Brilliant Colors – Again and Again review

Indie at the heights of its mediocrity, Brilliant Colors’ sophomore album Again and Again is musically nondescript. Great as background music, the album suffers from a lack of alertness – there is no life, so to speak. Lively instrumentals pervade the album, particularly on “Back to the Tricks”, but vocals that lack “punch” detract from the album as a whole. The set begins with “Hey Dan”, a perky little number reminiscent of early Belle and Sebastian, but without drive. Lo-fi without seeming intentionally so, the band moves on to “How Much Younger”, where the breathy vocals are somewhat appropriately used. “Value Lines” sounds like it was improvised, recorded in one take, and never listened to again. It is possibly the low point of the album. “Round Your Way” is a pleasant piece, performed at a low register, which works well for this particular group. Quintessentially pop-rock, this track features happy riffs and upbeat drumbeats.

The highlight of the album is without a doubt the fantastic drumming by Diane Anastasio, formerly of Carnal Knowledge. Rescuing the album, and probably the band itself, from running aground multiple times, she provides the anticipation, push, and energy that keep the music afloat.

“Cult Face”, a short track whose musical purpose is not quite clear, features four notes in various permutations and combinations to no real end. Thankfully, the track is over before the listener gets too bored to listen to the rest of the album. “Painting Truths” bears a good message with well-written lyrics, which are spotlighted by a simple melody that takes a back-seat. “Hitting Traffic” is almost “Value Lines” all over again, but stops just short of being a total disaster.

“Telephone Stories” is by far the best song on the album, and should perhaps be re-released on another album that has more songs like it. Strong bass lines are heard for the first time, and are worth the wait. They provide Brilliant Colors with the foundation it lacks throughout the rest of the album.

Again and Again is not much to listen to, and if it weren’t for the final track, would be good reason to write off Brilliant Colors as musically unsound. But perhaps they do have potential. With phenomenally better production, stronger vocals with significantly higher resolution and a sharp sound, Brilliant Colors stands a chance in the present musical scene. The instrumentals are already up to par, and with a percussionist like Anastasio in the mix, a significantly better album shouldn’t be too hard to make. Hopefully.

The Midway State – Paris or India album review

(Please note: there is a good review of this album on this site as well, you may want to click on that one instead.)

If you are addicted to Oxycodone, this music has the dissociative aspect that will definitely improve your high.  If your life consists of trips to strip malls and plasma screen televisions, and you high five your friends when a new Panda Restaurant is opened up because it will add exoticism to your life, this music is for you.

 If I were to choose music for a 90s romantic comedy, specifically for the ending credits, I’d definitely opt for any of the trac ks off  The Midway State’s sophomore album, Paris or India.  I can totally see Meg Ryan walking into the sunset to “Atlantic,” for instance.  It’s no wonder the band covered Spandau Ballet’s “True,” a song famous for its role in the John Hughes film, Sixteen Candles.  Their version, by the way, will be featured in the film Textuality. 

They are youthful and perhaps I’m jealous of their hairdos.  If this is the case, I’ve sublimated that aggression and am totally unaware of it.  Lead singer Nathan Ferraro’s breathy urgency rings false to me.  The lyrics are unimpressive, an incidental afterthought to fill out the catchy hooks of the synth.  I especially like the first seven seconds of the track “All Anew,” but the song is much longer than seven seconds.

There is a woeful quality of privilege and ease permeating the songs.  I believe the band’s cultural inheritance must be relegated to potato salad and commercial pop music, which I cannot stomach.  Although I do like my tater salad. 

Excellently mixed down by Randy Staub, the same engineer who did Avril Lavigne and Metallica, the album is flawless in its sterility.  Producer Gavin Brown has hit all the right notes for commercial success. 

Many of the songs, especially “Atlantic,” reminded me of  Christopher Cross’s “Sailing,” which is one of my favorite songs, especially when I need to calm down at the dentist.   I’ve heard all of these songs in other forms a hundred times already.  The aesthetic modus, a reductive smear, is like a mutating virus that has decimated the music industry.

Fink – Perfect Darkness review

Fin Greenall is not your normal artist. Greenall is a jack of all trades which includes singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ. The Brit is very talented and it shows on his new record under the stage name Fink. Perfect Darkness was released on Ninja Tune Records. Perfect Darkness is one of those albums that you shouldn’t ignore. To put it in a short and simple statement, the record does not disappoint.

