Sunday, February 28, 2010

Diggin' Through Academy Records

As I posted yesterday, I went into Manhattan yesterday looking for a new record store with a friend who came up from Miami to visit.  We decided on a small place on 5th and 18th called Academy Records, and that wasn't what I expected. It was ALL classical music; LP and/or CD.  Luckily, they had a neighboring store on 12th street, called Academy LP.  THAT was a record store.  Check it out sometime.  Anywho, long story short.  I did not end up buying too much.  I want to wait till Record Store Day to spend some real cash on any vinyl.  I ended up getting the latest Joanna Newsom triple LP, Have One on Me, the latest Via Audio album (on CD), Animalore, and the classic 1982 LP by Roxy Music, Avalon.

I TOLD you how much I LOVE the latest Joanna Newsom album, in my first review.

Via Audio's latest release wasn't given the greatest review on Pitchfork, but I reeeeaaally liked the album artwork and it was a $5 CD, so no loss.  I'll give it a review in a few.

And last, but not least, Roxy Music's Avalon.  Absolute classic, and I considered myself lucky to find an original printing of the record from 1982.  The music is priceless, and I was happy to spend an easy $8 on it.  I'll most certainly review this Sonic Opus for you all.  It's a must have in any collection.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Goin to NYC for the Day

I'm in the mood for some record shopping. What better place to go than NYC? None. I'll tell you about my endeavors later.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (2010)

(Electronic Rock, Psychedelic Pop, Indie Pop)

This album took me by surprise.   I was still recovering from how good Pantha du Prince's Black Noise was, when this crept into my ears, ever so jumpily.  Phantogram's debut album is an instant classic psych pop record.  Reminiscent of MGMT's phenomenal debut, Oracular Spectacular, Eyelid Movies truly lives up to the genre's finest.  They're self proclaimed "street beat, psych pop" genre fits their sound ever so sweetly, with heavy synth-padding and dance-inspiring beats.  The first time I listened to their Running from the Cops single, a few weeks back, I told myself these guys really had something going for them, and the enormity of this record shows their overall skill as musicians, and deserve a warm welcoming into our hearts.  The eighth track on the album, Bloody Palms, is just indescribably awesome.  There is no way you can play that song in the car without turning the stereo up after hearing that rhythm.  This album truly is a sonic opus, and I loved every minute of it's eccentricity.  8.9/10

Take a listen to Bloody Palms:
Bloody Palms - Phantogram

Buy CD: Eyelid Movies Buy Vinyl: Eyelid Movies (For those bold souls switching back to record players)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ABBA (1972-1983)

(Disco, Pop, Europop)

I've been listening to a lot of ABBA lately. That is all.

Pantha du Prince - Black Noise (2010)

(Minimal Techno)

Wow. Just wow. This album is genius. Pantha du Prince is the one-man German electronic artist, Hendrick Weber. It's a great example of a steady atmospheric sound that can easily be played while chilling out in one's home, reading a book, cooking dinner, or having friends over. There's a certain mathematical precision you'll notice when listening to Black Noise, the third album by Pantha du Prince. And what's even better than mathematical precision? In track four Panda Bear (Noah Lennox of Animal Collective) makes a guest vocal appearance, making this album just that much cooler. Pantha and Panda... Cooool.

This is certainly one of the better releases I've had the pleasure of listening to in a while. It's a collage of sampling and (I believe) some live instrumentation, creating a minimalist style of techno. If you're not a fan of techno, I wouldn't lightly brush this one off as a pass. Give it a good listen to. It's definitely deserving of it. And I assure you it's much better than that mindless techno you'll hear in a club or on Jersey Shore. I give this beauty an 8.7/10.

Listen to Bohemian Forest:

Air - Love 2 (2009)

(Electronica, Downtempo, Ambient, Trip Hop, Chill Out)

Love 2 is the sixth album by the French duo Air. I grew up on Air. Literally. I love these guys. Their ability to create sonic landscapes to just... relax to is incredible. But that's not entirely present on this disc. There are a few songs that are still capable of giving you the desired "Air effect." For example, the second song, Love, is pure unbridled Air. It has the ability to get you to close your eyes and drift across a land of... well, love! It's beautiful, and repetitive, but if you know Air, repetitive works! Sing Sang Sung, the ninth track is a very nice track as well, which, after a few listens, you'll be able to sing along nicely to. It's a very... French record.

And then there's the rest of the album. It's a little poppier than their previous works. And this is partly why I'm having trouble with this record. It's good... but not for Air. On normal occasions I would give this maybe a high 8/10, but I'm going to give this one a 6/10. The Air is just not there, fully. Comparing it to classic albums such as Moon Safari or Talkie Walkie, it doesn't hold it's weight. There are definitely a few jems in here though, and any fan of Air should grab this. It may not be their best work, but it's still, at the least, worth listening to.

