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Old 02-28-2010, 11:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Engine's Music Reviews

Just what the title states: Music reviews.
No theme, just reviews of music that I want to talk about. Essentially, this is where I will say everything that I would like to say on the well-loved Albums You're Digging II thread which appropriately only allows for quick blurbs.

Enjoy

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Old 02-28-2010, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Son of the Electric Ghost - Your Creator Knows Your Name



Tracklist:
1. Slo Down
2. Why (interlude)
3. The Christian Logic
4. Come Alive
5. Romantic Filth (Thesubconcioustipperipoff)
6. Your Creator
7. World of Confusion
8. The Devil’s Logic
9. The Great and Terrible (Revelation)
10. Knock ‘em Out

Released 2004

Son of the Electric Ghost is the pseudonym of the IDM / Breaks producer known as Bil Bless and other aliases. You can see by the album and its track names that there is a fascination with the occult/religions going on here. More importantly, though, this is a great electronic album. It has a distinct darkness with an equally distinct brightness. This sounds like good and evil combined to make an album of danceable downtempo beats decorated with threatening evil-sounding vocal samples and lots of instrumental flourishes. The album’s theme reflects the dual nature of mankind in which exists a capacity for great evil and suffering as well as transcendent joy. This is Intelligent Dance Music that thinks about Existentialism.

The opener, ‘Slo Down’ starts the album with an eclectic, semi-bucolic feeling as a beat forms from a slice of a guitar riff, steel drums and a bunch of other instruments and digital sounds. This track is a relatively slow one. It induces head-nodding but it’s not quite dancefloor material. A lot of the rest of the album is, though. The next song, ‘The Christian Logic’ turns up the tempo to dancing level and also gets cut up into various experiments with breakbeats. Later on we hear ‘The Devil’s Logic’ which is quite similar but includes more sinister sounding effects. On top of those songs, SOTEG plays with different styles throughout the album. Usually the songs amount to uptempo breaks mixed with a lot of experimental interludes, always with an eye on the apocalypse. ‘The Great and Terrible (Revelation)’ poses a question with demonic vocoder vocals: What are you going to do when the end of the world comes? Are you going to make an excuse?

For me this album is important IDM on the level of the masters. In other words; It never gets dull. The combination of my fascination with mysticism and love of interesting electronic music has made this a lasting favorite. And remember..

YOUR CREATOR KNOWS YOUR NAME


Slo Down
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default The Charlatans - Over Rising single



Tracks:
1. Over Rising
2. Way Up Three
3. Happen to Die
4. Opportunity Three

Released 1991

Even though Some Friendly was one of my favorite albums in the early-90s I had not heard the non-album singles until recently. Maybe that’s because they weren't released in the US. If they were then the unsightly UK would have to be attached to their name, right? Anyway, it was extremely refreshing to find songs made in the time of Some Friendly after which I didn’t really enjoy the band much anymore.

Over Rising features three songs that aren’t on any albums (some are on later comps) and an extended remix of the already pretty psychedelic song ‘Opportunity’ from Some Friendly. When I first listened to Over Rising, I was sure that more than one of them are on Some Friendly (hey, it hasn’t been my favorite since 1991) and I even pulled out my CD to check the track names because the songs on Over Rising have that perfect sound that was only there for me on Some Friendly.

The title track has a lot of that softly thumping psychedelic organ that made the band great. The next song, ‘Way Up Three’ also sounds so damn familiar that I can hardly believe that it’s not on Some Friendly. The song has a slow dreamy, updated psychedelic sound that only this band and The Stone Roses perfected. The sound still drives me fucking crazy with joy. ‘Happen to Die’ is another one of those British pop songs that tells a sweetly sung story from the point of view of a cold-hearted sociopath. It’s also heavy on that organ sound. The single ends with ‘Opportunity Three’ which I already mentioned is a remix of ‘Opportunity’ although it hardly varies from the other version.

