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Dylan Ewen – Alt 2013 album review

Basement shows are sometimes a mixed bag. When you’re half-cocked, sweaty, rubbing against a few dozen doing the same, any grunge-y blast of noise coming at you can be just as entertaining as the last. Amidst this blur often comes a hotbed of new ideas where people get ballsier than they would had they been playing for a more broad audience above ground. This can be a powerful force, although some musicians can get too comfortable in that reassuring cul de sac. It pleases me, then, whenever I hear an…

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Riva Starr – Hand In Hand album review

At first listen Riva Starr comes across as a slightly tilted Thievery Corporation. At times it sounds like its nothing but stock loops and yet at other times it sounds like the result of a severely experienced DJ who knows exactly how to control the vibe. When it hits these highs it sounds genuine and worthwhile just for how it makes you feel. The anachronistic instrumentation dials in a mix of 90’s alternative rock and 60’s soul. The influences don’t end there, however. There are plenty of points where a…

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Daughn Gibson – Me Moan album review

With a voice normally reserved for serious TV crime-drama opening sequences, Daughn Gibson’s baritone rumbles will likely take some getting used to for most. Daughn’s singing style just hasn’t been prevalent outside more traditionally rural music. While Daughn does inspire images of life outside the city he thankfully doesn’t care much for tradition. Sample based music is a constant quest for new textures, sounds, and combinations thereof, with Me Moan Daughn Gibson dares to tread where most would laugh at the possibility of venturing. He walks a lonely road for…

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Serj Tankian – Orca Symphony No. 1 album review

I recall seeing a full page photograph of Serj Tankian standing in front of a fridge full of mason jars, and those mason jars packed tight with various strands of marijuana. Keep this in mind when you come to understand that Serj’s side project from System of a Down appears in the form of a full orchestra. Orca. Hah. Get it? I’m sure it took quite the epiphany to think of that one. Off we go to a nu-metal stoner’s classical playground. It might not be any particular genre here,…

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I Can Make a Mess – Enola album review

Emerging from the early 2000’s surge of emo scenesters and awkwardly booked shows of hardcore breakdowns one minute followed by the inevitable lacrimal acoustic whining comes I Can Make a Mess’ (or I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business for the purists) new album Enola. Luckily they present a matured evolution of past trends and mistakes. Unlike many bands who find a scene and feed their incestuous feedback loop of fan service until nobody is left but those two girls who drove 100 miles to see their new crush…

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Black Sabbath – 13 album review

With a few glaringly indulgent uses of pitch correction aside, you’d be surprised at how well Ozzy Ozbourne keeps up with his presumably younger band. Then again, younger than Ozzy is a pretty easily met criteria. This fact is not lost on the maturing rock icon, as most of 13’s songs come to deal with his own impending doom. Its ironic, then, that their lyrics and sound haven’t changed, at least to my ears, except the inspiration from their doom and gloom lyrics has shifted. Black Sabbath, and particularly Ozzy’s…

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Radiation City – Animals in the Median album review

Right off the bat Radiation City transports you back in time with a signature lofi sound. Blending soulful singing plucked out of a fifties jukebox planted in a diner known for their milkshakes. They aren’t without signs of their anachronisms, there are plenty of modern sounds slightly hidden in the background if you listen for them, and an occasional intrusion of some pretty futuristic effects. Some of the riffs seem to be played in a way most people would attribute to a keyboard demo song, but not for long, as…

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Imaginary Cities – Fall of Romance album review

It opens with a somber piano playing over the crackle of a record player. Before long, though, the sadness gives way to more hopeful, but still slightly down, singing. Not what I expected, anyway. Along the lines of breaking expectations a synthetic bass and ghastly lead backs up the duo’s vocals. Its ballsy to start an album with a bittersweet ballad that isn’t without a key change. What would a ballad be without a key change or even a short breakdown to a lofi acoustic exit. Without a moments notice…

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Dungeonesse – Dungeonesse album review

Dungeonesse’s music seems best suited for party atmospheres where people wont be paying much attention, because under any sort of scrutiny most songs on their self titled album tend to lose something. However, when it fades into the background it becomes rather pleasant, I can imagine mobs prone to dancing being all about Dungeonesse, though I think they’ll eventually gravitate towards inevitable remixes as the poppy song lengths contradict the dance floor affinity they’ve presented. There’s nothing worse for keeping people dancing than a song thats too short, and without…

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Texas – The Conversation album review

I’ve been dreading an album like this to come along. It’s easy to sing praise for a release that pleasantly surprised you, and it can be equally as easy to trash something that is fundamentally flawed or just plain awful. The difficulty arises when everything seems to be calculated perfectly for a very specific audience. That very specific audience couldn’t be farther from my tastes. Texas’ The Conversation makes me want to shoot myself. If it weren’t produced so immaculately, these songs could be found playing on the radio of…

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