Dead Man’s Bones: Self titled | Review

Dead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones
2009
indie, soundtrack

 

To be honest, I saw a lone indie tag and didn’t expect much. I was so wrong. This album has some of the best musical “character” I have heard. It was intended as the soundtrack to a play about werewolves, zombies and other such creatures, although the play aspect wasn’t completed. It covers a bunch of older music styles (think 50s-60s), and it could easily pass as music from those times except for the occasional modern touches. The childrens’ choir is a major component of the album and it gives the music much of the character.

The self-imposed recording constraint of having no more than 3 takes per song has worked really well – I get the organic feeling, but I don’t notice mistakes in playing as such. There’s a mild cheesiness, which is done so well that it becomes charming. Given the subject matter, it could have turned out much worse, especially comparing to Twilight and the similar modern trends. The subject matter itself doesn’t really take that much focus.

The only let down, if any, is that it takes a while to get started. The first 2 tracks don’t seem to do much at all. Everything afterwards is excellent. I can’t pick a favourite track, but I’d recommend Pa Pa Power for the safe option, Lose Your Soul for the dark side, and My Body’s A Zombie For You for the theater fans.

For the sake of making a comparison, try and imagine a more depressive, yet more hopeful version of Arcade Fire. Very highly recommended to anyone who reads this.
Thanks Jusper, I’ll be enjoying this for a long time to come.

9.5/10

Ayumi Hamasaki: A song for XX | Review

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Album: A Song for ××
Year: 1999
Genre: JPop



Ayumi Hamasaki is an artist whose name I’ve heard pop up several times, but one which I never really got around to actually check out. Neither did I have much of an idea about how her music was like, so it was a welcomed recommendation.

Intro track, hmm alright, nothing exciting. I’m not sure if I’m alone in thinking intro and outro tracks are a waste of time for most albums? I just find them annoying and unecessary, unless the album is some sort of story-based musical adventure. Unrelated thought and nothing I’d let influence a review, but still. The second track reveals the real music. It’s rather 90s in the sound, basic synthesizer-like beats with some bland guitar sounds in the background. Somewhat chill and dreamy atmosphere around it, with some nice japanese vocals. She does have a nice voice.

The second track comes on, and immediately I’m thinking it sounds like a Street Fighter 2 stage theme. Still the same soundscape and basic pop sounds. Track three, and suddenly it sounds more like early 90s Prince beats. The album continues in a somewhat schizophrenic fashion, alternating between late and early 90s pop sound, and a song here and there which sounds like they’d be the perfect anime opening theme.

All in all, the thing that binds them all together is the generally pleasant sounding vocals, which seems to be the album’s strong point. The really basic pop sounds and flat lazy use of synthesizer brings everything down for me a notch. I did however generally enjoy the album, even if it did not make a huge impact. It made me download her other material, which I generally enjoyed a bit more than this one.

6 / 10

Shabazz Palaces: Black Up | Review

Artist: Shabazz Palaces
Album: Black Up
Year: 2011
Genre: Hip Hop

 

Right from the opening track “Free Press and Curl” this album grabs you, a heavily effect riddled beat opens gradually and goes in 3 different directions and grows as the song goes on, the first transition drops around 2 minutes and adds a melodic female vocal looping to the beat along with heavier electronic rendering, around 3 minutes the beat trails off and picks back up slowly with a more chilled out heavy bass sound. But enough about the beat, Shabazz has a unique flow and wordplay which matches all three settings nicely even during the hook which reminded me more of a purple rap track like those we’re hearing more and more of and I’m not taken on most.

Onto “An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum”, this might be enough to sell most people right here a reversed loop in the background make this one of the filthiest beats I’ve heard in a while and I was definitely feeling it. This is definitely a banger but comes to the table with a whole different feel than the traditional hot track on an album feel. This track also grows as the track goes on and transitions towards the end, this again does not take away from the sick entirety of the track. Shabazz again comes strong, call me crazy but the wordplay on this track reminded me somewhat of Vast Aire wordplay.

 

[quote]Probably closest to a hip hop beat “Are You… Can You… Were You?” heavy strings over piano make for a good combo, Shabazz’ hook on this one gets a little annoying but doesn’t disappoint on main verses.[/quote]

 

Next up “A Treatease Dedicated To The Avian Airess From North East Nubis (1000 Questions, 1 Answer)” it was like a ghetto love story by an astronaut on acid beat had a outta this world in a 1950s space movie feel to it. Definitely feeling this track.

“Youlogy” starts like an interlude for about 20 seconds before slapping you in the face with bass and hard lyrics. Takes a jazzy feel about halfway through, and finishes just as it started with a glitchy hard beat and more.

This track carries an interlude feel up until about the last quarter “Endeavors For Never (The Last Time We Spoke You Said You Were Not Here. I Saw You Though)”. Immagine jazz undertones and smooth smoke filled lounge singer vocals, although it’s not a track that Shabazz comes out on until the end still a sick track. The production on this album is definitely unique.

“Recollections Of The Wraith” opens with Shabazz droppin a quick verse over a drum sample and goes into what’s probably my favorite track on the album. It’s been driving me nuts what the samples from but reminds me of a slowed down distorted version of a 90s pop or rnb singer. This track suffers from what is the only downside to this album is the sometimes overly repetitive hooks but the beat and lyrics again save it from downplaying the overall feel.

