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‘Control” 7stbaby

7stbaby

Control Album Review

Got Wrong Records

Released January 31, 2014

Genre: Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Grunge

Happy Holidays! In the spirit of the season, we are gifting the interwebs with a review of the new 7stbaby record, Control.

7stbaby is a group hailing from the U.K., delivering an innovative take on hard rock. Straddling genres such as grunge and stoner rock, theses guys play a heavy style that takes a step in a different direction from many rock groups, but still sounds familiar.

The album opens up with the track, “Behind the Looking Glass,” initiating the record with very lofty guitar notes that change into a very sandy and dark guitar riff. This song is a great representation of what this band has to offer, with odd passages within the song that incorporate dissonance and bold guitar noodling.

The songs that immediately follow this track are disappointing, however. “Somebody’s B***h” and “Psycho” feel empty and almost haphazard. “Psycho” is reminiscent of nu-metal, leaving a bad taste in the mouth for those who don’t appreciate the style. “Somebody’s” does a nice job of sounding gruff and unforgiving, but the abrupt whispering section throws the listener off.

The rest of the album is much better, serving as a palette cleanser for the two not-as-great tracks. For instance, the lyrics in “Leave Me To Bleed” are great. “I find solace in a scream:” now that’s dark. The songs also has a cool Soundgarden feel, with odd-time signatures that actually serve a purpose. From “Control” to “Pale Horse,” 7stbaby explores many different musical ideas, especially on “Pale Horse.” This is where the band really shines, implementing ethereal vocals with acoustic guitar, sounding very ambient and beautiful. All these different ideas may keep your head spinning, but each song is satisfying.

7stbaby will release their debut on Got Wrong Records in January 2014.

FAV TRACKS: Behind The Looking Glass, Leave Me to Bleed, Pale Horse

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Somebody’s B***h, Psycho
Score: (7.2/10)

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My 2013 in Music: Michael White

 

Favorite Albums of 2013
(Some have not been covered on the site)
(Click on album for link to review)
10) Abandon All Life” Nails
9) “Meir” Kvelertak
8) “Whenever, If Ever” The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
7) “Thee Way Eye See It” CJ Fly
6) “Settle” Disclosure
5) “Eros/Anteros” Oathbreaker
4) “The Greatest Generation” The Wonder Years
3) “13.0.0.0.0” This Town Needs Guns
2) “Sunbather” Deafheaven
1) “Is Survived By” Touché Amoré

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Favorite Tracks of 2013
I’m only doing three’s from now on, because no one wants to read that much, and I don’t want to type that much-(Click on track for link to song)
3) “Just Exist” Touché Amoré
2) “Dream House” Deafheaven
1) “Type of Way” Rich Homie Quan/ “When A Fire Starts To Burn” Disclosure

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Most Overrated Artists of 2013
3) Kanye West

Now I know people reading this are saying, “you rated Yeezus so high!”
*Correction: JON rated Yeezus so high. *
I don’t want to hear you rap about stuff I don’t have over a bunch of Nine Inch Nails knockoff beats. The problems I have for Yeezus are the same I have for so many experimental hip-hop projects: noisy production doesn’t excuse boring lyrics. Kanye is very good normally, but he was way too worshiped this year.
2) Imagine Dragons
Why does a rock group have to feel so synthetic and contrived to be well-received nowadays. This band is more bubble-gum than most bubble-gum pop groups.
1) Lorde
See Jon’s opinion on her on his end of year list. Exactly the same thing; for once we see eye-to-eye. Go sip your frappuccino somewhere else; some of us prefer soda. No further comments.

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Revisited Oldies/ Past Albums of 2013
*Some old albums that I dug up this year that are worth the time, money and listen. [I will do more than 3 for this one, you greedy pigs :)]

  • “1999” Joey Bada$$
  • “Grow Up, Dude” You Blew It!
  • “Frame and Canvas” Braid
  • “Caution” Hot Water Music
  • “Witness” Modern Life is War
  • “Fragile” Yes
  • “Floral Green” Title Fight
  • “Dark Hearts” Slingshot Dakota
  • “Diary” Sunny Day Real Estate

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Most Dissapointing AlbumsYeezus, I don’t know anymore albums that let me down this year…

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Guilty Pleasure Songs of 2013“Honest” Future
“Work Remix” A$ap Ferg, feat. A$ap Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Trinidad James, French Montana
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” Drake
Honorable Mentions“One Of Us Is The Killer” The Dillinger Escape Plan
“Caught Between a Rock and a Sad Place” Gatherer
“No Room For Light” Fevers
2013 Music Highlights
Every show, and every song; Starting this website, and everything that has happened as a result. Thank you for the support, especially our personal friends at home, and Deathwish Inc., Topshelf Records, Sub Pop, Sleigh Bells, Slingshot Dakota, Cruel Hand, and Weebly. #KeepItNeat.
2013 Music Lowlights
All this confusion about Justin Bieber’s retirement.

