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Old 12-31-2010, 11:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default The Final Sound

Hello everyone!
I figured out it was about time i started my own journal so i decided to give it a shot. This journal will probably contain mostly album reviews and single reviews but i will also throw in some articles about artists which have changed my musical perspective over the years, recommended artists and some playlist compilations. I will do my best to update this regularly or whenever i can. I hope people will enjoy reading this.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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The Cure - Pornography (1982)

Genre: Gothic Rock/Post-Punk/Psychedelic



Track Listing:
1. One Hundred Years
2. A Short Term Effect
3. The Hanging Garden
4. Siamese Twins
5. The Figurehead
6. A Strange Day
7. Cold
8. Pornography

Pornography is the third and final album of The Cure's so-called 'Dark Trilogy', a distinct period in their early career where they wandered down a dark and lonely path of bleak and uncompromising music and were seen as key players in the emerging gothic rock scene. Whereas 1980's Seventeen Seconds and 1981's Faith signalled that all was not well in camp Robert Smith, 1982's seminal Pornography was the sound of Robert going over the edge and losing his mind. Pornography is a dark, brooding and twisted psychedelic masterpiece and is by some distance The Cure's most disturbing and uncommercial-sounding album.
The album opens with 'One Hundred Years', a dark, sprawling, claustrophobic number with Robert Smith’s wailing, stream-of-conscience lyrics, discordant and atmospheric guitar lines and icy drum machines creating an uncomfortable and disturbing feel. The line "It doesn't matter if we all die" pretty much sets the bleak tone for the rest of the album. 'A Short Term Effect' follows up with Simon Gallup's bass taking over as lead instrument, a repetitive drum beat and Smith applying light touches of guitar to create a dark, swirling and atmospheric backing track. The most distinctive and interesting element of this song is undoubtedly the unusual delay effect on Smith's vocals, which decrease in pitch with each delay loop creating a very psychedelic effect.

The album contains only one single, 'The Hanging Garden', which is probably the only track on the album which could possibly be a single. This song sticks to a usual verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure yet still sounds as dark and disturbing as any other track on the album. Elsewhere the sparse 'Siamese Twins' and the brooding, funeral-pace, synth-heavy 'Cold' provide some more downbeat and introspective moments. The spidery guitar and marching drums of 'The Figurehead' back what is probably Robert Smith's most disturbing lyrics on the album; "A scream tears my clothes as the figurines tighten, With spiders inside them, And dust on the lips of a vision of hell. I laughed in the mirror for the first time in a year". Smith seems to have given up all hope when he repeats "I Will Never Be Clean Again" over and over towards the end of the song. The most upbeat and melodic-sounding track on Pornography is 'A Strange Day' which although contains some strange nonsense lyrics, wouldn't sound out of place on later albums such as The Head On The Door. The melodic guitar lines and pounding snares make this track stand out somewhat.
The album ends with the most experimental and uncompromising tune, the title-track 'Pornography'. With Smith crying out near-incomprehensible lyrics over bizarre samples, abstract guitar noise and a pounding repetitive drum beat; "A hand in my mouth. A life spills into the flowers. We all look so perfect as we all fall down". The song, and album, however seem to end on a slightly positive note with Smith proclaiming "I must fight this sickness", possibly accepting his own mental state and making plans for a new beginning. That new beginning ended their dark period and saw The Cure move towards some great pop music.

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Old 01-03-2011, 04:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Shoegazing In The 21st Century: Part 1


According to some media sources we experienced bit of a shoegaze revival in the past number of years. But in reality the style of music never really disappeared. Even since the media started to shift it's focus away from the first wave of shoegaze bands in the early 90's there has always been a very healthy and immense underground scene that continued right into the new century. Some of you make look on in frustration at some of the bands tagged 'shoegaze' (or other variations) on last.fm or by the media, but here's a selection of real modern shoegaze bands who are certainly worth your time.

Airiel
Although formed in 1997 it wasn't until 2003 when they released their first record. They released the four-track EPs Frosted and Dizzy in 2003 and followed these up with two more four-track EPs Melted and Crackled, these EPs being heavily influenced by Slowdive. These four EPs made up a collection named Winks & Kisses, with each EP's album art part of one bigger picture. In 2008 they released their first and only studio album to date, The Battle Of Sealand, which adopted a less dreamy and more aggressive sound but still sounds amazing.
Their music is proves that you don't just need a wall of guitar effects, well-written and memorable songs work wonders for a band and writing songs that stick with you will keep you coming back for more. Keep your eyes peeled for a possible album release this year.


The Daysleepers
The Daysleepers and Airiel are two bands that are difficult to separate. But from my perspective The Daysleepers have a slightly more atmospheric sound and draw more influences from The Cure. Like Airiel they also write some very memorable songs which are backed by gorgeous delay and reverb-soaked guitars.
They formed in 2004 and released the EPs The Soft Attack and Hide Your Eyes in 2006 before dropping their full-length debut Drowned In A Sea Of Sound in 2008, also their only studio album to date. Their album built on the lush sounds of their EPs and added a more confident and melodic element to their music. Could possibly release a follow-up album this year, fingers crossed.


