Saturday, November 21, 2015

[Bandcamp] Chalk Dinosaur - Fear Or Love [Psych Rock]

What Will It Be For You?
Artist: Chalk Dinosaur
Release Date: September 11th, 2015
Genre: Electronic, Rock, Psychedelia
For Fans Of: Tame Impala, The Beatles, Keane
Recommended Tracks: Perception, Fear or Love, Soul Divide

I feel like I need to formerly apologize to John O'Hallaron for completely skimping out on properly reviewing his Caves release for some shoddy, unfunny post about me being late to class. It actually was a pretty outstanding psych rock album and it's also one of the least viewed articles on this blog. So Mr. O'Hallaron? I'm sorry. To make it up for you, I wrote a nice review of your debut album that my buddies over on the site I wrote for enjoyed and I am going to probably rec more of your albums here because your music is dope.

Fear or Love is O'Hallaron's latest EP, and is probably the final step to the third-eye singularity that John has slowly been inching towards ever since his first release in 2009. I mean, damn son, this album just reeks of 60s psychedelia down with the parliament smoke weed everyday wake up sheeple revivalism that the world has never seen before. And I love you for that, Mr. O'Hallaron. It's only three tracks long, and what a three tracks those are. 

Perception, a song about uh... "finding self awareness and being able to step outside of your emotions to observe your true motives." What this means, I cannot tell you, for I am only a sheeple. What I can tell you though, is that this album is an excellent journey exploring the early day of O'Hallaron's indie rock work with simplistic acoustic strumming and cutesy vocals; to the current state of Chalk Dinosaur with electronica interludes, reggae riffs, fuzzy vocoders, thick and smooth basslines, and psychedelia atmosphere. Fear or Love contains some subdued vocal mixing and twinkly keys that lead to an explosive "jazzy" finale, and finally Soul Divide with some more electronic/dance inspired percussion and psychedelic interludes that finally conclude with something resemblant of a trip-hop arrangement. 

It's an interesting three track journey that sounds like an accumulation of every trick and sound that O'Hallaron has found and developed since his early days in 2009, and it makes for an outstanding EP worth your time. 

Stream/Download/Buy Here: Bandcamp

[NO LONGER FREE] Pinegrove - Everything So Far [Alt Rock]

You Never Expected Much...
Artist: Pinegrove
Release Date: November 20th, 2015
Genre: Alternative Rock
For Fans Of: Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Deerhoof, Funeral Suits, Bon Iver
Recommended Tracks: New Friends, Problems, Size of the Moon, &, Unison, Recycling, Sunday

Pinegrove are an alternative rock group who are pretty difficult to compare to other bands or even describe as a whole. Their debut album, Meridian, came out a few years back with absolutely zero fan-fare anywhere. Which is a mighty shame, because it happened to of been one of my favorite albums of 2012. Everything So Far, on the other hand, is a compilation of all of Pinegrove's currently released material. This includes their albums, singles, EPs, and mixtapes for a total of 21 tracks. 

Since this is a compilation, the album becomes a mix of quick indie-rock and some slower, rough around the edges acoustic tracks. Despite this, none of these tracks end up being bad. You get little instances of different genres here and there. Pop, math rock, indie, lo-fi, and punk among others. Yet none of the qualities of those genres ever end up having a large significant edge on the album's sounds as a whole. Thats why the best you can say about this band is "they're good, they're free, listen to them please." 

Stream/Download/Buy Here: Bandcamp

[Bandcamp] Moddi - Smoke [Folk]

You're Just Too hard To Find...
Artist: Moddi
Release Date: February 6th, 2010
Genre: Folk
For Fans Of: Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, Einar Stray
Recommended Tracks: well there is only one track so...

Smoke is a nifty little song I found based off the recommendation of a fella I know. It's only a single mind you, but it's a great one, so uh yeah...

Anywho, this song features a dreary little set-up with the solemn plucking of an acoustic guitar before the sweeping of a violin serenades alongside the guitar. From there, the track progressively picks up with the introduction of bass, guitar, and finally the whispery vocals of Moddi. It's a sad, sad set-up for a song while Moddi himself continues the song with comparing love to that of the ashes of fire. 

While this all would typically seen as your generic, paint-by-numbers acoustic folk track the last half takes a sudden turn as Moddi begins yelling out under the sea of guitars and violins in a furious rage that makes the track stick with a sinister energy before finally concluding with a soft piano outro. It's a short little track that picks up a lot of interesting ideas, and is worth checking. Alongside their debut album Set The House On Fire which isn't free but is extremely good. 

