Archive for January, 2011

Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock

Posted in Reggae/Ska/Dancehall on January 26, 2011 by evilpacman18

Reggae/Dancehall; 2005

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I’ve been wanting to add a Reggae section for a while (including Ska [including Ska Punk even though that’s technically Rock] and Dancehall) because there’s quite a few albums I can add to it. So my next few posts will probably be in this section. Um. Damian Marley. Son of Bob. The biggest complaint I hear about him is “Baw I can’t understand what he’s saying! =(” I’ve been listening to Reggae since before I even really got into music, Sean Paul was my favorite artist for the longest time way back when. So listening to so much of him and quite a bit of Shaggy as well, I got a feel for how the Jamaican dialect sounds, what the slang means, and how to make sense of it. So when people say they can’t understand what Damian is saying (his accent is actually easier to understand than Sean Paul and Shaggy) it kinda makes me mad since that’s not really saying it’s bad but they still refuse to listen to it. Even though to get over that problem listening to it MORE would be the proper thing to do.

And listening to more of him really shouldn’t be that hard. His voice, even if you can’t understand it, is phenomenal. If you remember my review of Busdriver’s album Jhelli Beam I said that he had this control over melody to the point where he rapped and ALMOST sounded like he was singing but you could still tell he was rapping. Damian Marley is the exact opposite. It’s almost easy to mistake this album for a Hip-Hop album because Damian’s delivery is so talky/chanty that you can easily think he’s rapping in songs like In 2 Deep for instance but he never loses so much of his melody that he actually IS Rapping. There’s a fine line that he’s very careful not to cross.

Of course, I’m just a single opinion. Wikipedia has this album labeled as Reggae fusion. Specifically, a fusion with Hip-Hop. I’d say that’s a misunderstanding of the album’s production. A lot of it is typical Reggae. The chord structures and accent on the upbeat in songs like There For You, Welcome to Jamrock, and We’re Gonna Make It make those songs pure Reggae. But most of the other songs have a Pop-styled beat that could be confused for Hip-Hop because they would be good for rapping over. But all the beats (except maybe All Night) have this distinctly African sound that, combined with Pop, form Dancehall. My understand of Dancehall is that it’s the chord structure of Reggae with the beat of Pop music. I’m sure most people don’t care about music being put in its appropriate genre as much as I do. It’s a “passion” of mine. So just listen to it. It’s good.

-Jerry

1. Confrontation
2. There For You
3. Welcome to Jamrock
4. The Master Has Come Back
5. All night feat. Steven Marley
6. Beautiful feat. Bobby Brown
7. Pimpa’s Paradise feat. Steven Marley
8. Move!
9. For the Babies
10. Hey Girl
11. Road to Zion feat. Nas
12. We’re Gonna Make It
13. In 2 Deep
14. Khaki Suit feat. Bounty Killer & Eek-A-Mouse

Stand-out tracks:
There For You
Confrontation
Welcome to Jamrock

-Jerry

Faust – Faust

Posted in Experimental/Avant-garde on January 20, 2011 by evilpacman18

Krautrock; 1971

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^My upload

It was hard to pick an album to do first after taking such a long break. Mostly because I hadn’t listened to anything in so long. I also wanted to add to one of the genre sections that I’ve been ignoring. Which is basically everything but Rock. I’m kind of cheating here, this is technically Experimental Rock but I like to think of it as Experimental music with Rock influences where as Rock music with Experimental influences would be more like Mr. Bungle or Portal. Krautrock is what the movement of German Avant-garde Rock musicians in the 70s was called. I don’t know much about it but I think Faust is one of the bigger names to emerge from it. The album is three songs long. Why Don’t You Eat Carrots? clocks in at 9:34. Meadow Meal is unfortunately the shortest song on the album at 8:05. And the last track on the album is Miss Fortune at 16:36.

