Friday, July 25, 2008

Awesome Color - Awesome Color (2006)

I've noticed that when I discover there is a new album by a band I like I end up sharing the album that made me want the new release here first. I guess I want you to take it all in under the same order as myself. In any case I will likely follow this up sooner or later with the new album by Awesome Color but just bear with me or find the new one yourself. Awesome Color is a three-piece band made up of three lucky Michiganders who managed to escape the death trap that the mitten is to the grand city of New York. Musically they feel like the offspring of the MC5 and Stooges style of hard rock and punk attitude that Detroit has come to embrace in some circles. As punk rockers they also partake in the use of "Awesome" as their surname in stage names, but their real names aren't hard to find. The guitar is full of riffs and the bass is extremely fuzzed-out. There is squealing horns that give some tracks a nice boost of sound range. I wouldn't necessarily call what Awesome Color does noise rock, but it has enough of it in there that it is able to give a fresh impact to the New York City punk that has been dwindling in recent years. They're certainly gritty, but not sleazy, something I find respectable. Probably nothing Earth-shaking here, but I thought that were pretty sweet and I really loved the album art.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Awesome Color - Awesome Color

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scientist - Heavyweight Dub Champion (1980)

Keeping my word, here is some of Scientist's earliest really self-done work. Heavyweight Dub Champion is lives up to its name fantastically. It is an epitome of what dub should be in my opinion, and I can listen to it for hours and hours without aid of any mind-altering substances whatsoever. The album is more dynamic that what was released on Dub In The Roots Tradition. The music reaches out and tries to grasp you rather than just letting you slide in. However, if you give in to it you'll surely find yourself lounging about to it. Not something I'd recommend for a long car drive, as that could turn out in a ditch sleepily confused. I'm not feeling driven to make a long post (likely influenced by the dub I've been listen to this morning). The album is great, make sure you download it.

To be had here (160 kbps):
Scientist - Heavyweight Dub Champion

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Unicorns ~ some demos

indThis post is copied from a document I typed whilst in traffic, which to my best judgment is moving at an average speed of 12 miles per hour, but i might be too generous with that estitimate. Obviously it is much standing still, so I can type frequently. As for safety death seems like a sweet release to this mind-numbing waste of time that is Macomb County (never ever come here, even to visit). As listening to music is one of the very few options available in the car, I’ve decided to write my endorsement of the album I’m listening to (in reality, the 3rd album this car trip alone). Not a real album at that though, it is the early demos by the Unicorns called Three Inches of Blood. I am sure many of heard of it, but I don’t see the harm in sharing it. I really can’t stop listening to it lately, and this is hardly the first time I’ve formed a mild obsession with the Unicorns. I can’t get enough of them combination of indie pop and noise rock that they so outstandingly pull off. The fact that these are lo-fo demos hardly matters when it is a decidedly lo-fo band to begin with. Additionally, that some of the tracks are the same songs just preformed differently isn’t bad either; I mean they’re fucking different. I will admit that the best tracks are those unique to it, such as “Down on the Corner” (not a CCR cover thankfully) and “Peach Moon” which has some excellent keyboards. Although, the very best in my opinion is the raunchy and sporadically rhythmed track entitled “Do the Knife Fight.” The song begins with the swapping vocals that the Unicorns often unitize, but continues to have shifting beats and after a great drum solo busts into epitomized noise rock croon that I can never fully manage to purge from my mind. Certainly not to be underestimated if you like the album but haven’t yet bothered to get any demos by the group (note my assumption that you have the album and EP).
Upon finally getting home I’ve decided there is not good reason to no include in this post the other album of demos I’ve got by the Unicorns.Named for the one of their own lyrics, The Unicorns Are People Too is an excellent set of demos that explore alternate versions of some great songs the did on the main release. Some of them are considerably slower like the version of “Ghost Mountain” heard hereupon. Not unlike the other album there are originals to be found and enjoyed as well, but seeing as I’ve already given as detailed a review as I normally care to on the first you’ll just have to take my word for this one and get it too, damn it.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Three Inches of Blood (2002)

The Unicorns Are People Too (2003)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Schlammpeitziger - Collected Simple Songs Of My Temporary Past (2001)

Apologize for the lack of frequency of new posts. I've been at a loss for time to make many post at all as of late. Family and work is demanding an ever increasing amount of my days; don't these people understand I need to use the tubes? With this small opening I've managed grasp I thought I'd share the album that inspired the blag's name. For those unfamiliar, Schlammpeitziger is a German electronic project for which one Jo Zimmermann is responsible. I read, but by no means can confirm this myself, that the name is a small alteration on a German name of a type of fish. To me, it is just long, German, and hard to pronounce, but I love that. Beyond that name however, there is the brilliantly simple music. Simple music seems to be something I am endeared toward, with the exception of overly complicated post-rock. Schlammpeitziger released three albums in, one in each 1993, 1998, and 2000. None of these would I have found out about if it wasn't for the compilation that Zimmermann made afterwards, pulling for all 3, entitled aptly Collected Simple Songs Of My Temporary Past. The completely instrumental tracks are mainly presets from a Casio with bits and pieces of samples and drum machine. I find them strangely invigorating. The futuristic sounding music is enhanced by the excelling naming of the tracks with half-German, half-space age inspired titles. An example is the self-referencig "Spaceagent Zimmermann" or track the I recieved the blag's name from "Spacerokkmountainrutsch." I hope it leaves an impression on you like it did me.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Schlammpeitziger - Collected Simple Songs Of My Temporary Past

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dodos

"Here they come, we panic, scream and run" - from "The Ball" by the Dodos
Hailing from the progressive western city, San Fransisco, the Dodos are a relatively newly formed group, dated back to only 2006. Nevertheless, they've produced two fantastic folk albums already. Sometimes they're mistakenly called Dodo Bird on the internet, but this is a confusion arises from the EP with that title release by the founding member, Meric Long. The first album, Beware of the Manics, is a rough but captivating recording of original folk songs. The folk is different from both the sad and slow meandering of acts like Iron & Wine and the some-called freak folk exemplified by Devendra Banhart. The drums are louder, the guitars more rhythmically repetitive, all creating a fast paced but definitively folk sound. I implore you to listen to the first album in order completely through without pause or skipping. I'm absolutely certain it enhances the experience by allowing you to become comfortable enough with the stunning sound to be able to absorb the equally fantastic lyrics. The second tack "Trades & Tariffs" is amongst the most outstanding of all the tracks, but is hardly without many competitors. Far from being overly serious, I cannot prevent myself from grinning when paying attention to the lines sung in "Beards" as they are about exactly that, facial hair. "Elves" has some amazing yet simple piano playing that makes it perhaps the most memorable of all the songs. I'd have to say this album will remain one of my favorites for as long as I could reasonably suspect.
The recently released second album, Visiter (the misspelling is theirs not mine), follows many of the same stylistic underpinnings that made the first album so enjoyable, but laudably attempts to built upon them. Far more polished than the first, Visiter also possesses more tries at building up emotion compared to others abruptness. However, if the quickness of Beware of the Maniacs is what endeared you to it, this might be a disappointment. Either way, it doesn't take up the majority of the album, and anyone who liked the first should rightfully like the second. I haven't listened to it nearly as much, but that is mostly because of the fact that is indeed much newer. The singing is perhaps improved with the greater clarity of the vocals, but this is really a small detail. I am sure that Visiter is going to stand time equally well with Beware of the Maniacs, both becoming shining examples of modern folk.

To be had here:

Beware of the Maniacs (2006) @ 224 VBR kbps

Visiter (2008) @ 256 VBR kbps

Thursday, July 17, 2008

His Name Is Alive - Xmmer (2007)

As I said I might, this is a posting of the newer His Name Is Alive album, called Xmmer as you might've guessed by now. The style of the album follows Detrola very closely, so much so that the band has claimed it to be a sequel. This is even bore out in that Defever's statement that "Go To Hell Mountain" is a sequel to "I Thought I Saw You Moving." I think that the idea of openly admitting a continuation of a theme, especially such a fantastically designed one as Detrola, is far superior to just a rehash passed off as something new, that too many bands try to do. If you've ever been one to listen to album and wish it was twice as long to enjoy it longer, this is exactly what you've been waiting for. Anyway, if you want to know about how it sounds just read my review Detrola and imagine more tracks that are just as well composed or of the numerous views of either on the interwebs here.

To be had here (192 kbps):
His Name Is Alive - Xmmer

Lisabö - Ezlekuak

Lisabö is for me on the harder side of my listening spectrum, as I do not fancy metal or screamo whatsoever. However unfitting it might seem, there are many post-hardcore bands that I do have a liking for. Lisabö is one such group, and one of the better ones amongst them in my opinion. The band comes from the Basque Country of Spain, and thus are the only band I have ever heard that sings in the Basque language. Accordingly, I haven't a clue what they're saying, but it doesn't sound like Spanish. I cannot say for sure they don't sing in Spanish ever, and I wasn't able to tell perfectly, but I don't believe there's any Spanish on Ezlekuek (which if my years of French have served me well, is not a Romance language rooted word as they don't commonly use the letter 'k'). Information of the band is hard to come across, at least in English. states they utilize a dual drumming band set-up, which is logically with the large amount of percussion on the tracks. The band isn't a brash post-hardcore along the lines of These Snakes Have Arms, but more of a calmer thought out style with post-rock leanings in some parts. The singing is fantastic if in impossible to understand save for the world's very small percentage of Basque speakers (being unrelated to the Spanish, Catalan and French doesn't help). If you're in the mood for something unique, but not merely an oddity, they're an excellent choice.

To be had here:
Lisabö - Ezlekuak

Monday, July 14, 2008

Scientist - Dub In The Roots Tradition (1996)

Scientist is my personal favorite dub musician. Overton Browne, the gentleman that calls himself Scientist, was a mere 18 years old when he when he cut his first album for Roots Tradition. He indeed brought attention to himself via his considerable talents at the age of 16. Despite his age, the Jamaican youth hit all the notes correctly. Dub In The Roots Tradition is a set of songs recorded in the 70s that Scientist did with the help of Don Mais, his early discoverer. The album is amongst the mellowest and most pleasant collection of songs I've gotten a chance to indulge in. It is crafty and humorous how even in a nearly completely instrumental album the few words to be found in the form of song titles are so memorable. All but a handful have a reference to the genre itself, like the stunning "Dub Bible" or the wittily named "See A Dub Face." "African Daughter Dub" is one that breaks the instrumental tilt found througout much of the album, but does nothing to drag it down. In fact, I find it one of the best songs with some absolutely trippy vocals. In what i perceive as a gesture of humility, Scientist entitled the first track "King Tubby's Answer" thus giving a nod to the legendary innovator of dub and Browne's early benefactor. My friend tells me he's be sampled frequently, and this hardly is a surprise. The way it sounds so very unpretentious and welcoming makes it accessible to even those unfamiliar to dub, and not a track of it is a real remix (however you feel about that). I will likely be posting his 1980 album in the near future too, as I often recommend both albums to friends.

To be had here (160 kbps):
Scientist - Dub In The Roots Tradition

Saturday, July 12, 2008

These Are Powers

These Are Powers is interestingly pioneering in how they approach their experimental sound. Heavy on improvisation and repetition alike they can be noticeably descending from bands like Hella and Black Dice, but unlike either there is the present of what are unmistakably punk, yet high pitched, vocals. These Are Powers are part of the newer wave of noise rocking bands to emerge, but like many others of this generation of groups it has members that aren't new to the genre. All three of the individuals that make up These Are Powers have been, or still are, engaged in other bands. Anna Barie, the vocalist and guitarist, is in both Knife Skills and Fxxxing Lion. Bill Salas has drummed in Brenmar and perhaps the most recognizable concurrent bands are of the bassist Pat Noecker, who's a member of n0 things in addition to Liars. This type of busy young persons has taken it upon themselves to push the genre beyond the no wave of the 80s, 90s and begin of the century, indeed These Are Powers deems themselves something called ghost punk. Although, it is for time to tell whether this new subgenre name will have any sway. Personally, I am quite excited by both the growth in notable new groups by the collaboration of established noise musicans as well as the more or less completely new bands like Tera Melos and Health. The shared files today are two EPs by These Are Powers as well as their full-length Terrific Seasons.

To be had here:
These Are Powers (2006) @ 192 kbps [can't find album art]

Terrific Seasons (2007) @ 224 VBR kbps

Taro Tarot (2008) @ 128 kbps

Friday, July 11, 2008

Death By Chocolate - Death By Chocolate (2001)

Quirky to an extreme, Death By Chocolate created some strange sounding indie pop songs. Formed by way of contacts made between a set of young British musicians and the twee pop label owner Mike Always, Death By Chocolate is stereotypical of what the genre offers. The inspirations for the cute sounds they make are equally sunshine pop and children films. This self-titled album was the first full-length of two to have been released. The overwhelmingly upbeat and joyous melodies of the music is given an interesting twist by virtue that much of the lyrics are in fact comical and often nonsensical poems recited by the young Angela Faye Tillett in a very strong English accent. Even this, however, is not something unique to Death By Chocolate, as they were slightly preceded by Lollipop Train's year 2000 album, Junior Electric Magazine, and shared 2001 with Play Power by David Candy (a pseudonym of Ian Svenonius [Nation of Ulysses, Make-Up, and Cupid Car Club]). Oddly enough, all have in common the thick British accents and much adoration for food, especially sweets. I find that if you spend an entire evening listening to music of this sytle you'll feel really disconnected from reality not in the best way. Nevertheless, just like the sweets they covet, if listened to in moderation they are quite pleasurable.

To be had here (160 kbps):
Death By Chocolate - Death By Chocolate

Thursday, July 10, 2008

L- Holy Letters (2004)

Hiroyuki Usui, half of August Born, did a hard to find solo side project in the 80s and 90s where he went by merely a lone letter, L. Holy Letters was the sole album to come forth from his labors, but was subsequently coveted by listeners and re-released. The music is psychedelic and in possession of a spacey mood. Most of the lyrics feel like they're read rather than sung by Usui, and every last one is in his native Japanese. However, at points there is drawn out, quietly audible singing to be heard. The two largest stand-out tracks on the epics "Holy Letter" and "Troll" in which if you're not careful you can lose track of several minutes when hearing. The instruments vary and and are numberous throughout, but I'll keep this post shorter, just take my word for it that you'll find this most likable.

Might need to retag the album title.

To be had here (192 kbps):
L- Holy Letters

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tera Melos

The sound of Tera Melos is hard to define outside of experimental, which I'll willingly admit doesn't tell very much. They shift from math rock angular sounds, extremely brash and thundering noise rock, and seemingly calmer post-rock sometimes all within a single song. Overall, very energetic and provoking, the music they make doesn't as a freshness that should be well respected by listeners of any of the before mentioned genres. The young men that make up Tera Melos are based in Roseville, California and are signed to the suitably experimental driven label, Sargent House. Several members had involvement with hardcore bands prior to the creation of Tera Melos. To date they've released two full-lengths along with an early demo that can be found without too much difficulty. Luckily if you haven't got any of them, I'm sharing them all today. There is a split with By the End of Tonight but I didn't get to uploading that yet. The songs are instrumental and the self-titled album doesn't even have true song titles, just Melody 1 through 8. Drugs To The Dear Youth is the newest album, and its songs are generally shorter but no less enjoyable. Basically, this is one group I can never call boring and it is hard to imagine ever tiring of.

To be had here:
Demo (2004) @128 kbps [Can't find album art]

Tera Melos (2005) @ 256 VBR kbps

Drugs To The Dear Youth (2007) @ 192 kbps

Athletic Automaton - 5 Days In Africa (2003)

Athletic Automaton is a two-piece group two men previously engaged in noise rocking exploits. Stephen Mattos formerly of Arab On Radar and Patrick Crump the erstwhile drummer of Pellum 123 formed Athletic Automaton in Providence, Rhode Island. The name has become more than just assonance; they wear sweatbands, gym trunks and jerseys not unlike those popular in 70s basketball during shows. 5 Days In Africa is an early EP (or really short LP, 21 minutes), with the names of the songs seemingly chornicling fictitious events on a voyage to the African continent. However, don't bother looking into the lyrics to see if creates a concept album, for there are no lyrics whatsoever. At times Mattos' guitar playing has an effect the almost sounds like a huge hive of bees buzzing, which could be the inspiration the song title "The Bee Roundup." The drumming holds a the rhythm throughout, even if it is meandering. The band does have other releases and as far as I know is still active, their latest release (their first full-length) came out in 2007. All from the excellent label Skin Graft. Additionally, they've worked in conjuction with other noise rock bands; a split with Made In Mexico and a split/combined effort with AIDS Wolf. For fans of noise they're well-worth getting.

To be had here (320 VBR kbps):
Athletic Automaton - 5 Days In Africa

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Snoopdroop - Artificial Flavor (2005)

Hailing from San Jose, Snoopdrop is lone man's 8-bit challenge to the world. Artificial Flavor is has only 21 minutes of play time, thus making it more of an EP than a true album in my eyes, but it has much packed into those minutes. The tracks are made up of mainly gameboy sounds, which makes the album utterly chiptune. The mind behind Snoopdrop makes his wit and style apperant with his use of some very neat song titles like "Master Mango is in Trouble" and "Banana Split Havoc Gang." Moreover, I admire his use of what I remind me of runts fruit candies for the album art. Fruity candy is an excellent parallel in the food world to what chiptune is in the musical one. Artificial Flavor is abrasive, but in an attention-grabbing fashion opposed to an unlikable racket. Very quick, exciting and pretty in its own way I find it fun to play the album as soon as I wake up sometimes to wake myself up.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Snoopdroop - Artificial Flavor

Saturday, July 5, 2008

His Name Is Alive - Detrola (2006)

