Steve Hillage - Motivation Radio: Space rock boiled down to four minute guitar jams. Oscillating synths lift you up to the ethosphere where Hillage's guitar dances around like a child at play. The glissando guitar work on here is pretty remarkable and the effects are dope. Hillage can make that thing sound like a flying saucer one second and falling stars the next. Massive dreamscapes are created with alien lifeforms wielding light sabers and ray guns as they venture through the cosmos on their flying teapots. The lyrics are nutty as one should expect. The true standout here is the guitar work. SHILL
RIYL: Gong, Caravan, Pink Floyd
Recommended Tracks: "Motivation" (2), "Light in the Sky" (3),"Searching for the Spark" (7)
Deftones - Gore: Oh the irony. You see we (meaning the music department and the general manager) just rehashed this conversation about how we should not write negative reviews… Yet, here we are. I will preface my review of the actual album with this: as someone who 1) grew up on metal/loud rock and 2) is an avowed – yet critical – Deftones fan, I have higher personal expectations for Chino Moreno et al. than I have for what we add to the radio station and promote for airplay. In other words, this is no White Pony, but it is still good enough to add. If that last sentence means nothing to you, dear reader, but you enjoy “loud rock” (whatever the fuck that actually means, considering most rock is, in fact, loud), STOP READING NOW AND SKIP AHEAD TO THE RECOMMENDED TRACKS, which I do thoroughly enjoy and would even play on my own show had I one this semester.
Nu metal is dead. Like dead as in PLEASE STOP MAKING NU METAL SO THAT WE CAN JUST APPRECIATE THE SUBGENRE'S FORMER GREATNESS INSTEAD OF BEING DISAPPOINTED BY NEW RELEASES. Of course, most people with any real music taste would argue that the genre has been total shit since the turn of the millennium because of, oh let’s see, Limp Bizkit,Linkin Park, Disturbed (those vocals though), Korn (because white guys with dreads and kilts are supposedly edgy I guess), the entire soundtrack to the Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck (LOL), the fact that the genre was overwhelmingly embraced by the “hardcore” Christian rock bands, and the fact that Rammstein was strangely popular in America ever. This genre is almost singlehandedly the reason slightly older adults want to pretend the years 2000-2005ish never happened; how any nu metal bands have endured this long is mystery even to me, and I often broadcast my appreciation for nu metal – mostly using the continued excellence of Deftones as the main support for my argument. Gore, however, is mostly a disappointment (again, to me, an over-critical listener of this subgenre). The band sounds surprisingly sloppy and clichéd: on“Pittura Infamante” and “(L)MIRL,” Chino’s singing? a.k.a. wailing feels out of sync with the instrumentation, the cheesy electronic sounds in the intro to “Hearts/Wires” and “Xenon” are unnecessary and exemplify what is perhaps the most hated convention of the subgenre. Oh, and some of the songs are basically MySpace-era emo a la Circa Survive, namely “Phantom Bride” and“Prayers/Triangles,” which just seems like a move in the wrong direction for this (or really any) band. (I do admittedly appreciate this subgenre of music as well because I frequently have horrible taste/enjoy total trash and/or think I am still in the seventh grade, you know, when I thought Ronnie Radke, the singer of the band in this video, was hot and that Hot Topic was the best store in the mall.) This is most definitely NOT an album that anyone with any considerable good taste would want to consume the whole way through… And even people who think snakebite lip piercings look attractive would probably find this release disappointing if they took a moment to stop teasing their Edward Scissorhands-esque hairdo or penciling on their shaved off eyebrows and actually thought about the garbage they listen to. That said, some of the songs fucking shred. The titular track features appropriately utilized electronic elements to build the pace and melody of the song and Chino’s iconic screech for maximum heaviness; “Acid Hologram” is more a successful foray into stoner metal than strict nu metal; and one of the first singles, “Doomed User,” honestly sounds as though it belongs on the band’s masterwork, White Pony. I guess I would give this album a B-, which is a fine grade for some people…THRASHLEY
RIYL: Chevelle, System of a Down, any of the other bands mentioned in this review... I guess
Recommended Tracks: "Gore" (9), "Doomed User" (3), "Acid Hologram" (2), "Rubicon" (11)
The Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend: Aw yea make way for this badass ladies add. All-female trio, The Coathangers, hail from Atlanta and are bringing the punk rock sound they've been cultivating for the past decade to their latest release,Nosebleed Weekend. I'd pop this on for some girl power, pump up, background music. Play if you're trying to power walk to class and stomp the patriarchy along the way. Try "Make It Right." Alternatively, if you're at the beach, fully clothed, and angry at everyone there, opt for "Watch Your Back." (I swear you will fully understand this as soon as you listen to the song.) "Down Down" is the audio equivalent to this. So if you're just having one of those days...NIPPLE MAMA
RIYL: Bratmobile, Nobunny, Tacocat
Recommended Tracks: "Perfume" (1), "Watch Your Back" (8), "Down Down" (10)
Snakehips - All My Friends: Only 30 seconds into Snakehips' most recent EP, All My Friends, for some reason the only description that was coming to my mind was a fratty Hiatus Kaioyte. Listening forward that was a terrible description of the album, and it was only the vocalist and laid back drum beat that remotely sounded like them. This EP is really a very short (it's only 4 songs) collection of fratish club songs. Three of the songs feature guest artists including Chance the Rapper and Anderson Paak. The main group is made up of duo Oliver Lee and James Carter, who made their name with Hype Machine for doing remixes for the Weekend and Banks. The highlight of this album is definitely the hype and feel of the songs. The lyrics are a bit questionable but they do the job they are trying to accomplish. Throw this on at your next frat party. HARRY
RIYL: Chance the rapper, Sinead Harnett
Recommended Tracks: Any
Deakin - Sleep Cycle: Deakin’s Sleep Cycle is a very clear Animal Collective solo, serving as a counterbalance to the sunniness of their album released a couple months ago, Painting With (which Deakin was not involved with). While that album was bright, this album feels lonely with the opening track “Golden Chords” being one of the most straightforward song’s I have heard from an Animal Collective member. This album is really short with only six tracks, totaling in a 34-minute runtime. Deakin does not waste these minutes with the tracks like “Just Am,”feeling like an expansive acid dream. Deakin’s voice is surprisingly capable considering he has rarely taken the lead on the band’s songs. What sets this album apart from other Animal Collective projects is that it is apparent that Deakin took time to consider the lyrics and wants them to be heard. Often when listening to their other projects, the voice seems like it is only important as another instrument on the tracks, but here Deakin seems like he is trying to get specific messages across although he sometimes melts into the instrumentation. The best track on the album is called “Footy” and features a drum arrangement in its second half that really drew me in upon first listen. In some ways, Sleep Cycle feels like a misnomer for this album as the music is loud (exempting “Golden Chords”), interesting, and exciting, so please do not mistake this for Jeff Bridge’s Sleeping Tapes. I did not come into this album expecting it to be as great as it is, and I think after that for those who are a fan of the Animal Collective style, Sleep Cycle will not be a disappointment. KEN
RIYL: Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Avey Tare
Recommended Tracks: “Golden Chords" (1), “Just Am” (2), “Footy”(4), “Good House” (6)
John Carpenter - Lost Themes II: If you have ever seen a kitschy 80's B-movie, there is a chance you may have heard of the name "John Carpenter." He played a part in directing, producing and scoring some of the most iconic thriller/horror films from that era: Halloween and its sequels, Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York and my personal favorite,The Thing. In that sense, he is a Hollywood multitool, but exceptionally shines at his composition work. I bet several of you can hear the theme from Halloween in your head just from reading this sentence.
This style of theme has been absorbed into our collective consciousness via cultural osmosis, and it is absolutely the pinnacle of John Carpenter's work in production. The heavy focus on the synth leads, the sparseness of the piece and the swelling backing horns -- each of these elements are distinctive of his overall style, which is essential to understanding this album.
Released by Sacred Bones Records, Lost Themes II brings to the listener no more than it promises in the title: themes for movies by John Carpenter which were either lost in time or left on the cutting board. This record is not a radical shift in style, nor is it experimental in most ways which we expect artists to innovate upon their sound. It is entirely due to the fact that he sticks to his style that this album coheres so well; it would simply not be a John Carpenter work if it did not have prolonged marination in 80's horror aesthetics & soundscapes. The entire work is dependent on synths and haunting melodies layered on sparse and ethereal swells of piano and horns, which render each track distinct and heart-pounding.
Ultimately, these pieces are entitled "Lost Themes" for a reason: they were meant to pair with visuals in a movie. However, he leaves it up to you to visualize what they pair with. Tracks like "Bela Lugosi" and"White Pulse" pair closely to his low-lit slasher films, while "Angel's Asylum" and "Persia Rising" seem to evoke the thriller/action aspect of his works. Finally, "Real Xeno" and "Distant Dream" are entirely action movie songs, in the same way that Death Wish is an action movie -- relentless, driving and render listeners ready to steamroll anything that gets in their way.
If the concept of listening to several unreleased B-movie themes interests you even the slightest, please do yourself a favor and listen to this album. If you are anything like me, it's like watching 11 great movies, in rapid succession. SEAN
RIYL: Gatekeeper, Com Truise, Mike Oldfield
Recommended Tracks: "Hofner Dawn" (5), "Angel's Asylum" (4),"Bela Lugosi" (9)