Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)


First and foremost, fuck that shitty horror movie for staining this amazing band's name. (the new 3d version i means, not the original)

Second, this album is a Shoegaze masterpiece, and pretty much considered one of the most important releases (if not THE most important) of the genre.

My bloody Valentine embody shoegaze to a T. Effect-laden guitar parts, lush musical soundscapes that encircle the listener and hook after hook of heavy-ass pop melody. It'll make you say "How the fuck are they doing this?" And that's one of it's greatest qualities. It is a nonstop psychedelic powerhouse. Beautiful indie pop songs buried in a sea of swirling, crushing guitar distortion and cooing vocals.

A true musical gem, and a must-listen.



Meat Puppets - Too High To Die (1994)


It was so damn hard to pick between Meat Puppets' albums for just one to upload, but I decided to go with THTD, for a couple of reasons. It's their most known, It's pretty easy to get into, It's just a sweet album all around.

Too high to die is the 8th album by the meat puppets, and I will admit, the fact that my favorite puppets song is Evil Love definitely had something to do with me posting it. =D

This is just a solid rock album... melodic, with great guitar work.

But, more than that, I post this because if you haven't checked out the Meat Puppets, this is a great place to start. Go then and check out more of their stuff, you won't be disappointed.



Cynic - Traced In Air (2008)


So it should be no surprise to anyone that knows me well that I posted this immediately after posting Mastodon, considering they are my two favorite metal bands.

This is the second release from prog-metal geniouses Cynic, and it took them 15 years to make.
Instead of explaining the complicated story of Cynic's split and reunion, I'll just stick to the album at hand, Traced In Air.

I'll let singer/guitarrist Paul Masvidal's explination suffice:

The album is an intensely concentrated mosaic of internal and external energies, from the deepest peace to the purest aggression. There's an acquired taste that comes with a record of this density, but once your ears wrap themselves around the language at work, everything falls into place and suddenly you'll feel a sudden urge to sing, scream or maybe even cry. The album has a beginning, middle and end. The story will reveal itself after numerous listens and then you may not want to let go. Besides Reinert and I, Tymon brought some new life force and magic to the record with fierce growling and poetic guitar sensibilities. Malone also did a fine job with the low end, grooving away with Reinert in a pocket land from hell!

-Paul Masvidal. (Amazing guy by the way.)

The album is an intense mixture of heaviness and melody.
Basically, If Metal and Jazz had a baby, it's favorite album would be Traced In Air.

Ps. Also, get their 1993 release Focus.

Stop listening to shitty Dragonforce, and get some good metal in your life! =D


Mastodon - Blood Mountain (2006)


Considering all the other stuff I've posted here, this is a complete departure. But since I figured I really enjoy metal as well, and this was one of the best metal releases of the last 10 years... Here it is.

Mastodon are, along with Cynic, what gives me hope as to the future of the metal genre. (Yes, I know Cynic's been around for 10+ years, but I'm refering to their new release "Traced in Air")
So, since I'm running the risk of sounding biased and/or deviating from the topic, I'll just go right ahead to the review.

Mastodon is probably the best metal band to come out in recent years. They clearly have their influences very present in what they make, but not so much as to overshadow their creative genious when making something that sounds completely refreshing. A very heavy, yet melodic approach to metal is what's present here, ranging from thrash-y fast to groovy (The Wolf Is Loose and Sleeping Giant, respectively) there's pretty much no aspect of the genre these guys don't cover.

If you're a metal fan, get this. And even if you're not you should definitely give this a listen, their greatest album and an amazingly crafted progressive exploration.

Blood Mountain, is in my opinion, Mastodon's masterpiece.

Get it nao.

Protip: Cedric Bixler, And Ikey Owens from the Mars Volta are guests on the album.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Dungen - Tio Bitar (2007)


If you listened to this album without knowing anything about the band, you could pretty much pinpoint it's release around the late 60's and early 70's, and in part that is one of the most interesting things about it. Considering it was released in 2007.

Hailing from sweeden, Dungen play psychedelic rock, and do it so well that you can sometimes forget that you're listening to a relatively new band. The last track on the album, for example, is totally reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, especially around their Ummagumma phase. The vocals, on the other hand, sound like a sweedish George Harrisson, but with their own spice.

Very, very interesting band, and something Classic rock fans, as well as indie rock fans should definitely check out. It's very melodic, with roaring guitar solos and thundering drums that sound almost Bonham-ish...

Bottom line, It's technical, it's catchy, and it's amazing.

Get it... Seriously. Like now.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Elliott Smith - Either/Or (1997)


Posting that Jose Gonzalez album made me remember that I kept putting off uploading an Elliott Smith album.

Probably one of my biggest influences, not to mention one of the greatest creative musical minds of the last couple of decades; Elliott Smith is the man.
Just like I said in the "In our nature" review, this album is pretty much the basics, a guitar and a voice, pouring out every emotion in his heart.

With so many albums to choose from, I decided to post Either/Or, because
a) It's the one that first got me into him
b) It's got Angeles, probably one of the greatest songs ever written.

RIP. Elliott.


Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature (2007)


The best way I could describe Jose Gonzalez's music would be:
If Silvio Rodriguez became a fan of Elliott Smith, and somehow they both created a mutant guitar-playing baby, it'd probably listen to this album.

A very simple arrangement is what we can find here, most of the time it's just a guitar and Jose's vocals. But honestly, that's all you need. It's very heartfelt and honest, a true gem amongst today's fake plastic (radiohead reference!) musical landscape.

One of the best releases of 07, by one of the most promising talents in recent music.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Anti Sociales - No Nos Esperen (2009)

[Pop punk/rock]

Anti Sociales are one of the perfect examples of the mixture of pop melodies, and punk rock, and are one of the best and most recognizable purveyors of Pop-Punk on the island of Puerto Rico.

With countless member changes, and switch ups, the band arrived at their most consistent and strong formation with the release of 2009's "No Nos Esperen"
With memorable pop hooks, riffing guitars and a perfect blend of aggressiveness and melody, this album is a pop punk must have and a perfect introduction to the band.

Check out the rest of their catalog in their blog:

And their myspace page:

And just download the album, "No nos esperen" here:


Sonic Youth - Dirty (1992)


Sonic Youth are probably, along with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, responsible for making the Jazzmaster guitar awesome again. But that's just the guitar geek in me talking.

Rather than posting Daydream Nation like everyone does (Even though it's an album you definitely SHOULD have) I decided to go with Dirty, the band's 1992 release, and the one that first got me into them.

Starting off, with the track "100%", noisy guitars shriek around your head, setting the tone for the rest of the album. It's an equal mix of melody and dissonance, which may prove to be too much for some listeners. While others may absolutely adore it (Like yours truly)

To explain it would be pointing at extremes. And way too much for words to describe.
Just check it out.

Ps. Pay special attention to "Theresa' s sound world" Just cause it's my favorite track. And I say so.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Caspian - The Four Trees (2007)


Caspian's monumental achievement in their first full length "The Four Trees" is undeniable.
There are few words to describe it, but definitely "Breathtaking" would be one of them.

Since there are no vocals, Caspian lets the music speak for them... And in doing so they appeal to an innermost quality in all of us. The ability to imagine. We interpret each piece of music according to our own experiences, our own views of life.

The songs move in a way that crescendos into an explosion of sound. A wall of electrifying guitars, encircled by beautiful melodies.

Sorry to sound so poetic. (Nah, I'm not sorry)
But this band, along with others like Explosions in the sky, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and others create more than just songs... These are movements.

This is just pure feeling and emotion, put into music for everyone else to understand.
Great music to just sit back, relax, and appreciate.

Check it out.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kunek - Flight Of The Flynns (2006?)


Flight of the Flynns (whose release date I can't seem to find btw) is one of those overlooked gems that you stumble into every once in a while.

The band puts forth a mix of sounds that evoke comparisons with the likes of greats like Radiohead. Their style is very melancholic, often times influenced by the Shoegaze scene, other times approaching Post-Rock, And somtimes simply, rocking out a little bit. Even with such diverse and widespread influences, the band keeps it's own unique sound, derived from the fact that they have a very strong combination of cello/piano on most of their songs, and the beautiful ways in which they are arranged..
Kunek create layers of music that keep building on top of one another, resulting in beautiful pieces of sonic art.

After releasing this, the band seemed to have gone into a sort of hiatus, only to emerge some time later with a new name (Other Lives) and a somewhat different style. But In my opinion, this release is the best one still.

Check them out performing their track "Coma"

Also, be sure to check out their myspace, at http://www.myspace.com/otherlives to keep up to date with their new music.

Get Flight Of The Flynns, now.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

[Alternative/Indie rock]

After tackling Yoshimi, I decided to stick around the year 2002, and post some Wilco.

This is basically, the little album that could.
After being rejected by their label for not being "catchy" or marketable enough, this album caused Wilco to be dropped.

"As the band searched for a new label to release the album, they decided to stream it at their official website to discourage illegal trading of low-quality MP3s. The band signed with Nonesuch Records, another Time Warner subsidiary, and the album was released in the spring of 2002. When it was released, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot reached number thirteen on the Billboard 200, Wilco's highest chart position to that date. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sold over 590,000 copies, and to date remains Wilco's best selling album. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was met with wide critical acclaim: it topped 2002's Pazz & Jop critics' poll, was named one of the 100 greatest albums of all time by Q Magazine."

This album is basically one of the quintessential releases from Wilco, and an indie rock must have.

Guitar rock, with pop sensitivities and a pretty nice degree of experimentation.

You'll enjoy this.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)

[Experimental/Indie pop/rock]

For Moe.

I usually hate labeling things as "experimental" cause I feel it's a term that gets thrown around WAY too much now a days. Especially by bands who believe that having a few weird time signatures, and/or delay pedals makes them so.

To experiment, in the truest sense of the word, is to take things out of the box. And try to create something new, from what already is.

This is what The Flaming Lips achieved with their magnificent 2002 release, Yoshimi battles the pink robots.

I believe pitchfork media said it best:
"The Flaming Lips’ brilliant follow-up to 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, this album was every bit its equal and solidified Wayne Coyne and The Lips as perhaps the most inventive, fascinating purveyors of skewered pop perfection in the musical world. "

After such a description... can you really NOT get this?
Didn't think so.

Equal parts pop, quirk, noise, and happiness.

Her name is Yoshimi.


The National - Boxer (2007)

[Indie Rock]

The National are one of the best bands to come out in recent years.
Hailing from Brooklyn, they play a brand of indie rock very similar to bands like Interpol, and some of the older post-punk bands. But they take this and create something new with it.

Please to enjoy, The national's 4th album, Boxer.

Ps: Sufjan Stevens appears in 2 songs ("Ada" and "Racing Like a Pro")
so... yeah. Double the awesome.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)

[Indie/Folk Rock-ish]

Neutral Milk Hotel's In the aeroplane over the sea is, in my opinion, the second best album released in the 90's (Being beaten only by Radiohead's OK Computer)

A masterpiece of simplicity and at the same time of complexity, a dashing gem of songwriting genious.
Guitars float along screams of clarinets, trumpets, distortion, and celestial whirrings.
Led by Jeff Mangum, this album is beautiful, devastating, and strange. All in a little package neatly placed in an airplane... over the sea.

Trust me, just get this.

"For now, we are young. Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see."


Pixies - Doolittle (1989)

[Indie Rock]

Doolittle is one of those records that define everything that follows.

Masters of the quiet/loud dynamic, and basically the band that most "indie rock" groups have followed, and tried to emulate. Nevertheless, none have reached the perfection of The Pixies.

Doolittle is an easier album to get into than some of it's predecessors like "Surfer Rosa"
But that doesn't mean it's lacking any of the pixies' flavor.

Plus, Kim Deal was kinda hot back then.

Do yourself a favor, and get this.


Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel - Riding The Nuclear Tiger (2001)


(Thanks Carlos)

Walking a fine line between Jazz and Progressive (in a sense) Riding the Nuclear Tiger is an impressive release by bassist Ben Allison and his crew.

Jazz is one of those genres where labeling something as "phenomenal" is really hard. Not because jazz is a sub-par genre, far from it. But because of the immense number of ways it can be constructed, interpreted, arranged and delivered are too wide to pinpoint a specific way to make something stand out. But this release does it.

It's one of those things you can really only explain by listening to it yourself.