Hi. I'm JT. No, not that guy, the other one! JT Murphy (formerly known as JT IceFire). I'm kinda the Game-Of-The-Year-Edition bonus character around the Dtoid community.
I've shown up to a few NARPs and other get-togethers, and I still keep in touch with people like Jon Bloodspray and ArcticFox, and I regularly attend TF2sdays ("JT On The Radio" on Steam), but I've still mostly been in the background.
However, Apathy has recently been going through some personal troubles, and as such will be needing to take the next week or two off from this feature to handle them. So, I've volunteered to keep Stereotoid kicking until he's ready to return. I've got a review of my own I'll be posting in this space for next week, but in the meantime, here's this week's drop of music review goodness.
(and for the record, I'm partial to "I Don't Know" when it comes to MCA songs. Surprised this didn't get major airplay when he died- it sounds like he's delivering his own eulogy.)
To the reviews!
Album: The Legend of Zelda
Artist: Cory Johnson
Label: Self released
Released: May 12, 2012
Genre: Post rock, instrumental
*Sub-genres Space rock, video game
Sounds like: Some of the most famous game music gets arranged in a huge, beautiful way.
I’m a big fan of game music covers and remixes. It’s interesting to hear how different people interpret the well known loops from favorite games and make it their own. Cory Johnson decided to take his love of The Flaming Lips, Explosions in the Sky, and The Legend of Zelda and uses it to create epic, sprawling post rock inspired arrangements of music from the series. It’s a beautiful tribute to one of the most loved series of games.
Johnson first released a set of rough demo versions of the tracks last summer that were very well received across the internets. They provided a nice template for what he was going to do for the final version. Like other remixers, Johnson uses the familiar melodies as a base for him to expand on. He uses them to create rich, textured songs way beyond the scope of the originals. I can only imagine how much work it takes to make a lengthy song from a minute and a half or shorter music loop, but Johnson does it extremely well. It seems like a benefit for the songs, giving a central melody for the song to return to.
The way he uses typical rock instruments to create huge versions of songs burned into us from our youth is nothing short of beautiful. He covers the pretty much the entire series, from Link to the Past to Skyward Sword, with other bits of songs finding their way into his arrangements. I found myself smiling all throughout the album when those familiar melodies hit in the huge climaxes of the songs or when they would quietly creep up in the slower sections. There’s nothing quite like hearing Epona’s Song or Zelda’s Lullaby or the Dark World theme ringing out on massive guitars. It’s pure fanservice, and I mean that in the best possible way.
It’s clear Cory Johnson, like many of us, holds The Legend of Zelda games very dear to him. He’s used his superb musicianship to create a wonderful musical tribute to the series. His beautiful renditions of the classic songs will please any Zelda fan.
Album: A Creature I Don’t Know
Artist: Laura Marling
Released: September 9, 2011
*Sub-genres: Folk rock
Sounds like: Laura Marling paling around in her backyard
Laura Marling has become, in my opinion, one of the definitive voices modern folk. Ever since her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim she’s put out nothing but beautiful folk track after track, combining elegant vocals, dark lyricism and complex instrumentals. A Creature I Don’t Know is not unlike Marling’s previous records in its beauty but a greater emphasis is put on the band that is backing her. In the past it has often been a very Marling-centric affair that focused primarily on her voice and guitar. This time however there is a bigger emphasis on the band, including solos and jam sessions, that push the Laura Marling into the territory of folk rock for the first time.
Not that anyone is complaining. Opening with The Muse already sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s intelligent, fun and bouncy with pianos and guitars playfully dancing about to the tune of Laura’s smooth vocals. Of course there are still the dark splendors that the Englishwoman is known for and they are just as bittersweet as ever. Night After Night is a solemn story of pain and persistence told through poetry and an acoustic guitar.
A Creature I Don’t Know is yet another wonderful album that Laura Marling can put on her resume. She manages to constantly recreate her own authentic style in ways that will keep you entertained and thinking. Her poetry, her voice, her music, will all keep you coming back for more just as her albums always do. If you enjoy beautiful English folk and haven’t already begun to dig into Laura Marling’s works I urge you to do so. A Creature I Don’t Know is another masterful staple in the short but fruitful career of one of England’s best modern day exporters of folk.
Album: The Warning
Artist: Hot Chip
Released: June 13, 2006
Genre:Electropop, Indie Electronica
Have you ever had an album come into your life and just kick you in the face and say, “HEY! This is one of your new favorite bands! Get used to it.” I think we've all been there a time or two. Recently I've been revisiting such an album that came into my life back in 2006. That album being The Warning by London electro-pop masters Hot Chip.
Hot Chip have been around since 2000, bringing unique electronic music into the world's ears. What I especially like about Hot Chip is that they don't take themselves too seriously and their music is very unique. I honestly can't think of another band that sounds just like Hot Chip. This is also a very well timed review considering they have a new album dropping June 11th.
As I've previously stated, The Warning was the album that got me into Hot Chip in the first place. It was an album that I really needed to hear at the time. I was going through a bit of a musical drought, I just couldn't find anything that suited what I was looking for. Part of this problem may have been because I wasn't sure how to explain what it actually was that I was looking for. I hear “And I Was A Boy From School” on a sampler or podcast or something and I knew immediately that that was what I wanted and what I had been needing. This later lead to my obsession with ambient/chill music, but that’s another post.
The Warning is an album that explores a few different types of electronic music. Perhaps they're not different types, more like different styles. You have some very chill songs, like the previously mentioned “And I Was A Boy From School”, then you have the more upbeat and fast songs like, “Over and Over”. Then there's the lyrics, the lyrics are always interesting with Hot Chip. In this album you have a lot of juxtaposition of light charming high pitched noises with oddly, at times, violent lyrics.
This is the second album from Hot Chip and also a good example of the evolution of the band. The Warning is one part Coming On Strong (their debut album) and 1 part Made In The Dark (their followup album). Some songs sound like they could fit on their first album and some sound liked they’d be right at home on later albums. This is a great sign that a band is evolving, which is exactly what you like to see out of a group of musicians.
I honestly don't have a single complaint about this album, I would recommend it to just about anyone who even remotely like electronic music. I say I have no complaints about the album, but that doesn't mean it's a perfect album, there is almost always room for improvement. So that being said, I give the album a solid 9. Go check the links below and see what you think!
Album: SSX: Original Soundtrack
Artist: Various Artists
Genre: Drum and Bass, Triphop, Dubstep
Sounds like: The Electric Daisy Carnival. At least, all of the good acts.
If you want a review for SSX, you’ll even have to go to DToid or the website I work for. I won’t hotlink it because that would be selfish, but I gave it a good score. I digress; this is a review for the SSX soundtrack. Let me clarify some more. This isn’t the music you hear on the radio station on SSX. This is all new music, specifically recorded for this Game. These are all new tracks people, and they are sick as f*$k.
The soundtrack primarily consists of drum and bass tracks by now famous DJ’s Camo and Krooked. Other artists that contribute include Amon Tobin, The Qemists, and Raffertie. All the sounds on this OST are all the sounds you’ll be hearing while you attempt each of SSX’s 9 Deadly Descents, and each track is tailored to getting your blood pumping and have you on edge. Or in a non context related sense, anywhere from tense as hell to ranging up and down the dance floor.
The Qemists offer up a more serious and tone, sticking on the dubstep side of things(although they do DnB too), while Camo and Krooked go buck wild with the drum and bass. And then there’s Amon Tobin who goes delirious in what is literally one of the best “boss” tracks put out by an artists like him. Raffertie likes to titer on the side of the mysterious, and represents the music you don’t want to hear, because it probably means there’s a lot of shit coming down the mountain that’s going to kill you. And Konrad OldMoney just makes an incredibly fuzzy bass track that’s heavy and dark and just right for a Deadly Descent.
EA sure did pick the right artists for the job, because everything sounds like it should for this generations SSX. Lots of bass, complicated polyrhythms, supreme mastery of drums, and general just bumpin’ tunes.. You may want to queue this soundtrack up when you're doing anything extreme in real life, because I can guarantee you it’ll make that activity that much better.
Again, everything on this soundtrack is heavily based in the drum and bass/dubstep region, so if that kinda stuff tips you off, know that you might be better off with the games licensed soundtrack, which has a more even split of genres. But if you liked all of SSX licenced stuff, or you like dub n bass, this is the soundtrack for you.
... and that'll do it! I'll be doing one more of these most likely, but either way, I'll be bringing a review with me. Thanks for reading!
Hey folks. Sorry for being so late, it's just been...a week. We were originally going to try posting on Friday, but something tragic happened...
As most of you probably know by now, on Friday the music world lost an amazing man. Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away at the young age of 47, leaving a legacy of greatness behind. The man was a legend. A revolutionary. There will never be another person like him. His iconic voice and flow and groovy bass lines were inimitable, and his directorial work on various music videos were some of the most entertaining videos I've ever seen. He will truly be missed. In light of this recent tragedy, a few of us Stereotoiders (including a guest submission from Maxwell Roahrig of Flixist fame) have taken the time to speak about our thoughts on MCA. We had originally planned to embed various songs by the Beasties in this post, but I had completely forgotten that that is no longer possible. Therefore, we hope that you will click the links each of our writers have provided so you can be reminded of just how great and diverse the Beastie Boys' extensive category really was.
"Like I said in my Flixist memoriam piece, I was twelve-years-old when I first heard the Beastie Boys. MCA, and the rest of the Beasties, meant a lot to me growing up in small-town Indiana. Because of my brother’s supreme forces of corruption, I listened to a lot of “weird” music by my peers standards. While everyone else was going through their Blink-182 and Green Day phases, I was busy sinking my teeth into the Pixies and The Dead Milkmen. But I digress. Since middle school, I got teased for being “weird”. I really didn’t accept the social norms of the time; liking popular music and movies. But whenever I was down, I could always listen to my copy of Paul’s Boutique, and instantly be in a better state of mind.
Not only was his music a constant source of feel-goodery, MCA was the first person to make me care about the bass (and partly inspired me to start playing bass). He was the epitome of cool when I was a teenager. I started adopting some of his rhymes in my everyday speech (to this day, I still say “Cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce). He taught me to get up and groove with the rhythm in my soul. He was beyond my favorite rapper; he was one of my few role models. Hell, all of the Beasties are."
Yauch, thanks for making my life a little more bearable.
"Even when I wasn't into hip hop, I loved the Beastie Boys. They had a style all their own that no one else could come close to. I don't know what I can say that hasn't been said already, but Adam Yauch was an inspirational man in many ways that was taken from us far too soon. Rest in peace MCA."
"I have to be perfectly honest: I dislike rap. Sometimes, I'll like a song here and there, for reasons completely unknown to me, but these songs are few and far between. However, there are a couple of groups and artists out there that I can stand. One of those groups has always been the Beastie Boys. Songs like Sabotage (directed by Spike Jonze, a personal hero of mine) and Intergalactic, among a few others, always grabbed me thanks for their rock edge. The group also released the phenomenal and criminally overlooked instrumental jazz/groove/magic album "The Mix Up," on which Adam "MCA" Yauch played a groovy and driving bass. His skill as an instrumentalist drove the album. While Ad-Rock and Mike D played with drums and guitar during the songs, MCA kept them on course, making, in my opinion, one of the smoothest and coolest instrumental electro-jazz albums of all time. Just check out Off the Grid and The Gala Event (which sounds like a throwback to the soundtrack for Rockstar's Bully). MCA was also a filmmaker and film distributor, co-creating Oscilloscope Laboratories, which has in its short lifespan released phenomenal independent films from all over the world, including indie darling Bellflower, Finnish slasher flick (staring Santa) Rare Exports, and Oscar nominee Exit Through the Gift Shop. We have truly lost a brother in arms not only in the way of a ridiculously talented musician and an ally of micro-budget indie films, but we have lost one of the most positive role models the music industry has had to offer us. Since he was a practicing and highly active Budhist, perhaps he will be reborn as an even more awesome person. However, words cannot express how much of a long shot that would be; my scale goes from Hitler to MCA."
"May 4th the world lost a music icon. The world has lost many musical icons in the past but since I was born, this may be the one that's affected me the most. Adam Yauch, aka MCA, passed away on Friday. The Beastie Boys always meant a lot to me. They were my first real taste of hip-hop, they made me happy when I was sad, they made me laugh, they inspired me. Yauch was arguably the most talented of the three. His rhymes always made me laugh and think and his directorial work was nothing less than fantastic. More recently Yauch directed the video Fight For Your Right Revisited. The video focused on the B-Boys coming into the future from the Fight For Your Right music video. This 30 min video had more celebrities in it than any feature film you could think of. There's a reason for that, people loved an respected MCA. The Beastie Boys have, and will always, be one of my favorite groups. It saddens me that I never got the chance to see them live, but saddens me more that MCA has dropped the mic for the last time. RIP MCA."
Sorry for the somber vibes everybody, but we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves if we didn't pay our respects to one of hip-hop's greats. Now we're going to return to our regularly scheduled programming with some excellent reviews by JTHomeslice, Daxelman, and the debut from one of our secret members: The one and only Spencer Hayes.
Album: Streetlight Lullabies
Artist: Toh Kay (Tomas Kalnoky of Streetlight Manifesto)
Label: Pentimento Music Company
Released: November 22, 2011
Genre: Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Acoustic Renditions of Streetlight Manifesto
Do you love the musical stylings of Ska-punk bands but need to pretend to have a sensitive side in order to score with the ladies? Do you hate the sound of horns, but love Thomas Kalnoky's lyricism? Well, you're in luck. Released late last year Toh Kay's (Thomas Kalnoky) album Streetlight Lullabies is precisely what the title implies: stripped-down versions of some of Streetlight Manifesto's best songs.
As a ravenous fan of everything Streetlight I was ecstatic that I would get a chance to hear some of my favorite songs done in a different style. The first thing that impressed me about the album was how technically proficient Kalnoky is with the guitar. It doesn't show much when Kalnoky plays with Streetlight, but I was surprised when I heard the man start shredding on an acoustic guitar.
The song selection on the record is fantastic, and features songs from Streetlight's first three albums although Keasbey Nights is a bit underrepresented with only one song on the disc. One of the most dramatic reinterpretations on the album is We Will Fall Together. What was once a song punctuated by violent outbursts of both guitar and brass becomes a ballad that is simultaneously intimate and heartbreaking.
Other highlights from the CD include a fantastic rendition of A Better Place, A Better Time. It's really hard not to imagine this song saving someone's life. What was already one of Streetlight's top songs takes on an entirely new dimension as a song that sounds like a letter sent to someone that everyone has known at one point or another.
I can't really think of someone whom I wouldn't recommend this album to. It has some of the most fantastic lyricism in a contemporary musician, it highlights Kalnoky's mastery of his instrument, and the songs all work well together. Simply put: if you're a fan of Streetlight you need to hear these reinterpretations of some of your favorite songs, and if you're not a fan you should give this disc a spin anyway as the songs stand up as more than just covers of other songs.
Artist: Brendon Small
Label: BS Records
Released: April 29, 2012
Genre: High-stakes, intergalactic, extreme rock (As described by the man himself)
*Sub-genres Metal, rock
Sounds like: The man behind Dethklok stretching his creative muscles and having a lot of fun In the process.
Brendon Small is a super talented and creative dude. He created, wrote, and starred in Home Movies and Metalocalypse and wrote and performed music for both. He’s been focused musically on Dethklok for the past few, so one has to imagine that he’s got some other ideas that don’t fit in with death metal. Those ideas have become Galaktikon.
Galaktikon is, as described by Small, “an audio comic book, an over acted chamber drama, a ridiculous premise that takes itself way too seriously all the way to the end.” It revolves around our hero Triton and his recent divorce from his wife. He receives the divorce papers and goes on an angry space drive to cool off. He starts seeing a therapist to get himself back together. The Lazer Witch then appears before Triton warning him of upcoming danger. She also tells him to not rescue his ex-wife if she is in danger. But then Triton’s arch enemy escapes from prison and seduces and kidnaps his ex-wife. Triton learns of this and questions whether he should save her. He eventually decides to travel across the galaxy to save her, running into plenty of trouble along the way. It’s absolutely ridiculous but nothing else would be expected from the man behind Metalocalypse.
Musically Galaktikon is much lighter and melodic than Small’s work in Dethklok. There isn’t a death growl to be found on here. Small has a good voice, which you don’t get to hear from Nathan Explosion. He’s got a kind of gruff, aggressive delivery that suits the music well. He reminded me of Devin Townsend in a few spots, certainly not a bad thing. The album is just straight up rocking. It’s packed full of catchy riffs and cool solos. There are definitely parts where you can hear some Dethklok in the songs. It’s hard not to see Toki and Skwisgaar wailing away during the instrumental Dangertits (Front runner for best song title of the year). It has nice varied sounds throughout, from the sludgy Deathwaltz, to the solo frenzy of Dangertits, and the insane catchiness of On My Way. It just rocks all the way through.
I like when musicians go a bit out of their comfort zone and come out with something cool after. Galaktikon is just pure fun. It just sounds like Brendon Small had a lot of fun writing and recording this album. I can only hope he keeps having fun and making cool music as himself, Dethklok, or anything else.
Album: Tourist History Artist: Two Door Cinema Club Label: Kitsune Music [b]Released: 2010/b]
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop *Sub-genres: Dancefloor/punk Sounds like: The Strokes, Bloc Party
I’m not gunna lie, this band was turned onto me SSX style. As in, one of their tracks was selected for the newest SSX and I fell in love with it and therefore this became my favorite band for a good 3 weeks. It just that with this band, I’m really looking forward to what comes after Tourist History, because I like Tourist History a lot.
Put up back in 2010 (that’s such a long time ago), every track starts off with that familiar 4 to 8 beat hook. Whether it’s just the tapping of sticks/cymbals or sometime a bit more complicated, every song has a catchy 4/4 hook that grabs you instantly. Par for the course of indie punk at this stage, but it’s refreshing to hear it done so well and effortlessly.
Every track then goes into a gradual build up of similar 4/4 stylings, usually ending up on the happy dancefloor/punk end of the spectrum of sounds. Things can go from Maximo Park/Futureheads punk to Phoenix/Foster The People indie or stay in a nice little spot in between. When the styles do mix, it’s a very nice, calm yet jumpy bend that’s sure to get one tapping their own foot if not outright dancing.
This is definitely an album to listen to if you want to dance or just overall feel happy about anything. All of the sounds Two Door Cinema Club use to compose Tourist History are generally uplifting, upbeat, and up tempo. Lost of quick yet simple guitar, bass, and drums work done here, like good indie punk should be.
Overall, I’m just going to say “Something Good Can Work” is the perfect example of why I’m looking forward to Two Door Cinema Club’s sophomore effort. Fast, upbeat, happy indie punk rock that makes me feel good and will probably make you feel good and is the perfect music to carve up mountains to in SSX. It was a great break from the wub wub, if that’s what swallowing your ears right now, you’ll be right pleased with Tourist History.
Seriously, the whole album fits with SSX. That’s how good it is. Go buy it.
Hey there party people! Glad you could join us on what I guess you could call our REAL return. Not gonna lie, it almost didn't happen this week. Somebody must have gotten wind that we were doing awesome things again and life tried its best to prevent it. My laptop got swiped out of my truck, and then a few days later my aunt passes away out of nowhere. Needless to say, life hasn't been too swell for 'ole Apathy this past week.
BUT! I'm a rockstar, Stereotoid's a bunch of baller ass rockstars, and the show must go on. I wasn't able to finish up my review due to life, but we've got some excellent submissions from Xzyliac, Daxelman, JTHomeslice, and Crackity Jones covering a nice spread of genres. We even have a little hate in here, already on our first return to reviewings! We waste no time here folks. And speaking of which...
Album: First Serve
Artist: De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2
Label: [PIAS] Entertainment Group
Released: April 2, 2012
*Sub-genres: Jazz-hop, golden age hip-hop
Sounds like: Eternal summer jams.
It’s been a helluva long time since we last got an entire album from the legendary group De La Soul. 8 years in fact and it’s always been kind of assumed the best years of De La Soul have been left in the 90s, which was always a fair assumption. So when Plug 1 and 2 both announced their side project First Serve I don’t think anyone really expected much. A solid album at best, maybe with one or two really stand out songs, but nothing that could really sit alongside classics like 3 Feet High and Rising or (my personal favorite) De La Soul is Dead.
So what a pleasant surprise when April 2nd rolled around and here it is, the modern day De La Soul album that can proudly sit alongside their best. First Serve, the official latest album in the De La Soul catalog in spite of the absence of Plug 3, is a bright, funky, jazzy revival in colorful urban hip-hop. The album takes a page from De La Soul is Dead where the album has a narrative, a much more cohesive one than the aforementioned classic, and manages to retain that funk that the group brought to life in the 90s.
For this album the group has brought in a live band complete with drums, pianos, guitars, a particularly funky horns section and even a blues-y harmonica during The Book of Life. It’s actually kind of a relief that the band chose the live band route much akin to The Roots as it manages to give the album a lot of flexibility. As the story plays out the highs and lows are very effectively communicated by a band that can easily transition from bright and cheery to dark and tense seamlessly. As much as I love De La Soul is Dead sometimes it feels like the heavy use of samples can make the album seem a bit jarring and schizophrenic. It gives it a charm but it also tends to split the appeal between tracks. The great use of a live backing band makes everything feel original, fresh and consistent but never boring.
The lyricism of First Serve isn’t nearly as imaginative as though of us who fell in love with the earlier sounds of De La but the trade-off is we’ve gotten a more “mature” album. Not mature in the sense that the lyrics contain more adult content but mature in the sense that it feels like Plug 1 and Plug 2 have learned how to more effectively communicate the song’s purpose. Songs like Must B the Music have catchy lyrical hooks whereas Tennis is a tribute to building an empire and seeing that empire create a bond. It’s the type of effective lyricism that isn’t even really present in the album prior, The Grind Date.
All in all, First Serve has managed to become one of my favorite hip-hop albums of the last ten years. There are literally no middling tracks on this album. Everything has a genuine flavor, one that is so hard to find in hip-hop nowadays, where even the darker tracks have a sense of color to them. It’s a very vibrant album with some great “summer jam” type hooks. Songs like Must B the Music and Move ‘Em In, Move ‘Em Out are instant hits the minute they latch themselves onto your brain. Meanwhile, Pop Life, Pushin’ Aside, Pushin’ Along, and The Work, the more serious tracks of the album, carry a similar infectiousness while still feeling like they have purpose. It’s appropriate that this album drops as everything begins to warm up as it’s certainly one that just feels good to blast with the windows down ona sunny Saturday afternoon.
Album: Slave to the Game
Label: Victory Records
Released: April 10, 2012
Sounds like: Another fucking Emmure album
We meet again Emmure. I always try to give new music bands I haven’t been into a chance. Sometimes it turns out they got better. This isn’t the case for Emmure. If anything this album just shows how creatively bankrupt they are.
The problem with Emmure isn’t that their music is bad, which it is. It’s that their music is lazy and boring. There’s a lot of jokes made at their expense about how their guitar tabs look like binary, (insert overused meme here) but it’s really true. 99% of their music is just detuned guitar chugs with the occasional screech on the high strings. The remaining 1% comes from the rare instances where they stray away from this. The slightly Korn-ish break in “Umar Dumps Dormammu” and the intro to “MDMA” are examples of this. These slight glimpses of hope are quickly dashed away for more SICK BREAKDOWNS. They show the possibility of something more, but are washed away by the same old shit.
The vocals haven’t gotten any better either. Vocalist/internet hate monger Frankie Palmeri pretty much hasn’t changed. He still does those “brutal” low growls, awful high pitched screeches, and weird kind of clean vocals. It seems like he does those “I want to do non-growls but still sound hard” vocals even more on this album, which just makes him sound even more like Fred Durst or any other nu-metal singer. The nu-metal comparisons are even more apt when some songs actually have turntable scratches on them. Honestly, I hope they add a full on turntable player with their next album. That would be hilarious. Also, there aren’t any quotes about dicks, which is a real disappointment.
I don’t know what else to say about this album. It’s yet another Emmure album that sounds exactly like all of their others. Once again, the few times they try something new, it just goes back to the safety of chugs. You know at this point whether or not you like Emmure. I don’t.
Personal favorite tracks: Don’t even bother.
TL;DR: It’s another Emmure album. You know if this is appealing to you by now.
Artist: Amon Tobin
Label: Ninja Tune
Genre: Experimental, Trip Hop, Electronic
Sub-genres: Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Samples Galore
Sounds like: Someone went to the sound emporium and had a party while drinking bacon grease and Jager and eating chocolate filled gummy worms.
ISAM stands for Indexed Sequential Access Method. It’s a way of basically sorting large amounts of data so you can then search for things fast. ISAM is also the latest and greatest experiment in sound from the world's leading electronic maestro, Amon Tobin. What do the two have to do together? Nothing, I just wanted to throw some computer science at you guys. I thought it would go well together
That’s basically what Amon Tobin did with this album, albeit with more success then my little nerd spiel. ISAM is what one would call “things I never thought would go well together”, if you actually spent the time to see what samples Tobin pulled from this time...if he had pulled samples in the first place. Much like his last effort Foley Room, Amon Tobin went out and did a bunch of field based recordings for ISAM, but unlike Foley Room, Amon went off the deep end with these recordings, sampling some truly nasty sounds from lord knows where. Everything from subtle guitar licks and faint lyrical words to weird beeps, boops, wobbles and drops can be heard in this album.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Amon Tobin if those samples weren’t distorted, broken, fixed, dropped, picked up, slid across sand paper, and dipped into Mountain Dew, and ISAM is no exception. Sounds that seriously shouldn’t go together to make any sort of rhythmical sense fall into a fine line under Tobin’s control, creating a myriad of sounds such that anyone a fan of any electronic music could find something that fits to them; be it asymmetrical polyrhythm, deafening bass, or trips so hard you’ll break your nose, ISAM has it, and it’s in technical full force.
There isn’t much else to bother you with buying this album. Every sound, every single sample, no matter how out of place it seems alone, has a loving home in each of the songs in ISAM. Every detail was taken into account, from the sound of the sample, to what effects to use, to how it loops, and it’s amazing to see what meticulous sound design can do for electronic music these days. If there was anyone who would ever say electronic music is ruining the music industry, plug in some headphones and then pop ISAM in the stereo; send their doubts running.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Amon Tobin is a master of his craft, and he just keeps on hammering that fact in with each release. With ISAM, now he’s now using a ten ton hammer.
Artist: Jack White
Label: Third Man Records
Released: April 24, 2012
Sub-genres: Blues, Folk
Sounds like: Jack White being Jack White, which is just swell.
You know how I know it's going to be a good year? We just got a new release from Jack White. If you've never heard of music before or just need some refreshing, Jack White made a name for himself in his first band, The White Stripes. White has had plenty of projects and bands over the years including: The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Die Another Day with Alicia Keys, providing guitar for the latest Wanda Jackson album and other various projects.
Blunderbuss, which was just released yesterday in North America, is the latest solo release from Jack White and chances are, it's exactly what you'd hope it would be. Blunderbuss jumps around from sound to sound without going too far to any sort of extreme. You will mostly be hearing White play some of his folk songs as well as brining the album back to his roots with some blues/garage rock. Between the two genres that White plays around with on the album, it makes a fitting release for his self-owned label, Third Man Records. TMR also recently released the first album from The Alabama Shakes which is another great album you should look into if you dig Blunderbuss.
While Blunderbuss is certainly an evolution for White, it isn't drastically different than the music he has produced in the past. Basically, if you're worried that this album will be too different than a White Stripes or Dead Weather album, you have nothing to worry about. Right from the start you'll understand what I mean as the first few chords of Missing Pieces come in. The album is basically formed in the way that you have a garage rock, folk rock, sandwich. Towards the beginning you have loud guitar driven songs like 16 Saltines, then around the middle of the album you have slower more vocal and keys driven songs like Hypocritical Kiss but by the end of the album you're back to songs with some of White's traditional face shredding guitar work as heard on Take Me With You When You Go. All of this makes for an album that flows perfectly.
To be quite honest with you, it's pretty hard to find much to complain about with Blunderbuss. The closest I can get to a complaint would be that I would've liked to have seen an album from Jack White that was completely blues rock with a lo-fi twist. I'd just be super giddy if he went back 100% to his original sound on the first few White Stripes albums. That pure energetic, dirty guitar driven rock n roll sound. That's just me though. If you're a fan of Mr. White then I would whole heartedly recommend Blunderbuss. If you don't like it then there is a good chance that you just don't like music anymore. The radio has won and all you desire now is more of the same three sounds driven into your head on repeat.
That's all folks! Tune in next week, where we promise to have so many musics for you to music that you'll look back and be like "Wow, how did I possibly music all of that music". But for now, PANCAKES!
So uh, hey guys. How's it been? It's been what...two years almost? Man, time flies. Look at you, all grown up now. We missed y'all so much. This next adorable dog image is on us.
Alright, but for realsies, what's up C-bloggers? We're back. Don't adjust your computer monitors. Stereotoid has returned from...uhh...wherever we were. Look, to be honest, I have no idea where we were. I think Daxelman was supposed to keep track of that but he hung out with Hologram Tupac instead. Jerk.
Now we understand that, it being so very long since we last popped up, some of you might have forgotten who we are and what we do. Hell, some of you may have never knew who we were to begin with. Put simply, Stereotoid w-no wait, I'm sorry, IS- the sexiest bunch of people that scream at other people about music ever assembled. We did a lot of awesome things when we were still active, like music reviews, fun little themed articles that we occasionally pull out of our ass, and even a podcast. It was awesome, it was fun, and it was probably one of the coolest things I personally have ever been a part of on the internet.
But then we left.
I can't quite remember what happened. I believe it was just the influx of real lifings needing to be attended to, but we had to hang up the headphones for a bit. Things kept quiet but we always kept in touch, always somewhat entertaining the reunion tour possibilities. Some of us went off and did solo projects, others joined other groups. Hell, some of us even tried to jump in with other groups and just realized it wasn't the same for them. But, like a down on his luck former lead singer who can't seem to pay off that drug dealer, eventually we got to a point where we decided it was time. And that time is now.
...Well, not exactly right now. We figured before we just come back and throw music in your faces, you might wanna know who we are. Like I said, a lot of you might have forgotten us. Now that you know who we are as a whole though, I'd like to introduce you to the fine gents that make up this entity known as Stereotoid. We've got mostly old faces in here, but we've got some new guys on the team now that are hella awesome. Without these sexy individuals there would be nothing. And no, I'm not just saying there would be no Stereotoid. I mean like, nothing. That chair you're sitting on? Gone. That lovely Dr. Pepper you're drinking? Poof. And the pancakes? You don't even wanna know. So, without further ado, I introduce to you...the crew.
Xzyliac: Xzyliac is hella cool and hella sexy. His favorite sources of ear pleasure are La Roux, CSS, De La Soul, MF Doom, Basia Bulat, Laura Marling, L7 and anything with Kathleen Hanna amongst a million other bands. His dream show involves La Roux, Crystal Castles, Daft Punk, Freezepop, lots of fruity alcoholic drinks, glass boxes for S&M tomfoolery and making out with Harley Quinn. He's also bad at bios.
Daxelman: Daxelman solo’s mid and doesn’t give a fcuk. He’s a tough cookie and writes about all manners of things from music (duh) to video games (lol). His favorite artists are Battles, Amon Tobin, The Roots, Mr. Scruff and much more, and he leans towards the electronic/organic spectrum of things. His dream consists of Mastodon vs Coheed and Cambria 12 hour “storytime” concert. He saw Anamanaguchi live this year, and according to his friends, hates all the things.
RonBurgandy2010: RonBurgandy2010 is a man who has seen and experienced much. A remnant of the long-gone Wild West era of Destructoid, Ron has become a shadow, a wind of the past that blows in from time to time, bringing some to reminiscence and others no emotions at all. Currently studying Moving Image Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his musical journey has been as varied as his legacy on the site. Beginning as a punk kid listening to CKY and Alien Ant Farm, he eventually moved on to Primus, then Clutch, and so on. With each passing year, his tastes expanded and became more adventurous, bringing Battles, Gnarles Barkley, and a varying range of instrumental rock to his attention. Currently on a blues rock kick, fueled by The White Stripes and The Black Keys, Ron will give you an optimistic pessimist's worldview with a taste for good blues-influenced rock, with a dash of the bizarre and peculiar thrown in for good measure.
JTHomeslice: JTHomeslice is a dude. He's been on the Dtoid for a while, even if he isn't around as much now. Stereotoid is the only writing thing he has going on, unless you count Twitter as writing. He likes all sorts of musics, especially that of the fast and loud variety. His favorite bands include They Might Be Giants, Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Reel Big Fish, Refused, letlive, Converge, Bad Religion, Enter Shikari, Beastie Boys, The Wonder Years, Queen, Andrew W.K., and The OneUps, among many others. He would do horrible, horrible things to Hayley Williams, Grace Perry, Dave Grohl (well, he would be the dominant here), Keith Buckley, and the lovely Stereotoid staff. Party hard.
JTMurphy: J.T. Murphy has been milling around the halls of Dtoid since 2009, surfacing occasionally to do something awesome, only to fade back into the shadows to preserve his mystique, intrigue, and severe social anxiety. He's been spending the past two years in the podcasting business, currently hosting a weekly two-hour video game music show, the Blue Shell Manifesto. J.T.'s been following the video game cover band and chipmusic scenes for several years. He's been to four MAGFests and three Bit Gen Gamer Fests, he owns 30 individual versions of the Wily stage theme from Mega Man 2, and he can (almost) tell the difference between an NES and Commodore 64 soundboard. Outside of the game music scene, he holds down work at a Philly-area rhythmic top-40 radio station, where he's developed a begrudging respect for Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, on top of his lifelong classic-rock and 90's-alternative listening habits.
Crackity Jones: Crackity Jones has been on Destructoid since the one year anniversary. He is a co-host of Pocketoid and loves his music almost as much as he loves his video games. Crackity is a senior Comm major and writes for Gameranx when possible. All time favorite band: Radiohead. Musical Crushes: Regina Spektor, Laura Gibson, Karen O, Emily Haines, Jenny Lewis and tons of others. Mr. Jones listens to musical tunes from near every genre but he prefers his standbys of indie rock, electronica (trip-hop, chillwave, glitch, house, all kinds) and Hip-Hop. Crackity Jones lives his life by one rule and one rule only: Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck wit.
Occams Electric Toothbrush: Now, Occams won't be able to come back as a full-time badass unfortunately. Something to do with spreading the gospel at the nearest Quiznos or whatever it is that Occams does these days. He did, however, give me permission to use this quote in his place: “I'll go ahead and sit out a proper bio. I'll just be the zany
neighbor that pops in and talks about how he can't climax unless a cat
is in the room then arrange all the condiments in the fridge according
to date of expiration.”
vApathyv: Apathy is a guy that does things. He can often be found on Twitter, or drunk, or drunk on Twitter. In recent times he has developed a bizarrely popular drunken alter ego by the name of Swagathy. But as much as Apathy loves booze, he'll never be able to love that as much as he loves music. His father being a DJ and his mother being a chorus singer, he was taught the value of music pretty young, and couldn't imagine what his life would be like without it. He considers David Bowie, Joan Jett, and Iggy Pop to be the coolest old people in the world. Artists he listens to on the regular include Against Me!, Alkaline Trio, At The Drive-In, Refused, Rancid, deadmau5, Rise Against, Foxy Shazam, Gorillaz, La Dispute, The Cure, letlive., and a revolving door of other music. He'll also beat your ass in Rock Band.
And that's us for now people. Keep your eyes peeled, we expect to resume normal operations immediately if not sooner! But not today. We know the rules. So I guess not immediately. Something like...immediately following tomorrow, or something. WHATEVER JUST KEEP AN EYE OUT.
Oh, and here's some pancakes! Because good traditions never die.
That right there was the single most painful header image I could have possibly imagined. I actually need to take a shower now, I feel so...dirty.
Anyways...hello folks! So, as you may have noticed, something very awesome and unexpected happened on Friday- Faxtoid. It was amazing, it was unique, it was a very well thought out way to get the community active in the April Fool's shenanigans, and for the most part it was absolutely wonderful. However, there was one unfortunate downside- it made using the C-blogs almost impossible. And we ourselves had planned an awesome and (hopefully) unexpected happening for Friday. At first I was like "Oh sweet! I'll just hand-write all the reviews and this will become an even greater idea!"...until I realized my printer/scanner/faxer no longer scans or faxes, which led me to me pretty much giving myself carpal tunnel for no reason.
So, I had thought for a while over whether or not our special Stereotoid April Fool's Edition should even see the light of day, since it's not the same if it isn't read or released on that day. However, seeing as how our team suffered through great lengths (GREAT. FUCKING. LENGTHS.), I think it'd be a disservice not to display their work. So, without further ado, and in the interest of ending this longer then normal intro, enjoy the quasi-lost "Stereotoid April Fool's Edition", with a very special review of an album from one of Destructoid's very own.
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Artist: Kanye West
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Released: November 22, 2010
Genre: Hip Hop
*Sub-genres Real Rap
Sounds like: The best Hip-Hop album of all time.
Hip Hop has found its new emperor. The lyrical genius, master of hard-knocking, high quality beats is
back with another one of his snarky, innovative, bold, experimental, raw, true hip hop record. This is the
closest thing we’ll ever get to hearing the wonderful chant of sirens; a thugnificent gem, and an artistic
tour de force. If you’ve never listen to the genre, this album will most likely make you want to never listen
to hip hop again, since it’s so great.
This album is innovative to the point that I cannot find the adequate words to truly express how I love
this record. I honestly think I should’ve never listened to this album, because now, music feels obsolete
and completely unimaginative. Really, it’s just that good. In every song, King Kanye ejaculates on our
eardrums with his edgy, smart, totally refreshing way of rhyming. The high quality of the lyrics, like when
he talks about his inner child and shit, is incredible. Or that time when he talks about his ass and that
people should kiss it, but what he really means is that people should lick his peppermint patty, (I had
emotions going all through my body during that part). It’s so powerful, so true, and so intelligent. Kanye
West has a special gift of turning everything into diamond. The kind of diamonds coming straight out the
motherland, dug out by the unionized, hydrated, free diamond miners of Congo and Sierra Leone.
His brilliance even transcends beyond the waves, with his provocative sampling to one of Chris Rock’s
best monologue ever, (the one about pussy and the hilarious things he says about it). My only gripe
about this album though, is the use of one of Gil Scott-Heron’s sample to accompany the last song on the album, which is to be perfectly honest, kind of revolute in its message. West is way beyond that black VS white, civil movement bullshit. He is above all forms of racism, misogyny, intolerance and bigotry. He’s a real diplomat, one that would leave even the most suave Libyan UN representatives ineffective.
The beats are engulfed into this post-modern, highly artistic, Dadaistic 1930’s radio quality, which give
a brilliant sound to the whole album. The auto-tune is top notch; the beats have drum loops and shit.
It’s awesome. Buy this album; think about the starving children of Africa that could use all this delicious
money. Kanye will surely do whatever he can to briefly mention them in his new upcoming single to make you feel better about yourself. Thanks Kanye, you think about everything.
I would also like to thank God for making this album a reality.
Released: January 1, 2010
*Sub-genres Dance pop, electropop
Sounds like: The brilliance of Lennon’s social consciousness with the soulful and strong female
presence of Aretha Franklin
Ever since the 60s it has become almost regimen in English speaking cultures to take the social and
cultural issues of the day and bring them to light on a scale that still to this day is unmatched. Music
is a great unifier, in the 21st century no matter your class or position you literally cannot go a single
say without hearing some kind of music. But when does a song actually say something? When does
the music cross the threshold from corporate bred entertainment to be absorbed by the masses like
a collective mindless sponge and become true timeless, living, art? When does the music become so
daring, so massively groundbreaking, that it can only describe itself, like faith or what water taste like?
The point, my friends, is Ke$ha’s Animal.
Now of course I could go on and on about America’s well-reasoned fascination for this rags-to-riches
lovechild but I want to focus on the music. The first track, Your Love Is My Drug, simply encapsulates the
listener with its graceful sounds, suave vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. The commentary of the song, how
the positive emotion of love releases dopamine into the brain which then causes positive sensations and
boners is addictive, is simply some of the most powerful music out there. And of course there is Tik Tok
which has become synonymous with the push to eliminate poverty in America.Ke$ha herself describes
her poor background, a time where she hit rock bottom so hard she brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels.
You can almost hear the heartache in her voice.
Instrumentally the album is a grand masterpiece. Each and every song has a wonderful array of
electronic sounds and drums. Each and every one. All of them. Seriously, there is not a single song that
doesn’t have what the last song had. It’s awesome. Sometimes you worry when a track ends that the
musician might change it up a bit, maybe shake up the composition, but Ke$ha in all her purism sticks to what works for the entire 46 minutes. Really, it’s like a ballad. Occasionally a guest is brought but never for so long that the audience is left thirsting for that sweet angelic voice.
Lyrically the album is rock solid. It is as if John Lennon and Bob Dylan had a threesome with Patti Smith
and then Shakespeare came down from heaven and joined in and then through some magical fate (and
other dirty filthy things) they all impregnated Patti Smith simultaneously and gave birth to a miracle child.
Look at this…
I saw you In your tight ass rocker pants You saw me too I laughed 'Cause I was completely trashed And I watched your Ugly girlfriend Sneer across the room
Look at that! Can you not feel her pain!? SHE WAS DRUNK AND HER EX WAS THERE AND HIS
GIRLFRIEND WAS UGLY!
If you are looking for art, true art in it’s rawest form, in a way that can pain the soul and pleasure the
beast, this is truly the album for you. In fact, it is the album of our lifetimes. It will define this generation
and potentially all generations to come. There are those who never believed we could ever have our
Shakespeare, our Beatles, our Foreigner, but let it be known that we have all this and more in the
ambitious and humble work that is Ke$ha’s Animal.
Album: Dark Horse
Label: Roadrunner/Atlantic EMI
Released: November 18, 2008
Genre: Good ol' Canadian Rock N Roll
Sounds like: Heaven, easily the best thing to come out in music this decade.
So as many of you may know I'm still fairly new to Stereotoid. When I recently found out that no
one in our team had reviewed the rock n roll gods that are Nickleback, well … honestly I shit my pants.
Now when I say “I shit my pants” I don't mean this figuratively. I literally dropped my iPhone, dropped my
jaw and proceeded to produce a healthy amount of feces in my pants.
I did what any music loving blogger with half a brain did after this revelation, I began my review.
Dark Horse marks Nickelbacks seventh studio album and will certainly go down as their best. Every
single song on this album is just dripping with pure genius and originality! Music was at one time dying,
but it found it's savior. And that savior is Chad Kroeger.
You really know you're in for a treat when the album opens with the track, “Somethin' In Your
Mouth”. This song is about Chad meeting a lovely lady and how he has fallen deeply in love with her and
never wants to be apart from her presence. You can tell he really cares when he says, “You're so much
cooler when you never pull it out, 'cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth”. If that
line didn't just absolutely melt your heart then you might wanna check your pulse. I just think its adorable
how he feels about this woman, that he has the guts to tell her she looks better when she's sucking his
This album surprisingly is actually chock full of sweet love songs. That Chad, he is just so
dreamy, Chad Kroeger that is, not Chad Concelmo. Although now that I think about it Chad Concelmo is
pretty dreamy too. Hmmm …. I wonder who would win in a fight between the Chads? Of course it
wouldn't be any sort of normal fight, oh no no no. The epic duel these lovely Chads would have to face
each other off in would be a blow job contest, and I would be the one and only judge. Who would win?
Anyways where was I? Oh, right, Nickelback. Another one of my favorite love ballads off of this
particular album was the heartfelt classic, “S.E.X.”. In case you had any doubts about what the song was about, yes, it is in fact about a deep and complicated relationship between Chad and his lady friend. I like how Chad shows us his gentleman side in this song with all the sweet nothings he's whispering into his lovers ear. Lines like, “Yes, sex is always the answer, it's never a question 'cause the answer's yes, oh the answer's yes. Not just a suggestion, if you ask a question then it's always yes.”. What a dreamboat.
Honestly I could just go on all day with how much I love this album, but if you're a living human
being then you already know this is an incredible piece of art. You don't need me to tell you that. If
nothing else then perhaps you can at least click my links below and reminisce about when you first heard
the album, all those years ago, way back in 2008. I hope you have a lovely April Fool's Day and that you
don't fall for any stupid pranks. Have fun Fridaying! But seriously …. click those links … you won't be
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the intense trauma that JTHomeslice had to go through to bring this review to us, he was unable to continue the trollish tradition of the other reviews present this week. Given my limited exposure to Brokencyde, I do not blame him. At all.)
b]Album:[/b] I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!
Label: Breaksilence Recordings
Released: June 16, 2009
Genre: Crunkcore (?)
Sounds like: Shit
I kind of want to just leave the review at that. That single word accurately describes Brokencyde. It’s maybe the most vile shit I’ve ever listened to. This whole “crunkcore” or “screamo crunk” or whatever the fuck it’s called could be the most dreadful thing to happen to music. And Brokencyde is right at the top of the shit pile.
First off, the beats are terrible. Just the most generic, uninteresting beats ever. Give me an hour in FL Studio and I could make you something better any of this crap.
The vocals are just all around awful. The screams and growls are among the worst I’ve heard. This is sub-deathcore y’all. They’re so bad you can’t even understand the lyrics, so that’s a plus I guess. The rapping is equally bad. It’s sub-nu metal. If you rap worse than Fred Durst, maybe you shouldn’t be rapping. And the singing. It sounds like it’s been Auto-Tuned a million times over. It even sounds like the screaming is Auto-Tuned too. AUTO-TUNED SCREAMING. WHAT. THE. FUCK.
I now present to you a few excerpts of their lyrics. These are just a few lines that jumped out at me. Here they are:
“Let’s get fucking freaky now”
“Throw your motherfucking titties in the air”
“I want to see you naked clap” (???????????????)
“You got the buns, I got the hot dog”
“DO THE BOOTY CLAP GIRL”
“Go get your sex on girl”
“You make my pee pee hard” (UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH)
“Don't expect on having sex unless you shave your pubes”
“That means my penis is hard”
Now, these may look absurd, but you have to actually hear them to get the full effect. I get that crunk music is all about getting drunk and fucking bitches and such, but this is just bad. And the worst thing is that they’re delivered with complete sincerity.
There is not an ounce of irony in these guys. If this was a joke band or something, it would still be awful but I’d at least be laughing with them, not at them. From a few interviews of them I’ve read, they are absolutely serious about what they are doing. Even the title of the album was taken from something their manager said to them. They clearly missed the irony of it.
This is absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever listened to. Please, don’t ever listen to this. Sand off your penis or something instead. It’ll sound a lot better than this.
(HEY LOOK ANOTHER EDITOR'S NOTE: Given the class and beauty of this album, and the fact that he's a Dtoid bro, I thought it'd be rather horrible of me to put his album's art up there with those other abominations. Enjoy your place down here in the sane section!)
Album: Walking in Circles
*Sub-genres drum & bass, idm, trip-hop, chip-tune, ambient, trance, post-rock.
Sounds like: Quite a diverse collection of electronic music.
Alphadeus’ been on Destructoid for quite a while now, so much so that I can even remember the first time
he introduced us to his wonderful Piano Journals. If you’ve been following his work on the C-Blogs, you’ll
notice that this album is completely different from his usual musings. Alpha departs from his classical
piano, and brings a fairly solid electronic album. Highly inspired by video games, (obviously) and the fruit
of his plentiful imagination, Walking in Circles is definitely an interesting piece of DTOID musicianship.
I get a weird vibe from this album, though. It captures so much of the electronic spectrum that I have a
very hard time defining it. It’s more of an experiment I guess, but the album’s ever-changing style leaves
me wanting more of certain type of tracks. I usually find myself liking albums that are more conservative
and streamlined in their sound, yet I still like a lot of what I’m hearing with Walking in Circles. The album
shifts from drum & bass to trip hop, some tunes are incrusted with chip-tune while others bathe into
trance, idm, and ambient.
And I’m not even sure if what I’m classifying it under it totally accurate, some songs are entangled in
multiple genres. Maybe it’s that aspect that leaves me kind of wanting more, or maybe it’s because I’m so used to Alphadeus’ great piano playing. However I can’t help, but think that for an independently released electronic album, it is quite good.
Walking in Circles has a few highlights, especially The Grand Scheme,(which is in my opinion, a brilliant
example of how ambient should be done) and the ever so ephemeral piano tracks. I’m saying this
because, (as I’ve stated before), I think Alpha’s force is in his keyboard. There’s great emotion and
substance to his piano, and Walking in Circles could’ve totally benefited from that. Sometimes though,
you have to hear a musician in a totally different light to truly appreciate his other projects. I’m not
denigrating Walking in Circles, (I’m just pointing out the fact that if you haven’t listened to Alphadeus’
piano, you should).
It’s quite rare I get to review albums straight out of the community. However, as a first feature, I’d say
Alphadeus is pretty neat. Fans of electronic music should check him out, if it’s not already the case. If
you’re more into classical stuff, check out his Piano Journals. The man is rocking the keyboard like there’s no tomorrow.
Welcome welcome everybodeh! It's time for another wonderful round of Stereotoid, with some choice picks from The Human Abstract, Bonobo, Childish Gambino, Carbon Based Lifeforms, and even the Minecraft soundtrack. So without any further ado, let's get it on!
Album: Minecraft: Volume Alpha
Released: March 4, 2011
Sounds like: The original soundtrack to freaking Minecraft.
This is the equivalent of reviewing the soundtrack to Super Metroid or Donkey Kong Country 2, for me. It’s a great feeling to finally have the OST to one of my favorite games of all time in my possession. Volume Alpha has a few bonus tracks here and there, but you won’t see me complain about it. We have at last, a concise package of the game’s music, and it is glorious, whit or without the sound of cows mooing, or creepers hissing in the background.
Whether it is at the break of dawn, or at the dark hours of the night, you can’t help, but appreciate the majesty of Minecraft’s atmosphere. The beautiful orange sunrise, the view of your accomplished base from afar, are all wonderful things you can experience while playing the game. These incredible senses of childish wonder, exploration and adventure make for only 50% of the magic, however. The other half, of course, is C418’s music that accompanies the wondrous blocky landscapes. So, whenever you are excursing through a forest to find more wood for your mighty airship, or digging down in the abyss of the underground, you’ll never feel like the music is out of place.
The smooth, relaxing piano embraces the green valleys and plains, while the more tenebrous ambient tracks will put you on edge during cave exploration. Volume Alpha’s songs are incredibly relaxing and serene, despite having some darker, more mysterious pieces. I can’t help, but draw parallels with the beauty of Scandinavia, and the overall relaxed vibe I get from it. Long snowy winters, with dimmed city lights. The silence of the arctic being briefly interrupted by some beautiful ambient songs, (I know that Sweden isn’t in the arctic). C418 not only captures the essence of what Minecraft is, but also of its creators, (calm, incredibly humble, talented, and laid-back human beings). Volume Alpha is a soundtrack full of wonderful ambient lullabies, with a great atmosphere and moody piano tracks. I absolutely love it.
The album brings you such a nice feeling of serenity that puts you right between the wonders of the game’s ecosystem, and the civilization you slowly build for yourself; not only that, but just by listening to some of the tracks, namely “Cat” and “Dog”, a great sense of satisfaction embodies you, while you remember the first time you’ve managed to build a record player, and were fortunate enough to find a disk to put it in. As for the first night you survived the wilderness, or when you dug up diamond ores for the first time, with other songs. Minecraft is about the little things, and this minimalistic, highly inspiring soundtrack is a wonderful asset to an already masterful game. By no means, you should leave this OST out of your music library. And if you like the game in the slightest, why the hell are you still even considering?! Minecraft is a masterpiece, boasted with a memorable and absolutely divine soundtrack.
Personal favorite tracks: The link to the full album. Feast on its greatness. Oh yeah, and buy it. All profits go to C418.
