Goodtime Boys - Are We Now, Or Have We Ever Been

Last night, Goodtime Boys were supporting Rolo Tomassi. Aggressive but melodic Emo with highly introspective lyrics and a lot of emotion. The vocalist has a hell of a lot of stage presence and this translates to the music alone; putting every last drop of effort into the music. Complementing this are drum patterns which break out of playing the same riffs over and over, echo-y and slightly overdriven guitars, and a fantastic bass sound which holds it all together.

Dolfish - I'd Rather Disappear Than Stay The Same

I'd Rather Disappear Than Stay The Same cover art 

I reviewed this record for another publication, but it certainly deserves cross promotion. An excellent debut full length from Ohio native Max Sollisch under the moniker Dolfish. The album alternates between softer tunes and upbeat folk rock romps that all possess their own unique spirit. Often dark, sometimes beautiful, and altogether amazing. Pay what you want for this, but I think there is also a vinyl edition available at for you audiophiles.
If you love singer songwriters but want something different, get this.

Edamame - Greenhouse

Ambient glitch hop with chillwave vibes. This is one of those albums were the cover looks like the music. The smooth layers of cool, atmospheric synths, as well as the occasional lo-fi field recording, give this album as a whole, a distinct rainforest feeling. The glitchy, garage-esque drums and the slightly discordant vocal samples give the tracks a certain grittiness. This, mirrored against the melodic and ethereal pads and delayed synths is what sets it apart from other beat-orientated ambient music we've heard in the past.

Broken Fences - Broken Fences

Broken Fences cover art 

Beautiful acoustic folk pop with harmonizing male and female vocals. I've been swept away several times listening to this fantastic record, and I suggest it especially for a romantic evening with your lover. The songs drip with heartfelt warmth and tender affection. Plus the cuddle factor is getting higher as the temperatures drop...

THOU - The Archer & The Owle

Doom/Sludge from some of the best musicians in the genre.

1920's Radio Network

An online radio station housing 20's big band and swing. Worth checking out!

Baba Brinkman - Infomatic EP Review

The Infomatic EP cover art 

"I'm talkin' 'bout facts, bitch."
Baba Brinkman's earlier 2012 release, The Canterbury Tales Remixed, focused on myths and legends throughout history that reflect the development of mankind. That album had some truly epic tracks and was a rather serious listen. His newest release, The Infomatic EP, is a far more leisurely listen, clocking in at under 20 minutes. The tracks here are more succinct while retaining Brinkman's trademark informative flow.
This record focuses on scientific reasoning, intellectual mating processes, and a pronounced dislike for religion's constant detriment to rational thought. The opener, "Mr. Infomatic" carries an energetic rhyme scheme over a fantastic beat. The subject material serves as a thesis to the rest of the EP, discussing the empirical eminence of intellectualism and clearly drawing a line between what he does and "nerd-core". Track two, "Mad Scientist (Talkin' Nerdy)" is another fun track that explores various perspectives while Brinkman searches out a compatible intellectual mate. It seems that choosing dates for intelligence is much harder than just trying to get laid, and the challenge doesn't necessarily seem to pay off, but I think the thrill is in the game. I couldn't really get into "Get if From Reading", something about the chorus kinda dragged it down, however it's still well produced and keeps the record flowing. "Climate Skeptic" on the other hand is a fantastic track that aggressively makes the case for climate change as a real issue that we must face. I love the arguments for nuclear and the strong representation of the scientific community. The near-hostility of "Naturalizm" makes it another album highlight. No mercy is given to religion or its pseudo-scientific concepts, and the track encourages rational people to speak up and out against the continued detriment of organized religion on our progression as a species. Basically it fucking rules, and it's made better by the featured voice of rapper Syqnys.
Like all of his releases, The Infomatic EP is generously available as a name-your-price download, so there is really no excuse for you to not give it a listen. While your at it, sample his previous works, most of them are equally, if not more compelling.

David Bergeaud Ratchet & Clank Soundtracks

Yeah, yeah. Video game OSTs are pleb etc. I've always liked Bergeaud's work, and found it to be worth the listen even if it is ultimately vidya music. A mix of contemporary classical with electronic.

