ArcadeFireReflektor

‘Reflektor” Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Reflektor Album Review

Merge Records

Released: October 28, 2013

Genre: Indie Rock, Art Rock, Post- Disco, Alternative Dance

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A few days ago Lou Reed died. The flickering light of one of the world’s last true rock stars dimmed into black. Light is such an incredibly convoluted and deeply perplexing topic to read into; try to imagine a world without light, it’s simply beyond our comprehension. Kurt Cobain once said that the sun is gone, but I have a light, at this moment in time Reflektor is my light.

Radiance has always been a constant for Arcade Fire. Throughout their studio discography it’s featured in the form of a fluorescent cynicism (Neon Bible) or the Half Light saga on their most recent and Grammy award winning Suburbs LP. After a two year sabbatical The Reflektors, as their re-branded live shows would have you label them, have been infected with the eccentric cultures and rhythms of the Haitian and Jamaican carnival scene and produced what is their most visceral and groove-driven record yet.

Dance music is cultivated by the masses, for the masses. The physicality of it is what makes it such a hypnotic branch of music. There is a certain spirituality to jiving, or in my case flailing, in the dark with hordes of strangers to various bleeps, bloops and oscillating synthesizers. Arcade Fire have dug deep into the recesses of dance culture and encapsulated the most fluctuating and soul-writhing aspects of it while simultaneously keeping the Indie-rock appeal that made their previous releases such lucrative endeavors, they are genuine pioneers of genre. That said, having James Murphy at the forefront of your records production might have some weight into the outcome and transformation of a bands sonic direction. Appearances from the likes of the LCD Soundsystem wizard and backing vocals from a Mr.Bowie contribute to, but don’t necessarily epitomize, the recent adaptations to Arcade Fire’s stylistic interests.

Opening track “Reflektor” boasts an array of pulsating synths, calculated hand percussion and an aura of despondency as Win Butler sighs If this is heaven/I don’t know what it’s for; apathy being another key theme that’s apparent throughout this record. “Normal Person” hears Win hesitantly croon about his indecisiveness towards rock music. You wouldn’t believe it as familiar staccato guitars and melodic vocal hooks embed themselves in tracks like “You Already Know”.What we do know through Reflektor is that Win Butler’s mind is far more intricate than the previous three albums gave us a peek into.

Whether it’s the licks of existential and Kierkegaard philosophy integral to “Here Comes The Night” or the way he curiously laments whether the camera really does take your soul? A comment on publicity culture? Possibly, but coupled with the Caribbean rhythm and flourish of steel drums Win has most likely been taken by the spirit of the locals he’s recently been exposed to. Win’s charisma glows on these tracks; he performs with such vitality and honesty, his delivery on this record is like none we’ve ever seen, a master reflektor.

An album of two halves Reflektor is a dense 75 minutes breaching and cleansing every crevice of the musical palette. Though it touches on some unsettling themes it remains an glowing and immersive experience throughout. The descent from alternative rock fuzz to a cantering bass of “Joan of Arc” or the dreamy afrobeat of “Afterlife”, Arcade Fire have remoulded themselves with a gleaming dance flair. With tracks lasting up to 11 minutes it can appear a daunting listen but the quality of tracks ensures that no fat remains untrimmed. Forever lighting the dance floor in my mind Reflektor perfectly blends instrumental versatility with seamless production to make one of the best releases of the year; a perpetual light as the days get darker.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: ALL OF THEM

LEAST FAV TRACKS: NONE OF THEM

Score: (9.5/10)

AUTHOR’S BIO
Will Butler is second year University student from the UK and radio show presenter for the local station. He found the PNG guys through Reddit and is looking forward to working with them to cover the best the music scene has to offer, on both sides of the pond! Keep it Neat!
I also run a blog at Hits Are For Squares <– (Click Words For Link!)

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“Tancred” Tancred

Tancred

Tancred Album Review

Topshelf Records

Released October 15, 2013

Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Rock

 

On her second full length under the moniker Tancred, Jess Abbott of the band Now, Now  delivers a dictionary-definition neat record of indie pop goodness.

