Archive for Album Review

m b v – My Bloody Valentine

Posted in My Bloody Valentine with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by Ryan

m b v

My Bloody Valentine

2013

Pickpocket

The twenty-two year-long vacuum without a My Bloody Valentine record has finally come to end, as Kevin Shields’ new record m b v has finally come out (earlier this month, on February 2).  The band that popularized and mastered the genre of shoegaze, if not also created it, couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to release this album; the droning, wall-of-noise guitar sound has been making a comeback recently.  Yo La Tengo’s last release had its shoegazing influences front-and-center, fellow hiatus-stoppers Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! had half of the songs drone-filled, and plenty of “nu-gaze” bands have been popping up (Yuck, Wild Nothing, and M83).  So, Shields has capitalized on this resurgence of his beloved genre, and with perfect timing, m b v has not given this generation a reason to be crestfallen. Continue reading

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The Afterman: Descension – Coheed and Cambria

Posted in Coheed and Cambria with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by Evan

The Afterman: Descension

Coheed and Cambria

2013

Hundred Handed/Everything Evil

After a few months of grueling waiting and about half the songs being teased all over the internet, Coheed and Cambria have finally released the second part of their Afterman double album.  With twists and turns the other did not posses and a traditional happy-go-lucky with dark lyrics and ear-piercing vocals song, this album doesn’t exactly put the other to shame, but meets it on a totally different level of creaminmypantsness. Continue reading

Climbing! – Mountain

Posted in Mountain with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by Michael

Climbing!

Mountain

1970

Windfall

Alright folks, here’s a CD I purchased a while ago but never really listened to. To those unfamiliar with Mountain, they are the authors of “Mississippi Queen,” a song that is featured on the album being reviewed, the debut album released after their appearance at Woodstock in 1969.  The distorted sounds and rocky-bluesish vocals give the album a very unique charm, along with the additional instruments, like a keyboard which can be heard in a few of the songs. This band is attributed as being a heavy metal band, and considering the context of 1970, this is most definitely true.

The first song is their well-known hit, “Mississippi Queen”. The immediate heavy sounds clue you in to an album that is, in general, pretty rockin’. The second song, “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” however, is quite mellow given the buildup from the first track.  The rest of the album barrels into some more hard rock with some very strong bluesy undertones. The vocalist, Leslie West, brings a sound that is almost Clapton-esqe, especially in the fifth song, “For Yasgur’s Farm,” which gives the bluesy sound some familiarity, but still enough difference to be very enjoyable. Continue reading

Naught – Stolen Babies

Posted in Stolen Babies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by Nicholas

StolenBabies_Naught

Naught

Stolen Babies

2012

No Comment Records

The sophomore effort by bizarro circus sounding punk/metal band Stolen Babies has arrived!  Yeah, it came out in October, but I had difficulty finding it — their merch store was down for a bit — but I have finally got my copy (along with a sweet-ass t-shirt).  I am a pretty big fan of the Dillinger Escape plan; I originally got into Stolen Babies when Gil Sharone (drummer) joined Dillinger, and I read he was from another band.  At the time, I was just getting into more agressive music such as Dillinger, thanks to the Mike Patton EP (Irony is a Dead Scene).  So, when I heard Stolen Babies, they were way more my speed.  The bizarre theatrical approach was very tasty.  I listened to the debut and was instantly in love.  The mix of stand-up bass, accordion, electric guitar, and Gil’s insanely tight drumming made for one kick-ass album.  Flash forward to 2012, and and I’m seeing them in the flesh opening for the all-mighty Devin Townsend (whom they complemented very well, excellent show), which is where I hear they have a new album coming out.  Well, color me giddy. Continue reading

II – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Posted in Unknown Mortal Orchestra with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by Ryan

II

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

2013

Jagjaguwar

“Who cares what God is?” singer Ruban Nielson intones over the psych-stoner jam of “Monki,” the seventh track of the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album.  Consider that query the thesis for II, a half-hearted attempt at the process of undermining.  Undermining who or what?  Doesn’t matter.  Nielson and his power trio of a band — Jake Portrait on bass and Greg Rogove on drums — are simply delivering a powerful record of psych-rock grooves, an expansion upon their sound from 2011’s self-titled release.

Seductively adorned with British Wiccan Janet Farrar on the cover, II may act like a subversive record, but overall, isn’t.  With song titles like “So Good At Being In Trouble” or “No Need For A Leader,” one might expect something other than the mellow funk sounds of UMO.  However, there the beauty lies.  The fun of the album isn’t the (weak) anti-establishment message but instead the music; the surreal soundscape combined with the imagery of Nielson’s lyrics is what actualizes II as an enjoyable experience. Continue reading

Fade – Yo La Tengo

Posted in Yo La Tengo with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by Ryan

Fade

Yo La Tengo

2013

Matador Records

And so, New Jersey natives Yo La Tengo welcome us in to the new year with their thirteenth studio album, Fade.  Earnest and inviting, the album also has an air of mystery about it; even only a few weeks into 2013, I can tell this will certainly be one of my favorites of the year.  With a running time of only forty-five minutes, the album is short and to the point, but Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have stuffed Fade full of great music.

While in the past, Yo La Tengo albums have had an eclectic mix of genre-hopping songs on the, Fade doesn’t skip around as much.  Instead, it focuses more on an almost shoegaze quality — fuzzy distortion, droning soundscapes, and hushed mumblings all envelop the record in a cloudy feeling.  Album opener “Ohm” is a perfect example with the constant over-driven layers forming on top of each other, until the song has a paradoxical ordered chaos to it.  Other songs, such as “Little Things,” have a cleaner sound, yet still sound out-of-focus.  The acoustic dronings combined with soft string sections definitely convey a hushed variation on the first track’s thesis.  The softer tracks (“Well You Better,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Two Trains,” etc) — as well as some of the heavier, gain-soaked tunes — also feature almost-mumbled vocals by Ira and/or Georgia, as if the two were sharing an intimate secret with us. Continue reading

Signed and Sealed in Blood – Dropkick Murphys

Posted in Dropkick Murphys with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by Kristen

Signed and Sealed in Blood

Dropkick Murphys

Born & Bred Records

2013

Surely you’ve never heard a punk rock band with as much gusto as this seven-piece from Massachusetts. Originally formed in ’96, the band made a name for themselves on Hellcat Records, marrying the sounds of punk rock with a classic Irish sound that makes you want to grab a pint and have some fun. I had been wondering what happened to singer Al Barr and the boys for a while, until I discovered — alas! — a new album! Signed and Sealed in Blood, released January 8th, is the band’s eighth studio album and is fucking brilliant.

The album opens with “The Boys Are Back” — not a bad opener, I must say. However, the lyrical content is a little lacking — repetitive is an understatement — nonetheless though, this isn’t arena rock; it’s punk rock. So I give it a free pass for that one. The one thing that fills my heart with joy while listening to “The Boys Are Back” is the unique blend of distortion and fast tempos with bagpipes and heavy unison chorus vocals. Nothing makes you feel like having a good time more than that.

Banjos, accordions, and bagpipes — punk at its punkest.

Continue reading