PG. 99 - Singles

Screamo: "Collection of out of print EPs, splits, compilation and demo tracks".

Chilled Vibes - Step by Step Review

Step By Step cover art 

Simply put: This record rocks! I expected something more in the easy listening department but these folks really know how to sock it to you. Each track has its own unique tone and features rather minimal instrumentation in a near-perfect mix. The album opener, "Still Got It", gets into the beat with a great mix of percussion and dub-style guitar. This builds into something akin to a disco track with an undercurrent beach vibe. The spare use of vocals on this track is a nice touch as well. "Princess Anne" is a soft, contemplative tune with a beautiful intro built by the piano and guitars. The drums kick in with a subtle beat accented by light cymbal work. Gorgeous from start to finish, this track is a beacon of longing along the shore of nostalgia. The third track, "Mountain", opens with a similar tone to "Princess Anne" but quickly distinguishes itself as a post-rock masterpiece. The guitars noodle only slightly, and the drums are kept rather simple but the real charm here is the funky change-up near the middle of the song. The peak of the mountain is a bluesy section before the descent. The end of the song is a powerhouse of emotive sound that will leave you aching for more.
"Katy" trades the fusion drumming for a computerized beat. This does not detract from the song however, which is a tasty jam that recalls the peaceful bliss of a rainy day spent napping.
The EP's closer, "Isle" is a lonely, Claptonesque guitar number. The little imperfections found on this track give it some great character and serve to make it one of the most interesting tracks on the record in spite of its sparseness.

This record is a true gem.

Francesco D'Andrea - Quick Party Before the End of the World

Quick Party before the End of the World cover art 

The cover could fool you, but certainly does not distract from the maniacal awesome that pervades this release. It's a classy jamboree of colorful soundscapes that'll really get your juices moving.
Fairly minimal cost for a fantastic listen.

Palette Town - Love, Life, & Laser Guns

Alternative Rock/Experimental Pop fellows Palette Town have released a new EP! From what I'm hearing, this has extreme potential to be one of my favourites of 2012.

Acapella Music And Its History

This is simply a thread I was lucky enough to happen across. I did not write it; merely "cleaned it up". The original thread can be found here.

Well I'm not exactly a musical historian, but I think most can agree that it all started in the church. Acapella comes from "alla capella", meaning "in the manner of the chapel". At the time, instruments weren't considered appropriate for catholic masses, so any music was done in chant - a chorus that would sing religious texts. When most people think of chant, they think of Gregorian chant, which normally had one melodic line with no harmonies. There are lots of different forms of chant though that developed simultaneously and over time with Gregorian chant, like Ambrosian chant; that would have Eastern influences and multiple voices. There's a lot of history to chants themselves, such as the creation of musical modes and notation that effectively began modern music as a whole, but that's really for a music history course. In terms of acapella music, this is where it all begins. Over time, as monks began to understand how harmonies and chords worked, polyphonic chant and eventually started to become the norm, moving music from the medieval period of chants to the Renaissance period of multi-part harmonies and voices. This is where people like Desprez, Palestrina, Tallis, and other big names of the Renaissance come in (#1#2). Chant still exists, but is starting to go on its way out as music gets more intricate (#3). 

Everyone knows about Africa's incredible concepts of rhythm - we see it all the time in jazz and other music that co-opts it. but a big deal in South Africa is a genre known as Isicathamiya (literally pronounced isi-*click*a-ta-mee-ya). Influenced by another form of acapella South African music called Mbube, which I admit I know nothing about, Isicathamiya involves a chorus singing extremely close harmony. A lot of it call and response, in which the lead of the group sings or says a phrase, and the group as a whole responds with a sung refrain, which exists in almost every folk culture. Isicathamiya ups the ante by many times introducing choreography into the mix. Perhaps the most famous example of Isicathamiya is the inimitable ladysmith black mambazo, first introduced to the world stage by Paul Simon on his album Graceland. Ladysmith is literally so good that they're banned from Isicathamiya competitions in South Africa - they're allowed to perform, but they can't compete. Africa as a whole I'm sure has lots of acapella music, but Isicathamiya holds the largest popularity, and is the most I know on the subject. I loved ladysmith ever since I heard graceland, and I have a couple of their albums (#4).

