Friday, October 14, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 10/8 - 10/14

A bit short this week for releases but no shortage of good tunes... enjoy. 

Mannequin Republic - Warm Globe (Maine)
An alternative rock / indie vibe runs through this with a sort of ramshackle 90's vibe and seems like its in danger of collapsing at any moment. This has a sort dual effect.. at times endearing and others more a marriage of convenience than anything. Not decidedly angular or mathy but thats fine I suppose just generally have issue when its claimed as such. (59%)

Not Enough - Stone *Instrumental* (Washington)
I get the feeling this is the effort of one individual but it is not explicitly stated. We have a few instrumental offerings that stand on the prog rock edge of metal core lite. The tracks are energetic and do well to convey and reference their predecessors. I cant shake the feeling that at times things get a bit too convoluted and detract from the songs. When things get slowed down and focused on i found myself being able to enjoy a bit more. (65%)

Junpei Iori // Kasi Split (Louisiana)
Split up between emo rock outfit Junpei Iori and the ambient post metal of Kasi.
I will say Kasi's half fair's a bit better on a couple fronts better adding interest and flavor to its respective genre and having some decently interesting riffs. As much as I do enjoy a solid anime reference I'm afraid the instrumental portion was.. passable? Riff's are don't try hard enough to stand out from the crowd and sadly the vocals end up pulling it down. Offkey vocals can work but these are unfortunately not endearing enough for a proper grade. (55%)

Ian Moore - Shitty Phone Demo (Spoiler they Suck) New Zealand
Here's a helpful tip for anyone deciding that their poorly written "Shoes and Socks Off" cribbing demands a proper release to the general public.
1. Stop
2. Don't announce it was recorded on your phone.. even if it was.
3. Calling your project more than terrible once in the actual album name never inspires confidence.

Haeva  - The Force of Creation (Belgium)
Very solid sound and structured in an incredibly patient way without letting these feel like a drag through the woods as can often be the case. Sadly their really isn't a lot of new territory treading here but I'm not exactly sure thats the point. Never having been my favorite offshoot genre its hard for me to dig further into this (65%)

Extraneous Solutions - 4 X the Poison (New Hampshire)
I can appreciate the need for creative pushing but I've never been one to subscribe to the belief of setting time restraints on yourself in regards to timing. An album a month is impressive at face value but in execution it can in this case seem gimmicky. So if you like an album that is sort of all over the place (irritating keyboard jam outs, horrid distortion soaked guitars, intimate acoustic ballads with impossibly fake drums) then hey.. by all means. (41%)

Duke Mercury - Demo (UK)
Some groups I wish would play to their strengths more even if that means pulling back a bit on what might interest you more. Two Piece groups besides can be a tough call especially for the genre. I found myself far more impressed when these guys were less scream singing and keeping these on an even keel. Just sounded a bit more honest to me. The math portions lacked to me a certain emotional and physical punch that I am usually looking for. Its a short demo at three songs so I'm still very open to see what a proper release does for these guys. (58%)

Local Champion - Summer's Gone (Mexico)
Same straight forward guitars that you'd come to expect from an indie emo group in 2016.

Aurora Beam - Spare Parts (California)
Recycled Alt-Metal mixed with tired instrumental this just sounds a bit tired in general.. but so am I. (53%)

Contraluz - Demos 0​.​1 (Peru)
Largely instrumental post-rock math with a vision of sound. It doesn't take itself to seriously nor pack in too many knotted riffs. Instead we are treated to a nice two guitar attack that doesn't require effort to enjoy. Dancey riff's equally find footing among more ambient moments without seeming odd man out. Leveling some very real criticism.. this release is content to stay in safe territory treading old ground, and I suppose thats ok but some spice never hurts (69%)

Blacklight Chicago - Ellipsism (Australia)
I think the skill and heart are in the right place. I can see where this artist is coming from.. hell he spells it out pretty clearly that he was inspired by Plini's last album.. cool I can see that sure. For a first effort it has for the makings of something pretty cool albeit in the very same space as a lot of these contemplative prog-metal guitarists. Unfortunately a lot of the compositions get bogged a bit by over crowding or just simply trying to do too much. I'm spending a bit of time explaining because there are some genuinely solid moments, many of which happen when things are slowed down a bit and allowed to exist on their own. Guaranteed further releases should find him in a better place. (65%)

Mabachus - Ossia (Canada)
One track... but oh what a track! I do wish the guitar was pushed up in the mix.. everything just seems a bit silent which is certainly odd for a track that is pretty crushing and all over the place. Guttural growls, female crooning, proggy fast spoken vocals. Guitar and drums flying every which way on this prog metal alt math mash-up. I think one track makes not for an entire statement however.

