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Underground Mondays: Different Days EP

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

 

 

Tim Hecker – Virgins review

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.

9/10

Listen to “Live Room” below:

 

MITNG’S Videos of the Week

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STARS-Hold On When You Get Love & Let Go When You Give It

I needed this video after the week I’ve had in rootin tootin Arizona. Sometimes you just need to be reminded that it’s going to be alright and this video was a healthy dose of that. This new single from the Montreal based group is an absolute winner and is guaranteed to put a smile on your noggin.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Despair

I almost thought the music wasn’t going to start and that would’ve been okay. I’d given them props for coming with the “Me and a Gun” approach to this track. Might’ve been tough for me to swallow, but I’m always willing to go where Karen takes me. This track is deliberate and one of the best tracks I’ve heard from this bands new album. This album could be the one to look out for this year.

M.I.A-Bring The Noize
This girl can do no wrong in my eyes. My only question is how does she keep doing it? If this single is any indication of what the rest of her album holds, this is gonna be a true classic

Arctic Monkeys-Do I Wanna Know?
I’m still not sure what compelled me to post this video. I’m not a huge Arctic Monkeys fan, but this song is really catchy and has an uncanny blues element that hooked me in. Plus this video looks like it was directed by Robert Crumb. All thick like.

CHVRCHES-GUN
Chvrches is still one of the happiest bands in electronica to date. The Scottish band delivers a refreshing pop sound that, strangely enough, I can stomach. I don’t know if this video should come with a warning since just about everything causes seizures nowadays, but in case it doesn’t, you’ve been warned.

DUCK SAUCE-It’s You
Finally a safe for work video. A-Trak and Armand Van Helden better known as Duck Sauce has rolled out yet another fun one with an equally fun video, that if you have your kids with you at work you could sit with them and watch.As long as you remember to do your work

 

VFX artists Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma, Kickstart a visually stunning cryptozoology adventure The Ningyo

c81d2b4fe81413d6d88044bf62053483_largeGot an email from Miguel Ortega, this amazing VFX artist we did a story on awhile back. In it he told us about a new project he’s working on, that he’s trying to get some crowd funding to complete. My immediate response to the letter was “YES!” and “How can I help?” All this and I hadn’t even looked at the Kickstarter video yet. Why my undying devotion? Cause Miguel is a true autuer/bohemian, doing whatever it takes to transform what’s in his head into something real.

His first project The Green Ruby Pumpkin, was done for $7,000 dollars and he shot the whole thing in his house and he’s doing the same with The Ningyo. I urge anyone reading this article to click this jump and watch that film and you’ll see right away why I am about to get down on the campaign trail for his new project The Ningyo

What Miguel and his VFX partner Tran Ma, has planned is quite ambitious, but if funded, it will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Miguel is a skilled artist with an amazing understanding of light, textures and anatomy, qualities that come in very handy when you consider the scope of this fantastical tale of the “neverwas”. All the pieces are in place for this project, amazing actors, concepts, sets, passion and know-how, all he needs now is for you to watch the Kickstarter video and let it conjure up feelings you haven’t felt since you were a child, well that and whatever you can spare to complete it.

Folks this isn’t like some Kickstarters where huge actors use their celebrity to fund projects they’re too cheap to do themselves. This man is shooting this in his home! If that doesn’t say commitment, I don’t know what does.

THE NINGYO KICKSTARTER

MIGUEL ORTEGA HOMEPAGE

The Ningyo KickStarter from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

Underground Mondays: Love Or The Bomb – When Summer Comes EP

I don’t know about you all out there, but it’s heating up very fast and it’s only May. As nature plays out, August is where the real heat comes in, and that’s a scary thought. To prepare for the scorching heat and never ending topic of global warming, I bring you the Montreal-based indie rock band, Love Or The Bomb. Their appropriately titled EP, When Summer Comes, is a collection of three tracks that should be in your mix for those summer outings. Any fans of Tokyo Police Club or Oh No! Yoko should continue reading.

As the duo of Eddy Franco and Adrian Solarino prepare for their debut LP, they’ve been playing local shows around the city impressing many of the audience that has had the chance to see them. They played under the name of “The Hawks” before, and even opened for bands like The Front Bottoms, who I adore. When I first turned on their EP, I was excited to hear an almost lo-fi atmosphere to their rock sound. They’ve described themselves as a “no-nonsense” type, and I can picture that with listening to their music. They definitely come across as cool, and every music junkie would approve of the duo’s style and sound. “When Summer Comes” has a unique tone to it. It’s easily my favourite, and it’s their heaviest with the hard hitting guitar tone. I do like the garage rock sound, as the fuzziness resonates a Ty-Segal sound. The chorus is very catchy, and the vocal range of Franco is impressive. Their cheesy lyrics totally fit the Joy Division influenced riffs.

The second track, “Real Sin”, has quite the dynamic shift from the previous track. It’s a fresh change, and the duo really bring their game for this song. It has that tone to it that fits the ability to be played on radio, as it would get anybody moving to the steady beat. Adrian Solarino is a talented drummer, and he keeps the duo in line for all three tracks that are showcased here. I would comment that I’d want to hear more from him. He should be a main focus for listeners, and add more of his spin to these dance-tastic tracks. The final track to present from this wonderful EP is “Gossip”. Although it is slower, this track shows how diverse of a duo these members are. They can rock out to a gritty garage rock track, kill it on an indie track, then finish off with an amazing ballad. “Gossip” clicked on a first listen. The atmosphere is beautiful, and the song builds to a great climax with a chunky solo section. The band hits a home-run with this song

Love Or The Bomb has that “it” sound to them. They know what they want and they understand what listeners need. They bring to the table a collection of diverse tracks to showcase their limelight of talent that both members have. With an EP that has this type of potential to bring to a full length debut, prepare yourself for a great indie rock release that will blow you away. I’m definitely looking forward to this album as I’ve very much enjoyed hearing the beauty of Love Or The Bomb. The essence of these weekly Underground Monday posts is that I get to find these amazing bands and bring them into the light. Love Or The Bomb is another prime example.

 

Be sure to check out their Bandcamp here

Also, check out the video for their wicked track, “When Summer Comes”:

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