Thursday, November 30, 2023

Music Review // Sun Junkies "Stay 4 The Night"

Sun Junkies have created such a powerful song filled with energy and distortion.   The rock n roll style song borders on punk.   It feels like My Chemical Romance to some extent, and not just because the chorus sings "ba da da dat da dat da da" more than once.  But with the heaviness and vocal delivery, by the end I'm also thinking about the band Say Anything.

When this song has about a minute left it dives off into this musical part, it almost feels like it ended, but then it comes back and picks up where it left off.  I really do enjoy when songs think outside of the verse/chorus/verse box, as Sun Junkies do here, and so for the structure of this song alone you should be listening to it.

This song opens with lyrics about missing his friends but not thinking they'd answer if he called them now.   While this may or may not be true from the perspective of the old friend, the fact is that this will ultimately be true because if you don't call them then they can't answer.  It's that defeatist attitude which spoils the outcome and I find it so twisted and enjoyable within the words.

"Stay 4 The Night"- which isn't even said a lot during the song itself- is a great anthem of controlled chaos.   This song is a great way to liven up a playlist or if you're like me and your mood depends on the music then this is also just such a great song for when you need that added burst of energy.   Just put it on and sing along, even if only to the words that aren't words.

Music Review // Alex Coley & Afterlove "Courage and Crime"


The sound of Alex Coley & Afterlove can be somewhere along the lines of "Wildflowers" era Tom Petty and The Wallflowers.   This is rock but in that slow, winding way which comes out somewhere between country and folk.   While the tempo of the song is slower, it also just feels closer to a ballad.  

One of my favorite lines in this song is "I'm obsessing on whatever it is that's stopping me here".   I'm not sure how the crime fits into this song exactly, but the idea that needing courage and having it come from obsession is relatable.  The idea that you're going to put all of your focus on this one thing stopping you and not let up until you break it is something we should be hearing more about in song.

As this song begins with lyrics which relate to the theme of it, there isn't a typical verse/chorus/verse style, as the title of the song doesn't come up in the lyrics until near the very end.   I've always enjoyed when songs do this, especially the slower songs, and it feels like something rock has done for a while but forgot about more recently.

Whether you're a fan of this style of music or not doesn't seem as important as the message it conveys.  Wanting to have that courage to do something we need to do is a feeling I think we've all felt before.  Now, with the help of Alex Coley & Afterlove and this song, you can begin to summon that courage with a little bit of help.

Cassette Review // Parish / Potter "On and Off" (\\NULL|ZØNE//)

Both Michael Potter and Shane Parish are known for their guitar playing, being two masters of their craft.   The interesting thing about this cassette is how there are guitars being used throughout it, but at times it doesn't sound like guitars.   At first it can sound magical but then dive off deep into this dark tunnel.   Notes come through like beeping and this static is behind it, which feels like you could make a guitar do that but it wouldn't be easy (and I wouldn't know how)

Everything begins raining down like thunder during this static and then the notes come back high and rambling, which can bring out a sound like a banjo.   Sometimes the sound can feel like other string instruments, but there are times when I feel like I hear bass in here.   There is this rattling and then the guitars come through electric like Doctor Who and it just makes this overall sound I feel like would be keys and not a guitar, but I can also hear it as other strings such as a violin.

On the flip side, the notes come through more dreamy to start.   This rambles and winds in a way which makes it feel like we've been embarking on a magical journey.   For whatever reason, this sound really makes me think of Lord of the Rings and it just feels like we're on that kind of quest.   The music can then turn into this beeping which feels like an emergency.  The acoustic guitar does this cool thing that acoustic guitars sometimes do but I can never make it do on purpose.   

The difference between the first side and second side of this cassette is that the first side feels more chaotic.   It feels like there are more instruments being used in different ways.  The second side has this feeling of two guitars being played and their journey being laid out from start to finish.  It doesn't really feel like they stray too far from their original starting point, where as the first side is all over the place, and being able to feel both of those journeys is reason enough to experience this cassette.  

Cassette Review // Vlimmer "Zersch​ö​pfung" (Blackjack Illuminist Records)


After hearing Vlimmer enough times, it begins to feel like what you're hearing on each new cassette is just Vlimmer because it becomes more comparable to previous cassette releases than it does to other artists and sounds.   This cassette begins with some X-Files sounds and just truly captures the spirit of darkwave.

