Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Year - Newness Ends (2001)

 Eh?  Eh? Ok I know it might seem a bit cheeky to do what with it being New Years Eve and all but lets talk stock.

So The New Year features the talents of the Kadane Brothers formerly of the kings of sadcore Bedhead. Certainly check into some of their other amazing albums as well as they practically invented the genre. Newness ends doesn't really tred new ground but its incredibly solid with some really nice lyrics about getting older.  No blistering solo's here these guys are all about the slow burn rock and its moody as all hell.  You can practically smell the cooling rods from the time machine powering down after being transported to the early 90's with these guys but honestly I find myself yearning for that simpler rock music landscape sometimes. So crank these jams and be safe tonight. Happy New Year everyone.

Newness Ends (2001)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Harsha Iyer- Curious Toys (2011)


After listening to Harsha a bunch, and talking to him from india to Boston over the facebooks chat, i have come to realize how wide a range of music this dude digs on and ends up subtly and at times overtly adding to his own songs. My initial review favored the comparison between Overcautious as a pop song to songs by The Kinks and OTC. But that is the tip of the iceberg; Overcautious is one song in the style of Pop Music this dude enjoys writing. And needless to say, dude is prolific. Hes working with a lot of different musicians while writing solo stuff. Hell yeah. Tracks like Not Yet Dead really blew me away in listening to Curious Toys: it is moody and sparse, dark, with excellent vocal melodies, guitar work and string arrangements.

Below Not Yet Dead is my initial review of Overcautious, with a link to his bandcamp page for his 2011 album, Curious Toys:

Harsha Iyer - Curious Toys - 06 Not Yet Dead by ninko

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dull Blades and Guilty Trades

This is a post for all of those albums of yester-year that creep in and out of your life like old friends. They could be albums you still enjoy but that you feel secret shame or just albums you have thus far in your life out grown. A lot of what we do here is to inform those of the new music that we discover whether through friends, file sharing, music sites, seeing live shoes, ect. But realistically these choices have all been informed by music of our past. I have invited each of our resident swordsmen to partake in this and hopefully we can have some fun.

As a side note to all of our readership: Please feel free to mock and laugh accordingly.


Osker - Idle Will Kill
(Pop-punk with bad vocals. Although isn't that built into the genre? Still surprisingly catchy)

AFI - Black Sails in the Sunset
(Some sort of punk, alt., emo glam beast. All of their records were pretty good.)

Juliana Theory - Love
(Catchy Alt - Prog-lite. Over produced and all the better for it.)

Thursday - Full Collapse
(Sadly one of my first intro's to post-hardcore. uninspired but very loud and dramatic about it. 16 year old me loves this)

Millencolin - Pennybridge Pioneers
(Catchy pop punk. so good)

Green Day - Dookie
(No link? because if your around my age you listened to this enough. my cassette of this broke because I listened to it too many times. true story)

Shootyz Groove - Jammin in Vicious Environments (RAP-METALLLLLLL!!!)
Another Society - S/T (Couldn't find a link. They were like... a Nirvana knockoff from Alabama or something)
self - Subliminal Plastic Motives (Pretty sure this was the first album I bought. Still kinda ok.)


blink 182- dude ranch (Dammit was the first song i NEEDED to learn)
metallica-..and justice for all (this is where my guitar teacher took me)
barenaked ladies- stunt (i also really dug this in middleschool)
phish-a live one pt1; pt2 (then i smoked pot and wound up here)
blues traveler-four (somewhere in the middle, i heard this)

korn- follow the leader (before smoking pot, i was angst-y)
limp bizkit- three dollar bill ya'll (and i really liked the finger tapping going on in this)

gruvis malt- sound soldiers (and then this happened)
sigur ros-agaetis byrjun (i got really into this at music school)
beastie boys- hello nasty (favorite hip hop of mine in 9th grade)



I was all about Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Garage a Trois, Dave Holland, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and a local alt/emo band called Premonition. Actually I should post them soon. The only emo band I know that had a djembe.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Merries from the Swords!

Merry Merries, dingleberries! This will be brief. Hope all of you are enjoying some awesome time with your families, listening to dope jams and jibbin' plenty of flibbits. Again, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you for checking in here and conversing with us about the things we love; its a great community and we are so glad to be a part of it.

As thanks, I want to show you something i just dug up from my oldschool iPod, which is packed with all the music i was listening to from highschool through my early 20s, as well as being filled with things i was recording at that time. Two good friends and I were out visiting Metaghost and abigail wonder at their college, where Ghost had access to an amazing recording studio. One night, Ghost and i were in studio jamming out some Father Geoghan when the pals i drove out with showed up with more of our friends. We decided to record some random zombie noises to use in unspecified projects; prior to this, i had been practicing Proud Mary by Creedance. If the first 4 minutes of zombie nonsense/ jamming does nothing for you, skip to 4:15 where i decided to kick into Proud Mary. It was hilarious. And the quality of the recording was so good. Just ridiculous. Happy Holidays pals.

00 - Zombie Chorus by ninko

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ninetails - Ghost Ride the Whip

Ninetails hails from England and play an interesting blend of rock music's.  Love the name by the way. We get a small idea of what these guys are bringing to the table with this three song EP.  Post rock, indie rock, indie pop, math rock yet pretty vocal driven as well. Structurally these songs are interestingly arranged and its nice to be kept on your toes a bit where each song is going to turn to. HOWEVER some kind of synthesizing would be appreciated as I can see a full length of this sort of strategy getting a bit flim flammy. For a short player it's nice to see a group spreading its feathers and I certainly look forward to more.

Ghost-ride-the-whip bandcamp

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Strange Mangers - S/T (2011)

Kids these days.

Strange Mangers are a new-ish band of teenagers from Boston that includes a heavy dose of jangly guitar in their indie rock brew. The songs tend to be pensive and catchy. The rhythms aren't at all mathy, but there's so much jangly guitar, effective dynamics, and well-placed vocal harmonies that you'll forget everything is in 3/4 and 4/4. The vocals are sparse, airy, and strong.

The one iffy moment is a misguided sample-based piece about the financial crisis in the middle of the EP. It doesn't really add anything and kills the EP's momentum. But thats what skip buttons are for, I suppose.

