Archive for March, 2008
At The Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band. They belong to the Gothenburg metal scene with bands such as Dark Tranquillity and In Flames (whose upcoming album sucks). These guys made it big after the release of their last album, Slaughter of the Soul, in 1995. However, they broke up in 1996, after two of the members left.
Suicidal Final Tour is a North America reunion tour for At The Gates and features special guests, Darkest Hour and Municipal Waste. It is coming to Toronto on July 13th at the Opera House. This might as well be ATG’s last tour as they say they’re not coming out with any more albums. I saw Municipal Waste last summer at the Opera House. It was a pretty wild show. I actually found out about this show after searching for Municipal Waste concerts.
Anyways, for those of you who are At The Gates fans, I suggest checking out this concert because it is very likely that it will be their last tour. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with their music, these guys sound a lot like The Haunted, as it was formed by three of the At The Gates members after they broke up. They can also be compared to Dark Tranquillity. Listen for yourselves:
I have an extra ticket for tomorrow’s show at Lee’s Palace. So if anyone from the Toronto area would like to see the show (the ticket is going to waste otherwise), email me and we’ll meet up before the show.
Anyway I plan to see the show tomorrow and when looking back on my original review of Random Spirit Lover, I gave it a good score but I couldn’t really find many words to describe it’s greatness.
It’s been 6 months since it was first released and from that point on, listening to Random Spirit Lover has kept getting better and better. There have been many reviews of this album, some calling it the best of the year well others lambasting it’s roughness and complexity.
The general statement I hear around this album that it’s “Not For Everyone”. No music is for everyone to begin with and it’s mainly the thought that either the listener won’t appreciate the art work of the painter or in this case the artist takes a different approach. Ultimately when looking at Random Spirit Lover, it’s an absolutely masterpeice where you have to look at the nooks and crannies to find it.
Let’s divulge into why I consider Random Spirit Lover to be oh-so-fucking-great.
1) Lyrically complex (or “fucked up”). Songs on RSL are quite strange indeed. Interpreting songs are near impossible and can have a broad range of meanings. Generally, it’s confusing to take the “literal” route with trying to think of songs. Either way it’s a pleasure to attempt to dissect them and ultimately come with a conclusion of I Don’t Know or I’m Not Sure
2) Random musical composition.
This is where Sunset Rubdown lives up to its album name, complementing their lyrical randomness involves using an unsymmetrical structure whether by guitar or keyboard. Sometimes kicking it in latter portions of tracks adding a riff or just random guitar playing it seems.
3) Spencer Krug’s singing
Whereas critics are quick to judge and dismiss the singing due to the “annoying” yelps and screams. However I am going to say that this is what actually gives some tracks some of its passion. There are times where his voice is just fine and times where he’s screaming off his lungs. When he is is screaming off his lungs it’s more bearable then not and it’s not like theyre screeches that you would find on a metal album.
4) No song is boring
If you see a critic say this album is boring, they’re liars or pretentious fags (okay that’s not too nice). There’s a ton of diversity where you have soft moments mixed with the full hard-rock moments and Sunset Rubdown perfects all of them perfectly. You have to give this album a chance as you have a lot thrown at you at once and each time you take in something different. Boring is just a shitty way of characterizing things.
As you can see, I’m very high on this album. It was at least given the most #1 votes in Pitchfork’s Fan Voting so there are guys who see what I see. Otherwise for such a classic, there’s very little fan fare, maybe because a lot of critics didn’t give it the time it needed. A lot of people may miss out on it but I’m here spreading the word as much as possible.
I think of the discussions I have with friends is how a band like Pink Floyd would never live in our era. We’re either too mainstream/pop obsessed (guilty!) that we don’t dare challenge ourselves. I’m willing to put myself out there and call this album Pink Floyd art rock-esque. Random, challenging, brilliant. So far one of the better albums I have ever heard. 5 out of 5.
Team Genius‘ EP is worth some notice. Yes it’s just an EP but this EP is super duper fun and worth some major hype though there has been only a few blogs covering them so far.
Team Genius is sextet (they might put sex in sextet, not this sex though ) out of the centre of the indie rock universe (seemingly) Brooklyn, New York. They were introduced me by the great Fanatic Promotion. Though the press release, I found rather funny; “comparable to the energy of The National”! The National is great in their own right but when it’s a band that’s more pop…you couldn’t be more wrong.
I think a proper comparison would have been Wolf Parade but more importantly lead singer Drew Hermiller is in so many ways like Spencer Krug (Sunset Rubdown/Wolf Parade/a bajillion other projects). Drew shows off his various vocal range with yelping and sometimes rough unperfected vocals that ultimately give Team Genius it’s charm as being silly/fun and almost uncaring.
With only 5 songs of the EP. Team Genius show some range while keeping it simple. While Drew’s vocals change drastically throughout each track so does the band, sometimes with an interesting, other times taking over with some upbeat keyboarding. They even change it a bit with their last tune which is rather slow moving and ultimately rewarding. A comparison I’d like to make that hasn’t been thrown out there is that they are really similar to Los Campesinos! providing punk elements with great lyrical content.
Let’s do a run down of all 5 songs to organize my thoughts.
1. Let’s All Sleep Together
This is a fun pop gem lasting a mere 2:15 but it has some of the funniest lines that I would love to quote or just sing in my head. Clearly it’s talking about orgies and the line “I’m so beautiful, you’re so beautiful, let’s all sleep together!” is stuck in my head like that that “is your bed made…etc” from Vampire Weekend’s Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.
2. Sing Song
This is THE track that I believe Drew sounds 100% like Spencer Krug. It’s actually the first track I liked by them. The lyrics seem inaudible at times even when this is supposed to be a song for you to sing sing sing along. It almost sounds like a drunken anthem at times. It’s a pretty catchy track though at this point I give up trying to figure out any deeper moments as I can’t keep up with vocally… after awhile I just hear “we’re sorry”.
3. Hand Claps in E Major
This song utilizes the keyboard for a lot of the track, giving off the good old new wave sound. Like the title says you get hand claps in E Major… though I find the title as an interesting choice. Lyrically this track is rather simple and its simplicity complements the full-out sing song and I’m Just An Idiot.
4. I’m Just An Idiot
This track is extremely fun, fast paced and having a good time. This song is more complex to the ear and while the mixing/production isn’t top notch, it’s probably their best track. The 2:26 of this track is quite dense. I love the line “I guess, you guessed I’m Just An Idiot”.
I was going to say I didn’t like this track…but it’s probably one of the deeper songs on here. It’s not so much of a pop song to me and it’s a strange way to end of EP with all the high-paced pop.
This band may be unheralded until they release a full release but I see this band coming up with great things. Comparisons aside on their own, this band rocks and they aren’t as geeky as they want to make themselves out to be.
Rating: 5 out of 5! – After much thought, it is the perfect EP.
You can buy the EP here.
The Fleet Foxes got a huge boost via the hype machine that is Pitchfork. P4K gave a whopping 8.7 out of 10 for a 5 song E.P. Definitely a huge statement that brings up some question marks to say the least.
First things first, I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for posting on the Fleet Foxes earlier then 99% of the blogs. Alas, I doubt many read it but it’s proof that we’ve got some ability here to be “tastemakers”. It almost saddens me that I don’t have that much of a sway to get people to like something. It’s fun to get on the bandwagon earlier then others, if not snobby. Anyway back in November I was just addicted “White Winter Hymnal” which is on Ragged Wood their LP set for a June release, there wasn’t much by them at the time but Siberian assured me that the Fleet Foxes were going to be big.
Come around 4 months later, they had White Winter Hymnal featured on P4K and it seems as if they wanted to personally push the band by giving a rather generous 8.7 causing a craze it seems. I personally think the score is biased as a way of P4K pushing bands they see fit but I have no problem with that as I would do the same. The problem with getting a great review is the inevitability of backlash which they have received. People calling them a carbon copy of Band of Horses and what not.
I’ll just keep it simple and review the 5 song E.P and shut up about P4K. I checked out both the Sun Giant EP and Ragged Wood (yeah I downloaded it) and while the Sun Giant EP does give a taste of whats to come, it’s more like eating left over crumbs off a lemon meringue pie (mmm). With that said, the Sun Giant EP is a decent effort mixing different styles of country and folk but I don’t think it’s that good of an EP to introduce you with what their capable of.
The Fleet Foxes are going to be big. Marks my words, expect a huge score for Ragged Wood from everywhere unless the critics are dumbasses. They are better than Band of Horses though I understand that the lead singer sounds exactly like him. It’s more lyrically engaging and his singing (too lazy to look up his name) shows some awesome range while the band itself shows some creative musicianship especially on the title track “Sun Giant”. The only downside is that I get kind of bored with the beginning of most of the tracks as they take long to get going. The songs are actually quite dense but I feel as if some of the tracks could be fast forwarded a bit or just have the instruments kick in a lot earlier.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Not bad at all and it’s probably a low score due to Ragged Wood being absolutely amazing.
Two of my favorite tracks off Sun Giant:
If you are looking for a band that incorporates folk pop with delectable vocals in the mellowest ways possible, look no more! Kings of Convenience is a duo from Norway that creates what I believe to be the purest, most perfect contemporary folk pop music ever. The band consists of Erlend Oye and Eirik Glambek Boe—and I swear the image (and the moves) of Napoleon Dynamite was adapted from Erlend Oye (check out the video for “I’d Rather Dance With You”).
The Kings are the epitome of mellow. They’ve got mellow vocals, mellow instrumentation, and yeah—even mellow sex appeal. If you like Feist, I’m pretty sure you will like the Kings (in fact, Feist collaborated with the Kings on their 2004 album, Riot on an Empty Street). You’ll find the Kings mostly use guitar and piano melodies, interesting bass (often upright) riffs, soft percussions and other accompanying instruments (such as violins and trumpets). Don’t let the “folk pop” label throw you off. They’re kind of like Belle & Sebastian without the rock, and Simon & Garfunkel without “Scarborough Fair” and “The Sound of Silence”. The Kings blend [acoustic] guitar jazz and folk together to fulfill some simple, yet intensely emotional tunes.
I have been dying for a new Kings album since 2004; apparently it’s in the works but not in the works at the same time. Such logic only suitable (and acceptable) for the Kings. Hopefully they’ll start another world tour soon. They’re a rare band not to be missed! Check out some of my favourite songs by the Kings of Convenience: