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.