Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rant: The Times, They Are A Changin' (Part 3)

The final part (so far) of my history into the world of music, and what made me who I am today. In Part 1 I looked at my early upbringing, the tastes of my Mother and Father, and my earliest musical memories. In Part 2 I began my own era of musical discovery, only to find that I never really traveled that far away from my parents' tastes. Now, for Part 3, we look into my true era of discovery, where I started discovering acts and genres that my folks could never have hoped to heat. All that would eventually turn me into The Klepto!

Now then, we come to my college year, the time where I truly strove out on my own in my musical exploration. I joined a musical fraternity, and was constantly surrounded by people whose very life was music - for most it had nothing to do with metal, but the idea of exploration and discovery was all well embedded within the group. Through them I discovered some of my-now favorite bands: Dream Theater, The Decemberists, and was introduced to so many others (too many to list). I did my fair share of distribution as well, trying to open my 'brothers' eyes to the bigger world of music out there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Band: Hugenelk

What initially attracted me to Hugenelk was either one of two things, I haven't decided yet; either the band name (I thought it was Huge Elk, but Hugenelk still is neat) and the album artwork, it's big, bold, bright and beautiful. It's a mighty elk, with muscles pumping and veins pulsating, chasing or at the very least scaring the shit out of a whole menagerie of furried beasts; demonic looking rabbits and lizards and... kuthulu, and imps and shit. Hell I don't know what it all is, but it's kind of funny and really well done.

Anyway, the music, the reason you all care. If only the band could equal the impressive album art, then the picture would be perfect. As it is however, they play a very average blend of stoner rock and metal. If you're a die-hard fan of the genre, as in it's all you ever care to listen to, then you may enjoy hearing more of the same. The guitars off of their debut have a bit of groove, the drums are kind of bouncing, the vocals are clean but contain that hint of scratch that most stoner acts have. It's all been done, and it's all very average.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Album: Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients

Blood Ceremony's debut was one of my best finds of 2009, and one of my Favorite Albums. The group is one of the most unique bands I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, mixing doom metal with progressive themes and - of all things - flute! It being led by a woman is something remarkable as well, for it's not very often you hear something like this with the haunting melody of female vocals. It all combined to create something truly magical, something that from my first listen, I knew to be special.

With all of the love of their debut (apparently I am not the only one), a lot of doubt has been thrown around for their follow-up, Living With The Ancients, saying that they couldn't hit gold twice. Well folks, let me tell you, you need not worry, what we have here is an amazing album.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Album: Turisas - Stand Up And Fight

I think the thing that draws me to Turisas is the massive scope of their songs and albums. Don't get me wrong, I love the songs of war, and the power therein derived, but whenever I sit down to hear one of their discs, I can't help but being reminded (as much as one could be) of a group traveling bards, belting out their wares. They tell epic stories, multi-faceted instrumentations, and use several styles of vocals. It's almost like hearing a play unfolding.

The thought of hearing a play coming through your speakers is magnified several times with Turisas' newest release, Stand Up And Fight. For this one the group decided to go into a new direction, incorporating an orchestra, making their usual layered sound into something colossal. Secondly, they've really taken the 'storytelling' aspect of folk/power metal to an almost extreme - gone is the more conventional song structure that was prevalent in Battle Metal, instead long narratives and multiple movements per song are the new norm.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Video: Cake - "Short Skirt/Long Jacket"

I don't really have a reason for this one (the past few Videos I've linked to another article or some album I've recently heard) except that it's a great song. We have a company 'radio' station at work, and although it's 90% crap, every now and then something decent comes on; we've got The Decemberists, Pink Floyd (one of their more trippy pieces) and of course Cake.

