Sunday, June 22, 2008

Coaltar of the Deepers: Yukari Telepath (4/5)

Year: 2007
Genre: Experimental Shoegaze Post Rock
Label: Musicmine
TRT: 67:23

Over the years, this group of Japanese musicians has explored a host of genres. From death metal, to techno, and many things in between. They have a massive discography that I have barely touched. But this was my introduction to the band, and I think it's a good one because they don't go too far off the deep-end with their genre-bending tendencies.

Yukari Telepath gets off to a furious start, with several parts that have almost a Meshuggah-esque feel to them. But after a few songs they begin to really mellow out into a Mew reminiscent brand of down-tempo shoegaze beauty. Very fun to listen to, and a great album to put on when you've got nowhere to go and nothing to do but drive for an hour.

01 Introduction of Zoei
02 Zoei
03 Wipeout (Retake)
04 Waterbird
05 Hedorian Forever
06 Aquarian Age
07 Automation Structures
08 Interlude
09 Lemurian Seed
10 AOA
11 Yukari Telepath
12 Carnival (Oumagatoki Mix)
13 Evil Line
14 Ribbon no kishi
15 Deepless

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sparrows Swarm and Sing: Untitled #2 (4.5/5)

Year: 2005
Label: Self Released
Genre: Experimental Post Rock
TRT: 27:26

I brought these guys down from Massachusetts to play a show a couple years ago. They arrived early in their 15 passenger van, with trailer in-tow. As they began piling out of the vehicle and unpacking their instruments and gear, I started to get just a tiny inclination of what was in store. At that time, there were 8 or 9 members playing a host of instruments. From cello, to xylophone, to musical saw to random percussion and violin, along with your standard bass guitars and drums. The lights went down, a projector they had brought along began to play old reel-to-reel home movies on the back wall, and Sparrows Swarm and Sing began to play.

What ensued was one of the most beautiful, emotional and powerful things I've ever experienced, and if you pass up the chance to see these guys, you're seriously lacking for intelligence.

They've released this EP multiple times with multiple artwork. This is the MacRock 2006 edition that came in a completely hand made package consisting of a piece of backing wood with a harp burned into the back, and the number burned on the front (27/50 here), and then tied together with hemp and another wood chip sporting a design unique from all the rest. The cd it's self is contained in a vellum hand-folded sleeve, and has a pattern pressed on it in red wax.

Now, whenever a band is willing to go the extra mile with the packaging, I've always found that they're willing to do the same with their music. So it should come as no surprise that Untitled #2 is my favorite release from these northerners.

01 Part I
02 Part II
03 Part III

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Bat For Lashes: Fur & Gold (4.5/5)

Year: 2006
Label: Parlophone
Genre: Dark Indie Dream Folk
TRT: 45:16

Born in Pakistan and raised in England, multi-instrumentalist Natasha Khan dreamed a dream one night. Bat For Lashes was born of this night wandering, and it's no wonder. Fur & Gold is an atmospheric and haunting journey that settles in to your ears and refuses to leave. Whether it's a hypnotically repeated vocal line or a whimsical harpsichord run, you'll be humming it for days.

01 Horse and I
02 Trophy
03 Tahiti
04 What's a Girl to Do?
05 Sad Eyes
06 The Wizard
07 Prescilla
08 Bat's Mouth
09 Seal Jubilee
10 Sarah
11 I Saw a Light

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

65daysofstatic: The Fall of Math (4.5/5)

Year: 2004
Label: Monotreme
Genre: Post Rock Electro Glitch
TRT: 43:45

These Englishmen know how to rock. Taking the Post Rock formula of crafting songs with constantly building tension and intense climaxes, and intensifying it with some very interesting electronics and glitchy static. Sort of sounds like Mogwai's doppelganger patching it's music though The Matrix. Or, imagine The Sound of Animals Fighting playing a Pelican cover show, with a sound system possessed by Autechre.

01 Another Code Against the Gone
02 Install a Beak in the Heart That Clucks Time in Arabic
03 Retreat! Retreat!
04 Default This
05 I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood
06 The Fall of Math
07 This Cat Is a Landmine
08 The Last Home Recording
09 Hole
10 Fix the Sky a Little
11 Aren't We All Running?

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Friday, June 13, 2008

The Heuristic: Parapraxes (4/5)

Year: 2005
Label: Black Box
Genre: Chaotic Mathcore
TRT: 16:41

I saw this band when they were on tour with Swarm of the Lotus, and they brought a lot of intensity to the floor. This short cd dosen't quite match their performance, but there are still some very good moments, and I look forward to seeing what direction they take in the future.

Recommended if you like Daughters, The Locust, or other similar artists.