It’s a very short and concise album, just like this review. Abbott opens the album with 5 great tracks, tracks that include very vivid imagery described by her soft and clean voice. Tracks like “Twelve” show her musical capability. In this song specifically, she talks about a tragic love that she witnesses between two outside parties. Listening to her words is like reading an old book that carries a powerful message that is still relevant even today. The acoustic and electric guitars help each song perpetuate passion, enhancing the overall experience. The drums are decently recorded; the snare sound wasn’t to my liking, honestly.

However, in the latter part of the album, the music takes a slight turn for the tedious. “Indiana” testifies to this, a song that doesn’t change up the movement of the album. Different instrumentation would have made the song infinitely more compelling. The songs are not boring at all; most people will eat up every track on this album. It’s just that it would be nice for some variation with the instruments. The weaker tracks are like the good friend that never says anything during conversation; you appreciate them, but they don’t add anything as much as you’d like. Luckily, the album finishes strong with the vulnerable closer, “The Worst Kind.”

Anyone who needs a new indie pop album that isn’t afraid of some ROCK in its ROLL should check this out!

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: The Ring, Allston, Creases, Radio, Twelve

LEAST FAV TRACKS: In The Night, Indiana

Score: (7.7/10)

sleigh bells

Interview With Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells!

 

Our dear friend and colleague John Jackson sat down with 1/2 of the acclaimed noise pop duo, Sleigh Bells after their show Saturday night (10/26/13) at the Granada Theater in Dallas, Texas in support of their new LP, Bitter Rivals. Here’s what she had to say to some of our questions!If you are unfamiliar with Sleigh Bells, click here for some background info! (Click “Sleigh Bells” for their website)
PNG: About the new album that just came out, did you have any specific goals when you started writing new music? Or did you just go with whatever came to you?
Alexis: You know, we never approach albums with strategic visions. It’s always more about what ends up happening, and the songs come out really spontaneously. We were feeling really positive and really energized, so we wanted to make music that reflected that positivity, and reflected that energy. Because Reign Of Terror was a bit melancholy, you know, sort of surrounded by gloom and darkness, so our intention was to make a record that was reflective of how good we were feeling, and I feel like it has a lot of that fun energy.PNG: A lot of our blog readers are students and young adults. When you were growing up, what kind of music did you listen to?

Alexis:
 I listened to a lot of different kinds of music. My dad was a huge soul fan, so I listened to a lot of Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and Etta James, people like that. Every single girl group, from The Shangri-Las to… I mean literally like every single Phil Spector girl group. Motown. And then I listened to a lot of Zeppelin, a lot of Bowie, a lot of The Clash, and then I listened to a lot of pop music too. I was always a big fan of Cindy Lauper.PNG: And you guys played with her!Alexis: Yeah, I sang with her! But yeah, it was really diverse, and I think that’s super important, to listen to as many genres as possible

PNG: 
Did you play music growing up? When did you start singing?

Alexis:I was singing from the time I was- before I could speak. My father’s a musician so it was always part of my upbringing. I was always either singing with him, performing with him, and then I got into musical theater. Music has always been a really integral part of who I am.

PNG: And when it comes to music, do you have any guilty pleasures? If so, what are they?

Alexis: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures with music, I really don’t. I think that everything has a certain merit to it. I never feel embarrassed or shy. I grew up singing in a girl pop band, and I felt embarrassed by what I did for a long time, because I would go to punk shows, be listening to The Clash, and then be playing bubblegum pop music, and I decided to never ever be embarrassed by anything I listen to.

PNG: What is your favorite Sleigh Bells song?

Alexis: Currently, I’d say probably Love Sick.

PNG: 
And what artists should fans of Sleigh Bells be listening to?

Alexis: I’ll answer this one on behalf of Derek. He’s been listening to Krewella a lot lately. I know she’s up and coming, so check her out.

That’s it! Big thanks to John and Sleigh Bells for making this HUGE endeavor happen! Good Luck to Sleigh Bells on their tour as well as their future albums! #KeepItNeat

Just as she said ” I think that’s super important, to listen to as many genres as possible”, keep expanding those musical barriers; strive to be open to all kinds of music!