"Short Skirt/Long Jacket" is a devilishly clever song as it is, and the music video follows suit. It's a collection of random people, from all walks of life, introduced to the song (and presumably the band) for the first time. Some people embrace it, some shun it, and most look like they have no clue what is going on. Personal favorites are the black dude who diggs it, the old guy who says he's been listening to the group sense the 60s (even though they've only been together in the 90s) and the British man who finds it silly.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

EP Shakedown: Lecherous Gaze - Lecherous Gaze

Lecherous Gaze's self-titled EP is a quick, four-track, fifteen-minute rocker, melding stoner rock and punkish themes. Actually I hear a bit of the classic era of punk hidden in there; British acts like The Clash and The Sex Pistols. It's partially in the muddled, over-exposed vocals, and part in the quick guitar and drum rhythms.

The EP seems to be split into two stylistic types; the first half - "Phaze" and "Sold" - fall solidly into the punk/stoner crossover I mentioned above. The licks are catchy and plentiful, the vocals are simple and quick (if not easily understood), reminding me of the 80s heyday of punk. The songs kind of blend into each other, and as I'm not a connoisseur of punk, not the high point of the disc for my ears.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Sherman Burns - The End Is All

I was having a hard time deciding on an act/album for this week's Weekly Dose of Prog, so much so that I ended up going through the 2011 albums I have playing the first tracks of albums to see what appealed to me. I got to Sherman Burns (rather quickly; there haven't been that many prog releases yet this year) and started with "Bone," and was intrigued. So with The End Is All I went.

This is their first release (available for pay-what-you-want at their BandCamp Page), so other then listing to the first track, I have no idea exactly what to expect, as their is very little press out there about them. I could only find a few articles that even make mention of this band, and then nothing in the way of a true review. so hopefully I am the first! What I end up hearing is a blending of progressive metal, groove/thrash licks, and some hardcore themes for good measure. I suppose that's a little like groove-oriented mathcore, but then again, I'm not a big listener to the genre so I can't truly tell. Regardless, I am enjoying this particular foray into ...whatever genre this is.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rant: The Times, They Are A Changin' (Part 2)

In last week's edition of The Times, They Are A Changin', I went into my foundations of music, both my father's love for classic rock and metal, as well as my mother's love of folk and more pop-oriented rock. Each half made up who I was to become. Here is part two:

I remember my first CD purchase, not the first album I had, or was given, but the first one I actually saved up money for, and went out and got myself. I was twelve or thirteen (hard to remember exactly), the year was 1998 (or 1999, again, hard to recall), and the album was Americana by The Offspring. At the time (sixth grade), it was the popular thing going around school, "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get a Job?" were all that people were talking about. I had just changed schools (I don't mean from elementary to middle, but schools across the city) and I didn't have much in the way of friends, so I jumped on the bandwagon in the failed attempt to get some. I know, I know, a heart-throb story, but the truth nonetheless.

So I got Americana, and rocked out to it for weeks. I was riding my bike to school at the time, a whole two miles, so with my Walkman handy (old enough for that archaic piece of tech) I blared it over and over again. This was my first real intro into the world of punk rock, my dad had Green Day's Nimrod, but other then that: nothing. The reckless abandon of the music and lyrics, as well as the blatant use of words like 'bitch' and 'fuck,' led me into a new era. Although it didn't gain me any merit at school, amongst my friends around the block, I was king. I was the only person who's parent's didn't force me to listen to edited material, so every swear was there and it was glorious!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Band Submission: Peanut Butter Lovesicle - Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze (EP)

I've been owing Peanut Butter Lovesicle a review for some time now, which is why I'm having this EP posted mid-week instead of for an EP Shakedown, they deserve as much.

The decent-length EP (about twenty-three minutes), Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze, starts off interestingly; the first track, "Colorblind," begins with a very classic-rock sounding guitar lick, giving a real laid-back feeling. The song quickly shifts into a mini-funk/groove style, with the guitars and bass playing a major role. There are three different styles of vocals, the first a bit growly and guttural (not too much though), the second more laid back - something I'd expect with the music - and a third which sounds like it's being played through a voice recorder. Kind of odd, but also kind of interesting, I'm not sure what to make of it yet.

