Categories
reviews

tUnE YaRdS – whokill album review

So maybe if you threw Kimya Dawson into a snow globe with Blockhead, Go!Team and Grace Jones, you’d have some garbled version of Tune Yards, or as she writes it, “tUnE YaRdS.”

This bizarre American girl, Merrill Garbus, has tossed together this jankey, self-produced offering that clanks and tweaks along in some live electronica twister. Called whokill, it dropped April 19th, and it’s her second release. The first, Bird Brains, was put out on recycled tapes by Garbus herself.

With the lilting voice of a mannish girl, the first song, “My Country” sounds like a Hawaiian shirt caught in a sparking lawn mower, all harsh vocals, and feels more dancey on subsequent listening. On the first listen, you just want to listen.

Tracks like, “Gangsta,” call to mind 80’s graffiti and the Talking Heads; it sounds like Garbus is singing into a Casio keyboard microphone and rocking a flattop. With percussion that sounds like the smashing of a big tin washtub and lyrics that rap and smack all over the busy melody lines, it can be a little much at almost four minutes long. But keeping it unpredictable with scraps of little kids talking and gasps of breath, glitching vocals tracks and finally this whole back alley implosion, it’s definitely going to keep your ears open.

Garbus chucks a single from this February onto the LP too, called “Bizness.” It starts out with a bed of bird peep vocals, then goes plowing off into a wide ranged void; electric layers of strange 80’s sounds. I’m waiting for a key-tar solo here. “Bizness” is a good jam though, light and solid, jingling little keyboard bits and a fistful of other noises going on.

On the last track, “Killa,” Garbus tells us she’s a new kind of woman. The percussion has this tough hip hop vibe but well mixed with a sunny street party kind of feel, blending in some spoken word stuff, and keeping a fresh beat with these cyclical shimmery instrumental breakdowns, funky bass lines and a soft ending, showcasing the prettiness of Garbus’s pure voice. A pleasant, peaceful way to end a chaotic album.

The whole mess of it comes off as hectic as hell and extremely busy, but if you’re looking for a funky, thought provoking, exploratory trip, you just found it. whokill is nothing to sleep to, basically.

Apparently when playing live, Garbus does all of the percussion loops herself and does the rest with her own voice and ukulele, as well as pulling in an electric bass player named Nate Brenner and there’s talk of putting in a sax section for the whokill tour itself. She’ll be stopping off right here in Montreal on May 13th at Sala Rossa, and if the live show brings even half as much of the gloopy recorded mania, it’ll most likely be an entertaining show.

Categories
reviews tour dates

The Shivers – More album review

Pure blues, grit, and in the midst of what sounds like a stumbling, intoxicated live performance, two-piece New Yorkers, Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow, or The Shivers, tremble through thin songs with aching vocals and shaking, lucid drums.

With their new album, “More,” dropping on May 10th, The Shivers have been accumulating a pile of upcoming tour dates around the states and Pitchfork’s calling them “some of the most talented and compelling song-crafters in recent years releases.”

That’s not necessarily the case.

While their hit single, “Used to Be,” sounds like a fun little experience, there’s nothing in here that really makes one think that they’re the most talented and compelling songwriters in recent years. Nothing in their little ba-ba-ba choruses scream refreshing and unheard of lyrical talent.

That being said, it’s not a shitty headache like most of the blistering “indie” cutesy-kitsch ear-wounds that are eating up the airwaves and tour circuits like a flesh-eating virus.

However, you go back to the year 2004, when Zarriello released his single, “Beauty,” off their album, “Charades.” Now that’s some compelling songwriting, with razor blade lyrics that ravage an already bruised heart to shreds.

With Schornikow on piano and Zarriello on guitar and voice, the two of them do create a purity here. Maybe it was more powerful on “Charades”, and “More,” might leave you wanting just that, but at the end of it, there’s respect in what they’re doing, the rawness, the realness. It’s nothing overproduced; it comes off small and maybe a little slow, but it’s honest, it’s true, it has integrity, even if it’s not something that’s going to halt you in your tracks and turn your head around.

Kisses,” seems to sum up the whole thing pretty well. At least I certainly hope so, as it’s definitely the most interesting track on the album, and if the band performs live like this, it’s a show I’d definitely catch.

Bluesy and off the cuff, the bare bones organ throws down this hard foundation. Zarriello seeming to improve in these drunkenly woozy gruff shouts, there’s a half-wasted sounding audience hooting in the background. Zariello growls out that “You’re gunna have to squeal for my love, like a pig…” So that’s pretty much where the song is going. It conjures this dark, stinky-ass little bar with sticky tabletops and a crowd fucked up on drugs and leaning their chins on their hands while Zariello is probably crawling around on a creaking wooden stage covered in cigarette butts.

The Shivers have released four albums in six years, and this last one here was recorded in an all-analogue studio. Sure, technology is just a neutral tool, but pure determination of a chosen style is respectable, and with old-school grit blues like “Kisses,” it seems to work for The Shivers, who make New York City into a tangible sound.

Categories
reviews tour dates

The Boxer Rebellion – The Cold Still album review

The Cold Still is the latest offering from UK band The Boxer Rebellion. Their third studio album was laid down at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and had Ethan Johns of Kings of Leon fame on production.

Coming from Tennessee, front-man Nathan Nicholson headed off to London after the death if his mom in 2000; once over there, guitarist Todd Howe got on board and there began the birth of the now four member band, The Boxer Rebellion.

With a slew of Radiohead comparisons and a fistful of Canadian and American tour dates coming up, you’d think that The Cold Still would be a little more captivating, and while it’s certainly not talentless or irritating, it isn’t really…anything. Which probably makes the album title painfully appropriate.

The album starts out with the stripped down sadness of “No Harm.” The restrained vocals rip subtly through the body of the mountain echo vocals that lilt across the horizon and the guitar takes a back seat to the body of the piece.

From there, the whole thing soars into “Step out of the car,” which calls to mind the demanding vocals of Morrissey. Funky bass and urgent guitar, the sticky energy and frantic drums roar off into a hard thrash and the whole thing was performed live in February on the Late Show with David Letterman.

You can definitely hear the Radiohead straining under Johnny Greenwood-style guitar on tracks like “Caught by the light.” This is where it all gets to be too much. Radiohead? No, it’s just a sound-alike. The high-pitched, wilted vocal streamers? Thom Yorke? Nah, it’s just Nicholson doing an imitation. There is a flowery, childlike piano instrumental piece in there that offers some compelling emotion but then it’s back to the Yorke-vocals and the redundant stylings.

Stuff like this would be a lot more enjoyable if it wasn’t so trite and could stand on its own without the band’s obvious influences taking over the whole thing. It doesn’t really feel like The Boxer Rebellion really made this one their own; this is Radiohead’s stale chewed gum.

You have to give the band credit for talent; Nicholson’s soaring vocals can be heart rending, and the album stands tall but it doesn’t tower; it doesn’t offer anything fresh, and it doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done at least a dozen times.

It’s like the laws of graffiti; you can’t tag over someone’s piece unless yours has been done better. And so this band maybe should try and do something a little bit more unique.

If you can’t take Radiohead’s sound and revolutionize it (a daunting task for sure), or even throw a new kink in there, then maybe it’s time to try a different style. The Boxer Rebellion certainly has the talent. Now they just need the creativity. (Perhaps not working with anyone from the Kings of Leon camp would help, too, since that band lately has been stumbling along so clumsily through bland annihilation.)

All in all, it’s a mildly good effort from a band of talented musicians who just need to go a little bit further to get their own identity.

Categories
reviews

Britney Spears Femme Fatale album review

Britney Spears Femme Fatale

Well, well, well. Looks like the excruciating humiliation of Britney Spears’s farce of a career is still dragging itself on like a mangled animal. Why won’t someone just put her out of her misery already? Actually, on second thought, it is this reviewer who is the miserable one, as Femme Fatale, Britney’s seventh studio album, sounds like a soup of computerized goop.

