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Listening Party

(EDIT: Playback must be seen on YouTube due to copyright reasons. It’s worth it!)

It was only a matter of time. The Decemberists’ third single from their new album The King Is Dead features a fantastic video with a finely detailed reenactment of a scene from David Foster Wallace’s mammoth tome Infinite Jest. For those familiar with the book, the legendary tennis academy scene featuring a full game of Eschaton, a sort of thermonuclear war simulation played with tennis lobs, is set to “Calamity Song” (quite the appropriate lyrical choice). Given Colin Meloy’s hyper-literary tendencies, the connection isn’t too surprising, and true fans of the book will have a good time spotting out all the slight references stuffed into each scene. It’s also a damn good looking piece of work.

Now if only the band’s next video somehow recreated “The Entertainment” from the same book, that would be a real treat…

Green Day performed a new song entitled ‘Amy,’ presumably written in tribute to Amy Winehouse, at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa, California last week. The band performed 15 new tracks in total at the gig in aid of cystic fibrosis.

The band also posted the lyrics for ‘Amy’ on their website:

Amy
Is your heart singing out of tune
Are your eyes just singing the blues
Dirty records from another time
Some blood stains on your shoes
No one really knows about your soul
And I barely even know your name
Burning rhythms and posting lies
For a bunch of fools drown in shame
Amy don’t you go
I want you around
Singin’ woah please don’t go
Do you wanna be a friend of mine?
Did you tattoo a lucky charm
To keep you out of harms way?
Warding off all evil signs
But it never really kept you safe
You’re too young for the golden age
Cause the record bin’s been replaced
27 gone without a trace
And you walked away from your drink
Is your heart singing out of tune
Are you eyes just singing the blues?
Dirty records from another time
Some blood stains on your shoes
May I have this last dance
By chance if we should meet?
Can you write me a lullaby?
So we can sing you to sleep

It is fairly easy to see that Alex Smith matches his peers within Detroit in terms of talent and quality of his output. That says a lot given the rich musical legacy of Detroit. His output of late hasn’t dropped off the standards set by 2005’s Just Ask the Lonely. On its own, Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance! can attest to that.

Though one can keep pretty close tabs on artists’ releases these days, sometimes a very pleasant surprise comes about unexpected. High School Graffiti is one of these pleasant surprises, with five cool little tunes. My Naffew Randy is one especially worth checking out. So hurry up and grab this EP for free here, and remember your please and thank yous.

This one’s a bit unexpected: London rapper Sway freestyling over Ed Sheeran’s ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.’ Sheeran’s original is easily described as a sort of an English take on Jason Mraz (I’m more a fan of his cousin Laura), but Sway’s mix takes in a busy grime beat and a tongue-twisting lyric to give the track a completely different, much-improved feel.

Meanwhile, the lyrics – “next thing Slick Rick meets Chris from Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush” – are specific enough to alienate 95% of today’s UK hip hop audience, which is just as well since most of them are busy rioting at the minute.

Take a listen to an improvised live version of the original, here:

TV on the Radio covered one of the greatest songs of all time, ‘Waiting Room’ by Fugazi, at the Pitchfork Festival over the weekend. Here’s a good-quality video of the performance, though it cuts out about halfway through.

It sounds more than a touch lightweight to me. Then again, my favourite part of the original is Ian MacKaye’s raspy vocal and Tunde Adebimpe’s shrill singing doesn’t really measure up in my eyes. Check out this live recording of Fugazi performing ‘Waiting Room’ and compare.

“I not only offer great sex but best spots in parking lots / I’m handy and got swag so you know this ‘tard is hot.”

Look, argue all you want but you can’t argue with facts. Vagina ain’t handicapped.

If you thought we were going to stop posting this just because Osama is dead (so is Obama, according to Fox), you’ve clearly misread the situation horribly.

Enjoy your independence everybody, no matter what country you live in, and don’t forget to thank Will Smith for killing the aliens and making all this possible.

ANTHRAX – Fight’em ’til You Can’t by NuclearBlastRecords

Nuclear Blast records is making the first single from the upcoming Anthrax album available for free download. The song is called “Fight’em ’til You Can’t” and is taken from Worship Music which will be released on September 13th through Nuclear Blast Records. The song itself is pretty much classic Anthrax with just a hint of their 2003 release, We’ve Come For You All. It’s got the classic hardcore-tinged thrash riffs, Joey’s soaring vocals, a strong chorus and a fuckin’ driving beat. What more needs to be said? If the entire album is like this then it’s going to kill.

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Download “Fight’em ’til You Can’t” here: Nuclear Blast Records

Dutch alt-prog artists, The Gathering, are currently in the studio recording the follow-up to their critically acclaimed (by me) album The West Pole. The currently untitled album will be the second to feature new vocalist Silje Wergeland. In order to create a bit of excitement for its eventual release, the band have released one of the songs as a free download and video. The song is titled “Heroes for Ghosts” and clocks in at just under eleven minutes.

Sonically “Heroes for Ghosts” shares the same crisp clear production featured on The West Pole (which dropped the grittier sound of the few albums before it), but musically it has more in common with the expansive and moody experimentation of How to Measure a Planet. Over the course of the eleven minute song, it seems to pull from a handful of different influences that the band have tried over the years. There’s the obvious experimentation of How to Measure a Planet, the synth/brass sounds and distorted guitars of Mandylion, the chill vibes of The West Pole and even a bit of Souvenirs in a few of the percussive elements. It’s definitely another excellent song by The Gathering and seems to imply that they aren’t ready to make the same album twice. With the lack of a clear, recurring chorus the song will take a few listens to sink in, but it seems to be The Gathering’s preferred method.

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Because we had to do it.


Marissa Nadler – “Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning” from Alec K. Redfearn on Vimeo.

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Marissa Nadler has a sound that is a little hard to nail down. Her music is commonly referred to as ‘Dream-Folk’, but it often feels less like a dream and more like the morning after a drunken cry. Her music is generally soft and introspective as subtle acoustic melodies are washed over by layers of warm sound and Marissa’s beautifully expressive voice. This is a sound that Marissa has been perfecting since the release of her debut album in 2004, Ballads of Living and Dying. The album title itself should leave little doubt that Marissa doesn’t often sing about summer days and sunshine. Her last album, Little Hells, was released more than two years ago, but it appears that the wait is almost over.

Marissa Nadler’s self-titled fifth album will be released on June 14 through Box of Cedar Records. In preparation for the album’s release, Marissa has posted the video for the first single, “Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning.” The video stars Marissa Nadler (apparently only the second video for her music that she has ever actually appeared in) singing in an old theatre that can only be described as haunting. The video continues its eerie trip as it fades from one peculiar location to the next while Marissa continues to sing in her flowing white dress. The song itself…

Note: The stream for Sarah Fimm’s new album has run its course. Thanks again to Sarah for making this music and allowing us to share it before the official release date. The album is now streaming at the AOL site.

Remember, if you liked what you heard you should seek it out and support independent artists:

CD Baby
iTunes
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (EU)

 

 

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This album has really been a decade in the making. Obviously Sarah Fimm hasn’t spent the last ten years writing for Near Infinite Possibility, but every previous release has been building to this. Each album has slowly saw Sarah’s songwriting skills increase and her reliance on electronics and sparse compositions fade. They have been little snapshots in time — displaying her gradual inclusion of additional instruments and guest musicians. This progress seemed to culminate with Red Yellow Sun in 2009, but apparently it was but another stepping stone.

Near Infinite Possibility sounds full and varied as it picks up where Red Yellow Sun left off and leaps forward another ten steps. It is a mixture of 70s psychedelic rock, alt. rock, moments of prog and elements of folk. It is a moody album that is sometimes dark and sometimes strange, but always excellent.

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I’ll admit that my opinion of Korn’s music is pretty low these days. I haven’t even remotely enjoyed one of their albums since Take a Look in the Mirror in 2003. I understand that a band has to expand their sound after a decade of releasing variations of the same idea, but See You on the Other Side and Untitled were terrible. It seems that even the band knew that they were headed down the wrong path because they eventually released a ‘back-to-roots’ album called Korn III: Remember Who You Are. Unfortunately, it seemed to lack actual conviction and appeared to confirm that God stole the only decent songwriter in the band. This takes us to the new song, “Get Up”, that features American electronic artist Skrillex.

When explaining “Get Up” Jonathan Davis had this to say: “I heard a few of Skrillex’s re-mixes and really felt there would be a good chance that he would have the right sensibility to connect us to a new hard sound and direction, but still keeping Korn guitars and our vibe. We were just thinking of trying something new, to be honest, so I had my manager reach out to the Skrillex camp. When we got into the studio the connection was instant!”

The song is apparently due to be released on a new Korn EP in May, and I’m not sure if this is a one-time engagement or if Skrillex will collaborate on…

Believer “Ego Machine”

Believer will be releasing their fifth album, Transhuman, on April 12th through Metal Blade Records. They initially released a video for the song “G.U.T.” which showcased the band’s new direction — a direction that seemed to focus more on stiff rhythms than on thrashy aggression. It was also the first song to showcase the band’s new vocal style on the choruses. The clean harmonized vocal style worked well contrasted with the band’s typical metal ‘rasp’ and showed that they were serious about continuing to push their progression.

The next song to be released was “Mindsteps”. This is an uplifting song that closes out the album with more stiff rhythms and a huge focus on melody. It also features nothing but Kurt Bachman’s new clean singing style. “Mindsteps” is also notable because it’s easily one of the band’s most subdued numbers. With the release of this song the band proved beyond a doubt that Transhuman had the potential to be a huge departure.

They’ve now released the final song before the release of the album, “Ego Machine”. “Ego Machine” displays yet another facet of Transhuman’s overall sound. This song brings back some of the band’s thrash leanings as well as the high pitched rasp associated with it. The chorus has the potential to be a surprise to fans with its deep throaty growl contrasted with clean singing in the background. Despite the thrashier sound it also still adheres to the band’s focus on stiff rhythms and a slightly…

A couple weeks back, after a bit of an absence, I wrote a review.

See, I just wanted an excuse to post a South Park clip, although everybody knows that Randy Marsh has convincingly overtaken Cartman as being the funniest character on the show.

No, no, it wasn't me – it was a SPOOKY GHOST!

All tangents aside, the review covered Digital Daggers’ debut EP, entitled Human Emotion. Sonically, it sounds a bit like Frou Frou meets Boards of Canada. The group is comprised of Andrea Wasse (The Weekend, not to be confused with newcomer artist The Weeknd) and Space (he of many hats, including his solo effort, Memento, and Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts), the band has garnered a bit of buzz from their covers of “New York New York” (Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra) and “Head Over Heels” (Tears for Fears), not to mention their original tunes being spotted in various television shows (“Surrender” on ‘One Life to Live;’ “No Easy Way” on ‘Nikita’).

Today, I wanted to highlight the title track, which is my personal favorite from the EP.

Digital Daggers – “Human Emotion”

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Never again with your human emotions
I won’t take the hate from your heart
I’ll take my chances outside of your kingdom
You know when I stop I won’t start

I long to be where the stars still shine brightly
You know they won’t breathe where…

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