Saturday, November 30, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Kaskelott

Indie-rock has lost basically all meaning as a genre, but bands like Swedish quartet Kaskelott show the scene is still alive and well. The band's debut EP Retrospective showcases a knack for dark, groovy tunes as catchy as they are introspective. "Stay Together" opens the four-track effort amicably: guitar melodies weave into thick slabs of bass, while slow, sturdy drum beats move the song towards an inevitable sadness. Vocalist Joakim Örneblad is an appealing presence, earnest without ever being cloying, and the song's quieter moments allow him to show real vulnerability. From that foundation, the band expands in a number of directions. "Where You're Going" is a standout: pitched somewhere between Travis and The Lumineers, it brims with warmth, its subtle dynamic shifts and gentle pastoral instrumentation evoking a surprisingly resonant sense of longing. "It Matters," on the other hand, dares you to dance your demons away with its brooding synths and chugging beats before Örneblad exorcises them in the song's soaring chorus. The most interesting track, however, may be closer "Feelings (That I Shouldn't Feel)," which takes the band in more of a math-rock direction. The song's minimalist composition belies reservation, as if the band's trying to keep a tight grip on its own emotions, but the song's bridge subverts expectation by blooming in a brief moment of uplifting bliss. Kaskelott may not be reinventing the wheel with Retrospective, but the band still navigates into plenty of interesting spaces.

Stream "Feelings (That I Shouldn't Feel)" below and find more on Kaskelott at its Soundcloud and Facebook.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Album Review: Future of the Left - How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident

Album Rating: B+
My first encounter with Future of the Left came from their surprising opening slot on Against Me!’s American New Wave tour, where many of the older attendees were just as confused as I at the unexpected pairing. At 16 years old and just barely beginning to deviate from my Orgcore-centric musical tastes, Future of the Left’s amazingly unconventional acerbic bite was certainly not something for which I was prepared, though, to this day, I am still kicking myself for not appreciating and savoring Andy Falkous and company’s remarkable performance (synth and all) that night. Perhaps my appreciation for the group’s newest effort, How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, will serve a bit of justice, though, and get the band’s name passed around in the air at parties tonight—in the good way.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Album Review: Borealis - Glittervoice

Album Rating: B
A two hour mix Borealis (Jesse Somfay) recently compiled for Fenomena Studio goes a long way to explain what has changed in his music since last year’s murky, dubstep-inspired Voidness. The mix is expectedly eclectic, but an overwhelming presence of hard, intense dance music lies at odds with Somfay’s hazily downtempo aesthetic. With the mix in mind Glittervoice suddenly adopts an improved narrative, principally because anything is an improvement on the previous “confused.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Album Review: Calvaiire - Forceps

Album Rating: A
French four-piece hardcore act Calvaiire are not afraid to get down and dirty. Their abrasive sound takes the heaviest genres of hardcore, powerviolence, screamo and mathcore and throws them into a blender. The result is Forceps, the debut LP which is a musical maze of introspection and emotion. It's a distortion-filled journey through some of the heaviest music you will hear all year. Each track is another caustic pile of grit that could strip the paint off of a brand new car. In fact, you're lucky if you'd even have a car left at all. In this case, that is truly a great thing.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Artist of the Day: Wooden Shjips

When someone mentions the San Francisco psychedelic scene, it’s easy to think: Ty Segall. I mean, the guy is basically a scene all to himself. Releasing about a million albums a year, he does his best to flood the market. Spend all your time soaking in Ty’s seemingly endless material, though, and you’ll certainly miss out on some of the best the Bay Area has to offer. Wooden Shjips, with their most recent release, Back to Land, really took me by surprise. When I heard San Francisco garage, I heard fuzzy bang-up guitars and big melodies. This band is something else. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Album Review: A Lot Like Birds - No Place

Album Rating: A-
As trendy as genre blending is these days, there are few bands out there that really know how to do it right.  While many were quick to praise A Lot Like Birds' 2011 release, Conversation Piece, for its supposedly skillful array of diversity, I was still quite a bit skeptical of their talents.  It really doesn't take that much dexterity to mash a bunch of different styles together, especially when the time signatures don't really shift that much (see: "Orange Time Machine Care"), so my cynicism persisted upon hearing the announcements of the Sacramento, Calif. outfit's newest ambitious project: No Place.  While my first listen of the album left me more confused than satisfied, seeing their headlining show with HRVRD was enough to convince me to revisit this ocean of an album, and I found more surprises hidden within than I ever thought was possible.

Artist of the Day: Graph Rabbit

With a barren release schedule and the end of year list-athon fast approaching, late November is a window most music fans use to gaze back over the past 11 months, evaluating, re-listening and, of course, ranking their favourites in obsessive, time-honoured fashion. Clearly, some records are always going to be more prominent in our thinking ]than others, and this time last year it was Brooklyn's Graph Rabbit who occupied the forefront of my own mental rundown. A serene, slow-burning wintry masterpiece, Snowblind perhaps made a bigger impression on me than any other record in 2012, and although word of its existence barely escaped blogs such as our own, it was an entrance which truly felt like the beginning of something valuable.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Damned Things

As metalcore heroes Every Time I Die kick off a new tour with letlive. and Code Orange Kids this week, Fall Out Boy revs its pop engine across the U.S. It's easy to forget heavy metal supergroup The Damned Things, consisting of Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Rob Caggiano of Volbeat and ex-Anthrax, Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die and Josh Newton who has since left Every Time I Die, these big-name artists created a big sounding alter ego rooted in hard rock and punk that's worth your time more than almost everything on the radio.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Artist of the Day: Death

Key Release: Symbolic (1995)
There may have been earlier death metal bands (Possessed is often credited with being the first), but none shaped the genre with way the aptly-named Death did. The brainchild of guitarist Chuck Schuldiner, Death released its debut Scream Bloody Gore in 1986 to the shock and awe of fans who previously had thought they knew “heavy.” Full of horror-themed lyrics and sporting gruesome cover art, Death’s first three albums (Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing) laid the blueprint for bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide who would take the genre to new popular heights.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Album Review: Melt-Banana - Fetch

Album Rating:B+
For 20 years now, Tokyo, Japan’s Melt-Banana has been cranking out album after album of experimental, noisy hardcore (with a few tweaks here and there, of course), and somehow, this unconventional duo, comprised of yelping, energetic vocalist, Yasuko Onuki (Yako), and schizophrenic musical programming mastermind, Ichirou Agata, is still at the top of their game. With six years between 2007’s Bambi’s Dilemma, an 18-track onslaught of hardcore, noise and pop, and 2013’s Fetch, fans were right to expect an impressive follow up, and although the demos for Fetch were ready to go in March of 2011, the devastating Fukushima earthquake and resulting tsunami forced the band to put the record on hold—until now. 

Artist of the Day: Mylets

I often find myself being very skeptical of one-man bands.  My initial thought is always the same: Is it really that hard to get along and play with other musicians? Henry Kohen, the mastermind behind Mylets' euphoric, loop-driven melodies, certainly seems like he could use some help on stage, as he is simultaneously playing, singing, setting tempos, tapping pedals and using his almost never free hands to program percussion among loads of other instruments, but just because he's somehow amazingly doing everything by himself doesn't mean he's some self-obsessed diva, too good to work with anyone else.  In fact, Kohen was the only member of his old band willing to completely give up his life for music, and seeing where he is now, I think it's fair to say he made the right choice.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Artist Of The Day: CFCF

Michael Silver invites as much as he terrifies. Better known as ambient electronic artist CFCF, he composes sparkling minimalist gems that, in their own mysterious way, tap into something visceral, even as their murky production and sound betray little. Take his recent experiment, the Music For Objects EP, where he wrote short pieces for everyday objects like keys, cameras and glass: Silver opted to hint at these items' hidden essences through subtle instrumentation and songwriting instead, making for an engaging, rewarding listen. His patience and faith in the listener's intelligence pays dividends on his most recent release, Outside, which feels at turns adventurous and reserved, playful and haunting. If you look too close at these soundscapes, they'll shiver your soul, but you won't be able to peel your eyes away either.

