8a851f3a

“They Want My Soul” Spoon

Spoon

They Want My Soul Album Review

Loma Vista Records

Release August 5, 2014

Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock

Austin, Texas rock outfit Spoon have dabbled in and out of the music industry for quite some time, delivering notable album such as 2002’s Kill The Moonlight and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Both are staple albums in the indie rock/indie pop world, and on their latest release, They Want My Soul, Britt Daniel and crew (along with new member Alex Fischel from lead singer Britt Daniel’s side project Divine Fits, who takes over keyboard and guitar duties) relinquish themselves, stirring up unresolved feelings on love, vulnerability, and heartache. In their defense, and shameless praise, Spoon’s tightly executed mix of rock and pop has always been lauded with studio trickery, interesting experimentation, innovative instrumentation, and sharp, witty lyricism from lead singer Britt Daniel, lyrics that resonate, for the most part, about love, and life.  Teeming with sentimentality, emotion, and chagrin, They Want My Soul shows Spoon at a predictable yet admirable level of musicianship, with more viewpoints on life to keep any fan happy.

The steady opener “Rent I Pay” is, well, the type of song you’d expect from Spoon. Reverberating guitars that strut with Spoon’s familiar prance, Daniel’s forced yet passionate vocals, organs, and a catchy hook open the pod doors for the album. The following track “Inside Out” finds producer Joe Chicarelli masterfully blending ambient keyboards with a dance ready bass, orchestra strings, and a harp, proving that these guys aren’t afraid to experiment, even if it’s something as small as classical instruments. The track also features Daniel singing impressive lyricism connecting love and gravity, and towards the end the song sounds a bit spacey, with wobbly synths and harps echoing off into the atmosphere.

But, as any Spoon fan should know, what’s a Spoon album without a groovy rock tune? The answer is “Rainy Taxi”, and it shows Daniel going past the chagrin of love and going more towards independence and self empowerment. The only thing this song lacks is a catchy hook. But look past the hook-riddled preconceptions, and you’ll find a worthwhile pop tune, especially in a Spoon album. These guys are known for their lack of choruses, and unconventional lyrical structures.

The single “Do You” dropped a few weeks backs, finding Daniel despondent on his typical “45th Avenue” (see “Everything Hits At Once”). It’s the song every Spoon song has heard, but also one that every Spoon song hasn’t heard, meaning it comes off as typical Spoon, but in the end it’s a great improvement from their other works, and a standout single. There are more standouts on this album as well like the noisy “Knock Knock Knock”, which seamlessly blends acoustic guitars, electric drums, and feedback into a pretty catchy tune, that never gets too chaotic nor does it get too simplistic. The track then segues into the new wavey “Outlier” where lively keyboards stab the melody as Daniel’s snarky attitude comes into form as a diss to Zach Braff, indicating that no Spoon songs will come into a Zach Braff film anytime soon.

There are other tunes to comb over such as the gimmicky “They Want My Soul”, the piano rock influenced “I Just Don’t Understand”, the spacey “Let Me Be MIne” and the synth-riddled “New York Kiss” (which sounds like a leftover from the Divine Fits LP, but it’s tasteful on a Spoon record). Through these tracks you can hear Spoon’s trademark meticulous and detailed production, down to every instrument and to every beat. The mixture of these track provide an intense environment to fulfill their needs, resulting in a fantastic set of tunes that are hand-crafted beautifully.

And at this point, these songs seem far from easy but also far from difficult. Not to say that these songs are middle-of-road or “meh” but that they’re quintessential Spoon, nothing more or nothing less. These tracks do give the band’s discography a breath of fresh air, but they don’t necessarily push the band into a specific direction. Not that that’s a bad thing but don’t expect Spoon to make any drastic changes to their music (you never know, but from this album, it doesn’t sound imminent).

But that’s where Spoon’s brilliance shines, to be able to brush off any predictions or preconceptions. So what if they were called “Band of the Decade”? They don’t care. Spoon’s mission is to play songs made for and by Spoon. And that to itself is brilliance nonetheless. They Want My Soul sounds like that friend who’s full of optimism:  always putting the team on their back and looking forward, hoping for the best.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Inside Out, Do You, Knock Knock Knock, Outlier, They Want My Soul, Let Me Be Mine, New York Kiss

LEAST FAV TRACK: I Just Don’t Understand

Score: (8.5/10)

 

 

 

htdw-wish-cover

"What Is This Heart?" How To Dress Well

[jcolumns]
How To Dress Well

What Is This Heart? Album Review

Domino/Weird World Records

Released June 23, 2014

Genre: Alternative R&B, Ambient Pop, Electronic R&B, Dream Pop
[jcol/]

[/jcolumns]

Tom Krell’s sophomore release under the How To Dress Well moniker stirs more questions than answers, tackling issues of existentialism, splintering romances and, at a meta scale, the distinct relationship between music and art. Challenging but never perplexing, Krell uncovers facets of himself packaged in a tightly blended mix of R&B, soul and pop. To his merit, How to Dress Well never sinks into the flow of the popular and ironically vapid neo-soul setting himself on unique course with a mentality of piercing resonance. Fused with a deep understanding of melody and phasing, What is this Heart? provides clairvoyance that surpasses saturated and gimmicky pop.

