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“Still” Weekend Nachos

Weekend Nachos

Still Album Review

Released November 11, 2013

Relapse Records

Genre: Hardcore Punk, Grindcore, Powerviolence

Chicago, Illinois powerviolence act Weekend Nachos are just as angry as ever. Backed up by great production and awesome songwriting, “Still” is a must-buy album for anyone who wants some background music while they punch holes into walls.

Kicking off with the track, “Sickened No More,” Weekend Nachos demonstrate that they don’t intend to mess around. In less than a minute, this track pummels some unforgiving, blasting beats into the skull of the listener. Lyrics concerning mental confusion and uncertainty help the song feel very dark. In just forty-three seconds, this band incites more anger and aggression in one song than most bands do in an entire album.

The action doesn’t stop there, however. The torrential onslaught entitled “S.C.A.B.” sports frantic guitar work and complex drumming, paired with very insightful lyrics that call out punk-lovers, who often complain about the daily routine of oppression they claim to experience. Weekend Nachos backup vocalist and guitarist Dan Polak asks, “Did you ever experience real brutality, or did you read about it on a lyric sheet?” This shows how unapologetic these guys can get as they call out the “posers” in their music scene.

The rest of the album delivers a crushing whirlwind of beatdowns, harsh lyrics, and full-sounding production; every instrument has a buzzsaw-like metallic sound. The brutality never stops; however, musical change-ups are sporadic. For example, the track “Wolves” is a great song that has a sound that seems to mimic a beast emerging from the abyss, determined to wreak havoc on the Earth; However, this monster only uses one of its four claws to tear open the ground. Weekend Nachos can write some very catchy passages, but they don’t perform to their full potential. They aren’t afraid to experiment with odd sounds, including feedback and a piano, but they don’t effectively use these odd sounds at times, or they don’t use these sounds enough. When the guitarist shifts his hands to the higher part of the fretboard, the song becomes infinitely more interesting. No song on this album is bad, but only a few are great.

That being said, Weekend Nachos deliver November’s angriest LP, and anyone who just needs a little bit of unadulterated anger should check this one out.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Sickened No More, S.C.A.B., Wolves, Still

LEAST FAV: Late Night Walks

Score: (8.3/10)

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“Cupid Deluxe” Blood Orange

Blood Orange

Cupid Deluxe Album Review

Domino Records

Released November 18,2013

Genre: New Wave, Funk, Indie Pop, Alternative R&B

Is nostalgia cool again? Did it ever stop being cool? These are the questions that catapult through the peripheries of my mind as I venture the vacuous void that is my Twitter timeline. With the sudden resurgence of vinyl sales and Buzzfeed’s incessant capitalisation on the internet’s captivation with remembering things that may or may not have existed in the 90s, it implores frustration to exactly what it is that makes looking back so much more invigorating than what’s happening right now. Can’t there be a way to combine elements of the past and the present without having to expose myself to another recycled cat gif? Glad you brought this to attention you rhetorical question asker because Mr. Devonte Hynes a.k.a Blood Orange has crafted his sophomore LP, Cupid Deluxe, with that in mind.

Making a name himself within the parameters of songwriting and production spots, Devonte Hynes has been navigating the claymores of the spotlight for years now. Starring under such pseudonyms as Lightspeed Champion and his brief career as one third of the band Test Icicles. With each endeavour, a contrasting creative approach was taken; the reason Hynes’ expansive aural palette makes him such a production force to be reckoned with, juxtaposing his timid and docile temperament.