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The Best of 2013

TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR*

Of the 55 album/EP reviews we did, these are the highest scoring ten. Of course they’re all…”Pretty Neat”.

10) “Settle” Disclosure

91C4ByfzfUL._SL1500_A smart, hook driven record that can move a dance floor in any era; a timeless achievement that accomplishes consistency, memorability and audacity. Take it for what it is: one hell of a debut.”

9) “Jake Bugg” Jake Bugg

jake bugg BIG“Bugg’s raw, natural talent and skill flow like a Johnny Cash record in 2013: nostalgic, heartfelt, bold and magnificent. At this point, that’s exactly what it is”

8) “Yeezus” Kanye West

yeezus-new-cover” No one is making music like this anywhere, where else can you find an artist mashing together Nina Simone and TNGHT?!”

7) “Modern Vampires of the City” Vampire Weekend

vampire-weekend-modern-vampires-of-the-city “Any doubts about adulthood are brushed away and replaced with hope and promise on this coming of age album”

6) “Psychic” Darkside

DARKSIDE-PSYCHIC “Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington destroy the line between rock music and electronic music as they change the shapes, textures and sounds into imaginative landscapes.”

5) “Reflektor” Arcade Fire

130909-arcade-fire-reflektor-album-cover-art-cropped-hi-res “A masterful transcending of genre, Arcade Fire have cultivated a danceable yet introspective record; a magnum opus for a new age of music.”

4) “Sunbather” Deafheaven

deafheaven-sunbather-cover“A landmark feat in music that few metal bands accomplish: to turn music expected to be angry into something beautiful and leaving a lasting, sonic legacy in the process. This is what music should ALWAYS strive to do”

3) “…Like Clockwork” Queens of the Stone Age

like-clockwork-hd-2-626x626“A rock album that never hesitates to blow your brain up to astronomical heights”

2) “Get Wet” Krewella

Krewella-Get-Wet-album-artwork“The party shouldn’t stop and “Get Wet” is that polemic argument that keeps it going and going and going.”

1) “Is Survived By” Touché Amoré

Is_Survived_By“Introspective yet abrasive; challenging yet melodic, this is a band that took it to the next level through all the challenges. Well done.”

TOP 5 TRACKS OF THE YEAR*

*Yes we are aware that the list is under par. There were much better tracks released this year. But of the ten we reviewed, here are the top 5.

5) “Rap God” Eminem

Eminem_Rap_God“Eminem’s speed and wit still maintains it’s fresh and appealing enigma after all these years.”

4) “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” Cults

cults-i-can-hardly-make-you-mine-new-song“Cults’ trademark sound gets stabbed at by semi-rough chords and it still stays dreamy enough to be called a Cults single.”

3) “Mankind” Doomriders

dooomriders-grandblood” A sludgy, dark single that progress and succeeds in finding the light at the end of the nightmare it has lingered in”

2) “Reflektor” Arcade Fire

Reflektorsingle ” A post-disco epic that climaxes into a tunnel of dance; a crowning achievement in their discography.”

1) “Hold On, We’re Going Home” Drake

Hold-On-Were-Going-Home“A single that transcends Drake’s musical range and yet he manages it to seduce it into his control.”

To Everyone,

Thank you for your support over these past four months. Honestly we never envisioned us making it this far. With over 28,000 page views and numerous followers, likes and relationships with record companies and bloggers all over the world, we’re still shocked at the success of Pretty Neat Grooves. What started as a simple idea from Michael and Jon, turned into something greater and as long as we have your support, we couldn’t ask for anything else.

We will return on January 13, 2014 with more reviews and interviews, more praise and criticism to fuel your eclectic musical desires. 2013 was a great year for music and we were glad to share our experiences with it with you. Be prepared for 2014, big things are gonna happen. Also thanks for putting up with our grammar mistakes. We promise we’ll be more careful next year. :)

We send our thanks to our friends and family, as well as Will Butler, Fevers, Gatherer, Deathwish Inc., Topshelf Records, Derek from Sub Pop, Got Wrong Records, 7stbaby, Hunter Hauk, Weebly, Stephanie Marlow, Throatruiner Records, Cruel Hand, Slingshot Dakota, Sleigh Bells, A Silent Film, We Are Twin, Noise Trade, Ray Ricky Rivera of Amoeba Music, CSR FM, TEAM and everyone else that gave us a chance. Stay gold.