Stripped back opener ‘2 Years On’ sees gingerly plucked strings and oscillating vocal scales exhibit how evocative a skeletal approach to Krell’s sound can be, leading to a polarising appreciation of the artist when revolving back to the more complex dimensions of layered sound like ‘What you Wanted’. We hear a Jay-Dee drum style which echoes the “Hip-Hop” label Krell’s music has accumulated, one I was dubious of originally, and a reserved bassline proving the value of  withdrawal rather than risking a satiation of a track mid-blossom.

Though when rifling through the vast sentiment this album has, there is little held back on Krell’s part. Rings of lethargy and frustration pepper a heart very much in yearning which comes across explicitly lyrically but, to a degree, Krell’s voice plays the part of emotional gauge. Focus past the shell of broody woe and hear the pipe-dream of an adolescent Krell exposing himself to Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder for the first time. Conjugating feeling, personality and honesty, musical upbringing was obviously profoundly fundamental to his cadence as a singer and writer, not to mention his proficient use of sampling in “Face Again’ and pop-sensibilities. Like those that came before, Krell is morphing into a juggernaut of emotional songwriting.

And still, out of these broody depths surfaces some borderline contagious pop sensations such as one the recent single, ‘Repeat Pleasure’. Packed with endorphin raising crescendos and palm muted guitars tracing a sound like Haim, with the obnoxious cliches rinsed out. And even in these rarified uplifts within the record, modesty still illuminates Krell as a wholly talented being instead of a haircut that can whip up a chorus. There’s more to What Is This Heart? than the singles have to offer; not to say that they’re a juvenile representation of How to Dress Well. First single ‘Words I Don’t Remember’ combines lush instrumentals with a minimalist spacing suiting the unfiltered demeanour of it’s creator. However, tracks that leave space, beg for it to be filled. Already a plethora of remixes have cropped up in the web all packing a similar intensity of the original. A testament to the song-writing? I’d say so.

But like Krell, there are shadows existent in the peripheries. Instrumentally wearing at points where the thematic appreciation is encumbered by a hue of woozy synths and rumbling production. ‘Childhood Faith in Love’, a poignant cross-examination of innocent naivety, captures perfectly the nature of change as perspective however the woodpecker piano stabs cannot be ignored sullying the insight and beauty of the writing.

With a penchant for dissection that we, as listeners, can never fully grasp, Krell uses music as a metric for feeling. Dealing with anxiety, love, death and the sub-par expectations of humanity, he possess a level of self-examination we could speculate about. Like Charlie Gordon running parallel to Algernon, Krell has an ever-growing potential shown in the cinematic splendour of ‘Pour Cyril’ leaving me begging for a taking on of more ambitious projects. Only Krell himself can know the dimensions of his heart and for us, we have this record, a first-hand translation of human emotion to music and art.

 

FAV TRACKS: 2 YEARS ON (SHAM DREAM) / REPEAT PLEASURE / WORDS I DON’T REMEMBER / POUR CYRIL

LEAST FAV TRACKS: SEE YOU FALL / CHILDHOOD FAITH IN LOVE (EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE, EVERYTHING MUST STAY THE SAME)

SCORE: (7.2/10)

common-nobodys-smiling-deluxe-cover

"Nobody's Smiling" Common

[jcolumns]
Common

Nobody’s Smiling (Deluxe Edition) Album Review

ARTium, DefJam Records

Released July 22, 2014

Genre: Hip Hop
[jcol/]

[/jcolumns]

“To me, it’s definitely not a Common album, but it’s Common” –Rewind That

In an interview with ESPN’s Rick Fox  (and just about every other opportunity he got to advertise his new album) the well-known, highly praised rapper, Common, stated that this album was made for and made possible by the people of his hometown. The Chicago native, known for his ability to blend the smooth rhythms of hip-hop with his conscious lyrics, structured his latest album, cleverly titled Nobody’s Smiling, to capture the mood lingering about the windy city and address the worsening conditions of the streets of Chiraq.  The perseverance and consistency of pointless violence and crime facilitates this struggle (check out the title track). However, like most of his music, Common addresses his gratitude to the city and certain individuals that helped him to climb the steep mountain top of hip-hop and reach the peak along with many other elite artists in terms of fame and quality of music.

His last album, The Dreamer, The Believer, released in 2011, left many of his core fans, (including myself and a few other fans of his that I know personally) disappointed and somewhat confused due to the fact that the Common that we all knew and loved seemed to have disappeared and had been replaced with a new artist that, in a strange fashion, attempted to be someone that he was not and alter his musical voice and tone. After all of this, it was expected for the Grammy winning lyricist to bounce back from his slow, gradual fall from grace (in hip hop) and get back to basics in terms of rapping about the daily plight and struggle faced by the nation’s poor, black and specifically Chicagoan community. After all, that is how he got to where he is, isn’t it?

People used to listen to his tracks and say, “Hey!  This guy is on to something, he’s rapping about real, tangible things such as the poverty faced by this country and all that goes on behind the scenes in America such as violence and the distribution of drugs like cocaine”. Now signed as a Def Jam artist, Common was set to return to glory by getting back to his bread and butter skills. The album also features artists Lil Herb, Jhené Aiko, Cocaine 80s, Big Sean, Snoh Aalegra, Dreezy, Elijah Blake and Vince Staples. They too contribute greatly to the power, mood, and triumph of Nobody’s Smiling.

In my opinion, Common did just that. Many, if not all of the tracks featured on the album possess a somber tone mixed with a bit of a hard-nosed attitude, descriptions one would typically associate with the notoriously rough streets of Chicago. Although this approach was consistent throughout the album, certain songs really highlighted “the struggle” as well as his pride in Chicago. Also, Common thanks NoID and the late J-Dilla (RIP) for their help and support throughout the years and apologizes for his former neglect towards them, a classy move by all means.

In all honesty, the first time I listened to the entire album, I hated it. I thought that in certain songs such as “No Fear,” his lines were too choppy to groove to and that many other tracks were crowded by unnecessary noise that ruined an otherwise great beat such as that in “Speak My Piece”. BUT, I decided to give it another shot and I realized that the more I listened to the album, the more it grew on me. I realized that this album wasn’t meant to be filled with bangers typically produced by a Kanye-type of artist, this was meant to be raw, and it is.

Some beats are simplistic while others are more complex in that theres simply a few more layers to the melody, rather than a simple snare and base. Although some verses sound choppy at first, they truly blend with the beats in a unique way that only a spoken poet such as Common could achieve. Of course, I can’t forget about the lyrics. After I finally started paying attention to what Common had to say, I felt this satisfying sense of bliss that I genuinely missed after listening to his last album.

Certain songs reminded me of those of his 2005 Album Be, which also happens to be my favorite album of his, in which songs such as “The Corner,” “Chi-City,” and “The Food” focused on all aspects of the experience of living in Chicago. Even in songs where he simply brags about his success in terms of wealth, fame etc., Common finds a way to tie in at least a line or two championing Chicago as the city which made all that he has acheived possible. Needless to say, I really liked this album, and you will too, once you accept it for the bold, raw expression of emotion and gratitude that it is and what kind of musician/lyricist Common is.

Although I would love to continue and write a synopsis of each song that would take forever. Before I let you go however, I suggest that you stream/buy the deluxe version of the album since the three extra tracks are seriously worth listening to.

Finally, I want to thank my good friends here at PNG for allowing me to be a part of something great. This being my first ever music review, these guys took a chance on letting me voice my opinion in the vast realm of music.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: The Neighborhood, Blak Majik, Rewind That, 7 Deadly Sins

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Speak My Piece, Hustle Harder

SCORE: (8.0/10)

 

 

8a851f3a

STREAM SPOON’S NEW ALBUM, THEY WANT MY SOUL, IN FULL

Spoon’s new album, They Want My Soul, hits stores on August 5th via  Loma Vista. In anticipation, the LP is streaming in full via iTunes Radio.That’s the album art up above. The Austin rockers’ last album, Transference, was released four years ago.

They Want Me Soul is preceded by the songs “Do You”, “Rent I Pay”, “Knock Knock Knock”, and “Inside Out”.

Pre-orders for the album are ongoing.

Check out the track listing:

They Want My Soul Tracklist:
01. Rent I Pay
02. Inside Out
03. Rainy Taxi
04. Do You
05. Knock Knock Knock
06. Outlier
07. They Want My Soul
08. I Just Don’t Understand
09. Let Me Be Mine
10. New York Kiss

Also, check out tour dates:

05-07 Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
05-08 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
05-09 Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Music Festival
05-10 Atlanta, GA – Center Stage Theatre
05-11 New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre
05-31 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound
06-02 Berlin, Germany – Bi Nuu
06-03 London, England – Oslo
06-05 Porto, Portugal – Optimus Primavera Sound
06-07 New York, NY – Governors Ball Music Festival
06-14 Vancouver, British Columbia – CBC Music Festival
06-18-21 Toronto, Ontario – NXNE Festival
06-22 Minneapolis, MN – Walker Art Center
06-26-28 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
07-12-13 Telluride, CO – The Ride Festival
07-18 Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
07-25-27 Seattle, WA – Capitol Hill Block Party
08-02 Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
08-08 Los Angeles, CA – The Fairbanks Lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
08-10 San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands
08-17 Portland, OR – Musicfest NW
09-05 Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
09-07 Boston, MA – Boston Calling Music Festival
10-03-05 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10-10-12 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival

Watch the video for the single “Do You”:

courtesy of Run For Cover

“Further Sky EP” Basement

Basement

Further Sky EP Review

Run For Cover Records

Released: June 3, 2014

Genre: Indie Rock, 90s Rock Worship

 

After returning from a two-year hiatus, the melodic and emotional rock group Basement have returned with a quasi-surprise EP. With only three tracks, each running around the 4 minute mark, I’m going to tackle this track-by-track.

“Summer’s Colour” : In classic Basement style, the band delivers a silky-smooth rock track with heavy influence from 90s bands that had a lot of emotional focus in their music. However, this track has more refined production that those aforementioned bands, giving Basement something that helps them stick out for this song. There are cryptic lyrics about a “queen in a dream,” but there’s a lot of idyllic imagery of wrapping moons in ribbons and watching shooting stars. Closet poets will enjoy this part of the track. The actual music is catchy and chorus-focused, a very accessible piece of rock music.