Cupid Deluxe showcases Devonte as a cunning maverick of genre. Tracks that transcend between elements of funk, pop, dub, spoken word poetry and hip-hop, this record breaches every corner of the musical spectrum and with a necessary motive since Blood Orange’s debut release, Coastal Grooves, didn’t seem to make any waves. What makes Cupid Deluxe such a grasping first listen is the stylistic conviction and grace that Devonte has adhered to. As the first single to drop “You’re Not Good Enough” gets the room groovin’ with it’s slap bass rhythms and scat guitar stabs. As a masterhead single, it encapsulated a philosophy that Blood Orange seems to intertwine himself around; great hooks make great songs. Although occasionally guilty of forcing this mantra, check out “No Right Thing” for instance. Devonte seems to have an insatiable hunger for catchy lines and spreading soil for ear worms; the mark of a proficient songwriter in my opinion.

Similarly on “Uncle Ace” spurts of 80s bass tones and flickering guitar licks accompany the flange dowsed guitars sounding not dissimilar to a Stone Roses breakdown. Whereas on cuts where Blood Orange digs into the realm of hip-hop such as the track “High Street” with a lacklustre feature performance from long-time-no-see grime kingpin Skepta breathes little life into the whole ensemble. Cupid Deluxe falls short in it’s occasional contextual inhibitions. Blood Orange seems to avoid deviating from any topic beyond the classic and rehashed romance shtick which is profoundly perplexing since his instrumentation and arrangement chops on this album are so illustrious and enrapturing.

Somewhere between the formulaic construction of John Newman or Sam Smith and the history carving sensibilities of Prince or MJ, Blood Orange has shown that a timid soul can often produce some of the most ambitious music of the year. Cupid Deluxe cannot be denied heart, a listening experience defined by it’s creator, someone who has explored the recesses of time and treasured those aspects which encapsulate an era. It’s no Thriller, but it has more to it than filler.

FAV TRACKS: Youre Not Good Enough/ Uncle Ace / Chosen

LEAST FAV TRACK: High Street

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!)

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“Lightning Bolt” Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam

Lightning Bolt Album Review

Monkeywrench, Republic Records

Released October 11, 2013

Genre: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock

Coming out with their first album in four years, Pearl Jam spontaneously reenter the music industry. Their latest studio album, Lightning Bolt, is something to be skeptical about but now it has become clear that their past is behind them and the new Pearl Jam is something worth appreciating. Songs like “Yellow Ledbetter,” “Better Man,” and “Just Breathe” are the reasons this band has thrived for so long, but this album has brought out new feelings of boredom and anguish.

There is a common theme expressed throughout the whole album. In many songs, there are great riffs, fills, and licks, by all the instruments, especially bass guitar, BUT they never seem to fit together. The music itself was as if the band had put no passion into this album, and were just going through the motions. The music was upbeat and grooving, but the passion that is usually present in Pearl Jam’s music, has flown right out the window. There are many transitional blips throughout many of the songs, namely “Yellow Moon” and “Swallowed Whole”, with their out-of-place guitar solos and unsteady bridges between verses. If the band spent a little bit more time putting some love into the music, and polishing up small details, this album would add to the collection of timeless classics from Pearl Jam.

Although, many flaws are obvious throughout the album, many positives stood out amongst the blemishes. The beginning of the album displays the strengths that Pearl Jam has come to have. Without any vocals, this album would be a Fantastic instrumental album, but with the vocals, everything seems lost and dismembered. An admirable aspect of the entire album could be the bass guitar, its contribution to the tracks carries the groove. It was audible for once, which many bands seem reluctant to try, makes a huge difference in pulse, beat, and overall effect of the album.

Songs like “Getaway,” “Pendulum,” and “Sirens” capitalize on the strong and vibrant bass guitar. The vocals, in their essence, are satisfactory and diverse, but not necessarily perfect for what the album needed. If Pearl Jam put a little bit more effort and passion into this album, they would rekindle the joy we receive from hearing a true, pure rock song. This album plays like the set list to play at a homecoming, a few upbeat songs to keep the dance going, but many slow songs for couple’s dances. As much fun as homecoming is, this is not a good thing.

