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World Under Blood – Tactical review

World Under Blood’s new album, Tactical is pretty much self-explanatory. No frills or happy endings. Just a lot of yelling.

Tactical is an album that proves much pain exists in the world and there are artists who are brave enough to tackle that pain.

The tracks are extremely raw and rough. The brains behind the music, Deron Miller and Tim Yeung take their album to new levels of dark, grungy, loud and without a doubt heavy music.

To an outsider like myself, the songs sound identical to each other and each song becomes progressively louder and annoying. Though, for a heavy metal aficionado, I am sure this album will do them just fine. Especially when it comes to the titles alone, take a stab at “Purgatory Dormitory”, “Pyro-Compulsive” or “Dead and Still in Pain”.

Interesting enough, “Revere’s Tears” starts out with a really nice and mellow acoustic guitar piece and just as you are wondering when Miller’s insanely loud voice will pop in, it hits you like a bomb.

I feel restraint on Tactical is quite limited. The artists do what they do and as loud and mind-numbing the music can be, they bode well for their genre. What I find is a problem that will prove to be a general problem among fans is the similarity of the songs. There aren’t many moments where you can identify one song from the other. The songs are average length and when some have potential of being greater than great, I feel it ends before reaching that point.

The melodic death metal genre they play out on this album is quite tough to get through, and if you happen to be a fan of their music I still cannot be a hundred percent sure you will be impressed.

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reviews

Boston Spaceships – Let it Beard album review

Let it Beard, the latest from Boston Spaceships, does something along the lines of intrigue but I’m not sure it ever gets to that point.

There is a lot to take in especially when you notice that the album is 26 songs long. There are many moments of “amazingness” but that’s only up until a certain point. When you listen to about ten, you’re okay. When you listen to 15 you really lose track of who the band is or what they are trying to tell you.

On the other hand, for such an extensive track listing they really do a great job of adding a certain creative touch to each song. Sure some songs become a little redundant, particularly ones such as “You Just Can’t Tell”. Those are the only words you hear during the entire song. Or, at least that’s what it feels like.

With four albums under their belt, frontman Robert Pollard, drummr John Moen and mastermind Chris Slusarenko, Let it Beard proves to be an album of crazy (in the good sense) guitar solos and even crazier arrangements. Songs that stick out, “Tourist UFO”, “The Ballad of Bad Whiskey” (probably for its title alone) and “Let it Beard” are all tracks that bring the band into the spotlight.

In a way, “Tabby and Lucy” brings me into a child-like state—weird, but interesting. Weird is definitely the operative word here. You’ll pass through moments of insanity, melancholy, joy…and you’ll find yourself back at the beginning, as if you were playing the wheel of emotions.

Boston Spaceships lend their hardest efforts with Let it Beard though I’m not sure I’m a believer just yet.

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reviews

Tiger and Woods – Through The Green album review

Tiger and Woods’ debut album Through the Green takes the loop button and runs with it.

The dance duo don’t play up on melody or rhythm very much. What they do that is quite impressive is take a beat and maximize it to a point where you can hear that one beat over and over again—hence the “loop” part.

For many of the tracks you can definitely hear a little 1980’s flare—with constant percussion. Though this time the duo uses less lyrics and almost no drawn-out choruses. There are of course random lyrics but not enough to add substance—which probably wasn’t the group’s intention anyways. If you listen to the songs you’ll understand that the entire album plays on being “random” and “loopy” (if that even is a word to use in this context).

The album as a whole is just too repetitive. It’s a tough album to get through sitting down. That’s why given the right setting, or atmosphere, the tracks make for better lounge music and some make for great club tracks (lend an ear to “Kissmetellme” or “Gin Nation”).

And, if you are an editing connoisseur, I should make note that it isn’t easy to edit the tracks featured on Through the Green. You can just tell how much work goes into each track and the transitions are quite fantastic—case in point “Love in Cambodgia”.