“Jet” : The last original composition on this EP, “Jet” feels like unimaginative 90s-worship, unlike “Summer’s Colour,” The verses are lifeless musically, while the chorus is generic lyrically (“It was only for a moment,” four times. That’s it.) The odd chord progression during the chorus brings life back into the song, but otherwise this track is boring and rehashed. It sounds like a mediocre grunge cover with no distortion or passion.

“Animal Nitrate” : There’s not much to say here, either. This is a cover of the drug-fueled song by the band Suede. Musically, it’s the exact same as the original, but played a half-step down (if my ears are correct). The vocals on this cover feel organic, which is good, but they lack the implied insanity of the original’s vocal performance.

 

FAV TRACKS: Summer’s Colour

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Jet, Animal Nitrate

Score: (4.7/10)

John Hoffman, lead vocalist for Weekend Nachos

Interview With John Hoffman from Weekend Nachos!

Remembering how one of my favorite records of 2013 was Weekend NachosStill, I anticipated to finally see the band live. It was a surprisingly cool night, a deviation from the usually unbearable Texas heat. John Hoffman, lead singer of extreme music act Weekend Nachos, stood outside of a warehouse called Vice Palace, located in West Dallas. The amicable Chicagoan was leaning on a red car that he assumed to be mine, as we talked about music, Fall Out Boy, touring, religion and of course, One Tree Hill. 

(Interview Key: Michael-Michael White; Weekend Nachos-John Hoffman)

Michael: How did you get into One Tree Hill?

Weekend Nachos: My girlfriend got me into it. She was always talking about it and I thought “I don’t want to watch this stupid show.” But then I watched one episode with her and I was hooked.

Michael: The main reason I got into it was because my friends- well I go to an all boys school so-

Weekend Nachos: Oh, so it’s like a private school?

Michael: Yeah. It’s the same school that Riley from Power Trip went to.

Weekend Nachos: Oh that’s sweet! I was just talking to Riley like a few hours ago.

Michael: Yeah, he’s supposed to be coming tonight right?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah the dude’s awesome.

Michael: Dude

Weekend Nachos: He lives in Chicago now-

Michael: Yeah that’s crazy. Well as I was saying. I go to an all boys school and the main topic of conversation is women. And the women on One Tree Hill are some of the most attractive people I’ve seen in my life.

Weekend Nachos: It’s good. I’m trying to think of who my favorite is…I like Rachel. Yeah Rachel’s my favorite.

Michael: I haven’t gotten that far yet, I’m only on Season 3. I don’t care about spoilers though, I always forget. Is she the one that f*cks up a lot?

Weekend Nachos: Yep that’s her.

She’s my favorite I think.

Michael: My favorite is hands down, balls on the table…Brooke Davis 

Weekend Nachos: She’s ok I guess

Michael: Well, here’s the thing: I’m a fan of short girls and she’s 5′ 4″-

Weekend Nachos: Did you know that she was like engaged to Chad Michael Murray or something?

Michael: Yeah and he cheated on her with like Paris Hilton or something. I dunno, I gotta look that up again. Peyton’s also pretty.

Weekend Nachos: Yeah she’s a pretty attractive girl, she’s sweet. What part are you on right now?

Michael: Uhh, I just started Season 3 and I’ve been using coke and popcorn. Are you familiar with it?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah I watched some of the early episodes with it

Michael: Yeah it sucks, but my Netflix just came back so-

Weekend Nachos: There you go. I’m trying to think of-I mean, there’s nine seasons of this show.

Michael: I know, it’s long.

Weekend Nachos: And the whole thing [show] is incredible! And you’re going to be enjoying it for a while.

Michael: Yeah. Worst case scenario if it starts getting dumb I can just mute it and star. It’s good eye candy-

Weekend Nachos: No, trust me. That’s the least good thing about it. It’s THAT good of a show

Michael: I mean it’s well-done but it’s kinda cheesy.

Weekend Nachos: Well it’s a teen drama so it HAS to be somewhat cheesy. But it’s fantastic

Michael: Speaking of One Tree Hill, perfect segway, I know you did [the song] “Jock Powerviolence” with Patrick from Fall Out Boy and they were on the show back in the day.

Weekend Nachos: Yeah I did. They were! I asked Joe from Fall Out Boy about that and I was like “WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON ONE TREE HILL?” He was just, I dunno, he didn’t seem to care that much.

Michael: I don’t think…cause that was WAY back in the day right?

Weekend Nachos: Uhh, I don’t know, I think they were still pretty big.

Michael: Oh ok, but like that’s so sick though. You have a connection with One Tree Hill, I mean-

Weekend Nachos: Yeah I’m more excited about Fall Out Boy being on One Tree Hill then Fall Out Boy being on one of our songs.You know…

Michael: That’s crazy. Repping the chi-town, sort of….

Weekend Nachos: Drew is really good friends with Patrick, actually with the whole band, and he has been for quite some time now. And I’ve known Joe for such a long time. For us they’re just like our friends that just blew up as a band and-

Michael: Oh did you know them back in the super early days?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, WAY before. So it was like… For us it’s like, everyone thinks it’s crazy that they were on our song, but we knew that people would react that way by us putting them on.

