Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The Unthanks - Last

It would be near impossible for a critic to take one glance at The Unthanks' 2011 release, Last, and not use any form of the word 'misery'. To avoid any further tiptoeing, I'll come right out and say it: Last is a truly miserable album. Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, who make up the backbone of the group, are self-professed connoisseurs of gloom, and they've rightfully earned that title. The very moment the first note of "Gan to the Kye" strikes your ears, you're immediately immersed in the minds of The Unthanks. They welcome you with a foggy atmosphere constructed of Tim Burton-esque landscapes created by the myriad of instruments and haunting vocalizations that capture a cripplingly somber tone in seconds. Throughout the record there are stories of loss and gain, death and life, and most prominently regret. It may sound all too familiar for anybody with a niche in this brand of music, but it comes with a fresh feeling of inspiration and dedication to story telling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Max Bemis and the Painful Splits 2 Review

I was always under the impression that Max Bemis was the epicenter of everything that made Say Anything so fantastic. However, since the release of his recent solo albums under the moniker of Max Bemis and the Painful Splits, I've begun to rethink that stance. Instead of these records being a chip off the old block with biting lyricism and energetic cynicism, we're greeted with what appears to be the appearance of Bemis' awkward alter ego. It began with the self-titled LP in 2010 -- an undeniable disappointment, but overall not an entirely terrible effort for Bemis dipping his toes in the water. The music was a lo-fi, acoustic jumble of a record with the overarching theme of 'keep it simple, keep it safe,' with the lyricism never stretching beyond the boundaries of Bemis' latest works. Since then came the sequel with a name as simple as its contents, Max Bemis and the Painful Splits 2.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Song of the Day 45: The Dillinger Escape Plan - Jim Fear

Awesome song, awesome band, Saturday night, too lazy to write.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Song of the Day 44: Touche Amore - Tilde


Ever since their collaboration with La Dispute last summer, I've been super pumped about what's to come next from Touche Amore. They're among the best in the Hardcore genre right now and are worth keeping an eye on for anybody interested in this kind of music. Their music is concise, clever, and addicting and they know how to work an audience like seasoned veterans. Check 'em out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Song of the Day 43: Tyler, The Creator - Blow

Excuse my laziness but I’m in not feeling too well in the writing mood. Tyler, The Creator is fucking awesome, enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Song of the Day 42: Say Anything - Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat

As much as I've tried, I don't think I'll ever be able to describe what it is that makes me love ...Is A Real Boy so much. It's a strange, disjointed product of insanity and I can't say I'd have it any other way. I've always thought that the best music is made when the writer is fucking crazy - case and point being Max Bemis. During the production of his breakthrough masterpiece, he went through the tried and true method of abusing drugs and alcohol to create some seriously abstract shit. And one of the byproducts of this organized madness is 'Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat', which is essentially a microcosm of Bemis' mind. Drugs are wonderful, aren't they?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Song of the Day 41: The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

Even though my history of seeing bands live isn't long and noteworthy, there will always be one experience that will stay in my heart. Almost two years ago my friend and I went to see The Killers, and quite frankly my expectations weren't too high. They seemed like one of those cocky bands that hit it big that would go out, play their songs, and wave goodbye as they thinned your wallets. Jesus fucking Christ was I wrong. The show they put on was not only flashy and energetic, but it made everybody in the audience feel like a part of the band. Easily the best moment of the night was everybody singing "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" in unison. I will never forget that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Song of the Day 40: At the Drive-In - Arcarsenal

Intensity plays a big role in what makes At The Drive-In so goddamn enthralling. It's the way in which they're able to both make you lash out in dance and shout in victorious fury that makes me wish I could have been around to see them live. It's a shame how late it is that I discover the bands that faded away into obscurity. While I immerse myself in a separate writing project, I try to pick music to listen to that best fits the mood. If ever I need to write about somebody being very, very intense, I know where to turn. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Song of the Day 39: The Antlers - Epilogue

I'm not ashamed to say that I've cried to music more than I ever have at any film. There isn't much I can say about The Antlers that hasn't been said time and time again, but I'll do my best to give a quick summation. Peter Siblerman, is in a few words, a fucking genius. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Song of the Day 38: The Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

I, like many people, can remember the first time I really began to immerse myself in The Beatles. It happened during a very strange time in my life, but I can only look back with a smile as I remember my first play through of the White album. I remember tapping my foot along with 'Rocky Raccoon' in the algebra class I never understood, and singing along to 'Julia' every time the world confused me. Everybody has their favorite Beatles song, Beatles album, favorite Beatle even, and I'm no different. 'Rocky Raccoon' will always stick with me because of the classic spaghetti western atmosphere and the immersing qualities of its imagery. I may be 50 years late, but I have the Beatlemania in me. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Song of the Day 37: Weezer - El Scorcho

