Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ataraxia-Llyr (2010) reveiw

There seem to be plenty of bands out there who share the name Ataraxia, not to mention several albums that are either entitled Ataraxia or at least include the word.  In fact there is a new Pelican album which uses that word.

My first experience with Ataraxia was a play when I was listening to similar artists to Amber Asylum.  I was impressed and decided then that I would purchase their latest album.  So i got onto the iTunes store and downloaded an album called "Melodious in Absentia."  I didn't listen to the album right off the bat.  The next day my iPod was on random and played a song from that album.  I had no idea what it was, but it sounded terrible.  Needless to say I wasn't listening to the same Ataraxia I had found on  After running a search of the band's latest album, I discovered that the band I was actually looking for released an album entitled "Llyr" in 2010.  I found that one on iTunes, downloaded it, and haven't been disappointed since.

By now you are wondering what kind of music this particular band plays.  This Ataraxia is an Italian band who plays a folk-tinged selection of dark neo-classical tunes with minimalist instrumentation.  For those unfamiliar with the many eras of classical music, let me say that this is not your typical neo-classical music.  Instead of an orchestra playing this music, it is a band, whose three members each play various instruments.  This band plays many outdoor concerts on the sites of various landmarks of historical and spiritual significance, mainly in Europe dealing with spiritual qualities of Greek and Latin myths. 

This band employs anything from lutes, to banjos, to guitars, horns, violins and cello as well as modern technology.  It is a very diverse listening experience that can lend itself to a variety of emotional influences.  I would most compare this band to Dead Can Dance, but with less emphasis on ambiance and more weight put on the folksy, operatic vocals. 

For those not initiated to this type of music, this album can be a taxing listen in that it involves numerous odd time measures, minimal classical instrumentation, and an eclectic array of of mostly classical influences, including classical and early music.  If you have an open mind, there is beauty to be found in these songs.  Vocalist Francesca Nicoli has a heavenly, ethereal voice. 

The lyrics this band writes are in various ancient and contemporary languages, so if you need to understand what the lyrics mean, this band probably isn't for you. 

I enjoyed this album. Hopefully this band will reveal plans to record a new disc soon, because I am a fan.  Since forming in the late 1980s, Ataraxia has released no fewer than 20 LP albums. Take a listen to the title track from "Llyr" below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lunatica-New Shores review

Happy Friday, everyone!

The album I am reviewing today is not patently new.  Released in 2011, Lunatica's "New Shores" is an album that has consistently impressed every time I have listened to it.

Lunatica is a Swiss symphonic rock band similar in style to Within Temptation or Epica.  Thier sound is less symphonic and less metal than that of their peers, and the vocal style is decidedly not operatic.  That said, I stepped into this album with a small amount of trepidation.  After all, with a name like Lunatica, you don't find yourself itching to pick up any of their material.

"New Shores" is a more polished, mainstream version of the sound Within Temptation produces.  The vocals are not the greatest but they are melodic enough to be beautiful. 

Mostly progressive-styled rock riffs and rythms temper the symphonic keyboard sounds throuout this album.  The drumming is chunky and precise.  As with most so-called symphonic metal bands, Lunatica's sound is nothing ground-breaking.  It is a slimmed-down and more accessible record from the start. 

I know this has been a somewhat brief review, but there isn't a great amount to say about this disc.  It is a good listen if you are in the mood for some rock music with symphonic elements, but does not break any new ground.  Thus, I wouldn't put this album in the 'great' category.  However it is definitely 'good' in my opinion.  Take a listen to Into the Dissonance below.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bowling For Soup and the Beu Sisters

Today I am going to blog about two bands that start with the letter B.  Obviously there are way to many to choose from so I decided I would worite about bands that mabye you haven't heard of.  So today I am going to start with Bowling For Soup.  These guys started singing punk rock in 1994.  They had a couple chart topping singles like Punk Rock 101 and The Girl All The Bad Guys Want.  I like these guys.  They don't take their music too serioulsy. You can tell when they get together and sing that they just like to have fun and you know state their various oppinions about the world around them.  This band plays really fun pop/punk music.  It just makes you smile because some times it is so outrageous.  The first song that I have for you is Running From Your Dad. This song is on their cd Drunk Enough To Dance.   The first time I heard this song I laughed so hard.  It hillarious.  The music and the lyrics are extremly catchy.  Here it is.

