Monday, December 31, 2012

Casey's EPs, Songs, and Albums of 2012

Reflecting back on 2012, I can't help to compare it to 2011 due to the fact that I only started paying attention to a broader scope of music that year. As of now, 2012 feels a lot weaker at the top than 2011, however the depth far surpasses it. It pained me to leave off records such as Chromatics, Gifts From Enola, Lone, Masked Intruder and Savoir Adore, but this year just had too many strong albums to mention every single one of them. It's even crazier when you think that if you had told me that all of Two Door Cinema Club, Say Anything, Sleigh Bells and Motion City Soundtrack wouldn't have a place on this list, I would have thought you were crazy. Surely a couple of those could release poor albums, but there was no chance that all of them could. Alas, the worst happened, and none of those albums will receive any more mention than this. Pop punk also had a very down year after taking up three of my top five spots (or so) last year, and you won't find a record that I consider pop punk amongst the top 25. Bands you will find featured predominantly are fun., Yellowcard, Frank Ocean, Take One Car, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, ScHoolboy Q, and far more that you can find below. If you click on the name of the album, you will find links to our coverage. If you click on the name of the song, you will be taken to Youtube for a listen.

Nathan Flynn's Top 40 Songs of the 2012

After a year of listening to new music, I find that I’m not listening to a lot of 2012 music. There have been a few standout albums (Good Kid m.a.a.d. City, Some Nights, Vital, Cruel Summer) that I still listen to on a regular basis, but most releases, even some that I liked a lot- sorry Regina Spektor- have just fallen by the wayside. Well, this isn’t about the best albums of the year: this is about some diamonds in the rough scattered around some of 2012’s best and worst releases. My 40 favorite songs I would recommend checking out from this year (with links!) are:

Jacob's 2012 Gems

2012's been a year of thrills and disappointments, surprises and inevitabilities. Instead of honing in on the most rewarding moments of the year, let's take a deeper look inside its many angles.

First off, I have to admit 2012 was my official foray into hip-hop. Although I've explored the genre little by little over the last few years, I've never quite delved into it to the extent that this year entailed. As a result, many of my favorites from 2012 are hip-hop classics. Sure, I've always been a metalhead at heart, but the albums I was interested in from this year were all at least somewhat of a disappointment.

Perhaps one has bigger expectations when they know what exactly they expect. This could be said for many of 2012's letdowns for me: Between the Buried and Me was cohesive but forgettable, Periphery II was riddled with filler and The Contortionist was incredibly forced. And it's because I know what makes a successful progressive metal album that I'm so picky about specificities. Maybe that's why hip-hop was so appealing to me this year. I like to think it's more than that, though, which is why you'll see quite a few albums from the genre in my list.

Jonny's Top 10 Releases of 2012

If there was ever a year to get into electronic music, 2012 was probably that year. As well as Burial and Clubroot showing the world how dubstep should be done, we've had an explosion of talent from Russia in the likes of Night Shift and Clonki  as well as local scenes blossoming in both the east (Borealis, Liar) and west (Kettel, Secede, Chymera) of mainland Europe. In the meantime, Indie music seems to be suffering from an identity crisis in this Hipster-conscious age if Metronomy singles are to be believed, Metal continues to go the way of pop-punk by continuing to stagnate and Pop itself is even embracing the deeper sides of electronic. Folk's done alright, actually, but for the purpose of getting you to listen to electronic we'll ignore that. Ambient, as ever, has enjoyed a fantastic year.

So here it is, my personal top 10 releases of the year.

Interview: RM Hubbert

The Internet may have opened new, exciting mediums for music discovery, but for me there's still nothing which can match the magic of live introduction. It's a method which may as well have existed since the beginning of time, and yet it's one which just keeps on giving, as evidenced by my sudden, unreserved affinity to Glasgow's RM Hubbert. Before October, this lone ranger was but a speck on my conscience; a distant, unfamiliar figure whose name I'd heard yet never felt inclined to look into. Three months and three support slots (with The Twilight Sad and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - twice) later, however, the guitarist sits firmly among the artists I hold dear, a result of his sensational performances along with a pair of similarly radiant studio LPs. It was my pleasure then, to quiz my favourite find of 2012 on the past year, those live shows and the prospect of a new album in the pipeline...

Moses's Top 25 Albums Of The Year..And Other Things


Click on the links for fun times.

25. Carly Rae Jepsen – Kiss
If you need further proof that “Call Me Maybe” was just the beginning, this is it. Jepsen puts her understated but expressive voice to good work on this nonstop ride, and not even ill-advised visits from Owl City and Justin Bieber can weigh the fun down too much.

24. Fun. – Some Nights
23. Phillip Phillips – The World From The Side Of The Moon
Where so many Idol winners before him have failed is where Phillips (times two) succeeds: he has a clear understanding of who he wants to be right off of the bat, and what his debut release lacks in ambition it more than makes up for in substance—and sincerity.

