Monday, April 29, 2019

Chinook - Haymaker (2019)

Its difficult to have expectations for a musical project 9 years after the fact. Yet here we are with the recently released full length from Michigan based post-rockers Chinook.

My previous write up  for those interested highlighted a few things that stay very consistent with this newer and more fleshed out release. Driving pastoral flecked post-rock that flirts with some math rock lite conventions. Regardless its a relaxed and uncomplicated listen that lends itself well to its iconography of open spaces and nature.

As with the previous outing instrumentally we are again treated with insanely excellent drums which should be no great shock to anyone that caught the EP. In a way the drums end up pushing the other instrumentation through each song and we can all be grateful for that as they play in the pocket when needed but are always strongest when they are pushing their specific rhythmic narrative. Speaking of the rhythm section I do wish the bass had a bit more presence here as I feel like often the low end isn't as fleshed out as I typically like it to be but minor gripes aside there are some pretty stellar moments for all involved.

The album itself moves well through its songs if not a bit slower paced and with track lengths in the 5-6 minute range its hard to shake some of the extended riffs. Highlights like the energetic harmonic workouts in "Frenching" and the guitar bends in the main riff of "Manhattan Rubber" mix things up wonderfully and keep things feeling fresh. As its here that lies Chinook's true strength which is taking the post rock carved out by bands such as Pele and expanding those dynamic structures with interesting guitar interplay led by the drums.

Admittedly my heart rests with the first EP if we are choosing favorites. I do truly miss some of the overdriven distortion that helped fill the spaces and add variety which is very absent in Haymaker. To be incredibly fair 9 years is a lifetime to expect anything remotely close to come out. While I may pick and prod here and there its because these guys are really that excellent and still remain one of the genres best kept secrets. We can only hope that we wont have to wait as long for a follow up next time around.

Score - 79%

Friday, July 20, 2018

Pool Kids - Music to Practice Safe Sex to (2018)

Florida based Pool Kids feel like a unique voice in a sea of pretenders...plain and simple. It's approached I would say largely from a singer-songwriter perspective and that is largely because main guitarist and vocalist Christine Goodwyne is the primary composer (along with Caden Clinton on drums).

So what of the songs themselves? well they toe the line pretty expertly between modern emo mixed with throw back indie rock elements and math rock/post rock dynamic sensibilities. The truly impressive bit here is how expertly these elements are all balanced. Songs like "They Only Care About My Fills And Not My Feels" really showcase this in spades. A pretty bombastic emo opening  dives straight into a jagged math bridge before chilling out in comfort for some indie crooning finishing with a cool little two guitar interplay. Caden's drumming should also really be commended here for sure. There is measured restraint and respect to the songs while coloring more intense portions with a bit of flair and technicality that allows the pieces to flex where they need to.

So we could pretty much close up shop and call things a day here buuuut the true winner here isn't even the instrumentation or composition. I make no secret about my gripes and groans of the math rock genre as a whole (indulgent instrumentation, lazy song composition ect) Which is why I am so happy to hear their special attention to vocals. Christine uses a diverse range and an attention to proper vocal hooks that really draw you into these songs even further. "Patterns" really catches this in its stripped down form, drawing special attention to the lyrcial content. These are intensely personal moments mixed with casual observations that feel like they could resonate with a variety of people.

I cant really say enough about how this really elevates the songs and has been in near constant rotation in my daily listening. I know I say this a lot but there is literally something here that anyone with even a passing interest in music should enjoy. Pool Kids set a true standard that other bands in this space should be taking heavy notes on. Beyond excited to see what the future holds for this sensational group.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Glomus - Circle (2018)

Circle is a well produced and slick first effort from Glomus, a three piece hailing from Tennessee.  On showcase is a very cohesive blend of post-rock structures with the beating heart of math rock and prog mechanics.

I will say composition’s can feel a bit crowded and more suited for a 3 minute jaunt than most songs 4-7 run time but that might be more personal preference. A few added dynamic variations would help the instruments breath and flesh out the proceedings. Tempos generally hold the same clip and a little mix up would give character. Knit picky? You bet! But only because the good points far out way.