Be sure to pick up Sleigh Bells’ Bitter Rivals as well as their other releases Treats and Reign of Teror on their website here. I guess you could say they’re…Pretty Neat. Thanks again Sleigh Bells and I hope to personally see you guys live one day and have a more formal interview as well!

– Jon Birondo
Co-Founder, Main Writer

My review of their single “Bitter Rivals”

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“Static” Cults

Cults

Static Album Review

Columbia Records

Released October 15, 2013

Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop

*Here we’re introducing a new segment called the quickie review. It’s still a review just not as in depth as our other ones.

Manhattan Indie Pop duo Cults release their second studio album, Static. Their trademark style and sound are still here on this LP, but it rarely goes anywhere. There are some songs here like “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” that hint at a more progressive approach toward the music through more energetic percussion and more fierce guitar licks. However most of the album doesn’t follow through. The vocals are still high pitched, the atmosphere glossy and the drumming is still subdued and just sits in the background. Songs like “Keep Your Head Up”  really bring out some admirable aspects such as the grooving bass line in the track but again, these aspects aren’t ubiquitous on the album.

Since the songs on this album like “Always Forever” and “I Know” still sound like tracks off of their debut album, the entire experience seems rehashed, dull, tiring and bland; there are rarely any points here that engage or intrigue. If you find cloudy atmospheric pop, with low energy, high pitched, whiny vocals and vintage guitar licks, this is the album for you.  It’s Cults doing Cults however they’re stuck knee deep in the same material that we grew tired of, showing that the desire to progress and mature in their sound is a path that they have no desire to take more than  two steps on.

FAV TRACKS: I Can Hardly Make You Mine, Keep Your Head Up

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Always Forever, High Road, TV Dream

Score: (4.8/10)

CHVRCHES The Bones of What You Believe

“The Bones of What You Believe” CHVRCHES

CHRVCHES

The Bones of What you Believe Album Review

Virgin Records, Goodbye Records

Released September 20, 2013

Genre: Synthpop

 

Lots of terrible things hail from Glasgow but I should be wise as to deliver them with the utmost respect as to avoid altercations with one of it’s ‘great and totally not dangerous’ inhabitants. Battered Mars bars, teenage alcoholism and knife culture comes to mind but that would be a short-sighted and fear mongered perspective into what is an exceptionally proficient city for boosting Scottish bands into the ranks of high.

Enter Chrvches, a Glaswegian synth-pop trio. Recently gracing the headlines (well, the twitter-sphere) is Chrvches’ front-woman and lead singer Lauren Mayberry who has taken arms up against the ubiquitous misogyny and sex culture throughout social media. A struggle aided by popular feminist and fellow synth-popper Grimes and dampened by geriatric sleaze-bag Robin Thicke. But enough social politics, let’s find out if Chrvches’ debut is as courageous and revolutionary as Mayberry’s fighting spirit.

When we experience music our preconceptions bare heavy weight. They mould what we hear acting as a filter to what is actually being played rather than what we expect to be played. The Bones of What You Believe is a tried and tested pop record (I can almost hear the empty-frame-wearers among you pulling out your hair). CHRVCHES are a non-compromising synth-pop band so when confronted with memorable hooks and glistening synth tones we expect nothing less. I believe this is why Chrvches have managed to craft a far more lucrative debut than many other electro-pop endeavors on this side of the pond-looking at you Bastille.

Take opening cut “The Mother We Share” for example. It dropped a few months back and has acted as the flaming torch of potential for this record. A softly sweet and charismatic vocal performance from Mayberry possesses the ability to make even the hardiest soul swoon. Similarly, “Recover” boasts an impressively memorable chorus; the pinnacle attribute that drew attention to this trio back in 2011. Lyrically the Scots are occasionally guilty of plummeting into the tragically frequent pop-pitfall of lofty and cliche phrases. “I’m the Night Sky / I’m the fire in your eye” croons Lauren, sickly sweet me thinks. That said, there are genuine moments of introspection and reflection and what should be mentioned is the sterling choice of using male vocals on tracks like “Lungs” and “Under the Tide” which really act as a pulley system, bringing mass to what is an entirely buoyant LP.

