Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Artist of the Day: Amia Venera Landscape

Rollicking metalcore riffs, with as much ferocity as a derailed freight train? Diminished chords, striking as bolts of lightning against an otherwise serene landscape? Me expressing apparent fanboyism? These three things all lead to one conclusion: Amia Venera Landscape, the Italian metal act that dropped jaws everywhere in late 2010. Sure, their debut album The Long Procession was released a tad too late to appear on most music critics' Best Of 2010 lists, but none of us have forgotten the group's landmark debut.

Listen to this monolith for free here
And now for some very exciting news - Amia Venera Landscape has announced the release of their sophomore full-length! It'll be coming out at some point this winter, so we won't have to wait much longer. The group also claims to have written more than 90 tracks in the last year or two, which is exciting but also a bit disconcerting. After all, The Long Procession was amazing, but it may have lived up to its title a bit too much through its 70-minute runtime. Everything the group touches is gold, though, so perhaps I shouldn't worry.

Keep up with Amia Venera Landscape on Facebook!

Album Retrospective: Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

Album Rating: A+
From queer nobodies to overnight sensations, it's fair to say Tigermilk left Belle & Sebastian in a pretty good position. College funded and limited to a thousand vinyl copies, the LP catapulted the group to the very forefront of Scotland's independent music scene, simultaneously sparking a frantic label scramble from which Glasgow specialists Jeepster eventually emerged victorious. It was the type of achievement which smacked of a one-off - not that anyone bothered to tell Stuart Murdoch, the creative lynchpin around whom the entire outfit was based. Whereas most would have taken years and considerable thought following-up such a classic debut, Murdoch set about the task immediately, perhaps conscious he was in the eye of a purple patch most writers can scarcely fantasize over. The resulting album, If You're Feeling Sinister, surfaced a mere five months later, a side note which somehow winded up being one of the less remarkable facets to its blessed existence.

Jukebox: Volcano Choir - "Still"

When I did my artist of the day about Bon Iver, I looked at Blood Bank for the first time from a critical standpoint, and there were a few things that shocked me about it, like the auto-tune. However, upon a re-listen of "Woods," I've come to appreciate just how much artistic merit the song actually holds, how using auto-tune as an instrument to blend differently auto-tuned voices together was an incredibly new innovation to me. It was disconcerting at first, but now I look at it as a stroke of genius, and props to the band for having that kind of creativity and ingenuity.

And then I discovered Volcano Choir. A side-project of Justin Vernon's, the band releases similar works to the more group-oriented material of Bon Iver. Specifically, I'd found that "Woods" had been re-recorded on The Volcano Choir's Unmap as the song "Still" (seriously you probably already know this, but it's blowing my mind right now) and the differences are as wonderful as they are varied. While "Woods" has only the auto-tuned vox as instrumentation, "Still" utilizes vox in addition to clean, powerful guitars and layers of depth from synthesizers. The result is something incredibly close to post-rock, something I would never have associated Justin Vernon with in a million years - yet Volcano Choir proves me wrong, right in front of my face. Although it was up in the Billboard 200 back in October 2009, it's just really cool to see a tie with everyone's favorite indie band and my favorite genre of music.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Artist of the Day: Modest Mouse

With my hometown Tigers' recent exit from the World Series, I began to remember the last time they had failed to capture the world title in 2006. For some reason, the only thing I could remember about the series was the theme song: "Float On" by Modest Mouse. The uncharacteristically upbeat ode to taking things as they come sparked my idle interest in one of the most interesting rock bands I've heard. After catching their single from We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, "Dashboard," I was hooked. Fast forward to present day and Modest Mouse still holds up well, despite not having released an album since 2007.

The main reasons for their success are Isaac Brock's lyrics and Jeremiah Green's incredible drumming but it's also their ability to change styles at the drop of a hat and not seem to miss a beat. When Brock decided the band needed a new direction after 2004's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, they added three new members and made everything work as if there had been no change. However, it's as a trio that the band made the most noise. "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine," the raucous opening to masterpiece The Lonesome, Crowded West, begins with Brock yelling over Green's cymbal crashes and his own powerful chords only for it to stop into a digression about "the man with teeth like God's shoeshine." Repeat the process a few times over and you have one of the least appealing yet brilliant 7 minutes of music ever put to wax. Compared to the comparative purity of "3rd Planet," opener to their previous effort, The Moon and Antarctica, it's a shock that it's the same band; just another example of Isaac Brock's unique brand of genius. 

There's nothing inherently appealing about the band. Brock sounds as if he's tone deaf and has the vocal range of Eddie Vedder. The lyrics are weird, profane and often nonsensical. All the instruments sound like they're too loud and were recorded together with no regards to mixing. Yet, when you put their records on, everything seems to fall into place to form a beautiful cacophony. It may not sound great at first, but the grittiness of the recording and even Brock's vocals will sound good with time- if not immediately. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Artist of the Day: Fucked Up

Man, David Comes to Life was a damn solid album.  Dropping last year, the enormous concept record was a breath of fresh air; an intelligent and thoughtful hardcore punk album with a confounding yet refreshing story to tell.  With heavy themes, David Comes to Life was conceptually challenging, which is strange considering the incredibly welcoming tone of the album.