Songs like “Lightning Bolt” and “Future Days” make the listener forget all about the great hits that Pearl Jam has ingeniously released in the past. Pearl Jam obviously struggles during these songs, emphasizing the mistakes that hurt their reputation and completely destroy the good vibes that were set as a foundation in the beginning of the album. “Getaway,” and “Mind Your Manners” bring out the grooving, energetic, lively Pearl Jam that we’ve come to love. Later on in the album, however, these feelings of hope for a new era of rock, are destroyed by songs like “Pendulum” and “Infallible.” Many songs in the album, like these, appear as outcasts compared to the rest of the songs on the album. The loose and disjointed songs detract from what Pearl Jam is really capable of.

Overall, I enjoyed the album for the few tracks that made me tap my foot and feel the energy. Tracks like “Getaway” and “Sirens” have excellent bass guitar parts, which are actually audible. Most bands today, unlike Pearl Jam who seem to actually focus on consistent instrumentals, only focus on specific parts of ok guitar solos or drum fills. This band has shown skill over the years, but this album removes the fond memories from past albums and replaces them with feelings of animosity. Sadly, this album disappointed me, breaking all trust I had with this band.

FAV TRACKS: Getaway, Sirens, Mind Your Manners

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Lighting Bolt, Swallowed Whole, and Yellow Moon

Score: (6.3/10)


AUTHOR’S BIO

Noah Frey attends Jesuit College Prep. in Dallas, TX. His hobbies include sleeping, listening to the same song for hours without getting bored, and getting distracted eas-SQUIRREL!!!

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“Insomnia EP” Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Insomnia Album Review

Throatruiner Records

Released December 15, 2013

Genre: Crust Punk, Hardcore Punk, Blackened Punk

Far away from the Land of the Free, America, the culturally rich country of France resides between Spain and Germany. It is a hotspot of great dining, historical artifacts and vibrant fashion.

The “crusty” punk group Elizabeth aims to celebrate their homeland by assaulting the world with extremely heavy and unwieldy music. Although these adjectives sound questionable, they accurately describe Elizabeth’s sound, yet this extremely short release falls just a bit short of great. (NOTE: This is NOT a band for the lighthearted.)

The EP opens with blasting drums reminiscent of black death metal, but then very clean and melodic guitars are dashed into the mix, demonstrating influence of post-hardcore. This mixing of influences makes for a great opener. A little more experimentation with sounds at the end of the song would have made it a phenomenal track.

The next two songs on this four-track affair come and go like the wind through the leaves; I gained nothing while listening to these tracks. “Created Enemies” has a few decent guitar riffs, but the uninspired drumming completely detracts from the song. One can rely on D-Beat drum beats only for so long before people want something new. “Danger” is slightly more interesting, with ominous strings that liken it to symphonic black metal. However, the song ends without pretense–an irritating pattern that plagues the entire album.

The album closes with “Cemetery Feeling.” This song is better described as an incantation, with unabashedly screeching guitars and pained screams. Their energy is relentless, freely flowing, and the passion never becomes overbearing. The song doesn’t overstay it’s welcome; it ends abruptly, only 90 seconds long, leaving me wanting a better conclusion to the angry typhoon that I just barely survived.

At about eight minutes, Insomnia is a blistering sample of Elizabeth’s sound, but it is not quite enough to get me very excited for what is to come. There’s definitely serious potential on this release: good instrumentation, and a good taste in influences. However, this album is lacking in its song composition. It needs a little more “oomph” with the instrumentation, and more variation (every song is the exact same tempo). Still, be on the lookout for the French menaces of Elizabeth; hopefully, in the future, their material will be more captivating.

