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LONG BLOG

Calvin Harris, Das EFX, Morrisey, Blahzay Blahzay, Weezer, Linkin Park

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So I got Halo: Reach AND Xbox Live Gold this week. I haven't touched any of it but I'll be changing that as soon as this goes live. I'm excited. I've been pretty loyal to Halo mainly because Bungie is such a great developer but this is actually the first Halo I've been genuinely excited about. I loved the book its based on and I can't wait to get some split-screen action in with the bros.

This week is pretty interesting. We have Calvin Harris, Morrisey, Das EFX, Blahzay Blahzay, and double dosed rage review from our own vApathyv as he expresses his thoughts on the latest from Linkin Park and Weezer.



Album: Ready For The Weekend
Artist: Calvin Harris
Label: Ultra Records
Released: 2009
Genre: Dance, Electronic,
Sounds like: Deadmau5 + Daft Punk

Fuck those glasses.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, you need to listen to Ready For The Weekend.

I’ve always been an on and off kind of fan when it comes to Calvin Harris. My favorite songs off his first effort I Created Disco was everything on that album, but I could only really listen to “Neon Rocks” and “Merrymaking At My Place”. While I liked the entirety of the album, those two songs are the only ones I return to constantly. I guess I just liked the whole catchy-ness of those tunes.

And then Calvin Takes that trait of those songs and makes an entire album out of it, and calls that album Ready For The Weekend. And I am happy as hell.

While Calvin may have claimed to have created disco in his first album (honestly, I believe he just recreated it), I think he may have found the right groove in club like music, evident in how the album panders to those who listen to BPM on XM Satellite Radio. This first track, “The Rain”, provide a more disco rooted sound, which can be found in the way the underlying beat is set up, to the way the lyrics are sung by good ol’ Calvin himself. The title track, “Ready For The Weekend” is even more disco, if you couldn’t tell by the catchy chorus line.

Then we go into more electronic stuff. “Stars Come Out” just screams club dance tune. And that’s how it starts. Calvin Harris manages to mix everything we like about dance songs, the “catchy but often forgettable unless you’re listening to the song/with friends” lyrics, the beat that makes you throw your hands up in the air to the sound of the bass, the buildup that spill into the epitome that makes you sprawl out all over the dance floor, the hooks that stay in your head for days, and condense all of it into 4 minuet bites. I mean, just listen to “Flashback”, and tell me you wouldn’t dance to that for another three or four minutes longer than the song lasted.

It’s amazing how even the tracks that don’t traditionally sound like they would be down for the traditional dance club, can be easily made into them by a house DJ. The whole album is a remix heaven for those whole like to throw some tricky beats behind a song, and watch the girls go wild to your little addition. Really, if you want, just play this album really loud in your house, with no lights on but a strobe and people will come to your house to party hard.

That’s not to say the album doesn’t exist with its bad apples though. “Worst Day” is arguably the worst song on the entire album, even though it sounds good without relation to the rest of Ready For The Weekend. It just doesn’t sound quite as dancy as the rest of the album, especially coming after the masterpiece of a dance track that is “Flashback”. And “Dance Wiv Me” featuring Dizzee Rascal is…well…uhh….I don’t quite know how to describe Dizzee’s accent, but it’s so bad it’s hilarious.

Overall, Ready For The Weekend could be called I Created Dance Music and I’d believe Calvin Harris. With his latest effort, Calvin Harris has become my number two choice for seeing someone perform live in a dance club in the UK. Buy this album, and play it before you go out Friday night, and your night will be a guaranteed amazing.

Personal favorite tracks: Dance Wiv Me(Official Video), Flashback (Official Video), You Used To Hold Me(Official Video), and Ready For The Weekend

TL;DR: You don’t know how many times I stopped writing this, and started dancing. Buy this now.

-Daxelman



Album: Vauxhall and I
Artist: Morrissey
Label: Parlophone
Released: March 14, 1994
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds like: The musical equivalent of a long, tight goodbye hug

Morrissey used to be the lead singer of the Smiths. If you don’t know who they are, step what you are doing and go check them out immediately. No matter what genre you listen to, from heavy metal to hip hop, there’s a good chance the Smiths helped to influence their sound. What the Velvet Underground did for the music of the 70’s and 80’s, the Smiths have done for the 20 or so years worth of bands that came after them. Between Morrissey’s brilliant song writing and guitarist Johnny Marr’s complex and amazing riffs (some of the best ever I think) they created music that is as legendary as any Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stone tune you can name.

Vauxhall and I is ethereal and quiet, like the voice in your head singing to you. Intricate guitar work accompanied by up tempo drumming gives the album slightly fidgety pace. The drums feel like the pulse of a nervous businessman while the guitar notes could be the tears of a beautiful girl. It starts off with Now My Heart is Full which does an excellent job of setting the album’s tone and pace. Continuing on, The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get is an upbeat if slightly menacing song with one of my favorite guitar riffs of all time. Morrissey’s voice sounds like the Cheshire Cat crossed with Jack the Ripper and is absolutely lovely. The last song on the album, Speedway is the kind of song that you play to remember the things you would rather forget. It has an aching sense of finality, not just for the album but for Morrissey himself. This song feels like that last kiss or watching someone walk away knowing full well that you will never see them again.

Steven Patrick Morrissey has made a career out of wearing his heart on his sleeve. For some artists, this is a fatal flaw. They lay themselves bare and it either becomes self-indulgent bordering on masturbatory or it overwhelms them and they burn out. For Morrissey, however, he has thrived on this. During the time of Vauxhall and I’s recording, Morrissey was coping with the loss of three close friends. This traumatic time in his life would have a major impact on the thematic elements of the album. In an interview conducted a few years later, Morrissey stated that he felt like Vauxhall and I was going to be his last album. That feeling shined through as he created one of the most introspective and emotional albums of his prolific career.

Personal favorite tracks: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwpDAPmpAdM /]Now My Heart is Full[/url], The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get, Speedway

TL;DR: Some of Moz’s finest solo work. Also, do yourself a favor and check out the Smiths if you haven’t.

-[url=http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Occams electric toothbrush] Occams electric toothbrush [/url]

Album: Das EFX
Artist: Dead Serious
Label: East West
Released: April 7, 1992
Genre: Hip-hop
*Sub-genres N/A
Sounds like: Fun 90s hip-hop

This week I had a crazy flashback to when I was a first getting into music. There was this beat that kept rolling through my head but I could put my finger on where it came from. Then it hit me, it was Straight Out the Sewer by Das EFX. I Wiki’d it and lo and behold I realized all my favorite Das EFX tracks from way back when were all from the same album!

Dead Serious by Das EFX is really a simple album. It doesn’t require a whole lot of depth to give you the gist of the whole album. The first few tracks Mic Checka, Jussummen, and They Want EFX are all prime examples of fun sample-based hip-hop. The album doesn’t try to be too heavy, it doesn’t really have mission or a goal, it’s a simple album and while it may take a few hits for it (Jussummen especially is kind of a dud) when it shines it shines intensely.

Composition wise you’ve actually got one of the easier albums to pen down. The samples used draw heavily from R&B, Jazz, and Funk. While the majority of the samples are expectedly layered there is a minority that is only uses one loop from one track. Ironically these tracks, Jussummen and If Only come to mind, actually do seem to suffer from the repetition and kind of outlast their welcome. Otherwise the musical composition is classic 90s hip-hop.

The lyrics are…interesting. Firstly, the contents of the lyrics are by no means brilliant or deep. They’re simple lyrics that get you through the song and don’t necessarily make you grind your teeth either. In fact some bits are downright catchy which isn’t bad at all. However it’s the delivery of the lyrics that does kick everything up a notch. Das EFX is known for pioneering what is called the iggedy style of rapping. Which is essentially what you probably think it is. Take a word, cut off the last quarter of that word, and add iggedy to it. Silly on paper as it sound it actually works quite in their favor giving the album just the flavor it needs to bump it from good to great.

Dead Serious by Das EFX is ironically anything but and it’s a nice trip down memory lane before the hip-hop scene became so indulged in the club scene. While Das EFX would later go on to kind of suck their debut album remains one of the peak points in 90s hip-hop and rightfully so.


Personal favorite tracks: The Want EFX, Mix Checka, and Straight Out The Sewer

TL;DR: While it has flaws the ironically titled Deadl Serious is an entertaining look at what fun hip-hop sounds like.

-Xzyliac



Album: blah blah blah
Artist: Blahzay Blahzay
Label: Fader/Pgd
Released: August 13, 1996
Genre: Rap
*Sub-genres East Coast, Underground Hip-Hop
Sounds like: The roaring talent of two Brooklyn cats, who mix intense lyricism and head-knocking beats in unison.

DJ P.F. Cuttin and MC Outloud had been working in the music industry for several years prior to this album’s release. Producing tracks for several artists before hand, and undergoing many independent single releases; blah blah blah was the outburst of the group’s ferocious intensity on the underground Hip-Hop scene. It’s a shame that Blahzay Blahzay hasn’t pursued their musical endeavor in creating more constructive recordings, but it only takes one well placed uppercut for the T.K.O. The album is a hard-knocking combination between slow and heavy beats, and magnificently delivered rhymes.

However, whenever an album is forgotten, especially when the discography of its host artists isn’t monumental – inevitably, the record is doomed to plunge in intellectual darkness. Blahzay Blahzay suffers exactly from that, and to a lot of people, the first listen might even be a revelation. The mixing is nothing, but excellent. The sampling is quite conservative, yet the minimalist nature of the drum loops is efficient, and the voice samples create a very unique and aggressive mood. This trend is carried out throughout the entirety of the album providing the iconic violent and abrasive vibe for each track.

The choruses are pretty stereotypical and uninspired considering the monumental quality of Outloud’s delivery, but apart from that it’s still provides constructive and intelligent poetry. Sometimes, it’s better not to take the “street talk” too seriously, and enjoy the undertone messages the songs are trying to tell us. blah blah blah does require a little bit of analysis before it becomes a lyrical masterpiece, but whether it’s in the tempo or the overall delivery, it’s banging. The beats rely on heavy bass and cut-throat scratching that accentuates even more the overall hostility of the album.

Blahzay Blahzay’s debut album is an aggressive and extremely ferocious album. Regardless, the subject matter is never compromised because of that – it’s able to keep on track, deliver actual poetry rather than descending in shameful and unimaginative babbling. Mind you, the album does have quite a lot of collaborations, and that lyrical excellence is only maintained by MC Outloud. It does come out as a slight creative problem, but considering he has most of the album-span for himself, it’s only a minor gripe.

Lyrically violent, not in its graphic manner, but rather in its crude and imaginative writing; blah blah blah outdoes a lot of albums in the so-called “Golden Age” of Hip-Hop music. The album was almost forgotten, and is still extremely underrated. But P.F. Cuttin DJing, and MC Outloud give a ferocious and wild energy to the album that has yet to be topped by many contemporary Hip-Hop groups. It’s one of the many hidden gems of mid-nineties rap, and one of my favorites when it comes to plain old bitter Hip-Hop.

When the East is in the house, Oh my God!
DANGER!

Personal favorite tracks: Danger, Don't Let This Rap Shit Fool You , Pain I Feel , Blah Blah Blah.

TL;DR: A belligerent, incredibly blunt album that defines what East Coast Hip-Hop once was. Simply put an excellent gem straight from the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

-Kraid



Albums: Hurley and A Thousand Suns
Artist: Weezer and Linkin Park, respectively (Or, well, disrespectively. Because I swear that's all your gonna find in this.)
Label: Who cares, neither of them deserve it at this point.
Released: September 14, 2010
Genre: One is a poorly executed pop-punk imitation, the other has no fucking clue what it wants to be.
Sub-genres Suck, Fail, any other synonym with those words.
Sounds like: My ears are bleeding.

So...this week, I figured I would try something different. I figured “Hey, two big albums from two big artists are coming out this week. I think I'll give 'em a go, be poignant and timely and such”. Naturally, those two albums were Hurley by Weezer and A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park. I didn't really have much hope for either of these albums, but I figured what the hell. They can't be that bad right? Right? WRONG. DEAD FUCKING WRONG. These two albums, for lack of a better term, drove me fucking insane. So insane that I couldn't even bear to write seperate reviews for these atrocities. Why did I do this to myself? WHAT THE HELL POSSESSED ME TO THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?

So, let's tackle Weezer first. I like Weezer. Well, used to. Their first album was great. Their second album was even better. Their third and fourth, not as good but still not bad. But then, something happened. I don't know what. Maybe Rivers Cuomo let his nerd-popularity get to his head. Maybe the band ran out of steam, like most would do after four or five albums. Maybe they were replaced by fucking doppelgangers, I don't know. Whatever the hell it is though, they took a drastic dip in quality, to the point where they became pale imitations of their former selves, to the point of being self-parodies. And hey, guess what? NOTHING'S CHANGED. Again.

Apparently, Weezer has decided that they don't need to write good songs anymore, that they don't need to be adequate at what they do. I should have realized that when they decided performing a song with fucking Lil Wayne on their last album was a good idea, but no. They're pretty content on just sticking with the “HEY! We're nerds, we have guitars, that makes us awkward-hipster cool right? Twilight and Starbucks and stuff!”. And, well, sales-wise, it appears to work. But, musically? No. No no no no no no no no. Sure, the entire album isn't terrible. There is a pretty nice song that oddly enough features Micheal Cera on backing vocals while playing a mandolin. But other then that? No, fuck this album.

Of course, now we have Linkin Park. Oh man, Linkin Park. Let me get something straight- Linkin Park was never good. When we were all twelve or thirteen, we probably all thought they were great. We probably thought Chester Bennington and his nasally, go-blow-your-fucking-nose vocals spoke to our poor, pre-pubescent mindset. We probably thought Mike Shinoda's little kinda-rapping-but-not-really thing was cool as hell. But ya know what? Aside from a few tracks off of the remix album, there is hardly anything worth a damn from this group.

And the funny thing is, on top of their lack of talent, they've now managed to contract a case of identity crisis as well. Last album they abandoned anything even remotely sounding like themselves (Which in a normal situation would be a good thing) in favor of a completely monotonous, run-of-the-mill alt-rock sound. Yeah, way to evolve their boys. This album? Well...they sound like a Nine Inch Nails imita-Wait, now they sound like they're trying to copy Depeche Mo-OH HOLD ON, now they're going for Radiohea-TIME OUT, TIME TO SOUND LIKE A 90'S DANCEFLOOR ANTHEM. The point being, that I don't think THEY even know what to sound like anymore. This has to be one of the most disorganized, disheveled attempts at 'variety' I have ever seen in an album. And none of these songs really work. Even the one song I found myself having any form of enjoyment from, “The Catalyst”, was immediately ruined once Chester opened his damn mouth. And what's their excuse? It's a concept album about Nuclear War. Look guys, we're socially relevant!

Long story short, fuck these two albums. I may be in the minority here. I may be in the majority. I don't care. I hope to never hear these two albums again.

Personal favorite tracks: Umm...no. Go listen to whatever the other guys recommended this week.

TL;DR: God. Fucking. Dammit.

-vApathyv



HAPPY WEEKEND!
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About Stereotoidone of us since 7:53 PM on 03.05.2010