WELCOME to the start of a new attempt at reviewing music. I had previously experimented with reviewing about a year ago on a similar blog entitled "Ear Cavity". I had thoughts of re-working the site, but I figured a new year, a new start. That being said, I'd just like to point out that these reviews are my opinion and everyone should check out the artist for their own. Since music is an expression, I don't think there is a "bad record" out there, somethings are just not for everyone. On to the reviews!
MARISSA NADLER | Songs III: Bird on the Water
Album release date 2007
Singer songwriters come and go these days. It seems you really have to have something recognizable to have a memorable career, such as the poetic approach of Bob Dylan (whom has inspired wave after wave of singer/songwriters). Marissa Nadler breaks that mold by producing an album that really has no special hooks, but hooks you nonetheless. Inspired by what seems to be more of the gritty Americana traditions, it would be easy to lump her into the “dream-folk” mold. I’m not one for putting labels on expression, and it would do a great injustice to this dreamy album. Songs III is a fantastic example of sticking to your roots and not being flashy for the sake of being flashy. Sometimes being simplistic is the most beautiful concept of all.
DEERHUNTER | Cryptograms
Kranky record, 2007
I love when an album grows in front of you. Cryptograms (which is a short piece of text encrypted with a simple substitution cipher, in which each letter is replaced by a different letter) is a masterful effort that shows what growing and transforming can do to a band. The opening track starts the process with a beautiful landscape piece, followed by a very bass heavy jam. The vocal compliments fit the mood of the record perfectly, and the backing band shows that sometimes, creative music comes naturally to the right people. My favorite tracks on the record “Lake Somerset”, “Octet” and the closing track “Heatherwood” reminds me of Sonic Youth’s Sister blended with Brian Eno. I can not state enough that pure beauty of the driving bass lines, the creative drumming and wonderful playful guitar work. This is a great piece of music that will continue to play in my rotation for a long time.
THE FUCKING CHAMPS | VI
Drag city, 2007
I’m a huge fan of the Fucking Champs, I feel I must stress this before I review this new record. That being said, I’m going to attempt to give you a non-biased opinion of a band that created one of my top 10 favorite records of all-time (of course that would be “IV”). While the band has been recording albums for 10 years now, it is much different then when they started. With the departure of original member Josh Smith, and the arrival of TransAm Phil Manley it seems the band headed to what feels like a more rock and blues feel. It feels somewhat that the band picked some songs from the B-sides of the Fucking Am recording session. My Favorite tracks include the 6-minute epic “A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Ideas” and “Earthen Sculptor”, which reminds me of vintage champs recordings. The growth of this band can be measure by the willingness to expand at every opportunity. Tracks like “Dolores Park” and “The Crystal Behind You” reminds the listener that this is more then just a “metal instrumental album”…the Fucking Champs are indeed the champs!
TE` | If that is what is being thought,…
Album release, 2006
A year or so back a friend of mine gave me this album, he knew that I enjoyed instrumental music and said this album “brought the heat”. Te’ come from Japan and continue, from what I’ve discovered, is a long running tradition of great instrumental bands. While the easy comparison would be to Don Caballero, whom is the standard all instrumental math rock bands are based on, I would say Te’ is more focused on expanding their music writing limits. Defining the ceiling on this band would be an unfair and impossible feat. There are some great moments (track two and four) and some greater moments (track nine and track eleven). This album is essential to fans of the previously mentioned Don Cab, the Cancer Conspiracy and rock music in general. My favorite element of this record has to be the masterful drumming & wonderful use of delay, reverb on both guitars.
due up next week: Built to Spill, Floor, B. Fleischmann, Zombi and more...