 

 

A choppy start on “The King’s New Clothes Were Made By His Own Hands” was just enough to not take away from the track, and again the beat grows as the track goes on. The shortest track on the album at 2:07 this one seemed just right as it wasn’t necessarily a banger but a psychedelic journey track. The only thing I can recently compare this to would probably be Jeremiah Jae

Least favorite on the album “Yeah You” wasn’t necessarily a bad track but the distortion on the vocals was a little much for me. It sounded like he was under water with the heavy flanger effects. Other than that lyrics were fire like the rest of the album, and beat seemed a quicker pace which wasn’t a bad thing. Wish this were tossed in as a remix and there was an original without the flanger effect.

And wrapping up with “Swerve… The Reeping Of All That Is Worthwhile (Noir Not Withstanding)”, which in my opinion was a strong finish for the album. Beat which remains the same up until the end outro beat, is arguably one of the best on the album that showcases more female vocals and electronic effects. Lyrics are again spaced out, to some might be thrown off but I like the wordplay.

In closing you’re either going to love or hate this. I would recommend at least giving it a listen to figure out for yourself though.

Rating: 8/10

Perfume Genius: Put Your Back N 2 It | Review

Artist: Perfume Genius
Album: Put Your Back N 2 It
Genres: piano, ambient, roots (apparently that’s a something, I don’t know)

 

A piano album was about the last thing I expected from someone who on the first glimpse seems to be into dark drone related genres. But regardless, I rejoice a little inside, good piano music has a very special soft spot in my heart.

From the beginning of the first track I knew my regular speakers wouldn’t cut it – for piano music, anything that’s not Sony’s noise-cancelling IEMs is sub par. The second I tune the rest of the world out I notice details I missed out on originally. Subtle waves and scratches give the opening track a nice sepia feeling. Reminds me of my old place by the railway so it does something most tracks can’t do to me – making an emotional connection in a minute on the first listening.
I would definitely say this is the kind of music you have to be in the mood for. Or rather, not be in the wrong mood. It’s calm and soothing.
I can imagine anyone into ambient music enjoying the opening track of this album.

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Joyce Manor: Joyce Manor | Review

Artist: Joyce Manor
Album: Joyce Manor
Year: 2011
Genre: Pop Punk


It’s funny how the same things you once loved about a person can eventually make you hate them. Last Saturday, after working a twelve hour shift in the pouring rain, I was sitting outside my girlfriend’s house, smoking a cigarette, trying to work up the nerve to dump her. I leaned on my car, watching a duck standing in a storm drain. The duck stared listlessly ahead at the running water. What was the duck thinking? Where were his duck friends and family? Did he know that there was a bonafide lake less than a mile away? Why did he not acknowledge the human staring at him? Was I a witness to the duck version of an existential breakdown?

 

[quote] I finished my cigarette, went in and began asking my girlfriend the questions that had been occupying my mind, starting with that perennial question: “Do you ever wonder about ducks?”. She had been expecting ‘a talk’, which I had very conspicuously been avoiding for a month, and stared at me incredulously, wondering just what I was trying to say. [/quote]

 

“What do you mean?” she quizzed me, disbelieving. I wasn’t speaking in metaphors. I was actually wondering about ducks. Maybe I felt like that duck. Maybe I thought she felt like that duck. Maybe no one but that duck ever felt like that duck did that night, standing in the warm March rain, in a graffiti covered sewage ditch in a mid-sized college town, feeling all of that muddy water roll over webbed feet, and staring at the cheap plastic siding of apartment buildings.

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Eric Whitacre: Light & Gold | Review

I really wanted to take to this. Choral appeals to me, but in a complicated way (my relationship to Gospel is similar): I’m attracted to it conceptually, but find my visceral reaction always rather tepid, which is disappointing when there’s a sort of promise of spiritual uplift (or at least jostling). Granted, this particular work seems more concerned with complexity than spiritual catalyzation, but that’s perhaps a criticism as much as it is a compliment (consider a liquorless cocktail prepared by a master bartender a valid corollary).

Azealia Banks: Broke With Expensive Taste download

Azealia Banks, formerly known as Miss Bank$ was born in Harlem, New York. She is a singer, rapper and lyricist signed to Interscope/Polydor. According to BBC News, she was nominated for Sound of 2012, where she finished third. She’s now ready to release the Broke with expensive taste download. We’ll be on the lookout for a Rapidgator, Mediafire and torrent album leak!

Azealia Banks was born in 1991 and was raised by her mother, while her father passed away when she was two. Banks was interested in musical theatre, acting and singing at a very young age and began performing on stage at the age of ten. She played lead roles in three top productions that include Heroes, Sleepover and Rabbit Sense.

In February 2012, Azealia announced the name of her upcoming debut album – Broke with Expensive Taste. The album download is expected to be released this year during the month of September. During 2009, Miss Bank$ released her song Gimme a Chance over the internet. Later the same year, she signed with XL Records and began her journey with the record label and producer Richard Russell. However, Miss Bank$ left XL Records during the second half of 2009 due to conflicting interests.

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