His Name Is Alive is an inspiring band for me. The brainchild of Warren Defever, a native of Livonia, Michigan, which is just west of Detroit. Defever is very active in the metropolitan Detroit music scene, often lending his talents to many other groups and has even made his out studio called the UFO Factory. However, his main artistic outlet is His Name Is Alive. The band is not a merely a local upstart I wanted to share; on the contrary His Name Is Alive is rather renowned and is in possession of a large and diverse fan base. Additionally, they've been around for a bit, releasing nine full-length albums (plus many other EPs, compliations, etc.) to date and a tribute album came out in 2007 entitled Sweet Earth Flower. Despite the recognition they've received, they still do five dollar shows at high schools, which is where I first saw them live. At show they're known to lend out instruments for the crowd to use during the performance.
Personally, I find Warren Defever an interesting man. I heard him talking about his life-long home, Livonia, on the local NPR station the other week. I thought he very aptly explain the feeling of living in a Michigan suburb. He basically spoke of how he knew there was nothing to do and nothing to be gained by living there, but at the same time life does ever seem to present a good time to leave. Defever speaks this way even thought he went to Japan and married a local girl; to my amazement he even got her to move to Livonia. Sometimes I fear I'll get stuck here, in fact it has been my first thought every morning for the last decade. On the other hand I'm no Warren Defever, writing amazing songs and who's certainly never short on fun occupations to take up. The musicians and other artists are Detroit's saving grace that prevents it from becoming a total loss in my opinion.
As for the album I share today, it is their eighth, and my favorite called Detrola. Notable is that the long-time vocalist Karin Oliver is absent, being replaced by her cousin who's stage name is Andy FM. Despite the change, the singing is absolutely outstanding. Musically, the songs have catchy electronic sounds, lovely horns and funky guitars. "I Thought I Saw" is song with an accusatory theme that the vocals of Andy FM especially stand out and the exception talent of Defever's lyrics and instrumentation. "In My Dream" is lovely and has a great innuendo sexual maneuver I'll leave unnamed. The entire album is without a let down, and I frequently will listen to it when having company over or driving. I hope you find them as insteresting as I do.

To be had here (320 kbps);
His Name Is Alive - Detrola

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eux Autres - Hell Is Eux Autres (2004)

Eux Autres is simply put, cute indie pop. The band is the duo of Nicholas and Heather Larimer, who are brother and sister. Their name is means "them others" in French and admirably, they sing songs in French, albeit not masterfully. Hell Is Eux Autres is the first of two currently released albums. Tallying only nine short tracks, the album is brief but so very sweet. Both siblings take turns on singing the songs and are equally effective in results. Better yet, on some tracks including the opener "Ecoutez Bien!" they sing together. Eux Autres can come off as twee, but Nicholas' brash guitar strokes free it from being pigeonholed too easily. Amongst my favorite numbers is the English-sung "Partick Nil" which features excellent harmonies between the two, as well as uncomplicated drumming and guitar playing. However, "Le Project Citron" made me stop and try to understand what they were telling me before I decided that it isn't for me to comprehend, rather there for enjoyment. If I keep after it I might be able to post their newer album later this month, but the blasted holiday here as kept me working additional, tiring hours. Do give them a listen, for the music like this is part of why I tried to move to Portland (where they're based), but I've failed to escape Michigan's iron grip yet.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Eux Autres - Hell Is Eux Autres

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Mummies - Never Been Caught (1992)

The Mummies are an absolutely fantastic example of what a garage rock group should be. These gentlemen understand and fully respect the various aspects that make garage rock a wonderful and exciting genre of modern music. First, and most obviously apparent is that their name The Mummies is more than just a word to refer to them, but they go to the extra length of dressing up as mummies for performances. Good garage rockers know that the live show is the best way for people to enjoy their music. Accordingly, additional effort put into the showmanship is a valuable asset. Next, garage rock is definitively lo-fi in nature, and hardly ever can be otherwise successfully. The Mummies recorded many songs in an unmodified basement; embracing the imperfect acoustics. Lastly, but perhaps most outstanding, is the complete rejection of digital technology in the creation and distribution of their art. The Mummies began to make music back in 1988 and refused to release anything on CDs until after the turn of the century, instead depending on vinyl. In fact, and motto of theirs was "Fuck CDs," which I wholeheartedly agree with. It is worth noting that despite their more recent relaxation of the anti-compact disc line, the albums aren't any higher in sound quality. Musically, the band makes rough and loud garage rock often accompanied by somewhat intelligible vocals and shouts. Unmistakely made for getting excited about, their garage could set a venue on fire. They pull much from surf rock and are nothing like what some music magazines will ineptly refer to a garage coming from Britian. A different sound that what I grew up accoustom to from Detroit, but certainly just as deserving of being called garage rock icons as the Gories.

To be had here (192 kbps):
The Mummies - Never Been Caught