On tracks like Till the World Ends, a glicky, glitchy programmed-robotic-club-cliché-headache, Spears’ voice has been so over-produced that you can barely recognize her signature nasal whine anymore.

What happened to the days of Baby, One more time, when Britney was still a virgin straight from the Disney pop star breeding machine, the Mickey Mouse Club, and her banal and silly pop bullshit could just be shrugged off with an eye-roll?

This has just gone on for too long.

Who ALLOWED this album to happen? Someone out there is actually PAYING Spears to do this. There are people making MONEY off of this. They must be a group of musical sadists. That has to be the answer. Nothing this horrendous can be serious. It just can’t be.

Inside Out is just more of the same, the swishing computer percussion, the pathetic lyrics. What is she even trying to prove at this point? That she’s still a mule for cash and media attention?

Of course it’s catchy, of course it will be played in the clubs, of course it will make her and everyone involved in this travesty a pile of dirty money while the artistic musician continues to be dogged by conglomerate whorish music industries that are the musical equivalent of Pepsi and Kraft.

Britney Spears is a walking musical McDonalds.

According to britneyspears.com, “the day we’ve been waiting for has finally come!” Apparently, Spears celebrated “by getting her own copy of the new record as soon as it was available.” So she has to buy her own albums now? That’s completely believable with jaw-dropping offerings like the sewage streaming through my headphones right now.

On tracks like Selfish” Britney Spears sings, “I’m a girl, and you’re a boy,” and then it goes on and on about her picking him up in her Mercedes and she’s going to lock him up in her room, something about a prisoner of love and she’s being sexually selfish….ugh. There’s a mid-song breakdown where Britney sings, “tonight I’m feeling sexual.” Good for her. It’s more dance beats and production-club-beat gluttony. The true selfishness of this song comes from the obvious money grab that this album is; some greedy bastard is sitting back, putting this shit on the frontlines of music, and for some reason it’s being accepted. It’s a baffling paradox. I am scratching my head.

Apparently, this album actually took two years to make. Two years! Wikipedia says it was WELL-RECEIVED by most music critics, and the hit-single, Hold it Against me, actually hit number one on music charts in SEVEN countries, Canada and the States among them.

That’s difficult to swallow. In fact, it’s impossible. I am throwing up in the garbage can and typing with one hand.

When Spear’s manager, Adam Leber, spoke with Entertainment Weekly, he called the album “progressive,” and said it was “a departure from what you’ve heard.”

Alright, maybe the last part of that statement is true. Spears’s vocals have never been so over-produced and she has in fact descended further into the dark, disgusting bowels of mass-produced club music, a.k.a. Sounds for brainless drunk club-goers who are indifferent when it comes to the quality and value of music to hump to.

He’s About To Lose Me might be the least shitty song on the album, with a soft start, harmonies, but then it descends into a chorus that actually makes you wince with its harsh melodies.

Every single song on here seems to be about dancing in the club, having sex, and it really sounds like Spears’s is trying to cash in on the club shit that Rihanna did better than her. The whole thing comes across as unnecessary and redundant. At best.

All in all, it was actually a trial of the SOUL to listen to this shit. Let’s just hope this proverbial bowel movement is Britney’s last gasp.

Categories
press releases reviews

Buck 65 – 20 Odd Years album review

Buck 65 20 Odd Years

In a painfully honest myspace bio, Richard Terfry, aka Buck 65, talks about baseball, losing his virginity and how he came into a twenty odd year career of musical styling’s as far flung as folk and turntabilism.

From Mount Uniake, one of those small Eastern Nova Scotia towns, Terfry has recently released his new album, entitled appropriately enough, 20 odd years, a collection of tracks from 4 separate EP’s he’s done, and the work seems to span his entire motley collection of influences and expressions.