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reviews

SBTRKT album review

SBTRKT merges vocals and beats with obvious ease on his first full length effort. You could call it the ultimate “chillout” album to listen to. Then again, calling it “chillout” may be too juvenile and wouldn’t exactly do the album justice. Because it’s anything but juvenile.

“Right thing to do” makes the album, no question. With the right combination of vocals, lyrics and beats, it’s just one of those tracks that will make you trigger happy for the repeat button.

What sets SBTRKT’s efforts apart from the others is the idea of featuring different vocalists which helps create a mosaic of unique sounds and provides a wide variety of musical “flavours” for the listeners. Apart from the vocals helping to distinguish each song from the other, the choice to use certain beats and sounds is also quite clever. Listeners get a chance to have the best of both worlds because when we want a club anthem we know where to find one and the same goes for that song we look for when we just want to, there is that word again, “chill”.

“Go Bang” and “Sancturary” are definitely ones to listen for if you just want to groove. Though I would probably also suggest “Wildfire” seeing as it has a good beat-vocal ratio.

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Blanck Mass – Blanck Mass album review

Blanck Mass hits you in a different kind of way with their self-titled debut…though don’t expect to be pleasantly surprised.

The duo made up of Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung chose to focus on twilight-sounding tunes and melodies for their big effort. Start with the first track and you’ll know what I mean. “Sifted Gold” is one melody and basically one sound straight through the four “ish” minutes of the song. For the most part, the album centers around one sound and it’s quite difficult to differentiate where one song ends and the other begins—especially when one track can be nine minutes long (“Raw Deal”).

At some points, you can hear almost angelic melodies and at other times you’re able to envision tracks like “Chernobyl” acting as soundtrack pieces for nature documentaries.

What is impressive though is the ability of the duo to incorporate the most simplistic yet unusual ambient noises into their music. You can hear, on many tracks, birds, insects and the sound of water which helps to build the serene and calming theme of the entire album.

As a whole, the individuality of each track does get lost because tracks tend to sound like they are on loop—like a big cluster of sounds. What we do get to find (after two or three listens) is an appreciation for nature, which seems to be escaping us increasingly as the computer age intensifies.

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press releases reviews

Kate Simko – Lights Out album review

Kate Simko releases Lights Out but clearly shines through with new and edgy music.

Simko, who is no stranger to the role of DJ at clubs, showcases a different side of her music on Lights Out. Alongside Jeffrey Weeter, she produces music with a lot of diversity and never-ending beats.

Lights Out’s best tracks are by far “Cairo” and “Bikini Atoll”. They weave in a multitude of sounds and pulses, “Cairo” especially brings you into a whole new spectrum of music, one centered on personal expression and self-discovery.

What Simko does best here is definitely her use of percussion, which you can easily find on “Beneath”.

Lights Out plays up the idea of “crossover music” as I would call it. You have a wide variety of venues in which Simko’s music appeals to—whether it be in your car with your speakers almost bleeding, or while you are home, cooking or hosting. They don’t necessarily fit into a mould or genre. That aspect alone makes enough of a case that Simko’s musical talent is unique and highly impressive.

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reviews

Ok Go – 180/365 album review

Ok go chooses to change up the routine by recording a completely live album. 180/365, a fitting title as it symbolizes the number of days they performed live in a year, proves to be a great compilation of the band’s work.

You not only get the best live version carefully picked from 180 locations, you are also getting the best (albeit, open to interpretation) and most recent version of their songs from their three albums (OK Go, Oh No and Of the Blue Colour of the Sky). In fact, most of the songs off the album were performed in different cities—a clever decision on their part to have the listener get a taste of how the band performs in each city.

What could be more beneficial to a band’s success than a live album that provides the full “concert experience”? You get to be in fifteen or so different venues without having to move a muscle. And, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that nothing makes a band more appealing than hearing them live.

“This Too Shall Pass” is one of those songs that makes you want to buy the tickets to their next show. The sing-a-long towards the middle of the song gives that added oomph, because let’s be corny for a second, you feel like you are there.