Ticktockman - Calling Out the Hounds

Calling out the Hounds cover art 

Progressive rock that sounds incredibly similar to The Mars Volta (especially their older releases). If that doesn't sound good to you then don't bother with them. I will say that while their sound is far from original they do manage to pull off some well paced song structures. This is a fairly compelling EP that features pretty great percussion and guitar work. The vocals leave a little to be desired, but thankfully they are not done constantly in falsetto.

Dinosauria - Demos

Very slow and droning, Stoner Rock/Post Rock. Though these are demos, I think they stand well on their own as a release. Despite the cheese present in some places, and the pretty shitty guitar tone, it's an interesting and very laid back release. A promising debut.

Adam Koebel - Two Headed Boy and Two Headed Boy Pt. 2: An Analysis

I came across this on an online forum. Asked if I could share it. The OP said yes.

I am going to take you line-by-line through the two tracks entitled “Two Headed Boy” and “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2” to show you my interpretation of them, and one I feel is legitimate enough to be put forward as an accurate interpretation of the lyrics. Let’s get started. The first thing to understand about these songs is that, for all of Mangum’s surrealist lyricism, there is one very literal aspect of the songs that needs to be understood. The two headed boy referenced in both songs is literal in the sense of the story. It is about an actual two headed boy. I used to think it was a reference to puberty, with one head being that of the boy and the other of a post-pubescent man, but the imagery just didn’t fit the narrative. So, first thing that needs to be understood: “Two Headed Boy” and “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2” are about an actual set of Siamese twins, two boys, attached at the crown of the skull. The Siamese twins are part of a traveling circus/freak show, and at some point they come into possession of a copy of Anne Frank’s diary. Upon reading it, they both fall in love with Anne Frank. Heartbreakingly, the song is punctuated by the surgical separation of the twins, and during the surgery one of them dies. The song is then sung (mostly) by the surviving twin, who is singing to various people throughout the two pieces. Once we have this, the rest of the story begins to fall into place.

The first verses of the song are told out of chronological order, and depict the surviving Siamese twin speaking to his dead brother, who is being displayed as a specimen somewhere "all floating in glass"
much like a doctor would keep interesting specimens (a Siamese twin clearly counts as interesting). Since his conjoined twin is dead, the narrator laments about how "the sun, it is passed, now it’s blacker than black" and this is the surviving twin mourning the loss of his brother. His survivor’s guilt is so strong that from time to time he still hears his brother, and imagines that he is a specimen in a jar who is still alive somewhere, "tap[ping] on your jar" and his intense desire to be reunited brother is reflected in the heartbreaking pseudo-chorus "I am listening to hear where you are"

Serious Beak - Huxwhukw and the Crooked Beak of Heaven Remixes

Huxwhukw and the Crooked Beak of Heaven Remixes cover art 

Cal had blurbed the original Huxwukw album closer to when it came out, but I wanted to suggest this excellent collection of remixes created from that record. Lots of different artists contributed to this one, and the results are pretty nuts (as if the original wasn't). Some are kinda like dubstep, others are very ambient, and a few are just plain crazy. Download for free if you wanna.

Praverb the Wise - Professional Hobbyist

Professional Hobbyist cover art 

A fantastic hip hop album that revels in the reality of one man's triumph over the daily slough through beats and rhymes.  The submitted description says a lot more about the music than I could, and the music speaks for itself so give it a listen. The entire record, including the instrumental versions, is free AND there is a link to the lyrical profusions in acapella format if you so desire.

High Priest of Saturn Self Titled

High Priest of Saturn cover art 

Nearly 20 minutes of psychedelic retro-doom goodness for only $1!!
The bandcamp states that there are 200 free downloads a month, so if you are hard up just check back with them soon and you should be able to get it for free. However there's not reason you couldn't just give it a listen and give 'em a dollar for their effort (or order a CDr). Awesome fuzz, laid back rhythm, and haunting vocals. GET IT!!

Shai Martin - Pretty Little Bitch EP

Pretty Little Bitch EP cover art 
Rather hilarious hip hop that straddles the line between mature and prepubescent. Definitely a unique blend of jazz, hip hop, and pop. The lyrics are solid, if not a bit creepy at times (especially the first track) but altogether pretty damn well written for a teenager. Give it a listen and don't forget to shake your ass...

Izvra - Silent Evil EP

You may be aware that I recently reviewed Izvra's debut Don't Be Sorry. Well, it turns out I was a tad too late, as a new EP was released but a few days later. This EP makes use of guitars, as well as having a much more polished and mature, emotive sound. Atmosphere settles around tracks like haze on a marsh, and over it all are slow Trip-Hop/Hip-Hop beats. This is a marked improvement for Izvra, and though it lacks the tension and other-worldliness and eclecticism which the debut had, it has quality in a small package. Izvra has kept something key to what made me like Don't Be Sorry though: behind what is seemingly very laid back, it can suddenly develop a rising tension while still keeping that steady beat. The EP seems to do this more and more as it progresses: gradually building tension until the solemn final track.

Jeannot - Turner Street EP Review

Turner Street EP cover art 

 A chilly and impressive three song debut from this northeast/west trio. There could be a loose concept spread across these tracks, but I can't say exactly. Regardless the songs are well crafted and call on acoustic melodies, dual harmonies, and ambient undercurrents to fade the lines between dreams and reality. The opener, "Tire Swing", is maybe my favorite. It's a peaceful walk down to the river where nostalgia waits with slight regret for the memories of youth. The song accurately captures the feelings of Fall descending on the last joyous days of Summer (or perhaps just makes a good soundtrack for the current seasonal change).
Track two, "Anyone You Want" weaves a warm finger picking guitar part around glacial piano notes. The vocals here are ghostly and immaculate in their harmony. This one would be best heard around a campfire near the end of a wild night, where everyone is near sleep but still holding out for a moment of epiphany. Gorgeous...
The final song, "Runaways", tell the story of two brothers from the perspective of the younger one. The heartache here is balanced with the slightly upbeat melody. The younger brother recalls the feelings of his older sibling's departure from home, and the ways in which he continues to live in his memories. This might be the most well written of the three offered on this EP, and expresses what many abandoned brothers/sisters feel when they lose their household idols. 
So check this EP out and give them your support. Hopefully they'll craft another beautiful release before too long. It is available for name-your-price, so what's stopping you?

Mocha Lab - Cthulu: The Funksical

Cthulhu: The Funksical cover art 

Uh... a funky concept album about dark cosmic gods?! YES PLEASE!!!!!
$5 might be too little to pay for such a ridiculously cool thing to exist. Maybe you won't agree, but give it a listen and try not to shake your booty to the album's opener "Yog Sothoth".
I for one have gotta have this...
 There are several other fine releases from Mocha Lab available at various prices (none for free unfortunately) and they all seem to be of rather high quality. Enjoy!

KSCIAA - Dreams • Ending • Redemption • Liberation

An interesting release, Contemporary-Classical artist KSCIAA's debut starts with a solemn piano progression quickly followed by strings, choir vocals and a slow hip-hop inspired beat. While musically impressive and well pieced together, it lacks subtlety. Overly dramatic and something I would expect to hear in an anime soundtrack, it is a promising start to the EP but nothing shocking. The second track on the EP begins with an electronic effect supported by a steady piano following. It reminds me of Solar Fields work on Mirrors Edge (that is a compliment, by the way), but it soon gives way to-again-dramatic strings and an ambient atmosphere in the background. However, in this track, the build works; bringing forward a somewhat predictable but very enjoyable and polished beat over the strings and violas; finally ending on a minimal variation to this, albeit returning to the original effect. Too Late For Redemption starts with slow, minimal piano chords and a gentle, slow drum pattern: there's a lot of mood there, and I like it. A lot. A common theme seems to be these soaring violins, often complimented by what sound like high pitched bells: while I enjoy it and feel it contributes to the pieces positively, I cannot help but feel it is derivative and often somewhat flamboyant in nature: the beats are what keeps me interested in this release, and without that I feel it would very easily go under-appreciated by myself and potentially others. That said, the quiet, almost unheard ambience in the background of many tracks (such as the final track's intro) cements a solidity in the music and gives it a deeper intricacy which I will always love - especially in minimal music such as this. KSCIAA shows potential but lacks subtlety and manipulation of dynamics for much more than going from a quieter section to a more climactic one. I think that Tino needs to find "his sound" based on the foundations this EP lays.

