Tag Archives: Music

LaFaro – Easy Meat

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LaFaro aroused my curiosity a few weeks ago, so I decided to buy their two releases blindly. Was it a good decision? Yes, Sir!

With their second album, Easy Meat, the boys from Belfast just lift off like a rusty rocket. Their sound compromises Thrash and (Post-)Hardcore elements, mixed with a pinch of Metal and Queens of the Stone Age. I somewhere read that this work was like QOTSA if Nick Oliveri did all the songs. I can’t really confirm this, although a few Queens-traces are not deniable, especially in Wingers + Chips, which sounds like a descendant from Quick and to the Pointless.

The most important thing is: LaFaro have developed their very own sound, which was essential, as I found the mixing of their debut too piercing and ordinary (damn, I’d love to hear Chopper is a Fuckin Tout in the new sound!). When Easy Meat hits your ears, it automatically feels more authentic, combining evil guitars with rusty agro-vocals with a crazy drumming that sounds like someone going postal at a junky yard. Lot’s of 90s music here too in my ears.

Boring? No, Sir!

As for the interludes (after nearly every single song), it seems that they are a matter of opinion. I think they’re quite annoying and unnecessary. Lots of energy is lost because of them. No Songs-For-The-Deaf-feeling here, if this was the intention. If you created a scrap press like Easy Meat, please mates, do not stop it when it has already started wrecking! As for the rest: we now know that the vocalist (is it even possible not to play the guitar in a rock band when your name is Jonny Black?) and the drummer are insane. Leave the metal part a bit aside and concentrate more on madness, then this could be huge!

Recommendations: Full Tilt, Wingers + Chips, Boke, OFF THE CHART

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7jYhQK7aVM]

Mew – And The Glass Handed Kites

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released: 2005

Label: Red Ink (Rough Trade)

Have you ever listened to an album that was just too much for your musical horizon? And have you ever tried to listen to it again, a few years later; just to figure out that the album is genius and awesomeness in one?

I have!

The first time I listened to Mew’s “And The Glass Handed Kite” my initial reaction was: “What the fuck is this? Transsexual art rock?”. Please bear in mind that I’m no sexual offender; but when I first heard the album back in 2005, the music I mainly listened to was music in the likes of Icelandic post rockers Sigur Rós or songwriter-folk music such as Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan or Elliott Smith. This album was just too much for me. I was not ready for it.

But praise Allah I’ve got a good memory and I gave the LP a new chance in 2012. And guess what? I’m totally addicted to this album.

The opener “Circuitry Of The Wolf” sounds like prog rock, you expect something like Rush, just to get a knock on the forehead with “Chinaberry Tree”, a dreamy shoegaze pop track that works perfectly with Jonas Bjerre’s high pitched voice. Yes, this is cotton candy dude. But you cannot eat steak all the time, your body craves sweets from time to time. This is the candy shop!

“Why are you looking grave” wakes you up from your sugar-induced slumber with it’s uptempo rhythm and genius melodies. Pop music should most definitely sound like this. Never have I been challenged with such a diversity in songwriting (except when I first listened to The Mars Volta).

And these danish virtuosos are not done yet. This “dreamy-indie-progressive-psychedelic-shoegaze-art-rock” bastard hasn’t unfolded it’s strength yet, just wait for it and expect the unexpected.

“Fox Club” is the exact interlude for the upcoming storm. A minimalistic composition with a gentle synth completing the wall of sound in combination with the reserved vocals. The drums begin. Slow, discrete, fast; FASTER! Are you ready for the best part of the album?

“Apocalypso”‘s alarming guitars remind you of J.R. Ewing but Mew are no band willing to fullfill any emo cliches! Space rock meeting progressive pop it is. The thumping bass and drums in the refrain are only beaten by Bjerre’s vocal genius; most definitely the highlight of the album. This precise refrain makes this band unique, these seconds underline the high quality of Mew’s songwriting.

In “Special” you’ll once more notice the broad sound spectrum of the album. The drums and bass have this slight disco touch and you can’t stop nodding your head and shaking your hips. What is this? Moroder-Disco? Ethereal dance rock? I don’t care; I just can’t get enough of it.