Artist collaborations include fellow East Coast friend Jenn Grant lending her fairy voice to haunted tracks like “Paper Airplanes.” Maybe you’d have to be from the East Coast in one of those half-abandoned little fisherman towns (I happen to be) in order to get that haunted-heart feeling, but the track has a way of taking you there like it’s been everybody’s hometown. Incorporating more of Buck 65’s signature hip-hop throw-downs with East Coast forest vibes, it’s a solid track and Jenn Grant, who is a pure and flawless vocalist adds nothing but magic.

Songs like “Tears of Your Heart,” featuring French pop star Olivia Ruiz, throws all genres in the trash as Ruiz busts out dusty French crooning over violins, hip-hop percussion and Terfry rapping. It’s funky, sort of.

Then there’s “Gee Whiz,” which Terfry himself says was made out of “popsicle sticks, macaroni, sparkles and pipe cleaners.” In the song he says, “If you like love, you’ll love this.” It’s a strange little track, more of the rap and the ghosts.

As for the Leonard Cohen cover, it’s “Who by Fire”, another one with Jenn Grant. Sometimes with Cohen’s songs, the covers are better then the originals; this is no exception. With broken harmonies and Grant’s aching soprano voice, the wistfulness is tangible.

PopMatters called the album “uneven but dynamic,” and while that could be justified, you have to understand that Buck 65 seems to be the first one to acknowledge his “unevenness,” with such a wide collection of musical tastes. Maybe it’s “unevenness,” or maybe it’s just being an artist of growth, of interest, of curiosity, keeping it fresh, not falling into a rut of boredom and predictability. If that makes an artist “uneven,” then it should be considered highly complementary.

The last track, “Final Approach,” featuring another French singer, Marie-Pierre Arthur, comes across as semi-autobiographical as Terfry seems to be singing about himself a little bit, influences and where he’s been. The musical style of it can be a little bit irritating, vocally and structurally, but that’s really the only weak spot on the entire collection.

At the end of his myspace bio, Terfry says that “undoubtedly he’ll make another album in a year or two.” But with material as solid and as thought-provoking as this, hopefully it will be sooner.

Categories
reviews

Royal Bangs – Flux Outside album review

Royal Bangs – Flux Outside

If the Black Keys digs your stuff, it’s probably a good sign. That’s exactly what happened for Chris Rusk, Ryan Schaefer, and Sam Stratton of Royal Bangs, when their myspace was discovered by Patrick Carney, which led to them being signed to Carney’s label, Audio Eagle Records in 2008.

Since then, they’ve gone on to play both Bonaroo and Lollapalooza in 2010, they’ve been signed to independent label, Glassnote Records, and their new album Flux Outside is dropping on March 29th.

Described by Uncut as a “chirpier…less navel-gazing Radiohead,” the band from Tennessee has a tour schedule as mad and busy as the sound of their new album.

Self-labeled as Japanese Classical, Show tunes and Western Swing (at least they’re not describing themselves as ‘psychedelic.’) Flux Outside begins in a blaze of glittery, excited percussion and lilting, wistful vocals with the first track, Grass Helmet. Weird chirping noises peak with a screaming, hyper chorus; it makes you long for a live show.

On tracks like Fireball, you can definitely pick up strange undertones of what might sound like Japanese countryside painted in prickly electric guitar layers and basically the whole album has the feel of a higher sky washed with brighter colors.

Loosely Truthing bursts out kind of like the Beatles maybe, if Ringo was a better drummer and if the Beatles had done more ketamine.

On tracks like TV Tree, it starts out with noises that sound like an old man rattling a tin can before wailing into raw, moaning guitar. Ryan Schaefer is apparently a “multi-instrumentalist,” so maybe that was him clanking away on the tin, and Sam Stratton is responsible for that razorblade guitar.

The album comes crashing down in a cloud of orchestral explosions with Slow Cathedral Melt, but it’s going to be faces melting with their show on April 8th at Casa Del Popolo. Sounds like this don’t come around very often anymore, but somehow Royal Bangs have captured the exuberance of a good old fashioned trip without tacking on the slick pretentious trash-trends that most overly-produced futuristic bands aim for these days.

