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7:28 PM on 05.26.2012

Stereotoid 5/26/12 - post-rock Zelda, Hot Chip, Laura Marling and SSX

NEW STEREOTOID HOST GET!!

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!

JTHomeslice:


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.

Personal favorite tracks: Skyward Sword, Majora #1, Dark World, Just download the whole thing.

TL;DR: An extremely talented Zelda fan creates a beautifully massive tribute to the series.

-JTHomeslice


Xzyliac:


Album: A Creature I Don’t Know
Artist: Laura Marling
Label: Virgin
Released: September 9, 2011
Genre: Folk
*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.

Personal favorite tracks: Night After Night, The Beast, and The Muse
TL;DR: More beautiful folk from one of today’s finest English folk musicians.

-Xzyliac


Crackity Jones:


Album: The Warning
Artist: Hot Chip
Label: EMI
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!

(Boy From School http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Oe4IJE5Ko)

(Over and Over http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6GDggWPMQk)

(No Fit State http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XiROp6JLIE)


Daxelman:


Album: SSX: Original Soundtrack
Artist: Various Artists
Label: EA
Released: 2012
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!


(amidoinitrite?)   read


11:39 PM on 05.06.2012

Stereotoid 5/7/12: In Memory of MCA. (With Business As Usual Too)



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.

-vApathyv

vApathyv's Pick: The Negotiation Limerick File

"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.

-Maxwell Roahrig

Max's Pick: Twenty Questions



"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."

-JTHomeslice

JT's Pick: Intergalactic



"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."

-RonBurgandy2010



"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."

-Crackity Jones

Crackity's Pick: Fight For Your Right To Party


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
Sub-Genres: Beauty
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.

Personal Favorite Tracks: A Better Place, A Better Time; Sick and Sad
TL;DR: Tomas Kalnoky proves that he isn't just good at writing and singing, but playing guitar and making people cry too.

-Spencer Hayes



Album: Galaktikon
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.

Personal favorite tracks: Deathwaltz, Dangertits, On My Way

TL;DR: Brendon Small breaks away from Dethklok for a bit to create a ridiculous, super fun heavy rock album.

-JTHomeslice



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.

Personal favorite tracks:
Something Good Can Work
What you Know

TL;DR: A song on this album was featured on an SSX soundtrack. You are obligated by law to buy the entire discography of said band. You must obey. All hail hypnotoad.

-Daxelman



...Aaaaaand that's all for this week, thanks for tuning in guys. No pancakes this week, but I think you'll understand why.

  read


7:16 PM on 04.26.2012

Stereotoid 4/26/12: Amon Tobin, Jack White, De La Soul, Emmure! WE'RE BACK!




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
Genre: Hip-hop
*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.


Personal favorite tracks: The Work, We Made It, Must B The Music and Move ‘Em In, Move ‘Em Out
TL;DR: A new De La Soul album to sit alongside their best. A funky hip-hop that’s been long overdue.


-Xzyliac



Album: Slave to the Game
Artist: Emmure
Label: Victory Records
Released: April 10, 2012
Genre: Deathcore
*Sub-genres Moshing?
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.

-JTHomeslice



Album: ISAM
Artist: Amon Tobin
Label: Ninja Tune
Released: 2011
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.

Personal favorite tracks:
Journeyman, Dropped From The Sky, Surge

TL;DR: This album is like sex had sex with your ears while having sex. And then Mr. Andy Dixon baked you some cookies. All good things.

-Daxelman



Album: Blunderbuss
Artist: Jack White
Label: Third Man Records
Released: April 24, 2012
Genre: Rock
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.

Personal Favorite Tracks: Freedom at 21, I'm Shakin', Hypocritical Kiss

TL;DR: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Crackity forgot to fill this part out so I wound up doing it for him. Silly Cracky. -vApathyv) Another great assortment of sweet sweet lo-fi sexiness from Mr. White.

-Crackity Jones

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!

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3:49 PM on 04.18.2012

Stereotoid Revival: We're Back.

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.


  read


12:50 PM on 04.04.2011

Stereotoid's "Lost" April Fools Edition, Plus The Alphadeus Album!



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.

Personal favorite tracks: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m5CIcbytfM]All of the
Lights[/url], Gorgeous , Blame Game, Who Will Survive in America

TL;DR: Hip Hop so good, you might confuse it with pop.

-Kraid





Album: Animal
Artist: Ke$ha
Label: RCA
Released: January 1, 2010
Genre: Pop
*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.

Personal favorite tracks: Tik Tok, Stephen, and Your Love is My Drug

TL;DR: A masterpiece eclipsing music and erupting as a powerful experience.

-Xzyliac





Album: Dark Horse
Artist: Nickelback
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
cock.

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?
Probably me.

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
sorry.

Personal favorite tracks: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8qE6WQmNus ] Something In
Your Mouth, [/url] S.E.X., If Today Was Your Last Day

TL;DR: Nickelback IS music.

-Crackity Jones




(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!
Artist: Brokencyde
Label: Breaksilence Recordings
Released: June 16, 2009
Genre: Crunkcore (?)
Sounds like: Shit

Ugh.

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.

Personal favorite tracks: No.

TL;DR: Ugh.

-JTHomeslice





(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
Artist: Alphadeus
Label: Independent
Released: 2011
Genre: Electronic
*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.

Personal favorite tracks: The link to the album.

TL;DR: Straight from the DTOID community, Walking in Circles puts a whole lot of electronic sub-
genres into one. And it’s pretty neat.

-Kraid


And that's all blokes. Keep an eye out this week, and provided something unexpected doesn't happen again (Please no Cuneiformtoid), we'll be back!

EDIT: I wound up forgetting a very important review!!! So, without further ado, please enjoy a guest review from our own mrandydixon!

Album: 10,000 Days
Artist: Tool
Label: Tool
Released: May 2, 2006
Genre: Tool
*Sub-genres Tool
Sounds like: Tool.

TOOL IS AWESOME!

Final Score- 6 Boners Out Of 5!





HAHA, FUCK YOUR PANCAKES IT'S A WAFFLELUTION UP IN THIS BITCH!!!   read


6:32 PM on 03.19.2011

Stereotoid 3/19- Minecraft, Childish Gambino, Carbon Based Lifeforms, And More!




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
Artist: C418
Label: Independent
Released: March 4, 2011
Genre: Ambient
*Sub-genres IDM
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

-Kraid







Album: Black Sands
Artist: Bonobo
Label: Ninja Tune
Released: March 29th 2010
Genre: Trip-Hop
Sub-genres Chill
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.






Personal favorite tracks: Kiara, Kong, Black Sands

TL;DR: Trip Hop is pleasing to my ears.

-Crackity Jones








Album: Interloper
Artist: Carbon Based Lifeforms
Label: Ultimae Records
Released: 2010
Genre: Ambient
*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.


Personal favorite tracks: Interloper, Frog, M , Polyrytmi

TL;DR: I adore Carbon Based Lifeforms, needless to say that I really like this album as well. If you want to get into ambient, this is it.

-Kraid






Album: Digital Veil
Artist: The Human Abstract
Label: E1 Music
Released: March 8, 2011
Genre: Progressive metal
*Sub-genres Metalcore
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.

Personal favorite tracks: Digital Veil, Faust, Holographic Sight

TL;DR: One of the brightest bands in modern metal gets back on track.

-JTHomeslice







Album: EP
Artist: Childish Gambino
Label: Self Release
Released: 2011
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.

Also, it’s free. You just downloaded this.

Personal favorite tracks:
Freaks and Geeks(Official Video)

TL;DR: He name drops Lil B, AKA Based God. You just downloaded this twice.

NOTE: EP is available for free on Iamdonald.com.

-Daxelman



That's all folks! See ya next week!


  read


7:13 PM on 02.27.2011

The Wonder Years, D.R.U.G.S., Talk Talk, and Radiohead



Hey all! Another Sunday night, another Stereotoid. I personally had some great reviews planned but I think I might've caught the flu (in the dead Texas humidity nonetheless) so I think I'm just gonna let some of the others take this one up. There's some good stuff in here, for sure. JTHomeslice solidifies himself as a regular with two reviews on The Upsides by The Wonders Years and Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows by D.R.U.G.S., Kraid's expertise on jazz and synth come together for a review of Laughing Stock by Talk Talk, and resident blogger LawofThermalDynamics drops by to review Radiohead's latest album King of Limbs.



Album: The Upsides
Artist: The Wonder Years
Label: No Sleep Records/Hopeless Records
Released: September 21, 2010 (rerelease)
Genre: Pop punk
Sounds like: Super personal and relatable pop punk

Pop punk has had a renaissance over the last few years. With hardcore inspired bands like Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals and veterans like New Found Glory and Blink-182, the pop punk scene has never been stronger. One band that has set themselves apart from the pack, in my mind at least, is The Wonder Years. Their intensely personal lyrics struck a chord with many fans, including myself. That combined with a great classic pop punk sound makes one of the finest pop punk albums of last year.

The Upsides was originally going to be about giving up. All the guys in the band were in a bad place before writing the album. It wasn’t until singer Dan “Soupy” Campbell saw the fountain at Logan’s Circle in their hometown of Philadelphia was turned on, that Soupy realized they couldn’t be this down at this time in their lives. The album then gained an overall theme of not giving up despite what life may throw at you. The thing I like most about Soupy’s lyrics is that they sound like a real person wrote them. They’re very frank and realistic. Songs deal with things like social awkwardness, putting up with the shitty people you live around, and the loneliness of touring life. They’re delivered with a dose humor, there are references to sexting and Jersey Shore so it’s instantly dated, and cursing that add make it sound more like a real person talking. I bring up the use of cursing because it’s actually used well. Other bands just go “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK TITS FUCK” to the point where it’s just ridiculous, but Soupy’s swearing sounds more like someone around my age talking. It’s refreshing to hear someone sing like a person.

To reflect the overall tone of the lyrics, the music is super upbeat, as pop punk should be. Soupy’s voice is a somewhat high pitched, but not to the point of irritation. He creates great poppy hooks that accent the energetic music. The guitars are loud and crunchy, the drums are pounding, and there’s even a subtle keyboard part here and there. It has so much energy and it’s flat out fun. The album occasionally veers away from that with “Hey Thanks” and the rerelease track “Logan’s Circle: A New Hope”. “Hey Thanks” is a ukulele driven song (!) with Soupy thanking his girlfriend for putting up with him. The song is absolutely wonderful with the combination of uke, Soupy’s vocals, and guest vocals from Rachel Minton of Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer that eventually brings the rest of the band back in for a huge finish. One of my favorite songs on the album. “Logan’s Circle: A New Hope” is a reworked version of “Logan’s Circle” from the earlier in the album. It’s a slower, piano driven piece with reworked lyrics to reflect the time around the original release of The Upsides. That and the acoustic “We Won’t Bury You” provides a nice ending to the album.