This is ground that has been well worn..sure.. but there are more than a few moments that will catch your attention, from some surprisingly inspired bass riffage to more than a few impressive drum fills and restrained yet tasteful delay pedal work.  You can tell there is a lot of heart and chemistry between these three and on the same token of my crowded comment above, I also think its damn impressive to have this full of a sound with a three piece (maybe I can’t truly agree on where I stand)
Clearly focused on some of the heydays more popular math rock stalwarts, you can’t blame Glomus for finding a voice with the early 2000’s crowd. Bands like this are fewer and farther between so it was excellent to dive into this album a few times.

The end result is this is heads and tails stronger than most releases I hear from well established artists let alone from a debut album.  With a second album I can really see this group finding a clearer voice and refining what makes Circle in itself a worthwhile listen for any fan of the genre or instrumental music in general.

Friday, June 29, 2018

BEL — Quando Brinca (2017)

Band: BEL
Album: Quando Brinca
Release Date: 03/27/2017
Listen and Purchase here: Bandcamp

Opening with a squelching bass & keyboard groove drawn from the wells of Stevie Wonder, "Bem-Vindo" sets the tone for a gorgeous album of funky and spacious electro-pop from vocalist Bel Baroni. Across the eight tracks of Quando Brinca there's a clear effort to take popular, traditional forms and mutate them ever so slightly, whether by choice of instrumentation or disrupting expected repetitions in favor of a brief solo or gentle dissolution.

And when that last keyboard lick fades into oblivion, get ready to hit replay.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

AnimalJam (2018)

Post hardcore blended with the heart of pop-punk and prog rock sensibilities is where Texas based AnimalJAm’s debut release can be found lurking.

I understand there is a bit of this type of music going on these days (in the vein of Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun ect) but where these groups opt often for technicality and raw power, AnimalJam keep things memorable with excellent guitar interplay and a varied vocal approach that goes down smooth.

It’s a perfectly concise release that doesn’t over stay its welcome at 5 tracks. I have to say as well this is pretty well produced and highlights some of the more anthemic moments.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Acid Priest — Drop Out (2018)

Band: Acid Priest
Album: Drop Out
Release Date: 6/05/2018
Listen and Purchase here: Bandcamp

Clocking in at a crisp ~18 minutes, Drop Out hits high note after high note with its potent brew of chunky riffs, blasts of thrash, and a dash of Kyuss-loving harmony. Sometimes words just get in the way of understanding, so pack a bowl, take a hit, and queue this shit up.

(For that little bit extra, maximize your vibe and start reading Abbadon's epic comic, Kill Six Billion Demons.)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dags! — Flaws & Gestures (2018)

Band: Dags!
Album: Flaws & Gestures
Release Date: 6.22.2018
Listen and Purchase here: Bandcamp

I'm a little rusty when it comes to writing this sort of thing, so bear with me.

Dags! is a band I had no awareness of an hour ago, so whatever their history may or may not be, I haven't got a fucking clue. But this album gripped me immediately: a concise collection of earnest, emotive, and confident songs that blend elements of UK Maths (e.g. TTNG, Enemies, etc...) with those of some of my favorite "post-Indie" American groups of the past decade (shit like Hawks & Oxen and Piles & Piles).

Production is crisp and clear, with a great live air that suggests this was a well-practiced band ripping through their tunes in a small room together. The vocals are tuneful and tasteful, captured raw and on the verge of cracking, as they navigate a labyrinth of anxiety and curses. Instrumentation is dense but never burdened by virtuosity, focused more on rhythmic interplay and texture, rather than the discursive knots of guitar found in many of their forebears.


By the looks of things, they operate out of Italy (presumably they're Italian?) and are about to start a tour, so if you like what you hear make sure to hit up a show.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sloth & Turtle - Sloth & Turtle (2018)

Sloth and Turtle came to my attention via the math rock reddit page in video form. From the moment I heard the opening riff of title track “Toys” I was hooked.  To say this has been on constant rotation would be a vast understatement but there are a lot of pieces to this group that deserves individual attention in what makes this post-rock loving math rock group work so well, let’s take a look.  

Post rock has always been a great place to draw influence in the math rock realm. Plain and simple, it lives and dies by the calculated structure of its song craft and lends itself well to often wordless math rock groups, enter Sloth and Turtle. That very statement exemplifies why these songs work so well. These pieces move in a way that feels…organic. Motifs as well as chord progressions are revisited in different ways throughout the duration of a song. This is huge in cementing a feeling of identity in each track easily avoiding the dred post-rock “build up-crescendo-conclusion” bore fest. Each section flows from one to the other without sounding forced in anyway and that is the mark of a group that truly values and spends time on song craft.

To speak to the angular elements, rest assured they are tastefully implemented. There’s an awful lot of tapping in these songs and that’s primarily due to the play style of guitarist Nico Molinari. It’s a true testament to his playing that it always comes of melodically interesting and usually very memorable in their rhythm, though Nico’s guitar licks wouldn’t be half as vital if they weren’t being supported by second guitar Jaime Alan Wosk. Jaime’s play style provides at times a suitably atmospheric blanket for Nico’s tapping (like on the previously mentioned “Toys”). To their credit they each mix up riffs, post-rock twinkles and dueling tap-stravaganza’s (as on the bridge of “Telemachus”).

None of these guitar heroics would be hitting home however if not for the rhythm section on deck here of Brian Kincaid and Linden Reed on bass and drums respectively. Kincaid as his lead guitar counter parts uses a few different styles when approaching his bass work. Chunky drones are as common as more complex tapping by Brian’s nimble work. As for Linden’s drumming, a personal soft spot being a fellow drummer it always warms my heart to see some restrained and precise playing. Fills are just technical enough but Reed’s main lick’s are the star here. Fantastic hi-hat work is something few really hone in on but its plainly obvious in his kit work. Low-tom beats mixed with a solid amount of snare to rim shot variations…drool.

Speaking as a whole there are many moments of technical excellence here in this album to satiate the most fervent of math rock fans but also just as many beautifully melodic moments to appeal to any fan of instrumental rock in general.  Are these guys pushing the very boundaries of these oft played genres? No. But let’s be honest, when it’s done to this level does it really matter? I challenge anyone to name drop a band in this space doing this any better or even just as good. For my money Sloth and Turtle are a group that should be not only listened to with apt attention but a band to watch for future releases. This is not something to miss out on..period.  

(also..side note.. that production? Holy fuck its insanely gorgeous. Just listen to that snare snap..sweet mother)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 10/15 - 10/21

Vombate - Outubro (Brazil)
Fake drums can have a time and place but when things are trying to be aggressive it absolutely takes a hard bite out of that. There are some decent moments here but at two songs and not a lot going on I'm hard pressed to be impressed. Especially when things get slow.. prog metal (65%)

Zen Haircut's - Flower Street *single* (Australia)
I pretty solid song with all the trappings of math pop..decently produced.. maybe a bit bass heavy but all in all if surrounded by some others showing a bit of diversity I would think this should shape up fantastic for this three piece. (75%)

Toy Maker - Boy King (British Columbia)
Its almost impossible to sift through the new class of emotional post-hardcore lite groups. Largely its a waste land of copy cats. Toy Maker from up north are a new band for me and one I hope to be seeing more of in the genre. Vocals are incredibly emotional and fitting for the music behind but wish it varied things up a bit.  Instrumentally things are pretty dynamic with the drums in particular enjoying some tastefully placed double kick and great hi-hat work. Guitars are suitably pretty and vary there approach from song to song but aren't necessarily adding to the lexicon.  Im on the fence with this one but feel like it executes largely on emotion and not needing to further the genre so I'd say that's a win. (77%)

The Littlest Viking - The Littlest Viking (California)
Number one... this album came out years ago.. I know. But it seems its being re-released in bandcamp form. Its a topic that I never really addressed and was an early disappointment in follow up albums for a few reasons. Its great to see a group that could have easily been pigeon holed step out and add some further aggressive and metal tinged elements to their sound. Unfortunately when it comes off sounding like more rip off and loses the charming melodic aspects of "Labor and Lust" it can be grounds for a bit of sadness. Sure there are some songs here that attempt the same but rarely reach. It looks like they are in the midst of recording a new one so only time will tell (77%)

Young Animals - Lo EP (Missouri)
Im fluctuating a bit on this one... the first song seemed to get mired in some tracking issues and off time disjointed blah blah but as this three track rolls on I am pretty dang darn impressed. engaging instrumental indie math with some pretty cool guitar work. I'd say if things got properlly cleaned up a bit we'd be in the money. (77%)

Meadow - Like Sleeping but Longer (Georgia)
This album felt like sleeping but longer to me actually so in that way.. large props.. but no seriously this is instrumentally sound. It however seems too far into the background and lacking in dynamics to really pull you in. To top it off the vocals are just not good.. im sorry, they are loud, droney and take a lot of attention away from the instruments that are struggling to pull through. (63%)

Candy - 7 Screams for 2 instruments (Czech Republic)
Progressive stabs in the dark by drum and bass can be a difficult thing to pull off. Not that its not displayed coherently here I just think that if things were framed a bit better.. more structural then we might have something to say. I understand its improv. I do. I just could find a lot to latch on to. (67%)

Luna the Wolf - Doing Nice Things for Others (California)
It wouldn't be a week without Luna as this cat (wolf..furry) is incredibly prolific and thats a positive quality for sure. Sort of a slow core vibe on the first with some addition of decent enough vocals but wish they were a little more powerful. Really its a shame they dont carry out through the rest of this release because that would have made for something truly compelling. (70%)

Into My Plastic Bones - A Symbolic Tennis Pot (Italy)
3 piece post punk group that has a pretty cool sound over-all and injects in some throw back emo-math vibes as well. Capable vocals round out the event. Riffs unfortunately don't provide a lot of interest but they do occasionally make things work well enough. A bit lacking in punch and identity but I would say I enjoyed it for the most part without it being too remarkable in any specific way. (74%)

Calendar Year - Jaded, Apathetic, With No Hope for The Future! (New York)
Indie pop emo rock that plays it comfortably. Energetic vocals sure but neither instrument seems to want to step out. I agree there are things to like but it is too mired in reverence for my blood to really get into.  There are a ton of bands travelling in this genre these days and more effort needs to be placed to stand out. Passing grade (65%)

Empire-Builder - Water of the Orient EP (Glasgow)
We dont often see a lot early 90's influenced groups traveling about these days so its nice to see a group really showing their roots. It becomes pretty clear however ... and pretty soon in that this sticks a bit too close to their parents. To say that this group is influenced by Slint would be an understatement. Many of the chordal choices.. poetic speaking vocals.. rhythms..structures all smack of the late 80's early 90's god fathers. The final track does try and distance itself a bit but not far enough. (67%)

Benjamin Fraser - Cage (Illinois)
Enjoyed but again not altogether understanding the tag of math rock. Pretty pleasant and inoffensive finger picked folk music. I wasn't thrilled with the additional instrumentation that manages to poke in and out of the songs. Parts trial off and generally fail to add anything additional to the compositions. Would have enjoyed more just solo guitar (63%)

....yet we also have Ben's second EP posted as well Home that has much tighter and varied instrumentation. Also it turns out Ben has a pretty fantastic voice.. unsure why he saved it for his second release but we all have out reasons. It adds some depth and character that was lacking from Cage. I will concede as well that some "math like" elements creep in however brief. If Ben expanded on these ideas more he'd have one heck of an album on his hands. (74%)

After Long Thought - Chemisterie (France)
Kraut rock has never been something ive been able to latch onto or identify much with. I will say though that when a bit of the math flavor is brought in that the results can be incredibly interesting. I suppose thats where we find ourselves with this 3 piece unit here. The drums do try to keep things as dynamic as possible but I feel again that the repetition just is a bit unneeded. If things could be mixed up and cut down I think we'd be in a better place. (76%)

Vasa - Burst "from 7" Burst Open" (Glasgow)
A 7 inch follow up to last years crushing offering from Glasgow's energetic mathy post rockers Vasa. We are treated to one cut off this and it appears we still have nothing to fear as this is as punchy as any of the groups previous rippers. Will look forward to see what is rounding out this release soon.

N. Penston - Music is a Dead Scene (Upstate NY)
I'm assuming the album title is snatched partially from one of my favorite Dillinger albums "Irony is a Dead Scene" which if thats any indication means we are in for something special. Which at release number 3 and a personal favorite of mine we are treated again to a very unique take on the math and folk genres respectively. I would equate it to if a folk band suddenly had their world view changed and decided to play mathy prog rock while still holding true to the etiquette of a folk troupe.  Troupe may be a bit misleading however as this is largely the work of one individual. Each song carries its own emotional weight to great effect and as Mr. Penston likes to remind us "no electronic instruments were used in the recording of this album" which to me is positively refreshing in an age that even the most organic works have something thrown in. The balance of more contemplative folk breaks and energetic math is perhaps best showcased in the fantastic "Nascent Fruit Inevitable". It's been my firm belief for a few years now that this is an artist that truly should be grabbing much more attention in the space as an original voice not just for the genre but for music in general. Please do not sleep on this album and visit his past output as it is just as rewarding as this album. (91%)

Jardín de la Croix - Circadia (Spain)
I have followed Jardin for many years now and watched their progression from more of a post-rock indie math prog group to a slightly more conventional post-metal prog outfit. I am all for changes.. dont get me wrong but last album "187 Steps to cross the Universe" was a definitive turning point albeit an exciting one. Circadia find them seemingly trying to bridge this gap of old and new versions and coming out... well... alright I guess? Technically this is a group that holds few equals in the space but on more high energy rockers here to me come off as a bit tired. When Jardin take a moment to really slow things down it gives the chances for the guitars to breath a bit and we get some very cool dual guitar work and drums. This is truly where this group hits its stride such as on songs like "Reversion" Other additions are an inclusion to several songs of the piano which sometimes comes off as a little hammy. Overall an impressive effort yet once I view as a half step back from 2013's "187 Steps to cross the Universe" (78%)

Ap0llonius AbRaham ScHwarz - (Switzerland)
This improv jazz three piece melds dark prog and math elements in this incredibly impressive output. Having saxophone to round out the low end in place of bass guitar certainly adds to compositions in a compelling way. Guitar seems to be the one here pushing the progressive tendencies as the lead in this group and thats a solid way of handling. Drumming is at times dazzlingly complex but when the music calls for something more brooding and atmospheric we get the needed restraint to pull back and be a solid spine for the trio. The trick with an improv group is having compelling places to go with the ability to generate on the fly new sounds and in this way its a total win for me. Songs are surprisingly varied in tone, and approach with flourishes and surprising rhythmic stabs only adding to the longevity of this. ( 83%)

Gabriel Hibert - Abducté (France)
Eerie... industrial.. mechanical yet brimming with bombast and emotion we have a release from
Gabriel Hibert that bridges some gaps in an area that is not altogether common. At its heart this is very much ambient experimental ism yet.. almost at the same time a high energy post rock epic. The balance that the two hold for the entirety of the album is astounding really. You'll be automatically pulled into the soundscapes that are laid out before you and convincingly pummeled by some pretty damn incredible kit work. One without the other and this wouldn't be close to as compelling but thankfully you are free to focus on the shifting tones or become wrapped up in the schizophrenic drum licks. Sometimes it bares a marked resemblance to some math focused electronic groups like Three Trapped Tigers but I'd say much more concerned with the body of the piece that moving toward any sort of resolution. Thats not to say anything about this is stiff or tired.. this is a truly unique piece and one that I am beyond excited to have stumbled on to. ( 85% )

Recreational Drugs - A Song For Quaaludes LP Demo (Illiniois)
Its hard for me to communicate how important the explosion of of hallowed math group Loose Lips Sink Ships has been for genre. Whether that's legitimizing jazz as a whole in Renaissance Sound or Monobody or in the case of Matthew Frank.. playing in 700 amazing bands one of which being the emo math power trio Their / They're / There... I digress. In any group Matt finds himself in he always manages to surround himself with incredible musicians. Members of Merit Badge, The Zero Years form a Voltron beast for this new single. Its a little bit post rock but mostly emo math that Frank tends to tred in with most of his groups. This is not something to slouch on at all.. trust. That riff at 38 seconds in? Youve got to be joking my bones. (83%)

Find Yourself - Intimacy (California)
I love.. love.. love.. love running into a band for a second time and finding that they have grown into something so wonderful between releases. That is not to say that their past EP was bad.. by no means but it was clearly a band finding their place and sound. So here we are..a kiss of ambient space rock nestles itself inside a dynamically shifting math rock machine. Guitars interlock into some very impressive riffage while transitioning into ever catchier and emotional portions. Its also important to note the details. During slower portions we get a lot fantastic ambiance built for example the glitch guitar fade in "" The speed is a significant addition to their sound as most of the time this group prefers to be hitting mach 11 with some disgustingly inhuman drumming. While impressive you really get to see truer colors once things downshift and you get a feeling for a lot of the ambient layers these guys are swinging about. Also a chance to really appreciate some deliciously tasteful bass work whether running up and down lines or locking into the drums during a freak out. Each song carries its own flow while staying true to its message of emotional connectivity (I think). Its clear even from song one.. this is a mission statement that hits you hard in the chest with explosive drums leaving you no doubt that this is an album to take note of and a band we should all be talking about at our next bake sale. (90%)

