Era - Schism

Album Rating: B+
It’s an unhappy truth that the saddest things in life are the ones we relate to. We’re so detached from each other that news articles of famine and floods are pushed back from the headlines because Celebrity of the Month X had a fight with Fashion Designer Y. Most of us know nothing of true despair; we withhold our sympathy for something a little more tangible. So when a musician wants us to re-live the sorrow in their music, to truly emulate the experience they are portraying, they focus on more personal troubles. The eternal example of this is the break-up record, which cashes in on a kind of sadness that almost everyone has been unlucky enough to face. In its own way, Schism is a break up record; except The Post Riot Era is a rhythmic drone-ambient project with rather a lot more to display than a sense of loss for one individual. This is not one man’s break-up: it’s everyone’s. Schism deals with separation in its most real, lonely and necessary form. It’s as heartbreaking as it is mesmerising.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Artist of the Day: Dads

John Bradley and Scotty Scharinger, collectively comprising New Jersey punk-something act Dads, create a rather impressive two-man ruckus.  Donning the unassuming looks of your neighborhood coffee shop denizens - stained teeth, patched flannel, and bristly beards included - one wouldn't expect either of the two youngsters to raise their voices past ordering another beer or emitting a hearty chuckle.  Yet, looks are deceptively disjointed from reality (a fact to which I might owe all the sex I've ever had), and it so happens that Mssrs. Bradley and Scharinger have, in fact, been raising quite a stink since the 2010 genesis of Dads.  Through online releases of intermittent singles and various EP's, the most recent being 2011's Brush Your Teeth, Again ;), Dads have found themselves a pretty comfortable niche amongst fellow basement nocturnalists.  Employing their fair share of East Coast emo twang with the off-kilter drums to back it, Dads prove that it only takes two to twinkle, favoring spastic vocals and chronic tinnitus to the sad loneliness of silence.  Don't just take my word for it - check out all the FREE Dads jams you could ever hope for on Bandcamp now, then go post on their Facebook wall so you can know that they now know you think they rule! Do it! Now!

Album Review: Daytrader - Twelve Years

Album Rating: B
Rise Records has made some surprisingly good signings in the past year or so.  With bands like Cheap Girls, Hot Water Music, and now New York’s Daytrader, the label is slowly restoring its credibility that has been tainted due to an excess of generic, overproduced metalcore (Risecore) acts.  Though Daytrader’s Rise Records debut displays a disappointing refinement of the band’s edgy sound, Twelve Years still bombards the listener with a barrage of catchy hooks, featuring one of the best vocal performances of 2012 thus far.  Yes, the band’s punk elements have been dialed back to make way for a more direct alternative rock sound, but Daytrader still manage to pack a decent-sized punch thanks to crystal clear production on behalf of Mike Sapone (Crime in Stereo, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday).

Live Review: Go Radio & This Providence, Baltimore Soundstage (4/3/12)

The Fearless Records/Fueled By Ramen pop-rock scene seems to have stagnated over the last year. Between 2008 and 2010, bands such as Mayday Parade, Every Avenue, A Rocket To The Moon, Forever The Sickest Kids, The Maine, and basically every other band that has supported All Time Low on a tour were amongst the biggest bands in the Warped Tour crowd, selling out large clubs and receiving herds of teenage fans. Their popularity led to hundreds of copycat bands, very few of which were amounted to anything. But as the new wave of pop-punk rose up, it seemed as though many of these bands fell off the face of the planet. Luckily, This Providence's independent return to the scene and Go Radio's sure to be strong sophomore full length have brought some of that energy back into that mostly forgotten scene.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Artist of the Day: One Little Plane

There's a simple joy to be found in acoustic-indie projects, and when they pluck a heart-string or two they can become something of an obsession. Today saw me ignore my frequent retreat of electronic and ambient musings to do something I haven't managed for a while: to just sit down and enjoy a peaceful, fresh slice of acoustic beauty. Into The Trees, the brand new LP from One Little Plane, may not seem like much at first, but it's charm and chirpy crones managed to catch the attention even of someone with a heart as cold and shrivelled as my own. Perfectly crafted for a lazy summer's evening, the simple yet stunning musicianship - with Kathryn Bint's mesmerising voice - has brightened up what has so far been a very miserable week in south-west England.

Oh, and it can be streamed in its entirety on Soundcloud. Enjoy.