Why Don’t You Eat Carrots is an interesting choice as the first track. It seems more like a closer. It begins with noises. As every Experimental song must. The noises sound like (probably are) guitar feedback, in the same vein as Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. There’s static and different voices fading in and out, like trying to find a working station on a radio with no signal. There’s some piano played before it kicks into this bizarre circus tune. I’ve never seen Stephen King’s IT but I understand it’s a horror movie involving clowns. I’d imagine this tune would be extremely appropriate for a scene where an evil clown jumps out of nowhere with a knife. Trumpets and expressionist chord structures. It becomes the overall theme of the song for a couple reasons. About 4 minutes of the song are spent on it including the outro and a big chunk of the middle. It’s also one of the few instances of music on the song. If I was asked to hum the song, I would hum the trumpet part, since humming guitar feedback and radio static is probably pretty hard.

Meadow Meal also starts off with noises. Surprise, surprise. Echoes of drums and chimes and a piano. Vocals come in around 2:35. They’re in English even though the band is German. You could confuse the band for a British Prog band at this point of the song. Slightly after the third minute begins it’s clear that this is the most Rock-ish song on the album. There’s some really great guitar and organ work with drums forming a good backing although they’re edited to be pretty quiet. There’s a guitar riff and solo for about a minute and a half. And then back to noises. The sound of a thunderstorm, this time. The song ends with a Baroque-style organ solo.

Finally, Miss Fortune, which actually doesn’t start with noises. It starts where the Baroque-style organ left off as drums and guitar come in again. Guitar feedback here, but not as grating as in the first track. It goes into a sort of feedback solo that’s pretty unique. Around the 7th minute the song picks up again after a bit of a silence at the end of the guitar solo. The drums kick in finally and the drummer gets a chance to shine, which he does well. Then there’s one more guitar solo that’s ended abruptly by an interruption from the piano. There’s a few more noises and the song ends with a poem read by two of the band members, word by word, which I thought was a fit ending even though I would have liked the opening track to end it instead.

So why should you listen to this? Well, it requires a bit of patience. It’s a good album for people who already enjoy atonalities and overused musical eccentricities. I wouldn’t say it could be a good bridge into the genre however Meadow Meal can function as a solid Rock song and is probably the most accessible song. If you do enjoy Experimental stuff though, you’re in for a treat, there’s some really great sounds on here, it’s almost a mix of The Residents and King Crimson and Metal Machine Music. Prog Rock influences are present but there’s no denying that this album focuses mainly on more grotesque sounds.

1. Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?
2. Meadow Meal
3. Miss Fortune

Stand-out track:
Meadow Meal

-Jerry

Honey, I’m Home!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2011 by evilpacman18

That’s right, I just picked up my Mac. I’m really glad to be back, I missed listening to new music and writing these album reviews. I’ll try to have one up within 24 hours. I would say tonight but I just have a lot of personalization to get done on this thing and programs to install, plus homework and other lame stuff. But yeah, I’m back.

-Jerry

Be back soon

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 by evilpacman18

Hi all. School is going well. Unfortunately for me, they were out of Macs when I went to check and I’m on a waiting list. I’m second on the list but I need to wait for people to return Macs they don’t want for me to get one. Which means I don’t have a date but the guys who work in the program’s office tell me it won’t be long. I was third on the list and am now second. So it’s moving, at least. Just a little bit longer. In the meantime, I suggest listening to Farmers Market’s self-titled album. It’s Norwegian Jazz with so many influences from other genres (the biggest being Balkan Folk, if that explains why I like) that it’s barely Jazz. Good look finding it though -_- I had to buy it on iTunes. Heinous right? When I’m back I’ll convert and upload that for you. Thanks for sticking with me.

-Jerry

Well then…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 by evilpacman18

This is it. Heading off to start school. Until I get a laptop there DEFINITELY won’t be any new posts but it hopefully won’t take me too long to get one. I’m sure I’ll have a big drop in readers by the time I get back but I’d really appreciate everyone who checks back once in a while to see if I’m back yet. I’ll try to post updates on my iPod. Hoping to have the laptop (it’s gonna have to be a Mac. Gross) within two weeks but I didn’t send in some forms that I should have sent in to have that ready by the time I got to the school so I’m really just taking shots in the dark. I’ll probably go have a chat with the laptop people on Friday. Thanks, everybody.

-Jerry

Kneebody – You Can Have Your Moment

Posted in Jazz on January 5, 2011 by evilpacman18

Jazz Fusion/Math Jazz; 2010

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^My own upload.

