Thursday, April 24, 2014

Album Review: The Menzingers - Rented World

Album Rating: A-
The Menzingers are a band that has paid their dues. The Scranton, PA natives have been playing music for almost a decade, and have built themselves up from playing YMCA's in suburban Pennsylvania to full-fledged world-wide tours. It comes as no surprise then that their fourth full-length album, Rented World, is as mature and focused as they are. Following up 2012's highly acclaimed On The Impossible Past, must have been a heavy weight to bare, but The Menzingers have succeeded in creating an album that transitions easily from their past work, while also injecting a different tone and style.

Rented World can be said to be the best Weezer album since Pinkerton. From the basic artwork featuring only the title and the band members, to the actual music itself, Rented World has a distinct early Weezer vibe. Guitars are distorted heavily enough, but never too much, and melodies are catchy. The distinct "sing-a-long" mentality is present from the opening track, and single, "I Don't Want To Be An Asshole Anymore." It has a powerful chorus that's backed up by gang-vocal "whoas." The song kicks the album with a burst of energy and leads it forward through 12 tracks ranging from early 90's poppy punk ("The Talk") to the Bob Dylan-esque closer "When You Died."

The band equals out each fast, more punk sounding track with a slower more melodic one. Tracks like "Transient Love" and "Where Your Heartache Exists" bring the tempos down slightly and give room to breathe for both the listener and the band. These slower moments only help accentuate the louder more powerful moments such as the opening riff to "In Remission" or the pre-verse section of "Sentimental Physics." Both tracks showcase heavy power-chord riffs that are infused with copious amounts of distortion.

Where The Menzingers are really finding their sound is in their choruses, with each song have memorable hooks and catchy lyrics. Quickly scanning over the track list, you are able to recall each and every song's chorus with ease, and it only makes you want to listen to the album one more time. The band's last record, On The Impossible Past, was their breakthrough, and Rented World may fall a tiny bit short of the heights reached by its predecessor, but it is only because it is a slightly different direction for the group. Rented World seems like The Menzingers have become very comfortable with who they are and what music they make, and as their fourth album, it feels more like a new beginning for the group.


Track list:

1. I Don't Want To Be An Asshole Anymore
2. Bad Things
3. Rodent
4. Where Your Heartache Exists
5. My Friend Kyle
6. Transient Love
7. The Talk
8. Nothing Feels Good Anymore
9. Hearts Unknown
10. In Remission
11. Sentimental Physics
12. When You Died

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Album Review: Woods - With Light and With Love

Album Rating: B+
Woods have always been on the precipice of perfect moderation, and their seventh album in nine years is no exception. Their prolific churning has cumulated into some of the most forthright Indie Folk released in years. Applying the Goldilocks formula, With Light and With Love finds the balance between the rustic without being played, introspective without being over-indulgent and fondly familiar without the innocuous resin that laces most seasoned folk acts by this stage in their career, conditioned facial hair included.

Off the the back of 2012’s stretched and brittle Bend Beyond, Woods have varnished themselves off to a gleaming example of progressive Indie, retaining their coiled psych influences and creative instrumental breakdowns in lieu of some recycled melodies and themes. Frontman Jeremy Earl further embraces his infatuation with mortality and fleeting sentiment performed with an unsupposing resonance, teeming with existential wordplay.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Actually buying things

Everyone knows music is free nowadays. I had a look at wikipedia and it pointed me toward a survey done in 2012 in which 29% of respondents admitted to downloading music from peer-to-peer networks. If we factor in the fact most of the others are lying and a lot of them probably don't care for music at all, then do a bit of faux maths, everyone and their mum has a account. You don't even have to go behind the back of the law any more in order to satiate your music fix thanks to Youtube, Soundcloud and Spotify. Hell, as a writer on Muzik Dizcovery I struggle to listen to promos faster than they arrive.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Album Review: Animals as Leaders - The Joy of Motion

Album Rating: A-
Whether it's because of the real drums, Misha Mansoors' widely regarded return to the drawing and mixing board, or simply the group's newfound preference for exploration over critical reverence, there's no denying it—The Joy of Motion sounds mind-bogglingly huge.  It's explosive, yet composed; volcanic, yet regulated.  The showy instrumentation on Weightless, while certainly far more apparently impressive than much of what comprises the 2014 record, was ultimately hindered both by its excesses and an additional unintrusive mix.  The Joy of Motion, contrastingly, is easily the progressive band's most "normal" release to date, very much content existing within the musical confines of the djenty present, but it's additionally, without question, Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes' most successful effort thus far.  If this is what the present sounds like, why do we ever try to break free in the first place?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Album Review: Save Face - I Won't Let This Take My Life

