Showing posts with label Music Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music Review. Show all posts

January 31, 2012

The Nolan Gate

Do you like Voivod? How about KARP laced with Failure, Slayer, Breadwinner, Prong, Don Cab, and Drive Like Jehu ?(Just to name a few things that come to mind when I listen to Nolan Gate.) If any of those bands mean anything to you, then please take the time to check out The Nolan Gate who hail from the NJ/ NYC area. They have a bandcamp page and their newest release costs only $2 to download.

My favorite two tracks are Alchemy and Grinding .

Full disclosure, the drummer from my old band Dahlia Seed is the drummer in The Nolan Gate (Darin Galgano) and I have played shows with / been on a split 7" with the members previous band Mothman but I would be singing their praises regardless of knowing them. I love Metal that you can't pin down with one easy tag and these guys appeal to me as a fan of heavy music that clearly comes from a variety of influences outside of the Metal realm.

January 6, 2012

You Heard it Here First

A friend to the North just tipped me off to Yamantaka. Deerhoof meets Emerson, Lake, & Palmer? What would happen if Boris and the Cocteau Twins created a rock opera using face paint? Epic, tribal,clouds of melody rising above comes highly recommended.

You can purchase their CD or LP here.


November 4, 2011

Canary oh Canary : Last Night in Sunway Knolls EP

Artist: Canary oh Canary
Title: Last Night in Sunway Knolls
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Label:  Self Released
Street Date: Out Now
RIYL: Deathrock, Television, early Cure, atmosphere bathed in reverb, memories that may or may not be yours
Righter Magnitude Rating Scale: Strong leaning towards major

Besides a band I once released on my label, or maybe someone relating back to my radio show, I don't write about local bands, well ever. It isn't to say there isn't a lot of interesting music to be found in my backyard but there hasn't been an artist or band I was so excited about that I felt the need to write about them.

Bands with three people tend to fall on one of two sides of the coin. They either desperately try to make up for having less people by adding pedals, extra amps, and absurd levels of attitude to sound like 100 people OR they fall incredibly short of sounding much like anything and like cheap beer, they don't pack much of a remarkable punch. Canary oh Canary doesn't rest flatly on either side. They spookily stand upright on its edge in perfect sonic balance. How do they do that?

The secret is no one band member over steps their boundaries. Not one of them over plays or drowns the other band mates out. Josie Davis plays bass. Michael Harl plays guitar and sings. Noell Alexander drums. They neatly take on specific rolls showing perfect restraint and leaving the perfect amount of space for the two members to fill.

There are two skills very few bands have, the first of which is playing economically. By this I mean they aren't scared of the space between notes and drum hits. They use these pauses to their advantage. Canary oh Canary's use of space is dramatic and often haunting but because so few musicians are capable of giving each member plenty of room to work in, you don't hear it often enough. This is the first thing that jumped out on me when I heard Canary oh Canary and saw them live. They are masters at decorating space by dabbing it with starry tones, notes and beats.

I also stand in awe of CoC's ability to listen to each other. You can truly tell when band members respect one another's roll within the group. So often musicians do battle in a studio or on stage and the result is a pissing contest that spills out to floor and stays there. Stagnant and flat. Then there are bands like Yo La Tengo who clearly have learned how to communicate with each other through their instruments. They have interesting, often gorgeous conversations on stage, and each member plays an important part of that engaging exchange. This is where Canary Oh Canary also captures my ear. They are perfectly organized and in sync with each other as they play. I want to hear what they have to say and can't wait to hear where each song will go.

Every song on this EP makes a distinct point, moving like chapters in a story that takes place under the cover of darkness. And the exciting part is you never quite know what all this lack of light will bring. Horror could lurk around the corner but so could a magnificent dream or ???

That is the beauty of empty, dark space; anything is possible.

The best band in Richmond right now is Canary of Canary. Do yourself a favor and go see them play live tomorrow night, November 5th at Strange Matter in RVA.

May 16, 2011

Whaaa Happend?

I LOVED Miracle Fortress back in '08 but their new release Was I the Wave has left me wondering what has happened to them in the span of just a few years.

Let me put it this way, this is the best song off the record and that isn't saying much. 

This is a song off of Five Roses that I thought was pure magic at the time. 

May 6, 2011


Here is a batch of reviews I did for WRIR. The idea is to review the disc in a brief manner so it can be read in a flash and fit on the front of the CD.

Artist: Dag for Dag
Title: Boo
Label: Terrorbird
Review: This brother sister duo delivers Raveonettes-esque rock without much of the chemistry. There are shades of early day Sonic Youth, a spacey Fiery Furnaces, and if you can imagine Interpol without any of the guitar charm. The album contains lots of tension and building but nothing great is ever built.
Recommended tracks: 4, 3, 5, 13

Artist: Okkervil River
Title: I am Very Far
Review: I read a quote from primary songwriter Will Sheff that he likes art that makes you feel a little worried. Worried in away that the tone set by the music is the audio equivalent of walking through a bad part of town and having to look over your shoulder and fear what might be around the corner. The result of this on I Am Very Far is a slimmer Arcade Fire (and Echo & the B on the ballads) type record hoping to be epic but it lands more at good Samaritan than heroic.
Recommended tracks: 5, 3, 1, 9

Artist: Buffalo Tom
Title: Skins
Label: Scrawny Records
Review: I felt obligated to give this a serious listen because of how deeply I loved BT back in the early ‘90s but I don’t love what I have heard here. It sounds exactly like you would fear a band resting safely in middle age would sound like. Still rockin’ but minus the reckless. Even with the guest vocals of another college rock idol Tanya Donelly, this didn’t move me into the impressed column. These songs are the rock equivalent of rounded corners - safe.
Recommended tracks: 3,5,8,4, 11

Artist: The Joy Formidable
Title: The Big Roar
Review: It was only a matter of time before a major label picked up on this band. A variation of this long player was my favorite record of last year and I am happy to place this one among my top 10 this year again. This is the most energetic female fronted rock band since Yeah Yeahs Yeahs with a nod to shoegaze bands like MBV, The Cranes, and Lush. Gorgeous, shimmering, and with just the right punch. YOU WILL LOVE THIS.
Recommended tracks: 6, 4, 9,  5, 12

Artist: Keren Ann
Title: 101
Label: Blue Note
Review: Lounge-y, sexy, dark, breathy..sounding much like Isobel Campbell or a Serge Gainsbourg gal, I should in theory love this record but it left me bored and thinking this Leonard Cohen loving lady won’t even make it into my dinner music pile. There are too many better versions of this kind of record out there to focus on instead.
Recommended tracks: 2,1, 3,7

Artist: Is/Is
Title: This Happening
Review: And the pleasant surprise of the day award goes to this three piece girl band and their wonderful EP. It is noisy without being another Jesus and Mary Chain knock off. Its dynamic without being a Breeders clone. It’s dreamy without being dull. I can’t wait to hear more from these ladies.
Recommended tracks: 4,1,2

Artist: Times New Viking
Title:Dancer Required
Label: Merge
Review: Now this is what I WISH the newest Vaselines record sounded like. This is tweaked twee at its best - something you might say could be the heir to the Beat Happening’s rock and droll crown. I know it is early to say it but as a fan of clumsy lo-fi rock, this is a contender to be a favorite record of the year for me. My early Guided By Voices have a new best friend!
Recommended tracks: 8, 4, 1, 2, 7,