///deek_media


Glassjaw – Coloring Book (EP) [2011]

Posted in alternative rock,post-hardcore by deek on April 25, 2011

Let’s face it, fan outcry has practically become synonymous with Glassjaw in recent years. A much rumored acrimonious, and simultaneously protracted, departure from Warner Bros. Records saw new material from the group delayed to near “Chinese Democracy” proportions. A series of extremely limited edition 7″ releases from the band were likely intended to ease concerns, but instead caused more uproar with many proclaiming them to be a nickel and dime tactic. Eventually the material from the 7″ outings was compiled into a digital EP and most figured that would be the end of it until the now near-mythical (to the fanboys at least) new album from the group finally surfaced – that is of course until they decided to give away this, an all-new six song EP as a bonus to those who attended their early 2011 headlining tour. Although many of the included tracks had been performed live prior, these studio recordings are easily the best representation of what Glassjaw have now become. For “Coloring Book” is a bold step forward, one that sees the band emerge from their scrappy, antagonistic post hardcore roots and blossom into a different beast altogether. Much like the Deftones before them, Glassjaw now seem more intent on exploring musical texture, open space and sublime melancholy. The group achieve this through a number of haunting tones, subtle instrumental augmentation and oddly enough, a heavy dub influence manifested through the ever-intoxicating basslines of Manny Carrero. To be sure Glassjaw are no longer the wounded animal that would aggressively lash out at every turn. Band frontman Daryl Palumbo readily illustrates this newfound zen with a highly melodic, almost scream-free performance. But as odd as it may be for a group who once thrived on chaos, it is this stability and focus that allows them to flourish and express themselves through a much broader range of color and influences. Whether it be the shrill guitar tones that recall some of the more adventurous outfits of the early 80′s British pop movement (the solo on “Stations Of The New Cross” being a prime example.) Or the sonic entanglement wrought by the The Mars Volta on horse tranquilizers-like “Vanilla Poltergeist Snake“; “Coloring Book” exhibits the most expansive spectrum of musical experimentation from the band to date. What really sets this EP apart from their previous work though is the depth of the songs. There’s been considerable thought invested in structuring and aural accentuation. Each fill, riff or haunting key embellishment all seems to have been planned out in great detail prior. Surprising it is then that the end result almost always maintains an organic flair flush with heartfelt sentiment, despite the more layered approach. An impressive growth spurt that has seen them emerge more mature and capable than ever before, “Coloring Book” finds Glassjaw representing themselves with an impressively revised palette. One that representing themselves with an impressively revised palette. One that looks fully equipped to help them paint an entirely new masterpiece altogether. -the prp

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong [2011]

Posted in dream pop,indie pop,noise pop,shoegaze by deek on April 25, 2011

Currently the “Best Band With The Worst Name” title holder, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart debuted in 2009 as a twee indie-rock act whose sound owed more than a little to Belle And Sebastian. But Pains showed a stronger propensity for rock, which explains the band’s choice of producer Flood (U2, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) and mixer Alan Moulder (The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride, My Bloody Valentine) for the new Belong. Those guys specialize in big rock sounds, and that’s exactly what Belong delivers in its opening track, “Belong,” which resembles the Pumpkins’ “Today” in its guitar dynamics. The guitars are also gloriously huge on “Even In Dreams,” and “Girl Of 1,000 Dreams” has a Jesus And Mary Chain ferocity, but Belong still has plenty of nuance. Flood also worked with Erasure quite a bit, so synthesizer-heavy songs like “The Body” and “My Terrible Friend”—which would have fit on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack—don’t feel out of place. Those songs, as well as the atmospheric “Anne With An E,” actually suit guitarist-vocalist Kip Berman’s breathy voice better than their more rocking siblings. “Heart In Your Heartbreak,” a perfect example of Pains as a more rocking Belle And Sebastian, hits Berman’s sweet spot vocally. More than anything, Belong shows ambition, with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart clearly aiming for something bigger—a bigger sound, may be a bigger audience. It nailed the sound part. A larger audience seems inevitable. -avclub

tUnE-YaRdS – w h o k i l l [2011]