Zoo Strategies - Languager (British Columbia)
The strongest Zoo Strategies release I've yet come across and thats a good thing for all of you beautiful peoples. Thats certainly not to say we had duds on our hands but that this album is just that good. It hits hard when it needs to ramping up knotted guitar work and balances it out with strong melodic bass lines and varied drums. These cats have always been masters of the false stops and starts, a tactic that many use and it sounds just awkward and awful. ZS use it to break up the compositions making transitions more seamless and ramping up explosive dives back in. It is not all together new territory sound wise and occasionally songs blend into one another but these are honestly nit picky gripes. Lauguager hits on such a high level that all fans of instrumental music will find something to love here (81%)

Exploder Than You - Lemon (UK)
These tracks are straight fire.. an all guns blazing affair.
Its a bit of shame to me because I feel like these cats haven't really gotten the due props they richly deserve. After listening to  "Castle House" its pretty clear this should position them in the realm of math rock greats. Its a nuanced track in comparison to "Sesame Cake" that calls to mind classic group Johnny Foreigner in its boy/girl vocals, loud/soft transitions and catchy riff magic. Dynamically this is a different beast but does so in an easy to digest way, you almost forget that this is an intensely complex piece.. and that my friends is the true core of solid math rock and why this release is so damn good. A more mature take on their sound than last years Melon which I felt sort of didn't hit as hard as we have here. Riffs are dynamic and often pretty dang original in their sound adding in equal measures post-hardcore stabs and dizzy taps from both guitar and bass alike. A incredibly self assured statement in a landscape that is brim full of copy cat agents vying for you attention. This is the real deal, no doubt. (89%)

Zickey and The Condor - Zickey and The Condor (Colorado)
Sure this is sort of going outside my rules of searching only the "math rock" tag and venturing into "math" but hey.. it was a bit of a slow week for releases so as always I will try to bring you the best of the best. This is.. wonderful.. not wholly unique per say but often in the blue grass genre things can become old and worn. While that might be the idea behind the feel and flavor of such things, this group brings a true warmth and emotion to what I often write off. It has flavor and style while still holding true to its roots and found myself really enjoying some of the world music and jazz rhythms used. (82%)

Echoscape - Half Moon (Japan / NYC)
I feel.. like I've heard this cat before. There aren't many in the space doing similar folk math with such laser focus. Acoustic compositions I feel like always are aided better when the chord choices are inspired and try to change things up a bit and I really feel like this is done to an excellent degree giving this album as well a distinctly old and new school prog feel. The extra layer of drums also adds a needed driving force to these songs. Overall a very emotional outing without melodrama, keeping melodies light and memorable and rhythms interesting with just complexity. Rarely is this type of music given such reverence and care in composition. Everyone with a passing interest at all should give this at least two listens through. (88%)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 9/26-10/7

An industrial alt noise outing that plays it pretty middle of the road and drags songs out beyond the dred 10 min mark. (46%)

I think the singing really elevates this above the inoffensive emo alt acoustic rock. Again.. there isn't much to see but its a well produced EP and I could see this becoming something a bit larger on a full length. (64%)

This djent lite outing pours a healthy dose of Florida metal over this release. 
I can appreciate that some different sounds are toyed with but none are explored to a level that feels real or terribly interesting for that matter. (51%)

Prog metal.. have you heard of it? yea? Ok then here some more. (55%)

Jack Tickler (South Southerston)
If you don't try...I wont either. (Hamburger%)

Ambient music always walks a tight rope with me. Is it engaging enough? Is their enough distinction between songs? Are the sounds used in a way that can illicit different feeling?. This to me is on the cusp of truly something great but seems to be lacking a bit in structural movement (69%)

Scaria - Demo (Italy)
I believe its pronounced "Scary" like.. this demo is scary bland. (49%)

Fotograms - Demo (Argentina)
Some cookie cutter emo math that occasionally throws in a cool riff or two. Thankfully the music shifts often and if something doesn't hit you are onto the next idea soon enough. I do think a more focused and fleshed out release will see some much better results. (68%)

Improv. based noise rock that I believe would benefit from some more structured sounds. 
Still I..sort of liked this? I'm not sure jury is still out. (50%)

