Archive for May, 2011

Nadja – Touched

Posted in Metal on May 30, 2011 by evilpacman18

Drone Metal; 2003

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I’ll get to the point. Stays Demons is the reason to listen to this album. It’s Drone but it’s almost a combination of Drone and Shoegaze. It’s actually musical. It has a noticeable melody and it’s a beautiful one, even if it is only 3 chords repeated on the guitar for 10 minutes. This is music. People have tried to tell me it’s not. (Well not Nadja, they were referring to Khanate) But it’s music for patient people who can really appreciate intricacies. It’s 10 minutes of mostly the same two sections of the song’s structure but each time a section is repeated it’s slightly different. Noticing all the musical twinkles and glitter is what will make this enjoyable. Notice how the hi-hat (if I’m actually using my drum terms correctly here, which is unlikely) is slightly off-tempo every now and then. Notice that single note in the higher synth registers that doesn’t change for the whole song and marvel at how it manages to sound good time. Notice how the whispers of the lyrics (the song has one line: “the touch of your hand on my brow stays demons.” I get so much out of that one line with how life is for me right now) add to the ambiance the song creates. So the reason I pick this song out of the 5 as the most important track is because of how it manages to be Metal but beautiful. That’s not a word you’ll often use for Metal. But this. The song is pure Drone Doom. No doubt. I think it’s the fact that it’s in a major key (C Major, to  be specific) is what gets me. There’s very little Metal you’ll hear in major keys and most of it just doesn’t sound quite right. This does. It sounds so right.

The rest of the album. Again, there’s 5. Tracks 1 and 3 are the incessant waves of guitar feedback and no melody but still good songs. Tracks 2 and 4 are the here’s a very prevalent and very awesome melody that we’re gonna play over and over with only the slightest variations in sound and you’re gonna love it without even knowing why tracks. Track 5 is Untitled and unimportant. Frankly, listen to Stays Demons. I don’t care if you listen to the whole album. Just listen to Stays Demons and if you’re interested then go for the rest of the album. I love it, or I wouldn’t have posted it. But maybe without Stays Demons I would love it quite a bit less.

1. Mutagen
2. Stays Demons
3. Incubation/Metamorphosis
4. Flowers of Flesh
5. [Untitled]

Stand-out track:
Stays Demons

-Jerry

Help my friends out PLEASE!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 by evilpacman18

In short, a couple of my music major friends entered a contest to remix Sleep to Dream by Swimming with Dolphins and they stand a chance to win $1000 and to be featured on the band’s website. They need votes. I’m helping out cuz as a blogger and forumite, it’s a lot easier for me to advertise to a lot of people in a short time. The voting runs until June 8th and takes under a minute if you’re fairly quick. I am very confident that some time in between now and June 8th each one of you 70-something viewers a day can find time to follow these steps

CLICK HERE

CLICK VOTE

ENTER YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS

CHECK YOUR E-MAIL

CLICK LINK IN E-MAIL YOU JUST RECEIVED FROM SITE

DONE

See? Easy. Now please please please PLEASE do it! I really want this for them (and to be honest it’d be cool if they owed me for helping them win so much)

PS – If you actually plan on listening to the remix you’re voting for, it’ll take more than under a minute. Swimming with Dolphins is some synthpop band I wouldn’t put on my iTunes.

-Jerry

Reverend Horton Heat – Smoke ’em if You Got ’em

Posted in Rock on May 22, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Psychobilly; 1990

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In short, Psychobilly is defined as a combination of Country and Punk. It’s an accurate definition, this is definitely more those two genres than anything else. Fortunately for everyone, it’s only country musically. Reverend Horton Heat (the stage name of the band’s frontman and the name of the band itself) certainly has a southern twang to his voice (he’s Texan) but it’s not that nasally country bass that most people cite as their main reason for hating Country. If you really can’t stand his voice still, at least listen to the instrumentals on the album – Bullet, “D” for Dangerous, and Marijuana… and Psychobilly Freakout basically counts as an instrumental for all intents and purposes as well. The band has always been a trio, featuring The Rev (not the A7X one) on guitar/vocals, some guy on upright bass, and some other guy on drums. A lot of the time their music will be more inspired by Western music than actual Country but the discrepancies between the genres are few. I think modern Country is an evolution of Western music. Anyway, just don’t let the fact that it’s part Country keep you from giving it a listen.

Actually. I’m gonna do something I haven’t done before. I’m gonna contradict myself. When I started writing this I was going off of memory (it’s one of my favorite albums. I listened to it quite a bit when they were knew to me) and didn’t really think about it. As I’ve been writing I’ve also been browsing facebook and doing other stuff and so I’m on the last song of the album now and only about halfway through the review. And I’ve decided that even though Country is definitely an extension of Western, they’re pretty different, and that this album is mostly Western and Punk and only goes Country on songs like Eat Steak and Big Dwarf Rodeo. The Punk of it all is mostly in the drums. Lots of snare and even more cymbals, like all good Punk. And it’s fast, of course. Well… for the most part. Some songs (Psychobilly Freakout) are more Punk than others (It’s a Dark Day).

Now then. Lyrical themes. Some funny stuff on this album. Bad Reputation is about a girl with a bad reputation (duh) around town who the speaker is interested in. The song ends “You’re the kind of girl I’d like to meet / You’re the kind of girl I’d like to eat.” Big Dwarf Rodeo is about a midget rodeo and Eat Steak is about exactly what the title says it’s about. There’s a lot of jabs at perceived “hillbilly music,” although they’re not a parody band. These guys are obviously into their Western music origins and they write it well. Of course, they’re a Dallas band, so they have a bit of a home-field advantage.

1. Bullet
2. I’m Mad
3. Bad Reputation
4. It’s a Dark Day
5. Big Dwarf Rodero
6. Psychobilly Freakout
7. Put It to Me Straight
8. Marijuana
9. Baby, You Know Who
10. Eat Steak
11. “D” for Dangerous
12. Love Whip

Stand-out tracks:
Psychobilly Freakout
I’m Mad
“D” for Dangerous

-Jerry

Waka Flocka Flame – Flockaveli

Posted in Hip-Hop on May 18, 2011 by evilpacman18

Pop Rap; 2010

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Rule 1: Don’t take this seriously. If you judge this by the standards of good Hip-Hop it will come up VERY VERY short. Lyrically there’s nothing of merit on this entire album. The production is uninspiring and not remotely revolutionary. This isn’t good Rap. At all. That’ll be the problem most people have with it. The thing is though, this doesn’t attempt to be good Rap. I’ll quote an article I read. “He admitted that he can’t rap or freestyle and apparently doesn’t want to.” Waka himself says “I came to get your party started. I’m like Kid N Play, I just come to get your party started. I ain’t come to make lines, that’s what rappers’ for. I’m a party starter…that’s it. If your party’s dead, I’m a come hype it up and leave.” So my question is, is it fair to call this bad rap and write it off when the artist knows it’s bad rap and doesn’t try to make it good? A lot of Metalheads say that Rap sucks because it “takes no talent.” A ridiculous argument but if you continue to talk to them they’ll go on to tell you about who Metal is better because it takes an instrumental prowess that Hip-Hop doesn’t always require. “Rap sucks because there’s no blazingly fast double bass and no guitar solos,” they’ll argue. But that’s a logical fallacy. You can’t judge Hip-Hop by Metal standards. Guitar solos are a Metal standard. If Hip-Hop was trying to be Metal it would be bad Metal but it doesn’t try to be. It doesn’t try to reach standards of something it’s not. And that’s Waka Flocka Flame. It’s a logical fallacy to hate on him for being a bad rapper because a good rapper isn’t what he wants to be. And as party music, as hype music, he’s quite successful.

The opening track “Bustin’ At ‘Em” has a bunch of people yelling “BOW BOW BOW BOW,” the beat is just spam of snare and cymbal and a two-chord melody, and in the background there’s gunshot sounds and more people yelling (“WAKA WAKA WAKA FLOCKA FLOCKA WAKA WAKA YEEUH WAKA FLOCKA FLOCKA FLOCKA FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and “BRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICKSQUAD”). A lot of the stuff yelled in this song is yelled throughout every song on the album. It’s reminiscent of Lil’ Jon. These songs are energetic and hard-hitting, although they’re an insult to intelligence and decency (On Hard in the Paint he rhymes “nigga” with “nigga” 37 times). I can name a lot of music like that that a lot of people actually like though so that must be pretty ok. I definitely don’t mind it. Honestly I can’t say why this appeals to me more than similar music. I’m not exactly a fan of Crunk or whatever you wanna call this. I probably wouldn’t like similar music. Maybe I appreciate how realistic he is about the quality of his music. I don’t feel like he tries to be something he’s not so I’m able to appreciate him for what he is but there’s musicians that don’t take themselves seriously that I can’t stand at the same time (BrokenCyde). There’s something about this album that appeals to my taste enough for me to listen to it along with all the Post-rock and Chopin Etudes I’ve been listening to lately. Good mix, right? I’d say just give him a chance. Don’t go into it expecting anything. Don’t go into it with any requisites on what it needs to be to be good. Just listen. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too. If not, it’s at least pretty funny how stupid some of this stuff is. I think a lot of why I like this is the pure entertainment value.

1. Bustin’ At Em
2. Hard in da Paint
3. TTG (Trained to Go)
4. Bang
5. No Hands
6. Bricksquad
7. Fuck the Club Up
8. Homies
9. Grove St. Party
10. O Let’s Do It
11. Karma
12. Live by the Gun
13. For My Dawgs
14. G-Check
15. Snake in the Grass
16. Smoke, Drank
17. Fuck This Industry

Stand-out tracks:
Hard in da Paint
O Let’s Do It
Snake in the Grass

Side note: Watch these. James Davis’ parody of the song and the president is gold.

-Jerry

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc

Posted in Rock on May 13, 2011 by evilpacman18

Rock; 1979

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^Lemme know how that download works. The file size is a little small for an 11-song album but it’s probably just low sound quality.

Anyway, since this marks the beginning of my summer posts, which will be MUCH more frequent, I chose to do one of my all-time favorites. It’s got a couple of their classics on it, namely Message in a Bottle and Walking on the Moon. Honestly it’s so much better than their other 4 albums. If So Lonely from their debut album was on here, it could pass as a mixtape of their best songs. This is disputable since so many of their most popular songs are on their later 3 albums but I really wish they had kept going in the direction they were going on this and Outlandos d’Amour instead of going for New Wave once the 80’s hit. This album is their last really straight-forward one, where there’s not much more than just the drums, guitar, bass, and Sting’s voice and the occasional piano. After this album they went with synthesizers and distorted guitars and much more being added to the core sound in the production department. Not to say they got bad after the 80’s, but they were different and in my opinion not as good. Maybe my least favorite thing about them in the 80’s is that they got rid of so much of the original reggae influence that made them so entertaining, so listenable, so unique. I’ve tried to argue that The Police were the first Ska Punk band but got shot down pretty quickly. The Clash win that award.

“White Reggae” this album’s title is translated as. People who don’t know The Police maybe don’t realize the sense of humor they have. Their big hits (Every Breath You Take, Message in a Bottle, Don’t Stand So Close to Me, Roxanne) are all pretty serious and even depressing tracks and nobody pays attention to songs like On Any Other Day (about a guy who has a terrible birthday: “my wife has burned the scrambled eggs, the dog just bit my leg, my teenage daughter ran away, my fine young son has turned out gay, and it would be ok on any other day”). There’s a negative tone on just about every one of these songs but they’re not all about Sting trying to save prostitutes he’s in love with or a risque student-teacher relationship either. Message in a Bottle IS one of those depressing songs. It opens the album and doesn’t really get improved upon except for one song I’ll bring up later. Message in a Bottle is what this album is famous for. Lyrically it’s an extended metaphor about “not [being] alone in feeling alone.” Copeland’s drumming keeps the song upbeat and Summers spends most of the song breaking down chords with guitar solos here and there that are more  present than they’re actually focused on. His solos are never the main focus of the song at the time they’re being played. The album’s title track follows Message in a Bottle. It’s a bit of an anomaly on the album. It’s mostly instrumental except for “cha” and “eeeeeeyooooooooo” but it’s a good tracks. Listen to Copeland’s rhythms on the cymbals. The fourth track is my single favorite song by The Police. It’s called Bring on the Night and marks the beginning of the heavily reggae-influenced section on the album. What I love about this song? Well. It’s kind of all over the place for one. Summers plays Spanish-style guitar in the verses, and gives us reggae rhythms in the chorus. His solo is my favorite on the album too, even though it’s a bit minimalist but so fun to listen to. I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read another Police fan comment on the song. I kinda wanna know what most hardcore Police fans think of it. After this I won’t say the album starts to let down but it’s never as good as the first and fourth song on it. Still, On Any Other Day, No Time This Time, and ESPECIALLY The Bed’s Too Big Without You make the second half just as memorable as the first. If you haven’t heard it there really is a problem. It’s truly a classic.

1. Message in a Bottle
2. Reggatta de Blanc
3. It’s Alright for You
4. Bring on the Night
5. Deathwish
6. Walking on the Moon
7. On Any Other Day
8. The Bed’s Too Big Without You
9. Contact
10. Does Everyone Stare
11. No Time This Time

Stand-out tracks:
Bring on the Night
Message in a Bottle
The Bed’s Too Big Without You

-Jerry

Finals week

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 by evilpacman18

Hi. It’s finals week. This is where I do nothing but play piano or Halo (stress relief) for 16 hours a day. I’ll probably get something new up this weekend but if not definitely a couple days after that. Once the week is over I’m just going down to where I used to live to hang out with old friends for a couple days so I can’t say I’ll have time but after that I’m flying back to Dallas to do nothing all summer (we’ll be back to MUCH more regular updates then). I’m excited to be so close to being able to put as much time as I should into this blog. I do think about it a lot (mostly cuz I can’t open my browser without seeing the tab for it.)

-Jerry