Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why you should listen to Orbs

So the supergroup Orbs have just released their debut album "Asleep Next To Science"...and it is pretty awesome. Orbs features Adam Fisher (guitarist/vocalist of Fear Before), Dan Briggs (bassist or BTBAM, but he plays guitar in this band :), Clayton Holyoak (Drummer from Fear Before), Ashley Ellyllon (keyboard player for Abigail Williams and Cradle of Filth), and some dude named Chuck Johnson (he plays da bass). This is a pretty random assortment of musicians and, surprisingly, their musical chemistry together is astounding. I haven't listened to the album enough yet, so I'm not going to do a full blown review. Instead I will discuss their sound and some of the unique things I've noticed about their music.

When listening to Orbs you are bound to notice Adam's voice first. His odd whiny tone makes his voice stick out, but in a good way, and his screams sound great (especially in Lost at Sea). The lyrics I caught were pretty weird. I guess this album is about space or something.

Dan's guitar playing is very unique. Some of his riffs remind me of Circa Survive and he likes to use effects. Even though he's in BTBAM his playing shows very little metal influence. He doesn't do a lot of showing off because the keyboard is usually playing the melodies and solos, but trust me, he has some pretty sweet parts. (quick edit: I just found out that he only finger picks? WTF??? that is all)

THE KEYBOARD PARTS MAKE THE BAND. Seriously, some of the piano and synth parts Ashley plays are ridiculously cool. They range from proggy synth solos to gothic style organ parts and never disappoint. They are front and center nearly every track and they are the main thing that makes this band so original.

Clayton's drumming is very solid and a bit more technical than his drumming in Fear Before. Chuck's bass playing is very impressive as well (probably because Dan helped him write the parts).

All that's left to be said is that if you want a truly unique progressive rock album then get this. I hope this post made you interested in this band and I hope you all check them out!

Tentative Rating: 8.8/10


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Movie Review: Resident Evil Afterlife

The Resident Evil film series has been around quite a while now, and is THE most successful video game films of all time. Does that mean that these movies are good? Hell fucking no. We all (should) know that Afterlife and its predecessors could never be considered truly fantastic films. They shouldn't be...I should be appalled and shocked that they would think video game enthusiasts and straight up action movie lovers would be DUMB enough to enjoy such poorly created crap. But I'm not. Instead, I laughed, left my brain at the door, let my jaw go slack and fall ajar, and had a pretty damn fun time.

Resident Evil Afterlife picks up where the last (and so far worst) film, Extinction, left off, not that any of that matters, you definitely don't need to know much about the first few films, this isn't a story that deserves your attention, and these aren't characters you need to care about. Get that through your serious-as-tits skull, and the film will be lots of fun.

Basically, Alice...is...fighting umbrella corporation again? I dunno, I seriously don't remember any of the story...after only a couple days since I've seen it. The good thing is that I can tell you my top five action scenes from the movie though! That's one thing about the film, the story is easier to tell if you make a timeline of the action sequences. Do you like the Matrix??? How about slow motion??? Yes?! Perfect! I'm not sure if I could count the amount of slow motion sequences, but I can tell you that they all looked FUCKIN SWEEEEET in 3D. This is about my third try at the Real D 3D and I gotta say, this felt just as home on the 3D screen as Avatar. One thing I gotta stress with seeing this movie in theaters is, see it in 3D, so if you hate the movie, you can love the sweet 3D!

One of my things I can definitely love about this movie is that it felt like it wasn't totally wasting the Resident Evil name. There were things in the movie that felt Resident Evil like, such as The Executioner, the freaky split head dogs, and an even bigger focus on the Las Plagas (sp?) virus from the last couple resident evil titles. It really gives me hope for a bigger reboot, as these movies can't continue. We really need a serious take on the fucking fantastic story laid out in Resident Evil 4. Seriously. Meh...wishfull fan faggotry. Anyways, the acting is god awful, so is the dialouge, and so is the story, but boy is the action and super violence off dah hooook.

