Blog Archives

Darkside – Psychic review

When a musician decides to form a group or duo after an exciting career, or even start a side project, it’s practically impossible to not compare it to the works they’ve done. We all thought of it when you read this. Whether it’s Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters, or Thom Yorke in Atoms for Peace, the original work lingers with the artist. Nicolas Jaar was somebody I didn’t believe would survive in the destructive business of music. After a solid 2011 release with Space Is Only Noise, I did not believe it could be replicated, nor should be as it would feel too forced. Oddly enough, during this time frame Jaar was working on another project with fellow touring guitarist, Dave Herrington, and they formed the duo Darkside. Combining the electronic tension of Jaar’s studio work with the organic sounds found in the live performances, they eased their way through recording the finally released Psychic album.

I usually stay away from reading reviews until I have my own opinion, but I stumbled across a mixture of positive and negative. I feel as though this album has been misjudged by both sides. One critic said it resembled the unasked question of, “What does Nicolas Jaar and Eric Clapton sound like together?” To me, that’s a dumb comment. I can see the resemblance, but I would honestly be intrigued into what the combo would sound like. Psychic does branch off from the usual spectrum Jaar likes to take, but the eerie and tense atmosphere sticks with the listener. The monster opener, “Golden Arrow”, clocks in at just under 12 minutes. There’s more excitement in these 12 minutes than the 46 in Space Is Only Noise. While comparable, Psychic could appeal to a different audience that wasn’t content with the prior release by Jaar.

These eight tracks have their distinct moments that clearly separate one from another. The minute and a half lingerer “Sitra” is completely different from the following track, “Heart”. They fit together like a puzzle piece, but the following song reminds me of an abstract brit-pop tune. The addition to Herrington’s guitar allows for these odd, but compelling moments to flow smoothly. At the core, these are electronic dance tracks, but from the listeners perspective, they come across as very experimental at times. The structure to them, although quite simple, is hidden by Jaar’s need to keep the beat slower. Some songs, like the closer “Metatron”, fall into ambient territory. That’s the beauty of Jaar’s experimental side. He’s able to flip the listeners perspective of genres and how they fit together.

Going back to the Clapton comment, I hear it the more I listen, but still I wouldn’t consider it bad. Psychic does embrace Herrington’s bluesy guitar licks, but they don’t create a blues feel. I have more of a Jon Hopkin’s Immunity sound in mind. That’s probably due to the fact that both albums are released in 2013 and they have eight tracks. Besides that, there’s really nothing in common. What Psychic does carry that surprised me is Tom Wait vocals that aren’t sung by the man himself. At first, it was hard to swallow these raspy vocals, but the more I listen, the more I understand how it pieces together with the ‘blues’ combination.

What captures my attention with each listen is the other strange additions that Jaar included. I feel like there are many different versions of songs that were made over the two years it took to record. Should there be more guitar? Is the beat hidden enough? Do these vocals sound like noise enough? I bet none of these questions were asked, but I began to think about how these two completely different musicians came to a solid conclusion about their contributions to Psychic. Up front, it sounds like a Nicolas Jaar album. Behind the scenes it feels like Dave Herrington may have had more of an influence. There’s multiple ways to look at this album, whether you hear the blues or the electronics, they oddly fit together nicely to create an album that will be more enjoyable as time went on. Even I was hesitant with my first listen.

8.3/10

Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven

For the past three weeks, I’ve attempted to write this review about five times with the same events happening. First, I create a strong opening line that describes my feeling about the album, followed by a point that talks about the artist, but by the time I get around to actually describing why I feel that way about the music, I cannot discover the words I want to use. Claustrophobic? Spacey? Droning? Jagged? It just goes to show how professional and experienced I am at this. When I think I have it all together, I’m thrown a curve ball in the shape of R Plus Seven and my confidence is shot completely. Not to worry! This time I’ll finish my thought before I’m stolen the words.

Daniel Lopatin is a Brooklyn-based experimental musician, who goes by the name Oneohtrix Point Never when recording his.. music. Now Lopatin is renown in the music world for really pushing the boundaries, not by appropriateness, or by outrageous stunts, but by releasing just plain odd music that sells quite well for an indie artist. I can recall my first review ever being the 2011 album, Replica, and I wasn’t quite sure if I enjoyed it or not. I mean, I gave it a good review, but for a long time I wasn’t convinced that what I was listening was music. Now Lopatin isn’t the most experimental musician out there, but he definitely creates amazing patchworks with odd layouts.

R Plus Seven is Lopatin’s fourth record, and it utilizes a lot of plunderphonics from Replica, but with the unexpectedness of Returnal. What’s so interesting about R Plus Seven is how its Lopatin’s oddest album yet, but also the catchiest. Now catchy doesn’t go hand in hand with OPN, but hear me out. On the opening, “Boring Angel”, a rumbling organ note is held until, yes you read correctly, a steady click from the snare head. Another is how the climax of “Still Life” actually follows hook with synth-based riff of chords. “Zebra” also opens with a staccato of high pitched notes that continue to build and layer. I can run these examples for ages, but that’s the excitement behind this album. It catches you off guard even if you think you know what’s about to happen. Think Walter White’s mind in music.

I would say R Plus Seven is the perfect soundtrack for Breaking Bad’s final season. It has the eeriness of the dark and dreary moments, as well as the flourishing, somewhat happy(er?) scenes. I would never describe Lopatin’s music as happy, but it’s content, much like Vince Gilligan’s intention with his epic show. The way his music on this album shifts from quietly chugging along on a long, droning note and immediately jumps into a whole new sound is frightening. At points (“Along”), it can be hard to handle. I get so attached to the one repeating sound that I feel taken advantage of when Lopatin just dumps a great idea and moves on. It took many listens to realize that R Plus Seven has many dynamics and layers to it.

Now I completely understand when I get a comment that says, “This is hipster shit”. I get it. I don’t think I fully grasp what Lopatin’s intentions are with R Plus Seven. It’s uneasy, awkward, aggravated, at points pure noise, but what draws me back time and time again is the unique feeling of home and warmth from his nostalgic sounds. Lopatin understands himself better than we do, and we just have to deal with it. I feel that he doesn’t expect us, nor does he want us to think ‘I like your music because I know what its like’ because we don’t. We all have different experiences, and Lopatin is providing us the soundtrack to assist with them.

 

 

7.8

Touché Amoré – Is Survived By

There’s a psychological effect associated with heavier genres of music. Hearing aggressive, violent, and even disturbing noises isn’t as appealing as associating other senses with the same handful of adjectives. While listening to Touché Amoré’s new album, Is Survived By, my computer crashed on three separate occasions as soon as I began the album. Now many would tell me just to buy a new computer, and I do agree, mine is shit, but a lot of listeners do this with hardcore or post-hardcore music. We don’t give it a chance, resulting in missing out in many great albums.

Touché Amoré is an LA post-hardcore band that is part of the self-proclaimed “The Wave”, which is a grouping  of 21st century bands in the genre. Along with La Dispute and Defeater, to name the popular few, they’ve been noted as a band that has brought back screamo and hardcore to large audience. Is Survived By is their third album, and it’s also their longest, which is something to note because their past releases don’t even hit 20 minutes. Is Surived By reaches an astonishing 29 minutes *GASP*, and the ride of melodic, post-hardcore doesn’t stop through the entire listen.

What caught my attention with the band early on is how on every release, they seem to experiment with many ideas throughout an album. Short blips of songs will smash through seconds of sound, and then that’s that. On this release, the band has taken a different approach. Although songs never exactly reach La Dispute lengths, they make an effort to add traditional song structure to a few tracks. “Social Caterpillar”, “Non Fiction”, and “Is Survived By” are the only three tracks to reach three minutes (how fitting). These serve as climaxes to the albums closer, but many of these blasts of tracks are actually many ideas separated into different tracks for the sake of packaging.

What makes Is Survived By so different compared to past releases is how the band jolts from song to song, but the flow of the album never strays. These tracks will pass, but only until the album hits stop do I realize that it’s finished. Jeremy Bolm’s screams are stronger than ever. The tension between every chord progression and drum hit is thick and heavy. The band creates such a claustrophobic atmosphere that it’s difficult to not try and break your way out. These songs aren’t just melodic, they stick with you. I found myself hitting repeat almost immediately as the album ended. After my many listens in one sitting, I would sit and digest what I just experienced. It’s the sound of a band at the top of their game.

Few bands can create exciting albums that slip under the radar to the public. Touché Amoré release solid albums time and time again, but they’ve yet to reach the pinnacle of potential. Is Survived By is another prime example of an amazing hardcore release that should be honored by every music buff on their blogs and websites. That’s exactly why I love writing these reviews.

 

8.8/10

Typhoon – White Lighter

Many music enthusiasts have that one ‘personal’ band which they take pride in knowing. It’s the hipster culture of modern music, but the then again there’s always been pretentious music snobs. A band I’ve been following since their beginnings is a renown Portland indie rock, indie pop band named Typhoon. The monster 11 piece orchestra group has masked the airwaves with their unique flowing masterpieces. Their 2010 album, Hunger & Thirst, is an epic album that compares to Arcade Fire’s Funeral except without the reception from critics. White Lighter was released back on August 20th, but I’ve decided to take some time to really let this album sink in.

Before listening to this album, I was super skeptical. It’s only natural to assume that a follow-up album can’t match it’s predecessor, but I was completely false. To sum up this review, White Lighter is brilliant on so many levels. From the beginning, Typhoon gives listeners a glimpse of what to expect for the album with “Artificial Light”. The beautiful notes chime away until the signature voice of Kyle Morton, who should be watched for in years to become.

Typhoon has a quasi-post-rock sound going on, as their dynamic flows so smoothly from song to song. “Young Fathers” is a highlight to album, but it’s very noticeable that this song does have a single feel. No other song had that on Hunger & Thirst, but what makes this album better is how it stays to a steady theme. Kyle Morton suffered from a Lyme Disease as a child, which almost killed him and the concept of desperation and mortality surrounds White Lighter heavily. These tracks are like Mortan’s deathbed prayers, but luckily he’s made it through to put it into wonderful songs.

The sound of desperation is perfected on “Possible Deaths”. The steady kick drum and wonderful hook displays a vivid image that the listener can morph, but everyone will all have the similar theme. Just such great ideas are shaped into amazing manipulation of emotion in these 46 minutes of expression. “Dreams of Cannibalism” follows a standard Typhoon outline, but it’s on par with “Belly of the Cave” for best Typhoon track. Mortan lays down the best example of songwriting the album’s heard on the final two stanza’s with, “I fled the country
I thought I’d leave this behind / but I built the same damn house / on every acre I could find / And I tried to fake my own death just to shake the devils from my mind.” It’s simply magic what they put together.

What get’s me after every Typhoon release is the energy and strength of every song they put out. “One Hundred Years” starts with a blaring horn section over top intense drums. “Common Sentiments” feels more like a swaying rock track, but the originally they spin into it creates such a strong, beautiful aesthetic. What all these songs have in common is amazing instrumentation. Oh, how Typhoon perfects the crescendos! I cannot describe into words the true beauty of these dynamics. White Lighter is an album that blew me out of my chair. Although I should have expected to hear something amazing, I’m constantly amazed by Typhoon’s ability to create music. The melodies, the lyrics, the chemistry between members, the instrumentation, the songs! It’s all here packed into one album that sadly doesn’t stand out in record sales. Do yourself a favor and listen immediately. You won’t regret it.

 

9.4

What to expect from Arcade Fire on Reflektor

So as the dust has sort of settled with the release of the new single, “Reflektor”, I can honestly say I enjoyed it a lot. At first, I hated it. Then, I disliked it. Following that I accepted in myself that it’s a great track. The shift in sound is very different compared to the past Arcade Fire sound, but let’s face it, when a band wins a Grammy for album of the year, are they ever the same? The band has arguably become even more experimental with Reflektor as the rumors grow. Yet, as everyone knows, nothing is for sure until the album is released. Here’s what you should expect following the release of Reflektor on October 29th:

Double Album:

Lead vocalist, Win Butler, has announced that Reflektor will be a double album, marking longer tracks, and an overall gigantic collection of songs. He also noted that the two sides will present two distinct vibes. The question is, what will the sides sound like? Well for one, Arcade Fire has never been afraid to touch on themes like nostalgia, growing up, questioning life, so forth on the “meaning of life” metaphors. The way it will translate into music might be a tough call at this point, but never the less it’ll be interesting to see.

LCD Sound-alike:

This is a tough call right now, but as the first single dropped it seems like an appropriate gesture. The DFA records and LCD Soundsystem founder, James Murphy, is producing Reflektor, so don’t be surprised to hear his influence on these songs. I apologize in advance if anyone despises LCD Soundsystem, but I wonder then why anyone would hate such a great band. “Reflektor” was chock full of the signature groovy, steady beat that Murphy does perfectly, but on a double album will it be enough to hold up?

Featured Artists:

Bowie has already confirmed that, in fact, it was him on the band’s first single. Not surprising in the least as he’s already cited himself as a fan since Funeral‘s release way back in 2004. Now the question is who’s next? Many musicians today agree that Arcade Fire will be held as the original Indie bands of the 21st century, and that could open many doors to other musicians for appearances on songs. The band was spotted on LCD Soundsystem’s documentary, Shut Up and Play The Hits, along side The National and Sufjan Stevens. The potential for opportunities is enormous, but how amazing would that combination be? Add Owen Pallet into the mix, and that’s a guarantee for an award somewhere.

Rising High or Falling Fast:

The band has only grown since it’s debut, and although fans recite Funeral as the ultimate winner, it’s hard for the music industry to argue with the biggest Grammy award. They’ve influenced music forever, won every award imaginable by many publications, and have the album of the year award by the Grammy’s as an indie band under their belt, but is there room to grow? Arcade Fire has extremely high expectations to meet, considering their only three albums in, yet have been consistent since their beginnings. Reflektor so far is very promising, but with 8 minutes in, and possibly 70+ to go on the double album, should we lower our expectations?

Everything is up for debate until the release of Reflektor. The band’s influence on music only proves that this is one of the most anticipated releases of year, and decade following The Suburbs, which reserved them a spot in indie music history for breaking down barriers of independent music. Reflektor comes out October 29th, and you can watch the video for the single of the same name below.

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

NIN-Hesitation-Marks

There’s a strong sense of invincibility that surrounds Nine Inch Nails. The music transcends masses of the public and have inspired many future musicians to break new grounds. Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind the rotating lineup of industrial superstars, is often thought of as a god in modern music. He is the main man to bring industrial rock into the light of day, and then progressed the genre to it’s own macro of categories.

Hesitation Marks is the eighth studio album released by the band, and is remarkably different compared to the past releases of albums. Every album after The Fragile has yet to match the critics expectations of a ‘great album’, as most have received mixed reviews. You could argue that critics reviews are utter shit (including mine), and reason that everyone has their own opinion, but the fact is that no album has been able to make the same impact as The Downward Spiral. The only other album that touched on it’s greatness after was The Fragile, but even that assumption is a tad too far. Reznor feels genuinely convinced that he’s putting out a solid album, and has the same motivation he had in 1994 (the same year as The Downward Spiral).

What’s noticeably different from the get-go is that this album doesn’t have the same aggressiveness as past albums, but instead feels catchier and accessible. “Copy of A” is the first full-length track and is one of the weaker songs released. The instrumental is actually quite upbeat and groovy, but Reznor’s repeating vocals is what killed the track for me. It feels like a manufactured single for first-time Nine Inch Nail listeners, which severely disappointed me. “Came Back Haunted” is more what I expected from this album. The classic choppy and static drum machine blends with Reznor’s gripping vocals extremely well. Everything about this track is just as easy to listen to as “Copy of A”, but it’s plain better. The song just has that NIN sound that made them stand out in the 90′s.

There are a slew of tracks that feel pulled from older albums released by NIN. “Find My Way”, “I Would For You”, and “While I’m Still Here” all feel like they’re taken from The Fragile era. “Dissapointed”, “Running”, and “In Two” feel like they’re possible B-sides for The Downward Spiral, and the rest of the tracks just expand on latest sound of Nine Inch Nails. If I were to sum up the album in two sentences, that would be it. I mean, there’s other things to add in, but Hesitation Marks does feel like a comeback album that’s trying to pick up new fans along the way. Now I have to bring up the song, “Everything”. What the fuck is this? It’s got to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard from Nine Inch Nails. It vaguely reminds me of “Truth” by Bloc Party, which is amazing, but to hear this by an angry industrial rock band blows my mind. The song is pretty solid, but the glittery vocals and contrasting chorus just screams ‘pop-punk’. I still haven’t grasped the concept with this song. I probably never will.

The beauty of Nine Inch Nails is they always surprise. The honest truth behind my opinion is that I had very low expectations with Hesitation Marks. The band has been on a negative slope with past releases, but to hear something that doesn’t disappoint is success. Songs like “Various Methods of Escape”, “Running”, and “Came Back Haunted” kept this record afloat. It doesn’t break any new grounds at all (except maybe for a pop song), and doesn’t stand out among the slew of recent albums to be released. That being said, it’s not a bad album in the least. It’s a nice surprise to finally have some good, relevant material by a legendary band.

6.5

We Are The City release their sophomore album, Violent

The main reason for independent music’s rise to fame is that it’s different. The musicians claim they have a ‘fresh’ new idea, and they’re ‘not like other bands’. Sadly, the reality is that Indie music is slowly becoming more stale by every release. This isn’t because of the high popularity of the genre’s umbrella-like term, or because it’s cool to pretend that we don’t care, but it’s because the mainstream media is jumping on every act around. *GASP*, yes indie music is mainstream music. Let’s admit it already. From The Lumineers and Mumford’s folk sound to Passion Pit’s indie pop stardom, it’s everywhere. Now before you decide these bands are utter shit, let me remind you that it’s only a handful that cash in early with their checks. Even the bands I’ve mentioned still have their dedication to music (so far). The heart of indie music is found in the local media. In a city like Vancouver, where we’ve been overrun from the next big band, it’s hard to stand out. Occasionally there’s a band that sets the tone for what’s expected, and that’s constantly We Are The City.

Hailing from Kelowna, BC and now residing in Vancouver, the band’s claim to fame is winning the prestigious Peak Performance Contest and releasing a killer debut LP and EP. I’ve been following this band closely because everything I’ve heard in the studio and live is absolutely amazing. Their debut release, In A Quiet World, is my top rated album from 2009, and 2011 proved to be great with their ultra cool EP, High School. For anyone unaware of this band, they’re a combination of sound is scattered. At times I hear Local Natives mixed with King Crimson, and others I hear The Antlers mixed with Archers Of Loaf. It’s a unique sound that I’m sure will be a major influence in the local scene. They provided me with a snippet of a sophomore release, and I was very excited to hear that their new album, Violent, has finally arrived.

First things first; this is completely different from anything the band has done before. What In A Quiet World had with their catchy prog-rock, and High School had with their experimental pop, Violent feels down right depressing. The album still contains the disjointed and tight sections that We Are The City are famous for, but they’re a different style here. Gone are blitzing structural shifts and in are the continuous drum sections and droning guitar riffs. From the get-go, “Bottom Of The Lake”, has a lush flow of notes on the keyboard, and a 2/4 drum lick that doesn’t stray away for the entire song. I have to say, I was kept on hold waiting for the song to shift, but I never got that. To my surprise though, I really enjoyed the opening without the complex compositions the band is known for. The only song on this album that has that classic feel is “King David”. It’s 7/4 time signature brings me back to my 2009 listening days. We Are The City has matured and they’re wanting us to know that. “Legs Give Out” has a slight In A Quiet World sound, but it never hits the crescendo that songs off the previous album did.

I’m not mentioning that I dislike these songs, but they definitely require a mental shift to grasp the fact that We Are The City aren’t the band they used to be. They’re more mature, down to earth, and experimental. The first four tracks provide a throwback feel to older albums, but it’s when “Friends Hurt” comes in that it really sinks in that the band has changed. What a perfect soundtrack for that realization, because the entire song revolves around despair and sadness. The band literally fucks with emotions like it’s nothing, and I give them huge credit for that. The second half of the album feels very experimental, with it’s almost minimal feel and usage of sound instead of hooks. The songs tend to drone on, creating a thick atmosphere that feels like Animal Collective gone acoustic. Tracks like “20 Ft. Up” and “Punch My Face” are good examples of the developing sound. Same with “Everything Changes”. It’s long chords and drum machine contain such a dynamic sound for a basic song. That’s the magic of We Are The City. They’re music, even though it sounds very complex, is quite simple. The complexity comes with the structure of songs. They change dynamics so quickly and contrast the previous sections like a post-rock album. Still, the band is a progressive rock band no matter what the locals might say about them.

I’m still sold on the song “Baptism”. It’s definitely the album’s lead single (If it were to have any), and shows how much the band has progressed in the past two years. Inner conflicts almost split the band, and they even resided in a tiny house close to mine to get away from the never ending mess of stardom. Drummer, Andy Huculiak is easily one of the best drummers for a band in Vancouver, and the way he manages the back beat has me jealous every time I hear him play. The song plays out like fuzzed out version of previous lead singles by the band, and takes a piece from Flaming Lips’ iconic Embryonic. The sound is so aggressive without having that upfront punch. It’s sound resembles a ballad until the signature We Are The City ‘second of silence’, and that’s where the song takes shape. It’s distorted, massive, and bursting from the seams like noise rock song with a massive melody.

The band has such goofy and down to earth lyrics that it’s so easy to get lost in them alone. They constantly feel like underdogs and are so likable, even with their accessibility being quite lower than other bands of the same sound (Local Natives, Cold War Kids). Now, the band still has that sound of self-despair, but what made the past albums run so smoothly was the themes that surrounded the band. The group doesn’t seem set on what they’re trying to accomplish with Violent, and maybe that’s the point. When a band is almost on the way to self-destruction, that’s where the most honest work comes out. Much like Weezer’s ultimate Pinkerton, it was the best work by the band at the worst time. So to speak, Violent is no Pinkerton, but the comparison in themes really resemble one another. Violent also feels like a slow cooker, and so far I’m not 100% sold on this new sound, but before I know it, it’ll be on my playlist non stop. The album is yet to click, but I know it will soon. Nonetheless, be sure to check out this sophomore release by the amazing band.

Click here to get to the band’s Bandcamp

Here’s the first promo for the album that contains the song, “Baptism”: 

Finally, here’s the actual studio version of the epic “Baptism”: 

Listen to Earl Sweatshirt’s new track “Guild” ft. Mac Miller

In preparation for the young rapper’s latest album, Doris, there is finally a studio version of the track, “Guild”. It features Mac Miller, who has an inconsistent streak to him, but he really lays it down for this track. Both Earl Sweatshirt and Miller’s voices are lowered an octave to produce a muddy and slow sound that is prominent in Odd Future’s recordings. It’s another hint to the highly anticipated Earl Sweatshirt LP, which is yet to have a set release date. Earl also has mentioned in interviews how he sees the transition from his past sound and debut album, Earl, back in 2010 by saying on twitter,

“I anticipate a loss of fans. I also anticipate gaining some. So. You know. Yeah… I hope i lose you as a fan if you only fuck with me cause i rapped about raping girls when i was 15… I fucking love how it sounds. And uhh. Thats what matters… Im gonna go out on a limb and say that you can hear the progression.”

