Saturday, August 31, 2013

Artist of the Day: I Am Legion

At this point, Noisia is basically a group of gods among men, three ridiculously good producers making DnB and neuro stuff for the masses of idolizing fanboys (myself among them). So, naturally, their new project with popular grime-rap group Foreign Beggars, I Am Legion, gained a bit of notoriety with the stomping single "Make Those Move." And why not? The song's really, really good. I've played it on repeat about 20 times this past week, and it's Noisia's screeches and killer bass at their best. Though the verses from Foreign Beggars are admittedly weak, the song itself is such a massive tune that it doesn't really matter all that much. However, the full album, released Sept. 2, is a bit of a disappointment. Currently streaming on Spotify ahead of its release date, the release is mostly comprised of Noisia's sound watered down enough to fit dismal rap verses on top, and it's really a shame that the full thing didn't quite pan out.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Rare Monk

If you've been following the site this year, you know that Rare Monk has been almost universally one of our favorite discoveries of 2013. The band's ability to go from an insanely catchy indie pop group to a powerful instrumental group from song to song just showcases both their talent and desire to avoid being pigeonholed within one category of music. I recently saw the group perform with The Dangerous Summer in Baltimore, and needless to say they blew me and the rest of the crowd away, receiving by far the loudest cheers of the night outside of the headliner. Their set consisted of three songs off former album (more news on that soon) Sleep/Attack, as well as three brand new songs and a cover. The band's presence was felt even outside their set, as violinist Isaac Thelin played violin for a song on every one of the band's sets, including a stunning performance of The Dangerous Summer's "Northern Lights" that even stunned vocalist AJ Perdomo in its beauty. The band showed that they have all the tools to continue expanding their fanbase, so be ready to hear the name Rare Monk a lot in the future. Our interview with the band should be up in a few days, so keep your eyes peeled. You can check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Dismemberment Plan

I live in a cultural wasteland known to most graduates of 6th grade geography as the “Mid-Atlantic.” Actually, I live in the middlest of this middleness. When considering the music contribution good old VA’s made to America and the world, I find myself overwhelmed with visions of vast swaths of land, unpopulated, empty, zilch, nothing. Cultureless. Then I think of DC’s Dismemberment Plan. I’ve taken to talking about the D-Plan at a missionary-esque level. My main area of study is their 1999 record, Emergency & I, which has, since it came to me, become as good as family. My main tagline for newcomers who may not have seen the light is that “it’s the best album to come out within a 200 mile radius of Richmond.” They think and think and then nod and say “You’re probably right,” unless they’re into Clipse or something.

The band’s new album, Uncanny Valley, is slated for an October 15th release, and I’m excited. They dropped a single, “Waiting,” recently. At first, I wasn’t sure. My honest to God first impression was Sugar Ray meets Vampire Weekend. That may sound like a dream combination to some, but you see, the Dismemberment Plan have spoiled me. The mind learns from experience, and so mine expects a lot when it hears the band’s name - enlightenment, understanding, humor, pain, genius. The song’s most accurate adjective is peppy. The band remain virtuosos individually, most notably drummer Joe Easley, who’s always been the fuel and continues here pumping. Singer Travis Morrison is in good form too, and doesn’t sound like he’s aged, his voice characteristically free-flowing, though not hyper-kinetically splattering “Girl O’Clock”-style. 

The Dismemberment Plan’s music, in the past, has been about hurting. It’s been about loss and confusion. It’s been really beautiful. If “Waiting” is any indication, though, with it’s almost 20 second long crescendo section and cutesy beach-side embellishments, they may just be coming to terms. That’s beautiful in its own way, right? Like I said, I’m excited. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Album Review: Ulcerate - Vermis

Ulcerate - Vermis
Album Score: A
There may not be a more convincingly apocalyptic band than Ulcerate. Death metal groups constantly promote themselves as “brutal” or “heavy” or “crushing,” but this New Zealand trio has mastered the art of soul-withering songwriting by honing its craft on a deeper level. Fitting together layers of dissonance in a way that makes sense is a difficult task, since it often goes against established musical paradigms, but it’s what Ulcerate thrives on. Due to the fact that every line on Vermis builds off this foundation, the album is fundamentally saturated with intense emotions of utter dread and bitterness towards a crumbling world. Welcome to Ulcerate’s perfect musical hell.

Artist Of The Day: Nihkeetah

Every so often, I happen across a small project or solo artist that's doing something really cool; the last time that happened, little-known band Aerials turned into massively successful, Deep Elm-signed Lights & Motion. So, ultimately, anything could happen. Nihkeetah has the same thing going on. It might not be as cinematic as Christoffer Franzén's masterworks, but Artūras Juškevičius has as much creativity and passion for his music.