Another thing worth mentioning is the stage production, there were some awesome set pieces that felt really cool, mainly in scenes using the Umbrella Corporation's lovely obsession with red and white. But these awesome stage designs don't come as big of a shock since other Paul Anderson films show the same passion for convincingly epic scenes.(Event Horizon anyone?)

When does entertainment outweigh the need for an at least somewhat present frame of mind as far as story, character development, motivation and whatnot? Turns out this is the answer to that question. The Resident Evil films have been a guilty pleasure of mine for ages, and now I at least have some sort of have justification on this one. Weather it's the sweet zombie killing, or the sweet zombie dog killing, or the sweet zombie monstrosity killings, there's a good reason to get some thorough enjoyment out of this newest, and best, Resident Evil film.
Film Rating: 7.2 / 10
-Matt Galey

Monday, September 13, 2010

EP Review: Atmosphere - To All My friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy

Slug and Ant have been working together since the mid-late 90's and they've been a staple in the underground hip-hop scene ever-since. Where you stand with Atmosphere definitely depends on when you got into them, if you've fallowed the group from the early days you most likely think that their new shit is...shit...and if you started off with the more widely popular When Life Gives You Lemons... you probably enjoy Atmosphere and think their new shit...is the shit! (see what I did there?) Anyways, I fall really under neither of those options, call it a stubborn hipster attitude or plain laziness, but I never felt the need to get into Atmosphere...mainly because it felt like everyone else had that covered. So I kinda feel I'm perfectly in line with this review, no bias anywhere.

Rhymesayers Entertainment is a label I know and love pretty thoroughly, having signed some of my favorite hip-hop artists like Brother Ali, P.O.S., Eyedea & Abilities, and Mac Lethal, so I definitely knew what to expect from Minnesota rap label. Atmosphere's new EP actually holds little surprise to me, but in a good way. The beats are almost unsurprisingly good, and the lyrics are almost unsurprisingly smart and deep. The EP opens with the angry "Until The Nipple's Gone" which holds a nice dark tone with its driving sound, allowing the heavier guitars and Slugs' in-your-face flow take control of the song, it definitely is an interesting way to start up the EP, as to wether or not this is news to Atmosphere fans, I have no clue. You can definitely feel the R&B tone Ant brought from his work with Brother Ali on Us, there's plenty of soulful electric guitar and smooth piano flowing about. "Scalp" is definitely one of the more recognizable tracks on the EP, with Slug rapping back-and-forth with himself in hypothetical conversation while a jamming bluesy guitar plucks along to the deep and low piano. There's some elements in these songs that feel totally Rhymesayers, and other bits that feel purely Atmosphere like...at least to this Atmosphere virgin.

"The Best Day" is my favorite so far in the album, being up-beat while staying realistic with the chorus line "That's why we are trying to make love and get paid, take the good with the bad and let's play" The simple piano and soulful guitar return and feel right at home in the song, being perfect for a drive around town or for listening with friends and a few beers. "Commodities" feels like one of the few duds on the 12 track EP, being too heavy not only in guitar noise but also in lyrical flow. It might be a bias on my part but I really dislike Hip-Hop lyrics that feel too message conscious and hell bent on telling us how fucked up society is...I already know that shit.

For me personally, Atmosphere works best on the new album when the songs feel more light-hearted yet still bleakly un-optimistic, like the last three tracks do. "The Number None", "Freefallin", and "To All My Friends" focus in on the story driven flow that I've been warned about, but I really don't mind when they sound this jammingly sunny. I can easily see myself playing a few of these songs the next night I stay up late helping my girlfriend with her studies or the next time I lay back on a sunday afternoon, the songs are just so perfectly serene without feeling forced into a gimmicky chill-out zone.

The new Atmosphere EP reminds me in some ways to the new Roots album, it's enjoyably light in the beats and song structure, yet deep and message conscious and dark in lyrical content. It's a nice way to hear hip-hop, it doesn't totally stand-out and probably won't garner the desired praise from the fans whole-heartedly, but they will definitely be okay with it all. The main places where this EP fails is when it tries too hard to pull the listener down into the grimy details of the lives around us, without allowing there to be the light glimmer of a fun piano beat or the cool breeze of a summery guitar to shelter us from the anger we are all aware of. It's the same way that I'm willing to hear the bad shit about the government and society, as long as I hear it from Stephen Colbert, I'm able to walk away smiling and shaking my head. That's what Atmosphere captures at various times in the new EP, and when that happens, the EP feels truly impressive.