01 Max Planck vs. The Army Of Darkness
02 There Is No Square Root of Negative One in Team
03 Speed Lemur Houses Ex-Endurance On Account Of Perspicacity
04 This Is First Manassas
05 Second Manassas
06 Jack Ruby Tuesday
07 The Transylvania Lottery
08 E: Redheaded Stepchild Of The Non Repeating Decimals
09 Mississippi Delta Force

Purchase The Heuristic from Black Box Recordings

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Black Castle: Silver Demo (4.5/5)

Year: 2003
Label: Self Released
Genre: Electro Hardcore
TRT: 10:57

After seeing their furious live show, I spent my last five bucks at their merch table on this recording. Very short, but brimming with the same energy displayed live. Imagine what Converge would sound like if they didn't take themselves seriously and collaborated with HORSE The Band. Something that set Black Castle apart is their lack of guitar, and being driven by the bass and keys equally. They released a full length in 2004, but it dosen't quite match the intensity of this release, and the band broke up shortly thereafter.

01 Oh No! Oh No! Oh No! Oh Yeah!
02 ...And the Boneless Phoenix...
03 The Wall of Infertility
04 Godspeed You Black Castle!
05 Battling the Dark Knights Armor
06 Zombie Brain-Eating March

Black Castle on MySpace

Yeti: Yeti (5/5)

Year: 1998
Label: Skaught Productions
Genre: Atmospheric Doom
TRT: 38:40

Possibly my very first exposure to doom metal back in 1999 or 2000. I didn't know what genre it was back then, I just knew that it was the heaviest thing I'd ever heard up to that point in my life. Even after all these years, I absolutely love this short little EP, and rue the fact that the band drastically changed their style on their following (hard to find) full-length, and then just sort of vanished. Sure, they have a myspace page, but it hasn't been updated since 2004, and nothing they ever do could match the enchantment this eponymous recording evokes.

01 (Intro)
02 Foretold Gathering
03 The Awakening
04 I Walk Among the Dead
05 When Darkness Fails to Fall

Yeti on MySpace

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Spitfire: Self-Help (5/5)

#1 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Goodfellow
Genre: Chaotic Mathcore
TRT: 33:31

This album was released in February, and it did not move down on my Top 10 for 2006 list for a second. The full on assault of chaos and fury are the perfect juxtaposition of previous Spitfire and Scarlet styles. John Spencer is one of the best vocalists in the genre, period. His writing and lyrical prowess have improved greatly since his time in Scarlet, and his placements are spot on throughout the record. I believe this album will stand the test of time, and remain a favorite for years to come.

01 Meat Market
02 Go Ape
03 Life and Limb
04 Dear John
05 Leap of Faith
06 U.V. I.V.
07 Great White Noise
08 Comfort (The Iceman Cometh)
09 Suicide Cult Is Dead
10 Kings of the Food Chain
11 Ohm Driver

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Daughters: Hell Songs (4.5/5)

#2 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Hydrahead
Genre: Experimental Grindcore
TRT: 23:08

No harsh vocals. That’s right, daughters has done the unthinkable, and I’m honestly surprised by the somewhat negative reaction from many fans. What else would you expect but something even stranger and weirder…and more disturbing than their last release? The music is every bit as intense as Canada Songs, but with longer songs comes more depth, and that’s always a good thing. I applaud Daughters for maturing their sound and not shying away from experimentation. And even though this record is sans screaming, the drunken Elvis style utilized is creepy as hell...songs...

01 Daughters Spelled Wrong
02 Fiery
03 Recorded Inside a Pyramid
04 X-Ray
05 First Snake Woman
06 Providence by Gaslight
07 Hyperventilation System
08 Crotch Buffet
09 Cheers Pricks
10 The Fuck Whisperer

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Genghis Tron: Dead Mountain Mouth (4.5/5)

#3 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Crucial Blast
Genre: Ambient Electro Grindcore
TRT: 31:29

When I first heard cloak of love, I was intrigued by it’s mashing together of ambient electronic beats, and digi-grind music. It was interesting, but more of a novelty item to amaze my friends with than an album to really listen to. Well that’s changed. With this release Genghis Tron has made the transition from "novelty act" to "force to be reckoned with". This band has created a genre all their own, bridging the gap between the The Number Twelve Looks Like You and Boards of Canada. This is an album to listen to all in one sitting, at high volume.

01 The Folding Road
02 Chapels
03 From the Aisle
04 Dead Mountain Mouth
05 White Walls
06 Badlands
07 Greek Beds
08 Asleep on the Forest Floor
09 Warm Woods
10 Lake of Virgins

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mouth of the Architect: The Ties That Blind (5/5)

#4 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Translation Loss
Genre: Atmospheric Post-Metal
TRT: 66:07

You know those times when you’re listening to a cd, and the band does something so remarkably good and unexpected, you can’t help but grin like an idiot? The Ties That Blind is absolutely chocked full of such moments. I truly look like a moron, because I can not keep a smile off my face. Mouth of the Architect has gone above and beyond with this release. Cannot imagine how they can top this record, but dammit, I have a feeling they'll pull it off.