Keep listening to music, keep searching for new music and keep expanding your musical horizons. But always #KeepItNeat

Take Care and Happy Holidays,

The Pretty Neat Grooves Team 2013

CEO/Co-Founders
Jon Birondo
Michael White
CFO
Jimmy Merkel

Senior Editors

Jon Birondo
Michael White
EDM Correspondent
Drew Curran
Staff Writers
Jon Birondo
Drew Curran
Michael White
Associate Staff Writer
John Jackson
ADVERTISING/BUSINESS
Chris Ayres
Jimmy Merkel
Michael White
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Chris Ayres
Will Butler
Nick Eastep
Madeline Flores
Martin Flores
Noah Frey
John Jackson

YEEZUS

My 2013 in Music: Jon Birondo

 


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Most Overrated Artists of 2013
6) Hoodie Allen
I don’t think his flow is great or his lyricism, but the whole vibe of his songs are really fun. But in the end, they’re forgettable, meaningless and the hype he’s received over the past year is undeserving. His album? Underwhelming. Sorry.
5) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Their pop-rap hits such as “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”, I have to admit, are catchy as heck and they’re talented without a doubt. But with the level of hype they’ve garnered over the past year, their debut album, The Heist, was a bit underwhelming for the filler tracks outweighed the hits. I’m still looking forward to their future projects but they’re overrated nonetheless.
4) The Knife
There’s nothing artistic, appealing or memorable in their music. It sounds like they left video games, National Geographic documentaries and fourth grade recorder recital tapes on all at once and they keep yelling for someone to turn it off with their esoteric and annoying vocals. Please do, it’s not music. It’s a manic drum circle that lasts for an hour and a half.
3) The Neighbourhood
Their debut is composed of cringe worthy lyrics, tremolo turned up to 11 and weak hooks. I don’t see the big hype over them, honestly. Other than “How” and “Sweater Weather”, both decent tracks, the rest is as forgettable as the Ferris Bueller TV Show. That’s right, they made it a TV show.
2) Imagine Dragons
Their calculating fusion of electronic rock and alternative rock sacrifices everything that makes rock what it is in order to just appeal to pop culture and it’s something I cant deal with. The styles on Night Visions are very different stylistically, leaving you with a very disjointed experience. With only a few tracks to really enjoy, their hype is overrated. Plus I believe the radio killed them too, hearing “Radioactive” and “Demons” 1,000,000,000,000 times a day makes me hate those songs so much more.
1) Lorde
I just don’t see the appeal in an artist who creates forgettable songs with little to no musical elements and esoteric, sarcastic lyricism. “Royals” is probably the most annoying song of 2013, period.

Revisited Oldies/ Past Albums of 2013
*Some old albums that I dug up this year that are worth the time, money and listen. Yeah I listened to A LOT of albums this year. This isn’t all of it.

  • “good kid, m.A.A.d city” Kendrick Lamar
  • “An Awesome Wave” Alt-J
  • “Late Registration” Kanye West
  • “Paul’s Boutique” Beastie Boys
  • “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  • “The Wall” Pink Floyd
  • “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” Wilco
  • “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” Neutral Milk Hotel
  • “Kid A” Radiohead
  • “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” The Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Turn On The Bright Lights” Interpol
  • “Bloom” Beach House
  • “Strange Mercy” St. Vincent
  • “Dirty” Sonic Youth
  • “The Year of Hibernation” Youth Lagoon
  • “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” M83
  • “Celebration Rock” Japandroids
  • “Lonerism” Tame Impala
Most Dissapointing Albums
*face-palm*

