Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stand Before The Firing Squad - Noise Machine (2006)

New Addition! I'll be posting one song from the album at the top of the blog from now on. This little delight is The Shadow's Whisperer.

I'm starting to realize I review a disproportionate amount of Mathcore albums, but how can I not when they're all so good? Noise Machine is no exception. Unlike SBTFS' first release, which was very straightforward mathcore album, Noise Machine finds itself neck deep in experimental influences. The first track goes back and forth between intense mathcore goodness and jazzy prog rock segments. The prog segments change up often enough and use enough different sounds/textures to keep your attention throughout. A big problem I have with Experimental Mathcore is when bands get too caught up in a jazzy piece or some other experimental concept and they end up becoming repetitive or uninteresting. Stand Before the Firing Squad knows not to cross that line, they make sure to always have something changing to grab your attention. The next track is more akin to post rock in nature, and the track after that (titled "Lord Have Mercy") is just….well, I don't know if you can call it a song. It's spoken word with different background noises, distortions, echoes and whatnot all being carried forward by a quite drum beat. Usually I can't get into tracks like that, but there's something about the delivery of this one that compels me to press the back button once it's finished. The rest of the album keeps up this pattern, one song will be a grueling mathcore shred sesh, the next will be an alluring medley of jazz/prog/post-rock. Sometimes the band will switch band and forth from heavy to jazzy multiple times a song, like flicking a light switch on and off really quick. Around halfway through the album something changes, the line between the heavy and the experimental begins to blur, what were once two distinctly different things start to combine into one sound."The Bad Heart Ruse" is a great example of this, it's heavy, off timed, and abrasive but there's clear prog-rock influences in the guitar work. The closing track, "The Shadow's Whisperer", is the perfect ending to this album. All the concepts that were touched on throughout the CD are fully flushed out here. This song is just four minutes of prog rock/jazz fusing with intense mathcore in a way that only Stand Before the Firing Squad could pull off. All in all this is a solid Experimental Mathcore album. It can be really experimental without coming off as pretentious, it can flush out it's ideas without getting lost in them, and in doing so is able to keep the listeners attention easily, a problem a lot of bands of this genre face. If you're a fan of this kinda music you're gonna love this one. If you like heavy music but haven't treaded into these experimental waters just yet, this album would serve as a nice introduction. The thing about Experimental Mathcore is that although a lot of the bands follow similar formulas when it comes to songwriting, the ingredients they use, their influences, are all different. What you end up with is a similar end product with its own unique flavor. It's really a shame that more people don't know about these guys, they're relatively unheard of (which is where I come in…heh) and presumed broken up, since no one's heard a peep out of them in the last few years. It's a shame this band never got the notoriety it deserved, Stand Before The Firing Squad could have been one of the powerhouses of the genre if they got the attention they deserved. Andd that about wraps up this review….Oh! One other thing this band does that deserves mentioning is they named a song "13th Song". It's not the thirteenth song on the album, but when you look at the bands discography on iTunes, it's the 13th song on the list. It might not have anything to do with the music, but that got a chuckle outta me, not gonna lie.

Andy McKee - Art Of Motion

I Was Going to Write a Review for this, but I'm just gonna let Andy show you himself why you NEED this album.

Yeah, I Thought So.
Download HERE!!!

Doin' It For The Shorties! #2 - Stand Before the Firing Squad - Electric Narcoleptic (2005)

Okay, before I start, does anyone know how to copy or save album covers off of last.fm? It's the only place that had the cover to this and I couldn't use it...