I hope I could give you an insight into this album as I’m not willing to describe any further tracks. You have to listen to it to experience it!

As you might have noticed, I’m completely in love with this masterwork and maybe “The Glass Handed Kites” will flash you as well. If not, perhaps in 7 years time, as it happened to me. Only time can tell.

Disclaimer: Youtube & labels decided to be a pain in the ass and disabled embedding for certain videos. Hail the free world wide web. Pansies…

Mew – The Zookeeper’s Boy (Video)

“You’re just like a giraffe

You have to climb to find its head

But if there’s a glitch, you’re an ostrich

You’ve got your head in the sand”

 

Boris – Pink

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Boris have released a whole bunch of albums since 1996, and I have to admit that I don’t know that much about their other works. They are known to switch their musical style pretty often. Their repertoire reaches from psych to hard rock, from drone to sludge, from electro to pop.

There is one particular full length of the Japanese combo that is still charming me for a few years now: Pink, from 2005.

Farewell lulls you into a sense of security, being a very doomy and post rockish song. After relaxing 7 minutes and 33 seconds Pink carries you away like a thunderstorm. The sound of this album is just awful. It sounds like a garage concert with the amps turned to maximum volume. And that’s just what makes those 11 tracks so awesome.

Woman on the Screen is like a vicious dog which won’t release its prey. This one is sure to stick in one’s head. Boris is uncompromising and stereotyped to the maximum knowing that there is no other way to milk this cow.

Blackout offers us a drone-break before the rumble continues. The hard rock parts mixed with an omnipresent wall of scruffy sound runs like a pink thread through this massacre. Afterburner lets the Indians sing about the desert and freedom. My Machine takes us on a melodic journey on a river which leads to Just Abondoned My-Self, which closes the album with the last bit of energy that’s still left. The amps suffer one last time. You can listen to their final screams for over 10 minutes, if you like to.

Recommendations: Farewell, Pink, Woman on the Screen, Just Adondoned My-Self.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WkaeBZ1kGU]

Mr. Oizo – Stade 2

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First off, if you’re into “cheap” electronic music and think David Guetta is an angel sent from heaven, you should not read any further. Just go to McDonalds and enjoy your Happy Meal as it is easily digestible. Thank you.

Quentin Dupieux a.k.a. Mr. Oizo did it again. He released another banger of a record named Stade 2. But how does it sound like? It’s system overload, busta! Stade 2 is THE soundtrack when accidentally getting the wrong hole at your girlfriend’s and, awkwardly enough, she’s enjoying it. This is no music you get to hear in your wannabe stylish lounges or clubs. The sounds are way too unconventional to fit everyone’s taste and a lot of people will not enjoy this record. These people are more used to standard 4/4 timed electronic pop with Usher whining about how sad his life would be without you (who is this you person anyway?). But really; who fucking cares? The only thing that matters is that there’s one french bastard who puts a smile on my face each time he releases a new record. It may not be as fucked up or “dancy” as Lambs Anger but I’d rather stick to Mr. Oizo craftsmanship than to Skrillex’ bullshit music. Wouldn’t you as well?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1xTQ9pHOb8]

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

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And now to something completely different: psychedelic rock.

This is about another of my favourite albums of 2010, which is already a lie, because I only discovered this band in 2011. It became my personal soundtrack of the summer, and the story behind this band is an exceptional one, considering the business that rules nowadays. Although the style and the sound of Tame Impala is everything but not suitable for mainstream listeners, they managed to be top of the Australian indie-charts with their first EP in 2008. This is a modern fairy tale regarding that there was almost no marketing machinery to contribute to this success. It would be like recording a few songs of your garage band with a semi-professional recorder and finish up by being played in the national radio all damn day.

Innerspeaker is their first full-length album. I must say, psych-rock never used to be one of my preferred genres. I guess this is mainly because it sometimes is kind of boring listening to endless and moony songs. Strangely this is not the case when listening to Tame Impale. Although the first song turns out to be just one of those musical smoked trees I just described, Desire Be Desire Go kills the cliché and reveals the true flair of this band, which the boys themselves described perfectly when defining their band as “a steady flowing psychedelic groove rock band that emphasizes dream-like melody.” For me, it is all about the psychedelic groove rock part that makes this work so adorable.