Live Review: Ambassadors, Black Cat DC (9/4/12)

To some people, large stadium shows are the absolute best thing that they can imagine. The screaming crowds of tens of thousands of fans, the huge visual displays, and echoing sound are exhilarating to these fans, and they live for these shows. I however am far more partial to smaller shows, where the bands call out the crowd to come closer and gather around while experiencing an intimate moment with the 20 people that came out to the show, belting out every word to every song. At that distance, every move the band makes is magnified, and even the smallest errors can ruin a show, but Ambassadors were perfect throughout the night during their supporting set, giving their Washington area fans something great to talk about.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Album Review: Cyantific - Liberty

Album Rating: B+/A-
It's difficult to say that Cyantific hasn't been near the center of the drum & bass world for the past ten years. After the then-duo released their first single way back in 2002, Cyantific has come out with a full-length on one of the biggest labels in all of electronic music at the time (Hospital Records), won an award for biggest breakthrough DJ, gone through a split that left Jon Stanley, half of the duo, to continue the Cyantific production alone, hopped around big-name labels like Ram Records in the hopes of finding a more permanent home, and recently solved the above problem by founding their own label that has seen releases from genre stalwarts like Logistics as well as up-and-coming talents like Dimension. And the producers deserve the attention: huge tracks like "Little Green Men," "Timescape," and "Ghetto Blaster" are modern classics of sorts, and the experimental style that Cyantific is known for has taken center stage in the drum & bass world as of the past few years. Cyantific have ridden on a steady wave of successful releases and DJ sets, and Stanley has kept up the sound he's known for in a way that shows his mastery over his genre, even without the help of Matt Whitehead (the other half of the duo). At this point in his career, Stanley is flexing his creative muscle, sometimes stepping away from the standard double-time breaks of most drum & bass. His remix of The Resonators' "Sweet Love Affair" demonstrates the versatility of the Cyantific sound and sets expectations high for what's to come in the Cyantific catalogue, as it's difficult to accuse him of "playing it safe."

Artist of the Day: Photek

There's a lot to like about Photek. On top of spearheading much of the Drum and Bass movement in the mid 90's (with the track KJZ being a personal favourite of mine), he managed to release consistently contemporary and brilliant music until what can only be referred to as a minor slip-up in 2007 with Form & Function Vol. 2. His very latest, KU:PALM, is something of a return to form: moulding itself to the current electronic dance scene without abandoning his sense of pacing, restraint and absolutely devastating knack for percussion.

Things have changed, of course, as every electronic artist in the spotlight has had to. Eager ears won't go too long without noticing the omnipresence of more saturated, summer chords; and eager eyes will soon spot the three instances of "feat" pushed shyly to the end of the track list. Nevertheless, the album remains 'damn classy,' and while it might contain a little too much rumbling than is comfortable (which is any rumbling at all, in most instances), KU:PALM  can easily be described as incredibly good.

It's just out. Go get it.

Like on Facebook first, though.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Fred V & Grafix

In today's drum & bass world, the artists seem to be split into two major camps. In one camp, there's the classic sound of DnB - techy, clicky drums, a focus on a grimy low end, and a special love for Amen breaks (for those of you who don't know what that is, go here). In the other, there's the style that's been especially popular recently - mid-range synths, a more standard, less inventive DnB beat that plays second fiddle to the instrumentation, and a sound that synthesizes all of the best elements of pop into a 175 BPM offering. Fred V & Grafix fall definitively into the latter category, and they're one of the foremost reasons why that style of drum & bass deserves recognition. The British duo (Fred Vahrman and Josh Jackson) have ascended to the top of the DnB world with almost unbelievable speed, becoming two of the youngest signings to Hospital Records when they joined the label this past winter, only two years after their first official release (a single on KG's Talkin Beatz label). They've backed up their rise to the top with some solid songs, too, as they've been producing fantastic tune after fantastic tune for the two years they've been active. Whether it was before they were officially producing together (see Fred V's "Catch You"), when they were doing both collaborations and solo tracks (see "One Of These Days"), or now that they've officially become a duo (check out "Just A Thought (ft. Reija Lee)"), all of their songs are very well-produced and ready to make a club go crazy at any time. Up next release-wise for the duo is a track on Hospital compilation Sick Music 3, out late November. As of now, though, all of their songs so far are worth a listen, and I have high hopes for these two in the future.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Lasorda

One of the cooler side project "supergroups" I've heard about in recent times is Lasorda. The most recognizable name of the group is The Get Up Kids vocalist Matt Pryor, but don't expect to hear his voice lead songs in this project other than on "Sleep When You Are Dead". Instead, get used to hearing Suzannah Johannes' sweet voice, which goes perfectly well with the synths that dominate the project. Rounding out Lasorda is Nate Harold (fun., The Honorary Title, Waking Ashland), Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams), Mike Strandberg (Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band), and Josh Adams (Ghosty), bringing a wide diversity of indie rock influences together to create a really solid debut effort. You can currently stream the album's first two tracks "The Age Of Wonder" and "Interlaid" on the band's Soundcloud page, and look forward to hearing the rest of this great album when it is released on December 11th.