Mike Morasky - Songs to Test By [Vol. 1-3]

Contemporary Classical/Progressive Electronica. Download it. Download it now.

Abandon - The Dead End

The Dead End cover art 

Perhaps the ultimate funeral doom album: a dark, massively depressive journey into the hearts and minds of a group who have lost one of their most cherished friends. This record has been around for a few years, but it is timelessly important to the genre. This was the last record Abandon would create, in tribute to fallen  member Johan Carlzon. The abject sorrow, the gloomy mire of self-pity, the finality of death.

EDIT: Cal here. After listening to a few tracks, all I can say is that you need this and it's worth more than what they're charging. and its on mediafire if you dont want to pay

Dylan Carlson and Chris Baldwin live show review

Recently, I went to see Dylan Carlson of Earth, and also solo guitarist Chris Baldwin. The show was situated at what couldn't be a more fitting venue: a converted church. A stage sat in front of a few tables and several rows of chairs behind that, it was a humble venue with an excellent sound. Fans of Earth may be somewhat surprised that, in conjunction with Carlson's interest in English folklore, his latest project is not doom, blues, or country, but covers of traditional Anglo folk songs, reinterpreted and made somewhat droney, with beautiful female vocals (with a French accent!) over them. Carlson recorded a session with Lattitude Studios with one original and several of his favourites covered, and I was lucky enough to get hold of a copy of the session. His solo project will be named drcarlsonalbion, but it does require funding and help from fans. Furthermore, Carlson is also doing a noisier, more experimental spoken word/drone project which has dissonant melodies and emotive poems over it.  Such a show live... it was small, personal and inspiring. He will likely be touring for some time, so do go and see him if you get the chance. Supporting was Chris Baldwin; a local musician who seems to be fusing traditional folk with psychedelic and stoner influences. All acoustic, his work has a droney sound to it which is likely to be very much inspired by Earth. However, it is by no means derivative. His playing has a traditional Celtic sound at times which would then burst into something with real attitude and... swagger. An excellent show, though Chris needs to put some of his stuff online, I think.

Izvra - Don't Be Sorry

Don't Be Sorry is an interesting and confusing release. Intrigued by the artwork, I decided to listen. The album starts with field recordings layered over sub-bass drones and  soft keys which are absolutely wonderful. However, this soon gives way to Trip-Hop with the sort of keys over it which I would expect to hear in a fantasy game soundtrack... I do not know how to feel about that. It adds an innocence to the sound; something gentle. I like it, but the beats are somewhat derivative and the keys and slight subtleties in sound are what seems to hold it together as something enticing. That said, a few tracks into the album, more aggressive tracks come up which quickly lose this sound, and just as quickly give way to the lighter stuff again, even with the odd dinister dark ambient background here or there. And then there's house influenced stuff. It's inconsistent, and as such I find it hard to treat it as an album in some ways, despite there being a hint of a story in the track names and general progression of the "feeling" present. I feel left wanting more of the  drones and field recordings (though there is one of water which sounds fantastic), and he/she has kind of left those hanging as little more than an excellent intro into something interesting, catchy, and enjoyable, but not what was expected. It's certainly good, but there is much room for improvement, and perhaps enunciation of what Izvra wanted to do with this: at the moment, I feel as though my guess is as good as yours. Ultimately this is a promising debut, and I look forward to hearing more. A good album for those into hip hop which is a little laid back, or a slightly more uptempo trip hop with a bit of an edge to it.

Kasan - Drown

Drown cover art 

Absolutely gorgeous instrumental drone metal/atmospheric sludge. This album is captivating and intense at all the right moments, lending itself to the repeat listens you'll need to take it all in.
Available for free digital download if you want, but there are also physical copies (vinyl/CD).

No Anchor - Real Pain Supernova

Real Pain Supernova (Digital Edition) cover art 

A rather amazing release from Australian sludge/doom outfit No Anchor. These fellas really know their shit and they throw it around like wild monkeys. There's a lot of unexpected depth in their presentation and production that makes this one of the coolest releases on Bandcamp that can be downloaded for free. Don't waste any time, get this record! Also check out their many releases including a new tape of unused studio and live tracks.