22. she – Electric Girl
Finnish producer Lain Trzaska, better known online as she, has been doing terrific under-the-rader work in the electronic/chiptune genre for a while now, but for the uninitiated, Electric Girl is a more-than-adequate primer: look no further than the title track, which mixes glitchy and vaguely seductive come-ons, the sonic ferocity of rock, and the thrusting rhythms of breakbeat—all under the pretenses of a throbbing club banger. Or “Heartbeats”, which buries a murky but surprisingly resilient vocal under the interplay of synths and piano before soaring in the chorus; it even has the balls to throw in a guitar solo just because it sounds really freaking good. For Trzaska, bleeps and bloops are just windows into other walks of music, and if his latest release is any indication, he’s not even close to finishing his exploration.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Artist of the Day: The Alvin Band

I'm infatuated with The Alvin Band, probably because Rick Schaier really knows how to pick his influences well. Take the sugary highs from Animal Collective, and combine them with the vocal harmonies in which Kevin Barnes gleefully basks, and voila - you've got yourself a discography full of catchy statements.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Artist of the Day: Therese Aune

In a time of year notorious for its higher-than-usual suicide rates, I think it's important to embrace the depression by listening to a little bit of downtrodden folk music. My squeeze for this year comes in the form of Therese Aune, who released Billowing Shadows, Flickering Light in the cold, pre-winter months. Ending up sounding like a marriage between Daughter and Regina Spektor, the album shimmers with crooning female vocals over an often minimal and emotional backdrop. It's a little rough around the edges at times, but this quiet slice of folk-dom is easily charming its way up my (yet to be published) end of year list. Check it out, it really is kind of beautiful.

'Grey Ghost' and 'Myself as a Child' are personal favourites.

Links to Stream and Purchase

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Interview With DIIV (12/7/12)

On a list of the best debut albums in 2012, DIIV's Oshin will surely be in a prominent position. The album has already been named on Pitchfork and NME's best of 2012 lists, and many other large publications are showering honors on this fantastic band. The band is led by Cole Smith, an ex-touring member of Beach Fossils, and while there's definitely resemblance between the two bands, DIIV has their own special formula that has won over plenty of fans in their first full year as a band. The band sat down with us before their Washington, DC show with Japandroids, and answered questions about topics such as end of year accolades, the importance of water to the band, performing with Beach Fossils, being a part of a Mark Hoppus tweet, and much more that you can read below. 

End Of The Year 2012: Best Free EDM

One of the best things about the massive amounts of EDM out there today is that a lot of it is free. Whether an artist wants to give away everything he/she releases for no charge, makes a song off a release free in order to promote the release as a whole, or makes a song for the fans just because, there's a lot of good free stuff out there. In this end-of-year feature, we aim to round up the best of the free compilations, artist albums, EPs and short releases, and songs of the year.


OWSLA presents Free Treats Vol. 2

Genre: Various
What It Is: Ever since starting up as a label mid-2011, Skrillex's OWSLA has been on fire, releasing some of the biggest tunes in the EDM community from some of the biggest artists around. Here, we see the label releasing 19 tracks from big-name producers like KOAN Sound and Plastician alongside lesser-known ones like Ghastly! and Culiner. This is one of the best releases of the year, period, and the fact that it's free is a huge bonus.

Artist Recordings Free Drum & Bass LP

Genre: Drum & Bass
What It Is: Some of the better drum & bass you'll hear all year. From the beautiful liquid of "Nocturne" to the banger that is "Lonely," all 17 tracks are absolutely worth a shot.

JesusDied4Dubstep Ayano Compilation

Genre: Dubstep
What It Is: A great 25-track dubstep compilation from one of the leading YouTube promotion channels in the genre. There are some really great artists here, like the legendary Jakes and the up-and-coming Pegboard Nerds (look for the latter to make it big soon, as they're on the fast track to the top right now).

Vital Presents: Infinity

Genre: Various
What It Is: A 12-track sampler just in time for the end of 2012, showcasing some incredible young talent. Especially interesting is final track "Ascension Meditation" from Kannamix & V!xen, a house tune of upwards of 10 minutes with a meditation sample playing behind almost ethereal synths.



Artist: Rameses B
Genre: Primarily Drum & Bass
What It Is: Technically not free, but the 40 pence Rameses B charges for 23 songs is the least that Bandcamp allows him to sell the album for without actually being free. Plus, Rameses B is one of the finest drum & bass artists of the past few years, and he absolutely deserves your pennies.

Mad Liberation

Artist: GriZ
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: Some of the funkiest glitch hop this side of KOAN Sound. A full-length's worth of dirty yet excellently produced glitchy goodness. If you need any more convincing then something is wrong.


Artist: Robotic Pirate Monkey
Genre: Various glitchy styles
What It Is: Eight tracks of excellently chilled-out EDM. There's a whole lot of stuff on here, from straight brostep (Banana Cannon) to some Glitch Mob-esque glitch hop (Bank On That) to some straighter beats (Sizzlin'). It's a wonderful release that shows off the lighter side of heavy, and there's something for everybody on the release.