Maybe it’s just that this album hit me at the right time. Being 19, in college, and still not sure about my future, an upbeat album all about staying happy despite what life throws at you is just what I needed. It also helps that it’s great musically too. It’s absolutely the best pop punk album of 2010. These dudes have a great future ahead of them.

Personal favorite tracks: My Last Semester, Melrose Diner, Hey Thanks

TL;DR: One of the best pop punk albums of last year that I believe will go down as one of the best pop punk albums ever.

-JTHomeslice



Album: Laughing Stock
Artist: Talk Talk
Label: Verve Records/ Polydor Records
Released: 16 September 1991
Genre: post-rock
*Sub-genres experimental, art rock
Sounds like: Take an 80’s British synthpop band, and dip them into borderline ambient jazz & experimental rock.

Ever felt a bit melancholic? Nothing too severe, just enough to make you wonder about the facts of life, and how you fit in them. Yeah, that’s how my week mostly went. I can’t be all jolly and happy all the time, you know? Music is one way to get out of it, that’s for sure. I mostly listen to uplifting music regardless of my mood, anyway. Sometimes though, I like having my fix of abstract and moody melodies. Laughing Stock --for a lack of a more optimistic title-- by Talk Talk fits exactly the prescription. And darned it, it’s actually pretty damn good.

Now, I’m no expert on Talk Talk, I’ve never even heard of their early pop debuts, (well barely). I’ve actually just started listening to their post-rock phase. But, I still felt like it was necessary to share this beautiful album to the community. Laughing Stock is strangely personal. I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, but somehow, I can’t quite figure it out. Maybe it’s just too abstract to really find an answer, yet it still speaks to me in such a transcending way. Weird isn’t it? It’s like I’ve heard this band before, even though it’s my first time hearing them. The album is highly similar to Portishead and Gary Numan in terms of emotion. Dark, moody, completely dredged in sweet melancholy. Laughing Stock sounds incredible as well. Right there, between the improvisational time signatures of Miles Davis and Free Jazz, and the smooth, beautiful harmonies of alternative rock.

I’m hearing a lot of Kaki King in the guitars, too. Maybe it’s that much of an influential album after all. Laughing Stock was one of the first in the batch that lay the grounds of what would become post-rock; highly regarded as one of the best in the genre, even. I guess you can understand my enthusiasm. Mark Hollis’ voice is absolutely wonderful on these tracks. Expressive and gloomy, it adds so much to the already gorgeous accompaniment. The drums are heavy, so is the bass. It creates the perfect mood for a dejected evening. But, like I said, it’s the right kind of melancholy. Not the one that would make you blow your brains out, on the contrary, (That sounded a little off, right?).

Laughing Stock is so perplexing. Yet, I’ve highly enjoyed it. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but I have a strong sentiment of déjà vu. Maybe it’s my unconscious playing tricks on my mind. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with a wonderful album, too. I sense sometimes like there’s this profound anguish inside of me that needs to get out. I normally take it off through video games, but music also does it for me. Talk Talk’s last LP is atmospheric, though, above all, very emotional. I hear love and sorrow (regret), from it. I could see myself falling in love with someone, or even crying out of a broken heart to this album. It has done so many things to my brain this past week. Laughing Stock is incredible. And goddamn, I needed that.

Thank you, Talk Talk.

Personal favorite tracks: Myrrhman, Ascension Day, New Grass, Taphead

TL;DR: If you feel kind of sad, and you need a moody album to fuel up your anguish, Laughing Stock is quite a fitting album.

-Kraid




Album: Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows
Artist: D.R.U.G.S.
Label: Decaydance/Sire
Released: February 22, 2011
Genre: Post-hardcore
*Sub-genres Alternative rock, pop punk
Sounds like: A bunch of dudes from post-hardcore bands get together and make a post-hardcore album.

What a terrible name for a band. D.R.U.G.S.? Really? Aside from having a dumb name, D.R.U.G.S. also has some of the biggest talent from modern post-hardcore scene. The band features Craig Owens (formerly of Chiodos), on vocals, Matt Good (from From First to Last) and Nick Martin (from Underminded) on guitar and backing vocals, Adam Russell (from Story of the Year) on bass, and Aaron Stern (from Matchbook Romance) on drums. To be honest, the only band out of those I’m familiar with is Chiodos, but I’ve at least heard of the rest. There was a good amount of hype surrounding the band after they announced the members, but we all know that hype doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about the music.

The album starts off with a bang in “If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is”. This song is fucking fantastic. It opens with Stern tapping on the rims of his drums before the rest of the band comes in with a blast of sound. It goes back to the tapping in the verses and everyone comes in for the chorus. This one really showcases Owens vocals, going from hushed tones to soaring melodies and high pitched screams. It’s an absolute highlight of the album.

The central theme of the album is about relationships and cheating significant others. That would be fine if the lyrics weren’t sub depressed high school kid level. For example, there’s this from “The Only Thing You Think About”: “I knew as soon as I left you’d go and fuck someone else you whore”, then there’s this from “Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm”: “I’d like to keep cutting/I’d like to keep cutting/ But I can’t stand to watch myself bleed”, and then there’s the chorus from “Sex Life”: “If you had a sex life, a sex life/ would you even worry about mine/when your bed is empty”. All these lyrics were written by a 26 year old man.

The album suffers from overproduction. The electronic and orchestral elements are used way too much. It’s almost like the band or producer John Feldmann (The Used, Atreyu) thought that there couldn’t be a moment on the album where there was just a single instrument by itself. When used sparingly like in “If You Think This Song Is About You…” it works well, complimenting the rest of the song. But when it’s overdone like on “I’m the Rehab, You’re the Drugs”, it’s overbearing and hurts the song. Another problem is that the effects sound far too much like other bands. “Graveyard Dancing” straight up sounds like The Used. Seriously, listen to ”The Bird and the Worm” and then listen to ”Graveyard Dancing”. They are crazy alike. I guess that’s just Feldmann’s production style.

The instrumentation is good, if a bit standard. It’s got all the hallmarks of post-hardcore, chugging guitars and double bass, clean and harsh vocals, and some good guitar leads as well. A particular highlight is Nick Martin’s harsh vocals. He absolutely kills it on “Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups” and “My Swagger has A First Name”. His deep growls and yells are a great contrast to Owens higher screams. I just wish he was used more. One song that took me by surprise was “I’m Here to Take the Sky”. This is a pop punk song. It sounds like Paramore if fronted by Craig Owens. And it’s good! It’s an interesting change of pace after 30 or so minutes of post-hardcore pummeling.

Overall, I enjoyed this album. I didn’t really have all that much expectations for it except for “oh hey, it’s Craig Owens new band”. I could imagine a superfan of all these bands being underwhelmed by this project, but coming at it from my perspective I liked it. They just need to take more of the good (Martin’s vocals, pop punk sound) and lose the bad (shitty lyrics, unnecessary electronics) and they’ll make an excellent next album. I know these guys have it in them.

Personal favorite tracks: If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is, I’m Here to Take the Sky, My Swagger Has a First Name

TL;DR: A post-hardcore supergroup makes a good post-hardcore album with a little pop punk on the side.

-JTHomeslice



Album: The King of Limbs
Artist: Radiohead
Label: Self Released
Released: February 18, 2010
Genre: Alternative Rock
*Sub-genres Electro-Ballad, Prog-Rock
Sounds like: Everything else Radiohead has done since Kid A, just a little different.

When Radiohead first released In Rainbows back in 2007, I was hopeful in thinking that Radiohead had turned over a new chapter in their musical styling towards a more organic kind of music moving past their digital fascination for something, not necessarily classic rock like their first three albums, but for something else entirely and if there's something Radiohead does better than any band in the world it's being different. 2011's The King of Limbs proves that Radiohead is pursuing the intimacy found in their last album as this may just be Radiohead's most romantic album ever.

The album starts out with Bloom, an electronic opener with spastic drum loops, but unlike past efforts similar in both style and tone as this song, Bloom feels more primal and has an almost tribal execution. The album, as it turns out, began to unravel right before my eyes into one of the best examples of deconstruction I have ever listened to.

At eight tracks long and clocking in at around thirty four minutes this is the band's shortest album to date, but the album moves along at such a pace and transitions to the next song with such ease that the whole thing could be treated as a single entity. The songs begin in usual Radiohead fashion (at least since Kid A), sputtering noises, abstract lyrics, and the atmosphere of a freezer, but as the album progresses the lyrics become softer, the beats smoother, and I found myself easing into a comfortable position and allowing Thom Yorke's voice to sing sweet nothings into my ear. Moving across the album, songs like Lotus Flower transitions into Codex which just as smoothly melts into the folk inspired Give Up The Ghost which passed right along, and before I knew it I reached the end. The album finishes with Separator. A bubbly song that encapsulates the entire album as a more loving, almost happy Radiohead.

The really funny thing is that Radiohead already did a piano driven ballad, several of them. They've already started albums with electric drum loops, already sang songs about love, but what makes this album amazing is that it won't feel any different from anything else they've done until you finish listening to it. The true strength of the album lies in its short length. Every song, every minute of the album feels perfectly in synch with one another and builds up to a natural conclusion. There is not a single wasted minute in here. This is an album in which nothing is out of place, and everything feels perfectly natural.

In terms of how it compares to other Radiohead albums, the only thing I can say is that eight albums in and Radiohead maintains their perfect game. Now, if you were a fan alienated by their turns towards electronic chirps in Kid A, I can tell you that Radiohead has not returned to its classical roots. If you are a fan of anything Radiohead, embrace another winner.

Of course this being Radiohead no clear interpretation is ever the truth and though I personally found this album the happiest I've heard coming from the band, others deem this album another depressing downer. I can't say you'll have the exact same reaction towards this album as I had, but whether you enjoy the gloom and doom Radiohead or eager to see Radiohead's next move, The King of Limbs is a good indicator of the future of the band, and the future looks to change once again.

Personal favorite tracks: Little By Little, Lotus Flower, Codex, Separator

TL;DR: Nothing here that doesn't sound like post-rock Radiohead. Won't win back broken fans, but a brilliant album nonetheless.

-LawofThermalDynamics   read


10:36 PM on 02.20.2011

Iron & Wine, Between the Buried and Me, PJ Harvey, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and more!