01 Baobab
02 No One Wished to Settle Here
03 Carry On
04 Harboring an Apparition
05 At Arms Length
06 Wake Me When It's Over

download part 1
download part 2

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mewithoutYou: Brother, Sister (5/5)

#5 Album for 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Tooth & Nail
Genre: Modern Progressive Rock
TRT: 45:24

mewithoutYou just keep building higher and higher upon the foundation they started with A to B Life. The music is what you would expect from the band, but somehow it’s more layered and complex than anything else they’ve done, and new things will continue to be discovered upon multiple listenings. The same goes with the lyrics. Aaron Weiss is a brilliant writer, and delivers more thought-provoking idea’s and intricate word pictures that require several listens for meaning to emerge. This album is a virtual collection of epiphanies waiting to happen.

01 Messes of Men
02 The Dryness and the Rain
03 Wolf Am I! (and Shadow)
04 Yellow Spider
05 A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains
06 Nice and Blue (Part Two)
07 The Sun and the Moon
08 Orange Spider
09 C-Minor
10 In a Market Dimly Lit
11 O, Porcupine
12 Brownish Spider
13 In a Sweater Poorly Knit

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Cursive: Happy Hollow (3.5/5)

#6 Album for 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Saddle Creek
Genre: Progressive Indie
TRT: 47:34

Writing a follow up album to such a landmark cd like the ugly organ is no easy task. Especially when one of the defining features of the cd, the cellist, parts ways with the band. But have no fear. To fill the gap left by Greta Cohn, Cursive adds a five piece horn section to the mix. And the result is quite satisfying. The music is solid and instantly likable, with lyrics that are deeper and more thought provoking than anything else this band has put out, chronicling life in a fictional somewhat backwards mid-western town called, yup, Happy Hollow. What will they think of next...

01 Opening the Hymnal / Babies
02 Dorothy at Forty
03 Big Bang
04 Bad Sects
05 Flag and Family
06 Dorothy Dreams of Tornados
07 Retreat!
08 The Sunks
09 At Conception
10 So-So Gigolo
11 Bad Science
12 Into the Fold
13 Rise Up! Rise Up!
14 Hymns for the Heathen

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The Knife: Silent Shout (4.5/5)

#7 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Mute
Genre: Dark Experimental Dancepop
TRT: 48:33

I discovered this gem late in 2006, and became obsessed. This is by far one of the most infectious albums I’ve heard in the last few years, and provides hours of deliciously catchy and quirky electronic beats with sinister overtones.

01 Silent Shout
02 Neverland
03 The Captain
04 We Share Our Mothers' Health
05 Na Na Na
06 Marble House
07 Like a Pen
08 From Off to On
09 Forest Families
10 One Hit
11 Still Light

EDIT: Apparently Blogger received a complaint regarding the download link in the post. it has been removed, and replaced with a link to google. sorry for any inconvenience.

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The Fiery Furnaces: Bitter Tea (4.5/5)

#8 Album for 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Fat Possum
Genre: Experimental Indie
TRT: 69:03

A delightfully experimental album. You never know what to expect from this brother and sister collaboration, and this album is full of surprises. This cd is more cohesive than 2004’s release Blueberry Boat, and there is not a single song on here that I skip while listening.

01 In My Little Thatched Hut
02 I'm in No Mood
03 Black-Hearted Boy
04 Bitter Tea
05 Teach Me Sweetheart
06 Waiting To Know You
07 The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry
08 Oh Sweet Woods
09 Borneo
10 Police Sweater Blood Vow
11 Nevers
12 Benton Harbor Blues
13 Whistle Rhapsody
14 Nevers Again
15 Benton Harbor Blues Again

download part 1
download part 2

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Norma Jean: Redeemer (4/5)

#9 Album of 2006

Year: 2006
: Solid State
Genre: Chaotic Hardcore
TRT: 41:42

Fans who felt let down by Norma Jean’s abrupt change in style from Bless the Child, Kiss the Martyr and last year’s O’ God the Aftermath shouldn’t write them off just yet. Redeemer is a masterful combination of catchy lyrical runs reminiscent of the former, and the technical skill and composition of the latter. A solid album through and through.

A Grand Scene for a Color Film
02 Blueprints for Future Homes
03 A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest
04 A Temperamental Widower
05 The End of All Things Will Be Televised
06 Songs Sound Much Sadder
07 The Longest Lasting Statement
08 Amnesty Please
09 Like Swimming Circles
10 Cemetery Like a Stage
11 No Passenger : No Parasite

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Kayo Dot: Dowsing Anemones With Copper Tongue [4.5/5]

#10 Album for 2006

Year: 2006
Label: Robotic Empire
Genre: Experimental Progressive Post-Rock
TRT: 60:16

On this release, Kayo Dot combine post-rock sensibilities with elements of jazz and experimentation to create a lush and breath-taking journey through soundscapes that are as crushing as they are soothing. They have put together an album that, with a little patience, will enthrall you with it’s complexity.

01 Gemini Becoming the Tripod
02 Immortelle and Paper Caravelle
03 Aura on an Asylum Wall
04 _on Limpid Form
05 Amaranath the Peddler

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