Every track on the album grabs you right from the start.  Each lyric is written with pure emotion, it lures you into the story he is trying to tell you. Every lick played, is played with the same emotion behind the writing of the lyrics. Such a breath of fresh air to hear music like this. You totally can relate to each and every song. It is almost as he is singing the soundtrack to your very life.

If Fink isn’t in the top ten folk singer/songwriters, he should be. This album can compete with amazing material that are put out by the likes of Conor Oberst, Dallas Green, and Ben Harper. His vocals are strong, with putting the emphasis on phrases, really putting everything he has into singing the words. His voice goes through you and sends chills down your spine.

The mixture of the electronic keys, the finger picking guitar, and the soulful vocals, the album is a total hit. Another record, that has nothing negative to say, and nothing negative to play.  Each song crafted perfectly, down to its last note. Its even hard to pick any stand out tracks., each have something different to offer. With saying that, “Fear is Like Fire” and “Yesterday Was Hard for All of Us” are two stand out tracks to listen to, if your looking to get into any of their material.

In the end, Perfect Darkness should be at the top of your list for albums to buy this year. It should also be said, that Fink is a band you need to look out for. They are on tour in Europe through November in support of this record.

Samiyam – Sam Baker’s Album review

Michigan born talent machine releases his widely anticipated second full length album simply titled the Sam Baker Album. Mr. Baker is no stranger to experimental trip hop as he creates it himself and produces a variety of artists such as Flying Lotus.

The album is a long-winded exploration into relaxation and inspiration. Listeners are greeted at the beginning of the temple with “Escape” a slow sludgy welcome, this is followed by the sexy “Bedtime” which begins the cycle of perpetual ambience. The soft and slow continues until the masculine and regenerative track “Brick” hits which sounds like the feeling those who enjoy the affects of being mega stoned experience. A generous string of experimenting, sexy smoothness and relaxing rhythm continues with no hint of repetition.

This is what it sounds like when an experimental producer makes an album after years of personal musical experience, he is able to listen to his bizarre yet polished music objectively and realize what is satisfying to the human ear.

Throughout the album a variety of samples ore offered including some pieces from “Trailer Park Boys” which is possibly a piece of social commentary or just his personal shout out, either it works and contributes to the many textures we here in this journey through sound.

The Midway State – Paris or India album review

Good ol’ Toronto bands. While I’m a Montrealer, who loathes the Toronto Maple Leafs, and will forever say that Toronto has terrible concert crowds (at least at Aerosmith) – I will admit that many good things have come out of Ontario such as Sum 41, and Avril Lavigne’s first album (because “Complicated” is still stuck in my head after all these years, and I commend her for that). So let’s see if Toronto’s The Midway State’s second album, “Paris or India” will improve my opinion about Toronto and the province it resides in.

The opener, entitled “Alive,” opens the album with a big synthy backtrack. The title describes it perfectly, as it really just oozes liveliness, and makes you feel all good inside, and that everything before your eyes should be happening in super slow motion, and you should be moving at full speed, and pardon the run-on sentence, but this is a really enjoyable track. The next few tracks rely heavily on key-based instruments, with a little guitar flair thrown in here or there. In fact, it’s hard to spot the guitar in some tracks. For example, the scales in “All Anew” that synthist/vocalist Nathan Ferraro hits are wild, and I can really only notice Mike Wise’s guitar work in the chorus. That, or I’m musically inept.

Do the overload of keys make the album any less enjoyable? I don’t think so – even if I’m a sucker for keyboards, I know when too much is too much. The problem is that there’s not always enough differentiation between tracks. “Fire!” and “Atlantic” feel like the exact same song. It’s not like they’re expected to switch to a different genre between tracks, but there’s nothing to distinguish one track from the other. There are also a few tracks that fall flat, but they can be overlooked or deleted from your iTunes library if need be.

“Lightning” is another choice track, which seems to be a lamenting love song about a girl who got away. From beginning to end, the feeling of the song is just right. You feel for the songwriter – and that’s not something I often don’t relate to. The album finally closes with a couple really fun tracks, highlighted by “Litebrite,” with a wild attitude and grand mixture of happiness emanating from the repetitive background noise of the keyboards, and the smooth guitars. It makes you happy. It makes me want to dance. And I don’t dance.

Basically, this album surprised me. And I’m glad it did. I only knew one of their songs from their debut album, which was their single called “Never Again.” Even though no song matched the catchiness of its great piano work, and eerie-yet-bright mood, I can definitely say that these Torontonians have not handed us a sophomore  slump.

PS – If any of you are heading to Osheaga this weekend, The Midway State will be playing on Saturday at 1:30PM.

MUTEMATH Announce “Odd Soul Introduction Tour” To Kick Off In September

GRAMMY-NOMINATED RECORDING ARTISTS MUTEMATH ANNOUNCE “ODD SOUL INTRODUCTION TOUR” TO KICK OFF IN SEPTEMBER

BAND TO UNVEIL SONGS FROM ITS UPCOMING NEW ALBUM, ODD SOUL, IN INTIMATE SETTINGS

ODD SOUL DUE ON OCTOBER 4TH, 2011, ON TELEPROMPT/WARNER BROS. RECORDS

New Orleans’ rock innovators MUTEMATH have announced that they will launch the Odd Soul Introduction Tour this fall. The tour finds the band, which is Paul Meany (vocals/keyboards), Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (bass/guitar), and Darren King (drums), unveiling songs from their upcoming new album, Odd Soul, which will be released on October 4th by Teleprompt/Warner Bros. Records. MUTEMATH will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on the night of release.

The Odd Soul Introduction Tour kicks off on September 7th and concludes with a homecoming show in New Orleans on October 21st. The tour revisits intimate venues to provide fans with a unique opportunity to see MUTEMATH up close in many of the clubs they first performed at when starting out nearly seven years ago. A pre-sale for a VIP Package (which includes tickets, a physical and digital copy of Odd Soul, and a digital download of the track “Blood Pressure”) has already begun. Regular tickets go on sale to the public on August 5th. Prior to September 7th, MUTEMATH will perform a few select special dates in August. Visit www.mutemath.com for more details. All upcoming tour dates are listed below.

In other MUTEMATH news, the track “Odd Soul” is currently available to fans in a unique video mixer platform. The mixer, which premiered on digital and social media technology site Mashable.com, features a different video for each part of the song: drums, guitars, bass, vocals, synth, and background vocals. Listeners can solo, mute, and mix “Odd Soul” in real-time creating their own audio and visual mix. Due to varying connection speeds and hardware there are two versions available, a 4-track version meant for users on slower connections and a 6-track version for fans using up-to-date browsers on faster broadband connections. Versions can be chosen by visiting www.mutemath.com/oddsoul.

Odd Soul, which was produced by the band, is the follow-up to 2009’s Armistice, which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Digital Albums and Alternative Albums chart, No. 4 on the Rock chart, and No. 18 on the Top 200 album chart, and was called a “must-have album” by the New York Post.

08/06 Tulsa, OK Brady District Block Party
08/13 Tokyo, JAPAN Summer Sonic Festival
08/14 Osaka, JAPAN Summer Sonic Festival
08/16 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour (sold-out)
08/20 Mobile, AL Saenger Theatre
08/25 New York, NY Mercury Lounge (sold-out)
09/07 Charleston, SC The Pour House
09/08 Greenville, SC The Handlebar
09/09 Columbia, SC New Brookland Tavern
09/10 Athens, GA 40 Watt
09/12 Raleigh, NC The Pour House
09/13 Wilmington, NC The Soapbox
09/15 Richmond, VA Canal Club
09/16 Charlottesville, VA The Southern
09/17 Poughkeepsie, NY The Loft
09/18 Hartford, CT Webster Underground
09/20 Providence, RI The Met
09/22 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
09/23 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
09/24 Albany, NY Pearl Palooza (WEQX)
09/25 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop
09/27 Ann Arbor, MI The Blind Pig
09/29 Lansing, MI The Loft
09/30 Milwaukee, WI The Rave Bar
10/01 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville, Mews
10/02 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck
10/07 Oklahoma, City, OK The Conservatory
10/08 Waco, TX Common Ground
10/09 San Antonio, TX Endless Music
10/11 Little Rock, AK Revolution Music Room
10/12 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
10/14 Baton Rough, LA Chelsea’s
10/16 Pensacola, FL Deluna Fest
10/17 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
10/19 Knoxville, TN The Square Room
10/20 Birmingham, AL Workplay Theatre
10/21 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks

Holy Ghost! “Some Children” ft. Michael McDonald. Holy Ghost! Headlining Fall Tour Dates

Holy Ghost! “Some Children” ft. Michael McDonald Headlining Fall Tour Dates

“Some Children” Premiered on Rolling Stone

Watch the Video w/ Adult Swim HERE

Holy Ghost! are ready to kick off an extended touring schedule for the next few months and what better way to say bon voyage than by sharing their track “Some Children” featuring the lord of Yacht Rock, Mr. Michael McDonald. The track is available to fans for an email swap or a “like” on Facebook, which can be done HERE. There is also an amazing accompanying video illustrated by Adam Fuchs that was created in collaboration with Adult Swim.

Brother of drummer Jerry Fuchs, Adam is part of the DFA extended family and was thrilled to make the video. Fuchs explains that he, Nick and Alex “have been talking about doing an animated video for a while now. When I first heard the beginning of “Some Children” I knew right away I wanted to do imagery going in and out of clouds. The song has a great ‘holy’ feel to it, and it felt right to go in that direction. I really wanted to play off of Michael McDonald’s voice and have an image that would represent him as God, but also not be taken so literally. The Adult Swim thing came about, because Nick and Alex are big fans, and wanted to be involved in some way. I approached my bros at Adult Swim with the concept I had, and they loved it.”

And this fall marks Holy Ghost!’s FIRST EVER headlining tour in the US in support of their recently release and much-adored debut album Holy Ghost!. Having spent the last year supporting friends LCD Soundsystem, Chromeo and Cut Copy on the road, they are now topping the bill. The group will be joined by two very dynamic acts: Jessica 6 and Eli Escobar, who are going to be a perfect start to the party. Be sure to catch one of this fall’s hottest tours as it makes its way across the country. A select handful of dates are below and more will be announced shortly!

You can also see them this summer on the Identity Festival Tour, which kicks off on August 11th and features artist as diverse as Booka Shade, Skrillex, Modeselektor and DJ Shadow. For the full list of cites and dates, and all other info please check out Identity Festival’s site.

Holy Ghost! Headlining Tour
October 30 – Orono, ME @ University of Maine
October 31 – Montreal @ Belmount on the Blvd.
November 1 – Toronto @ 69 Bathurst
November 4 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
November 5 – Chicago, IL @ Double Dour
November 8 – Vancouver @ Fortune Club
November 12 – Mexico City @ One Music Festival (DJ Set)
November 17 – Austin, TX @ The Parish
November 19 – New Orleans @ The Parish at House of Blues

DANIELA AND BEN SPECTOR RELEASE “LOVE IS” THIS TUESDAY, AUGUST 2ND

DANIELA AND BEN SPECTOR RELEASE “LOVE IS” THIS TUESDAY, AUGUST 2ND

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “FAR AWAY” LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM

Daniela and Ben Spector are quickly climbing their way into the American radar. Not very often does a songwriting duo stand out above the rest, but the two are taking the music world by storm. Hailing from Israel, the husband-wife team have come together to blend a perfect Electric-Folk sound that will have you craving more.

This Tuesday, Daniela and Ben’s debut album will finally see the light of day in the States. The highly anticipated Love Is will be out August 2nd.

From start to finish, every song will draw you in closer. The nine-track LP is truly one of the most beautiful albums that you will hear all year. You can quote me on that. Daniela’s voice is angelic and smooth while invoking emotion in every word that she sings. Ben helps by blending infectious electronic sounds and brilliant guitar playing that resonates throughout the album. The combination of these elements make up the nine gorgeous tracks on Love Is.

Stating Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, Architecture in Helsinki and Air as influences, Daniela and Ben Spector draw from their inspirations and the end result is a sound that is all their own. The first single “Cut It Out,” (featuring M. Jack Bee) was just the beginning so be ready for more.

Daniela and Ben Spector have one more treat to share with listeners this week. An exclusive “Live From the Living Room Session,” of their next single “Far Away.” Be prepared to fall in love.

TOUR
Aug 4 Goldmans Bar Berlin, Germany
Sep 3 Torstraße Festival Berlin, Germany
Sep 8 Grüner Salon Berlin International Music Week
Sep 17 Madame Claude Berlin, Germany
Sep 25 Blue Shell Cologne, Germany

BRITISH SONGSTRESS ADELE TO MAKE HER VMA DEBUT PERFORMANCE AT THE “2011 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS”

BRITISH SONGSTRESS ADELE TO MAKE HER VMA DEBUT PERFORMANCE AT
THE “2011 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS”

HIP-HOP AND R&B SUPERSTARS LIL WAYNE AND CHRIS BROWN RETURN TO THE VMA STAGE

The 28 th Annual Awards Show Airing Live From Nokia Theater
In Los Angeles On Sunday, August 28 at 9:00PM (Live ET/Tape Delayed PT)

MTV announces the first line-up of artists who will perform LIVE at the “2011 MTV Video Music Awards.” British singer-songwriter and chart-topper Adele, whose quadruple platinum hit single “Rolling in the Deep” received an incredible seven nominations, will make her VMA performance debut at this year’s show. With an impressive year under his belt and three nominations in his pocket, including “Best Hip Hop,” superstar music mogul Lil Wayne is aiming to take the VMA crown once he hits the stage to perform. After his memorable debut at the 2007 VMAs, Chris Brown, who has multiple VMA nods, is ready to up his game and unleash another huge performance. The “2011 MTV Video Music Awards” will air live from Nokia Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 9PM (Live ET/Tape delayed PT.) MTV will announce additional performers and presenters on a later date.

“Being a nominee AND performer on the VMAs once again is an honor because everyone doesn’t get that opportunity. Looking forward to performing on the show, and having Tha Carter IV drop the same week!” – Lil Wayne

“I am excited about my nominations and to be back on the VMA stage. I have a special performance planned for my wonderful fans.” – Chris Brown

Viewers can vote for general VMA categories, including “Best New Artist,” by visiting vma.mtv.com online or m.mtv.com on their mobile phone. In addition, Best New Artist text voting is open to all wireless carrier subscribers by texting BNA to 66333. Voting continues through the show, live on August 28th. Verizon subscribers can vote on all categories via SMS by texting VMA to 66333 (standard message rates apply.)

The 2011 “MTV Video Music Awards” will be available to a potential viewing audience of more than 1.2 billion people via MTV’s global network of more than 60 channels reaching more than 640 million households around the world as well as through syndication. In addition, its convergent programming and content will reach the entire interactive community, via MTV’s nearly 200 digital media properties around the world.

The 2010 VMAs averaged a 10.0 P12-34 rating and 11.4 million total viewers, marking the network’s best deliveries for any MTV telecast since the 2002 VMAs (8/29/02) as well as making it the third most watched telecast in MTV’s history.

To watch video of last year’s biggest moments, get the full list of last year’s show winners and can check out fashion, celebrity and music commentary from the shows’ red carpets, please go to vma.mtv.com.

Jesse Ignjatovic/Den of Thieves is the Executive Producer for the “2011 MTV Video Music Awards.” Amy Doyle, Garrett English and Dave Sirulnick are Executive Producers. Jen Jones is co-Executive Producer. Joanna Bomberg is Executive in Charge of Music and Talent. Hamish Hamilton is Director. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive.

Official sponsors of the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards are 5® Gum, COVERGIRL, Dove® go fresh Deodorant, Kia Motors America, PacSun, Sharpie®, State Farm®, Taco Bell® and Verizon.

About MTV:

MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.

Crystal Antlers – The Two-Way Mirror review

Hmmm. Crystal Antlers’ latest release……what to say? We could run through the facts and go through the bio, and list off the discography to fatten the word count. It would be fitting to tip-toe around words and adjectives to avoid saying that really, there isn’t much to say. It’s a little boring, slightly flat, and it doesn’t seem to have an artistic purpose beyond it’s physical existence, although with that being said, it is hard to guage the artistic intent. Is it attempting to comment on the issues of redundancy, and lack of reason? Is it an exploration of making something for the sake of just making it? What was the point? The production sounds lack-lustre…is this intended? “The Two Way Mirror” does raise questions, indeed, and perhaps these are the very questions that Crystal Antlers seek to raise…but who knows?

We are attending a party. It’s a party where you must do whatever it is that you do, and people are scattered about displaying their various talents or interests. Everyone is a cartoon. We are observers, just strolling around checking things out, and we come across a quintet called “Crystal Antlers.” Chances are they are off to the side of the room making quiet noise in a world of their own. They are two-dimensional pencil drawings in a room of bold colours and luscious characters. You stand around near them and watch them play while they stand in the same spot and sway around in a hazy way, looking at their shoes and jamming out to each other. They may be wearing translucent coloured sunglasses. You like it a little, but you really want them to turn it up or inflate it or colour it or do something!

You can imagine it if it were bold and in colour and the textures are great, and it has some interesting timbres and soundscapes, but it is as if it’s all muffled beneath a wall of crystal. Intended?!?! Who knows?! It’s physchedelic and mellow, while meddling in rock and noise and it has great percussion and some wicked instrumental work in “Dog Days,” but upon leaving it, you are asking already on to something else and may have forgotten their name.