Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde-1992

After listening to all this Outkast/ Big Boi, i was reminded of a classic 90s album that i had somehow lost through the years of moving stuff around on iTunes libraries and iPods. I still had Labcabincalifornia, which is classic, but the one i fell in love with was the Pharcydes 1992 album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. I quickly found the link, downloaded and began listening, flipping instinctively to Yo Mamma, which i hadnt heard in years, but then while i was driving and flipping back to the start of the album, i stopped on a random track that was probably my favorite from the album, and i had completely forgotten about it. Soul Flower is just the greatest summertime jam. Enjoy; its great for rides around town with the windows down.

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

p.s.: keep em comin', acey! youre a maniac.

The Samuel Jackson Five - Goodbye Melody Mountain

I don't under normal circumstances gush about many groups. Ready yourself for a torrential down pour. The Samuel Jackson Five are a post rock band from Oslo Norway. As post-rock covers so much ground these gents use ingredients such as:  __________________________________________________________________________

Samuel Jackson Five Biscuits:

1 tsp folk
2 1/2 tbsp math-rock     (according to the back of the bisquick box)
stir in these two wet ingredients

1 cup jazz
2 1/2 cup prog-rock

preheat oven to 350 degrees. serves a family of 12

They use a variety of instruments to accomplish their compositions without sounding like gimmicks in any way.  Structurally rich the songs are always moving along to some impressive resolution but even the way to get there is exciting. No player in this band sits back content to play boring troupes of the genre. The instrumentation is technical for post rock but oddly enough its hard to tell with so many awesome things going on. I have followed this group from their second release (which is just as good) but Melody Mountain synthesis's so well what they do. If you have never heard of them then your life is a sad sad sad place. Lucky for you they are here to rescue your sorry behind.

Goodbye Melody Mountain

The Stay Lows - Signature Bridge

To find a decent post-rock band in my neck of the woods has seemingly been a tricky prospect. This 5 piece from Buffalo NY gives me exactly what I'm looking for in many ways. This isn't weepy explosions in the sky wait for it crescendo's but more consistent high's and low's. They play with math-rock a bit but mostly attempt to create interesting edgy post rock chamber pop. It could stand to be a little bit more of an individual in a crowded room and cello parts do help in this area but its mostly from a rhythmic stand point that some more thought should go in. Vocals do present themselves and are a welcome addition as well, more please. Atmospherically they actually do better than most. You get the feeling they are playing in some kind of dank cavern and thats always a cool thing.

Signature Bridge

Friday, April 15, 2011

Crash of Rhinos - Distal (2011)

Intricate punk rock with emotive singing. Had heard rumblings about these guys before the release of this. Apparently members were a part of the band "The Jesus Years" of which im not very familiar with. Very impressed with the results in any event.  Be advised that this isn't going to change your water to wine but may turn your bread into cinnamon rolls.....and sometimes thats just better...wait what am talking about again? O yea listen to this shit.

Distal (2011)
REPRD -ace (10/24/12)

Archers of Loaf - Icky Mettle

Talk about 90's indie rock Archers of Loaf were right in the thick of it. While never reaching the heights of some of their contemporaries they had a minor "hit" with "Web in Front". Whats nice is they were just angular enough to push through the pack yet still had the songwriting chops to be catchy, really a hard line to walk. With several decent releases under their belt they had cemented themselves as a fixture along with fellow Chapel Hill NC Alumni, Superchunk and Polvo. Some great throw back stuff here that holds its ground extremely well in 2011.

Icky Mettle

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ill Movie Corner- Paprika

I wanted to do a little something different and post a movie i have dug since metaghost and i saw it in theaters, a truly great anime about dream combat, Satoshi Kons 2006 film Paprika. In it, a scientist working with therapists creates a device that enables the therapists to record a patients dreams as visual data on a computer, and in the case of one of the therapists, whose dream name is Paprika, lets her enter the patients dreams and guide them. The device is stolen by a mystery man who terrorizes the minds of the characters experimenting with the devices, and the villain begins making the scientists and therapists unable to distinguish reality from their dreams. It is a mystery from this point on, where Paprika dives into this dream chaos and burrows her way into the source of the evil. Epic stuff.

The opening credits are what i want to share with you; they come after an opening scene in which Paprika enters a detectives dreams to help him solve an emotional conflict dealing with a case he didnt solve. She guides him from dream scene to dream scene, trying to help him get deeper into his issues. They come out of the dream together in an apartment, and at that point you still do not know if what you are seeing is part of the dream, or reality. When the woman hands the detective a card, it says Paprika on it, and you know you are still witnessing a dream; then this happens:

Favorite opening credits of all time. Just in case you want something else to spur your interests, heres the theatrical trailer for this madness. The same song from the opening credits is used here, with another song from the soundtrack serving as the intro, but its such a damn good electropop track, it works wonderfully in both. Plus this shit is in 720 hd.

paprika (trailer)

paprika (film)

O Lucky Man! - When I Was Young I Would Type Your Name Just to See It in Front of Me

 DUN DUN DUUUUUN! more math rock! these guys I believe are on hiatus at the moment. That does not change the fact that they are a very talented two piece. There are no looping pedals or extra blah blah on this one folks.  The drummer plays both drums and keyboard simultaneously which with the kind of skill he has is more than doable. What I find to be extremely interesting about O Lucky Man!  is there ability to transition from Hella style riffery to an almost straight indie rock approach. Again just one of those things that sounds odd on paper but does well in practice. Its deff. one of the more singular sounds in the genre so not to be missed out. Another nice aspect is the vocals which while lyrically could stand to be a bit better but do add to the structure of the pieces. Dont be thrown off by the album cover either there were no children harmed in the release (80% sure)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kidcrash - Jokes (2007)

Throughout there life span Kidcrash has had the pleasure of morphing their sound slightly with each release. In the end though they are mostly categorized under the blanket term post-hardcore. Extremely energetic and technical with some nice shouting vocals. Mathy with sharp edges. They have many releases but this has to be the most solid in the end. Normally this kind of stuff is a little off putting but kidcrash manages to up the technicality and lower the dramatic wailings often attributed to screamo/emo.....or dare I mention the term "skramz" blah. By the way someone tell me since when it is ok  that everyone and there brother now gets to make up genre names and they suddenly become legit. Wizard-core? gimme a break

Also a thank you Ninko for tearing shit up lately on the swords. May the mother bird float down and bestow you with golden fruit snacks of love.

Jokes (2007)

Madlib Sampler 2

I wanted to do another post of some of the various work Madlib has put out through his career. Theres just so much great shit to chose from; my itunes is chock full of projects of his, and its really tough to find 3-4 tracks that really showcase his skills.. his shit runs deep. Certain albums could be posted alone and do him good justice, but i want to spread it out a bit.

Im going to start with a track from the Strong Arm Steady album he produced in summer 2010. This one is especially relevant because not only does it feature great madlib production with some smooth MCs, but its got Phonte from The Foreign Exchange/ Little Brother on vocals for that awesome chorus. I just recently picked up The Foreign Exchanges recent album, Authenticity, and it is some really great stuff. I will probably be writing about it soon.

Next, a track from the killer collaboration album Jaylib, where madlib and j dilla got together to fuse their skills and drop something sick. In their track The Red, a few things really show through in the recording; how great madlib and dilla both were, throughout their work, at finding really nice vocal samples to line the choruses of their songs; how hilariously bombed out madlibs rhyming is; and also how much fun the two of them must have had together.

Up next, short and sweet, is madlib getting down and dirty with Guilty Simpson on their album OJ Simpson; dude has a great aggressive flow a lot of the time, and madlib backs him up right with such a great sounding assembly of instruments.

Finally, another track from his collaboration with MF Doom, Madvillainy, which i have decided is the showcase album for you all to start on if you havent heard much madlib previously. It is the best of hip hop, and Accordian is one of many tracks i could have chose from to post, but not only is it a great song but it was apparently also released as a single; at least, thats the only reason i could see them producing a nice video for it. Love that line "ive got more lyrics than the church got 'oh lords'"

Nasty Drummer Challenge-Billy Martin

I told my good friend Vince about the Nasty Drummer Challenge, and the papa jo jones and whatnot that i had been posting, and he immediately chimed in with "shit man, has anyone posted some Billy Martin yet?" Until i looked up the music he was referring to, i hadnt even put it together that Billy Martin was the namesake from Medeski Martin and Wood, a band i have been familiar with but never read through their library. I always enjoyed the music that they put out, but after a year or so of not hearing their name, i was unsure exactly what they sounded like. Vince recommended Hermeto's Daydream, track 1 from their 1992 album Notes from the Underground

Hermeto's Daydream by ninko

Although a majority of the jamming on this song is dissonant, the 3 piece really holds it together, and having such talented players makes a smaller band sound that much fuller. The keys rip it up, the bass holds it down, and those drums are tight as shit and travel all over the place. Real nice modern jazz; ill be checking the rest of the album soon.

notes from the underground

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Littlest Viking - Labor and Lust (2009)

Fun and interesting instrumental rock music must be my special weakness along with babies, san pellegrino and a nice apple on a fall day. I can promise you have heard bits and pieces these guys throw around in other groups but they do it with a great bounce and even transcend to some emotional parts on a few songs. Very excellent two piece that I personally have been waiting to here from for awhile. the guitar can get a bit technical but generally likes to bounce along but boy can that drummer pummel his kit. If this is a new face for you and your into this sort of math rock bizz do it.

Labor and Lust (2009)

Kaki King

Solo acoustic guitar music to some may call to mind some pretty horrid thoughts. Im here to tell you that this is just not entirely the truth. Take for example miss Kaki King. A one time street musician, blue man group composer and now accomplished solo artist she is on her own level. Clearly inspired by the greats such as Micheal Hedges and crew of that ilk there is a fierce emotional nature not easily found in her contemporaries. Finger style guitar playing with all the percussive force you likely crave (or is it just me?) Anywhere is a great place to start but the below two are where I first fell in love and I know you will too.

Legs to Make Us Longer

Everybody Loves You

The New Breed- Joanna Newsom 2004

Throughout my life, i have been a gigantic fan of fingerpick style guitar. I remember when i was just learning to play Blink 182 and Nirvana on guitar, Green Day came out with Good Riddance (Time of your Life), and in that song, combined with my taking lessons on a deeper learning of the handwork of guitar, i had found my song to learn to sing and play at the same time. That combination, of dexterity and memory of handskill, combined with adding your own simpler vocal melody on top of a mathematically tricky hand riff became a challenge i took on instantly in my musical work of middle school forward. Champions of this combo are many but few; i have only clung on to a select group that friends from music school recommended (kurt engelburt and tony carnicelli, thank you very much). I have viewed many others proficient in the work, but Doc Watson and Joanna Newsom were the two that have stuck to me most dearly.

I have shared Doc Watson before; his rendition of Deep River Blues is classic, oldschool fingerpicking vocal action. And whatta voice! But, for The New Breed Challenge, i bring up a lady who has gathered a lot of talk in the last few years. Joanna Newsom has now released 3 studio albums, each of which got infinitely more intricate in composition, but also arrangement and length; her 3rd album was more than two hours of music spread over 3 discs.

Her first album, The Milk-Eyed Mendor, introduced her in a very lovely way. She is a classically trained harp player, starting at a very young age i am sure and practicing complicated music. But Milk-Eyed Mendor begins with a lovely harp line playing a simple pop structured song, with only her lovely harp work and her quite unique voice. Her voice was a tipping point for a lot of people back in 2004, showing her to them and not sure how to expect their thoughts to range. Some ate her up, some heard her voice hit those first notes and began cringing.

The Sprout and The Bean is a good representation of both her skill and her weird abrasiveness; the video makes sure to let you get a good look at the crazy things she is doing with her hands while singing... truly incredible things... but then in comes that nasal super overdubbed chorus for the vocals, and people turn away. She straightened this out over her next albums, but there is still something classic to the first four tracks from Milk-Eyed Mendor. The rest of the album takes the harp away and adds some of her lovely piano work, and also drums and bass; but from a student in finger work, the harp added a challenge i was not aware of. The work that you can train the hand you use for your bass tones (my hand is left, and im a right handed picker), in a harp as opposed to a guitar, is much easier to add harmonic intricacy to. And she knows her stuff; not many harpists out there go playing covers of Beatles songs, theyre all doing classical-music instrumentals.

the milk eyed mendor

Big Boi-Shutterbug

This will be a mini-This Music Moment. I was talking to metaghost earlier this night about how, before just a few weeks ago, the only Outkast i knew beyond their singles was Speakerboxx/The Love Below, and how strange of a place to start it was. At that time, the double album was in fact split up into 2 separate discs where Big Boi and Andre were in charge, respectfully. I picked up Stankonia recently, with Mrs. Jackson, So Fresh and So Clean, etc, and instantly began reconnecting with another recent purchase, Big Bois solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot. Big Boi brings it in considerable style, as usual, and offered this single right before the album dropped:

Such a sick video for such a sick song. Love that obvious product placement at the start, but damn this is such a good track. Its just goddamned sick all throughout, with that at first hilarious but then, when integrated into the future sound, just badass deep vocal rhythm line, the tight rhythm guitar bass and drum, and his smooth flow. That chorus is just so fresh. A little dirty though.

I wanted to also offer up his epilogue before the outro to Sir Lucious, The Train pt. 2. Again, with most hip hop that i listen to, production is my first impression for new listening. Big Boi doesnt ever disappoint, which i am now realizing as i dig deeper through their catalog. Outkast had it from the start, and as solo artists Big Boi and Andre have found their own styles and sound and have done well growing.
Shit do i love those palm muted licks that get their just deserts in that instrumental outro.
sir lucious left foot

More Muppets

Just in case you havent seen it, and because ive been listening to a bunch of A Night at the Opera lately, heres that awesome rendition that the Muppets did of Bohemian Rhapsody a few years ago. Although i dont dig the extended animal bit as much as i maybe should, the gonzo open with the chickens, and then the rest of the song are damned hilarious. Oh the production behind a Muppets music video like this.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The New Breed- Max Tundra

I wanted here to start a new thread of blog posts, The New Breed challenge, where you fellow bloggers and friends of the blog write up pieces about an album, artist or song that demonstrates the combination of two stellar artists/ genres of music into a completely new, unique sound. I have been taking in as much Max Tundra as possible this last week, and, in how i initially reviewed his work, a few things have changed but a few things have stayed the same.

First, i will backtrack and say again how Max Tundra combined the sounds of two of my favorite artists, Squarepusher and Passion Pit, into one new strong sound. While Squarepusher works in a completely instrumental-based level, using incredibly intricate melodic production behind wonderful rhythm arrangements, Passion Pit utilizes a more band friendly, keyboard-and-laptop approach to an electronic band, with wonderfully catchy vocals front and center. The things i have been loving about the Max Tundra album are the songs that really get deep into the combination of these two elements, creating intense electronic instrumentation behind straight forward vocal melodies. I have grown to appreciate this combination so heavily that the extended instrumental sections that Max provides, to me, only take away from the strength of his "Ill Combo" work. Instead of 10 minutes of electronic outros, i would much rather have 2 or 3 more rocking, 3-minute goodies such as Number our Days, off Parrallax Error Beheads You.

My only gripe about this track is the last 40 seconds or so, where it moves into an instrumental section that does not resolve with a refrain of the chorus, or something along those lines. The work before the instrumental outro is so lovely. It starts as a videogame soundtrack, but quickly gets a steady beat and some vocals layed over a bassline, with an expanding videogame soundscape behind it, and intricacy being added to all instruments; then that chorus hits, and everything scales back to give way to wonderful descending vocal lines and tight backing rhythms and harmonies. Those hills and valleys continue for the next verse and chorus, and then in comes fullscale electronic wiling-out madness. Although i have stopped enjoying these instrumental sections as much as i do his vocal work, everything is so well produced that listening to it through, as a complete album, gives some added enjoyment as it all flows very well track to track. I highly recommend it.

parallax error beheads you

This Music Moment-2005

This one might be short but sweet, cuz its late and i should go to bed.

I remember this one nice day a while back, talking to a lovely girl i kind of knew from highschool up on the facebook chat, reconnecting with her electronically and sharing some music. At the time, a bunch of the songs she showed me were unknown, but quickly went on to be huge. The best two examples of the stuff she was showing me was Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap, that song heavily featured first in the 500 Days of Summer trailer, and then in commercials all over; and then 1901 by Phoenix. Although this came in a prior conversation, this girl was on the ball. So she also showed me my first Feist, who i was only vaguely familiar with her and her work in Broken Social Scene. Who knew this incredibly cute chick was writing incredibly cute pop music with soul, and working effortlessly; her first two albums have been released within years of each other, but she hasnt released anything recently. Hmm..

So on that lovely facebook-chat-filled night, she showed me Mushaboom, off Feists first solo album Let it Die. This is such a great pop song, and the video works so well with its theme. Its about making the best out of what you have, sung with such an uniquely optimistic voice. One of its deeper breezy lines, my favorite line in the song, goes "And we'll collect the moments one by one/ i guess thats how the futures done". The video is just great. I like how she is singing along to her own song as if its on the radio, and then getting lost in it and floating into fantasy as she levitates down to the ground to join the dance party in the streets.


Because i have shown it to a lot of friends, and because the muppets and jim henson have a special place in my heart, i decided to include this hilariously great rendition of 1234 that Feist performed on Sesame Street. Although it was my favorite show when i was a small child, i had only the vaguest memories of that program, with most of my memory being overshadowed by the main muppet crew. About a year ago, i was sick and flipping channels, and The Muppets take Manhattan was on, and it was so strange. I knew all the characters intimately, but had no recollection of the story of the film or any of its parts. It blew me away; i started checking out videos of skits from The Muppet Show from the 70s, which are all incredible. Looks like this will be a 2 video post; i cannot neglect showing you guys the goddamned hilarious Harry Belafonte skit, where he performs the Banana Boat Song for the first time on television. Fozzy makes sure it runs nice and smooth. I also love how the parrot wont work with the deadly tarantula.

Quickly into this Muppets search, i found this clip of Feist doing a slightly altered version of 1234, to fit a learning formula that the show established decades ago. She counts various things on Sesame Street; monsters walking 'cross the floor, penguins knocking at the door, etc.. She took the super catchy melodies she had written and altered them with the silly folk on Sesame Street to make a version of the song for a childrens audience that not only opened that door for them musically, but in the context as a learning tool, brought those kids an epic demonstration of how awesome counting can be.

Congradulations Shaun and Melanie!

This is just an awesome song that just begs for celebratory dancing. Give him about 1:38 of going nutso on the piano before he brings in all his intensely serious big band to rock out their shits in great composition and swing.

Battles - Gloss Drop (2011)

There a few reasons why I have not posted about Battles yet. Before we get into that however there are a few things you should know concerning my feelings about them.

1. Best band I have ever seen. So incredibly tight it is just sick.
2. John Stanier is a fucking mythological beast behind the kit
3.Mirrored   made a lot of people cock their heads and say "oh shit, math rock can be this?"

As for my reasoning behind waiting so long is because I really wanted to wait and see about this new album now that the group has cut one very crucial member.

For those not in the know this is Battles. Made up of Ian Williams (ex-axe man of Don Cab), Dave Konopka (formerly of Lynx) and John Stanier (former drummer of Helmet) Truly some strong blood going on here.

Gloss Drop is an interesting listen to be sure. While not to say Mirrored was an organic listen in anyway Gloss Drop further distances itself relying on keys and samples aplenty but never to the detriment of the pieces. Now cut down to three members the compositions sound clearer and more to the point and by extension songs are more structured. Guest vocalists all do a great job in their individual songs without taking away from the instrumentation which has always been key. I had a bad feeling about this one for no good reason. I really enjoy that it is a progression but not a very large one. Im sure I will be finding myself liking it more as time goes on. Maybe thats what you really want in the end small progress and not mountain moving.