Album Review: Little Comets - Life Is Elsewhere

Album Rating: B
It'd be interesting to know how Little Comets feel about their current situation. Now reasonably respected with a nationwide UK following, the Newcastle-based trio have nevertheless experienced their fair share of setbacks - an ill-fated stint on Columbia Records being chief among them. Upon signing the contract in 2008, their young imaginations must have been rife with promises of sales and exposure, so the fact the major label severed ties before they'd even got around to releasing a record must have come as a brutal kick in the nads. In the words of singer Rob Coles, they "just didn't sound enough like Ke$ha," but while the episode left a sour taste there was silver a silver lining in that it left the group with a measure of self-control they were otherwise deprived of.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview With A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Round Two

One of the first interviews we did here at MuzikDizcovery was with A Great Big Pile Of Leaves. Since then, the band has gained quite a fanbase, while headlining a tour that also included MuzikDizcovery favorites Young Statues and Mansions and releasing two EPs on Topshelf Records. The band is now gearing up to release their second full length record in the coming months, and that should continue to launch this great band to new heights. On their last date with Cheap Girls and The Front Bottoms, the guys sat down to take some questions from us regarding topics such as the improvements from the debut to the new album, their Making Moves 7", Matt Fazzi's addition to the band, a possible vinyl issue of The Fiery Works, and much more that you can read below.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Album Review: Van Morrison - Born To Sing: No Plan B

Rating: B+
When I heard my passionate man crush Van Morrison was coming out with a new album, I responded with screams of "NOOOO," whispers of "WHYYYYY," and maybe even a few humongous tears.  I thought that Van Morrison making an album in 2012 would be a shame because his earlier works had accomplished one of the rarest of rare musical feats: they had defined multiple generations.  With lyrical themes about love, joy, peace, and patience, a brilliant fusion of acoustic folk and jubilant jazz, and some of the most vivid yet simple songwriting of his time, Morrison's first four albums (Blowin' Your Mind, Astral Weeks, Moondance, and His Band and The Street Choir) were not only able to define the generation, but future generations beyond that.  The albums were filled with calming and gorgeous atmospheres, soaring and soulful choruses, and timeless track after timeless track.  The albums were not only classics of their time, but reminders that even though every passing generation will say it is the most significant and most important generation that has ever existed, we are really all going through the same struggles, same divisions, and same general experiences.  Van Morrison's music wasn't the product of his time, but time was a product of Van Morrison.  Because of his ability to make timeless music and his ability to make sure that music sounded great to any listener in any decade, Van Morrison was truly one of the more unique musicians of any time.

Artist of the Day: The American Dollar

We saw a release from our friends The American Dollar a bit earlier on in 2012. And Awake In The City was a fantastic album; I had nothing but high praise for it. The new release has a lot going for it too, though; it's a remix of the prior release, with some added tracks and additional flare (or lack thereof). Not in a bad way, though, because the band decided to go about each track a different way, with a heavy focus on ambient. The result is...well, it's pretty cool. We haven't really heard from these guys in a while, since they've been on tour and have had things in the works, and getting this from them out of the blue was pretty cool. Comparing the remix of "Faces in the Haze" with the original was really neat, with commonly shared musical themes between, but an incredibly obvious split in how the themes were presented; Awake In The City tends to be a little more driving, while Ambient Three rises up from the mists, and becomes an overwhelming force without the listener even really noticing until the end of the track. If you liked Awake In The City, but want something a little more laid back and relaxed, Ambient Three is definitely the way to go.

Check it out on their bandcamp for free here.

Artist of the Day: Troubled Coast

In my humble opinion, any band that is capable of completely re-inventing themselves with each release is deserving of praise. Lately, it seems the bulk of these kinds of bands are receiving the recognition they deserve, such as Between the Buried and Me and Converge. Both reviewers and listeners seem to have acknowledged the progression they've gone through since the start of their careers. So why hasn't anyone done the same for Troubled Coast? Like BTBAM and Converge, they're a band that has consistently changed their sound, and their latest release, Awake and Empty, is simply a beast of an album.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Eels

Even in this age of social networking and avid fan engagement, Mark Oliver Everett (aka, E) remains defiantly old-school. It's hardly out of character - this, after all is the man who wanted Eels' debut album to sound like one of his old, worn out cassettes - but it does mean followers experience a sharp rush of excitement on the rare occasion one of his various outlets does spring to life. That much was evident on Friday when, for the first time in well over a year, the elusive songwriter submitted a tweet. Yes, a real digital tweet. The message in question ("Hi.") could scarcely have been more ambiguous, but the sense of inevitability surrounding it was backed today by confirmation his band's 10th studio album is well on its way. Entitled Wonderful, Glorious, it's due on February 5, and will mark the first Eels release since the Hombre Lobo, End Times and Tomorrow Morning trilogy of '09 and '10. As a shameless worshipper of all things E, I for one can't wait.