EP Rating: 7.5/10
-Matt Galey

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Album Review: Patagonian Rats and New Adebisi Shank

Tera Melos - Patagonian Rats
It's been five long years since the last full length from Tera Melos, Untitled, which garnered lots of looks from the music community for it's facinating budding style of music, fusing jazz spazznasity and an almost post punk attitude to form a style of music that is as young as it is zany, causing a jitter of the fingers and tapping of the toes from admirers as strange and impressive guitar tapping intertwine with indescribable drum whomps at breakneck speed. Tera Melos might not like the term Math Rock, but it's what describes their music easiest in my head, and they definitely are learning to combine new elements on their new album Patagonian Rats, and while it's a fresh outlook, Tera Melos still know what they're good at, and they haven't lost that.

From the beggining of the album, there's an off feeling to those who know and love Tera Melos, as "Kelly" and its lead in "So Occult" feature the vocals which still seem new even though they've been around since their split with By The End of Tonight, and a strangely...less mathy...sound. But at the same time, I was struck by how similar the elements feel in the album when Tera kicks in some of the sporadic jazz they're known for, but at the same time being able to mix in the new, creating one badass witches brew. Patagonian Rats is the perfect album in some senses, having progression without loss of identity for the fans and the band alike. A highlight "Trident Tail" is an oldschool Tera Melos sounding song, except with melody and chorus, which while there, is as forward thinking and progressive sounding as can be. Tera Melos never sounds like something you've heard...besides Tera Melos, which is fascinatingly amazing.

"Frozen Zoo" is the obvious single, being the most accessible song on the album, and it definitely marks the big contrast from old Melos with a beginning guitar bit almost reminiscent of a Modest Mouse track (I swear!) and actual playable potential in a normal listening setting with people other than Tera Melos fans. There lies the biggest problem with Patagonian Rats and Tera Melos from the beginning, they are just so fucking in-accessible, I even have a hard time chewing through some of the longer 9 and 8 minute long jams. Casual listening is something hardly attached with the Jazzy Tera Melos sound. Overall though Patagonian Rats is every Tera Melos fans dream, it's NEW, but with an amount of nostalgia sorely missed by most new albums seen by other artists. Great tracks like "Party With Gina" and the ultimate grand finale "A New Uniform / Patagonia" really flesh out what you loved about Tera Melos, and what you're bound to start loving after the first listen.
Album Rating - 8.5 / 10


Adebisi Shank - This Is A Second Album of A Band Called Adebisi Shank
Post Rock is a genre marred by misunderstanding, confusion, and pretentious as fuck band names, and while most play the somber 20 minute song card, certain bands tend to test the limits of that genre, such as Adebisi Shank, whom I'm sure don't consider themselves Post-Rock, but unfortunately, to me...they are. And thank god for that. Without bands like Battles, Adebisi Shank or The Samuel Jackson Five, I wouldn't respect the post-rock sound for its diversity, depth, or straight up ass-kickery.

This Is A Second Album...marks progression in a band easily seen as one that didn't need it. Adebisi Shanks' first album was progressive, new, and fun as one could hope for, combining bad-ass-fast-paced-bombastic rock and roll with robo-audio-fed-vocals not unlike certain Daft Punk tracks. The new album is a step further into this technology-driven-rock with more electronic sounds found in the actual music, and the same, fascinating vocals found on the first album. It's a formula for sure, but the album never feels derivative of the song before it, with each track being easily distinguishable. "International Dreamboat" kicks the album into gear with an electronic romp complete with beeps and boops mixed with Fang Island-esque guitar licks. The single "Genki Shank" is definitely Adebisi Shank meets Heart's "Barracuda", combining robotic vocals with a driving and badass bassline.