Its not that this isn't a solid 2 songs from Lite but the first just doesn't have the excitement or restless nature im used to with them and the other is a very capable cover of a mouse on the keys song.. so yay? (65%)

Mixed too low sadly and hard to make some things out. Drums never seem to want to break from the comfort pocket which is a shame because the guitar appears to be doing some decently interesting things. I would say this needs some further attention and honing before attempting another emo indie hybrid. (59%)

Indie rock that borders on lite rock AM radio conventions. Im not catching much of a prog or experimental vibe but it does straddle a shifting goofy / serious lyrical content that just doesn't seem to jive. (57%)

Everyone's favorite shoe gaze furry is back for another round this week and it unfortunately doesn't hit on the same nostalgic wistful vibes the last release did. Still well done, put together and largely keeping the same elements. There is just a lack of something tangible to hold to this time around. (60%)

I enjoyed the first song a lot. Wasn't expecting a nice big sounding lo-fi closer with percussion. 
Unfortunately the next few times the same technique is used its not nearly as deftly executed. The solo guitar songs are also a bit plodding. Not sure where the math rock comes in but its not here. I will say that the closer shocked the junk out of me with the electro bit and almost saved this for me..almost. (60%)

Affogato - Finally (Minnesota)  
For a live recording this sounds pretty sensational. 
I want to like this a lot more than I currently do also because it does a lot of things correct..solid rhythm section being chief. I think instrumentally as a whole it works.. sometimes. Its got some nice meandering dual guitars but they dont carry the melody enough to be the focal point. The vocals are hot and cold.. particularly cold the first few songs of this album. It may seem a bit harsh but I truly enjoyed this album and is an impressive first effort. (71%)

A safe, tucked in to the bed release for UK vets Atiptoe. 
Having followed them since their first release in 2012 its hard for me really grasp on to much musical progression here. Sort of like if Minus the Bear went to the dentist to get teeth pulled. I will say I like the song "Ambushed by Sleep" its unfortunately not enough to wake me from this nap attack. 

decent enough indie math with some flair.. not sure if I can make a total judgement call on the strength of one song however.

Daughtershouldanamedher - Daughtershouldanamedher (Alaska)
Spacey psych rock with progressive noodles can and frequently does work but I think things are mixed a bit odd and im not totally understanding how things are fitting together. On the other side of this coin it is more likely that things are just sort of thrown onto the wall. This has some promise but I promise its not here yet. (57%)

Sorceress of the Crystal Tower - Hellward Bound (North Carolina)
Slow moving improv. synth rock that toys with prog. A bit too ambient and drone centric for my blood but I think if the drums were a bit more interesting it might tie things in a bit better.

Arden Klawitter + the Powerclaps (California)
A bass led prog pop group with some singer songwriter vibes? the music is cohesive and sticks to the formula it has built and sounds pretty great for it. Some songs out stay their welcome a bit too long and there isn't a lot of dynamic changes in the songs that you might expect with the prog piece. Interesting and may have to scope out some prior albums for more context. (72%)

Protest the Hero - Harbinger (Canada)
Its been many years since ive listened to these guys and few things have changed. Trying blessedly hard to straddle the line between pop, post-hardcore, metal, prog and succeeding on none of those. This one track was enough to keep me at arms length for at least a few more years. (51%)

El Toro Fuerte - Um Tempo Lindo Para Estar Vivo (Brazil)
Three piece from Brazil that is doing some sort of avant math pop maybe? I dont know was a bit hard to trudge through.. straight in the middle pretty indifferent and there for (50%)

Noah Tretter - Compositions (California)
Math? no... piano pieces that are mixed too low. Hard to discern if there was anything truly gripping about them and just left me feeling like I had listened to nothing (48%)

Sad - Everything in the World is Enough (NY)
That first riff in song 1 is pretty killer and then.. the vocals come floating in? damn.. buzz kill.
I like the sound, I do, I think its interesting to have a power pop bent with some prog lite elements. I do think if it were less vocally focused I would have placed this a bit higher this week.

OroborO - More Demo's (Massachusetts)
If you are interested in my past thoughts on these cats last demo...head over here. First the bad news.. they re-used their last demo cover. Now for the great news! This again is largely some incredibly well thought out, interesting and exciting math rock by way of instrumental post rock. Their is always an emphasis on strong structural progression in their songs and heavy riffs that dance about. Surprises abound!

