Whenever I think about the future, I will think about what will still be thought about 10, 20, 30 years into the future. All our fads, all our styles, all our words, how much will be used? I tend to combine that with the thought that if a famous celebrity would be around today, would they be famous? I’ve heard the question that if The Beatles were brought into today’s society, would they be as famous? Obviously not, because a lot of today’s music is influenced by the Fab Four. Taking them away from the 60′s would forever impact rock music, leaving a whole in everyone who found influence in them. A weird paradox so to speak. It’s logical to think they’d adapt though. They wouldn’t have the simple “la-di-da” melodies and covers of the 50′s, but presumably they would add more effects. That’s what every musician seems to have today, right? Music is all about survival of the fittest. To stand the test of time, you need to create the sound that defines the generation.
Now the question is: what is that sound? We don’t want to sound like others, so how to do we go about being ourselves? For starters, don’t listen to others. Now that’s just brutal advice, so I’m going to stop there and talk about our latest band, Gumshen. The Seattle group combines elements of progressive rock and the popular indie standards that run the radio-waves. To start, they’re extremely catchy and fun. I opened up the link, reading the title Progtronica, and let out an extremely audible grown. How could anyone with common sense want to have this title on their hard-worked album. Well, it makes complete sense. They do mix electronic music very well progressive rock. I’ve only heard King Crimson try this on their album Discipline. No comment on how that turned out…
It seems Gumshen have learned from others mistakes. “Bell Ringer” opens the album with a jumpy synth riff over top a talented vocal section that reminds me Christmas music. It’s melancholic textures and poppy bass soothes me to tune out to the 7 minute track. It also has a killer guitar solo that finds its way fitting perfectly over the same stellar drum beat. The amount of spelling errors I’ve made so far is countless, considering I keep jamming out in my chair typing this. “Stipulation” just screams 90′s summery pop. It’s extremely nostalgic, but I hear the same sounds that were found in Wonderous Bughouse (Youth Lagoon’s 2013 album). The one line is probably the truest lyric I’ve heard in ages (“Turning 20 dollars into 20 dimes”). I feel you Gumshen.
These guys are incredible in sync with one another. They find ways to turn their sugary pop riffs into timeless progressive jams. Not to mention they jump from a summery anthem into a jazz club soundtrack with the switch of a keyboard sound. Tricks like that is what keeps a band going. Now Progtronica is only six songs, but it spans just over 30 minutes, but I’ve never been a good mathematician. Now five of these tracks stand out, with the exception of “Fine One to Talk Too”. It comes across as a Porcupine Tree B-side, which is still impressive, but doesn’t fit the overall theme of the album. I’d love to hear that sort of swaying, arena-rock goodness on an entire release, but when it’s stuck in the middle of keyboard driven release, it throws off the mood.
“Liquid” is sweet. It opens sounding like a soundtrack to my childhood, slowly blending into a determined, caricature of the riff. When I first threw on this album, I wasn’t a fan of Ron Hippe’s sly vocals, but like Travis Morrison of The Dismemberment Plan, he soon became the only voice in my head. He has a signature style that stands out. His little sarcastic quips of vocals, followed by a strong string of Axl Rose impressions fits the band’s style greatly. He puts care into his vocals, which I admire.
This album closes off with the definition of the album title. “Fragile We Are Castles” is like a mixture of Ratatat and Dark Side Of The Moon Pink Floyd (IMAGINE THAT). It’s spacey, gigantic, and plain gorgeous. Over an 8 minute length, they jump to about five styles of progressive music, ranging from jamming to syncopated, tight staccatos of notes. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much on a first listen, but I was drawn to hearing more from Gumshen. Although a little cheesy and weak at times (“Bait & Switch”). These guys know what sound they want, and just go for it. I can respect that, and for their efforts they’ve released an album that exemplifies their determination to stay alive in the dog-eat-dog world on music.
I’m entering dangerous territory so I need to tread lightly. There seems to be a desire to crush any sort of discussion on post-rock bands that released a significant album in the 90′s (Godspeed You!, Tortoise), and with Mogwai being one of the culprits, it’s hard to put an honest opinion without backlash. It must be said though, Mogwai Young Team is arguably one of the greatest releases in the 90′s without a doubt. The album alone sent a ripple among underground music, forcing listeners to a new form of music that has been right in front of them for years. Now to point out the obvious, the group has struggled to recapture the success since their debut album, and only Rock Action has come close to that.
It’s been 3 years since the release of their last album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and that was a disjointed mess. Rave Tapes hopes to take a different direction, insisting on a softer layout with an electronic touch. The criticism with past Mogwai albums is that they haven’t been able to have the impact that their debut had. Whether it’s for the sake of releasing albums to stay relevant or that they need the money, no release has been on the same level. The difference with Rave Tapes is that it feels like they want to release music. They aren’t forced into getting album out, but they have a need to be heard this time.
These 10 tracks do carry a sort of emotion that scarcely has been seen since 1997. You can tell they aren’t the same band this time around, and a decade of touring will do that to members, but there’s a different atmosphere on this release. “Heard About You Last Night” opens the album with a sort of slow ambiance that Mogwai has yet to try. They add their signature ride cymbal jam to the mix, but in smooth and natural way that does resemble “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home”, which in my opinion is the best track they’ve ever released. They flow from track to track smoothly, carrying the overarching theme of softness. There isn’t the distorted, over the top dynamic change that’s heard on the past releases, and instead they brought the timely orchestrated feel from their French soundtrack release, Les Revenants EP.
I can be noted that these tracks are quite forgettable on the first listen, but there’s a drive to replay this album, and at 48 minutes it’s not because it’s a short album. It’s because they create a hum of feelings that is hard to match by other albums in your library. “Remurdered”, “Blues Hour”, and “No Medicine For Regret” are all high points on this album. They drive home the suppressed feelings of Mogwai’s need to be heard. They want to be taken seriously again, and with Rave Tapes, they’re serious contenders for that title. They know their potential, now it’s about finishing. Nothing feels forced on these tracks, with the exception of the recording of the rant about the “Stairway To Heaven” subliminal message on “Replenish”. It was interesting at first, but now it’s an annoyance. I understand it’s supposed to be a deeper meaning of the devil’s impact on music, but it’s too childish to be given a second look.
Mogwai has stepped themselves up with a solid release. I feel like the surprise factor that this album didn’t upset me has to do with the enjoyment. I’ve had it on replay since I was able to get a hold of it, so that must be a good sign. Rave Tapes provides a strong play through with no filler, and that’s unheard of in recent Mogwai releases. These tracks have been itching to be dropped by the band, and I’m surprised how they were able to keep their composure during their crescendos. Surprisingly, they have such control over their levels that they know how to manipulate the listener into enjoying them. Together, these songs create a grasping and enjoyable album that kicks off 2014 on the right foot. Hopefully they can keep it up in the future.
It’s becoming an early Christmas gift tradition from Burial. For the second year in a row, the mysterious UK electronic artist has released an EP filled with surprises and a short release date. Following the amazing Truant / Rough Sleeper EP of last year, we receive the new Rival Dealer EP, and I cannot tell you how different this one sounds. It comes to no surprise that Burial enjoys releasing longer tracks instead of the short, more traditional tracks he’s renown for off of the incredible 2007 album, Untrue. That album alone changed the electronic music scene for the good, and he continues to revolutionize the way we think about Dubstep, or ever subgenres in electronic music as a whole.
To jump right in it, Rival Dealer clocks in at 28 and a half minutes, which is a reasonable length for his releases. It contains three tracks, and the middle track is the shortest he’s released in years. The opener, “Rival Dealer”, begins with a typical ambient landscape surrounded by resonating high pitched vocals. What separates this release is the fact that it’s upbeat and creative. The entire EP is upbeat. Where is Burial? Is this Burial? Yes, to answer all the questions, it still is, and it’s energetic, but also emotional. The entire release covers a wide variety of subjective topics, but Burial adds the theme of individuality and anti-bullying to the mix. It’s quite impact, as not only do the dynamics between strategically placed synth chords and two-step beats create tension, but the in your face interviews get the point across.
Take the final two minutes of “Come Down To Us”. The song is based around the amazing progression foreshadowed by the magnificent “Hiders”, and it leads perfectly into an interview about transsexualism. A hot topic nonetheless, but a topic that can be cooled down by the idea of putting ourselves in other’s shows and respecting each other’s views. Now I don’t expect everyone to get along and understand each other, but Burial sends a message of respecting what others suffer, as we all have our baggage. To know that these songs carry this message, or at least transcend these sorts of thoughts is powerful.
Now the album still has that Burial vibe. Lots of atmosphere, lots of voice overs, and everything resembles London at 2 a.m. I imagine myself riding my road bike in the middle of a rainy night, weaving in between empty streets, ignoring the arrogant strip clubs and sleazy pubs trying to find a bus stop. I take my time, as my music is pretty good, and I’m not in a rush. It’s a sort of content moment that I have with myself, but I know I have to work the next day. Rival Dealer sends a different message. It’s uplifting and memorable. I’ll listen to it for ages, but also never feel tired of it (partially due to it’s short length). In typical fashion, these tracks are longer (2/3 are at least), but there are many different styles presented. They follow a set theme, create wonderful imagery at the same time. I’d make the claim it’s better than Untrue in many ways. It’s a chance taken, at the right time, and Burial isn’t afraid of back lash. This style hopefully with follow in the future, but as we know, you can never guess the future with Burial.
Following up the amazing Strange Mercy, St. Vincent will release her fourth album on February 25th, 2014 off a new deal with Republic Records here in North America. With a fitting title of St. Vincent, expect it to expand on the pop aesthetic she craftily created in 2011. Listen to this first single, “Birth In Reverse”, below and pay special attention to the first line of the song. Yes, it is what you hear.
“Birth In Reverse”
- St. Vincent to release new album and single (mitng.org)
- St Vincent announces new self-titled album (stream a track) (brooklynvegan.com)
- St. Vincent – “Birth In Reverse” (stereogum.com)
- St. Vincent Announces February Release For ‘St. Vincent’ [Listen] (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
Nothing makes me more upset than when someone claims to enjoy “everything”, but can’t enjoy the simple things in music. I mean, pop and radio rock is the least challenging form of music to listen to. I understand there are many acts that are pretty bad (Nickelback, Finger Eleven), but claim bands that garner a large amount of success or airplay as not worth listening to is the prime example of pretentiousness. 2013 is nearing the end of it’s spectacular run, and it’s coming down to crunch time when picks are made, and time and time again my most listened too seem to be everyone else’s as well. It goes to show the popularity of an artist.
Now as I type this, I have a certain sound in my head when I think of constant radio airplay. It’s one of three categories. First is the club bangers, think big name rap artist featured on some pop stars track. Second category is the new, popular indie artist that everyone pretends they only like, (Mumford and Sons, The 1975, Capital Cities), and my final category is the tried and true rock. Since the 70′s, rock has been the only form of popular music that still receives radio airplay, even if it has fluctuated throughout the years. Different Days is a Montreal based band that grows from that popularized rock sound we all know. Strong, steady drumming, prideful vocals, and the one of a kind guitar tone. Oddly enough, throwing on the EP I received from them the first thing I thought was, “Is this PJ Harvey in 2000?”. It’s a spot-on comparison I’ve been told, and I guarantee if you listen to “A Place Called Home” and compare it to the band’s “Inconspicuous”, you’ll agree.
The group takes pride in their self-sufficient way of doing things. Having multi-talented members who can design artwork, master albums, and brag about a degree in classical production(?), they seem to have everything set. “Different Days” is not only the closer to the same-titled EP, it IS the epitome of their whole band. Feedback that salutes Sonic Youth, incredibly strong fills, and even the opening finger picking foreshadows the ultimate climax. There are so many different sounds on one EP. There’s a heavy metal sound, followed by a top 40 rock vibe, but it doesn’t feel forced with the exception of the opener, “Breathless”. It came across as tinny and lifeless. The upside is that the vocals are incredibly catchy, so it would be a different experience live.
Different Days is a band with a bright future. From PJ Harvey to Bikini Kill, the band knows their roots. They pick and choose only the most engaging parts from each artist to combine it into one unique, colorful blend of music. Different Days EP is a solid showcase into what the group has to offer. When experience and experimenting comes, they should be a band that brings a lot to the table for record labels. I guarantee them as the next indie sweethearts. Listen to “Static” and attempt to put a frown on, which is only acceptable when headbanging.
Listen to the entire EP below, and download!
Be to check out their facebook page here
To commemorate the release of the highly anticipated documentary Bettie Page Reveals All directed by Mark Mori and narrated by Bettie Page herself, MITNG and Filmbar, are hosting a contest. “What kind of contest?”…you ask?
For tickets to the screening fool!
On December 6, 2013 Filmbar is going all out!!!
On First Friday December 6th FilmBar will celebrate the Arizona Premier of the new documentary Bettie Page Reveals All with a Classic Car Show, Bettie Page Photo booth (by Allons-y Media) & Bettie Page inspired DJ Set. The film will screen at 6:30 & 9pm (with additional show times throughout the week). The Classic Car Show begins at 6pm with a focus on pre-1965 American made automobiles. Patrons can pose with a pinup in the photo booth from 7:30pm onwards & DJ JP Woody of the MONDO TWANG podcast and Aquarium Drunkard music blog will provide swinging sounds in the lounge with a DJ set inspired by Bettie Page beginning at 9pm.
Yep…it’s going to be quite a time and you can be apart of it. Here’s how!
1. Tell us where Bettie Page was born. Give us the name of the photographer/former pin up model, who worked with Bettie Page and lastly, share our screening event on your Facebook page. We will be notified of your “sharing” by going to our Facebook page “Liking” it (if you haven’t already) and sharing the event from our site. You could send us a screen cap of the share, but it’s not necessary.
2. Post your answers in the comment section of the Bettie Page event on MITNG’s Facebook.
3. The first one to answer correctly will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the event
And that’s it! Do this and we will contact you to get your name and the time you’d like to see the film as well as the name of your guest! Feel free to dress the part on Dec 6th! It’s going to be an awesome night!!
- Trailer for Bettie Page Reveals All finally talks to the woman herself (mitng.org)
- First Look: Unpublished Nude Photos of Bettie Page [NSFW] (nymag.com)
- Trailer for Bettie Page Documentary, BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL! (aintitcool.com)
- ‘Bettie Page Reveals All’ Maintains the Pinup Artist’s Mystique (Review) (popmatters.com)
- New Trailer for “Bettie Page Reveals All” Reveals A Lot [VIDEO] (coed.com)
Turntablism (if that’s a word) has come a long way since the release of it’s arguable epitome of Entroducing….. in 1996 Although that primarily fits in as a hip-hop record, it led the way for future acts such as Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, and even AraabMuzik. Now these latter musicians take a more electronic roots approach by using an MPC as their weapon of choice, but still continue on the sampling, mixing, and hip-hop approach used by DJ Shadow. Yes, there’s a lot more to it than one record, but electronic music is continually looked at by what influences it instead of what it has influenced.
A great example is the jounreyman of electronic music in Europe, Sound Strider. Combining elements of psychedelia, hip-hop, and dance music, Sam Waks (Sound Strider) has created a name for himself in the ever growing live electronic scene overseas. With a recent EP released titled Intrepid Travels EP, it’s a little hard to believe that Waks music has been played in front of audiences in the thousands. The track “The Stakes” opens with glitchy snare track that flutters with an open hi-hat beat that cannot stick together. It’s a psych-rock drummers dream to have this beat, but it seems it can only be done on a drum machine. It’s complexity, along with a wonky bass line and a voice over from the the past telling me I’m about to leave this world, is almost too weird to dance too. Still, Waks finds away to keep the music abstract, yet dance-able at the same time.
Every second I listen to Sound Strider, I have a new musician or act in my head that I’m comparing him too. James Blake? Underworld? I’m pretty sure I’m doing this wrong if that’s the way I think, because the list would never end. Waks has a unique sound that draws from all angles of electronic music from post-dubstep to traditional deep house. It’s why he’s labelled as IDM, because like Aphex Twin, it requires a deeper dive into the world of his music. “Menlo Park”, the second and longest track off this 30 minute, 5 track EP has the beefiest drum track on the album. It kicks in so heavily when the subtle, but aggressive bass jumps along to the ever changing track. It’s hard for me to believe the beginning and the end are from the same album as the song just grows and grows.