Anthony Fantano Speaks at Wesleyan University

"On Thursday, September 13th, I was invited to speak at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. I talked about what I do, why I do it, how I do it, how I started, and the origins of Cal Chuchesta."

Kater Mass - [kaht-ur mahs]

[kaht-ur mahs] cover art 

A friendly bunch of punk rockers from my hometown of Athens, GA. Saw these guys for the third time last night and really enjoyed their set. Their record is pretty well done and even boasts some subtle samples alongside the harsh, energetic, and uptempo collection of tunes. A great album to drink and sing along to. 

Opal Onyx - Time Turns Into Space

Time Turns Into Space cover art 

Haunting and powerful vocal harmonies rest atop eerie, immense compositions. 
Reminiscent of My Brightest Diamond, Sarah McLachlan, and Hope for Agoldensummer.
Altogether awesome and captivating.

Sioum - I Am Mortal, But Was Fiend

I Am Mortal, But Was Fiend cover art 

One of the coolest ambient/post-rock/prog-metal albums I've ever heard. This record balances hushed moments with thunderous rhythms and driving riffs. GET IT!!!

Avens - Recipe for Life

Recipe For Life cover art

Take a load off with this elegant album of digital soul soothing magic. 
If you like this, check out the rest of BlueBottle Records' releases.

Mountain Asleep - Hello, Anxious

"Louisville Emo/Hardcore with a love for off beat time signatures and alternate tunings. These songs are fast, with most clocking under 90 seconds."

Snowing - Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit

Emo with a bit of twinkle and a bit of "fuck you" in there too. Absolutely essential for fans of Emocore.

Monument Of Urns - Discography

MOU is a solo Drone Doom project inspired by Sunn O))) and Khanate, though it tends to sound more like the former. Made of four one track releases, the discography is an excellent listen for those looking to get into the genre.

Paper Diamond - Levitate

So I went to look for free downloads of albums I like, and I found this! Paper Diamond does a breakbeat-y mix of Dub and Trip Hop (maybe 2step too, but I'm too pleb to categorize). Levitate is a great EP and has a soft, relaxing sound with a little bit of attitude.

A History Of Noise Music

Futurist theorist Luigi Russolo with his noise machine.
I love to find music essays written by students, music lovers and the like. This is a good one for noise; giving a history, recommendations and the like.

Howlin' Hobbit - Taking the Plunge

Taking The Plunge cover art 

A charming collection of ukelele songs that contain a good sense of humor and a lot of heart.

Sedna - Sublime End

Grunge/Hard Rock. Pretty good for something from that sound, and though they do stray towards genericism at times, their groovy sound and good instrumentation saves it.

Sweater - Sweater

Aggressive Post-Punk/Shoegaze influenced Alt. Rock. Pretty interesting sound.

Converge - 3 cover songs

Converge do Hardcore/Mathcore. These are a few covers of some bands they like.

mike.curtin - Indecisive Euphoria

Extremely mathy instrumental Math Rock. Kind of like Giraffes? Giraffes!, but crazier, more guitar layers, and dare I say it sometimes better. Take a butchers.

MAMAS - Green Room

Green Room cover art 

It's raining now, and there's always some knowledge hiding in the dripping voice of life. You'll never give in to whispered hopes but at least they could stick around for so long. Between youth and something just beyond. The fire never started, the kindling was wet. Or stale. Or incompatible with the spark. It's the trip you couldn't take before the deluge. And when you did take it finally, the terms had washed away. Between the sun and the sweat, the heart and the loins, waking and dreaming.
Don't worry, it all works out...