Geeeeez! We haven't had an edition this gigantic in a long time. With three great reviews from vApathyv, some really good choices from all our other editors, and even one guest review from JTHomeslice this is definitely one of our recent best.

What all are we about to get into? The latest from Emmure, PJ Harvery, Iron & Wine, and Thomas Giles, some selections from the catalogs of Tonetta and Between the Buried and Me, and finally the soundtracks of Machinarium and the everybody's latest addiction (Yup, mine too) Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds!



Album: Speaker of the Dead
Artist: Emmure
Label: Victory Records
Released: February 15, 2011
Genre: Deathcore
Sounds like: Breakdown City, USA.

I don’t understand the popularity of Emmure. They make some of the most generic, uninteresting music in a scene full of generic, uninteresting bands. And yet somehow they have a very vocal and dedicated fanbase, as evidenced by their large crowd at last year’s Warped Tour and various Youtube commenters ready to defend the mighty Emmure. And that brings us to their newest album Speaker of the Dead. After their last album Felony received a tepid response from fans (I have no idea why, it sounded the same as their previous work to me.), will this album bring them back? And will a “hater” like myself find this album to be any good?

Production wise, this album sounds great. They enlisted acclaimed metalcore producer Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria) to produce the album. Sturgis gets a lot shit on the net because of his production style and the bands he works with, but his style works really well for this type of music. Every instrument can be heard loud and clear and nothing dominates over one another.

Good production can’t change shit music though. To describe Emmure’s music, I need to make sure everyone knows about the breakdown. In hardcore and metalcore, the breakdown is used to “break down” the rest of the song and get all the instruments together playing the same riff, with the guitars chugging along with the double bass. It’s also meant to get all the kids in the pit moshing and kicking each other in the face and things like that. Now, I love a good breakdown, especially when it’s used well (Take this song and this song for examples). Emmure’s music is just breakdowns. That’s it. Just lame chugging on open strings and double bass. If their songs are just breakdowns, what exactly are they breaking down?

That’s the main problem with Emmure. All their songs sound the same. It’s the same old chug-chug-chug in every song. I literally can’t tell most of these songs apart, aside from little bits of samples and electronic effects they added on this album. I read an interview with someone in the band and he said they were adding some electronic stuff on this album to give the songs some color. They succeeded at this. They didn’t go overboard with the effects and used them in fairly interesting ways. It’s nowhere near the level of Underoath or The Devil Wears Prada, but it’s not as bad Attack Attack!. The samples they chose fit the whole “street tough” image they have with lines of dialogue from old martial arts movies and even Street Fighter. The Street Fighter sample is kind of misused, in my opinion. It’s used at the end of the song “Demons With Ryu”, when it could have been used as a mosh call like the Mortal Kombat sample A Day to Remember used. The only other song that really stuck out to me was “Last Words to Rose”, which opens with some nice clean guitar picking that leads into some chugging underneath. It reminded me of August Burns Red a bit. The song as a whole has a really different feel from the rest and that’s good! But it’s almost ruined by the terrible vocals.

Oh boy, the vocals. The harsh vocals just don’t sound good. I don’t know what it is, but even compared to some of the other shitty vocalists in deathcore this guy is just worse. His highs are so screechy and his lows are just bad. But worse than that are the clean vocals. As I said before, they have a “street tough” image, more akin to hip hop than the typical metalcore look. So, their vocalist tries to sound tough in the clean vocals, but he just comes off sounding like Fred Durst. It doesn’t help that the song “A Voice From Below” actually has rapping in it. Lyrically, I didn’t notice anything as terrible as their previous work (Such as, ”Fuck her like I never could/Fuck her doggy style first” or ”ASK YO GIRL WHAT MY DICK TASTES LIKE”), that is, until “Drug Dealer Friend” opens with this little gem: “I wanna watch you suck his dick/I know you fucking love it/Bitch”. UGH.

So, will Emmure fans be into this? Probably, it sounds like all the rest of their work aside from the electronic bits. Will this change the minds of “haters”? Absolutely not. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised with this. None was their previous work has been very good and they’ve done well off of it, so why should they change? It just really hurts me to see a song like “Last Words to Rose” that shows they have potential, instrumentally at least, to do something better than what they are doing and then they just squander it away with the same old chugging.

Personal favorite tracks: Last Words to Rose, Solar Flare Homicide

TL;DR: A shit band shows a sliver of potential, only for it to be covered in brainless breakdowns.

-JTHomeslice



Album: Pulse
Artist: Thomas Giles
Label: Metal Blade
Released: February 1, 2011
Genre: Rock
Sub-genres Experimental, Electronic, Acoustic, a little metal
Sounds like: A whoooooole lot of things.

So, show of hands people, who here enjoys Between The Buried In Me? Really? Good...umm, you, Timmy, in the back. Do you know the name of the lead singer? No, it's not Bobby. You get detention and you can see me after class. You, Jill, care to correct Timmy? That's right! Tommy Rogers. Now, bonus question, and you get a gold star if you get this Jill- what's his pseudonym? Yes, Thomas Giles! Good job Jill, A+ and you'll be first in the lunch line today.

Anyways, Tommy Rogers is a man known primarily as the singer, screamer, and keyboardist for metal bigshots Between The Buried And Me, but most don't know that he's also a somewhat accomplished solo artist as well, releasing an album under the title “Giles” back in '05, and also releasing this album a couple weeks ago. Of course, like all solo albums, you have to wonder- when an artist attempts to create music outside of the band he's known for, will it still be good, or will it be a painful reminder that some people just shouldn't stray from their comfort zone?

Thankfully, Pulse is a welcome reminder that Mr. Rogers (couldn't resist) is a very talented musician that doesn't need blast beats and mindbending solos to create good music. The one biggest trap you can possibly fall into when going off to make a solo album is that you sound way too similar to the band you're from. In that respect, Pulse is a huge success. Aside from maybe one or two songs, you'll find nothing related to Between The Buried And Me here, it's an album completely capable of standing on it's own merits and it's own sound.

But what exactly is that sound? Well, that's a bit of a case-by-case basis, but the majority of it is beautiful low-key rock arrangements, with a mixture of piano ballads, heavier rock tunes, a very small amount of metal (You can take the man outta the metal but ya can't take the metal outta the man), and even a little hardcore techno action, all of which is produced, composed, arranged, and performed 100% by himself a la Trent Reznor.. And the truly astounding part is, no matter how varied the album gets, there's never really a noticeable dip in quality. Sure, some songs are better than others, but there is not a single 'bad' song on this album. Just goes to show how talented and varied Tommy can really be. It's also worth noting that Tommy's lyrical output is still just as strong as it's ever been.

So, class, today we learned that artists can release a solo album both without sucking and without having to sound too much like the band they hail from. Granted it doesn't happen much (Though it does happen, see Dolores O'Riordan for another great example), but when it does happen, it can be magical. If you only know Tommy from Between The Buried And Me, you owe it to yourself to give this album a chance. You don't know what you're missing.

Oh, and did I mention Tommy Rogers is my long-lost celebrity twin?



Personal favorite tracks: Sleep Shake, Reverb Island, Medic, Catch and Release



Album: Kiss Each Other Clean
Artist: Iron & Wine
Label: Warner Bros.
Released: January 25th, 2011
Genre: Folk
Sounds like: Sam Beam found his voice and some horns

Whoa! Whats this? An Iron & Wine album where Sam Beam isn't whispering the whole album? Is this an evolution in their sound? Why yes, yes I think it is! To be honest I was absolutely ready to totally dismiss this album and just trash the band throughout this whole review. It's not that I don't like Iron & Wine, it's just that I had grown sick of them and his soft spoken vocals.

You may or may not have heard Iron & Wine before, their most popular song that the vast majority of people have heard was actually a cover of the song “Such Great Heights” by the Ben Gibbard fronted band, Postal Service. If you have yet to hear Iron & Wine they are a soft spoken folk band from South Carolina. The group is fronted by lead singer Sam Beam who also writes all of the song lyrics. Beam is also a painter and is responsible for the album covers on all of the Iron & Wine album covers.

Kiss Each Other Clean is Iron & Wines fourth album and it may very well be my new favorite. This album is the follow up to 2007's Shepherd's Dog which was a good change of pace from the usual sound for Iron & Wine but it was not a large enough leap if you were to ask me. With Kiss Each Other Clean we have a much larger leap. We see a lot more texture with this album and it's just in time.

The album opens up with “Walking Far From Home”, with that song you can tell that this will be a very well layered and textured album. The rest of the songs fair about the same, with some being more high points (“Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me”) and some being a bit lower points (“Big Burned Hand”). As you have probably come to expect from Beam the songs found here are mostly about love, falling in love, falling out of love, all that great stuff.

My favorite evolution in Iron & Wine's sound in this album is the addition of the horn sections. They add a lot to the songs and give them a sound that hasn't been heard in previous albums. This evolution doesn't come without its downfalls though. In some songs it just simply does not work very well. Songs like “Big Burned Hand” the horn sections don't really help the song out, it just ends up sounding messy and distracting.

Overall I really enjoyed this album and I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys folk and folk rock music.. Sam Beam and company also recently played the entire album live for NPR and can be heard at their website, www.npr.org , as a part of their first listen series. This is Beam's fourth album and with each album he always seems to make small jumps in his style and improve over his last album. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next.

Personal favorite tracks: Walking Far From Home, Tree By The River [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3bXiQH8iMs] Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me [/url}

TL;DR: Iron & Wine have horns now and sound good, mostly

-Crackity Jones



Album: 777 Vol. 2
Artist: Tonetta
Label: Black Tent Press
Released: 2010
Genre: Rock
*Sub-genres Lo-Fi
Sounds like: Young at heart x tremely horny & ready 2 mate

*NSFW warning: You probably shouldn’t be watching these videos at work or at school*

Tonetta is nightmare fuel for a lot people. His overly sexualized, cross-dressing persona is so weird, he’s the giant elephant in the room that you can’t stop looking at. I personally don’t mind all the fluff around the character; it’s eccentric, and completely insane. Tonetta’s YouTube celebrity began a while ago, I was aware of his stuff ever since Dale North began preaching his greatness on Destructoid. But, it wasn’t until his song to Dale (Man in Japan) that I actually went deeper into his discography. Let it be known that, it is MASSIVE, (more than 200 songs, and he updates weekly). Last year, he finally put out his first record entitled 777 vol.1, which was a compilation of his old and new tracks. Now that 777 vol.2 has been released for a few months, I had to immortalize his genius for Stereotoid.

Let me begin by saying that 777 vol.2 is a whole lot more sexually charged than Vol.1. Now, that might seem like a total understatement when speaking about Tonetta, but believe me, it is. His first album was more of a wicked social commentary than a sonic molestation. For the better of course, 777 vol.2 is well structured and less disparate. A pitiful few of his recent songs are on it, leaving out the 80’s low quality ear-rape of the first album. Still, it’s such a sadness that so many classics didn’t make it.

His intrusive, gravely, raw voice brings the best out of his simplistic, repetitive beats. He is the king of Lo-Fi, after all. Despite all of that, his guitar is groovy; his choruses are catchy, and most of all, ridiculous. It’s strangely entertaining to hear him talk in such a vulgar manner. Everything must be taken in the first degree with him. Sure, there’s a little bit of poetry here and there, but when he talks about cocks, he’s most likely talking about cocks.

I think the best way to describe Tonetta is to compare him to Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He’s brutally honest in his lyrics, and completely twisted and hilarious at the same time. Tonetta’s saying what most people would never dare to shout. He’s like that Buddhist monk with the bell you see walking in the streets of Tokyo. Only, he speaks for the perverted, maniacal side of society. He might be totally honest about what he’s saying in his songs, but I see it as a way to criticize society, (hidden behind a complex set of metaphors). I’m obviously talking smack, but it’s fun to pretend. It’s just like saying that Bayonetta’s over the top nature was intentional.

For fans of his YouTube work, by all mean get this album. It’s a great compilation, although not entirely complete, it gets the job done. As for the rest of you, if you ever felt like adding a little bit of craziness to your lives, look no further than, Tonetta. Oh yeah, did I mentioned? There’s a giant penis imprint on the cover. Yep.

Personal favorite tracks: Hot Little Fuck, Just Like That , Death Sentence , Ultimate Whore

TL;DR: Missing quite a few favorites, still worth it. It’s crude, vulgar, raw genius. Tonetta is almost too amazing for words.

-Kraid



Album: The Great Misdirect
Artist: Between The Buried And Me
Label: Victory
Released: October 27, 2009
Genre: Metal
Sub-genres Progressive, any other sub-genre of metal you could probably think of.
Sounds like: Their greatest effort yet?

A lot of metal fans are familiar with Between The Buried And Me. Last I checked, a lot of Stereotoid readers are too...I seem to recall a lot of you calling for me to review one of their albums after I had so many positive things to say about Protest The Hero way back when. Well, here I am, reviewing a BTBAM album. Don't say I never loved you guys or listened to what you had to say.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the group, Between The Buried And Me is a heavy metal band known for their progressive song structure and the way they seemingly bounce about between different types of metal throughout most of their songs. They're also kind of a big deal to most people, and might be one of the most talented acts on the scene today. This album today is their most recent effort, and as always, it delivers.

The first things a lot of people would notice here is that the album only has six songs. Yeah, that's not a lot of tracks, but despite that the album still clocks in at just a few seconds under an hour. As you'd expect, practically every song present here is epic in nature and pretty damn long, but this band is always at their best when the songs are lengthy, as it shows just how varied they can be. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the second track Obfuscation. The song that jumps from riff to riff without missing a beat, tied together with some of drummer Blake Richardson's best work yet, before dissipating halfway through into a low and steady bass rhythm while a guitar solo builds in intensity before exploding into a fire of noodling that eventually crescendos right back into the forever stuck in my head “Close one eye, step to the side” chorus of the song, itself a callback to the lyrics of Mirrors (the opening track). And if that wasn't enough, the chorus immediately segues into another solo that gave me chills the first time I heard it, before blending out to the anthemic “We'll always be part of the great misdirect” outro that gives the album it's name. In nine minutes and fifteen seconds Between The Buried And Me has managed to put more variety, talent, and heart into one song than most artists manage to put in an entire album.

Of course, the album is hardly a one trick pony, as every track seamlessly segues into each other, and every track is its own seperate and amazing beast entirely, showing just how talented Tommy, Blake, Paul, Dan and Dustie are. It's an amazing thought to consider that each song on this album is so varied that you could proably take one, flesh out and extend each part, and have an entire album's worth of content per track.

But that's just the kind of thing this band is known for. Few people can adequately compare to the talent present in this group, and I see these guys remaining as a shining example of truly great metal for years to come, even long after they've stopped making music (Which hopefully isn't anytime soon). Everything they release exudes such quality, such effort, and such talent that it's amazing they haven't burned out or started to falter yet. All I can hope is that the next album, whenever it comes out, raises the amazingly high bar they've already set for themselves.

Personal favorite tracks: You're going to ask me to pick my favorite tracks from a six-track album? Every last one of these songs is amazing in and of itself. But if you must, go with Obfuscation or Injury, Disease, Madness.

TL;DR- In my opinion this is BTBAM's greatest album yet.

-vApathyv



Album: Machinarium Soundtrack
Artist: Tomáš Dvořák
Label: Independent
Released: 2009
Genre: Ambient Electronica/Acoustic
Sounds like: The reason Machinarium has no dialogue.

Soundtracks are some of my favorite albums to listen to, because they evoke a feeling of watching or playing or reading the original source, without actually doing it. If the soundtrack is excellent crafted for listening purposes, it can feel like you’re sitting down and playing the game. With how much time I’ve given the game Machinarium(very little), it’s amazing that the soundtrack can give me this hard to achieve sensation, but it does so, and does so flawlessly.

If you haven’t played Machinarium or haven’t played much of it like I have, shame on you (as well as me). The game is charming and smart, and the art direction is some of the best I’ve ever seen. It pains me to say I haven’t played much of this game since I bought it in the Humble Indie Bundle last year, but I’m working on rectifying that. What did catch my ear in my limited playtime was the music in the game, and since the soundtrack came free with my Humble Bundle, I decided to give the full thing a go.

Best. Decision. [b]Ever.[b/]

Let me start by saying that the Soundtrack features music from the game remixed into a more album listenable experience. As such, not all of the music you’ll here in game will be in the soundtrack, as some of the music just wouldn’t fit the way Tomas wanted it too. That’s pretty much the only downside to this soundtrack.

The Machinarium Soundtrack represents an excellent romp through ambience using either electronic sounds or acoustic instruments. The overall feel of the album is calming, yet somewhat eerie, as if someone was to take motor oil and drip it throughout your brain. The album bounces back and forth between its use of electronic and acoustic styles, and then will blend them wonderfully, almost creating a sense of robots communing with nature.

The flow of the album is incredibly natural; you’ll get quiet, guitar laden tracks with few surprises, up to house-like electronic songs with natural grooves, and then will flip over to completely ambient tracks using various sampling and electronic effects to give the vibe of machine nirvana. Even the transitions between tracks and between styles within tracks are expertly done as to not damage the flow of the soundtrack.

Overall, the Machinarium Soundtrack achieves what few soundtracks due today; the soundtrack makes you want to play the game. I can’t tell you how bad feel for not giving Machinarium my time of day, but if I had just bought the album without owning the game before hand, I can guarantee you I would pay hand over fist for the game, just based on this soundtrack alone.

So yeah, this is pretty much one of the greatest video game soundtracks, as well as one of the greatest soundtracks overall, that I’ve ever had the pleasure listening to. I highly recommend it, especially if it’s sitting in your Humble Indie Bundle #2.

So go buy the Machinarium Soundtrack. Now. And then go buy Machinarium. And then go buy a copy of the soundtrack for a friend.

Personal favorite tracks: The Bottom, Gameboy Tune, and The End (Prague Radio)

TL;DR: Didn’t I just tell you to buy it?

-Daxelman



Album: Let England Shake
Artist: PJ Harvey
Label: Island
Released: February 14, 2011
Genre: Alternative
*Sub-genres Moar alternative?
Sounds like: Bizarre soulful melodies with a touch of strange

Let England Shake is an album that when I first started listening to it every fiber of my being told me that it wasn’t going to go over well with me. It was weird, no doubt. And as someone who has only occasionally heard PJ Harvey I wouldn’t say that I was really used to it or ready for it. However with time the strange melodies of Let England Shake really grew on me. The sound just starts to fit over your soul like a snug blanket and never let’s go.

Upon first listen you’re welcomed with the title track, The Last Living Rose, and The Glorious Road. It’s been quite a while since I heard a more appropriate opening to an album. PJ Harvey’s soft dream-like sound perks your preps your ears and immediately grabs your attention. From PJ Harvey’s own unique vocal style to the horn sample looped in The Glorious Land, it’s all laying out the field for what becomes fair game in the album.

What the album offers as far as sound and composition is what really makes the album worth being sucked into. Soft twangy autoharp is complemented by powerful and equally mellow drums. The two create a very suave and almost seductive rhythm. Let England Shake and The Words That Maketh Murder are without a doubt prime examples. Meanwhile Harvey’s vocals, high pitched and sporadic while remaining melodic, set as an interesting backdrop to each track. It’s almost unfair to say they offer a stark contrast to the very ”alternative” sound that the instrumentals provide but her vocal performance does certainly do well to make itself the forefront of each track. Even still, it only adds to the enjoyability of every tracks.

PJ Harvey’s latest definitely comes recommended as an album that simply has a sound, not to mention the lyricism and vocal delivery, that hits you right in that special place in her heart. It’s rare that an album can carry so much soul and emotional weight simply on sound alone but this one easily does. And when coupled with poetic lyricism it certainly is one of 2011s more special albums and not one that should go unnoticed easily. While it may certainly not be for everyone, it’s a sweet and delightful treat to all others.

Personal favorite tracks: Let England Shake, On Battleship Hill, and The Words That Maketh Murder

TL;DR: One of the more unique and striking albums of 2011. While not for everyone, certainly worth it for those who might enjoy it.

-Xzyliac



Album: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Soundtrack
Artist: Capcom
Label: ...Capcom
Released: February 15, 2011 (Technically)
Genre: Video Game OST
Sub-genres Awesome's a genre right? It is? Good.
Sounds like: MAHVEL BAYBEE

Before I get started, let me get this out of the way right now- HOLY FUCKING CRAP AFTER TEN YEARS OF FEVERISH WAITING MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 IS FINALLY IN MY SYSTEM AND IT IS AWESOME. This isn't a video game review but if it was I'd give it an eleventy billion out of ten (Though the netcode issues and lack of spectator mode is odd). Also, Deadpool makes reference to Yipe's infamous “Curleh mustache” quote. Game of the forever.

Aaaaaanyways, so the game is here. It's awesome. How's the music fair though? Well, I'm glad you asked anonymous internet user because I intend to answer that question for you! I'd be willing to call this one of the greatest fighting game soundtracks of all time. Everything about it oozes the quality and care you'd expect from Capcom's sound team, with hardly any missteps along the way. The soundtrack runs the general Capcom-style infusion of rockin' tunes mixed in with dancey techno beats, as well as a few vocal tracks here and there.

