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Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older album review

What does music eight years in the making get you? A dynamic duo encompassed by multi-instrumentalists that are inevitably familiar with collaborations. Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells are set to release “Everything’s Getting Older” comprising of distinctive piano driven, jazz-filled love ballads concocted with Moffat’s unique, but definitely more reserved lyricism.

The accomplished Aidan Moffat spawns a distinct discography, which include his solo projects under Aidan John Moffat, his full name or as part of his band Aidan Moffat & the Best Ofs. Not to forget his pivotal part in the Scottish Arab Strap band. On the other hand, Bill Wells the multi-talented instrumentalist and composer can cite Bill Wells Octet, Isobel Campbell, The Pastels and Future Pilot A.K.A. among his many accomplishments.

The two Scots encountered each other once before with Arab Strap’s “Monday at the Hug & Pint,” in which Wells augmented the LP with his piano craft. It took some time for “Everything’s Getting Older” to ferment, but on May 10, the prized album will be revealed and the celebration will begin. The scrupulous protracted process was well worth it. The collaboration began in 2003 with the lighthearted single, “(If You) Keep Me In Your Heart,” which breaks the dark feel of the album.  “Everything’s Getting Older” opens up with jazzy tunes driven by Wells’ soothing piano that will become familiar with the likes of “Let’s Stop Here” and “The Sadness In Your Life Will Slowly Fade.” Moffat’s unchecked accounts at failed relationships can be seen in “Ballad of the Bastard,” which definitely harbors hostility. Without dismay “Glasgow Jubilee” shows a funky side to “Everything’s Getting Older.” The album’s mature side becomes apparent in “Cages,” which comes to terms with the perks and limitations of responsibility, marriage and fatherhood.

If you haven’t already noticed, Moffat’s specialty is lyrics – embellished with a guttural Scottish accent. While Wells retreats, at ease in the background, not to be forgotten; thus, setting the scene for the entire record. Wells engulfs the gloomy track “The Cooper Top” joined together with the high-strung drums and the double bass of “Tasogare.”

“Everything’s Getting Older” encompasses the lives of Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells at the moment and brings about the essence of freedom in aging, entangled by responsibility and fatherhood. Although it was a lengthy development, these two Scotts saw the benefits of this process.  Hence, an impeccable breezy jazz piano ensemble was the result. We won’t see any havoc like that of Arab Strap’s first release… until perhaps a decade from now with the onset of Moffat’s mid-life crisis – but “Everything’s Getting Older” does show us a side of Moffat that we have never seen before. Perhaps he deserves much credit for taking the leap into new likely mature directions.

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reviews

Joan as Police Woman – The Deep Field album review

Do not be fooled by the titled first track “Nervous,” for “The Deep Field” positions itself at the other end of the spectrum. For Joan as Police Woman fans, this album can definitely be seen as a more confident accomplishment for Joan Wasser.  Two prior albums were inflicted with grief and pain; each respectively dealing with the loss of her lover, Jeff Buckley and her mother.

“The Deep Field” still contains the scars of afflicted distress; after all, the song writing occurred during the tour of her “To Survive” album.  Rest assured this new release is her most complete, “most open, joyful” work to date. “The Deep Field,” described by Joan Wasser as a pocket of space containing a plethora of galaxies, not only parallels her journey of experiences, but the drive that reveals itself only after subsequent listens.

The character filled album, sports influences of the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green, striving for that ‘just got rolled out of bed 70’s warm-soul sound’. Striving to hastily understand Wasser’s music, especially “The Deep Field” could erroneously result in a bad review.  However, one must look beyond the quickly dissipating anomalous covered melodies, filled with muffled synthesizers, and focus on the splendid flattened vocals, which produce impeccable choruses.

Embellished with electro-piano funk characteristic of Sly Stone, “The Deep Field” showcases Joan as Police Woman’s hallmark ensemble of piano, guitar licks and horns; solidified by teasing to engulf her soft vocals. The album screams eccentric sound production, displaying itself in the progressive melodic “Action Man” tasteful track. Al Green undeniably shines in the loved-themed track, “Kiss the Specifics.”  Wasser’s tenor dimension vocals creep into the Prince-feel tune “Chemmie”.

