Friday, November 16, 2018

Cassette Review //
Dane Rousay

$6 // //

"Neuter" begins with that grating sound, like someone is dragging a chair across the floor.   It eventually begins to go back and forth like a saw before it also breaks out in this magical way, as if it is destroying every construct you believe about music.   Sometimes I imagine this large metal pan, one you would use for baking, with a single marble rolling around in it.   The pan is shifted, turned up, down and sideways like a steering wheel where there are no roads, only space.   How are these sounds created?  The answer is in your mind.

Somewhat like a kitchen comes the percussion in the form of banging pots and pans, other utensils together as if the master chef is searching for some secret ingredient only he can find.     Though it sounds a little bit like a shaker, I feel the sound now is just a faster sort of grating, the two things being rubbed together not entirely certain though it culminates with loud bangs and I feel I've said this before but Dane Rousay reminds me a bit of Jay Peele.

Chaos ensues.   I wonder if I turn this up loud enough whether or not the neighbors might think I'm doing some heavy kitchen cleaning.   Though at this point the neighbors probably don't really care what I do and just know there is always some sort of unexpected sound coming from my apartment.  It grows louder and louder, as I imagine myself opening a cabinet and entirely too many objects to have possibly ever fit in there falling out onto my head, like that one closet scene in "Uncle Buck".

That rolling marble is back now but it goes only from side to side.    Isn't there some kind of game like this, a child's toy?  I can imagine it in my mind but wouldn't know how to describe it or what it is called.   A louder sound is added now, someone dragging a snow shovel across a cleared driveway perhaps.  (And maybe I am only thinking that because we are supposed to get our first snow tonight, though I saw some last Saturday)    One by one sounds enter and leave now.   A cash register symphony.   Drum sticks hitting items which are not commonly drums.

Loud, rapid fire banging now and I hear my neighbors growing restless.   This could be a pinball machine going full tilt.   I keep waiting for the applause in between every moment of silence, every break, but I do not believe this was performed in front of a crowd like that.    I feel like I keep seeing the name Dane Rousay a lot and that's not a bad thing.   Any time you see a cassette, such as this one, with the name Dane Rousay on it, you should be certain to buy it right away.   Really, this isn't just a lesson about "Neuter" but one about why you should buy all of their music to embrace for as long as you can.

Record Review //
"Lifted Compass"
(Eyemyth Records)

$7 //
Edition of 200 // //

When I think about this record by Riverdog I can't help but think about how it relates to being on a different side and thus cassettes.   If an artist (or label) was to release a cassette that was ten minutes per side you wouldn't think that was too short and as such this feels less like a "single" in that sense and more like an album of work.   But it also has me interested in wondering why artists tend to have cassettes where one side can be 40 minutes but you don't really see records where Side A is all one song and it's 40 minutes or so.   It's just one of these weird things I think about, with the differences between records and cassettes I suppose.

"Eldridge" is a song which starts with spoken word and quite noisy, distorted rock behind it.   At one point there is a scream along with the spoken words and it has that math rock quality in that way where it could be similar to I Kill Giants but due to the darkness of it that I feel, in a hardcore/metal sense, I'd put it as being closer to Old Gray.    The percussion is light, a tap on a cymbal, a roll of the drums, and then it all kicks in heavy and feels like it's about to burst.    Though it started with harsher elements it really begins to break down into percussion.    There is this grating sound which has it growing louder and this is a particular type of noise rock I have not yet heard.    It's almost as if someone is sawing now and then a sharp ringing comes through which really pierces the ears.    It's somewhat sludge as if continues through with that stellar drumming leading the way for other noise elements.   Less of a grinding now and more of an electrocution.    At times, this can remind me of Waves Crashing Piano Chorda as well.

The second song, on the flip side, is called "Oak Insulator" and it begins with percussion as if we are about to go into some free jazz number.   A grinding is added into this and if there were primal vocals in it I'd be thinking about Frank Goshit.   Banging, not like drumming but some other form of weapon, and bits of sharpness are here as well.    Sharp, electronic scrapes come through while everything else calms down.   It seems to be rather shocking.   A quieter static and it almost has a feel like hissing.    A slight ringing of bells.  This feels like destruction, the wiping out of an entire species.  It seems to stop, to end, every so often only to return more violent than when it left.  For some reason, while listening to this, my window shook but it might have been unrelated.

Where do you find the sound that lands somewhere between free jazz and harsh noise?   As the percussion can hold its own with just about anyone else out there, so can the accompanying sounds which could often be otherwise heard without the drumming behind them.   I've always wanted to hear someone make electronic beats like hip hop and set this kind of noise over them, but having the percussion like this accompany the noise is a sound I never knew I needed to hear and now that I have I perhaps might feel like any other noise going forward without such drums will be missing something.    Listen to this one only if you don't mind having your views on music change for the better.

Music Review //
Joel Phil
"Monster" // //

Electro-pop could be the best way to describe the song "Monster".   It has soul in the vocals but also the music itself, the beats, makes me think this could be on the pop radio stations.   It might just be that it is called "Monster" and the lyrics are about that but it does remind me of the Backstreet Boys song "Everybody", maybe just because of that video.   But these lyrics are intriguing because they are about not turning into a literal monster but how people can change and I think on some broad level we all live with our demons and as such can relate to this song. 

The video which accompanies this song is a lyric video so it has dark images (red and black) with the words on the screen and I think that's important because it puts a focus on the lyrics, which I find to be a stronger aspect of this song (Most pop songs don't have such admirable lyrics to them) but I can't help but wish for an actual music video.  Given the premise of the monster it would be fun to see a dancing video somewhere between the aforementioned "Everybody" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" but, you know, with a modern twist.

At its core, I believe what this song is about is how people can change when they are in relationships.   Yes, if someone you know is in a relationship you can see them differently than when they are not, but at the same time I think this is recognizing the affect that being with someone can have on you.   Sometimes, you can feel like you are in love with someone, that you would die for them, and you feel like this is healthy but when you really analyze it you realize that perhaps this is not the healthiest relationship to be in because it makes you something that you are not, something that you shouldn't be.

But then, at the same time, this can argue the point of whether or not one should become the monster when in love, when having these feelings, because if you are not able to become that monster are you truly in love?  It's like the idea of "Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?"  While some would argue no, the reasons why it would be healthy would also be the reasons why you could become the monster in this song and furthermore just becomes a reason why human emotions are so complex but I'm glad we can discuss them in such ways that this song presents.

CD Review //
The Lautreamonts
"Who Are You Wearing"
(Oblique Musique)

$8 //
Edition of 25 // //

Dark strings and a rhythm you might find in the jungle open up this CD.    In many ways, this reminds me of The Courtesans if only because it is a certain style of rock unlike which I've ever quite heard before.    There are melodies which can sound like Metric.    Guitar notes continue to twang.   By the end of the first song, "The Adequacy Waltz", the singing blends with some speaking and it becomes such a bit of madness, yet so great that if you are instantly hooked you might never be.

A driving force and layered vocals bring out the power in "Who We Were", while the third song comes through with some screaming to start.    What I find interesting is that as heavy as this gets, as much as it can become distorted, there is still this feeling of those strings we heard at the start.    The way that the two merge, but more so really it's the way that the first quality remains no matter how electric and closer to Marilyn Manson/L7 this gets, that just fascinates me and it is something you need to consider, to appreciate this as more than just your typical rock album.

"The Ones He Wore" is when this gets really interesting based on the lyrics.   The first three songs are definitely songs you should be listening to and paying close attention to the lyrics, but here we have three names repeated as the lyrics.   If you can connect the title with the fact that the lyrics are people, it makes me think of Ed Gein, which is kind of neat, but if you actually recognize the names (or Google them) you'll find this song is something else altogether, which is also that much more of a reason to really not just put this on to be loud and fun to dance around to, but also to learn from it.

The final song is slower and though I don't like to admit this a lot, yes, back when that first Godsmack album came out I owned it and listened to it, though I don't remember any songs from it really except for that one which was on the radio and the song called "Voodoo".  I always liked the musical aspects of "Voodoo" and can feel some of them in The Lautremonts.    The pace picks up at one point and this just has a psych quality to it as well, to go so quickly from just being chill to rocking out but, of course, I love it because I love music which challenges the norm.

Once upon a time I had this review for a cassette by Excessive Visage and I couldn't remember what a song was that I had heard at a place I used to work but they reminded me of each other and as such, both that song and Excessive Visage can remind me of The Lautreamonts.    That song, of course, I figured out was called "I Can Never Go Home Anymore" and is by The Shangri-Las (who I don't think get enough credit) and so it's funny to me how that is a sound from the past, Excessive Visage is more modern and, well, this CD is both in the present and the future of music.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cassette Review //
Dead Tenants
(Already Dead Tapes)

$5 //
Edition of 100 // //

Seeing as how this is called "LPII" I just assumed that the first album from Dead Tenants was also on Already Dead and for some reason the name seemed familiar so I felt convinced that it was not only on cassette but it was a cassette which I reviewed.   Yeah.  I'm pretty sure that the first Dead Tenants album is called "Void" and it didn't have a physical release.   (Thanks, Discogs / Bandcamp!)

The best way to describe Dead Tenants, to me, is by saying they are electro-punk.   Now, how do you know what that term means without hearing the music?  I don't know.   It's one of those things where you can think "electro-punk" means something other than how I intend it, but when you listen to the cassette it will make sense to you.   There are times this feels heavy, it's distorted and there are quite a few starts and stops within as well.   It's right on that edge of being hardcore.

Distorted guitar scales create a new genre on "Rubbed Out" and one of the few bands I'm able to compare this with is Tora! Tora! Torrance! who I always feel the need to point out is no longer a band now, so this cassettes does fill some need in my musical universe in that respect.    There are moments in these songs too which are just filled with music rather than vocals and that just goes to show you how fun this sound can be as it is one not heard often enough in this world and we certainly do need more of it.

"Marginalia" kicks off the flip side with a bang.    It's heavily distorted and just grinds through in a way that at first seems impossible but ultimately the way in which it builds to it seems to be the only possible outcome.    Screechy guitar chords come out to start "Cornered" and it feels like something you could hear from a heavier band, someone like Converge or along those lines, and I like how that is used here to make this song feel heavier overall.

In a lot of ways the brilliance in these songs is in how the music and the lyrics compliment each other.   "Cheapskate" for example has this driving sound in the verse and kicks in when the title is said during the chorus.    It's not often you see the music and vocals tied so closely together and in such a way as this, but Dead Tenants shows exactly how it should be done and this creates an all around sense of wanting to sing along with these songs.

Though there are lyrics throughout this cassette- lyrics which I feel you will ultimately be singing along with- I think that hearing the bits of music where there are no lyrics is the true testament to how talented Dead Tenants are.    This is a cassette that if instrumental would rock just as much as anything else I've ever heard but having the lyrics it has really helps it to go above and beyond all of that.    I missed the first Dead Tenants and if you did too, don't make the same mistake again.   Listen to this one right now.

Cassette Review //

$6 //
Edition of 10 // //

"MOVES" opens with slow jams and distorted vocals, you know, what they say the vocals sound like in hip hop when they're "screwed".    It feels like the start to a television show or some kind of theme right from the start though.    The loops are captivating and then the beats become rapid fire like a machine gun.   The second track comes through with more guitars, like 90210, but this still has that dreamy 1990's sound of vaporwave.    The guitars even make me think of some song, like Bryan Adams, before kicking in heavy right at the end.

Whooshes and steady beat tones now as this has a definite 1990's sound, something from the soundtrack to some forgotten police movie.   It's kind of along the lines of "Robocop" but not quite the same.    The loops are steady and there is an audio clip hidden in here as well.    You can just feel it... driving.     This leads into a song which both builds up and then back down before the beat really kicks in.   It has this dance feel to it, maybe like Oingo Boingo, and then those screwed vocals return to sing along with it.

That song seemingly gets cut off and we go into something which sounds more like hip hop beats but also from the 1990's when they were best found on cassette.   It has that C&C Music Factory feel to it as well.   It's not easy to describe because it makes me feel like Kid & Play, but also maybe Marky Mark back when he had the Funky Bunch, but it's mostly from that time frame versus being in a more modern sense.   There are also some vocals in here as well, though they're being somewhat manipulated.

I'm thinking of jazzercising next, as this song feels less like it's from a movie and more like it's from an old work out VHS tape.    As it builds, the synth then seems to come crashing down and there are these sharper tones now reflected in deeper ones.   The ambient tones now glow, as this becomes quieter, more minimal except for a crash here and there.    This builds into alarming synths with drum machine beats which aren't quite Double Dragon and aren't quite that cop movie but something new in between them (Do I need to watch more '90's movies??)

Synths now ring through like that one song I know by Underworld because it's on the "Trainspotting" soundtrack.    The singing comes back and in some ways it feels like this cassettes goes full circle with its sound.    The singing is on quite a few of these songs though, so I don't know if I'd completely call this one instrumental as it feels as if the singing slightly outnumbers the times when it is not there.   This also includes a complete hit which has non-screwed vocals and sounds a bit like Toto. 

The last song has some great percussion, skewed vocals (not screwed) and then it seemingly just cuts right off even though the cassette itself doesn't end and so I believe that to be a pattern with these songs as none of them ever feels as if it wants to overstay its welcome.    I'm not sure if I would grow tired of these songs if they were longer but we don't really have to put that to the test.   All I know is I listen to this quite often at various times and you should too, perhaps not to the same extent as me though because we don't all need to sing our own little words along with it.

Music Review //
Paul Maged
"The Resistance"

"The Resistance" is a hard rock song about the current President of the United States.   Without getting too political in this review (Because if you listen to these lyrics you'll choose your side) I will simply say that I was going to post about this song on Election Day, I figured it could have this big impact where people would be at the heart of political issues and what not.  Since that time (it has been less than a week) there have been a few (or too many) incidents involving the POTUSA where I could have just as easily posted this and commented on how fitting of a song it was because Donald Trump is afraid of rain or apparently now an expert of wildfires.

The music video is full of anti-Trump visuals, which range from newsclips to this cartoon where he's floating in a blender and by the end he finally gets blended.    In many ways it reminds me of something that Rage Against the Machine would've put together if they were still together.   If you're a supporter of Trump then this will not be a video or song that you like, but I also have to wonder how you ended up here in the first place because I try to distance myself from such people as much as possible.

My biggest problem with the current political climate is that people seem to be divided to the point where it's broken down into our failed two party system.  If you find someone on, say, Twitter who supports Trump and you say something to them that is against him they will automatically say "Oh, you must love Hillary then"    This presidency is making our country stupider because we can no longer think that two things are bad-- it's like getting hit by a bus and saying "Well, at least he didn't die from cancer".   Getting hit by a bus is still bad!

With killer guitar riffs and heavier parts which remind me of Soundgarden, I believe "The Resistance" is on the right path to where this country needs to go.   It isn't just an anti-Trump anthem but in a lot of ways it channels what I think this country needs to focus on most.   It's never been-- it never should've been-- red vs. blue or Republicans vs. Democrats.   It should have always been (and always should be) the people vs. the government.   Once we, as a people, are divided (as we are now) the government wins.    We need to take that power back.   Welcome to The Resistance.