Posted in experimental,indie pop,psychedelic pop by deek on April 25, 2011

One of the most talked about albums of 2009, if not one of the highest selling, was tUnE-yArDs’ debut effort BiRd-BrAiNs – and not just for all those rogue capital letters. Recorded entirely on digital tape and pieced together on a laptop, it seemed to redefine the concept of lo-fi recording. It was during live shows though that the buzz really built around Merrill Garbus (who is, in effect, tUnE-yArDs). Synchronised drums, loop pedals, an overwhelming sense of joy and the magical, theatrical presence of Garbus herself led people to whisper words like ‘religious experience’ and ‘genius’. Two years on, and Garbus appears to have distilled that live ambience into the recording studio. For, as good as BiRd-BrAiNs was (and it was, for the most part, outstanding), w h o k i l l represents a massive leap forward creatively. There’s an energy and atmosphere to w h o k i l l which seems to just pour off the record. In a world of identikit pop stars, it’s safe to say that you’ll not hear an album like this anywhere else this year. Opening track My Country sets the exhilarating tone early – a thumping, jumping beast of a song which is impossible to sit still to. The rhythm is irresistible, horns blast, and there’s even the odd glockenspiel in there, while dominating everything is Garbus’ tremendous voice, which manages to inject genuine soul into every note. Staggeringly, the rest of the album is of similar quality. It’s difficult to pick out a stand-out track, but Riotriot is certainly up there. A sole finger-picked ukulele sets the tone before building up beautifully as cacophonous drums and a saxophone join the party, until a delicious tribal rhythm strikes up. Doorstep is less frantic if no less effective, an addictive vocal line of “the policeman shot my baby as he crossed onto my doorstep” hinting at a dark undertone beneath the joyous melody. Es-So puts the loop pedals to good use, looping Garbus backing vocals and repeating a ridiculously addictive guitar riff. Like much of the rest of the album, it’s experimental yet utterly accessible, catchy without being annoying and strangely odd without being alienating. For Garbus has that mysterious ingredient to her that keeps you going back to her music – that ‘X-Factor’ before Simon Cowell bastardised the phrase. It’s there in the astonishing, horn-laden swagger of Bizness, in the wonderfully danceable Gangsta, and especially in the delirious rhythms of You Yes You. Even the less immediate tracks, such as Wooly Wooly Gong, have a unique charm revealed after a few plays. It’s an album that it’s impossible to ever imagine tiring of – and as soon as the closing beats of the superb Killa come to a halt, you just want to start it all over again. In a year that’s already been rather special for great albums, Merrill Garbus may well have produced the finest record of the year. -musicOMH

Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact [2011]

Posted in neo psychedelia,psychedelic pop by deek on April 25, 2011

As a proudly underground entity, Manhattan’s Gang Gang Dance seemed bent on creating one long celestial psych jam. But for 2008’s Saint Dymphna, they pared down the dubby dance experimentation and reaped the rewards (namely, a record deal). Less woozy and intoxicating than its predecessors, that album was a gateway drug into what now turns out to be an even wilder and murkier milieu. GGD’s fifth album and first for 4AD, Eye Contact opens with the 11-minute “Glass Jar,” a freewheeling mass of synths, cymbals, and high moans that withholds the beat far beyond the halfway mark. The song also contains a key clue: a man’s voice declaring with Sheen-like clarity (and/or inscrutability), “It’s everything time.” While Dymphna divvied up the band’s influences over ten identifiable songs, here their entire spectrum of styles gets blasted constantly, each track bleeding into the next. Eastern scales, New Age haze, jungle drums, and druggy rave effects create a dense aural whirl that assumes solid form only briefly: Lizzi Bougatsos keening like a Bollywood star gone dancehall (“Chinese High”); the C+C Music Factory crescendo of “Mindkilla”; and the fantastic “Romance Layers,” with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor lounging on a bed of house-inflected ’90s R&B. So, Gang Gang Dance are back to testing boundaries. For them, it’s a return to the future. -Spin

Grouper – A I A [2011]

Posted in ambient,dream pop,psychedelic folk by deek on April 25, 2011

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APnKimfLnJI%5D

Liz Harris’ music as Grouper has always existed for me in the moment between consciousness and slumber, when the day’s thoughts stray and splinter into non-sequiturs, when memory atrophies into instantaneous forgetfulness. Not to be confused with sleepiness nor a codeine-induced haze, this state is one of cognizance, though on the precipice of unconsciousness. Often in Grouper’s music, this unawareness manifests itself as déjà entendue, whether that be the ‘gymnopédist’ opening of “Disengaged” or further flung moments of partial recollection. While Liz’s music is gorgeous on a purely aesthetic level, this false, indelible immediacy is, for me, the ensnaring characteristic of Grouper. Unsurprisingly, this ephemeral comfort is once again present in A I A, Grouper’s much-anticipated, two-part follow-up to her breakthrough album Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill. For many, the appeal of that formative release was its ability to synthesize Liz’s prior penchant for fluid structure and dronescapes with the focus of a singer-songwriter superstructure. But let’s just get this out of the way: a Dragging clone A I A is not. Instead, on Alien Observer and Dream Loss, Grouper once again resides in the ethereal gauze of Wide et al., with only the track “Alien Observer” recalling the singer-songwriter idiom frequented on Dragging. While split into two LPs that can be appreciated independently of each other, Alien Observer and Dream Loss work best when played sequentially, especially since the two are thematically similar. On each, that aforementioned cognitive tampering is the most pronounced of Grouper’s discography. Liz’s remembrance ranges from the fleeting familiarity of her flowing vocal and disintegrating tape loops on the opener “Moon is Sharp” to far more concrete anamnesis. This clear reminiscence goes as far as (pseudo) quotation, of others and herself. Just as Dragging’s “Disengaged” is founded on a slight perturbation of Satie’s hollowed melody, “(first heart tone)” commences with what resembles the opening notes of what seems to be a Messiaen piece, only to disperse into newborn lines. Of even more vivid familiarity is “No Other,” which is seemingly identical to Grouper’s 2007 single “Tried.” Although it may seem distasteful for such distant reuse, “No Other” is contextually appropriate in both sound and theme. Adaptation and sampling aren’t uncommon for tape manipulators and pedal pressers, but Grouper’s aesthetics transcend the rhetorical device of shallow recollection often found in music of her ilk. Not only does she induce recognition, but Grouper melds memory and sound to the point at which memory is codified through her sounds. Akin to Schnittke’s ‘polystylism’ — the juxtaposition of past styles against modernity — Harris employs her sources and references as a catalyst for a listener’s cognitive editing, splicing their memories with Grouper’s and injecting herself into their consciousness. And yet, when I detach myself from A I A, I’m left feeling uneasy over the legitimacy of what I’ve found, whether ‘identified’ elements are truly present. The quotations and allusions I was so sure I heard now seem tenuous, not even placeable. Perhaps it’s in these mistaken identities where we can find the essence of A I A. Alien Observer and Dream Loss permit and accentuate their listener’s past, fusing with and wrapping around his/her subjective history. For each person, the resulting resonance is unique, so I do not feel comfortable asserting much about this process for another. But for myself, this sound/synapse transposition is as haunting as it is beautiful — surely Grouper’s best. -tinymixtapes

Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (EP) [2011]

Posted in metalcore,progressive metal by deek on April 8, 2011

On paper a two part series of conceptually linked releases relating to a pair of space age characters facing similar issues light years apart sounds a bit eccentric. In fact, it sounds more like something spawned from the LSD damaged gray matter of Mastodon than that of Between The Buried And Me. But with “The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues“, these North Carolina natives have blasted off in exactly that direction. This three track, 30 minute long release represents many of the finer points of Between The Buried And Me and the progressive tech metal juggernaut they have become. Given the heady concept the band are exploring one would expect them to employ a Cynic-like onslaught of space rock and digital effects. Ever the ones to avoid the status quo though, the group instead veer off in a more organic direction, going so far as to erupt into some surprisingly frivolous Mr. Bungle-reminiscent moments. As with any Between The Buried And Me release, the band exhibit an exceptional grasp of their individual instruments, tearing through stunningly complex arrangements with blistering performances. It seems any band can shred with proficiency these days though and depth is where Between The Buried And Me repeatedly set themselves apart. Whether it be the haunting organic tinges of the ever looming keys, the unexpected dips into slide guitars and what even sounds like an accordion on “Augment Of Rebirth“; the band showcase a somewhat kookier side that gives levity to what is often an epic, if not extremely turbulent voyage. Melody, while not explicitly the main focus of the release, remains as key and uplifting as ever, helping to punctuate this first half of the groups lofty tale. Truly Between The Buried And Me‘s songwriting has become more elaborate and cohesive without sacrificing any of the bands adventurousness. Whether they set their mind to passive harmonizing or a punishing metallic onslaught, they exude the same amount of passion and attention to detail. A select few bands can implement this level of control and precision over what should be an all out aural cataclysm and rope it all in. But only this one could cultivate this much artistic intent and explosive creativity from such a fearsome cyclone of instrumental chaos. – theprp.com

Panda Bear – Tomboy [2011]

Posted in neo psychedelia,psychedelic pop by deek on April 6, 2011

At the end of 2009, if you glanced at a rock critic’s “best of” list, Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was probably on it. The album followed what had been 10 years of recording and touring for the band, but soft-spoken member Noah Lennox took the newfound success in stride. “I think one thing that helped us is that we had kind of a slow build,” Lennox tells Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz. “It wasn’t like we were playing to 10 people and then suddenly we were playing shows of 20,000 people or something like that.” Another thing that might have helped: Lennox was far, far away from the limelight. A few years ago, he moved from his hometown of Baltimore to Lisbon, Portugal. Lennox also records as a solo artist under the name Panda Bear. His third album, 2007’s Person Pitch, also landed on many year-end lists, and his fourth, Tomboy, comes out this month. Lennox says Tomboy has a darker feel than much of his past work, due in part to his work habits in the basement studio where he recorded it. “There are no windows, so every day I would go in there and turn off the lights and have my gear set up,” Lennox says. “You can’t help but have the atmosphere and environment come out in what you’re doing.” Lennox’s music, both as Panda Bear and in Animal Collective, is dense and filled with soaring refrains, which he creates using sequencers, synthesizers and many layers of vocals.”I like to think of it like salt and pepper — you put these weird little sounds in there to spice up the song,” he says. “I’ll often think about making music and making food. I’m a terrible chef, though.” Tomboy also sports another trademark of Lennox’s catalog: a cavernous sound heavy with reverberant echoes, much like those that occur naturally in the churches of Lisbon. Lennox says he’s always been attracted to those big, hollow tones. “These stone buildings that have really high ceilings … it’s always been a type of sound I’ve been drawn to,” he says. “I kind of slap it on everything, unfortunately. Music just sounds really good to me in that kind of space.” – NPR