The instrumentation on this record is consistent but lacks variety. As someone who enjoys ambition in debuts I was disheartened marginally by the tonal box Chrvches seemed to operate within but I suppose playing it safe in a music scene diluted by synth-pop bands isn’t a terrible strategy. It’s far compensated by the cinematic choruses on, say, Lies a track which nods confidently at prospective stadium shows. Tracks “Gun” and “Lies” display Mayberry at her most focused and empowered. “You have better run from me/ With everything you own”. With hooks as punchy as these it’d be easy to mistake Mayberry for a boxer.

Chrvches have ticked all the boxes with this release and have the makings to be a commercial giant in a miniature outfit. Infectious hooks, well crafted instrumentation and clean production outweigh the occasional cheese and instrumental under-sight. The misty hills of Glasgow are clearing. Chrvches truly are the synth soaked sun that penetrates through the morose haze of Scotland.

FAV TRACKS: LIES / GUN / RECOVER

LEAST FAV TRACK: NIGHT SKY

SCORE: (7.2/10)

AUTHOR’S BIO
Will Butler is second year University student from the UK and radio show presenter for the local station. He found the PNG guys through Reddit and is looking forward to working with them to cover the best the music scene has to offer, on both sides of the pond! Keep it Neat!
I also run a blog at Hits Are For Squares <– (Click Words For Link)

Lorde_Pure_Heroine

"Pure Heroine" Lorde

Lorde

Pure Heroine Album Review

Universal Records

Released September 27, 2013

Genre: Art Pop, Minimalism, Electronica

 

The first song in 17 years by a female solo artist to top Billboard’s alternative music chart just happens to be Lorde’s “Royals”, and its status on top of tracks from greats like Arcade Fire, Tame Impala and Kings of Leon just reiterates the divine status it holds in today’s society. However surpassing Alternative Rock kings does tend to make heads turn. Even with the album title, Pure Heroine, Lorde makes a statement: she’s here to lead with unadulterated, authentic control. But does she necessarily deliver?

Opening up the album, the song”Tennis Court” flows with a potent sarcasm that will make dry-humored grandparents chuckle “Don’t you think how it’s boring how people talk?” she says (says, she talks. It’s ironic get it?). Once she criticizes clever wordplay she makes a really good joke which I don’t want to spoil for you, but within the first twenty seconds she’s said she’s bored, twice, and as you can tell the level of engagement is lost in her esoteric sense of humor.

Much like the extremely minimalistic instrumentation, she doesn’t care, “it’s a new art form”. Moreover, she tends to let “innovation” get in the way of substance and character, because by the time song’s done she probably won’t care at all, for our sake. “400 Lux” brings in well produced synths that add some substance (finally) and character onto the track. The romantic and enamored lyricism truly shows her youth and unique outlook on life; for once she’s neither sarcastic nor cynical, it’s pure adolescence.

Next, “Royals”… just read our review. Rehashing our opinion of the popular tune would just piss everyone off.

Probably the best written track here, “Ribs” just flows with paranoia and fear and the instrumentation and atmosphere is so haunting yet minimal. “That will never be enough”, but here she’s given it all. On “Buzzcut Season”, the poignant topical narrative along with the fierce attitude of the song “Team” truly give some promise to Lorde as a songwriter. However the minimalistic pop instrumentation frequently crosses the thin line of subtle and vague. The balance is unstable for there isn’t much to grasp, musically, from the songs. For pop music, normally catchy and teeming with remembrance, there isn’t much worth recalling here.

What Lorde does perfectly lyrically is sporadically and very subtly cross the line between sincerity and ambiguity. It’s crossed so much that I’m left to determine if she actually is lying or if she’s being sarcastic. Due to this lack of distinction the experience sometimes becomes ironic and convoluted, it depends on how you determine it. Musically, she needs work in the area. I understand she’s minimal and she echoes that perfectly, simple instrumentation; however as I’ve said there is nothing to grasp or remember nor do the instrument choices change.