Album Rating: A-
I Won't Let This Take My Life combines brisk and intensified hardcore with memorable, hooky pop-punk from the great Garden State. The raw energy and fervor found on this record is undeniable - further blurring the lines between brutal new-age hardcore and jovial pop-punk. If you dig bands such as Counterparts and New Found Glory, Save Face might just be the new band you are looking for.

Album Review: Former Monarchs - The Cost of Living

Album Rating: B
The Irish math rock sonic touchstones have steadily garnered more and more visibility in recent years, with bands like And So I Watch You From Afar and Enemies both having assembled impressive world audiences from their expert paradisaical soundscapes.  There must be something in the water, as the Atlantic island has conjured enough aural palm trees to construct a second Disney World, and given their locale, one would be quick to assume that another batch of the locals, Former Monarchs, are additionally contributing to the cause. Though tropical math may be preeminent, the Cork band's debut full-length, The Cost of Living, seems more wont to construct the actual present, in all of its crooked glory, than pack up its bags and head for the beach.

Album Review: Ratking - So It Goes

Album Rating: B+
Hip-Hop is a perpetually escalating competition, a survival of the fittest civil war that has been pitting MCs against each other since the 70s. And as with all skirmishes, territories must be claimed. The current landscape is a binary divide between the LA and New York rappers and has been as far back as I can remember. Although lately, with the surge of alternative Hip-Hop seeping into a younger demographic as a result of the Odd Future epidemic or Black Hippy monopoly, New York has been sandbagged by flashflood sensations and collective infusions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Best Of The Year 2014: First Quarter Update

One of our favorite articles to do every year is our quarterly lists. For all you new readers out there, every three months each of our writers posts a list of their five favorite releases of that year as of that moment. This could include albums that aren't even out yet; any album that we have heard that is released in 2014 is eligible. On this edition of our quarterly updates, The Hotelier, Cloud Nothings, St. Vincent, Sun Kil Moon, The War On Drugs, Real Estate, and You Blew It! all appear on multiple lists, highlighting the diversity of our writers. We hope you discover something you wouldn't ever expect. All lists are below, and will be linked to any coverage we have done on the albums.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Album Review: The Great Old Ones – Tekeli-li

Album Score: A
Few bands get it absolutely right the first time – within the realm of black metal, Emperor, Celtic Frost, Ulver, and maybe Agalloch come to mind. So when The Great Old Ones turned in a solid debut in Al Azif, prospects were good that the band’s next effort could be a breakthrough. Sure, there was the usual Weakling-worship and some songs stood out more than others, but Al Azif had some exciting qualities to it, mostly revolving around the album’s sinister vibe and saturation with all things H.P. Lovecraft. It’s only been two years since then, but The Great Old Ones is already back for round two, and this time the band has taken everything that made its debut a good album and amplified them to make Tekeli-li an all-around superb one.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Album Review: Manchester Orchestra - Cope

Album Rating: A-
In a modern age of music where every band and album is relentlessly categorized into genre and sub-genre, it is disappointing to look at the state of straight up rock. Rock music is almost nonexistent in popular music currently, and indie has taken over from alternative. On Manchester Orchestra's fourth LP, Cope, the band plays with full force and delivers a captivating rock album; something that has been lacking greatly from current music.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Album Review: Thou - Heathen

Album Score: B+
Of all the extreme metal beasts wandering the musical underworld, black metal and doom metal are among the most fearsome and strange. From the darkest depths of the human psyche these creatures arose, boring their way towards the light from frostbitten forests and sweltering swamps. The latter gave us early doom mavens Exhorder and Eyehategod, but somewhere down the line Louisiana birthed some truly terrifying monsters like Thou. A quintet specializing in music designed to break souls, Thou has tempered its blackened doom for nine years through three albums and a menagerie of EPs and splits. At the core of Thou’s ideology is a distaste for societal constructs; an abhorrence of the artificial paradigms ruling our world. Heathen, then, is both a logical continuation – and the boldest chapter yet – of that treatise on humanity’s true face.