Lots of people compare them to the Beatles due to the front man’s voice. There is however one main difference: the songs on Innerspeaker actually have a climax (I like the Beatles nevertheless, don’t panic). Another point I’d like to highlight is the grooving bass play, whose interaction with the drums shape the soul of the songs. The blurred guitar play and the resounding vocals round it all over. Not to forget the electronic features, which appear from time to time.

Songs like Solitude is Bliss show how tranquil and talented these young guys already are, which, on the contrary, doesn’t mean that you can’t hear any passion to experimentalise anymore. Expectation starts as a light, fresh-faced track which grows into an epic giant when you expect it to be already over. The riff in The Bold Arrow Of Time could have been from Kyuss themselves. I Really Don’t Mind washes you away from this world with a sudden electronic blast before the drumming wakes you up again.

All in one this is an album which may cast a spell over you, or which you will not like at all. I think there is no third possibility.

Coming back to the cliché mentioned in the beginning: I actually was at a Tame Impala concert this summer, and yes, the location unfortunately was full of green smoke. However, what remained in mind far more stronger was their cover version of Massive Attack’s Angel. Lots of kudos for that one!

Recommendations: Desire Be Desire Go, Lucidity, Solitude Is Bliss.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxvf7gR4-2M]

Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 & Dropped Pianos

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For the last months I unfolded a passion for a music genre that I’d like to call abstract music. Most people tend to define this genre as ambient / drone / whatever, but I prefer to rely on my own definitions of music instead of blindly following trends and assuming new tags on last.fm as my own, for instance.

Montreal based musician and producer Tim Hecker suits the definition of abstract music very well. He’s been the first artist who introduced me to the ambient / drone genre apart from Southern Lord’s finest; Sunn o))).

I remember the time I first listened to his album “Harmony In Ultraviolet” and I was stunned, in a pleasant way. Never had I heard something like that before and it was a thrilling experience to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUpA8R01d50?rel=0]

Ravedeath, 1972 follows his “classical” songwriting, if this can be called so. Multilayered soundscapes chased through all possible effects giving enough room to the listener to sink in an imaginary dream world and cancel contact with the here and now. Hecker lifts the sound of conventional instruments to a whole new level and to me he is one of the big players in the ambient league. Pianos, organs, guitars; all mixed and modified to a pleasant yet challenging listening experience; where you do not know if it is a violin or perhaps a saxophone you’re hearing. And you just couldn’t care less, because you’re already sucked into the whirl of this work of art. And that’s what makes this album so special. The songs can wrap you like a warm veil and in another instant hit you on the forehead and make you feel miserably for what you are.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K33Ka4yauQ?rel=0]

Dropped Pianos is the complete opposite of Ravedeath, 1972. I could interpret this album as an homage to the piano, but it’s more. There’s more to it than just a few chords randomly hitten with a lot of hall. It’s the saddening, melancholic undertone of the so called “sketches” which makes this album worth listening to. The ethereal acoustic of the piano gives this album a more organic note, a more conventional approach to “ordinary” music than Ravedeath does, so I can fully recommend Dropped Pianos to all the people who have never heard of ambient / drone music before. It’s easier to digest but at the same time a challenge, because Dropped Pianos could also be described as the soundtrack of the apocalypse. Burning bridges and the metal twisting towards the fiery skyline, people desperately running for shelter and looking for their beloved ones; everything’s held with the eye of a voyeuristic camera in slow-motion. Dropped Pianos is a slow paced listening experience in unsurpassable intimate beauty.

In a society in which musical trends wither within the blink of an eye, new bands having a raison d’être for their hip moment and old bands losing credibility for not evolving during their careers, Tim Hecker is some sort of hero to me. His music does not follow any conventions and is the antithesis to trends and hipsterism.

Who needs arpeggio-laden synths, time signatures, people with fancy Hitler hairdos and trend whores when there’s one man with a laptop who unleashes the fury with minimalism as a big fuck you to the (trends) establishment?

Conclusion: The soundtrack for this autumn, most definitely! Thank you for everything Tim.