Michael: It was a smart business move, and it was fun.

Weekend Nachos: We just wanted to throw people off. It’s different for us: when we see those dudes, it’s not like, “Holy s**t! It’s Fall Out Boy!” We just think it’s crazy they blew up the way they did. It’s awesome that they’re successful.

Michael: Do you really wanna do an entire interview about OTH?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, of course! There’s nothing else to talk about!

Michael: Well, I mean…(sarcastically) what upcoming releases do you have planned? Let’s get these questions out of the way. 

Weekend Nachos: We’re not really working on anything right now, we just did our last LP in November. We’re just playing whatever shows we can. I don’t know when we’re gonna work on something again, but when the times comes we’ll do another LP or EP. We’ve got a fest that we’re playing in Florida. We’re doing this show in Dallas with Infest. We have a 10 Year Anniversary show in Novemeber.

Michael: Hometown?

Weekend Nachos: Yep, Chicago. It’s gonna be at The Beat Kitchen. It’s gonna be Dead End Path, Full Of Hell, Sex Prisoner…I don’t know if you know any of those bands.

Michael: I’m new, but I’ve done my research. I know some of those bands. Full Of Hell is coming on a school night, but I wanna go.

Weekend Nachos: Try to go. They’re awesome dudes, too, you’ll like them.

Michael: Dead End Path, I’m not super familiar with, but I know they’ve played a lot of shows with a lot more melodic bands.

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, they’re like a heavier, more Merauder influenced band. They get their name from a Merauder song. They’re singer, Uriah, is such a sweet dude. I wanted all the bands that played this show to be people I liked, so. Sex Prisoner, from Tuscon…gotta check them out.

Michael: Speaking of bands that you like, what’s your relationship with Harms Way? You always say “we’re Harms Way from Chicago” at shows.

Weekend Nachos: I said it like one time, as a joke. I used to be in that band. I played bass for the first few years, and those dudes are all friends.

Michael: What is the lead singer’s workout routine?

Weekend Nachos: I actually don’t know. I know he eats a lot of McDonald’s, which is pretty cool.

Michael: If you said “chicken,” that would make more sense.

Weekend Nachos: He eats a lot of chicken, too. I was just making a joke. It’s funny, because James has always been into fitness and sports for as long as I’ve known him. It’s just funny that that’s how people know him

Michael: It’s the first thing you notice [because he’s extremely buff].

Weekend Nachos: Oh yeah, it’s hard to miss. It’s funny to me, because he’s my friend and I’ve known him for so long.

Michael: How did this show come about?

Weekend Nachos: Jesse, the guy who’s booking it contacted us and said, “Hey I’m trying to get infest to come out here and it would be cool if you guys played.” He offered to fly us out here, and here we are.

Michael: If I wanted to book you guys in my living room, how would I make that happen?

Weekend Nachos: If we were on tour, it could happen very easily, but because we probably won’t be on tour. Since we don’t tour that often, it would probably cost you a lot of money to fly us out here. We would probably do it. You wouldn’t have to pay us very much money at all to play, but it would be expensive to fly us out, unfortunately.

Michael: I know you have some other projects, is that why you don’t tour as much?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, we don’t tour because at one point it was like, “we could do this band full-time and risk overstaying our welcome and just kind of fading out really quick, or we could just do it sporadically and get regular jobs and still try to make it work.” Realistically, I don’t think we ever thought this would be a regular, full-time band. We just kinda made the decision to do this band whenever we could. We’ve all got girlfriends and wives and jobs. Real life gets in the way of being a full-time band.

Michael: What do you do at home?

Weekend Nachos: Just hang out with my girlfriend. I work at a mortgage company. That’s my day job. I don’t like it, but it’s whatever.

Michael: It makes ends meet? That kinda thing?

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, exactly. It pays the bills. If you’re in a band that’s successful enough full-time it could work, but even those bands don’t make that much money sometimes. So for a band like us that is only marginally popular, we wouldn’t be able to make it work full-time. It’s kind of like this or nothing. We just do what we can.

Michael: I know what you mean. I work at a pizza joint, and I LIKE the actual work, but I don’t like doing it all the time at night, but i feel like you gotta grind to make the fun even more fun

Weekend Nachos: That’s true in life. You gotta take the good with the bad. It’s pretty much a metaphor for life. If you have to do some stuff that sucks during the week, then hopefully you’ll have money that lets you do things elsewhere.

Michael: I know that sometimes in your lyrics you berate the church. I’m a Catholic, but I think there’s things in the church that are messed up…(I start stumbling over my words trying to ask a question without igniting a debate)

Weekend Nachos: I can answer this for you. I’m absolutely not against religion. I’m not against the Church. It’s kinda been misconstrued over the years. People think we’re some kind of atheist anti-god band, and that’s actually not true. I preach freedom of religion, beliefs, all that. mainly what I speak about is what you said, it being all messed up. We live in a country where religion is the norm and people feel like they have to be a part of religion and they need it in their lives when there’s another way. It’s whatever works for them. I think that it’s great when they’re people into hardcore that are Christian or Catholic or whatever it is. I think it’s really good for people to know that you can still be punk and be into religion. There’s nothing that’s anti-punk about religion. I think religion is fine, it just doesn’t necessarily work for everybody. i think the problem in America is that we have religious people who seem to make it their agenda to make people believe what they believe, and i just think people should believe what works for them. if that’s how you are, then more power to you. i think that religion is great, as long as it works for you.