Perhaps it’s not magic that Wasser’s soft vocals blend with the melodic instrumentation, soaking them into the subconscious with “The Magic.”  The ironically titled “Flash” sets the scene with an unhurried feel that lets threat seep in.

“The Deep Field” captivates the listener, sucking them in with long opulent ballads.

Wasser is set on a confident epic journey, standing tall with a firm stance. “The Deep Field” is the culmination of successful struggles, which have not deterred her work, but have served to give an empowered outlook on life.

This is her triumph, her victory against the low-spirited miserableness and her discovery of elation in life. She shares her story of finding herself in life, finding a place for it in “The Deep Field.”  Thus, bringing everyone along for the magical grand finale, engulfing everyone in her confident vivaciousness.

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reviews

Company of Thieves – Running from a Gamble album review

Company of Thieves begins where we left off two years ago with “Ordinary Riches,” bringing back their amalgamation of attitude-filled rock, country and jazzy-funk to electrify “Running from a Gamble.” But this time, building on their strengths and with more stories to tell, and a brazen attitude to boot!

Company of Thieves’ fresh and edgy front woman, Genevieve Schatz has already made a name for herself in the indie community. Furthermore, this album solidifies her triumph of becoming an icon for indie music in years to come. With striking comparisons to the Pretenders and Metric, Company of Thieves resonates with unique rapturous sound. Schatz destroys the definition of front woman, replacing it with charismatic ferociousness.

“Running from a Gamble” carries all the soul and relevance of attitude-filled, rocky vocals while sedating the listener and coating the imagination of the listeners’ mind with bliss. The album packs in influence and releases excellence.

Schatz sets the scene with her calming introduction, which is suddenly broken by the succession of the rocky attitude melody, “Queen of Hearts”. She fills you with excitement and fiercely inspires you with “Modern Waste.” Can’t you feel the intense power in her voice? My teeth are clenched. “Look Both Ways” showcases the funky pop side of the album. The album progressively then slows down, without the loss of its powerful directedness in the highs and lows of “Never Come Back.”

The theme of “Queen of Hearts” can be seen again in the single “Death of Communication.” Beginning with the succession of pounding drums it is sprinkled with the charismatic ferociousness we are now familiar with. The pleasant melodic rock-chorus fills the listener’s ears with energy and the satisfaction of an exhilarating guitar solo. The rocky filled chorus files out with the same pounding drums it came in with. Lucky the next track, “King of Dreams” is a slow one, there to cure the listener’s racing heart. “Syrup” and “Tallulah” showcase Company of Thieves’ ability to successfully draw the genres of jazz, pop and funk into a summertime-weekend feel.

Schatz won’t leave us without putting up a fight in “Take Me for A Man,” progressively filling the song with her characteristicly fierce voice and directed lyrics.

“Running from a Gamble” definitely stands up strong against all the indie forerunner albums and won’t settle for second place.

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The Bell Interview

The Sweden-based post-punk/melodic trio The Bell, celebrated their hot indie release, “Great Heat” on April 12, 2011. “Great Heat” is their latest follow up to their remarkable “Make Some Quiet” release.

The Bell hail from Malmo and Stockholm, Sweden. Comprising of Nicklas Nilsson, Mathias Strömberg and Jan Petterson, they undeniably produce tremendous melodic alternative tracks. These crafted musicians dig up all the nostalgic glam-rock style, characteristic riffs and cold vocals of the 80’s and skillfully bring them back to life.

With many praise from the likes of iTunes, NPR and KEXP, and a illustrious melodic single “What Ever Did You Say?”, these ingenious musicians are destined for the top of the indie charts in my books.

Who knew Strömberg could be so funny!

An interview with Mathias Strömberg of The Bell.

MVRemix: What can I say guys, amazing album. Congratulations. How are you
feeling about your success?

Mathias Strömberg: Thanks, great.

MVRemix: I was wondering how you guys met?

Mathias Strömberg:We met during a bar fight in Stockholm. Luckily we where all on the
winning team, and licking our wounds — as in drinking more scotch — we started talking about french philosophy and war.

MVRemix: Where did you guys get your name?

Mathias Strömberg: From “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Hemmingway.

MVRemix: Is there any special significance behind the name?

Mathias Strömberg: Not more than we where searching for a name with some sort of simple ring to it. It might have been natural to call ourselves The Bells but that sounds like a jeans label sponsored garage band. So The Bell it was – more poetic, better stance.