If you're unfamiliar with his/their work, here's a quick guide to get you started:

Live Review: Converge, Torche, Kvelertak, KEN Mode

How does one begin when putting to paper their thoughts on the greatest show they have ever seen?  Well, obviously with a sentence like that!  But in all seriousness, a mere day isn't a lot of time to digest a show as stunning as Converge, Torche, Kvelertak, and KEN Mode, but then again there's almost no amount of time that would.  For a few hours, the denizens of Columbus, OH were able to leave everything at the door and lose themselves to the chaotic and cathartic noise of the aforementioned bands.  It was a wild and frenzied affair that was both horrifying and beautiful.  The strange and unconventional bonding of strangers over some of the biggest names in the scene was a feeling that won't soon be forgotten.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Artist of the Day: Submotion Orchestra

If 2010's most brilliant gem Finest Hour had any flaws, it'd have to be its lack of playfulness. While Submotion Orchestra hit the mark on everything they did accomplish within its 60-minute playtime, the album had an underlying blueprint it followed. This wasn't a problem, seeing as Finest Hour successfully merged urban jazz with brooding dubstep like it was a small feat. But in order for the group to continue to be prominent in the underground music scene, a change had to take place.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Live Review: The Twilight Sad, The Cluny, Newcastle, 18/10/2012

I honestly can't think of a better setting in which to see The Twilight Sad. Winter is closing in. It's pitch black, wet, increasingly cold, and every path I use on my way to The Cluny is coated in a mass of sodden, decaying leaves. The venue itself is similarly appropriate. A decidedly wiff-waff-free zone, it's of suitable size to house such an acclaimed act yet intimate enough for audience members can gaze into the haunted whites of James Graham's eyes - truly ideal surrounding to such a snug, immersive soundtrack. In all honesty, tonight's script appeared set right from the moment the sun went down, so the fact the Glaswegians (expanded to a five-piece for live purposes) not only matched but transcended such conditions was nothing short of extraordinary.

Album Review: Stray Ghost - Those Who Know Darkness See The Light

Album Rating: B+
How we love to laugh at any modern-classical/ambient project that comes our way. Strings and piano, again? Hah! ‘You’ve got to be kidding me...’ It’s only when something really high-brow comes along that we withhold our almighty judgement: something that pushes itself so far from any recognisable trait that we’re forced to admit that yes, this is suitably new. See, in this little corner of the musical world emotional indulgence is often looked down upon; whereas if you were to take the trip over to folk, indie, rock and all things in between you might see that the opposite is the case. Perhaps it’s something to do with the often pretentious world of classical music, or maybe it’s more to do with the increasing number of pretentious people (such as your reviewer for this evening) who inhabit this world.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Album Review: Ty Segall - Twins

Album Grade: B+
It's an interesting trend in music these days that the smallest bands are the ones making the most noise. The Black Keys, a bluesy garage-rock duo, gained mainstream recognition and success coming on the heels of their especially loud album Brothers. Similarly, Sleigh Bells found themselves thrown into the spotlight after songs like "Kids" and "Infinity Guitars" blared through the speakers of televisions across America on commercials for MTV and Canon. Sleigh Bells, like the Black Keys and the originally kings of noisy garage rock The White Stripes, are just two people and a whole lot of decibels. Ty Segall is looking to do these groups one better on Twins, where the prolific frontman (three albums this year alone) and only credited member on the album is coming out with straightforward, fuzzy riffs and tons of energy.

Artist of the Day: Hop Along

It isn't often that we have a month like October, 2012.  Not only do we get Neurosis and Converge, but Coheed and Cambria and Bats as well.  Yes, it's almost too awesome to bear.  However, I had the grave misfortune of finally checking out Hop Along's debut, Get Disowned. 

Now, Get Disowned is an excellent album.  A really excellent album, actually.  And honestly, I can't even be mad at Hop Along for taking my attention away from albums I have been waiting years for.  There's something about the lovely mixture of female fronted folk rock with slight "punkiness" that really hits all the right notes.  The album is a first for the band, sort of, as it is more a reworking of the lead singer's solo act.  It is a brilliantly written, catchy, and full of wonderful hooks.  Lyrically, there are too many wonderful moments to name.  All of this adds up to an amazing album you should have heard months ago.