“Comedown Machine” The Strokes 

They can’t find a step to progress from their last album, Angles, and frankly that depresses me to no end. Forgettable rock tune after forgettable rock tune. Come on guys!
“Magna Carta…Holy Grail” Jay Z   
Way too long, nothing authentic with the lyricism and Jay Z is still rapping about his money and riches. However, the instrumentation and production is solid.
“MGMT” MGMT    
Nothing memorable or catchy from them here; almost feels like they’re deliberately pushing everything we love about them away. Big disappointment.
The 20/20 Experience-2 of 2″ Justin Timberlake   
An album filled with a bunch of forgettable, lazily written, overdone and lengthy B-sides that was both a waste of JT’s time and ours. SMH JT, SMH.
Most Played Songs of 2013
*”On repeat! On repeat”
Has to be either “Dream House” by Deafheaven or “The Wire” by HAIM. On “Dream House” Daniel Tracy’s drumming still astounds me, if I can play on the drums, then I’m set. His speed is lightning fast and overall drumming, dexterous and his fills, oh his fills! On “The Wire”, the hooks are so catchy it’s ridiculous and the R&B induced vocals meet Fleetwood Mac vibe is nostalgic and great. Also maybe “I Wanna Be Yours” by the Arctic Monkeys. Upon first listen I hated it but the haunting vocals and subdued tempo are some aspects that I find calming and worth the repeated listen.
Guilty Pleasure Songs of 2013
*There’s no explanation as to why I love these songs. Just accept it and listen to them, they’re all really, really good. I have no shame in liking these songs. Whether it be satanic, hedonistic, cheesy, corny, arrogant or just plain wrong, I still love it for an apparent reason I can’t seem to find.

  • “We Can’t Stop” Miley Cyrus
  • “Blurred Lines feat. T.I. and Pharrell” Robin Thicke
  • “Applause” Lady Gaga
  • “Berzerk” Eminem
  •  “Chocolate” The 1975
  • “Cruise-Remix” Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly
  • “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” Portugal. The Man
  • “Infestissumam” Ghost B.C
  • “Story Of My Life” One Direction
  • “Timber” Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
  • “Honeymoon Avenue” Ariana Grande
  • “Work Remix” A$AP Ferg (feat. A$ap Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Trinidad James, French Montana)
  • “Pom Poms” Jonas Brothers

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Honorable Mentions
*Albums that didn’t make my list but deserve the utmost attention. (in no particular order)
“Acid Rap” Chance The Rapper
“Settle” Disclosure
“Is Survived By” Touché Amoré
“Vessel” Twenty One Pilots
“Paradise Valley” John Mayer
“Nothing Was The Same” Drake
“lousy with sylvianbriar” Of Montreal
“Fade Away EP” Best Coast
“Virgins” Tim Hecker
“We Are Twin EP” WE ARE TWIN
“Get Wet” Krewella
“Silence Yourself” Savages
“Doris” Earl Sweatshirt
“If You Wait” London Grammar

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2013 Music Highlights
Music; Seeing Phoenix live in the front row; Seeing Twenty One Pilots live; Seeing Depeche Mode live; Got into Deafheaven; Jeromey- Romey-Romey-Rome; “Dream House” by Deafheaven, the whole freaking song; Hearing HAIM’s “The Wire” for the first time; Meeting Atlas Genius and Capital Cities; Started Pretty Neat Grooves; Yeezus; the (bagpipes?) at the end of Vampire Weekend’s “Unbelievers”; anything after the two minute and forty second mark in “Hannah Hunt”; Spotify’s app update; getting a drum set; performing live for the first time in front of people; Seeing Sugar Ray live; Seeing Smash Mouth live; Inside Llewyn Davis; Daft Punk coming back with disco balls; Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” music video with Danny Brown; Pink Floyd on Spotify; Led Zeppelin on Spotify; swaghili; getting followed on Twitter by Deathwish Inc.; Disclosure getting nominated for a Grammy;  the remix to Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”; “Do I Wanna Know”; getting an interview with Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells for Pretty Neat Grooves;  Kendrick Lamar was nominated for a Grammy!; Jake Bugg; spending my allowance on CDs; Seeing Paramore live; Seeing Hayley Williams in person; Hayley Williams; Seeing Bush live; Seeing Capital Cities live; The riff on “She Will”; THE HARLEM SHAKE; Bound 3 (Vague).

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2013 Music Lowlights
One Direction ripping off The Who; Big Time Rush ripping off Blur; Justin Bieber; Lorde; Imagine Dragons; The Knife; Jake Bugg not getting a Grammy nomination; Jay Z using the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hook on “Holy Grail”; “Royals”; Oasis still aren’t getting back together; Missing the Kanye Concert because of the ice, dang nature; Kanye West not postponing; Lou Reed died; the new Miley Cyrus; Robin Thicke ripping off Marvin Gaye; Seeing Falling in Reverse live; The 20/20 Experience- 2 of 2; “Suit & Tie”;  RZA’s verse on “Molasses”; “Wrecking Ball”; Justin Bieber; We have to wait till 2015 for a new Dead Weather album; Detox still isn’t out; hearing “Royals”; Arcade Fire isn’t coming to Dallas; missing Alt-J and Vampire Weekend in concert; “Finger Back”. The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience getting nominated for a Grammy; Sara Bareilles getting nominated for Album of the Year; hearing “Mirrors”, “Radioactive” and “Wrecking Ball” more than 100,000 times on the radio; Rolling Stone’s review of Deafheaven’s Sunbather.

GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT 2014, I’M WAITING!

 

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“Shangri La” Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg

Shangri La Album Review

Mercury (U.K), Island (U.S) Records

Released November 18, 2013

Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Country, Blues Rock

There are a lot of expectations put on an artist after a debut album so cohesive, raw, and impressive as Jake Bugg’s eponymous debut. Many critics compare him to great musicians like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, the “long lost Gallagher” brother, or even Don McLean. But comparisons shouldn’t be taken into consideration, for Jake Bugg has even refuted the fact that he probably is the new “Bob Dylan” in an interview with The Telegraph:”Bob Dylan’s cool, you know, he’s great, but he’s not a major influence.”

This is a very peculiar observation noting they both share a strong nasally voice, strapped guitars, and similar musical styles. Aside from the critique, Bugg has busied himself by dating supermodels to slamming One Direction’s music to being nominated for the Mercury Prize, and with Shangri La, he isn’t stopping even at his young age of just 19.

Nottingham singer/songwriter Jake Bugg returns with his second full length LP fresh off of the success of his remarkable eponymous debut. Here on Shangri La, we find Bugg at the point of an artistic revolution as the raw and genuine beauty of his folk predecessor is replaced with brisk and rough indie rock tunes and more refined production from the legendary Rick Rubin.

The album opens up with three very fast and abrasive tracks that sound like something Alex Turner would create. However, I feel that the artistic shift doesn’t quite pull off. Aside from the astounding musicianship, Bugg’s slurred vocal delivery and very stagnant lyrical themes don’t really handle the expectations this album had coming for it. He pays off later on with tracks like “Kingpin” where a bluesy rock style comes in and with aspiring lyrics about drugs, Bugg finally has a grasp of the sound and style .

However, Bugg returns to his musical roots with his gentle folk tunes later on the album. From the beautiful ballad “Me & You” to the gentle glide of “A Song About Love” to the raw intimacy of “Pine Trees,” Bugg fully shows that this sound is his own.

In addition to these sentimental tracks, Bugg carries on with his bluesy sound with the tracks “All Your Reasons,” “Kitchen Table,” and “Simple Pleasures”, where simple riffs and instrumentation keep these long tracks interesting and further show Bugg’s superb musical abilities. And just as “Fire” did with his debut, Bugg closes the album off with the vintage tinted “Storm Passes Away”, a great closer to an album by an artist who keeps showing his musical influences through his music, and it works well as if this sound was destined for him making the “new Bob Dylan” comparisons almost prophetic.

Vocally, Bugg shows improvement with his range and dynamic. On his debut, his vocals, although really impressive, did sound a bit rusty, strained, and forced. Here he delivers a smoother, melodic, and higher delivery in terms of pitch and volume. The instrumentation on the album still is the same old set up from his debut: guitar, bass, and drums. But with the more refined production, the tiny details are brought out more making each pluck of the guitar, crash of the cymbal and groove of the bass worth the effort.

Sadly Bugg’s ambition to shift in his music doesn’t quite pay off as his upbeat rock tunes don’t really fit cohesively with his style, and although the production is more refined and lush, Bugg doesn’t really get on top of the rhythms but merely hitches onto it, showing almost no artistic intimacy, control, or dominance. Without it, the passion and grace aren’t present, and the album becomes somewhat of an underwhelming experience.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a bad album. It’s quite impressive, to be quite honest. But with the talent, passion, and devotion that Bugg has shown over the past year, I feel that this album could be much more audacious than it really is. But Bugg is still growing, and if Shangri La is a step towards greatness, then this is a solid foundation and place to start. So keep going Bugg, because now the whole world is eagerly watching and waiting.

FAV TRACKS: Me & You, Messed Up Kids, A Song About Love, Kingpin, Kitchen Table, Simple Pleasures

LEAST FAV TRACKS: There’s A Beast And We All Feed It, What Doesn’t Kill You

Score: (7.0/10)