Posts Tagged ‘alternative rock’

Surprise, a list! Who doesn’t love to list things they love and present them to the public? I’m sure the good people on Facebook land and beyond have seen the “10 Best Stuffs to Stuff” list, the “Top 5 Best Stuffs” and so on. So allow me introduce you to my pretentious little exhibition. Below are 4 albums I enjoy listening to from jump to splat. Yes you read that right, only 4…because fuck lists in which the total number of items are divisible by 5 and/or 10. Also, don’t try to look for a pattern here. This list is in no particular order, and has very little rhyme or reason attached to it.

Ihsahn's 'After' was released January 26th, 2010 via Candlelight Records Genre: Progressive Black Metal

Ihsahn’s ‘After” was released January 26th, 2010 via Candlelight Records
Genre: Progressive Black Metal

First off is After by Ihsahn. If you’re a Black Metal enthusiast, you know this name and the gr1m fr0stbitten cache of epicness that accompanies it and you can skip the next sentence. Ihsahn, as the front man for Black Metal band Emperor, helped pioneer the genre and shape it throughout its satanic birth and infancy. This album was the thematic end to a conceptual trilogy that began with ‘Adversary’ and ‘angL’. After is big sonically, and what I mean by that is that there is a lot of space that you can just feel at times. Sure, Jens Bogren (Mix/Mastering Engineer) added weight where previous album ‘angl’ lacked it, but combined with Ihsahn’s superb riffing and “guitar orchestration”, combined with his knack for always writing the quintessential ‘complete song’, no track on this album is a skipper. As far as I’m concerned it can go down as one as the best metal albums of all time, and can easily top multiple albums across a multitude of extreme metal sub-genres.

Enya's 'A Day Without Rain' was released November 21st, 2000 via Reprise. Genre: New Age

Enya’s ‘A Day Without Rain’ was released November 21st, 2000 via Reprise.
Genre: New Age

Next up is A Day Without Rain by Enya. No, let me stop you here, Sail Away, Sail Away is not on this album, and it isn’t even the actual name of the song. This album is magnificent as that song was. If you are not into New Age music, you may not know what I’m babbling on about…pfft, there aren’t even any guitars on this record, or breakdowns for that matter. Good point, believe me, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Enya had put together an almost flawless body of work again. In the United States along ADWR went 7x platinum, that’s 7,000,000 copies! It helps that ‘Only Time’ was played repeatedly in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Enya effortlessly navigates chord progressions that were arranged seemingly with a patented technique that dates back to the 1980’s. Enya’s works have garnered international praise and accolades, to which I say…no shit.

Daylight Dies' 'Dismantling Devotion' was released March 7th, 2006 via Candlelight Records Genre: Doom Metal

Daylight Dies’ ‘Dismantling Devotion’ was released March 7th, 2006 via Candlelight Records
Genre: Doom Metal

Replace the stringed instruments with guitars, 80% of the singing with guttural death growls, make the lyrical themes darker and you get Daylight Dies’ 2006 effort ‘Dismantling Devotion. No, I did not mean Killswitch Engage, I mean the North Carolina Doom Metal group Daylight Dies. From top to bottom, there is enough meat here to feed every starving organism on the planet. Hyperbole aside, for a sophomore effort DD took no prisoners with these songs. There is emotion, intensity, and aggression within each song. The melodic content from song to song is rich and ripe with purpose behind the brutal death metal vocals of front man Nathan Ellis. I first ran into this band listening to a My Dying Bride station on Last FM. This band’s strength lays in their composition. Once you get past the slower pace inherent in the Doom Metal genre, you will be able to appreciate this record.

Doomtree independently  released this self titled album July 29th, 2008 Genre: Hip Hop

Doomtree independently released this self titled album July 29th, 2008
Genre: Hip Hop

Last, but surely not least, Doomtree’s self titled effort from 2008, Doomtree. I know what you were thinking, but this is not a metal band…sorry. Doomtree is a hip-hop group from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before you go and dismiss these guys, give this album a listen…and I mean really listen. From top to bottom this album, features thought provoking, and introspective lyrics that come across as genuine as all hell. The instrumentals are raw, and gritty but create a 90’s feel that suites Doomtree’s aura. The rappers that make up this group pride themselves on their individuality, and this group of songs captures that thought process completely.

'The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener' was released independently September 10th, 2013.