The second song I chose from BFS is A Hole and yes this word is in the song.  This song is from their album A Hangover You Don't Deserve.  I like this song.  Again it's really catchy and I like the lyrics.  I didn't expect to though since they use the A word.  Again it's music you don't take seriously but actully really enjoy. This song has a great beat and I like the guitar, it's easy to follow. So give it a chance :)

The last song I chose is a little more serious.  Out of no where this punk band writes a great ballad and I love it.  The opeining guitar is amazing and the vocals are crystal clear. I think the more you listen to it the more you get from the lyrics.  I think they are pretty deep.  This song is also from thier cd Drunk Enough To Dance.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The choice of finding a female band that starts with the letter B was a little hard for me.  As I looked through my music I found out that I like a lot of eighties girl bands like Bananarama and the Bangles.  Not that these bands aren't great but I wanted to give the Beu Sisters your attention.  They are a group of sisters from Florida who started singing together in an acapella group and released their first CD in 2002.  They record a lot of music for various soundtracks like Disney's Home On The Range and How To Loose A Guy In Ten Days.  These sisters write 2/3 of their music together and have opened shows for Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken.  The first song I chose is the single from Home On The Range.  It's entitled Anytime You Need A Friend.  I like the song the lyrics are powerful and always make you stop and think about the ones you love.  They have beautiful voices and they harmonize so well.  Listen to Anytime You Need A Friend below. 

 Unfortunately I am unable to find any more of their music on a website that will allow me to share it with you. They sell their music on I-tunes so gives some of their tracks a listen and see what you think especailly What Do You Do In The Summer When It's Raining. This is my favorite song from them and I wish I could have shared it with you. Check it out :) Thanks for reading and enjoy-Kristy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Between the Buried and Me-The Parallax II review

There is something exhilarating about listening to music that's both unpredictable and comfortable.  You think you know what kind of music a band likes to perform and they add just enough style, flair, and substance to keep listeners entertained for hours.  Such is the experience I just on the maiden spin of Between the Buried and Me's brand new album "The Parallax II: Future Sequence."

This album has been highly anticipated since just after part I of "The Parallax" was released as an EP in 2010.  That disc hinted at what was to come and showed great progress from the band.  Its three tracks totaled more than 30 minutes of music. "The Parallax II" gives us nine tracks worth well over an hour of great tunes.

Nothing on this disc is your standard fare from melodic-tech-prog metal which is refreshing in many ways.  First, what I hinted about earlier is that the band string together complex melodies that do not rob the music of its soul, making for an unpredictable listening experience. Just when you think you have a track figured out as a laid-back melodic piece, or a neck-breaking shred metal song (or vice versa), the track reveals more of its true nature by introducing a different style.  This change of pace, which happens often throughout the album, is not so drastic that it snaps your neck and leaves you wondering what the heck just happened, because more or less, you knew it was coming.  The band hints at these moments just enough to warn you.  It takes real skill to pull off this kind of tech.  Luckily BTBAM have skill in spades.

Plentiful jazzy melodies are scattered throughout the album, along with clean, reflective vocals.  The vocal style moves back and forth from cleans to throat-shredding growls often. Once again, these guys deliver talent in the vocal department.  You know instantly who you are listening to because no other vocalist in metal sounds quite like Tommy Giles Rogers.

Another item of note about the music is that the keyboards bring spacey melodies to light just long enough to arouse interest, but not so long as to become overbearing. 

The bass on this album is well-played and easy to pick out from the metal carnage.  It often sounds like a fretless bass, though I could not find any information confirming this.  You have to hear it to understand its place in the music.

"The Parallax II: Future Sequence" was worth the wait.  This is a great album that is a must own for fans of progressive metal in general and for fans of BTBAM.  The track below is available for free download at Soundcloud.  Give it a listen and be impressed.  As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

AFI and Avril Lavigne

I was again suffering insomnia like I always do and so I was listening to my I-Pod.  I was thinking to myself about what music I would like to blog about.  I was pondering about all of the great artists that I have and wondered if I had to choose just one artist from every letter of the alphabet what my favorites would be.  So I'm going to share them with you.  I don't have a lot of new music because I tend to follow my favorite bands around so some of this might be really familiar to you.  I just think that it is fun to go back and listen to the music that you kind of forget about.  So I have two choices whose bands or names start with the letter A.  I decided to go with one female and one male. I wanted to share two or three songs from each.  I wanted to do this because artists grow over the years and their sound can change so here they are.

Avril Lavigne.  Avril started singing in 1999. I remember the first time I heard Complicated.  I had to run out and buy that Cd.  I've been a fan ever since.  Avril sings songs with catchy melodies and fun pop music.  The first track that I want to share with you is Slipped Away from her album Under My Skin.  This song is  beautiful and meaningful in many ways.  Avril dedicated this song to her Grandfather after his death.  Please listen to it below.

The second track I chose is Alice.  Avril recorded this track for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland.  I though that this track was an interesting twist from the song above.  This song is kind of loud and in your face but it's great.

The last track I would like to share comes from her latest album Goodbye Lullaby.  This CD is a little more mellow than her previous albums and so the music is about more serious topics.  I chose the song 4Real.  I like this song.  It has beautiful lyrics and Avril's vocals are fantastic.  I also really like that this girl can play her own guitar.  I hope you enjoy it.

For my other artist I choose the musical styling of AFI (A Fire Inside).  I must tell you that the first time I heard this group I wasn't really a fan.  We used to get into trouble playing this band at work because my boss hated it.  But the more I listened to it the more it grew on me.  The lyrics to these songs are actually brilliant.  I think that Davey Havok and the others who help him write their music are amazing.  AFI has been together since 1991.  They have replaced a few of their members over the years but have retained their original sound.  Here is Silver and Cold from their album Sing the Sorrow.  I love this song because of the great intro.  I love how they used the sound of the rain and then the soft piano followed by the guitar and the drums I also like that this is one of their songs where you can understand all the lyrics.  This is one of their slower songs and I think that Davey has a really nice voice and so it's nice to see that come out.

The second song I chose is Prelude 12 21.  It's just a really short intro or "Prelude" to their album Decemberunderground but it's so fun and catchy.  This song is a perfect introduction to this album.  Listen to it below.

My third choice for them is The Missing Frame.  This song is also on Decemberunderground.  I like this track.  I think that it is upbeat and has a great vibe.  I like the guitar and the fast pace of this song.  Keep in mind that there are so many great songs from AFI and if you like songs that are a little harsher in vocals check out their Cd's because they truly have something for everyone I just happen to like the more mellow of their songs.  Thanks for Listening and enjoy-Kristy

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Mass of New Music

Good afternoon everyone!  Since we've fallen a little a lot behind on all the new music we like, we are going to take this opportunity to roll them into one huge post.  We are passing all of these along because we discovered them on the various blogs we follow.  We are also nice enough to cite our sources even though it is not a legal requirement.  Gotta give some love to those blogs. 

Here they are in no particular order:

Trapt-This California hard rock band's self-titled debut album was something else and turned into a huge hit.  We have just discovered through The NewReview that they have a new album on the way.  The following song is a typical Trapt rocker that includes their trademark harmonic vocals with occasional screams.

Caligula's Horse-We heard about this group through No Clean Singing. This band crafts amazing jazz-fusion guitar work and chugging metal riffs.  Similar in some ways to Animals as Leaders, they play an interesting brand of jazzy shredding laced with melodic clean vocals.  Their latest album is available now.  Check it out below.

SPC ECO-This long-standing British shoegaze band have just released their spacy new album "Dark Notes"  The new song below features more of the same nu-gaze reverb we loved from their previous work, but adds to it with a more impressive array of mostly electronic sounds. From what we've heard so far it is even better than "3-D" was.  We learned of this new track through Sounds Better with Reverb. The new track is below.

Teen Daze-Dream pop rarely comes to life like it does with Teen Daze's latest effort, which we also heard through Sounds Better with Reverb.  As advertised, this song begins with spacy echoes amidst comfortable and recognizable electronic pop beats.  This band is one of the best dream pop artists around and it is easy to see why.  Listen to their newest track from their upcoming album "The Inner Mansions" below.

Causemos-We discovered this Finnish band's new EP from No Clean Singing.  This is a spaced-out progressive extreme metal band that we find to be quite talented.  Here, ambient atmospherics combine with subtle keyboard-fueled symphonic sections and chunky metal riffs.  The vocals vary from hardcore yelling to gutteral roars to soaring clean vocals all in the same song.  This happens to be a 'name your price' download from Bandcamp, so if you like what you hear, you have nothing to lose. Listen below.

Qurious-This artist, which we heard about from Sounds Better with Reverb, is an electronica outfit from Atlanta, Georgia.  Sometimes electronic music can get stale and repetetive if artists don't put enough effort into creating new and unusual sounds.  We like what we hear from them so far and will be eagerly awaiting the new album, "Void Vanishing" on November 20.  Listen to a selection from that album below.

As always, thanks for reading!