January 28, 2012

New Segment - Charlie Reviews!

We've got a new member, and his name is Charlie! I'm launching a new segment for the blog called "Charlie Reviews", where I have my dog listen to a song and give his opinion. I'm thinking it'll either be a weekly thing, or I'll do it every other week, we'll see. But for now, check out his first review below of the new single by The Shins, from their upcoming album 'Port of Morrow'.


January 22, 2012

Review: Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks

Kevin Barnes is often one to over-complicate things, but in the funnest way possible. This comes through in pretty much everything. The song styles, their structures, their silly yet sharp lyrics, their titles ('Exorcism Breeding Knife'.....?), his live performances, even the album covers. I sometimes found his songs to be a little too hectic for my liking, but nevertheless they are catchy as hell, and his vocal chords are a gift from god.

A couple years ago, Kevin took on a more simplistic style with False Priest. On Paralytic Stalks, he pretty much goes all-out on the wacky instrumentation, while concentrating more on adding layer upon layer of sonic mayhem. There is quite a bit more of experimentation too, which is understandable, except on a track like the accurately-titled 'Exorcism Breeding Knife', it comes off as less of experimentation, and more of an incohesive, distorted mess. It even starts to come off as a little self-indulgent.

The album even starts out in a confused jumble with 'Gelid Ascent', until it breaks out into a sonically-distant, but generally pleasant tune. It then segues into slightly more familiar territory with 'Spiteful Intervention', a messy yet fantastic track. It continues with the much more familiar 'Dour Percentage', which actually turns out to be the least convoluted one here. 'We Will Commit Wolf Murder' is another pretty good track, where he actually hints at his bizzare lyrics;

"....into some ancient reptilian form like an agnostic transubstantiation."
"I don't know what that is."
"Use your imagination!"

A couple decent tracks go by and before we know it, we're confronted with a series of unnecessarily-long experimental tracks before it ends with a relieving couple minutes of Kevin and a comforting melody from an intimate-sounding upright piano.

Paralytic Stalks is kind of like a tasty birthday cake, only covered in a mess of sugary sweets, mounds of colorful toppings and multi-flavored frosting, to the point where it just starts to make you sick. There are some delicious melodies there, you just have to find them under the layers of sugar.

1. Gelid Ascent
2. Spiteful Intervention
3. Dour Percentage
4. We Will Commit Wolf Murder
5. Malefic Dowery
6. Ye, Renew the Plaintiff
7. Wintered Debts
8. Exorcism Breeding Knife
9. Authentic Pyrrhic Remission


January 8, 2012

Review: Hipocrite in a Hippy Crypt - Freak Me Out EP

It's hard to get by with a name that makes you roll your eyes like that. And I'm sure that anyone would hate me to start a review of their album like that, but I felt the need to address it. But don't let the name fool you, for within these lo-fi, guitar-driven tracks lie bright melodies, thought-provoking, interesting lyrics, and tasteful song structure.

Earlier this year, this Indiana-based musician released an EP entitled 'Tweaker in the Park' (the names only get better), which had one of my favorite tracks of the year called 'The Town Crazies', and I somehow managed to skip over reviewing it. That track had more or less what's given here, except on this EP, I feel like i'm missing that catchy electronic beat that that track has. Also, I feel like he's being a bit lazier with the lyrics here. But nevertheless, that tracks are still catchy as hell, and each have their own feel to them. The title track is clearly the leading tune here, with its upbeat melody and not-so-upbeat lyrics. The next track, Digression, is more of a progressive track that pulls you in with its repeating melody and drums that roll along smoothly with the guitar strums. This is definitely my favorite of the three. The last one, Missed It, sets a slightly darker tone at the beginning with the singer's voice inflection that's very reminiscent of Doug Martsch in the earlier days of Built to Spill. Luckily, the dark tone is quickly lifted by a vocal harmony, and the humble guitar solo towards the end.

What this EP is missing is just that extra kick, perhaps in the form of an electronic beat, or maybe even a brass section, I don't know. That seems a bit silly, but hey. Anyway, you can download the EP for free on his bandcamp page, and I suggest you do. I can't wait to see what this guy has in store in the future.