FAV TRACKS: Ravens, Cemetery Feeling

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Created Enemies, Danger

Score: (6.9/10)

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“Kinship” Unconditional Arms

Unconditional Arms

Kinship Album Review

Self Released

Released September 24, 2013

Genre: Post Rock, Ambient, Drone

Beauty is quite a spectacle. To see and behold beauty becomes so surreal in reality it almost becomes mythical by nature. Yet, once our senses align back on earth we begin to see the true beauty that we perceive as truly “divine”; and I guess by human nature we feel the compulsive need to document it; mostly through pictures, videos etc. it ends up on Instagram, Twitter, or Flickr, perhaps being immortalized, frozen in time. Every pixel a memory of the first look of beauty and its sheer, immaculate innocence.

If you haven’t held a newborn baby in your arms then you’re gonna have a hard time comprehending this project. This album is dedicated to a newborn boy, with emotions flooding, realizations coming to mind and the future becoming imminent on the horizon. For Jeffery Wright, the medium of music, in all its unimaginable ties to beauty, captured the emotions he felt when his newborn son was born, along with it, Kinship. (Congrats By The Way!)

Post Rock can unarguably sound too generic to become enjoyable or to become distinct to seasoned and unseasoned listeners alike. With clean guitars and triumphant production, the bands blend sounds with their seven to thirteen minute long tracks, consequently wringing the genre out dry. The way Kinship opens up with “Family Tree” should feel welcoming to post-rock lovers, but the feeling feels all too familiar, like a scraped track from an Explosions in the Sky album. The Texas band wouldn’t look down with disdain on Wright’s inspiration, however Wright rarely drifts into a sound that is his “own”.

Let it be art or a tribute but being known as “new ” music, there isn’t much to differentiate, there’s a lot to classify as “carbon copy” unfortunately. However the song’s general effect of glee and happiness is felt, and I welcomed it with open arms as the song reaches its buoyant end, climaxing into a reverberated wash. But then Wright gets introspective with the theme, especially with the title: “Television On The Weekends”, which I can only guess is the future of the media’s impact on his son. Anxious yet patient plucking slowly crawl over the quiet atmosphere, balancing the feel between overbearing and minimal. Here Wright’s parental gears kick in and the song becomes a protective ode or perhaps an observational one; it never climaxes yet stands still, frozen in its beauty of clean tremolo.

As if calculating the moments, Wright bring in “First Look”, a triumphant ballad that’s seethes with drums, a supporting bass and a little distorted tremolo. Here the sound begins to progress more triumphantly, here his sound grows up. It’s almost sudden to leave the calm feel of the first two tracks but  life  does tend to become quite sudden after all time is fleeting. The tracks on this LP are never long nor are they too short. None are considered interludes or epics, but yet they still deliver that effect of self consciousness and beauty. When they both meet the songs stay put in reality, never reaching heavenly or towering proportions. On Kinship that’s where Wright fails.

Bringing in some drone and ambiance in to the post rock fold, the sound that Wright has becomes way TOO FAMILIAR. Post Rock is, again, a tough act to make your own. Wright doesn’t really accomplish a turning point in the album but merely reiterates its divine presence, its glorious effect. However the effect becomes choppy due to his transitions. The transition to “Transition and Finality” drags on way too long and the pace stops cold. On an album preoccupied with the future and keeping up with the present, Wright finds himself dead still in his tracks.

But “Conscious Whirr” finds him, coincidentally, conscious of his point in time, and in the album, and with some drums and more supporting instrumentation, he catches up to himself. Interestingly enough the lullaby “Rest” feels as if he’s arrived home and at his only known means of communicating, he puts his son and the album to a peaceful slumber, pausing time for the next chapter in the lives of his musical career and son, treasuring each minute.

Kinship is a bit more focused than most post rock albums because of its prompt, the birth of Wright’s son. So the thematic focus remains strong, yet finding an aspect worth remembering in the music as opposed to other post rock acts remains troubling and  irritating for there is rarely any. The music fits the blueprint of post rock but with some ambiance and drone influences. If Wright brought in some ambition just to push himself further, this project could go somewhere. For now however, he’s stuck in time with his surroundings and for him, it’s where he wants to be and as he takes it in everything comes into the light, in all its beauty and it stands resolute against time.

FAV TRACKS: Television On The Weekends, First Look, Conscious Whirr

LEAST FAV TRACK: Transition and Finality

Score: (5.9/10)

Interview With A Silent Film and Concert Review!

A Message From CEO and Co-Founder Jon Birondo,
On Sunday Night, October 3,2013, English piano rock band A Silent Film came to Dallas for a show at the Kessler Theater. I had seen a brief portion of their show at Edgefest 23 and their music, insanely catchy and vibrant, left me wanting more from a live performance. Unfortunately I was unable to attend their show. Luckily two great friends of mine went and happily offered to give them an interview, frantically Michael and I quickly came up with a few questions and here’s how it all turned out! Thanks again Maddie and Martin!
#KeepItNeat

A Silent Film Concert Review By Madeline and Martin Flores

On Sunday night, piano rock band A Silent Film took the stage at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff. They put on an incredibly personal performance that left the crowd wanting more, a performance that was extremely balanced musically. Just like on their 2012 album, Sand & Snow, they displayed balanced elements throughout. The venue allowed for their show to be extremely intimate and let raw, powerful emotions to bleed through as they flaunted their compelling chemistry and passion for their craft with bona fide rock star enthusiasm. They are consistently passionate and inviting to crowd interaction. Every person in the room felt a personal connection with what was happening on stage. It felt as cozy as having them in your own living room.

After the incredible show, we sat down with frontman Robert Stevenson. We first asked about the band’s history and how A Silent Film got started. “Spencer and I used to be in competing bands at school. We both played drums. Spencer is our drummer now. […] And he won, because he’s the better drummer. And I started being like a guitarist and a frontman. So we started, like, joining together.” The band originated in Oxford in 2005. Since their humble beginnings, the group has released two albums, toured, and played tons of festivals. However, A Silent Film’s accelerating popularity is no surprise.We’ve concluded that this band produces what we call “rock for the soul”. They include intuitive beats that drive each song in a progressive direction that takes listeners on a journey. Some songs start gentle and tender piano playing, and grow into powerful, soaring, soul-filling riffs with roaring guitars or strings (Danny, Dakota, and the Wishing Well and Anastasia are prime examples). The synth phrases included in almost every song –  would otherwise seem out of place – are also included to create a more complete sound. The bass grooves are so under the radar, but they make the songs unique and danceable. They pair catchy melodies with deep, emotional lyrics which create songs that are memorable. Songs are easy to sing along to even if you don’t think about the lyrics, but if you choose to dissect the lyrics, you get a profound meaning that can apply to almost any life experience and that matters to people. Stevenson commented on the band’s lyrics saying “We try to just talk about things in a way that other people can understand them as well. We don’t want to alienate people by making it so personal that other people can’t understand what we’re talking about whatsoever. […] If you make it personal but a little bit oblique, then other people can draw their own interpretation.” Stevenson’s inflection and range deserve credit for much of the impact that the lyrics have. The band presents serious pop potential with every song that is great for any time of the day. It’s music that you wouldn’t be ashamed of.Their music is touching. There’s no other word for it.


Interview With A Silent Film

PNG: I guess I’ll start with how did A Silent Film meet?

Stevenson: Spencer and I used to be in competing bands at school. We both played drums.
Spencer is our drummer now. And we played this gig at school, and he was in one band and I
was in the other.

PNG: “School”, like high school?

Stevenson: Yeah, it was literally like School of Rock. [laughs] It was a normal school! But we
were both in bands, but we were in competing bands. And he won, because he’s the better
drummer. And I started being like a guitarist and a frontman. So we started like joining together.
And from there we met Ali along the way. And very, very recently we met the guitarist who’s
playing with us, James, who joined us about a month ago. So this is the freshest, most new A
Silent Film [you’ve] ever seen.

PNG: Who is your biggest influence? Like, what do you model yourself after?

Stevenson: It’s so hard. So many people, and we try to use the word “inspiration” rather than
“influence” because “influence” implies that you’re kind of perhaps imitating something. Where
as “inspiration”, you kind of take it on board, and then you do your own thing. So, the people
that really amazed me when I was growing up would be Radiohead, […] and they come from the
same town as us and they’ve always been a huge inspiration to us. I’ve always loved old sort of
60s songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and people like that. Just people that
really wrote music that will last the test of time. That’s inspiring to me.

PNG: Nice. So unfortunately Martin could not be there, but I saw you guys at Edgefest, and my
question about that is: was there anyone there who was also performing that you were really
excited about?

Stevenson: We, um (laughs) we were sharing a dressing room with Paramore, but they were
coming after us.

PNG: Whoa!

Stevenson: I know! But basically as these things go, is that we were an early band in the day, as
you know, so we were in the dressing room, and then we were kicked out of the dressing room,
then Paramore came into the dressing room.

PNG: Well you can still say that you were in the same room as Hayley Williams… just not at the
same time.

Stevenson: Yeah, I used the same fridge. That’s my claim. (laughs)

PNG: Stagedive or mosh pit?

Stevenson: (laughs) I’ve never done either.

PNG: What?!

Stevenson: Well, I mean maybe. Okay, I’ll tell you. When I was younger, I would [have said]
mosh pit. I’m not really good with loads of people touching me, I don’t think I’d like stagediving.
It’s a little too intimate.

PNG: Uh, I don’t know why this is on here, but hardcore or screamo?

Stevenson: Ahhh! Hey, look. I don’t know the difference- both of them sound really rough to me.
I’m quite [chill]. You saw that show. I like melodies. Hardcore or screamo? They don’t seem to
sound [inaudible] to me.

PNG:
Speaking of which, what can we expect for the next album?

Stevenson: I am so excited to write a new record. I mean, I don’t know, I just got to a point in my
life when I’m just so determined to do something important and make music that really matters
to people. I don’t want to follow any kind of formula or routine. And I want to surprise people
as well. It’s really important to me to not just regurgitate something you’ve done before. So
surprising and important. That’s all I’ve got to say.

PNG: What’s working with your label like?

Stevenson: We don’t have a label. We are fiercely independent. We have no, like… Some
bands seem to get themselves in a position where they sign away… basically they take a load
of money, and for that they give away a certain amount of control. So they have people that
have given them the money that tell them how their music should sound in order for them to
make more money. We just think that’s nonsense. We think it’s a [inaudible]. We don’t want
to be part of it [soon], and we very much just work our ways doing this on our own terms. It
just seems really alien to us to basically relate the making of the money to having to change
fundamentally what we do. What we do needs to be the vehicle to make the money, not the
making the money is the vehicle to change us into whatever it is they want. That’s important to
us so for that reason, we’ve rarely found label partners that can do that because they are all
about making money.

PNG: Can we do one more?

Stevenson: Yeah, shoot.

PNG: Can you talk about your writing style, and mainly the lyrics, what are the inspirations for
those? Are the artists you mentioned earlier more inspirations musically or lyrically?

Stevenson:
Lyrically, definitely. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell are two of the people that are
hugely inspirational lyrically because, like, they are just such great poets I think. And yeah, it’s
equally the music as much as the lyrics. So for us, writing is a very personal experience. We
try to just talk about things in a way that other people can understand them as well. We don’t
want to alienate people by making it so personal that other people can’t understand what we’re
talking about whatsoever. You know what I mean? If we made it so personal, then other people
wouldn’t be able to relate to it perhaps. If you make it personal but a little bit oblique, then other
people can draw their own interpretation. I think that’s really, really important.

PNG:
Pretty Neat Grooves should give you a follow on Twitter. Will you follow them back?

Stevenson:
Of course!