Michael: As long as it’s not detrimental to someone else.

Weekend Nachos: Yeah, as long as you’re not putting people down for just living their lives. I’m against racism, I’m against homophobia, I’m against sexism… I don’t think you should discriminate against others in the name of your religion, but at the same time people believe what they wanna believe. As long as you’re not pushing that on someone else, I think that’s great. Everybody needs to believe what they wanna believe. I think that everyone should do their own thing. I don’t think being religious is anti-punk at all. What’s punk is doing what YOU want to do and knowing what works for you and embracing that to yourself.

Michael: I was just curious cuz of songs like “Satan Sucker.”

Weekend Nachos: Satan Sucker is actually the opposite: that song makes fun of the thought that you have to be satanist to be metal.

Michael: Oh! Well, that’s why I had to ask the question!

Weekend Nachos: I’m glad you asked. If you read closely, you’ll see that I’m being sarcastic against people that are like, “I’m going to be into death metal, I better be Satanist.”

Michael: I’ve been jamming the new Behemoth, and I feel like at their core those dudes would be okay with me listening to their music even though I believe in God.

Weekend Nachos: Dude, I’m okay with you believing in God. we need a punk scene where people can believe in God and be into Christianity or whatever it is, so people can come in and believe what they wanna believe and be into what they want to be into and not feel like there’s some set of rules you have to follow.

Michael: I’m not like super religious, but I’m just saying, in the grand scheme of things…

Weekend Nachos: We have a shirt that says, “Defeat the Christian Right,” and that’s just a shirt that says I’m against the Christian right in America, because there’s not a certain way anyone needs to be. No one says you have to be Christian to be equal in this country. You should believe what you want to believe, equal rights for all people, whether you’re a Muslim or an Atheist…personally, I’m an Agnostic. I don’t denounce God, I just don’t know what’s out there. I kinda plead ignorance about it. I think that you should be able to come into the punk scene if you WERE super religious.

Michael: I feel like punk/hardcore/whatever you wanna call it…it’s most beautiful when it’s most diverse.

Weekend Nachos: Exactly! I agree.

Michael: It’s like a tapestry. I think the more colors you have…

Weekend Nachos: You should be yourself and embrace who you are, but still bond with people because you’ve found this place. It’s a community that’s not specific to any one thing. it’s a conglomeration of people that want to be themselves and embrace who they are.

Weekend Nachos have a sweet website. Click HERE.

WATCH WEEKEND NACHOS LIVE:

 

 

 

2af2c816

“Disgraceland” The Orwells

[jcolumns]
The Orwells

Disgraceland Album Review

Atlantic/Canvasback Records

Released June 3, 2014

Genre: Garage Rock Revival, Indie Rock, Feedback Manipulation With Courteous Side
[jcol/]

[/jcolumns]

I’ve always looked to garage rock music for a wake up call. Something about hearing the nonsensical riffs and incredibly distorted chords blurred together with rowdy drums to create a chaotic sound felt cathartic and beautiful. But instruments aside, this genre of music carried a message, a rebellion, a strong, heated argument. And that’s how we’ve all come to like garage rock: loud, chaotic, and unconventional. Why? Well, who wouldn’t want to wake up the whole neighborhood with the sounds of blistering guitars and charring drums as a kid. Garage rock, since its inception has always been a way of being noticed, of standing out.

The Orwells… well, they’re on the right path. There are some elements missing, very potent elements. That isn’t to say that they aren’t a good band. In fact they seem particularly talented. Let’s cut straight to their strong points. These guys know what to do to make a garage rock band: distortion, rebellious lyrics (“Who Needs You”), and, well, volume. High volume. Also added to the table are incredibly catchy hooks that could make for some great radio tunes. The intro ‘Southern Comfort” features a particularly catchy riff that can start any party off right. The hook sounds like something straight off of Japandroids 2012 release Celebration Rock. But the difference between the two is The Orwells’ weaknesses.

Disgraceland lacks, despite the three tracks listed below, spontaneity, grit and energy. These songs, although following the right formula, feel too safe to be heard or noticed. Play this anywhere you’ll probably be shrugged off or watched for a few seconds. The songs rarely go anywhere and the riffs are just so unadventurous. It’s as if they’re afraid to burn out a speaker or break another set of guitar strings. I’m not particularly saying that I hate the band, I think that they are really talented.

All I’m saying is that garage rock needs a more volatile spirit at the reigns. With The White Stripes gone, who’s going to burn out or eardrums with cathartic guitar solos? Nonetheless you should check out this album if you like your rock played close to the chest. For a group of scrappy teenagers, they have a big future of ahead of them. It can only get better from here. Right? (That’s what I thought but then I heard Mind Over Matter) Here’s hoping for the best.

FAV TRACKS: Southern Comfort, Let It Burn, Who Needs You

LEAST FAV TRACK: Bathroom Tile Blues, Always N Forever

Score: (6.0/10)

clipping-clppng-2500px

“CLPPNG” clipping.