I made a comment earlier saying that it surprised me that Sound Strider has played in front of thousands of people. It wasn’t a back handed comment, but an assumption based on the genre of music. He plays in a genre that’s a little out there. Psychadelic IDM is pretty rare to hear in a scene where the heaviest bass drop wins. Waks seems to take pride in subtly, creating an atmosphere that the listener can indulge into. “Childhood’s End” brings this to light with the progression of the track losing and gaining drum tracks every few seconds. The melody seems to be a contrast between reverbed voice overs and off-kiltered vibraphone notes that lead to driving key strikes. Everything about the music screams pride, and unlike a lot of the bro-step movement in the US, Waks crafted these songs based on a message, not bass drops.
What drew me into Sound Strider was the complexity and uniqueness to his music. There’s glitchy trip-hop, post-dubstep, plunderphonics, and soothing ambient sounds that grow into odd, but catchy tracks. His own style comes into play but creating an outside world for the listener, taking them on a journey into not only the universe, but inside Waks mind of sound. If I were to watch him live, I wouldn’t know whether I’d be the guy in the front dancing to every track, or standing off to the side, taking in the entire experience. That’s the beauty to Sound Strider. He’s able to appeal to both, without taking away from either side.
Be sure to listen to the entire EP below:
Let’s take a moment and review some of the antics this group has caused in the past year and a half. They single handily won over an entire audience with The Money Store, which received worldly acclaim, and then gave the middle finger to the same record company by releasing No Love Deep Web without their permission. Remember the Sharpie covered penis? Yes, that was Death Grips. Following this, they began a massive tour, which they cancelled before to release No Love Deep Web, and then ultimately cancelled the SAME tour again. They didn’t even bother to show up to the Lollapalooza after show either, which received a lot of coverage as well. Now the hardcore hip-hop group released a new album, titled Government Plates, to the surprise of everyone in the music community. Coming across as a logical progression to No Love Deep Web, it combines the sound of the prior with the structure of the universally acclaimed The Money Store.
Now I’m a Death Grips fan. There’s no denying that I enjoy their music, but I went off for a few months without hearing a single song. It may have been the overkill with The Money Store, or the fact that I wish No Love Deep Web sounded like the previous album. It felt like getting back with an ex when I started the stream of the new album. From the beginning of Government Plates, I realized the group was back in business. The album opens with the horribly titled, “you might think he loves you for your money but i know what he really loves you for its your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”. Yes, that is the title, and it’s all lowercase. The first noise on the entire album is a crash of something glass, and then follows the high pitched ringing that echoes the massive bass hits that seem to be a reoccurring theme on the album. It’s arguably the best song on Government Plates, and the worst title in music history.
Follows this is “Anne Bonny”, which is a great throwback to The Money Store. What this album does so well is it sets itself apart from any Death Grips album by being plain odd. There’s a lot more of MC Rides screaming, and the electronics on every song come across as extremely eerie, but dance-able. “Two Heavens” opens with a rotating synth chord, but then a double bass break comes in with a distorted voice. It’s something I can headbang too, but also sit in the dark and squirm until it’s over. Flatlander, the noise specialist in Death Grips, really steps it up for this album. He doesn’t try anything particularly new, but every track contains an immense amount of bass this time around so I can’t complain.
Zach Hill as well lets loose for this album. He’s pretty much given the OK to try anything, and that can be seen on “This Is Violence Now (Dont get me wrong)”. Over top the preset drum machine, Hill’s chaotic drum fills are fixated to the song like a metal-heads dream. Listening to Government Plates gave me a whole new perspective of the man’s talent, and reading that he was self-taught woes me every-time. It does make sense though, because he plays like he’s feeling the beat with his body, hitting everything in sight, but it does work well. He overplays, but in only the best way possible.