Let's go ahead and start with the Capcom side. Now, obviously, Capcom's characters all come from previous Capcom games, meaning they already have a wealth of music to pull from for each of their characters. But rather than simply recycle old tunes, every character has a revamped and remixed version of a classic standout tune tied to them, so while you'll definitely be able to recognize most of the character themes, you've probably never heard them like this. The picks are also all-around amazing selections as well, like Ryu's Japan stage from Street Fighter, or Dante's oh-my-god-this-song-never-gets-old-for-me Devils Never Cry from Devil May Cry 3. Granted, they're not all perfect in my opinion (Viewtiful Joe's theme, while staying incredibly true to character, is just a little too goofy for my tastes), it's definitely more or less a grand slam for them.

And how's Marvel fair? Since they're all comic book characters most of these themes are completely original works. And while some of the characters have featured in Capcom fighting games before and already have themes, maybe half of them do not and, therefore had a completely new one created for them. For the most part they all match the amazing quality already present in the other tracks, though it remains to be seen if they'll be as timeless and long-standing as other themes such as Captain America's “Get ready 'cuz USA's about to kick your ass” theme. And while the new songs are for the most part all awesome, I still have to give the slight nod to some of the revamped versions of classic Marvel themes.

The main goal of a fighting game's soundtrack, in my opinion, is to get somebody hyped up and ready to administer a beatdown. In that respect, this game delivers in spades. Damn near every song is an amazing contribution to an already-great game, and when it comes to bouncing my enemy around through the air like a ragdoll I see no better option.

Oh, and, by the way: Scoops, fuck the Knicks, mango Sentinel, Mag-FUCKIN-neto, I'm gonna take you for a ride. I miss any important ones?

Personal favorite tracks: Marvel side- Dormammu, M.O.D.O.K. (It goes great with trolling by the way), Captain America, Sentinel Capcom side- Dante, Arthur, Ryu, MIKE FUCKING HAGGAR, MAYOR OF EARTH

TL;DR: This soundtrack is so Pringles.

-vApathyv   read


12:53 PM on 02.14.2011

The Stereotoid Valentines Day Song-tacular!!!

Howdy doody folks! vApathyv has jacked Stereotoid temporarily to bring you guys a nice selection of Valentine's Day-themed music. Whether you're lovestruck and happy as can be, heartbroken and lonely, pissed off at any ex that may have wronged you, or just plain indifferent to the day, you're sure to find something for ya here. And before anyone asks about obvious omissions, I tried (keyword: tried) to stay as far away from obvious, played-to-death-on-adult-contemporary-radio-station choices as much as possible. Because we've all heard Total Eclipse Of The Heart way too many times already, dammit.

(Special thanks to Xzyliac and Raien Swiftwood for some of the song choices. Always remember, a bromance is always there, even if it isn't February 14th.)


LOVE LOVE LOVEY LOVE LOVE!!!


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Andrew W.K.- She Is Beautiful

Sometimes, love songs are really, really corny. Hell, actually, most of the times that's the case. But Andrew W.K. has turned corny music into an art form, to the point where it's actually kind of awesome, and this song is no exception. When it comes to rockin' party songs about love, look no further.


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The Cranberries- Pretty Eyes

And then you got songs that are just so powerful, they give you chills. When Xzyliac suggested this one to me, he told me to think about my significant other while listening to it and see how moved I am...dammit, the boy was right.


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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Crimson And Clover

Yeah, I know I said I'd try to stay away from obvious picks, but I have a total weakness for Joan Jett.


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Queen- Good Ole Fashioned Lover Boy

I had quite a few people tell me Queen should be up here somewhere, and for good reason. Few people are as well-versed in charming love songs as Freddy and the gang. You could pick from any number of Queen tracks to woo your man/lady, but this is my personal favorite.


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Justice- Valentine

Even though the song has no lyrics, it's rather amazing that it's able to incite warm feelings of good 'ole fashioned romance in the air. Then again, maybe I'm just weird. Whatever, the song's called Valentine for god's sake.


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Florence + The Machine- You've Got The Love

And of course, sometimes you just have to have a ballad-y song that lays it all on the line, and the always-beautiful songs of Florence + The Machine are sure to deliver. This could easily become a love anthem rivaling even the best 80's ballads.



But My Heart Is Broken...


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La Roux- Cover My Eyes

It hurts a lot to see a former love being happy when you're not. Especially if you still harbor feelings for him/her. If you've ever had to endure that pain, this song should strike a chord with you.


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David Bowie- Be My Wife

Sometimes, ya get so lonely. The song really speaks for itself.


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Tegan and Sara- The Con
Ever had a song that commands dominance over your tear ducts in times of sorrow? This is that song for me. During a particularly troubling part of my relationship, I heard this song for the first time ever and it had me bawling...what? Got a problem with that!? MANLY MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO.


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David Guetta ft. Chris Willis vs. Sam Sparrow- Love Is Gone vs. Black & Gold

Nobody said sadness couldn't be groovy right? Sometimes you can wrap up all your bad feelings in a surprisingly danceable package and at least have a little fun in your heartache. Unfortunately, due to DJ Hero's untimely death, the love really is gone with this one.


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Hurt- House Carpenter

This song. Oh God, this song. There's something so intense, so moving about this song, that it rattles you to the core. The kind of thing that makes your hair stand on end, that demands your attention, and could leave you wrecked afterwards. Special note, do NOT listen to this song if you're coping with the death of a loved one...it will not end well.


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The Who- Love, Reign O'er Me

I know, another obvious pick. And yeah, the song is actually more positive than anything, but consider the situation that Jimmy finds himself in when this song is performed during Quadrophenia. His parents, his girlfriend, even the Mod lifestyle he enjoyed so much, had all failed him. At this point, all he can do is realize that love is the answer to all his problems, and cry out the iconic chorus present in the song.



...You know what? Fuck this love bullshit.


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Cee Lo Green- Fuck You

Yes, yes, ANOTHER obvious pick. But you know what? How could I possibly not include what has undoubtedly become this generations defining anthem of “Love sucks”?


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She Wants Revenge- True Romance

A bit of a somber pick, but the way the singer manages to cut the target of this song down to size in such a droll, unenthused manner is possibly one of the biggest acts of comeuppance I could think of. “Yeah, you broke my heart...but whatever.” Take THAT, ex-girlfriend of mine that cheated on me for free pot!


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Weezer- Why Bother?

What's the best way to stick a defiant middle finger in the face of affection? Come to the conclusion that love's not worth it because you'll just get hurt in the end, and instead decide that no-strings-attached sexual flings are the way to go. Bit of a surprise, coming from Rivers Cuomo.


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Alkaline Trio- My Friend Peter

And this one is just PERFECT for anyone that found themselves in the situation present in the La Roux song above. Tell that ex that you don't give a damn anymore and you'd rather be with your friends anyways. Take THAT, ex-girlfriend of mine that led me on after we broke up and kept me on the side as a back-up plan, playing with my fragile emotions just to appease your own sick desires!


[embed]194061:36209[/embed]
Atreyu- Bleeding Mascara

And then, sometimes, you just get pissed. REALLY pissed. And then a song like this happens, where you pretty much systematically assault the person that wronged you in every way imaginable, making it quite know to her just how horrible a person she is. Take THAT, ex-girlfriend of mine that only dated me to win a bet despite knowing that sort of shit can wreck a man for life!


[embed]194061:36210[/embed]
Reel Big Fish- Hate You

So the first verse doesn't really lend itself to love or anything, but everything after it sure as hell does. Seriously, if you're ever feeling down about how someone hurt you, sing the chorus to this song. Over, and over, and over again. You'll feel better in no time.



Not gonna write you A lol-ve song!


[embed]194061:36211[/embed]
Freezepop- Lose That Boy

Freezepop is always a good choice for a witty and humorous take on relationships, and this is no exception. Ever found a person in a terrible relationship? Let 'em hear this.


[embed]194061:36212[/embed]
Toki Wartooth- Toki's Love Song (From Metalocalypse)

Poor, poor Toki. The guy never gets a break. Him and Murderface are treated as non-entities in the band, he can never find love, and when he finally DOES meet someone, it turns out to be a hideous old hag who might be a transvestite as well (verdict's still out). Oh well. At the least, I managed to prove that Dethklok is ALWAYS a relevant choice in anything I intend to write.


[embed]194061:36213[/embed]
Flight Of The Conchords- The Most Beautiful Girl [In The Room]

Man, this is a great song to attempt to woo that special someone and sweep them off their feet with. Singing this is GUARANTEED to get you on her good side. Seriously, try it. (Disclaimer- Do not fucking try this. You will probably get kicked in your jewels.)


[embed]194061:36214[/embed]
Speck- Conventional Lover

It's a rather cute song even on it's own, but the constant nerd references (They're polyhedral) definitely set this into certified “lol” territory. If you don't crack a smile when he screams out “Uh-oh...saving throw!”, then you have no soul.


[embed]194061:36215[/embed]
Jonathan Coulton- Skullcrusher Mountain

Another song that initially sounds rather heartwarming, and in fact actually is in it's own weird way, but when you get around to listening to the lyrics, it gets a little...odd. But hey, if there's any evil scientist bachelors out there looking for some pointers, look no further.


[embed]194061:36216[/embed]
[b]Psychostick- Orgasm=Love

This song is so incredibly juvenile that I couldn't help but include it. I really, honestly have no other reason for doing so.




And that's it folks! Hopefully this was somewhat of a treat for you guys. But hey, got any suggestions? Stories? Death threats? Leave 'em in the comments below! And as always, see ya this weekend for the real Stereotoid deal!

And while you're at it guys, take a look at our fellow Stereotoid brother Crackity Jone's own Valentine's Day blog! http://bit.ly/euJeRx

-vApathyv



FUCK YO PANCAKES XZYLIAC, I'M MAKIN' WAFFLES!!!   read


8:29 PM on 02.12.2011

Blakroc, Captain Beefheart, Disasterpeace, and The White Stripes



Sup.

Usually, Xzyliac would be the one talking to you in this paragraph, but due to some technical difficulties, Daxelman is here to save the day and provide you with sweet beats. We've got some White Stripes, some Blakroc, some Disasterpeace, and some Captain Beefheart, so lets get to the nitty gritty.