Listen to Sing Sang Sung:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Kollaps Tradixionales

(Progressive Rock, Art Rock, Post-Rock)
Kollaps Tradixionales is the sixth studio album by the Canadian art-rock band, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. It's aboot an hour of long over-lapping instrumentals that, at first, don't sound all that great. To be honest, on my first listen to this thing I wasn't impressed. But as every album goes, playing it a second time gives you a better perspective on how much you'll like it or not.

On my second run through the album I noticed much more than I encountered on the first listen. The orchestrations seemed to fit better and it all made a lot more sense to me. It's like that painting that at first you can't possibly comprehend how any thought went into it at all, but soon realize it was no simple task to accomplish. There is a LOT going on in this album. In the forefront are the lead vocals that cannot possibly be mistaken for good singing, but it works well, and they can go anywhere from being soothing to yelling in your face. Then there is the prog-rock ensemble of the main band. Drums, heavy guitar, plenty of bass, and distortions (yet it's not driven by guitar, surprisingly). And in the back of it all is the actual orchestral arangements, including string and brass instruments, setting the overall mood as depressing yet insightful. Alas, I give this record a 7/10.

Music Video: Kanye West - Coldest Winter

(Pop, Electronica, R&B, Synthpop)

Now... I was really disappointed by Kanye's latest album, 808s & Heartbreak, because it was a complete departure from his previous works. And lately, I for one have little respect for the guy, as a person. I feel that, beyond his musical "genius," the guy is a total idiot. But in retrospect, I see now that this departure he made from his previous hip-hop albums turned out to be... well it turned out to be a success. Despite all the annoying digitizing of his voice, due to auto-tune effects, and the absence of his rapping abilities, the album was actually very consistent. And looking back, I almost regret my immediate shrug-off of this 2008 record, because it did have it's strong points and jems. For one, this song, Coldest Winter, was probably the best on the record.

Well, Kanye's finally created his music video for the song, directed by Nabil Elderkin. Wow. This thing is scary cool. I don't care what anyone says about him. He's actually not even in this video (not surprising, of late). In the video however, is a rather large-chested woman running in slow motion, and the effect is... nice. Lol. But besides that, the rest of the video is really awesome. Just imagine dementors from Harry Potter fuse with the Organization 13 members of the video game Kingdom Hearts series, and chase a hot girl Sleepy Hollow style into Dante's Inferno. And sure, what does this have to do with the video, you may ask? No clue. I don't think it has much to do with it. But at the same time, the synchronicity and mood of the music to the video really draws you in. The song is a little tweaked from the album version, which is partly good because it sounds a little fresher. And why did I like the Coldest Winter best on 808s & Heartbreaks? Because, my dear Watson, his voice wasn't droned out with the auto-tune (as much) on this track. I hate auto-tune.


(Ambient, Electronica)
WHO IS THIS!? It's been bugging me for a few weeks now. You may be wondering what I'm talking about, so let me explain...

A few weeks back, a YouTube profile entitled iamamiwhoami surfaced, releasing periodical (music?) videos that are incredibly well produced. Each video, (there are now five) is incredibly confusing and seem to revolve around a different animal each time. The music played in the background is also entirely unique. After watching the first video or so, I had chills. It's a kind of ambient electronica that's got a definite rhythmic power to it. In most of the videos, they revolve around a blonde woman, and an extremely freaky blonde woman at that, usually covered in mud or something (we are never shown a good enough image of her to make out who it is).

So why is this profile causing such a stir? Well a) because it's mad weird and freaky, b) the music is surprisingly incredible, c) the production quality is superb, and d) the profile is MEANT to keep you on edge. With a name like iamamiwhoami, many are putting names of possible bands, groups, or artists that could potentially be behind these string of viral videos. The profile is meant to read as "i am am i who am i," but originally I thought it read "i am ami who am i." I guess it doesn't particularly matter, because I still have no friggin' clue who this is! The lady in the video does actually look like Lady Gaga, and many people are saying that's the case, but hello! Lady Gaga doesn't sound THIS good. Others have stated it could be: MGMT, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Christina Aguilera, Grizzly Bear, and/or other. But what if it's someone completely new?

My own theory isn't that it is someone entirely new, because it looks like it cost some well-earned cash to produce. I do believe it has to do with Animal Collective, or Panda Bear projects (Panda Bear is the stage name of one of the members of Animal Collective). Animal Collective definitely sounds a lot like this. And, in each of the videos, a different (yet random) animal is chosen for the video to revolve around, thus making it some kind of collection of animal videos. ANYWAY, I'm probably totally wrong. We probably all are. I'll post the videos though, so check em out and enjoy! (Don't be too frightened).

The first video doesn't actually have the dirty blond in it (hehe). But the music is certainly relaxing. If you look closely (well you don't have to look that closely), you'll see that there are a bunch of limbs swaying from the trees. Interesting, no? This video revolves around the Goat. It is called:
Prelude 699130082.451322-

The second video is the first in which you actually see the blond woman... She's licking a tree. And it's not hot, no.. No it isn't. The music enters a bassier mood this time around. And it revolves around the Owl. It is called:

The third video starts off with an almost Flaming Lips atmosphere to it. Very serene. The atmospheric sounds soon turn into a very Animal Collective-like beat, which furthers my belief on who's behind the video. Also, notice the strawberry cake in the background. (Please note that one of Animal Collective's albums is entitled "Strawberry Jam"). This time, the video revolves around the Whale. It is called:

The fourth video introduces the first vocal chants, sung, of course, by the blonde freak lady. Notice the introduction of the dog, playing in the snow in front of the small hut. Significance? Who cares. It's starting to to sound more like M83's Saturdays=Youth, or Stereolab. In other terms, it's starting to sound VERY French. This video revolves around the Bee. The video is called:

The fifth and latest video, released on the 22nd of Feb, is a little more fast-paced than the previous ones, song-wise. Still, it's bugging me more and more. She makes contact with the black dog and it runs away from her. Also, more strawberry's. Six of them hanging, at the end of the clip. This video revolves around the Llama. Yes, random. It's called:

So, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Music Video: Liars - Scissor

(Experimental Rock)

This is the first I've heard of the band, Liars, to be quite honest, but this song caught me by surprise. It possesses such power with it's slow melody. Honestly, though, I have no idea what this song OR video has to do with scissors. It begins with the three New Yorker band members chiming in a synchronous humming that sets the mood as a slower, subtler, soothing song, in which you can truly ease upon your troubled mind. And then it literally jumps out at you at around 2:11 into a fast-paced jam.

The video alone is quite epic, itself. It follows a man floating on a raft, lost at sea. He wakes to find a stone sitting menacingly across from him, and makes to throw it off the raft, but to his dismay he finds that after he throws that one ten more appear, and so on. Take a look.

The single, Scissor, is set to be released on March 9th on Sisterworld, the band's fifth studio album.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (2009)

(Psychedelic Rock, Psychedelic Trance, Trip Hop)

A good friend of mine introduced me to Infected Mushroom yesterday, and I've given their latest album a few listens to come to a conclusion of whether I like them or not. For now, I give this album a solid 6.5/10 simply because, although it is rather enjoyable, it doesn't sound altogether fresh to me. Despite not sounding as fresh as I may have wanted, though, it falls under a "genre" title I've yet to encounter before (and I've encountered a few): psychedelic trance/rock. So! If you find that genre appealing to your sensibilities, go for it. It won't disappoint, or rather, it shouldn't. And if you've never heard of the genre or thought to combine the two, psychedelic and trance, genres together, I've posted my favorite song on the album below. Ultimately, I'd say they sound like a tranced up Depeche Mode, though, and not so much psychedelic, but more... trip-hoppy. In one song they do feature Jonathan Davis (Korn) on vocals, which interestingly doesn't sound too far off from the actual singers voice, but I'm sure any avid Korn fan out there would in some way or another geek out to his cameo.

The song I've chosen (below), is a good example of the merging genres. There's a great trance buildup near the middle of the song in which I love, and should definitely get those fists pumping.

(Another song very worth mentioning from this album is the great remix of the song Riders on the Storm, orginally by the Doors)

Music Video: Caribou - Odessa

(Dream Pop, Electronica, Indie Electronic, Noise Pop)

You know what I think? I think a great way to introduce new music to you readers out there is by way of music videos. I personally believe the age of the MTV music video has ended quite some time ago, and there isn't much ingenuity when it comes to newer videos, but at the same time, the videos often add another whole dimension to the sounds given off and add to the overall double-sensory effect, which there is no fault in. I saw a new music video today from the musician Caribou that I thought would be nice to share with you all. The song is 'Odessa,' from his forth-coming album, Swim.

This video follows a young, bloodied-up, girl as she appears to be fleeing through the wilderness, and we are shown a collage of what are to be inferred as memories. I find this "collage" of animal-life, roads, cold winter wilderness, memories, and other to be extremely well done. And I don't want to say that it follows the rhythm of the song fully, but it surely flows well enough. The electronic sounds and bleeps in the background (and I have no idea how he made them) help produce a certain eerie quality to the whole thing, and that's probably the strong-point of this particular song, and they slide well into the actually video, creating an interesting 5-minutes. And no, i do not know what that thing is at 00:15 or so, but it looks to me like a penis.

I was first introduced to Caribou in 2007, after he released Andorra, which by the way is an excellent album. He, Daniel Victor Snaith (Caribou), used to go under the stage-name 'Manitoba.' Apparently, he decided to change his name to Caribou during an acid trip he had in which a caribou told him to change his name to such... And he did.

The full album on which 'Odessa' will be released on, Swim, hits the shelves on April 19-20.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

(Avant-Garde, Folk, Pop)

The amazing (and strikingly pretty) Joanna Newsom's third album, Have One on Me (out on February 23rd), has sadly leaked onto the internet. I say "sadly" because it's a shame that stuff like this happens, and people are allowed to fully download an album for free before it's even possible to buy it. But, I can't say that I didn't hold myself back from downloading it either, because I truly haven't been able to wait to hear what this baby would sound like. And trust me, you. It is absolute genius. I will be first in line when it comes to stores next week. Here is the link in flac, while it's still up (BUT BE SURE TO BUY THE ALBUM):

Anywho, let me explain a few things about this album. For one, it is a triple album... Yes, a TRIPLE album! This thing is 3 discs of absolute sonic bliss, taking you on an adventure you'll likely not go on very often in your lifetime. She has a style of singing that, known to me, is absolutely one of a kind, and from a world of her own. Where other singers would find the undulating style of her vocals awkward at the least, she uses it with pride and makes it her own, pulling you into her trance. She accompanies her voice with her trusty, beautiful, hypnotizing harp playing. Close your eyes for only a split second and you'll be floating through a timeless sonic valley of history and culture. Each disc is just as inviting as the last, and I find that I enjoy each one equally. So, the best way to listen to this avant-garde masterpiece is straight through. Each disc has 6 songs, adding to a total of 18 songs throughout, and spanning just over two hours of gloriously timeless music. Usually I'll find one or two or three songs in an album that I'll replay over and over, because they stand out, but in this album EVERYTHING STANDS OUT. Have One on Me is a definite buy. 9.2/10

(Also, on a side note: Joanna Newsom has been dating Andy Samberg of SNL and Lonely Island fame since sometime in 2007, which is such an odd coupling that it's awesome. That is all.)

Sonic Opus: The first post

I've, for quite some time, wished to become a contributor of sorts to a music website, using my love and "knowledge" of the subject to adequately help critique it, but up until now, I haven't had the courage to pursue it. And by courage, I mean to say that it does (in a sense) seem like a daunting task. For one, I have no idea who will care to read my reviews and/or rantings on the subject and whether anyone will listen to my advice or views on certain music. And secondly, I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this up. I've been adamant on starting anything like this, because I am not personally confident with my ability to keep it coming regularly.

So, this marks my first line of business. I don't plan on writing a review or suggesting an album on a regular basis. Rather, I'll go at my own steady pace, for now, reviewing what and when I want to. During some weeks, I may post a lot, while other weeks I may not post at all. What kind of music will I talk about? All kinds. Old and new. ANY genre. Obscure or mainstream (I prefer the obscure, though.) My hope is to be able to entice you into listening to some of the amazing stuff there is out there, and help you discover sounds you've never dreamed of.

I don't plan, however, to partake in too much file sharing. I may, on occasion, post a link towards a download, but for future reference, I absolutely positively have no connection toward the files and them being uploaded onto the internet. If you own rights to a band/artist and I do happen to have a link to a download posted onto this blog that you want removed, please contact me and I will most certainly take it down immediately. Any links that I do post, however will definitely be in a lossless format (I'm a big audiophile), but should be deleted in two days after downloaded. I want to support the artists I review, not hinder their efforts. Please, if you like the music, buy it; go see them in concert; get a t-shirt with their name on it: this is how they make their living.

Anyway, I believe I should introduce myself a little. I'm posting under the profile "Bamboojled," and that is pronounced like bamboozled with a j. People often confuse it as saying "Bamboo Jedi," which is far from what I meant from it, (but probably a little cooler). You may call me Dakota, though, because that is my first name. I am male, not female. I received a large portion of my musical taste from my father and my favorite band of ALL time is The Beatles. Uhh, I currently reside outside of New York City.

I truly hope whoever stumbles on this blog enjoys it thoroughly enough to follow. Thank you.