Dance Floor Filth 2

Artist: 3LAU
Genre: House, Mashup
What It Is: Fantastic mashups by one of the finest DJs to make it big in the past year or so. 3LAU's (pronounced "BLAU") modus operandi seems to be taking an EDM tune (for example, "Language" by Porter Robinson or a mix of Nicky Romero's "Toulouse" and Knife Party's "Internet Friends) and throwing perfectly-matched pop vocals on top (in these examples, "Call Me Maybe" and a mashup of "Sexy And I Know It" and "We Found Love"), and the result is nothing short of impressive. 3LAU has a lot of clear talent, and I for one am very excited to see where he takes his ideas in the future.

Love's Shadow

Artist: Truth
Genre: Dubstep
What It Is: Probably the least "EDM" of the entire list, Love's Shadow is a 19-track offering from some of the rising stars in the realm of darker dubstep. The duo isn't a "nobody" group either - they've released on major labels like Tempa, Deep Medi, Wheel & Deal, and more. If darker stuff is your thing at all, this is a must-listen - it's a fine release, and the "free" label added on makes it even sweeter.

EPs/Short Releases:

Play Harder

Artist: Krewella
Genre: Various
What It Is: So far, there have been a few artists which I've said will make it big soon. Krewella is one of those artists who managed to make it big already, and they've been headlining major events for a few months now and have been present at basically every major American EDM festival over the course of 2012. This release comes as a sort of thank-you to fans - it's a remix album mostly, with four remixes of their huge song "Killin' It" and as many of their equally huge song "Alive." There's also an original here, a drum & bass song titled "Come & Get It," but the bulk of this album comes in the form of remixes. It's an excellent freebie from a trio who's full of energy, and it's a testament to the success of their landmark EP Play Hard.

The Greed

Artist: Block Dodger
Genre: Neurofunk
What It Is: The YouTube channel NeurofunkGrid has been a leader in the promotion of good neurofunk for a while now, and as a celebration of the popularity it's achieved the channel has released their first original publication, a two-track EP from excellent producer Block Dodger. And what an EP it is - Block Dodger is an excellent producer, and these two tracks are an excellent showcase of what he can do. The growling, menacing synths throughout are perfect for the genre, and the pieces are paranoid and fast paced, exactly how it should be.

Moe Moe Kyunstep

Artist: chibi-tech
Genre: Chipstep?
What It Is: This one's sort of out of left field, but it's an excellent release nonetheless. In part II of the release, chibi-tech creates a drumstep banger of sorts, complete with heavy wobbles and distortion, entirely out of NES sounds. Part I is excellent as well, though it's not quite as inventive as part II as it's a more standard chiptune piece. Fantastic release from someone who's quickly become one of my favorite chiptune artists, and I expect big things from chibi-tech in the future.


Artist: Chipzel
Genre: Chiptune
What It Is: A short offering from one of the leaders in the chiptune field. We interviewed Chipzel earlier this year following the release of the soundtrack of Terry Cavanagh's fantastic game Super Hexagon, and a little while after the interview she decided to release these four songs for free. Chipzel is one of the best chiptune producers out there, and if you want to get into the genre this isn't a bad place to start.

Freezee D

Artist: Subzee D
Genre: Dubstep
What It Is: Subzee D is one of the most exciting new faces in the realm of kinda-heavy dubstep, and it's awesome to see him release a full three-track EP for free. His production is very good, up there with the best of the best in the genre right now, and this release is an excellent demonstration of that. Nothing here quite stacks up with his massive 2011 tune Jack In A Box, but everything here is very good nonetheless.


Escape Reality (Synchronice Remix)

Artist: The Bolivian Marching Affair
Genre: Moombah
Location: (Helpful Hint: the download button is the fifth button from the left under the track itself.)
What It Is: As a disclaimer: since there are so many good free EDM tracks out there every year, the ones featured in this article are the best of the best of 2012. This is no exception - the chorus is excellent, the buildup is very nice, and the main section is heavy and well-done. It's an excellent song from beginning to end.

She Was (ft. Birds Of Paradise)

Artist: Seven Lions
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: One of the best melodic glitch hop tunes of the year, shining out brightly from the rough of a decent yet disappointing EP released earlier this year on OWSLA. It's got Seven Lions' trademark "trancestep" sound over a funky glitch hop beat, and it's really interesting overall.

Sly Fox

Artist: KOAN Sound
Genre: Glitch Hop
What It Is: It's no secret that KOAN Sound are my favorite producers right now, and this song is a great example of why. It's heavy, it's funky, it's fun, and it's perfect for most EDM situations. Plus, the top-notch production is a bonus, although we've come to expect that by now.

Rise And Fall (ft. Krewella)

Artist: Adventure Club
Genre: Dubstep
Location: (currently the 7th song on the list)
What It Is: Adventure Club are committed to releasing every one of their songs for free, and this approach has netted them tons of fans from all over the Internet. This is one of the best they released this past year, combining their talents with those of Krewella to create an epic piece with one of the best intros of the year, rivaled mostly by the Synchronice remix above.

Requiem For The New World

Artist: AZEDIA
Genre: Orchestral Dubstep
What It Is: A mammoth piece to end the year on a high note. While the world didn't actually end on December 21st, this song was made in honor of the date anyways. And it's really a beautiful piece - it's a great orchestral setting, with synths and guitars over it all, on top of a standard dubstep beat, and it's a really nice way to close out the year for AZEDIA.