Another Michael - Sans (Albany NY)
Now to be fair.. the label was marked as math.. not this artist from upstate NY. This however.. is just too good to not give mention to. Acoustic indie folk that doesn't take itself to seriously but gives enough room for touching lyrical breaks, interesting chord choices and a seriously captivating vocal approach. Yes it is lo-fi but its supposed to be and honestly it works out well for these songs. Another classic example of too few songs.. I require more and quickly. (84%)

Kinder - Micrograciones (Peru)
I covered Kinder's 2010 effort about 4 years ago and we have had one release in 2012 that proceeds it. This group has always been exciting in the way it adds electronic/keyboard elements into their brand of math rock in a very organic way that many bands try and fail to do. They are most comfortable when the songs a rocking a bit more and on slower tracks its hard to stay in the zone with them. I will say the addition of vocals and great Still an incredibly consistent record that should put them in must watch territory.

Tim Avery Benefit Compilation  LRS Records (Rochester NY)
Upstate NY (right next door) comp put together to raise funds for a member of the scene that has stage 3 cancer. Cant think of a better release to throw some dollars at truly. Plus Syracuse post-hardcore math magicians are here with a track..always a good time. (100%)

Well thought out instrumental mid tempo instrumental post-rock is the name of the game here. So what is so special? Well I think the keys really add a lot to the proceedings helping flesh out a lot of slower paced songs with color and setting mood. The guitar as well tends to air on the side of melody when laying things out and you will occasionally get a few lodged deep in your skull as was my instance. I always enjoy when jazz conventions are used here too but an oft underestimated glimpse of funk also creeps out too, which adds a lot. 

Aggressive hardcore and punk inspired math is an ill-represented group these days. Even more so, those that are around seem to miss the point completely. Not having to be something for the sake of itself.. messing with the formula and injecting some personality. 
The Central level an enormous amount of flavor into this full length along with deftly moving between genres with gleeful abandon. Its hard to argue with such a self assured collection of songs that gives as much room to playing with indie conventions as metal and progressive rock. Sometimes this all happens in the middle of a song. Incredibly drumming, intense vocals a healthy dose of tasty riffs this is a group that should be bound for greatness. (88%)

A stellar two piece out fit that has churned out a rollicking EP that helps bridge the gap between convoluted math and something that is genuinely fun. Something that is missing from a lot of groups in this genre is that compositions are cold and sterile exercises in fret work and afro-cuban rhythms. Its clear that these guys are having a blast while still injecting passion and complexity where needed. We are introduced to interesting sounds in a instrumental environment that more than hold your interest for the entire duration of the EP. Some albums take a bit to sink in but Arms that Work arrive guns blazing to the party which is another welcome change.. no filler tracks.. no goofy intro.. all solid content. It reminds me a bit of a less jazz intensive Alarmist to be honest and that's a solid thing to be in line with. Full Length? Please. (84%)

A three piece that creates a lot with a very traditional set up. The mood is strangely subdued chord wise but at times aggressive. It creates for some memorable riffs and moments throughout this full length. I will say at times things might be given a little too much room but just as you are about to make a remark boom these cats flip it up on you and lay down a tasty tapping portion. Which.. by the way I'm not a tapping fan generally but these guys are tasteful in their approach and try to inject some melodic moments to pull you in further. Really Solid Stuff. 
( 79% )

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly - Sept. 17 - 25

Late? me? never...apologies on this but duty and life come knocking very often....

Would like to point out that the format has changed a bit. It felt like albums that were solid and deserving of more time weren't being properly identified by me. Along with the release of the week all releases given photo's on the bottom are also very much worth your attention.

so without further BS...

Base Case - Something Real (New York)
Sounds like a group that is still trying to lock down a sound. Not to say that its a bad one to pursuing. We get sort of a 90's throw back vibe with some built to spill'ish post rockiness.. I guess there is some tapping in songs but cant say it makes the math cut. Still was worth the listen.

Spine - Lymph Nodes (Denmark)
I feel like I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It has the makings of something great but after one very quick song I'm not sure I can make a strong choice. Frenetic and sort of 80's inspired vocal crooning..Eh we shall see with the official release.

Serendipity - No One Cares (Chicago)
Sometimes an interesting guitar lick occurs and my ears perk but still feels like it could use some further training in the hyperbolic time chamber.

I.O - Burning Soul (Canada)
This release came very close to finding it's way to the bottom and I am familiar with this past releases as well. I think the lack of variety hurts these recordings. There are some inventive sounds being explored and some interesting drumming but I would like to see the idea's played out a bit more.

