streaming audio / video

AL_X, “Shunt” CD

Posted in electronic, reviews, streaming audio / video on January 31st, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

booklet [Converted]I really want to look at AL_X‘sShunt as a solid work, akin to an imaginary film score or concept album. Enough of the tracks work well together — “Takk (En Sens)” followed by “Into the Trees” followed by “Shunt (Part I),” especially — but the vocal tracks, working in standard song structures, just lose me.

It may be that I’m not particularly a fan of the Antony and the Johnsons school of falsetto, but frankly, the tracks that follow this pattern (“Too Late, Too Far,” “Faux,” et al) work like those really awful tracks that run over the end credits after the main title reprise or whatever has run, while they’re listing the second unit key grips and catering providers.
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Ex Friends, “Rules For Making Up Words” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, streaming audio / video, upcoming release, vinyl on January 9th, 2014 by Nick – 2 Comments

cover - ex friends rulesWe’ve talked about asthetics I’m not down with before — the whole Hot Water Music thing being beyond my comprehension, for example — and I’m trying to figure out what it is about Ex Friends‘ full-length, Rules For Making Up Words, that turns me off.

Just a few months back, I was excited beyond all belief regarding their Twisted Around 7-inch. Now, listening to this record that they’ve released on Paper + Plastick, I’m just kind of watching it tick by in iTunes, waiting for the damned thing to be over.

For lack of a better thing, I think it’s kind of like my Dillinger Four preferences. I love D4 songs with Paddy on vocals, and get kind of ambivalent toward Erik songs, but I’m pretty all right with songs where they both sing. Same thing goes for Ex Friends — I love Audrey Crash‘s vocals, but am kind of turned off by Joel Tannenbaum‘s delivery.
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Secret Smoker, “Terminal Architecture” LP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on January 2nd, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - secret smokerWell, hello, the late ’90s. I’ve missed you. Before screamo, bands would work angular riffs, battering their guitars and vocal chords to produce emotionally-resonant, cathartic music that shredded vocal chords while simultaneously breathing life into your wounded self.

It was really important when I was 19. Lyrics like “You fixed the game/ I played along” might not have as much emotional resonance for me at 34, but the stop on a dime, herky-jerky rhythmic flow of post-hardcore will always get my blood going.
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Signals Midwest, “Light On the Lake” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, streaming audio / video, vinyl on December 31st, 2013 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - signals midwest light on the lakeIt took the second run-through on the turntable to notice it, but Signals Midwest frontman Maxwell Stern sounds a lot like Bomb the Music Industry’s Jeff Rosenstock. If I remember correctly, I really liked their last album, but this one kind of refuses to stick in my mind.

The guitar solo on “In the Pauses” grabs your attention first and foremost, if you’re not a BTMI fan. It’s one of the few moments Light On the Lake‘s first side that doesn’t work in the loud-quiet-loud dynamic that’s become almost de rigeur for punk bands these days — quiet spoken parts, then big anthemic choruses.

It’s great for singing along and fist-pumping, but the fact that Signals Midwest actually do more guitar-wise than just strumming or rocking power chords gets lost in these songs that are, honestly, more like pieces from a Broadway musical than rock ‘n’ roll.
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Adam Widener, “Vesuvio Nights” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on December 12th, 2013 by Nick – 1 Comment

adam widener coverAdam Widener‘s new album for Speakertree Records does really bring to mind the late Jay Reatard, but any dirty power pop these days is likely to do so. Reatard’s sound was so distinctive, it’s hard to avoid comparisons. However, Widener is actually quite a bit more than just a knock-off.

The best cuts on Vesuvio Nights, like “Telephone Traps” and “Crystal Castles,” work surf rock through chiming guitars, and it’s infectiously wonderful. It’s something akin to what’s been done in indie rock the last few years by the likes of Vivian Girls or Best Coast, but far more accomplished. It’s not sloppy and dreamy, but energetic and fun.
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Windhand guitarist Garrett Morris on the band’s new album and current tour

Posted in interview, metal, streaming audio / video, upcoming events on November 25th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

windhand
Windhand‘s latest full-length, Soma, is their first for Relapse Records. It’s a selection of massive tunes that both soar and plumb the depths, and some tracks are monumental works. The group’s currently on tour, opening for High on Fire, and they play the Granada in Lawrence on Friday, November 29. We were lucky enough to get guitarist Garrett Morris to answer a few questions for us via e-mail.
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Stream Slack Armada’s self-titled EP

Posted in electronic, reviews, streaming audio / video on November 21st, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

slack armada
Sitting in my inbox this morning was this lovely gem of an EP from Chiacgo’s Slack Armada. This project from James Hrabak shows a lot of potential. It manages to cover a lot of cinematic-inspired territory in its four songs — it flows from quiet introspection to stunningly loud — but does so naturally and fluidly. That said, dial your volume down when “Looper” pops up, because that guitar will damn near blow your head off. If you like what you hear, it’s a name-your-price download on Bandcamp. Personally, I like the first two cuts, which stick more towards the Boards of Canada / Four Tet side of things, as opposed to the latter two, which veer toward Nine Inch Nails / My Bloddy Valentine. but there’s really something for all instrumental electronic tastes.


The Hex Dispensers’ Alex Cuervo on his electronic project, Espectrostatic

Posted in electronic, interview, soundtracks, streaming audio / video, upcoming album on November 19th, 2013 by Nick – 3 Comments

alex cuervoAlex Cuervo is best known as the frontman and guitarist for Austin’s fine purveyors of garage rock ‘n’ roll, the Hex Dispensers. However, his new project might throw you for a loop. Espectrostatic‘s self-titled LP, out today through Trouble in Mind, is 13 tracks of Carpenter-inspired electronic creepiness. I enjoyed the preview on Bloody Disgusting so much that I bought all three of Trouble in Mind’s newest releases to get the limited color version of Cuervo’s album.

Cuervo (legal name: Alex Sargent) spoke with us via e-mail about the difference between Espectrostatic and the Hex Dispensers, and why it’s not as much of a change as you might think.
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Peirse’s “After Dracula” ably argues the importance of post-Universal horror

Posted in books, movies, reviews, streaming audio / video, video on November 4th, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - after draculaAlison Peirse‘s new book from I.B. Taurus, After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film, certainly does what it sets out to. The author begins with “the idea that Dracula has been canonised to the detriment of other innovative and original 1930s films produced across Europe and America.”

It’s a logical approach: given that Dracula is, in essence, a stage play brought to the screen, it wins primarily due to financial success and — one could argue just as importantly — the fact that it was first. Followed closely by Frankenstein, one could even further and make the point that Universal Pictures’ role in defining the canon is primarily by virtue of getting out of the gate before anyone else.
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Halloween horror marathon: Creepshow

Posted in streaming audio / video, video on October 3rd, 2013 by Nick – Be the first to comment

poster - creepshowCreepshow would be far better if it were about half an hour shorter. There are five stories, plus the frame tale of the kid and his Tales From the Crypt knock-off, and it seems like they’re all too long to be effective shorts, and too short to be effective films. Trick ‘r Treat, Vault of Horror, et al — all of them are around an hour and a half, and any of the individual tales hits and splits.

Creepshow‘s a little too enthused with itself as a whole, and seems to delight in just dragging out every story until the bitter end. Especially the second tale, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” which is a little too tongue-in-cheek. I’m all for hicks and things from outer space, but it’s so cornpone, the folks playing the Baldknobbers at Silver Dollar City would be offended.
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