Kid Cadaver – Kid Cadaver album review

Kid Cadaver are a three piece from Los Angeles. They have been active for the last couple of years, and this is their second release.

I am personally not a fan of the bands name, to the point where I had to force myself to listen to the songs contained in the download link. While the name might make one think that this is going to be some kind of campy horror-punk band, the band is actually some kind of danceable electro-rock music, at least in my opinion. Right out the gate, ‘Let Your Youth Show’ bursts out with a stadium-sized helping of singeableness. This song probably kills in a live setting.

These guys excel at writing melodic hooks and singable choruses that grab your attention and make you want to sing along. There is an almost wistful melancholy at work; check out the backing chorus on ‘Stable’. To see how they are able to reinvent a technique, notice how the background chorus makes a reappearance in the next track, ‘Hesitating’. Same technique, but the emotional impact is very different. ‘Hesitating’ also features some of their most catchy melodic phrasing.

If you’re looking for musical brutality and heaviness, you will not like these guys, but if you’re looking for solidly written material that is danceable and fun while being musical and intelligently constructed, definitely give these guys a whirl. This album could be the soundtrack for a really happening party, a testament to the beauty of youth.

The Get Togethers – Home As In Houston album review

Great music can help us through some truly trying times. Even in some of our bleakest moments, having such a pure emotional outlet to hold onto can act as a sort of beacon, illuminating a strength in ourselves we never knew existed. This acts inversely as well. As musicians create, they pull from within themselves to overcome immense existential trials.

Such is the case for Nashville, Tennessee-based The Get Togethers’ debut record, Home As In Houston. Released on September 24th, the group marries indie rock and pop with a finely tuned ear. On top of tight musicianship and infectious melodies, Bethany Gray Frazier’s tumult of an adolescence is the basis of the entire LP.

The listener is taken back to the year 2007. Then seventeen, Bethany Gray becomes romantically involved with one of her teachers. The police investigations and court hearings that would follow alienated her from her peers, an almost impossibly real turn of events that led to a devastating high-speed car collision, marking the end of this chapter of her life. Each track on Home As In Houston is named for one month of the year, describing the events that transpired in each month. Acting almost as a diary, the album trudges through heartbreak, loss and desolation, narrated by Gray Frazier herself. The lyrics are dense, with an overwhelming capacity for lovelorn catharsis, but are delivered plainly. It is devastatingly easy to feel exactly what she feels, becoming involved in the story.

Even aside from the loose narrative and obvious thematic elements, Home As In Houston stands strong musically. The standard rock outfit matches the tone of the lyrics almost effortlessly, with practically unforgettable hooks and driving choruses, both complimenting Bethany Gray Frazier’s vocal work and carving out its own path just beneath her dreamy croon.

With the release of the Home As In Houston LP now under their belts, The Get Togethers are planning a full US tour for the fall of 2013. The single, “June,” can be streamed on the band’s SoundCloud page while the record hits digital and select brick-and-mortar stores. The Get Togethers have truly set a high bar for themselves and their brand of indie pop.

Crystal Shipsss – Dirty Dancer album review

Berlin based musical mastermind Jacob Faurholt is back with his newest creation under the moniker of Crystal Shipsss. This is a fairly lengthy affair, spanning 13 tracks in length, and will be available September 23rd.

Crystal Shipsss seems to revel in schizophrenic isolation. The displaced quality of the vocal track in the overall mix would seem to bear testament to this fact. There are times when the vocals are swimming in a sea of aural chaos; lyrics such as the oft-repeated ‘I’m not crazy’ further reinforce this understanding. As with all other instances, the insistence on the sanity of the protagonist would appear to underpin the notion that sanity is in fact not within his grasp.

Musically, the aural aesthetic is an extension of the last album. There is a lot of reverb and distortion, but whereas a metal band would use the distortion and reverb to elicit a type of bludgeoning force, the use of distortion is much closer to the concept embedded in the name, while the reverb supports that sense of dislocation and questionable mental fitness.

