October 29, 2010

The Seagreen Incorruptible - Ten Things to Do With Ninety Thousand Sequins

I can't really say I know any bands that sound much like The Seagreen Incorruptible. What we have here is a completely unique blend of electronic mishap, random bursts of dialogue, a fuzzy atmosphere, and song titles that fit their bizarrely schizophrenic and experimental tunes. Most of these songs don't have a main melody or even a main rhythm, but they don't exactly sound like they're improvised. Occasionally, you'll hear a clear beat, but that's rare, and when it happens, it changes pretty quickly.

There are some moments on Ten Thousand Things to Do that make more sense, like the chill opener Make a Dress, Treat Your Senile Mother Well, and my favorite track Build a Castle, which sustains an audible and highly catchy melody for a few minutes before it fizzes out. I also liked the last 3 minutes of Shove Them Up Your Ass a lot.

All in all, Ten Thousand Things to Do may not benefit from its originality and avant-garde style all the time, but it has some brilliant moments. A good deal of this album is a little too weird for me, but if you're into this style of music, you'll love it. I'll give it a 6.5, closing in on a 7.


October 24, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

Sorry I have not written any reviews lately, but i hope to write many starting......NOW! I have been waiting for this movie forever and finally the day had come for the sequel, and it did not disappoint. The film follows Katie's sister, her husband, step daughter and new born baby. The film brought back the high quality of suspense you saw in the first and had the same nerve wracking sense of claustrophobia. However, the feeling of the crappy camera work could not be blamed like the first on its small budget because they are now being sponsored by a big studio. Although not as good as the first, it still kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
My Review: B


Eleven Tigers - Clouds are Mountains

Clouds Are Mountains is, to be polite, a bunch of boring arrangements of percussion noise made on one of those Casio keyboards you smash your hands on when you're a little kid. Which is funny, because normally when some Lithuanian former-dubstep producer's comeback album ends up on my iPod, it's pretty decent*. Too bad that's not the case with Clouds Are Mountains, which is, quite frankly, a waste of time. It's a medley of nowhere-going beats and synthy arrangements that just fail to deliver on any plane. There's nothing quite as boring as hearing every sixteenth note banged out on an electric snare drum for minutes on end. When the least annoying track on an album is called Atomic Turnip, you know something's wrong. Clouds Are Mountains is so boring that you'll excitedly be able to watch paint dry for weeks after listening to it. Hey, at least it's good for something.

*never actually happened


October 16, 2010

Women - Public Strain

A couple of years ago, Women released their slightly bizarre eponymous debut, which consists of edgy lo-fi guitar lines, vocals that sound like they're sung through a series of tin cans, out-of-place beats, lost of noisy dissonance, and in general, a very rough sound. And yet, all of these elements combined turned out to be surprisingly appealing. My favorite tracks from it include Cameras, Black Rice, Group Transport Hall, and Shaking Hand. With their new album, they haven't departed from their old sound too much, but they've certainly refined it.

Public Strain still keeps the strangely pleasant dissonance and lo-fi atmosphere, like on Can't You See and Drag Open, but this time the familiar pop-song threads shine through the loud banging and scratchy guitar chords a little more, like on Narrow With the Hall, Penal Colony, Venice Lockjaw, and Eyesore, all of which blow a few of the songs on their debut out of the water. Public Strain also has a few oddly well-fitting moments like Heat Distraction, which is sure to to throw you off with its time signature of 13/8 (which then changes to 10/8 for a little while), and Locust Valley, in which the guitar arpeggios are much too catchy. The song Bells also fits in perfectly with the rest of the album, despite it being 3 and a half minutes of drone. It kind of reminds me of Stars of the Lid, which is a good thing.

There are a few dull moments here, mainly on Untogether and Drag Open, but don't let that stop you from buying Public Strain. If you liked their previous album, then you'll like this even more, unless you find it to not be pretentious or weird enough. Definitely giving this one an 8 out of 10, to add to all the other 8 out of 10 reviews (seriously though, almost everyone who has reviewed this has given it an 8/10).


Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard

For an album that is often so quickly dismissed as a predictable let down to it’s predecessor, Ra Ra Riot’s The Orchard is excellent. It is, to me, the ideal second album: a rather challenging concept for bands with an excellent debut. As a result of pressure to produce another superb album, we often see a polished sophomore LP that loses much of the raw charm of the debut. Good news.
Ra Ra Riot haven’t lost anything.

On a (rather long) side note, Ra Ra Riot’s connections to Vampire Weekend (Riot lead singer Wes Miles and Weekend keyboard wizard Rostam BATMANglij teamed up for an '09 techno release under the name Discovery, plus the Batman did some producing on Orchard) are on display everywhere here, especially in Boy and Massachusetts, among others.

On The Orchard, things are smoother than on The Rhumb Line. Instead of always playing alongside guitars, drums, and vocals, the strings seamlessly flow out of lead lines and into harmonies and back again. The orchestration might not always be as tight, but it sure is fantastic when it is. Amazing standout tracks The Orchard, Boy, Too Dramatic, Foolish, Shadowcasting, and Kansai make up for the surprisingly poor You and I Know, which feels bizarrely out of place.

To summarize, what we have here is an excellent band following an excellent debut with a superb second album that shows exploration, maturity, and improvement. An all-around great album, I highly recommend The Orchard.


October 10, 2010

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

While Seven Swans, Michigan, and Illinois were likable at first listen, The Age of Adz takes a little more effort to love. On Sufjan's new record, he ditches the easy-going melodies and delicate instrumentals for a harsher, more electronic approach. You might have guessed this was where he was headed after hearing Traffic Shock from The BQE, or maybe after noticing the ambitious leap he took from Michigan to Illinois, but most likely, you didn't.

Now, I've listened to this album a few times, and I've gotta say, I was very torn at first, and still am. On one hand, Sufjan has made a great electronic album with more ambitious vocals and the same intimate lyrics. On the other, it's missing a good deal of the hooks that made his previous albums to terrific. Also, when listening to it, I can't help but think of the softer songs from Illinois and Michigan, and my good feelings for the album get slightly diminished. It also makes the listening experience for me a little more uncomfortable.

Although most of what I'm saying is negative, the album opens very nicely with the delicate melody of Futile Devices, which reminds me of old Sufjan the most. There are some other excellent songs here as well; The epic title track has some very complimenting and extremely adventurous orchestral work, Too Much and Get Real Get Right are both very catchy and in-your-face, and most of the 25 minute Impossible Soul is genius.

I like The Age of Adz more than I did at first, which is advice for you. Don't immediately reject it, it might take some time to get used to. Give it a try.