Find more on CFCF at his official site and stream the first track from Outside below.

Monday, November 18, 2013

MuzikDizcovery Exclusive: Winter Dust, "Early Grey Mornings"

Fans of emo post-rock take note: Italian band Winter Dust's upcoming Autumn Years is one of the best releases of the year, blending hook-heavy songwriting with gruff rock vocals and gritty, gorgeous instrumentation, and we at MuzikDizcovery are delighted to debut an exclusive stream of "Early Grey Mornings" before the album's upcoming December 5 release. The song starts off slow, laying melancholy guitar melodies over chugging percussion and shrouding everything in a layer of early morning fog, but things soon get turbulent. As the track builds, Marco Vezzaro throws in some gnarly screams and the bass gains prominence. When the measured tempo gives way for a climax in double-time, the drums, piano and guitar crashing out of the 5AM gloom in waves, it's a bucket of ice water to the face, and it's thanks to the track's masterful construction that the catharsis comes naturally.

Find more on Winter Dust at its official website.

Artist of the Day: Weatherbox

San Diego's Weatherbox is one of the most underrated outfits in all of current music. The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Brian Warren has undergone multitude of lineup changes over the bands six-plus year career, but they remain just as brash and innovative since their debut album, American Art. Weatherbox plays a style of alternative/indie rock that is angular and jutting. Guitars are crisp, yet distorted, while Warren's voice has a distinct tinge to it. Often reminiscent of early Modest Mouse, Warren's words are thought provoking and cryptic. The music that backs him up is just as unique, with almost progressive aspects to it. Fans of early Say Anything and At The Drive-In will find Weatherbox to be an interesting cocktail with a new twist.

The band has only two albums and a handful of EPs under their belt, but a new release is planned for sometime next year, as they have just recently signed to Triple Crown Records. Keep your ears open for that, as it should be as immensely golden as all of Weatherbox's back catalogue.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Artist of the Day: Boards of Canada

This past month has brought a highly anticipated and long overdue event in the electronic music calendar: the reissue of almost the entire Boards of Canada catalogue. Men everywhere who post on internet forums and wear vintage clothing are said to be stoked. I should know, I’m one of them.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Death Grips

Somehow, Death Grips keeps surprising us. A little over a year after leaking No Love Deep Web without their label's permission, they've come out of nowhere to release the brand new album Government Plates. While "Birds" was released in August, the strangeness and out of nowhere posting of the track made it feel like a one-off. However, it seems that was simply a teaser for this record. "Birds" isn't quite a strong indication of the sound of the record, however the one correct sign you may get from it is that the record is far more focused on the beats and features more vocal-less parts. Even during the rapped parts, the vocals seem to be turned down lower than before, giving Zach Hill and Flatlander the spotlight rather than their weirdly worshipped frontman MC Ride. It's definitely an interesting listen, if not their best, and worth downloading. You can download Government Plates for free right here, and stream it on their Soundcloud.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Artist of the Day: Cut Copy

Attention early-teenaged children of parents who met at raves: I sense imminent danger. You risk being the first generation who will, when the music blasting through your poster-lined bedroom walls is interrupted by your parents knock gingerly on the door, face a chilling amount of enthusiasm from the folks. For them, it’s a miracle, a godsend. This 4/4 floor-thumping music is not the cliche “jibber-jabber,” it’s not “just noise.” In fact, it seems that these days they DO “make ‘em like they used to.” Scared yet? 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Album Review: The Lonely Forest - Adding Up The Wasted Hours

Album Rating: B+
Everyone loves a good comeback story, and there are few bands out there today deserving of one as much as Washington's The Lonely Forest.  After landing some impressive radio spots with huge hits like "We Sing in Time" and "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside," major labels were fiending for any piece they could get of these Anacortes' musicians, and thus ensued the age-old story of hopeful success gone bad and replaced with stifling bureaucracy.  Somehow, The Lonely Forest managed to make it out alive, and now, armed with a new full-length album not on a major label, they're ready to pick up right where they left off, and start doing things their way.

Artist of the Day - Childish Gambino

When Donald Glover half-laughed the line "Why does every black actor gotta rap some? I don't know, all I know is I'm the best one." on "Bonfire", he essentially summarized the state of his rapping alter-ego Childish Gambino: obsessed with his race, obsessed with himself, and ultimately insecure about the relationship between his talents. Camp was a mish-mash of ideas, wildly flailing between serious issues and immature dick-talk, hiding behind jokes and technical inproficiency. The tracks that worked were carried by production value and catchy hooks, and Donald Glover's reintroduction into the entertainment world fell mostly flat. Since then, his career has shifted significantly; in 2011 he was starring on a cult comedy, releasing a standup special, and scoring minor rap hits. In 2013 he's fleeing a sinking ship of a show to do what most of his fans wish he wouldn't: focus on rapping.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Artist of the Day: Mogwai

If you follow Stuart Braithwaite on Twitter, you'll be more than familiar with his stance in the debate regarding Scottish independence. An adamant YES campaigner, the past year has seen the Mogwai leader's name surface in political analysis as opposed to music forums; his voice gracing public debates, mainstream television and online podcasts as the case for separation has slowly gathered pace. He's certainly embraced the role, but luckily for fans it's not come at the expense of his day job, with he and his bandmates having spent much of 2013 writing, recording and agonising over their eighth studio album. Complete, confirmed and ready to roll, Rave Tapes will see the light of day on 20 January, just short of three years since its predecessor, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will hit shelves. With a terrific teaser, "Remurdered" already doing the rounds, the stage is set for further confirmation of the Glaswegian's place among the post-rock elite. Indeed, with this pending release, tour plans already in place and Scottish independence looking more likely by the day, it's fair to predict that 2014 will be a year for Mogwai and Braithwaite to remember.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Album Review: 1994! - Fuck It

Album Rating: B+
1994! is a band that is hard to describe and place into any one specific genre or area. The two piece from Lancaster, Penn. plays their own version of punk, infused with what many call "emo-revival." The kicker though, is that 1994! more often than not, turns up the speed to 11. The band has perfected a certain chaotic, ferocity of drums and noodled guitar lines, accented with aggressive yet emotive vocals. Their new LP, Fuck It, which the band recorded while on tour in Europe, on an iPhone, showcases the raw intensity and power of the duo.

Artist of the Day: After the Burial

After the Burial is not a throwaway metalcore band. Despite having a name that could be confused with one, the music that this technical powerhouse churns out is mature and furious. Taking the technical deathcore genre in a different direction than their Sumerian label mates Veil of Maya allows After the Burial to carve out their own niche of niche sound, while ultimately making their mind bending music more accessible to average metal fans.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Live Review: Public Service Broadcasting, Digital, Newcastle (08/11/2013)

Public Service Broadcasting's latest visit to Newcastle was supposed to occur at Hoults Yard's Warehouse 34, but was later moved to Digital - a lesser, albeit warmer venue for live music. The switch, however, did nothing to dampen the effect of their unique stage show, which has spent the year zigzagging the nation in support of excellent debut LP Inform - Educate - Entertain.

Artist of the Day: Melt-Banana

It's always humbling to discover a band that's been around for decades, writing, recording and touring nonstop since 1993, all completely without your knowing.  Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Melt-Banana in 2011, a mere 18 years into their prolific career, and I've been on board ever since.  My oddly non-musical friend (who generally prefers Danny Elfman movie scores to actual albums) unexpectedly popped in a rip of "Chain-Shot to Have Some Fun" off of 2007's Cell-Scape to my stereo, and I was blown away.  The style is somewhere between hardcore, punk and noise, with blistering electronic drums driving each track that are built upon layers of distortion and synth.  With only two members, one would expect a mostly thin sound, but the combination of Yasuko Onuki's frantic high-pitched delivery and Ichirou Agata's industrial, effects-driven guitar tone creates a soundscape like no other.

Currently, Melt-Banana is on tour in the States supporting the release of their new record, Fetch (a likely contender for my end-of-the-year list), and having attended the stop in Chapel Hill earlier this week, I could not recommend the Tokyo band more.  Agata always wears a surgical mask on stage, since performing his music makes him prone to nose bleeds, and if that's not a brutal enough incentive to dive into the noise, I don't know what is.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Album Review: A Wilhelm Scream - Partycrasher

Album Rating: B+
Some years ago, I broke my first bone during a set from A Wilhelm Scream.  At the time, I had still felt invincible enough to push and mosh my way through kindred fans twice my size and, ultimately, paid dearly for it.  For months as I limped around campus, I found myself constantly wondering, "Was it worth it?"  I was thankfully still on a post-release high from Career Suicide, so my long-lasting, right foot battle scars felt more like a cool souvenir than anything else.  Here I am, though, six years later, and wondering if Partycrasher can keep that experience a positive one—or will it symbolically morph my snapping ankle into some brutal form of foreshadowing, where I should have gotten out while I could?  After spending a lot of time with this album, I'm happy to say I still believe that time in a cast was well worth it. 

Artist Of The Day: Crayon Pop

Earlier this year, K-pop quintet Crayon Pop released one of the sleeper hits of the year with "Bar Bar Bar." The goofy electropop throwdown quickly won the hearts of listeners thanks to a dance anybody could follow and a chorus ABBA-like in its catchy, nonsensical nature. Though its label Chrome Entertainment lacks the clout of K-Pop's giants like SM Entertainment, Crayon Pop has seen explosive growth thanks to its guerilla-style street campaigns and its viral videos - and with music this sticky it won't be long before they get the world dancing along.

Check out "Bar Bar Bar" if you haven't already and see the group performing older single "Bing Bing" (and throwing in a badass Daft Punk middle eight) below:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Live Review: HRVRD, The Clubhouse (11/2/13)

Wow. What a tour package. I don’t really need to spend much time describing my excitement to attend A Lot Like Birds’ current run featuring HRVRD, My Iron Lung, and Night Verses, because I haven’t seen a bill this stacked all year and was more than willing to hand over ten dollars to secure my spot right in front of the stage on Saturday night. While each of these bands were great in their own respects (My Iron Lung’s wave-inspired brand of Touchè Amore flavored hardcore was certainly fun to see, and Night Verses delivered an insanely energetic performance, with the vocalist and drummer wildly flailing and jumping throughout the duration of their set), I was strictly attending as a HRVRD fanboy, and I definitely did not go home disappointed.

Artist of the Day: Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett may be responsible for some of your favorite indie rock moments, and you might not even know it. The violinist and arranger has composed and play strings on multitudes of important albums in the past or so, ranging from Arcade Fire (where he has worked on every album), to Grizzly Bear, to even Taylor Swift. Pallett's emotional and monumental orchestrations help bring forth the power and energy of some of these band's best songs, and he is an important aspect, often underlooked.

 He has released  a few solo albums under the name Final Fantasy, only to change to his given name, where he released 2010's standout Heartland. His solo work features looping violins, electronics, and minimalistic elements. It is all very precise and intricate, and Pallett's voice is unique in blending with the mix of organic and synthetic instruments. He has plans to release a new album in 2014, and one can only imagine that it'll be as special as his last.


Album Review: Panic! at the Disco - Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!

Album Rating: C
It's always nice when an album title provides the perfect summary line for a lazy writer, and I have to thank whoever decided on Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!. The new Panic! At the Disco album is neither weird nor rare, and comes across entirely as a tired attempt to get with the times by copying their friends and hopping on the electro-pop bandwagon. To Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is completely tepid and unmoving, and the gives the impression of being different simply for the sake of being different. While their more devoted fans will eat it up the same way most Fall Out Boy fans devoured Save Rock and Roll, there is so little substance to it past the tired synths and electric-fused Imagine Dragons-style anthemic pounds that unless one listens to it with their mind already made up, it goes in through one ear and out the other.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Live Review: Frightened Rabbit, Newcastle University (11/5/2013)

The size and makeup of Frightened Rabbit's audience has altered immeasurably since I first saw them at Newcastle's tiny Castle Keep, but this upturn is through nothing if not hard labour. Kicking off another UK tour, the Scots returned to the region near the end of their busiest year yet; one that's brought a major label debut in Pedestrian Verse, and treks around Australia, North America (twice) and mainland Europe, together with countless festival appearances. With venues being upgraded with each fresh round, the intimacy of earlier shows is now in scant supply, but that's done little to inhibit their towering performances, which have essentially mirrored the growth heard in their stellar back catalogue.

Artist of the Day: John Talabot

He hasn't been round all that long, but John Talabot's pulled more weight than we expected since he tore into the electronic scene three years ago with the track "Sunshine." The Spanish dance maestro has done a fair bit of work, most notably in 2012 when his debut fIN managed to succeed in both the often mutually exclusive areas of mainstream success and critical acclaim. It even managed to get a five star review from The Guardian, whatever that means.

Recently -as in just over a week ago- Talabot joined a long list of electronic legends (give or take - it's too extensive a list to be completely agreeable) to contribute to the DJ-Kicks compilation series. The release perfectly explains the excellence of his influences, with tracks from contemporary underground icons Pye Corner Audio, Andy Stott and Motor City Drum Ensemble. The double disk release will have heads popping and brain cogs whirring as the listener is treated to what could easily be considered to be the best mix of the year. Talabot, it seems, is still going strong.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Live Review: Future of the Left, The Cluny, Newcastle (11/3/2013)

The very first time I heard “Bread, Cheese, Bow and Arrow,” the curtain-raiser on new album How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, my thoughts immediately shifted to how Future of the Left would replicate it during their live shows. Potent, snappy and assertive, its solitary bursts are so sharp and disparate they almost sound as though they’re being improvised on the spot; an onerous challenge for any band, never mind one performing with a stand-in drummer (regular sticksman, and new father, Jack Egglestone was absent). Even with inconveniences, however, this Cardiff-based quartet have always formed a mightily tight unit, so the fact they smashed it without so much as a minute flaw or mistiming was actually of little surprise. In fact, this stinging, note-perfect rendition did much to epitomise the entire gig, which right from the off was one of both bludgeoning volume and ruthless efficiency.

EP Review: Title Fight - Spring Songs

Album Rating: A-
EPs are quite common in the punk rock world. Bands will write and record songs in a fast turnaround so that they can get the music to the fans as quick as possible, something that Title Fight has been doing ever since their inception. It's quite surprising that it took the Kingston, PA four-piece a year to crank out some new material, but with their intensive tour schedule it's even more amazing that the band has come up with the quick epic that is Spring Songs. Though it's only an EP, it features some of the best songs the band has ever produced under a variety of aesthetic approaches that are not only memorable, but honestly mesmerizing and arguably better than anything on Floral Green.

Album Review: Lights & Motion - Save Your Heart

Album Rating: A-
What do you do after releasing one of the most acclaimed debuts of the year? That's the question overnight post-rock sensation Christoffer Franzen, better known to his fans as Lights & Motion, had to answer. After releasing Reanimation, he soon found his songs in film trailers, fan videos and even the Oscar ceremonies. Whatever he'd do next, one thing was for sure: the world would be watching with eager eyes.

In that light, what's most impressive about his follow-up Save Your Heart, following Reanimation only ten months after its release, is that it truly feels like the next step in Franzen's self-realization as a musician. He very easily could have capitalized on his newfound fame by pumping out another LP of fist-pumping instrumental rock and called it a day. Instead, Save Your Heart finds him shading in new facets of his musical identity, even as it retains many of the same things that made everybody fall in love with him in the first place.

Artist of the Day: K.Flay

K.Flay should be a big name in the months to come. Already on a meteoric rise, she and her brand of hyper-intelligent hip-hop should find a home over the course of her next few releases. Her What If It Is EP, released earlier this year, was one of the year's finest short releases. Its gritty beats, breathy, animated rap, and weighty lyrical topics found a home across the Internet, and her recent tour with Icona Pop proves the success of her material. She's energetic, she's gritty, she's a damn good producer, and she's got everything needed for success - the only thing left now is to wait for her rise to continue.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Round-Up: October 2013

Greetings! Here at MuzikDizcovery, we run across more amazing artists than you can shake a fist at...or write about, unfortunately. Round-Up is a monthly feature attempting to cover some of the great musicians who we may have missed but are just as deserving of our attention.