[jcolumns]
clipping.

CLPPNG Album Review

Sub Pop Records

Released June 10, 2014

Genre: Hardcore Hip Hop, Glitch Hop, Experimental Hip Hop, Industrial Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, Gangsta Rap

[jcol/]

[/jcolumns]

 

Los Angeles trio clipping. are a collaboration between rapper Daveed Diggs and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson. All three have their own respectable musical projects: Diggs, a rapper; Snipes a a sound designer, film composer , and experimental musician; Hutson, along with Snipes, works in the band Unecessary Surgery, along with co-scoring the documentary Room 237. The trio have built a huge name in the underground for themselves, pushing the enigmatic sub genre known as “noise hop” into ambitious directions, with industrial, hard hitting beats and lightning fast flows.

Straight from the opening of this album, Diggs delivers one of the fastest flows I’ve heard all year on “Intro” rapping over a simple, high frequency feedback. It’s disorienting yet impressive, considering there isn’t anything for Diggs to musically latch onto. The song allows him to be free on his own accord. The album then takes a dark turn on the following tracks “Body & Blood” and “Work Work”, both boasting impressive instrumentation and production. On “Work Work” metallic pings and a dense bass line perfectly sum up what to expect on CLPPNG

Although aggressive, unique, and alienating in nature, clipping. somehow find ways to craft some of the catchiest rap songs I’ve heard all year (See “Summertime” and “Taking Off”). And yet these songs have some of the weirdest but unique compositions ever. There’s the splashy, blood drench “Body & Blood”, the glitchy snares on “Taking Off” and even the gradual, odd beat of “Story 2” which starts off with a 3/4 beat but slowly grows to a 7/4 beat. Their strongest moment comes with the song “Get Up (feat. Mariel Jacoda), where clipping. uses an incredibly creative sample of an alarm clock which also doubles as a metronome (Diggs raps at the same tempo.) Then more alarm clocks come in, harmonizing with each other, while Mariel Jacoda’s vocals sift through the mayhem. Everything then builds up to an atmospheric and grand ending, which then ends on a strikingly subtle moment. Easily one of the greatest moments on the album.

Lyrically CLPPNG is straight up gangsta rap, so most of the themes on this album have to do with women, violence, gangs, crime and all that jazz. Diggs’ lyrics portray the genre in a very specific way, neither hedonistic nor arrogant, but conscious, as if he’s participating and aware of the world around him. Imagery is strong within his lyrics as well (see “Inside Out”). One of his best lines comes in the track “Or Die”: Everybody wanna rap but don’t know how /Everybody wanna run when they hear that sound/Everybody think they’re hard until they face hit ground/Everybody make a choice, it is not profound”. It’s his perspective that really puts the album in a different light. The two tracks that really let me down however were “Tonight” and “Dream”, but my only gripes with the tracks were pertaining to bad lyricism and weak flows.

While industrial hip hop is a hard genre to tread, newcomers should not be wary. This is experimental hip hop that feels chaotic and crazy, but at the same time it feels contained and controlled. clipping. is chock full of ideas and CLPPNG shows it: these songs do more than grab your attention, they invite and for once, it’s incredibly accessible.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Intro, Body & Blood, Work Work (feat. Cocc Pistol Cree), Summertime (feat. King T), Taking Off, Get Up (feat. Mariel Jacoda), Inside Out, Story 2, Dominoes

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Tonight (feat. Gangsta Boo), Dream

SCORE: (8.0/10)

Interview with Ricky Singh of Backtrack!

Through the sticky summer heat, hardcore heavyweights Backtrack voyage across the country to deliver their groovy and heavy brand of music to the fans. Guitarist Ricky Singh recently sat down with us (our friend Alex Hernandez and I) to discuss his musical discoveries and ventures.

The name Backtrack actually comes from the name of a song by Killing Time, “and we’re heavily influenced by them and bands of the same era,” Ricky reveals. Being a band from New York, Backtrack takes a lot of inspiration from classic New York Hardcore, bringing back old sounds with new flavors. Ricky feels that the New York scene is as passionate as the Southern hardcore scene, scenes that are both expanding rapidly. “They’re both good hardcore scenes and they both have great bands…they’re both sick to me,” Ricky says. I noticed that hardcore in Dallas has grown tremendously in the few years that I have been following it, and Ricky’s comment about the similarities in the interest in hardcore between regions affirmed my observation. New York has always been a reputable place in terms of the bands in the genre that come from New York, so it is great to see Dallas’s notoriety grow at the same rate.

I comment that my discovery of the ever-growing scene was through mid 2000’s metalcore and Epitaph Records groups. Ricky’s discovery of the genre follows a similar pattern to my discovery. “Nobody comes out of the womb, and they’re listening to Madball,” Ricky says to put things back into perspective. Hardcore is something that is discovered and not born into. “I also learned about hardcore through Epitaph groups. One of the first things that I got was this compilation called Punk-O-Rama 3,” which got him eventually into hardcore. Ricky also stressed that people should not be ashamed of what they listen to, especially if that music served as a gateway into hardcore. He says, “Who cares what you listen to…it doesn’t matter what scene you came from…hardcore’s for everybody.” There should be no elitism or judgment when it comes to accepting people into hardcore. What you are and where you come from should be celebrated, not berated. In fact, Ricky still listens to the bands that he grew up with: “I only put like 10 records [on my iPhone] because I never have any space, I don’t know why I don’t have space and it’s pissing  me off. If you’re reading this, help me out, send me an email to clear up my phone. I always have Pennybridge Pioneers by Millencolin. I think that record’s so good.”