Yay it's EP review time!, 'cause who really has the attention span to listen to full albums anyway? Stand Before The Firing Squad pack enough into 4 songs that an entire album isn't even necessary. In case you weren't able to figure it out from their band name, these guys are really, really heavy. More specifically, they play that style of controlled chaos so appropriately dubbed Mathcore. Electric Narcoleptic is the band's Debut release, and they really hit the ground running. Electric Narcoleptic clocks in just under 10 minutes long, 10 minutes of nonstop, in your face, lightning fast brutality. A few years ago I heard a saying that I think holds true for bands of all genres:"First, you define your genre, then you defy it." Virtually every band, especially in the mathcore scene, seems to abide by this rule. A Bands first release is a chance to show off what they can do, to strut their stuff so to speak. They follow the structure of their genre so that they can be easily comparable to those that came before them, this way listeners can easily judge if a band is worth their time or not. If a band is only mediocre when it comes to what has already been done by other bands, then you can't really expect much else from them. Those that successfully 'defined' their genre will inevitably begin to incorporate different influences into their music, and before you know it they begin to branch off from their base genre, they 'defy' it so to speak. HORSE the Band and Minus the Bear are two perfect examples of this, both of them started off by seemingly perfecting their respective genres, and every release since then has shown clear and distinguishable growth from the release before it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also those bands that are purebreads when it comes to their genres. Bands like Everytime I Die and Converge have spent their entire career's perfecting hardcore, rather than altering their sound they release album after album, each structurally very similar to eachother but each so good in their own right that their sound doesn't get stale or tired. It takes a whole different kind of creativity to be able to do the same thing for a decade and never have it get old. Most bands fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, but uh, yeah, I'm getting way off topic, I gotta finish this review.(and these EP reviews were supposed to be the quick ones >_>) This EP follows the definition of mathcore to a tee. Let's review chapter by chapter: nonstop intensity start to finish? Check. Atypical rhythms? Check. Changing time signatures up mid song just to switch back almost immediately? Check. Oddly timed breakdowns? Check plus. Yep Stand Before The Firing Squad passes their test with flying colors. The only time you're ears'll get a chance to rest is during the occasional movie quote, which I'm pretty sure are all from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Now that I think about it, Why hasn't anyone used Fear and Loathing quotes before? Hunter S. Thompson was like mathcore personified…

Download HERE!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fizzy DINo POp - The Land Before Time (2007)

Here's "Porom Is Silly", my favorite track off the album ^_^

A lot can change in 2 years time. In 2009 Fizzy DINo POp released Hello Party! A free Single which had 3 very catchy electronica/pop songs for your listening delight. Those songs sounded so complete that you would think the band was at it for years, but if you just backtracked two years prior Fizzy DINo POp was delivering their own brand of spastic Cybergrind, complete with blast beats and all. The Land Before Time show's off Fizzy's ability to combine enticing 8-bit melody with harsh distorted screams and can change pace so abruptly that you'll be taken off guard even after multiple listen throughs. The majority of the album is carried by nifty synth melodies played either instrumentally or layered with harsh/distorted screams. Most of the time the two work together perfectly, but there are times on the album where they clash in a way that just sounds…well…bad, to put it bluntly. While the majority of the album follows this formula, the few times where the music is interrupted to give you a few seconds of lightning fast brutality are what will leave a lasting impression, and are why you'll come back for more. Even if you don't give this album you're full attention, after one listen through I guarantee you the phrase "Build A Dino" will make you flinch. To sum things up, if you're a fan of Cybergrind then I would definitely check this album out, the songs on it that stand out are good enough to warrant multiple listens. If you're not a fan of Cybergrind, or have no idea what Cybergrind is, I would pass this one up for now. While I wouldn't exactly call this album 'Great' by any standard, there is such a shortage of good Cybergrind that even 'decent' is worth checking out. The two biggest highlights definitely have to be "Porom Is Silly!" and "Kitty Kat Keychain". Give those two a little extra attention.

Download HERE!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trash Talk - Eyes and Nines (2010)

Ah, a new Trash Talk album, it sounds….very similar to Trash Talks other releases. Not that that's their fault or anything, there's really not too much stylistic leeway to try different things in a genre like Thrash Hardcore, and to Trash Talk's effort they really do just about all they could to keep this Release fresh and unique. Thrash is just one of those things that varies person to person. Those who love it LOVE it, those who don't….don't. When I'm in the mood to hear those punkish heavy riffs and that steady 1-2 drumbeat then Trash Talk is definitely at the top of the list, but after about…10 minutes or so it starts to wear on me and I feel like I'm listening to the same 30 seconds of music over and over and over again. Now I'm sure there's some people out there who think I'm an idiot or that I don't get what makes Thrash so awesome, but the bottom line is that I just don't find it all that appealing, I can "appreciate" it for what it is, but It's just not for me. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a chance yourself, for what it is, it's really good.