A Semester of New Songs

 Most college students know how frustrating the "second" semester can be.  It is a semester filled with exams, homework, having to avoid the urge to "mind bang" every girl in jean shorts, and pretending to like baseball.  It is tough to stay focused, optimistic, and even sane in a world of ten page essays and in class debates about the sexuality of James Buchanan. That is the exact reason why it is important for every student to find some sort of escapism: to find the quiet in the middle of the riot, to find the calm in the middle of the figurative storm, and to find the nonsense in the completely nonsensical.  For some students this is television, movies, sports, or even casual sex!  But my escapism this semester came in trying to find an awesome new song every night of the semester.  I ended up finding tons of great new songs from just about every genre.  This went from escapism to a hobby, from a hobby to a project, and from a project to a total obsession.  Here are my favorite songs from every day of my second semester.  Don't blow your mind with why....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Artist of the Day: Gatherer

It was a strange moment this year when I turned 19.  I realized that I was just as old as, if not older than, some of my favorite bands when they were releasing genre-defining albums.  Now the same age as Milo Aukerman when he went to college and introduced hardcore to juvenility, I can no longer relate to Jesse Lacey as he croons, “I want to stay 18 forever.”  Point being, people my age are more than capable of making good music, as demonstrated by Gatherer, a friend of a friend’s band hailing from New Jersey.  Though the band members are only a few years older than I am, Gatherer’s debut EP, Postcards, is as professional and tactful as any melodic hardcore release that you will hear nowadays. 

Album Review: oOoOO - Our Love Is Hurting Us

Album Rating: D
I've always referred to this genre within a genre as bass music for the tumblr generation. It’s loud, dark and, when seen live, mind-bogglingly absorbing, but oozing with a particularly syrup-like sentimentality. You know, the kind that best describes fake, digital polaroid photos with “<3 u 4eva” adoringly typed beneath in Comic Sans. Raw? Yes. Sincere? Yes; just a little cheap. Without noticeable deviation from the norm the oversaturated bass-lines and reverb switches can never really add up to anything more than just another single-stop album. The feeling and emotion are there, but the method is something I personally take issue with.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Again For The Win

Again, For The Win last released an album in 2010, and they have come far since then. Their latest single, "The Legend Of" (exclusively premiered here on MuzikDizcovery), showcased a poppier side of the band, but that definitely does not reflect on the rest of the album. Electronics are much more widely used than before, as well as shoegazey guitar, but the band's 90's emo influenced aggressive indie rock is still prominent throughout the album. The band experiments much more than they did on Bonus Deluxe Edition, as many songs sound nothing like any Again, For The Win material released until now. "Breaking & Entering," "Having Heard Sirens," and "Architects" are the immediate standouts, but the entire record is fantastic.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Artist Of The Day & Album Review: Sun Airway: Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier

Album Rating: B+
On the season finale of the first season of "Mad Men," main character and American icon Don Draper makes a sell pitch for "The Wheel" or what he renamed "The Carousel." The way Draper sells this "photo wheel" or "slideshow" is nothing short of incredible though. Draper begins by describing the word nostalgia. Draper describes nostalgia as "delicate but potent", as a "twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone," "the pain from an old wound," and "something that takes us to places we have never been before." He describes this nostalgia while his "carousel" is showing pictures from throughout his life: it shows him kissing his wife at his wedding, it shows him playing with his kids when they were very young, it shows him doing his job, and hell, it even shows him when he wasn't even Don Draper. This nostalgia that Draper defined is both can be both positive and negative (Draper's family is falling apart as he shows this slideshow), it can be both painful and new, it can take us places where we have never been before, but most importantly this nostalgia makes us feel a unique feeling and makes us think in ways that we have never thought before. This nostalgia that Draper defines almost puts us our lives on the "Carousel" that he was trying to sell, something as powerful as this nostalgia spins our life in so many directions that we almost have no control over that all we can do is sit back and enjoy its delicacies or we can cry from the old wounds it presents. But the most important thing is that this carousel of nostalgia exists and we ride on it with every powerful emotion of almost every single day.