Matt and Andrew Como, better known as The Como Brothers Band, claim to have too many favorite artists to list on their Facebook page, but they do mention starting off with "a love of The Beatles." That influence couldn't be clearer on the brothers' debut album Baby Steps, a delightful throwback to good old-fashioned Motown pop that still feels entirely original. The band works elements of blues and rock into pop, integrating funky horns, sparkling keys and gritty guitars into classic pop song structures. There isn't a single miss among the twelve songs here, and none of them are lacking for hooks: pick one at random and there's a 99 percent chance you'll find it wedged firmly into your brain for the next few days. The lush, dark "Late Nights" has a chorus too catchy not to sing along to, while bouncy, subtly sophisticated pop-rock gems like "Only Me" and "Make a Move" abound. It's the duo's vocals, though, that wrap the whole package up. They may win you over with their charming boyishness, but in darker moments you can hear hints of maturity following heartbreak: it's that implacable undercurrent of sadness, intimate and personal in a way that transcends the music's pop leanings, that elevates Baby Steps to one of my favorite albums of the year—and The Como Brothers Band to one of the bands I'll be keeping a close eye on. Stream Baby Steps below:

Artist of the Day: Mutual Benefit

To all those broken-hearted that their Falls will be presumably unenhanced by a new slow-leaf-falling, mountain-road-drifting Fleet Foxes album, don’t give up hope! They’re not the only ones that can do it, and who knows, maybe they’re not even the ones that can do it best. Hailing from smack-dab on the other end of I-90, Boston’s Mutual Benefit are making a good argument for themselves with a debut mesmerizingly humble in light of its utter beauty. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Tancred

We may have to wait until 2014 for a new Now, Now record, but it's hard to complain with Tancred's brand new self-titled record out for consumption. For the uninformed, Tancred is Now, Now guitarist/backing vocalist Jess Abbott's solo project, and after two stripped down acoustic releases she has released a record that stands up to the best of Now, Now. While the ambient electronics that made Threads so unique and fantastic are nonexistent in Tancred, the guitar based sound works to separate the two projects. Opener "The Ring" is almost bouncy in its guitar riff and melody, but the emotional strain on Jess's voice permeates throughout the song, a standard matched throughout the whole album. It's a fantastic effort for something that isn't even close to the main priority for Jess, as Now, Now is touring through the release of this record. However, it's a nice little sign that her creative juices are still flowing, leading into higher hopes for Now, Now's expected 2014 release. You can stream and purchase the record on Topshelf Records's Bandcamp page.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Rural Alberta Advantage

While my first two contributions to the Artist of the Day series have covered Canadian indie bands that unfairly don't commonly receive the appreciation of American audiences, for the first time I am not only covering a band that possibly received more online attention in the states than in their homeland, but recounting the best concert experience of my life, and one of the best shows Halifax, Nova Scotia has ever witnessed. The Rural Alberta Advantage, a group who thankfully defy the tedious “indie-folk” label that could go along with their name, are renowned in many indie circles for their heartfelt messages and stories, well-paced nostalgia, and especially their driving and enthralling rhythm section and eagerness to get loud when it's necessary. Their first album, Hometowns received critical acclaim internationally and plenty of television exposure through commercials, for bypassing the stereotypes of its genre and bending the expectations laid upon it. Their second effort had just recently been released when I saw them in 2011.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Artist of the Day: Los Campesinos!

Coming from a group so synonymous with excellence as Los Campesinos! 2011's Hello Sadness brought with it an unfamiliar tinge of disappointment. Never as chirpy as their indie pop exterior would suggest, the thought of the septet living up to their fourth LP's dour title was actually rather appealing, so it's unfortunate the results in practice rarely threatened to match that which they promised on paper. Luckily, that bold yet unfulfilled outing appears to have merely been a blip (and a minor one at that) now that the Welsh band have soared back into view with No Blues, a sprightly, jubilant comeback which arguably finds them sounding healthier than ever.