Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog - Ninstrumentalism (2008)

Ninstramentalism is an instrumental nintendocore album, which in my book automatically makes it amazing. This album is six songs of insanely catchy, upbeat, heavy, jazzy, experimental, all around fun music. I can't see how anyone can NOT like this album, it's intelligent instrumental hardcore music with NINTENDO sounds. Like seriously, Nintendo synths are just the best sounding synths there are, even if you've never played an old school nintendo you'll love the high pitched, sometimes trancelike, 8-bit sound spectacular. If you grew up playing 8-bit Nintendo than the nostalgia factor makes it that much better. While the rest of I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog's discography is brutally heavy, I prefer the instrumental tracks a little bit more. It seems to me that losing a vocalist pushed the rest of the band to compensate for the loss,they made an album thats supported by creative and diverse songs, rather than just blast beats and piercing screams. The final result is an excellent addition to the world of nintendocore.

Oh wow its actually a short review. Maybe people will bother to read this one :p

Download Here (Mediafire)

Vanna - A New Hope (2009)

In my last post I talked how a torrential downpour of shitty bands in emocore/metalcore have made it very difficult for some people to accept the fact that some emo/metalcore bands actually ARE talented. Inhale Exhale was my prime example for metalcore, but there are a lot of other really talented metalcore bands, so they're credibility isn't as bad as I might make it out to be. Emocore (or screamo as most people call it, I think of them as two different genres...not gonna get into it) on the other hand, has the misfortune of being the most underrated genre of music that I can find in my library. Honestly I can't say I blame most people for dismissing it as crap, I don't think I've ever seen a genre of music so overinflated with no talent bands as this one, and more and more keep popping up all the time. Putting aside all the awful Emocore/Screamo bands out there, there is one more prominent reason why most people wouldn't be caught dead listening to it. That being: the word 'emo' is in the title, no self respecting human being wants to be associated with anything that can be associated with anorexic teenage boys flat ironing they're black dyed hair while wearing they're sisters jeans and mascara, while moping around sulking about how no one understands them. Say you're willing to put that aside, there is still the problem of the hundreds and hundreds of terrible acts that have made careers making some of the most unoriginal, simple, boring, just all around awful music, and they've been doing this for almost a decade now. All that combined is why when a band like Vanna comes along, most people won't give it a second (or even first) look. If they would give this band a chance, they would realize that Vanna's latest album is different. It's actually good. All things typical of Emocore are found here, Clean and Unclean vocals used interchangeably throughout the album, elements from hardcore and emo combined to provide a listening experience that's both harsh and heavy as well as soothing and melodic. So what's different? (geez I feel like this is a repeat of my last blog, sorry) Well they take elements from each, it's not like, an emo song with a breakdown smushed in the middle. Making actual intelligent music requires a bit more effort than that (Don't tell that to Attack Attack though). They take the melodic and the heavy and fuse them together. The final product includes things such as melodies with chugging guitars and group shouting vocals mixed with clean singing. A New Hope is a fitting title for this album; from what has been more or less a dead genre since its creation, Vanna has given it a new hope to become something more than just music for teenagers who care more about the music being 'different' than it being good.

If after reading this you think I'm a complete retard, feel free to let me know using the comment box, its right underneath where you clicked to get your free music.

Torrent Download Link

Inhale Exhale - Bury Me Alive (2009)