Track two, "State of I," starts off again with a retro-rock guitar riff, although this time much slower and semi-bluesy, something like Eric Clapton. The guitars still play a major role, but at least this time the vocals are a little more pronounced. Speaking of the vocals, the second style (the laid back and chill version) plays the main focus, much to my enjoyment. It really works well with the music behind it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite Albums: Styx - The Grand Illusion

It's been a while sense I've done one of these, and my Favorite Albums list is getting nothing but longer - 57 albums at the time of this writing - and I need a new article to fill a gap in the week so why not right?

Having recently taken a stroll down memory lane (The Times, They Are A Changing) I have been hit with the memories of some of the classic albums that have changed my life. I could list the majority out for you, going a bit into each one, but I'd prefer to stick with the reason you're all here right now, to hear the word of the amazing album The Grand Illusion by the equally amazing Styx, and why I think it as such. For it is this album that is more steadfast in my memory then any others. It was their grand opus, their gift to the world and its people.

The Grand Illusion is a loose concept album, not so much in story, but in overall message. Its a tale of accepting who you are, enjoying life, love, and not getting caught up in the small things in life. All of the songs are uplifting and powerful, ranging in themes from sci-fi/aliens, fantasy, and day-to-day life. The album also plays paramount in Styx's rise to fame and popularity. From their formation, the group had always played around with progressive rock themes and ideas. Their first albums are heavily entrenched within prog, but as the 70s grew, so did the groups gap from the genre. Their songs began to take on a more pop-oriented/radio-friendly feel, becoming shorter and simpler as the years went on.
While I would say that this would normally have been a bad thing, for I dislike when bands go soft or simple just to sell some more records, in Styx's case, I'll let it slide. They did their best work as a popular rock band. I've listened to their entire discography, so I've heard the prog days, and while it is decent, it's not the best when it comes to the 70s progressive scene. It is because of their average talents at the full-progressive level that I deem them more then able to move into radio-friendly sounds. That being said, although their progressive themes had taken a nose dive by the end of the 70s, it still was present at least somewhat, The Grand Illusion is proof.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In The Beginning: Nemesis - The Day of Retribution

It's no secret that I am a fan of doom, I think I've made that very clear over the years. For some reason, the long songs, droning passages, skilled vocals, and overwhelming sense of despair really reaches me. It's not like I have a horrible life or consider suicide ever, but someone singing about demons, gods, war, death, and shitty life gets my blood pumping. I mostly like traditional doom, or power/epic doom; probably that sub-genre of doom more for the operatic and clean (mostly) vocals. While I'm not against it, I don't need the screeching or screaming of some of the other sub-genres of doom, I instead would prefer my singers to sing, not wail/scream.

I think, the best band to signify this genre of epic doom metal is the group that coined the term: Candlemass. Their debut album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, a loose translation from the semi-Latin for Epic Doom Metal, was a genre-defining album. It was the first major release to include operatic vocals with simple, and somewhat empty, background music. It relied mostly on the power of Johan Langquist's voice (his only recording with the group) to carry the momentum of the music. Don't get me wrong, the guitars and drums did wonders too, methodically plodding and grinding along, emphasizing the feelings of doom and dread, but it was the vocals that moved the album into the head of a new genre.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Video: Dropkick Murphys - "Going Out In Style"

There is one thing I have to say about the boy of Dropkick Murphys: they sure do look Irish. Watching this video I could not help but be amazed at how green they all look. It's legendary, something you'd only expect in TV of the movies, not in real life... wow.

Anyway, seeing as I reviewed their newest album, Going Out In Style, on Monday, I feel it fitting to have the title track as this week's video. This is a good song, not the best off the album, but a solid contender, and the video is kind of clever, making it easier to understand the lyrics as they quickly come and go.