Find Out For Yourself

Download HERE!!!

The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza - Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2010)

The Extravaganza coming through in a big way with their third full length "Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events". Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza is probably the heaviest Mathcore band currently making music. If you fancy yourself a fan of Mathcore, Grindcore, or Hardcore in any shape or form, then what are you doing not already listening to Danza? That being said, if you're a fan of Danza than this album is pretty much exactly what you expected. From start to finish they're in your face beating you over the head with their trademark blazing fast, ultra-brutal brand of heavy. No tricks, no gimmicks, they don't need 'em. Honestly if you've never heard this band before I don't know what you could compare them too, the best I can come up with is a heavier, more technical See You Next Tuesday, but like I said earlier if you're going to download this album you shouldn't need anyone to tell you what Danza sounds like. If you like heavy music in any form, pick up this album, you'll love it. It's pretty much guaranteed, I mean, It's Danza….

It's Danza.

Download HERE!!!

Doin' It For The Shorties! #1 - Fizzy DINo POp - Hello Party!

Well this is something new that I've decided to do here on the ol' blog. Once a week I'll be reviewing an EP, Single, Demo, you know, one of the lil guys. Let's start things off with a bang! An explosion of electronic glory that is Fizzy DINo POp's 2009 single, "Hello Party!" This bad boy is 3 songs (4 if you count the remix (I don't)) of some of the best 8-bit electronica/pop I've heard in quite a while. Japan's always got a habit of taking what America's done and pushing it to the extreme. They did it with technology, they did it with comics, they sure as hell did it with game shows, and yes, they do it with music too. Anyone who's spent his fair share of time on the internet is sure to have heard of J-Pop, or Japanese Pop for those of you who who're abbreviation impaired. Brands like "J-Pop" exist to show people that this is different than 'regular' pop, like it's a cheap imitation or knock off or something. Fizzy DINo POp prove with Hello Party! that they can play ball with the big kids, they take that "J" prefix and stomp it into the curb. "Space", the opening track, sounds reminiscent of acts like Justice, but after 30 seconds of listening you'll never make that comparison again. Fizzy DINo POp groove circles around Justice, combining upbeat dancey melodies with crystal castle-esque 8-bit samples and spacey, drawn out, trancelike vocals to create a sound all their own. They would sound just as natural playing a show with Daft Punk as they would on your local top 20 radio station. The only problem I have with this single is that the first track is by far the best. After an intro like "Space" you would expect to be blown away by the title track, but it falls just a little short of expectations. That's not to say it's by any means bad, but let's just say that "Space" would have been a much more appropriate title for this release.

Download HERE!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

La Dispute/Touché Amore - Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World

Oh my, the new split between La Dispute and their slightly more aggressive older brothers Touché Amore. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been looking forward to this one. I'm sure everyone has a song that reverberates deep within themselves every time they hear it. That song that once it hits their ears their mind darts back to a particular place or a particular moment in time. Every song on La Dispute's full length hit me with that sort of impact. Needless to say I've more or less put the band on a pedestal since first hearing that album, in my mind they could do no wrong. This split is the first release from the band since their full length, and I've been anxious to see what the band has left up their sleeves, since it seemed like they threw all their cards down on the table with their last album. The first track on the split "How I Feel" showed that lyricist Jordan Dryer is not out of material just yet. The song goes into new philosophical and emotional territory for the band. For those of us keeping track, the Albert Camus quote used in the song "six" begins to show its influence on Dryer's perspective of the world. I have a feeling they're next album is going to be an expansion of those ideas. The main idea behind the split can be summed up in climax of the song, when the music breaks and Dryer cries out his exalted question in a desperate plea to reason with the world: "Don't we all just die?" Oh yes, the futility of human life and the they're struggle to gain monetary worth which is ultimately meaningless in the end, and despite knowing this truth mankind chooses to live in denial of that fact, each and every person feigning ignorance of what their final outcome will be. That certainly seems like the direction Dryer is heading in going into they're next full length. Their other song on the split, Titled "Why It Scares Me", is clearly a reaction to the thoughts presented in the first track. He sees the world as superficial and a façade, and he's scared that there's nothing else to it than that. Could it be that just because you know the truth, there is no other alternative than to just live the lie? Damn, you could fill textbooks going into the philosophical questions La Dispute can bring up in just 6 minutes of yelling. You might've noticed I haven't mentioned the music itself yet, well it's no secret that La Disputes lyricism is its strongest weapon, the band are the ones who deliver the perfect atmosphere for Dryer's message, accenting his tortured monologue perfectly so as to deliver the greatest impact possible. Musically La Dispute isn't a heavy band, they deliver that feeling of heaviness not through crushing guitars, but by delivering Dryer's message to us exactly as it feels to him. A silver tongue, a hurt voice, and instrumentation orchestrated to deliver the emotional subtext of the words being spoken, La Dispute is heavy because they're the voice of reason in a world run by chaos. Ah, I seem to have forgotten Touché Amore. Well, they did a great job, these are probably two of the best songs they've ever recorded, it's unfortunate for them that they have to be paired next to La Dispute. Compared to La Dispute Touché Amore's attempt to convey the same messages comes off as….I guess insincere would be the best way to put it. But hey, what can you expect when following one of the greatest lyricists of our generation.