“White Teeth Teens” brings some energetic drums that give the track a nice effect without crossing the boundaries of minimalism too dramatically; finally there’s something almost catchy here and she continues this improved instrumentation into “A World Alone” with electric guitars brought into the fold. Here themes of cynicism, fear, and growth chase Lorde down, haunting her. She carefully crafts this paranoid track evoking some manic emotions along with it, cause let’s face it: growing up is a scary thing and for her 16 year old self, it’s true and this time she’s heartfelt and serious, finally straightforward with us.

Lorde has promise, guaranteed. Overall, her songwriting is strong but it does tread the line between morally and culturally condemning the status quo, paranoia, fear and sarcasm. With so many analogies and messages brought up, it’s hard, with her superb, cryptic songwriting, to differentiate all the meanings from one another. At some points it feels as if she goes back on her word but the themes do converge around the central concept of adolescence. Musically, the minimalism frequently stays dry and for a pop album, it isn’t at all catchy. Even her attempts to make it catchy such as the obnoxious background “yeahs” in “Tennis Court” do more benefit for the skip button than for her career.

Like lukewarm water, easy to swallow but nothing to enjoy, there isn’t much to grasp, engage or intrigue. There are more instruments and effects (delay pedal, distortion pedal, more synths) in her style of music that can be incorporated in order to engage the listener more effectively. Her unique lyricism doesn’t really balance with the empty musical personality making the whole album a bit of a lackluster experience honestly. But it’s led with her level of ambition and with gutsy stabs at society she leads by standing apart from most pop artists. But she doesn’t really reach that level of passion that can qualify as heroic; here she’s shown what she can do but she herself hasn’t followed through.

With her vague and characterless minimalistic instrumentation and cryptic lyricism, her command isn’t all that strong or commanding, so much for conquering. I do feel however that buried underneath all this is an artist that can deliver so much more, the question is how to bring that out from the haze.

FAV TRACKS: 400 Lux, Ribs, Buzzcut Season, Team, Glory & Gore, White Teeth Teens, A World Alone

LEAST FAV TRACK: Royals

Score: (6.8/10)

eminem-rapgod

“Rap God” Eminem

Eminem

Rap God Track Review

Shady Records

Released October 15, 2013

Genre: Hip Hop

After not hearing anything from Eminem for about a year now, the time has finally come to rejoice in anticipation for his new upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Having dropped “Berzerk” a few months ago, and “Survival” earlier this month, “Rap God” is the third single released to promote this LP. If “Rap God” is only a precursor for this new album I am going to have my mind explode like a nuke when this new album finally drops! “Rap God” has become the song I listen to day in and day out! I can listen to this song when I’m sad, happy, tired, depressed, excited, or whenever I want because this song is amazing and appeals to every emotion you have stirring in your noggin.

The lyrics are mesmerizing and deep, but that’s what Eminem does: he keeps it real and earnest. He even says it himself: ‘My honesty’s brutal”. Eminem takes a shot at Bill Clinton as raps about how he “Made a living and a killing off it ever since Bill Clinton was still in office with Monica Lewinsky feeling on his nut sack”, such a statement further reiterates his long, tumultuous rap career, one spanning three decades of historical and cultural significance.

Eminem gives a shout out to how he is a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2pac, NWA, Cube, hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy thank you.” Y’all might remember another rapper who named out some other rappers… That’s right I’m looking at you Kendrick Lamar. But instead of lyrically going after them, Eminem establishes his own roll in his Hall of Fame. He looks at the history of great rappers and credits them for making him what he is today. Alright well I’ve talked way to much about the song for a quickie track review. Best advice is listen to the song and read the lyrics and appreciate Eminem for his lyrical ingenuity and impeccable flow. This release has me going crazy for his new album and you too should feel the anticipation.

 

 

Score: (6/10)

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“lousy with sylvianbriar” Of Montreal

 

Of Montreal

lousy with sylvianbriar Album Review

Polyvinyl Records

Released October 8, 2013

Genre: Indie Pop, Psychedelic Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Folk Rock, Indie Folk

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Psychedelic pop/folk outfit Of Montreal return to their musical roots with simple, organic instrumentation and less electronic production resulting in a grand and impressive return from the Georgia band.