Album: Blakroc
Artist: Blakroc
Label: V2
Released: November 27, 2009
Genre: Hip-hop
*Sub-genres Alternative hip-hop, blues-hop
Sounds like: Well…exactly what you’d think. Get some of the Wu-Tang guys, that dude from A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Ludacris, some other guys, some R&B chick, and then put it all to the classic Black Keys sound.

Blakroc is an album that I tried not to get my hopes to high on. Much as I love the Black Keys, and a lot of the rappers on this album, the pairing sounded far too good to actually be true. I’ve heard the Black Keys remixed with rappers before and it’s been very successful, but to actually have the Keys embrace that concept sounded almost too off-the-wall. Especially with rappers like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ludacris, and Raekwon.

Fortunately, all my past reservations were nullified. Blakroc speaks for itself with a style and sound that can be best described as a familiar newness. The muddy sound of the Keys is present, as is the varying vocal styles of rappers like Mos Def and RZA, but the marrying of these styles brings about a flavor that is truly unique. In a way it’s a natural evolution of similar “blues-hop” albums like Cherrywine’s Bright Black, and it undoubtedly trumps its predecessors in quality and tightness of concept.

The sounds and composition is completely familiar territory. If you’ve heard any recent Black Keys’ albums like Attack & Release or last year’s Brothers than you’ll feel right at home. Muddy guitars with blues-y solos, catchy organ riffs, suave bass, and rhythmic drums are all present and in effect. What obviously is different however is the vocal delivery. Dan Auerbach’s signature blues vocals are reduced to a few hooks throughout the album, and even then they are often accompanied by singer Nicole Wray, who really just steals the show from Auerbach with great performances on tracks like What You Do To Me and Why Can’t I Forget Him. The rapping, the star of the vocal limelight, is surprisingly diverse in terms of sound and delivery. You have the aggressive and abrasive Ludacris and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the smooth Mos Def and Q-Tip, and finally the rhythmic and soulful rappers like RZA.

Lyrically the album also varies with each rapper obviously getting his own shot to rap his style. Songs like Coochie and Stay Off the Fuckin’ Flowers are explicit but have moments of imagery that are just downright poetic (Flowers especially). Other tracks seem to follow the classic Black Keys lyricism of love and lose and really feel add to the blues-hop flavor. Tellin’ Me Things and What You Do To Me perfectly exemplify the confidence and competiveness of hip-hop and the soulful self-reflection of blues. It’s an interesting balance. One track in particular, Why Can’t I Forget Him, is completely singing from the voice of Nicole Wray and harkens back to the older style of R&B while giving it a wonderful modern twist.

All in all Blackroc is probably the most successful blues-hop album to date. With it comes a variety of sounds all married by a superb execution. If you’re like me, and the idea of blues infused with hip-hop kinda makes you squeal a lot, Blakroc is definitely an album that exhibits that idea with flair and finesse.

Personal favorite tracks: Telling Me Things, Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo), and What You Do To Me

TL;DR: Definitely a wonderful practice in the art of blues-hop. If that sounds like your thing, this is for you.

-Xzyliac



Album: Trout Mask Replica
Artist: Captain Beefheart
Label: Straight, Reprise
Released: June 16, 1969
Genre: Experimental
*Sub-genres blues-rock, avant-garde
Sounds like: blues, rock, free-jazz, and experimental music all put into a blender.

Listening to a classic album years after it has been released will always be problematic. You’ll never be able to truly understand the impact it had on the music industry at that time. Whether it is because you weren’t alive when it came out, or you happened to discover it ions after the fact. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be able enjoy it, but you might have difficulty understanding its true genius. This is exactly what happened to me when I listened to Trout Mask Replica. At first, I was completely disoriented, yet I was kind of expecting something unusual out of it.

It’s not the weirdest album I’ve ever heard, (the worst/best one being Sun Ra’s Space is the Place), but it is a serious contender. Upon first listening to it, Trout Mask Replica seems like a recipe for disaster. Once you’ve looked in-depths however, the album isn’t that horrible. Basically, take John Coltrane’s and Ornette Coleman’s free-jazz time signatures, the simplest blues vocals, add a sip of experimental music, surrealism, and absurdity; and you have Trout Mask Replica. Fact of the matter is; it’s not an easy album to listen to. You’ll definitely need an ear for hardcore, gritty blues to enjoy it.

Captain Beefheart was one of rock’s greatest surrealists. In fact, some of his songs were completely hectic and nonsensical. He refused to follow the standard rules of the genre, and dissected Rock and Roll into its purest form. Now, whether or not his genius transcends into the album is a matter of taste, but you can’t deny Trout Mask Replica’s shier insanity. This is one of the best examples of complete artistic freedom and blatant absurdity.

Listening to Captain Beefheart is like plugging your brain into a continuous stream of Everything is Terrible clips while watching reruns of Ren and Stimpy; it is completely mental. I honestly recommend the album, but I’m not sure everybody will enjoy it. If you dig raw blues, wacky interludes, and can handle a little bit of Dadaism, you’ll do just fine. I’ve heard weirder albums than Trout Mask Replica. Fortunately, weird isn’t bad, (it’s actually pretty entertaining).

Personal favorite tracks: Ant Man Bee, Hair Pie Bake 1, Moonlight On Vermont, Sweet Sweet Bulbs

TL;DR: A completely unconventional and abstract record. Trout Mask Replica is an odd case. A weird experiment, turned into a classic.

-Kraid



Album: White Stripes
Artist: White Stripes
Label: Sympathy for the Record Industry
Released: June 15th, 1999
Genre: Alternative Rock
*Sub-genres Garage/Blues Rock
Sounds like: a guitar orgasm in the keys of blues and rock

As most of you probably already know we recently saw the end of a legendary band. Bands like The White Stripes don't just come along every day. The White Stripes were headed up by former couple, Jack White and Meg White. For years they put out some of the best music in America and just last week they officially broke up and called it quits. This retro review is in honor of them both.

White Stripes is the debut album from legendary rockers Jack and Meg white and easily some of their best. I have a hard time saying for sure which album of theirs I like the best but it's for sure one of the first three. In the last two albums (Get Behind Me Satan and Icky Thump) their sound sort of changed, not in a bad way mind you, just not my favorite.

This album just has so much soul! It also has a couple blues covers that are absolutely fantastic (Stop Breaking Down and St. James Infirmary Blues). Jack also belts out a delicious cover of Bob Dylan's One More Cup of Coffee, but the rest of the album is all Jack White originals.

For the first three White Stripes albums they had a very definite sound, a sound that could easily be described as raw, dirty, blister inducing guitar with some very simplistic drumming. AND THATS IT. Nothing else, just guitar and drums. It's kind of primitive in that way but thats what makes them so great. Theres just so much pure energy and emotion, and thats what rock should sound like if you ask me.

So as you can tell, I really really like this album. I couldn't possibly recommend this album enough! I think you would be pretty hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like at least one White Stripes song. Some people may have never even heard this album, I understand that many White Stripes fans didn't jump on with them until Elephant when Seven Nation Army was released. One quick side note, if you enjoyed this album you should check out the new Wanda Jackson album with Jack White, called The Party Ain't Over. The White Stripes are a band that we may never see again in our lives, but at least we have their music to keep us company.

Personal favorite tracks: Stop Breaking Down, Screwdriver, One More Cup Of Coffee(EDITBYDAXEL: Coolio Ass Stop Motion Video!), When I Hear My Name

TL;DR: RRRRRAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGHHHHHHHHWWWWWWWW (thats Jack White guitar orgasming)

-crackityjones



Album: Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar
Artist: Disasterpeace
Label: Bandcamp
Released: January 1, 2011
Genre: Chiptunes
*Sub-genres Concept, Space
Sounds like: A journey through space and time inside of an 8 bit console

Concept Albums are a funny thing. They are made or broken by the fluidity of the album, meaning how well the tracks flow together, much more than other albums. This is one of the only chiptune albums I’ve heard that feels like a concept album. Disasterpeace makes you feel as if you’re being transported through space and time in a 1960’s B movie. Each track feel big and epic and sprawling, just like how I imagine most people (including myself) feel space to be like. It could also be seen as the perfect accompaniment to a funky fresh space adventure.

That’s not to say it’s lacking the danceclub vibe that pervades chiptunes/electronic music either, but they contribute to the overall along with standing out on their own as fun songs The album is a rush to experience and while it’s not all epic dancing beats, that’s to it’s credit and helps it stand out in a growing sea of chiptune artists

I would go as far as to call it a crowning achievement of what is possible with chiptunes. It’s artists like Disasterpeace that break molds and help genres of music find solid footing.


Personal favorite tracks: Prolouge, Jump Error, Club Wolf, and Counter of the Cumulus

[NOTE]The entire album is on bandcamp.

Summary for lazy people: A Chiptune powered adventure through Space and Time that breaks and reshapes preconceptions about Chiptunes



I'm not good at looking for pancakes.   read


6:16 PM on 01.31.2011

Busta Rhymes, Sleigh Bells, Zoe Keating, and Shad



Late Stereotoid! Did everyone enjoy their weekend? You better have! Here's some new tunes for your weekday from Busta Rhymes, Zoe Keating, Shad, and Sleigh Bells.



Album: Anarchy
Artist: Busta Rhymes
Label: Elektra Records
Released: 2000
Genre: Rap/Hip Hop
Sounds like: A True Salute To the Gods

Busta Rhymes was someone I used to look up to when I was a kid, despite my parent’s best efforts to introduce me to more family friendly tunes. It’s wasn’t the vulgarity or the vivid imagery presented in Busta’s rhymes (pun!), but ultimately his presentation that hooked me. Back when I was a kid, Busta Rhymes looked to me like someone who enjoyed the hell out of what he was doing.

10 years since I’ve given the album Anarchy a proper listen, and I still maintain the belief that Busta Rhymes enjoys the hell out of what he does.

Anarchy can be summed up in five words; shit you fucking jam too[/i.]. That’s what I loved about Busta back when I was a kid. He ultimately made music that no matter who you were, you’d find yourself bobbing your head. This is a quality that’s present in most, if not all East Coast rap, but by the time Busta Rhymes comes to [i]Anarchy, he’s successfully mastered the craft of music that makes people black.

Yes, it should be a scientific fact by now; listening to Anarchy has an 80% chance of making you East Cost Gangster. You may or may not like that fact, but it’s a reason why Anarchy is so good. It presents an excellent picture of the East Cost lifestyle though driving beats and incredibly impressive imagery.