Download HERE!!!

Me and Him Call It Us - Loss (2007)

Now here's something you don't see every day, an emotionally charged Math/Grind band. I'm not the type of person to look up the lyrics to a song, if the vocals are so indecipherable that I can't understand them then I don't think you should take them into context as part of the music. However, this guys tone makes it come across pretty clear that he's hurt, upset, frustrated, angry, and every other negative emotion one can emit through gasping screams. For brief moments here and there this album can almost sound reminiscent of Saetia. Things like ambient instrumentals or slow paced, tortured vocals add a depth to the music that accents the brutally fast paced and intense sound of the rest of the album well. This band will go from chaotic and spastic blast beats, only to be interrupted by the lead singer releasing all his agony and pain in one long, tortured scream, ending it in a crushing breakdown to emphasize the release of this pent up rage. To sum things up: Me and Him Call It Us is Mathcore for screamo fans. If you're all about brutally fast/technical music, I would pass these guys up. If you're library holds bands Like Saetia, La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth, as well as bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and See You Next Tuesday, Definitely give these guys a listen. Songs to look out for: Encirclement of The Dancing Scarecrows, My Heart Beats In Blast Beats, and Innocent Bystanders Watched In Horror as Peter Jennings Drew His Murder Weapon.

Download HERE!!!

I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog - The Sounds Of End Game

First thoughts upon listening to this album? Hell yeah! This is how chiptune/nintendocore should be done! Like all good Chiptune, this album is incredibly upbeat, written practically all in eighth and sixteenth notes. By getting rid of the guitars and relying solely on squares, triangles, and pulse waves I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog was able to discover something that really sets this release apart from their previous ones. They discovered if you make heavy music using only synths and a drum machine, the result is heaviness without the heavy. A large portion of people find heavy music inaccessible, whether it be the screaming vocals or the abrasive sound of the guitars, they're just turned off to the whole concept. But it's not the music itself that they're turned off to, it's the way that music is being presented to them. Enter The Sounds Of End Game. This album has all the characteristics of a heavy album: it's fast paced, utilizes stop and go rhythms, has breakdowns, but none of it comes across as overly aggressive, it just makes you want to get up and move! They should play this shit in night clubs, I guarantee you this will get people moving in ways the new Lady Gaga single could never. Highlights of this album include: BGM 10, BGM 11, and BGM 12. Not to say that the beginning of the album doesn't have some great songs on it, but I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog hit a groove with those tracks. If you listen to those three you'll understand what I mean by "Heaviness without the Heavy"

Download HERE!!!

Maps & Atlases - Trees, Swallows, Houses (2007)

This album makes me laugh. Not because the music's funny or anything, but because every time I hear these guys, I picture they're guitarist as a stereotypical metal head, standing in a crab stance head banging with his 3 feet of hair while he does these grueling guitar riffs, because make no mistake, the guitar work on this album sounds EXACTLY like what you would expect from a Tech Metal or Mathcore band. The only difference is that it's played through a non-heavy sounding amp setting. The Vocals are nice and pretty, the drumming is that of your typical math rock/indie band, there's a tambourine, it's an overall pleasant and upbeat sound. And then there's this guitarist, absolutely shredding up and down, playing in I don't even know what time signatures. Don't get me wrong, it comes together great, I really do love this album, I just can't get this image of the guys from Jimmy Eat World or something playing on stage, doing their thing, all happy go lucky, then all of a sudden they're getting smacked in the face by hair as the guitarist from slayer stands in the center of the stage in his lowered stance head banging as he goes to work on his guitar… I know that's not how the band actually looks when they play, but a guy can dream, can't he?