JesusDied4Dubstep Ayano Compilation

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Muzikdizcovery Exclusive First Listen: Ex Friends - Model Minority

Though 2012 is drawing to a close, there’s still no shortage of great music being released even at this junction point between years, and we at Muzikdizcovery have the privilege of streaming some of that great music right now. “Model Minority” is a blistering one-and-a-half minute onslaught of punk goodness, and there’s really not all that much more that anyone could want from a straight punk song like this. The guitars wail, the drums pound furiously, and one can hear the phlegm rattling around in lead singer Joel Tannenbaum’s throat as he growls about the pains of being seen and judged as a member of a certain ethnicity instead of as a complex, three-dimensional human being. It hits the nail on the head as far as songwriting goes - you can appreciate it at the surface level and have a good time headbanging, you can read deeply into it and realize the importance of Ex Friends’ message, or you can do both at the same time. Twisted Around, Ex Friends' newest EP, comes out January 29th, and this song whets the appetite well.

We're incredibly grateful to the band, Yo Yo Records, and Beartrap PR for allowing us to stream the full song exclusively on MuzikDizcovery. Have a listen below.

2012: A Year In Retrospect

The Twilight Sad
I don't want to cast a downer on the past 12 months, but I think most would agree 2012 has hardly been a vintage year. Let's not get overly dramatic here; affairs in the musical world have been as compelling and headline-worthy as ever, and although short on true masterpieces we haven't exactly been bereft of quality releases on which to gorge. Speaking from a personal perspective, nothing has hooked me in the way that WU LYF's Go Tell Fire To The Mountain or The National's High Violet have in recent times, though to grumble would seem irreverent given the wealth of worthwhile material we have been blessed with.

Artist Of The Day: Pianos Become The Teeth

As the holidays come to a close and we round out the end of the year, I'm sure you will able to think back on all the good times you've experienced: having a blast at your favorite show, spending time with your new significant other, or just hanging out in a living room with your best friends. Yet, you may find yourself reminiscing on some of the sadder moments, and that is exactly where Pianos Become The Teeth fit into the mix. The post-hardcore outfit released The Lack Long After in November of 2011, but the staying power and raw passion the band delivers is unprecedented. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Young Statues

Young Statues may be a little bit of a misfit on the punk oriented Run For Cover records, but that hasn't harmed them from growing in popularity and getting on some fantastic tours in 2012. It doesn't hurt that Joe Marro from The Early November, a well respected figure in the scene, had taken them under his wing and managed them. Taking  them out on The Early November's reunion tour didn't hurt the band's growth either, as this first big tour for the band ignited their steady gain for 2012. Based on recent events, 2013 may be even bigger for this very young band.

Album Review: The Others - Red Planet

Album Rating: A-
2012 has been a disappointing year so far for Dub Police. After a solid 2011 that saw the releases of a very good Subscape EP, a pretty good EP from The Others, a decent full-length from Emalkay, and some fantastic shorter releases from smaller artists like Subzee-D and KGB, the British dubstep label simply hasn't been able to match their 2011 output this year. Not only has the label released far less material, the material it has released has been unfortunately mediocre - a middling Subscape EP, some average Caspa singles, and three smaller artists' EPs which don't hold a candle to those released last year. Of course, this 2012 summary overlooks the massive amount of advertising of The Others' debut full-length which the label did this past year as well. Dub Police promoted the album like crazy, releasing somewhere around a third of the album in singles over the course of the year, and it was made clear that a mediocre 2012 was due in part to the label wanting to end the year with a bang with the release of the album on December 21st. Thanks in part to the almost ridiculous amount of hype surrounding the release, however, many fans of The Others (including this reviewer) were just a bit worried about the final product. After all, we've seen quite a few more albums than we would have liked to this year which didn't quite live up to massive expectations - Netsky's sophomore release alienated quite a bit of the fanbase he won over after his debut, and Calyx & Teebee couldn't quite live up to the monster hopes fans had for their first full-length in five years. As a result, it's fair to say that there were quite a few nervous fans waiting anxiously for Red Planet.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Artist of the Day: Fawn and Rabbit

Earlier this year Fawn and Rabbit released one of the most surprising EP's of the year.  Alec Morgan produced one of the best releases of the year just using his voice, a guitar, a bass drum, and no recording experience.  Despite these logical limitations, The Long Trail That Leads To Nowhere ended up sounding like a well produced and well crafted blend of the often over produced and over analyzed thrashing sounds of Led Zeppelin, the delightful harmonies of the Beatles earlier works, the best moments of Bob Dylan's protest folk, and even some of the most psychedelic Pink Floyd songs.  What Morgan lacked in resources he made up for in genuineness, creativity, skill, and intelligence. Instead of trying to create an album that matched the sounds of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan, Morgan found a way for those artists to match a creative sound that he had already envisioned.  His vision is all over The Long Trail That Leads To Nowhere, an EP that proves not only that this all encompassing sound can still be produced, but that it can be produced using such limited resources. Morgan's work on The Long Trail That Leads To Nowhere serves as final proof that even in the apocalyptic and technology driven days of 2012, the machines and the technology still aren't as important and as powerful as the human mind and the human creative spirit.  In that remarkable way, The Long Trail That Leads To Nowhere was not just a remarkable EP, it was a powerful statement to all of the musical world that decided to listen.  A statement that said the musician is still more important to the machine.  Considering the times, this was one of the most powerful and profound statements of the musical year.

Album Review: Burial - Truant

Album Rating: A-
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the world
Not a headphone was silent, with the same sound heard.
Just the clicking of music blogs ever refreshed
In hope that Truant had finally been pressed.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While the echoes of Kindred danced round in their heads.
As after weeks of waiting with no leak to come
It appeared any chance for this listen was done.

When out in the net there arose such a clatter
My laptop sprung open to see what’s the matter.
I scoured the blogs for all that’s to see,
And found a new Burial waiting for me.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Mogwai

On MuzikDizcovery, one might hear of Mogwai just a bit too much. However, our job is to keep you, the reader, informed on recent music news, and if there's anything Mogwai has been in the past couple months, "active" is most certainly a good word to use. The band released a compilation of remixes; A Wrenched, Virile Lore was commissioned by the band themselves from other artists such as post-punk project The Soft Moon, space-rock band Zombi, and drone's Tim Hecker. The album was fairly well received, and definitely helped bring new, altered sounds of the famous post-rock band into different genres. I particularly enjoyed Hecker's rendition of "Rano Pano," with drone being something I'm not particularly used to, while the Soft Moon cover of "San Pedro" wasn't really a far cry from the original track, so it was much enjoyed as well.

However, it's the new EP that will bring a lot of attention to the band in late 2012 / early 2013. According to Clash MusicLes Revenants is an EP that Mogwai was commissioned to "construct a soundtrack to French series 'Les Revenants'." The EP consists of four tracks, most of which are fairly low-action, similar to the Earth Division EP the band put out last year. "Wizard Motor" attracts interest being fairly upbeat; "Soup" is a bass-heavy, one-minute interlude; "The Huts" is a haunting piano-and-drum centered piece; and "This Messiah Needs Watching" features an organ laying down melancholy chords while a xylophone rings out a melody, echoic and depressing. Sounds on par with what we'd expect from the band. This EP will be seeing a physical release sometime next month, but it has received its digital release already, so keep an eye out for it.

Visit their site here to keep up with further updates.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Interview With Bright and Early (12/7/2012)

Bright and Early has been chugging away since the release of their Louder Than Words EP back in 2010, and the band is now finally approaching their first full length album. Vocalist John Browne's unique, powerful voice leads the formerly pop punk group which is now heading on a more rocking direction, and the band could soon be heading towards busting towards widespread relevance. Browne answered questions from us regarding the band's upcoming album, a possible EP release, covering The Movielife, producing for other bands and far more which you can read below.

Artist Of The Day: Johnny Marr

It had to happen at some point. It's taken 30 years, and stints with Modest Mouse, The Cribs, The The and of course The Smiths to get this far, but on 25 February, Johnny Marr - arguably the most important guitarist of his generation - will at long last unveil a solo album. "It is late in the day to be making my debut," admitted the Mancunian in a recent interview. "I didn't want to be in someone else's band at this point. In the past I might have been reluctant to stand up front, and I've been lucky enough to be in bands with great singers, so it wasn't necessary. But this is my band now." The prospect is certainly an enticing one. This, after all is the man who along with Morrissey formed half of one of music's most potent songwriting partnerships, simultaneously spawning infinite copyists with his effortless, jangling instrumental style. Brief though they were, that unmistakable sound also grabbed the spotlight in his subsequent outfits; a vast overwhelming presence crying out to be set loose in a solo guise. The Smiths reunion rumours will linger for some time yet, but with The Messenger Marr is embarking on one of his most ambitious exertions to date - a project which will hopefully enhance rather than dent his enduring legacy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Front Bottoms

Despite being a the two-piece band, The Front Bottoms deliver an unprecedented blend of acoustic, indie and punk exemplified in their 2010 self-titled release. Duo Brian Sella and Matt Ulchich use subtle dance beats and simplistic acoustic riffs layered with some off-the-wall trumpets and keyboards, which creates a familiar-yet-unique indie rock sound. Sella's lyrics often reflect the trivial events in day to day life everyone can relate to in some way or another, but with added depth. The song "Bathtub" has a refrain of "I am washing my hair with soap," but holds an emotional self-revelation tucked within the simple lyrics. The whiny vocal delivery like in "The Beers" is never bothersome, and occasionally contrasted by an almost conversational spoken word delivery, such as in "Rhode Island." This unpredictability makes Ulchich's drum beats all the more enjoyable and dance-worthy. The Front Bottoms are a refreshing band; where many rock or indie outfits seem to be rehashing old ideas and simplifying song structures, The Front Bottoms have been able to turn the basics into brilliance. The music is catchy, fun, and sometimes even cathartic but it never gets old or seems clichéd, which can't be said for other indie and punk bands these days. Having toured with a variety of bands such as Mansions and The Menzingers, The Front Bottoms appeal to a wide audience with one of the most unique sounds you'll come across lately, so do yourself a favor and check them out on their Bandcamp here. You can thank me later.