Some genres are so overcrowded with crap that some people just write them off as bad genres. In mainstream music it happens with Hip Hop, people hear Lil Wayne's newest track on the radio and immediately denounce all Rap as garbage. They never think that if they just look past what they hear on the Radio they could find that talented Rappers Do actually exist. The same thing happens in alternative music. People see terrible bands like Attack Attack, I Set My Friends On Fire, Bring Me The Horizon, Drop Dead Gorgeous (I could go on for days but i'll stop there) reach a certain level of popularity and they just write off all emocore/metalcore. However, just like the Radio, if you're willing to look past the giant wall of crap that is those bands you'll find that there are quite a number of bands doing amazing things with Screamo and Metalcore. Take Inhale Exhale, a metalcore band who's living proof that when done right, metalcore can be just as creative, intricate, dynamic, and intense as any other genre. The band makes use of the clean/unclean vocal setup that characterizes most bands of the genre, and for the most part they follow the same format of heavy/melodic/heavy with the unclean vocals accompanying the heavy parts and the clean vocals accompanying the melody. So what makes them different than every other band? Well, bands like ISMFOF and Attack Attack (And The Devil Wears Prada...I HATE Them) don't really put any effort into making their music. Let's put it this way, my friend picked up his first guitar a few months ago, he didn't have any talent for it, but he was determined to practice and get better, after about a week he was able to play every Attack Attack song. Shortly after that he stopped listening them entirely. So basically, these bands songs are so simple that anyone with a basic understanding of how to play guitar can pick them up quite easily. Inhale Exhales songs, on the other hand, are complex, intricate, dynamic, and intense. The heavy parts are some of the most creative I've ever heard, and the melodies fit well with the rest of the music. That's right EFFORT went into making songs flow seamlessly from heavy to soft, unlike some bands who's songs sound like breakdowns were just randomly thrown into the middle of them(*cough* I See Stars *cough*) Also, Inhale Exhale does a great job in melding the two together, the last minute of the song Condemned is the most brilliant combination of a heavy breakdown and a calming melody I've ever heard. Hell, I can't even think of another band who has tried anything like that.

So there ya go, Inhale Exhale is proof that there is no such thing as a shitty genre, only shitty bands that give genres a bad name.

Torrent Download Link

Saturday, February 27, 2010

If Lucy Fell - You Make Me Nervous (2005)/ Zebra Dance (2008)

If Lucy Fell is an experimental/progressive/different type mathcore band. They're not like most of the other mathcore bands I've reviewed, who use supersonic speeds and jarring time signatures to deliver their intensity. They play at a pace akin more to post-hardcore Thursday and the like. They're mixture of off putting rhythm with melody makes for quite the interesting listen. The first half of this album is good, but just good, which is why even though this band has been sitting in my iTunes for so long I've had the misfortune of overlooking them. As if the first four tracks are a warm up, the band kicks it up a notch at the track 'Together In Stupidity'. If you think about the first four tracks, they each have their moments, but the songs on a whole are subpar. Starting at track five, and staying strong throughout the rest of the 6 remaining tracks, If Lucy Fell shows their creative ability to the fullest. The songs "Demented" and "Whenever you find yourself deconstructed, It's a good starting point" shine as my two favorites. They're like this hybrid of Math Rock and Mathcore (sounds stupid I know) that's heavy without being heavy, tempos that are off putting but still have a melody and a dancability to them that make them just...great. The Band's sophomore release, Zebra Dance, is a great follow up. It's everything that was great about the debut album, with much, much, less of its flaws. The Vocals, which I found to be annoying on the first album, are much more listenable this time around. Other than that, It's just more creative, more dynamic, there's more depth to each song, It'ss just...better.

So to sum things up: You Make Me Nervous, " Eh, decent album." Zebra Dance: ".....Woah".

Link To Download Both Albums (Mediafire)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sharks Keep Moving - Self Titled (1999)

Here's "Sailor", the first track on the album and one of my favorite songs of all time.

Sharks Keep Moving was the former band of Jake Snider, the lead singer of Minus the Bear. They were an indie/math-rock band who played mellow, softer, but no less complex songs which have an overall soothing feel to them. If you enjoy Minus the Bears earlier work like Highly Refined Pirates, I can pretty much guarantee you'll like this album. The song 'sailor' is one of the most beautiful and calming pieces of music I've ever heard. It's too bad that this album only has three songs with vocals on them, because Snider does an amazing job with the lyrics, that and his voice fits perfectly with the music. It's really a shame that this band disbanded after a very short career, it would have been nice to have at least one more album just to have a few more songs of this sound at this level of quality. But I guess all good things must come to an end for better things to begin.

Download Torrent Link

Download Mediafire

Friday, February 12, 2010

Minus the Bear - A Look Back In Anticipation of the New Album.

I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I just cannot fathom how anyone could listen to Minus the Bear and not think its great. Usually bands that can be described as 'Math Rock' are so rhythmatically and compositionally complex that it puts off people who aren't familiar with it. However, Minus the Bear is able to make sophisticated songs that sound smooth enough that they sound like they wouldn't be out of place on the top 20 charts. But I guess when you're band is comprised of musical geniuses who have refined their skills in bands like Botch, Sharks Keep Moving, and Kill Sadie it'd be a shock if they weren't borderline perfect. Every album, hell, every song stands out in its own right as a masterpiece. I can't think of any other band that I can honestly say that I like every song that they've ever recorded. In fact, they've set the bar so high for themselves that I don't get excited when these guys announce they're releasing a new album, I get anxious that it won't live up to the brilliance of the rest of their discography, which is stupid because if I've learned anything in life it's that Minus the Bear can do no wrong.

Now, onto what makes them so great. These guys evolve and reinvent their sound so much that no two albums, Eps included, sound the same, you really never know what they're going to do next. While their first 2 releases are two of the best Math Rock albums around, they're just that, Math Rock, meaning you either love it or hate it. It wasn't till the release of "They Make Beer Commercials Like This" that Minus the Bear first showed signs that they had much higher aspirations then being the best at something, they were going to create something new altogether. Whereas the first two cds had a much heavier emphasis on the clean, quick guitar in unique time signatures that is so common in math rock bands like This Town Needs Guns, "They Make Beer Commercials" is where Minus the Bear started breaking away from the pack and started to develop a sound unique to them. They Make Beer Commercials had a layer of depth not yet seen from Minus the Bear, where in previous releases they used that direct, intricate and technically difficult, but rather straightforward guitar thats typical to the genre as the backbone of their songs, MTB had begun to take steps towards transcending all genres and become their own entity entirely. Keyboards and Synths, which were originally used to accent songs, started to take a larger role, allowing for more creative composition. While this new take in song writing wouldn't fully bloom until the release of Menos el Oso in 2005, my personal favorite album from the band. At this point Minus the Bear had shattered all limitations like Genres and evolved into their own sound completely beyond what anyone else had done before them. They were able to take the main principle of Math Rock, that is, using atypical rhythms to create compositionally complex songs, and do it in such a way so that it flows smoothly and sounds natural. People who listen to nothing but Battles and Don Caballero can listen and appreciate the complexity and attention to detail in each song, and people who have never even heard of things like Math Rock and think a time signature is signing a clock (horrible joke, i'm sorry) can listen and enjoy it because it just sounds good. Honestly, how many other bands who create songs as detailed and complex as Minus the Bear can you think of that you could show to your musically illiterate friends and expect them to like? Let me know if you can think of any cause personally, I'm drawing a Blank. Anyways back to the subject. So anyways, when MTB announced they were releasing their next album, I had mixed feelings, to me, Menos El Oso was like the perfect album, I was nervous the they peaked and that Planet of Ice could never reach the standard set by Menos El Oso. The Day of release I hurried over to best buy to pick up a copy. After listening to it once, I'll never doubt Minus the Bear ever again, not only did it live up to my expectations, it showed that they these guys are never going to stand still, that they're always going to be doing something new, something that sounds completely different yet exactly like Minus the bear
should. Calling them musical geniuses is an understatement, they are lightyears ahead of everyone else, and after seeing them live twice this fall and hearing them play a handful of songs off their new album, I can safely say they have no intentions of slowing down.