In the van, Backtrack actually listen to a lot of Epitaph bands in the van, bands whose sounds are “inspirations” for Backtrack’s music.

Ricky has a much broader musical taste than just hardcore and punk rock. “If I like it, I like it,” he states simply, “It’s a silly thing to be close-minded in life, because if you’re close minded…you’re gonna miss out.” He doesn’t believe in the term, “guilty pleasure.” Everything that is enjoyable is a pleasure, no matter what band, TV show, etc.: “The best advice I’ve gotten…is be open-minded…also my parents telling me I could do whatever I want in my life if I work hard.” This mindset is what helped him immerse himself into music. While working as a teenager packing groceries, Ricky “would spend every dime [he] made on records. [He] wouldn’t even know that bands, [he’d] just look at the album covers, then look through the liner notes to discover more bands in the Thank-You section.” Now, it’s even easier and less expensive with the Internet, but the same curious and open-minded attitude is necessary to discover music.

However, Ricky doesn’t show love for all music that’s floating around the world today. After he talked about his love for Katy Perry, I asked him if he had heard the new Lil B song, “Katy Perry.” Through a dramatic facepalm, Ricky states, “I actually can’t stand him…there are some people that are ignorant when they rap, and there are some that are just dumb to me.” However, there is enough good quality rap out there for him to enjoy: “I love Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Mobb Deep…I saw Nas recently with Dave Chappelle.” Although he may not be a fan of BasedGod, the excitement and importance of Ricky’s musical adventures are courtesy of his tolerant mindset.

Watch Backtrack perform at Outbreak Fest in 2013

arewethere.lpout

“Are We There” Sharon Van Etten

[jcolumns]
Sharon Van Etten

Are We There Album Review

Jagjaguwar Records

Released May 27, 2014

Genre: Indie Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Folk Rock
[jcol/]

[/jcolumns]
Sadness can change us in so many ways, ways that are good or bad. It can ultimately define us, or it can ultimately destroy us. Whatever sadness may mean to you, Sharon Van Etten’s latest record Are We There is an interesting portrayal of love, hope, and sadness, offering different perspectives on sadness, but most of all, of life.. And with her voice, her message is assuring and passionate.

Are We There is a gentle record, but it comes with its surprises. Interesting instrumentation, orchestral swells, and incredibly passionate lyrics bring the emotional intensity of this album to the forefront. Contrary to the album cover, there’s a lot of color and textures on this record, and more gets brought out with each listen. Each song is incredibly detailed and rich in imagery. Are We There, after the initial listen, seems as if Van Etten isn’t sincerely sure of where she is in her life, but after pondering over these eleven tracks, you’ll find that Van Etten knows what she’s doing.

As far as folk goes, Van Etten’s instrumentation took me by surprise. Label-mate Bon Iver experimented with electronics on his sophomore self-titled record, and likewise tracks like “Taking Chances” expound upon the preconceived notions of folk music, offering some electronic drums and reverberated guitars into the mix, all produced beautifully. Scratch that, SELF produced. And with this DIY production behind the wheel, Van Etten makes sure as to not over produce the music. Her voice still has some strains, amidst the tonal purity of her ballads and the dramatic entrance of each song. Note, the key word here is dramatic.

These songs can easily be envisioned in a coming-of-age indie film because this is a coming-of-age album on an indie record. But these songs rarely settle to just be cast off as background music. Van Etten makes sure to deliver not only engaging lyrics, but an equally fascinating personality. Van Etten knows what it’s like to be dumped, or to be betrayed (“I Know”). She’s been there, and she’s done that. Like I said, the more you listen, the more comes out of this record. And you’ll be thankful you did.

Yet one of the most remarkable aspects of Are We There is how it all sounds liberated, not held back or restrained but left out in the open. Are We There expresses love as volatile, yet Van Etten is hoping to give it another try. A standout lyric for me came on the track “You Know Me Well” where Van Etten’s dismal croon sings “Everyone will go with you/ Listen for the way out as you/ Cut me to the chase til I’m/ On the other side and when/ It all comes out/ We’re as empty as a brick house that we/ Built without the sides”.

Aside from the creative lyricism, Van Etten offers different perspectives, this viewing love as hopeless. Yet on the opener, Van Etten sings “I can’t wait/ Til we’re afraid/ Of nothing”, showing that although the future is unclear, taking that first step into the unknown can do even benefit your cause. And that’s where Van Etten succeeds and triumphs, she sees the good and bad outcomes of love, and knows that above anything else, the journey is the destination. Because this journey and narrative sounds far from over. As is life. As is love.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Afraid Of Nothing, Taking Chances, Your Love Is Killing Me, Tarifa, You Know Me Well

LEAST FAV TRACK:

Score: (7.9/10)