‘The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener’ was released independently September 10th, 2013.

Elitists would probably agree that they just don’t make music like they used to, especially in the Progressive Rock arena. Some would say that today’s prog elite is more in to showing off their skill as opposed to using their skill to make good music. Long gone are the days when music possessed the intimacy, the humility, and the raw genuine passion for making music inspired by something else. Fret not; Sigmund Blue is here to fill in the void, no DeLorean required.

Sigmund began as a project between two members but took to full band status with the addition of another member in 1999. Each member recorded their parts separately as the three live in different regions of the United States. Un-phased by such unfortunate circumstances, the trio presented The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener (Eight Deaths) in September of 2013. Eight Deaths is a 1970’s inspired concept album that chronicles the many trials and tribulations encountered by protagonist Delphinium Gardener.

The album opens in spectacular fashion with ‘Overture’, a piano friendly introduction with remarkably familiar melodic trappings. Immediately the goal of the album becomes clear with this “curtains up” instrumental. It is as much of a proclamation of arrival as it is a solid introduction. The melodies that dance throughout the latter stages of the track serve as a perfect lead-in to the track that succeeds it, Charcuterie of Babylon. From then on, Eight Deaths stays the course with a chill-out easy going vibe that serves to put the listener in a state where focusing on the story becomes a natural reflex.

Eight Deaths shakes things up with ‘Can’t Stay’, presenting the first deviation from what the album had previously established as a norm. This is by no means a bad mark on the report card, as the band does well transitioning be a more rock based feel to a song that contains more bounce and pop. After that diversion, the album returns to business as usual until ‘Go Now’. This track is by far the emotional powerhouse of the album. The vocals carry the weight of the songs part in the story with incredible ease and packs enough power to move the listener to tears.

From that point out the journey is much more rocky but the sonic cohesiveness heard earlier in the album remains consistent. The exiting tracks at this point of the album serve as a build up to a climax that sees a rather calm and soothing end melodically. ‘Pod’s Lament’ serves as evidence of this with gusto as there is a stark ramp up in energy. This track sees the band shed the prog rock element for an all out balls to the wall sprint to the finish. It makes the transition to the aptly named album closer ‘Epilogue’ all the more interesting.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The biggest hurdle for this album to overcome, aside from some slightly creepy dialogue in ‘The Meeting’, is the time investment. At 18 tracks and just over an hour and five minutes, there may not be enough meat for the average listener to chew on. Big moments tend to fall flat due to the context of the era that influences the production, but if appreciated properly within said context, it makes for an even bigger set of musical events. Eight Deaths is far out in a good way and all in all, the entire album achieved what it set out to do. Fans of Queen and the Beatles may have something to latch on to here.

Album Picks: Here It Is, Can’t Stay, Go Now, Carbon Copy
Album Skips: The Meeting

Rating: 4 out of 5

studio
Everyone loves a great performance by his or her favorite artists; no really, it is true! Hundreds of thousands rush to Ozzfest, Warped Tour, and the like to see their bands tear it up each year, and each year the talent is up to par, or least they are supposed to be. Standing in a sea of people all day waiting for the headliner can become quite a chore when you have to endure horrible support bands…and if the headliners let you down, you would be ready to flip a table. Not all musicians have the stage chops to carry a crowd through a set. However, their god awful on stage performance should not leave you to with the thought that they are god awful musicians overall…wait, let me finish Kanye.

Events like American R&B diva Beyonce’s lip-syncing the American National Anthem and last month’s air guitar scandal at Super Bowl XLVIII leave many with a salty taste in their mouths concerning musical performances. Cynics across the interweb’s social sphere drew the conclusion that the days of live pop performances are over. Fans found themselves doubting the ability of their favorite artists, and others merely chalked it up to the decline of talent in the modern day music industry. Oh ye of little faith. Fret not; you can still enjoy great performances while cherishing the talent behind what you see.

Rock out...hard!

Rock out…hard!

A typical musical act’s purpose is to present a combination of musicianship and showmanship that is as infectious, magnetic, and powerful as possible. In a controlled environment like the studio, focusing such raw unrestricted energy can prove to be a challenge. Modern day tricks like ‘elastic audio’ can fix stray grooves, and auto-tune rules the modern day recording vocalist music, but nothing beats a solid take or two. Reduced labor, computer processing, and the amount of coffee needed for endless nights of editing are benefits of having “one take Jakes” in the studio. Nevertheless, a hybrid will get the job done, and earn a healthier living than the other two one trick ponies.

Read more at: Underground Press

Stateless is great genre hybrid of electronic/rock/and hip-hop. Similar to our our boy Childish Gambino  in this respect but with a bigger focus on melody in the alternative rock landscape.

This song starts off quiet with a warm accordion to bring you to their trip-hop hook with a great vocal harmony that makes the song increasingly huge. It fades off as a transition to the remainder of the album, leaving you wanting more.

It’s sort of dark, thought provoking, but warm and inviting. Go check out the rest of the tracks on Matilda. It’s a fitting meditative or workout album. Both energetic and pensive.

The four piece hails from foggy London town and are for fans of Dredg, Portishead, and Awolnation.

Welcome!

Free music, can’t get enough of the stuff? Well you’re in luck my friends, because blow you’ll find links to some really awesome sounding music, courtesy of Last.fm. Just click the pictures below for a free download of a random track from the artist’s album. Enjoy!

Threat Signal's self titled album was released October 7th, 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records Genre: Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal

Threat Signal’s self titled album was released October 7th, 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal

Cursive's Mama I'm Swollen was released March 1st, 2009 via Saddle Creek Records Genre: Rock

Cursive’s Mama I’m Swollen was released March 1st, 2009 via Saddle Creek Records
Genre: Rock

SIMS's Bad Time Zoo was released February 15th, 2011 via Doomtree Records Genre: Hip Hop

SIMS’s Bad Time Zoo was released February 15th, 2011 via Doomtree Records
Genre: Hip Hop

Municipal Waste's The Fatal Feast was released April 12th, 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records Grenre: Crossover Thrash

Municipal Waste’s The Fatal Feast was released April 12th, 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records
Grenre: Crossover Thrash

Owen's New Leaves was released September 22nd, 2009 via Polyvinyl Record Company Genre: Singer-Songwriter/Indie Rock

Owen’s New Leaves was released September 22nd, 2009 via Polyvinyl Record Company
Genre: Singer-Songwriter/Indie Rock

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Randomly came across this band several weeks ago. There’s something all very unique yet comfortably familiar. The piano sounds so bright and full you half expect Kelly Clarkson to start singing a ballad about a boyfriend who couldn’t learn to love.

Joseph Secchiaroli’s voice reminds me a little of Jason Mraz but his singing and lyrical style really separates him from the drab pop world. This song features long arpeggiated runs that seduce you into following his words. It’s a great example of their fantastic compositional skills. Focusing on the rhythm and allowing the melody to revolve around it in a swirl.

The band stems off of a breakup of the band This Day & Age but has a vastly different sound. I approve of the changes made and look forward to hearing more material. I might love them even more if they choose another studio for any follow-up album. Go for darker rather than poppy. But that’s just me.

You can check out this album, as well as the 16 bit version (don’t ask me why, I’m not sure either…) of it on Spotify.
And you can check out This Day & Age as well.

Welcome back!

Free music, can’t get enough of the stuff? Well you’re in luck my friends, because blow you’ll find 5 links to some really awesome sounding music, courtesy of Last.fm. Just click the pictures below for a free download of a random track from the artist’s album. Enjoy!

The Gathering's Disclosure was released November 12th, 2012 via Psychonaut Records Genre: Alternative Rock/New Wave

The Gathering’s Disclosure was released November 12th, 2012 via Psychonaut Records
Genre: Alternative Rock/New Wave

Nine Inch Nails' 24.24.2.2527 Deceased was released April 12th, 2010 via Sefiros Genre: Industrial/Electronic

Nine Inch Nails’ 24.24.2.2527 Deceased was released April 12th, 2010 via Sefiros
Genre: Industrial/Electronic

Symphony X's Iconoclast was released June 21st 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records Genre: Power Metal

Symphony X’s Iconoclast was released June 21st 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Power Metal

Astronautalis's This Is Our Science was released September 13th 2011 via Fake Four Inc.  Genre: Hip Hop

Astronautalis’s This Is Our Science was released September 13th 2011 via Fake Four Inc.
Genre: Hip Hop

Escape The Day's Ghostless was an unreleased album Genre: Post-Rock

Escape The Day’s Ghostless was an unreleased album
Genre: Post-Rock

 

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