Alternative bar rock with some cool vocals and sprinkled with some interesting structures. Impressive but not a whole lot to take away from

cmyk - Archive (Czech Republic)
These are all demos.. Did I mention they were demos? Post Rock that is lacking in tension.. fun.. or holds my interest for any extended time. I could teach a master class on not releasing your 10 year old basement demos

hulica - demo // (Indonesia)
Has the markings of post math that we see from this geographical location but only seems to be dressed the part for Halloween. These are demo's that needed some further time to be fleshed out.

Updated versions of old songs long since forgotten and recorded by the illustrious Weasel Walter in 2001. If you don’t know this group.. then you should probably rethink why you are here at all. It doesn't rank with the strongest AOR songs but even the slew of copies in the years since still can’t measure. 

Rare beasts half just doesn't have the power..nor the violence..nor my interest. Foxtails half was a bit more dynamic and inspired. love the vocals and some of the interesting brooding guitar parts with plenty of energy to spare.  

Post metal with standard riffage. Things pick up a bit after the first song. I’m having a hard time drawing the bassist out of the mix which for music like this is pretty important and leaves things feeling a bit flat. Not enough variety in a song length to properly hold. 

I like this... I dont love this. There are some solid moments but I dont feel like it really elevates itself beyond being occasionally pretty post math. There aren't a ton of memorable guitar lines nor overly enthusiastic drumming.  I would say a solid 75% if we are grading papers. 

I like that this is one song.... end of constructive words.

Russian post rock and math have always seemed to me to be incredibly clean and razor edge affairs, well produced and with clear intentions. This group absolutely has these characteristics in spades. I will say though that there isn't a lot of variety being thrown in or large dynamics that I had hoped...some pacing issues for sure.

It took me a second to really dig into this groups first effort. I think around the 3rd time through it really began to hit me that this was some impressive indie math pop. Mostly the vocals can come off a bit.. over done..but as the songs tick off some vocal variety and catchy lines start creeping in and I'm official sold.  I will say that there is some dare I say ORIGINAL riffs being thrown around as well which is far and few between for the genre. Overall excited to see what these cats have in store next. 

Just like the album cover..bare flesh..smiles and sinister implications. Schizoid garage math punk that delights in hopping around riffs and genres as restless as can be. Need the occasional dip in garage lounge jazz? It’s here don’t worry. Vocals are varied which is a nice addition to something most bands would leave instrumental. These compositions make a ton more sense in short form I will say. When things are repeated and dove into is when things drag a bit. For the most part this is incredible well done.
Youthful punky math full of jagged chords and garage vocals... but it’s certainly fun and contains some nice structural breaks. This was released out of the weekly timeline btw but it was sort of too good to leave off. Charming goodness with surprisingly catchy chorus's thrown in. 

Middle Eastern Chords mixed with prog can be a recipe for pretentious exploratory meditations from the book of Secret Chiefs 3, HOWEVER this is thankfully not so. The proceedings are kept light and fun with enough interesting structures to hold interest. At two song it’s hard to make a blanket statement but I’m genuinely excited to see where this heads.

It’s a 3 song EP that constantly seems at odds with itself. It is I suppose at its base jazz like hip hop instrumentals with some math flirtations. Restless samples, overtly bombastic drums bookended into an almost sleep like melodic bed that has a sly awareness of what’s happening around it. It’s a statement and one I rarely see done in a unique way or this good. The one gripe I’m going to level at it is the length I don’t think we are getting a full view of what will be in store for next time but to use the food analogy.. I’m hungry for more. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 9/10 - 9/16

This week is another full bodied stream of bandcamp releases....

After-Math - Asunder (UK)
One man Post-rock and pretty blunt with the delivery.
Drums at times seem to try and stick their head above clouds with
some plodding off time behavior. Nothing offensive just wanted
something more.

Filmed In An Airplane - The Fall Of September (illinois)
A sample heavy IDM / elctronic inspired tribute to the tragic events
Nothing math oriented that I could gather but seems respectful in execution.

Ella Vader - Sad Flower Fuzz Party (Virginia)
Spacey ambient punk music covered in reverb.
Drum flubs dont seem to matter much on these proceedings so draw your own conclusion from that.
No btw.

Den Tapes Label
Often a label will post up all of their collective efforts en-masse and
we seem to have something similar here. While Wooky, Happy Times Sad Times, Porn Bloopers and Choke the Pope are tagged under math rock among others...I cant for the life of me understand why most of it is indie rock alt and I'm not bothering to go through each.