I’m slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t heard these songs until the last few months but I can hardly regret it because it allows me to hear new music that takes me directly back to my baggy-clothed past. Regardless of nostalgia, this single is a highly recommended 20-minute piece of the real deal.

Over Rising


Happen to Die
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Last edited by Engine; 03-05-2010 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Engine View Post


Tracklist:
1. Slo Down
2. Why (interlude)
3. The Christian Logic
4. Come Alive
5. Romantic Filth (Thesubconcioustipperipoff)
6. Your Creator
7. World of Confusion
8. The Devil’s Logic
9. The Great and Terrible (Revelation)
10. Knock ‘em Out

Released 2004

Son of the Electric Ghost is the pseudonym of the IDM / Breaks producer known as Bil Bless and other aliases. You can see by the album and its track names that there is a fascination with the occult/religions going on here. More importantly, though, this is a great electronic album. It has a distinct darkness with an equally distinct brightness. This sounds like good and evil combined to make an album of danceable downtempo beats decorated with threatening evil-sounding vocal samples and lots of instrumental flourishes. The album’s theme reflects the dual nature of mankind in which exists a capacity for great evil and suffering as well as transcendent joy. This is Intelligent Dance Music that thinks about Existentialism.

The opener, ‘Slo Down’ starts the album with an eclectic, semi-bucolic feeling as a beat forms from a slice of a guitar riff, steel drums and a bunch of other instruments and digital sounds. This track is a relatively slow one. It induces head-nodding but it’s not quite dancefloor material. A lot of the rest of the album is, though. The next song, ‘The Christian Logic’ turns up the tempo to dancing level and also gets cut up into various experiments with breakbeats. Later on we hear ‘The Devil’s Logic’ which is quite similar but includes more sinister sounding effects. On top of those songs, SOTEG plays with different styles throughout the album. Usually the songs amount to uptempo breaks mixed with a lot of experimental interludes, always with an eye on the apocalypse. ‘The Great and Terrible (Revelation)’ poses a question with demonic vocoder vocals: What are you going to do when the end of the world comes? Are you going to make an excuse?

For me this album is important IDM on the level of the masters. In other words; It never gets dull. The combination of my fascination with mysticism and love of interesting electronic music has made this a lasting favorite. And remember..
Ooh...

Tasty!
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default 4 Dubstep tracks from Tempa

The past decade has been pretty rough. It was full of in-your-face wars, natural disasters, economic crises and bland Canadian indie-rock bands. But it’s well-known that great art comes from bad times. Out of the darkness of the 00s emerged an exciting new musical form: Dubstep.

Tempa is one of the best established Dubstep record labels having released work by some of the most prominent artists in the genre. The label began in 2000 and is still releasing some of the best shit around. In 2009 the label released two 12” singles that have turned out to be some of my favorite music from last year.

The producer Data released Doors of Perception which features the blissful track, ‘Leaves’. It opens with a dark ambience that is somehow uplifting. It’s like the best Blues; a melancholy celebration of deep sadness. Halfway through the track enters a sample of a nerdy-sounding Brit talking about some kind of mystical, possibly drug induced ideas. Maybe it’s Aldous Huxley himself – I don’t know but whatever he’s talking about reflects the theme of Huxley’s book of the same title of single. After that, more drum layers are added giving the track some weight in the latter half. The 2nd song is the title track and it features all the ambiance of ‘Leaves’ and continues it’s theme with more of the philosophizing vocals. It also adds a lot of lush instrumentation including live guitar work by Cell.

Also in 2009 Tempa released Kingstep / Damn It by Horsepower Productions. Some Dubstep is really, really dubby and these two songs are in that category. ‘Kingstep’ opens with pitch-shifted vocals that sound like Sufi music. Other sounds from the sub-continent are thrown in there (Bollywood?) before the bass kicks in hard. This is classic Dubstep of the more chaotic variety. The other track is ‘Damn It’ which is about as authentically Dub as I’ve heard Dubstep be. It opens with a Reggae guitar line and quickly gets filled up with samples of gunshots, police sirens and there’s even some Mellotron thrown in there. The latter half is full of vocal samples of angry sounding Jamaicans talking about bumbaclots.

This music may help you sort out the confusion and paranoia that you felt in the last decade. Or maybe it’ll intensify it. For me it does both and that’s why I love it.

Leaves


Damn It
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Metal that inspired Hardcore: a song by The Obsessed - 1983

A little known fact is that Minor Threat were into Metal. Indeed, they were influenced by a local metal band called The Obsessed featuring Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich who, as any metal fan knows, went on to forge a new generation of stoner metal and continues to innovate in that genre to this day.

The Obsessed are from the DC area (the Maryland side) and were playing in clubs in the early 80s at the same time that kids like Ian MacKaye and other angry Georgetown teenagers were looking to play in their own bands. Here is a quote from the book Dance of Days about that time..

Quote:
Lally had never played in a serious band, and his main musical connection was to the alcohol-soaked metal-punk scene centered on The Obsessed…MacKaye and Lilly hit it off musically and personally, bonding over their shared love for The Obsessed*

Ian Mackaye, fan of The Obsessed

The Obsessed released a 7” with 3 songs in 1983 called Sodden Jackal and one of them sounds like hardcore punk. I assume that the band was doing their unique version of the ‘crossover’ music that was popular at the time (Thrash/HC) but after this Wino went fully Stoner Rock.

Anyway, here is some vintage metal/punk by The Obsessed..

Indestroy by The Obsessed


There were thousands of Thrash/HC songs in the early 80s but this one is special. Maybe it's because the band was from the East Coast (the seat of American Hardcore imo) but I believe that this a pure Metal band playing music that just happened to honestly crossover with punk by circumstance. Every other song by The Obsessed is clearly defined Metal. This one is a true crossover that makes it clear why the genres overlapped in the first place.

*”Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital” p. 233
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Last edited by Engine; 03-16-2010 at 07:33 PM. Reason: disabled video replaced
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Man, it's been a while since I saw a mention of the Charlatans here. I'm not overly-familiar with their back-catalogue myself (I've heard a few songs on the radio and I've got their Wonderland album, which I enjoy quite a bit myself), but they definitely do seem to be one of the more overlooked British alternative (for want of a better word) bands out there, even by the British. Definitely a fairly underrated band in my eyes though, as those vids of theirs you posted testify.

Not so familiar with the rest you've posted (although I've heard a few Tempa tracks here and there before), but cool thread all the same. Looking forward to more from it.
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Tracks:
1. Blue Thunder
2. Tell me
3. Snowstorm
4. Strange
5. When Will You Come Home
6. Decomposing Trees
7. Another Day
8. Leave the Planet
9. Plastic Bird
10. Isn’t It a Pity (George Harrison cover)
11. Victoria Garden (Red Krayola cover)*
12. Ceremony (Joy Division cover)*
13. Cold Night*

Band members:
Dean Wareham - guitar, vocls
Damon Krukowski - drums
Naomi Yang – bass

Released by Rough Trade in 1989

*from re-release by Rykodisc in 1997

It took me over 20 years to fully appreciate this album. Since about the time of its original release I heard it periodically in friends' houses, cars and such. I had a (dubbed) cassette copy of my own. I thought it was good but it got stashed away in my memory as second rate dream pop.

Flash forward to April 2010 and suddenly I'm listening to it daily. Yeah, I know, it just got re-re-released and is in the press lately. Maybe that’s why I put it on again, I can’t be sure but I did and slipped into a nostalgic paradise. It’s a nice feeling to have a decades-long relationship with an album and for a passion to re-ignite – to have grown.

The original release contains ten tracks of blissful indie stuff (pop, rock, dream what-have-you) that sounds so sweet that it is already a legend. I don’t feel that I have much to add to the countless words that have been written and spoken about On Fire. It’s simply great. That’s all. Read all about it anywhere, this is an essential piece of music from the late-80s.

Famously, the song 'Decomposing Trees' has a tenor sax solo. Normally this kind of thing would make me cringe. I usually hate the sound of saxophone in pop music. It all reminds me of St. Elmo’s Fire or some other 80s fashion statement that had an adverse effect on me. This song proves me wrong; the sax is absolutely beautiful.

I must mention the classic song, 'Strange'. I wonder if some forgotten thing from my teen years happened that affected while this song was playing because for some reason, the song pulls my emotional strings like nothing I’ve heard in a while. Here’s a video if it being played live..


The original release has the George Harrison cover, ‘Isn’t It a Pity’. Leave it to Galaxie 500 to make something out of nothing. In 1989, this became a great song. The re-release from 1997 has two more covers – all highly entertaining. ‘Victoria Garden’ by Red Krayola makes you realize that Wareham and crew perhaps should have been making music in the mid-1960s because they’re right at home playing humble physchedelia. ‘Ceremony’ is not something to be taken lighltly and Galaxie 500 had the decency and honesty to play the song as gracefully as it ever has been.

On Fire is a classic that deserves to be remembered so I’m happy if the re-re-release of 2010 earns more fans or renews old interest. It certainly brought me back into the fold. The band is already historic in the minds of many but more affirmation never hurts.

Excellent. Just fucking excellent.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Quail Lungs - Dumb Dadadum 7" single (2009)



2 songs:
A. Dum Dadadum
B. You Can't Believe in Anything, You Can't Believe in Nothing

Band:
Travis Bonilla

Released by PPM (Post Present Medium) in 2010

I was near the point of giving up on indie-rock/music in the 21st century. If you're like me in that respect then I have good news. It's called Quail Lungs, a one-man band from Portland, Oregon who records his music on a 4-track with more truthfulness than some entire indie labels have shown for..a decade? More? You be the judge



That song is breathtaking and it was released with a b-side song called 'You Can't Believe in Anything, You Can't Believe in Nothing'. The b-side doesn't have nearly the amount of guitar as the title track, but you should hear it if your taste has developed beyond simple love of the breathtaking. This song is a meditative response to a koan that I have not heard.

Quail Lungs is the project of Travis Bonilla and is, I believe, his first public release. And now I want more so let's hear it, Travis
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Daughters - s/t (2010)



Songs:
1. The Virgin
2. The First Supper
3. The Hit
4. The Theatre Goer
5. Our Queens (One is Many, Many are One)
6. The Dead Singer
7. Sweet Georgia Brown
8. The Unattractive, Portable Head

Band:
Alexis Marshall – vocals
Jon Syverson – drums
Nicholas Andrew Sadler – guitars
Samual M. Walker – bass

Released by Hydra Head records



I like this album especially when I’m drunk.

That’s not to say that it’s not a well put together album with true appeal – it is. I mean that it takes a certain amount of angry looseness to get into this music. Alcohol does that for me. I think it also does that for Marshall because on this recording he definitely sounds loose and angry .. or loosely angry at least.

This is music made by and for recent grown-ups who are well used to alcohol and the demands of the underground music scene. The best thing about this album is that it reminds me of the Ramones. The way that every element of the music always faces forward and stays up front, staggering forward the whole time without any use for tension-breaking slowdowns.

I don’t pay attention to this band’s scene so I don’t know how they rate there. But I am aware of the shift in Daughters’ sound on this album and I am wizened enough to appreciate it. I read that the singer doesn’t like this album (and Daughters disbanded?) because he was under the influence of alcohol and other societal pressures when he made it. Those things made him stop screaming. I like it mellow so this album is another reason to appreciate alcohol and strife.

Hydra Head continues to release quality material after so many years of underground goodness. To me this album is proof that the label can grow old and retain good taste. And now let’s bow our heads and pray that the singer finds the strength to get clean of his chemical addictions. Fuck it, at least we have this album.

The Hit
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