AUTHORS’ BIO

Madeline Flores
Madeline Flores is a senior at Ursuline Academy. Similar to Albert Einstein, she has no special talents – she is only passionately curious.

Martin Flores

Martin Flores attends Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas,TX. He enjoys DJing EDM music, baseball and drinking water.

DARKSIDE-PSYCHIC

“Psychic” Darkside

Darkside

Psychic Album Review

Matador/Other People Records

Released October 4, 2013

Genre: Ambient, Electronica, Microhouse, Downtempo, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental Dance

Michael White said it best in his Disclosure review: “…electronic music has always been a hard genre to comprehend”. This difficulty to comprehend is partly due to the instrumentation and scope of sounds, though variable through progressive house and minimal techno, being very limiting. Consequently the styles then tend to blend. However, a considerable amount of years ago the incorporation of non electronic instruments opened that limited scope exponentially wider. So going into this album, being completely new to the sounds of wizard Nicholas Jaar, I expected nothing astounding from a Microhouse album, but with Psychic, the assume pun, a common tidbit of wisdom learned in middle school, smeared itself all over my inexperienced, arrogant countenance.

Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington, touring guitarist for Jaar’s solo projects, approach the Microhouse genre with a rock influence. The rock grooves commonly found on a Jim Morrison album poke out along the haze of reverberated vocals, synths, and layered, fuzzy textures. The opening track, “Golden Arrow” slowly grooves as it pushes you into the album’s world, but even within the first three minutes that microcosm of sound established is cemented in your mind. However, the track does linger since it’s eleven and a half minutes long and it takes four minutes to finally become interesting. For an opening track, it’s a risky move with an album that’s progressing from its other works. It worked well with me, but for others it’ll be a slow burner.

The album boasts other great tracks such as “Paper Trails”, where Jaar’s disjointed vocals caress the scattered, smooth guitar licks from Harrington. There’s also a great texture in air with a prickly, fuzzy aesthetic tickling the listener’s ear and psychedelic swirls meshing around in the beginning being led by the rhythmic snapping of fingers. The whole song seems so stripped down, but at the same time, it’s very impressive. At this moment, rock and electronica/Microhouse begin to work, meld, and connect on the same plane.

Now album pinnacle “The Only Shrine I’ve Seen” truly shines; the balance between rock and electronica are smoothed out and the magnitude of the sound kicks up a notch and neither parties (rock and electronica) hold back. Whether it be the electronic drones or the steady percussion with Harrington’s reverberated licks, they both push at each other until equilibrium is achieved through swirling synths, gentle piano chords, and a subtle organ.

It’s a grooving tune that progresses into a calming, relaxing ballad, and to me, any progressive track is in its own form comes off with an aspect that can tickle anyone’s personal interests. This approach is resounded through “Freak, Go Home” where the heavy synths subtly overpower the rock drums, but the percussion takes its industrial, menacing toll by the end to produce a lasting impact on the listener.

Ending this streak of strong and cohesive tracks, the song “Greek Light” starts of great with heavy synths and sampling (some from the ride Space Mountain, I swear it sounds like it), but thirty seconds in a piercing screech stabs at the eardrums. I’m pretty sure it’s the scourge of all our middle school days: the recorder. It’s irritating and really just starts the song off on a bad note. Even with Jaar’s choppy vocals, the song doesn’t carry the strengths Psychic has to offer; however, with “Metatron”, they pick themselves up tremendously and end the album on a great note.

I never imagined that I would like this album upon reading about it on Pitchfork. It’s appeal through the textures, grooves, and musicianship surprised me more than ever. This album is layered, impressive, groovy, and just overall confident; it even has me engaged, intrigued, scared, and relaxed all at once. I haven’t encountered an album that can do that until now, and that’s a strong feat to accomplish for a listener. I do have to say that Nicholas Jaar and his projects are staying on my music radar for the forseeable future. His versatile creativity and overall progression as an artist is something the whole world should keep an eye on.