TL;DR: MINECRAFT!!!! YOU PAY, YOU GET, YOU HHNNGGGG! NAO!!!1
Album: Black Sands
Label: Ninja Tune
Released: March 29th 2010
Sounds like: A relaxing day in a beautiful nature scene.
So, I've never really reviewed an album like this one before. Music like this, really chill trip-hop music like this just seems other worldly to me at times. This is especially true when looking at the top 40 or well, any other music genre really.
Bonobo is the alias of a DJ from the UK, his actual name is Simon Green. Bonobo makes some incredibly relaxing music. If you are not familiar with the Trip-Hop and Chill music genres then you're in for a surprise. They are typically bass heavy and instrumental or contain samples. If you have ever heard Air or Portishead Bonobo is somewhat comparable to those bands.
When I listen to this album, and really any album that has a similar sound, I simply feel at peace. It feels like I'm transported from my world of worries and stress into a world that I know doesn't exist but I still get to vacation there even if only for 40 or 50 minuets. Chill music also makes me feel very nostalgic, which I don't quite understand. If there are any psychology people out there that could explain that one to me I'd love to hear it.
This guy just produces such a wonderful sound that I really don't have words for. Maybe I shouldn't have reviewed this album because of that, but you know what? I love this album. If this has interested you at all you should check the links below and see if you get the same feelings that I get.
Artist: Carbon Based Lifeforms
Label: Ultimae Records
*Sub-genres chillout, downtempo
Sounds like: A dream, atmospheric, and bewitching.
I’ve wanted to make a piece on Carbon Based Lifeforms for a very long time. Finally, the time has come to introduce you to one of my favorite ambient acts of all there is, and ever will be. Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad are masters of chillout music. One of my most beloved albums they’ve produced, Hydroponic Garden, is so powerfully atmospheric and good, that it’s nothing short of a masterpiece. Everything they’ve compose is imbued with excellence and substance. I absolutely adore this band. And what better way to share this love than to review their album from last year, entitled Interloper.
This album is able to communicate a powerful sense of wonder and discovery. It’s all subjective of course, but I can’t help but dream about extraordinary stuff when I listen to this kind of ambient music. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it sparks an emotive response in me, but it most certainly uplifting… Such wonderful melodies, Interloper is pretty upbeat for a chillout album, too. Even with their long refined minimalism, Carbon Based Lifeforms are always able to bring the most out of nothing. Everything lies in the timbre of sound, the overlapsing layers, intertwining with each others like snakes in a basket.
The bold elongated sounds, the beautiful momentum of each notes perishing into the lull, makes everything sound so delicious for the eardrums. Interloper is a wonderful example of how simplicity can become so complex. The dreamy, relaxed states of all the tracks sound so good, smooth and graceful; I can’t praise the sound engineering enough. These Swedes know what the hell they’re doing because otherwise I wouldn’t be so poetic about it. Their music inspires me, deeply.
And the best part of all of this? It’s not even my favorite album of theirs. It goes to show you how much I appreciate their oeuvre. Writing this makes me so happy; I have such wonderful memories listening to Carbon Based Lifeforms. Half-awake, at 2:30AM, alone in an airport waiting for the next plane to get me back home. It’s the kind of moments you never forget. If I could, I would spend my entire life in airports listening to ambient music. Yep, that’s how I want to live my life; half-awaked, travelling the airports of the world with Brian Eno & Mat Jarvis blasting my neurons with ecstatic electricity. It’s hard to describe the effects that music has on me, but I think I’m dreamy enough to transcend my passion for ambient music.
Interloper is not CBL’s best, but it doesn’t matter in the end. It’s wonderful, atmospheric, abstract, and holds so much substance. If you want to get into ambient, this is the best entry point. If you hold Music For Airports, and Autobahn near and dear to your hearts, like me. Carbon Based Lifeforms is not to be missed.
Album: Digital Veil
Artist: The Human Abstract
Label: E1 Music
Released: March 8, 2011
Genre: Progressive metal
Sounds like: A new vocalist and returning guitarist brings back some of the energy missing from their previous album
Digital Veil was spawned from some big changes in The Human Abstract. First they lost their long time singer Nathan Ellis and gained a new one in ex-From First to Last singer/guitarist Travis Richter. Then they brought back original guitarist AJ Minette, who previously left to get away from playing metal and to study classical music in college. These two aspects return some of the energy and aggression missing from their previous album Midheaven while still pressing themselves forward.
First of all, the new vocalist is good. I think Travis’ clean vocals are better than Nathan’s. They’re a lot stronger than Nathan’s and have a nice midrange sound, not too high and not too low. The harsh vocals sound a bit generic. I mean, they just sound like any other generic metalcore singer. Nathan’s harsh vocals weren’t as strong, but they were a more unique. They’re not bad by any means; I just think they could be different from everyone else. The return of AJ brings nothing but good things. This album is a lot more tight than Midheaven. The band members have said that having AJ back brought more discipline in their writing and recording and it shows. Everything just fits together well. AJ’s classical influences show in the song writing, not to the point of say, Yngwie Malmsteen, but it’s enough to set them apart from other metalcore bands. Sure, they have breakdowns, but they’re not brainless chuggy breakdowns, which I very much appreciate. Check out “Holographic Sight” for a good example of this. In addition, the “noodly” guitar playing is well implemented too. AJ can shred like a motherfucker, but he does it in a way where it gels with everything else. It’s all super tight.
As someone who loved Nocturne but couldn’t get into Midheaven, this album is a great return to form in my mind. I honestly think that AJ is the glue that holds this band together. He’s got a great sense of songwriting that just goes really well with these guys. Y’all metalheads best get on this.
Artist: Childish Gambino
Label: Self Release
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Sounds like: Kanye West vs Cadence Weapon
Many of you know of comedian Donald Glover. Lots of you know him as Troy Barnes from the sitcom Community. Lots of you know of him as the dude who wanted to be the new Spiderman. Well he’s also a rapper and quite the good one too.
Let’s get this out of the way. If you absolutely hate all mainstream rap, chances are that 50/50 that you won’t like this. The five songs on EP are all things you might hear on the radio right now. And quite honestly, that’s ok. What’s on the radio flip flops from good to bad; Childish Gambino just happens to fall on the good side.
Kanye vs Cadence Weapon is what I’m picturing when trying to describe EP. It’s those beats that many mainstream rappers are actually great at making, coupled with the lyrical virtuosity of Cadence Weapon. Mind you, Glover likes to talk about all the sex he’s had, is having, will have, or was denied, but he does it with such vigor and colorfulness that it’s actually worth listening to, whether it’ll amaze you or make you laugh. Hell, on most occasions, it’ll do both.
Other times he’ll rap about being the black nerd, being the typical “I was nothing, now I’m something,” and of course, more sex. Like I said, he does it in EP very well; it does sound conceited as hell, but it’s that conceited you grow to agree with, the kind that makes you think “yeah, he’d totally fuck those guys up and their girls if he saw them on the street and they were talking shit.”
There is a hit on Glover tapping into his inner Calvin Harris in the track “Lights Turned On”, and he’s talented in this singing department, as he floats some of his hooks effortlessly. Some might be turned off by the high somewhat nasal quality of his voice, as if he were trying to imitate what would be the vocal child of both Lil Wayne and Drake. After awhile, the voice settles in, and you can start enjoying the lyrics and the beats.
Glover has been rapping as Childish Gambino since 2008, and it irks me that I’m just now hearing about him. If EP is any indication of his ability, than I can safely say I’ll be checking out some of his later stuff, as well as looking forward to future releases, as well as kicking myself that I won’t be seeing him live at SXSW this year.