Simple Irish punk.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

EP Shakedown: The Five Tones - Episode I: Tennessee

Keepin' up with the daily posting, as best I can. This EP Shakedown is dedicated to some new blues-inspired rock (that is, rock focused more on blues, as opposed to blues rock, which has such a wide berth, it might as well mean nothing), The Five Tones.

The Five Tones' debut EP, Episode I: Tennessee, is a great display of what a group can do with blues rock, even if their influences are obvious. Their songs are eclectic go from being a throwback to the delta-blues era of the 20s, to sounding like a more modern rock band is releasing a blues-oriented LP, or just a more modern version of blues rock (with more emphasis on the rock aspect). I can't figure out if I really like the music, or just like how it reminds me of other acts.

The most obvious song of a modern relation is the first track, "Hid Away." It has such a similar guitar rhythm to Wolfmother's "Joker & The Thief" that it's all I think about when I listen to the song. "Hid Away" is still a good song, but the resemblance is uncanny, as if Wolfmother decided to go blues rock instead of psychedelia-laced stoner. It's too similar for me, and I know that I'll never get over that hurdle.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Borean Dusk - Borean Dusk

Trying something a little different today, Borean Dusk melds progressive metal with folk sounds and melodies (keeping with my Current Trend of folk). Oh yea, it's all instrumental too, although I wasn't expecting it to be that way when I first started the album. Keeping you all on your toes.

The songs off of Borean Dusk are all very long, with four tracks coming in at almost a hour long (although Metal Archives has a much different track listing then my copy does, but mine matches with their website, so I think I'm right), so there are some evolutions of tracks, which add to the interest and liveliness of the entire album. It is through these progressions of sound and style that really kept my attention focused. Borean Dusk didn't fall into the crux of so many other instrumental acts, of coming off dull, repetitive and/or boring.

I'll tell you what, I was initially surprised by Borean Dusk, as the first sounds came off very folk. Their debut album begins with a quick acoustic melody with light drums, coming off as a semi-jig, of the old Irish/Celtic tradition. After a minute or so, the song, "Wolf-Totem," moves into the electric realm, and much heavier drums, but I know that first lick is what will stick in my head. As the song progressed I started to pick up some resemblance of Iron Maiden's sounds, most notably their song "Transylvania," followed directly by what sounded like a blacksmith's hammer striking steel, bringing about the end the song. Kind of an interesting progression.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rant: The Times, They Are A Changin' (Part 1)

I'm in the lower-left. Circa 1992
I was sitting at work, bored shitless as usual, and a thought popped into my head. First it was about how my musical tastes have changed over a relatively short span of time, from when I entered college to now (6 years in June), and second of how I've never written about my musical history here. So, this is going to be a long rant, at least two parts (maybe more if I get off on a tangent, which most likely will happen), with no real reviews an only glancing references to bands, albums and songs. I know this will not appeal to most of you, but one person out there will find it interesting (at least a little), and I think it will do me good to get it all out, to see my history, where I've come from and where I'm heading. Who knows, if I'm still doing The Guide in five years I'll probably write another section, as I'm sure my music tastes have evolved even more, as I age precariously close to that year thirty.

The first few years (decade) of my musical history - and my life in general - is pretty hazy, as I'm sure you would expect. All I have is the occasional memory of belting out a song with my dad, or a video recording (on VCR, yeah I'm old enough for that bit of technology), or just general acceptance. At that age - really anything before your pre-teens - you accept what your parents do and listen to as holy scripture. They are the coolest people you know (within reason), and as such, everything they do and like is awesome. So as my dad and mom's musical tastes shifted, mine did as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Band: The Snakehandlers Blues Band

I've been on a bit of a mini-blues and southern rock kick lately, with acts like Confused Little Girl, Black River Bluesman & Bad Mood Hudson, and Bo Molasses. There is just something nice about the laid back and simple sounds of many bands within the genre. It's not real heavy (although it can get there), the vocals are catchy and the rhythms are something you can tap your feet to. Keeping on with this, we move to The Snakehandlers Blues Band, and their album, Rock Plus Roll. I got maybe one hour of sleep last night, so this may not be my best work, but I gotta keep pumping them out, for you, my adoring fans. 

The first thing that hit me, when the first track of Rock Plus Roll came up, was a strong feeling of modern-era Clutch. The vocalist has his moments when he sounds just like Neil Fallon, and the band has licks and rhythms that could be off Strange Cousins From The West. Once you get further throughout the record, The Snakehandlers Blues Band sound less and less like Clutch, but the initial thought remains, and remains in the background the whole time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Awesome Songs: Warren Zevon - "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"

Excitable Boy was Warren Zevon's claim to fame. It was his most critically acclaimed work and one of his more accessible albums for the general masses - a little lighter on the pun/tongue-in-cheek sound his other albums are filled with. Pretty much all of the songs he is well known for (from a popularity standpoint) come from this album; his immensely popular - even today - "Werewolves of London," as well as his other popular songs "Excitable Boy," "Lawyers, Guns & Money," "Johnny Strikes Up the Band," and of course "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" (some of those are more well known to me, but these are my thoughts and my favorites right?). While the entire album is very good - well worth the purchase and listen for those teetering on the fence - the song that is my favorite, and the one I want to focus on for this installment of 'Awesome Songs,' is the exceptional: "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner."

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Album: Dropkick Murphys - Going Out In Style

Keeping with the folk, and the fact that I just discovered that the Dropkick Murphys released this new album, Going Out In Style, it seems like a wise action to review it, don't you think?

In the US, the big two acts of Celtic folk (punk) rock resurgence begun in the late 90s (at least that reach down to Florida) have been Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, and of the two Flogging Molly has always pulled ahead of my personal tastes. It's not that Flogging Molly is way better then Dropkick or anything, it's just been that the Murphys have always come across as more punk then folk. Sure every album has the few that include bagpipes and the traditional Irish/British/Scottish song, but the majority of the songs and music have been more solidly in the punk region of things.

I'm happy to say that with Going Out In Style, this is not the case. This has to be their most folk album to date, still holding onto their punk roots, but this time equalizing it all with a healthy dose of folk. Pretty much every song has the bagpipes or harmonica within, and some have that old-fashioned jig set-up ("Take 'Em Down" especially). It's a nice change from their previous works - again, none of which are bad, just not fully folk rock.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Video: SweetKiss Momma - "Fix My Hair"

Ok, I know my 'no posts on weekends' barely lasted a week, but I have to keep posting. So Sundays are now dedicated to new (or old) videos. It's simple and easy, and it keeps the music movin'.

SweetKiss Momma, after my review of their debut album, sent me this video to share with the masses. It's a new song, not on the album, and it shows a bit of a different direction for the band - or at least an evolution. It still has the southern influences, but "Fix My Hair" is way more bluesy then most off of Revival Rock, coming off more Allman Brothers then anything else. I like it.

The video is live, and the vocals are kind of garbled, but it still is great quality for a gig vid. I had to laugh at the guitar the guy was playing, it looks like a banjo, except with a license plate for a front. Kind of neat, enjoy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

EP Shakedown: Amplifier - Fractal

I know a week ago I was saying that I am too busy to keep up the seven day posting thing I've been doing, but I'm going to guess that was a lie (both to myself and you all). I'm just going to make the weekends be lighter on the time-consuming projects. A every s such, I'm going to start the weekend with a short article about an EP that I've been enjoying every Saturday, and Sundays are for videos. I know I've had videos before, but they've all ways been random, so now I'm trying to make it a little more regular, they still might pop up every now and then, but for now lets just say it's only on Sundays. That being said, welcome to the first EP Shakedown:

I'm not afraid to say it: I like Amplifier. Many of you could have probably guessed this, owing in fact to the couple of articles I've dedicated to them so far, or you've heard the band and question anyone who doesn't like them. Either way you are correct, they rock, and they roll. In the past, Amplifier has used EPs in a very ingenuous way; they use the short releases as a stepping-stone between the stylistic changes of their full-lengths. Originally the group was more alternative then progressive, but now, three full lengths and three EPs later, they are solid in their love for all things prog.

Their latest LP release, The Octopus, was one of my favorites for 2010, moving great strides into a more submersive style. It was a double disc, but that didn't hinder it in any way, instead allowing for more time with experimentation and re-examination of themselves. The EP released before it, Eternity, showed this somewhat, with songs with a much grander theme and a release that was more cohesive. The bridge was made, and the style changes were gaped.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime

Along with the folk bender I've been on, I've also been diving heavily into the progoverse (that's progressive universe for those who didn't get my cleverness). Bigelf, Agalloch (ok that's sort of a mix of folk and prog) and now Queensryche have all popped up in my playlists, and are all great in very different ways (60s/70s prog, black/folk/doom prog, and hard rock/hair metal prog, respectively). I like to mix it up.

Upon listening to the two of the best Queensryche albums (best by common knowledge, although long-time fans of the band may disagree), Empire and Operation: Mindcrime, I came to the realization that the latter of the two, is really out there. I am surprised that with the way it's constructed, how much press and acceptance it's received, both at the time (1988) and now. It is dark and brooding, is still in the vein of hard rock but has so many stylistic twists and turns you can't help but call is progressive. It's a great release, something that is still heralded over two-decades later, but I still can't believe that it was ever as big as it was.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Band: A Pale Horse Named Death

After the horrifying news of the death of Type O Negative's bassist/singer, Peter Steele, the metal world has been reeling (both he and Dio within a couple of months will do that to you). The legendary gothic doom act left a void in the world that can't ever be adequately filled (I haven't heard anything official about a breakup, but without Steele's voice it'll never be the same). Stepping up to attempt the impossible is the new act, A Pale Horse Named Death, featuring ex-Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato on drums, guitar and lead vocals. It's not the same, not even close, but it helps

The word around the net is that A Pale Horse Named Death is a gothic doom band, I don't get this at all. There aren't any real heavy elements that I would call 'gothic,' there are sections, or certain passages ("Pill Head" comes kind of close), but nothing anywhere close to a genre-defining sound. And Hell Will Follow Me, besides having one of the best album titles I've heard this year, is a doom band through and through, with a few sections that move into a thrash direction ("Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me)" tackles this sound the best). I don't know if you'd call it crossover doom, or gothic-thrash-doom-medley (ok I'm reaching with that one), or whatever. I call it good, and that's all I need.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Band Submission: Unmask - Sophia Told Me

I was going to combine this Band Submission with my Weekly Dose of Prog, but Unmask really isn't progressive enough for me to be included in my weekly segment (or at least not as much as I'd like). It still has progressive tendencies, more-so then any other genre, but they are kind of weakly distributed throughout. Making sure I wasn't completely off-base, I looked up some other reviews of Sophia Told Me that are out there on the web, and most of them call the album neo-prog, new-prog, or alternative progressive, which is about what I'm getting from it all. while the terms neo-prog and new-prog are thrown around sometimes, there hasn't been an agreed upon style or set way that bands fall into these categories, thus I'm only worried about the alternative progressive label, because it's what I feel best grabs the band.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Current Trend: Folk

Finally, a Current Trend that will be simple to explain, something that is dedicated to a genre and/or style of music. The past Current Trends have been so lacking in a direction, I think I was just writing them to have something to write. But no longer! This Current Trend, and perhaps this whole month, has a purpose, a goal, an endgame.

What began with as a simple Weekly Dose of Prog has spawned into a movement that is dominating my time (much to my enjoyment). The Decemberists' classic, The Hazards of Love (see the WDoP here), has gotten me into a folk bender, first with just their discography, and then into folk as a whole.

While it did begin on the more docile side of things, with The Decemberists, Mumford & Sons and a little Iron & Wine (jury's still out on that one), it quickly jumped on the metal bandwagon. Bands like Turisas (I've been looking forward to their newest release for a while now), Týr have already popped up, and I'm going to try a foray into some Celtic/black folk - something that I've not had a lot of experience with - with Cruachan and Primordial (but that may only appear a little bit).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Band Submission: SweetKiss Momma - Revival Rock

Dirty south stoner rock. I could end the review right there and be satisfied with the ending result, cuz that's all you need to know. What? You want more? Damn the things I do for you people...

Ok, SweetKiss Momma, another band submission I've been putting off (but this one isn't so bad, it's only been a week or so), and yet another one I wish I hadn't. Their style of modern classic southern rock - with both jamming rock songs, and mellow and soulful ballads - really is something that you don't hear every day, especially this well. Revival Rock, their debut release, has been making waves around the world, hitting the Top 10 of CD Baby's overall sales chart a few times within the past year (with the 250,000+ artist on there, that's quite an accomplishment), and I believe it should be at number one at least once!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Bigelf - Cheat The Gallows

I've gone into Bigelf before, but now that I've listened to Cheat The Gallows a few times, some of the more subtle nuances have come into the foreground. The album begins and ends with 'the show' theme, something sort of like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band from The Beatles, but it's not an oppressive theme. It just adds to the ambiance.

Cheat The Gallows is an interesting mix of prog, psych and 70s hard rock. Songs like "Blackball" and "Superstar" strike me as a little more progressive version of Aerosmith, with simple and catchy verses and choruses. While songs like "Gravest Show On Earth" and "The Evils of Rock & Roll" come across as something more akin to the late 60s rock, albeit much heavier. In my original breakdown of the group I equated them as a mix of Pink Floyd and The Beatles and I really do have to stick to my guns, just this time I'm adding in the hard rock aspect.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Band Submission: Swim The Mind - Waterfall Walls

I'm sorry to say that I've been ignoring most of the band submissions I've been getting. I have a stack of CDs and an equal amount of digital discs that I haven't been getting through nearly as quickly as I should. Well no more. Starting this week, I will dedicate at least one day solely to these struggling acts (most with great music) and writing reviews/promotions for them.

Swim The Mind was one of the first bands to actually contact me directly (the others before this was from Heavy Planet and Ripple Music), so it is sad that I've waited this long. But I'm on it now, and I'm here to say: you should really check out Waterfall Walls.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Everything I Didn't Review In February

Once again, here is the month-long list of everything I didn't have a chance to review in the month of February. Unfortunately this month has either been dominated by older albums that I have re-visited or everything new that I've heard I have reviewed already. This month is not anywhere near as impressive as January was, and it may not be that way for a while (probably until I dedicate another month to nothing but new music).

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Keeping in the vein of the folk kick I've been on, Mumford & Sons melds folk rock with a jam-band feel. Andrew Clayton told me about this group/album, saying it was folk but a bit eclectic like System of A Down. I was intrigued but I have to disagree with that statement, it sounds to me like a folk mix of Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. The songs from Sigh No More seemed to follow the same progression throughout the album, starting with a sole voice and a guitar and by the end has evolved into a powerful full-band sound. It's sweet except it happened in pretty much every song. Andrew Clayton said he was going to review the album - again, he's better at folk then I am - so he will be able to put a more cohesive spin on it 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Albums Listened To In February (73)

February  was a month seemingly dedicated to past discographies, both by bands of decades past (Frank Zappa and Johnny Cash) and of my favorites from the more recent years (The Decemberists, Kyuss, Wo-Fat). The ending of the month has been dedicated by folk, and will continue throughout at least the beginning of March.
At the beginning of the month I had some great numbers, I believe I was ten discs in by day three or so. Sense then however, then, due to transportation issues, the middle of the month lagged behind. I still was averaging an album a day, but that was it. Come to the end of the months (the 27th-28th) and I slammed out a ton within the 24 hours - with reviews to match. So I guess it all averages out.