Elijah Behar - Hollow Body EP

Hollow Body - EP cover art 

An interesting and rather dark collection of folk songs. Well produced and compelling. 
Certainly worth a listen and available for name-your-price download.

Global Techno Darkcast

This is a podcast for experimental/progressive bleeps and bloops. Check it out: you can never listen to enough 'casts.

Interview with Igorrr

Today, I interviewed French composer Gautier Serre; the man behind breakcore project Igorrr and death metal/breakcore project Whourkr, about him and his work. For examples of his work, and more information on him, read a review of his third release: Nostril.
Q: With your project Igorrr, you started with breakcore with a touch of baroque; slowly incorporating swing and metal into it over time. Where did you get the idea to do this, and how did it happen?
A: I start with one idea on mind, to listen to what i want to hear, i don't think i got this idea anywhere precisely, i'm just making the music i have in my mind, it's like, i love the baroque music as much as the death metal and the breakcore, and i want to feel everything at the same time. At first i had 2 projects really separated, Igorrr and Whourkr, and step by step, it looks like i'm breaking my own barriers with Igorrr, and i'm mixing absolutely everything i like in one only project.
Q: Many artists within the experimental scene are criticized for lack of structure or odd themes (often worded as "lolsorandum"), and also for being "edgy" for having some sort of sinister sound to them. However, it's never confirmed by the artist how contrived this is: it's safe to say that much of your work has got a tense feel to it, but is this something that you had in mind, or does it just "flow"? Is the free, almost uncontrolled sound as intentional as people often say it is with that sort of music?
A: The thing with the music i'm making, and that's why it takes me so long to release an album, it's because it's over controlled, i'm spending months and months for a detail that no one will give attention. Before making a track, i have a really precise idea of what i want to feel when i'll listen to the final track, and afterward, all the pieces of the puzzle and all the samples or the recordings have to fit perfectly my first idea. It's absolutely free and out of limits during the composition in my mind, but when i got the idea and i'm recording it in real, the things are getting intentional and over written. It's like your brain is exploding in a totally free way all the time, and when you found the "thing" you just take a picture, but HQ picture with all the details and all the parts at the right place and everything.
Q: Do you play all instruments yourself, or do you call in session musicians? How does recording actively take place ie. is it live, or meticulously sampled and pieced together?
A: Actually it depend of the instruments, i'm playing main of the guitars for example, but some friends also are doing them, like Teloch, from the band Mayhem, and Nicolas Sénac, from the band Pryapisme. About the Piano, sometimes i prefer to use samples as i love the texture of the old recordings, and sometimes i'm playing it. With the voices, i'm mainly asking the main singer of my project Laurent Lunoir, from the band Öxxö Xööx, but also for the female baroque voice, i'm asking Laure Le Prunenec who has an truly amazing voice as well. On the last album Hallelujah, there is the Accordionist Adam Stacey, the accordionist from John Zorn and Secret Chiefs 3 who is also playing. For the Harpsichord, it's mainly sampled as i really love the mood of the old baroque stuff like that. Well, yes it's a mixture of everything, played in acoustic, programmed and sampled.

Q: You mentioned your project Whourkr; would you mind telling us about it?
A: Whourkr is my side duo project where i explore the limits of the death metal breakcore, it's like a place where your brain is explosing totally, it's more brutal and primitive than Igorrr.
We made 3 albums, with 3 different singer, the first release with Öxxö Xööx, the second with -i snor and the third with Mulk. It's more mathematic and cold than Igorrr, but somehow i need a project like that, easier to compose. I mean, with Igorrr i'm caring about several genres of music and many feelings at the same time and all my work is to make themselves in a good shape and together, so i'm respecting everything, with Whourkr, it's more primitive, there is only 2 genres, Death Metal and Breakcore, and we are pushing it as far as we can.
Q: What are your future plans for Igorrr? Nostril has received acclaim, and though I prefer earlier works, it has no doubt raised the bar for future releases: what do you plan to do with the project?
A: At the moment, i'm planning to release my next album "Hallalujah" the 21th of December 2012, and continue touring. I was working about 2 years on this album, i just hope i'll not die before the release day :) because it would mean that i worked all that time for nothing! I have many projects with Igorrr, many forthcoming collaborations and featuring, so i'll keep this way as much as i can.
Q: Are you aware of artists who have a somewhat comparable sound, like Nero's Day At Disneyland, or Ed Cox?
A: I knew about Nero's Day At Disneyland yes, it sounds good i like his stuff ! Ed Cox i didn't know, i'm checking it right now, it's really good as well. It's not so much similar than what i'm doing as there is no Harpsichord and stuff like that, but i still like it :)
Q: Finally, what artists would you recommend to fans of your work, regardless of genre?
A: I'd recommend strongly Pryapisme, Vladimir Bozar 'n' ze Sheraf Orkestär, Öxxö Xööx and Chantal Goya.

Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

I should mention that the actual artwork for the album is not the above, but a penis with "NO LOVE DEEP WEB" written on it. I don't know if any kids come on here though. Against their label's wishes, experimental hip-hop band Death Grips publicly leaked their latest album due to, allegedly, being told to wait to release it. You can listen to and download it below.

Ruined Machines - Mars Review

Mars cover art 

Another month has come and with it another Celestial Bodies release from Ruined Machines (Joe Kenyon in collaboration with Michael Brodka). Mars is a calm, almost desolate release in comparison to last month's Earth. This should come as no real surprise given Joe Kenyon's ability to transmute the many collected (collective?) images of our solar system's inhabitants into vivid musical exposition.

The Mars experience is comprised of two tracks, "Wandering Mechanics" and "Vic Viper & The Space Destroyer". The former is a gorgeous collection of synthesized dronings, rather similar in tone to parts of the Venus release "In Velvet Skies, In Satin Skies". The synth arrangement is accompanied by sporadic keys that provide a slight accent to the fantasy landscape. This movement falls into the Martian wind, leaving behind a slightly off-tuned guitar ramble that captures the foreign, yet strangely familiar spirit of the red planet. This section may be the reported debut of Kenyon's custom stringed instrument, dubbed "The Chameleon" that combines a bass, two guitars, and violin.
On "Vic Viper" the keys and synths return, accompanied by distant drums. I'd like to imagine this track as a soundtrack to the Mars rovers' journeys across the barren wastes. There is a certain sense of urgency as the song gradually builds to its climax; something akin to the inevitable failure of an obsolete exploratory vessel, far from its creators on a distant, uninhabited world.

While Mars is a rather short release in the Celestial Bodies catalogue, it should be cherished. This recording marks the halfway point of our journey through the solar system with Ruined Machines, which makes now the perfect time to immerse yourself in its past glory in preparation for the future.

Enablers - Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions

Early works by Enablers sound like a very refined version of Slint. While this will naturally attract some criticism, for their fourth full-length, they have taken the basic principles of spoken word, Slint-esqe post rock, and transformed the concept into something far better than the influence. Instruments work together rather than having one prominent member, and collectively form a complex web of interdependent playing. The album starts with an intricate drum pattern which is gradually added to by a droning bass and guitars: slowly building up momentum until a fall; and the vocals come in. Deep in both pitch and semantics, Simonelli's poetry forms imagery of bars lit with mellow light, or a field of produce illuminated by the setting sun. The drums often rain on a tin roof as guitars play slow, arpeggiated melodies, only to burst into aggressively spoken and fast, hard choruses, such as in Patton and The Reader. The album gradually intensifies to the dramatic instrumental track Hard Love Seat, bringing complementary tapping melodies to a simple yet effective structure. Ultimately, this album transcends previous labels of just "spoken word/post rock" or "Slint tribute band"; finding themselves with Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions as both highly accessible, but also experimental: fusing influences from noise rock and post-hardcore into it. Tracks about an elderly man reminiscing on his youth's naivety with women and reading tales of love; a snippet of a lover's early morning as she watches the sun rise in San Francisco, and others pertaining to small, intimate insights into peoples' lives. Believe me: this is poetry. When laid on paper, they are in prose, and written with graphology and other devices in mind. It is talk music at its finest. This album is a warm yet solemn equivalent to what Adrian Tomine has done to illustration; dark yet with a warmth only found in the most private and emotional of settings. Now, obviously, I am biased, as this is one of my favourite albums, but it is an album that has been begging for a discussion of it such as the one you have seen above, and I implore you to listen to this, if only once.