So am I pleased that Hop Along has me regretfully addicted?  Yes, and you should be too.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Artist of the Day: Daedelus

Electronic/Psychedelic madman Daedelus is nothing if not busy. On top of chucking out a torrent of experimental music on soundcloud, he's also found the time to appear (luxurious sideburns and all) in a Pitchfork documentary titled 'Music and the Psychedelic Mind'  as well as releasing a very tasty EP by the name of Looking Ocean just 2 days ago.

In true Daedelus fashion, Looking Ocean is a bit of a mixed bag: sitting somewhere between calm reflection and all out mania... possibly closer to the latter now I think of it. Not only will the tone shift wildly from track to track, there's examples like the title track that feature completely opposing themes right on top of each other: such as a clunky, deliberately quirky piano piece played amongst some pretty hardcore techno.

The remarkable thing is that it's actually really, really good. Flying Sail is currently the stand out for me, but honestly it's entirely possible that I might prefer another by the time I finish writing this. The other remarkable thing is that the EP is free.

So Download it!!!
And go and like his Facebook page.

Artist of the Day: King Charles

Chances are if you have watched television in the past five years, you have seen a singing Free Credit Report commercial.  The two guys on the FCR commercials will sing about just about anything: pirates, dream girls, the renaissance fair, driving, spelling, and "stress."  Even though you probably think these commercials are the most annoying thing on television besides Khloe, Kim, and Kourtney, the songs will usually be stuck in your head for days and days and you will be wanting more of these corny commercials, because despite their temporary annoyance they serve as a constant reminder that even commercial music can be fun, catchy, and semi-entertaining.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Album Review: Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Album Rating: A-
At this point it’s a little redundant to open up a talk about Converge with a hyperbolic reference to the band’s legacy.  Yeah, they’ve been around for roughly 20 years and have been blazing trails ever since.  This is nothing new, as with each new release the band manages to sound fresh and artistically engaging.  What should be said, however, is the mystical ability the band has to refrain from making bad music.  It’s true.  For with each album Converge reinvent themselves, all while providing an exceptional and immense experience.  Since their inception, Converge have released eight full length albums, with each being incredible in its own right.  With their latest, All We Love We Leave Behind, the quartet once again proves why they truly are at the top of their class.

Album Review: Seven Lions - Days To Come

Album Rating: B-
While Seven Lions was once a breath of fresh air, that breath has started to taste stale. His mixing of trance synths and vocals with dubstep beats and wobbles shot him to the top of the charts with his Polarize EP and his remixes of various high-profile trance artists like Above And Beyond and Tritonal. And it's clear that Seven Lions (a.k.a. Jeff Montalvo, a California producer in his mid-20s) became famous almost overnight for good reason: songs like "Below Us" and "Polarized" took a near-motionless dubstep sound and pushed it to places it had barely gone before, and people flocked to his new "trancestep" and "progstep" ideas. However, the novelty of his sounds has started to fade away, and a lot of Montalvo's recent work has started to sound just a little too similar. A lot of his songs - most notably "Below Us" and his remixes of Velvetine's "The Great Divide" and Above And Beyond's "On My Way To Heaven" - build up with comparable airy trance leads and somewhat subtle lower-register wobbles, fade away to sultry female vocals, and then drop with the same chord every time. It's unfortunate how predictably chaotic every one of his post-drop sections has become, but he's basically taken the same stiff format that would have been better off if it were used far less frequently and applied it to almost every single one of his songs.

Jukebox: Frankie & The Heartstrings - "I Still Follow You"

Frankie & The Heartstrings have been busy in the year and a half since the release of debut LP Hunger. As well as dropping a satisfying non-album single in "Everybody Looks Better In The Right Light," the Sunderland-based quintet have also been hard at work reinvigorating the North East's music scene with their Pop Sex Ltd label, providing an enthusiastic base from which fledgling acts such as The Neat and Ajimal have shot to similar levels of excellence. Thankfully, all this extracurricular activity has done nothing to quell commitment to the day job, as evidenced by the fact they've spent much of recent months locked away in a recording studio with former Suede man Bernard Butler. Indeed the first taste from those sessions, "I Still Follow You" suggests the group are going from strength to strength; refining past formulas whilst also adding a fresh dimension to their gloriously vigorous indie pop sound.

Album Review: Savoir Adore - Our Nature

Album Rating: A-
Savoir Adore kicked off their musical career with one rule, straight-forward enough - in recording their debut EP, they decided to place a 48-hour deadline on its completion, and furthermore, resolved that there’d be no acoustic guitar in the mix. A challenge to foster creativity? Perhaps. If creativity wasn't a part of the group's humble beginning, though, it's certainly a part of the formula in 2012. What we have here is an album with delectable indie songs, traditional in structure but unique in terms of styling. “Dreamers,” for instance, reveres the dance hooks of the ‘80s by channeling them into a distinctly modern energy. And overall, Our Nature gives the impression of having been around the block and back - the album treads a surprising amount of indie-pop ground, each new interpretation of the genre much more of a success than anyone expected it to be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Seven Lions

With the somewhat formulaic nature of electronic music today, it's nice to see a producer meld two genres and achieve success with the combination. Since the development of genres like dubstep, drum & bass, and house has been close to stagnant ever since a wobbly sound marked a total shift in direction, the most sensible way to further push the limits of a style seems to be to incorporate other electronic elements into that music. In Seven Lions' case, a mixing of some of the best qualities of brostep and trance-styled chords has catapulted his sound into the upper echelons of today's electronic market and launched his career very high in only a short time.

Artist Spotlight: The Good China

The Good China is an eight piece outfit from Melbourne, Australia that has released two brilliant yet almost opposite songs in 2012 titled "No More Maps, No More Roads" and "We Knew That We Had To Leave." "No More Maps, No More Roads" is a song about uncertainty and having no where to turn, but after listening to the song you will be certain that it is one of the top tracks of the year.

Album Review: The Swellers - Running Out of Places to Go

Album Rating: B
Back when The Swellers released Ups and Downsizing, there was so much potential for where they could go. They displayed a true knack for pop/punk, complete with hard-hitting hooks and quality emo-leanings. Unfortunately, when it came to their sophomore album, Good For Me, they took a turn in a rather disappointing direction, focusing more so on their pop tendencies than anything else. It was good for what it was, but it lacked the edge that made Ups and Downsizing such a good album. So when it came to their new EP, I was hesitant in my approach, and could not be happier with I heard.

Album Review: Sithu Aye - Invent the Universe

Album Rating: B
What better way to make something huge than to base it on the biggest concept known to man? Our universe has always been a mystery, and this will continue to be the case no matter how much science assists us. After all, our origins themselves are a puzzle - if the Big Bang theory occurred, for instance, how exactly did something arise from nothing? It all stems back to what highly-esteemed astronomer Carl Sagan once noted:

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

It’s incredibly convenient, then, that progressive artist Sithu Aye’s decided to devise his own universe. It’s compiled of about everything ours contains, but with a little more oomph. Pastures a striking green, skies a sterling cerulean. How Aye goes about creating this elaborate world is by extracting just a little bit of groove from his debut Cassini, a fair amount of Isles’s ambition, one snip here, another there, to contribute to what should be an all-encompassing end product.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Artist of the Day: DakhaBrakha

Is music a universal love fest or something that is dependent on individual taste, experiences, and preferences? Is it possible for a song to be so universal and easy to connect to that it can be a soundtrack to just about anyone's experiences?  Or is music dependent on our differences?  Can we only connect to music in one personal way that is uniquely ours? Is it possible for more than one person to have a collective and unique connection to one song or one moment or do our fundamental differences in taste, experience, and culture prevent this?

Album Review: Anberlin - Vital

Grade: A
What is vital? Is it really just what is necessary for life, such as food and water? Is it what is telling us what is alive, like our vital signs? Or is it that which is full of life? Anberlin would have us believe that all three can be concentrated into one with their music. A powerful, touching blend of Christ-influenced alternative rock that always provides a shock to the listener's system and is packed with enough punch to jolt one who is lazily tracking the songs to one who is fully engrossed. Yes, this album creates life within you and within those involved.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Live Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Cluny 2, Newcastle, 12/10/2012

We Were Promised Jetpacks' current position is a tough one to evaluate. Now fairly established on the UK's underground indie circuit, the Edinburgh quartet are nevertheless an outfit you'd file under 'promising' as opposed to any category of fulfilment. They're undoubtedly headed in the right direction: two albums in, they've clearly made strides with regards to consistency, and though still a work in progress from a songwriting perspective can summon levels of passion and energy to mix it with the best. It was on impulse, then, that I decided to attend the first date of the group's latest UK tour, fuelled by curiosity as to whether that recorded zest could be channelled into their live shows.

Artist of the Day: Beware of Safety

Our good friends over at the Mylene Sheath released Beware of Safety's most recent full-length effort. And I reviewed it, it was fantastic; it even made my top ten of last year. But after listening to it, I was curious - what happened in the history of the band that led up to the 2011 release Leaves / Scars? So I delved (not very deep, because everything's on Bandcamp). Their first EP, It Is Curtains, is an insightful look into their past. It features a much more laid back, rough-cut charm to the band's post-rock/post-metal approach; while it's not as stereo-quality, it does carry the emphasis of the band's core mechanic, and does it well, so it's not hard to see just where the band is coming from.