One of the best albums of 2010 that I missed posting before the end of the year. This one is kinda aimed at D=RT because he thought Vijay Iyer was boring. This is a lot more entertaining I’d think. A quintet featuring one person each on sax, trumpet, drums, electric bass guitar, and electric keyboard. Everything’s so heavily distorted, the drummer is the only person in the band who doesn’t play with a giant SFX pedal in front of him. Album starts with the six minute long Teddy Ruxpin, it’s mostly in 3/4 time and has a really driving rhythm. The keyboard player has a bigger part than you’d expect. His playing is dark and foreboding but it does much more than just create an atmosphere. At some points it seems like the rest of the band is his rhythm section. The drummer sounds to me like he enjoys Punk Rock. He’s extremely cymbal-happy and in Teddy Ruxpin at least, his snare hits are as sporadic as Mario Duplantier’s in The Art of Dying by Gojira, which, if you’ve heard the song, is a feat. No Thank You Mr. West, the 4th track on the album, seems like an exercise in atonal arpeggios. Almost like a 21st-century Carl Czerny composition. This song belongs to the sax player. I’ve been reading a lot of other reviews for this band. I’ll admit, I’m terrible with putting what I think about jazz into words so I like to get ideas. Common consensus among professional reviewers is that there’s a very urban undertone throughout the album and I’d have to agree. Most of the tracks do sound like heavy traffic turned into music.

I have it labeled as Jazz Fusion  and that generally means Jazz + Rock but in this case, it’s kind of hard to tell what it’s fused with. A little bit of everything. Case in point: They’ve played with Busdriver on several occasions. I found this video that might just say everything I’ve been trying to get across better than I can. If anybody’s in New York, Kneebody and Busdriver are performing together in Brooklyn on the 27th. More info here.

D=RT, if you’re gonna give this a listen, perhaps skip Held and Desperation Station. They’re pretty downbeat.

1. Teddy Ruxpin
2. Held
3. The Entrepreneur
4. No Thank You Mr. West
5. You Have One Unheard Message
6. The Blind
7. You Can Have Your Moment
8. Desperation Station
9. Nerd Mountain
10. Call
11. Unforseen Influences
12. High Noon

Stand-out tracks:
Unforseen Influences
No Thank You Mr West
Nerd Mountain

-Jerry

Plans for the year

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2011 by evilpacman18

This year’s gonna be really interesting for me, I can already tell, so I’ve been thinking about how that will reflect onto here. First thing I wanna do before I start getting back into posting whatever I’m listening to is finish up some of my favorite albums of 2010 that I never posted. Here’s my top 10 for the year:

Honorable Mention: NoCanDo – Jimmy the Lock
10. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis
9. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)
8. The Drums – The Drums
7. Electric Wizard – Black Masses
6. Francis & the Lights – It’ll Be Better
5. Kneebody – You Can Have Your Moment
4. Fang Island – Fang Island
3. Big Boi – Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
2. Sleigh Bells – Treats
1. Vampire Weekend – Contra

Bolded ones haven’t been put up on here yet. I would AT LEAST like to get the Big Boi and Kneebody albums up but probably won’t do NoCanDo or DEP because I already have NoCanDo’s best album up and the DEP album really has a lot of weak tracks on it but the gems on it are REALLY impressive. So in the next week I’ll definitely have Big Boi and Kneebody up.

After that is what I’m really thinking about though. I’m flying back to California on the 6th. I’m starting at APU as a piano performance major. I’ve had lots of time to work on this blog here because I wasn’t in school and all I had going was my job but now since I’m about to start college, and especially as a music major (throw in the normal amount of studying plus all the extra time for practicing my instrument and taking lessons), I’m wondering if I’ll even have time to work on this. Obviously I can’t know until I get there. I’ll post any additional information when I get it.

As for Logan, I have no idea what’s up with him. Not really worried about it. Again, just depending on circumstances that I can’t know right now, I may recruit someone else to start posting on here. That’ll be a last ditch type thing though and I don’t think I know anyone else with as wide a range of musical taste as Logan and I. We’ll see.

-Jerry