To call this cassette "goth" would be a good idea, simply because it seems to encompass a lot of ideas which fall into that genre.   At times this feels haunted, but then big beats can come in to make it feel both operatic and anthem like.   In this way, I begin to think of Muse.  I also begin to think of how this is post punk.

There are electronics throughout these songs, at different times, as well.  The pace can grow faster and really take you on quite the ride.  I feel elements of Stranger Things on the flip side and it's funny how both that series and X-Files have become two of my staple go-to sounds.  The sound can put me into a trance as much as it can make me want to get up and dance.  Big synth bombs drop.  

By the end, I really feel like there is a Danny Elfman vibe to this.  If you think about all of the many things Danny Elfman has done- from Tim Burton movies to Oingo Boingo to the theme from "The Simpsons"- it really does span a vast amount of space.   But it feels like it's also such a specific space.   Vlimmer feels that same way, as it can be diverse in sound but that sound can all be tied back within the same realm.  

Cassette Review // Digital Tour Deb 2023 Cassette (Adaadat)

The thing I love most about this cassette is that it can feel like a label sampler for Adaadat and every song can somehow work being next to each other yet feel so different.  No two tracks on here feel the same, so once you reach that point of knowing which song is by which artist there won't ever be a doubt about who that song is.

Edmnd Davie begins things with spoken words into faced paced electronics and rock.  Big, pulsating beats and sharp synths take us into a song by Agaskodo Teliverek.    DJ 100000000 is electronic hip hop, while Chuo Line sings about really wanting anarchy.   This takes us into a song by Cow'p called "Suk Dik" and it's about exactly what you think it's about.   Technoman is about that bass and has some Salt N Pepa vibes to their sound.

On the flip side we begin with some whirring from Rozenhall, and then it kind of rocks back and forth.   Bruno & Michael Are Smiling with Skipperrr have a screamy electronic skramz sound while Ddamage has more of a video game sound.   The sound then goes into more blissed out electronics, followed by strange electronics with singing.   A synth driven instrumental song that is borderline video game comes on right before Storyteller, who have their own cassette review up.

What really makes this cassette so special- which reflects Adaadat as a whole- is how a song can have electronics and so can other songs but the different artists just use that sound in different ways.  Everything being tied together by one universal theme yet each song having its own identity is what music is really all about.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Music Review // Daniel Isaiah "Wild Life"

Daniel Isaiah has created a song here using only his voice and a piano.   This is beautiful, soft and elegant.   The vocals come out somewhere between Elliott Smith and The Beatles.  The keys can play for a bit without the vocals, but the singing is really at the forefront of this song.   It's really a focus on the words and what the song is about.

Through "Wild Life", Daniel Isaiah brings out some thoughts that I think many people can agree with.  While stating that he'd like to live a wild life, he also says he wants to "Die a quiet death / In the arms of a melody / To carry me home".  I think living a wild life would imply just living it up, doing the most you can with the time that you have.  I feel like most people do or should want that.

But at the same time, wanting a quiet death feels more like something you'd want as well.  I don't want to go out in this blaze of glory where it's on the news and feels like a big deal.  I want it to be quiet, peaceful.  I want the attention to be drawn to what I did while I was alive and not surrounding my death.

This can also be related with the music, with a song.   You want a song to live on long after you do.  You want your music to have that wild life and to continue living while you quietly fade into the background.  More people probably think about The Beatles for their music than for the fact that John Lennon is dead.  In this way, the "Wild Life" by Daniel Isaiah is one that can never truly die.  

Music Review // Andrea England "Halifax"


It's always interested me why people live where they do.  My parents and grandparents even all grew up and stayed within Connecticut.  I only have a few relatives who live outside of CT.   So it's always been one of those things where people didn't grow up and move out of the state so it's always been of interest to me when other people- outside of my family- do and what their reasons are.  

In the case of "Halifax", the reason for moving back and forth seems to be inside of a love song.   Lyrics like "I don't think of you / I don't keep track / I burned up all your pictures / So I can't look back" seem to express that the person has moved on, but then it ends with a line about going back to Halifax which kind of makes it feel like they have not.

For all of the people I've known in my life and my relationships it would be kind of strange for me to live somewhere based upon someone else- strictly in the sense "I'm leaving this entire state because you're in it", but I fully realize that people do just that and it's wild to me.  How far do you go?  You change cities, you change states, then countries... how far is far enough?

Andrea England combines this beautiful melody with what reminds me of music from the 1990's but not any one sound in particular.   It's not quite Natalie Merchant or Alanis Morrissette, but it's somewhere along those lines and definitely feels like it fits in better in that time period than present.   But it is here now, so enjoy it while you can.  

Cassette Review // R. Bravery "i see you HOLY. (beat-tape)"

This begins with these magical tones, like windchimes in Heaven, and then the beats kick in.   There is a little bit of a slip within this rhythm and I dig it.   Something dreamy is behind this as well, and overall the feeling is just chill.   The synths begin to build now for the next song and this one feels like a dance number.

Tones slowly drone in now.   Beats come in and this feels serious.   There is a certain amount of tension within this song.  

On the flip side we open with beats and words being spoken, which gives off more of a hip hop feel.   Whirrs come through to where it can feel like it's glitching but this also has that overall vibe of coming out through an old record player.  

Percussion and lighter tones come through now, sort of in a skramz way as the rhythm seems to be slipping.   Cut to the slipstream of vocals trying to come through with a feeling of a music box being wound up in an error somehow.  It's like the record is skipping, but in a music box motion.  

Beats now take over an audio clip about someone working seven days a week but still in debt.   I like how this music can have this message, even though it is mostly instrumental, and hopefully people really listen to it and wonder why we can feel like we're all working so hard for so little reward.  

Glowing sort of synth comes droning through now, as other tones drop in through the bliss.   This feels so chill and it ends the album on a softer note but I'd still like people to be reminded of the message from back when they taught The Grapes of Wrath in school.  

Cassette Review // COMPACTOR "PROGRESS"

"PROGRESS" begins with electronic beats.  While I've listened to a few COMPACTOR cassettes now, this is less on the harsh noise side right now and more on the electric dance side.  There are moments where bursts of static come through, but they just blend in with the beat and other laser-like sounds coming through also.   This is the dance cassette!  

Tones repeat in a loop now with distorted beats dropping down.  It gets quiet at one point and then everything kicks back in.  This is some great instrumental electronic music, which is perhaps more accessible for people to listen to than the harsh noise usually coming from COMPACTOR.  

On the flip side, the distortion comes through much harsher but there are also beats behind this where it just feels like we're moving.   Somewhere between "Resident Evil" and "Bladerunner", this just feels like the type of sound that would have us moving as the world is ending behind us.   If you're too slow, you will also be erased.  

This final song begins with more of a metallic sound before the beats just kick in and destroy everything.   This is closer to the electronic sound from the first side than the harsh sound heard before this.    Everything swirls up altogether to end and I enjoy that if this was the first time you heard COMPACTOR and you went to listen to other music expecting it to sound like this, you might blow out your eardrums.  

Cassette Review // German Army "Biloxi" (SOIL)

"Biloxi" begins with percussion in a rhythm which makes it feel as if we're in the jungle.  This is such a fun way to move though.   This turns into a 1980's style beat, somewhere between a TMNT video game and when Marky Mark took a walk on the wild side.  Sharpness comes through with this and it feels like we're walking through a gritty noir film.   As the beats increase, we turn into a smooth jazz sound just the same.

Songs more like glass cut through next with moans behind them.   This is a similar sound to the first song, but then by the third song we get into this different form of percussion, banging and moaning through the fog.   It's so steady, yet also just has that blacksmith way about it where someone is hammering metal on metal.   Tones come out like magic now and take us away as the song ends.

We go into a song now where it feels like it's raining and it just reminds me of that one part of "Riders on the Storm".    This takes us into a more electronic song, though it feels like the percussion is acoustic there is this winding, horror or synth and other sci-fi type tones coming through.   Suspenseful strings also make their way into the sound.  

On the flip side it begins a bit ominously and then the beats come in like techno.   There is singing within this song now and it feels like The Folk Implosion mixed with INXS.    We dive deep into an instrumental song now, which feels like going into the basement and having this winding trip that's somewhat haunted.  