Stream/download Strange Mangers on their Bandcamp.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Velvet Teen - No Star & Cum Laude

The Velvet Teen are an alt indie group with some rocking gutairs. Most interesting and delighting to me is their drummer Casey (one of my favorites) also drums for The America's
(click the link to time travel)

This group is something of a shape shifter and can sound pretty radically different depending on where you catch them. The No Star EP is a pretty guitar heavy album which is why its one of my fav's.  Also of note is their album Cum Laude which is just straight awesome sauce and has some nasty keyboardage. It's a must have so please Seek and Destroy

Cum Laude

No Star

The Cabs - First Incident

Japanese emo/ indie rock with some math rock flirtations. Some pleasant vocals mixed  screaming. When the tempo slows down these guys seem at a disadvantage but raise the BPM's and suddenly the drums and guitar go all kinds of math wonky.  Its pretty good stuff but I cant say for sure how long it will stay in the rotation. Is it worthy of a look? Hellz Jess.

First Incident

Ninko/ Carved in Clouds- Original Linkzz

Yo. So again, i have been digging through old things that i was working on right as my old computer crapped the bed. Through this digging, i have a few things i want to show to you. First, as a follow-up to Sunrise in Cloud City, the track i wrote to come in immediately after, Trouble Brewing:
Trouble Brewing by ninko

I was talking to Metaghost about this next one; we agree that it was something we jammed on after listening to lots of Toe. We jammed out, and i returned home and recorded all the things i remembered by myself:

King by ninko

Finally! The grand jewel of all halted projects! I have rediscovered a 2 minute clip of the first section of an epic, 12 minute piece called Arcobot. Metaghost and i composed this beast of a song over multiple writing sessions, which we pieced together into a truly epic jam. Our goals were beyond our means though, and the project stalled, but we have the grooves under our belts; it is ready to go. This intro track is one of my funnest guitar creations to date; it is just a melodic, tricky guitar part that took me long hours to master. I hope you like:

Arcobot by ninko

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vasudeva - Roots of The Tree EP

Quartet hailing from Brooklyn, Vasudeva have dropped a pretty rollicking EP here with their brand of instrumental tap happy math rock. The drums keep things driving along at a pretty nice clip not to mention a pretty varied attack. The guitars actually launch into some fairly memorable melodies (sometimes not often enough). If what your reading sounds like something you've heard before...chances are your not to far off. Believe me when I say though that its worth a listen. Perhaps with some more structural twists and turns it could be elevated to another level of awesome.

Roots of The Tree (EP)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

maudlin of the Well - Part the Second (2009)

I don't know why it's taken me so long to make a post about this record. Probably has something to do with why I rarely make posts about any records — I let acerola do that shit, fuck finding links!

But no, this is some top-notch music that does a great job of bridging the gap between the previous pair of maudlin of the Well records, Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, with the more ornate modern classical compositions of Toby Driver's solo work and Kayo Dot. As with all of his projects, there are always those elements that can be a bit grating if you don't keep an open mind towards the experiential nature of what he writes (like all the groaning on Rose Quartz Turning to Glass), but there's simply not a whole lot in the world that's like this, just things that are somewhat similar. A must listen for fans of Henry Cow, Final Fantasy 7, and slutty guitar solos.

Free download in FLAC and all that other shit: Cha-Ching!

Stage Kids - Killer Tofu (2011)

Previously on Plenty of Swords..... 

They are back and JESUS MAGIC CHRISTMAS this couldn't get any better. Those of you out there that thought they were too young or lacked ideas well your face just got noise checked. This is as sure footed as it gets for instrumental math rock. Super well produced and spit shined. I think its also safe to smack about the fact that everyone must have leveled up on their instruments at least 5 times as well. The ideas flowing here are numerous and are just curve ball enough to make you fist pump at the same time as your brain smiles. Electronic elements are sprinkled into the math rock this time ever so slightly as well as the completely electronic songs.

If you missed them the first time then heres your second chance at a brand new life filled with lush guitars and complicated poly-rhythms. Put this under the tree because your entire family will thank you for it.

Killer Tofu

(also nice Doug reference.....)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jo Jo and the Scooters- Inspiration (Graceland, 1986)

I will not say much, because i do not feel entitled to talk about something of this magnitude with my insufficient knowledge of it. The other day, on a break at work, i had the sudden urge to hear You Can Call Me Al. And luckily, now that i have a nerdphone, i looked that shit up and watched the hilarious video with Chevy Chase. Later that night, i went to see a friend play an acoustic set at Owen O'Learys, and at one point in their set, the excellent Ryan McHugh, who was serving as a stand-in-for-the-night guitarist, kicked into a nice version of Graceland. When they finished, i mentioned to my drummer pal vince that i had just had that sudden urge to hear Call Me Al; Ryan the guitarist said "oh yeah? lets do it" and Mia B and the two of them kicked it out proper. I returned home and immediately found myself a copy of Paul Simons landmark 1986 release. I have not absorbed it fully yet; I have been alternating between Phontes latest and Graceland.

All that said, Graceland is one of those albums, like Moondance or Thriller, that are just untouchable: Pop Music cornerstones. I am deep in this right now. Perfect pop sensibilities to keep in mind for Jo Jo and the Scooters. So that covers a classic of undeniable pop which enters into the Olivia Tremor Control category of the band equation; next, please cite a math/rock/pop outfit that influenced excellent current bands like Mister Metaphor. Part 3 is electronica.. lets see what you got.


Ninko- Sunrise on Cloud City (Linkzzzzz)

Fellas requested for linkz; here is one. Just as my old computer began its downward spiral, the 2011 RPM challenge was under way and i had a game plan. I created a few tracks, but was sidelined by my malfunctioning audio software. It was a concept album about a galactic fight taking place on earth and in the cloud cities above it, and the first track is one of my better electronic works. I had different plans for it, but once my computer wasnt able to allow me to record live audio i was at a stalemate. This is how it ended up:

Sunrise by ninko

there ya go.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Prophet Nathan

Get ready for this.... "Tennessee Two-some" as they embark on a stylistically interesting musical adventure. like some sort of math-pop monster that at times tears up the landscape with awesome drum and guitar.  Other moments shift to some soft singing or samples but always the drums remain consistently great.  Influences drip off the sleeve but there is a large honesty that keeps me pulled in. Not too mention the previously stated instrumentation.  Both releases are well worth the gandering.

The Prophet Nathan

Phonte- Charity Starts at Home (2011)

I have proclaimed much love for The Foreign Exchange, and afterwards Little Brother, and a big part of my appreciation of these two groups came down to the Phonte factor; Phonte fronts Foreign Exchange, and began his music career in Little Brother. He is a gifted vocalist/ rapper, renowned (in not only my own world) as a chorus genius, proficient foremost in creating vocal harmonies that go 6 parts deep with hooks to match. I mean, check out the chorus of the Foreign Exchanges track, Maybe She'll Dream of Me. Ain't no room for suckers in that studio; just the straight sickness right there.

So, 2011 finally saw to Phonte releasing his first solo effort as an artist, Charity Starts at Home. As usual, when given the mic to talk about what is on his mind, Phonte rises above any fronting and speaks about life as an artist making it through each day to rise and shine with the next. His rhymes are very personal, introspective and creative, and he knows when a tracks melancholy only requires subtly, and knows when to drop a serious chorus to enrich the positive emotions he talks about (as he does in Sending All My Love). It seems Phonte favored focusing on his rhyming on his debut solo release, letting some lovely female vocalists fill in on his hooks while he focused his own vocal parts on the verses. Great stuff; he worked with a number of producers for this release, including a much anticipated (for myself) reunion for a few tracks with 9th Wonder as his beat maestro; track 2, The Good Fight, properly kicks the album up a notch after starting so very strongly with Dance in the Reign (produced by Swiff D). Blam: The Good Fight:

Phonte - The Good Fight

charity starts at home

Jo Jo and the Scooters

So, i have big personal news for all you Swordsers: i finally have a working laptop capable of letting me produce intense, gigantic audio recordings. I am very excited. Ive been talking to Metaghost about how liberating and exciting it is to have a high-class machine ready for me to use its audio functions to their potential, and i have a lot of ideas that have been laying dormant since about six months ago, when my previous computer stopped working properly.

One of these ideas was borne from a fake band name my father referenced a while back; i was home, listening to some random music when my dad peeped his head in to ask what i was listening to: "who is this? Jo Jo and the Scooters?". He makes up names like this all the time; his standby fake band name is Mickey and the Finns, but he often gets creative with it. Jo Jo and the Scooters stuck with me for some reason; i was listening to a lot of Mister Metaphor (for the first time), and had also rediscovered my love for Olivia Tremor Control. At the same time, i was deeply involved in electro-pop, listening to loads of Hot Chip, Starfucker and Miike Snow; expanding my technical production ideas by absorbing myself in electronic-heavy dance/pop outfits.

Anyways, this mostly goes out to Acey and Franklin (as metaghost already is in on this): Here we go gentlemen. When my father first uttered the words Jo Jo and the Scooters, i thought of classic do-wop pop music, only updated to modern standards. I expanded this initial idea to becoming a mix of Olivia Tremor Controls vocal stylings, Mister Metaphors polyrhythmic math/pop skills, and added electronica as bonus points. Im ready to go. Things to come. This is a warning.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anathallo - Floating World (2006)

The now defunct Anathallo (hailing from Michigan and Chicago) had a couple releases under their belt before dissolving in ought 9 . Floating World being the one in which left the greatest mark on me. Think a mess ton of soulful singing and harmonies. Baroque pop and indie pop make the solid base with an emphasis on rhythm and interesting structures. First of get the thoughts of "sleepy pop group" lulling you to sleep out of your head. Sure some songs are crawlers but they are nice enough to get through to the brass and percussion awesome that more often than not makes its presence known.  Not the usual post for me but don't let that fool you, there is more than enough here to like.

Floating World (2006)

Friday, December 2, 2011

metaghostin' Vol. XII - Film School on Paper

Film School on Paper - 32'01"

  1. Possessed / The Great Unraveling / The Great Unraveling (1997)
  2. Several Circles / Tidal Arms / The Sun Exploding (2011)
  3. Frame by Frame / King Crimson / Discipline (1981)
  4. Behaving Badly / Animals as Leaders / Animals as Leaders (2009)
  5. Let's Get Tired / Zona Mexicana / 3 Song EP (2009)
  6. Landscape with Gun and Chandelier / Upsilon Acrux / Radian Futura (2009)
  7. There's Nothing More / Jonny Classic and the Classic Johns / Your New Favorite Record (2005)

When you listen to music in public, is that music a diagetic soundtrack to your own experiences or an extra-diagetic score for the world around you?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jibbin' Flibbits: Tim and Eric- Father and Son/ Billion Dollar Movie

With the new trailer for Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie floating around, I have been reenforcing my love for all things Awesome Show (and Steve Brule). As the best example of what makes these dudes great, I present to you Father and Son. Tim and Eric wrote and filmed it for the Funny or Die HBO series, but in doing so they gave their fans a brief glimpse into how they would take one particular idea and stretch it out across a much longer time frame than they usually allowed in their previous efforts.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ill Movie Corner- Drive (2011)

Short and sweet: metaghost and i set out and saw DRIVE while it was in theaters a few months back, and we both dug the shit out of it (if i recall correctly). It had a very basic save-the-damsel-in-distress plot, with an awesome noir vibe and a style that stressed the main characters actions relaying his emotional connections with the story to the audience; he was very quiet, and hardly spoke throughout the film, but what he does to protect who he cares about carries the action. As I have read in reviews, it was influenced by a combination of the classic Grimm's Fairy Tales and the main character from Sergio Leones' Man With No Name Triology (the most historically significant example being from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly).