Percy C. Buck - Psychology For Musicians; Chapter 11: Appreciation

Title: Psychology For Musicians
Author: Percy C. Buck M.A., Mus. Doc. Oxon. (sometime Professor Of Music in the Universities of Dublin and London, Adviser for the London College Of Communication)
Publisher: Oxford University Press, London
Publish date: 1944, later revised in 1961
Chapter 11 - Appreciation

"The most important change that has happened in the last fifty years, in regard to the teaching of music, is undoubtedly due to the recognition of one fact: that whereas in the old days "learning music" meant solely being taught to play or sing, it nowadays includes, as a matter of at least equal importance, learning to recognize and understand good music.
In those days, if you wished to prove how good a teacher you were, you had but one thing to do. You gathered your pupils together and made them play, then asked listeners to pronounce that it was good playing. Nowadays any good judge of your work would question the pupils as to their sensitiveness towards the the music. The means by which the change of attitude has come about is now usually called the teaching on Appreciation; and though many musicians dislike the word, and suspect that it too often means just cramming a child with undigested jargon about First-movement Form, yet it is difficult to find a better label, and in the right hands, using intelligent methods, valuable results can certainly be obtained.
My object is not to give you a precis of useful talks which you may hereafter deliver to your classes, since, if your teaching is to bear fruit, it must originate in your own mind and experience: that is, from what your mind has found out and assimilated from the experience of your own growth in discrimination. I shall attempt only to make you think, a little below the surface, as to what the word Appreciation means.
The first important fact is this. Words beginning with AP, you will find, generally imply the suggestion of "Valuation". To "praise" a thing has a simple meaning; to "appraise" it means to bring it before some tribunal of your mind, and to estimate its worth. To "prove" conveys a simple idea; to "approve" is to say that you have applied some standard of judgement which the object has satisfied. This rather obvious point is worth insisting on because once, a an international meeting on Appreciation, a speaker (who had traveled from a far country) rose up and threw cold water on "philosophical nonsense", saying, with all the assurance of a closed mind, "If I really like anything, then I appreciate it". He should have been told, but was not, the the simple fact that so many people "really like" bad music is the whole raison d'etre of a discussion on Appreciation.
Works of Art are, as you will all agree, works of Imagination. So let us first get a clear idea of what we mean by that word.

The best definition of Imagination that I know is one which will probably surprise you. It is not "fancy", or "day-dreaming", or "building castles in the air", but "the power of seeing things as they really are". Perhaps an illustration will convince you. Have you not, amongst your friends or those you admire, someone whom you knew, possibly for a considerable time, before discovering their value? You put them down as self-centered, unimaginative, or dull; then something happened which enlightened you as to their true character and you saw how woefully mistaken your estimate had been. You had not had enough imagination to see the gold beneath the surface.

Sick To The Back Teeth - Full-Body Heartache

"Sick To The Back Teeth from New York has previously released black metal, dubstep and experimental drones, but through Drowning he offers a powerhouse of raw riffs towering between drone doom and pure noise"

Drowning Records are a drone and doom metal label. Recommended. Lots of free stuff on here.

Mean Wind - The The Guests Guests Are Are Gone Gone Gone Gone

It seems to be maybe... Dream Pop/Indie Folk/Psych-Pop? You've got pretty -sometimes group- vocals, droney keys over it, whispering vocals rapidly entering and leaving, and a little guitar here and there. What you get is a psychedelic little ditty reminiscent of Animal Collective's Sung Tongs, but with a slightly more upbeat and airy sound.

Zloty Dawai - Torso Apart

An intriguing sound. Free Jazz, but it feels quite controlled. Like they all click with one another despite improvising. There's a lot of ambiance to this record; some parts jazzier, some parts almost like Dark Ambient, and all other sorts of influences. Something I'll revisit and discuss in this post as I listen to it, I think. It's good!

Parov Stelar at the HMV Forum

Parov Stelar blend house and swing jazz. Somewhat like Caravan Palace, but more refined, less electro; cleaner, and much better (though some tracks are barely house). They have been touring for their latest album The Princess, and having heard it live and twice through on the journey there and back, it is a great album. It has enough sophistication to be deeper than just a 4/4 bass drum to dance to, but not so much that they come across as pretentious or, oppositely, immature. You know where to download it if you don't want to buy.

Supporting was La Rochelle, who do a similar sort of house, but have various other genres coming in slightly less obvious amounts. More sex appeal than substance, admittedly, but that doesn't detract from them being a highly enjoyable group. The lead vocalist was especially good, and fronts the band in an impressive and dramatic fashion, though this isn't prevalent in the stuff on Youtube. A surprisingly good supporting act; and the crowd felt so too.

BATS - Discography

Many of you will already know of or have this, but for those of you who do not, BATS do excellent Post-Hardcore with a very unique sound. Get their first two releases for three Euro.