Science Against Spheric Silence - Layers (France)
A sophomore effort from this Post-math group that seems to have a large love for ASIWYFA in their play style. These guys choose a more contemplative sound more than their influences and it comes out mostly working in their favor. A lot of genuinely cool moments here but they do seem to be spread out unfortunately. Riff's are what you would expect for the genre without a lot of standouts. Where SASS shine are in the moments when they are laying down high energy dual guitar work ramping up aggression which is thankfully often on this album.  Slower moments...well they are unfortunately less engaging and may have benefited from even a slight bump in speed. Nit picky comments truly but overall well worth the time and effort to see a band beginning to hit their stride. (76%)

Cloud Unconscious - The Contour EP and Contours(Washington DC)
There is often music that could only be made by that unique in its set up and execution that you can help but smile as music like this is rarely this honest. synthesizing acoustic guitar emo post hardcore diddies with fake drums and earnest vocals doesn't sound like the recipe for a unique take but I can assure you 20 seconds in and you will be sucked in. Riffs are charming and borrow equal parts from indie rock as folk and singer songwriter. Melodies are often unique and double tracked with interesting harmonies thrown in. The fact that this is all done on an IPad is obviously but really adds to the how carefully constructed this all is. At any moment things could fall apart but until then enjoy. Lyrics can be a bit cloying at times but it never really takes away from the songs. Each song holds its own identity while creating something new each time. If you are looking for something inventive... look no further. (84%)

Nexus Canvas - Hivelord EP (New York)
There's more than a few things I want to say about this groups first release.. which seems to be a bit of theme here this week.
Firstly.. there are plenty of bands that try to pull the "eerie/odd" vibe especially in metal. Groups tend to veer too far one way or another. What I'm consistently impressed with through this entire EP is the achievement of this in each song.. a great balance of experimental oddity without compromising their aggressive post-metal /prog meets 90's hardcore. but wait.. take that and blend it with some dark math metal and you might be getting closer to the end product. Vocals really up the game as well with their versatile nature. Whether screaming, crooning, singing, or flipping out they really sound fantastic and add so much to the already killer instrumentals. Sure there are groups traveling in this area but to execute what amounts to something I'd expect from a critically acclaimed 4th release (and from a national group no less) this is just down right beautiful work here that everyone should find at least a few things to enjoy from this group. (88%)

Race to your Face - Feed Me Wizards, Please (Australia)
My my my.. have we been waiting honestly 2012 for a proper release from this excellent two piece? I suppose we have but if it takes that amount of gestation to pull off something this well constructed then so be it. This instrumental post math duo lays out dynamically shifting pieces that really showcase the structural care that goes along with these songs. Looping can be a messy business especially when there is nothing to obscure the focus. You'd be hard pressed to be able to even tell this was the work of two individuals. That is a testament to engaging writing as well as a drummer that can whip up a lick and carry it for a bar or provide longevity in something more concrete. These cats should be one to check out if you are unfamiliar. A lot of duo's are happy to fill their sound with bass heavy aggressive riffing to fill out sound but this is simply not the case here. Some very lovely tapping parts and in 2016 for me to say there is "tapping" that remains interesting and flavorful is a feat unto itself. ( 81%)

Totorro - Come to Mexico (France)
In what might be one of the most clamored for album this week we have the almighty Totorro. In keeping with their style we have again an effortless collection of songs that call to mind great math rock and math pop groups alike. Instrumentally its how things fit together and structurally flow from one part to another in line. Truthfully for me these guys secret weapon is that drummer.. and by god does he deliver. So lets get in the weeds a bit.. there is not a lot to latch onto and walk away with... a minor gripe. More technically impressive than previous release Home Alone? yea I would say for sure. Having only one time through I may have to edit my feelings on this but for the moment still an incredible album and continues to prove why nearly everyone agrees that these guys are among the best. (89%)

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.