Lyrically, this album is genius. I could go quote for quote of snippets of Anarchy that surprise me, excite me, make me laugh, and ultimately keep me hooked on Busta’s every word. While his lyrical explosiveness is obvious, the reason he’s able to convey his message so effectively is how he presents his rhymes. Busta Rhymes displays an uncanny grasp of rhythm and flow, able to take a simple beat, and rap lyrics around the beat in such a convoluted yet simplistic way, that it gives that full result of “damn, this guy knows what the fuck he’s talking about.”

Beat wise, this album is genius. You’ll get a nice mix of the general rap tropes that happened back in the day; you’ve got your jazzy tracks and your subtle bass and sample tracks, but you’ve also got some tracks that benefit from a slight infusion of Jamaican Rastafarianism. And Busta’s presentation changes accordingly with the current feel of the beat. You’re given a collection of tunes that’s ultimately some of the best music to listen to while driving through Brooklyn with your window down and head rocking like you’re from the hood.

There’s so much good in this album, and it’s all because it feels as if Busta Rhymes had too much damn fun composing it. Complete stories (and I mean compete stories, drama, twists and all) are told in their entirety in some tracks, while others play off the Y2K theme of world destruction and reformation. Busta displays the ability to spit lyrics continuously with no sign of flow interruption or even a hint that he had to think before he spoke, something that is somewhat missing in hip hop now-a-days. But ultimately, Busta makes music that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until he done with you, and at that point you don’t want him to stop.

So yeah, you should totally go find a copy of this Anarchy. It’s visceral, it’s brutal, it’s complex, it’s incredibly gangster, and overall, it’s one of the best things to come out of the last decade. In the immortal words of Busta Bus, buy this album, pop it in/rip it to your MP3 player, and “sit down and bounce to this shit.”

Personal favorite tracks:

Enjoy Da Ride, Fire (Official Music Video), and Get Out (Official Music Video)

TL;DR: In my opinion, one of the greatest albums from one of the greatest rappers of our time. Pick it up and break your neck.

-Daxelman



Album: Into the Trees
Artist: Zoë Keating
Label: Independent
Released: 2010
Genre: modern classical
*Sub-genres cello, avant-garde, ambient
Sounds like: Classical music mixed with innovative electronic layering.

I should really stop taking my music tastes for granted. I must cease my belligerent cynical non-sense, and accept this fact: music will never become dull. It might be all too obvious to said that – and believe me this is the last time you’ll hear me saying this-- but I cannot emphasize enough, on how certain records go to my head like a thunderous roar of brilliance.

Pardon my overly romantic induction, but I get very passionate about what I listen to. And Zoë Keating’s music is no exception. Once again, the wonders of the Internet have brought me to this talented cello player. Into the Trees is an absolutely delightful mix between classical and experimental music. Everything is put together like puzzle pieces. Each sound, electronic sample, percussion, and cord tapping are marvelously assembled into a symphony. She is in fact, capable of layering everything in a cohesive and minimalist way that would make every “one-man” band burst into envious rage.

Her cello is bold and strong; incredibly uplifting, and precise. Keating is an amazing composer, able to truly capture the essence of her field. She plays her cello with vigor, and as mentioned before; is able to blend everything back into a melodic and sophisticated manner.

The feel of Into the Trees transcends over its classical roots. Some songs sound almost like alternative rock, while others flirt with ambient in the more symphonic pieces. She is also an information architect, which makes her approach music like a true engineer. Just by listening to her songs, you can clearly hear the complexity of her compositions.

I may not have heard a lot of classical music in my days. But, I can safely say that the innovation and shier originality that Zoë Keating brings to the table is enough to make me fall in love with her music. She is talented -- dare I say a perfectionist – and it totally shines through in Into the Trees.

This album is brilliant.

Personal favorite tracks: Escape Artist, Optimist, The Path . Honestly though, the entire album is fantastic.

TL;DR: She is the “Kaki King” of cello players. Bold and innovative; I think I just had an eargasm.

-Kraid



Album: When this is over
Artist: Shad
Label: Shad
Released: 2005
Genre: Hip-Hop
*Sub-genres
Sounds like: If Boards of Canada and Talib Kweli had sex.

It’s very refreshing to hear an album like When this is over, and an artist like Shad, for that matter. We’ve all got over our k-os fix a long time ago, and forgot about the Great White North’s potential. So, I’ve decided to pick his first album over the newer ones, (his latest dating back to last year) because like many artists – especially in Hip-Hop— earlier albums are the most consistent and inspired. Believe me, his discography is good, but I personally think When this is over is his best one.

The album is the product of a literate old-school Hip-Hop fan. The zeitgeist of the Golden Age transcended in both his lyrics and his beats. Speaking of which, his lyrics are top notch, conscious and intelligent. The Street Life vibe that we usually get from contemporary Hip-Hop albums is absent from this record. Some rappers just “get it”, he’s one of ‘em; a slick-rhyming cat settled in London, Ontario.

The Underground is an absolute jewel for hard-knocking rap music. When this is over debunks tenfold my pessimism towards modern Hip-Hop. Once in a while – which is becoming more and more frequent these days -- there’s going to be an album that completely wrecks everything in its path, and provide the perfect package. It’s almost too funny to think that Madvillainy came one year prior to it, too. There is mad quality in Hip-Hop nowadays; you just have to look for it.

Shad’s flow is excellent, but the real hook of the album is definitely the beats. Highly comparable to Madlib’s or even The Pharcyde, the crate digging duty was freaking boss, dare I say, (almost De La Soul-ian). It’s not a terribly funky album, but it takes so much from acoustic and borderline ambient rhythms, that it’s actually much more laid back.

When this is over is full of flavor and master lyricism. His most recent album flirts with pop, especially in the beats --possibly because of the higher production quality-- but his lyrics are always on point. If you’re into k-os, Rascalz or Cadence Weapon; I think you’ll find something to like in Shad. Canadian rappers always surprises me, and Shad only reaffirms that quality rap can come out of the indie scene without sounding like a club-record, (I’m looking at you Cadence Weapon).

Personal favorite tracks: I Get Down, New School Leaders , Out of Love , Wild

TL;DR: An incredible Hip-Hop record. Intelligent lyricism, hypnotizing beats; independent Hip-Hop never sounded so good.

-Kraid



Album: Treats
Artist: Sleigh Bells
Label: Mom + Pop Recordings / N.E.E.T.
Released: May 11th, 2010
Genre: Noise Pop
*Sub-genres Bad Ass
Sounds like: The most bad ass noises you have ever heard.

I want you to think of the most bad ass music you can think of. Need some more time? Thats fine. ......... Ok, you got it? So what is it? Slayer? Metallica? Black Flag? Well here is your new go to for bad ass music and it is not metal at all. As it turns out the most bad ass album to come out in years is Treats by Sleigh Bells. Yeah you heard right ... this totally bad ass band is called Sleigh Bells.

Sleigh Bells are what is commonly conisdered as "noise pop" which in my brain typically translates as they make a bunch of noise for the sake of making a bunch of noise. This is not the case with this band. While they do create quite a bit of noise, what they're doing dosen't sound messy or unplanned. They are very bass driven with lots of raw guitar licks thrown in. This is just a super fun band guys, I'm super cereal!

One thing that makes these guys so fun is that their songs seemingly aren't really about much at all. For instance one of my favorite songs on the album, Kids, is just about a group of friends spending the day at the beach. Now I usually am one of the first to critisize a song for being shallow and not really about anything of worth. Even though that is my usual stance I do believe that on occasion you just gotta have a meaningless, fun album to just throw on and feel good about. Something you don't really have to think about or pay that much attention to. This is that kind of album.

This is Sleigh Bells first album and I really can't reccomend it enough! I absolutley adored this album and cannot wait to see what this group does next. I see great things in their future. So please, please, please do your ears a favor today and listen to these guys!

Personal favorite tracks: [Editor’s Note: Crackity left this blank so let’s say his favorites were track..1, 7 and…I dunno…4.]

TL;DR: Sleigh Bells are bad ass, if you want to be a bad ass listen to Sleigh Bells

-Crackity Jones   read


8:12 PM on 01.23.2011

Caribou, Peter Bjorn and John, Rancid, La Dispute, and Wu-Tang Clan vs. Beatles



Here ya go.



Album: Swim
Artist: Caribou
Label: Merge Records
Released: 2010
Genre: Indie/Electronica/Pop/Utter Madness
Sounds like: Animal Collective/Battles in the 70s, Hot Chip

Sometimes, all it takes to find new music is to randomly look at album art you think looks cool. In my case, the album art for Swim looked colorful enough for me to want to check out a few of the samples on Amazon’s MP3 storefront. Man, discovering new music is awesome.

Swim is something that’s hard to describe, but you know what it sounds like. It’s an enigma in itself; the songs share a central theme, but you can’t really group them all into one deeply specific category. Songs on Swim will change tactics ever so slightly, keeping the album fresh enough to warrant multiple nonstop listens. Every time you pop the album in, something new manages to reveal itself, anything from new loops to new instrumental parts; even the little things can give the album a fresh face every time you come back.

Those little parts are brought out by how Caribou puts his music together. If I had to slam a concrete specific genra on this album, it’s definitely electronica. Caribou uses usual yet catchy loops that, at first can be jarring to the ear, but then settle into an acceptable and incredibly enjoyable groove. I found my first listen of this album a little noisy on the ears, but as the tracks fell into place, Caribou began to make wonderful, wonderful music.

Then we get to his highly experimental samples. I can’t really describe what is happening in the upper registers of the song “Kalli”, but whatever is happing manages to sink into that same groove I was describing beforehand. The style of the samples carries over into the style of the vocals, being incredibly unusual, but after awhile inherently familiar.

On a first listen, this album can seem as foreign as earlier Animal Collective work or the more mathematical Battles, but after awhile, as with those bands, you start to fall into that groove of what they do with instruments, vocals, and sampling. It’s just that Caribou uses familiar disco-like tactics to help facilitate you in getting used to all the weird things happening in the composition at an alarming pace. Almost every song on Swim feels as if, at its core that it is a dance track, and that really helps in naturally getting the user to say “wow, this isn’t hurting my brain,” and the quicker you can get a listener to do that with your music, the better.

Caribou is clearly very talented at introducing and hooking one in with his style of music. It’s something you seldom hear out there in the world, but then it becomes something so familiar you almost feel as if you’re an expert on the music yourself. I will admit I wasn’t jiving with the album at first, but the turn around to me becoming completely enamored with the music was so surprising and quick that I forgot I ever had doubts with Swim to begin with. It’s definitely something you want to check out if you’re looking for something a little off kilter but easily enjoyable.

Plus, Caribou’s a mathematician. How awesome is that?

