Saturday, January 30, 2010

Music Reviews 1-30-10 Edition + Concert Calender!

The beginning of the year is always a weird period for music for me. It allows me to get around to some stuff I kept hearing great things about though, I will give it that. Now there's also been quite a few new albums released this month, quite a few leaked ahead of time. Some great, others simply decent, and others rather boring. Massive Attack and Titus Andronicus happened to have two of the more impressive efforts I've heard this month!

Lighting Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow(2003)
Genre: Noise Rock, Experimental Rock
Grade: C+

Chaos. Vicious. Out-of-control. Just a few adjectives you could use to describe the sound of this drum
and bass guitar two piece group from Providence, Rhode Island. This record is a perfect and definitive example of just
what kind of music terms "Noise Rock" or "Experimental Rock" really are, because that's exactly what it is. A frantic recorded jam session between Brian Gibson and Brian Chippendale. These two really leave it all on the floor whenever they play, and Wonderful Rainbow shows you exactly just what kind of things they are capable of.
However, you can see that it is a bit more refined than their older material. A good solid release, but only for those with the most open of ears.

Featured Album

Massive Attack - Heligoland(2010)
Genre: Trip-Hop
Grade: A

After about a seven year abscence from seeing a studio album released by the UK trip-hop duo, we've finally got some new earcandy in the form of Heligoland.
Well in the recording process for the last four, this CD does not disappoint in the slightest. It takes everything we've grown to love from Massive Effect ever since the more jazzy days of Blue Lines, to the dark downtempo soundscapes created in Mezzannine, and proceeds to crank things up yet another notch.
The album starts off with a track featuring TV on the Radio vocalist Tunde Adebimpe, which is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the contribution list for Heligoland. It features everything from sensual trip hop british vocalist Martina Topley-Bird heard on "Psyche" and "Babel", to the recently departed LCD Soundsystem drummer Jerry Fuchs, all the way to a few synth basslines from
Damon Albarn in otherworldily songs such as "Flat of the Blade" and "Splitting the Atom". Heligoland gives you that great vibe we've come to expect from Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, and the rest of the gang over the years and that much more. Right now, it outshines every other album I've heard released this month. Definitely goes on the "you gotta check this out!" list.

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor(2010)
Genre: Punk, Shoegaze, Lo-fi
Grade: A

What do you get when indie Jersey rockers Titus Andronicus make an album with the Civil War as it's subject matter? A lot of static, old dialogue pieces you'd imagine to hear from our forefathers from the 1860s layered over some of the rawest,
most heart-felt songs wwith anthemic choruses on every other tune. This is the kind of CD you can put on and just instantly find yourself jamming and singing along to. From the hook-you-in riffs from "A More Perfect Union" transitioned to "The enemy is everywhere!" pop-esque chorus in an oldschool 80s Punk song structure in "Titus Andronicus Forever", the album immeditally captures your attention and almost never let's go of it.
The only complaint I can offer is that these guys attempt to go in quite a few different directions on this record, and while often it turns out beautifully, there are a few times(a few random moments of acoustic/ambience scattered about) it kind of leaves you feeling like there just trying a little too hard. However you can really tell their is deep rooted passion in all of these musicians, from the killer grungey vocals, to the heavy hitting rhythmic
drums and guitars, all the way to the softer melodies. In the end, Titus Andronicus knows exactly how to leave an impression with the listener!

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Twice Upon a Time: The Singles(1992)
Genre: New Wave, Alternative Rock
Grade: B+

Let me just start of by saying it's usually kind of silly just to judge a band by The Singles material(See: Nine Inch Nails), but sometimes I've found it's a very effective way to get yourself introduced to a band. Siouxsie & The Banshees is a perfect example of this.
This compilaition has some of their strongest material in the whole discography. Ranging from everything from Beatles and Dylan cover songs, to gothic sensations like "Cities in Dust" and "The Killing Jar", to violin and synthesizer centralized tunes like "Slowdive",
Twice Upon A Time gives you all the reason to be interested in this British rock band and then some. Siouxsie and the gang do not hold back one bit,
and their hits are just as strong, if not stronger, than a lot of their catalog. If you have had any interest for this band in the past or are looking for something different to try out, give this CD a shot sometime for sure!

The Good, The Bad, & The Queen - Self/Titled(2007)
Genre: Alternative Rock, Brit Rock
Grade: B+

While listening to the new Gorillaz single from their upcoming album Plastic Beach, Sylo, I happened to stumble upon a project featuring Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame alongside bassist Paul Simonon(The Clash),
Simon Tong(The Verve), and Nigerian drummer and composer Tonny Allen. Together they formed a group during 05-07 named The Good, The Bad, & The Queen and produced one hell of a CD. All of these talents mesh well incredibly, the keyboards of Tong complementing the vocals in "80's Life".
Did I mention this was all produced by the same hip-hop artist that produced Demon Days and has released some great things in his own right, Danger Mouse? That explains the catchy up tempo beats in numbers like "Northern Whale" and "Herculean" that will have you bumping and humming along to.
It really has that "Damon Albarn" kind of atmosphere about it when it really boils down to it though. Does it sound differently from some of his older projects? Sure, but not drastically. which is a good thing, because why ruin a good thing honestly? Every one of these musicians fit their roles very well and together they offer a very enjoyable listening experiance. Don't be afraid to pop this one in the car sometime!

And now, I'll leave you with a few concert events in the Atlanta area that I am looking forward to in the next couple months!

February 27th: Muse w/Silversun Pickups @ The Gwinnett Arena
March 5th: They Might Be Giants @ The Variety Playhouse
March 13th: Infected Mushroom @ The Masquerade
April 3rd: A Place To Bury Strangers @ The Masquerade
April 15th: Jedi Mind Tricks @ The Masquerade
April 27th: Porcupine Tree @ The Tabernacle

Let's not forget what else is in April...a little music festival called COACHELLA! Such a killer lineup!

Wish I could find someway to hit that up. Well, that's all for now folks. Peace!

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