Stream/Download/Buy Here: Bandcamp

[Bandcamp] The Oh Hellos - Through the Deep, Dark Valley [Folk]

So I'll Come Around, Someday
Artist: The Oh Hellos
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Genres: Folk
For Fans Of: Lord Huron, Paper Kites, Avalanche City, Civil Wars
Recommended Tracks: The Valley, Eat You Alive, Wishing Well, The Lament, I Was Wrong, Truth Was A Cave

There's something incredibly enduring about The Oh See's Through The Deep, Dark Valley. It's a feeling that isn't common on many albums, especially those in the bluegrass/folk revival sound courtesy of groups like The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons. Maybe it's the dynamics of the female/male vocal duo, maybe it's maybelline.  Whatever it is, there's no denying that this album just has a contagiously easy-going and happy feeling going on in it's warm folksy pluckery. If that's even a word.

Through The Deep,  Dark Valley sounds exactly like it's title suggests. A journey through the darkness and into the light. With it's concept of the struggles of faith, that is to be expected though. Every track rushes forward with comforting energy delivered through the assistance of a female/male vocal duo (and a large group of background chanters) who, with the assistance of a fine arrangement of loud acoustic guitars and various other instruments to subtly boot, enrich the overall chemistry of the vocalists and the dreary songwriting of self-discovery. 

It's an enjoyable record, with songwriting and lyrics that are unforgettable in every instance of the word. This album is a definite one that you should pick up no questions asked. It's also suggested that you listen to it from start to finish for the best experience. 

Stream/Download/Buy Here: Bandcamp

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

[Bandcamp] Kauan - Sorni Nai [Black Metal/Post Rock]

An album of cinematic proportions...
Artist: Kauan
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Genres: Black Metal, Post Rock, Cinematic Rock
For Fans Of: The Morning Side, We Lost the Sea, Two Steps From Hell, Agalloch
Recommended Tracks: All of it, tbh.
Dyatlov Pass.

This name may sound familiar to those who live and breathe the supernatural and paranormal;' or to those who read articles before it's decline. For those uninitiated though, Dyatlov Pass is a northern plane in the Ural Mountains of Russia and Kazakhastan that became a centerpiece of mystery and intrigue when nine of ten in a group of hikers perished under disturbing circumstances. On the night of Feburary 2nd, 1959, nine of the ten hikers suddenly fled from their camp site and into the dark snowy night where they met their deaths. The mystery of it all, however, were the circumstances the hikers were found in. Some were found barely nude, while others were found with fractured skulls and even missing eyes and tongues.

To this day, it's unknown what happened to the group entirely. Some suggest they were attacked by indigenous tribes, aliens, or the Yeti. While others suggest that accidental military involvement led to their death. It's a tragedy that has fascinated many for decades on end for it's random and disturbing circumstances. Kauan, the Russian black metal duo for example, were so incredibly wound up with the incident that they created an entire concept album built around filling in the blanks of what happened that odd night. Sorni Nai tells the story with a melancholy holiness that crushes down into despair as it progresses track-by-track. The sound landscapes feature a vast array of operating string and orchestral sections with calming angelic vocals occupying them in the beginning.

As the album progresses, darker arrangements and harsh growling vocals began to paint the narrative as the intimate drag of death looms over. It's all executed in such a perfectly smooth manner that one can sit back and take the album in as something as a movie (granted that you can understand the lyrics) with it's combination of cinematic post-rock arrangements and punishing black metal climaxes. While the hikes deaths may of been a mystery, what isn't is that Soni Nai is a concept album that charts an interesting territory and in result of the experimentation creates a clear stand-out in post rock and black metal.

Stream/Download/Buy: Here

Don't forget, a little support and a little word of mouth goes a long way <3

[Bandcamp] George Clanton - 100% Electronica [Electronic]

I wan't to buy a new life...
Artist: George Clanton
Release Date: September 25th, 2015
Genre: Electronic, Chillwave, Synthpop, Vaporwave

For Fans Of: Depeche Mode along with other 80/90s new-wave electronica
Recommended Tracks: Never Late Again, Did I Flounder, Bleed, It Makes the Babies Want To Cry, Innocence

100% Electronica is an oddity of an album. It's part of the ever declining vaporwave movement, a genre nauseatingly stuffed with half-heartedly slapped together projects for the Bandcamp masses. Yet somehow, George Clanton naturally manages to transcend all boundaries and expectations of the genre with a record that sticks out boldly and proudly with a dreamy, dark, and refreshing clash of 80s/90s electronica and the modern day trends of the internet in what is truly a head-scratching post-modernist wet dream.

Or in other words... this album is dope. Yo. You can hear little bits of influences pop here and there from the slow, "sample" friendly percussion, smooth glossy synths, and Clanton's deep and droning vocals. All is fun and all is unique on this record, as Clanton delivers an ample amount of variety with his various styles of vaporwave and electronica in his composition. It's a full on joy-ride with a little something more for just about anyone and it's what makes 100% Electronica one of the best releases of 2015.

Stream/Download/Buy on Bandcamp: Here