Monday, February 25, 2008

Times New Viking - Rip It Off

Times New Viking - Rip it Off

Though the first few spins of Times New Viking's latest release, Rip it Off, prove to be laborous and ill-fated, there's a hidden indie gem beneath the crackling, lo-fi gimmick. Times New Viking might step just shy of the eponymous Bee Thousand and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain in which their shape is molded from, but Rip it Off is delectable and ecstatic, filled to the top with abrasive pop hooks, melodic songwriting, and a thick wall of fuzzy exuberance. Times New Viking set these phasers to stun.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Mars Volta (Progressive)

The Mars Volta- The Bedlam in Goliath

With "The Bedlam in Goliath", The Mars Volta see a return of a few things to their music. Energy, fun, and most of all, that wow-factor they used to have. With twelve tracks at 75 minutes long, its probably the most "focused" Mars Volta album since De-Loused, and it definitely shows as 90% of the record is exciting and as fresh as over. Standouts include "Metatron", "Ilyena", "Ouroborous" and "Conjugal Burns".


Dälek (Hip-hop)

Dälek - Abandoned Language

Gritty in the sort of deliberate industrial fashion that gives Dälek their edge, those looking for one of 2007's finest hip-hop releases should stick to Abandoned Language, an album that grows not because of its affinity for atmosphere but for MC Dälek's ability to create it, alongside production engineer Oktopus. For those looking for a consistent, attention grabbing rap, and those looking for a confusing, enthralling sonic landscape, look no further than Abandoned Language.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

St. Vincent (Indie Pop)

St. Vincent - Marry Me

  1. Now, Now
  2. Jesus Saves, I Spend
  3. Your Lips Are Red
  4. Marry Me
  5. Paris Is Burning
  6. All My Stars Aligned
  7. The Apocalypse Song
  8. We Put a Pearl in the Ground
  9. Landmines
  10. Human Racing
  11. What Me Worry?
If I cared about credibility, maybe I wouldn't consider putting the guitarist of The Polyphonic Spree's debut solo album within our first four posts, along side such hardcore albums as Ceremony's or Cease Upon the Capitol's. Then again, Annie Clark (or St. Vincent) looks real cute alongside Ceremony. And so here's Marry Me (sweet Arrested Development reference), an indie pop record that not only capitalizes on Clark's abilities as a guitarist (the guitar solo to "Now, Now"), but showcases her talents as one of the genre's leading songwriters. She might get a little top-heavy as the album bounces around in styles and character personalities, but between jaded ballads and sauntering pop highlights, Marry Me's eclecticism only proves how well Annie Clark, as St. Vincent, can craft a song. If she can learn to hone it in to create something stable, she can only get better from here.


Ceremony (Hardcore)

Ceremony- Violence, Violence + Ruined EP
1. Violence
2. Ghosts
3. Living Hell
4. My Hands Are Made Of Spite
5. Along
6. Nail
7. Bite Down
8. Cross Them Out
9. Violence
10. Clouds Of Fire
11. Pressure's On
12. Walking Home
13. Asleep
14. Kersed
15. It's Going To Be A Cold Winter
16. This Is My War
17. You're All The Same
18. Troubled Water's
19. Throwing Bricks
20. I Want To Put This To An End

Ceremony are a So-Cal hardcore band that takes the vague sound Integrity pioneered, throws in a bunch of time spent listening to Infest, and then produces a trash-influenced hardcore result that just kicks all sorts of ass. While they are probably done being the "it" thing in hardcore now with emergence of Blacklisted, they still produced this intense LP "Violence, Violence" and took the scene by storm. While "Violence, Violence," itself is pretty damn good, if perhaps a bit too influenced by its thrash roots, the inclusion of the "Ruined" EP is what makes the truly worth having, as its one of the best hardcore 7 inches to ever be released.



Monday, January 14, 2008

Time of Orchids (Progressive)

Time of Orchids - Namesake Caution
  1. In Color Captivating
  2. Windswept Spectacle
  3. Darling Abandon
  4. Parade of Seasons
  5. The Only Thing
  6. Gem
  7. Crib Tinge to Callow
  8. Meant (Hush-Hush)
  9. We Speak In Shards
  10. Entertainment Woes

As relatively new to the Time of Orchids line-up as I am, I’m still in the beginning stages of unlocking all that albums like Namesake Caution have to offer. As such, Time of Orchids 2006 release (on John Zorn’s label) Sarcast While and 2007’s Namesake Caution are alienating albums, ones that treat their “avant-garde” progressive rock with a blunt, oppressive flair. With layered vocals, off-kilter chords and an atmosphere not unlike that of a David Lynch film, there’s an ugly beauty to Namesake Caution that is fascinating, one that pushes its technical accomplishments of layered bass jives and jittery guitar chords into crossover appeal, if those few listeners are willing to work to understand it.


Cease Upon the Capitol (Emo, Post Rock)

Cease Upon the Capitol- Cease Upon the Capitol
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An eclectic mix of various different types of emo, Cease Upon the Capitol have somewhat adopted the recent post-rock trend that bands have been jumping on for years it seems, Cease Upon the Capitol combine the tension of a band like In First Person with the theatrics and churning/building nature of City of Caterpillar, all the while not overblowing it with songs twice as long as they need to be. Definitely one of the strongest emo releases of 2007, and possibly the only real challenger to the Kidcrash's "Jokes".


The Beginning

Oh yes, it is coming.