Saturday, December 14, 2013

Year in Review (Part 2) Return of Jafar

Del Paxton - Worst. Summer. Ever.
There was an evolution of my love for this record. It started with initial listens of the first few songs, followed by seeing them live, then the album finished. Interest turned to like transformed to love. This is honest work, alt-emo of the highest order. You can sing along while your shaking your rump and that to me is a hard thing to achieve. all of this while still be impressed by the songwriting chops. I can safely say that bigger and better things are destined for these boys and hopefully more people start taking notice.

Inside//Outside - Self Titled
This album is many many many wonderful styles gleefully crammed into the body of a  jazz fusion monster. A round of applause because they make this horribly complex music sound like a gorgeous sunday stroll. A true sign for me when an album has so infiltrated my life is when months later it has seeped into my office playlist. It operates as background music when asked or second by second torn apart with intent listening ears. Calming and disorienting within moments. Its in these opposites playing off one another there is built a singular release. I need more of this, please.

A.M. Overcast - Pellow
Alexander Litinsky lords over the realm of math pop like a restless king. I challenge anyone to find music this year that is so sugar sweet yet has disgustingly sharp corners and mathy tight turns. Its just a whole lot of fun....and whats fun without a large amount of handclaps? Trademark boy girl vocals add to the brew as well Alex's expert kit work. Makes a man want to cuddle up with a pellow.

Viridians - (sp) arrows EP
From the first few notes I was hooked to the tune of 23 listens in the first night I stumbled on this album. It hasn't left my side since. Why? Its gotta be those vocals man, including those stunning harmonies and thats not a trait most post hardcore math rock can boast for sure. However, the instrumental portion is so on step that it just clicks with something deep within my soul.  Thats the largest compliment I can pull out really so if you haven't educated yourself on this then redemption is only a click away.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013....a year in review...(PART 1)

Here is the first installment of my round up for the year. These are by no means an "ordered list of my favorite albums from 2013" like you will see elsewhere..... However these are releases that have had real staying power for me through the year. More to come soon.

Our Daily Fix - Tour Singles 
The fix is in... (North of America reference anyone?) but seriously ODF has a formula that should be the envy of any band going. High energy fun with loads of jazz love, great math twists and cohesive songwriting chops. does it help that their sax player rips? yes possibly. Tour Singles has been a go to for myself this year and after having seen them for the second time it has only made my feeling's all the more fond.

Piles and Piles - Premonitions Say
Boston based Piles maybe a fresh faced group but that certainly didn't stop them from landing a 747 on the head of pin. By that I mean their first effort is absolutely brimming with great ideas executed well and doesn't dwell on any one for too long. I can easily see their next release being an even greater barn torcher because of this, mark my words. Also the under lying shoegaze element these gents pass around cloaks these already great songs with some pizazz. Add in some more than capable vocals and an ability to launch from gauzy to full bore rock at a moments notice and you've got a top contender for my heart in 2013.


Toasted Plastic - June Highs
Jersey band number 2? better check the water. Toasted win the award for melding that punk rock sound/energy into impossibly delightful pop delights while still careening around the landscape like a drunken master. That would be enough for me but couple that with some insanely catchy vocals both sung and screamed and its a recipe for me loving the junk out of this release. Somehow sounding like a throwback to the golden years of math rock in the 90's while still smelling so fresh and so clean clean. A must on my list for bands to see in 2014.


Gulfer - Transcendals
What can I say about Montreal's Gulfer that hasn't already been said by myself this year? An impossible understanding of rhythm displayed and juxtaposing that in their song writing. Everyone in this group is firing perfectly. Carrying the delicate melodies to music that realistically shouldn't sound this gorgeous is no easy feat. Oh? whats this? another member and a new song? and its somehow better?
yes, yes it is.
Get used to this name because 2014 will be the year of the Gulfer


Quirky Love Interest

Gotta rep that upstate NY lovin. Two piece instrumental math unit Quirky Love Interest are pretty flipping close to dropping what I believe will be an extremely lovely album. There are a few videos floating around on the interwebs of their live stuff which is pretty clutch but this play through by the drummer shows some really cohesive songwriting and inventive riffery. The duo's catch a lot of heat from me but I'm resting easy that Quirky will be forcing me to rethink things a bit.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Phantom Tollbooth - Power Toy (1988)

I understand December is typically for yearly lists but you won't catch one on this site from me. Possibly a few albums that have had staying power but nope sorry take your pitchfork elsewhere for a list. So I'll do you one better and reflect back  into the early years. Truly not enough people these days want to speak about formative bands in math rock these days. One of many such groups is the interestingly named Phantom Tollbooth (after a famous childrens book...if your not familiar its a good read for anyone). Extremely active and prolific in their relatively short life span (1984-1988)  these guys threw down some fairly left field music for the time. A generous mix of post-punk, noise, art rock and the ever important jazz element made Tollbooth a crazy fast ever shifting group to nail down. If that description sounds a bit like your used to thats because at times it certainly smacks of math rock.

Take a listen to the song "Crash Mode" and you'll begin to see what I mean. They were contemporaries of all the hallowed groups from the 80's (Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma, Minutemen ect) and were on the excellent Homestead label (Big Black, Bastro, Seam, Dinosaur Jr. among many other wonderful groups) "Power Toy" was their last album in 1988 and is arguably their best which would be a great starting point if your just coming into them. Robert Pollard (of Guided by Voices) famously commissioned the nixing of all vocals from Power Toy and recorded his own with new lyrics with it being called "Beard of Lightning" in 2003...strange.