If you’re new to Of Montreal, do not fret. The point of this article is to expand your musical horizons. This Georgia based rock band started out in the late 90s as a psychedelic folk/pop project headed by lead singer Kevin Barnes. The band is also part of the acclaimed Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, which includes other bands such as The Apples In Stereo, Circulatory System, and Neutral Milk Hotel (my personal favorite).

The collective is known for their psychedelic folk/rock/pop sound, common throughout each of the band’s releases. However, throughout Of Montreal’s beefy discography (this is their 12th studio album), they began to incorporate more production trickery and electronic instrumentation. These new techniques gave their sound a unique quality, but unfortunately for me, the change in the sound, while interesting, didn’t really fit well. The synths tended to become irritating and detracted me from the focus of the songs and the psych folk sound that I had grown to love. But then again, that’s just me.

Opening up, the track “Fugitive Air” starts with a psychedelic, bluesy vibe while the bass stays busy, and the drums steadily chase the rhythm. The memorable melodies and bluesy riffs make this track even more enjoyable. The electronic aspect here is very subtle, letting more folk rock instruments shine and come forward.

“Obsidian Currents” enters with a great keyboard intro, Barnes’s voice is intimately delivered, menacing in content and in themes. “There is a Virus in Your Tenets,” sung very nonchalantly by the group, sounds like something off of The Beatles’ seminal Sgt Pepper album. It’s somewhat alarming and a little disturbing but intriguing for the most part as the track grooves with a great, simple bass part and stripped down, mellow instrumentation.

“Belle Glade Missionaries” sounds like the band took a track off of John Mayer’s new LP and injected it with psychedelic juice. The careening organs, melodic backup vocals, and Barnes’ manic voice keep this song consistent with the tone of the album as the same guitar riff rings over and over, dripping with a bluesy/psychedelic touch. It’s an astounding track, and again the lyrical content has me puzzled and appalled all at once.

The next track, “Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit” is a down tempo ballad that has the listener wondering if Barnes can make it as a poet, aside from Of Montreal.  The lyrics are eloquently delivered, and the emotional tone kicks in as Barnes sings about addictions and broken friendships in his muted, subdued voice. It’s indeed an infectious tune and is a great deviation from the up tempo tracks opening this LP. “Colossus” epitomizes this entire album as a whole in my opinion. The reverberated psychedelic guitars, grooving bass, simple beat and obscure, intimate lyrics remain a highlight on this album.

“Triumph of Disintegration” is where lyrical content kicks it up a notch. (Be careful when playing this in public, the first four seconds do grab your attention. The FIRST FOUR) His voice screeches as a great, busy bass line, danceable guitar riffs, and sweet vocal melodies make this track an obvious highlight and the occasional head bobber. It switches up towards the middle as Barnes’s and keyboardist Dottie Alexander’s voices intertwine to produce volatile vocals: “I had to make myself a monster just to feel something ugly enough to be true.” The tone becomes really menacing yet heartfelt and emotional.  It’s a superb feeling that they are able to communicate, and it’s one of the things that makes this album so good–surreal yet profound.

“Amphibian Days” rarely switches up, but it’s groovy for the most part as Barnes’ sounds a bit drowsy here from his vocal delivery. The opening riffs for “She Ain’t Speaking Now” wake him up eventually as his screech rustles through the track as acoustic and electric guitars open the track with some organic instrumentation, but that goes away quickly as psychedelic influences take their toll.

The album then boasts many other tracks with influences ranging from folk rock to indie rock to funk to the basic core of psychedelic music. The instrumentation is simple yet well orchestrated and composed. The stripped down sound of it all helps focus the album a lot more on the music rather than the production tricks and erratic synthesizers from their previous works; however, when electronic instrumentation appears on this album,  it doesn’t distract the listener from the primary focus that Of Montreal tries to achieve here.