One of my favorites on the album "(-_-)" is a sweeeeet intermission track, with a light and fluffy electro guitar accompanied by a tribally soothing drum beat. That leads into my favorite song on the album "Longdrum", which has lighting fast zipping noises that feel so futuristic in nature it conjures images of a lazer torn megalopolis from a Riddley Scott film, while injecting the perfect space and lulls in the track to leave room for those elevator rides among this futuristic vista. The album closes on the astonishingly interesting "Century City" that is a face melting mix of steadfast bassline and an ending truly futuristic with a mix of pixelated spermicide and a hellacious dance beat fit for a Crystal Castles concert in 2020. This Is A Second Album... bests Adebisi's first effort by crafting an album fit more for being a concept album, holding up a vision of the future to come. Oh and by the way, the album cover makes a billion times more sense after listening through his motherfucker.
Album Rating - 9.3 / 10

-Matt Galey

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Album Review: Weezer - Hurley

Life is full of constants and variables, the ebb and flow of life for the human race has moved at an ever constant rate, with the lubricant of those constants and variables easing and intensifying the friction along the way. At the dawn of man, we understood the constant that the Sun would rise and fall every day, food and water was required to live, and feces released from our anus after eating such food. Their variables were simple but there nonetheless, rains would come and go at a random pace, animals would sometimes be caught for meat, and sometimes they would escape mans grasp, and sometimes they would go hungry that night. These variables are things we can't predict and cannot control, they throw in the conflict, madness, and confusion into our lives, like a wildfire in the brush.

Weezer was a modern constant, something we could always count on to become progressively worse as the river of time flowed, like a flower after being plucked from he earth. With each album, Weezer would deteriorate a little bit more, leaving us to reign laughter and pity upon them not much unlike the boos and hissing felt by the Away team at a football game, they were bound to lose from the locker room. But Weezer has pulled back their shroud and have revealed their true status of an ever revolving variable, floating around in the sea of our consciousness...because "Hurley" is a pretty alright album.

I had Rivers Cuomo pinned (if you read my review of Raditude) as a man strictly set on destroying every ounce of love ever garnered by "Pinkerton" and "The Blue Album", while he laughed inwardly every step of the way. He's convinced me now, that he is more than a simple Troll king, he's a mastermind...an antichrist hellbent on destroying any sense of steadfast in our lives, becoming a king of discord, plunging our minds into a never ending pit of black madness.

For you see, Hurley is a fine album, good, pretty damn alright, and that is something that shouldn't be, can't be, oh how untrue I wish it was. The pop melodies are nothing new, pretty bad, over the top and more youthfully teenage than the band's own children, yet the songs are well done, with a raw sense not seen on their more recent albums. I feel like a Chess-playing robot being beaten by the simplicity found in the heart of a child...I cannot compute.

Some songs revert back to the Raditude days of pop rock stained with desires to be a modern version of "Dazed and Confused", a drug filled, mailbox breaking, beer and muscle car teenager with no sense of what sounds interesting and good, rather than "cool". But many of the songs move back to before Rivers Cuomo dreamt he had a cool high-school life, back when he was a loser geek who dreamt he was more, the same way Icarus dreamt he could fly like the gods. Songs like "Memories" and "Unspoken" take us back to those days, where Weezer very well could have been in a garage with Kiss posters plastered on the walls, playing loud and dorky music, forcing twelve-sided dice to roll with sheer rock-and-roll prowess.

"Hurley" should have been AWFUL. It was destined, written in stone, decided, and pre-determined, much like Hugo "Hurley" Reyes' fate the second he crash landed on the island in Lost. Instead, we get an album that could very well be only bested by Pinkerton and The Blue Album. The incomprehensible nature of this is something so maddening to this reviewers mind that I must slowly type to keep my fingers from turning on me and gouging out my eyes. The interesting elements on the album come from the begging of songs like "Memories" and "Trainwrecks" where we feel Weezer laughing at the over production on more recent works by introducing these songs with orchestral drawls, which lead into a more raw songwriting sensibility...one that astonishingly bears fruit like a barren desert, a miracle in retrospect.

The elephant on the album "Where's My Sex?" plays out more like a miniature-pony, being cool and all, but never sounding anywhere near as interesting as the dorky and charming "Smart Girls" or the perfect album closer "Time Flies" which has a low-fi quality Neutral Milk Hotel fans might strangely appreciate and welcome. I found myself thinking over and over "This song might just be listened to multiple times!" which is something I haven't thought since hearing the gimmicky sounds on the Green album or possibly "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" off of Red. I find myself shivering as I feel the cold breath of hell freezing over while pigs fly across the darkening skies like the war planes over a Nazi Germany.

"Hurley" has brought upon us the complexity of the variable where there shouldn't have been one. We are hit with the immensely tortuous tangle of the web known as life, and the insanity brought upon by the unknown. The rotation of the Earth very well could have shifted a miniscule degree by the release of a mildly good Weezer album, bringing about the end of the world as we know it. Rivers Cuomo has proved to be a more than formidable opponent, one who is so unpredictable and unyieldingly sporadic in his mischief that we cannot, must not, and will not underestimate him. The impossible is now possible, and the gates of the abyss have opened to release unfathomable horrors not even H.P. Lovecraft could measure...all because Weezer has managed to put out a surprisingly alright album. May god help us all.
Album Rating - 8.4 / 10
-Matt Galey

You can also read this review here: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/38981/Weezer-Hurley/

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Are They Waiting For? Albums We're All Anticipating

New releases are always highly anticipated from your favorite artists, you sit around, wanting a new album, itchin' for those new songs to take in and enjoy. So far this year, there's been quite a lot of that for me, with new Gorillaz, Tera Melos, and even the new LCD Soundsystem, it's awesome after years of nothing!

But unfortunately, it's the albums that aren't coming out that you notice more than the ones that have. What selfish shits we are. Anyways, I thought it'd be a good idea to post the albums that are missing in action, and HIGHLY desired...by the fucker writing this article that is! ;)

Last Studio Release - 2005 (HOLY SHIT NOT COOL)
Reason for No New Shit - Sucking Disney's cock at the moment.

So daft punk have been sitting on their robotic asses for FIVE years now, and everyone still knows who the fuck they are. Daft Punk are favorites from my early days of music experimentation, back when I thought Coheed and Cambria was "Experimental", and Daft Punk has been around ever since, inspiring nostalgia wherever it's needed. Unfortunately, using Daft Punk as a nostalgic device makes me forget that they are still together and doin' their thang, which is sad, it's been FIVE fucking years since a new release!

Now it seems we might still have to wait a bit longer. Daft Punk has been working on the soundtrack for the new Disney flick "Tron: Legacy", and while that kinda sucks, it's good news in a way to hear they have the creative motor-oil flowing, and aren't pumping out new live albums. Apparently they have rented out the Jim Henson Studios to record new material, but with this Tron shit going on, I doubt we'll see any new studio album material for a couple more years...Robot douche bags.

Last Studio Release - 2005 (HOLY SHIT NOT RAD)
Reason for No New Shit - Label got raped by economy.

The Aquabats are a sad story on this little list, because unlike all the other lazy shitheads that refuse to release the goods, The Aquabats are fucking ACTIVE. They actually began work on the follow-up to Charge!! back in 2007, and did some shows in-between working on it, and then decided to start producing a pilot for their own show called "The Aquabats Super Show!" which is still kinda held up itself. Either way, in April 2009, Nitro records let go of Mc Bat Commander and the Crew, because of the recession and what-not. So now, it SEEMS that The Aquabats are going to try and release their new album in November this year on their own, which I highly doubt, but still, I might buy it if it does come out, just to support those super rad guys.

Last Studio Release - 2007 (FEELS LIKE FOREVER)
Reason for No New Shit - Getting dicks sucked by music fans everywhere.

I dunno if I'm just new to the whole electronic scene or what, but it seems like these Dj-Duo's like being lazy and just promoting an album for a few years or what, because Justice seem to be in the same boat as Daft Punk, just more french. Ever since their release of the Cross album, Justice have really just been getting blown around the world by fans of Electronic music, and why not? The main reason why I'm complaining about no new releases is that (cross) was so amazing as an album, that I NEEEEED new shit. Either way, it seems right now they are working with Mr.Oizo on his new film "Rubber", I've heard some singles off of it, and they're pretty good, not to mention that Justice have put out quite a few crucifyingly good (zing!) remixes in the last few years. Which makes me miss their new release a little less...just a little.

Last Studio Release - 2007
Reason for No New Shit - Frontman M.I.A. (get it, battle joke?)

Okay so this one I can totally understand, and I really don't hold much against Battles for not releasing a new follow up to the EPIC Mirrored, their Singer/Keyboardist/Guitarist frontman Tyondai Braxton left the band just a couple months ago, and that shit still stings, and I'm not even in the band! He was quite a creative force and while I'm still surprised that Battles is still together after that huge blow to their line-up, I still think that Battles can put out some amazing shit, their band is made up of some well versed fellows in the Math-Rock and Post-Rock industry. Now the bigger question is whether or not fucking Tyondai Braxton will release something worthwhile to make up for his douche-baggery. This is definitely one battle I don't wanna see end! (Oh no he didn't!)

Last Studio Release - 2007
Reason For No New Shit - Who the fuck knows, those guys are weirdos.

Sleepytime has always been on the cusp of my strange facination with experimental music, allowing me to listen to some songs, but always keep them at an arms length. On the other hand, they've been a love interest for my fellow writer on here and friend Tynan, he's even gotten to see them live. We were discussing this article the other night, and he mentioned that I should write about these weird fuckers here. So I am. But basically, I'm also interested in a new release from SGM in the slight hopes of finding a way to fall in love with their Avant-Garde-industrial-metal-experimental-progressive-rock sound! Unfortunately, there seems to be no new noise about a new album from these folks anytime soon. I went on the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for ANY news on a new album, and it seems that the person that manages it fell asleep back in late 2006, and never woke up! There's no mention of anything beyond the "forthcoming" release of In Glorious Times (2007), and everywhere else I go it seems these guys have no new plans on new shit anytime soon....not even...SLEEPYTIME! (haha I'm a genius.)

Last Studio Release - 2002
Reason For No New Shit - Erm...to be...cryptic and Post-Rock as fuck?

I guess this is just wishful thinking now, but being almost 18 now, I've only truly known about music for about five...maybe six years, and unfortunately, Godspeed came and went long before that time. Too bad, because now they rape these indie-as-fuck ears on a regular basis. Since then they've been on a perpetual mind fuck, being parts of different bands, and doing strange and interesting reunions. Either-way, they are the darling of any big music fan, with their older albums completely blowing away most new Post-Rock. My main reason for having any hope for a new release is because they recently announced they'd be back together this year for a few select shows in a letter that made me splooge everywhere. Lets hope magic will happen, and we'll get some new shiiiiit! And let's hope they move forward at making this new album with Godspeed!
You can look at the full size image of the new letter to the fans here!

Last Studio Release - 1998 (and are still relevant...holy shit)
Reason For No New Shit - Jeff Magnum busy wishing he was Anne Frank

As with Godspeed, Neutral Milk Hotel is something I had to come into loving late, like most of my hipster friends. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is a beloved album nowadays, and rightfully sow, the Low-Fi indie rock goodness held on that album still blows the anal beads out of most shit put out today. So, I guess Neutral Milk Hotel have broken up, so what? The makings are still there for them to put out a new album, (may I suggest a Hi-Fi disco-electronic romp?) with Mangnum slowly starting to show his elusive self more often around the music industry, and Julian Koster starting to actually make a bigger name for himself with his AWESOME solo work. The shit's all there, I guess NMH might be trying to do that whole "Leave em' Wanting More" thing, which sucks. Because if they came back in action, people WOULD SHIT THEMSELVES. DOOOOO IT GUYS!

Well, there's just a few albums that I NEED to come out soon, got any artists you think I obviously missed, or your own obscure favorites that put out less than your wife? Leave a fucking comment assholes, let us know you skimmed, scanned, or read this mofo! - Matt