Download HERE!!!

Letters In Binary - Pretty In Perpendicular (2006)

It's time to review another Mathcore/MathGrind band. Letters In Binary is a relatively unheard of band that I think a lot of fans of the genre are missing out on. Let's see, where to start, I guess the opening track is a good place. It starts off in hyperspeed, mixes up the ryhthym a bit, goes a little jazzy for a second, before going back into a bru-hu-hu-hutal ending. At least, I thought it was over, they decided to put about 2 minutes worth of silence into the song, only to pick up where they left off for the last 20 seconds. Okay, so from the start I guess they're trying to say this isn't going to be what you'd expect from the typical MathGrind album. The next track starts off in a similar fashion, then about a minute into it switches it up completely and does this reverse breakdown type deal. At this point I'm 5 minutes into the album and have completely given up on trying to figure out what's going to come next. This band has three different styles which they seem to enjoy switching between every few seconds. They have they're Mathcore(hardcore) style, the style that hits you with lightning fast stop and go rhythms (al la dillinger), then they have they're Jazzy style, which they throw in just when you least expect it and switch back from as soon as you've gotten used to it(Think the number 12 in fast forward). And then they have they're Tech Metal side, where they switch to the high strings and sweep (tap…idk what it's called I'm not guitar savy) solos lightning quick and with surgical precision. (They'd make Psyopus proud.) The Entire Album clocks in at 13 minutes, so there really isn't any room here for filler. that being said, there are two interludes, but they're short enough that you're not going to want to bother skipping them, and they tie the album together nicely. If you're a fan of this type of music, then take 10 minutes out of your day and give this album a listen through, it'll be well worth your time.

Download HERE!!!

Telefon Tel Aviv - Remixes Compiled (2007)

As the name rather blatantly points out, this is a collection of songs by various artists which Telefon Tel Aviv chose to add their trademark Hi-Fi electro-flare to. The songs they chose to Telefon Tel Avivize span a number of Genres, from Post-Rock to Pop, to Classical Strings to Indie Rock. Mixing these various genres and sounds with Telefon Tel Aviv's trademark electronic touch brings out something that neither sound or artist could achieve on their own. Whereas albums like Fahrenheit Fair Enough seem to struggle to reach the forty-minute mark, This Compilation starts off each track with a fresh feel to it, sounding completely different from the track before it while still feeling familiar. My favorites on the album include Komponent, which sounds like it was originally an Indie Emo ballad transformed into an Ambient Dance Groove, one of those tracks that could make you either want to get up and dance or lay down on the floor and stare at the stars, depending on your mood. Another High Point on the Album would be the two songs "A Genuine Display" and "Time Is Running Out". Now, I wouldn't be able to tell you what the original songs might've sounded like, these two wouldn't feel out of place Between Fahrenheit Fair Enough and TTV. This is Telefon Tel Aviv in their element right here, a mixture of intricate electronic drum-type sounds being carried by a distant melody, with tons of super Hi-Fi electronic sounds that only those with a top-notch sound system will be able to appreciate. Another shining star on this collection would be Stolen Moments, a classical orchestra piece. Telefon Tel Aviv work's their magic to enrich the sound of every instrument by using different delay, release, time stretching and about a gazillion other effects on it to make each instrument come out in a way that would make the original composer's jaw drop. As a whole, I would say this is my favorite album by Telefon Tel Aviv. While Fahrenheit Fair Enough is a very close second, there're a few points where album loses steam and slows to a crawl. Those songs aren't bad by any means, just a tad too slow/repetitive for my tastes. Remixes Compiled doesn't have that problem, each song is accessible, listenable, and enjoyable to just about anyone. Pop this into your stereo the next time you need some high quality background music.

Download HERE!!!!