The main character is only referred to as the Driver, a man who works a steady dayjob as a stunt driver for Hollywood films by day, and who pilots getaway cars for hoodlums robbing people by night. His life is defined by his driving skills, and he has no other back story: he just drives. He meets a lady in a dire situation and creates a bond with her and her son, and is soon enlisted with her fresh-out-of-jail husband to pull one last heist for the big money, and is quickly placed in the midst of circumstances that directly affect the damsel and her sons well being. His heroic instincts kick into action, and the remainder of the film deals with the things he has to do to ensure his Maidens safety. Epic.

Here now is a clip from the film, entitled by youtube as "Hes a Good Guy", which demonstrates not only the Drivers good nature and affection for a lovely lady and her cute son, but also the need Driver has for a relationship beyond his normal routine. Needless to say here on the Swords, the soundtrack plays a major part in the film: such subtle awesomness.

Blam: Hes a Good Guy; movie trailer below:

I want to include a direct link to the song from the Hes a Good Guy clip, because i have been obsessing over that track for the last few days. Though it is really just bass, drums and sparse extra electronics, the vocals really kick my butt and i had to learn it once my obvious obsession of it kicked in. College feat. electric youth.

drive (film)
drive (soundtrack)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bastro - Rode Hard and Put Up Wet (1988)/ Antlers Live (1991)

If Bastro is not a band that rings familiar in your dome well that perhaps is history's fault.

Time for a little Social Studies. Open your page to 182 please and follow along. Squirrel Bait from Louisville KY an up tempo shifting rock group broke up at the end of the 80's. Skag Heaven their crowning achievement is an interesting listen today. Not for its impressive musical nature per-say but because you will consistently get the feeling you've heard it before.  This could be because many argue that the group foreshadowed the grunge and math rock movements 90's (true).  Aside from being important on their own their dissolution actually caused more of a splash than anything else.  Here's the run down and you tell me.

Squirrel Bait Members:

Peter Searcy - Vocals (Big Wheel, Starbilly)

Clark Johnson - Bass (Bastro)

Britt Walford - Drums (Slint)

Brian McMahan -  Guitar (Slint, The For Carnation, King Kong)

David Grubs -  Guitar (Bastro, Gastr Del Sol)


While most folks focus on the Louisville second coming of Jesus ( read: Slint) a lot of folks should be shifting their gaze toward the other more prominent group on this list. Bastro was certainly the more interesting of the two in my opinion. Their first EP Rode Hard and Put Up Wet (1988) is a widly pleasing  release.  Clear love of Big Black runs rampant with the the drum machine going full tilt but mathier elements do rear their head however subtle they may be. Each release after found the group settling into a post-hardcore punk style of melodic rock that smacks of the math we love today.

Sorry for being long winded but my point to this is that Bastro should be counted as the first modern math rock group. Sure we can all sit back and bandy about this influence and that influence through prog rock and modern comp but honest to flip here it is. If your still not entirely convinced check out Antlers live. released in 2005 these recordings were culled from various shows in 1991 and find the group at the end of their life span. The sound of which is true blue math in all its rough and ready glory.  John McEntire is punishing behind the kit (as well he should being a percussion major) and in my opinion the greatest of the early math drummers. Does the name sound familiar? that may be because McEntire went on to join Tortoise where he essentially became their musical leader.

If your at all interested in the roots of early math rock, or late 80's early 90's rock you can not pass this up. Seriously.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Ninko Original- Bishops Mother

I have been going through my half-finished songs recently, and after sharing The Hero with you guys, i wanted to continue into a brief bout of songwriting i did while i was learning the ins and outs of Record, the audio/ engineering program by Propellerhead. I knew the basics of programming synths etc within Reason, but Record gave you all the benefits that Reason provides PLUS the addition of live audio tracks into their already awesome grid-like song building layout.

At some point a few years ago, I was looking through old 20 second loops i had created to see if i had left something cool behind, something not fully thought out. I came upon the loop that begins Bishops Mother; it was a solo guitar track, just the palm-muted guitar progression that starts the song. I dug it, so i added bass and drum tracks to the guitar and created a 2 chord loop that i recorded a guitar solo over. I continued on writing, thinking that i would be able to come up with some vocals to go over it, but i never could realize the proper words to fill out the song. The second section is one of my favorite pop achievements. Vocals please?

Bishops Mother by ninko

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pop Music Challenge- Feist

Im gonna kick off this Pop Music Challenge with an old favorite. Feist is just lovely; not only is she a hot lady who plays music, but she also writes some really catchy shit. Shes been a part of some really neat side projects, like her work in Broken Social Scene and her awesome rendition of 1234 for Sesame Street, and her solo works have been continuing into more interesting territory. From her debut forward (2004s Let It Die) she had my attention, kicking off her career with tracks like One Evening and Secret Heart, but really snaring me in with track 2, Mushaboom.

Again, this shit is just pop gold, and the video compliments the song greatly: from the start of the video, she gets out of bed singing along to her own song being played on the radio. The lyrics talk about optimism and being happy with what you have, with dreamy undertones of the possibilities of life and love with a properly stoked imagination. When she suddenly enters the dream world, where everyone on the streets turn into her backup dancers and things happen because she wills them into existence, it is just so damned fun and happy. I love the effect of having the song enter full range stereo as she transitions from her life in the apartment to her dream life in the streets.

let it die

Pop Music Challenge- Talking Heads

I have officially hijacked the Swords to fill it up with pop music, new and old, and I have no shame in this action (my facebook post of The King of Wishful Thinking notwithstanding; it IS catchy, and damned hilarious).

To continue on, i must mention this favorite of mine for the last few years. I will get straight to the point: This Must Be The Place, off of their live album Stop Making Sense, is Talking Heads at their very very super-berry best. I have been listening to it a lot recently; it instantly puts me in a good mood. I first critically noticed how very repetitive the rhythm section is in the track.. The bass, guitar and percussion play precisely the same progression through the duration of the song, which in certain instances can mean a very redundant sound, but David Byrnes varying vocal melodies (with the great harmonies provided by his backup singers) lend the track many unique sections, with such nice lyrics behind them:

"Home is where i want to be/ But i guess im already there
I come home/ she lifted up her wings/ i guess that this must be the place"

stop making sense

Pop Music Challenge- Ninko

As another "thanks" (as we quickly and quietly passed our 30,000 views milestone), and also as an inclusion to the Pop Music Challenge, i wanted to show you guys another song of mine. It came about while i was listening to a lot of Flying Lotus, and set out to create an 8-bit sounding instrumental track in his style; i wrote up to the 40 second mark without any further thoughts and decided to take a break for a shower, when the vocal melody hit me. And bam, in about 5 hours i completed the entire track; sometimes you get rolling and cannot stop it. The lyrics are about wishing you were The Hero in your story, the guy who saves the day and rescues the princess. Blam!

06 The Hero by ninko

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bloc Party- I Still Remember

I realize now that, by this point, i have not posted half as much Bloc Party as i should have. Though the crew and our readers here at the Swords favor a more mathy steez, and i definitely love the massive amount of awesome music coming from our blog, Bloc Party fits a way more mainstream mold of songcraft. I feel as to issue a challenge to my fellow Sworders, to post or comment current pop music that tickles your fancy. I have a nostalgic love of musicians who make songs that are not only tight and interesting, but also refined in their skills at making a more simplified chord progression unique, and at writing songs that catch you on an emotional level.

I Still Remember is probably the most sentimental example i could use for a starting point though: the lyrics are pure emo pop gold. The verses talk about fleeting moments with a person you are crushing on, and the longing for something more to come of the times you spent with that person. Then the chorus hits, with lines about wishing the signals had been more clear between the two of you. This can all easily be read as simplicity expounded upon, but the song craft lies within its execution. The instrumental layers and catchy melodies really kick my ass, and even though its cheesy, i can rely upon this song to remind me that love can be more a reaction than a feeling in uncertain instances.

it comes at the tail end of a darkly optimistic album that i have loved for many years now. the link is below; more to come.

a weekend in the city

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tidal Arms - "The Sun Exploding" (2011)

In 5.5 billion years, our sun will have spent its first batch of nuclear reaction fuel and will rapidly expand, forming a red giant that envelops the inner solar system in a cloud of nebulous 1000-degree gas. If Tidal Arms' "The Sun Exploding" is any indication, this will be a snarly, melodious experience.

Tidal Arms have put forth a pretty solid effort here. Production is stellar (har), and a number of songs are pleasantly heavy and technical while still retaining a good sense of melody. There is some generous use of reverb, reminiscent of Brit-rockers Doves, if Doves listened to a steady diet of technical post-hardcore. There are a few uninspired tracks, but nothing offensively bad. Definitely worth a listen.

"The Sun Exploding" is available to stream in its entirety on Tidal Arms' bandcamp. 

The Sun Exploding (2011)

 Acerola -
"Thanks Frankline for the heads up on these guys. Just wanted to post a link to the album and  say that after spending some intimate moments with this release its pretty jawsome. All should join in the sweet sweet post-punk math loveliness."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dionaea - Still (2011)

Post-Grind? Djent Metal?
ugh what?

Can we dispense with the silly genre tags for a moment and let me just say that this is some exceedingly creative music. For three musicians to make this kind of racket takes true skill. Swinging from full bore blast beats to majestic post-rock passages is something that I wouldn't really have believed would work so well until this. Its mathy and technical nature never detracts from the other more serene builds balancing very between the two.  To say that this has been in heavy rotation in my ear holes would be an understatement.  So let me just stop right here and tell everyone to indulge because you all have to get a load of these guys. Classy 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Imperial China - Methods (2008)

This is some tasty shit right here. Mathy drum beats, post-punk guitar parts, electro-synth, and some sparse vocals. This shit is tight.

Methods came out in 2008 and garnered Imperial China some buzz around the DC area. These guys have since put out a full length that has a few cool songs on it, but kind of falls flat. But this EP rips. They have a new LP coming out soon which hopefully finds Imperial China returning to ace form.


Friday, November 11, 2011

The James Cleaver Quintet - That was Then, This is Now (2011)

      I have been a patient man awaiting this album to come out. After hearing a track or two off some compilations my anticipation has been mounting. UK group James Cleaver Quintet have been carving out a name for themselves with some heavy touring and  a lot of energy.  This however doth not makith an excellent group and they have many favorable items in their corner.  The guitars like to flit between post-hardcore, straight punk and hardcore and yet with the harder edged genre's they still remain pretty poppy. That is of course helped by some extremely varied vocals.  There isn't anything DIRECTLY mathy about them but their bass and drum section loves the starts and stops, and interesting rhythmic patterns.  Its a grab bag really but with so much energy thrown in it just works so damn well. Think something akin to the "Big Scary Monsters Recording" roster but after being off their meds for awhile......I mean that in the best way possible.

That was Then This is Now (2011)

(props to "Me and Music Call It Insanity" for the link. They are super boss) 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

metaghostin' Vol. XI - In Fidelity

In Fidelity - 43'07"

  1. Caçada / Chico Buarque / Quando o Carnaval Chegar (1972)
  2. She's Too Much for my Mirror / Captain Beefheart / Trout Mask Replica (1970)
  3. Emily Sagée's Secret / Giraffes? Giraffes! / More Skin With Milk-Mouth (2007)
  4. Invention 1 / Vismal / Inventions (2004)
  5. Double Bind / mouse on keys / An Anxious Object (2009)
  6. Little Bird / Troop of Echoes / Days in Automation (2010)
  7. Signals / The Appleseed Cast / Low Level Owl Vol. 1 (2001)
  8. Colorado / Grizzly Bear / Yellow House (2006)
  9. Life in the Hair-Salon-Themed Bar on the Island / Owls / Owls (2001)
  10. New Grass / Talk Talk / Laughingstock (1991)

Have you ever noticed that the phrase "beat around the bush" serves as an easily understood sexual entendre that as an act (masturbating in proximity to a hairy vagina)  happens to be something that could be construed as "beating around the bush"?

Linguists, please tell me there is a term for this phenomenon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zona Mexicana - S/T (2011)


...I'm sorry. These three are personal favorites of mine and having seen them numerous times its easy for me to say they are the math band to beat these days. Tight hardcore styled pure 90's emo with lots of twisty turny mathy goodness dripping all over. I covered them long ago with their first EP and heres another four to blow yer skull. By the by "Waking up with Dedication" has been a live favorite of mine for awhile, thankfully its here in all its structured glory. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Joe Beats Experiment - Indie Rock Blues (2005)

This is another album I've slept on for far too long. This album had a lot of buzz (at least around Providence) back in the mid-2000s, but I never got a chance to pick it up until I found it in a used record store a few months ago. But since then, I've actually listened to this more than anything else I own.

Basically, this is an album of remixed indie rock songs. Not some annoying frantic mashups, but rather fleshing out existing songs and making them totally baller. The original songs are all pretty great, and surprisingly effective with some extra magical beats. Club-ready songs with depth. Mmmmmm...

Indie Rock Blues

Some trivia: Guess who's in the blue shirt behind Joe Beats?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tyondai Braxton - Central Market (2009)

Despite my love of Battles and all the fuss surrounding the album, I never picked this up until very recently. (Shameless bragging alert: the first time I heard it was through the control room monitors at the studio it was tracked and mixed at while tracking the A Troop of Echoes album). This is possibly the most whimsical record ever produced. Its packed with fun noises, sweet guitar parts, and reverb-drenched vocals. The song structures can be a little wonky. While most of the buzz surrounds the classical-style compositions, I'm actually into the shorter, more pop-structured pieces a little more. The other stuff is interesting, but a little meandering. You gotta give it up to the guy, this shit is insane and sounds like nothing else out there.

Central Market

Monday, October 31, 2011

1Q84- Glenn Gould

This is a rather random post. As some of you may know, haruki murakami recently released his 2009 novel, 1Q84, in the States, translated from his native japanese into english. He is a very intriguing writer, with works that instantly grab you with their thoroughly detailed descriptions of mundane life that quickly turn surreal and engrossing, demanding your imagination in ways that relate to dream states and memory. 1Q84 is his grandest work, and throughout it he mentions pieces of pop culture, referencing songs and places and historical milestones to help you subtly set the scene as you read. As i have been reading along, whenever a song is mentioned i will quickly search it out and play it in the background as i continue through a scene. It is a fun way to "read along", as i am sure that while he was writing these passages he too was listening to the songs mentioned. He is an avid music collector, with an office lined with countless vinyl.

To make a longer story short, he mentioned a Bach piece called Well-Tempered Clavier early in the novel, as a focal character was introduced: I went to youtube and found the piece, preformed by the (apparently) legendary Glenn Gould. He was a highly regarded pianist that interpreted classical music with critically acclaimed style.

As i read, i had to stop my progress in the novel to watch the performance Glenn gave of this selection of the Clavier pieces. I thought of its execution as compared to watching a spider weave its web: you understand it fundamentally, as a flawless piece of mathematical construction; you can tell that the subject creating it has its scheme built into its nature, its very existence; and though you may doubt the slow, meticulous, ever-complicated crescendo of its progression while it is being created in front of your eyes, the end result is perfection.

For those of you not keen to most classical music, please skip to 3:40. Shit just gets out of control from that point forward. Below is Goulds interpretation of Bachs Goldberg Variations, another epic piece of classical solo piano subtlety.

goldberg variations

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cyclamen - Senjyu (2010)

As is often the case, I don't know too much about these guys, but I first heard some of their tracks via Travis Orbin who had posted some videos of him recording drums to a couple tracks off this record. The band itself appears to primarily be a studio project for Hayato Imanishi, as he composes the material independently and then gathers various musicians to perform whatever instrumentation he doesn't feel like performing. Overall, the sound encompasses elements of post-hardcore, metal, and math-rock in a very polished form, with plenty of technical flourishes and half-time breakdowns, reminding me at times of equal parts Envy and Meshuggah. Definitely worth a listen if you enjoy harsh screams, chuggity-chugs, and twisting polyrhythms.

You can explore their entire catalog at their Bandcamp: Cyclamen

Neil Cowley Trio - Radio Silence (2010)

Jazz as genre is one that casual music listeners just don't understand. When you hear "mall /department store jazz" your entire life your concepts can be hazy for sure. Luckily Neil Cowley Trio will show you the true light of day. These guys throw some nice curves in there to keep things interesting. Obviously instrumentation is top notch. There are shades of post rock structures and awesome melodies abound as well. Also worth mentioning is the title track "radio silence" is the song I wake up to almost every's just that god damn gorgeous. Inject some Jazz in your life, we all need it.

Radio Silence (2010)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Olivia Tremor Control- Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996)

To me, Olivia Tremor Control, and the two albums they have put out, are a rare musical gem hidden from so many people that finding someone who knows about it and loves it (as most are wont to do) is just as rare a specimen as their musical output is. The only fault in their amazing pop music is that certain spans of the album devolve into exceedingly psychedelic experimental tracks, more noticeable on their 2nd album Black Foliage, but certainly undermining a fair amount of their overall work. But that is just hindsight speaking; the overall flow of both their albums fit in these extended outbursts between track upon track of solid, Beatles and Beach Boys- influenced pop rock that dominates anything else currently pursuing this style of music.

That very very small negative aside, Dusk at Cubist Castle is an album to rival the likes of Sgt. Peppers in catchy tunes combined with psychedelic experimentation. A majority of the album, most notably the first half, flows wonderfully with tune after tune of nostalgic, classic pop realization, with hints of the madness to come in the later sections. And even through those sections of experimentation, moments of vocal harmony and melodic dedication shine through to let you know something cohesive is certain to take center stage, as Gravity Car does at the very tail end of Cubist Castle. Tracks like Jumping Fences really stand out though, that particular song serving as track 3 in the amazing run of songs in the first half of the album. It is just so fucking catchy and direct (just as the rest of the songs in the first half are): no its, ands or buts about it, this track is solid pop gold. I mean, damn, check out those harmonies. They just dont stop:

dusk at cubist castle

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kosuke Jodai - Scissorcuts Reunion (2010)

When we are talking left field music the Japanese always seem to be pushing boundaries.  Math Rock as a genre is pretty new and there is still room for growth. While there is much in the way of awesome time bending groups today, I think we can all generally agree that not many venture past the typical expectations. Enter Kosuke Jodai, I have no information other than this concerning this release so we will let the music speak for itself. This is some serious stuff. Equal parts noise, synth laden math rock its hard to keep your baring at times. It walks the line surprisingly well all things considered because there is just a lot going on. What actually came to mind similarity wise was the cram jam math rock super beast "Hey!Tonal" previously covered. This is great stuff and I wish I had more info on it at all. Certainly fans of the genre need to check this out.

Scissorcuts Reunion

R.I.P ROOFTOPS 4/28/11

sniff sniff                                                                                                        sniff sniff

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1994! - FCKYRHED (2010)

This much spoken about duo from Lancaster PA doesn't really play in the same realm as their two some brethren. I'm so glad to hear vocals going especially since they are done with complete conviction. Yes they are shouty and gruff but they hold a certain melodic quality that singers of this style miss. The guitars follow suit in this respect, at times intricate and melodic but with a gritty and repetitive metal tinged sheen. Musically think a stripped down indie math punk band and speed up the BPM's. The album itself really didn't affect me that much until I had a chance to see these guys live earlier this year. My lord these guys tore house. I wont even mention names but the groups I was most looking forward to catching dropped the ball, while 1994! earned their keep. Its sad that this kind of energy isn't easily found in groups these days.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Town Portal - Vacuum Horror

When I hear of math rock across the ocean I get excited to catch a listen as it can be a unique affair. Denmark's power trio Town Portal do not in fact bring anything horribly unique to the table but have seemed to reanimate the corpse of 90's De Soto Records stalwarts such as "Shiner" and "Jawbox" which is just awesome for me. Another group previously covered that Town Portal reminds me of is Mike Banfield's (Ex Don Cab) current group Knot Feeder. Maybe not as in your face as Knot Feeder but Town Portal lay down some pretty gnarly grooves and keep it all pretty lock tight. Great Drum and Bass in sink with the guitar belting out some really nice alt-math metal skronk. The time changes miiiiight not be as labyrinthine as you'd expect of the more tech groups out there but its done so well your not left wondering when something cool is going to just is constantly happening. Very much worth your time to give this a gander, I promise you will keep coming back to it as its a solid first outing for this new group.

Vacuum Horror

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hi-Rollers - Hear B Monsters (2006)

Never understood why more hub bub hasn't been made over this Greensboro NC two some but they make a glorious racket. Extremely tizzight math rock going on with these two.  It just so happens drummer Jeremy Fountain was a former member of personal fav's Cinemechanica and short lived off shoot Serka.  If that gives you any sort of indication what your in store for. Unfortunately this EP is short and sweet and I'm sure everyone will find themselves listening over and over again....or maybe that's just what I do, enjoy all the same.

Hear B Monsters EP (2006)

Zazen Boys- I (2004)

Oh those Zazen Boys. Another band that deserves much recognition here at the Swords, Zazen Boys are japanese outfit that specialize in amazing math pop rock, and their catalog moves through various phases; their major releases (that i am familiar with) span from I-III, with EPs dotted throughout, all progressing forward to more popular sounds; with Zazen Boys I, they debuted as a 4 piece mathrock outfit, emphasizing catchy vocal choruses, with monotone vocal verses layered on top of complex guitar/ bass/ drum instrumentation, very well choreographed for a quartet. The styles of the songs range from chill dub sounds, to balls to the wall rock, as track 2, USODARAKE, demonstrates below:

02 USODARAKE by ninko

The album is sick tits. I did want to include a video, so this is the title track to their 2005 EP, himitsu girls top secret. Epicness ensues. Dig it ya'll.

zazen boys I
himitsu girls top secret

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Equals - Self-titled EP

For a self-titled EP this sure is a hoot and a half better than I'm used to hearing.  Texas school mates Equals provide an extremely diverse palette of energetic post-rock with a clear love for the sweet sweet mathy goodness. Also of interest is the electronic end of things which more and more post-rock groups are pocketing these days. To be honest there are a lot of groups trying to ape that electro flim flam 65 days of post-math that is very rarely done well. Equals dials down the electronic elements and focuses on engaging songwriting, mood and at times pretty intricate instrumentation. What happens to be refreshing and sets these guys apart in addition are those melodic guitar lines that are getting dropped all over the damn place. If Equals can keep this kind of momentum up I dare say we should be looking at a pretty classy full length in the wings. 

Equals EP

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ebu Gogo- Worlds (2008)

OK ya'll. This one is a fucking godsend if you are unfamiliar. So, the Swords are renowned for Acerolas fantastic tastes and knowledge of all that is math rock, but so far in our coverage of all that is badass, Ebu Gogo has escaped our radar. And it is easy to forgive: the epic trio of Justin, Gavin and Brendan (all original members of the futurerock band Gruvis Malt), upon reaching a permanent hiatus with the band they formed as teenagers, decided to get together as a trio and write music that went back to their roots. What inspired them as musicians? What did they love to listen to, and what musical themes made practicing a fun exercise, instead of the soul-crushing perfectionism that came with a major labels demands? They found that release in Ebu Gogo, a band dedicated to oldschool videogame soundtracks, 80s movies and classical motifs. The results were staggering. Their two albums, Chase Scenes 1-14, and their follow-up, 2008s Worlds, are epic instrumental albums of insane musicianship, melodically intertwined bass, drums and keyboard that shine in all dimensions.

Chase Scenes was a hell of a debut, but in Worlds, they found a flowing videogame theme that made the album something special. There are recurring themes, such as the four part Waterworld suite that spans across the album; nods to the always appreciated Training Montage from countless 80s classics, and the wonder that is H.U.G.S.

Besides H.U.G.S., nothing says Ebu Gogo better than British Knights in Miami, which has one of the most badass breakdowns of all time. Oh god do i love how the drum and bass respond to Gavins keyboards at about 1:13. That shit is just the tightest breakdown of all time. Enjoy, bitches.

British Knights in Miami by ninko


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Don Cab's Final Tour Diary and American Don

  (Eric Emm, Damon Che, Ian Williams)

I realize there has not been a proper Don Caballero post on the page and there are sound reason's for this. I presume those that frequent here enjoy math rock and thusly must be at least semi-familiar with Don Cab. This is not the post where I gush wildly about their influence on modern rock or their progression from Pittsburgh Math Metal to Avant Math Rock but a chance to showcase one of the storied pieces of writing from the era. It was written by Fred Weaver who was on tour with them at the time and gives an extremely thoughtful approach to what we normally come to expect from a tour diary. I will say it's a bit long but an excellent read if you value this group. It covers some of the very final days of Don Cab discussing the large tension between Damon Che and Ian Williams after the release of American Don not too mention the horrible car accident the group was in as well.  

For reason's of being my favorite Don Cab release lets jive a little about American Don. Now down to a three piece (After 1st guitarist Mike Banfield left) this left much more room for Ian's more avant classical bent. While holding down those rockist drum and bass parts it was really the final form these guys could have taken. As such it was the groups last proper release before the group disbanded and Damon Che hijacked Pittsburgh's resident Don Cab sound alike band Creta Bourzia to "re-form" the group. If anyone knows Damon's contact info please inform him that he is an amazingly awesome drummer and if he wants to have a band not to sully the name of Don Cabs any longer because its bullshit.

Final Tour Diary

American Don

Friday, October 7, 2011


Shit son,
I thought i was keeping an eye on the count, but apparently i lost track cuz us at the swords have done reached 25g's in site views. Fuck yeah swords fans! Thank you so much for checking in on us in our attempts to share cool things with people. As thanks, im going to add this track of my own; a Ninko original. I recorded it a little over a year ago; one of my favorite personal tracks ive written. Again, thank you all.

Bounce by ninko
by the way, that picture is not of us at all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

metaghostin' Vol. X - Any Color You Want

Any Color You Want - 38'35"
  1. The Juggaknots - "Jivetalk" / Clear Blue Skies (1996)
  2. Souls of Mischief - "What a Way to Go Out" / '93 'til Infinity (1993)
  3. Pharoahe Monch - "Hell" / Internal Affairs (1999)
  4. J Dilla - "The $" / Ruff Draft EP (2007)
  5. Lootpack - "Weededed" / Soundpieces: Da Antidote (1999)
  6. Raekwon the Chef - "Glaciers of Ice" / Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)
  7. Dr. Octagon - "Girl Let Me Touch You" / Dr. Octagonecologist (1996)
  8. Count Bass D - "Ohio Playas" / Dwight Spitz (2002)
  9. El-P - "Truancy" / Fantastic Damage (2002)
  10. Goodie Mob - "I Didn't Ask to Come" / Soul Food (1995)


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wolf Parade

I feel this is a long time coming; for those of you unfamiliar with the Wolf Parade action, hello! Good morning. Are you ready for some sickness? Wolf Parade was a happy accident; they formed in Quebec when Spencer Krugs record label asked him if he could throw something together as an opening act for a label-sponsored tour. He recruited fellow songwriter Dan Boeckner, and the two formed the basis of what was then dubbed Wolf Parade. They were artists I was completely unfamiliar with in their solo projects, but after their maiden tour together, when they were ready to release their first LP as a band, they did so in a very unique manner. Spencer and Dan work very well together, but have their own distinct voices and writing styles, so the three Wolf Parade albums that have been released share a similar A-B-A-B rotation, where the two songwriters bounce songs off each other, each song switching lead singer/ songwriter credits while incorporating the others respective skills into the instrumental and harmonic aspects of their tracks. Their debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is a doozy, especially as debuts go; their sophomore release At Mount Zoomer is 2/3s awesome; and their third, Expo 86, is an outstanding indie rock album: at this point in my love of Wolf Parade, i am not sure if Queen Mary or Expo exceeds the other. I have digested Queen Mary a bit more deeply than Expo, so I will continue with that in mind.

For an act to debut an album such as Queen Mary is an anomaly: finding a cohesive sound and flow for an album basically written by two different people shows that they not respect each others choices, but put so much effort and intricacy into using the skills of the "second fiddles" to round out the mechanics of each individual track. It is a badass album; You Are A Runner starts the LP off with Spencer taking lead, but immediately bleeds into Dans amazing Modern World. The flow of the album is wonderful; so many standout tracks. I do want to highlight Dans track This Hearts on Fire, before getting into what I set out to talk about.

I'll Believe In Anything is one hell of a track. Shit ya'll. I could analyze it but i feel like it speaks for itself. The lyrics convey a sense of longing to be the savior of a woman needing to escape, while the video adds the twist of doing so just to prove the point that you are the better man in a competition for love.

apologies to the queen mary

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sorry No Ferrari - Ternary

 I will start by saying that these guys never impressed me enough to give notice. Which does sound harsh but hear me out. A few years down the road (they have now since disbanded) I give Sorry No Ferrari a second chance to prove themselves. Ternary, the groups last album finds them playing the kind of interlocking math rock that owes more than a little to video games of our treasured past.  Its not super catchy or even hyper technical but what it lacks in those two categories Ferrari certainly makes up for in song structure. Laying on a riff but never overstaying there welcome, the tasteful three guitar attack never sounds like any one person is trying to compete for their 15 minutes of fame. Each time I make it through the record I actually find new things that I enjoy about it and I'd say that's fairly rare with music like this. So revive a ghost with me and spin this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giraffes? Giraffes! - Pink Magick (2011)

Its here, and its a ripper! The new album from Giraffes? Giraffes! is out - their first studio effort since 2007.

I've been eagerly awaiting this disc for a long time. G?G! is one of my favorite bands of all time. Their stuff is super complex and mathy, but the melodies are what really sets them apart. They're not super obvious - they have some depth which requires a few listens to really dig into.

They seemed to take this a step further with Pink Magick. They get a little noisier and more aggressive than previous releases. While at first there are no "hit singles" that really pop out at you, after a few listens the rich complexity and depth is really apparent.

G?G! have also taken a more aggressive approach to production, using overdubs, looping, effects, and EQ to their advantage. There are shouts and bells and whistles all over the record.

While this record may not contain any iconic individual works, it is more consistent than their previous releases. More notes are played, making this record more subtle, if that even makes sense!

Pink Magick is available on Bandcamp.