Meanwhile, dogs is the first release Beware of Safety has had on the Mylene Sheath, and it's the record that BoS really started refining their hybrid sound; the line between post-rock and post-metal are much more blurred, and in this sense, there's some of each going on at all times; there's always some intensity building, even when everything quiets, you can sense conflict, pressure, tension. And finally, Leaves / Scars, the culmination of the band's years of effort, showcase the best and brightest from the band, which you can read about in further detail in my review. It was their most fantastic thing to date (without a lot to choose from, but a lot of quality to consider to make up for quantity), and there are sure to be exciting things coming from Beware of Safety, so I'll keep you posted. But you should keep an eye out too, and watch for the next big thing.

Meanwhile, if you need something to tide you over until then, here's a link to Beware of Safety's Bandcamp page.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Artist of the Day: The Act of Estimating as Worthless

There really isn't a better time to listen to folk/indie than the Fall. There's something about this season that compliments the subtly dark and atmospheric tone that genre generally has, and The Act of Estimating as Worthless may be the best I've come across all year. Just released this February on Birthquake Records, Amongst These Splintered Minds, is a nearly flawless album that ranges from being rustically relaxing to hauntingly dark. From start to finish the album is all around beautifully entrancing, which fans of folk/indie acts like Mount Eerie should more than appreciate. And, to make things even better, it's up for free download on their Bandcamp page.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Jukebox: ShockOne - Chaos Theory

Brostep is one of the most polarizing types of music out there today. Love it or hate it, it evokes strong feelings in almost anyone - there's not much room for neutrality. And, now that everyone and their dog is producing electronic music, a ton of terrible stuff is out there just waiting to taint someone's opinion on the "bro" phenomenon. I won't get into my whole spiel about the merits and faults of brostep, nor will I talk about whether or not its effect on "real" electronic music is beneficial or not. Suffice to say that when something wobbly is well-made and produced with care, I consider it a good song. It's not really fair to view something poorly simply because of its genre; it's best to think instead about if it succeeds within the limitations (or lack thereof) of that style.

Artist Of The Day: Graph Rabbit

We get sent a heap of great stuff here at Muzik Dizcovery, however in a year and a half writing for the site I can safely say that no one has struck me in such a forceful and elegant manner as Graph Rabbit. This Brooklyn duo first came to my attention a fortnight ago when their representative submitted an introductory press release along with a link to the group's debut single. The track, "Only Fields," caught me completely off guard, enveloping me in a blissful, ethereal haze of delicate croons and twinkling glockenspiels. It was almost as if someone had taken the very best elements of Beach House, Sigur Ros and Radiohead and stirred them into a cauldron of sparse, harrowing beauty; but in spite of such distinct influences the sound Austin Donohue and Shy Kedmi dreamt up seemed unique to no one besides themselves.

As you'd imagine, I swiftly set about getting my hands on their debut album Snowblind, and to my sheer amazement it not only lived up to that magnificent benchmark but somehow managed to surpass it. In fact, it might just be the best thing I've heard all year, so it's with great enthusiasm and conviction that I urge you to check it out. Here's a full review of the record.

Snowblind is out now. It's streaming in its entirety over at AOL, and you can pick up a physical copy from the band's official website.


Album Review: Graph Rabbit - Snowlind

Album Rating: A
If my recent obsession with this record proves anything, it's the virtues of a good press release. About two weeks ago I was sitting here at my computer, amply sifting through a batch I'd been sent. Nothing really stood out. There was some wishy-washy pop punk, lots of landfill indie and the odd intellectual electronica project I couldn't be arsed to put my mind to. Nope, not much at all; except that is for a modest introduction to a Brooklyn duo who went by the name of Graph Rabbit. It was brisk, informative, vaguely namechecked a bunch of awesome artists (Wilco, Bjork, Sigur Ros, etc) and best of all provided a link to the band's debut single at the bottom.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Live Review: Taking Back Sunday with Bayside (Fillmore Detroit, 10/7/12)

Adam Lazzara
Photo cred: Jim Altier
I'd never been inside the Fillmore Detroit before going inside on October 7 to see Taking Back Sunday's "Tell All Your Friends 10" tour but I definitely hope it won't be the last. The acoustics were great, the tiered seating in General Admission was pretty cool and the amount of space was fantastic. Even Bayside's Anthony Raneri was wowed by the Detroit architecture inside. However, I didn't go to admire the wonderful interior of the venue: I went to absorb as much as I could of Taking Back Sunday's set- and it seemed everyone else there did too.

Artist of the Day: Torche

In exactly three days I will be witnessing what I believe will be the finest concert of my life.  It's a bit of a bold statement; blind judgement towards something impossible to predict.  However, the line-up is something anyone with even a passing interest in heavy music would love. Not only are metalcore legends Converge, highlighting, but lesser known bands such as KEN Mode and Kvelertak.  But if there's one band I can rely on to put out one hell of a fun show, it's gotta be Torche.

Album Review: 17f - The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Album Rating: A-
When it comes to inner states of mind, I like to agree with Max Richter’s selection of Kafka: that ‘everyone carries a room about inside them.’ If we run with this view for a while, we can see that the room inside Frederic Merk - the man behind this project - is quite a dreary place indeed. It’s isolated, first and foremost, perhaps with a single chair placed at its centre confronting a wall of naked plasterboard; with light trapped in the narrow beams that squeeze through gaps in the shutters. I’d like to think that next to the chair sat a battered old guitar and a rusty harmonica, too. A musical outlet for whatever clouds his mind.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Artist of the Day: The Format

A friend of mine commented to me the other day that he was "shocked that the guy in fun. actually has a good voice without autotune," to which I replied "Duh. Haven't you ever heard of The Format?" Obviously, he hadn't, for few have. The Format does indeed fun.'s incredibly talented vocalist Nate Ruess with the help of multi-instrumentalist Sam Means, who does everything else. The duo released just two albums together, but the sheer quality of these albums should make The Format household names, especially now that fun. is one.

Live Review: Gallows, O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, 08/10/2012

It seems cruel to judge anyone against Frank Carter, but for the foreseeable future that's a burden Wade MacNeil is going to have to live with. Furious, confrontational and borderline psychotic, Gallows' founding ginger linchpin was nothing short of a colossus behind the mic, proving instrumental in their ascent which came dangerously near to culminating in a mainstream breakthrough. Unsurprisingly, former Alexisonfire man MacNeil doesn't profit from comparison, but while his replacement of Carter has divided fans you'll find few who've not wished him success. It's a stint which has experienced an adequate start, but although the band's self-titled third LP has garnered mostly positive reviews it's fair to say the jury's still out on the new incarnation, and its frontman in particular.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Artist of the Day: Spring Offensive

What's the best way to attract attention when in an aspiring indie group? I don't have the answer, but it seems Spring Offensive do.

1. Pick damned great influences.
2. Make captivating and unforgettable music videos.
3. Release promising tracks, one after the next.

The best way to witness the promise in Spring Offensive's name is through their latest music video for "Not Drowning But Waving." The gorgeous track is enough to make any Shearwater fanboy swoon, and the story the video tells is equally engaging (in a fatally different way.) Check it out after the jump:

Album Review: Love & Light - Level Up

Album Rating: B/B+
Glitch hop is one of those genres which seems to succeed far more than other genres of electronic music. There's something alluring about that 100-110 BPM tempo that draws electronic music listeners in like moths to a flame. Maybe it's the power that the standard glitch hop beat has, since funky, danceable, catchy, and fun drums can usually anchor down a piece and make it good even if the instrumentals leave something to be desired. Maybe it's because there's so much that can be done with the tempo range - there's the standard triplet-based glitch hop feel, the syncopated 110 BPM tunes with a deceptively flat beat, the 108 BPM electro house that's been so popular recently with producers like Kill The Noise and Knife Party, and even the ridiculously energetic moombah beat which many artists, most famously Munchi, have ridden to huge success. And maybe it's just that glitch hop has seen a massive rise in popularity recently without the extra baggage of a major controversy between people who favor a more traditional sound and people who would rather party at a club to more aggressive music. Whatever it is, it's clear that Simplify Recordings has played into the hype of the genre very well. With a back catalogue of almost entirely glitch hop, they've gained respect in the electronic world for the way that their artists play with the seemingly small tempo range, and Simplify producers like Kezwik, Kairo Kingdom, and Blunt Instrument have seen some major attention come their way. And with more and more artists jumping on the glitch hop bandwagon (see Mord Fustang's recent single "Champloo"), it will be fascinating to see how much more Simplify Recordings can grow.

Album Review: Luther - Let's Get You Somewhere Else

Album Rating: B+
The bulk of music being released the past few years can best be described as being emotionally heavy. Some call it depressing, which isn't inaccurate, but it's something that is never a bad thing and is often preferred. It's passion, above all else, that drives this style of music. But what's easy to forget when you primarily listen to emotional/hardcore music is that music is also about having fun. You can still have insightful and honest lyrics, it's just not absolutely necessary to have it coincide with equally emotionally heavy music. Luther's Let's Get You Somewhere Else is just that kind of album, delving into immensely relatable subjects with a punk rock mentality that is about having fun more than anything else.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Artist of the Day: 17f

It wasn't so long ago that Giles Corey followed up on his revered self-titled debut with Deconstructionist, an EP which seemed to stretch just a little bit further into the experimental netherworld than many of his fans were eager to stretch. Gone were the hazy acoustic crones for the 'post-industrialist' (his words) age, and in came the drone. People just weren't ready for it. So in our mini little scramble for a little more of the good stuff - a scramble that has admittedly been calmed somewhat following the GY!BE frenzy - I present 17f. Not Giles Corey mk. 2 by any means, but cut of the same acoustic/ folky/ dark/ psychadelic cloth, and every bit as good.