Panic Manor - State Lines Define

State Lines Define cover art 

Incredible debut EP from one hell of a live band. These fine people can do it all: full on, balls to the wall rock and roll or laid back acoustic balladry. I've been lucky enough to see them do both and I must say it is imperative you get this record. Guitar wizardry, beautiful vocal harmonies, harsh screams, and powerful rhythms abound. Don't miss it!!

Popular Songwriters From 1900 - 1980

I often find new artists by looking in indexes of books. So when there's one dedicated to a particular thing, it seems ideal to just photocopy the indexes. Good way to get into entry level swing, blues, vocal jazz, alternative rock and pop. Sure, they may have been popular (O MAH INDIE CRED) but many of these are excellent. CTRL+Click to open at full size. 

Click Read More>> to see all four pages.

Luger - Concrete Light

Concrete Light cover art 

Groovy, psychedelic, exuberant. All of the right elements for a fantastic kraut-rock album. Grab this one for whatever you feel it is worth. No matter what you pay it's sure to put a smile on your face or at least a bounce in your step... unless of course you have no soul and you lack all joy in your life. 
Even if that is the case, give this a listen.

Metroid Metal - Expansion Pack

Expansion Pack cover art 

Six extremely badass tracks fill out this EP from geek-rock outfit Metroid Metal. All of the music is taken from the Metroid video game series. If you dig this offering (which is available for name-your-price download) then maybe you'd like to give their full length, Varia Suite, a listen. Both are worth purchasing, plus they have some pretty cool shirt designs at their website.

y0c1e - 無題の音楽

Absolutely beautiful Braindance/Ambient. It's got a bit of glitch in there, and there are these soft, beautiful little keyboard progressions which lay the foundations to the tracks. Love it. In my top 20 releases of 2012 so far.

Interview with Charlie Looker

Charlie Looker is a musician from New York who has been involved with Extra Life, Zs, and Dirty Projectors, as well as collaborating with Parenthetical Girls and others. Influenced by all directions the musical tree has grown in, he has become famous for his highly experimental - yet also very appreciable - sound.

Q: Well, the inevitable question that is always presented is; who drove you to develop your very original sound? If you had to throw out several artists which influenced you and whom you would recommend to others, who would they be?
A: Justin Broadrick (Godflesh / Jesu), Morrissey, Scott Walker, Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think), Captain Beefheart, Michael Gira (Swans), some medieval European music (Guillaume de Machaut, Josquin des Prez), Current 93, 20th Century classical music in general. We don’t necessarily sound like all of this music, but this is what comes to mind.

Q: How do you compose? Throughout your work, much of it seems to be built around a few minimal basslines which have embellishments and motifs added to them by other instruments. Is that so? Despite being the guitarist and vocalist, it seems that you try to get every instrument to present itself in a roughly equal level, rather than having one specific instrument taking the stage front.
A: The writing process on Dream Seeds was kind of different from how the earlier records were written. In both cases, I always start with lyrics. Then I carve the lyrics into melodies. From that I can get some very vague idea of what the band texture will be, the kind of stuff the instruments will do. Then come the specifics of the instrumental parts. On the earlier material, I would write all the instrument parts myself, note for note. On the new record, I would just write my synth basslines and then I’d bring that in along with the melody and some vague general band ideas to Caley and Nick and they’d write their own parts.
I think the thing you’re talking about, with each instrument having an equally important role in the sound, is a quality shared by both the earlier stuff and the newer collaborative stuff. Especially in the drums. Even though Nick’s drum parts are way different from the drum parts I used to write, they have a similar way of not sitting in the background like normal drum beats. They interlock with everything else to create this web-like effect. It’s funny, I realize I’m calling them “drum parts” instead of “beats”. I don’t think any of us ever call them “beats”. I can’t speak for Nick and Caley about this, but for me that lack of foreground/background distinction comes from classical music. It’s basically counterpoint, like Bach or Renaissance music. In a lot of Extra Life all the instruments are playing separate intricate but inter-dependent melodies, even the drums. But then in front of it all is the voice, which is totally in the foreground so that’s more of a rock thing.

Q: Sexuality appears to be a cohesive theme within your lyrics, but the abstract nature of some of those lyrics sometimes makes it difficult to "decipher". Made Flesh and Dream Seeds both have a concept of sexuality, abuse and various other themes, but what are the overall concepts of each respective album? Did you write with a linear story, or was it more a collection of songs about the aforementioned?
A: None of the albums have an over-arching story but some particular songs tell stories. Others are more vague and combine several different stories, or I’m just trying to portray a certain human situation. Some of the records have unifying themes. Made Flesh was mostly about sex, the body, weight-lifting, death and to some extent money. Dream Seeds is all about children, dreams and morality. It’s way less sexual I think. But then again, I tend to feel that everything is sexual at its root. A lot of Made Flesh  was written from a more corrupt wayward point of view I guess. Dream Seeds is purer and more optimistic ultimately.

Q: From Extra Life's debut to your latest release, the albums seem to have become progressively more and more aggressive: was this an intentional thing, or has it come naturally?
A: I didn’t really notice that, but I’ll take your word for it. All the records have a mix of loud and quiet songs. To me that’s almost a classic rock kind of vibe, like Zeppelin or something. I guess my singing style I guess has become more “dramatic” over time, so maybe that’s more aggressive.

Q: Do you teach others in music? If so, are they aware of Extra Life? 
A: Yeah I teach private guitar and piano lessons to kids in their homes. Up until this spring I was also teaching general music at a Catholic elementary school. If that sounds like a recipe for problems, it was. Despite my hiding my first name from the kids, they found Extra Life online, it got back to the school administration and I got fired. It was upsetting, both personally and financially, but it was meant to happen.

Q: When discussing your projects with other music enthusiasts, many of them have cited  your style of singing to be  the least accessible aspect of your music, and though many have said they have come to like it, others have said it has sometimes made it difficult to appreciate Extra Life; have you ever experienced difficulties with audiences new to your music with this?
A: Well as you just said, yeah some people hate my singing. It’s interesting to me, people’s reactions to unusual vocal styles. Music with vocals is inherently more “accessible” than music without vocals. But if your vocal style is unusual, ironically more people actually hate it than if you just made some equally unusual music without singing. If you play noise, free improv, or other weird instrumental music, the people who don’t like it just say politely “well I guess Experimental Music just isn’t my thing”. But if you sing weird, people actually get personally mad at you and say “who does this guy think he is?” Since singing is inherently accessible and human, when you do it in an alien way, people feel fully entitled to criticize you. I would rather be directly hated than be not-liked-but-objectively-respected.

Q: Many experimental musicians find it difficult to break into a music scene without being turned down or pushed into the "experimental music night" by the local clubs and venues: what would you suggest a band or musician does to enter the scene by means other than brute persistence, or changing their sound to cater to the mainstream audiences' propensities and making their music more accessible or simplistic? 
A: I don’t really have any advice to bands regarding career/business/scene issues. I hate thinking about that shit in my own life and I really don’t want to think about it on behalf of unspecified others. Right before a gig in Atlanta, this nice teenage kid from the opening band was trying to talk to me about how to get gigs and get your name out etc. I told him please excuse me but I have to go to the van to do some vocal warm-ups and deep breathing. That’s the only thing I could come up with to say that wouldn’t get me depressed and distracted before we played. I hope he understood what I was trying to convey.

Sora Shima - Destroy Electronica

Ambient post-rock with shoegaze influence. Very uplifting melodies and varied timbre. There are a lot of droning swells that are ethereal and dreamy or raw and harsh. Although a lot of the melodies sound quite inspiring, the timbre also tends to be quite dark. The 5-track EP features a downtempo style remix from a producer called 'Radio909'. Sora Shima takes obvious influence from cliché'd third-wave post-rock bands such as Mogwai and EITS, however the work is very impressive in it's own right in terms of production and sound design.

Ice Dragon - Dream Dragon

Dream Dragon cover art 

Pretty badass record here (available as a name-your-price download) from this psychedelic doom outfit. These guys really know how to build a record piece by piece into something challenging, but fun to listen to. The vocals are a bit monotone, but they do the job well and fit the mix just right. The guitars are a blast to hear while they jig, jive, meander and roar all across this record.
If you dig this, check out their doom metal side project Tentacle

Modern Metal Djent Metalcore Tutorial 2012 (with example song)

Because we all need a little funny now and then. This was particularly amusing.