Retrospector - Creeper (Washington)
Guitars offer up a shoegazy pop rock with some old school 90's indie rock vibes.great structures running through this as well. Drums happily give a complex bent but only when its called for in the music. Vocals are not the strongest but they are charming in their own way and do add a layer to the music. Charming enough to have me coming back to try and dig further into exactly what i am loving so much. The chord progressions themselves are pretty interesting ping ponging between something pretty, jagged / discordant or even blurring the line. strong contender.

Qrater - EP Qrater
I read the tags.. and a tear falls... "nu metal".. enough to shock my senses on this very morning. yes there is rapping.. and metal inspired riffage but I wouldnt say it falls into the dangerous beast that we are familiar with. It however doesn't raise itself above the tags to provide anything outside. "La Manera" gives us a moment of clarity with just singing and honestly if this was the vibe.. id be way more down.

Truck - Close Encounters​/​You Become (Oregon)

Rowdy, noisy music covered in sludge and blanketed in punk. Didn't stick out much beyond that.

Strobes - Brokespeak (UK)
I would think it would be nearly impossible for me to dislike something a member of Three Trapped Tigers was a part of This one track peek is a pretty sensational look inside this three piece. I will also attach a small asterisk beside that because this treds A LOT of the same water TTT does. Electro prog vibes. will be interested to see if we get some added flavors with a ep/full length

Ceol - Ceol (UK)
Well produced post-rock alt math that flirts with some progressive structures as well. All done in a great little package that doesn't directly ape anyone I can think of offhand. Some nice rhythmic surprises as well as a varied vocal approach really has me highly engaged with what this group is laying down I will say when things calm a bit on some tracks it loses a bit of steam. Though with 3 songs its unclear if we have a full understanding.

Pfaff - p[retty] f[lippin] a[wesome] f[rickin] f[riends] (UK)
3 piece unit that creates instrumental math rock plain and simple... well not so simple I suppose. They do inject some varied sounds and keep things interesting and engaging. Sure a lot of familiar
math dynamics are here but they are dressed to impress and give a bit of an off kilter spin which I always appreciate. New ideas come and go and guitars and drums are herky jerky moving from one section to the next. but please... change the name..for the love of god.

Kjjjjjjjjj - Kjjjjjjjjj (Buenos Aires)
This is the one and only disparaging thing I will say about this group and lets get it out of the way first. The name... guys... please. I could honestly write a whole college thesis on the NEED for a non-obscure name that people can remember. On the insanely plus side this group is god damn fantastic. Its a perfectly balanced
mixture of alt post hardcore and post-rock influenced math. Instrumental as well which can be a hinderance if the music is not engaging enough..which I promise is not the case. This group does just as great a job with complete all out bangers (the lovingly titled "Pffffffff") as slowed down post-rock feeling songs ("Nicolino").
Completely happy and surprised by this group that the album seriously ends too soon. Had to go back for further helpings.

Tesla Pox - Demasiados Somníferos (Guadalajara)
Complete mood setter...comfortable and close, yet there is this air of dred that just hangs outside. post times and depending on the song. often things seem to organically be brought in and out of the songs I would say more experimental composition crossed with some heavy ambience. Songs are fresh and rarely repeat ideas and use a wide variety of sounds and instrumentation to get the point across. Song lengths are perfect... conveying an idea and then leaving before things get out of hand. Vocals? hushed but pulled up front and certainly not across all songs. I cant shake the feeling however that some of these are more "ideas" than executed planned works. Still enjoyed this a lot.

Commitments,Commandments - Pinecone;Pinecone;Pinecone EP (Virginia)
Sort of has a dark eastern vibe mixed with heavy tones and a metal tinge. I'm not sure I completely understand the entire picture of what is trying to be accomplished here with one song released so far.

Hell Ben - In a Curious Pod (Michigan)
Ramshackle lo-fi experimental pop rock. not catching the math or prog that this is clearly tagged as. I suppose its charming in an offbeat way but doesn't elevate itself beyond that.

Hollow Ran - Live in Japan (California)
A nice snap shot of a 2 piece that really has been at it a bit without (in my opinion) being raised to the level of other math duo's. Why? im not sure. There music is complex while remaining accesible. Strong drumming and a solid sense of structure that runs through all of their compositions. Never staying in one place to long almost as an act of survival. I will say that I think their live set captures more of their spirit than most of their recorded efforts and enjoyed this a lot.