MVRemix: Where do you guys get your influence?

Mathias Strömberg: From everyday life and the art that surrounds us. And resonance.

MVRemix: Can you tell me specifically about what inspires your music?

Mathias Strömberg: The music is inspired by other music, there’s no way around it. I would lie if I’d say that love or politics inspired the music itself. I hear a song I love, I always get a hint of jealousy if I didn’t write it. As in 99.99 percent of the cases. With all this said, I would argue that “Love or Politics” is a great name for a song …

MVRemix: What are your musical backgrounds, if any?

Mathias Strömberg: We are shoe-gazing ravers that was fooled by pop for a bit.

MVRemix: What do you do to relax in your free time when you are not writing music?

Mathias Strömberg: Play with kids. MY kids, that is. I think I speak for all three of us…

MVRemix: I think “Great Heat” is flawless, despite all the arguments and the
distance during the production, is there anything you would do differently?

Mathias Strömberg: I would love to do a back-to-back live recording of the entire album so people could stop hassling us about live cliché stuff. We would order some
good looking female robots, put them on stage and play that record, blowing it all up in the end, then selling the recording of the crowd for insane money.

MVRemix: Anything you would change?

Mathias Strömberg: There’s a track or two that are compromised for each of us but I think that we’d do it about the same if got the chance …

MVRemix: Do you think you’ve grown since your last release?

Mathias Strömberg: Yes. Most definitely. I am bigger, Jan has grown thinner. Nicklas… I’m not sure but he almost looks balder than he used to.

MVRemix: Can you be specific about how you have grown both musically and
personally?

Mathias Strömberg: Ah. Not only physicality’s then. Well, I think we listened to less music and we all got serious with relationships and families, and that makes a huge difference obviously. We compromise less, it’s just not worth it otherwise…

MVRemix: What has the release of this album meant to each of you on a personal level?

Mathias Strömberg: It means that it can be done, still, although we are not hanging out as much as we used to. And that we have a place in the new world order, sort of. Times are changing, and we are pushing ourselves out of context by being non direct. That’s okay. We’re “in that place” anyway.

MVRemix: Any upcoming plans?

Mathias Strömberg: Yes. We are robbing STIM (Swedish BMI) with loaded handguns to get them
to collect our royalties for the last three years worldwide.

MVRemix: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t writing and playing
music?

Mathias Strömberg: I think we’d be writing plays. Or books. And turn them into plays.
Probably about musicians, maybe a band, that tries to make it.

MVRemix: Where do you see yourselves in 10 years from now?

Mathias Strömberg: South of France, yelling at people from the curbs, “Watch where you’re going!” and people’d be thinking ‘is that an old man?’ realizing I’m not, not really. Just by heart.

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reviews

Panda Bear – Tomboy album review

When your expectations for an album are so high, what are the opportunities? The album could fall short and disappoint you beyond belief but with “Tomboy,” quite frankly, it seems the album is destined for a remarkably exceptional, “soon to be at the prized spot” on all of the music lists for this year.

Panda Bear comprises of Noah Lennox, the crafted musician who is both a solo artist and a member of Animal Collective. Lennox strived to deliver an album filled with a heavy focus on rhythm and guitar, moving away from the sample-based songwriting of his last album “Person Pitch”.

“Tomboy” discloses lavish and vibrant themes with each coming song on the experimental/psychedelic release. As dense as the album is, it does not lack the ensemble of Noah Lennox’s production nor does it lack his love for the synthesizer. All of these gems now traverse to produce a warm and dynamic feel for those sucked into the delight.

The album flaunts Lennox’s adroit expertise and creativity, as he skillfully combines vast genres. The album produces that numbing sensation, which dependently soothes you without fail, until the last few seconds of “Benfica”. “Tomboy” enters your subconscious by prying and hypnotizing itself with “You Can Count on Me.”

The release is texturally and intricately counterbalanced, allowing the listener to delve into their deepest emotions with melancholic tracks, such as “Drone” and “Alsatian Darn”. It delivers highs, like the vivacious “Tomboy” with the cyber punched defaced reverb track, “Slow Motion.” Not to mention the post-Brian Wilson influence in “Surfer’s Hymn”. The crosstalk among genres can be seen with the interjection of the vociferous and ominous dance track, “Afterburner.” Panda Bear’s “Tomboy” finishes its seductively hypnotic and reverb-filled album with the luxuriously, trance inducing “Benfica”.

For the long awaited enthusiasts, the trance-filled and sonic-coated vocal harmonic album is now in sight! While the year is still young, “Tomboy” has definitely gained the coveted spot on the best-of-the-year lists in my opinion, and is highly unlikely to be oust from the popular spot. Show us all how you do it, Noah!

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reviews

The Bell – Great Heat album review

April 12, 2011. An important date to remember. Mark it down now!

The Sweden-based post-punk/melodic trio The Bell, will celebrate their hot indie release, “Great Heat”.

Never heard of this three-piece band? The Bell hail from Malmo and Stockholm, Sweden. Comprising of Nicklas Nilsson, Mathias Stromberg and Jan Petterson, they undeniably produce machine-driven drum beats and tremendous melodic alternative tracks.

Perhaps their latest follow up to “Make Some Quiet” should be entitled “Great Heat Feat”, for it was written and recorded through e-mail and Skype. Among the countless arguments and conflicts over the straining process, they came out unharmed, with a story to tell and an immaculate and melodic album.

The 80’s haven’t gone out of style yet. All you 80’s daydreamers can snap out of it. The Bell have dug up all the nostalgic glam-rock style, characteristic riffs and cold vocals; have dusted them off and given them a new twist. Not convinced yet? “Great Heat” is embellished with this era and screams The Cure and The Smiths. The Bell’s “Great Heat” is one for the steadfast indie lovers and die-hard 80’s music fanatics.

A melodious, dream-like song begins the album until Mathias Stromberg’s explodes through Dope Makes You’s daydream verse. The track is splashed with a touch of Stars, and so begins the addictive album. Their fresh synth tune, Holiday exhibits Stomberg’s characteristic 80s-type voice. How much more melodious can you get with I Can’t Change, a groovy stick-in-your-head track. Like the previous song, The Sound, is filled with computerized sounds and chorale of stable influence. If the album hasn’t stuck in your head yet, maybe you’ve been in a daydream way too long.

Today, a laid back, Sunday-relax track, is filled with a perfectly synced arrangement of computerized beats and peaceful fantasy vocals. Ah why did it have to end! What Ever Did You Say, speaks post-Robert Smith. Perhaps, the final song 23 Seconds will not be heard; already left for the record store? See you there!

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reviews

Natalia Kills Bleeds Perfection: Perfectionist Album Review

Natalia Kills Perfectionist

Perfection: the quality of being free from all possible flaws. With a sizable album title such as Perfectionist, Natalia Kills is bound to fail in executing the feat, maybe not. With all the pop artists in the mainstream scene today what makes Kills so different? Everything.

What does Perfectionist bring to the table? Creativity, Influence, Direction and Excitement. Not to mention her album is more than just filled with catchy songs but an intricate blend of unique beats.

Kills definitely perfects the art of electronic pop with her release bringing something new to each track, moving from Wonderland to Heaven the perfectionist theme is reminiscent throughout the album leading her to true excellence at the album’s end.

Wonderland brings about her struggle for perfection with a piercing electric guitar breaking her out of the song’s gloomy chorale verse. Free begins with a Miike Snow feel and sporting a chorus that’ll make you want to quit your day job and dance until you can hit the dance floor. Break You Hard, Zombie and Love is a Suicide add to the omniscient theme with Zombie painting a picture similar to prized Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak album. Kills leaves her mark with the energetic and unforgettable track, Mirrors – not leaving her Lady Gaga influence unmentioned. A grungy tone sets up Not In Love, which breads creativity, changing tempo and tone throughout. Acid Annie showcases her unique voice – with a rocky, attitude filled, Alanis Morissette type feel to the track. Superficial and Broke are again reminiscent of the dark feel to the album.

Kills ends her impeccable album with If I Was God, a substantial but somewhat hopeless reverie. The track showcases her voice, the soul of the album, her direction and her uniqueness and creativity – ending with her characteristic gloomy style.

Natalia Kills puts her foot down and makes herself known – showcasing her perfection. Ready to play in the big leagues she refuses to accept any standard short of perfection – get ready folks here is your Perfectionist.