Album Review: The Cribs - In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

Album Rating: B+
Icon and inspiration as he is, it's difficult to avoid the feeling that Johnny Marr's presence in The Cribs was something of a disruption. Nowhere was this more evident than Ignore The Ignorant, the one and only album on which legendary ex-Smiths man featured. Desperately attempting to entwine his distinctive jangle with the Jarmans own vigorous youthful abandon, the end result, although by no means bad, simply portrayed a band attempting to be something that it isn't. Marr's addition did bring about some positives, and did plenty to bolster the band's already impressive live shows, but sadly his main influence was to stifle much of what made the Wakefield trio such a vital force to begin with.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Artist of the Day: Deathmole

One may have noticed that I've written about Deathmole before. However, they're a band that I keep coming back to, and with good reason. In a similar strain to Kupek, Deathmole is a one-man band, writing music for the sake of writing music and spreading ideas. Jeph Jacques, writer of the webcomic Questionable Content, leads the effort of Deathmole, and has been quite successful musically, leading metal fans that read the comic into a realm of post-metal that compares itself easily to Russian Circles, or Isis. Jacques creates a dark atmosphere in his music with chords that don't necessarily resolve beautifully, creating a lot of tension in the music, and combines this with fast, aggressive rhythms that cause one to really feel what he's trying to portray. However, unlike a lot of post-metal, he's able to resolve a lot of his songs in the choruses, usually with a four-step chord progression similar, but way ahead of, much of metalcore music you might hear today. All of these musical qualities make Deathmole a very unique listen, and it's definitely worth checking out if you can appreciate some weird metal.

You can find most of Jacques' music on Bandcamp, and what you can't find there, you can easily find on

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Artist Spotlight: The Beach Boys

If The Beach Boys doesn't ring a bell for you, then you probably either died before the middle of the 20th century or have just never listened to music before. The innovative genius of Brian Wilson's work with the band has spawned some of the most inspirational music of the last decade, closely rivaling with The Beatles as the greatest band of all time. Their 1966 album Pet Sounds (which I regard as the greatest album ever made) changed the shape of music forever, marking a departure of music from the generic radio-friendly format into a true art form.

Following last year's release of the half-century old, mythical project The Smile Sessions, The Beach Boys have launched a full scale reunion this year with a new album, That's Why God Made The Radio. Whether the group still has its legendary charm or not is certainly up for questioning, but the band is no less than welcome to return as a band.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Poliça

Celebrity endorsement is one thing, but being called "the best band I've ever heard" by a modern alternative icon is another entirely. Those were, however, the exact words uttered by Justin Vernon concerning Ryan Olson and Channy Leaneagh, who collectively make up Poliça. Ok, Vernon probably was getting a little carried away with his comments, and is hardly unbiased given the pair's mutual involvement in supergroup Gayngs, but there are points on their debut album Give You The Ghost where such enthusiasm seems (almost!) understandable.

Not wholly dissimilar from the likes of The XX and The Weeknd, Poliça's brand of indie-based R&B is very much a genre in vogue at present, and you wouldn't bet against them achieving the same kind of success as those aforementioned acts. Characterised mainly by Leaneagh's angelic voice and an inventive percussive assault, their small catalog already contains a handful of truly inspired moments in which all of their sonic elements are moulded to perfection. The epic 'Violent Games' is a personal favourite, and ranks among the best songs released by anyone this year - if not quite all time!

You can stream Give You The Ghost in its entirety here.

Official Website

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Album Review: mewithoutYou - Ten Stories

Album Rating: B+
As a devout mewithoutYou fan I have to admit, I was taken aback by the band’s previous album when I first heard it. Their decision to do away with their signature brand of post-hardcore in favour of folksy, baroque-pop numbers initially seemed like an ill-conceived plan, and even though they managed to ruffle some feathers in changing their style, the fanciful whimsy of It’s All Crazy! It’s All False!... eventually had a spellbinding hold on me. See, despite some of the criticisms fans of the band lobbed at It’s All Crazy! It’s All False... for being uninspired, a miscalculated ode to campfire sing-alongs (this is my personal favourite), etc., that album proved a pivotal point to all of the naysayers: mewithoutYou is a band incapable of being pigeonholed. They’ve been drastically changing their core sound from album to album, but their previous one marked a stark departure: all of a sudden, the band that brought us the emotionally charged [A--> B] Life was playing in the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel, and people were stunted. Aaron Weiss, a man once entrenched in writing on themes of loss and pain, was writing about fictional portrayals of insects and animals. Aside the quizzical nature of it all, the only real carryover seemed to be the religious connotations in the lyrics. It was unlikely that they’d keep to the fantastical storytelling angle of It’s All Crazy! It’s All False!... though - they’re a band discontent with sticking to the same formula. So, the question seems like an obvious one: Where have the beloved purveyors of post-hardcore decided to go this time?