Colin Phills - Live at SubCat Studio (China and now NY)
Recorded literally about an hour away from where I live (Upstate NY Represent!). A three piece in this instance that has a strong indie rock base with added math rock placed carefully around. The drums particularly unleash during moments of odd structure but remain restrained when needed. Its a lot of give and take and certainly doesn't breath the air of needless complexcity of some groups. I do think however that the real star of the show here is the boy girl harmonies...damn they are something else. For my money this is a spot that all current groups can take notes
from...proper..well thought out..vocals.

Spaze Warlords - 509 (Germany)
If this music is in fact improvised (which it doesn't sound to be) id be astonished. But no less great without. Fairly engaging instrumental post-rock / post metal that holds your interest for the time of the album but the memory fades as often post-rock will without hooks to bring you back for more.

and the album of the

Fox Lake - Late Again.. (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

FOX LAKE!!! FOX LAKE!! ok so truth be told I am a ridiculous super fan of Viridians and when they exploded into a million pieces I was heart broken. Some would join up with prolific math-popster Alexander Litinsky (am overcast) to form Grand Beach. Stagger start creation of Fox Lake with the other Viridian members. So we have been offered an emo/posthardcore hybrid with some cool math rock twists and vocals to sweeten the deal. This second EP finds them in much the same place they were with the first.  Guitars fly all over the flipping place and its a solid time for sure. Both are a must listen for anyone even remotely interested in the genre.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 9/1 - 9/9 Math Rock

From the start of my blog I have tried to make an effort to not only highlight artists I enjoy but those that don't typically have "proper exposure". Over the years this has changed in scope. The math / prog climate was very different coverage wise in 2010 and is fairly robust in 2016. With the amount of artists interested in the style now more than ever it is getting increasingly difficult to provide a scope of effort.

This is my small way of narrowing the gap.

In an effort to be more transparent in my listening habits, I am doing small write ups on all releases tagged "math rock" in bandcamp during a given week. This is something I have done for a long time now listening wise but had yet to document my findings. At the end I will pick my best album of the week.

September 1 - 9 

Luna the Wolf - The Conclusion (California)
It feels like I have listened to this before? It does have a familiar sound to it at any rate. Instrumental post-rock thats slow to mid tempo and fuses in some audio from movies. Has a nice easy going nostalgic feel and by no time this release was done much to
my dismay.

Formlessness - a series of random noise and an admittance of the failure of the human race (Missouri)
from the tags you might hardly guess as to what you are about to get yourself into. A heady mix of ambient textures and lo-fi guitar structures. Each song carries its own identity and offers a unique take on the straddling of a song and..well more formless composition. I liked this a lot actually and wasn't totally sold until I went deeper into the release. The songs become more cohesive guitar based mathish post rock works as the songs tick off and actually works up to that in the track list which I think was a solid idea.

SNZZZOV*EN/Jesus the Carpenter - Something with this (North Carolina)
Whack-a-doo one off that according to the tags is a lot of things thrown in to a blender. It is improv.. for sure and not that bad truly. It doesn't over stay its welcome and offers some interesting instrumentation for a two piece.

The Oxford Comma - The Oxford Comma (Illinois)
A three piece that seems like a cross between a college bar band and garage rock. While the vocals are perfectly passable the effect on them has them floating above the mix..odd. Drums are occassionally interesting and the songs do progress in quality.
Math? Jazz? Not that Im hearing.

Things Unsaid - Cant Follow (Texas)
Prog math 3 piece that isn't reinventing the wheel but still very solid. I appreciate that the vocals and songs do try to mix things up a bit tempo and structure wise but it does get to be heavy handed with songs that occasionally over stay their welcome.

madhatteR - madhatteR(mexico)
Came for the 3 piece instrumentals stayed for the capital "R"
I am having a hard time figuring if this has much to do with math.
Much more akin to post-rock but doesn't really stray far from the box. The songs do grow a bit but seem content to stick to mid tempo alt. also from 2005? eh extra points for that I suppose.

look, orion! - Stages (Sweden)
Alt Emo post-rock with some pretty well thought out structures.
Riff wise? eh nothing that'll light your world on fire but some of the songs are laid out in interesting and memorable ways. Good dynamics and as always appreciate the decent vox. this is something that I have come back to a few times throughout the week.