The use of distortion as an effect results in a type of aural obscuratanism, a blurring of instrumentation and definition, something almost psychedelic and deconstructed. This might explain the overarching emphasis on sanity at different points, because this is in fact the musical rendition of a mind on lysergic, the soundtrack to a mind-blowing peak.

The thing that ties this bit of neo-psychedelia together is the sense of melody that was in evidence on the last album. In a very oblique way, the melodic element in Crystal Shippps’ music is similar to the melodic devices employed by Albert Ayler- simple, diatonic, catchy and singable, a perfect foil to the sheer trippiness of the rest of the proceedings.

Leif Vollebekk – The Media Club, Vancouver. October 6th, 2013

Leif Vollebekk has quickly become on of my favourite new musicians. This process occurred immediately upon exposure with great ease.

Vollbekk, is a young man who currently resides in Montreal. He recently released his second album “North Americana” after his 2010 debut “Inland” . North Americana is a heart wrenching, soul stirring and mind modifying storm. It is a marvellous piece of work that does mysterious things to me.

I was eager to sit down with Vollebekk and pick his brain about the process of creating an opus.

He explained the album taking more time than anticipated due to the refusal for mediocrity and a sound he didn’t feel comfortable with. He recorded with his perfectly suited band, traveled throughout the seasons and worked with the incredible Howard Bilerma (Godspeed, Arcade Fire) and Tom Gloady (Sigor Ros, Ryan Adams) and collaborated with Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire). Each song was recorded live to tape and no compromises were made.

The musicianship, audacity and emotive responsibility is evident in every moment of North Americana.

It is naked, rare and un-apologetic. Vollebekk shared that it is an autobiographical piece of work with room for interpretation. Vollbebekk is also shockingly approachable, hilarious and warm.

The concert itself was at the cozy Media Club. Michael Feuerstack (Snailhouse) opened and shattered everyone’s hearts; properly seasoning us for the emotional and interplanetary evening.

Vollbekk’s show was an experience unlike any other. His band- Hans Bernhard (bass), Phillippe Melanson(drums), Joe Grass (pedal steel) and Adam kinner (tenor sax) are excellent musicians who work together like one person with several limbs.
There was a absolute sense of presence in everything, the songs performed have never sounded that way before and never will again. This is evident of Vollebekk allowing to play without borders and invite his music as a burrow directly into him self. There was no sense of stress, fatigue or deceit. . The music just happened and it happened stunningly.

Lorde – The Love Club EP review

Sixteen year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter has been making waves since the release of her first EP titled The Love Club. Her single “Royals” has been picked up by US independent and college radio stations and is gaining traction. Her voice sounds mature despite her young age and is cleverly recorded with complex, minimalist, yet forward-thinking beats. Lorde, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, was actually signed to Universal at age 13 after an A&R scout saw video of her performing at a school talent show. Years later, she unveiled her talents to the world. Since blowing up the charts in New Zealand, Lorde released The Love Club EP in the US this June and saw it sell 85,000 copies in it’s first week.

Her songs are poppy and vocally driven, with innovative beats to rival the best in hip-hop. “Bravado” opens the collection with a sort of personal admission that she knew she was destined to be here someday. Our heroine sings: “I was raised up to be admired, to be known.” Layered vocals preclude the entrance of a dynamic beat. Lorde, who writes her own songs, sounds confident in her delivery. The nuances in the production make for a well-rounded and exciting listen.

“Royals” is far and away her strongest song on the EP. Witty lyrics describe an opposition to the materialistic boasting that is often found in pop-culture and popular music. She bounces through the pre-chorus, singing: “Everybody’s like: ‘Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on a time piece, jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash,’ we don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair… we’ll never be royals….” This type of perspective is perfect for a generation more in tune to the issues of the world. The generation who is growing up with iphones giving them a world of information at their finger-tips… subsequently creating a generation too knowledgable to be caught up in meaningless materialism, especially in the midsts of today’s world economy. The layered chorus almost literally soars, bringing the listener to new heights of appreciation. “Royals” is infectious and content driven; it is no surprise this song is such a hit.

More impressive production is displayed on “Million Dollar Bills” and “The Love Club” which feature beats created out of Lorde’s own vocal samples. This innovation gives Lorde a unique sound. “Million Dollar Bills” has the energy of a club song mixed with the lo-fi keys one might find in a Foster the People tune. These tow songs sound more typical for a high school artist: cheeky and energetic. The closing track, “Biting Down,” has more of an experimental, “out-there” vibe, with Lorde unexplainably repeating “it feels better biting down” over a pulsing beat. 

Lorde has released a few singles since the release of this EP, namely “Tennis Court” and “Swinging Party.” She has plans to release her first full length album in September 2013, which will be titled Pure Heroine. With The Love Club EP, Lorde has successfully provided a teaser to build hype for a huge response on her first full length album. Stay tuned.

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 artist who has the potential to break free of that which they may not want to break free from. They are the ones who stand out from the pack as the alpha dog, although they may come in the form of any archetype at all, including the depressed, the lonely, and the frustrated.

Dylan Ewen seems to be a man who is nothing short of honest. Take a look at his tumblr and you’ll find comics and drawings about insecurities most men would take in silence to their grave. Yet through his art, and especially his music, he turns these would be destructive forces into the driving power of his work. This is never more apparent then on Bufu Records Alt 2013

Alt 2013 is a four song statement articulate in its brevity. Initially we get a fuzzy summation of the existential dread and philosophical confusion that comes with the early 20’s. “Ego Trip” can be a song in which you identify in the frustration of feeling nihilistic in the face of the zealous and blindly faithful, or a reminiscence of a former life lived in chaos depending on your point of view.

Even though the lyrics can seem negative at times, the fuzzy surf rock nature of Dylan’s aesthetic makes it all fun and worthwhile even if you don’t agree with his ethos. In “You’re a bitch Part 2 (still a bitch)” Dylan makes an antagonistic declaration which could have come off in a totally different way if it didn’t sound like he was standing up for himself and the bitch in question didn’t actually sound like a total bitch.

Musician and artist types, as well as those who rejoice in social media, will likely find “I live in public” to be an anthem for them. Once again its possible to read the song multiple ways, as an attack or an admittance, in this case I would say both. To me its admission of being an attention whore, and loving it, and hating it. Where to place the blame? Was I born like this? Or did my idols and lovers twist me into this? All of this is put to music in a simply effective way.

Of all the underground kids who lived and died by the basement house show, Dylan Ewen has what it takes to break out, if he wants to that is. I would be overjoyed to see him headlining clubs and making a living out of his work. At the very least there are hundreds of basements around the US and abroad who would be honored to have the chance to get drunk and sweaty near him, even if they don’t know it yet.

Violent Soho Premiere ‘Dope Calypso’ video

Violent Soho Premiere ‘Dope Calypso’ Video On Clash || ‘Hungry Ghost’ LP Out September 6th On I Oh You

‘Dope Calypso’ is the opening track from ‘Hungry Ghost’. The video is directed by Timothy O’Keefe and follows the band around their hometown of Mansfield, Queensland.

The Buddhist concept of the ‘hungry ghost’ neatly sums up the urgency, the want, the search of Violent Soho’s music. Amid the riffs, hooks and wail of front man Luke Boerdam is a stark examination of the way we view the world, and the way consumer culture feeds relentlessly on itself and its urges. A fitting theory for an unapologetic, no-bullshit post-grunge cacophony, as laid bare on the Brisbane, Australia four-piece’s second album, “Hungry Ghost”.

Following 2010’s accomplished self-titled album (released on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label) which delivered riffage-heavy highlights such as ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ and ‘Muscle Junkie’, the band found themselves at an impasse. The band, which have toured the US with Dinosaur Jr, Alice In Chains, Built To Spill and The Bronx, found themselves treading water creatively after years of touring.

But what it took to snap Luke and his bandmates — James Tidswell (guitar/vocals), Luke Henery (bass) and Michael Richards (drums) — out of the funk was a realization that all of their touring and experiences had given them a new perspective on music; hard work and that new thematic inspiration would lead to its own reward. “It was a process of figuring out what we did like,” Luke explains, “rather than concentrating on what we used to do. We’ve changed and grown as people, so the music we were writing needed to reflect that. Whatever excited us, those are the songs that we went with.”

What emerged on “Hungry Ghost” was a character study of the personalities and ideas of consumer society that inform their hometown of Brisbane suburb Mansfield, examining “the concept of the outsider, people who are a little bizarre and how they view the world”. And from the opening bars of ‘Dope Calypso’, chock full of fuzzy, tumbling riffs through to the subtle, almost delicate psychedelic swirl of ‘Okay Cathedral’, “Hungry Ghost” is Violent Soho growing up. “It’s stuff like status anxiety,” explains Luke, “and worrying about living up to other people’s standards, and in the process become so distracted, sitting on the couch watching other people live their lives. That mentality is behind it”.

There are, of course, still the ‘holy shit’ musical moments. The throat-tearing “yeahyeahyeahyeah” of ‘Covered In Chrome’, the grungy rock’n’roll power of ‘Gold Coast’ and ‘Lowbrow’s spitting anger. But the tempered slow burn of the album’s title-track demonstrates the maturation of the band’s melodic nous, continuing the work of the last record’s ‘Outsider’ and ‘Paper Planes‘. Adding to that are the shades of full throttle attack and pensive rumination on ‘Eightfold’ and ‘Saramona Said‘.

The band’s ability to relay a compelling character study and their broadened musical palette quickly dispel any notion of Violent Soho being some sort of slacker stoner band only interested in weed and skateboarding. “Hungry Ghost” is the album Violent Soho needed to make. Intelligent, melodic, and dripping with attitude, it’s also a record you need to hear.

‘Hungry Ghost’ Track Listing:

1. Dope Calypso
2. Lowbrow
3. Covered in Chrome
4. Saramona Said
5. In The Aisle
6. Okay Cathedral
7. Fur eyes
8. Gold Coast
9. Liars
10. Eightfold
11. Hungry Ghost

Press Quotes:
“‘In The Aisle’ takes all the best chromosomes from the Smashing Pumpkins’ talented DNA. That means densely layered guitar spazzes and melodic punk drawling but there’s also enough scuzz on show to resemble five days without showering” — Noisey [UK]

“Violent Soho have always been on the cusp of greatness, and if “In The Aisle” is anything to go by, they might finally be reaching their full potential” — Indie Shuffle

“‘Generation’ is an irresistible blast of buzz-pop, while ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ and ‘Muscle Junkie’ suggest the fury and sensual languor of the Pixies.”– The Guardian [UK]

“Scales the energetic highs that made Mudhoney and Nirvana so exhilarating” — BBC6

Susanna and Ensemble neoN Share “Oh, I Am Stuck,” New Song Off The Forester, out September 17th on SusannaSonata

Norwegian songwriter, vocal interpreter and producer Susanna has been active for more than a decade releasing eight albums under the names Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, Susanna, and Susanna Wallumrød. Known for her own songwriting and her highly personal interpretations of other people’s songs, including Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Joy Division, Scott Walker, and KISS, Susanna is an intensely arresting performer, holding audiences captive with her hypnotizing vocal timbre and the powerful, all consuming sound of her band. Her forthcoming album and first full-length release on her own label, SusannaSonata, is The Forester, a co-production with the Norwegian contemporary music group, Ensemble neoN. Featuring new arrangements of new and already released songs by Susanna, The Forester captures her composition, and all the nuances of her distinctive voice in neoN’s deceptively simple chamber-folk tapestry, combining the antique notes of the Baroque theorbo, woodwinds and strings, and Susanna’s sparse piano. The result is in an eerily exquisite canvas that recalls Mark Hollis, Tim Buckley, Kate Bush and Claude Debussy while remaining uniquely Susanna’s soundworld. Today, Susanna shares a glimpse of this soundworld via The Forester’s “Oh, I Am Stuck,” of which she says, “The feeling of being stuck in a situation is such a frustrating state of mind, but also a quite fascinating process to try and break the circle – right at the point where the paralyzation starts vanishing and the will to break loose sets in.”

LISTEN TO/SHARE SUSANNA AND ENSEMBLE NEON’S “OH, I AM STUCK” –

SUSANNA TOUR DATES:
Sun. Sep. 22 — Giovanna Pessi/Susanna Wallumrød ‘If Grief Could Wait’ @ Konvergencie Festival, St. Martin’s Cathedral Bratislava, SK
Tue. Sep. 24 — Giovanna Pessi/Susanna Wallumrød ‘If Grief Could Wait’ @ Düsseldorf Festival Maxhaus, Düsseldorf, DE
Wed. Oct. 2 — Susanna sings Gunvor Hofmo @ Josefine Vertshus, Oslo, NO
Thu. Oct. 3 — Susanna sings Gunvor Hofmo @ Høstscena Festival, Ålesund, NO
Fri. Oct. 4 — Susanna sings Gunvor Hofmo @ Bergen Bibliotek, Bergen, NO
Sat. Oct. 5 — Susanna sings Gunvor Hofmo @ Musikkavdelinga, Trondheim, NO
Sat. Oct. 12 — Susanna @ Jazz & the City, Salzburg, AT
Fri. Oct. 18 — Susanna and Ensemble neoN release concert @ Victoria National Jazzscene, Oslo, NO
Fri. Nov. 15 — Giovanna Pessi/Susanna Wallumrød @ Kulturforum Fürth, Nürnberg, DE
Sun. Nov. 17 — Susanna (matiné concert at 11:00) @ Handelsbeurs Theatre, Gent, BE
Sun. Nov. 17 — Giovanna Pessi/Susanna Wallumrød @ Handelsbeurs Theatre, Gent, BE

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“Who knew starkly profound morbidity could sound so gorgeous?” — Pitchfork

“[Susanna’s] simplicity can be considered studied. In a way, the song isn’t even a showcase for lyrics as much as it is the timbres of the human voice, and the minute sonic space between the harmonies.” – Ad Hoc

“limpid-voiced, open-hearted, musically idiosyncratic and touched with mystery.” – The New York Times

“Beautiful, spare, hypnotic.” – MOJO

“Wallumrød sings with dazzling clarity and exquisite patience, shaping melodies with care and sensitivity and tightly controlling her emotional engagement with the material. . . ” – Chicago Reader

ARMS unveils “Earthquake Weather” + full EP details

Beloved indie rock outfit ARMS unveils “Earthquake Weather” the angular, polyrhythmic second cut from their forthcoming EP2, due out 9/10 via Paper Garden Records. “Earthquake Weather”, just like the lead single “Comfort”, maintains that same caliber of tight, complex songwriting combined with the lyrical finesse we’ve come to expect from ARMS.

EP2 marks the first ARMS release since 2011’s ambitious full-length Summer Skills. This time around, ARMS loosened the reins, opening up their sound and energy to more raucous, exposed spaces. Self-recorded and self-produced, the 5-track EP is a particularly personal labor of love for frontman and songwriter Todd Goldstein, who designed the above album art as well.

ARMS | EP2
Release Date : 9/10
1. Comfort
2. Earthquake Weather
3. Sleepwalker
4. Sympathetic Strings
5. Up & Up

“I was exhausted,” says Todd Goldstein, reflecting on the years since the release of his band ARMS’ lush, ambitious 2011 album, Summer Skills. “I put everything I had into that album—creatively, emotionally—I had nothing left in me.” After spending his mid-20s playing guitar in New York’s much-loved Harlem Shakes and the ensuing years crafting two albums and an EP as ARMS, Todd took a sharp turn away from music. He went back to school to study design; he spent long afternoons throwing down in the kitchen; he looked elsewhere to find his creative kicks. Eventually though, he remembered why he can’t help but write songs. ARMS’ EP2 is the proof.

The product of a long, slow collaboration with drummer Tlacael Esparza, EP2 feels both urgent and relaxed, its five home-recorded pop songs projecting a lived-in looseness without sacrificing an ounce of tension. “Comfort,” the EP’s opening track and leadoff single, seems at first to be about music—or a girl. But, unlike most love songs that pull this double duty, the message of “Comfort” is unexpected: Neither one is a prescription for the ailments of real life.

ARMS’ EP2 is the sound of a kid with a worried mind—a frequent character in Todd’s musical universe—learning to let go at last. It only seems right that his leanest, most immediate record would finally arrive after leaving it all behind.

For those in the New York area ARMS is playing the following date:

9/10 – NEW YORK @ Mercury Lounge (EP release party!) w/ Common Prayer

new Dismemberment Plan song – “Invisible” – out today

The Dismemberment Plan, the groundbreaking and influential indie rock four-piece, have revealed “Invisible,” the second song off of Uncanney Valley (out 10/15), the group’s first album of new music in 12 years. Says Stereogum, “It’s about moving to a city where nobody knows your name, the fear and the ecstasy of the experience, and it’s beautiful.”

Fans both old and new can catch The Dismemberment Plan on tour this fall, playing festival dates including Riot Fest (Chicago and Denver), Laneway Festival (Detroit), and Fun Fun Fun Fest (Austin) as well as clubs in major cities including New York, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The full list of tour dates is below.

In 2003, if you told the members of The Dismemberment Plan that ten years later they would not only be releasing a new album, but their best record to date, there’s no way they would have believed you. Since forming in Washington, D.C. in 1993, the band has released four highly acclaimed full-lengths, toured the world many times over, and become one of the most well respected-and indefinable-acts in indie rock. But the past decade has seen their members exploring other areas both inside and outside of music, and even embracing adulthood. However, along the way something funny happened: They reunited three years ago to play some shows to support the reissue of 1999’s Emergency & I, and realized their most potent magic had yet to be bottled.

Uncanney Valley was recorded by longtime collaborator J. Robbins (Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring) at his Baltimore Studio, Magpie Cage, produced by Jason Caddell and The Dismemberment Plan, and mixed by Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies, Radiohead), and the result is an album that maintains The Dismemberment Plan’s unique sound while simultaneously allowing them to open up and expand on the foundation of their celebrated back catalog.

This spirit of collaboration paired with the members’ diverse taste and life experiences are what make Uncanney Valley such an enthralling listen-and although the group remains unsure what the future holds for them, the most important thing right now is that they exist here in the moment. Ultimately, whether the members are controlling robots on a space station or performing live with an enthusiasm that transcends age, The Dismemberment Plan are a special band, and Uncanney Valley solidifies that as times change and tides shift, this will always hold true.

Tour Dates:
9/14 – Detroit, MI – Laneway Festival
9/15 – Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
9/21-22 – Denver, CO – Riot Fest
10/18 – New York, NY – Terminal 5
10/19 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10/20 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
11/2 – Boston, MA – Paradise
11/3 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
11/9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
11/8-10 – Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest
12/7 – Seattle, WA – The Neptune Theatre*
12/8 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom*
12/10 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore*
12/12 – Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre*

* denotes w/ Telekinesis

Tracklisting:
1. No One’s Saying Nothing
2. Waiting
3. Invisible
4. White Collar White Trash
5. Living in Song
6. Lookin’
7. Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer
8. Mexico City Christmas
9. Go and Get It
10. Let’s Just Go to the Dogs Tonight