The Front Bottoms are touring late January through all of February with Bad Books and Weatherbox, so be sure to catch them when they stop in your town!

The Front Bottoms Website

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jukebox: Yes Nice- Hot River

Yes Nice's debut album, Blindfolded, is filled with effective ballads, rock songs and fantastic songwriting.  But even though Blindfolded was filled with some spectacular songs and some soothing songwriting, it was obvious that Yes Nice had not been able to forge a musical identity that would make them more than a band who could produce a limited number of good song.  As immediately listenable and effective as many of the tracks on Blindfolded were, none of them were "re-listenable" because the band had not come up with a musical identity to make them "re-listenable."  Blindfolded was an album filled with many voices of scattered potential, but yet lacks the cohesiveness, confidence, and permanency to be anything but a solid album.   To actually be a band worth remembering, Yes Nice had to figure out exactly what they wanted to be.

Artist of the Day: Danny Brown

Danny Brown may not be the savior of Detroit's rap scene that Eminem was when Em came on the scene in the late 90's, but he's certainly a fun diversion from the increasingly homogeneous rap that we hear every day. He takes after Eminem in that he frequently references prescription drugs and his addiction to them, as well as his sense of humor and often explicit lyrics. Eminem comparisons aside, Brown is fiercely unique- to the point that G-Unit Records refused to sign him unless he changed his image- and everything from his clothes to his voice stand out as starkly different from what we've heard before. His second album, XXX, received huge amounts of hype from magazines like XXL and Spin and it's in no small part due to his individualism.

Whether in full-album form or in small doses, Brown never fails to entertain. The entertainment might come in the form of dirty jokes or a graphic description of him performing cunnilingus, yet it's as fun to hear as it is head-scratching. He is apt to one-up the featured stars when he does guest verses (see: his collaborations with Childish Gambino and the A$AP Mob from earlier this year) and is bold enough to name his forthcoming album after Ol Dirty Bastard- a rapper who he seems to believe he has a lot in common with. What really makes him different though is that he sets out to make people laugh. He's hilarious without having to incorporate the newly-chic "punchline rap" that the Young Money clique have popularized. His humor is an acquired taste, but it's laugh-out-loud funny once you understand it; although this will take longer for some people than others. Danny Brown may not be the type of music you want your kids listening to, but he's a voice that any rap fan/teenager would certainly appreciate hearing.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Artist of the Day: Mac Lethal

Slug may have expressed his discontent with the other members of Rhymesayers on The Family Sign's track "Bad Bad Daddy," but Mac Lethal is one of his offspring that doesn't deserve to be chastised. Lethal, probably best known for his "Look At Me Now" spoof video featuring him rapping about his breakfast to the tune of Chris Brown's hit song, fled the Rhymesayers coop a few years ago but made his mark as one of the most talented rappers on the label in his short time there. Specializing in storytelling and fast rapping, Lethal is a verbal force to be reckoned with. He cut his teeth in underground battle rapping clubs around the Midwest and did well enough to catch the attention of Slug himself. Verbal aggression is a common theme in Mac Lethal's work- from his name to his in-your-face style to lines like "Lethal in your town/people hit the ground," there's no escaping his oral assaults.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Artist Of The Day: Driver Friendly

The best (and worst) part of doing end of year lists is finding albums which deserved far more listens during the year. The biggest "discovery" I've had in this time period is Driver Friendly's Bury A Dream. The fact that I had been anticipating the release of this album makes my late pass even more disheartening, but it's never too late to discover an absolutely fantastic album. Driver Friendly has been around the block for quite a while now, releasing the very solid Chase The White Whale back in 2008 under the name Driver F, but it took them four years to release the follow up. Bury A Dream is mature, yet insanely catchy pop rock of the best degree, set apart from most similar bands by their two brass players, trumpet player Juan Lopez and trombone player Andy Rector. Lopez and Rector add a special dimension to the band's sound that really puts their already great songwriting over the top. After the release of this excellent album, it's no surprise that Hopeless Records recently picked up the band. Let's hope the label signing finally gets more ears listening to this fantastic band. You can get all the information you need about the band on their Facebook page.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Album Review: Jaytech - Multiverse

Album Rating: B
Upon browsing Jaytech's releases on Beatport, one meets with a slight dilemma: all of his songs are labeled "Progressive House." It's not a gross oversimplification of his style: his "progressive house" songs do indeed have some defining progressive house characteristics. He's fond of melodic piano lines and some light synth chords, plus most of the songs labeled as such do in fact maintain a house beat. The main issue with this kind of labeling, then, is that sticking a single genre's tag on a Jaytech song usually detracts a bit from the subtle genre-bending he tends to do. Sure, there are progressive house elements, but there's also the repetition and lower-range synths favored in deep house, some clickety-clackety drums which could be construed as tech house, and every so often some trance-like vocals. Jaytech has always been slightly more complex than any one electronic genre usually is, so in return for easier categorizing Beatport gives up some of Jaytech's sound, a sound difficult to describe in two words.

Album Review: Wu Block- Wu Block

Album Grade: C+
It’s naïve to believe that anybody who listens to Ghostface Killah these days is expecting anything different than he’s been putting out since the last millennium. The always prolific Wu affiliated rapper is maintaining his one album per year rhythm that he’s fallen into over the past few years- this time in collaboration with Sheek Louch, the least recognizable member of the group LOX that also included Jadakiss and Styles P- while maintaining his cocaine dealer persona who hasn’t wavered since he took a spiritual journey to Africa before the recording of Fishscale. What’s different on Wu Block is that Ghost’s schtick has become, dare I say it, boring, and the guest spots don’t do the album any particular favors.

Artist of the Day: Burial

With Truant out today, that makes a total of two top-of-year-list worthy releases from one man. Not simply for the electronic-leaning folks either, because Burial's acclaim has spread far beyond the borders of what would once be considered his prime audience. In a very GY!BE or Neutral Milk Hotel way everyone seems to listen, have listened or about to listen to Burial even though his slow garage and dubstep style initially appears difficult to access. In the end though, it's sad, reflective and moving to such a profound extent that the music is able to conquer the limitations of the style.

The new EP takes Burial in a previously unexplored direction. Skeletal beats move him back to the cool, sharp and stripped-down approach which defined his self-titled debut, but within this comfortable framework he works in a muffled celebration of late 20th century dance in much the same fashion that The Caretaker approached 1920's dance hall music last year. We hear small scraps of trance and even the more industrial reaches of DnB in 'Truant' beneath the solid dubstep architecture  with the tone sitting neatly in between "tribute" and "death cry" in a solid display of why Burial manages to be so moving. "Rough Sleeper" is more explicit with these influences, and with the muzzle removed they transform his music into an in-the-moment celebration rather than a reflection. Latter parts of the track tone this down somewhat, with a cowbell-led midsection slowly subsiding to a classic Kindred-esque finish. The end result is an incredibly satisfying EP from one of the world's most celebrated producers. It's arguably not his best, yet still it manages to top almost all of its competition.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Artist Of The Day: 3LAU

There are two popular ways to do pop mashups. The first is to squeeze in as many songs as possible in a short amount of time. Whether it's DJ Earworm's United States Of Pop, Madeon's Pop Culture mashup, or this eight-minute mashup of 2012 pop, a well-done mashup of this style is often hugely popular and, especially in Madeon's case, can make a career. The other style of mashup is a bit simpler and less immediately impressive. This style is fitting some pop vocals over another song for three or four minutes, and while that may not seem as cool as smushing 50 songs into eight minutes, it can be incredibly impressive nonetheless. 3LAU (pronounced "Blau") is an example of the latter school of pop crafting. Probably most famous for laying the vocals to "Call Me Maybe" over Porter Robinson's huge progressive house tune "Language" (here), 3LAU has quite a few excellent mashups under his belt. Whether it be mixing party destroyers "Internet Friends" and "Toulouse" with Rihanna and LMFAO (Modern Talking), putting Adele and Axwell together (Set Fire), or throwing Ne-Yo and Kylie Minogue on top of his own work (Back To New), it seems as if everything 3LAU touches turns to pop gold, as evidenced by his huge tour across North America this fall. If you find mashups like these attractive, 3LAU is absolutely worth a try.

You can "Like" 3LAU to download his excellent mashup album Dance Floor Filth 2 for free here.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jukebox: Future Relative - Deep End

I'll admit, "Deep End" caught me totally by surprise. When I read the description of the song and saw it was "electronic" and a similar group mentioned was The XX, I immediately expected the worst. While The XX themselves are quite good, a lot of electronic of that style falls into the generalized category of "boring," and with some less-than-ideal experiences in the genre of quasi-dark electronic, I didn't have much by way of hopes for the song. However, the song is actually fantastic. Far from being boring, it's a dark, brooding, synthy song hitting every right note in terms of being vivid and lifelike yet staying true to its original style.

Of course a song in this dark, almost synth-pop style is going to be eerie and sullen, but Future Relative doesn't make the mistake of accidentally sounding like a not-really-goth high schooler instead of a "king of the night" of sorts. Rather, you can feel the energy of the piece pulsing through every kick of the bass drum, every distorted, static-laden bass note, every clean vocal line in the song. The almost-industrial drums and guitars smack of Nine Inch Nails in his prime, and the song as a whole is a mashup of industrial sounds and some excellently dark synths that don't quite fit the industrial label. And yet the choruses still manage to be insanely catchy and almost sing-along with the infectious singing, something that bodes well for the piece as a whole. Overall, "Deep End" is a solid piece of musical dark chocolate: bitter and brooding yet still retaining some poppy elements, which make it an absolutely worthwhile song.

You can stream "Deep End" and watch the video for the song here.