Personal favorite tracks: Kalli, Jamelia, Bowls

TL;DR: IndieElectroPop. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable combination. Trust me

-Daxelman




Album: Gimme Some
Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
Label: Almost Gold Recordings
Released: March 29th, 2011
Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
Sounds like: Old Peter Bjorn and John plus the 60's

You ever hear that song that had those bongos in the background and the chorus went like, "and we don't care about the young folks, talkin' 'bout the young style"? Yeah it was kind of good at first and then got way over played to the point that you hate that song. Well that song is by Peter Bjorn and John and they're actually a really great band, no really!

Gimme Some is the followup to PB&J's 2009 album Living Thing, which was a fantastic album by the way, while Living Thing had a more electronic style Gimme Some is more traditional rock/pop it's also seems to be rather 60's pop influenced. I enjoy the sound of this album but honestly, I feel like the style they went with is begenning to get a little over used in the music industry.

I think PB&J's greatest strength is that they have a gift for wrting extremley catch songs. They have proven it once again with this album, with songs like Tomorrow Has To Wait and Dig A Little Deeper. There are other great catchy songs on the album but I think those two are the catchiest. Overall its a really good album, but it could have been better if you ask me. Living Thing was just so good! I wanted something that would be a great succesor to it, this album however, does not quite make the grade.

Sorry for the lack of links, the album isn't out for a while so I couldn't find any links.

Personal favorite tracks: Dig A Little Deeper, Down Like Me, Eyes, Tomorrow Has To Wait

TL;DR: Good but not great, Living Thing was a better album.

-Crackity Jones



Album: ...And Out Come The Wolves
Artist: Rancid
Label: August 22, 1995
Released: Epitaph Records
Genre: Punk
Sub-genres Ska
Sounds like: It sounds like an influential punk album. Don't act like you've never heard it.

Okay, so...there was this band. They were a punk band. They came out with a couple albums, started getting super popular, people started to notice 'em. Then they come out with this one, super huge, critically acclaimed, oh-my-god-you-better-go-listen-to-it album, and suddenly punk rock matters to the mainstream again. Of course I'm talking about Rancid.

So, for starters, you've probably heard this album already, listened to it a million times, love it to death. This is without a doubt, probably the biggest punk album to come out in the 90's. This, Green Day's Dookie album, The Offspring's Smash album, and Bad Religion's Stranger Than Fiction album pretty much brought punk back from the grave. So naturally an album that influential shouldn't be new to any of you. Why am I reviewing it then?

BECAUSE I FUCKING LOVE THIS ALBUM. Every aspect of this album is simply perfect. Tim Armstrong's vocals are at their best. Him and Lars Frederiksen has never sounded better on guitar than on this album. Brett Reed has never been a more badass drummer. And Matt Freeman's bass? Go listen to Maxwell Murder and let your mind be blown all over the walls at that amazing bass solo. Some may disagree, but I think this is definitely Rancid at their absolute best.

It's also worth noting that, while being a punk album, it's far more approachable than most punk albums out there. Rancid's signature ska-ish punk sound (A nice callback to Tim and Matt's time in Operation Ivy) is not only a blast to listen to, but insanely memorable. I'm sure anybody reading this review could sing the chorus to Time Bomb at the drop of a hat...you might be doing it now even. That's probably one of the best things about this album- every song is so instantly memorable, from Ruby Soho's anthemic “Destination unknown” chorus, to the MTV staple Roots Radical, even to not-as-popular tracks like As Wicked and Listed M.I.A. If you've listened to, grown up to, or had any enjoyment out of this album ever, you probably know every track. It sticks with you.

And it's probably a good thing to, because this album always, ALWAYS, puts a smile on my face. You try screaming “DIAL 999 IF YOU REALLY WANT THE TRUTH” without grinning. This album might as well be prescribed as an anti-depressant, it's just so awesomely uplifting. Makes sense considering the band eventually went on to write a song that pretty much got me through high school (Fall Back Down, if you were wondering).

Long story short, you already love this album most likely. If you haven't listened to it yet, FUCKING DO IT.

Personal favorite tracks: Everything. But of course, I have to pick, so Maxwell Murder, Listed M.I.A, As Wicked, Junkie Man

TL;DR: It's one of the biggest punk albums in history for a reason. LISTEN TO IT.

-vApathyv



Album: Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair
Artist: La Dispute
Label: No Sleep Records
Released: November 11, 2008
Genre: Post-Hardcore
Sub-genres A little experimental rock, a little indie rock.
Sounds like: Poetic energy.

Every now and then, I'm introduced to a band that puts out something that's more than just music. A band that could actually be considered art at times. From the well-honed composition of their music, to the lyrics, a band can actually go beyond simple “Good to listen to” and actually strike a nerve, leave a lasting impression on you and actually make you remember what it's like to perceive music as an art form.


This is one of those albums.


Now before I go too far, I should say that, if you aren't a fan of the post-hardcore sound, or have a bit of a disdain for “screaming” vocals, this won't be for you. Granted, I hesitate to use the word “screaming” in reference to this man's vocals. They're very harsh, yes, but they're easily interpreted, easy to make out exactly what he's saying, and uses them in all the right places and nothing more. But again, if you don't like those two elements, you probably won't like this album, but I still urge you at least give it a shot.


See, La Dispute is a band that strives to make their music artistically, technically, and emotionally engaging. They want you to hear their music and walk away feeling something. In that aspect, they pass with flying colors. Everything about this album is so technically sound it could put some prog bands to shame. And the emotion? You need look no further than the lyrics of each song. Sometimes sang, sometimes screamed at you, it's almost impossible to not draw some kind of feeling from any of these songs. There's just a certain passion and poetry involved with these lyrics that sticks with you. Maybe I'm just a sap, but a lot of these songs, once I sat down and listened to them, managed to shake me to my core.


And while the lyrical output is probably the star of the show, the music itself is incredible. Going far beyond the standard post-hardcore sound, you'll find no shortage of impressive instrumentation here. Time changes, guitar wizardry, some incredible drum work, it's all here. It's not all over the place and highly showy like most prog or metal stuff, but then again it doesn't have to be. It's pretty much the perfect sound for the story the lyrics are attempting to portray.


And the story. It's never been explicitly stated anywhere as far as I know, but the album seems to tell the tale of two lovers, falling in love, falling out of love, being lonely, and missing each other. Starting out innocuously enough with the opening track “Such Small Hands”, it's a frantic rollercoaster of emotion from there all the way to the end track, “Nobody, Not Even The Rain”, a song that lyrically and musically is near-identical to the opening track...almost finishing the album where it started.


Simply put, this album deserves a listen from anyone even remotely interested in music as artistic expression. If you've ever enjoyed poetry, enjoyed love, hell...enjoyed post-hardcore music, pick this up.


Personal favorite tracks: Such Small Hands/Nobody, Not Even The Rain (Around the middle is when the songs change), Damaged Goods, Bury Your Flame, Sad Prayers For Guilty Bodies

TL;DR: It's poetry. Frantic, beautiful poetry.

-vApathyv



Album: Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers
Artist: Wu-Tang Clan/The Beatles
Label: Tea Sea Records
Released: N/A
Genre: Hip-hop
*Sub-genres Jazz-hop
Sounds like: An unholy marriage of sheer brilliance

When I first heard that there was a Wu-Tang Clan vs. Beatles mixtape floating around on the internet I really didn’t know what to think. While the two do share a few similar characteristics, and while it is simple enough to just sample the Beatles onto Wu-Tang tracks, I don’t think I was really prepared for what I was about to experience. Once you get into the business of remixes and mash-ups you enter very murky territory where a lot of the boundaries and expectations have never really been set.

An album like Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers is, in my opinion, what a mash-up mixtape should aspire to be right from the concept alone. The marrying of Wu-Tang Clan and the Beatles is unexpected and requires creativity but doesn’t go out of its way to be ridiculous like the horrid tragedy that is All Day by Girl Talk.

The execution is even better. The album opens up with a few samples from interviews and live performances from each group almost in a call and response fashion and then kicks right into a stellar reimagining of the hip-hop classic C.R.E.A.M. From there on the album does incredibly well to pay respect to the genius behind both artist. Specifically retakes on Criminology, Smith Bros, City High, and Got Your Money sound less like mixes of two songs and instead feel like their own unique songs that stand alone as nods to each group.

It’s an unashamedly hip-hop heavy album with actually very little vocal service from any of the Beatles. In fact much of the Beatles side of the tracks aren’t the original Beatles tracks at all but rather jazz, piano, or orchestral covers of Beatles songs. It’s actually rather brilliant in that you can instantly recognize Happiness Is A Warm Gun or Can’t Buy Me Love without the tracks having to sound like it was completely lifted from their original albums. And when the album does lift a track straight from the original song, like the guitar solo from While My Guitar Gently Weeps for example, it’s made all the more exciting.

On the Wu-Tang side there are obviously the vocals, which remain almost completely untouched with the exception of a few tempo shifts or studio effects like echo. Even the drums, while being for the most part from the Wu-Tang side, can differ. When they are from the Wu-Tang side they’re heavy and rough as is expected from the group. One particular nod to the Wu-Tang style of Enter the 36 Chambers, is that when the original drums are not rough or soft enough the mash-up artist will lift drums from the older tracks and fit them with the acapella (vocals) of the track being played.

As all of this is taking place the audience is treated to an absolutely stellar array of interviews from not only the groups in question but the individuals who got to experience the sweeping cultural phenomena that was the Beatles as well as the television shows and movies that inspired the Wu-Tang. So as the listener is being treated with the album there is also the fascinating story of how Beatlemania began to shape a generation with small bits of audio Wu-Tang paraphernalia. It’s amazing to watch as such a heavy album delivers the story of the craze that was Beatlemania in such an aggressive manner; almost painting the Beatles as some sort of invaders with a plan to control everything.

Oh, and finally, every track is good. Every single God damn one. As long as the album is (82 minutes) is thoroughly lovable from front to back several times over.

All in all Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers is perfect. It’s not only one of the best mixtapes I’ve ever heard (and I grew up with mash-up mixtapes) but it’s probably up there with any of the best work to ever be branded with the Wu-Tang name. As for the Beatles, it’s an incredibly fresh take on what has become a somewhat stale and tired brand and one I wish the remaining members would openly support (or rather one I wish they could if Beatles fans weren’t so fucking crazy. If you’re at all interested in good hip-hop or some absolutely spectacular mashing up do yourself a favor and find this mixtape. Words can not express it’s greatness.

Personal favorite tracks: Got Your Money, Criminology, and Forget Me Not

TL;DR: An incredible album that goes above and beyond paying homage to it’s sources.

-Xzyliac   read





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