LSD And The Search For God
Formed in 2006 these guys and gals have only released one five-track EP to date, and what an EP it is. Their self-titled EP released in 2006 immediately reminds you of a certain My Bloody Valentine. But rather than being a complete rip off of Loveless this EP sounds like the great, lost EP that MBV never released after Loveless. This is indeed the most perfect five tracks of sonic nirvana released this side of the turn of the millennium, the layers of effects-laden guitars and submerged vocals will take your head right into the clouds. The band are still touring but there are no signs of a full-length album release at the moment seemingly. We can only hope.

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Old 01-03-2011, 08:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Formed in 2006 these guys and gals have only released one five-track EP to date, and what an EP it is. Their self-titled EP released in 2006 immediately reminds you of a certain My Bloody Valentine. But rather than being a complete rip off of Loveless this EP sounds like the great, lost EP that MBV never released after Loveless. This is indeed the most perfect five tracks of sonic nirvana released this side of the turn of the millennium, the layers of effects-laden guitars and submerged vocals will take your head right into the clouds. The band are still touring but there are no signs of a full-length album release at the moment seemingly. We can only hope.
Fantastic lost musical treasures. You're right about the mysterious band, LSD and the Search For God, the wall of sound drone and the processed guitar with the ringing melodic overtones sounds a lot like the guitar playing of Kevin Shields.

It' a pity that Kevin himself has spent the past 20 years mostly remixing other people's albums instead of forming a a new band. Such is the joyless life of the musical perfectionist.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, I'm loving this stuff from The Daysleepers and LSD. You rock, man.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great write up Zero.

You heard anything by the Church? The Daysleepers tracks really remind me of them.

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Old 01-12-2011, 06:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Cheers for that one, i've never heard of them before and they sound pretty cool. I might investigate.

I must update this during the weekend, it's been a busy week.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Zero1986 View Post
Cheers for that one, i've never heard of them before and they sound pretty cool. I might investigate.
The Church are an amazing band, one of my personal favorites, and well worth your time. Most of their albums are fantastic but Priest = Aura is probably the best place to start with them.

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Old 01-13-2011, 02:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Bad Brains - Bad Brains (1982)



Track Listing:
1. Sailin' On
2. Don't Need It
3. Attitude
4. The Regulator
5. Banned In D.C.
6. Jah Calling
7. Supertouch/Sh*tfit
8. Leaving Babylon
9. Fearless Vampire Killers
10. I
11. Big Take Over
12. Pay To Cum
13. Right Brigade
14. I Love I Jah
15. Intro
16. Jah The Conqueror (1996 Reissue)

If there was ever a band that could be called 'unique', out of all the bands that have graced us in the past 30 or 40 years, it surely has to be the Bad Brains. Here we have a group of four black, dreadlocked Rastafarians hailing from Washington D.C., surely they’re some sort of funk or reggae band? Yes there was a bit of reggae here and there, but most incredibly they were one of the most ferocious, pioneering and downright important hardcore-punk bands to emerge from the USA in the early 80's. But while a lot of punk bands in both the USA and the UK were spreading the message of nihilism and anarchy, Bad Brains had a more positive message: P.M.A. or Positive Mental Attitude, as immortalised in the third song on this album 'Attitude'. Basically their belief was that with a positive mental attitude you could achieve anything.

The album opens with the magnificent 'Sailin' On', with frontman H.R.'s intense, manic and determined vocals being driven on by Dr. Know’s speedy guitar riffs and Earl Hudson's super-fast drumming with utter conviction. This conviction and determination is what makes tracks like 'Banned in D.C.', 'Attitude', 'Big Take Over' and 'Pay To ***' American punk classics, with 'Pay To ***' providing us with one of the most energetic and adrenaline-producing guitar-riffs ever heard along with H.R.'s blur-speed vocals. Even by lowering the tempo slightly they could show their heavier side as evident on 'The Regulator' and 'Right Brigade'.

While a lot of the album consists of the most passionate hardcore-punk ever committed to tape, the punk blitzkrieg is broken up by some blissed-out, bass-heavy reggae tracks such as 'Jah Calling', 'Leaving Babylon' and 'I Luv I Jah'. While these tracks provide the listener with moments of calm, they also make the loud, fast punk songs sound heavier and more pronounced, and while also reinforcing their Rastafarian beliefs. As a result the album never sounds like an all-out punk assault but rather a more restrained, controlled and fully-formed album. Their influence lived on not just in punk, but also with bands like Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins citing Bad Brains as a key influence. This album is essential listening for anyone discovering early 1980's American hardcore punk.

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ah, the Bad Brains. What a wonderful band they were. Great write up, this is one of my favorite albums. Although I do prefer Rock For Light, recorded a few years later. It has many of the same songs in better fidelity.
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