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Echoes and Mirrors » music review

Archive for the ‘music review’ Category

So Enlightened

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Look at me, an enlightened white man who likes hip-hop. Look at me!! LOOK!

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Station!

Monday, June 15th, 2009

There is nothing to worry about, folks. I’m not worried because I’m a left-leaning libertarian veteran.

Transparency.

Just wait for it. Waiiit. (TNR, warning, etc.)

[…] it may sound inevitable in retrospect, big breakthroughs like that don’t come along too often. Nowadays, though, Chu is betting that they will– and must. As the U.S. energy secretary, Chu has been tasked with reshaping the country’s trillion-dollar energy economy, to reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent or more by mid-century- -essential to avoiding catastrophic climate change. It’s an enormous goal, and Chu believes the only way to achieve it is with multiple Nobel-caliber leaps in energy technology. “I mean technology that is game-changing, as opposed to merely incremental,” he told Congress in March–technology that, as a recent Department of Energy (DOE) task force described it, will require an understanding of basic physics and chemistry “beyond our present reach.”

The Evolution of Domestic House Cats. They are ridiculous creatures, but I am quite fond of them.

A review of the new Anti-Flag. I’ll drop my own thoughts on it later.

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Venice Is Sinking

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I saw this band a few months back when they came through Augusta. To say I was impressed would be a disservice to them. If I recall correctly, they opened for Casper and The Cookies. Athens bands play here often and I love it. I got their new album AZAR (and the new Casper CD and The Optimists Club on vinyl).

When I saw it reviewed over at punk news, and so favorably, I had to mention it.

The first of the “Azar”s penned by keyboardist Jeremy Sellers, “Azar One” opens the record slowly, pulling in more notes as it builds. Evoking a sunrise with its slow/steady measuring and gorgeous orchestration, it perfectly sets the tempo for AZAR. It starts off rather electronic-based before more organic instrumentation — dig those cymbal swells — kicks in. In the first of many excellent transitions, the track segues into lead single “Ryan’s Song.” Lawson and violist/vocalist Karolyn Troupe harmonize pretty dang well over a driving beat and ethereal guitar/strings/keys. And of course, it transitions well into track 3, “Okay.”

The one thing that cannot be argued about the album is how it flows from start to finish -from the moment AZAR I starts your mind will be lost in it, grumpily awakening as it realizes the last track is over.

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Emery Reel

Friday, March 27th, 2009

… For and Acted Upon Through Diversions might be the most singularly relaxing album I’ve listened to in quite some time. Venice Is Drowning’s Azar comes close (although it does have vocals). Both are complex and not entirely “soft” (although neither goes batshit punk-rock hard either). I’ve also been jamming out to Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Dandelion Gum. Simply stunning. Complex, but not distracting.

I’m pausing from the story I began a short while ago to mention this because I’ve actually managed to break the bit of a block I’ve had for the last couple of weeks (you know, the ones where every line just stinks, even if you convince yourself to leave it and read it the next day?). I attribute it the wonderful auralgasm pumping through my headphones.

Also, I’m colouring all of my writing with a British hue. I’ve set OpenOffice to British English and it’s spell-checking results are sometimes awkward and often fun. The extraneous ‘u’s and ‘e’s are quite aesthetic. And yeah, I actually look at writing so holisticly that if a line that sounds wonderful looks awkward or feeble or ugly on a page full of other lines, it is not good enough (I’ll try to save it and use it where it might work a little better).

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Music Review: Propagandhi – Supporting Caste

Friday, February 20th, 2009

It’s everything Potemkin City Limits was and more. It’s a little more melodic, but the metal-esque guitar/drums are still present. It’s like the heavier parts of Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes for an hour. Pretty much solid the whole way through. It’s survived for a couple of days in my car so far, which means that even the songs that didn’t catch my attention right away are growing on me. If I don’t listen to an album more than twice in my car, it doesn’t rank very high (which is different, and by all means better than bad). It’s on an mp3 disc side by side with a whole mess of 1970’s hardcore (999, Cortinas, Lunachicks, etc), some Lawrence Arms, The Dog-Faced Hermans and (of all things for this disc) Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Dandelion Gum. It’s outplaying all of that currently. (I might drive 6 miles per day but I somehow spend 40 minutes in my car. You do the math.)

All of the tracks are fairly impressive (tracks 8 and 9 don’t play in my car because it hates me, though). “Dear Coach’s Corner” is punk + hockey. That’s pretty much amazing. The track “Potemkin City Limits” (which is not on same-titled album) is catchy and sounds like it should be on Today’s Empires. Also, “Last Will and Testament” is great. I crank it up at stop-lights. That’s symbolism for how good it sounds.

The anti-meat thing kinda bugged me (“Human(e) Meat (The Flensing of Sandor Katz)”). That’s pretty much sums it up. The anti-capitalist thing doesn’t bother me -I’ve kinda got a thing against corporations myself (all about the mom’n’pop stores, yo).

Track Listing:

  1. “Night Letters”
  2. “Supporting Caste”
  3. “Tertium Non Datur”
  4. “Dear Coach’s Corner”
  5. “This Is Your Life”
  6. “Human(e) Meat (The Flensing of Sandor Katz)”
  7. “Potemkin City Limits”
  8. “The Funeral Procession”
  9. “Without Love”
  10. “Incalculable Effects”
  11. “The Banger’s Embrace”
  12. “Last Will and Testament”

Don’t be a jerk like me and download it before it’s released and buy it. I’ll be getting mine soon and I recommend you do too. It might be one of the best punk albums of the year, but I see competition on the horizon, and not from the usual suspects.

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Three quick reviews

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
  • The Roots – Rising Down – I cannot express just how awesome The Roots are, and this is a great hip-hop album. It’s in my car at the moment and I have had it on regular rotation along with some indie bands I have seen recently, bringing me to…
  • This Machine is Me – Mix equal parts Garbage and early No Doubt, and you’ll get this little indie/pop-punk group from Columbia, SC. They have a keyboardist who doubles on guitar. The only improvement that could happen would be for them to get a keytar.
  • In Bruge – I haven’t watched a movie quite this funny since… 8 heads in a duffle bag? PCU (the first time)? Zombie Strippers? It’s quite funny, if only for the repetitive use of cunt. Which is a good reason in itself. That, and it’s just darkly funny. I can’t believe that I didn’t see it until last week.

That’s it for right now. I may or may not have more coming.

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Weekend roundup: my life is awesome

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

To begin with, there was much beer, turkey and what-have-you on Wednesday and Thursday. And lunatics to share it all with.

Friday I boiled some Epena (Virola Elongata) bark down into a tea that had mild but pleasant effects. My scale is currently being held hostage elsewhere, so dosage was awkward and resulted in the mild effects. After consuming said tea and waiting a sufficient period of time, we ate and went to the pub because nothing had happened. As soon as I ordered a beer and started drinking it, things started getting a little weird. I took my beer outside and sat in the 50’ish degree rainy weather instead of the hot, loud and crowded bar. I managed to drive us home after an hour of hanging around downtown. Then I laid in bed with my thoughts and awoke the next day extremely refreshed. (Epena contains mostly 5meO-DMT with some trace N,N-DMT. I also mixed in some Syrian Rue for MAOI.)

I saw The Drownout and The Blackline on Saturday. One of my good friends promotes shows and booked it. The Blackline opened, and before they even hit the stage she says to me, “This first band is like 17. They’re dad is right over there.” Seventeen they might be, but they’re very entertaining. The acustics in the place is kind of poor. The kid on the drums was amazing. The Drownout was just really, really, really good. They’re set was high-energy, loud and fun. I was kind of reminded of Coheed & Cambria and Sparta. And their keyboardist also busts out a keytar for a few of the songs, which is always welcome in my book.

Sunday I saw Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry and Shinedown. Saving Abel played too, but I got there after they were done. Buckcherry is as faggoty as you might expect them to be. Shinedown had good stage presence, but all the performance kind of washed the music out -which was mediocre to begin with. Fuck posturing during a show. Just fucking play. That’s basically what A7x did, with a short pause to say hi or whatever -they cut their set in half and bailed early, too, after playing a few of their more popular songs. I guess I just don’t listen to them that much. I have “Waking the Fallen” from whenever they started to get big in the punk scene. They put on a really good show, still. I can’t argue with it.

If this blog were anonymous, there would be some much more entertaining anecdotes to accompany each day. However, I defer to not offending those who made the weekend truly entertaining. Except Marty. I’ll call Marty out because he fried the thanksgiving turkey.

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Music Review: Anti-Flag – The Bright Lights of America

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Judging by Anti-Flag’s progression, this album is no surprise. It’s extremely political, melodic and angry. That being said, it sucks.

The songs are too slow, too long and amount to Justin and Pat chanting the chorus line to each song twenty-five times each song. The instrumentation is boring. The quirky production doesn’t add value to the songs, although they do some neat things. The songs are boring. The anger is true but vague. Punk anger should be personal and focused.

One of the first punk bands I fell in love with was Anti-Flag. Their System Doesn’t Work For You and Die For The Government were key components to my sixteen/seventeen year-old music taste. And they still get my blood up a bit. This album, however, doesn’t affect me much.

I get it: the world is fucked up. The analogies are cheap-shots, equating the US to Rome. Maybe it’s the whiny, preachy sound. I’m not sure. It seems as if they’re aiming for the ‘smart punk’ formula that works so well for bands like Bad Religion (and some what for Dead Kennedy’s) or No Use For A Name (who are plenty preachy, but I digress).

Spit In the Face is almost good. Then it turns shitty. Most of the songs are 4 minutes long and are repetitive. Go West blows donkey cock. It could have been a good song if they had made it into a punk song. The Smartest Bomb is a pretty decent song. I kind of liked Shadow of the Dead; it’s probably the most up-tempo song on the album, but it has it’s pretentious lull that makes me cringe too. The Ink and the Quill (Be Afraid) suffers similarly. Children and thunder. Enough said.

The bonus track is amusing. It’s punk blue-grass? What? It doesn’t make up for the steaming pile that is the rest of the album.

1/5

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Music Review: Lagwagon – I think my older brother used to listen to Lagwagon (Reprise)

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Now that I’ve digested this album a few more times, its brilliance strikes me sideways. The lyrics are as smart, if not smarter, than Resolve. Not as heartfelt to be sure, but not meant to strike that particular chord. The title is deceptively acute: this is the sort of music that one’s older brother would listen to. I am the older brother in my nuclear family. Works for me.

But the nostalgic feel of the work stands on its feet solidly. It makes me think about the fuck ups and good times of my life following highschool. If I want to remember highschool I’ll listen to early AFI or Anti-Flag (Tearing Everyone Down, anyone?). And I think that’s what this album is targeted at: the experiences of one’s early twenties. When your still struggling to figure out what your supposed to do with any measure of freedom.

So I stand by my determination that Hoss is my favorite Lagwagon album, but this could be one of the better albums of the year.

4/5

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Music Review: Lagwagon – I think my older brother used to listen to Lagwagon

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Lagwagon has produced yet another smart rock album. It didn’t quite hook me until halfway through, though. It’s as good as Resolve, but not as good as Hoss (which I hold to be their best album to date).

In fact, the first three tracks are ho-hum at a first glance. They’re subtlety was lost on me during the first listen. Which means that the other four tracks were just that much better.

I only listened to it twice while driving around today, though. And I’m drunk now, so my review should be disregarded entirely.

Good album, though.

4/5

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