If music is meant to be an experience, then Royal Bang’s Flux Outside has proven to be a good one.


Categories
interviews

Voxhaul Broadcast Interview

Voxhaul Broadcast Interview

One live shot. That’s how Voxhaul Broadcast recorded and mixed their first EP, Rotten Apples. Fast, off-the-cuff, loose and light; from their 2008 debut EP, to their musical sound, Voxhaul Broadcast seems to have found their style.

Since then, the four-piece from Orange County has moved to L.A., got to have Chris Thorne of Blind Melon fame have a hand in producing their upcoming full-length album, Timing is Everything, and have been playing a slew of music festivals, including SXSW.

They’ve dubbed themselves a psychedelic/rock/soul band; the psychedelic genre seems to be getting a bit threadbare and void of any meaning lately, but the energy of this band seems genuine enough. Tracks like “Leaving on the 5th” start out with starry, galactic guitar before breaking into a jam that at the very least makes you nod your head; it’s poppy and tolerable, and with 19 American shows coming up, before heading over to London, England on May 1st, the buzz behind Voxhaul Broadcast seems to be catching on.

Appearances on “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” the same radio show that artists like Tom Waits have hung around on, etting named as one of L.A.’s “Best New Indie Bands,” by Nic Harcourt of the LA Times Music Issue, getting their track “Rotten Apples,” on the television show Ugly Betty…Looks like this band’s in the midst of their fifteen minutes. Maybe they’ll even get twenty.

Despite a hectic schedule, MVRemix got the chance to catch up with the band:

MVRemix: So why did you decide to become a band? How did it happen and what was going on?

David: We became a band because we liked playing together. A band is all about the musical chemistry that only happens when you have those people writing together. That chemistry comes really easy because we have known each other since we were kids.

MVRemix: What were some of the very first/earliest bands you all remember hearing? Did it shape the way you came into music?

David: Nirvana was a big one and also Weezer’s Blue album. Beck’s Mellow Gold was also played a lot back then. Those bands aren’t our bread and butter like they used to be but I think they shaped the way we feel music forever.

MVRemix: What is it in life that gets you wanting to make music? What are some experiences that get you going? Who are the people and what are the things that make you wanna go rock out?

David: Everything that I have been through is a part of me whether it’s on the surface or subconscious. There have been so many songs that just poured out of me without even trying. What I’m saying is life in general is the most inspiring thing to write about for me.

MVRemix: If you could play any kind of show, with any kind of audience, in any part of the world, how would it be?

David: I have heard the Redding Festival crowd is so fun to play for. I hope that’s in the cards for me in the near future.

MVRemix: What do you want your music to do to people?

David: I hope it does for them what it does for me. When I’m playing our songs I get lost in it and get free from it.

MVRemix: If you were told you that you were going to pull a Pink Floyd and keep being in this band for another 30 odd years, would that make you excited? How do you imagine your style and music might change over the years?

David: I would love to do this for the rest of my life. It’s hard to say how our music would change over the years because only time can tell that kind of question.

MVRemix: Do you see your music as timeless, or do you think it will just be forgotten in a month or so?

David: I think our music is timeless but doesn’t every band think that? To elaborate would only make us sound like were in some scene in Spinal Tap.

MVRemix: What do you think the future holds for music? Where do you see it going?

David: I am exited for the future of music. There is something happening and all you have to do is put your ear to the tracks and listen.

Categories
reviews

Sky Ferreira – As If! EP

Sky Ferreira – As If! EP

Why?

That’s the only thing that comes to mind when the first song off of 18-year old Sky Ferreira’s EP, As If, plays.

Called, “Sex Rules,” it’s basically just a couple of layers of cheap-sounding synthesizer, over-produced vocals, and atrocious lyrics, such as, “sex rules//use your god-given tools//sex rules//I pity the fools//who realize too late//love, sex, and god are great.”

Sky Ferreira is being recognized by the media as a singer/songwriter. No comment.

The whole EP and the poisonous noises behind it could easily be dismissed as another pretty-faced pop product being born, bred and befouled in Los Angeles.

And hopefully it will just be an open-and-shut case of another obnoxious B-level pop star making a dent, causing a migraine, and then vanishing once more into the recesses of a pop culture cemetery. One can only beg.

From the embarrassment that is the first track, Sky Ferreira takes us on a trip of irritating electronic ugliness. The next track, “Traces,” however is thankfully completely forgettable, some hasty filler of gray keyboard noise and insipid vocal yowling.

Ferreira continues on to tell us what she thinks about her critics, in “Haters Anonymous,” even throwing down some humiliating spoken-word breakdown, saying that her critics shouldn’t hide behind anonymity but instead critique her to her face. Well, Sky, I’m putting my name to this review. I only wish this had the power to stop you from inflicting upon the world more of your self-indulgent, juvenile vanity trash that has inexplicably gotten confused as music.

“99 Tears,” has a harsh 80’s vibe. The sounds are sharp and painful, and clocking in at 3:28 is proof that time is relative; it felt less like a few minutes and more like a long and timeless wasteland of pain. If you listen though, you can pick out these bizarre little Casio keyboard sound effects that at least offer comic relief. In fact, if you have a wry sense of humor, the whole monstrosity could be taken as a cynical crack at what popular music has amounted to.

And it just keeps getting funnier/more weird. At this point, I’m asking myself if this is for real.

On tracks like, “108,” it sounds like Ferreira is singing, “My secret lover is 108, I know it sounds insane, it’s really okay.” (I tried to Google the lyrics, but they’re not available yet. Pity.)

Bloodshy & Avant, Greg Kurstin and Dallas Austin were the producers here, and they’re being heralded as “hit producers,” (a carryover compliment from past work, I assume).

Sky Ferreira’s full-length album will be released “in a few months,” according to online site Pop Crush and for reasons unknown, Ferreira has been listed by Entertainment Weekly as one of the “11 to watch for in 2011.”

It really all comes full circle, as I find myself, again, asking, “Why?

Categories
music videos reviews

Sick Puppies – Polar Opposite EP review

Sick Puppies – Polar Oppostie

One of the myth’s to how the Sick Puppies got their name goes like this: A sick dog wandered into their jam space and barfed all over their drum kit.

If that’s not nature’s way of telling you, I don’t know what is.

“Don’t cry like a bitch when you feel the pain” are lyrics off of the first track, “You’re Going Down.” This is essentially the kick-off to the rest of the EP; a pile of overwrought performances punctuated with the moldiest of trite and painful cliches.

As far as radio playability goes, this EP will probably fit nicely on an easy-listening channel. And the fact that the band kept this EP entirely acoustic is surprisingly refreshing. The string instruments in the background add a deeper touch then the traditional pop-trash ballads they’ll be competing with, and it gives it an earthier sound. It comes across as more organic then their traditional genre competition, but at the same time, this is just more familiar ground. Track 5, “Don’t Walk Away,” is just frustratingly redundant. How many times has this song been done? The lyrics, the structure, the sound itself.

This whole offering is going around and around in a spin-cycle dryer with the rest of the crap that faded away a decade before. Why are Sick Puppies still doing this? Why didn’t the barfing dog omen open their eyes? Why, after fourteen years of making music, have they failed to grow creatively or evolve artistically? Who funded this EP and who the hell is listening to it, other then this irritated reviewer?

The band has been struggling with mid-level success since they formed in 1997, producing three albums before the Polar Opposites EP dropped on March 1st, and while their hard work could be admired by some, it could be respected a lot more, if after all this time, they were finally offering creative expressions of substance, instead of this thrice-chewed cud of flavorless and forgettable pop product.

The track, “Maybe” is catchy and will probably be used in the next film starring Miley Cyrus. Already, YouTube users are vying to make their own overwrought DIY videos for this song, complete with scrawling computer lyrics and flowery pictures of puppies and holding hands.

The lead singer Shimon Moore, plays guitar and his vocals are strong and emotional on tracks like “All the Same;” you definitely feel his angst. Maybe he himself feels the limits of his own talent and creativity.

Emma Anzai starts singing on the track, “White Balloons,” which is probably the most memorable and creative track on the EP with edgy strings and a needed tempo change. Anzai’s vocals are clear and fresh and it would be nice to have her singing more.

“I don’t know if it’s me or you,” are lyrics taken from the last track, “So what, I lied.” Is this the best they could come up with from over a decade of musical trekking, touring, playing and writing?

This track jumps from some sort of Tool rip-off, to bland acoustic pickings; they’re all over the place, with raspy 90’s vocals and screaming and it sounds like they really haven’t been able to make it past 1997, style-wise.

At the end of listening to this EP, I feel like the dog trapped in their jam space.

Categories
music videos reviews

Morning Teleportation – Expanding Anyway album review

Morning Teleportation – Expanding Anyway

Morning Teleportation, a five piece from Portland, OR, has a handful of different instruments in play on their debut album, Expanding Anyway, the Theremin being one of them. The Theremin is an electronic instrument; the controls are two metal antennas and it’s a no-hands kind of thing that controls oscillators for frequency and volume. The signals are amped up and sent through a loudspeaker. Essentially, it’s an instrument that can be played without being touched, and that basically is the bottom line of Expanding Anyway: Morning Teleportation play without exactly touching you.

Morning Teleportation is, for some reason, being marketed as a psychedelic band but it lacks the dark sounds of true sketch-edge and the hallucinatory weirdness of legit trip music, so to call them psychedelic is a little nonsensical.

Their debut album, Expanding Anyway, is produced by Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock and the latter band’s bright guitar melodies and twanging waves of grimy farm guitar have made their way into the intricate, hyper-active layers of Morning Teleportation’s entire album.

Expanding Anyway is also the title track on the album; it’s psychedelic in the way a teenager tripping on a few grams of mushrooms is psychedelic; merry, unchallenging, and pop-fun. I’d be excited to listen to this band again in a few years, once they’ve moved into their proverbial early 20’s and start experimenting with DMT or something.

The official music video for ‘Expanding Anyway,’ has all of the typical staples found in a psychedelic-lite product in 2011: Painted naked kids running through a field, neon mushrooms, trippy spirals and cute, bizarre animations. Basically being marketed as a psychedelic band in 2011 seems to have nothing to do with actually having some sort of face melting experience caused by tripping out to music that rearranges your brain matter.

The video seems to stand as some sort of microcosmic example of the band’s style: A bit safe, familiar, but generally enjoyable. It’s tame, friendly fodder for the day trippers who dig the unchallengeable middle ground of a mild experience.

Synth and catchy melodies amount to formulaic compositions and slick vocal lines that get tangled in your head a bit; boppy party fun, about as psychedelic as doing too many bong hits in your bedroom at night.
Crystalline stands solid with strong melody lines that stand tall above a bed of worming guitar and sunny, colorful bright rock. And with their lyrics on the title track jauntily exploring the concept of pushing love’s boundaries, it makes for some vapid, happy thought processes that might even border on lackadaisical self-exploration.

Treble Chair washes away the end of the album with an oceanic synth sound, soft, cushy, pixelated peace noise that suits the closedown of the album in a soothing way; it’s probably their most genuine tripped out track, with a looser construct and the power to let you close your eyes and drift off a bit.

The whole thing weaves together well as a whole but doesn’t really strike you right in the heart, and definitely never comes across as thoroughly psychedelic; the hard dosers probably won’t ever associate Morning Teleportation with some sort of hallucinogenic trip; they sound more like Vampire Weekend eating weed cookies and doing a few light bennies. It’s dancey-pop that would probably make for a good live show at a sunny day festival, and when it’s over, you don’t really feel like you’ve just had some psychedelic musical experience; your spirits may be brighter, maybe your friends dug it as pleasant background party music, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t shake the earth or change your life.