Sunday, December 1, 2013
Baklavaa -Spiral Cramps
This record is absolutely insane. These guys are a noisy breath of aggression from somewhere in Baltimore, MD. Spiral Cramps is a quick burst of noise, clocking in at less than 25 minutes, that leaves the listener sort of wondering what the hell just happened. If I had to compare them to someone I'd probably say they're similar to Tera Melos. This album is pay what you want on Bandcamp or you can buy a physical copy for just $10.
NIN - Hesitation Marks
I guess you might call this album a return to form for Trent Reznor's NIN. Maybe not, but it's the first NIN album I've enjoyed front to back since With Teeth. The album features Adrian Belew and Lindsay Buckingham so how could it not be awesome?
The Elephant In the Room - The Collective and The Individual
There's some bias here because I contributed to the Kickstarter for this album, before ever hearing a note. The record is produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. This is a big sounding record with choruses of voices that borders on prog rock, Crescenzo's influence is definitely there. It says something though that this record made my list and The Dear Hunter's Migrant album did not. This is an excellent record that anyone with an affinity for rock music should enjoy. Track 2, Monsters, is the highlight of the album for me.
Sannhet - Known Flood
I first heard Sannhet via NYC Taper and their recording of the Known Flood release show. Sannhet was opening for Deafheaven, a band you'll find further down. They're an instrumental band from Brooklyn NY. Experimental black post everything metal. Known Flood is and unrelenting blend of swirling guitars and thunderous drums. Check out the opening track Absecon Isle to get an idea of what Known Flood is all about.
Oathbreaker - Eros/Anteros
This is an album I just discovered by trolling through the Deathwish records site looking for something to listen too. It's heavy X 1000. Somewhere between black metal and post-hardcore lives Belgium's Oathbreaker.This is your album if you need to run around and wreck stuff.
I The Mighty - Satori
Probably my second most played album this summer. I the Mighty is a sort of prog/emo band similar to Coheed and Cambria. This album lived in my wife's car and accompanied us on many long car trips. It's a great record to sing a long with. It's got some heavy moments, some quiet moments. We also had the chance to see these guys live this fall. They only had a 5 song set, but they had tons of energy.
Coheed and Cambria - Afterman: Descension
My favorite band, I've seen most of the songs on this album performed live. A much stronger effort than the first half of the Afterman record. Just go listen to Gravity's Union.
Russian Circles - Memorial
Another band I had the pleasure to see live a few times over the course of the year. Another instrumental album. Russian Circles are just so good. This album could probably fit in any spot on the list, so I stuck it here. It might be the heaviest album on the list.
Touche Amore - ...Is Survived by
This album clocks in a at just under 30 minutes. It's like a punch to the gut. It's that post-hardcore emo stuff that I enjoy so much. This album is just plain good. “So write a song that everyone can sing along to/So when you’re gone you can live on, they won’t forget you.”
Another album with ties to black metal. It's definitely not for everyone, but for me this is far and away the best record of 2013. It's totally captivating. From the beginning of Dream House to the ending of The Pecan Tree my jaw is on the floor. Between each of the album's four main tracks are some sound collage segues/ shorter acoustic pieces that bring perfect balance to the record. George Clarke's vocals are gut wrenching while Kerry McCoy's guitars dance between meandering shoegaze and black metal brutality. I will admit that having seen these guys live this year has only enhanced my opinion of this record. Listening to Sunbather is almost a process, it really needs to be absorbed as a whole. If you're willing to dive into some experimental black metal Sunbather is the place to start.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
These guys were kind enough to do an interview with The Drawer over the summer. I you haven't read it you should read it and listen.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Our good friend, Simon Waldram, has just released a new CD, The Space Between, available now for download, streaming, or as a CD (the link will take you to the bandcamp page where you can buy it.) It's a great, gloomy, mellow folk rock outing. I recommend listening to Broken Hill for a good taste. There's a great ethereal tug here, and plenty of atmosphere. Beautiful cello and violin parts accompany Simon's haunting vocal. Don't stop there - you'll find a lot to latch on to here.
We'll try for a longer review later. For now - this is highly recommended. And if you're an old DMusic fan like me, you'll find some nice guest appearances here too.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Check it out. Also, go see Deafheaven if you can because they are amazing.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
We arrived at 2640 Space around 7:30 after a very rainy 3 hour trip from the mountains of Western MD. 2640 Space is a former church that is pretty much hollowed out. There's exposed brick work, crumbling plaster, and where the alter was there's now a stage stripped of all the religious artifacts that once decorated the walls.
The room was probably 2/3rds full at this point and the stage was jam packed with equipment, amps, guitars, horns, squeeze boxes, saws, drums, etc, etc. Elf Power started around a 8 and ripped through a set of old and new tunes. Slowing it down at one point to dedicate a song to recently passed Elephant 6 cohort Bill Doss. Elf Power seemed supremely aware that they were there for something special and didn't waste time finishing up and clearing the stage.
After Elf Power cleared the stage the 2/3rds room filled to capacity in no time. 9 o'clock came and went and set up for Neutral Milk Hotel continued. There seemed to be some sort of equipment issue that needed to be worked out. I can't speak for the rest of the crowd, but I was getting restless. Finally some time between 9:20 and 9:30 a small black flash light flickered on and off at the corner of the stage letting the folks at the board know it was time to go.
A very bearded Jeff Magnum walked out on stage to thunderous applause. He picked up a guitar and began playing Two-Headed Boy from the bands acclaimed "In The Aeroplane Over the Sea" album. As Magnum played the other member of the group made their way up on stage to more cheers from the crowd. Scott Spillane could be seen mouthing or singing along to every word Magnum shouted into the microphone. As Two-Headed Boy ended the entire group burst into a lively rendition of The Fool. Everything the crowd seemed to be expecting had come to fruition at this point and the show was off and running.
They followed The Fool with Holland, 1945 and A Baby for Pree quickly one after the other. One of the most interesting thing about this show was simply how captivated the crowd was. In between songs you could literally hear a pin drop. The silence was something I've never really experienced at a show. Occasionally someone in the crowd would try to break the spell by shouting something like "Thanks for coming to Baltimore" or "Have you been to the aquarium?" which would sometimes be followed by murmurs of laughter from the rest of the audience. The band itself kept the stage banter to a minimum, the typical "thank you" and "we're so happy to be here," although at one point Magnum confessed to loving all the other members of the band.
The set list was a mix of the band's releases and the members traded off instruments with ease. The crowd, who have probably only heard Magnum perform this material solo and without accompaniment over the last 15 years we're extremely excited to hear each horn blast, each bowed note of the saw, each of Julian Kostner's crazy bass slaps and banjo plucks. There were sing-a-longs and there were moments of "holy shit this is actually happening" silence.
After finishing Oh, Comely and fan favorite, Song Against Sex the band moved into their most experimental part of the set running through Ruby Bulbs, Snow Song, Ghost, and Untitled. At this point the band left Magnum alone again to strum Two-Headed Boy (Part 2). As Magnum finished the last line "But don't hate her when she gets up to leave" he smiled. clasped his hands together as if in prayer, said thanks and walked off the stage.
We spent most of the show standing in the back and at this point some people began to leave the church, I don't know if anyone was certain there would be an encore, but the crowd was asking for one more song. We got three. The band came back out and played Naomi, Ferris Wheel on Fire, and Engine. The band took their bows and left the stage together for the first time in 15 years.
So this review is probably overly glowing and flowery, and I'm sorry for that. I'm not a reviewer, I'm a fan. I never expected to be able to see Neutral Milk Hotel live, but I did and it was awesome. I pretty much had chills from the first note of Two-Headed Boy to the last note of Engine. Magnum's voice is still amazing and strong and the songs sound so much fuller with all the pieces there. It was just a great time. If you have the chance to see them on this tour do it.
You can read what Rolling Stone's Jessie Jarnow thought of the show here.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
"The album Piña Colada by Cave Art is a special blend of weird pop, DIY synths (you might have heard of their 'Standuino' synth), and live improvisation. Heavily influenced the by the pre-90's Czech generation of 'bastlers' - people building electronics at home in the context of the Soviet regime, Cave Art continue that tradition by soldering their own electronic instruments. Once finished, they accompany their electronic creations with strange-looking guitars and free vocals - singing the story of a smuggler from the future. Painting on the walls of 21st century with less formalism and more of a 'pure' colour.
Piña Colada was recorded live on 31.5.2013 at Schaustelle, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany."
You can name your own price for this record over at bandcamp.