Back in the day when I had faith that Weezer could produce a solid record without resorting to multi-million dollar rap star cameos, there was always one song that snatched my heart. It began with an abnormal plucking of a guitar and Cuomo crooning about those goddamn half-Japanese girls. In this song I found a garage band welcoming me into one of their jam sessions and was treated to the most simplistic of pleasures. I can't listen to this song without singing that beautiful first line with the biggest grin on my face. Long live Pinkerton.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song of the Day 36: La Dispute - nine

It's applause worthy, the way that La Dispute can so easily change their style and never once lose their high level of quality. Whether it be on their emotionally charged, screaming masterpiece that was Somewhere At The Bottom... or on their series of spoken word EPs slowly released over the last few years, they never once slip up. On the first track of their third poetic EP, lead man Jordan Dreyer creates a fragile and tangible atmosphere in the simplest of ways, but doesn't forget to imprint his own personal touch to make it his own. It's brilliant the way this band can do so many things and do them all wonderfully. I feel my praise for them will only grow as they release more of their work.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Song of the Day 35: John Lennon - Give Peace A Chance

There are so many images that run through my head when I listen to one of John Lennon's most loved songs, 'Give Peace A Chance'. He was loved for both his musical prowess and his likability as a key character in the peace revolution in the 60's, and for good reason. He bled tie-dye and emanates the warmth of a campfire when he shouts with a crowd of lovers during the chorus with a resounding "Give peace a chance!". This is the type of song that sticks with you as something to hum on a quiet walk around town or while observing the beauty of the stars in the sky on a cool summer night. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Song of the Day 34: The Mars Volta - Drunkship of Lanterns

The Mars Volta has such a unique madness about them. I could sit here and try to describe exactly what is interesting and fantastic about 'Drunkship of Lanterns', but I fear I would only waste my time. It shifts and transforms itself in such a seamless manner that you barely notice when it sends itself off in a spastic tangent. In just over seven minutes it not only captures your attention, but keeps you guessing as to what comes next. Don't dismiss The Mars Volta as the pretentious band everybody makes them out to be, they're truly fantastic beneath all the hype.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Song of the Day 33: The Antlers - Parantheses

On their previous record, The Antlers received massive acclaim for their masterful utilization of both cathartic lyricism and a suffocatingly bleak atmosphere. So, it's only natural for them to take that success and bundle it up into a new record of the same style, yes? Fortunately for us, they show promise of opening up a new chapter in their music with their brand new single, 'Parentheses'. Not only is there a fresh tone and a flawless style to this song, but the simplistic guitar licks paired with Peter Silberman's falsetto makes for a beautiful contrast. I'm shitting myself in excitement for the new record as we speak.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Song of the Day 32: Modest Mouse - Cowboy Dan

I've always loved the stressed and strained tone of Modest Mouse's debut record, Lonesome Crowded West. The bending of the strings and the estranged vocals by Isaac Brock all set a tense and powerful atmosphere on the album's seventh track, 'Cowboy Dan'. Everything about this song encompasses what makes Modest Mouse so fantastic. With the biting social commentary to the atmospheric progression of notes and vocal stresses, 'Cowboy Dan' shapes itself up to be one of the most memorable songs to come from the band as they exploded onto the scene.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Song of the Day 31: The National - Green Gloves

As much as I harp about The National, I don't think I could ever adequately talk about them enough. They captured the hearts of millions with Boxer and Alligator and most recently High Violet because of one overarching feeling to all of their music - yearning. There is always a sense of a faraway desire when Matt Berninger croons on 'Green Gloves' that resonates so wonderfully with everything else the group has done. Berninger finds a way to portray human emotion and struggle so perfectly in his music, and that's what separates The National so far from their genre affiliates. With each creak and crack of his vocals, the song grows in both emotional integrity and social awareness. There's nothing about this song I don't adore.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Song of the Day 30: This Town Needs Guns - Dog

This Town Needs Guns are a band that boast their ability to make their music as technical as possible without seeming overly obnoxious while they do it. Their guitars change pace at a bullet speed and the drums can never seem to come down from their seizure-like state. 'Dog' comes from their appropriately titled record Animals and contains everything that needs to be stated about the band. It's both impressive and fascinating in its structure and embracingly spastic in its music. I was going to make a joke about Michael J. Fox playing the guitar but decided not to. Sorry, McFly.