Check out the newest track below (Thanks to MassAssault for keeping it up on Soundcloud) 

Vampire Weekend succeeds with Modern Vampires Of The City

/tag/release/20130508_133521.jpg

Both Vampire Weekend and Contra were released in the months of January. I never thought of their music having a winter feeling, but in the end, the record company has the final say on the release date. The New York City indie rock band has always had a summer flair to the upbeat and disjointed hits. From college radio to hit TV shows, their music could be all over every source of media. After a three year break, they’re back with a new big time release. Modern Vampires Of The City promises a full recovery from two massively exciting albums. The band also promised a darker, more down to earth tone that could contrast the earlier albums.

The album opens with a shocking tune. “Obvious Bicycle” is slower, more draining and doesn’t have that ‘get up and dance’ feel that past openers have had. It’s dynamically different, but I enjoyed it and I assume fans will still appreciate the change. The second song, “Unbelievers”, feels like any other VW track, as does the next few. Exciting, fast BPM’s, and a very disjointed drum beat that can get any crowd moving. What I noticed from the start is how the songs a lyrically darker, “I’m not excited / But should I be / Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me?”. These themes carry throughout the longest album that Vampire Weekend has released, which clocks in at just under 43 minutes. Still, the fast, exciting tracks carry that ability to be crazy hits.

What caught my eye is how smooth the production is. I was walking around listening to the ending of “Unbelievers” and the beginning of “Step” and was blown away. The drum smash right as the song picks up carries the same energy as a club banger. Even the next track, “Diane Young”, has that goofy Vampire Weekend style to it. Ironically, I just caught on the the ‘Dying Young’ play-on-words that the title holds. I never saw the band as lyrically forward thinking, but they surely pick up that aspect with Modern Vampires Of The City.

Songs like “Don’t Lie”, “Hannah Hunt”, and “Ya Hey” show that dynamic shift in their sound. I still heard that same keyboard tone and drum sound, but the songs are slower and closer to heart. Even some tracks feel more experimental (pitch shifting, large amount of reverb, and uncommon instrumentation). To most fans of the previous fun, upbeat material, this will be a shock to them. With an open mind these tracks can be just as great, but in a different way the past albums were.I personally enjoyed most of the songs included here, but I did not like the closer, “Young Lion”. The song felt very forced and an awkward reprise of the stunner, “Diane Young”. Maybe Vampire Weekend listened to too much of The Suburbs while making this album? The difference is that Arcade Fire does that sort of closer well, and Vampire Weekend was practically shoving that track onto the album. A sad way to close a very solid album.

The first time I heard a preview for the album a few months, I was shocked. I was shocked because it was the first time I felt like Vampire Weekend was doing something wrong. The preview had songs, “Step” and “Diane Young”, included and I hated it. Ironically, those ended up being my two favourite songs on the entire album. As a whole, Modern Vampires Of The City clicks very well. The darker, eerie themes seem smooth and unforced throughout the album, and Vampire Weekend still has that emotional energy that was found on past releases. The three years of no deadlines brought together the band. With a more mature sound, Vampire Weekend has released their most complete and fulfilling album to date. I highly recommend giving this a listen.

 

Watch the controversial video for “Diane Young”: 

Listen to Stephen Brodsky’s EP – Hit or Mystery

If one things for sure, it’s that this is definitely not what Cave In sounds like. The Boston post-hardcore band’s front man, Stephan Brodsky has a new EP coming out on April 16th on Little Black Cloud, and it is killer good. Hit or Mystery has this psychedelic-folk atmosphere, but it’s not the kind that comes to mind. This isn’t 60′s hippy music, but a push forward in the folk genre itself. The 8-song EP contains a handful of great tracks, but the real winner is the entire layout of the set list.

The transitions from the middle songs, “Days of Heaven”, to the surprise song, “Real Surreal Beauty”, gave me chills. There’s great lyricism (especially on the opener), great jams (“Your Sweet Love”), and a hint of cozy winter goodness on the track, “Thing In The Spring”. The EP jumps from song to song on fluently, giving me the guess that this isn’t a one time idea, but possibly the next trick up the front man’s sleeve. I can’t wait to see what’s next in Brodsky’s arsenal.

You can stream the entire EP here via Stereogum’s Soundcloud: http://snd.sc/ZhkIvs

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,003 other followers