Recommendation: 40 Watt Sun

This is one of the best Doom album I've ever heard. It's depressing, slow, and inspiring. It's so beautiful that all I can do is stare in awe as it drones on with the slow, fuzzy chords.

Turn your face to the moon; let me see you that way.
And the way you appear to me now you'd think the moon would hide for shame.
And though there is fire inside there's a peace I have never known
Like all of the earth holds her breath underneath the weight of snow.
I'm watching you watch the water, wondering why with every deep happiness there's some kind of pain. And these last days I've let so much of me away; but you will always be a mystery to me.
I know that nothing touches you; nothing has or ever will.
Like that moon you're high and far away; hold my heart - This alone is heaven. But it's more than I can hide. And the way I feel for you now is something I don't understand.
Because sometimes, you know, even I feel so old. But you make me feel like I'm just being born.
You make me smile; you make me know myself; You make me feel like I'm someone else.
And I'll hold you here in the back of my mind and I'll let you go now; I'm letting you go.
And the night rolls over us with no hesitation. There's so much life in me now, keep me here.
Hold back time - keep me here; keep me here.
If we were alone on this earth, or even away from here,
It would be easy to let myself go; and God knows I want to.

Ruined Machines - Earth Review

Earth cover art 

We've got a lot of favorites here at Moosick (just see the extensive Strongly Recommended category to the right) and Ruined Machines must certainly be one of them. Composed solely of Joe Kenyon, Ruined Machines is currently in collaboration with artist Michal Brodka in order to bring you the epic Celestial Bodies. This series of releases (Earth makes five so far) intends to take you on a cosmic journey through our solar system. Certainly this type of theme has been explored by many artists, but never to the extent of Ruined Machines' realizations.
Each thematic release, beginning with The Sun and moving out, has been its own self-contained  release featuring original compositions coupled with the amazing zodiac-inspired art of Michal Brodka. This newest release is the longest so far, featuring seven new tracks focused on our home world, its seasonal movements, and the human relationship with space.
The album opener, 02/01/2003, could quite possibly bring tears to your eyes. This ambient journey through the upper atmosphere combines soft, almost sinister music with sampled NASA updates that tell the tale of The Space Shuttle Columbia's final descent. For mine and Joe's generation, this event will live in our adult minds in the same way that the Challenger explosion affected our youth. The exploration of space is paramount to humanity's relationship with the cosmos, and the consequences of this risky, rewarding endeavor are to be revered and remembered.
A wall of static leads us to the first of Earth's seasons, Autumn. A lo-fi live recording of friends covering The Band descends into swirling leaves and gray afternoons. This crisp, cool jaunt towards the bleakness of winter is filled with spice and vibrancy, however fleeting it may be.
Winter is a different story altogether. This droning, bluesy epic feels like a slow trudge through the snow as the Northern Lights shimmer and dance overhead. I love the time that was taken on this track and how it becomes something so glorious in the end while never betraying its own frigid attitude.
Spring is a subtly exuberant, contemplative song that serves more as a transition between Winter and Summer. The guitar on this one rambles a little but mostly stays straight on the path to renewal.
Summer is easily the most unique of the seasonal movements. Where the previous seasons were guitar-driven, Summer is enveloped by lush synthesizers and a strong drumbeat that really remind me of those sun-soaked movies from the 80's and early 90's (Think Top Gun, Summer School, Point Break, Endless Summer 2, etc). and really makes you wish you could just lay out on the beach.
A brief interlude takes us from Summer to the record's closer, The Channel Surfer's Suite. This track, enhanced by several samples, is a striking combination of rock and trip hop. This song in particular really shows off Kenyon's ability to craft stimulating sonic atmospheres. and the growth in his compositional style that has occurred through the production of the Celestial Bodies series.
Earth is a fantastic addition to this already uncanny and excellent project, and truly excites for what lies beyond. Support these guys if you can and look out for Mars on October 1st!

Ruined Machines Bandcamp
Ruined Machines Facebook
Art of Michal Brodka