What really puts 180/365 on the map, though, is “Skyscrapers”. Performed in New Orleans, you just know how even more perfect it would be if you were actually there, in their presence, listening to the cool jazzy tone of the trumpet and the lead singer’s, Damian Kulash, powerful vocals.

For any fan of Ok Go’s, 180/365 is a fantastic album that emphasizes the band’s talents and abilities to perform stellar live versions of their music. Of course with an album like this, it would make sense if you’ve listened to the band’s past work, so you have a basis of comparison. On the other hand, live albums don’t necessarily need previous evidence of the band’s musical efforts, because when a band performs live everything usually just speaks for itself.

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reviews

Com Truise – Galactic Melt album review

New Jersey’s Seth Haley, or as we now him by another name, Com Truise, spices up the idea of using a synthesizer to create what I would call “uber-modern” music.

What we may know and characterize as 80’s electronica, dance-cave-type music, is what we get from Haley’s latest effort, Galactic Melt. It’s almost as if Haley is trying to help us through a musical transformation—transitioning us through a new synthesizer-focused and computer-based musical phase.

In fact, the follow-up to last year’s Cyanide Sisters, introduces so many different sounds that you’ll have to take a trip down Galactic Melt lane quite a few times to really get the feel of Haley’s direction.

One listen to Futureworld is plainly not enough. It’s impossible to catch the many intricacies Haley weaved through the track. Same goes for Brokendate. This track in particular slows down the pace but definitely doesn’t let down on the complexity and interestingly enough sophistication of this genre of music. Of course, at first listen, many tracks mimic one another. Though, as mentioned before, after a few listens there is just no way you would be able to spot the same tune. Case in point, Glawio and Ether Drift—two tracks that are bound to awaken your musical taste buds.

Just like the clever play-on-words Haley chose Com Truise as his musical altar-ego, Haley’s music is the same. Galactic Melt is a great example of how this artist fuses and forges sounds and beats into elaborate and unusual tracks.

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reviews

The Swellers – Good For Me album review

The Swellers Pack On the Nostalgia

The Swellers’ fourth album Good For Me makes a splash in the punk rock genre, providing fans with a new take on nostalgia. The follow up to their earlier Ups and Downsizing is proving to be quite a hit with fans even though the band veered towards a slower pace.

“Runaways” sets the tone for the album with a catchy chorus and heavy guitar sounds. The tracks to follow, however, somehow all end up sounding the same. Perhaps for die-hard fans this doesn’t pose as a problem considering if you love one song, you’re automatically guaranteed to love the rest.

Credit though should be given to the band for storytelling. Most tracks deal with simplistic yet angst-ridden stories about living in the dead of winter and the desire to escape it once and for all. “Parkview” and “Best I Ever Had” are two perfect examples of this.

The Swellers’ storytelling creates a big sense of nostalgia that seems to take over the album. It is an honest account of personal experiences. So, really, if you are a fan, you’ll have no problem enjoying listening to the songs, understanding the lyrics and the best part of it all? There’s no hidden meaning behind the band’s storytelling.

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reviews

Alina Simone – Make Your Own Danger album review

Alina Simone indeed creates her own version of danger with her third album. Simone paints haunting images by using the vast musical resources available to her. With lyrics like “Two hearts collide and turn into dust”, you’re left with a frightening image that lingers long after you stop listening to Make Your Own Danger.

Starting with “Beautiful Machine”, one of her best efforts on the entire album, you play witness to a beautiful arrangement of guitar and vocal harmonies. “Gunshots” also makes for an evocative track. The soft guitar and the slow tempo of the song take you to a place you most likely fear.

Perhaps the most fascinating song on her album though, is “Apocalyptic Lullaby” – a hauntingly beautiful melody that showcases Simone’s musical abilities at its best. The flute, if only used a handful of times during the song, takes Simone’s work to a whole new level of musical brilliance.

In fact, Simone plays even with the tempo on her album and you can see that especially on “You Fade Away” – a melody seemingly uncommon to her genre.

But, what is her genre anyway? She uses so many different instruments and arrangements it’s hard to tell where she fits in. Though, that’s never a bad thing, at least in my eyes.