With Psychic, everything Jaar can accomplish and achieve falls into place, smoothly and gracefully, and it becomes much more easier under his control. Darkside fail to make this a rock album. They fail to make this an electronic album, but what they’ve created can only be classified as a Darkside album and it’s revolutionary in its own right.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Golden Arrow, Heart, Paper Trails, The Only Shrine I’ve Seen, Freak, Go Home, Metatron

LEAST FAV TRACK:Greek Light

Score: (9.3/10)

Check out Darkside’s side project, Daftside (basically the same people just a different name) and their track-by-track remix of Random Access Memories. Click Here to hear Random Access Memories Memories By Daftside

feed-me_calamari-tuesday-highres-use-this

“Calamari Tuesday” Feed Me

Feed Me

Calamari Tuesday Album Review

Sotto Voce

Released October 14, 2013

Genre: Dubstep, Electro House

Feed Me has recently come out with his first full length EP, which is surprising with all of the music that he has produced.  Nevertheless, the standard that Jon Gooch has set over the last few years is kept up in this album.  He continues a tradition of high quality productions and truly does take a positive step forward in his production career.  Gooch, in the days leading up to his album release, expressed his distaste for the DJing lifestyle and how he to primarily produce music instead of traveling to entertain live audiences, and I am personally fine with that direction.  He did not back down with this album and even with all of the hype, the album impressed me greatly.

His album addresses more genres than I would say he traditionally has, with Feed Me’s Escape from Electric Mountain and Death by Robot, which primarily has a more dubsteppy feel with an electric-house style on the side.  In this album he really shows us more shades of what his production style is and has the potential to be.  Jon dabbles in trap with the track “Rap Trap” which would impress any veteran to the sub-genre, and in “Chinchilla” Gooch displays his skill in a sort of deep bassy complextro.

Despite this deviation, he does stick to his guns with bass that definitely leaves nothing to be desired.  Despite the positive aspects of the album, the opener “Orion” is rather lackluster and I’m not ready to roll for the rest of the album after hearing it.  Also, the track “Dazed” really isn’t that exciting of a track and doesn’t add much of a positive light to the album and contribute to the album as a whole.  Some of the album feels a little awkward with

I am truly excited by what the British producer has in his future with this release.  I really can’t say much more than this is a straight-up quality album that flows well between each of the tracks.  He defines himself with this albums and shows the listener what Feed Me is truly capable.  I’m not a fan of seafood but I know what I’m having tonight (I had to make a horrible pun somewhere…)

 Pretty Neat Music

FAV TRACKS: Ebb & Flow, Death by Robot, Rat Trap, Love is All I Got, Short Skirt

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Orion, Dazed

Score: (8.8/10)

Young-the-Giant-Its-About-Time

“It’s About Time” Young The Giant

Young The Giant

It’s About Time Track Review

Fueled By Ramen Records

Released October 28,2013

Genre: Indie Rock

California based indie rock quintet Young The Giant drop “It’s About Time” as the lead single for their upcoming sophomore LP, Mind Over Matter. While their debut eponymous LP did have some strong tracks (“My Body”, “Cough Syrup”, “I Got”), the rest of the album failed to venture out into new territory, displaying nothing but empty, generic and bland indie rock tunes that fit perfectly into what every indie rock band produced at the time. However with the sun soaked vocals and melodies, vintage, clean guitar picking and buoyant drumming, the album captivated many fans.

Here they improve their sound just a little by distorting their sound with some garage-rock attitude.The distorted riff pummels through the song and the energy is bombastic and relentless. But Young The Giant again fail to deliver a song that is different from every indie rock artist and as the song reaches its end for the riff rarely switches up; in the end it becomes a track that can be tossed into the “heard this, heard that” box and quickly it becomes forgotten. Ironically, the adventurous track art is a place where this song fails to go, anywhere new and worth staying.

Score: (5.7/10)