Getting into the debut from Nihkeetah, Perceive:Create is something of a rough-cut wonder. Juškevičius recorded everything from his home in Vilnius, Lithuania and the mixing is quite impressive for one man recording in his home studio. The spacious atmosphere of "Dissolve: Walls of Existence" is beautifully created, and the way he sets the drums in the backdrop of "A Perception" but brings them to the center-stage in "A Deception" is fantastically ingenious to shift the emotional context of the song. Juškevičius has a way with his recordings that portray something magnificent in a way that's very difficult to find with someone working on their own. Needless to say, I'm excited for more Nihkeetah.

To support the man, like Nihkeetah on Facebook and download and donate on Bandcamp!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Artist of the Day: Franz Ferdinand

I only turned 20 a few weeks ago, but already I'm feeling horrifically old. Clearly entering a new decade of my life has had an effect, but by and large it's due to the events and cultural phenomena which defined my childhood experiencing their own big anniversaries. 9/11 is the obvious example, but milestones have come thick and fast in 2013, which among other things has marked 10 years since Newcastle's United's Champions League run, the release of Return of the King, and perhaps most importantly the rise of Franz Ferdinand, one of the first "real" bands I truly cottoned onto. Stomping into view with terrific single "Darts of Pleasure," the Glasgow quartet embarked on a road which would eventually lead to "Take Me Out," a Mercury-winning debut album and major festival headline slots - not to mention being arguably the finest act to emerge from the UK's mid-00's indie rock trends.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Artist of the Day: Austrian Death Machine

Some parody bands can be awful. Some bands can be awful and seem like a parody, like Dr. Acula and Iwrestledabearonce. Austrian Death Machine is an insane musical endeavor started by As I lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis and ex-vocalist of Destroy the Runner, Chad Ackerman. If you're a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger and/or metal, Austrian Death Machine is a must-listen. Combine metal and Arnold together and it's gut-wrenchingly laughable and disastrously heavy all at once.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Album Review: Willy Mason - Carry On

Album Review: A-
If persevering were as simple as well-intentioned pop stars make it sound, we’d all be fireworks, shooting stars, or whatever turgid metaphor is burning up the Billboard Hot 40 these days. Of course, Willy Mason probably knows this as well as anybody. A full six years after his sophomore release, If The Ocean Gets Rough, the burgeoning folk artist is back with his follow-up Carry On, and though it’s a triumph, it’s an altogether darker, sadder one. The complex array of thoughts Mason weaves into his upbeat collection of psychedelic folk tunes adds life-affirming dimension, a stirring addition to any music lover’s library.

Album Review: Mark Kozelek & Desertshore - Mark Kozelek & Desertshore

Album Rating: B
By the end of Mark Kozelek & Desertshore, the listener will probably think Kozelek has a more soul destroying yet subtle form of Midas’ touch, where instead of turning to gold, everything he touches is doomed to meet a premature death. This is because a healthy portion of his encounters throughout the album end with him returning a verse later to describe how they died. He’s obsessed by all accounts, but not just by death. Mark Kozelek & Desertshore also explores a flirtation with love (through “Travoris Cloud” and the rather excellent opener, “Mariette”) and the pressures of growing up at 46. Both of these age and, by association, death related. Light listening, then…

Artist of the Day: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

File:Godspeed You Black Emperor! - London Nov 20003.jpg
GY!BE finally broke through into the
mainstreak with 2012's Allelujah!
Few bands have had such a wide-ranging impact and legacy on their music scene, and yet remained as relatively anonymous, as Canada’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Often considered one of the most important bands in post-rock along with Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Ros, the septet has been creating heart-wrenching soundscapes for almost 20 years now. Its sound is almost unclassifiable, as it ranges from samples of street preachers to impressions of Americana, unsettling portraits of crumbling dictatorships to soaring and uplifting anthems, and just about anything else worth taking the time to appreciate.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Festival review: V Festival (North)

"Ladies and Gentlemen, go straight on for Orange, Grey and Green campsites. 
For all other campsites go left.
 When entering the campsites, please hold up your wristband in the air.
 Please be patient when exiting the arena. Thank you."

Imagine this very message repeated over and over again; the monotone tannoy voice bored through familiarity; these exact words echoing across the slowly depleting arena, bouncing off the endless watchtowers surrounding the site and scattering along the small desert of discarded plastic cups like some kind of Orwellian nightmare. This was 4 hours of my existence as the security began leading people out at 11 each night. Add the slow march of 65,000 herded individuals pressing themselves tightly to squeeze between three meter walls with blinding white lights oppressing from above and you can’t help but question the real reason for coming.

Artist Of The Day: GoNorthToGoSouth

As a lover of pop music, I always love it when we can get a glimpse of how the sausage's made, and nobody has their hands as deep in the meat like the songwriters. GoNorthToGoSouth, the duo of songwriters busbee and Ben West, are among many former scribes who are stepping out of the factory and into the spotlight. The group's collective credentials are impressive: busbee has penned tracks for Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, while you can find much of Ben West's work on FOX hit Glee.

GoNorthToGoSouth's first song available is a country-infused cover of P!nk's hit "Try"--only it's not a cover. In fact, it's the original demo of the song, the one that, according to insider legend, moved P!nk to immediately rerecord it. In any case, it's an auspicious beginning for busbee and Ben West, who show off earnest vocals alongside atmospheric, downtempo instrumentation. Like the duo's name, the truth is in the paradox: this is pop music on the small screen, something altogether more intimate and affecting.

The duo's debut EP, Lost&Found, is available digitally on September 10. You can find more on GoNorthToGoSouth at its Facebook page.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Artist of the Day: Blue Cranes

Flipping through the radio stations a few weeks ago, I came across a local college station. The DJ was playing brooding after brooding song, when a droning upright bass began the next track. Almost floating through the airwaves, the bassist's notes were powerful and hypnotizing. Before long, the most elegant and heartbreaking saxophone line entered, creating the most melancholic conjunction of instruments I've heard in a long while. The track slowly built, and and the floodgates of emotion swelled and burst when the drums and piano introduced themselves. When it ended, I felt like I was hit with a tidal wave of emotions, all by a song that lacked words. It was beautifully gloomy, yet hopeful and enchanting. It was just a taste of what Portland's Blue Cranes have created on their new album, Swim.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Album Review: Walton - Beyond

Album Rating: A-
Walton's Beyond is the garage album of the year so far. Screw Disclosure - their pop-focused shuffling garage and house beats have nothing on Beyond, no matter how good of a link between the underground and the mainstream Settle was. Screw Phaeleh - his hypothermia-inducing strings can't touch Walton, no matter how beautifully frigid they were on Tides. These aren't criticisms of the latter two albums, as both are solid albums in their own rights and probably could have been on the fast track towards duking it out for the aforementioned title. It's just that Beyond encapsulates the grimy, mechanical sound of the ever-elusive spirit of the genre so well that it stands head and shoulders above the other two.

The term "garage" is about how far the similarities between these three albums extend. If Settle was the sound of a festival as the sun finally sank below the horizon and the high-powered candy-colored lights turned on, and Tides was the sound of that festival twelve hours later as the first rays of sunlight poked through, Beyond falls somewhere around 4 AM, most likely in the middle of a marathon set. It's impressive in its austerity: the LP's backbone primarily consists of clickety-clackety percussion, functional bass, and the omnipresent buzz of static. The looped vocal samples play with this idea beautifully, as first post-intro track "Need To Feel" jumps abruptly from jazzy piano chords to a killer bassline while the vocals play blithely on.

It's this kind of subtle transition away from subtlety which makes Beyond such an alluring listen: the 22-year-old shows such a captivating command of emotions with noises as sparse as the ones he uses that it's difficult to believe he's only been on the scene for a few years. The ravey "Every Night" samples ideas from a classic house song, but Walton weaves these ideas into a distinctly modern take thanks to the song's ultra-precise toms and shaker. The transition between the silky-smooth piece and the follow-up, the ecstasy-dripping "Memories," is another example of the kind of mastery apparent throughout the album - again, as he did in "Need To Feel," Walton slips easily from classically-styled garage to a sleeker, more urbane dance and back.

From the darkly insisting "Help Me Out" to the grittiness of, well, "Grit," Beyond is a example of what happens when an artist totally confident in his sound and passionate about continually pushing to new heights gets the chance to make a full album to further his sound. Though it lacks the sonic depth, experimentation, and organic feel of some genre counterpoints, the album is nothing short of impressive, and easily the best garage album of the year. Time will tell what the next step for young Sam Walton is, but for now basking in the glory of an impressive debut LP isn't such a bad idea.


1. Beyond
2. Need To Feel
3. Help Me Out
4. Can't You See
5. You & Me
6. Love On The Dancefloor
7. Every Night
8. Memories
9. Frisbee
10. Take My Love
11. Grit
12. Amazon
13. City Of God

MuzikDizcovery Exclusive: Echo Base - "Never Tell Me The Odds"

We're very excited today to be premiering the penultimate track from Floridian emo duo Echo Base's forthcoming full length album Some Legacy. "Never Tell Me The Odds" allows the pair the opportunity to shred with their respective instruments, showcasing both guitarist Spencer Wills's ability to twinkle hard and drummer Miguel Vasquez's upbeat and driving rhythms. Both members take the reins on vocal duties, shifting from one to the other seamlessly and even layering their shouts onto each other. Send Away Stranger vocalist Will Linscott joins the track for a guest verse that stands as the calm between the two more intense segments of the track. Echo Base allows their homestate buddy to shine, giving him the spotlight over top the more subdued instrumental before bursting back and taking back their own track. It's a song that should be a staple of the band's live sets for years to come as well as a strong introduction to the band as a whole. Some Legacy is out September 3rd, and you can stream two other tracks and preorder the album on Bandcamp. All proceeds from Bandcamp purchases will go towards getting the album pressed on vinyl. Be sure to also follow the band on Facebook, as all news having to do with the band will be posted there.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Artist of the Day: Stealth

It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of killer, bass-heavy drum & bass. And while there are too many artists out there to name who make this kind of dancefloor-oriented, rollin' DnB, Stealth has been satisfying my DnB fix recently, and as such is appropriate for today's Artist of the Day. He's released on countless labels across the board, and everything he's done this year especially has been massive, particularly his most recent single on RAM Records' sister label, Program. "Scrummage/Nanite," while not exactly inventive, is absolutely huge. "Nanite" in particular is looming and weighty with its thumping bassline, rapid Amen breaks and desolate, echoing sound effects, and it's sure to be a fixture in clubs for a while.


Album Review: O'Brother - Disillusion

Album Rating: B+
In a day and age where rock music is almost extinct in pop culture and media alike, it's tough to come across any band that still plays music in the vein of groups that defined rock. Bands such as Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins are still alive and putting out music to their devoted fan bases, but new rock bands are few and far between. Of course there are all different sub-genres that divide the current music population, but the groundwork isn't represented nearly well enough. This is where O'Brother come in. The Atlanta natives are as close to the source as you can get, and one of the few bands active who aren't afraid to embrace their roots, while progressing forward. On their latest album, Disillusion, O'Brother have created a sound for themselves. It's not a stark departure from 2011's Garden Window, but it shows progression, experimentation, and maturation. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Lil Huffy

Harrisonburg’s Lil Huffy are getting in on that grand tradition of physical music with the release of their recent 6-track, Old Volvo, on tape. Volvo, which I’ve written about here before, is an ambitious and rewarding lo-fi noise-pop kind of exercise, but startlingly sober when compared to the overwrought, overthought, overly breathy shoegaze redux that’s in vogue at the moment. The band have a knack for layering, and their songwriting hints at serious potential for a kinetic live show. And fancy that, we're in luck!

Album Review: Travis - Where You Stand

Album Rating: B
It’s hard to watch your kids move on. When Travis first made a mark on the music community nearly 20 years ago, it carved out a path for future Brit-rock torchbearers like Coldplay and Muse. But it’s 2013, and while I imagine Chris Martin is busy dreaming up his next collaboration with Rihanna, and Muse is probably drafting new ideas for its next epic Olympic theme song, the band that started it all is still more or less where it began, two decades after its beginning. It seems like the band has other things in mind, though: with its seventh album, the aptly-titled Where You Stand, Travis makes a quiet but graceful commitment to the sound it’s been honing over its entire career.

Live Review: Danzig with Doyle, Sands Casino (8/13/13)

"Danzig is coming!" These are the words that I literally screamed as I saw the show announcement for Danzig's Legacy Tour featuring Misfit's guitarist Doyle. Being the first date of the U.S. portion of the tour, I had to go. I admit, I have never seen Danzig live before and honestly I did not have the highest of hopes. Many reviews and articles I read have had mixed opinions about his live shows. Some say he's incredible, others say that he is too old to still be doing what he does. Regardless of what I read, I just had to see it for myself. While waiting for Glenn to take the stage, the anticipation in the air was palpable. The massive crowd was adorned with Danzig/Misfits merch, and minutes after the openers ended, they began to chant for Danzig to come onstage. Although the set up time was longer than expected, not one person cared, as the Prince of Evil strutted up to the mic. Clad in all black, with his signature demon belt buckle, Danzig looked like he hadn't aged a day since he began performing.

Artist Of The Day: There For Tomorrow

By the luck of the shuffle setting on my iTunes, I have recently rekindled the love for the band that used to be my absolute favorite. In 2008, right around when I was just getting into music below the mainstream and before I started this website, I fell in love with a little band called There For Tomorrow. The band's debut single "Pages," was everything I wanted in music at that point — vocalist Maika Maile's voice was powerful, but able to hit a wide range of notes, the instrumentals had the perfect blend of atmosphere and aggression and the hook was enormous. In a time where I was still needing more accessible music, There For Tomorrow allowed me to feel both progressive and underground while catering to my current musical needs.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Album Review: Scarred - Gaia/Medea

Album Score: A-
The waves are expected to reach up to ten meters high…the news gets worse: 343 is the confirmed death toll…a volcanic eruption in the east of the country has sent clouds of ash almost three kilometers high…witnesses described the ground shaking before a tremendous explosion…

The inherent risk in sticking close to your influences is that no matter what you create, fans will compare you to multiple bands that that have done it before, and done it better. Luxembourg death metal band Scarred lists Meshuggah, Gojira, and Machine Head as prime influences on its death/thrash hybrid sound, but anyone who is likely to stumble across the group’s second album Gaia/Medea could probably figure that out within about 10 seconds of the opening song’s first riff. It just so happens that Scarred is a rare example of that band that not only does its antecedents justice, but often outclasses their corresponding latest efforts. Fans of L’enfant Sauvage may howl with derision and Unto the Locust’s proponents may beat their chest, but Gaia/Medea is a shot to the jaw of the genre giants that places Scarred squarely on the tech-death podium. Despite the obvious technical proficiency of all involved, there are a number of compositional techniques and production values that make Gaia/Medea a breakthrough effort for the band.

Artist of the Day: Dawn of Midi

What exactly is the Dawn of Midi’s Dysnomia? Like what kind of music is this? I know, I’m supposed to tell you that. Sorry. They got me. And good for them. It’s sort of jazz, like sort of scary, uneasy, what-was-that-behind-me at night jazz. The whole nine song record is a continuous flow of intensively rhythmic themes. If the instruments weren’t acoustic, it’d sound like something out of repertoire of a very nervous DJ, like the Haxan Cloak except things seem to actually happen in the plot of the music. Even more disconcerting than label-lessness is the albums deeply inhuman sound. Dysnomia sounds like industrial music made without machines, leaving us to wonder (chillingly) what’s keeping everything so precise, flawless. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Artist of the Day: Deathmole

It's been about a year since I've said too much of anything about Jeph Jacques' solo project Deathmole. However, a big step for the one-man band is here; the first physical release. Up until now, Jacques has only had his music distributed digitally, first by simple free fileshare, but presently on Bandcamp as well, despite the first album, Moletopopolis, missing from the streaming site. For his newest release, Jacques teamed up with the organization Make That Thing, a production agency that helps artists organize and complete their dreams through Kickstarter, so that the supporters can focus on the project rather than the process. Anyway, Permanence will be released via digital download, CD, and vinyl, depending on the level of support you want to provide to the man! And knowing what kind of music he puts out, I know for a fact that the newest release will be just as heavy as everything else the solo post-metal project has to offer.

Worried you won't have enough time to scrape together funds for supporting the project? No problem, the Kickstarter runs for another 24 days! And if you can't pick it up by then, there's a good chance that the album will appear on Deathmole's Bandcamp page after that (no guarantees, but just about everything else Jacques has released is up there).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Artist of the Day: Julianna Barwick

A product of our age of all-encompassing online exposure, Julianna Barwick's unlikely recent success has been refreshing and intriguing in equal measure. A choral wonder often paralleled with big-selling star Enya, the Missouri native's breakthrough perhaps owes much to the serene sounds of Bon Iver, Beach House et al, with fans and indie hipsters alike following their lead in exploring comparable sonic pastures. That of course is not to say that Barwick's music particularly resembles theirs in style or commercial appeal - rather that its dazzling vocal exhibits and staggering eerie ambiance provide a logical destination for those inspired by such elements from other artists. Those who follow such paths path are, needless to say, in for a treat, especially now that her third LP Nepenthe is upon us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Album Review: Ida Maria - Love Conquers All

Album Rating: C
When speaking about music, Norway is almost synonymous with black metal. Ida Maria is the perfect antonym to the darkness of that connotation. The Norwegian, female indie-rocker fronts her band with the confidence of a veteran, and with only a few albums under her belt, she has made a moderate impression across the globe. Playing a bare-bones style of indie-rock, Maria is a prime example of modern alternative rock. On Love Conquers All though, Maria turns in her rock roots for a more somber and dark approach.

Artist Of The Day: Every Time I Die

Veteran metalcore aficionados Every Time I Die are an interesting bunch. Their guitars are flared with raw distortion and a subtle Southern twang, creating one of the most unique and eclectic mixes of heavy music around today. Grab some beers and your favorite flannel, because its going to get rough in this demolition derby of hardcore.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Artist of the Day: Echoes of Eon

Echoes of Eon released their
debut, Immensity, on April 30.
Instrumental metal has arrived at something of a crossroads lately. A few bands have gained recognition as pioneers in the past – Pelican, Gordian Knot and Buckethead come to mind – but several groups are beginning to lend credence to the idea that heavy music without vocals is not only a viable art form, but one with a bright future. Fans of the prog scene may recognize names such as Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, Behold…the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Cloudkicker and Chimp Spanner — while these are perhaps the best prospects in the genre, there are plenty of other talented acts worldwide waiting to break through. This is where Echoes of Eon comes into play.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Acceptance

Acceptance is one of the biggest cases of "what could they have done if they hadn't broken up." A slick, radio ready alternative rock band led by the smooth vocals of Jason Vena, the band had every reason to blow up. Strong musicianship and powerful hooks allowed the band to appeal to fans of both rock and pop, and with the emergence of rock songs on the chart, Acceptance had both the style and audience to blow up. Sadly, the band's major label just couldn't push surefire Phantoms hits like "Take Cover" and "So Contagious" enough, creating less of a reason for the band to stay together. It's been tough not hearing Jason Vena's voice over the last seven years, though in recent years he's finally decided to donate several lines to All Time Low's "Outlines" and Ivoryline's "The Healing." Hopefully he'll finally get the itch to return to music in the future, whether it be with an Acceptance revival or a whole new project. Either way, we at least have one fantastic album to hold on to forever. Phantoms was recently pressed on vinyl by Bad Timing Records, but the first pressing is currently all sold out (GFYTN). There should be a second pressing soon, so be sure to keep an eye on the label's Facebook page.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Artist Of The Day: The Analog Affair

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the proof is in long-distance duo The Analog Affair. Though Evan Baker and Cody Moser's latest EP Wild was written entirely via back-and-forth sessions, it's one of the most gorgeous, warm pop releases of the summer. The title track shows all of the duo's strengths: production rich with texture, tight but expansive songwriting in the vein of Two Door Cinema Club, and a woozy late-night atmosphere impossible not to lose yourself in. Even when The Analog Affair's exploring the darker corners of its sound, though, it never sounds cold or unsettling. The band does a fine job of using the current trends in pop music and reconstructing them to express a more unique sensibility — it's a sad place to be, maybe even a little lonely, but Wild suggests we'll all find a way to make it out of there.

Stream and download the entire Wild EP for free below, and find more information about The Analog Affair at its Facebook page.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Album Review: Sannhet - Known Flood

Known Flood cover art
Album Rating: B+
Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Sannhet has managed to brew up a following the hard way. As in business, initial investment pays dividends, and the post-black metal trio has parlayed an intense touring schedule and wicked live show into a growing fan base in only a few years. Sannhet’s debut album, Known Flood, distills all of this work into a 45-minute barrage that falls somewhere between early Isis and U.S. Black Metal acts like Krallice (whose guitarist Colin Marston recorded the album). Known Flood is about as spot-on as any title could be: the songs here ebb and flow from devastating metallic bursts to long periods of ambience and percussion-driven interludes. Early cut “Invisible Wounds” begins with a bizarre, spacey Sprechstimme piece that sounds like an incantation sung through a box fan, then transitions suddenly into pounding tom-toms and guitar distortion, in a fitting encapsulation of the album’s sound.

Festival Review: Standon Calling

People will go to great lengths to put on a music festival, and the very best festivals usually have the very best stories behind them, but most won’t go as far as stealing over £350,000 from Tesco in order to fund it. Despite this landing founder Alex Trenchard with a hefty dose of jail time, his festival baby Standon Calling is still trucking on just fine: with thousands turning up to his parents’ estate each year for three days of non-threatening, slightly hippy and overwhelmingly middle-class partying.

Artist of the Day: The Greek Favourites

About four years ago, while at a hole in the wall venue in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, I eagerly awaited Weatherbox to take the stage (if you could call it that) during their first tour of the east coast. The show’s lineup consisted of Weatherbox, the headliner, All Get Out, and a local band I never heard of called The Greek Favourites. The latter being a trio of guys who looked around my age, 18 at the time. They plugged in first, and completely played their heart's out to a room of only 10 people. If you couldn't see the crowd, you would've bet that they were playing the most important show of their lives. The energy that the band had was immense and raw. The music was furiously fast and cathartic. It was emo-revival at its finest. Flash forward to this year, and The Greek Favourites have finally released their debut album, What Do You Know About the World Being Such a Coward

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bandcamp Bargain Bin: August 2013

Bandcamp Bargain Bin is a new monthly feature we're introducing with our new partner site wasfuersohr, where you can find some of the best indie Bandcamp releases out there. The catch? Everything on the site is free. Today, we'll cover some of the finds the site has made in the past month--all for the low, low cost of zero dollars!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Interview With Farewell Fighter

One of the up-and-coming bands we're huge about at MuzikDizcovery is Nashville's Farewell Fighter; I had a particularly timely connection with the band's music as it carried me through the tumult of high school. I had the opportunity to speak with members Kenny Fleetwood (guitarist/lead vocalist) and Lee Morton (guitarist/supporting vocalist) about the band's latest release Challenges--which is fantastic, by the way--the process of developing the album, and what the band's plans are for the future.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Album Review: Joan of Arc - Testimonium Songs

Album Rating: C+
Tim Kinsella's Joan of Arc has always been an extravagant project. With over a dozen albums under his belt, and an ever-rotating lineup of players, he continues to release at least one new album each year. This is not mentioning the myriad of other groups he is a part of also. Joan of Arc being his staple though, gets the most output. Their latest, Testimonium Songs, is an accompaniment to a live theater performance aptly titled Testimonium, performed by Every House Has a Door. Kinsella's tendency for poetry and art is displayed fervently on Testimonium Songs, with its companion theater performance consisting of dance, acting, and the music. It may sound like a recipe for a definitive Joan of Arc record, but Kinsella placed his music in the background of the performance and therefore ends up being a somewhat hollow experience.

Artist of the Day: The Love Language

I was walking down Grace St. in Richmond on my way to the First Fridays art walk last week when I heard the Love Language’s lush music wafting from Strange Matter’s dank, musky door like the first hints of a change of season. I was struck by how full it sounded, and I checked the poster outside so I could take down their name. I’m glad I did. The Raleigh band’s latest record, Ruby Red, is a true indie gem. On the surface, they’re a composite of tried-and-true genre tropes, with ecstatic vocals a la Win Butler or the younger, more excitable National, and a cinematic sense of production, scope, and purpose. But every time you think they’ll turn left, though, they turn right. This sense of comfort and unpredictability at once is confusing as it is wonderful. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Artist of the Day: King Krule

Archie Marshall is about 3 months younger than me, and that makes me feel pretty bad, you know, in a "what have I done?" kind of way. Under his stage name, King Krule (we probably got Donkey Kong 64 around the same time, too), Marshall has been showing the rest of Brit rock and, hell, the world, that life and vivacity is still a viable option in modern guitar music. I don’t think you can quite say his project’s “broken” yet, but it won’t be long. I mean to say there’s no chance King Krule’s music won’t make it big, and in the most deserving way imaginable, so if you aren’t familiar with Marshall’s splintery oboe of a voice yet, get on it. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Televisions

Despite the rush to improve musical quality through things like lossless audio and high-quality studio tech, lo-fi still has an enormous place in indie music culture. Take Televisions, for example. It's a solo project of a fellow named Nicholas Rattigan, and the quality of his music echoes a 1960's radio broadcast, with a nostalgic lens of fuzz overlaying every song. A listen to the most recent effort, Neon Gold, will take you to a place that doesn't exist anymore save in dreams, feeling simple and elegant in good taste. "She's Dreaming" leaves a taste of slow M83 songs in your mouth, while "I'm Free" is faster, and definitely hints at surf-rock, all in that filter of a past era of music. It's a refined and wonderfully elegant sound, leaving you wanting much more than just 10 easy minutes of music.

And you can have more! Kindly Mr. Rattigan has all of his recorded material available on his Bandcamp for free! Stream and download as much as you would like, and be sure to watch for updates on his Facebook page.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Haxan Cloak

On the ball as ever, today's Artist of the Day is a producer who's been plugged for some time, yet one I've only recently discovered for myself. The alias of Yorkshire-born, London-bred Bobby Krilc, The Haxan Cloak has thus far released two engrossing and electrifying full-lengths, and it's the latter of that pair, this year's Excavation, which has piqued my interest. Thoroughly befitting the grim, noose-themed artwork (and indeed the sinister press shot to the left of your screen), its 51-minute runtime unfolds like the score of a particularly bleak avant garde film - the difference being that this piece hardly requires visual aids to leave its mark. Each and every cold, industrial sound is engineered to dense, creepy perfection, so much so that it often feels like the sonic accompaniment to a blind journey into a vast, foreboding cave, with low-lying bass and abrasive bursts just as likely to echo from the walls as they are pounce from nowhere and reduce you to a cowering wreck.

In this age of verbose, hyperbolic online journalism, adjectives like "scary" and "chilling" are thrown around with a regularity that's both tiresome and detrimental, yet this is one of the few occasions where I can genuinely say I've felt on edge whilst absorbing an item of music. I don't pretend to be a genre expert, but many I've confined with have blurted out exclamations such as "now this is dark ambient," as though implying all else which falls under that umbrella has suddenly been rendered lightweight and redundant. One small word of advice; if you're planning on listening to it during daytime or with the lights on, you might as well not bother. The music on Excavation inhabits a landscape of total darkness, and you'd be a fool not to conform to its conditions.

Headphones are advisable.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Album Review: Farewell Fighter - Challenges

Album Rating: A
“I wish I were pretty, I wish I were brave...”

With a melodramatic sigh, I grumble quietly at the pile of work on my desk. It’s pitch-black outside my window, but the sky is hazy and as always the stars are nowhere to be seen. Whether in 2011, when I was a freshman daydreaming about the person I was going to be in high school, or now, when I’m a senior daydreaming about the person I’ll be in college, I never get much sleep: hopeless exhaustion is one of the two consistent parts of my entire high school life.

The other string binding this chapter of my life is Farewell Fighter. The Nashville pop-rock band released its breakout EP The Way We Learn in 2011, around the same time I was rushing to finish five book reports before my first day of school. If you’re a music fan, you have that special one release, the one that arrived exactly when you needed it, and The Way We Learn was a voice of both sympathy and wisdom, not to mention the album that got me through countless unbearable study halls, lonely bus rides home, and yes, sleepless nights. Now, while I do everything in my power to avoid thinking about college applications, the band is back, and let’s not mince words: Challenges is the best pop-rock album of the year (if technically only half the best pop-rock album of the year—more on that soon), the one I want to recommend to everybody without hesitation and the one I’ll sing along to as this stage of my life reaches its end.

Artist Of The Day: Chimaira

Cleveland, Ohio groove metal legends Chimaira have truly made a name for themselves. As one of the pioneers in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal alongside veterans Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God, this metal beast is brutal and relentless. Though the band has been in and out of incosistent lineup changes over their lifespan, Chimaira have released seven full-length albums, an EP, two live DVDs and innumerable album documentaries. With nothing to lose, Chimaira has persevered through a musical evolution that stays true to their sound while cultivating a signature atmosphere on each subsequent release. If you're a fan of metal, Chimaira is a must-have band.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Artist of the Day: Wolves in the Throne Room

Key Release: Two Hunters (2007)
American black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room have come under some fire for shunning the cult roots of their genre, but really, their brand of black metal – played by firelight on vintage amps – isn’t so different from Emperor and Ulver’s pagan aesthetics. In fact, Wolves’ quartet of albums are about as black metal as it gets, as they blast and shriek through albums full of ten-minute epics about returning to nature, occult mythos, and stories of post-apocalyptic landscapes.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Luray

Just because because someone is a sibling of a well known musician, that doesn't mean that they should be forgotten. Jamie Lacey seems to be doing pretty well for himself as part of Coasta, even while he's done his best to keep away from his revered brother's name. As the sister of Sean Carey (of S. Carey and Bon Iver fame), Luray's Shannon Carey is embracing her brother's talent, enlisting him as the producer of the group's debut full length The Wilder. Ms. Carey embraces the banjo, using it to infuse her folky tunes with a bluegrass tinge. The majority of the tracks are dominated by the the banjo, while her sweet voice creates quite an enjoyable listen. However, the atmospheric title track and opener of the record stays closer to her brother's projects, focusing on vocals among soft pulses of sound, creating the most unique and interesting track in the arsenal. More diversity could be used, but the talent is obviously there and The Wilder is definitely a successful debut for the group. The Wilder is out August 27th, so be sure to follow what the band does on Facebook!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Album Review: North End - Cognoscere

Album Rating: B+
Instrumental music seems often to be a hit or miss area. Bands often tend to get lost in themselves and create songs that are just too sprawling or not intriguing enough. There is a fine line between too grandiose and just plain boring. When certain instrumental acts do stand out though, they do so by constructing tracks that hold your attention and take you on a journey though the group's sound. West Chester's North End is a band that is on their way to discover just how to do that. Blending indie and math-rock, punctuated with blistering drums and dueling guitars, North End's new EP, Cognoscere, will please any fan of instrumental rock music.

Artist Of The Day: Ailee

Maybe it's the weather, but my playlist has been unusually K-Pop heavy this summer; among my favorites is powerhouse vocalist Ailee, whom many refer to as Korea's answer to Beyonce. But the comparison isn't just because she slays on this cover of "Halo," as she's went from merely a strong voice into a legitimately sassy and empowering one. She's great in both modes, of course. Just take a look at her debut single, "Heaven":

"Heaven" is the ultimate in sappy R&B ballads, hitting a rhythm on the chorus that's engineered to hit your brain where it feels gooooood and that's all that really matters. If Ailee herself doesn't stick out, she proves herself to be a perfect vessel for that sky-high melody. But Ailee's really taken charge with her latest single "U&I":

Everything in this video screams "fierce," from that classy brass backing to the jangly Motown beat -- and we haven't even got to the song's star yet. Ailee delivers perhaps her most personal performance here, conveying a terrifying indifference on the stilted "Wait a minute. Wait a minute." that opens the course before taking charge in an absolutely ripping chorus. It's all a big spectacle, sure, and what in K-Pop isn't? It's the performers that fill the theatrical with the human, anyway; and Ailee's doing a damn fine job of it here.

Learn much more about Ailee at her label's YouTube page.