Brent Vallefuoco - Variations On A Theme (California)
I am not totally sold on this yet but one thing is certain that there are a ton of idea's running through these songs. Piano based but with moments of alt prog lite thrown in.  Absolutely its own beast and the singing grows on you. inventive nod to steve reich as well.
Also can we abolish the use of the term "twinkle daddy" yet?

Numbered Sounds - Poke the Robot (Florida)
Somewhere between soundscape and math we have guitars and synth playing off of each other in some exciting ways. I found the compositions enjoyable and varied in their approach. Have heard things like this done before but they often come off as amatuerish and sounding like basement demo's. Something a bit different and relaxing but also captivating when focussed on.

Cheap Jazz - Mild Peril Live (UK)
Providing a collection of songs recorded live in 2014. This three piece lay down some fairly text book math prog with some varied structures. Have heard other releases from them that better sold their angle.

Puissant et Cathartique - Xtrem et Fascinant (France)
Interesting two piece ram and jam that spends a lot of time laying aggressive riffs. Grindcore? eh.. pretty far off and the metal tag doesn't seem to jive either albeit the guitar does like to mimic in tone and approach. some sort of alt math punk might be more realistic. Transitions could be a good deal sharper and sometimes they fail to make a lot of sense in direction. Riffs hit hard
however and thats a plus.

Lion, Meet Lizard - Day for the Dead (Netherlands)
Chilled out electro math that thematically hits on the level. Would love to see this expanded on a bit more but I am intrigued. Will be checking out previous releases.

Doom Salad - Doom Salad (Georgia)
Didn't we JUST get a new doom this year? hey.. no complaints here. these cats continue to
fire on all cylinders and each time expand on their complex fusion of avant math / jazz
with attitude.

Toytoise - Food for Cats (UK)
Indie math with vocals...that should be a bit stronger. nothing terribly interesting and different than the norm. riffs aren't punchy nor do they add much. drums at dangerous levels of standard.

Big Bad Buffalo - Big Bad Buffalo (California)
Honestly have been awaiting a new proper release from these guys. their last was a fantastic collection of fun indie inspired songs with interesting lyrics. So if your down with alt emo that flirts with math at times but not enough to be obvious.. then I promise this is for you. Reminds me in a way of Jank but in a more 90's early 2000's way..dare a say weezer esque? Regardless this is another incredibly solid release from this three piece that should honestly be getting way more press and interest.

SX-70 - Sin (Ireland)
Nothing about this is math rock.. nor indie rock really. sounds like fairly by the books rock revival. the second song is going for a dancey vibe and does a bit better in that its trying for something a bit different. However ...

Thought Patterns - Stay (Pennsylvania)
Two songs and both in the alt emo sort of vein. Interesting guitar work and emotional vocal style. I would like the drums to be a bit more...intricate? but I think its a solid start for this band. Primarily enjoying the trumpet and wish it was literally all over the first
song but personal preference I suppose.

Extraneous Solutions - Staircases (New Hampshire)
I just cant shake the level of synth cheese that is oozing off of this release. The math seems to be in another castle and in its place down tempo dad-fusion.

STÖLLER - Demo's 2k16 (Oregon)
Electro synth rock with repeated structures and interesting drums in the mix. I would think something like this would be very cool to see done live. I wasn't totaly sold on this until the drums came in and kicked things up a notch. Good stuff.

Blue Steel - Unofficial Pre-release (Illinois)
Great guitar work by both bass and lead in this instrumental three piece. Cool chord progressions give it a new feel but still seems familiar. post-rock math that is engaging but never hits you over the head.

Marius - Volevo rimanere ancora un po' (Italy)
Folk emo with a titch of math thrown in for good measure.
Some gang style vocals over layers of acoustic guitar.
I dont see nearly enough of stuff like this really and its done well.
Not saying that I wish for a glut but acou

Huw Cheston - Live; Electric (UK)
Steve Reich songs...especially when done well...are always welcome in my book, anytime and any place. though I think the bass is off a bit in "counterpoint 3 - fast".


Lascavx - Historyboard (Argentina)

This is easily the album I have listened to the most in the recent releases. It also made its way into home rotation which says something for sure. Its fun, juanty and hits where it needs to. Somewhat surprising as this is a one man show. It honestly reminds me a lot of Kaschalot from Estonia. Memorable riffs and interesting dynamics are all on display for this instrumental outing. Incredibly dynamic post rock by way of math that rarely lets of the excitement level. Top notch...everyone should be listening to this.