Now the overplaying can be tied into the reason for the free release. It proves that Death Grips aren’t in it for the business, but for the sake of a creative outlet. I don’t know any other ventures Flatlander and MC Ride are in, but Zach has had a resume full of past bands ranging from Boredoms to Hella to Wavves. The group seems to be a release from the world around them, and them allowing us to experience it seems to be a hard thing for them to do. MC Ride does hold back on this album, but he allows the other two members to stand out. His highlight does come in with “Birds”, which has some of the groups most cryptic and eerie lyrics possible. “I’ve got a black hat/ It might live,” is bad enough to pass up, but with the minimalist mess that surrounds it adds enough of an effect to show that lines like these have an effect.
Government Plates is the oddest release yet by Death Grips. The whole idea of them releasing a brand new album for free makes me wonder what their intentions are. Just to note how far they’ve came, when they released this album on their own website, it crashed within 30 seconds. I wouldn’t be surprised if they meant for that to happen, or they meant for the insane buzz that surrounded their no-show at Lollapalooza. What Government Plates shows us is an honest look at what Death Grips wants to do. They want to let loose, they want to have fun, and they don’t give a fuck. If people call Miley Cyrus “punk”, just wait until they know about Death Grips.
There’s already been a surprising amount of great electronic music released in 2013, and with the year wrapping up shortly, I’d like to bring up another release that stands out. Hailing from Vancouver, BC and taking his project to Montreal, Hecker has created a name for himself in the experimental music scene since his Imaginary Country release in 2009. Virgins is his 7th full length album, and it further progresses the droning, beautiful chords that he’s noted for.
The album opens up with a signature Hecker contrast between light, pretty ambience and booming distorted whole notes. What I loved about his previous release, Ravedeath, 1972, is that it carries an experience that is unable to be had with other musicians. The problem is that I wouldn’t go back to it all the time. It’s not that it’s not re-playable, but it was a listen that I’d crave after. What makes Virgins the superior album is that I want to listen to it immediately after the final track is finished.
These 12 songs off Virgins flow so smoothly, and they stick in my head. There’s a slight dance to his music that allows me to fall under a trance, but as soon as it becomes a little too much, he swaps for another sound. Think Stars of the Lid mixed with Steve Reich’s minimalism for this album. Add some distorted, resonating notes, and you have the formula for Virgins. Although not that simple, it feels like that at times.
I found Virgins to be quite accessible too. I never felt challenged to “stick with it” or pretentious having his music playing. Especially the track, “Live Room”. Now that’s what I’ve been wanting out of Hecker for years now. It takes over “Sketch 7″ as my favourite by him. Those omniscient opening notes collide like a horror movie soundtrack with the distant echoes of noise. I imagine a burst of white noise, Xiu Xiu style, breaking the tension, but instead Hecker works his magic by flashing distorted saw buzzes into both speakers with total control over the emotions of his fans. He watches like a god and laughs at us as we can only wait until the beautiful destruction of it ends. The track is literally apocalyptic.
I found my word to describe my feelings Virgins. It’s more destructive than a typical Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, and more tense than Oneohtrix Point Never’s recent release. I feel as though Virgins can full under post-rock territory, although it’s not rock at all. Maybe post-(insert genre here)? Post-experimental-ambient-drone. deciding what genre music is in is a losing battle so fuck that, but Hecker provides some amazing moments on this LP.
“Black Refraction” is another moment that I connected with. It’s the complete opposite of “Live Room”, but the tense, creepy feeling of being lost in unknown territory still lingers. The closer, “Stab Varriation”, reminds me of The GY!BE track, “Moya”, oddly enough. It’s downfall chord progression provides imagery of ashy, torn buildings, and loneliness. I love it, and I don’t feel guilty one bit. Hecker’s ability to stay with the same idea and expand it until it breaks without feeling forced is true talent.
That’s been my comment about his music in the past, and he fixes that on Virgins. I don’t at all feel like I’m having a song on repeat, and even after many listens, I pick up on the subtlety of his layered creations. They drone, and drone, and drone, but every measure the pieces get louder, quieter, add another faint noise in, etc, until the mess is too much to handle and you cannot think, and then it’s over. You can breath. You can relax. Now you want more, so one listen turns to two, and two becomes three, and three becomes four. Hecker implies one single question through the blips of noise on his opener, “Prisms”, and asks, “Are you ready?”. I thought I was until listened.
Listen to “Live Room” below: