Monday, February 28, 2011

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes (2011)

Lykke Li has an outstanding capacity of expression in her music, something of value taking notice that she’s only 24 years old, for a young woman she has an exceptional profound lyrical understanding of love, heartache, deception and all those human emotions that make songs so great, but unlike other pop artists she doesn’t put the simple words to express emotions, she captures the complexity of relationships and doesn’t go straight to say I love you when she loves, but somehow you feel the love.

For “Wounded Rhymes” Lykke Li pushed the production to a bigger scale with Björn Yttling of Peter, Björn and John in charge, therefore, the sound quality is more expensive just in the first listen, and on her account the song writing is much more mature. The album has the trademark voice of Lykke Li already known for a lot of people, but brakes up the sound adding this time much more eloquent sounds, the percussion pound a little bit harder, thing that can already be seen in the two singles that are out “Get Some” and “I Follow River”, and the formula repeats itself in some other tracks but the ones that attracted my attention were the ballads that can be beautifully depressive, melancholic, vulnerable, complex and show the real evolution of the artist.

Simple songs with old soul like “Unrequited Love” remind heartache ballads compared to the quality of El Perro Del Mar, Camera Obscura or St. Vincent, and if in the past she was singing about being just “a little bit in love”, this time around she jumped in with both feet and felt incredibly hard just to fail in the end, elevating the lyrics to phrases like “sorrow, the only lover I ever known” in “Sadness Is a Blessing”, definitely one of the best songs of the entire LP.

What charms me the most about Lykke Li is her old soul mixed with her youth appeal, and for sure she’ll keep the hype of the upbeat songs to get the album running, but once is established in the public I would love to see a video of one of the sad songs, maybe “I Know Places”, and make everyone cry and be incredibly touched by image like she did with the minimal video of “Tonight”.

She kind of reminds me of Fiona Apple, the way that she’s able to make heartache sound beautiful when said harshly, of course, Lykke Li is way too depressed and tired to fight her emotions, so she’s less of a fighter and more the existential kind, who knows well that the good days might be good, and the bad days hit hard, but lets the river flow until the rapids end hoping to survive in the end, specially if she´s not really sure. The power of love most definitely is one of the great mysteries that cause angst to people around the world, and what Lykke Li does is not distract this feeling with a silly little love song that will take you appart from the reality, but also doesn’t leave you inside with no way out; she walks through with you not giving hope but as a loyal companion.


Tracklist:

1. Youth Knows No Pain
2. I Follow Rivers
3. Love Out of Lust
4. Unrequited Love
5. Get Some
6. Rich Kid Blues
7. Sadness Is a Blessing
8. I Know Places
9. Jerome
1o. Silent My Song

Rate: 8.3/10

Sunday, February 27, 2011

#FlashbackSunday #Oscars2011 (Ryan Gosling) Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones (2009)

For the last flashback I’m going to talk about one of my favourite actors and his music project that not a lot of people know, Ryan Gosling is the other half of the Zach Shields; they met when they were dating sisters and in time they started a music project. Now there’s a lot of reasons to be sceptic about this project, for starters, not all actors that make music do it good, and the band was getting inspiration from everything dead, zombies, corpses, heartbeats, and this sort of theme of making music is not very attractive and the last part is the featured voices of “The Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir”, some hipster kids contributing in every song.

The sound of all of this together seems awful, one that only talent could really put together, and the harmonies that they get in here are ones that could make Arcade Fire jealous, they march through a very dense lyrical contents of allegoric and poetic power and the instrumentation goes from interesting percussions to even one song of synths and electronic indie rock that can also remind some of the moments in Oracular Spectacular of MGMT, without making the influences of all the names I’ve said sounding out of place.

Putting kids to say inappropriate stuff like “My Body is a Zombie for You” can also be a treat of this record, and also the playful nature of the kids singing on the top of their lungs and not paying attention to the real intonation but just having fun with it gives it a naivety that’s refreshing. Poetry, sultry, innocence, heartache, zombies, death, wolfs and ghost make of the first album of Dead Man’s Bones a very underestimated album of really epic music delivery.

I really hope this two keep making music and have a better chance of promoting it than they had this time around, if you saw my 2010 best songs list you can find that even last year I was still in love with this Halloween record of 2009 that stickled around long gone Halloween.

In the movie Blue Valentine Ryan Gosling sings to Michelle Williams a version of “You Always Hurt The Once You Love”, which it was a part of the movie trailer and got a space in the Grizzly Bear amazing soundtrack, but this flashback was not about soundtracks but about actors that were not nominated tonight, just a film in which they act, hope you enjoy the awards that are already happening.



Tracklist:

1. Intro
2. Dead Hearts
3. In The Room Where You Sleep
4. Buried In Water
5. My Body's A Zombie For You
6. Pa Pa Power
7. Young & Tragic
8. Paper Ships
9. Lose Your Soul
10. Werewolf Heart
11. Dead Man's Bones
12. Flowers Grow Out Of My Grave

Rate: 9.4/10

Google That Shit!

#Flashback Sunday #Oscar2011 Justin Tumberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds (2006)

Another actor who’s got a movie nominated tonight is Justin Timberlake. He’s better known as a singer and a well respected one, but since 2006 he doesn’t make an album and have been doing decent in the movie industry. Its common for a lot of singers to cross over from acting bus as a musician Timberlake has done a lot of things, from boy band cutie to well respected music solo artist. In his first LP Justified he did a very pop Michael Jackson album, and the results were big, he did better than with ‘N Sync and had the opportunity to dance and flash his singing as a solo act.

The kid was known for beat box and everyone could predict that on any minute he’ll become another white guy with hip hop sensibility and would look for the way to relate to that with baggy jeans and sneakers, and the idea will always be to sing and dance and make a big show. Surprise to everyone, in 2006 he’s last album to date amazed a lot of people, he took hip hop beats and made them flirt a little bit more with synthesizers and the flashy voice was toned down, also the image changed, he became this cool guy with swagger. The entire concept had a primal idea, bring sexy back, and he did so well that no respectable music critic judge the record as a disposable pop record, everyone knew that he was in the beginning of a huge success.

This LP was changing stuff of the mainstream pop and taking it to unexplored levels, not necessarily experimenting with sound to a big level, but giving personality to the project adding early hip hop sounds, funk and a flow between genres not common for a mainstream pop record. The contribution of Timbaland in this record adds a lot of power and crank to the songs, but the talent of Timberlake and personality is what definitely makes the record, or else Timbalad’s works would have been more critically acclaimed than this.

In music land, Timberlake made a big tour with Christina Aguilera, popped a booby of Janet Jackson on the live Superbowl broadcast, and then started to peruse a movie career no real steps in wanting to come back to music, but one thing he accomplished was that as a musician he’s not only a selling force of mainstream proportions, but also he can deliver respectable music quality that have the consumers happy and the everlasting pop culture impression insured.

Funny Fact: He made one of the videos with Scarlett Johansson, who's also in this FlashbackSunday of 2011 Oscars with two different movies nominated.




Tracklist:

1. Futuresex/Lovesounds
2. Sexyback
3. Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk To You Prelude
4. My Love
5. Lovestoned/I Think She Knows Interlude
6. What Goes Around.../...Comes Around Interlude
7. Chop Me Up
8. Damn Girl
9. Summer Love/Set The Mood Prelude
10. Until The End Of Time
11. Losing My Way
12. (Another Song) All Over Again

Rate: 8/10

Google That Shit!

#FlashBackSunday #Oscars2011 Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008)

Tonight is Oscar night, so I decided to post actors who have music projects and also acted on a movie nominated on anything this year, being Scarlett Johansson one of these actors. In 2008 Scarlett made a record called “Anywhere I Lay My Head”, containing Tom Waits cover songs, it was amazing to listen how a beauty of the proportions and fame of Scarlett didn’t turn to music to become even more famous, doing a crossover with blond bimbo quality like Mandy Moore.

The album is full of references of the tom waits sound but in moments she makes them darker and add instrumentation making them a little bit more epic sounding than the original songs, also the sentiment she uses when singing shock a lot of people, singing her songs almost like she didn’t care how they were sounding, just needed them to come out; it was that feeling of unawareness of the voice just putting the emphasis in the sentiment.

Another beautiful side of this LP was the echo and Shoegaze that she created in every track; it was really a smart way to not wanting to be better than Tom Waits, but to update the songs and the sounds with a smart approach to some other music genre, something that a cover is all about. This was a smart album and is not a milestone in the history of music but adds to Scarlett’s mystery and charm as an Icon, no mater if is for the fashion, indie or movie industry.

She explored the blues and the jazz and mixed it with Shoegaze and synths getting close to Dream Pop in some songs, she later got out the album she made with Pete Yorn, but this was her first solo music project, might not be a successful one, but it was a good one.

For 2011 she acted on Iron Man 2, big blockbuster that landed nominations of Visual Effects, today I’m not celebrating her as an actress but taking the opportunity to talk about her music. Hope you like it.



Tracklist:

1. Fawn
2. Town with no cheer
3. Falling down
4. Anywhere I lay my head
5. Fannin' street
6. Song for Jo
7. Green grass
8. I wish I was in New Orleans
9. I don't want to grow up
10. No one knows I'm gone
11. Who are you?

Rate: 7.6/10

Google That Shit!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rafter - Quiet Storm (2011)

Up until now, Rafter Roberts has had a very playful experimentation in his music; I have compared him to a lot of sounds until I got to a formula that was 20% Chromeo, 20% Of Montreal, 20% Passion Pit and 40% Originality. If you already know Rafter’s work, you’ll know he’s cool, with swagger and pop sensibility; but that things that seemed part of his nature were dismissed for this LP, this time he goes straight up experimenting big time, the sounds are very Lo-Fi and the production has the idea of broken saturated noise.

The first two songs I was waiting for Rafter to come out, you can recognize the old stuff but hidden behind a bunch of noise and is until “Nothing Here Worth Stealing” (the third track) that it sinks in that this is not what you expected, the sound is very Lo-Fi, and is so repressed that the only thing coming through is noise with a washed dark metal guitar and sporadic acoustic pop overtones. For the track “Innocence, in a Sense” the guitar riff really gets heavy and tends to be a little bit flashier and 80’s like.

The reason, as Rafter himself explains, is that when touring around with the “Animal Feelings” promotion he kind of got into Metal; though this influence, still the songs conserve a little bit of his characteristic sound, but is so drowned and washed out by Lo-Fi effects that make each track very hard to digest. When asked about the record he said “we listened to a lot of black metal demo tapes in the car... it was really inspiring, extreme, blown out, ridiculous but heartfelt... I made this album, fed by those inspirations and a wave of existential freakout, human mind explosion. in my fantasy, it's like darkthrone meets the kinks meets lee perry...”.

The record is a little bit under 30 minutes and is so heavy that it gets actually really long, none of the songs are great for me, not even the ones that conserve more of what Rafter is all about, and keeping up with my composture, I guess I won’t talk about how disappointed I am of this record because I consider Rafter an amazing artist, and I’m not disappointed because he did different, in fact, I applaud the brave concept he pulls off. If something you get loud and clear from this album is that in fact a Quiet Storm of really epic proportions is happening.

But non the less the concept is well putted together, and you get that everything is intentionally, the reasons of the album are an artistic expression so closed to only Rafter’s understanding that even to his most loyal fans is hard to get, if something, this LP will open the door to new listeners and probably a lesson to not making expectations on his music but never giving up on it, because you never know what you can get, and this element of surprise can be risky, but I'm still waiting to see what next stuff he can come up to.

Still remembet that this is my opinion, and you can listen and make your own, so stream the LP in bandcamp down here and come to a conclusion.





Tracklist:

1. Convenience or Death
2. Fire Fire, Water Water
3. Nothing Here Worth Stealing
4. Innocence, in a Sense
5. Sick Princess
6. U Used Me Up
7. Interlude
8. Coldness of Space
9. Braden's Song
11. Oh No
10. Pummelled
12. Born Again

Rate: 3/10

Google That Shit!

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 (2011)

Tim Hecker is a drone artist whose albums always have a deep sense of concept. For his sixth LP he became obsessed with sonic decay, and the consistency of the concept this time around is so obviously wonderful that could easily be an installation on a museum. The record is called “Ravedeath, 1972” and the cover art shows people destroying the first MIT Baker House Piano in 1972, this story began with a project of some students to make an assignment for a professor of the university, and has something to do with alums wanting to film the piano drop with a high speed camera; the project got an A and the piano drop became a tradition in the MIT Baker House dorm since then.

I’m sure the idea of the MIT tradition had something to do originally with the project; and Hecker made the record in two stages, the first one being a church in Reykjavik, Iceland; where he recorded the echo and distant sound of a groaning pipe organ to make the base of the entire LP. The second part was released in studio under the production of Ben Frost (who’s well known for very heavy toned ambient experimentations as well that goes from the minimal quietness of ambient to the powerful noise of black metal). The studio part of “Ravedeath, 1972” incorporated the drones and sounds that Frost is accustomed and shows the capacity of Hecker to play with heavy synth and noise until the experimentation becomes a powerful shoegaze sound very claustrophobic at times.

The first track “The Piano Drop” starts with a lot of violence, with a heavy electronic scratch over the pipe organ, the synths tremble back and forward and sometimes allows the listener to come inside the melody and suddenly backs him out again with another scratch, a very interesting layered opener that plays with static and ends with abrupt silence and the sound of the piano drop on the beginning of the second track. This act of violence against the piano sets the mood and starts giving all sorts of tones to the constant presence of the church’s organ pipe and goes trashing that sound with incredible violence through out every song, a feeling that gets unbearable in the “Hatred Of Music II”.

It always seems that the message Hecker is trying to get behind the noise is that the way we consume music with technology sometimes doesn’t add to it beauty but destroys the concept and opens it until the message gets lost behind everything. Kind of remind me the reading I did of the concept behind the Alexander McQueen’s fashion show named “Weird Science”, if in that moment McQueen was talking about the aggressive nature that technology can have against fashion and humanity when not used properly, Hecker is communicating exactly the same but with music, maybe is a little harsh for a fashion designer destroy the closing dress with mechanical arms throwing paint at it, and is the same idea of Hecker throwing trash sounds over a pure sound. But in the end Hecker’s message goes further, everything doesn’t get lost, because “In The Air III” two songs after the “Studio Suicide”, the studio sounds finally die, and all that’s left is the sound of the pipe organ and a piano recorder live from the church.

I see this record (no matter the unbearable that it can seem to get and the claustrophobic nature it has standing in the listener point of view), a quality of spectacle that not much artist attribute to modernity and Hecker seems to know very well, these age could be about destroying and pure creations are about surviving, this is a performance piece of theatrical quality that portrays the survival of music, no matter how much trash you throw over it, in the end music will always survive on a pure state.



Tracklist:

1. The Piano Drop
2. In The Fog I
3. In The Fog II
4. In The Fog III
5. No Drums
6. Hatred Of Music I
7. Hatred Of Music II
8. Analog Paralysis, 1978
9. Studio Suicide
10. In The Air I
11. In The Air II
12. In The Air III

Rate: 8.6/10

Google That Shit!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Win Win - Win Win (2011)

Win Win is the project collaboration of two DJ’s; Alex Epton (XXXChange, member of Spank Rock and producer of bands such as The Kills and others) and Chris Devlin (Of Devlin & Darko, also known as the tour DJ’s of Spank Rock); one thing these two guys have is talent and connections, both things great to make an excellent record, not only did they wanted to do the Win Win project, but also they had A list collaborators, such as Gang Gang Dance’s Lizzie Bougatsos and Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, two of the biggest names featuring this LP. The record label backing up the project is Vice, known for outputting some of the best party hip musicians out there, such as Chromeo, The Streets, Justice, etc.

The rhythms and beats inside this record go from cool guitar riffs with synths to chill pop structured songs and Dub, everything with the one intention of having fun and going straight to the top in club scenes; they’re not attempting the reinvention of the weal, they stick to a very classic electronic club beats and play with indie pop winks every now and then, they manage to blend electronic music genres and maintain the sound without sounding monotone or boring,

The first single “Release RPM” features Lizzie of Gang Gang Dance, and though is excellent to dace along and sing, the sound that they produce is very quiet; with intoxicating synth loops and Lizzie’s voice very ethereal on top of the mix manipulating her voice with simple effects that make variation of the tone while saying “All I need is some form of release”; the song has the chillness of good relaxing clubbers that dance with their hands on the air, really a great song for a Friday night cocktail after work. But this airy singles match with some really heavy straight up party songs, like “Not Too Late” that play with a drum loop on top of very spacey synth and chipmunk voices singing “Is not too late for me and you”, sounding more like The Prodigy crossing the street to party with Boys Noize.

And don’t forget the strong second single “Interleave With You” featuring Alexis from Hot Chip, a very reflective slow song, not made for the club on the original version and conquering the melancholy that hot chip tends to do when making a slow song. This Poly-Tronic super group makes a classic electronic sound that doesn’t pretend to be more than what it is, confident of what it has and knowing that by keeping the basics with quality the rest adds up to the formula. This is a humble excelent electronic display of what two great producers can deliver, it gets better with every listen.




Tracklist:

1. Planet Playground Interlude
2. Victim
3. Future Again (Oakland)
4. Mother Mary Interlude
5. Release RPM (ft. Lizzie of Gang Gang Dance)
6. Interleave With You (ft. Alexis of Hot Chip)
7. Cada Buen Dia
8. Pop A Gumball
9. Distort Reality
10. Glen Beck Interlude
11. Ghosts Delerium
12. The Nature Of Transendent Forces
13. Not Too Late
14. Not Too Late Pt 2

Rate: 7.8/10

Google That Shit!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Puro Instinct - Headbangers In Ecstasy (2011)

The girls of Puro Instinct are two young sisters that dropped out of school to make music; they got into the Shoegaze inspired sounds and (one more line to the tiger) entered the world of Lo-Fi artists; for their first full length, they teamed up with none other than critically acclaimed underground artist Ariel Pink, and that alone created a huge expectation. The bands original name was Pearl Harbor, under that name they released an EP, but when they changed to Puro Instinct some things started to change.

For starters, the sound keeps being very California, a lot of sun and beach and boys and heartache, The difference is that in Pearl Harbor the sounds where clearer, and this time around the message gets lost in too many production tweaks, the voices are unattainable, hidden far away behind reverb and overwhelming bass line, and on top of it the singing is always a little bit out of key, something that did not happen when they where Pearl Harbor. Now is just sloppy and lazy, and it seems on purpose; just not cute like in the Scarlett Johansson cover record of Tom Waits (for example). For this new project they relied on the reverb and the sounds happening and not on the quality of what was coming out. Of course, even this fact doesn’t make the LP a terrible one, just never nails a pretty high up. In the “California Shakedown” track, for sure one of the already known ones of the LP, accompanied with very somber guitar arpeggio, a very protagonist bass and a guitar solo with a very shy singing under that overdone reverb, the song still doesn’t come out with the same freshness as the ones in the Pearl Harbor EP.

For an album called Headbangers In Ecstasy, it comes a moment when the headbanging and the ecstasy just gets lost, the interludes hardly make sense or accomplish the idea of making the album sound like a complete music experience. The songs go from sexy and fun to somber, or overwhelming lost between production tweaks; for example “Lost At Sea” has the beach summer love tune, with a lot of indie pop of the late 80’s and early 90’s musical references singed slightly out of tune, still the naivety of the music reflects a lot of immaturity and stand on the production and not on the quality of the song on its own.

In the somber sides of the LP, when the headbanging and the ecstasy is already lost, great moments appear, but they are not well used, take for example “Escape Forever”, when the use saxophones starts to make the song rather sexy, airy and kind of resembling a wet dreamy, and then you hear chilled guitars on top of dry drums that don’t seem to mix with the rest of the instrumentation at times, the airiness you where feeling just starts to fade away, but still all the variations are interesting and enjoyable, making possible to overlook everything, but the singing is what really kill the song (for me) , once again shy and out of tune voices hidden in the background. If the album was called “Slightly Out Of Tune” everything would have made a lot more sense.

I love the fact that this girls are young and interesting, and are not afraid to embrace psychedelic noise and mixing it with dream pop and indie pop, the idea of not wanting to do a straight forward album and complicate it a little is very respectable. What’s actually good about this album is that it is very South Carolina but didn’t settle to do another Lo-Fi record following the steps of Best Coast, these girls are very promising and I’m sure I’ll be expecting to hear more from them, for a debut of two young high school dropouts they demonstrate that they can do something productive with their time. The LP is not mind-blowing but is pretty descent, not a single song I hated, nor a really solid, excellent one.


Tracklist:

1. KDOD 1
2. Everybody's Sick
3. Lost at Sea
4. KDOD 2
5. Silky Eyes
6. Slivers Of You
7. KDOD 3
8. Stilyagi
9. Escape Forever
10. KDOD 4
11. No Mames
12. Vapor Girls
13. California Shakedown
14. KDOD 5
15. Luv Goon

Rate: 6/10

Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine (2011)

This time around Chazwick Bundick takes distance from the Chillwave movement he was sort of being part of, he admitted that he didn’t want to be labelled like a Chillwave kind of musician; on this idea he took different elements and dived into a new sound, and for an artist like Chazwick this elements were traditional, guitars, pianos, bass, and real drumming, all of them refreshing the sound and making the Toro y Moi experience a different one that anyone could expect.

If compared to Causers of This (other than the vocals), this are two different sides of making music; this time around since the intro “Intro Chi Chi”, Bundick separates the sound starting with a very distorted guitar and a tambourine, also a piano set to the back in echo and voices on top of it, for some seconds this sound maintains until it brakes down to tropical real drumming and funky bass lines; this sets the beginning of a new way of approaching sound, transforming the Lo-Fi Chillwave into a Funk experience.

The single is another example of this new sound, on purpose named “New Beat”, because the feeling that drums and bass can add to Lo-Fi and a guy that knows this kind of production too well make a completely new experience for Bundick, there’s some disco beats, playful production tweaks added to real instruments and its a much more clean production this time, still in tracks like “Good Hold” the sound fades away for a while and all you have left is the echo on the distance that suddenly rushes back to the front, distance and closeness forced by sound tweaking of the production, but everything sounds more planned and less accidental (though the accidents of sound production in ‘Causers of This’ are completely intentional and an important part of the charm), and then “Divina” brings piano to the table, and then “Before I’m Done” intentionally adds acoustic guitar to the formula. What makes it Toro y Moi is the playing with the sides of the headphones, where the sound will come from, “Before I’m Done” also ends up with ambient electronic after he well played the acoustic and the funky drums and bass.

But probably the best songs in this LP are not the ones that make us remember what use to be Toro y Moi, but the ones that shows us that new sound, songs like “New Beat”, “Still Sound”, and a kind of psychedelic experimental rock song like “Light Back” that reminded me a little to the sort of experimentation that MGMT were making with their last LP if it were had been a little bit more Lo-Fi. It was a surprise to listen this side of Toro y Moi, not because in the past it wasn’t there because songs like “Imprint After” had the funk hidden behind the chill, is just that this time you don’t have a musician with different digital sounds mixing them in a basement with a tape recorder, this time is “real music making” with real instruments; maybe some will miss the old romance of a solo artist with the tape recorder and the computer, but I liked this new twist. Now to the question is it better? Is it worst? That’s something that can’t be said, is different and probably will appeal to a different audience or to a more open kind of listener but you can’t compare winter and summer, each season has its charm.



Tracklist:

1. Intro Chi Chi
2. New Beat
3. Go With You
4. Divina
5. Before I'm Done
6. Got Blinded
7. How I Know
8. Light Black
9. Still Sound
10. Good Hold
11. Elise

Rate: 7.2/10

Google That Shit!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise (2011)

Nicolas Jaar is a 21 year old DJ that’s been around since he was only 14 years old, and for his debut full-length he brings something completely left field in the electronic arena, this LP is called “Space Is Only Noise”, and it takes pretty well both concepts, this LP for sure has strange noises but all of that adds up to a very basic and calmed area that finds “Space”.

Jaar’s LP takes a lot of similarities from other electronic music produced over the years, Ricardo Villalobos being one of them, and also I find a lot of moments that reminded me Fight Sounds of Cirqlesquare and in some other he reminded me a much slower version of Nôze. It seems like all the electronic music is made to be danced and to be empowered with a sort of sexual energy, but the interesting thing about Jaar is that he’s music doesn’t have this pretention, but doesn’t turn to the slow overly conceptual electronic slow music, so in a way if traditional techno is about sex, Nicolas Jaar is about love making, an observation probably accurate, because the music doesn’t concentrate in the beat, but also in everything else that’s happening around, just like in sex the importance of the beat takes off the romance but in the love making is all about the caress and the kissing and the dirty words whispered in the ears without being completely dirty and sexual.

Another non usual thing in this LP are the piano samples and the jazz inspired instrumentations around, clapping, a very zen like sound of water and what seems to sound like nature maybe wood, or winter ice (sounds that maintain themselves through out the entire LP); also plays with Ray Charles, tango beats (something that maybe has to do with Nicolas roots in Chile), its always about a mix and a self cantered way of making music, giving the sense of something personal and intimate, almost sacred. Less than 50 minutes of really soft progressions inside very calmed emotions.

The voice in this LP is fundamental but also out of focus, is not only confused in the blurry details of the music surrounding the beats, but also the lyrical minimal context, sampling Ray Charles, dialogues form films and his computerized slightly manipulated voice repeating stuff that really pose as proposals full of aesthetic meaning, truly work of art, paying respect to classic jazzy and bluesy rhythms and reconstructing the dialogue to the listener in his own way. The LP can be weird but so well putted together that you dive into it without even knowing.

This is an LP you can easy lose yourself and get severely addicted, it has the techno logic but is not made to be danced and its calmed, slow, not boring at all and an interesting proposal on electronic that doesn’t get to the extent of experimentation of instrumental masters such as Four Tet (because the fact of adding voices seems to make the concept more intentional and less propositive), but also puts some new elements like slow calmed space into the mix.




Tracklist:

1. Être
2. Colomb
3. Sunflower
4. Too Many Kids Finding Rain In The Dust
5. Keep Me There
6. I Got A Woman
7. Problems With The Sun
8. Space Is Only Noise If You Can See
9. Almost Fell
10. Balance Her In Between Your Eyes
11. Specters Of The Future
12. Trace
13. Variations
14. ^Tre

Rate: 8.6/10

Google That Shit!

Yuck - Yuck (2011)

When it comes to the trend of Lo-Fi and Shoegaze artist there is not that much innovation and experimentation around it, most of the successful artists that pursue this sound go straight to the point with a simple formula, such is the case of bands like Wavves and the list goes on, where the songs are not too long, they keep a basic beach fun and fuzzy feeling, and just do what they do in this kinds of productions; this sound has been so successful that’s also a trend these days. If this is the case, what’s a band like Yuck bringing new to the table, why everyone is talking about the relevance of their music and what are they doing different than the other bands that have the same kind of production and sound? The answer is not a straight one, but I’ll try to take my shot and say what I thought about this record.

Yuck is a band that comes from the continued project of two of the members of the UK band Cajun Dance Party (Max Bloom and Danny Blumberg), that teamed up with guys from other countries and music backgrounds; Yuck forms part of the long list of artists that attempt the revival of 90’s sounds. The point in where Yuck sounds different than all the other bands comes in the different influences, they don’t sound like the standard garage rock like Wavves or Best Coast or Ty Segall, etc, but they have the influence; also some songs go from the standard less produced mainstream alternative rock of the 90’s like Hole or Foo Fighters to the more serious sounds like Pavement, never forgetting the profoundly British sounds of bands like Belle and Sebastian. Another important aspect of the band is the naivety in which they present emotions; a sort of expression of the sentiment without giving very serious thought, something very common on indie pop productions.

This said, though everything about this band come from pretty standard good stuff around, they focus in presenting it in an uncommon way, much longer song structures of the same catchy riff, good guitar solos, even moments of something that sound like elevator music between Belle and Sebastian (ish) acoustic guitars. Each song bring something new to the table and the common ground ends up being the production, each song could be from a different band, with different genres but still Yuck maintains all of this sounds sounding part of one big picture.

The album is very enjoyable, and wont lent down to the people that was following them through out the EP’s and singles, a lot of ballads (something I didn’t expect) and in the end a very youthful modern sound, appealing, with Lo-Fi Indie Pop quality and a Garage Rock overtone, mixed with reverb and Shoegaze and even a bit of Grunge. Definitely it’s the most accurate record I’ve found around that has nailed perfectly the reinvention of 90’s alternative rock and pulled out a really cohesive well produced album.

Stream the Album and Enjoy!

Yuck - Yuck by Yuck



Tracklist:

1. Get Away
2. The Wall
3. Shook Down
4. Holing Out
5. Suicide Policeman
6. Georgia
7. Suck
8. Stutter
9. Operation
10. Sunday
11. Rose Gives A Lilly
12. Rubber

Rate: 8.3/10

Google That Shit!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

#FlashBackSunday Tom Waits - Alice / Blood Money (2002)

Tom Waits has a very interesting story and persona surrounding him; in love with a woman with a successful marriage of more than a decade, artistic personality, talent, and a persona that can be both, enchanting and deeply mysterious. In concerns of his music career, it has had commercial ups and downs, but always a vision, always a sound, always a direction, always a commitment that only true artists have. Not to count points that he has one of the most expressive voices out there. He recently entered to the Hall of Fame, so I don’t have to spend a lot of words talking about him, for he is a true living legend, but I decided to do my tribute talking a little bit about him.

The power of his expression comes from he’s existential search of how to portray his feelings, since early on he had poetic and acting sensibility, read and was involved in the beat movement and had a passion for Jazz, blues and naked emotions, so it was only a matter of time for him to explore these sounds to express himself. It starts with a waits sounding like someone else and finding his true self along the way, and that’s the amazing thing of listening to his records, you can actually know this journey of self discovery without knowing anything about his life, in time he became a success as a Broadway and off Broadway actor, published author, monologue writer, and a true artistic reference of the music history of US of A, but with that also a great inspiration of global recognition in being someone with a unique sound in music.

But lets talk about 2002, he did something very bold and fantastic, he had material to make a new record, but he saw that he had two different visions, a romantic and fatal melancholy side on one hand, and an ironic, strong minded and political side on the other, and before putting out a set of songs that had nothing to do with one another he decided to take one at a time, so he published two albums, “Alice” and “Blood Money”, both with songs that have find a cult following and was the introduction of Tom Waits talent to a younger generation. Don’t forget even Scarlett Johansson’s first LP that was a cover ode to Tom Waits, some covers of this LP’s.

The fist one in alphabetical order, “Alice” is a heartbreaker that has a lot of sentiment, talks about love, suicide, death, and the adventures of "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll, music like has just little polka characteristic sounds of Waits, you find the his vulnerable side, the soft side, the side that you can fall in love with, the waits of the whisky bar, the late night Waits with the original mystery edge in songs like Lost In Harbor or Watch her as she Disappears, and the killer (and I mean Killer) theme song Alice, a song so good that I don’t see anyone on earth not liking it somewhere along the way, one of those songs that in life you’ll get to like at some point.

Blood Money on the other hand has a different nature, more animalistic, more messy, dark in a more playful kind or way, also more political messages since the open track “Misery Is the River Of The World”, a stronger voice, from the whisper of Alice that speaks to your ears to the Waits that screams to your chest that gives vertigo and frightens you, don’t forget fantastic songs also in this LP like “God’s Away On Business”, “Everything Goes To Hell” and the softer side that remember the early years with a higher tone like “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, every song hidden behind drunk trumpets and smell of cigars and alcohol.

These are two really great albums of the past decade that introduces one of the great ones of history of music (for me and for a lot of people), I’m sure there will be some other tom waits flashback in the future.




Alice Tracklist:

1. Alice
2. Everything You Can Think
3. Flowers Grave
4. No One Knows I'm Gone
5. Poor Edward
6. Table Top Joe
8. Lost In The Harbor
9. We're All Mad Here
10. Watch Her Disappear
11. Reeperbahn
12. I'm Still Here
13. Fish & Bird
14. Barcarolle
15. Fawn

Rate: 10/10

Google This Shit!


Blood Money Tracklist:

1. Misery Is the River of the World
2. Everything Goes to Hell
3. Coney Island Baby
4. All the World Is Green
5. God's Away on Business
6. Another Man's Vine
7. Knife Chase [Instrumental]
8. Lullaby
9. Starving In The Belly Of A Whale
10. The Part You Throw Away
11. Woe
12. Calliope
13. A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Rate 10/10

Google This Other Shit Too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs (2011)

Not so long ago Radiohead announced their eighth record coming out and in a week everything has been a total anxiousness, with this they demonstrate that they are Radiohead, they can conquer all and they’ve don it all, from big company campaign to free download to twitter frenzy, Radiohead just keep doing it over and over again standing like the true artists that know first handed the time they’re living and the people that consume their art. And what can people expect from a band that knows their time in terms of their music? That’s the question that has tricky answers, because if one thing Radiohead doesn’t do is please the public with predictable material, so the correct answer one could say is that always expect the unexpectable.

Radiohead always move forward, and these 8 tracks are no exception of the extent of creativity they can have without being pretentious or over experimental, in fact, they always seem familiar never mind how far they take their experimentation. This time around they’ve produced another solid gold record, with mind-blowing proportions and if you don’t pay attention you won’t even notice. What’s interesting about this new sonic adventure is the amount of difference, contrast and cohesive sound they accomplish track by track. The opener “Bloom” display sounds of ethereal bells in the back with a very front protagonist tropical drum frenzy and synth to find in the middle jazzy trumpets and a lot of echoes creating a sort of ambient feeling, then jumps to “Morning Mr. Magpie” that leaves the third world drums behind and opens with amazing work of Philip Selway’s capacity of creating guitar sounding beats effects as a drum, and post-rock sounds that reminded me of the works Battles were doing in 2007 and a master intervention of bass and ethereal sounds that give a sense of mystery that only can be calmed out with Thom Yorke’s falsetto, calming any sense of paranoia that the music could have if it was any other band’s attempt to nail this feeling.

The third track “Little by Little” changes the mood with a sort of hypnotic western guitar, very trip hop and as psychedelic as you’ve never heard Radiohead before, just to be continued with the trip hop beat by “Feral”, an amazing electronic song with space elements in the voice and a really dry drumming, with no echo added to it but church like elements in the back and combination of solid sounds with space and a sort of liquidity that match tribal electronic voices with unintelligible languages. Then comes the single that has this sort of up-tempo tango beat with flamenco claps but echo that abruptly interrupts the dry sounds.

And for those that still remember the sounds of The Bends and Amnesiac with nostalgia; they come back giving new life to those old sounds, reinventing “No Surprises” or “Fake Plastic Trees” with songs like “Codex”, a space ballad with piano, violins, cellos, and an echo from a deep throat on the back, that comes to wave hello from a near by friendly dark land that adds mystery in a romantic kind of way. “Give up the Ghost” samples natural sounds, acoustic guitar and simple space folk that put layer over layer of sounds and create a brilliant structure of new old songs we love like “Nude” saying goodbye with “Separator” the typical standard Radiohead song (and that’s not a bad thing to be”.

This LP reaches almost all the moments of absolute brilliance and again, reminds me of a revisit of the early sounds without being nostalgic, if you think that Amnesiac or The Bends, if you dig the space sounds in OK Computer, and if you think that In Rainbows was brilliant because it represented a sort of synthesis of what all of Radiohead discography stands for, then you should come check this out and see what Radiohead sounds like walking forward.

For sure you can see how Radiohead is adding up to contribute to the new sound and about to be born genre of post dub-step artists like Burial or James Blake, not only nailing the experimentation level you need to start considering the birth of a new sound but also making it really accessible, like if it always existed, they master so well the fine art of experimenting in this record that you wont look back.

This LP is almost perfect now, I can't imagine how can it be if it grows on me even more!



Tracklist:

1. Bloom
2. Morning Mr. Magpie
3. Little By Little
4. Feral
5. Lotus Flower
6. Codex
7. Give Up The Ghost
8. Separator

Rate: 9.6/10

Google That Shit!

Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place (2011)

Make no mistake when comparing Julianna Barwick to other artists, some people say that she’s sort of the dream pop version of Björk’s Vespertine, and even though this may sound interesting I believe nothing can be further from reality. The works made by Björk when arranging voices is very northern, barbaric, and also a dream pop version of the playful nature of Vespertine is still a non explored territory, something that emerging Icelandic artists into Lo-Fi sounds maybe could explore, but the true nature of the composition in Björk is so sui generis that the only thing that has similar to Julianna’s work is the fact that voices are main part of the instrumentations, also on that note, people should really stop comparing Björk to anything that sounds “odd”.

That said, for a while now I’ve been following singer songwriter Annie Clark’s project under the name of St. Vincent, since a little bit before she hit the road with Sufjan Stevens (who I love even more); Annie does interesting incorporation of voices to decorate her songs, but Annie is not Lo-Fi and she mixes that little playful voices with heavy guitars and strong drums, then the name of Julianna Barwick came across in some work she did with St. Vincent and I knew I could expect great things from her, in 2009 there was one LP called “Florine”, and now Julianna is back with a wonderful second LP called “The Magic Place”. Immediately I wanted to know this place and wanted her to guide me there.

Julianna carefully puts layers of sound and echo siren like voices with deep mystery sounds, each song with a sentiment that grows layer by layer into almost unintelligible sounds that get closer until they finally break in this fantastic place. The LP is a concept that has life on its own, and the magic place is a dark sound running away until the break of dawn, when the sun shows what’s next to come, that moment on earth is captured with tribal African inspired singing and church like humming, an occasional piano give a severe look on details but in the end the light always come.

This LP is as beautiful and hypnotic as it can get, surely that’s why the music not only brings you to a place, but also lets you know in tiny details of sound that that place is magical, you can find peace, and rest. This time around there are no imperative intelligible words, still the music go from a simple proposition to a main argument, this is what Lo-Fi experimental folk is all about, some people say that dream-pop is somewhere hidden in this Magic Place, but I’ll let you be the judge of that while you enjoy this record.



Tracklist:

1. Envelop
2. Keep Up the Good Work
3. The Magic Place
4. Cloak
5. White Flag
6. Vow
7. Bob in Your Gait
8. Prizewinning
9. Flown

Rate: 8/10

Google That Shit!

Siriusmo - Mosaik (2011)

For many years Siriusmo has been making EP’s and 7” around in different labels, and the display of variety making remixes or original material display not only versatility but also great creativity. When judging a DJ’s work, creativity has a heavy influence and the other important aspect is the capacity of mixing different stuff and its here when Siriusmo does it best. Like some of the Ed Banger label, more hard edge DJ’s have been following the path of labels fronted by other respectable DJ’s like Apparat, Ellen Allien and Modeselektor, the last one making the record label that signed Siriusmo (Monkey Town Label).

Siriusmo has the kind of creative freedom and independence that allows him to push the music to different levels, highly experimental DJ’s take sounds from jazz, pop or rock and turn them to eccentric sounds, such as Mr. Oizo that refuses to be normal but makes very catchy strange mixes, some of that is present in Siriusmo, but he shows less commitment to the genres and does whatever the mix is telling him to do, so there are times you can flow from hip hop to ambient, from hardcore metallic drums to abrupt silence in a distinctive dub beat, from minimal to IDM, and the journey goes on, making Siriusmo a pariah of electronic music that deserve acknowledgement from the public.

In terms of the concept regarding the album, the title is pretty much self explanatory, is a Mosaik of everything he’s done over the years, you can find songs from the early EP’s to the newer ones and exciting new songs, this leaves the LP kind of messy as an entire concept, also there are too many songs, with acid hardcore metallic sounds and experimental loops of everything that can get a little over the place, for someone getting into Siriusmo it can get a little bit overwhelming, and that is a downside because after falling in love with the chaotic cohesive sound he delivered on EP’s like “The Uninvited Guest” I feel that it looses quality to have a little bit of everything to understand the genius.

Still is one of the most anticipated hardcore electronic albums I’ve waited for a long time and though the expectation can kill it still stands up above everything else because of its originality, also it has a moment for everything remembering sounds of party, and also hardcore hip hop acid stuff, and the usual chilled dance song. It has a little bit of everything and the mess gets completely justified with the cover art and the name of the LP, is doesn’t have the intention to have a cohesive sound or a coherent concept. Mosaik is a Hot Mess!



Tracklist:


1. High Together (Album Version)
2. Feromonikon (CD Edit)
3. Sirimande
4. Call Me
5. Mosaik
6. Bad Idea
7. Lass Den Vogel Frei!
8. 123 (Album Version)
9. Idiologie
10. Einmal In Der Woche Schreien
11. Good Idea
12. Nights Off
13. Peeved
14. Feed My Meatmachine
15. Goldene Kugel
16. Signal
17. Red Knob

Rate: 7.4/10Link
Google That Shit!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bright Eyes - The People's Key (2011)

Connor Orbest for the seventh record of Bright Eyes has decided to go sci-fi, with a very sort of mystical discourse and time and throwing up lyrics with religious perspectives and no commitment, in that note, this record goes straight up Sinicism about meaning of life, something that’s not completely left field in Orbest songwriting because this things are present since early on in the Emo era of early works and kept on going with the Americana music that came along down the road.

What this LP has in difference of the rest is that the instrumentation is more intentionally produced for the purpose of the LP, is not only about a sentiment being expressed but this time the synths and sound effects serve the expression of emotion and not the emotion, boosts the sentiment, thing that in the past only served to the sentiment as a concept, so in that sense this LP has a more laid back feeling with more effects serving the singing.

If you go to criticize the cohesiveness in the concept probably you don’t find enough depth, or things that made Bright Eyes characteristics unique in the past that went beyond the way of singing of Orbest, that’s why some critiques find that this LP has just good production and missing Orbest’s personality and cohesiveness songwriting, this might also have a prejudice build thanks to the comments of the band saying that they were a little tired of themselves, giving the impression that for this LP they’re just tired of giving a discourse to a complete LP. But no matter what the critiques say, this LP will satisfy fans of Bright Eyes, especially when touching common grounds with songs like Ladder Song, which stands alone in the whole instrumentation of the album and pleases the desire of a much more depressed Connor Orbest and not the ironic one.

Despite of the speculations that this could be (or not) the last Brigh Eyes LP, this LP for me stands on its own like one of the better versions of the Bright Eyes trajectory, and I completely disagree with those who say that this LP portrays the band not wanting to do this anymore and doing this just to get it out of the way.





Tracklist:

1. Firewall
2. Shell Games
3. Jejune Stars
4. Approximate Sunlight
5. Haile Selassie
6. A Machine Spiritual (In the People's Key)
7. Triple Spiral
8. Beginner's Mind
9. Ladder Song
10. One for You, One for Me

Rate: 6.8/10

Google That Shit!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

La Sera - La Sera (2011)

La sera is the solo project of Katy Goodman, better known for being one of the Vivian Girls, and this band is been one helping shape post rock and noise and establish a powerful presence among the all girl bands, beating up other attempts and reminding great ones like Black Tambourine. That said, it can be completely expected that Goodman will try not to do some Shoegaze on her own, but inspired in 50’s and 60’s pop, therefore less punk and less noise.

Alone the idea of the project seem beautiful, and the single “Never Come Around” seems to point to a right direction, putting Goodman in a position to return to the romance of sounding like an amateur performer acting for the first time, the Phil Spector nostalgia comes in times but never really accomplishing the true sentiment of the era that is trying to portray, also with vary plane sounds that don’t change, everything in the same volume at once, this is something that Phil Spector probably could do but the arrangement that create the wall of sound go building the space, in Goodman’s case this sound is attempted repeatedly but never quite accomplished.

The songs have a very straight forward simple pop melody, the themes are boys and shit, and something that lacks is the personality enough to pull off the project as a solo artist, the level of expectation of one of the oh so great Vivian Girls working on her own never quite expected a project that sounds like Best Coast meets She & Him, and less having less personality that either one (I’m not saying that Best Coast or She & Him are bad), if one thing I think about this LP is that Goodman made a great song and single and then tried to fill it up with some other songs that doesn’t really stick to your head or have something interesting to put to the table.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Vivian Girls, and I love the 50’s and 60’s Phil Spector produced records, I also love the Shoegaze that tries to sound this way and is not a secret my love for Lo-Fi, I just judge this LP harshly because this is no new girl in town trying to do something Lo-Fi; this album still has charm, non of the songs are really to hate but it doesn’t have enough personality to stand on its own.

P.S: The video is one of the best videos of this year so far...it won't be forgotten <3



Tracklist:

1. Beating Heart
2. Never Come Around
3. You're Going To Cry
4. Sleeptalking
5. I Promise You
6. Left This World
7. Hold
8. Under the Trees
9. Devils Hearts Grow Gold
10. Dove Into Love
11. Been Here Before
12. Lift Off

Rate: 5.7/10

Google That Shit!

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (2011)

PJ Harvey celebrated the release of their tenth studio album with a Live show from Paris you could stream on Internet, and the best way to get into an LP is by listen it live, there’s something about the energy and the emphasis that the artist can do live that can be hard to show on the studio record. But live show aside, is amazing how PJ Harvey passes from one record to another never giving up experimentation, eccentricity, weirdness, creativity and quality, a trademark that has endured the years.

Now on a more specific note, Let England Shake is by far the darkest album of PJ Harvey and her band, with very political and drastic lyrics, for sure people will have a hard time getting into the content and in time we’ll be capable of revealing the messages hidden into the entire concept. Of course darkness is a constant of the theme but the feeling is very global, war, death, violence, murder, without leaving behind the fantastic instrumentation with each song, carefully putted together.

It’s hard to say if the genius of this album will be shattered by its weirdness, but if one thing is sure, this record is both, genius and weird, hard to digest but like everything weird, take some time to settle, but I’m sure that once the weirdness is settled the other half will still remain, the genius part, that will still give you something to think about long time from now.

I would say that Harvey is not only shaking England but taking every fan around from storm with this hardcore dense LP, for sure revealing yet another Harvey that delivers consistency into inconsistency, or order inside the chaos. Even with the straight forward songwriting and the internal discourse is not something intentionally made in the LP by itself, it takes part in the interpretation of the listener, a history is told but the meaning is intentionally giving to the one that is in presence of it, there for the album has no complete meaning until the interpretation; this is not a weak thing, it just makes it more a piece of art that reaches objective meaning in a subjective reading, like every piece of modern art, misunderstood by a lot of people, judged harshly but never disposable.



Tracklist:

1. Let England Shake
2. The Last Living Rose
3. The Glorious Land
4. The Words That Maketh Murder
5. All and Everyone
6. On Battleship Hill
7. England
8. In The Dark Places
9. Bitter Branches
10. Hanging In The Wire
11. Written On The Forehead
12. The Colour Of The Earth

Rate: 9.3/10

Google That Shit!

Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (2011)

Usually people associate Mogwai to very heavy instrumentation that builds from very quiet to very loud and then back to quiet in a very particular way, since 1998 Mogwai is the perfect band to build up the noise and give you very long and perfect musical masterpieces with careful crescendos, heavy guitars, bumping bass and solid drum banging; if this bands says that Hardcore Will Never Die, instantly you start wondering what’s it all about.

Over the (more than) 15 years Mogwai have been making music this LP, for me, marks a new approach to a more straight forward music, if the depression they transmitted on their previous albums was not your cup of tea you should check out this more straight forward sound, after all, that’s what hardcore is all about, straight forward, not so calm crescendos, and a build of music making a straight up in your face kind of melody that strikes you with amazing natural force.

It’s strange that in an album that is called Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will the opening track called White Noise doesn’t commit to noise or to hardcore, and is not until Rano Pano (the first song revealed and available as a free download) that the album starts to get the feeling of something really in your face, this doesn’t mean that the others don’t have this heavy hardcore hidden some place, in the case of Mexican Grand Prix the hardcore is present in the mechanical modifications of the vocals but not really in the instrumentation; and this certainly doesn’t mean that Mogwai loose the ethereal sounds that made them great their quiet moments of previews releases, just makes the experimentation of the sound less depressing and predictable…always waiting for the crescendos.

I always find refreshing when amazingly depressive artists find a light and give you hope in a believable way, this has happened to me with people like Sigur Ròs, Antony And The Johnsons or Jay-Jay Johanson, and now beautifully accomplished by Mogwai, I’m really enjoying this LP and hope you do as well.



Tracklist:

1. White Noise
2. Mexican Grand Prix
3. Rano Pano
4. Death Rays
5. San Pedro
6. Letters To The Metro
7. George Square Thatcher Death Party
8. How To Be A Werewolf
9. Too Raging To Cheers
10. You're Lionel Richie

Rate: 8.3/10

Google That Shit!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Young Galaxy - Shapeshifting (2011)

If there’s one thing I can say about Young Galaxy’s new record is that every song have individual charm, some of them with too thumbs up and some of them jumping from boring to good or very good and then back to “I’m not really caring about this particular song”, but even in those songs this record is a grower.

The production is really clean, it never has a silenced moment or a very loud one but that doesn’t allow it to be standard, even with the singing it jumps from male to female vocals, but the indie rock is not so present in this LP like in the past, they now embrace a much more dream pop sound without getting shoegazey putting too much sound making the voices lay in the back, sometimes the voices take part in the ethereal instrumentation but this LP is meant to be understood, the lyrics are a main part of the picture.

Song by song starts really strong through out the first four songs that go right to where they want, very straight forward, then in the song For Dear Life they start the changes of instrumentation and tempo, they pass straight up electronic to dream pop but in a very serene and severe way, only to end in a very cheerful dance beat with 80’s pop influence without loosing a layer of dreamy waves. There are some other sexy beats and songs with space tropical pop in Peripheral Visionaries, probably the best written song in the entire LP and beautifully crafted.

There were songs I didn’t really cared about, the case of High And Goodbye, B.S.E., and the main song of the LP Shapeshifting or the one that gives the title to the album, each for different reasons, High And Goodbye because of it bores me to death, I didn’t understand the lyrics, the song is too slow and I didn’t care about the effects and the instrumentation, while B.S.E. and Shapeshifting are growers but not so obvious. I probably would have liked a little bit more of silence and airy spaces a little bit longere specially in Shapeshifting that tries to be quiet behind a wall of sound but never really gets shoegaze or dreamy enough.



Tracklist:

1. Nth
2. The Angels Are Surely Weeping (featuring Hanna)
3. Blown Minded
4. We Have Everything
5. For Dear Life
6. Peripheral Visionaries
7. High And Goodbye
8. Phantoms
9. Cover Your Tracks
10. B.S.E.
11. Shapeshifting

Rate: 7.8/10

Google That Shit!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Streets - Computers and Blues (2011)

Two posts in a row, now is time for the second and last Album Review of Mike Skinner’s album with The Strets A.K.A *sigh*, this last production shows Mike Skinner at all his game, and is an album that will definitely will put a milestone on the followers of the musician. Is a look back into all the phases that Mike Skinner has in The Streets, the upbeat songs, the aggressive verses, the heartbreak and the light, also some new interesting twists.

Remember the band called The Music? Well the first single is featuring The Music’s frontman Robert Harvey, and he features in two more songs, as far as lyrics has very clever lines like “at the end of the tunnel there’s always a light….it just might be a train”, and this sort of ironic and dark analogies go around the album every once in a while, it takes things like plane life, love, technology and the internet like a truly existential theme., a reality that has became in part the centre of contemporary time. Inside Outside, the opening track sets the mood with a guitar but a lyric that doesn’t distinguish between real lives being outside or inside, “the world is outside but inside warm / inside informal outside stormy inside normal”, an invitation to join the world and escape from the fuzzy cloudy things that keep you in house without interacting.

This idea is through out the whole album, the idea of real interaction and the question of what’s real in the end, that’s why the perfect concept of the album ends up being Computers and Blues, there is nothing coming out of the left field but songs like We Can Never Be Friends have the sort of pop structures of songs that were in Everything is Borrowed and on the other hand very raw songs like A Blip On A Screen, that take a bit of the sound displayed in The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living, in the end this really is a look back to all the trajectory of The Streets and says goodbye with a great album.

The goodbye of The Streets still has a few interesting stuff regarding on the promotional sphere, that is because Mike Skinner in the tradition of making contact with the fans using technology converted the concept of Computers and Blues an interactive self made youtube series of videos that allows the viewer to decide the steps that the story can take, making alternative ends and leading to the songs that can portray the twists the viewer is choosing. You can enjoy the interactive film below and also enjoy the video of Going Through Hell. Cheers!




Tracklist:

1. Outside Inside
2. Going Through Hell
3. Roof Of Your Car
4. Puzzled By People
5. Without Thinking
6. Blip On A Screen
7. Those That Don't Know
8. Soldiers
9. We Can Never Be Friends
10. ABC
11. OMG
12. Trying To Kill M.E.
13. Trust Me
14. Lock The Locks

Rate: 8/10

Google That Shit!

The Streets - Cyberspace and Reds (2011)

Cyberspace and Reds is the release preview to the last record ever that will make Mike Skinner with the A.K.A The Streets, but the recording is actualy after the album had been already recorded, so tecnicaly this is the end before the end but set in time after. Lets hope that he doesn’t disappear; its understandable the idea of wanting to create some music that doesn’t comes into The Streets, you could say that this new technological twist that The Streets is making is also the last prophesy of the urban poet saying that the new urban landscape is behind technology, no longer in the streets.

The mixtape is called Cyberspace & Reds and let me tell you that this thing is hardcore, the beats that Skinner pulls off here are wicked and definitely reminding Original Pirate Material and everything that made him famous in the first place, also one thing that makes this mixtape a fantastic thing to listen is the constant and extended collaboration of different hip hopers that put amazing lines on display.

A lot of influence of the dub step sound and really upbeat rhythms, this time we see again a political Mike, something I personally missed on Everything is Borrowed. But if one thing I must confess I’m a fan, and a sucker for this guy, so he does no wrongs, just less goods, and he’s been so consistent in this last project that he even started using internet as an effective channel to establish communication with the consumer of his art, shame that in the end he’s saying goodbye when most closer to the public.

In terms of the mixtape, every single track was made in the eyes of the public, almost all posted on youtube when Mike was giving birth to the beats and the lyrics, and all of them are filled with theme songs about internet, rights, globalization and capitalism, blogging, robots, technology, even personal space and privacy relating to leaks of sex tapes, this mixtapes shows him in what I consider the ultimate lyric creating of Skinner since he gave up writing, just a fantastic display of his ability to create urban poetry.





Tracklist:

1. Came In Through The Door (Feat Kano)
2. 4 O'clock
3. Don't Hide Away (Feat Wiley, Rinse And Ice Kid)
4. Too Numb (Feat Roxxxan)
5. Backseat Barz (Feat Loudmouth)
6. Tidy Nice And Neat (Feat Ghost Poet)
7. The Morning After The Day Off On One (Feat Trim)
8. Cinema Barz (Feat Jammer)
9. Breakbat Barz (Scru Fizzer)
10. Something To Hide
11. Robots Are Taking Over (Feat Envy And Elro)
12. Cross That Line (Feat Fumin)
13. Minding My Own (Feat Wretch32)

Rate: 8.4/10

Google That Shit!