Archive for March, 2011

Doseone – Ha

Posted in Hip-Hop on March 24, 2011 by evilpacman18

Abstract Hip-Hop; 2005

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Did you see my post about The Taste of Rain by Deep Puddle Dynamics? That supergroup was my first exposure to Doseone and it was a good one and he stuck out more than any of the other three rappers. I found them while I was looking for similar rappers to Busdriver on last.fm. I was interested in Doseone’s nasally tone and his focus on flow more than rhymes… or sense. He goes on that trip again on this album. It’s hard to call it a Rap album for most of it. In fact it’d be a blatant lie to call it that. The only song that really has what we could easily consider rapping would be My Horoscope I&II. And even that doesn’t have rhymes in the way we would traditionally expect them to appear. Maybe this album is about breaking traditions. It’s Hip-Hop maybe only because it doesn’t fit anywhere else better. None of the beats are heavy or hard-hitting, there is no bass focus, all the bass is light, the production is musical but not focused on melody exactly. It’s all very sweet. Blurring the lines between music and rhythmical ambiance. He sings a lot. Nasally. Like he raps. He talks a lot. Also nasally. The Universe in 6 Jumps has bird sound effects. The self-titled track has clock sound effects. There’s quite a bit of autotune, used musically. This is right before it got really big, remember. It’s hard to say what this album is focused on. The lyrics are abstract so there’s not much point in trying to understand them. The music is minimalistic but captivating in a soothing way. It’s alien, in the sense that it’s something we’re not used to and in the sense that it sounds like it’s from space. The songs weave in and out of each other and are maybe hard to tell apart. This isn’t the exact same Doseone as the 1999 Deep Puddle Dynamics Doseone. Maybe it’s this album, I have to listen to more of him. But I feel like this album could be an enigma in his discography. That’s always more interesting, right?

1. Ha
2. The Tale of the Private Mind
3. The Universe in 6 Jumps
4. My Horoscope I&II
5. Axejaw
6. Lullaby #2418a
7. Enter Ed’s Head
8. Wind Machine Lining
9. Of Going

Stand-out tracks:
The Tale of the Private Mind
My Horoscope I&II
Wind Machine Lining

-Jerry

Question

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2011 by evilpacman18

How would it affect the blog if I just removed the categories altogether? So the numbers don’t matter anymore and I could post anything without remorse. It’d probably make for slightly more frequent posts. Or hopefully at least. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. It’s so hard to find time. I’m looking at Fragile by Yes and Ha by Doseone as my next posts.

DeVotchKa live at The Music Box in Hollywood

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 by evilpacman18

The show was actually Hands, Mariachi El Bronx, and DeVotchKa. I was there shortly after 8. I was alone, the person I was supposed to go with made no attempt to show up. I’m thinking about ending our friendship. I got in line. I was surprised, there wasn’t a specific type of people that like DeVotchKa. I expected hipsters. Didn’t get too many. A lady in line was checking IDs and handing out alcohol wristbands. When she walked by me I just kind of looked at her. She smirked. I got frisked by a bouncer and went inside. There was a dance floor, the stage was about 4 feet tall and I was maybe 10 feet away from it. Good angle for a view. There was a DJ booth in the wall on my left. They were playing good stuff. One particular song caught my attention because it was the best song I’ve heard in a really long time. It was an Indie Rock song with the Afropop influenced sound like Vampire Weekend or Two Door Cinema Club but wasn’t either of them. I’m gonna die if I don’t find that song some time.

So I’m just on the floor alone, texting and waiting. Eventually the curtains went up and Hands was on stage. I looked them up prior to the show. Not even last.fm has heard of them. I couldn’t find them on youtube. No wikipedia article. But I really do hope they hit it big. Opening for DeVotchKa is probably a good way to start. The frontman was a bit awkward with his opening speech but once they got into the music, I was REALLY impressed. They’re a traditional Indie Rock line up. Frontman on keyboard and vocals, guitarist, bass guitarist, and the drummer. They’re also a traditional Indie Rock band, very typical upbeat sound, falsetto singer, complex bass lines, etc. They played about 7 songs and left. I do hope to hear more from them, it was great.

The curtains went down for a good bit of time. When they came back up the entire stage was set up differently. White men in Spanish suits come on stage, pick up their instruments, and without a word start playing mariachi. For someone who had never heard of the band it might have been bizarre. The Bronx is actually a Punk band but their latest album was Mariachi music and they do that genre better than they do Punk. They were the worst of the three bands, however, but I’m glad I got the chance to see them, they were good. Mariachi tends to sound pretty similar, maybe because I listen to so little of it. My favorite thing about them was probably the violin player, who was CLEARLY a virtuoso. His hands were just unbelievably fast, he never went out of tune, and his bows were all accurate. He really did put DeVotchKa’s violinist to shame.

So after El Bronx was done, the curtains went down again for a long time. And then they came up again and the stage was set up for DeVotchKa and they all came out. They opened with a song I had heard but couldn’t name. Thinking back I probably should have taken notes on all the songs they played. It was a REALLY long setlist and I couldn’t possibly remember all of them. Songs they did included We’re Leaving, How It Ends, Queen of the Surface Streets, Transliterator, The Clockwise Witness, and many more. My favorite song by them is Basso Profundo and I was so happy when they played. I saw it coming. Nick was drinking out of a wine bottle and Shawn was just setting the tempo. Jeanie had the tuba, which was a big hint, and Shawn nodded his head to suggest the tempo and when I saw it I was like oh my God, Basso Profundo is coming. Sure enough, it happened. The crowd didn’t really get into it as much as they did some of the other songs. It’s definitely not one of their more popular songs. But I loved it. At one point the Slavic Sisters came out. Not really sure how to describe what they do. They climb up curtains and dance in the air. They’re really cool. It was a bit circus-y but very fitting for the band. Nick’s voice sounds as good live as it does in the studio. Jeanie is really a professional on the tuba and Tom made me want to play the accordion even more than I already do. Tom on violin isn’t as good as he is on the accordion though. Shawn, the drummer, also does the trumpet, which I had no idea about. I’m always amazed by multi-instrumentalists, I aspire to be one myself. I really had a good time, even alone. They ended their set and the crowd clapped until Nick and Tom came back on stage and did a cover of Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart on guitar and accordion. I didn’t even remember that I wanted them to do Such a Lovely Thing and they hadn’t done it until the rest of the band came back onstage after the cover and they got into it. And. It was BY FAR the best song of the night. It’s my second favorite song by them and they turned it into this 10 minute epic with solos on every instrument, a reggae interlude that they had the crowd sing along on, Nick using the neck of his guitar while he was playing it to play his theremin. It looked like it took ridiculous coordination and he did it with ease. He also played a guitar solo where he used a WINE BOTTLE on the frets to finish the whole thing. It was mind blowing. And as a coda, they finished with You Love Me. Best encore ever.

I saw Vampire Weekend as my first ever concert. This was my second. I’m gonna say Vampire Weekend was better but I’m biased. Overall DeVotchKa put on a much better show, I just like Vampire Weekend better (and it was so small I got to meet the whole band). If every concert is as great as these two have been though, I’m definitely gonna become a concert junkie. I can’t wait for the next one.

-Jerry

Categories

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2011 by evilpacman18

Notice how I’ve reviewed 22 Rock albums and just about every other genre has 2-4 reviews? I really hate that but I just listen to Rock more than anything since there’s so much variety within the genre and it’s so much easier to find. I’d also argue that there just is more Rock than there is any other genre. Anyway, I’m thinking about changing how I organize the categories so that the numbers aren’t so lopsided but it’s still easy for people to find the type of music they want. Any ideas? Leave some comments.

The Glitch Mob – Drink the Sea

Posted in Electronic on March 12, 2011 by evilpacman18

Electronic; 2010

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Another album almost entirely full of instrumental productions (the exception being Between Two Points) but very different from Ratatat or Anamanaguchi (Well maybe We Swarm isn’t THAT different from Ratatat). These ones are heavy and hard hitting. Animus Vox starts with a dry bass line, before kicking into a COMPLETELY drum-driven beat that’s simultaneously tribal and futuristic. The 3 members of the group are all DJs, which makes a lot of sense. The band’s sound has dubstep influence and unlike a lot of producers in the same genre (again, Ratatat or Anamanaguchi) their music is slightly more dance-oriented. Each track is infinitely more complex than a simple dance tune though. These guys aren’t just DJs, they can compose like beasts. The songs average slightly under 6 minutes each. They all follow a bit of a pattern of progressive crescendo and decrescendo, starting off quiet and epic and then getting loud and epic and then getting quiet and epic but remaining epic without fail.

Haven’t done a short review in a bit so I’ll end there. Sorry about the long break in between my last post and this. It’s been a long week. I’m gonna see DeVotchKa play tonight in Hollywood. Maybe I’ll do a concert review.

1. Animus Vox
2. Bad Wings
3. How to Be Eaten By a Woman
4. A Dream Within a Dream
5. Fistful of Silence
6. Between Two Points feat. Swan
7. We Swarm
8. Drive It Like You Stole It
9. Fortune Days
10. Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul

Stand-out tracks:
We Swarm
How to Be Eaten by a Woman
Fortune Days

-Jerry

Sleep – Dopesmoker

Posted in Metal on March 4, 2011 by evilpacman18

Stoner Doom; 2003

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^My own upload

This album is two songs. Or really one song and a bonus track. The title track, Dopesmoker, is 1 hour and 3 minutes long. The song is massive and foreboding before you even start listening to it. I listened to it yesterday and felt really good about myself for the rest of the day. Finding time to listen to it is a hurdle but the listening itself is never a negative experience. Finishing it all in one go is satisfying on several levels including being able to say you’ve listened to an hour long song (where most people think that 6 minutes is pretty long), being able to say you’ve heard possibly the greatest single Stoner Doom piece in Stoner Doom history, and just having listened to an awesome album.

Dopesmoker is Sleep’s last album. It was originally released in 1999 as Jerusalem, split into 6 tracks because their label sucked. Tee Pee released the real final cut of this masterpiece in 2003 along with the bonus track, a live recording of Sonic Titan, a track they never got a studio recording of onto any album as far as I know.

The singer’s voice is deep and powerful. I could see him doing Power Metal, actually. In a throaty, slightly gruff bass he sings the first lyrics almost 9 minutes into the track: “Drop out of life with bong in hand, follow the smoke to the riff-filled land.” Not subtle at all, just like everything about this album. The singer goes on later in the song to tell the tale about the weed priests transporting the caravan carrying the sacred hemp seed through desert sands, across the Jordan River, and over holy Mount Zion to get it to the weed temple in Jerusalem so that the holy prophecy can be fulfilled and deliverance can come to mankind. Or something like that. Basically it’s a bible story but with marijuana. I’ve never smoked weed myself and don’t ever plan on it but maybe it would be better to listen to this album high.

Now the most important thing here is that this song is A FREAKING HOUR LONG. And it’s not like Colors by BTBAM where the album is basically one song but it’s got so many different sections that they could have easily divided it into 30 or more songs as easily as they did 8. No. This song is completely cohesive. When you finish it, it won’t feel like you’ve heard a whole album, it will feel like you’ve heard one song. I didn’t feel like it got tedious ever. It possibly could for you. It almost feels like Drone Metal, the way they can get away with playing the same note for over 2 minutes. The same disgustingly slow riff is repeated throughout the song. There’s only two guitar solos and they’re both pretty long but the song is pretty much 95+% riffing. It’s insanity, really. In a good way.

1. Dopesmoker
2. Sonic Titan (Live)

-Jerry