Towards the end of “Hegira Émigré”, the screeching synths don’t really overpower the drums, bass, and guitar, to result in a solid and well produced track. They don’t hesitate to rock out during the last eight seconds of the track once the synths are done too and create a great closer to the song.

The only problem I found here was that they don’t really balance the tracks between “ballads” and “psychedelic rock” tunes. “Sirens of Toxic Waste”  and “Obsidian Currents” are probably the only ballads on this album. Moreover, on “Imbecile Rages”, Barnes’ voice becomes increasingly irritating toward the end as he belts out a rough screech, worse than on “She Ain’t Speaking Now”. That distracts the focus from the great composed track, making the song not as memorable as it could be.

On this LP, Of Montreal gives a solid release. They connect with the instrumentation found in their early works, and Barnes’ songwriting is still menacing, manic  yet heartfelt. However, his vocal delivery and lyrical content communicate across the intimate and disturbing planes of emotion, which he consistently gives on every track here.

The songs are cohesive; however, there isn’t much diversity in instrumentation. The band does however balance each style they bring into this album perfectly. There isn’t too much rock, and there isn’t too much psychedelic flair; it’s a happy medium. I do love the switch up from their previous works though. Subtle electronic instrumentation is a good direction for them, really bringing out the talented strengths that the band is capable of. All in all, if there’s anything to get from this, it’s that you need to listen to this album and get lousy with sylvianbriar. Whatever that means. Ironically, this album is far from lousy.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Fugitive Air, Obsidian Currents, Belle Glade Missionaries, Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit, Colossus, Triumph of Disintegration,  She Ain’t Speaking Now, Hegira Émigré,

LEAST FAV TRACK: Imbecile Rages

Score: (8.7/10)

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“Tally All The Things That You Broke EP” Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts

Tally All The Things That You Broke” EP Review

Released October 8th, 2013

What’s Your Rupture?

Genre: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Punk Rock

 

So, there’s this band that the blogosphere likes, and I’ve never taken the time to listen to them. Not that they never interested me, it just kind happened (or didn’t happen, in this case). Isn’t that odd? Well, it’s kind of funny, kind of like the aforementioned band’s backstory. A bunch of Texans (yay!) met in New York and made a quirky post-punk band. I decided to finally check them out for myself, as well as the blog.

Right off the bat, with the bright and quickly strummed guitar chords, I knew this would be kinda cool. This band wastes no time showcasing their personality and quirk with the opener “You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now,” which harkens back to 70’s and 80’s punk and post-punk, bringing a LOT of energy and fun into the mix. The vocals do the song justice by complimenting a very catchy recorder riff during the chorus; be warned, you’re going to be nodding uncontrollably to the beat of this one.

There’s noisy production, but the song is so much fun that the lo-fi quality works well. The ending is just as boisterous as the beginning, with all the instruments singing out with great flair. I had high expectations after this one. The energy doesn’t stop there, with the well-written track “Descend (The Way),” with twangy and jangly guitar riffs swirling around this sonic hurricane. Before the outro, the band plays a magic trick where they make all the instruments quiet down one after another foreshadowing a fade-out outro, but quickly bring them all back in full-volume for the ending.

But then the song “The More It Works” starts playing, and this song from the beginning is just irritating. It’s like that kid you know that tells the same joke that he KNOWS isn’t funny, but never relents. The vexing vocals proceed for most of the song, but the instruments never throw anything interesting at me. I can’t even describe anything remarkable about this track.

The final two tracks are good, though, with the same fun qualities, and “He’s Seeing Paths” ventures into sounds that Beck might experiment with. It’s also very funny, with references to topics like Urban Dictionary. It’s a good track, though, and this EP is a worthwhile, albeit short, experience.

Pretty Neat Music

FAV TRACKS: You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now, Descend (The Way), He’s Seeing Paths

LEAST FAV TRACK: The More It Works

Score: (8.4/10)

fadeaway

“Fade Away EP” Best Coast

Best Coast

Fade Away EP Review

Released October 22, 2013

Jewel City Records

Genre: Surf Pop, Indie Rock, Lo Fi, Garage Pop, Noise Pop

 
Click here for the review, which was featured on the Hits Are For Squares Blog!