Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radio Show tonight: Win copy of Prawn's "You Can Just Leave It All"

Tonight on the radio show (7 PM, http://www.wumd.org), we will be giving away a vinyl copy of Prawn's LP You Can Just Leave It All.  We also will be playing new music by Good Old War, LVL UP, &U&I, FACT, Foxy Shazam, and such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over HERE in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.  See you in a couple hours?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Light Bearer by &U&I

Kind of like: Blackfish, Brontide, Hold Your Horse Is
Genres: Math-Rock, Post-Hardcore

The British scene seems to be blowing up right now with amazing bands. &U&I release their first full length album and they didn't pull any punches. Light Bearer contains an earnestness that remains even when a super catchy chorus or hook pops up in between heavy and discordant post-hardcore. Even after one listen, I was hooked. This is an example of what I love about the post-hardcore style; melody and power blended with experimentation, groove, and emotive dynamics. If you are in the UK, keep an eye out for live shows. I know they just supported La Dispute the other day in Bristol. I would kill to see these guys slay it. Hopefully someday....

You Wanna Kiss About It? by The Bulletproof Tiger

Kind of like: Rooftops, And So I Watch You..., Piglet
Genres: Math-Rock, Progressive, Indie

This came out in December and had I known, it would have topped my best of '11 list. Coming back with 34 minutes of jaw dropping technicality, Toronto's finest craft a pinnacle full length Math-rock album. These guys really grow with this release even approaching a progressive indie rock feel at times. The dynamics are spot on and help the movement of the songs beautifully. The melodic interplay between instruments is improved upon with more nuance than their earlier EP, weaving in and out of odd syncopated rhythms and technical structures with ease. I strongly urge you to head over to their Bandcamp and throw them a few dollars for a high quality version. It's only $5 CAN (even cheaper in USD) and maybe someday we can hope to see it on vinyl.



Secret Somethings: Vol. 3 by Hightide Hotel (2012)

Kind of Like: Bravebird, By Surprise, Snowing
Genres: Emo, Math Rock, Indie
Spotify: Not this release, but others.

There are a couple neat things about this EP.  First off, when you download it off their bandcamp (name your price), there are also a bunch of bonus tracks included that you can't preview on there.  Mostly live performances of their songs.

Another cool thing about this EP is that if you choose to buy it, all of the funds are donated to a suicide prevention organization.

The coolest thing about this EP though, is that it just plain sounds cool.

Listen Here:

Collected by Birds in Row (2012)

Kind of Like: No Omega, Goodtime Boys, Caravels
Genres: Hardcore, Screamo, Punk
Spotify: Yezzir.

Where the fuck did these guys come from?  Well, France, but they have become immediately prominent in the United States.  Here is the blog Curran Reynolds summing up why:

"Vitriol Records - the LA label founded by Justin Smith of Graf Orlock, Ghostlimb, and Dangers - presents Collected, a compilation of all the recordings to date of French hardcore band, Birds In Row. As Birds In Row prepare to record their debut full-length for Deathwish Inc, Collected serves as a complete introduction to this explosive band."

This album is a 7" and EP of theirs put together to form something really special.  Their vibe will get anybody's attention stateside that like bands like Beau Navire and Caravels, but they also have a bunch of other stuff that is great as well.  These guys are just plain fulminant, and are bursting with emotion at every moment.  I think Curran Reynolds put's it best with: "The heart is laid bare but the spine is intact."

It certainly was enough to get Deathwish's attention, they have promptly signed them to release a full length sometime this year.  Pick this up right now and get yourself acquainted.

Listen Here:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Old Gods by Old Gods (2011)

Kind of Like: Dillinger Escape Plan, The Armed, Tharsis They
Genres: Mathcore, Experimental, Chaotic Hardcore, Punk
Spotify: Not as of this posting

I saw these guys at a show that featured them and a bunch of other great Detroit punk/hardcore bands like Golden Torso, Child Bite and Hellmouth.  I couldn't stay for the whole show because I had clinicals at 5 in the morning, but I managed to catch these guys.  Solid rock n roll.  There was a ton of Black Flag covers as well because this 7" was given out for free by Detroit's Bellyache Records.

This EP by Old Gods takes a minute to break open, but after it does, it's all over.  These guys have already proven themselves from being in bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and The Armed.

Listen Here:

Good and Well by Waypoint (2011)

Kind of Like: Moving Mountains, Balance and Composure, Appleseed Cast
Genres: Emo, Post-hardcore, Post-rock, Indie
Spotify: Not as of this posting
Buy: Bandcamp

These guys have been waiting patiently for me to have time to do a write up on them, After about 15 hours of sleep and nothing to do today but work at 3:00, I think I can do this now.  It's time to get some stuff done.

Waypoint are from the dirty dirty, but play some clean melodic post-hardcore/indie that reminded me immediately of newer Moving Mountains and Balance and Composure.  Specifically, they are from Mississippi, near Jackson.  I really don't know too much about the scene down south, but I keep finding more and more bands from around there and it's been eye-opening (ear-opening?) for sure.  So far I am liking "Eros" and "I Am Sun" the most.

My only concern with this album is that it might get old for people about halfway through.  There are certain hooks and guitar parts that are unique, but sometimes the vocals/harmonies and choruses sound somewhat similar to the ones before it.  That's why I really liked "Eros", for some reason it brought something different to the table than the other songs.

Other than that, the production is pristine, the songs are catchy and epic at times, and this is certainly a solid debut full-length.

Edit: the band asked that the mediafire link be removed and just be directed to their bandcamp. Hopefully some of you guys are down to buy this.

Listen Here:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wanna play a show and be on the radio?

WUMD is looking for some local artists/bands who would like to play at University of Michigan - Dearborn and let us interview them. If you know anyone or have any suggestions, or if you're a member of a band who's interested, please let us know!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Harris Harris Harris EP by Tawny Peaks (2012)

Kind of Like: Tigers Jaw, Girl Scouts, Owen
Genres: Emo, Indie
Buy: Songs From the Road Records

"Formerly a porn star, now an emo band named after aforementioned porn star."

I met Jesse, who runs Songs From The Road, randomly on Turntable.fm, I think.  Either way, he has been doing what we do here at SIGD for a couple years longer than we have.  I just found out a couple weeks ago he also has a record label extension from his site: Songs from the Road Records.  This is one of the releases he has put out.  The way the vocals are recorded almost makes this seem like a live album in a good way, like you are listening to these guys play an acoustic set in someone's basement.

It looks like these guys don't normally play acoustically live, but I think this entire EP is acoustic guitars.  Not complaining though, the tones are great.

Listen Here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Special Soul Edition for the Radio Show!

Due to the massive amount of schoolwork this week, there wasn't enough posts to fill a radio show with.  Conveniently, the post we just did on Soul Deep 100 has a whole bunch of songs from different artists.  So, for this week we are going to be doing a show that features soul, jazz, funk, and motown.  There will be tracks played from the Soul Deep mix plus our own favorite songs of that nature.  Listen in in one hour?

Soul Deep 100 (2012)

Kind of Like: James Brown, Edwin Starr, Jackson 5
Genres: Soul, Motown
Spotify: Not this mix cd, but you can find all the artists on there
Website: Facebook

This is a change of pace for you guys.  Time to stop pushing and shoving and just dance your ass off.  Soul Deep, like Funk Night, is another cool thing that happens around Detroit.  It's run by this DJ, Mike, that has a whole slew of old 45's from the 60's.  He does Soul Deep at Frank's in Wyandotte on Sundays, and at the Sky Bar in Detroit on Thursdays.

The biggest bummer about working the weekends is that now I miss Soul Deep on Sundays.  It's at a hole in the wall bar, but the drinks are cheap and a ton of young people show.  So, it's always a good time.

I go on Thursdays at the Sky Bar now, and I don't get why more kids don't come downtown to go to this one instead.  The Sky Bar is swanky as hell and there is no cover charge.  It is just a lot nicer of a place and they have cool lights and such.  I am all for a Detroit revival, and since kids are already coming out on Sundays, it would be nice to start seeing them come down to the one in Detroit.  They are known for their martinis, and even though I felt like a tool with a martini glass, two of those things had me in a...superb mood.

This album is a collection of the songs Mike spun for the New Year's Day Soul Deep.  He got them off of the vinyl retaining great quality and even added in the fade outs for a seamless dance session.

If you head out to Frank's this Sunday, he will be doing a special set in respect of the late Etta James that passed on the 20th.

Wait, I have to type all the artist names in the label section anyways.  Dammit.

Listen Here:

(Updated) Plexiglass Penis Smash by Beer (2008)

Kind of Like: At the Drive-In, Snowing, Moneen
Genres: Emo, Math Rock, Indie

I needed to take a picture with me to Kinko's (Fedex) to get printed, and I grabbed an old flash drive that had my old camera memory card in it.  Not only did it contain a bunch of old photos from the past, but also a bunch of music.  I was excited to get reintroduced to some tunes I listened to 4 years ago, when I noticed the file at the very bottom.  It was a music file I had thought I had lost a long time ago.  I am not sure if I should do the backstory now, or wait and see what you guys think of this band before because this file has some crazy sentimental value for me.  Let's make this interesting.  I will update this post in a couple days after I post it now.

Alright, I got a good response, so I will do the back story on this as I said I would.  There wasn't a lot of ratings for this post (I don't think many people use the star thing anyways), but there actually were a lot of listens on the bandcamp and a ton of downloads, more than I anticipated.  It is really cool to think that people liked this enough to want to save this on their computer and listen to it whenever.

This was a band that I jammed with for a good few years of my life.  We all originally knew each other from different ska bands, and we had always wanted to do a new project with each other.  We eventually grew out of the ska scene for the most part, our bands disbanded and we decided to start a new project together.  Originally, I played trombone and we were kind of going for an RX Bandits kind of band, a progressive rock band with horns and such.  We tried out a couple guitarists without much luck. Finally, we met up with a guitarist, and before we started playing he asked, "do you guys wanna smoke a joint?".  And thus began a really fun era of my life.  Over time, I moved from trombone to guitar to give the band a fuller sound, and the trumpet player moved to keyboard (which never got tracked).

Over the course of three years was a lot of good inebriated times and jam sessions, but there were several downfalls to our group.  We had a poor writing process, when we did focus on key parts and direction it turned out really well.  The problem was taking initiative to direct the writing process; there was no real leader.  The booze and such wasn't much help either for getting down to business.

But I was perfectly fine with not being serious.  In reality, we just were really good friends that happened to like jamming together.  We wrote a few songs, but eventually we seemed to get stuck.  We never got around to tracking the keyboard, horn parts, and vocals.  Without any progress forward, we ended up just....stopping playing.  Then a bunch of really horrible drama happened and nothing is really the same as it used to be.  There is no need for specifics; it isn't important.

Part of me wanted to share this song in hopes that maybe the acceptance and buzz would maybe somehow jumpstart things again in one way or another.  It's really frustrating because even to this day, what I look for in these emo/math rock bands are the same things we were doing years ago.  Melodic, noodly guitar parts, a really great drummer (arguably the best in our area), bouncing non-redundant walking bass lines (probably my favorite part of that recording), and just an overall clever development of themes.  I had a feeling that this 90's emo resurgance was going to get huge over the next few years and it would be nice to be one of the few Michigan bands a part of that.

The bass player has moved on to working with several bands including the Armed and sometimes writes on here.  He is the only real member I still hang out with.  He is also the only one that is not in the picture above.  The drummer is playing with a funk band that is well-paying from what I heard.  The guitarist and trumpet/keyboardist live together and have good...medicinal....business going (The only thing this kid is more passionate about than guitar is hydroponics).

Meanwhile, I have been trying to keep busy.  I am in nursing school, but I always want to music to be a part of my life as well.  That's why I started this.  I don't have the time/people to jam with, so I made this, and it's been a great creative outlet.  I've actually been fairly surprised by the number of musicians I run into that are going into nursing.  The drummer from the Suicide Machines, Tank, the drummer from Algernon, and others.  I think it is a combination of coming to the realization that music rarely pays the bills, nursing is and will always be an in demand field, and the whole "be nice and caring to people from all walks of life" punk ideology translates really well into the gratitude experienced from taking care of people.

I am not trying to be like, oh my life was so cool, listen to me talk about my life.  This is more of a therapeutic thing for me to write all this and revisit this.  If this somehow gets us jamming together and being friends again, then that would just be an added bonus, I guess.

Oh yeah, as for the weird name.  We once saw a video that showed a guy literally crushing his penis between two panes of plexiglass.  At some point we were trying to find it again, so we were googling for it, and this was one of the many grotesque keywords we tried to find it with.  Beer?  Well, we jumped between ideas for a name for awhile but never settled on anything.  I just put BeEr as the artist name when I saved it on my computer.  I capitalized the second E on accident and never changed it.

Listen Here:

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Mercury Program - A Data Learn the Language [2002], Confines of Heat [2003]

For Fans Of: Maserati, The Six Parts Seven, Pele
Genres: Post-Rock, Instrumental, Math Rock

Apparently I am on an early 2000's kick, because here's another band from that era. Formed in the summer of 1997 and based in Gainesville, Florida (I'm a big fan of Gainesville - it was the Fest 10 destination last year and we had a blast), The Mercury Program started out as a three-piece. A couple of years later they added a new member, and the three-piece morphed into a more dynamic quartet. I would describe this as Post-rock/Math-rock mixed with some smooth jazz. But really, the fun in listening to such bands such as this one occurs in each of the members' parts meshing into a song that's not too much of anything in particular.

These guys rarely, if every, take to the stage in a live forum, choosing instead to record music they love in their spare time without necessarily making it the focus of their lives. That being said, they have made an impressive amount of albums over the years: their first two featured sparse, spoken vocals, then they became entirely instrumental with the release of their 2001 EP, took a much-needed break in late 2003, and returned with their newest album in 2009. The two I have posted below are my favorites: the first is their 2002 release, and the second is their 2003 split with Maserati. I should admit, however, that I have yet to listen to Chez Viking, which one user on Last.fm referred to as "Incredibly calming. Best heard during a sunrise." I'm most definitely intrigued, and will be checking that one out as well.

If "You Give Me Problems About My Business" (the song in the preview) sounds familiar to you, it is because it's used a lot on NPR. I know! I always wondered who the artist of that song was too!
Listen here:

burundanga by FACT (2012)

Kind of Like: Dragonforce, A Wilhelm Scream,
Genres: Post-hardcore, Emo, Pop Punk, Metal
Spotify: Not as of this posting, they do have previous albums though

I posted their Eat Your Words EP here, way back in March.  It became a sort of guilty pleasure for me. I am not a huge fan of pop punk in the clean and bubbly sense, but the combination with post-hardcore and fast metal riffs did me in.  These guys have that pop punk feel at timse, but they are also fast, and just really, really easily accessible.  They blow their melodies to epic proportions, have lazer, Dragonforce-esque riffs at times, and even the occasional breakcore electronics.  This is certainly something that will not sit well with a lot of people that read this, but I am posting this on the off chance that it might with a few. However, there are even parts of this I just plain don't like, like the beginning of "Pink Rolex".

I would also recommend trying out their original self titled LP on Spotify if you like this.  It is most people's favorite.

I got a 94% on my first exam (so psyched).  Two more to go tomorrow. Back to the books, but expect news on the radio show later and other things that will be worked on after this slew of exams.

Listen Here:

StreamPad: FACT- GSMD

Tony Clark - As Dark As A Moonless Night [2012]

For Fans Of: Prawn, Owen
Genres: Indie, Acoustic, Singer-Songwriter

You know Tony Clark as the guitarist/singer of Prawn [if not, you should get with the program and check them out - not only are they talented musicians, but they are also a really nice group of guys]. This is the first EP of his solo project, which he started writing for in the Fall of 2011, and released just this month. In his words:

"After touring and traveling throughout the summer of 2011, I decided to sit and write some songs away from Prawn. The songs I wrote originally were all acoustic, But as time progressed, these 5 songs eventually evolved into more full, robust tunes. After demo-ing a bunch of them, I decided to invite some friends to play and sing on them. It turns out six different friends and musicians make their way onto this EP. I realize now I couldn't have done this without them, and for that I am eternally grateful for their generosity and skill - Kyle Burns, Beatrice Naumann, Blythe Armitage, Frank Graniero, Greg Maniago, and Greg Dunn. I plan on playing a few shows and seeing what the future holds. Thanks for giving me your time and ears!"

If you are a fan of Owen, you will most definitely dig this. Tony combines Prawn-esque electric guitar parts with soft melodies and complex acoustics. Cementing the richness of each song are some nice violin, horn, and keyboard parts. All in all, a great debut, and we look forward to hearing more of his solo work.

Listen Here:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quasimoto (2000, 2005)

Kind of Like: Madlib, J Dilla, MF DOOM
Genres: Hip-hop, Experimental, Jazz
Preview: Myspace
Spotify: Yes
Buy: Stone's Throw

Taking a quick study break.  Like the new Spotify thing?  I am hoping you guys have hopped onto the Spotify train, it will help you preview/download things a lot faster.

"One day in the studio, Madlib decided to rap to his own beats. He didn’t like the sound of his voice (his friends in Oxnard call him ‘Barry White’ in reference to his deep voice) so decided pitch the vocals up while recording to produce Quasimoto’s distinctive high pitched voice. The debut album was conceived and recorded by Madlib during a week long psilocybin mushroom binge."

I admittedly, was not aware that Quasimoto was in reality Madlib until yesterday.  I just heard him pop in and out of J Dilla, MF DOOM and...Madlib tracks.  I never took the time to figure out who he was until now.  After I figured it out, I have been listening to his tow albums "The Unseen" and "The Further Adventures of Lord Quas".  The album that is a product of a shroom binge was not lost on mainstream critics when it came out.  SPIN put this release alongside Outkast and Madonna in their best of the year list for 2000.

If you played Tony Hawk Underground, you will probably recognize "Low Class Conspiracy".  Here is the video:

I also really like Jazz Cats Part 1, where Quas goes through all of his jazz artist influences.  And the kermit like voice that is in songs like "Greenery".  Pass it around.

Back to the books.

Listen Here:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Auto!Automatic!! - Another Round Won't Get Us Down [2006]

For Fans Of: El Ten Eleven, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Volta Do Mar, Rooftops
Genres: Math Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental

I realize that this is super old, but I've been listening to these guys a lot lately, so I figured I would go ahead and put it up. They came out with Self-Titled last year, which is also really good and features their new bassist [it's also available on vinyl], but I am a bigger fan of this album. This is math rock at its finest. Songs like “That's Some Sick Mouth And Knee Coordination” and "Owl Do It Later" are great representation of their sound: ear-friendly and complex, with just the right amount of subtlety. And the subtlety is not a bad thing - they keep your attention by playing their share of random and intricate chord and tempo changes, along with plenty of nice melodic parts. Their song names are also pretty fun. I really wish I could find a copy of THIS album on vinyl.
Listen here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Will Sessions (2011)

Kind of Like: Nujabes, The Avalanches, Madlib
Genres: Hip-hop, Funk, Soul, Jazz

Whether it be MF Doom, Madlib, J Dilla, or any other really cool vinyl records or reissues coming out, Stone's Throw is usually behind it.  I love their catalog, and whenever I find a good contemporary hip-hop record (or classic reissue) in there, I always see their logo in the corner.

People around Detroit may know Will Sessions as the organizers of the now-staple-of-Detroit-night-life: Funk Night.  It started as random meet ups at abandoned warehouses or swanky mansions that were advertised on facebook for the last friday of every month.  Eventually hundreds showed up every night.  It was great because there was no cover, it was BYOB (or anything for that matter) and there was great live funk bands and djs to dance your ass off to.  The police eventually caught on, and they were usually shut down earlier than expected.  If they weren't shut down, you could bet they kept going well into 5 or 6 in the morning.

They still do Funk Night, but it's at a venue.  So, there usually is a cover charge of 5 dollars (not bad), and you have to buy drinks from the bar and no smoking (bad).  Needless to say, they aren't the same as they used to be.

Now that these guys are legit, they are starting to gain a lot of recognition.  Listening to these albums makes me so proud of Detroit hip-hop artists.  In a world full of autotune and mainstream garbage, these beats, nay, compositions are incredibly intelligent.  Here are two releases that I have been listening to on repeat during my mass studying for my exams in all three classes next week (how convenient, college).

The Elmatic Instrumentals are a collection of beats that would put many bands to shame.  The Real Sessions is a collection of live performances by various Detroit hip-hop artists within the Will Sessions movement: Mayer Hawthorne,  Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, and Phat Kat.  The overall feel of Real Sessions is great, you get that feeling of being at the show, but it is still mixed really well.

Oh yeah, and Megaupload just got shut down by the feds.  The good news is that maybe now legislators will recognize they have the power to shut down sites that host pirated music without idiotic/far-reaching acts like SOPA and PIPA.  The bad news is that I have a feeling all the other sites like mediafire and fileserve will be next.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today we will not be posting anything in recognition of the SOPA strike.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Radio Show: Now on your iPhone

"Story by...so there will be a story.  That's encouraging!"

The folks at WUMD have created an iPhone app to not only listen to WUMD Radio on the go, but also view all the Show profiles and such (Android app coming soon).  We are finally coming back from an extended hiatus, usually we say who we are going to play, but since there is so much ground to cover since we last aired, you will probably just hear a variety from throughout December until now.  We will be giving out a copy of "Parrot Flies" by Algernon Cadwallader to one lucky listener (or "Some Kind of Cadwallader", your choice).  We start at the same time as usual, 7 PM EST.  We get an extra half an hour for being with the station for at least a semester, so we will end at 8:30 (Just in time for the Wings game!).  I may do the whole show as Seth Galifianakis, rate this post/shout out if you want to hear that.  Either that or the "Would ya lookit that?" guy.  I am pretty sick, so this will be even more interesting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Classic) In Bocca Al Luppo by Murder by Death (2006)

Kind of Like: Seasick Steve, The Snake the Cross the Crown, O'Death
Genres: Folk, Indie, Rock, Punk

When I mentioned these guys in the last post, I realized I never really shared them on here.  It may not be something you all will like, but hopefully some of you will.  It was hard pinning a genre on them because they have been in so many forms since they began.

I was first exposed to them in a trailer/showcase for Michigan's Scrambled Visual, a group that used to record different artists including The Suicide Machines, Snoop Dogg, Murder By Death, Anti-Flag, and fordirelifesake.  I have no idea what happened to them, I always liked their videos.  Here is the song I heard on that showcase/trailer that first got me into this band like 8 years ago.

This is one of their earlier albums and it kind of electronic/folk/post-rock going on.  I never shared this, but I became so obsessed with the chord progression in this song, I used it in a song I wrote for a ska band at the time.  Listen to the trombone part after the dumb intro thing in the song Rethink and Regroup, then go back and listen to the above Murder by Death video, can't miss it.  And yes, I have a ska history.  So does Max from Signals Midwest.  We had a good time talking about being in ska bands.

Rethink and Regroup
Rethink and Regroup
(I also did the skramz in the chorus, how embarrassing.  Kenny is going to love this post.)

Anyways, I only liked a couple songs on that album besides "...Virginia Wolfe", and then In Bocca Al Luppo came out, and I was shocked with how much their sound had changed.  I didn't like it at first.  This album was a prime example of a grower for me.  They were much folkier, not electronic at all, and somewhat old-fashioned.  Eventually, I came to love the old-fashioned folk/western feel to it and I especially loved the narrative throughout the whole album.  Each story seems like a clip out of an old western movie, and even Adam has provided all the lyrics to the songs on their website along with an explanation of them.

The artwork to the album is awesome, I had the CD at one point and I remember it folded out into an elaborate insert that followed the tree's roots down through the bowels of the earth.  I wasn't into record collecting when I first heard this album, but I really would like this to be part of my collection now.

Listen Here

Dialects by Les Doux (2011)

Kind of Like: La Dispute, Murder by Death
Genres: Screamo, Post-hardcore, Folk
I reviewed these guys before with their self-titled EP.  They are a promising take on screamo with an addition of heavy southern/folk riffs.  I can appreciate anybody that tries to take on combining two genres.  The problem for me with this album was how long it took for me to come around to it.  The first song was redundant and didn't really hook me.  This is a concept EP.  The four songs on the EP (Interrogative, Declarative, Exclamatory, Imperative) were each written with that particular sentence structure and each is from a different perspective of a person involved in the story of a son leaving his home.  That's good and all, but it doesn't matter how cool a concept is if it doesn't grab me from the get go, especially an EP.

Now for the good news, the second half of this EP is way better than the first half, in my opinion.  It's unfortunate that this EP really hits its stride during the last song.  There is even a really cool folk/blues part that fits in perfectly at about the 2:35 mark of the last song, it's something you don't normally hear in this kind of music and it reminds me of Murder By Death; a really cool folksy sounding band from Indiana.

One other oddity, for some reason Declarative is significantly quieter than the other songs.  Just jump between Declarative and Imperative and you probably will notice it.  Maybe they were recorded or mixed at different times or something.  Maybe that's why Declarative just doesn't have the same "umph" for me.

I hate being a critic sometimes.

Listen Here:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Coming soon to a city near you!

"The New Face of Vinyl is a project that explores why young people across the United States have started a digital “devolution” by becoming vinyl record enthusiasts. Throughout the country, young people are buying more and more vinyl, thus getting back to the analog roots of listening to music. Collecting and listening to vinyl l has become a unique experience for many teens and young adults throughout the world who have chosen to explore the once forgotten black wax. Photographer Ben Meadors and writer Owen McCafferty are setting out to discover what vinyl means to these enthusiasts, and will create a full color photo book along with a narrative to tell the story."

Just found out about this. Apparently these guys are making a book full of interviews with young people about why they collect and listen to records. The cities they are visiting include San Francisco, LA, Cleveland, NY, and Nashville. So if you live in those areas and/or are an avid vinyl collector, make sure to fill out this survey and they just may interview you!

Sadly, Detroit seems to be missing from the list. When I filled it out, I made sure to include a little blurb about how they should visit us because we have some incredible record stores and people out here are really passionate about their vinyl. So if you're from Detroit or the surrounding area, please fill this out and be sure to include why they should come here. Hopefully they decide to come by our neck of the woods!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory [2012]

For Fans Of: Beach Fossils, Weekend, Small Black
Genres: Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Shoegaze

While trotting Insound for a copy of Your Favorite Weapon, I came across a pre-order for Cloud Nothing's newest LP. Although filled with remnants of the usual lo-fi indie pop we have come to expect, Attack on Memory is just different enough from their previous works to hint that the band has way more up its sleeve than just upbeat poppiness, choosing instead to anchor its ambition with simpler indie-punk jams. This is a more diversive work that carries the band into considerably heavier territory than the previous two releases. But not to worry - the catchy melodies are still interwoven into each song, just more obvious in some than others. There's also a great instrumental track about halfway through the album. The band will offer many opportunities to catch this new material live on their upcoming North American tour, which runs from February to April.

Brand New - Your Favorite Weapon Vinyl Re-Issue [2011]

For Fans Of: Emo of the last decade.
Preview: Seventy Times 7 by VinylQEight

For me this album has stood the test of time, time and time again. I can go months without listening to it, play it randomly one day, and wonder why the hell I haven't listened to it in so long. Any time I hear it I am immediately transported back to high school, sitting in my friend's cars and jamming the fuck out on the way to/from class/parties/hangouts. Out of so many albums composed of songs filled with teenage angst and the torment of lost love, this was always included in the list that stood out. It's the one that made you want to stay at that age forever. The one that spoke to you when that girl fucked you over, and made you realize how much you appreciated reminiscing with friends while sitting on an overpass.

Fast-paced, pounding electric guitars are coupled with lyrics both of the emotional pain and scathingly vindictive anger varieties - lyrics which are still quoted on a regular basis a decade after being written. There are also some good acoustic parts mixed in there. Overall it reeks of emo cliche, but in a way that is fun to hear and look back on. Although the band's sound has changed since this release [whether that's a good or a bad thing depends on who you ask], it will always hold a place near and dear to my heart, not just because it's a good album, but also for nostalgic purposes. Of course, Deja Entendu is probably their most memorable, but Your Favorite Weapon provided a solid start to a band that would go on to make even better music with Deja, as well as The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me [which despite it's so-so reviews will actually impress you if you give it a chance, see Jesus].

You can celebrate the ten-year release with this re-issue, which features a different cover than the original and comes in black, clear [out of 500], baby blue [out of 500], and white [out of 1000]. It also includes seven demos and quick takes. The cheapest I was able to find it was via Insound, which is selling the black version for $15.98. If you're new to Brand New, I recommend listening to their older albums first and then coming back to this one. It will help you to laugh more at how immature it really is in comparison. Stay eighteen forever, folks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

After the Lights by The Saddest Landscape (2012)

Kind of Like: Suis La Lune, Her Breath on Glass, Pianos Become the Teeth
Genres: Screamo, Post-hardcore
Buy: Topshelf Records

It's officially Hopslam season!  Which for us Michiganders, means our newsfeed is filled with people taking pictures of their first sips of our beloved Bell's Brewery beer.  It's only available for a few months of the year, and it is the tastiest, most alcoholic brew you can have.  If you have two, then chances are you are legally drunk.  So, if you aren't from Michigan, but you dig Bell's Brewery and find it in your area, see if that Hopslam is floating around.  You can use their Beer Finder thingy to find Bell's in your area.  It's expensive, but well worth it.  It goes down so well because it tastes great, and after a few sips you get that nice warm feeling in your throat like you do when you drink whiskey.  But that's ok, it means your body likes it and wants more.  I think.

I haven't paid too much attention to Topshelf as of late.  I'm still waiting on the Prawn LP to be sent out, but aside from that that's the last thing I was really stoked about.  I can't deny this LP though, it's brutal in every aspect.  Modern screamo is almost to the point of getting tedious with how popular it has become in an underground misunderstood fashion, but this album shows there are still great bands out there that not only have their own voice, but remind you how powerful this genre can be at times with the right mixing and direction.  I know I get a lot of UK readers, and I may be late to the punch for this, but check these guys out while they are over there.  They got a few dates left.  It's expensive and hard as hell to go over there, so make it worth their while.  I'm sure if The Long Haul, Kerouac, Goodtime Boys, or Veils made the trip to the states (especially the east coast) they would get a lot of love.

Thanks to yo-gurt for the heads up on this.

Listen Here:

Antarctic by Antarctic (2009)

Kind of Like:
Talons, El Ten Eleven, Pretend, Bulletproof Tiger
Genres: Math Rock, Post-rock, Instrumental
Preview: Myspace

Hey thanks, Spotify/Last.fm combo.  Finding new tunes is now easier than ever.  I just found this Florida band through my other interests and they are just what I was in the mood for.  Flows really well, really chill. Not sure if these guys are still making music, this is their newest release and no real news after that.

Listen Here: