Saturday, November 17, 2012


When searching for new music, I sometimes stumble across a band whose music is described as something I would definitely enjoy, but upon listening the music still surprises me.

Texan shoegaze act Drowner pulled that off earlier this year with the release of their debut self-titled album.  This isn't one of those discs where the cover art intrigued me enough to give the album a listen.  It was tagged as shoegaze music, which was a style I was really into at the time.  I listened to a track from it and enjoyed it. 

So much time has passed and I still have not gotten around to reviewing this album, until now.  While treating you with the style of sound most commonly referred to as shoegazing, Drowner also borrows textures and techniques from post-rock, dream pop, psychedelic rock, and ambient.  What is left is an intriguing blend of all of the above styles.  This album is thick with reverb and distortion, off-kilter drum patterns, and the occasional vocal hook that leaves listeners yearning for more. 

My one issue with this disc is that the vocals are extremely ordinary and don't exactly pop.  This may be what the band was going for, but it struck me as odd and a bit disconcerting.  Lyrical hooks are repeated more often than punk and grunge bands repeat hooky lines from singable choruses.  If you can get past the vocals and lyrics, there is plenty to be enjoyed here. 

In this album, the vocals are often overlaid and sometimes juxtapose with cascading ambiance and post-rock atmospheres.  Casual, slender tones of earthy guitar melodies highlight some tracks, while on others, heavy rock riffs overtake the keyboard atmosphere.

While this band is certainly talented, they can hopefully improve on their vocals with their next disc.  With better vocals, this would be a can't-miss album of 2012.  Enjoy a couple of the standout tracks below.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Randomness: The Birthday Massacre and Jo Blankenburg

We've got the randoms again today.  What, two days in a row?  For some reason we just can't shake the Amazon syndrome lately.  We've gone crazy listening to music from artists we've never heard before.  If you know of a cure to this syndrome, please dial 1-800-EAT AMAZ immediately.

Sarcasm aside, let's get to looking at the firsts of our artists today.  The Birthday Massacre has a silly, but somewhat threatening name.  Their album covers all seem to be equally ridiculous.  Still, their latest, "Hide and Seek," is an eye-catcher.  I listened to roughly the first 45 seconds of a couple of tracks, so I still don't exactly know what I'm getting into.  The first seemed to be a funky symphonic/pop/electronica song with an interesting take on epic atmospheres created through orchestral keys.  The vocals are just as interesting.  The second song begins as a more metal-driven song with those epic keys backing it up.  While simple, my descriptions will have to do, because
I haven't heard much of what I'm writing about.  What I did hear I liked.  Check out these two tracks from "Hide and Seek."

If you are in the mood for some more epic musicianship in the vein of what we talked about in yesterday's post, you are invited to listen to some of Jo Blankenburg's latest music.  This music is film-inspired, but not a true soundtrack.  She fills in plenty of orchestral goodness with modern sounding percussion remarkably.  The album cover was also an eye-catcher (hmm, there seems to be a trend developing here).  If you like film music, "Elysium" is for you.  Check out a couple of tracks from Blankenburg's new effort below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Randomness: Two Steps from Hell and Hans Zimmer

Amazon means well.  They really do.  Their main intent, of course, is to make money, and make no mistake they are very good at it.  How do they do it.  For starters their website is set up so that it remembers everything you look at.  From there, it matches other music you might not have heard to items you have viewed to introduce you to more music, which you will hopefully buy.  That's the tactic, and it works on me.  Shame to admit, but it does.  Sometimes I use this tactic to find music i might like.  I was looking up the soundtrack to Angels and Demons, and then stumbled upon two items that caught my eye.

The first thing I saw was the shimmering artwork for Two Steps from Hell's"Skyworld".  I listened to some of it and started digging for information regarding this artist.  Two Steps from hell is a music production company from the greater Los Angeles area.  Their focus seems to be primarily making music for film trailers.  Just this year they have released a public album comprised entirely of brand new music.  This music is grand, epic, orchestral music that is basically made for film.  Throw out every preconceived notion of what recorded contemporary music might sound like, because this artists smashes these boundaries with a profound studio effort that will go straight to my collection as soon as possible.

Within the first few bars of "Skyworld"s opening track, my jaw was picking up lint cat hair from the floor.  I highly recommend this music.  Stay tuned for a full album review when I get the chance to listen to the whole disc.  For now, here is Titan Dream.

My second discovery was that the new soundtrack to The Dark Knight Rises has been released.  Hans Zimmer returns to the fray to compose the music for the third new Batman movie, and is impressive as always.  It seems that official full tracks are hard to come by on the Internet, but I did manage to pull this track from YouTube.  I have not checked the track listing on the soundtrack for this, so who knows if this track is part of soundtrack or not.  However, if this is but a taste of what the soundtrack offers, count me in.  Just a few more dollars of mine to Amazon's coffers.  They are so good.  Either I'm terrible or my love for music transcends money.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New stuff from SycAmour and Winters Wish

I feel I have to star this off by quoting a movie called Mercury Rising.  "I'm so glad I missed the whole (djent) thing, so my (ears are) virgin territory for (punchy riffs and soaring melodies)". 

If you are unfamiliar with the recent wave of djent music, I can offer some insight on what the term implies.  Djent is a sub genre of metal built from fragments of metalcore, groove metal, and thrash.  It gets its name from the way it sounds, because the riffing sounds like the word djent.  It mostly earns a negative connotation these days amongst fans of extreme metal music due to how popular it became a few years ago where bands began to copy each other.  It seems that the basic template is the early work of Meshuggah.  This style of music is pounding, groovy metal music with both extreme and melodic vocals.  Michigan's SycAmour does not list Meshuggah as an influence, but you can hear it in their music.  This is heavy music with low, growling vocals during the verses, and uplifting clean vocals for the chorus.  I never was a fan of djent or anything related to it, but I am a huge fan of both Textures and Gojira, which take the Meshuggah sound and adapt it to their own philosophy on heavy music, therefore earning them a sound all their own.  I'm not willing to say yet whether SycAmour has their own style nailed down, but what I do hear is pretty good.  Take a listen to the stream from their bandcamp page below.

Winters Wish is a Sydney-based pop outfit that creates haunting melodies with slow, layered pop vocals over a stunning wash of ambiance.  This is not your average drone ambient, either, as the music is rich is soul and texture, something that drone is not.  The problem with this group is that their self-released EP "Persia" is so fresh that you cannot seem to buy it anywhere.  What is a person who likes the music to do?  At least they do have a full stream on their bandcamp page, which I am embedding below.  This music has a great balance between pop and ambient that I find to be unique and intriguing.  Listen below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monochromie-Angels and Demons review

Don't get me wrong.  I liked the film adaptation of Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" a lot, and the score was incredible.  But, no this review has nothing to do with the film, the book, or the soundtrack.  Today we are looking at the new album from French post-rock act Monochromie.

Monochromie is the product of Wilson TrouvĂ©.  His music shows a unique perspective on the post-rock genre, presenting numerous attitudes and textures through the musical landscape.  This variety is what makes Monochromie one of the best post-rock artists around in my opinion.  Airy ambient structures collide with more earthen live instrumentals and keyboards, which are at times distorted beyond recognition.  These opposing viewpoints, between light and bleak atmospheres, creates an impressive melody that at times flows like placid waters and at others like jumbles of boulders.  Chaos is interspersed with calm.  This texture may sound disjointed, but it works remarkably well. 

Citing influences ranging from Explosions in the Sky to Frederic Chopin to Franz Schubert, Monochromie is well-versed in several styles of music, including ambient, electronic, post-rock and even classical.  This variety is presented well throughout the album.

"Angels and Demons" relies on electronic ambient spheres of music played in tandem with heavily distorted live instruments to create melody, which is a tactic many post-rock bands employ.  This album has no vocals.  The music at times sounds uplifting and proud, and at others downtrodden and sad.  These kinds of contrasts are present at every turn during this album.  I can proudly give this album better marks than many of the other post-rock albums I have reviewed of late.  This is on par with Hammock's new offering, and even better than Inner Trip and Ana Never.  I highly recommend this music to fans of down tempo and electronic music, as well as the average fan not experienced in post-rock. 

Check out the full album stream, courtesy of Monochromie's bandcamp page below.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Will Never Be The Same and Imogen Heap

For my post today I want to focus on two of my favorite bands that start with the letter I.  We are slowly making our way through my favoriets on my I-pod.  As always I have chosen one male artist and one female artist.  Today's lucky picks are I Will Never Be the Same and Imogen Heap.  Ladies first.

Imogen Heap is a successful British born singer and song writer; she also is the other partner in the band Frou Frou.  She has been singing since 1997.  You might have heard some of her work in various movie soundtracks like The Holiday, Garden State, and The Chronicals of Narnia.  The first song that I chose to share for you is from Goodnight and Go wich is actually just a single's album with a couple songs on it.  The song I chose is Speeding Cars.  I liked this song because it is different.  First of all I love her voice.  She is such a great soprano.  I like how she starts low and then creeps up to her upper register.  I liked the simplicity of this song.  I enjoy the piano in this song.  I also enjoy the lyrics quite a bit.  I think that they could help any one looking for hope.  I hope you will give this song a listen its beautiful.

The second song that I chose from her is Just For Now and it appears on the Speak For Yourself album.  This song makes an appearence in the movie the Holiday which is where I first heard it.  Again she takes my breath away with her angelic voice.  I really like the use of electronics in her music.  I think that she is one of few artists who know how to use it to enhance her music instead of using it to make up for poor vocals.  If you like what you have heard I encourage you to check out the rest of her music it's all great.

And now we switch gears to the band I Will Never Be The Same.  This is a synth-rock electonic band that started singing in 2008.  I first heard this band as I was rifling through my husbands music.  I listened to a couple tracks and was hooked.   The first song that I selected to play for is a called This Will All Be Over Soon off their Tornado's album.  First off this song has a very catchy into with electronic drums and the guitar.  The lead vocals for this band are amazing.  John Atchley is an amazing vocalist.  This song has major vibes and I just think it's one of those songs that you can play when you're feeling down and it will lift your spirits.  Please check it out below.

The second song I chose is Cry Little Sister and yes this is a remake of the popular song by Gerald Mcmann off the Lost Boys Soundtrack.  This song appears on their album Standby.  I am aware of how hard it is to remake such a classic and iconic song but Josh does it justice.  His vocals are so dark and then uplifting its such a heady and weird combination that I find myself loving it.  Again as soon as the song starts you just get into the strange vibe of what this song is about.  What more can I say this is an amazing remake and to me even better than the origional.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.  Thank you so much for reading and enjoy some great music-Kristy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Asidefromaday-Chasing Shadows review

I make some of my decisions to listen to some new music--artists whose work I am unfamiliar with-based on music reviews.  That may sound like an incredibly shallow tactic, but consider first that literally countless pieces of new music and artists come out every day.  I can't possibly listen to all of them.  Now, my decisions are not just based on positive or favorable reviews.  Sometimes reviews can come out that say next to nothing about the music the band in question plays.  I read reviews about new music, putting a keen ear to description of the music.  And then, if it sounds like I might like it, I listen to it.  Many times I turn it off after only a minute or so, or even less.  Other times, I keep listening to it all the way through.

Although I was skeptical of this band because of their run-on name, I enjoyed the sound their new disc offers.  I think run-on band names are dumb.  Iwrestledabearonce just sounds like a juvenile name.  Forget about the fact that the aforementioned band plays a style of metal that I can't stand. 

What really caught my attention was the album cover.  The cover art was the first representation of this album that I saw.  This is another aspect that can often lead me to listen to a new band.  Sometimes cool album covers suggest cool music.  The NewReview shows the album cover only as the initial link to their review.  Some album covers I find unbearable to look at, and so I will skip the review.

Enough about my decision-making process.  I'm sure that some of you find that as interesting as watching paint dry.  What can I say, some people are just so impatient they cringe at the idea of pronouncing a band's full name.

What kind of music does Asidefromaday perform?  What, it has taken me this long to get to that?  So I ramble sometimes.  So sue me.  Many classify Frechmen Asidefromaday as either post-metal or post-hardcore.  This is an opinion I do not share.  While the band certainly flourishes some of the same musical styles of those sub genres, they counter that with some fantastic shredding.  Most of the songs sound similar, but not similar enough to get repetitive and boring.  Like post-rock, the music stretches with long, spaced-out atmospheric passages that suggest the imagery of still-glowing, but blackened coals draped over the moribund flames of aggressive metal.  I enjoy this interplay with the more voracious metal tones immensely.  The progression in the music is striking.

And then you get to the vocals.  The vocals may sound like your average metalcore screaming more often than not, but they work well enough to not sound out of place or truly derivative.  These extreme vocals continue throughout the album, which adds intensity to sheer emotion displayed within the swelling keyboard atmosphere and the crushing rhythms.

The best part about this disc is that it isn't challenging to listen to at all.  Some of the tracks are long, but not so long that you think you'll be cashing in your social security by the time it ends.   Listening to "Chasing Shadows" is a truly rewarding listening experience you cannot go wrong with.  Check out the full album stream, courtesy of Asidefromaday's bandcamp page.  Thanks for listening and enjoy..