The sound becomes more chill now, with little bird lasers and it has that same idea as the haunted sound just without sounding as haunted.   And now the distorted beats begin to rain down like thunder.   This feels like an electronic storm.   This all becomes ambient now and atmospheric.   We return with the sound of an electronic video game carnival.   This sound just takes us out as we fade into the night.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Music Review // OurGlassZoo "Free (Kutmasta Kurt Remix)" ft. Prevail, Moka Only

To create a song called "Free" in the year 2023 is such an important thing because so many people still aren't free from various aspects of their life.  Whether you're in a war torn country or just stuck on social media, there are different levels to needing to be free and hopefully this song can send a message that can help us all to reach that goal.

In a lot of ways, I think people get stuck in their own world of problems and that makes it more difficult for them to help others with bigger problems.   If you're walking down the street, staring at your phone because you're arguing with someone on social media you might not see the people who are right in front of you that need help as well.  But I think that as we all slowly unravel those layers, we can all begin to help each other out so that we are all ultimately free.

OurGlassZoo has a sound of hip hop.   There is singing in the chorus but two different rappers have verses.  There is a drum kit, bass line and a saxophone and trumpet backing it all up.  It doesn't really sound like hip hop I've heard before, in a musical sense, which brings a fresh take to styles made more mainstream by artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and The Roots.  

One of the most important aspects of this song is that it has a message that is universal.  In any language, in any country, most all of us need to be freed from something.   The sound itself is one that I feel like people would relate with on a mainstream scale.  Even if you're "not into rap", this song could still sit well in your playlist and, most importantly, the message will shine through and help us all.  

Music Review // Norma MacDonald "Comes In Waves"

The sound of Norma MacDonald on "Comes In Waves" is one of an upbeat pop folk with dark undertones.   Musically, there are times when this song sings "doot doot doot" and the music follows right along with it.  But that doesn't make it any less serious or solemn.   Just as the lyrics follow along with it, the music itself can feel grave.

If you've never really felt anything coming through in waves then I don't know what to tell you about this song.  Sometimes when working retail you can feel the rush of customers come through in waves.    But the idea of this song is about different emotions and just life in general.  Sometimes you feel a certain way and then it changes, like a wave.  As the song itself says, it's the ebb and flow.

Within this song I particularly enjoy the line: "Everything is changing but every day can't help but stay the same".  I like to think of life as like digging a tunnel sometimes.  You have that feeling where you're making progress, you're getting close to the light at the end, but yet still all you can see around you is dirt that looks like all the other dirt you've seen before.   So everything can begin to feel repetitive, yet you are changing and making strides.

Overall I just think this song is pleasant to listen to and can serve as a reminder that life does come in waves.  Whether you're on a good wave or a bad wave now, it will eventually turn and you can just try and ride the best wave you can, making the most of this thing called life.  This song is a sweet way to remember that while also humming a new melody.  

Cassette Review // id m theft able "clean houses exude fear"

The first song on here stays fairly true to its name of "No Indie Rock at the STD Clinic", as there are electronics looping behind words which feel like rap.   It has a certain energy though, you could definitely dance to it.    This leads into a song with higher pitched vocals about being a trash man and these laser skips behind it.  

We go into the third song now, which has infomercial type synth behind it and a rapid beat.  Percussion comes in next with some chaos as the words "ass sticking to the seat" are repeated in various ways.    This takes us into "The List" which has a very distinct, magical guitar type of sound with deeper vocals now but this higher pitched sound comes through in bursts in front of this all.  It could be this straight forward rock song but the other sound within it makes it rather strange.  

As the deeper vocals go into "keep back" repeating a lot, the higher pitched sound almost tries to mock it.   This feels a bit like Butthole Surfers now.  And the higher pitched sound is also singing about being on "The List".   As the higher pitched singing takes over, it really begins to sound like Elmo by the end as well.  

On the flip side, we begin with this robotic type of singing, Phil Collins type beats and then this other voice singing along with just "oohs" and "aaahs" type of sounds.    "Mirror in the Dirt" has a very lo-fi way about it, though there are these high pitched keys behind it as well.   This turns into an all around high pitched sounding song which says "don't let me hold you back" and in some ways it feels rather punk.

Slower beats come in now as words such as "mall" and "food court" are being repeated.   As we get closer to the end, the title of this song is being said and as this is "When I'm Dead Put My in the Fountain in the Maine Mall" though when I'm dead I'd like my ashes spread wherever the New York Mets are playing at the time and perhaps just spread while no one knows what's going on either.  

The last song begins with just vocals very quickly saying things like "fuck the fog" and "cut the fog".   The word "fog" is coming through a lot.   Eventually, the song begins to sing the title and this entire song is vocals.  

Cassette Review // Ambigere, PowerPlant "Ambigere​/​/​PowerPlant Tour 2019 Split" (MooseHaus Records)

Ambigere begins this with a rapid firing of beats which bring in a sound like steam and this just feels like a train though there are also distorted vocals within it.   Loud notes screech through.   It also feels as if some music, such as circus music, is buried in the background of this all as well.  I can hear that melody.   The static grows louder and much more intense now.  The loud, sharpness is back there still and it feels like we're squealing off the tracks.

While that static is still here, there are electronics coming through as if someone is turning knobs trying to build a Frankenstein monster in a thunderstorm.   Everything gets quiet really fast and people can be heard talking in the background.  It makes me feel like this was recorded live and someone at the show is talking to someone else, which people like to do these days but really shouldn't do.  We go to shows to hear the artists create their music not listen to you talk about your weekend plans with your classmates.

Anyway, the distortion is back in now.   As this all builds and then comes back down, it ends with applause, showing that it was indeed live.   While people cheer and clap, someone can clearly be heard yelling "Fuck yeah, buddy!"  As far as live touches go with music this was one of my favorites because it's just so distinct and enthusiastic.

On the flip side, PowerPlant begins with a great deal of percussion.    Engines rev up and down and this just feels like it's hectic because of the pacing of the drums.   There are other sounds mixed within this, but all I can really hear is the percussion at the front of it, banging away.   Woodwinds, which feel like a sax, come blaring through with notes that feel like horns in a car horn way.

There is almost this tribal rhythm in here and then it all slows down.   Those sax notes come out sparingly.  The drums trill.   Cymbals slightly crash.   Tones come through like cries in the background and the percussion is once again banging.   The sound can feel as if it is slowing down, becoming eerie, but the rapid percussion just lifts it right back up.   It can just feel like there's this wave in the background, rocking back and forth, and then the percussion is just so chaotic with it as well.  

The sax comes blaring through, the drums are wild and we just have this free jazz noise type of element going on here.   It feels like it's such a wild ride because of this percussion but it's not quite the same harsh noise as we heard on the first side from Ambigere.  I enjoy how different things can feel so heavy but have such different elements.  

Cassette Review // Eloine + Ypsmael / Coims "split" (Public Eyesore Records)

We start with the Eloine + Ypsmael side and there is this sharp sound coming through with the rumbling like an engine behind it.  This becomes a sound like moaning or grunting, in vocals, and the scraping of a metal rake against concrete.   That sharpness comes back in as well.   This feels like it could be described as harsh ambient.   Some electronics come through, like twisting of knobs, as well.

A deep bass like JAWS comes through now.   This takes us into this creaking sound, like we're walking through a haunted house.  Some acoustic percussion type of sounds now and then electronic messages come through in bursts.   Slowly, the sound returns now, like a glowing hue.   It gets eerie now, as if we're in a basement and about to play a game with Jigsaw.   A slow shaking now, like a broken lightbulb.  

On the flip side, we go into Coims.   This begins with percussion tapping followed by laser synths driving through.   Electronic beats now take over the sound as they bounce around everywhere.  Percussion drops in the background in an intense way.   It sounds as if a saw is scraping now, making those sort of teeth sounds.  Those Pong sounds go up and down the scales as well.

A guitar comes winding through now.  This opens up a louder type of sound saw as well, with that banging which makes it feel like a horror film.   Some sort of instrument, perhaps a sax, is heard blaring through notes as well.   A louder, sharper ringing cuts through the waves.   We dive off into a more ambient sound, but that feeling of drums crashing through the kitchen remains.   Notes ring through now, somewhere between tuning and FNL.

(If you wait for this cassette to end, you will hear some electronic skramz!)