Artist of the Day: Again For The Win

Again For The Win was a small band who released a big album and garnered a ton of attention. It was a very make or break album, and the band scored so hard, they were snagged up by Deep Elm very quickly after release, and Bonus Deluxe Version was re-released on Deep Elm, to much acclaim. But we really have to delve - what made Bonus Deluxe Version so good? How did the emo band coming 10 years too late still manage to make it in a genre that died out?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Exclusive Stream: Fero Lux / Courtships

Hardcore is one of the most promising genres of modern music. It seems that with each passing year, there are more and more promising groups in the genre, coming out of the woodwork to show what they have to offer. These groups also have an unspoken brotherhood from time to time, with certain niches sticking together and even collaborating to create something special. One such example is the duo Fero Lux from South Florida, teaming up with Virginia natives Courtships.

Both groups burst onto the hardcore scene in this past year, too. Courtships are still widely praised for their debut album The Feral Sound..., an ambitious attack on hardcore as we know it. And Fero Lux came about shortly after, their debut Some Divine Ashtray, an amalgam of equally thrilling styles. The record worked remarkably well at the end of the day, and featured some brilliant lyrics to boot. So here we are at the end of 2012, on the eve of Fero Lux / Courtships - a split furthering the groups' reach, and offering some of their most powerful tracks yet.

We at MuzikDizcovery have had the privilege of receiving the split before its spring release, and we even have an opportunity to share it with all of you. Check it out, send it to your friends, and enjoy this release as much as I have.

MuzikDizcovery is pleased to introduce the split between hardcore groups Fero Lux and Courtships, exclusively streaming here!


Fero Lux
1. The Devil (Hooah!)
2. Say It like Pacino

3. Dead Pilots
4. DOA
5. Japam

And check out Fero Lux and Courtships on Facebook!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Classic Crime

The Classic Crime is a great example of doing an independent record right. After a split with their label Tooth & Nail Records in July 2011, the band worked with a relatively small crew in their hometown of Seattle to create the best record possible, without the constraints of a label and with the hopes of all of its fans looking for a bounce-back from their last, somewhat shaky LP Vagabonds. Working on the album saw a whole lot of new developments - their guitarist left (on good terms), they went through a successful Kickstarter campaign that showed their fans still hadn't left the band - but the final product ended up being one of the best straight rock releases of 2012. With a wholly consistent lineup of tracks and a stellar middle third, Phoenix showed that a fully independent, label-free record could still manage to be both excellent and accessible. It comes as no surprise that it was good, given the band's track record on previous albums Albatross and The Silver Cord, but the fact that it was as good as it was injected new hope into mainstream rock. The band proved what they needed to prove, and the album was in every way a success for a band that even before that point was already a stellar group.


Jukebox: Jack Trammell - Critical Mass

Cinematic music often doesn't earn a lot of recognition and praise. Sure, the artists who make it can create very strong feelings - tension, fear, adrenaline - with every piece, but in a society where we see many movie and video game trailers every day the music in those trailers usually ends up not making as much of a splash as it probably should. Plus, quite often a lot of cinematic music sounds too damn similar to the untrained ear - string-heavy orchestra, epic percussive lines, and many other things almost always come up in the average musical accompaniment to the average action movie trailer. However, every so often composers can make it big. Either their music is generally more "epic" than the rest of the crowd (a la Hans Zimmer), they make a boatload of high-quality song after high-quality song (like Two Steps From Hell), or some element of their music just stands out somehow. Whenever something like this happens, people notice - if you asked any random person who Hans Zimmer was, chances are a lot of people you ask would answer correctly - and the fame that's so difficult to reach for composers of this style ends up being attainable in the end.

Artist of the Day: Stars of the Lid

Was music made to be deconstructed? I don't have the answer, but Stars of the Lid do. From one 15-minute song to the next, formless melodies after another, relying on only their own pulses, one can't help but question why this sense of vitality is pretty hard to find in contemporary music today.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Artist of the Day: Janelle Monae

When Janelle Monae released her debut LP in 2010, she was already one of the most intriguing, ambitious artists of the new millennium. She was in the middle of a four-part concept album based on the silent era film Metropolis and, on the coattails of her album The Archandroid, announced her plans to release a graphic novel and a feature film based on her yet-to-be-completed series. A bit over the top? Most definitely, but out of her reach? It seems that the sky is the limit for Ms. Monae. Her EP Metropolis earned enough hype to get her signed by Diddy and lead single from The Archandroid featured Outkast's Big Boi. However, all of this success and hype leads back to just one person: Monae, who is one of the brightest spots in the R&B revival.

Live Review: The Black Keys, Metroradio Arena, Newcastle, 07/12/2012

They may be one of America's biggest bands, but here in the UK The Black Keys are only beginning to break into wider conscience. It was a surprise then when the Ohio duo announced a full arena tour over on these shores; a refreshingly inclusive play yet one which risked the indignity of gaps among the assembled masses. At roughly three-quarters capacity, turnout at Newcastle's Metroradio Arena was perhaps healthier than one may have expected, and those who did show their faces were treated to a show which displayed just why they've reached such a lofty status.